Sally Sparrow loved old things, and Wester Drumlins definitely counted as old.
Camera in hand, she climbed the fence and broke through a boarded up window. She took pictures of everything she could; the furniture, the walls, even the plastic covered chandelier on the floor.
That’s when she noticed it on the wall, under the peeling wallpaper. The letter B. She pulled back the wallpaper to reveal the word ‘beware’. Below it was the phrase ‘the Weeping Angel’.
Beware the Weeping Angel. Not ominous at all.
Pulling away more of the wallpaper, she read, ‘Oh, and duck! Really, duck! Sally Sparrow duck, now!’
So Sally ducked just before a thrown pot, which broke the window behind her, shattered against the wall.
She shined her flashlight out the window to see a statue of a winged angel with its hands covering its face. She turned back to the wall and pulled away one more bit of wallpaper.
Love from the Doctor (1969)
“Eerie, isn’t it?”
Sally jumped and spun around. In the corner of a room stood a girl about her age with long, ginger hair and bright blue eyes.
“The Doctor told you to duck and you listened. Now listen to me, Sally Sparrow. Run.”
The next day, Sally Sparrow and Kathy Nightingale climbed the gates together.
“Okay, let's investigate! You and me, girl investigators. Love it. Hey! Sparrow and Nightingale. That so works,” Kathy babbled, happily.
“Bit ITV,” Sally said.
“I know!” They made it to the entrance hall. “What did you come here for anyway?”
Sally shrugged. “I love old things. They make me feel sad.”
“What's good about sad?” Kathy asked.
“It's happy for deep people.” She looked at the writing on the wall, and then walked out into the conservatory to look at the garden. “The Weeping Angel.”
Kathy considered the statue. “Not that in my garden.”
Sally frowned. “It's moved.”
“Since yesterday,” Sally clarified. “I'm sure of it. It's closer. It looks like it got closer to the house.”
“That’s because it has.” The ginger girl from the night before appeared next to the two girls. “It’s definitely gotten closer.”
“Where’d you come from?” Kathy demanded at the same time Sally said, “You were here last night.”
The girl nodded. “I was.” She wandered back inside. Sally studied the girl, who was looking at the words with a hint of sadness.
She turned her attention to the wall. “How can my name be written here? How is that possible?”
The doorbell rang.
“Who'd come here?” Kathy wondered. Sally headed toward the door. “What are you doing? It could be a burglar!” she hissed.
Sally looked at her. “A burglar who rings the doorbell?”
“Okay. I'll stay here in case of…” Kathy trailed off.
“In case of?” Sally prompted.
The ginger girl rolled her eyes. Sally headed down the stairs and opened the door. There was a man on the other side. “I'm looking for Sally Sparrow,” he said.
“How did you know I'd be here?” she demanded.
He pulled a letter out of his jacket. “I was told to bring this letter on this date at this exact time to Sally Sparrow.”
“Looks old,” the girl, who had silently joined them, noted.
“It is old. I'm sorry, do you have anything with a photograph on it, like a driving license?” the man asked Sally.
She reached into her pocket for her license. “How did you know I was coming here? I didn't tell anyone. How could anyone have known?”
“Kathy knows,” the girl pointed out.
“Kathy’s upstairs,” Sally said. “She didn’t have time to tell anyone.”
The man shrugged. “It's all a bit complicated. I'm not sure I understand it myself.” Sally handed him her license. “I'm sorry, I feel really stupid, but I was told to make absolutely sure. It's so hard to tell with these little photographs, isn't it?”
“This is a tad bit pathetic, really,” the girl said.
Sally turned to her. “Who did you say you were?”
The girl shrugged. “No one of any real significance."
“Well, here goes, I suppose.” The man handed Sally the letter. “Funny feeling, after all these years.”
“Who's it from?” Sally asked.
“Well, that's a long story, actually.”
“Give me a name,” she insisted.
“Katherine Wainwright,” the man said. “But she specified I should tell you that prior to marriage she was called Kathy Nightingale.”
There was a bang as a door slammed closed. The ginger girl shivered and muttered something under her breath.
“Kathy?” Sally called out.
The man nodded, looking confused. “Kathy, yes. Katherine Costello Nightingale.”
“Is this a joke?”
“No joke,” the girl said quietly.
“Kathy, is this you? Very funny!” Sally shouted and went into the drawing room. It was empty. The Weeping Angel statue sat in the same place out in the garden. She went back into the entrance hall to find the man looking a bit agitated.
The girl was nowhere to be seen.
Sally Sparrow laid flowers on Katherine Wainwright’s grave. “1902? You told him you were eighteen?” She chuckled. “You lying cow.”
“I’m sorry about your friend.”
Sally jerked upright and looked around. The girl from before, Ginger, as Sally had decided to call her, was leaning against a tree. “Yeah?”
“I lost a friend to the Angels too,” Ginger said. “Two of them, actually. There are too many paradoxes to visit them normally. Even my manipulator gets messed up trying to land in the 30’s.”
“What are you talking about? Who are you?” Sally asked for the second time that day.
“I told you, I’m no one. I never tell you my name. At least not that you wrote.”
Sally shook her head. “I have to go. I need to tell Larry… God, what am I going to tell him?”
“Try ‘your sister was sent back in time by malevolent statues’,” suggested Ginger.
“You sound ridiculous,” Sally said.
“He’ll figure out the truth eventually. Just wait.”
Sally started walking away. “Right.”
“Sally, don’t let that key out of your sight!” Ginger called after her. “Whatever you do, don’t lose the key!”
Sally Sparrow hesitated, unsure of what to say to Larry Nightingale.
“What's the message?” he prompted.
“She's had to go away for a bit,” Sally said, finally.
“Just a work thing. Nothing to worry about.”
“A work thing?” Ginger appeared in the doorway. “That’s what you decided to go with?”
Sally frowned. “Are you stalking me?”
Ginger actually thought about it for a second. “I think so. That’s what he said, anyway.” She jabbed her thumb at the TV screen showing a man.
Larry looked at Ginger, wide-eyed. “You know him?”
“’Course I know him,” Ginger snorted.
“Yeah. Yeah, people don't understand time. It's not what you think it is,” said the man on the screen.
Larry paused the video.
“Who is this guy?” Sally asked. “Last night at Kathy's, you had him on all those screens. That same guy. Talking about, I don't know, blinking or something.”
“Yeah, the bit about the blinking's great.” Larry grinned. “I was just checking to see if they were all the same.”
“What were the same? What is this? Who is he?”
“An Easter egg,” Larry said at the same time Ginger answered, “The Doctor.”
Larry looked at Ginger, who waved her hand, signaling for him to go first. “Like a DVD extra, yeah?” he said. “You know how on DVDs they put extras on, documentaries and stuff? Well, sometimes they put on hidden ones, and they call them Easter eggs. You have to go looking for them. Follow a bunch of clues on the menu screen.”
The video unpaused. “Complicated.”
“Sorry.” Larry paused the video again. “It's interesting, actually. He is on seventeen different DVDs. There are seventeen totally unrelated DVDs, all with him on. Always hidden away, always a secret. Not even the publishers know how he got there. I've talked to the manufacturers, right? They don't even know. He's like he's a ghost DVD extra. Just shows up where he's not supposed to be.”
“That pretty much sums him up,” Ginger muttered.
Sally cocked her head to the side. “Well, what does he do?”
Larry shrugged. “Just sits there, making random remarks. It's like we're hearing half a conversation. Me and the guys are always trying to work out the other half.”
Sally raised her eyebrows. “When you say you and the guys, you mean the Internet, don't you?”
“How'd you know?” Larry frowned.
“Spooky, isn't it?”
“Laurence?” the man in the front of the shop called. “Need you.”
“No one asked you, Ginger.”
Larry got up. “Excuse me a sec.” He went forward to the shop.
The man on the screen continued to talk. “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff.”
“Started well, that sentence,” Sally smirked.
“It got away from me, yeah.”
She furrowed her eyebrows. “Okay, that was weird. Like you can hear me.”
“Well, I can hear you,” the man on the screen said.
“Good,” Ginger said to the screen. “You’re a moron.”
Sally frantically paused the screen and Larry came back in. “Okay, that's enough. I've had enough now. I've had a long day and I've had bloody enough!” Sally shouted at the TV. Larry and Ginger stared at her. “Sorry. Bad day.”
“Got you the list,” Larry said.
“The seventeen DVDs. I thought you might be interested.”
“Yeah, great,” Sally said. “Thanks.”
Sally Sparrow left the hospital after Billy Shipton died. Ginger was waiting for her just outside the doors.
“Ready to listen, Sally Sparrow?” she said, falling into step with the blond.
“Who are you? How are you mixed up in all this?” Sally asked.
“The Doctor was sent back to 1969 by the Weeping Angels. It’s my job to help you save him,” Ginger answered.
Sally let that sink in. “What are Weeping Angels?”
“The Lonely Assassins,” Ginger said. “They’re the only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely. No stabbing, no shooting, they just send you into the past and let you live to death. The rest of your life is used up and blown away in the blink of an eye. You die in the past, and in the present they consume the energy of all the days you might have had. They live off the potential energy.”
“And what do they want with me?”
“It’s not you they want. It’s the key in your pocket. Call Larry, I’ll meet you two at Wester Drumlins.”
And with that, she disappeared into the crowded night.
Ginger was waiting for them in the drawing room of the Wester Drumlins Estate. Larry Nightingale started setting up the portable DVD player and Sally Sparrow studied the girl with the red hair, who was rocking back and forth on her heels, impatiently.
“Got somewhere to be?”
“Yeah, actually,” Ginger snipped. “And the quicker we help him, the sooner I can go home.”
“Why don’t you just go now?” Sally asked.
“We’re in a time loop, and a particularly nasty one at that,” Ginger explained. “Billy wasn’t joking when he said he could’ve destroyed two thirds of the universe. Messing with a loop could rip a hole in time and space.”
“Right,” Sally said. “No pressure."
Larry put a DVD in the player. “Okay, this is the one with the clearest sound. Slightly better picture quality on this one, but I don't know—”
“It doesn't matter.”
“Okay. There he is.” The Doctor popped up on the screen.
“The Doctor,” the girls said in unison.
Larry looked at them. “Who's the Doctor?”
Sally pointed at the screen. “He's the Doctor.”
“Yup. That's me,” the Doctor said onscreen.
“Okay, that was scary,” Sally muttered.
“No, it sounds like he's replying, but he always says that,” Larry reassured her.
“Yes, I do.”
“Yup. And this.”
“He can hear us,” Sally breathed. “Oh my God, you can really hear us?”
“Of course he can't hear us,” Larry dismissed. “Look, I've got a transcript. See? Everything he says. Yup, that's me. Yes, I do. Yup, and this. Next it's—”
“Are you going to read out the whole thing?”
Sally took a deep breath. “Who are you?”
“I'm a time traveller,” the Doctor answered. “Or I was. I'm stuck in 1969.”
A dark skinned woman poked her head in. “We're stuck. All of space and time, he promised me. Now I've got a job in a shop. I've got to support him!”
“Martha,” the Doctor scolded.
“I've seen this bit before,” Sally said.
The Doctor nodded onscreen. “Quite possibly.”
“1969, that's where you're talking from?” she questioned.
He nodded again. “Afraid so.”
“But you're replying to me. You can't know exactly what I'm going to say, forty years before I say it.”
“Thirty-eight,” the Doctor corrected her.
Ginger shook her head. “Always have to be right, don’t you?”
“Oh, like you’ve never corrected me before.”
Larry grabbed a pen and sat down with the transcript on his lap. “I'm getting this down. I'm writing in your bits!” he said, excitedly.
“How? How is this possible? Tell me,” Sally demanded.
“People don't understand time. It's not what you think it is.”
“Then what is it?”
“Tell me,” she insisted.
Ginger snorted. “Helpful, Dad.”
“No one asked you, Ginger,” the Doctor snapped.
“I'm clever and I'm listening,” Sally said. “And don't patronize me because people have died, and I'm not happy. Tell me.”
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff.”
Sally nodded. “Yeah, I've seen this bit before. You said that sentence got away from you.”
“It got away from me, yeah.”
“Next thing you're going to say is, ‘well I can hear you’.”
“Well, I can hear you.”
“Liar,” Ginger coughed.
Sally shook her head. “This isn't possible.”
Larry grinned. “No. It's brilliant!”
“Well, I can’t hear you, exactly,” the Doctor amended. “But I know everything you're going to say.”
“Always gives me the shivers, that bit,” Larry commented.
“How can you know what I'm going to say?” Sally asked.
“Look to your left,” was the Doctor’s answer.
“What does he mean by look to your left?” Larry wondered aloud. “I've written tons about that on the forums. I think it's a political statement.”
Ginger rolled her eyes. “He means Sally, nimrod,” she said. “He’s telling her to look at you. What are you doing?”
“I'm writing in your bits. That way I've got a complete transcript of the whole conversation. Wait until this hits the net. This will explode the egg forums.”
“I've got a copy of the finished transcript. It's on my autocue,” the Doctor said.
Sally frowned. “How can you have a copy of the finished transcript? It's still being written.”
“I told you. I'm a time traveller. I got it in the future.”
“Yes, because ‘time travel’ is your answer for everything. Well done,” Ginger grumbled, sarcastically.
“Okay, let me get my head round this,” Sally said. "You're reading aloud from a transcript of a conversation you're still having.”
The Doctor waved his hand dismissively. “Yeah. Wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey.”
“Get to the point, already,” Ginger insisted.
The Doctor straightened up. “What matters is we can communicate. We have got big problems now. They have taken the blue box, haven't they? The angels have the phone box.”
“The angels have the phone box. That's my favorite. I've got it on a t-shirt,” Larry said.
Sally looked back at the Doctor. “What do you mean, angels? You mean those statue things?”
“Creatures from another world,” the Doctor said, as if it explained everything.
“But they're just statues!” Sally protested.
“Only when you see them.”
“What does that mean?”
“The Lonely Assassins, they used to be called. No one quite knows where they came from, but they're as old as the universe, or very nearly, and they have survived this long because they have the most perfect defense system ever evolved. They are quantum-locked. They don't exist when they're being observed. The moment they are seen by any other living creature, they freeze into rock. No choice. It's a fact of their biology. In the sight of any living thing, they literally turn to stone. And you can't kill a stone. Of course, a stone can't kill you either. But then you turn your head away, then you blink, and oh yes it can.”
Ginger elbowed Sally and pointed out the window where a Weeping Angel stood. Sally turned to Larry. “Don't take your eyes off that,” she instructed.
“That's why they cover their eyes. They're not weeping. They can't risk looking at each other. Their greatest asset is their greatest curse. They can never be seen. The loneliest creatures in the universe. And I'm sorry. I am very, very sorry. It's up to you now.”
“What am I supposed to do?” Sally asked.
“The blue box, it's my time machine. There is a world of time energy in there they could feast on forever, but the damage they could do could switch off the sun. You have got to send it back to me.”
The Doctor leaned back. “And that's it, I'm afraid. There's no more from you on the transcript, that's the last I've got. I don't know what stopped you talking, but I can guess. They're coming. The angels are coming for you. But listen, your life could depend on this. Don't blink. Don't even blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don't turn your back, don't look away, and don't blink. Good luck.”
“No! Don't! You can't!” Sally cried.
“I'll rewind him,” Larry offered.
“What good would that do?” she demanded. Then, her eyes widened. “You're not looking at the statue.”
“Neither are you.”
The Angel was towering over them, reaching out, mouth wide open. Ginger said something in a different language.
It sounded suspiciously like a curse.
One year after the incident with the Weeping Angels and the Doctor, Sally Sparrow and Larry Nightingale co-ran a DVD store. The went back inside, hand in hand, after giving the Doctor and his companion the information they’d need when they got stranded in 1969.
“Well aren’t you two adorable?”
The duo jumped. Leaning against the counter was a girl with ginger hair and bright blue eyes.
“Ginger!” Sally exclaimed.
Ginger made a face. “You couldn’t come up with something a little better than my hair color?”
“You never told us your name,” Larry defended.
“I suppose since Dad had the packet now I can tell you,” Ginger mused, and then held out her hand. “Let me properly introduce myself. I’m Lilith.”
Sally smiled and shook her hand. “Nice to properly meet you, Lilith.”
“You know,” Lilith said, conversationally, “I just came from 1935 and you’ll never guess who I ran into. A certain Katherine Nightingale. She was oddly pleased to hear that her friend and her brother got together.”
“But… just two seconds ago…” Larry stammered.
“Time traveler,” Lilith sing-songed. “I live my life out of order, amigo.”
“Why did you come back?” asked Sally.
“I wanted to thank you, Sparrow,” Lilith said. “You kept your cool in a thoroughly un-cool situation and you helped my dad when I couldn’t. So thanks.”
“You’re welcome, then,” Sally said.
Lilith fiddled with the large, techy looking watch on her wrist. “Sally Sparrow, Larry Nightingale, do me a favor?”
She grinned. “Keep being fantastic.” And, in a flash of light, she was gone.