"Doctor?" Clara swings out the door of the Tardis, her lips pursed in her trademark, quirky half-smirk.
"Clara!" He answers enthusiastically, nearly shoving her over in his haste to get out the door behind her. "What is it?"
She links her arm through his, unable to resist his infectious excitement. "Where, exactly, are we?"
He pulls her forward and his eyes sparkle mischievously. "Come on Clar-a!" He playfully stretches her name to its full two syllables. "Don't you want to guess?"
She lifts her eyebrows and her eyes dart around the scene. "Earth." She decides, seeing the terrestrial buildings gathered, the familiar, square-block layout of an ordinary city park. She looks again, taking in the plain brick and stone of the city, no glass, no polished steel, the old-fashioned architecture and shape of the buildings and carvings, no telephone poles or wires or satellites, no cars on the narrow streets. "The past?" She guesses.
"1919," he confirms, grinning broadly. "Biloxi, Missippi." He adds as an afterthought.
Clara uses the hold she has on his arm to pull him out into the brightly sunlit street. "Never heard of it." She tells him cheerfully. "Why are we here?"
He shrugs, smiling at her. "Why wouldn't we be here? There doesn't always have to be a reason for everything."
"No," she concedes. "But there is a reason for this."
"Clever girl." He tweaks her nose and she scrunches it up in annoyance then follows him down the street at a run. The place is crowded with people in working clothes, shabby clothes - but early twentieth century shabby. It thrills Clara a little, seeing a time come to life right in front of her, stepping into a place she never should have been, meeting people who were dead before she was born, and seeing it all vividly alive with her a part of it. The impossibility of it all makes it so addictive.
They reach the harbour, and the Doctor grabs her shoulder, pulling her to a hard stop.
"Smell that sea air!" He exults.
"I smell fish." She shoots back.
"To-may-to, to-mah-to." He shrugs. "This way."
He's off again, and she's struggling to keep up. Her legs are too short for this job. She'll have to tell him, for future reference, to pick companions with long legs if he's going to run like a crazed giraffe. Even though he's a good runner, he runs in the same spirit of the ridiculous in which he does everything. He couldn't be called graceful. Giraffe was the perfect metaphor. Colt would have captured the motion, and but it didn't have the sense of exotic and just plain weird one needed when describing the Doctor.
He had a definite direction, Clara noticed. He was heading deeper into the city, away from the sunny harbour and whitewashed buildings towards dark and smoky alleyways and crowded, leaning houses, all barely supporting one another. He's taking specific streets too, making sharp rights and lefts and never pausing to get his bearings. She knew they were here for a reason.
When they stop again, it's not where she would have expected, had she been expecting anything. She's learned that when you travel with the Doctor, expectations are superfluous and invariably misleading. They've arrived in the poorer part of town, obviously. The houses are dank and neglected and the people are shabbier even than the working-class drudges down at the harbour. They're in a cemetery, Christian definitely and if she were to guess, Roman Catholic, though she's no expert. They've also interrupted a burial.
The Doctor stands respectfully alongside the mourners, and Clara joins him, wanting to quiz him for answers but not wanting to whisper while they're carrying a casket by. A woman and a young girl walk first in the procession, dressed in solid black. The girl is weepy and obviously distraught and the woman looks as if she is carved from marble, stiff and immovable. Clara tries to subtly crane her neck to see the headstone and the Doctor obligingly moves out of her line of vision. Chiseled in small, neat letters is the name Mary Alice Brandon, and beneath it, in the same precise writing, are the dates 1901 - 1919.
Eighteen. Clara looks at the two chief mourners again and now sees a mother and a younger sister. Her heart aches with pity, especially once the girl stumbles and nearly falls, sniffling and letting her tears pour unchecked off her face.
"Why are we here, Doctor?" She murmurs quietly, trying to be unobtrusive.
"We have an appointment." He answers at the same pitch, and slides the psychic paper partway out of his coat pocket so she can read the message.
You will be at the Old Biloxi Cemetery, Nine O'Clock, April 6th. I will need your help. Cynthia will tell you.
Clare squints at it in confusion. "Who's it from?" She hisses. He moves his hand so she can see the signature, but tries to keep the postscript hidden. She sees it anyway.
Mary Alice Brandon.
She looks up to see those same words inscribed far more neatly on a tombstone. They have an appointment with a dead girl, but she doesn't linger on that fact. She's more interested in the words the Doctor tried to hide.
P.S I know about the Impossible Girl.