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This is probably the first page that I used CGI to any great extent. As you can see in the basement (even it is a bit dark), all of the boxes, crates and so on are computer rendered using Blender. I made all of the models myself. That was easy. Lighting was hard. The only things I drew by hand were Grace, Simon and the chain across the cabinet. Originally, the whole idea of using CGI was to save time by not having to draw backgrounds. Making organic models like people's faces is no small skill, and my models of the characters still aren't quite good enough to use as a finished product. Although I didn't do it in this particular page, I use the character models just for placement, proportion and to cast shadows.

So, here, finally is our first glimpse of Reality. Well, not our first glimpse, but Grace's and Simon's. Some of my friends who read the early drafts of the book (years ago) made the comment that the passage was basically just a rip-off of C. S. Lewis' wardrobe. Well, yes and no. To go from one world to another requires some sort of passage and the literary world is replete with such 'holes'; Lewis' wardrobe, Carroll's looking glass (and rabbit hole), Baum's tornado (one of the more imaginative, I'll grant) and Duckett's Alley in Goodnight Sweetheart (if you can call TV 'literature'). Somehow one must get from point A to point B and, in the end, it doesn't really matter if it's a rabbit hole or a hadron collider. My particular choice spawned a theory (which you'll read about much later in the story) involving the concept of perpendicular universes (notice I did not say parallel) which I feel might be applicable to explaining dark matter - or it might not.

Drawing completed - 19 OCT 2006
Drawing posted - 22 APR 2009

20 JUNE 2001 Wednesday - 1405
Page 22
A Tunnel Under the Basement of The tré

   With great caution, he stuck his nose out and had a sniff.

   "What's that pong?" he whispered.

   Grace had a quick whiff. "Ergh. No idea - is a bit nasty, though."

   Simon had another taste of the air. "Still, nothing threatening." He slowly stuck the rest of his head out to see what was there. Just beneath his head, her ears framing his chin, was Grace's head.

   He could tell they were in a basement, as there were some small windows near the ceiling, which was quite high. As with The tré in Otterstow, it was filled with the sort of rubbish that tends to accumulate in basements, as per Clutter's Laws.

   "Si, do you think this is . . . ?" asked Grace.

   "Reality? I think you were right all along, Grace. My Mum mentioned this to me last year - the basement, the cabinet, Reality - but I was sure she was just having me on."

   "Funny, my old man told me about it as well, but it was just last week. I thought it was that tired, old line about 'behave or we'll throw you into Reality' sorta thing. He actually tried to make me believe that when Mum was our age, she went down to the cellar of The tré and entered a hidden passage to . . . Re . . . erm . . . ality."

   "I guess she did, then, didn't she?" conjectured Simon.

   "Come on, then. Let's see what's about," Grace suggested.

   The two of them pushed the cabinet door open a little wider, but it stopped short.

   "Hang about, Si. There's a chain across the door," Grace pointed out.

   "Do you think you could slip through?" asked Simon.

   "Yeah, think so," Grace said. She lowered herself below the chain and stuck her head through. It was an easy effort for the rest of her slim body to follow. "Go on, Si, you can make it," she urged.

   "I don't want to get stuck. See if you can get the chain off."
All material copyright Grim, 2008. No unauthorized use. Survivors will be prosecuted.