Obligatory Disclaimer: As you have probably already guessed , I don't own anything to do with Life on Mars or Doctor Who.

Summary: Set just after the Dr Who episode "The Lodger". The TARDIS has emerged from the materialisation loop, but instead of landing in Colchester to pick up the Doctor, it accidently strands Amy in 1974 Manchester. She is alone in a strange time and place with no Doctor, no TARDIS and absolutely no resources. But that's just the start of her problems...

Author's Note: Sam Tyler is Sam Tyler in this one (ie not the Master). No pairings. Rated T for Gene Genie's occasionally colourful language.


CHAPTER ONE

The landscape was ugly, pitted and gnarled like a war zone. It was a wide wasteland, dotted with small mountains of discarded debris – broken bricks, decaying timber, twisted sheets of corrugated iron, old oil tanks, perished tyres and any amount of other detritus left over from the destruction of the buildings which once stood proudly there. Noxious smoke rose lazily in the air from some of the piles, mute evidence of the lackadaisical efforts of the local council workers to clear up some of the encroaching rubbish.

Mother Nature was already busy trying to reclaim the abandoned tract of land, laying down a carpet of knee-high weeds, a profusion of yellow flowers nodding in the light breeze, contrasting sharply with the filth and soot left behind by the human inhabitants.

Deserted old factories and vacant, condemned houses surrounded the area, overlooking the miserable wilderness with dark, broken windows like sad, empty eyes, mere echoes of the bustling life which had once burgeoned here.

The atmosphere was sticky and sultry, dark clouds massing on the horizon like a welter of dark bruises. There was a thunderstorm coming and it was not far away.

Nobody noticed the sudden appearance of a incongruous blue police box, fading in and out for a few moments with a wheezing, groaning sound and then taking solid form amongst the tangled weeds, the light on top flashing like a warning beacon.

The doors were flung abruptly open and a girl with long red hair emerged, rather inappropriately dressed in a short black skirt.

"Doctor?" she called, rapidly looking around her. "Doctor!"

Taking in the bleak surroundings, a frown creased her forehead. "Wait a minute!" she said crossly, turning back to the police box. "This isn't Colchester..."

Before she could complete the sentence, the light on top of the blue box began to flash again and, complete with more wheezing and groaning, it de-materialised once more, leaving the girl standing alone in the middle of nowhere.

"Hey!" Amy Pond shouted angrily. "Hey, TARDIS, come back here!"

Nothing happened, the space in front of her remaining mockingly empty.

"Oh, you have got to be joking me!" she exclaimed, kicking furiously at the gravelled ground with her red Converse sneakers. "Stupid, unreliable time machine...just as bad as it's stupid, unreliable owner!"

She gazed around her again, noting the ominous dark clouds overhead. "Oh great, I have no idea where I am and it's about to rain."

Raising her face to the sky she yelled, "OI, DOCTOR, WHEREVER YOU ARE, YOU'D BETTER WORK THIS OUT AND COME AND GET ME, OR ELSE!"

Sulkily, she plonked herself down on a pile of rubble and began to compulsively rip the heads off some of the nearby weeds. "And you'd better not take twelve years to do it this time, either!" she muttered threateningly.


"Please, Tom, don't go in there. I don't like it!"

"Don't be such a nancy-boy, Andy. I only wanna check it out and see if there's anything worth nicking!"

"It doesn't feel right. There could be anything in there...it's dead creepy," ten-year-old Andy whined, looking up at the blank windows of the condemned cottage. "Let's just go get some chips and forget about it, eh?"

"It doesn't feel right, it doesn't feel right..." sixteen-year-old Tom sing-songed derisively. "God, how did I ever get stuck with a sissy little plonker like you as a brother? Look, you stay out here and keep watch. I'm going in for a reccy. Just try not to piss yourself while you're waiting, OK?"

With that, he walked up the overgrown path and vanished around the side of the house. Andy hunkered down just inside the broken front gate, cautiously watching an old lady walking her dog nearby. He wished Tom wouldn't treat him like such a div. After all, he was ten years old now, not a baby. He wished he could be braver. Tom was always brave. He never worried about ghosts or monsters or space aliens or any of the things Andy worried about. But no matter how often Tom told him that such things didn't exist, Andy could never quite believe it. Somehow he just knew there was more out there, an unseen world which moved just beyond the scope of his vision, so much more than the boring, mundane life he knew.

Andy sank into a pleasant daydream where he saved his older brother from a monster and Tom had to admit that Andy had been right all along.

Just then, the terrifying, blood-curdling screams began from inside the house, over and over in increasing intensity, turning the blood in his veins to liquid ice, his heart clutching with horror. Without stopping to think, the little boy leapt up and ran blindly away, determined to get help.

High above, an unearthly white face stared unseen out of an upstairs window, watching him leave with cold, dead eyes.


Amy was trying to decide what to do. She had already been waiting for an hour. It was getting colder now as the afternoon grew later. The light breeze had strengthened to a teasing, gusty little wind and the heavy rain clouds were now directly overhead. She knew she would soon have to seek shelter of some sort, but she was reluctant to move in case the TARDIS came back or the Doctor came looking for her.

Much as she hated to admit it, she was beginning to feel scared. What if he never came? She had no idea where in time and space she was. It looked like Earth, but what if it wasn't? She was completely alone in a strange place with absolutely no resources.

But she trusted the Doctor, of course she did. He had never let her down before. Except for that whole twelve year wait thing. Oh God, she didn't even want to think about that! Just the thought of waiting here for twelve years gave her the heebie-jeebies.

The truth was, he had been acting a bit weird lately. Well, weirder than usual, anyway. After all, the Doctor was the definition of strange at the best of times. What else could you expect from a nine hundred year old alien zipping around the universe in a blue police box? But recently, he had been even more peculiar, almost erratic in his behaviour. One minute he was upbeat, racing around the TARDIS console, talking a mile a minute in an overly-bright, frenetic fashion, offering her the choice of a bewildering array of destinations, as though he was trying to compensate her for something she was lacking. The next minute he was hideously grumpy and morose, moping about like he had lost his last friend, snapping at her for anything and everything she said.

And the questions! Always asking her questions about her early life and the people she had known, staring penetratingly into her face as she answered, seemingly expecting some sort of amazing revelation. Somehow he always seemed disappointed with her responses, as though she hadn't given him the answer he had been looking for, as though she had missed some mysterious, essential point in their discussion.

The really strange thing was, she hadn't been feeling quite herself either. Sometimes, like the time they had visited Vincent Van Gogh, she had discovered tears on her face for no reason at all, tears she hadn't even realised she had wept. Vincent had sensed a deep sadness within her, or so he had said, something that was missing. But nothing was missing, was it? She had everything she could possibly want, her life was perfect – or would be, if the Doctor would just settle down and stop being so peculiar. And yet, and yet...sometimes when she looked up quickly, it was almost as if she expected to see someone else in the console room with them, as though an unseen, ghostly third person haunted the TARDIS. Which was completely ridiculous, because the whole time she had been with the Doctor, there had never been anyone else travelling with them.

Amy sighed, pushing the odd thoughts to the back of her mind again. The Doctor's jumpiness was rubbing off on her, that was all. Anyway, that was the least of her worries at the moment. The real question was, what was she going to do right now?

Suddenly, she saw a small dark-haired boy running full tilt towards her, across the expanse of waste ground. As she watched he tripped and fell heavily, sprawling across the rough ground, before dragging himself upright again and continuing desperately on, his hands and knees lacerated and bloody.

"Miss!" he screamed. "Miss, please, ya gotta help! Ya gotta help me!"

Amy leapt to her feet and ran towards him, closing the distance between them.

"What is it?" she demanded, catching him by the shoulders. "What's happened? Is someone after you?"

The child was completely distraught, drawing in great ragged, sobbing breaths, his small body trembling from head to foot.

"It's Tom!" he forced out in an agonised voice. "I think summat's gone and kilt Tom!"

"Who's Tom? What happened to him?" Amy asked urgently.

"He's my big brother. He went inside an old house and there was awful screamin'. Something bad got him, I just know it!" the little boy wept, his sharp-featured face smeared with tears and mucus. "Please, ya gotta come and help him!"

Amy looked reluctantly back over her shoulder at the still-deserted wasteland. She had big problems of her own right now and she really didn't want to leave the last place she had seen the TARDIS. But the child was virtually hysterical. There was no way she could resist his plea for help.

She sighed deeply and then asked in a resigned voice, "What's your name, kid?"

"A...A...Andy!" he gulped.

"Nice to meet you, Andy, I'm Amy. Now let's go find your brother."

The little boy's terrified face brightened and he turned and ran off again, clearly leading the way and intending her to follow. Amy kept up as best as she could, which was no easy task in her short, tight skirt, the rampant undergrowth whispering and catching at her long, stockinged legs.

As they reached the edge of the wasteland, she noticed a huge billboard had been erected, displaying a brightly coloured picture of a highway raised up on immense pylons, transversed by a multitude of busy cars.

The advertising blurb read: "COMING SOON, MANCHESTER'S HIGHWAY IN THE SKY."

"Manchester!" Amy exclaimed aloud. Well, at least now she knew it was definitely Earth – but what the hell was the TARDIS doing stranding her in Manchester, of all places?

Overhead, a loud peal of thunder rolled ominously across the sky and the first fat drops of rain began to fall.