4 Mar 2013

The Vanishing Man, Chapter 3

Matthew Cole and the stranger made their way through the corridor and found the first aid room. It was gone 11pm now and the airport seemed completely deserted. They knocked on the medical room door and a female voice asked them to enter.

When they got inside an middle-aged woman with her hair tied up into a bun got up from behind a desk and crossed over to Cole and the man.

“What happened?” asked the nurse, her eyes lighting up at the sight of the stranger.

“I think it was the earthquake,” said Cole, helping him onto the bed.

“What earthquake?” scoffed the woman.

“Oh, of course,” said Cole. “You’re not going to remember it, are you?”

The woman laughed. “Come on, now. Seriously, please.”

“I think he fell and bumped his head.”

“Do you know him?” asked the woman, who’s name badge revealed was called June.

“Never met him before in my life,” said Cole. “I was just wandering through when I found him crouched on the floor.”

June put her hands either side of the strangers face and looked into his eyes. “How do you feel? What’s your name?”

“My name…? I feel…I feel like I’ve just gone ten rounds with Heaton McBride.”

“Who?” asked Cole.

“He’s a boxer,” said the stranger. “Surely you’ve heard of him.”

“Never,” said Cole.

“What’s your name?” asked June again. “I can’t help you unless you tell me what your name is.”

The stranger winced and screwed his eyes together tightly. He rubbed his forehead and then opened his eyes again, looking at June. “My name? My name’s Magnus. Magnus Blackmore.”

Danny had made his way out of the station and down the road. He then crossed over to a cash machine, took his card out and thought.

Will this card work?

He still had the same account in 2011 that he had back in 2003.

Oh well, he thought, might as well try it. If it eats the card then it eats the card.

He slotted the card into the machine, typed in his pin-code and then pressed to withdraw £100. The machine took a long, long time to respond and then, to his amazement, it worked. His mind started racing as he took the money and placed it in his wallet. He was sure there was something at the back of his mind. A memory of his younger self, back in 2003, complaining to the bank that some money had gone missing and it wasn’t him that had withdrawn it.

He chuckled to himself as he crossed over the road and hailed a cab.

The taxi took him to a nearby Travelodge. As he crossed over to the double doors and towards reception, he caught a glimpse of himself in the glass. He was looking tired and unshaven. What he needed was a good nights sleep and a hot bath.

As he turned to continue heading to reception he thought he caught a glimpse of something else in the glass. Something shadowy. But he dismissed the thought and went to book his room.

Thirty minutes later Danny was lowering himself into a warm, hot bubble bath. It felt good and he felt all of his muscles relaxing. He closed his eyes and let the water surround him until only his face was submerged.

He started thinking back to his life in 2003. It hadn’t been a bad year, really. It was the year that followed that had been difficult. It was then that he had the thought. Surely, if it was 2003, Adrian would still be there. Maybe he could call him. Maybe he could warn him…

Cole watched on as June finished patching Blackmore up. She had put plasters on some of his cuts and had bandaged up his wrist which had been burnt. He had refused to remove an ornate bracelet from the same wrist, however, and had instead moved it up his arm to just below his elbow.

Matthew wasn’t sure who this Blackmore was, but he was pleased that so far he hadn’t forgotten him. And neither had June. That made him feel better. But he still wasn’t sure how to go about explaining to these people that he had turned into some kind of rubber band invisible man, constantly snapping back to arrivals if he tried to leave the airport complex.

“There you are,” said June. “All patched up. Now, where were you headed?”

“I have no idea,” said Blackmore, rubbing a bruise on his cheek.

“You must have some idea,” said Cole.

“I was trying to get back to Earth,” said Blackmore.

Cole looked bemused.

“Earth?” said June. “Oh, my poor love. You must have concussion. Perhaps I should get you an ambulance.”

“No!” snapped Blackmore quickly. “No ambulances. I’m fine. I just need to get out of here and get my bearings.”

“Okay, okay, calm down,” said June.

Cole could sense something wasn’t quite right with this man and crossed over to Blackmore. “Okay, nurse, I’ll see to him. I’ll see if I can get him to a hospital.”

“But he just said-”

“He’s obviously had some kind of trauma,” said Cole, laughing nervously and helping Blackmore off the bed. “I’ll take care of him.”

Cole helped Blackmore out of the room and down the corridor.

“I said I don’t want an ambulance. I don’t need a hospital,” growled Blackmore.

“Don’t worry,” said Cole, “I’m not taking you to hospital. I’m taking you down for a coffee.”

They made their way along the corridor and down the escalator towards T3. All of the café area was closed so they ordered a black coffee from the vending machine and sat down at a small table in the corner.

Blackmore was still looking a little dazed and confused, and then they noticed June walk down to grab a coffee as well. She didn’t bat an eyelid at the two of them.

“Has she forgotten you as well?” asked Cole.

“What do you mean?”

Cole looked at Blackmore. He looked tired and confused and in need of a good sleep. “Nothing.”

“So where am I?”

“Manchester airport.”

“Don’t be stupid. An airport? They haven’t had an airport in centuries.”

“What do you mean?” Cole was getting more and more confused.

“It’s spaceport,” said Blackmore, looking around him.

Cole didn’t know why, but he felt like he could trust this man, despite all the crazy things he had come out with. After all, he was currently stuck in a nightmare of his own.

“Where are you from?” asked Cole.

“Originally? Cambridge.”

“I’m from…somewhere in Scotland…I think,” said Cole, noticing his accent and finding himself slightly confused by it.

“You don’t know where in Scotland?”

“Not exactly. It’s all a bit of a blur.” Cole sipped from his coffee and leaned back in his chair. He gazed into the distance. “I remember arriving at the airport and since then everything’s been a little bit…confusing.”

“In what way?” asked Blackmore.

Cole sighed and leaned forward. “This is going to sound bizarre.”

Some time had passed and Danny was now lying on the bed, in a dressing gown with the TV on which was showing an old comedy show from back in the 1970’s.

He turned his iPhone over and over in his hand, contemplating calling Adrian. It scared him. It had been so long, and he wasn’t really sure what he would even say to him if he did answer.

Finally, stealing his nerve, he dialled the number. His phone had been configured to work wherever and whenever he was by the Doctor.

It rang for a few seconds and then…

“Hello?” came the voice.

It was a familiar voice. A voice he had not heard for seven years. A warm, happy voice. The voice of Adrian.

Danny opened his mouth to speak, closed it, opened it again and then-

“Hello?” came Adrian’s voice again. “Who’s there?”

Danny pulled his phone away from his ear, looked at the touch pad and then pressed the call end button.

He lay there for a long time, contemplating what he had just done and who he had just heard. If he was able to speak to Adrian, perhaps he would be able to go and see him.

And then he thought about what the Doctor had said about interfering in one’s own time stream.

But this was Adrian. He was alive and well and living his life.

“Screw the web of time,” he said to himself.

The train door swished open and the Doctor and Caroline stepped off. It was cold and the platform was deserted.

“Last time I was here,” said Caroline, “was when I was catching a plane to Cologne. Me and Kate went for a weekend at Christmas back in 2005.”

“Charming city,” said the Doctor, as they made their way towards the escalator. “I spent some time there back in the 1800’s. Helped run a medicinal stall with a lovely little old man called Corrinas. Tobias Corrinas. Nice man.”

“I wish we were catching a plane somewhere now,” said Caroline as they stepped onto the escalator.

When they reached the top the Doctor pulled out his sonic screwdriver and began taking readings from around them.

“Anything?” asked Caroline hopefully.

“Hmmm,” said the Doctor, turning on the spot. “There appears to be some kind of temporal field somewhere nearby.”


“Time stuff.”

“I know what temporal means,” said Caroline. “But why should it be here?”

“Well that’s why we’re here. To find out.”

“Lead the way,” said Caroline as the Doctor headed towards the sky link.

They strode along the moving conveyor belt towards the other end, the light casting a purple tint to their clothes.

When they reached the end they found themselves at the escalator that led down to T3. They made their way down and walked across the hall, the Doctor occasionally checking his sonic screwdriver and the readings it was gathering.

It was when they passed nearby to the café that the device started making a high-pitched whine.

The Doctor turned around until he reached the spot where the whine was the most high-pitched. Sitting at a table were two men. One he didn’t recognise, and one that he did.

“Oh no,” said Caroline, also noticing who the Doctor had seen. “How did he get here?”

“Mr Blackmore has a time ring, remember. I can only assume that he made his way here via that.”

“I thought he might have been dead,” said Caroline, glumly.

“Steady on, Miss Parker, we can’t wish all the bad guys dead.”

“You know what I mean,” she replied.

“Come on, let’s get this over with.”

They headed over to the table where the stranger and Blackmore were deep in conversation.

The Doctor cleared his throat.

The stranger, Cole, turned around and Blackmore looked up, rolling his eyes.

“Can we help you?” asked Cole.

“No,” said the Doctor, “but we may need to help you if you continue your association with this man.”

“Do you know him?”

“No,” snapped Blackmore. “He doesn’t know me. He’s met me once, very briefly. You can’t know or judge a person on that.”

“Ooh, a little defensive there, Magnus,” said Caroline.

“This man is a killer,” said the Doctor. “A cold, blooded killer, and I have a feeling the Trixatins would like you back on their planet.”

June looked up at the two group of people at the table and then returned back to her coffee.

“What?” asked a confused Cole.

“Don’t start preaching to me, you stupid buffoon,” said Blackmore.

“Give me that time ring,” snapped the Doctor.


The Doctor moved forward to grab Blackmore’s arm.

“Now hang on a minute,” said Cole, grabbing the Doctor’s hand, and….


There was a blinding white light…and then darkness…

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