He was making his way past the barn and it was then that he spotted the small mound of earth and the scuffle marks in the soil around it.
He knelt down beside the earth and examined it. There looked to have been some sign of a struggle all around, with what looked like something being dragged away.
And then he heard the sound. It was some kind of cry.
And then he heard it again.
The Doctor could hear the muffled cry from somewhere on the other side of the barn. He stood up from the patch of earth he had been investigating and called out, “Alice!”
There came no reply.
“Alice! Is that you?” he called again.
Grumbling to himself he put his sonic screwdriver back in his pocket and gripped his cane tightly, slowly making his way around the side of the barn and to the small stone wall with the field beyond.
The Doctor could see something crouched down in the tall grass beyond the wall.
“Alice,” he said, “is that you?”
Whoever it was froze.
And then stood up.
It was Alice, her back to the Doctor. The Doctor’s eyes slowly looked down to her arms held oddly at either side. They were dripping with blood.
Slowly Alice turned around until she was looking directly at the Doctor, her eyes ablaze with hatred and blood dripping from her mouth.
“What on Earth-?”
His eyes then caught a glimpse of what she had been crouched over. It was the body of a man, covered in blood.
The blood Alice now had on her hands, arms and around her mouth.
“Stay back, Doctor,” growled Alice.
“You’re not Alice, are you?” he said, edging a little towards her.
“I said stay back!” she snapped.
“Take it easy,” said the Doctor, holding his hands out. “Are you one of the Retarans?”
Alice’s eyes narrowed.
The Doctor went into his blazer pocket and pulled out the cracked device.
Alice flinched and stumbled backwards slightly.
“You recognise this, don’t you?”
“They put us in that,” she said, with all the hatred she could muster. “They trapped us like animals.”
“You were destroying their people,” said the Doctor. His eyes flicked down to Barry’s body. “Why did you kill Barry?”
Alice hissed at him. She was becoming more and more like a monster.
“Where is the real Alice, because I’m assuming you’re just the Reteran taking on her form. Her reflection.”
“Alice is safely hidden away for now.”
“I need you to let her and the other villagers go.”
“No,” she said, blankly. “They are our food.”
“I can’t let you do that. I can’t let you kill them.”
“You can’t stop us.”
And with that she ran at the Doctor, knocked him flying, and skipped past him, heading back towards the village.
The Doctor managed to keep a hold of the egg-device as he fell to the ground and hit his head on a rock. For a moment he was disoriented, and then he found the will-power to come back to his senses. He looked up, but Alice had already gotten past the barn and was making her way down the roads towards the village centre.
“…Doctor…” came a voice from near him.
It was Barry. Amazingly, he was still alive. Most of the blood on him was from the gaping wound in his shoulder as well as his nose which was streaming with blood.
“Barry, thank goodness. I thought you were dead.”
“…very….nearly…” he groaned.
The Doctor helped him to sit up, pulled a bottle of water from his blazer pocket and then sat beside the battered man, gazing at the sun which was getting higher and higher.
“I didn’t know…” said Barry, trying to clean up his nose.
“How’s the shoulder?” said the Doctor.
Barry looked down at it and winced. “Not too bad. Just a surface injury.”
“Here,” said the Doctor, handing him a handkerchief. “Keep it covered with this. We’ll get back to yours and patch you up.”
“We need to get out of here,” said Barry, trying to struggle to his feet. “She’s unhinged.”
“She’s my friend,” said the Doctor, “and I need to help her.”
“But she’s insane!”
“She’s been copied from the original Alice.”
“You’re gonna have to be careful,” said Barry, as the Doctor got up to join him, “she’s got all of her memories.”
“Which means my Alice must be alive. She’ll have to keep her alive to maintain the psychic link.”
“And the other villagers?”
“I don’t know, but, my dear Barry, I think I already may have found a way out of this. Come on!”
Alice had returned to the pub and was frantically trying to assemble the broken pieces of the mirror back into the frame against the hardboard. She was crying and had cut her hands on the jagged edges, blood dripping from her palms and fingers.
“Help me,” she pleaded. “Help me. Help me!”
After realising that there was no chance of repairing the mirror, she stood up, looked at the ceiling and screamed. Then she knelt down on the broken glass, her head in her hands.
In the reflected world of Owensby, Alice thought she heard a cry from somewhere. Somewhere outside of this particular world.
Wright put his hand on her shoulder. “You okay, Miss?”
She turned and looked at him, looking confused for a moment before realising that Wright was looking at her with concern. “Oh, yeah,” she smiled. “I’m fine.”
Then they heard Tommy scream.
He came running from one of the outer corridors and flung his arms around his mother.
“What is it, love?” asked Mrs Poppywell, crouching beside the young lad who had buried his face amongst the folds of his mothers skirt.
“It was the monster,” said Tommy. “The monster’s coming to get us.”
And then they heard the footsteps. They started off faint, but gradually grew louder and louder the closer they got.
“Everybody behind us,” said Wright, motioning for the rest of the other UNIT soldiers to gather in front of the villagers.
They watched intently as the footsteps stopped on the other side of the door.
The door handle began to turn, creaking slightly, showing it’s age. And then the door swung open.
A tall, seven-foot shimmering and glittering figure stepped through the door, causing the people around Alice to gasp.
Tommy dared a glance, and then returned his face to it’s original position, in the relative safety of his mother’s skirt.
The shimmering figure stepped towards them.
Wright raised his rifle and aimed at the figure. “Don’t come any further, mate.”
The shimmering figure held out the palm of it’s hand. “Please,” it said in a silky, slightly monotone voice, “do not shoot.”
“What the hell’s going on here?” said Wright, refusing to lower his weapon.
The figure stood for a moment, and then lowered it’s head. “I need your help.”
The Doctor and Barry stumbled into the pub and saw Alice curled up in a foetal position on top of the mirror. She was still sobbing, but her eyes were blank as they stared at nothing in particular.
The Doctor motioned for Barry to stay back and made his way over to his disturbed companion. He crouched down beside her.
“Be careful, Doctor,” said Barry.
“Alice,” said the Doctor quietly. “Alice, are you ok?”
Her eyes flicked up to him.
“We’ve established that you’re not my Alice,” he said, “so let’s dispense with the false names.”
“What do you want to know?” she said slowly.
“Tell me your real name.”
She looked at him and then slowly, and groggily, sat herself up. He helped her to her feet and escorted her to a bar stool.
“My name is Leetha.”
“Leetha,” said the Doctor, repeating the name a few times to help him get used to the word. “Do you want to tell me exactly what’s going on here, Leetha?”
She screwed her eyes shut to stop herself from crying. “It’s all gone wrong.”
“We were the last survivors of my race - the Retarans. We fought in a war against the Wracxos.”
“Yes I know all of that,” said the Doctor.
“You don’t know the whole truth,” said Leetha. “My people didn’t start the war. The Wracxos did.”
The Doctor frowned and pulled up a stool to sit down opposite Leetha.
“We exist between worlds. In other dimensions. We lived peaceful lives until a Wracxos scientist blew a hole into our world. I don‘t know what happened, but we began to die. It was as if the life force was drained form us. We died in our thousands.”
“But you killed their people.”
“Only because we had to. We had to consume the people to live. It was the only way to survive.”
“That still doesn’t make it right.”
“No,” said Leetha, shaking her head, “but the more we killed, the less we remembered of our true nature. We began to absorb the hated of the Wracxos. We became monsters. Myself and Zeeshan were the only survivors. And we were the strongest. But they trapped us. Extracted us from our world and blasted us into space, far away from the heart of our dimensions.”
“And then you crashed here, on Earth?”
“We dragged ourselves across the land and to the nearest mirror.”
“I don’t get the mirror thing,” said a bemused Barry from the other side of the pub.
“The mirrors act as windows into our dimension. Or rather a similar dimension. Imagine two panes of glass, and our world between them.”
“But you said you were far from your dimension.”
“We can shape and mould new dimensions,” said Leetha. She took a tissue from her pocket and began to dab at the blood on her hands. “Our new world was a reflection of this world. Each mirror a portal into that world.”
“How did you know that there’d be a but?”
“Because something else has gone wrong, hasn’t it?” said the Doctor, leaning back in the chair.
Leetha nodded. “This place is so small, and we are so weak. We can’t move from here. We took all of the villagers to try and consume and build our power, but myself and Zeeshan realised that no matter who we killed - no matter whom we consumed - we’d still be trapped here.”
“So they’re all still alive?” said the Doctor. “The villagers?”
Leetha nodded again. “I came out to find a way for us to escape this village, but I lost my way. I took on too much of Alice Stokes. I had the emotions of her, the Wraxcos and myself running through my head.”
“And you lost control?”
“And now you’ve smashed all the mirrors,” said Leetha, glaring at Barry. “You’ve cut myself and everything on that side of from me.”
“You smashed that one,” said Barry, pointing at the mirror on the floor.
The Doctor sighed and rubbed his forehead. He was developing a headache. “There’s a really simple answer to all of this, Leetha, but you’ve been so consumed with hate that you haven’t even tried asking for my help.”
“I’m asking now.”
“Good,” said the Doctor. “And once I’ve rescued all of the villagers and Alice and the UNIT soldiers from your dimension, we can discuss what to do with you and Zeeshan.”
The Doctor emerged from the TARDIS with a very large, very heavy looking object, covered in a cloth.
“Need a hand?” said Barry, rushing to the Doctor’s aid.
“Rest your shoulder,” said the Doctor.
Barry instinctively touched his bandaged wound. They’d patched it up back at the pub pretty well, but he kept forgetting it was injured.
“Leetha!” said the Doctor.
Leetha was there in an instant helping the Doctor to drag the object down the road. “Where are we taking it?”
“To the Town Hall. Hopefully the rest of them are in the mirror version of the Town Hall.”
They carried the object up the steps to the Town Hall and through the main doors that led to the entrance hall. Leetha struggled once or twice. She was growing weak, and that worried the Doctor. She needed to feed.
Eventually they settled the object in front of the grand fireplace and then removed the cloth from over it. It was a huge mirror, coated with a thin layer of dust. The Doctor blew off the dust and wiped the rest away with a handkerchief and then stood back.
“I got this from Henry VIII. Do you think you can use it?” said the Doctor.
Leetha slowly walked over to the mirror and placed her hand on it, as if feeling for something. “I think so, but I’m weaker.”
The Doctor nodded and then crossed over to Barry. He leaned in and quietly spoke to the bespectacled man. “We need to get her through urgently.”
“But she’s calmed down now.”
“But she won’t for long. She needs to feed, and, as with all beings, that desire to feed will soon take over.”
“And we’ll be on her menu?”
“We’d be the starter and the rest of the villagers the main course.”
The Doctor and Barry watched on as slowly Leetha’s fingers became like crystal, shimmering and sparkling with light. She pressed against the glass and slowly pushed her hand inside the mirror. She smiled and turned to the Doctor.
“Are you coming?”
The Doctor stepped forward, but Barry put a hand on his arm. “Are you sure about this?”
“Barry,” said the Doctor, “if I’m not out of there in 10 minutes, then get out of this village.”
Barry was about to protest, but the Doctor gave him a look which suggested he better not.
The Doctor crossed over to Leetha and she took his hand. Slowly Leetha pushed her way through the mirror, the Doctor following on behind her.
For a moment there was only light. The world around him shimmered and changed. It felt painful with little pinpricks of tingling all over his body, and for a second he felt both of his hearts stop.
And then he saw the woman. He wasn’t sure if she was really there or just in his head, but he recognised her. He had seen her before, just for a fleeting moment, back in Thornsby, just before he shut down the Apparites dimension. He had stumbled and fallen and she had appeared, pointing to a branch to help him to get up. And then she had vanished.
And now she was standing there again, her greying-blonde hair tied back and her deep-lined face flustered.
The Doctor could hardly make out what she was saying.
“Where are they, Doctor?” she shouted over the maelstrom of the void between both worlds. “Where are they?”
“Where are what?” shouted the Doctor.
She looked around her nervously. “When he comes for you, let him help you.”
But it was too late. Small, black, impish creatures suddenly appeared and scuttled over the old woman. She screamed as she slowly disappeared, along with the imps.
And then everything cleared and the Doctor was standing there, with Leetha, surrounded by the villagers…and Alice!
Instinctively the Doctor looked at Leetha. She no longer looked like Alice. She now looked like a figure made of shimmering diamonds and glitter.
“Doctor!” said Alice, running over and hugging him.
“Good to see you, Alice,” smiled the Doctor, his encounter with the old woman slowly being filed away at the back of his memory. He couldn’t deal with that now.
“Zeeshan,” said Leetha, noticing her companion standing behind the crowd of villagers.
“Something’s not right with him,” said Alice, as the Doctor and Leetha pushed past the villagers to the second shimmering figure. “He asked for our help and then started going funny.”
Zeeshan was now tinged with a light red colour.
Although Leetha didn’t really have any facial features, the Doctor gathered that she was pretty worried.
“You all need to leave. Now,” she said solemnly.
“But what about you two?” said the Doctor. “There must be some way to help you.”
“No,” said Leetha. “Zeeshan has entered the hunger phase.” She reached out a diamond hand and touched the side of his face. He flinched and backed away. “If you don’t leave, he will consume all of you, and I’m close to doing the same.”
“But there’s got to be a way,” said the Doctor. “I can’t just let you die. You’re the last of your kind.”
Zeeshan raised his head, his eyes glowing a bright red. “I will eat you all.”
The villagers all murmured, worried for their lives and began backing up towards the fireplace mirror which still hung on the wall, unbroken.
“Get out!” said Leetha.
Now Zeeshan was beginning to turn a dark red.
“No, Leetha,” said the Doctor. “I will stay and help you.”
“There is no way,” said Leetha. “Get out, smash the mirror, and I will destroy this world.”
“Doctor, we’ve got to go,” said Alice, as the UNIT soldiers began shepherding the villagers to the fireplace.
“No. Not like this.”
Leetha held up a finger to the Doctor’s lips and then crossed to Alice. She placed her hands either side of Alice’s face and looked into her eyes. “I saw your memories,” she said.
“I know. I felt you rummaging around in there.”
“I was linked to you,” said Leetha. “I took something of you, now you take something of me.”
Alice suddenly looked as though someone had thrown a bucket of ice cold water over her. She shivered and staggered backwards. The Doctor caught her before she fell.
The Doctor was about to say something when Zeeshan launched himself at them. Leetha stood in the way and he collided with her, the pair of them clattering to the ground.
“GO!!” yelled Leetha.
The Doctor grabbed the still-astonished Alice and dragged her to the mirror. The last of the UNIT soldiers helped them up onto the fireplace and then through the mirror.
“NO!” yelled Zeeshan. “You have doomed our race.”
“No,” said Leetha, calmly. “It lives on. It will always live on.”
Leetha and Zeeshan glowed bright red as their bodies merged together, Leetha drawing her companion in.
Back on the other side of the mirror, the Doctor had picked up a chair and lifted it over his shoulder. He hesitated for a moment, said, “Sorry, Henry,” and then brought the chair crashing down onto the mirror.
The surface of the glass cracked. Red light began to filter through the cracks.
Alice got to her feet and booted the mirror. A few pieces fell away.
And then the rest of the villagers joined in, each of them kicking and smashing at the mirror. There was a burst of red light from the frame just as the final pieces fell from the back board.
And then all was silent.
UNIT had been recalled to Owensby and Colonel Jefferson had taken control of the situation. The Doctor had assured everybody that the mirror world had gone and that things should return to normal from now on.
Alice was standing by a lamp post, watching the soldiers milling from house to house when Barry walked over to her.
“What are your plans now, Baz?” said Alice.
He smiled. “I think I’ve had enough of small Northern villages,” he said. “Perhaps it’s time to head out to the city.”
“You could come with us,” said Alice. “There’s a whole universe out there to explore.”
“I think Owensby’s finished me off,” chuckled Barry.
“Leetha told me the story about Graham. When she was pretending to be you, that is.”
Alice nodded slowly. “I know. I thought a lot about Graham in that mirror world. It must have been her accessing the memories.”
He smiled sadly. “Are you okay?”
“Course I am,” she smiled. “It’s part of life. It’s part of living and growing up and learning. We all make mistakes.”
“If you ever need a friend,” said Barry, “then you know where I am.”
Alice smiled and then gave him a kiss on the cheek. “See you later, Barry.”
Barry watched as Alice walked back to the blue police box. When she got there, the Doctor gave Barry a little wave and Alice followed him into the box. She turned and gave him one last look, smiled, and then went inside the box.
A few seconds later the air was ripped apart with a grating of machinery and engines, and slowly the blue box disappeared.
Barry smiled and then turned to head back towards the Town Hall. He was going to help with the clear up and then finally get out of here.
In the TARDIS Alice was smiling as she relaxed on the sofa.
“Are you okay?” said the Doctor.
“I am,” she said.
“What did Leetha do to you?” he asked, glancing up from the console.
“She gave me her memories,” she said, smiling. “They’re all fragmented, but they’re in there somewhere. In someway, no matter how bad they were, I feel sorry for them.”
“Their race made mistakes, but we can remember them through you.”
Alice got up from the sofa. “I am absolutely bloody knackered. I’m off to bed.”
“Goodnight Doctor.” She turned to leave and then stopped. “Where are we going now anyway?”
“Anywhere you want,” smiled the Doctor.
“How about home?”
“Oh,” said the Doctor, dejected.
“Not for good. I just want to pack up a few more things, have a cup of tea, give my sisters a call. And then we can go off again.”
The Doctor nodded. “Home it is.”
Twenty minutes later and Alice was sat on a chair in front of her mirror in her room in the TARDIS. She was brushing her hair when suddenly she froze. She stayed that way for a few seconds.
And then she began to recite her seven times table, her eyes still and fixed on her reflection.
And the face smiled again…
Next time: The Doctor takes Alice back to her home in Little Pebbleford where Alice meets a stranger, and the Doctor receives some upsetting news. "Home" is a one-part story coming Saturday March 29th 2014.