Help Arrives

Charlie Kennedy re-appeared just in the nick of time and whisked the two girls into a large yellow box with a surreal bird symbol on it. This, he explained, was the SLARDIS - Social, Liberal and Relative Democrats in Space. For some reason it was smaller inside than it looked from the outside and they all had to stand shoulder to shoulder.

After a weird sound like a political speech being given backwards at ten times the proper speed, it materialised and Charlie ushered his two guests out into a black, white and sepia world.

"What's goin' on?" asked Jemima.

"I'll need to leave you here," said Charlie. "You'll have de-plasticised by tomorrow morning. You'll need to take Patricia to somewhere quiet where she can rest."

"She's flippin' restin' now, ain't she? She's like a flippin' doll! When are you takin' us back home?"

"I'll take you back as soon as it's safe," said Charlie, looking more seriously than normal. "I must go. Just one word: don't trust Lord Ashdown. See you."

And he was off before Jemima could complain. The girl lifted her plastic friend (who was fortunately very light in her doll-like situation) towards the nearest settlement, which seemed to be a lot of tents with paintings on them and a man sitting in the middle making smoke signals with his fire.

As Jemima approached, she attempted to speak. No words came out of her mouth. She tried again.Nothing. However a big board appeared above her head. It read: "Excuse me, my friend and I are weary and seek shelter."

The man making the smoke signals smiled and mouthed at Jemima but no words came from his lips. Again a board appeared above his head.

"What is your head, oh pretty one?" said the board.

Jemima thought it weird that the board knew her thoughts - and could express them so much better than could she - but tried to answer in the usual fashion. Again she was silenced and the board appeared: "My name is Jemima and this is Patricia. Oh, please, please, won't you help us?!"

Jemima began to feel silly as she found herself placing her right arm melodramatically above her eyes and swooning on the floor.

Suddenly she found herself inside a tent wearing different clothes from the ones she'd had on that day. Patricia was lying on the bed with her fixed doll expression but with some slight movement in her hands detectable.

Suddenly from outside there came a commotion. It sounded like someone hammering away on the piano. Jemima came to see what it was. It was two white men on horseback shooting everything in sight.

Jemima's native friend came to her in a panic. He opened his mouth and stared at her, waiting for her to read the large sign. It read: "We are heavily outnumbered. Go, save yourself!"

Jemima leapt up on a stallion. A board above her head proclaimed "I love you!"

She stole away into the night.

Unfortunately for her there was now a horse-drawn chariot after her.

She headed it off at the pass and even tried a few diversionary tactics. The sound of a piano tinkling noisily alongside it continued to go up in strength. She tried shooting towards the chariot; shouting towards it; leading it into a bog; nothing worked. Eventually it reached the exhausted girl and the owner dismounted and, leaning over triumphantly, addressed Jemima.

"Turned Injian, didn'tcha?" read the board above the man's head.

The man chose this moment to remove his Victorian American clothing. Underneath was a long coat which seemed to be bulging. It looked familiar somehow...

He then removed his hat and moustache. Jemima's eyes widened as she realised whom she was looking at.

She swore very colourfully but on this world there was no colour. There was also no sound other than the sound of the piano, which was building up to a loud, frightening crescendo at the moment.

The board which appeared above Jemima's head did not, however, show her swearing. Instead it showed what she had been thinking.

"Lord Ashdown?" it said.

The End

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