Newt finished her sandwich and wandered down the hall to her bedroom. There was nothing to do there, however, and she quickly became bored.
She decided to go out to the control room to see if there was any way she could help the Doctor finish his repairs, but halfway there, he came rushing down the hallway and passed her going the opposite direction.
She peeked into the craft rooms, and saw the lady pirates working on various different projects that they apparently found satisfying. They invited Newt to come in and join them, but she didn’t see any thing in there that she was currently interested in getting involved in.
Newt then wandered into the control room. It seemed that things were at least a little better now, the room was a more normal room-temperature temperature, and all of the moisture seemed to have entirely evaporated.
Unsure of exactly what to do next, Newt went outside and crunched through the dead iced over frozen purple grasses, and then proceeded through the meadow until she reached the edge of the forest.
Harold and Dusty had been sitting there lounging against trees, and they stood up as Newt walked up to them.
They greeted her and the three of them walked a little way into the forest, but not so far that they couldn’t see which direction the meadow was in. The three children, Harold, Dusty, and Newt found three trees close together and sat down facing one another.
“What do you think of everything?” Harold asked. “I mean, this whole thing, everything that’s going on, is all pretty weird. Think about it. How likely is it that we would get magically transported to some alien planet, and such an unnatural one at that, and then run in to other people from Earth, and also this Doctor guy straight from Dusty’s favorite television show?”
“I know, it’s more than just a little bit strange,” Newt said. “I keep wondering if old Mrs. M has just given us a joint hallucination or dream or something, so that we all think we’re seeing the same thing, and we’re really all still just in her garden hack in Belly Button, Arizona, in the good old U S of A.”
“I don’t know,” said Dusty, “the rubber stamps and the books feel pretty real, and my muscles are aching after that hike this morning. Would muscles ache after imaginary five mile hikes?”
“Sure they would,” Harold said, laughing, “because you believe you were on the hike, and so your mind makes your body believe that you were actually on the hike by making your legs hurt when there is really no reason to feel it unless your legs hurt. So your mind makes you think that your legs hurt, just so that you will believe that you were actually on the hike that you hallucinated that you were on.”
Dusty turned to Newt. “Did that long convoluted run-on sentence of his make any sense to you, or did he get lost somewhere in the middle of it?”
“I think he may have got lost just a little bit in the middle of that long run-on sentence,” said Newt with a grin, “but although his grammar was absolutely faulty, I agree in essence with what he appeared to be trying to say, which was that since our minds believed we were actually on the hike, they’re fully capable of making us believe our legs hurt from the hike, even if we didn’t go on the hike, and even if our legs don’t really hurt at all. Or at least something to that effect,” finished Newt in a rush of words.
Dusty just laughed, and Newt gave him a very offended look, as though he had just hurt her feelings immensely.
“I wonder about that path up the mountain,” she said, “and why it’s here, and who put it here, but I don’t want to go trying to find out about it, either, because we just might not be able to find our way back to the TARDIS, and as far as we know, that’s the only way we’re going to get out of this mess.”
Dusty smiled. “Yeah, I vote we stick with the Doctor, because whether the Doctor and the TARDIS are actually a part of our shared hallucination, or whether the Doctor and the TARDIS are real and actually here, even a hallucinated Doctor is better than no Doctor at all, and he will help us to get out of this mess.”
“If anyone can help us at all,” Harold said darkly.
Newt smiled. “Why don’t we ask the fortune teller?” she asked.
“What fortune teller”, Dusty asked, his confusion written plainly on the features of his face.
“The fortune teller that that sign tells us about,” Newt said, pointing at a nearby sign that she was suddenly certain hadn’t been in the forest on either of the other two occasions when she had been in among the trees.
The two boys looked at her as though she was totally insane, but as they followed her pointing finger with their gazes, both of their faces were totally overcome with incredulity.
Dusty heaved himself to his feet, and offered first Newt and then Harold his assistance in rising. Once all three of them were on their feet, they three friends, Harold Porter, Dusty Brown, and Alexandria “Newt” Newton took careful hold of one another’s hands and set off down the trail toward the fortune teller that the sign assured them lay ahead.
Only a short way down the path they came into a small clearing. Newt’s memories of the sight of the forest she had seen from the top of the mountain belied the very existence of this clearing, but although one part of her mind shrieked out that something was very, very wrong here, another part of her mind shrugged things off, rationalizing that so many strange things had happened to her since her footsteps had left the sidewalk in front of Old Mrs. M’s home, that one more impossible thing was very simply no longer out of the ordinary at all.
The sight that met their eyes made them stop suddenly and they dropped each other’s hands. The clearing opened abruptly from where they stood at the edge of the purple forest. It was floored in the ubiquitous purple grasses which seemed to grow everywhere on the planet that wasn’t covered over by the trees. Nothing at all of any sort grew underneath the canopy of the trees. In the center of the clearing stood a dilapidated gypsy caravan. The bright paint was faded and peeling and the purple grasses twined through the spokes of the wheels, plainly showing that this caravan hadn’t moved from its place in many, many years. One of the wheels was broken, and the caravan rested a bit crookedly on the remaining prongs of the wheel’s rim, and what was left of the spokes.
A light green sway backed horse with six legs grazed dispiritedly nearby. There was no trail out of the clearing that was wide enough that the horse, if it was a horse, could possibly have dragged the caravan down, even if the caravan had been able to move, and even if the horse, if it was a horse, was capable of pulling it. There was a dilapidated sign near the four sagging steps that read, “Madame Du Pompadour, Palmistry, Tasseomancy, Scrying by Crystal, Fortunes Told, be they Fair or Foul.”
“What’s Tasseomancy?” Dusty asked.
“It’s when they read signs and omens in your tea leaves,” Harold replied.
“I don’t know about you two,” Newt said, “but I don’t think I would drink any thing offered me by some one who lives in a place that filthy on the outside. Who knows how bad it’s on the inside, and what sort of pests and rodents live within that dwelling?”
“Maybe it’s just her office,” Dusty surmised, “and not actually her home.”
“If that’s the case,” said Newt, with a practical note in her voice, “then tell me where does she live, assuming she’s a she. I don’t see any place any where in the near vicinity that would be conducive to living in.”
“She’s most likely a she,” offered Harold, “since the sign says that the caravan belongs to Madame Du Pompadour.”
“Do you think we should go have our fortunes told?” Dusty asked, an unusual note of caution in his voice.
“Well, we came to ask,” said Newt.
“Does any one of us have any money to pay the fortune teller?” Harold asked.
“Actually, I do,” Newt said, and reached into her pocket to jungle the change that resided there. “I brought it with me so that I could buy ride tickets and a caramel apple at the carnival at the mall.”
“Too bad the carnival is back home in Belly Button, Arizona, and we’re here,” Dusty said.
“Yeah, a caramel apple sounds really good right about now,” Harold agreed.
“I’ll make you caramel apples when we get back to the TARDIS,” Newt said, “but for right now, let’s go get our fortunes told, be they fair or foul.”
“You can make caramel apples in the TARDIS?” Harold asked.
“Yeah, I figured out how the kitchen works,” Newt said.
“How did you figure that out?” Dusty wanted to know.
“The TARDIS told me,” Newt said with a grin. “I think it likes me.”
“The TARDIS is talking to you?” Dusty said, shaking his head, “and you didn’t tell us?”
“She just now told us,” Harold said. “We can talk about the TARDIS later, For now, are we going to go talk to Madame Du Pompadour the Fortune Teller, or not?”
The three children joined hands again and walked cautiously across the clearing to the very small caravan.