Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Messaline Dream

The Master’s hand opens on a bunch of soft grey.

He remembers to open his eyes, but his eyelids lift on a strange landscape of headless, legless women set on poles all around.

There are clear white windows like sheets of spun sugar, everywhere he sees. Everywhere he looks.

His fingers traverse the grey. He lingers, sensing that his presence has been in another place but recently. There is a golden ring on his other hand, the one not touching grey.

He blinks, staring up, on his back, at a pair of stick-frame breasts that wink at him, their bounds the casing of an unfinished house. They end in truncation, with nary a bum to show for it.

His eyes, less bleary now but for aetheric beam locators, that somber expression of womanhood, take flight about the room. The space is less dark and markedly less boring than he first imagined, relying instead on high ceilings like turned out steeples, the whole thing cornered, drawn and quartered by inside-buttresses carved with a thousand white equines- a mob of hooves.

The grey is crinoline, he realises, as he pulls it to his face and buries himself in her old clothes.

“But they’re not old,” he murmur to the empty air inside her Type 102. “She’s coming back for them, if I have to deliver her myself. That idiot better keep her in one piece, or I won’t…”

“Or you won’t love him anymore?” says the female face randomly popping out of the white box-shaped console sticking from the floor. The face has a seam running from one eye all the way down, like a bonkers playing card turned decorator.

“Do you know, Rosette my dear…” the Master says, cupping the 102 TARDIS’ proffered milky features, “You’re a lovely girl, in the nude. So elegant. You remind me of that little ape church in Jolly Old… all the white and silvery, what was it called? Oh yes…” His fingers dart, minnows in a stream as they grab the sides of the console box and press something. “Now it’s got to be here somewhere… ‘Mina said something about… hidden treasure…”


“Ah, yes! There it is!”

Square columns raise behind each of the many mannequins; each glass pillar contains a...

He follows the line of each identical piece of cloth, noting the slimness, the curves and the boning as though admiring a murderer’s work, or perhaps a fine meal. His hands are behind his back as he walks back and forth between every column; his booted feet on the glossy floor as he paces, trying to find what she meant for him to find.

Then he sees it.

There is one, in the back, in a simple place of honour. It sits slightly to the right of the others. He crosses the room, fingers twitching to touch the thing under glass.

He feels up and down the square column, the sensitive nerves in his digits trolling for a catch release.

He wants his prize.

Craves it.


A little to the left.

A bit to the right and up, at a slight diagonal.

Some jiggery-pokery, a precise sideways motion.

The shadow of a seam is found.

There we are. Here we are, now.

A beep issues from the face on the console- the TARDIS avatar melts back into the substantive mass of herself.

When the glass slides down, the Master is besotted.

“Only he could have… honestly, and to think you liked this rubbish thing! Oh well,” he groans as he lifts it delicately from its mooring and holds it to his chest. There is a tag, an antique square of paper attached by a thread to the hem. “So many black bows… you get that from your mother- the bastard.”

He reads the tag.


Your mother


Aunty River,

On your birthday.

“Good grief.” he says, cradling the lovely mess of ribbons and lace and lavender silk tied and formed and waiting to be worn by the proprietress of one Type 102 TT capsule currently idling in a forest of white trees. “I want to see her again. Do you hear me? DO YOU HEAR ME?”


An answer, this time from the floor as it rises up into woman-form, flowing up into curves and sensuality like a stylised statue of milk.

He grabs the 102’s solid-interface avatar by the shoulders, shoving the piece of finished fabric toward the ship’s blank, candle wax gaze.

“My kingdom this glass slipper to be filled. Have you got anything yet?” he breathes, sinking down into cross-legs.

The interface does the same then, reaching across and touching his face as he sways back to front with Flamina’s dimensionally transcendent corset in his arms.

“I have tea,” says the interface, and a service melts up from the floor.

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