A Choice of Houses was the twelfth story in The Book of the Enemy.
Patrick and Georgina have been selected as new contestants on Daniel Omanta's show "GREAT HOUSE CHALLENGE". A standard house-selling/house-hunting reality show, with fund raising, cleaning, and hunting through three houses selected by real estate agents, as well as a mystery house. A reasonably large house, cheaper than expected, but a bit run down, with a garden and a statue of a peacock, also run down with time.
At the pub that night, Georgina decides to grill some of the locals on the house, trying to see what all could be wrong with it. A Scottish man began to tell her a story about the old house.
After the war, as people returned to the island, the family that owned the house found their statue painted white. Worried that this symbolized cowardice and was a threat, they cleaned it off, and went about their day. The next day it was painted white again, and a letter was delivered to their mailbox. The letter was from the secretary of the Order of the White Peacock, and stated that they planned to use their house this coming Lent, and couldn't make assurances to their safety if they stayed but enclosed a large sum of money in exchange for this. The family took the money, left for Lent, and all was well. This continued for years, and likely would continue still.
Except for the son of the family, having grown up with this, had no knowledge of this arrangement, and upon turning seventeen, decided to refuse to go on holiday this year. His parents reluctantly agreed to let him stay, so long as he agreed to stay in the dorms at college and not go home, as it would be renovated. However, he broke in, and was discovered later, confused, almost mad, with a spiral mark on his arm. The police think drug use. After a few statements, he never spoke again, just drawing, pictures that were well received like one that could be "a man, a peacock, or a succession of rotating circular metal plates suspended in the air whose shadows merely suggests the two former possibilities depending on the direction of the light source casting it". He died a year later. The family sold the house and left, with no work being done on the property except maintenance and exclusively avoiding Lent.
Patrick and Georgina were interested in this story and asked for more information, but the man said that there wasn't much more that he could tell them. Still, not to be put off, they decided that they would choose this house to be the one to spend two weeks in. Unfortunately, those two weeks coincided with Lent.
Cameras were running, some of the footage has shown up on horror shows, but the full episode has never materialized. Three main sequences are known of what remains.
The first is the sound of peacocks in the garden, when they go to investigate, the statue has turned white. They return to the house to find images like the one the son supposedly painted drawn in charcoal on the walls.
In the second Daniel Omanta gets ahold of a book based on the doctors' notes for the son, and shows that each of the drawings on the wall correspond to something in the book, exactly.
In the third sequence, a figure wearing black with a mask of bone bends down and whispers something to an asleep Georgina while a swarm of bugs that casts a shadow that is part wolf - part peacock causes the skin to melt away from Patrick as the swarm sings.
"Ours, ours, ours at this hour, ours at this time, ours under these stars.
Ours, ours, ours by pact, ours by purchase, ours by blood, ours in the
Cult of the White Peacock."
- Daniel Omanta
- Scottish man
to be added
- The secretary of the Order of the White Peacock is named ∞×∑û≠∆. The Making of Doctor Who previously established that Time Lords have names like this.
- One of the drawings that appears on the wall is the basis for the cover of The Book of the Enemy.
- Omanta later worked with Michael Brookhaven. (PROSE: The Book of the War, Remake/Remodel)
- The Peacock House reappears in PROSE: No Enemy But Despair.