*** Delta Jurisdiction, Planet Alenor, 4214 The Dr. span suddenly on his heels to face the far door. ‘You’re up,’ he smiled at the youth who had stumbled onto the gridiron bridge. ‘How’re you feelin’?’ Jayne blinked in surprise, she hadn’t heard a thing. She would never have known he was there. The boy was barefoot to boot. How had The Dr. even heard him approaching? She thought about asking, but she decided that his ego was big enough. ‘I … I feel fine,’ the youth managed to say as though the prospect was completely alien to him. ‘Ah!’ The Dr. clapped. ‘That’s a Sarf Effrican accent, isn’t it? Bloody ‘ell, haven’t ‘eard on o’ them for ages.’ ‘W-what?’ the boy managed to cough. ‘Come on in, sit yourself down mate, d’you wanna brew?’ The Dr. said, patting a stool by the console. ‘Dr.,’ Jayne sighed, shaking her head. ‘You’re right,’ The Dr. nodded. ‘Not the time for tea. How ‘bout a pint?’ ‘What’s going on?’ The boy asked, padding over to the console and falling into one of the chairs. ‘Who are you?’ ‘Oh, do very much beg-my-pardon,’ The Dr. said, dusting at his lapels. ‘I’m The Dr., I’m a Video Lord. This is my companion, Jayne Watson from Earth. You’re sitting in my Type X-5000 RETARDIS space-and-time craft and I just saved your life … you’re welcome, by the way. Now, hold on to your hair ‘cause we’re here to sort out this whole mess you’re planet’s managed to get itself into and, maybe, just maybe, before I’m finished, I’ll do something utterly amazing. Now, your turn, m’laddo.’ ‘What?’ the stranger said, holding his forehead in his hands. ‘Rank and serial number’ The Dr. said a little bit more forcefully as he took out a cigarette and lit it on an exposed electrical conduit. ‘ASL, shoe size, do you like long walks on the beach or are you more of a night-in kind o’ bloke? What’s your deal? I’m betting rebellion. I’d stake one of my lives on it. You look the rebellion sort.’ ‘We’re a resistance movement,’ the youth coughed. ‘Hiding out, fighting back where we can. Stealing enough QD to survive.’ ‘QD?’ Jayne looked up at The Dr. ‘Is that the fake immune system stuff?’ ‘That’s the one,’ The Dr. nodded. ‘So, you’re fighting back against the Shetlurians? Good choice. Are there a lot of you?’ ‘A few. Not enough though. There’s hardly any food and we can’t get enough QD. Some of us tried to go without it, but the withdrawal is too severe.’ ‘You what?!’ The Dr. exclaimed. ‘You’ve been going cold-turkey on QD? It’s not cocaine! It doesn’t work like that! Without it, you will die. There’s no weaning yourself off it.’ ‘We don’t know how it works!’ The youth retorted, a hint of anger showing in his voice. ‘We hardly know anything about what’s going on! We just barely survive day-to-day.’ ‘Alright, okay,’ The Dr. said, rubbing his chin. ‘I’m gonna need you to take me to your mates. I’ll fill a bag with enough antidote to go around and then we can talk shop. I’ve got some spare kit in the back if you want to grab some shoes or something.’ ‘No, I’m fine, I don’t like shoes,’ the youth replied casually, examining his feet. ‘Each to his own,’ The Dr. shrugged. ‘So then …’ He cocked his head at the boy, snapping his fingers in an attempt to remember the youth’s name. It never occurred to him that he had yet to ask. ‘What’s your name?’ Jayne said reassuringly, patting the boy’s hand gently. He looked down at the place that she had touched and shifted awkwardly in his chair as he examined a name badge on his tattered coveralls. ‘Davies,’ he said stiffly. ‘That’s my surname anyhow.’

‘How about a first name?’ Jayne persisted. ‘My parents named me Kit,’ he replied. ‘… but everybody calls me Dodge.’ *** Alton, Staffordshire, 1821 The embers of an abandoned fire still crackled in the hearth of the large sitting room. Manhunter had positioned himself by the window that looked out onto the terrace, standing as still as a statue. Jayne had seated herself in one of the larger chairs, watching The Dr. pace up and down in an agitated manner. Dan stood by the door, he had been told that he shouldn’t sit. The Dr. had stated that it would risk breaking cover for a lackey to be seated in the presence of his betters. Dan was busy grumbling nasty things of a graphic nature in response. The sound of self-important footfalls in the hall signalled the arrival of somebody in charge and the door was soon thrown open by an enraged gentleman with large sideburns. His eyes were sunken with fatigue and the weight of many traumas were evident in his complexion. ‘So?’ Earl Talbot demanded as he stood in the doorway. ‘You have invaded my home in this hour of tragedy. To what possible end can you justify this interruption? My Son’s body is not yet cold and you barge into my domain without a thought of reason or compassion. Throwing around slanderous lies about murder! My son’s death was an accident damn you!’ The Dr. had been about to speak but stopped himself, thinking better of whatever quip he had been about to throw. Instead, he lowered his head slightly and bit his lip. ‘You’re perfectly right, Earl Talbot. It would be very insensitive if it was a simple matter like you say. But it’s not that simple anymore, is it?’ The Earl gave a fierce scowl. ‘I haven’t the slightest clue as to what you are suggesting.’ ‘Why are you lying?’ Manhunter said sternly from the window as he slowly turned to face the Earl, seemingly without hurry as his gaze lingered on the view a while longer. The Earl spluttered with anger and attempted a rebuttal, but Manhunter cut him off. ‘I can tell,’ he said simply. ‘You’re sweating, you’re eye is twitching. I’d point out that you’ve yet to look any of us in the eye, but then, that might just be the aristocracy in you. You’re hiding something from us. From the looks of you its something that’s happened very recently, and if it’s worth hiding then I’m guessing it’s not simply that you and your wife feel like grieving in peace. Everybody lies, but you do it so very badly because you’re in shock. So, the point remains, that there’s something very, very wrong happening here. Of course, if you think you can contain it yourself, then … well, that’s not good for us. The simple matter is, you have no hope of containing it on your own.’ The Earl bristled. ‘Whoever you think you are …’ ‘Enough!’ Manhunter said, almost angrily. ‘The time for games expired a long time ago. About the same time as those screams echoed across the landscape. You should understand by now that we’re not here by chance. We know that there’s something unnatural occurring in this household.’ ‘Earl Talbot,’ The Dr. said. ‘I think you’d better take us to see your son’s body.’ The Earl started to shake his head. ‘It’s not dead, is it?’ The Dr. said icily. ‘Not in the normal sense. It’s walking around and its killing people, isn’t it?’ ‘How could you know?’ The Earl asked, his mouth agape. ‘Take me to see it,’ The Dr. said firmly. ‘Or don’t you have it contained anymore?’ ‘What? No, he’s … it’s in the study … locked in.’ ‘How thick is the door?’ The Dr. asked, already leading the way out of the Sitting Room. ‘Impenetrable,’ The Earl said, almost proudly despite the situation. ‘We’ll see about that,’ The Dr. snapped as they were led up the stairs. ‘The impenetrable stuff’s normally the first to give way.’

*** Delta Jurisdiction, Planet Alenor, 4214 ‘Oh, what a shame,’ The Dr. said sadly as Dodge led them through a large amphitheatre. The massive windows were missing, the ceiling had collapsed and traces fire damage were evident throughout the structure. ‘Could’ve ‘ad an ace party in ‘ere.’ ‘Is now really the time to think about parties?’ Jayne asked, nodding in Dodge’s direction. The boy, who it transpired was just a little older than Watson was picking his way through the rubble ahead of them. He hadn’t spoken much at all since The Dr. had asked him to “Take him to his leader” and then chuckled to himself for the better part of a quarter of an hour. ‘Never a bad time to talk about parties,’ The Dr. commented, fishing in his pocket for his cigarettes and lighting one with a swift flick of his bionic screwdriver. ‘It’s just through here,’ Dodge said as he led them to a large security door and began to heave it aside. The Dr. stepped forward to lend a hand as Dodge’s feeble limbs lacked the strength to move the door more than a few inches. There was an unspoken nod of appreciation from the slave as he led them deeper underground. The walls were concrete here, lined with graffiti and broken machinery. The stench of decay and damp hung heavily in the air as the lights grew fainter and fainter until they were walking in complete darkness. The light from The Dr.’s cigarette was the only means of illumination for a few brief seconds before the Video Lord remembered that humans can’t see very well in the dark and activated his Bionic Screwdriver that shed its pale purple light around the chamber. Dodge led them down several flights of metal stairs as The Dr. sang quietly to himself. ‘Now at midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew, Come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do. They bring them to the factory, Where the heartattack machine, Is strapped across their chests and then the kerosene, Is brought down from the castles by insurance men who go, Check that nobody is escaping to Desolation Row.’ He held his hand up several times to Jayne who had asked him what on Earth he was singing and why. ‘Dylan was well before his time,’ The Dr. muttered afterwards. ‘Honestly,’ Jayne said, shaking her head as she followed Dodge down further into the darkness. ‘Sometimes I don’t know if you’re right in the head, Dr.’ ‘Course I’m not right in th’ ‘ead,’ The Dr. puffed. ‘Not by your standards anyhow. I wouldn’t really want to be human-in-the-head. That’d be a massive step-down for me.’ ‘You’re saying I’m stupid now?’ Jayne said, bristling angrily. ‘That’s not what I said,’ The Dr. retorted. ‘You’re quite bright for a human, Jayne Watson. I’m not sayin’ you’re stupid, I’m sayin’ that I’m much, much smarter than any human could ever hope to be. Not knockin’ you as a species. It’s a fact of genetics and whatnot.’ ‘We’re here,’ Dodge said, coughing as he knocked loudly in an off-beat tune on a section of the wall that suddenly had a brick missing and an eye peering out at them. ‘It’s me,’ Dodge said, waving at the eye. ‘I’ve brought help.’ The eye swivelled to look at Jayne first and then at The Dr. ‘Bloody hell!’ the person behind the door exclaimed excitedly as a hidden door in the brickwork slid open and a battered-looking individual limped out and threw an arm around the Dr. ‘It’s more than we could ever have hoped for!’ The Dr. put up his hands to avoid having to touch the individual currently embracing him. The Video Lord finally managed to disentangle himself and stood back to get a good look at his assailant. He squinted through the unruly matted mass of dirtyblonde hair and winced as he looked over the horrific scars that littered the man’s face. ‘Shittin’ hell,’ The Dr. said quietly as he stood upright and patted the man on his shoulder. ‘Who did this to you?’

‘Who do you think?’ The man puffed, looking them over with the one remaining eye he had. ‘Air Devils don’t take kindly to bounty hunters.’ He tapped his left leg with the crutch he held under his arm, receiving a hollow thud, indicating that it was prosthetic. ‘Right,’ The Dr. said, striding past his associate and Dodge into a large stone bunker. Jayne followed him along with Dodge who ushered her inside. The smell was horrific. The sights were worse. Heads and faces began to appear from more nooks and crannies than Jayne realized were actually there. Every one of them looked to be in the worst state a human being could possibly be in and still cling on to life. ‘Right,’ The Dr. said again, this time, the word sent a shiver through Jayne’s skin. The single syllable permeated the air and seemed to offer up a lingering threat of determined resolution. By his own admission, it was very hard to move The Dr. to angered action. This appeared to have clinched it. ‘Start passing these ‘round,’ The Dr. said, handing the bag that contained the blue antidote vials to Dodge. ‘If there’s not enough for everybody then we’ll do another trip.’ ‘I’ll help him,’ Jayne said, taking a handful of the vials and following Dodge into the throng of people who would have swarmed after the medication if they had any energy left at all. The Dr. watched them go and then turned to the scarred man who stood awkwardly on his artificial limb. ‘So, how’s life treating you?’ He asked casually as though the two had met at a bus stop. The scarred man laughed, a grating noise that hurt his throat and made him cough. ‘It’s got its good and bad days,’ he said, trying to shrug. ‘Better now the Don Huan’s here.’ The Dr. lit up another cigarette and offering one to the man who shook his head. ‘Cameth the hour,’ The Dr. commented. ‘But not the man.’ ‘What are you going to do?’ The scarred man asked him as he accepted one of the spare blue vials that The Dr. produced from his pocket and pointed the needle towards the crook of his elbow. The Dr. took a contemplative drag on his cigarette and retrieved a hipflask in the shape of a Jerry Can from one of the many pockets inside his blue jacket. He took a swig of the contents and then another long drag on his cigarette. ‘Dunno, C,’ he said without looking at his associate. ‘But I’m going to do something. That should be enough for now. But I’m going to need you and every one of these people here, C. I can’t do it alone. This is a numbers game. Can’t take on the Shetlurians with words and guile.’ ‘If this is what I think it is,’ the scarred man said, holding up the vial. ‘Then that won’t be a problem,’ he took the vial and injected its contents into his arm. ‘And I’m not a Bounty Hunter anymore. No more C.’ He smiled and tapped his fake leg whilst bringing a hand to the place where an eye used to be. ‘People started calling me Piracee and while back. It’s kinda stuck.’ ‘This doesn’t make us even,’ The Dr. said sternly over his shoulder. Piracee shook his head. ‘I don’t care anymore,’ he said solemnly. ‘There’s nothing worse that could happen to me now. I’ve been to hell already.’ The Dr. smiled slightly as the drugs overwhelmed Piracee’s system, causing him to collapse into a heap of empty cardboard boxes. The Dr. didn’t move to assist. There would be no way to make any of them comfortable while the drugs did their work. He took another long drag on his cigarette and leaned against a column as he observed the proceedings. ‘And the only sound that’s left, After the Ambulances go,’ he said, watching Jayne and Dodge distributing the cure to the Shetlurians’ virus amongst the rebel slaves. ‘Is Cinderella sweeping up, On Desolation Row.’ *** Alton, Staffordshire, 1821 The door to the study was already splintering as another colossal impact hit from the inside.

‘And you were going to try and get rid of us?’ Manhunter said to the Earl with a shaming frown. ‘What is it, Dr.?’ Dan said angrily. ‘I know that you know.’ ‘I don’t know anything for certain until I’ve seen them,’ The Dr. retorted. ‘But I’ve got a very good idea … and a very bad feeling that I might be right.’ ‘Then what?’ The Earl shouted. ‘What manner of devilry is this?’ ‘Have you seen them?’ The Dr. asked, turning to the Earl. ‘Have you seen what it is attacking the upholstery?’ The Earl’s face whitened at the thought. ‘I heard the screams and came to investigate. At first I thought my Son were alive again, but … I had never known true evil until I looked upon that face.’ ‘What sort of face?’ The Dr. demanded. ‘No, don’t tell me,’ he said, holding up a hand. ‘There’s only one thing it could be in a case like this,’ The Dr. said, rubbing his hands over his face. ‘It’s probably the worst case scenario.’ ‘Would you hurry up and get to the point,’ Manhunter grumbled. ‘You’ve kept us waiting long enough. Tell us what we’re dealing with.’ ‘Anamoloco Ridicularis,’ The Dr. said darkly. ‘They’re called Crying Clowns,’ he looked up at Watson. ‘The worst kind of zombies you could imagine.’ ‘What’s their MO?’ Manhunter asked calmly as another impact came against the door. ‘They kill people,’ The Dr. replied nonchalantly. ‘They kill people and then the bodies turn into more zombies. Who go on to kill more people.’ ‘What do they want though?’ Jayne said anxiously. ‘They can’t just want nothing.’ ‘It’s not what the Clowns want,’ The Dr. replied. ‘They’re just lackeys. Bodyguards of the true evil around here. The Clown syndrome is spread by a virus into dead tissue,’ he turned to the Earl. ‘Your Son was murdered, Earl Talbot. Murdered by a malevolent creature who needed an army to do its bidding.’ ‘You’re not serious?!’ Dan puffed. ‘You’re talking about that Oak Tree, aren’t you?’ ‘What madness is this?’ The Earl demanded. ‘You expect me to believe that a tree killed my Son? It was an accident! The tree was struck by lightning!’ ‘The lightning was called down,’ The Dr. said, already storming off down the corridor. ‘It can’t move the tree, but it can affect the surrounding area enough to pull off a stunt like that.’ ‘What can?!’ Jayne said urgently. The Dr. pierced the air with both index fingers and rounded on the Earl. ‘Where’s the branch?’ He said sternly. ‘The branch that killed your Son. It wasn’t by the tree. Where is it?’ The Earl looked at The Dr. darkly. ‘Downstairs,’ he said dryly. ‘In the vault.’ ‘I bet you’ve got something else down there too, haven’t you?’ The Dr. asked, stepping closer so that he was eye to eye with the Earl. Something a lot more interesting?’ The Earl glared back with dead-set eyes. ‘I think you already know what it is I have. You seem to be more than you pretend, Mister Holmes.’ The Dr. narrowed his eyes. ‘Show me,’ he said evenly. *** Delta Jurisdiction, Planet Alenor, 4214 ‘Shetlurians evolved on Earth,’ The Dr. explained as he, Jayne and Dodge sat around a large fire that he had constructed from waste materials around the warehouse and ignited it with a blast from the Bionic Screwdriver. ‘Before the thought of Dinosaurs even sprang to mind. They had an advanced culture, just like humans, more advanced actually. But they destroyed the resources and polluted the place like no man’s business. They made such a mess that they had to give it up as a bad job.’ ‘They went extinct?’ Jayne asked as she worriedly twiddled her thumbs.

‘If only,’ The Dr. clucked. ‘No, they had a massive falling out. Half of them built space ships and pissed off to the other side of the galaxy, conquering planets and takin’ them over. The other half put themselves into hibernation, thousands of miles below the surface of the Earth, right near the core. They wake up wi’ nasty hangovers in the twenty-ninth century wondering what these evolved monkey things reckon they’re doin’ on their planet and set out to destroy ‘em all.’ The Dr. looked over at Jayne’s worried expression. ‘Don’t worry, I stopped them,’ he said reassuringly. ‘Back in my first life that was.’ ‘So, we’re dealing with the other kind?’ Jayne nodded. ‘The ones that left Earth.’ ‘Unfortunately, yes,’ The Dr. nodded. ‘About fifty-million years worth of technological advancement, in-breeding and bad diets hasn’t done anything to make them any nicer. We generally call this half of them The Air Devils. Dunno why, they shed their wings absolutely ages ago ‘cause they didn’t need them.’ He took out another cigarette. ‘Do you like horses, Watson?’ ‘What?’ Jayne exclaimed, taken aback by the sudden diversion. ‘Uhm, not really, I’m allergic. Why do you ask?’ ‘Just want you to know what we’re up against with The Air Devils. Just imagine a load of really pissed off Shetland Ponies. If you’ve got any love for the equine variety, then best leave it at the door.’ ‘Do you have a plan at all?’ Dodge asked without moving his eyes from the crackling flames before him. ‘No, I don’t,’ The Dr. said, lighting his cigarette with a piece of smouldering timber he plucked from the fire. ‘I never do usually.’ ‘Is that wise in this situation?’ Jayne asked, hugging her knees to her. ‘It’s never wise,’ The Dr. retorted. ‘Probably one of the stupidest things I could do really. But then again, it’s a tactic that’s never let me down before. If you’ve got no plan, then there’s nothing to fuck up.’ Dodge laughed at that. ‘See,’ The Dr. said, pointing at Dodge. ‘He knows what I’m on about.’ ‘So, how do you know Piracee, Dr.?’ Dodge asked out-of-the-blue. ‘It’s a small universe,’ The Dr. shrugged. ‘Bound to run into people you know when you travel as much as I do. An’ I don’t reckon your man C’s gonna be too thrilled if I go recountin’ his past exploits to all an’ sundry. We’ve met before, we agreed to disagree on a sticky subject. I’m not gonna elaborate.’ ‘Is this about what happened on the space installation?’ Dodge persisted. ‘Axis twelve or something?’ ‘Axis Twelve-Nineteen,’ The Dr. nodded. ‘He told you about that?’ ‘No point in keeping secrets around here,’ Dodge replied. ‘No dignity in this place to start with. People can’t exactly look down on you.’ ‘So what happened then?’ Jayne asked The Dr. eagerly. ‘Was there a shoot out? Was there an exchange of witty banter and a duel? Oooh! Was there a damsel in distress involved?’ ‘Nothing like that,’ Dodge started, but The Dr. cut him off with a sharp look. ‘It’s not your story to tell,’ he said evenly. Dodge nodded sheepishly and went back to looking into the fire. Jayne accosted the Dr. with a fiery glare of her own. ‘Erm, how rude have you been since we got here? Is there any need?’ ‘I’m not bein’ rude,’ The Dr. said. ‘I’m being frank and forthright.’ ‘You’ve been moody and snippy all day, Dr.,’ Jayne retorted accusingly. ‘What’s the matter with you? You’ve been in a weird mood ever since our trip to The Kalgoorlie Space Station. What happened?’ The Dr. bowed his head slightly and took a long draught from his hip flask. ‘Dust in the wind,’ he said simply. ‘Swings and roundabouts, Watson. I’m a complicated man. Complicated in so many ways that the human mind simply isn’t built to register ‘em. Mostly though, I’m just a bit knackered if you really must persist. I’ve been protecting the Universe since I left The Academy. It’s not an easy life to wrap your head ‘round.

‘So, now an’ then, there’s gonna be days when the trivialities bore me and I’m not really going to be up for the pleasantries when there’s no real call for ‘em. Likewise, there’ll be times when people stare at my crotch for longer than they should and I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t noticed, Dodge.’ ‘What?!’ Dodge said with a start. ‘Eyes straight, sailor,’ The Dr. said and went back to studying the fire. ‘Sorry,’ Dodge said, blushing, trying to look anywhere than back at The Dr. ‘Don’t worry yourself, there’s no harm in looking. ’ The Dr. said, getting to his feet and planting his hands firmly in his pockets and paced off to examine the Alenorans who were still unconscious. ‘As long as it stops at looking.’ ‘It’s typical,’ Watson said, folding her arms and sitting back against a crate behind her. ‘What is?’ Dodge asked, toying idly with a lock of his ridiculously-long hair. ‘Men,’ she snorted, sending a derisive look between The Dr. and Dodge. ‘The decent ones are always unavailable or gay.’ ‘Piracee’s not,’ Dodge shrugged. ‘He’s not what?’ Watson asked, raising an eyebrow. ‘Unavailable or decent?’ ‘Take your pick,’ Dodge said, repositioning himself in a more comfortable pose. ‘As if any of it matters in this hellhole.’ ‘It’ll matter,’ Watson said with a determined nod. ‘The Dr. will see to that.’ ‘You really like him, don’t you?’ Dodge said over the fire at her. Watson gave a sad smile and laughed a little. ‘Now, that is one thing that I don’t think will never matter,’ she said sadly, looking over at The Video Lord. ‘At least not to him.’ *** Alton, Staffordshire, 1821 The Earl led them down a low-ceilinged tunnel until they reached a fortified iron door that he pulled aside to reveal a room that had the potential to inspire Mary Shelly to write Frankenstein. All manner of machinery and equipment that would have any nineteenth-century mad scientist cackling with abject glee whirred and buzzed around them in their darkened alcoves. The Dr. nodded and muttered something about science, but it could have been a slur on the archaicness of the equipment or a joyous cry of amusement for much the same reason. His expression didn’t change, so it was hard to tell. Jayne had seen this determined look. No matter which Dr. wore it, it meant the same thing in every circumstance she had seen it. There was trouble brewing. The vault was dogged with antechambers and smaller rooms that ventured off in all directions. The largest of which was concealed behind a large shelving unit that swung aside easily on a track hidden under a rug. ‘How very Agatha Christie,’ Manhunter said quietly as they followed the Earl into a highceiling stone room. There in the centre of the floor, affixed to a workbench by a number of heavy iron chains was a large tree branch. One end was blackened and scorched where the lightning had struck. The tree limb’s leafless branches and twigs had curled and gnarled, making it appear at though it were a giant fist, menacing at them. The Dr. instructed the group to stand well clear as he produced his Bionic Screwdriver and began to fiddle with the settings. ‘I still find it quite preposterous that you believe the illness originated from this tree,’ The Earl bristled. ‘It has stood in the grounds for generations. Nothing like this has ever happened before. If it were not for that curse I would not have thought to bring it back here at all.’ The Dr. harrumphed. The Earl had explained about the strange curse the beggar had hurled at him the night before on the way down. Dan had done a rather good rendition of “I-told-you-so-ing” that had done nothing to abate The Dr.’s rising sense of urgency.

The Video Lord examine the Bionic Screwdriver’s readings and scrunched up his face in irritation. ‘I was afraid of that,’ he said, pocketing the device. ‘The branch is clean, empty. Dead, flame-grilled wood. Nothing more sinister than a would-be coat rack,’ he rounded on The Earl. ‘Now, show me the body.’ ‘My son is upstairs,’ The Earl scowled. ‘The other body,’ The Dr. said, still managing to bear down on the man who was much taller. ‘The angel, the demon, whatever it is you think it is in your misguided Neolithic way. Show us. But I warn you now, Earl Talbot. If you have performed any bisecting or dissecting, lobotomising or any other kind of ecting, otomising or general nastiness of any kind then you will have me to deal with,’ The Dr. let the thought permeate for a moment. Jayne would never be sure, but she thought that for a moment she saw the Dr.’s brown eyes flash with a luminescent turquoise power that was gone as quickly as it had appeared. It sent a chill through her just thinking about it. The Earl seemed to get the message and was quickly producing a key and opening another large iron door on the opposite side of the chamber. The door opened with a grotesque squeak to reveal a tiled room decked out in green and white. It was an operating theatre. Before them was a large table and upon it was a shackled body dressed in black with long blonde hair. ‘I have not touched him,’ The Earl said as Dan barged through the crowd and set about releasing the captive before them. The Dr. nodded his approval. ‘Good,’ he said, his voice strangely aggravated and distant. ‘Then you get to keep breathing.’ Jayne winced at the remark but followed The Dr. into the chamber regardless. Her eyes were once again full of tears that she did not want to show to the world, but this was not a time that her emotions would remain restrained. She pushed forwards and managed to get into the embrace that Dan had thrown over the captive. The three of them huddled around each other for some time as The Dr. stood a small distance away. Manhunter and The Earl watched from the doorway. ‘Tell me,’ The Earl said to Manhunter quietly. ‘What manner of evil has entered my household? Why has the devil come here to me?’ ‘Maybe because you think there is a devil,’ Manhunter replied simply. ‘I wouldn’t take it personally. This kind of thing goes on everywhere. It just takes an egomaniac to make it all about himself.’ The two exchanged looks of similar dislike as the scene before them unfolded. ‘I thought you were gone forever,’ Dan said through tears of his own as he buried his face in Dodge’s chest. ‘You’ve been gone for so long.’ ‘I’m sorry, love,’ Dodge replied in a hoarse whisper. ‘I messed up big time on this one.’ ‘As touching as this all is,’ Manhunter said loudly from the doorway. ‘There’s still pissed off monsters on the rampage upstairs and no amount of the feel-goods is going to help here.’ Dodge slid off the table, disentangling himself from Jayne and Dan and quickly had his arms around the Martian. ‘I knew you’d come for me,’ he said warmly. ‘I knew if anybody would bail me out, it would be you, Dr.’ Manhunter looked down at Dodge and gave what was supposed to be a consoling smile. ‘Wrong alien, ace,’ he said, pointing to where The Dr. stood in the corner. ‘There’s your Video Lord. I’m just assisting.’ ‘Oh,’ Dodge said, stepping back slightly and wiping his eyes with the back of him hand. ‘Wow … this is awkward.’ ‘What? The scarf wasn’t a big enough giveaway,’ Manhunter continued as Dodge padded over and sheepishly extended his hand to the Dr. ‘Sorry,’ Dodge shrugged. ‘My mistake.’ ‘One of many,’ The Dr. said with a dark scowl that he held until Dodge’s expectant face fell and he lowered his untouched hand sheepishly. ‘Let’s hope I’m around to see you make more,’ The Dr. said and pulled Dodge into a tight hug. ‘You silly, silly sod,’ The Dr. said, releasing his former assistant and standing him at arms length to look at him properly. ‘We’ve got monsters to fight, mister Davies. You ready?’

‘Locked and loaded,’ Dodge said through his fringe that he hadn’t swept away from his face yet. If there was one person who hated to be seen crying more than Watson, it was Dodge. ‘Talbot,’ The Dr. said, striding out of the chamber, past the Earl and proceeded out towards the vault’s exit. ‘Get your staff together quickly. Everybody needs to be evacuated from the Towers. Family, friends, guests, butlers, maids, right down to the shoe-shine-boy. Get the dogs, get the horses and get everybody as far away from those things in the study as you possibly can. ‘Once you’ve got people seeing to that, then we need to get a blacksmith from the village, order up as much iron as he can get his hands on and tell him to start making the strongest chains his forge will produce, and to be quick about it. The longer he takes, the longer this invasion will last.’ They were out of the cellars now and had come up into one of the main corridors of the towers. They continued on until they stopped at the bottom of the staircase they had used earlier. ‘Invasion?’ The Earl growled. ‘An invasion of what, exactly. There are but two and they are sealed securely in the … Study.’ The sentence fell limply from the Earl’s mouth as a strange and eerie noise filtered through the room. It was a wheeze, a wheezed screech that came in sharp, short bursts. It sounded frighteningly like a mad, monotone cackle. A hideous laugh of some deranged animal. The truth was not far from it. Standing at the top of the stairs, was Henry. Or rather, what used to be Henry. All of the blood from his head seemed to have collected in his lips and nose which were huge, swollen and red. His cheek muscles had contracted and shrank so much that his café was contorted into a horrific parody of a grin. His teeth were back and looked to be dissolving in the yellow saliva that was drooling freely from his mouth. Black and lifeless eyes observed them while long rivers of blood trickled freely from the tear ducts. Hair had fallen out in clumps, revealing large bald patches across the head. The body slumped at an awkward angle as it observed the party at the bottom of the stairs. ‘Bloody impenetrable doors,’ The Dr. grumbled as the Crying Clown suddenly lept with unexpected agility onto the banister and threw itself effortlessly through the air at them, shrieking its hideous cackle. ‘Running already?’ Dodge asked, but the group was already fleeing before the first syllable had left his mouth properly.

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