(Welcome to my episodic crossover fic. This is episode three, and while you can start reading here, you might want to visit my profile to get the whole story with Episode One: Frozen in Time)
Back to the Doctor
Go West, Young Man Part 1
The farmhouse was dark, and quiet. John lay in his cold bed, listening to the soft breathing of his wife next to him. Dawn was still at least an hour away, but his body knew it was time to get up, time to go out and milk the cows. He shuddered in anticipation of the cold, then threw off his heavy quilt and stepped into his slippers.
He quickly fell into his familiar routine, dressing with only the moon to see by. He had always been terrified of waking his wife, and as he would make his way down the hallway he would wince every time a floorboard creaked, worried one of his children would hear and get up.
John had been raised not to be a bother to those around him, and he had spent his entire life tiptoeing around his family, becoming the shadow of a father instead of a real one to his sons.
Once outside he grabbed the lantern hanging on the porch and lit it. The air was still and damp and John hugged his jacket closer to his body for warmth. The barn he walked to was just as silent as the house behind him, and as John reached for the barn door he felt slightly uneasy. Cows always stirred when they heard someone coming, but as he pushed the wooden door open it remained perfectly silent inside.
He didn't realize what he was seeing at first. He hung up the lantern like he always did, but as he took a step towards the sleeping cows he nearly tripped over something. He looked down and saw the tiny calf lying by the door, only it wasn't asleep at all. Its eyes were open, empty things, and its tongue hung out of its mouth.
Now John looked at the other cows, really looked. They weren't sleeping, not a single one of them. They were all dead. He couldn't explain it, there was no evidence of violence or anything, but every creature in that barn was lifeless. It really could only be one thing, some kind of disease.
He ran back to the house, his caution from before gone. The door banged loudly against the wall and he ran up the stairs.
"John, that you?" He could hear his wife's voice and in the children's room one of his sons had begun to cry.
"Get up!" John ran into his room as his wife lit a candle.
"What is it?" She had never seen her husband look so shaken before. It was more than unsettling.
"The cows, they're dead – all dead!"
"But, what are you talking about? How could that be?"
"It could be-"
"Papa?" One of his sons wandered next to him, rubbing his eyes, John pushed him aside and took a step towards his wife.
"They might be diseased."
Coming from downstairs, they suddenly heard the sound of a door slamming.
"What was that?" His wife asked.
John turned his eyes to the stairs. He couldn't see the door from this angle.
"Stay up here," John whispered, taking the candle from his wife.
His shotgun, where was his shotgun? He had had it last night – of course, he had left it by the front door. Which door had slammed? Maybe it was just the wind catching the door he had left open. But, there hadn't been any wind when he had been outside.
"Hello?" He called down from the top of the stairs, his three sons huddled behind him, his wife grabbing onto their tiny shoulders, trying to keep them upstairs.
He took a step down the creaking stairs.
"I'm armed," he lied and his voice wavered.
There, there was a noise, something shuffling. Walking? Had an animal got in through the open door?
Once at the bottom of the stairs he could just make out the shape of his riffle leaning against the front door, at the end of the hallway. There was no sign of anyone or anything inside the house, but now he was certain he had heard something.
He couldn't count the times he had walked down this hallway, but it had never felt this long before. Every time he passed a doorway he turned, expecting something to jump out at him, and every time it didn't happen he only became more nervous.
Finally he stood in the living room, the riffle only a few paces away, and-
The silence was suddenly cut off by a high-pitched squealing noise, like a train at full speed suddenly applying the brakes. John swung around to see what had made the noise, to see what was in the living room with him, but he turned too fast. The candle went out, and John was alone in the dark.
No, not alone, he could hear something else breathing in that room.
"John? What's going on?" His wife's voice called him.
"Who's there?" John nearly spat. "I can hear you. Show yourself, coward."
There was a strange chirping noise, and suddenly the room was filled with bright light, brighter than the sun at high noon. John held up his arms, trying to shield his eyes from the blinding light, and as they slowly adjusted he started making out figures, tall men standing in his living room, shining this light on him.
He turned his head, and there was his riffle. If he jumped, he could reach it in one step, he could just reach out and grab it.
"John! Say something!"
He jumped, but never made it.
To Be Continued…
(Last episode it took me until the last chapter before I had to change the rating to T, this time I'm not leaving any pretenses. This episode is extremely lively to dive right into the dark horribleness that resides in my mind. I don't know how serious people take the ratings on this site, but I kinda like trying to figure out exactly where my fic fits into ratings. Also, figuring out day was what over 100 years ago can be… trying. God bless the Internet for having useless contraptions to calculate these kinds of things. This chapter was shorter than I wanted it to be, but my main focus was to get the mood right and not pad it. Hopefully I at least succeeded in that.)