Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

pas tout à fait une mortinaissance

“See there, ‘Kos?” the Doctor asks softly, eyeing the giant, turnip-line roots of the inner canyon as he waits for his friend to circle to his own location among the spiral of crystal-threaded stones they’ve been traversing for the past quarter hour. “It’s just that way; you can see the beginnings of the inside trail leading into the Cloud itself.” He pauses, leaning on an upright stone. “Ah, I’m tired; all this double-routing and cobble-tooling is really wearing on me.” he calls, tapping a finger to his left temple as the Master’s dark toffee eyes come round the ridge and find him at last. “So, how do you like the view?”

The Master wants to scream. But he just grits it, balls his fist and stares out at where the idiot has jammed his fingers in a vague ‘come see’.

At last- he can see the entrance to the Cloud near a strange waterfall of diamond drops; the silvery water is running uphill, as if a beach could spill skyward toward the lightning and still birth rare struck glass.

There are nests of silver-veined trees in the air, floating like congealed soup in mid-atmosphere. Like magnificent growing tongues, they curl and uncurl great fern-canopies of hovering ecosystem, footed with bits of dirt and dangling rock held in long, spindly dark toe-roots.

“Jellyfish…”the Master murmurs, enjoying the unique shapes of the tree line despite himself. It –could- be –him-, couldn’t it?

“What? Come on, Koschei! We haven’t all bloody day. The Cloud is just up ahead and we’ve still got to… what’s that face for?” the Doctor sings out, swinging his arms in wheels, with his tweed jacket tied around his waist. “We’ve still got a few steps to go yet.” His eyes narrow strangely, like the drooling slit mouths of two rabid dogs. “The Cloud must be breached.”

And that’s a no.

“I thought you liked them.” the Master says softly, flattening his palm against his rough-stubbled cheek, sliding his fingers across. Staring, without trying to. He can’t quite name it as amazement, but he tries to keep his voice steady; he knows how to do -that- well, at least. He breathes, “Yes, let us… do this now, while it is light out.”

The Doctor looks at him quizzically, his green eyes seeming to turn surreally in their sockets, like depression glass cake stands. He turns to the Master as he’s leaning for support against the crystal-veined rock and says, “You thought I liked… what? What was it? Oh, you’re agreeing with me now? Oh that’s special. Off we go then!” He tromps away, flopping his way across a narrow cut-through of the silvery, copper-leaved shrubbery.

The Master follows him, feeling a hot droplet sting his eye; he doesn’t bother to wipe it.

The Valeyard is not here; he never has been.

But Koschei is.

He’s always been here.


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