C1 The Intro and the Outro
My name's Jay. I'm twenty-two, orphaned, have been for years. I have an on-off boyfriend and a plethora of good friends. I work in a shop on Karara Minor - well, I used to. All that changed the day somebody used the shop for target practise of a, well, I was told it was an EMP. That’s the official story anyway, I was also told something completely different. We're used to violence - there’s a weapons shop across the street - but this was something else entirely. I was out back at the time, on the phone to my boyfriend on company time, aware that at any moment the boss could come flying through that door after one of the Altarian cats that roam the area (and frequently come into the shop) and catch me here.
It really seems like such a long time ago.
The explosion was terrific. I fell over the back wall and down the slope into the street below, knocking my head. My phone went flying. When I came around, there was the noise of a crowd, and of the authorities. It was muffled, and I realised it was coming from up the hill.
Then a gentleman was standing over me, talking to me. He was a medic I realised.
"My phone." I managed weakly, "Have to tell him I'm ok."
"Later." The man nodded. He ran the laser healer over a gash on my forehead. Another man took a statement when I felt strong enough to stand. And neither was impressed by my insistence I find my phone.
But I knew I had to, knew he may have heard the noise and assumed the worst. I still didn't want to see him - didn't want him to rush round to find me. I was too preoccupied to think of my colleagues or boss in the rubble above. So I went about my search of the bushes up the hill, and the pavement below.
I had reached the T-junction into the main street before I realised there was no chance my phone had got this far, and with a sigh admitted to myself that somebody must have stolen it while I was on the ground.
That’s when it happened; the lightest step behind me, the swish of fabric and lace, and a hand in my line of vision, "Excuse me, but is this yours?" The voice purred.
"Oh, thank you, thank you very much!" I smiled. Then I turned.
"Sarah?" I gasped. She was the last person I ever expected to see that day. Or the last person I ever expected to see, period.
"Hello Duck." She said as she handed the phone over. At my blank stare, she nodded at the phone. I stared dumbly at it before remembering, and raising it to my ear.
He was still there. Why was he still there after that long?
"Hey Mal. Yeah. Yeah, sure. I’m fine. No, don’t worry, don’t come round. Just been looking for the phone that’s all. I really have to go now. Something’s come up. Watch the news later. Yeah, will do. Bye." I kept my eyes on her the whole time. She smiled, and looked around in an effort to stop me thinking she was listening to me.
As soon as I put the phone back on my belt, she was looking back at me. She smiled, took my one hand and kissed my cheek, "Still always in trouble, Duck."
"I-I…" I stammered, "Sarah – how are you here?"
"That’s a long story Duck, and not one I’ve time to tell."
"But you- you were…" I searched her blue eyes for the answers, but she was quiet. At length she smiled again, and made to say something.
"There you are!" Came the yell. Something in Sarah’s eyes changed. They hardened.
"Gotta go." She raised her hand, "I suggest you take cover." Her voice was almost a hiss. I was frozen to the spot by shock still. I looked past her, over her shoulder. A blonde girl, younger then I was, with an odd taste in hair dye and a sun-yellow dress, was pounding our way.
Sarah pressed a switch on a device I hadn’t seen in her hand, and there was another explosion. I was thrown to the ground. When the smoke cleared, some minutes later, Sarah, and the girl, had gone.
I struggled to my feet. What the hell was going on? My limbs shook as I made my way back up the street. At length I came to a crumbled wall, bordering an unused lot.
This was where I found the strange girl, on her back over a pile of bricks. She had been saved by being thrown through the gap, I supposed. I don’t usually think this of girls, but she was quite pretty. Tall for a girl, cheeks made to dimple, fair muscular strength judging by her arms and lower legs. I reached for her shoulder, to shake her a little, see if she was alright, but in a moment she had sat up with a start, pushed me off and made her way back to the wall on those long legs of hers. She looked both ways, swore with a hint of an accent, and started walking back down the street.
I made my way to the wall, "Excuse me?"
She stopped at the end of the street, looking left and right. As I approached she frowned, "What do you want?"
"I-I just wondered – what do you want with- with my-with Sarah?"
"Sarah? Is that its name?" The girl turned to face me. I nodded, "Sarah Cayden." Then I frowned, "Why-why’d you call her an ‘it’?"
"I don’t know what it means to you, but I think she stopped being a she a long time ago." The girl snarked, "She aint human anymore, as a friend of mine would say."
"Is this… because she died?"
The girl narrowed her eyes, interested. I went on, "She died, maybe…" I worked it out, "Fifteen years ago?"
"Dead people don’t walk again." I could see from her eyes she didn’t believe what she was saying though.
"No, I suppose… she did work for the agency, maybe she’s from the past?"
The girl narrowed her eyes, "Maybe you’d better come and see this friend of mine."
"Oh, I really gotta…" I glanced uphill, to the smoking remains of my former workplace, "Urm…" I scratched my head.
"I insist." The girl had my arm, and was pulling me along the street, "I’m Lily, and you are?"
"Err." I blinked, "You can call me Jay."
"Okay Jay." She nodded, "Time to meet the Doctor."