The monstrous birds had other ideas. As they swooped over the stand, they released him. Jack flailed in mid air, as though there might be something to grab on to. The last thing he saw was a balcony filled with padded chairs and a sliding door made of plate glass before he smashed into the stands.

The hideous bat-creatures slammed onto the Press box’s window again. A faint trace of lines spread over the surface of the glass. Brigstocke shrank back against the far wall. ‘We have to get out of here.’

‘No,’ said Toshiko in a firm, level tone. ‘We have to be able to see what’s happening in the Stadium.’

Down on the pitch, an enormous crevasse was opening up. Gareth Portland stood on a column of earth, a spindly tower that poked precariously up and supported him in the middle of the maelstrom. Fat jungle vines spewed from the dark earth and over the grass, snaking off in search of the stands. The thick boles of gnarled trees reared up from the green turf, and their branches whipped around in the tearing wind that circled the inside of the Stadium.

‘What does Gareth think he’s doing?’ moaned Brigstocke.

‘There is no Gareth any more,’ Toshiko explained. ‘The Visualiser is completely controlling him. Turning this place into an alien world. From here, it’ll spread out across Cardiff.’

The bat-creatures smacked into the glass, cracking the glass and smearing fresh spittle from their foam- flecked jaws.

‘Those things are going to open this box like a packed lunch,’ yelled Brigstocke. ‘Can’t you cut off the Stadium power? Won’t that stop him?’

‘It’ll only stop him generating new creatures,’ said Toshiko. She brushed something from her face, and found that shards of glass had cut her cheek and palm. ‘Besides, I have a much better idea. And I need your help.’

Jack resurrected in a mess of glass and blood. He had fallen to his death into one of the private boxes on the Stadium’s middle tier. He struggled up, and surveyed the arena. Either he’d been dead for a while this time, or things had moved on faster than he’d expected.

The retractable roof was fully closed, reflecting back the shimmer of green light that now infused the whole building. A tangle of strange foliage sprawled over the entire pitch, through which sprouted a forest of extraterrestrial trees. Fantastical creatures crawled and galloped in an alien landscape. And at its centre, Gareth conducted events from a thin podium of green turf within a ravine that cut deep into the earth below the Stadium.

Gareth was directing his attention in the direction of the Press gallery. Jack snatched up a pair of binoculars from the private box, and focused them upwards.

He could just make out Toshiko and Brigstocke in the window of the far Press box, grappling with the Visualiser device. A flock of the Rottweiler-crows and a couple of bat-creatures were hurling themselves repeatedly at the cracked glass in a desperate attempt to reach them.

The ground shook like an earthquake. Jack snapped his head back towards the pitch. He blinked in disbelief. Struggling out of the further reach of the crevasse in the pitch was an enormous humanoid shape, its bald white skull fringed with a halo of curly red hair. The hands were bulbous, and when it placed its elbows on the edge of the ravine, it revealed it was wearing yellow-striped dungarees.

The creature threw back its pale white face, and beneath the bulbous red nose was a mouth filled with daggers.

‘A killer clown.’ Jack bellowed with laughter. ‘That has gotta be Tosh!’ She must have inserted herself in the game using the other Visualiser. She was giving Gareth a fight. But there was surely no way that she could win against the guy who created MonstaQuest?

The clown had pulled itself free now. Gareth directed his monsters to attack the bizarre newcomer. Even the alien trees rippled and began to shuffle forward to defend their creator.

Jack surveyed the rest of the Stadium. The howling wind that encircled the enclosed space was beginning to loosen chairs and hoardings. But soaring towards him from the stand beyond the goalposts was another extraordinary sight. A flying unicorn.

The pale white coat was dappled green in the supernatural light. It seemed to toss its head at him as it approached. Jack clambered up onto the balcony rail, waited for the amazing creature to pass, and leaped onto its back.

He almost overshot. But the animal dropped its shoulder and swung around so that Jack was able to rebalance.

He sat well forward on the animal’s withers, plunging his hands into its silky mane and pushing his legs over the point of the shoulder to keep them clear of the elegantly beating wings. He held on grimly as it veered into the wind and out over the centre of the Stadium.

The unicorn shimmied right a little, then swooped through a sudden squall in the wind. Its legs kicked away the snatching branches of the alien trees as the hooves skimmed the canopy. Gareth Portland was straight ahead, facing away on his tall thin pedestal, his red hair glowing in the unnatural light. Trees and animals blurred past Jack’s face. He grappled with his flapping coat as he retrieved the Webley.

‘Hey, Gareth!’ he bellowed into the wind.

Gareth twisted around to see the unicorn approaching.

‘Game over!’ yelled Jack, and loosed off a single shot that took Gareth smack in the forehead.

The man’s head snapped back, and he dropped wordlessly into the alien abyss. Jack watched the Vandrogonite Visualiser spinning end over end as it tumbled after him.

The tornado in the Stadium howled, paused, and changed direction. The gruesome creatures scrabbled for purchase with hooves and claws and hands as the shifting alien surface slid towards the dark maw that had just consumed Gareth and the Visualiser. It was like a tablecloth was pulled into a hole at the centre of the pitch, dragging everything helplessly down with it.

Jack flew up towards the Press box. The monstrous bats and the Rottweiler-crows were abruptly snatched backwards, as though propelled from a gun, and hurled into the centre of the Stadium. The unicorn circled around in front of the cracked glass of the Press box, and Jack could make out Toshiko and Brigstocke clutching the other Visualiser between their outstretched hands. They turned to grin back at Jack. Brigstocke let go of the Visualiser and gave Jack a double thumbs-up gesture.

Which was the exact moment that the unicorn vanished, and sent Jack plummeting to the stands far below.


Toshiko was mopping his brow when Jack revived this time. He found that he was badly twisted across a couple of Stadium seats. Brigstocke sat several rows further up the tier, shaking his head in disbelief.

Toshiko directed Jack’s attention to the bowl of the Stadium. There was an ominous cracking noise from his spine when he straightened up to take a look.

In the stark white of the floodlights, it was clear that the crevasse had disappeared. There was no trace of the alien flora or fauna, though the turf was rutted and torn, and chairs and hoardings were strewn across its surface.

He looked at Toshiko’s scratched, blood-flecked face. She looked exhausted, but pleased. ‘Well played, Tosh,’ smiled Jack.

Toshiko pulled out her PDA and tapped something into it. The giant scoreboard flickered into life. Jack looked up and laughed. It said: ‘Torchwood 1, Achenbrite 0’.


Toshiko was delighted with her ‘Get Well’ card. Owen had knocked up a design based on the MonstaQuest pack, with her picture square and centre. The monster type was ‘Genius’, and she had high scores for all the attributes: ‘Intelligence’, ‘Imagination’, ‘Bravery’.

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