It looked far more like Ankh-Morpork than Ankh-Morpork ever had.

Ginger had been ushered off to the changing tents before Victor had a chance to speak to her, and then shooting started and it was too late.


Century of the Fruitbat (and now it said on the sign, in slightly smaller type: More Stars than There Are in the Heavens[21]) believed that a click should be made in less than ten times the time it took to watch. Blown Away was going to be different. There were battles. There were night scenes, the imps painting away furiously by torchlight. Dwarfs worked merrily in a mine never seen before or since, where fake gold nuggets the size of chickens had been stuck in the plaster walls. Since Soll demanded that their lips should be seen to move they sang a risque version of the 'Hihohiho' song, which had rather caught on among holy Wood's dwarf population.

It was just possible that Soll knew how it all fitted together. Victor didn't. It was always best, he had learned, never to try to follow the plot of any click you were in, and in any case Soll wasn't just shooting back to front but sides to middle as well. It was totally confusing, just like real life.

When he did get a chance to talk to Ginger, two handlemen and everyone else in the cast who currently had nothing to do were watching them.

'OK, people,' said Soll. 'This is the scene near the end where Victor meets Ginger after all they've been through together, and on the card he'll be saying-' He stared at the big black oblong handed to him. 'Yes, he'll be saying “Frankly, my dear, I'd give anything for one of . . . Harga's . . . prime . . . pork . . . ribs . . . in . . . special . . . curry . . . sauce. . . ” '

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Soll's voice slowed and stopped. When he breathed in, it was like a whale surfacing.

'Who wrote THIS?'

One of the artists cautiously raised a hand.

'Mr Dibbler told me to,' he said quickly.

Soll leafed through the big heap of cards that represented the dialogue for a large part of the click. His lips tightened. He nodded to one of the people with clipboards and said, 'Could you just run ever to the office and ask my uncle to stroll over here, if he's got a moment?'

Soll pulled a card out of the stack and read, ' “I sure miss the old mine but for a taste of real country cooking I always . . . go . . . to . . .Harp's . . .House . . . Of . . .” I see.'

He selected another at random. 'Ah. I see here a wounded Royalist soldier's last words are “What I wouldn't give right now for a $1 Eat-Till-It-Hurts special at . . . Harga's . . . House . . . of . . . Ribs . . . Mother!” '

'I think it's very moving,' said Dibbler, behind him. 'There won't be a dry eye in the house, you'll see.'

'Uncle-' Soll began.

Dibbler raised his hands. 'I said I'd raise the money somehow,' he said, 'and Sham Harga's even helping us with the food for the barbecue scene.'

'You said you weren't going to interfere with the script!'

'That's not interfering,' said Dibbler stolidly. 'I don't see how that could be considered interfering. I just polished it up here and there. I think it's rather an improvement. Besides, Harp's All-YouCan-Gobble-For-A-Dollar is amazing value these days.'

'But the click is set hundreds of years ago!' shouted Soll.

'We=ell,' said Dibbler. 'I suppose someone could say, “I wonder if the food at Harga's House of Ribs will still be as good in hundreds of years' time-” '

'That isn't moving pictures. That is crass commerce!'

'I hope so,' said Dibbler. 'We're in real trouble if it isn't.'

'Now look-' Soll began, threateningly.

Ginger turned to Victor.

'Can we go somewhere and talk?' she said, quietly. 'Without your dog,' she added, in her normal voice. 'Definitely without your dog.'

'You want to talk to me?' said Victor.

'There hasn't been much of a chance, has there?'

'Right. Certainly. Gaspode, stay. There's a good dog.' Victor derived a quiet satisfaction from the brief look of pure disgust that flashed across Gaspode's face.

Behind them the eternal Holy Wood argument had wound up to cruising speed, with Soll and C.M.O.T. standing nose to nose and arguing in a circle of amused and interested staff.

'I don't have to take this, you know! I can resign!'

'No, you can't! You're my nephew! You can't resign from being a nephew-!'

Ginger and Victor sat down on the steps of a canvas and wood mansion. They had absolute privacy. No-one was going to bother to watch them with a rip-snorter of a row going on a few yards away.

'Er,' said Ginger. Her fingers twisted among themselves. Victor couldn't help noticing that the nails were worn down.

'Er,' she said again. Her face was a picture of anguish, and pale under the make-up. She isn't beautiful, Victor felt himself think, but you could have real trouble believing it.

'I, er, don't know how to say this,' she said, 'but, er, has anyone noticed me walking in my sleep?'

'To the hill?' said Victor.

Her head whipped around like a snake.

'You know? How do you know? Have you been spying on me?' she snapped. It was the old Ginger again, all fire and venom and the aggressiveness of paranoia.

'Laddie found you . . . asleep yesterday afternoon,' said

Victor, leaning back.

'During the day?'


She put her hands to her mouth. 'It's worse than I thought,' she whispered. 'It's getting worse! You know when you met me up the hill? Just before Dibbler found us, and thought we were . . . spooning . . . ' she blushed.

'Well, I didn't even know how I'd got there!'

'And you went back last night,' said Victor.

'The dog told you, did he?' she said, dully.

'Yes. Sorry.'

'It's every night now,' moaned Ginger. 'I know, because even if I go back to bed there's sand all over the floor and my nails are all broken! I go there every night and I don't know why!'

'You're trying to open the door,' said Victor. 'There's this big ancient door now, where part of the hill has slid away, and-'

'Yes, I've seen it, but why?'

Well, I've got a couple of ideas,' said Victor cautiously.

'Tell me!'

'Um. Well, have you heard of something called a genius loci?,

'No.' Her brow wrinkled. 'It's clever, is it?'

'It's the sort of soul of a place. It can be quite strong. It can be made strong, by worship or love or hate, if it goes on long enough. And I'm wondering if the spirit of a place can call to people. And animals, too. I mean, Holy Wood is a different sort of place, isn't it? People act differently here. Everywhere else, the most important things are gods or money or cattle. Here, the most important thing is to be important.'

He had her full attention. 'Yes?' she said encouragingly, and, 'It doesn't sound too bad so far.'

'I'm getting to the bad bit.'


Victor swallowed. His brain was bubbling like a bouillon. Halfremembered facts surfaced tantalizingly and sank again. Dry old tutors in high old rooms had been telling him dull old things which were suddenly as urgent as a knife, and he dredged desperately for them.

'I'm not-' he croaked. He cleared his throat. 'I'm not sure it's right, though,' he managed. 'It's come from somewhere else. It can happen. You've heard of ideas whose time has come?'


'Well, they're the tame ones. There's other ones. Ideas so full of vigour they don't even wait for their time. Wild ideas. Escaped ideas. And the trouble is, when you get something like that, you get a hole-'

He looked at her polite, blank expression. Analogies bubbled to the surface like soggy croutons. Imagine all the worlds that have ever been are in one sense pressed together like a sandwich . . . a pack of cards . . . a book . . . a folded sheet . . . if conditions are right, things can go through rather than along . . . but if you open a gate between worlds, there are terrible dangers, as for instance . . .

As for instance . . .

As for instance . . .

As for instance what?

It rose up in his memory like the suddenly-discovered bit of suspicious tentacle just when you thought it was safe to eat the paella.

'It could be that something else is trying to come through the same way,' he ventured. 'In the, uh, in the nowhere between the somewhere there are creatures which on the whole I'd rather not describe to you.'

'You already have,' said Ginger, in a tense voice.

'And, uh, they're generally quite keen to get into the real worlds and perhaps they're somehow making contact with you when you're asleep and . . . ' He gave up. He couldn't bear her expression any more.

'I could be entirely wrong,' he said quickly.

'You've got to stop me opening the door,' she whispered. 'I could be one of Them.'

'Oh, I don't think so,' said Victor loftily. 'They've generally got too many arms, I think.'

'I tried putting tacks on the floor to wake myself up,' said Ginger.

'Sounds awful. Did it work?'

'No. They were all back in their bag in the morning. I must have picked them up again.'

Victor pursed his lips. 'That could be a good sign,' he said.


'If you were being summoned by, uh, unpleasant things,

I think they wouldn't bother what you walked over.'


'You haven't got any idea why it's all happening, have you?' Victor said.

'No! But I always get the same dream.' Her eyes narrowed. 'Hey, how come you know all this stuff?'

'I - a wizard told me, once,' said Victor.

'You're not a wizard yourself?'

'Absolutely not. No wizards in Holy Wood. And this dream?'

'Oh, it's too strange to mean anything. Anyway, I used to dream it even when I was small. It starts off with this mountain, only it's not a normal mountain, because-'

Detritus the troll loomed over them.

'Young Mr Dibbler says it's time to start shooting again,'

he rumbled.

'Will you come to my room tonight?' hissed Ginger.

'Please? You can wake me up if I start sleepwalking again.'

'Well, er, yes, but your landlady might not like it-' Victor began.

'Oh, Mrs Cosmopilite is very broadminded,' said Ginger.

'She is?'

'She'll just think we're having sex,' said Ginger.

'Ah,' said Victor hollowly. 'That's all right, then.'

'Young Mr Dibbler don't like being kept waiting,' said Detritus.

'Oh, shut up,' said Ginger. She stood up and brushed the dust off her dress. Detritus blinked. People didn't usually tell him to shut up. A few worried fault-lines appeared on his brow. He turned and tried another loom, this time aimed at Victor.

'Young Mr Dibbler don't like-'

'Oh, go away,' snapped Victor, and wandered off after her.

Detritus stood alone and screwed up his eyes in the effort of thought. Of course, people did occasionally say things like 'Go away' and 'Shut up' to him, but always with the tremor of terrified bravado in their voice, and so naturally he always riposted 'Hur hur' and hit them. But no-one had ever spoken to him as if his existence was the last thing in the world they could possibly be persuaded to worry about. His massive shoulders sagged. Perhaps all this hanging around Ruby was bad for him.

Soll was standing over the artist who lettered the cards. He looked up as Victor and Ginger approached.

'Right,' he said, 'places, everyone. We'll go straight on to the ballroom scene.' He looked pleased with himself.

'Are the words all sorted out?' said Victor.

'No problem,' said Soll proudly. He glanced at the sun. 'We've lost a lot of time,' he added, 'so let's not waste any more.'

'Fancy you being able to get C.M.O.T. to give in like that,' said Victor.

'He had no argument at all. He's gone back to his office to sulk, I expect,' said Soll loftily. 'OK, everyone, let's all get-'

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