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[ 🧸🪐 ]chapter oneNOTE! if you have not read limerence, i would suggest you do so otherwise this will make no sense to you

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[ 🧸🪐 ]
chapter one
NOTE! if you have not read limerence, i would suggest you do so otherwise this will make no sense to you.

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WHEN CLARA AWOKE, she was not in the same comfortable bed she had been given. No, now she was lying on the cold, hard ground, staring up at a white ceiling when she finally gained consciousness. Sitting up in a hazed rush, she tried to take in her surroundings. Where the hell was she? For a minute she was panicked, unaware of what had happened, but then the memories of the previous night flooded to her mind.

Oh God, Clara thought, as she looked around the room. The room she sitting in was blank, the walls painted an dissatisfying cream colour, with no furniture in the room except for the table where the woman sat at. She seemed to not notice Clara, and Clara stared at the strange person for a moment.

Why hadn't they killed her yet? If WICKED still had control over the Gladers, then why not just kill them already? It would be so much better, less painful, even, Clara thought. The woman was probably here to interrogate her, and then, if she was lucky, kill her in the most painless way possible. That would be for the best.

And, oh God, what had happened to Teresa? Her mind suddenly wondered to Thomas and the boys — where were they? What had WICKED done to them? Were they even still alive?

Clara sat up with a jolt as that thought passed through her mind, and she hugged her knees to her chest to try comfort herself. She looked over at the woman, and undoubtedly knew there was a barrier separating them. WICKED wasn't stupid, and Clara wasn't exactly a gentle person.

"Hello?" Clara spoke up, trying to stand up and walking towards the woman, trying to keep a distance. "What's happening?"

The woman took no note of her. The solitude was a worse punishment than Clara could've imagined.

☆彡

Clara pressed her back against the cold wall. She had lost track of time, but she known she had been in the tiny room for too long. She wondered how the woman could just sit by as Clara suffered like this, but then again, she worked for WICKED, and WICKED didn't seem to have any issues with children suffering.

The worst thing about this all was that she had no idea what was coming next. Nothing good, she knew that. It was that anxiety of the unknown, and Clara wanted to scream. She didn't even know where her friends were, if they were even still alive. Clara tried not to think about that.

Minutes seemed to drag into hours, but sooner or later, the woman checked her watch, and stood up. Clara's eyes went wide and she sat up straighter.

"Excuse me for not saying anything to you earlier, I can only now tell you everything you need to know as of this moment." Clara furrowed her eyebrows as she listened to what the woman had to say, not interrupting her once.

"Congratulations on making it this far in the Trials. You are a real survivor. You may have figured this out by now, but many of the things that happen to you are solely for the purpose of judging and analyzing your responses. And yet, it's not really an experiment as much as it... well, think of it like making a blueprint. Stimulating the killzone and collecting the resultant patterns. Putting them all together to achieve the greatest breakthrough in the history of science and medicine.

"These situations inflicted upon you are called the Variables, and each one has been meticulously thought out. Except for one, that is, and that was purely by someone else's doing. That mistake happens to be you, Clara. You were never meant to be sent up to the Maze you were in, and instead sent up to another.

"That's why you shall be doing this Trial on your own — to attempt to even the results out. "

"I—" Clara's voice broke as she spoke. "I don't understand."

"My dear girl, this process is far too complicated for you to understand," the woman told her.

"So I'm going back to the Maze?" Clara asked, trying not to cry.

"No, but I suppose it would be best as to tell you why you and your friends have been apart of these Trials." What concerned Clara most was how the woman stifled a laugh. "Sun flares have ravaged many parts of the Earth. Also, a disease unlike any before known to man has been ravaging the earth's people — a disease called the Flare. For the first time, the government's of all nations — the surviving ones, anyway — are working together. They've combined forces to create WICKED — Word in Catastrophe, Killzone Experiment Department — a group meant to fight the new problems of this world.

"You and your friends are a big part of that fight. And you'll have every incentive to work with us, because, unfortunate to say, you have already caught the virus."

No, Clara thought. No, no, no, that couldn't be possible.

"No need to worry — the Flare takes a while to set in and show symptoms. But at the end if these Trials, the cure will be your reward, and you'll never see the... deliberating effects. Not many can afford the cure, you know. You're very lucky, Clara. But, back to the Trials."

She picked up a document that lay on the table, and quickly scanned over it with her eyes, before reading it aloud. "Phase Two. The Scorch Trials. It officially begins —" she checked her watch, "in about 2 hours from now. You'll be lead to a room, where you will have an hour and a half to yourself. You will be able to eat, take a shower, and change into the clothes provided. There will be a backpack for you with supplies, if you choose to take it.


Before that time ends, you will have to step through the Flat Trans that leads to the Scorch. It kind of looks like a shimmering wall of grey. If you choose to not step through this, well, let's just say it would be rather unfortunate for you."

Clara felt numb. This was a dream, and she was going to wake up any moment, she knew it —

"Now, you get to ask one question that I will answer to the best of my capability," the woman smiled, as if she had just given Clara a huge blessing.

"Are my friends safe?" Clara asked automatically, her hands shaking.

"No safer than you are," the woman answered bluntly, just as two men who looked like guards arrived to escourt Clara to the next phase of the Trials.

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