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Chapter 16: Theatergoers

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They piled into Mr. Kincaid's Jeep. It was immaculate inside, but there were two heavy marble statues on the backseat and something that looked like a wooden box wrapped in bubble wrap. Turtle sat in back next to the statues while Agata sat in front.

"Watch out for that junk back there," said Mr. Kincaid. "I buy and sell urban antiques. Those are two fireplace carvings from an old house in Greenwich Village. Lions. You don't see those anymore."

Turtle saw a snarling snout peeking out from under the plastic. The lion also looked like it was missing an ear.

"But you research the Mytro?" asked Turtle.

"I do. Agata's father and I were part of a group of researchers. You haven't heard much about that, right, Agata?" asked Mr. Kincaid.

"Nothing at all. He never talked about his work."

"There's not much to tell, but we're quite close to making some very important discoveries—or, more precisely, your father was very close when all of this happened."

He started the Jeep and drove down Turtle's street toward the subway station. For a moment, Turtle was sure they would stop by the station Turtle used to get to school, but then he remembered the Mytro.

They kept driving, turning left onto a small side street less than a mile from Turtle's house. It was an alley behind a movie theatre that he visited nearly every time a new film came out. He loved sitting

alone in the dark, listening to the subway rumble underneath. Now, however, they were heading toward the back.

"As far as I can tell, a group of men were working on the same

research that your father and I were working on. They didn't get as far as your father, and they believe he has found something very important to their cause. Whether that's true or not remains to be seen.

"Your uncle Ernesto told me your father had disappeared in the Mytro. That means a few possible things happened: he's lost, which is unlikely, or he's hiding. The only way to find him is to use a set of tools he was researching. He has one copy, I suspect, and there is another one hidden somewhere.

"I believe they've taken your mother somewhere in the Mytro and they were coming for you, to bargain with your family. But if he's well and truly lost, then all their efforts may be hopeless. There's only one way to find out though: to find the things he was looking for and to use them to take control of the Mytro."

"Take control?" asked Turtle. "How?"

"You're going to have to trust me," said Mr. Kincaid. "Agata, your mother and father are inside the Mytro—I don't know where— and we can find them with the right tools. Maps to those tools are in your father's study—I'm sure of it—but we have to find them in order to set your parents free. Do you understand?"

Agata nodded.

He rolled the Jeep farther up the alley and turned on the lights. They were facing a dark gate made of heavy iron slathered in chipped black paint. There was a spot of graffiti in the upper right corner, a spray-painted number 13 in bright blaze orange, something you'd think was a gang symbol.

"My uncle sprayed that same sign on his station," said Agata.

"That's right. It's a signal. You mark stations with a 13. It's a prime number, it's unlucky-looking enough to think maybe kids wrote it, and the 3, sideways, is supposed to look like an M. It's sort of a secret symbol of the Mytratti, the people who study the Mytro."

Mr. Kincaid put the car into park, the engine still running, and got out. He opened the gate, got back in, drove the car through the gate, and then closed it behind him, the hinges screeching loudly

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