The Doctor, Elena and Yarox had managed to trek their way through the snowstorm of Heleim with the aid of several of the Elves and their technology which did its best to shield the travellers from the lethal cold of Scratchman’s domain.
Even then however they were all finding it difficult to walk. The Doctor had almost collapsed at certain points.
“Remind me to do all of those things I said I’d only do when hell froze over old boy.” The Doctor said to Yarox through chattering teeth. “I’m a man of my word after all.”
Along the way they had been lucky enough not to encounter any of old Harry’s monstrous servants, save for the Corpse Eater. They had briefly seen the monster flying high above a few times, but fortunately it didn’t appear to notice them. The snowstorm was so fierce that they could barely see the giant above, and so not surprisingly it also missed the tiny creatures below too.
At bottom of the other end of the latest hill the Doctor, his companions and the Elves had barely managed to climb, there was the corpse of one of the Frost Giants, sprawled out below. The monster must have been over 200 feet tall. Aside from its great size it looked human for the most part, though its skin was bright blue, and it had razor sharp fangs and claws.
“I hope whatever did that isn’t still around.” The Doctor said as they prepared to slowly walk down the steep hill. Up ahead was the giant mountain the Elves leader said the portal existed on.
As the Time Lord and his companions neared the end of the hill, the Corpse Eater suddenly flew ahead of them and landed on the giant’s corpse.
“Don’t worry” the Elf leader said. “If we keep quiet he should miss us.”
Suddenly however the Frost Giant rose up and reached for the Corpse Eater.
“You really don’t stay dead long in this realm do you?”
Some of the Elves fled in panic, but the Doctor, Elena, Yarox and the Elf leader remained calm, and slowly crept out of the monsters view.
Fortunately it didn’t matter either way as the beasts were so caught up in fighting one another.
The Giant grabbed the bird by its talons and pulled it down to the snow. It then tried to stamp on the Vulture’s body, but the giant Bird wiggled free from the monsters grasp and flew straight into the Frost Giant’s face. The Giant let out a deafening scream as the Bird went sliced through one of its eyes, but the pain only drove the monster on. The giant reached out and tried to grab the Birds wings. In the struggle however the Bird managed to slash its claws across the Giants throat cutting it open.
The Giant then stumbled back a few feet, before the Bird went for its head which it caught between its two talons and started to crush, after which the Giant then collapsed face down in the snow, with the Corpse Eater landing on its back.
“He’ll only have a half hour or so to finish that meal before the Frost Giant pops up again. Should be more than enough mind you.” The Elf Leader said.
The Doctor looked up at the giant mountain ahead of them.
“We’ll never make it up there. Look how long it took just to get up that hill. I’m already struggling to stand.”
“Me too” Elena said weakly.
“We have no choice, it’s the only way up.”
Suddenly the Corpse Eater started to fly into the air screaming.
“He goes to all that effort and then he just leaves his meal?” The Doctor asked. Through the Blizzard the Elf king could see several more Frost Giants running down the hill.
“They all know this reality is crumbling” the Doctor said.
“That’s why they’re not hunting us. Doesn’t mean they won’t kill us if they see us though.”
Scratchman’s castle was now the only scrap left of the universe he had called home for the past several millenia.
In a way he was almost sad to see it go. He had spent so long in this domain, the monster felt he had time to create the perfect Demons, most of whom had fallen into the oblivion around them. Still Harry wouldn’t be losing any sleep over it.
The Demon had managed to connect the TARDIS’s “veins” to the tiny crack still left in the forcefield. The TARDIS had tried to trick the Demon a few more times, but Scratchman was either too wiley for the TARDIS, or if he did suspect trickery he would simply threaten to make the TARDIS flay more prisoners that he still kept protected from the war zone his castle had become.
“In a matter of minutes a new world will fall and tremble before my feet.” Scratchman said with giddy anticipation.
Some of Scratchman’s enemies had managed to make their way into his castle before it collapsed, thanks to the Black Knight, the armies man on the inside. Among those who had escaped the oblivion included the Queen of the Harpies, who was now possibly the last of her kind. She still fought against Scratchman’s Demons even though they had mostly been reduced to fleeing now.
The Harpy Queen picked up one of Scratchman’s most notorious torturers from the rabble of fleeing monstrosities and flew him towards the very edge of the castle that was beginning to crumble away into nothing.
“Do you remember a Harpy named Eiserka? Do you!” She screamed as she dangled him over oblivion.
“Please I can help you, I swear I can. Scratchman’s power is depleting. He is not erasing this universe out of choice, he needs to escape it as much as we do. If we strike together we can take the monster down.”
The Harpy considered this.
“He is trying to use an alien’s vessel to escape.”
“I know all about the Time Lord’s vessel. In fact chances are I knew about it before you did. Still you’ve shown me that his power over his minions is genuinely fading. I thought this reality crumbling was just his usual scorch the earth, or rather universe policy, but you’d never have told me he was weak before. I can tell when you’re lying. Still I don’t believe you were forced into hurting people at his command. I know you. You loved it.” She said as she dropped him into the abyss below.
The Harpy then flew over the crowd of Demons and monsters below.
“This universe is crumbling. Many of us suspected it for a long time, but some of us foolishly held out hope that Scratchman could be appeased, or that if we helped slaughter one another we’d be spared his wrath.
He’s going to flee this reality in a matter of minutes and leave us to go tumbling into oblivion. You can see it around you, whilst he’ll be laughing at us as he tears apart another universe. Now is the time to stop him. He’s weak, weaker than he’s ever been before, which is why he can’t hold this universe together. We can at last make him pay for turning us into his servants. What will you do, remain loyal to a Demon that’s about to condemn you to oblivion, or try and drag him down with us.”
Not all of the Demons responded to her speech, but enough of Scratchman’s minions who had barely managed to claw their way into his castle didn’t need much more encouragment to fight him. A horde of Demons and Centaurs and Satyrs charged their way through Scratchman’s halls.
The Demon had been observing this on his scanner.
“Do they honestly think that I’d get this far and let them stop me?” Scratchman said as he opened up portals to his previous hell dimensions.
A whole host of new monsters soon emerged to tackle the army, they included the gigantic Griffins from the bridge dimensions, Frost Giants and Erlik the king of the tar dimension.
“That should keep them busy. Now where were we” Scratchman said as he returned to the TARDIS.
“We’re done for.” Yarox said. “We’ll never get by that many of the Giants.”
“I doubt they’d see us through this snow storm” Yarox said.
“He’s right, we just have to hope they don’t notice us. What other choice do we have anyway?” The Doctor replied.
The weary travellers crept through the blazing storm to the side of the mountain keeping well clear of the thundering giants. Fortunately the monsters didn’t take any notice of them as they scrambled up the mountan.
“Okay we only have one chance here, we need to run into the portal and once we get there hold on.” The Doctor said.
“Yourself. I’m not naive. I don’t think Scratchman would make it easy for people just to slip through realms like that. If you thought the cold out here was bad. There’s a good chance we won’t survive.”
The travellers waited for a few more minutes until a chance presented itself, with the nearest Frost Giants being a about 30 or so feet away (though it was still hard to make out in the blizzard.)
As they prepared to scramble up the mountain however into the portal the Elves stopped the Doctor, Elena and Yarox in their tracks at the sound of a massive roar they knew only too well.
“Garmr” the leader of the Elves said.
“We need to go now.”
Before they could retreat however, a gigantic Wolf emerged from the portal. Little did the Elves know the Wolf could sense the second anyone got near the portal and could teleport there in an instant. (Virtually no Elves had ever lived long enough to reach the portal.)
There really was no escape from one of Scratchman’s hells if he didn’t want it.
The Wolf was gigantic, it must have measured over 100 feet long and stood over 50 feet tall.
Despite this however in contrast to the Corpse Eater it could see the Doctor and the others very clearly through the blizzard. Worse the Frost Giants behind had been alerted to their presence by Garmr.
As all seemed lost suddenly another figure came charging its way out of the portal and down the mountain. It was the black knight.
“Sorry for taking so long Time Lord.” The Knight said.
The Doctor tried to crawl through the snow towards Elena and Yarox. The Time Lord was so weak and in such tremendous pain from the biting cold, he couldn’t even attempt to stand up. It was taking all his effort just to hobble a few inches closer. Aside from the fearsome weather, the ground was also shaking. In the distance the Doctor could see through the blazing snow what looked like a gigantic blue skinned humanoid stumbling off of its feet. The creature must have been over 70 feet tall and had a gigantic mane of red hair and a long thick beard.
As the Time Lord’s strength quickly depleted, the Doctor could feel the beginning of his next regeneration coming.
“Not now” he thought to himself. The Doctor’s regenerations didn’t have a history of going smoothly at first, and he couldn’t afford to deal with his usual post regenerative sickness in the middle of this crisis. The Doctor had also wanted to get as much out of this body as he could. He felt he had rattled through his regenerations somewhat too quickly.
Still he didn’t have a choice, though the fact that his body had already given in didn’t look hopeful for Yarox and Elena.
“Well here we go again. Hope my next body’s stronger.” The Doctor said as he prepared for the change. A few more minutes passed however and the Doctor didn’t feel any different. In fact he could feel the regenerative powers fading which was not a good sign. The regenerative process was failing, most likely due to the extreme cold which would result in an actual death for the Time Lord.
He had only a few minutes left at the most.
“It can’t end like this.” The Doctor thought to himself. “I have to get somewhere, somewhere” In a few more seconds, the Time Lord’s last ounce of strength depleted. His arms and legs were completely stiff and lifeless from the cold. His breathing was so weak he couldn’t even scream for help. (Not that anyone would have heard in this freezing blizzard.)
Normally the Doctor didn’t fear death. He couldn’t possibly live the type of life he did, if he feared death. He’d had a good innings, (despite having maybe been a bit too reckless with his incarnations) He had lived for over 1500 earth years and over 3500 Gallifreyan years, or round about.
Still the Doctor fought to the very last second, but sadly even the his great strength of will couldn’t save him this time. He hadn’t even managed to make it to the corpses of Elena and Yarox befor collapsing dead, face down in the snow.
“You’re every bit as stubborn as that oaf who stole you. Aren’t you?” Scratchman screamed at the TARDIS.
All around him, the Demon’s entire world was begininning to crumble. The vast armies outside his castle weren’t even fighting one another anymore. They were merely scrambling for safety as more and more of the pitiful remains of this universe crumbled into the dark abyss around.
Much like the creature that had pursued Elena, some of the Demons and their victims were only to happy to fall into the comparitive peacefulness of the abyss, but others including many of Scratchman’s loyal minions desperately tried to cling on.
Scratchman placed a barrier around his castle to protect it. It was just about all he could shelter now.
Only a few hundred of his minions had managed to make it inside, or already were within the castle. Those who were trapped outside pounded furiously on the barrier for help.
“Please, please lord we have served you for centuries, we helped to bring you the Time Lord. Please!”
Scratchman however didn’t even respond. If anything their terror and misery was giving him a small boost.
Scratchman had used every trick he could to hurt the TARDIS, but he had come no closer to breaking it, and time was running out a lot faster than he had initially thought. Suddenly it dawned on him.
“Of course. You and he. You’re two peas in a pod aren’t you? Both fancy yourselves as heroes.”
Scratchman suddenly teleported a group of alien rebels from outside the castle who were fleeing the crumbling planet into the TARDIS.
“You’re too stubborn to break through pain alone. I get and respect that now. However I can break you by bringing you down to my level.” Scratchman said.
“What do you mean” one of the aliens responded.
“I’m not talking to you morons. Listen carefully.” Scratchman said to the TARDIS.
“I’m going to make you take off, but I’m going to tamper with your circuits to some extent. You won’t simply carrry the aliens with you, nor will you merely take off without them. When you dematerialise, you’ll only take the aliens skin with you, or rather you’ll rip their skin off, slowly as I’ll spin out your take off for as long as I can.”
One of the aliens started to beg Scratchman.
“Don’t do that, you know it makes him stronger.” One of the other aliens pleaded.
The TARDIS started to take off against its will, and the aliens fell to the floor in pain. They could feel all of the skin on their body being slowly pulled at by a tremendous force. Cuts, tears and splits started to appear all over their bodies.
As gruesome as it was, the TARDIS couldn’t give in now. These aliens torture would be nothing compared to what Scratchman would do to his own and countless other universes if he were freed.
“How does it feel to know that in a few minutes you’ll be a butcher of innocent people just like me? Oh sure I’m the one who is forcing you to take off, but you are still the one who is ripping their skin off of their bodies slowly. You could stop it at any point. Just drop your shields and give me access to your power centre?”
The aliens started to cough up blood, whilst the largest and strongest who had earlier forbidden his comrade to beg threw himself onto the TARDIS console and started pleading. He didn’t even know who to. It certainly wasn’t Scratchman.
The TARDIS couldn’t take it anymore and let down its shields. Scratchman however still didn’t stop the machine from taking off until the very last second. When the skin on the aliens was stretching to almost breaking point, and some of them began to pass out from the pain.
“Don’t worry.” Scratchman taunted. “I might still need them if you try anymore tricks.
The aliens were suddenly pulled into the green swamp that had replaced the TARDIS floor by several Zombified hands.
“That way I know they’re safe” Scratchman mocked. In truth they were all dead, but the monster had others he could use to force the TARDIS to do its bidding.
“Now then time is of the essence, let’s see how much power you really have. The Time Lords are such an ingenious race. Even their outdated junk is beyond most civilisations. I do so look forward to conquering them.”
“What, what’s going on.” The Doctor said as he was roused from his sleep by a strange, impish creature. It was a Elvian, Elf or Elves for short from the planet Qiras.
They were generally friendly creatures, though some of them were known for having quite a naughty sense of humour.
The Doctor saw that he had been taken to a cave of some sort, with a large fire lit in the middle.
It was still freezing however, but at least the Time Lord had the feeling back in his arms and legs.
“Doctor, Doctor.” Elena said as she came rushing out of a nearby dark cavern, wearing a coat made from some strange kind of animals skin.
“Elena I thought you were dead. In fact I was pretty sure I died out there. Where’s Yarox.”
“I’m fine Doctor.” Yarox said as he came into view from behind.
“You did die out there.” Yarox said. “We all did, but from what I’m told you never stay dead here too long.”
“No matter how you die in this place alien.” The Elf interrupted.
“Frozen out there, stomped by the frost giants, or carried away by that winged horror, or eaten by Scratchman’s guard dog. You’ll be reborn each time to die again and again. I don’t know how many times you died before we managed to drag you in here. When you die out there they all tend to blur into one, but we’ve gathered enough food and torches over the years that you might live a few more years down here without dying.”
“Thank you, but I don’t think that’s possible.” The Doctor said.
Suddenly the ground began to shake violently.
“He’s losing his grip I tell you.” One of the Elves at the back said.
“We can only hope.” Another Elf said.
“The Demon that controls our reality. In the last few years we’ve noticed the ruins of this, once proud world of Heleim crumble. Piece by piece it has begun to fall into the dark. I don’t know what that monster is planning, but now the giants spend much more time fighting among themselves than they do chasing us.” The leader of the Elves said.
“Scratchman isn’t planning anything for you lot.” The Doctor assured.
“He is losing his grip. The remains of the previous universes he’s conquered like this one are all that’s sustaining him, but even that won’t last for much longer. Unless we act fast, he’ll use my vessel to escape into my, or should I say our reality. I know your race. You don’t come from, whatever this reality used to be.”
“No we don’t. May I ask what species are you from.” The Elves leader asked.
“Ah yes I’ve heard of your kind. I always wondered if your people were real or not, but I suppose if the Devil exists.”
“Yes quite” The Doctor said.
“Not to sound rude or anything but it doesn’t really matter how we all ended up in this godforsaken place, all that matters is getting out of it.” The Time Lord continued.
“What makes you think there is a way out.” Elena asked.
“If there is a way in, there’s a way out.”
“There is a gateway” The Elf leader said.
“It’s guarded however by one the Devil’s most ferocious pets. Garmr. It rests atop the largest mountain in the valley, then there are also the Frost Giants and the Corpse Eater.”
“What’s the Corpse Eater” Elena asked.
“A gigantic undead Vulture so large its wings can create snowstorms.” The Doctor replied.
“I remember reading about it in old Norse myths.” The Time Lord continued
“We’ll never get by all those monsters.” Yarox said.
“Well like our friend said if they kill us then we’ll just come back again. Besides you also said those brutes were too busy fighting with themselves. Added to that with Scratchman’s power weakening, I’d say this is our best chance to make it through the gate and stop him.”
“All right.” The Elf leader said.
“Not that I think you have a good chance of stopping Scratchman, but at the very least it will be over. I warn you however at the first sight of Garmr I’m gone. I’ve been killed by him once before. I’d rather die a billion times in that freezing cold out there.”
“Yes well that’s not the most encouraging thing you could have said.” Elena replied.
“Come on Time Lord. You will need the skin of one of the giants for insulation. Even with that you’ll be lucky to last an hour out there in that cold. How do you plan to stop Scratchman once you have reached his palace. I take it your attempts to do so didn’t exactly go well before?”
“His power is depleting. If my ship can just hold out long enough then by the time we get there he’ll be so weak we might just have a chance at overpowering him. If not well then old Harry will have another universe to add to this gruesome collection.
Elena suddenly felt the ground beneath her feet give way. The small castle that she and that hideous abomination were hiding in began to fade away into nothing but darkness. In a last ditch attempt the mass of tormented souls that had been pursuing Elena tried to reach out and grab her, but she jumped into the black abyss that was appearing ahead.
Both she and the monster fell through an endless darkness as the last of the castle faded away into smoke.
For how long they fell, they weren’t sure. Time didn’t seem to exist in the abyss they found themselves in. In the very distance however, Elena could see what looked like a tiny window, in reality, it was the frame of the painting she had been pulled through. She dragged herself towards it as much as she could and though it seemed to get further and further away at first, just as all seemed lost she suddenly found herself right in front of the window frame and crawled through it. As the mutant looked back, she saw the abomination that had chased her falling through the endless darkness, not even attempting to flee.
In the darkness it was finally free from Scratchman’s control, and unlike Elena, the monster had no desire to escape back into the hell it came from. In this darkness will was the only thing that mattered. As there was no space or matter, when Elena tried to use force to escape through the portal it didn’t work, but ironically as soon as the portal began to fade her terror made her will strong enough to be brought towards it.
The alien knew this, but didn’t care. An eternity through nothingness was still preferrable to a second under Scratchman’s cruelty.
In this void the pain and memories of what they had lost didn’t seem to bother the creature as it sank peacefully into the darkness. Fortunately however the creature wouldn’t have to endure an eternity in this darkness, as prolonged exposure to the nothingness would eventually cause it to vanish into nothing too.
Once Elena had made her way through the portal and back into Scratchman’s castle she started to think the monster had been right not to bother. All around her were hideous monstrosities who had crawled out of the paintings. Both Scratchman’s victims who had been twisted beyond all recognition, and their tormentors who had followed them, fighting and tearing at each other. The hall itself had also vanished and was now replaced by a massive cavern made from mangled flesh and bone. In the very distance Elena could see what looked like several creatures working together in torturing a Demon. It was in fact the Demon that Scratchman had left in control of the paintings, who had earlier captured Elena.
The creature pitifully begged it’s former victims to show clemency which of course fell on deaf ears. Just as before Elena wisely stayed out of the fighting and tried to make her way through the bloodbath to find the Doctor and Yarox.
The Doctor’s attack on Scratchman had only distracted him for a few minutes, but in that time his will was distracted his entire world, or rather what was left of it had been thrown out of order. Several pocket dimensions he had created, such as the paintings had collapsed, the structure of his castle had been stripped to it’s bare bones. (Literally. The foundation of the castle was made of the corpses of the billions Scratchman had slaughtered.)
Even outside his castle, the entire landscape had been ravaged. The land split open, and the lake of torment began to flood the land. The armies fighting outside Scratchman’s castle were swept away in a tidal wave, with only a few Harpies and some of Scratchman’s Demons managing to fly away.
The waves very nearly toppled the castle itself and burst through it’s foundations, flooding the inside. Elena was barely able to escape by climbing up a nearby wall, which she was able to do easily as many of the bones were sticking out of the walls.
She was one of the few survivors to crawl or fly to safety up the castle’s walls. As Elena looked down she saw all of the Demons and their former victims suffering together in the burning green waters as they were washed away.
Scratchman was able to save the Doctor and Yarox from being swept away by the flood as it broke through the walls into his room, by lifting them through the air with his telekinetic powers.
“I don’t know why you bothered” The Doctor said defiantly.
“I’m still not going to help you.”
“Oh I know Time Lord. I’ll have to find a way to break your machine instead. You are too dangerous to be allowed to live, but well I think a little dip in my lake is too good for you. Look at the trouble you’ve caused. I have even less time to make it out of this world now. No I think I have just the right punishment in mind for you.” Scratchman said as he slowly morphed back into his humanoid form.
Scratchman carried the two time travellers down a long hall that was flooded with the lake of the damned. Along the way several of Scratchman’s most loyal minions called out to him, but he didn’t listen.
When they finally reached the end of the hall it was a gigantic silver room, with a huge hole in the centre and monitor on the wall. The water it seemed was incapable of flowing into this area. It just stopped at the entrance.
Scratchman lowered himself to just beside the hole whilst he held the Doctor and his companion above it.
“You see Time Lord it is not just this universe that sustains me. Some of the previous realities I conquered I keep around as small pockets of existence like this one. I have too. I can never tell how long it will be before I overrun each universe. I’ve been trapped in this godforsaken reality for so long now however I’ve had to eat through most of my reserves. Still these are the last of the realities I claimed as my own. They are kept alive through a special supply of energy, even your little trick couldn’t hurt them. They sustain me.”
“Don’t worry though I wont just throw you in. Where’s the fun in that? Since I might not be getting out of this, I might as well enjoy myself don’t you think?”
In truth it wasn’t just cruelty on Scratchman’s part. After the Doctors trick he needed to recharge somewhat, and this little game would at least help give him a small boost to take on the TARDIS.
Scratchman dropped the Doctor and Yarox into the hole. Below was a long, silver, yet dark corridor.
“This is a little anti climactic Harry?” The Doctor said.
A massive fire ball came hurling itself down one end of the corridor forcing the Doctor and Yarox to flee. As they ran further down the corridor, the roof suddenly disappeared.
Up above was nothing but blackness, but the Doctor and Yarox could hear screams and roars all around them. The fireball itself seemed to be screaming.
The Doctor and Yarox reached the end of the corridor where there was a portal, that looked like a hole in the ground. It led to one of Scratchman’s pocket dimensions.
The Doctor looked into the portal and saw a dimension that appeared to be nothing but a gigantic wasteland, with a huge tree in the middle. Several damned souls were trying to climb up the tree, which was covered in jagged, spiked branchses. The souls were cutting themselves on the branches the higher they climbed and were screaming, yet seemingly had no choice but to keep climbing.
“Ah you’ve reached the remains of one my favourite hell dimensions, you get the gist of the game now, if you can get out of my little maze I’ll let you go, well I’ll kill you quickly at least, well quicker than I would have. If not suffer in one of my many layers of hell.”
The Doctor helped Yarox to climb over the wall, after which Yarox then helped to pull the Doctor over just before the fireball would have struck the Doctor. The fire ball then vanished down the hole into the hell universe below.
On the other side of the wall was another fire ball that forced the two time travellers to flee up another corridor.
“It’s like we’re trapped in some gigantic, nightmarish pinball machine.” The Doctor said.
As the Time Lord and his companion turned down the nearest corner, they saw a gigantic Iron Dog, with blood and flesh dripping from its fangs. The creature charged at the two time travellers, who both jumped to either side of the wall, narrowly dodging the abomination.
They then ran ahead of it together to the end of the corridor, which ended in three more corridors.
Picking one at random the Doctor and Yarox ran down the centre corridor, only for a gigantic fireball to come rolling down the other end.
“I really hate those things.” The Doctor said as he and Yarox ran back down the way.
When they reached the end of the centre corridor again, the Iron Dog was waiting for them. Roaring and hissing, as the Doctor tried to help Yarox climb over the wall, suddenly from above a gigantic griffin like creatures emerged from the darkness and grabbed the Doctor in it’s talons. Yarox tried to pull the Doctor back down, but the Dog pounced on Yarox. The Griffin carried the Doctor high above the maze, which was absolutely enormous web of corridors, filled with fire balls, creatures and other dangers.
The Griffin dragged the Doctor to another pit at the end of a corridor and dropped him down it. The Doctor however managed to hold on the edges of the hole as he fell.
Below he could see this pocket dimension, or layer of hell, was a gigantic lake of fire, over which there was a huge suspension bridge between two large cliffs. The Doctor could see that several people were being forced to walk from one end of the bridge to the other. Each time they crossed the bridge however hideous Griffin like creatures, similar to the monster that had brought the Doctor to the pit in the first place would attack them, and force most of them into the fire below.
The Doctor tried to crawl back up, but each time he did the Griffin would fly back down and claw at him.
Yarox meanwhile was able to wriggle free from the Iron Dog when it bit into his back as the creature (which stood over 7 feet tall) only grabbed a flap of his clothes which when he pulled it ripped, allowing him to then slide under the monster undetected.
Yarox then ran down the right of the 3 corridors. Once he reached the end of it he came across two large wooden doors without any handles. He tried to push them open, but suddenly the doors started to pull open at either side, revealing the two doors to be a mouth, filled with razor sharp teeth.
The mouth which dribbled green, acidic saliva started to snap shut furiously and moved down the corridor after Yarox. Unfortunately at the other end the Dog was already waiting for him. With nothing left to lose and in a rush of adrenaline, Yarox jumped at the Dog as it leaped at him. Grabbing onto it’s head, he jumped over the beasts head and onto it’s back.
Whilst it was distracted trying to shake him off, the Dog failed to notice the wooden mouth that charged at him. Within a few seconds the two doors lined with razor sharp teeth had closed around the Dog’s head, ripped it off and crushed it into powder. The two doors then crushed and consumed the rest of the animal, whilst Yarox made his way down the left corridor.
Elena meanwhile had managed to make her way to Scratchman’s control room. Crawling along the walls of the rapidly crumbling castle, she could see that the water stopped at the silver corridor and crawled along towards it. Once she was near enough she then jumped onto the metal corridor.
Elena could see Scratchman watching the Doctor and Yarox struggling in his twisted game on the massive computer screen. Scratchman was hysterical with laughter at the two time travllers plight.
Elena knew it was pointless to try and attack Scratchman. There was no way she could hurt him, and she’d probably vaporize herself if she touched him.
Even if she tried to help the Doctor then Scratchman would still see her on his monitor. Still she couldn’t just leave him dangling over one of Scratchman’s worst layers of hell.
Elena jumped down the hole into the maze. There she ran down the corridor until the roof disappeared. She then seeing a fireball heading in her direction jumped up to the top of the wall beside her. It took her a few goes, and it was only on her last attempt that Elena managed to grab the top of the wall with her finger tips, and pull herself up before the fireball consumed her.
Balancing herself on the top of the thin wall, Elena looked all over the maze, which did resemble a gigantic pinball machine with giant flaming pinballs running down almost every corridor. In the distance she could see the Griffin hovering over the Doctor.
Wasting no time, Elena jumped from the top of one wall to another until she reached where the Doctor was. Catching the Griffin off guard with a powerful kick to the head, she managed to send it flying over the top of the nearest wall, before helping the Doctor up.
“Elena, I honestly thought I’d never see you again, then again, I didn’t think I’d ever seen anything again dangling over that abyss. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, where’s Yarox?”
“I don’t know we got separated in this overgrown pinball machine, come on we need to find him.”
The Griffin suddenly re-emerged from behind the wall furious, causing both the Doctor and Elena to flee, though Elena was able to land a good kick onto the monsters chest first.
The Doctor and Elena both called out for Yarox across the maze.
“Doctor? Elena? You’re both alive. I’m over here. Two corridors down.” Yarox shouted.
Elena and the Doctor tried to run down the nearest corridor in Yarox’s direction, but it was blocked by two skeletons holding two shields with Scratchman’s human form on them, smiling.
Elena tried to kick the shield but she suffered an electric shock, whilst the Skeletons were unaffected. As the Doctor helped Elena up, he saw the Skeleton’s as well as Scratchman’s face on both shields laughing hysterically.
With the Griffin not far away, the Doctor and Elena realised that they didn’t have time to try and fight through the Skeleton’s and so the Doctor helped Elena over the wall, but on the other side was red water rather than a floor. Elena jumped over to the top of the wall to the other side, after helping the Doctor up.
Unfortunately when the Doctor prepared to jump over, a gigantic snake like creature emerged from the water. Hissing and snapping at the Doctor, Elena kicked the monster from behind, distracting it and allowing the Doctor to jump over, though he landed on his stomach over the wall. Whilst his feet dangled over the red water, another snake like creatures head began to emerge, but Elena pulled herself and the Doctor over to the other side before they could do anything.
As soon as they landed on the other side however, two fireballs from either direction came charging at them.
“Oh give us a break.” Elena said.
“I think you’ve forgotten where you are supposed to be”. Scratchman said.
Again the Doctor helped Elena up, but before she could return the favour, the Griffin returned and grabbed the Doctor.
A tug of war ensued with Elena only barely holding on to the Doctor. Fortunately the two fireballs below colliding caused a mine explosion which knocked the Doctor, Elena and the Griffin backwards.
The Doctor and Elena who had fallen to the other side, picked themselves up and ran down the nearest corridor, but at the end of it was another hole which led to a very different type of hell dimension.
This dimension was nothing more than a hideous swamp of black tar, though at the centre of the tar was a giant throne, atop which a massive Demon with horns and a pig like face sat.
“Erlik has been so desperate to torture the Time Lord in his swamp. Looks like he’ll get his wish after all” Scratchman laughed.
A fireball blocked off the way back, but the Griffin flew towards the Doctor and Elena.
In desperation the Doctor attacked the Griffin and grabbed it by the talons. Elena soon joined in and together the two of them were able to pull the Monster down for a few seconds before it flew away, with both still holding onto either claw.
Whilst the Griffin struggled to kick them away in the air, the Doctor got a good look around and saw Yarox running down a nearby corridor from another flaming ball.
He and Elena then jumped away from the Griffin and landed in front of Yarox.
“Doctor, Elena” he said with joy.
“We’ll talk later” the Doctor said as he and Elena ran ran down the long corridor, but on the right hand wall, the three fleeing time travellers were distracted by what looked like a door to another one of Scratchman’s pocket dimensions.
The three saw a woman standing in the doorway, though to the three of them she appeared very differently. The Doctor saw her as a hideous Demonic hag, whilst Yarox saw her as the most stunningly beautiful woman he had ever seen with flame red hair, and piercing green eyes. Elena meanwhile saw a relatively ordinary woman.
The Doctor was the first to break out of the trance and pulled his two companions out of it.
They soon reached the end of the corridor, which was another portal on the ground. This time it led to a version of hell that appeared to be nothing but a Frozen wasteland. As the Doctor prepared to help his two companions up the nearest wall again, the walls around them suddenly grew to over 60 feet tall.
“Not very sportsman like Harry” The Doctor said.
“Again I think you’ve forgotten who you were talking too? Be glad I gave you a chance for as long as I did.”
The Doctor and his two companions tried to push at the walls as hard as they could, but it was no use. As the fireball hurled towards them they had no choice but to jump through the portal into Scratchman’s frozen wasteland below.
Scratchman burst out laughing.
“Poor Doctor. If this had been any other time I would have given him more of a chance, but ah well time is short. He brought it on himself.”
Scratchman turned around causing the water flooding his castle to retreat and the walls to turn to fire again, rejuvinated from the Doctor and his companions fear.
“Let’s just hope his little machine is smart enough to realise I don’t appreciate or respect stubborness.”
In the wasteland below the Doctor struggled to move the cold was so biting. His people the Time Lords could withstand the cold to a much greater extent than human beings, but even he was beginning to pass out. Around him Elena and Yarox were both completely unconscious.
“Elena, Yarox.” The Doctor said weakly. “Please, we have to move, find shelter or we, we” He collapsed face first into the snow.
Elena had managed to make it past the warring monsters to the gates of the castle having wisely avoided taking part in any of the fighting. (Even with her skills in Arcturan Kung Fun, she would have been cut down in seconds if she had.)
Surprisingly the castles two front doors were open, and there were no guards at the castle door which worried her greatly. Still Elena couldn’t stay out here for any longer and she just had to assume that Scratchman’s guards were all caught up in the battle. Behind her most of the lesser Demons and Aliens had been slaughtered and it was only the most powerful left including the leader of the Harpies who still fought valiantly.
Inside the castle was a massive hall, filled with paintings of strange creatures being attacked by Scratchman’s monsters.
As she walked down the massive hall ahead slowly, keeping an eye out for any of Scratchman’s minions she felt she could hear faint screams coming from the paintings.
Elena walked towards one of the paintings of a strikingly beautiful Cyclops woman with green hair.
Below it read “The great Siclea, once a hero of her people the Uriox. She thought she could defeat Scratchman.”
In the painting, Siclea looked miserable. There was a single tear coming down her face.
Next to the painting of Siclea was a painting of a large Centaur with a hideous Demon riding on it’s back. The caption read. “See what happens when you cross old Harry?”
When Elena looked back at the painting of Siclea a hideous, pig faced, green skinned, slimy Demon was now grabbing her throat from behind.
The screams suddenly got louder and louder,so much that Elena started to back off, but when she turned around she saw that the front door to Scratchman’s castle had vanished.
It was now an endless corridor of paintings at both ends. Elena ran deeper into the castle as there was no way of going back.
As she ran down the corridor however, a brick wall suddenly appeared, followed by the sound of cruel, mocking laughter.
“You’ll look good on my wall. I do so love collecting pretty girls.” A hideous, high pitched voice screeched from all around.
Elena’s attention was suddenly drawn to a blank painting by the wall. She didn’t want to look at it, but she couldn’t look away. Some force was pulling her towards it.
Underneath the painting was a caption.
“Elena. She really should have stayed in the 31st century.”
Elena tried to pull away from the seemingly empty canvas, put the same powerful force pulled her hand through it. The canvas suddenly turned to water when she touched it, and in a few minutes the Mutant was pulled through.
On the other side of the painting was the courtyard of a tiny castle, overlit by a black, thunderous sky above. When Elena tried to leave the courtyard via a drawbridge, she was held back by an invisible barrier.
She pounded and kicked on the barrier as hard as she could, but it made no difference.
“There is nothing beyond that wall.” A voice from above said.
As Elena turned around she saw a hideous giant creature emerge from the tallest tower at the end of the courtyard. The beast’s large, shapeless body was covered in faces, almost all of them screaming. The largest face at the centre however spoke.
“This is all that is left of the planet Orisa. All of the paintings you passed. They are what is left of many of the worlds in this universe. Scratchman destroyed most of the planets and used their remains to build his domain out there.
What was left of some other planets however, he turned into these pocket dimensions to torture anyone brave and stupid enough to try and break into his castle.”
“What are you going to do to me” Elena asked.
“We don’t want to. We have no choice. We were all once individuals. A race. We survived the appocalypse of our world, but Scratchman fused us all together. We’re in a state of constant agony. Our identities constantly merge, we share each others pain. None of us even know who we were originally. You will be absorbed into us.”
“Yeah sorry I’ve never been good with crowds.” Elena said as she frantically ran around the castle from the gigantic abomination. The beast must have stood over 12 feet tall. It didn’t really have a shape. It was just a mass of flesh, faces, and blood. It slid down the tower of the castle like a snake.
It was fast despite it’s massive bulk, but Elena still managed to keep ahead of the monster.
“You cannot escape us. You will tire eventually and one touch is all we need.”
Some of the faces begged the monster to show clemency.
“Please how can you, we, condemn another person to this fate.”
“You know we have no choice.”
Elena tried to throw a torch from a nearby tower into the monster, but it merely bounced off of it’s flesh.
There was nothing she could do to even slow the monster down. All Elena could do for now was to flee.
The Doctor and Yarox were forced to follow Scratchman through his dark, cobweb ridden corridors.
“You know for an all powerful being, you haven’t half let this place go to the dogs?” The Doctor said.
“I like cobwebs. Spiders torturing flies? It’s like a tiny little appetizer for me.” Scratchman said.
As they reached the end of the corridor, Yarox and the Doctor could hear what sounded like the TARDIS taking off.
“What are you doing to my TARDIS.” The Doctor asked.
“I would have thought you of all people would know the sound of your own TARDIS screaming Doctor?” Scratchman said with a perverse delight as he threw open the two doors at the end of the corridor.
To his horror the Doctor could see the TARDIS completely encased in flames. It looked as though it was made of fire.
“I told you I need her energy to free myself from this hell. She was uncooperative. So I tried to make her see reason. She’s rather stubborn like you old boy. Normally I love it when they struggle. It just makes it all the more fun when they break, but I am on a time limit here so if you will just make her see reason.”
Yarox could see the Doctor was repressing his rage and anguish. No matter what the danger, in the brief time Yarox had known him, the Doctor had always kept his calm, even remained jovial in the face of danger. Now however at the sight of his TARDIS suffering, the Doctor could barely contain his anger.
“Please.” The Doctor begged.
“Don’t hurt her. I’ll do anything you want.”
Scratchman smiled.”People always reach a breaking point. I knew for you it would be your oldest companion. It’s quite pathetic really. You love that machine like a pet.”
“Call me Harry” Scratchman said as he made the flames vanish.
“You have a few minutes to link up the TARDIS to the rip. No tricks or else I’ll make you burn along with your machine Time Lord.”
The Doctor entered the interior of the TARDIS, which had been twisted beyond all recognition. The walls were broken and bleeding, there were hideous insect like creatures swarming the walls, the floors were covered in a disgusting, foul smelling, green slime and on the scanner was footage of people being tortured.
The Doctors hearts sank as he saw what had been done to his beloved machine.
“Oh trust me I can do much, much more” Scratchman taunted.
The Doctor started to mess around with the console, whilst Scratchman waited impatiently.
“So” Scratchman said to Yarox.” “I didn’t catch your name.”
“Here it is.” The Doctor said as he held up a cable he had pulled from the TARDIS’ console.
“This is like the TARDIS version of veins in a human or Time Lord body. Just connect this to what you want and you can suck the machines blood as it were out.”
“You can’t really be doing this Doctor?”
“I’d rather the TARDIS die now than let it live on in this state for any longer.”
“You’re a smarter man than I thought Time Lord”.
“Yes I am.” The Doctor said as he whipped out his sonic screwdriver, and activated the controls.
Scratchman suddenly screamed as the TARDIS took off. The TARDIS however only managed to take off briefly before crashing back down again.
“You think I’d give him the TARDIS?” The Doctor said boastfully. “It was an experiment.”
“You see Yarox this entire reality is hanging by a thread. Scratchman may like to act laid back and in control, but every second for him is a struggle to hold these, pitiful remains of a universe together. If we can break his concentration for long enough, this place will collapse and Scratchman will be trapped. When I gave him the TARDIS control, I was able to drain just an iota of his energy through it, and power the old girl to teleport. As it was we still couldn’t get out of here. Scratchman still held onto us, but that second where his concentration was split will have repurcussions. If we can only find a way to distract him for long, then we can break this realm, and destroy Scratchman’s food source leaving him trapped.”
“I should have known that you wouldn’t give in to him. You even had me worried there.”
“Yes well whilst I obviously would never give in to Scratchman, though I must admit we have quite a job redecorating ahead us. Still the old girl is as tough as an old pair of boots Yarox. If Scratchman thinks he can get to her or me with this bag of parlor tricks then he’s as stupid as he looks.
“What about the creatures in this reality Doctor?”
“I’m afraid there is nothing we can do for them. That battle was lost a long time ago.”
“We can’t just leave an entire universe to die.”
“You think I want too. Besides it isn’t an entire universe. It’s the last scrap of one. If Scratchman get’s free, he’ll destroy billions more.”
Just then Scratchman appeared on the TARDIS scanner. His face had begun to morph into his true form. He was still humanoid in shape, but his skin was beginning to catch fire, whilst his eyes formed into thick black pieces of charcol.
“Time Lord you will suffer.” The Doctor switched the scanner off before Scratchman could finish his threats.
As the Doctor tried to make the TARDIS take off again however, suddenly the console lit up in flames. The Doctor and Yarox tried to make it for the doors which started to close, whilst several rotting hands started to emerge from the slimy green floor. Yarox managed to pull free from the hands and grab hold of the two TARDIS doors, whilst the Doctor struggled.
They were burning to the touch and scalded his hands badly. Several of the hideous insect like creatures also started to crawl all over Yarox’s hands and bite his fingers. Still he held on long enough for the Doctor to pull free from the hands on the floor. The Doctor then helped Yarox pull open the two doors and escape.
Outside the two found they were still in the castle. The TARDIS must have taken them a mere twenty feet before Scratchman managed to stop the machine in it’s tracks. Nevertheless the effects of the Doctors brief attack on Scratchman were evident.
The entire castle was overwhelmed with hideous creatures and nightmarish monsters, all fighting with one another.
At the top of the room however Scratchman himself, gigantic flaming wings emerging from either side of his back, he flew over the crowd of monsters.
“You thought you could trick me Time Lord. You will suffer in the deepest, darkest pit of my domain.”
“I’m sorry it’s taken us this long to meet. I’ve been a fan of yours for quite some time, Doctor. You’ve sent more humans to me than you’d think, like when you torched Rome. I got quite a few good souls out of that blaze.” Scratchman said as he led the Doctor and Yarox up a large staircase.
“You did what?” Yarox asked?
“It was an accident. Plus it wasn’t really me, it was Nero.”
“Yes but you were his muse, shall we say Doctor.”
“Something like that.” The Doctor said as he struggled up the steps, with Yarox even having to help him out. They’d been following Scratchman for the last twenty minutes from when he had first led them from the cave. It had all begun to take an effect on the Doctors more frail body.
“Now, now Doctor I can always kill you and you can regenerate into a younger, much fitter man if you want?” Scratchman taunted.
“Thanks for the offer, but I can’t see you leaving much left to regenerate.”
“That’s true I do get a little carried away.”
All round the stair case were gigantic Demons and nothing but fire. The screams of the damned souls were defeaning at the ground level, but as they reached the top, they became almost completely silent.
At the top of the stair case were two gigantic doors made of still dripping flesh and bone. They both swung open on Scratchman’s mental command, whilst inside was a long gold dinning table, with several figures, whose heads were nothing but blue flame, darted around the room. The figures remained completely still, though Scratchman assured the Doctor that they were very much alive.
There were several paintings of Scratchman and his Demon hordes invading planets on the left hand side of the room, whilst on the right hand side there was a gigantic window, with a view of the hellish landscape outside.
Just below the castle the Doctor could see the war between Scratchman’s horde and the resistance. Beyond the battle however were massive mountains, and pits, all of which were filled with the souls of humans and other strange creatures being subject to the most horrific torture.
“Those idiots trying to make their way into this castle. There is only one way to get to the tower. All the others lead to some rather nasty little traps I’ve set out.” Scratchman said as he sat down and conjured up a glass or red wine for himself.
“I must admit I’m surprised given how elaborate everything else is here that you’ve chosen such a shall we say human appearance? Is that just for our benefit.” The Doctor asked.
“Oh I assure you Time Lord. Nothing here will be for your benefit. I like this face. It belonged to someone from this universe before I took it over. He was a man like you Doctor. He was a traveller, but after saving a few worlds, he got delusions that it made him some kind of hero. He thought I was just another two bit villain for him to defeat and boast about to his followers after. In all fairness he did give me some trouble, but in the end he now rots at the bottom of this castle. I took his face because it used to represent hope to people. He loved that. It meant more to him than anything else, so I thought it would be funny if his face came to represent fear and terror to all the people he once tried to save. I was thinking about doing the same to you, but you’ve had 10 already. You can never hold on to one too long can you?”
“Yes well this has been fun eh, Scratchman? Or do you prefer Satan?”
“Please call me Harry Scratch. I’ve forgotten my real name, if I ever had one. I’ve been given so many over the millions of years by so many people and they’re always so damn negative. I try my best to be liked damn it. Harry Scratch I think has a more casual sound to it, don’t you.”
“You’re a monster.” Yarox said.
“You’re only just getting that now.” The Doctor replied sarcastically.
“I am a monster to you, yes, but then tell me Doctor, what intelligent species doesn’t exploit and slaughter what it perceives to be lesser creatures for it’s own survival? The great predators of the earth, such as the Lion, the Shark, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, they all hunt less intelligent, weaker creatures do they not? Humanity is not much better. Look at the way they treat animals? A butchers shop may look harmless to you Doctor, but to the species strung up in it’s windows, it’s no worse than my pit out there.”
“You don’t just kill, you torture your victims. You break them them down to your level.” The Doctor protested.
“You are wrong, I feed on fear, chaos and pain. I need it as you need food. I sacrifice lesser creatures to keep myself alive, the same way a human does when it sinks it’s teeth into a steak. The gulf between even you and me, Time Lord is far beyond that of a human and animal. My lifespan is greater than that of entire universes, I have knowledge that even your people would never understand. You are all nothing to me, and so I therefore see no evil in making you suffer to prolong my own life, anymore than a farmer does when he slits a bovid’s throat.”
“In spite of your supposed superiority, you still need me and my old, broken down, obsolete Time machine hmmm.” The Doctor said as he proudly clutched his lapels.
“Yes well that’s only because of the tight situation I have found myself in. Eons ago when I first conquered this universe, the latest in billions I have destroyed I was sealed in here by the inhabitants of another reality. ” For the first time Scratchman started to show anger as he spoke.
“Now, now Harry, you of all people can hardly complain about people not playing fair.” The Doctor said.
“Yes well anyway.” Scratchman continued. “For thousands of years I had to make do with just this one universe, and the remains of a few I’d conquered before, but it wasn’t enough.
The universe was gradually decaying into nothing, and with it my food. Once it had gone, I’d be left here all alone, still trapped by the barrier, but unable to get more food. I’d rot away to nothing. The only reason this place is still standing is because of me.”
“Not much of a claim when you’re the one who more or less tore it apart in the first place Harry.” The Doctor replied flippantly.
“Yes quite, but then when all hope for me seemed lost, I noticed a tiny little rip in the barrier. When I was at full power and had struck at the barrier with all of my fury. I didn’t realise it until much later, but I had obviously managed to create a little break. The rip led to a small seemingly insignificant planet named earth.
“I don’t think I like where this is going” The Doctor said.
“For centuries I could only peer through the rip. A few delusions of grandeur here, the odd lingering resentment towards something, or someone. I was also able to send through the odd creature, and absorb several human minds both before and after death into this reality.
Over the centuries the primitives told stories about me, even came up with ideas to comfort themselves about how only the wicked were sent to my domain. You should see the looks on the faces of the humans who lived an honest life when they arrive here. Even after centuries they still can’t take it in.”
“I can imagine” The Doctor replied in a dry tone.
“Yes well that’ll teach them to think they’re better than anyone else. Still whilst it was an amusing distraction from my impending death, toying with the primitives, it was only when I saw your vessel arrive at various different points that I realised I could free myself. Other aliens had visited the earth, such as that worthless Charon. However none of them had the technology you did. It took me a while to realise you were different. At first I didn’t even know you were the same man, but my followers kept note of enough of your visits to slowly learn the trut.
For centuries I’ve used all my power to widen the rip to send through more of my minions to capture you. Finally I was able to send through the army on that Island to try and trap you. I knew you’d show up sooner or later to something like that, though I was disappointed at how unprepared my warriors were. I’m glad at least that Pan was of use to me. They were my best warriors as well.
Your machine, old, outdated and worthless as it may be.” The Doctor was getting visibly annoyed at Scratchman talking about the TARDIS that way, but of course the Demon didn’t care and continued.
“It still contains tremendous power. If I were to link it to the to the rip and drain all of it’s energy into it, it might widen the rip just large enough for me to pass through completely. I’ll have to be at my lowest stage even to get through it. Right now it’s still too small for me even if I were completely drained. Your machine is the key Doctor. It’s quite funny in a way. When you ran away to go exploring, you never thought how reckless it was to take a piece of advanced technology like the TARDIS with you? If it weren’t for your carelessness I would never have gained the means of my escape.”
“Yes well I could be forgiven for not thinking, oh dear Satan is going to steal my ship and use it escape from hell, when I first ran away.”
“Well maybe next time you’ll be more careful. I need you to help me break through your ships defences Doctor. Oh sure in time I could easily rip through them, but I don’t have much time. Its taken all of my limited power to hold this planet together. My power is only great in this castle. That’s the real reason I didn’t come and get you myself. If I had left this place for even a few minutes I’d have been drained.”
“Why would I help you? Aside from the obvious, you can’t threaten me with anything but death. If what you say is true in a few days, maybe even a few hours this entire place will crumble.”
“I have enough power Time Lord to ensure that at least one person will become an immortal like me, and share my fate in the eternal nothingness this universe will soon become. I can think of no one better to take my frustration’s out on than you, Time Lord.”
“Well when you put it that way.” The Doctor said.
“Tell me where do you come from.” The Doctor asked.
Scratchman seemed to stop for a minute at the Doctor’s question.
“Why do you care Time Lord?”
“I always care. That’s what got me into this mess in the first place.”
“If we had only ignored that Scarecrow.” Yarox said.
“No I was talking about my life.”
“I don’t know where I came from.” Scratchman said, honestly.
“My first memory is of nothing but fire, pain and struggling with a creature like me before being cast across the stars, that I later destroyed. I tell my followers here that I am god, because I feel it makes no difference. To them I am a deity, and I also believe firmly that I am part of his plan too.”
“You believe in a supernatural creator? What makes you think that you weren’t just some cosmic accident hmm”
“Something like me could not come about by accident, Time Lord. I am designed to feed on the suffering of others. I am part of the Creators plan. He clearly is not benevolent. How could he be if he created me. As far as I am concerned, I am following the universal way of life for stronger life forms to dominate lesser creatures. Now then let’s not delay any longer shall we? I so can’t wait to visit your reality properly.”
“There it is. The cave of the destroyer.” Charon said.
“The Kraken should be here already. I’m scared. I never thought I’d want to see that monster.”
“Well we can’t just wait for him to turn up.” The Doctor said nervously.
“Come on enough dilly dallying.”
As the ship moved closer to the cave however, suddenly it was rocked by something so hard it knocked the Doctor, Yarox and all of the damned souls off of their feet.
Charon scrambled to his feet and opened the hatch. Up above he saw a sight that terrified even he, the man who had been killed an immeasurable number of times already.
It was the sight of literally hundreds of Demons descending from the firey skys up above. These weren’t just any old Demons however. They were Scratchman’s personal army. It hadn’t taken Scratchman long to realise that something was wrong. (This was his domain after all.)
“There’s no chance we can fight those monsters off.” Charon said.
“We can’t just give up” the Doctor responded, only to see that all of those around, save for Yarox (who didn’t really know the gravity of the situation) had done just that.
“Trust me there’s no point, those Demons are the strongest force Scratchman has.” The female ghost said. “It would take.” Before she could finish, she and the others were suddenly alarmed by the sight of hundreds of Harpies, flying towards the Demons. Within a matter of seconds the Demons and the Harpies became caught in a truly vicious conflict with one another.
“It can’t be?” The female Ghost said.
“The Harpies are launching a full scale war.”
“They won’t stand a chance.” Charon said.
Sure enough the Demons were easily dominating the Harpies in the fight. Just one of Scratchman’s hideous minions was able to tear apart three of the Harpies at once. Still the Harpies at least vastly outnumbered this small army of Demons. They were only able to inflict a few small casualties on the Demons, but nevertheless the Harpies sacrifices were keeping the Demons away from the Doctor and the others.
The largest of the Demons kept tearing its way through the Harpies to try and get at Charon’s vehicle, but every time it did, more Harpies would surround it.
Some of the damned souls from the lake tried to join in the battle as some of the Demons and the Harpies flew closer to the lake. The very few who came in on the Harpies side were dispatched easily.
The way Charon’s ship had come had been completely cut off by hordes of Demons and Harpies fighting.
“We have to move now” The female Ghost said. “We have to get you and your craft out of this reality Time Lord. You must promise us that when you get back to your reality, you will let the great powers of your universe know about what is happening here. Quarrantine the earth if need be to stop Scratchman from using any other unwitting alien like yourself’s technology from being used by this Demon.”
“I promise” the Doctor said, though he didn’t really mean it. The Doctor wasn’t sure about letting other life forms know about the earth. For all he knew it could make it more of a target. Other life forms could want to destroy the earth to prevent any chance of Scratchman from clawing his way into our universe. Other aliens meanwhile might stupidly come to the earth for the challenge and glory of being the one to defeat Scratchman. At the same time however, the Ghost was right. Unless the portal to Scratchman’s realm was closed, the monster could always use any other stray alien’s technology for his own ends, or even humanity itself once it reached a certain stage of development.
Still he couldn’t worry about that now. All that mattered was getting the TARDIS.
“We still need to get to Ammit’s cave.” The female Ghost said.
“Why?” Yarox asked.
“Would you rather go through the war up ahead?”
“Well I’m just glad that once we get there it will be all over for me.” Charon said as he headed towards the cave.
Just as Charon moved the ship forward however the Kraken’s tentacles started to emerge from the water.
Charon froze for a few seconds before driving his ship furiously into the monsters tentacles.
He didn’t even push the monster back an inch. It simply grabbed the ship and lifted it off the ground.
“Akasio, Leranak, Hesial” The female ghost chanted which caused the Kraken to drop the vessel and become docile.
Charon for the first time drove the ship past the Kraken, but just before he reached the cave he stopped.
“What are you doing? We don’t have much time.” The Ghost said frantically.
“Just one thing.” Charon said as he opened the hatch. Outside whilst the Harpies and Demons were fighting. (Or rather the Harpies were being slaughtered.) Charon spat on the docile Kraken.
“I couldn’t have died for good without doing that.” He said.
On the other side of the valley meanwhile, the rest of the rebellion were preparing to launch their attack on Scratchman’s castle. The castle was made entirely from the bones of various creatures. Literally entire species worth of life forms had been sacrificed just for Scratchman’s fancy palace.
Elena had joined the army advancing to the front. The Harpies did not know or even trust her, but they needed all of the forces they could get.
This was where the bulk of the army was. Hundreds of Harpies in the sky, as well as two gigantic Dragons and, centaurs, cyclops and living skeletons marching on the ground.
The army did not take much convincing to launch the attack. They had become restless waiting in the mountain for so long. Even after all this time, the creatures underestimated Scratchman
“There is a future for us you know.” Elena said to one of the Cyclops, who she naturally felt a certain kinship with.
“I’m from it. I know that Scratchman doesn’t win. Well I know its possible that he doesn’t win at least. The Doctor tells me that we make our own past when we time travel. Its always the present for us if that makes sense, but.”
“Please I don’t need extra encouragment. I’d gladly die 1000 times if it meant trapping that monster in here. This entire world is crumbling. Why do you think he sent his minions to bring you and the Doctor here? He is at his strongest in his castle, but even then his power decreases every day. Oh Scratchman denies it, even some of our generals deny it and hold onto false hope that one day he can be overcome. The sad truth is this entire reality has been bent and broken so much that even Scratchman can’t sustain it for long. When it vanishes he’ll be trapped in the eternal nothingness that this universe will become. Unable to draw energy from any other reality, any life form. We’ll all die, but we’ll be free. He’ll be condemned to an eternity of torment by us if we can just hold him.
“But don’t you want to save your world? You’re happy to see your history, your culture just vanish in the blink of an eye.”
“It vanished a long time ago, and it wasn’t in the blink of an eye. Now the monster responsible will pay.”
As they advanced on the castle, hordes of monsters began to emerge from all around. Giant horned Demons, creatures made of fire, rotting corpses, they came from the castle, the flaming sky, from out of the ground.
One of the Dragons up above flew down towards the horde and breathed fire on all of the monsters turning the Demons into ash, whilst the creatures made of flames dissipated.
However just as it looked as though the tide could be turned in the rebels favour, 5 more Dragons from Scratchman’s castle emerged from the top of the highest tower. None of Scratchman’s Dragons were as powerful as the two the army had managed to capture however. That had been their greatest victory against Scratchman in all the milennia they had been fighting the monster.
However whilst Scratchman’s Dragons were not as powerful, they were still strong enough to divert the Dragons attention away from the forces below, causing the rebels to lose their advantage. On the ground the rebels again were no match for Scratchman’s forces.
During the fight, Elena much to her shame kept to the side and tried to avoid fighting any of the monsters. It didn’t take her long to realise that fighting these beasts wasn’t a smart option. The Cyclops she had spoken too was killed in a matter of seconds by a large flaming Demon, before he could even lift his sword.
She hoped that perhaps she could sneak her way into the castle, which is where the TARDIS most likely would be. She had no idea what she was going to do when she got there, but it was better than just getting pointlessly killed on the battlefield.
The Doctor, Charon, Yarox and the rest of the ghosts meanwhile had made their way deep into Ammit’s cave. The inside appeared to be a gigantic temple. The ruins of whatever civilisation had once thrived on the planet Scratchman had decided to make his base of operations.
On the walls were paintings of incredible creatures, either the rulers of this once proud world, or perhaps the Gods they had once worshipped. It seemed likely that Scrachman would choose a holy building as the place to keep his most vile, and feared pet.
“I don’t like this. The Destroyer should be here. It’s toying with us.” The female Ghost said.
“I hope Scratchman hasn’t killed her just to spite us.” Charon replied.
As they reached the end of the cave they saw a gigantic wall of fire.
“I don’t think my sonic screwdriver will crack that lock.” The Doctor said.
“Its okay we have enchantments that can break Scratchman’s wall of fire, we’ll have to move quickly.” The female Ghost said.
As sson as she started the ritual however, the ground below her started to shake, enough to knock the Doctor and the others off of their feet.
Before any of them could get up, a gigantic Crocodile’s head came bursting through the ground and devoured the Ghost lady in a single bite.
“Ammit” Charon said excitedly. “Peace at last.”
Ammit soon burst out of the ground completely. Its body was over 50 feet long. Just as described in the myths, its head was a Crocodile, whilst its body was that of a Lion, and its legs were that of a Hippo. Its head was also covered in a large man too.
Everyone ran from the beast except for Charon, who ran towards it.
Yarox and the Doctor only noticed at the last minute, but could do nothing to help him. In one bite, Ammit swallowed the ferryman of the dead.
The monster lumbered after the Doctor, Yarox and the remaining souls, all of whom it picked off one by one, until only the Doctor and Yarox were left.
The Doctor felt that perhaps the souls much like Charon were desperate to be free of their burden too. Had he and Yarox perhaps been misled by those ghosts into going on this suicide mission.
Ammit smashed all of pillars and ruins as he furiously chased after the Time Lord and Yarox. Both stuck together in the confusion, though at one point they did become separated by a falling pillar. There was nowhere for them to run. Each time the Doctor and Yarox made it to the entrance, the Kraken’s tentacles would rise from the depths, whilst at the other end, the flaming wall kept them out. Each time they ran around the Doctor searched for a tiny hole and opening, but he found nothng. Not even some where to hide.
By the 6th time they had run around, the Doctor was so exhausted that he almost collapsed.
“This isn’t the most athletic body I’ve ever had Yarox I’m afraid.” The Doctor said through gasps of air.
“We can’t give up now Doctor.”
“I don’t want too, but I think I’m going to pass out.
As Ammit advanced on them again, the fire door suddenly vanished and a tall, middle aged man, with greying dark hair, a handsome face and a bright orange suit emerged. Ammit instantly bowed in reverence too him.
“Watching you run away from the monster stopped being amusing after the third time, but I could never go easy on you.” The man said in a thick American accent.
“Allow me to introduce myself Time Lord. I am Harry Scratch.”
The Harpys talons tightened around Elena’s shoulders enough to draw blood as the Cyclops struggled to break free. Elena’s constant fighting very nearly caused the Harpy to lose her balance and go tumbling into the lake with the time traveller in tow.
“I’m here to help. Keep on with this and we’ll both end up in the lake.” The Harpy shrieked. Its voice was so high pitched, Elena almost couldn’t make out what it said.
Elena didn’t trust the Demon, but she realised it was pointless to keep fighting the beast. Wherever the Harpy was planning to take her, it couldn’t be worse than the pit, she hoped. The Harpy ascended to high above the lake before any of the souls could reach out of the water and try and pull the two relcutant companions in.
“We have to find her” The Doctor pleaded with Charon.
“Trust me, she’s better off with those Harpies than you both are. Either these souls will tip the boat, or worse you’ll end up where I’m supposed to take you.” Charon said.
More and more of the souls kept climbing over board whilst hundreds of the ghosts gathered round the bottom of the vehicle and started to try and pull it down.
“We’re sinking, quick shut the hatch.” Charon shouted as he tried to operate the controls.
The Doctor was able to seal the lock with his sonic screwdriver before any more of the damned souls could enter, though unfortunately 3 of the Ghosts had managed to crawl into the ship itself during the commotion. One of the Ghosts was able to jump Charon from behind, wrestling the gun from his hand and throwing it to the floor. When the Doctor tried to reach it, one of the creatures jumped in front of the weapon.
At the back of the room the Doctor could see the Ghost that had attacked Charon toss his body to the ground.
He wasn’t sure if the legendary Ferryman of the Dead was alive or not, and he didn’t particularly care.
Yarox tried to attack one of the Ghosts, but the Doctor held him back.
“They’ve been burning in a lake of fire for thousands of years. I don’t think we will be able to hurt them with our fists.” The Doctor said.
“Well what are we going to do.”
“Try and reason with them”
“You heard me.”
The Doctor stood seemingly unafraid of the three ghosts who shuffled around him. In reality he was absolutely terrified, but the Time Lord hoped he could gain the damned souls trust more if he came from a position of understanding, rather than necessity.
“I am the Doctor. Believe it or not, I am not your enemy. The creature who imprisoned you in this lake, he wants my vessel to escape this realm. If you kill me now, he’ll still have my vessel. He’ll still eventually find a way to use it to escape. If you help me, well maybe I can escape and leave him trapped here.”
“We know” one of the corpses said in a feminine voice. It had obviously been a woman in life, but the body was little more than a skeleton.
“That’s why we were trying to help you.”
“We are part of the last resistance of this universe against the terror that threatens yours. You don’t think we’d be on the side of the monster that dropped us in the lake of fire do you?”
“Well no I suppose not.” The Doctor replied.
“Charon however said that the lake turns you into monsters? Granted he’s not the most trustworthy source, but.”
“He’s right. The fire burns most people’s identities away until they’re nothing but animals. Some of us however endure through the fire, for whatever reason. Love, hope, or a desire for vengeance against Scratchman. One in every million souls condemned to that lake, still remembers who it is, though only one in every million of them is not driven completely insane, like those Scarecrow’s that attacked your dimension. Eventually those of us who kept our identities decided to get together to protect ourselves. That’s when the Harpies contacted us.”
“They didn’t seem to be too friendly.” Yarox said.
“Trust me they are the good guys. They are the last of what was once a mighty race in this universe. One every bit as advanced as yours Time Lord.”
“Ah so you know about me then.”
“The Harpies do. They’ve been fighting Scratchman for a millenia. They wanted to help you escape. It was our job to keep the Ferryman of the dead occupied long enough for the Harpies to get you to their command. Trust me, given the dangers that exist in this lake, even that was a tremendous task. Sadly we failed. If the Harpies were to return now they’d be swamped by the other souls in the lake. They’d never get you to safety in time. The Harpy’s may have got your vessel off of Scratchman’s minions though, but it makes no difference if you can’t pilot it.”
“Well if you’d just explained then I’d have been happy to go with you. Still we’re not entirely blameless. I should have learned by now after 10 lifetimes, not to judge people by their appearances. Is there any way we can contact the Harpies?”
“No I’m afraid not. It won’t be long before Scratchman’s most heinous minions will be here. We have to escape to Ammit’s cave.”
“Ammit are you insane?” One of the other Ghosts said.
“Not even Scratchman’s most dangerous Demons will dare follow us in there. Only Scratchman himself would, but he’s too lazy to attack right away. Ammit’s cave might give us the time to formulate a plan.”
“Assuming Ammit doesn’t eat us all right away?”
“That’s a chance we will have to take. We cannot allow Scratchman to get hold of the Time Lord. You heard what the Harpies said he will do to the other universe, or rather to my universe. I come from the planet earth too Time Lord. Even I struggle to remember who I was at times, but I do know that the person I was in life did not deserve this.”
“Well no one deserves this.” The Doctor said with regret.
“Still if this cave is the only way forward then we need to get there at once.” The Doctor continued as he started to examine the controls.
“I’m sorry this machine is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.” The Doctor said as he inspected the controls.
“Charon is the only one who can help us. I hope you haven’t killed him.”
“Not at all, he’s a victim just like us. Besides if we did he’d just come back again.”
“Ah of course, I can’t throw stones though. I’ve come back 9 times already.”
As soon as he awoke, Charon tried to overpower the three Ghosts who managed to restrain him.
“We need your help Charon.” The female Ghost said.
“Why on earth do you think I’d help you? Don’t get me wrong I feel bad for you, the little feeling I have left, but you know as well as I do, its a good idea not to cross Scratchman.”
“I also know that you hate your existence. You might try to act as though you don’t care, but deep down every second you wish it would just end. You were once a hero and now you’re a lap dog for an evil greater than you could have ever imagined. Worse you bring people to him every day. If you help him now, he’ll keep you alive in this state forever. What if I were to tell you that I could end it.”
“I’d say you were a liar, a desperate liar who still doesn’t realise that you can’t fight him.”
“We want to make our way into the Destroyers cave.”
“Then I’d say you were insane.”
“Its the best place to hide for us. Ammit though dangerous is just an animal. None of Scratchman’s Demons will follow us in there. It will give us time to contact the Harpies, and eternal rest for you. You know that when Ammit devours a person’s soul they die for good. Even Scratchman can’t bring them back.”
“I’m surprised he would have something like that? Is Ammit not too merciful a creature for old Harry Scratch?” The Doctor said.
“He uses it to keep the Demons who are loyal to him in check. Also its been quite an effective method of torture for us too. Every second in that lake is agony, and just up ahead is a creature we know will end our pain. All of us have tried to swim towards it, but we are pulled back, either by the current or.”
“Or what?” The Doctor asked.
“You don’t have to tell me about the Kraken.” Charon said with regret.
“I’ve tried to get into Ammit’s cave a billion times, only for that tentacled monster to eat me every time. There’s no way we can get past it.”
“Yes there is. The Harpies have prepared a ritual that will weaken the beast. They’ve been working on it for centuries. We just have to chant it when it emerges.”
“What if it doesn’t work? What if Scratchman.”
“If you will allow me to interrupt.” The Doctor said.
“From what I gather before this horrible mess you were once a good man. The fact that you want to be free of the life you are living now shows that some trace of him still exists. Tell me would the person you were before this not take any chance he could, no matter how remote to stop a monster like Scratchman?”
Charon was silent for a few minutes before he started to work the controls.
“I suppose it can’t get any worse for me.” The ferryman of the dead said.
“You’ll need to tell your friends out there to let us go.”
The Harpy had arrived at its destination. A gigantic purple mountain that looked as though it was phasing in and out. The mountain had the ability to change its location which was how it had eluded Scratchman for such a long while. Gathered at the foot of the mountain where hordes of hideous creatures, clearly the servants of Scratchman. It couldn’t remain here much longer.
There was no entrance, and the Harpy simply flew into the mountain. Elena screamed at it to stop, but before she knew it she was inside a gigantic dark cavern. Below she could see hundreds of strange creatures. Centaurs, Harpies, Satyrs, Cyclops, as well as what looked like living skeletons were all gathered together in front of a gigantic altar where a larger, blue Harpy sat.
Elena’s Harpy flew her towards the larger Harpy, who was clearly in charge.
“I am sorry we were unable to get hold of the Time Lord.” The Harpy said as she lowered Elena down in front of its master.
“What about the TARDIS?” The Blue Harpy asked of its other subordinate.
“I’m afraid the platoon were ambushed by Demons and… We failed. It is in Scratchman’s care now.”
“I have one of his companions. We might be able to use her.” The Harpy that had captured Elena said.
“She’s worthless” The blue Harpy said, much to Elena’s annoyance. Not that it cared.
“The Time Lord is the only one that matters. Only he can pilot his ship to escape from this reality. Scratchman will find him and force the Doctor to create a rip to their universe.”
“The Doctor would never give in to that monster” Elena protested.
“Trust me. No one can withstand Scratchman. The Time Lord will eventually break. All is lost.”
The crowd started to go insane. Their leader didn’t even attempt to calm them down. What could she say?
“There must be something we can do.” The lesser Harpy said.
“What do you propose? Launch a full attack on Scratchman’s castle?”
“Why not”? Elena asked.
“Don’t be fooled by our army. Its tiny compared to Scratchman. We’d be lucky to last a few hours, and we still don’t have anything we can harm that monster with.”
“Well maybe a few hours is all we need” The lesser Harpy said.
“Like you said. The most important thing is to make sure that Scratchman doesn’t get his grubby mits on the TARDIS. Our universe is done.”
“Don’t say that?” One of the lesser Harpy’s said.
“One day we will be free of Scratchman, one day our descendents will celebrate overcoming that monster.”
The Harpy Queen didn’t even bother to reply.
“If we can get the TARDIS back to the Doctor it might be a worthy cause” She said.
“Tell me what happened to the Doctor when you last saw him.”
“Several of the damned souls we were in contact with had managed to stop Charon’s boat, but they won’t last long before either Scratchman’s souls or Demons arrive.
“Still there is a chance they haven’t got to him yet. We need to send more Harpies to try and find him, whilst the rest of us take the front and try and rescue the TARDIS.”
“What about the Black Knight?”
“We can’t afford to risk him being exposed now. If this battle doesn’t work, he will be our final option, but we need to get the TARDIS. If we can do anything to stop him from doing this to another reality, won’t that be worth it? We need to take the war to Scratchman himself.”
“This is where you’ve always been heading Time Lord and you know it.” The Demonic voice taunted.
“To tell you the truth I never knew where I was going. That’s what made it so fun.”
Suddenly a ball of flame began to appear just above the console. The Doctor tried to run away, but the flames quickly shot to right in front of him. The flaming sphere then started to form a humanoid shape with horns and cloven feet, before taking on an actual physical, humanoid form.
The creature had a furry, pale body, goat like legs and two very small horns on either side of its head. Its eyes were bright green, whilst its features were long and sharp. Its teeth were small and jagged. Its actual speaking voice was very different in its natural form. It was more high pitched, yet somewhat softer sounding.
“I wanted you to see me as I truly am, for I was once like you, Doctor. My name is Pan, and I am a member of the Olyscias Federation.”
“The Olyscias Federation?” The Doctor said in disbelief. “They fell over 2000 years before the time period those villagers came from. You’ve been suffering in that monsters prison all that time?”
Elena came bursting through the door, carrying Yarox who was still weak after his ordeal.
“What’s going on Doctor we’ve.” Elena froze when she saw both Pan and the image on the scanner.
“Don’t worry I’m not him, though you’ll meet Scratchman soon enough, or the Devil or whatever you primitives call him. I am Pan, a once noble intergalactic traveller like your friend the Doctor here.”
“Doctor what is he talking about.”
“He claims to be from the Olyscias Federation. They were a collective of a number of highly advanced beings who sought to elevate other races across the universe to their level. They’d visit planets, fix whatever problems they could, and share their knowledge with them. They visited earth I believe many centuries ago. They helped lay the foundations for the Ancient Greeks society. Pan from what I remember was something of a renegade, who enjoyed being worshipped on whatever world he came too as a god, without doing much to help the natives.”
“Those stories were exaggerated!” Pan fired back.
“Still it is true to some extent that I was a bit of a vagabond in my younger days, but then aren’t we all? In my later years I truly tried to make amends for my selfish behaviour, and that’s what got me trapped in here. My people, when we stayed on earth we detected that certain human minds were being drained by a mysterious force. With our superior technology we traced the dimensional rip. Several of us travelled to Scratchman’s realm to try and save the human souls, but we ended up as the servants of Scratchman instead. Hades was once the proudest of our warriors, and now he serves Scratchman, ruling over the darkest pit of this hell. We were far from the only aliens ever to visit this planet to try and stop Scratchman. Thousands of advanced life forms have detected his presence, and the rip to his dimension. In fact the earth has a reputation in certain corners of the galaxy for being the home of Scratchman. The earthlings are pitied more than any other races across the galaxy as a result. Poor primitives have no idea that the hardships for life are nothing compared to what awaits so many of them in the beyond. Many alien species have visited the earth to try and sever Scratchman’s connection to it, stop him from entering his world, some have tried to harness the power from his realm for their own purposes. All now either serve him or lie at the bottom of that molten lake, screaming forever. Many have entered humanity’s mythology of course. The dark knight? He was once a noble alien warrior who came to earth to stop the ultimate evil. Scratchman not only killed him, but made him a kind of messenger, who takes people to hell from the earth. Charon? Once a brave daredevil., fighter pilot in the Hesrika league, now the humble ferryman of the dead.”
“This is what awaits you Time Lord. I just hope that when he makes you his new servant, he finally releases me.” Pan said before vanishing into a puff of black smoke. The two TARDIS doors soon opened, and despite his best efforts the Doctor wasn’t able to close them. All of the TARDIS’s systems appeared to be dead or at least locked.
“Well I guess we’ll have to play Scratchman or Pan’s sick game for now.” The Doctor said to his two companions as he headed out onto the red, barren landscape. Though the Doctor was terrified, he really didn’t need any persuasion to explore the landscape before him. No matter what the circumstances the Doctors hunger for discovery knew no bounds.
Elena meanwhile was more reluctant. She wasn’t eager to see what other fears or horrors Pan or any of Scratchman’s minions could cull from her mind, but she knew she couldn’t let the Doctor just walk off on his own.
“If only he’d just think once before he goes off” Elena moaned to Yarox who was still weak and needed help from Elena just to walk.
Scratchman wanted the Doctor and the TARDIS brought to him seperately as that way if the Doctor escaped from Scratchman’s minions then he would still be stuck here. It was always better to seperate your enemy from his or her weapon,t he Demon thought to itself.
Outside the air of the planet was intensly hot. Elena and Yarox almost collapsed at first, whilst even the Doctor had taken rest on a nearby rock, though he quickly jumped up as it was scorching.
As the three time travellers got closer to the molten lake they could hear the moans and the screams of those trapped within getting louder and louder until they were almost unbearable.
The sky above meanwhile was nothing but flames.
“I can see why Scratchman wants to leave this place. Only problem is he seems to have a bad habit of making everywhere he moves too the same.” The Doctor said as he stared at something in the distance.
It was hard to make out clearly in the scorching heat, but the Doctor could see something begin to move from under the red sand. It looked like a long clawed arm, though again it was hard to make out from the distance.
Suddenly however hundreds more creatures began to crawl out from under the sand in front of the Doctor, Yarox and Elena.
There were hundreds of different types of beasts. Some resembled rotting corpses, others giant horned Demons, some were flaming figures just like Pan had been on earth. The army of monsters pushed the Doctor, Yarox and Elena back to the very edge of the molten lake.
With nothing to lose, the Doctor and Elena tried to fight the monsters, but they were hopelessly overpowered. Yarox despite still being somewhat weak from the torture also did his best to help his friends, but he too was overpowered in a matter of seconds. The three time travellers were pushed towards the very edge of the cliff over the molten lake.
“Stop, the master wants to speak with the Time Lord personally.”
The Doctor looked up to see a small, cloaked figure emerging from the crowd of abominations. Its face was green and rotting, whilst its teeth were small and very sharp.
“My dear Doctor, I hope you haven’t been made too uncomfortable.” The figure said in a mocking tone.
“I am Charon, the ferryman of the dead. I will take you across the lake in my boat.”
“Boat? I thought it was a raft the Doctor said.
“It used to be, but hardly anyone would ever make it across. The souls would pull them in. Even with the boat, so few people make it across. I keep telling Scratchamn to upgrade, but to be honest I think that’s the point. Don’t worry though, he really wants to speak with you, so you should be safe.”
“Safe? I’d rather take my chances in the lake.” The Doctor said.
“Well, to be honest so would I, but you can’t fight the master. You can’t fight him anywhere, but certainly not in his domain.”
With no other choice, the three time travellers headed across the burning sands to what looked like a large, strange, purple boat. The boat was shaped like a cone, with a hatch opening up at the front.
“It’s from my home planet, or rather its meant to look like it.”
“Nothing like a little piece of home eh.” Yarox said somewhat nervously.
“Not at all. This is the boat I died in. It was ripped apart by one of the monsters, the Kraken from Scratchman’s reality that he sent to terrorise the earth. Though its killed me many times since. The Kraken lives in the lake. Often it will tear this ship apart and throw the souls into the lake, before devouring me. I always reappear back in the harbour however, waiting for the next group of souls and my next death.”
“I’m sorry.” Elena said.
“It’s okay, I no longer fear death. How could I when I’ve died hundreds of times already. Its the waking up bit after that’s the worst. I just hope one of these days he lets me rest.
The inside of the ship was dark and dank and filled with rotting corpses.
“Your latest passengers I take it?” The Doctor asked.
“No my first. They were the other members of my team when we first came to earth. We all had such high hopes that we would be the ones to take down Scratchman. Their bodies are to serve as a reminder of my failure, but I stopped caring a long time ago.”
The boat sped through the lake.
“It won’t take long. The Masters castle is on the edge of the lake. He likes to watch the souls suffer in the morning.”
“I just can’t wait to meet him” the Doctor said.
Yarox sat at the edge of the room, away from the bodies. Once again Elena was the only one to notice his discomfort and tried to console him, whilst the Doctor kept bugging Charon with questions.
“I’m sorry Yarox, I know what you saw. I saw it too. This is the price of the life we live. The freedom, from everything, responsibility, time itself. “
“It’s not that.” Yarox said with regret.
“I, I wasn’t strong. When those Daleks or whatever they were, the hallucinations were torturing me I, I gave in Elena. I betrayed you and the Doctor.”
“We know. We saw it.”
“I understand if you want to throw me off the TARDIS.”
“It’s not my choice I’m afraid. I don’t blame you though. Scratchman, or whatever that creature conjured up your darkest fears.”
“But what if those Daleks had been real? I would have told them everything. I would have happily taken them to the TARDIS just to be free from that pain. I don’t think I can cope.”
“Where will you go? You can’t go back home. Suppose we just dump you somewhere, and then you find you can’t cope there, but you have no one to help you? I admit there is still a lot about the Doctor I don’t understand, but I know he’d never just leave you somewhere. Also even if he did, I’d go with you.”
Yarox was greatly moved by Elena’s words but he still couldn’t help but feel he didn’t deserve her loyalty.
“Fascinating” the Doctor said loudly.
It wasn’t really but he was trying to annoy Charon by distracting him with pointless questions, but the ferryman of the dead was not taking the Doctors bait.
Charon didn’t seem malicious like Pan. He seemed quite laid back and even charming in some ways, but really he was more just detatched from everything around him. The Doctor felt he could strike him physically and Charon still wouldn’t react.
Just then the ship suddenly stopped.
“It’s the souls from the lake. Sometimes they’ll try and pull people in. Misery loves company and all that. Don’t worry they are easy to deal with.” Charon said as he reached for a weapon under the counter.
The damned souls started to rip the hatch open. Elena and Yarox stood beside the Doctor, though he was just as defenceless as they were. Elena made sure to try and push Yarox behind her, though he tried to push her behind him. He was determined to make up for his earlier cowardice.
The creatures bodies were burned almost beyond recognition. The skin of each of the monsters was black and decaying, their eyes were burned out sockets, and their green broken teeth were exposed.
Despite this however they could see very clearly and shuffled towards the Doctor and Charon.
“This weapon will take them down. It destroy’s their souls completely. I don’t think they want to harm us, they just want it all to be over. I’m more than happy to oblige.” Charon said as he fired at the monsters, burning them all into nothing.
As soon as Charon tried to start the ship again however the Doctor siezed his chance and tried to tackle the ferryman of the dead. Charon however just simply hurled the Doctor across the room. Elena next tried to use her Acturian kung fu on Charon, but she was overpowered just as easily.
Yarox next prepared to strike but Charon simply laughed at him. It was the only emotion the ferryman of the dead had shown so far.
“I have to take people across a burning lake to hell. You really think that I can’t defend myself?”
Suddenly Yarox and Charon were both distracted by a hideous shrieking sound.
“No it can’t be.” Charon said.
“It was a trap, those souls were”
Charon tried to start the ship, but before he could three hideous, blue, winged monsters descended on the hatch.
“Harpies!” Charon screamed as he tried to start the boat. The boat wasn’t moving however because several more souls in the lake were holding it in place. Incredible Charon thought to himself. He had never seen so many souls be able to hold off the agony from being in the lake for this long.
One of the Harpies quickly grabbed Elena in its talons. Another tried to grab the Doctor, but Charon quickly fired on it.
Unfortunately the Harpy with Elena quickly ascended to the skies above the lake. Charon couldn’t fire on it now without sending Elena into the lake of fire. She was in those monsters custody.
“EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE” the metal monsters screeched at Yarox who in desperation tried to climb up a nearby tree. He knew he couldn’t get out of the Daleks line of fire by simply running away, but as soon he started to climb the trunk, one of the Daleks had already hovered to the very top ahead of him.
“YOU WILL NOT ESCAPE!” The Dalek taunted as it aimed its gun down. Yarox closed his eyes and prepared for the worst. Being shot by a Dalek was literally the most painful way to die. Their death rays stimulated every single pain receptor in a person’s body to the maximum they could be.
To Yarox’s surprise however he heard one of the Daleks screaming instead.
“HELP, HELP EMERGENCY”
Yarox turned round to see several more humans, similar in appearance to those he had left behind in his own time swarming the Dalek from behind. The Dalek that had hovered to the top of the tree started to open fire on them, whilst the Dalek on the ground was able to push several more off. The humans were weak, sickly and battered looking. They had only been able to momentarily swarm the Dalek due to their large numbers, but in a matter of seconds the two monsters had gunned them all down.
Yarox used the opportunity to jump down from the tree and speed off through the undergrowth. He hated having to leave the others, but he knew that there was nothing he could do against the two Daleks. As he ran through the thick forest aimlessly, Yarox saw the Daleks green rays heading in his direction, melting all of the trees and plant life around him. He jumped to behind a nearby tree narrowly missing the Daleks rays. As it was being this close to the radiation from the Dalek rays was still enough to cause Yarox tremendous pain. He’d never felt agony like it before as the background radiation from the rays soaked every cell in his body. He wanted to scream, but the Daleks were right above his head. Fortunately they hadn’t seen him hiding in the undergrowth just yet. They were firing at random into the woods to try and smoke Yarox out. He had to keep moving, but the pain was so much he could barely move. As soon as the rays started to move closer to him however, Yarox instantly jumped in the opposite direction. The brief burst of adrenaline gave Yarox enough strength to stumble through the woods a short distance before he collapsed again face first onto the earth above the TARDIS floor. He almost fainted in the process.
When Yarox pulled his head up from the dirt, he saw the woods ahead of him were gone. The entire landscape had changed. Up ahead was a Dalek camp, where hundreds more humans were being worked in the Daleks filthy mines. The most disturbing sight however was just outside the mine, where those the Daleks deemed unfit for work were being lined up for extermination.
The humans included men, women, children and the elderly. They were all incredibly frail, some couldn’t stand, others were even missing limbs. One at the front, a child was crawling along on the floor, clearly unable to see.
“EXTERMINATE” one of the Daleks shouted as it fired on the prisoners, one after another. The Dalek could have easily doused them all in the radiation at once, but it chose to kill them one at a time instead. The screams from each prisoner were deafening. Even after all the prisoners had suffered they still feared death at the hands of the Daleks and some of them even got on their knees only to be cut down. Yarox couldn’t take it anymore and tried to crawl back through the woods, but when he turned around he saw the woods had been set ablaze. The two Daleks were flying through the fire, completely unaffected.
“THE HUMANOID WILL BE FOUND! ALL RESISTANCE WILL BE CRUSHED! DALEKS ARE THE SUPREME BEINGS!”
Yarox was so terrified he crawled behind a nearby tree and curled himself up into a ball, and put his fingers in his ears to try and cover up the screams. This was his worst nightmare coming true. Yarox hadn’t even thought about the Doctor and Elena during the ordeal. The only escape he thought was possible was a quick death.
Elena meanwhile was jolted awake by the Daleks screams of exterminate. Her room was just a few decks above the garden. She was so exhausted from her ordeal against Scratchman that she had collapsed into a sleep almost the second she hit the bed. The Daleks rasping battle cries, as well as the screams from their victims would be enough to wake her from even a coma. Like Yarox, Elena was terrified of the Daleks more than any of the other monstrosities she had encountered on her travels with the Doctor.
“No they can’t be here.” She said to herself.
“THE DOCTOR IS LOCATED, ALERT, ALERT” One of the Daleks below screamed.
Elena jumped out of her bed to try and find the Doctor, but the door to her room suddenly sealed itself shut. She tried to pull on the door, but it wouldn’t budge, so she tried to kick it down, but again it wouldn’t move.
“Why do you bother.”
Elena turned around only to see there was no one there.
“This is not your time. Not your home. Why bother travelling half way around the universe to solve some problem that would never have affected you, when there are people at home who need your help?”
“Who are you, what trick is this?”
“I am a servant of the Master.”
“Scratchman? I thought we sent the last of your lot back into the hell you came from.”
“When I attacked the TARDIS during that sacrifice I was able to take refuge in the heart of the console. The TARDIS itself acted as an unwilling shield when the rest of the Masters servants were pulled back into his realm. It took me a long time, but I was eventually able to work from within. I can control more superficial aspects of this vessel, but I still need.”
“You still need the Doctor, and let me guess you’re going to hurt us until he helps you. You’re so predictable.”
“No I’m going to cut a deal with you. If you convince the Doctor to help us, then I’ll send you back home.”
“Why would I do that?”
“You are selfish that’s why. You may play the hero to the others, but I know deep down you only care about yourself. The only reason you do this, is so that you won’t be seen as the failure of the family, which is what you always were. You let that man get pulled into our domain where he suffers every day while you go on quite happy. Most people after leaving someone to that fate, wouldn’t be able to sleep so easily.”
“There was nothing I could have done.”
“Oh please, no one else is around now Elena, I can read your thoughts. I know you. You were a sad joke of a woman whose life was going nowhere, while your sister was a famous astronaut. You lived off of your parents, bled them dry, never made any effort to turn yourself around, until the Doctor came along. With a quick fix he gave you a spot on the TARDIS, no responsibility, and the odd monster aside an easy life. You’ll always take the easy way out Elena.”
“If you want to cut a faustian deal this isn’t the best way. What about buttering me up, trying to play on my vanity.”
“I’m being honest with you young lady. I’m giving you the one chance you have to do the right thing.”
“And let a Demon into the universe?”
Just then Elena suddenly saw an image of her parents appearing at the far edge of the room. They both looked much older however.
“What are you doing?”
“This is your parents future. I am linked to the TARDIS a machine that can not only travel through time and space, but look into potential futures. How do you think it knows what timelines are safe for the Doctor to meddle in? This is a potential future for your parents. It’s what will happen if you stay with the Doctor.”
“What is happening.”
“They are mourning the loss of their daughter. Your sister to be precise. Killed in a mission in deep space, I won’t show you the gruesome details. Not yet anyway.”
“Its nothing but a cheap lie.”
“Can you be sure though? Besides you haven’t seen the best part yet. Losing one child is hard, but how do you think they will cope with losing two.”
“You’re saying I die?”
“No you don’t die. In fact you’ll live a long and happy life, but you will never return to your own time. You know how unreliable the TARDIS and the Doctor are. They’ll try to get you home, but he’ll miss it by about 100 years or so. Once that timeline is set for you, you can’t go back without creating a paradox. You’re parents will never know what became of you.
After your mother passes on from a broken heart, your father will spend most of his days waiting by the window, staring out in hope that his little girl will come to visit him one last time.”
“Shut up, you sick.”
“See for yourself.”
Elena saw an image of her father, weak, frail and utterly broken, staring out of a small window in a nursing home.
“We’re all just abandoned and forgotten about in the end, but imagine not knowing if your other little girl is even alive. If that careless moron she went off with got her killed, if she’s suffering in a Dalek camp thousands of light years away, been converted into a Cyberman, or if she just doesn’t care about you anymore?”
“Please stop it”
“You can avert this future now. This is your only chance. I can send you back to the 31st century. You can be reunited with you parents, stop your sisters death. I can give you an easy life back in the 31st century. Stay with the Doctor however and do you really trust that old fool to take you back to the correct time. You know how many mistakes he makes whenever he tries to get to the right time? You laugh them off normally, but this time?”
“Its a lie, I’d be a moron for listening to you.”
“Its true I am a Demon with an agenda, but are you willing to gamble with your families lives? Do you really trust the Doctor to get you home?”
Elena stared at the image of her father looking out the window, waiting for his daughter who would most likely never come for several minutes. She knew the Demon was trying to trick her, yet his words still tormented her. What if he was right, not only about her families future, but about her. She was sure that she had done everything to help Stanley, but then she remembered how she used to be. The first 30 or so years of her life were a complete waste. She was lazy, she constantly got into trouble and embarassed her parents. She thought about all the times she had let them down and couldn’t bare the thought of doing so again. Then however she thought about Stanley once more. If it was true that she had left him to suffer in the Demon’s dimension because she was afraid, then she owed it to him to do all she could to stop the last of Scratchman’s minions here and now.
“No.” She said proudly.
“Maybe you’re right about everything, about me only caring about myself, and if you are it’s time I stopped doing the selfish thing, which would be to help you free your Master into the universe, just for the sake of my family.”
The Demonic voice burst out laughing.
“Perhaps I should show you what is in store for your sister then? It’s one thing to be a sad lonely old man, but what they did to her? Its beyond description. Just a few years after you left the 31st century, her ship will be attacked by a race of creatures known as the Yisear. The Yisear will never become a major power like the Daleks or the Cybermen, but in some ways they are among the most vicious creatures in the galaxy. Your sister was very unlucky to stumble into their domain.”
Elena couldn’t even look at the Yisear they were so horrifying. She repeatedly tried to kick on the door, but it still wasn’t moving. With her sisters screams ringing in her ears, Elena with all of her strength picked up a nearby chair and rammed it into the door, but yet again it didn’t budge.
Elena turned around to see the monsters attacking her sister and in fury she jumped into the illusion to try and attack the creatures. Her hands and feet however just went completely through them and even her sister when she tried to grab her.
“This is a lie, an illusion!” Elena screamed as she continued to fight, pointlessly with the illusionary creatures.
After a few more moments however, the illusions vanished and the door opened.
“I’m not done with you yet.” The voice taunted.
Elena ran down the corridor to the garden screaming for the Doctor.
“HUMANOID LIFE FORM DETECTED! ADVANCE ADVANCE!”
“They’re not real, they’re illusions.” Elena said to herself as she headed down stairs. When she reached the door to the Garden however she saw that it was gone. There was nothing but a black wall. As she pounded on it, she heard the unwelcome sound of two Daleks coming up behind her.
“YOU ARE AN ASSOCIATE OF THE DOCTOR YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!” The Daleks screeched.
Elena tried to keep her cool. She knew they weren’t real, but up this close she couldn’t help but tremble in terror at the sight of the most evil creatures in the universe.
“EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE!”
Elena still didn’t back down and as the Daleks cornered her against a wall the monsters suddenly stopped.
“Just as I thought a real Dalek would have killed me by now.”
The two Daleks faded into nothing much to the mutant’s relief. At the end of the corridor Elena could see the Doctor running frantically towards her.
“Elena, I’m so glad to.” Before the Time Lord could even finish, Elena tripped him up.
“What are you doing?”
“Sorry I just had to be sure you were real.”
“Well at least I know you are real.”
“Doctor what is going on? I thought you sent all of those things back to the other universe.”
“I know, one of them it seems managed to slip through the net. It’s conjuring up images from our minds to torment us. Don’t believe them for a second.”
The Doctor got to work on the door, with his sonic screwdriver. He knew the wall was an illusion, but he still had to find a way to open the jammed door.
“Yarox is in there. These Daleks are his worst fear, though some of the illusion’s the Demon’s conjuring are culled from my mind.”
“Doctor, what did you see.” Elena asked, not sure if she should. She knew how secretive the Doctor could be, but she was scared with all he had seen that something worse might be lurking around the corner.
“I saw many things. Daleks, Cybermen. There’s some horrible memories tucked up in here. Some wonderful ones too of course, but lets just say my head is not always a pleasant place to be.”
“The worst image was of The Master.”
“He’s not Scratchman. He’s a Time Lord like me. We’ve been fighting for thousands of years. I’ve tried to finish him so many times, but he always gets away. He always shows up again to cause more suffering. He’s tried to finish me too of course. We’ve never managed to rub the other one out. Whenever I see him I know that no matter who wins, more innocent people will die. Yet whenever he’s not fighting me I worry about the chaos he’s causing all over the galaxy. This wasn’t just a vision of the Master however. He was, he was attacking the worlds I have saved, the people I’ve saved. I have done so many things wrong, made so many mistakes, but knowing that I’ve saved people, it makes it easy for me to sleep at night. The Master however was destroying them all, killing the friends I’ve left behind and I was powerless. I had to watch him standing over my former companions bodies, in the ruins of earth and other worlds, laughing at me, telling me that my entire life had been worthless.”
“I’m sorry Doctor. I saw my parents and my sister. I had always thought that they were relieved to get rid of me. I wasn’t up to much back home. I was a bit of a burden, but in the vision they were alone, miserable, waiting for me.”
“We have to ignore these visions Elena. This Demon wants to break us so it can use the TARDIS to free its Master. Always remember that whatever this Demon can throw at us, its nothing compared to what Scratchman can do if he gets free. He created this monster.”
The wall soon vanished and the TARDIS door flung open.
“Ah see, your illusions are nothing but cheap tricks” the Doctor said proudly. “You think I can’t rework the lock on one of the doors of my own TARDIS?”
“Or maybe I want you to see what’s happened to your friend.” The voice taunted.
The garden had been replaced with a long, drab silver corridor. The Doctor instantly recognised it as being of Dalek design, as did Elena. Up ahead they could hear Yarox’s screams.
The Doctor ran down the corridor, passing through several more illuisonary Daleks in the process. At the end of the corridor he saw Yarox strapped to a table with two Daleks standing over him.
“I don’t understand they’re just illusions, how can they hurt him?”
“He thinks they are real. These memories are not his however. They’re mine. This is a memory of the Daleks camps, the worst place in the universe. They’ve kept people alive in these torture chambers for decades, even centuries in a state of perpetual agony.
“YOU ARE AN ASSOCIATE OF THE DOCTOR, YOU WILL TELL US WHERE HE IS!” One of the Daleks screamed at Yarox.
“I don’t know where, I would tell you if I could, but you took me from his TARDIS.” Yarox said in desperation.
The Doctor paused for a second. He had hoped Yarox would have been stronger, but he didn’t blame him for giving in. The Daleks torture device used the same principle as their guns of stimulating all pain receptors, except it did not damage the tissue like their death rays and thus kept the victim alive in the worst agony.
The Doctor and Elena ran through the two Dalek torturers and tried to help Yarox snap out of it.
“Its all just a dream Yarox, these monsters aren’t real, you’re still on the TARDIS. The pain isn’t real, it’s an illusion.”
Yarox wasn’t listening however. He felt sure it was another trick from the Daleks to get him to let his guard down.
“PLEASE, PLEASE JUST KILL ME” Yarox pleaded with the Daleks.
Elena tried hitting him, but he didn’t even feel it through the pain of the imaginary Dalek’s torture device.
The Doctor then tried to pull Yarox off of the table, but unfortunately the Demon was using its actual power to hold him onto the illusion. Still the Doctor tried and tried with Elena’s help until eventually he was able to wrench Yarox free. As soon as Yarox was free the illusion of the Dalek ship, and the Daleks themselves vanished into smoke and the Doctor, Elena and Yarox were back in their garden again.
Yarox had by this stage fainted after everything he had went through. Elena cradled him in her arms, whilst the Doctor searched around the woods for any sign of the Demon.
The TARDIS suddenly started to shake violenty enough for the Doctor to be knocked off of his feet.
“What are you doing to my ship?”
The Demon laughed. “These illusions were not designed to break you, rather to distract you. The TARDIS had unknowingly shielded me from being pulled into the other universe for a time, but even it couldn’t keep me here forever. Eventually I will be pulled back too, so I decided to fuse myself to your machine’s very core. When I am finally pulled back into Scratchman’s domain, so will the TARDIS and all of you. There your machine will give Scratchman the power he needs to enter your universe. Of course if you had been in the console room you would have detected my presence and been able to eject me right away. These illusions culled from your worthless life have given me the time I needed.”
The Doctor instantly ran back to the console room, with the Demon taunting him as it did.
“You’re too late. I was thinking of killing you, but the Master may have some fun with you and your companions instead. The horrible things you’ve seen Doctor can allow him to create a very special hell for all three of you.”
The TARDIS shook again, much more violently than before, with several of the Doctors clocks and ornaments that decorated the walls falling and breaking. The Cloister bell began to ring again. Once the machine had calmed down the Doctor made his way to the console room, where he saw on the scanner that the ship had landed.
On the scanner the Doctor could see the landscape was a mostly barren wasteland, save for a few rocks that led to a large boiling lake. The earth was completely red, whilst the sky was burning.
The Time Lord knew where they had landed, but couldn’t bring himself to say it. He couldn’t even believe it existed.
The TARDIS console started to catch fire. In his struggle with the Goblins, the Doctor managed to hurl one over his shoulder with a judo flip, sending it head first into the flaming console.
The Doctor then clobbered another of the creatures over the head with a piece of furniture that he had earlier tried to block the door with, knocking it off its feet.
The Doctor and the rest of the Goblins were soon thrown off of their feet as the Dragon again started to panic. The monster was being pulled from one dimension to the other. The Doctor in the confusion quickly ran around the console to see if there was any part of it that was still operable, but the whole thing was a mass of fire.
The Tardis was struggling with the Dragon, and the Goblins attack had only weakened her strength. The struggle between the TARDIS and the Dragon threatened to rip a hole in the time vortex itself.
The Doctor went to one of the roundrels and ripped it off and then tried to redeposit the power from various rooms across the lower deck of the TARDIS, (which caused them to vanish) into the console room.
After a few seconds the fire vanished completely from the console and the TARDIS was in control again.
The Doctor then fired a small sample of excess energy left over from the lower decks at the Goblins. It didn’t kill them, but succeeded in knocking the monsters out cold.
In the Inquisitore’s torture chamber meanwhile Elena, Yarox, the villagers and the Goblins were now more focused on trying to escape than fighting each other. The Dragon’s thrashing threw them wildly around the room. One of the villagers was even killed, when he hit his head against the steel walls!
Worse still the portal to the Inquisitore’s hell began to fluctuate and it grow bigger. All of those at the back were quickly swallowed by the portal, whilst those at the front struggled to crawl towards the door, but just as they reached it however the door slammed shut. From the main control room one of the Goblins, in a final spiteful act used the last of the power in the Dragon to seal the room shut. He was desperate that the humans would not just be killed in the crash, but have to endure the hell he had come from.
Elena pounded on the door as hard as she could, but it was made of reinforced steel. The portal drew closer and closer, consuming more and more Goblins and villagers. Stanley, Yarox, Sophie and Jonathan all huddled around Elena and tried to help her push on the door, but it was no use.
Stanley in a final act of self sacrifice pushed the others in front of him as the portal drew closer and he was pulled into it. Two of the villagers and Elena tried to pull him back, and with all of their strength, they almost succeeded, but just when they were on the cusp of pulling him free, the portal would grow and engulf Stanley again. On the other side of the portal Stanley and the others could hear the screams of the damned souls of Scratchman’s domain, whilst the heat from the portal was unbearable. As the portal grew larger and larger, Elena realised that unless they let go, they too would be consumed alongside Stanley and with regret she not only let him go, but pulled the other two villagers back before the portal swallowed all 4 of them. The last image Elena saw of Stanley was of him screaming at her for help. His screams from the other side lingered on for a few seconds afterwards, which felt like an eternity for Elena and the rest of the villagers.
Just as all seemed lost the TARDIS suddenly materialised around the frightened villagers. The Doctor couldn’t move the TARDIS until the last second, and had been forced to watch with horror at the sight of the villagers he couldn’t save being pulled into hell. Even when the TARDIS landed around them, not all of the villagers were caught in its dematerialisation field, and a further five were pulled into hell.
Only twenty of the villagers in total were rescued by the Doctors TARDIS Mrs Tulloch her daughter, Christopher, the family who had tried to escape with him, and Jonathan among them, but the Goblins still screamed in frustration and anger at the sight of any of them escaping.
“You think you have escaped, but you will still deliver him to this reality.” The Leader of the Goblins said to itself.
The Dragon let out one last agonizing scream before its body vanished in a blaze of fire that spread out over the entire sky of the small island below. The TARDIS only barely managed to escape from being pulled into Scratchman’s hell with the Dragon, but it was far from a smooth landing. The TARDIS simply plummeted to earth from the flames, rather than materliasing. The strain on the old girl had been incredible. Almost all of her power appeared to be drained, though fortunately the reserve banks were still fine. It was the first time the Doctor had been forced to use them however in over 2 thousand years.
“I’m sorry old girl, I really am, but it looks like we did it.” The Doctor said as he gently tapped the battered console.
“We’re fine thanks.” Mrs Tulloch, one of the few lucky survivors alongside her daughter Sophie, said from the back.
Some of the villagers had been knocked out in the crash, but most were thankfully unhurt.
The Doctor left the TARDIS to see if there were any traces of “Scratchman’s” influence, whilst Elena and Yarox tended to the surviving villagers. Many of the villagers however didn’t want to even look at Elena after what happened with Stanley.
“You coward. Stanley was willing to give his life for us and you, you left him.”
“I’m sorry, there was nothing we could do, and if I hadn’t pulled you free, you’d have joined him.” Elena tried to say before more of the villagers cut her off.
Yarox soon came to her defence.
“Don’t you dare call her a coward. I owe my life to her many times over. I can assure you she would have done anything she could do to save your friend.” Yarox protested.
The other villagers weren’t listening, except for Mrs Tulloch.
“All I know is that if it weren’t for this woman, or either of her strange friends my little girl wouldn’t be alive now. We should be thanking them.”
Most of the rest of the villagers weren’t convinced, and even Elena herself wasn’t convinced.
Outside the Doctor saw that much of the forest the TARDIS had crashed into had been burned to the ground by the dragon in its death throes. The Doctor would much rather be out here even if there was danger than deal with the villagers. Though they were his favourite species, the Doctor could sometimes get more than a little frustrated at human beings tendency to lash out when they were scared, and he was in no mood to deal with it.
In the distance the Doctor could see a few Scarecrow’s shuffling awkwardly in his direction. They all looked extremely weak however and some of them were even collapsing.
“Please.” One of the Demons whimpered as it crawled along the floor to the Doctor.
“We’re being pulled back into his domain. We can’t go back, we can’t. He promised us peace if we delivered you to him. Please for our sakes Time Lord.”
The Doctor kept his distance from the Scarecrow’s. He knew they wouldn’t last much longer in this reality, but still he wasn’t taking any chances.
“I’m sorry” the Doctor said. “I wish there was something I could do for you, but I had to protect this world.”
“Please, please don’t let us.” The Scarecrow said before it and all of the others around crumbled into nothing but dust. Their minds or souls had been pulled back into the hell from which they came. It was over. All of Scratchman’s influence had been seemingly purged from this universe and the monster was sealed back in its pit. The cost however had been huge. Another entire universe would still have to suffer under that creature, whatever it was and there was seemingly nothing the Doctor could do to help them.
The Doctor, Elena and Yarox would be forced to spend the next day on the island. The TARDIS was not only in no position to travel, but they needed to make sure there were no more portals left over from Scratchman’s dimension. The villagers didn’t speak much with the three time travellers during their stay. Not only was there still resentment towards Elena, but the villagers didn’t trust or like the Doctor much either. Many feared that he was in league with the Demons, or that he was a Warlock of some kind. The Doctor and Elena and Yarox would help the villagers search the island for other survivors (of which there were sadly none), but other than that they kept their distance.
By the time a team arrived to rescue the villagers, the TARDIS was ready to leave and the Doctor, Yarox and Elena slipped away without even saying goodbye. Despite this however both Jonathan and Mrs Tulloch did personally thank them for what they had done, but even then they still kept their distance from the Doctor and his friends. It wasn’t that they thought they were evil, but they felt they were part of a world that they didn’t couldn’t deal with.
The story of what happened on the island would briefly become a sensation, though the government would be quick to supply a cover up story. The island would remain abandoned however, with no one daring to ever go near it again.
As the TARDIS hurled its way through the vortex, there was an awkward silence among the three time travellers. Though Scratchman was defeated, the cost had been too high. What troubled the Doctor the most however was the fact that he still had no idea what Scratchman really was. The Doctor could never stand not knowing the truth about somewhere he had visited or a new life form he had discovered, but when it was something that terrified him it was absolutely unbearable.
“Well lets hope the old girl will take us somewhere a bit more relaxing next eh” The Doctor said. “I think after that ordeal she’ll probably want a rest for a bit. I’m heading down to the library.”
In truth the Doctor was wanting to look through his books to see if he could find anything about Scratchman. It would be hard to seperate the myths from the fact, but surely there must be something, he thought to himself. The Doctor was too consumed in his latest obsession to notice the pain his companions were in. He didn’t mean to insensitive, but the Doctors desire for new knowledge ironically often caused him to overlook what was right in front of him.
Elena meanwhile just wanted to retreat to her quarters below.
“You know it really wasn’t your fault Elena.” Yarox said to her as she left the console room.
“I know you mean well Yarox, but please I just, I just need to be alone.” She replied somewhat coldly to Yarox.
Yarox decided to head back down to the TARDIS’ garden. This tiny, artificial construct was the only place in the history of the universe Yarox had ever felt safe.
The experience had arguably shaken Yarox more than the Doctor and Elena. Yarox had long heard stories about the golden age of humanity from his own time, whilst the Doctor had promised him a chance to see the universe when it was young and healthy.
Now that he had actually visited the past however, he saw that it was full of just as much struggle, desperation and death as his time. It may have looked more peaceful on the surface, but underneath all of the different life forms were still fighting with each other just to survive.
Was there ever a period of peace in the galaxies history? Still as Yarox looked up at an illusion of the Illexian galaxy above the garden that he had just programmed in, he couldn’t help but be captivated at its beauty. Was all of the pain and misery he had witnessed throughout all of time worth it for this?
Suddenly however the illusion began to fade and the roof above quickly turned to fire. As Yarox looked around he saw the trees in the TARDIS garden began to wither and turn black.
Yarox backed away slowly only to be greeted by an all too familiar sound, one he had never hoped to hear again in his life.
“HALT, STAY WHERE YOU ARE! DO NO MOVE!”
Yarox turned around to see two Daleks, the monsters that still terrified him far more than even Scratchman or any of his Demonic minions gliding in his direction, their guns raised and ready to fire.