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t should have been just another ordinary evening for Bill Hammond.

As station master of Tooting Bec his work revolved around familiarity and repetition and, as he would admit himself that was the way he liked it especially as he was nearing retirement age.

Dead on 6pm, he put his tweed jacket on, clocked out and began to head home which took approximately four minutes as his house was as stone’s throw from the station, again just the way he liked it.

'Evening ‘luv' Bill said as he entered the house at 6.04 and hung up his coat in the hall.

As per usual, his wife Madge was busy in the kitchen preparing his supper.

'Hello dear,' she replied 'just get yourself cleaned up and it'll be ready.'

If either of them had been bothered to notice, they would have realised that they had been speaking those exact same words at pretty much the exact same time six days a week for the past ten years, ever since the last of their grown up children had left home.

As per usual, Bill went upstairs to wash his hands and face and as he did so he began to whistle a merry tune.

Whether it was the effect of the running tap water or simply the call of nature he realised while washing that he had to urgently visit what he still referred to as “the little boy’s room” after all these years which, unlike some other houses in the area, was still located in the garden which involved a speedy dash.

While sitting on the toilet, Bill casually let his eyes wander around the whitewashed walls, his eyes finally fell upon a large, black toilet bush down to his left.
'That’s funny,' he thought to himself, 'I don’t remember Madge saying she had bought that. How very unpredictable of her.'
Leaning down to get a close look he suddenly got the feeling that he was not alone....

He nearly fell over with shock. It was, of course, just his wife calling him for supper.

'In a minute dear, just finishing!' he called out. Hastily he got up and pulled the chain. But this, it turned out, was to be a very bad idea and the last thing he would ever do.

ater that evening when Madge gave her statement of what she had heard before running into the garden all she could say was, 'A flush, a roar, Bill screaming for a second and then total silence.'

The police inspector heading the investigation eventually decided that the head injuries Bill had sustained had simply been caused by him losing his balance and falling against the toilet seat and not due to any kind of foul play.

Despite this he decided to send a brief memo to UNIT. Give them something to amuse themselves with, he thought.
h, good morning Doctor.'

Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Steward strolled into the lab to find the Doctor rubbing one of the doors of the TARDIS with one of his ruffled sleeves.

'What on earth are you doing? Don’t you have something better to do than polish that blue box of yours?'
The Doctor turned around to look gruffly at him. 'My dear Brigadier, this "blue box" of mine, as you call it, is all I have cared for since I was unceremoniously dumped on this wretched planet so I would appreciate if you referred to it with a little more respect. And while I am at it, she is known as the TARDIS and if she needs a good polish then a good polish is what she will get!'

The Brigadier immediately stepped back a few paces.

'Very well, Doctor, you've made your point. I must say it wasn’t just your appearance that changed when you regenerated; your manner leaves a lot to be desired as well. You used to be such a jolly little fellow.'

The Doctor's response to that comment was a “humph” under his breath followed by a few words in a language the Brigadier did not recognise.

Changing the subject he said 'I thought you might find this interesting,' and handed the Doctor a large brown folder with “TOP SECRET” typed in large black letters on the front.

The Doctor began flicking through the folder and within seconds had read the entire contents.

'So, as you can see Doctor,' the Brigadier continued, 'in the past four days seven people have disappeared in their homes. No sign of forced entry or exit, no motive, nothing.'

The Doctor frowned. 'Brigadier, by “in their homes” I take it to mean that they were all in the toilet at the time?'

The Brigadier coughed, a loud embarrassed cough. 'Ahem, yes...all of them...'

'Really,' sighed the Doctor 'I will never understand while your race is unable to keep a straight face about what is, after all, a simple natural bodily function. 'Besides all that, what is the relevance of this to me? You don’t expect me to go around chasing after some mysterious bathroom killer do you? I mean, it’s hardly my forte is it?'

Regaining his composure the Brigadier responded:

'Well Doctor, as you have read the file you will have noticed that in each case the victim worked for the transport industry in some capacity. Bus drivers, station masters, taxi drivers that sort of thing. Each one killed as a result of a violent blow to the head, found with a look of sheer terror on their face.”

'Each one?' queried the Doctor with a raised eyebrow.

'Well yes, all except for what we believe was the first victim. Some sort of bigwig in the underground system I understand.'

'Any other details which might be of some help to me?'

'Indeed, we were able to link each murder by these.'

The Brigadier handed the Doctor a small clear plastic bag which he opened. 'They appear to be strands of black coarse hairs belonging to some sort of creature I would presume. That is why I thought the case might be of interest to you.'

The Doctor placed one of the hairs under his powerful microscope and gazed intently into the lens. 'How very curious...' he said, rubbing the back of his neck, some moments after finishing his examination. 'The hairs appear to be synthetic. An artificial creature with enough power to kill someone with a single blow. What in Venus could it be...'
artwork by ANDY LAMBERT
used with permission
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