He was already a few steps ahead before I got my body to react and follow him, the gun still in my hands. The metal had gotten warm from my own body temperature, but the weight and feeling was still so uncanny. I wondered if it was even loaded, and if so, why he would give it to me just like that. Right here and an now I would be able to simply shoot him in the back - and I was rather certain he wouldn't be able to avoid it this far away.
With a sigh I stuffed the weapon into my small shoulder bag. This was all just a weird dream anyway, right? Speaking of which... I pinched my nose shut with my fingers, trying to breathe through it anyway. When this didn't succeed I counted my fingers... twice. And finally pulled out a crumbled receipt from my pocket to read its content.
Alright... all reality checks indicated that I, indeed, was awake. No lucid dream for me, then. I frowned and sighed. Both, because it would have been cool, and because it meant I was awake and this was really happening.
"Where are we going, Mr. Saxon?" I asked eventually, when he walked down an alley I had rarely used before.
"Don't call me that. It's not my name."
"Oh, sorry," I mumbled and managed to get next to him. He wasn't that big, actually, compared to me he was, of course, but still not so much. And he looked rather cool in those clothes, sparkling the unfitting wish in me to sit down and draw him. I coughed slightly to get my head clear. "What is your name, then?"
The stranger turned around, halted in his steps and observed me for a few seconds.
"I am the Master," he announced with a proud smile.
"Master of what?" I wanted to know.
He raised a brow and shrugged, grinning boyishly. "Of everything."
I couldn't help it. My stupid brain just never stands still. "Well, not of Great Britain anymore,"
Instead of murdering me, the Master only let out a short laugh. It sounded honestly amused, though, making me smile a little myself. At least he seemed to have some humour.
"Oh, one day the universe itself will be mine, just you watch me," he said sweetly, like a boy telling his mom he wants to become a pilot.
Somehow the Master felt so childish and boyish, it was hard to believe he was the same man whom almost all of Britain had wanted as Prime Minister.
My thoughts briefly wandered back to that time, trying to puzzle together what exactly he had even told people. Something flashed behind my eyes, too quickly gone to really grasp. Images, impressions. Screams and smoke and round objects flying through the sky. I blinked perplex and shook my head.
"What's with you?" the Master bowed down a little, curiously observing my puzzled features.
"N... nothing. Just slept bad, 's all."
He shrugged and straightened again, wanting to continue the walk, however turning around once more. "And what do they call you?"
"Call...? Oh... I'm Lucy."
His face dropped instantly, morphing into an expression of annoyance and almost hate. "You have any other names?"
"Nooo..." I responded carefully. "What's wrong with it?"
The Master grunted and rolled his eyes. "My former wife's name. And that beasty thing tried to shoot me. Missed, of course. Never held a gun in her life before, but still..."
"I'll just call you Lu, how about that?" He smiled again. "Alternatively we can settle on stupid earth ape."
"That's a bit long, innit?" I chuckled. "Lu's fine. But still, where're we going?"
"A shortcut into town."
"Oh... I see. Say..." Again I felt my heart pounding wildly in my chest. Was I really about to do this? "The person I choose... do they have to live nearby?"
The Master tilted his head. "I have no TARDIS, right now. So, wherever they are, you have to get us there."
What the hell was a TARDIS?
I nodded. "Can you... mhm... get money? I mean, lots of it. Without anyone noticing it, of course. I... don't have much."
His eyes glinted happily. "No problem."
The landscape rushed past the window, trees and fields, villages and cities, all a blur of colour. It had gotten evening, the sky took on soft dark shades, and orange and white lamps faded into light. Sometimes the train halted, and the later it got, the less people entered or exited. Sometimes the stations were completely empty and through the window seeped the smell of foreignness.
"As a child I always imagined to go on a ride like this," I mumbled dreamily, "and simply get off the train at one of those empty, black stations. Not knowing where I am, or where to go."
The Master sat opposite to me, arms folded over his chest, eyes closed and his head resting against the window. He wasn't asleep, that I could tell. He didn't feel asleep, more relaxed, in a weird way.
"You like long train rides, too, huh?"
He smiled, his eyes creeping open. "It's so nicely quiet."
"Quiet..." I repeated absently, my gaze wandering back to the darkness-covered world outside. "Trains are so loud, though. I like how they sound. As if the wheels on the tracks are singing a song."
His gaze rested on me, I felt it intensely and looked at him, eventually. Although we had the lights dimmed in our compartment I could still see his eyes. And like before they fascinated me. Usually I can't look people in the eyes for long. It always feels so overwhelming, distracting, downright unpleasant. Because of that they often think I'm not listening... But I understand a lot more when I don't have to look. With the Master it was different, as if his gaze wasn't constantly searching for a way to call me out, to tell me how inhuman I behave and rub it into my face. He just didn't care.
"That's a hellishly long ride to get rid of a person," he remarked after we parted from another station.
My gaze kept glued to the window, but I still nodded. The sound of the train lulled me into a light slumber, brought me back to some hours ago, when the Master had entered a bank only to walk over to the banker and had told him to hand him a hundred thousand Euros. Astonished I had watched the scene, had glared at the Master with an opened mouth when he pushed the bag into my hands.
I had to transfer most of it to my bank account, not wanting to carry it all around with me, and the rest of the way my thoughts turned summersaults. I could finally pay back all of my student debts! I could afford a brand new gaming PC, a bike or... a bed.
Thinking about my almost empty apartment I concluded it would be wise to start with the basics. I hadn't been able to afford furniture, so far, my belongings only consisting of a mattress on the floor, a shaky table and chair for my laptop and three cupboards that could - with lots of good will - be called a kitchen. Heck! I didn't even own a fridge!
Now, all of a sudden, none of it was a problem anymore. I was free, I had enough to live for at least a few years, in case my bad luck with finding jobs would continue.
And all that for the price of a human life.
"Who is it?" the Master asked, as if he had read my thoughts.
The question tore me out of the thoughts, bringing me back to the present moment, and also to a past long gone, to the time of my childhood - if you can call it that - to years of fear and being caged in. None of it was his busyness.
"You didn't want to know."
"Now I do," he countered calmly.
"Because it's quiet?"
An almost pained smile appeared on his face. I had hit a point, although I had no clue what it was about. Only another puzzle piece for my pattern oriented mind, another snipped about the strange man in front of me, that once had been known by every person in the country, but was now unrecognized, as it seemed.
"What happened when you became Prime Minister?" I couldn't help but ask, ignoring his own question. "I remember the spheres killing the president, but then..." Again, images whizzed through my head, probably created by my brain to fill the gaps. A brain can do that... create false memories, because remembering something at all is better than having a hole in your head.
"I took over the earth," the Master told with a grin. "First I decimated the human race, then had some fun with you all." He snickered. "Wiped out Japan, built a police state, let my Toclafane decimate a few more of you, here and there. You know... just for fun. Humans reproduce so fast, it almost doesn't matter."
I only blinked at him, confused.
"No, you didn't."
"Well, you wouldn't remember. It all was based on a paradox, so it never happened."
Again I blinked. There was something in my mind, pieces that got put together, a pattern, evolving from the net of information and thoughts in my head. Then it clicked.
"You're alien, too, aren't you?"
It made sense. Looking back at the attacks on earth, so far, his strange behaviour, the weird terms he always used, the way he felt so different... I glanced back into his eyes, knowing it to be true, no matter if he would deny it now or not. No human could have such eyes.
"Hm..." I made, noncommittally, shrugged and drew my legs up on the seat to wrap my arms around them. "A paradox..." I thought out loud, leaning my head against the window. If he was alien then it was possible he had the technology to make something like that possible. "You really did all those things, then?"
A childish smile let his eyes crinkle with joy. "Scared now?" he teased and gave me a mock-pout. "It's not the worst thing I've ever done, if that consoles you."
It didn't. But that he wasn't a good person had been obvious right from the start. I probably should have been scared, should have risked jumping from the train only the get away from this man. Strangely enough my heart was calm, my mind only tired because it was so late already.
No, I wasn't scared... yet. Had he been human I would have assumed he was a psychopath, but somehow that didn't quite fit him. There was more to the Master, a calmness behind the chaos in his eyes, a softness, buried beneath the ocean of blood and cries he seemed to have left behind. An image flashed through my head, of him kneeling in the rain, crying out an unspeakable pain, without anyone every listening.
I blinked it away. It happens sometimes, my brain just creating scenes and images from what I pick up from other people. No idea if I'm really that empathic... Or if it's more like with blind people... I can't read body language and facial expressions so well, but instead I somehow can sense people's moods and feelings, without even looking at them. I think everyone can do that, but most people don't have to.
"How is it?" I mumbled. "To take a life."
The Master smiled and leaned forward, hands folded in his lap. "Exciting. You finally understand how much power you have, what you're capable of, and that no one can stand in your way any longer." He chuckled a little. "You'll see for yourself."
I swallowed and glanced away. Rain started to trickle down the window and I closed it, listening to the added sound of drops against glass. So soothing, distracting me from what was ahead.
"You're an odd one," the Master remarked quietly. "About to commit murder, but you don't even look bothered about it. And there you humans are so annoyingly moral."
"I don't understand moral," I softly admitted and shrugged. "There usually is no logic behind it. It's just things you don't do, because you... don't do it. But no one ever tells you, why."
The Master laughed quietly to himself and leaned back again, signalling the conversation to be over. I didn't mind, feeling tired anyway. Good thing those seats were long. I slipped out of my shoes, lifted my legs up, while taking my glasses off and placing them on top of the trash bin.
"Wake me, when we're there," I mumbled and curled myself up on the seat.