Sharon was heavily wounded.
The little bastards had bitten deep. Her ankles were nothing but a red mess where flesh and bone meshed into one, with flayed skin flapping around. She had other wounds on here body, too numerous to count. She still was toppless, and had to undress even more while we tended to here wounds, but that arose no excitement in me, not becaus eher body was a bloody mess, but because I was, much against my conscious will, beginning to care about that woman, and felt hurt by her pain (she didn't show it, but I knew how much that should hurt...).
Don't misunderstand me here : that was no silly infatuation, nor any type of Hollywood romance. I just was beginning to admire that gal. She had jsut sacrificed her intimity and, possibly, her life, to save us all ; she had behaved heroïcally, and had fought better than most men - better than hordes of demons would be closer to the naked truth - and now, having lost maybe two or three pints of blood and having a big red sore in the stead of her body, she still showed nothing, except maybe a grin or two while we poured some alcohol or her wounds (not the late gin, some 90° she'd had in her bag).
We were on what could have been a squere if it was in open air. Level 364 seemed empty of all life, and also of inspiration : it looked like a tacky copy of a happy village, 30's style, indoor version. Here you could see the city hall (really a Mac Mickey's Fast Food), there a fairytale playground for the retarded children of middle-class zeroes (I couldn't help myself but to think of the dead babies climbing those cubes, sliding on that giant fake shovel...), and there again the kiosk where only musicians from another age, another world devoid of all aesthetic considerations, could ever play. I smiled in a weird way. A Roger Waters verse came to my mind :
"a smile that only a rather dull child could have drawn while attempting a graveyard in the moonlight" (did I like Pink Floyd ? The old one ?).
That was me, all right. But, once more, I couldn't help but think of the dead babies... And that was more Alice Cooper's style !!
So, we had layed Sharon on a bench, and were tending on here wounds. Really, Simon was doing an incredible job as a medic, and I was doing my best - which wasn't much - as an assistant. We also stayed alert, just in case...
When we'd finished bandaging Sharon's legs, we did some looting : we needed food, beverages, a crutch for Sharon and some ammunitions. These I found in the Sherif's office, for there was one : with a pink façade, and posters of Moulin Rouge girls everywhere. I even took a deputy's star for myself : always wanted to have one. The crutch we made with some planks from the benches. The local Drugstore supplied the saw, which we kept, and some food and drinks (no alcohol, damn their souls to the deepest pits...).
And so we were ready to ride on again. Only : without horses.
Level 364 was a cinch ; Level 363 was as empty, and looked like a normal shopping mall, only dedicate to sports only : sportswear, baseball and cricket and golf bats (or however you call these), healthy food for athletes, and god-only-knows-why, a sex shop. Nothing unusual, in other words. The exit was through a men's room shower...
Now, Level 362 was quite another story...
NEXT... NO EXIT.