dora was filled with an overwhelming foreboding as she walked up the steps of the administration building with adelaide, and they approached the massive doors.
"have you ever been here before?" she asked adelaide.
"yes, i came here to get my servant's papers when i first started to work." dora pushed at the right hand door, and it swung open easily and noiselessly.
they stepped into a surprisingly small foyer. there were no signs or signs of life in it, just another set of doors, made mostly of impenetrably dark glass.
the front door swung closed smoothy behind them , shutting out the morning light and leaving them in shadow, with only a little dust-moted light coming through the glass doors, which adelaide now pushed open. they did not open quite as smoothly as the first set of doors had.
a narrow staircase loomed in front of them. corridors on either side of the staircase faded away into long rows of closed doors with small glass panes and smaller brass name plates. there were no people in sight.
"i seem to remember, " said adelaide, "that it was a little more lively when i was here before. at least there was someone you could ask directions of."
they heard a voice behind them. "looking for directions, missus? i would be happy to assist you."
dora and adelaide turned. a ragged little person with a bat-like face looked up at them, with his thumbs hooked aggressively in his vest. it was not clear to them whether he was a small boy or a midget.
adelaide stared down at him. "are you here in an official capacity? your dress would indicate to me that you are not."
"no, missus, i am not. i am an independent operator."
adelaide looked around and down one of the corridors. "are there no officials here to guide us? when i was last here there seemed to be an abundance of such personages."