House (short story)

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You may wish to consult House (disambiguation) for other, similarly-named pages.

House was the eighth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Steel Skies. It was written by Jeremy Daw. It featured the Sixth Doctor and Peri.


Jennifer is in bed, not sleeping. She's not upset that Roger was mean to her, or that Emily is so bossy; she's afraid because she heard a strange noise in her room, but she's too scared to open her eyes. Once she screws up her courage to open her eyes, something touches her, and she is gone.

In her TARDIS bedroom, Peri practices a good-bye speech. As she prepares to leave the room, the Doctor bursts in, enthusiastically telling her they've landed in a colourful corridor.

Roger joins the others for dinner. Emily starts bossing them around, Andrew is looking ill, as usual, and Carl is eating tuna sandwiches. Suddenly Roger realises Jennifer is missing.

In the Playroom, Roger notices Jennifer's beanbag is missing. He hears a strange but familiar noise and heads for the Learnroom. Inside, Emily is sobbing, while Andrew is lying on the table, the bottom half of his body missing and blood everywhere. Suddenly, two strangers arrive in the room. Roger politely says to the one in the colourful jacket, "Hello, Daddy."

Having arrived a few minutes ago, the Doctor and Peri explored their surroundings and found they were in a house made for children. The Doctor notices several strange things about the house, including a grey hair on one of the pillows in a bedroom. He also points out to Peri that there are no windows. The curtains cover a solid black wall. The Doctor says it's a holographic projection system.

They hear a scream and run to the source. They find a room with two elderly people, a man and a woman, and a dead body. The old man calls the Doctor "Daddy".

Roger realises that this man is not his father. He is confused when the woman asks how long they've been here. When Carl enters, Roger explains that the strangers are here to help,

The Doctor tests a hypothesis. He cuts through a wall. The "children" eat their snack at the table, with only Roger caring about what happened to Andrew.

The Doctor has found a door that was covered with wallpaper. On the other side, there is nothing but earth. They are underground. The Doctor explains to Peri that this was once an Earth colony, named Eldair, that wiped itself out. A few wealthy and powerful people provided a place of safety for their children, complete with food and lessons provided by an artificial intelligence that can create things out of earth and rock.

As the "children" eat, they hear a voice that wants to play a game. It says, "Eeny, meeny, miney - mo," stopping on Emily, and kills her. Carl screams and Roger whimpers. The Doctor and Peri rush to the scene. Peri takes Roger to the TARDIS while the Doctor tries to calm Carl.

At the TARDIS, Peri and Roger are greeted by the voice. Roger starts to remember, and is happy that House is here to protect them. The Doctor, half dragging Carl, arrives on the scene. He tells House that it has become delusional. He tries to get the "boys" into the TARDIS, but Carl won't go. Roger decides to stay with him, and the Doctor sadly leaves them behind, explaining to Peri that they made their choice, that the pull of home was too strong.

Peri, in her room, recalls the conversation with the Doctor about home. He enters, and informs her that this was Susan's room. Peri understands a little more about the Doctor now, and thanks him for the room.




  • The stories in Short Trips: Steel Skies are divided into four sections dealing with different types of confinement. This story deals with frontiers, that is, "the corridors, living quarters and ventilation shafts of four futuristic environments".


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