Part 5: Out of the Dark

by Soldeed [Reviews - 30]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Action/Adventure

The Tardis doors stood wide open, the interior filled with the sound of the wind rushing through the trees in the grove outside. Jenny lay on the floor, tightly bound hand and foot, her frantic cries and protests muffled by the cloth stuffed into her mouth, blood still trickling slowly from the wound in her neck. The console room lights were dimmed, and the darkness outside hung heavy like a curtain, but she knew there was something out there. She could feel it watching her, smelling her.

Slowly, step by step, twitching its great empty eyes furtively from side to side, the vampire emerged from the blackness, it skinny frame almost trembling in its taut readiness to dart away and flee this strange and different place at the least sign of danger, its nostrils twitching at the scent of fresh blood.

Jenny screamed through her gag, wild-eyed, thrashing desperately against the unbreakable synthetic fibres which bound her, and the thing leaped back warily and stood crouched and frozen for a few seconds till it reassured itself that she could do nothing to harm it and it began to creep forward towards her once again. Its outsize hands lifted in front of its sunken chest, curving into claws in readiness.

In her horror, nightmarishly unable to escape as its feet clicked onto the hard surface of the Tardis floor, she raised wide, imploring eyes to the Master, begging him, anything but this. He sat quite still on the hard wooden seat he had offered to her earlier, and watched the unfolding scene with black, pitiless eyes.

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Alison flinched at yet another crash against the ceiling plates, watched the one directly above her head crumple and twist in place, her limbs almost cramping with rigid fear. That time, she had been certain it was going to give way. It couldn't be much longer now.

"Doctor!" she urged, forgetting yet again her promise to herself to leave him in peace.

"All right, all right." He waved her to silence with one hand while the fingers of the other continued to fly across the controls. "This might actually work. The core's too messed up to provide a steady flow of power, but if we run really, really fast..."

That, Alison assured herself, wouldn't be a problem. He darted across the room to a new panel, leaving a display of orange polygons pirouetting across the screen on which he had just been working.

"Right." He twisted a switch with an air of decision. "Get ready. And shade your eyes."

The door slid open and a storm of the creatures came tumbling through, even as the ceiling gave way overhead and the first one came plummetting down at her through the hole. At that instant, under the Doctor's touch on the controls, the entire room burst into golden light like the sun.

The creatures screamed, clapping their hands over their tormented eyes, doubling up and rolling themselves into balls in a frantic effort to escape, to hide from this thing from which there was no hiding place. Alison was running well ahead of the Doctor's shout of "Move!". She leaped over their scrambling, writhing bodies and out into the corridor in which every ceiling light was glaring with an intensity beyond all reason.

She ducked away from the sharp crack and splinters of flying glass as a light overloaded and burst not three feet in front of her. Then another went, further along the corridor, and then another, and the passageway was lurching piecemeal back into darkness. The screaming behind them began to fade, to be replaced by a hiss of vengeful fury.

The Doctor half hurled her up through the hatch in speeding her up the ladder, next second he was scrambling out into the open to join her, and the two of them sprinted away across the moor into the night, free.

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The Doctor and Alison made a weary, haggard couple when in the rising light of dawn they at last trudged up to the clustered grove of trees which concealed the Tardis.

"Oh boy," muttered Alison. "I am so not ready for this. I just want a hot drink and a lie down. Can't we ask the Master if we can put the big showdown on hold for a couple of hours?"

He glanced down at her.

"You can wait out here if you like."

"You know that's not what I meant."

Her resentful tone sent the ghost of a smile flitting across his face.

"No. Of course."

He gave her shoulder a brief, companionable squeeze and they moved on, into the grove where the trees crowded in close around them and blotted out the sun, shrouding them in gloom as if night lingered on in this place. They halted, frozen, at the sound of stumbling footsteps and a gentle, persistent sobbing.

"Jenny!"

Alison gasped out the name at the sight of the young woman, hair in disarray, collar torn, dress stained with blood from the gash in her throat, blundering white-faced towards them. She fell into the Doctor's arms and held on tight, her sobs bursting out into a choking, gulping flood of tears.

The Doctor pressed her to him, closed his eyes and bowed his head over her shuddering form.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

Gently he disengaged and pushed her back far enough that he could inspect the wound in her neck.

"It's a shallow cut at least. You'll be all right."

With a light touch on Jenny's arm Alison tried to draw her attention.

"What happened in there? Can you tell us?"

"Your friend," she stammered brokenly. "He... he seemed like such a nice, polite gentleman. But when I turned my back he just grabbed me and he cut me with a knife and he tied me so tightly and... and then he opened the doors and that thing!" The words caught in her throat and she shoved the Doctor away from her, shaking her head frantically as if to dislodge the memory from her mind. "Then he cut me free. Pushed me out of the doors and closed them behind me. He never said a word. The whole time he never said a word."

The Doctor's face was cold and pale as death, and his gaze turned slowly towards the interior of the grove, where the Tardis stood hidden. He spoke in a voice rasping with suppressed emotion.

"Right. Alison, do what you can for her. Wait for me here."

"But shouldn't we..."

"No, it's all right, I won't be long." He thrust his hands deep into his pockets and stalked onward. "It's time I was rid of this cuckoo in my nest."