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Authors: Matthew Jones

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Doctor Who: Bad Therapy

BOOK: Doctor Who: Bad Therapy
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‘WE’RE NOT LIKE YOU – WE CAN’T BE WHOLE ON OUR OWN.’

Seeking respite after the traumatic events in the thirtieth century, the Doctor and Chris travel to 1950s London. But all is not well in bohemian Soho: racist attacks shatter the peace; gangs struggle for territory; and a bloodthirsty driverless cab stalks the night.

While Chris enjoys himself at the mysterious and exclusive Tropics club, the Doctor investigates a series of ritualistic murders with an uncommon link –

the victims all have no past. Meanwhile, a West End gangster is planning to clean up the town, apparently with the help of the Devil himself. And, in the quiet corridor of an abandoned mental hospital, an enigmatic psychiatrist is conducting some very bad therapy indeed.

As the stakes are raised, healing turns to killing, old friends appear in the strangest places – end even toys can have a sinister purpose.

MATTHEW JONES
wrote ‘The Nine-Day Queen’ for the
Doctor Who
short story collection Decalog 2. He also writes a regular column, ‘Fluid Links’, for Marvel’s Doctor Who Magazine. He lives in east London and this is his first novel.

 

BAD THERAPY

Matthew Jones

 

First published in Great Britain in 1996 by

Doctor Who Books

an imprint of Virgin Publishing Ltd

332 Ladbroke Grove

London W10 5AH

Copyright © Matthew Jones 1996

Reprinted 1996

The right of Matthew Jones to be identified as the Author of this Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

‘Doctor Who’ series copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation 1996

Cover illustration by Mark Salwowski

ISBN 0 426 20490 5

Typeset by Galleon Typesetting, Ipswich

Printed and bound in Great Britain by

Mackays of Chatham PLC

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real
persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

 

For Iain, with love.

 

Publishers’ Announcement

The story in this volume, like that in most of the New Adventures, is a continuation of the events described in the preceding book.

Unfortunately, it has proved impossible to publish
So Vile A Sin
by Ben Aaronovitch on time. The publishers apologise for this; however, we do intend to publish the book in early 1997.

 

Contents

1: The Colour Of His Hair

1

2: Used To Be A Sweet Boy

13

3: Half-A-Person

25

4: At Your Own Risk

47

Interlude: Gilliam’s Story

57

5: Something Beneath The Skin

61

Interlude: Gilliam’s Story

83

6: You’ve Never Had It So Bad

87

Interlude: Gilliam’s Story

97

7: On Being Sane In Insane Places

101

8: Against Nature

115

9: Sweet And Tender Hooligan

127

Interlude: Gilliam’s Story

143

10: You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side

149

Interlude: Gilliam Comes Home

163

11: All I Have To Do Is Dream

165

Interlude: Home At Last

177

12: Hold On To Your Friends

179

 

13: Alone

189

14: London Burning

205

15: Whatever Happens, I Love You

215

Epilogue: Equal Affections

235

 

1

The Colour Of His Hair

Soho, London – October 1958

Teenagers!
Madge thought to herself. She didn’t even like the word. Why did they have to go and call themselves something special anyway? She had never been a teenager and frankly, she didn’t see why anyone else had to be one. As far as she was concerned when you were young you were a kid and by the time you were old enough to go out to work you were an adult. She couldn’t understand why there was this sudden need to be ‘in between’.

There hadn’t been any in between for her, no time for her to be a teenager –

in love or otherwise. Madge had left school at thirteen to sweep floors and wash hair at her local hairdressing salon. Thirty-five years later she was still working at the same place, only now it was her name on the lease. She had bought the shop with her savings when the previous owner had finally retired. Snips Salon had never done such good business since she had taken it on. Madge had expanded the business and now employed a staff of eight, including two juniors whose sole responsibilities were to tend to the sinks and keep the floor clean. Mind you, all they wanted to do all day was listen to that awful racket on the radio and paw over copies of
Movie News
. But that was teenagers for you.

Until today she had been sure that Eddy Stone was different to the rest of the young staff that she employed. In all her years in the trade she had never met such an amiable lad, and certainly no one as hardworking. Most of the girls who worked for her saw the job as a way of earning a few bob before they got married. The lads usually lasted longer, but that was because they were rarely the marrying kind. Eddy Stone was different: he was always anxious to please, and always behaved as if the job really meant something to him. Or so Madge had thought until today.

She had barely been able to believe her eyes when Eddy had walked into the shop that morning. He had had the bare-faced cheek to act as if everything was absolutely normal, even when the junior girls who took care of the sinks had burst into fits of giggles. If it had been anyone else Madge would have sacked them on the spot. It was only because this was so out of character for 1

 

the boy that she had decided to wait until the end of the day, when she could confront him privately.

From where she stood at the back of the salon she had a clear view of him as he finished with his last customer of the day – an elderly woman who tottered in once a week for a rinse and set. Eddy was giving her his usual performance, treating the old girl as if she were the latest Hollywood starlet. He fussed around her, making tiny adjustments to her hair as if it were a great piece of art. Not that it was of course. Eddy wasn’t actually that great a cutter. In fact, he was a rather pedestrian stylist. But Madge had been in the hairdressing business long enough to know that it wasn’t just a question of cutting hair.

A good stylist sold dreams, and Eddy Stone was a born salesman. His true talents didn’t lie with his scissors, but in the way he made his customers feel about themselves. He could make a middle-aged housewife feel ten years younger with the right amount of flirtatious banter. To the older customers he became a favourite nephew or grandson.

His present customer, an old girl of at least seventy, kissed him on the cheek before leaving the shop, her face flushed from all the attention. Eddy wandered over to the till and put his sizable tip into the jar kept there for that purpose. He was honest too.

Which made what Madge knew she had to do all the more difficult. He caught sight of her and smiled that shy, uncertain smile of his. Madge almost smiled back, but just managed to catch herself. However charming the boy was, he had overstepped the mark coming to work looking like he had this morning. Far overstepped the mark.

‘I’d like a word, Eddy,’ she said firmly. ‘In my office, if you please.’

Eddy frowned, but nodded and followed her quietly into her room at the back of the shop. ‘Office’ was a bit of an exaggeration. It was nothing more than a desk, chair and safe in the corner of the storeroom. She shared the room with boxes of shampoo and the other tools of the trade. Laundry bags full of damp towels were left here at the end of each day, investing the room with a permanent ‘washing day’ atmosphere.

Perching herself on the edge of her desk, Madge lit a cigarette. She offered one to Eddy, but he shook his head.

‘I’m sure you know why I’ve called you in here.’

Eddy blushed and looked at his feet. ‘I guess,’ he murmured.

‘It’s not me, you understand. I don’t care what you do, but I’ve had com-plaints from some of the regular customers and I can hardly ignore that, now can I?’

Eddy looked up at her and for a moment Madge thought he was going to speak, but he didn’t say anything. He just stood there looking lost and vulnerable.

2

 

‘Look love, there’s no need to get upset. You can keep your job, just dye it back, all right?’

‘I can’t.’

‘What do you mean, you can’t? Of course you can.’ Madge gently ran her fingers through Eddy’s newly blond hair. He’d done a good job, she had to give him that. If she hadn’t known that Eddy’s hair was really chestnut brown, she would have sworn it was natural. ‘I’ll tell you what, we’ll do it now – in the shop, it won’t take an hour.’

‘No,’ Eddy said quickly. ‘I can’t.’

Madge frowned. He didn’t sound upset now, he sounded a little angry, almost defiant; like a child preparing to throw a tantrum.

‘You’ll do as you’re told, Eddy Stone,’ she snapped, more harshly than she had really meant to. ‘I’m not having you mincing around my shop looking like a ponce. Don’t take it too far, lad. You’re good at what you do, but that doesn’t mean your job’s for life.’

Eddy flinched at the insult, but he met her gaze. ‘They’ll get used to it, Madge,’ he said quietly. ‘People forget. But I can’t change me hair. I won’t.

Not for you. Not for anyone.’

‘What do you mean, you can’t change it? You bloody well can. You bloody well will as well, if you want to keep your job.’

For a moment they stood staring at each other in silence.

Why was he behaving like this? Madge hadn’t thought that Eddy cared about anything enough to make such a fuss, let alone his hair. It was such a silly thing to get so stirred up about. Well, there was no backing down now.

She wasn’t going to have her authority undermined by a teenager, that was for sure. She made up her mind.

‘You can pick your wages up tomorrow night when I cash up. I don’t want to see you until then, and I definitely don’t want to see you after. You understand?’

Eddy Stone just turned on his heel and walked straight out of the shop, not even bothering to pick up his jacket from the hook near the door. Madge felt stunned. She took a long drag on her cigarette and sat down behind her desk.

It was only his bloody hair. What on Earth had got into the boy?

Eddy ran out of the salon and into the rain. At half-past seven in the evening, London’s West End was already bustling with people. Rather than dodge the crowds on the pavement, he ran in the gutter where you only had to be mindful of puddles and black cabs. The rain cooled his temper and he slowed to a brisk walk as he turned on to Wardour Street, relieved to be leaving Leicester Square and Snips Salon behind him.

3

 

The job didn’t matter, he told himself. Jobs were easy to come by: he could find another. Even if he couldn’t, Mother would be able to fix him up with something.

Mother.

Perhaps he should drop in on the club and tell her what had happened?

He smiled to himself. It didn’t really matter whether or not he did as she would know soon enough. Very little escaped Mother’s attention for long, not if it involved him or one of the others. It was comforting knowing that she was always there, always someone to turn to if he found himself in trouble or needed help. And yet, perhaps that would change along with everything else that was happening to him.

He had arranged to meet Jack in the Magpie at eight. There wasn’t time to go home and change. Still he looked all right; he always dressed smartly for work. The old dears who came to Snips always liked him to be well turned out. Eddy stopped and checked his reflection in a shop window and wondered what Jack would make of his hair.

Just thinking about Jack brought a smile to Eddy’s face. They had been stepping out for about five weeks now. Eddy knew for a fact that Jack was keeping a count of the exact number of days. That was just like Jack; the boy was a born worrier.

Jack worked as a clerk on one of the sprawling building sites on the Marylebone Road. Every night after work they would meet for a drink in Soho at the Magpie, before heading back to Jack’s lodgings in Notting Hill.

So far they had managed to keep their relationship secret from Jack’s landlady, Mrs Carroway, who zealously patrolled the hall outside her ground-floor rooms. To avoid her, Eddy would slip around the back of the rundown three storey townhouse, climb the wrought iron fire escape and then wait for Jack to let him in through the upstairs window. Jack was always fretting that one day Mrs Carroway would come in unexpectedly – for the washing, or to do the cleaning – and catch Eddy there; but so far she hadn’t. And Eddy was pleased that, despite being frightened that they might be caught together, Jack had never once suggested that Eddy not come home with him.

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