TDWP SEASON 39 continues on Saturday November 2 2013 with the second story of the season THE SPICKSBURY HORROR by Jodie van de Wetering.
Based on an original storyline by Jeff Taylor, the Doctor, Val and Tom find themselves plunged into discovering the legend of Spicksbury Manor. TDWP shares with you this exclusive preview…
The house howled wordlessly into the moonlit night, venting its rage and horror in a hollow, drawn out, centuries-old scream of silence. Mist clung to the walls like a grey shroud, rippling in the slight breeze that caressed the ruin with freezing fingers. The grounds contained the remains of a dead forest, the bleached grey-white bones of the trees curled over themselves in their frozen death throes. Blackened mosses and ferns crept along the ground, sucking whatever toxic nutrients they could from the polluted soil before bleeding it back as they too died.
No creature dared venture here. No animals sought shelter in the abandoned house; no birds roosted in the exposed beams; no bats hung from the splintered rafters. Not even spiders wound their webs in the yawning, long-smashed windows.
Nothing lived here.
In the generally accepted sense.
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The birth of the Nazarene had been living memory when this place was built.
Umbrius strode through the abbey’s smoking ruins, passed the last fingers of flame that clutched at the bases of the fruit trees in the monks’ orchard. Monks! He shuddered. What he and his men had discovered in the reeking cellars of the now-burnt Spicksbury Abbey would haunt him for the rest of his life.
The hobnailed soles of his leather boots ploughed through the thick layering of slick mud, freshly wet from blood and entrails. Umbrius, his attention elsewhere, felt his boots begin to slide, and unthinkingly, he grabbed for the nearest branch to steady himself and his precious cargo. Tiny, vicious thorns bit into his palm and he cursed the gods who had sent him to this black place. It seemed that every stone, every twig, every blade of grass thirsted for blood.
He clutched the package, fearful of what would happen if he dropped it. He smelled the thick, sweet scent wafting from it, and thought again of the strange black powder from the East packed inside the thick parchment. He still found it difficult to believe that something so plain had razed the abbey and its hellish memories from the face of the Earth.
His centurion talked with a tall stranger garbed in Roman dress but with the pale skin of the Britons. The man had an imposing wild tangle of brown hair. He raised an eyebrow as Umbrius pulled the package from his cloak and held it out to his officer.
“Why is humanity’s first response to a problem is to blow it up? Are you sure a descendent of yours doesn’t marry a Lethbridge-Stewart?” Piercing green eyes raked critically over the parcel of crude explosives. “The best you can hope for with that is failure. Otherwise, you’ll blast it to pieces and multiply the problem tenfold. Only a-”
“Doctor!” A woman called from across the valley. Doctor? This rough, rude barbarian was some sort of teacher?
“Doctor!” A man’s voice now. “You really should see this.”
The stranger scowled and turned to go. “I’ll be back to deal with this.”
“Ignore him,” the centurion barked at Umbrius, who stood awkwardly with the package. “Find the other men and make sure the powder is packed in tight.’ He looked bleakly around the abbey’s shattered remains and swore. “I want the cornerstones of this foul place blasted to the far ends of the valley.”
Text © 2013 by Jodie van de Wetering & The Doctor Who Project
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THE SPICKSBURY HORROR will be available to download for free from The Doctor Who Project website in PDF format as of Saturday November 2 2013.