What I Did In My Christmas Holidays - By Sally Sparrow. Written by Steven Moffat. Illustrated by Martin Geraghty.
We present Steven Moffat's short story - originally published in the 2006 Doctor Who Annual - upon which Blink is based.
My name is Sally Sparrow.
I am 12 years old, I have auburn hair, braces you can hardly see, a dent in my left knee from where I fell off a bicycle when I was ten, and parents. I also have a little brother called Tim. My Mum told Mrs Medford that Tim Wasn't Planned, and you can tell because his nose isn't straight and his hair sticks up and I can't believe you'd do all that on purpose. Or his ears.
I am top in English, and Miss Telfer says I have an excellent vocabulary. I have sixteen friends who are mainly girls. I haven't taken much interest in boys yet, because of the noise.
This is the story of the mysterious events that happened to me at my fat Aunt's cottage at Christmas and what I discovered under the wallpaper of my bedroom, which caused me to raise my eyebrows with perplexity.
I was staying at my fat Aunt's cottage because my Mum and Dad had gone on a weekend away. Tim was staying with his friend Rupert (who I don't think was planned either because of his teeth) and I found myself once more in the spare bedroom at my Aunt's cottage in the countryside, which is in Devon.
I love my Aunt's cottage. From her kitchen window you can only see fields, all the way to the horizon, and it's so quiet you can hear water dripping off a leaf from right
at the end of the garden. Sometimes, when I lie in bed, I can hear a train far away in the distance and it always fills me with a big sighing feeling, like sadness, only nice. It's good, my bedroom at my aunt's. Really big, with a wardrobe that rattles its hangers when you walk past it and huge yellow flowers on the wallpaper. When I was little I used to sit and stare at those flowers and when no one was looking I'd try to pick them, like they were real flowers. You can still see a little torn bit where I tried to peel one off the wall when I was three, and every time I go into the room, the first thing I do is go straight to that flower and touch it, just remembering and such. I've talked about it with my Dad and we think it might be Nostalgia.
It's because of that flower and the Nostalgia that I first met the Doctor.
It was three days before Christmas. I'd just arrived at my fat Aunt's house, and as usual, I'd hugged her and run straight upstairs to my room, to hang all my clothes in the rattley wardrobe. And as usual I'd gone straight to the torn yellow flower on the wall, and knelt beside it (I'm bigger now) and touched it. But this time, I did something different. I don't know why. I heard my Aunt calling from downstairs that I shouldn't be too long, because she'd cooked my favourite and it was on the table, and usually I'd have run straight down. Maybe it was because I knew she'd want to talk about school and sometimes you don't want to talk about school (sorry, Miss Telfer) especially if you've got braces and frizzy hair and people can be a bit silly about that kind of thing, even if they're supposed to be your friends. Maybe it was because I was thinking about being three, and how much smaller the flowers looked now.
Actually I think it was because Mary Phillips had made up a song about my hair and I was feeling a bit cross and my eyes were all stingy and blurry the way they get when you know you're going to cry if you don't really concentrate. Anyway, my fingers were resting right on the torn bit, and I was thinking about the song, and frizziness and such, and suddenly it was like I just didn't care! And I started to tear the paper a little bit more! Just a tiny bit at first, I just sort of tugged it to see what would happen. And I kept going! And you know sometimes it's like you're in a dream - you're doing something, but it doesn't feel like you're doing it, more like you're just watching? Well, I went right on and peeled the whole flower off the wall. A whole streak of wallpaper and I just ripped it right off!
And then, oh my goodness me! I just stared!
I once read in a story about a girl who got a fright and the writer said she felt her hair stand on end. I thought that was rubbish and would look really stupid, like my brother. I thought the writer was probably making that bit up, because it couldn't happen. But I was wrong. I could feel it happening now, starting up my neck, all cold, then all my scalp just fizzing and tingling.
And here is what was written under the wallpaper. 'Help me, Sally Sparrow'.