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Roy

“Eleven down,” says Roy soberly. “Ten to go.”

Michael laughs a little nervous laugh. “You can’t believe we’ll cave that easily! We can keep pumping money into this thing forever. It’s more than worth the cost.”

“There are already cracks in the barrier, Michael.” Roy puts his hand on the sepia surface, trembling with strain. “It’s impatient out there. It wants in, and it’s older than we are young.”

Michael chews his lip. “Just another twenty. That’s all we need.”

The wall around their paradise is translucent. The Commons roars and batters against it, vast and mighty and hungrier every year.

Florida

Level thirty-eight and their first blank wall. Roy runs a pen over the seamless surface until he finds the edges of three wheels, then presses his hands against them and turns. At last, they interlock: one large circle, with two smaller ones atop it.

“Surprised?” says Roy.

Michael finds that he isn’t. “I always knew it was… more than a logo.”

Roy grins. “Hidden Mickeys have power–more than the Cast Members know. There’s a reason we control and track their locations.”

“What power?”

“Passage,” says Roy, “among others,” and when he pushes the wall it cracks into a door.

Michael

“This is it,” says Roy quietly. “As deep as even Walt ever explored.”

The tunnel gusts and drips around them; the green fluorescents of the upper levels have surrendered to orange sodium floods. There’s no dust on the floor at all.

“What do you mean?” Michael shivers, and grips his coil of rope.

Roy’s looking at him strangely. “You don’t know?”

Michael frowns. “I know about the cryogenic malarkey, if that’s–”

“Walt didn’t dig these tunnels, he discovered them,” says Roy. “Everything above us is just a cover. Why else would he have built the Magic Kingdom in a swamp?”

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