Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Black Pudding the Elder

Flashback.

His fingers lace along the lines of the Right.

In his mind, he can remember how it felt to use it.

Cold metal encasing his fist, crackling in his hands with raw power; the power to bend stars to the will of men. A power he utilized today to rid the universe of That Woman.

Two birds with one stone fist.

And it is inside its case now.

It is safe.

Omega’s other dangerous toy.

Slowly he draws himself away from the placid object, humming in its clear glass box.

Away from the lines.

The circles of rhythm and care, carved into its silvery architecture.

The articulate clockworks of a limb not severed.

He removes his feet from the inset foot panel and steps back into the dark of the small and vaulted archive room.

He raises his head, feeling the shadows trickling along the old walls like a hermit feels his dirt.

Suddenly, the expectation of a crunch... to interrupt the calm and smelt the dark and somber appointments of grey and red and gold lining the walls into something trying hard to be monstrous.

An intrusion.

It could be mildly fascinating, he thinks, trying for self-honesty and attaining something similar.

He does not look.

He never looks.

“I know it’s you,” he quirks nasally, pitching a bit higher than normal, to preserve the purity of the performance.

No sound, but stillness.

A late hour amusement, then.

Very well.

Taking three more steps, he puts more space between himself and the pedestal, more space between himself and everything that happened to-day, taking pains to drain his facial muscles of their color just so, like a milky girl.

He has seen a play or two, in his day; on the battlefield, in the squares, in the houses of law.

“Do I require some prop, or will you provide a cue for me to improvise some invisible instrument?” he greets to the empty air, careful not to sweep his arms like a rampaging second rate theatre rat.

He tips his left ankle slightly to the right, posing as if to take drink from a missing goblet.

“Why don’t you come out of there, pest...” he calls, adding a touch of merriment to his smooth tones as his hunting eyes search the dancing shades of grey behind curtains and columns.

No answer, of a course, save the splendid silence and himself, beating double as he breathes in the dust of his private little archive.

But soon, but soon, a play of light casts itself, seeding a malevolent lantern across his back, the tip and tone of it cascading over ‘that’ pedestal, crawling beneath the only half-open case in the room.

As he considers this new trick, it fails him to consider the shadows that are no longer dancing, watchful as he is of the now quickened number burning up the pedestal where the Right Hand rests.

“That is not yours to play with, child...” he calls out, his tongue burning now with a subtle contempt.

The shadow climbs higher, covering the vague-scallop base of the pedestal, swallowing the case, dipping into the light inside the glass. Pouring over him.

Then he looks down.

His shadow, gone from him. Folded into the pie of his predicament like a trick napkin.

The nerves in his immortal toes stop crawling just long enough for him to notice the cold, and he gasps icy air.

But the shadow curls along his exhalation, following his breath back into his mouth like a host of black beetles craving flesh.

“Happy Birthday, Rassilon...”

The breath of his killer is heard, at last.

Footsteps echo outside his cocoon of dark, trailing away from the case.

And Rassilon smiles.


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