There's been a gap ... I remember a beach, but now I'm sitting in a broad stairwell. Why? The black asphalt sandpaper strips on the hard marble stairs have kept me from sliding to the bottom. My knees protest with a dull aching as I strain to straighten my legs.
How long have I been here? The marble beneath me is warm, but only from draining my body heat, making me feel chilled despite the dark wool peacoat bunched up around me.
Grabbing the brushed steel hand rail, I have to stand up slowly. Where am I? These surroundings seem both familiar and unfamiliar. Obviously a public building, but where is everyone? The ceramic brick hallway, extending into darkness at the bottom of the steps, doesn't elaborate.
I turn to see the top of the stairway, and loud, flat daylight pounds my eyes. Squinting, just beyond the upper landing, I can see the upper edge of a long row of metal, glass-paned double doors. The grey sky streams down through the glass, becoming musty and dim as it reaches into the hall below.