Clara stood in the middle of a large room. The room was empty apart from her and the Doctor, not that you could see all that much in the gloom.

‘This is all your fault!’

Clara’s eyes narrowed as she took in the Doctor’s outburst. ‘I’m sorry?!’

‘So you should be!’

Clara twisted to her left trying to look over her shoulder at the Doctor who was standing behind her. ‘And how is it my fault?’ She felt the Doctor’s shoulders lift in a shrug.

‘You didn’t eat the soup,’ he explained.

The soup? The soup?! Clara tried to twist further around so she could glare at the Doctor, but the chains encircling them hampered her movements. ‘Did you even see the soup?’

The Doctor made a snorting, dismissive noise. ‘No.’

Clara gave up trying to address the Doctor directly and turned forward to talk to the far wall. ‘It had eyeballs in it!’

Now it was the Doctor’s turn to twist about. ‘Eyeballs? Why did you order the soup with eyeballs?’

‘I didn’t know it had eyeballs in it, did I?’ Clara said. ‘Its not like they said the soup of the day had eyeballs in it, I thought it was a safe choice.’

‘Well did you think of just drinking the soup and leaving the other bits?’

‘Oh yes,’ Clara pulled a face at the thought. ‘Drink the liquid that had somebody’s eyes floating in it.’

The Doctor thought about that for a moment. ‘Eww.’

Clara felt the Doctor wiggle about behind her. ‘Besides its all your fault, you know,’ she told him.

‘Mine, mine,’ the Doctor snorted, ‘and how was it my fault?’

‘Oh where do I start?’ she asked the empty room. ‘Oh I know how about you picked this planet.’

Clara could just picture the Doctor’s face scrunching up in anger.

‘Technically this is a moon, not a planet,’ he snapped back at her. ‘You don’t know any decent planets,’

Clara gasped in anger. ‘What’s wrong with Earth?’

‘Been there, saved that,’ the Doctor retorted. ‘If I recall you wanted to see somewhere really pretty, somewhere with awesome sunsets.’

‘This planet doesn’t have sunsets.’

‘It’s a moon, and of course it has sunsets, every planet and moon has sunsets . . . well most of them . . . well the ones with a sun anyway.’

Clara closed her eyes and shook her head. ‘Except this one doesn’t because it has a sodden great big planet hovering in the sky. I notice these things because I looked out of a window.’

The finer chains that encircled the Doctor’s hands clinked in the quiet as he fought the natural urge to wave his arms about. ‘Okay, so I might have miscalculated the timing a little. This moon has gorgeous sunsets when its planet is not eclipsing the sun.’

‘And how often does that happen?’ Clara asked.

‘Ooh,’ the Doctor calculated quietly to himself. ‘Once every two years or so. But when it does, the sunsets are magnificent, trust me.’

‘Once every –’ Clara found herself shaking her head again. ‘Are you trying to tell me that these people only have sunshine every two years?’

‘Yup,’ the Doctor nodded. ‘For about four months and then its back to pasty skin and dinner by candlelight.’

‘How do they eat?’ Clara asked.

‘Eat? With their mouths, how do you think? Although that reminds me,’ the Doctor leant his head back so it was resting against Clara’s right shoulder. ‘I remember visiting this planet once, where the people ate through openings in their fingers. Mental note, don’t offer to shake their hands.’

‘No, I meant what do they eat? How can they produce enough food to live on?’

‘Oh intensive growing period those four months, everyone stops what they’re doing and plants crops.’ The Doctor shifted his weight, lifting his head from Clara’s shoulder and began wriggling about again. ‘That and they have extensive underground cave systems where they grow mushrooms and edible lichen,’ the Doctor hesitated before adding, ‘and eyeball soup seems very popular.’

Clara sighed, ‘You take me to the strangest places.’

The Doctor laughed. ‘So what else did I do wrong?’

‘Well,’ Clara felt a little bad even bringing the subject back around to their original argument, since they seemed to have gotten over their squabbling. ‘You did laugh at his magic trick.’


‘The guy in charge, you laughed at his magic trick. You told me before dinner; whatever I do don’t belittle their magic tricks. It’s like a religion to them, or something.’

‘First it’s not so much a religion as a measure of strength. The better the magic the higher your standing in the community. Second “pick a card, any card” is not a magic trick it’s a parlour game and thirdly, she’s a she not a he. This is a matriarchal society, Clara; I thought you’d like that.’

Clara blinked in surprise, ‘Sorry, wait that was a woman?’

‘Yup,’ the Doctor nodded.

‘The one with the beard?’

‘“Pick a card.”’

Clara pulled a face. ‘The long, greasy beard with things stuck in it?’

The chains clanged as the Doctor shifted his weight. ‘The longer the beard the more feminine you are, besides I think those things are decorative.’

Clara shuddered, ‘There were bones and, and I don’t know what other things in there.’

‘One shouldn’t judge, Clara.’

‘So you’re saying that all those with beards are women?’


‘And the beardless ones?’

‘Not women.’

Clara thought back to the dinner party they had been invited to. ‘So you’re saying everyone there thought I was –’

‘A bloke in a very tight skirt,’ the Doctor finished for her. ‘’Fraid so.’

‘Well that explains the whispers, wait a minute,’ the Doctor’s words registered with Clara. ‘What’s wrong with my skirts?’

‘Uh, nothing?’ the Doctor squirmed behind her. ‘Yes, nothing. No I haven’t noticed anything . . . shut up!’

‘You so want to fidget with your bowtie right now, don’t you?’ Clara teased her friend.

‘Well if I had a free hand, maybe,’ the Doctor said.

‘Why are we tied up in here, anyway?’

The Doctor muttered something.

‘Sorry, what?’ Clara asked. ‘I didn’t hear that.’

The Doctor spoke a little louder. ‘I might have laughed at her parlour trick.’

‘So it is your fault!’ Clara exclaimed.

‘Oh sure, rub it in why don’t you?’

Clara basked in her small triumph for a few moments before asking, ‘So what now?’

‘Now we stand here and wait for them to come back and kill us in some nasty way.’


‘Or we escape from this room and dazzle them with our own magic trick.’ The Doctor increased his squirming.

‘How could – ow!’ Clara exclaimed as one of the Doctor’s elbows jabbed her in the back. ‘What are you doing and how can a magic trick help us now?’

‘I’m working on our escape,’ the Doctor spoke between exertions. ‘And if we impress them with a large enough trick they’ll let us go . . . probably. Standing in the community remember?’

‘Probably? You said, probably.’

‘HA!’ The Doctor had managed to wiggle himself about in the chains and was now facing Clara’s back. ‘Step one, complete. Now, Clara, reach into my jacket for my sonic screwdriver.’

‘Why?’ Clara asked as she felt along the Doctor’s jacket for the edge.

‘So we can escape these chains.’

‘Oh,’ Clara smiled at the thought. ‘Crouch down a bit, you’re too tall.’

The Doctor bent his knees and leant forward to rest his chin on Clara’s shoulder. ‘It’s on the left side.’

Clara shuffled backwards a little to get herself closer to the Doctor. ‘Here?’ she reached up and felt along the inside of his jacket.

The Doctor snorted loudly as he felt her fingers brush along his chest. ‘Left, to the left.’ He fought the urge to giggle and squirmed. ‘No, the other left.’

Clara bit her lip to stop herself from laughing, who knew the Doctor was ticklish? Finally her fingers brushed up against the inner pocket of the Doctor’s jacket. ‘Found it!’

‘Right now, carefully take it out.’

‘I know, I know.’ Clara slowly worked the screwdriver out of the pocket, making sure she held it securely in her hand. The last thing either of them wanted right now was to drop it. ‘Got it!’

The Doctor lifted his chin from Clara’s shoulder and turning kissed her on the side of her head. ‘That’s my girl. Now let’s see.’ Stepping back he put as much distance between the two as the chains would allow and looked down at Clara’s bound hands. ‘You’re holding it upside down.’ He watched nervously as Clara turned the sonic screwdriver in her hands. ‘Right, now angle it downwards and to your right. Bit more . . . bit more, there! Press the button.’

A green glow appeared between them as the screwdriver began emitting its customary slightly off tune sound.

‘Is it working?’ Clara asked, unable to see what was happening behind her.

‘Come on, come on,’ the Doctor urged the sonic screwdriver as its pitch increased.

Suddenly the chains that had been wrapped about the pair loosened and fell to the floor. The Doctor spun on his heels and, looking over his right shoulder, placed his bound hands under the spot where Clara held the screwdriver. ‘Now me,’ he instructed.

Because the chains were much thinner they split almost immediately. ‘Yes!’ the Doctor lifted the sonic screwdriver from Clara’s hands and turned her to face him. Reaching out he placed his hands on both sides of her head and kissed her on the forehead. ‘You’re brilliant.’

‘Hey,’ Clara exclaimed as she watched the Doctor begin to move across the room. ‘What about me?’

The Doctor hurried back and quickly removed the chains from around Clara’s hands. She could just see him grinning at her in the dark. ‘You ready?’ he asked.

‘What are we going to do?’ she asked as they hurried over to the door.

The Doctor looked across at Clara and tapped the sonic screwdriver against his nose. ‘It’s show time!’

With one hand on the doorknob he placed the screwdriver against the locked door and pressed the button. The doorknob turned suddenly in his hands and the Doctor opened the door to reveal a room full of flickering torchlight and eight bearded women with swords and clubs waiting for them.

‘TA-DA!’ The Doctor stepped out of their prison with his hands flung triumphantly up in the air. ‘And if you like that, just you wait. Bring me my Blue Box of Doom, cause, ladies, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.’

Clara looked up into the star lit sky. Much like Mohammed and the mountain in the end they had been forced to take the Doctor and Clara to where the TARDIS was parked. The Doctor stood next to her, rubbing his hands together and shifting from foot to foot, all his pent up energy looking for an outlet.

‘Come on, come on,’ he muttered, ‘let’s get this show on the road.’

The locals placed the last of the lit torches in a large circle around the TARDIS and then moved to sit on the ground nearby.

‘Right, okay.’ The Doctor moved away from Clara to stand roughly halfway between the TARDIS and the locals. ‘So,’ he clapped his hands together. ‘I know we got off to a rocky start what with the whole . . .’ he waved his hand towards the scowling local who had tried to impress the Doctor earlier with her card trick. ‘I’d like to apologise by performing a trick of my own. Yes?’

Everyone turned to look at the leader of the small group. She fingered her beard in a thoughtful manner before nodding her consent.

‘Splendid.’ The Doctor grinned at the leader. ‘So with the help of my lovely assistant here.’ Turning sideways he pointed back towards Clara.

Realising that everyone was looking at her Clara blushed and nervously waved.

The Doctor dropped his arm and frowned. ‘No, no,’ he stomped over to Clara and stage whispered at her. ‘Ham it up a little, will you, everyone’s looking. Think presenting a car to a contestant on the telly. Go on.’ He gestured encouragingly at her as he walked back to the middle of the circle.

Clara closed her eyes and took a deep breath before plastering a huge fake smile on her face. Opening her eyes she gestured grandly off to her side at the TARDIS like she was trying to sell it to the largest bidder. The Doctor gave her the thumbs up of approval.

‘So,’ he turned back towards the locals. ‘I’m going to make my lovely assistant Clar-uh . . . Clarence disappear.’

Clarence? Clara dropped her hands and glared at the Doctor.

‘Behold,’ the Doctor ignored Clara’s stare and gestured towards the TARDIS. ‘Behold my Blue Box of Doom!’

The locals turned and muttered to each other.

‘I don’t think they’re that impressed, Doctor.’ Clara hissed at him.

‘Well I’m working on it,’ he hissed back at her.

The muttering increased until the leader thumped her club on the ground, demanding silence. ‘Amaze me,’ she growled.

‘All right, all right,’ the Doctor reached into a pocket and drew out a key with a flourish. ‘Allow me to show you my Box of Doom.’ Walking over to the doors he inserted the key, turned it and pushed in the door revealing the TARDIS interior. ‘Check her out!’ he exclaimed moving backwards so everyone could see. ‘Isn’t she a beauty?’

The locals all leant forwards as they gazed at the TARDIS interior.

‘I see you’re admiring my mural.’ The Doctor said, explaining away why the box didn’t seem to have the normal four blank walls. ‘Forced perspective, you see,’ he said. ‘Draws the eye in and makes it seem bigger on the inside. Clever eh?’ he turned and grinned at the locals. ‘Although I’m not sure about the whole metal thing in the middle, that seems a bit rubbish.’ He turned back to the TARDIS and mouthed “sorry dear”.

The Doctor gestured towards Clara, who sidled nervously towards him. ‘So, I will place my lovely assistant into the box and close the door, say the magic incantation and make her, uh I mean him, disappear.’ He looked back at the leader. ‘Is that all right?’

The leader pulled out what the Doctor desperately hoped wasn’t an eyeball from out of her beard, after inspecting it she popped the offending morsel into her mouth before gesturing for the pair to continue. The Doctor turned to Clara whispering, ‘Why did we come here again?’

‘Never mind that now,’ she replied. ‘Just get us out of here.’

‘Right, good idea.’ The Doctor tilted his head sharply from side to side, cracking his neck. Turning he addressed the locals. ‘Clarence will now enter the Box of Doom.’ He gestured towards Clara. ‘Come on, in you pop, don’t be shy,’ he turned back and grinned at the locals. ‘Bit shy,’ he explained, ‘first time in the box.’

Clara held her hands up in the air, mimicking the Doctor’s “TA-DA” moment from earlier, then she bobbed down in an awkward curtsey and stepped into the TARDIS. Facing the front she smiled at the audience as the Doctor placed both hands on her shoulders and gently moved her backwards a couple of steps. He leant in and seemed to speak to her for a moment before turning back towards the locals.

‘Ladies and,’ his eyes roamed over the locals looking for a beardless face, ‘other ladies. I will now close the Box.’ The Doctor pulled the doors closed on Clara and stepped away from the TARDIS. ‘Now,’ he rubbed his hands together, ‘for the audience participation. I need a volunteer.’

One of the locals stood up. ‘Ah, madam,’ the Doctor said as she walked towards him. ‘Would you be so kind as to check the solidity and durability of my Box of Doom and that Clarence isn’t sneaking out the back?’

The woman looked a little confused at the instructions.

‘Just bang on all sides to make sure it’s not a trick, eh?’ the Doctor asked her.

The woman proceeded to walk around the TARDIS slamming her club on all sides, giving the back of the box an extra hard whack.

‘Oi! Mind the paintwork,’ the Doctor protested. ‘I’ve just had it done.’

When she had finished her circuit of the TARDIS the woman nodded towards her leader before returning to sit down on the ground.

‘Good, yes?’ the Doctor looked over at the leader. ‘Yes?’ When she nodded her own approval the Doctor beamed at everyone. ‘Excellent, so,’ he counted on his fingers, ‘look in the box, put the assistant in the box, checked the outside, ah!’ he snapped his fingers. ‘Magic words!’ The Doctor started running around the TARDIS slapping the sides as he went. ‘Abracadabra, who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp, bah bomp? All the single ladies get up and dance!’

Several circuits later he stopped panting slightly by the doors. ‘Right,’ he breathed in deeply, ‘let’s have a look then shall we?’ Leaning against the side of the TARDIS the Doctor smiled in satisfaction at the local leader as he pushed open the door. ‘And she’s gone!’

The women began to laugh. ‘What?’ the Doctor glared at the locals, ‘what’s so funny?’ he turned to see Clara standing in the TARDIS. ‘Clara!’ he hissed at her. ‘What are you doing?’

‘Um, I?’ Clara looked nervously from the Doctor to the audience. ‘Wasn’t this supposed to happen?’

‘No,’ the Doctor shook his head. ‘That’s not how the trick goes.’ He turned to smile at the locals. ‘Whoops, bit of a glitch. First time nerves, eh?’ he noticed the women where beginning to grow restless lifting their clubs and swords. ‘Let’s try again.’

He pulled the door closed on Clara and began running round the TARDIS again. ‘Abracadabra, sim salla bim, chantille lace and a pretty face, pony tail and’ he glanced quickly over at the locals, ‘a beard apparently.’ With a bellow of ‘SHAZAM!’ the Doctor pushed open the doors again.

‘Hello.’ Clara waved back at him.

By this stage the women were all on their feet, hissing and booing at the Doctor and Clara.

Their leader thumped her club on the ground. ‘This is bad magic,’ she declared.

‘No, wait,’ the Doctor begged. ‘Let me just have a word with Clarence here, I’m sure we can sort this all out.’ The Doctor walked into the TARDIS pushing Clara before him further into the console room.

The door slammed closed. For a few moments there was no sound, then the light on top of the blue box began to flash and a low booming sound could be heard in the clearing. The sound increased and the locals noticed that the Blue Box of Doom seemed to grow translucent as a wind blew their beards sideways. Before their eyes it disappeared from view. There was stunned silence for a minute then the women burst out in applause.

One of the women nudged her leader. ‘When’s he coming back then?’