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Doctor Who Companion Internet Adventure #05 - "Point of Destruction"


Chapter 6
"Grave News"
by Will Howells


---


To Mortimer's annoyance, the hotel reception desk was unmanned. So much for room service.


       He felt a pleasant breeze on his chubby face and turned towards its source. The main door was ajar. Mortimer took the hint and headed outside, hoping to find a shop that sold hot chocolate still open.


* * *


"Where are you young ladies going?" The Sheriff's voice echoed eerily around the nave of the church. "It's late. You shouldn't be going out at a time like this."


       Liz put an arm round Alison's shoulders and gritted her teeth. Without looking back, she headed for the exit.


       "Stay." Underneath the Sheriff's harsh accent, another sound was beginning to crescendo — a hissing noise. Liz tried to ignore it, but she and Alison felt they had to listen as it grew louder, compelling them to--


       "Stay." That's what it was, one word spoken independently by — for want of a better word — the congregation.


       Liz decided to change her tactics. She turned sharply, stared into the multitude of eyes. "No!" she shouted. "No!"


       The blank faces looked on, unperturbed. Then Liz's viewpoint started to change and Alison screamed.


* * *


Firedemon and Rogue crept towards the light. From a hundred yards away, it looked an ethereal white, a halo surrounding what, if Victor's research was correct, could only be the final resting place of Josiah Eagleton.


       "You think it's a ghost, Vic?" Rogue asked quietly.


       "Could be."


       "Alien phosphorescence?"


       "Could be." "Primitive external streetlight?"


       "Unlikely." Firedemon stumbled forward. "The answer, er, lies ahead."


       Rogue moved after him. "Whatever you say, Vic."


* * *


Alison was still screaming as Liz's brain finally accepted what was happening.


       "Those are very powerful alpha waves you appear to be emitting," she said as conversationally as she could with a shaky voice.


       Ten feet below, myriad faces smiled.


       "If that's what you call them," Sheriff Taylor said.


       Alison was floating next to Liz, dumbstruck. Her eyes were wide and horrified. Liz didn't try to calm her — she knew the only way to do that was to reunite the young woman with her boyfriend and see them out of town. And stop being telekinetically levitated, if indeed it was telekinesis.


       She reached out and took Alison's hand reassuringly.


* * *


"Whatever it was," Rogue noted, "it's gone."


       "Seems so." Firedemon did his best not to sound disappointed. Or relieved. He began to examine the grave itself as Rogue peered at the headstone.


       "Weird," she said.


       "What?" he asked, half-interested.


       "When did Eagleton die?"


       "1861," came the automatic answer.


       "So this should read, 'Josiah Eagleton, 1800-61,' yes?"


       "Uh-huh." Firedemon stopped what he was doing and looked up at the tombstone.


       The digits of the second year had been chipped away.


       "Weird, isn't it?" Rogue said again.


       "Yeah," Firedemon said. "And I'm sure--" he knelt back down by the grave and pointed his small torch towards the ground "--that this stone slab has been moved recently."


* * *


"Stop."


       A newcomer in the church. Before Alison had a chance to register the simultaneous turning of heads below, she was plummeting towards the pews. A lifetime later, she landed.


       Liz had taken the brunt of the impact, breaking Alison's fall. The older woman was lying awkwardly, half on the cold floor, half on a vacant pew. She wasn't moving. Alison reached out to help her. Her fingers came away from Liz's head a sticky scarlet. Alison gasped, horrified and panic-stricken. What should she do?


       The crowd's attention was elsewhere. In the name of her sanity, Alison sprinted to the exit.


* * *


Liz's vision blurred into focus for a few seconds. Someone was staring at her. A pace face with straggly hair behind it.


       "Hello," said the stranger, "I'm Lorraine."


       Liz gave a painful wave and slumped back into unconsciousness with a grunt.


* * *


Mortimer had given up trying to find any sign of life in the street and had raided the hotel's kitchen. Returning to his room, he saw a young man emerge from one of the other guest rooms. He looked to be in his late twenties, his dark hair contrasting with his ashen face.


       "Excuse me," Mortimer began, ready to ask whether they were the only people in the town.


       The man looked at him, slightly startled. "Have you seen Ali?"


       Mortimer frowned. "Who?"


       The man shook his head with a sharp sigh and headed downstairs.


* * *


Alison ran along the street, too shocked to cry. She saw the hotel and desperately headed for it. She pelted up the short flight of steps to the entrance, colliding with a figure going the other way. She gave a quick scream of surprise before hugging him.


       "Oh, thank God!"


       Keith held her tightly, rocking her gently in his arms. "It's OK, Ali, it's all right, I'm here, it's OK."


       After a few seconds, she tried to wipe her tears away. "Why did you leave me?"


       "I... They made me." He led her inside. "Come on, we'll go back to our rooms and everything will be all right."


       Alison shook her head. "We have to leave, Keith."


       "What?"


       "We have to leave. This place is terrible. There was this woman and she..." He was hugging her again as she cried into his shoulder.


       "It's all going to be fine now. Come on."


       He led her up to his room on the first floor. It was still unlocked.


       "We can't stay here, not in this town," Alison insisted. "We can't. I can't. "


       Keith locked the door, sat her down on the end of the bed and put his hand on her knee. "Don't worry. Everything will be fine."


       Alison shook her head. "How can you say that?"


       "Josiah's here now. He'll fix everything."


       She stopped crying immediately and moved nervously along the bed. "J-- Josiah?"


       He nodded, smiling.


       "Josiah Eagleton?"


       "The Josiah."


       "Where?" she asked, her gaze flitting around the room. "Where is he?"


       Her boyfriend put his hands on her shoulders and stared into her eyes. "Here."


---
To be continued...



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