Name: The Clockwise man
Writer: Justin Richards
Fanhome: Doctor Who
Characters: 9th Doctor
For Julian and Christian – and everyone else now
Discovering or rediscovering the amazing worlds of
Peter Dickson learned the truth about black cats from his mother.
‘If a black cat comes up to you,’ she said to him, ‘then that’s lucky, that is. But if it only comes part-way, then
Turns back… If it has burning green eyes…’ She sucked in her breath and shook her head. ‘They say that your
Father saw a black cat that morning, on the way to his ship. I reckon it had green eyes. I reckon he should have
Come home that moment, like any sensible sailor. He’d still be here now if he’d paid attention to that black cat.
They’re fickle animals, cats. Don’t trust them. They only ever think of themselves. if they bring you luck, good or
Bad, you can be sure it’s for their own reasons.’
The black cat Dickson saw almost thirty years later was neither approaching nor turning tail. It watched him
From across the street with glassy reflective eyes. It was impossible to tell what colour they really were – was that
Lucky or not? Dickson took a deep breath of smoggy London air. He neither knew nor cared. He wasn’t
Superstitious, like his old mother – a Victorian woman in every sense, he thought. And anyway, you couldn’t even
Tell what colour the cat itself was – it just looked black because it was dark. There was a smudge of pale
Colouring under its chin, a triangle of white in the darkness below the glint of the eyes. Then, in an instant, the
Cat was gone. As if the eyes had been switched off.
Dickson blew out a stream of smoke from his cigarette. A final drag before he went back into the house. The
Guests would be arriving soon, and he
needed to ensure everything was ready. He flicked away the stub end of
The cigarette and watched it glow briefly before fading and dying. Like the eyes of the cat. He coughed in the cold
October air, and turned to go back inside.
Rose looked down at herself, wondering how daft she seemed. Did they really dress like this in the 1920s – thin
Cotton down to the calf? And in mint green? She had found a long, dark cloak with a hood, which she dumped
Across the TARDIS console.
The Doctor spared her a glance. He was tapping at some meter or other. Satisfied, he nodded and moved to
The next control – which was covered by Rose’s cloak. A brief frown, and the Doctor moved on. Rose watched
His fiercely intense eyes reflecting the light of the console as he focused on the next control. She liked the way
He stood so still and so confident – yet any second she knew he might break into a broad grin.
Seeming to realise he was being watched, he looked up at her again. ‘What?”
‘Are we nearly there yet?’
‘You sound like a kid on an outing.’
‘I am a kid on an outing. An outing back in time.’ She couldn’t help smiling at the prospect, and he grinned
‘Yeah. Great, isn’t it? It’s 1924 out there. Or will be in a mo.’ He tapped encouragingly on a control.
‘And that’s when this exhibition thing is?’
‘The British Empire Exhibition, yeah. Got to get a bit of culture now and then.’
Rose laughed. ‘Like a school trip. Tell me again – why do I want to see it?’
He blinked in feigned disbelief. ‘Because your best mate’s going.’
That made her grin. ‘So why doesn’t he have to dress up for it?’
He was shocked now, standing back from the console and gesturing at his own clothes. Leather jacket over a
Dark brown round-necked shirt, faded slacks and battered shoes.