He wasn’t sure if he had screamed this time, he felt he must have, but it happened so quickly and with such violence, there was hardly time to react.
He could still feel his face contorted in agony, but the pain was gone. He thought that he could hear the dying echo of what may have been his voice, but it was now replaced by an even eerier sound of a high pitch whine that he knew was not a good sound.
It took another few moments for him to realize that his angle of vision had shifted from horizontal to vertical. He was no longer looking up to the window above, but at the distant wall. There was no more restraints holding him to the table, in fact, the table was no longer against his back.
Turning slowly, he looked back and saw what he had thought not possible. He could see himself, still strapped to the steel table. The man had come out from the observation room and was trying to do something to him. Walking closer, he realized that the eerie whine was the sound of a heart monitor that was no longer reading any heartbeats. The man was trying to salvage his failed experiment by trying to save the Time Lord’s life, but he was failing in this as well.
“This can’t be happening,” the Doctor muttered as he looked down at his own, lifeless face. There is no such thing as ghosts, and yet here he was, looking down at his inert body.
He continued to stare for a moment as his thoughts tumbled over each other. Why hadn’t he regenerated? Was this really happening? What could explain this?
Finally, he watched as the man stepped back, admitting defeat. There was nothing more that he could do to save him.
The man sighed and flipped off the dreadful whine from the monitor and began to shut the machines down. The Doctor watched as the lights were turned off and the man left the dead body lying on the table for someone else to take care of.
“This can’t be it,” the Doctor finally said. “It can’t be over like this.” A look of profound confusion spread across his face.
He still felt alive. He felt as if he was still breathing and his hearts were still beating. But his eyes showed him that he really was dead.
Finally, he decided that there was nothing more to be done. If he really was dead, then he shouldn’t have any trouble leaving this place. But where could he go?
Suddenly, a thought of his granddaughter entered his head. Susan, she would never believe that he would have died. Susan was one of those trusting youngsters who had thought that the people she loved were invincible and though there may be dangerous and difficult times, everything would come out right in the end.
But this time it didn’t. This time something went wrong and his hope to see her again was now dashed. It had been wonderful to see her all grown up not to long ago with his younger self. He had made a private promise to not let so much time pass between seeing her again. But now how was he to up hold that promise?
No sooner had he thought this then the scene of his own death faded before him. Everything went completely blank for a moment as he finally felt the weightlessness that he had thought would accompany death.
Ah, he thought, this is now the end. But soon he regained sensation and sight as he found himself standing in front of a small, yet quaint home. The area looked as if it was making a recovery from a war. Many buildings were new looking with fresh paint and the beginnings of little gardens. But there were still a few crumbling old one scattered about that looked as if they were slowly being taken down and moved out to make room for the new.
Just then, a young woman stepped outside of the door to the house. She looked as if she was heading out to run an errand and was in a hurry. She turned her back to the Doctor and quickly locked her door. She was busy putting her key back in her purse as she turned and headed down the front porch stairs. The Doctor realized that this young woman was none other than Susan. He stepped up and was going to stop her when she suddenly walked right through him. As she did so, she slowed her pace and stopped, looking around as if someone had just called her.
“Susan?” the Doctor said, wondering if she would be able to hear him since obviously he was not really in this world.
Susan spun around and immediately focused her eyes on him. A moment passed before a flash of recognition passed over her face as she called, “Grandfather!” and took a step towards him.
But he stepped back and held up his hand to stop her. “No Susan,” he said to her.
A look of concern replaced the one of excitement quickly as she asked, “Grandfather, what’s wrong?”
“I… I don’t know Susan. I’m not sure what happened. But I think this may be the last time that I will get to see you,” he told her.
“What do you mean?”
“Something happen… something not possible and yet it happened and I… I’m not exactly the same anymore. I don’t know how you can see and hear me, but I am grateful that you can.”
“Grandfather, you’re not making any sense. What happened?”
“I don’t think you would understand Susan. I know I don’t completely know myself. But I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful woman you have grown up to be. Though it broke both yours and my hearts for me to leave you, I’m sure that you would agree that it was for the best. You have accomplished so much here,” he said with a wave of his hand. “London is making a come back after the Daleks and I’m sure that you played an essential part in that.”
“Grandfather…” she began. But he cut her off by placing a finger over his lips.
“Susan. I am so proud of you. And I’m sure that Ian and Barbra would feel them same.”
Susan opened he mouth to say something more, but before words were able to form, he felt himself fading once again. Now, he thought, he was truly dead. He had said his last goodbye and as all the old stories said, he could now ‘cross over.’
But now he felt his world shift once again as a school came into focus. It was Susan’s old school he realized and he heard the tail end of the sound of a bell letting the classes out. He watched as the doors spilled forth students, all happily on their ways home and fleeing from the schoolhouse.
After the flow of students ended, two older people walk through the doors, hand in hand. A smile crossed the Doctor’s face as he realized that it was none other than Barbara and Ian. His last thoughts of them must have brought him here.