Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

The Last Golden Apple of Hesperides



In the sprinkling blink of the hospital lights, pensive and dying above him, Rassilon finds that shadow lines of ice have infiltrated the little room.

There is a fluffy white thing at the foot of the bed mechanism, half-encased in a sheet of the spreading freeze.

Slowly his eyes climb upward, needing and heeding the obvious source of noise, like little men attempting a tantalizing cliff.

A white form, draped in sheets.

An obvious body, settled on the bed as if in sleep.

The pits and curries and waves of the not breaths of ample lungs and ampler bosom… the tight upper body sinew… the taut shoulders… the golden hair like coins… the fawn skin of a sunlit day… it is the Flesh of River Song, certainly- he can smell the difference; there is a slightly industrial, somewhat dusty alteration in the scent of a Flesh’s body fluids, undetectable by most humanoids, save for Gallifreyans and certain other more advanced races.

Petrichor, indeed… he muses, remembering the Doctor’s blue notes.

But her arms are grown into her, supporting her risen stomach in ways that many would assume nature never intended. The elbows twist in a vined, broken tandem, the fingers unite like running roots; the distended, up-twisting belly itself more like a sapling tree with a thick core then a stomach at all, now. And the bright blue eyes with flecks of grey and green lie unoccupied, a surety that the only living creature here now is struggling to crown from the strange white tree growing from the dead doll’s empty husk.

River Song’s Flesh became a tree… perhaps the ice caught her before she could give birth, and her essence ejected from the borrowed Flesh, directing the material to protect the creature she was encompassing.

“So this is where you’ve been hiding…” he murmurs, looking upon the heaving bulb of the white tree’s vacuous roots; it seems a great sap-thing, full of such bulbs- strange that only the one seems to call to him.

To him.

It is then he remembers, and touches the empty place near his breast, clutching cloth instead of precious projectionist silver.



Something hurts in his chest. Something burns.

That sound, it aches across his vision like a rain of writhing acid.

Darkness quakes over him, and he is blind.

Terror rules his features as he trembles without sight before the bed.

His hands flash out like broken lampposts, prodding for the light, with bruised fingers like crisp leaves; they break underfoot.

He lashes out left, right, over, under, laying his digits to the chill air in the hope of some release.

Melty thickness sinks around his big slender hands, and he dives forward, feeling swallowed by a war.

So cold, he cannot feel his feet against the floor, in boot or stocking.

He can feel the ice as it crawls up his leg, gnashing its spidery teeth along tensor and vein.

He claws through the mush, down and down and down, deeper into the white he can no longer see.

There is nothing, nothing to hold, nothing to see. His knuckles are ice drops; they wish to stop moving.

But then.

Then there is a knocking in his heightened ear, of tiny bones in a tiny wrist.



At this he grasps.

He pulls.

Suddenly, a whirlpool of light.

A brown velvet rabbit with green buttons for eyes and a smart purple bowtie adorning its neck stares out like a pall from a window floating in a sunny blue sky. With long paws, it shoves the window open, stuffing a white and wiggling bundle into Rassilon’s arms while its pasted on pink candy heart nose snuffs wriggly circles over its shoulder, out of nerves. Or fear. Still, the air from its breath warms the frost on the glass, and Rassilon feels heat radiate through him like warm stones thrown into a pile of snow. The thing in his arms sniffs, wiggling once.

Then the rabbit, window and all, is gone.

He opens his eyes, clutching something small in his coat, and falls back, away from the bed and the ice, and the white mud tree, full of cracks.

It isn’t writhing anymore.

His arms are full now, and he’s missing a boot.

Careful not to draw the attention of the ice, he follows his path in retrograde, stepping into his footsteps on the now snow-covered floor, beating a retreat back into the hallway.

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