Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

The Other Horn of the Oryx

“Find the bitch.”

The Master’s voice singsongs across the hall. His tone is soft, considerate.

The look in his eyes is anything but.

His hand holds something precious as it tangles in the Doctor’s hair; his fingers are caked in blood.

Not wanting to release his hand, he uses telekinesis to float his hoodie off of his body and fold it under the Doctor’s head.

The younger Time Lord is micro-convulsing in short, rapid bursts, his whole frame shaking with the effort of fighting what is happening to him.

His green eyes hover near the Master’s face. His vision is cloudy with some kind of dust.

The Master cringes as he follows the trail of dust that is slowly creeping along the man’s face.

The flesh is turning a grayish clay color; soon it will be just like the pile of dust that used to be the Doctor’s sonic probe.

“You dropped your screwdriver, you stupid git,” the Master says, scrubbing his thumb down over the Doctor’s face. As he stares, the crawling dust directs into an eye duct, turning one sunken green peridot the color of a shining pearl. A tear rolls down his own cheek, and he smacks his free hand at the unfamiliar feeling, swatting at the drop like he would a fly. “Do you see the bits of guard over there? Those piles of dead skin and pomp? The bird scratched them too. You’ve lasted this long, Theta! Don’t… don’t do this!”

The Doctor grins with half a mouth, whispering for his friend to lean closer. The other half of his face is fast becoming marble-ine dust. As the Master holds him, his jawline develops a crack, and starts to crumble…

“Koschei,” he murmurs, exhaling particles of himself against the older Time Lord’s cheek as he raises up, plastering himself against the man as he struggles to speak, “… three things, to start with:”

“What?” the Master croaks, amazed that his old friend has the strength to lift himself on only one arm, one arm that was turning to clay even now, in the mess of leftover blood and reddened dirt.

“One-she’s still a child inside, Kosch… she can still be saved.”

“Two- Trust me.”

The Lord President-who-is-the-Master feels his lips trembling. He scrubs a hand through his dirty blonde hair, realizing only after he does it that his hand was full of dust, the still-breathing remains of a man who so often before had slipped through his fingers in a different way.

But this time is more vexing, somehow.

“And door number three, Mister Warhol?”

The laugh in his old friend’s one good eye stretches to eternity, in that moment.

He laughs, too.

And then,


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