Writing

The Glue

This is a fanfiction I’ve written about Newt from The Maze Runner. I hope you enjoy it!

WARNING: This post contain heavy spoilers from The Maze Runner. Please continue with caution.

“The Glue” – Story and Cover Art by Meredith Godwin

Glue. It holds things together, fixes things. It’s designed to be powerful. But this Glue has been strong for too long.

When we first woke up in the Box, we were confused, helpless, and completely terrified. We had no clue where we were, where we’d come from, or even of our own identities. I say “we,” because me and a few other guys were, as we would later learn, the first test subjects that an organization called WICKED had placed in their evil experiment. As we staggered out of the metal lift that WICKED had dumped us in, we examined our strange surroundings. Four ivy-covered stone walls towered above us, and enclosed the vast, open space. I could feel wispy grasses and weeds bursting from the cracked stone beneath my feet, and saw several crooked trees splitting the ground with their roots in search of soil. A few odd buildings were staggered around the enclosure, and the blue, sunless sky was obviously fake. We later named this place “the Glade.”

After aimlessly wandering around for several hours, trying in vain to remember anything about ourselves, we decided to get some rest. Camped out under a cluster of trees in a corner of the Glade, we fell into an uneasy sleep. We awoke the next morning from our restless slumbers to a low, grinding sound. We snapped up, and then marveled as we watched the centers of the four walls split open to reveal large, gaping doorways. Beyond these was a series of passages and corridors, composed of the same stone walls that bordered the Glade.

Over the next few months, we learned the routines of our confinement. Every morning the walls would open, and every evening they would close. Past the walls, there lay a massive Maze, filled with deadly creatures that we called “Grievers.” They mostly appeared in the Maze at night, which is why we stayed in the Glade to sleep. Everyone knew the number one rule of the Glade: never, under any circumstances, were you to venture into the Maze at night. The Grievers were capable of so much harm, and if you encountered one, you were sure to die a gruesome, horrible death. Once they caught you, there was no escape.

We also quickly learned the cycle of the Box, which was the metal lift that had carried us up into the Glade. Each week it would arrive with fresh supplies, and every month, a new kid, each with his memory completely erased, knowing nothing but his name. Only boys were ever sent up in the Box, all of them looking to be in their mid-teens. Of course, we had no way of knowing what our exact ages were, because we couldn’t remember.

We soon developed a system where kids known as “Runners” would venture into the Maze every morning, and return every evening. These guys would map the Maze every day, and we soon learned that the Maze walls changed positions every night. The wall patterns repeated themselves every month, and after constantly mapping and searching for over a year, we never found a way out. We were trapped, and we didn’t know why.

One day, several months after our arrival in the Glade, I was sitting on a bench under a cluster of trees, thinking. I imagined what my life might have been like before the Maze, hoping that I had a family somewhere. Family. A Mom and Dad, maybe even some siblings. The whole concept was new and unfamiliar, so I tried to picture what being part of a family might feel like. Being together, surrounded by people who loved you more than anything. Deep inside me, I just knew I had one somewhere. I had felt a connection to someone ever since I woke up in the Box, someone I had loved very much. I wondered if we were ever going to make it out of this horrible place, so that I could get back to this unknown person. It seemed impossible, because death lurked around every corner of our prison. Grievers hadn’t been the only way we’d died. Someone had perished at every attempt to escape from the Maze. We’d tried climbing the walls, going back down in the Box, and much more. All of these had not only failed, but had managed to kill people in the attempt. There were also surveillance cameras everywhere, so we knew we were being watched and had been placed there on purpose.

I hated the people who had put us there, the people who had taken away our families, our lives. I thought of all the ways I would destroy them if I ever got the chance. I wanted to unleash my feelings on them, all the anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, and pain that had built up over the past year. As I got up from the bench and knelt by our make-shift graveyard, I thought of all the innocent lives that these people had taken, all my friends that had died trying to escape the Maze. What had they ever done to deserve such a fate? We were all just kids, kids that had been ripped away from our families and previous lives to be stuck in a giant, deadly Maze that didn’t seem to have an exit.

It was in that moment that I finally realized what all of us knew, but couldn’t acknowledge: there was no way out. How could there be? We’d repeatedly mapped every inch of our confinement but to no avail. No signs or clues had ever been found regarding an exit. We were all trapped, doomed to die inside this terrible place. I figured the people who had put us there obviously wanted to watch us die. Why else would we be inside a place with monsters out to kill us and cameras to capture every second of it? We were all going to be killed off, one by one, until no one was left. Why not just end it all now instead of having to suffer until it was my turn to be exterminated? What did I have to live for, anyway? I had no hope of ever getting back to my family, and how did I know that these people hadn’t sentenced them to die, too? So, I made up my mind right then and there. I got up, and headed towards the closest Maze door, not acknowledging anyone or anything. I shut out everything but my one goal as I reached the giant door and passed through into the Maze. Left, right, left, left, right. I knew the Maze like the back of my hand, along with where I was going and what I had to do. Right, left, left, right, right. I weaved my way through the twists and turns of the Maze until I reached my destination: a long strip of wall, thickly covered with a blanket of ivy.

I stepped towards it, and rested my hands on the wall as I leaned forward, and took a deep breath. Then I began to climb. 10 feet, 15 feet, 20 feet. Gripping the thick vines and hoisting myself up, bit by bit. 25, 30, 35 feet. My muscles bulged as I pulled myself up the wall, sweat glistened on my forehead. I kept climbing, panting, until I reached a point where my strength finally wore out. I clung to the ivy for several seconds, closing my eyes and breathing in the fresh aroma of the greenery. My hands were slick with sweat, and the cool vines felt good against my hot skin. An almost peaceful silence hung around me, as I tried to cherish what I thought would be my last few minutes on earth. Then I noticed a black camera trained on me, peeking out from beneath the ivy. The dreadful reality of my world rushed back as I remembered what I needed to do. Looking directly into the camera, my voice quaking with rage, I said: “I don’t know who you people are, but I hope you’re happy. I hope you get a real buggin’ kick out of watching us suffer. And then you can die and go to hell. This is on you.” And then, taking a deep breath, I let go of the vines, pushed off from the wall, and plummeted towards the ground.

As I fell, I watched the only year of my known life flash before my eyes, hating the people who had taken away the rest of it. As I hit the cold, hard, ground, my leg exploded in pain as a loud crack rang in my ears. The camera was still focused on me as I writhed on the ground, my ears ringing and vision blurring. My leg felt as though it were on fire, and I felt myself slipping away. Through my choking sobs, I managed to scream: “I hate you, I hate you!” over and over again to the black machine, until everything disappeared, and I was lost in a world of pain, exhaustion, and darkness.

That fall snapped my leg, and it never healed correctly. I have been burdened with a limp ever since, and it serves as an awful reminder that I failed to control my own fate. WICKED had taken everything from me, and my entire being had been handed over them. They even labeled us. We all awoke one morning with the black tattoos on our necks, each branding us with a different name. I was “Property of WICKED, Subject A5, The Glue.” But my tattoo was more than just ink etched into my skin. It meant something.

Glue holds things together, keeps things strong. And as I look back over the past few years, I’m realizing that I was the person who kept everyone together. My friends depended on me to maintain peace and order in the Glade. I had resolved many arguments, settled disputes, upheld friendships. Everyone had looked up to me as someone who could fix things, set them straight. And I had. I had helped to mend the broken people who had grieved over their lost friends. I had established a sense of hope, even when I knew there was none. I had helped everyone believe we were going to make it. I was the Glue who had fixed everyone but myself.

And now, as all these thoughts and memories are rushing through my head, I’m sitting on an abandoned street, looking into the eyes of a boy named Thomas. Thomas helped us solve the Maze. He got us out, led us mile after mile towards the hope of safety, and has fought to keep the remaining few Gladers alive. But now, as my world falls apart, I’m pleading with him to finish the act that I failed to complete, to end it once and for all. Spit flies from my mouth as I beg him to put me out of my misery, to release me from this fatal disease that’s eating my brain and driving me to insanity. I’m gripping his shirt in my bruised and blood-stained hands, fists clenched tightly, knuckles white. The revolting, filth-covered clothes that are still clinging to my limbs shake violently on my frail figure. I’m imploring him to defy WICKED’s power, to do the one thing that will release me from their clutches. “Newt….” he says, trying to make me change my mind, but I won’t. I need him to do it. I need him to destroy me.

I’m screaming at him, while what’s left of my once-blond hair is pasted to my brow with a thick layer of sweat and grime. Dirty tears run from my black, almost lifeless eyes down my cheeks and into my mouth, the metallic taste of blood overcoming the saltiness of the tears. My breathing is raspy and uneven, and the itching in my brain has become so unbearable that I can barely function. I’m not trying to fight it anymore; the disease is too strong. The only sane thought I have left is that I want to disappear from the world, to be free at last. The Glue must dry.

So, with my last trembling gasp of sanity, I press the gun tighter into Thomas’ hand, look into his eyes, and say “Please, Tommy. Please.” And now, with his heart falling into the black abyss, Thomas pulls the trigger.

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