Chapter Twenty One

After heading away from the monument, the group went across the car park and back under the overpass. They went up and over another wooden bridge and paused at the top of it when they saw a huge wooden store in front of them. The sign on the store said Bass World and there was a large Bass leaping out of the water next to the words. The Doctor grabbed Rose's arm.

"Look! Bass World. I've always wanted to play the bass. I can play guitar but never the bass, let's go buy a bass so I can play it."

"Um…I think it's bass as in fish, there's a fish in the sign. See?" Rose said while Donna and Martha laughed.

The women laughed harder when the Doctor squinted at the sign, pretending to read it. He reached into his pocket, pulled out his glasses and slipped them on.

"Oh," he said while the women bent over laughing. "Well, let's go fishing then! Let's catch a big bass and eat it on Thanksgiving Day! Come on!"

The woman laughed hysterically when he skipped down the bridge towards the entrance. He ran towards the entrance and tugged on the handle while the women hurried to catch up.

"No! Bass World is closed! What a travesty!" the Doctor wailed while the women giggled and ran up behind him. "What'll we do now? We wanna fish! I want a bass as big as the one in the sign!"


Rose started to say something but the Doctor zoomed off.

"Oh well, on to something else," he said airily while the women laughed and ran after him.

He stopped when he reached the pavement and pointed across the street.

"MCDONALDS!" he said, pointing to the restaurant while his companions caught up with him. "Rose, let's go get a McTurkey for Thanksgiving."

"Um…I don't think they have McTurkey's, Doctor," Rose said while Donna and Martha laughed.

"No McTurkeys?" the Doctor said, feigning shock. "No McMash, no McStuffing, no McPumpkin Pie?"


Donna and Martha laughed when the Doctor sprinted away across the street the moment Rose opened her mouth.

"Damn it, ya git, stop that!" she said as he went up the steps and went inside. "Little git was waiting for me to say something so he could run like a girl."

"Now, now, that's no way to talk about your boyfriend," Martha said.

"Yeah, he doesn't run like a girl," Donna said, "he runs like a turkey."

They laughed and went across the street when there were no cars coming either way. They entered and saw the Doctor standing by a booth. He was holding a couple of sacks in his hands and giving them an impatient look.

"Took ya long enough," the Doctor said.

"Gobble gobble, Turkey," Donna replied.

The Doctor narrowed his eyes at her while she gave him an innocent look.

"More puns about my genitals?" the Doctor said.

"No, we were commenting on how you run like a scared turkey," Donna replied.

"Well, I'll keep these then," the Doctor said, walking away.

The women clustered around him, impeding his movement. He raised his eyebrows when they began to whimper like puppies and then he jerked his arms up when they tried to snatch the sacks out of his hands.

"Alright, if you're going to behave like whimpering puppies, I'll give you your gifts," he said.

They backed away and the Doctor moved to a table. He opened a sack and gave them each a tiny packet of chocolate chip cookies. He closed the sack and the women noticed that the two sacks were filled with something.

"Enjoy," the Doctor said, walking towards the exit.

"Wait, what do you have then?" Martha asked.

"Nothing," the Doctor said innocently as he walked outside.

"What do you have?" Rose asked.

"Nothing, I just said that."

Rose shared a look with her friends and began the puppy noise again. The Doctor whistled and used his long, lanky legs to speed up and get ahead of her. The others laughed when they ran after him and he sprinted away. He ran back to the car park in front of the Coca Cola building and showed them what was inside the sacks, Big Macs and French fries.

"For later, on the TARDIS," he said. "We'll take them with us and eat them on route to our next fun destination. But because I care heaps for you, I got you some biscuits to tide you over until then. Enjoy."

They walked on and headed back out of Bricktown, heading back towards the TARDIS since not much was open on Thanksgiving Day. On the way there, Rose grabbed the Doctor's arm and pointed to a sign. They looked where she was pointing.


The arrow under it was pointing off to their right.

"The bombing of the federal building. I remember that," Rose said.

"Yes, at this point in time, it's been a little more than fifteen years since it happened," the Doctor replied.

"I wonder if it's open," Martha said.

They turned right and started walking towards the bombing memorial.

"I remember being a little girl and watching the footage about it. Mum was shocked and she had to explain it to me because I didn't understand completely what had happened," Rose said while they walked. "Then she had to tell me everything would be alright and it wouldn't happen to us when I got scared that they would bomb our block of flats."

The Doctor listened to her, fascinated by her reaction and empathizing with it. However, he had seen far greater horrors and far greater casualties in his 906 years of life and compared to other horrors, Oklahoma City had gotten off rather easily. He had witnessed nuclear bombs that had devastated whole cities and caused tens of thousands of casualties, not to mention the destruction of his own planet and the loss of life there. He listened while Martha and Donna shared their stories of where they were that day and he also found that fascinating, the human need to share stories about where they were when momentous events happened. He had heard many stories from humans about where they were when they heard Kennedy was shot or on 9/11 or when the Challenger space shuttle blew up. It was fascinating because it was another way that humans measured out time.

"This is one of those fixed event things, isn't it?" Donna asked him.

"Yeah," the Doctor said sadly. "Like 9/11, it's a fixed point in time; we can't change what happened there."

He patted their shoulders when he saw the anguish in their eyes. He told them his thought about witnessing bigger tragedies.

"I'm not trivializing what happened there, because any loss of life is unacceptable to me," he said when he finished his thought. "I'm just saying that it could have been much, much worse if you think about it."

"But you've seen much, much worse," Rose said.

"Much, much, much worse. Much worse than 168 killed. 168 didn't even make a blip during the Time War," he said.

The women glanced at each other. They stopped and the Doctor stopped with them. Then his eyes widened when they all gathered around and hugged him. The Doctor's hearts melted and he gave them loving looks, once again thankful on Thanksgiving that he had them. They stayed that way for a moment, ignoring the odd looks they were getting from other people before they resumed walking.

As they neared the bomb site, they noticed a large black gate that rose above the pavement. They neared it and looked inside a doorway cut in it but didn't notice any signs saying it was closed so they went inside and climbed the stairs up one level and went out another doorway. They stopped and looked around when they came through it. The gate they entered had 9:01 inscribed on the inside above the door. Before them was a large rectangular reflecting pool and on the other side was an identical gate with 9:03 on it. To their left were bronze chairs that were sitting on translucent bases. To their right slightly up a hill was a tree that was slightly bent back enclosed inside a circular brick wall. To the right of the tree was a grove of trees and behind this was an old building whose side facing the blast had been left in its original damaged state to show the devastation the bomb caused. They were standing on a path made out of sections of the old Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and to their left encircling the chairs was a section of the wall of the federal building that was allowed to remain, also as a reminder of the devastation. They noticed a man and woman dressed like park rangers heading towards them.

"Sorry, if this is closed today," the Doctor said to them.

"No, you're fine. The outdoor portion is open year round. The museum in the Journal Record building is closed but you're welcome to walk around and take a look," the man said to them with a slight southern twang as he smiled warmly and pointed to the damaged building. "Do you have any questions?"

"This wall here," Donna said, pointing to the wall encircling the chairs. "Was this part of the building?"

"Yes, Ma'am, it was left there to show the destruction and also because the chairs inside it are filling in the footprint of the part of the building that was lost when the bomb exploded. That's what you'd see if you looked at the chairs from the air. The chairs are arranged according to where people worked or where they were in the building at the time of the explosion. You'll notice that there are a lot of smaller chairs in the second row. That's because there was a day care center in the building and 19 children in the day care center and in other parts of the building died that day. Each chair represents one of the lives that were lost and each base is inscribed with a name. They're supposed to represent an empty chair at a kitchen table of their loved ones although some people imagine that their spirits are sitting there and watching over us. Over on the very edge are five chairs that are set apart from the others. Those represent five people that died outside the building. Two of them died in the Water Resources Building, one in the Athenian, one died in the parking lot as she was going into Job Corps for the day and one woman was a nurse who went into the Murrah Building three times to help the injured and on the third time she was hit by falling debris, went into a coma and died three days later."

"What about the tree there?" Rose said. "The one inside the brick wall?"

"Well, that tree is the only tree that survived the blast that day. It used to be in the middle of a parking lot and there were two other buildings here, The Oklahoma Water Resources building and Athenian Building. Then on the far end was the Journal Record building which is the one still standing. The blast bent the tree back and fire scorched it and it was going to be torn down but then it started growing new buds and people rallied around it and said don't tear it down because it represents the way the city has recovered after the bombing. So that tree is now known as the Survivor's Tree. It represents the survivors of that day. The trees outside the wall are known as the Rescue Orchard. They are symbolically rushing to help the tree, the way people from Oklahoma and all over the country did the day of the bombing and afterwards. Beside the orchard is the Children's Park. The wall there is made up of tiles with handprints from schoolchildren or drawings from schoolchildren all over the country. Now as for the Journal Record building, it was repaired except for the wall facing the bombing. That was left the way it was the morning of the blast to show the impact the blast had on it. You can see numerous cracks in the building where the blast literally picked parts of the wall up and put it back down in the same place and also the fire escape, as you can see, was mostly destroyed, except for the bit at the top and you can see how the blast twisted and warped some of the metal. The windows of the building are painted black to represent the empty windows that were left after the blast shattered all the glass. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a sixteen-block radius, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings. The broken glass alone accounted for 5% of the death total and 69% of the injuries outside the Murrah Federal Building. The blast destroyed or burned 86 cars around the site, causing secondary explosions from the vehicles' gas tanks and tires and the explosion could be heard 55 miles away from here."

"You're right, it could have been much worse," Rose said to the Doctor.

"Yes, Ma'am, it was a miracle more people weren't killed or injured that day," the ranger said, nodding gravely.

"What about the times on the walls?" Martha said.

"Well, these are the Gates of Time. The bomb went off at 9:02 a.m. on April 19th, 1995. This gate says 9:01 which is the last moment of innocence for the city and the country. 9:03 on the other gate represents the moment the city began to heal. Everything within these walls is frozen in time between these two gates, a moment in time."

"Beautiful," Rose said. "It's so beautiful, this monument."

"Yes, Ma'am, we think so too," the ranger said, smiling. "Now these chairs…if you come back, say around 9 p.m. or so, the bases of the chairs light up and reflect in the reflecting pool here. Also, the reflecting pool used to be a street that ran right between the buildings. If you want to, you can dip your hands in the water and press them against the gate walls for ten seconds and leave your handprints. You notice the white chalky substance on both gates; those are thousands of handprints that have been left by people over the years. Is there anything else you need to know?"

They shook their heads. The ranger gave them all brochures and smiled at them as he and the woman walked away. The women looked at each other, walked over the reflecting poor, put their hands in the water and walked back to the gate. The Doctor did the same as they pressed their hands against the wall, letting their handprints remain there for all time. After the Doctor did the same thing, they walked through the memorial and among the chairs, stopping to read the names on some of them. Rose's heart lurched when she noticed three of the adult chairs noted that the women were pregnant at the time and lost their babies in the blast. After they walked through the chairs, they went up to the tree. The bottom portion was bare, bent back away from the blast and blackened from the fire. They noticed that there were still shards of embedded glass in the trunk in some places. However, the top half of the tree was still alive and blooming.

"This tree is one of the ways I think of you humans," the Doctor said to them. "You can be damaged and bent by tragedy but you still managed to flourish and survive and come back stronger than before."

They stood and stared at it for a moment when Donna noticed a donation box nearby for the continued maintenance of the memorial. She asked the Doctor for five dollars and put it in the box. The Doctor pulled out twenty for him and Rose and Martha and put it in after hers. After that, they explored the Rescuer's Orchard and the Children's Park and then looked at the Journal Record building. As they walked along the damaged wall, they saw a spray painted message that someone had left and was preserved with the rest of it. It read...

Team 5


We search for the truth.
We seek justice.
The courts require it.
The victims cry for it.
And GOD demands it!

A little plaque below it indicated it was left by a rescue worker. The four of them stood in silent contemplation for a moment before moving on.

After they got done with the memorial, they decided to go back to the TARDIS. But the Doctor decided to do something special so when they got back inside, he told them to wait and he took the TARDIS forward to 10 o'clock at night. They came back out and went back to the bombing memorial and the women gasped when they saw that the bases of the chairs now were lit up with a white light that gave off an angelic glow in the reflecting pool.

"Had to take that bloke's advice and come back at night to see the lighted bases," the Doctor said to them.

They stood there by the reflecting pool across from the chairs and stared silently at them, thinking how beautiful they looked. The air was chilly and the moon shone overhead completing the beauty of the scene. They stood there for twenty minutes in silent contemplation before they all agreed to head back. The Doctor hugged all of them tightly and told them once again how thankful he was that they were with him. They returned the sentiment and the Doctor let out an aaaah when they kissed his cheeks. Then all of them walked out of the memorial and headed back to the TARDIS.

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