Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Eat Me, Drink Me

“Mister Benjamin!”

“Mister Benjamin!”

“Oh?” says the tall man in a creamy camel coat, whose long hand rests on a slightly bulging stomach. Green gem eyes arrest on the sight of several small humans running toward him. “Oh my… are these… are these children? May… may I pet one?”

“Pet… of course you may, Benjamin. But the Doctor just picks them up and says hello.” says the curly-haired woman in the burgundy dress and ready smile. His wife, Emily.

One girl runs to Benjamin’s outstretched hand, her blond curls bouncing. Another child, a boy with deep black hair in a spiky cut and blue eyes like clouds, goes at a leap and climbs the man’s leg like it’s the French Alps. A third, ginger with grey eyes like a cat’s, just tugs at the hem of Benjamin’s coat, a scuffed up old teddy dangling from his free hand. Three more little girls, one dark-skinned with black hair, and two pale, one whose dark hair is dyed yellow and one whose hair is a ginger brush fire, all dressed in bunched white pinafores, skip up on either side of a blonde boy with bloody hands in a silver bear mask; all three clasp hands around Benjamin’s other leg and hang on.

And there are more where they came from. A girl with dark eyes and long brown curls steps up with an abacus tattooed on her shift. A dark-haired boy with a gold star near his chest stands near her with another dark-haired girl in an air hostess cap, while a little blond girl in a blue sailing uniform sits and grins brightly at Pond’s feet, a miniature spyglass in her hand. Two boys with curly hair join her, one in a long striped scarf, the other in a dark coat of green velvet. Next, a girl with a brown flip and a pencil on her ear, holding hands with a gap-toothed blonde. A boy in a rainbow coat with unruly mopsy curls of gold. Another boy with a black bowl cut, clutching a recorder. Yet another male child, with shoulder-length white locks over an old black coroner’s coat, leans on a wall beside a close-shaven boy in a dark grey jumper and another boy wearing dark curls beneath a fetching panama.

More tiny footsteps follow; however…

There is one boy, just standing there, his soft brown hair sticking up and down and everywhere else with little care to the fox-shaped paste-colored clay mask obscuring his face.

“So he does,” Benjamin Pond says softly. Then he reaches out for the boy in the clay kitsune mask, smiling down at him.

“Liar!” cries the boy, falling back from Benjamin’s hand in a heap.

But another boy catches him, a tall boy with spiky brown hair and glasses and freckles.

“Yep and Nope.” spiky-hair says, popping the p. “It’s wake-y up time, sleepy head!”

Jack wakes to the sound of bopping in the next seat. The Januvian wing-beast obviously found someone to shack up with. But he doesn’t want to listen in; a first.

The sounds of the hover- train come to life just as he does.

Bing bing. Tuweet! Bing bing. Tuweet!

Somebody’s phone going off. Or an artificial organ needing a recharge.

Bump-crash. Ploomp, slosh.

One of the on-site vendors, carrying drinking bags full of sweet yellow, orange or pink juice just like on the sardine-tin travel buses of Old Earth’s South America.

Dingbat-ting! Smash bump.

The arrival bell- the train’s almost at the stop.

Currrrrr-unch-ting ting. Swing-grunk-grunk.

The train’s auto-brakes, swerving to avoid one of the giant flying squirrels out for a bit of sky time, logging hours.

Woosh, woosh.

A door to the next car opening and closing.

Wooooooosh. Shik-shik-shik.

The whirring rush of the train’s hover-capable lift-tracks.


Someone opening a vintage can of orange soda in the next seat.

A crumpling fills his ears, and the scent of thick paper welcomes the day to his nostrils.

His hand opens, belatedly; it seems he’s balled the flier in his sleep.

At least he’ll be there soon. Any inquiries can wait until he knows…

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