Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Intermission, or, Gnossienne for Girl and Cabana

The Great Reflectors, the Seven Mirrors of Transport who once dwelt in the bowels of Gallifrey, are looking at themselves, shuffling about in the great grand world.

This museum on Mnrva, they have decided, despite their New Year’s resolutions, is an excellent place to muse, if full of a tad too many onlookers. But that is all right.

There is a painting in the museum, however, that whips away the madding, shuffling crowd.

As they stand admiring this painting in particular, the seven silver mirrors are listening now, listening with their silver ears and silver hairs and silver lips and silver teeth, for the resonance of song.

They listen to paintings. To statues. To the breathing of children as they run from exhibit to exhibit, catching glimpses.

But in the painting, only sand, at first; blank white sand.

A beach.

Nestled halfway out of the pool of grains, a wooden structure.

A little shack. There is a white and red ringed life preserver there, hanging demurely from the left side like the stripes of a Christmas candy cane stuck on a tree and waiting for a mouth.

The surf is slow, far out on the black rocks at the edge of the beach.

Wave after wave seems to crash sleepily, like a few tired white dogs, chasing for the last time after a beloved red ball coated through the years by many stinky layers of slobbery love. Time to get a new one.

There is a deck chair out on the strut-walk of the shack, led up to and sanded-dusted, they suppose, by a woman’s small feet. There are footsteps to the door, as well, obfuscating things. The woman keeps the shack well-tended. She enjoys it there. She is happy, and happiest not being seen, it would seem.

“A nice, bright girl, that Wil,” a man with long brownish hair says, coming to stand behind them. He is wearing a blue baroque tailcoat, with a vest of gold damasque.

As he leans between the seven mirrors, each vaguely humanoid, bald-headed figurine looks down and up at him. Then they part like timid tourists to allow him closer; his fingers slide back into his lace-dipped sleeve. Then, grabbing the end of his cuff with hidden fingers, he raises it to thin lips sensuously rouged, then wipes the etched brass plate beneath the picture, availing it of some greyish grit.

“There we are, I think she’s looking happier!” he says softly, standing back a bit stiffly with wet eyes and a smile as the mirrors read the title of the picture off the newly-polished brass.

‘The Beach of Nothingness’

The mirrors turn in unison to watch him, but he is gone. They turn, again in unison, to face each other.

And they smile. And they sigh. And they smile again.

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