The voice roared. Light surrounded them, a light so bright it was almost opaque. They could see the Nayzuns scuttling around beyond the circle that surrounded them.
Boy, you come here in the girl's stead?
Turtle and Ehioze stood stock-still. The voice was coming from the light.
"Agata is captured. She's back in Italy. She couldn't come," said Turtle.
Your kind has angered me for too long. This is a final insult.
"Please, I didn't do anything. There are others who are hurting us. Who are you?"
Mytro. King of Roads. The Endless One. I connected the stars before your kind crawled out of the swamps.
"I'm sorry if you're offended, but Agata and her parents are kidnapped. The Breach—"
The Breach, as they call it, is the least of their concerns. You brought an evil artifact here. Why did you bring the door?
"I wanted to keep it safe. The men were using it to break into Agata's home, and I wanted to bring it to Agata, to help her escape." You were foolish for bringing it here. And you have a Key from that
"Please, we're trying to help our friends," said Turtle. Ehioze
reached out at the light and tried to touch it. His hand went through and he pulled it back.
"Very warm," he said.
This is not your fight, boy, and you should not be here. I am finished with you and your mistakes. I should not have been so kind to you humans. The light began to glow brighter, get redder. Turtle and Ehioze
huddled close as it got hotter and hotter. Turtle began to sweat. Turtle remembered what the Nayzun said: when angered, the
Mytro could fill the tunnels with fire at a whim.
The cinders at their feet began to glow bright red then melt
into a black pool that stuck to their shoes like tar. It was closing in, whatever this strange power was.
A moment later, through the flames, something was pushing the portable door into the crossroads. It was another Nayzun. 411. Turtle was sure of it.
Inside, children, said 411, opening the door. The wood was beginning to burn.
The tape they used to secure the door had already burned off, and Ehioze lifted the padlock out of the hasp, freeing the door. Turtle took hold of the handle and pulled. A thin vein of melting plastic tape scalded Turtle's hand, leaving a welt shaped like a question mark. A moment later, they were inside the cool station. The Nayzun followed them in, and the door slammed shut behind them.
Then, suddenly, the door was gone.
"What happened?" asked Ehioze.
"I think the Mytro almost killed us," said Turtle.
I'm afraid, children, that you are correct, said 411.
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...