The Queen bee flew off and took her entourage with her. Once the shadow Doctor had been cleared of bees, he walked over towards me and the TARDIS."What did she say?" I asked.
"No time to talk. Important things. Gotta go," he said. The Doctor stepped up to the doors.
"All right. Where are we going?" I asked.
He turned around and chuckled. "No. Oh no, no, no, no. No more silly humans. And certainly no more silly human females. Been there, done that. Not again."
"But you said I could come," I objected. "You said I should try it."
"Ah, no. That was a hypothetical 'try it' and by no means was it an invitation. Sorry. End of conversation. Good-bye." He opened the door.
My reality froze. Everything paused. These types of moments don't happen often. Those times in which suddenly the brain goes so fast, that your perception slows to a halt. I had already said that this was my fairy tale. I had mentioned that this was my super natural aid, my wise beggar man. This was my call to adventure. So, what follows was the question, 'wasn't I the one to refuse the call?' Isn't that what heroes do? It's my monomyth, right?
The dungeon master, gamer portion of my brain kicked in. If every player thought that way, gaming in a tabletop would be no fun. All the players need to accept the call, not just one. I wasn't the only 'hero' slotted for this adventure. It was the Doctor's as well. He had to accept the call too. And there is nothing more infuriating to players and Dm's around the world, than a reluctant, unmotivated player character. In times like that, it is up the other player characters to convince the reluctant one to go along with the call of The Force. And if I should fail my diplomacy check, I should not be worried. The Force is exactly that. The universe will find a way to 'force' the hero or player into compliance, often with disastrous results.
"I'd like to hear a farmer or gardener who thinks like that," I whispered.
"What?" asked the Doctor. He paused with the door slightly ajar.
"I said, if you don't take me, you are not going to like the result," I replied, lying through my teeth. "I would not recommend leaving without me." The shadow Doctor scoffed and opened the door wider. I took the opportunity to yell inside. "I'll be waiting! No worries! At your convenience!" My voice echoed throughout a large, dark space.
"Who are you talking too?" He asked.
"The Game Master," I replied, grinning like a crazy person. "Good luck." I stepped back.
The shadow Doctor stepped into his TARDIS, slowly. And then, he closed the door, slowly. I did nothing but stand there, grinning, nodding, and waving. I even stayed to watch it dematerialize. Then, I turned towards the house and ran to it.
I won't bore you with more details, but some highlights are in order. I told a family member that if I should go missing for a few months, not to worry too much. If a year goes by, then start to question my disappearance. Honestly, I didn't want to freak them out. I did sound completely bonkers when I told them. They didn't question my request too much. They were used to me saying things that weren't, well, normal in everyday conversation. Unless, you were at a Sci-fi convention. And sometimes, even those people questioned me.
I am probably what most would call eccentric anyway. But I figure, I can't be. To be a true eccentric, a person needs gobs of money laying around somewhere in an off shore account. That wasn't me at all. My life had fallen apart at the seams. Again, not to bore you with details, but my marriage was dissolved, my kids off to college, and I had to move in with my parents, in the middle of the country. Let me tell you, there is nothing more horrifying to a geek than to be so far from civilization, with a crapped out car in the U.S. But, you gotta do with what you have. So, I did. I got bees and buckwheat seeds. My parents got a tractor and that is what got me into the field that day. Doing the best with what I could.
But at the end of the day, I still dreamt of leaving the countryside. Going far away to somewhere I had never been. Having the ability to flee at a moments notice and not worry about health and safety. But also, to flee with purpose. I want to go to places that would make a difference to me, but also, maybe impact others in a positive way. Lately, it had been a fact of my situation that I had become quite bitter at the notion I would be stuck home forever. Lost in a sea of responsibility and debt. The torturous boredom and the prison of 'I can't.' To a real geek, the idea of escape is at the forefront of everything they do and think. The Magic Flight is the Ultimate Boon.
The days went by. I began to think I was wrong about my chances at that blue box. It's hard to keep faith like that. Again and again, I found myself questioning my sanity. There seemed to be no end to it.
It's always darkest before the dawn, as they say. After some weeks of waiting, I finally had my answer. But it didn't start until I had given up the ghost. Only then, at the last minute, was I, unwillingly, thrown over the threshold of my own fairy tale, literally.
previous Never Cast a Shadow
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