Caroline caught up to him and put a hand on his shoulder. ‘Hey, you alright?’
‘Yeah,’ he said flatly.
‘Did you know that girl or something?’
‘No, nothing like that.’
‘She was listening to Town FM.’
‘Town FM? Oh yeah, I remember them. A new pirate station isn’t it?.’
Phil turned the corner and they carried on past the library. ‘What do you mean you remember them? We’ve only been broadcasting for two months.’
‘Wait a minute, “we”? You work on it as well?’
‘Yeah. I wanted to try and get on Cool FM, but they didn’t want me so I went to Lee Jackson and he took me on. I only do Saturday’s though.’
‘So, you work for a pirate radio station, which is illegal? Why would that make you so spooked out about that dead girl listening to the station?’
‘Because of the fact that she died listening to the station.’
‘Just a co-incidence.’
‘No,’ said Phil exasperated. ‘A few days ago another person died. They were listening to the station as well.’
‘Then that’s just a co-incidence as well.’
‘I don’t think so, Caroline.’
‘So you reckon the radio station killed those two girls?’
‘But...that’s impossible.’ Caroline knew there were some weird things in the universe, but the thought of an amateur radio station being responsible for killing two girls was absurd. Even she used to listen to the station when she was 15. Right about now, actually.
‘Look, I don’t know the guy who runs the station too well but I know he’s a bit of a thug.’
Caroline sighed. ‘It still doesn’t prove that Town FM are responsible for the deaths.’
Phil sat down on a bench and put his head in his hands. ‘I knew it’d cause me trouble.’
Caroline looked on sympathetically and then sat down next to him. ‘Hey, come on,’ she said, putting an arm around him. ‘You’ve had a tough day, missing that interview and everything. You need to relax.’
‘Maybe,’ said Phil, staring into the distance.
‘There’s no “maybe” about it,’ said Caroline. ‘I’ve been through some tough times recently and sometimes you just need a break.’
Phil turned to look at Caroline. He smiled weakly. ‘Perhaps I should start having some fun again.’ He smiled a little.
‘That’s the spirit,’ said Caroline as she patted him gently on his back. ‘You need to go out and have some fun.’
‘Yeah!’ said Phil excitedly. ‘Yeah. I’ve not had a decent night out for ages. I mean there was last night, but it was pretty crap after Davey met that lass.’
‘Then go out and have some fun.’
‘I will do.’ Phil got up and then looked back at Caroline. ‘Thanks.’
Caroline smiled. ‘No problem. Another patient cured.’
Phil turned to go but then turned back to Caroline. She was now staring ahead of her and looked a little lost and a tiny bit sad. ‘Look, I know we don’t really know each other, but, well, perhaps you’d like to come out with me.’
Caroline looked up. ‘What about your friends?’
‘I’d rather go out with you.’
Caroline smiled, but then her smile faded from view. ‘How old are you, Phil? Nineteen? I’m…well, I think I’m thirty now. A little too old for you.’
‘I’m not asking you out on a date! I just reckon you could do with a laugh after leaving your bloke and everything. Come on, it’ll be a laugh!’
Caroline broke into a broad grin. She knew the Doctor would be annoyed, but she didn’t care. Maybe it was time to let her hair down a bit. ‘Okay,’ she said, getting up from the bench, ‘let’s go get us some drinks.’
Sophie walked along side the Doctor. She couldn’t believe this. For so long she’d read about this incredible man, but she’d never gotten to chance to actually meet him let alone team up as one of his “companions”. Despite being interesting he was also a rather charming man. She found herself glancing across at him and grinning to herself every now and again. He was an absolutely bizarre character, but he just seemed to glide past everyone without causing anyone to stare at his odd dress sense.
Eventually they reached the White Hart and the blue police box that disguised the time machine know as the TARDIS.
The Doctor looked all around him for any sign of Caroline and frowned.
‘Can’t you see her?’ asked Sophie.
‘No,’ said the Doctor anxiously. ‘I never should have let her go. Her or Danny.’
‘How old is she?’ asked Sophie.
‘Late twenties…early thirties…I think.’
‘Well then, she can take care of herself. Pin a note on the door of your TARDIS arranging a meeting time this evening and we’ll come back later.’
The Doctor bit his lip as he continued to scan the shoppers. ‘Perhaps we should do that.’
‘Well it’d beat waiting here for her to turn up. In the meantime we can have a little chat, I can make some notes and maybe we can have some drinks along the way.’
The Doctor smiled. ‘Sophie, I think you’ve just persuaded me. I could do with a glass of mineral water.’
‘Bloody hell,’ said Gaz as he watched Danny grinning widely.
‘Do you have a problem?’ asked Danny in the hissing voice he had now acquired.
‘N-no,’ said Gaz nervously.
‘Good,’ said Lee, ‘cos we need to get out of here this afternoon. The cops are onto us and we need a new location straight away.’
‘When will I be free?’ asked Danny.
‘Soon,’ said Lee. ‘We have the ability to get you out, but we’ve gotta help your friends first.’
‘The others like you that we’ve contacted.’
‘Then there is a chance for us to be released before 2011?’ asked Danny, wide eyed.
‘Well I don’t know much about that, mate, but your lads want out so we’re helping.’
Danny stared into space and walked over towards the window. ‘Then the failure of 2011 can be averted. We no longer need to fight against the Ancestors.’
‘Our equipment can do it. It can free you.’
Danny snapped back round to Lee. ‘Equipment?’
‘Just look around you,’ said Lee, pointing to the radio console and it’s various devices attached to it. ‘We’re not quite there, but we’ll do it.’
‘Lee,’ said Gaz tentatively, ‘It’s getting towards 1pm. We’ve gotta shut down soon so we can move the equipment.’
‘Alright, yeah, I know!’ grumbled Lee. ‘Did you get in touch with the others?’
‘Yes. They’re gonna be here in ten minutes to help us. Have you found us a decent location yet?’
‘Yeah, don’t worry about that.’ Lee turned back to Danny and began shaking him gently. ‘Come on, Danny. Back to the real world.’
‘What’re you doing?’ asked Gaz.
‘Well we can’t have him walking around all possessed can we? He’ll just draw attention.’ Lee shook him a little harder. ‘Come on mate, back to normal.’
With the final shake Danny jerked, blinked and then coughed. ‘Wh-what’s going on?’
‘We were just having a chat with that visitor inside you,’ grinned Lee.
Fear seemed to flood Danny’s eyes. ‘Yeah. I remember. He took over me completely. He’s never done that before. Not a full conversation and everything.’
‘Yeah, well all he wants is to be free with the rest of his people. We’re gonna get him out of you.’
Danny looked horrified. ‘No! No you can’t do that! They’ll kill us all!’
‘Don’t be daft. They won’t kill me anyway.’ Lee grinned and then guided the shaking Danny to the door. ‘Gaz, go and put the exorcist man into the van out of site and then we’ll start to unplug this shit and wait for the others to turn up.’
‘But they can’t break free now,’ said Danny to himself. ‘It’s 13 years too early!’
Caroline and Phil had set off on the twenty minute walk to Phil’s house when he had suddenly froze and turned to head in a different direction.
‘What’s up?’ asked Caroline.
‘Trust me to forget. I’m meant to be helping the others move the radio equipment somewhere else.’
‘Why?’ frowned Caroline.
‘It helps them to keep out of the grip of the cops. See, the authorities know we’re out there, but it takes them ages to pinpoint us. Lee managed to work out how long it takes them and then we ship out just before they make a raid on us and find somewhere else in the town. Something about the new equipment he’s got helps us to dodge them.’
‘Bloody hell,’ said Caroline as she hurried to keep up with Phil. ‘It sounds dangerous.’
‘Well it is illegal. We’re not really doing anything wrong, though.’
‘Apart from broadcasting without a license, playing music without paying royalties-’
‘Yeah alright,’ said Phil as if he’d heard those words before. ‘I was thinking of getting out of it anyway. Y’know, going professional?’
‘Then do it. If you have a talent for something then go for it.’
‘We’ll see,’ said Phil as they turned a corner.
Phil led Caroline down a long, crowded street with a busy road going through it. Down the street were lots of families and older people, all busy doing there shopping from an indoor market halfway down the street. They passed the Halifax bank and then turned down into a side street and headed for some high-rise flats.
‘Your studio’s in the Freeman Street flats?!’ said Caroline as she gazed up at the gloomy structures.
‘Yeah, Lee rented out a flat from there just for the studio.’
‘God, I’ve never been up there in my life,’ said Caroline in a snooty voice.
‘Well, Your Highness, we can’t all live in nice, posh houses.’
‘And were do you live?’
Phil looked a little sheepish. ‘Devonshire Avenue.’
‘That’s near the college! Those houses are like mini-mansions!’
Phil frowned. ‘Alright, well I don’t like the flats either, but it’s only Lee who crashes out there.’
After about ten minutes of walking they came up towards one of the nearest flats and crossed the pathway to the entrance. Gaz emerged from around the corner looking slightly nervous. He jumped when he saw Phil and Caroline.
‘You alright, Gaz?’ asked Phil as he watched his friend back up against the wall.
‘Yeah. Yeah everything’s fine,’ said Gaz rather quickly. He looked at Caroline ‘Who’s this?’ he asked, changing the subject.
‘Oh, this is Caroline,’ said Phil.
Gaz grinned and extended his hand.
Caroline shook it. ‘Nice to meet you, Gaz,’ she smiled back at him.
‘Nice to meet you as well.’ Gaz looked at Phil and smiled. ‘Where’d you pick this one up then?’
Caroline and Phil both frowned in unison.
‘He didn’t pick me up from anywhere,’ snapped Caroline.
‘No I didn’t. I bumped into her in the street and we just got talking.’
Gaz laughed darkly. ‘You’re a sly one. Going for the mums now, eh?’
‘I’m not a mum,’ said Caroline, sounding rather more sad about that statement than she thought she would.
Phil closed in on Gaz and looked at him hard. ‘Watch it, Gaz. Some of your other friends might not care about women or give them much respect, but I do.’
Gaz didn’t reply and turned away from Phil. ‘Come on then, Phil, you’re already late. The others are upstairs disconnecting the equipment.’
Okay listeners, that’s it for a couple of hours. We’ve gotta do some moving about now, but we’ll be back on in a couple of hours. Until then we’re gonna broadcast a loop tape of dance music. Remember this is Town FM on 107.9. Keep it locked down!
Lee hung up his headphones and pointed at a weedy looking boy with scraggly hair. The boy nodded and pressed down on a portable tape recorder.
‘It’s running,’ said the boy as he placed it into his extremely bulky backpack.
‘Good,’ said Lee. ‘Now you get on your bike and ride around town for a couple of hours. Go to the woods and the beach. That portable transmitter’ll keep them happy while we switch studios.’
Lee watched the boy leave and then turned to the others. The collection of people standing before him were all fairly young, between the ages of 16 and 25. There were six of them and they were all looking a little annoyed.
‘Where’s he off then?’ said a girl with long, curly blonde hair.
‘Little Dave’s got a transmitter in his backpack with a tape player plugged into it. All he’s gotta do is ride around until we connect back up at the new location.’
‘And what if he gets caught?’ asked a tall boy with a hint of a beard on his unshaven face. ‘That big aerial sticking out of his backpack doesn’t give it away or anything.’
‘He won’t get caught,’ said Lee confidently. ‘A mobile transmitter’s much harder to catch than a stationery one, Mike.’
The door opened and Gaz walked in followed by Phil and Caroline. Caroline looked around her and then at the group of people. They all murmured at her and she nodded a greeting to them all.
‘Who’s this?’ asked Lee.
Phil looked a little nervous and moved to stand next to the girl. ‘This is Caroline.’
‘I told you not to bring anyone up here,’ said Lee, his anger beginning to flare up again.
‘She’s my...err....girlfriend!’ said Phil.
Caroline frowned but decided to go along with this. This Lee looked like a bit of a thug and she had no desire to get into any kind of trouble. Best to keep in the background.
‘It’s still not good enough,’ grumbled Lee. ‘Keep outsiders out of our business.’
‘Oh come on Lee, it’s just a bit of fun.’
Lee stepped across the room in two huge strides and brought his face right up to Phil’s. Their noses were almost touching. ‘It’s not just a bit of fun!’ he growled.
‘Lee!’ said Gaz.
Lee turned when he felt Gaz’s hand on his shoulder. He withdrew from Phil and straightened himself up. ‘Just keep this “posh boy” away from me, okay? I’m off down to the van,’ said Lee as he put on his jacket. ‘Get this stuff unplugged and then I’ll meet you downstairs.’
When Lee had exited Caroline noticed the others had begun murmuring their disapproval. Although she couldn’t hear exactly what they were saying, she got the impression they were pretty pissed off with their “station managers” attitude. Never the less she and the others began unplugging the equipment and loading it into boxes.
Eventually everything was packed away. Gaz took a last look around the grubby little room and then switched the light off and locked the door. The others made their way down into the lifts as he slipped the door key under the door.
When they got downstairs the sky had turned a greyish blue and it had begun to drizzle. Lee emerged from the back of his white van and then locked the doors.
‘We need to put the gear in there, Lee,’ said one of the girls.
‘Yeah I know. Just drop it down there and me and Gaz’ll load it up.’
The girl frowned and the group placed the equipment next to the van. ‘Sure you don’t want us to help?’ she asked.
‘No,’ said Lee quickly. ‘I’ll see you later.’
‘Where?’ asked the unshaven boy. ‘You haven’t told us where the new studio is yet?’
‘Meet me outside Little Marsden School in a couple of hours.’
‘What?’ they all said, including Gaz, in unison.
‘You know my uncles the caretaker there? Well he’s got a little room off the main building that’ll keep us hidden for months.’
‘You have got to be joking,’ said Gaz. ‘It’s a school! It’s too dangerous.’
‘It’s not dangerous,’ growled Lee. ‘Now get going. Get yourselves something to eat and we’ll meet up there later.’
The others walked off shaking there heads. All except Caroline, Phil and Gaz.
‘You too, posh boy,’ said Lee, folding his arms. ‘You and your girlfriend.’
‘Well the thing is, Lee-’
‘What?’ moaned Lee as he began to check the equipment, which was collecting drizzle on the boxes.
‘Well, me and Caroline were gonna go out tonight. It’ll be a bit of a rush if we come to the school and-’
‘Alright, alright,’ sighed Lee. ‘Take her out then. Just make sure you’re in tomorrow at twelve. It’s your show, remember?’
‘Yeah I know,’ said Phil. ‘Thanks!’ he added quickly.
Lee watched Caroline and Phil walk off into the distance and then he shook his head and indicated to Gaz to start loading up the stuff into the van.
At the same time Danny was listening from within the back of the van. He knew it was Caroline outside. They knew it was Caroline. The thing inside knew it was Caroline. He smiled, closed his eyes and leant back. ‘Poor little Caroline,’ he said quietly as he waited for Gaz and Lee to unlock the door.