Episode Breakdown – Dead Man Walking
Writer - Matt Jones
Director – Andy Goddard
Producer – Richard Stokes
Breakdown by DJ Forrest
In the Autopsy room at the Hub, Dr Martha Jones pulls back the green cloth covering Owen Harper’s dead body. He lies naked upon the metal tray a large gaping bullet wound in his chest. His eyes closed lips blue. Attending are Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones and Toshiko Sato. Martha in her green gown and head gear and mask around her neck leans against the autopsy table, and adjusts the mic. The team watch from the steps, the curtain closed behind them. They are silent. Saddened.
“The time is twenty one thirty. This is Dr. Martha Jones. Autopsy on Owen Harper, Caucasian, age twenty seven. Torchwood Officer 565. Time of death witnessed at approximately twenty thirty. Autopsy begins.”
Ianto looks on as Martha lifts her mask to her nose and mouth and collects up the large chest saw. As Martha positions the saw Captain Jack Harkness barges into the room and yells at her to STOP! Startled, she halts and looks up, as do the rest of the team.
“Nobody touches him till I get back, is that clear?” Jack insists to a stunned audience. As quickly as he enters, he leaves.
In the quiet night time streets the SUV pulls up outside a bar. Jack leaps from the vehicle and bounds down the steps towards the downstairs drinking house and thumps on the door. He enters the establishment and pushes his way through, knocking a drinker. He’s stopped before he can go much further by a burly bouncer. He grunts his disapproval. A young girl at a table calls over to the heavy.
“It’s alright. I’ve been looking forward to seeing the Captain again.” She tells him holding a tarot card showing Jack wearing a suit of armour.
A short while later Jack is sat opposite her at the table as she turns over the cards.
“Can you see where it is?”
“You’ll owe me a favour.” She reminds him.
The tarot girl turns over a card showing an old religious building.
“They hid it in a church?”
“No. When the people found out what it could do, they built the church on top of it.” Jack scrambled to his feet, he knew of the church in question. “If I told you not to use it, would you listen?”
“Shouldn’t you know the answer to that?” As Jack leaves the girl holds up the card showing the grim reaper.
“I do, that’s the problem.”
Standing outside St Mary’s Church, a long since disused building, Jack stares at the task ahead. He kicks down the Church sign before making his way inside. It’s gloomy inside the building, only a dim light from the front of the church caused by flashing amber lights. Jack treads lightly, his flashlight picking its way along the walls. As Jack shines the torch past a fallen bell, he hears the snuffling grunts of something very familiar. He freezes and closes his hand over the beam. All around him, are sleeping Weevils. He glances cautiously about him, removing his hand from the torchlight beam to look across the church. Where can it be? The Weevils are heavy sleepers and snore away oblivious to the leather booted Torchwood agent stepping in between them. As he steps through the throng of sleeping alien creatures his foot hooks a limb. Gently so as not to waken the creature he carefully lifts his foot away and takes stock before moving off again.
At a shrine at the front of the church, an array of flashing amber lights hang above a stack of boxes and square objects. Jack pulls open a wooden trunk full of toy dolls of both genders and inadvertently kicks over empty food tins stacked up beside it. He holds his breath, cowering, but aside from gasps from snoring Weevils, all is safe to proceed. Jack returns his gaze to the trunk and winces as each doll rattles as he moves it gently away. Finding nothing remotely interesting he shines his torch up towards the sizeable pile of even more dolls, an electric guitar and a dragon gargoyle till his eyes and torchlight settle on the light beaming brightly from a large square hole in the wall, where hidden tightly in the centre is another box with a handle. The object Jack has been looking for. His hand reaches slowly towards it, the handle rattles disturbing some creatures who turn in their sleep. Jack winces again. Jack reaches in again and hits the organ keys. It awakens the sleeping Weevils. It’s now or never. Jack snatches up the box as the Weevils growl their response.
Back in the Hub, Ianto leans back on the sofa, awaiting Jack’s return. Martha out of her operating clothing and back in civvies takes a seat beside him. Gwen and Toshiko wait at their workstations when the door alarm rings out around the Hub and Jack hurriedly arrives and runs past them towards his office. His white t-shirt bloodied by the battle for the contents of the box.
“Jack?” Gwen calls after him before following after him, the others follow too.
In his office, Jack puts the box on his cluttered desk and opens the lid.
“Jack, what have you got?” Gwen asks as she stares at his dirty jacket, his back to her.
Hesitantly, Jack reaches into the metal box and lifts out…another metal gauntlet.
“Oh my God.” Exclaims Tosh.
“You can’t use it, not after Suzie.” Gwen says, aware of how that turned out.
“I’m using the glove. I’m bringing Owen back.” Jack tells them.
“Are you really going to use that after what happened last time?” Gwen says as Jack hurries down the steps of the Autopsy room to Owen’s waiting body. “Jack, the gloves are dangerous. At best, it’ll give us two minutes, at worst it…Who knows what will happen?” Gwen hopes he will change his mind.
“It’s not up for discussion.”
“I thought the glove didn’t work for you.”
“Different glove, different circumstances. This time it has to work for me, I’m not going to give it any choice.” Jack looks across at his team gathered around the Room. “Ok, if you’ve got anything you need to say to Owen, now’s your chance.”
He dons the metal gauntlet and in the same fashion as before, places his hand on Owen’s head to make the connection.
“Owen, it’s Jack, can you hear me? Owen, hear my voice. Get a hold of it, let it draw you out, pull you out.” Jack calls to Owen.
The heart monitor continues to flat line.
“I’m not getting any vital signs.” Ianto tells the others as he monitors the display.
“Owen, it’s me, Jack.” There’s a sudden connection and Jack smiles relieved.
“He’s coming. He’s coming.”
And he does. Screaming
Horrified at the dead man coming back to life, Martha cries out.
“Oh my God.”
“What happened? Where am I? Oh God, I’m shot. He shot me!”
“Owen, you need to listen to me. We don’t have long.” Jack tells Owen, his voice strained from the continued connection. He strokes his hand against Owen’s cheek.
“Where am I? This isn’t a hospital, this is the Autopsy Room. What am I doing here. Jack. Oh no, what’s that? What’s that?”
“The Resurrection Glove. We lost you, but I brought you back.”
“How long have I got?”
“We’re at thirty seconds and counting.” Ianto calls over.
“Oh no, Jesus. Really?”
“Ok team, say your goodbyes. Gwen?”
Still in shock at seeing Owen back, Gwen’s mind is a blank. She shrugs.
“Gwen, no offence, but I’ve only got two minutes to live. Tosh?”
Toshiko hurries over.
“I’m gonna miss you.” She whispers in his ear. “I love you. I always have.”
“Owen, I need the code for the alien morgue. You’re the only one who knows it.”
“You brought me back for that? FOR THAT?”
“Jack, it’s 231165, ok?”
“Sorry, I had to, to help you prepare. I know what death is. I want you to be ready.” Owen grips his hand.
“There’s nothing, just darkness.”
“Be brave. Owen! Owen!”
The heart monitor slowly stops beating till it finally flat lines. The connection between Jack and Owen is severed. Owen is dead. Jack continues to hold Owen’s hand, heartbroken at losing him once again. The team watching feel their emotions break once more.
“I’m really going to need that hand back.”
Jack can’t believe his ears and turns to face Owen, the man is no longer dead.
“Two minutes twenty.” Ianto calls out stopwatch in his hand.
“Look, I’m not using the glove.” He shows the others.
“But I’m still here.”
“Ah, here we go again.” Ianto shrugs.
Jack shrugs off the gauntlet and throws it onto the floor by Gwen’s feet. She gingerly steps back from it, her eyes never leaving it. Owen sits up. Gasping for breath he glances over at Toshiko, their eyes meet for mere moments before both look away. He grips Jack’s hand again as he tries to understand why he’s not dead.
“Maybe I cheated it somehow. Maybe I wasn't meant to die so I'm being kept alive. Ah, somebody pass me my pants please.” Owen glances down, his eyes taking in the enormous wound in his chest. “Woah!”
“It’s ok. I hate to say it but you’ll get used to it.” Jack assures him.
From the upper floor, the fingers of the gauntlet begin to move slightly.
Up and dressed, Owen bounds up the stairs of the Autopsy room into the main area, stethoscope around his ears, listening to his own chest.
“No heartbeat. There’s no pulse.” He says removing the stethoscope.
“Owen, you can’t lead the investigation.” Martha insists.
“Because you’re the subject of it…and because you’re dead.” She adds.
“Are you sure about that?”
“Yes I’m sure
“Well, I’m ok. Look, there’s electrical activity in my brain.
“That shouldn’t be possible.”
“Well I’m still here, and actually, I feel amazing.”
“So where’s the power coming from?”
“Suzie survived because she was draining energy from me. Owen could be doing the same to Jack."
“I feel fine.”
As Owen wipes the last of the blood from his mouth, Toshiko runs the scanner across Jack’s arms and body while he stands in his own office. Toshiko explains the procedure to Martha as she watches.
“The Philemon filter detects biochemical energy. It’s how we knew Suzie was draining Gwen.”
“Nothing. There’s no connection between them. It’s not Jack.”
“I told you, I feel fine.”
“So what’s keeping me ticking? I mean, the energy in my brain must be coming from somewhere.”
Gwen flinches as Ianto walks past her carrying the glove in his hands.
“This glove is different to the other one. Maybe different gloves do different things?”
“How many are there?” Martha asks.
“Two. Well, they tend to come in pairs. We fished the first one out of the harbour last year.”
“But where does it come from originally?”
“Good question. No idea.” Gwen leaves her desk, the glove spooking her. “Tosh, do an analysis of the glove, see if you can find out. Owen, I don’t need to tell you that you’re under quarantine.” Jack instructs from his desk.
“You don’t, and yet you still do.”
Sitting up on the gantry besides the painting of the red dragon on the wall, Gwen sits and waits for Rhys to pick up the phone. Snapping awake, he reaches over to answer phone on the bedside table.
“Hey.” He replies sleepily.
“Oh, I woke you up, I’m sorry.”
“No, no, you didn’t. So, what’s up? You coming home soon? You know, tonight, next week? In time for our wedding? I was only teasing.”
“No, it’s not that, it’s not that.”
“What’s happened, what’s wrong?” Rhys asks hearing sobs from the other end of the phone. “Are you alright? Gwen?”
“A tough day.” Gwen’s voice breaks. “A tough day.” She says overcome with emotion.
Fully dressed Owen sits on the Autopsy table and examines his hand, and touches his chest, just as Martha enters the room.
“You’re kind of cute when you frown.” He tells her as he jumps off the table.
“The energy from the glove is spreading out through your body, changing its composition. If you keep this on, we should be able to monitor changes as they happen.” She says strapping a larger than life wristwatch to his arm.
“You’ve stopped flirting with me. I mean, it’s alright. I wouldn’t flirt with me in my condition either, but, er…is it still necrophilia if I'm conscious?”
Martha sets up the monitor using the scanning device from earlier with the blue flashing light.
“What was it like to die?”
“I don't think I should say.”
“I’m not sure the living should know. The living! It might change the way you live your life.” Owen tells her.
“You tell me right now Owen.” Martha insists as Owen holds up an X-ray image towards the light.
“It’s hard to describe. There aren’t the words for it. It’s like, er…”
“There was a light, a tiny speck of light. And I was rushing towards it like, down a corridor. Then it glowed brighter and brighter. Then suddenly there were these gates, these big pearly gates and there was this old geezer and he said, ‘you’ve been a very naughty boy’.”
“There was nothing. Well, not that I can remember. Suzie said it was different.”
“What did she see?”
“She said there was something beyond life. Something in the darkness, something moving.”
Suddenly Owen collapses.
In the darkness, Owen flails. He hears voices whispering all around him but as he looks all around him, all he sees is total darkness. He calls out to Dr. Jones.
“MARTHA!” The voices become louder in the darkness, it terrifies him. He shouts out louder. MARTHAAAA!” He begins to flail, swiping his arms out at invisible things, and screams fearfully.
Back in the Autopsy room, Martha struggles with Owen. She calls Jack for support.
“JACK, HELP. I NEED HELP NOW!”
“I DON’T WANT TO DIE.”
Jack races into the room quickly taking Owen from Martha and supports the terrified young man.
Owen is still fighting the invisible forces in the void.
“He just collapsed. Owen, Owen can you hear me? Calm down.”
Owen suddenly returns to the present and grips hold of Jack, scared to let go.
“What happened? What happened?”
“I was in the darkness. There was something…something there.”
“I don’t know. It was waiting for me.” Terrified he breaks down against Jack, who comforts him.
“Come on, it’s alright.”
In the Conference room Martha takes the floor.
“Owen’s body’s undergoing some kind of transformation. His cells aren’t decaying, they’re changing.”
“An energy I can’t identify. But it’s growing, all the time. He’s about forty percent something else.”
“I don’t feel any different.”
“We need to find out where this energy’s coming from.”
“Presumably it’s the same place as the glove, which, judging from its atomic make up isn’t anywhere local.” Toshiko adds.
“Owen said he went somewhere when he collapsed. Could the energy and the glove come from the same dark place?” Gwen asks.
“What are we talking about? Another dimension? Parallel universe?”
“Yes, guys, I’m still here.”
“Sorry. Ok, you said there was something in the darkness waiting for you.”
“I felt it. I didn’t see it.”
“Where do you think you went?”
“I don’t know.”
“So what now?”
“Ianto, check our internal system readings for any dimensional anomalies in the last twelve hours.” Jack calls as he and Martha head off in one direction while Owen heads off in another. Toshiko catches him up.
“Owen. What I said before, when I thought you were dying…”
“I’m not dying. I’m dead. I’m a headless chicken. I just haven’t stopped running about yet.”
“Well when I told you I…”
“Yeah. You didn’t mean it, I know.”
“Yes, I mean, you didn’t say anything before and then suddenly I’m dying and it’s like, I love you. That’s not love, Tosh, that’s grief. You’re losing something, so suddenly you desperately desire it. Textbook response.”
“Yeah, but Owen I…Don’t go.” She calls after him as he heads for the stairs.
“I’m just going to the toilet, alright, for crying out loud!” At the top of the stairs, in the hothouse he pauses and leans forwards as a whispering voice calls out.
Startled Owen glances about him and immediately slips into the void world, where the voices swamp his mind.
“Abatha duroc minus mill khabaal.” A dark sinister voice growls.
Owen whirls back in the room gasping with fear. He takes a few teetering steps forward before turning back to face the entire room, his eyes as black as coals. Owen’s voice changes.
“Melkurian abatha duroc minus mill khabaal.”
Within moments, Owen reverts back to his old self as he stares at his reflection in the glass.
Downstairs in the Autopsy room, things aren’t as clear cut. Martha sees for herself that the Philemon detector is picking up some startling readings. She hurries to find Jack, busy at his desk.
“Have you seen Owen?”
“He was with Toshiko.”
“The energy in him just went off the scale.”
Jack scrambles from his chair and calls after Owen, but there’s no sign of him.
“Owen? Owen?” He calls.
“He said he needed the loo.” Toshiko replies.
“Owen’s digestive system’s shut down. He can’t eat or drink, so he certainly doesn’t need to pee.”
Jack tries his mobile. “He’s not answering.” Ianto helps him on with his coat.
“Well he’s not in the Hub.”
“You mean he’s out there?”
“It’s Owen. It’s not like he’s dangerous.”
“You sure about that?”
“You had the power to bring people back to life and you never told UNIT. Why?”
“They would've wanted to use it.”
“I'm on your side, Jack, but Owen's just had a surge of energy that we can't begin to understand. The cells in his body are being transformed into something else. He's about fifty percent human, and that fifty percent is dead. We need to stop thinking about him as Owen.
“I'll find him.”
Owen Harper hits the
night life, the pubs and clubs, entering one club where a Hen party is in full
swing. The background music beats to the
sounds of Roots Manuva and Awfully Deep as Owen downs a few pints of bitter (or
Guinness). A woman, part of the Hen
Party walks over to Owen, dressed as an Angel. Cardiff
“Smile, it won’t kill you. You’re gorgeous, you are.” She says softly. Turning from the bar to look at him she says: “You're gorgeous, you are.” In a sudden movement she grabs Owen and pushes him back against the bar and kisses him, slipping her hand down the front of his trousers.
“Don’t you like me?” She asks hurt by his lack of response.
“Oh, get off me. No blood. Brilliant.” He pushes his way through the crowd of drinkers till he walks straight into Jack.
“How did you find me?”
Jack raises Owen’s arm where the wrist strap from earlier flickers a rapid blue light. Owen pushes Jack away.
“Get off me, Jack. Do you know what you’ve done?” He says shoving Jack hard in the chest. “You don’t care about me. You brought me back for an alarm code.” He says bitterly. Jack grabs him by the coat collar and snarls.
“That is not why I brought you back.”
“Have you any idea what it means to know that your life is over? That that was it? That is Owen Harper’s contribution to the world. You idiot.” Owen lunges for Jack and misses him altogether, crashing into the bar scattering drinks. Jack grabs him and restrains him, but it draws a crowd and some unwanted attention from the bouncers who separate the pair and drag them out of the bar, as Owen continues to yell and shout at Jack and the injustice of his life.
“BE CAREFUL WITH HIM.” Jack yells of the bouncers as they’re led outside.
Outside the nightclub, the Police have arrived. Owen is still enraged.
“GET OFF ME YOU MEAT HEAD. GET OFF!” Owen still wrestles with the bouncers then the Police.
“That’s enough.” Jack insists trying to calm an angered Owen.
“Let go of me.”
“Let’s calm down, shall we?”
“Look, mate. I’m Torchwood.”
“Yeah, of course you are, and I’m MI5.” Owen pushes the police officer who grabs him and slams him against the wall.
“I’m Owen Harper. I work for Torchwood on Special Ops.”
“Special Ops.” Jack laughs adopting a Cockney accent. “What’s he on about? Special needs more like it.” Jack laughs walking past Owen to another police car. Owen is forced towards the back of a waiting police car, his hands cuffed behind his back.
As the police cars drive away, a group of Weevils snarl angrily in the dark street.
In the dull grey Police cell, Jack sits calmly as Owen vents his anger on the door, screaming to be released, insisting that the officers call Police Constable Gwen Cooper.
“I WANT TO MAKE A COMPLAINT!” Owen kicks at the door in disgust.
“Enough. You’re dead. You break your ankle, what are the chances it’ll knit back together? You want to add a wheelchair to your prob…problems?”
Owen’s stomach gurgles loud enough for Jack to hear. Owen glances down at his belly and gives it a shuggle. He looks back at Jack equally concerned.
Sitting on his head on the seat opposite Jack, Owen realises that the gurgling is part of the alcohol in his system.
“I forgot. My digestive system's shut down. That alcohol I drank is just going to sit in my stomach, it won't go anywhere.”
“Can you just stick your fingers down your throat?“
“I'm dead. It's just another one of those things, the gag reflex, lost in the process. Hang on, hang on, if I can just line up my oesophagus.”
Owen brings up his drink straight across the cell. In horror at the projection of vomit Jack lifts his feet up from the floor.
“That is the single most disgusting thing I have ever seen, and I know disgusting.” Jack pulls a face.
Owen stands back up and farts. Startled, Owen apologises.
“Sorry Jack, I forgot, that goes on for a while after death.”
“For God’s sake, let me out.”
“But eventually that will stop too. I will fart my last fart. God, I’m going to miss farting and sex.”
“Sex more than farting, I hope.”
“Oh, you take these things for granted. It’s only when they’re slipping away that you realise how amazing they are. This could be the last time I see these flecks or you know, feel these bricks underneath my hands.”
“Only in suffering do we recognise beauty.” Jack laments.
“Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Who said that?”
“You’ve read Proust?”
“Yeah, well no. We dated for a while. He was really immature.”
“You know, none of us know whether to take you seriously when you say those things.”
“When you’ve lived as long as I have, you don’t make any more up.”
“You’ve got forever, I could have seconds. Hardly seems fair.”
“It isn’t. But then, forever’s overrated.”
“Not from where I’m sitting.”
“If you’ve got forever,” Jack says getting up to sit alongside Owen on the opposite bench, “you don’t notice the flecks on the concrete or bother to touch the bricks. And you send your friends into danger, knowing the stakes aren’t the same for you. That you might get them killed while you walk away unscathed.”
“Then why did you bring me back? Guilt?”
“No that’s not why.”
“Then why did you, really.”
“Because I wasn’t ready to give up on you.” Jack replies, his hand gently stroking Owen’s shoulder. “I guess I was hoping for a miracle.” He strokes his fingers through Owen’s hair. “And I still am.” Owen takes in Jack’s words of hope, blinking back tears as Jack gives him a friendly shove. They grin, Jack laughs. “Let’s go home.”
Jack gets to his feet and hammers his fist on the door of the cell.
“Torchwood. Authorisation Harkness, Jack. 474317.” He bellows.
Toshiko taps away at the computer, but is horrified at what she discovers. Gwen returns to her work station and settles back into her seat.
“Jack called in. He’s found Owen. They’re ok. They’re coming back.”
“Is he himself?”
“What do you mean, himself?” Gwen asks curiously.
“I wanted to know why Owen left. Well, actually, more if he talked to anyone about what I said, so I checked the CCTV."
“That’s a bit like stalking, Tosh.”
“I know, only now I wish I hadn’t. Look.” Toshiko turns her screen to face Gwen. Owen is in the Hot House staring at the wall, when suddenly he twirls around his expression changed, his eyes as black as coals, and he’s chanting.
“Melkurian abatha. Duroc minus mill khabaal.”
Gwen walks over for a closer look followed by Martha equally intrigued.
“Oh, my God.”
“What is that?”
Striding back down the street towards the parked SUV, Jack and Owen are surprised by a group of Weevils waiting for them.
“There’s too many of them. They’re after me, I stole the glove from them. Go. Go!” He instructs Owen to run. Giving him a headstart, he keeps the Weevils at bay for a few seconds and joins Owen in a race across town. More Weevils step out of the darkness and surprise them.
“Whoa! They must be really pissed off with you.”
They head on up to the multi storey car park, tearing halfway a brightly lit level which is almost abandoned of vehicles. Jack gets his breath and scours around for any sign of the Weevils. He claps Owen on the shoulder.
“Owen. Stay here.” Jack instructs as he walks along the level looking out for danger. Seeing nothing he walks back along, and sights first one Weevil that growls menacingly at him. They walk at the same speed, maintaining eye contact. As Jack walks past another column he sees the group
They race up to the roof as Weevils on three levels of the multi storey car park race up after them. There’s no escape.
“Owen, get behind me.” Jack insists removing the Webley from it’s holster.
“Yeah, right. Come on.” Owen says ignoring Jack, egging the Weevils closer. Jack is unsure of Owen’s intentions.
The Weevils are many and snarl and growl their aggression towards the two men before lowering their demeanour and becoming subservient. Jack shot glances towards Owen as he kept his gun aloft. Owen was smiling.
“Owen, what the hell is going on?”
“Melkurian abatha. Duroc minus mill khabaal.” Owen replies turning to face a startled Jack.
In Jack’s office, the team watch as Ianto opens the safe and lifts out the Universal Translator.
“I need to know what Owen was saying.” Toshiko tells them.
“We all do.” Martha adds.
“This has never let us down before.” Toshiko tells her, taking the device from Ianto. Pressing it against her computer screen she waited.
“We should be able to play the translation through the computer’s speakers.” She tells the others, as the computer displays symbols instead.
“It’s never done that before.
“I shall walk the Earth and my hunger will know no bounds.” The computer said for all to hear.
“I’ve got a really bad feeling about this.” Said Gwen with a sense of foreboding.
“You don’t know the half of it.” Calls Jack from the doorway with Owen.
Owen stares at Janet in the holding cell. She comes towards him, interested, but as he presses his finger through the air holes in the cell window, one sniff sends her cowering into a corner, moaning as if in fear of the man. Jack and Martha share a look before returning to gaze at the terrified alien creature.
“So I'm King of the Weevils, maybe even Weevil Messiah. But whichever way you look at it, it ain't good.”
“No, it isn’t, and I think it’s happened before.” Gwen enters the room and hands over some old paintings
“Where’d you get this?” Jack asks.
“I found it in an article about Black Death, and what you’re looking at there are the first images of the Grim Reaper. I shall walk the Earth and my hunger will know no bounds. In legend, the person who said those words was Death himself.”
“But there’s no such thing.” Martha adds as the Weevil continues to howl.
“Yeah, I’m dead. I’m not Death. There is a difference.”
“Does he know that?”
Gwen places more pictures on the boardroom table for all the team to view as she relays the information she’s gathered so far.
“Right, that wood carving dates back to the fifteenth century, to a small parish called Saint James. When they heard about the plague, they built a wall around the town. Unfortunately, that didn't prevent a little girl from dying. So the legend goes, the priest performs a miracle, brings her back to life, but she doesn't come back alone. She brought Death with her, and he walked amongst them.” Owen sees an all too familiar pattern.
“Are we seriously gonna act on something she's Googled?” Toshiko laughs. Jack ignores her.
“What was the name of the priest’s church?”
“Yep.” Gwen confirms the name. “
“That’s where I found the glove, which makes the parish of St. James…”
“…The town that five hundred years later would turn into a city called
.” Gwen adds. Cardiff
“What happened to the town when Death walked amongst them?” Owen asks.
“People died. Twelve people. Death needed thirteen souls before it had a permanent hold on the Earth."
“How did they stop it at twelve?”
“It just says faith.”
“Owen is changing. Who knows what that energy is? What if it’s making him a host, a gateway?”
“I’ve been thinking there’s something in the darkness, waiting for me to finally pass over, but I’ve got it wrong, ok? It’s the other way around. It’s trying to get here through me.”
The monitor on his wrist begins to bleep.
“What’s this reading now?”
“Er, eighty percent.”
“What happens when it completes? You know, we fight monsters. What happens when we turn out to be the monsters, when I do?”
“Even if we have to fight you, you’re already dead.”
“What do we do with the dead? Come on, what do we do? You embalm them. If we inject a formaldehyde solution into my veins, it’ll petrify my neural pathways and freeze dry my brain. It’s the only way to be sure.”
Martha and Jack prepare the embalming solution in the Autopsy room, watched from above by Toshiko.
Owen prepares for the procedure in the Board room as Gwen puts away his clothing once more.
“Are you sure about this?”
“The formaldehyde might irritate, but the ethanol should prevent me feeling its effect. It’s a raging carcinogen, but I don't think I need to worry about that.”
“You know what I mean.”
“Yeah. I can't sleep, I can't drink and I can't shag, and they are three of my favourite things.”
“Owen.” Gwen throws herself at Owen and holds him tight.
“I’m not the same, Gwen. I came back different. Hollow. Like I’m missing something. And I do not want to be like this, ok?” He says holding Gwen as tightly, as tears roll down her cheeks. “I’m ready.”
Followed by Gwen who wipes her tears on her sleeve, Owen walks along the familiar corridors out into the main Hub as the doors shut behind them. He stops to take in his surroundings for the last time before crossing the threshold towards the Autopsy room. Ianto greets him near the railing, no words are spoken.
Jack sets up the leg straps on the bed as the monitor alerts Martha to Owen’s status.
“Owen’s at ninety five percent.”
Jack stares at the computer screen stating the same
“Then let’s not waste any more time. No goodbyes.” Owen says sombrely.
Owen is strapped down onto the seat.
“Are you ready for the first injection?”
Owen nods but as Martha reaches to get it, the gauntlet is sitting over them, and moves over them, gathering them underneath like a spider protecting it’s food supply.
“Someone really doesn’t like needles.”
The gauntlet leaps at Martha who screams and falls back. Jack immediately leaps into action.
“LOCKDOWN!” Jack bellows as he tries to pull the gauntlet away from Martha. “Martha…just…” With all of his strength Jack throws it across the room, while Owen struggles in the straps to free himself. Flailing like a tortoise on it’s back it soon rights itself and comes after Martha once more. She backs away towards the cold store drawers as the hand scuttles towards her.
“Martha give me your hand.” Gwen calls as Martha gets to her feet and scrambles up towards Gwen and Tosh. Ianto enters brandishing a hockey stick. Jack looks around for the glove as Owen still struggles to take off the straps.
“Owen, Owen don’t move. Everyone spread out. Shush.” Jack calls for calm. The team take cautious steps along the upper level, listening and looking out for the glove. Jack spots Ianto with the hockey stick and the pair exchange glances.
“Where did it go?”
“I think it went under the cabinet.”
“Are you alright?” Jack asks Martha.
“Yeah I think so.” Martha replies gripping onto the railing to peer over.
Somewhere, beneath them, the glove is heard scuttling about, keeping them on their toes! Gwen and Jack glancing through the railings to see if they can locate it.
Gwen spots it. “It’s there.” She points.
Martha leans over the railing and the gauntlet strikes, clamping onto the railing beside her hand, she screams and leaps back against the wall, but the gauntlet is upon her in seconds and clamps itself to her face. She screams as she tries to pull the strong gauntlet from her face. Gwen and Toshiko help but it’s too strong. Toshiko calls for Jack who is beside Martha in an instant.
“HOLD HER.” He yells as he physically pulls the possessed glove from Martha’s face. Martha is no longer screaming, and as Jack pulls with all of his strength, Martha raises a wrinkled hand. Jack pulls it from Martha’s face and has his own power struggle till he’s physically able to toss it across the room where it lands on a tray of instruments. Again it’s on it’s ‘back’ and struggles to right itself. Owen frees himself from the straps and as the glove scrambles onto the ground, leaps onto it and pins the glove to the ground. He calls to Jack for his gun.
“If you destroy it, the connection could be lost.”
Jack throws his revolver to Owen who releases the gauntlet and shoots it. It explodes.
The glove is no more. The team sigh with relief, but it’s only momentary.
“Oh my God, Martha?” Gwen stares in horror at the old woman replacing the vibrant young medical officer. “Martha? What’s happened to her?”
Jack examines her hand, her face and his equally as horrified.
“It’s the glove. It did this to her. Owen, help me with her.” He asks attempting to lift Martha as the monitor begins to bleep on the wall. “OWEN!” He yells.
Ianto stares in horror as the gun drops from Owen’s hand and the darkness returns to Owen’s eyes. Owen has reached 100% conversion.
“I will walk the Earth and my hunger will know no bounds.” Suddenly, Owen falls to his knees yelling as the darkness leaves him in a choking cloud of blackness, that begins to grow in shape, and as it centres on the team it darkens over Jack and kills him.
Jack gasps back to life in the passenger seat of the SUV parked outside St Helen’s hospital. He quickly unbuckles his seatbelt and rushes inside. Martha is being wheeled in on a gurney, she’s close to death. Owen is limping.
“Police officer! I need a medic now.” Gwen instructs helping to push the gurney along the corridor with Toshiko and Ianto assisting. Jack catches up with Owen.
“Where did it go? Owen!” Owen is barely able to string a sentence together. Jack heads on after the others.
“So, what happened to that thing?”
“So, it’s out there?”
While Jack sits with Martha, the doctor attending asks the others about her patient.
“How do you know her? I take it you’re not family.” She asks.
“She’s a neighbour. We look in, do her shopping, collect her pension, that sort of thing, you know.”
“Her red blood cell count is through the floor and she’s massively dehydrated. All of which has placed a considerable strain on her heart.”
“You’ve got to help her.”
“We are, but you have to accept she’s, what, eighty?”
“Just do what you can, please.”
“It must be Death, because it’s stolen my life.” Martha tells Jack as she stares at her reflection in the mirror.
“We’ll find a way to reverse this.” Jack assures her, taking back the mirror. Jack has no idea how he’s going to fix this. As the team enter and gather around the bed, he walks away.
“Last time, back when
was a town, it killed twelve people.”
Gwen reminds Jack. Cardiff
“Why didn’t it get to thirteen? And where does this faith bit come into it?”
Jack turns to his team at the bedside.
“Ianto, we need answers.”
“I’m on it.” He replies leaving the room.
“Owen, I want you back at the Hub, you’re not safe.”
“Jack, I’m free of it, I promise you. And I’m useful, I’m useful here. When it came through me, I felt it. I know what it is, I know what it wants. It’s Duroc.”
“And what is that?”
“Where do we look for it, where do we even start to look for it?”
Jack draws back the curtain and spies a group of Weevils outside in the ambulance bay.
“We won’t have to go far. It’s here.” Gwen follows Jack line of vision.
“Why would it follow us here?”
“I’m not sure it did. Maybe it senses the near dead. If you were Death, wouldn’t you target a hospital?” Jack pulls open the double doors from the side room and storms along the corridor with Gwen in tow.
In Intensive Care Unit, the female patients begin to flat line. One old woman at the far bed awakens at the sound and reaches for her alarm to summon for help as the black cloud begins to grow at the end of her bed, developing a skeletal form. Her monitor flatlines.
Jack makes a call on his Bluetooth as he strides past the nurses station.
“This is Captain Jack Harkness, Torchwood. You need to evacuate St. Helen’s Hospital,
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Torchwood. If you can move as quickly and as safely as possible to your nearest exit, thank you.”
A fire alarm signifies evacuation procedures.
In the Children’s Ward, Nurse Carysfort pushes open the double doors and switches on the light. She calls for some assistance from other staff. She claps her hands to awaken the sleeping children.
“Alright, wake up! Dressing gowns on! It’s not a drill. Can you listen to me carefully, please?”
Only one boy isn’t listening. He’s sat on the toilet playing a computer game with his headphones plugged in.
On a busy staircase Jack restates his first instruction.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a drill. Please make your way to the assembly point in car park one. Ianto, I need you to crack into the hospital communication system.”
“Already done it. They’ve got multiple code fours in Intensive Care.” Ianto relays to Jack from Martha’s bedside.
“Which floor is that?”
“What’s a Code Four?”
“Heart attack.” Gwen replies climbing the stairs after him as others vacate the building.
“We need to do a body count. Let me know if we get to twelve.”
In the Children’s Ward Nurse Carysfort looks for a missing patient.
“Have you seen Jamie?”
“No.” Replies the nurse assisting a young girl along the corridor.
“I’ll catch you up.” She glances back towards the Ward before turning away till she hears a strange whispering. She turns back towards the empty ward.
“Duroc is come.”
“Jamie. Jamie is that you under there?” She smiles crouching to see if the boy is hiding under the bed, just as Duroc materialises behind her.
In the Intensive Care ward, Jack and Gwen are greeted by corpses in night gowns. Jack does a body count before contacting the rest of the team.
“Owen, Tosh, we’re on the Sixth floor. There’s fatalities. Seven of them.”
“I’m hearing of a fatality during a routine operation.”
“Let’s count that as eight. That leaves five to go. Oh.”
“There’s five of us.”
Owen exits the elevator.
“Jack, if it was last seen on the Sixth, did it go up or down from there?”
“Most of the top floors are evacuated, so if it’s still hungry, I’d guess it’s going to…
“We’re on the Eighth. We’ll make our way down.”
“Jack, we still have no idea what to do if we find it.”
“I have searched for the phrase ‘I shall walk the Earth and my hunger will know no bounds’ but I keep getting redirected to Weight Watchers.” Ianto replies as he looks up from his laptop, beside Martha.
“It was a Medical journal, ‘History of Medicine’, try under Tavistock or Wellcome.” Gwen replies heading away from the Intensive Care unit.
“We’re on the Seventh floor.” Toshiko announces. The lights suddenly dim halting them in their tracks.
“It’s here, I can feel it.”
“Owen, you’re scaring me.”
“I’m not exactly reassuring myself. Come on.”
Jamie returns to a dark and empty ward where the curtains have been pulled up around each and every bed. His game console bleeps as the game waits in pause mode. Frightened by the darkness of the room, despite the orange glow from the far side of the room, he continues to walk towards his bed. Gripping tightly a closed curtain he pulls it back, expecting to see something horrific and breathes a sigh of relief when nothing is there. His game falls out of his hand onto the floor. Glancing up the corridor seeing nothing, he quickly collects up the curtain to retrieve the game and spies the desiccated nurse under the bed. He gasps in fear and backs away from the bed and puts a distance between him and the room. He runs for an exit but the doors are all security locked. He tries all the doors and hammers hard on them but they’re all closed to him. He hears the voice of Duroc and turns to see a figure grow from a cloud of dark mass. The Grim Reaper is still hungry. It begins to approach Jamie.
He freaks and runs, but the doors are locked. He hears a voice behind him followed by the appearance of the Grim Reaper, walking towards him. Jamie slaps his hands against the double fire doors and slides down the door, fear gripping him.
Duroc has a skeletal body surrounded by a shroud of black mass. It walks like an old man towards the young boy, hunger knowing no bounds.
Owen bursts through a side door just as the Grim Reaper is within touching distance of him. He glances at the boy on the floor and shouts to him to take his hand. Jamie scrambles to his feet, taking hold of Owen’s hand, and they run out, Toshiko with them.
“I’m getting reports of twelve people dead.”
“The legend says, when Death took thirteen souls its power would be unstoppable. It would roam the earth forever, Jack. It only needs to kill once more.”
“If it's twelve, we're running out of time.”
Owen and Toshiko hurtle down the stairs with Jamie as the doors lock ahead of them.
“I think we lost it. Maybe not.”
“If I can access the correct frequency.” Toshiko says using a device from her handbag.
“What’s your name?” Owen asks the young boy as he looks for another option.
“Alright Jamie Burton. I’m Owen, this is Toshiko. We’re going to get you out of here. What are you in here for?”
“Jamie, you’re going to be fine. I’ll have this door open in just a second.”
“Jamie, they got you in for a round of chemo, have they?”
“Had that, it didn’t work."
“So why are you here?”
“They’re trying to make me have it again. It didn’t work though. The cancer just comes back, just makes my hair fall out. I’m gonna die. I might as well do it with eyebrows.”
“Ianto, what have we got?”
“Back in 1479, the priest discovered that Death needed thirteen souls to walk the Earth for eternity.”
“He stopped Death at twelve.”
“It was Faith.”
“No, the little girl that died and was brought back to life. Her name was Faith. She stopped it.”
“It doesn’t say.”
“Faith didn’t have anything to lose. She was already dead. Jamie.” Owen leads Jamie towards a table and chairs at the side of the reception, his eyes fixed on the stairs. He looks back at the boy.
“Jamie, you’re scared, of course you are. The last lot of chemo didn’t work and you can’t bear the thought of going through all that pain again, and I understand that, mate, I really do. But let me tell you that not everyone dies of this disease and the ones with the best chance of making it are the ones who believe that they can beat Death. And sometimes, just sometimes, you can. So watch and learn, Jamie Burton.”
“Watch me beat Death.”
Toshiko succeeds in opening the door.
“Ok, go! Come on Jamie. Take him, ok?” Owen turns his back on Toshiko, summoning up the courage to do what needs doing.
“Owen? I am not leaving you to face that thing on your own.”
“I know what to do.”
“You don’t know what you’re dealing with.”
“Tosh.” Owen replies, pulling her in for a passionate kiss, long enough to steal the gizmo in her hand. He triggers the doors to close behind him. “You’re so gonna hate me for this.” He holds up the device and waggles it in front of Toshiko. She tries the door without avail.
“Owen! Owen, no! Open the door! What the hell are you doing? OWEN. OWEN.”
Death walks down the stairs, stronger and with greater ease. Owen watches it.
“HOW LONG?” Owen growls his contempt at the shadowy figure, as he casts down the scanner device. “How long can you last here with only twelve victims? THERE’S NOTHING HERE FOR YOU! OWEN HARPER’S SOUL HAS LEFT THE BUILDING. There’s nobody here but us dead men.”
Duroc is within reach of Owen.
“NO! OWEN.” Screams Toshiko as she bangs her fists against the glass doors.
“Owen.” Cries Jamie.
A bony hand reaches for Owen who grabs it. It tries to pull away but fails.
“What else have you got? What else can you do to the dead?” Owen growls. They struggle together, Owen’s hands never letting go of Death, Death pulling to free itself from Owen’s grip – Death against the Living Dead.
“Help! Jack! Jack! Jack!” Tosh yells for assistance as she tries to prise open the doors with her bare hands.
Jack and Gwen can only watch from a higher level.
“OWEN! OWEN!” He yells hitting his fists against the glass panelling. Gwen does the same. All they can do is watch, helplessly.
“Is that all you’ve got? Finish!” Owen yells at the shrouded figure who begins to pull away from Owen. A white glow emanates from around them. Death is leaving the building, returning to the Darkness where it belongs.
Jack and Gwen reach the reception where only Owen remains kneeling on the floor, staring at the space left by Death. Jack reaches a hand and gently grips Owen’s shoulder.
The doors open again. Toshiko enters.
Ianto calls Jack from A&E but nobody picks up.
“Jack? Gwen? Anyone?”
A hand reaches out and clamps on his shoulder forcing him to yell out loud, quickly turning it into a laugh, as he sees Martha returned to her normal self. Her heart rate back to normal.
Back at the Hub, Owen is once again in the Autopsy room sitting on the table beside Martha looking equally forlorn.
“So tell me doctor, is it worth starting War and Peace?” Martha laughs lightly. “I’m sorry that you got hurt, that I got you hurt.”
“It’s not me that I’m worried about. You soaked up a colossal amount of energy but it’s dissipating now.”
“It doesn’t sound good.”
“I don’t know anything about its properties, none of us do. It could take thirty years for it to die out completely.”
“Or thirty minutes.” Owen glances up as Jack walks into view. “Jack? People died because you brought me back. We owe them, you and me. I’m still a doctor. Let’s put me to work. See if we can’t even that score.”
“We’ll see.” Jack tells him.
Toshiko collars Jack on his way to his office.
“Did he really beat Death?” She asks him, glancing towards the Autopsy room.
“You can never really beat Death, never escape it. It’s always in the shadows, waiting.”
“So what do we do now?”
About to answer, Jack is halted by the appearance of Owen at the entrance to the Cold Storage room.
A Day in the Death
By Joseph Lidster