It wasn’t until she had found the valley that she recognised the planet she had been dumped on. Not that it would do her any good. She was a formless mass, what her Gran would no doubt have called a wee wilo ta wisp. She didn’t want to say ghost. Ghost implied death but she knew that was not so. Her body still existed, even if it had been stolen by the great orange energy that encircled this world.
At least she wasn’t alone.
Of course, seeing things from the perspective of a ghost made sense of a lot of things. Max had a photo that the Doctor had taken. It was a picture of the Doctor’s companions on the beech. Max looked a little worse for wear. He refused to talk about it when she’d asked. But then, he was busy trying to rationalise why it appeared that she was in that picture, hugging the legs of his friends Miko and Faro.
Now it made perfect sense. As soon as she had discovered she was insubstantial she had thought of comfort and home. Of her Da, and even of the mother she never knew.
And she’d found herself on that beech, stood where the photo said she was.
She tried to make the others see her but to no avail. Then she heard the voice.
“It won’t work.” It was a laconic growl. Like Xantist when she was upset. Lily had turned around, tried to see where it was coming from and realised she was back in the nowhere place, the dusty sea that she found on the moment she had been usurped from her physical being.
“We tried, oh how we tried.” Sighed another. This was a gentler voice, that reminder her of herself. Or of the voice she heard in her mind at any rate.
“Where are you, who are you?” lily demanded. Two female figures coalesced and lily recognised them from a few moments before. Faro stood leaning on Miko’s shoulder. Miko didn’t seem at all happy about it but failed to move away – even when Lily ran crying, into an embrace.
“Mum” she sobbed ‘so I really am dead.”
“No and no.” Miko grumbled. “You explain it to her, I want to see what’s happening.”
The translucent Siabarian stomped off to the ridge, watching the tremulous passage of the woodlice as they herded underground.
“Typical! Alright, lets start with the easy bit, you’re not dead.”
“Ok. So where am I” Lily replied reasonably.
Faro sighed and sat down, pulling lily with her, gently stroking the girl’s hair. “You’re in a sort of not space. Like the gap between two universes. A void, full with the energies of the HOST. There’s a univerese worth waiting to break in but it can’t just pour itself in to our world. It had to find a way to establish itself.”
“Eventually. First it tried to influence those that came into contact with it.” She said sadly.
“Yeah. My family came from the other side; we had to travel through the HOST to reach the normal universe. It passed a sort of curse onto us.”
“Da siad you were followed.”
“Yeah. When it came for me it got more than it bargained for. I had this link you see, with Karisma there. We both ahd things going on, she came with me. The HOST didn’t mind at first, it would have an avatar of peace in me and an Avatar of War in Miko. But neither of our bodies were really what it wanted. We were both injured and neither of us were really immune to it.”
“And that’s where I come in?”
“I’m afraid so. You were constructed out of the bits of us that the HOST could use.” Faro sighed a little.
“So your not our daughter. You’re a butcher’s tray.” Karisma snarled contemptuously
“The Doctor tested me when I was younger. There’s bits of Da in here too.” Lily snapped defiantly
Faro grinned fondly. “Well, Max Kowarth does have a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.” she looked Lily in the eye. “How is he?”
“He didn’t look too good when I last saw him. Hey, can you do that visiting thing I just did, going to a place you know?”
“I’m afraid not how you might expect. It only works on places we’ve been”
“Well, maybe I can take you with me. That way I could try and show you what happened.”
“Sounds a fair deal. Not as though we have anything else to do in eternity.” Miko surprised them with her judgement.
A playground. Lily didn’t recognise it. There was a small boy there in green courdroy trousers. He looked lost and alone. Karisma decided that he wasn’t very interesting and let go. Faro watched as Lily went to talk to him.
“he can’t see us.” She sighed.
“hello.” the boy said to Lily as she approached “have you seen my mum?”
“I don’t think so.”
“you’re pretty” the boy decided and returned to playing. Lily looked about for the mother he spoke of but there was no one nearby.
“this can’t be what you you wanted to show us” Faro called out. The boy didn’t seem to hear her. Lily waved at her and joined the lad in his game until the sun began to dip. She heard voices then, coming towards the park. She hioped it was the boy’s family, for his sake. She wouldn’t be able to intervene if it was anyone else.
“lets go.” Karisma moaned and took Lily’s hand. Faro took the other
“I know just the place.”
Lily held their hands and the scenery around them changed to the bustle of a lawn wedding. They were stood at the back, by the catering tent. Various oddly dressed peoples stood or sat admiring the happy couple.
A tear came to Faro’s eye.
“Oh great, the monkey married my sister” Miko groaned “at least kid brother had some sense” she turned away and vanished as she pulled from lily’s grasp. Faro waved as Max turned. For a moment he seemed to have seen her. Then he turned back to Xan. Faro sighed and pulled away, the scenery reverting to the dustbowl once more.
“Yeah, most of the time. But since the HOST started showing up. He’s been a bit, well odd.”
“I’m not surprised. Look what it did to us.” Miko laughed. “Who knows what he’ll be doing now it’s got you too.”
“I hadn’t thought of that.” Lily whispered.
Time passed. Lily spent it trying to find a way getting her body back. She knew that wasn’t going to be easy, but it was only a small body and she reasoned that perhaps, with the help of Faro and Miko she might just be able to influence herself, as it were.
Then Lily had the brainstorm of trying to project her to where her body was now just as dusk was falling. She could see three moons above her, though one might be a planet, as it was rather large.
When she forced herself to visit her body she found she could only watch it from across the street. It held Max in the air as it threw a torrent of energy at the TARDIS. Lily gazed opened mouthed at the scene, tried to wave at Ichigo as she appeared on the other side of the avatar.
Then the TARDIS was gone and Ichi with it. The Avatar was dragging Max upward. Lily watched it rise. With a lump in the place where her throat would have been she realised she recognised the night sky. The Avatar was coming to the dustbowl!
Lily had to warn Faro and Miko. Maybe, just maybe, together they might be a match for it.