Chapter Thirty

Rose yawned as she headed towards the kitchen. She was hungry and in the mood for some bacon and eggs after waking up. She passed by the Doctor in the hallway and froze when she noticed he was carrying a large cardboard box.

"Mornin' Rose," he said cheerfully.

"Wait, where are you goin'?" Rose asked, hurrying to catch up with him.

"To the attic. I had a bit of clutter in my cupboards so I'm moving some things to the attic. I like a tidy cupboard."

"Attic? This ship has an attic?" Rose said with interest.

"Yes, would you like to assist me, faithful companion?"

"Yes, I would," Rose said, eager for the chance to see the attic.

"Splendid. Follow me then. You can help me carry up another box."

Rose followed him as he turned left down another corridor. They stopped in front of a room and Rose picked up a smaller cardboard box. Then they went back the way they came until they were in the original corridor. They turned left and the Doctor led her to another corridor and another and another until he came to a large steel door. Rose watched while he sat the box down beside him and flipped open a small panel in the center of the door. She watched with curiosity while the Doctor looked into it and a laser beam scanned his eyes. They she heard a huge clunk and the door slowly opened.

"What was the laser thing?" Rose said as the Doctor closed the panel and picked up the box.

"Retinal scanner. Security precaution. The attic has some dangerous stuff in it and I don't want you up here by yourself," he said. "Follow me."

Rose stepped into the room and was shocked when she saw an escalator. The Doctor got on it and she followed him.

"Identify yourself!"

Rose looked up when a robotic voice boomed overhead.

"Doctor and guest!" the Doctor yelled up.

"Identity confirmed," the robot voice said.

"Blimey, you do have security precautions for this attic, don't ya?" Rose said.

"I said, it's dangerous to be up here alone. I don't mind you wandering the TARDIS and exploring its treasures but there are a handful of rooms you must never enter without me and this is one of them."

Rose nodded. She knew the Doctor wasn't joking about this and she was sure he was right about their being dangerous things in the attic. She'd been with him long enough to know danger was a part of his life.

They reached the top and stepped off the escalator. Rose's eyes bulged when lights clicked on overhead. She couldn't see the back or sides of the attic.

"How big is this attic?" she said, looking around.

"Not sure, the TARDIS keeps on adding rooms and expanding. For all I know it could be hundreds of miles now. But follow me; I need to catalogue the contents of these boxes."

Rose looked around while she followed him. She saw other boxes but some of the items were unboxed like an antique yellow roadster and a weird metal car with a domed windscreen and huge metal fins. The Doctor went past all that to a large leatherbound book sitting on a wooden pedestal. He set his box down and Rose did the same. The Doctor took a pen out of his pocket and opened the book. Rose stood beside him and watched. The book had notations in an alien script, line after line of notations. The Doctor turned the pages until he was nearly to the back of the book. He found some blank space and Rose watched closely while he wrote something in the alien script.

"Is that your language?" Rose said.

"Yes. Well, it's High Gallifreyan. There are several ways to write my language," the Doctor said as he wrote.

"It's pretty," Rose said.

"Thank you. I'm just writing down the contents of the boxes and making a note of where they're at if I need to find something again. It's my cataloguing system."

He finished cataloguing and called out coordinates to the TARDIS. Rose watched while the boxes vanished in a flash of light.

"She put them away for me where I wanted them. Saves time," the Doctor said. "However, she can transport us as well along with the book. Now let's see, is there something spectacular I can show you?" he murmured as he flipped through the pages. Ah, TARDIS…take us to sector 7, area 24.3.

There was a flash in front of Rose's face and when the flash disappeared, she, the Doctor and the book were in another area of the attic. She was amazed to see a stuffed wooly mammoth in front of them.

"This was a hunting trophy from my fifth life, I believe. Peri, my companion at the time, and me went back to the stone age and I helped some Neanderthals on a mammoth hunt. They ran the herd off a cliff and I had the TARDIS land on one they didn't collect and it used a bit of taxidermy to bring it back to its former glory."

"It's gorgeous!" Rose said, walking up to it and stroking its thick fur.

"It's female…or was," the Doctor said. "One of the smaller ones. Blimey, they had some large ones in that herd."

Rose walked over to the massive tusks and ran her hand along the side of one, marveling at the size of them. She walked to the trunk and touched the tip of it.

"Wish I had a live one but that would be too much care and feeding," the Doctor said.

"She's beautiful," Rose said.

"Yes, she is. A lovely specimen. Ready to move on?"

Rose nodded and stepped away. The Doctor shouted out another coordinate and Rose shut her eyes this time before the flash happened. When it faded, she opened her eyes and gasped when she saw the stuffed T-Rex in front of her."

"This blighter on the other hand I was happy to see die. Chasing me and Sarah Jane through the jungles. It fell off a cliff when we ran off and hid and I took it as a trophy."

"Sarah Jane said she saw dinosaurs when we were at the school," Rose said, walking over and touching its leathery skin.

The Doctor gave her a few facts on the T-Rex while she stood beside him and listened. She could possibly care less what he was saying; she just loved the sound of his voice. Once they were finished, the Doctor yelled out another set of coordinates and Rose opened her eyes when the flash happened again. She did a double take when she saw a humongous red leather bound book. The book was about thirty feet tall and twenty foot wide.

"What is this?"

"This was a prison of sorts. I was trapped inside it."

"What? Seriously?" Rose said.

The Doctor walked over to a small metal box on the floor beside the book. He walked back to Rose.

"This transported me inside the book. Fancy a look?"

"Trap us in the book?" Rose said hesitantly.

"Not with this, this worked as a transmat. We can go in and out of the book. So…interested?"

Rose nodded and the Doctor walked over and grunted as he pulled open the leather cover.

"Dracula?" Rose said, reading the title page. "Someone trapped you inside Dracula?"

"Yes, they did. They had many large books like this but they chose this one for me. Still interested?"

"Not if Dracula's in there," Rose said.

"I won't let anyone hurt you. Trust me."

Rose relaxed and nodded, knowing the Doctor would keep his word. The Doctor went past the title page and Rose helped him turn the pages until they came to an illustration of an old and crumbling castle. The Doctor motioned for Rose to step back and he told her to hold on to him. Rose put her arms around him and the Doctor pressed a button on the box. There was a snapping sound and the scent of ozone and suddenly the Doctor and Rose were standing inside the castle. It was old and decrepit with mold and moss on the stone walls. They were inside a dungeon with flaming torches to light their surroundings. Inside some of the cells in the dungeons, Rose could see human skeletons and rats and snakes crawling over them.

"This is all real?" Rose said, looking around.

"Very real."

"We're not unconscious and hallucinating?"

"Nope, we're really inside the book."

"Where's….Dracula then?" Rose said worriedly.

"Dunno, he's around here somewhere though. Just stay close to me."

"Believe me, I'm not about to run off," Rose said.

The Doctor took her hand and they headed out of the dungeon.

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