Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

White Ladies

The white of Kenny’s hand slides across his own forehead, finding all the crevasses in the smooth Time Lord skin. Finding all the cracks.

Like a spider spinning a cocoon, his fingers shift across his old skin, studying. Surveying.


With a laugh he presses hard, smushing the smooth olive lips against the sharp olive nose with his fine olive palm.

The real Kenny’s body swings back indelicately, a swaying doll.

His laughter echoes hollowly through the frozen storage room.

“Rather like meat on a hook, don’t you think? After all, it takes Time to freeze them.”

In the doorway behind him, a shadow lingers, its eyes green holes in the icy dark.

“If you’re done?” it prompts, annoyed. “I’ll be getting hungry soon. Check the Gardens for intruders and then report back to Borusa for debriefing. I prefer to take my lunch alone... but if you hold up the works any longer, I may invite you to dinner. Mother will be irritated, but... I don’t give a damn.”

The shadow slurps away, leaving bare footprints in the snow on the floor.

“Of course, Father,” the Kenny Flesh says, inclining his head toward the empty doorway.

Then Not-Kenny moves to the door of the pre-freezing room, shuts it.

Ice sparkles free of the frame and shatters on the floor, sprinkling bits of white across his freshly booted feet.

“Mother will not be pleased, indeed. Who does he think he is?” he murmurs as he steps into the next room, “There’s not even anything in there. Statues...”

A square of black stone statues, all women, decorates the center of the space, flanked by more of the Valeshard’s frozen dinners, shoved in tight against the walls.

First in the square, the effigy of a young Gallifreyan woman of 170 or so. Large eyes. Large lips. Short hair. Cute. Vulnerable. The second corner is a human woman... teacher type, with a tidy jaw and a fierce gentleness to the eyes. Upper right is President Romana, with her long hair and her quirking grin and her childish face. The last, upper left, is another human, a round-faced slip of a thing with never-ending legs, pouty lips, freckles. Large, wide eyes and a button nose.

Disinterested, Not-Kenny moves on to the next room. This room is smaller, lined with yet more of the frozen Gallifreyans. Some of them children.

“No imaginary monsters in here,” Flesh Kenny murmurs softly, making a show of looking around each statue in the three-figure pyramid adorning the center of this room.

Ice covers the walls, floor, everything; a sleepy facsimile of rich green ivy. Flesh Kenny looks down at the ground near the first statue of the three, a curvy, sisterly woman with shoulder length hair, wearing a vest. Another of the Doctor’s pet humans. There is no ice at her feet. Strangely, as in the room before this one, the ice seems to stop just before it reaches the effigies.

“Gives me the shakes,” he murmurs, before laughing and running his eyes and hands along the next statue, checking for disturbances in the cool white stone.

The statue is the second leg of the three-sided pyramid, and depicts the countenance of a sturdy, confident woman, full-bodied and regal in jodhpurs and endless waves of curls. Her full lips yawn a knowing smile.

Ah, River Song. How could he forget? Pompous wench. Always putting on airs.

Not-Kenny laughs again, cracking his neck as he comes to the final statue in the room.

A slip of a thing, barely a woman at all. But strong. Nanny-like. Long hair slightly past the shoulders. Suspecting eyes that curl with a knowing laugh. A bustle gown and bonnet. In her hand, a leaf clutched tightly to the bodice.

Frost is curling all around him, all over the frozen dinners with their terrified little beady eyes staring out so placidly from the ice.

Everywhere but the statues. Idly, Not-Kenny steps into the last room, the smallest.

No frozen dinners, but in the center of the room, a last remaining statue.

Another young woman with a round pouty face and shouldered hair, he reasons, shaking his head as he walks around it, admiring the tight turn of buttock only partially hid by a scoop of ancient vestment. Plump lips like slivers of juicy melon engulf the mouth, and the sea seems to sound from doll eyes overmade to seem larger in the mirror.

She is carved not of colored stone, this one, but of ice. Clear ice, too, as if someone couldn’t decide what to call her.

Or was still deciding.

And there is a yellow rose in her hand, dropping petals on the floor.

One, two, three.

Two are already on the ground. A third is about to fall, teetering on the brink of oblivion.

“Hrm. Maiden in the ice. Looks like someone ‘has’ been in here, but they seem to have left,” he says, taking the rose and bending to pick up the petals. “I ought to tell the Valeshard. I ought to... but... for some reason... my memories of Kenny are quivering in the back of my...”

Not-Kenny shakes himself again, not having meant to say the last bit out loud, then walks back out the way he’s come, careful to take a last peek before shutting the door.

And as the door closes on her, a sound emanates from the final, small room.

Where she waits.



The image of an angel, as they say...

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