"Don't let him touch you!" I shouted as I ducked under Oddbob and grabbed a nearby fire extinguisher, spraying it at him.
"Oh sweet." Spellman said, unfazed, turning round and looking at Rani.
"Luke, little help here!" Clyde exclaimed, pushing at the doors.
"Why are you coming after me?" Rani asked.
"You have a ticket." Oddbob hissed.
"Get away from her!" I said, stabbing him with the extinguisher, making him spin around and look at me. "But out of all the things your mother has seen, out of the dark, all the things you have fought, it's me that lives in her nightmares." I looked back at Mum who stood frozen to the spot as Clyde and Luke rammed the doors when suddenly, Rani's phone rang, making Oddbob freeze. The boys rammed the doors open and we ran out towards the car, not looking back.
The five of us clambered out of the car into the drive as Rani's phone repeatedly rang.
"Ok," Clye said, slamming the door of the car before we all walked towards the house. "Annoying ring tone have their uses. I think we've all learnt that today. But still annoying."
"It's my Mum!" Rani said nervously. "What do I tell her?"
"That you're on the way home!" Mum said, striding towards the front door.
"What you expect me to just go home like that?"
"Mum I think you need to tell her everything." Luke said desperatley. Mum turned back from the door and gaped at Luke.
"No, I told you, both of you." She said sternly, looking between Luke and Clyde.
"Please Sarah Jane," Clyde begged as Rani's phone began to ring again. "That phone is doing my head in." Mum stared at Clyde before sighing, snapping Rani's phone shut and holding it tightly in her hand.
"I'm going to offer you a choice, Rani." Mum said. "Cross over the road, go back to your parents, and the life you lived before you moved here and nothing would of changed. Or..." She hesitated a moment as Rani looked across the road at her house. "You can come with me." Rani's gaze snapped back to Mum, looking shocked. "Nothing will ever be the same again."
"I want to know the truth." Rani nodded.
"Then tell your Mum I'm giving you a little work experience." Mum said before turning back to unlock the door. "This way." Mum said as we walked through the front door and up the stairs.
"This place is massive." Rani gasped as she stared around in awe, standing at the bottom of the stairs.
Clyde put a hand on her shoulder. "You ain't seen nothing yet." He said before following Mum up the stairs.
Rani slowly made her way up the stairs with me and Luke behind her as she stared at Mum's articles in frames hung on the wall. She walked past Mum, standing on the first landing before climbing the rest of the stairs after Clyde.
"Thank you." I mouthed to Mum. She nodded at me and followed after Rani as I looked back to see Luke staring at the picture of our little gang at the skatepark. I sighed and wrapped an arm around my little brother's front with a sigh as I too stared at the picture of me, him, Mum, Maria, Clyde and Alan. It was such a nice day really, but then The Doctor appeared and I ran off to Rose's death. If only I knew I'd be heading to the battle of Canary Wharf then... I shook my head from my thoughts and sighed, knowing the young girl in that picture, that girl being Maria of course, held the universes biggest secret in her brain. Martha was protected, she knew how to defend herself if anyone came after her for information, and Donna was in The TARDIS with The Doctor, but Maria... I just had to hope we'd be ok for now. And that's why I hadn't told Mum, Clyde or Luke. I hadn't told Amy, Rory or Mels. There was no way of telling Mickey and I wouldn't tell Rose if I wanted to anyway. And Hero... I'd tried to track him down, but it had seemed... well, he'd run away from the universe. "Come on." I mumbled, placing a kiss to Luke's head.
"And this," Clyde said, opening the attic door as I appeared behind him, Rani and Mum. "Is where it gets interesting."
"How cool is this?" Rani gasped, walking in. "This is where you work?" She asked as we made our way in and she walked down the steps towards Mr Smith, peering round the corner.
"That's right." Mum said, walking towards her desk and throwing her coat down on the sofa.
"What's this?" She asked, picking up the distress beacon we'd collected.
"That's a distress beacon from Sileethean scout ship," I said, gently taking it out of her hands and putting it back down in its place. "Careful." She nodded and pulled her hands away as I smiled at her. "We'll have an intergalactic rescue team on the corner of Bannerman Road." Clyde scoffed behind me and I turned back to look at him, raising an eyebrow. "Don't laugh Clyde Langer," I scowled. "It took a lot of work to get UNIT away, wipe people's memories and convince the Sileethean's that we were ok and that we didn't need their help."
"It was Maria!" Clyde exclaimed, raising his hands.
"You pushed her into the table." Luke said innocently, making me smirk.
"But you're a journalist." Rani said to Mum with a frown as she made her way back into the centre of the room.
"I am." Mum said.
"What with alien gizmos in her attic? Who doesn't bat an eyelid at a shape changing alien clown pied piper thing?" Rani asked, standing on one of the steps and looking back at me and Mum by Mr Smith.
"That's more of a... hobby." Mum shrugged.
"Bit of a lifestyle for me." I muttered.
"Ok," Rani laughed. "Any second now, my alarm is gonna go off and it's my second day at Park Vale. A new school with your Dad as head teacher, anyone would have nutty dreams."
"Alright Rani." Mum said, approaching the young girl and putting her arm around her before leading her over to the alien gizmos. "This is what we do. Luke, Clyde, Flo and me."
"Part time." I added. "I have, other arrangements." I muttered, walking past them to the other side of Mr Smith and slumping myself into the office chair.
"When aliens come to Earth," Mum began to explain. "And they do, all the time. If they're friendly, and need help, we're here to give it."
"On the other hand," Clyde said from the upper level off the attic, hands shoved in his pockets. "If they're looking for trouble, we give them that too."
"Yeah well I wouldn't have put it quite like that." Mum called over Rani's shoulder before turning back to her.
"But we have saved the world 12 times." Luke said, making his way down the steps towards Rani.
"For real?" Rani gasped, looking round at him.
"No one is keeping score!" Mum said.
"Except Luke." Me and Clyde said in unison.
"What's important are the rules." Mum said, looking back at Rani. "We look after each other, we respect all life whatever planet it's from, and we tell noone what we do, do you understand? Noone."
"Yes." Rani nodded. "I understand." She said as Mum brushed past her and turned to Mr Smith.
"Mr Smith, I need you!" Rani looked up in shock as the fanfare blew through the attic, steam flew everywhere and Mr Smith opened up.
"What's happening?" Rani gasped as I stood up and Clyde walked over to us so we all stood in a line, staring at Mr Smith.
"Don't worry, it's only Mr Smith." I shrugged.
"Yes Sarah Jane." Mr Smith said in his usual, monotone voice. "How can I help you?"
"It's a computer!" Rani gasped with joy. "A talking computer. You've got a talking computer in your wall!"
"Actually he's a Zylog." Luke said. "A crystalline lifeform, just about the smartest in the galaxy." I raised an eyebrow at him. "But computer is close enough. Super computer."
"Mr Smith, I want you to tell me everything you know about the Pied Piper and a clown, called Oddbob."
"And this is to do with the children that have gone missing?" Mr Smith enquired as he run his scans, showing different newspaper cuttings on the screen. "Across America, in the period 1932 to 1940 there were dissappearences of children connected to a travelling clown known as Oddbob."
"So many." Mum said, watching the screen intently.
"What about the Pied Piper?" Rani asked.
"I'm sorry, I don't think we've been introduced." Mr Smith said.
"This is Rani." Mum said quietly. "She's just visiting. What about the Pied Piper?"
"A legendary figure who in 1284 rigged the German town of Hamelin of rats in the mean of a magical tube. When the town refused to pay his fee, he enchanted away all it's children."
"Could there be any truth in the story?" I asked, subconciously rubbing my stoumach.
"It's a matter of historical fact that Hamelin lost all its children."
"Whoah, you mean it's true?!" Rani exclaimed.
"I want you to scan this." Mum said, placing one of the tickets to Spellman's museum on Mr Smith's shelf.
"I'm detecting traces of an alien energy." Mr Smith said as the scan ran through on the screen.
"What sort of energy?" Luke asked.
"I can find no comprobable data for analysis."
"So, this is something from way off." Clyde guessed.
"Now Mr Smith, show me the historical extraterrestrial records for lower Saxony in the 13th century." Mum said, making Mr Smith change his screen to a map at the time, running the records through.
"What's that?" Luke asked. "In the Weserbergland mountains?" It zoomed in to show something.
"A meteorite fragment that landed in 1283." Mr Smith informed us.
"The year before the Piper arrived! Yes, the Piper was in the meteor!" Rani exclaimed, making me and Clyde share a look.
"The meteorite had a diameter of 30.12 centimetres. An unlikely spacecraft, Rani."
"Still," Mum said, giving Rani a small smile. "What do we know about it?"
"It's currently on loan for scientific research from the University of Munic to the UK."
"Do you mean it's here?" Clyde asked.
"And he came with it." Luke said in realisation.
"Perhaps if I could analyse a fragment, I could provide some information on the energy sample." Mr Smith said.
"Of course." Mum said. "Where is it?"
"I bet you it's at the Pharos Institute." I whispered to Clyde.
"The Pharos Institute." Mr Smith confirmed. Mum looked over, sharing a look with Clyde as I smirked to myself.
"Why do they scare you?" Me and Luke asked in unison, popping up behind Mum in the living room as she sat, looking at her laptop at pictures of Clowns.
Mum jumped, "You two." She laughed.
"Oddbob." Luke said as I sat down next to her on the sofa and pulled him onto my lap. "He scared you." Mum gently shut the laptop close. "I've never seen that before."
"When my unt was bringing me up," Mum said, placing the laptop on the sofa next to her. "My room was filled with lots of old toys that used to be hers. One of them was a marronette. A puppet clown. I never liked it. It always seemed to be watching me." She gulped as I reached over and squeezed her hand. "Then one night, there was the most tremendous thunder storm. I screamed the house down..."
"What happened?" Luke asked as he slipped off my lap into the tiny gap between me and Mum. She gave us a small smile and put her arm around the both of us.
"My Aunt told me not to be so silly. It was a puppet, it was a trick of the light in the storm... perhaps it was. But, it was the first time I ever cried out for my parents, you see, I never really knew them." She wiped a tear from her eyes as Luke looked at me with a frown.
"Nan and Grandad died when Mum was just a baby." I explained before we both reached over and hugged her.
"Be careful you two today, yeah?" I asked, leaning against the kitchen counter in my pyjamas as I watched Clyde and Luke eat their breakfast. "Ring me if you need anything, promise."
"We'll be fine." Clyde said, rolling his eyes at me. "Why are you getting so paranoid? We do this all the time."
I gave him a small smile, placing my hand on my abdomenom. "I'm just love you guys, ok? Don't want to lose you."
Luke grinned at me, "We're not going anywhere."
"The meteorite originated in the Gigorovax cluster." Mr Smith said as the scan ran through on the screen. I sat on the sofa, watching as Mum was at her desk.
"Never heard of it." Me and Mum said in unison.
"It is a dark nebula on the cusp of the Bezita Vordax system."
"What about energy traces?" Mum asked as I got up and we both walked towards Mr Smith.
"There is an energy residue matching the sample I analysed."
"Well go on!" I said.
"There are stories of enteties in this region created by emotions, such as fear."
"And this energy... came here in a meteor." Mum said. "It fell near Hamelin where people were terrified by a plague of rats and this fear manifested at the Pied Piper!"
"And once manifested the entity required more fear for it's survival."
"It took the children." I whispered. "To create fear. And it's been doing the same thing ever since." I gasped as Mum's phone began to ring. She quickly fished it out of her pocket and answered it.
"Luke?" She asked down the phone before she looked over at me. "It must have been what he was talking about. He's going to make the whole school vanish." She quickly pulled the phone closer to her ear. "Luke, whatever you do, don't follow them into that museum. We'll be there as soon as we can." She quickly hung up and smirked at me before turning to Mr Smith. "Mr Smith, I have a job for you."
"We tried to get them to turn back," Rani said as me and Mum got out of the car to find the whole school walking down the street holding a red balloon with Rani, Clyde and Luke running after them. "But they won't listen."
"It's like they're zombies!" Clyde said.
"I think Spellman's controlling them, like he did with the clowns." Mum said.
"What's he gonna do with them?" Luke asked. "It's practically the whole school."
"They're gonna vanish, like the others, without a trace. It's not the children he's interested in, it's the fear of their dissappearance causes. Spellman is an energy entity, he feeds on fear." We eventually found ourselves outside of the museum as Spellman stepped out, calling out to the kids.
"Step this way!" Spellman called out.
"I don't think so." Mum said, stepping forward.
"I don't think you have any say in the matter, Miss Smith." He replied smugly as the students one by one walked past her into the museum.
"Perhaps I should phone a friend?" Mum suggested, flipping open her phone. Suddenly, all the students stopped and took out their phones as they began to ring, making me wince slightly at all the loud phones ringing. "Oh, looks like his line is busy." Mum said as the students held their phones to their ears.
"It must be Mr Smith." Luke said to Rani and Clyde. "He's scanned the school records and rung every pupil." And one by one, the students let go of the balloons and they floated up into the sky.
"The phone signals are interfering with Spellman's power!" Clyde said in realization, grinning at me. The students all returned to normal, chattering away before walking past us. Then it went black.
"MUM!" Luke called out into the dark.
"Stop shouting Luke." I muttered, standing next to him. "It won't make it any better. "It's a last chance attempt, he's trying to feed off Mum's fear because he has us." I looked around the darkness. "We're between worlds, in the void I think." I mumbled.
"Mum." Luke stumbled out in front of me towards Mum, Rani and Clyde inside Spellman's museum.
"Luke, Flo!" Mum gasped, rushing forward and hugging us.
"What happened?" Luke asked, looking around as I watched Mum, holding out the piece of meteorite in her hand. "Where's Spellman?"
"I imagine you could say, he's finally pied the piper." She grinned, holding out the meteorite proudly.
"The children taken in recent weeks have all been found safe and well." Mr Smith reported as Mum put the metorite carefully into a metal box with a pair of tweezers. "They have no memory of what happened to them, but were released when the energy was returned to the meteor fragments."
"And that is going in here." Mum said, putting the tweezers down next to the box before shutting the lid.
"Hulkanite steel." I said, nodding at the box. "Nothing can get through it. Not even thoughts."
"So what happens now?" Rani asked as we all stepped out onto the drive. "Do you trust me to keep all these secrets?"
"When it comes to getting a true glimpse of the universe there are two types of people." Mum said as we slowly walked down the drive. "Those who refuse to believe, that would tell themselves anything to deny themselves the evidence of their eyes. And those who embrace the universe and see how special life is. I want to keep it that way by staying safe and secret."
"And that's me?"
"That's all of us." Mum said, putting her arm around Rani and Luke as I put mine around Clyde as Haresh and Gita came walking up the drive.
"Rani!" Haresh said. "Where do you think you've been? I would have thought you'd have had more sense than to get involved in this walk out!"
"Walk out?" Mum asked with a frown.
"Stupid prank." Haresh said, shaking his head. "The whole school went walk about then wonders back a couple of hours later claiming not to know what they'd been doing. Obviously some bright spark thought it'd be a good way of winding up the new headteacher." He raised an eyebrow, glancing at Clyde.
"Yeah, of course." Clyde said. "Cause I'm the joker in the pack, aren't I?"
"We had free period." Rani said quickly. "We've been in the library in town, researching for a project. Luke, Clyde and Me."
"See?!" Gita said happily. "That's why she wasn't answering her phone!"
"I was at the library with Flo, and we brought them home." Mum said with a smile.
"I thought I'd take your advice sir, try applying my brain to something." Clyde said sarcastically.
"Oh, by the way." Gita said. "I saw it on the news, all those kids turned up, like nothing ever happened? Very happy ever after. Bit weird."
"Not weird Mum." Rani said. "Surprising. The universe is a surprising place."
"Anyway, Haresh is making tea. You're all welcome to share." Gita said, grinning at all of us.
"Oh we'd love to." I said, sharing a look with Mum. "But we have work to do, but Luke?"
"Yeah, please." Luke said as Gita linked arms with him and they walked off down the drive with Rani.
"And you." I whispered, pushing Clyde forward.
"Look at me with my new headmaster cooking me tea!" He grinned before following after them. Me and Mum shared a smile before linking hands and making our way back into the house.
A/N - I just want to apologise for the quality of the last chapter, it wasn't great and I know that. I actually wrote it a long time ago. Next up is The Unicorn and the Wasp, great episode. Before we finally meet River Song. Excitiiiiiiiiiiing! So, yep, enjoy and review you beautiful people! xoxo