The Nayzun showed Turtle how to wind the key, and it came alive in his hand. The ticking sounded like some kind of metal bug trapped in a jar.
Press the button there, on the top.
Turtle pressed a gold button, and the train stopped in the dark, just as they had before when the Nayzun had stopped the train. The whine from the key rose in pitch. He pressed it again. The key began to whirr.
You can turn the button to change the destination of any train you see. The key can also be used to play the song that calls stations anywhere and to make them permanent. When we reach the Breach, you will have to decide what to do.
"What can I do?" asked Ehioze.
"I need you to go back," said Turtle.
"But I want to help you, friend," said Ehioze.
"It's too dangerous," said Turtle.
The train stopped.
"Please Ehioze, please go home. I'll come for you and your
Ehioze opened his arms.
"My friend, I will help you. You shared something magical with
me," he said, hugging Turtle. "I am in your debt." Turtle hugged him back. The train doors opened.
The doors chimed, and the train rolled away. Ehioze stood next
to Turtle. The Nayzun nodded toward what Turtle imagined to be the biggest station he had ever seen.
It was a huge terminal, seemingly miles long. Lights powered by gas generators rained down on the cold stone floor. Rows and rows of small huts had been built of concrete, and farther on, there was a long, brightly lit row of work tables that stretched on into horizon. This was a huge factory and living quarters, thought Turtle. Farther away, a series of blue tents were waiting for occupants.
This is where you humans would be slaves, said the Nayzun. Like us. "What do we do?" asked Turtle.
When the Mytratti built this station, it was supposed to be something
very special, but their powers were too weak to complete it. You are special, though, Paul Fulton. You have a gift. You were not chosen this morning to find Agata and go on this adventure by coincidence. Finish the Breach. You don't have much time.
Ominous creaks came from the high ceiling of the Breach. A stone fell and smacked a light, popping the bulb and casting some of the huts into darkness.
"What do I do?"
Imagine the song and sing.
Turtle stood, quietly.
Because there is no one else. Sing.
What would the song sound like, Turtle thought. What was a
song of completeness? He imagined completeness. He imagined holding Agata's hand, the feeling of waking up in a warm home, the feeling of eating dinner with his grandmother. He remembered the feeling of Agata's hug. He remembered sorrow, the death of his parents, the loneliness and the completion of his little family. He remembered love. He sang, and Ehioze joined him.
The rails listened. The song was wordless, Turtle rolling into falsetto, trilling notes he could have never reached in choir class. It was as if he were in a trance, the voice coming through him, a song in him, not of him.
"Well, well, well," said Mr. Goode, coming out of a concrete bunker not far from the rails. "Looks like the boy is beating us at our own game."
Keep singing, the Nayzun said.
"Zip these two up," said Mr. Goode, approaching the two boys. "Who was your tall friend?"
Turtle turned, still singing, but the Nayzun was gone.
He took a breath to sing the last note of the song.
The Breach creaked again. In the far distance, something cracked.
More rocks fell. The edges of the Breach fell into darkness.
"What are you doing?" asked Mr. Goode. Mr. Martin and Mr.
Adams came up to flank them, guns drawn. "Stop that!"
Keep going. I am here. I am always with you, said 411 from somewhere
out of sight.
Turtle sang, Ehioze joining him when he could.
The far end of the Breach crashed down, the workbenches
shattering under a torrent of broken rock. Winks of light came through the back wall of the Breach. Something blue shone out from behind it.
In a final, breathless note, Turtle and Ehioze finished the song. Somewhere nearby, the Nayzun screamed in their heads like a rasp of shredding metal. The back wall of the Breach fell with a crash. What it revealed was space. Behind the wall was the universe entire.
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...