Chapter 3

"I don't suppose you're going to tell me where we're going?" Clara asked breathlessly, following closely behind the Doctor's running feet.

"I'm following that car. Which I won't be able to do if you keep interrupting me." The Doctor answered bluntly. He'd pointed to a police vehicle parked on the kerb, where the constable named Safara was putting the boy into the back seat.

Pulling out his sonic once more, the Doctor adjusted its settings on the fly. As the car sped away, the Doctor pointed the sonic after it. Behind them, back at the police station down the road, Clara could hear the distant shouts of police officers alerted to their escape.

"So basically we're being chased by the police, while chasing the police. Only you could come up with that little scenario." Clara told him.

"Thanks." The Doctor nodded, oblivious to her sarcasm. "Now, did you see which way they went?"

The pair of them had come to a cross street. The police car was no longer in sight.

"No idea. Sorry." Clara panted, bending down with her hands on her knees to catch her breath. They'd been running for nearly half a mile, past shops and cafes. "But wherever it is, we'd better find them soon. Or get back to the TARDIS. I have enjoyed traveling with you, Doctor. But to be honest, when I came on board I didn't exactly envision spending ten years as a guest of Her Majesty's prison service."

"Nonsense. Taking a vehicle without consent? First offense—it is your first offense, isn't it? You'll probably get fined and sent home." He paused and squinted up at the sky, "Or is that a stern warning and a free lunch voucher for fried chicken?" The Doctor shrugged, "I never can remember those sorts of things."

Holding out his sonic, the Doctor pointed it at each of the crossroads. It was silent until it was aimed towards the street going off to their left. Then the device began giving off a series of rapid bleeps.

"I take it that means we run to the left, yeah?" Clara asked.

"Yes, precisely. But I suggest we walk. I don't think it's very far now, and I'd prefer it that we didn't draw attention to ourselves."

"How'd you get that thing to home in on the car, anyway?"

"The police use specific radio frequencies. I've set the sonic screwdriver to detect the one that particular vehicle was using."

"Er—but what if it's picking up the same frequency from a different police car?" Clara pointed out.

"Oh, I can't be bothered with such trivial details." The Doctor waved her question away as if he were swatting at a pesky fly. Striding off down the road he called to her, "Come on, then. Bash on!"


Safara's partner had found the boy a pair of flip flops, and she knelt beside the open door of the car and put them on his feet. Then made sure his oversized pyjamas were securely rolled up to make sure he wouldn't trip on them. She turned worried eyes on him. He looked almost catatonic, now. Taking him by the hand, she walked him up to the front door of the home at the address Charlie had given her and buzzed the intercom.

"Yes?" Came what sounded like an older woman's voice from the other end.

"I am with the police, madam. I must speak to you regarding a matter of some urgency." Safara said politely.

"Oh? Is it about my husband? Hang on, I'll be there in a moment."

True to her word, the door opened a few minutes later and a woman of late middle age stood there. Her slightly graying long hair was astray and she wore a nervous expression.

"That was certainly quick, I must say,. I only rang you fifteen minutes ago. Have you found him?" She asked, wringing her hands. "My husband Mark, I mean. I woke this morning and he was gone. Just...gone. Left his wallet, his car keys, all of his clothes. Even his slippers. I don't know what to think. He's never done anything like this before."

The woman was so agitated that she hadn't even seemed to notice the little boy standing beside Safara.

"Perhaps he went looking for your son, here?" Safara suggested, tilting her head down at the child.

"What?' The woman seemed genuinely perplexed at this. "We don't have a son. We were never able to have children, sadly. Is that what this is about? You're not here about Mark?"

"I'm sorry, no. But I'm sure we'll find him, don't worry. I am here about the boy. This child was found early this morning. On this street. Alone. From what I understand he mentioned someone named Margaret. But we've been able to get nothing else out of him, unfortunately. Do you know anyone by that name around here? A neighbor, perhaps?"

"M—my name is Margaret." The woman looked startled. "I don't know anyone else around here who shares my name. Perhaps you should come in, constable."

As Safara seated herself and the boy on the lounge sofa, Margret asked if the boy had eaten. She replied that she didn't think anyone had had the time for it at the station. So the older woman bustled into the kitchen to bring some milk and biscuits in to the boy and make tea.

Safara's partner glanced casually at them going inside, before turning his attention on a young woman riding her bicycle past his car. He didn't notice a sudden, bright green flash, flickering briefly behind the net curtains of the lounge.

Looking back at the house a few minutes later, the constable manning the car radio was startled to see a little girl exit the premises. That's because the girl was wearing a uniform identical to Safara's, only it was way too big. Like it belonged to an adult. The girl was walking as if asleep. Suddenly, she tripped over the too-long trouser leg and fell. The little girl began to cry loudly. Still, no one from the home she'd just exited seemed to notice.

The constable got out of the car and went over to the girl. Kneeling beside her, he said "There, there, my love." He consoled her gently. "It's alright. Let's have a look at you. Where's your mum, then? Inside?"

"She's...she's in Newham." The little girl told him.

"You don't live here?"

"No, of course I don't, silly. I live in Newham, with me mum and dad."

"OK, let me take a look at you, make sure you're not hurt. What's your name, love?"

The little girl's sobs had ceased, but she still had tears on her face when she looked up at the constable. "My name's Safara."

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