Chapter 8

Crouched in the protection of a large boulder jutting out of the mountainside, Donna blinked away the snowflakes from her eyelashes, squinting into the darkness. However, there was nothing to see. The falling snow had banked the few fires made by the exploding picnic tables. She could barely see the Doctor crouched alongside her. The moon was now completely hidden behind the clouds. Tall trees loomed over the two of them like sleeping giants, deepening the gloom even further.

The stream below kept up its merry chuckle as if nothing had ever happened. The lay-by was quiet now. So silent and still, that Donna felt like she was hiding in a crypt. She gave an involuntary shudder at the thought.

"Are you alright?" The Doctor asked gently, sensing Donna's sudden discomfort.

"I'm stuck in a forest in backside of nowhere, I have blocks of ice where my feet used to be, I'm getting pelted with snow, and I can't see a blinking thing. Oh yeah. And I'm also running away from some invisible death ray. What'dya think?" Donna retorted, in an attempt to brush aside her fear.

"You're making a list?" The Doctor raised an eyebrow.

"Oy!" Donna scolded him. "I'd tell you off for getting cheeky, but my teeth are chattering too much."

"Not so loud!" He hushed her with a whisper. "I'd really rather they didn't know we're here."

"Why? You think they'll follow us?" Donna wondered, as she shivered, pulling her parka closer about her.

"Ehhh—very probably, yeah."

"But, what are the chances of them finding us? " She whispered, frowning. "I can barely see my hand in front of my face. Wouldn't the snow cover our tracks?"

"Oh, I think there's every chance they could find us." He turned and looked at her. "Let's put it this way, Donna. If you were in Vegas with those odds, you'd be going home with a sizable wodge of cash."

"Well, we can't stay here all night, doing our impressions of a snow sculpture. So you'd better come up with a plan, Doctor." She told him. "Preferably something that includes a roaring fireplace and a hot toddy."

"Working on it, Donna." He whispered.

Reaching into his pocket, the Doctor palmed his sonic screwdriver. He crouched in the dark, frowning at it. While he was staring at the sonic, Donna felt a strange sensation. Shocked, she stared at her hand as it slowly became transparent. Though she opened her mouth, her startled cry never came. Donna abruptly vanished.

"I could use this to locate a heat signature, assuming they give off any sort of heat. That would pinpoint their exact location. We would know where they are, if nothing else." He mused. "However, that would likely also make it easier for them to find us. If they can trace sonic emissions, that is. What do you think, Donna?"

The Doctor was met with silence. To him, that could only mean one thing.


Unconsciously brushing the snow from his trousers, the Doctor stood and turned to look for her. Instead of Donna, he beheld a small, shaggy black and white dog, sitting in the snow. Raising both eyebrows, the Doctor stared at the animal.

"Donna. My goodness how you've changed." He told it dryly, rubbing his face in consternation.

The snow-covered dog wagged its tail and held up a paw.

The Doctor squatted down and 'shook hands' with the dog. Looking it in the eyes he urged, "Where's Donna, boy? Where's Donna? Go find Donna!"

In response, the dog lay down in the snow and rolled over on its back.

"OK, so maybe not." The Doctor straightened up, heaving a sigh, "I guess that only works on Lassie."

Looking around him for signs of Donna's whereabouts, the Doctor saw nothing, no tracks in the snow, other than the scant traces of their flight to the mountainside. However, his nose did detect a trace of a sour, rubbery smell. The Doctor's hand slapped his head, shedding snow like dandruff.

"That's it! A biodistilled modified teleportation beam. So that's how they did it! How clever was that?" He shouted. Then he paused, almost childishly stamping his foot in frustration. "Oh! I'm so thick! What's wrong with me? I should have noticed that right off."

Just then, the snow ceased falling. Scuttling before the wind the clouds parted, reveling a full white moon. It cast its blue light upon the snowy ground, and caused the trees to throw stark, black shadows across the landscape. All of the sudden, the dog sat up and barked at a brightly lit, cigar shaped disc that silently rose from behind the mountain. The Doctor's eyes followed the dog and his brow wrinkled with worry.

"Oh, Donna. I'm so sorry." He muttered sadly. Then grimly he stared at the spot where he'd last seen her. "I'll find you, no matter what. And when I find whoever did this, it's not going to be any picnic for them, I promise."

Cautiously, he made his way back to the TARDIS, wary of more explosions or signs of teleportation. Without being bidden, the dog followed him. Pausing before the TARDIS door, the Doctor fished out his key. He stared at the pulsing coloured lights of the ship, which was slowly elevating straight up into the sky.

"What are they up to?" He pondered.

The Doctor didn't have a long to wait to find out. Another red beam shot out from the sky. Its pinpoint focused just a few meters from the TARDIS.

"Oh no you don't!" He said, quickly unlocked the door and shoved it open. "I'm not having any more of that!"

The Doctor bodily hurled himself into the control room. The door slammed shut behind him. He raced to the controls and frantically worked them. He didn't notice the dog, who sat behind him, watching his every move. Just as the TARDIS began to fade, the night turned to day. The Doctor's ship was enveloped in a brilliant, firey explosion.

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