Friday fiction Vlogs · So it's Saturday · Sunday Story

Week Five 2019 Weekend Catch Up!

I fully intended getting all three of these posts out on time but then I got distracted with other things so lets have a weekend catch up xxx

Friday

Saturday

This week has been a mixture of something old  some thing new, and things I have been meaning to try out for a while

Podcasts

This week I have caught up on a few of the back catalogue of a podcast I only found towards the end of last year. My Favourite Murder is a mix of true crime and humour, not a mix you would think to put together but it works.  I love the fact that most of the crimes they cover are ones you will never have heard of and at their live shows they get the audience to contribute. They also do mini episodes reading listeners true crime experieces. Now. of course, I could just give you the link to the website but nope. I decided to share an animation one of their fans created to match one story, this perfectly explains how the humour is integrated and also why I love this podcast, because these two women could be your friends, you can easily imagine hanging our and swapping stories with them.

Music

I haven’t listened to much music this week but what I did listen to was amazing and took me back to me teens. I saw a post this week about the film and that inspired me to hit play on the soundtrack, while I love all the songs this is one of my favourites.

Reading

My current wip I am focusing on his quite dark themes including depression and suicide so I decided I needed something fun to read so I had a look at my book pile and spotted this old favourite. While this is the fourth book in the Wilt series I do think you can read it as a stand alone and enjoy it but you do get more from it if you have already read the other. The books are wittiy and although in some aspects they are a little dated interms of advances in modern technology they will still make you laugh out loud at the obsevational humour.

Watching – TV

I frequently lose interest in these sort of programmes once we are through the audition stages but occasionally The Voice is one I will continue to watch. I enjoy the fact that the main thing in these blind audions is the singers ability to perform a song, yes occasionally the judges will try to guess about the singer, but many times they are deceived by age or looks. Sadly once it reaches the viewers votes then you find those who are different do fail to get through as far as they should.

Watching – Film

This week I spotted an old favourite on Netflix that I have not watched for a while. It is interesting watching past favourites to see how they age, yes the clothes in this may be a little dated and we all know the technology would be different if this were made today but it is a faithful retelling of the book with, in my opinion, the perfect cast and pacing. The popularity of the series Hannibal is no doubt due in a large part to the charasmatic portrayal of Lecter in this and the subsquient film.

Watching – Netflix

I have been trying to decide if I want to watch this for a few months, then I was struggling to find something to watch a few nights ago, now I am half way through the second series. It’s funny and in a very light hearted way challenges the conventions of good and evil, the way the books are balanced and whether philosophy has all the answers. It has an amazing cast and even though I was a little unsure about Ted Danson (I still always think of Cheers) I decided it was worth a try and I am so glad I did but I am worried that I am soon goingto run out of episodes at this rate lol.

 

Sunday

Sometimes Sundays · Sunday Randomness · Sunday Story

Feedback

Previously I discussed having a story rejected and then published the story for feedback from you guys, (if you missed it you can read it here), which I have to say was very positive.  I have actually received official feedback from the competition itself and their reasons for rejection were not the ones I thought they would be but actually turn out to be something I have had before on my flash fiction.  This is what they had to say…

– I really liked the ending to the story, but it ultimately couldn’t outweigh the things that I felt needed work.
– My biggest issue with this story is that it’s essentially six paragraphs of exposition. You have such an interesting plot—the fashion show of a lifetime ruined by a SWAT operation—and you get us no closer to it than the day after. Why not the day of? Why can’t we live and experience this catastrophe for ourselves as the horror unfolds? You could even keep the phone call at the end. You’d be sacrificing nothing and giving the readers so much more.
– I liked the plot of the fashion show a lot, but the element I had issues with was the criminal. I didn’t buy a SWAT team takedown of a bank robber. Drug Kingpin? Yes. Organized Crime Boss? Yes. Terrorist? Yes. But not a bank robber.
– I also had issues with him attending in the first place. Given the security and scrutiny around banks, bank robbers are either petty criminals who are caught quickly or massively organized heists. In the second case, they’re rarely referred to as “bank robbers.” In any case, the choice of the particular type of criminal I found just jarring enough to take me out of the story a little.
– I think there’s a lot here that’s great, but I felt the heavy use of flashback did it a disservice and some of the logic didn’t add up.
– Great use of flashback, and I like the premise!
– You’ve done a great job with flashback in here. I would’ve liked a little bit of dialogue, but overall this was a really fun read.

I assumed that it was the storyline which was not exciting enough for them but instead it seems to be something I have had issues with before, basically FLASH Fiction! I primarily wrote novels and short stories and it has been noticed before that rather than being self contained full stories my flash fiction pieces have either left people wanting more or been more like a set up ready for a longer piece. I did consider the type of criminal and in retrospect maybe I played it safe in my choice of wording and a more provocative criminal would have made more sense.

Overall I think the feedback is very fair and constructive and will be helpful when I try again in the next quarter, I just thought you guys might find it interesting to share this final part of this particular submission journey with me, now I shall get back to finishing writing another submission before starting a little research for my A – Z challenge.

Sunday Story

Lights, Camera, Catastrophe!

This is the rejected Flash Fiction piece I mentioned on Wednesday, the criteria was 500 words or less and must include the words ankle. fashion and criminal, hopefully you guys will enjoy it and remember constructive criticism is always welcome.

I staggered into the office, wobbling under the weight of sketchbooks, an oversized handbag, filled with the detritus of modern life and a precariously balanced coffee. Sunglasses shielded my eyes from the glare of artificial light. It was 6am on what I was sure would be the second worst day of my life.
The worst day had been yesterday, the day that should have been my greatest triumph, my first ever fashion week show. Twelve months had been invested in the designing and creation of my collection, previews had resulted in high praise. I had been so excited standing backstage as the audience had taken their seats. The lights had dimmed, the music started and my heart pounded as the first model strode out confidently down the runway. If only my memory could end there.
It was my head that pounded now as I reached into my bag for painkillers to be washed down with the coffee which I now discovered had gone cold. I heard the outer door to the office open, a glance at the clock revealed I had lost an hour, struggling under the weight of a forest of newsprint my assistant entered, avoiding eye contact.
They say that any publicity is good publicity but there he was splashed across the front page, the criminal who had destroyed my dreams. An alleged bank robber with a girlfriend who liked designer clothes. They said they had been watching him for months so why pick the middle of my show to go for the take down? The second rotation of the models had just begun when the SWAT team leapt from god knows where. The target had leapt up on to the runway knocking models flying as he attempted to escape. Chaos had ensued, people had fled or dived for cover, the bodyguards of the rich and famous had rushed forward, each determined to protect their own client, several celebrities took the opportunity to even old scores in the commotion. In the aftermath two hairpieces were found trampled on the carpet.
That was the picture they had on the front pages the fleeing villain and tumbling models, then the next photo they showed was the supermodel that had cost me a fortune been loaded into the ambulance, her broken ankle secured in a splint. Mascara was streaked down her face as she proclaimed the injury could mean the end of her career. I made a note to call my solicitor as soon as they opened to check my liability.
The office phone rang; my assistant picked it up handling it as if she expected it to explode at any minute. There was silence, followed by a series of strange noises, for a moment I considered that my assistant might be choking but as she did not appear to be turning blue I decided against it. When she hung up she turned to me incredulously and uttered a few words before passing out.

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7. Sunday · An Old Friend Revisited · Fact Vs Fiction · Sunday Story

An Old Friend Revisited – Part Two

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If you missed Part one don’t worry click on the link and pop back after all time travel is what we are all about once more this week…

Part One

The Doctor stared down at the table in front of him. River watched with concern as he fought to bring his emotions under control, she knew that the Doctor was not one to face his emotions if he could avoid it, he would rather deflect with humour or anger than face the pain that was always there simmering beneath the surface threatening to consume him.  With a exhalation he began allowing the story of his meeting with the waitress to flow from him. River sat and listened, resisting the urge to question him until he was finished.  Only at the completion of his tale did he lift his eyes and look into Rivers.

“I failed her, she died to save me, like…” he left the sentence unfinished.

“Like who?  Donna? Rose? They aren’t dead, they just couldn’t be part of your life any more, just like Sarah and all the others. Knowing you made their lives better, even if they had known how it would end they wouldn’t have changed anything,”

“No, not like them, it doesn’t matter what I meant, it doesn’t change anything, Astrid died to save me.”

“No! She died because she took a job she wanted and Max Capricorn killed her and all the other people who died on that ship. I love you but you are so damned infuriating at times. If you hadn’t been there they would all have died and as much as you would love to believe that you were the only person she saved, I do believe there were other survivors.”

“River!”

“Don’t River me! If you want to make yourself feel better then do something to make it up to her but don’t you dare play God with her destiny, you have been there and you and I both know that it doesn’t suit you.”

River looked over at the waitress and motioned for her to approach the table.

“Are you ready to order?”

“Yes please, we will have half pound burgers with the works, side orders of fries and onion rings, a side salad, and diet coke for me and sarsaparilla for Mr Grumpy here.”

Astrid wrote their order down with a smile then turned and headed to the kitchen.  The Doctor glared across to where River was now depositing coins into a table top jukebox.

“River! What do you think you are playing at? Do you seriously expect me to sit here and eat? Letting someone I know is dead because I didn’t save her serve me?”

“Yes I do! You brought me out for dinner, my choice remember? Well I chose here and we are going to have dinner, then while I eat dessert you are going to keep your promise and take her on a trip to see the stars.  So right now you can stop giving me that look and pick a song while I pop to the bathroom to wash my hands, Stormcage is a little grimy you know.”

Astrid was in the bathroom when River entered, she turned and smiled but the red eyes gave her away.

“What’s wrong? Please don’t tell me the burgers are off?”

Astrid laughed, “No, just my boss being a pig, it’s my last shift, tomorrow I start my new job.  I never intended staying here as long as I did, just wanted to get away from home and travel, so I took this job intending to save up money but the tips just never seemed to make it into my savings jar, and so I ended up stuck here.”

“What’s the new job?”

“A waitress still but on a cruise liner at least I will finally get to travel, just need to get through this shift, get my wage and then watch out here I come.”

“I think you are going to be amazing.” River gave her a knowing smile, “Trust me I think that you are about to begin a whole new life.”

“I hope so, the pay on the space cruiser is a joke but the chance to see the stars just once, well that has to be worth taking a chance for.”

River observed the wistful look on the girls face, sometimes one chance is all you have, but today is your lucky day.

Winding her way between tables River took the chance to get a lay out of the diner, the red black and chrome décor was straight out of a Fifties Earth Diner, only the clientèle gave away that they had travelled in space rather than time.  Through a hatch she could see a man barking orders to the harassed looking staff, hmm the boss I presume or should I say dessert.

She had barely resumed her seat in their booth before Astrid was back with their order, the smell was heavenly and River allowed her eyes to roam across the dishes mentally tasting each one before reaching for the ketchup. The Doctor made no move to help himself to any of the dishes, he remained silent his gaze accusing River of insensitivity.

“Sweetie you may as well face it, you know I am right, I always am,” she smiled at him but it was a gentle smile her normal teasing absent, “come on eat up we have a very busy evening ahead of us.”

“We?”

“Of course Sweetie, we are going to make sure your waitress friend has the time of her life.”

 

 

7. Sunday · An Old Friend Revisited · Sunday Story

An Old Friend Revisited – Part One

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The alarm roused River Song from her sleep, it took a moment for her to realise she was being watched.

“So I thought we would go out for dinner, your choice this time, since you complained last time.”

“Well I didn’t get dessert, I didn’t even get to finish my main…”

He interrupted “Now River be fair how was I supposed to know a Sontaran battlefleet would blow up the kitchen?”

“It’s the same everywhere we go, there is always something that stops us just having a nice quiet evening out, if its not Sontarans then it is someone else that feels the urge to kill you.”

“That is not true,” he paused before continuing “sometimes they want to blow up the planet we just happen to be on, sometimes they are just being grumpy, and sometimes, sometimes they are after you River Song! You manage to wind up just as many people as I do.”

“No I don’t you wind people up just by showing up. ”

“I came to take you out for dinner not to discuss who is the most hate!  Now do you want to go out or not?”

River walked past him towards the TARDIS “You will always win hands down at being hated but a little arguing certainly builds up the appetite Sweetie, lets go eat.”

The Doctor watched her disappear into the police box, damn that woman she is infuriating, shaking his head he followed her in the door closing behind him just as the TARDIS de-materialised.

River stood at the console, vectors plotted and destination set by the time the Doctor reached her side.  She looked up at him, as always conflict raged in her chest, the desire to see him yet knowing each time she did was one time closer to the final goodbye.  He looked down into her eyes as if searching to see what was going on in her mind and she looked away unable to hold his gaze.

“I am just going to get changed, don’t touch anything I have her set for the best burgers ever.”

“Should I change?” the Doctor asked.

“No just resist the urge to add any head wear.”

Five minutes later River reappeared dressed in what appeared to be the same clothes, the Doctor frowned, obviously something was different, but he struggled to work out what it was before a light bulb came on, “Nice boots.”

“Thank you Sweetie.”

The TARDIS materialised in the corner of a Space-port loading dock, River led the Doctor between the piles of cargo awaiting loading and headed to the doors that opened out into the Space-port Terminus.  Vendors seemed to fill every inch of the place hawking their wares while around the edges more permanent businesses were housed in brightly lit stores.

River threaded her way towards a gaudily lit diner not pausing as the sellers proffered a variety of goods towards her.  She swung open the door and after a quick glance round the half full room she picked out an empty booth and swiftly wound her way between tables and secured it, only as she was seated on the leather bench did she notice the Doctor hesitating just inside the door.

“Sweetie over here,” she called to him assuming he had momentarily lost sight of her, but as he moved towards her as if in a trance her brow furrowed as she realised something was wrong. “What is it? Don’t tell me you have been to Sto before? Are we going to get thrown out?”

” No that’s not it, I haven’t been here before, just someone I met once…”

The Doctor fell silent as he looked up at the petite blonde who had come over the the booth.

“Hi, my name is Astrid and I will be your waitress for this evening, would you like to order your drinks while you take a look at the menu?”

River looked at the Doctor who had gone pale and saw his bottom lip trembling.

“Could you just give us a minute?”

“No problem just give me a shout when you are ready.” With a beaming smile Astrid turned her attention to another table who were ready to settle their bill.

“Start talking, and tell me everything!”

To be continued

7. Sunday · From Beyond the Stars · Sunday Story

Sunday Story – From Beyond The Stars Part Four

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Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Amy collapsed back into the sofa her mind racing at the snippet she had just learnt, River had met the Doctor before he was her Doctor.  She tried to imagine River interacting with the Doctor as she was imagining him from the manuscript, River certainly would have had something to say about the Doctor who thought he was a god.  She felt the anger rising again at the idea of the Doctor deciding who should live and die, oh she had seen have have to make that choice before but never like this.  This woman, this…  well whatever she was, she hadn’t hurt anyone she had sent them away to save them before they had been harmed there must have been another way.  She reached for the manuscript and resumed her reading.

I stood facing him trying to find the words that would somehow convince him that things did not have to be this way, but deep inside a voice told me we had always know this time would come. Tears flowed down my cheeks as my eyes met his searching for a glimpse of something that would allow me to convince him that I was no threat to anyone.

I don’t want to do this but I have no choice, you are changing history, people come here and meet you, then never go on to fulfil their destinies, medicines are not created that will save lives in the future, books never written that are supposed to change the thoughts of civilisations.  And I know, I really do know you never intended any of this but you can’t change it. You’re the flame to which they are drawn and the only way to stop them is to tale away the light.”

I knew he was right, I knew in that very minute the very destiny of this planet, of these people I had grown to love was in danger just from my presence, he was talking still talking of the possibility of taking me to another planet, somewhere I could live out my days where my influence could do no harm.  I knew that was not realistic, my union with this body was too fragile so adjust to another gravity and the link between the two of us mentally was too far progressed now for either of us to continue alone.  I would not make the man stood before me responsible for my death.  Marietta agreed the course of action we determined to take and urged we act quickly lest either of us lose the courage required to act.  I took my leave, requesting that we have an hour to prepare ourselves and put our affairs in order before we depart.  I confess I felt guilt at the deception of allowing him to believe we were going to accompany him in his ship and when he looked in our eyes I felt sure he knew or suspected what we intended, however he made no objection.

We sit here now in our boudoir, writing this letter that I hope will allow anyone who reads it to look back at our lives and understand that we never intended harm and that they may forgive the Doctor as we have done for his part in what will happen now.  Marietta and I have shared our final thoughts, we have chosen that she shall sit by the window when I depart so that thought physically separated we may witness and give comfort to each other in our final moments.

We bid you farewell and go now to our rest.

A tear dropped onto the paper, Amy’s hand trembling as she imagined what the entity had done.  How had the ended it? Had Marietta survived the separation?  It couldn’t just end like that she need to know how it finished, she jumped up intent on demanding the final chapter of the story from the Doctor, as she did so a single sheet fell from the manuscript clutched in her hand.  She bent and retrieved it, in a different hand were the answers she wanted.  The writing was familiar, it resembled the Doctor’s but the flourishes varied from those with which she was acquainted.  She realised it belonged to the previous incarnation of the Doctor he had finished the story.

Postscript

If I am honest I knew what they were intending. I could have stopped them, I should have stopped them, I thought I had more time.

After they left me I wandered round the garden trying to work out the best way to transport them and think of a new home for them where they could live together, and no one else would be at risk from their spell.  I had even felt myself succumbing at times, she or should that be they were so beautiful and truly captivating, that smile and those eyes like lakes you could have dived into and drowned for eternity.  Infact that was not so far from the truth of what had happened to those who had come into close contact with them.  I thought I had it all worked out, it was then as I turned towards the house that I saw what they had planned.

Marietta sat at the window, I was just close enough to make out the smile on her lips, then from her a light appeared.  It surrounded her wrapping her in its glow before expanding and stretching out into the open air.  It seemed to whole sky was filled with a warm glow, tinged the palest of pinks.  The like an explosion in reverse it shrunk.  The colour intensified and the area covered diminished until it a red star burned in the sky then with a blinding intensity burst like a firework, thousands of sparkling cinders falling to the Earth and a feeling of terrible sadness over came me.  I looked back at the window and noticed Marietta slumped against the panes of glass.

I raced into the house taking the steps two at a time as I ascended to her chamber.  when I reached her she was barely breathing I lifted her and placed her carefully upon the bed. I knew, even as I frantically called for assistance it was too late to save her.  For one last time, at great effort to her, she opened her eyes and looked up at me smiling, I strained to make out her words as she asked,

“We were magnificent, were we not?”

“Oh yes! You were magnificent, you dazzled them all and they loved you.” I answered

I felt her go limp and knew she had gone.  I closed her eyes and smoothed her hair back.  Standing to leave the room I found this manuscript.  After I finished reading it seemed fitting I record the final actions of these remarkable women, I can’t accept the forgiveness they offer nor the shame of allowing others to know my actions which led to this and shall place these words in a place they shall not be found again.

The Doctor was still fixing the controls when she returned to the console room, he looked up at her his eyes moist as he awaited her verdict.  She tried to smile but it died on her lips.

“You couldn’t have saved her, even if you tried she would have died, she said so herself.  As soon as they separated they would both die there was no other way.”

“I could have taken her somewhere, them, together as one, somewhere they could have both lived on.”

“And then what Doctor left them to live in solitude not coming into contact with anyone else, ever.  You would have saved them yes but they wouldn’t have had a life they would only have had an existence.  In the end they made the choice, it was theirs to make and I don’t think for one minute either of them would want you to feel sad over it.”

“Maybe not, but that doesn’t make it right.”

The Doctor connected the final two wires there was a flash of light that filled the room, and caused him to jump to his feet anxiously checking the console.

“Strange it’s never done that before.  Enough moping I know what lets go to Paris, I love Paris, Paris is cool.  Did I ever tell you Madame De Pompadour kissed me…”

“Now is that supposed to make me jealous?” River Song stepped out from behind the far side of the console adjusting her Vortex Manipulator “Hello Sweetie, don’t worry I’ll forgive you, I kissed the king.”

River leaned over and punched in co-ordinates, she looked up at the Doctor and smiled.  “Looks like I arrived at just the right time.”

From Beyond the Stars

Sunday Story – From Beyond the Stars – Part Three

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In case you need to play catch up you can find the first two parts….

Part One

Part Two

Amy watched as the Doctor left the room, she had read nothing yet to really explain his strange reaction to the manuscript.  Her initial curiosity about it had not been from its content as the Doctor had supposed but from the very fact he had it, she had wondered if it had belonged to one of the other who had come before her but he avoided mentioning unless necessary.  It would always be some item she found or a question that led to a single sentence reply which was a dismissal from the subject far more than it was an answer.  She thought of the time she had emerged from the wardrobe room wearing what she had thought a rather jaunty straw hat, his face had frozen before he had walked over whisked it off her head and stood looking at it in his hand as if it were something alive.  Then with a half smile he had told her it was Romana’s and that he had never liked it declaring ‘straw hats are not cool, wear the stetson if you want to wear a hat. Stetsons are cool or a fez.’  He had thrown the hat to one side and grabbed her hand dragging her off to an adventure, she had thought no more of it at the time but when she looked for the hat later it was gone and he could not be persuaded to discuss the matter any more.

As she sat here now she wondered whether in time her name would join the ranks of the unspoken.  Was that what was hidden in these pages, another ghost from the Doctors past, who had walked these corridors before her?  She resumed reading determined now to discover what was hidden within the pages.

I looked at the strange man stood before me, there was something unusual about him, I could not hear his thoughts as I normally could but I invited him into my home and bid him welcome.  Given the lateness of the hour I arranged he should be fed and shown to one of the guest rooms.  Excusing myself I retired to my room and slept.  Little did I know how many changes the morning would bring.

It was at breakfast the next morning I had the opportunity to pay closer attention to the traveller who had arrived the previous evening.  As was normal in my home every place at the table was laid, the side tables were laden with everything any of my guest could desire for each meal and already ten or more had wandered into the room and settled at the table with laden plates.  I took my seat at the head of the table and watched as the Doctor as he had introduced himself sat at the opposite end. 

Though I could not read his thoughts the others with whom he conversed provided me with a running commentary of their conversations.  I knew immediately from his line of questioning that he was not the normal traveller he claimed to be. I also knew that he viewed my existence very differently to the way I did.

As I have mentioned before I quickly realised that those who spent any extended period of time n our presence fell ill and though they recovered once they were removed from our direct vicinity there were those who never recovered fully.  It was in the early days when Marietta had more control over our flesh, she did not understand the way we drained the life from those we loved, and we did love.  Oh and how we loved, our capacity for passion and affection was limitless, and we drew them near us like moths attracted to a flame.  In those early days some like her husband were simply not strong enough us and their own life force, and yes I confess we fed upon the energy, it was like a drug that we could not live without.  After her husband passed we took lovers before we learned that by exercising restraint and that by merely surrounding ourselves with these beautiful creatures we could live without damaging their fragile lives.

The lovers tending to fade quickly, the union of the flesh draining them far quicker than simple everyday exposure and others, those more sensitive had seen something in our eyes that had led to madness.  I regretted this, I had mourned for each of those whose wings I had burnt but the look I received from the man at the far end of the table told me that my regrets would mean nothing to him.

I could no longer bear the scrutiny of his gaze and rose leaving the food on my plate untouched.  I passed through the open doors to the terrace and headed towards to rose garden.  I walked trying to compose my thoughts, to prepare myself for the confrontation that I knew was coming.

I turned a corner intending to head back towards the house and there he stood, in his strange clothes he was every bit as alien as I was, I opened my mouth to speak but my words failed me and then he spoke.

“You can’t stay in that body, you can’t keep draining all these people, it’s not right.  You know you can’t stay here.”

“You make it sound like I have hurt people deliberately that is not fair, I never wanted anyone to hurt for me I have done everything in my power to save them I send them away when I know they are weakening.  You know that you condemn me to death, both of us, we share this body now neither of us can live without the other?”

“I know and I am sorry but you have hurt people, you might not have intended to but just by being round you they are changed, they can never see life the same way again.  You have had your time in this body it is time to let her go, she could never have known what she was agreeing to or she never would have done it.  It’s time to end it and if you won’t end it then I will have to.

She sat staring at the words she had just read trying to imagine the Doctor she knew ever acting that way. Would he make the same choices?  She was not sure and that bothered her, part of her could not imagine him being so cold and unfeeling but then even with different feelings towards it would he not still make the same choices?  Would it be better if he at least showed remorse over the situation she was in?

She flung the manuscript down and stormed to the console room, the Doctor had disappeared beneath it once more, his bottom half protruding from underneath and it was this half of him which she addressed.

“Doctor I just want you to know I wouldn’t have liked you if I had met you before.  You were not nice, you were a bully.”

She turned to leave but just as she reached the door she heard a muttered reply “River didn’t didn’t think much of me then either.”

She waited half expecting him to continue but he remained silent