Night Terrors Episode Three
"Well there's no sign of blood, and no sign of struggle," the Doctor said. "If we start right out, we may just overtake her and whoever took her."
"You don't think she was taken away on foot do you?" the Brigadier said.
"That's exactly what I think, and she's being carried. Come on. We'll split up and fan out. We may get lucky."
They hurried down the two back steps and strode in opposite directions for the woods that surrounded the large old house.
Inside the house, a paneled door in the kitchen swung open. It matched the other wooden panels that stood out in slight relief from the wall in the large cooking area, but it was actually a cupboard door, the handle long ago broken off. It had not been intended as a secret door, but it was usable as such. Johnny O'Haire, his hand over Liz's mouth, stepped out and released her. She was trembling.
"Johnny O'Haire meant to keep you quiet, not to hurt you," he said. "While you stay with Johnny O'Haire, you are under his protection."
"I don't know anything about your three men," she said.
He nodded, understanding that she was being truthful, but there was a certainty and a purposefulness in his eyes.
"I don't want to go with you," she said clearly.
"But there is nothing to fear from me," he told her. "And you must come with me."
* * * *
Thirty minutes later, dispirited and scratched from pushing through brush and trees, the Doctor and Brigadier met at the back door.
"We'd better get on to the police," the Brigadier said.
The Doctor was gloomy. "I'm sure they'll be quite helpful after the way we handled them last night."
"I'll get some UNIT men up here---"
"Well let's try diplomacy first," the Doctor said. "We really need these people on our side if we are to find Liz. Come on."
He started inside and then stopped short. The Brigadier bumped into him from behind.
"What is it?" the Brigadier asked.
The Doctor's eyes traveled from the floor to the open cupboard. "The shoes are gone! He was hiding in here all the time!" He raced to the cupboard and poked his head inside. There were some stacks of tinned food on the floor and nothing else. He fished a small penlight from his pocket and shone it on the walls and floor. "No blood," he said. "And nothing inside has been much disturbed. She didn't struggle, or anyway not much."
"She may have been too afraid to struggle."
"That's not like Liz. She's not much for fear."
"When I saw her, she was very agitated. I truly frightened her when I came up behind her and pushed past her. She's probably still in shock from that assault yesterday."
"Do you smell that?" the Doctor asked. "Like the forest." He poked his head inside the cupboard again. He sniffed more deliberately.
"What?" the Brigadier asked.
"I know who's been here, and it's as I suspected, Brigadier. Johnny O'Haire took her away. Come on."
"Where to?" the Brigadier asked.
"David Cording's factory. Those two are as thick as thieves. Let's go."
In a moment, they were speeding up the twisting road in Bessy, traveling towards the village and the factory that lay on the north ridge beyond it.
"Look," the Brigadier shouted. "Who bashed you in those woods? What did you see? It wasn't this Johnny O'Haire fellow?"
"No," the Doctor shouted back. "Fellow in a silver helmet. Liz got a glimpse of him yesterday---or somebody just like him. Up on the south ridge as we were coming into the valley."
"Can you come up with any sort of description?"
"Green coveralls. Dark Green, and stitching where a name tag had been removed. What I mostly saw were his boots."
The Brigadier's amazement annoyed the Doctor. "Well, he did knock me to the ground, Brigadier. And then he beat me into it. It was a tremendous opportunity to study his boots!" And he shot a sideways glare at Lethbridge Stewart.
"All right then: his boots."
"They were well made. Partial leather uppers, green nylon panels on the side. Reinforced grommets, and sandy green laces. Padded collar for extra comfort."
"I think so. Jungle style. Worn by US soldiers in Viet Nam. Extremely well made."
"So what are you thinking?"
"Could the British army be on maneuvers out here?" He afforded a second look at the Brigadier.
"I can't imagine why. Or why they'd be trotting around in silver helmets and bashing people. Did the jumpsuit look like camaflouge clothing?"
"Well, not really. Not army issue stuff, but maybe something cobbled up for the same purpose in a pinch."
"I can check that angle, but it's not usual for British military to conduct exercises this close to citizenry, even if the population is as small as a single village."
"Do you suppose that chap tracked Liz and me down here? Perhaps he sighted us yesterday, just as we sighted him." The Doctor puckered his lips for a moment in thought.
The Brigadier shook his head. "Wanted to get a look at you, then? He'd have had better luck posing as a salesman than traipsing around in a silver helmet."
"He wanted to do something," the Doctor said. "Perhaps not at all related to getting a look at us."
* * * *
"Have you not broken your fast today?" Johnny O'Haire asked Liz as he gestured for her to sit on a broad, mossy tree trunk that had fallen to the forest floor.
Grateful to rest, she picked her way over to it. "No, I haven't eaten." She had been hesitant to plead for a rest, afraid of being openly forced by him to keep moving. But he took her arm to help her keep her footing on the uneven forest floor where the tree spanned a small, dried out rivulet, and he helped her sit down. She realized that he would not want to use force against her, and he would certainly not be cruel.
He fished in a pocket of his thickly padded coat and produced what she thought was a very large cracker wrapped in wax paper, but it took some effort on his part to break it in two. He broke one of the halves in two again. He handed her a piece of it. "You'll not be able to chew it for some minutes, but it will stay the pains of hunger."
She put the quarter of stone-like cracker into her mouth. It was hardtack. He walked from her for a few paces, stooped down at a brook, and returned with water dripping from his cupped palms. He offered it to her. She wasn't sure that she wanted to drink from his hands, but she was light headed and thirsty, and so she drank it. He retrieved more for her, and then she nodded to tell him she was all right. By then, the bit of hardtack in her mouth had softened enough to allow her to chew it.
He waited until she had swallowed, and she accepted a second piece from him, but before she ate it, she asked, "If the Doctor displeases you, or if he won't release the men you say were taken away last night, will you hurt me? to even the score?"
"No," he said. "I will not hurt you." She looked down.
He made his voice resolute but not unkind. "He is a proud creature. He should not have shamed David by calling in stronger men, the ard-vrigaidagh and the soldiers, to undo David's command. So Johnny O'Haire shamed him by taking you through skill. But this is not to hurt you; rather to protect all of us. For the Stranger must be brought to terms. If he insists on staying, then he must mind the authority of the ruler here."
"But David Cording is not the ruler here," Liz told him. "The Law rules in England."
"Aye, yes," he said. "Everybody will obey the law. But David is our head man. He speaks for us. If a law was broken when Johnny O'Haire took you away, it was the same law that the Stranger disregarded when he had his friends take away the searsanachan."
"I didn't know about that," she said. "I don't think it's quite fair for you to punish me for what somebody else did."
"Johnny O'Haire is not punishing a tired lamb that has struggled in thorns. You suffer Gall anail. Gall's breath is on you. I saw it as soon as I greeted you this morning. But where I take you, at the end of this journey, Gall's breath doesn't blow or breathe."
"Gall's breath?" she asked.
To demonstrate, he fixed his eyes ahead and suddenly trembled, and then stopped. He fixed his eyes and trembled again, and then stopped and looked at her. "As though you stood before Him From the Well, so close that he breathed upon you."
"What causes it?"
He shook his head. "Until this very year, neither Johnny O'Haire, nor the physicians, nor the priests, nor the wise men of the village ever saw the like. It is a new device of Gall. His breath made the young people kill themselves. They saw their nightmares and died."
"All six who killed themselves were young?" she asked.
"But I haven't seen any nightmares---"
He chucked her under the chin, with just a hint of sharpness, and her head snapped back. She nearly fell over, and he caught her. Then she realized that Johnny O'Haire had administered a very simple test of her reflexes, one that he understood. And she had shown excessive tension and stress, and a weakened sense of balance: not debilitating, but not healthy, either.
"You could not sleep last night?" he asked. As she did not answer, he nodded. "Gall's breath is on you. The man who attacked you put it on you."
"No, Johnny O'Haire," she said gently. "Perhaps my restlessness was simply a result of my fear of him."
"No, no. You should have slept more deeply after your tears had finished. That is the rhythm of tears and sleep. And the aaghleaysheyder would have helped sleep deepen." And he tapped his pocket where he kept his flask. "It brings on sleep."
"Where are we going?" she asked. "Where can we go to stop gall's breath from working?"
"To my home. But first, you must see the old lair of Gall Farraneagh, so that you can know he is flesh and bone; not a jouyl and not a taibhse."
"You're going to give me to him after all?"
"No. He is gone. Long gone, from this place. But the sign of him remains. After you smell him and feel the residue of his presence, you will not doubt him." He hesitated, and then he said, his voice gentle but reproachful, "Johnny O'Haire has never given one of his lambs to Gall Farraneagh. Never."
She let out her breath and stood up to tell him that she was ready to go on. But she also spoke sharply. "Johnny O'Haire, you have restrained me against my will, taken me away from my friends against my will, and now you are doing exactly as you please with me against my will. I am not one of your lambs. I am a free and independent person. You do not have any authority over me. I am going with you simply because you have the power to force me to do so. Not because you have the right to whisk me away from my friends. Do you understand me?"
His eyes became very round and sober as she scolded him, and for a moment she wondered if she had overstepped herself. Perhaps he would become more harsh with her. But he only stared at her, his face going more solemn by the moment. When she had finished he remained silent for a long moment. And then at last as she only stared at him, her own eyes becoming rather large as she wondered how he would react, he said, "Johnny O'Haire has never given a free and independent person to Gall Farraneagh, either."
* * * *
The previous day, David Cording had struck the Doctor as slightly fresh-faced, very informative, and open. Today, seated behind his massive desk, now at open war with the Doctor, Cording was still just as youthful, but he suddenly seemed much more capable, much more self-reliant, and extremely aware that he had the loyalty of every person in the valley. He was, after all, the chief employer; almost the sole employer in the remote valley.
"Mr. Cording, I shall get right to the point," the Brigadier said as they were ushered into his office by a frowning secretary who dressed in similar fashion to the woman who ran the small shop in the village. "Our Miss Shaw has disappeared, and we have every reason to believe that this Johnny O'Haire fellow has taken her with him."
"How very disconcerting, commander," Cording said. "I shall summon the police at once, though they are a bit short handed just at the moment. Still, I'm sure they'll do their best."
"Now see here," the Doctor began. "If any harm comes to her, we shall hold you personally responsible."
"Fine, fine," Cording said. "Good morning, gentlemen. Just use the secretary's telephone on your way out if you want to notify the police."
"I've a good mind to have you arrested, sir," the Brigadier said.
"As you like. I have an excellent solicitor. And you have nothing with which to charge me."
"You'll find that UNIT has a great latitude of power, Mr. Cording." And the Brigadier arched an eyebrow.
"Oh, I think not; not when an entire village has its ire raised. I mean, arresting me would bring your total of arbitrary arrests up to four, wouldn't it Brigadier? And then, of course, there's the problem of getting me out of the plant, here. And then there's the problem of getting me out of the valley itself." He, in his turn, lifted one eyebrow. "Think the two of you are up to it? Even with that revolver at your side? You would find yourselves surrounded by quite a few enemies."
The Doctor calmed his voice and his manner. "Perhaps, instead of making dares, we can discuss the matter," he said. "We are quite concerned about our young colleague, Miss Shaw. She has been through one very traumatic ordeal. She must be suffering great fear at this moment."
"I would venture to say, Doctor, that if Johnny O'Haire has taken Miss Shaw away with him, then she is not fearful of him in the least. She certainly did not seem afraid of him yesterday."
"Yesterday, he rescued her. This morning, he took her away against her will," the Doctor said. "Anyway, to be perfectly honest, we hope that it was he who took her away. We are at least reasonably sure that he would not harm her."
"Well do sit down, gentlemen, and tell me what you found this morning. Perhaps we can solve it together." But there was a hint of triumph in his eyes. Once again, he had brought them to terms.
The Doctor and Brigadier glanced at each other. They sat down in a pair of chairs that faced Cording's desk.
"Well first and foremost, we want assurances of Miss Shaw's safety," the Brigadier said. "I'm sure that you don't want to incriminate yourself in this matter, but if you know anything, please tell us."
Cording leaned back in his chair. "If you think that Johnny O'Haire has her, then you must go and see Johnny O'Haire," he said. "I would tend to think that he does. After all, he doesn't trust you, Doctor, and he would be very annoyed with you, sir, for intruding on my authority."
"Your authority?" the Brigadier asked. The Doctor sent him a warning glance. Another clash of wills would only delay action.
"Johnny O'Haire has a very straightforward, simple view of things," Cording told them. "He considers me something of the squire of the realm, the nobleman, the person to whom he owes his loyalty---because I own land, you see, and I employ people."
"He wouldn't hurt her, would he?" the Doctor asked. "Even if he were angry with us?"
"No, surely not. As I said, you must go to see him. He lives on this side of the valley, but well off the beaten track. I'm afraid your car won't get you there, Doctor."
"Shall we proceed on foot?" the Brigadier asked.
"You might want to take my four wheel drive as far as it will go. There will come a point when you'll have to leave it. By all means, please don't lose it out in those woods."
"We are both veterans of exploring unfamiliar terrain," the Doctor said.
"We certainly appreciate your generosity in lending us your vehicle," the Brigadier said with a certain heartfelt warmth.
The Doctor made his own voice casual: "By the way, I was introduced rather abruptly to a fellow in a silver helmet this morning. Have you seen any such people about?"
"Silver helmet?" Cording was startled. "A motorcyclist, you mean?"
"No, a more streamlined type of helmet. Encased his head though, except for a narrow band of heavy glass over his eyes."
Cording shook his head in wonder. "What did he say to you?"
"He spoke with his hands," the Doctor said evasively. "We didn't reach any understanding, and I'm afraid it ended unpleasantly. He was skulking quite close to the old pub, you see. I don't believe he intended to be seen."
Cording turned his gaze to Lethbridge Stewart. "If we could have our police men back?"
"Yes, of course," the Brigadier said. "I'll send for them. And we shall try to be as discreet as possible during our stay, but UNIT must maintain a presence here."
Cording nodded. "Very well. I must add, that Johnny O'Haire is seldom distrustful. He is very wary of you, Doctor. I confess that I am not inclined to trust you, but your concern for the young woman seems genuine."
"It is," the Doctor said. "Allow me to conduct my investigation, and I'll get out of your valley. Provided I have Miss Shaw with me."
Cording nodded. "My secretary shall give you a set of keys. You would be well advised to take Miss Shaw's things to her, by the way. I'm sure that Johnny O'Haire will be hospitable with her, but his conditions are somewhat primitive."
* * * *
After several rests and several more drinks of water and rations of hardtack, Liz saw that the day was moving past noon. She had never been especially fond of exercise, and she was very weary. She knew that she could not walk out the day.
Johnny O'Haire gave her his arm to help her up a short ridge that was carpeted with last year's leaves and a variety of small twigs.
"The old lair is on the other side," he said. "Then afterward we can move on for a mile, and we will stop when we are well away. You won't want to stay near the lair after you see it."
Am I simply walking towards my own death, she thought. But she forced away the thought. She could not resist him, especially now, when she was exhausted from hours of hiking up and down these endless ridges. The only thing she could do when he took her to this old lair would be to behave in the way he expected: assume a terrified demeanor, beg his protection, confess her belief in Gall Farraneagh.
They topped the ridge. The descent on the other side was far steeper than she had imagined. He had to help her to keep her from sliding down to the rocky spurs below. It was like going down into a devil's playground. An unexpectedly cool breeze wafted up around them, and she realized that there was some sort of sinkhole down in the rocks.
"Johnny O'Haire will protect you," he said firmly. She didn't answer, partly because she could not take her concentration from the steep and slippery slope as she negotiated her way down.
At last, he brought her to level ground.
"The seasons have worn the slope," he told her. "There was a time when the women were lowered down by rope, and Gall resided close to the surface. But those days are long gone. And he is gone. He cannot use this entrance."
"Why not?" she asked.
"It is blocked where it narrows. This way. We will not enter far."
He took her hand and they pushed behind two stunted, blasted fir trees. These trees had acted as a screen, and as they pushed through them, the breeze became more strong. He led her down a narrow path hewn into the rock, and as they walked, the rock rose around them like walls on either side. The entrance to the cave before them was like a very short and narrow doorway, and perfectly black.
As Liz's eyes fixed on this small open square of black emptiness, she tugged on his hand, involuntarily edging back. He stopped and looked at her.
"Are you going to force me to go inside that place?" she asked.
He released her hand. His eyes were concerned. "Do you believe in Gall Farraneagh?" he asked.
"I---I don't know," she told him. "There can be such a thing as evil, and it's not in the form of Gall Farraneagh. Something evil could happen in that cave, and it would have nothing to do with Gall Farraneagh."
"But if I took you away from here, and gave you back to the Stranger and the ard-vrigaidagh, they would convince you that there is no Gall Farraneagh, and they would miss the evil that threatens us all. They would awaken him with their braghan and lights and iarann---the pickaxes. But if you believe that there is a Gall Farraneagh, you can restrain them." His eyes searched hers, and they were sincere. "Please," he said. "Johnny O'Haire came quickly when the wind told him you were in danger. He will not betray you, nor the wind that carried your cries to him, nor his sworn enmity to anything that has to do with Gall Farraneagh. He will keep you safe. He wants you to see the marks of Gall and judge for yourself, and then honestly say what you believe."
She told herself, from a rational point of view, that it was useless to resist him, so she might as well give in. But some part of her, behind her own rationale, did sense that he was sincere in what he was saying.
"How far into the cave will we go?" she asked.
"The marks and the sign are 100 paces within, and the blockade of rocks is 150 paces."
"All right, then."
"Take hold of my arm." He offered her his elbow. "The way is hard to see in the dark."
She did, and they marched towards the doorway. First, he crouched low and entered carefully, and then she followed. She had to come through on hands and knees. There was one moment when there was light, and then there was no light before her.
"You can stand upright," his voice said. She did. He guided her hand back to his arm.
She looked down. The light from the doorway was emitted in a small square block, but other than that, the darkness was complete.
"I have my other hand on the wall," he told her. "Step lightly and keep pace with me, and Johnny O'Haire will guide you."
She did, and she had a sense of stepping in time with him, but in the complete blackness, she had no sense of direction at all. It frightened her. She did not know if they were walking in a straight line or in circles. But she kept count of the steps.
At 40, he stopped. "We must stoop again, and you will smell him. You must believe me when I tell you he is gone. It will smell like he is right before you."
In the complete darkness, he helped her get low enough to avoid hitting her head. He went first and helped her to negotiate her way through a low hole in the rock wall. As she crouched and then crawled forward, her knees and shoes encountered a cold trickle of water: part of the underground stream that had made this place.
"Now," he said, and he pulled her up so that she stood on her feet.
An unspeakable stench assaulted her, and she let him go and turned at once to flee. He caught her quickly before she ran into the rock walls in the darkness.
Liz knew that certain visual signals could prompt immediate terror: visions of something flying at a person, or the vision of falling to the ground, or the sight of raging fire or rising water. And there were pitches and resonations of the human voice that could terrify the most rational of observers who listened to them. But this piercing stench caught her by surprise and added to her terror. She had not known that the human olfactory senses could detect so much in a scent.
But she could. He was crouching to spring at her, and she at once had an image in her mind of a wrinkled, leathery hide, and razor sharp claws: deep set eyes. And she knew at once that he would wound her first. His method was to get the blood first by tearing at his victims, drinking them alive from their wounds.
She was pushing in resistance against Johnny O'Haire, striking him, trying to get away. After a moment of struggle, he pushed her down, guiding her into the hole in the rock, and she slithered through. He came after her, caught her, and guided her back to the entrance. She shot through the stone doorway and then stopped as the bright light outside blinded her for a moment.
"He was not there," he said to her.
She couldn't answer him. The stench was also nauseating.
"Ciora, he was not there," he said again. "If he had been, he would have attacked us."
He reached into his coat, withdrew the same cloth he had used yesterday to wipe her face, and he again tipped some of the contents of the flask onto it. "Smell on this," he said.
She took it and held the cloth to her face. The same burning pungency revived her again, steadied her, and even began to lull her slightly.
She looked up at him.
"Yes, I believe in Gall Farraneagh," she said.
"Elizabeth, you don't really believe in him," he said gravely. "Not so much so that within a few days you would not be talked out of what you know at this moment."
This observation made her widen her eyes. "You can't ask me to go back in there."
"Take a drink, first," he told her. "And keep the cloth with you. Please. For you will see enough to show you more about Gall Farraneagh, and why he fears Johnny O'Haire."
She didn't want to go inside, and she was afraid. Indeed, a deep, secret level of fear had been touched in her that even surpassed the fears of the day before. But even as she feared, she wondered if her mind could overcome the blind panic induced by mere senses. And she wanted to know who this terrible creature was. A mystery could draw Liz Shaw almost irresistibly, and with Johnny O'Haire's calm assurance, and the quick recovery afforded by the elixir, she felt more willing than she had first expected to venture into the lair again. At least, she told herself, she understood that there was something there to fear. Johnny O'Haire had been honest with her, and his concerns now seemed valid. She nodded. But she slipped her hand into his, and he gladly took her hand.
"Your heart surpasses the heart of many," he said to her. "For there be some who would never pass this far; no, not if they sat at table with me day after day. But you will come, so that you may know."
She didn't answer him, for she didn't feel all that brave, and she knew that her heart might fail her again once she smelled that terrifying stench.
He led her inside.
She counted their steps again, and it was a mark of his own carefulness in the dark cave that just as they reached 40 paces, they were again at the second low opening. Again, he helped her to crouch down, and then he went first and helped her through.
Now when they stood in the inner recess, she held the cloth to her face, but she couldn't move forward against the sense that the creature was there, crouching to spring on her. It took a tremendous act of will not to flee, and she found she had none left to go forward.
"This will help," Johnny O'Haire's voice said, and she heard the rustling of his coat as he slipped it off. He helped her into it. The smell of leaves and the fir needles assisted her courage, and the sense of being covered and protected also assisted her, for the coat was thick and padded.
"Can you come?" his voice asked.
"Will you help me?"
His arm came around her, and he gently pulled her along in the darkness. The horrible stench, mercifully enough, did not get any stronger as they moved forward.
She took the cloth from her face for just a moment. "I lost count," she said faintly.
"Sixty," he told her.
After a few more steps she began to pull back again, but when he gently pulled against her to keep her going, she didn't protest or plead with him. It seemed as though part of her will wanted to obey the blind fear and run away, but part of her will wanted to do what she had set out to do.
At last, he stopped, and she realized she had lost count again. She was, she realized, shaking and perspiring, even though she was cold. The draft in the cave was not strong, but it was constant. It cooled her perspiration and chilled her.
He struck a single match, and she looked around. The walls were earth colored, and there were bright silver scores everywhere, and gashes where the rock had been broken and cut.
Somebody was at this with a pick axe, she thought, though she could not speak out loud. The sheltered interior, protected from the elements, guaranteed that any blows into the rock would be preserved. The evidence of a heavy steel tool was apparent. It had bitten into the rock in haphazard fashion.
The match went out. He lit another and guided her closer to the wall. She saw, at closer inspection, thinner white patterns: rake marks of strong claws. He guided the match down the wall, and she saw ancient blood stains, but not as much as might have been expected in the lair of such a creature.
"Johnny O'Haire's blood," he said. "From long ago. With my piocaid I tried to hew out his life. The cave is wide here, and this is where I caught him, and he caught me. Had it been ten paces yon in either direction, he had killed me quick. But here there was room to swing the piocaid, and he was taken by surprise. Thus he learned to fear Johnny O'Haire."
The match went out, covering them in the darkness. For a moment he was silent, and then he turned, and she followed him. He guided her back the way they had come.
* * * *
It was the work of an hour to retrieve Liz's belongings from the old pub, throw them into their borrowed vehicle, fill its tank with petrol, and then look up the young man whom Cording recommended as their guide. They found him at the pub, tucking into an early lunch of ham and potatoes. In a village filled with people who wore old wool sweaters, dark clothing, and heavy leather shoes, he was a refreshing sight to see, for his jacket was Gore-Tex, with bright violet sleeves.
"Are you Parsons?" the Doctor asked. "David Cording recommended you. Said you could get us close to Johnny O'Hair's cottage."
Surprised at this unusual request, the young man straightened up from his plate. The tiny pub boasted only a bar and four plain tables. Other than Parsons, the room was empty.
He seemed interested, but he said, "Johnny O'Haire will find you if you need him. There's no need to go searching for him. He's not often home." He glanced from the Brigadier to the Doctor.
"He has a friend of ours with him," the Doctor said. "We must find them."
"All right then. We can try. But I get paid whether he's home or not."
"And it's the habit to bring him something. He's keen on fruit: fresh if you can get it, or canned. And maybe something from dry goods: a decent blanket, a new shirt---something like that."
"We'll see to it. Shall we meet you back here in thirty minutes?" the Brigadier asked.
He shook his head. "It'll likely be a two day trip. You can only get so far by four-wheel drive, and then you have to walk in. I'll need to get some things. I live up the north road. First house you come to once you're out of the village. I'll see you there."
Both men nodded, and they quickly left to find the shop. "There's not going to be much to choose from," the Doctor said gloomily. "And if his good graces hang on anything decent in the way of a gift, we've run out of luck."
But, as it turned out, mentioning Johnny O'Haire produced a much better response from the dour woman at the cash box.
"So, you're going to consult with our Johnny O'Haire," she said when they told her. "You must tell him that Daisy's baby is ready to be blessed by him. They've kept her under wraps from Him in the well, but it's time to have her christened, and so he must come. You won't forget?"
The Brigadier obligingly whipped out a small notebook and jotted down the information. "Can't forget now, madam," he assured her. "We'll be sure to deliver the message."
"Well, our Johnny O'Haire is a bit short of castille soap by now. He can make his own, but he is so busy. I should say a good carton of that would please him," she told them. "And he can always do well with store bought material: light cotton flannel and heavy wool flannel. Perhaps some needles as well."
They took her advice, made their purchases, and hurried to the borrowed four-wheeled drive.
"We could just slap this fellow in irons and haul him out of here," the Brigadier grumbled. "I can't believe we're going to all this trouble for a woods man who's kidnapped a UNIT scientist."
"Listen, Brigadier, if we try any more strong arm stuff, we're only going to meet more resistance," the Doctor told him as he guided the rugged terrain vehicle out of the village and up the steep hill of the north road. "Taking Johnny O'Haire away to jail would be the worst thing we could do. It would provoke open war, and we would never get these matters investigated. And besides---" Then he hesitated.
Lethbridge Stewart glanced over at him. "What?"
"Well, he said he'd killed that Whiting chap defending Liz---"
"But how? Whiting died of heart failure."
The Brigadier shrugged. "You told me yourself that you could strike people hard enough to stop their hearts."
"With precision. Yes. Not the sort of skill you'd expect in an ignorant woods man, is it?" The Doctor slowed as they approached a steep hairpin turn in the mud slicked road. "Nice driving conditions, these. Say, what's wrong?" For the wheels were suddenly spinning. They were not moving.
He glanced out the window on his side and pressed his foot to the accelerator. "Something's got hold of---"
His words were cut off as the window on the Brigadier's side suddenly exploded. The inside of the vehicle was filled with flying glass. The four wheel drive abruptly rocked sideways. The movement was so abrupt and powerful that they were thrown against each other.
"What are you doing?" the Brigadier shouted. More glass exploded, and suddenly the great vehicle was thrown over. It rolled onto its roof. The rear window was smashed last of all.
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