Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

In Other Words, Pachisi

“Hello, Mister Harkness. Shall I get you a chaser to go with that shiner, or can we make do with a jelly baby?”

Jack opens his eyes to a crinkly white blob. It crunches before his face in a Vaseline haze.

Also, the warmth of cinnamon, a dash of rough peppery clove. A touch of old lace, creamy with the stench of old tea times- sugared, stained, and too many butter curls spilled by tiny hands.

Suddenly, suddenly, softly and slowly, shapes emerge between blinkings.

From the slightly gaunt frame of a heart-shaped face, golden curls dangle heavily, like the languid heads of lilacs captured by little girls in their Easter dresses.

There are moorings all around the single green room through the only inside door, too. Body-shaped moorings. Two are female, one has a diamond-shaped head. Three are male, one being a child about ten years of age. All but one crèche is filled. One of them, Jack notes, is about 181 centimeters tall, just the right fit for a callous murderer in a camel coat.

Inside those, darkened shapes like potato sacks hang limp within silvery insets that feed out in purple and blue and black and red, all the way to the center console, where strange hand-shapes on console readers beckon the touch.

A set of long fingers dabbles near his eyelashes; between two tips of fingers there lies a sticky baby of red candy which flickers in and out off the bridge of his nose. Another one perches above Green Coat’s lower lip, like a skin diver, this one orange and half-denuded of sugar crystals by the man’s saliva.

“Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid,” Jack says, settling into a wolfish crouch where his back mingles upside down with a slanted row of inset wiring half-hanging out from the rather unflattering black wall behind him. “… I know you are behind all this.”

Instantly, Green Coat’s bony boxy quiet screaming shoulders are expressive again, dipping down for a preamble ski run like chariots of fire where he stands with his front to the main middle console- a hyper-modern pedestal cut of odd material in that same dismal blue and black and purple and red, circled by gold and purple sepulchers where one is, if Jack is not mistaken, to place one’s hands. There, a white pyramid sits and spins in mid air above the very center, parading itself. The bounce as it hovers must be recent, because Green Coat keeps reaching up as if to touch, then remembers himself, hiding his lacy fingers deep again in a pensive velvet pocket.

“Do you really think so, Jack? Is that what you truly think of me?” Green Coat murmurs, the usual buttery timbre of his voice caught between what seems to be some rocks and a small spider web, because it surely sounds to Jack as though the real man who looks like this would never bend.

“Yes, Benjamin, I do.” Jack says, curling his lips away from his teeth in a pearly rictus, “… It figures the best lay I ever had would be a murderer with Martian ice in his veins.”

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