Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

The Hand of Fatima

“Really, Dallyrasse? Kill them? Is that what Tzipporahkoczeskatilya would want?”

Both men turn; a voice that cannot be flies out of the dark of a storage cupboard. A figure in a dark hood appears to own the sounds. He is dressed in black from hood brim to boot strap. Those boots cross the room now, with so convincing a lack of swagger that the two conscious men in the room could easily believe he isn’t there at all. The man pauses to look at something on his wrist, then leans on a monitor halfway between the Doctor’s bed and the Master, whose feet are dangling and twitching like a bag of live snakes in the general vicinity of ‘Pasmo’s’ medal.

“Stop squirming, vermin! I swore I’d kill the both of you. What makes you think I care how many of you there are? I failed my daughter. Failed Gallifrey. Because of you! It’s all gone... her beautiful future, my reasons for existence… everything lost to you, and him, and that fool who wears my face.” His fingers tear holes in him; red lines trickle down across his cheeks, exposing the top layer of skin to the open air in thin rents.

But then his eyes lift, as if born up. His lashes raise like the veil of a virgin, his gaze railing against it all, the tiny flame of a candle lit by newly soaked wick.

“What? What did you say? My daughter’s… name?” he screams, a lurching pool of purple silk as he lunges for the man in the cloak.

“Answer the Question, Dallyrasse,” the man in the cloak singsongs, dancing away from that big, formidable, grasping male hand with all the stolen grace of the daughter Rassilon had named so long ago, as he’d gazed out over fields full of ash and dreamed. “Would Tzipporahkoczeskatilya have wanted to see you like this?” Then he edges closer, just out of reach of those fingers grasping for him like descending lightning, and Rassilon goes for black cloak’s throat, too.

The fingers float in the air, curving out into the empty space between them. Deeper in and running through endless fields of charcoal and pitch and starry sky, Rassilon squirms his hands through the darkness, searching for flesh beneath so he can wrest his daughter’s name from the cloaked man’s barbed and seething lips.

But the blackness is like branches in the night, the branches more spine than limb. They claw at him, tearing and ripping and shredding his clothes until he is naked- he falls on the ground before them and they shudder, dropping their small, juiceful blackish fruit upon his face. He closes his eyes, and his nose is filled with the rainy scent of the fleshy black fruits. More and more of the fruit, as they ripen and fall down, cover his eyes like a shroud, and he weeps as his vision is obscured like a window being closed, by the glossy black hips of grey roses, full and subtle and thick with the perfume of ash. They pile and pool and press upon him, and he trembles beneath their weight at last, and is still.

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