And his personality seemed different. Maybe it’s because he was younger, but he seemed a little more feisty and argumentative. A little more stubborn perhaps.
They were brought out of the story when they heard footsteps. Coming up the centre of the church, looking very solemn, was a man in his late 40’s with wavy black hair and deep, dark eyes. He had his hands in his pocket and wore a simple black suit with a white shirt and black tie.
“Mr Dennington!” said the Doctor, getting up and greeting the man with a warm hug.
“I’m sorry, Doctor,” said Dennington sadly.
“How did it happen?” said the Doctor, suddenly remembering why they were here.
Alice glanced back at the black coffin.
“Like I said before, she was killed in a shuttle accident.”
“Yes, but how?” said the Doctor. Alice could see he was having difficulty grasping Ivy’s death.
“After leaving Theen we’d decided to come back to Mars. Ivy was only staying to keep me company, but then she got herself a job moving the Martian rocks and minerals from here to Earth. She used to fly a transport shuttle. She was on her way back when there was a malfunction and the shuttle exploded.”
“And she was definitely on the shuttle?”
“A full investigation was carried out. Her body was found outside the shuttle, floating in space. It was definitely her.”
The Doctor shook his head and then looked at the coffin. “I’m so sorry, Ivy,” he said, his voice almost a whisper.
“Look,” said Alice, trying to lighten the mood, “why don’t you finish telling me about the first time you met her?”
“Oh,” said Dennington, “Ivy was always quiet on that one.”
“Yes,” said the Doctor, sitting back down next to Alice with Dennington joining them. “I’m afraid the origins of Ivy’s travels with me weren’t exactly happy.”
“It might help the both of you to tell them though,” said Alice with a sad smile.
“Yes,” said the Doctor, nodding. “Where was I?”
“The egg had just cracked open.”
“Ah, yes,” said the Doctor, nodding slowly. “That’s when the trouble really started...”
London, England, 1859
The smoke from the egg had risen to about 7 foot high, and James was pulling on Ivy, urging her to run with the rest of them, but something inside Ivy made her want to continue to watch. The plume of green smoke had expanded and they could no longer see the egg.
“What the bloody hell is it?” said Humphries, coughing and spluttering.
“I’m still not sure without examining it,” said the Doctor. “But whatever it is is growing at an exceptional rate.” The Doctor looked at Ivy and James. “You two need to get out of here. Now!” He turned to Humphries. “You too.”
“But it’s my egg.”
“Oh for goodness sake,” said the Doctor, grabbing Humphries arm and pushing him towards the escaping crowd. “Take your loss and go.”
“Release me, sir!”
Suddenly there came a deep, rumbling growl from somewhere within the smoke. It was now expanding towards them, and the Doctor and Humphries were slowly backing away. It had reached a height of around 15 foot now and they could see a blurred shadow moving somewhere in the swirling mass.
“RUN!” said the Doctor.
The four of them scattered. Ivy, somehow, ended up following the Doctor after she was separated from James amongst the panicked crowd. Humphries had ended up running with James.
The Doctor instinctively grabbed for Ivy’s hand and she felt herself being pulled faster and faster than her legs could take her.
“Wait!” she said, eventually pulling free and bending over, gasping for air.
“We have to go,” said the Doctor, reaching out his arm again. His eyes then flashed back up the way they had come. The plume of smoke was now around 50 foot high and had consumed most of the stalls at the centre of the fair. “This is bad.”
“Can you stop it?” said Ivy. She wasn’t sure why she was asking, but she had a feeling that if anyone was to sort this out then it was this mysterious Doctor.
“I don’t even know what it is,” he replied, his eyes darting left to right as he toyed between getting away and staying to find out what was going to happen. This wasn’t fear, thought Ivy, this was genuine concern.
“Well, should we run or not?” Running. Running! Ivy’s mind suddenly turned to her fiancé. “Wait a minute. What about James?”
“I saw him running the other way with Humphries. He’ll be fine.”
Ivy felt the panic rising in her chest. Her heart was beating faster and faster. She couldn’t lose him. She couldn’t. Without thinking she bolted from the Doctor’s side, hoisted her dress up and ran towards the pillar of smoke.
“Ivy, wait!” she heard the Doctor calling.
She didn’t care. James had gone the other way, towards the river. She had to get to him. Before she knew it she was up close to the smoke. It was like a thick fog. She pulled out a handkerchief and coughed as she covered her mouth. And then she started to regret what she had done. She was lost amongst the smoke and couldn’t tell where she was going.
It was then that she spotted a large shape looming above her. She couldn’t quite make out what it was, but it was over 50 feet high. And it smelt. It smelt of rotten eggs and sick.
“Ivy…” came the Doctor’s distant voice from somewhere outside the smoke.
From somewhere up above there came a low, rumbling growl. She saw something black swaying about up above. And then she saw the thing lower it’s head. She still couldn’t work out what it looked like, but she spotted two burning bright-red eyes set either side of what she assumed was it’s head.
She was frozen to the spot as the creature’s head lowered further down towards her.
And then she felt the grip of a hand around her slender arm. It tightened around her and she turned to face her rescuer.
“Run! NOW!” said the Doctor.
She didn’t need to be told twice. She ran. Actually, she felt more like she was being dragged along than anything. She could hear thundering footsteps behind them as they made their way out of the smoke.
Once they were clear of it she realised they were at the river bank. She immediately started scanning the area for James, but he was no where to be seen.
“Get back!” shouted the Doctor.
She turned and stumbled on the muddy riverbank. When she looked up she wanted to scream, but the scream wouldn’t come out.
The creature had emerged from the smoke. It was like some kind of dinosaur that she had seen at the museum and in the children’s picture books. It’s head was huge with a row of jagged, yellow teeth. Along the top of it’s head was a ridge of horns and either side of it’s head was two bright red eyes.
The body was quite large and it walked upright on two legs. It’s arms looked big and powerful and it’s tail was long with a spiked end to it.
The Doctor was standing over Ivy pointing his strange device at the creature.
“It’s a Hoopex.”
“A Hoopex. At least one of their race. I met one of them back in my second incarnation way back,” he babbled. “That one was the more intelligent, Humanoid kind. This is kind of like the bigger, dumber version. The wild pet.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said Ivy, finally finding her voice again.
“It’s an alien,” said the Doctor. “From outer space,” he added quickly in case Ivy didn’t understand.
“Normally,” she said, getting to her feet, “I’d not believe such a lot of old rubbish, but there it is, standing in front of me.”
The Hoopex roared at them and Ivy caught a whiff of the rotten eggs and sick again.
“Ivy!” yelled James’s voice from back along the mud bank. “Ivy!”
“Stay back!” yelled the Doctor as the Hoopex’s head turned to look at the terrified man. “Don’t come any closer, you fool.”
But it was too late. The Hoopex was already running and clomping along the mud bank towards Ivy’s fiancé. Ivy would have laughed at the site if it hadn’t been so terrifying. James running as fast as he could and the dumb looking creature clomping after him.
“No!” yelled the Doctor. “No! No! No!” his said, waving his device around and trying to get it’s attention. “Stupid creature!” he yelled.
It was almost on top of James. He slipped on the wet mud and landed face-first. He tried to struggle to his feet, but just slipped and slid on it, his eyes clogged with thick, brown mud. He found himself wading through the mud like it was some kind of muddy swimming pool.
The creature was right behind him, it’s head - and mouth - baring down on him.
He cleared his eyes with his fingers and glanced back. But he wasn’t looked at the creature. He was looking directly at Ivy.
“No,” Ivy mouthed silently.
“I love you,” he said, tears in his eyes.
“NO!” screamed the Doctor as the Hoopex’s head came crashing down on James, it’s mouth open.
Ivy closed her eyes as she heard James’s screams above the roar of the creature. When she finally dared to open them, the Hoopex was standing with it’s back to them and James was gone.
“Don’t look,” said the Doctor, as he returned to her and helped her up out of the mud.
Ivy didn’t know what to say. She was in shock. She simply stood there, shaking whilst the Doctor turned her away from the nightmare she had just witnessed.
“Stay there,” said the Doctor. “I’ll deal with this.”
Ivy didn’t say anything. She stood there, looking out of the dark water of the Thames, shivering in the cold. The Doctor had put his white jacket over her, but even that hadn’t warmed her up. She wasn’t sure what he was doing, but all she heard was the Doctor walking away…somewhere, calling the monster to follow him.
She could hear it clomping away until she no longer heard the footsteps. She dared to turn around and face the spot where James had been…killed. Something told her not to look. She didn’t want to believe it to be true.
But she turned anyway, half hoping to see him still lying there, hoping that the monster hadn’t taken him from her.
But he wasn’t there. Only his desperate, wet footprints where he had tried to scramble away. The footprints of the shoes she had bought him for his last birthday.
It was too much for her and she exploded in grief, dropping to the mud bank and howling into the night air.
It was some time later that the Doctor returned to her. She was curled up in the mud feeling numb to everything around her. The Doctor’s white jacket was covered in brown, dirty mud, but she couldn’t say anything to him. No words would come out.
He knelt down beside her and touched the side of her face.
She flinched. It wasn’t the way James used to touch her.
“I led the Hoopex away,” said the Doctor. “Set up a trans-dimensional portal beside the TARDIS…” She wasn’t listening. “…it walked right into it. Should have been transported somewhere on the other side of the galaxy…”
She didn’t reply. She couldn’t reply. She didn’t understand his strange words.
She felt herself being picked up by strong arms. The Doctor’s arms. She looked up at him as he carried her up the bank and back towards the deserted fairground. She glanced back at the place James had been taken and began to cry again.
But the Doctor didn’t stop. He looked down at her with big, sad eyes. “It’s alright,” said the Doctor. “I’ll take you home.”
The next few days remained a blur. She remembered crying a lot. She remembered James’s family crying a lot. She remembered half-cooked explanations for what had happened. A fairground trick gone wrong. In normal circumstances feuding families would have come together, but not the Gilbert’s. They already blamed her for taking their son away, and now he was dead.
She left the Coldstone family slum and found herself living out in the streets. She wasn’t sure why she had left her family. It was the Gilbert’s that had blamed her, not her own family. But she didn’t care. She needed to get away from anything that reminded her of James. It was too painful.
But somewhere, at the back of her mind, there was something else.
She found herself back at the site of the fairground. It was gone now and there was nothing but the hollow emptiness of the place. She looked out over the cold, uninviting Thames and shivered. There was a reason she was here.
She was looking for the Doctor.
He had left her back at the Coldstone’s house, made his excuses and left. But she wanted to see him. She didn’t blame him for anything. She wanted to thank him for helping her. Even though she wasn’t aware of it at the time, she knew that he had helped her. If it wasn’t for him, she would have died as well.
Maybe I should have died.
And she wanted answers. And she wanted revenge. Not on the Doctor, of course, but on the creature that had done this.
And she knew that she wouldn’t stop until she found the Doctor again.
Next Time: One year later, the Doctor and Ivy reunite once again as he introduces her to the TARDIS. Coming Saturday 19th April 2014.