Zepheera frowned in confusion. The TARDIS had
landed and the doors were open, but she couldn’t see anything beyond them. Only
darkness. She looked up at the Doctor; being four and a half inches tall, she
had to tilt her head back quite a bit just to meet his gaze from her spot on
the floor. A sudden pang of insignificance shot through her gut like a cold
“Where…” Her throat had gone dry
and her voice came out quieter than usual, so she swallowed her fear and tried
again. “Where are we?”
The Doctor nodded toward the door. “Only
one way to find out.
Hesitant, Zepheera turned the other way to
lock eyes with Donna. The human offered a faint smile of encouragement. Even
so, something felt off to Zepheera. But her friends were waiting on her, so she
carefully approached the wide-open doors.
The space outside was pitch-black, the dim
light of the console room didn’t seem to touch it. Even after she’d taken a few
steps into this dark place, Zepheera could hardly believe she was walking on
something solid. She blinked hard and looked around with wide eyes, wandering
about a foot further away from the doors. The absence of light, the absolute
nothingness was beginning to hurt her eyes.
A sudden wave of dread hit her as she noticed
the absence of something else. Vibrations in the floor that indicated her
relatively giant friends following her.
She whirled around, squinting through the
light in the TARDIS that seemed blaring to her dark-accustomed eyes.
"What’s going on?” she called,
holding a hand up as a visor as her vision adjusted. Her pulse quickened when
two immense blurs came into focus.
The Doctor and Donna were exactly where she
left them. They stared down at Zepheera with stone faces. Her anxiety mounted.
She had a feeling about what exactly those expressions meant. She had frequent
nightmares about them. And as the Doctor lifted a hand, fingers pressed close
together in preparation to click, Zepheera’s fears were all at once realized.
Zepheera was being left behind.
“I don’t understand!” She stumbled
forward, still partially disoriented, in the hope that she could make them
second-guess this decision long enough for her to make it back inside.
“Did I do something wrong? Please tell me, I’ll never do whatever it is
Zepheera’s blood ran cold at the sound of the
Doctor snapping his fingers, freezing her in place. In reaction to the Doctor,
the TARDIS doors closed on their own. The sound of the blue box taking off
broke Zepheera out of her shocked state.
“No! Please!” she shouted over the
growing noise and rising winds as the TARDIS began to dematerialize.
She broke into a run, desperately throwing
herself against the wooden doors. “Don’t do this! Doctor! Donna!”
Tears flowed freely down Zepheera’s cheeks as
she beat her tiny fists futilely on the door. As the ship that had not only
been the vehicle for the best few weeks of traveling that Zepheera had ever
experienced but her home disappeared completely, she crumbled into a
heap on the ground. Her entire body shook, her sobs the only sound.
She felt the darkness close in on her, all
but suffocating her as she started hyperventilating. All alone. Abandoned by
her only friends in the world. Trapped once again with no way out. For a
moment, she convinced herself that the surface on which she lay felt just like
the acrylic kennel she’d spent six months in before she met the Doctor.
Once that thought invaded her head, her
screaming began in earnest.
Then came the sensory overload.
Dark or Trapped? Oh golly gosh gee, I thought you said and!
Continued in an Epilogue.