Renjin gently placed one finger on the glass. It rippled slightly at his touch, as though it were a thin vertical film of water hanging on the wall to his hotel room.
He ran one hand through the glass in a sweeping arc, watching the ripples follow in its wake.
It was time.
He backed up slowly, putting a careful distance between himself and the glass. The bedcovers lay untouched on his right, the TV silent on the wooden turntable to his left. He backed up a little more, feeling the coldness of the bathroom tiles and the yellow stare of the Fire Exit diagram behind him.
Renjin sprinted. The pads of his feet tensed on the carpet, propelling his body forward in a blur of sudden motion. He was halfway past the bed before he knew it, and in the next moment he leapt into the landscape beyond the wall.
The glass melted before his slow-motion form. There was a sensation of pressure in his ears, as though he had fallen underwater with one elbow held in front of his face. There was also a tingling feeling in his scalp, a great drop in temperature that plastered his hair to the back of his head and gave the whole world a strange blue tint.
Then he was out in the cool night air, staring at the light of the streetlamps nine stories below, suddenly wondering how he was going to find a soft landing place.
Renjin panicked, hands involuntarily reaching for the wall in a spectacular display of fear at its finest. His fingernails dug grooves into the fresh paint, his skin sanding itself against the smooth surface. Renjin shut his eyes and concentrated; There was only one way out of his predicament, and he had only to remember how.
Then there was a wrenching pain in his left hand, and when he opened his eyes, he found that it had fused into the concrete wall.
Renjin grunted in mute understanding, and then pushed against the solid surface. As did the glass before it, it rippled slightly under his hand. He worked the fabric of the stone into his fingers, felt it against his skin, knew it, made it his own. And as he did so, he felt his body move into the wall, the molecules of rock and plaster moving slightly aside in order to accommodate his presence.
He dropped through a set of paisley-colored wallpaper into an empty ballroom, and almost retched into the carpet.
Then, after a few minutes, Renjin finally managed to steady himself against the wall. He pushed away from it, propelling himself drunkenly across the floor. His arms swayed wildly to a strange rhythm of the spheres, his tie flopped madly in the trauma of recent experience.
When he joined the crowd mingling together in the center of the elevator, they assumed that he had merely had one too many, and avoided him for the duration of the ride up.