Chapter 7

"Very well, Agent Smith." The bemused Scotsman said, giving the Doctor a sly smile. "I shall reveal to you exactly who I am. After all, what could you do to me?"

"Oooh, is it time for the show?" The Doctor clapped eagerly. "If I'd known that, I'd of nipped out for a choc-ice and some popcorn."

Rory's jaw dropped in astonishment. For the body of Inspector McLeod had suddenly turned to a puddle of white goo, dripping from the seat of the chair down to the floor. He was a ganger! Rory frowned and shook his head, puzzled by this unexpected turn of events.

"Oh. Right. So there's a cloned child and a ganger posing as a policeman, in turn of the century London."Rory nodded matter-of-factly, recovering quickly from his initial surprise. One did that after traveling with the Doctor for a while. "Doctor," he asked curiously, "what exactly is going on here?"

"I think we're about to find out, Rory." The Doctor replied softly. "But on a guess, I don't think he's just here to do a little sight-seeing."

"He? Who's he?" Rory shook his head again, at the Doctor's cryptic answer.

Seemingly out of nowhere, the room shook with maniacal laughter.

Looking up, Rory blinked. Floating about two meters above the desk was a disembodied head. Though the man appeared to be much older, it was the same man he'd seen before. The man in the painting. The man whom had knocked his wife down on the street.

Only this time, the man's head was bizarrely covered with black feathers in place of hair. Perched over the old man's forehead was the head of a raven.

"It is you." The Doctor said, apparently not surprised at all. Stretching out his legs he sat down again. With his hands calmly resting in his lap, the Doctor sat regarding the face above the desk with barely concealed scorn. "I thought the man in that painting looked a little too familiar. The Black Guardian. Long time no see. And I would have preferred to keep it that way." The Doctor frowned deeply. "Why are you here? Why now?"

"Why, indeed? That's easily answered. I'm here to destroy you, Doctor." The old man's voice gloated. The craggy, ugly face gave a ghastly parody of a smile. "But not yet. First, I'm going to kill every single one of your human friends. Even those already dead in your present companion's own time. All of them. Slowly and painfully." The man paused for effect, smiling evilly. "Beginning with a certain girl named Amy."

Out of nowhere, a black clad arm appeared. A gnarled hand with long fingernails reached out. Its fingers made a movement in the air. Tracing the outline of a rectangle. A split second later, an image showed up over the desk. It was flickering, semi-transparent, looking like a small video screen. It showed a view of Amy. The Black Guardian threw back his head laughed mockingly at the Doctor. He was going to force them to watch her die.

"Amy!" Rory cried out in alarm.

The Doctor's face grew pale. His fingers dug into the wooden arms of the chair, as he stared Amy being dragged through some dark tunnel.

"No! You can't! I won't allow it!" He spat out angrily, unable to tear his eyes from the dimly seen image of Amy.

"You have no choice I'm afraid." The Black Guardian said, flashing a triumphant smile down at the Doctor. "Because if you try to move out of that chair, if you even so much as twitch a finger wrong, your friend sitting next to you will die. Rory will go up in flames right before your eyes."

Rory's eyes widened in horror. He looked pleadingly at the Doctor. "Do something, Doctor!"

The Doctor wouldn't look back at him. Instead, he slumped back in his chair. The Doctor bitterly hung his head, knowing that for once he was utterly powerless to do anything to help anyone.

Meanwhile, back in the sewers, Amy decided that she wasn't enjoying her visit to Edwardian London very much.

"Arrrgh! And I thought space whale vomit was bad." She said in a pinched voice, still trying not to breathe through her nose. "I'm warning you boys. You'd better not make me lie down in this sh—"

"Shhh—!" Hissed one of her captors. "Shut yer gob, miss." He growled, "Or I'll shut if for ya'."

The tunnel was not only seriously minging, it was dark and damp as well. Her two captors had one lit candle between them. It did little to keep back the gloom. The brick walls were slimy, and so was the footing. It was all Amy could do to manage to stay upright, even with one of the men holding fast to her right elbow.

Abruptly, the man in leading the way with the candle stopped walking. He had come to a dead end. It was just another brick wall. The ruffian looked over his shoulder at the fellow who was holding Amy, and said in a low voice, "This is it I reckon, Amos. Just like the man said."

"Do you really think it's in there, Morris?" Amo's asked his companion, fearfully eyeing the wall.

"Last bloke who questioned the boss got turned into a pile of ashes. I know. Cos I seen him do it, Amos. If the man says there's a giant rat in this tunnel," Morris shrugged, "who am I to say naught?"

Amy was bundled up to the wall by Amos. Handing Amos his candle to hold for him, Morris searched for the mechanism which triggered the special niche in the wall to open.

"I think I see it!" Morris grunted, his fingers digging into a crack high up on the wall.

Without warning, there came a loud screech. It came from behind the wall. Even muffled by the bricks, when the sound came again, it sounded almost like a roar of rage. They could hear what sounded like scratching against the bricks on the other side of the wall.

"What the hell was that?" Amy cried out. She glanced nervously at the man holding her. "When you said 'giant rat', tell me you just meant bigger than normal."

"I said shut up, girlie. And I meant giant. As in, as big an 'orse. And you're gonna' be its dinner." The man leered maliciously at Amy.

The high-pitched roar came again. And this time it was clear that the animal was right up against the other side of the wall.

"My god Morris! I don't half like the sound of that. Maybe we should just leave the bird here to rot. We don't wanna' let that thing out. None of us will stand a chance." Amos whispered hoarsely. Amy could feel the man trembling with terror.

"Never fear, mate." A much more confident Morris grinned. "I've got it covered." He said, brandishing a revolver he'd just slipped from his pocket.

"Where did it come from, you reckon?" Amos asked, as Morris' fingers worked on the rusty latch embedded in the mortar between two bricks. He was talking to keep his mind off the terror that awaited the three of them on the other side of the wall.

"Got it from that pawn shop near the Black Dog pub." Morris answered, thinking Amos meant his gun.

"No, no!" Amos shook his head, looking anxiously at the wall. "I mean the rat. How long you reckon that thing's been down here?"

There was an audible click from the wall. A small metal bar popped into sight. Gripping it in his hand, Morris heaved it down. The rusty metal lever squealed almost louder than the rat, as the door in the wall came ajar ever so slightly. The scratching and squeals of the rat got even louder.

"Who cares? I've almost got this thing open. Be ready, Amos. We'll just push the girl in and slam the door shut. Easy-peasy." Morris said, gasping with exertion as his fingers now gripped the edge of the brick door.

That's when Amy noticed an entirely new sort of stench coming through the open crack of the door. It took her mind only a few seconds to guess at its origin.

"Er—maybe you should put out that candle, Morris." She suggested.

However, Morris wasn't listening to her. He was busy prying open the door. All of the sudden, a gray, furry paw with long sharp claws shot through the half meter crack. It reached out, trying to get at them.

"Oh my god!" Amos whimpered, trying manfully not to turn and run. "Look at the size of that thing!"

"Never mind that, yer big girl's blouse. Get ready to push her in, Amos!" Morris ordered. "Then I'll slam the door shut and we can get the hell out of here."

Amy felt herself being forced towards the doorway. Morris abruptly pivoted the door open. Amy struggled, trying to throw herself towards the wall. The second the door swung open, the rat charged. Amos screeched in terror, wetting his trousers. In panic, he instinctively flung his candle at the rat. Immediately, there was a loud 'wumpf.'

A roaring gout of blue and orange flames bellowed from out from the open door, as the tunnel was rocked by a deafening explosion.

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