In a sweet, silly gesture of some old-fashioned chivalry, Tyler stepped aside to let me go first. I pretended not to notice that he stumbled and had to grab at the wall to keep from falling on his gentlemanly ass.
As I stepped on the second stair and stubbed my toes, I asked the darkness why the staircase seemed so wrong. Behind me, Tyler answered that they'd had to rebuild it themselves.
"It simple wasn't here. We had a second storey, but no way to reach it. Shana said it was a bit like heaven, knowing it was up there but unable to get there. She can be quite funny like that."
I picked my careful way up the mismatched steps and turned towards a dim light to the left. As I entered a vast room that must have been the depot's storage area in some useful past, I heard Tyler introducing me as Alice. I shrugged and tried to pick out the occupants of the room, but could only make out some vague movement in the distant left corner.
"Hello, Alice," came a crisp voice from just behind me. I whirled as Tyler sauntered by, leaving me to face a full and naked breast. I'd never spoken to one before, and managed only a mumble before raising my head to meet a sizzling look from huge green eyes.
"I'm Shana; like 'em?" she asked with a smile that would blind a Cyclops. My gaze followed her as she strode by like an Amazon warrior queen and began to sway to a song only she could hear. Her back rippled like eels I'd seen in a fish tank once, and her high buttocks flexed rhythmically. Tyler had joined the shadowy acivity ion the corner.
"You've got a nice little body, and the face of a china doll, honey," said Shana. "Too pretty to be beautiful, but I guess you knew that."
I knew nothing of the sort, of course. My thoughts had always been of deeper, darker places; looks were a currency I didn`t trade in. Even as a child, I`d recoil at sweet old ladies pinching my cheeks and cooing at how lovely I was. My mother would throw her chubby hands in the air when I tore off the barrettes she had arranged in my hair, or immediately loosened the pig-tails she had carefully braided. Later, I had painfully learned that looks - even disguised - were treacherous agents that invited in evil.
"Want to dance?" asked Shana, spinning slowly to face me. I stammered an uncomfortable No, and looked helplessly for Tyler.