Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Apple Wine

Yeah, it’s an apple all right, Jack reasons as he shines the hard fruit on the shirt he’s now wearing.

It’s blue.

The shirt, not the apple.

When did he start wearing a shirt?

There are trousers, his usual grey trousers, covering him now.

Aw. Yep. The Doctor even remembered his tighty whiteys.

“I didn’t do that,” comes the Time Lord’s disembodied response.

Jack looks up. There’s now a painting hanging over the window, obscuring it.

The Doctor is in the portrait, reclining with his face away from Jack. There is a cherub holding a mirror.

“You know the drill by now, Jack,” the Doctor breathes, laughing in the shadow of a billowing curtain within the framed and painted picture, “...the Venus of Rokeby was right. ‘...please explore these lands further before you return to me.’ That seems to be the running joke, anyways.”

“Well I thought you were directing this movie. But if you aren’t, then... so we’re all in the toilet, huh? My kind of odds. How are you at Double Fanucci, Doc? I used to skirt the tournaments, back in my Time Agency days.”

“I wouldn’t know, since I seem to have lent you my copy of Zork Nemesis. Now I’ll thank you to take a bite of that apple! I’m rather busy at the...”

Jack’s fingers tighten around the apple as he watches the painting shimmer and shift, becoming a white line of laundry hanging over the window, still obscuring the view of the room inside.

White linens frequent the long rows of hung, prickly twine.

But there it is.

A single white and blue plaid flannel, pinned by two clothes pegs.

It is flapping in the wind.

Back.

Forth.

Back.

Forth.

Blap-blap.

Blap blap blap.

Jack reaches and grabs it.

The rag is applied.

He scuffs at the edges, then works the flannel in loose, easy circles around the body of the fruit, shining it up till it gleams like a baby grand in a New York loft, first the golden side, then the silver.

In the shiny, reflective surface, there seems to be a... man, hanging from a bridge of old ropes and boards.

There is green leafy jungle below, a limp sea of lime gelatin and cannabis.

That almost ginger hair... those curls in the mess...

It’s the Eighth Doctor.

Ah.

“Hey Doc, you think I could...” Jack begins, turning to look for the painting again.

Then he remembers.

It’s gone.

“Time to air my dirty laundry, is it, Doctor? Well, all right then. Let’s get to it.”

Jack grins, and stares at the apple in his hands as he slowly holds it up closer and closer to his face.

It stares into him.


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