1. The High Society
“The mirror of memory! The mirror of memory! Billy! Billy, can you hear me?!”
“Nyssa? Nyssa, is that you? Nyssa darling?”
Billy Walker found himself waking up as if from a bad dream. It was night-time as he woke up. He felt groggy. He woke to find himself lying on a settee in a large drawing room, staring into the eyes of a beautiful woman. A woman with dark bobbed hair. She wore a simple blue-white silk dress. She looked at him concerned and curious.
“Hello. Are you feeling alright?” the woman asked. “You look pale. Charles will be here shortly.”
Billy took in the face he saw and instantly recognised her. His face glowed warmly and happily.
“Nyssa!” he said relieved. “Oh I’m so glad to see you!”
Billy leaned forward and kissed the woman gently on the lips. He was surprised when the women quickly pulled away, shocked at his advances. She backed away whilst Billy was baffled.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” the woman said, outraged. “Keep your hands off me!”
“But…but Nyssa,” Billy began. “What’s the matter? You seem upset.”
“Keep away from me!” the woman said terrified. “Don’t you dare touch me!”
Billy was at a loss. At that moment, a tall man entered the room. He was fair-haired, wore grand tweed clothes and had a prim moustache on his upper lip. He looked at Billy with benign approval.
“Ah! I see our young friend’s awake,” the tall man said delighted. “Good show! Hope you’re feeling better, young man.”
“I’m sorry?” Billy said, confused.
The woman ran over to where the tall man was and tucked her face inside his chest, holding him tight.
The man became puzzled. “My dear Ann, whatever’s the matter with you?”
“Keep that boy away from me,” the woman insisted. “He made advances on me, Charles! He tried to kiss me!”
“What’s that?” the man asked.
They began to look at Billy accusingly.
“But Nyssa, it’s me, Billy!” Billy insisted. “Don’t you remember? I’m your boyfriend!”
“I’m not Nyssa!” the woman told him. “And I’ve never seen you before in my life!”
“What?!” Billy said astonished. “But you must be Nyssa! You look exactly like her!”
“Don’t let that boy anywhere near me, Charles!” Ann pleaded. “Protect me, please!”
“One moment, my dear. One moment.”
Gently releasing Ann from him, the tall man stepped forward towards Billy, now seated on the settee in the drawing room.
“Did you say…’Nyssa’, young lad?”
“Yes,” Billy replied. “You know who I’m talking about?”
The man turned back to Ann. “My dear, do you remember the time last year when we had that doctor play for us at a charity cricket match? With his young friends. It was also at the ball. With dear George.”
“I have dreadful memories of that day, Charles,” Ann replied. “I wish not to remember them.”
Billy suddenly realised what was going on. “Of course!” he said triumphantly. “I see now! You’re…you’re Ann, aren’t you? Ann Talbot! Nyssa’s double of course!”
Ann looked at Billy, mildly astonished. Then she mildly reproved. “It’s Lady Ann Cranleigh to you, young man. I’m married. You remember that, d’you hear?”
Billy turned from Ann to look at the fine tall man. “And you must be Lord Cranleigh! Charles Cranleigh of Cranleigh Hall, right?”
Lord Cranleigh became astonished. “How do you know our names?” he enquired. “And how do you know so much about us?”
Billy smiled reassuringly. “Oh I’ve been told a lot about you two. I know of you from my friends. They came here once. You might remember them. In 1925, I believe it was.”
Before Billy carried on, Lord Cranleigh interrupted with his own recollections. “Wait now, I remember. Yes! It was good old Smutty Thomas who said he couldn’t make it for the cricket match. He said he’d send in a replacement. Turned out to be a first class bat and a demon bowler. A doctor! Yes! He was the Doctor!” He looked at Billy for a moment. “And he had three young friends with them, didn’t he?”
“That’s right,” Billy replied. “Adric, Tegan…and Nyssa.”
“That’s it!” Lord Cranleigh said. “And the most extraordinary thing was…that one of his friends, Nyssa wasn’t it, looked exactly like my fiancée…wife, I should now say. Yes! She looked just like Ann! Didn’t she, my dear?”
“Yes,” Ann replied. “She did. I remember Nyssa well. Nyssa; her friends and the Doctor.” She turned to Billy. “You thought I was Nyssa, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” Billy admitted. “Sorry about that. I should have realised.” He turned to Lord Cranleigh. “I’m sorry, Lord Cranleigh. I didn’t mean to take advantage of your wife…”
“Think nothing of it, dear chap,” Cranleigh chortled. “I had trouble mistaking Nyssa for Ann on many occasions, as did other people at the time.”
“So…you know Nyssa then,” Ann said to Billy. “And the Doctor.”
“Yes,” Billy replied. “It’s just the Doctor and Nyssa mind. No one else. I’m travelling with them now. Nyssa and I…well…we’re a couple, you see.”
“Top hoe!” Cranleigh exclaimed. “That’s absolutely ripping! Glad to hear of it! Hope the two of you are happy together. Nyssa’s a lovely girl as I recall.”
“Thank you, your lordship,” Billy said.
“And the Doctor,” Cranleigh went on. “It’d be good to meet up with him again. Where is he? You say you travel with him and Nyssa. Where are they?”
“That’s just it,” Billy replied. “I can’t remember.”
“Can’t remember?” Ann enquired.
“Well, the last thing I remember,” Billy went on, “was when we were in the Doctor’s TARDIS…”
“Yes, the blue police box,” Billy elaborated. “I suppose you know about it. Anyway, we were in the TARDIS one moment and then the next…” Billy struggled to think. “I can’t remember what happened next,” he eventually said. “I can only remember waking up in here with you two after that.”
Billy looked around the large drawing room he was in. He admired the grand furnishings and luxurious textures present.
“So you’ve no idea where the old boy and Nyssa are then,” Cranleigh said.
Billy grasped the temples of his head. “No. I wish I can remember. I really want to, but it makes my head hurt.”
“No matter,” Cranleigh said reassuringly. “It can wait until morning. We can put you here with a room for the night. Then we can go and look for your two friends in the morning. I’m sure they can’t be far from here.”
“Thank you, Lord Cranleigh,” Billy said gratefully. “You and your wife have been very kind to me.”
“Not at all,” Cranleigh replied. “We’ll do our best to help you out.”
Craneligh then beckoned his butler Brewster as he entered the drawing room. “Brewster! See to it that our new young friend here has some supper. For he needs it.” He turned to Billy. “Brewster can rustle up anything. A drink perhaps?”
“That’s very kind of you,” Billy said, “but I don’t want anything strong…”
“Would orange juice meet with your approval, sir?” Brewster asked.
“Yes,” Billy said, quite startled. “Orange juice will be lovely, thank you.”
“We also have a supper of cold chicken at the ready if you so desire it,” Brewster offered.
“Yes, thank you,” Billy said happily. “Cold chicken would be lovely too.”
“Splendid,” Cranleigh said pleased. “We must make sure we look after you, mustn’t we?”
Billy smiled delightedly. He liked being attended to and pampered this way, admiring the delightful lord of the British realm. He couldn’t help notice though that Ann was looking at him curiously and a little suspiciously. He sensed something was wrong. He wondered whether he had upset her to a great degree or something.
Next morning, Billy was waiting in the drawing room for Ann and Lord Cranleigh. They were about to embark in the village and make enquires about the Doctor and Nyssa’s whereabouts. Ann entered the room and saw Billy. She took him in for a moment, growing nervous of him as she stepped into the drawing room. Billy noticed Ann’s shyness as he tried to ease the tension.
“Hello,” he began. “Are we all ready to go then?”
Ann nervously replied, “Charles is fetching Tanner, our chauffeur, with the car. They should be here any minute.”
“Oh good, good,” Billy said.
A moment of silence ensued. Ann couldn’t seem to pluck the courage to speak. So instead, Billy had to do it for her.
“Look, I’m really sorry about last night,” he said. “I didn’t mean to take advantage of you. Really, I didn’t…”
“It’s quite alright, young man,” Ann interrupted. “There’s no need to explain.”
“It’s just,” Billy went on, “Well, you look so much like my girlfriend. It’s hard to believe you’re not really her.”
“Yes,” Ann replied solemnly. “So I understand.”
Another moment of silence ensued. Billy waited anxiously for Ann to say something to him and fill the silence. She seemed unwilling.
“How exactly did you and your husband find me last night?” he then asked. “Where did you find me, I mean?”
“I found you lying on the floor in the corridor outside one of the guest bedrooms,” Ann replied. “You looked so ill and pale. I had to ask Charles to bring you down here to revive you.” She paused for a moment. “Don’t you remember how you came here?”
“No,” Billy cringed. “I’m afraid…I can’t remember.”
Billy put a hand to his head as he felt a twinge. He struggled to recollect any previous memories before his amnesia.
“So…what occupation do you bear?” Ann asked.
“I’m just a freelance photographer,” Billy replied. “For a newspaper company.”
“I see,” Ann said, disapprovingly. “You know the Doctor and Nyssa well then.”
“Oh indeed yes,” Billy said happily. “They’re two of my favourite people in the universe! Nyssa, especially! I love her so much!”
“Nyssa told me a lot about you,” Billy said. “About you and your husband Lord Craneligh. The Doctor told me about you too.”
“Have they really?” Ann said, nonplussed.
“Yes. They told me how they came here for a cricket match; went to a fancy dress ball, and then there were the murders…”
Billy then noticed Ann’s discomfort from her eyes. He stopped himself talking further. He took sympathy for Ann.
“I’m very sorry for your loss. For your…previous fiancé. You must have loved him a lot.”
“Yes,” Ann said gradually. “Very much. Thank you.”
One more moment of silence ensued. Both Billy and Ann felt uncomfortable with each other. Billy didn’t like it. He then turned his attention towards a glass cabinet. It housed a massive orchid, covered with velvet black.
“Wow! This is a lovely flower!” he said. “It’s so beautiful! What is it?”
“That’s my previous fiancé’s latest acquisition from the jungles of Venezuela,” Ann told him. “The black orchid. The Doctor and Nyssa told you about that I presume.”
Gradually, Billy replied, “Err, yes. Yes I remember them telling me about it.” He paused for a moment. “George Cranleigh, wasn’t it? Your previous fiancé?”
“Yes. Dear George,” Ann said.
Billy then noticed a portrait hanging on a wall that looked very much like Lord Cranleigh. Except it was somehow someone different.
“Is um…is that him?” he asked. “Hanging on the wall? George Cranleigh?”
“Yes it is,” she said. “Well guessed. That’s what he looked before he went out to the Amazonian rainforests for the last time. To the Orinoco.”
Billy took in the portrait with great interest. He also noticed Ann’s sorrowful expression on his face.
“I understand he was um…an explorer. A botanist.”
“Yes,” Ann answered. “Your friend, the Doctor. He was given a book written by him from us, wasn’t he?”
“Yes, I remember,” Billy said. “‘Black Orchid’, wasn’t it? That’s what the book was called. I’ve read a bit of it. Couldn’t really get into it though. I found it too deep for me.”
“Well, just goes to show you’re not as academically gifted as you seem to be,” Ann said bitterly.
Ann’s abrupt remark silenced Billy instantly. It was his turn to become nervous of Ann, as she eyed him suspiciously and was becoming distrustful of him. Billy was more anxious and determined to find the Doctor and Nyssa.
At that moment, Lord Cranleigh entered. He beamed delightedly once he found Billy and Ann together.
“Ah, there you both are,” he announced. “Good! We’re ready for the off! Our chauffeur Tanner is waiting outside in the car. That is if you’re ready?”
“Err yes,” Billy replied. “Yes of course! Thank you, your lordship. I really appreciate you doing this for me.”
“Well, it’s the best we can do around here,” Cranleigh replied. “We’ll try the village and perhaps the railway station. If they’re not there, surely somebody would’ve seen or heard of them. So we can’t go all wrong.”
“Yes, absolutely,” Billy agreed. “Well, we better get started.”
“Yes!” Craneligh turned to Ann. “Come along, Ann my dear?”
“Coming Charles, coming,” Ann answered.
Ann led the way out of the drawing room with Billy and Lord Cranleigh following after her. They made their way out of the house to meet Tanner the chauffeur who was waiting in the car outside.
The Rolls Royce that belonged to Lord Cranleigh, which currently contained himself, Ann and Billy with Tanner at the wheel, drove down the country lane. They made their way to the village.
“We’ll stop first at the railway station, Tanner,” Cranleigh told his chauffeur. “Then we make for the village unless otherwise.”
“Very good, sir,” Tanner replied.
Billy tried to start a conversation with Lord Cranleigh and Ann. “So, you two have been married for a year now.”
“Yes,” Cranleigh replied. “Ripping so far!”
“Do you both live at the hall by yourselves?” Billy asked, curious.
“Oh, not just us two,” Cranleigh said. “My mother also lives with us. But she and Sir Robert Muir, our chief constable, have taken a holiday down the south of France for a month. We’re expecting them to be back soon.”
“Oh yes,” Billy realised. “I remember the Doctor and Nyssa telling me about your mother, Lady Cranleigh, and Sir Robert Muir.”
“You seem to know a lot about us then,” Ann remarked. “Like you’re really interested in the Cranleigh family.”
“Oh I’m very interested in the 1920s in general,” Billy told them. “It’s a period of history I love!”
“A period of history you love?” Ann enquired.
“Yes,” Billy went on. “I love visiting the 1920s! Fancy balls and dancing; the music; the cars; the food; the carefree atmosphere. It’s a period of history I long for and want to be a part of. It’s the High Society, isn’t it? With George Gershwin; the flappers; the waltzes; the foxtrots, the Charleston and everything.”
“By Jove!” Cranleigh exclaimed, quite amused. “You’re a peculiar lad, aren’t you? Fancy you saying these things with such enthusiasm.”
“Pardon me, Lord Cranleigh,” Billy said. “I sometimes get carried away.”
“Think nothing of it,” Cranleigh chortled. “It’s good to see a young lad keen on the classic arts and music of our time. And what do you think of our fine Rolls Royce, lad? Isn’t it spiffing?”
“Quite…spiffing!” Billy declared. “And a topping driver you have as well!”
“Thank you, sir,” Tanner answered, delighted. “Much appreciated.”
“I do so look forward to meeting up with the Doctor and Nyssa,” Cranleigh said. “Feels like I haven’t seen them for ages. They are keeping well, of course. I say, I approve of you and Lady Nyssa being proverbially knotted. When’s the wedding?”
“Oh, I don’t know about a wedding,” Billy laughed.
“No wedding?” Ann enquired, suspicious. “What then do you know about if you say you and Lady Nyssa are together?”
Billy felt nervous again. He didn’t like Ann being suspicious of him. He decided to change the subject.
“You like the Doctor and Nyssa then, Lord Cranleigh; Lady Cranleigh?” he asked.
“Oh I should say so, old boy,” Cranleigh said delightedly. “When the Doctor won us the cricket match for our Guys Hospital charity, I was absolutely dashed! Absolutely splendid and well played! A first class bat and a demon bowler!”
“Yes,” Billy agreed. “The Doctor always was a fast bowler.”
“And then your fiancée Nyssa,” Cranleigh went on. “Oh she was astonishing! Quite uncanny I thought! When she looked like my then fiancée Ann, no one could quite tell them apart.”
“Yes, I understand both Nyssa and your wife dressed up in the same costume at the fancy dress ball on that day,” Billy said. He turned to Ann. “Is that right, your ladyship?”
“You are right,” Ann said gradually. “It is true.”
“Oh it was a great hoot,” Cranleigh declared. “No one could tell them apart on that occasion either. Both wearing the same costume and with butterfly masks on their heads. I thought it was topping fun. Wouldn’t you say so, Ann?”
“No Charles,” Ann replied coldly. “I would not say so. It wasn’t topping fun in the end. When I was dancing with a harlequin on the terrace and he brought me into the hall. I had to witness the murder of the servant James. Do you remember, Charles?”
Cranleigh realised the mistake he made and began apologetically, “Ann, my dear…?”
“Do you remember me suffering the hardship I had when George didn’t come back from his expedition,” Ann went on. “And then I saw him again and he turned out to be a horrible monster. Remember Charles?”
“My dear, I’m so sorry,” Cranleigh continued apologetically. “I didn’t mean to…”
“That was the day my would-be husband died,” Ann said upset. “When I saw him with that horrible disfigurement. And that awful Indian with a lower lip like a duck! Dreadful!” She then turned to Billy. “I do not have fond memories of when your Doctor and your friends came to our house as Charles seems to. The day was a tragic one for me, young man. So why think I should have fond memories of them?”
Ann turned away, feeling upset as she began to burst into tears. Billy remained silent, feeling uneasy and tense. Lord Cranleigh placed a hand on Billy’s shoulder to reassure him.
“My apologies about Ann my wife, young man,” he said. “She’s been through a lot of turmoil, don’t you know.”
“Yes, so I see,” Billy said. “It’s alright. I understand.”
Billy and Lord Cranleigh became silent. Ann eventually stopped sobbing away, but didn’t turn to look back at the two men who were concerned about her. Tanner meanwhile turned the Rolls Royce to the right as they made for Cranleigh Halt railway station.
The Rolls pulled outside the entrance of the railway station. Tanner left his place at the wheel to get out and open the door for his passengers. Lord Cranleigh, Ann and Billy stepped out of the car as they made their way to the station.
“Do you suppose you and your friends could’ve come here when you arrived, young man?” Cranleigh asked.
“I’m not sure,” Billy replied. “My head’s still throbbing. I can’t remember that far back.”
“I remember picking up the Doctor and his friends from Cranleigh Halt station when they came here on that day you were batting for charity last year,” Tanner remarked.
“Thank you, Tanner,” Cranleigh said. “Wait here until we return. We shouldn’t be long.”
“Very good, sir,” Tanner replied.
Tanner returned to wait at the wheel, whilst Cranleigh, Ann and Billy made to go inside the railway station.
“I remember the first time I met the Doctor and Nyssa,” Billy told Cranleigh and Ann. “It was at a railway station where we met.”
“How fascinating,” Ann said. “You must have very fond memories of that first meeting.”
“Oh, I do indeed,” Billy said happily. “Yes indeed.”
“Like steam trains do you, old boy?” Cranleigh asked.
“Oh I love old fashioned steam railways,” Billy said. “I’ve always wanted to drive one of them. I even got to ride in a steam train on an adventure with the Doctor and Nyssa.”
“Let’s check inside to see if anyone’s about, shall we?” Cranleigh suggested.
Cranleigh made to open the front door, as he; Ann and Billy went inside through the booking office to make for the north-bound platform.
At the platform, Ann; Cranleigh and Billy looked around. They saw no sign of any police box. The platform was empty. The station was sleepy and lazy as was the warm sunny morning.
“Well, if it’s not here,” Ann remarked, “it must be somewhere else.”
“We didn’t say we would find the Doctor and Nyssa at the station, my dear,” Cranleigh reminded her.
“I just don’t understand how I could’ve forgotten what happened to us,” Billy said.
“You still can’t remember anything yet, dear chap?” Cranleigh checked.
“No,” Billy answered. “I can’t remember how we left the TARDIS or if we ever did. If only there were some people at the station. Like a train guard.”
“Passengers usually travel on trust via these trains,” Cranleigh told him. “We usually get a railwayman from Bicester, but it’s his day off today.”
“Well,” Billy began, “since there’s no TARDIS here, we obviously didn’t arrive at the station. And if not at the station, then where?”
“Perhaps we should ask the village police station,” Ann suggested. “Constable Cummings could have some information about a certain Doctor and Nyssa.”
“Good thinking, my dear,” Cranleigh applauded. “Absolutely ripping! Let’s go to the Cranleigh police station and see if they can help us.”
They began to leave the platform of the station.
“Though, do you think they’ll be too busy to help us?” Ann wondered. “Considering…considering there’s talk of murders taking place.”
“Murders?” Billy enquired.
“Oh yes,” Cranleigh answered. “A series of them have been frequent only recently in the village.”
This bit of news unsettled Billy, as they returned to meet Tanner who opened the door of the Rolls Royce for them.
At Cranleigh police station, Billy, Ann and Cranleigh entered to find Constable Cummings at the reception desk. Cummings looked up to see his lordship and her ladyship enter as he quickly came to attention.
“Ah! Morning your lordship; your ladyship,” Cummings greeted.
“Good morning, Cummings,” Cranleigh said. “How’s the matter on hand with those murders? Getting somewhere?”
“Afraid not, your lordship,” Cummings replied. “We’re still trying to find out who the suspects are. But there seems to be no evidence or clues to follow on. These murders are happening at random by the minute.”
“How long have these murders been going on for?” Billy asked.
“At least a week, sir,” Cummings answered. “It’s most peculiar.”
“Oh Cummings, this is Mr. Billy Walker,” Cranleigh introduced. “He’s a friend of ours. We wish to make some enquires on his behalf.”
“Enquires, Lord Cranleigh?” Cummings asked.
“About a police box,” Ann elaborated.
“Yes! Have you seen one?” Billy asked. “A blue police telephone box. You wouldn’t have spotted it and picked it up by mistake, would you?”
“Police box? Oh no, dear sir,” Cummings replied. “We haven’t picked any police boxes since…well, since last year. When there was a police box.”
“Are you sure?” Billy checked. “You’re sure you didn’t see it?”
“Well, I’m sure I would,” Cummings said, “but I honestly don’t remember. Other officers might have seen it. Sergeant Markham mind. He wouldn’t have seen it. He’s on leave. As is Sir Robert Muir.”
Billy breathed deep before he asked another question to Cummings. “You haven’t picked up any strange activity around here by any chance have you, Cummings? Something weird and unusual.”
“What apart from the murders?” Cummings said. “No, sir. Nothing out of the ordinary.”
“Not any aliens or strange supernatural phenomenon?”
“No sir. Not that I know of.”
“I see. Shame.”
“You could try in the village,” Cummings suggested. “They might be more helpful.”
“Thank you, Cummings,” Cranleigh said. “We’ll certainly do that. Come on, Ann; Mr. Walker. Let’s take the constable’s advice and go.”
They made to leave, before Billy turned back and to face Cummings again.
“What about the Doctor and Nyssa?” he asked.
“Doctor; Nyssa?” Cummings enquired.
“Yes, they’re my friends,” Billy said. “You haven’t by any chance seen them? Or heard of them. The Doctor and Nyssa were here last year. They attended a cricket match and a fancy dress ball. At Lord Cranleigh’s house.”
“I don’t recall that occasion, sir,” Cummings stated.
“They were arrested, Cummings,” Cranleigh elaborated, “when the Doctor was accused of murder. At my house, remember?”
“Oh yes,” Cummings realised. “That time when there were four people dressed in odd gear. The boy in the pirate outfit; the woman in the wood nymph; the girl in the butterfly and that man dressed up in that clown outfit.”
“That’s it, Cummings,” Cranleigh said cheerily. “That’s them!”
“Have you seen them recently?” Billy said hopefully. “Or heard them?”
“No sir,” Cummings said despondently. “Never seen the like of anyone like the Doctor or his friends.”
“It was just the Doctor and Nyssa I’m looking for,” Billy pointed out. “The Doctor’s a cricketing man. And Nyssa, she’d be wearing a plum velvet outfit.”
“Sorry sir,” Cummings apologetically said. “No people of them descriptions have been reported as seen.”
Billy was astonished. “But surely somebody must have seen them. The Doctor’s always one for trouble. Couldn’t he and Nyssa have been reported in?”
“I don’t think so, sir,” Cummings said. “Not to my recollecting. Perhaps I wasn’t on duty when it happened.”
Billy sighed for a moment, unable to comprehend.
“Perhaps this police box you mentioned doesn’t exist at all,” Ann said shrewdly to Billy. “Or perhaps the Doctor and Nyssa aren’t your friends as you claim them to be.”
“Ann, my dear!” Cranleigh rebuked her.
He was about to rebuke further before Cummings’ face lit up suddenly. “Strike me pink! Wait a minute! Now it comes to it, I do remember someone talking about a man in cricketing clothes! Yes, and I believe he was playing cricket on the cricket field.”
“Was there something special about him?” Billy asked. “About the way he played cricket?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact there was,” Cummings said. “I remember one saying that he was ‘first class bat’ and a ‘demon bowler’.”
“By Jove!” Cranleigh exclaimed. “Billy, it could be…”
“Yes, it could be, couldn’t it?” Billy agreed. “I’m sure it’s the Doctor! My Doctor! That seems to be hopeful!” He turned to Cummings. “Thank you, Constable. You’ve been very helpful.”
“Pleasure, sir,” Cummings replied. “Glad to be of help.”
“Good! Come on,” Cranleigh said encouragingly. “Let’s go and see if we can find our Doctor on the cricket field before he gets bowled out!”
They thanked Cummings; made their way out of the police station and headed for the cricket field.
Outside, as Lord Cranleigh; Ann and Billy stepped out of the police station and were about to make their way to the cricket field…
“I’m so glad we came here in the end,” Billy said. “I was beginning to think I’d lose the Doctor and Nyssa forever.”
At that moment, two gentlemen approached them upon leaving the police station. Lord Cranleigh knew them. They were obviously friends of his.
“Charles, whatho!” said one man. “Good to meet up with you!”
“By Jingo, Chuffy and Freddie,” Cranleigh greeted them. “How goes it?”
“All well, dear Charles,” said the other man who was called Freddie. “We’re just on our way to play some cricket. Are you coming to join us?”
“We’re going to the cricket field to find a friend of mine,” Billy said. “Well, hopefully we should find him.”
The two men ignored Billy as the first man, Chuffy, said to Ann, “I say! Dash it, Ann! You’re here!”
“Well of course I’m here, Mr. Chuffy,” Ann said. “Why wouldn’t I be here?”
“Well, it’s just that we came from the hotel and saw someone who looked like you,” Freddie said.
Billy became hopeful. “Someone who looked like Ann? Where is she? The person you saw! Where is she?”
“She’s back at Cranleigh Hotel,” Chuffy said. Then as if noticing Billy for the first time, “Who is this man, Charles? Where does he come from?”
“Lord Cranleigh!” Billy interrupted before Cranleigh could answer Chuffy. “Please may we go and check the hotel to find Nyssa there?”
“Why, dear man!” Cranleigh exclaimed. “You think that Miss Nyssa might be there?”
“Of course!” Billy said. “These two men said that she looked exactly like Ann! It must be Nyssa! She looks exactly Ann as Ann looks exactly like Nyssa!”
“Ah! Very good point,” Cranleigh concurred. “Yes well, we must investigate and see if it is Nyssa who’s there at the hotel.”
“It is Nyssa at the hotel,” Billy said. “I know it is!”
“Come on then,” Ann said. “We might as well get over there, mustn’t we? See you soon, Mr. Chuffy; Mr. Freddie.”
With that, Ann, Lord Cranleigh and Billy made their way over to Cranleigh Hotel after saying farewell to Chuffy and Freddie. Chuffy and Freddie watched them, looking suspiciously at Billy.
“Very peculiar,” Chuffy said. “Wouldn’t you say so, Freddie?”
“Oh yes, Chuffy,” Freddie agreed. “Very peculiar indeed.”
At Cranleigh hotel, Lord Cranleigh; Ann and Billy approached reception. They met the receptionist there to make enquires. He was a man in his early thirties.
“Ah! Good day, Lord Cranleigh,” the receptionist greeted. “And what can I do for you?”
“Good morning,” Cranleigh replied. “I was wondering if you could help us, dear man. This young lad seems to have lost his friend. A girl it was.”
The receptionist then gaped at Ann and his mouth open. Ann felt uncomfortable. Had she a smut on her nose or something?
“Why Lady Cranleigh!” the receptionist exclaimed. “Goodness gracious me! You get everywhere, don’t you?”
“Everywhere?” Ann reacted puzzled. “I don’t understand.”
“I thought I saw you just now in the ballroom practising ballroom dancing with some the trainees,” the receptionist explained. “How can you be in two places at once?”
“This woman,” Billy interjected. “The one you saw in the ballroom. Where is she? Where’s the ballroom?”
“Why it’s that way left and down the end of the hall,” the receptionist directed. “Is there something wrong?”
“Nyssa must be in there,” Billy said to Lord Cranleigh and Ann. “Practising ballroom dancing.”
Billy thanked the receptionist before he went off in the direction to where the ballroom was. Lord Cranleigh and Ann followed. The receptionist returned to his work, mildly confused
Entering the ballroom, Billy; Lord Cranleigh and Ann saw groups of dancers practising how to do the foxtrot; a waltz and a variety of other dances. They look around to see if they could find a familiar face.
“Can you see Nyssa anywhere, young man?” Cranleigh asked.
“I’m not sure,” Billy replied. “There are quite an awful lot of dancers here.”
“Maybe she left,” Ann suggested. “Just before we came in here.”
“Ann, my dear,” Cranleigh retorted. “Don’t say such things!”
Just then, Billy saw a dancer he recognised. She was very much like Ann, except she had shoulder length hair with curls. She was smiling and radiantly happy whilst doing the Charleston. Billy was overcome with joy.
“Nyssa!” he cried.
Every one of the dancers stopped in their routines after Billy called. People hushed Billy to keep the noise levels down. But Billy ignored them as he ran over to Nyssa. She was still continuing with her ballroom dancing and ignoring Billy as he approached behind her. Billy tapped Nyssa on the shoulder to grab her attention.
“Nyssa?! Nyssa, darling?”
At first, Nyssa still seemed to be ignoring Billy once he tapped her on the shoulder. She was giddy and happy whilst dancing. Puzzled, Billy tapped Nyssa’s shoulder again.
“Nyssa, it’s me Billy!” he called. “I’m here!”
Eventually, Nyssa stopped dancing and turned around, quite annoyed when she looked at Billy.
“Do you mind not interrupting me!” she insisted. “I was in the middle of enjoying myself!”
“Nyssa, I’m so glad to see you!” Billy said, overcome with joy. “I thought I’d lost you! I was beginning to lose my mind!”
“Who might you be, young man?” Nyssa asked dismissively.
Billy became startled. “Nyssa, it’s me! Your boyfriend, Billy!” he told her. “Don’t you recognise me?”
“I don’t know you…Billy whoever you are,” she retorted. “And you’re not my boyfriend.”
“What?!” Billy said shocked. “But Nyssa, you must remember me! You can’t have forgotten me altogether! We’re a couple, you and I!”
“I’m sorry, you’ve got me mistaken for someone else,” Nyssa reiterated. “Now if you’ll kindly excuse me, I must continue with training.”
“Please listen to me! Remember me, Nyssa!”
“I don’t care about you, young man! Now leave me alone!”
Billy was aghast and disbelieving. It was that moment Lord Cranleigh and Ann arrived.
“Pardon me for intruding,” Lord Cranleigh began, “but…it is Nyssa, isn’t it?”
Nyssa was delighted. “Why Lord Cranleigh! How wonderful it is to see you again! And you, Ann. How do you do?”
“How do you do?” Ann replied.
“It is nice to see you again, Nyssa,” Cranleigh went on. “I take it you and Billy are together. Betrothed, intended, affianced.”
“What?! Me! With him?” Nyssa said surprised. “Oh no! I’ve never seen this boy before in my life!”
“Nyssa?!” Billy reacted shocked.
“But I’m delighted to see you, your lordship,” Nyssa went on. “And you Ann. I hope we’ll be able to catch up with you again sometime soon.”
“Nyssa, it’s me Billy!” Billy insisted. “Please look at me! It’s your boyfriend Billy. We were close you and I. Remember Cuddles? Surely you can’t have forgotten Cuddles. Our little doggie. The one I bought you in Bath…”
“Look!” Nyssa interrupted. “Whoever you are, please don’t bother me. Go away and leave me alone like I told you to.”
“Nyssa, I love you!” Billy declared.
As he advanced towards Nyssa, she backed away.
“Keep away from me!” Nyssa told him. “Don’t you dare touch me! I shall call the police if you do!”
“What?!” Billy said shocked. “But Nyssa…”
“Go away!” Nyssa shouted. “Go away I say! Go away!!!”
“Alright, alright,” Billy retaliated gently. “I’ll go then. I’ll do as you say. Only please don’t shout and call the police. I’ll go if you want me to.”
“That’s better,” Nyssa calmed down. “Now I can carry on with my ballroom dancing. In peace. Without trouble from anyone.”
With that, Nyssa turned away and carried on with her ballroom dancing, regardless of how shocked Billy was at seeing her like this. The other dancers continued dancing too. Lord Cranleigh moved Billy away with Ann joining them.
“Come away, my lad,” he said. “Let her carry on with her dancing if she wants to.”
“I don’t understand,” Billy said. “She must remember me. She can’t have forgotten me. She loves me as much as I love her. Why is she behaving like this?”
“I suspect you are mentally deluded and she isn’t the girlfriend you claim her to be,” Ann suggested.
“What?!” Billy reacted shocked to Ann. “Of course she’s my girlfriend! I love her!” He turned to Cranleigh. “Lord Cranleigh, you believe me don’t you?”
Cranleigh was hesitant at first. Eventually he said, “I must confess I am sceptical as my wife is about your claims, dear boy. It seems that you’ve not been true to your word as you said.”
“But I am telling the truth,” Billy insisted. “I know Nyssa and the Doctor from the bottom of my heart! Truly I do!”
“Then how come Nyssa doesn’t remember you?” Ann asked.
“I don’t know,” Billy replied. He thought for a moment. “The Doctor will know! He handles all sorts of strange things! He’ll know what to do! He’s done so in the past!”
“Then let’s go and find him,” Cranleigh said eagerly. “Off to the cricket field! Let’s see what he has to say!”
“Yes,” Billy said encouraged. “Come on! Let’s go to the cricket field!”
With that, they made to leave. As Cranleigh and Ann went on ahead of him, Billy turned back to at Nyssa. She was still dancing away by herself whilst Billy was concerned and had hopeful longing for her.
“Don’t worry, Nyssa,” he said, more to himself. “I’ll come back for you. Whatever’s happened to you, we’ll sort it out. Me and the Doctor.”
Nyssa didn’t seem to take any notice of Billy whilst she was dancing away. With that, Billy made his way out to follow Lord Cranleigh and find the Doctor on the cricket field.
On the Cranleigh cricket field, the Doctor was playing a cricket match with the local villagers. He was currently taking the bowling position, throwing a googly at his latest opponent. He managed to hit the stumps clean off.
“Owzat!” the cricketers cried out.
Very soon, the Doctor took up his bowling position again before he made another strike at his next opponent. When he struck again, he managed to do a hat trick with his bowling move, to which everyone cheered.
The Doctor was delighted when the cricketers cheered out all at once, “Ripping performance! Good chap! Ripping performance!”
“Thank you very much,” the Doctor called back. “Much appreciated!”
It was at that moment that Billy; Lord Cranleigh and Ann just arrived. Billy ran over to where the Doctor was on the cricket field. He was just about to make another bowl with the cricket ball at his next opponent.
“Doctor!” Billy cried. “Doctor, thank goodness I’ve found you! You’ve got to help me! Something’s wrong with Nyssa…”
The Doctor turned angrily on Billy. “Just what do you think you’re doing interrupting my aim, young man?!” he said. “I was about to bowl before you blundered in!”
The cricketers got agitated as well. They called out angrily at Billy to get off the field. Billy ignored them as he persisted in earnest to the Doctor.
“Doctor, listen to me!” Billy pleaded. “Something’s very wrong here! I need your help!”
“Will you go away, whoever you are!” the Doctor insisted.
“You don’t remember me, Doctor?” Billy asked, shocked.
“No, of course I don’t,” the Doctor replied. “So, will you please go away…”
“Doctor, it’s me Billy!” Billy insisted. “You know me, don’t you? Billy? The one who travels with you and Nyssa in the TARDIS!”
“How do you know about the TARDIS?” the Doctor asked, shocked. “Have you been spying on me? I came out here to play a good game of cricket and…”
“Oh Doctor, please don’t say you’ve lost your memories as well as Nyssa,” Billy pleaded desperately.
“I never lose a memory,” the Doctor replied. “I never forget a thing! I never even forget a person!”
“You’ve forgotten me, Doctor,” Billy pointed out. “You and Nyssa have forgotten all about me!”
“That’s because I’ve never seen you before in my life,” the Doctor retorted. “Now get off this field or I’ll…”
“You have seen me before, Doctor!” Billy said, desperately. “Please, try and remember!”
“If you don’t go away, I shall call…”
“Remember the first time we met at a railway station in 1965,” Billy anxiously interrupted, trying to remind him. “With the Vegrons and Sinroth. Then there was the space hotel; the Daleks; the Dwaxi; the Volturnans; Salvador…”
“Will you please go away!” the Doctor said angrily. “Right this instant! You’re really starting to annoy me, young man!”
Lord Cranleigh then approached with Ann beside her. The Doctor looked up to see him.
“Doctor?” Cranleigh greeted.
“Lord Cranleigh!” the Doctor replied, delighted. “And Lady Ann Cranleigh! How delighted I am to see you both!”
“It’s a pleasure to see you too, Doctor!” Cranleigh said.
“Doctor,” Billy interrupted again. “You remember Lord and Lady Cranleigh. Just as Nyssa remembered them. How is it you can’t remember me?!”
“Because I’ve met them before last year,” the Doctor pointed out, “whereas I’ve never met you! Nor do I want to! Now just go away and leave me alone!”
“Please Doctor!” Billy pleaded. “You’re the last hope I hoped to find! You’re the only one who can save Nyssa and save yourself! Please listen to me!”
“I must continue with my cricket,” the Doctor insisted. “Now please get out of the way!”
“What’s happened to you, Doctor?!” Billy said despairingly. “What’s happened to both you and Nyssa?!”
“Get out of my way!” the Doctor thundered.
“No!” Billy retorted. “I’m not leaving until…”
But Billy found himself being forced and led away by one of the cricketers, who was agitated that the game had been interrupted. Billy was pushed to the ground away from the cricket pitch. He looked back at the Doctor in anguish, who, like Nyssa, didn’t seem to care for him.
“And never come back here again, do you hear?!” the Doctor barked.
With that, the Doctor and his fellow cricketers continued with their game. Billy was horrified as he lay on the ground. He turned to Lord Cranleigh and Ann who came by him and were crestfallen.
“Lord Cranleigh; Lady Cranleigh,” Billy begged. “Believe me what I say is true! Something is very wrong here! We’ve got to help Nyssa and the Doctor…”
“I used to believe you were a young man of dignity,” Cranleigh interrupted, disappointed. “I can see I was wrong.”
“Yes,” Ann agreed. “I’m convinced you haven’t been telling us the truth.” She turned back to her husband. “Come on, Charles. Let’s go back to the hall.”
With that, Lord Cranleigh and Ann made their way back to their Rolls Royce where Tanner was waiting. Anxiously, Billy got up from the ground and made to follow them.
“No! Wait! Lord Cranleigh; Lady Cranleigh!” he cried. “Listen to me! Wait up!”
Billy joined Lord Cranleigh and Ann in their car as they headed off back to Cranleigh Hall, leaving the Doctor and his fellow cricketers with their game.
Back at Cranleigh Hall, sometime later in the afternoon, Billy confronted Lord Cranleigh and Ann in the drawing room. They disbelieved a word he said about the Doctor and Nyssa now.
“How can I make you understand, Lord Cranleigh?” Billy said. “Something’s happened to the Doctor and Nyssa. With their minds; their memories. We must help them. Or at least I must help them.”
“Your conduct on handling this matter doesn’t give you a good account of yourself,” Cranleigh said. “And the sincerity of your words are in doubt.”
“You trusted me before,” Billy said disbelievingly. “Why can’t you trust me now?”
“You claim you know the Doctor and Nyssa,” Cranleigh stated. “Yet they claim not to know you. I’m at a loss who to believe. The Doctor and Nyssa or you.”
“But I do know them,” Billy insisted. “Honest, I do! I’ve had adventures with them! Travelled in space and time with them! I would need to have a great imagination to make it all up!”
“H.G. Wells had a great imagination, young man,” Cranleigh pointed out. “Perhaps you should read his books. If you care to bother with all that rubbish.”
“But I know the Doctor and Nyssa intimately,” Billy said. “I have vivid recollections of our adventures together.”
“Perhaps you do know the Doctor and Nyssa intimately,” Ann stated. “In your dreams. In your fantasy.”
“Oh that’s ridiculous,” Billy replied. “How could I know the Doctor and Nyssa having dreamt about them?”
“You could’ve had insight knowledge about them,” Ann suggested. “That you’re a stalker. An opportunistic fantasist. An obsessive man with a perverted mindset.”
“That’s not true,” Billy replied. “None of what you suggest is true!”
“My wife has point,” Cranleigh agreed. “We don’t know what your reputation is and how we judge you fairly.”
“And from what the Doctor and Nyssa have said to you,” Ann went on, “they seem to regard you very lowly.”
“Because I’m not like them,” Billy said. “I’m not of the aristocracy like you and Lord Cranleigh are.”
“Precisely,” Ann replied.
“That’s just blind snobbery on your part, your ladyship,” Billy protested. “I tell you I know there’s something wrong with the Doctor and Nyssa. I don’t know what it is, but I intend to find out. I have to break them out of their trance. Now if you could at least help me…”
“That’s enough,” Cranleigh interrupted. “You’ve said and done enough. I question your dignity. About whether you’re a fair gentleman. About whether you’re honest.”
“I have been honest with you, Lord Cranleigh,” Billy told him. “I would never lie to you or Lady Cranleigh. I tell you I remember Nyssa and the Doctor from the first moment I met them! I remember the first time I fell in love with Nyssa and felt so happy about it!”
“I’m sure you do,” Ann remarked wryly.
“I remember all the happy times we’ve had together,” Billy continued. “Visiting the space hotel; Leckwick Hall; Bath; Scotland – the planet Scotland, I mean; Stockbridge; the Nodnol space station…”
“I said that’s enough,” Cranleigh interrupted again. “Whatever you say to me, there’s no way you can deflect me from my current opinion of you. Now if only you produced real proper evidence that you know the Doctor and Nyssa very well, then I will accept what you say. At the moment, you have none. So I suggest you get your facts together and straightened them out.”
“Please, Lord Cranleigh; Lady Cranleigh,” Billy pleaded. “I’m begging you! I’m on my own. Help me to save the Doctor and Nyssa. For their sake as much as yours and mine. Please your lordship! Please!”
A moment of silence ensued. Lord Cranleigh began to consider. He then spoke calmly and firmly as he could.
“You may stay at the hall for one more night. You can use the same room as you were in before. But by tomorrow, you are to leave this house. You are never to come back. Is that clear, Mr. Walker?”
“Yes,” Billy said, choking with emotion. “I understand you perfectly, your lordship. One more night and that’s it, as you say.”
“That’s fine,” Cranleigh said satisfied. “I think that’ll be for the best.” He paused for a moment. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have matters to attend to.” He turned to Ann.”You coming, Ann my dear?”
“In a while, Charles,” Ann replied. “I wish to remain if it’s all the same to you.”
“Righto,” Cranleigh replied. “Till later.”
He made to go out into the lobby before he turned back to Billy.
“I’m very sorry, Mr. Walker,” he said. “I wish things could have turned out better.”
With that, Lord Cranleigh went off and made his way upstairs. Ann remained in the drawing room whilst Billy was distressed and upset. He wondered what had happened to the Doctor and Nyssa.
© Tim Bradley, 2020
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