A Novel Victorian Adventure

Why is the Doctor being set up? Suffering from amnesia and after just escaping the events of The Burning the Doctor goes on the run.

Part 1 of a triology

—-

‘…I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects…’ The Picture of Dorian Gray

“And this, Doctor is Mr Dorian Gray, an acquaintance of mine and a good friend to my nephew. Although Henry seems to be living by his own timetable again,” tutted Lady Agatha.
“I am sure he will arrive soon your Ladyship,” replied Dorian, then turned to the Doctor and shook the man’s hand, “It is nice to meet you, Doctor. Erm…Doctor…I didn’t catch the rest of your name.”
“It’s just The Doctor…as far as I remember.”
“What an odd thing to say,” replied Dorian. “You must have had a name at one time or another, or what would people call you?”
“I can’t imagine,” he answered, cutting off that line of conversation. “What do you do Mr Gray?”
“Oh this and that.”
“I hear -,” the Doctor stopped short. He stared at the open door his eyes widening in alarm.
The butler was speaking to a burly gentleman with a moustache, smartly attired in a brown suit covered by a dark trench coat, a hat pulled down over his head and shiny black boots that gave away the fellows occupation. The Doctor glanced out of the window; he could see the policemen surrounding the expensive town house. The net was tightening. He wasn’t sure how the inspector had traced him here. He had been extremely careful. The Doctor hastily excused himself from the conversation edging himself towards one of the exits, trying to look natural as was possible. He thought back to the event that had caused the chain reaction, which had put him into this predicament….

~~~~~~

The Doctor had finally reached London and his first task was to set about finding some accommodation. He had not got much money, barely enough for one night in the cheapest hotel and it was already getting dark in the smog filled city. He did not fancy sleeping rough in the streets and there was his newly reformed blue box to deal with. The Doctor decided to leave the cumbersome object where it was for the time being and go in search of a boarding house that would put him up for a couple of nights. As he walked down the cobbled streets he was aware of padded footsteps behind. Someone was following him stealthily. The Doctor quickened his pace, his pursuer matched it. He tried to loose his tail, but whoever it was, was clever. The Doctor turned down a side street hoping to catch his pursuer unawares, but unfortunately he found himself in an alleyway blocked at one end by a high brick wall. His back pressed against the wall he tried to catch a glimpse of whoever was following him through the thick mist. He heard only the sound of laughter he couldn’t tell whether it was a man or not which mocked him from the shadows.
“Who’s there?” he asked curious and somewhat disquieted by the manic laughter. “Show yourself.”
There was a few shuffling steps then a whooshing noise like something wising through the air. The Doctor felt something sting his neck like a wasp or a bee. He brought his hand up to the sting and then blacked out.

~~~~~~

When he regained consciousness he was no longer in the alley, but instead he was in a lavish entrance hall. The Doctor looked around unable to identify his surroundings. He walked across the hall to where a heavy oak door stood slightly ajar. A faint light could be seen coming from the embers of dying fire. He pushed the door open and stepped inside. There was a candleholder on a side table by the door. He took some matches from his pocket and lit the candle. The Doctor tripped over a pile of books that had been thrown to the floor. He let out a short gasp and the candle fell out of its holder and rolled across the Persian rug. He quickly got to his feet and picked up the still lighted candle before it could do any more damage than dripping hot wax on the floor. He placed it back into the holder and held it at arms length trying to illuminate more of the room. It looked as though a tornado had passed through. There were draws torn open, chairs knocked over, books discarded on the floor and papers strewn everywhere. The place had been ransacked. The Doctor picked up some of the papers there were by his foot and held them up to the light. There were also several sketches and what seemed to be technical notes of some sort.
Suddenly the door was flung open. Standing in the door way was a dark haired man; he was dressed in striped pyjamas and a quilted silk dressing gown, with nightcap slightly askance on his head. In his hand the man held a revolver.
“Oh, my,” he exclaimed when he saw the Doctor, “Passportout, quickly call the police!” He pointed the revolver at the Doctor and said his voice trembling slightly, “You, sir. Don’t move!”
“Please…Don’t shoot. Its not what it looks like,” The Doctor protested. He raised his hands, slowly.
“Stand up. Keep your hands in the air.”

~~~~~~

Later at the police station Inspector Lastrade stood in front of the Doctor, a scowl on his face and held up a manila file containing several valuable documents.
“Now, tell me again…Doctor, ‘ow did you come to be in the possession of Professor Alexander Hartdegan’s schematics for a…Time Machine?”
“I have told you several times before inspector I had no idea they were in my pocket,” replied the Doctor.
“And what about the jewellery and the missing paintings?”
“What jewellery? What paintings”
“Don’t play dumb with me,” replied Lastrade, banging his hand on the table to emphasise his point.
“How? What?” spluttered the Doctor, “I’ve only just got to London and I’m already being accused of crimes that I have no knowledge of.”
“Well, from the evidence we ‘ave gathered-,”
“Circumstantial evidence,” interrupted the Doctor.
“Ha-h’m,” Lastrade cleared his throat pointedly, “The documents in question ‘ad been sent to Mr Fogg by a scientist acquaintance. We believe you were in the middle of pillferin’ papers when you were disturbed by the owner-,”
“I have told you before I woke up in that house after being knocked out,” protested the Doctor.
“Indeed. You have told us your clearly fabricated story before. A mysterious stranger in the fog? Well really,” exclaimed the inspector with disbelief. “You were caught at the scene of the crime, red handed. The MO is exactly the same as other thefts of valuables that have recently come to light.”
“What other thefts,” asked the Doctor, leaning back in his chair.
“One valuable portrait from a rich collector, a violin, a Gladstone bag of great sentimental value to the owner, a vintage French blue frock coat with silver buttons, a dress sword, and silver pocket watch.”
“Rather an eclectic mix, isn’t it?”
“Maybe you could shed some light on the matter?” asked Lastrade, his eyes narrowed and black moustache twitched agitatedly.
“I’m sure most of those objects had some re-sale potential, but what value would the plans for a time machine be? Even if it worked in theory it couldn’t possibly be made to work in principal.”
“Someone maybe willing to pay a lot of money for such a theory. A rival government perhaps,” replied the inspector, raising an eyebrow.
“What crackpot leader is going to purchase such a wild unproven theory like time travel,” scoffed the Doctor, cracking a smile.
“Now I suggest you stop procrastinating and start co-operating,” growled the inspector.
“Not guilty,” said the Doctor, holding his hands up in a gesture of innocence. “I’ve told you all I know.”
“Maybe a night in the cells will give you something to think about,” suggested Lastrade.

~~~~~~

The officer on duty glanced through the little window in the door. He thought the gentleman (he could tell the guy was a gentleman straight off from his manner) although looking a bit down on his luck was a pretty decent fellow. He hadn’t complained just lay there under the blanket on the bed in the cell quietly. The officer slid the little shutter on the window closed and continued his patrol down the corridor.

The Doctor put his pillow under the blanket. Trying to make it look like someone was sleeping there. Then he waited.

~~~~~~

It was morning and the duty officer took over from his colleague who reported a less than eventful shift. Only one of the five cells were currently occupied a demonstration of either the efficiency of the police, the lack of criminals, or more likely the cunning of the aforementioned felons. With his usual mumbled curses at having to take the early shift Grimshaw picked up the tray of breakfast for the prisoner, taking a sip of tea and a bite of the bread on the way down the corridor.
“Breakfast!” he bellowed hoping to disturb whatever sleep criminal inside was having. Then balancing the tray carefully he reached for his keys. They were on a substantial iron ring chained to his belt, just in case the prisoners got any ideas about picking his pockets. Once his fingers found the right key he put it in the lock. It turned with a grating noise that would put your teeth on edge and the door unlocked with a clank. He pushed the door open with his shoulder his hands having been full with carrying the tray.
“Wakey, wakey,” he called, taking a step inside the cell. “Breakfas-. Oooof,” he said as something heavy landed on his back, knocking the wind out of him and sending the tray flying.
“Sorry about that. Thanks for the keys though,” quipped the Doctor as he deftly unhooked the ring of keys from the chain.
Before the policeman could recover and get to his feet the Doctor was out of the cell and the door was locked.

~~~~~~

…He had been fortunate enough to find -in the course of his escape- himself on the doorstep of a town house where a rather large shindig was going on. He managed to pass himself off as a guest. The butler assumed he was one of Mr Gray’s undesirable friends. The Doctor had neglected to disagree and quickly melted into the crowds. Hoping someone would invite him to stay. But before he had the chance to ingratiate himself with the bright young things the inspector had turned up. Assuming that Lastrade wouldn’t be stupid enough to leave the back door of the house unguarded the Doctor headed for the back stairs.
He looked cautiously out of the first floor window. There were about five officers out front in the street below, and there was probably just as many covering all the exits. In the corner The Doctor noticed a discreet spiral, iron staircase, obviously leading up to the attic. Hoping that there would be some way out onto the roof from there he quickly climbed the stairs. They led to a dusty landing which had obviously seen no traffic for a long while. He approached the door his footsteps sending up clouds of choking dust. He tried the door, but it did not budge. It was locked. The Doctor glanced behind him, back down the stairs. He could hear voices. They were getting closer. He took a step back then rammed the door with his full weight forcing the lock. The wood -rotten from damp- splintered and the door came off of its hinges. He cringed as he realised the noise would be heard downstairs. He quickly stepped over the remains of the attic door into the room itself, which was in a state of neglect. It was dark. The only light came from a small window, which looked out onto the terraced houses that backed onto the street. Most of the furniture was covered with moth-eaten dustsheets and the walls and roof showed signs of water damage. In a dark corner sat a rectangular object wrapped securely in brown paper, tied with string. At first glance the Doctor could guess it was probably a painting. He was about to leave when curiosity got the better of him. He untied the string and began to unwrap the paper covering, but before he could pull back the wrapping that covered the picture fully he heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs. He flung the painting down and headed for the window, hoping that the wooden window frame hadn’t warped shut. The Doctor forced open the latch, which reluctantly gave way. Then he pushed the small window open, putting all his weight into it. With a crack of paint and splintering wood it swung open.
He climbed out of the window, one foot on the lintel the other trying to find a firm place to put his foot. The Doctor quickly glanced behind him he could see a flat roof only a yard or so away. He swung himself round so that he faced the right direction. He took a deep breath then pushed off leaping towards the flat roof. His feet missed by inches and he impacted against the gravelled surface with his chest, knocking the wind out of him. He could hear the shrill of police whistles, shouts and footsteps as they closed in. He scrabbled to find some purchase to pull himself up by. His hand came up against something. The Doctor looked up. A shadowy figure stood on the roof. It held out a hand. He hesitated for a moment then reached out and took the helping hand. The stranger pulled him up.
“Who are you?” asked the Doctor.
“No one you need know,” replied the stranger, “Follow me.” With a swish of his cape the stranger headed across the rooftops.
The End….for now

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