Dreams of Shansheeth

It was happening again. The sound wasn’t so much a weeping, as a moaning or a wailing.

A keen feeling of sadness was all-pervading.

There was a weird stench in the air. The sky was brown but burning, perhaps reflecting the lava-featured landscape surrounding the valley.

The battlefield hadn’t been cleared of the dead. It had been converted into an enormous graveyard.

The burials already stretched as far as the eye could see, with their distinctive headstones.

Even the unknown soldiers were afforded the luxury of a lead-lined coffin.

The services were being conducted by the Shansheeth, Intergalactic Undertakers who looked like priestly vultures.

The Wide Wing of the High Shansheeth Nest had sent the very best Funeral Fleets.

They’d come in search of slain heroes and had agreed to put the deceased to rest.

Funeral after funeral after funeral… The services consisted of the playing of ‘The Cradle of the Lost Chord‘, a sort of musical reminder played on harp-like instruments. The Shansheeth claws plucked away, and the memories were reawakened. So;  deeply spiritual memorials, remembering the deceased, followed by the actual burials.

A mass service was never on the cards… It might seem more practical, but the honouring of each individual would remain… individual. Great time and effort was given to each unique loss.

A further tinge of grief was added by the fact that the heroes’ side had lost the battle.

Died and lost. Irreplaceable. Only a void where they should be, by rights. How would life play out now, without them?

The Universe shivered.

Everything went black and there was a lurch – like a zero-gravity forward roll.

Then he was there. The cold secret. He just stood there, unwavering as the whole of Hell flickered behind his eye. Unnerving. Content to be broken.



Clyde awoke in a cliché of cold sweat.

The bed was empty. Of course. Rani was away on her Journalist Work Experience thingy.

The flat was sort of tidy for a student residence, despite lots of nick-naks. Clyde looked around the room, registering the familiar furniture of his surroundings. The drawing board, the his n hers PCs, and his laptop with ‘The Dark Crystal’ blu-ray next to it. Rani’s pinboards. Clyde’s artwork. His scanner. The phones.

The souvenirs. Not the empty beer cans and wine bottles of many a ‘young ones’ home. But rather; strange bits of rock, fragments of bizarre armour, some jars of pink goo, a stack of triple-deadlocked luggage, and the like…

He was wide awake. He knew that he really was home & that he was safe. That the dream was a dream. You had to know when to take a bad dream seriously and when to laugh it off. It could be a matter of life or death, or merely one of saving your sanity.

Strange dreams weren’t a rarity in Clyde’s life. Only a couple of years ago he was living a different life. The time of dealing with Aliens (with a capital A). He’d had dreams and nightmares about them all. Some especially bad ones about the Giant Spiders, and also the Ha’rik, and of course the Trickster, before his final destruction. Then of course there was that old one about the Giant Beetle and the Moon Judoon and everyone suffocating to death. But this particular nightmare was in a league of it’s own…..

So actually, no… He didn’t feel safe. The despair was even stronger than last time. A recurring nightmare…

Thankfully Clyde didn’t see himself as a prophet, haunted by visions of the future. Usually.

This time he was more than worried. He’d lost count of how many times he’d dreamt this.

He instantly confirmed that this was not a guilt thing. Not an ‘I don’t save the day much any more… Tsk! Tsk!’ thing. It was just how life had played out. He was fine with himself. He was even fine with Manchester. He missed his Mum’s cooking though, even though he was quite a good cook himself. More than that, he missed his Mum.

He looked over at his drawing board. He gazed at the comic strip artwork clipped to it. He saw and remembered that he’d been drawing the Shansheeth the day before. It didn’t calm him. He didn’t assume that the drawing had spurred on the dream. He perceived an affirmation of prophecy. The creative process often did that. Usually in little ways.

He’d met the Shansheeth before. They were real! It was during the last time he saw The Doctor. The bunch they’d met were a renegade lot who’d lost the plot. They’d wanted to steal the Doctor’s TARDIS and stop death! Death itself. Not entirely practical, but he could now understand…

Anyway, the gang had ‘Kentucky-Fried’ that rebel lot. But apparently, your orthodox Shansheeth is thoroughly decent. They weren’t the scary bit of the dream, though…

Clyde was struck again by the truth – the obvious cause of his visions. He didn’t want to dwell on it. That the first time he’d met the Doctor, he’d touched the TARDIS and been given Artron Energy. That had enabled the Doctor to body swap back and forth with Clyde across the Universe the time they’d met the Shansheeth! There had been no obvious lingering mental link to the Doctor or the TARDIS since. Other than this…

This strange connection. He’d told no one about the nightmare. Only his laptop, which was in reality The Xylok Subset. Clyde had confided in ‘Junior Smith’ about his visions, but the laptop had no answers. All it could do was to promise to keep the secret and to monitor the Temporal-Spatial Fabric for any approaching danger. So there was nothing to be done. And Clyde didn’t want to burden anyone else. Share the doom? Na!

He diverted his mind back to the strip he’d been drawing. He chuckled internally at the crazy idea about a leaf as a symbol for a key to a solution. How did he come up with that? Why?

The diversion had wiped the stress in Clyde’s head. Then he peered over at an old comic page, a splash panel he’d done from a few years ago that sat next to the drawing board. It too had a Shansheeth on it. And over it’s feathers the caption read: ‘The Shansheeth are waiting. But for what? Or who…?’

Clyde Langer sat perfectly still as the hot tears poured down his cheeks…



  1. @wolfweed

    Loved this. Really intriguing and full of nice touches. Loved the Dark Crystal reference. Also the leaf reference. Think you’ve also managed to capture Clyde’s character pretty well. I had no trouble believing that this was the same Clyde of the SJA adventures.

    Good art too…

    More please.

  2. Thank you for introducing me to Clyde, @wolfweed. The Sarah Jane Adventures were not aired in the US — that I know of — so I ended up going to the Tardis Data Core to get background on the unfamiliar names. It definitely made more sense once I realized Rani was a South-Asian high school student, not THE Rani.

    Is this the first part of a longer story? You have me wanting more. Why was Clyde crying at the end? Inquiring Minds want to know.

    Wonderful artwork. I liked better than what they had up on the TDC.


  3. @JimTheFish & @TardisBlue

    Thanks. The first picture is mine. The 2nd is a screengrab of Clyde’s art from SJA ‘The Empty Planet’.

    This story is a one-off, kind of an epilogue to the SJA, & kind of  a prequel to the 50th Anniversary.

    Clyde is crying because he knows that someone important is going to die. Although it’s not spelt out, it’s pretty obvious if you put 2 & 2 together. There’s also a dread fear of ‘Mr i’. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure that one out, either.

    I was really trying to say stuff without actually saying anything, so I suppose I’ve succeeded! If there’s anything that’s keeping you mystified, I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions…

    When the 50th is absent of Shansheeth, & ruins my predictions, I will plead that this was simply a Fan-Fiction Dream. Continuity & canon will remain intact!

    If you haven’t seen the SJA, I heartily recommend them. You should certainly check this one out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EZ0DCS0YVI

    I’d love to do some more Fan-Fiction, but it just sort of writes itself, so we’ll wait & see…….

  4. @Wolfweed (+@TardisBlue)

    Thanks for this @wolfweed. I’ve been doing some catching up today in the blogs section and this and @JimTheFish s reimagining are really great (I still have a couple of eps of his to catch up on).

    Clyde was probably my favourite support character in SJA. He was given some meaty storylines over the years, and I think this seems a very logical progression of his life. In a way, he would be a great character for the main show to revisit in the future (perhaps after a couple of years). I think you’ve reminded me that I should rewatch a couple of the SJAs in the runup to the anniversary, so many thanks.


    I didn’t realise that SJA hadn’t been shown in the US. The target audience was younger than Who, but a lot of it is charming and knowledgable in the way that good kids TV has always been.

    “Death of the Doctor” in particular is a good story, and perhaps we should try to locate it for a joint watch in the future? It may have more resonance if we watch it after we do a retrospective with Jo Grant for Pertwee. She comes back, and the relationship between her and Sarah Jane, Doctor Eleven, Clyde and the others is very well done. It’s also the only opportunity to see RTD writing for Matt Smith, and I came away regretting he didn’t dip in more.

  5. @Wolfweed & @PhaseShift,

    Thanks, both of you.

    Wolfweed’s post had the link to the SJA story which his fan fiction expanded on.  So I was able to watch it.  I’d support @PhaseShift‘s suggestion that we consider watching it some time, for all the reasons he said, plus Sarah Jane was my first companion.  There’s nothing like your first, is there?

    I was wrong about 1 thing  series 1 of the SJA did air on the US cable channel SciFi (now Syfy) in 2008..  The rest didn’t.  BBCAmerica really doesn’t show children’s programming  — unless Top Gear and Master Chef and seemingly endless reruns of Kitchen Nightmares count!


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