FIVE MINUTES WITH THE DOCTOR

Five minutes. That's all it takes for your life to change and flip upside-down, for your entire world to never be the same again. And that's all the time I had with him. Five minutes with that wonderful man and my life had changed forever.

And it started with a bang.

I was just minding my own business, walking through an empty corridor when the windows to my left shattered with the force of an almighty explosion. I was blown into the same wall, broken glass surrounding me and making my every movement absolute agony. I could feel the shards ripping at my skin as I tried to look up. The door in front of me had been blown off its hinges and now the wooden panel lay broken at my feet. Smoke billowed from the room through the archway and smothered any hope of seeing what had caused the blast. I coughed and spluttered as the fog moved out into the corridor, revealing flickering flames and a mess of tables and chairs beyond.

I could feel myself becoming lightheaded as blood dripped from the multiple cuts I now bore. The strength in my limbs was not enough for me to move significantly, so I stayed still, my vision fading as a tall skinny man stumbled through the doorway. Looking around in a childlike wonder, he spotted me on the floor. The glass didn't even seem to touch him as he brushed my messy blonde hair from my eyes.

He had only just opened his mouth to speak when a furious roar echoed from inside the burning room. In panic, the bow-tie clad man before me slung my arm around his shoulder and pulled me from the floor. Wait, bow-tie? The odd dress of this man, to be honest, went straight over my head as he dragged me down the corridor and threw me inside the caretaker's cupboard, quickly shutting the door behind him.

In the pitch black and my gradually deteriorating sight, I could just about make out the vague shapes of mops and shelves against the back wall. The strange man had me pressed in an awkward position to one of the side walls. His breathing was heavy in my ear but, as the sound of footsteps approached, that noise stopped all together. The people clattered down the corridor at running speed; there must have been at least three if not four of them from the sounds of it. But within seconds the moment had passed and the footsteps faded away, not even pausing at the door we were hid behind.

My head lolled uncontrollably as the man stepped away, but due to the dark, he couldn't see that. He only noticed the seriousness of my condition when my legs gave way and I clattered loudly to the floor, taking several objects and tools down with me. His hands fumbled across my body until he found my shoulders. Holding my arm in one hand, he presumably used his other to retrieve a huge light. It must have been in one of his pockets, but the enormity of it told me otherwise; there was no way that that would have fitted in his blazer. The fluorescent light left spots in my vision as the young man set it down near my head.

By now he was simply a blurry shape, looming over me like a guardian, like an angel, some might say. His expert hands traced every inch of my body, spending slightly longer on the cuts. I instinctively winced as he inspected my wounds, a searing pair coursing through my entire body as he gently pressed the small, but painful, lump now protruding from the side of my head. He stroked my hair as I whimpered.

"Concussion." He muttered, "You'll be fine."

With that, he hauled me onto his shoulder and out of the cupboard. He jogged gently down the corridor, murmuring comfort to me as a distant roar emanated from behind us. I recognised my monotonous, albeit blurred, work place as he ran. I always knew that it would be the death of me. The creaking of doors was the last thing that I remember hearing as the pain swallowed me up.

I awoke to the sound of a gentle background conversation. The room around me spun sickeningly as I opened my eyes. The room I was evidently in was huge and, surprisingly, orange. Truth be told, I was expecting, and hoping, that I would wake up in hospital. But this was no hospital. It wasn't even an ambulance. I tried to sit up, but my muscles were too sore and bruised to even consider it. I only shuddered under the weight of my body and fell back with a groan.

The hum of voices stopped immediately and was quickly replaced by the sound of footsteps. I felt a hand on my head and above me the bow-tie man stepped into view.

"Hello, I'm the Doctor." He said gently, a warm, friendly smile filling his face, "You were caught up in an explosion involving several canisters of hydrogen and various extra-terrestrial substances… Sorry about that." He looked over his shoulder sheepishly after hearing a pointed cough. Turning back to me, he continued explaining, "But it's over now. The Sycorax have gone back to their home planet after a serious spanking from yours truly… That wasn't an intentional innuendo, though."

At that, I managed a giggle. From the sounds of it, this man had just saved me and many others, yet he still had time for a sense of humour. I definitely liked him. His smile widened and he helped me into a sitting position. I had no idea where I was, mainly because I couldn't focus on anything more than a metre in front of my face. The room was bright and colourful, flashing lights in almost every direction. I rubbed my head. I was still in a great deal of pain. The light was hurting my eyes and trying to concentrate was giving me a headache.

At the time, it wasn't important to me what a "Sycorax" was and what the relevance was to the explosion. I had no idea how they could have a home planet or, if they indeed did, what they were doing here on Earth. Were they aliens? That thought didn't occur to me until much later. But by that time, he had gone. The bow-tie wearing angel was nothing but a distant memory, and a memory of a bedridden lunatic at that.

He dropped me off not far from the site of the explosion. When I say dropped me off, I'm not really sure how he did that at all. I remember nothing more than an old police box disappearing into thin air. It could have been a hallucination after all I had been through. He left without even asking for my name. But then, why would he? He acted as if he had done this a thousand times or more. So, most probably, I was not the first innocent victim he had rescued. Once the box had gone, I checked myself for any signs of injury, but there wasn't a single scratch on my body. And all that was left from my ordeal was a recurring dizzy spell, hitting me every five or ten minutes.

People around me were rushing about like mad, calling for fire engines and asking what had happened, but I simply stood there in awe. I still didn't understand what had happened to me. I looked at my watch, groaning. The glass cover had shattered as I had fallen to the floor and the little hand representing seconds had been destroyed entirely. The time of the explosion was clear on my watch: five past two. Frowning, I looked up at the clock on the wall in front of me. It read ten past two. It had only been five minutes. Or had it?