‘Holy Wood is a different sort of place. 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.’
Holy Wood dreams . . .
It dreams for everyone.
In the hot breathless darkness of a clapboard shack, Ginger Withel dreamed of red carpets and cheering crowds. And a grating. She kept coming back to a grating, in the dream, where a rush of warm air blew up her skirts …
In the not much cooler darkness of a marginally more expensive shack, Silverfish the moving picturesmith dreamed of cheering crowds, and someone giving him a prize for the best moving picture ever made. It was a great big statue.
Out in the sand dunes Rock and Morry dozed fitfully, because trolls are night creatures by nature and sleeping in darkness bruised the instincts of eons.
They dreamed of mountains.
Down on the beach, under the stars, Victor dreamed of pounding hooves, flowing robes, pirate ships, sword fights, chandeliers …
On the next dune, Gaspode the Wonder Dog slept with one eye open and dreamed of wolves.
But Cut-me-own-Throat Dibbler was not dreaming, because he was not asleep.
It had been a long ride to Ankh-Morpork and he preferred selling horses to riding them, but he was there now.
The storms that so carefully avoided Holy Wood didn’t worry about Ankh-Morpork, and it was pouring with rain. That didn’t stop the city’s night life, though – it just made it damper.
There was nothing you couldn’t buy in Ankh- Morpork, even in the middle of the night. Dibbler had a lot of things to buy. He needed posters painted. He needed all sorts of things. Many of them involved ideas he’d had to invent in his head on the long ride, and now had to explain very carefully to other people. And he had to explain it fast.
The rain was a solid curtain when he finally staggered out into the grey light of dawn. The gutters overflowed. Along the rooftops, repulsive gargoyles threw up expertly over passers-by although, since it was now five a.m., the crowds had thinned out a bit.
Throat took a deep breath of the thick city air. Real air. You would have to go a long way to find air that was realer than Ankh-Morpork air. You could tell just by breathing it that other people had been doing the same thing for thousands of years.
For the first time in days he felt that he was thinking clearly. That was the strange thing about Holy Wood. When you were there it all seemed natural, it all seemed just what life was all about, but when you got away from it and looked back, it was like looking at a brilliant soap bubble. It was as though, when you were in Holy Wood, you weren’t quite the same person.
Well, Holy Wood was Holy Wood, and Ankh was Ankh, and Ankh was solid and proof, in Throat’s opinion, against any HolyWood weirdness.
He splashed through the puddles, listening to the rain.
After a while he noticed, for the first time in his life, that it had a rhythm.
Funny. You could live in a city all your life, and you had to go away and come back again before you noticed the way the rain dripping off the gutters had a rhythm all its own: DUMdi-dum-dum, dumdidumdi- DUM-DUM . . .
A few minutes later Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs of the Night Watch were sharing a friendly roll-up in the shelter of a doorway and doing what the Night Watch was best at, which was keeping warm and dry and staying out of trouble.
They were the only witnesses to the manic figure which splashed down the dripping street, pirouetted through the puddles, grabbed a drainpipe to swing around the corner and, clicking its heels together merrily, disappeared from view.
Sgt Colon handed the soggy dog-end back to his companion.
‘Was that old Throat Dibbler?’ he said after a while.
‘Yeah,’ said Nobby.
‘He looked happy, didn’t he?’
‘Must be off ’is nut, if you ask me,’ said Nobby. ‘Singing in the rain like that.’
Pratchett fans in the UK can get Moving Pictures for £1.99 in ebook until the end of July 2021. Ideal for those of you who would like to replicate your physical libraries in digital form. You can purchase it from Amazon HERE.