This is the first story in what I hope will be an ongoing series of 13 'episodes', just like a series of the actual show, but with my own original companion. I was planning to start this on Halloween, but then I realised that the Doctor doesn't actually come into this story until Chapter 2, so I thought I'd post this first chapter now and then another one tomorrow. So don't forget to not only review, but also hit the Story Alert button!
I hope you enjoy, and stay for the whole ride!
The Last Day
By lunchtime, Ryan was already sick of all 'the last's. All day long; 'the last this' and 'the last that'. Was everyone in his year obsessed?
"Ooh!" one girl would say. "This is the last time we'll ever have registration!"
"Make the best of it," another lad would say. "This is the last P.E. lesson we'll ever have!"
He honestly hadn't realised they did so many things in one day until he was constantly being reminded it was the last time he'd do them. And yet, if he was honest, it wasn't the constant reminders that were bothering him, it was the truth of them.
Okay, so maybe he'd moaned about it, from time to time. Whenever he'd been given homework or detention, he'd bore his mates to tears by telling them how much he hated this place, and that the day he could walk through those gates and never come back would be the happiest of his life.
But now it was here. The last day of school, ever. And he wasn't feeling too happy.
Ryan leant back in his chair, looking around the sixth form common room at his fellow students. He'd purposefully separated himself from his group of friends, who chatted animatedly with some girls in the far corner of the room. Trying their luck one last time, he supposed. He, however, was sat in front of a school computer, his dinner hour passing him by while he watched random videos on YouTube. The last two weeks had been spent much the same way. His A-Level exams were over, but the school year was not, so attendance was still required. At times, he felt a little like a prisoner on death row, waiting for the end.
Okay, he thought, maybe that was being a bit too dramatic. Although, in a way, his life as he knew it was ending today. This afternoon he would leave school forever. And in a few weeks, provided his exam results were good enough, he'd be packing up and moving halfway across the country to attend University. After 5 years of regular school, and 2 years of sixth form, everything was about change.
The very thought sent a rush of fear through him, and he promptly turned his attention back to YouTube. When he did so, however, he found the computer screen flickering. He frowned, and lightly smacked the side of the monitor. But no use, the screen continued to flash on and off, before dying completely.
"Fantastic." Ryan muttered.
Lucky for him, however, the bell rang to signify the end of lunch time, and Ryan joined the other students shuffling out of the common room, rolling his eyes when he heard someone announcing that they were off to their last English lesson.
And before he knew it, the bell was ringing again, and the day was over.
It was funny, but he thought it would be a bit more dramatic. Of course, his classmates were openly cheering as they walked out of the school doors. But he was expecting something perhaps a bit more poignant. Like the last episode of a TV Show, in which the main character exits a room for the last time, stopping for one last look before turning off the light.
His mates, however, didn't seem to share his sentiments.
"Free at last!" Craig cried, throwing his arms out theatrically. "Free at last! Good God almighty I'm - well you get my drift."
Ryan, Tom and Adam laughed.
"Seriously though," Craig said, "words cannot express how made up I am to be out of this place for good."
"I'd agree with you, mate." Adam said. "But I've got a funny feeling I'll be back next year doing re-sits."
"And me." Tom added. "That Maths test last week was impossible, I knew as soon as I read the questions I'd failed."
"Well, I'm finished then," said Craig. "'Cos I was copying off of you."
It wasn't until they were off school grounds and onto the neighbouring field between them and their homes that the group noticed Ryan's silence.
"Ah, what's up with you?" Craig said, nudging Ryan with his arm. "Thought you'd be dancing in the streets, now we're finally free of that place. You'd think you were actually upset to be leaving or something."
Ryan avoided their gazes.
"Come off it, mate!" Adam said.
"Joke all you want, lads," said Ryan. "These were the best years of our lives. It's all downhill from here. Uni will be over before you know it, and then it's all jobs, and bills and mortgages."
"And women." Tom said. "Don't forget the women."
"Tom, the only female interaction in your future is from the nurse taking your blood for money, you bum," said Craig.
Adam intervened before Tom could reply. "Ryan, you are messing, aren't you? You're not actually upset to be leaving school?"
"No, I'm serious." Ryan insisted. "Don't you realise? This is, like, the end of our childhood!"
His friends stopped smiling and gave each other worried glances.
"For God's sake, lads. I'm only messing." he said, putting on a grin.
A collective sigh of relief and a few arm punches later, and the carefree atmosphere returned.
"Believed you for a second there," said Craig. "Anyway, Tom's childhood ended when he went behind the school with Adam's sister."
"What?" Adam cried.
Tom froze, and scrambled to defend himself. But, fortunately for him, Craig let out a distracting laugh and pointed across the field.
"Oh, hang about." he said. "Here comes Crazy Harry!"
Crazy Harry was well known amongst the school kids. He was the old man who lived in the house (though it was more of a hut) on the field next to the school. He'd earned the nickname "Crazy" because of his giant duffle coat and Sherlock Holmes-like deer hunter hat that he wore all year round, and frequently babbled to anyone passing by about the aliens that tormented him. On this particular occasion, he was hobbling towards the four young men, looking more than a little distressed.
"They've crossed the line this time!" he shouted. "The miserable purple swines! Cowards, they are! Cowards!"
"What's happened this time, Harry?" Craig asked, a giant smile on his face.
"The aliens, of course! The aliens, boy!"
Tom and Craig started to laugh, and Adam was trying to suppress a smile, but Ryan just stood there. He had always been uncomfortable with how the others found joy in Harry's anguish.
"They've had it in for me for years!" Crazy Harry went on. "Flying their ships over my field, waking me up at all hours of the night. But they've gone too far this time, they're tampering with my personal belongings now!"
"Come on, lads." said Ryan. "Let's go."
But the other three weren't listening.
"What are they doing this time, Harry?" Tom asked in between laughs.
"They're stealing my television channels!"
That was it. Craig, Tom and Adam were now roaring with laughter. But what bothered Ryan the most was that Harry didn't seem to notice.
"It's true, boys!" he declared. "BBC One: gone! And Channel 4's on the blink too! It's them aliens, they must be using my television signal for something."
"Oh, God." Craig panted. "I'm gonna wet myself!"
"I'll tell you one thing, boys, I'm gonna hunt them down. If they want BBC One they can pay the license fee like everyone else!"
The three boys erupted into a fresh wave of hysteria. But Ryan wouldn't stand by and watch anymore.
"Alright, enough." Ryan said firmly, physically turning his friends the other way around and pushing them forward.
"Ryan, we're only messing, mate," Adam gasped.
"I don't care, just start walking." And when his friends were finally walking away, Ryan turned back to the old man, and said, "Go home, Harry."
"Oh, I will my boy." Crazy Harry nodded, beginning to hobble back to his hut. "I'll be phoning the Police about this. Thieving green gits!"
Ryan shook his head, and jogged to catch up with his friends.
When Ryan finally arrived home, he had barely taken off his jacket and put down his bag before he found himself being lifted completely off the ground by his mother.
"Mum!" he groaned.
"My little baby!" said Karen Murphy, refusing to relinquish her monster-hug. "I remember your first day of Primary school! You looked gorgeous in that teeny-tiny tie and jumper. And now you're off to University!"
"I am not off to University!" said Ryan, struggling until he was placed back on the floor. "I've got a whole summer first!"
"That will fly by, and before you know it, you'll be off."
His mother beamed at him, and looked like she was going in for another hug, so Ryan quickly made his way into the living room. His Dad, still in his work overalls, sat in front of the TV.
"Alright, son?" he said. "Good last day?"
"Same as all the others," said Ryan irritably, throwing himself down onto the couch.
"Can you believe it, Jack?" said his Mum, entering the room. "Remember his little primary school uniform?"
"Oh, yes," said his Dad with a grin. "As I recall, we needed an extra pair of school shorts, as someone was still prone to having accidents."
"Okay!" said Ryan, reaching his limits. "Enough talk about Universities, or accidents. I've got all summer before I have to do anything or go anywhere, and I haven't even got my results yet! We don't even know if I'll get in."
"Oh, shut up! Of course you'll get in," his Mum said, waving a hand at him for being so silly and then walking off towards the kitchen. "Anyway, listen, I've been in town, got you a booklet on student halls. You'll have to get your application in quick 'cos they fly out like hot cakes."
Ryan looked at his Dad in exhaustion, who simply gave a knowing smile.
Ryan spent the rest of the evening mostly in his room, avoiding his mother and any more talk of loans and dorms. When he eventually came back downstairs, Karen shoved a mug of tea in his hands and ordered him to take it outside to his Dad.
It was dark out, and Ryan found Jack up a ladder and messing with something on the roof by torchlight.
"Dad," he called. "Tea."
"Ah," his Dad said, making his way down the ladder. "Thanks, son."
"What're you doing?"
"The telly's gone all fuzzy," his Dad explained. "I was checking the satellite."
Taking the mug off of him, Jack leaned back against the wall and took a sip. Ryan did the same.
He considered voicing his thoughts to his Dad. They said you should talk about it, when something was bothering you, with friends and family. He obviously couldn't talk about it with his Mum, she was far too excited. He'd tried talking with his friends, it didn't go so well. But his Dad was a normal bloke. Never went to Uni, worked in garages all his life. He might understand.
"Dad," he started, but stopped when he saw his father was gazing off into the distance. "Dad, you ok?"
"Hmm?" Jack said. "Oh, yeah. Just thinking, son."
Jack took another drink of his tea and sighed. "Soon as I was sixteen, your Granddad sent me on my first job interview. Literally, on my birthday. Staying on at school wasn't even an option. And when I told him I wouldn't mind trying to be a footballer, he told me to stop being so stupid."
Ryan nodded, knowing what it was like to have a parent pushing you in a direction you didn't want to go in. But just as he thought he'd found someone to talk to, his Dad gave him a sad smile.
"I never had the opportunities you've had, Ryan." he said. "Never. I mean, it worked out for the best, I suppose. I've had a good life, I met your Mum, I had you. But you can't help but wonder, y'know… what if?" Jack sighed, and looked up towards the stars. "So I want you to do me a favour. When these results come back, and you've passed, I want you to go to Uni and get the best job you can possibly get. Do that for me, lad. Do everything I never could."
And Ryan just didn't have it in him to do anything else but give a small smile an say, "Yeah. Ok, Dad."
His Dad wrapped his arm around him and pulled him close.
"Good lad. Make me proud."
They stood like that for a few moments, in silence, until Ryan's mother's voice interrupted them from inside the house.
"Ryan?" she called. "Couldn't run the shop, could you? Got no bread for tomorrow."
And so, five minutes later, Ryan found himself walking along the dark streets towards the nearest corner shop. He had to hurry; the shop would be closing in about ten minutes, and cutting across the field would save time.
Almost as soon as he stepped onto the grass, he felt uneasy. Not that he was ever one to be afraid of the dark. If it was too dark to see, he had always reasoned, then whatever you thought was going to attack you probably couldn't see either. But, with the trees around the edges of the field blocking the streetlights, it really was dark. He could barely see his hand in front of his face. And with the wind moaning as it blew through the trees, even he had to admit there was a spooky atmosphere.
But he shook those silly thoughts from his head, and kept on walking, though perhaps a little bit faster than usual. Besides, he had too much to think about to be afraid of the dark. His conversation with his Dad had made it clear; it really was inevitable now. He was going to Uni, and that was that. The beginning of the rest of his life, and the end of the one he knew.
And as if that wasn't scary enough…
"Oi!" someone barked, making Ryan just about jump out of his skin. He turned towards the source of the voice, and saw a figure hobbling towards him in the dark.
"Who's there?" he said.
"They're coming!" said the man. "Just heard it, on my radio, they're coming!"
Ryan struggled through the dark to see who he was talking to, but soon the man was right in front of him, clutching him by the shoulders. At this close distance, he could just make out the silhouette of a Sherlock Holmes-like hat.
"Harry?" he said.
"Yes, lad!" Crazy Harry said. "Must have been a transmission from their ship, the alien's ship, but my radio picked it up, and they're coming. Right now! Any second!"
"Harry, calm down." Ryan said. "Look, let's get you home, yeah? Get you a cup of tea and some rest?"
"You're not listening!" Harry cried. His grip on Ryan's shoulders was becoming tighter. "Their ship, it's gonna crash here any second, you've got to help me fight them off."
"Harry, look at me." said Ryan slowly. "This is all in your head, there are no - "
"No!" Harry screamed. "They've been planning this for months. First they steal all our power, to isolate us in the dark. Now that we're defenceless, they're coming. To kill us all!"
"But, it's night time, Harry," said Ryan, trying his best to keep his voice calm and kind. "That's why it's dark. It's night."
"Don't be stupid, lad! Look at the streetlights, they're off!"
Ryan looked back towards the way he had came. It was true, even through the trees he should have been able to see some glimmer from the streetlights. But there was nothing, just darkness.
"You see?" Harry said. "It's them, it's all part of their plan!"
Ryan shook his head. "It's probably just a blackout."
Harry let out another cry and clasped a hand to his head in frustration. Ryan didn't know what to do anymore; he didn't know whether Harry was having some sort of fit or what, but he needed to get him home. Ryan grabbed Harry by the shoulders and forced him to look at him.
"Harry." he said. "There are no aliens. There is no one coming to kill us. And there is definitely no spaceship!"
And that was when a streak of fire lit up the sky, and Ryan and Harry were sent flying by the explosion of the spaceship crashing in front of them.
End of Chapter One