TITLE: Dead and Back Again: Psycho Adric|
AUTHOR: S. Daniel Wilson
FEATURING: Adric, Nyssa, and damn near everyone else, but no Daleks...
ARCHIVAL PERMISSION: Yes
SUMMARY: Adric returns from the Netherworld for the last time, in search of
"...People once believed that when a person died, a crow carried their soul to
the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens--"
"Oh sod off, will you?" Adric spat through the darkness that permeated the
Other Side. "I've got a headache."
"...Something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it; and
the soul can't rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that
soul back to make the wrong things right."
Adric lashed out into the darkness with his leg and hit something solid. There
was a muffled squeek, and a flashlight turned on, illuminating the face of a
midget cyclopean ten-year-old girl.
"Sorry. It's my job. I'm just trying to help, is all," she explained, rubbing
her shin thoughtfully.
"I don't want your help. I don't want anyone's help."
"There's a screwdriver impaled in your forehead, you know."
Adric shot her an acidic look. "Yes, I know. Now leave me alone."
"But don't you want to go back? To right the wrongs? To avenge your death?"
Adric reached up, gripped the screwdriver handle firmly, and yanked it from
his head. "No. No, not really. In fact, I'm considering staying here for the
rest of whatever."
"Oh. How very droll. You sure you don't want to meet any crows?"
"I'm not in the mood. Now please leave me alone."
The flashlight flicked off and the midget girl could be heard walking off into
the distance, the sound of her footsteps echoing like footsteps tend to do in
dimly-lit, damp underground tunnels. They stopped.
"I was run over by a fat guy on a motorcycle, you know. Ran right over my
neck; killed me instantly. I never thought I'd find anyone who'd managed a
stupider way to die. Guess I finally found one." The footsteps continued and
eventually faded away altogether.
Adric sighed and wiped at the dribble of blood that slowly cascaded down his
forehead from the screwdriver hole. He threw the tool away and stood up
carefully; it was quite dark and he didn't want to bump his head. It hurt bad
The Netherworld. The Other Side. Whatever. It was dark and dreary and boring
and very like the Department of Motor Vehicles, depending on where you
happened to wander off to, but the one comforting fact about the void was
that Adric didn't have to worry about a psychotic Trakkenite impaling him
with this or rending him with that or rolling over him with the other. No
ridicule, no taunting, no Doctors to keep track of, no fictitious characters
from obscure Japanese Anime showing up at the 'Round and blowing everything
Why did he keep going back? Why not just leave the pile of smouldering ashes
beneath the undamaged five pointed star as it was and go on with his unlife?
Or, more recently, the corpse with the phillips-head screwdriver stuck rather
amusingly through its noggin? What was the point in rejoining the living when
the living only caused you to rejoin the dead?
"Revenge, that's why."
He startled at the sound of the unexpected, deep voice. He noticed that,
somehow, the darkness was lifting. Droplets of water splashed down on him
randomly, like rain almost. As the darkness gave way to grey light, he turned
slowly, looking around at the scenery as it grew visible. His surroundings were
inexplicable: A graveyard, old, haphazard, tattered; sitting disused and
antiquated at the heart of a dull, green valley, filled with crooked crosses and
tombstones and empty holes. The sky overhead was filled with dark, ominous
clouds, sprinkling their waters of fear and uncertainty upon him as a deathly
wind caressed his lifeless body.
Near him, a scraggly, black oak tree creaked in the breeze, its fruitless and
naked limbs reaching out every which-way like clawed demon's hands scrabbling
for a victim. Perched upon one lower limb was the largest, blackest bird Adric had
Completely black and devilish, with yellow segmented eyes that appeared to
glow and stab as they stared at Adric. It ruffled its feathers and took two
steps sideways to retain balance.
"You do want revenge, don't you?" it said to the boy. No, it didn't actually
speak; it was more of a thought, Adric realized. More like a voice that was
just suddenly inside his own mind, a voice forming words that he could hear.
"Who are you? Did that cyclop girl send you?"
"She mentioned that you might be interested in my services," the crow said,
preening feathers with its beak, all the while keeping at least one hypnotic
eye on the dead boy. "Your thoughts would seem to confirm her theory."
Adric looked away from the psychic bird and studied the tomstones, determined
not to be talked into any scheme of returning to the Living. Even if he hadn't
fully made up his mind whether or not he
was staying, he at least wanted some more time to think about it. Maybe a year
or two. "I don't want to go back agian. Not anymore. It's just useless... I'll
end up back here in a day or two. Punch my
card, thank you, show up for work again tomorrow. No thanks. I need Life again
like I need a hole in my--nevermind."
The crow flashed its wings outward and dropped from the branch, catching a
gust of air and sailing gracefully to land atop a crooked cross in front of
Adric. It stared him down with the twin yellow eyes, instilling an instant
sense of urgency within the young man. "You've been dead and back again,
Adric, but you've always used the traditional.. that is to say.. legal means
of reentering the world of the living. What if I told you there was a way,
albiet heavily frowned upon by the Powers that Were, to return to the world
of the living where nobody, not even that insane curly-headed girl, could
ever harm you again?"
Adric thought for a moment. "I'd say you were off your nut."
"And you'd probably be right, but for entirely different reasons." The bird
splayed its tailfeathers in an inobtrusive display, released a bubble of
nauxious gas, and continued. "But there is a way to get back, a way to right
the wrongs, to avenge all those things that need avenging, maybe even get
laid in your spare time."
Adric heard a low, growling sound and looked off to one side to see, sitting
next to a tombstone and looking rather ravenous, a white tiger. With a
lightening ferocity it lept, caught the crow in its mouth
and landed on all fours. It smacked and chewed; the crow crunched and bled
The white tiger suddenly glared at Adric, as if noticing him for the first
time. He cleared his throat and raised a paw to his throat. "Oh, so sorry
about that, old bean," he announced in a posh, aristocratic tone. "Didn't
realize anyone was standing there!"
Adric was just shy of being horrified. "What did you do that for?"
The tiger tried to look genuinely shocked, which is not an easy expression for
tigers, even those in the Netherworld. "Oh, my dear fellow--it's how you get
back! Don't tell me that stupid bird didn't
explain it to you?"
"He said there was a way..."
"Oh, dash it all, he was probably going to try to sell you something, no
doubt. I simply cannot abide these crows, you know. Always trying to make a
quick quid." He sat back on his haunches, a bit of crow entrail hanging from
the corner of his mouth. "Now then, are you ready to go back?"
"What?" Adric exclaimed. "Get eaten alive by a tiger? Pull the other one!"
"No, really, I'm quite serious, old chap. I eat you, you come back to life in
the land of the living, you get to avenge deaths and all that argy-bargy
nonsense. Please make your decision quickly; I'm late
for a lunch with Ted Kennedy."
"But Ted Kennedy isn't dead."
"Have you looked at him lately?"
Adric considered this.
The tiger looked down at an upraised paw which had a wristwatch wound around
it. "Fifteen seconds, I'm afriad," he declared.
Wander endlessly on the Other Side for all eternity, Adric thought, or get
eaten alive by a ravenous beast and take my revenge... Wander endlessly on
the Other Side--
"Time's up!" announed the Tiger. Adric screamed as darnkness and strong,
steely jaws engulfed him. There was a painful cracking of bones and an
excruciating hiss of air as an incisor puctured one of Adric's lungs. He
passed out from pain just as his vital organs were being chewed to pieces.
* * * * *
"I think he's had too much to drink tonight," Tegan murmered to Barbara, and
pointed at the current drunken antics of the Sixth Doctor, currently seated in
the far corner booth of This Time 'Round.
The man in the radiant patchwork coat threw his head back and cackled like
some kind of crazy cackling guy in a horrible, horrible coat might,
overpowering the usual, calming murmer of sound that permeated the pub. He
plopped his empty beer tankard down onto the table amidst his own broken
laughter, much to the chagrin of the First Doctor, who was seated across the
table from him.
"I'm terribly sorry, young man, but I'm afraid I don't understand the joke,"
The Sixth Doctor's laughter ceased abruptly and his eyes snapped open. He
lowered his face, suddenly serious and complex, and leveled himself with his
predecessor. "How can you not get it? 'I
appreciate the offer of your daughter, but I'd much rather buy the cow!'" He
slapped a knee and returned to fits of giddy laughter. "You get it? Eh?"
The First Doctor cast a worried look down at a pocketwatch that was suddenly
in his hand. "Oh, yes yes, Mmm...No, I'm sorry, I don't get it. Now if you'll
excuse me, I'm going for a nice cup of tea and some fresh air." He stood with
a polite, if not secretly curt, smile, and left the table.
"Insufferable old man," the Sixth Doctor mumbled to himself. "No sense of
humor whatsoever. Oh, would you look at that--my pint's empty..."
On the other side of the bar, Nyssa and Mel were arguing, drunkenly, over
which of the Doctors was cutest.
"I'm telling you, it's that one with all the white hair and the capes and
the... oh, blast, which one is he?" Mel took another sip of her Jack n' Coke.
"My money's on the latest one," Nyssa pressed on, sipping the residual
beerfoam that slid from the bottom of her pint glass. "He's got a nice ass,
The door flew open and slammed against the inside wall loudly. A bright light
and a cold gust of wind blew in, billowing up napkins, straws, and other
lightweight debris. Every eye in the house turned
to stare at the door. Or, rather, what was walking through it.
Mel dropped her drink and it spilled all over her blue jumpsuit and the
counter. "Adric?" she whispered.
The lone, emaciated visage of Adric, little boy lost, plodded slowly and
lazily though the doorway. He was decked out in a wide assorment of black
leather accessories, from pants and boots to jacket and gloves. His hair,
usually a thick helmet style, was longish, almost to his shoulders, and
slicked back, dangling and bounching. His face and other visible skin was
pale, a deathly grey-white ghost mask that beamed fear and loathing. And his
"Adric," Barbara asked, finally breaking the silence, "are you wearing
His eyes darted in her direction; he said nothing, only continued walking, the
leather squeaking and hissing as he moved.
The Sixth Doctor, jolly as ever, raised an empty beer glass. "Hey, everybody,
it's Adric! Adric, come have a drink with meeeee..." His arm plopped down as
he passed out, head falling to rest on the table.
"Oh, I don't like the looks of this at all," the First Doctor said to himself
as Ace handed him a tray containing a cup of hot water, a tea bag, and
packets of sugar and cream. He quickly plunged the bag into the water, picked
up the cup, and hurried out the back door. Ian, Polly, and the Fifth Doctor,
equally alerted, followed suit.
Adric's menacing gaze followed a random path: Ben, then Tegan and Barbara;
over to the Third and Seventh Doctors, who had been playing chess; to Romana,
and next to her, the Fourth Doctor, whos scarf and hat were neatly bundled up
around his face as he noisily slept; Mel, whos outfit was covered with wet
spots; and finally, the one he'd come for.
"You," he said, raising a finger to point at her.
"Welcome back, Adric," she said. "You look like shit."
Like a stick-figure on fire, he sprang up into the air and landed like a bird
on the bar. He walked foreward toward her, kicking over stacks of napkins and
glasses of alchohol as he went, and even stepping on a few fingers that
hand't moved in time.
"You," he repeated, still pointing.
"You've come back without your vocabulary," she mused cheerfully. "How
He jumped down from the counter and stepped up directly in front of her. All
eyes, save those of the sleeping Fourth Doctor, were on the pair.
"I've come back for you," Adric hissed.
"Really? I suppose I'm ought to be flattered?" She giggled and took another
sip of her foam.
His hand burst foreward and snatched the glass from her. He threw it; it
shattered in Tegan's face. She screamed and clawed at her eyes, trying to get
the shards out. No one seemed to care much.
Adric's other hand thrust out and gripped Nyssa by the throat. At first she
pretended that it wasn't affecting her; soon her face began to turn a very
unnatural shade of blue and she was forced to concede to the fact that Adric
was strangling her. His face looks so crooked when he smiles like that, she
thought, staring into his jagged, toothy grin. She remained cool and calm
dispite her inability to breath; when the spots started blocking out her
normal sight, she decided she'd let the whole thing go on long enough.
Reaching into a pocket on her pants, she withdrew a butterfly knife. Flicking
it open, she lunged upward, catching Adric in the chest with the blade. He
yelped, ceased his grip on her neck, and staggered back, knife jutting out of
him. Nyssa caught herself before her weak knees completely gave way; she held
herself up against the bar and gasped for air.
Adric, bloodied and thoroughly annoyed, snatched the blade from his chest and
threw it to the floor. Nyssa watched with perplexity as the grizzly, sucking
wound impossibly closed itself up. Not even the boy's natural Alzarian rapid
healing could do such a fast and effecient job on such a wound. Not far off,
Romana was trying to shake the Doctor awake.
"Doctor!" she said, punching him in the shoulder. He startled awake finally,
the scarf and hat falling neatly into his lap as his wide eyes snapped open.
"Adric's back and he and Nyssa are fighting again," she told him.
"Happens all the time. You woke me up for that?"
The Doctor turned over and curled up into a fetal position in the booth seat.
"Let me know who wins, won't you?" he asked as he plopped the hat and scarf
back over his face.
Nyssa reached behind her and pulled a katana from behind her back. Adric
snarled, smiled, and flew at her. She jumped sideways, letting him slip past
her, then spun and shoved the sword into his spine. He arched his back and
cried out in pain, falling to the ground. The Third and Seventh Doctors
started taking bets between one another over who would ultimately prevail.
"Nyssa, I'm afraid, has the distinct advantage of having killed Adric on
several occasions now. I don't think a little leather and mascara is going to
change any of that," the Seventh Doctor explained.
"I'm not so sure this time," the Third Doctor argued. "He seems to be holding
his own quite well. And that nasty business just now with the knife--I think
we'll be seeing more of that throughout this
Nyssa yanked the sword from Adric's back and chuckled sadistically to herself
as an arterial geyser sprayed from his back. She stopped laughing when his
legs shot up into the air and caught her hard across the chest, sending her
tumbling back into the booth where Jamie and the Second Doctor sat. She
landed on the table with an audible crack--her arm sat pinned under her at an
accute angle as she gritted her teeth and tried not to scream out the pain.
"Aye, Doctor, 'e's gonna killl us all!" Jamie exclaimed. He moved to scramble
from the table, but the Second Doctor reached out to him. Though the grip on
his shoulder was gentle, it was enough to momentarily restrain the
"No, no, Jamie, I don't think that's it at all. No, he merely seems to be
intent on destroying this girl here. I assure you, we're quite safe."
"Fatty, Fatty, two-by-four," Adric sang loudly. He'd hurried to the other
side of the room and was currently hoisting the Sixth Doctor's drunken,
unconscious body up onto his shoulders. "Can't get through the kitchen door!"
With a strength that was far beyond what anyone knew Adric to have ever
posessed, he lobbed the Sixth Doctor's body through the air. It flew like a
patchwork cannonball, slicing through the air in a way that an overweight
Time Lord doesn't, and crashed with a hazardous passion into Nyssa, Jamie,
and the Second Doctor. Jamie and the Doctor were thrown free of the resulting
explosion of used beer and vomit; Nyssa, who took the brunt of the blow, was
smashed through the wall and outside.
The Sixth Doctor opened his eyes and blearily swayed his head. "Gnngzz...
truck... mmvrr..." and he slipped back into unconsciousness.
Adric walked through the bar and stepped out through the hole in the wall and
into the cold night outside. Everyone left inside the bar exchanged curious
glances, and all at once jumped up and made a
mad dash for the door.
The parking lot outside This Time 'Round was nearly deserted, save a few
TARDISes, Bessie, and the Whomobile. The dark gritty asphalt was lit in small
spots by dingy, orange streetlights set at uneven intervals. Near the broken
wall of the bar, Nyssa was already back on her feet, her clothing tattered
and sweaty, her hair mussed, her eyes ablaze with anger. Adric stood opposite
her, casual and ready to battle at the same time. The crowd that had filtered
out of the 'Round was now gathered around the pair, watching and waiting
quietly. It was Nyssa who finally broke the silence.
"Rohm Dan Chuun Wi!" She shouted, twisting her arms and hands in a calculated
move. A bright blue fireball erupted from her outheld palms and shot toward
Adric, hitting him square in the face. He was blasted back through the air
and onto the pavement, head smouldering like a doused firelog. Nyssa lowered
her stance and grinned triumphantly.
But the feeling of triumph was short lived. Adric, his charred mess of a face
rapidly healing itself, jumped up and pulled twin AK-47's from within his
long leather. A hail of bullets erupted from the weapons and plunged into
Nyssa. Her body jerked and shuddered as the ammo punctured her flesh and
bones, Adric crying havoc the whole while. Finally, his clips emptied, he
threw the guns down and watched a bloodied, bullet-ridden Nyssa sink to her
knees. "My... spleen..." she croaked weakly.
The Third Doctor watched with dispair. "Shouldn't someone do something about
this?" he asked no one in particular.
"Well, morally, yes, I suppose so," the Seventh Doctor answered. "I mean, they
are killing each other. Or rather, trying to do so."
The Fourth Doctor looked thoughtful. "Yes, I agree, someone should do
something. But... do we have the right?"
There was a bright flash. Nobody, Adric included, had noticed the flame
thrower that Nyssa had produced from out of nowhere. Adric was running around
in circles, screaming, flames shooting from his body, as Nyssa tried to catch
her breath and hold the flame thrower at the same time.
"Stop, drop, and roll, young man!" the First Doctor called out from behind
Bessie where he and Polly were hiding.
Without bothering to wait for the flames to die down, Nyssa gathered up her
strength and, reaching into a subspace pocket (a very convenient hiding spot,
she'd always mused), withdrew a bazooka.
The crowd from the bar broke up, everyone running for cover. "DIE!!" she
screamed as she fired the weapon at the Alzarian. It hit him and exploded.
Chunks of Adric, flaming chunks of various sizes, burst through the air,
landing and scattering across the pavement. Nyssa collapsed, totally drained
of her strength. The crowd moved back in to examine the damage.
The Fourth Doctor bent down and picked up a squidgy bit of Adric. "Look at
The meaty bit of gristle in his hand suddenly became warm. Quite warm. Hot. He
dropped it, confused. As he watched, the bits and pieces of Adric meat on the
ground began to take on a different shape, becoming liquified and silvery.
"By jove," the Third Doctor muttered, "how extraordinary,"
The pieces, having taken on a liquid metal essence, quickly began to move,
each one finding another, until a large murcurean puddle was formed. To
everyone's astonishment, the puddle grew upward, twisting and writhing, until
it took the shape of Adric.
He cracked his neck. "Miss me?" he asked.
Nyssa was holding her upper body up with her arms, staring with disbelief at
the sight before her eyes. "No... impossible... how..."
Adric approached her. He stood over her, looking down at her bleeding, broken
body. She shuddered in the cold, looking back up at him with complete disgust.
"Well? Get on with it, then. Finish the job."
"What's that, then?"
"No," Adric repeated. "See, I don't know that you'll come back again, and I'm
far from being finished with you. I'd hate to have you die now and waste all
my other opportunities to take revenge. No; I'm going to let you heal your
wounds and recover. Then I'm going to break you again. And again. And as many
times as I have to before I'm satisfied that you've learned your lesson."
Rage, anger, frustration and hate were welled up so tight inside Nyssa that
her teeth clenched her toungue, drawing blood and pain that she ignored. She
hated having the tables turned on her, especially like this. Especially by
Adric, of all people. She was supposed to be standing there, looking down at
his body, laughing maniacally at a job well done. This was all wrong.
Darkness overcame her and she laid down on the cold pavement. The crowd
watched Adric walk off into the night.
Someone, somewhere, thought they saw a dark figure strutting though an alley
later that night, whistling, "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood...."
THE ODEON--formerly Dazzi