The Paradox Engine

by Gordon Dempster [Reviews - 0]

  • All Ages
  • General
  • Action/Adventure, General

'Tyrannosaurus Rex? In this part of Herefordshire?'

Inspector James Perkins was really beginning to worry about the man in front of him. Since he had arrived in the village this morning, accompanied by his two nieces, he had somehow managed to get himself involved in the investigation in to the recent strange events. From what he had just said, it sounded for all the world like it would be perfectly natural for one of these things to appear in any other part of the county, just not here.

The man before him seemed to be in his early forties, quite tall with a high forehead, a strong profile and eyes that shined with enthusiasm. His features were somewhat stern, but were instantly transformed when he smiled, which was often.

Of his two nieces, the first was short, with shoulder-length, dark hair framing a delicate face. She had somewhat of a piercing gaze, which was only accentuated by her striking eyebrows. She could easily have stepped straight out of one of the more fashionable areas of London.

The other was a different story, she was undoubtedly attractive, but in an almost threatening way. Tall and pale, with unfashionably short, almost white hair, she didn't look like she belonged here and seemed uncomfortable in the clothes she was wearing. She hadn't said a word since they had arrived.

The dark haired woman, Katherine she'd introduced herself as, had a big grin on her face.

'Yay, dinosaurs!'

The four of them knelt on the ground, around a large indentation in the ground which looked like the tracks left behind by a very large and very fast-moving lizard.

The Inspector tried to break the ice. 'I mean, we've had reports of monsters and demons chasing men home before, but they've all been from, well, gentlemen who are slightly the worse for wear after alight refreshment.'

'You mean they were rat-arsed?'

The Inspector's face turned bright red as Katherine said this. ‘Please, Madam!'

'Now, now.' said the Doctor calmly, 'I apologise for my niece's vernacular, she hails from a slightly less civilised time.'

Katherine stuck her tongue out behind his back. 'Sorry, _Uncle_!'

The Doctor ignored this and before the Inspector could give a second's thought to what he had just said, he continued. 'I'm sorry, you were saying?'

'Well, in this case it was young Doctor Grant from the local surgery. He never touches the drink and he's never been one to tell tall tales. I've known him since he were a lad.'

'Is there any chance we could talk to Doctor Grant?'

'Well, I don't know sir. He was in a bit of a state last night. It was all he could do to tell me what he thought he'd seen. But since you are a fellow member of the medical profession, I suppose it wouldn't do much harm if you asked him a couple of questions, just a couple mind, I honestly don't think he'll be up to any more than that.'

'I understand. Now if you could just direct us to the surgery?'
'Just go down the main street and turn left at the village post office. It'll be right ahead of you.'

'Thank you my good man. Katherine, Silence, we must be going now!'

'Bye Inspector!' waved Katherine as they walked by, Silence merely acknowledged his presence with a curt nod. Silence? What sort of name was that for a young woman? There was definitely something strange about that one and the Inspector wasn't sure he wanted to find out.


~ Those tracks should not be here. These dinosaurs died out millions of years ago. ~ Silence signed.

The Doctor looked surprised, but pleased, 'you've been reading up in the library haven't you?'

~ I felt it was important to learn as much as I could about this world. ~

'Very good!'

Silence only just failed to keep a pleased smile appearing on her face.

'As for those tracks, no, they most certainly should _not_ be here. Although there have been many, many tales of dinosaurs having survived in the jungles of the Congo or in the rain forests of the Amazon. I would tend to treat reports of one roaming the English countryside with a pinch of salt.'

'But you're not ruling it out?' asked Katherine

'Of course not, have you not heard of the Loch Ness monster?' he replied with a twinkle in his eyes.

'Of course I have. So, what do you think it is this time? Time anomaly?'


~ Genetic experimentation? ~

'It's a bit early for that...'

'Frozen in a block of ice?'

'You never know...'

~ Extra-terrestrials? ~

'Well there _were_ one or two incidents in the last years of the nineteenth century.' he said, knowingly.

'Katherine and Silence looked at each other. 'Yeah, I'll just bet there was!'

The Doctor stopped and turned toward them. 'And what exactly makes you think I had _anything_ to do with them?'

~ Because we know what you are like. ~

'Well, I admit I may have been in the general vicinity at the time...'


'And someday I will tell you all about it, but for now we have more pressing matters to attend to. It's getting rather late in the day and I wish to talk to Doctor Grant before the night draws in. We'll have other things to do then.'

The Doctor turned back round and strolled off 'Come along now!'


Two figures watched from the edge of the woods as the trio made their way toward the village. The first, tall, blonde, slightly chubby, brought down the opera glasses he was using to watch the distant figures.

'I don't like people who take an interest in things that don't concern them, Mr MacAroy.'

The other, short, compact, wiry, looked concerned. 'They ask questions, Mr Dressel.'

'Yes, but it's when they find the answers. That's what leads to trouble.'

'Should we take measures?'

'Not yet. They could just be harmless tourists, or perhaps
visiting a sick great aunt.' Dressel smiled, 'But it would be prudent if perhaps you kept an eye on them Mr MacAroy. But don't get involved.'

He raised the glasses back to his eyes. 'At least, not yet.' he murmured.


Doctor David Grant shook his head wearily as he rose from his unsettled slumber. The sound of the doorbell rang through his aching head. 'All right, all right, I'm coming.' he muttered as he got up.

He opened the front door. 'I'm sorry, the surgery is closed except for emergencies. The district nurse will be here tomorrow morning for anything else.'

The figures in front of him stared at him for a second, then the man spoke. 'I'm afraid we're not here concerning any medical matters.'


'We're here to ask about the events of the other night.'

Doctor Grant's face fell. 'Oh no...'

'If you are not feeling up to it, we can come back tomorrow?'

'No, come in. I want, _need_ to talk about it. The entire event has left me rather disturbed. Please, come in.'


The Extraordinary Tale Of Doctor Grant

I admit, I have a healthy scepticism when it comes to rum and uncanny matters such as these. Or at least, I _had_. After the events of last night, I wonder exactly how much truth is hidden within the unbelievable stories printed to fill up space in the less reputable broadsheets.

I was returning from the Hobson farm on the outskirts of the village, taking the path through the woods as I usually do. There seemed to be nothing amiss, the only sounds were the usual leaves rustling in the wind, the occasional hoot of an owl.

I felt it first, rather than hearing it, A slight tremble in the ground underneath. I thought nothing of it the first time. But then I felt it again, slightly stronger this time. It was like something hitting the ground with great force, shaking the surrounding countryside. I then noticed the peculiar smell, or rather smells. The first was akin to that during a thunderstorm, when lightning has just hit the ground nearby. The other was a sickly smell, like that of dead livestock, the stench of death.

The shaking came again and again, like some terrible slow heartbeat. I suddenly heard the sound of branches snapping, of something moving through the trees. Despite the full moon I could only catch a glimpse of some shape, a large, dark shape moving through the trees.

I started to run. I did not know what it was and I did not _want_ to know what it was. I just knew that somehow I was in danger. It must have heard me. As soon as I broke into a run it seemed to stop and turn toward me, before advancing. Whatever it was, it was travelling at speed and would certainly catch up with me.

I broke out of the woods, onto the moor. I tripped on something, a stone, a tangled branch, I don't know. I could still hear it crashing through the trees. I looked back and in the light of the full moon, saw the terrifying thing that was chasing me. It must have been over thirty feet tall, running on its hind legs, with a large head and enormous teeth. It roared as it continued toward me, a terrible sound that I could only think may be the last thing I would ever hear.

It stopped about ten feet away from me, I could hear it breathing. It looked at me in the same way a cat looks at an injured bird before attacking. I knew nothing then could save me. It roared again, I could see the individual teeth in that great mouth and could only imagine what they would do to me. Then there was what seemed like a thunderclap, a flash of lightning. For a few seconds the moor was lit up by a light as bright as the sun. I was blinded for a few seconds, until the darkness returned. I tried to focus on where the creature had been, but did not know which way was which. I looked all around, in every direction.

It was gone. As if it had all been some figment of my imagination. I honestly wonder if I imagined it all, but the Inspector tells me tracks have been found. I don't know what to believe anymore, I honestly don't.


The Doctor closed the door of the surgery behind him as they left. They had left Grant sitting in his armchair, shaking from the memories of the previous night. He had refused all attempts at comfort, replying that 'I have a bottle of whisky in my study that will do me just fine.' The Doctor, with some reluctance had left him to it.

~ He certainly saw something. ~

The Doctor looked sadly at Silence. 'Yes, he has. I fear it may have been too much for the poor fellow.'

'He didn't even seem to notice us two,' Katherine indicated herself and Silence. 'You think he'll be okay?'

'Eventually, yes. But I think it will take some time.'

A determined look suddenly came across the Doctor's face.
'He has stumbled on something that is most definitely out of the ordinary. We have experience with these things, so as usual, it is up to us to find out what!'


Inspector Perkins rode his bicycle down the road towards his small cottage at the south end of the village. His head still reeled somewhat from all that had occurred that day, but a small nightcap and a good sleep would help considerably, he mused to himself.

He whistled as he turned the corner, soon be home now he thought.

He swerved to avoid an enormous shape that suddenly appeared in the middle of the road. He wobbled, but lost control, falling onto the grass at the roadside. He caught his breath and slowly picked himself up.

'What the bloody hell was that?' he asked himself as he turned around.

The creature before him filled his vision, thirty feet or so long, four legs, what seemed to be fins on it's back and a large spiked tail. The Inspector froze as it turned it's head toward him and growled...