Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Step on a Crack

“Stop!” the real guard quakes from a pile of half-pulled on silvery uniform trousers, levering a charged pistol at the fleeing Kenny, as Mamlaurea exits the room of the man calling himself Assassin.

Her yellow silks sway in a chorus of floral bells against her brown wrinkles as she takes his helmeted face in her hands and brings him close to her, close enough for her stolen body’s warm incarnate breath to fog the man’s helmet.

“We will let him go, child,” she murmurs softly, gazing across the marble corridor cutaway at the fleeing shadow of Knindracastorblyledgespillioth, Kenny, who is escaping down the stairwells.

“We will have the patience of a spinner of threads at her lacework.”

Her eyes grow soft. Her face, too. Her darkening eyebrows lift like two benevolent tree branches, sheltering whatever her eyes rest upon.

Her toes and nails grow blue-black, like carrots whose roots have gone sour. The black travels upward, touching her shins, orchestrating an unrelieved climate of black around her person. Her skin is greying as she cups the guard’s face with her other hand, darting a slender fork of curved tongue back and forth, and her wrinkles fade into eggplant smoothness, like a raisin in reverse.

“W-w-who a-are you?” the guard cries, his tongue lolling as her clawlike fingers clench his neck and jaw.

Her bright fever eyes become as polished jets in their sockets; she turns them on him, and he is afraid.

White wings spread from her lithe back in a great wave, and fear coils her newest plaything’s guts like a virus of the bowels.

Holding him by the chin, out before her like a sacrifice, she steps out of the shadow of the door and smiles white fangs at two Time Lords staring from the other side of the cutaway.

“Why, We are the Benevolent One, the Pythia!” she whispers, a soundless cackle in the dark, and she poses her dread fingers viperously, slithering in place, “…We are your Mother! Rejoice in Us. Rejoice, for We…!”


Her body shudders and folds unnaturally backward, as though a great hole has sucked her spinal column through her stomach.

Her headdressed head of black snakes snaps around and her lips give a sharp and pearly snarl to the empty air, as if chiding a ghost.

The guard drops from her fingers to her naked blue-black feet; he crawls away on his bum, the shiny marble floor squealing under his scraping fingers.

“We see you!” she rages against the silent hallways, her inward-turning gaze gluing to the backs of her eyes some other space and time. And what does she see?

Oh, just a smiling young man in tweed and stout boots and a blue button down too sizes too large, walking in Eaton, his foot perched precariously over one of the grassy, cracked divisions in a chalky length of sidewalk.

There is an overlarge flute in his hand, which had been in his mouth till he’d chosen to look up.

His grin grows wider, and his lips flow apart.

“Hello,” he murmurs half to himself, his eyes low and pale peridots as he covers his stomach with a hand, before his bounding fey chin quickly tucks his face away into the shade of a lapel.

“…tag! You’re it.”

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