The Mytro door opened behind a wooden box full of sand. A well-used shovel clattered over when they came through, but no one turned to look at a pair of kids clamoring out of nowhere. They were on a bridge lined with tall sandstone statues. Kings and queens stood stolidly overlooking the dark brown river. The slow- moving crowd of people, intent on getting photos of the spires and brickwork of Old Town Prague, were clicking away with cameras and cell phones while hawkers on the bridge sold caricatures and jewelry.
There was a bite of cold in the Prague air. The sun was already going down over the river, and the city lights were winking on. Agata pulled out her cell phone and pulled up a map application. A few seconds later, a virtual pin dropped to their location, and the phone dinged with messages.
"Who is it?" asked Turtle.
"It's the phone company. They send texts when you land in a new country. What they think about me getting from Barcelona to Prague in a second I have no idea. But no messages from my uncle."
She waited, as if to see if any would come. They didn't.
"This is the Charles Bridge," she said. "Brehova is down that way."
Old Town Prague looked like something out of a fairy tale. The brick buildings were wonderfully ornate with small figures adorning many of the facades. Leering gargoyles looked down
over the cobbled streets, and signs advertised kebab, souvenirs, and ghost tours.
They followed the online map a few more twisted blocks until they were on Brehova Street. When they looked up, they spotted a small restaurant, U Vltavy, and a line of white stone buildings, more ornate in style, lined the rest of the street.
"It's there," said Agata. She pointed to a large, yellow and cream brick building offset by bright white decorations.
They stood there for a moment before Agata turned to Turtle. "How many stories does this building have?"
Turtle counted then double-checked. "Four," he said.
"Exactly. Do you remember the numbers on my father's paper?" Turtle produced Mr. Llorente's map.
"So look at these numbers," she said. "They're under 400 and
there's a '–1' here, which means the basement."
"So ...," said Turtle, thinking.
"So they're room numbers."
"The first one's in the basement, right? Let's go there," said
In front of the hotel stood a tall, thin man with blonde hair. He
wore a black shirt and black pants and was holding the door open for people walking up to the hotel.
"How do we get past the doorman?" asked Turtle.
"That's the easy part," she said.
Agata grabbed Turtle's hand, and they crossed the street into
the glow cast by the lights inside the posh hotel. The doorman said something in Czech and then English.
"Can I help you?" he asked.
"My grandmother is here," said Agata.
"Is she a guest of the hotel?" asked the doorman.
"Of course," said Agata.
"Then go to the front desk. They can call her down for you," said
"She said she was in the basement. Is there a basement here?"
YOU ARE READING
Imagine if, right now, clattering underneath your feet was a secret train system that could take you anywhere in minutes. Imagine a trip full of mystery and excitement from New York to Barcelona to the wind-swept coast of Italy to the edge of space...