Name: The Stealers of Dreams
Writer: Steve Lyons
Fanhome: Doctor Who
Characters: 9th Doctor, Rose
It was there again, at the foot of the bed. She could hear it.
She tried to do as she had been told. She gritted her teeth and
Closed her eyes and made a humming sound in the back of her throat
To block out its shuffling and its scraping. She tried to focus on that,
And on the drone of the night-time traffic far below.
It worked, for a short time. The noise was cathartic; it made her
Feel brave. Until she ran out of breath.
Then she lay shivering in the darkness, hot on the outside but cold
On the inside, face buried in her pillow and sheets wrapped around
Her as if she could hide from it.
As if it might go away.
Kimmi didn’t want to be a bad girl. But the monster was real. It
Was real and it wouldn’t leave her alone.
‘An overactive imagination,’ the doctors at the Big White House had
‘You’re fifteen years old, Kimmi,’ her mother had sobbed, tearing at
Her bedraggled hair. ‘You can’t live in this. . . this fantasy world any
Longer. It’s dangerous, don’t you see? You have to grow up. Why can’t
You. . . why can’t you be like all the other kids? Why can’t you be
Kimmi hated seeing her mother like that. That was why she had
Kept it from her for so long.
That, and the incident at school two years ago. It had been her first
Week. Her teacher had snatched the data pad from her desk, seen the
Open file and let out a scandalised gasp. Kimmi hadn’t thought much
Of it before then; she had just been daydreaming, letting her hands
No one had cared about her doodles at junior school. She couldn’t
Understand why they were all making such a fuss now; why the eyes
Of her classmates burned into her, some shocked, some mocking, some
Feeling her embarrassment.
‘Perhaps you can explain to me,’ the teacher had said in tones dripping
With contempt, ‘what this diagram has to do with the life-support
Requirements of the early space pioneers. What it has to do with anything
Real. I’ve certainly never seen such a grotesque creature in real
Life. Have you? Have any of you?’
‘The product of a diseased mind,’ the email home had said.
In the Big White House, they had shown Kimmi shapes on a computer.
They had asked her what they were, then told her she was
She had tried to argue at first, tried to tell them about the monster,
But she didn’t like the taste of the pills they gave her, so she had
Learned to agree with them. She agreed that the shapes were just
Shapes and that the monster wasn’t real.
And she had drawn in secret after that. Until today. Until this
Afternoon, when Mum had arrived home early and surprised her.
She had snatched her pad away just like the teacher had, dashed it
To the floor. She had shaken Kimmi until her bones had rattled. She
Had cried a lot.
Kimmi had cried too, sent to bed without supper, hysterical threats
Ringing in her ears. ‘Do you want to have to go back to that place
Again? Do you?’
She had dozed, for a time, and woken in the dark. With the monster.
She was listening for it, though she didn’t want to hear it. She
Couldn’t help it. Her senses were hyper-alert.
There was nothing. She ought to have been relieved. But what
If the monster was just doing as she was: staying very still and very
Quiet, trying to trick her?
She had no choice. She had to look. She raised her head hesitantly,
Praying under her breath until she remembered what the doctors had
Told her about prayer.