Day Seventeen!

Day Seventeen!

The Doctor on My Shoulder, Part One by Daniel Roth.

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The Doctor

The lock on the door made what felt like an unnecessarily audible 'click' as it turned. Finally pushing back his unwarranted fears, Mason opened the door. There, at the top of the steps, was a small, brown, thoroughly unremarkable box. Its only distinguishing feature was an envelope taped to its side. Retrieving it, Mason, having had enough of fear for one day opened the envelope and emptied its contents. In it was a simple note that read: DO NOT OPEN 'TIL XMAS.

What a laugh! What sort of kid would ever heed such a warning? "You are so opened, box!" Mason announced, addressing the package as though it were a defendant to be sentenced. He picked the box up with triumph and closed the door behind him.

Crumpling into the sofa, Mason heard the tinkling bell of Max, his Himalayan cat. "You reckon this present's meant for you, Max?" Mason asked as Max curled up beside him looking on curiously. Mason didn't spare another moment, tearing into the tape that sealed the hidden treasure within. Pulling aside the tissue paper, Mason finally laid eyes on his prize: a tiny figurine about six inches high. "What's this meant to be then?" Mason thought aloud, "Some sort of action figure?" Picking it up in his hand, Mason was astonished at all the points of articulation it had. In fact, inspecting it closer, it was almost like a doll. Its brown suit with blue pinstripes was all real cloth as were the white trainers that adorned its feet. Even the hair was incredibly lifelike. It was like holding a tiny, sleeping person which was no end of weird, Mason thought.

Not all that sure of what to do with the doll and thoroughly unimpressed with the final result of all the earlier drama, Mason plopped the figurine back into its brown, cardboard home. "All yours, Max," he said, turning himself round to flip on the telly for a while. As the screen sparked to life, Mason heard the familiar music from "The Snowman". "This again?" Mason muttered. "How many times in a day do I need to see a flying snowman before the entire planet knows it's Christmas?"

As Mason stared, dully, at the dancing snow people, Max crept slowly towards the box, tail bouncing back and forth with each step. Peering in, there was the tiny man in his rumpled suit seemingly curled up in a ball, wrapped in a blanket of tissue paper. Cautiously, Max nudged the figure with his paw. To the cat's absolute shock, the miniature doll responded by batting away the paw and muttering, "Oye, can't a Time Lord rest in peace?" Max's tail shot up to attention and he let out a low, burbling "meow".

Mason turned round at the sound of Max's agitation. "What are you on about then?" Mason said as he slouched over to investigate. "It's just a stupid doll. Nothing to get riled up about." Mason patted Max on the head reassuringly as he turned his gaze towards the inside of the box. That's when he saw what Max was so upset about. The doll was moving! Mason actually rubbed his eyes in disbelief but there, plain as day, was a living doll slowly coming out its slumber. After a long pause, Mason finally managed a weak "Hello?"

The doll wiped away the sleep from its eyes and yawning, responded, "Hello, I must've fallen..." He paused suddenly. The figure's eyes were wide open now. Struggling to get to his feet, amidst the soft tissue paper, the doll pulled out a pair of glasses from his coat pocket and squinted at Mason. "Oh, dear," he said. "I don't suppose there's any chance I'm dreaming, is there? Or, alternatively, woken up on a planet of giants?"

Mason stared blankly for a moment, not quite sure of what to say. "Who are you?" was the only response he was able to muster.

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