Destiny, Death, Delirium and Despair: Drabbles a decade on

The beauty of using my blog to keep track of stuff I’ve written elsewhere is that it allows, when time permits, to reflect on the writer I used to be. As I’ve been explaining on Twitter, I usually think that what I wrote in the past is better than what I write now, whether it’s ten years old or ten days.

Perusing some of the neglected categories in my blog (of which there are many) I came to realise that three very short pieces of fiction are almost exactly a decade old.

They are drabbles – short stories of exactly 100 words in length. These particular ones are ‘fan fiction’ (or fanfic for short), unlicensed exploration of other people’s fictional creations. As you scour the internet, you discover that much fanfic is unremittingly awful – but some is not. And from that minority, an even smaller proportion has spawned writers who have gone on to write professionally for the same characters (yes, this is a hint to buy The Ghosts of Christmas while stocks last. I still savour that review in DWM, even if my story was summed up in three words, one of which was “and”).

In this case, the subject was Doctor Who crossing over with the Endless family from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic books.

Reading them again, they do hold up quite well – although of the three, one relies on a punchline that no longer packs the punch it once did and one just has me a feeling a bit meh. The third, though, includes possibly my favourite sentence in Doctor Who ever. That sounds like egotism, and it may be, but it feels like the line was written by somebody else. Which, I suppose, it was: I am not the same person I was a decade ago. I hope 1990s Scott won’t mind me lifting it should I ever find a circumstance to use it again.

Anyway, the three drabbles – to be read in no particular order – are:

If you have no idea who Neil Gaiman’s Endless characters are, a guick google should set you aright. And if you’re a fan of great storytelling, remind me to lend you The Sandman novels some time (or buy your own)…

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.

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.”