Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter
Elena suddenly felt the ground beneath her feet give way. The small castle that she and that hideous abomination were hiding in began to fade away into nothing but darkness. In a last ditch attempt the mass of tormented souls that had been pursuing Elena tried to reach out and grab her, but she jumped into the black abyss that was appearing ahead of her.
Both she and the monster fell through an endless darkness as the last of the castle faded away into smoke.
For how long they fell, they weren’t sure. Time didn’t seem to exist in the abyss they found themselves in. In the very distance however, Elena could see what looked like a tiny window, in reality, it was the frame of the painting she had been pulled through. She pulled herself towards it as much as she could and though it seemed to get further and further away at first, just as all seemed lost she suddenly found herself right in front of the window frame and crawled through it. As the mutant looked back, she saw the abomination that had chased her falling through the endless darkness, not even attempting to flee. In the darkness it was finally free from Scratchman’s control, and unlike Elena, the monster had no desire to escape back into the hell it came from. In this darkness will was the only thing that mattered. As there was no space or matter, when Elena tried to use force to escape through the portal it didn’t work, but ironically as soon as the portal began to fade her terror made her will strong enough to be brought towards it.
The alien knew this, but didn’t care. An eternity through nothingness was still preferrable to a second under Scratchman’s cruelty.
In this void the pain and memories of what they had lost didn’t seem to bother the creature as it sank peacefully into the darkness.
Once Elena had made her way through the portal and back into Scratchman’s castle she started to think the monster had been right not to bother. All around her were hideous monstrosities who had crawled out of the paintings. Both Scratchman’s victims who had been twisted beyond all recognition, and their tormentors who had followed them, fighting and tearing at each other. The hall itself had also vanished and was now replaced by a massive cavern made from mangled flesh and bone. In the very distance Elena could see what looked like several creatures working together in torturing a Demon. It was in fact the Demon that Scratchman had left in control of the paintings, who had earlier captured Elena.
The creature pitifully begged it’s former victims to show clemency which of course fell on deaf ears. Just as before Elena wisely stayed out of the fighting and tried to make her way through the bloodbath to find the Doctor and Yarox.
The Doctor’s attack on Scratchman had only distracted him for a few minutes, but in that time his will was distracted his entire world, or rather what was left of it had been thrown out of order. Several pocket dimensions he had created, such as the paintings had collapsed, the structure of his castle had been stripped to it’s bare bones. (Literally. The foundation of the castle was made of the corpses of the billions Scratchman had slaughtered.)
Even outside his castle, the entire landscape had been ravaged. The land split open, and the lake of torment began to flood the land. The armies fighting outside Scratchman’s castle were swept away in a tidal wave, with only a few Harpies and some of Scratchman’s Demons managing to fly away.
The waves very nearly toppled the castle itself and burst through it’s foundations, flooding the inside. Elena was barely able to escape by climbing up a nearby wall, which she was able to do easily as many of the bones were sticking out of the walls.
She was one of the few survivors to crawl or fly to safety up the castle’s walls. As Elena looked down she saw all of the Demons and their former victims suffering together in the burning green waters as they were washed away.
Scratchman was able to save the Doctor and Yarox from being swept away by the flood as it broke through the walls into his room, by lifting them through the air with his telekinetic powers.
“I don’t know why you bothered” The Doctor said defiantly.
“I’m still not going to help you.”
“Oh I know Time Lord. I’ll have to find a way to break your machine instead. You are too dangerous to be allowed to live, but well I think a little dip in my lake is too good for you. Look at the trouble you’ve caused. I have even less time to make it out of this world now. No I think I have just the right punishment in mind for you.” Scratchman said as he slowly morphed back into his humanoid form.
Scratchman carried the two time travellers down a long hall that was flooded with the lake of the damned. Along the way several of Scratchman’s most loyal minions called out to him, but he didn’t listen.
When they finally reached the end of the hall it was a gigantic silver room, with a huge hole in the centre and monitor on the wall. The water it seemed was incapable of flowing into this area. It just stopped at the entrance.
Scratchman lowered himself to just beside the hole whilst he held the Doctor and his companion above it.
“You see Time Lord it is not just this universe that sustains me. Some of the previous realities I conquered I keep around as small pockets of existence like this one. I have too. I can never tell how long it will be before I overrun each universe. I’ve been trapped in this godforsaken reality for so long now however I’ve had to eat through most of my reserves. Still these are the last of the realities I claimed as my own. They are kept alive through a special supply of energy, even your little trick couldn’t hurt them. They sustain me.”
“Don’t worry though I wont just throw you in. Where’s the fun in that? Since I might not be getting out of this, I might as well enjoy myself don’t you think?”
Scratchman dropped the Doctor and Yarox into the hole. Below was a long, silver, yet dark corridor.
“This is a little anti climactic Harry?” The Doctor said.
A massive fire ball came hurling itself down one end of the corridor forcing the Doctor and Yarox to flee. As they ran further down the corridor, the roof suddenly disappeared.
Up above was nothing but blackness, but the Doctor and Yarox could hear screams and roars all around them. The fireball itself seemed to be screaming.
The Doctor and Yarox reached the end of the corridor where there was a portal, that looked like a hole in the ground, that led to one of Scratchman’s pocket dimensions.
The Doctor looked into the portal and saw a dimension that appeared to be nothing but a gigantic wasteland, with a huge tree in the middle. Several damned souls were trying to climb up the tree, which was covered in jagged, spiked branchses. The souls were cutting themselves on the branches the higher they climbed and were screaming, yet seemingly had no choice but to keep climbing.
“Ah you’ve reached the remains of one my favourite hell dimensions, you get the gist of the game now, if you can get out of my little maze I’ll let you go, well I’ll kill you quickly at least, well quicker than I would have. If not suffer in one of my many layers of hell.”
The Doctor helped Yarox to climb over the wall, after which Yarox then helped to pull the Doctor over, whilst the fire ball vanished down the hole into the hell universe below.
On the other side of the wall was another fire ball that forced the two time travellers to flee up the corridor.
“It’s like we’re trapped in some gigantic, nightmarish pinball machine.” The Doctor said.
As the Time Lord and his companion turned down the nearest corner, they saw a gigantic Iron Dog, with blood and flesh dripping from its fangs. The creature charged at the two time travellers, who both jumped to either side of the wall, narrowly dodging the abomination.
They then ran ahead of it together to the end of the corridor, which ended in three more corridors.
Picking one at random the Doctor and Yarox ran down the centre corridor, only for a gigantic fireball to come rolling down the other end.
“I really hate those things.” The Doctor said as he and Yarox ran back down the way.
When they reached the end of the centre corridor again, the Iron Dog was waiting for them. Roaring and hissing, as the Doctor tried to help Yarox climb over the wall, suddenly from above a gigantic griffin like creatures emerged from the darkness and grabbed the Doctor in it’s talons. Yarox tried to pull the Doctor back down, but the Dog pounced on Yarox. The Griffin carried the Doctor high above the maze, which was absolutely enormous web of corridors, filled with fire balls, creatures and other dangers.
The Griffin dragged the Doctor to another pit at the end of a corridor and dropped him down it. The Doctor however managed to hold on the edges of the hole as he fell.
Below he could see this pocket dimension, or layer of hell, was a gigantic lake of fire, over which there was a huge suspension bridge between two large cliffs. The Doctor could see that several people were being forced to walk from one end of the bridge to the other. Each time they crossed the bridge however hideous Griffin like creatures, similar to the monster that had brought the Doctor to the pit in the first place would attack them, and force most of them into the fire below.
The Doctor tried to crawl back up, but each time he did the Griffin would fly back down and claw at him.
Yarox meanwhile was able to wriggle free from the Iron Dog when it bit into his back as the creature (which stood over 7 feet tall) only grabbed a flap of his clothes which when he pulled it ripped, allowing him to then slide under the monster undetected.
Yarox then ran down the right of the 3 corridors. Once he reached the end of it he came across two large wooden doors without any handles. He tried to push them open, but suddenly the doors started to pull open at either side, revealing the two doors to be a mouth, filled with razor sharp teeth.
The mouth which dribbled green, acidic saliva started to snap shut furiously and moved down the corridor after Yarox. Unfortunately at the other end the Dog was already waiting for him. With nothing left to lose and in a rush of adrenaline, Yarox jumped at the Dog as it leaped at him. Grabbing onto it’s head, he jumped over the beasts head and onto it’s back.
Whilst it was distracted trying to shake him off, the Dog failed to notice the wooden mouth that charged at him. Within a few seconds the two doors lined with razor sharp teeth had closed around the Dog’s head, ripped it off and crushed it into powder. The two doors then crushed and consumed the rest of the animal, whilst Yarox made his way down the left corridor.
Elena meanwhile had managed to make her way to Scratchman’s control room. Crawling along the walls of the rapidly crumbling castle, she could see that the water stopped at the silver corridor and crawled along towards it. Once she was near enough she then jumped onto the metal corridor.
Elena could see Scratchman watching the Doctor and Yarox struggling in his twisted game on the massive computer screen. Scratchman was hysterical with laughter at the two time travllers plight.
Elena knew it was pointless to try and attack Scratchman. There was no way she could hurt him, and she’d probably vaporize herself if she touched him.
Even if she tried to help the Doctor then Scratchman would still see her on his monitor. Still she couldn’t just leave him dangling over one of Scratchman’s worst layers of hell.
Elena quickly jumped down the hole into the maze. There she ran down the corridor until the roof disappeared. She then seeing a fireball heading in her direction jumped up to the top of the wall beside her. It took her a few goes, and it was only on her last attempt before the fire ball reached her, that Elena managed to grab the top of the wall with her finger tips, and pull herself up before the fireball consumed her.
Balancing herself on the top of the thin wall, Elena looked all over the maze, which did resemble a gigantic pinball machine with giant flaming pinballs running down almost every corridor. In the distance she could see the Griffin hovering over the Doctor.
Wasting no time, Elena jumped from the top of one wall to another until she reached where the Doctor was. Catching the Griffin off guard with a powerful kick to the head, she managed to send it flying over the top of the nearest wall, before helping the Doctor up.
“Elena, I honestly thought I’d never see you again, then again, I didn’t think I’d ever seen anything again dangling over that abyss. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, where’s Yarox?”
“I don’t know we got separated in this overgrown pinball machine, come on we need to find him.”
The Griffin suddenly re-emerged from behind the wall furious causing both the Doctor and Elena to flee, though Elena was able to land a good kick onto the monsters chest first.
The Doctor and Elena both called out for Yarox across the maze.
“Doctor? Elena? You’re both alive. I’m over here. Two corridors down.” Yarox shouted.
Elena and the Doctor tried to run down the nearest corridor in Yarox’s direction, but it was blocked by two skeletons holding two shields with Scratchman’s human form on them, smiling.
Elena tried to kick the shield but she suffered an electric shock, whilst the Skeletons were unaffected. As the Doctor helped Elena up, he saw the Skeleton’s as well as Scratchman’s face on both shields laughing hysterically.
With the Griffin not far away, the Doctor and Elena realised that they didn’t have time to try and fight through the Skeleton’s and so the Doctor helped Elena over the wall, but on the other side was red water rather than a floor. Elena jumped over to the top of the wall on the other side, after helping the Doctor up.
Unfortunately when the Doctor prepared to jump over, a gigantic snake like creature emerged from the water. Hissing and snapping at the Doctor, Elena kicked the monster from behind, distracting it and allowing the Doctor to jump over, though he landed on his stomach over the wall. Whilst his feet dangled over the red water, another snake like creatures head began to emerge, but Elena pulled herself and the Doctor over to the other side before they could do anything.
As soon as they landed on the other side however, two fireballs from either direction came charging at them.
“Oh give us a break.” Elena said.
“I think you’ve forgotten where you are supposed to be”. Scratchman said.
Again the Doctor helped Elena up, but before she could return the favour, the Griffin returned and grabbed the Doctor.
A tug of war ensued with Elena only barely holding on to the Doctor. Fortunately the two fireballs below colliding caused a mine explosion which shook knocked the Doctor, Elena and the Griffin backwards.
The Doctor and Elena quickly ran down the nearest corridor, but at the end of it was another hole which led to a very different type of hell dimension.
This dimension was nothing more than a hideous swamp of black tar, though at the centre of the tar was a giant throne, atop which a massive Demon with horns and a pig like face sat.
“Erlik has been so desperate to torture the Time Lord in his swamp. Looks like he’ll get his wish after all” Scratchman laughed.
A fireball blocked off the way back, but the Griffin flew towards the Doctor and Elena.
In desperation the Doctor attacked the Griffin and grabbed it by the talons. Elena soon joined in and together the two of them were able to pull the Monster down for a few seconds before it flew away, with both still holding onto either claw.
Whilst the Griffin struggled to kick them away in the air, the Doctor got a good look around and saw Yarox running down a nearby corridor from another flaming ball.
He and Elena then jumped away from the Griffin and landed in front of Yarox.
“Doctor, Elena” he said with joy.
“We’ll talk later” the Doctor said as he ran away from the fireball.
The three time travellers ran down the long corridor, but on the right hand wall, the three were distracted by a what looked like a door to another one of Scratchman’s pocket dimensions.
The three saw a woman standing in the doorway, though to the three of them she appeared very differently. The Doctor saw her as a hideous Demonic hag, whilst Yarox saw her as the most stunningly beautiful woman he had ever seen with flame red hair, and piercing green eyes. Elena meanwhile saw a relatively ordinary woman.
The Doctor was the first to break out of the trance and quickly pulled his two companions out of it.
They soon reached the end of the corridor, which was another portal on the ground. This time it led to a version of hell that appeared to be nothing but a Frozen wasteland. As the Doctor prepared to help his two companions up the nearest wall again, the walls around them suddenly grew to over 60 feet tall.
“Not very sportsman like Harry” The Doctor said.
“Again I think you’ve forgotten who you were talking too? Be glad I gave you a chance for as long as I did.”
The Doctor and his two companions tried to push at the walls as hard as they could, but it was no use. As the fireball hurled towards them they had no choice but to jump through the portal into Scratchman’s frozen wasteland below.
Scratchman burst out laughing.
“Poor Doctor. If this had been any other time I would have given him more of a chance, but ah well time is short. He brought it on himself.”
Scratchman turned around causing the water flooding his castle to retreat and the walls to turn to fire again.
“Let’s just hope his little machine is smart enough to realise I don’t appreciate or respect stubborness.”
In the wasteland below the Doctor struggled to move the cold was so biting. His people the Time Lords could withstand the cold to a much greater extent than human beings, but even he was beginning to pass out. Around him Elena and Yarox were both completely unconscious.
“Elena, Yarox.” The Doctor said weakly. “Please, we have to move, find shelter or we, we” He collapsed face first into the snow.
To Be Continued
Hey! I came here asking about Sam, but I started reading this and it’s really good! I read it through to the end, I couldn’t stop. I’m hoping to read Baker’s Scratchman some time soon, I might understand this a little better.
But anyway, I’m sorry DAVIS used this blog against you to make a point. He’s a nice guy, I’m sure he meant no harm and had hoped you wouldn’t see it. Could you tell me which video it was? I don’t have the full context, you see.
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Thanks for the kind words. TBH I think I overreacted a bit about Davies. I’m sure he is a nice guy and he does great work, and I certainly don’t want to start a feud. Internet feuds are always petty and end badly for both parties,
I was more just wanting to challenge the narrative that all female Doctor critics are just guys who hate women.
It gets annoying, particularly when your something of a life long fan of female singers like me, and also I think it sideswerves the debate onto “Am I a sexist” rather than the matter at hand.
I’m not going to do any more posts about Davies don’t worry. I think I said my piece and I’m happy about that. I can’t remember what video it was specifically he mentioned me, it was just one about how fandom always goes after women and I was an example of it.
Again whilst i am sure he is a nice guy that attitude does him no favours as it does come over as a “let me teach you about women” attitude, but again, I’m sure a lot of my posts in the past have done me no favours either.
Originally meant to be a movie in the 19, Scratchman was a passion project for the incumbent Doctor at the time, Tom Baker. After about forty years, he has decided to turn his idea into a novel. In recent years, he been having a renaissance in the Doctor Who community, returning to do Big Finish audios, cameos in Doctor Who proper, seeing his long-lost story Shada finished, however I find Scratchman to be the crown jewel of his efforts. I had intended to read it over the course of a few days, but I found it captured my attention and I stayed up long into the night to finish it in a single sitting. Tom Baker shows real talent as a writer. There were parts where I found myself laughing out loud, other times I couldn’t look away, eager to see what happened next. He writes with a zeal that can’t help but bring you along for the ride. For those that were around during Tom Baker’s reign as the Doctor, this will be a special treat. It feels like an event that could have come right out of his early years on the show, if they had an infinite budget. If this had been a movie, I can’t even imagine how they would have pulled this off in the seventies. The story itself is told cleverly, with two parts of a bigger tale and a third story being told to weave them all together. This book stars Tom Baker’s Doctor, told in the first person, as well as his two earliest companions, Sarah Jane and Harry Sullivan. All their voices are captured authentically, they bring a warmth to an adventure that is very much a horror tale in the vein of their early stories. They are all given plenty of moments to shine. My recommendation is to buy it, of course. I’ve read many Doctor Who novels, heard their audios, watched the episodes. I consider this certainly among the best of the novels, and maybe among the best of Doctor Who stories, period. For fans of Tom Baker and his era, for Doctor Who as a whole no matter your level of interest, or even if you haven’t quite gotten into it, I find this to be an easy recommendation. The writer’s imagination will pull you along into a story that oozes creativity and epic scope. It would be amazing to get more novels like this from Tom Baker, but if it takes forty years to get this kind of quality, the wait was worth it.