Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Stop, Rabbit, Stop

The Doctor and I ran through Rabbit Run all the way to engineering. There were many obstacles and challenges. It was crazy and frightening. This part, the running part, wasn't important.

If you want to know a secret about the running part, then know that that the running is rarely important. It doesn't matter if the Doctor is running towards or away from danger. That part is about time. When the Doctor is running away, he is buying time to think. Well, I say think. Most times the running is to clear his head so he can think when he stops. The scary monsters or savage aliens are an excuse to run. No companion would question him if he told them to run from danger. The Doctor never runs from danger. Nor is he running into it. He is running around it in an attempt to confuse it and buy time to find a resolution for it. And it doesn't matter if the resolution is his plan or something that has presented itself as a resolution. The important thing to know is that he needs to look for it and that is what the running is all about.

So, by the time we did get to the engineering section, he had a good idea of what was happening and what to do. What was happening is that the entire spaceport had been pushed out of its orbit by a wave. Much like a tsunami pushes buildings off their foundations and further inland, Rabbit Run was being flung into space. We were moving too fast. Pieces of the port were being ripped off. Rabbit Run was in danger of being split apart and torn to shreds. In addition, Rabbit Run was being thrown towards a star system.

I'm not an expert but I am fairly certain that space is big. The Doctor told me that Rabbit Run was special because it orbited a rogue planet that behaved like a star.  Rogue planets are usually pretty far away from other star systems, that is why they are called 'rogue planets.' There can be billions of light years between celestial bodies. Hence, I made a comment about not being worried about falling into a star or slamming into a planet. The Doctor's response was short and rude. The point of his response was that I didn't know anything about this part of space so I should shut up.

In the end, the Doctor turned off the power and engines of the station. Then, he rerouted the power and created a gravity field. He narrowed and concentrated the field to a point at the front of the ship, which made the ship ten times heavier than it was supposed to be. This made the Rabbit Run faster. I thought he was positively insane to do something so reckless. But it was exactly what was necessary. The Doctor turned Rabbit Run into, well basically, a rope. The port grabbed hold of the first high massed celestial body it found, flung around the backside of it, and came to a halt. The rest of the wave hit the face of the body and protected us from additional waves that followed. Plus, the pieces that we had lost up to the point of his gravity solution followed the spaceport and stopped in the same orbit.

The Doctor turned everything back on and made sure there was enough oxygen and artificial gravity for survivors. Before I could begin to calm down and process the events that took place, the Doctor and I were back on the TARDIS. I stared down at him from my perch and watched him dance around the console, congratulating himself on being clever.

I said nothing to him. I turned and went to the chair next to the bookcase and sat down. All the running and yelling had taken so much out of me. I remembered T'Lennah, Joseph, and the Spineless Witch. I remembered the theft. I felt lucky. That even if he takes me home right now, I was able to experience all that I had. And every moment was worth it.

previous                                              Run Rabbit Run

next                                                      The Restroom on the TARDIS

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Dyersburg Dupe

I have a neighbor that I will Mrs. C. Mrs. C is an older lady, in her 80's. She is a nice, modern southern belle kind of gal. But don't let that fool you, she is a spit fire. Doesn't take 'no' for an answer and has a great sense of business. Mrs. C is kind, polite, and caring. Her retirement is lonely and boring for her. She used to live a life of activity. She has a problem getting around and can't do the things she used too.

I told her about my buckwheat problem awhile back. She told me that she would help by hiring me to do cleaning jobs around her house. I got enough money for the buckwheat. And she discovered how helpful I could be. So, after my buckwheat seeds were paid for she asked how much I would charge to help her around the house more often.

Now, I am not the kind of person that would charge my grandmother to work. Seriously, I told her that I would not take any money from her unless I needed it. And I would never take more than I needed. Since the buckwheat thing, I haven't really needed anything anyway. I prize other things more important, like friendship. Plus, it gets me out of the house when I need too. The quiet and the stillness of her house is more precious than gold to me.

We have become friends over the last few months. She will call me over to help her dust or vacuum. And a few times, she asked me over to hem up some pants for her. A week or two ago, she told me that she wanted to help me in return. She drives me places and introduces me to people. It is very handy having a well connected southern belle showing me around Tennesse. And because she has lived here her whole life and owned her own business here for many years, there is not a city, town, or local business that doesn't have someone she knows, someone who knows her, or someone who isn't related to someone she knows. That is the nature of the southern culture. Which is direct opposition to the culture of the north, where I grew up. And honestly, I don't mind the change.

On this particular morning, I had no plans on going anywhere. I was dressed in old shorts and a tank top, outside mowing the lawn. I was covered in grass and dirt. I needed a shower. But I wasn't going to do that later, after the mowing. My son ran out of the house with the phone in his hand. I turned off the mower and took the phone. It was Mrs. C. Would I go with her to Dyersburg for a cigarette run?

She lived right next door. I got off the phone and went to her door. She opened the door and said, "Oh! You are out in the yard today. But will you go to Dyersburg with me for cigarettes?"

"Will it be quick?" I asked.

"It is just for cigarettes," said Mrs. C. And she gives me puppy eyes.

Oh boy. "Fine, as long as it is quick," I said. "I have to mow."

"Well," says Mrs. C. "Go put on some clothes."

I run home and thrown on a shirt over my tank top. I take off my nasty shoes and socks and throw on some slip-on shoes.  I keep my shorts on because I think this is going to be a quick trip. I don't even grab my purse. I have my phone and that is it. I walk out of my house and jump in the car with her.

As we pull out of the driveway, she says, "You didn't change."

"It's just a quick trip. I didn't think I needed to change to come back and mow."

She says nothing. We are on our way to Dyersburg for cigarettes.

Halfway to Jackson, she gets a phone call. It is her sister I will call Mrs. G. When she gets off the phone Mrs. C says, "We are going to meet my sister in Dyersburg."

"Okay," I said. Thinking that we are going to meet for lunch or something. "But I didn't know so I did not bring my purse."

"Oh don't worry about that," says Mrs. C.

As we get into Jackson, she says, "I am going to stop at Ima's to pay on my bill."

"Okay," I said. Not thinking too much about it.

Ima's is a clothing store in Jackson on Vann Drive. It has beautiful things in it, but far too expensive for my taste. I would never spend that much on a blouse made in China. I would rather spend my eighty dollars on fabric at Joann's and make my clothes. But that is just me. And as I said earlier, Mrs. C is a modern southern belle and if given the choice she will dress like one.

And as for that, I figured I should just consider myself a modern "lady's maid." Which is mainly, waiting in the background and doing little things for her. Like retrieving the phone she left in the car and holding clothes that she decided at the last minute to shop for. Which is exactly what happened.

Five pairs of pants later, we are standing at the counter to pay. She does indeed pay her bill, purchases pants. And in the meantime, has a 40-minute conversation with the counter gal. It seems that the counter lady is related to her. Her daddy was a preacher who was married to an aunt of a cousin. (I think. I could be getting that wrong.) And yes, it did go something like that.

One hour and 10 minutes later, we are back in the car on the way to Dyersburg. But as She is driving on Highway 412, she says to me. "Keep your eye out for a vegetable stand. I want to get some tomatoes for Mr. B and my brother. We like garden tomatoes better than store bought ones. The garden tastes better."

So, ten minutes later, we are at the vegetable stand. She takes her time and picks through the tomatoes and picks up a watermelon too. About 30 minutes after that, we are back int he car driving.

At this point, it is getting close to 3:00 pm. She says, "I want Joe to do my hair when we get to Dyersburg. But I think I might have missed him. Could you dial this number on my phone?" She gives me the number and I dial. We tried three times to get through but Joe doesn't answer.

Now, Mrs. C didn't say anything about getting her hair done. And I am thinking "Thank goodness. Now, we can just get cigarettes and go home." But no, because at this point I remember that Mrs. C sister, Mrs. G, was supposed to meet us in Dyersburg. When we do get to Dyersburg, we are going to go into a restaurant (I think)and eat. But I look like crap! I sigh and just roll with it.

Yeah, no. We go into Dyersburg and pull into a house. I can see Mrs. G in the driveway. And just as Mrs. C pulls all the way on the property she says "This is my brother's house, Mr. D."

"I thought we were going to get cigarettes in Dyersburg," I said confused.

"No, we are going to pick up Mrs. G and driving to Caruthersville for cigarettes. We had to stop here first."

"But Caruthersville is in Missouri," I said.

"Yes," she says. "They are cheaper in Missouri."

"How far is Caruthersville from Dyersburg?" I asked. Becuase I haven't made the trip in ages and I had forgotten how long it was.

"An hour," she says.

I keep my mouth shut. Listen, she wants to help me. She must have thought it was a good idea to get me out of the house. And she probably wanted to get out of the house too. I don't want to be rude or appear ungrateful. I do not want to discourage her help or her friendship. But it was also clear I wasn't just going to Dyersburg for cigarettes. And now, I was stuck on whatever adventure she had cooked up for me.

Mrs. C gets out of the car and looks onto the back of the property where there are a few vehicles. She laughs and says, "Shit, Mr. T is here."

We go to the porch where everyone is sitting and she makes introductions. There is Mrs. G, her sister. Mr. D, her brother. Mr. T, the long-time family friend. I bring out the watermelon and the tomatoes and stand there looking stupid in my crappy clothes and horrible hair do.

"Well, if that ain't a bonafide country girl!" says Mr. T.

"What?" I say.

"You must be a bonafide country girl! You're standing on the lawn holding a watermelon and tomatoes." He says to me.

"Well if those parameters also include fresh of the tractor then yes. I suppose I am a bit of a country girl." Becuase all that is true. I had been on the tractor with the mowing implement just hours before with the intent of plowing afterward.

Mr. T chuckles and Mr. D said, "You can put that watermelon and tomatoes on that table over there."

So, I did and sat down at the little chair next to it. Everyone piles in on the porch. Mrs. C, Mrs. G, Mr. D, and Mr. T sit down around the front porch, southern style. And begin to chit chat. Which includes this back and forth between Mr. T and Mrs. G.

"I'll put in my teeth if you put on your hearing aid!" Said Mrs. G, defensively.

"I would wear the damn thing if it worked properly," said Mr. T.

"You should have kept your appt with the doctor. It's your own fault you don't have a new one that works," says Mrs. G.

"Well, I guess I am just a lazy old man," said Mr. T chuckling. "I'd rather sleep in than go to an early appt."

"Well, that's own fault and until then, I ain't wearing my teeth!" Said Mrs. G. "They hurt anyway."

At this point, I may or may not need to mention that I am the youngest person a few decades. Everyone on this porch is in their late 70s. So the conversation falls into stereotypical old folks topics. Who hurts more, who is showing off surgery scars, how many meds they are taking, and who is dead today. Now, that last bit isn't surprising for people their age. However, for me, it is a topic of conversation that doesn't come up too often. And honestly, it was new for me. Not about the whole being dead part, but the way in which they talked about it. Casual. The topic of death is so casual. Crying about death at their age, well, it is so normal that if they did show emotion about it, they would be crying all the time. And that isn't any way to live. Most of these people they were talking about were very old or very sick. So, death is a relief that has come after a long and active life. It wasn't sad but it wasn't happy. It just was. And that made the topic casual.

After about 40 minutes of chitty-chat, Mrs. C looks over at Mr. T and says, "Mr. T, take us to Caruthersville in your truck."

"Well, I ain't doing anything anyway, why not."

So like a bunch of teenagers, they pile into the truck with me in the back and in the middle. Mr. T has a very fancy truck. All leather seats with embroidery and scroll work on the dashboard. I had never seen such a fancy truck before in my life. And it was comfy!

But the whole way there, the conversation was..well...when someone said something, there was a question from the front. "What?! What did you say?!"

Repeat statement.


Repeat statement.



"Oh, yeah..."

So, imagine a bunch of teenagers with horrible hearing problems, minus the load music but with all the yelling, packed into a truck, joy-riding at top speed, down a country road towards Caruthersville for cigarettes..and alcohol. Becuase Mr. D wants some booze now. In addition, I have been demoted to "tag along little sister, Mrs. C  was forced to bring because her parents made her" kind of a thing.

Some things never change, even when you are old.

We finally get to Caruthersville. We pull into the tobacco and alcohol store. Mrs. G and Mrs. C get out and go inside.

I think they will only be a few minutes. I will wait in the truck with the fellas.

Big mistake.

Mrs. G comes back out and syas to Mr. T, who is in the drivers seat, "Mrs. C wants to play the slot machine here."

"Well, we will wait here. We ain't got anything better to do."

Then, both men turn to me and here ist comes. The pervert jokes. Becuase for some reason men think, 'Hey, what's the best way to flirt? I know! Pervert jokes!"

I am trying to be polite. I am trying to be a good guest. But the onslaught of pervert jokes just keeps on coming. Then, of course, the teasing. Oh my god! Why do men think that teasing is flirting and women like it? Yeah, the best way to a woman's heart is teasing the crap out of her for things she can't control, like hair and face and things her grandmother said. Yeah, great. Make me feel bad. I will laugh it off. Thanks.

At the first opportunity, I cut and run to inside the building where Mrs. G and Mrs. C is in the back playing slots. I am not a slots player. I don't like gambling good money away. Lottery, sure. It's only a couple bucks. But slots? I would rather spend that money on a good book or a trip to comic con. I would rather spend my time gardening or writing. Slot machines and casinos are not my ideas of a good time. But I went inside to hang out with the ladies, rather than the old men and their pervert jokes.

Boy howdy! We were in there for hours! Mr. D came inside for a bottle of wine. Mrs. G tried to get Mrs. C off the machine. Finally putting her foot down and begging the lady for a cashout. We got into the truck once again It was 6:58 pm when we pulled out, and it was raining.

Did we have time to go to the boat? Asked Mrs. C. She wanted to go to the boat.

Mrs. G rolled her eyes. No. No boat. For pete's sake no boat!






Did we go stright back to Mr. D's house? Hell no!

We diverted onto a lonely old country raod somewhere near Pictsweet farms. The Missippi River was very high. We had to check it out. Then, all along the rest of the way back to Dyersburg, I had to listen to them point out all the places of old freinds and family used to live. Do you remember this, Do you remember that, do you remeber that person? And in between the guided tour statements, yelling from the front, "WHAT?!" And a repeated yelling response.

Finally, we got into Dyersburg again. But did we go back to Mr. D's house? NO! Not yet. We have one more stop. We need bologna. So we stopped at a shop. Everyone piled out to go in, except me. I stayed in the truck and tried..tried so hard not to lose my freakin mind. She is my friend. I love my friend. I have to keep my mouth shut. For the love, I need to keep my mouth shut. I don't want to be rude or ungrateful or impolite. Because that leads to bad places. Just take a deep breath, calm down, push through. It will be over soon.

They get thier food and pile back into the truck. And fianlly..FINALLY! We get back to Mr. D's house. We make our own sandwhiches and sit in the dining room to eat them.

Then, it happens...

"So, Jennifer.."

"Her name is Jessica."



"Well, she looks like a Jennifer to me." He turns back to me. "So, Jessica, you got a boyfreind?"

How can I possibly describe my feeling at this point? I just can't. "NO." I said firmly. "No. Absolutely not. NO."

"Awe, you just need a man to take care of you," He says. And Mr. D nods at me.

I let my reflex take a hold of me. And I laugh my ass off! I put my sandwhich down on my plate. "That's the funniest thing I have ever heard!" I said. "Men do NOT "take care" of women. Women take care of men! That is how it always is! And don't you dare try to tell me otherwise!"

The ladies in the room are smiling and holding back thier giggles. The men in the room look like I just punched them in the face. "Who the hell were you married to, Jessica?"

"A Career Army man," I said.

"Oh" says the whole room and nods. "Well that explains it," says Mr. D. "Well, what do you do for a living?" he askes.

Personally, I don't want to answer this question. So I repsond with, "Nothing. I have bees, I garden. I read. I don't do anything."

"Oh that's it, you got too much time on your hands," he says. "All you need is a man to take care of."

So now it has gone from, I need a man to care of me to I need to take care of a man. Like I need a pet or something. I find this statement just as offensive as the first. This is one of my biggest triggers. And I try..oh LORD did I keep my tongue. But sadly, I did not.

"I do not need a man. I don't need a man to take care of me, nor do I need a man to take of. Becuase in the end, most men want a woman around to do thier laundry and thier dishes, only to bitch about that they aren't doing anything at all. Then when thier woman leaves they figure out how important she was in the first place. Like hell, I am going to invest my time and effort into a man who will not appraicate me for me and all things I do for him. Never agian. I will however, put my investment into a man who will take care of himself. And I will take care of myself, then in the between times, we will spend time together as companions. I will not be picking up and cleaning up after men agian. Those days are done!"

The ladies laugh hard. The men stare blinking at me. The topic gets diverted and I finish my sandwhich.

Finally, Mrs. C wants to go. But first, we have to take Mrs. G Martin. Which is an hour away. (OMG! KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT!)

So, we get in the car to drive mrs. G home. And halfway there, Mrs. C turns to look at me from the front passenger seat and says...OMG! Here it is!...."What do you think of Mr. T? Would you want him as a boyfreind?"

Inside my head, I scream. Long and loud. Inside my head, mind you. INside! Was this whole trip her trying to hook me up with Mr. T?!

"No." I said firmly and definitively.

"He's rich," says Mrs. G. "Like really rich."

"I do not care about that. The answer is no. Period. No. Never."

Inside screaming. What they hell was she thinking? OKay, maybe that works for Anna Nichole Smith. She loved her gross old man, fine. But that is not me. There is no amount of money in the entire world that would make me want to sell myself out to a an old, fat, deaf, three times divorced, rich man. I do not care. I'd rather live under a bridge in L.A.!

And look, I am sure he is nice..or is he? Now that I think of it, I don't think he was really. Pervert jokes and didn't even get my name right. Look, if you are going to ask a woman out on a date, the first thing you should get right is her fucking name! At least know her name! And no, that is NOT unreasonable. And I am not being a "bitch" about that. Fuck anyone who doesn't think so!

"I don't blame you," says Mrs. G. "I have truned him down too. He wants to marry me so badly and I keep saying no."

The conversation drops. We get to Martin. Do we go to Mrs. G's house?


Mrs. C wants to stop and visit someone while she is here.

By the NINE! When will this end?

We pull up into a a very, very fancy house. The huge mansion kind in the posh side of the town. Posh! Posh! Posh!

We pull into the long driveway and park near a solarium as an outbuilding. Not a gazebo, a brick foundation Solarium. Like the fancy kind you can only see in the old Granda Sherlock Holmes Adventures featuring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock. I wondered what the difference was between this house and a full on, full blown English estate?! Because honestly, I could not tell the difference!

And let me tell you when they got out of the car  to knock on the door, I wanted to cry. I was dressed like SHIT! How embaressing that I came to this house looking like a homeless waif?! I am not exagrating when I say I could feel my ancestors cringe in thier graves from embaressment.

The interior did not disappoint. It was so nice. And I felt so out of place. But the occupants were very kind and understanding. Apparently, this was normal behavior for Mrs. C. I told them about "the trip to Dyersburg for ciggerettes" and they laughed. "Yup, that's our Mrs. C." They said.

We finally left after about 40 minutes. And we arrived at Mrs. G's house. We stayed enough for a potty break, but...Mrs. C says, "We might have to stay here for the night. It's late."

NO. I put my foot down at this point. "I can't. I Have contacts in my eyes and I can'r sleep in them. I need to go hiome and take my meds, I am already late in taking them. The Balonga and white bread is bad for me. If I don't take them my meds things will get worse."

"It will be after 1:00 am when we get home," she says.

"Then we better get going now," I said.

So we did. It was 1:10 in the morning when we pulled into my driveway. I thanked for her a fun time.

And for the most part it was fun. I do enjoy her company and I like hanging out with Mrs. G too. But I also learned something.

Some things never change, no matter how old you get.

It is okay to act like a teenager if you're retired.

Hearing aids are valuable for conversations when you are old.

It doesn't matter how late it is, in the south, guest are always welcome.

Being old can be fun.

And a trip to Dyersburg for cigarettes is never a quick trip.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Run, Rabbit, Run

Two of Cups closer comes, crowned by the Magician.
Sometimes Knight, Fool, Thief, but always the Physician.

Who is the Shadow man, The World upon his heel,
Tossing Ace of Coins on edge, stopping Fortune's Wheel.

Safe in The Priestess columns, Queen of Cups is musing.
 Hanged-Man and Hermit speak, they keep it all confusing.

Hermes shadow stretches long, The Chariot comes a'callin
 Rise The Moon, Reverse The Devil, The Tower goes a'fallin

Shadow Man! What have you done? Rainbows in the sky
Inverse The Star, The mill chase cease,  the Silver River dry

The TARDIS doors flew open and the Doctor came inside the control room. "Well,  now that's sorted, we can get to Numeiah," he said. "Up you go!" He pointed and ordered. 

It was a little more exuberant than I wanted but I obeyed the order. "Did you find her mother?" I asked. He ignored me. "Doctor, it doesn't matter if you ignore me. I will still be here. You can't wish me away."

"No," he said.

That response put me off because I could tell he was lying again. But why would he lie about finding the girl's mother? I didn't say anything. 

"Did I ever tell you about..." He went on and danced around his console.

I ignored him and his banter. He was lying and wanted to be shielded. Of course, he was hiding something. He didn't want me to know or find out. So, he was trying to distract me and cover up his uncomfortable guilty body language. I could see right through it. Fine, he wanted to play his silly game. I will play it too.

I interrupted his speech about time traveling witches. "Doctor, you never said what that flower was. And why did you bring it onto the TARDIS in the first place?" I asked.

He paused for a thought, then he said, "Sometimes, I don't know why I do things." He stopped twiddling on his keyboard and walked over to the base of the stairs. He looked up directly at me and his eyes were burning. "Have you ever followed your intuition somewhere you knew you weren't supposed to be? Did you ever take something away that you knew you shouldn't have, but for reasons unknown, you knew that you needed it?"

I withheld my inner scream. "Yes, but the time I am thinking of I am sure I didn't steal anything," I said carefully.

"I didn't say steal. I said take. Everywhere you go, whatever you do, you always take something away from it. Experience, information, knowledge, wisdom, something. You can't unlearn something."

"No, but you can forget," I said quickly.

He paused and turned his head. "Yes, that is true." He went back to the console unit. "Anyway, I took that flower without knowing why I took it. I just felt like I should have it; like I needed it."

"So, you don't know anything about it. Nothing at all?" I asked.

"I was on my to finding out when you showed up," he said.

"Yeah, I don't remember that. Can you tell me how it happened?"

"No," he said.

I wasn't going to get anything out of him. He didn't want to talk and I wasn't going to make him. That was always a bad idea. I decided to change the subject. "I am hungry. Are you hungry? That spaceport, in the Lepus system, does it have food?"

The Doctor nodded. "Yes, it has food. But we are going to..."

"Fine, make it a last request then. Food, then Numieah. Then, push me out an airlock, if you like," I said. "Just don't let me go hungry."

He didn't say anything. The Doctor reached out and fiddled with his console again.

For me, I took a moment to think about the old saying, "Don't know what you got til it's gone." I missed seeing a face and feedback expressions. So much is said in the face. Happy, sad, smile, frown, worry, I could see nothing of that on him. All I could see was static. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is, or was, whatever you prefer. I didn't know he was going to take me to get me food until the TARDIS made the landing echo and gave off a ding.

He turned and looked up. "Well, come on, then!" He ran to the doors and opened them.

I ran down the stairs and stepped out into the lobby of a spaceport.

"Welcome to Rabbit Run," said the Doctor.

"Where every day is Friday, and Friday is pie day?" I laughed and looked around. There was so much to see. "It's like a mall! With aliens!" I turned to face him. "Now, this is impressive!"

"Yeah, I do love a shop," He said.

"Can I try some alien food? I mean, I want to eat something I can't find on Earth but I don't know what is safe to eat," I said.

The Doctor began to walk down the mall past the shops and food vendors. "You can try anything you want," He said. "Well, you probably want to stay away from Firzilian cheese. And cyborg nutrient paste, now that I think of it. You want to know something funny?"

I stepped to the side to let an alien with two heads pass me by. "What," I asked.

"Bread. Everyone has bread. And therefore," he pointed to a food vendor. "Sandwiches."

"Is that an alien fast food place?" I asked.

"Do you think humans are the only ones who had the idea of serving food at lunch to working people?"

"I don't. I just didn't think capitalism would be a thing in space," I said.

"Some ideas get scattered across space and time, like confetti. Things like food, transport, clothing. Simple things." He handed me a plastic card. "Here, this has some credits on it."

The Doctor and I picked up some food. He had some fish thing, I think. I had a sandwich, with something moving on it. It tasted like chicken and pickles. As we were eating, we wandered the mall looking at things. Eventually, we made it up a flight of escalators to the second floor.

The top of the stairs opened up into a large area. It looked like an art gallery behind some stanchions and red ropes. Off to the side of it, stood a lady behind a kiosk. The Doctor's attention was distracted by another shop. But I went over to the Kiosk to wait for him.

"Hello," I looked at her name tag. "T'Lennah." She had long black hair. Her eyes had no white. Instead, it was the darkest green I have ever seen with large black pupils. Her skin had a hint of yellow hue. She was dressed well and she smiled back.

"Hello and welcome to the Rabbit Run, Donor Art Exhibit. Would you like a tour?"

"Donor?" I asked. "Like people donate their art for display?"

"Yes," she said. "This exhibit has a variety of items from all across the Lepus system. And a few that are not. In addition, this exhibit is a holding area for the transport and distribution for incoming works."

"A customs holding area?" I asked. "That's neat. Yes, I would like a tour. How much?"

"Thirty credits. fifty-five with a tour and at seventy-five, a tour and a Rabbit Run tee-shirt and key fob, or a Rabbit Run mug and key fob," said T'Lennah in her best salesperson pitch.

I smiled. "And which one gives you the extra commission?"

She giggled. "The tee-shirt or the mug."

I stuffed the last bit of sandwich in my mouth and swallowed. "T'Lennah, could I please have the tour and tee-shirt package?" I handed the plastic card.

T'Lennah took the card and began the process. While she was scanning the card, a young man approached her behind the desk. He had on a security uniform and a badge that read 'Joseph' on it. He took out a small clipboard and handed it to her. Then, leaned over and whispered in her ear.

T'Lennah's body language was odd. She leaned her ear over to him but the rest of her body leaned out. She nodded, handed the card back to me, took the clipboard, and scribbled her name on it. All the while, Joseph looked at her hopefully with sheepish eyes and stupid grin. His eyes had similar coloring as her's, so I suspected they were the same species. I also induced that the look of infatuation wasn't only human. I smiled and looked away. She handed his clipboard back. Joseph's look of hope vanished. He turned reluctantly away and strolled off towards the back of the gallery.

"Now, Ms..."

"My name is Jessica."

"Well, now Ms. Jessica, your tour," She said and gestured to the entrance ropes. "If you will follow me we will begin with a beautiful piece called, Industrial Fabrication in Two-fold Space."

"Joseph has a crush on you," I said.

"Crush?" she asked.

"Yeah, he likes you. And he is cute. Has he asked you on a date?"

T'Lennah's eyes widened and she shook her head. "No, it doesn't work that way for us. The females are expected to initiate courting rituals. Besides, he has not performed the courtship display. And I am not sure if I should respond to it if he did."

"I am not sure I understand," I said.

"The male displays his interest. The female, if she is willing to respond, will ask him out on a date. Joseph doesn't understand that. He is only part Trivect. And he wasn't raised in our ways," she said.

"If he is part Trivect, what's the other part?" I asked.

"Human," She said and sighed.

"What human part would be acceptable for you date him? I am guessing it isn't his eyes," I giggled. T'Lennah blushed. "Oh!" My eyes widened and I blushed. "You have been thinking about it. Maybe overthinking it a bit?"

T'Lennah ignored me and pointed to a statue. "This piece is called Industrial Fabrication in Two-fold space, donated by Khaluzla and Sons." She went on with the tour.

T'Lennah took me around to several pieces. We were standing in front of an oil painting called, 'The Spineless Witch.' It was a picture of a woman, melting in a chair and dripping off the sides. In front of her was a large orb built into a wooden stand. It reminded me of a stereotypical gypsy crystal ball but bigger. The creepiest thing about this painting, and what made me curl my nose at it, was that the woman in the chair looked as if she were actually, forever melting and dripping off the chair. It was bizarre. That's when the Doctor finally decided to make an appearance.

He appeared beside me and flashed his psychic paper at T'Lennah. "Customs check," he said. "Tell me, T'Lennah, is this piece donated or in transit?"

She tensed up at his credentials. "Um, yes, sir. I mean, It is in transit. This piece is scheduled for display another week. We have yet to receive clearance. But it is expected to arrive any day now. We must make sure, the piece is legal for transit and sale."

"And security? Tell me and reassure me that you have these pieces under tight surveillance," He said.

"Doctor, what are you doing?" I whispered. He ignored me.

"Yes, Sir. Tight security," said T'Lennah. She pointed to the ceiling. "We have cameras that cover everything. And floor sensors in this area. Any unauthorized person sets foot here, an alarm is set off and security notified. There is a shutdown protocol." She pointed to the walls. "Inset in the walls, are force field manipulators. Which will activate if anything is removed from its station or if any unauthorized person trespasses this area."

"Wait," I said. "How it is that I am here then? And the Doctor?"

The Doctor waved his "credentials" at me. "I am authorized personnel. I scanned my ID into the computer. But T'Lennah, how is it that Jessica is able to take the tour without setting off the alarms?"

T'Lennah looked confused. "Sir, that's standard protocols. You should know how if you are Customs."

"This isn't about me," He said. "Inspection test, T'Lennah. Pretend I don't know and answer in one hundred words or less."

"Well, that's my job. I use my personnel code and tell the computer how many people are on the tour. The computer does a quick bio-scan." She walked over to the kiosk and pointed to a device in the front of the desk. "Those people are granted temporary access. It's all in the employee manual."

"Well done, T'Lennah. Very good. I will reflect well on you in my report," said the static Doctor. "And might I say very neat kiosk desk. Organized, clean, and efficient. Employee of the month material." He grabbed me and pulled me to the side. "Now, T'Lennah, if you will turn to your right, that security guard needs your attention."

T'Lennah turned. Joseph was standing in front of her. His face was full of anxiety. He took a deep breath and began to dance.

"Doctor, what is he doing?" I asked as Joseph flailed, nervously.

The static Doctor leaned over and whispered in my ear. "Joseph, here, has learned the display dance. He is telling T'Lennah how much he likes her. And that he would like her to ask him out on a date." He took my hand and patted it. "Don't worry. This method is fool proof. I taught him myself. Just now. Sure beats stuttering over a date proposal, doesn't it?" He chuckled.

"I'm not sure. Love isn't much of a strict choreographer, is it?" I said as Joseph turned, stuck out his rear and wiggled it. Then, Joseph turned back around and tore open his shirt. Buttons flew everywhere, one hitting me in the eye. The Doctor chuckled. "And it hurts the eyes in more ways than one."

Joseph finally stopped gyrating. An awkward moment had arrived as other mall patrons had stopped to watch the display. When Joseph finished, they made no sounds, they just politely walked away. T'Lennah stood silently as if she were thinking about it.

But it was all interrupted by a rumble in through the spaceport. Then, the facility was hit by something, knocking everyone down. The blaring sounds of alarms and screaming began to increase. Red lights started to strobe through the halls.

"Attention. Attention," called the speaker system. "Rabbit Run will now be evacuated. Please move to your ships and escape pods in an orderly fashion. All engineering crews to their stations."

The Doctor flew into action, running down the hall, yelling for me to follow him. But I didn't. As the chaos had broken out and begun to get louder, I heard another noise that the Doctor didn't. The unmistakable whooshing sound of the TARDIS.

I turned around towards the art. The TARDIS had appeared within the gallery area. Alarms went off but were drowned out by the evacuation alarms. The force field went up. The TARDIS doors came open. A man in a brown coat, hat, and long scarf came rushing out. He grabbed 'The Spineless Witch' off the wall and ran back into the TARDIS. The force field did not stop the TARDIS from disappearing.

I turned back around and looked down the hall. I could clearly see the static Doctor turn a corner and disappear. There was only one thing to do. I took to my heels and ran after my Doctor.

previous                                There Was Only One Window

next                                         Stop Rabbit Stop

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

There was only one window

I know what you want. The deck doesn't lie and I can read the cards clearly. You want the story about the running. How the group of kids and the Doctor strategically outran the opaque cloud of roaring and stomping dust. The complete tale of how it all happened.

However, the complete details are not necessary, except for one. In the brief moments of calm, I could hear a the call of a little girl. I didn't have the time or attention to figure out where it was coming from. When I mentioned it to the Doctor, he seemed to ignore it. I imagine it was because of the distraction of the circumstances. There was lots of running and metal wand waving. There were uncountable meters of halls and dozens of locked doors. The end of the tale, the reveal; that's what you really want to hear. That was when the Doctor realized why there were no windows.

The group had split up. The Doctor went one way to find the missing children. The kids and I went another way, and made it to the lobby exit. He knew the doors would be locked, so he gave me his sonic screwdriver. When I got to the doors, I gave the wand a wave at the locks. I opened the doors to find it blocked by a wall. The children did not respond well, they collapsed to the floor and started to cry.

Except for the deaf girl. She didn't seem upset by the doors. She kept looking the other direction, towards the halls of the building; as if she were nervous about the return of the Doctor.

I walked over to her. When I got within a close range of her, she looked up at me. She widened her eyes and stood up. Her hands flew up and began to sign. But I didn't pay attention to that. Because I was distracted by her voice, I could hear her speaking clearly in my head.

"Please help," said the voice. "I'm so sorry! I didn't mean for this to happen. Please! Can you understand me?"

I nodded and spoke with my mouth. "Yes, I can hear you." I bent down and took her hands. "You don't need these. I can can hear you, in my head."

She relaxed her hands and nodded. "I'm sorry. Please tell the man, I didn't mean it."

I silently curse at myself. This whole time she was with me, I couldn't hear her. I had been distracted by the running, or the roaring and the stomping. My attention diverted by the well fare of the other kids. So close in range, yet so far away I couldn't hear her calling to me. And all those times that, as we were running, I could swear I heard a little girl. But couldn't figure out where the voice was coming from. "I'm sorry too. I didn't realize you were trying to get my attention," I said to her.

"I'm scared. It's my fault and I'm scared," she said.

"What's your name?" I asked.


"Tell me why you think this is your fault, Varina," I said.

Varina filled my mind with images and feelings. Images of a ship, an attack, and an escape pod filled my eyes; followed by an intense feeling of fear, sadness, and loneliness. The escape pod crashed. A distress beacon indicator light flashed. Then, days and days of waiting. Hunger and fear that nobody was coming. A device was ripped from the console of the pod. The portal of the pod opened. The girl crawled out, hooked the device to her clothes, and walked from the trees where the pod had landed. The sight of children in the school yard playing and snacking gave her hope.

"And you have been living here at the school since. After hours, you go back to your pod. I understand," I said to her nodding. "The device you have. It is camouflage, a disguise, right?"

Varina nodded. "Malfunction. Faulty."

"That monster. It isn't real, is it?" I asked. Varina shook her head. "Well," I said to her calmly. "Don't worry. The Doctor, he will fix it and he can get you home. He won't be mad, I promise. But we need to tell him. Okay?" She tensed and started to tear up. "I'll help you. Don't worry. I will be with you. It's only a mistake." I took her hand and led her to the doors that lead to the halls of the building.

I held her hand and waited for the Doctor's return. While we were waiting at the doors, Varina and I became nauseous and woozy. The room swam round in vertigo. It was everything we could do to keep standing.

Then, we heard it. A tremendous roar from behind the doors. I let go of Varina's hand and opened the doors wide. On the left side of the hallway there was a set of stairs, at the top of those stairs I heard the Doctor yell. The roaring and stomping stopped. In that silence, Varina fell to the floor, distraught and shaking. I looked back out into the hall and saw the head of an adult male coming down the stairs. Several children preceded him, running to join the rest in the lobby.

I didn't pay attention to that. I was frozen with shock. As the man came down the stairs and turned towards me, he carried a limp child in his arms. He was a man wearing a bow-tie, brunette hair, and brown, angry eyes.

 "The Doctor will help the boy. Bring him in here and wait for the Doctor," I said to the man.

Varina shook her head. "Sorry Doctor, Sorry! Make Not Die, Doctor! Make Not Die! Please!"

The man placed the boy carefully down on the floor. He stood up and came at me. "I AM The Doctor! And this stops now!"

Confused didn't cover it. This was NOT my Doctor and I knew it. "My Doctor does not wear a bow-tie! If you're the Doctor, prove it! Fix it," I demanded. I held out his screwdriver. "Fix the device."

"What Bow-tie? I haven't worn a bow-tie...nevermind that! What device!" He yelled at me.

"Her's." I pointed at Varina. "And by the Nine, Be Kind. It isn't her fault."

"How do you know?" He demanded, snatching the screwdriver from my hand.

I grabbed Varina's hand and released control of my mouth. "I'm so sorry. I swear I didn't mean it." Two voices came from my face. "I am so sorry! Please help me." Varina pulled at her clothes and ripped an invisible device from her body and offered it to the Bow-tie man.

The vision of the little girl glitched out. In her place stood a small alien child. She had grey-green skin, large black eyes, and gills in the place where her nose should be. Her mouth was drawn down and had lips whose ends formed two tentacles at each end. My first thought of her was that of a catfish, only much prettier.

 The other children didn't respond the same way. They screamed and backed up. "There's the monster! Kill it!" They shouted and pointed at her.

The Bow-tie man turned and pointed. "Oi! You lot, shut up!" He turned back to the girl. "What's your name?" he asked. He took the device from her hand and sonic-ed it.

"I am Varina," said my mouth in two voices.

"Well, Varina, the boy is fine. He just hit his head." The man looked at his wand and then back to the girl. "No, windows, Jessica. This is why there are no windows." He opened the device back panel, fussed with some wires, and then sonic-ed it again. "There are no six-day classes either."

The device powered down. The building disappeared. The whole group was standing in a tree filled area, just beyond a schoolyard. The escape pod lay only a few meters away, right next to the TARDIS. The Bow-tie man smiled and waved the device at me. "See? The Doctor. Happy now?"

The other kids, seeing the school yard, bolted as fast as they could towards it. The Doctor yelled after them to get an adult to help the boy that hurt his head.

The Bow-tie Doctor turned back to me and Varina. "This device alters perception. The brain cannot fill in the blanks for a reflected image. Hence, no reflective surfaces, no windows." He gave the device back to the girl. "Where is home, Varina?"

"We were going to a new home, on Prima Eleven. My mom said it would be beautiful, a whole new pond. Will I see her again?"

The Doctor's image waved and flipped, like a crazed channel surfer. Then, it faded away. The static form returned. "I am sure you will." He motioned towards the blue box. Varina smiled, let go of my hand, and followed him.

I stayed behind a moment to let the confusion sink in. Honestly, I had no idea how to process what I had just seen. What the hell does the number eleven and a pond have in common? What the hell did it have to do with what just happened?

I was sure he was loving the puzzle. But to tell the truth, I was not in the least bit amused. Frustrated at my ignorance, I joined them in the TARDIS.

previous                                     Monster in the Hall

next                                              Run Rabbit Run

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monster in the Hall

I made it back to the control room before the Doctor knew I was gone. I hurried up the stairs, sat in the chair, grabbed a book, and opened it. I closed my eyes and willed myself to calm down. My breathing slowed and the Doctor popped out from under the console. I stood up from the chair and looked down at him.

He ran over to the console, pressed buttons and flipped a lever. "Ha!" He yelled. The ship jerked into motion.

I was flung into the metal guard rail. Dropping the book, I grabbed a hold of the rail. I watched the Doctor dance around the console again. He had cables wrapped around his body static form. That was bizarre because I could clearly see the cables but not anything else. As he danced, the cables twirled. The console sent up sparks and energy flares. I laughed at him. I imagined him for a moment as Rumpelstiltskin, flailing around a technologic bonfire. That was quickly followed by the thought that he probably was the goblin man, who twisted straw to gold.

The ship's whooshing sound stopped. There was a loud metal thunking sound, followed by a ding. The Doctor walked over to the open floor panel. "We are here," he said. He took off the cables from around his neck and stuffed them into the floor.

I picked up the book and replaced it back on the shelf. "Where is here?" I asked. I walked down the metal stairs as he replaced the floor panel.

"Numeiah," he answered. He stood up and pointed at the door. "Behind that door, right now, is a whole other planet."

"Really?" I said. I ran over to the door and opened it. "Uh, Doctor? Did you say that Numeiah was a forest planet?"

"Yes. It is a forest planet. It's a strange one. Single biome, rogue planet. It doesn't spin on an axis like Earth, Quite unique." He said as he approached the door.

"Then, you must have landed in a building." I said and turned to face him. "There aren't any trees out here."

The Doctor stepped out of the ship into a hallway. He looked around. As I stepped out to join him, he pulled out his metal wand. The Doctor waved it around and then looked at it.

"This reminds me of school, Doctor," I said. "Why would we land in a school, on a forest planet?"

The Doctor turned and yelled into the TARDIS, "Because we aren't on Numeiah!" He turned back around and closed the door.

"That's all right," I said. "We can go back into the ship and..."

"No! It doesn't work that way. She will refuse to leave until I have corrected some problem here first. That's how it works. I tell her where I want to go, then when negotiations fail, she sends me where I need to be."

"You could always not co-operate," I said. "That's what my ex-husband did." He stood in front of me and I could feel the look on his face. I nodded at him. "And yes, that is why he is an ex. I get it. You don't argue with the wife." I turned back to the TARDIS. "What a lucky gal!"

"And your ex is a ponce," he said. "Can we move along now?"

"Where?" I asked. "It's not like we have a map or instructions."

"I generally pick a direction and go," he said.

"Fine," I replied. I turned left and started walking.

"Where are you going?" he asked.

"You said to pick a direction. I went left. I always go left." I said as I walked down the hallway.

"That's strange, most go right."

"Yup, that's true. But I am a player. Have been since I was fourteen. And I learned that if you are in the dungeon or exploring ruins, the player should always go left. And If ever I was in a roleplaying adventure, this is definitely it. I should go with what I know." I walked over to a door and tried to open it. It was locked. I turned to face him.

He was standing in the middle of the hallway facing me. "This is not a game," he said seriously.

"Yes, it is," I replied. "Otherwise, you wouldn't play by the rules set by your TARDIS. She is the GM, and you are the first player. I am the second player. And yeah, in this game I could die. You could die. I'm not afraid of dying. I am afraid of living forever, alone. Because that is what skeptical, cynical, bitter, old people do. They live and live and live, with no life in them. They age and wither but they don't die." I put my hands on my hips. This is a subject I know all too well. "The game keeps you young and light. Keeps the mind moving and thinking. And by the Nine, if I am going to live forever, I will play the damn game till the end. And I am going to like it!" I smiled at him.

The Doctor shook his head. "Oh, shut up." He grabbed my hand. "Come on."

I laughed at him and followed. We went down the corridor until we reached a T-intersection.  We turned left again. We stopped to explore a few doors but they were all locked tight. None of them had windows in them.

"Doctor, where are the windows?" I asked. "This is wrong." He pulled out his metal wand again and pointed it at the door. As it whistled at the door, the ground gave a light tremble. "What was that?" I asked.

"I suspect that is the problem we are here to investigate," he replied, ignoring the next rumble of the floor.

"But Doctor..."

"I almost have it..."

"But Doctor..."

The door lock clicked open. "What?!" He demanded as he opened the door.

"What if you are letting the problem out by opening..." I didn't get to finish.

The doors were open wide now and a group of school children was running at us, screaming. Behind them, coming up fast, was a brown cloud of dust. From within the opaque cloud, the sound of a roar barreled down the hall and into our faces.  The rumble in the floor was stronger as the cloud stomped toward us.

The group of children flew past us, through the doors. The Doctor slammed the doors shut and pointed his metal wand at it. The lock clicked tight again. He turned. "Run!"

He didn't have to say it twice. I was already running with the kids. The Doctor caught up, sprinted past, went to another set of doors. The metal wand came out, the locked gave way. He opened the doors and yelled at the kids. "In here! Quick!" Down the hall, there was a roar of rage. The children fled into the room. Then, the Doctor closed the door and locked it up. The rumbling and roaring stopped.

The Doctor turned around and scanned the room. There were about a dozen pre-teen kids, sitting on the floor trying to catch their breath.

"Hello, I'm the Doctor. This is my friend, Jessica." He bent down to one of the kids. "Now, tell me. Why are you in school after hours?"

"Six day school," wheezed a student. "Students that need extra tutoring or have detention."

"Some things never change," I said, giggling. "What's your name and What are you in for?"

"Deacon. I threw a lamp at a girl and told her to lighten up."

The Doctor and I stifled a chuckle reflex. "That was rude. You should never do that."

"She was always crying! She cries all the time. I wanted her to shut up," said Deacon.

"Did you ever ask her why she was crying?" I asked.

"Can't. She's deaf," he replied. "I don't know sign language." He pointed to a female student. "If you want to know why she is always crying, then ask her yourself."

The Doctor went over to the girl. "Everything is fine. You will be all right." He bent down to her. Her hands went up to try to speak to him. He sighed. "I'm sorry. That is a language the TARDIS doesn't translate."

Another student spoke up. "What is that thing? That thing that is chasing us?" He asked. "It hasn't been here before."

"And what's your name?" I asked him.

"Geoff. I have math tutoring today. Been coming for weeks," he said.

"Geoff, where are your teachers?" I asked.

Geoff and Deacon shook their heads. "That thing swallowed them up. Mrs. Heady and Mr. Peterson tried to hold it off while we ran for the exit."

The Doctor stood up and turned toward us. "Well, that is the first thing to do. Get you out of the building. Then, my friend and I can take care of the monster."

"But what about the others?" asked a girl.

"What others?" The Doctor tensed up.

"There are more of us. We got split up. There are six others."

"Probably eaten like the rest of them. I told you!" said another boy.

The Doctor turned to the boy that just spoke. "Name and explanation."

"Andy and that is why I got detention. I told my teacher that there was a monster eating people in the halls. Geoff is wrong! Heather, Kevin, and Sam all disappeared and nobody said anything! I told my teacher. She didn't believe me. I argued with her and she gave me detention. Said I was making up stories, lying. I am not lying!"

The Doctor put his hand on Andy's shoulder. "It's all right, Andy. You are not a liar. We have all seen it now. You're a good man for speaking up. You tried and that's what matters." At the Doctor's gentle reassurance, Andy calmed down. He seemed pleased to hear the Doctor praise him.

The Doctor rubbed his hands together. "All right then. Plan. Find the others, get you out. Then, we will sort out the beast. Any questions?"

"Yes," I said.

He huffed. "What is it?"

"You didn't answer my question about the windows. Where are the windows?" I asked. The room we were standing in looked like a normal classroom. But there were no windows. No windows on the doors or on the walls to the outside.

The Doctor's response was interrupted by a rumble through the floor and a massive roar.

previous                                  Understanding

next                                           There Was Only One Window   

Sunday, May 7, 2017


The Doctor turned back around to the console and said nothing. His body static blipped into a series of lines that pulsed quickly.

I didn't say anything more. I was busy observing. I say observing because I wasn't watching him with my eyes. I was watching him with my intuition. The close proximity made that easy. And now that I wasn't wrapped up in my own internal hate dialog, I understood that there were some serious things missing from his demeanor.

He didn't dance around the console. His banter was gone. His attitude had turned and was subdued. The Doctor had turned old, for lack of better words. The roller coaster of sudden maturity was a red flag to me.  If I asked him about it, I knew, I don't know how, but I did, I knew, he would lie.

"Doctor, are you okay? I didn't mean to yell..." I started.

"I'm fine. I'm always fine," he said.

"Liar," I accused.

He left the console and came at me. "When we get your hand fixed, I am returning you home. Until then, do not look. I am telling you that you do not have permission to look. You do not have perm..."

"Doctor, I swear to you I am not looking. I swear! It's just happening. I'm not probing, looking, or searching, on purpose."

He pointed at me. "You are not supposed to know things. I am the one who knows things. You aren't even supposed to be here!"

"Yes, I am. The woman told me so. Also, I would like to point out I don't remember how I got here," I said. "From my perspective, I simply appeared. Faded in." I went quiet. He lowered his hand. I went on. "Although, I think I am doing a bad job of not upsetting you. I promised I would stop. So I have." 

He paused. I imagine he was staring at me. I couldn’t tell, of course, because I couldn’t see his face. "Stand up there," he ordered and pointed to the loft. "Just stand over there and stay out of range."

I sulked up to the loft. "I don't understand why you want to be so shielded." I sat in one of the chairs next to a bookcase.

"I am not shielding myself. Your surface thoughts are annoying."

I laughed. "Liar. You found them amusing," I said.

"Yes, in the beginning. Now, they are boring. You are boring."

"Liar," I whispered.

"I heard that," he yelled.

I rolled my eyes. I knew that he was doing. It didn't take a genius to figure it out. In times of doubt, he needs to retreat, to run away and think of something. He couldn't run away from his ship. That was the thing he ran away in. So, the option was to exile me to a spot where he had privacy. I wasn't going to object. This situation was bizarre for me, but more so for him. 

I looked at my hand. The green hue and brown lines had spread down past my wrist. It was going right up my forearm and it wouldn't be long before it reached my shoulder. It didn't hurt. I could move it normally. 

I dropped my hand and looked down at him. He was busy talking to the console and making a fuss. The ship responded by making noises that sounded like an engine that wouldn't start. 

"No. No. No!" he said, aggravated. The Doctor sprinted to a translucent metal floor panel, picked it up, and dove into the underbelly of the console unit.

The TARDIS made a stuttering sound and went silent. I face palmed. "I am so stupid," I whispered. The shadow Doctor's sullen demeanor wasn't only me, and me being in his way. The TARDIS was playing up. She sounded sick. The Doctor was worried about that too. There was absolutely nothing I could do to help him with that. Not that he would except the help even if I could.  

In the muffled silence, I picked up singing again; two songs at counter-point. I looked over at the door to the inner halls of the ship. The siren's call and my own intuition pulled me to the door. The portal opened on its own and the singing got louder. So, I followed it.

The first song lead me down the halls of spiral colors to a room, deeper than I should be. I knew that if the Doctor knew I was here, he would kick me out of his ship so fast my head would spin. However, I also knew that I was going somewhere, I was being lead. If I wasn't, there would have been doors to snoop into. But the whole trip down the rabbit hole was missing entryways, doors, and tunnel openings. There was only one way to go. I followed the tunnels and turnings until I reached a door. It opened by itself and I went in.

The room was dimly lit. In the middle, stood a great old tree. Hanging from its branches were yellow luminescent orbs. It was covered in tendrils of bines, that stretched and curled into the walls. Its roots had grown firmly planted into the floor. I didn't understand how this could be The floor was clearly made of metal. As I walked around the tree, it pulsed with light. These pulses of light pumped through the orbs, branches, bines, and into the walls. 

I reached up to touch it but I stopped when I noticed my hand. The greenish hue was no longer green, instead, it had the faint aura of yellow. When my heart beat, the lines on the wound responded alike, pumping a soft light through the lines of the infection.

My attention was diverted back to the tree. The song turned sad. It was a song of question and permission. A plea for assistance for the sake of something so important and so loved. 

"I am listening," I said to the tree. "Tell me."

The song of the tree stopped and the door to the room opened again. The counter song took prominence in my ears. So, I followed that song out of the room.

Once more, I was lead down the corridors and tunnels in the same manner as before. No other doors or entryway to explore, except the ones I was given. Then, I reached another door that opened on its own. 

Just inside the door, sat a holographic console. It gave off the 3D image of four strange looking creatures sitting in a circle singing. They were dressed in blue suits, were bald, and had tentacles coming from their faces. Beyond the console, laid a room unending. Rows and rows of walls, with portraits hanging on them. Under each portrait, a name plaque, and a lit candle. 

I stood there staring in disbelief. The song stopped, the console turned off.  I understood. I got the point. I turned around and ran.

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next                                             Monster in the Hall

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Nothing more human

Two of Cups closer comes, crowned by the Magician.
Sometimes Knight, Fool, Thief, but always the Physician.
Who is the Shadow man, The World upon his heel,
Tossing Ace of Coins on edge, stopping Fortune's Wheel.
Safe in The Priestess columns, Queen of Cups is musing.
Hanged-Man and Hermit speak, they keep it all confusing.
Hermes shadow stretches long, The Chariot comes a'callin
Rise The Moon, Reverse The Devil, The Tower goes a'fallin
Shadow Man! What have you done? Rainbows in the sky
Inverse The Star, The mill chase cease, the Silver River dry

 Well, that is the problem with remembering something that hasn't happened yet, especially if it's happening now. The bits get jumbled up. Not the big bits, mind you. The smaller details of the puzzle. It's easy to manage a puzzle by finding all the edge pieces and sorting by size and color. But putting all the smaller things in order is a lot more difficult; even more so, when the pieces are not the same size or aren't there.

After the gravitation comment, the Shadow man pointed his metal wand at the headboard. I lost consciousness...again. I say that because I don't know how to explain visions within dreams, which occur without sleeping. Maybe I should say, exposed to different reality. If what the Shadow man said was true, then dreams can be their own reality. I suppose it is all relative.

Being that my perspective of reality changed, I couldn't tell you where I went. I could only describe it as a hovering within a defined space without boundaries. I can tell you what I saw and what I heard, but not in any details.

I met The Woman. Only she wasn't a woman. We had a conversation, I think. It was a cacophony of speaking and singing. She was wrapped in a golden scarf; like a goddess of myth and legend. She told me important things and then told me I would forget. It was my job to stay the course. I remember her saying not to get upset. And not to let him get upset either because he shortly would. She spoke of words and numbers, trees and light. But most important of all, she told that healing was coming. The Shadow man had a plan to keep me awake. So, this was the only time I would able to speak directly with her. She told me more, but the memory has been obscured. It seemed like only a few minutes when I opened my eyes again.

The Shadow man stood above me, withdrawing his hands from my head. "Jessica, can you hear me? Can you see me?"

"What did you do? My head, it hurts. And everything is blurry," I responded.

"I figured it out. Why you were sensory challenged," He said. "I have never met a human with such a telepathic range. Never mind, one being on the TARDIS."

"What do you mean?" I asked. I didn't get up from the bed. It felt like a horrible hangover.

"Jessica, you are telepathic. What's more, you were picking up the TARDIS. That is why your brain was shutting off other senses. It couldn't process all the information it was picking up. It was trying to compensate. It had too," He explained. "It simply could not function with all that information rocketing through your head."

"Why?" I asked. My senses were slowly rebooting. It made me feel inferior. Part of me wanted to be angry; the other part gave up. It wasn't my fault my monkey brain wasn't evolved like his. With a brain like that, I do not ponder at the reason for two hearts. They provide the coolant system to his over-clocked, over-powered, CPU whose heat sink was his hair; which explains why it is always out of control.

He began to laugh. "Well, I think so too!"


"That my hair is always out of control."


"Yes. I dampened your range. You will still have that telepathic field around you, can't get rid of that. You will still pick up people in close proximity. Also, I am standing right next to the bed. So I can hear you too."

My vision became clear and focused. I sat up slowly and looked around. The room was the same, but he was still static. I rolled my eyes and huffed. "You are still a static man." Something was on my forehead. I reached up to touch it. "What's this?" I asked. "It feels like a bindi."

"If you like but don't touch it. That's a know what, let's just say it protects you from sensory overload," he said. "And as for the static, that will work itself out."

"How do you know?" I asked.

He shrugged. "I don't. We will have to find out."

I got an intense flash of feeling that he was amused by my situation. But he wasn't laughing specifically at me. He was excited by the puzzle of it, the curiosity of the mystery. The Shadow man had met other humans with telepathic abilities, but none that would qualify as a "plug and play" feature. The way in which I had gained entry of his TARDIS. The flower that injected me was a thing he couldn't ignore. All the clues rushed through his head, and it ended abruptly with a single thought. These were all connected. He didn't know how but he was going to find out. And it was going to be fun.

His thought process started out slow, like a sluggish locomotive. But it increased speed to the point I couldn't keep up with it. I wondered how it was that he could.

"Sometimes, I don't, Jessica," he said. "I miss things too; little things get drowned out. Well, they appear small at first. Then, in hindsight, they turn out to be catalyst events. Well, until I figure it out. Then, hindsight becomes foresight I can work backward from that."

"That makes sense, believe it or not," I said. I stood up slowly. My head had completely cleared by this point. I could feel his impatience growing. "All right, all right. Give me a moment," I said.

"You misunderstand. Surface thoughts, Jess. Those can be confusing and misunderstood. I am not impatient with you. I am impatient with myself. I need to go back to the planet I took that flower from. We need to find out what is happening with your hand. Come on."

I followed him out of the bedroom door into the hallway. The walls of the corridor were covered in circles. The circles spiraled with red, blue, and yellow lights. We continued down until we reached a corridor that went forward or straight down.

He took my hand. "Don't be frightened. Trust me."

"Okay," I said. Then, he pulled me forward, and we stepped into the tunneled going down. We fell downwards. The spiraling lights on the walls whizzed by, and I let out a yip. I could hear him laughing. Our descent slowed at the end. And then we stopped. I could see another corridor beneath us as a T section. He stepped out of the tunnel were in and pulled me with him. The perspective of my world turned right side up. We were now in the other hallway, with the tunnel behind us and under our feet.

"You may feel a bit nauseous from vertigo. It's common for a first timer," he said. "Just give it a moment."

He wasn't lying. It took a moment for vertigo to subside. Then, he was pulling me along again down the corridor. "What are these things on the walls?" I asked.

"Timey-wimey stuff," he chuckled. I huffed and rolled my eyes. "I don't want to explain it," he said.

"Then why don't you just say that. I am not a three-year-old," I said.

"Noted," he replied. "Now, here we are. The main control room. Don't touch anything this time, okay?" he gave me a look and pointed at me.

Yeah, I deserved that look. I smirked. "All right, noted," I said. Although, in my defense, I did not know about the flower. And from my point of view, flowers generally to not attack.

"Yes, they do," he said. "You aren't listening close enough." The Shadow Man opened the door to the main control room. I followed him in. "Even on your planet, flowers and plants attack people and animals all the time. Poison Ivy, Venus Flytraps, Onions; when you cut them make you cry. It's nature."

I wasn't listening anymore. I was looking at the room, and it was unbelievable. The central columns were spinning around, making noise. The console was flashing, giving readouts, blipping, fuzzing, and clicking. The column and console were sitting in the middle of a translucent metal flooring. There were two sets of metal stairs that went to the left and the right to separate lofts areas. Four massive, unmoving columns held up the ceiling of the room. On their surface, moving carvings of symbols and numbers glowed silver on the shiny, oxidized green copper surface. The walls of the room were the same green color and covered in the same spiraling circle lights in the hallways.

The Shadow Man let go of my hand and went to the console. He picked up the flowerpot and studied it. "It's dead now," he said. As he touched it, the dried up flower in the pot fell over.

"Why did you take that flower in the first place?" I asked. "It doesn't look you have much interest in gardening. And from what I have seen, your gardening skills aren't what I would satisfactory."

"What do you mean?" he asked, placing the pot back on the console.

"Your potato in the room we came from. It's all wormy and gross."

"That's not a potato, and it's supposed to look like that. That is a Forgaibah fruit, and you eat the worms, not the potato, as you so put it," he said.

"Did you pick that up on the same planet as the flower?"

He went to flip switches and pull levers. "No."

I walked in and stood next to the control center. "So, where are we going?"

"Planet Numeiah, It's a forest planet in the Kreevax cluster," he said.

I gave him a look. "Who names these places? Those are not.."

"Well, they wouldn't be would they? Humans are not the only ones to put names on things. Orion doesn't look like Orion from the other side, does it?"

It came out rude. But I understood what the Shadow Man meant. He was right to be short with me. If I was going to learn anything on the first day on the job, it should be that my way of thinking is not the only way to do things. Especially, considering that I have no idea of what is out in the universe. Shadow Man, who has lived so long and explored so much, doesn't have a fractional view of it. How was I expected to know if I didn't open my mind to the possibility that everything I think I know, isn't wrong, only skewed. The skew wasn't my fault. It comes from a lack of experience and technology, not stupidity.

Then, another thought barreled through me. I realized that the Shadow Man wanted to help change these about humanity. Fix them by teaching that the reality that they feel so trapped in, wasn't bad, lonely, or horrible; but exciting, beautiful, and unique. The greatest danger in the grand scheme of things was the fear of the unknown and the rejection of the new. The Shadow Man did not have the ability to help everyone. But he could keep this hope and perspective alive by fostering the sense of wonder into certain people. By helping the one, he could help the many.

The Shadow Man stopped messing with his controls and slowly turned towards me. "What?" he asked in a whisper. "I didn't tell you that! You aren't supposed to know that!"

I smiled at him. "Even among your own people, you were, unique."

"That is not possible! Even in a damped field! Stop what you are doing!"

"You can't stop me from thinking, Doctor!" I yelled at him. "That's why you need us. You get so wrapped up in the run; you forget what you were chasing. So, you feel guilty about it when you do remember." I shook my head. "Oh, Doctor. Don't you know that's okay? You are your own worst enemy. There is nothing more human." I reached out and gave him a hug he didn't want.

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next                                      Understanding