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Chapter 11: The Voice Of The Rails

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411 disembarked at the Central Park South station and assessed the damage. The men's stray bullets had hit the wooden door, and he would have to send a younger Nayzun to repair it. He brushed his long fingers over the scars, remembering the many times he had repaired damage to the Mytro, damage caused by the hands of careless men.

There were many fools who tried to control the Mytro. Some used it as their private carriage, keeping others out by force. Others hauled slaves and goods through it, defiling the stations with animal droppings and other dirt. The Mytro controlled the Mytro. Any time humans overstepped their bounds, the Mytro would react.

The last time the Mytro shut itself down was when the men in New York tried to sell tickets to ride the Mytro, creating a network of lines that would carry paying customers over the ocean for a few pennies a trip. The Mytro put a stop to that with a fire that engulfed most of the New York stations. The stations took years to rebuild—the Nayzuns never repaired stations then, only the cars and the tunnels—and, as a testament to the humans' foolishness, the Mytro had spared the old ticket booths, which now sat, their glass windows like dead eyes recounting man's folly.

Let them try it again, the Mytro had seemed to say that day. But, then again, the Mytro never spoke. It gave orders only through the rails and the rails spoke, their metal ringing out a chorus of instruction.

411 stood, quietly, in the dark station, listening to the tracks. The flickering gas lamps reduced to wisps of light since no humans were near. The child had left the station here, they told him, and then gone to the surface where she used the humans' own trains to get away. She had crossed the river, that much was certain, the rails told him, their language more picture than word, images swimming up into 411's head like figures out of a mist.

He asked for an image of the men who had fired the gun in the Mytro, and the rails brought up a picture of two men wearing black masks. They had a map so they could go anywhere. They were not as helpless as they seemed.

They are still in New York. They just left for Brooklyn, but they are waiting for something. They are waiting outside the station. They fear the station. They fear the Mytro. There are others though. They will be more important. You must watch the men, but when I see the others, they will become your priority. 411 called another train, and a moment later it came, the doors hissing open to admit him. It would be one of the few times he had ever sat inside the trains, and he relished the moment of freedom before the doors closed and whisked him away through the darkness.

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