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'Merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.'
The Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan
From the journal of Mrs Mina Harker
I saw her, silhouetted in the moonlight, standing on the cliffs' edge, beckoning the Doctor. He was walking slowly, almost drunkenly in her direction. It reminded me of that one time I had caught Jonathan sleep-walking. Then I realised that this was the same place that Sir Rupert had met his end.
I ran forward, now with renewed vigour, but my footing betrayed me and I sprawled across the damp grass. I glanced up, my arms reaching out in a feeble attempt to reach my friend.
'No!' I screamed.
The Doctor did not hear me. I could only watch as he stepped over the edge and disappeared from my sight.
* * *
From the letters of Inspector Thomas Lovegrove to his sister
Once the soldiers had vanished, assuming they were ever there at all and not a figment of my imagination spurred on by the Doctor's ravings and the colonel's sherry, I helped Colonel Ashforth back to his chair. He was clearly more distressed by the whole business than I was, his skin being so pale as to be almost white and his whole body shook. No longer was he the veteran of two major wars. There was not enough spirit left in the man to stand up to a kitten.
I rooted about in his cabinets until I found the brandy. Then I poured us both very large glasses.
'Who were they?' I asked after I had taken a gulp.
The colonel stared fixedly forward and did not answer.
'You said "Tommy" earlier on,' I persisted. 'Did you recognise them.'
'Tommy? Yes, yes Tommy Brewster,' he said. He did not turn to look at me. It was as if he were addressing the empty air. Or maybe he was addressing his ghosts. 'We fought together in the war, you see.'
I nodded, then realised that he could not see me so I prompted him to continue instead.
'Don't you see, man,' the colonel said, 'they were my old unit. All dead, every one. And now they've come back to claim me because I lived while they died!'
* * *
From the journal of Mrs Mina Harker
Dawn broke so slowly that the change was not really noticeable. At one point it was night. At another, morning. When the one became the other remained a mystery. There was mist in the air this morning and I could only make out the pier and the lighthouse as vague shadows in the distance.
A seagull settled itself on the sand beside me. He wriggled about trying to get comfortable and flapped his wings pompously. I wished I had some food for him, but my own stomach was growling in sympathy. I would have to start for the town soon, anyway, to fetch help.
'How long have I been asleep?'
I turned as soon as I heard that soft lilting voice of his. The Doctor stood in the doorway of the hut. He was smiling, but he was leaning on the doorjamb, still unsteady on his feet. His cravat was untied and his shirt collar open. His green jacket was draped over one arm.
Before I realised what I was doing I was on my feet, embracing him. Slowly, I released him. I must compose myself, I thought, I was acting like a lovesick girl. I was reminded of Constance's dreamy eyes in the church.
'You've been unconscious all night,' I told him. 'When you fell and struck your head on the rocks I didn't know what to do. It was too dark for me to find my way to town on my own. I was going to go this morning, but '
'But I'm all right now.' He took a few steps forward, then stopped and put his hand to his head. 'Hmm, maybe all right is a bit strong. I'm still a bit woozy.' He turned to the seagull. 'Mind if I join you, old chap.' Then he settled himself down on the sand.
After a moment, I sat down next to him. We sat in silence, watching the waves roll up on the beach. It was calming. There was so much I wanted to ask him about last night, but when I turned and opened my mouth he put a finger to my lips. I understood. There would be plenty of time today to solve our problems, but little enough time to rest. This brief moment of tranquillity should be treasured.
'Who's your friend?' he asked after a while. I followed the line of his finger. The old woman was walking slowly up the beach towards her hut. Her arms were full of the driftwood she had been collecting for the fire.
Without waiting for an answer, the Doctor sprang to his feet and hurried over to help her with her burden. By the time the two of them reached the hut they were chatting to each other as if they were old friends.
I knew very little about the old woman. I had met her for the first time the night before. She had been the first to find the Doctor's body. When I had seen her crouched over him as I scrambled down to the beach, I had at first assumed the worst, but she had quickly set my fears to rest and we had both carried him into the hut and set him down upon the bed. I had wanted to head straight into town that night to get help, but she had advised against it. With hindsight, she had been right. In the dark I would easily have become lost amid the unfamiliar terrain and would have been of no use to anybody carried away by the tide.
She had some soup warming over a fire, a thin broth though it seemed to contain some meat, probably fish. It had little flavour, but I was grateful for whatever she could spare me. The old woman took up watch over the Doctor's sleeping form, like a mother watching over her baby, while I drifted into a fitful sleep. When I awoke, she had been absent.
I followed the two companions into the hut and watched as the Doctor lit a fire to keep away the chill. The smoke drifted away through a hole in the roof.
'This charming young woman,' he said to me, 'has been telling me a ghost story. Perhaps you would care to share it with my friend Mina, madam?'
I sat on a stool by the fire and listened to the woman's tale. She told of a ship, The Demeter sailing back from the cost of Finland. Her captain was a hard and miserly man. He knew he had to sail that night or lose the handsome bonus he was being paid for prompt delivery of his cargo, so despite the weather and the protests of his crew, The Demeter took to the sea on that cold February evening. The sky was a deep grey, mottled by blue-white flashes of lightning, the sea was an inky black. The rain lashed down on the deck and the wind howled its curse upon the captain and his loyal crew. But still they sailed on.
In spite of the rain, the captain's daughter, a beautiful young girl named Miranda, insisted on staying above deck. Miranda had the features of an angel and a heart full of kindness to match. It was only her influence that tempered some of her father's darker excesses. She always travelled on her father's voyages since her mother had died when she was very young and there was only the captain to look after her. But there was a man in England, a tailor's apprentice by the name of Chadwick. He had meant the girl when she had come ashore at their last port and in their short time together they had professed their love. He had sworn to marry her when she returned to England and free her from the tyranny of her cruel and heartless father.
The Demeter never returned, not in one piece at least. The storm had apparently been too much for the ship's crew and in the battle of man against nature, nature had inevitably triumphed. The ship had been thrown upon the rocks not far from here. It is said the Miranda was still standing at the prow as the ship struck, her arms open wide to embrace her destiny.
Bells were heard out at sea for days afterward, mourning The Demeter's passing. Young Chadwick heard these bells and hurried from his place of work to learn what had become of his love. When he discovered that she had been lost at sea, despair took him and he hurled himself from the cliffs so that he might join his love in the final embrace of death.
'And some nights, when the moon is full,' the old woman continued, 'you can see the two of them strolling up the beach arm in arm. But they won't notice you, mind. Those two only have eyes for each other.'
'You see,' the Doctor pronounced, 'there have been ghost sightings here for who knows how long. I think the abbey acts as a focus for them.'
'Doctor,' I cautioned, 'these are just stories.'
'No,' he said firmly. 'We've both seen them, Mina. You can't deny the evidence of your own eyes.'
'It was dark, there was a storm,' I began. 'Perhaps the lightning played tricks on our eyes?'
'Perhaps,' the Doctor admitted, though I could tell he was not conceding the issue, 'but you and I both know that there's more to the world than conventional wisdom would have you believe. This planet stands on the verge of great scientific enlightenment, but at the expense of its spiritual heart. Religion becomes replaced by Rationalism. But that's not the whole answer, is it? You've seen it, haven't you Mina? The hidden secret that lurks just beyond the bounds of reason. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Why do you think Shakespeare wrote that, hmm? Because it's a nice dramatic line for a play? Undoubtedly. But also because he had a glimpse of the true wonder of the universe. There really are more wonders out there than any of us can guess at so why be so quick to dismiss this one? To steal from the bard, there's magic in the web of it. Can someone who has seen what you've seen really turn a blind eye?'
I listened to the Doctor's words with one ear, but part of my mind turned inward, back to the patterns of memory. On one level, the Doctor's speech was about what had occurred last night, but on another it touched on the events of ten years ago. He was right, I had seen things both strange and wondrous, things science could not explain. Yes, I did know such things were real, however much I might want to deny my recollections.
'I suppose you will want to visit the abbey again,' I said.
'No, not the abbey,' the old woman interrupted.
'Not the abbey?' the Doctor asked. 'Then where?'
'There are caves in the cliffs beneath it,' she continued. 'That's where I've seen Miranda and her lover late at night.'
'Well, Mina,' the Doctor said to me, 'are you up for a spot of pot-holing?'
* * *
I never actually entered the caves. Nor did the Doctor then. That came later.
They were two dark gashes in the rock, like giant nostrils. It was impossible to see how deep into the earth they went, they swallowed light so effectively. There was something eerie about them. The caves were located in a sheltered cove so that even the air about us was still.
'Wait here,' the Doctor said. He would not have needed to say it. I had no intention of going any closer than I had to. Cautiously, he crept forward.
I said that the cove was sheltered, but a wind was picking up from somewhere. There was a tension in the air, the sort one feels just prior to a storm. And there she was, the girl from the abbey, beckoning the Doctor as before.
He took a couple of halting steps forward. Then he stopped.
'No,' he snarled through gritted teeth, 'I deny you. You are not real. You are a figment of my imagination. A creature given form by this place. You. Do. Not. Exist!'
By this point the Doctor was hunched over, his palms against his temples, his voice cracked and breaking. For a moment I thought it would all prove too much for him, but then the spirit, or whatever it was, faded into nothingness.
The Doctor staggered over to a rock pool and began splashing water on to his face. He shook out his mane of hair like a dog. He continued staring at his reflection in the water, but gesticulated at me with his index finger.
'I never want to go through that again,' he said. 'At least now we know where the phenomenon is centred. That means there's a chance we can do something about it.'
'Who was she, Doctor?' He did not answer so I asked again. 'Who was that girl?'
He turned and caught me in that piercing gaze of his. 'What is wrong with your neck?' he asked.
I was taken aback. I started to wave my hands in front of me as if to ward him off and I began to babble incoherently, searching for a way to dodge the question.
The Doctor simply smiled that winning smile of his.
'We both have our secrets,' he said. 'Let's agree not to pry, shall we?'
I nodded gratefully.
'Where to now?' I asked.
'Back to town,' the Doctor said. 'I think Colonel Ashforth may be able to help us with our problem.'
* * *
From the letters of Inspector Thomas Lovegrove to his sister
I rose early and set off at once to see Colonel Ashforth. He had seemed to be in much better spirits when I left him the night before, but I was concerned. I remembered how weak he had seemed after seeing Tommy Brewster's ghost. Besides which, his housekeeper had promised me kippers for breakfast.
I had barely sat down at the table when there was a knock at the door. The housekeeper answered it and then came through to us.
'Begging your pardon, sirs,' she said, 'but there's a gentleman and a lady here to see you. I said that you were unavailable on account of dining, but the gentleman was most insistent.'
'Indeed I was,' the Doctor announced, coming through the door behind the housekeeper.
'Thank you, that will be all,' Colonel Ashforth dismissed her.
'Ah, Inspector Lovegrove,' what a pleasure to see you again.' The Doctor shook me vigorously by the hand. 'I don't believe you've met my friend. Mrs Mina Harker, this is Inspector Thomas Lovegrove and Colonel Charles Ashforth.'
'Charmed,' the colonel said, rising so that he might kiss her hand.
Mrs Harker is a handsome woman, petite with skin the colour of porcelain. Her hair is black and neatly gathered in a bun. The Doctor wanted to speak to Colonel Ashforth so I spent the time making small talk with Mrs Harker, while judiciously eavesdropping on the other conversation. Mrs Harker is a schoolmistress in London so our conversation naturally gravitated towards Simon's education.
The Doctor, meanwhile, was asking the colonel if he still had any friends in the military.
'Well, I have one or two that still owe me a favour,' the colonel admitted. 'Look what is this about, man. I'm feeling decidedly unwell on account of the disturbances last night and would be grateful if you would get to the point.'
'What disturbances?' the Doctor asked.
'We were visited by the spirits of my old regiment,' the colonel admitted.
'So you've seen them to?' the Doctor said. 'You've seen the ghosts.'
'There are no ghosts,' I insisted.
'But you and the colonel ' the Doctor began.
'Shared a hallucination no doubt brought on by the alcohol we had consumed earlier in the evening.'
'You know, it's true what they say,' the Doctor said to me.
'What is?' I asked.
'Denial isn't just a river in Egypt.'
'The point, Doctor,' the colonel snapped.
'The point. Yes, of course,' the Doctor drummed his fingers on the tabletop. 'The point is that I need a rather large quantity of explosives rather quickly.'
'Yes,' the Doctor confessed. 'I rather want to blow up some caves.'
'I know that I am going to regret this, Doctor,' the colonel said, 'but why do you want to blow up some caves?'
'Mina and I have traced the ghosts there,' the Doctor explained.
'But I thought that the ghosts if there are such things were centred on the abbey?' I said.
The Doctor rounded on me. 'The abbey?'
'Yes,' I said, 'the ruined abbey up on the hill.'
'The abbey is immaterial,' the Doctor responded. 'It's the caves beneath it that are important. Now, Colonel, can you get your hands on enough explosives to collapse the caves.'
'Well, I do know a chap who might be able to help,' the colonel said.
'Excellent,' the Doctor responded.
'If I telegraph him right away, the explosives should arrive some time tomorrow,' the colonel continued.
'That's perfect. Get on it right away, would you.' He turned to Mrs Harker and myself. 'Now, who's up to visit the Percivals?'
* * *
From the journal of Mrs Mina Harker
The Doctor set a brisk pace and both the inspector and myself struggled to keep up. I tried to engage him in conversation, but the Doctor's responses were perfunctory and brief. A black mood seemed to have descended upon him and he became more melancholy and withdrawn the closer we came to the Percival House. As we passed the abbey, I thought I caught a glimmer of something amongst the ruins, but the Doctor shot an angry glance in its direction and the apparition vanished. The Doctor seemed to be sustaining himself with righteous fury now that we approached the end of the matter.
The inspector trailed along behind me, hands plunged into the pockets of his tan overcoat. The coat might have been elegantly cut once, but, because of the inspector's insistence in stuffing the pockets full of junk, the garment had lost all shape. His hat was jammed low on his head to prevent it blowing off in the breeze. There was a sadness about the Inspector. When I had spoken to him earlier he had replied with a world-weariness that was only relieved when he spoke of his boy, Simon.
So the three of us made our way over the hill, each haunted by their past, each wrapped up in their thoughts, travelling in silence and resolved to lay their ghosts to rest once and for all.
The Percivals' manservant opened the door just enough for him to peer out and see who was calling.
'Good morning, Perkins,' the Doctor said as he pushed him out of the way and flung the door wide. He stormed across the hallway. I scurried after him, glancing up to take in the family portraits on the walls and the animal heads trophies of Sir Rupert's time in Africa, no doubt.
The Doctor barged into the drawing room, the inspector and I at his heels. Constance looked up in shock and dropped her sewing into her lap. Emily Percival simply stared at us with exaggerated calmness.
'In polite society,' she pronounced, 'it is customary for callers to pay their respects later in the day.'
'Madam,' riposted the Doctor, 'what on earth gave you the idea that this was polite society.'
Emily Percival rose to her feet. She was physically smaller than the Doctor, but she had such a presence that she seemed to tower over him.
'How dare you say such things in my house,' she said. 'If my husband were still alive '
'But he's not, is he?' the Doctor shot back.
Mrs Percival slapped him. The sound echoed around the room and for a moment nobody dare to so much as breathe.
The Doctor rubbed his jaw thoughtfully.
'I came here to investigate your husband's death,' the Doctor said, 'and I have been obstructed at every turn. Things would have been much easier for all of us had you decided to tell me the truth in the first place.'
'I have always done so,' Mrs Percival insisted. The Doctor ignored her.
'I have been given three different explanations for Sir Rupert's demise,' the Doctor persisted. 'The inspector, here, thinks it was an accident. You asked him to investigate because you suspected murder. Reverend Samuels seems convinced it was suicide. I told the reverend at the time that you couldn't all be right, but now that I come to think about it I'm beginning to believe that that may be exactly the case.'
He paused for dramatic emphasis.
'Go on, Doctor,' I prompted.
'Sir Rupert did indeed jump from the cliff, I am sure of it,' the Doctor continued, 'and that could be considered suicide. However, there was another entity that convinced him to do so. Murder, anyone? But was that entity malicious or was it merely playing on Sir Rupert's own fears and desires? Was Sir Rupert simply the victim of that age-old problem of being in the wrong place at the wrong time?'
'Perhaps you would care to explain yourself, Doctor,' Mrs Percival said, 'rather than talking in riddles.'
'Oh, I shall be happy to, Mrs Percival,' the Doctor replied. 'One of us, at least, has no problem telling things as they are. Your husband was lured to his death by a ghost!'
'A ghost?' Mrs Percival repeated. 'Don't be absurd, young man.'
'Absurd?' the Doctor said. 'No, I don't think so. A ghost there most definitely was, one of your first child, I believe.'
'Edward?' Mrs Percival said, her voice trembling ever so slightly.
'Yes, Edward,' the Doctor confirmed. 'Your husband saw him wandering among the abbey ruins.'
'But he would have told me,' Mrs Percival insisted.
'Would he?' the Doctor asked. 'Would you have believed him if he had?'
Emily Percival looked away. 'I trust that the case is now closed, then.'
'Not quite,' the Doctor replied. 'The ghost still need to be laid to rest, but that matter is in hand even as we speak. There is one other thing that puzzles me, though.'
'And what, pray, might that be?' Mrs Percival could still not bring herself to face the Doctor.
'As Mrs Harker and myself can both testify, the apparitions seem to appear in response to high levels of emotions,' the Doctor began.
I recalled our experience at the abbey and wondered then if I had been responsible for the ghost we had seen and, thus, the Doctor's fall.
'Sir Rupert was walking through the abbey that night, not for the air,' the Doctor continued, 'nor on the off chance that he might see his son. No, he was tense and frustrated and was hoping that the walk might purge his system. What do you think could have upset him so?'
'I really haven't the faintest idea,' Mrs Percival said.
'What did your husband and Reverend Samuels argue about?' the Doctor asked.
'I've already told you, Doctor,' Mrs Percival replied, 'my daughter and I were both out of the house at the time.'
'Nonsense,' the Doctor retorted. 'If you weren't here then how did you know that the reverend had seen your husband at all. It's hardly the sort of meeting that he is going to boast about, is it?'
'Surely they were arguing about Mr Darwin's theories, Doctor?' I interjected, recalling the conversation from the church.
The Doctor shook his head. 'No, that makes no sense,' he explained. 'Sir Rupert must have known what the reverend's reaction to his beliefs would be. He hardly seems the type to crumple because he got what he expected. No, they were arguing about something else, something Sir Rupert was not prepared for. And you know what it was, don't you Mrs Percival?'
'I'm sure that I do not, Doctor,' she maintained.
'Oh, very well,' the Doctor snapped. 'I had hoped that you might want to help me solve this mystery, but it would appear I was mistaken. I shall take my enquiries elsewhere.'
'That might be best, Doctor,' Mrs Percival agreed. 'Good day.'
As we left the room, the Doctor nudged my arm.
'Did you see Constance?' he whispered.
I turned my head. Constance was retrieving her sewing. Her hands were shaking violently.
* * *
The Doctor sat on the end of the East Pier, his feet dangling above the grey waters of the sea. I recalled how the band used to play on this pier when I walked here with dear Lucy, but there is no call for a band at this time of year. I could feel the approaching winter tainting the air and I drew my coat ever more tightly around me. Part of me wanted to return to Mrs Hibbard to collect my things and then leave this awful place, but the Doctor had been right when he said that I had seen things that defied explanation. I had to see this through to the end as well.
The Doctor had sent Inspector Lovegrove back to the police station to file his report.
'Probably best to give the cause of death as accidental,' the Doctor suggested. 'I doubt that have much time for ghosts back in London.'
'I could have done all that without ever having left my desk,' the inspector complained, before stalking off. The Doctor had extracted a promise that we would all meet at Colonel Ashforth's on Friday morning to see this business through to its conclusion. Since then the Doctor had been pacing around the harbour, lost in his thoughts. I had trailed behind, like a stray puppy waiting to be fed on whatever scraps of information he cared to divulge. Perhaps I am being fanciful, but I feel that there is a bond between us now and has been ever since our conversation on the beach. We know too much about what the other hides to simply turn and walk away from them.
'The inspector tells me that you were going to a funeral,' I said.
'Yes, I am,' he said. Then he sprang to his feet and grasped me by the shoulders. 'Quickly, what date is it?'
'Why, it's the 22nd,' I replied.
He released me and turned to face the sea once again.
'The 22nd,' he murmured. 'Then I've missed it.'
'You've missed the funeral?' I asked.
'No, no, no,' he replied. 'His death. He died today, you see.'
I did not and said so, but the words seem not to sink in.
'So many lives, so many deaths,' the Doctor was saying. 'I meet so many people in my travels, but how many do I really get to know? And those I do know are shine so brightly, but so briefly, snuffed out in their prime. I live outside of time, you see, Mina. It gives me a unique perspective on life... on lives. It is my blessing. And my curse.'
I could not follow his meaning, but the emotions were readily apparent. I reached out a hand to comfort him, but he was already striding back down the pier.
'I wish I knew what Sir Rupert was thinking before he died,' he said.
'Does it matter?' I asked.
'Probably not,' he admitted, 'but I'd like to know anyway. Curiosity has always been my downfall. We should talk to Constance. She knows what really went on. I just wish I could speak to her without her mother around.'
'We could always try the church,' I suggested. 'She told me that she's been spending a lot of time there lately.'
'Hmm, I wonder why?' the Doctor mused.
'I imagine it gives her comfort now that her father is dead,' I responded.
'Yes, that's probably it,' the Doctor agreed offhandedly. 'We'll pay her a visit this evening I think. For now... do you know anywhere that serves a decent cup of tea?'
* * *
It always amazes me how rapidly it darkens at this time of year. Not only does night fall so much earlier, but it seems to arrive with such suddenness as well. The clock was just chiming four as we climbed the steps up to the church, but the town was already shrouded in darkness. Clouds hid the moon and the stars from view so there was precious little illumination by which to make our way. This did not seem to bother the Doctor who scrambled upwards with a giddy enthusiasm, but my progress was faltering and he had to keep doubling back to help me up.
The Doctor took my hand as we crept through the graveyard towards the church. We were doing nothing wrong, yet our movements seemed to assume a furtive air in any case. Perhaps it was the aura that pervaded the churchyard, that feeling of being in the presence of a power greater than one's own. There was light coming from the church so it seemed that we might be in luck after all.
The Doctor stepped in front of the main doors, his fingers on the large iron ring that formed the handle. He hesitated, then withdrew his hand.
'No,' he said, 'I think something more circumspect is called for. This way.'
We crept round the side of the building, keeping low so as not to be seen through the windows. At the back of the church was the door to the song school, where the church choir rehearsed. The Doctor tried the door. It was unlocked. Softly, we hurried inside. The Doctor closed the door. We were sheltered from the wind, but I confess that it was no warmer within the church than outside it. The Doctor was leafing through a pile of music, the pages brown and frayed with age. The room was small, with a piano in one corner and cassocks and surplices for the choristers hanging in an alcove to my right. The Doctor opened the lid of the piano and ran his fingers along the keyboard, though not with force enough to raise a sound. Then he beckoned me to the room's other door.
We emerged behind the organ and at first my view of the nave was blocked off. I could hear two voices, those of Reverend Samuels and Constance Percival.
'Nothing has changed between us,' Samuels was saying.
'Everything has changed,' Constance returned. 'I can barely bring myself to look on you.'
'How can you say such things?' Samuels asked. 'I love you.'
'Love me?' Constance answered. 'You killed my father?'
'I what?' I was now able to see the figures. Constance had her back to one of the church pillars. The reverend was practically on top of her. 'Your father's death was a tragic accident. I had no hand in it, I swear.'
'That's not what the Doctor says,' Constance responded.
'The Doctor,' Samuels spat. 'Yes, he's the cause of it. That longhaired, heretical dandy. First he tries to steal you from me with his looks and now he tries to poison your mind against me. Well, it won't work. Do you hear me, Doctor, it won't work! Constance should have been mine. She will be mine!'
The reverend stooped forward and planted a kiss roughly on Constance's lips. The girl gagged.
'Let her go, Samuels!' the Doctor shouted, descending the steps from the organ.
'She loved me once,' the reverend said. There was an hysterical edge in his voice. His attention was now turned away from Constance and the girl ran into my arms. I held her tight, whispering comforting words into her ear, wishing someone would do the same for me.
'We were going to be married,' Samuels continued.
'But Sir Rupert would not hear of it,' the Doctor concluded. 'That's why you argued.'
'He said he wasn't going to give his daughter to some ignorant, blinkered parish priest,' Samuels said. 'As if he had any right to talk down to me. Following those heretical teachings, it's no wonder he ended up dead. Divine retribution.'
'Sir Rupert was the victim of a spiritual manifestation,' the Doctor corrected.
'Of course,' Samuels agreed. 'He was cut down by the avenging angels of heaven. Just as you shall be, Doctor. We could have been happy, Constance and I, but then you arrived, luring her from my side.'
'I assure you I had no intention of ' the Doctor began.
'And then when that failed you resorted to poisoning her mind with these lies,' Samuels continued. 'You have offended against a minister of God's holy word and the Lord will not stand idly by. I call upon his holy wrath to smite you down!'
A wind began to pick up within the chapel. Constance and I sank to our knees.
'Samuels, stop this at once!' the Doctor shouted over the noise. 'This is not your God's power. You're simply using your pain and anger to tap into something, some energy, that's been buried beneath this town for centuries.'
'The Lord moves in mysterious ways, Doctor,' Samuels laughed.
One of the windows had started to glow with that strange blue-white light I now found so familiar. The window was a stained glass image of Saint George slaying the dragon. The dragon was coiled at the saint's feet, his spear embedded in its throat. As I watched, the saint plucked the spear out of the beast and stepped down into the nave. It raised the spear, preparing to strike down the Doctor as he had his mortal enemy.
'Goodbye, Doctor,' Samuels crowed. 'May the Lord have mercy on your soul.'
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