Facade

We switch the light off and snuggle down for the night. “G’night, John Boy,” quips Alexander. We giggle gently together, then fall into that uncomfortable silence where you really want to fall asleep as quickly as possible. Only you can’t, because you want to so much, and the more you try and force yourself, the more alert you become.

I lie there, feeling Alexander shifting beside me, turning his back towards me. A muffled sniff comes from his side of the bed. Great, I think. This always happens when he stays over: Alexander gets a few sniffles and come morning, I’m the one with full-blown Beijing ‘flu.

Another sniff. And another. By the fourth, I realise that it’s not a cold at all. Instinctively I turn towards him and place my hand on his shoulder. It’s shaking with tears. He half-heartedly tries to shrug my hand away, but I keep it there, gently rubbing his upper arm. As I move towards him, he spins round and suddenly we’re facing each other. Alexander’s face buries into my shoulder and he lets out a horrible, inhuman sob. Both my arms go round him, and he collapses into my bear hug, gripping my T-shirt as he cries harder than I’ve ever known him to before.

Gently I rock him in my arms, playing with his hair as he lets his raw emotion spill out. This is the Alexander which nobody else sees, the veneer of make up, designer clothes and one-liners stripped away. Slowly his wails lessen, his sobs becoming empty. His breathing steadies, and I can feel the spasms that wracked his body diminish. I hug him tighter still, feeling him reciprocate. Delicately, I kiss the top of his head, inhaling the scent of his designer hair care regime. A delicate murmur of appreciation seems to form into barely audible words.

“Sorry?” I ask.

Alexander turns his head up to mine; although I can’t see them in the night’s darkness, I feel his eyes on me. “Thank you,” he whispers. “Thank you for not asking.”

I lean forward to kiss him on the forehead, but he’s anticipated me and moves upwards. We awkwardly bump noses before kissing sweetly, lip to lip. It’s not sexual at all, not even when we kiss again, longer and sweeter, our tongues rubbing subtly against each other. I marvel at my lower body control: here I am with one of the most beautiful faces I have ever known pressed against mine, tunnelling its way into my mouth, and down below – nothing.

Slowly our faces part, and Alexander snuggles into my shoulder. I feel his breath, calm and steady now, gradually slowing into slumber. I don’t want to sleep any more: I just want to protect him, the way his father and mother should have done. Come tomorrow morning, there’ll be a two-hour stint in the bathroom and he’ll emerge, dolled up to the nines, the showman once more.

I kiss the top of his head once more. Good night, Elizabeth.

And So, It Begins

Friday night started with the usual tales of previous exploits.

Vince was bursting. “You’ll never guess who he was,” he said. “Works in television: fantastic! He lists all the programmes he’s worked on and I’m thinking: Oh my God! And then when he tells me his name, it’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven. You’ll never guess what series he wrote a book for.”

“Star Trek?” Phil deadpanned.

“Fuck off,” Vince retorted. “We talked loads, and he’s writing this new series. Set on Canal Street. Based on us. But after that comment, I’ll ask him to kill you off…”

Where the Hearts Are

“Where do you keep your heart, love? Is it free and allowed to roam?” The Doctor initiates a long overdue reunion.

Where do you keep your heart, love?
Is it free and allowed to roam?
I’ll show you where my heart is
And you shall be my home.

From morning to night I wander
From darkness to light I roam
But you are where my heart is
And you shall be my home…

As she waited for him to arrive, she hummed the tune he had taught her as a child. Fond tears welled up as she remembered those happiest of days.

The reunion itself started joyous enough for her. She wrapped her frail, ageing arms around his chest, pressing her cheek tightly against the warm wool of his jumper. He had changed so much since she had last seen him. The flowing white hair was much shorter, and now a slightly curly brown. As he whispered into her ear, “I’ve missed you”, she even detected a Celtic accent. Pulling him ever closer to her, she realised that what was once a frail, feeble body had become taut, upright. In fact, he was now so much younger in appearance than she was that she felt strange calling him ‘Grandfather’.

The happiness did not last. Looking up into his face for the first real time since his arrival, she noticed that the piercing grey of his eyes was diffused by sadness deeper than anything she had ever seen in him before.

His mouth opened and closed, opened and closed in an almost comical manner as he tried to say the words he needed to tell her. She could see the palpable fear of hurting her holding him back, strangling his words before they had the chance to emerge. Finally, painfully, he spat them out:

“I’m not your grandfather.”

Continue reading “Where the Hearts Are”

Genesis of Despair

Despair had been trying to ensnare her nemesis for aeons. Now she had hit on the perfect plan. A quick manipulation of a backwards little planet (whose inhabitants were far too up themselves for her liking) and the plan was in place. How ironic — that the bringer of hope would trap himself in her realm by his own hand…

Through the mirror, she watched.

With delight, she saw him raise the two wires, bring them closer together and…

The Doctor stopped. “Do I have that right?”

Blast. She nearly had him in her realm, and now the moment was passed.

Time For Bed (Boing!)

“Wheeeee!” squealed Jo as the Magic Roundabout span. “This Land of Fiction is fun!”

“Watch out!” cried the Doctor, as Ermintrude stampeded through the garden.

Her distress’ source was soon apparent. Imhotep and the remainder of the cast of The Mummy ran amok. A eunuch servant jumped piggyback onto Florence, causing her great discomfort.

The Doctor muttered a limerick under his breath several times. Whispering it into the culprit’s ear, the ferocity subsided into laughter. He jumped down – to Florence’s relief.

“How did you do it, Doctor?” asked Jo.

“Simple. I rehearsed the hilarity of the neuter on Flo.”

Destiny’s Book

Destiny casts no shadow as he walks through his garden. His blind eyes read every page of the book chained to his arms. He knows he should not express opinion on the truths therein, but feels a thrill as the one known as The Doctor appears once more within its pages.

He frowns. Surely not…? How can it be…?

Destiny stumbles, flipping pages back and forth. For the first time in his Endless existence, the book confuses him. Surely even the Doctor’s existence could not be this complex?

Then an inspiration: the frontispiece.

The confusion explained:
Written by Lawrence Miles

So the costume was HER idea…

He sat on the bridge between the Dreaming and her own realm when she found him, thin and blond this time.

“Hello,” he beamed. “I don’t believe we’ve met.” But when she smiled, he remembered and his face fell. “Oh. You. Does that mean I’m… Are you going to…?”

“Maybe one day, but not today.”

From behind her, a brightly coloured head poked, surrounded by kaleidoscopic butterflies.

“i’M DeL. sIs sAYs yoU cHanGE A loT, bUt nOt liKe UNdeRWeAr. CaN i, uM, DeSiGn yOu nEXt tIme?”

The Doctor smiled. “Why not?”

Death giggled. “You’re going to regret saying that, you know.”

Funeral blues (And yellows. And reds. And greens. And…)

The mourners wore black. The Doctor wore every other colour. He told Peri that funerals should be a time of celebration. “Life is ephemeral for the individual, but eternal for society.”

Peri replied that the melancholy atmosphere at funerals was necessary. The Doctor shushed her. “Killjoy.”

On his other side, a friend of the deceased was sobbing her heart out. Passing her a heliotrope handkerchief, he placed a kindly hand on her arm. “He was a happy man,” he told her. “In his memory, let happiness prevail.”

Helen A looked at this brightly garbed stranger. She would do her best.