Night Terrors Episode Two
David Cording threw his glance out to the Doctor's gleaming Edwardian roadster, which gleamed bright yellow in spite of the absence of sunlight in the bleak, dreary afternoon. "Look, I did want to catch you as soon as you arrived in the village." He looked at the Doctor. "Where are you staying?"
The Doctor nodded towards the direction of the pub outside of town. "Empty old pub just south of here."
The young man's face clouded over. "That's not very wise, Doctor. You haven't made arrangements yet, have you?"
"I've left my colleague there to do a bit of cleaning up," the Doctor said. "We've unloaded our equipment there. The location is ideal. She'll look after things."
"She?" Again, sharp concern flickered across his handsome features.
"Yes. Professor Elisabeth Shaw. Why?"
His manner became brisk. "Come on. I'll lend you a hand settling in. We ought to hurry."
David Cording said no more, but the Doctor sensed the urgency. He passed a few bills to the woman. He and his new acquaintance scooped up the parcels and hurried out.
* * * *
Liz's attacker pushed his face onto hers and drove his lips into her lips. She tried to turn her head away. But he forced the rough kiss onto her. And then he pushed one arm across her throat to keep her pinned, and his other hand tugged at the waistband of her skirt.
"Somebody stop him!" she screamed. "Please stop him!"
As though in answer to her outcry, he was abruptly stripped off of her as neatly as if a noose had been pulled around his neck. He flipped over backwards and landed on his back on the hard gravel.
A man dressed in a knee-length coat, a battered hat jammed down on his head, swiftly interposed himself between Liz and her attacker. He extended a hand and shouted something in a foreign language, as though warning the man back.
But the pub keeper launched himself at this stranger. He rushed straight at the outstretched hand, struck it, and then abruptly dropped to the ground, limp.
The tall stranger in the coat turned to Liz. She scrambled to her knees and tried to get away from him. He caught her, his arms and hands firm but not rough, and he prevented her from scrambling away across the rough gravel.
"Ciridh, ciridh," he said to her, and she began to cry, but she stopped struggling to escape. He spoke quickly in English. "It's all right, ciora. He cannot hurt you. Come here, come here to Johnny O'Haire."
Her voice came out in a chattering staccato. "Please don't hurt me. Please don't hurt me."
He released her and quickly retrieved her torn blouse. He shook it out as he returned.
"Johnny O'Haire keeps his little lambs safe. That's our Johnny O'Haire," he said. He knelt next to her, took up her wrist, and gently pulled the sleeves up her scratched arm. He repeated this with her other arm. He drew the blouse over her shoulders. "Ciridh, ciridh, little lamb. Come, come." And he opened his arms. A fragrance from his coat touched her senses, a sweet and earthy smell that suddenly calmed her.
He took her in his arms as though she were a child. Suddenly, she clung to him and buried her face in his soft coat, overwhelmed. He smelled like the leaves of the trees. "You're safe with Johnny O'Haire because he says so," he told her. He held her head to himself and rocked her.
Her tears were coming out in hard sobs from fear and panic. The strength was gone from her legs. Her throat wanted air, and for a moment she was afraid that she could not breathe fast enough to satisfy it. He waited until her gasping calmed down.
"Johnny O'Haire will protect you." He quickly hooked a thumb in the waistband of her skirt and hitched it back up into place.
His voice was deep, and she thought an older man had found her, but when she looked up at him, she saw that his eyes and hair were dark brown, and his skin was fair, though slightly roughened by sun and wind. He looked not much older than Lethbridge Stewart.
"The little cramman were scattered," he said gently. "This one remains. Johnny sees to it." His finger gently touched the one remaining button of her blouse, which was just above the waist band. He buttoned it with one hand, his other arm still holding her to his coat. "Johnny will find the others and give them to you, lamb." He looked around. The pub keeper lay where he had fallen, not moving at all.
"Come. Away from here," he said, using the word "away" like a verb.
He slid his other arm under her legs behind the knee and picked her up. It frightened her. "Please don't take me from here," she gasped. She tried to say something about the Doctor, but to her horror, she realized that she was close to throwing up. Her stomach knotted so hard that she gasped.
"Take a deep breath, little lamb. Clear your head," he whispered. "I'm not a bandit. I'm not a highway man. I am Johnny O'Haire, your father's true friend." He looked out over the ring of dense brush and foliage that surrounded the dirty yard. "I heard your father crying for you in the wind. Oh where is my fair daughter, and her mother's delight? And so I came searching for you. Your father's lament was carried on the wind, and I caught your mother's tears in the rain." He took in a great deep breath, and he called out, "I have rescued the father's and prevented the tears of the mother. Aoghaire withstands the friends of Gall!" And for a moment his eyes looked fierce and resolute as he stared out at the trees.
Liz didn't know if he was quite sane or not, but she suddenly knew that he would not hurt her.
"Come to the front of the house. David comes to find you." He carried her and moved with swift strides around the building to the front of the house. "David comes soon."
"David?" she asked. She wanted to calm down, but her voice was strained and shaking.
Holding her, he sat down on the ancient bench in front of the pub. He reached into his coat and withdrew a dark flask. "David is Johnny O'Haire's friend. A good man." He pulled out the cork with his teeth and dropped it onto his coat. He offered the flask to her. "Try this a sip. Just a sip."
He was coaxing, and the fragrance of his coat, the kindness of his voice, and even his honest but obscure words, enabled her to take a small sip. The liquid burned her throat and yet soothed it. It was some form of potent whiskey, mixed with herbs to make it black. She had to take in a great breath, but the clutching nausea in her stomach abruptly relaxed. She caught her breath.
"He was a bad man," he said soberly, but with the grave innocence of a child. "Not just you, lamb, but others too, before Johnny understood. Then Johnny knew what he heard on the wind, and Johnny set up a watch these many years. And Johnny found you in time and ended that man's days." He offered her the flask. "One sip more."
She took a second sip. It filled her with quiet languor. She had to close her eyes. She realized that she still had her headache, but it was diminished after the effects of the dark elixir. After a moment, she forgot that she wasn't a child. She thought drowsily that some great uncle, or perhaps her grandfather, had found her and put her on his lap, safe out of range of a fierce, snarling terrier that had tried to bite her. She buried her face against the fragrant coat and drew in a great breath, inhaling the safety and peace. It was her father who had her---not, not her father, but her older brother Johnny who always looked after her and had taught her to skip rocks and find wild strawberries on holiday.
She felt him dab a cloth, wet with the strong elixir, over the lower part of her face, where there was saliva smeared from the dog that had seized her. She turned her head away, not liking the smell, and he wiped her face with the dry part of the cloth. Then he held her head pillowed on his arm, her face resting against his coat, and she slipped into a half dream about her father and brother.
"You're right to trust Johnny O'Haire," he murmured to her. "Poor lamb. That was a naughty man. Here is David. He comes around the curve there."
* * * *
Cording drove an expensive four-wheel drive vehicle. And he did not spare on the accelerator as he raced before the Doctor over the winding, dusty road to the pub. The Doctor frowned as he followed the newer, flashier vehicle. It was clear that the young man was alarmed, perhaps even afraid at the idea of a woman being left at the pub. Cording had not even waited for the Doctor to pay for his goods but rather had dashed away at once. Bessy's customized engine had enabled the Doctor to catch up.
Though the road was twisting and rough, it was a short journey. Cording skidded to a stop in the dusty front lot and leaped out before the Doctor had even set the brake in Bessy. Cording spied the oddly dressed man before the Doctor did. Both men ran to him.
"Liz!" the Doctor exclaimed.
"Johnny O'Haire! Is she all right?" David Cording exclaimed.
"Quiet, young David. Quiet, or you will frighten her with your fear. His horror fell on her before Johnny came. It has her yet, but it will go if she's well treated."
"Where is he? He did attack her?" David asked urgently, crouching down to look up at Johnny.
The Doctor would have taken up Liz's wrist, but Johnny O'Haire abruptly pushed his hand away and stared at him, startled and suddenly tense. "Where did you come from, sglimeach?" he demanded, his voice quiet but his tone suddenly dangerous.
This sudden change startled both David and the Doctor. The Doctor did not try to take her hand again. "I am her friend," he said quietly. "I didn't mean to leave her in danger, sir. I am very sorry for my foolishness."
"He's a good man, Johnny," David added. "He came quickly when I said we must come."
"He's a stranger. He has two hearts, and his blood is cold," Johnny said, not taking his eyes from the Doctor's face. "He meddles in dangerous things because he is a fool."
Amazed for several reasons at this assessment, the Doctor straightened up but did not make an answer.
David stood up and made his voice coaxing. "The powers that rule the land have sent him---and this woman---to help us, Johnny O'Haire. They've come to learn why there's so much evil and sorrow in the valley."
"It's Cal Brunnen," Johnny O'Haire said. "But Johnny does not yet understand."
The Doctor made his voice persuasive. "Perhaps we can work together. Who is this Cal Brunnen? Will he listen to us? Perhaps we could speak to him."
Johnny O'Haire glared up at him afresh on this statement, and David rested a hand on the Doctor's arm. "Enough, Doctor. You don't understand. You cannot speak to Cal Brunnen, and you must not try. You must not even want to."
The Doctor questioned them no further. But his glance fell to Liz, who was asleep. Her forehead was bruised, and there were fingermarks bruised into her throat. Her skin was pale. He kept his manner humble to the seated man. "Please let me attend to my friend, sir. She is very dear to me."
"Johnny O'Haire, where is the man who did this?" David Cording asked. He turned to the Doctor. "We call him Monk Whiting. He used to keep this pub." And then back to Johnny O'Haire. "Where has Monk gone?"
"Johnny O'Haire killed him like David said it could be done. When that naughty man was attacking. He was attacking this poor lamb that belongs to Johnny, and when Johnny threw him off, he was attacking Johnny and died for it."
Cording remained calm. "Where is the body then? We must have the law men in, you know. They have to see to things and ask their questions, to make sure that everything is just and lawful."
Johnny O'Haire nodded. "Call them. This little lamb that belongs to Johnny will tell them, if she can say the words. He threw his horror onto her. In through her mouth. Mouth to mouth."
"But not any further?" the Doctor asked.
"Johnny O'Haire caught him by the throat and threw him off before he tore her spirit with his lance."
"The body, then?" David Cording asked.
David nodded. He turned to the timelord. "Are you a medical doctor?" he asked.
"When I have to be." But the Doctor hesitated. "I don't want to leave her." And he glanced down at Liz. Her fingernails were broken, and her blouse had been torn, though it had been gathered together. But she was certainly asleep, her thin eyebrows pulled together slightly in evidence of great stress, but her features otherwise calm.
"She's safe with Johnny, Doctor," Cording said. "Safer than she could be in any other company, no matter who was protecting her. Come on. Let's see to Whiting."
After a moment of hesitation, the Doctor nodded and followed Cording around back.
As they got out of earshot, the young man said, "Johnny O'Haire will let his guard down further with you. He's overwrought because she was attacked. I suppose he's blaming you because you left her."
"It was a stupid thing to do," the Doctor said bitterly. "We knew the pub fellow wasn't right. Your friend has a right to be angry with me."
They strode to the back lot. Cording nodded ahead as the body of the pub keeper came into view. "Looks like he's dead all right." But he did not break into a run to examine the dead man. Instead he said, "I suppose all that about two hearts was wrong, wasn't it?"
"Well, I've never been cut open for anybody to find out," the Doctor told him with a brief laugh. "Your friend Johnny speaks in an odd way. Not just the Gaelic words---"
"No, he can get pretty metaphorical if you know what I mean." And Cording nodded. "I don't know what he was saying about your hearts. But he'll warm up to you if I express confidence in you. And if the young lady is glad to see you." He cast a quizzical glance up at the timelord, as though ready to be assured on this point, but the Doctor asked a question of his own: "Look, you were worried when I said that I'd left Liz back here. And Johnny himself seems to have been waiting to kill this chap---"
They reached the body and knelt down. "This chap murdered his wife and children four years ago," David Cording told him, his youthful eyes grim. "It was just when the factory was being built. I was new to the area. I was still an outsider then, but I was the largest employer in what had been a depressed area."
"You helped investigate?" the Doctor asked.
"Everything I could do, Doctor. Everything I could do. I found lodging for the police investigators. I had leaflets and pamphlets published and distributed every single month for a solid year. All over England. I paid my own staff to go out and comb the hillsides for some signs of the bodies."
The Doctor touched the dead man's throat. As he'd expected, there was no pulse. He inclined his head to confirm the truth and then looked at his young companion.
"She put up a fight," Cording said grimly as he surveyed the dead man's scratched face. "This tells the story pretty plainly. I have a telephone in my car. I'll put a call in for the police. But it may take them a bit to get here."
"Have there been other assaults against women?" the Doctor asked.
Cording shook his head. "None that I know of. Monk had little opportunity. Certainly nobody came by, and he wasn't welcome in the village. Not after his family disappeared."
"You're saying nothing was ever found?"
"Not a trace. Everybody suspected him, of course." And Cording stood and looked down at the crumpled body. "Johnny O'Haire told me that he'd---" Cording stopped.
"What?" the Doctor asked.
"I've said too much. We searched and searched for some sign of bodies or blood or clothing, and nothing was found. That's all I know for sure."
"Except Johnny O'Haire knows something, and you believe him," the Doctor said.
"It doesn't matter."
It could matter." He glanced around. "Does it have anything to do with that Cal Brunnon fellow?"
David Cording's eyes flashed. "Don't say that name, Doctor! Don't take it lightly!"
"Why not? Are you so afraid of this man Brunnon?"
"I never said he was a man. Come on. We ought to see to the young lady." He strode away. After a puzzled pause, the Doctor came after him.
"Look, you have to tell me, you know. You can't expect me to leave it. If this Brunnon is behind it, I want him brought to justice."
Cording stopped. He gave a nod towards the body in the dust. "Johnny O'Haire told me that Whiting over there fed his daughters and his wife to Cal Brunnon. That's why there was no trace of them. There was nothing left of them to find."
"He did what?" The Doctor was accustomed to all kinds of terrors, but this story made him widen his eyes. "He gave his daughters and wife to a man to---to eat them?"
The question caught Cording by surprise. He looked up at the Doctor. "Cal Brunnon is Gall Brunnen, Doctor. Gall Farraneagh to some of the people here. That's his older name."
"Gall Farraneagh?" the Doctor asked. "The enemy in the well?"
"The demon in the well, if you like. He's a hideous monster that lurks under the ground and makes his home in an underground spring in the valley. He demands the blood of women. Or little girls."
"And you believe this?"
"I believe Johnny O'Haire." Cording searched the Doctor's eyes with his own. "You're a man of many years, Doctor. I can see that in your face. But Johnny O'Haire has lived longer than any man in this valley. And his mission is to protect us from Gall Farraneagh. Don't interfere with him. Don't ridicule him. And whatever you do, don't get him angry."
* * * *
There were faces and hushed, reverent men's voices on either side of Liz. She was being set down, very gently, on a clean sheet. She opened her eyes. She thought that her father and brother had her. Then she remembered that she did not have a brother. Then she recognized the Doctor. His face was close to hers, and his eyes were very gentle.
"Hello, Liz. Do you know me?" he asked.
"My back hurts. Everything is sore."
"We'll see to you. Right away." His huge hand came to rest on her forehead.
She remembered the desperate struggle behind the pub. She started up, afraid, and tried to tell him. Her words betrayed her and she could only stutter out sounds. Both her lips trembled against her will. He was quickly soothing. He caught her, and he looked over her at somebody else. But he said, "It's all right, my dear. It's all right. He's gone. Gone forever, in fact. He can't hurt you."
"Where?" she asked. "Where did you go?" That was not the question she wanted to ask, but at least it was a coherent question.
"To the village. Do you remember?" He stroked back her hair. "You've got blood on you, Liz, from scratches. I want to see to you. Will you let me?"
She shook her head. "No, I can't."
A sharp voice spoke quickly. "Johnny tends to his lambs. Every one."
She turned and saw, on the other side of the bed, the man in the knee-length coat. His hat was removed, showing thick, roughly cut brown hair. He had his eyes fixed on the Doctor.
"Yes," she said at once.
"Liz," the Doctor began.
She turned to him. "I can't. I really can't." The Doctor had attended to traumatic medical situations before, and she had confidence in his ability to be detached about seeing to any medical need. But, though she didn't understand why, having him see the scratches themselves, the bruises from her struggle, was too intimate and deeply personal for her to bear. It was as though the cuts and bruises had scored her all the way through, making her too vulnerable to endure eyes that knew her, eyes that would see her day after day.
"Johnny O'Haire will see to her. I have salve for the cuts. Bring her hot water," he said to the Doctor. He made a stirring motion with his index finger downward, imitating a spoon in a cup. "Brew the bitter tea for her. With sugar."
"Please," Liz said, adding her voice to his.
"Well all right then," the Doctor said, his voice quiet. He was trying to be gracious about it. He stood and walked out to make her tea.
She was in the front bedroom upstairs. The men had quickly made up the bed with new sheets and a blanket.
"Roll onto your stomach, little lamb," he said to her. She obeyed him, and he peeled away the torn blouse with its rake marks of blood down the back.
He was as methodical and careful as a medical doctor, and she could not resist thinking that it was rather like being a lamb in the care of a skilled veterinarian. A bowl of water and a towel had been brought up for her. He washed out the abrasions on her back between her shoulder blades, and he applied a salve to them that smelled faintly like the drink he had given her. He was not, in fact, finished with his flask, for he produced it again and dabbed the pungent liquid over her head in back, where she had struck the ground. It stung at first, but then the smell and the same dreamy langour spread out from the small cuts and bruises.
He bathed her arms and then dug through her suitcase and found a nightshirt from her meagre store of clothing. With great care, he dressed her for bed, and--- after he had helped her into the nightshirt---she found herself letting him remove her ruined skirt and torn stockings. He bathed her knees and her feet and applied the salve to the bruises she'd sustained when she'd fallen to the ground.
Then he covered her with the clean top sheet and a light blanket. He checked her throat carefully, for it was bruised and swollen, but her breathing was normal.
"He was a rough, wicked man with you, wasn't he?" He rested his hand on her head. "You were not pierced by him, lamb," he said to her. "You must make yourself come out of his horror."
"Who are you?" she asked.
"I am Aoghaire; him they call Johnny O'Haire."
She looked up at him, not comprehending. "Are you some sort of---well, authority?"
"No, curious little lamb. I protect the lambs in this valley. I protect you. You belong to me in this valley."
This statement did not offend her in the least. He had been unswervingly kind to her, and there was a comfort in being near him that she could not identify, except to associate it with the feelings she'd had as a child when she had been with her father.
"Are you tremendously old?" she asked. As he had noticed, her curiosity was now peaked. He was not insane as she had first suspected, but his reference points were not the reference points that people used. In spite of her shock, and in spite of the headache that still niggled at her, she felt a strong desire to understand who he was.
"Yes, I am old." But he was not so concerned about explaining himself as he was about warning her. He leaned closer. "You are in treacherous company. That white haired one with the busy voice is a stranger. He hides his thoughts from me. He hides his thoughts from himself. A madness has him."
"He's very kind and very good," Liz told him. "He's a great scientist."
"He is untamed. He will lead you unfailingly into peril in this valley."
She lifted her hands to clasp his wrists. "Johnny O'Haire, the Doctor is a good man. He knows many things."
Johnny O'Haire did not argue with her. He spoke soberly, his face close to hers. "You call him a man, but he is not a man. He is not just a stranger here, to my valley, but to this entire world. He is not human. His blood is cold." This diagnosis startled her. It was startlingly accurate. Johnny O'Haire straightened up. "Whatever befalls you, stay away from Gall Farraneagh; him the untutored people call Cal Brunnon. If you awaken him, it shall be on your head, and even Johnny O'Haire cannot spare you, then. For he eats and drinks blood---human blood---and he shall eat and drink you, lamb. You, first of all if you awaken him, and then others who are innocent."
She didn't know what he was talking about, but she said, "All right."
His eyes were filled with doubt, but he straightened up. "Should you come with me this night, I would keep you safe until this evil stranger departs."
"Please believe me," Liz told him. "The Doctor is not an evil stranger. Surely you know that he is brave and has saved many lives."
"He does not belong in these matters. He hides what he truly is, and he is reckless with knowledge. Very well, then. Johnny O'Haire can only warn you. Guard what you do, for the consequences may be severe. Avoid Gall Farraneagh. Do not arouse him or bring him out." His eyes were steady and concerned, and she heard herself say, "I will be careful."
He nodded, but she could see that he was uneasy.
"I wish you would stay," she said.
"Tonight Aoghaire will be nearby, watching."
* * * *
David Cording had been seeing to the local constabulary. As the Doctor entered the bar area, the two uniformed men and the plain clothes inspector were still conferring with the young factory owner. Their voices were hushed and muted, and no human would have caught the conversation. Indeed, at first they did not know the Doctor had entered, for they were all the way across the room from him. But the Doctor caught their words.
"Even if the Captain wants them out of here, they might be of use," Cording muttered. "The Captain and his men have found nothing of poison or other causes. Let's have some scientists look into it, I say."
"Mr. Cording," the inspector murmured. "The Captain was right vexed about it. He wants these two out of here. And you said yourself that Johnny O'Haire doesn't like the bloke."
"Look, I will not have this poor woman assaulted and then marched right out. The poor girl was quite viciously attacked. We've had too many deaths and now this. Somebody has got to do something, and neither the military nor Johnny O'Haire has come up with anything."
"But Johnny O'Haire himself doesn't trust the white haired bloke," the inspector laid particular emphasis on this. He bent closer, as though confiding something. "How often does that happen, eh? And has Johnny O'Haire ever been wrong, sir?"
The Doctor coughed. Cording, the inspector, and the two constables abruptly terminated the conversation.
"Now who are you, sir?" the inspector asked.
"I am from UNIT, Inspector. Miss Shaw is my colleague." The Doctor crossed to him and folded his arms.
"You came and discovered the woman victimized and Mr. Whiting already dead?" He cocked his head sideways and surveyed the Doctor with some puzzlement. For the occasion of traveling to the far reaches of Britain, the Doctor had dressed rather conservatively in dark clothing. But he still made an odd picture.
He nodded at the Inspector's question. The Inspector, in contrast to the Doctor, was dressed in loose tweeds of an inexpensive variety. He had sandy red hair and a moustache that looked as though it had been red, but the color was washed out.
"Cording and I pulled up out there, where you see the vehicles---" the Doctor began with a nod out front.
"That yellow car is yours, then?" one of the uniformed men asked.
The Doctor made his voice patient. "Yes. Is that significant?"
The officer did not answer, and the inspector nodded for the Doctor to continue.
"We found this Johnny O'Haire chap with Professor Shaw unconscious in his arms. Her clothing had been torn, and there was every evidence to suggest that she had been assaulted. He told us that the pub keeper---Whiting---had attacked her, and he had interfered. When Whiting attacked him, O'Haire claims to have killed him. He didn't say how. It looked to me like Whiting died of sudden heart failure."
"Perhaps as they struggled," Cording suggested. "If Whiting had been chasing the young lady and struggling with her, it might have been more exertion than he could handle."
The inspector was non-committal. "Perhaps. Is she well enough to be seen?"
"No," the Doctor said clearly. "She is still quite shaken. I've come down to see about tea for her."
"Perhaps we'll wait around a bit longer."
"While you wait, Inspector, we'll see about Miss Shaw," David Cording said. He turned to the Doctor. "I've had a go on that wretched kitchen. Perhaps we could take her some tea." He turned to the Inspector. "Would you and your men care for a bit of tea?"
"That's very kind of you, Mr. Cording." And the Inspector inclined his head as though he were addressing a young lord.
"Come on, Doctor. I'll give you some background." And Cording led him back to the kitchen. The Doctor entered to find that the sink area had been scrubbed clean, the metal fixtures scoured. While waiting for the police, the young factory manager had also carried out the remaining crates, boxes, rags, bottles, and cans. He had scrubbed off the grill. He filled the kettle and rinsed off the grill's worn metal surface with the clear water. The Doctor fished among the parcels for tea.
"Well, it's much better, now." The Doctor said. He produced a small pack of tea bags from one of the parcels and looked around.
"Still a bit of a sty," Cording admitted. "How is Miss Shaw?" He held the kettle under the tap and let it fill again.
The Doctor became indignant. "You know, it's rather hard to say: O'Haire won't let me near her for very long."
The young man grinned. "And she's going along with him? Don't be annoyed, Doctor. He has that way about him, especially with anybody who's injured or sick---and especially women. Drives the local physician batty. The people look 'round for Johnny O'Haire when there's illness or difficult deliveries."
The Doctor took up the kettle and filled it with water. "Look, who or what is he?"
"He keeps the valley safe. That's all I know. He has the power to curb Him in the Well."
The Doctor added a grunt that was meant to be a sound of scorn. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure, but no, I cannot prove it to you," the young man said. "I only know what the village folk told me. Monk Whiting woke Gall up with human blood, but Johnny restrained Gall again."
"Are you so sure that Whiting killed his family?" The Doctor set the kettle onto the grill and hunted around for a gas knob. "I do suppose the gas is still working?"
Cording dropped his voice. "Folks said Whiting knew the old ways---the rituals and all. How did he learn them, I'd like to know?"
The Doctor turned on one of the gas jets under the grill. He struck a match to it, and the ring of blue puffed into life. He lifted his head and arched his eyebrows loftily. "Perhaps the poor man was mad."
"They came out of his head, you mean? And what about the bodies if he just killed them? Not a sign. Not a trace. No blood anywhere. Go on and check the cellar if you like. You won't find anything. The police dug it all up. That's why Whiting was never arrested."
"So all of you just let him sit here and wait for new prey?"
Cording retrieved some cups from a dirty cupboard and brought them to the sink. He turned on the tap again and sprinkled drops of soap into the pooling hot water. "What could we do? The valley doesn't get visitors much, and those who pass through don't stop at Whiting's place. It looks deserted."
The Doctor raised a new point. "Look, if he fed his wife and children to the creature in the well, did anybody check the well?"
Cording began to wash out the cups with considerable vigor. "We don't know where the well is, Doctor. And, in point of fact, it's not a proper well. It's a natural well: a spring. Down in a cave somewhere, as I've been told. Johnny O'Haire blocked up all the cave entrances years ago to keep Cal Brunnon contained, to make him go to sleep."
The Doctor's voice was sharp. "How many years ago?"
"The young woman should not be left alone," a voice said. They turned and saw Johnny O'Haire standing in the doorway that led to the narrow hall passage. He had his hat in his hand. He spoke to the Doctor. "Take to her the tea and sit with her the night. I will watch outside. In the wood."
He walked between them to reach the back door, and David Cording spoke quickly: "Johnny O'Haire, do you think there's still some danger to her?"
The woodsman looked over his shoulder. "I have to keep watch. But the woman was intended to empower Gall again."
"And where is this Gall?" the Doctor demanded. The water was boiling, and he turned off the gas.
Johnny O'Haire walked out the back door. His boots clumped on the two wooden steps. After a moment, they saw him stride across the back lot towards the trees.
"He doesn't seem to like you," David Cording said, and for the first time he looked at the Doctor with some suspicion.
"That's because he can't read me like he reads you," the Doctor said coolly.
This reply did nothing to allay the young man's suspicions. "Why not, Doctor? What's different about you?"
Instead of answering, the Doctor said, "What concerns me is that Mr. Whiting went through this apparently abrupt change. I mean, was he a normal, happily married man prior to the disappearances of his family?"
"Yes," David told him. "The pub here was a lively place. Very friendly, and Monk didn't seem any different from any other bloke. Not from what I've been told. Some other folks have hinted at a dark side that grew in him over the last few weeks."
"And those people who committed suicide over the last month or two?" the Doctor asked. "Six of them. Any of them strike you as suicidal?"
"No, certainly not. Each suicide was a complete surprise. Very unlikely people for such tragic ends. And the accidents at the factory were just as unaccountable." He stopped. "Are you saying there's a link among all of them? Even Whiting? Whiting went bad years ago."
"There could be a link. The abrupt change is similar. We must find the causative agent."
"Whiting went bad like any man goes bad. He became tempted and then he yielded to it. He was too fascinated with Him in the Well. But he hid his plans until he struck. That's what Johnny O'Haire says." But David Cording was still hesitant. For a moment he was silent, and then he said, "As for these suicides---I suppose it could be Old Gall---"
"Oh, be reasonable, man---" the Doctor began.
"Doctor, you're a stranger here!" Cording snapped. "A stranger in every sense of the word. Johnny O'Haire doesn't trust you, and now you admit that he cannot read you. Well why not? What are you hiding from the man who protects all of us?"
The Doctor was astounded. "Protects all of you? From what?"
"From Gall Farraneagh."
"Mr. Cording, may I remind you that six people are dead for no clear reason, and several others have been injured in senseless accidents? If Johnny O'Haire is some sort of protection against danger, then he is failing to do his job. If he cannot read me, it may be simply because he does not have the capacity to understand me."
This assessment displeased the young man further. He backed up, and his posture became rigidly upright. "Your colleague has been attacked, Doctor. You should see to her. And when tomorrow comes, both of you must leave the valley. I want you out of here."
"You can't make us leave."
"I certainly can. This isn't London." Cording strode to the door that led directly to the bar. He opened it. "Inspector, come here will you? We ought to make arrangements."
The Inspector entered the kitchen. He glanced warily at the Doctor, sensing that there was tension in the air. Cording spoke with calm assurance: "I want you and your men to spend the night watching the place. After you get Miss Shaw's statement in the morning, I would like you to give her and the Doctor here any assistance they need. Pack them up, and escort them out of this valley."
"Very well, Mr. Cording. If you think it's wisest. They cannot stay here," the Inspector said. "We don't allow squatters."
Cording met the Doctor's eye with a firmness and steadiness that the Doctor had not expected. "For your own safety, and that of Miss Shaw's, Doctor, you will be removed. Or you will be placed under arrest and locked up until you're ready to leave."
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