2. The Mirror of Cranleigh Hall
Later that day, Billy sat on the four-poster bed in the oak-panelled guest bedroom he was in. He was feeling glum and unhappy. He couldn’t work out what was going on. He felt so alone and vulnerable without his friends – the Doctor and Nyssa. Eventually, there was a knock on the door. Billy answered it and Ann entered the room, closing the door behind her. She stood rigidly, looking at Billy with cold eyes. Billy didn’t look at Ann as he still felt dejected.
“I was wondering if there was anything you needed,” she said. “Are you comfortable with what you have in your room?”
Billy knew that his personal comfort couldn’t match to the turmoil he was currently feeling.
“There’s something very wrong here,” he said. “I just know it. I have to rescue the Doctor and Nyssa. Break them out of their trance.”
“Still sticking to your belief that your friends know you and that you know them?” Ann enquired, unconvinced.
Ignoring Ann, Billy went on, “I have to find out what’s going on. If I have to do it by myself, then so be it. I’ve been in worse situations than this where I’ve had to cope on my own.”
“Good luck to you then,” Ann retorted. “Don’t expect anybody in the village to help you. They’ll think you’re barmy.”
Billy looked at Ann and thought about her considerably. He thoughts about her in terms of mannerisms and attitude towards him.
“You don’t like me do you, your ladyship,” he stated.
“Have I given you that impression then?”
“You’re chiding me because of something I’ve done to you. Why? I’ve said I’m sorry, haven’t I?”
“You were trying to take advantage of me!” she accused him. “Make love to me!”
“Because you look exactly like Nyssa,” Billy protested. “How could I not make love to you?”
“You still say you know her very well,” she retorted. “That you love her!”
“Yes,” Billy replied. “Because I do! I’ve never lied to you, Lady Cranleigh. I would never do that to you and your husband.”
“You sir have gained a reputation that’s un-gentlemanly,” she said. “Call yourself a friend of a lord and lady. You do not meet to our society’s standards.”
“How can you think so ill of me?” Billy asked reproachfully. “How can you be such a snob?”
“I, a snob?” Ann snapped. “How dare you, sir?!”
“If you won’t believe a word I say then just leave me alone,” Billy cried. “Don’t bother to help me or even talk to me. You can take your fancy high standards with you. See if I care.”
“That’s exactly what I intend to do,” Ann said. “I don’t know why I came here. Though of course I did have in mind to invite you to dinner. Though I don’t suppose you fancy being with people who don’t like you anymore.”
“Now I know you can’t be Nyssa,” Billy said. “Nyssa would understand. Nyssa would be compassionate. Not judgemental.”
Billy turned away from Ann as he got up and made his way over to the bedroom window. He passed a tall glass oak-panelled mirror. He glanced at it only for a second before he suddenly gasped and groaned in pain. Billy fell forward onto his knees, cringing as he held his head and cried out.
“Argh! My head!” he cried out in pain. “My head! Argh!!!”
Ann was almost about to ignore Billy. But she couldn’t help be moved by Billy’s sudden attack. She became concerned as she went over to him. She knelt down and tapped him on the shoulder, still keeping a distance from him.
“Are you alright?” she asked concerned. “What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”
“My head’s hurting me!” Billy cried. “It’s throbbing all over!”
Billy continued to groan in pain as he leaned forward, his head hitting the floor. Ann got closer and came around Billy, concerned.
“I’ll call for the servants,” she said. “Then I’ll fetch Brewster to send for a doctor.”
As Billy continued to groan in pain, his head throbbed away and he wasn’t able to hear Ann’s words. He then heard a voice inside his head. It was a voice he knew very well. It was distant but quite clear.
“The mirror of memory! The mirror of memory!”
“What is it?” Ann asked him nearby. “What are you saying?”
“Can you not hear her?” Billy asked. “It’s Nyssa’s voice! Can you not hear her?”
“I can’t hear anything, Mr Walker,” Ann replied. “It must be in your imagination!”
But Billy head the voice again. This time it was clearer and closer to him.
“Billy! Billy, can you hear me?! Billy, sweetheart! It’s Nyssa!”
“Nyssa? Yes, I can hear you! I can hear you, dear! Where are you?”
“The mirror of memory, Billy! The mirror of memory!”
At that moment, Billy slumped to the floor as he fainted. Ann saw this and started to panic. She stood up and went over to the bedroom door to call out, “Brewster! Marion! Charles! Anyone please!”
Ann made her way back to Billy and looked him over, not daring to touch him in case something terrible should happen. She was surprised when Billy suddenly woke up with a start. Ann staggered back astonished whilst Billy recovered and attempted to refocus.
“W-W-What…what just happened?” he asked. “Have I just done something?”
“You fell to the floor,” Ann answered him. “You seemed to be in pain. Is this some kind of game you’re playing with me? Because I’m not in the mood…”
“Yes, yes,” Billy interrupted her. “I remember now! I was in pain! My head was throbbing all over and… I…I…I remember!” he realised.
“You remember falling over?” Ann asked.
“No! I remember what happened,” Billy explained. “I remember how I got here! I remember what happened to me, Nyssa and the Doctor in the TARDIS before we came here!”
“Do you?” Ann asked surprised. “Well, what did happen then?”
Billy started recollecting. “We were just in the TARDIS – me, Nyssa and the Doctor. We’d been to Ancient Greece after we collected the second coin of Deno.”
“Yes! That’s what we were doing! We were on a mission to collect the Coins of Deno! I remember it clearly!”
“We were standing about in the TARDIS console room around the console. The Doctor had set the controls for our next destination using the map we were given. We were all very pleased – Nyssa, the Doctor and me – that we had managed to collect the first two Coins of Deno already.
“Well, after surviving the horror of Ancient Greece,” the Doctor said pleased, “I don’t see why we shouldn’t celebrate before carrying on with our quest.”
“Got some champagne glasses, have you?” I asked. “With champagne?”
“If you like Billy, yes,” the Doctor replied.
“I feel so refreshed,” Nyssa said. “After taking that shower. I feel better and happy already.”
“I should think so,” I teased her.
Nyssa playfully smacked me, giggling as she said, “Billy, don’t so cheeky!” She then turned to the Doctor and asked, “Where to next, Doctor?”
“Oh I’ll let the map to time decide that for us,” the Doctor said. “But as I said, we should really celebrate. I don’t see why we can’t divert off course from our quest and head off somewhere…”
It was at that moment that the console started to make bleeping noises. I couldn’t understand what was happening to the TARDIS. Neither did the Doctor or Nyssa for that matter.
Doctor, is that supposed to happen?” Nyssa asked. “The bleeping noises, I mean?”
“Not ordinarily no,” the Doctor replied. “We seem to be traversing on a time and space eddy. It seems to be pulling us in.”
“Can you get us away from it?” I asked.
“I should think so,” the Doctor said. “It’ll have to involve a little tinkering with the temporal balance cones, but…”
Just then, a great white light filled the room. It seemed to be sucking in everything all around us. Then it was gone, quick as a flash. I could see from the Doctor and Nyssa’s faces that they were concerned. I was concerned too.
“Doctor, that light,” Nyssa broke the silence. “It filled the whole room. Was it something to do with the time eddy you found?”
“I’m not sure, Nyssa,” the Doctor said puzzled. “The old girl hasn’t experienced something like that before.”
At that moment, the TARDIS lurched forward. We all fell onto the console. The console room shuddered as we held on for dear life. The Doctor tried resetting a few controls whilst he was on top of the console. Nothing happened as the violent shuddering continued. Nyssa and I were worried.
“Doctor, what’s happening?!” Nyssa asked, concerned to the point of panic. “The TARDIS is out of control!”
“Yeah, what have you done, Doctor?” I complained. “Why is the TARDIS behaving like this?”
“It’s been driven off course,” the Doctor answered. “My TARDIS has been driven off course!”
“By Lord Ganl? Dalgix? Salvador? The Time Lords?” Nyssa suggested.
“Who or whatever it is,” the Doctor replied, “I can’t seem to stop it! I can’t regain control! There’s nothing I can do!”
We held on and cried for dear life as the TARDIS lurched forward again.”
“We soon arrived as the TARDIS landed. We didn’t know where we were at the time. It was dark. There was moonlight shining through a window though. The Doctor, Nyssa and I stepped out of the TARDIS to have a look around. We made sure we didn’t keep off our guard.
“Doctor, this place,” Nyssa remarked as she began to see more clearly in the dark, thanks to the moonlight. “It’s a bedroom. We seem to be in some stately country house.”
“Yes,” the Doctor replied. “You know I’ve got the feeling I’ve been here before.”
“So have I,” Nyssa said. “I wish we could see more clearly if weren’t so dark at night. Even though there is a full moon. There should be a light switch somewhere.”
“Why would the TARDIS bring us here?” I wanted to know. “Who or what would’ve brought the TARDIS here?”
“That’s what I intend to find out,” the Doctor said. “But like Nyssa said, it’s too dark. Let’s see if we can get some more light in here. One of you can go back inside the TARDIS and fetch a few torches.”
“I’ll go back inside if you want,” I offered.
“Wait,” Nyssa interrupted. “The moonlight’s shinning on this mirror.”
“What mirror?” the Doctor asked.
“This mirror here,” Nyssa indicated. “Close to the fireplace. It’s quite clear to see.”
The Doctor looked to see and realised, “Oh yes, so I see!” He paused for a moment as he thought out loud, “There’s something very strange about this mirror…”
But before the Doctor continued as we took a step closer to the mirror, something very strange happened. The Doctor grasped his head with his hands as he began to gasp in pain. Nyssa became concerned once this happened.
“Doctor, what is it? What’s wrong?”
“My head, Nyssa!” the Doctor cried. “It’s in pain! It’s throbbing!”
Just then, Nyssa seemed to be in pain too. She grasped her head with her hands.
“Doctor!” she cried. “Doctor, help me! Billy, help me! My head’s in pain too! It’s excruciating!”
“Hang on, Nyssa,” I said. “I’ll…”
But then, I found myself in pain too. I grasped my head before I fell to the floor just as the Doctor and Nyssa did too beside me. We couldn’t break out of the pain we were in. We faced the mirror as we contorted in pain.
“Doctor, why is this happening to us?” Nyssa cried. “The pain is too much to bear!”
The Doctor then realised what was happening. He realised it before Nyssa and I did.
“The mirror!” he cried. “It’s the mirror! The mirror’s causing us this pain we’re having! As we stand close to it or face it, it’s affecting our minds! Why it should do that, I do not know!”
“Doctor!” Nyssa groaned. “I’m beginning to feel…a sense of memory loss. I…I do not know how I got here. I don’t even remember what we did before. I don’t even remember how I first met you, Doctor.”
“Of course!” the Doctor realised. “That’s it! This mirror’s sucking our memories dry from our minds! As we stand facing the mirror, it robs us of what we remember of our times together!” He gasped before saying, “And it’s doing very well at breaking my temporal barriers down!” The Doctor seemed to be struggling to fight against the influence this mirror was having on us three. “I must remember! I mustn’t forgot our times together! Cricket! Yes, I always love cricket!” He paused. “What’s cricket?”
“Doctor; Nyssa,” I cried. “We got to hold it together! We can’t lose our memories! Not now! We must break away from this mirror!”
Nyssa groaned as she turned to look at me and said, “I’m sorry, but…who are you, boy? I don’t know your name. I don’t know who you are!”
“No!” I cried. “Nyssa, don’t! Doctor!”
“We’re too close to the mirror, Nyssa and I,” the Doctor told me. “We’re more heavily affected than you! And it’s getting worse!”
“No Doctor, come on,” I called out. “You can’t lose your memories so quickly! Not like this! We can try to think of our five favourite things if you like. About food; movies; cricket and music. If we keep on remembering five little things, we’ll still be standing before we fall!”
The Doctor then looked at me apologetically and said, “Excuse me, but…do I know you, sir? I don’t seem to know who you are. Have we met before?”
“No!” I cried, becoming very determined. “It can’t happen like this! Not now! Not to you Nyssa and not to you Doctor! I can’t let it happen! I won’t let it happen! I WON’T LET IT HAPPEN!!!”
And I don’t know how or why I managed to do, but with all the strength I didn’t know I had, I immediately pushed the Doctor and Nyssa away from the mirror. We fell to the floor, crying out in pain, metres away from the mirror. I managed to break the connection. Then I found myself falling unconsciousness, just as the Doctor and Nyssa did…or had done. I tried to come out of it, to break free and see if the Doctor and Nyssa were alright. But it was too much. Darkness took me and I knew no more.”
Billy took a deep breath as he finished telling his tale to Ann. She sat opposite him in the bedroom.
“When I woke up, the next thing I knew was me looking at you, Ann. Then I met you and Lord Cranleigh. And that’s it! You were there for the rest. I can’t remember anymore.”
Ann looked at Billy suspiciously once he had finished his story. She had listened carefully to what Billy said. She came to a conclusion on what to make of it.
“I don’t believe a word you’re saying!”
Billy was surprised. “What?! What do you mean you don’t believe a word I’m saying? I just told you what happened.”
“It’s too fantastic for me to believe,” she said. “TARDISes; diverting off course; a mirror that removes people’s memories…”
“You just saw me with the mirror,” Billy said. “When I passed it momentarilly…”
“It could’ve been a cock and bull story,” Ann interrupted.
“Why would I make up a thing like that?” Billy asked.
“You told me the mirror took your memories when you; the Doctor and Nyssa stood in front of it,” Ann said. “How come you happen to have your memories back of the event?”
“I don’t know that part yet,” Billy replied. “But I do know something! This mirror is the cause of it all! It must be! And if we can bring the Doctor and Nyssa here from the village…if we make them pass the mirror so that they can get their memories, then they’ll remember me! Nyssa and the Doctor will remember who I am!”
“Now I know you’re barmy,” Ann said. “You’ve completely flipped!”
“Please Ann…Lady Cranleigh,” Billy pleaded as he corrected himself. “You’re the only person apart from me who’s seen what’s just happened. You must help me!”
“I won’t stand here listening to you rabbiting on any longer,” Ann retorted.
“Lady Cranleigh, please listen to me!” Billy cried.
Ann made to go out. But as she went past the mirror, Billy saw that the reflection in the mirror wasn’t hers. It was Nyssa’s! He saw her right there…in the mirror…momentarily. As Ann passed the mirror, Billy saw Nyssa’s reflection look at him and call out, “Billy! Billy!”
As soon as Billy saw this, he called out to Ann, “Stop! Ann, stop!”
Ann stopped as she turned around, annoyed at Billy. “What is it now?” she asked.
“Did you see that?”
“There in the mirror!” Billy pointed. “It was Nyssa! Nyssa was there in the mirror! She was in the mirror, I saw her! I tell you, I saw her!”
Ann looked to see where Billy was pointing at the mirror. But she couldn’t see anything standing where she was.
“There’s nothing there, young man,” she argued. “Your imagination again.”
Billy was stunned. He now saw that there was no reflection of Nyssa or anybody in the mirror. He became puzzled.
“But…she was there,” he said. “I saw her! Just as I saw you pass the mirror…”
Billy stopped mid-sentence. Something occurred to him. Then he realised. He looked at Ann for one second before looking back to the mirror.
“Of course!” he declared. “That must be it! It must be it!”
“What must be it?” Ann asked.
“Ann,” Billy demanded, “stand in front of the mirror like you did just now!”
“I won’t stand in front of the mirror,” Ann defied him. “Why should I do any such a thing?”
“Just stand in front of the mirror, will you?!”
Billy became forceful as he dragged Ann over and made her stand in front of the mirror. Ann shook Billy off, aghast at the manner and force he used.
“How dare you, sir? How dare you handle me in that manner?! I shall call for…”
It was Ann’s turn to stop mid-sentence. She now looked at her reflection in the mirror. As she looked, she saw that it wasn’t her reflection. It was somebody else’s. Somebody who looked like Ann, except that she wore plum velvet clothes. Her hair was also shoulder-length with curls. The girl in the mirror did not match Ann’s reflection.
The girl in the mirror called out, “Billy! Billy, can you hear me? Can you hear me, Billy? It’s me, Nyssa!”
Billy saw now that it was clearly Nyssa’s reflection in the mirror instead of Ann’s. Ann, for the first time, recognised who the girl was in the mirror.
“Nyssa?” she said astonished. “Is that you? I can’t believe it!”
“There!” Billy pointed out to Ann. “Now do you believe me?” He called out to Nyssa. “Nyssa, it’s me! It’s me, dear! I’m here!”
“Oh Billy!” Nyssa said relieved in the mirror. “Thank goodness I’ve got through. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to.”
It was at that moment that Lord Cranleigh entered the room, following Ann’s call.
“Ann my dear?” he called. “What’s the matter? I heard a call and then…”
As soon as he entered the bedroom, Lord Cranleigh looked to see the mirror where Billy and Ann were looking. He saw Nyssa’s reflection in the mirror instead of Ann’s and became astounded.
“Good lord!” he exclaimed. “Is that…Nyssa?”
“Hello Lord Cranleigh,” Nyssa greeted. “Hello Ann. I’m so glad to see you both.”
Billy, Ann and Lord Cranleigh were amazed at what they saw with Nyssa in the mirror. Ann found it too much to cope with.
“I need to sit down,” she said. “Can someone fetch me a chair?”
Ann was about to move away from the mirror before Billy stopped her, grabbing her by the arms.
“No Ann!” he cried. “Don’t move! Stay where you are! If you move, we’ll lose Nyssa again for sure!”
“Yes Ann,” Nyssa joined in. “Please don’t walk away from the mirror. Your standing in front of it only allows me to appear as you see me now.”
“I…I don’t understand,” Ann stammered. “How can you be in the mirror when I stand her?”
“We look so alike, Ann,” Nyssa told her. “Surely you should know that? My real image appears for you; Billy and Lord Cranleigh because you and I look similar. More similar than you think.”
“Look, I’m at a loss to what’s going on,” Cranleigh admitted. “Would somebody kindly explain what the bally hell’s going on?”
“Nyssa, are you alright?” Billy asked. “What’s happened to you, dear?”
“I’m fine, Billy,” Nyssa reassured him. “I’ll explain everything. But first, I think Ann’s right. You better all sit down for me to explain. Perhaps one of you should fetch a few chairs.”
Within ten minutes, Billy; Lord Cranleigh and Ann were seated in chairs, facing the mirror as they were about to get answers to their questions from Nyssa. Ann sat within the mirror’s parameters as they talked.
“So Nyssa, tell us what’s happening,” Billy demanded. “How can you be in the mirror? And what of the Doctor?”
“He’s still here with me, Billy,” Nyssa explained. “In the mirror. Both of our reflections are caught in the mirror.”
“Then how come we can’t see him with you in there?” Billy asked.
“Our real images can only appear when our real selves out there look in the mirror,” Nyssa said. “You can’t see the Doctor’s image because he isn’t with you.”
“But we can see you because of me,” Ann tried to understand. “I look similar to you and that allows your image to appear.”
“Exactly,” Nyssa replied. “Unless the real Nyssa and the real Doctor are here, you can’t see us. But since you look so much like me Ann, it’s possible for my image to appear.”
“But the real Doctor and Nyssa,” Cranleigh tried to comprehend. “They’re out there in the village. We saw the Doctor playing on the cricket field whilst you were dancing in the hotel’s ballroom.”
“It’s imperative you bring the real me and the Doctor here,” Nyssa insisted.
“But how come you’re in the mirror, Nyssa?” Billy wanted to know. “And why and how has the real you and Doctor forgotten me?”
“It’s you, Billy,” Nyssa explained. “You’re the reason the Doctor and I are in here. In this mirror as reflections.”
“What?” Billy said shocked. “I’m the cause of all this?”
“Not deliberately,” Nyssa corrected. “You pushed me and the Doctor out of the mirror’s alignment. You saved our lives.”
“I….I’m not following this,” Billy confessed.
“I’m only a memory, Billy,” Nyssa told him. “A memory stolen by the mirror. The real Doctor and me have lost their memories. I’m what remains of those lost memories.”
“Then…I must’ve been in that mirror too,” Billy realised. “Because I’ve got my memories back!”
“Yes,” Nyssa confirmed. “As soon as you passed and looked briefly into the mirror, your memories came back to you. The mirror bounced off your memories and sent them back into your mind.”
“And…what is this mirror?” Billy asked. “How come it managed to steal our memories?”
“It’s an ancient mirror, Billy,” Nyssa explained. “It contains a powerful source of energy from a broken crystal. A star crystal called…Zorbius. The Doctor told me about it.”
“And this crystal,” Billy tried to understand. “It’s contained inside the mirror?”
“Not the crystal,” Nyssa clarified. “The crystal energy. The Zorbius crystal was meant to allow a person to control all of time and space. I don’t understand it well myself, but the Doctor says you can control any space-time event in the universe whenever you possess the energy of Zorbius. You can become like it.”
“I say this is all beyond my comprehension,” Cranleigh remarked.
“Me too,” Ann joined in. “Can someone please explain what’s going on?”
Billy ignored Cranleigh and Ann as he asked Nyssa, “But how does this explain why you – the real you – and the real Doctor lost your memories and forgot me?”
“The Doctor fought the entity that lived in the Zorbius crystal on previous occassions,” Nyssa explained. “It currently wants to use me and the Doctor to do its bidding. To commit a series of murders.”
“Murders?” Cranleigh realised. “Like the ones we have in the village?”
“Exactly, Lord Cranleigh,” Nyssa said. “Exactly like the murders in the village.”
“Why does this…thing…this Zorbius creature…want you and the Doctor to commit murders?” Ann asked.
“That’s just it,” Nyssa replied. “We don’t know. The Doctor has a theory, but he’s not sure how to substantiate it yet.”
“So you and the Doctor,” Cranleigh interjected, “you’re the ones responsible for the murders.”
“Not intentionally,” Nyssa insisted, “and not directly. The Zorbius crystal uses mental energy to initiate such acts of violence. With the Doctor and the real me being mildly telepathic – me a Trakenite and the Doctor a Time Lord – the Zorbius entity has enabled to use that telepathy to commit murders. The reason for it is unclear to us at present.”
“Trakenite? Time Lord?” Ann said confused. “What are these words you’re using?”
“So how can we stop this, Nyssa?” Billy asked. “How can save you and the Doctor getting your memories back? Because trust me, we will! We will get you your memories back! I’m determined about that!”
“I know you are, Billy,” Nyssa said reassured before she instructed him further. “You must find a way to get the real me and the real Doctor here.” She turned to Lord Cranleigh and Ann. “Lord Cranleigh; Ann? Will you help us?”
“What is it you want us to do?” Cranleigh asked.
“Please help Billy to find a way to stop the real me and the real Doctor to commit murders,” Nyssa insisted. “And help Billy to bring us here to look into the mirror. I don’t know how you’ll do it, but please help Billy in any way you can. He’ll definitely need your support.”
Ann was reluctant. “I’m not sure…”
“Of course we can help out,” Cranleigh interjected. “No question about it! We’ll be happy to help.” He turned to Ann “Won’t we, Ann my dear?”
A moment of tense silence ensued before Ann sighed and said, “Oh, I suppose so.”
“Thank you, your lordship; Lady Cranleigh,” Billy said happily. “I really appreciate that.”
Just then, Billy saw Nyssa’s reflection in the mirror beginning to fade.
“Nyssa?” he called out. “Nyssa, you’re fading!”
“It’s the crystal energy the Doctor’s using to keep my image projected,” Nyssa explained as she began to fade out. “The energy’s running out. The Doctor’s using it mentally to keep my image in the mirror projected when it reflects off Ann. Time’s running out for me. You caught me at the right moment.”
“You’re leaving us?” Cranleigh enquired.
“The Doctor and I need to wait for the energy to recharge,” Nyssa went on. “Contact us later on in twelve hours should you need anything.”
Billy went over towards the mirror. “No! Nyssa, please! Stay with me, sweetheart! Don’t go!”
“I’ll be fine, Billy,” Nyssa said reassuringly as her image faded further. “Don’t worry. You’ve got Lord Cranleigh and Ann to help you out now. You’ll see me again soon.”
“But I don’t want you to go,” Billy told her.
“I know,” Nyssa nodded. “Just trust me, Billy. Bring the real Doctor and the real me to this place and everything will be fine. We’ll see each other again soon.”
Billy felt awful. He couldn’t bear this parting so soon. He looked up at Nyssa and tried to smile.
“Alright,” he said. “See you again then.”
“Take care, Billy,” Nyssa consoled him. “And look after yourself.”
“Yeah. You too,” Billy replied. “Goodbye dear.”
With that, Billy saw Nyssa’s image in the mirror fade away completely. He managed to see her smile before she vanished. A moment’s silence ensued. Billy turned back to look at Lord Cranleigh and Ann who were astonished.
“Great Scott!” Cranleigh exclaimed. “That is a way to go about things! Isn’t it, Ann my dear?”
“Yes Charles,” Ann replied. “Very much a way to go about things.”
That evening, Ann; Lord Cranleigh and Billy had drinks in the drawing room. They were provided by Brewster the butler. He supplied their drinks quite superbly.
“Enjoying your lemonade, young Master Walker?” Cranleigh asked.
“Yes thank you, Lord Cranleigh,” Billy replied. “The ice cubes really help to cool me down.”
“Glad to hear it,” Cranleigh said pleased before turning to Ann. “And you, Ann my dear? Enjoying your white wine?”
“Yes Charles, thank you,” Ann replied. “And your Tom Collins cocktail?”
“Oh absolutely ripping!” Cranleigh declared happily.
They continued to sip their drinks in silence for a bit as they felt relaxed, seated in their chairs in the drawing room. Lord Cranleigh then looked to Billy apologetically.
“My dear fellow, I hope you didn’t think me too unkindly when I assumed you lacking of dignity. Can’t blame a chap for being suspicious…”
“No need to apologise, Lord Cranleigh,” Billy interjected. “Now, I really think we should make a start on how to sort out this business with the Doctor and Nyssa.”
“Of course my dear boy, of course,” Cranleigh agreed. “What had you in mind?”
“Well, I’m not a policeman,” Billy began, “but how would your chief police constable deal with a matter like this?”
“Sir Robert Muir?” Cranleigh replied as he thought. “Oh well, I suppose…I suppose he would ask all around. Ask anybody in the village who knew of a certain crime and connect all the pieces up like in a jigsaw puzzle.”
“Yes,” Billy agreed. “That’s exactly what I thought.” He paused for a moment to think. “I need to find out who was murdered. Ask those who saw it happen or know something about it. And ask the ones who found the bodies.”
“I think that can be arranged,” Cranleigh replied. “I know of three people who could help. Florence Hardy; Vivien Sanders and Robert Glossop.”
“Do you know where I can find these three people?” Billy asked.
“Ann knows the two ladies,” Cranleigh said. “She meets up with them in the village for a coffee. Don’t you, my dear?”
“Yes Charles, I do,” Ann answered glumly.
“And Robert Glossop is the curate at our local parish,” Cranleigh continued. “He’d be there in the morning sorting out the hymn books if you wish to catch him and ask questions.”
“Then that’s where I’ll start,” Billy announced. “Tomorrow morning, I shall ask these three people what they know about the murders.”
“Splendid,” Cranleigh said delighted. “Ann can join you to find the two ladies in the village tomorrow. You don’t mind that do you, Ann?”
“No of course not, Charles,” Ann said, still glum. “But it won’t get us anywhere, will it? It won’t get us closer to bringing the Doctor and Nyssa to Cranleigh Hall.”
“Yes, Ann’s right,” Billy agreed. “It won’t get us closer to bringing the Doctor and Nyssa here. We’ll have to find some way of luring them here.”
“Wait, I know what,” Cranleigh began to suggest an idea. “How about I invite the Doctor to partake in another game of cricket. I’m sure he’ll like that. And perhaps you Ann can invite Nyssa and the Doctor to a ball. That might gain their attention.”
“But that’ll take a lot of organising,” Ann argued. “Preparing invitations; hiring catering; hiring a band…”
“Well, nothing short you can’t handle, my dear,” Cranleigh interrupted. “You’ve done it before so many times at Christmas and birthday parties. We could have it here at the hall. And Brewster and the servants will help you out I’m sure.”
“I don’t mind helping out either,” Billy joined in. “I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to organise a ball. It sounds quite appealing to me.”
“There you are you see, Ann,” Cranleigh said encouraginly. “Mr. Walker has offerred to lend a helping hand as we help him out.”
“Oh yes,” Ann continued to be glum. “Very reassuring.”
Cranleigh, not noticing Ann’s glumness, went on to say, “Well now, since we have that sorted, we should be ready for anything.”
“Thank you, Lord Cranleigh; Lady Cranleigh,” Billy said gratefully. “I really do appreciate your help.”
“Not at all, my dear fellow,” Cranleigh said. “Now, since we’ve all had a long day, how about having a cocktail to your bath?”
“I’ll have the bath certainly,” Billy said eagerly. “But I’m not sure about the cocktail.”
Billy and Lord Cranleigh continued to enjoy their drinks in the drawing room, except Ann who was feeling uncomfortable throughout all this. Since she had arrangements to make concerning a ball, it spoiled her weekend.
Next day, at a café in Cranleigh village, Ann and Billy were solving the murder mysteries. They met Florence Hardy and Vivien Sanders as they were having coffee with them at the café, talking about the murders.
“Oh yes! Dear Angela Totting and Mark Raeburn,” Florence Hardy said. “We used to know them at school when we were little girls.”
“Yes. They were such love birds,” Vivien Sanders said. “And still were. Until they died rather tragically. They would’ve been married had they not passed on.”
“Do you know how or why they died?” Billy asked.
“No, I don’t think so,” Florence replied. “We weren’t there for the actual murder. Why someone would want to kill them is anybody’s guess.”
“We did see a commotion at the murder scene,” Vivien said. “Everybody looked so concerned and astonished as we were.”
“Did the police say who it was that killed them?” Ann asked. “Who killed Angela and Mark?”
“Oh the police keep it all hush-hush,” Florence said. “They never let us girls in on the details. On the mystery and the suspense.”
“But we have heard people talking,” Vivien added. “Some of our closest friends saw it happen.”
“Really?” Billy was intrigued. “What did people say?”
“Well I haven’t got a good memory so I won’t be able to tell you much,” Florence pointed out, “but I do recollect that someone spotted a girl involved.”
“This murder happened at a ball held at Cranleigh hotel,” Vivien added.
“A ball? At Cranleigh hotel?” Ann said surprised.
“This girl,” Billy enquired. “She wouldn’t by any chance be a brunette? With tumbled locks? Wearing a…oh what was it…a blue skimpy dress?”
“That dress I gave to Nyssa at the fancy dress ball?” Ann realised to Billy.
“Yes! Now that you mention it, it was her,” Vivien replied. “That girl was on that very same night at the ball.”
“There was something very strange that happened when she was there,” Florence pointed out.
“What sort of strange thing?” Billy asked.
“Well, when it happened,” Florence elaborated, “it seemed to us…to our friends that the girl had her eyes closed and she seemed to be in a deep trance.”
“And?” Billy prompted.
“And then Angela and Mark fell to the floor,” Vivien continued, “bleeding all over. As if they’d been stabbed.”
“Oh it was dreadful!” Florence said. “I…our friends never saw anything like it!”
“And you think this…girl was involved?” Ann asked.
“Oh it could be just…our friends’ imaginations,” Vivien said. “Nothing definite I’m sure.”
“But…our friends couldn’t mistake it when Angela and Mark got murdered,” Florence went on. “That girl opened her eyes after it happened and she was acting like nothing ever happened.”
Billy quietly confided to Ann, “It must’ve been the mental energy being used by this…Zorbius entity that had done it like Nyssa suggested.”
“What was that?” Vivien enquired.
“Oh nothing, nothing,” Billy shrugged. “Thank you, Miss Hardy; Miss Sanders. You’ve been very helpful.”
“Of course, it’s not the only time a murder scene like this happened,” Florence said. “There have been other times too as you well know.”
“Where, Florence?” Ann asked. “Where have these other murders taken place?”
“Why at the cricket field,” Florence elaborated. “Isn’t that so, Vivien?”
“Oh yes indeed,” Vivien agreed. “Ask the curate at the church. And the cricketers Chuffy and Freddie at the cricket field. They’ll tell you what happened.”
“That’s precisely what we intend to,” Billy said. “Once Ann and I have finished our cups of tea.”
“Goodness me, Ann,” Florence declared. “Where did you find this young man?”
“He’s so determined and handsome, isn’t he?” Vivien remarked.
“Yes,” Ann said flatly. “I suppose he is.”
Ann and Billy continued to have their cups of tea with Florence and Vivien at the café before they moved on to find the curate at the church.
At the church, Ann and Billy met up with Robert Glossop the curate. He was willing to answer their questions regarding the recent murders in Cranleigh village.
“Oh yes indeed,” he said. “No mistake about it. The Doctor was definitely there at the cricket field when it happened. The murder, I mean.”
“Who was murdered, Mr. Glossop?” Billy asked.
“Oh a couple from Buckhurst, I believe,” Glossop said. “They came here for the weekend. A Mr. and Mrs. Gregson.”
“Another couple hey?” Billy said, intrigued. “How interesting.”
“How did they die, Mr. Glossop?” Ann asked.
“Well, no one’s exactly sure,” Glossop said. “What happened was that Mr. and Mrs. Gregson were watching cricket. They both fell to the ground suddenly and passed out. They died instantly.”
“Did the Doctor have his eyes closed when the murder happened?” Billy asked.
“Why yes he did,” Glossop replied. “How did you guess?”
“Thought so,” Billy whispered to Ann. “Just like Nyssa.” He turned back to the curate. “Carry on, Mr. Glossop.”
“Well,” Glossop continued, “there was another thing that struck me as peculiar.”
“What’s that, Mr. Glossop?” Ann asked.
“Well, when I saw Mr. and Mrs. Gregson together,” Glossop went on, “Mrs. Gregson was wearing a jewel necklace around her neck.”
“And?” Ann prompted.
“When I looked and saw Mrs. Gregson again after she and her husband recently and dearly departed,” continued Glossop, “the jewel in the necklace had gone.”
“Gone?” Ann enquired. “You mean…someone had stolen it?”
“Well, that’s just the rummy thing,” Glossop said. “Nobody knows. Only I noticed that it was gone.”
“Do you know a Mark Raeburn and Angela Totting by any chance, Mr. Glossop?” Billy asked. “They were to be married.”
“Why of course,” Glossop answered. “I was to officiate their wedding.”
“Did Miss Totting by any chance wear a jewel necklace around her neck before she died?” Billy asked again.
Glossop thought for a moment before saying, “Well, now you come to mention it, yes she did.”
“Was the jewel still in her necklace after she got killed?” Ann asked.
“No,” Glossop said. “As a matter of fact, it wasn’t. The jewel in her necklace had vanished too.” It was then Glossop realised the connections. “Oh my goodness!” he declared.
“Thank you, Mr. Glossop,” Billy said. “You’ve been most helpful.”
“Oh if you want any more help,” Glossop said, “there are those two nice gentlemen playing on the cricket field who might know more about what’s going on. A Mr. Darcy Chuffnell and a Mr. Frederick Highmore. I’m sure they’ll be happy to help you out.”
“Thank you, Mr. Glossop,” Billy said. “We’ll make our way to the cricket field and see if we can find the two gentlemen there.”
Billy led Ann away as they said goodbye to Mr. Glossop the curate. They made their way to the cricket field.
“I’m beginning to see how the Doctor and Nyssa were connected to these murders, Ann,” Billy said.
“By shutting their eyes and being in a trance?” Ann deduced. “With there being a couple always getting killed and the lady victim having the jewel in her necklace getting stolen?”
“Yes,” Billy replied.
“That could be just coincidence,” Ann stated. “It doesn’t mean anything. How does that information help us to solve the mystery?”
Whilst Ann was sceptical, Billy was determined and optimistic as they headed for the cricket pitch. They felt the summer breeze blowing in their faces as it swept through the tree tops.
At the cricket pitch, the Doctor played a game of cricket again with the local cricketers. People saw it as a game of courage and determination. The Doctor saw it as a way to relax the mind and enjoy himself. However, the Doctor’s thoughts were being tampered with and he couldn’t understand why that was.
“Middle stump!” he called to the umpire who directed him in the position he wanted.
When the moment of truth came, the bowler hurled the ball to the Doctor. He managed to hook the ball without letting it hit the stumps. A round of applause came from the audience who attended to see the cricket match. The Doctor managed to get six runs.
“Go on you, Doctor!” the cricketers called. “Go on you!”
The Doctor appreciated the applause he was getting as he returned to where the wicket was. He got himself ready to strike again. He then noticed a couple were sitting among the audience in deckchairs, watching the game. They were Jane and Malcolm Tanning, local residents of Cranleigh village.
“Ah! Jane and Malcolm came,” the Doctor said to himself. “I wonder whether they’re enjoying the game.”
He then spotted Jane Tanning wearing a nicely fitted necklace around her neck. Once he saw it, the Doctor closed his eyes before he was about to make his next swing. As the bowler charged forward, the Doctor seemed able to take up a hook with his eyes closed. The ball spun in the air. Nobody seemed to notice that the ball had a life of its own. The ball circled as it seemed to be aiming for Jane and Malcolm Tanning. The couple didn’t like the look of it once they saw the ball coming towards them.
The Doctor didn’t open his eyes as the ball continued on its way to Jane and Malcolm Tanning. But Billy, who had just called the Doctor’s name, managed to run in and catch the ball in his hands before it hit Malcolm and Jane. The couple were relieved once they saw Billy catch the ball in front of them as they sat in their deckchairs among the audience. The Doctor, who now had his eyes open, was far from happy.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” he called out to Billy. “That was my ball you just caught! I almost made my over!”
Billy ran over to the Doctor with Ann beside her. The cricketers shouted out angrily to Billy as he ran.
“Foul play! Get off the field!”
Billy ignored the cricketers shouting angirly to him as he managed to meet up with the Doctor on the field.
“Doctor!” he said urgently. “You’ve got to come with me! You and Nyssa are in danger!”
“Oh it’s you, is it?” the Doctor realised. “What was the last thing I said to you? Didn’t I tell you never to come back here again?!”
“Doctor, you’re being used,” Billy told him. “Nyssa told me! Well, the real Nyssa in the mirror told me…sort of. Anyway, she told me you’ve lost your memories because of some Zorbius crystal. It’s using you to commit murders!”
“What are you talking about?” the Doctor asked, nonplussed.
“Doctor, I need you to come with me now to find Nyssa,” Billy insisted. “The real Nyssa, I mean. I mean…the one at Cranleigh Hotel!”
At Cranleigh Hotel, Nyssa – the real Nyssa – was dancing in the ballroom with other dancers in training. She was happy and giddy as she could be without a care in the world. Yet somehow, Nyssa couldn’t understand why she felt tears running down her eyes. She wasn’t upset, was she?
“Aww, what a lovely couple,” she said, noticing them in the ballroom as if for the first time. “The Bennetts, I believe. They’re such nice people.”
Nyssa then spotted that Mrs. Bennett was wearing a jewel necklace around her neck. Taking this into consideration, she closed her eyes as she was about to focus on the couple directly.
Just then, the doors to the ballroom flung open. Billy entered with Ann behind him as they dragged the Doctor along. Billy ran over to Nyssa.
“Nyssa! Nyssa!!!” he called out.
Billy grabbed Nyssa by the shoulders as he shook her gently. She opened her eyes, unable to complete what she was about to do to the Bennetts. She looked at Billy aghast.
“You again!” she exclaimed. “I told you to go away!”
“Nyssa, listen to me!” Billy pleaded. “You were about to do something you would have regretted! It’s important that you stop what you’re doing and come with us!”
“I haven’t the slightest idea of what you’re getting at,” Nyssa declared.
“Nyssa please!” Billy pleaded again. “I know it seems like you don’t know me, but you do!”
As Ann dragged the Doctor along, Nyssa turned to see him and went over to him.
“Doctor,” she said relieved. “What’s going on here? Why is this boy bothering us?”
“I don’t know, Nyssa,” the Doctor replied. “He keeps coming along and interrupting our fun!”
“Is this your idea of fun?” Billy said agitated. “Both of you were about to commit murder!”
“How dare you suggest such a thing?!” Nyssa said aghast. “The Doctor and I murderers?”
“I think you’ve taken this far long enough, young man,” the Doctor proclaimed.
“You two have got to come back with me and Ann to Cranleigh Hall,” Billy insisted. “The answers you seek lie there! We can sort all of this out once and for all when we get back there…”
It was at that moment the two gentlemen Chuffy and Freddie came along.
“Ah! Hello Doctor; Lady Nyssa!” Chuffy greeted.
“We wondered where the shouting was coming from,” Freddie added.
“Billy, these two gentlemen,” Ann pointed out. “The ones we wanted to talk to…”
“Yes!” Billy realised. “Mr Chuffnell; Mr Highmore! We need your help…”
But the two gentlemen ignored Billy as Chuffy said to him dismissively, “Sorry dear boy. Can’t stop to chat. We have a date with destiny.”
“And since you’re the boy the Doctor talked about,” Freddie added, “we don’t want to know you.”
“Doctor, fancy a game of cricket?” Chuffy butted in.
“Thank goodness, Chuffy!” the Doctor said, relieved. “I didn’t think anyone would come to my rescue!”
“And you, dear Lady Nyssa,” Freddie turned to her. “Shall we dance?”
“Yes please,” Nyssa sounded grateful. “And keep me away from this boy! He always bothers me!”
“No, wait!” Billy cried. “Please listen to me! Doctor; Nyssa!”
Billy watched as he saw Chuffy lead the Doctor away back to the cricket field outside whilst Nyssa was danced off her feet by Freddie in the ballroom. Billy couldn’t believe what he heard and saw. He was being completely ignored by the Doctor and Nyssa as well as by Chuffy and Freddie. He didn’t notice Ann looking suspiciously at him again.
“I can’t make this out,” he said. “Those two men – Chuffy and Freddie – seemed very determined to get the Doctor and Nyssa away from me. I wonder why that is.”
“I’ve had about as much as I can stand of this,” Ann said abruptly. “I’m going back to the hall!”
With that, Ann walked off and made her way out of the hotel ballroom. Billy watched her go, bewildered, before following after her.
“Lady Cranleigh!” he called. “Lady Cranleigh, wait! Hold on!”
As Billy followed Ann out of the ballroom, all the dancers including Freddie and Nyssa continued dancing regardless. They were carefree and happy. Thankfully, the Bennetts’ lives had been spared as they left the ballroom a few minutes ago.
© Tim Bradley, 2020
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