Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Latchkey Princess

It is, as is often discovered, a shared dream.

Flamina turns toward the door she has just opened.

White showers everything in triplicate, as though someone has spilled flour in mid-air and left it hanging. Little particles of the stuff clump to her skin, sticking to her surfaces in a haphazard map of rough, unpolished stars.

A chair sits in the center of the room, also covered with white dust.

Near the chair is a room number sign, its old lettering faded and worn. Two dark numbers grace it, a pair of ones.

Two feet, naked and long and wide, wait beside the little sign. There is a screw nearby, probably from the sign, because there is a screw still sticking in it. And the toe of one foot is resting half-off one side of the sign’s edging. Tapping gently, a rhythm of four.

“It’s really not so bad, once you get used to it,” says the owner of the foot, who sits in the chair and does not move any more than this, the tapping.

“…hello, Daddy. Do you want to come out now?” she murmurs to the man who is the owner of the softly tapping foot.

“I do indeed, precious. Do you want some ice cream?” he muses, shuffling in his pockets. “Daddy’s got some in here somewhere…”

“No you should eat it. So I guess the glamour you put on the Flesh is wearing off? Is that why you woke up, Daddy?”

The Doctor reaches out for her snowy head, and sets a hand on her hair. It curls a bit underneath and around him, floating about like a water-vine.

“Did he tell you to come in here, Flamme? I bet he did. Did he say anything strange?”

Flamina thinks for a moment, plonking down on a cracked block of marble diagonal to him on the floor.

“Well, uh, Daddy, he… really wanted me to come in here. I could tell, because he kept telling me not to. And he took your heart away from me. It turned into a rabbit. I think. He’s silly. But you haven’t been hiding from him. You’ve been waiting.”

“…oh yes. For you, my Flamme,” he sighs, then gets up from the chair, weakly puffing white dust off himself like a crochety old feeble dog shaking out drooping cheeks. His hands grasp the chair back, and feel the dry wood heave under him, the wide grains flying apart under the sudden fullness of his weight. “I’m tired of sitting here, anyway. It’s time for you to be Born. Again!” His fingers light in her hair, but tousle her all over. “But don’t tell the Christians. They got a bit excitable last time…”



He sails spaceward and down, back through bits of jagged chair and a substantial dust cloud.


A white hand – or is it olive?- reaches; young fingers with crushed red buds beneath their dirty nails cling like climbing roses to a man’s hand.

The seat of the chair becomes a box, smelling of death-salt and rotted water. The floor escapes him. He is in the cave again. He can see the pictures.

The darkness soothes.

The Darkness Beckons.

To look upon it is to be transformed.

But he is pulled by the white hand.

He does not sleep.

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