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Hay Ride

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“So? When are we?” Rose grinned, hanging on to the Doctor’s arm as he inspected the monitor.

“2015. Sometime in late October… the twenty-fourth. Saturday. Looks like we’re in Ontario, Canada. Canada. Blimey, it’s been a long time since I was in Canada.” The Doctor scratched the back of his neck, thinking. “Yes, I came here once. Took someone to a Greenpeace rally. Probably should have picked her up again afterwards but she seemed fine the next time I saw her, no harm done. Well, no physical harm done at any rate.”

“Canada’s a pretty big country, though, isn’t it? Where exactly are we?” Rose opened the door, looking out at the landscape.

“Well, there are plenty of trees around, so most definitely not the Prairies.”

“I thought it’d be colder,” Rose commented, zipping up her jacket. “Snowing and everything.”

“Nah, that’s just a stereotype. It snows up north and they don’t get daylight for the half the year. It also snows in the east but over on the west coast it just pours rain. Come on, then.” The Doctor took Rose by the hand and they exited their TARDIS.

The brightly lit street was filled with people. “What do you say we try out some of the local entertainment?” The Doctor grinned.

Rose grinned, pointing to a poster. “Good thing you still have that unlimited credit stick.”

“Haunted Hayride,” the Doctor read. “Allons-y, Rose Tyler.”

“Let’s go.”

The hayride was a nightmare. There were zombies and scarecrows in the dark, dead fields, clowns with chainsaws along the poorly-lit road. The wagon passed a scarecrow that had bloody insides spilling out. There would be an empty stretch of road, twice Rose thought that the ride was almost over, when a monster would jump out from behind a tree or start to climb from the ditch.

“You’d think that some of the things we’ve seen would make something like this a cakewalk,” Rose laughed hesitantly. “Gas-mask zombies, the werewolf, the Gelth.”

“Never underestimate the horror of a scarecrow, Rose. Real, living scarecrows that are coming to kill you truly are terrifying.”

“You sound like you’ve met real scarecrows that tried to kill you.” Rose squeezed his hand.

“Well, they didn’t exactly try to kill me,” the Doctor scratched his neck, as was his habit when deflecting. “But yes, I did meet real living scarecrows.”

The wagon pulled into the driveway at the start of the loop.

“Shall we sample the local cuisine?”

“Do you really need to ask that question?” Rose laughed, pulling the Doctor after her. There was a trailer set up as a portable chain restaurant (“Tim Horton’s, Rose! Quintessentially Canadian fast food. It’s like a coffee shop, only quick service. Coffee, and tea, doughnuts and muffins, sandwiches and paninis! And Tim Bits! Or doughnut holes, as they’re called in the rest of the world.”)

“It’s only, what, eight degrees out? And people are drinking iced coffees as if it were summer!” Rose said incredulously.

“Yes, well, Canadians are… strange.” The Doctor said quietly, smiling politely as someone held the door open for them as they entered the small restaurant. Rose looked around the coffee shop as the Doctor ordered – “Two teas, and a ten-pack Tim Bit. Err, two pumpkin spice, two raspberry, two lemon, two chocolate glaze, and an apple fritter and honey dip.” – settling into a booth by the window, looking out at the people enjoying the cold fall afternoon.

The Doctor brought their order to the table, but suggested that they take it outside. “It’s a bit warm in here, especially when we’ve got hot drinks.”

“It is pretty crowded,” Rose said in agreement. They found a park bench down the road, near the hay rides, and they spent the rest of the afternoon wandering about the town drinking tea and trying doughnut holes.