PORTRAIT OF A NIGHTMARE

Chapter 12

Leading the way, the Doctor tore out of the TARDIS with Rory fast on his heels. They'd run approximately a quarter mile before Rory began to run out of steam. Even though he knew it was petty of him, he couldn't help but be annoyed at the fact that the Doctor barely seemed to be breathing very hard. His back slumped against the side of London Bridge, Rory shook his head despondently.

"It's no good, is it?" He gasped. "We're never going to find Amy now, are we Doctor?"

"You know," the Doctor frowned at him. "you really should change your name. To Thomas. As in 'doubting' Thomas. Oh ye of little faith, Rory. I'm a bit disappointed in you right now. Do you really think I'd give up on Amy that easily?"

"You mean," Rory asked hopefully, "It's safe now to go back and get the TARDIS? Why didn't you say so?"

"No, Rory," the Doctor shook his head negatively, "not the TARDIS, I'm afraid. I had just enough time to see that the Black Guardian managed to fry the astrosextant rectifier. Even though-tecnically, she still can fly, for all intents and purposes, the TARDIS is totally out of commission. I'd have no way of knowing where or when we'd land. Can't take that chance."

"But...isn't that actually sort of...you know...normal for the TARDIS?" Rory asked, as tactfully as possible.

"Rory, this is completely different." The Doctor threw up his hands, as if unable to believe that Rory was that thick. "With the astrosextant out of phase, we could well end up somewhere thousands of light years from where we want to be. Maybe even someplace seriously boring! Like, say, Minnesota, Belgium, or the Found Moon of Poosh. Let me tell you. If I'd known they'd turn Poosh into a lunar bathing resort, I'd of left it in the Medusa Cascade. People doing nothing all night but lying around in deck chairs, drinking inebriants and getting a moon tan. Bleurgh! How do you humans manage not to die of boredom?"

"And, the prospect of being bored...that's worse than Amy dying, is it?" Rory asked sarcastically, raising an eyebrow.

"The point is, Rory," The Doctor explained patiently, oblivious to the sarcasm, "that I might plot a course for the London sewers and send us to Poosh...or we could fly straight into the heart of a super-nova. And that would end our trip rather quickly, I'm afraid Even the TARDIS wouldn't be able to withstand something like that."

"Ah. Right. So using the TARDIS is out." Rory nodded. "How do you plan on finding my wife, then?"

"It'll be OK, Rory. I've still got my sonic. I can modulate the frequency much in the same way as I did in the TARDIS. Not as accurate or reliable I'm afraid, but it should narrow down the area she's in enough for us to estimate her general whereabouts."

"Estimate? What good's a blinking estimate?" Rory huffed. "This isn't a double glazing firm, Doctor. You're talking about my wife The wrong estimate could cost Amy her life."

"Relax, Rory!" The Doctor smiled, pulling out his sonic screwdriver and fiddling with the settings. "It'll be fine. I've never let Amy down yet. Well, hopefully not, anyway. I mean, if I had let her down, I'm quite sure she would've told me. Very opinionated girl. Which is very good I suppose..." he held up the sonic and frowned at it, giving it a couple of sharp raps with the flat of his palm. "...arrgh! What's wrong with this thing? What was I saying, Rory?"

"Amy. You were saying she had a mind of her own. Like I didn't already know that." Rory shrugged.

Ah, yes. Thinks for herself. Lovely trait in a human. Much better than someone who simply goes along with everything I say and do, without asking a single question. What a dreadful companion that would make." The Doctor made a face. "Yech! I might just as well start hanging around with a sheep! Standing around all day, staring blankly into space, chewing and pooing...or is that a conservative politician?" He gave a blasť shrug. "Meh. Same thing, really."

Abruptly, a high pitched bleeping sound emitted from the sonic. As the Doctor spun around like some demented whirling dervish, the noise distinctly grew louder when the sonic was pointed downriver.

Flashing Rory a triumphant grin, the Doctor shouted, waving his arms about like an overexcited monkey, "Oh yes! Amy Pond I'm reading you loud and clear! There! That way! Let's go and find your wife, Rory. Or, maybe she'll find us. Who knows? Amy's clever enough that she may have eluded her kidnappers and be headed this way, right now."

In the total darkness, something moved. Amy's breathing became much more shallow as the air became more hot and close. And reeking of things she'd rather not think too much about. The rubble to the left of her stirred again, louder this time.

"Hello? Is someone there?" She whispered hoarsely.

In answer there came a muffled squeal of pain and fear. The dirt and crumbled bricks moved again, closer this time. Amy gave out an involuntary shriek and stood up suddenly, as a sharp claw lashed out in the darkness and shredded what remained of her long skirt. Amy gasped as she felt the stinging pain of a deep scratch on her left calf.

Slipping out of the remains of the garment, Amy blindly backed away quickly.

"Be just my luck to trip on my petticoat, or whatever women of this time period call this under slip thingy." Amy grumbled to herself, lifting up the long white undergarment so she could walk backwards towards what she hoped was the wall. "Wear something appropriate to the time period the Doctor said. Yeah. A time period without man-eating prehistoric sewer rats, maybe."

Without warning, the giant rat gave an angry, terrified screech. It heaved its mighty body out of the dirt and bricks which had trapped its stunned body. Showered with rubble, Amy cried out, backing against the slimy curved wall of the sewer. The darkness was so absolute, she couldn't even see the gleam in the creature's cold, beady eyes.

Hearing Amy's cry, the rat instinctively reacted. It charged towards the sound. Thankfully, Amy had already slipped away, moving towards her right as quickly as her lack of vision and the debris of collapsed tunnel allowed. Just as unable to see as she was, the rat crashed into the wall at full force.

The impact caused the wall to crumble. Amy ducked, coughing and waving away the dust. The rat lay on the floor, stone dead. The impact had automatically crushed the animal's skull. That's when she realized. She could see! A section of the wall had given way completely, taking part of the street above with it. A dusky sky shown through the jagged hole above. Spitting on her hands, Amy rubbed them on her soiled petticoat and carefully began to climb up the pile of brick and stone.

Back                         Home                              Doctor Who Main Page                          Next

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews and constructive criticism will be posted.