Doctor Who and the Nightmare Catcher

Doctor Who and the Nightmare Catcher

The day that the Nightmare Catcher chose Danielle Higgs had been one of the best of her life. She always felt happy on Thursdays, for some reason. The only downer was when her English teacher had taken the pleasure of reading her poem in front of the class, which had, of course resulted in her being called Swat even more than usual. From notes to pen lids being throw at her, and even shouts across the room, the thicker members of her class decided to turn on her.

This was soon put to rights. The lead bully of the class, Lizzy Fielding, blank faced and rat haired, had been walking through the dinner hall, ready to give Danielle a nasty smile and a note when she slipped on a patch of spilled gravy, resulting in her lying face first in her plate of bangers and mash, right at Danielle's feet and a teacher, trying to help her up, finding the note and putting her in the behaviour unit for the next three days for its contents.

And life got better yet. Just as she was saying goodbye to her friends Leah and Jenny, Paul Rodgers (whom Danielle had had a crush on for nigh on three years) had finally plucked up the courage to ask her out. (Turns out he fancied her, but had always been too shy. Go figure.)

Still blushing madly, having made arrangements for their first date, Danni had pushed her way through the crowds and emerged on the Powell Estate Park. The day was warm and sunny, encouraging her to remove her stuffy blazer and sling it over her shoulder, revealing a white blouse and navy blue skirt, she took the time to wander though the park, listening idly to her IPod, imaging blissfully how the date next week would go.

It was a nice enough place to hang out, even though it was surrounded on three sides by tall, imposing council flats. The one side that wasn't choked with concrete and glass was a huge field that was usually packed with children playing fetch with their dogs or playing football and there was also a small, enclosed play area that had attracted a younger Danni many a time. Today, however, it was deserted.

In fact, she was half glad that it was empty, it meaning that she had the place to herself. She opened the squeaky gate to the play area and dreamily walking over to the set of swings, a lazy smile on her face as she sat on the only one that seemed to have avoided the destruction wreaked upon its fellows by Happy-slapping Hoodies listening to the latest chavy ringtones and ignoring their ASBO orders. The opposing climbing frame had evidently had a visit from these hooligans, now covered in crude images and words. A child's shoe lay unwanted on its side, the decoration flowers moving in the gentle wind as if trying to attract attention. Danni's mind was somewhere else, however, taking a leisurely wander through possible scenarios of her date. She started to rock gently back and forth absent-mindedly while the cool breeze gently ruffled her dark hair as her deep brown eyes stared out into space, listening to My Chemical Romance on her IPod.

Perhaps, if she hadn't had her eyes closed, her brain preoccupied with thoughts of romantic walks in the park and sharing popcorn at the cinema, she would have noticed that the sun had been suddenly blocked out, and that all the nearby street lamps had turned on automatically.

Maybe, had she not have had Famous Last Words blaring in both her ears, she might have heard the warning footsteps echoing sinisterly behind her.

However, having removed her uncomfortable blazer, she definitely felt the scabrous, death-chilled hands grabbed her arms. As she was about to cry out another, impossible hand appeared, snaking its way over her lips, making her gag as she breathed in the putrid stench of its festering flesh. She tried to scream but the webbed hand over her mouth somehow managed to silence all sound that she made. Another hand gently dislodged her earphones, pulling them out of her ears. The creature whispered in her ear, a cruel parody of a lover's sweet nothings as the smell of its decaying breath threatened to overwhelm her, a blue finger tenderly tucking a long strand of brown hair behind her ear.

'Hush little baby, don't you cry…' Sang the grating voice, somehow neither male nor female, but instead passing over both.

Unnatural sleep reached out for her, its warm tendrils beckoning her, pulling her from the thing that had filled her childhood nightmares. Her head lolled forward, her eyes flickering shut. The second they closed, the girl and the monster from under her bed disappeared, the clouds that had hid away the sun vanishing with them, the sound of the small screen breaking as the IPod and blazer fell beside the lost shoe, the muted voices of the singers still issuing from the earphones as the song changed. The cracked display showed the auto-selected song, unaware of its own accuracy.