(Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter)
Elena had managed to make it past the warring monsters to the gates of the castle having wisely avoided taking part in any of the fighting. (Even with her skills in Arcturan Kung Fun, she would have been cut down in seconds if she had.)
Surprisingly the castles two front doors were open, and there were no guards at the castle door which worried her greatly. Still Elena couldn’t stay out here for any longer and she just had to assume that Scratchman’s guards were all caught up in the battle. Behind her most of the lesser Demons and Aliens had been slaughtered and it was only the most powerful left including the leader of the Harpies who still fought valiantly.
Inside the castle was a massive hall, filled with paintings of strange creatures being attacked by Scratchman’s monsters.
As she walked down the massive hall ahead slowly, keeping an eye out for any of Scratchman’s minions she felt she could hear faint screams coming from the paintings.
Elena walked towards one of the paintings of a strikingly beautiful Cyclops woman with green hair.
Below it read “The great Siclea, once a hero of her people the Uriox. She thought she could defeat Scratchman.”
In the painting, Siclea looked miserable. There was a single tear coming down her face.
Next to the painting of Siclea was a painting of a large Centaur with a hideous Demon riding on it’s back. The caption read. “See what happens when you cross old Harry?”
When Elena looked back at the painting of Siclea a hideous, pig faced, green skinned, slimy Demon was now grabbing her throat from behind.
The screams suddenly got louder and louder,so much that Elena started to back off, but when she turned around she saw that the front door to Scratchman’s castle had vanished.
It was now an endless corridor of paintings at both ends. Elena ran deeper into the castle as there was no way of going back.
As she ran down the corridor however, a brick wall suddenly appeared, followed by the sound of cruel, mocking laughter.
“You’ll look good on my wall. I do so love collecting pretty girls.” A hideous, high pitched voice screeched from all around.
Elena’s attention was suddenly drawn to a blank painting by the wall. She didn’t want to look at it, but she couldn’t look away. Some force was pulling her towards it.
Underneath the painting was a caption.
“Elena. She really should have stayed in the 31st century.”
Elena tried to pull away from the seemingly empty canvas, put the same powerful force pulled her hand through it. The canvas suddenly turned to water when she touched it, and in a few minutes the Mutant was pulled through.
On the other side of the painting was the courtyard of a tiny castle, overlit by a black, thunderous sky above. When Elena tried to leave the courtyard via a drawbridge, she was held back by an invisible barrier.
She pounded and kicked on the barrier as hard as she could, but it made no difference.
“There is nothing beyond that wall.” A voice from above said.
As Elena turned around she saw a hideous giant creature emerge from the tallest tower at the end of the courtyard. The beast’s large, shapeless body was covered in faces, almost all of them screaming. The largest face at the centre however spoke.
“This is all that is left of the planet Orisa. All of the paintings you passed. They are what is left of many of the worlds in this universe. Scratchman destroyed most of the planets and used their remains to build his domain out there.
What was left of some other planets however, he turned into these pocket dimensions to torture anyone brave and stupid enough to try and break into his castle.”
“What are you going to do to me” Elena asked.
“We don’t want to. We have no choice. We were all once individuals. A race. We survived the appocalypse of our world, but Scratchman fused us all together. We’re in a state of constant agony. Our identities constantly merge, we share each others pain. None of us even know who we were originally. You will be absorbed into us.”
“Yeah sorry I’ve never been good with crowds.” Elena said as she frantically ran around the castle from the gigantic abomination. The beast must have stood over 12 feet tall. It didn’t really have a shape. It was just a mass of flesh, faces, and blood. It slid down the tower of the castle like a snake.
It was fast despite it’s massive bulk, but Elena still managed to keep ahead of the monster.
“You cannot escape us. You will tire eventually and one touch is all we need.”
Some of the faces begged the monster to show clemency.
“Please how can you, we, condemn another person to this fate.”
“You know we have no choice.”
Elena tried to throw a torch from a nearby tower into the monster, but it merely bounced off of it’s flesh.
There was nothing she could do to even slow the monster down. All Elena could do for now was to flee.
The Doctor and Yarox were forced to follow Scratchman through his dark, cobweb ridden corridors.
“You know for an all powerful being, you haven’t half let this place go to the dogs?” The Doctor said.
“I like cobwebs. Spiders torturing flies? It’s like a tiny little appetizer for me.” Scratchman said.
As they reached the end of the corridor, Yarox and the Doctor could hear what sounded like the TARDIS taking off.
“What are you doing to my TARDIS.” The Doctor asked.
“I would have thought you of all people would know the sound of your own TARDIS screaming Doctor?” Scratchman said with a perverse delight as he threw open the two doors at the end of the corridor.
To his horror the Doctor could see the TARDIS completely encased in flames. It looked as though it was made of fire.
“I told you I need her energy to free myself from this hell. She was uncooperative. So I tried to make her see reason. She’s rather stubborn like you old boy. Normally I love it when they struggle. It just makes it all the more fun when they break, but I am on a time limit here so if you will just make her see reason.”
Yarox could see the Doctor was repressing his rage and anguish. No matter what the danger, in the brief time Yarox had known him, the Doctor had always kept his calm, even remained jovial in the face of danger. Now however at the sight of his TARDIS suffering, the Doctor could barely contain his anger.
“Please.” The Doctor begged.
“Don’t hurt her. I’ll do anything you want.”
Scratchman smiled.”People always reach a breaking point. I knew for you it would be your oldest companion. It’s quite pathetic really. You love that machine like a pet.”
“Call me Harry” Scratchman said as he made the flames vanish.
“You have a few minutes to link up the TARDIS to the rip. No tricks or else I’ll make you burn along with your machine Time Lord.”
The Doctor entered the interior of the TARDIS, which had been twisted beyond all recognition. The walls were broken and bleeding, there were hideous insect like creatures swarming the walls, the floors were covered in a disgusting, foul smelling, green slime and on the scanner was footage of people being tortured.
The Doctors hearts sank as he saw what had been done to his beloved machine.
“Oh trust me I can do much, much more” Scratchman taunted.
The Doctor started to mess around with the console, whilst Scratchman waited impatiently.
“So” Scratchman said to Yarox.” “I didn’t catch your name.”
“Here it is.” The Doctor said as he held up a cable he had pulled from the TARDIS’ console.
“This is like the TARDIS version of veins in a human or Time Lord body. Just connect this to what you want and you can suck the machines blood as it were out.”
“You can’t really be doing this Doctor?”
“I’d rather the TARDIS die now than let it live on in this state for any longer.”
“You’re a smarter man than I thought Time Lord”.
“Yes I am.” The Doctor said as he whipped out his sonic screwdriver, and activated the controls.
Scratchman suddenly screamed as the TARDIS took off. The TARDIS however only managed to take off briefly before crashing back down again.
“You think I’d give him the TARDIS?” The Doctor said boastfully. “It was an experiment.”
“You see Yarox this entire reality is hanging by a thread. Scratchman may like to act laid back and in control, but every second for him is a struggle to hold these, pitiful remains of a universe together. If we can break his concentration for long enough, this place will collapse and Scratchman will be trapped. When I gave him the TARDIS control, I was able to drain just an iota of his energy through it, and power the old girl to teleport. As it was we still couldn’t get out of here. Scratchman still held onto us, but that second where his concentration was split will have repurcussions. If we can only find a way to distract him for long, then we can break this realm, and destroy Scratchman’s food source leaving him trapped.”
“I should have known that you wouldn’t give in to him. You even had me worried there.”
“Yes well whilst I obviously would never give in to Scratchman, though I must admit we have quite a job redecorating ahead us. Still the old girl is as tough as an old pair of boots Yarox. If Scratchman thinks he can get to her or me with this bag of parlor tricks then he’s as stupid as he looks.
“What about the creatures in this reality Doctor?”
“I’m afraid there is nothing we can do for them. That battle was lost a long time ago.”
“We can’t just leave an entire universe to die.”
“You think I want too. Besides it isn’t an entire universe. It’s the last scrap of one. If Scratchman get’s free, he’ll destroy billions more.”
Just then Scratchman appeared on the TARDIS scanner. His face had begun to morph into his true form. He was still humanoid in shape, but his skin was beginning to catch fire, whilst his eyes formed into thick black pieces of charcol.
“Time Lord you will suffer.” The Doctor switched the scanner off before Scratchman could finish his threats.
As the Doctor tried to make the TARDIS take off again however, suddenly the console lit up in flames. The Doctor and Yarox tried to make it for the doors which started to close, whilst several rotting hands started to emerge from the slimy green floor. Yarox managed to pull free from the hands and grab hold of the two TARDIS doors, whilst the Doctor struggled.
They were burning to the touch and scalded his hands badly. Several of the hideous insect like creatures also started to crawl all over Yarox’s hands and bite his fingers. Still he held on long enough for the Doctor to pull free from the hands on the floor. The Doctor then helped Yarox pull open the two doors and escape.
Outside the two found they were still in the castle. The TARDIS must have taken them a mere twenty feet before Scratchman managed to stop the machine in it’s tracks. Nevertheless the effects of the Doctors brief attack on Scratchman were evident.
The entire castle was overwhelmed with hideous creatures and nightmarish monsters, all fighting with one another.
At the top of the room however Scratchman himself, gigantic flaming wings emerging from either side of his back, he flew over the crowd of monsters.
“You thought you could trick me Time Lord. You will suffer in the deepest, darkest pit of my domain.”
To Be Continued