Penultimate instalment of my short Dr Who story, entered for a competitioon a couple of years ago.
My eyes were struck by the brightness of the box’s interior and I covered them with my bloody, muddied knuckles. The Doctor guided me to an elegant little chair in the corner of a wide, white room.
‘Before you ask,’ he said, ‘yes, it is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. This is the Tardis. It is my home. It’s also my transportation. A “cosmic caravan” my friend Ace called it.’
He busied himself with a set of controls ranged on a central dais. A glass column, infused with instrumentation, began to rise and fall and the room juddered. This made me jump and I felt another flash of panic.
‘Don’t be nervous, there’s no need for that now,’ said the Doctor, who had noticed this. ‘I am the one who should be nervous. I know very well how this short trip we’re making is likely to end, and I am afraid it will be on my conscious for a very long time.’
The lights in the room dimmed slightly and from the central column there emerged a weird, metallic scraping.
As the sound faded into a background hum, the Doctor continued: ‘We’ve just got time to clean you up a bit and then… and then I’ll have to put you on show.’
He left me for a few moments, ducking out through a door at the opposite end of the room. I felt a faint vibration and realised we were in motion, that this inexplicable machine was travelling somewhere and taking me with it.
The Doctor soon returned with a silver bowl of steaming water and a towel over one arm. He had removed his jacket and there was something so cheerful and childlike about the pair of bright red braces he was sporting that I found myself smiling. They were reassuring somehow.
‘It’s good to see you smile. I imagine it is a long while since you have done so,’ the Doctor said, and he began to clean and dress my many minor wounds.
‘I owe you an apology for forcing you to view all that horror,’ he said. ‘You have seen more horror in your young lifetime, Zeris, than even an adult with a long, long lifespan such as mine should ever witness. But I believe it will prove necessary. We are on our way to the Hall of the Absolutes. The Absolutes consider themselves the owners of this corner of your galaxy, including the world you live on. They are a cold, proud, amoral race – cousins to my own people. But they have certain powers we do not share. They may intervene to stop the Thlaarx in their massacre. But I doubt it. They will probably need convincing. If so, that is where I hope you will help.’
‘Help? Yes, I’ll help,’ I said.
‘Good boy,’ he said. ‘Although, actually, you won’t really need to do anything.’
(Final part next week)