Chapter Twenty Seven

"My house isn't large but I have a room where you can be comfortable, mes amies," Clarice said to the Doctor, Rose and Donna.

She led them through her house which was decorated with country items like cows and farmhouses. There was a lot of old and antique furniture, except in the living room where there was a hideaway sofa, a navy blue suede recliner, a cherry wood coffee table, cherry wood bookcases and a cherry wood stand with a TV on top of it. There was a brick fireplace at the back of the room and a fire crackled cheerfully inside it. Clarice led them past the living room and down a short hallway to the bathroom. The bathtub was black with matching black toilet and sink. A medicine cabinet was above the sink and the Doctor noticed it was open slightly as they entered the room. In between the toilet and the tub was a large expanse of wall with a silver towel rack hanging there. Clarice walked over to the towel rack, grabbed it and pulled down. There was a click and part of the wall opened up, revealing a hidden room behind the wall. They room was large and had two mattresses inside with sheets and blankets. In between the mattresses was a small nightstand with a wooden lamp on it and on the other side of the room were four high back wooden chairs.

"This is all I can offer you," Clarice said to everyone. "The men who will take you on to Reims will be here in a few days. They are careful when they travel and take their time so they're not captured. My house is open to you, of course, but this is where you'll sleep."

They thanked her and went inside the room. The walls were painted a soft lavender color and were unadorned. The Doctor examined the room and then had a thought.

"This is Calais?" he said to Clarice. "I though Calais was bigger than this? We only saw your house and a deserted road on the way here."

"My house is outside the city limits, Monsieur. Calais is to the east. But you might be disappointed if you go there."

"Oh? Why is that?" the Doctor said.

"Nothing much remains of the city. The Toclafane killed most of the people in the city and it's more like a ghost town now. Then the Master and his slaves came in and took what they needed for his construction projects, especially any metal or iron or steel. What he found there helped make that statue on the beach. Calais has lost its former glory but the Toclafane still patrol it. That's why you weren't taken directly to the city, Monsieur. They are always looking for refugees."

"And Paris?" Donna said.

"It is devastated as well and also Reims. France has suffered much since Saxon took over the Earth."

"I think the entire world fits that description," the Doctor said. "The Master killed one tenth of the population and more are dying each day in his labor camps. Not to mention he's executing rebels when he finds them. More and more people are dying every day and I fear more will die now that he's looking for us. You say that Calais is nearly depopulated? And Paris and Reims?"


"Then perhaps he's continuing his cleansing. Making sure he has just enough humans for a workforce but not enough to challenge him," the Doctor said

Clarice shrugged.

"I have no idea what he is doing. All I know is the ball monsters came down to France and destroyed almost everything. The country is in chaos now and people are frightened."

"And you've been getting them out?" Rose said.

"I have tried to help when I can. It is not much, this room, but it's all I can do."

"And we thank you for helping us," the Doctor said. "We'll try not to be a bother."

"It is no bother. I have some food in the kitchen if you're hungry," Clarice said.

"I'm starving," Donna said. "It's been a rough night."

"I will show you where the kitchen is then," Clarice said to them.

Rose put the sack of food on the nightstand by the lamp and followed Clarice out the door. The Doctor walked with Donna as she followed Rose.

"I'm glad you're hungry," the Doctor said softly to her while they walked. "You're thinner than I remember ya."

"Yeah, well, losing your family does wonders for weight loss," Donna said bitterly. "Most days I have to force myself to eat. And force myself to take another step. Being with you though, it did bring back my appetite and my hope. I wondered where ya went during all this. I hate that you and Rose were up there as his prisoners. And Rose married to that muppet and possibly bearing his children. It's sickening."

The Doctor put his hand on Donna's shoulder and she smiled at that and patted his hand. They walked into the kitchen and suddenly the Doctor's senses were on red alert as he looked around at the nearly spotless kitchen.

"Um…not meaning to pry," the Doctor said to Clarice. "But…I noticed that your house has no damage to it. If the Toclafane devastated Calais, why did they spare your house?"

"I made repairs since then, Monsieur."

The Doctor studied her and noticed her hesitant speech and shifting eyes. He stepped forward and she stepped away.

"You're lying to me," he said. "I hate when people lie to me. Tell me the truth, Clarice. Why is the house undamaged?"

"He gave me a new house in return for…"

"In return for what?" the Doctor said when she fell silent.

Clarice lowered her head and stared at the floor.

"I helped him, Monsieur," Clarice said. "I've been spying for him and I told him where some of the rebels were hiding. I also gave up some of the people who came here. Not all of them because that would look suspicious but every once in awhile I gave people to the Master to protect my life. And…"

She sighed bitterly.

"I gave my body to him as well, Monsieur," she said, looking at him with eyes pleading for understanding. "He has concubines and I was one of them. He gave me this house in return for my cooperation. That room in there…I can lock it and sleeping gas can come from the vent if I'm giving up people to him."

"And was that going to be our fate?" the Doctor said tersely as his eyes bored into hers.

"You are wanted, Monsieur. A great reward is offered for you and Madame Saxon. I was ordered to bring him any valuable people and you and she and Martha Jones are the most wanted out of all the rebels. Please understand, I'm in fear for my life!"

"So are many others and yet, they risk their lives to help others get to safety," the Doctor said angrily. "I understand your fear of the Master and I'm sorry he made you his concubine but giving up others to him to save your own skin is cowardice at its worst! The Master enjoys toying with others before killing them. He lets them live as long as they prove useful to him but once their usefulness is at an end…"

He pointed to Rose.

"This is his wife, his own wife, and she was drugged, hypnotized into submission and beaten when she resisted. If he does that to someone he marries, what makes you think he'll treat you any better?"

"I'm sorry, I didn't know what to do. I don't want to die," Clarice said, holding out her arms to him.

"I understand that but now you have blood on your hands. You may not have done the killing personally but you're still an accomplice to the death of innocents. And because of that, we can't trust you. So I'm afraid you're the one who'll have to spend time in the hidden room."

"No, please!" Clarice said.

She shivered at the cold look on the Doctor's face.

"What about the men? Are they coming to get us in a few days or was that a lie as well?" he growled at her.

"They are coming, I swear," Clarice said, suddenly realizing that the Doctor was a very powerful man in his own right and she had much to fear from him if she didn't cooperate. "In two days they will be here."

"And they will take us to Riems and not dump us off at the Master's feet?" the Doctor growled as he stepped closer to her.

"Oui, they will take you to Riems as promised."

"You'd better be right," the Doctor said.

Clarice swallowed hard at the icy look on the Doctor's face and the steely gaze he was leveling on her.

"Please, let me stay out here. I won't betray you, I swear. Don't lock me up," Clarice said.

"What say you, my friends? Shall we allow her to roam free after all she said," the Doctor said, turning to Rose and Donna who were both glaring at Clarice.

"I think we should lock her up," Donna said.

"I think we should lock her up as well and Harry with her since she's his whore apparently."

Rose shook her head and walked out of the room in a huff. The Doctor sighed angrily and told Clarice to go to the room. Clarice started to beg but the Doctor seized her arm and Clarice shut up when he saw there was restrained rage in his eyes. She meekly walked with the Doctor and he took her to the hidden room while Donna went to comfort Rose.

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