PORTRAIT OF A NIGHTMARE

Chapter 4

Meekly walking beside the policeman, The Doctor and Rory allowed themselves to be lead through alleys and streets. Rory openly chafed at the delay in rescuing his wife.

"We'll get Amy back. I promise." The Doctor said encouragingly.

"How are we going to find her, Doctor?" Rory grumbled. "We don't know who her kidnappers are, or even what part of the city they've taken her to. She could be anywhere, by now."

"Nothing's impossible, Rory." .

"Can you stick your tongue up your nose, Doctor?" Rory challenged him.

"Ermó" The Doctor gave it a try. "No. OK, so some things are impossible. But, not this. You'll have to trust me, Rory." He said in a low, determined voice. "We will find her."

"I am trusting you Doctor." Rory answered him softly. "With Amy's life."

Amy winced, as her body was continually slammed against on the hard wooden floor of the van. Sitting upright, with her back against the side of the vehicle, she tried loosening her bonds. Unfortunately, they were far too tight. One of her kidnappers had evidentially earned himself a Boy Scout merit badge in knot tying.

"Sorry boys." She muttered "Can't get free. Looks like you're going to have to come to my rescue, after all."

As the delivery van careened through the streets, Amy silently cursed. She swore she could feel every single new bruise forming on her backsides. The van was pitch black inside Not even a sliver of light came through the crack in the door. Her stomach began to get queasy, as the wagon swayed on its springs, jouncing over cobblestones and pot holes in the road.

All of the sudden, the van came to a halt. Amy let out a sigh of relief. However, her feelings were short-lived, as the door to the van was flung open. The van had backed up into what appeared to be a large open sewage grate beside the banks of the Thames. Amy almost gagged up her lunch. She could smell the stench from where she was sitting.

"Oh my god. Tell me you're not gonna' make me go in there." Amy said out loud.

One of her captors, a burly, a bald-headed man in ragged work clothes, held a leather-covered blackjack. Leering at Amy, he eagerly licked his lips, continually hitting the palm of his left hand with the cosh. Amy had to stop herself from rolling her eyes. Obviously, this bloke had either seen too many music hall melodramas, or his sexual tastes ran to the kinky stuff.

Amy became aware of her other kidnapper, who was standing to one side. This was a small, wiry man. His weaselly-looking, unshaved face wore a grim expression. He had a pistol trained steadily on Amy's chest. Looking at him, she felt herself give an involuntary shiver. This bloke looked as if he wouldn't lose any sleep over her cold-blooded murder.

However, it was the third person joining the group, who really gave Amy the shivers. It was the man in the portrait. He'd changed into formal clothing, complete with a silk top hat. When he smiled at her, Amy could see the madness in his gaze.

"I should've known it'd be another girl." He sneered. "Like playing with the Doctor, do you? Well, we'll see how you like it when the game gets truly serious." He gestured to his henchmen, "Put her someplace particularly stinky. Maybe she'll be less eager for time travel, after spending some time in the dark slime of a London sewer."

Throwing back his head, the man let out a maniacal laugh. "They'll be no escaping me, this time, Doctor."

Inside the police station, the Doctor and Rory were seated on a hard wooden bench. Rory looked down at their handcuffs. Then glared again at the Doctor. "I don't understand, Doctor." he whispered. "Why didn't you just sonic us out of these things, back there?"

"Because, Rory, it's not that simple. I need to see the whole picture. I'm sure Amy's fine for now. He won't hurt her. Not as long as he knows he can use her to get to me."

"He? Who's he? You know who's taken Amy?" Rory asked out loud, gobsmacked. "I can't believe you didn't tell me! Because, in case you didn't realize this already, that information would be rather important to me, Doctor. And, if you say you're sorry again, I'll...I'll...punch you."

"Oh. OK. Now I know you're being serious, Rory." The Doctor sighed, "Yes, I know who is doing this. But more importantly, I know he's doing something terrible. Something that may effect the entire future of this planet. But, I won't be able to stop him, unless I know what he's planning. Which means," He held up his handcuffed wrist, "getting to the police to find out what's going on with these murders and disappearances."

Just then, a big, weary looking Scottish police sergeant stalked up to them. He jerked his head towards a stairwell leading downwards. "Get up, lads. It's off to the cells with you."

"Eh?" The Doctor asked, startled. "That was rather quick. We'd only just got here. I thought we were going to speak to the detective inspector."

"He's too busy to see the likes of you two. Now, move!" The bristling sergeant ordered.

"But, it's important. A mater of life and death Literally. For everyone on this planet. I need to speak to someone in charge, right away!" The Doctor shouted, as he was hauled bodily to his feet.

"You can speak with the judge." The sergeant said smugly. "In about two weeks."

"Two weeks?" Rory gasped.

"Aye. Possibly longer, even." The policeman nodded, as he escorted them into the cells in the basement. Their footsteps echoed hollowly in the barren stairwell. "We'll keep you in the holding cells here, overnight. Ship you out to prison in the morning. The court docket's a bit backed up since Judge Abott took ill. Pity about that. He's the nice one. As fair a man as you'll ever find. Anyhow, I'm sure Judge Stiffwood will see you, as soon as it's your turn in the queue."

Narrowing his gaze, Rory silently glowered at the Doctor, who turned his head away.

"Oh, Amy." The Doctor whispered to himself, "I'm so..." He found that he couldn't bring himself to finish that sentence.

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