The humid heat of the night pressed down on
Ganatus as he waited for Trysdon to come relieve him of his lookout post
by the lake. The two of them, along with Maritus, Elysus, and Ganatus’
younger brother Antodus, had come to the swamp on an expedition for
resources. It marked four years since the last rain and one year since
the Thals had left their dead crops on the plateau in search of food and
in search of hope.
“Nice night.” Trysdon said facetiously.
“Glad you’re finally here.” Ganatus replied with a smile. “Nothing to
report. I’m going to turn in.”
“I shall see you in the morning.” Trysdon said.
Ganatus nodded and walked back to the small camp they had set up on the
driest land they could find. He settled into his mat and blanket and
allowed the others’ snores to lull him to sleep.
When they awoke that morning, Trysdon was nowhere to be found. It was as
though he had simply disappeared. The four remaining men split into
pairs to search for him. Ganatus and Antodus went to the lookout post
where he was last seen and Maritus and Elysus headed farther down the
“Look!” Antodus said pointing to Trysdon’s abandoned torch lying on the
bank. As Ganatus crouched down to examine it, they heard a cry from the
others. The two brothers hurried towards the noises of struggle. When
they reached them, Maritus lie in the grips of a multi-tentacle swamp
monster as Elysus held onto his arm pulling as hard as he could.
“Help me!” Elysus cried to them.
By the time Ganatus and Antodus could brace themselves in the mud and
grip onto Elysus, Maritus was barely visible above the surface of the
lake. The creature’s menacing eyes bore down on the Thals. Maritus let
out a gurgled scream and disappeared into the water completely. The
creature was no longer visible and Elysus’ resistance ceased.
An eerie still followed. The three Thals looked at one another and then
back to the lake. A swirling vortex began to form in the water, growing
rapidly in speed. Suddenly Elysus fell to the ground. His body started
to quickly slide into the vortex.
“No!” Antodus cried out and threw himself down to hold onto Elysus.
Ganatus hurried to grab onto Antodus and anchor them. As soon as he made
contact with his brother, all three cried out in agony. A telepathic
force moved between their minds deep into their souls. It was the
consciousness of the mutations in the lake, and they were in pain,
terrible pain. The three were linked now by the consciousness and they
could hear the mutations’ thoughts in their heads. They were the
thoughts of thousands of Thals crying out for salvation, trapped in the
lake as mutations from the war. Five hundred years of suffering after
the Daleks detonated the neutron bomb, and it all poured into their
brains at once.
Ganatus opened his eyes to see Elysus slipping deeper into the vortex.
He yelled to Antodus to let go, but Antodus would not budge.
“Save yourselves!” Elysus cried.
“We must go!” Ganatus yelled to Antodus.
“I won’t leave him.” Antodus said. It was too late though. Elysus was
lost to the vortex. His clothing bubbled up moments later.
“Antodus!” Ganatus said sternly. He grabbed his brother by the vest and
dragged him away from the lake. He shoved him forward into the dry
swampland and said, “Run!”
Antodus began to run, Ganatus following directly behind him. They fled
the swamp back to the boulders that led to the hillside where the Thals’
camp was located for the time being. Once they were out of the
swamplands, Antodus stopped and turned to Ganatus, his face full of
“You felt it too, Ganatus. I know you did.” He said to his brother.
“Listen to me, Antodus” Ganatus grabbed him by the shoulders and looked
at him very seriously. “We must never speak of this to the others.”
“But the lake, the creatures in it...They are us!” Antodus whispered as
“Not anymore,” Ganatus said. “They are mutated beyond recognition now.
That is what we will tell everyone. There is no hope for those
mutations. They only live to kill now. Do you understand?”
Antodus said nothing. He stared into the distance, deep into the thicket
of the swamplands. They heard someone approaching from the hills and
turned to find Kristas and their leader Temmosus.
“There you are.” Temmosus said to the brothers. “We’ve come to find you.
We have news.”
“What is it?” Ganatus asked.
“What has happened? Where are the others?” Temmosus asked, looking
around in vain for the dead men.
“They were lost to the swamp.” Ganatus said quietly.
“It is full of mutations.” Antodus said. The brothers shared a look.
“What a terrible loss.” Kristas said after a moment.
“Indeed.” Temmosus nodded solemnly.
“What is your news?” Ganatus asked finally.
“There was a disturbance in the petrified jungle. Alydon has gone to
investigate.” Temmosus told them.
“A disturbance?” Antodus asked.
“A strange noise. Nothing can live there, so we want to know what it
is.” Temmosus explained. “Come, let us go back to the others at camp.
You both could use a rest.”
Ganatus and Antodus nodded and followed Temmosus and Kristas back to
© Copyright Lorena Gay, Andy W. Clift & Doctor Who Online, 2012.
Andy W. Clift