This is my first fan-fiction post here. If you like it, you can find more at https://www.fanfiction.net/~the26thdoctor.
I would just like to say that none of the characters in this story are my creation. They are the intellectual property of the BBC and all credit goes to them, the writers, the actors and the production staff of the television show Doctor Who.
“No mum, I swear I’m fine!” Rose Tyler emphasized over her mobile. “No really. I promise. I’m not in any danger. Well…not in any more danger than normal.” The Doctor looked at Rose as she bit her lower lip as she was like to do whenever she was nervous. “No, what news? Get out! I thought she’d never put that kid in school! I mean she’s always talkin’ about how the schools ruin the children and everything.” Captain Jack was studying the TARDIS communications matrix. Rose and him looked at each other long enough for Rose to mouth “my nephew” to him. Jack smiled and nodded his head, remembering his little niece back on the peninsula. “Yeah I’ve still got his picture. No! Why would I get rid of it. He’s the most adorable little guy in the world.”
The Doctor gave the Helmic Regulator one final twist and shifted the Transnominal Gear Matrix into park, triggering the sound they had become oh so familiar with- the whining, greasing, moaning of the TARDIS engines. “Well, here we are.” The Doctor said somberly. “World War Two London to the 25th century Canadian Empire.”
Rose gave the Doctor a quizzical look. “Yeah mum look I gotta go. I’ll call you soon as I can. Give Bernard my love, yeah. And you two! Okay. Bye.” She shook her blonde hair out of her face as she pocketed the phone. “Did you say Canadian Empire?”
“Yeah. Did you really think the Canadians were just bein’ friendly for friendly’s sake? They were biding their time, waiting for the rest of the world to tear itself apart.” The Doctor said in his usual way. It wasn’t condescension by any means. No, it was more of a disbelief that Rose didn’t know these things. As if he was expecting to have been travelling with someone more well read in future history than her. Was that even a thing? Future history? It made sense to her.
“Yeah. Plus nobody can resist good ole Canadian Maple syrup. I put it on my Chips.” Captain Jack chimed in.
“I know right! Why doesn’t everyone see how amazing that tastes?” The Doctor smiled. In their short time together Captain Jack and the Doctor had really grown fond of each other. Knowing what she did about Jack’s preferences it actually made Rose a little jealous.
“What are we doing here then? Goin’ for some flapjacks?” She asked.
“No idea. Some sort of space-time anomaly’s drawing the TARDIS off course.” The Doctor said as he peered at the readout screen.
“So is that how all this works? You tell the TARDIS to go somewhere and she takes you someplace completely different, then you have to sort everything out?” Captain Jack asked.
“No.” The Doctor shot.
“Yes.” Rose shot back. “Pretty much every time, yeah.”
“Well…not every time.” The Doctor absconded looking hurt. “Anyways…we’re somewhere in The Canadian Desert Southwest…looks to be…Arizona.”
“Last time the desert southwest didn’t work out so well for us.” Rose tried her best at humor. The Doctor pursed his lips slightly, the way he did when he didn’t want to show how hurt he was really feeling. Utah hadn’t been a pleasant experience for either one of them. “So, anyways. We’re we goin?”
“We’re in a small town called Wilcox. Funny. Shouldn’t be that important.” The Doctor replied with curiousity.
“Well, we’re here we might as well make the best of it.” Captain Jack said as he sat charismatically on the TARDIS console. “You know I dated a girl from this area once. Apparently they have some amazing apple pies at this one place…what was it called? Anyways…let’s just say they know how to make some pies around here.”
The trio stepped outside the TARDIS and were immediately stricken by a blast of ice cold wind, the snow floating a little ways into the TARDIS. Wilcox was a quaint, funny little southwest town. Or at least it had been at one point. Now it seemed little more than a ghost town, a remnant of by-gone glory days. All along the main road were businesses blockaded by closed signs. The town reeked of dereliction. The few dead trees that there were were covered on every branch with frost and snow. Several of the older houses had their roofs caved in on account of the massive hills of snow from their roofs. The wind bit shrewdly as it circled old brown splotchy newspapers across the city’s park.
As they walked down the main road, Rose did take notice of the few businesses that were open. Tucked away on a little side street was a hole in the wall bar with loud country and western music emanating from it, but no signs of patronage. A small grocery store in the middle of town was still lit from the inside as lonely carts patrolled the parking lot. Looking down the road she could see a small truck stop with one old man sitting asleep on a garrison of truck tires outside, the name of the business long eroded from the wall. It was exquisitely quite. It was the kind of quite that allowed you to be alone with your thoughts, even in company.
The Doctor had charged ahead of them, his mouth and brows furrowed in disappointment. He cut a strange figure, a black silhouette on the white canvass of the snow covered ground. He didn’t look at all to be the hero she knew him to be. Jack on the other hand looked like he was taken right out of an American action movie. His long grey coat swooped and swayed with every passing gust. He always thrust his chest out and shoulders back, a brave way to hide the cowardice we all face. Luckily for them Jack had managed to conquer his fears long ago. He kept his head high, his spine perfectly aligned, looking down only occasionally to glance at the read-out screen of the strange whatchamacall it he had taken from The Doctor’s treasure chest. Yet despite his commanding demeanor, she couldn’t take her eyes of The Doctor. Even in company he was always alone, always fighting. Always punishing himself.
“The signal was emanating from over here.” The Doctor shouted back at them.
“Yeah I’ve got it pinged at about forty meters.” Jack announced with pride.
“I’d say more like ten.” The Doctor said as he stopped. There, amongst all the worn down places of residence, amongst all the filth and dreariness of the town, was the one home to be well taken care of. It was by no means nice or a manor. But snow was cleared from the driveway, the windows were clean, the trees alive and well. Well, they were pine trees so that makes sense. But the point is this house stood out like a sore thumb.
“What would say if you found one nice lookin’ house in a town full of dumps?” The Doctor asked.
“I’d say that whoever lives there probably doesn’t belong here.” Jack replied.
“It’s almost like they’re trying to fit in but they’re not really sure how. “ Rose added. “I mean, it’s like their tryin’ to keep their house dirty enough not to scream for attention but clean enough not to feel bad about.”
“Right. Shall we knock?” The Doctor said with a bit of a mischievous smile.
“Can we make a snow man first?” Jack replied with his charismatic wit.
The Doctor shook his head as Rose walked past them both. The front gate was a stained dry wood, with traces of what used to be a yard in the summertime beneath the snow underfoot. Everything about the exterior house was nondescript, but it was a very clean non-descript. The blue of the walls was dull but fresh, as was the white trim. On the porch sat a small rocking chair next to a swing and it was festooned with perennial flowers.
Rose approached the front door with a slight caution, but none too much as she was convinced that the people living here would at least be cordial. Grabbing the knocker on the door she gave four quick taps. Nothing. “Really? Who knocks using the knockers anymore?” Jack joked. “Knock like you mean it!” Rose giggled and gave the door four hard raps with her knuckles. Still nothing. “Try the doorbell.” The Doctor said with his arms crossed and head tilted downwards. The bell was two long tones in a major third, welcoming and cheery. But the house was dead, no response whatsoever.
“That’s strange. Why would a house be so well kept if there was nobody home?” Jack asked.
“Maybe that’s why the TARDIS drew us here.” The Doctor replied.
“Maybe they just stepped out for some groceries, is all.” Rose said with a slight condescension. “You genius time travelling idiots ever think that people living normal lives need to eat every now and again.”
“Can I help you folks?” An old voice chimed from behind them. The Doctor turned on his heels and walked casually to the old man who was walking a large German Sheppard dog.
“As a matter of fact yes. I was just wonderin’ if you knew who lived here?” The Doctor asked in his best friendly tone, which was not a good one.
“Who wants to know?” The old man asked.
The Doctor whipped out his psychic paper and flashed it at the old man with authority. “We do.”
The old man shook his head with indignation. “Why are you botherin’ a nice family in some small town. I’m sure their taxes can’t look that bad.”
The Doctor looked puzzled. “Really. That’s the worst you can conjure up? The taxation department?” He muttered quickly. “Yeah well, regardless here we are. I’m Doctor John Smith and these are my associates Clobber and Brunakle.” Rose and Jack looked at each other, mouthing in disgust the nicknames they had just been given. “And we’re not here to audit them. Their taxes looked fine. We just needed to clear up a family matter is all.”
The old man took on a face of joy. “Oh, is it about the baby? Bouncing little boy he is. I call him Chomper cause the first time he saw me he took a bite out of my arm like he was tryin’ to bite it off.” The man laughed a wheezy laugh. “Well, stranger, what would you like to know?”
“How long ago did they move in?” The Doctor said directly.
“Oh about six months ago maybe. Baby was born bout three weeks later. Just as cute as can be that little guy is.” The old man replied. “He eats like there’s no tomorrow though. They’re already feeding him whole foods!”
“That’s incredible. Really. And they’re names?” The Doctor pressed.
“Oh…well…shouldn’t you know that?” The old man asked.
“Indulge me.” The Doctor smiled.
“Well, don’t take too much stock in their names. I think they might had some history in whatever town they was in last. Uh but their names are George and Martha. Quiz. George and Martha Quiz. Said they come from some Irish town…what was it called. Hell I can’t remember.” The old man began to ramble.
“What do they do here in town?” Jack said as he stepped towards the man.
He looked quizzically at Jack, a furrow in his brows. “Well, what we all do here.”
“Which is?” Jack probed.
“Nothin’. Ever since the highway closed down we ain’t had no businesses open here. The mine closed off about ten years ago. Those of us stuck around did so cause we ain’t got nothin’ better to do. The Quiz’ are different though. Young and virile. So they help out where they can. George’ll shovel your driveway for Quint and Martha bakes some amazing cookies.” The old man rambled. “But none of us have any jobs. Not unless you count the people running the three stores we got, but they own the places. Hell they don’t even charge us most the time anymore.”
“Hmm. Interesting. Do you know where they are now?” The Doctor asked.
“Oh I saw em down at the Balinda’s- that’s the grocery store- a couple of minutes ago. Said they was goin’ to the park after. Maybe you guys could catch em there.” The man replied. Rose walked up beside the Doctor.
“Told you.” She said.
“Right then, we’ll do that. Thanks.” The Doctor replied curtly before dashing off in the direction of the park. His walk was different this time. It was confused, angry, charging. It took Rose two steps to keep up with one of his large strides.
“You could say it you know.” She beamed.
“What?” The Doctor brooded.
“You know what… ‘You were right Rose!” She said with a smile.
“Oh sure- you were right Rose!” The Doctor said sarcastically.
“Hey, don’t knock it. It’s not often I’m write and your wrong. Let me soak it in.” She said.
“Well while your soakin’ it in soak this in to. Why would a family move to a town that has nothin’ offer their newborn baby boy?”
Rose thought for a moment. “Peace…quiet…the timeless charm of a rural life?” She guessed.
“Their hiding from something.” Jack answered.
“Right. And why would this hiding family go to such great lengths to appear like a normal flui-digital age atomic family?” The Doctor asked.
“Because they want everyone to think their normal?” Rose answered without confidence.
“Because they’re not sure how a flui-digital age atomic family actually looks like.” Jack said as he finally caught up to them, a bit breathless.
“Right! And because they’re not aware that the town they moved to is in the middle of an economic crisis. They’re probably the only family in town. That means they’re scared. They are running and they’re scared. And they ran quick. It was a split second decision they didn’t have time to think out.” The Doctor was beginning to raise his voice like he did when he didn’t like the situation they were in.
“So they’re potentially dangerous.” Jack reasoned.
“Or potentially harmless. Depends on whose pursuing them. And that’s still not the most important question.” The Doctor said before continuing on in silence for a few moments. Finally he turned around on a dime. “Well? Is anyone going to ask what the important question is?”
Rose looked at The Doctor with excitement. “What’s the important question?”
“Why is it snowing!?” The Doctor asked with pride.
Rose was a little bit disappointed. “Well…because it’s cold Doctor. That’s what usually happens when it’s cold.”
“Wait, I see it. I see what the real question is.” Jack said with a bit of fear in his voice.
“Rose, have you ever heard of the desert southwest or any desert for that matter having this much snow?” The Doctor asked motioning around. The entire town was covered at least 2 feet deep with snow, the roads long slicked over with ice.
“Well…no but it can happen yeah?” Rose said, her own fear starting to seep its way into her voice.
“Yeah…but not in the middle of July, Rose.”