4. Spirit of Cricket
It was now night-time. The ball had been over six hours ago. The Doctor and Nyssa, having been reunited properly with Lord Cranleigh and Ann, sat with them and Billy in the drawing room. They were drinking cups of tea. Brewster and a few footmen kept watch upstairs regarding the mirror in the guest bedroom. The Doctor was currently explaining things to everyone about what had been going on.
“So you see,” the Doctor explained, “the Zorbius crystal was smashed a second time when I was on Anothea. It scattered into fragments across the cosmos. Some of these fragments ended up here in Cranleigh.”
“And were contained in the mirror in Billy’s room,” Nyssa added.
“Yes well,” the Doctor went on, “it was only a matter of time before the Zorbius fragments could be reawakened.”
The Doctor took something out from his coat pocket. He showed it to them in his hand.
“See? These are fragments of the crystal itself. Nyssa and I had them when we were possessed by the Zorbius entity.”
“You were possessed?” Cranleigh reacted astonished. “Good golly! And Chuffy and Freddie were the ones responsible for this whole bally business?”
“They’re the ones possessed by the Zorbius entity scattered across the universe,” Nyssa elaborated. “They were using the Doctor and me to retrieve all of the Zorbius fragments to form back into the crystal.”
“The crystal fragments were contained in jewels; necklaces and bracelets worn by the victims who were murdered here in Cranleigh,” the Doctor added. “Chuffy and Freddie were able to telepathically home in us and use our mental energies to kill the victims.”
“Reminds me of that film ‘Carefree’,” Billy remarked. “The film with Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger where a doctor hypnotised a girl to do his bidding…”
“Billy, I’d like to hear about it,” Nyssa interrupted, “but now is not the time.”
“We’re very sorry that this happened,” the Doctor said to Lord Cranleigh and Ann. “We didn’t mean it to. With our memories lost, we weren’t ourselves unfortunately.”
“Oh don’t blame yourselves, my dears,” Ann reassured them. “It’s those two ruffians Chuffnell and Highmore, wherever they are.”
“But I don’t understand,” Billy interjected. “How come I was able to stop you Doctor and you Nyssa from committing another murder? Ann wasn’t wearing a jewel necklace.”
“She didn’t need to, Billy,” Nyssa told him. “She had the mole.”
“The mole,” Billy said, confused. “I don’t see what the mole’s got to do with it.”
The Doctor turned to Lord Cranleigh. “Has it ever occurred to you Lord Cranleigh how and why Nyssa and Ann look so similar?”
“My dear man,” Cranleigh replied, “I’ve found it uncanny from the start.”
“You had the mole on your left shoulder, Ann,” Nyssa told her. “Since you were a child.”
“Yes that’s right,” Ann replied. “I’ve known about it and Charles knows about it. Why?”
“That mole of yours was placed there by the Zorbius entity,” the Doctor explained. “It contains shard Zorbius crystal energies on your left shoulder.”
“What?!” Cranleigh exclaimed. “Doctor, you’ve got to be joking!”
“Believe me, Lord Cranleigh,” the Doctor told him. “It’s beyond a joke.”
“You mean to say,” Billy tried to understand, “that Ann’s had alien energy on her left shoulder since she was a little girl?”
“The Zorbius entity is clever,” the Doctor told Billy. “It’s been manipulating Ann’s existence like a toy doll. It abused her like a walking treasure chest.”
“I don’t believe this!” Ann said shocked.
“I don’t see how this makes Nyssa and Ann look so similar,” Billy said.
“Zorbius is an alternative incarnation of me, Billy,” the Doctor explained. “It knows my past, my present and my future. Thus it has the memories of all my travels in time and space. It even has information on Nyssa as well.”
“It knew about me,” Nyssa joined in. “Biological details of my physiognomy. How I looked and sounded in voice.”
“With that knowledge,” the Doctor went on, “it used it to create an exact duplicate of Nyssa. Only with differences in memory and experience. You Ann were the perfect trap. A trap waiting for a very long time.”
“This is absurd!” Ann exclaimed. “I’ve been a daughter of the Talbot family for years! The Worcestershire Talbots have had a long lineage of British heritage! We would never have had the sheer grain of alien influence.”
“No, Ann,” Nyssa interjected. “You wouldn’t have noticed. As the Doctor said, the Zorbius entity is far clever than that. And it knew the Doctor well. So well in fact that it wanted to lure him back here to Cranleigh Hall again.”
“And it set up another trap,” Billy realised. “With the mirror. It diverted the TARDIS off course to be brought here. The Zorbius entity was responsible for bringing us here.”
“Yes,” the Doctor confirmed. “But thanks to you Billy, you were able to break us free from the control the Zorbius entity had on us. Even when we didn’t want to know you, you never gave up on us.”
Nyssa kissed Billy on the cheek. At that moment, Brewster the butler entered. He bowed, looking grieved and worried.
“Excuse me, Lord Cranleigh,” Brewster began.
“What is it, Brewster?” Cranleigh asked.
“I beg your pardon, milord,” Brewster said, “but there are two gentlemen waiting in the mirror. Mr. Chuffnell and Mr. Highmore. They wish to speak to the Doctor.”
The Doctor dreaded this as he got up to his feet. “Ah! I knew this would happen. I knew those two men would come back fighting again.” He paused for a moment. “But I do happen to have a plan in mind on how to defeat them as the Zorbius entity. And I’ll need help from all of you in order to achieve this.”
Nyssa, Billy, Lord Cranleigh and Ann listened keenly as the Doctor outlined his plan to them.
A while later, Nyssa; Billy; Lord Cranleigh and Ann followed the Doctor upstairs to the guest bedroom where the mirror was. The Doctor entered the room, seeing the two men Chuffy and Freddie glowering fiercely at him inside in the mirror. They were more than reflections as the Doctor figured out. Brewster saw the Doctor enter the guest room with Nyssa, Billy, Lord Cranleigh and Ann behind him. The Doctor dismissed Brewster and the footmen accompanying him.
“Thank you, Brewster,” he said. “You and your chaps can go. I’ll take it from here.”
Brewster nodded as he beckoned the footmen before they left the guest bedroom. The Doctor slowly advanced towards Chuffy and Freddie in the mirror.
“Be careful, Doctor,” Nyssa warned him.
The Doctor took note of Nyssa’s warning. He eventually stood in the centre of the room, facing the mirror and seeing Chuffy and Freddie’s angry glares back at him.
“Well, here we are,” the Doctor cheerily said. “I’ve got you trapped in your own trap, haven’t I?”
“You won’t stop us so easily, Doctor,” Chuffy said defiantly. “We’ve got other versions of ourselves scattered across the cosmos!”
“We shall call them back and summon them into being,” Freddie added. “We will lure them here and the end of you will be assured!”
“Oh I’m sure that will be triumphant of you,” the Doctor rebuked. “But your being here today has caused so many deaths. Surely it can end now. You can leave this planet and never meddle with people and their histories again. Leave Cranleigh and torment the locals no more. Let Lady Ann Cranleigh enjoy her life.”
“We want the power of Zorbius, Doctor,” Chuffy declared. “It belongs to us! We, Zorbius, demand it!”
“You’re so divided, Zorbius,” the Doctor said defiantly. “Shattered! You can’t pull yourself together! You’re like deranged children!”
“Says the one who corrupted and hurt the child of the Santa Cruz De Tenerife,” Freddie retorted. “Salvador – the one who created the Zorbius crystal! And you sent him back into the echoing void of eternity!”
Billy whispered to Nyssa. “Nyssa, they mentioned Salvador. Salvador involved in the creation of the Zorbius crystal?”
“Please Billy, be quiet,” Nyssa whispered back.
Chuffy continued, “We have collected so many of the Zorbius crystal fragments scattered in this place! Not just in jewels and necklaces. But also in plants; flowers and trees.”
“The black orchid in Lord Cranleigh’s drawing room contains fragments of the Zorbius crystal,” Freddie added. “We must absorb them before it’s too late.”
Ann whispered to her husband. “They mentioned something about the black orchid, Charles. The one George brought back from the Orinoco. What do they mean by that?”
“I’ve no idea, Ann,” Cranleigh whispered back. “But it’s best we keep quiet and hear them out.”
The Doctor continued to confront Chuffy and Freddie in the mirror. “I can’t allow you to cause more harm to innocent people. To commit more murders. I could take you with me and throw you out into the time vortex with my TARDIS. I could even smash the glass in the mirror if I wanted to.” He paused for breath. “But I’m not going to that. No! I’m going to offer you two a challenge!”
Chuffy was curious. “What challenge may that be, Doctor?” he asked.
A moment of tense silence ensued before the Doctor answered.
“I challenge you two to a cricket match!”
Everybody in the guest room was stunned. Nyssa and Billy more so.
“A cricket match?!” Billy exclaimed. “Doctor, are you out of your mind?”
“You can’t be serious!” Nyssa concurred. “How’s a cricket match…?”
“Well Chuffy; Freddie,” the Doctor pressed on, ignoring Nyssa and Billy’s protestations. “What do you say? Do you accept the challenge?”
Chuffy and Freddie thought about this whilst they were still in the mirror. They wondered what the Doctor was playing up to in this situation. Eventually they looked up with a glint of glee in their eyes.
“Very well, Doctor,” Chuffy said. “We accept your challenge. Don’t we, Freddie?”
“Yes, Chuffy,” Freddie agreed. “We accept the challenge graciously.”
With that, Chuffy and Freddie stepped out of the mirror and stood in the guest room, facing the Doctor. Everyone gasped in shock once this happened. The Doctor shook hands with Chuffy and Freddie as they accepted his challenge to a game of cricket. Billy kept thinking that Chuffy and Freddie could’ve escaped from the mirror any time.
The next day, during the late morning, the Doctor and Lord Cranleigh were on the cricket field, ready to play the match – dressed in cricket whites and such. They selected their team players whilst Chuffy and Freddie had selected theirs. The Doctor had tossed a half crown in the air to see who would go to bat first – the Cranleigh team or Chuffy and Freddie’s team.
Freddie had called out “Heads!” After the Doctor tossed the coin, it turned out to be ‘heads’ all along instead of ‘tails’. Chuffy and Freddie’s team were batting first. The Doctor was fine with that.
As Chuffy and Freddie went back to rejoin their players, the Doctor and Cranleigh began to get their team ready in fielding positions. The Doctor sighed away whilst he and Lord Cranleigh walked back to the pavilion.
“Shall I be wicketkeeper or would you like to do that, Doctor?” Cranleigh asked, breaking the tension in the mood the Time Lord was in.
“Better gather up all the team players we’ve got here,” the Doctor said gradually. “We’ll designate the fielding positions to everyone.”
“Righto,” Cranleigh said cheerily.
As they walked back to the pavilion, they saw Nyssa, Billy and Ann heading towards them. Cranleigh excused himself to meet up with the team players who volunteered today at short notice for this cricket match, whilst the Doctor attended to Nyssa, Billy and Ann who wanted to talk to him. They had concerned looks on their faces.
“Doctor, can’t we just leave?” Nyssa suggested. “You shouldn’t risk yourself in a pointless cricket match! And against two men possessed by an alien entity.”
“This is only to delay things here for our two friends, Nyssa,” the Doctor told her. “To give us time.”
“Time to do what?” Billy asked, frustrated.
“Time for you and Nyssa to search the house, Billy” the Doctor said. “As I told you all in the outline of our plan to defeat Zorbius.”
“You were very vague in the outline of your plan,” Nyssa pointed out. “And there was no mention of a challenge to a cricket match against these two men as I recall.”
“What exactly are we searching for?” Billy wanted to know.
“Anything that hints on what the plans the Zorbius entity has in mind are,” the Doctor elaborated. “Hopefully you three should find something that will help to stop and defeat the Zorbius entity once and for all.” He paused for a moment. “Check the guest bedroom you were in, Billy,” he suggested. “There might be something there you’ll find.”
“The mirror,” Nyssa realised. “We can uncover how it can be disconnected. Locate a cable if there is one.”
“Yes!” the Doctor enthused. “Anything that can ruin the Zorbius entity’s plans to ensure our success in winning over them!”
“Very well, Doctor,” Nyssa agreed. “You distract those two men long enough with your cricket match, whilst Billy, Ann and I go upstairs.”
“Yes,” Billy said before turning to Ann. “You will help us won’t you, Ann. Help us to find what we’re looking for in the guest bedroom.”
“Of course I will,” Ann obliged graciously. “Three heads are better than one, aren’t they?”
“That’s exactly what I was going to say,” Nyssa smiled at Ann.
“Thank you, Ann,” Billy said. “We’re very grateful to you for this.”
“Come on then,” Nyssa said encouragingly. “Let’s go back inside the house and find what we’re looking for.”
“Right behind you, dear,” Billy said.
“Yes of course,” Ann agreed.
With that, the trio headed off back inside Cranleigh Hall. The Doctor watched Nyssa, Billy and Ann go. He was interrupted when Lord Cranleigh ran up to meet him.
“I’ve got all our cricket players gathered together in the pavilion, Doctor,” he said. “They’re ready to hear what their bowling positions are on the field. Have you seen Ann by the way?”
“You just missed her, Lord Cranleigh,” the Doctor told her. “She went back inside the hall with Nyssa and Billy a moment ago.”
“Oh good-o,” Cranleigh said pleased. “So long as she’s safe inside the house, we can thrash those blighters once and for all on the cricket field, can’t we?”
“Yes,” the Doctor said, non-committal. “The cricket match is about to start soon. I’m hoping to put some good, clever and cunning cricket tactics to use against our opponents.”
“Quite, Doctor,” Cranleigh agreed. “Quite.”
“Though not as cunning and somewhat dodgy tactics as Douglas Jardine’s of course,” the Doctor stated. “I wouldn’t want to follow his example.”
“Douglas Jardine?” Cranleigh enquired, confused.
“Oh yes,” the Doctor realised. “It wouldn’t have happened for you yet, would it?” He thought for a moment before saying, “No need to worry about it. Come on, Lord Cranleigh! Let’s get this game underway, shall we?”
Willing to agree, Cranleigh took the lead as he and the Doctor headed back into the pavilion to meet up with their cricket players. Very soon, they came out of the pavilion with their team placed in their fielding positions. The Doctor and Cranleigh’s team eventually took on the batting team of Chuffy and Freddie’s during the match. They hoped to give a terrible thrashing to each one of the Zorbius entity’s team players. Perhaps they could get someone out for a duck.
In the guest bedroom inside Cranleigh Hall, Nyssa; Billy and Ann searched the place to find a connection lead to the mirror. They couldn’t seem to find one.
“It’s like a needle in a haystack,” Billy said. “There’s not even a plughole. And I know plugs weren’t invented these days.”
“It’s hardly likely that they would expose the connection cable so openly, Billy,” Nyssa said. “I imagine both Chuffy and Freddie are far cleverer than that.”
“Alright, alright,” Billy retorted. “No need to get so hoity toity.”
“You know I wasn’t,” Nyssa spoke back.
“You really bounce off each other, the pair of you,” Ann observed. “Have you known each other long?”
“Long enough,” Nyssa said. “And sometimes Billy can be quite annoying.”
“But I do try to please don’t I, sweetheart,” Billy teased.
“Yes you do, Billy,” Nyssa affirmed. “Very much indeed. And you do succeed. But for now, we must try and find where that cable is hidden.”
They continued searching for a while but there was still nothing to find.
“Maybe we’re doing this the wrong way,” Billy suggested.
“How do you mean?” Ann asked.
“Well, what if the actual cable isn’t in the room itself,” Billy suggested. “What if it’s actually in another part of the house altogether.”
“Go on, Billy,” Nyssa encouraged. “Ann and I are listening.”
“Well, what if…” Billy began, “…what if those two goons had a secret control bunk in this house. What if they hid their control area…say the interior of a spaceship…somewhere in this house and controlled the mirror through a wireless connection. Like the Doctor does with his gadgets.”
“A secret lair in Cranleigh Hall,” Ann said, outraged, “without Chalres and I realising. I shudder to think.”
“That actually may not be an invalid point there, Billy,” Nyssa said. “You may have something. But they would have to get to the mirror directly in order to make a maintenance check. How would they resolve around that issue with getting into the room without being seen?”
“Maybe there’s a secret compartment,” Billy continued to suggest. “A passageway. A dark corridor aligned to the house for say a solider to escape through from a gunfight in the middle of war.”
“The priest hole!” Ann realised.
“What’s that, Ann?” Nyssa asked.
“In this guest bedroom,” Ann continued. “Lady Cranleigh showed me! There’s a secret door in this room that leads into a priest hole that’s been in this house for years. In fact, it’s the priest hole that the Doctor walked into by mistake when he had this room a year ago. Lady Cranleigh told me about that.”
“Do you know where the secret door is, Ann?” Billy asked. “Can you show it to us?”
Ann thought for a moment as she recollected where she had last seen the secret door leading into the priest hole. She eventually went over to one side of the room. She touched on an oaked-designed acorn on a wall. As she pressed it firmly, she got a result. There was a click and a panel door opened to reveal a dark void inside. Nyssa and Billy were amazed and surprised once they saw the panel door open. They felt relieved afterwards.
“This is the priest hole you talked about, Ann?” Nyssa asked.
“Yes,” Ann replied. “It leads into the annexe. The annexe where my mother-in-law…” She stopped mid-sentence. She became sorrowful for a moment before she continued “….where my mother-in-law hid her son and my would-be husband for safety…regarding his condition.”
Ann broke into tears. Billy went over and patted Ann gently on her left shoulder to reassure and comfort her. Nyssa went over to the open entrance of the preist hole that lead to the annexe.
“We don’t have much time,” Nyssa told Billy and Ann. “We don’t know how well the Doctor’s doing with his cricket match. We go through here; reach the annexe and see what we can find there.”
“And if we find something, what then?” Billy asked.
“Then we’ll have to be very brave,” Nyssa said. “We’ll take the mirror with us. Billy, help me to carry it, will you?”
Billy agreed as he helped Nyssa to carry the mirror by lifting it up from the floor and taking it inside the dark tunnel that lead to the annex. They carried the mirror carefully between them as Ann followed behind. They gently made their way into the dark passageway, heading for the annexe at the other end.
Out on the cricket field, Lord Cranleigh and the Doctor’s team were losing. Chuffy and Freddie’s team had won lots of runs. The Doctor had underestimated their strength.
“I don’t understand it, Doctor,” Cranleigh said. “Why is Chuffy able to outwit your bowling so superbly?”
“It’s because he knows me so well,” the Doctor replied. “Both he and Freddie are me, remember?”
“Both are you?” said Cranleigh, confused. “I haven’t the foggiest what you’re on about.”
“Zorbius is an alternative version of me like I said,” the Doctor reiterated. “It knows my past; present and future. It’s divided into Chuffy and Freddie and they know my mind.”
“Whatever you say, Doctor,” Cranleigh replied. “It’s all beyond me.”
“Of course, I’m a fool,” the Doctor realised. “Every bowling move I make isn’t going to outwit them on the cricket pitch. They know what my tactics are and they can just as easily outwit me as opposed to me outwitting them.” He paused for a moment. “Unless…”
“Yes, Doctor?” Cranleigh prompted hopefully. “Unless what?”
The Doctor thought for a moment and then said, “Lord Cranleigh, I think it’d be best if you did the bowling instead.”
“Me bowl?” Cranleigh enquired. “Are you sure about that, Doctor?”
“I have faith in you, Lord Cranleigh,” the Doctor said. “Do you have faith in yourself?”
The Doctor handed over the cricket ball to Cranleigh to which he took rather reluctantly. The cricketers nearby shouted and yelled impatiently. Cranleigh eventually took the decision he had to make.
“Righto, Doctor,” he said. “I’ll bowl just as you say.”
“Good man,” the Doctor said pleased. “Just try and do something unexpected with the bowling.”
With that, the young nobleman took his bowling position at the ready. He faced Chuffy at the other end. Chuffy had a cold steely look about him. There was almost a hint of apprehension in him when he realised the bowler has changed from the Doctor to Cranleigh. Lord Cranleigh didn’t let that bother him. He took in a deep breath; ran forward and offered a unorthodox googly to Chuffy. Would this be an unexpected bowling move, he asked himself? The ball left his hand as Chuffy tried to bat it. But the ball dodged past Chuffy’s bat and knocked over the stumps. Cranleigh’s team cheered.
“Owzat?!” Cranleigh cried.
Turning to the umpire, Cranleigh saw him raise a finger in the air to confirm that Chuffy was out. Cranleigh cheered. Chuffy walked off annoyed, glaring at the Doctor.
“Well bowled, Lord Cranleigh!” the Doctor applauded. “That was completely unexpected!”
“Thanks, old man,” Cranleigh said delighted. “But I’m not out of the woods yet.”
Cranleigh soon became glum again as he turned to see the last man of the Zorbius team coming in to bat at the wicket – Freddie.
“Don’t let this one bother you, Freddie,” Chuffy called out to him. “He’s just a simple-minded buffoon who claims himself the lord of the manor.”
“Don’t worry, Chuffy old friend,” Freddie reassured him. “I can handle this one.” He then called out, “Middle stump, please?”
The umpire helped as Freddie had his bat at the ready at his batting position on the cricket field.
“Simple-minded buffoon, am I?” Cranleigh muttered rather testily. “I’ll show that blackheart who’s simple-minded.”
And with that, Cranleigh readied himself at his bowling position again. He made ready to bowl. This time he thought it would be better to use a different tactic. He decide to use a bouncer to tackle his opponent. Eventually, he started to run. He accelerated; went up and then over. Sadly, the ball was hit by Freddie and he managed to do a run. Cranleigh muttered an oath under his breath. Freddie returned back to his batting position again before he took on another confrontation. Cranleigh received the cricket ball back which had been thrown to him by one of his team players. He returned to his bowling position on the field.
“You can do it, Lord Cranleigh,” the Doctor said encouragingly. “Just have faith in yourself. Then you’ll be alright. A British lord like you can beat a Zorbius-possessed man like Freddie, can’t you?”
Cranleigh felt encouraged by the Doctor’s words. As he took his bowling position again, he felt afresh with confronting his opponent. He closed his eyes and breathed deep as he considered his tactics. Eventually he ran forward and began his over, throwing to Freddie a brave reverse swing. It turned out Freddie didn’t see this coming. Lord Cranleigh managed to make a hat trick at the stumps. Freddie was out at last! The Doctor and Cranleigh’s team players cheered.
“Owzat!” Cranleigh cried.
The umpire signalled and it was over. The audience watching the cricket match cheered and applauded. Freddie walked off the pitch defeated as he rejoined his team.
“What happened, Freddie?” Chuffy demanded angrily. “You could’ve handled Lord Cranleigh out there!”
Freddie ignored his cricketing partner. Meanwhile, Cranleigh rejoined the Doctor and their cricketing team.
“Thank heavens, old man,” Cranleigh declared. “I never thought I’d managed that.”
“You were able to outwit those two, Lord Cranleigh,” the Doctor cheered. “Better than I expected. You did a terrific job!”
“Oh I wouldn’t say that,” Cranleigh modestly said. “It’s interval time now, isn’t it? I could do with a cup of tea. Let’s hope we’re better at the batting when we’re up next.”
“Yes,” the Doctor agreed. “Let’s hope we’ll have time before any of us are out for a duck.”
The Doctor and Lord Cranleigh became worried as they made their way to the pavilion to have their tea with the cricket players.
Meanwhile, Nyssa; Billy and Ann managed to find their way to the secret annexe, carrying the mirror along with them. They were now inside the roof of the country house. They looked around, finding themselves in a dark dusty corridor. Nyssa and Billy lowered the mirror between them, letting it rest against a wall in the corridor whilst they had a rest from carrying it.
“This is where the dark passageway ended,” Billy said. “So where’s the control centre?”
“I don’t know,” Nyssa replied. “I’ve never been in this part of the house before. Have you, Ann?”
“Yes,” Ann shivered. “And it brings back such terrible memories. I don’t even want to think about…”
“Ssh!” Billy interrupted. “I heard something.”
They listened for a moment. Silence ensued before a faint hum emitted.
“Did you hear it?” Billy asked.
“Yes!” Nyssa replied as she listened. “I heard it. A sort of humming.” She paused for a moment before realising. “It’s coming from that room over there. Behind that door! Look!” she pointed.
“Do we have to look what’s behind that door?” Ann asked. “It gives me the shudders!”
“We have to see what it is,” Billy told Ann.
“Come on,” Nyssa said encouragingly. “Let’s get this over with.”
Eventually, Nyssa approached the door before she turned the door handle. Nyssa pushed the door inwards as she, Billy and Ann entered inside the room.
Once in the room, Nyssa; Billy and Ann found themselves amongst a make-shift laboratory. It contained antiquated machines and measuring equipment. They were all very scientific but definitely primitive. Ann couldn’t believe her eyes with what she saw. Nyssa and Billy checked the equipment.
“This must be what they’re using to generate power for the mirror,” Billy suggested.
“Yes,” Nyssa agreed. “These meters and readers indicate that. They contain information about the energy being generated into the mirror for the absorption of memories.”
“How does a mirror absorb memories?” Billy asked.
“Using this I should imagine,” Nyssa said, indicating the piece of equipment nearby them. “A inter-spatial feedback manipulator.”
Nyssa presented the machine for Billy, who looked at it intrigued, despite himself.
“Hmm,” Billy murmured. “Very nifty. And this absorbs the memories from people into the mirror just like it did with me, you and the Doctor?”
“I assume so,” Nyssa replied. “The two men Chuffy and Freddie would have to be technically gifted in order to achieve all this.”
“Charles and I never imagined that this would be here under our eyes,” Ann said. “Chuffy and Freddie have used our premises and without our consent. How insufferable is that?!”
Nyssa eventally looked to another measuring device situated in the room. It bleeped suddenly. As she looked, she became shocked and horrified.
“Nyssa, you’ve gone pale,” Billy observed. “What’s up?”
“Billy, this readout on this meter,” Nyssa said. “It’s connected to the inter-spatial feedback manipulator.”
“Yeah, so?” Billy enquired. “I don’t see the problem.”
“The data indicates that it’s absorbing vast amounts of energy,” Nyssa explained. “Vast amounts for the machine to absorb memories from people.”
“What you mean,” Billy realised, “that thing can enable the mirror to absorb many people’s memories here at Cranleigh in an instant?”
“I imagine it’s more than just here at Cranleigh, Billy,” Nyssa said.
“What you mean…all of England?” Billy asked. “All of Britain? The UK?”
“The whole world, I believe,” Nyssa stated. “Considering the vast amounts of energy it’s been absorbing frequently.”
“Oh my goodness,” Billy said, shocked. “Those two creeps want to absorb the entire population of Earth with its memories. To make people forget who they were.”
“And control them, yes,” Nyssa added.
“I don’t understand,” confessed Ann. “What good will that do? Why would they want to absorb people’s memories like that for?”
“The Doctor said the Zorbius crystal can allow anyone who wishes the power to control any space-time event,” Nyssa reminded them.
“Yes, we got that part,” Billy prompted.
“I’m convinced that Chuffy and Freddie wish to use that power via the mirror to steal people’s memories so that they can control anyone to do their bidding,” Nyssa said. “It seems to be the case from the readings found via the equipment here. Those two men Chuffy and Freddie might be closer to getting the power that they want.”
“The mirror’s powering up according to that machine to generate more absorption of people’s memories,” Billy realised. “And on a colossal scale!”
“Worldwide in fact,” Nyssa added. “The people of this planet will soon become blank.”
“That’s horrible!” Ann revulsed. “Two men wanting to take control of people’s minds?! That’s so ghastly!”
“So what do we do then?” Billy asked. “How do we stop them?”
Nyssa thought for a moment. “There’s only one thing we can do. We have to destroy the mirror.”
“What…smash the glass?” Billy asked. “Smash it into pieces?”
“Exactly!” Nyssa replied before she turned to Ann. “Ann? Is there a way out into the open from here?”
Ann had to think here. “Yes, there is!” she answered. “If I remember rightly, it leads out onto the roof at the top of the house.”
“Then that’s where we’ll go,” Nyssa declared. She turned to Billy. “Billy dear, help me with carrying the mirror again. We’ll take it to the roof.”
“Where we’ll destroy it?” Billy enquired.
“Yes,” Nyssa replied. “And destroy it completely!”
With that, Nyssa and Billy went out of the room and back into the corridor to pick up the mirror in order to carry it between them. They followed Ann as they made their way outside and up to the rooftop.
Back on the Cranleigh cricket field, the Cranleigh cricket team were currently batting. They’d just achieved 243 runs for 8 wickets. Lord Cranleigh was the next to last man in as he readied his bat. Freddie bowled to him. Within seconds, Freddie struck the stumps down with incredible force. Lord Cranleigh had made a duck.
“Bad luck, Cranleigh,” Freddie gloated. “Perhaps you should practice more getting into the swing of it.”
Cranleigh ignored Freddie. He tried to be tolerant as he made his way back to the cricketing team who were waiting for him. The Doctor passed him by, wearing pads and carrying his cricket bat..
“Good luck, old chap!” Cranleigh said encouragingly.
The Doctor was warmed by Cranleigh’s encouragement as he made his way over to the wicket. He was last man in.
Arriving at the wicket, he called to the umpire, “Middle and leg please.”
The umpire guided the Doctor to the position he wanted. The Doctor obediently complied. Once done, he struck a line in the ground with his bat. He was soon ready to do battle with the bowler Freddie. Freddie gradually charged down towards him, giving him a hurl of the cricket ball. The ball came hurtling towards him before the Doctor hit it with the middle of his bat. Once he hit it, the Doctor ran to the other side and back again with his comrade player. They achieved their runs.
“Good on you, man!” Cranleigh applauded.
Within minutes, the Doctor was batting and winning more runs than was ever before. He even made a six.
“Well played, sir!” Cranleigh declared. “We’ll show those scoundrels what it means to play cricket. We’ll send them back to wherever they came from.”
The Doctor was pleased with the runs he managed to achieve. His team were currently climbing as they were beating the opposition. The Doctor wasn’t sure whether it was all too easy though.
Just then, Chuffy and Freddie became distracted as if they were sensing something nearby. The cricketers as well as the Doctor and Lord Cranleigh noticed this as they saw Chuffy and Freddie turn to face the hall behind them.
“Freddie, the mirror!” Chuffy cried.
“Yes!” Freddie answered. “I sense it too! What’s become of it?!”
They looked to the roof of Cranleigh Hall and saw Nyssa, Billy and Ann quite clearly as they were coming out from where they left the annexe, carrying the mirror between them. They soon placed the mirror squarely on the top of a small gargoyle.
“No!” Chuffy cried. “That’s our source of power! NO!!!!!”
But it was too late. They saw it without questioning it. The young man and the two women were smashing up the mirror. They saw glass being shattered and scattered into tiny little pieces. The Zorbius energy was soon being released into the cloudless sky above and into space.
“They smashed our mirror, Chuffy!” Freddie shouted. “Those children will suffer for this!”
“They’ll pay for this, all of them!” Chuffy yelled angrily. “All of this has been the Doctor’s doing! He distracted us! We shall see to it that those three youngsters never escape alive with their skins on!”
Cranleigh called to them, goadingly. “Hey, you chaps! Aren’t you going to play cricket with us or not?!”
“They’re not listening, your lordship,” the Doctor realised. “They’ve seen what Nyssa, Billy and Ann have done…and they’re far from happy!”
The Doctor and Cranleigh watched as Chuffy and Freddie made their way towards the hall.
“We must stop them!” Chuffy declared. “We must stop them, Freddie! We must!”
The Doctor then called to Lord Cranleigh, bat at the ready. “Lord Cranleigh, quick! Bowl one to me! Bowl me your finest!”
“But Doctor…” Cranleigh began, puzzled.
“Don’t argue with me, man!” the Doctor insisted. “Just do it! Lives are at stake!”
Instantly, Lord Cranleigh quickly went over to pick up the cricket ball from the ground. He got himself into a bowling position and immediately bowled the ball at the Doctor. Not taking his eyes off the ball, the Doctor hooked it with his bat. He hit the ball high up into the air, aiming it straight at Chuffy and Freddie. The ball manged to hit Freddie on the head and he got knocked out unconsciousness, collapsing to the ground. Once Freddie fell to the ground, Chuffy turned back to him.
“Freddie man, get up!” he said irritably.
But Freddie wouldn’t get up. He moaned and groaned as he lay there on the ground. Suddenly, he vanished into thin air. Chuffy grumbled annoyed once this happened. Cranleigh was startled once he saw it happen.
“Good lord!” Cranleigh exclaimed. “What an incredible trick that was! He just vanished!”
Cranleigh and the Doctor then saw that Chuffy, now alone, was continuing to make his way to the hall. He was still determined to stop Nyssa, Billy and Ann from what they were doing to the mirror on the rooftop.
“We’ve got to stop him, Lord Cranleigh,” the Doctor declared. “If he gets to the rooftop of your house, three young people will die! He’ll do it to torment me!”
“Ann dead?!” Cranleigh realised. “No! I can’t let that happen! I can’t! I must get up there!”
“Then come on!” the Doctor encouraged him. “Let’s make chase after Chuffy, shall we?”
With that, the Doctor and Lord Cranleigh ran at full pelt to chase after Chuffy who had gone inside the hall.
Up on the rooftop of Cranleigh Hall, Nyssa; Billy and Ann were gratified at having destroyed the mirror. The wind scattered the pieces of glass into the air. They stood back whilst the pieces were being scattered.
“We’ve done it, Nyssa!” Billy cheered. “Yes, we’ve done it!”
“Is it over?” Ann asked. “Have we managed to stop this horrid power?”
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Nyssa told her. “There’s still more to attend to.”
“But surely we’ve defeated them,” Billy said, meaning Chuffy and Freddie. “They can no longer harm anybody. They can no longer absorb the memories of many people worldwide.”
“They’ll be coming up here to get us,” Nyssa pointed out. “We have to get away from here. We have to get back into the annexe before we go downstairs. Billy, you lead the way! Ann and I will follow…”
But just as Billy was about to lead the way and tread carefully back into annexe, he; Nyssa and Ann were stopped in their tracks. Ann cried out as she; Nyssa and Billy saw Chuffy approach them. Howling, Chuffy leapt forward; pushed Billy out of the way and grabbed Nyssa and Ann by their slender arms. Billy recovered, got back onto his feet and turned to see the scene before him with Chuffy holding Nyssa and Ann hostage. He ran forwards before he saw Chuffy drag the two girls over to the roof’s edge.
“No!” Billy cried.
“One more stop and over they go!” Chuffy said threateningly. “‘Killing two birds with one stone’ as the expression says. Very appropriate, isn’t it?”
“How did you get here?!” Billy demanded. “Where did you come from?”
“Work it out, boy!” Chuffy told him. “There’s always more than one way to come up to the roof, isn’t there?!”
“Please Billy!” Ann begged. “Please, help us!”
“Be careful, Billy!” Nyssa warned him. “Don’t do anything rash!”
“Please!” Billy pleaded to Chuffy. “Let them go! I’ll do whatever you want!”
“What I want,” Chuffy replied, “is to see you suffer!”
With that, Chuffy pushed the girls off the roof’s edge. They both screamed. But Billy was quick. He immediately leapt and fell forwards, sliding on the harsh roof just in time to reach and grab Nyssa’s and then Ann’s hand. Billy held on tight as he dangled Ann and Nyssa from the roof. Struggling, Billy gritted his teeth as he tried to hold on.
“Billy, please!” Ann screamed. “Help us! Save us!”
“Pull us up, Billy!” Nyssa cried. “Pull us up!”
“I…I can’t,” Billy cried, panicking. “I…I can’t hold on! I’m losing my grip on you two!”
“Don’t let go, Billy!” Nyssa encouraged him. “Please try to pull us!”
“I…I’ll try,” Billy said through gritted teeth. “I’ll try and pull you up!”
Focusing, Billy tried to stop panicking before he tried to pull up the two girls up onto the roof with all his strength. But as he did so, he saw Chuffy standing nearby. He was laughing and gloating at Billy whilst trying to save the two girls.
“You think you can defy me!” Chuffy gloated. “Defy the will of Zorbius! Well, you have defied me for the last time, boy! Death comes to the ones who defy me! To the ones whom you love!”
With that, Chuffy stepped forward and placed his foot onto Billy’s hand which held Nyssa’s, crushing it as he did so. Billy cried in pain as he tries to keep holding onto Nyssa’s hands whilst Chuffy crushed his. Tears and sweat pour down on Billy’s face. He feared the worst. So did Nyssa. Ann trembled violently, even in Billy’s grip via the other hand.
Just then, out of nowhere, Chuffy got hit on the back of his neck by a cricket ball. Chuffy stumbled forward, feeling dizzy, as he fell over onto the roof. Billy gasped in relief once Chuffy’s foot was off him. He began to pull Nyssa and Ann up to safety.
The Doctor and Lord Cranleigh arrived just in time to see what happened.
“Got him out!” the Doctor declared triumphantly. “A shame it couldn’t have been a bouncer.”
“Doctor, that boy of yours!” Cranleigh pointed out. “He’s got my wife and Nyssa! He’s trying to pull them up onto the roof to save them!”
“Well then,” the Doctor replied. “I suggest we go and help him, Lord Craneigh. Billy can’t rescue those two girls by himself.”
With that, the Doctor and Lord Cranleigh helped Billy as they pulled Nyssa and Ann up onto the roof.
“There we are, lad,” Cranleigh cheered. “We’re helping you now, the Doctor and I.”
“Take your wife’s hand from me, Lord Cranleigh,” Billy said through gritted teeth. “The Doctor and I will be able to pull my Nyssa up.”
“Of course, of course, my dear fellow,” Cranleigh replied. He turned to Ann, “Up you come, my dear.”
Lord Cranleigh took Ann’s hand from Billy as he pulled her back onto the roof for safety. Billy and the Doctor did the same as they pulled Nyssa up onto the roof for safety. Both girls were back on firm ground. The Doctor, Billy and Cranleigh became relieved.
“Well, that’s sorted out nice and fine, isn’t it?” said the Doctor. “No I need to keep an eye on our fallen friend to make sure he doesn’t run away.”
Whilst the Doctor kept an eye on the fallen Chuffy, Ann hid her face into Lord Cranleigh’s chest. He cradled her in his arms as she sobbed away, whilst Nyssa and Billy embraced each other, relieved they were safe.
“Oh Charles, Charles,” Ann sobbed. “That was the most horrible experience I’ve ever had in my life. And that boy stopped me from falling. And then you saved my life!”
“There, there, my dear,” Cranleigh consoled her. “There, there. Everything’s alright now.”
As Cranleigh comforted the weeping Ann, Billy and Nyssa relaxed in each other’s embrace.
“Billy, you were so brave,” Nyssa said. “Thank you for saving me and Ann.”
“You know me, Nyssa,” Billy said. “I couldn’t let you or Ann die. Especially you.”
“I know you couldn’t, Billy,” Nyssa said as she kissed and cuddled him.
Meanwhile, the Doctor was confronting Chuffy who had weakly recovered. Chuffy was beginning to fade away whilst he lay on the rooftop, seemingly defeated.
“I warned you not to harm any more people, Zorbius,” the Doctor told him. “This is your last chance! Leave this planet in peace and hurt no more locals! Go now and I won’t send you into the time vortex from my TARDIS!”
“I don’t care what you do to me, Doctor,” Chuffy said, defiantly. “I want to hurt you just as much as you’ve hurt me! As you’ve hurt Zorbius. I shall strike you where it hurts most, Doctor! I shall strike you in the hearts!”
Chuffy pulled out a gun from his trouser pocket. He aimed it at the Doctor’s chest, targeting at his two hearts. Billy saw this and immediately broke away from his embrace of Nyssa. He got onto his feet and ran forward towards the Doctor.
“NO!!!!!” Billy shouted.
“Billy, no!” Nyssa cried.
But Billy had stepped in Chuffy’s line of fire and in front of the Doctor. Chuffy opened fire with his gun and the gunshot hit Billy. Billy froze. He gasped, unable to comprehend what had just happened. He found himself falling back into the Doctor’s arms. The Doctor caught him as Billy fell to the rooftop floor.
Billy faintly heard the Doctor call out to him, “No!!! Billy! Billy, wake up! Wake up, Billy! Billy!!! BILLY!!!”
Nyssa, Ann and Lord Cranleigh rallied round to the Doctor’s side as they saw the condition Billy was in. As Billy slipped into unconsciousness, the Doctor checked his pulse and saw where the bullet went.
“His pulse is alright,” the Doctor reassured the others. “Though he’s been shot in the side.”
Nyssa was relieved before she turned angrily at Chuffy. He just lay there, slumped over the rooftop floor.
“You tried to kill my boyfriend!” Nyssa stated accusingly.
“It was the Doctor I wanted!” Chuffy protested. “The boy got in the way!”
Chuffy groaned again as he found himself fading completely. He was about to vanish into thin air.
“Your power’s weakening, Zorbius,” the Doctor told him. “You’ve no power left to keep yourself sustained. It’s over!”
Chuffy laughed defiantly. “No Doctor! It is never over! With Zorbius, nothing’s over! There are still fragments and segments of the Zorbius crystal scattered across the universe! The next time we meet…the next time you encounter Zorbius…it will be the end of you! Zorbius does not forgive…nor forget!”
With that, Chuffy gave out a final laugh before letting out his last breath. He vanished into thin air completely.
Once he’d gone, Nyssa turned back to Billy. She pleaded to the Doctor. “We must save him, Doctor! We must save Billy!”
“Give him some brandy,” Cranleigh suggested. “That should help him to come round.”
“We can take him inside and downstairs to the drawing room,” Ann suggested. “If you Doctor and you Charles can carry him for us…”
“Come on then!” the Doctor said urgently. “Let’s get Billy inside and downstairs to the drawing room!”
The Doctor and Lord Cranleigh worked together to carry the unconscious Billy up from the rooftop and into the house. Nyssa and Ann accompanied behind them as they made to enter the house via the annexe away.
Inside Cranleigh Hall, the Doctor laid Billy down onto a couch in the drawing room. He and Nyssa tried to revive him. Lord Cranleigh and Ann were on hand as they provided brandy, putting a little on Billy’s lips to recover. But it hadn’t worked as hoped. The Doctor went for drastic measures as he pounded on his Billy’s chest with both hands.
“Billy!” the Doctor cried. “Come on, Billy! Come on! Breathe for me! Breathe!”
Nyssa experienced Billy being unconscious for a long period time once on Junglos. Even with the Doctor’s attempts to revive him, there seemed little response.
“Keep trying, Doctor!” Nyssa encouraged him. “Please keep trying!”
The Doctor kept on trying. “Come on, Billy! Don’t die on me now! You’ve got to breathe! Just this once, breathe for me please!”
He did his utmost to revive Billy. But as much as the Doctor tried, Billy wouldn’t wake up. There was a moment’s silence. Nyssa became upset as well as the Doctor. They began to realise what was happening.
“No,” the Doctor said sorrowfully. “I’m sorry, Nyssa. There’s nothing I can do. I think…I think Billy’s gone..”
Nyssa couldn’t believe it. She wouldn’t believe it. She burst into tears as the Doctor embraced her for comfort. Whilst the Doctor and Nyssa embraced each other, Lord Cranleigh and Ann were moved by their sorrow.
“Poor fellow,” Cranleigh said. “Poor, poor fellow. And such a good chap too.”
“I knew him for a week,” Ann said, “and I really liked him. Very much indeed.”
Ann couldn’t help be upset and was comforted by her husband.
Nyssa heard what Ann said and replied, “He was a handsome young man. I loved him. And I’ll miss him very much.”
She leaned forward and kissed Billy gently on the lips. Everybody stood there in drawing room, full of sorrow.
Just then, Billy began to breathe again. He was mumbling something. Everyone in the drawing room became stunned at this. None more so than the Doctor.
“I don’t believe it!” he exclaimed. “He’s alive! Our Billy’s alive!”
“I don’t understand,” Nyssa said, amazed. “He seemed dead. How come this has happened?”
The Doctor then realised as he proclaimed, “Oh Nyssa, it’s you! You’re the one who revived him!”
“What?!” Nyssa exclaimed, even more amazed. “How?”
“You gave him the kiss of life,” the Doctor told her. “He’s alive because of you, Nyssa of Traken.”
Nyssa realised as she worked it out. “I see. And the kiss of life…contains the breath of life. Billy was a willing recipient of that because he loves me. As I love him.”
“Exactly!” the Doctor confirmed.
“Kiss him again, Nyssa,” Ann encouraged her. “He deserves another kiss of life.”
Without hesitation, Nyssa kissed Billy again. This time she held him in a loving embrace. Once finished, Billy came round. He coughed and spluttered as he breathed in lungfuls of air. Nyssa backed away to give him some space. Eventually, Billy calmed down. He felt sore but he was still breathing. Nyssa and the Doctor were happy to see Billy alive. Billy looked to see his friend, refocusing his vision.
“Nyssa,” he said weakly. Then he beamed, “You’re still here! And you, Doctor! You’re here too! Oh I’m so glad!”
“All thanks to you, Billy!” the Doctor said happily. “Thank you for saving our lives again!”
“My pleasure,” Billy replied.
“Oh Billy!” Nyssa began to scold him. “When are you going to stop dong hasty things like stepping into the line of fire for the Doctor? You almost got killed!”
“I only follow your example, dear,” Billy told her. “You step into the line of fire for the Doctor sometimes, don’t you?”
Nyssa’s scolding look eventually turned into a look of joy. She embraced Billy again whilst the Doctor shook Billy’s free hand. The TARDIS trio were reunited once again whilst Ann and Lord Cranleigh observed them nearby. Ann felt sad whilst being glad at the same time.
“By Jove, Ann dear,” Cranleigh declared. “It’s all happiness and laughter now, isn’t it?”
“Yes Charles,” Ann said quietly. “It is indeed.”
A few days later, out on the southern terrace of Cranleigh Hall, another ball took place. This ball was unlike the previous one which had been tense. This one was joyful and happier in celebration between friends and loved ones. Nyssa and Billy were dancing with each other on the terrace, happy and carefree as can be. Ann watched them whilst the Doctor and Lord Cranleigh chatted to each other nearby. They each had a plate of food as well as something to drink.
“So Doctor,” Cranleigh said. “The nightmare of Zorbius is over. We won’t have any more trouble from those two blackhearts.”
“Chuffy and Freddie happened to be corporeal apparitions of the Zorbius entity,” the Doctor explained. “I doubt you’ll have more trouble from them on that quarter.”
“And the business with Ann and Nyssa being twins,” Cranleigh enquired. “That won’t cause a bother now, will it?”
“Ann still has fragments of the Zorbius energy in her mole connected to Nyssa’s physiognomy,” the Doctor told Cranleigh. “That can never change. But there won’t be any lasting repercussions. No damaging effects. Your Ann will still look the same as Nyssa. And she’ll always behave the same as you’ve known her.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Cranleigh said pleased. “You don’t know what a relief that is.”
“As a matter of fact,” the Doctor went on, “I’d been wondering why Nyssa and Ann looked so similar in the first place when I visited Cranleigh a year ago. It wasn’t so urgent at the time. But I’m glad we’ve been able to solve the connections. It did puzzle me very greatly.”
“Will you be leaving soon, Doctor?” Ann asked apprehensively.
“Tomorrow, yes,” the Doctor replied. “Nyssa, Billy and me still have a quest to fulfil.”
“Are you sure we can’t tempt you to stay, Doctor?” Cranleigh asked. “We owe you a great debt.”
“No, no,” the Doctor answered. “As much as I’m tempted to stay, we really must be on our way as soon as possible. But who knows? We may come and visit you again sometime soon in the near future.”
At that moment, the current dance came to an end. The music stopped. Everyone applauded. Once that was over, Nyssa and Billy rejoined the Doctor, Lord Cranleigh and Ann.
“Did you enjoy your dance, you two?” Ann asked. “Topping, was it?”
“Absolutely topping, Ann,” Nyssa answered. “Billy’s raving all about it too. Aren’t you, dear?”
Billy was excited as he spoke to the Doctor. “They’ve got the dances and the music I love here. They’ve got music artists like Guy Lombardo; Irving Berlin; Cole Porter and George Gershwin playing out on that gramophone…”
The Doctor interrupted, “Well, I think it’s about time that I set to…”
Nyssa then interjected, “Have a dance with me, Doctor? I thought you’d never ask.”
“Dance?” the Doctor became confused. “Actually Nyssa, I was talking about the TARDIS…”
“Come on, Doctor,” Nyssa encouraged him. “Just you follow me now!”
With that, Nyssa bore a dismayed Doctor away onto the terrace. They danced the waltz.
Cranleigh became delighted before he began to excuse himself. “Well, I must see to sending a cable to my mother. Check out if she and Sir Robert Muir are still enjoying themselves in France. I also must catch up with Smutty Thomas. See how the old boy’s getting along.”
Before he left, Lord Cranleigh turned to Billy and shook him by the hand.
“It’s been a pleasure to meet you, young man,” he said. “I wish you all the best in the future, whatnot?”
“Thank you, Lord Cranleigh,” Billy replied. “It’s been a pleasure to meet you too.”
Lord Cranleigh smiled as he made his way back into the house, before saying with a wave of his hand, “Enjoy the party! Cheerio!”
After Cranleigh had gone, Ann and Billy were left alone together. There was a moment of silence between them as they stood on the terrace whilst others were dancing and enjoying the life and soul of the party at the ball.
“Well,” Billy began gradually, “I suppose they’ve got a good buffet…”
“Billy,” Ann interrupted him, “can I say something to you?”
A moment of silence as Billy processed Ann’s behaviour towards him. Eventually he said, “Yes. Please go ahead.”
Ann seemed nervous. She eventually said, “I wanted to say…thank you so much for all you’ve done. For me and Charles. You saved our lives. You’re such a brave young man, Billy Walker.”
Billy shrugged. “That’s alright. It’s been a pleasure. I’m grateful you don’t hold a grudge against me anymore.”
“Oh I don’t,” Ann reassured him. “Not at all! In fact, I’m really going to miss you when you leave this place. I’m glad you came to Cranleigh. I’ll be sad when it comes to saying goodbye to you.”
“I know,” Billy said. “It is sad. I don’t like saying goodbyes either.”
Ann took a moment to compose herself before she eventually said to him, “I miss you already, Billy. Far more than you know.”
At that moment, and to his astonishment, Billy found himself being kissed by Ann. Not on the cheeks; not on the forehead, but on the lips. She gently kissed him on the lips. It was a moment Billy would never forget. Once she finished kissing him, Billy blushed. He looked at Ann and saw the softness in her eyes.
Unable to speak for a moment, Billy eventually cleared his throat before saying, “Ann…can I tell you something?”
“Yes,” Ann replied, feeling hopeful. “Please do.”
After what seemed like a short silence, Billy said, “You’re a lovely person, Ann. You’re really nice. And you seem to be genuinely caring of others.”
Ann smiled before she said, “Thank you, Billy. That’s really kind of you to say.”
Billy had a moment before he spoke again as he gradually said to Ann, “Lord Cranleigh’s very lucky to have you as his wife. I think you should let him know that. Tell him how lucky he is to have you. Then maybe he’ll pay more attention to you.”
Ann’s face fell at Billy’s words. She looked down from him, feeling sorrowful again. He had to let her down like this. Of course he did, she thought.
Eventually, Billy lifted Ann’s face and looked deeply into her eyes. “I wish you all the happiness in the world, your ladyship,” he said. “All the happiness in the world.”
Ann smiled at that. “Thank you, Billy,” she said. “I wish you all the happiness in the world too. For you and Nyssa. I’m sure you two will do well together.”
Both smiled, holding each other’s gaze. After a few moments, they looked to see the dancers on the terrace. Ann looked at Billy and grinned delightedly.
“Well, Billy,” she began, “Since you’ve proven yourself to be a fine dancer, you won’t object to have a dance with me, will you?”
“No, I won’t,” Billy said happily. “I’d be only too happy to dance with you, Ann.”
“Come on then,” Ann said encouragingly. “That’s the way!”
With that, Billy bowed; Ann curtsied before the two of them danced off onto the terrace to join in the waltz. Nearby, the Doctor and Nyssa watched as they saw Billy and Ann dancing together. They were mildly amused by the scene.
“Say Nyssa!” the Doctor teased. “There’s Billy dancing with Lord Cranleigh’s wife on the terrace! You see that, don’t you?”
“Yes Doctor,” Nyssa said, amused. “I do see. And do you know what? I’m pleased that Billy’s enjoying himself!”
© Tim Bradley, 2020
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