Series 1 Episode 2
The Witch Hunters
“Take me back!” Alana protested.
“Oh come on you’ll enjoy it,” the Doctor argued. “Besides if you really weren’t bothered you wouldn’t have tried returning the sonic screwdriver.”
“I have a hotel…”
“Oh please we all know that shack wasn’t going anywhere.”
“Well thanks for the vote of confidence,” Alana argued. “Now take me back.”
“No. You are coming with me and you are going to see what my life is like. Give it a try and if you still don’t like it then I will take you back to that wrecked bed and breakfast you’re running.” Alana said nothing and the Doctor took this as an affirmative answer. He smiled. “Good. Now where do you want to go, forwards or back?”
“Take me back!”
“To the past it is,” the Doctor said, lunging into action. He pressed several controls and flipped a variety of switches. “Let’s see where the Tardis takes us shall we?”
Several minutes later the column stopped moving and the time machine landed with a tremendous thud, sending the Doctor and Alana stumbling. The Doctor smiled at her.
“Sorry about that,” he apologised. “Lost my touch obviously. Anyway, step outside those doors and you’ll find yourself in eighteenth century Venice.”
Alana looked at him suspiciously, not quite believing him. She turned around and opened the doors. After taking a look outside she left the Tardis and the Doctor went after her.
On stepping outside the Doctor was greeted with the main street of an eighteenth century village, only it wasn’t Venice. He did know where they were though.
“Then again we may have landed in America,” he said apologetically.
“Where about?” Alana asked.
“I have no idea. It looks like a quiet village though, probably nowhere important.”
“Who are you?” another man said. The Doctor and Alana turned to see a tall, heavily built man dressed like a typical farmer from the eighteenth century. He carried with him a large pitch fork.
“Ah hello,” the Doctor said with a smile. “I’m the Doctor and this is Alana, my companion. It is a pleasure to meet you sir. Perhaps you could tell us whereabouts we are?”
“Companion?” Alana protested.
“Where did you come from?” the man asked in a heavy American accent. “And what’s that?” He gestured towards the Tardis.
“That, erm, well…”
“We don’t know,” Alana interrupted. “We’ve never seen it before. To answer your first question we’re just, erm…”
“Travellers,” the Doctor finished. “We’re travellers, just passing through.” The two looked at one another and then back at the farmer. “I’m afraid we got lost though. Perhaps you could tell us where we are?”
“You’re in Catville,” the farmer replied. “Near the west coast.”
“Ah Catville,” the Doctor said. “I have never heard of it.”
“We’re not a very important village, sir,” the farmer replied. “Would you like a drink? You’re welcome at our house if you want.” The Doctor looked at Alana and back at the farmer.
“That would be most welcome, thank you,” he said. The farmer led the way back to his house. “You’re a natural at this,” the Doctor whispered to Alana.
“I only did it so he didn’t stab us with his pitchfork!” Alana snapped back quietly.
They went through the door and into a fairly small kitchen. In the middle of the room was a small wooden table and to the left of this was a worktop with a makeshift sink in. Four old mugs were propped upside down on the worktop. On the right was a series of small cupboards and next to them another door.
The farmer dipped two of the mugs into the sink, which had been filled with water, and handed them over to the Doctor and Alana. He then filled his own mug and took several large gulps of water.
“Those are very strange looking clothes by the way,” he said.
“Oh, they’re the latest fashion,” the Doctor replied.
“Well I’ve never seen anything like them,” the man said back.
“That’s because they’re from the East, India and that,” Alana lied. The man nodded his head slowly.
“You two travel a lot then.”
“We come and go,” the Doctor said. “She’s new to the whole game. I’ve been doing it for, ooh, a good few years now. I don’t believe I know your name.”
“Rory,” the man replied. “Rory Arthur. I’m the richest farmer in town.”
“Pleased to meet you,” the Doctor said.
“So what brings you here, to Catville? Nothing interesting ever happens here.”
“Oh I don’t believe that,” the Doctor replied.
“The only thing of any interest that’s happened here since this place was founded was when Mayor Sinson came to town,” Rory told them. “Of course then this big witch-hunt thing started but that’s not interesting to folk like you.”
“Witch-hunts?” the Doctor asked in confusion. “These only started when this Mayor Sinson came here?”
“Well they’d been going for a long time before hand,” Rory said. “But when the Mayor got elected they started becoming more and more regular. He founded his own group of witch hunters about a year after he arrived. No one dares stand against him in the elections because he’ll just say they’re a witch.”
“Doesn’t sound like a very nice man,” Alana said.
“I shouldn’t have said anything,” Rory blushed. He turned and put the mug in the sink. “I think it’s best if you go. I was out of line.”
“There’s nothing wrong…”
“Please go,” Rory said again, this time more firmly.
“We didn’t mean to upset you,” the Doctor told him. Rory grabbed his pitch fork and aimed it at the two travellers.
“I said get out,” he snapped. “Go on, out with you!” The Doctor and Alana did as they were asked and began walking back to the Tardis.
“That was strange,” Alana said.
“It was too strange,” the Doctor commented. “This Sinson guy sounds suspicious. I think we ought to meet up with him, don’t you.”
“No, I think you should take me home,” Alana replied. The Doctor smiled.
“Oh come on, where’s the fun in that. Besides I’m the captain and don’t you forget it,” he told her. “The moment you stepped into the Tardis you became my crewman. I give the orders and I think we’ll try that building there,” he said pointing at a house that was considerably larger than any of the others.
“If we must.”
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“If I must.”
“Well, Alana, one of the many golden rules to remember on your travels with me is that the big bad boss always lives in the biggest house,” the Doctor explained. “Now come along we don’t have all day.” He strode off ahead.
“You have a time machine!” Alana protested as she ran after him.
The Doctor knocked on the huge oak front doors. They opened a crack to reveal a slim aged man in a butler’s costume.
“Yes?” he asked irritably.
“We’re here to see the Mayor,” the Doctor told him. The butler inspected him, looking at him up and down.
“Who are you?”
“I’m the Doctor and this is my compa…”
“Do you have an appointment?”
“Do we need one?” the Doctor asked.
“No appointment no Mayor,” the butler snapped, slamming the door shut behind him. Alana turned around and looked back at the Tardis in the distance.
“Well now you can take me home.” She turned to see the Doctor walking inside. “How did you get in?” she asked following.
“Sonic screwdriver,” the Doctor explained holding the device in the air. “Can open any lock, manual or mechanical. Now where do you think this Sinson guy is going to be?”
“Why not ask some of the villagers first; you know get a bit more information about him before we dive in.” Alana grimaced in the fact she had actually gone along with the Doctor for a moment.
“But if you don’t jump in at the deep end Alana it isn’t a lot of fun. Go on, live on the edge for a change. Now, if my hunch is correct, and they always are, I’d say his office is this way.” The Doctor took off down a small corridor.
“I think you’ll find we are in Venice,” Alana said as she walked after him, putting on her best Doctor voice.
“Making mistakes is only human,” the Doctor said.
“Only you’re not human Doctor,” Alana argued. The Doctor came to a halt and turned to her.
“You’re right,” he smiled. “Which is why it wasn’t my fault. It was the Tardis.”
“I thought I locked you out!” the butler snapped from behind them. The two turned to face him and the Doctor smiled his familiar smile.
“You did. But when you have one of these you’ll find not even ten locks could keep you out.” He showed the butler the sonic screwdriver. “Now I want to see the Mayor.”
“Get out before…”
“It’s alright Ezekiel,” a gritty voice said. “I shall see them.” The Doctor turned to see a tall, slim man stood in the doorway of what was undoubtedly his office. He was dressed in a smart twenty first century Earth suit and was holding a white fluffy dog in his arms, stroking it gently. He wore black square glasses and had grey hair.
“Mayor Sinson?” the Doctor asked.
“And you are?” Sinson replied.
“I’m the Doctor and this is my companion, Alana Trent. I thought we could have a word with you if that’s ok with your butler.”
“Don’t mind Ezekiel,” Sinson said. “He’s just following orders. Being the Mayor’s butler can be a very demanding job at times. Please, come into my office and we can talk.”
The Mayor’s office was a very large, spacious room. A great oak desk stood before a large window overlooking a large wood. Behind the desk was a massive red leather chair. Cupboards and glass cabinets lined the walls.
“Very cosy,” the Doctor said.
“May I offer you a drink?” Sinson asked sitting down behind his desk. His dog leapt down to the floor as he poured himself a whiskey.
“Oh no thank you,” the Doctor replied. “I only drink in life or death situations.”
“I’ll have one thanks,” Alana said. Sinson looked at her.
“I don’t remember offering you one,” he spat. “But it doesn’t matter. I forgive you for being so rash.” He made no effort to pour her a drink and she sat down, disgruntled. “You say intriguing things,” Sinson said. “What did you say your name was?”
“Just the Doctor,” Sinson repeated, not letting on the Doctor’s reputation preceded him. The Doctor nodded. “Do you get into many life or death situations Doctor?”
“I’ve had a few,” the Doctor said back trying to reveal too much information.
“What exactly do you do then? Are you a Doctor of science or of medicine?”
“Neither,” answered the Doctor. “Although I know a bit about both.”
“Then how can you say you are a Doctor?”
“I fix things. Things that need to be fixed and it seems to me this town is one of those things.”
“I beg your pardon,” Sinson scoffed.
“Oh I think you heard me,” the Doctor replied stonily. “Who are you? Where do you come from? Or perhaps the more appropriate question would be when do you come from?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Oh come off it. With clothes like that, the glasses, the dog, the accent. You’re not from around here. From what I’ve seen the people in this place are frightened to death of you. Why is that?”
“You ask a lot of questions for a man who is just passing through,” Sinson replied. The Doctor looked at him disbelievingly. Sinson laughed. “This town is my life Doctor. I have nurtured it, made it more than it could ever have been. These people owe their lives to me. I protect them you see, from evil spirits and witchcraft.” He said the words mockingly. “What you should know Doctor is that in my town nothing gets said without me hearing it. I have eyes and ears all around the village so nothing, absolutely nothing, is secret here unless I want it to be secret.”
“Who are you?” Alana asked. He turned to her.
“Speaking out of turn again I see,” he said. “You, woman, are going to need some guidance as to how to act in public.”
“She has just as many rights as you do Sinson,” the Doctor said. The Mayor looked at him menacingly.
“I think you shall find, Doctor, that no one is equal to me in my town, least of all a woman. Honestly who do you two think you are? You come into my town, two strangers who have never been seen around here before, you befriend a helpless citizen and probe him, trying to get him to betray his trusted Mayor, and then you barge in here without welcome and start interrogating me. Well it is too much I tell you. I don’t know who you think you are but…”
“I am the Doctor!” The Doctor leaped to his feet and pressed both fists against the desktop. “And I know you’re not all you seem to be. You have a stranglehold on these people and I can tell you want to tighten the noose. Well I am here to stop you and I will free this place of whatever it is you have enslaved them with.” Sinson slowly got to his feet.
“If you want to start a war with me in my own village you are very welcome to. But be warned, I will take you down and your little hussy with you.”
“Now hold on just one minute!” Alana shouted, also getting to her feet. “I will not be treated this way!”
“Shut up,” the Doctor and Sinson both said simultaneously without looking away from one another.
“God you could smell the hormones from the Tardis,” Alana mumbled.
“I will win,” Sinson continued. “You would be wise to leave now by whatever means brought you here Doctor before you get out of your depth.”
“Oh trust me my depth is far deeper than anything you can do.”
“I somehow doubt that.”
“You don’t know me.”
“And you don’t know me Doctor,” Sinson snapped. “You have no idea what I am capable of. Now I tell you again, leave now and never come back or you will meet your end in this backwater village.” The Doctor gave him a threatening glance before turning around and leaving, Alana going after him.
“Now what?” she asked.
“We do things your way,” the Doctor replied. “I need to know more about this guy.”
“You know I hate to say it Doctor but you were right, this is quite addictive,” Alana told him.
“I know I was right. I am always right. Now save the pleasantries for later dear, we have a job to do.”
Back in his office Sinson sat back down and his dog leapt into his lap again. He pulled a rope and in walked a very tall, very thin man dressed in what appeared to be a sort of military uniform, a musket slung over his back.
“You called Mr Mayor,” he said.
“Yes I did Samuel,” Sinson replied. “Those two who were just in here, the man and woman, I want you to watch. Keep an eye on them and report back to me anything interesting. I think we are going have a bit of trouble.”
“Your wish is my command Mr Mayor.” With that the man named Samuel bowed and left, just as the butler Ezekiel came in and placed a tea tray on the desk.
“You didn’t stop them entering Ezekiel,” Sinson told him.
“I am sorry sir,” Ezekiel replied nervously, shaking as he tried pouring some tea.
“Are you nervous?” Sinson asked.
“I apologise sir,” Ezekiel replied.
“Oh no, you should be nervous. You see you failed to do your duty and I don’t like that. So I am afraid you have left me no choice Ezekiel.” The butler placed the tea pot back on the tray and looked up to see Sinson pointing a gun at him. It was like no gun Ezekiel had ever seen though. It looked very futuristic. “I am going to have to kill you,” Sinson said flatly. He fired the weapon and Ezekiel’s dead body thudded lifelessly to the floor. “Now I need to find a new butler. Ezekiel always thought about himself,” Sinson then moaned.
Meanwhile the Doctor was storming through the village looking for someone to talk to. Alana was having difficulty in keeping up with him.
“Doctor slow down,” she panted. He stopped.
“Happy?” he snapped. “Because, you know, I’m just trying to save the lives of everyone in this god forsaken town.”
“You don’t know that Sinson intends to kill them all.”
“Well I hardly think he’s turning them on one another with these damn witch hunts because he’s a Samaritan do you?”
“Stop snapping at me, I haven’t done anything wrong!”
“I apologise,” the Doctor said almost snidely.
“Anyway if anything I should be the angry one. I mean I don’t know anything about you. I don’t know what on Earth a Time Lord is, I haven’t a clue what you mean when you say you’ve had eleven lives. I am a human being you know.”
“Yes and you have my pity.”
“Shut up!” Alana snapped.
“Now who’s snapping?”
“You know sometimes you can be so infuriating. I barely know you but you seem to think we’re best friends.”
“You want to know about me,” the Doctor shouted. “OK then. I am the Doctor. I ran away from Gallifrey and stole the Tardis as I went. I travel the Universe and time to help people, to solve their problems and save their lives. I spend most of my time helping you dumb monkeys out of a sticky rut! But do you know what’s tragic? I am the only Time Lord left, I am the last one. It ends when I die, countless millennia of pure brilliance dies with me!”
“A Time Lord is exactly what it says on the tin dear,” the Doctor jibed. “A lord of time. We mastered time travel and have travelled the stars ever since. Somehow we seemed to think we had the right to go about policing the Universe, past, present and future. We were wiped out, removed from existence and do you know who by? Me! Yeah, I did it.” Suddenly the Doctor became sullen and his tone dropped from one of anger to one of sadness. A far away look appeared in his eyes, almost as if he was looking through time. “They’re all gone. But I didn’t have a choice. They were going to die anyway. They gambled on war and they lost. The Daleks were bred to be soldiers, we weren’t. I had a choice. Let my people die or take the greatest evil to have ever existed with them. I chose the latter option. You could say I win.”
“Doctor I didn’t mean to…”
“It doesn’t matter Alana.” The Doctor finally looked at his companion. “I can’t go through my last few lives ignoring what I did.”
“You said you had no choice.”
“It doesn’t stop me feeling guilty. It doesn’t take away the fact that what I did was genocide. Two entire races that had stood for thousands of years destroyed by one man. Do you know what I was called once? The Lonely God. I am no God but, sometimes, just sometimes, it’s occurred to me, that I act like one. Maybe I’m doing that now.”
“Doctor you said it yourself, these people need helping. We can’t just run.”
“We could. The Tardis could just take us away. We could forget about this place before anything bad happens; because something bad will happen. I am the Doctor. You take me on you take danger on as well. So we could run. You are the one who wants to go home.”
“You don’t mean that,” Alana told him. “I’ve only known you for a matter of hours but I know you don’t mean that. I’m a good judge of character Doctor and, although now I know a tiny bit about you, I know you are a genuinely good person and, at least on Earth, good people don’t come
along very often.” The Doctor smiled at her.
“Thank you,” he said. “Don’t worry. You’ll get to know me as we go along.” He looked around. “Now hurry up. The sooner we do this the sooner I can take you home.” The Doctor went to start walking again but he paused and turned back to Alana. “If you still want to go home that is,” he said with a wink.
Sinson walked down stairs into his cellar, his dog still in his arms. He flicked a switch and electric strip lights lit up the dingy room. It revealed a twenty first century looking room, with everything from a television down to the basic essentials including a toaster.
Sinson let his dog onto the floor and walked over to a small table next to the television. He picked up a picture in a silver frame showing Sinson alongside a rather stunning woman who looked too young for him.
“I’m sorry,” he said stroking the photo with his thumb. “I can’t turn back time anymore but I think I can avenge you my dear. I think I may have found the culprit, the instigator of the disaster. My scans showed him to be a Time Lord and there’s only one of them left. The one who made us burn. The Doctor. The worst part of it all is he has the cheek to make himself out as the good guy. I will avenge him for you my wife. Then I will take the Earth for you.”
He placed the photo carefully back on the table. He sat down on an old battered settee and let out a heavy sigh. His dog climbed up on his knees again and lay down.
“Oh I do miss my old life,” he said. “But here I shall create a new life and not even the Doctor and his friend will be able to stop me.”
“First things first,” the Doctor said standing at the console of the Tardis, “is we search for traces of other time travel machines.”
“You think he’s from the future?”
“He has a Liverpudlian accent and dresses in twenty first century clothes Alana,” the Doctor said. “He has to be from your time at the very earliest.”
“So you think he’s capable of time travel.”
“Not any more,” the Doctor said reading the results of the scan on the computer screen monitor. “There isn’t anything in a hundred mile radius.”
“Well you need proof we have to find proof,” Alana commented. The Doctor looked at her. “We need to split up. One of us goes back to the Mayor’s house to look for anything from my time or further in the future while the other asks the villagers about who he is, where he came from, how he became Mayor et cetera.” The Doctor smiled.
“See, you’re not bad at this. It’ll be like old times again. After you.”
“So which one do you want to do then Doctor?” Alana asked as they stepped out into the open air.
“I think I’m going to pay our friend another little visit,” the Doctor said as he walked off. “You ask about, and don’t get into any trouble.”
The Doctor approached the huge doors again. This time he didn’t even bother knocking but merely unlocked the doors with the sonic screwdriver. He peered inside before going through and, seeing the coast was clear he shut the doors quietly behind him. He looked around. He had a choice of about five different corridors or the stairs. He knew he had to be careful not to run into Sinson so he opted for the stairs, hoping Sinson was still busy in his office.
The Doctor made his way up as silently as he could. He turned left at the top of the staircase and looked in each and every door. The first three were all bedrooms but then he struck gold. He found, behind the fourth door, a modern day bathroom. There was no way it was from eighteenth century America. The Doctor opted to search it and, just as he suspected, everything he found was from the twenty first century or further into the future. Who was this guy?
Suddenly the Doctor’s attention was caught as he heard footsteps approaching. He quickly left the bathroom, locking the door behind him, and headed back towards the stairs, peering around the corner to see if they were coming this way. He was right. He quickly turned and ran into one of the bedrooms, leaving the door open just enough to be able to see outside without giving himself away.
A man dressed in a blue uniform and with a musket slung over his shoulder was carrying the body of the butler down the corridor. The Doctor frowned, wondering why Sinson would have killed his butler as well as thinking who this henchman was. He watched as they grew closer before it dawned on him they were heading for this very room. He quickly hid himself against the wall and the door swung open, concealing him from view.
The henchman put the dead body on the bed and the Doctor slammed the door shut, aiming the sonic screwdriver at the uniformed man, who spun around to see what was going on.
“Drop your weapons,” the Doctor ordered. “Come on, do it!” Without saying a word the man took off his musket and threw it to the floor, along with his pistol.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“I am the one asking the questions here,” the Doctor snapped. “Kick your weapons over there.” The man did as he had been told. “Now take a seat.” Again the man followed the order and perched himself on the edge of the bed. “Well now we’ve got the formalities out of the way we can talk,” the Doctor said with a smile.
Alana knocked on the door and waited a good few seconds before knocking a second time. Still no answer came. She knocked a third time and this time she saw the curtains in the window shake as someone hid behind them. She knocked yet again and this time for longer.
“I know you’re in there,” she shouted, getting impatient. “So just open the door. I only want to talk.”
“They won’t answer you know,” Rory Arthur said. Alana jumped in surprise.
“Oh it’s you Rory,” she said. “You scared me for a minute.”
“No one in this town will talk to you miss,” Rory continued as if Alana had said nothing.
“Why?” she asked.
“They’ve seen you with the man who can open locked doors,” Rory replied. “They’ve seen you with the Doctor.”
“With his magic wand,” Rory interrupted. “And they’ve seen you going in and out of that blue box. You said it wasn’t yours. You lied to me. Why would you do that? Do you have something to hide?”
“Rory you’re scaring me now,” Alana said, realising for the first time Rory was again carrying his pitchfork.
“They won’t talk to me either. They saw me invite you into my house. They think I’m a witch sympathiser.”
“A witch sympathiser? What exactly are you trying to say?”
“We think you’re a witch, you and that Doctor,” Rory told her, pointing his pitchfork at her. “But no one dared do anything while the Doctor had his wand.”
“There’s no such thing as witches,” Alana argued. “That wand is just a screwdriver.”
“A screwdriver? But people have seen it shoot blue beams. It’s magic and there’s no denying it. You are both witches and so we are going to have to alert the Witch Hunters.” Rory started to advance on Alana, brandishing his weapon.
She turned to run off but just came face to face with two other similar farmers, one with a spade the other with a pitchfork like Rory.
“My name is Samuel,” the uniformed man told the Doctor. “I’m Captain of the Witch Hunters.”
“Samuel what?” the Doctor asked.
“Everyone has a second name.”
“You don’t Doctor,” Samuel replied. The Doctor was momentarily taken back by this comment.
“Let’s not start getting clever Sam, it doesn’t suit you like it does me,” the Doctor insulted. “So you lead the Witch Hunters do you? What exactly are they? What do they do? Kill innocent butlers?”
“We hunt witches funnily enough,” Samuel replied.
“There’s no such thing.”
“You seem to be a living contradiction of that Doctor, what with your wand and all.” The Doctor laughed.
“This is just a sonic screwdriver,” he said. “What do you know about Sinson?”
“Mayor Sinson,” Samuel replied, stressing the mayor, “came here about five years ago. No one knows where he came from but all we do know is that he protects us from witchcraft. He founded the Witch Hunters with me as their captain. We enforce his will throughout the village and whatever he says goes. He is all knowing. He is our God.”
“You’re delusional,” the Doctor replied.
“What did you call your wand?” Samuel asked.
“Oh it’s not a wand; it’s just a sonic screwdriver. It couldn’t possibly hurt anyone.” The moment he finished the sentence the Doctor’s eyes closed in realisation of the mistake he had just made.
Samuel leapt to his feet and grabbed his musket, but the time he had looked up to aim the Doctor was out of the room and halfway towards the stairs. Samuel ran into the corridor, took aim and fired. The shot blew a hole in the landing but missed the Doctor, who sprinted down the stairs, only to stop halfway as he was greeted by a bitter looking Sinson.
“You again,” he moaned. Then the doors swung open and in stormed a raging mob, brandishing pitchforks and torches. At the front of the mob was Rory, holding Alana by the arm.
“We found a witch Mayor,” Rory said. Sinson raised an eyebrow.
“Did you indeed?” he said.
“There’s her accomplice!” one of the farmers shouted pointing at the Doctor. The Doctor laughed.
“Alright,” he said. “I’ll come clean. I am no witch but I am a time traveller.” There was a stunned silence. The Doctor walked over to his companion and wrestled her off of Rory. “I thought I told you not to get into any trouble,” he said through gritted teeth.
“I didn’t do it on purpose,” Alana protested.
“Alana here is my companion,” the Doctor continued. “My wand, as you people like to call it, is merely a sonic screwdriver which couldn’t possible harm anybody. We mean you people no harm at all. In fact we came here to save you from this mad man,” the Doctor shouted as he pointed at Sinson. “He is intending to kill each and every one of you people. Let us help you or you will all die.”
“Don’t be so ridiculous,” Sinson immediately scoffed. “I want to see you both in my office at once.”
“With pleasure,” the Doctor said, taking the lead and heading down the corridor to the familiar room. Sinson followed and when Samuel went to follow the Mayor Sinson shot him a menacing glance.
“Get these people back to their homes and for god’s sake calm them down,” Sinson snapped.
“Did you see that?” the Doctor whispered further down the corridor.
“What?” Alana asked.
“Never mind,” the Doctor dismissed as Sinson escorted them into his office. He sat down behind his desk and, after a moment of contemplation he looked the Doctor straight in the eye.
“It appears our little game has come to an end Doctor. Now my adoring public think you’re a witch, I have no other choice.” The Doctor was only half listening as he scanned the office and saw a corner of the rug on the floor upturned and a crack in the floor. “I am afraid I am going to have to deliver you to the devil.”
“What a shame,” the Doctor replied. “Here I was thinking anyone accused of witchcraft deserved a fair trial before execution. But then that doesn’t matter as I suppose you killed the local judge too didn’t you?”
“As fun as it is sparring with you Doctor I am afraid you have become more of a nuisance and less of an amusement. I have no choice but to sentence you both to be burned at the stake.”
“Ooh how nice, a bonfire,” the Doctor said sarcastically. “I haven’t been to one of those for a while.”
“It’s a shame that we’re going to be the firewood then isn’t it,” Alana commented.
“Speaking out of turn again I see,” Sinson said. Alana shot him a glance which he met with one twice as menacing.
“Just tell me one thing Sinson,” the Doctor said.
“How did you manage to hypnotise an entire village in one go? And how did you get this far into the past?”
“That’s two things Doctor and I am inclined to answer neither of them.” Sinson pulled a rope and Samuel entered, fully armed once again.
“The situation is under control Mayor,” he reported.
“Good. These two are to be burned at the stake as soon as possible. See that the Witch Hunters make all the needed arrangements Captain.”
“Yes Mayor,” Samuel replied as he led the two `witches` out of the office. Sinson sat back in his chair and noticed the upturned corner of the rug. He got to his feet and straightened it.
“You will be avenged soon my sweet,” he said crouched down as his dog once again settled in his arms.
Several hours later, when the sun had gone down, the Doctor and Alana found themselves tied to the same stake on a pile of wood. The entire village had gathered to see the ritual and the Witch Hunters stood nearby with the torches.
“I knew I should have gone home,” Alana said.
“Oh this isn’t the end Alana,” the Doctor said.
“Doctor we’re tied to a stake and about to be burned.”
“You really don’t know me do you,” the Doctor replied. “This is nothing. Once I…” The Doctor was cut off when the crowd started to cheer and Mayor Sinson made his appearance.
“People of Catville,” he shouted. “We have found two witches travelling through our town. No doubt they intended to cause havoc and maybe even kill me. Captain Samuel found the male witch sneaking about my home looking for me in order to kill me. However your fearless Mayor has survived this terrifying ordeal and I am here now to once again lead you in a glorious execution of two deadly creatures.”
“Oh come on,” the Doctor exclaimed. “Come on people give it up for the Mayor. That was classic over-exaggerated rubbish if ever I’ve heard it. I loved the whole `fearless mayor` bit, which was fantastic. But I mean come on people; you’re not going to believe that tripe are you?”
“Our Mayor is our saviour,” someone shouted. Sinson allowed himself a smile.
“By god you really have hypnotised them well,” the Doctor said. “You’re all idiots!” he snapped. “You simple stupid people don’t you understand? This man is merely using you to get more and more power! I don’t know why but he has a reason and he’s prepared to sacrifice every single one of you. He doesn’t care about you! There is no such thing as witches! If I was a witch why would I let you burn me?”
“To keep your identity secret,” Rory argued from the crowd. The Doctor shook his head.
“But if we were witches we could kill you all here and now,” Alana argued. “The fact we haven’t shows you we’re not witches.”
“You’re just holding back.”
“In which case we’re nice witches.”
“Do not listen to them my good people,” Sinson interrupted. “They are trying to corrupt your minds with their mental influences. Do not be fooled by this mere begging for that is all they are doing, begging for their lives. It just shows you that even witches are cowards.”
“Poppy cock!” the Doctor snapped. “He’s the one having a mental influence on you all. He’s trying to make sure he kills me,” the Doctor mumbled as if something had just suddenly dawned on him. He looked Sinson dead in the eye. “Why?” he asked. “What have I ever done to you?”
“You killed her!” Sinson roared, suddenly losing his temper. “My wife is dead because of you! She was pregnant too! But hey, what does it matter. If the Daleks were destroyed it was worth it. Killing your own people was worth it!”
“You’re talking about the Time War? But why? You’re not a Time Lord and you’re certainly no Dalek. You weren’t involved. Why are you…”
“Oh typical Doctor,” Sinson said. “Never thinking of the big picture. The Time War didn’t just involve the Daleks and the Time Lords. They were both just too self centred to realise that what they were doing was affecting others!”
“We were fighting for our lives!” the Doctor contested. “We were fighting for the Universe.”
“And who told you the Universe was yours to fight for?” This last comment hit the Doctor hard. After all it was true. Who ever made the Time Lords guardians of the Universe? Themselves was the answer.
“We were only trying to help.”
“Were you Doctor? Who exactly were you helping when you made them all burn? Yourself perhaps? Finally writing all the wrongs the Daleks had done to you? Well guess what, you sacrificed your own race for personal revenge.”
“I had no choice!” the Doctor shouted back. “And what do you care? You weren’t there. You didn’t burn with them!”
“Oh but you’re wrong Doctor. We were near enough for the explosion to destroy our engines. We crashed and we burned and my wife became a human bonfire because you saw fit to make a decision concerning every thing in the Universe.”
“Someone had to. We were losing.”
“That’s the risk you take when you go to war Doctor. Now you will burn like you made my wife burn. Light the bonfire!” The crowd however were too stunned to do anything. “I said…”
“See!” Alana shouted. “That’s your Mayor! A vengeance seeking madman! You want to listen to him? He’s from the future like us!”
“If anyone’s the witch it’s him,” the Doctor said suddenly. The people turned to him, including the Witch Hunters. “He came to this place on wings of fire. Sent hurtling through time because of me. He crashed here from outer space on wings of fire. If that isn’t witchcraft then I don’t know what is.”
“That is a lie,” Sinson protested.
“They can’t tell,” the Doctor replied. “Isn’t it suspicious how no one remembers his coming here? How no one knows where he’s from? It’s because he’s brainwashed you all! He wants to hide the fact he’s a witch! He’s trying to gain power by first taking over your village and then moving onto the world!”
“He’s right,” Rory said suddenly. “They’re not the witches, Sinson is!” Rory and a couple of other villages leapt up onto the bonfire and freed the Doctor and Alana as the others ran at Sinson. Sinson turned and fled back into his house.
The Witch Hunters stood to attention and fired into the crowd.
“What are you doing?” the Doctor shouted.
“Human or witch we are loyal to the Mayor,” Samuel said. “We will kill the first man to step forward.” Silence hit the mob. The Doctor pulled out his sonic screwdriver, adjusted it slightly and aimed it at Samuel.
“Move or by god I’ll use it.”
“You said yourself it can’t harm anyone,” Samuel replied cockily.
“I lied,” the Doctor said. He activated it and immediately sent Samuel into seizure. He collapsed to the floor shivering and quaking. The other Witch Hunters were distracted and the mob rushed them as the Doctor and Alana ran inside.
“His office,” the Doctor said running towards the room. He burst inside and saw the rug upturned again. He grabbed the handle of the hatch and yanked it open. He went down into the basement and came face to face with a gun wielding Sinson. Alana came down the stairs and was impressed by the collection of futuristic items.
“First you kill my wife and then you take away my town…”
“It was never your town to be taken away.”
“I am god around here!” Sinson roared.
“You’ve been on your own for too long Sinson,” the Doctor said. “You hypnotised these people into thinking you’re god just so you had your own little universe to play with.”
“Like you,” Sinson said. “Playing with the real one. Coming and going and never hanging around to see the consequences of your actions. You’re a coward Doctor. You didn’t even stop to see what happened when you killed your own people.”
“I’ve come to terms with what I did.”
“Not from what I saw out there. I saw a sad old lonely man who welcomed death.”
“Did you? Or is that what you see in yourself?” A silence filled the air. “We’re the same Sinson. Deep down, you and me, we’re the same. We’re all alone with nobody left to understand us. We just handled our losses in different ways. I carried on doing what I have always done. Coming and going as you said. But you stayed here and gave up. You didn’t seek any salvation did you? You resigned yourself to manipulating these simple people and what for? So that you could be your own God, so that you would never be without anything ever again. Then when I came along it was just a bonus wasn’t it. You had instigated your plan to take over Earth and now you could exact some revenge. Only you never met me until today and now all you see is a mirror image of yourself.”
“You poor bleating heart,” Sinson said with a sneer. “I suppose deep down I am what you say I am. But it’s what’s on the surface that matters today Doctor. And today all I want is to avenge my lovely wife. The woman you killed.”
“Then do it. Shoot me Sinson. Only what will you have left when I’m dead? You’ve lost your village. These people will burn your home and kill you. If you kill me you will have nothing when you die. Let me live and at least you can die safely knowing that out there is someone worse off than you because they aren’t dead. You can die with your want for revenge intact. At least then you’ll have something.”
Sinson held the Doctor’s gaze. Slowly his shaking hand lowered and the gun dropped on the floor. He slumped backwards into the chair and held his head in his hands.
“I miss her so much,” he said. “I’m so sorry.” Tears began to fall down his cheeks. The Doctor sat down beside him.
“I know what you are feeling right now,” he said. “I know it seems like it’ll last forever and the pain never really goes away. But you can learn to be happy again.”
“But I’m stuck here,” Sinson moaned. “And now they’re going to hunt me down and kill me!” A moment of silence passed. “I suppose I deserve it after all that I have done.”
“No one deserves to die. Unless of course you’re a Dalek,” the Doctor joked. “And you’re not one of them.”
“But there’s no escaping it.”
“No wait,” Alana said chirping up. “Doctor we have a machine that can go anywhere in space and time! We can take him home!”
“You would help me after all I have done to you?” Sinson asked.
“I told you earlier Sinson, I’m a Doctor. I fix things.”
“Thank you Doctor. Thank you so much.”
The three stepped outside to see the Witch Hunters tied up in bundles on the floor. Rory approached the Doctor.
“We didn’t kill them because we thought you’d know what to do.”
“Let them free but make sure they don’t come back,” the Doctor said.
“And what of the former Mayor?”
“He’s coming with us,” the Doctor said as he led the way back to the Tardis. He turned. “Goodbye Mr Arthur and good luck with everything.”
“Thank you Doctor. And Doctor, thank you for saving us.”
“It’s what I do,” the Doctor replied entering his machine followed by Sinson and then Alana.
The Tardis materialised on a lush forest planet outside a wooden house, perched on stilts in the water. The Doctor, Alana and Sinson emerged from the Tardis.
“I’m home,” Sinson gasped. “I thought I’d never see this place again.” He turned to the Doctor, who looked sternly at him. “Thank you Doctor. Thank you so very much. I don’t know what to say.”
“Just go,” the Doctor replied. “Go and live your life. Be happy and never look back. Let there be no regrets. Go.” The Doctor turned and went back inside the Tardis. Alana watched as Sinson took off towards his house and then joined the Doctor inside the time machine.
“Are you alright?” she asked.
“I have no reason not to be,” the Doctor replied, busying himself with the Tardis console.
“What about him?”
“What you said in his cellar.”
“Just the ramblings of an old man. Think nothing of them.”
“Drop it Alana!” the Doctor snapped. “Just leave it.” An awkward moment passed before the Doctor straightened up and looked at his companion. “So, do you still want to go home?”
“I’m not sure,” Alana replied. “I really don’t know anymore.” The Doctor smiled.
“No I didn’t think you would. So now we’ve visited the past together how about I show you the future?”
“Sure,” Alana replied.
“How’s the year ten million sound?”
“A long way away?”
“OK then, something a little less extreme on your first trip ahead. I think I have just the thing. Let’s try the Utopian Spaceport, just so you can see how to get about in the future if I’m not with you. Ready?” The Doctor worked the Tardis controls frantically before the column stopped moving and again the Tardis sent the two travellers stumbling.
“You really have forgotten how to land this thing haven’t you?” Alana said.
The Doctor shot her a glance before heading over to the doors. He gestured for Alana to go out first, but she returned the signal. The Doctor opened the doors and walked straight into the end of a gun barrel.
“The Doctor I take it?” the man in front of him said.
“Oh dear,” the Doctor replied.