The Other walks towards the crashed car where Bill, Holly, and Cyril lie. He calls up a version of the Wobbly to see if there is anything useful, and decides that Bill and Cyril are not. He is interested to see Holly, whom he has never seen a version of before.
Holly, hallucinating, tells him a story:
Some time ago, she met her friend, Shirley Tinch. She told her about meeting Bill for the first time, how she felt sorry for him in his bandages. Her friend, however, is more interested in whether she talked with Lloyd, a man with whom she'd been having an affair. She had planned to ask him to get married, since she's pregnant, but when she showed up at his house, she met his wife.
Shirley is a strong proponent of Holly standing up for herself, which she often does not do. She plans to have an abortion, unlike what she did when pregnant with Cyril, which was also on her own. However, unlike her friend, she is unable to live on her own. After a flip remark, she decides to date the man she is least attracted to: Bill.
However, more events get in the way: Lloyd now wants to talk, and she fantastizes that they will get back together. Shirley tries to be there for her friend, even though she knows she's making a mistake.
Holly does manage to end her relationship with Lloyd, but then meets Bill again, and thinks it will work because Bill really needs her. Shirley can't take what she sees as another bad decision. She makes a bet with Holly that it won't work with Bill, with their friendship being the wager.
Over time, Holly keeps writing Shirley letters and leaving messages on the phone, talking about the ups and downs of her life with Bill, Cyril, and Tim. She wants to regain their friendship as well. Shirley listens with some hope, but can see the writing on the wall as problems arise (mostly due to Tim, really, not Bill). She is crushed by the fact that things turn out badly, as she knew they would.
We return to the present, and Holly dies--the second wife of Bill Hunter to do so in a car accident. The Other gives Cyril a spark from his mother's life.
Tim and Thomas are working together, and Tim says that he might be getting along better with Holly when his hand automatically writes himself a note saying that she is dead.
In the back-up story, a "Tale from the Book of Faerie," a troll, Sturm, the youngest of three brothers, goes off in search of gold.
He finds his first brother's head on a stick in the forest, and brings it along in a bag.
He finds his second brother's head in much the same way.
He finally runs into a lady, who says she lost her silver treasure in a pond. She gives him a gauntlet that will let him breathe underwater. There he finds a silver serpent, which he grabs and brings out.
She explains that his brothers also tried to get the snake, but hurt it in the process, and so they died. In return for his help in getting the snake unharmed, she brings his brothers back to life.