“The one day I want to go to the beach, she dumps me off in some creepy building,” The Doctor muttered, jiggling his key in the lock frantically. It didn’t happen a lot, but occasionally the TARDIS would lock him outside. Usually it was because there was something there he needed to see. She never took him where he wanted to go. Rather, where he needed to go.
He pressed his palm flat against the door; he was comforted by the surge of heat he felt when his skin met the warm wood.
The TARDIS had transported him to an abandoned building, who knows where, instead of the exotic vacation planet of Zakroos. He was less than pleased at this development. Now he wouldn’t get the chance to converse with thousand-year-old turtle-like creatures said to live on a remote island on Zakroos.
The Doctor gave up his attempts to open the door and turned around to examine his surroundings. The TARDIS had materialized moments before in the dark damp hallway with a resonate boom that shook the thin walls all around. Steam hissed out from an ancient cooling system that had been disturbed by the Doctor’s arrival. Cords and wires hung down from the ceiling like vines in a jungle.
Casting a glance over his shoulder, the Doctor addressed the blue box, “Alright – but this had better be good!” He tapped the doorframe once with his forefinger before he walked away.
He decided to explore the building, hoping to stumble across whatever it was the TARDIS wanted him to find. The place hadn’t been inhabited for years. Broken glass from who knows what littered the floor.
The Doctor made his way through the tangle of wiring that had fallen from the ceiling, swatting at a cord that touched his face as though it were a bothersome fly. He concluded that the building had been ransacked and torn apart long after it had been abandoned. The signs of destruction around him were fresh, as opposed to the general deterioration of the building. There were no bodies, no signs of a struggle – there had been no danger that drove away the building’s occupants. The Doctor withdrew his sonic screwdriver to get a better look at four trailing claw marks on the wall, using the green light to see.
“Well that’s definitely not human,” Something very big, and very scary had passed through this hallway.
The hallway ended abruptly, leaving the Doctor to face what appeared to have been at one point an impenetrable metal door. There was a round locking mechanism in the center of the door, a square keypad comprised of letters and numbers sat on top of it. The door now swung half way off its hinges at an odd, broken angle. The Doctor touched it, experimentally, and jumped back when it fell to the floor with a loud clatter.
It was dark in the room before him. The light of the TARDIS was far behind, not bright enough to illuminate the entire hallway. The Doctor raised his screwdriver like a torch, making the green tip glow brighter.
He swept the room with it, revealing that he was in some kind of laboratory. Beakers and test tubes sat clustered together on a table in one corner of the room.
On the other side of the room were three colossal, glass cylinders that stretched floor to ceiling.
The first cylinder was hollow, empty. The second had been shattered on the outward facing side. A trail of blood led away from the jagged hole. The third cylinder was cloaked by a sheet that stretched all the way round it on a track on the ceiling like dividers in a hospital. It was impossible to tell what be inside the third cylinder.
The Doctor glanced at the brown streak of blood on the tiled floor surreptitiously before stepping over it. He felt bad for not following the blood splatters to see who was hurt, but he could tell by how old the trail was that it was far too late anyway. There was no hope now for that poor soul.
The Doctor noticed there was a blue light shining around the third cylinder. He switched off his sonic.
The light illuminated the Doctor’s face, casting eerie shadows. He grabbed hold of the curtain and pulled straight down. The rings that connected it to the track snapped, brittle from age, and the white sheet fluttered down.
“Oh hello! You are beautiful,” The Doctor gasped, astonished to see a girl floating inside the cylinder. She was pale as a winter moon with long white hair that spiraled around her inside the tank. The girl was completely naked, allowing the Doctor to see a fleshy umbilical cord trailing from her stomach. It was manmade, glowing blue with electric wires. The cord disappeared into the floor of the tank, away from sight.
“You’re still getting nutrients, you’re still alive” The Doctor realized, studying the pulse of the blue lights in the cord. The girl was so thin; he could see every bone in her body, her skin stretched tight across her frame. He laid his hand against the glass. The girl’s eyes snapped open. They were an ice blue color that studied the Doctor with wide eyed curiosity. She placed her palm against the glass on her side, mirroring the Doctor’s. She tilted her head to one side, as though trying to figure out who the Doctor was.
“They left you. Just left you here, in this place - for dead,” His face grew dark in anger. The Doctor whirled round. There was no time to figure out how to remove the girl safely from the tank. His eyes scanned the room – and fell upon the body of a boy.
He was curled up tight against the wall, dried blood coating his thin body. The cold atmosphere in the laboratory had for the most part preserved his body. The boy’s fingers were curled around a crowbar that was drenched in a strange, dark, blue blood.
“Oh,” The Doctor looked back to the broken tank, connecting the dots in his head, “I see.”
He crossed the room and crouched down next to the boy. The child was pale, like the girl, and his wide unseeing eyes were a now milky, once ice blue, color.
“I’m so sorry,” He tore the crowbar from the boys grasp.
Returning to the girl, he could see that she was distressed. Her mouth was open in a silent plea, both hands pressed against the glass. She didn’t need tears to cry.
“I don’t take action – unless there are children crying!” He slammed the metal crowbar against the glass like a baseball player swinging a bat. The glass cracked.
The Doctor dropped the crowbar. It fell to the white tiled floor. Hairline cracks appeared across the surface of the glass.
The girl pressed herself back from the crack just as the glass gave way, bursting outwards, a wave of liquid spilling out over the floor. Her body was carried with it. The umbilical cord snapped with a sickening crunching sound, leaving a length still attached to the girl’s stomach.
The Doctor rushed to her aid, kneeling beside her. She thrashed back and forth like a fish out of water, her mouth open, chest heaving as she tried to breathe.
“Come on, breathe! You can do it!” The Doctor cried.
She coughed up a lungful of water, taking in a gasping breath.
“Yes!” The Doctor pumped a fist in the air, smiling like a fool.
With her first breath came her first cry. They were childlike cries that were akin to the howling of a newborn baby. The Doctor realized, in a way, she was a newborn.
“Oh it’s alright,” He cooed, crawling around on his hands and knees to her head, “Come on, you’re alright now,”
He cradled her head in his lap, stroking her wet hair back from her face. Her cries died away, slowly, and her eyes opened to look up at the Doctor.
“Hello,” The Doctor offered her a friendly smile. In response, she reached out a hand to tug on his bowtie. He grinned at the infantile gesture.
“That’s my bowtie, you can’t have it,”