Title- Encroaching Madness 6/20
Rating- PG15/ OT
Disclaimer- I own nothing you recognise and everything you don't.
Summary- 9 has taken over 10's body. But his mind is slowly losing ground. The Couple land on a planet with an oddly familiar feel.
A/n- Sequel to the Darkness Within. With thanks to all who reviewed and my beta reader Gargantua. And to my sister who grumbled that "she helped too."
Rose stepped out of the TARDIS and closed the door behind her. The Doctor had told her that this place in this time was safe and she believed him… she just hoped that he remembered other things as well, like the fact that she needed oxygen to breathe.
She inhaled quickly and giggled at her own foolishness. Of course he would have ensured that she could breathe first.
The sounds of birds and crickets filled the air and the wind rushed through the tall willowy trees that surrounded her. All seemed beautiful and serenely peaceful but she was more wary. Experience had taught her that appearances were often deceiving and, even more often, dangerous.
She moved curiously yet carefully away from the TARDIS and had her first unobstructed view of her surroundings. The view was breathtaking and reminded Rose of jungles and rainforests she had seen on television back on Earth. The fantastic foliage was glimmered in an array of shades ranging from green and blue, aqua through jade, turquoise through emerald with greys and browns thrown in at random.
A slight mist covered the ground and there was a feeling of early morning dew freshening the air.
Rose breathed in the oxygen rich atmosphere and stretched her aching muscles. It was a welcome change after the nasty burnt odour that permeated the TARDIS at the moment. She had an hour to kill and the Doctor had said that there had recently been some kind of festival around here. Festivals meant celebration and celebration meant party, right?
Twenty minutes later Rose started to worry. She had been walking all this time and hadn’t seen even the remotest hint of civilisation. No party, no celebration…no people.
In fact, had the Doctor not told her that this planet was inhabited she would have assumed that she was all alone here, alone with the trees.
As the sun dipped behind unseen clouds the overhead canopy turned grey and a chill stung the air, raising goose bumps on Rose’s arm. Without the warmth of the sun the ambiance turned.
Suddenly the leaves and branches were less beautiful and more menacing. The bird song suddenly belonged, not to sweet winged creatures, but feral beasts’ intent on feasting on unsuspecting flesh. Even the soft mist was more scary than soothing. Rose was just contemplating returning to the safety of the TARDIS and waiting outside for the Doctor when she stumbled into a clearing.
It was a usual forest glade probably made by a fallen tree or a combination of hard rock and tree roots, but that thing hanging from the tree was no natural occurrence.
Suspended from two branches on the far side of the glade were crystals, some maybe five inches, others three feet long, all suspended from a silver thread.
As the wind brushed against one, a sweet resonating chime echoed in the clearing. The motion rocked it into a smaller crystal and it, too, resounded in the still air. As perpetual motion made them all shudder they all rang loud and clear. The effect was oddly harmonic and reminded her of one of those settings on keyboards used in naff eighties bands.
In fact it was very soothing and Rose settled down on the ground underneath to listen to the tinkling, her eyelids growing dangerously heavy.
The Doctor leaned against the TARDIS console and grimaced at the slight sting in his palms from where he had fallen onto the grating floor.
He pulled back and tucked his arms around himself. “So,” he began heartily. “What’s all this then? Mutiny?”
There was silence from his usual link with the TARDIS and he hardened his heart.
“You know, it’s not playing nice to suddenly explode in mid-air, makes a bloke feel unappreciated.”
Ah, there was a slight buzz from that; the human equivalent of pursing your lips and narrowing your eyes.
He continued. “It’s almost childish, little temper tantrum and refuse to come out and play.”
The TARDIS rumbled and he hid a smirk. “Poor little TARDIS, denied entrance so she blows a fuse.” He stared at the blackened control panel. “Literally.”
A low resonance whine started low in the databanks and threaded its way through him like an ice cold shiver. The TARDIS was displeased.
He braced himself and glowered at the scolding. “Yes, well. I’m 900 years old, what’s your excuse?”
The hum built in pitch and thrummed low and hard. He swallowed. “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
A squeak echoed and he staggered forwards. “I deserve the right to live!” he spat angrily and closed his eyes against the thunderous reply to that.
“It wasn’t my fault, I couldn’t save everyone, but I could save myself, for the first time I—”
He was cut off by the high-pitched pulsation emitting from the TARDIS. It lasted minutes, hours, days and he was helpless against the onslaught of the TARDIS’ remonstrations.
When the flood of recriminations had abated he straightened and took a deep breath. “Fine. Then it’s him I’ll talk to.”
He knelt down by the TARDIS console, closed his eyes and prepared for battle.
Rose felt something heavy press against her chest and her eyes fluttered open, sleep edging away reluctantly. She looked down to see a leaf had fallen from a nearby tree and settled on her chest. She smiled and lazily brushed at it.
It was so peaceful here, so relaxing. How could she have ever thought that this place was menacing? That was just stupid, it was wonderful here.
And those chimes were so beautiful, lyrical and oddly hypnotic.
Rose couldn’t tear her eyes away from them as they swayed in the breeze, swinging and rocking back and forth.
Suddenly Rose was plunged into blackness. The feeling of peace fled and Rose panicked, lurching to her feet.
All around her was dark and cold, an absence of anything but blackness. Rose couldn’t see anything, not an inch in front of her, not her own hands waving in front of her face. Nothing.
Her breath turned to faint mist in the frigid air and she was almost relived to see that brief hint of colour in an otherwise black world.
“Hello?” she called and ducked as the echo grew around her, battering her with the force of her own voice.
As the words died away she sighed. “Well, won’t be doing that again.”
“Again, again, again,” The slight echo followed her and she bit her lip with a shudder.
The air was more than cold, it was intimidating and each breath filled Rose with unease. Her head started to feel light and fuzzy; like she’d been on the cheap drink Shareen used to bring round when they were broke.
In fact she felt drunk, light-headed and nauseous. Rose began to panic.
What had happened? Where was she and why was it so dark? There had to be some light somewhere, some way that she could see what was coming. With this overwhelming nothingness, anything could be hiding, just waiting to pounce on her.
Was there something there? A flicker? Had Rose just seen something move? Was she alone here or was something waiting just waiting to catch her off guard.
Oh, why did she feel so sick?
The pit of her stomach lurched and she cast out a hand for something to lean on. But there was nothing there.
She stumbled and dropped onto one knee, bashing it against cold, hard floor.
“Bugger,” she whispered and rubbed at the sore knee. The sudden pain had managed to take her mind off the disquieting direction her thoughts had started to take and she took a deep breath.
“Right,” she said aloud. “Enough of that. I stopped being frightened of the dark ages ago, so knock it off.”
With that Rose climbed to her feet and dusted off her jeans.
“Okay, so let’s think about this. What do I know?” The sound of her own voice was comforting to Rose in the darkness and she instantly felt more capable of sorting out her situation as she put the facts in order. “I left the TARDIS and went for a walk. That much is a fact. Then I was in that weird clearing and those chimes…must have put me to sleep.” Rose sighed in annoyance. “Either I’m dreaming or the chimes knocked me out and someone has kidnapped me.”
A small smile tripped over her lips. “So either I’ve been abducted by aliens or I’m asleep. Well done me.”
There was a sudden sound of clapping and Rose jumped as the sound resounded around her.
She spun on her heel and blinked as one small spot of bright white light revealed a man standing in front of her. He was dressed in white clothes, medieval clothes that Rose had seen only on TV and in history books- pantaloons and a ruff. His face was as pale as a ghost, only the deep red of his eyes and gums stood out.
He was eerie and Rose stepped back from the mania in his eyes.
“Who are you?” She demanded.
The man gave a lopsided smirk. “Well, either I’m a figment of your imagination or an alien kidnapper, isn’t that what you’ve deduced? Clever girl.”
Rose folded her arms unimpressed. “So which one are you then? Cuz, gotta say, that time Shareen brought the gone off White Diamond I had better dreams. Never looked at Ricky Martin again without thinking of apples, but still.” Rose sniffed. “Not scary, mate.”
“Well, no,” the spectre grimaced. “That’s because I’m all alone. Just me. But if there were, say more of me…”
Rose blinked as the man split into two, then four, then sixteen. Soon she was surrounded by white ghostly men with bad fashion sense.
“Is this scarier?” they chanted and Rose bit her lip and scoffed.
“You’ve obviously never seen Jackie Tyler first thing without make-up.”