Chapter 10

Instead of trying to jump the five meters across the gap, the Doctor instead jumped to a thin strip of rock floor that lay between the left side of the hole and the tunnel wall. Grimacing with effort, he used his fingers to grip the rough stone to gain a better purchase.

Very carefully, he inched his way forward. The floor was so narrow here that he had to virtually stand on his toes. Fortunately, as he crept along, the ledge quickly widened to a couple of meters which allowed him to stand normally again. Holding his body tight with the wall, he transferred the pen torch from his mouth his left hand. Shining the light on the ledge, the Doctor held out his right hand to Clara.

"Right, Clara. Easy-peasy. Come on, now. You're next." He said, huffing slightly from his exertions.

"Uh—you want me to do what?" She asked, skeptically eyeing the hole. "Did I forget to mention that I wasn't a mountain climber, Doctor?"

"It'll be fine, you'll see. I would never ask if I didn't think you had it in you." The Doctor encouraged her. "Just trust me, Clara. You can do this, I know you can."

"OK. Enough with the coaching. This isn't PE, Doctor."

At that moment, the sound of the pursuing Dalek drew ever nearer.


If nothing else, that served as the perfect incentive for doing something completely mad, Clara thought to herself. Her stomach felt like she'd just swallowed an iceberg, whole. Still, she did trust the Doctor. Trying to refrain from closing her eyes in fear, she took a running jump for the ledge. She nearly fell, but the Doctor's hand steadied her. He quickly led her to the other side of the hole.

"Well, there is a plus side to this. Now I can add 'impersonating a mountain goat' to my CV." Clara joked, to hide her quaking nerves.

Without replying, the Doctor moved back into position and once again held out his hand.

"Now you, Mari. Quickly, there's not much time!"

"Not on your life, Doctor...whoever you are. No. I'll take my chances with the Daleks." Mari said, nearly hysterical with fear. "They didn't kill me before. So I reckon that if I surrender peacefully, I'll be alright."

"What?" The Doctor said incredulously. "Arrgh—! Typical journalist! Why do you people never listen? Just because they didn't kill you before, doesn't mean they won't do it now. You escaped. You ignored their orders. To a Dalek, that is completely unacceptable. They will kill you, Mari. Now, come on! We don't have time for this."

"I—I can't." Mari shook her head. "I'm sorry."

"Mari. Look at me." The Doctor said softly, staring intently at her, willing Mari to look back at him. After a second's hesitation, she did. "Look at me. "Why did you come here? For a story? Or to prove something to yourself? You could have just sat in your office back in London, taking tea breaks. Gossiping around the water cooler. Writing book reviews. Making up stuff about celebrities. But no. You came all this way. Halfway across the world and down into this cavern. What for? So you could just give up and die? Or so you could live to write a great story? But no one will read that story, ever, if you don't come with me, right now."

"You're right, Doctor."She admitted with a tight smile, "I've got to do this. This is the story I've always..."

Mari never finished her sentence. As she spoke, the Dalek had swiftly rounded the corner of the tunnel. It fired instantly, without warning. Mari's mouth opened in a silent scream, as her body arched back encased in the green glow of a Dalek death ray. Then she fell down, far, far down, into the darkness of the hole.

For the instant before he and Clara fled, the Doctor glared at it with the anger borne through seeing the deaths of billions in the wake of all the Dalek wars. It was the countenance of a vengeful god, a look that made his worst enemies quake with sudden terror. And this one was no different, it seemed.

The Dalek backed up slightly then stopped dead, seemingly frozen with fear.

"You just can't do it, can you? Not ever." The Doctor spoke with all the bitterness in his hearts, "You just can't let someone who is not Dalek, live. And that will be your downfall, one day. I promise you that."

"HALT! YOU CANNOT ESCAPE US, DOC-TOR!" It shouted, when it finally found its voice again.

"Try and stop me." The Doctor openly taunted it as he sped away, quickly rounding another turn in the tunnel ahead.

Without warning, the uncertain light of the Doctor's torch caused Clara to stumble on a bit of loose rock. As the Doctor went to help her to her feet, the Dalek began to elevate itself a few inches off the floor. It began to navigate towards the hole, obviously intending to glide over it. Peering around the corner, the Doctor took in the situation.

"OK, so it took me at my word." He muttered to himself with an accepting shrug. "It is coming to get me."

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