The Cookie Monster p.3

What she needed was some sort of control, Rose thought as she floated helplessly, stalled, in the zero gravity and total darkness of the Tardis. Like a sail. No, there was no breeze in here. Or like a paddle. Yeah, something she could row with. After a moment's thought she twisted around and wiggled out of her jacket, hoping each moment the gyrations would make her bump into something. No such luck. She got the jacket off and pulled it around in front and stuck her arms back through the sleeves backward. She grabbed the bottom edge of the jacket zipper and started paddling, using the jacket as a cross between a paddle and a sail, like a big flipper fin.

With much grunting and puffing she pushed the jacket in front of her then swept it back below her stomach. Laboriously rowing her way through the air. She knew she was moving, she could feel the cold air flowing down her back, chilling her sweat.

Certainly it couldn't be this far to a wall. If only it wasn't so dark. She couldn't tell if she was rowing toward a wall or the floor or the ceiling or... What was that?

It wasn't dark. Not completely. She stared down at the back of her jacket. She moved it sideways, stretching the material. It was glowing blue. Just faintly. Aqua blue. It was reflecting something. She jerked her head up, scanning the darkness. Something... There. Just there, what was that?

Frantic now, hungrier for light now than she'd ever been for water, she started paddling fiercely with her jacket. There was something. Very faint. Glowing a phosphorescent blue. A blob. Indistinct, shaped like a blunt five point star, with one leg missing. What was it? Who cares! It was giving off light! If she could just get to it, maybe she could make it give off more light.

Something poked her in the thigh. Something grabbed her jacket and tangled it tight. She fought against it, jerking her arms free. Her hand knocked against something hard and curved. Her fingers latched on to what felt like a curled rams horn. There was a faint shrieking from below, near the light, and the horn moved. The faint blue star, as big as her forearm now, shifted. It's light cast upward, revealing a long skeleton. Rose screamed.

Then screamed again in delight. It was the coatrack. With a cry of joy, zerogravity tears blurring her eyes, she wrenched herself forward and wrapped both arms and legs around the old antique. She'd never realized before that it was bolted to the floor. Her weight had caused one of the bolts to shift with a squeal.

Breathing heavily in relief, she left her jacket tangled around the coatrack's "horns" and walked herself hand over hand down the pole to the faint blue light at the bottom. She reached out a tentative finger and poked it. It flopped over. She set a hand on it and almost jerked it back when she felt fur. But not real fur. Gritty, synthetic fur. Like her favorite teddy bear. Matted with old age and many adventures.

Feeling shivery and weak, weepy and disgusted with herself, she pulled herself down into a crosslegged position, hooking one leg under the coatrack to anchor herself and hugged the soft blue toy. It was musty with age, and even close up, the light its fur emitted was so feeble she could barely see its outline. But she didn't care.

Suddenly her rump plumped down and the floor jumped up against the back of her thighs, her hair bounced downward, and for a minute her whole body felt as heavy as a wet sandbag. The light came up. With a gulp and a sigh the Tardis started breathing again. There was a click and a grunt, and a shuffle, and the Doctor stood up in the repair well. "Rose, where's the dimension cap?" He looked around and saw her sitting wrapped around the coat tree. "What are you doing all the way over there?"

She stared at the Doctor, at his innocent look of puzzlement. She looked at the oversized bottlecap sitting right in front of him on the decking where she'd dropped it. She untangled herself from the coat rack, stood up, stomped over, ignoring her pains and sprains. And hit him with the Cookie Monster.

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