MONDO EXTRAS

The Queen Lived

by Jacob Clifton August 1, 2008
Doctor Who Season 4

Lady Clemency Eddison was hosting the party, with her husband the Colonel. Attending were writer Agatha Christie, Professor Peach, Robina Redmond, and the Reverend Arnold Golightly. Things went poorly. There was a forgotten son, the miscegenated offspring of an alien and a woman. There was a thief, traveling incognito. There were at least two poisonings, a few giant wasp attacks, and a thousand Christie references. The saddest was the truest, but you didn't know it yet: all the wonderful experiences and stories she had that weekend, that vanished from her mystery after the fact. She and Lady Clemency had imprinted on the Reverend, you see, a certain form of story: the murder mystery. It was all he could do, once he had been reborn: live out the fantasies of a woman he never knew. He thought he was trapped inside it, and he burned to be released. Stories, children, and unnatural influence.

You loved Christie, oh! How you hated her self-effacing way. She said aloud, "I've no answers. None. I'm sorry, all of you, I'm truly sorry. But I've failed. If anyone can help us, then it's the Doctor, not me." And you hated it. You promised her, again and again, that her books would be read forever. That she would never, ever be forgotten. She couldn't believe you; she could barely hear you. You couldn't hear yourself.

But you were right, and why? Not because some bloody Doctor dropped out of the sky and took her hand. Not because God sent her an enchanted pen and ink to write with, by parcel post:

"Plenty of people write detective stories, but yours are the best, and why? Why are you so good, Agatha Christie? Because you understand! You've lived, you've fought, you've had your heart broken. You know about people, their passions, their hope and despair and anger, all of those tiny, huge things that can turn the most ordinary person into a killer. Just think, Agatha! If anyone can solve this, it's you!" She still didn't believe. Even after she solved the case, and drowned the son just like his father, and saved the world, she didn't really believe.

"And tomorrow morning, her car gets found by the side of a lake. A few days later she turns up in a hotel in Harrogate with no idea of what just happened. No one'll ever know." All those heroic deeds, all that brilliance, that real-life suspense and crimefighting: she'll never know. Only the Doctor will know. And yet somehow, she managed to have a magnificent life. Imagine! Having never met the Doctor, she still managed to be magnificent.

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