Steve Emmerson
synopses

BEWARE!!! - this section is obviously one BIG SPOILER! So, if you haven't read the book yet, you may prefer to close your eyes for the next few paragraphs...

Way back in the summer of 1999, I submitted the following idea to the editorial team at BBC Worldwide:

DOCTOR WHO: CASUALTIES OF WAR

By Steve Emmerson

THE PREMISE
England 1947. Yorkshire Dales village setting. Dead soldiers haunt the village; poltergeists with the power to wreak havoc. The Doctor discovers that these are psychic phenomena produced by inmates at the local psychiatric hospital set up to take shell-shocked soldiers from the recently ended war.

SUMMARY
Hawkswick Hall, situated out in the Yorkshire Dales, has been transformed into a psychiatric hospital for shell-shocked soldiers during WW2. Most of the patients have now been discharged, but a few core patients remain. These men have been extremely disturbed by their war experiences and couldn’t function in society.

The nearby village of Hawkswick is populated with rural characters laden with prejudices and deep-set ways. Although there is a sea change in society at this time, places like Hawkswick are dragged kicking and screaming with the times.

Strange things are happening in the night in Hawkswick. The local bobby has called in a man from the ministry to help investigate. When the Doctor appears, he’s mistaken for Mr Officialdom arriving early and very quickly gets involved in the detail of the story.

First, pets disappeared. Then livestock was discovered dead, mutilated by something with incredible ferocity. Initially there is speculation that some beast roams the moor. But then, in an alarming turn of events, people are attacked. Witnesses report soldiers on manoeuvres in the dark. But the soldiers are horrifically wounded. Dead men walking. One of the villagers is shot dead and the Doctor’s post-mortem shows that although there are bullet wounds, no bullets were used.

The investigation inevitably moves very quickly to Hawkswick Hall, where the Doctor meets the director, Dr Banham, and his inmates. He learns from Banham that it would be impossible for these men to get out at night. Due to the severity of their illnesses, the staff has orders to keep these men under sedation and also under lock and key. During a hypnosis session, the Doctor learns some detail of the harrowing events these men have lived through. They’ve experienced horrors equal to any alien evil. They continue to relive those horrors every moment of their waking and sleeping lives.

The Doctor gradually realises the truth. The corpse-soldiers are psychic phenomena created by the men in the institute. Because of the hospital’s regime they have no way of exorcising their terrors. The corpse-soldiers are taking revenge for the abominations the real men have endured, both during the war, and at the hands of the hospital staff.

The corpse-soldiers grow in energy as the men hone their powers. They are organised and trained by Sergeant Dodd, who is singularly disturbed. The story climaxes as Dodd’s psychic alter ego leads the corpse-soldiers on a raid on the hospital to kill the staff and assassinate Banham in revenge. They intend to kill the inmates themselves in a final suicidal bid for freedom from their torture.

During the story the Doctor gets to know Dodd a little, and also realises what Dr Banham’s secret agenda is. The hospital has been given absolute discretion over the men, and Banham has used this to preserve his well-paid professional position. The men in the institute are listed as missing in action. As far as their families are concerned, they were killed in the war. They receive no visitors. They have no one to fight their case.

DENOUEMENT
Using his camaraderie with Dodd, the Doctor is able to trace the sergeant’s girlfriend. She is brought to the hospital just in time to get caught up in the finale. At the climax Dodd’s corpse-soldier alter ego is about to blast him, to end the nightmare, when he is faced with the girl. Oblivion or hope? The alter ego argues his case (this is Dodd’s yearning for death). The girl says little but her eyes say it all. The alter ego angrily turns to shoot. There’s a blast, and the thing explodes and vanishes. Dodd has made his decision. There is a glimmer of hope, a chance that through contact with their families the men could ultimately recover from their ordeal.

Some more notes followed, including a sample of how I might deal with some of the confrontations in the story. I haven't reproduced those here because they aren't directly relevant to the plot, they only serve to explain some of my aims within the plot.

I'd submitted other ideas besides this one, and it was (then newly appointed Range Consultant) Justin Richards' brainwave that we bring in elements of another story to flesh out CoW and make it feel more like a real Doctor Who story. Justin came up with other excellent suggestions which were all thrown into the big fat melting pot.

Following discussions with Justin I sent in a reworked Synopsis that formed the basis of the final book. I've reproduced that below in it's entirety:

DOCTOR WHO: CASUALTIES OF WAR

REVISED SYNOPSIS @ 7.10.99

By Steve Emmerson

This is an Eighth Doctor story

SYNOPSIS
Hawkswick Hall, in the Yorkshire Dales, has been transformed into a psychiatric hospital for shell-shocked soldiers during WW1. The hospital houses a number of men, some psychologically wounded, some both physically and mentally injured. All of these men have been extremely disturbed by their war experiences.

Prologue: Some months before the story-proper begins: Two patients have made a copy of a key to a mysterious room in the basement of the hospital. They are keen to discover why their doctor visits the room in secret every night. Corporal Sykes enters the room while Sergeant Collins keeps lookout. Sykes screams and when Collins runs to investigate, he is faced with a living corpse in army uniform. The corpse raises a pistol to Collins’ head and pulls the trigger.

Later that year: Private Corey wakes screaming from a nightmare which contains something big, dark and terrifying. He’s attended by nurses and orderlies and tells them that the Devil has come for him.

Strange things are happening in the night in nearby Hawkswick village. The local bobby has called in a man from the ministry to help investigate. When the Doctor arrives, he’s mistaken for Mr Officialdom and very quickly gets involved in the detail of the story.

From Constable Albert Briggs the Doctor learns that, at first, pets disappeared. Then livestock was discovered dead, mutilated by something with incredible ferocity. Initially there was speculation that some beast roamed the moor, but then people began to report strange sightings. Witnesses give accounts of soldiers on manoeuvres in the dark. But the soldiers were horrifically wounded. Dead men walking.

The Doctor meets Mary Minett. Mary is Hawkswick’s resident nurse and mid-wife. She is a thirty-year-old spinster who lives alone in the village. She offers to take in the Doctor since, living alone, she happens to have a spare room. She is a pretty woman, headstrong, a loner. Unmarried by choice, not for lack of offers. Mary takes a shine to the Doctor. Since Mary is outspoken, blunt and inquisitive, she pries into the Doctor’s thoughts for us.

The village is small, the nearest vet is some miles away and expensive, so Mary, having the village’s only smattering of medical knowledge, doubles as some-time veterinary authority. Together Mary and the Doctor visit a local farmer and the Doctor sees for himself the horrendous damage inflicted on his livestock. Animals have been literally torn apart, but the Doctor can find no evidence of teeth- or claw-marks. It’s as if the animals have been caught in an explosion.

The investigation inevitably moves very quickly to Hawkswick Hall, where the Doctor meets the director, Dr Banham, and some of his patients. Banham denies that his patients could be responsible for the trouble in the village. The Doctor, however, is unconvinced. He presses Banham, and Banham reluctantly allows the Doctor access to the hospital facilities.

The Doctor observes Banham’s techniques, which involve the men in a program of sculpture. But these classes are far from gentle, contemplative exercises; they are extremely dynamic and often violent. The men are urged to discharge all their pent-up emotions into the huge grotesque things they create from their clay, and the process leaves them drained and exhausted. The sculptures they produce are disturbing figures, deformed with anguish and horror. The men obviously benefit from the therapy, and the Doctor is impressed by the results.

Banham offers the Doctor tea and they sit together outside in the grounds of the hall on a beautiful summer’s afternoon. Amongst other things, they discuss Banham’s methods. Banham explains that he’s employed them now for many years, invariably with spectacular success. The Doctor comments that Dr Banham must now possess a distressing collection of sculptures, but Banham claims that he destroys them all.

The Doctor also talks to two convalescing soldiers in the grounds. Corporal Pollard agrees with Dr Banham. He can’t imagine any of the men here causing such damage as the Doctor describes. They are not ruthless killers. This is not a war of aggression, he reminds the Doctor. Those men are innocents to the slaughter, many of them little more than boys. They are bookkeepers, bakers, and candle-stick-makers and the last thing they want to do is kill. That’s why they’re here.

The second soldier is Private Corey. Once they are alone, Corey becomes agitated and pleading. He confides in the Doctor that he thinks something very strange is going on at the hospital. Corey is a sensitive soul. His mother is a medium, and he believes he has something of the ‘gift’. His war nightmares have of late been usurped by a new kind of nightmare, in which something huge and terrible stirs in the darkness. He senses evil at the Hall.

The Doctor returns to the village to continue his inquiries, and there finds that Mary Minett has prepared them a picnic lunch. They head into the hills but quite by accident come across a very distraught farmer called Bill Cromby. Cromby was cultivating his field when he came across chunks of two human bodies. The remains are deteriorated, but it is obvious from bits of clothing that they were soldiers.

The Doctor has the remains taken back to the village for forensic examination. He and Mary ascertain that the two bodies were strong young males, and that they were mutilated and hacked without any kind of surgical precision. The Doctor estimates that the bodies have been in the ground for some months now. Unfortunately the Doctor has precious little equipment, he admits he is no real expert in the field of forensic medicine, and there is little else that they can discover. He does find out from Constable Albert Briggs that two men disappeared from Hawkswick Hall back in March.

If life at Hawkswick Hall is so pleasant, and Doctor Banham’s cure so unqualified a success, why have patients died so horribly? The Doctor’s suspicions are aroused.

At Mary’s house the Doctor and Mary chat. Their night-time confidential Horlicks drink is a means of insight into the Doctor’s thought processes. The Doctor, however, remains seemingly oblivious to Mary’s gradually less subtle advances.

Back at Hawkswick Hall, Dr Banham is alone in his office. He is back-dating paperwork that shows the return to the Front of two former patients whose records simply stop due to their disappearance back in March. Banham falters when he realises that the paper is streaked with grey dirt seemingly from nowhere. In an abrupt panic attack, he rushes over to the mirror and gazes into his own shadowy reflection. The face in the mirror is much, much older than Banham’s usual features. He also finds a curling dark greyness in place of his eyes, like the wet clay used by his patients in their sculpture. He rubs his face and with ragged breath turns to leave the office.

Private Corey cannot sleep. He stands at a window in the early hours gazing out into the rolling grounds of the Hall, and sees shadowy shapes moving about in the darkness. Corey’s suspicion is aroused when he sees Banham sneaking obviously in some degree of trauma through the hospital corridors. Corey follows him to a room in the basement and listens at the door to strange sounds inside. The sounds are distant and muffled but unmistakably the sounds of human screams. Corey is disturbed by movement, and finds a corpse-soldier watching him from the shadows. Corey senses deep sorrow. He holds out his hand, but the corpse-soldier abruptly becomes a thing possessed and attacks him.

Mary Minett is woken in the night by the sound of an explosion. She’s uncertain whether she was dreaming, but then she hears movement downstairs. When she goes to investigate, she finds the Doctor surreptitiously leaving the house. Mary sets off in pursuit. Mary loses track of the Doctor, and in turn becomes pursued herself. There is movement in nearby bushes, the sound of a rifle being cocked, then a rushing sound and she sees a dead soldier lunging at her. She screams, and suddenly finds herself in the Doctor’s arms. The Doctor is disturbed by Mary’s fright. He saw no soldier, and now there is no trace of anyone having come out of the bushes.

Next morning news of Corey’s murder travels fast to the village. The Doctor returns to investigate. There he is puzzled by the lack of blood where Corey’s mutilated body was discovered. The Doctor realises that the body has been moved after the killing and this provokes his suspicions even more. Then the Doctor’s post-mortem shows that although Corey’s body contains bullet wounds, no bullets were used.

The Doctor confronts Banham with his suspicions, but Banham is dismissive. The Doctor also asks awkward questions about the two patients who went missing some months ago, but Banham has answers for everything. The two men did go missing, he admits, but turned up again later. He has records to prove they were sent back to the Front some days after their return. It is impossible for the Doctor to prove who the dead men were, so Banham has the upper hand.

Mary is called to see a man injured in a poaching accident last night. She learns that the man’s dog was killed outright and he was lucky to escape with cuts and bruises. The man insists that his dog stepped on a land mine.

The Doctor returns to Hawkswick Hall under cover of night to follow up on his private investigations. On his way through the grounds he is surprised by one of the patients, who is out in full combat kit on a recce. Corporal Davies ‘captures’ the Doctor and takes him ‘prisoner’. Davies is far from a full shilling. He insists that he’s on guard against attacking Germans who he swears are out there on patrols in the night. Davies proves invaluable when he tells the Doctor he can show him where the murder took place last night. (This character allows us to follow the Doctor’s thoughts without getting inside his head or him simply talking aloud to himself). Davies leads the Doctor down into the basement to the real scene of Corey’s murder. The locked room nearby intrigues the Doctor. He can hear distant human screams inside, but he and Davies are suddenly discovered by Banham and his orderlies. Davies is led off back to bed, and the Doctor is frog-marched to Banham’s office. There the Doctor and Banham argue stormily but the Doctor is unable to prove anything. Banham proclaims that the Doctor is a menace to the peace of the hospital, and he orders the Doctor to leave and not return. When he threatens to contact the Ministry and lodge a formal complaint, the Doctor has little choice but to give in. He dare not risk being discovered as an impostor now.

The Doctor confides his anxieties to Mary, and they determine to discover the truth behind the locked door at the hospital. Mary visits the hospital under some pretence connected with her role as village nurse, and proceeds to search furtively for the basement room described by the Doctor. At the door, however, she feels suddenly chilled. She is certain she can hear human cries from beyond.

While Mary is on her errand to the hospital, the Doctor visits Constable Briggs and asks about the two missing men last March. The Doctor examines Briggs’ files. Then he travels back to where the bodies were found (with a spade strapped to his borrowed bike) and discovers a dog tag near to where the bodies were buried. The dog tag displays the number of one of the two missing men. With some satisfaction, the Doctor returns to the village, but he doesn’t see that two corpse-soldiers are watching him on field binoculars as he goes. A mysterious look passes between the two corpse-soldiers before they hoist their kit and move out. On his way back, the Doctor is thrown from his bike by a sudden explosion. A flock of ravens erupts into the sky and the Doctor is knocked unconscious. The two corpse-soldiers that were watching him earlier appear over him, guns poised.

Mary picks the lock with a peculiar ‘Skeleton Key’ supplied by the Doctor. Inside she discovers a large room, very dark and foreboding. The walls, floor and ceiling are all thickly coated in damp clay. The ground underfoot squelches as she walks in. She finds a large gap in the clay where a pentangle has been marked out carefully on the original floor, and this contains a chalk circle inside which is an ancient book printed in Latin, which Mary cannot read. The book does, however, contain illustrations that obviously represent hell and damnation. The single candle that illuminates the room flickers, the door slams shut, and the candle blows out-

The Doctor wakes with an aching head. When he finally gets back to the village early evening, he is consternated to find that the dog tag in his pocket is now blank.

Anxious about Mary’s disappearance, the Doctor returns to the hospital again with Constable Briggs, but there is no sign of Mary, and Banham insists that he saw her leave again with her provisions. The Doctor admits Mary’s subterfuge and insists that he’s allowed to see the locked room. Since the Doctor is backed up by Briggs, Banham very reluctantly concedes. When Banham opens the door to the room, he is obviously uneasy and stressed, but inside the Doctor finds nothing amiss. The room is simply a storage room and there are a few rifles and pistols stashed here, which explains the lock on the door. (At this point, the Doctor presses and knocks on the walls, and during this procedure, he furtively pockets one of the pistols.) The Doctor is forced to make an apologetic retreat with Briggs, but when the door closes behind him he swears he hears someone scream inside. However, Banham and Briggs heard nothing. The Doctor seems to accept that he’s lost the thread, and reluctantly returns to the village with Briggs.

Stopping off at the pub, the Doctor finds one Private Dodd sat alone, snubbed by the locals. Striking up conversation with the slightly drunk Dodd, the Doctor discovers rumours about Dr Banham and the strange room in the basement of the hospital. It transpires that Dodd knew the two patients who disappeared in March. Dodd tells the Doctor they were intent on getting into that room.

The Doctor returns alone to Mary’s house. The place is deserted. While he’s washing, however, he finds Mary’s distraught features in the mirror. As she’s dragged backwards into the dark murky depths, she pleads for help. The Doctor rubs his face briskly, and the apparition is gone.

Outside in the darkening night, shadowy figures move in close formation, closing in on the house. The Doctor stares hard at the pistol he stole from Banham’s locked room. We don’t know what he’s thinking at this point, but suddenly he’s disturbed by the sound of a breaking window. He goes to investigate and is attacked by one of the corpse soldiers, a dead thing with half-skull face and rotting flesh. The Doctor gives as good as he gets in close combat, and the two combatants end up facing each other with guns levelled. Impasse. For a long, tense moment we don’t know if the Doctor would shoot. But there are more soldiers and he is suddenly overwhelmed. The soldiers bind him to the clothes-line-pole in the garden, and a summary execution is held. The soldiers raise their guns and the firing squad explodes-

Constable Briggs, disturbed by the commotion in the village, scurries in his night-shirt to investigate, only to find the Doctor alone and bound in Mary’s garden. The Doctor is very excited, despite his predicament. As Briggs releases him, the Doctor explains that he’s just been shot. Briggs, of course, doesn’t believe him. The Doctor explains that the corpse-soldiers use psychic forces as their artillery, and his mind was equally strong, so he was able to counter their attack. Now he has a more solid theory about the goings-on at Hawkswick Hall. He excitedly explains his idea to Briggs:

Banham has released the intense psychic forces pent-up inside the soldiers. Somehow, some of those forces have escaped and found form of their own. But they are a side-effect, a breeze escaping round the edges of a hurricane. Back at Hawkswick Hall is the hub of the whole thing, and the Doctor is now certain that Banham’s locked room contains more secrets than a mere armoury. He believes it’s the repository of an enormous measure of psychic energy that could be tapped for… for what? He isn’t certain. The Doctor is convinced that the room they both saw today was a phantasm created by the power contained in the real room. They weren’t seeing the truth at all, which is why he took away the pistol - to see if it would remain solid so distant from the source.

Briggs insists that the Doctor keeps well away from the Hall, but the Doctor now is on a roll. We glimpse his old self shining through. Intense exuberance, repeated syllables. He is a whirlwind, and Briggs is carried along by the force of it.

Together they make an undercover return to the Hall. They reach the room and the Doctor picks the lock. Inside they find the storeroom, except that now the Doctor forces Briggs to look more closely. As Briggs squints, the room begins to melt and shift. They find themselves in the same room as Mary entered earlier. They investigate. The Doctor scrutinises the book while Briggs gazes in disbelief at the damp grey walls. Briggs is sure he sees movement in the surface of the clay. He watches, fascinated as a hand gropes out towards him, gradually taking form as it extrudes. Suddenly they are disturbed by Banham’s arrival.

In the ensuing confrontation, Banham explains that he has used ancient Witchcraft rituals to harness the power. As he speaks, they see Banham’s eyes change, becoming full of swirling grey. Banham’s voice also transforms into a deep, demonic growl and he advances on the Doctor and Briggs. Briggs rushes him, but Banham repels him like an annoying fly. As Banham is about to destroy them, the Doctor manages with huge effort to get himself and Briggs inside the chalk circle. From there, he begins to recite an incantation from the book, and this stops Banham in his tracks.

Now the Doctor is in control. However, the wet clay begins to surge and slurp again, and out of the walls, ceiling and floor emerge an infantry of corpse-soldiers, formed apparently from the thick clay. Now they are real men covered in mud. Dead things encircling the Doctor and Briggs. Ragged bony fingers toying with very solid-looking triggers. The Doctor assures Briggs he is perfectly safe inside the circle.

Then Banham plays his trump. The floor begins to swirl and heave, and there emerge more corpse-soldiers, this time gripping a struggling and terrified Mary Minett. Two of the soldiers hold her between them, while a small firing squad prepares to shoot her.

The Doctor gives in, stepping out of the circle. When the corpse soldiers rush him, he grasps one of their guns and puts it to Banham’s head. Banham freezes. There is a momentary stand-off, until Briggs dives from the circle, grabs a rifle, and shoots Banham.

Banham collapses backwards, clutching at the gaping wound in his chest. The others see swirling grey inside his body, as if Banham is made up of thick, viscous, wet clay. Then the clay takes form - spindly arms thrashing, trying to tear free from his insides, black eyes gleam out of the turmoil. Banham’s body grows decrepit like a speeded up film of decaying fruit. Banham’s eyes are wide and fearful, but also crawling with grey. Banham fights to keep the wound closed, but it’s too late. At a cry from the Doctor of ‘Down!’, Banham’s body tears open in an eruption of darkness.

Briggs regains consciousness to find the Doctor fussing over the comatose shape of Mary. Both Briggs and Mary are bleeding, and the Doctor attends their injuries using bandages made from his shirt. They are now in a ghostly and strangely echoey No-Man’s-Land. The place looks like an artist’s nightmare impression of the Front. It’s colourless and dank. A grey world that could be made of wet clay.

The Doctor explains that Banham’s psychic forces have created a nether world of their own beyond the confines of the storeroom. Because it was wrought from nightmares of war, it’s assumed that guise. The forces Banham captured are harmless enough in their individual, diluted form, but Banham has brought an immense amount of that raw human psychic energy together in one place. Fuelled by the Great War, the power grew way beyond his ability to contain it. Now it’s taken on an identity of its own. It has an agenda, some evil intent.

Banham was a man who existed on these energies. He may even have lived for decades beyond his normal life span. But this War gave him too much of a bad thing. He effectively overdosed on it. This force now can’t be controlled. It is a Frankenstein’s Monster that has destroyed its creator. It craves death and destruction. It is the primordial Darkside of the human psyche.

The group is attacked by corpse-soldiers. The air fills with bullets whizzing in all directions. They run and collapse into a muddy trench. While Mary and Briggs use an abandoned machine gun to keep the corpse soldiers a bay, the Doctor uses the sand from sandbags to create a circle in the mud for them to stand in. Then he screams quotes from the book and the attack stops.

Silence, until a stirring in the mud grabs their attention. A shape rises sucking and squelching out of the grey slime. The thing is a giant version of the lump of clay seen earlier by the Doctor in Banham’s therapy room. Grotesque, deformed, wet clay animate, part of the nightmare world they are in, the thing rears up and advances on them menacingly. The Doctor repeats his incantation, but the demon shakes its head. Now they are on its own territory. It circles, observing them. Briggs voices doubt that the circle will keep it out, but the Doctor ferociously reassures him. Mary realises that it is the very force of their belief that is keeping the thing at bay. The demon pokes its head right into the circle and ‘gazes’ close into Mary’s face. She is trying to be strong, but she can feel her defences crumbling. The demon is a much stronger and far more ancient power than any of them. The demon reaches in and gently strokes the side of her face, leaving a gritty grey stain, then suddenly grasps her by the throat and starts to throttle her…

Abruptly the Doctor launches himself out of the circle and dives for the machine gun. He grasps the gun and turns it on the demon, but doesn’t fire. As the others look on, the demon-shape melts back into the ground, apparently in retreat. The Doctor is the only one not to be relieved. As Mary and Briggs mutter congratulations, the Doctor watches the ground warily. Then, suddenly, Mary and Briggs watch in horror as the Doctor is consumed slowly by the mud. They begin to rush to help, but he yells at them to stay in the circle. Only the circle will protect them now. Finally, the thrashing shape of the Doctor is completely submerged in the grey mud.

Immediately the chaos of war resumes. Bullets and bombs. Whistling shells scream through the air at them, but they are all deflected by an invisible shield which extends upwards from the sand circle.

A handful of corpse-soldiers clamber over the top and drop into the trench. Mary and Briggs watch with terror as the soldiers consider their problem. Then one of the soldiers takes its revolver and aims carefully at the edge of the sand. When it fires, a few grains of sand are disturbed, blown aside by the shot. Mary realises that they’re trying to break the circle. All the soldiers proceed to shoot the same point in the sand, and steadily a breach in the circle begins to grow. Then they hear the rattle of the machine gun, and the sand at their feet is blown away even faster. Finally, the breach is complete. One of the corpse soldiers experimentally shoots a hole in the ground inside the damaged circle. Now the soldiers take hold of their captives. Briggs is strapped to a gnarled tree and Mary is forced to watch as yet another firing squad takes aim.

The ground in front of Briggs swirls and out of the mud swells the demon. It raises its arm at the soldiers and a baleful cry emerges. ‘Nooo…’ Suddenly all hell is let loose. The corpse-soldiers come under attack from more of their own kind. As the corpse-soldiers battle, their world starts to melt around them. They begin to merge back into the mud, looking terrified as they are slowly consumed. There is the receding clamour of battle as the scene begins to surrender all shape. The distant gnarled trees melt. Mary and Briggs panic, trying to scramble out of the trench, but they too are consumed by the mud. Gasping for breath, they are both swallowed up. The grey becomes all consuming, until finally it’s replaced by an unfathomable blackness.

Mary wakes to find herself back on the floor of Banham’s clay-room. Briggs lifts himself groaning off the floor, but the Doctor lays still, eyes closed. She scrambles over to feel for a pulse, but can’t find one. She puts her ear to his chest and is puzzled to find a sluggish, but twin heartbeat. She draws back and gazes at him in wonder as he stirs and slowly comes round.

He explains that he had to fight the demon with its own weapon, the power of the psyche. He tied the psychic forces in knots by turning them on each other.

Congratulations, but as they prepare to leave, the walls begin to stir again. The room is filled with a bellowing cry, and they see Banham’s bloated and distorted features trying to break free from the ceiling. The Doctor urges the others to get out quick and evacuate the Hall. He returns to the chalk circle and rummages through the book, frantically searching for a recitation to hold back the forces that are stirring again.

The hospital is evacuated when the explosion comes. The house roof is ripped apart, but all the force of the energy rises into the air above them, a dark grey streak of an explosion. The clear black summer night-sky suddenly fills with thick curling cloud. A furious storm descends. Thunder and lightning. Vicious, tearing winds. Mary is certain she can hear men screaming in the winds. There is the unmistakable sound of shells whistling through the air. She sees hideous phantoms whipped up in the tempest. The storm lasts only moments before it blows itself out, seeming to recede into the night in all directions.

In the aftermath, Mary observes the patients and staff from the hospital recovering their composure. Looking back at the wrecked roof of the hall, she screams that the Doctor is still in there, and scrambles back to search for him.

She discovers the Doctor plastered in clay and mud, but alive. This time he did it, he tells her. She asks if the demon has been destroyed, but the Doctor informs her that it can’t be destroyed. It’s an elemental force of nature. All he’s done is dissipate it again. It should be too weak now to cause any more real damage.

Epilogue Newspaper cutting outlining the devastating effects of the influenza pandemic that killed 30 million people throughout the world during 1918-1919.

So, there you have it. The original synopsis for 'Doctor Who - Casualties of War'. You can see how it evolved from my initial proposal, and how different it eventually was. At the time of writing this synopsis, I still wasn't fully aware of what catastrophic events were about to befall the Eighth Doctor, so there were other adjustments made to the above synopsis along the way. If you've read the book, you'll probably spot them.

I think I've had more requests to post this synopsis than I have for anything else. I hope it was worth the wait. Au revoir...

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