Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Blue Footed Booby Prize

‘Claris’ Claristellaniktilineacruxellavanjee takes off his helmet, breathes, then applies his knuckled and gloved fist to Her door.

Soon, the demure, unassuming portal slides open, followed by the whizz-by presence of a large tibia recently gnawed.

“Clarence, come here,” waves a grey, leathery voice some would argue had the consistency of hot needles, “...what news did you bring me?”

Claris sighs, then pitches his find into her room, head first.

The Doctor feels the smushing singe of carpet burn slough off half his face as he hits the floor, arms around his stomach.

A squeal erupts from the Pythia’s blackened mouth, like a little dog being squeezed.

“Oh, and what is this? Clarence, you have brought me my dance partner!” she beams, cutting a predatory circle around the Doctor, her naked black feet decorated in ankle-bracers strung with the long and tiny skulls of several unfortunate tafelshrews.

The Doctor’s eyes flirt with the macabre ankle decorations, tensing for an opening as the Pythia leans down to unbutton his nice white shirt.

“Hello, darling. How was Jersey?” he murmurs, applying a grin in her general direction and adding just a touch of forehead crease for the requisite lemon slice.

While his brain concentrates on the box sitting on the Sepulchasm table behind her, his face remains focused on hers. Waiting. Not daring to enjoy the moment until it actually comes.

“Are you thinking of making for it?” the Pythia asks, puffing out her bottom lip as she presses a foot to his naked stomach and leans into his flesh.

“Ow. Why should I? I’m putty in your gams. Erm, hams. Hands?”

“Always children’s games with you!" she cries, throwing her mouth wide in delight, her fangs catching the ambient rays like pearls, “...but I am well amused, this day. You are here in front of me so easily, which means you are a Danger. Speak. What do you want? I am a merciful goddess.”

The Doctor laughs, and the sound rings like death tolls through the room before spilling into the hallway.

“What could you possibly give me? You have the Rose Rings. But you should have checked the Shrine sooner. I was nearly gone by the time they found me.” With a grunt, he turns himself onto his hip, showing the woman a purple splotch of bruise along one side of his modest bump formerly hidden by his shirt. “Your pet guards gave me quite the kick. Does that please you?”

“CLARENCE!” the Pythia yelps, “Mother is cross with you.”

One claw-hand goes up, clenching into an onyx fist with long curling fingernails of dubious frailty and a fractal, odd scaliness.


Clarence is a pile of clothes and helmet at the entryway.

“Nice bit,” the Doctor murmurs, giggling slightly, “...he was gonna betray you eventually. You ‘do’ know that, right?”

“You are a vicious man, Doctor,” the Pythia quips, grinning out from her mouthful of white sharp fangs, “... the Other had issues, but you... oh you! Such a ‘good’ little boy you’ve been! Mommy wants to give you a present!”

She licks against her gleaming teeth now, her dark eyes widening like onyx under water in the dark.

“I’ll pass, thanks!” the Doctor says cheerfully, “...but I brought one for you!”

He smiles at her brightly, his big eyes spongy green suns watching her movements.

Then a long metal object begins to grow out of his hand, which is, strangely, as white as the object itself.

The Pythia stops laughing.

Instead, she watches him, a bird with a snake.

Or is it a snake with a bird?

“Kaku Inko, Mehgudi...” the Doctor whispers, as the sonic probe which rose out of his hand begins to scream its waves in every direction.

The Pythia, though unencumbered by the frequency emitter of the Time Lord’s toy, looks down at him, a feeling of unsettling nature growing against her ribs like some malign fungus.

Abruptly he bursts into a splatter of white thick fluid that splashes around her feet and crawls to a stop around her bare toes. He’s on everything. On everything. The pest. Did he just commit suicide? –Him?-

She scrabbles out of the liquid, staring down at it... then her eyes slide half-closed at her stupidity and she gathers herself, rushing to the box she set on the Sepulchasm table.

The Rose Rings...

Her fingers click the catch on the little white box, not bothering to caress the finely polished bone this time as she has so many times before. No. she is intent on revealing relief to herself, in the form of her prize.

But when the lid lifts, there are two ring-shaped dents in the soft silk, each dent empty of a Rose Ring.

Each dent, furthermore, filled with the damning white fluid.

Her eyes turn red as she pitches the box out into the hallway, her furious screeches storming through the halls before her own angry feet as though they are not merely herald of some mad and violent bird, but rather the bird themselves.

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