Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Quite Contrary

The Doctor is Benjamin Pond.

Benjamin Pond is the Doctor.

Benjamin… the Doctor…

That bastard! But…

He’s going to be an uncle!

Still… that bastard.

And… that -other- creature. The one with the unstoppable breasts and golden curls to die for. Well, no one else is going to die for those, anymore.

Pale and panting, Jack takes a step back from the procession, hanging on body-words, like a bat about to sound.

“What did you do to him, River?” he breathes, his blue eyes storming from narrowed slits like tidal waves before a drowning man.

River Song’s golden hair stops bouncing. Her hand slips from the Doctor’s; the two sets of footsteps in soft boots on either side of the litter cease for a fraction of time, then take up the slow march once more, slowing it further, as if to enunciate this little bump in polished planning. So he -was- faking it; interesting.

“What did -I- do to him? You’re the one who…”

But the barrel of Jack’s pretty little Webley cuts her off the moment she stops turning.

In fact, it’s sticking between her eyes.

“Oh, you lying, theatrical little snot! You -were- faking it…” she replies; but only her snort is indignant- her manner is not. Her fingers play across her own weapon. Then she sighs. “You just wait till my husband gets home. You are sooo going to wish it weren’t Halloween!”

Jack licks his lips, savoring the dryness of his flesh as he tastes the whiteness of his teeth on his tongue. Then he says, “Oh, I don’t think he’s coming.”

Come on, you stainless steel rat, he tells himself glibly, the man you love with more than you have is a vegetable and here’s your one chance to make soup out of the one who did it.


Gunpowder residue is no substitute for kohl, Jack realizes as the monks fall back from him like toppled dominoes wrapped in wheaty linens.

There are fine lines of black dust around River Song’s face, trailing from the hole in her forehead like soggy mascara. Her white Flesh face is already dissolving, much as a sugar cube in boiling water.

Black and white. That’s all there is, really.

But then a hand from the bed raises, uses the edge of the litter to press the rose on that gold, gold ring and slips steely, squarish fingers around Jack’s wrist, just as the two Flesh copies of the Doctor in Chinese brocade fall to the floor like rag dolls, their fingers wrapping around three other wrists, a small child’s, a woman’s, and the wrist of the man on the litter, whose eyes are alternating quickly between darkness and light. His face is a thick blind, burning and hidden.

But the light, fleeing its former husk, flows away in a stream of desperate splendor from the man, away from his eyes, away from his reach, through the ring and down Jack’s arm. Jack looks up, startled- but everything is peeling away, like the turn of a page. The light strains toward River, bursting through her. It then courses through Borusa before landing back on the ring, like a little fly, before winking out under the bedridden man’s gaze.

The semi-conscious man’s wakening face ignores the little light; he begins to smile. His eyes open on the room of people like black bead lenses, focusing dark suns on every naked face. He grins pearl teeth at the crowd and says one word.

Just one.


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