A murder, a mystery and Agatha Christie

Chapter 3

Rose was still looking over the railings, the boat had set sail towards their next destination. She wished The Doctor would come back though, she wanted to find out if he had established what had happened that morning. Who would want to murder who she now knew as Lord Mycroft? More importantly, was anyone else in danger?

If the man had been in the country for a while, why wait and sneak aboard a river boat to kill him? It could have been because whoever had killed him knew they could make their escape more easily, no police around and there were plenty of places to hide, they could mingle freely with the crew. She was going to suggest that to the Doctor when he got back, that they were hiding amongst the crew. All the passengers were accounted for, well so it seemed.

Max was asking her a question. “Rose, will you be alright if I pop back inside a minute?”

“What? Oh yeah, sure, there are some people still around. The Doctor and Agatha should be back soon. If he’s inside, tell him where I am will you?”

Max nodded and headed for the cabin door. Rose was daydreaming, she was really hoping that this trip, she could finally tell the Doctor how she felt about him. At least they were kissing and showing each other a bit more affection but maybe he was only doing it because she wanted it and he was just trying to keep her happy. She just hoped it didn’t make him uncomfortable.

Rose did not see a shadowy figure come around the corner of the cabin. Like a ghost, the figure silently approached her, Rose still gazing over the side of the boat, unaware of anyone approaching. The figure was within a few feet of her when she heard the Doctor’s voice shout her name.

“Rose! Look out!”

Rose turned to see a figure in black with an arm raised, holding a long knife. Rose stepped sideways and she could hear other people gasping in the distance. The Doctor sprinted out of the doorway of the stairwell, the dark figure turned and fled the way they had come, the Doctor rushing over to Rose, who looked only slightly flustered to the untrained eye but he knew she was just hiding it.

As he approached her she shouted, “Go after them!”

People were now walking towards Rose, asking what had happened, Max and Agatha came out of the cabin as they heard the commotion on deck.

“Rose! Are you alright?” Agatha asked, putting an arm around her.

“Yeah. The Doctor went after whoever it was but if they’ve gone below deck, he probably lost whoever it was. I turned as he shouted my name and saw a dark figure, looked like they were wearing a scarf or something, an arm holding up a knife.”

Agatha began leading her away. “Come on, let’s get you back inside. Max, why did you leave her out here alone?”

Max was about to explain when the Doctor came back around the corner. He went straight up to Rose, Agatha stepped aside.

He put both arms around her and kissed her forehead. “Rose, are you ok?”

Rose nodded her head as he held her so close, she could feel both his hearts beating twice as fast as they should be but he had just been running.

“What were you doing out here by yourself? I asked you to stay inside or at least stay with someone.”

“I was with Max, he just went back inside for a moment, there were other people on deck, I never heard anyone walking up behind me, they must have been wearing soft shoes, maybe like yours.”

He looked down and his black and white converse. They probably looked out of place but no-one had noticed. It wasn’t the sort of shoe the rich and famous wore, well not unless you were a basketball player or something.

Agatha was chastising her husband for leaving Rose alone on deck.

“It’s ok Agatha, he only left for a second. Did you see anyone Doctor?”

“No, there are two passenger decks plus the crew deck, they could have gone anywhere. We didn’t learn anything from the rest of the crew either. Either whoever it was is disguised or they are moonlighting as a member of the regular crew.”

“That’s what I was going to say to you, maybe they are mingling with the crew during the day. I mean that would explain how they know to get away. You could have been chasing the cook or a waiter or one of the engineering crew.”

“Yes! Oh you are brilliant Rose!” He was still holding her and kissed her forehead again.

Agatha picked up on Rose’s idea. “Let’s go back inside and discuss this shall we? I think Rose needs a stiff drink after that.”

Once inside and sitting around a table, the Doctor never letting go of Rose’s hand and cursing himself for leaving her, Agatha continued.

“That’s two incidents in one day and strangely, both when the next day, there will be no authorities to greet us when we dock. They might be planning their escape when we dock at the next town. If indeed they are posing as crew members, they jump ashore to secure the boat whilst actually docking and it would be easy for them to get away before the police come on board, even if they are waiting at the dock side. Whoever it is has all this planned.”

Just then, they were joined by the purser.

“Mrs Smith, are you alright? I heard what happened. Doctor Smith, I heard you questioned the crew, anything unusual?”

The Doctor shook his head. “No, they could all account for their movements this morning. Most were on duty, some just going off and seen by other crew members at the time of the murder. Whoever it is though has knowledge of this ship and knows where to hide and how to make sure they are seen at the right times.”

“Well, the captain radioed ahead to the police in Aswan, they will be waiting when we dock, the day after tomorrow. I don’t see any need to cancel our visit to see the pyramids. No-one can escape, although there will be several other river cruise boats docked at the same time but if whoever it was who went after your wife, it’s highly unlikely they will change boats. If I were you, I wouldn’t leave her for a second from now on unless she’s locked safely inside your cabin or with someone you can trust.”

The Doctor looked at Max. He had trusted him to look after her but he had left her alone after all that had been said. He had some room to talk though, he had gone off and left her himself.

“Come on Rose, there’s nothing else we can do tonight, it’s getting late. Goodnight Agatha, Max. I’m not blaming you Max, there were people on deck, Rose should have been safe enough. I blame myself for leaving her in the first place.”

“It wasn’t your fault either,” Rose said. “You couldn’t have let Agatha go on her own to question the crew and you know that. I don’t blame anyone.”

Rose allowed the Doctor to lead her back outside and over to the stairwell. Never letting go of her hand, he allowed her to walk in front of him, taking no chances. Once inside, Rose went to the bedroom but he followed her. Putting his arms around her he asked if she was really ok.

“Yeah, I’ve been through worse you know. What about all the other times we’ve put ourselves in danger?”

“I know but we always had the Tardis to make our escape in, well most of the time. I should never have left her back there but if we’re not back on time, she’s programmed to find me so don’t worry. Why don’t you get changed in the bathroom into your jimjams and I’ll stay in the bedroom with you tonight? Whoever attempted earlier can still climb down the side of the boat onto the balcony, wouldn’t take much to jemmy the catch on the window. I don’t want to take any chances. I’ll bring that horrible chair in, the one in here looks even worse.”

Rose smiled at him and looked at the king-sized bed. She could make an allowance for a couple of nights, it wasn’t like they hadn’t actually shared a room before.

“Don’t be daft. You lay on top of the covers. I know you don’t sleep but you can wind down that brain of yours for a few hours, can’t you?”

He at least could try. “Yeah, I can do that. I’m sorry I went off and left you. I really thought you would be ok. Why would anyone want to go after you though? We have no connection to Roger Mycroft. Maybe whoever it is thinks we were getting too close which means they are keeping an eye on our investigation but what for? Why think trying to get you out of the way would prevent me from investigating what’s been going on?”

Rose had gathered her pyjamas, wishing she could wear that soft silky gown again, it had felt really nice for a change but maybe jimjams were more practical when he was going to be present. Well at least she might get a few kisses out of it.

She came out of the bathroom and walked up to him, pulling on his arm. He smiled. Maybe keeping a close eye on her wouldn’t be so bad. Rose got into bed, pulling the covers over her, the overhead fan was turning, wafting a cool breeze and the Doctor took off his trainers and his jacket.

“Aren’t you going to crease your trousers Doctor?” Rose teased as he lay a few inches away from her on his back, his arms folded behind his head.

He grinned. She was up to something. “No, they’ll be fine although I think I might have a pair of sweatpants in my holdall. I’ll go and check.”

He got up, leaving the bedroom door open, rummaging through his ‘bigger on the inside’ sports holdall and triumphantly bring out a pair of dark grey jogging pants though what Rose thought he was doing with those, who knew? He slipped into the bathroom, leaving the door slightly open and came out a few minutes later in a olive-green t-shirt and the jogging bottoms, carefully folding his trousers and putting them on the back of the chair.

He lay on top of the bed again, Rose turned onto her side. “Doctor, can I have a kiss? I think I need one.”

He immediately turned onto his side and Rose snuggled up to him, looking up at him. “You won’t go off and leave me, will you?”

He put his finger on her chin and angled his face towards her. “Never, Rose Tyler.” Then he kissed her, for longer than usual.

When their lips parted, Rose smiled and put her arm over him. “Mmm, that was nice. I think maybe all our kisses should be like that from now on but do I have to keep asking for one?”

The Doctor chuckled to himself. She was wanting to up the stakes. Well maybe they should, to a certain degree, just not by too much.

“Maybe. Now get some sleep, we have a full day tomorrow, exploring the pyramids. Did I ever tell you about the pyramids on Mars?”

Rose laughed. “You’re making that up.”

“Am not. Don’t you believe me?”

Rose leaned nearer so their lips were almost touching, the only light coming from the moon outside the window. “Then take me there, when we get back to the Tardis.”

“Maybe I will, since you seem to doubt me.”

He slipped his arm underneath her, the other one loosely around her waist. Then Rose closed the gap as they kissed again, Rose moving her body nearer to him as he felt the bedclothes move and found himself suddenly under them and their legs touching, soon her legs began looping around his and she pushed him onto his back. He put both his arms around her neck as she did the same, then they resumed their kissing.

“Rose, are you trying to tell me something?” he asked with a wicked grin on his face and finding himself pinned down.

All Rose whispered was, “Take your t-shirt off and I’ll tell you.”

Maybe it was time, he was thinking. After all, in a normal human relationship, they would be already past this stage so as it stood, they had been taking their time over it.

He moved his arms and the t-shirt slid over his head. “Rose, I know you said you wanted me without my suit and my shirt but this wasn’t quite what I thought you had in mind.”

Rose was already back to kissing him, feeling his bare chest underneath her through the thin material of the pyjama top she had purposely chosen. If they were going to pretend to be husband and wife for a few more days, she wanted something out of it.

“Are you objecting Doctor?” she asked as she shifted slightly on him so she could kiss his now bare chest.

“Me? No. Carry on. Just expect some payback when you’ve finished,” he replied as he slid his hands onto the buttons of her pyjama top and slowly began to unbutton them one by one, waiting for her to slap his face but she didn’t, until he reached the last one and the pyjama jacket parted and skin touched skin, making them both gasp.

Then just as suddenly as she had pushed him onto his back, he grasped her waist and began pushing her over, onto her side and then onto her back. Parting the pyjama top, he hovered over her, grinning. Rose reached to his neck and then his hair, ruffling it as he lowered his head, smiling as he whispered, “Payback time” and Rose let out a squeal.

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