Chapter 9

Behind them, the Doctor heard an excited shout and the loud clattering of hooves on cobblestones. He stole a quick glance over his shoulder. It was the mounted policeman. He was just racing his horse through the entrance of the long building. The carriage was rapidly nearing the now half-shut doors at the end of the warehouse. It was still roughly two hundred feet away from the overhanging beam. Slapping the reins, he called out to the horses for more speed.

"Oh, great. That's an idea, Doctor. Let's go faster!" Rory grumbled sarcastically. "And I thought being a plastic centurion battling Cybermen with a sword was dangerous."

"Where's your sense of adventure, Rory?" The Doctor complained.

"Er—I guess Amy forgot to tell you. I'm a nurse, not a Hollywood stunt man." Rory told him, while hanging on to the carriage for dear life.

"I did that, once. I was watching Tom Mix film one of his last silent westerns." The Doctor said. "A stunt man playing an outlaw broke his leg. So I volunteered."

"Well, you would." Rory muttered with an off-hand shrug.

"Had to jump from from the back of a galloping horse onto a runaway stagecoach. Not so different from this, Rory." The Doctor ducked, as a shot suddenly rang out from behind them, then conceded, "Erm—except maybe for the part where I'm being shot at with real bullets, perhaps. "

As he spoke, the Doctor loosely wound the reins around the thin metal handhold next to his seat. He wanted to give the animals their heads, so that they would be less likely to injure themselves. He then stood, balancing precariously.

Alright, Rory. Get ready! This is it." He called out. He reached his arms towards the beam.

"Geronimo!" The Doctor shouted gleefully.

He gave a leap of faith. His outstretched fingers caught the edge of the beam, and he was lifted away from the carriage. Rory paused in doubt. He cursed under his breath as he made his jump. That split-second delay meant that he almost missed the beam altogether. It was thanks to the Doctor's suddenly out-flung arm, that Rory managed to make it at all.

The mounted policeman yanked his horse to a stop and began firing at the Doctor and Rory. They kept as flat as possible, as the two of them swiftly crawled their way along the beam. Keeping low, they found themselves at what appeared to be loading space up under the eaves of the building.

As bullets splintered the walls around them, the Doctor, kneeling down, swung open a wide wooden loading door on its hinges. He stared up at a sight which made him smile broadly. uddenly there came a huge crash. The policeman who'd been shutting the rear door had been forced to dive behind some large crates, as the horses thundered past him. The Doctor guessed aloud that was what had happened, though neither of them was about to risk being shot, by raising their heads to look.

"Oh you beauty! I mean, how perfect is that?" He sang out, with an air of self-congratulation.

There was a block and tackle apparatus mounted to the outside wall, right above the window. And it still had a heavy hemp rope attached to it.

"Er—Doctor..." Rory said, pointing downwards.

"Ah. Now that's not so good." The Doctor admitted mildly, looking down.

Rory thought that those two words were the understatement of the year. Below them was a sheer drop of at least fifty feet. Unfortunately for them, two policemen were standing on the dock directly below them.

However, it appeared that the carriage had indeed overturned. One wheel of the carriage was

sheered off, lying near the edge of the dock. His Lordship's vehicle was now a total loss. It had overturned. When that happened, the whiffle tree and shaft pole which connected the horses

to the carriage had come off. Freed from the vehicle, the two horses had torn their way down the docks. The few policemen guarding the rear of the building screamed in alarm, scattering every which way to avoid being trampled.

In the seconds in which the Doctor studied the scene below, he also spied a way out. The policemen under the window were still dusting themselves off, clearly shaken by their near miss with the frightened horses.

"Quick, Rory. Grab onto the rope and whatever you do, don't let go. At least, not until I tell you to." The Doctor instructed him.

"Whatever it is, I don't want to know. Let's just do it and get it over with, Doctor." Rory sighed. "All I care about right now if finding my wife."

The Doctor and Rory clung for dear life to the rope. The Doctor instructed Rory to help him push off with his feet.

"Listen to me carefully, Rory. When I say to let go, you do it." The Doctor informed him sternly. "Don't even hesitate for a second. Or you won't live long enough to find Amy."

They pushed off. The rope swung out in a wide graceful arc. "Let go, Rory!" The Doctor yelled.

Involuntarily yelling in fear, Rory felt himself drop. With a thump and a sudden expelling of breath, Rory landed on something soft and lumpy. The Doctor had ended up just a little further on. They were on a barge filled with bales of cotton. It was tied up to the dock waiting to be unloaded the next morning. Yet, they weren't out of trouble. The two policemen were already rushing towards the barge's gang plank.

"Quick! This way!" The Doctor called.

He was already up and scrambling over an assortment of bales, crates and barrels to get to the back of the large vessel. There, attached to the barge, was a small row boat. Grabbing hold of a line, the Doctor swung down into the boat. It tipped precariously, nearly toppling him into the Thames. Using his oars he held the craft steady while Rory got in. As dusk drew down on the city, casting long shadows on the water, the Doctor rowed them to safety.

"Are you sure you remember where you parked the TARDIS, Doctor?" Rory asked, as they tied up the boat and climbed up a dock ladder.

"Of course I do! I'm always connected to the TARDIS. We're practically family, her and I." After a moment's concentration, the Doctor pointed east. "That way." He began to walk, then stopped. Turned an about face and pointed west. "No, hang on. I think she's that way."

"You think?" Rory asked skeptically.

"I'll have you know this place looks completely different at night." The Doctor whinged. Then he smiled, and said reassuringly, Don't you worry, Rory. I know I parked her around here." Abruptly less sure of himself, he added, "Erm—somewhere."

Back in the tunnel, the choking smoke had finally begun to clear away slightly. The entire place had caved in. Stuck out from a pile of bricks and other rubble was a human leg, and the head of a giant dead rat. There were no signs of life. After the gas explosion, all was quiet beneath the sewers of London.

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