- KURT TUCHOLSKY
In the early hours, Ned Coates slept, and he dreamed of The City.
He could smell the lilac, and he knew that he was dreaming. You couldn't smell the lilac in the heart of the city. You could smell shit and garbage and piss. You could smell money and dirt. It was (in the dream) that hour of the morning that turned the light delicate, turned it lilac and he was sitting on the steps of the Watch House at Treacle Mine Road. He was sitting at the Watchhouse, and she was walking towards him.
She was beautiful, even with her dirty face. Smeared in shit and muddy water, she shone. And he recognised her. He'd been in love with her since he was seventeen. There's a reason that they call them revolutions, Coates. It's because they're always coming around again.
And there she was. And she smiled for him.
She was the second most beautiful woman that Ned Coates had ever seen.
"That's it then, is it?"
"What's it, darling Watchman? Watcher of my streets, and by-ways?"
"That's what I get."
She pursed her lips. There had been a dream, once, an idea that was The City, and it hadn't worked out, in the end, but, for a moment, there, she'd shone.
"That is what you get, Coates. This is what you get."
Ned thought about that, for a second and then he stubbed out a cigarette he hadn't known that he'd been smoking on the step beside him.
"I love her," he said, as he stood up, his uniform a familiar weight. She leaned in and kissed his cheek.
"It's never enough," she said, and she leaned in to kiss his cheek. "And now you have to go."
Ned sighed, and shook his head.
Somewhere, far away or long ago, or not happening yet, the battle was starting. In Ankh Morpork, the lilac was blooming.
All the little angels rise up, rise up...