Saturday, December 31, 2011

Before New Year's Resolutions

End-of-year rush
to bakeries for chocolate chip scones
and Boston cream pie:
hedonism before next year's ascetism.

Friday, December 30, 2011

I had a dream in which I was staying at my parents’ house, and they were there, but so was a young woman I’d never met before; she may have been Indian. I went into the bathroom, and the tub was full of water and bubble bath and a colorful plastic Sarasvati statue (she wore a red sari) that served as a water fountain—water spouted out of her hands. It may have created an arc the shape of a rainbow. Later I went into the bathroom again with the intention of taking a shower, and although the tub was drained, the Sarasvati statue was in the tub again, sitting on the floor of it. I considered taking her out, but then it occurred to me that she filled at most half the tub’s floor, and  I could leave her in there while I took my shower.
Sarasvati is my favorite Hindu goddess—she and Durga are the two I relate to the most. Sarasvati is the goddess of the arts and knowledge and wisdom. According to the New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “She is not only the water goddess, one of a trinity that also includes Ganga and Yamuna, but she is also the goddess of eloquence, which pours forth like a flooding river.” The book also says, “Sarasvati is the prototype of all female artists (p. 273).”

Although I read a book called Hindu Goddesses before I went to India, I'd forgotten Sarasvati's association with water. It's appropriate that the dream involved seeing her in the bathtub. It's also appropriate that I dreamed about her while I'm immersed in writing a novella.

Character Naming

I'm in the process of revising my fairy tale novella Woodland Castle (it's a working title, and honestly it's a lot better than the first title I came up with). I originally wrote it rather intensely, the whole thing during the month of November, as part of my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project. (Maybe next November I'll actually write a full-length novel instead of a novella and three stories.)

I just discovered that during that intensive November writing experience, I had created a witch-burning character called Father Duplicitous. I might want to change that name to something a bit more...subtle. After all, a villain shouldn't have a name like that unless you're writing for cartoons ("Dudley Do-Right," for example) or writing slapstick comedy. This novella is neither. I've given all the other characters German names (since I eventually decided to base the kingdom on Germany), and there's a posibility that his name might be the same thing, or something similar, but in German.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Researching Disturbing History

I'm currently working on a fairy tale novella inspired by the Burning Times, a. k. a. the witch-craze in Renaissance and "Enlightenment" Europe. That's right, while there were some scattered witch trials and executions in medieval times, the actual witch-craze--that involved the execution of between 50,000 and 100,000 people (the vast majority women) didn't begin until about 1540. That's the Renaissance, not the "Dark Ages."

My research (and I do get sucked into research!) has led me to an online e-book called Women and the Practice of Medical Care in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1800.

Many of the women accused of practicing witchcraft were traditional healers, who used herbal medicine and in some cases practiced midwifery. For a long time, women practiced in the medical profession, but in the late Middle Ages along came official medical schools in universities, where women were barred from studying. Accusing traditional, unlicensed healers of witchcraft and burning them at the stake was quite a way to decrease the competition.

I visited Massachusetts in the fall (including a day in Salem) and although I have previously read up to some extent in the Burning Times, since then I've gotten sucked into doing research on the topic and incorporating it into my fantasy fiction. My sources include:

Barstow, Anne Llewellyn. Witchcraze: a New History of the European Witch Hunts. Pandora, NY: 1994.

Demos, John. The Enemy Within: a Short History of Witch-Hunting. Penguin Books, NY: 2008.
Ehrenreich, Barbara, and Deirdre English. Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: a History of Women Healers. Second Edition. Feminist Press, NY: 2010.
Illes, Judika. The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft. HarperElement, London: 2005.

Russell, Jeffrey B. & Brooks Alexander. A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics, and Pagans. Second Edition. Thams & Hudson, NY: 2007.

Whaley, Leigh. Women and the Practice of Medical Care in Early Modern Europe. Palgrave MacMillian, NY: 2011.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Inspiring Walk

It's an unseasonably sunny day, with an unseasonably bright blue sky, and a temperature around forty-five degrees. I took a walk to the library. The walk (approximately twenty blocks each way) inspired a total of four little four-and-twenty poems (that's poems that are no more than four lines and twenty words). However, I won't post them here because I'd rather hold onto them and submit them to the or, failing that, another literary journal that takes poetry.

I've been meditating a lot since last Thursday--experiencing an unofficial at-home meditation retreat often interrupted by working or hanging out at In Other Words (the only remaining nonprofit feminist bookstore/community center in the United States), or by attending parties. Tonight, for the first time, I'm going to join a Buddhist sangha, the Portland Friends of the Dhamma, even though I've had bad experiences with two previous sanghas.

A few weeks ago I went up to a Buddhist monastery in White Salmon, Washington and met some members of Friends of the Dhamma, and they have me convinced--or at least hoping--this will be a much more satisfactory sangha. I'm glad I'm back into my formal sitting meditation practice after two years of grad school--no sitting meditation, and no reading Buddhist books for a whole two years. I graduated in the spring but wasn't very disciplined, despite my intention of plunging back into sitting meditation immediately after grad school. I think visiting the monks at White Salmon was an inspiration, a reminder.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Do not go gentle into that good night"

I'm currently reading the young adult novel Matched by Ally Condie. It's been compared to The Hunger Games, but  I see more similarity in it to Lois Lowry's The Giver. After a couple pages, I began to think I'd like to see a novel set in this world but from a non-white and a non-heterosexual perspective. Outcasts are so intriguing.

Here are links to a couple of poems that are mentioned in Matched:

"Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night" by Dylan Thomas

"Crossing the Bar" by Alfred Tennyson

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Adventures with a Witch and a Manuscript

While I was in grad school last year, I took Michelle McGann's YA (Young Adult) Publishing class. In this class, we read and discussed many novels written for teens. We also broke into groups--pretend publishing companies--and worked with manuscripts on editing, marketing and promotion, and book design.

After I took the class, another student suggested I submit my completed YA novel My Curious Adventures with a Witch to the YA Publishing class, so that rather than paying an editor to work on my manuscript, I'd give students an opportunity to supply me with editorial and marketing feedback. So this past term Michelle shared the manuscript with her class.

I found out yesterday that my manuscript was so popular that three out of the six groups (pretend publishing companies) chose my manuscript to work on! I'm so looking forward to revising it...and I'll likely share the next draft with my new writers group. I hope that after the next revision, literary agents will have a similar reaction to that of the students.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mink False Eyelashes

This isn't really writing-related, other than an example of me writing a letter, but it's important to get it out there.

E-mail to contact in order to let Jenna’s Make-up and Waxing Studio know what you think of using real mink for false eyelashes:

My e-mail message:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Interconnectedness Petition

I have a tendency to write and  blather about the importance of interconnectedness.  We are all part of planet Earth, our home, and should respect it. Oppression of any--women and children, people of color, the environment, animals, other countries--is oppression of all. Here's a petition to sign:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Witch's Familiar & Wormhole Electric

My familiar, Cheetah

After much editorial feedback and revision, Wormhole Electric ( will publish my fantasy novella Witch's Familiar in serial e-book form, beginning November 25.

The way Wormhole Electric works is this: you can read the first couple of chapters online, at, and after that, if you want to continue reading the novella you purchase the e-book. So please support not-so-famous science fiction and fantasy authors by visiting the Wormhole Electric site.

Meanwhile, my attempts at starting a writers critique group proved to be about as productive as herding cats, but I'm about to join a writers critique group, so I can give and take developmental feedback on fiction. I may be a slacker when it comes to job hunting, but at least my writing career is seeing progress.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Writing Background

The following is the original version of my essay that I submitted to Portland State University in 2008, when I was applying for the graduate publishing program. The essay I actually sent didn't include the stuff from my childhood (fortunately).

I have a B.A. in creative writing from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, and since graduating I have continued to write many poems, stories, and essays. Almost a year after graduating, I returned to St. Louis and participated in a writer’s group. My story “Institute of the Dead” appeared in Aphelion Webzine, and “Havisham,” another story, appeared in the online magazine Some of my poems have been published in The Midwest Poetry Review, The Green Fuse, The Circle, Salamander, Windows to Women, and Words Unlimited. At Archon in St. Louis, I once participated in Mickey Zucher Reichert’s fiction writing workshop.
            When I was seven years old, I told my brother that I wanted to write a book. He sneeringly claimed that I couldn’t write a book and that I didn’t have a big enough vocabulary, and he demanded that I tell him every single word that I knew. I did not begin writing till I was eleven years old, and at first, except for a few poems, I focused on little books based on characters I made up while playing with a homemade dollhouse. When I was sixteen years old, the first person to tell me that I have a talent for writing was an English teacher, Pam Downard. She praised my writing assignments and published a couple of them in the school paper. After that, I regularly submitted short stories and occasionally poems to the school paper. I also wrote a young adult fantasy novel between the ages of sixteen and nineteen; in more recent years, I have revised and expanded that novel and am currently attempting to find an agent for it.
            I mostly think of myself as a fiction and fantasy writer, but while dwelling in the rather alienating environment of Kansas I was compelled to write journals and create blogs. I was also compelled to travel and to write travel journals. During my first trip to India, a Buddhist pilgrimage, I was inspired to write a novel-like five hundred page travel memoir, excerpts of which are on my travel blog I currently have countless ideas for short stories and am working on an autobiographical fantasy novel about my experience in Kansas.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I'm about to get a poem and a novella published, am working on a couple of completely new stories, and just printed out four poems to send the Clackamas Literary Review. This is not "unemployment."

More specifically, on November 15 my poem "Outdated Fliers" will be published in Four and  Twenty Poetry ( I've already mentioned the novella on this blog, so I won't go on about that now; later, yes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

So Much to Write and Revise

Before registering with NaNoWriMo, I should have considered that I might have another edit coming from Wormhole Electric. Sure enough, it came yesterday, so I'll be working on a third edit on my novella The Witch's Familiar, which will be published in Wormhole Electric on November 25 (or rather, the first episode of seven, since they publish in serial form). At least they're giving me chances; most magazine editors start reading the draft I sent them and reject the manuscript outright rather than say they'll publish it after some revision.

I wish open rejections--"We'll publish it if you make these changes"--were much more common, rather than closed rejections. That said, I realize that journals (and literary agents) receive a great many submissions and don't have time to give unknown authors that much attention. Yet unknown authors, if anything, need more attention than extremely famous authors.

Between now and November 15, I'll not only be busy with a developmental edit and with my NaNoWriMo manuscript, but I'll also be revising The Witch's Familiar manuscript, since its due dates is November 15. This is what I've always wanted to do--be a full-time author without a day job. However, I imagined it with enough royalties to live on.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


It's day two of NaNoWriMo, the November challenge to write a novel of 50,000 words or 175 pages in only one month ( The emphasis is on quantity rather than quality, in order to get writers and would-be writers to work on that novel they've been putting off. After the month of November is over, you can go back over the manuscript and revise as much as you want.

My brother informed me via Facebook that he registered for NaNoWriMo and asked me if I'm doing it this year. I'm very glad that he's finally working on a novel rather than just world building and character building. I also decided to take up the challenge, but with a little artistic license: since I have a January 5 due date for a long story to submit to Wormhole Electric (, I should work on two or three long stories rather than one novel. So that's what I'm doing. I have about thirty pages so far, 145 to go. Who knows, at the rate that one of these long stories is going, it might end up being a novel.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Holocaust Against Women

Today, although I "should" be starting a new story/novella to submit to Wormhole Electric in January, I was inspired to write a new blog entry on Hubpages:

Certainly, I've been playing with some ideas for my new story, but sometimes I have to write nonfiction. Actually, I frequently am compelled to write nonfiction.

After that episode, I walked back home from PSU and stopped at the garden of a Buddhist center in my neighborhood. I circumambulated a four-faced gold Buddha statue and gazed at coi and a turtle in the little pond. I shifted from indignation and thinking about what I would equanimity and living in the present moment. It's delightful to have such a place a few blocks from my apartment.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Doctor Who Script

When I was an undergraduate, I took a scriptwriting class (see previous blog post, Cheers Episode). For the following script assignment, we were to pick a TV show. At first I was going to write an episode for Star Trek Deep Space Nine or whatever the current Star Trek series was at the time, and I went to a friend’s apartment and watched an episode and took notes. But I felt like the only TV show I could comfortably write a script for was Doctor Who. So I asked if we could pick a show that isn’t currently on the air (this was 1993, and the classic Doctor Who went off the air in 1989), and the instructor said yes. So I wrote a Doctor Who script…and had fun.


SCENE: A dark, eerie castle deep in the dense, tangled woods on a gloomy, dark, rainy day, somewhere in Hungary, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Something falls from the sky and lands near the castle. Camera moves in closer—the thing that landed is a spaceship. Camera moves to interior of the ship. A female humanoid, NIRGENDS, messes around with gadgets and buttons inside the wrecked ship. She notices the castle.

NIRGENDS: I wonder if the locals are hostile. It can’t hurt to seek help.

(She gets out of the spaceship and starts heading toward the castle.)


SCENE: Interior of the TARDIS control room. While a boom box plays jazz, the DOCTOR sits on the floor, where he fiddles around inside the consul.

DOCTOR: Come on, old thing. We’re going on holiday in Vienna, whether you like it or not. Don’t tell me I didn’t ask you permission….What’s this cable doing here? It’s supposed to be hooked up over—

(Sparks come out of the consul.)

DOCTOR: Ouch!—here. Well, that shouldn’t have happened….

(The center of the consul rises and falls as the TARDIS wheezes: it’s landing.)

DOCTOR: Well, we’ve landed, at least. But I’ve got a peculiar feeling it’s not quite Vienna.

The DOCTOR pulls knob for controlling the screen that reveals the location, and the screen door slides open to reveal the gloomy scene described above. The DOCTOR knits his brows and scratches his head. ACE enters the room. She wears a dainty Empire gown rather than her usual jeans, t-shirt, and leather jacket.

ACE: Oy, Professor, how does this look—eh! That’s not how I pictured Vienna.

DOCTOR: Yes, Ace, I’m afraid it isn’t Vienna.

ACE: So ya blew it again, Professor.

DOCTOR: What, me? I never make mistakes.

ACE: You don’t? What about the time—

DOCTOR: Never mind, never mind. Let’s just say the TARDIS isn’t in a good mood.


SCENE: NIRGENDS in front hall of castle, with doors slowly creaking shut behind her. She looks around at stone walls, cobwebs, and crumbling furniture.

NIRGENDS: This may be a mistake….Hello? Does anyone live here?

(BARON YLIETCH appears silently.)

BARON: Yes, this is my dwelling. I am Baron Ylietch. May I help you?

NIRGENDS: I certainly hope so. I am Nirgends, Princess of the Diomydes, and my means of transportation is incapacitated. I would like shelter and a place to repair this damage.

BARON: Ah, your Highness, you are welcome to reside here.

NIRGENDS: Thank-you very much. I wish I could repay you—

BARON: It is no inconvience. Come—I shall order the cook to make your dinner. I have already had a satisfactory meal.


SCENE: NIRGENDS is working on her ship, when ACE and the DOCTOR come along. NIRGENDS is too busy to notice them at first. She takes a shredded circuit out of the controls, and she eyes it with disgust.

NIRGENDS: Beyond repair—shredded! I need to replace it….

(The DOCTOR clears his throat loudly.)

DOCTOR: Ahem. You seem to be having a spot of trouble. Can I help you with that?

(NIRGENDS freezes when she hears a strange voice. Then she looks at the DOCTOR.)

NIRGENDS: Ah, hello. (Rising) I am Nirgends, Princess of the Diomydes.

DOCTOR: I’m the Doctor, and this is Ace.

NIRGENDS: The Doctor? Doctor who—are you that renegade Timelord?

DOCTOR: Yes. Well, my fame has traveled far, hasn’t it, Ace?

ACE: Whatever, Professor.

DOCTOR (To NIRGENDS): You’re not from around here…. You know, I might be able to help you repair your ship.

ACE: Come off it, Professor. You’ve got enough trouble trying to fix the TARDIS. How are you supposed to repair a ship you’ve never laid eyes on before?

DOCTOR: Ace! Have a little confidence in me.

(NIRGENDS, who has been fiddling with her ship again, remembers the DOCTOR and ACE. She looks at them absent-mindedly.)

NIRGENDS: Hmm? Ah, yes. I had a rather unsteady landing, and the egression cable is damaged beyond repair.

(The DOCTOR bends down to take a closer look at the cable, and he notices vampire marks in NIRGENDS’s neck.)

DOCTOR: I say, what’s that?

NIRGENDS: What? Oh, nothing, really. This swampy, humid location has many insects, and I was bitten in my sleep last night. Not very pleasant, but it’s a minor inconvenience compared to my ship.

DOCTOR (Still has a knit brow): Ah, yes, of course. Let’s see this cable.

(While the DOCTOR inspects the damaged cable, and ACE explores the little ship, NIRGENDS’s eyes light up as an idea suddenly occurs to her.)

NIRGENDS: Where did this TARDIS of yours land, Doctor?

DOCTOR: Oh, it’s out there in the woods.

(NIRGENDS slips away while the DOCTOR and ACE are distracted by the damaged ship. ACE glances up and notices that NIRGENDS is slipping away. ACE watches her leave, and after a glance at the DOCTOR, creeps behind NIRGENDS.)


(SCENE: NIRGENDS is creeping through the woods and brushing branches out of her path. She finds the TARDIS and walks all the way around it once, before she tries the door; it’s locked. She pulls a little deleebobber out of her pocket and holds it up to the lock. The lock clicks, and the door slowly swings open. She steps inside and stares in wonder at the consul table.

Meanwhile, ACE has been hiding behind a tree and watching NIRGENDS. As soon as the stranger is inside the TARDIS, ACE slips in behind her.)

ACE: Oy! What’re you up to?

(NIRGENDS swirls around to face ACE.)

NIRGENDS: Oh! Just—looking. I always wanted to see the Timelords’ mode of conveyance.

ACE: You’ve got a funny way of going about it. Trying to steal the TARDIS, weren’t you.

NIRGENDS: You don’t understand! I must save my people somehow—my ship isn’t large enough to carry all of them. The ozone layer over my planet is vanishing as we speak. The population has been devastated.

(The DOCTOR steps in behind ACE.)

DOCTOR: Well, why didn’t you say so? We could help, you know.

NIRGENDS: Are you certain? You’d be willing to go to my planet, fill your ship with strangers, and take them somewhere safe?

ACE: Professor, that sounds like an awful lot of people.

NIRGENDS: Only a small portion of the population has agreed to leave. Most of the people don’t believe in leaving their native planet—they claim the great god Norgasbord would not approve. But I have about a hundred followers who depend on me to find a suitable ship for conveying us elsewhere.

DOCTOR: Don’t your people have other ships they can use?

NIRGENDS: We did, but the Fatalists destroyed them all. The one I arrived here on is my own personal ship—they didn’t dare destroy royal property.

DOCTOR: Come on, Ace. We’ve got work to do.


(SCENE: Flat, dry land, an orange sky. Fog. Welcome to the planet Gobbledygook. The TARDIS lands with the usual wheezing-groaning sound. The DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS step out.)

DOCTOR: Eh, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

ACE: What’s that, Doctor?

DOCTOR: Never mind, Ace. Well, Nirgends—I mean your Highness, here we are. But where is everybody?

NIRGENDS: Oh, dear.

ACE: Let’s get on with it—I can’t breathe this air.

NIRGENDS: They said they’d be waiting here. Are you sure you set the coordinates for the right time and place?

(The DOCTOR and ACE exchange a look.)

NIRGENDS: They may be underground. Come—I know where to go…I hope.

(The DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS walk away onto the vast desert. After they’ve left, Baron Ylietch steps out of the TARDIS, shows his fangs, and starts heading in a different direction.)


(The Doctor and ACE follow NIRGENDS toward a hole in the ground.)

NIRGENDS: Here is our temporary dwelling.

DOCTOR: Lovely décor.

(They descend into the hole, which leads into an underground cave. It’s dark and damp, but NIRGENDS takes a torch off the wall and swiftly leads them through a tunnel.)

DOCTOR: Have your people been living in this cave very long?

NIRGENDS: Yes. For most of my life. The ozone layer has been breaking down gradually since long before I was born—probably for centuries. The air has become unendurable.

ACE: That’s awful! I’d be bonkers if I was you.

(They come to a room where maybe a hundred people are together.)

DOCTOR (Aside, to ACE): I’ve always wanted to attend a prehistoric cocktail party.

ACE: Wicked!

NIRGENDS: Attention, everyone!

(The crowd gets gradually quieter as everyone looks in NIRGENDS’s direction.)

NIRGENDS: I brought friends who have agreed to help us. This is the Doctor, and this is Ace.

(General murmuring and excitement in the crowd. Some people go up to the DOCTOR and ACE and greet them.)

MERGOS: Hello. I’m Mergos, the Princess’s advisor.

DOCTOR: Nice to meet you.

MERGOS: We sent some people up—did you happen to meet them?

DOCTOR: No, actually. Nirgends said someone would be waiting—

MERGOS: Oh, dear. Yes, Romus and Remiss went above ground. If they don’t show up soon…well, maybe they’re finding some dinner for us. The stock is getting rather low.

ACE: You’ve all been living in this cave, like a bunch of weasels?

DOCTOR: Ace, really…. You have been living like weasels, haven’t you?

MERGOS: We’ve lived in this underground cave for several moons, if that’s what you mean. But what are weasels?

DOCTOR: They’re—never mind. Your princess mentioned this god—Norgasbord. I’m curious—if all your people believed in this god, then why has this small group of people dissented?

MERGOS (A little fidgety): We are the—nonbelievers. We don’t believe that a kindly god would want us to die like this.

FOOGUS (To the DOCTOR): Our people are capable of space travel—or we were until our enemies destroyed our ships—and we believe that since our civilization is capable of leaving a dying planet, we have a right to escape that planet.

DOCTOR: Yes—survival instinct.

FOOGUS: Strange—Romus and Remiss haven’t returned yet. It’s been over an hour.

NIRGENDS: We’d better send out a search party. Who knows what could have happened to them up there. (To the crowd in general) Would anyone care to volunteer?

(Five people volunteer: the DOCTOR, ACE, FOOGUS, and two others, named MAKPECE and JINGEL. They go up to the surface, with FOOGUS and JINGEL leading the way.)

FOOGUS: They were supposed to be somewhere around here….

(They search further, and the DOCTOR finds a dried up bush with something under it. He takes a closer look an realizes it’s two corpses.)

DOCTOR: Oh, dear, Foogus! I think I’ve found your people. They don’t look a bit healthy.

(The others come and take a look. They’re all appalled.)

FOOGUS: The air must be getting worse—they died so quickly.

MAKPESE: We’d better get back.

DOCTOR: This sort of death isn’t caused by the atmosphere. They’ve been completely drained of their blood. This looks too much like the work of a hemophiliac.

FOOGUS: What’s that?

DOCTOR: A vampire.

FOOGUS: A vampire? What is—

DOCTOR: A vampire is an undead creature that feasts off the blood of others. A parasite. Do you see many vampires on your planet?

MAKPECE: Certainly not. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

(Frowning, the DOCTOR turns away. He stands in silence for a minute, as he gazes without seeing. ACE approaches him.)

ACE: Doctor, what’s wrong? What’s this about a vampire?

DOCTOR: After we met Nirgends at her ship, did you see those red marks on her throat?

ACE: Red marks? Yeah, she said they were bug bites.

DOCTOR: A dreadfully big bug, I’m afraid. They were the mark of a Nosferatu—a vampire.

ACE: Cor! You don’t mean there’s a vampire on this planet! But—why didn’t Nirgends end up like these poor blokes?

DOCTOR: Someone wants to turn her into a vampire. I wonder if she’s been offered immortal life. She told us it was insects, but I can’t say how much she really knows. Dear, dear….I have the most unpleasant sense…

ACE: What’s wrong, Professor?

DOCTOR: Foogus said she’s never heard of vampires…Nirgends said there were insects…

(Something flies overhead—something that looks and sounds like a bat. The DOCTOR stares after it for a moment.)

DOCTOR: Come on, Ace. We’d better have a chat with Nirgends.

(Meanwhile, the other three are looking at the DOCTOR and ACE suspiciously. They whisper among themselves before FOOGUS walks over to the DOCTOR. MAKPESE and JINGEL follow her.)

FOOGUS: Doctor, nothing like this ever happened before you and Ace came.

DOCTOR: Oh, dear. Seemes like it always turns into this. You think we’re responsible for the deaths, don’t you?


DOCTOR: You’re mistaken. How about if we head back to the cave and have a chat with Nirgends over a cup of tea. She may be  able to straighten this out.

JINGEL: Oh, no!

FOOGUS: If you take us back to the cave, how do we know you won’t kill all of us?

DOCTOR: If we wanted to kill you, wouldn’t we have done so by now?

JINGEL: We don’t know how the mind of a criminal works.

DOCTOR: I’m sure it doesn’t work like my mind. Look. Just take us back to the cave—it’s important we talk with Nirgends. She could help us find out what’s going on. I don’t care if you threaten us and shove us around. We need to speak with your leader.

MAKPESE (To FOOGUS): He may be telling the truth. If we don’t trust him, we may lose our chance of going away from here.


(SCENE: The search party arrives at the cave full of people. MAKPESE and JINGEL shove the DOCTOR and ACE into the room as FOOGUS speaks. NIRGENDS, meanwhile, has been resting her head against the cave wall, and sitting on a rock. She is very pale.)

FOOGUS: We have found Rumis and Remiss—our visitors killed them.

 (Hubbub from the crowd. The DOCTOR and ACE are tied.)

ACE: Ow! Watch it!

NIRGENDS: What’s the meaning of this nonsense?

FOOGUS: We found the bodies of Rumis and Remiss, drained of blood, under a bush. This sort of death never happened before these two came. Don’t you think that’s a trifle odd?

NIRGENDS: I think the Doctor and Ace have been with me all along—until they were with you.

DOCTOR: Your Highness, allow me to make a comment. How did you say you acquired the marks on your neck?

NIRGENDS: The insect bites, Doctor? I don’t understand. I was bitten overnight, while I was staying at the Baron’s castle on that planet—what did you call it? Earth?

ACE: Are you sure about that?

DOCTOR: The Baron? You didn’t say anyone lived there. I assumed…Who was this Baron?

NIRGENDS: Oh, the Baron Ylietch. He was a very kind man. For several nights he let me stay at his home, gave me food and drink, and asked for nothing in return. We’d sit by the fire in the evening…Oh, but this can’t be of any interest to you, Doctor.

DOCTOR: Did you notice anything—peculiar about this Baron Ylietch?

NIRGENDS: Oh, Doctor, you’re being silly.

DOCTOR: Did you ever see him in daylight? Did he ever dine with you? Did he have fangs? Claws? A curious craving for human flesh?

ACE: A funny Transylvanian accent?

DOCTOR: That’s not funny, Ace.

NIRGENDS: You’re not suggesting the Baron is this…vampire…are you, Doctor?

DOCTOR: Yes, your Highness. I’m suggesting exactly that. I’m suggesting he left those marks on your throat.

NIRGENDS: Doctor, this is ridiculous.

DOCTOR: Is it?

NIRGENDS (After a pause): No, it’s not. But it’s too horrible.

DOCTOR: Ace and I will go search for this Baron, if your people will untie us and let us go.

(As she speaks, NIRGENDS begins to untie the DOCTOR and motions to MERGOS to untie ACE.)

NIRGENDS: Very well, Doctor. I’ll go with you.

DOCTOR: No, no, he’ll turn you into a vampire if he bites you once more. You’ll be safer if you stay here.


DOCTOR: You need to rest—to recuperate from your loss of blood.

NIRGENDS: Doctor, I’m going. I’m responsible for this.


(SCENE: Above ground, the DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS search for the vampire. They wander around on the planet. NIRGENDS is rather fatigued because of the awful climate and her loss of blood, but she tries to hide it.)

ACE: This is like looking for a stray puppy.

DOCTOR: A poorly behaved stray puppy.


(SCENE: Time has passed. The DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS are still searching. ACE finds footprints in the dust and dirt.)

ACE: Doctor! Look.

(The DOCTOR and NIRGENDS come and look at the footprints.)

DOCTOR: The game is afoot.

(They follow the footprints, which lead them to a hole in the ground.)

NIRGENDS: Doctor, here’s another underground cave. There aren’t very many. Let’s take a look around.

(They descend into the cave, wander through dark tunnels, and come across a makeshift earthbox. The DOCTOR lifts the lid and they see the BARON asleep inside.)

NIRGENDS (After pause): What do we do, now that we’ve found him?

ACE: How about if I stick some Nitro-9 in his box.

DOCTOR: I’m afraid that option wouldn’t help us here, Ace. Let’s get him back to his castle before he wakes up, and leave him there where he belongs.

NIRGENDS: You have a peaceful solution for everything, Doctor.

DOCTOR: Well, almost everything.

(ACE breaks off a stalactite before they go, and she tucks it under her arm. The three of them carry the earthbox out of the cave and head for the TARDIS.)


(SCENE: The DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS are outside the TARDIS. They set down the earthbox while the DOCTOR unlocks the TARDIS door. NIRGENDS holds the door open while the other two carry the earthbox into the TARDIS. Inside, they carry the box across the control room and place it in a storage room. ACE nails the box shut while the other two go back to the consul room.)

DOCTOR: Destination: Hungary.

(The center column of the consul rises and falls as the TARDIS takes off.)

NIRGENDS: I’ll stay with Ace, in case the Baron awakes.

DOCTOR: I’ll be there in a millisecond.

(NIRGENDS goes back to the room where ACE guards over the earthbox. ACE picks up a small wooden stake.)

ACE: The Doctor said you might need this.


ACE: To ward off the vampire.

NIRGENDS: Ah (sighing as she sinks into a chair) I’m still having trouble seeing…the Baron…as a vampire.

(The DOCTOR enters the room and plops down between ACE and NIRGENDS.)

DOCTOR: Here—I’ve got some medicine to treat you for loss of blood.

(The DOCTOR tries to rise, but NIRGENDS holds him down feebly.)

NIRGENDS: Doctor, since this TARDIS travels in time, would it be possible to go back to the moment before the vampire first bit me, and to prevent it from happening?

DOCTOR (Running a hand through his hair): It might be possible, your Highness, but quite difficult—and risky. We’d have to drop off both you and the vampire—otherwise you’d each have a double.

NIRGENDS: A double.

DOCTOR: Yes, a double. There would be the you that I’m speaking to, and another you still in the castle.


DOCTOR: Then Ace and I would have to get back to the TARDIS, set the coordinates for the correct time, and hope the TARDIS gets bacvk to the castle—not only at the right moment, but also before the present vampire harms the present you. Understand?

NIRGENDS: I think so.

ACE: I’m glad one of us does.

DOCTOR (To NIRGENDS): Don’t worry—you’ll recuperate; it takes time, you know. Relax.

NIRGENDS: You forgot to say, “Your Highness.”

DOCTOR: Yes, well, it won’t be the first time. Now it’s time for the Doctor to give you your medicine.


(SCENE: the TARDIS lands in the front hall of the BARON’s castle. The DOCTOR and ACE carry the earthbox out of the TARDIS and to another room, where they set it on the stone floor. Meanwhile, NIRGENDS follows.)

ACE: Maybe we should kill him—before he causes any more deaths.

DOCTOR: Ace, do you think that hasn’t occurred to me? I don’t think we should shed unnecessary blood….On the other hand, if he lives, he could cause many more deaths. There could be a village nearby….

(The BARON stirs inside the box.)

ACE: We’ve got trouble.

(The BARON shoves the lid up, tearing out the nails, and the lid clunks to the floor. An unhappy vampire appears.)

DOCTOR: Wake up on the wrong side of the coffin?

BARON: Good evening.

ACE: You’re taking things awfully calmly.

BARON (Coldly, towering over the other three): I have a calm nature. However, my nature seems to have been opposed. How unpleasant. (Turns to NIRGENDS)

NIRGENDS (To BARON): You left these marks on my neck, didn’t you.

BARON: I could make you immortal.

NIRGENDS (As though he never spoke): You have a strange way of treating your house guests. One would expect better manners from an aristocrat.

BARON: I need blood in order to survive. You needed shelter, I needed blood. I thought it was a satisfactory arrangement.

NIRGENDS: I trusted you. I even liked you.

BARON: You have a certain charm yourself. You see, I want to give you immortality.

(As the BARON speaks, ACE comes up behind him. She beats him over the head with her baseball bat. It only makes him angry. He swerves around with a snarl, and the DOCTOR thrusts the stalactite into his chest. The vampire screams and dies. After he’s dead, the three silently stand over the body.)

DOCTOR: Well….You could say something about beating a vampire bat with a bat, if you were the sort of person who’d say such a thing. Of course, I’m not…. Your Highness, are you ready to take your people to another planet?

(NIRGENDS doesn’t answer for a moment; she continues to stare at the corpse. She slowly looks up at the DOCTOR before she answers in a whisper.)

NIRGENDS: Yes, Doctor.

(NIRGENDS nearly faints. The DOCTOR and ACE help her up.)


(SCENE: The camera follows the DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS into the cave room that’s full of people. (ACE has changed into her usual ensemble.) The cave still looks like a prehistoric cocktail party, but the guests aren’t having fun. There is a great deal of murmuring when the people see the DOCTOR and ACE with NIRGENDS.)

NIRGENDS: Listen, everyone. We found the vampire—he’s gone. Now are you willing to come with the Doctor to a new planet?

FOOGUS: What happened to this—vampire?

ACE: The Doctor killed him with a stake through the heart. Here’s his jacket.

(ACE holds up the BARON’s bloody jacket. There is more murmuring—this time rather admiring. The Doctor, that is, not the spiffy coat)

NIRGENDS: Who wants to come with us?

(Everyone, except FOOGUS, steps forward.)

NIRGENDS: Well, Foogus?

FOOGUS (After pause): How do I know your…friends haven’t threatened you into saying they’re innocent? How do I know anything you’ve said is true?

NIRGENDS: Have you ever heard me tell a lie? Foogus, you don’t understand. The vampire stowed away on the Doctor’s ship.

(There is a long pause.)

FOOGUS: Farewell.


(SCENE: TARDIS consul room. NIRGEND’s people pour into the TARDIS. The people gape at their surroundings in amazement, and they make sundry comments.)

CROWD: Strange…It’s amazing…I want one of these for my birthday…It’s bigger on the inside than on the outside.

DOCTOR (Referring to the last comment): Typical response.

(The DOCTOR works at the consul to take the TARDIS away; ACE directs the crowd through the door that leads to other rooms. NIRGENDS goes to rest up. This is all happening simultaneously. The TARDIS then takes off, and ACE comes back to the consul room.)

DOCTOR: Here we go—wherever we’re going.

ACE: Eh, Professor, don’t you have a place in mind?

DOCTOR: I thought of Castrovalva, but I don’t think the inhabitants would appreciate having strangers come live with them. How about a bit of research.

(The DOCTOR types up something on the computer built into the consul, and something comes up on the screen. The DOCTOR mutters as he types.)

DOCTOR: We want a planet that preferably has no humanoids….A suitable climate….Ah, here’s one—Dysrepsus….temperate…early stages…no human life has developed…plenty of fresh water. I think they’ll like that.

ACE: Here—I’ll tell Nirgends.

(ACE leaves the consul room as the DOCTOR sets the coordinates for Dysrepsus. The camera follows ACE, who enters a room full of plants, vines, and garden benches. Several of NIRGENDS’s people are in this room, and ACE walks over to MERGOS.)

ACE: Oy, the Professor’s picked a planet he thinks you lot’ll take a fancy to. The way it sounds, you’d have to be mad to not like it.

(The TARDIS lands with its usual wheezing sound, and MERGOS listens.)

MERGOS: Oh—are we there already?

(ACE and MERGOS head toward the consul room, as many people do the same.)

ACE: Yeah—the TARDIS makes overnight express seem like a slug.

MERGOS: What’s a sl—

ACE: Never mind.

(ACE and MERGOS enter the consul room, where they see the DOCTOR leaning against the consul table.)

DOCTOR: We’re on Dysrepsus. Are you going to congratulate me?

ACE: Oh, I think you’ve congratulated yourself enough, Professor. You don’t need our help.



(SCENE: the TARDIS almost completely covers a very small island in a large lake. The banks of the lake are miles away, in the distance.)

DOCTOR (Voice over): Ah, let’s not step out just yet.