The dark cinema screen was full to capacity, a usual occurrence for a Friday evening. Whether it be couples out on a first date, groups of friends starting a night out or flatmates bribed to be out of the house for the evening, all were looking for their own small escape from reality, just for a few hours. The lights had dimmed around half an hour ago, as the film started, which prompted a chorus of crunching popcorn and slurping drinks throughout the large room.
On the screen, two cars charged down a busy city street, the shot changing rapidly as they wove in and out of traffic, one a brilliant red the other a royal blue. The men in the audience were glued to the action, a smile creeping over their face as a car swerved from the road, rolling over and exploding in a ball of flame.
"Excuse me!" There was a groan from the people in the middle row as a man tapped the shoulder of the woman on the end seat. "Sorry!" He said in a hushed voice as she stood up from her folding seat, allowing him through. "Thanks! Sorry! Thank you!" He continued to his seat in the middle of the row, attempting not to brush people with his long brown coat, whilst keeping hold of the large bag of popcorn in his hands. "Sorry!" He mouthed to the man next to him, shrugging his coat off before folding the seat down and sitting on it. "Love a good action film, me!" He said, rather too loudly, grabbing a handful of popcorn. "Sorry!" He repeated again, as he was shushed by at least three people around him.
He did as they told him, nodding at them apologetically before turning his attention to the large screen. Was it just him, or could he see a faint shadow moving behind the screen itself? He pushed the thought out of his head and watched as the two vehicles continued to race each other, he wasn't too sure why. However fond he was of his TARDIS, it seemed like its temporal circuits needed some work. At least he was only half an hour late this time. What was thirty minutes compared to half a century anyway?
He looked around him as people started to mutter to each other all throughout the screen. Cheek! He thought. They tell me off, then…Then he looked up to the screen. From the bottom, the whole image had begun to lose its colour. The red and blue cars were becoming an identical black and white; the green and browns of trees were the same. Even the drivers of the vehicles were slowly becoming monochrome. The wave of complaints swept through the room, people looking up to the projection room, visible at the top of the back wall.
Doctor, however, remained silent, leaning forward with interest,
throwing another handful of popcorn in to his mouth.
"Black and white!" He said, through a mouthful. "How retro!"
Doctor WhoShades of Grey
Terry sat in the projection room, as he did almost every night for three weeks now.
"It's only until the end of the summer." He sighed to himself. Part of him wished he had taken his parents' advice sooner, and started looking for a job long before his exams had ended, but as usual he paid no notice. Now, he could see they were right. He wouldn't tell them that, of course. He ran a hand through his messy black hair and picked up the cardboard cup, drinking from the straw as he looked down to the screen below. All seemed fine, thank god. He didn't know whether it was the guys trying to wind him up, but there had been talk of at least two projectionists being warned tonight alone, for something going wrong during a showing. He didn't know what it was, but just knew he couldn't afford another warning. It wasn't that Terry was lazy; he just had no enthusiasm for the job. All he was waiting for was the end of summer, when he left for university, a chance to start over, a brand new chapter. Terry: Part Two. He grinned to himself, leaning back on his chair.
He was soon on his feet however, as he heard a strange buzzing noise from the other side of the door, an odd blue light coming through the key hole. The young man was about to step forward to open the door, when it swung open. On the other side was a tall man, dressed in a brown suit and flowing coat. His hair was all over the place, in the best sense of the term.
"You can't be in here." Terry said immediately. Was this some kind of test? "You need to leave."
"Later." The man said, un-confrontationally, as he stepped past Terry. The boy could now see what had been producing the light and sound, a small silver wand like device that the stranger was now pointing around the room.
"If they find you up here, that'll be it for me!" Terry tried to explain. "They'll fire me on the spot."
"Nah, course not." The man smiled. "Your just doing your job, just like me." He reached in to his pocket, and produced a small black leather wallet. "Projection inspector, see?" He was holding the open wallet out now, and Terry looked at the ID card carefully. Sure enough, it stated the man was a qualified engineer.
"Oh." Terry looked rather sheepish. "Sorry Mr. Smith"
"Doctor." The man replied, hurriedly placing the wallet back in to his pocket. "And not Doctor Smith, just the Doctor." Terry looked at him with narrowed eyes, but was interrupted before he had a chance to speak. "Yes, I know, pretty strange. But better get used to it." He looked through the viewing window to the screen below. "I think it's going to be a strange night."
"What!" Terry exclaimed, as he looked at the screen, the images, which had been in vibrant colour moments before, were now in a monochrome black and white. "What have you done?"
"Nothing." The Doctor shrugged. "It's been happening through the whole cinema." He was looking at the projection unit now, waving the strange wand over it.
"I need to get it working again!" The young man said with panic, trying to get round the Doctor so he could reach the projector. He swore to himself again, however, as the picture vanished from the screen. How the Doctor had done it, Terry wasn't quite sure but he assumed it was something to do with the wand.
The strange man had rushed over to the viewing window again.
"There'll be nothing there!" Terry snapped. "You stopped it! It's just projecting light now!"
"Exactly." The Doctor turned to him, placing the tube device in to his pocket once again. Below, customers were loudly complaining, some getting from their seats and leaving the screen. Time to look for another job, Terry thought to himself.
It was then that something caught his attention on the screen. The bright light shining on it seemed to be producing a shadow of some kind, not quite complete though, in some way. More like the outline of a shadow. From up here, the shape looked like a tall human, looking around as if they were confused about something.
that?" Terry asked quickly, before noticing that the Doctor was
halfway out of the room.
"No idea!" He replied, not stopping. "Let's find out, shall we?"
"What have the humans done?" The voice was quiet and spoke very slowly as the individual looked up to the now plain white screen that was looming over it.
"They have stopped the projection." Came another identical voice. "No matter. I have absorbed enough until we reach the next screen. Come, we shall continue."
They both looked in the general direction of one another, or what they assumed was the general direction of one another, sensing something. It was a strange frequency, emitting a high-pitched warbling sound.
"We have been located?" The first being said with surprise. It was a feeling they were not used to, after all not many people had the ability to see that which was invisible.
The double doors to the screen were flung open as the Doctor burst in, Sonic Screwdriver in hand, its glow lighting up the darkened room. A member of cinema staff attempted to stop him, but the Doctor simply walked past, leaving Terry to explain for him.
"There's something here." The Doctor muttered frustratedly to himself. "But where?" The Screwdriver lingered in the direction of the now empty cinema screen, and the Doctor caught sight of the odd shadows once again. People around him, those who hadn't walked out yet, were demanding answers from the shocked cinema staff, many already requesting a refund, free films in the future or even complimentary food.
The Doctor pressed at the almost invisible controls on the Screwdriver, before pointing it at the screen once again. This time, instead of the normal buzz, the device started to warble rapidly, the light flashing in time with the sound.
"Got you!" The Doctor exclaimed, hopping down the steps of the aisle towards the screen. Suddenly, he noticed the curtain on the right hand side move, as if being thrown out of the way by someone, or something.
"Everyone stay where you are!" The Doctor ordered, although he was already predicting, correctly it seemed, that no one was going to pay any notice to him. They were all to busy moaning about the money they had paid and the crazy guy in the long coat. In a sudden moment of realisation the Doctor worked out who they were talking about. He wasn't that crazy, was he?
His attention was soon grabbed however, as a young woman standing in the aisle fell, seemingly for no reason, towards an empty cinema seat. He quickly swung the Sonic Screwdriver towards her, and the sound increased.
"Everyone get away from there!" The Doctor shouted, before another man seemed to lose his balance. Or, that was how it seemed to anyone else watching. The Doctor knew better, however. He'd been shoved; there was no other explanation for it. The way his body had moved, it was impossible that he had just fallen. Besides that, two stupidly clumsy people in the same cinema screen? Impossible.
People were gathering around, helping the two people up. The Time Lord sighed, why did no one feel the need to listen to him? He fought through the small crowd, holding the Sonic Screwdriver above his head, trying to get the signal back. The device gave a weak reply as the Doctor saw the doors swinging closed on their own in front of a pair of confused staff.
"Terry!" The Doctor shouted. "Turn the lights on, will you?"
From his position near the door, the young man complied, filling the room with a bright light.
A bright light, followed by screams.
"What?" The Doctor asked loudly, rushing towards the small gathering of people, who were now backing away, leaving two in the centre, the man and woman who had fallen moments earlier.
It must have been too dark for anyone to have noticed earlier, the Doctor thought to himself, looking them over with interest, trying to work out what to say as the pair looked at their own hands.
Their perfectly white hands.
The Doctor looked at the young girl, sympathy on his face. Her black and white eyes looked back at him with fear, as she glanced at her long white hair, which had once been a brilliant blonde. Even her dress, formally an overly bright pink, had been reduced to black and white.
The crowd around him were starting to panic now, trying to get as far away from the two people as possible, as if they had some kind of disease. The Doctor found it amazing how humans rationalised things. He'd heard of feeling a little pale, but this was ridiculous. A virus that could completely drain someone of colour, their clothes included? No chance.
The Doctor just wished he had an idea as to what it was that had really caused it.
"What's happening?" One woman cried out, hysterically. "What's going on?"
"Well," the Doctor grimaced, stroking his chin. "You all like movies, right? So let's call it the invasion of the colour snatchers."