(Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter)
The earth began to shake violently as the leader of the Scarecrows dragged the boy back to the open grave. The more the boy kicked and screamed the more the earth began to shake.
The Doctors Scarecrow meanwhile was able to use the earthquake to its advantage. The shaking earth caused all of the monsters to become unsteady on their feet, and the Doctors Scarecrow, seizing its chance, pushed itself backwards into the other Demons who were restraining him, knocking them all down. The Doctors Scarecrow then jumped up and attacked the Demon that was restraining Yarox. Whilst the two undead creatures fought, Yarox tried to rouse the Doctor.
“Please why are you dong this.” The boy whimpered, as the Scarecrow brought him to very edge of the grave.
“Misery loves company son. You will all suffer as we have .”
The boy in desperation tried to fight the Scarcrow, delivering a series of punches to the monsters face, and the Scarecrow responded by biting the boys hand with its flaming teeth.
The boy had never felt pain like it in his life. His screams echoed throughout almost the entire island. He almost fainted from the pain several times, but each time he almost blacked out the Scarecrow would bite just a bit harder to waken him up.
The boy was soon freed from his torment by the Doctor who, having been awoken by Yarox, struck the Scarecrow from behind with the very shovel one of the monsters had used to dig the grave for the boy.
The Doctor’s blow knocked the leader head first into the grave. Yarox then tended to the boy, whilst the Doctor used the shovel to fight off more of the Scarecrow’s that began to swarm them. With a quick strike to the face the Doctor managed to knock one of the Scarecrow’s backwards into another, but when he tried to strike another of the Demons in the chest however, it grabbed the shovel. Before the Scarecrow could pull it out of the Time Lord’s hands, the Doctor triped the Scarecrow up and then whacked the two monsters behind in the legs with the shovel knocking them down.
The boy meanwhile could barely stand he was so weak. His wound had been instantly cauterised by the Scarecrow’s flaming teeth and the pain and shock were beginning to knock him out. Yarox hoisted the boy over his shoulder and ran back through the church to where he assumed the TARDIS was still waiting for them, with the Doctor and his Scarecrow behind. The Doctor was mindful not to slip on the blood stained floors, whilst the boy was almost sick at the gruesome sights around him.
Once they reached the outside of the Church however, the Doctor and Yarox saw to their horror that the TARDIS was gone.
“It can’t be”. The Doctor said in shock. “Elena wouldn’t… That thing whatever it is, must have control of the TARDIS. I’m sorry my boy, but it looks like.”
The doors to the church suddenly burst open, with dozens of Scarecrows emerging, screaming in rage.
“BRING ME THE BOY, HIS BLOOD MUST FLOW!” The leader shouted.
The Doctor, Yarox and his Scarecrow fled to outside the large gates to the church. The Doctor then placed his shovel in between the handles, temporarily locking the Scarecrow’s in.
The Doctor, his Scarecrow, and Yarox then fled to behind a nearby building. The horde of Scarecrow’s ran right past the two time travellers and their companions. The Demons were so consumed with blood lust that they ran almost blindly with rage through the ruins of the once happy town.
“Well looks like we’re not going anywhere soon” The Doctor said as he tended to the boy. The boy had passed out by this stage, but fortunately his wound wasn’t bleeding as the flesh had been burnt to a crisp. For all the Doctor knew however it could have been infected with an alien virus. There was nothing the Doctor could do for the boy unless he got back to the TARDIS.
“While we wait you can tell us just what is going here.” The Doctor said to his Scarecrow.
“Who is this Scratchman? Where is he from?”
“You know who he is. He is the fallen Angel, the father of lies, the Devil.”
“There is no such thing.” The Doctor said, though he sounded somewhat more unsure of himself than before. The Time Lord still didn’t believe that whatever they were dealing with was really the Devil, but it terrified him nonetheless now that his TARDIS was gone.
“You want to believe that, the same way others want to believe that they can escape him by worshipping a false god. The truth is it doesn’t matter if we kill you now. You’ll end up in his domain one way or another.”
“What do you mean.”
“Scratchman is the true creator. There is no God.” The Scarecrow said.
“Oh dear you mean all this time, I’ve just been dealing with another alien with a god complex.” The Doctor joked.
“Stupid little man. You have no idea of the agonies that await you in the pit”. The Scarecrow sneered. “Scratchman gave you all life, and with it false hope. The universe is a horrible, unforgiving place. Across the galaxies it is the norm for life forms to war with each other. From the most advanced species to simple beasts. They all slaughter each other for the most trivial reasons. Many creatures must kill others simply to survive, whilst those who dominate do so through violence and intimidation. Would a benovelent god create a universe like that?” It continued.
“Love, compassion, and the illusion of free will delude us into thinking we have a chance to escape the darkness we’re trapped in, but we don’t. They are all just part of his sick game.”
“Do you know who I was in life?” The Scarecrow continued as it pulled its mask off, revealing its hideous burnt face, charred beyond all recognition.
“I was a flower girl named Annie. I was killed in an accident when I fell off a roof I was working on. I was only 19. I never put a foot wrong in my short time on this earth. I attended church every Sunday, I looked after my mother when she was ill, I worked hard to help support the rest of my family after my fathers passing. So you can imagine my surprise when I died and found myself surrounded by Demons and fire! What was I being punished for, I asked myself every day through the endless torture? It was only after I’d lost all hope that Scratchman, or the Devil, or Lucifer whatever you may wish to call him told me the truth.
He’d not only created us, but spread the lie that there was a god who triumphed over him, who cared about us, and who was watching out for us. It allowed him to torture us in life, and even in death all the while deluding us into thinking we could escape.”
“Almost all of the monsters out there you cower from, were once ordinary, decent people. The leader of the Scarecrow’s so intent on murdering the boy? A hard working family man, but now Scratchman has taken that illusion from him, as he will one day for you.”
The Doctor tried not to show any fear to the Scarecrow, whilst Yarox barely understood a word of what the creature was saying. Clearly whatever this Scratchman creature was it had the power to drain minds into its domain from the earth, and possibly all of human history.
“How many people have I known, or saved on this planet have ended up in the monsters clutches” The Doctor thought to himself.
“Why does this Scratchman creature want my TARDIS? What are these blood rituals for?”
The Scarecrow smiled with its flaming teeth.
“He knows who you are. You’ve helped send more than a few souls to him Doctor. He’s been watching your visits to this world throughout its history. He needs your ship to shatter the barriers between realities. He’s been breaking them down slowly for a while, but the power from your ship’s core will be enough to break the final barriers. The blood sacrifices are designed to create mini portals to allow Scratchman’s more powerful minions through. None of them are big enough to allow the master to enter this world, but some of his vilest minions will already be here, though you disrupted the latest ritual. Had the Scarecrow’s slaughtered the boy they would have released the Kraken, ruler of the lake of fire. For now however he must wait on the other side.”
“How do these rituals bring these creatures into the world? I don’t believe in black magic I’m afraid so you’ll have to give me a proper explanation.”
“The master feeds on fear and misery. Through the tiny holes there are in reality, we feed the pain and suffering of the victims to our lord, which allows him to send more of us through. This is all a test for us Doctor. The Master has grown bored of this reality and wants to tear it down. We are only here to pass a test. If we bring him through then he will allow us to help build his new reality. If not then we shall return to the pit and he shall destroy this world anyway.”
“Yes well,” the Doctor said as he clutched his lapels. “I’m sorry for what that monster did to you young lady. To all of you, but whatever this creature is, it is not the creator. I’ve encountered a few psychic parasites that feed off of emotions in my time. It explains how the creature is able to manipulate human consciousness, but we can’t let its cheap tricks scare us my boy.” The Doctor said to Yarox.
“That’s what it wants. The more scared we are, the stronger it gets. We have to be strong, though I admit that’s easier said than done right now without the TARDIS.”
“I still don’t understand what’s going on Doctor.” Yarox said.
“The idea of life after death is something that we never even considered where I came from. We always viewed our own lives as expendible. How can it be possible for all those who have died throughout history to still be alive somewhere?”
“Well my boy no one really knows what awaits us on the other side, or if there even is one. I’ve cheated death 9 times and I’m still no closer to finding out about the after life than a new born baby, but I do know that the greatest mysteries of life are not going to be answered by an overgrown parasite, and the poor souls its entrapped…. Now, we need to find the other sacrifical sites. We can’t let any more of these monsters enter our world.”
Suddenly the Doctor was interrupted by a loud screeching noise. As the Time Lord looked up he saw a gigantic, snake like head emerging from the middle of the road. It was so massive that it destroyed several buildings nearby, before sinking back under the earth.
“What was that creature.” The Doctor said.
“It was the Hydra. One of the most powerful beasts of the Underworld. You can’t hope to stand against it. It will devour you all.”
“What happened?” Stanley asked.
“Just as those tentacles were about to engulf us they vanished? The ground itself sealed back up?”
“I don’t know. I wouldn’t assume its over just yet though. It may just be playing with us?” Elena said as she treaded slowly through the ruins of the village, with the survivors slowly following her.
“Stop.” Stanley shouted.
“There’s something up ahead.” They could all hear the faint sound of screaming in the distance which soon grew louder and louder.
“It’s the Scarecrow’s.” Elena said. “We have to run now.” All of the villagers knew that there was no hope of fighting the monsters off themselves. The TARDIS was the only even remotely safe place.
The Scarecrow’s spotted the fleeing villagers and pursued them relentlessly. The villagers had a good head start on the monsters, but in the frantic attempt to escape, one of the villagers, a young woman tripped and fell. None of the others noticed she was gone until it was too later. It was her brother who suddenly noticed she wasn’t with them. He turned, only to see several Scarecrow’s descend on her. The brother screamed and tried to run back to her, and Elena who noticed his screams ran back to try and help the boy.
Unfortunately the Scarecrows, were able to pounce on him., before Elena could do anything, but as she tried to run back, one of the Scarecrow’s jumped towards Elena and grabbed the mutant in it’s metal claws.
Elena struggled to pull free and managed to land a kick straight in the Scarecrow’s chest, but several more of the monsters swarmed her. As she still tried in vain to fight them off, suddenly the earth began to shake again, and in the distance Elena could see the mighty head of the Hydra emerge from under the ruins of several buildings. The creature rose to its full size out of the ground, hundreds of feet into the sky, screeching and hissing. Up close it looked more like a Dragon, with 4 legs and two massive wings. All of the villagers, who the beast had emerged right in front of stopped in terror. The Scarecrows meanwhile got on their knees and bowed to the monster. Elena herself also stood completely in shock at the sight of the beast. Even in the 31st century, she had never seen such a fearsome creature.
The Hydra’s head started to split into multiple heads until there were at least 30. Despite its tremendous size the monster moved at a lightening speed and started to pick the villagers off. They were so small to the beast that Elena wondered how it could even see them, and with just one bite the monster was able to consume several villagers at once. In less than a minute the Hydra had devoured all of the villagers. Elena ran past the bowing Scarecrow’s, but as she ran she saw that the monsters had slashed the brother and sister she had tried to save to death.
“I hope there is a hell for you all.” Elena thought to herself.
As Elena looked back she saw one of the Hydra heads swallow the TARDIS whole. It was enough to briefly stop Elena in her tracks, but that was soon to be the least of her troubles. The Hydra somehow was able to spot her from the distance. She could tell its tiny cruel little eyes, set deep into its many heads were fixated on her and the monster started to trample over the ruins of the village after her.
The Doctor, Yarox (who was still holding the boy over his shoulder) and the Scarecrow had spotted the Hydra from a distance. The Doctor had also witnessed his beloved TARDIS being devoured, along with the villagers.
“Horrible, horrible” He said to Yarox. “We can only hope Elena wasn’t in the ship. That abomination is chasing someone my boy” The Doctor continued. “Its definitely focused on something.”
“What can we do against that thing.”
“I don’t know, but we can’t just leave whoever it’s pursuing. Come on.”
“You cannot escape the Hydra” The Doctors Scarecrow said as it was forced to follow thim on this suicide mission.
The monster cornered Elena against the ruins of an old house. She had run as fast as she could, but the monsters giant size meant that it had caught up to her in a matter of seconds.
Its centre head moved slowly towards Elena, wanting to savour every moment of her terror. The Doctor, Yarox and the Scarecrow arrived just in time to see the Hyrda consume Elena in one bite.
The Doctor shouted out her name in despair. He normally even under the direst circumstances would keep his cool, but the horror of what he had just seen was too great even for the Time Lord.
The Hyrda’s heads instantly turned to the Doctor and his companion. There was no way either of them could escape now as the heads surrounded them from all sides. The heads didn’t move for a few minutes. They just stared at their prey intently.
“Doctor, Doctor, please say something.” Yarox said whilst trembling.
“Don’t give it the satisfaction Yarox, don’t give it the satisfaction.” The Doctor said whilst trying to keep his cool.
With a mighty roar the centre head of the Hyrda open its jaws and consumed the Doctor, Yarox and the boy. The Scarecrow’s apart from the Doctors all let out a cheer.
“The Master shall walk the earth again.” They cheered as the Hyrda’s heads morphed back into one and the beast took to the skies.
To Be Continued