Night Terrors Episode Six
Morning light found the Doctor and his young guide churning their motor bikes through the rugged terrain of the steep ridges. They had gotten lost several times in the darkness, and they had taken several spills each.
Now, the watery light of early morning filtered through the trees and sent them guidance. Young Parsons suddenly lifted an arm and waved it. He pointed to a narrow track, and the Doctor followed. They drove down into a steep, sharp ravine.
It was a steep descent, but at the bottom they found the cabin: a sturdily built, low structure made of hand hewn planks that had been tarred over. The only concession to modern construction was a tin roof and a stove pipe, from which a thin whisp of smoke curled. The shutters in back were closed, but the front windows had been thrown open.
The Doctor left his guide to unpack the loads. He hurried to the cabin and burst inside without knocking.
"Stranger," Johnny O'Haire said to him. "There are more courteous ways to enter a man's home."
"Where is Miss Shaw?" the Doctor demanded. "Is she safe? Why did you take her away without a word to us?"
O'Haire nodded to a heavy blanket that curtained off a doorway. "She is in there."
"Aye. Sound asleep, though her breakfast is ready. Do not disturb her. She has been ill."
"Ill?" And the Doctor strode to the back room. Johnny O'Haire, caught at the small woodburning stove with a skillet on, frowned. He pushed the skillet of sausages further back, set down the metal fork, and stepped around the hams that hung from the rafters.
The Doctor leaned over Liz, but she was soundly asleep, and she seemed peaceful. Her hands were open and loose, each on either side of her head, palms up, on the bed. She had not huddled down in fear to sleep. She smelled faintly like Johnny O'Haire.
The Doctor straightened up as Johnny O'Haire stepped into the room. They exchanged glances, and then the Doctor followed him out.
"Why did you take her?" the Doctor asked as the woods man went back to the stove.
"When Johnny O'Haire meets a fool, he treats a fool like a fool."
"She and I came here to find out why so many of the people in the village have taken their own lives. Is that a fool's task to you?"
"Johnny O'Haire doesn't understand why a fool was sent to carry it out, cold blood." He slipped the round metal stove lid into place and opened the damper of the stove. Then he paused. "She said it is not Gall's Breath that made them do so. She said it's a disruption of sleep. She said it came on her the moment she entered the valley."
These words struck a chord in the Doctor. A light of understanding flashed across his eyes. "Yes, I saw that she had difficulty sleeping after she had been attacked. I attributed the reaction to stress. Now everything fits. Listen to me: The same disturbances that have prevented sleep and caused these people to die have also agitated that creature that you call Gall Farraneagh."
This arrested Johnny O'Haire's attention. His eyes blazed suddenly, but he became quiet.
The Doctor seized his chance to convince his adversary. "David Cording gave me his heavy vehicle to use. This creature caught it from behind and threw it over."
"It is not Gall Farraneagh's way to strike at metal machinery."
"Liz's clothing was in the vehicle. I had meant to bring it to her. After he threw over the vehicle, he came in through the back window and tore apart her things. He had gone to the old pub first, seeking her. He'd torn apart her mattress. He's in some sort of frenzy."
"What devilry is this? I saw her illness, but mortal illness could not make Gall Farraneagh ill. Yet he has never come so openly seeking prey. He takes human offerings, and in years long past, before Johnny O'Haire confined him, he hunted in secret, at night. He sometimes robbed the cradles of girl children." In spite of the doubtful words, Johnny O'Haire was not really disputing with the Doctor. Rather, he seemed stunned and puzzled. He looked at the Doctor. "It is a rare thing for Him in the Well to come and walk openly by day. Gall mistrusts the light of day, and the dryness of the earth burns him."
The Doctor was startled. "If he wasn't all that fierce, why did the people make him offerings of their women?"
"After the cold bloods awakened him, he learned enough to travel in the waters. He worked great mischief, and none could approach the streams or the river, for he pulled them in and killed them. If they were men, he drowned them and let the bodies come to shore. If they were women, he devoured them in the water. The cold bloods gave him power to foul the streams, and he made the water undrinkable. But when women were given to him to devour, he stayed in one place and waited."
"Cold bloods?" the Doctor asked. "Who are the cold bloods?"
"You are a cold blood, sglimeach. As you well know. But on this journey, you do not hide it from your companions."
"I don't hide what I am from my friends," the Doctor told him. "But I don't want to alarm people, either. And however you have deduced that I am different from these people, you don't have to regard me as an enemy. I only want to help."
"Yes, offering help is the disguise of every cold blood. The motto of the very ones who gave Gall Farraneagh so much power. They sought to help. Now he has outlived his time, even as I have outlived mine. But neither of us can yet die."
"What does that mean?"
But Johnny O'Haire did not answer him. The woodsman returned to his work at the stove. As the silence lengthened, the Doctor approached the subject of greater concern, both to him and Johnny O'Haire.
"I think Gall Farraneagh is hunting Liz," the Doctor said.
"He will not take her, for now she is covered."
"If Gall smells her, he shall know that she is under my protection."
Just then Parsons knocked on the door and entered, carrying the bundles of equipment. "Good morning, Johnny O'Haire," he said. "We're glad, as always, to find you."
"Good morning, young Parsons. You'll be hungry. Set down the kionnan
and eat with Johnny O'Haire."
The Doctor interrupted. "I need Liz's help," he said. "She is a woman of great learning. Will you let us set up these things for her? She can decipher them when she's awake."
Johnny O'Haire hesitated and then nodded.
* * * *
"I think there's a heartbeat there," Benton said after a moment. He lifted his head from Cording's body and looked at his companion. "Tell them to bring the village medic with them."
The other soldier nodded and spoke quickly into his small two-way radio.
Benton opened the collar of the young man and spread it apart. Cording suddenly took a spasmodic breath but remained unconscious.
"He is alive," Benton said. "The sagging of that great branch saved him."
His partner, the message complete, switched off the radio and pushed down the antenna. "Sort of a botched attempt, wasn't it? You'd think if he wanted to end it like the others, he'd have picked a higher tree."
But Benton shook his head. He examined the unconscious man's throat. "Look at those marks." The soldier bent closer. "One long cord mark burned into his skin up high on his throat. Sort of burst the blood vessels and made for that redness."
"You're a proper scientist, aren't you?" the soldier asked. "Has that Doctor bloke been giving you lessons?"
"Well he sets a good example on not taking things at face value. This is the rope mark of the rope that we cut." Benton pointed to a second, much less livid mark, lower on the throat. "This man struggled when the other rope was applied, and his blood pressure went up---up above where it cut off the blood flow between head and body. He was strangled until he went limp and his breathing got faint. Then when he was unconscious and presumed dead, somebody brought him down here and strung him up. But over the course of a few hours, the tree sagged with the weight."
"And he stayed alive through all that?"
"People can go dormant. It happens sometimes when air's cut off. In drownings, too. Recovery's tricky, though. He may never wake up." Benton suddenly looked up. "Did you hear that?"
Both men fell silent, and for a moment there was no sound in the trees except for the faint winnowing of leaves in the morning breeze, and the cry of birds.
Benton cautiously straightened up. He unslung his rifle and motioned his companion to get under cover. The other man obeyed, also unslinging his own rifle. He crouched down behind a tree bole, where a thick screen of ferns and leaves reached upward.
Benton crept directly behind another tree and peered up to higher ground. Something was moving through the screen of trees, branches, and leaves.
"Oy!" Benton called. "Come out!"
The figure became still and then became less visible as it hid in the cover.
"He's come back to do to a better job on this fellow," the soldier said. "Didn't expect to see us here."
"Right," Benton said in a low voice. "And now he's trapped." He leaned against the tree for cover and leveled the rifle towards the figure hiding in the trees. "Come out, you! If you try to run---"
A figure in a green jumpsuit, its head encased in a silver helmet, leaped clear and aimed something at them. Behind Benton, the soldier's rifle coughed once---a single, staccato retort that echoed in the forest. The figure in the green jumpsuit dropped into the foliage on the ground.
"That was a gun, right enough," the soldier said.
"You saved my life. Stay here and keep me covered. I'll see to him." Benton rushed to the cover of another tree, and then other, and so on, until he reached the fallen figure. The man's chest had been blasted open, and there was no hope of life.
Just then, from the high ground opposite the dense copse of trees, several soldiers carrying a mobile stretcher burst through the trees. They were followed by the village physician. He was lugging his black case, and another soldier was bringing up a medic's kit.
"We've got two for you," Benton called. "But it's too late for this one." He tried to lift off the dead man's helmet, but it did not easily come free. Rather than wrestle with it, he left it alone and hurried to offer assistance with the man who still breathed.
* * * *
Johnny O'Haire silently served the Doctor food. He was more at ease with Parsons: quite genial in fact. But it was apparent that he did not trust the Doctor and did not want him under his roof.
Parsons was hardly past 20 years old, and after a night of riding and searching and back tracking in the forest, he welcomed the sausages and hardtack biscuits that they were given. And the Doctor used the interlude of silent eating to observe this place.
The wood stove was from the previous century: a small model designed for narrow rooms. Closer to where the Doctor sat at the far end of the table, a shelf next to the lean-to door housed a fleam, used in blood-letting operations, and a few wooden mazers that were likely more than 200 years old. A leather smithing apron hung on a nail nearby.
Every wall in the room was either lined with shelves or with enclosed cupboards. The long, narrow table and its benches allowed for only one other piece of furniture: a sturdy wooden rocking chair, which had been polished often.
On the kitchen side of the room, the shelves were stacked with modern, mass-produced crockery, and the silverware that the Doctor and Parsons used was stamped with tiny insignias to show that they had been stamped in London. A ceramic tea kettle, glazed and painted to look oriental, was of a type that anybody could purchase for a pound or two right in the village shop. Indeed, a few glass "empties" gathered around the lean-to door showed that the Guineas brewery was not unknown to Johnny O'Haire.
As they were finishing up, Johnny O'Haire stood and went to the front door. His ears had already picked up what even the Doctor's keen sense of hearing had missed. A small knot of people: two grown women, one little girl, and a young man were approaching, their eyes hopeful. One of the women was holding a bundle. After a moment, the Doctor realized that it was a baby---an infant.
"Now what a treat this is," Johnny O'Haire said as they drew nearer. "But Johnny O'Haire would have come to you. It was naught for you to wander the forest. Come inside."
"Oh Johnny O'Haire," the woman said. "We heard that Him in the Well is stalking the valley. We didn't know what to do. Our little Daisy hasn't yet been blessed by you."
"Ah, all is well. He was not stalking Daisy. But come inside and sit down. I shall bless her."
Parsons and the Doctor moved back to accommodate the newcomers. On their part, the small group were surprised to see visitors in the cabin.
"Yes, a great many people have filled my house today," Johnny O'Haire said. "And I have one more little lamb, asleep in the bed in back: her I rescued from Him in the Well. It has been an ordeal for her."
"But you saved her, Our Johnny," the little girl said.
He stroked her cheek, his eyes gentle. "I did that. But everything is not yet resolved."
The new guests sat down at the table, and Johnny O'Haire busily snatched at several bunches of herbs that hung from the rafters before one of the small square windows, pulling off bits of them. He rubbed these herbs together in his hands, pushing them into his skin on the fronts and backs of his broad palms and strong finger. And then he set out a small, unengraved wooden bowl. He poured out water from the water jug onto his hands so that it ran into this small bowl. When he had poured out an ounce or two of water, he scooped it up with his fingers and ran it over his hands, letting it drop back into the bowl. In this way, he washed off the herbs into the few ounces of water captured in this small vessel.
Then he shook off his hands and turned to the women.
While he had been doing this, the baby's mother had been removing the wraps on her infant child. The tiny child had been heavily bundled up, almost as though she was being kept hidden.
Once free of the wool bonnet, blankets, and coat, the baby lay on the table on her back, clad in a hand-me-down cotton shift. She lay with her feet up, her hands absently pulling at her toes, and she looked around, with a baby's uncomprehending observation of everything, too young to even lift her head or roll over.
"Isn't she lovely, Johnny O'Haire?" the other woman, obviously the grandmother, asked.
"She is. And healthy and happy." He took the baby up and set her on one of his broad hands so that she lay on her back on his broad arm. As he looked down at her, her unfocused eyes fixed on his face for a moment, and she kicked her legs and waved her arms. "Now then my lamb," he said to her. "Your name is Daisy, is it? Let Johnny O'Haire sing to you and bless you." He walked back to the small bowl and took up some of the water with his fingers. Then he spread it on her head and down her face, and he sang softly,
Heaven keep thee near my side
The shepherd with his sheep abide;
Guard thy life; preserve they breath
From harm, from pain, from violent death.
May God upon His Mercy Throne
Claim this child as His own.
And to His shepherd here below
Strength and courage both bestow.
Next to the Doctor, Parsons actually bowed his head, genuinely reverent before this brief prayer. The Doctor was amazed, for on the troublesome journey in, the young man's language had been anything but reverent. But after a moment, imitating him, the Doctor bowed his head, too.
* * * *
"What in thunder are all these military men doing?" Knightford asked as he stepped into the front room of the tiny village library. Broadshire was at the window, watching as a UNIT jeep rolled through the streets and made its way towards the tiny infirmary.
"There are rumors everywhere," Broadshire told him, not taking his eyes from the window. "Those young mountain guides and potholers are saying that something grabbed hold of a terrain vehicle yesterday and threw it right over."
Only then did he turn.
"How horrible! Anybody hurt?" But Knightford's eyes were guarded and yet expectant. He had been about to switch on the weak electric lighting in the cramped room, but he suddenly did not. There was, in fact, something hopeful in his manner.
"No, luckily enough. There were two men inside. But a suitcase of ladies' togs in back was burst apart and flung about. What do you make of that?"
"What happened to the lady who owned the suitcase?"
"Under the protection of Johnny O'Haire, from what I hear. It's all very hush-hush. Mostly rumour."
"Perhaps we should verify things," Knightford said. "A small experiment."
"We would need a woman not marked by O'Haire's protection."
Knightford turned to the locked supply cabinet. He crouched down, fished a key from his waistcoat pocket, and opened it up. There was an array of three drawers stacked inside. He slid the middle drawer open and extracted a stained coil of rope from it and a wide, well polished knife of ancient forging. "It shouldn't be too hard. A brief excursion. It will set matters to rest, won't it? Settle things once and for all."
* * * *
The Brigadier, now dressed and able to move stiffly about, called for his 2IC to come in. Jimmy Munro entered and saluted. His eyes were concerned, but he masked this at the Brigadier's frown.
"All the patrols in place, Captain?"
"Let's get to the undertaker's to see that body that Sgt. Benton is guarding."
The telephone by the bed rang. Munro would have taken the call, but the Brigadier shook his head and scooped up the receiver with his good hand.
"Yes." He paused. "The injured man is David Cording you say? All right, we'll wait for him." Another pause. "Will he live? No, it doesn't make sense. But all right." He put the receiver back into place. "That man that was found more dead than alive. It's David Cording. He's sort of the head man of the valley---owns the factory up on the ridge---and he's been none to pleased to have us here. But he wants to speak to me." He nodded to the doorway that led to the front room. "Let's give them space to set him up. He's in a bad way."
Munro nodded, and they went out.
Fifteen minutes later, the impromptu rescue team brought the traumatized David Cording into the infirmary. He was using a portable ventilator, and the village doctor wasted no time in directing the UNIT soldiers on setting up a larger oxygen tank. As soon as they had the young factory owner in one of the clean beds, the Brigadier entered again.
"He's got a collapsed lung," the physician said. "Stand clear until we can stabilize him---"
But Cording opened his eyes. The Brigadier stayed back but spoke. "Can you speak to me, Mr. Cording?" he asked.
Cording's eyes fluttered. "Tell Johnny---"
"Johnny O'Haire," the Brigadier said, and Cording lowered his eyes and raised them to say yes. He forced out his directions to the Brigadier: "He'll take you to their camp. Silver helmets. Tell him it's not the Queen's men. Take my ring." His glance dropped down to his own hand.
"Are those men armed?" the Brigadier asked.
"Protect your heads. It comes from all directions." His breathing was suddenly arrested, and he choked. His back arched. The physician unceremoniously pushed the Brigadier out of the way and opened the injured man's shirt. He had the respirator tube in one hand, and with his other he incised Cording's bared chest with a scalpel, opening a wound to admit the tube. He cut a second time to deepen the wound and then admitted the tube. Blood sprayed up ina small fountain, and Cording, eyes closed, made a harsh grunting sound and then was quiet. Munro, who had entered behind the Brigadier, turned stark white at this unexpected sight.
"Let's go," the Brigadier said. And then he stopped. "His ring."
The doctor was slipping in the chest tube, and his attendant was at the oxygen tank, watching closely. The Brigadier slipped between them, removed the ring from Cording with his good hand, and nodded to Munro. They hurried out.
* * * *
The silence in the cabin was so peaceful that it awakened Liz with a sense of well being and comfort. For a long moment she had to fight the sensation that all her troubles were over and that nothing could go wrong. She pieced together the memory of the last few days. Profound sleep disruption was the only answer to her high degree of agitation and to the momentary hallucinations, but she did not know what could have caused it, nor why it had been such an accelerated condition.
She sat up. Johnny O'Haire had left her fresh clothing: a shirt of his, and a pair of leggings. She changed into them. They were clean, slightly stiff from having been washed with rough soap and hung in the open air to dry. But a residue of the scent that she associated with him was on them: a scent reminiscient of fir trees and the earth and the forest. For a moment she was troubled. He was a great mystery. No, she thought. He was more than that. He was a doorway to another way of thought, another way of perceiving life itself; a much larger and yet more primitive way of living. He did not learn about the great and cataclysmic world like she did---through books and measurements and testing. Rather, he partook of it. He was a part of it. It acted upon him, like some sort of sacrament.
She told herself that she should not be so impressed with him. After all, if Johnny O'Haire were some sort of mythic figure, then the Doctor was a mythic figure too. She should be used to people like them by now. But then she realized that the Doctor was not like Johnny O'Haire. That air of normalcy that the Doctor wore was one that he was determined to keep. It did not hide hearts that pondered themselves or that remained detached from all human experience. Quite the opposite. The Doctor was some strange creature, far advanced, that nonetheless wanted to be somehow normal and human. Granted, being part of humanity always had to be on his terms. Get him angry and he would huff up and announce that he'd been a great scientist since before England was a nation, and so on.
Johnny O'Haire simply was a human being as far as she could determine. But the strange greatness of him was something he did not hide. He accepted it. And somehow that made him more impressive, more attractive to Liz, and more troubling to her intellect than the Doctor himself, even with his two hearts and his years of traveling in time. For Johnny O'Haire truly was a piece of the same fabric from which Liz herself was cut; and the strangeness that had been given to him was all made up of the earth itself, its own history, and its own dark secrets.
She rolled up sleeves and trouser legs, found her shoes, and came out into the front room.
The woodsman was gone, but the Doctor sat slumped in the large rocking chair near the lean-to door. He was asleep. But he had set out the forensic equipment on the rough table, as well as a bundle that Liz recognized as rags of her own clothing with a label on top. It was marked with a single word printed by the Doctor's hand: SALIVA.
She sifted through the torn and ruined garments. He had kept them tightly wrapped together, and they were wet in patches. Intrigued, she arranged the bottles of dyes and enzymes around the small microscope. The shutters of the small cabin were open, and they admitted nearly enough light for her to investigate the items. An oil lamp supplied the lighting for close work.
* * * *
Two young men were traveling on foot through a dense wood, loaded down with satchels of equipment.
"It's simply a type of hemophilia," one of them said to the other.
"But we don't know anything about their metabolism. What if this regeneration doesn't work on him?" The second young man was clearly worried. "Look, I'm quite keen on these little excursions, and I've no more respect for the head master than you have. But all the same, mucking about with a real one----"
"He'll die if we don't help him. Look, it's a simple programming operation. We run the genetic data through a conventional e-coli matrix. The e-coli will replicate the new DNA pattern perfectly. And as the human immune system accepts e-coli, it will infiltrate perfectly. We'll save his life."
The partner to this enterprising young scientist was still unwilling. "We ought to let nature take its course. We may have to let him die. I'm not sure a human organism can withstand regenerative DNA changes like we can."
"Look, we've only got a short time before that portal in time closes. We'll give him the injections. At worst, he'll die without being effected. But if it works, he'll recover, and he'll be a superior creature: free from hemophilia. We'll be heroes. Legends."
"I don't want to be a legend."
"Don't you want to save him?"
On this question, the reluctant young man looked wistful, as well as pained. "Of course I do. Death is so strange. They die so early for being rational creatures."
"Not this one. Perhaps we'll introduce a great change right here and now."
A voice interrupted their discussion. A young man, hardly more than a boy, his face very dirty and his clothing little more than rags, ran down the path to meet them. He stopped and knelt, bowing his face to the ground. "Oh my lords and noble masters. If you can save him, do so quickly! He's dying."
"Come my lad, we are not your masters," the second young man said, distressed at this reverence but trying to be gentle. "Come with us, and we will try to save him."
The boy rose and hurried with them into a small, dark bungalow. It was wretched with the smell of death.
"Now or never," the first young man said as he knelt by the side of a withered man who lay on a heap of sodden straw. He did not wait but rather plunged an injection into the wasted body of the dying man. Everything seemed to be still for a moment, but then the groaning figure on the straw let out one long, expiring gasp, and his head rolled to the side.
"We were too late," the young man said. He removed the syringe and put it back into one of his satchels. "Too late. I am sorry."
The second young man turned to the boy. "He is dead. We could not save him. It is a dreadful disease."
"He was cursed from his birth. It was a curse," the boy said. "We only had each other, and now he is dead, and I am an outcast. What will I do? Oh my poor brother; if only I had died with you!"" And he fell into broken sobbing.
This caused the second of the two strangers as much distress as the reverence had done. He put his arms around the boy. "Of course he wasn't cursed. And you're not cursed. There's no such thing as being cursed."
"Our parents are dead, and my brother has been outcast and is dead. There's nobody left!" And the boy clung to this kind stranger, suddenly terrified of the prospect of this isolation.
The first young man, the one who had given the injection, barely noticed this lament. Instead, he pulled a small device from his pocket and consulted it, much as a man would look at a pocket watch. "That portal through time that we opened is losing its stability. We had better run to get back home, or we'll be stranded here."
"And leave him alone like this?" his companion asked. "To starve? Or to be at the mercy of the village that cast him out? All because his brother was a hemophiliac?"
But now that the great attempt had failed, the humanitarian feelings of the first young man had quickly yielded to cold practicality. "We cannot amend every situation. We must leave him. Give him the gold that is in your pockets, and he can have mine. It is worthless enough to us anyway, once we are away from here. We shall at least make him a rich man."
And with this command, both of the strangers emptied their pockets for the abandoned young boy. They piled their coins in a small heap on the floor. And they left him. They hurried away into the deep woods, leaving him weeping on his knees in the doorway of that dark and wretched hovel, alone.
The Doctor leaped awake. "Good heavens!" he whispered. He put his hand to his head. "What have I done!"
He looked around. He was inside the small cabin. He'd dozed off in the rocking chair. Parsons had already left to return to the village, and the women and children had also departed, escorted by Johnny O'Haire for part of their trip.
"Doctor, would you like tea?" Liz asked. She leaned over him, smiling.
"Liz!" he gasped. Without thinking, he seized her hands.
"Did you have a bad dream?" She adopted an air of sympathy and brushed the hair out of his eyes. "Funny, I didn't think anybody could have a bad dream here in this place. I've got the kettle on."
His eyes searched hers, but his face was filled with speechless guilt.
"It's all right," she told him. "Johnny O'Haire has been very kind to me. Don't look so frightened." She was wearing an enormous shirt that belonged to their host, and a rolled up pair of his leggings. She looked comfortable, slightly comical, and yet oddly elegant.
She went to the pot-bellied stove across the room.
"Are you quite awake?" she asked. "I have quite a lot to tell you. Are you listening to me?"
"Yes," he said.
"There really is a Gall Farraneagh, Doctor. I've been to his lair. Those garments you brought along---"
"You've already tested the saliva on them?" he asked.
"Yes. I was fairly sure what to look for. I tested it with some of my own blood---" And she held up a nicked finger to show him her means of supply. "With this limited equipment, I cannot tell you what exact enzymes are in the saliva, but I can tell you that it is highly reactive to endostatin and thrombospondin---two proteins, found in humans. I'm not sure of all the functionality of endostatin, but thrombospondin will be produced in great abundance by humans when they are wounded. And it is naturally abundant in developing children and women of child bearing age."
"Coagulants," he said.
"Precisely. I would assume from the efficiency of nature, that a creature so adept at digesting those proteins has been designed to live on those proteins. It is a creature that will hunt human beings, wound them to excite the production of those proteins in the blood, and then eat the blood. And then possibly the flesh as well."
"And that's Gall Farraneagh," he gasped. "A creature excited to rage by coagulating proteins?"
"Yes," she said. "Doctor, are you all right?"
He stood up. He was horrified. "Liz!" he blurted. "I did it! I did it all!"
"Did what?" she asked.
"I created Gall Farraneagh. I did it. I made him."
Just as he said this, the front door opened, and Johnny O'Haire stopped before entering, stunned at hearing this declaration. For a moment, he stared at the Doctor. Liz didn't move. Then without a word, Johnny O'Haire took up the broad mattock that leaned against the door sill. He swung it up and with a great bellow, he rushed the Doctor. He leaped onto the table, crashing through the small bottles and sample slides, and came down on the other side, where the Doctor stood.
The Doctor tried to duck away, and Johnny O'Haire swung the crude weapon with a skill and a grace that Liz would not have guessed. The Doctor would have been trapped if he jumped against the wall to avoid the blade, And so he rushed into the swing to jam it.
The long wooden handle hit him across his right arm and side, and Johnny O'Haire closed with him and kicked the Doctor's foot out from under him. The time lord was thrown to the hard floor. He rolled onto his back to defend himself, but the woodsman had his strong booted legs on one side of the Doctor, and there was a heavy cupboard on the other. The Doctor could not roll away.
"It was you and not another of your kind that has done this to me, to my accursed brother, and this valley!" Johnny O'Haire exclaimed. His voice was terrible. "I should have known there had been no death for you, either---you who forced such a fate onto poor men. You'll die for what you have done, you wicked demon!"
He swung the mattock high in both of his hands, ready to bring it down into the Doctor's chest.
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