Waking Up In The Box is a compilation of short stories written by James Dashner and published on Twitter during the summer of 2014. Composed of seven short stories, it tells the Gladers' reaction when they woke up in the Box. Thomas, Newt, Chuck, Alby, Ben, Minho, and Teresa are the Gladers James Dashner wrote about.
The stories seem to be written for the movie universe, as they do not really mesh with book canon. Newt stated in The Scorch Trials that he, Alby, Minho, and many others all woke up together outside the Box, their memories wiped, but these stories show them coming up separately, already awake.
First installment : Thomas
After Thomas banged on the wall of the lift with both fists, he paused a moment, trying to catch his breath. He felt something strange. A flutter in his chest, just as a vision flashed in his mind, vanishing almost immediately. But it left an afterglow, like a busted light bulb. A girl. He'd seen a girl. Saying goodbye, tears in her eyes. He felt like he should know her, but he didn’t. She was a stranger. The image and the lingering half-memory faded completely, and he knew that he’d forget completely by day’s end. And that made him sad. Frustration boiling once again inside of him, he slammed his fists against the wall once more. The box began rising, a jolt and a screech, and there was nothing Thomas could do to stop it.
Second installment : Newt
Newt put his hands against the cool metal of the wall to steady himself as the lift jolted to life. His name. Newt. Floated in his thoughts. But it didn't feel right. It felt wrong. Like someone had broken into his mind and spray-painted it there, a scribble of graffiti. Newt wasn't his real name. Someone had stolen his real name from him. Like everything else. Everything. What made him . . . him. Tears leaked from his eyes as he squeezed them shut, trying to picture his mom or his dad or his sister. His best friend. His dog. Empty faces stared back, their eyes and noses and mouths scribbled from existence. Newt screamed, then stared upward. Waiting.
Third installment : Chuck
Darkness had swallowed Chuck’s world, to the point that he couldn't remember what it had been like to be in the light. Everything was noisy and cold and smelly. He sat within some kind of box, clanking as it steadily moved upward. Up and up and up. His mind was a fuzzy mess, like sugar dissolving in cheap lemonade. He threw all his efforts into focusing on one thing. Only one. His mom. As if she was on the other side of a thickening wall, he could barely hold onto her memory. Her sweet face, her soft touch. Her kind words. Then she was gone. As if torn from his mind with a metal hook, ripped away, stolen. He started to forget the forgetting. Sadness filled him.
Fourth installment : Alby
Alby moved to the center of the dark metal box and sat down. He pulled his legs under him and forced himself to breathe slowly. Calmly. He didn't understand what was going on. But he could feel it. He could feel the memories evaporating from his mind. He concentrated. Focused. Threw all of his mental strength into grasping one last glimpse of his life. He saw devastation. Suffering. Death. Pain. Disease. But in the midst of it all, he saw a man and a woman, in love. He saw trees and sunshine. He saw a beautiful boy. And he tried to smile. Then it was gone. All gone. The box lurched to a halt. There was an awful grating sound. Light shone down from above, blinding him.
Fifth installment : Ben
Ben panicked when the big metal box started moving toward the sky. Terrified, he beat at the walls with his fists and screamed. He felt something, like a living thing wanting to escape his body. As if the vanishing memories grew form and wanted to bust out. Yelling until his throat grew ragged and sore, he ran around the darkness, tripping and falling and scrambling. Slamming into walls. His mind began to buckle, too overloaded to continue. He collapsed to the floor, sucking in each and every breath like it could be his last. He curled into a ball and sobbed. The tears flowed and his chest shook, and he felt better. Everything had been taken away from him. Why?
Sixth installment : Minho
Minho didn't panic as the memories drained from his consciousness. He didn't yell or scream when the world clanked and moved. Slowly, keeping his hands on the wall to steady himself, he stood up, then slowly walked around the perimeter of the ascending box. He found nothing but crates and boxes. His mind growing emptier and darker, he still refused to panic. He moved the tallest crate to the center. Carefully keeping his balance, he climbed atop the crate and reached for the ceiling. More cold, hard metal. But a crease ran down its middle. He tried, straining every muscle, to pull the two sides apart. Nothing. He jumped down and kept searching for a way out. Searching.
Seventh installment : Teresa
Teresa’s eyes shot open at the sound of a loud clank, jolting her system out of a deep sleep. She couldn't see a thing, and felt an icy fear. She stumbled to her feet, her head spinning, her mind full of a hazy, jumbled, disappearing swirl of confusing memories. Somewhere in the darkness of her thoughts, she could see a boy, someone familiar but lost, looking at her with sad eyes. What was his name? she asked herself, but it eluded her. She knew him, and yet she didn’t. She ached inside, wanting to know. The floor bounced, something cranked, and the world moved. Upward, swaying, noisy. Everything was about to change.