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What follows is a sample of an idea for a Doctor Who novel I have. It is quite possible that it may not get anywhere, but as usual I follow my heart, and this is a tale that has never quite left me. Hope it sucks you in...

Doctor Who - To The Brink


She looked up at the grey building. The wind blew about her, and her husband sat in the car, watching. The great building filled her with a deep-seated foreboding, but then again it would. She had never cared much for these places. They were necessary as maybe, but she still did not like them. It was a great shame, therefore, that the best friend she has ever had had to reside in such a place.

‘Are you okay, love?’

She turned back to the car. Clive smiled at her and she smiled back. As usual his presence was reassuring to her. ‘Yes,’ she responded, moving a stray piece of red hair from her eyes. ‘I am fine, really.’ He nodded, but the smile did not hide the concern in his eyes. For ten years Clive had driven her to this place, once every three weeks, without fail. For ten years he had stood by her, even though he never truly understood her reasons behind the visits. And for ten years the concern remained. Every time she came back out of the building she was drained, and close to tears. Many a time she had tried to explain things to her husband, but she never got very far. How could she explain this to anyone without them thinking her insane?

Taking a deep breath she turned back to the building and pressed the small button on the outside wall. Within seconds a voice came over the intercom.

‘Mrs Richards, here to see Smith,’ she told the voice.

After an exchange of a few more words the big gates began to open and Mrs Richards returned to the car. Clive looked at her. ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’

She nodded. ‘Yes, Clive. I am.’

He nodded in return and squeezed her knee, before starting the car up.

The wind howled, almost like it was protesting, as the Richards’ entered through the gates into the grounds of Redgrave Institute For The Mentally Ill.

The door opened and she was greeted by Dr Manfred Dolan. ‘Hello, Mrs Richards. How was the trip?’

She walked into his office and sat down. Small talk was not a big thing for Dr Dolan, and for him to make it only confirmed her feelings that things were not looking up. She refused to answer and just helped herself to a glass of water. Behind her Dr Dolan sighed.

‘Very well,’ he said and joined her at the desk. ‘Things have not improved,’ he stated curtly.

‘I had hoped otherwise, but I knew it was in vain.’ She gave a short laugh. ‘It always is.’

Dr Dolan leaned forward. ‘But, Mrs Richards, we must not give up. Smith’s delusions are quite intense, and most unusual. In all my time working at this Institute I have never seen anyone with such deep delusions. Never.’

‘I know this, Dr Dolan. You tell me this at least three times a year.’

‘I know I do. And as I keep telling you, we must not give up. As more research is done the chances are we will find something to help Smith. Hope is an important thing.’

She sighed. ‘Perhaps it is, but my hope is drying up.’

‘And not for the first time, as I recall.’ Dolan paused. ‘Mrs Richards, understand that I have every intention of helping Smith, and curing him. For you to have stood by him for twelve years tells me is a special person.’

Again the short laugh. ‘Oh, you do not know the half of it.’

‘Then tell me.’

She so wanted to. But even if she did, she could not see how it would help. ‘Perhaps one day I will, Dr Dolan. But until research has advanced more than it is, I do not see how it can possibly help.’

They were at a stalemate, not for the first time.

‘Do you want to see him?’

She nodded. ‘Yes. Very much so.’

Deep inside the Institute they came to the cell. It was not the best term in the world, but she knew that it was quite apt. A room was no good for a man whose mind had broken the way Smith’s had. Dolan opened the door of the cell and they both stepped in. She was shocked at what she saw.

There was no reason to be shocked really, after all the addition of padded walls was quite logical after the past twelve years.

In the corner sat Smith. He looked up but there was no recognition in his eyes. His fair curls had grown out quite a bit, and he had put weight on.

She stepped forward and as she did so Smith backed away further. She stopped and turned to Dolan. Her face was one big question mark.

‘He seems to be fighting some kind of personal demons these days, and he is quite fearful of everything and everyone.’

She looked back at Smith and whispered, ‘Oh, Doctor...’

She got back into the car several hours later. Clive turned to her and noticed her tears. ‘Hey.’ He reached out and took her hand. ‘It will be all right.’

She looked at her husband. ‘Clive, I don’t think it will. Not anymore. The Doctor I knew is gone. Forever.’ She bit her lip and looked away.

Clive wrapped his arms around his wife. ‘Come here, Melanie.’ Together they sat. Husband and wife. Clive and Melanie ‘known as Mel’ Richards.

Copyright Andie j.p. Frankham 2000. All Rights Reserved.

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