April 16, 2011

Enchanted Garden Chapter Twelve

The room was quite warm, and almost unpleasantly steamy, as though they had walked in from winter’s chill to find themselves in a sauna. Harold pulled his fogged up glasses from his face and used the tail of his shirt to wipe them clear before he returned them to their usual position in front of his eyes.

The pirate ladies immediately started sweating heavily in their thick sweaters, and quickly left the hot room in search of something cooler to wear.

Newt looked around the room. The orange light was brighter now than it had been at any other time she had been in the control room, and it nearly drowned out the thin thread of blue light that ran up the vertical central shaft.

Thawing icicles hung from the ceiling, dripping softly through the expanded metal of the floor and dropped with sparks and hisses on to what Newt hoped were not delicate electrical parts that would short out from the moisture that was present in every nook and cranny of the large cathedral-like control room.

The Doctor wasn’t in evidence. Newt took her notebook and stamp to her bedroom, and while she was there, she showered and laundered the violet velvet outfit she had worn hiking. She browsed through the other clothing that had appeared in her wardrobe, and found an outfit consisting of a pair of jeans that still looked nice, but was just worn enough to be in that soft and comfortable state, and a blue short sleeved blouse with a cute rounded collar of eyelet lace. She pulled them on, and then on a whim, she transferred her money and MP3 player from the blue pearl encrusted embroidered purse that was a part of her Marie Antoinette Halloween costume in to the pockets of her newly acquired borrowed blue jeans.

Clean, dressed, and presentable, Newt decided it was high time that she went to the kitchen in search of a nice long drink of icy cold water.

As Newt walked through the corridors of the TARDIS, she realized that it was getting easier and easier to find her way around. In fact, the distances between places that she wanted to go seemed somehow shorter. She briefly wondered whether the TARDIS was creating short cuts for her, or at least, telling her where she needed to go. Newt thought about what the lady pirates had said when they had first met, about “their” ship being able to read your mind and translate languages, and though she didn’t doubt that the TARDIS could do this, she did wonder for a few moments if that was the only thing it was doing while it was inside her mind. With a jolt, she realized that if it could access the language centers of her brain, it could certainly implant the knowledge within her mind of how to get around the inside of the ship easily.

When she reached the kitchen, she noticed that the icicles in the corner were completely gone. At first glance, the room seemed empty. Newt rummaged in the cupboards and quickly found a glass, then, looked around for anything that resembled an ice box. As she looked at each piece of machinery, the function and workings of it seemed to float to the top of her awareness, as though she was remembering what it was and how to use it. “Aha! Caught you!” she said aloud as she confirmed to herself that the TARDIS was indeed inside her mind, and apparently trying to be helpful, now that it recognized her as a guest of the Doctor’s.

Newt walked directly across the room to the correct piece of machinery, slid open the cover plate, and pressed her empty glass against the lever in the cubbyhole, while thinking very hard in her mind that she would like half a glass of crushed ice, and then cold water filled to the brim. She hoped that the TARDIS would read her mind and give her what she wanted. Her theory proved to be an accurate one, and the glass filled halfway with tiny ice cubes of a uniform size, and then topped itself off with sparkling crystal clear water. She pulled the glass from the machine, drank about half of it, and refilled it, then closed the door on the dispenser. Suddenly realizing she was hungry after her hike, Newt set her glass of water on the table, and slid open another dispenser door. She placed her hand against a plate, and imagined the peanut butter and honey sandwich that she wanted to eat. In far less time than it would have taken Newt to assemble the sandwich from ingredients spread across the counter, and with no mess or fuss at all, a small door in the face of the machine opened and her sandwich, fully assembled, sat upon a small crystal plate.

Newt laughed aloud with her delight, and removed her hand from the touch pad and her plate from the dispenser. She turned again toward the table, and suddenly noticed the Doctor sitting at a small table in an alcove that she was certain hadn’t been a part of the room last night when they were all in here sharing the Thanksgiving feast.

“I see you’re figuring out how things work,” the Doctor observed.

Newt nodded, and at the Doctor’s gesture, picked up her glass from the large table and joined him at the small table in the alcove. “I was hungry after that hike,” she said, “and I didn’t think you would mind if I got myself a sandwich.”

“Not at all,” the Doctor said. “Make yourself at home. What sort of sandwich do you have there?” he added, peering at her plate.

“Peanut butter and honey,” she answered, then asked, “What sort are you eating?”

The Doctor grinned at her. “Peanut butter and anchovies.”

We dare you to make your villain eat an anchovy and peanut butter sandwich in the next scene…and like it! (I don’t really have a villain, so I’ll make the Doctor eat it)

Newt’s automatic response was to scrunch up her nose and pull the corners of her mouth down in an expression of distaste, even though she knew it was rude of her to make even a silent comment on her host’s dubious taste in sandwiches.

The Doctor laughed. “That’s what I thought too, before I tried it,” he said, “and believe you me, I would never have tried it voluntarily out of my own choice. But after I had been forced to eat one, much to my surprise, I found that I like them. Occasionally. The oils in the anchovies and the peanuts seem to combine in such a way that it helps me think better.”

“So how are the repairs coming?” Newt asked.

The Doctor sniffed deeply and exhaled loudly.

“They’re going all right,” the Doctor said, “Well, I say all right, but actually, they aren’t going so well at all. I’ve managed to warm things up a bit in here, though, and resynch the interior of the TARDIS with the proper season on Gallifrey.”

“I noticed it’s warmer in here, Doctor,” Newt said, “but are you aware that the winter is now leaking out of the TARDIS, and killing the grasses in a big circle all the way around the TARDIS? Also, was the TARDIS supposed to change from looking like a flying saucer to looking like a blue wooden box?”

“It’s simply amazing that those women persuaded the TARDIS to look like a flying saucer at all,” said the Doctor. “They shouldn’t have even been able to change the appearance at all. I think maybe that’s what broke things in the first place. So did you find this letterbox that you all went after?” the Doctor asked, changing the subject.

“Yes, we hiked just about forever, though Knit Wit said it was only about five miles total. We did find the box, but I have to wonder how it got here, and how they knew about it in the first place. This planet doesn’t seem quite natural, either, it’s all forest, with only one clearing, this one, and only one mountain, and the mountain is a perfect cone. The top of the cone is sheared off flat, and the box is in a pile of rocks in the exact center of the flat spot on the top of the mountain. There is no sign of any animals or birds or anything living in that forest, except for the plants. It just seems like there is something all wrong about it.”

“Did you say that the plants outside the TARDIS are dying of cold?” the Doctor asked.

“Yes, I said that ages ago, Doctor, were you not listening to me?” said Newt.

“But there should be no way that the internal weather should be able to leak out into the outside world!” the Doctor shouted as he suddenly leaped to his feet and dashed out the door.