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They were silent as they ran. Minho had taught Thomas that speaking only wasted energy, so heconcentrated on his pace and his breaths. Regular. Even. In, out. In, out. Deeper and deeper into the Mazethey went, with only their thoughts and the sounds of their feet thumping against the hard stone floor.In the third hour, Teresa surprised him, speaking in his mind from back in the Glade.We’re making progress—found a couple more words already. But none of it makes sense yet.Thomas’s first instinct was to ignore her, to deny once again that someone had the ability to enter hismind, invade his privacy. But he wantedto talk to her.Can you hear me?he asked, picturing the words in his mind, mentally throwing them out to her in someway he could never have explained. Concentrating, he said it again. Can you hear me?Yes!she replied. Really clearly the second time you said it.Thomas was shocked. So shocked he almost quit running. It had worked!Wonder why we can do this, he called out with his mind. The mental effort of speaking to her wasalready straining—he felt a headache forming like a bulge in his brain.Maybe we were lovers, Teresa said.Thomas tripped and crashed to the ground. Smiling sheepishly at Minho, who’d turned to look withoutslowing, Thomas got back up and caught up to him. What?he finally asked.He sensed a laugh from her, a watery image full of color. This is so bizarre, she said. It’s like you’re astranger, but I know you’re not.Thomas felt a pleasant chill even though he was sweating. Sorry to break it to you, but wearestrangers. I just met you, remember?Don’t be stupid, Tom. I think someone altered our brains, put something in there so we could do thistelepathy thing. Before we came here. Which makes me think we already knew each other.It was something he’d wondered about, and he thought she was probably right. Hoped it, anyway—hewas really starting to like her. Brains altered?he asked. How?I don’t know—some memory I can’t quite grasp. I think we did something big.Thomas thought about how he’d always felt a connection to her, ever since she arrived in the Glade. Hewanted to dig a little more and see what she said. What are you talking about?Wish I knew. I’m just trying to bounce ideas off you to see if it sparks anything in your mind.Thomas thought about what Gally, Ben and Alby had said about him—their suspicions that he wasagainst them somehow, was someone not to trust. He thought about what Teresahad said to him, too, thevery first time—that he and she had somehow done all of this to them.This code has to mean something, she added. And the thing I wrote on my arm—WICKED is good.
Maybe it won’t matter, he answered. Maybe we’ll find an exit. You never know.