It was rush hour in the Paris subway system. The narrow underground corridors leading from one train platform to another were packed with people. People walking briskly, hurrying to catch whichever train would carry them to wherever they wanted to go. A person suddenly stopping in his tracks would have risked being overwhelmed and flattened by the human tidal wave coming right behind. Moving along at a good pace, I caught out of the corner of my eye a figure sitting hunched over on the concrete floor next to the wall, barely out of the path of the blur of feet. It was a young girl, about 15 or 16 years old, maybe 17, maybe only 14.
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