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loose end

'You should feel at home here, Leela,' came a voice through the trees. 'Wherever "here" is of course.' it added as an after thought.

There was a sharp crack of twigs and the frightened squealing of a small lizard before a man, with hair like iron wool and immense bulging eyes stepped through the calamites and into the clearing. The Doctor sniffed the foul air, mentally congratulating himself for leaving his scarf and coat in the TARDIS, the heat was stifling.

Quickly, a grumbling Leela followed him, scanning the area with her blue eyes, which looked out of place in her deeply tanned face and brown hair. 'There are strange scents,' she sniffed, her hand moving to the knife in her belt. It was Vince's knife, she remembered.

'Of course you don't recognise any of the scents,' said the Doctor testily, 'You've never been here before.'

Leela grinned mischievously. 'How do you know if I haven't been here before if you don't know where "here" is?'

Leela's feel of triumph at having finally won an argument with the Doctor vanished as he said, 'Because you would have recognised the scents.'

Swiftly, the Sevateen drew her knife. For a moment the Doctor was mildly alarmed, 'If you want to win a discussion that badly,' he thought but Leela interrupted him.

'A large animal approaching. Very large.'

A distant roar rent the air, followed by the sound of toppling trees. The source of the sounds, they were sure, was getting nearer and nearer. 'It's between us and TARDIS,' Leela murmured.

The Doctor grabbed her arm, but she gave a hiss of pain and drew back. 'My arm,' she whispered examining it. 'Is sunburned.'

'What? We've only been out five minutes,' The Doctor looked at his own exposed skin. It was beginning to redden alright. He looked up at the light filtering through the canopy of leaves above. It looked too weak to do them any harm. Perhaps they were allergic to something? Anyway, first things first.

They ran through the forest, almost unable to see ahead of them because of the dim light. All around was the stench of dung and the screech of carrion animals. Huge insects buzzed noisily past, or were crunched underfoot as they fled, but all the time the crashing sounds and roars of their pursuer got closer.

Suddenly the all enveloping trees vanished as they plunged out of the forest into bright sunlight which dazzled them. Without pausing, but exhausted, they sped on. Finally, they had to give into tiredness and collapsed hiding themselves in a field of bracken-like plants.

Then the creature that had been chasing them appeared. It stood twenty feet high, and was covered in large scales which the sun glinted from, as if from a mirror. Its tale moved slowly from side to side and stood on two incredibly massive and muscular hind legs. In contrast, t had two weedy little arms projecting from its chest. The head though was enormous, with two small nostrils, green eyes and a gaping mouth with teeth, fifteen centimetres long, slanted backwards and serrated.

Between the two massive jaws, the Doctor glimpsed a course tongue which lolled lazily about, causing saliva to dribble down its neck. He could even see the condensation in its breath and hear its rasping gasps for air. Leela knew, that it knew where she and the Doctor were, but why didn't it just come in and get them?

Suddenly, the monster let out a bellow of what might have been frustration and walked back into the forest.

After a long while, the Doctor and Leela stood up. 'Tyrannosaurus Rex, Leela,' said the Doctor as if he had shown a biology class a particular interesting specimen. 'A carnivore from Earth's past. We've not moved in Space, but in Time.'

Leela looked about. 'That explains why there's no lighthouse, but where's the sea?'

The Doctor beamed, 'Continental drift. It takes millions of years...oh dear!' he exclaimed looking up at the glaring sun. 'The Van Allan Belt,' he groaned. 'No wonder we burned so quickly. We must get back to the TARDIS!' He started off, but Leela wasn't with him. When he turned back he saw her surveying the area. 'Well, come on.'

'Doctor, these fields are...' she searched for the right word. 'Cultivated.'

The Doctor looked around him and for the first time he saw row upon row of green plants building up into neatly organised fields. 'Oh, no,' he murmured, 'I'd forgotten about them!'

Suddenly there was a fluting sound from their left, followed by an excited "yip, yip, yip!" as two slender grey shapes leapt from the bushes and bore Leela and the Doctor to the ground, their rough scales scratching and drawing blood.

Another fluting sound was heard, and the animals left the two barely conscious shapes.

'Another two for the collection,' a frog-like voice croaked and then there was a burning sensation and Leela and her mentor slipped into blackness

~~~

The Doctor was the first to come to, only to find his clothes were damp with sweat. It was uncomfortably hot and his aching muscles tempted him to return to the sanctuary of sleep. When he opened his eyes, he examined his surroundings. He was in a small room with bars at one end and a window at the other. Straw covered the floor and formed a small mountain below the window.

He crawled over to Leela and gentle woke her up. Her first reaction was to reach for her knife, but it was gone. So had everything from the Doctor's shirt pockets, but in his trousers he found a box of matches.

'What happened?' Leela asked.

'We've been captured by Homo reptillia,' the Doctor explained. 'Super lizards who evolved millions of years ago on Earth. They're known by the dramatic name of "Silurians". Their civilization flourished until they sighted a rouge planet heading for them.

Fearing it would suck away their atmosphere, they went into suspended animation in shelters below the ground.' The Doctor stood up, trying to look out of the window, but continued his narrative. 'Unfortunately for them, the moon went into orbit around the Earth so they remained a sleep. Then millions of years later, a huge meteor struck the Earth all the dinosaurs and paving the way for mammals to take over.

A surprising number of their bases survived though, and they have been accidently reactivated once or twice. Perhaps,' he mused, 'they are origins of the stories about trolls and goblins in Earth's legends.'