Chapter Three

Rory let out a groan when they finally reached the second road. Unlike the asphalt road they were on, the second road was dirt and gravel and hadn't been touched by the snowplows. They could see some tire tracks running through the snow but otherwise the snow on the road was just as high it was on the ground. They began to trudge down it and the Doctor let out a triumphant yell and pointed to a black shingled roof in the distance.

"Ha, see! Cows don't lie," he crowed.

"Yeah, a house about a mile away and the road isn't cleared off," Amy said.

"Walk in the tire tracks then," the Doctor said. "Quit whinging, it's an adventure."

"It's a cold adventure and I hope whoever lives inside that house lets us in," Rory muttered to his wife while they followed the Doctor and River.

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way," the Doctor sang while they walked. "Oh what fun it'll be to eat some turkey throughout the day."

"Trudging through the snow," Amy sang. "in the middle of God knows where. God, I'm really cold from my head to my derriere."

The Doctor let go of River's hand and applauded that.

"We'll get you on X Factor yet," he said.

"Just get me in the TARDIS and I'll be happy with that," Amy replied.

"Uh-oh, someone's coming," Rory said, looking back over shoulder when he saw a pickup truck turning onto the road.

They walked to the edge of the road and stood together while the silver pickup truck drove towards them. As it passed, they saw a middle aged man in the driver's seat turn his head and give them an odd look. The truck slowly stopped once it got passed them and they saw a huge Rottweiler in the bed of the pickup truck and a little four year old girl in the passenger seat. The girl was staring at them out the back window with her finger up her nose. The driver backed the truck up to the Doctor and his companions and he rolled down the window.

"Are you alright?" he asked in a gruff voice while the dog went to the edge of the bed and stared at them while panting heavily.

"We're British," the Doctor said. "We're on a walking tour of America and we were wondering if you could give us a lift to house down the road?"

"If you mean the brick house with the black roof, I live there," the man said. "What do you need? Are you out of gas?"

"No, actually we're on a hike," the Doctor said. "And it's Thanksgiving so we wondered if perhaps we could share your meal?"

"Well, first off, it's the day before Thanksgiving and we're not ready yet," the man said. "As for spending Thanksgiving with us, my wife and I are having our relatives over and they usually bring more than enough food. I'll talk to her but I'm sure It'll be alright. You have anywhere to stay?"

"We have a car," the Doctor said. "But no hotel room, no."

"And you're hiking? Now? In the middle of Bumblefuck, Indiana at this time of year? Don't ya see all the snow around you?"

"Well, we're fans of a sport called Extreme Hiking," the Doctor said. "We hike many different climates all over the world."

The man gave them an odd look before shrugging.

"Personally, I'd go hiking in China before I came here but if that's your thing," he said. "Hop in the back, at the very least you can get warmed up and have something to eat and drink even if you can't stay for Thanksgiving."

The Doctor thanked him.

"Name's Jim, this here is my daughter, Mandy, beside me. The dog in the back is Rex. Just climb in and don't mind Rex, he won't hurt you."

"Thank you. I'm the Doctor. This is my wife, River, and these are my friends, Amy and Rory."

"Nice to meet you. Hop in back," he said, hooking his thumb back at the truck bed.

"Thank God," Amy said as they walked around to the back of the truck.

Rex came up to the gate and barked at them. The Doctor barked back while Amy and Rory climbed inside.

"Rex said hello," the Doctor said as he and River got in. "He says he prefers to be called Reginald though, the humans saddled him with the name Rex."

"I don't care what he's called, as long as he doesn't maul us," Amy said as she and her husband snuggled together by the back window.

Rory looked at the window. Mandy was staring at him through the window while she continued to pick her nose.

"Yeah, that's really lovely," Rory said dryly while Mandy pulled a bogey out of her nose and looked at it. "Are we going to have bogeys in the food then?"

The Doctor and River huddled beside them and the Doctor smiled when Rex came up to him.

"Guarding the family, Reggie?" he said as he scratched behind his ears. "You're a good doggie, yes, you are, a very good doggie indeed."

Rex's tail wagged furiously and the Doctor chuckled when he licked his cheeks. The truck started up again and the four of them huddled against the back, trying to keep the wind from chilling them while Rex stood by the side of the bed and looked out. When they finally reached the house, they looked at it. It was a huge two story brick house that was sitting up on a slightly sloping hill. The surrounding property was vast. The Doctor estimated perhaps two acres in the front and more in the back. There was a cage to the right of the house that looked like it housed a large animal, although at the moment they couldn't see anything inside the cage except an enormous blue dog house.

"Is that where Rex stays, maybe?" Amy yelled as she pointed to it.

The truck turned into a long driveway and it went slowly up the gravel driveway and parked to the side of the house. There were numerous windows all over the house, including one big bay window in the front, directly beside the concrete porch. The porch had a wooden porch swing on it. In the back, they could see an aboveground swimming pool and swingset and slide that was covered with snow. There was also another dog house, a smaller white wooden one with a black shingle room that matched the house. There was a large brick patio attached to the back of the house and a wooden deck on the second floor. Beside the brick patio was a snowy hill of sand. At the edge of the property on all sides were barren fields and behind the house in the distance was a large forest. The Doctor and his family climbed out of the back while Jim and Mandy got out of the truck. Beside the driveway were brick steps that went up the hill to the porch. The Doctor and his family followed Jim and Mandy up the steps. While they walked, Mandy kept looking behind her and smiling and waving with her one free hand while her other one kept picking at her nose.

"Mandy, stop that," Jim said when he noticed she was picking her nose. "Keep telling you not to do that."

Mandy scowled as she took her finger out of her nose. They stepped up onto the porch and the Doctor looked across at the cage.

"Is that Reg…I mean, Rex's kennel?" he said to Jim while he pointed to the cage.

"No, that's our cougar, Spot," Jim said, nonchalantly.

Amy's eyes boggled.

"You have a cougar?" she said in disbelief.

"Yeah. My cousin breeds them," Jim said while he opened the front door. "We got Spot when he was just a cub and he's a part of the family. He won't bother you if you don't bother him. Come inside."

"A cougar?" Amy mouthed to her husband as they followed everyone inside. "Who are these people?"

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