She takes me through an endless maze of little streets. We pass art deco signs of trades and crafts long extinct: silversmiths, a doll maker, manufacturers of enammel chamber pots, a freak show, a hat maker, rosary manufacturers, a bailiff's office consisting entirely of mirrors. And suddenly the sweet scent of tobacco in my nostrills when we pass a wholesale cigar seller. I'm never really lost in the city. My orientation is usually very precise. I rely on my instincts. But this time, all I feel is her hand pressing into my arm, pulling me ahead, further and further away from anything recognizable.
Merde. There's no one on the street here. Not one car. In the distance I seem to hear the faint sound of horse hooves on cobble stones. It will probably be the absynth pulling a joke on my imagination.
She walks fast, way too fast for a lady with varicose veins and a heart that's reluctantly pulsing an exaggerated amount of blood around.
"Nearly there" she says, focussing on the street ahead. I wonder how she can find her way in this unbelievable maze. We almost trip over what I think is a fat blind cat. How can it be possible that in 5 centuries I have not seen or heard of this place. How can it have been hidden for so long?
We arrive at a big wooden door. It's old and decorated with carved out figures. In the dark I can make out a scene with a man and a woman holding eachother in a forrest. And fish in a lake and animals with giant claws, rather fanstastical, dragonlike.
The door is open. I think she knew this in advace. She enters without hesitation, pulling me along.
We enter a dark corridor, full of noises. From gaps in doors further down the hallway I can see light piercing through, illuminating the dancing dust set in motion by our footsteps and long skirts.