Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Ichor from Stones

The Doctor stands on the cliff, in the Dream, his hand resting in the air as though propped backside up with balloons at the cufflinks.

He’s not wearing any cufflinks… but he –has- just pushed Jack off the edge.

The boy is safe, for the moment.

Out on a limb.

He spins on his heel in a flash of coattails and looks up, glimpsing the darkening thunderhead growing over him. Behind him.

Or rather, ‘from’ behind him.

He grabs the outstretched left hand and forces it down to the side, then snaps his wrist slightly, as if turning something.

A sound echoes, the rasp of a clicking mechanism, and gears shift somewhere, clunking in the quiet like great rusted elephant automatons. War machines.







A line draws itself in front of him, a pencil down wonder with no lifted measurement. A trace of a door.

He turns his wrist again, this time to jostle the knob.

He ducks into the quiet dark behind the door, snapping his head back in to say a hurried, “…Some other time, thanks!” to the rushing overhead him-shaped shadow of maddening clouds. It’s not him of course, because him’s down Here. Innit?

Once through, his black boots land on a slurp of wet grass near a landscape-y signage with a horse and a church on it.


“Ha!” he says, starting off down a street, “…never been to Eaton before. Wonder who I’ll…”

It’s just an ordinary street.

Just a simple, ordinary line of ordinary houses and shops and the occasional brick building.

He counts them, picking finally the one with a familiar blue door. Obviously.

He’s always wanted to come here.

A cheerful old man opens that most portentous of doors, checking the weather.

“Wilfred!” the Doctor exclaims, slinging his collected rainwater this way and that with an embracing gesture.

The rotund, stubbly old soldier smiles with red eyes and holds the Doctor’s arms just so, bringing them back down to their sides as he rubs them. Wiping at tears, he calls over his shoulder for his daughter to join him.

“Sylvia, he’s here! Let’s get him inside, then. Some tea, lad?”

“Alright, Dad! Bring him in already!” comes Sylvia’s slightly caustic voice, possibly from the room the telly’s in.

The Doctor is unsure. Is Wilfred offering tea or telling Sylvia to make some? Regardless, he comes inside under the man’s light wing of an arm, cracking his neck as the old man, clad in a well tan sweater and a faded reindeer hat, relieves him of his coat.

“You must stay with us! Here, go into the sitting room and we’ll feed you some tea and…”

The Doctor raises his hand in a wordless negative, then looks about for a room.

“I was hoping to stay the night. You see, Dad,” he adds, lifting his shirt to show the man his nipples. One swollen teat beads thick red, the other chalk white, both letting heavily onto the green front rug in time against the pounding of the silver wet rain outside, running over him, dividing his flesh into continents and waters, “… I need a space. Just for the night. I’m waiting for someone… oh! Hello, Mum! You look nice.”

Just then, Sylvia’s blonde-grey hair and saucer-eyes crop up behind the facially flailing old man, proffering a stone mug of tea- her usual frown at his presence delightfully absent for good. She reaches it out to the Doctor, gripping his hand and curving his fingers around the slightly cooler handle gently.

“Here, son…” she says, hushing his mouth with a finger and tugs him into a room off to one side of the hallway entry, “… come in here.”

She leaves him in bed, tucked in and silent in the near-dark of the shaded window, guarded against too much moonlight by the cascading edge of a red nightstand lamp’s fuzzy white shade.

Through the night, they nip back and forth in the hallway, checking on him by watching the shadows on the wall.

At midnight, his silhouette balls its fingers in the sheets, lurching forward in its sleep and curling rigidly, pushing and pulling and stressing, straining against some force. A confused rower.

In the morning, however, his shadow finally curves for the final time against the pillows, lungs throwing against his ribs with the effort of breath as his body shoves. But he calms. He mouths the air like a strangling fish. But he is alive. And when he has taken the air enough, he slumps back.

His eyelids flutter down.

As the father and the mother further consider the Doctor’s prostrate body, in a supreme moment of pareidolia, his shaking fingers unclench from the sheets, then seem to reach toward a dried arrangement of fruit tree branches on a nearby table. Those pretty black twigs both obscure his necessaries and infer them as he pants, then plucks a juicy ripe apple from the boughs of what appears to be his…

Again, pareidolia.

Then, raising up the fruit in both hands above himself like a supplicant into view of the moon outside the window, he tries with all great care concentrated in his hoppy forearms and quaking back to set it on the table, and succeeds. Done with it, he sighs, and lets his last sight be the apple that drifts him away. His length of frame wasted and renewed, he pulls the sheets off his body, and lets them drop to the floor, his mind clicking into place.

Into sleep.

Into dream.

Into the long hallway.

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