Alby takes Thomas to the Box, which is what they call the metal doors in the ground that open up to the elevator that brought Thomas to the Glade. Its doors are now closed, but Alby says that every month a new boy arrives, and supplies arrive this way every week. Alby says they don’t know who sends the boys or the supplies. He also says that the Glade is set up in four sections. Gardens is for growing crops, Blood House is for raising and slaughtering animals, Homestead is for sleeping, and Deadheads is the graveyard. Alby explains that for the next two weeks, Thomas will work in each section under the supervision of a Keeper, the leader of the section, until he figures out which job suits him best.
Here the orderliness of the Glade, with its four-part structure and clearly defined boundaries, contradicts strongly with the looming threat of bloodthirsty monsters like the Grievers lying just beyond the walls. Even the strictest sense of order can give way to chaos and even death at any moment.
Alby brings Thomas to the South Door. Alby says that he’s been living in the Glade for two years. Everyone who had lived in the Glade before him has died. For two years, they’ve been running through the Maze and making maps, but they still haven’t figured out how to escape. Thomas steps closer to the Door to get a better look inside the Maze, but Alby stops him, saying that no one but Runners are allowed inside the Maze. If anyone else goes inside, they’ll be killed by the Grievers or thrown off the Cliff by the Gladers as punishment for breaking the rule. Thomas feels a deep almost instinctual awareness telling him that he is meant to be a Runner.
Thomas’ sense of self continues to strengthen. He’s learning, however, that he may be doomed unless he can figure out a new way to escape the Maze. While routine in the Glade provides a sense of security, the Runners’ unwillingness to try new approaches to solving the Maze may be preventing them from finding an exit and saving their lives.
Thomas sees another beetle blade and asks Alby what they are. Alby says that they think they’re spies for the Creators of the Maze. Before Alby can explain anything else, a loud alarm sounds. Alby seems confused and explains that the alarm means another boy is coming up through the Box. Before Alby runs off to the Homestead, he says two boys have never arrived within the same month.
The Glade’s sense of stability crumbles when the alarm sounds. This change is the first of many changes that will soon follow.