The three friends ran down the path through the purple forest. Their sides ached with the effort, but still they ran, not slackening their pace in the least. Their breath came in great heaving gasps in and out of their tortured lungs, but still they ran on, seeking greater speed. Their legs cramped, and then grew wobbly with weariness, but they continued to run, even when their running became staggering, they neither stopped nor let loose of one another’s hands, until they had returned to the large circular meadow where the TARDIS was parked. They spilled out of the forest and fell, gasping and panting, face down in a little heap as the blue sunlight bathed both them and the purple grasses with its feeble warmth.
Only when at last they were able to sit up under their own muscle power, and breathe at a normal rate, and the breeze had dried most of the sweat from their faces that they had gained by the exertion of their headlong flight, only then did Dusty break their terrified silence. “What all did she say?”
“I don’t remember it all,” Newt answered.
“Shh!” Harold commanded, and then motioned that he needed something to write with.
Newt jumped up and ran into the TARDIS. She flew down the now familiar corridor, and burst into the craft room. Ignoring the questions of the lady pirates, and in fact, ignoring the lady pirates altogether, Newt quickly grabbed up a notepad and a pen, then whirled and left the room at top speed.
She flew back through the corridors of the TARDIS, and smacked right into the Doctor as she came flying into the control room. Only his quick reactions saved them both from a nasty tumble onto the expanded steel floor, which could have hurt badly, and possibly could have caused injury to one or both of them.
She had momentarily forgotten that Harold had a perfect recall of words he had heard, providing he wrote them down quickly, before more words came into his ears to crowd out the ones he wanted to preserve.
She dashed across the meadow, aware that the Doctor was following closely on her heels, and practically flung the writing materials into Harold’s hands.
As soon as he had hold of them, Harold started writing frantically fast, covering many of the pages of the small note pad with large and sloppy lettering, hastening to record her exact words before they faded from his very short term photographic hearing.
The Doctor started to speak, probably to ask what in the world was going on, but Newt whirled around and clapped her fingers gently across his mouth. Fortunately, he was a man of great intelligence, and stood quietly, holding his questions until Harold had finished his scribbling on the pad.
Harold wrote it all down fast and sloppy, and then Newt watched as he tore all of those pages from the pad and went through them carefully, transcribing them into his more usual, very neat handwriting. He scratched his head a couple of times, and Newt was afraid that the terror of their flight back to this meadow had driven the words from his mind, but eventually, he looked up at his assembled audience. By this time, the pirates had also followed Newt from the TARDIS. The Doctor had shushed them as they arrived, and the entire group waited for Harold to speak.
Harold, for his part, simply handed the note pad of neat writing and the torn off sheets of sloppy writing and the pen back to Newt, compressing his lips into a tight line as an indication to Newt that he wasn’t going to share her secrets without her leave.
Newt looked down at the pad and read the words that Harold had used his unusual gift to preserve for her.
“The familiar spirit that has chosen to live within my crystal ball, which is that being who delivers to me proclamations regarding the future, instructs me to say to you that you must do nothing. All will be revealed unto you when the time is right. Midnight is the witching hour, and the hour when the greatest power comes to those who have power. The spell that has been cast around you as a net will lift at midnight, and you will find that all in your life will be as it should, but beware, for time does not run at the same speed when in different dimensions, and therefore you must be careful, for any injury that you take while in this continuum will travel with you into the next, even unto death. Beware of pirates who make false promises, and always trust your physician, after all, an apple a day gets the doctor away!”
Newt looked at the very inquisitive group before her, and tucked the pad and loose papers into the back pocket of her jeans.
“I…I didn’t mean to startle anyone, sorry about that, I…it…it was just that Harold suddenly got a good idea for a story he has to write for our Lit class, and needed to get the idea on paper before he forgot it. So I ran to get him some paper and a pen,” Newt lied.
“I see,” the Doctor said, with a very grave expression on his face. “Well,” he added over his shoulder to the pirates, “nothing more to be seen here, go on back to whatever it was that you were doing.” Without so much as a single word of argument, the pirates turned as a single entity and returned to the TARDIS.
The Doctor stood, unmoving and silent, until the TARDIS door had closed behind them.
“The thing is,” he said to Newt, “if you had been telling the truth, then the papers with the idea on them would have ended up in Harold’s pocket, not in yours. Therefore whatever it was that he was writing down with such fervent concentration actually belongs to you. Therefore, it’s not some idea for a composition project for a class at school. Am I right?”
Newt sat in silence for a long time, desperately hoping that the Doctor would go away and leave them to examine Madame Du Pompadour’s words in privacy. She had a niggling idea that the fortune teller had warned her who to trust, and who not to trust, and at the moment, she couldn’t recall which was which.
The Doctor just stood there, towering over the three young teenagers in a majestic and commanding silence, as he waited for his question to be answered. Both of the boys sealed their lips shut, and Newt knew that her two best friends would never betray her to the Doctor, or to anyone else. She knew that if she didn’t speak of this, they never would.
Still maintaining her stubborn silence, she pulled out the pad of paper from her pocket, intending to read it silently to see if it was at all clear on which people she was supposed to trust. Several of the loose papers came fluttering out of her pocket at the same time. The Doctor stooped quickly and picked them up, and then deliberately folded them writing side in so that there was no way he could see what was written there and handed the folded papers to her without looking at them.
Suddenly, her heart loosened within her chest, and she felt a flood of trust come forth. Somehow, she knew that she could trust the Doctor with her life, with all of their lives, and that he wouldn’t interfere in any way with their return home. Newt decided at that moment to place her full faith and trust in the Doctor, come what may.
Haltingly at first, and then in an ever escalating flood of words, Newt explained how the three friends had met in the forest and talked, and then described in every detail their journey to the fortune teller, Madame Du Pompadour. A veiled look entered the Doctor’s eyes when she spoke the name, and Newt wondered why that would be. She finished by explaining the transitory nature of Harold’s photographic hearing, and why that had necessitated such a rush of speed as she had gone into the TARDIS to fetch the paper and pen for him.
Finally, she finished up by telling him that the three of them had thought to have privacy as they tried to decipher the aged fortune teller’s words to her, but that she, Newt, would be more than very glad if the Doctor would lend them the services of his well developed intellect and superior experience.
Newt then extended her hand, and offered the small writing pad to the Doctor. He took it gently from her hand, and his demeanor seemed to show that he fully understood how important this giving was.