Once, in Beijing, a young girl in a red gown huddled in a doorway. The doorway was not the kind of doorway best suited to huddling, and the gown appeared equally ill-designed for the purpose. Yet huddle she did. The rain dripped and sputtered from the sky, streaking her scarlet back as it fell.
After a time, she carefully unhuddled and picked up the bag that she had lain down beside her. She withdrew from it a small, glass orb, in which indistinct shapes and colours seemed to float. Lightning flashed briefly across the sky and as she held the globe aloft, the reflections suddenly intensified, until they appeared more real than the dirt of the street. The shapes grew and filled the sky, as the girl threw the world to the ground and the air filled with an endless noise.