A DOCTOR WHO STORY
CHAPTER TWO - HALL OF DREAMS
Wheezing and groaning, the TARDIS faded into view at the end of a long pillar-lined hall. The doors slammed open and Sophia breezed out, followed by Rose, with the Doctor closing the door behind them and bringing up the rear.
The first thing that Sophia said was, ‘Is it closed or something?’ She was gazing around at the silent marble gargoyles and intricate carvings on the walls.
‘Closed,’ the Doctor replied, smiling up at the beautifully painted ceiling. ‘Wouldn’t be half as fun if it was open. Now we can explore all around without anybody else. We can go in the out of bounds areas, the cellars... wherever.’
Rose suddenly peeled out of the procession to the side, gasping in awe. She stopped walking at a statue. It was a statue of a spiky, armoured warlord, painted all reds and greys and whites and blacks. It had been sculpted with grace and elegance, and Rose wanted to know who had done so. But when she looked at the glass plate pinned to the pedestal, she saw only one word — ‘Chained’.
Rose summoned Sophia, but the Wolven was equally baffled at the short inscription. They talked quietly for a moment, then called the Doctor, who had walked on casually towards the end of the hall, his sneakers clicking gently on the cold and dusty floor.
‘Doctor?’ Sophia cried. Rose put a finger to one ear. Even though Sophia had not uttered the Time Lord’s name very loudly, it had bounced upwards, reverberating among the pillars and beams of the ceiling, and had come down magnified by ten times at least. Sophia herself looked startled, and continued to speak in a more subdued voice.
‘Doctor!’ she repeated. The Doctor faced the pair. ‘D’you have any idea who this statue is of, and who did it?’
The Doctor’s bright eyes fell on the statue. Instantly they darkened, along with all the blood being drained from his face. ‘That’s an... old friend of mine.’ He replied, clearing his throat, which had seemed to suddenly disappear. ‘Best if you don’t know until you have to.’ With that, he turned and continued walking.
Rose shared a bemused look with Sophia, but followed the Doctor. The Wolven cast one last intrigued glance at the nameless sculpture, and then set off behind the Doctor and Rose.
‘Anyway,’ Rose spoke, catching up with the Doctor, ‘I thought this place was a dream museum, not a statue museum.’
‘No,’ the Doctor waved this off. ‘It’s a dream museum, with some... statues in it.’
‘But where are the dreams?’ Sophia inquired eagerly.
‘Just down here,’ the Doctor replied, lightly. At that moment the three time travellers reached the end of the hall, and saw two paths — one branching to the right, one forking off to the left. The Doctor indicated the left path, and the trio swerved down it.
After a while of branching halls and chambers they came up to a large room. It was in the shape of a cube, with tall marble walls and pillars. In the very centre of the room was a sort of bed, with manacles fixed to it. The inscription read ‘The Tortucle of King Marculus the Second of Gongmis.’ Around the sides of the hall, fixed securely to the walls, were boxes made from see-through glass. But the main feature of the room was a massive computer screen, pinned glaringly to a wall, a little bit out of place amidst the historical items and marble pillars that surrounded it.
‘Aha!’ Sophia cried out, relieved. ‘The Hall of Dreams.’ Rose looked up, following her gaze, and saw she was reading from a swinging sign dangling precariously from an intricate ceiling, beside a chandelier of scintillating crystal and coloured glass. ‘Here you may look into the past and visualise every dream known to the universe so far.’ Sophia gazed at the Doctor, who was rubbing at his head, tearing and ruffling his hair.
‘Oh... my head, my HEAD!’ he was mumbling. Rose giggled as the Doctor continued to calculate.
Finally he swung his head round. ‘To do that in the year 2007 you’d need a database the size of a galaxy.’
‘Aaah, but is it the year 2007? And are we even on Earth?’ Rose asked.
‘No, it’s the year three thousand billion, four hundred and twenty-nine million, six hundred and sixty thousand, nine hundred and fifty two.’ The Doctor gushed. ‘Roughly. And we’re not on Earth, we’re somewhere near... the Mazucaktr galaxy, near the centre, orbiting Star Seventy Three Thousand and Two Point Nine...’ He looked up triumphantly. ‘We’re either on Lilula or Klindex.’
‘Kleenex?’ Rose misheard.
The Doctor snorted, not bothering to correct her. ‘But ther point is, you’re right. Anything could happen this far off in time and space. Who knows, a database the size of a galaxy could by now be compressed into museum size...’
‘And most likely is,’ Sophia concluded. She was studying the blank computer screen. ‘How does this work, Doctor?’
‘Just touch it!’ he responded instantly, as if this was obvious. Sophia was so eager and in such a hurry to see a dream that she forgot to retract her claws and made a large scratch in the screen. Sparks fizzled out, and Sophia jumped back with a small shriek.
‘It’s OK, Sophia, it’s not going to eat you,’ Rose laughed. Sophia gave her a glare. ‘Just next time try not to do it with your claws out.’
Sophia, although slightly hurt, obeyed. The screen lit up despite the scratch to its surface, and showed a cheery sign. ‘Hello, visitor. Please select your organism, then select a dream from their list. The dream will be played inside all of the glass chambers.’
Sophia wriggled in excitement. She didn’t care which dream, she didn’t care which organism of the billions of googols of googolplexes of organisms in the entire universe. She just wanted to see one. She touched the name of the first organism in the universe. ‘A’. Not surprisingly, the list was in alphabetical order, and so this ‘A’ creature was the first.
The next list was of all A’s dreams, complete with dates and summaries. Sophia touched the first one, entitled ‘Pink Monsters’.
‘The weird world of dreams,’ the Doctor muttered when he saw the title.
The light from the chandelier snapped out and all the glass chambers came to life with visions. ‘A’ - who turned out to be some sort of organic blob — was rolling along the ground, attempting to escape from several pink blobs with horns. Then the ground cut away, and A was falling, and then the dream ended.
The Doctor, Rose and Sophia all nearly wet themselves laughing. Rose fell around, gasping for breath, tears flowing from her eyes, hugging the Doctor for support. Sophia was howling with joy and glee, the eerie wolf noises ringing among the pillars. The Doctor was wiping his eyes. ‘Oh well,’ he said after they had all had a good round of hysterics. ‘I suppose every creature has its different fears, even if it is being chased by little pink versions of itself.’
Rose looked at the Doctor. Sophia looked at Rose. The Doctor looked at Sophia.
Rose giggled once. But even this tiny laugh was enough to set them off again, and soon they were all laughing hard and joyously again.
In fact, they were laughing TOO hard. For none of them noticed the little ringing, pleading voice coming from behind a door in the west wall.
‘Help me. Please. Someone. Eternity. Help...’
TO BE CONTINUED...