Chapter 2

The driver of the shiny black carriage exchanged startled glances with the footman, as the Doctor held open the door for Amy. She had changed into a beautiful sea-foam green and pearl accent gown, and had done up her hair in a fashion she remembered seeing in old photographs from this era. The Doctor had changed into his new, slightly longer coat. Underneath, his braces were visible, complimented on this day, by a TARDIS blue bow tie.

He was about to hand Amy up into the carriage, when the footman scurried over, scowling his disapproval. The open-mouthed driver twisted round, to see what was happening.

"'Ere, now! What do you think you're doing, sir? You can't do that!" The footman blustered, trying to block the Doctor from getting into the vehicle.

"I can't? Did you say I can't?" The Doctor seemed momentarily taken aback. "I'm not sure I'm familiar with that word."

"Please step away from the vehicle." The footman stiffly demanded.

At hearing that last sentence, Rory turned to Amy with a bemused expression. She raised an eyebrow at him. Unable to stop themselves, they both let out snorts of laughter. Standing on the kerb near the carriage, a street vendor selling carrots and cabbage out of a handcart looked on. He scratched his head, wondering what the young lady and gent found so amusing. Still, he reflected, lighting a pipe. They were putting on a right good show.

"This is a private carriage, sir." The footman explained, slowly pronouncing his words. He reckoned this bloke was either an idiot, or one of them foreigners. Same thing, really.

"Oh. I see. You're not for hire, then?" The Doctor asked mildly.

"Are you daft? This hain't no cab, sir!" The footman replied, jerking his thumb at the carriage.

"No, no. I can see that. Of course it isn't." The Doctor nodded sagely. Then an idea came to him. He whipped out the wallet holding his psychic paper.

"I'll ask you to move along now, sir. I'm sure you and your friends will find that it's a fine day for a walk." The footman persisted.

"Hold your horses! And I mean that both literally and metaphorically." He flashed the open wallet at the footman and the driver. "See? I have permission to use this fine carriage. I'm a famous American scientist, here on important business for the British government." He nodded towards Amy and Rory. "This is my valet and my niece."

"I find that hard to believe, sir." The footman snorted. "I'll just have a proper look at that, shall?"

The footman snatched the wallet from the Doctor. He stared at what was really a blank piece of paper, frowning. He handed it up to the driver, who read the paper and scowled. He passed the wallet back to the footman and once again turned his attention to holding the horses. With a look of chagrin, the footman stepped aside and opened the door for the Doctor.

"I do beg your pardon, Doctor Smith." The footman said, bowing and scraping now. "I'm afraid no one mentioned anything of this to us. I meant no disrespect to you, of course. I hope you won't tell His Lordship about this."

"No, of course not. It's too nice a day for you to lose your job." The Doctor said, giving the footman his most benevolent smile. "Let's say no more about it. If you'll just allow us to be on our way...?"

"Isn't this a bit like carriage-jacking, Doctor?" Amy hissed. "What if 'His Lordship' finds out?"

"No worries, Amy. It'll be fine. Just sit back and enjoy the ride." He told her smugly.

"Your valet?" Rory whispered. "Why couldn't I be your nephew?"

"Don't be silly, Rory. That would be too...weird." The Doctor whispered back.

They were sitting facing forward. The Doctor was sat across from them, with his back to the driver. Everywhere Amy and Rory looked, were the sights and sounds of post-Victorian London. Amy put her arm around Rory as her eyes took in every detail.

"Sometimes traveling with the Doctor feels so surreal, Rory." She murmured to him. "Take today, for instance. I feel like I've landed in the middle of one of those old novels they make for television."

"'Lark Rise to Candleford'." He grinned. "Hope I'm the rich, handsome bloke."

"Meh, I see you more as the cute, sweet farm boy." She smiled back, giving his hand a squeeze.

"Forget the drama. It's more like a soap opera," The Doctor interrupted, making a face and rolling his eyes. "Why don't you to go and get a room somewhere? Preferably in another century, where I won't have to watch. Now I remember why I kicked you out of the TARDIS on your honeymoo...Oh. Did I just say kicked out? I meant to say, asked..."

"Never mind, Doctor. We'll stop, now." Amy giggled, detaching her arm from Rory.

The driver had been duly instructed to take them to the nearest shopping district. On the way there, Amy found herself caught between embarrassment and laughter. When the carriage had paused to let a beer wagon go by, The Doctor stood up on the seat. He then proceeded to wave cheerful hello's to some people passing by. Whom just happened to be seated on the open top deck of a horse-drawn omnibus. They, in turn, gaped at the Doctor. No one said a word in reply. Perhaps in the belief that it was dangerous to speak to a madman.

Rory had the forethought to wrap his arms around the Doctor's legs, to keep him from falling over. The carriage's driver cast a wary glance back the footman. The footman shrugged at the driver. He'd heard all about how eccentric these new-fangled scientists could be. Best to stick to the business at hand, and let gentry do as they please.

"It's thirtieth of June 1909, Doctor." Rory said in a low voice, when the Doctor finally sat down. "Why did the TARDIS bring us here?"

"I don't know, Rory. But I'm sure I'll find out, soon. In the meantime," he beamed at his companions, "I thought we might as well enjoy a little outing while we're at it. Mix business with pleasure, so to speak. You know what they say: all work and no play, makes the Doctor...seem like a grownup." He winced. "Ew. I wonder if there are any good toy shops around here?"

The three of them disembarked in a district of upscale shops and department stores. After stopping off at a tea room for a light lunch, they strolled along gazing at the bustling streets and the many window displays. Suddenly, the Doctor paused. Whirling around, he arbitrarily grabbed a newspaper from a startled newsboy. Quickly apologizing to the child, Rory paused to read the headlines over the Doctor's shoulder.

"A serial killer. In 1909 London? That's not right. That in fact, is very, very wrong." The Doctor said to himself.

"It happens, Doctor." Rory shrugged. "Isn't that long since they had to deal with Jack the Ripper."

"Rory." The Doctor said, facing him. His eyes glittered with a mixture of anger and excitement."I know the whole history of your planet. I know what is to be, and what was never to be. And this" he jabbed his finger at the news story on the page, "this never happened. Someone here is deliberately altering history."

Amy hadn't noticed that she'd become separated from her two 'boys'. She was stood well apart from them. Standing before the window display of a big department store. A sign proclaimed that these were the most recent ladies fashions from Paris. Just as Amy was turning away, a man walked straight into her. He ran into her with such force, that she fell down to the pavement. The man then walked right over Amy, as if she wasn't there.

"What the? I thought the men in this centru...I mean, in this part of London, had better manners than that!" She grumbled, trying to untangle her skirts from her legs. "The least you could do is help me up."

In response, Amy heard the man give an animal-like snarl from deep in his throat. Startled, she looked up at his face. It was a face she'd never forget, as long as she lived.

The man was tall and thin. He wore a black suit, ruffled white shirt and a silk top hat. His skin was sallow, his face almost cadaverous. Thin lips and a long, pointed nose made up a large portion of that face. However, it was his eyes which made Amy suddenly shiver with fear. They burned with a deep-seated madness. Eyes which were fathomless black pools of pure, unmitigated evil.

Amy tried to fight her unreasoning fear. The bile which rose, unbidden, in her throat. Yet, she couldn't. And a thought suddenly rushed into her head. This was what it must be like, looking into the eyes of a cobra before it struck you.

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