Chrístõ stepped into the Castle Inn, Castleton, remembering that it was more than a century since his last visit. The changes were obvious. A rather annoying jingle from a garish electronic gaming machine in the corner spoiled the gentle jazz music that was playing quietly, and as a waiter passed him with a tray full of rather standard pub food in which chips played a large part he felt rather nostalgic for the home made stew he had enjoyed in 1901.

“Chrístõ!” He turned as Sammie and Terry both greeted him from a table by the window. He smiled at the contrast between the ex-special forces man with his close cropped hair and neat, military air about him even in civilian clothes and Terry, who still wore his blonde hair in a long 70s hippie style and looked as if he had been buying his brightly coloured shirts in what was called, in the first decade of the 21st century, a nostalgia shop. That these two were friends was in itself remarkable.

“Hi,” he replied. He shook hands warmly with them. “Let me get you both another drink and I’ll join you there.” He stepped up to the bar and reached in his pocket for his wallet. He was rather surprised when the barman looked at him suspiciously and asked if he was over 18.

“Yes,” he answered and pulled out the small plastic wallet that contained his psychic paper. It identified him as not only well over the age of eighteen, but a representative of a well known magazine whose ratings of bars and restaurants could make or break an establishment. He felt no shame in pulling rank that way and the personal service they received after that was satisfactorily obsequious.

“How was Li Tuo when you saw him?” Sammie asked as he sipped his beer. Chrístõ put down his glass of wine and bit his lip unhappily.

“Not great. Bo is worried about him.”

“She’s come to love the old man like he was her own kinsman.”

“To her, he is. At least she has Julia and Natalie for company for a day or so.”

“Cassie’s up there every day, too,” Terry added. “Four women looking after him. He’ll die happy, at least.” But Chrístõ’s expression when he said that was so pained he knew the joke was a bad one. “Sorry,” he added. “I know he’s a very special friend of yours.”

“More than that,” Chrístõ said. “And it saddens me. The more so because I know…”

“Know what?” Terry asked him.

“It's a Time Lord thing,” he continued, almost reluctantly. “When I was with him, when I touched him, death seemed very near. If he lives to see the Chinese New Year it will be a miracle.”

“Bo will be devastated,” Sammie told him.

“Yes, I know.” Chrístõ sighed. Death was too ominously close to him just now. Li Tuo didn’t have long at all. And Natalie’s illness was getting progressively worse. The prospect of losing two special friends in the near future saddened him.

“Chrístõ…” Terry almost seemed to have read his mind when he spoke. “They’re alive now. Meanwhile… the reason we’re here… apart from giving this pub a bit of afternoon trade…”

“I heard about it on the news,” Sammie said. “Four deaths in the past fortnight, people apparently scared to death, near the Devil’s Cavern.” He passed Chrístõ the local newspaper which had a front page article about the latest of the unexplained deaths. A man by name of Wright had been found by the entrance to the cavern.

“Oooh,” Chrístõ groaned. “Not another basilisk?”

“No. I went down there,” Sammie said. “Knowing what to look for.... In any case, the cavern is a major tourist attraction now. There are people down there all hours of the day. A creature like that couldn’t escape notice.”

“You’d be surprised what escapes the notice of Humans,” Chrístõ noted darkly.

“That sounds like one of those ‘I’m a superior species’ comments from you, Chrístõ.”

“Yes, it is, sorry,” he apologised. “What I meant was…. well… Humans don’t expect things like that. You’ve not yet officially made First Contact with any other race. You think it's all a science fiction fantasy. You dismiss too much of the evidence as the ramblings of cranks and conspiracy theorists.”

“Not all of us,” Sammie answered. “There’s U.N.I.T.”

“There’s what?” Terry looked at him.

“When I was with the paras, after my first field promotion, I had two offers to move to another regiment. The second one was from the SAS. I took that… it was my dream since I was a kid. Britain’s greatest elite force… Qui Audet Vincit… But there was another one… U.N.I.T… The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. They didn’t tell me much about what they do… But the ones who interviewed me implied that they deal with problems which concern the whole planet, not just Britain. It was only later… after I met you, Chrístõ, that I realised they mean extra-terrestrial problems.”

“You were interviewed for U.N.I.T.?” Chrístõ looked at his friend in a new light. “I didn’t know that.”

“Well, no reason not to mention it,” he said. “It's not Official Secrets or the like. But you don’t get into either of those regiments with a loose tongue.”

“I understand,” Chrístõ told him. Sammie had never quite stopped being a special forces man. Even now, as they sat by a window with a lovely view of the castle the pub and the town were named for he sat back by the wall, his instinct not to expose himself to sniper attack. And for as much as he had learnt to trust him and Terry and regard them as his comrades, he never did talk very much about the details of his army life.

“So…” Terry said, coming back to the point. “U.N.I.T… There really is a regiment of the army that deals with the kind of things that we’ve all been been fighting.”

“Yes, there is,” Chrístõ said. “They’re good people. If they thought you worth interviewing then you can consider that a compliment, Sammie. But they’re not going to help us here. They won’t recognise this as within their purview.”

“There’s another thing,” Sammie added. “The cavern… I went down there a few times. On the official tour, and a couple of times later in the evening… on my own. There’s no basilisk. And… and there’s none of Humphrey’s people there, either. I know they’re even HARDER to spot. But you know how it is when you can’t see him but you know he’s around. I expected to get that feeling down there. But I didn’t. And even with the night-sight there was no sign.”

“That’s odd,” Chrístõ said. “That’s worrying. Humphrey’s lot THRIVE on the presence of Humans. The regular tours they have down there should have thrilled them to bits.”

“Just what I thought.”

“We’ll take Humphrey down there later. He might be able to throw some light on the problem.” Chrístõ thought about what he had just said and smiled. “Throw some dark on it,” he amended. “Meanwhile….” He looked at the paper again. “The funeral of the latest victim is this afternoon. I think we should attend.”

 

The TARDIS provided all three of them with suitable dark suits to attend a funeral. Chrístõ found it a strange experience. He had not attended very many funerals. And those he had been to were on a much bigger scale. His people lived long lives and when a Time Lord died it was something of a public event. He felt like an intruder into the old miner’s cottage by the little river where close family and friends were gathering before the service. He went into the quiet parlour where the body had been laid out in the coffin and looked at the man dispassionately. He may not have been to many funerals, but he had come to know death close up.

And this man had died strangely. He could see that even after the pathologist and morticians had taken the body in turn. Something still remained in the expression on the face, the tension in the cheek muscles, the set of the mouth, that the latter’s art could not disguise. The man had been scared to death. Chrístõ gently lifted the eyelids. There was a myth that persisted in almost every culture he had ever come across, that the eyes retained an image of the last thing the person saw. Chrístõ didn’t believe that. But all the same he looked at the eyes.

And he was forced to admit that he was wrong about something.

He looked around carefully. Terry and Sammie were waiting by the door.

“Terry, let me have your mobile,” he said and Terry passed him his bang up to date mobile phone with digital camera. He took several close up pictures in quick succession before Sammie hissed a warning that somebody was coming. Chrístõ closed the eyes again and stepped back from the corpse, pocketing the phone as the widow came into the room, supported by her adult son. Chrístõ nodded politely to her and slipped out of the room.

“Let’s get out of here,” he told his friends. “Leave that poor woman in peace.”

“You got something?” Terry asked. “The pictures….”

“I’m not sure what I got,” he said. “If it's what I think it is, then it’s quite incredible. I never would have thought….”

They slipped quietly out of the house just as the hearse arrived. They walked back to where the TARDIS had been left, disguised as a door into a gritstone wall at the brow of the hill overlooking the town. Chrístõ immediately set to work, interfacing the mobile phone with the TARDIS computer. He selected the sharpest of the half dozen pictures he had taken of the dead man’s eye and displayed it on the viewscreen. Slowly he refined the picture, closing in on the eye.

Even when they saw the evidence in front of them, none of them could quite believe it.

Chrístõ was still adamant that you could NOT photograph a dead man’s eye and retrieve an image of the last thing he saw, even though he had just done it.

And none of them could believe what apparently WAS the last thing the man saw.

“It looks like….”

“Like Humphrey.” Sammie was the first to say it aloud.

“Only…”

“NOT Humphrey.” Chrístõ insisted. “Not one of his kind that live in the cavern. They wouldn’t do this.”

“Could they, though?” Terry asked. “I mean… a century has gone by since we saw the darkness entities in the cavern. Could they have changed?”

“Turned into homicidal monsters?” Sammie shook his head. He couldn’t believe it.

“We don’t know anything about Humphrey,” Terry pointed out. “We don’t know where he comes from, really. We don’t know WHAT he is. We don’t know if, maybe, after a while, that’s what happens to them.”

“I can’t believe that,” Chrístõ said. “Humphrey doesn’t have an evil thought in him. And the ones we found here in the 1900s were the gentlest creatures I ever met. I don’t believe it.”

“Neither do I,” Sammie said. “And you don’t, either, Terry. I know you don’t.”

“No, I don’t. But….” He looked at the eerie picture on the viewscreen and shivered. “Well…”

“We should talk to Humphrey,” Chrístõ decided. “We should have done that already. I don’t like that we’ve been talking about him and his people behind his back anyway. He is one of us, part of the team. He saved all our lives on Coronula VIII. We owe him. We ought to treat him just the same way as we treat each other. With respect.”

“We’ve taken him for granted.”

“I’ve forgotten he’s even there sometimes,” Chrístõ admitted. “And that is wrong of me. And I think it’s time to make up for that.” He checked the lifesigns monitor on the console and located him in his usual nest near the secondary console room before heading off into the corridor. Terry and Sammie looked at each other and followed him.

“Humphrey,” Chrístõ called out as they reached the dark corridor where the most unlikely and unusual member of the TARDIS crew preferred to live. “Humphrey, friend, are you there?”

“Friend Chrístõ…” Humphrey drawled as he hovered in the shadows. His slit of a mouth turned up in the sort of big half moon smile that small children draw. Chrístõ smiled back at him and passed his hand through the top of the creature’s shadow-body.

“Hi, Humphrey,” he said to him.

“Friend Chrístõ… worried…” Chrístõ was surprised at how his emotions were so easily read by him.

“Yes,” he admitted. “Yes, I’m worried.” He pushed open the door to the backup console room and slipped inside. “Come on in here,” he told Humphrey. “Let’s talk.”

He sat on the floor by the backup console, which was in a sort of dormant mode with a dull green light glowing under the keyboards and panels. He didn’t bother to put on any other lights. Humphrey seemed most comfortable that way. Terry and Sammie sat with him and Humphrey hovered on the fourth side of the rough square they formed.

“Humphrey,” Chrístõ began, speaking gently. “Can you tell me anything about your species. Where do you all come from? What ARE you called, because boggart is a Human word and that’s not really what you are.”

But Humphrey didn’t know how to answer him. Slowly, by asking the right questions in the right way, after very many wrong questions that led nowhere, he managed to find out that Humphrey was ‘born’ in the cavern on Betalon 8 where they found him. And ‘born’ was simply the closest word Chrístõ could find in any language he knew to describe how young darkness entities were brought into being by a process he barely understood and Humphrey himself wasn’t sure about. But what he did get was that Humphrey was the last young entity to be ‘born’ in his cavern because his people were dying. Before he was a mature entity he was among the last of his kind and after that he had hung on, lonely, yearning, until Bo stumbled into his lair.

“So as long as there are people around your people thrive. They love the presence of Humans – or of life generally. And seeing people around makes them happy?”

“Happy,” Humphrey confirmed.

“So… what could harm your people, make them not happy, make them not thrive, in a cavern that has people in it all the time, tourists who are having a nice time exploring, not busy miners and workers?”

Humphrey didn’t know. And Chrístõ’s question worried him.

“My people unhappy?”

“We think there is a problem,” Chrístõ told him. “We’re not sure what’s happening. We’re going to find out soon. But… Humphrey… can you answer me one more question. Have any of your kind, ever, killed a Human?”

Humphrey didn’t answer. Not in words. But his form shimmered and shook alarmingly.

“Humphrey…” Terry reached to him and touched him. “Hey, there, friend. It’s ok. We know YOU would never do such a thing.”

“Friends,” Humphrey said as the fit passed. “Chrístõ friend.”

“Yes, I am,” he told him. “And I am sorry to upset you. But there is a problem here, and we need you with us. I know you’re not a coward Humphrey. We all know how you stuck up for us against Epsilon’s mercenaries. You’re a tough guy, Humphrey. Just like your namesake. And you’re one of us. So will you come with us now and try to find out what’s going on?”

“Yessss,” he said.

“Good man,” Chrístõ told him. They all three reached out to him. Humphrey responded with another shimmer but this one a happy, hopeful shimmer of a darkness entity among friends.

 

There was a tour about to start when Chrístõ materialised the TARDIS inside the cavern, disguised as a closed up ice cream vendor. There was enough chatter going on amongst the group that included a whole troop of girl guides and their supervisors to cover their noisy arrival. They slipped out and joined the tour. Humphrey was with them. They felt his presence. But there was too much light for him to be visible.

“He’s REALLY happy,” Chrístõ said. “He’s zipping around the girl guides. Lots of young ladies for him.”

“Humphrey is a bit of a perv,” Sammie laughed.

“No, it's not that,” Chrístõ assured him. “I think it's because it was Bo who found him first when he was the most lonely. And that was probably the first time he met a female Human. Miners tend to be male. So he associates females with his first positive experience in a very long time. He doesn’t do anything to harm them. He just loves his ‘ladies’.”

“Why not,” Terry said. “Good for him.”

The girl guides didn’t know it, but Humphrey was floating along among them for most of the tour. It probably accounted for the fact that they were excitable and giggly as they passed through the great chamber and reached out their hands to wet them in the subterranean waterfall that cooled it. As they descended to the cavern called Pluto's Dining Room, where Humphrey had once found hundreds of his own kin, the girls became quiet and subdued. Chrístõ knew they were picking up Humphrey’s emotions like a barometer. Humphrey was puzzled and worried because he knew this cavern ought not to be as empty as it was.

Chrístõ knew it was empty. When he had come here before he had felt the presence of the other darkness entities. Now he felt nothing.

What had happened to them? He asked himself that question. He felt Humphrey asking it too. Only he felt a deeper grief about it. They were his own people, if only by adoption. They were proof he was not the only one of his kind in the universe as he had come to believe. Chrístõ felt his loneliness and worried with him.

They descended by degrees, stopping every so often to listen to the tour guide’s spiel about the caverns. Electric lights made what was once dark and shadowy bright, but not so bright as to kill the darkness entities, only to make them invisible.

Even invisible, he knew he ought to be aware of their presence. And even if he didn’t, HUMPHREY should.

Then they reached the cavern called the Devil’s cellar. It was here, with the eerie and amplified sound of the river called the Styx flowing in its channel beneath the rock floor, that they had once fought against a basilisk that had been killing off Humphrey’s kin. Chrístõ himself felt a change in the atmosphere. He felt Humphrey’s reaction. He was trying to live up to their faith in him, trying to be brave, but Chrístõ felt his deep, deep fear.

The girl guides, affected by Humphrey’s emotional extremes, clung to each other. Then the tour guide mentioned that this was not the natural state of things within the cavern. That electric light was a new innovation and that what the first explorers to find this cavern saw was….

He gave a signal and the lights all went out. Most of the visitors gasped in surprise. But the girl guides all started screaming hysterically. Nobody was sure who started to run first, whether it was the girls or some one of the adults, but somebody did. Somebody else screamed and somebody pushed against somebody. When the tour guide finally got the lights turned back on again half of his group had retreated to Pluto’s dining room. Three of the girl guides had run right up and out of the cavern and were found later sitting by the river, crying.

And there was a dead man down in the Devil’s Cellar. Chrístõ reached him first and saw the look of shock and fear on his face. He used the sonic screwdriver in penlight mode to look at his eyes and was this time unsurprised at what he saw.

The tour guide shakily told everyone to remain where they were, because the police would have to be called and statements taken. But Chrístõ beckoned to Terry and Sammie and they quietly slipped away while there was still a certain amount of chaos and nobody had managed a head count. They had no tickets anyway, having slipped into the crowd after the others had paid their way in. Their absence would not, in all likelihood be noticed in the confusion.

They retreated back to the entrance to the Great Cavern. They found Humphrey crouching in the shadows by the TARDIS door, shivering in terror. Chrístõ opened the door quickly and let him inside first.

He closed the door behind him, knowing they were safe inside the TARDIS. Even if the police who were bound to be here any minute looked at it they would find a locked up and silent concessions stand. And nothing out there capable of killing a man and scaring a darkness entity to incoherence could get in.

Convincing Humphrey of that was the first priority, and the hardest task. Just getting him to stop shaking and crying was hard enough. Even when Chrístõ had calmed him enough to make at least one word in three coherent it was hard going. But slowly they pieced together what he thought had happened down in the Devil’s Cellar.

“Devil’s shadows?” Sammie looked at Chrístõ and at Humphrey in turn. “Did he say that?”

“Evil’s shadows,” Chrístõ corrected. “Though given the name of the cavern, I suppose it's interchangeable.”

“Creatures like him… like his people… but evil?”

“From what I can tell…” Chrístõ continued. “Humphrey… you’re telling me that it happens among your kind… every so often there is a darkness entity that embodies negative emotions rather than the positive ones we feel from you. Hate and enmity rather than love and friendship…”

“Evil shadows,” Humphrey repeated. “Shunned… cast out.”

“Oh my,” Chrístõ murmured. He looked at Terry and Sammie. “What he’s telling me… is that every so often they DO breed these ‘aberrations’ and that… that they are cast out by his people. They are made to live apart. His kind would NEVER kill another of his species. They do not kill the negatives, the ‘evil shadows’ as he calls them. That would be against all they are. But they make them live apart. And I suppose they die of loneliness in the end.”

“Poor things,” Terry said, remembering how lonely Humphrey was when they first found him. “In a way… that’s worse than if they DID kill them. It's a long drawn out death instead.”

“Yes,” Chrístõ agreed. “I think so, too. But it's what they do. But… in the century and a bit since we last saw them, they’ve had four or five such shadows cast out from among them. They sent them to the lower cavern, the one where the basilisk had been, which they had never recolonised because of the bad memories it had for them. But instead of dying away, they lived on and got stronger. Don’t forget these caverns are quite busy now. They grew strong enough to subdue those who had subdued them.” Humphrey whimpered. “Humphrey thinks they’re all dead. He couldn’t feel any of his kind other than the evil ones in the lower cave. When we went down there, they reacted to his presence. He reacted to theirs. He saw enough of their intent in the few minutes. When the lights were put out, he fled for his life. The evil shadows would have followed him, but Humphrey had passed so many of his emotions onto the girl guides and their presence confused them. Then they somehow latched onto that man. I don’t know why him in particular. Perhaps he was more susceptible than any other. Fed all of their negative emotions into him.”

“Poor old Humphrey,” Terry said, stroking the air where the creature was.

“He’s feeling a bit embarrassed because he bottled out and ran. He thinks he’s lost a few of his hero points in front of us.”

“Oh, Humphrey!” Sammie laughed. “No need to worry. That’s what we call a tactical withdrawal, that’s all. You’re still one of the team.”

Humphrey purred in response to all the assurances from them all that they didn’t think his reaction had been cowardly. None of them, in fact, did. He was outnumbered and taken unawares. He did the right thing in getting out of there.

“We’ll go back down later,” Chrístõ said. “We have to do something about it. They’ve killed five people now, five Humans that is, not counting the rest of Humphrey’s people. They have to be stopped.”

Humphrey shimmered mournfully. They all understood why.

“They’re your own kind, even if they are bad,” Terry said to him. “We’re going to have to kill them…. And that leaves you the last of them again.”

“That’s rough,” Sammie agreed. “Sorry, Humphrey.”

“Understand,” Humphrey told them. But he was still sad about it.

“I’m not crazy about it myself,” Chrístõ admitted. “I don’t know if these represent the last of his kind. It's practically genocide. It goes against the grain.”

“But they’ve killed. And there seems no other way to stop them.”

“I could try to reason with them, I suppose?”

“I think if they were prepared to be reasonable there wouldn’t be five dead people,” Sammie pointed out. “Chrístõ, they’ve drawn first blood. They’ve committed the first act of war. Any action we take is proportional and justifiable.”

“By whose definition?” Chrístõ asked him. “That’s a soldier’s way of viewing this. Terry, how do you see it?”

“I’m supposed to be a pacifist. I’m supposed to be against killing in any way,” he said. “But ever since you came into my life… I’ve had to redefine how I feel about that sort of thing.”

“Me too,” Chrístõ admitted “I used to think killing was wrong, full stop. And if I’d stayed on Gallifrey, I could have carried on thinking that way. But out in the universe, I found myself making choices. Between my own narrow view and what was for the greater good.”

“We just have to trust that we know what is for the greater good.”

“Chrístõ…” Humprey drawled. “Kill the evil…”

“You’re sure about that?” Chrístõ asked him. Humphrey made a murmuring sound that he interpreted as a yes. Humphrey was telling them to do this thing that they none of them really wanted to do.

And that was enough for them.

“HOW do we kill them?” Terry asked. Chrístõ looked perturbed. He hadn’t in fact thought that far ahead. But Sammie calmly went to the cupboard under the console where he had long ago stored his ammunition and small arms. He found what he needed and put it in his pocket.

“We wait yet,” Chrístõ told them. “They’ve closed the caves to the public, but there are police around yet, trying to find out what happened to the dead man.”

They waited quietly. Chrístõ felt that he needed the time to prepare himself mentally. Humphrey certainly did. At last, the lifesigns monitor showed that the cavern system and the area outside were free of Human activity. He picked up a torch and passed one to Terry. Sammie donned his old night-sight goggles. They all smiled as they remembered how they set Cassie off into fits of giggles every time they saw him use them.

They moved at a steady pace. With all the electric lights out it was not so easy to follow the paths. Sammie led the way. He knew them best. Humphrey moved along behind him, before Terry and Chrístõ bringing up the rear as they moved through the narrow passages.

Ironically it was on the relatively even surface of Pluto’s Dining Room that Terry tripped. As he went flying his torch smashed and went out and there was confusion as his cries of pain echoed off the walls.

“Sprained ankle, cuts and abrasions,” Chrístõ diagnosed. “And a rather nasty bang on the head. Plus a dent to your pride,” he added. “Traditionally, it’s girls who are supposed to fall down and sprain their ankles.”

“Yeah, thanks a lot,” Terry laughed grimly. “I’ll be all right. Just give me a moment.” He stood up and then sat back down again, his face pale in the light of Chrístõ’s torch.

“I’ll wait it out here,” he said. “You two go on… I’m not sure there’s much I can do anyway.”

“I don’t like the idea of leaving you.”

“Go on,” Terry insisted. Chrístõ activated a glo-stick to give him light to see by and told him to take it easy as he and Sammie and Humphrey continued down into the lower cavern. He wasn’t entirely sure what role Terry could have played down in the Devil’s Cellar. He wasn’t even sure what he was going down there for. Sammie had the idea of how to kill the evil shadows. But he didn’t like the idea of splitting the team up.

He felt it as soon as they reached the lower cavern. The presence of something malevolent. He heard Humphrey give what sounded much like a warning growl, and he moved in front like a dog protecting his masters, drawing himself up as tall as Chrístõ and as wide as the two men stood together, so that he shielded them.

“Humphrey, be careful,” Chrístõ hissed at him. They all heard the outraged shriek from the evil shadows as they came closer. He understood that they were outraged that he was protecting them against his own.

“Traitor!” The word echoed around the cavern.

“He is NOT a traitor,” Chrístõ replied. “He would only be that if we were at war. We are NOT. Your people thrive on the presence of Humans. They are your friends. And YOU have turned against them, killing innocent people who have done you no harm. Stop that and go from this place and there need be no more harm done to anyone. Continue and we will be forced to destroy you.”

“Traitor,” the word came again. Humphrey shimmered slightly as if the malevolence directed at him was hurting him.

“Chrístõ,” Sammie whispered. “Get Humphrey out of here. There’s no reasoning with them and I can’t deal with them while he’s here.”

“Can you manage on your own?” he asked.

“Yes,” he said. “Yes, I can. Go on, get out of here.”

Chrístõ moved, but Humphrey stood his ground. The dark entities were closing in and he was trying to shield them, still.

“Humphrey… get out of here!” Sammie yelled again. “Go out with Chrístõ, back to Terry. GO on!”

“Humphrey,” Chrístõ yelled to him. “You can’t fight them. Sammie can. Come on.”

Humphrey shimmered mournfully. He turned and moved through Sammie, who gave a gasp of astonishment at being given Humphrey’s equivalent of a reassuring hug. He felt as if his every positive emotion had been enhanced.

Humphrey turned and moved towards the tunnel entrance. One of the Evil Shadows tried to cut him off, but he bounced sideways around it. So did Chrístõ. Having Humphrey pass through him was a pleasant experience, but he knew that having one of the Evil Shadows do the same would be quite the opposite.

He moved as quickly as possible. He knew what Sammie was going to do. And he had to do it quickly, before the Evil Shadows hurt him. On his own he was exposed and vulnerable. He couldn’t hold out for long. They had to get Humphrey well out of range before….

Sammie felt the creatures trying to reach into his soul as they closed in on him. That was how they killed, by shocking the soul with those negative emotions enhanced and enlarged till it couldn’t take any more. But he fought back. Humphrey had helped him. He had let him focus on his most positive emotions. He held onto them. He thought of Bo. He wrapped himself in the sweet, loving feelings he felt when he lay in her arms. His beautiful oriental flower who loved him with her whole body and soul. Love was his body armour in this battle.

And it worked. They came closer, but they couldn’t touch him. They couldn’t envelop him in their malevolence and scare him to death.

But they were still closing in. He could feel them. He felt a cold shiver up his back. He felt scared. He wasn’t sure if that was because he was really scared or if they were scaring him.

He glanced at the passage. They were clear. He reached in his pocket for the flash-bang stun grenade he had taken from the TARDIS cupboard. He raised it over his head and pulled the pin. He closed his eyes and threw it to the ground before covering his ears.

The super bright actinic light penetrated his eyelids and stabbed at his retinas. The sound rang in his ears. It made him dizzy and disorientated even though he had been ready for it. He felt nauseous.

And he FELT the death of the malevolent shadows around him. He thought he could hear their screams even above the ringing in his ears. He felt them dying, felt their hatred spat at him in their dying moments. He was the one who had dealt them the fatal blow.

He didn’t feel guilty. He was a soldier. He was trained to kill the enemy before it killed him and those he served and protected. These creatures were a threat to the Human race. He defended the Human race.

Then there was silence, there was nothing. He was standing alone in the empty, dark cavern.

“Sammie!” He heard Chrístõ running back towards him. His footsteps echoed in the silence. Humphrey’s movement was silent, but as he entered the cavern his cries bounced off the walls. He was mournful at the destruction, necessary as it was, but triumphant at the defeat of those who had hurt his own kind as well as Human life that he cherished.

“Humphrey is right,” Sammie said. “When you defeat an enemy, it’s a time of mourning as well as celebration.”

“When we forget that, we’re the ones who’ve lost,” Chrístõ added. He looked around as Terry came slowly down into the cavern, trying not to lean too much on his injured ankle.

He gaped in surprise. Terry wasn’t alone. Dozens of dark entities exuding happiness and excitement poured in through the passage.

“They were hiding,” Terry cried out joyfully as Humphrey pin-wheeled around the cavern, mingling with his liberated people. “They were in the walls – in the cracks and the dark spaces. Even Humphrey couldn’t detect them. But as soon as they felt the malevolent entities go they started to pour out. They surrounded me… like the malevolent ones did… only the feeling I got from them was the reverse. It was as if they were feeding me every good feeling – love, friendship, companionship…”

After a while the euphoria of the darkness entities and their victory celebrations became too much for the mere flesh and blood of Humans and Time Lord. They retreated to the higher cavern and waited for Humphrey to rejoin them.

“Do you think he will?” Terry asked. “These ARE his own kind. Maybe this time he’ll stay…”

“I’ll miss him if he does,” Chrístõ admitted. “I’m used to him about the TARDIS. But he would be better off here with his own.”

“He doesn’t think so,” Sammie told them. “Look…”

Humphrey sailed across the cavern floor. He was purring happily. When he reached his three friends he enveloped them. They all gasped as they felt his love for them expressed in pure, undiluted emotion.

“Home… TAR…DIS…” he intoned.

“Yes,” Chrístõ told him. “Home. The TARDIS. Home to Liverpool to see the ladies.”