Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Oestre Egg

Two hours later, in the Library...

He’s tried everything.

That old fiddle is lying in the corner. He’s tried that. And broke the bow too; it’s lying over there, in three pieces against the door’s foot panel.

Milk isn’t doing it, there are fifteen different bottles on the floor, at least. He sticks his finger at each of them to show her, counting as he adjusts her for the seventeenth time, switching to the other elbow.

“Maybe the machine is off...” he reasons aloud, wandering into the hallway and snapping his fingers. The room with the drinks machine slips silently into place behind the door. He goes in.

He looks down at Susan. “Oh, goodness,” he breathes, hopping gently with excitement as his foot connects. “Milk, water, milk, water. Boring!”

Susan’s lip begins to shiver, and a deeply doleful cry bubbles from her little throat.

“Oh ho ho, that’s all right my precious child, it’s just a nasty old machine! Not the one we need, anyhow. How’s about...” he spins around, distracting her for the moment with the sudden, dizzying movement while he grabs a random doorknob, “... we try this one? It’s bound to have something good inside!”

The sleek silver door opens on a small, circular room.

All white.

There is a strange tree of cables in the center, from which nothing seems to be hanging, yet.

The Doctor puts his hand against the trunk of the circuit-tree, and holds Susan up so she can see the hollow tube inside its many white trunks.

“Look, look, Susan, there’s something in there, isn’t there? Do you like that?” he murmurs, pushing her face a little into the opening in the white viney tubes.

There is a body inside the tree, grown out of it, the hands bearing two Gold Rings, slightly charred. The wrists cross over a lower torso caved in almost to the point of emaciation and growing from the knees out of the root-like structures at the base of the circuit-tree.

Susan’s eyes rise higher, taking in the long elbows and forearms, the broad shoulders, the wide clavicle.

“Taking him in, are we?” the Doctor says, patting her on the head as she cranes. “It’s only natural; after all, he’s me. But I’m not him. Am I, little girl?”

Susan moans and twists her head out of his hand, applying her teeth to his accusing pinkie.

The impression leaves the Doctor less than impressed.

So unimpressed, in fact, that he...

“You little so and so... well well. Still got that spunk, eh? No matter.” He holds her up and points again, this time to a gigantic shadow hanging above them.

She hadn’t noticed that before. She tries to look. He even lifts her up, smiling up at her as she gets her first good glimpse of the monstrous thing hanging casually above them.

A giant egg... like something that should grow on the tree anyway, but... it’s so...

The huge egg is glowing with lines, black lines... so white it is... but those black lines... what is in that egg? Susan can’t understand why it has to be so big.

“Big.” She gums, her eyes widening further as he tosses her up and down and up and down over and over again, to make her dizzy.

“Well, that’s nice. And quite true, really.” he breathes the words in her ear, enjoying the scent of her fear as it reaches her nostrils. “Because I’m the Valeshard, one glorious piece of a much greater whole, and this is you. You’re going to be eaten by what’s growing in that egg. Oh yes, little girl, Zagreus is going to come out, and he’s going to eat your bones and wear your skin like an Armani suit! Enjoy, you little snot.”

He backtracks out the door, tipping an imaginary hat as he whips out the sonic and buzzes the lock through the window, so she can watch him seal her in.

Her eyes become wet quickly. She beats her little fists on the grates beneath the strange white tree, bringing up purple blotches on the sides of her hands.

Her mouth falls open, and she bawls.

The egg reminds her of the teleport pod, so she bawls some more.

The door is locked; the Valeshard locked it in front of her.

She waits for a long time, at least five bouts of bawling, before a strange sensation pricks on the back of her neck, like something is...

A light flashes in front of her, a scar-shaped light, twisting and curling with blues and whites and silvers, like thorns. How does she know what thorns are?

She smiles.

A wrinkled old hand, attached to a wrinkled old man in a wrinkled leather jacket and a rumpled waistcoat, comes out of the light. A girl is in his arms.

He looks at Susan. Susan looks at him back.

Then Susan looks at the girl, and opens her mouth.

The wrinkled old man pulls on his little bit of beard, and then his pocket watch. Then he sets the girl in his arms down, and comes to pick up Susan. Before he reaches her, she swipes a look at the sleeping girl. She has brown hair! It’s long... nice and silky... and her lips are dark.

“This is Clara, Susan,” the old man says as he scoops Susan up and holds her head against his chest, nuzzling his beard in her head fuzz. “Kind of like Mamlaurea, isn’t she?”

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