a brush with death

It should have been just another ordinary evening for Bill Hammond. 

As station master of Tooting Bec his work revolved around familiarity and repetition and, as he would admit himself that was the way he liked it especially as he was nearing retirement age. 

Dead on 6pm, he put his tweed jacket on, clocked out and began to head home which took approximately four minutes as his house was as stone’s throw from the station, again just the way he liked it. 

'Evening ‘luv' Bill said as he entered the house at 6.04 and hung up his coat in the hall. 

As per usual, his wife Madge was busy in the kitchen preparing his supper. 

'Hello dear,' she replied 'just get yourself cleaned up and it'll be ready.' 

If either of them had been bothered to notice, they would have realised that they had been speaking those exact same words at pretty much the exact same time six days a week for the past ten years, ever since the last of their grown up children had left home. 

As per usual, Bill went upstairs to wash his hands and face and as he did so he began to whistle a merry tune. 

Whether it was the effect of the running tap water or simply the call of nature he realised while washing that he had to urgently visit what he still referred to as “the little boy’s room” after all these years which, unlike some other houses in the area, was still located in the garden which involved a speedy dash. 

While sitting on the toilet, Bill casually let his eyes wander around the whitewashed walls, his eyes finally fell upon a large, black toilet bush down to his left. 

'That’s funny,' he thought to himself, 'I don’t remember Madge saying she had bought that. How very unpredictable of her.' 

Leaning down to get a close look he suddenly got the feeling that he was not alone.... 


He nearly fell over with shock. It was, of course, just his wife calling him for supper. 

'In a minute dear, just finishing!' he called out. Hastily he got up and pulled the chain. But this, it turned out, was to be a very bad idea and the last thing he would ever do. 


Later that evening when Madge gave her statement of what she had heard before running into the garden all she could say was, 'A flush, a roar, Bill screaming for a second and then total silence.' 

The police inspector heading the investigation eventually decided that the head injuries Bill had sustained had simply been caused by him losing his balance and falling against the toilet seat and not due to any kind of foul play. 

Despite this he decided to send a brief memo to UNIT. Give them something to amuse themselves with, he thought.


'Ah, good morning Doctor.'

Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Steward strolled into the lab to find the Doctor rubbing one of the doors of the TARDIS with one of his ruffled sleeves.

'What on earth are you doing? Don’t you have something better to do than polish that blue box of yours?'

The Doctor turned around to look gruffly at him. 'My dear Brigadier, this "blue box" of mine, as you call it, is all I have cared for since I was unceremoniously dumped on this wretched planet so I would appreciate if you referred to it with a little more respect. And while I am at it, she is known as the TARDIS and if she needs a good polish then a good polish is what she will get!'

The Brigadier immediately stepped back a few paces.

'Very well, Doctor, you've made your point. I must say it wasn’t just your appearance that changed when you regenerated; your manner leaves a lot to be desired as well. You used to be such a jolly little fellow.'

The Doctor's response to that comment was a “humph” under his breath followed by a few words in a language the Brigadier did not recognise.

Changing the subject he said 'I thought you might find this interesting,' and handed the Doctor a large brown folder with “TOP SECRET” typed in large black letters on the front.

The Doctor began flicking through the folder and within seconds had read the entire contents. 

'So, as you can see Doctor,' the Brigadier continued, 'in the past four days seven people have disappeared in their homes. No sign of forced entry or exit, no motive, nothing. 

'The Doctor frowned. 'Brigadier, by “in their homes” I take it to mean that they were all in the toilet at the time?'The Brigadier coughed, a loud embarrassed cough. 'Ahem, yes...all of them...' 

'Really,' sighed the Doctor 'I will never understand while your race is unable to keep a straight face about what is, after all, a simple natural bodily function. 'Besides all that, what is the relevance of this to me? You don’t expect me to go around chasing after some mysterious bathroom killer do you? I mean, it’s hardly my forte is it?' 

Regaining his composure the Brigadier responded: 

'Well Doctor, as you have read the file you will have noticed that in each case the victim worked for the transport industry in some capacity. Bus drivers, station masters, taxi drivers that sort of thing. Each one killed as a result of a violent blow to the head, found with a look of sheer terror on their face.

'Each one?' queried the Doctor with a raised eyebrow. 

'Well yes, all except for what we believe was the first victim. Some sort of bigwig in the underground system I understand.'

'Any other details which might be of some help to me?' 

'Indeed, we were able to link each murder by these.' 

The Brigadier handed the Doctor a small clear plastic bag which he opened. 'They appear to be strands of black coarse hairs belonging to some sort of creature I would presume. That is why I thought the case might be of interest to you.' 

The Doctor placed one of the hairs under his powerful microscope and gazed intently into the lens. 'How very curious...' he said, rubbing the back of his neck, some moments after finishing his examination. 'The hairs appear to be synthetic. An artificial creature with enough power to kill someone with a single blow. What in Venus could it be...'

Just at that moment Jo Grant walked into the lab, looking slightly dishevelled. Both the Doctor and the Brigadier turned to her.

'And what time do you call this?' said the Brigadier, always a sticker for timekeeping.

Jo sheepishly looked up at the clock on the wall. It was 10.30 in the morning. 'Yes, well the thing is you see...' she began, 'after my cinema date with Mike...' 

'Mike?' queried the Brigadier.

 'Sorry, I mean Captain Yates. He took me to the latest James Bond movie last night; you know the one with the new Bond, quite dishy I thought.....' 

'Really Miss Grant, a Bond film?' said the Brigadier, 'I would have thought Mike, I mean Captain Yates, would have at least have taken to you to something a little more high brow. What do you think Doctor?' 

'Well there was that one with the Hovercraft,' he replied 'I did think that one was rather good...'

Realising the Doctor wasn’t really listening the Brigadier continued, 'Well, besides that, I am not really happy with members of staff fraternising outside of work. Never did it in my day...'

'Well anyway,' Jo butted in 'After the film, Mike escorted me back to my flat and we were up for most of the night talking, and before you ask he was a perfect Gentleman and left early in the morning.'

'Yes, well please make sure it doesn’t happen again, Miss Grant.'

'Yes Sir, Brigadier, Sir!' Jo said, giving a little salute at the end. 'So what were you both talking about when I came in?'

The Doctor proceeded to bring Jo up to speed on the recent spate of mysterious deaths and after some discussion they agreed they would visit the widow of the most recent victim to see if she could find out anything.

'So will we be going in Bessie to Tooting Bec, Doctor?'

'Ah yes, well we would but...' he said, rubbing the back of his neck in that particular way that Jo recognised either he was thinking hard or, more usually, was embarrassed about something.

'I took the old girl out for a spin yesterday and managed to get a flat tyre,' for a moment the Doctors face turned bright red. 'It’s never happened before and I never thought of keeping spares so I am waiting for one to arrive. If you can take the underground there I will follow along as soon as I can.'


Sitting in the front room with Madge Hammond, Jo realised how inexperienced she was in these sort of situations. All she could do was drink cup after cup after cup of tea, wearing her most sympathetic expression, while listening to Madge speak.

'I just don’t know what to say. We’d been together for over 40 years, living in the same house. It was my mother’s you see, we moved in when we married and then inherited it when she died...'

Jo nodded. Having now finishing her fifth (or was it sixth?) cup she was starting to feel rather uncomfortable for obvious reasons.

'And the shopping, I mean, how am I going to cope with that now? Bill always picked the meat we bought and I picked everything else. Then there’s putting the bins out....'

Finally Jo couldn’t take it any longer. 'Mrs Hammond?'

'Yes dear?'

'I’m sorry to interrupt you but I really need to erm, powder my nose.'

'Of course dear. We still have ours outside, you can’t miss it.'

Gratefully Jo dashed outside.

As a little girl, her mother had always told her whenever using a strangers toilet to flush first. Whenever she asked why she was just told, “because” and it was a habit she had continued into her adulthood.

Leaning down to flush she felt an odd feeling, as if she was being observed somehow.

Then, with the flushing of the toilet she heard a strange noise behind her. A sort of stretching, crunching sound. Quickly turning around, she couldn’t believe her eyes.

Facing her was a giant creature. About six feet tall, round shaped with dark fur and glowing red eyes.

A Yeti!

Terrified, Jo screamed... 


written by 
copyright 2012

artwork by 
copyright 2012