The bins’d be full, Young Joyce knew. The Mayor had bought in some huge ones, long and black and large enough to fit several Daleks. But the Felties bred fast, and it wouldn’t be enough. It didn’t matter how large the bins were, when they were full of creatures that multiplied as fast as her problems could.

Still, you had to try, where getting rid of rubbish was concerned. Old Joyce liked the food you got in those big disposable packets, with the odd-coloured sauce that stuck to the sides no matter how hard you would scrub. The packets would pile up until they filled up most of the kitchen, growing moulds that would creep down the carpets and up through the walls. The giant binbags sagging in both of her hands contained only a fraction of the packets in their house– but it’d be enough to give them space to move, and maybe even to cook something else for a change.

Their flat’s communal bins were down a darkened alley, which sloped down so steeply through the city that several couldn’t walk up it at all. Still, a Dalek was managing to make its slow way up it, its huge grey base navigating the cobbles in a way Joyce could only imagine. Old Joyce loved the things — especially ones as shiny and red as this — but Young Joyce had always been suspicious of them all. To talk so openly about killing, even if it always meant nothing: it was wrong, and the fact people didn’t seem to care just made it all the wronger. Thinking about it would always give her the shivers, in just the same way as the wind.

The Dalek had stopped in front of a bin that Joyce could already see was full. The alien, the bin and the piled up rubbish took up most of the street, so she couldn’t get past to where the remaining bins were kept.

“I’m not voting for you, if that’s what you’re after,” she said tersely to the Dalek. “And you’re not going to get many supporting you by getting in everyone’s way.”

A yellow Dalek would've had a response to that; a witty line said in a posh, refined Edinburgh voice. But this red one just looked down at her with its eyestalk, making her very aware of how big it actually was.

“FABRICATE,” it roared in a voice nothing like the yellow ones, “FABRICATE!”

“Are you mad?” said Joyce, worried the answer was ‘yes’.

The Dalek didn’t say anything in response. Something was happening to its plunger, making it contract it with the strength of an extremely powerful hoover. The suction it produced blew the open lid of the bin clean off, and the rubbish people had managed to wedge in splattered over the dark street and walls.

“Stop doing that!” said Joyce. “This city’s a designated area of beauty!” The Dalek was still silent as the first Felties flew out of the bin, small squares of lime and teal you could barely even tell were alive. The suction of the plunger thrust them out into the air, where they floated in a clumping sphere like an enormous ball of wool. The sucking sound of the Dalek’s plunger turned to a blowing one, and Joyce’s eyes widened as she realised what was about to happen.

“You can’t!” she said as the sphere made its way towards her. “I’ve not done anything to you!”


Stop!” cried Joyce, dropping her bags of rubbish and throwing her hands in the air. She tried to push away the living felt as it started falling upon her, but there was so much that she was soon trapped in a growing and brightly coloured pile. She felt something nipping at her ankles, and with horror remembered the rumours of what they’d done elsewhere.

“I don’t want to be eaten by felt!” she cried. “My friend was going to vote for you!” She tried to say more, but the pile of Felties was covering her face and mouth, and her whole body was pinned underneath it as it moved and writhed. For a while furious mumbles came out of the pile, before the whole thing became completely silent and still.