Every head but hers turns to stare in his direction; a moment ago, before the revelation in the glass, he would have thought this strange. Now, he finds it abjectly terrifying.
Her soft laugh rings like bells throughout the hall, silver and titillating. It reminds somehow of Poe’s Masque of the Red Death.
Odd how duty seems to choose him, he thinks as he extricates himself from the partygoers and seeks a tentative comfort in the Lord-President’s lead-lined walls.
But as he touches the door handle, the door does not open onto the safe-room he orchestrated so long ago.
He is back in the parlouresque hall, holding his glass just so, about to catch a glimpse of…
Suddenly a white anomaly blurs his field of vision; feathers fly up, fly out, and claws scratch the glass from his hands.
Before others’ hands attempt without success to drag its owner away, one pearly eye catches the light. It gapes at him, pleading with his old-ness as if for release. As if it knows him.
Then the hands return, and climb over it, clambering over its great wings and its head and its one eye.
But in a final defiance it shrieks, lashing out.
A claw catches the Doctor on the neck, severing a vein. He gives no resistance.
Then he collapses.
Blood is everywhere around him, for the second time.