What I Did In My Christmas Holidays - By Sally Sparrow. Written by Steven Moffat. Illustrated by Martin Geraghty.
I sat on my bed for ages, just shaking and wondering what to do now. But it was obvious really. I tore off the next strip of wallpaper. This time, it just said 'Top shelf in the living room, right at the back.'
The top shelf was where my Aunt kept all her videos. She hardly ever watched television, never mind videos, so they were all very dusty. And right at the back, jammed half way down the gap at the back of the shelf, was a tape that looked like it had been there for a long time. And stuck on it, a post-it. It said 'FAO Sally Sparrow'.
I slipped it into the VCR and kept the television volume really low, so as not to wake my Aunt.
And there, grinning like a loon from the television, was the man from the photographs. 'Hello, Sally Sparrow! Any questions?'
He was sitting in my bedroom! Only the walls were bare, and there was a pair of ladders in the middle of the room, like someone was decorating. I could hear party music coming from somewhere downstairs, and I wondered if it was the party in 1985.
'Well, come on, Sally!' the man was saying, 'You've gotta have questions. I would.'
I frowned. Not a lot of point in asking questions when the man you're asking can't hear them!
'Who says I can't hear you?' grinned the man.
I stared! I think I probably gasped. My eyebrows were practically bursting out of the top of my head. It was ridiculous, it was impossible. I hadn't even said that out loud.
'No, you didn't,' said the man, checking on a piece of paper, 'You just thought that.' He glanced at the paper again. 'Oh, and yeah, you did gasp.'
'Who are you?' I blurted.
'That's more like it, now we're cooking. I'm the Doctor. I'm a time traveller and I'm stuck in 1985, and I need your help.'
I had so many questions racing round my head I didn't know which one to pick.
'How did you get stuck?' I said.
'Parked my time machine in your Aunt's shed. Was just locking up, and it... well... burped.'
'Yeah, burped. Shot forward twenty years, I hate it when that happens.'
I looked out the window to where my Aunt's shed stood at the end of the garden. And I noticed there was something glowing at the windows. Suddenly, I was just a little bit afraid. 'So it's here then?'
'Exactly. Nip out to your Aunt's shed, you'll find a big blue box, key still in the door. Could just stick around for twenty years and pick it up myself but I don't want it falling into the wrong hands.' He leaned forward to the camera, and his eyes just burned at me. 'And I know you're not the wrong hands, Sally Sparrow. So I want you to fly it back to me!'
I swallowed hard. This was totally freaky.
He glanced at his paper again. 'You've got another question, I think.'
He was right. 'You're just on video tape. How can you hear me??'
He smiled. 'Actually, I can't. Can't hear a thing. I just happen to know everything
you and me are gonna say in this whole conversation.'
'Cos Mary Phillips made up a song about your hair.'
I could hardly breathe for all the gasping.
'And you punched her, didn't you, Sally Sparrow?
And then you got a punishment?'
My face was burning. How did he know all this?
I hadn't even told my Mum and Dad.
'You got Christmas homework. An essay about what you did over the Christmas holidays.' He grinned. 'And I've got a copy!'
And this is freakiest part of all. Because he held a copy of the actual essay I'm writing right now!!
'I know everything you're gonna ask when you see this tape, cos I've read the essay you wrote about it. That's how I knew what to write on the wall - you'll have to show me exactly where, by the
way - and that's how I knew what number you were thinking of.'
'But... but...' I could hardly think for my mind racing. 'How did you get a copy of my Christmas homework! I haven't even written it yet!!'
'Told you, I'm a time traveller. I got it in the future. From a beautiful woman on a balcony in Istanbul.' He smiled, like it was happy memory. 'She was some sort of spy, I think. Amazing woman! I'd just had a sword fight on the roof with two Sontarans, and she saved me from the second one. Then she gave me your Christmas homework and told me to keep it on me at all times, cos I'd need it one day.' He grinned.
'She was right!'
A spy, in the future, was going to have a copy of my Christmas homework? Talk about pressure!
He was looking at his watch. 'Okay, that's just about time up. Gonna need you to go to the time machine, and fly it here.'
'I can't fly a time machine. I had stabilisers on my bike till I was nine!!'
'Sally, I absolutely know that you can do this. And do you know how?'
'Because I've read to the end of the story.' He laughed. 'Also - you hear that noise?'
Coming from the television, a terrible wheezing and groaning.
He was still grinning.
Behind the man, a huge blue box just appeared out of thin air. I stared at it. There were words over the door and I squinted closer to read them.
I should've known. He looked like a policeman!
'That's your time machine?'
'Yep. Like it?'
'But who flew it there?'
You could almost get tired of that grin. 'You did!'
The doors on the big blue box were opening. And then the most amazing thing ever. I stepped out of the box!! Me! Sally Sparrow! Another me stepped out of the time machine and waved at the camera.
'Hello, Sally Sparrow, two hours ago!' said the other me. 'It's great in there, you're going to love it. It's bigger on the inside!'