17 Mar 2013

The Vanishing Man, Chapter 7

Caroline, Blackmore and June were almost at the escalator that led to the sky link when they heard a strange, humming of machinery coming from a nearby cupboard.

“What’s in there?” asked Caroline.

“Medical supplies. That’s where I saw the strange device.”

Blackmore crossed over to the door and opened it.

Sure enough inside there were bandages, plasters and first aid kits. And coming through a hole in the floor was a large, pylon-type device.

“Told you,” said June. “We need to get out of here.”

“But what’s that sound?” said Caroline. “Listen, can’t you hear it?”

Blackmore tilted his headed. “It seems to be some sort of machinery coming from underneath the floor. This thing goes right down.” Blackmore started tapping his foot on the ground.

“What are you doing?” asked Caroline, walking over to the cupboard.

“Looking for…” he stopped tapping his feet and smiled. “Found it!”

“Found what?”

“The ground. It’s hollow right underneath us.”

“Is there a basement under there?” asked Caroline to June.

“I’m not sure. There are lower levels of the airport though. Storage areas and places like that.”

“Whatever’s making the sound must be directly beneath this floor.” Blackmore got up and looked over the shelves. “What we need is a pick axe or something.”

“Or we could just use the lift,” said Caroline.

“I’m sure they’ll have security locks on them though, to prevent us going down there.”

“Who?” asked June. “Airport security?”

“Are you really as stupid as you sound?” said Blackmore, giving her a withering look.

“Well it’s worth a shot,” said Caroline, “cos I’m all out of pick axes.”

They shut the door and made their way towards the elevators, but none of them happened to notice another one of the drones floating above the escalator, watching quietly.

Finally Emily and Danny had arrived. The red sports car had entered one of the suburbs outside Manchester and the car pulled into the drive of a large, detached house which was sat in darkness apart from a blue light coming from behind the front room curtains.

“So who’s this guy?” asked Danny, getting out of the car and following Emily up the drive to the front door.

“He’s my brother,” she smiled back at him.

“And he knows about time and space?” asked Danny, looking a little doubtful.

“He’s one of the best,” she said, getting a key out of her small handbag and unlocking the door.

They stepped inside and Emily hung her jacket up on the coat peg at the bottom of the staircase.

Danny could hear the sound of a TV coming from the room to the left.

“I’m home,” shouted Emily, taking her shoes off and opening the door. “And I’ve brought a friend.”

“Another one?” came an older man’s voice from behind the door.

“He needs some help,” said Emily as she walked into the room.

Danny suddenly felt a little nervous as he stepped through the doorway. The lights were out in the room, but the TV screen was casting a blue hue all around and illuminating everything. He made sure his back was to the wall as he stepped inside.

Emily had sat herself down on a black leather sofa, and, sat in an arm chair, watching the TV, was a very, very old man. He looked to be in his late eighties, had wispy strands of white hair and small, almost John Lennon-like glasses.

He turned to look at Danny as he entered the room. “And who might you be?”

“Danny. Danny Lennon,” said Danny nervously. “And you are?”

“Ethan Reed.” The old man got up from his chair and extended a hand. “A pleasure to meet you, Mr Lennon.”

Danny shook his clammy hand. “And you’re…Emily’s father?”

“My brother,” said Emily, smiling brightly at Danny.

“But you’re…”

“Yes?” said Ethan, looking down his nose at the young man.

“You’re surely too old to be her brother.”

“In human terms,” said Emily, getting up and standing beside her brother. “But then we’re not human.”

“Ah,” said Danny, trying to back up but realising he was already flat against the wall. “So you’re not human?”

“Not at all,” said Ethan, who was now smiling, his crooked teeth yellow and his eyes dark behind his glasses.

Ethan stepped menacingly towards Danny who reached for the door frame.

Emily was there in a shot; faster than lightning. She had hold of his arm and was stopping him from moving any further.

“Let go,” said Danny. “Who the hell are you?”

“Hmmm,” said Ethan, putting a finger to his lips in thought. “Let’s see…You Human beings have something which I believe you call…Vampires.”

“Yeah,” said Danny, feeling his heart rate increase, “but you’re not Vampires, are you? They don’t exist.”

“Not exactly,” grinned Emily, her eyes wild and her tongue licking her lips. “We don’t drink blood.”

“Then what..?”

“We drink time,” said Ethan, pressing his face close to Danny.


“Time. Time energy. Chronological, temporal, vortex energy. We trap time travellers and then drink them dry.”

Emily chuckled as Ethan grabbed Danny around the neck and pinned him up against the wall.

The last thing Danny saw was the room blur out of focus.

It had taken almost an hour and the Doctor had been driving at speeds he hadn’t driven at for some time, but he had finally arrived at Sheffield station. He skidded into the car park and ran for the station entrance. He made his way up the escalators and to the platform where the familiar blue of the TARDIS greeted him.

He smiled and patted the side of the wooden box. “Good to see you, old girl. Now you’ve got work to do.”

He unlocked the door and went inside.

The lights gradually grew brighter as the Doctor made his way past the little trees that lined the walkway towards the console room.

The TARDIS seemed to hum when the Doctor touched the console.

“Now,” said the Doctor, flicking a number of switches on the nearest panel, “I know we had a few disagreements about landing last time, but we have to get to the airport. So no messing about.”

He entered the space co-ordinates on the console and pulled the dematerialisation lever.

The TARDIS groaned and wheezed into life as the engines began their start-up.

“That’s it,” said the Doctor, looking at a small monitor which showed various equations and readings on it. “Nice and easy.”

The central column began to rise and fall, the green rods moving up and down in the glass column.

The Doctor was growing confident. Everything seemed okay, and then the engines began to let out a faltering sound. The TARDIS began to shake and rattle and the Doctor skipped around to the other side of the console, frantically flicking switches.

“Come on,” he said through gritted teeth. “Don’t let me down now. You can do it!”

He switched on the scanner. The TARDIS was hovering nearby to the airport, but he wasn’t able to take her in any further.

“What is this?” he asked. “Some sort of bubble. Some kind of protective dome around the area?”

A high-pitched whine came from somewhere in the bowls of the time machine and the Doctor quickly returned to the controls.

“This is silly. I’m not going to let this beat me,” he said, turning more dials, all the time the pressure building in the TARDIS engines.

But still the TARDIS stuck firm.

“Perhaps there’s only one other way,” said the Doctor, closing his eyes. He pulled open a panel on the console and pulled out a mess of wires from underneath. “Disengaging your safeties could kill me, but it’s the only option.”

The Doctor finally reached a small, box-like circuit. He took one last look at it, closed his eyes and pulled it from it’s connection to the wires.

The TARDIS groaned and shook violently as the Doctor returned to the console. Sparks flew from the console as he ramped up the engines. The rods in the central column were glowing white-hot green and the engines were going faster than they had ever gone.

And then…there was a huge explosion and all the lights went out. The Doctor wasn’t sure, but it felt like the TARDIS was falling.

Meanwhile, Cole was still speeding around the airport with the drone hot on his tail. The car he was in had a number of scorch marks on it’s side, but he had managed to outwit it so far. The drone wasn’t a very good shot, but it definitely wasn’t about to give up.

Cole was taking another turn when the ground rumbled violently and there was a flash of lightning. He looked out of the windscreen and saw a small, blue box tumbling towards the ground. It disappeared behind a building and hit the ground with a loud thud.

Cole quickly turned the car and headed towards the crash site.

There was something…familiar about the blue box.

Sometime ago…

It had been a few days since the Doctor had arrived at the Lighthouse, and although he still wasn’t feeling exactly fantastic, he was at least up on his feet. But he felt so ill. He felt weak and drained of energy. Regeneration was always a dodgy procedure, but his ill effects had never gone on this long before.

And he felt like something was missing.

Once he had been able to walk Aleena had taken his hand and took him on a tour around the complex. It was built inside an old lighthouse on a red moon somewhere in deep space. Inside was old Dalek technology and Aleena watched the universe go by. All by herself.

Every time the Doctor had asked her why she was on her own she would go quiet. She wasn’t bothered in talking about herself, only in him.

And she had been making him take tests every day. Every day she would hook him up to machines and monitor his brainwaves and life signs and every day she would draw a blank.

Now he was sat on the same bed again, getting ready to be tested.

“How you feeling today?” she would ask cheerily.

“The same,” he replied. It was the same reply ever day.

She smiled, but it was a sad smile. “You’re lucky I found you.”

“So you were just up here watching me?”

“I’m always watching you,” she said, with a shy look on her face. “I love watching you. You and your companions and your adventures.”

“I don’t understand,” said the Doctor, lying down on the bed and resting his head on the soft pillow.

“I like to watch your adventures. I always have done. Since I was a little girl.”

“So you’re a fan?” asked the Doctor.

Aleena sighed and flicked her blonde hair out of her eyes. “Doctor, we had this conversation yesterday.”

“Did we?” asked the confused Doctor. “I don’t remember.”

“No. And that worries me,” said Aleena. She took out a syringe and checked the liquid inside. “I want to try a new solution today. I think this one might ease your headaches.”

“Good luck,” said the Doctor doubtfully.

Aleena felt for a vein and then put the needle in. She injected the medicine into his arm and then stood back.

“Feel anything?” she asked.

“Nothing,” said the Doctor, a blank look on his face.

And then the monitor next to him began to beep.

“Oh no,” said Aleena, quickly crossing the bed to the other side and checking the readings.

“What…?” The Doctor froze and his eyelids began to flicker.

“You’re going into shock!” said Aleena, trying to hold the Doctor down as he shook violently.

The Doctor tried to say something but he couldn’t. All he could do was stutter and shake.

Before Aleena could do anymore the monitor beeped a long, drawn-out beep. The Doctor’s body was failing.

“I’m so sorry,” said Aleena, putting her hand to her mouth. “Regenerate,” she whispered under her breath.

Nothing. The Doctor continued to shake and then stopped dead. There were no life signs coming from him.

“Regenerate,” said Aleena again. “Please, regenerate!”

But the Doctor didn’t regenerate. The Doctor was dead.

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