The Sound of Silence Part Two Written by David Nirved
“Since I was a little girl, I knew the legends of the Doctor. They say he ended the most vicious war in all of history. They say he brought the Universe back. They say he can speak every language in history, and knows how to fix every toy that ever existed, no matter how broken. He was like a god to me, always watching over. Like a guardian angel.
And you know what I learnt about guardian angels? They don't exist.
The siege of my planet had been waging for centuries, but the Doctor had always been there to save the day. Except for one time. The one time when I needed him the most, when it really mattered...my guardian angel was having a dinner date. And his negligence, his ego, his disinterest, cost me my family’s lives. My sister...only a child. She couldn't do things for herself, couldn't defend herself. She relied on me, and I relied on the Doctor. But the Doctor was busy, drinking wine and laughing with his friend.
Do you know what it's like? To have lost everything, everyone you ever cared about. And then to find the man you thought would be your saviour, who your parents told you would always be there to save the day...laughing. I swore he would pay.
That was the day I lost my faith in the Doctor. That was the day I swore to serve the Silence. So don't you dare tell me, Miss Smith, that the Doctor is a good man. He's not a good man. He's a monster.“
“Remind me why we're doing this again?”
Zoe tutted at Dan’s stupid question and looked up at him. But she furrowed her brow, as if she didn't have an answer. Eventually she shook her head in dismissal, and sighed, “don't ask questions! Just get on with barricading the door! Beth, will you quit checking your emails!”
Beth looked up. She had been lost in her own thoughts, wondering about that text she had been sent a few minutes earlier by Zoe. Silence. It had to mean something, but what? There was a thought nagging at the back of the head, like the word had some significant meaning, but she couldn't for the life of her remember what it could be. She begrudgingly ignored the feeling and got on with stacking chairs in front of the door.
Once they had used up all their chairs, they took a step back and admired their work. The door was invisible behind the the precarious tower of plastic and metal.
“Brilliant!” Zoe exclaimed, wiping her hands. “Now we can work out a plan in peace.”
“A plan for what?” Dan complained. “We can't even remember what we're doing here!”
“Well, it's obvious, isn't it?” Beth suddenly offered. “Well, we're definitely defending ourselves from something, it's just that we can't remember what it is. So that must mean that whatever it is we're fighting, has the power to erase memories, or make you forget, or something.”
Zoe mused aloud. “Monsters that make you forget...just brilliant. How are we supposed to fight something we can't remember?”
Dan piped up once more. “We have to think about all the things we can remember. We remember that we have to protect Melody. We remember the scorch marks outside, suggesting they have the power to destroy things.”
“And this one word you texted me. Silence,” Beth reminded Zoe.
“I remember the feeling of forgetting.”
The trio turned to look at Melody, who had been standing in the corner quietly for the past five minutes.
“Melody, what d’you mean?” Dan asked.
Melody cleared her throat. “You know that feeling you get when you try to think about what we're doing? That weird numbness...like there's something there, but it's hidden.”
The other three nodded in unison, recalling that very same feeling.
Melody continued. “That's how I always feel. Every time I think about before Sarah Jane, about meeting Sarah Jane. It's not there. Whatever we're hiding from, it's about my past. And I have to know. I can't go on not knowing.”
“But Melody,” Beth countered, “we have to keep you away from them. Whatever they are, whoever they are, they want you. And we have a duty to protect you, for Sarah Jane’s sake, for your sake. We'll try and find out what it is you can't remember, but we have to keep you out of harm’s way.”
“You know, I can look after myself-” Melody started, before faltering. She sighed. “I'm sorry. I know, I should stay away. It's just...I've spent so long in the dark about my past. And now it's within my reach, I really want it.”
“I understand that, I really do,” Beth replied fondly. “When you’ve been looking for the answer for so long and then you get the chance to find it. But it's not always the best option to take it. You might not be ready for it. So for now, stick with us. Yeah?”
Melody reluctantly nodded, at which point Zoe took centre stage.
“Perfect! In that case, we'll split up. Dan, you look after Melody. Stay here, and defend the classroom with your life. Beth, you come with me. We'll try and get to Sarah Jane. Failing that, we stop whatever it is that's attacking us. Failing that, we cause a distraction so Dan and Melody can escape. Any questions?”
“Yeah,” Dan raised his hand, “how are we gonna know which of those plans you go for?”
“I trust you brought your phone? And if you didn't, you're an idiot. Keep it on at all times. And if you see anything, anything that you might forget, take a picture or something. Remember, these are creatures that weaponise our memories. Don't give them that advantage. We need memory cues, like when we're revising for end-of-year exams. Notes on the whiteboard, soundbites, doodles, anything.”
“Great,” Dan muttered under his breath, “even more revision.”
But he didn't have time to argue, because at that moment Beth pointed out the quiet humming from outside the room, almost like an electric current.
The door exploded in a flash of blue light. As the chair barricade toppled to the ground with a loud clang, the kids turned, to see the four Silents standing in the doorway.
Melody gasped. “I remember you! I remember!”
Zoe lit up. “The Silence. That's what they're called!”
The unearthly figures let out a guttural noise, but Dan quickly grabbed a chair and shoved it at the Silent in front, sending all four crashing back against the wall, falling like dominoes.
“Out, out, out!” he yelled, half-pushing Melody out of the door. The four kids ran out of the classroom and into the corridor.
“Okay,” Zoe panted while still running, “definitely Plan C. Dan, Melody, get out of here. Go hide somewhere, anywhere.”
Dan nodded, grasping Melody’s hand. They reached a fire exit, and stopped for breath.
Beth smiled weakly. “Good luck.”
Melody looked terrified, but managed a reciprocal smile, before Dan dragged her out of the fire exit. The two girls were left alone in the corridor.
“Well?” Zoe asked. “Where now? Where do we go?”
Beth shrugged, as they saw the four Silents reach the other end of the corridor and stare at them. “Away. We go away from here. Move!”
Sarah Jane looked at Madame Kovarian with a newfound sympathy. But she held her ground.
“Kovarian, you've got it wrong. The Doctor is more than a good man - he's a great man. He's not perfect, and he's certainly not a god. You can't expect him to know everything and be everywhere at once. But he wants to do the best for the universe and all its inhabitants. He didn't kill your sister, or your parents. He didn't make it in time, and that's heartbreaking, I know, but it's not his fault. And it's not yours either. I understand, though. I completely understand your pain, but attacking the Doctor is not the way to achieve peace.”
Madame Kovarian scoffed. “What was that? You understand, did you say? Don't tell me you understand. Who do you think you are?”
“I do understand, Madame Kovarian,” Sarah Jane said softly, “because I lost my parents at a young age too. I was just a baby, and they left me to go driving, and they never came back. And I spent all those years wondering, what if this had changed, what if they took a different route, what if they waited a minute later. What if, what if, what if. Because I didn't want to think about the reality, I wanted to think about the fantasy, where they could still be alive, and with me. And then, I got my chance. My opportunity to live that fantasy, to save their lives. I thought it would make it better...but it only made things worse. The Universe meant for my parents to die that day, and I couldn't stop it. And they were brilliant, and they knew what to do, to accept their fate - but now every time I think of them, I'll remember it even more vividly.”
“What's your point, old woman?”
Sarah Jane sighed thoughtfully. “My point is, that you can't just change time, and make everything alright. Sometimes the Universe wills things to happen, and there's nothing you can do to stop it. You can't blame the Doctor for that, and you can't try to kill him for something he doesn't even know happened.” As she said this, she tapped something on her phone. Kovarian thought she could detect a change in the room’s lighting, but she dismissed the digression of thought.
“Foolish woman. That's not the only reason. We're killing him because he needs to be stopped. That's the way of the Universe. We're saving time and space from him.”
“From him?” Sarah Jane stopped.
“Yes,” she snarled. “Your Doctor isn't as pure and saintly as you think. He's a ruthless warrior, soaked in the blood of millions of innocent lives. And it's all his fault.”
“But...that can't be-”
“The Silence was founded to stop the Doctor from putting the whole Universe at risk. And he's getting very close to doing that as we speak. Somewhere, a few light years away, the Doctor is sitting a dark room, ready to speak a word that will start a war that would leave devastation all around the universe. It is imperative that he never speaks that word.”
“What word would that be?” Sarah Jane asked worriedly.
Madame Kovarian sighed and dismissed the question with a wave of her hand. “Oh, it's an insignificant word in itself, but it holds the power to kill millions, if the Doctor is not silenced first.”
“So you want to kill the Doctor before he speaks this word. But what I don't understand, Madame Kovarian, is what Melody has to do with this.”
Kovarian smirked. “Melody Pond will kill the Doctor.”
“Are we going to die?” Melody asked fearfully.
Dan turned from his position by the window to look at Melody’s face, overcast with shadows and making her look older than she was.
“I, uh...dunno. Hope not!” Dan tried to joke.
Melody frowned, and curled up into a ball. “You know, you're not very good at the reassuring thing.”
Dan sighed. She was right, but honestly he had no idea what was going to happen. The adrenaline had pushed him to take Melody to that old abandoned house near the school - he used to hang out there with Zoe and Beth years ago - but now that adrenaline was wearing off, and was being replaced by paranoia and anxiety. It didn't help that he couldn't exactly remember what he was doing.
He sighed in defeat. “Sorry. The answer is, I don't know what's going to happen. I need reassuring just as much as you.”
Melody studied his face - his piercing blue eyes, whose emotions didn't align with the grin constantly on his face.
“You smile too much,” she said carefully after a while.
This took Dan by surprise. “Do I? Is that even possible? To smile too much?” The cheeky grin crept back onto his face.
“You smile, even when you're sad. That's not what people do when they're sad.”
“It's what I do,” Dan pointed out. “And it's better than crying. Isn't it? If I'm sad, I smile. That way, I can kid myself there's nothing wrong. Then I get better.”
“Does that actually work?” Melody asked doubtfully, “or are you just kidding yourself again?”
Dan bit his lip. She was right. That was just a lie he'd told himself so many times over the years that he'd come to believe it. The truth was, he didn't want to open up to people. Didn't want to admit people that something was the matter, because then he got pity and weird looks and unwanted attention.
“I'd rather smile,” he said slowly and quietly, “than fall apart. The smile keeps me together. Because if I stop smiling, I have to start opening up. Telling people things about me that are best hidden. Secrets that should stay with me.”
“Why should they stay with you if they're so sad? If you tell people, they can help you.”
“Because...well, because I'm scared. I don't want my friends to find out my secrets and give up on me.”
“Who, Beth and Zoe? How could they give up on you? Have you even met them?” Melody said incredulously. “You know, if Zoe were here, she'd shout at you for saying something like that.”
Dan smiled, and it was clear this one was real. “Yeah, she would. Probably something like, ‘you insignificant toad, Dan!’ or words to that effect.”
Melody giggled. Despite Dan’s jokes clearly being a mask behind which he hid his true feelings, they were quite often very funny. “She’d be right, though. You would be stupid to think that they would give up on you just like that. You mean too much to them, and they mean too much to you, for you to ever leave each other.”
Dan twisted his head and stared at her. “You're very good at this.”
Melody blushed. “I think I just like telling people what to do.”
“Okay then. What do you think I should do?”
Melody thought for a second, then answered. “Tell them. Tell them what it is you have to share, and then they'll help you.”
“But what if they don't? What if they're scared, what if they hate me?”
“They won't. But if they do, then they clearly can't be that good at being your friends.”
Dan nodded, taking in all of her advice. “I suppose I'll give it a go. Some day. When I’m ready.”
He turned around, and peeled back the newspaper that was covering the window, to take a peek into the street outside. “I hope they're okay…”
Beth loved the smell of art classrooms. Was it the mounds of clay in the corner? Or the paints, still wet on the canvasses resting on the racks? She breathed it in as she ran in, almost forgetting everything else.
She shook her head and continued running to the other end of the room. She cursed herself for forgetting - memory was their weapon, and she couldn’t let them weaponise her mind. She turned to Zoe, who was busy stacking tables in front of the door.
“Now what do we do? Hide in here?”
“No,” Zoe replied, “I had an idea. Something Miss Janine said earlier. Remember when we were talking about Mnemosyne in form?”
“The goddess of memory, right?”
“Exactly,” Zoe confirmed. “And then she had this quote. Something about a block of wax, and how memories are imprinted?”
Beth nodded thoughtfully. “Oh yeah. Plato, did she say? Anyway, what’s your point?”
Zoe turned to the desk in front of Beth and dumped a heap of clay on the table “You’re good at Art. Get working.”
Shocked, Beth stared at the mass of clay. “What- what do you mean?”
Zoe rolled her eyes. “There’s something chasing us, and it’s making us forget. But we know it’s there, in the backs of our minds. It’s still there, in our memories! Which means, if it’s hidden in our unconscious mind, we can bring it back to our conscious memories. Don’t think - just build. Build a picture of what’s facing us. Create the monster inside our heads. Now, hurry, we don’t have much time.”
But Beth didn’t move. She couldn’t think of anything. “I- I can’t remember, Zoe…”
“Beth!” Zoe hissed. “You’re thinking too hard. Don’t think about it. Just close your eyes, think about something else, and make.”
Beth obliged and shut her eyes. She brought her hands to the cold mass on the table in front of her, and started moulding it with her fingers. She remembered the first time she had ever used clay. An Art lesson two years ago. She’d crafted a cockapoo - it had been her favourite animal, and still was - and had baked it and painted it beautifully. Zoe and Dan had laughed of course - “ha ha, it’s got a funny name!” - but Beth had been so proud of her little cockapoo. It still stood on her desk, watching up at her when she sat in her room, with big wide eyes. It ignited a love of art in her that never died down. She plodded through Maths and Science and all those other lessons, but the creative subjects were where she flourished. It gave her an outlet, allowed her to transfer her emotions and feelings into physical representations of her. But of course, the arts weren’t nearly as important as academic subjects. That was what her headteacher, Mr Chandra, had told her. Beth had told this to Sarah Jane, who had pointed out the irony of his daughter wanting to do journalism, and Beth dismissed his opinion. To hell with academic subjects! Not everyone thrived at doing sums and chemical reactions - some people’s strengths lay only in the arts. Why should a musician’s abilities be any less valid than a mathematician’s? Mr Chandra, and anyone else who said that, needed to stop.
Beth was shaken out of her imaginary rant against her headteacher by Zoe, who was violently shaking her shoulder. She opened her eyes and looked at the creation in front of her.
Her hands had worked independently of her brain, and moulded and abstract version of a head. Elongated skull, deep set eyes, long neck. It looked not unlike Edvard Munch’s The Scream (she wondered if this had been an inspiration of her unconscious mind), but now she was confronted with this contorted face, clay twisting over the features unnaturally, her memories flooded back to her and Zoe.
“See? You did it! You unlocked the memories!” Zoe cheered.
And as she looked down at the head, she saw another head behind it, almost exactly the same, walking towards her. Except this one was real, and towering over her, and connected to a black suit. Beth gasped and took a step back from her desk. Zoe grabbed a paintbrush and pointed it at them like a sword.
“What do you want?” she yelled.
The Silents stopped and peered at her. “We want Melody Pond.”
“Why? She’s just a little girl.”
“No. She is so much more. She is the key to winning the war. You will give us Melody Pond, Zoe Smith.”
Zoe stopped. “How do you know my name? How long have you been stalking us?”
“We have always been here,” the Silent responded. “Before you, before humanity occupied the planet. We have been watching this planet for millennia. You will give us Melody Pond.”
“Tough luck!” Zoe sneered. “She’s not here! She’s scarpered, run off. You won’t get your hands on her here.”
The Silence tilted their heads. “Where is Melody Pond?”
“I dunno. And even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you.”
“You will tell us where Melody Pond is...or we will kill Bethany Petite.”
And with that, one of the Silents grabbed Beth. She let out a yelp.
“Get off her!” Zoe screamed. She tried to pull Beth back, but the Silent was too strong. Beth gasped for breath, smothered by the tall creature’s hand.
“Fine!” Zoe sighed, trying to think of an answer. “The nature reserve off Diamond Way. She’s bound to be there.”
The Silent squinted its eyes. “You are lying.”
“We know you, Zoe Smith. You are lying. Tell us the location of Melody Pond, or Bethany Petite will die.”
“Okay, okay!” Zoe looked worriedly at Beth, who was desperately spluttering, and wracked her brain. Where would Dan have taken her? She knew what Dan considered to be the safest place.
“There’s this house. Just round the corner. It’s the safe house, we call it. Dan will have taken her there. Now, let Beth go.”
The Silent released its grip on Beth, and she collapsed to the ground, gasping. It looked at Zoe, who clenched her fist with rage at this monster who had just hurt her friend.
“You are not safe yet.”
“The Doctor is a dangerous man,” Kovarian said as she paced around the room. Sarah Jane eyed her suspiciously, watching her every step.
“He holds a lot of secrets. Secrets that must never be told, because the consequences would be disastrous. If he speaks the wrong word, then this universe will be plunged into darkness. And that’s where Melody comes in.”
Sarah Jane snarled. She objected to anyone using weapons, but even more so when they wanted to use an innocent child.
“Melody Pond is a unique child,” Kovarian continued.
“All children are unique.”
“Not like her. She was conceived in the Time Vortex - she was born with the Universe in her blood. She is the perfect warrior. So we took her in -”
“Do you mean kidnapped?” Sarah Jane interrupted.
“- and we raised her to fulfil the most important mission of the Universe. To stop the Doctor.”
Kovarian chose her words carefully. “Melody is a child of significance to the Doctor. She was born more than human, yes, but there’s something else. Their lives are closely intertwined. She is the closest thing to the Doctor, and it is vital that she is the one to kill him.”
Sarah Jane scoffed. “You’re really that sadistic? You’d turn the closest thing to the Doctor into a weapon to be used against him.”
“Why are you questioning the will of the Universe, Miss Smith? This has to happen. Time decrees it to be so.”
“Then Time has to be stopped. I will not, ever, let you take an innocent girl and turn her into a weapon, Kovarian.”
Kovarian smiled evilly. “She already is a weapon. She just doesn’t know it yet. And you should know about children being weapons, old woman.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“Your son. Created as a weapon to further the plans of the Bane. Your daughter. Created as a weapon of the Fleshkind, and also a servant of the Trickster.”
“And both times I stopped them being weapons and turned them into something better,” Sarah Jane protested. “Humans. People who weren’t cruel and spiteful and bent on revenge. Beautiful, well rounded human beings who saw the good in the universe.”
“You’re too sentimental, old woman.”
“I wish you wouldn’t keep calling me old,” Sarah Jane muttered, “because I know how to handle myself. Age means nothing to me, Kovarian. I’m just as strong now as I was thirty years ago. And I’m just as intolerant of people who stand in my way. So here’s a word of advice: don’t stand in my way.”
Melody sat at the kitchen counter, on an old creaky stool. Ever since she’d seen the lights in the sky, she’d found herself changing. He thoughts, her personality. It was getting more and more angry; she just wanted to kill people. She couldn’t exactly remember who it was she wanted to kill, but she felt a deep-rooted hatred in her stomach. These thoughts scared her. What was she turning into?
Her thoughts were interrupted by Dan running into the damp and dingy kitchen. He looked out of breath, despite having only run down the corridor from the front room.
“What?” Melody said uncertainly.
Dan stopped and furrowed his brow. “I...don’t know. Ummm-”
As if to jog his memory, they heard the sound of wood breaking in the corridor behind them. Through the doorway, they could just make out the silhouettes of two of the grotesque figures.
Dan gulped. This was his time. He had to step up to the plate, protect Melody, save the world!
His knees were shaking. He stood up, and looked at the Silents advancing towards him slowly.
“Don’t- Stop right there! I’m warning you...don’t go near her!”
The Silents took no notice, and kept striding toward him, whispering all the while.
“Melody Pond...Melody Pond...”
“Out of the way!”
Dan turned, and had barely any time before he instinctively ducked. A rusty saucepan went flying across the room and landed on the Silent’s face with a comical clang. The utensil had barely left Melody’s hands before she had leapt over Dan’s crouched body and onto the fallen Silent. Dan watched in horror as the young girl punched the Silent square in the face, then stood up. She ran to the old mouldy fridge that was standing against the wall, and with a grunt, pulled it away. It toppled like a domino, crushing the Silent beneath with a thud. She then turned to the other Silent, who was walking towards her. Without thinking, she jumped on top of the fallen fridge (its door creaking under her weight) and grabbed the Silent’s bulbous head. She leapt backwards and yanked the Silent down to the ground. Its body slumped over the fridge, but before it could get up, Melody picked up the stool she had just been sitting on and whacked the Silent over the head with it.
And suddenly it registered what she had done. As the two bodies lay there, thick white blood oozing out from under the fridge, she started to shake uncontrollably. She crouched down into a foetal position. She was too shocked even to cry. Dan, still rather astonished by the incident, managed to pick himself up and join Melody, patting her on the back soothingly.
“What have I done?” she whispered.
“Melody, it’s alright,” Dan soothed. “You did what you had to do to save us.”
“But it’s more than that,” she sniffed. “I couldn’t help myself. It’s like...something in my mind forced me to murder them.” That word. Murder. Melody gulped. “When I saw it, I just had to. I had to do it.”
Dan rubbed her back. “There, there. It’s okay.” He turned her round to face him and smiled cheekily. “Though how did you manage to move the fridge?”
Melody pondered while Dan giggled. “I don’t know. I just felt...stronger. Like I could do anything. I don’t know what it is, but it’s like I’ve always had these powers, and these people - my captors - have made me remember.”
“Come on.” Dan stood up, picking Melody up with him. “We’d better go find Sarah Jane. We’ll be safer there.”
The Silents looked down at Zoe and Beth, who were huddling on a desk.
“How long are we going to stay here?” Beth asked it.
“When Melody Pond has been located-” the Silent started, but suddenly it made an unearthly gasping noise. The other behind it did the same. They both staggered slightly.
“What are they doing?” Beth whispered. “It’s like they’re in pain.”
“Never mind that!” Zoe hissed. “Quick! While they’re distracted!”
And with that, she picked up a chair and hurled it at the window. The two girls shielded themselves behind the desk as the window smashed into millions of shards of glass, falling to the ground like snowflakes. The Silents, still noticeably in pain, turned to look at the broken glass, but Zoe and Beth were already clambering out, being careful not to fall on any of the jagged edges. Beth took one last look at the two Silents, who were now grasping their sides, before Zoe pulled her away. School time was over. It was time to find Sarah Jane.
Kovarian winced and held her side.
“What is it?” Sarah Jane asked.
Kovarian pointed to her leathery eyepatch. “This thing. The eye drive. It allows me into the telepathic field of the Silence. Two of them...dead.”
Sarah Jane’s eyes lit up in surprise.
“Wouldn’t be anything to do with your cohort?” Kovarian asked accusingly.
“I hope it was,” Sarah Jane responded smugly. “You’ve been watching us, Madame Kovarian. You know what they’re capable of. So you know they’re capable of stopping you.”
“Look at you,” Kovarian sneered. “So proud of your little warriors. You’ve taken these ordinary children, turned them into your disciples and sent them off into war. They would do anything for you. Fight for you. Die for you. In what way does that make you better than me?”
Sarah Jane bit her lip to hold down her pent up rage. “That’s not how it works. You act like I’m some messiah, telling them what to do. Because you’re used to being the one dictating others’ lives, you can’t grasp a situation in which everyone has control over their decisions. The truth is, the children under my care make their own choices. Maybe I do influence those decisions, but their lives are theirs. Not mine to control, and certainly not yours.”
At that moment, the trapdoor burst open, and the four children emerged into the attic, panting and sweating.
“Oh, look. See how the sheep follow their shepherd,” Kovarian grimaced, “right into the slaughterhouse.”
“Shut up, you crone,” Zoe spat.
Kovarian’s one visible rested on Melody, the young girl who was gritting her teeth.
“Little Melody Pond. It’s time to come home, I think.”
“I am home. This is my home now,” Melody responded.
Kovarian shook her head. “No, child. You have a duty to fulfil. You will come with me.”
Just then, Sarah Jane’s phone beeped. She looked at it, and smiled. “Ah, sorry about that Kovarian, but I don’t think so. You see, for the duration of this conversation I’ve been programming Sentinel to hack into your teleportation system.”
“You make it sound a lot easier than it actually is,” Sentinel’s voice suddenly piped up from her phone. “It’s far more complicated than that, involving a triple-decoder on a sub-atomic wavelength level-”
“Yes, okay, thank you, Sentinel,” Sarah Jane quickly interjected. “Anyway, Sentinel has been working out exactly how it works, and, through a little jiggery-pokery, has worked out a way to reverse it.”
Madame Kovarian’s eyes widened. “You what?”
But Sarah Jane took no notice. “But more than that, he’s been scanning your ship. It’s hovering directly above us right now, isn’t it? Well, not for long.” She held out her phone. “If I press this button, then you and your lackeys won’t just get sent back to your ship, but your whole ship - the Papal Messenger, is it? - will be shunted to the other end of the universe.”
“Is it a bad moment for me to appreciate the word ‘shunt’?” Dan asked innocently.
Kovarian growled. “You think you’ve won, you old fool. You haven’t won. This is only the beginning. And we will take Melody, and when we do, I will make a point of killing you and your little kids too.”
Melody held her hand out to Sarah Jane. “Sarah Jane, can I…?”
Sarah Jane looked down, and passed the phone to Melody. “Why, of course. It would be my pleasure.”
Melody grabbed the phone and hit the button. Kovarian began to shimmer with a blue light. Beth noticed a similar blue light outside the window and ran to see what was going outside. On the street below, the two Silents who had trapped them at school were standing, looking up at them, with a blue light emanating from their bodies. Beth grinned devilishly. Zoe followed her to the window and let out a victory cry.
“Yeah! Shunt off, creeps!”
“This is not the last of this, Sarah Jane Smith!” Madame Kovarian was fading away, becoming engulfed by the blue light. Soon, she disappeared completely, the only remnants an echo of her growling threats which faded into silence. The Silents outside also disappeared, and a flash of lightning signalled the departure of the invisible spaceship above their heads.
Sarah Jane gave a quick glance out of the window, dusted off her hands proudly, and sighed.
“Well, that’s them gone.”
“Yeah, you proper kicked their butts, Sarah Jane!” Dan exclaimed loudly.
Sarah Jane smiled. “Well, I think this calls for a pot of tea!”
“What? More tea?” Zoe complained, flapping her arms in the air dramatically. “This is like the tenth time in a week!”
Sarah Jane smiled knowingly. “Don’t worry, Zoe, there’s some pop in the kitchen for you and Dan,” she turned to Melody and frowned. “Are you okay, Melody?”
“I think so.” Melody responded, squirming in place as she tried to concentrate on something. “Sarah Jane, I think I-”
Melody frowned. “I don’t remember.” She looked up at Sarah Jane with a worried gleam. “Does this mean I’m safe?”
“Yes, for now,” Sarah Jane confirmed with a satisfied nod. “Kovarian’s on the other side of the universe, it’s going to take some time for her to get back to Earth, and we’ll be ready when the time comes. Well, as ready as we can be.”
“Are you okay, Sarah Jane?” Zoe asked, noticing the frown that slowly marred the woman’s expression.
“I’m fine, Zoe,” Sarah Jane assured her after a minute of silence. Kovarian’s words still haunted her. An innocent girl, the girl she had adopted and taken into her care, to be transformed into a weapon to kill the best man Sarah Jane had ever known. It was chilling. Her eyes drifted towards her young wards. She would have to tell them, eventually. For now, they would celebrate their victory. She clapped her hands. “Right, come on, you lot. I’ll order pizza!”
Melody cheered as she took Sarah Jane’s hand and exited the attic with her. Zoe, Beth and Dan trudged down the steps, lagging behind slightly.
Zoe nudged a troubled-looking Dan. “What’s up?”
“Oh, it’s just something Melody said,” Dan dismissed with a smile. “Something I need to do.”
Zoe raised an arched brow. “Oh yeah?”
“Yup,” Dan confirmed. He smiled at his two friends. “I’ll tell you guys sometime.”
“You better, I’m holding you to that,” Zoe warned, pointing a finger at him and slung an arm around her friends’ shoulders. “Right, let me tell you guys about this idea for a story I thought up.”
“Oh, go on then,” Beth said, prompting Zoe to begin her tale.
“There are three kids, conveniently named Zoe, Beth and Dan, and Zoe and Beth have to go on a journey to save the damsel in distress, Dan-”
“Oi! Why am I the damsel in distress?” Dan complained.
“Because the story deems it so.”
“I’m nota damsel in distress.”
“Yeah, you are.”
“No way! This character isn’t accurate. I have rights, you know!”
“Shut up, we haven’t even got to the part where we swing by to save you from a pit of snakes!”
“Oh, this just gets better and better,” Beth laughed.
“I’m gonna sue,” Dan vowed.
“Shut it or I make you a princess,” Zoe threatened.
Laurel squinted. “I don't get it.” She screwed up her face, trying to work out what Beth’s latest sculpture could possibly resemble. “Is it...an egg?”
“Yeah, ‘cos all eggs look like that, don’t they?” Beth tutted. “Doesn't it remind you of that Munch painting? The one we saw on that school trip to Oslo?”
“Did we?” her sister asked. She gave up, flapped her hands and walked away. “I don't remember that.”
Beth giggled, and moved her books off her writing desk. In the new space, she placed the abstract clay head right into the centre, stood back and looked at it. A permanent reminder of her new life. Constantly watching over her.
Beth thought about her friends, who had faced so much next to her. Dan, and Zoe, and Melody, and of course Sarah Jane. They were more like family to her, and she couldn't imagine life without them.
The ship hummed quietly as it travelled through deep space. Kovarian watched the swirling black vortex through the glass window, her mouth a thin line but her single, unobscured eye captivated by the sight. A black hole. A magnificent phenomena that crushed anything and everything that had the misfortune of crossing paths with it.
Her lips curled into a sneer. Miss Smith thought she had defeated her, that she bested her, but she couldn’t have been more wrong. Kovarian had what she truly wanted from that visit. The woman’s efforts to sling them to the other side of the Universe was merely a minor setback. Kovarian still had the upper hand.
She turned on her heels, and admired her creation, her sneer morphing into a malicious grin. All the tests and experiments had come back positive. Everything was falling into place, she just needed a little more time.
And soon, Sarah Jane Smith and her dear little friends would understand the true consequences of standing in the way of Madame Kovarian and the Silence.