Everything is so bright. That was the first lucid thought that stuck in her mind as she lay numbly staring at the brilliant sky above her. Her next thought was that everything was wrong, she shouldn't be staring at the sky she should be staring at – there was nothing there. No thoughts, no memories of where she'd come from, her mind was entirely blank.
But that wasn't true, not entirely. There were pieces she could remember, with each slow sedated blink there was a memory: a dark room, hands dragging her or helping her stand she didn't remember which, and two pale faces with the bluest eyes. She couldn't remember their features, just white skin and blue eyes.
Find the center
she remembered a voice frantically telling her that, shaking her roughly as she'd stood quivering in fear
you have to find the center before the sun sets.
She supposed she had to get up then, but she didn't really want to. It wasn't until she sat up that she remembered a sudden blow to her head, ending the last memories she had before waking up. There was no way of knowing how long she laid curled in a ball clutching her aching head, deafened by a shrill ringing in ears, no way of knowing if she'd been conscious the whole time or if she'd passed out.
The sun was warm on her skin and it gradually grew warmer as it crept its way along the sky, the mark of time passing. She didn't want to get up. She didn't want to do anything but lay there pulling her body tighter into herself trying to shrink. But she didn't know how far the middle was, she didn't know where she was – only that she was told not to stay.
And so she forced herself to her feet, holding her hands out as her knees tried to collapse before righting herself and looking to see what was around. There was a passageway behind her leading to another wall with what looked like a small circular door – the faint memory of creaking metal and a chilled fear had her turning to the towering walls in front of her. They were stone, ancient looking, old enough vines had grown along the thick slabs. It was a maze, she had to navigate a maze before the sun set without actually knowing what she was looking for in the center – she couldn't even blink away the black stars twinkling around her vision. But it was all she had to go on, and what other choice was there but for her stumble on.
little alice fell
bumped her head
and bruised her soul
She laughed at the sudden thought of words she'd read in a book, seeing not all of her memories were gone. How strange it must've looked, a girl walking drunkenly alone with a smile on her face; she probably looked crazy. Oh but I am crazy, she thought. Poor crazy Eleanor. She just couldn't remember why.
Her head was killing her, literally. It felt as though there was a gaping hole on the side of her head where half her brain had been taken out, and she thought if she sat down to rest she may never get back up. So she leaned against the walls, using them as a crutch to keep her on her feet as she pushed herself forward – she used them also to find where the straight path turned in another direction. The whole world was a spinning blur, shapes mixing together and colors fading in and out. One minute she was dragging her shoulder along the wall letting her feet guide her to whatever was in front of her, and then the next minute her shoulder slipped around the edge of a wall and she stumbled around the corner facing a new direction. A few times she'd run into a dead end, quite literally, and turned back only to find another wall where there hadn't been one before. She'd panicked the first time thinking she was trapped, blindly slamming her heads against the stone until finally she found the new path – it hadn't been there before, it'd been on the wall she'd first leaned against.
Great, the walls move by themselves, she thought as she moved slowly down the new passage. She'd never find the center if the maze changed itself, and she could neither see clearly enough nor did she know where in the maze she'd started to know what direction she should be going. But little did she know the changing of the walls was leading her directly to the heart of the maze.
After hours of endless walking, having almost given up and laid down to sleep, she finally heard the sound of something other than her own heart and deep ragged breaths; she heard other people, distant incoherent voices, the noises they made. She was mindlessly putting one foot in front of the other, blackness creeping around her vision threatening to take her sight completely – she hadn't even noticed it was brighter ahead, it barely even registered in her mind that there would be people who could help her. She was barely conscious as she moved her feet, nearly falling to her knees when suddenly the wall that had been holding her up disappeared and she was forced to stand on her own.
Newt was walking toward the Homestead when he heard Gally's loud cry of, "Hey!"
"Can't go a bloody second without someone needin' me," he muttered before following the sound of his voice. A few more times Gally said hey, his voice not so loud and quickly growing agitated. "Slim it, Gally. What is it?" he asked walking to the back of the Homestead to see Gally on his knees hovering over a small body. "No bloody way," Newt breathed in shock.
Paying no mind to Newt behind him, Gally looked down at the girl who stared blankly in front of her. "Can you hear me?" he asked her worriedly. He'd been coming back to the Homestead himself when he'd caught sight of her walking away from the door; he hadn't been able to believe what he was seeing – long brown hair, a sweater and a white smock. It was a shucking girl. And then she'd clung to the wooden building, her head resting against it wearily before she wilted to the ground – leaving a trail of crimson where her head had been.
"Where the shuck did she come from?" Newt asked kneeling down to better look at her. She looked seventeen, maybe a year older, her dark hair a halo around her head. Her face was sharp; sharp nose, sharp chin, sharp cheeks – she wasn't necessarily beautiful, but hers was the face of elegance. Though she was incredibly thin, and her skin was several shades too pale as though she were ill.
Gally looked toward the doors knowing it wasn't possible, but she hadn't come from the box. "I think she came from the maze," he answered hearing Newt sputter at the impossibility. "Can you hear me?" he asked her again, turning her head to see the blood in her hair.
"Is she hurt?" Newt asked seeing for the first time the dark stain on the side of her head. "Jeff, Clint." He heard the sound of the Med-jacks' feet hurrying toward them, by the time they reached them the girl's eyes had closed and she lay completely still – her skin was so pale she looked like she was dead.
"There's no shuckin' way," Jeff said when he rounded the corner with Clint to see the unconscious girl laying on the ground. "How'd she get here?"
Gally shifted his weight as he bent down to hear if she was breathing, the rise and fall of her chest too little for him to see - hearing the crinkling of something in her sweater pocket. "She won't be here for long if you shucks don't do something," he told them.
"Let me see her," Clint said before taking Gally's place, checking her pulse and brushing her hair out of the way to see the gash on her head. "Get Nick," he told Jeff before gathering her in his arms and standing. "Try to keep everyone away while we check her out," he told Gally.
Newt, who had moved toward the door, stood staring at the few dark spots on the right side of the wall where she must've leaned her head against it needing the support. "She came from the bloody maze," he told Gally in disbelief when he stopped beside him. Newt looked down when Gally held his hand out, offering a small piece of paper.
"I found this in her pocket."
Newt stared at the words and read them over and over again, finding that reading them was even more hard to believe than the girl.
Keep her safe
So the new movie got me to reread the Maze Runner, and then this idea came to me - and would not leave me alone until I wrote it. And Newt has always been my favorite character and I love the actor they got for him. I can only hope this story will do James Dashner's creation justice. And I hope you guys will enjoy it. Feedback is always welcome.