Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Rabbit Hole Podunk- The Boy's Used To It

Flashback to Flamina’s dream, part one.

The Doctor reaches out a green velvet stick of an arm, searching for another rock to grasp.

The rocks are wet. They writhe with the slime of Gallifrey’s Northern Sea. He’s long forgotten the name, but the briny stench of bird dung is something to be remembered at all times.

He feels his red, flat, slightly female and altogether feline lips twitch in an involuntary smile. If he goes on any more rambling muses he’ll grow a long scarf, like in the old days.

Just a few more metres... feet… lengths of space… as he quibbles with himself over which definition of span is the most accurate, his fingers find another slippery purchase, warm and wet, just like the first. Hold on.

He lifts his fingers to his face. Reddish orange, and so very not nice. Not slime? Bloody cliffs, and not slime? How many people has she murdered? Ah, he feels as though he will forever be saying it- sorry for the mess I’ve left. That’s why he’s here, isn’t it? Obligingly, he wipes the fluid on his coat and keeps going down, although not in the way he expects – the rock that was so sure before is wiggling, back and forth in its hide-y-hole like a little lost predator. One crack and woosh! He’s skidding again. He pulled the rock, of course; he really can’t help himself. So it’s really no surprise to him when he begins tumbling too, head to rock and foot to head and butt cheeks to consequences, down and down and down. There’s a healthy trail of slimy muddy bits clouding up behind him. Fondly, he remembers diving lessons, and decides to…

He skids down until his coat tails are over his face, and his bum to follow. Smeared with sand, he dusts off and stands up to a new sight- a cave. And the girl is there.

Her young, oh young face; it’s like a virgin’s white mask at the evening carnivales of old. She suffers to stare at him with bright eyes full of a sense of intrusion before she, bright blue-lavender eyes and white braids and pensive muscles all spring away, to safety. To the cave.

And who is he to break that silence? It isn’t his. He’s not here to take today, he’s here to treat. As a physician. The magick man. The wizard who feeds the hero daydreams until he’s wise enough to make his own.

Naturally, he catches himself mumbling, but only after the fact. Naturally. Fight, flight, red, delight. Curds and whey and petrichor. Perhaps his brain stem is due for a tweaking next regeneration?

He’s still mumbling as he moves closer to the mouth of the cave.

“… rather like releasing raised pigeons back and forth, wouldn’t you expect?”

No answer. He expects nothing, and hopes for…

“I said, my dear, that it’s rather like releasing raised pigeons! There’s a faulty sense of accuracy all around!”

Shrip shrip.

Nothing but a tiny stirring in the depths. Perhaps soup was being made? Well, judging by the sound, either it’s a pot set to boil or a pike being sharpened… resourceful girl. And really, it sounds nothing like a pot.

The Doctor is silent for some time after that, listening instead of talking at the almost pleasant noises of scrapings from the inside of the cave. He finds the grayish, hole-y lump of a newly-dead sponge by the water’s edge and puts it in his pocket. (It looks like an old cheese.) He gathers drift from the beach. Snaps a finger to light it. Oh, the glory of fire. The burning vision. Staring into the flame he has made in the circle of stones he gathered himself and set on the median between his bit of borrowed beach and the threshold of the cave, he lapses into a kind of sleep as he watches and waits.

He nods off, like any self-respecting old goat. Stubborn too, because he really hates himself…

Before he can make sense of it all again, a wooden thing thrown from the darkness of the cave’s heart hits him in the head, knocking him onto his bum and replacing the sand he scrubbed off.

He stoops to pick it up, but it bites him instead and hops backward.

“And what are you?” he asks, fascinated by the shape of a bird made of wood that is now flapping its wings at him.

“I know you, don’t I?” the Doctor murmurs, as he watches wooden wings beat the sand up into a flurry of gold, revealing seven tiny blackish bluish reddish crustaceans with big pincers and little claws and six legs and antagonizing little beady eyes on stalks.

It’s little Macra! Oh how adorable!” he says, as the seven crabs begin to grow taller than him. Their pincers soon tower over even the cave. But of course, carapace can be broken much more easily than rock.

Possibly miffed at himself for being entirely too valid in such a shifty environment, the Doctor brushes with indistinct skill at his green velvet coat, then turns aside from the whole sordid affair to stare at the bird, who says nothing. Worse than an Auton. No, wait, they speak. Good point, he thinks.

And then?

Heady for a spot of encore he runs a hand through his sand-weighted curls and turns orator, declaring loudly to the whole strange world of beach and cliff and rock and sand and cave, “Well, would you look at this- I’m the Brave Little Tailor! And I’m quite certain you’d like a nice lemon-butter sauce with that.”

Then he steps aside from the lurching giant crabs, grabs a piece of driftwood he hasn’t used yet. He sticks it in the fire, hunting a hot spot. The drift alights, fire crawling like really fast slime-mould growth over the dry wood.

Throwing his torch arm about as though he’s drunk at the pitch, he waves the flame over the seven heads of the Macra and smiles, wishing he had one of Fitz’ cigarillos to puff aimlessly on. Had it been cigarillos?

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.