Chapter 15

Jamming his hands into his pockets, the Doctor leaned against the wall. He smiled benignly at the men who were once again closing on him, a human snare. He had no illusions. The Doctor was wanted alive. But only long enough to force him to watch the deaths of everyone he'd ever cared for. Even those friends and family already lost amid the long and convoluted track of his life.

His old adversary obviously wanted to relish his revenge, like a particularly succulent piece of meat. The Doctor knew all too well that he was the main course for the Black Guardian's tea time.

That the eternal being had deliberately caused the deaths of all those innocent people he'd read about in the newspaper, the Doctor had no doubt. The knowledge burned in him like a red hot coal. Yet, why had the Black Guardian chosen to spend so much time in Earth's past? And what did he do with that missing girl?

Something tugged at the back of his mind. A memory stirred, fluttering like a leaf in the whisper of a soft summer breeze. Then, it was gone. A formless wrath in the mists of remembrance. There was more to the Black Guardian's plans than what appeared on the surface. But, what?

All this passed through the Doctor's thoughts as he waited to be taken. The man with the ax had regained his composure. Returning to the Doctor he stepped forward, hefted his weapon and started to swing it in an upward arc.

However, before the man could finish his move, a wiry, scar-faced fellow deliberately grabbed the ax man's arm. The newcomer must've been a brave man, to face the wrath of the ax wielder. Scowling dangerously, the big man looked down upon the smaller one. Little scar-face merely narrowed his eyes and shook his head in the negative. Surprisingly, the burly ax man suddenly looked sheepish and lowered his weapon again. The wiry man then bound the Doctor, before placing a rough sack over his head.

"I beg your pardon, boys. But is all this truly necessary?" The Doctor protested jovially. "I mean, tie me up by all means, if that makes you feel safe from the bad old Doctor. That's me, by the way. In case you weren't paying attention. I really don't need to be blindfolded, though. That's a bit over the top, if you ask me. Supposing that you lot are so seriously thick that you hadn't noticed, it's a real pea-souper out here. I probably couldn't find my toes without a torch, let alone see where I'm going. And this sack smells absolutely minging. What did you keep in here? Dog sh—"

"Shut yer gob!" Yelled the wiry man, shoving the Doctor roughly forward. "Or I'll let Morris here have a go at ya' with his ax! Then you'll be arrivin' at yer destination in pieces. Hold yer nose if'n yer don't like the smell."

"Right. I'll just hold my nose then, shall I?" Came the nasally, contrite voice of the Doctor from under the sack.

A small knot of armed and angry men then quickly dragged the Doctor along among them. The little procession wound its way through a maze of stinking alleyways, and then onto what seemed to the Doctor to be a quiet cobblestone street. They halted abruptly. The Doctor could hear the mutter of voices, but the words were indistinct. He was lead up a short series of steps. Seconds later, the hood was unceremoniously yanked from his head. Screwing up his face, the Doctor let out a tremendous sneeze.

"Don't suppose you've got any tissues on you?" He politely asked the ax-wielding Morris. All the Doctor got in return was a surly stare. "No," he shrugged, "I'm guessing they haven't been invented yet. I'd rather not be seen using my sleeve. My companions always seem to dislike that. No idea why. Humans will have their pet peeves." Morris sneezed also, wiped his nose on his sleeve and gave a loud, long sniffle. The Doctor raised an eyebrow. "Of course my pet peeve is, that I can't stand that disgusting noise people make when they snort their own snot up their nose..."

"I said, shut it, toff!" The wiry man said, poking the Doctor in the ribs for emphasis with his pistol. "I'd hate to have to spill yer blood all over the man's nice clean door step."

"Hmm—yes, so would I, come to think of it. It is a very clean doorstep. Someone's maid has done quite a job keeping that so spotless." The Doctor said admiringly. "I wonder what type of soap she uses—ooaf!"

It took a second, and much harder, jab in the ribs to shut the Doctor up this time.

Before him was the green-painted door of a white Georgian era home. It was on a short street of virtually identical homes, except for the variation of colours on their doors and window shutters. Although those weren't easy to see. It was full on dark now. The fog was thicker than ever, and the only light came begrudgingly from a few guttering street lamps and lamplight from the windows of neighbouring houses. Across the road, through the thick yellow murk, he could just glimpse the nondescript mouldering red bricks of what appeared to be the back of a row of mews.

Just then, the door swung open. A tall, dignified looking footman in dark blue livery gestured for the Doctor and the wiry man to enter. Morris began to follow behind them. Yet surprisingly, the stern look and upraised hand of the footman stopped the big man cold. Backing off, Morris instead stood guard at the foot of the steps, fondly cradling his ax like a baby.

Looking down his nose at the wiry man, the footman silently handed him a thick envelope that had been left sitting on an elegant regency table in the entrance hall. The man swiftly pocketed the money with practiced expertise. The footman then lead the way into a library. Three of its walls were crammed floor to ceiling with shelves of leather-bound books.

Several Queen Anne style chairs and uncomfortable looking horsehair stuffed Victorian sofa made up the seating arrangements of the room. A few regency tables held various tasteful objects d'art. Near a window sat a large ornate mahogany desk and chair. The oak floor was minimally covered here and there with a few richly decorated prayer mats and Asian dhurries.

On the forth wall, over a huge marble fireplace, was a portrait of the Black Guardian. He was dressed in the bearskin hat and short braided jacket of a Light Brigade officer during the Crimean War period.

"His Lordship shall be with you presently. He instructionsare that you will wait for him here. And don't touch anything." The footman said stiffly.

Backing out of the room, the footman firmly shut the door behind him. The Doctor distinctly heard the sound of a key turning in the lock. He immediately strolled over to the desk and picked up a tall crystal paperweight in the shape of a plinth. Holding it up to one eye, he stared at the Black Guardian's portrait through the narrow piece of glass.

"Nope. Doesn't help." The Doctor said out loud, "He's still an ugly muggins, posh uniform or no."

Without warning, he whirled around and threw the paperweight at the wiry man. "Here, catch!"

Without thinking, the scar-faced man dropped the pistol he was holding in order to catch the paperweight before it struck him in the head. In a few quick strides the Doctor was there. With a footballer's accuracy, he kicked the pistol under the sofa.

Unfortunately, the Doctor kicked it so hard that it rebounded off one leg of the sofa. The pistol then spun back across the highly polished wood floor, landing at the feet of the thug. The wiry man quickly snatched the pistol back. With a smug grin he waved it under the Doctor's nose, motioning for him to step back. Seeing he had no choice, the Doctor decided to go and investigate the books on a nearby bookshelf. "Love a library." He said out loud.

"Yeah? Can you find a book about escapin', then? Cos' looks to me like you could use one, mate." The wiry man said sarcastically. "Only a toff would prefer them there books for his entertainment." He snorted. "Give me a good lookin' woman and a few snorts of gin, any day."

"Decades, hundreds, even thousands of years of human knowledge at your fingertips. A never-ending feast for the mind. How could anyone not love a library? That's like...not caring if you're breathing." The Doctor puzzled, busily scanning the titles. "Maybe there is a how-to manual in here. 'Escaping From Pistol Packing Punks for Dummies.' Won't do for me, however. I'm a genius. Spent hundreds of years dealing with your sort. Shouldn't need instructions, me. Though apparently, I am getting a tad rusty..." The thug started to open his mouth. The Doctor's back was turned, but he said, "...and if you yell at me to shut up one more time, I'm going to tell your dad. See if you're allowed to stay up late to watch reruns of Coupling anymore..."

Just then, there was the sound of the key turning in the lock. The Black Guardian stepped into the room. He was wearing a velvet smoking jacket, looking every inch the aristocratic lord.

"Toby, how very efficient of you to bring the Doctor to me so swiftly." The Black Guardian addressed the wiry man with an oily smile. "If you'll be so good to step outside, my man will see that you get a little liquid refreshment before you go on your way."

"Cheers, guv." Toby said, pocketing his revolver and following the footman out the door.

"Do you think I would allow you escape me so easily, Doctor?" The Black Guardian asked smoothly, as the door was shut and locked once more.

"Erm—is that question worth extra credit? Should I write my answer on one side of the paper only, with a number two pencil?"

"Always the buffoon, Doctor." The Black Guardian sneered. "Have your jokes now. Soon enough you shall find little to laugh about, I think."

Suddenly, from somewhere outside, down the hall from the room, the Doctor heard the thug the Black Guardian called 'Toby.' He was raising his voice in argument, protesting about something. Then, Toby was shouting the word 'no' over and over again.

There was a brief silence. After a few minutes, from somewhere down below them, the Doctor heard the wiry man give out a long, horrific scream. He made a move for the door, but the Black Guardian blocked his way. In his hand was a rather nasty looking stun gun. The Doctor had no doubt his adversary would not hesitate to use it.

"No, Doctor. It is too late. You cannot save him now."

"What did you do to him?" The Doctor snarled angrily.

"Let's just say that I have one further use for Toby's services." The Black Guardian answered cryptically. "Sit down, Doctor. Make yourself at home. You're going to be here for a while."

Very reluctantly the Doctor sat down in a chair near the fireplace. He folded his hands across his lap and stretched out his long, gangly legs, sullenly eyeing his opponent.

The Black Guardian strode over to a bell pull hanging from the wall. Smiling, he reached up and gave it a few tugs. "Perhaps some refreshment before we begin, Doctor?" He said, though his tone made it clear that he did not really care whether the Doctor actually wanted anything to drink.

The Doctor turned and looked curiously at a grating sound coming from behind him. A secret panel had suddenly swung open in the wall of one of the bookcases. Through it stepped a butler. He was walking almost ceremoniously, and with great dignity, carrying a tray with a whiskey decanter and two cut crystal glasses on it. When the Doctor saw the face of the butler, his jaw dropped. He stood up, pointing at the newcomer.

"But that's...that's not..." The Doctor stammered.

"Yes, it is." The Black Guardian said calmly.

"Wait a minute." The Doctor shook his head. "That's impossible. He's dead. I was there. I saw him die."

"Not hardly, Doctor." The Black Guardian smiled indulgently. "He was merely dormant. A small experiment I tried a while ago, before I decided he was getting out of control. I had to put him on ice for a while, so to speak. Until my previous butler became too nosy for his own good and had, shall we say, a little accident. I needed a new butler, and my friend here just happened to need a new line of work."

"But isn't that..." The Doctor looked skeptical. And for good reason. He'd seen the man be shot and killed by an agent of Her Majesty's Secret Service.

"May I introduce my own private butler, Doctor? Meet Sir Egbert Egbertson, forty-first in line for the royal throne. Formally a physician for the staff at Buckingham Palace. Otherwise known to you, as 'Jack the Ripper.'

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.