25 Mar 2013

The Vanishing Man, Chapter 9

Blackmore had been tinkering with the dome-like machine for a good twenty minutes and everything seemed to be quiet back up above,

Caroline and June were sat with their backs against the wall. Caroline had her knees drawn in to her chest and June was looking more and more calmer with the situation.

“That thing,” Caroline indicated the dome. “It must be what’s causing the strange things around the airport. Like with that Matthew Cole guy.”

“I can’t even remember him,” said June, half-laughing at the absurdity of it all.

“You should have just gone home,” said Caroline. “Then you’d have been none the wiser.”

“I don’t understand why it’s not affected you two though.”

“Probably something to do with us travelling in time.”

“I beg your pardon?” said June, a look of disbelief on her face.

Caroline turned to face the older lady. “I travel in time and space with a man called the Doctor and my old friend, Danny. And this guy…” she looked towards the deep-in-concentration Blackmore, “…this guy is a fugitive. A criminal.”

“I heard that,” called back Blackmore.

“You were supposed to,” said Caroline. “Anyway, I don’t know how, but that machine is having no effect on us.”

“It’s because we’re not fixed to this time zone,” said Blackmore, a screwdriver between his teeth.

“Thought that’d be the case,” said Caroline.

“This is all too much for me,” said June. “I just want to go home. Back to my Sid.”

“Your husband?”

“My cat,” said June with a warm smile. “My husband and I divorced years ago. Best thing I ever did.”

The two woman chuckled.

“Finally!” shouted Blackmore, standing up as the machine’s buzzing sound grew more high-pitched.

“What have you done?” asked Caroline, quickly scrambling to her feet.

“Unlocked it.”

“Come again?”

“It was locked. I couldn’t access it’s main drives.” He flashed her a grin. “But I can now.”

There came the sound of a loud alarm.

“Well done,” said Caroline, looking back the way they had come. “We best get out of here.”

“Wait,” said Blackmore. He was about to turn a dial on the machine when he was suddenly flung back. Sparks of electricity flew from him and he landed with a thud next to Caroline and June.

“We’ve gotta go,” said Caroline.

“But what about him?” asked June.

Caroline knelt down and checked for his pulse. “He’s out cold, but he’ll live.”

“We’ve got to take him with us,” said June.

“No,” said Caroline. “Our best bet is to find the Doctor. We’d never manage to lift him anyway.”

They were about to turn and go when three hatches on the far side of the dark room opened and three small, round, globes emerged and began advancing on Caroline and June.

“Run!” said Caroline.

Danny was out of breath, but he knew he had to keep going. He knew he wasn’t too far away from the station and if he followed the route of the train line, he’d soon get there. He could already see the lights of the airport in the distance.

He was lucky that Emily and Ethan’s house hadn’t been too far from the airport. But why didn’t he just stay with the Doctor and Caroline? They were his friends, after all.

No, he had been foolish. He had wanted nothing to do with them. And he knew without a doubt now that it was the Apparite inside of him, nestled deep within his soul somewhere. It was controlling him. It was the Apparite that had guided him into fixing the generator back at Sherman Prison and it was the Apparite that was causing him to have so many mood swings. So why was he so keen to stay away from the Doctor? Surely the Doctor was the man to help him.

Danny felt his foot hit something and he went face-first down onto the cold, hard ground. The mud beneath the grass was hard and frozen and the grass had frost on it. It was a cold, cold night, but Danny was sweating. For him, it didn’t feel cold enough.

Another symptom of the Apparites possession.

He was about to get up when he felt a searing pain across his forehead. He went blind and then everything went white.

After a few moments his vision began to clear. He was now standing on a cliff top overlooking a dark, black sea. The grass beneath his feet was grey and the sky up above orange. It almost felt like everything was a negative image of itself.

And then he became aware of the presence behind him.

He turned quickly, but there was nothing there.

And then he heard the voice. A familiar voice.

“Danny Lennon,” said the voice. It was the Apparite.

“Where am I?” asked Danny nervously.

“Your dreams,” said the Apparite, with a slight chuckle.

“This feels real.”

“This conversation is real.”

“Why are you still inside my head?”

“The problem doesn’t just lie with me,” said the Apparite. “It lies with you as well.”

“What do you mean?”

“I am the one inside of you.”

“Exactly. So let me go.”

“No, Danny. You don’t understand. I may be able to influence your actions and control your emotions, but I am trapped as well. I’m trapped inside of you, Danny.”

Danny’s heart began racing. “How do I get you out?”

“I don’t know,” said the Apparite. “But you must try.”

“I’ll speak to the Doctor.”

“No!” snapped the voice. “He’ll just want to destroy me. He wouldn’t understand us.”

“Then tell me. I can convince him. Tell me about your people.”

“We were once like you.”

“You seem a little more coherent than the rest of your kind.”

“Our world is so damaged that it has in turn affected us. Being in your mind has healed me, Danny. At least healed my mind, if not my body.”

There was a sudden flash.

“What was that?”

“You are returning to the real world. Your kidnappers are almost upon you.”

“Tell me what I have to do,” pleaded Danny.

“Do not tell the Doctor. When he finds out what we are, he will be furious. He will do everything in his power to destroy us.”

“Then what can I do without him?”

“You’ll find a way. Go back to Thornsby.”

The voice was getting more and more distant.


“Go back to Thornsby and find Jayne.”

There was another flash and Danny was back on his front on the cold, hard ground. He was aware of the sound of a car behind him.

He quickly turned and saw two headlights coming towards him. After a moment of blindness he was able to make out the faces of Ethan and Emily next to him, behind the wheel.

They had followed him in Emily’s car across the fields and had finally caught him.

Matthew was sat silently on the sofa when the Doctor came up him. He looked serious and his eyes were blank. Matthew felt as if he had intruded on the Doctor in some way.

“What is it?” asked the Scotsman.

“The TARDIS has completed it’s tests,” said the Doctor, his lips firmly pierced together.

“And? Is it bad news?”

“No exactly,” said the Doctor. He leant against the TARDIS console, all the time his eyes fixed on Matthew, never blinking or looking away.

“Just tell me.”

“I want you to tell me,” said the Doctor. “Tell me everything you remember.”

“I’ve already told you,” said Matthew. “I got off the plane and then couldn’t leave.”

“Before that,” said the Doctor sharply.

“It’s all just a blur.”

“You said you think you’re from Scotland.”

“I am,” said Matthew quickly. “My accent says I am at least.”

“Accents can be deceiving. Lot’s of planets have a Scotland.”

“What? Lot’s of planets? I’m Human. Your screwdriver told you that much.”

The Doctor pulled out his sonic screwdriver from his pocket. “Ah, this old thing. Well, you see, that’s the problem with screwdrivers. In the end, they are just screwdrivers. The TARDIS was able to go deeper. You’ve been with humans too long. They rubbed off on you. Quite literally in fact.”

“This isn’t making any sense to me,” said Matthew, sounding distraught.

“What do you remember of your life before the plane?”


“It’s a blur, yes, I know. And do you know why it’s a blur?”

Matthew looked up hopefully.

“It’s because you had no life before the airport.”


“You are nothing but a sponge.”

Matthew frowned. “I beg your pardon?”

“A sponge. You’ve soaked up everything around you. Human beings, accents…everything. They’ve made you what you are.”

“I remember…Susan.”

“Oh,” laughed the Doctor. “You remember Susan, do you? Do you want to know why you remember Susan? It’s because I used to know someone called Susan. You got that off me. Because of my granddaughter.”

“And why that, specifically?” asked Matthew, he now felt like he was about to shatter into a million pieces. “Out of all of the memories from the hundreds of people in the airport, why would I remember something like that?”

“Because of where you come from. Because you come from me! Because you are me!”

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