The Lost Girl

People get lost in time sometimes, but there's no one quite as lost as Amanda Grey. She's spent an eternity jumping from place to place, much like the Doctor does, but she can't control it, can't stop it. She's alone in the universe, but she has hope. There are stories scattered through time about the Doctor. Fair warning - female Doctor. If you don't like don't read.


6. Angels in the Dark

I was used to waking up in strange places, gasping in a breath that might be icy cold or hot enough to make my lungs feel like they were cooking or really not have enough oxygen in it for a growing girl. I was used to many things, but I’d always hated the darkness. Perhaps it was that week I’d spent alternating between falling down flights of stairs and into curtains of cobwebs, but I hated it more than anything else in the universe.

But this time I had an agenda, “Doctor”, I called, my voice ringing off walls and back to me, unanswered. Well, at least there were walls. I could do worse than having walls. I got my feet underneath me and stood on wobbly knees, my feet prickled fiercely as blood flowed from my hammering heart. I really didn’t like the dark.

I stumbled through the darkness, my hands out in front of me, testing the ground before I took a step. My hand touched something cold and I flinched away, stifling a scream. It’s always better not to scream when you don’t know where you are. I’d learned that the hard way in the form of a rather one-sided brawl on a planet without stars. He’d had a frying pan, I was unarmed. Thankfully, the unpleasant part had been the blow to the head. He’d apologised when I woke up in flickering lamplight, a big brawny man with frightened eyes, and he’d given me food, something I hadn’t remembered having in a long time. Later that day I lit up his planet, and brought a race living off venting systems into the light. Later that day he’d been about to kiss me when I disappeared again.

I took a few steps back, but nothing happened. I edged forward again and reached out my hand, feeling cold stone beneath my fingers. It was terribly cold, but firm, not slippery like ice. Definitely stone, and in my experience stone was nothing to be afraid of, unless you were about to hit it at great speed, in which case it was probably best to be a little bit afraid. I pressed my palm against it and began to trace its outline, running my fingers down one stone arm until I reached a hand, and squeezed it out of habit.

I was not expecting the hand to close around mine. I screamed and tried to yank my hand from its grip, but to no avail. My breath wheezed in frightened gasps between my clenched teeth and I felt tears prickling my eyes. “Let me go!” I howled senselessly at the not-quite immobile stone.

Then, miraculously, the grip loosened, and I fell backwards, squeaking desperately. I stared sightlessly at where I thought the statue was, but there was no sound of movement. I rolled onto my hands and knees and began to crawl away, but after a few paces my head struck stone, and I didn’t need a diagram to know what it was, but I was calmer now. Perhaps I’d imagined the hand moving. I was, after all, alone in the dark, and I of all people knew the kinds of tricks the mind could play, but all the same, whatever the statues were, they were creepy. I prodded a stone leg experimentally.

“What are you?” I called, almost believing that they might reply, in a voice befitting of stone, cold and hard, utterly unyielding, but the statues said nothing. They were, I reasoned, just statues, and statues didn’t move. So I attempted to regain some composure as I stood and dusted off my clothes, hanging more limply on my frame than usual. It wasn’t uncommon for time to take its toll on my body, and it generally did so by stealing any fat I managed to pack in when I landed somewhere with food that was even a little bit edible.

“Just statues”, I advised myself sternly, “Now I need to try and get out of here before time drags me out again”. I recalled vaguely what had happened after the Doctor and his strangely dressed companion had dragged me onto the Tardis, but as to what had happened to them, I didn’t know. They could be anywhere. I’d lost them again, but I’d done that before, and this time I didn’t cry, I just started walking.

It was icily cold in the stone belly of whatever planet I’d managed to land on, and I gathered my threadbare layers of clothing close, trying to keep in some heat despite the fact that I wasn’t generating much of it. In order to stay warm you need calories to burn, and I had nothing all over again.

I sighed, irritated by my own sordid state of affairs, and I felt my breath catch in my throat before I even knew what had startled me. Something was moving quite fast along the passage behind me. I could feel the intent in the air. I didn’t bother with a hello; I just ran. The air whipped my hair off my face as I ran blindly and presumably for my life.

A wall grazed my hands and I propelled myself off of it and down anther passage. I knew that any step might plunge me down a colossal flight of stairs, but there was nothing to do but run. There is very often nothing to do but run. And whatever was chasing me didn’t sound good.

I saw light up ahead and ran headlong towards it, not caring if it the sunlight would blister my skin or if the temperature dropped by 50 degrees or gravity stopped working. I had to get out. I heaved in my first breath of surface air and the sunlight kissed my blotchy, pale skin. I stopped running and turned to look back into the tunnel. It stood with the sunlight barely touching it, arms outstretched, face twisted grotesquely, positioned as though it had been about to lunge at me.

It was a statue, covered in places with a mossy substance, staring at me with wide grey eyes, not quite emotionless, even frozen. Its arms were outstretched, hands contorted into ragged claws, utterly savage. It didn’t move, and I kept watching it, entranced, sucking in shaky breaths, debating the pros and cons of running for my life.

The sound took me by surprise, booming across the planet surface, a sort of screeching, but muted. I knew it immediately. One does not forget a sound like that; it was the Tardis. I spun around and there he was, sauntering out of the doors with a red headed woman, both of them staring quizzically at what looked like a crash site. It was the Doctor, on his eleventh regeneration, I reckoned. I opened my mouth to scream, to make him see me, whatever it took, but before I could utter a sound I felt a freezing hand clamp down on my shoulder and there was a terrible, temporal pulling sensation, and I was gone.

I screamed as my hand struck soft, loamy grass and a hot sun pelted down on my back, and a few birds took off, cawing reproachfully. I looked up and saw the buildings towering above the trees, but I couldn’t stop myself from crying, even though I’d been pulled back to my favourite city in the world. There are places throughout space and time you can delude yourself into believing are perfect, but New York had left its scar on my heart, and all I could think about was how lost I was, how close I’d been to the Doctor.

“Amanda!” someone screamed, and I raised my head, and there he was, sprinting across the grass to me, his coat, too heavy for the summer heat, flowing out behind him. I stood slowly and tried not to collapse; because not in a million years had I imagined I’d see him again.

“Nathanial”, I whispered the name that had for so long felt like a curse. I’d managed to persuade myself that he was forever lost to me. We’d fallen in love during one blissful summer, much like this one, and then I’d been torn away from him, and him from me, and that had been the end. We had ended; someone had turned out story to the last page, and read to the end.

Yet there he was, closer to me now, and I was still too stunned to move, or wave, never mind run. He hit me with the force of a bullet and we fell back. The collision was rather painful, I imagined I would later reflect, but right then I didn’t care, because he was kissing me and I was kissing him and for just one moment everything was perfect.

When he eventually surfaced for air, gasping, his eyes feverish with delight and sorrow, the ghost of the pain he must have felt. “How long has it been?” I managed to ask, because I could see in his eyes that he felt like he’d waited an age for me.

“Five minutes”, he gasped, “What happened to you?”

And finally I could tell him all the things I should have told him when we were together. I was so scared, then, that he wouldn’t believe me, that he’d finally realise that I was mad, because I undoubtedly was. I’d travelled for a millions years, watched planets burn and empires topple. It was enough to make anyone mad, but that fear had vanished, because I’d so nearly let him lose me, and I didn’t know how long I had to tell him,

“Nathaniel”, I said, my voice muffled by his lips, “There are a few things I should probably tell you”.

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