The Doctor and Rose stepped out of the TARDIS. The only addition to the Time Lord's usual pinstripe suit and long brown coat, in diffidence to the cold temperatures was a hat and long scarf he had dug out of the wardrobe. His companion on the other hand was wrapped up in several layers of clothing with a long musty fur trimmed coat, boots, hat and gloves.
On the forest floor lay a thick coating of snow and the tall pines trees cast shadows around them in the twilight of the winters evening. They began to walk through the trees towards where the Doctor had indicated a city was situated. Rose shivered with cold pulling her coat tighter round her. Her breath visible in the air as she spoke.
"Do you know how far we've got to go?"
"Not much further," replied the Doctor, putting a friendly arm gently round her shoulder. "That coat belonged to a Russian noblewoman you know."
"How come you've got it?"
"She erm…left it to me in her will," he winked, playfully.
"You're pulling my leg."
"No, your arm," he chuckled. "We had better hurry up; it's getting dark rather quick."
"What's that noise," asked Rose, pausing a moment to listen. "It sounds like a bell."
"It must be coming from the village. It doesn't sound too far off."
"Do you have a torch or something, before I go and fall flat on my face?"
"Yep," he switched, a small blue torch on, its slim beam of light barely illuminating he snowy path ahead.
Suddenly the Doctor came to a halt.
"Shush," he held his finger in the air, standing still like a statue.
In the distance Rose heard the howl of a wolf. Soon more joined in till the howling seemed to echo from all around them, growing to an almost unbearable pitch.
"We'd better hurry," said the Doctor his voice suddenly serious.
They began to walk faster till their pace was almost jogging. Rose could feel her heart beating, she knew there was danger near by and it was closing in. The beam of light fell upon something waiting in the darkness. Two eyes stared out of the inky blackness. The Doctor swung the torch round showing up more eyes staring at them. They were surrounded.
"Doctor, what are we going to do?"
"Back slowly away, no sudden movements."
The wolves began to advance with a low growl.
One of the predators barked, and they all leapt forward.
"Run!" he yelled, bringing his arms up to fend off one of the wolves who had gone for his throat.
The torch dropped to the floor, plunging the scene into darkness.
"Argh! Run Rose, Run! Don't argue, just go-,"
His words were drowned by the snarls of the wolves. Rose scrabbled amongst the snow for something to use as a weapon. Suddenly she came upon what she presumed was a stick or branch. Picking it up in her hand she gave a yell, swinging it at one of the creatures who had just thrown its self at her ankles. The blow struck home with a sickening crack.
"Doctor! Doctor I'm coming-," she cried, stooping down to pick up the torch.
She shone the light illuminating, to her horror the tableau of the Doctor pinned down by several of the wolves. One was just about to go for his throat. Rose struck out at the lupine fiend sending it flying. She brought the torch round. The Doctor looked worse for wear, but he managed to fight off some of the others the rest seem to pull back discouraged by Rose's attack. She helped him up and they made their escape.
"Are you ok?"
"I'll be fine," replied the Doctor, his left arm hanging awkwardly by his side. "Just a few cuts and bruises. Where did you find that?"
He nodded at the weapon she held.
"That is someone's tibia…probably their last meal."
"Urgh," she exclaimed dropping the bone and wiping her hands on her coat.
"That's our first line of defence gone," he replied.
"Do you think they'll be back?"
"Probably. Look we're nearly at the edge of the woods, and the village is just down the hill in the valley."
"It looks deserted. They weren't werewolves were they?"
"No, they were your garden variety wolf. Uh-oh, I think we've got company."
There was the sound of barking and growls.
"Let's go then."
They reached the bottom of the hill, the pack of wolves hot on their heels. As the entered the main street the leader of the pack was almost upon them when suddenly there was a whistling sound. Rose glanced back as she heard the creature whimper.
"I know Rose."
A door opened a little way down the street a lantern held by a man showing the way.
"Quick! This way," cried the stranger, bidding them towards the door.
They didn't hang around to ask questions and whipped in through the door, which was hurriedly bolted after they were safely inside. Rose could hear barks, growling and scuffling outside the door as the predators attempted to get their prey, but were unable to get through the heavy wood door. The wolves persisted for a few minutes, but soon realised the futility of the situation and backed down content instead to play the waiting game.
Rose observed the room they were in by the flickering orange firelight. It was fairly small in size with white walls and wood beams. All the windows were shuttered up. Near the fire were two arts and crafts style seats and at one end of the room was a table and sink. She noticed that there was a door in the roof with a ladder going to it. The two occupants of the house their faces pale and frightened led them to the seats in front of the fire.
"You will be safe in here," said the man, as he appeared to double check the locks.
"Are you alright? Oh, dear-," exclaimed the woman, kneeling down beside the Doctor. "Your arm."
"Doctor," agreed Rose. "You're hurt."
"I'm fine, it's only a scratch," replied the Doctor, holding a handkerchief he had acquired from somewhere to his arm, which was bleeding profusely from a large gash.
"You've been bitten. Let me help you-," said the woman, putting a first aid box on the table next to the Doctor and helping him take his coat and jacket off, and rolling up his sleeve.
"You were lucky. Most people don't survive-," said the man, a sadness in his eyes.
"Thanks for your assistance," replied the Doctor, wincing as the woman applied some iodine to the wound. "I'm the Doctor, and this is Rose."
"I'm Logan, and this is my wife Hilda," said the man.
"Keep still and stop squirming," exclaimed Hilda, when the Doctor flinched, as she pulled the bandage tight.
"Sorry. Owww….can you be a little more gentle," the Doctor exclaimed.
"Those wolves out there are they usually that bloodthirsty?" asked Rose, a little alarmed.
"Well," began Logan. "They never used to be not till that night-,"
"Which night," asked the Doctor.
"When the sky lit up with shooting stars-,"
"It was beautiful."
"Then the next night was when they first came. It started with livestock a few chickens going missing but it soon escalated."
"They were no longer afraid to come into the town. They came at night and took those who were weakest. Our child-," Hilda began to sob.
Her husband put a comforting arm round her shoulders.
"We sent out hunting parties to cull the animals but in the day they could not be found and at night the beasts had advantage. They killed more of us than we did of them. That's why at night we bolt our doors and windows and hide in the upper rooms."
"At night… Do the wolves ever come in the day," asked the Doctor, as he slowly replaced the jacket and coat, tutting at the rip in his garment.
"They never come in the day. We always have someone on guard though just in case. It was Sergeant Gregory's idea."
"Who's Sergeant Gregory," asked Rose.
"He is a soldier in Sir Harold's army who lives in the castle on the other side of the woods. He came here to visit relatives and found he could not leave."
"You don't know? It takes a full to day to ride through the forest on the fastest charger, even if he set out at dawn he would be in the woods and at the wolves mercy for two consecutive nights. That's certain death."
"Oh," said Rose, biting her lip.
"Has anyone tried," asked the Doctor.
"Isn't that why you're here? Harvey decided to try to reach the castle on his horse."
"How long ago was this?"
"A couple of days."
"I think we know what happened to him-,"
"What do you mean," hissed Rose.
"You mean he got eaten?"
"Oh, dear," exclaimed Hilda. "We will have to tell his mother."
"You didn't come from the castle then?"
"No we came in a ship."
"But there is no river nearby only a narrow stream in the woods."
"It's not that kind of ship-," began Rose.
"How we got here doesn't matter. What does is sorting out your problem, and I'm just the person to help. Its kind of a hobby of mine," said The Doctor with a grin. "You don't happen to have any tea do you, I'm parched."
"I thought not." He dug in his left-hand pocket, pulled out four teabags and put it in Hilda's hand. "Just stick one in each cup of boiling hot water with a little milk."
"Off you go." He lent over to Rose, pulling a handful of sugar out of the other pocket, "I've got sugar as well. It's going to be a long night."
Hilda trotted off to the sink and began to pump some water into a small cauldron like object.
They had already mourned the loss of one of their own struck by an arrow he had fallen in the chase. The wolves now prowled around the village, checking for any gaps or doors left open to enable them to get inside at their prey. The lead wolf had tasted blood and he wanted revenge for the packs loss. But it was getting lighter as dawn approached. It was time to return to the den, to the Alpha. The sun drenched the snow covered land in its glow as the wolves ran into the woods leaving only footprints behind.
The Doctor stood up and gently shook Rose's shoulder waking her from her slumber having fallen asleep in the chair while waiting for sunrise.
"Wake up," he whispered. "It's time to do a little exploring."
"Is it safe," she asked sleepily.
"If what they say is true then we should be fine."
"Are you sure?"
A bell could be heard tolling in the background.
"Now that was the all clear," he grinned. "Now if you're awake enough we will go and have snoop round."
He held out his hand to help Rose to her feet when they heard a scuffling sound as the ladder to the upper floors was lowered down. Logan came down the ladder, and he turned to them both, a look of concern on his face.
"What's the matter," asked the Doctor perceptively.
"There's a wolf in the street…its dead but-,"
"Brilliant, I can do a quick autopsy find out what's going on with their chemistry," he shrugged on his coat, "I think something's got into their water."
He unbolted the door.
"But we had tea-,"
"Don't worry," he said stepping out into the frosty morning air. "They were special teabags."
"It's freezing," exclaimed Rose, with a shiver. "Where are we by the way? Europe?"
"Actually I would say we're not on Earth, although they do seem to be coming into a Renaissance of sorts similar to the one in Earth's history. But don't ask me I haven't got a clue."
"Was that meant to be a jibe at me? I only said you didn't have a good grasp of geography."
"You were the one holding the map upside down."
"Only coz that's the way you gave it to me. It was an alien map, how am I supposed to know how to read it?"
"You could have asked," he raised an eyebrow his eyes wide and questioning.
"You say that now-,"
They could now see a large crowd.
Some of them were shouting, 'Burn it! Burn the beast!'
The Doctor ran forward, Rose on his tail, pushing his way through the mass towards the centre of the mob of villagers. There lay the corpse of a wolf killed by an arrow, beside it stood an imposing figure whom by his military bearing and enormous moustache would have to be Sergeant Gregory.
"'Allo, 'allo. What's going on here then," began the Doctor, "Looks like someone got a lucky shot last night. Killed a wolf did we Sergeant?"
"Who are you," exclaimed the soldier, taken aback by the appearance of a stranger after such a long time cut off from civilisation.
"I'm the Doctor, and I'm here to sort this mess out."
"Where are your troops?"
"Here," he indicated Rose who was standing behind him.
"You must be joking?"
"Nope, it only takes two to tango, mate." The Doctor knelt down beside the wolf and lifted it into his arms. "Now let us see what's causing your little lupine problem, shall we?"
"What are you going to do?"
He carried the wolf through the crowd who parted like the read sea at the sight of their feared menace. They reached the home of Logan and Hilda where he lay the corpse on the table.
"What are you doing," exclaimed Hilda.
The Doctor waved the multipurpose sonic screwdriver on the scanning option over the animal.
"Did you find something," asked Rose.
"Yeah, look see," he pressed to a small raised area the size of a smartie. A small window opened in the skull revealing a mass of servos and microchips. "It's a cyborg. Part organic part machine."
"Ew. That's weird. But who would send cybernetic wolves out to kill these villagers?"
The Doctor looked round, his sight fell on the chimney. He walked forward and peered closely at a small hole the size of a fingernail. He used the sonic screwdriver.
He held up his hand, indicating she should stand back.
"Hello, there," the Doctor swung round to face Rose. "Welcome to the Truman Show-,"
"You mean this is all a show?"
"Listen to me Doctor what does this all mean," asked Logan.
"This means your little light show in the sky was an invasion, and you're just entertainment." The Doctor turned back to face the hole that contained a camera. "Watch out I'm coming!"
There was a buzz from the sonic screwdriver and a quiet popping sound, then a small cloud of smoke trickled out of the hole.
"What was that," asked Rose.
"A video camera, hidden in the wall."
"So this is all some kind of show, not a prison with CCTV then?"
"I'm going to find out-," he replied starting toward the door, but he paused a moment on the threshold all the villagers had crowed round the house.
"Let us come with you," asked Logan. "If you know who is responsible for…all those deaths we want to help you stop them."
There were cries of agreement form the crowd outside. They had all lost loved ones and they wanted answers.