Chapters 1–5: First Day
Thomas wakes up in a swaying metal elevator, cranking upward in darkness. The only thing he remembers is his first name. When the elevator clanks to a stop, the doors at the top are opened, revealing a group of boys. They pull Thomas up with a rope and say “Welcome to the Glade.”
Thomas finds himself in a giant, square courtyard surrounded by 100-foot stone walls. Each wall has a wide opening in the center. Thomas sees crops, animals, a forest, and a wood building. He’s surrounded by about 60 jostling, joking boys who call him “shank,” “shuck,” and “greenbean.” Alby, a dark-skinned boy who seems to be in charge, tells Thomas that this is a bad place, but that everyone here came out of the Box and adjusted to life in the Glade. Alby promises Thomas a tour the next day, but Thomas, confused and upset, wants information now. Newt, a friendly blond boy who speaks with a British accent, joins in the conversation, but before Thomas can learn about the Glade, there’s a piercing, inhuman scream from the wood building. Alby and Newt leave, telling Thomas to find Chuck, who will show him where to sleep.
Thomas sees a metallic bug on a tree, and Chuck tells him it’s a beetle blade and will sting if touched. Chuck is a pudgy young boy who came up in the Box a month before Thomas. The shrieking continues from the wood house, and Chuck tells Thomas that the person screaming is a boy named Ben who was “stung” by a “Griever.” Chuck says Ben will recover as long as they can administer Grief serum to him. Thomas, wanting answers, goes to the wood house. The three-story building is rickety and haphazardly built.
Gally, a bully with a bulbous nose and missing teeth, confronts Thomas and says he knows he doesn’t belong there. Gally says that he was stung by a Griever, and that while he suffered through the painful process called “the Changing,” he saw Thomas in his visions. Thomas insists on going upstairs to find Newt. When he opens the door to an upstairs bedroom, he sees Alby and Newt bent over a bruised boy who is writhing in pain, with ropelike green veins pulsing under his skin. Alby pushes Thomas out of the room and threatens him. Thomas leaves with Chuck, who says they should get food from a boy called Frypan.
Chuck and Thomas eat ham sandwiches beneath a tree, and Thomas asks about the four openings, one in each of the massive stone walls of the courtyard. Chuck explains that they are doors that close at night, which surprises Thomas, because they seem too enormous to move. Chuck tells Thomas that the courtyard is set in a giant maze and warns Thomas not to enter. While Chuck and Thomas watch, four boys run in through the doors and enter a concrete building in the Glade. Shortly afterward, the giant stone walls slide into a locked position, sealing the Glade off from the Maze. Chuck tells Thomas that the boys are called Maze Runners.
Chuck plays a practical joke on Gally, tapping on the bathroom window and screaming to scare him. After pranking Gally, Chuck and Thomas run away, but Gally chases after them. He again tells Thomas that he knows Thomas is trouble because of what he saw during his Changing. While Chuck and Thomas are in their sleeping bags in the garden that night, Thomas is struck by the feeling that he’s been to the Glade before, and that it’s not as bad as it seems. He struggles to remember anything specific about his life before the Glade. Before he falls asleep, he tells Chuck he wants to become a Maze Runner.
Chapters 6–11: The Girl
Newt wakes Thomas up before dawn and leads him to one of the walls, where Thomas sees small, pulsing red lights. Newt pulls some ivy away to reveal a window, through which Thomas sees that the red lights are coming from a creature that is a “horrifying mix of animal and machine.” The creature, which has long metal arms that end in saws and other terrible implements, lurches at the window as if it means to attack. Newt explains to Thomas that this is a “Griever,” and that Grievers come out at night and patrol the Maze, stinging anyone unlucky enough to be caught there. He also tells Thomas the Gladers are trying to solve the Maze and find a way out. Later, at breakfast, an unfriendly Alby arrives to take Thomas on his tour.
Alby, who has been in the Glade the longest, shows Thomas the four areas of the Glade: the Gardens, where they grow food; the Blood House, where they raise and slaughter animals; the Homestead, where they live; and the Deadheads forest, which contains their graveyard. Throughout the tour, Thomas experiences moments of recognition and familiarity. Alby takes him to the Deadheads and shows him the South Door. Alby tells Thomas that the walls inside the Maze shift every night, which is why the Gladers haven’t been able to identify a way out (though many boys have died trying). The concrete room where the Runners met the night before is where they work on the Maps. Alby says that the beetle blades are how the Creators watch the boys but doesn’t explain who or what the Creators are. He warns Thomas that only the Maze Runners are allowed to enter the Maze; the penalty for anyone else who enters is death.
The tour is interrupted by a loud alarm. Alby is confused and they leave the woods. Newt joins them and explains that the alarm means another Newbie is being sent up in the Box. It is the first time two kids have arrived in the same month.
When the Box finally reaches the surface, there appears to be a dead girl inside. Alby and Newt bring her up and confront Thomas, asking if he knows her, but Thomas denies it. The girl’s arrival is a strange and unexpected break in pattern; before this point, one boy has arrived every month on the same day, and supplies have come up once a week. Suddenly, the girl sits up and opens her eyes. She mumbles, then says clearly, “Everything is going to change.” Then she falls down, her fist pointing to the sky. She is holding a piece of paper that reads: “She’s the last one. Ever.”
Alby has the girl checked out by Med-jacks, boys who act as doctors, who determine she is in a coma. The Med-jacks take the girl to the Homestead. At this point, Thomas thinks she might be familiar and knows his fate is somehow tied to the girl’s arrival. Alby calls a Gathering, which is a meeting of the Keepers, the leaders of each profession or group. Chuck and Thomas go to the kitchen for sandwiches. Thomas theorizes the boys may be criminals, sentenced to the Glade for crimes they don’t remember. After lunch, Thomas goes for a walk alone. Near the forest, he sees another beetle blade and notices the word WICKED on its back. He follows it into the Deadheads.
Thomas goes deep into the woods and discovers the graveyard with makeshift markers. One marker is positioned next to a plastic-covered grave, through which Thomas sees half of a rotting body. He draws closer, remembering that Chuck told him about a boy, George, who tried to descend into the Box elevator shaft on a rope of ivy and was cut in half by a sharp blade. Next to the grave is a sign reading: “You can’t escape through the Box Hole.” Just then, a Glader breaks through the woods and attacks Thomas, biting him on the shoulder. The two struggle, and when Thomas throws off his attacker, he realizes it is Ben, the boy from the Homestead who was stung by a Griever.
Ben’s ropy veins show through his pale skin, and his eyes are bloodshot. He’s carrying a knife. Alby appears, threatening Ben with a bow and arrow. Ben tells Alby that he should kill Thomas, saying “I saw him,” and “he’s bad. We have to kill him!” Ben keeps repeating that Thomas is bad and has come to take them out of the Glade. When he leaps forward to stab Thomas, Alby shoots an arrow through Ben’s face. On his way out of the forest, Thomas has a vomiting fit thinking of Ben.
That night, Thomas can’t sleep, and in the morning, he has a bad headache and heartburn. Nonetheless, Thomas goes with Newt to the Blood House and spends the morning working with the acne-covered Keeper, Winston, taking care of the animals and then butchering a hog. Thomas vows never to eat pork again. As he enters the Glade again, he sees an Asian kid, one of the Runners, coming through the West Door. The Runner is home early, and he collapses on the lawn.
Chapters 12–16: Minho the Maze Runner
Thomas goes to the Runner, who is conscious and breathing hard. Alby arrives, calling the Runner Minho. Minho sends Alby to get him water and refuses to answer any of Thomas’ questions. When Alby returns with water, Minho tells them that he found a dead Griever in the Maze.
Minho and Alby decide to go into the Maze the next morning to examine the dead Griever. Alby is still suspicious of Thomas. Thomas retreats to the Deadheads to rest, but Chuck arrives to tell him that Ben is alive. At a Gathering of the Keepers that morning, it was decided that Ben would be banished into the Maze—a fate that is worse than death, according to Chuck. That evening at dusk, everyone gathers at the East Gate. Ben is brought from the prison and dragged to the gate. Newt and Alby place a leather collar around Ben’s neck; the collar is attached to a long wooden pole.
As a frantic Ben pleads for his life, the twelve Keepers line up along the pole to push Ben into the Maze. Thomas feels heartsick and guilty because Ben is being killed for attempting to murder him. Ben’s pleas become more desperate as the Maze door begins to close, and the Keepers shove him forward, disconnecting the pole from Ben at the last second and leaving him in the Maze.
Despite the horror of Ben’s banishment, Thomas still feels called to be a Runner. Newt wakes Thomas up early and tells him he’ll be working that day as a “Track-Hoe” at the Gardens, supervised by the Keeper Zart. Thomas tells Newt he wants to be a Runner, and Newt tells him to be patient and keep quiet about it or he’ll make enemies. Newt tells Thomas that Order is the most important thing in the Glade and no one becomes a Runner until they’ve proven themselves. At breakfast Thomas finally meets Frypan, the 16-year-old who serves as the Glade’s cook. Thomas and Chuck ask about the crowd gathering at the West Gate and Newt explains that Alby and Minho are going to see the dead Griever.
Thomas works hard in the Gardens, which he prefers to the Blood House. Zart explains more of the roles within the Glade. As he works, Thomas thinks of the girl and their mysterious connection. Later, Thomas has a snack in the Glade with Chuck and Newt, and he notices that Newt looks worried. Newt tells Thomas and Chuck that the girl is speaking nonsense and isn’t eating, but his real worry is that Minho and Alby haven’t returned from the Maze yet. It’s clear Newt is terrified by the horror he experienced in the Maze as a Runner before he injured his ankle.
After dinner, everyone gathers at the West Door, waiting for Alby and Minho to emerge. Newt and Chuck suspect they are dead, and Newt walks away. Just as the door starts to close, Thomas sees Minho with Alby on his back moving down a long corridor toward the door. Alby slips to the floor and Minho drags him toward the closing door. Thomas desperately wants to help. He sees they won’t make it. With Newt screaming for him to stop, Thomas squeezes into the Maze just as the door locks into place.
Chapters 17–21: Inside the Maze
In the Maze, Minho tells Thomas that they’re all as good as dead. He says that the Griever he and Alby went to see was only pretending to be dead, and it stung Alby with one of its many needles; unless Alby gets Grief Serum within a few hours, he’ll die. Minho says they should split up and keep running, and he sprints off into the Maze, leaving Alby and Thomas alone.
Thomas hears a horrible metallic grinding sound from inside the Maze, and hoping to evade the approaching Griever, he decides to pull Alby and himself up the wall. Wrapping them both in ivy vines, Thomas slowly moves Alby and himself upward, all the while hearing moaning, clanking, and whirring sounds as a Griever approaches. Thomas manages to secure himself and Alby high up on the wall, and they hang there, awaiting the Griever. Thomas sees the bright red light of a beetle blade spying on him, and again notices the word WICKED printed on its back. The beetle scampers off and Thomas looks down the corridor to see the Griever turn the corner and head toward them.
The Griever has the grotesque appearance of a giant slug, but periodically metal spikes push through the skin and propel it forward. It also has random metal arms capped with destructive tools, and red lights that show it the way forward. The Griever moves slowly toward Thomas and Alby, then stops directly below them. Its lights shut off, and for a few minutes, Thomas is in complete darkness. Then the Griever wakes up and starts climbing the wall.
Thomas swings on the ivy along the wall, then drops toward the Maze floor. He lands on the Griever, fighting its many metal arms, then jumps down and races through the Maze. When he turns the corner, he sees three more Grievers coming his way.
Thomas jumps aside, momentarily eluding the first Griever, then takes off running with all four following him. After a few corridors, Minho pulls Thomas aside and says he has a plan. Minho and Thomas run on, leading the Grievers to the Cliff, a wide-open space at the edge of the Maze. At first, Thomas thinks it’s a way out, then realizes that it’s just an abyss. Thomas and Minho wait for the Grievers to approach, then quickly jump to the side. Three of the four Grievers are unable to stop themselves and tumble over the Cliff. The fourth holds on to the edge until Minho and Thomas kick its metallic legs out from under it, sending it into the abyss, where its sounds are swallowed immediately by darkness. Thomas breaks down in tears.
Chapters 22–31: Looking for Answers
Minho and Thomas walk back to the West Gate, where they’re met by Newt and a group of Gladers who are amazed to see that they’re still alive. Alby is taken down from the wall and given Grief Serum, an antidote sent weekly by the Creators. The Gladers hope he will live through the Changing. Thomas and Minho go to the infirmary, and later, Chuck wakes Thomas to tell him that that the Serum worked on Alby, and that he’s just starting the Changing. Thomas hears Alby scream.
Released from the infirmary, Thomas spends the day in the Deadheads, thinking about Alby and feeling depressed about his new life. Chuck brings Thomas dinner and tells him that everyone is talking about his heroics in the Maze. Newt arrives and explains that when someone endures a Changing, some of his memories are restored. Afterward, the boy usually becomes unlikeable and difficult, like Gally (and on very rare occasions psychotic, like Ben). Newt is worried about how the serum will alter Alby. Newt tells Thomas that in the morning there will be a Gathering to discuss Thomas’s future.
At the Gathering, all the Keepers (minus Alby, who is undergoing the Changing), debate what should happen to Thomas. Some think he should be punished for breaking the Glade’s most important rule: never enter the Maze. Others think he should be rewarded for saving Alby’s life. Gally suggests Thomas is an untrustworthy spy who was assisted inside the Maze and says that he should be imprisoned for a month. Minho goes last and suggests Thomas should replace him as Keeper of the Runners.
Gally is infuriated by Minho’s suggestion, but Newt tells Minho to make his case. Minho says that Thomas acted heroically in the Maze, saving Alby’s life and destroying the Grievers. Gally and Minho fight, and when Newt pulls Minho off Gally, Gally leaves, threatening to put a stop to whatever Thomas is up to and kill him if necessary.
The Gathering continues after Gally’s departure, and Newt recommends that Thomas be put in the Slammer (the Glade’s jail) for one day, and that afterward he becomes a Runner, but not a Keeper. Everyone but Winston agrees. When the meeting ends, a frightened-looking Chuck appears at the door and says Alby is asking for Thomas.
Alby asks to speak to Thomas alone, and tells him that during the Changing, he learned who Thomas and the girl are, and that it isn’t good. He also says that he knows about “the Flare,” which Thomas doesn’t understand. Just as Alby is about to explain who Thomas really is, Alby begins to strangle himself. Thomas calls Newt and they subdue Alby and pry his hands off his own neck. Alby says that a force outside of him was controlling his hands, then gives Newt two instructions: “Be careful with the girl,” and “protect the Maps.”
Newt takes Thomas to see the girl. Thomas hears a voice in his head saying “Teresa,” and realizes that this is the girl’s name, and that she’s communicating with him telepathically. She tells him that they, Teresa and Thomas, “did this to them, to us,” and that they were both sent to pass “the Trials” and bring this story to an end. She repeats, “Everything is going to change.”
On the way to breakfast the next day, Chuck tells Thomas that Gally has gone missing. Newt comes to take Thomas for his one day in the Slammer.
Chuck brings Thomas lunch at the Slammer. They talk about missing a home they don’t remember, and they wonder what happened back in the world. Thomas promises to get Chuck home.
Alby lets Thomas out of jail. Alby won’t tell Thomas any more about his identity, except to say that Thomas is helping the Creators. But Alby is more shaken by the state of the world he saw, saying it was worse than a night with the Grievers. Minho joins Thomas for dinner, then he retreats to his corner of the forest.
Chapters 32–39: The Beginning of the Ending
Minho begins training Thomas to be a Runner. First, he gets Thomas shoes and equipment, including two knives from a hidden weapons room. He shows Thomas the Map room and explains that the Maze is laid out in eight sections. Each night the walls move, changing the configuration of the Maze, repeating the pattern about once a month. Although the Runners map their sections every day, no one has ever found an exit from the Maze. Minho admits that they don’t even really know what they’re looking for—they only know they can never give up.
Minho takes Thomas into the Maze, and they run through Section Eight and into Section One. Minho takes notes on the changes in Section One. Finally, they hit a dead end and turn back, run the route, and draw the day’s Map, which they place in a stack of other Maps of Section One. Thomas is too exhausted to speak to Chuck and feels hopeless about their chances of ever escaping the Maze. Before falling asleep, Thomas hears Teresa’s voice in his head, saying “I just triggered the Ending.”
Thomas awakens to find that the sun has disappeared. The sky looks more like a ceiling, and everything is bathed in gray light. Thomas realizes the sun and sky were artificial. He and Minho run into the Maze, and when they’re about to enter Section One, they see a Griever. As they move through the Maze, the Griever is just ahead of them. They watch the Griever throw itself off the Cliff.
Minho thinks the Grievers leave the Maze by going over the Cliff. He and Thomas throw rocks into the space until they discover a small area where the stones don’t fall but disappear, like a black hole. They realize this is where the Grievers go during the day, and they name the passage the Griever Hole. They return to the Glade, where Thomas makes his first map. They tell Alby and Newt about their discovery and find out that Alby is upset because no food or supplies came up in the Box that morning. Chuck arrives to tell them the girl has woken up. Thomas hears Teresa’s voice in his head, telling him that her memory is fading and saying, “The Maze is a code.”
Teresa finds Thomas in his hiding place in the forest. They recognize each other and know they were friends at one point, but neither understands what’s going on. While Teresa still had some of her memory left, she wrote the phrase “WICKED is good” on her arm. Back in the Glade, Alby and Newt tell Teresa and Thomas that the doors to the Maze didn’t close.
The boys take Teresa to the Slammer, blaming her for triggering the Ending. Everyone prepares for a night in the Homestead, trying to barricade the openings to the Maze and gathering weapons and supplies. Thomas visits Teresa at the Slammer, then goes inside the Homestead, and Newt latches the door.
The Gladers wait in the Homestead. In an upstairs room, Alby tells Newt, Thomas, and Minho that he can no longer lead. Like Ben and Gally, what he remembers of the world before the Maze is so terrible that he believes they shouldn’t go back. With encouragement, Alby decides to dedicate himself to reading the Maps, and he leaves for the Map room. The Grievers slowly approach, and the boys hear one ripping up boards as it climbs the wall toward their window. Suddenly, Gally comes through the door to the room.
Gally tells the group that the Grievers will kill one Glader each night until it’s over. He fights with Thomas and knocks Newt unconscious with a board from the window. A Griever gets halfway through the window and reaches for Newt, but Gally distracts it and then jumps onto its body. The Griever takes Gally through the West Door, the other Grievers following behind, and Thomas sees Minho follow them all into the Maze.
Chapters 40–48: The Code and the Changing
Later, Minho meets Newt and Thomas at the West Door, where he tells them that the Grievers jumped through the Griever Hole. The boys see that the Map room is on fire and frantically run to save it, but Newt says that all the Maps have been burned. Thomas visits Teresa in the Slammer, where she has been thinking about the Maze being a code. She and Thomas realize that the Maze’s various configurations might make letters and numbers, but now that the Maps have been burned, they have nothing with which to figure out the code.
In the Map room, Newt treats Alby for his head wound, and Thomas convinces Newt and Minho to let Teresa out of the Slammer. Minho tells them that he moved the real Maps to the weapons room in the Homestead, and that the Maps that burned were fakes. The group goes to see the Maps.
Newt, Minho, Thomas, and Teresa work on the Maps. They transfer them to wax paper, then stack them on top of one another in sets; each set consists of the eight maps drawn per day. Looking at the layers together, they clearly see a letter F.
Minho convinces Thomas that they need to get the Runners and go into the Maze for a multi-day expedition. Newt and Teresa stay behind to work on the Maze code. Minho, Thomas, and the other Runners head to the Maze. Chuck meets them at the Door and says goodbye.
Thomas and Minho run to Section Eight, realizing the walls are no longer moving inside the Maze. Thomas hears Teresa’s voice in his head, and she tells him telepathically that she and Newt have already made several words from the Maps. Thomas concentrates and is able to talk telepathically to her. They still don’t understand their connection, but they know that they were close in their lives before the Glade. When they both get headaches, Teresa cuts off communication. Minho and Thomas find a sign on the wall that reads, “WORLD IN CATASTROPHE—KILLZONE EXPERIMENT DEPARTMENT,” which Minho barely notices. At night, the Grievers roll right past them in the Maze. Feeling discouraged, Thomas and Minho return to the Glade.
At the West Door, Minho and Thomas tell Newt that they didn’t find anything. Newt tells them the Grievers took another Glader during the night. They return to the Maps, where volunteers have been tracing Maps all night under Teresa and Newt’s instruction. They’ve discovered that the Maze spells out six repeating words: FLOAT, CATCH, BLEED, DEATH, STIFF, and PUSH. Thomas decides to get stung by a Griever and go through the Changing so that he can regain his memories and hopefully understand the code.
That night when the Grievers come and take a boy named Dave from the Homestead, Thomas runs into the Glade after them. He attracts the attention of three Grievers, provoking them into stinging him. He escapes from them after being stung dozens of times. Someone administers the Grief Serum and Thomas slips into unconsciousness.
Thomas begins the experience of the Changing, drifting into a mist, overcome by a flood of memories. Everything else is pain.
Chuck’s voice brings Thomas back to consciousness in the Homestead. Thomas realizes that in order to escape, they will have to do something terrifying. He also knows that at some point, they’ll have to type the code in somewhere. He calls for a Gathering and announces that there is a way out. He says that the Creators have been watching them, weeding out the weakest boys, and testing their abilities and resiliency.
Chapters 49–55: The Way Out
At the Gathering, Thomas tells the Keepers what he learned during the Changing. He saw that they’d been kidnapped by the Creators as orphans and raised in special schools to prepare them. The Creators named them after famous scientists. Then, the Creators put them in the Maze, a test without a solution, to see who would survive and continue trying to solve it against all odds. Thomas understands the code and knows the way out because he was one of the inventors of the Maze.
Thomas tells the Keepers that he and Teresa were manipulated into designing the Maze because they share the gift of telepathy. He convinces the others that he and Teresa are now in as much danger as them, but he knows the way out. Thomas tells them in order to escape, they have to jump through the Griever Hole.
Alby makes it clear that he doesn’t want to return to the outside world and confesses to burning down the Map room. He says that his memories showed him that outside of the Maze, a deadly disease called the Flare had infected almost everyone, and much of the world had been destroyed. Thomas insists that it’s better to go down fighting than to give up, and the Keepers argue. Thomas suggests that they try to make their escape at night, after the Grievers take their nightly victim, because there’s a better chance that the Grievers won’t attack. Newt says that they should go that night in order to minimize the nightly casualties. Thomas volunteers to be the sacrificial victim.
Newt throws Thomas out of the Gathering, making it clear that no one will sacrifice himself. He promises to try to convince the Keepers of the plan. In his spot in the woods, Thomas talks telepathically with Teresa. She joins him and he tells her the plan. She agrees, and they sit together peacefully holding hands.
All the Keepers agree to the plan and set about convincing the Gladers. In the end, most decide to jump into the Griever Hole, including Alby. They set about preparing and making weapons. The plan is to go at night, when hopefully the Grievers will be in the Maze and not in the Hole. Thomas and Teresa strategize about getting out, and they realize that WICKED is an acronym for the phrase that Thomas had noticed on the sign in the Maze: World in Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department.
The forty-one Gladers who have decided to leave meet at the West Gate. Alby is acting strangely. They get their weapons, and Newt leads them into the Maze with a battle cry.
After an hour of running, the Gladers, led by Thomas, Teresa, and Minho, reach the corridor to the Cliff, but when they look around the corner, Minho sees about a dozen Grievers guarding the entrance to the Griever Hole. Then, more Grievers appear in the other three corridors, blocking the Gladers’ exit. Everyone is terrified, but Alby runs forward and leaps onto a Griever at the Cliff. Other Grievers maul Alby and appear to eat him. Minho urges Thomas and Teresa not to waste Alby’s sacrifice and to keep going. Thomas is still hopeful that the Grievers are programmed to kill only one Glader per night, but it becomes clear that the Grievers will attack from all sides. Minho directs the others to protect Thomas and Teresa and tells Thomas that the rest of the group will fight until Thomas and Teresa enter the code and alert the group that it’s time to follow them into the Griever Hole.
Chapters 56–62, and Epilogue: Escape
Minho and Newt, with the other Gladers close behind, attack the Grievers at the Cliff and try to make a space for Thomas and Teresa to get through. Because of his strong affection for Chuck, Thomas decides to take him along, and he, Chuck, and Theresa race forward. The Gladers run alongside them, protecting Thomas, Teresa, and Chuck while getting picked off by Grievers. At the edge of the Cliff, Teresa jumps first and disappears into the Hole, and Thomas helps Chuck into it before catapulting himself into it with his spear.
Thomas, Teresa, and Chuck find themselves in a cold, oily tunnel. Teresa uses her flashlight to point out a computer against a wall. She runs to it and begins typing in the code words. Meanwhile, a Griever appears down the Hole and Thomas fights it with his spear, cutting off two of its arms, then jumping on it and stabbing it. The Griever oozes yellow blood and dies. Teresa, meanwhile, has typed in five words but the computer won’t accept the sixth word, PUSH. As Thomas and Chuck try to figure it out, two more Grievers arrive through the Hole. Chuck says they should push the red button under the computer, and Thomas sees the words “KILL THE MAZE” written on it. As a Griever begins to pull him backward, he shouts for Teresa to push the button. When she does, everything goes silent.
The Grievers shut down, and a door opens. Thomas and Teresa celebrate with Chuck, who saved them by spotting the button. One by one, Gladers drop down through the Griever Hole—first Minho, then Newt, Frypan, Winston, and others, until there are 21 in all. The other half of the Gladers on the mission were killed by Grievers. The Gladers walk toward the open door at the end of the long tunnel. It ends in an oily tube and they all slide downward, twisting and turning, until finally landing in an enormous room filled with wires, machinery, and computers. Behind a glass wall they see 20 thin, ghostly creatures sitting behind desks: the Creators.
The Creators, dressed in lab coats, watch the Gladers. A door opens and an ordinary woman enters with a boy whose face is hidden in a hoodie. Thomas recognizes the woman but can’t remember who she is. The woman congratulates them on surviving and declares the test a success. The boy in the hoodie reveals himself to be Gally. Gally starts to say that he is being controlled and can’t avoid what he’s about to do, then begins choking himself like Alby did during the Changing. Gally releases himself, pulls out a dagger, and hurls it at Thomas, but Chuck steps in front of him, taking the knife. As Chuck bleeds to death in Thomas’s arms, Thomas is filled with rage and grief. He attacks Gally, punching him until Newt and Minho pull him away. Then he cradles Chuck, weeping.
Thomas pulls himself together, but Chuck’s death proves there will be no happy ending. Suddenly, screams erupt in the lab and a group of armed people rush in. One shoots the woman, and other shots ring out behind the glass wall. The rescuers hurry the Gladers outside onto a bus. As Thomas waits to board, a crazed, sour-smelling woman covered in sores grabs him and throws him to the ground. As rescuers drag her away, she shouts that Thomas will save them from the Flare. As the bus is drives away, the crazy woman rushes at it and the driver runs her over.
The bus drives for hours, passing destroyed buildings and more people covered in sores. Thomas asks one of their guards what happened, and she tells him and Teresa that the devastation occurred when extreme sun flares burned the earth and killed millions of people. That was followed the Flare, a disease that spread uncontrollably and decimated the population. A rumor says that a cure has been found in the Andes, thousands of miles south. The Gladers are a group of orphans chosen by WICKED, who tested them in the Maze to find out if they were strong and tenacious enough to make the journey to the Andes and bring back the cure. She explains that she and her fellow rescuers believe that experimenting on children is immoral, so they fight against WICKED however they can.
The bus arrives at a building and the surviving Gladers are taken to a brightly decorated dormitory room and given pizza. They feel safe and happy for the first time.
As the survivors drift off to sleep, Thomas has a brief telepathic conversation with Teresa, who is in a separate room, and then thinks sadly about Chuck.
A memo from Ava Paige, the chancellor of WICKED and the woman supposedly killed in the lab, reports that the trials were a success. She reveals that the rescue was a set-up by WICKED. She says the goal of WICKED is to preserve and serve humanity at any cost. She also reports that the Gladers were Group A, and that Group B also did well in their trial. Stage 2 of the experiment will begin the next day; for that stage, a leader must be chosen among the group.