Chapter Nine

Eleven was in shock while he stood at the console to the TARDIS. Everything that Sarah Jane told them and the fact that Luke, Clyde and Rani were out ripping people to bits now stunned him to the very core of his being. If the Valeyard was truly behind all this, it terrified him even more, especially since the Valeyard was in essence himself. If he was capable of generating and inspiring this much evil and depravity in the world…

The TARDIS stopped and powered down and he composed himself, presenting a calm persona to his friends and family as he walked towards them.

"I tried to land as close as I could to Donna's house but I still want it kept out of sight so it doesn't trigger her memory. I'll go though, the rest of you stay here."

"I'll go with you," Sarah Jane said. "I know more than you about the situation out there."

"And I'll go because you need some protection, especially since something evil is trying to influence you now," River said.

"I'll go, I'm a nurse, I could help if people are injured," Rory said.

"And I'm going just because," Amy said.

"Okay. John, Doctor and Rose, you stay here. She's seen all of you before," he said.

Eleven led Sarah Jane and his family towards the front door. He opened it and Amy gasped as they froze and stared at something right outside the door.

"This is what I was on about," Sarah Jane said wearily to Eleven.

Ten, John and Rose came down the steps and everyone made room for them. Rose gasped when she saw a mangled corpse in the road a few feet from the TARDIS. It had been a woman but that was all they could glean from the remains since the corpse had been ripped up beyond recognition. Rose backed up and John held her when she put her hand over her mouth, trying not to gag as bile rose up in her throat.

"This happens on a daily basis now," Sarah Jane said dully as she pointed to the corpse. "People are afraid to remove most of the bodies since Jacksprites might be watching. So they leave them there to rot and be devoured by animals."

"And I suppose animals have turned feral because of it," Eleven said.

Sarah Jane nodded grimly. Eleven stepped outside and looked around. The street was deserted and the houses were dilapidated and boarded up like the ones in Ealing. The Doctor wrinkled his nose as the smell of rot from the corpse assailed him and he turned on his respiratory bypass system to avoid smelling it. He looked around but couldn't see anyone. Donna's house was four down from them so he nodded to his family and Sarah Jane and they stepped outside. Ten wished them luck and shut the doors behind them as they walked around the corpse and made their way to Donna's house. The sky was overcast and Sarah Jane glanced up at it.

"We need to hurry. When it rains, it rains acid rain," she said to them.

"Lovely," Amy said. "And I thought London was rubbish before. Now it seems like paradise compared to this."

They walked up to the front door of Donna's house and River and Sarah Jane kept an eye out for Jacksprites while Eleven knocked on the door. He noticed that all the windows on the ground floor had been boarded up like Sarah Jane's house and anger shot through his mind at the devastation that the Ripper had brought about. As before, the door opened a crack and Eleven flinched a bit when he saw Donna eyeing him through the gap.

"Yeah?" she said to him.

"We were concerned about you, Miss Noble," Eleven said, realizing that since Donna didn't know him, it would be harder to convince her that they were friends.

"Why? I'm not breaking curfew or any other laws," Donna spat at him.

"Curfew?" Eleven said to Sarah Jane.

"Yes, there's a curfew. Anyone out after eight could be shot by the military," Sarah Jane said, glancing back at him.

Eleven shook his head in disgust and smiled warmly at Donna.

"I was wondering if we might speak to you and your family, Miss Noble," he said as warmly as he could.

"What family? My family were ripped apart by Jacksprites," Donna said angrily.

Eleven flinched at that and River put a hand on his shoulder.

"Wilf and Sylvia are dead?" he said, his stomach lurching.

"Yeah, the fucking Jacksprites reduced them to piles of meat about a year ago," Donna spat at him. "Anything else you want to know?"

"Look, you don't know me but we're here to help," Eleven said, trying not to think of Wilf and Sylvia lying in the street, ripped and gutted like the mangled corpse they saw earlier.


Donna barked out mirthless laughter.

"Help who? No one can help us," she said. "Anyone that does try to help usually ends up minced meat. So how are you any different?"

"Because I have a way to fight the Ripper and his disciples," Eleven said.

"Really? What are you gonna do, Professor, throw some books at them?" Donna said, opening the door a bit wider and pointing to his tweed jacket.

"I'm an old friend of Wilf and Sylvia," the Doctor said, trying a different tactic. "I was wondering where they were buried at so I could pay my respects."

Donna opened the door a bit wider and studied him for a moment.

"They're buried out back, up on the hill," Donna finally said. "Granddad loved going up there and looking at the stars so I buried them there."

"You buried them?" Rory said.

"Yeah, no one else would help me so I did it myself," Donna said. "No one helps anyone these days, which is why I'm curious about you lot. The Boy Scouts and Girl Guides were disbanded ages ago so if you're here earning your badges, you're out of luck."

She looked at Eleven when he chuckled at that.

"What's so funny, Tweedy?" she said to him.

"You haven't lost your sardonic sense of humor, Donna, I admire that," he said proudly.

Donna opened the door a bit wider and scrutinized him.

"Who are you?" she said finally.

"I'm help," Eleven said.

"Why do you care?" Donna said. "No one cares anymore."

"I'm not a normal bloke. I do care," Eleven said to her. "Just come with us, we can help protect you."

He knew it was a risk bringing her on board the TARDIS but he couldn't in good conscious leave his best friend by herself, at the mercy of Jacksprites, wraiths and who knows what else. He figured he and his other selves could come up with a way to preserve her mind while she remained safe inside the TARDIS. Donna was dubious about going with him and he wondered if there was a way to get through to her when Rory stepped up beside.

"Hi, you don't know me as well," Rory said to Donna. "But this man is telling you the truth. If anyone could help London, it's him, trust me. Please come with us. What do you have to lose?"

Donna studied him and the Doctor prayed that Rory got through to her. To his relief, Donna nodded.

"You're right," she said. "Everything else has been tried and I'm a sitting duck for the Jacksprites right now. Why not go with you lot. At least there's safety in numbers this way."

"Doctor!" Sarah Jane said.

The Doctor turned. Sarah Jane was pointing across the street to a group of teens who were slowly coming towards them. They were grubby and thin and each one of them had scalpel blades strapped to their fingers.

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