Little Miss Riding Hood

A Fourth Doctor Who story: There's wolves abroad in Stockby. Can Sinead save the day or will she need help from Mr Smith and his journalist friend Sarah Jane ?

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2. The Bathroom

It had started normally enough. Sinead had met Mai on the way to school. As usual they had gone straight to the library. It was the place they always went.. The librarian was a nice woman. She particularly liked Mai. Mai had spent weeks in the library helping out. Mrs ….............. was a bit eccentric but welcomed everyone to the library. All three of them were avid readers devouring all the books that she gave them. Mai was particularly attracted to Tom, one of the older students who was also a good chess player.

This morning the librarian wasn't in the library when they opened the door. Behind the desk was a strange looking man. He was sat in the chair with his back to the door. Thick curly hair hung to his shoulders, He was wearing a tweed coat with a long multi coloured scarf around his neck. As the door swung shut he turned around in the chair and smiled at them.

'Fancy a jelly baby?' he asked them offering a paper bag that contained sweets. Sinead took one and placed it in her mouth. She chewed on it. Her face grimaced and contorted. Leaning over the bin she retched the sweet up.

'Ah, they may be a little old, I'm afraid. Last gave one to Genghis Khan' the stranger mumbled, 'allow me to introduce myself, I'm the doc.. Mr Smith, I'm covering for the librarian whilst she's busy visiting her cousin'

At that moment the door flew open and a young woman came running in.

'Professor, I've found something that you might be interested in...' she said before seeing the two girls.

'Girls this is Sarah Jane, she's an ace reporter for the local rag', Mr Smith said

At this point the bell went and Sinead and May left the library to go to registration.

He was a funny bloke thought Sinead as she lay in the bath. He didn't seem a bit like a librarian. He was a bit of bumbler and didn't seem to know how the library was organised, even though he claimed to have had tea with Melvin Dewey. He had however spent half lunch hour quizzing them about Sarah's disappearance. There hadn't been much to tell. It seemed that Sarah had left scouts one night and never gone home. Police were baffled at first, there was no explanation. The whole town was shocked by the way she'd gone missing. She was the first of four students of Stockby High School that had disappeared. Every night Sinead lay awake worrying that something would happen to her.

A howl broke through her thoughts, it was close. A long mournful cry that resonated throughout her body. Sinead leapt from the bath and flung the curtains open, not caring if anyone was watching. Too late she realized that the light on the bathroom was still one. She jumped back grabbing a towel to hide her modesty before switching the light off. Returning to the window she covered the front of her body with the towel before leaning her head into the glass.

It took a while for her eyes to get used to the dark and she could make out any detail at the rear of her house. Again she heard the howl. It was close, appearing to emanate from the bushes in her garden. She looked intently trying to separate the different shades of black from each other. She then spied a movement in the corner. She gazed even closer, wishing her eyes had telescopic vision. Then she saw it.

A wolf, or at least that’s what she thought it was. It must be a large dog though, wolves had been extinct in England for hundreds of years. As she watched the creature raised its head and the mournful howl came from its jaws once again. It was a wolf Sinead thought, I was right. The wolf lowered its head and looked directly at her. It’s eyes were yellow reflecting the moonlight. Sinead suddenly went cold, she felt goose bumps appearing all over her body. The wolf turned away slowly and moved back down the gardens. As it left her garden, it looked back and gave a smaller almost imperceptible howl as if in pain. Then it had gone.

Sinead watched for a few minutes before turning back to the room. Closing the curtains switched on the light. She shivered inwardly at what she had witnessed. She looked down, seeing a pool of water and realizing that she was wet and cold. She quickly discarded the towel she was clutching and picked a fresh one from the radiator. Sitting on the bath edge, she rubbed her skin, trying to get some warmth into her cold goose bumped body.

She shook her head, she must have been mistaken. However the more she thought about it, the more she realized that she had seen a wolf, and that wolf had been looking for her. Wrapping the towel around her, she walked to her bedroom and turned the light on. Reaching into her drawers she pulled out her PJ’s and quickly dressed. Reaching for the brush she sat in front of her mirror and started to brush her long red hair.

Why had it been looking at me? Strangely the more she thought about it, the more she wasn’t afraid. Then in the distance she heard another howl. This time it was a blood curdling one, different from before. Sinead bolted for the door and ran downstairs into the kitchen She threw her arms around her mother and hugged her tight.

‘Hey, Red, what’s up ?’ Her mum said.

‘I’m just thinking of Sarah, will we ever see her again?’ Sinead said, the first of her sobs coming.

‘Hey, she’ll turn up, probably just run off with that boy she talks to on the internet’, her mum said then she pulled Sinead away from her and looked closely into her eyes, ‘and don’t you ever have those ideas, you hear me Red ?’

‘But mum, she hasn’t. She’s not stupid. She didn’t go off with him. Do you think it’s something to do with all this howling, has some creature got her? I thought I saw a wolf in our garden’

‘A wolf, no probably a big dog. Don’t worry petal, you’ll be safe inside.’

Sinead sat down and started to eat the sandwich her mum had prepared for her. She thought about the wolf and how it’d looked at her. She had something to tell Mai in the morning. Maybe even that Sarah Jane would find it interesting.

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