Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum


“Grey, look!” Jack cries out, slapping his brother on the shoulder, which tosses the wee kiddy boat with its little white horn back and forth, “… it looks like there’s land!”

Grey Harkness looks, and a jagged belt of sea-beaten rocks and wind-bitten beaches rises up before him, close to the horizon… at about four of the clock.

“I see what you mean, Grey,” Jack says, cocking his head at his brother sitting on the other side of the kiddy boat, “but how are we gonna get this thing by those teeth?”

Jack smiles and roughs his brother’s hair.

“Oh, I have my ways… I’ll just pretend it’s the Doctor’s’… hey, what’s that farther inland?”

Grey stares ahead where his brother is pointing, following the line of Jack’s hand to the edge of a clear beach and up a brushy flat to find…

“That’s… that’s a big pointy object, Grey! Do you know what this means?”

“Not really, big brother- I’m more concerned with the shore.”


“Jack, look to your...”

The kiddy boat’s neck and head shove backward, knocking Grey out of the boat. Jack looks down to see a large sandbar, then steps over the side.

“Glurg!” Grey spits sand out of his mouth onto the beach.

Jack grabs Grey’s shoulders and blows in his face, clearing bits of sand.

“…there. Better, little brother?”

But Grey’s eyes are focused inland.

“Grey?” Jack asks, “What happened to the shoals?”

Grey stumbles off the sandbar and into the shallow water, toward shore.

“They did.”

Jack follows Grey through the shallows and up onto a stretch of pale beach, where several figures with large golden spheres in place of heads wait, kneeling forward on their hands in supplication to the sky.

A humming sound emanates from the gold-headed crowd as Jack and Grey walk nearer. Overhead, an unseen shadow plays sharply behind the high clouds.

“I count forty-two of them, Jack,” Grey says, looking back at the way they came through the disappearing shoals, “Hey, the shoals are back!”

“I know,” Jack says, jerking a thumb at the pyramid, eyes twinkling, “I think they hummed them away for us. Neat, huh? They’re called—“

“Geldoracht, I know, I know! But why are they here?”

“We’re dreaming.”

“I gathered that. But, what are they gonna do to us? Are they gonna hum ‘us’ away next?”

Grey rubs his hands together behind his back, shifting his weight to his right foot, settling his shoulders for a second time.

“Is it just me or are they getting up?”

The fields of Geldoracht raise their arms to the sky and hold there, fixed in veneration.

Jack’s eyes narrow, and he follows the path of those arms into the cloud cover glowing over the horizon.

A small shadow flickers past the top cloud layer, coming faster down into the atmosphere.

“Is that…” Grey breathes, fascinated.

“I think it is…” Jack answers, grinning as he stares up at the approaching object.

The shadow falls closer, and they can see the outline of a small shape, male, head hurtling toward the ground, gangly elbows wrapped around a fat white rooster.

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