It was a cold autumn evening in London as you walked home from work, pulling your coat closer to your body with one hand in hopes of conserving a little more warmth, while the other was clutching a folder of papers to your chest in a frozen claw. The clear sky of the day was beginning to grow a darker inky blue, and wispy clouds twirled among the first glittering stars of the evening. Flickering street lights cast an artificial glow across the pavement and the moon was nowhere to be seen. The normal buzz of cars and birds were absent, leaving your soft click of shoes against the pavement and a light breeze the only sounds. Honestly you thought it was rather eerie, but as you had walked along this road every day for 3 years to and from your little office job on the outskirts of the city, you thought nothing of it. You were sure nothing could happen.
In no time at all, the wind had picked up, throwing leaves and litter into a tiny hurricane and trees were writhing in the soil. You hair whipped in your face in front of your eyes, and in a brief moment of fright, you jumped and dropped the folder on the ground. The papers spilled everywhere, blowing away down a side road while the others fluttered in the air as you grabbed at them desperately.
'Oh shit. Just my luck.' you muttered, stuffing half of the papers back where they belonged. You ran down the street after the rest, almost running head first into lamp posts and piles of leaves as you tried not blink in case you lost sight of them.
When they had all been returned, albeit creased and covered in dirt, you looked up to see where you were. You heart skipped a beat as you realised you had no idea. This wasn't the street you had initially run down, you knew that area well. But you couldn't remember turning anywhere else. You cautiously wondered further down the road, hoping to see a sign, landmark or a stranger to ask for directions. It still looked like London, but the wind had suddenly stopped and the sky had turned black, although that could be due to the thick clouds that were rolling in. Even the street lights had seemingly cut out.
You eventually stumbled on a large opening in the street after yards of similar, unlit houses; a wide and dusty driveway, the lot surrounded by a rusted iron fence. There was a faint glow coming from the centre, which was the most light you'd seen down this street so far. You had the feeling of a cold hand trailing down your spine, causing you to shiver. But you simply put it down to the weather. With no gate or signs warning against trespassers, you edged down the pathway. It finally led to a large square lot, the floor strewn with pebbles and soil. There were no tracks to show that any vehicle or person had been here before, but that was by no means the strangest thing about this place.
Rows upon rows of discarded red phone boxes filled the majority of the ground, the only space available being thin crossroads between the boxes to navigate the lot. There were now two lights glimmering somewhere in this maze, and you were still determined to find the sources, regardless of the nagging sensation in the back of your head telling you not to.
The boxes must have been here for years to be in this sort of condition. The once bright red paint was peeling and fading, and with the thick layers of rust had turned to a shade similar to dried blood. The glass panes with the words 'Telephone Box' had all been removed, leaving only jagged shards behind. The glass that makes up most of the walls were also smashed; some removed professionally, some unevenly broken, and some only showing a spider web of cracks as the job hadn't been finished. With only a misty moon to cast proper light, you didn't want to see what was inside these boxes when the exteriors so ghostly. Something didn't feel right here. Your heart began to race as you made your way closer and closer to the lights at the back. You tried to calm yourself. There was no one here, you've heard no rats or foxes, there's nothing to be afraid of. Yet something was twisting knots in your stomach.
Finally, you reached the first light. For some reason, one of the boxes still worked. Like the others, it was faded and old, but the sign at the top still glowed. You're not sure it was meant to, there weren't enough where you lived to know for sure, but you felt that it shouldn't be doing this.
Suddenly, the light flickered out, and you realised it was stronger than you thought as now the only box you could see clearly was the one in front of you. You let out a gasp, trying not to overthink things and move to the second light when it happened. The phone began to ring. This time, you let out a loud scream, quickly muffling it with your free hand in case anyone was here after all. How else could this be working? As much as you knew you should have just run back to the entrance, you felt your hand reach out shakily for the phone, trembling legs carrying you towards it.
'H-hello?' your voice cracked as you heard static and slow, deep breathing coming from the other end of the phone. For a moment, you thought no one was going to reply, when the voice of a young child said
'Are you my mummy?'
You jerked away from the phone, your heartbeat thudding in your ears. Why did you find it scary? It was just a young boy. Nothing to cause you harm. But that phrase. That phrase sounded familiar, but you had no idea why. You shook your head, bringing the receiver back to your ear.
'N-no. No I'm not. Can I... Can I help you?'
'Are you my mummy?'
'Can you hear me? I'm n-not your mum.'
'Are you my mummy?'
You hung up the phone, the voice making your head spin with fear and confusion. This was getting too weird, it was time to run. You span on your heel and ran as fast as you could back the way you came, weaving your way in and out of the phone boxes. But you must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, as you ended up running towards the second light, which had been further back than the first. Stopping to catch your breath, you tried again to calm your nerves. As long as you didn't answer any more phones, you could stay here until morning, right?
Just as you tried to find a corner to crouch in, you heard it loud and clear; no static and definitely not from a phone.
'Are you my mummy?'
You let out an ear piercing shriek, dropping the folder for good and again, running in the opposite direction, but still somehow towards the second light, which was growing brighter and brighter but never getting closer. As you ran, more and more disembodied voices called out to you, young and old, male and female, all asking the same thing:
'Are you my mummy?'
For a second, they stopped talking, and you looked behind you briefly to see if anyone was following you. Of course, this means you ran head first into one of the phone boxes, falling back into a cloud of dust. But you didn't remember the boxes being this soft...
A woman was standing before you, wearing a tattered and blood soaked nurse dress and apron from the 1940s. Her skin was a sickly grey, and her hair swayed in greasy waves as she staggered towards you, a gas mask strapped tightly to her face. The large, empty eyes stared at you as you desperately crawled away, screaming at the top of your lungs for help.
The second light flickered off in the distance with a strange whirring sound as you made it to your feet and ran. You reached one of the walls of the clearing and shook the fence fiercely in hope of anyone coming to your rescue. Along the way you had seen more of these people, these things, all with the gas mask and their bloodied arms outstretched. There was nowhere else to run, this was it. They would find you and probably add your blood to their vast collection. Tears pricked the corners of your eyes, this wasn't how you'd imagined you'd be dying.
Without warning, the strange whirring sound came back, this time much louder than before along with the second glowing light. A single blue, wooden, new police box appeared in the sea of decaying red about five rows of boxes away. A man in a suit and bowtie jumped out, brandishing something that produced a bright green light, and shrill sound. Some of the people in masks fell to the floor, covering their ears from the sound while others carried on, almost being able to reach you. The noise didn't affect you, however, and the man beckoned you over while shouting cheerily,
'Right then, better get you outta here, huh?' You nodded, running over as he lowered the green light and the noise stopped. These things, whatever they were, seemed to be gaining on you, and the man's smile began to falter. He ran out of his blue box, meeting you half way and dragging you along even quicker.
'Funny that, I thought the Sonic Screwdriver would work on them!' he glanced at you with an awkward half smile.
'You.. you what? Sonic what? Not that I'm not grateful, but who the hell are you?' you shouted back, nerves returning as your apparent saviour had arrived. Well, beggars can't be choosers, you thought.
'Oh, me? Why, I'm the Doctor!' he replied, leaping in the air as the two of you neared the blue box, leaving the crazy gas mask wearers behind.
'The Doctor? Doctor who?'