The Doctor raised his hands:
“We mean you no arm. We are here to help.”
The mob kept walking towards them, moaning and whining.
“Now would be a good time for one of your brilliant ideas,” whispered the Time Lord to his companion.
”What if I told you that I understand what they are saying?”
”They are scared, they are in pain and they seek for help. Tell them who you are and that you can fix this.”
“Are you sure that they will understand me? They don’t look very… alive…”
”Trust me, they are perfectly fine inside. Their body became a prison, that’s all.”
“I’m the Doctor and I can fix this!” Shouted the Time Lord, hoping that Eccleston knew what he was doing.
Much to his surprise, all zombies stopped and stretched their arms in front of them as if they were imploring him to help.
“That’s right. We know how to put things right. But we will need to see the descendants of the nobleman who lived here a long time ago.”
They all started to moan and the Doctor looked down at the Chartreux Cat.
”All of them are the descendants of the nobleman.”
There were about twenty people around them.
“Alright, so how do we proceed?”
”We tell them about the curse and how to lift it. It’s up to you now.”
Having said that, the cat jumped on a nearby chair, curled up and took a nap. The Doctor took a deep breath and started telling the story. All zombies remained still and silent. When he reached the part where no one in town took the curse seriously and it was soon forgotten, he realised that his entire audience was crying. He went on, explaining that the only way for the curse to be lifted was to beg for forgiveness.
“Now, I do realise that the poor woman’s descendants are also the nobleman’s descendants, so the next part might get a bit confusing. I want you to apologise to each other in turn. You’re both responsible for the curse and a victim of it. “
No one moved and the Doctor started to fear that they hadn’t grabbed the concept. That somehow their state had impaired their ability to think properly. But just as he was about to wake Eccleston up, the zombies turned toward each other, moaning loudly. Some even hugged each other. It was very intense and the Time Lord realised that the key to lift the curse was not the apology itself, but the strength of the victims’ feelings put together. They all were bathed in a gentle light, and when it finally faded, everyone was back to his old self.
An elderly couple walked out of the group:
“You saved us. On behalf of the family, thank you, Doctor.”
The Time Lord took the old woman’s hand and squeezed it gently.
“You’re very welcome. You should be safe now.”
”Indeed, they are.”
The Doctor turned to see that Eccleston was now sitting on the table, waiting for the Time Lord to pick him up.
”Shall we go now?”
The Doctor bid his farewell to the family and took the cat in his arms, carrying him all the way back to the TARDIS.
“Does this mean you intend on travelling with me from now on?”
”Yes. You seem to be in serious need of a companion at the moment.”
“Of course I am,” smiled the Doctor.