I am in a vast building, a shopping mall, but built from medieval stone, massive, oppressive. The shops are all closed, barred by steel grates, but I would not know which to choose in any case, because they have no signs. They are just an endless series of metal bars set into the gaping, darkened archways of the shops, like prison cells for the beasts of some prehistoric past or some still unimagined future.
There are people here, a few, but they are timid and slinking, keeping to the edges of things, appearing and disappearing from the recesses of the shop doors, where they cling to the bars in the shadows at the bottom of the doors, looking at something I cannot quite make out, even when I go to the bars also and peer into the unlit stores, jostling now and again with the others who are coming and looking too, coming and looking and sighing and going again, to the next grate in the next door down the broad and echoing concourse.
I fear, suddenly, though I do not know what I fear, and I see a smaller grate against the floor, and it is hanging open. It leads me to a tunnel, and I follow it, though I have to crouch, and then there is a ladder downward, and then more tunnels, some tall enough to walk and some small enough that I must wriggle on my belly, and more ladders, always downward, and even the tunnels sometimes angle downward, so that I find myself at the roots and the foundations of the world, and there is a door.
The door is ajar, and there is light, warm and flickering, from behind it. When I open it, the room is smaller, much smaller than I had imagined it would be. There is only a fireplace on one side, burning strongly, and a small bed on the other. There is also a table between them, pushed against the wall. It has a single chair. On the table is a bottle of red wine, a pitcher of what I know already will be clear water, a large loaf of dark bread, a small wheel of some hard cheese, and a dozen or so books standing against the wall.