Newt couldn’t remember the last time he ate.
Life was slowly starting to shut down in his body. He could feel the subtle aches and sting every time he ever ran, jumped, or even moved. It was obvious enough to get behind the pain that circulated slowly around his right leg. Every step he took felt as if it could be his last if he wanted it to be. Hell, he wouldn’t doubt that if he simply laid down for a certain amount of time… his eyes would awaken to a world of white. One that didn’t hurt him, or have his friends waiting for him… somewhere. It was only a matter of waiting for them to round a certain corner…
But he wouldn’t give up on himself. Or them.
Newt had been through every sort of obstacle imaginable. The constant possibility of an apocalyptic uprising, a group of untouchable immunes breathing down his neck, and lastly… the terror of waking up a Crank. Still, miraculously, the black veins were nearly indistinguishable underneath the mud and dust that coated his pale skin. If there was one thing Newt could ask for right now, it was a proper bath.
It was only after the first eight days that Newt actually saw the collapsed wall that surrounded a former empire.
Climbing up a demolished wreckage between two towering skyscrapers, he instantly fixed his gaze on a familiar structure. One that gave him chilling Deja-Vu of an all too familiar maze. His eyes instantly regained a long lost hope. Moonlight illuminated the mysteriously flat path towards his hallelujah. Letting out a hoarse laugh of relief, he started to sprint towards the barrier leading to the Scorch. He rehearsed what he’d do a thousand times in his head. Grab a car, drive out for as long as he could, and then make it to the coast. The refugee village was his best chance of finding Vince. If he found Vince, he’d find Thomas and the others.
From the other side of the chaos, he saw Gally’s car miraculously untouched outside where the rebels tore down the wall…
Finally . Something’s going good for me.
Climbing up the rubble that shielded him from the Scorch beyond the wall, Newt gritted his teeth with determination. His leg pulsated with protest, making him reel back with soft pants.” Come on… You’re so close.” He whispered to himself, the only true company he had in what’s felt like months. The soft plea that reached his ears escaped his own chapped lips. Even then, he felt his heart beat steadily with angry confidence. Grunting between his grinding teeth, the blond let himself stumble over the top of the deconstructed wall. Exhausted, his body went limp as he let his back fall onto the floor below him. Coughing out, he subconsciously scratched his bad arm, and shot off as soon as he saw a familiar vehicle.
Swiftly, he jumped into the driver’s seat, listening with a satisfied grin at the gentle growl of a former WCKED Jeep. Starting to drive forward, he furrowed his brows at the darkness ahead.
The headlights weren’t working.
” Come on.” He groaned irritably, sending his fist to slam gently into the front board. Sighing at the uncertain flicker of the lights, he rose back to his driving position to stare at a still silhouette of a man. Swallowing down the sudden unease in his throat, he started to subtly reach for the ignition gear. At the sight of movement, the man ahead cocked his head curiously, an inhuman reaction… as if it was a bird, spotting potential prey. Newt didn’t want to become that same prey. The words he heard a few days ago came flooding back into his ears painfully loud.
It was yet another chase from Janson’s puppets… and Regris’s words cut into his consciousness like a knife.
“ Either you get taken by us? By your own virus… or a fellow crank. At least with the Ratman you have a chance of actually seeing another day!”
He replied confidently then.
“ I’d rather die or go insane, then help that— heinous human being!”
Gripping the steering wheel, he grinned smugly.
He was still hellbent on proving that asshole right. There was nothing else worse than a fate within that bastard’s hands. He was a coward, a monster, and he still… even now, at his lowest? Wanted to ruin everything he and Thomas were fighting for.
Slamming down on the accelerator, he heard a shrill cry escape the crank as he charged at the now moving car. Newt shut his eyes as he heard a sickening crunch as the man flew over the roof of the vehicle. The commotion sent a ripple of noise that stirred a horde of the same beast that he ran over. Their howls suddenly cut through the air, hungry cries.” Shit.” He cursed fearfully, eyes staring down the desolated roads ahead of him. Their paths cracked and hazardous. Newt already didn’t consider himself a good driver. Brenda had to teach him during their train robberies… but, even then, it wasn’t like he was graced a proper course like the generations before him were. In short, he “sucked ass” at it, in Brenda’s words.
Even then, he wasn’t going to let himself die to a car crash. As such, he yanked the gear backwards into ignition, and shot off into the dark wilderness around him. Betrayed faces of humans flashed in his headlights, one after the other, flying overhead with a sickening inattentive expression to the snapping of their leg’s ligaments as they hit the car’s front. Watching as a familiar black tar started to obscure his vision. Growling out, he tried to remember where the windshield wipers were located on the dashboard. Brenda taught him in a car far different than this one. This was far more advanced than he was used to. The blurry memorization of certain levers and buttons applied nothing to him. And then he noticed the subtle white symbol on a small button beside the wheel.” Hah!” He cheered triumphantly, watching as the wipers swiftly brushed against a sickening ink. It was just the right amount of sight to see an abandoned freeway ahead.
“ Great another bloody bridge…” He muttered to himself with a grimace of uncertainty. He was dead anyway if he stopped now. He heard the angry shrieks behind him, and through his side view mirror, he saw the horrific chase of a blind man’s hunger for human flesh. Brenda specific words suddenly rung through his head like a song, repeating the phrase aloud.” Speed is your best bet when all hell’s loose.”
Newt’s brows suddenly met at the bridge of his nose, a brave expression that showed recklessness and determination all in one. Slamming his foot to the floorboard, he watched as the world around him became a blur. Shouting out, he watched the other side grow closer and closer until the nose of his car hit the floor hard. The man’s head met with the steering wheel, and he was sent rocketing back into his seat. A giant white cushion suddenly engulfed his face as the car did an ungracious stumble. After a single topple, the Jeep was propped upside down, with an unconscious Newt dangling from his seatbelt.
The undead on the other side cried in protest, reaching helplessly for a car that wasn’t coming, the explosion of the wall caused a large quake in the Earth, a tear that fell deep between the small village surrounding the walls of the city to separate it from the neighboring desert.
Newt could involuntarily rest, safe from the claws of his fellow cranks.
Newt awakened to the sound of overlapping waves crashing onto one another. Groaning out, he was shocked to find himself in a small cot within a tent. Shakily, he brought himself to his knees to greet the view in front of him. A small village of… what seemed like kids . People his age. Cautiously optimistic, he glanced around the rather happy setting with a smile slowly building onto his pale cheeks. And then he saw him.
The man turned around slowly, a watery smile greeting the blond.” Hey Newt. Welcome to the—“
Gasping, Newt was instantly aware of the blood that splashed heavily in his skull. He had been positioned upside down all night. Groaning out, he pressed a hand to his head.” That’s going to make for one shucking mess of a headache.” He spoke bitterly, shakily reaching to the seatbelt that imprisoned him from the safety of gravity. Wincing as his body flopped onto the roof of the car, he rubbed his bruised forehead with a scowl.” Ow…” Ever so cautiously, he reached for the doorknob located on his upper left. Stumbling out of the car, he glanced around the bridge for an accessible car… or at least one he could perhaps fix. He may not be the best driver, but he always had a knack for fixing up things. This included mechanical situations… Jorge’s car for example. The old man didn’t care about consequences, and as such, he’d ram his busted up truck into just about anything to prove a point.
The thought made Newt rasp a chuckle.
Slowly approaching a car that seemed fairly operational, he lifted the hood with a soft grimace at the state of the engine. It didn’t seem all that bad. Just enough where someone who was inexperienced, or in a dire situation… would abandon in favor of better odds. Swinging the heavy bag of emergency tools that Gally fortunately packed securely in one of the pockets of his car, he started to work on the small mechanism. He smirked proudly at the finished result, cranking the keys into their slot with a face that seemed ready for disappointment. The gentle vibrato of a truck’s engine made his face light up with gratitude. For a change, he’d get to ride through the Scorch. Not nearly destroy his right leg walking through it.
Checking the fuel, he noticed that he had three quarters of a full tank… that— was, pretty good. Almost suspicious of how bright things were going, Newt slowly drove his new ride through the onslaught of forgotten cars. The Scorch never seemed so welcoming…
He was finally out of that godforsaken city.
“ I’m coming… I swear to you. Please , don’t give up on me yet guys.”
A few hours passed, and it was clear that the tank was starting to slowly grow more and more dry. Newt didn’t mind. It had taken it far enough for him to see a familiar face.
Newt knew he was crazy, but he needed a lead. Markus was his best bet, he seemed to know everything that happened in the Scorch. Perhaps he knew where Vince and the rest of the Right Arm were.” Only one way to find out.” He murmured to himself as he rolled into the marketplace of cranks and immunes alike. He felt a pang of sympathy for the partying teenagers. They seemed so unaware of what was to come. Markus wasn’t a smart man, but he was heartless and clever enough to make a living off of a youth’s own constant desperation for a thrill or relief off of reality. Newt felt his eyes narrow in disgust and anger at the man’s deceiving eyes reaching out to the occasional passing teenager. He watched from afar as he led an unsuspecting couple into the crowd inside after a quick sip of an intoxicating liquid. The man drank first, reeling his head back for a coughing fit at it’s kick. Markus then placed the small capsule in the woman’s hands, making her stare at it hesitantly. The action caused a naive boyfriend to kiss her head encouragingly, making her take a soft sip. After the two did their “initiation” of sorts, the greedy man led them inside.
Newt frowned as he approached the porch outside the raving party inside. Markus waltzed out of the room with a smug chuckle before his shocked eyes met with Newt’s onyx hues. The words lodged in his throat before he spoke.” You, you were with Jorge…” the man nodded.” Yeah? Well I’m back, and I need information.” The man smirked.” Oh? Did you get yourself lost?” Newt shrugged.” Lost is a word for it, sure…” The redhead chuckled devilishly, approaching the taller man slowly. Markus then grasped Newt’s chin in a bruising hold to bring him down to eye level. The blond frowned irritably at the action, but let the man speak.” You should know by now, Newt. That nothing’s free. I’d like some entertainment, if you will… a small test. For, we live in a New World… a world, for the youth.”
“ —Get to the bloody point already.”
“ I want to challenge you to a little game…” Markus concluded with a grin, letting his fingernail dig into the man’s skin, making Newt instinctively shove the man into the wall. Running his hands along his bruised chin, he spoke.” I’ll do your challenge.” He stated, making the man clap his hands excitedly.” Excellent!” Suddenly enthusiastic, he rummaged around for a specific item, making the teenager start to feel a hesitation at his words.
No, I can do this… I need this. If I don’t have a lead, then I’m going to die out here trying to find one... and I can’t have that.
Markus then turned to him with a silver bottle in hand.” Newt, I take it you’re not the drinking type.” The man shrugged.” So so. I drank in the maze.” He answered honestly. Gally’s formula certainly was stronger than most snake venom this sleazy shank could serve. Even then, it still scared him how there was an evil glint in the man’s eyes as he served him the beverage.” That’s quite alright. I just need you to… take a quick drink of this, and enjoy yourself a party.”
“ What’s the catch?” Newt asked with a soft frown, making the older man chuckle.” You’re a smart kid. I’ll give you that.” He spoke.” You have to stay sober enough to visit me in my office in two hour’s time.” Newt blinked at the words.” Why two hours?” The elder grinned.” I have some diplomatic situations to settle with… I’ll be a free man at four.” Glancing around, he was shocked to hear that they could even calculate the time. But he’d find a way to tell. Before he’d let his mind tell him all the shadiness of the proposition, he snatched the liquor from the man’s hands. Feeling his body scream in protest at the liquid that flooded his throat, he ignored it, drinking it even further. Markus chuckled maliciously.” Good boy.”
The comment made Newt pause his actions, coughing out at the sting and cloudiness that suddenly surrounded his senses.
“ Your audience awaits.” The man smirked slyly, pulling over a curtain. Leading to a crowd of raging teenagers.
He glared at the man before he stared out over a sea of sinful and rambunctious acts and people. His senses were suddenly drowning out his consciousness, making him all the more drunk and confused.
“ Shuck me… ”