'He's useless,' said the mouse.

'He's in love,' said Gaspode. 'It's very tricky.'


'Yeah, I know how it ish,' said the cat sympathetically. 'People throwing old boots and things at you.'

'Old boots?' said the mouse.

'That'sh what's always happened to me when I've been in love,' said cat wistfully.

'It's different for humans,' said Gaspode uncertainly. 'You don't get so many boots and buckets of water thrown at you. It's more, er, flowers and arguing and stuff.'

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The animals looked glumly at one another.

'I've watched 'em,' said Squeak. 'She thinks he's a idiot.'

'That's all part of it,' added Gaspode. 'They call it romance.'

Cat shrugged. 'Give me a boot every time. You know where you stand, with a boot.'

The glittering spirit of Holy Wood streamed out into the world, no longer a trickle but a flood. It bubbled in the veins of people, even of animals. When the handlemen turned their handles, it was there. When the carpenters hammered their nails, they hammered for Holy Wood. Holy Wood was in Borgle's stew, in the sand, in the air. It was growing.

And it was going to flower . . .

Cut-me-own-Throat Dibbler, or C.M.O.T. as he liked to be called, sat up in bed and stared at the darkness.

In his head a city was on fire.

He fumbled hurriedly beside his bed for the matches, managed to light the candle, and eventually located a pen.

There was no paper. He specifically told everyone there ought to be some paper by his bed, in case he woke up with an idea. That's when you got the best ideas, when you were asleep.

At least there was a pen and ink . . .

Images sleeted past his eyes. Catch them now, or let them go forever . . .

He snatched up the pen and started to scribble on the bedsheets.

A Man and A Woman Aflame With Passione in A Citie Riven by Sivil War!

The pen scritched and spluttered its way across the coarse linen.

Yes! Yes! This was it!

He'd show 'em, with their silly plaster pyramids and penny-and-dime palaces. This was the one they'd have to look up to! When the history of Holy Wood was written this was the one they'd point to and say: That was the Moving Picture to End all Moving Pictures!

Trolls! Battles! Romance! People with thin moustaches! Soldiers of fortune! And one woman's fight to keep the - Dibbler hesitated - something-or-other she loves, we'll think about this later, in a world gone mad!

The pen jerked and tore and raced onwards.

Brother against brother! Women in crinoline dresses slapping people's faces! A mighty dynasty brought low!

A great city aflame! Not with passione, he made a note in the margin, but with flame.

Possibly even

He bit his lip.

Yeah. He'd been waiting for this! Yeah!

A thousand elephants!

(Later Soll Dibbler said, 'Look, Uncle, the Ankh-Morpork civil war - great idea. No problem with that. Famous historical occurrence, no problem. It's just that none of the historians mentioned seeing any elephants.'

'It was a big war,' said Dibbler defensively. 'You're bound to miss things.'

'Not a thousand elephants, I think.'

'Who's running this studio?'

'It's just that-'

'Listen,' said Dibbler. 'Maybe they didn't have a thousand elephants, but we're going to have a thousand elephants, 'cos a thousand elephants is more real, OK?')

The sheet gradually filled up with Dibbler's excited scrawl. He reached the bottom and continued over the woodwork of the bed.

By the gods, this was the real stuff! No fiddly little battles here. They'd need just about every handleman in Holy Wood!

He sat back, panting with exhilarated exhaustion.

He could see it now. It was as good as made.

All it needed was a title. Something with a ring to it. Something that people would remember. Something - he scratched his chin with the pen - that said that the affairs of ordinary people were so much chaff in the great storms of history. Storms, that was it. Good imagery, a storm. You got thunder. Lightning. Rain. Wind.

Wind. That was it!

He crawled up to the top of the sheet and, with great care, wrote:


Victor tossed and turned in his narrow bed, trying to get to sleep. Images marched through his half-dozing mind. There were chariot races and pirate ships and things he couldn't identify, and in the middle of it all this thing, climbing a tower. Something huge and terrible, grinning defiance at the world. And someone screaming . . .

He sat up, drenched in sweat.

After a few minutes he swung his legs out of bed and went to the window.

Above the lights of the town Holy Wood Hill brooded in the first dim light of dawn. It was going to be another fine day.

Holy Wood dreams surged through the streets, in great invisible golden waves.

And Something came with it.

Something that never, never dreamed at all. Something that never went to sleep.

Ginger got out of bed and also looked towards the hill, although it is doubtful if she saw it. Moving like a sightless person in a familiar room, she padded across to the door, down the steps, and out into the tail of the night.

A small dog, a cat and a mouse watched from the shadows as she moved silently down the alley and headed for the hill.

'Did you see her eyes?' said Gaspode.

'Glowing,' said the cat. 'Yukth!'

'She's going to the hill,' said Gaspode. 'I don't like that.'

'So what?' said Squeak. 'She's always around the hill somewhere. Goes up there every night and moons around looking dramatic.'


'Every night. We thought it was all this romance stuff.'

'But you can see by the way she's movin' that somethin's not right,' said Gaspode desperately. 'That's not walkin', that's lurchin'. Like she's bein' pulled along by a inner voice, style of fing.'

'Don't look like that to me,' said Squeak. 'Walking on two legs is lurching, in my book.'

'You've only got to look at her face to see there's somethin' wrong!'

'Of course there's something wrong. She's a human,' said Squeak.

Gaspode considered the options. There weren't many. The obvious one was to find Victor and get him to come back here. He rejected it. It sounded too much like the silly, bouncy sort of thing that Laddie would do. It suggested that the best a dog could think of when confronted with a puzzle was to find a human to solve it.

He trotted forward and gripped the trailing hem of the sleepwalker's nightdress firmly in his jaws. She walked on, pulling him off his feet. The cat laughed, far too sarcastically for Gaspode's liking.

'Time to wake up, miss,' he growled, letting the nightdress go. Ginger strode onwards.

'See?' said the cat. 'Give them an opposed thumb and they think they're something shpecial.'

'I'm going to follow her,' said Gaspode. 'A girl could come to harm out by herself at night.'

'That's dogs for you,' said the cat to Squeak. 'Alwaysh fawning on people. It'll be diamante collars and a bowl with his name on it nexsht, I'm telling you.'

'If you're lookin' to lose a mouthful of fur you've come to the right place, kitty,' snarled Gaspode, barring his rotting teeth again.

'I don't have to tolerate that short of thing,' said the cat, lifting its nose haughtily. 'Come, Squeak. Let us hie us to a garbage heap where there ain't sho much rubbish.'

Gaspode scowled at their departing backs.

'Pussy!' he yelled after them.

Then he trotted after Ginger, hating himself. If I was a wolf, which technic'ly I am, he thought, there'd definitely be a rending of jaws and similar. Any girl wandering around by herself would be in dead trouble. I could attack, I could attack any time I liked, I'm jus' choosing not to. One thing I'm not doin', I'm not sort of keepin' an eye on her. I know Victor told me to keep an eye on her, but catch me goin' around doin' what humans tell me. I'd like to see humans that could give me orders. Tear his froat out, jus' like that. Hah.

An' if anything happened to her he'd go around moonin' for days and prob'ly forget to feed me. Not that dogs like me needs humans to feed 'em, I could be out bringing down reindeers just by leaping on their backs and bitin' their jugulars off, but it's damn convenient getting it all on a plate.

She was moving quite fast. Gaspode's tongue hung out as he strove to keep up. His head was aching.

He risked a few sideways squints to see if any other dogs were watching. If they were, he thought, he could pretend he was chasin' her. Which was what he was doing, anyway. Yeah. The trouble was, he never had much breath at the best of times, and it was getting hard to keep pace. She ought to have the decency to slow down a bit.

Ginger began to climb the lower slopes of the hill.

Gaspode considered barking loudly, and then if anyone drew attention to this afterwards he could always say it was to frighten her. Trouble was, he had about enough wind left for a threatening wheeze.

Ginger topped a rise and went down into the little dell among the trees.

Gaspode staggered after her, righted himself, opened his mouth to whimper a warning, and almost swallowed his tongue.

The door had opened several inches. More sand rolled down the heap even as Gaspode watched.

And he could hear voices. They didn't seem to be speaking words but the bones of words, meaning without disguise. They hummed around his bullet head like mendicant mosquitoes, begging and cajoling and

-he was the most famous dog in the world. The knots unravelled from his coat, the frayed patches sprouted glossy curls, his fur grew on his suddenly-supple frame and withdrew from his teeth. Plates appeared in front of him not laden with the multi-coloured and mysterious organs that he was normally expected to eat but with dark red steak. There was sweet water, no, there was beer in a bowl with his name on it. Tantalizing odours on the air suggested that a number of lady dogs would be happy to make his acquaintance after he had drunk and dined. Thousands of people thought he was marvellous. He had a collar with his name on it, and -

No, that couldn't be right. Not a collar. It'd be a squeaky toy next, if you dint draw the line at collars.

The image collapsed in confusion, and now -

- the pack bounded through the dark, snow-covered trees, falling in behind him, red mouths agape, long legs eating up the road. The fleeing humans on the sledge didn't have a chance; one was thrown aside when a runner bounced off a branch, and lay screaming in the road as Gaspode and the wolves fell upon -

No, that wasn't right, he thought wretchedly. You dint actually eat humans. They got up your nose all right, the gods knew, but you couldn't acktually eat 'em.

A confusion of instincts threatened to short-circuit his schizophrenically doggy mind.

The voices gave up their assault in disgust and turned their attention to Ginger, who was methodically trying to shift more sand.

One of Gaspode's fleas bit him sharply. It was probably dreaming of being the biggest flea in the world. His leg came up automatically to scratch it, and the spell faded.

He blinked.

'Bloody hell,' he whined.

This is what's happening to the humans! Wonder what they're making her dream?

The hairs rose along Gaspode's back.

You didn't need any special mysterious animal instincts here. Perfectly generalized everyday instincts were enough to horrify him. There was something dreadful on the other side of the door.

She was trying to let it out.

He had to wake her up.

Biting wasn't really a good idea. His teeth weren't that good these days. He doubted very much if barking would be any better. That left one alternative . . .

The sand moved eerily under his paws; maybe it was dreaming of being rocks. The scrawny trees around the hollow were wrapped in sequoia fantasies. Even the air that curled around Gaspode's bullet head moved sluggishly, although it's anyone's guess what the air dreams about.

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