A Child of Time
By Jeffrey Estrella
It has been a year since he changed everything. A year since the big blue box and the mad man who piloted it appeared from nowhere to show me that I was not alone, that the universe was full of unknown possibilities that even though I was just a speck of stardust that I mattered, it's been a year since I became something more than myself, someone who against all odds has fought against robots of hate, someone who has seen galaxies fall, and the birth of stars. I have been among the few privileged enough to call myself a child of time.
The day it all began started no differently than any other day. It was the beginning of summer the air was thick with humidity and the threat of rain loomed for everywhere. I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed and made my way downstairs, and straight to the coffee pot, which was still filling up with coffee. I sat down at the table and pulled out my sketch pad and idly drew shapes, ideas at the base level, nothing significant would make itself known until my veins were pumped full of coffee, coffee was as much my muse as any beautiful scenery, lately I had found myself really interested in the cemetery that was about a mile from my house, gothic style tombstones mixed with twentieth century ones and even some that dated back to the pre-civil war days reaching up from the graves of some of the most interesting people. There was a beauty in the place, an inherent creepiness that called out to something in my mind that helped me create, build worlds out in the cosmos, universes I knew didn't exist...I smiled at the thought of going back there today, getting to let myself run wild and unchecked, allow the impossible to become possible. I quickly downed the coffee and poured the rest into a thermos for the road, threw on a hat and left the house, I looked up at the sky and sure enough storm clouds were rolling in, I had to hope I got in enough time at the cemetery to do something productive.
The walk to the cemetery took about 20 minutes without much interruption I was able to think freely, allowing the ideas I had thought up to grow into something more, I was starting to be able to see the dragons, to see the astronauts, to smell the flames, and feel the fear. I found myself more quickly than I had expected at the old creaky iron gate that was the entrance to the cemetery, I walked inside and found my favorite place, which was perched atop a hill overlooking everything, scores of tombstones stretched out for miles and quickly I began to sketch, trees and ghosts, demons watching over the souls of those whom they had haunted for years, it was amazing, the weirdest part however was the thing that appeared in the middle, a box...or as the sign read, a police call box...l thought I had read something about those in a history book but why was it appearing here in the drawings? What appeared next was even weirder. a man who appeared to be in his middle thirties, a buzz cut and wearing a leather jacket and jeans, running towards the viewer his eyes were wild with fear, his hand extended outward, with some sort of electronic device held out like a gun.
"Run!" he shouted, "Run!!!" it took me until the second time to realize that the voice was real and the scene I was drawing was actually unfolding before me. I stood there frozen for a second unsure what this mad man was doing, unsure if I should trust him, I never even got the chance to decide because he had already grabbed my hand and was pulling me towards the exit. I ran with him in silence for a few feet then grounded myself and forced him to stop. He turned to me eyes wild "Do you not want to live?"
"Who are you?" I yelled staring at him.
"Me? I'm the doctor...now run!"
"From what? There is noth-" I paused midsentence as I had whirled around to show this crazy person that there was nothing wrong, but where there had only been trees and grass and graves, behind me, a stone angel baring its teeth stood frozen, its hands outstretched a single finger pointing as if it was about to touch the spot I had just been. "What is that?" I turned back to him understanding for the first time the fear in his eyes.
"That is a weeping angel...a creature with the perfect defense mechanism...as soon as you see it, it turns to stone...nothing living can see it, but in the dark, they are silent killers, moving freely and they are quicker then you'd expect, so quick in fact blink and you are dead." He finished on a somber note, and as if the universe wanted to punctuate the severity of the moment the skies opened up and the rains came. "Damn...quick in here, we can take cover in the mausoleum the angels will get in eventually but for now we will be safe. What's your name?"
"Really is this the time to be exchanging names?" I asked incredulously.
"Well there is no time like the present, soon enough we could both be killed and we'd never have learned each other’s names, now that's not really fair is it?" He said with a raise of his eyebrow and laughed a little.
"Fine...Claire, my name is Claire and you said you are doctor who?"
"Okay then Doctor, if there is no time like the present, than let me ask you this, what was that police call box thing and where did it come from?"
"Well that police call box is called the T.A.R.D.I.S, and it’s how I get around, you know see the stars. hence the name Time and Relative Dimensions in Space." He said.
"So in other words it’s your space ship?"
"At the most basic level yes, it also is a time machine I can go anywhere I want in it, really anywhere." he laughed "Now let’s go!" He said smiling, as we made it to the front door of the mausoleum, where he pulled out something that lit up and buzzed and in the matter of seconds the door swung open and he pulled me inside. "Good we are out of the rain, but we are still not safe, the angels will not be stopped for long, the door isn't exactly the strongest, they'll be here in a few seconds..."
"What is that thing?" I asked him pointing to the device that just opened the door.
"It's my sonic screwdriver, basically my key to everything." he smiled and looked around always seeming to be calculating.
"Oh I thought it was a magic wand or something." I said quietly letting in a bit of sarcasm, the answer didn’t really tell me anything at all.
"Much more advanced than that...don't get why the wizards fancy those things so much...” he said distractedly, I laughed and took it as is, it certainly isn’t the weirdest thing that’s happened today. There was a bang at the door, and I heard what sounded like a break.
"What do they want?" I asked my voice shaking a little, "I am nobody, there is no reason they could want me..."
"Ah, that's where you are wrong, You are important, one of the most important players in the whole universe, stars collided, atoms and energies at the very beginning of time and space came together and fell apart, and together again, until they eventually got it right in you, so don't sell yourself short, you aren't nobody, you are Claire, the most important girl in the universe."
"How can I be though? no one even notices me around here, the world spins and spins and if I weren't here it would still spin right?" I asked wanting to believe him, but finding myself unable to.
"Technically yes, but there would be a family without a daughter, a little boy without a friend, and a doctor without a companion and that is just not right... now is it?" He said kindly, looking over me with infinite sadness written in his eyes that seemed too old for his body. "Now Claire the most important girl in the universe, if you want to stay that way, you better listen to me and run!" He took my hand and dragged me deeper into the mausoleum just as the door burst open and standing now in the doorway was the angel that had been behind me, and what appeared to be a new army of them, the lead angel had her hand extended toward the lights that hung from the ceiling.
"What is it...what is it doing...” I asked and had my answer almost immediately as the light flickered off and we were plunged into darkness, when the light came back on they had begun to pour into the building silently calling out for our deaths.
The doctor lead me through the winding corridors, the musty air of the dead that lined the walls wafted though the air, the angels slowly moving through behind us, with each flash of darkness they'd move ever closer.
"Please tell me that you have a plan! something better than running, doctor."
"There is no better plan than to run! at least running is doing something, when we stop I will have something!" he yelled back.
"The angels are coming doctor, they are moving, calling out for you to save them, break them free of the quantum lock...let them feast...” A third strange voice called out from somewhere.
"What was that?" I yelled.
"Ignore it...the angels are using the bodies of the dead to communicate...tune them out..." The doctor said with a quiet rage in his voice.
"But they are asking for help! You call yourself a doctor then help them..."
"They don't deserve my help!" he turned yelling, his eyes ablaze with fury. "They feed and feed, forever stuck in their stone, only caring for their own survival, they do not need my help, they do well enough killing on their own without it." He turned away again, and took off running, the lights flickered on and off, the angels continued to move closer, forever gaining ground, we spilled into a circular room, with no corridors, or escape routes, we had made it to the center of the labyrinth, and it would be only a matter of time before the angels caught up.
"Now what?" I asked somewhat sarcastically, still seething from the scolding.
"I...I don't know, There is always a way out...always!" he yelled in frustration, punching the wall, he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his sonic screwdriver, the sonic pulse spinning through the room. "Keep an eye on the door, don't move a muscle, don't blink...there has got to be something!" He circled the room, checking everything, every crack every crevice, talking to himself under his breath, swearing growing more and more frustrated with each second. "nothing, there is nothing!!"
"Uh doctor?" I said, the nervousness clearly written in my voice.
"Not now...Claire... there is got to be a way out!" He said quietly.
"Doctor!" I said a little louder, the lights flickered out again and I saw the arms of an angel reaching around the corner, they were here...just a few more seconds...
"What happens doctor? what happens if they reach us?" I asked shivering, just needing to know...
"If they touch you, you get zapped back in time to live the rest of your life out and you die in the present, they feed on the time energy that is created ...it’s not the worst way to die, but it certainly isn't pleasant..." He said.
"Oh so that all..." I said my heart sinking, the lights flickered again and when the darkness was over the angel was mere feet away from me, her teeth bared and arms out...I tensed and made sure not to blink "Uhhhh Doctor!!!" I yelled, I backed slowly away, making sure never to take my eyes off of the angel, and towards the doctor, "We really need a plan now....they are here...”
"Doctor...You can help us..." The voices rang out from the walls, a cacophony of the dead, begging to be saved, "Do for us what you couldn't do for your people...and save us."
I snuck a peak at the doctor and saw there were tears wetting his eyes. his jaw was clenched in a controlled rage, he was thinking...he turned around and began to speak.
"Why do you need to be saved? Why the sudden urge to be free of your best defense? it doesn't make sense You've always thrived on the art of surprise, statues don't move, no one can really defend against that, why then do you want to move, to lose that, think of all the time energy you are wasting..." he said "come on you are intelligent creature there must be a reason..wait!! Fantastic...This is just fantastic! it’s because you are the last of your kind isn't it? all of you...the few of you that are here, the time energy isn't enough anymore, your stone is failing you, you need bodies...new forms of life, that why you need me...that why you needed her, aren’t I right boys??"
"You are correct, the angels will not survive without more...we are dying doctor, are you really willing to see the extinction of yet another species?" the army of eerie voices rang out, almost challenging the doctor to make his move.
"No, I will not see another extinction, I won’t break the quantum lock either...but I will do this...” He held the sonic screwdriver in the air, and smiled "come to me my sexy lady!"
The wheezing noise of the materializing T.A.R.D.I.S burst through the air, the angels called out "Doctor!" The lights flickered out again, for a split second I thought I was dead, but the lights came back on and I was inside the T.A.R.D.I.S, and what appeared to be the console stood a few inches away from me.
"What are you doing? How is this going to save us?" I asked him.
"All I have to do is switch the polarity of the emergency protocol and we will be safe...it’s so simple! Fantastic!" He laughed and pulled levers, spun wheels flicked switches. "In a few seconds the emergency protocol will start and everything in this room will be stuck in a time loop forever, reliving this moment over and over again, sure it will cause some excess time energy that will feed the angels, but when the loop starts again they will lose it all, they will not be killed, but they will not kill again." He said the T.A.R.D.I.S rocked with a massive jolt of power "What was that?" He yelled running towards the door he pulled it open only to be face to face with an angel, he shut the door quickly, "This better work, they are out there and they are certainly not happy" he was walking back towards the main console when everything went dark.
"Doctor? Doctor!" I yelled.
"Stay where you are...they've shut off the power, but I should be able to get it restored quickly...just hold on!" I saw the sonic light up again, and heard the creaking of the T.A.R.D.I.S door, a giggle that sounded like it belong to a child echoed along the walls, the angels were inside the time box..."Aha!" The doctor exclaimed as the lights burst back on, The angels had made their way to about halfway up the gangway that lead to the console, before the lights were back on, a few seconds later the wheezing started up again as the T.A.R.D.I.S began to dematerialize, "Hold on to something Claire, this is going to be bumpy!"
"Won't the angels come with us?" I asked
"Oh no...no just wait and see..." he grinned at me as the floor below us turned into the dirt floor of this section of the mausoleum, "The T.A.R.D.I.S is kicking out everything that doesn't belong, she can be a temperamental thing...in a few seconds she'll send out the blast that will lock everything here in the time loop and we'll be away...the angels stuck in their own little pocket of time, of course no one will be able to get down here, but it doesn't seem like that is much of a loss anyway." The T.A.R.D.I.S shook again, and I grabbed hold of the railing..."Time loop initiated...and off we go!"
The T.A.R.D.I.S landed just outside the cemetery and we both walked outside I saw the sun had made its way back out and smiled.
"Just a passing shower I guess." I said trying to force small talk, unable to believe what had just happened. The doctor smiled and leaned up against the T.A.R.D.I.S. "I have some questions for you though..."
"All of which I'd be happy to answer at the end of the universe, or watching as the comets race each other, or maybe as we run from some new alien life form doesn't that sound brilliant?"
"What are you saying? I can come with you, fly about in all of time and space and be more than everything I ever dreamed I could be?"
"All of that and more is just a few steps away? Why don't you come with?"
I paused for a second thinking over it all, there was so much I could do, I could make something of myself, which before today I never thought I could...I could see more, touch the stars for the first time in my life...and before I knew it I was walking into the T.A.R.D.I.S, smiling, right before the door closed I swore I heard the doctor whisper Fantastic....