The TARDIS wheezes with a sound that does not sound healthy at all. Lights dim, the floor shifts and suddenly the whole room spins. Whatever got the TARDIS acting this way was big, and trouble. As if confirming the diagnosis, the Doctor starts pulling different levers all at once, leaning over to flick the small hourglass on the stand.
"Come on girl, talk to me!" The Doctor urges furiously, peering into the monitors with a confused expression. The room shifts again, my stomach flips with the motion. I was never good with any theme park rides and this feels just feels like one massive nightmare.
"Doctor?" I ask feebly as I feel my feet slowly rise from the ground. Scratch that- my worst nightmare is coming to life right this moment as I slowly go higher up the TARDIS. Blinking, I try to grab onto the rail, but my sweaty palms make it impossible.
"I don't understand, I only wanted to pop in to see ol Vicky. She owes me a horse that woman does!" the Doctor rambles to herself, completely oblivious to the fact that I've risen two feet above the ground. My heart hammers in my chest, the grip on the rail slipping as I fail to grab hold with my other one.
"Doctor!" I try yelling out but it's like someone's placed me on mute, my voice is hoarse. Focusing on keeping calm, I attempt to blink away the dark spots in my vision.
"It's almost as if I'm missing something, something huge and dead obvious. Staring at me right in front of my face but I can't see it," the Doctor runs her hands through her hair squinting up at the TARDIS. My grip fails me as I soar upwards, my heart pounding and it becoming increasingly more impossible for me to remain calm.
"DOCTOR!!" I scream hysterically as her eyes snap to mine.
"GRAVITY BOOSTERS HAVE FAILED!" She yells at the same time, snapping her fingers.
Immediately she runs to the other side of the TARDIS opening some sort of side panel. She pulls the lever down and glances up at me expectantly, but nothing has changed. I'm still floating at heights that I can't begin to fathom.
"Are you okay?!" The Doctor calls up and I have to suppress a scoff on the off chance it may turn into a full on freakout.
"I only ask because I need a favour- a big one- a really huge massive favour that I wouldn't ask if there was another way," she rambles at me. My eyes screw shut as I shake my head at her. This is all one big nightmare. It's not real. I'm not currently floating ten- no wait - twelve feet in the air.
"Doctor?" I call out warningly, not wanting to participate in anything aside from getting my feet firmly on the ground again.
"Brill! Now all you've got to do is reach to that red lever, it's about an arm's length above your head," she replies, taking my response as confirmation. Shaking my head, I don't need to open my eyes to know that the measurement of 'an arm's length was a severe underestimate from her behalf.
"I would do it myself but I've got to keep this lever steady. The boosters they've completely shattered, I'm sure it was either due to the nasty Slitheen encounter or maybe it was from crash landing on Tondu. I've got to take you there one day! The best fondues are found at Planet Tondu!"
"You're right, sorry I'm rambling. Listen, just open your eyes and reach up. I promise it's not that far at all. I'm right here," she says sounding apologetic. I can just about picture the frown she probably has on her face. The TARDIS gives out yet another unhealthy wheeze as my stomach jolts.
"Promise?" I whisper unsure if she could even hear me.
"Cross my hearts, I promise I'm staying right here," she vows and slowly ever so slowly I build up the courage to open my eyes.
"Look straight up, there's a lever, can you see it?" The Doctor calls and sure enough I spot it about an arm's length away like she said it would be. I barely have time to register my surprise as I lift out my hand to grab hold of it.
"Doctor?" I grit my teeth, wishing that my palms weren't so sweaty at this given moment. "What happens when the gravity resets?" Tightening my grip on it, I don't bare to look down, knowing that the only thing keeping me sane right now is focusing on this stupid lever.
"I asked what happens when the gravity resets?" I yell out louder, but at that moment the TARDIS jolts and instinctively, I pull down the lever.
Screaming I shut my eyes tightly and let go of the handle. Falling, I'm falling, I'm going to fall to my death here in the TARDIS. To my mum it's just going to look like I did another runner, except this time I won't come back. I knew my fear of heights would eventually lead to my death. I always thought it would be from a crashing plane, but I suppose free falling in the TARDIS is a close substitute.
A hand on my shoulder makes me jump. My eyes fly open. Grabbing onto the hand, I stumble forward unable to balance myself.
"Steady steady there," the Doctor says soothingly as I blink furiously. The TARDIS hums quietly, a sound I'm much more used to hearing.
"You were dead good that's what happened. You got the lever and the TARDIS returned you to your original spot before the engines started failing," the Doctor explains but I'm more focused on the fact that I'm on the floor once again. Squealing in delight I lay down exhausted staring up at the ceiling. It's only then do I notice the lever looks a lot further away than I initially thought it to be.
"How did I get so close to the handle?"
"Ah you see, I distracted you whilst you had your eyes shut and you just kept drifting upwards. Emergency protocol means the handle has its own gravity which activates slowly. Another thirty seconds and you would have been standing up there!" She explains and I shake my head wordlessly at her.
"I'm not a fan of heights," I admit as she pats my shoulder and gets up.
"Or rollercoasters," I add as an afterthought.
"Guess that's Tondu off the table then," the Doctor says paling slightly as she peers around the console. I raise my eyebrows at her as she frowns. "Run by intergalactic rail tracks about fifty feet up in the air. Gave me the worst motion sickness last time I went," she purses her lips, momentarily lost in that memory.
"Doctor?" I say sitting up slowly, a thought suddenly coming to me. "Why didn't you get effected?"
"Gravity boots," she points at her shoes. "Never go anywhere without them. We'll get you some don't worry."
Grinning at her, I pull myself up slowly and lean against the console. Glancing up again, it boggles my mind to think I was stranded fifty feet in the air- I barely could manage the twelve whilst my eyes were open!
"So where were we?" The Doctor spins a spherical looking object, before grinning. "Ah yes, time to pop in to see Queen Vicks!"
YOU ARE READING
Episode 4 Comment ChallengeScience Fiction
Still feeling spooked from episode 4? Channel your fear into a story with this week's writing challenge, just in time for Halloween! What is your biggest fear and how does the Thirteenth Doctor help you overcome it? Leave us a comment and we'll feat...