The Anchorite's Echo was the seventeenth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: The History of Christmas. It was written by Scott Andrews. It featured the Seventh Doctor and Ace.


Paul is designated to be the anchorite for his church. He is walled up in his cell in the church, and it is his task to pray for his parishioners. However, a plague hits the town, and one by one many of the parishioners die. The anchorite dies too, but his spirit remains in the cell.

Three hundred years later, while the parishioners worship, a "demon" enters the church "in a flash of hellfire and brimstone". It uses some kind of weapon and kills the priest. A small man appears in the doorway, and tells the creature that its plans have failed, that it is the only one left from his invasion force. The creature recognises the man, calling him the Doctor. He intends to kill the Doctor, but is stopped when the Doctor comments on the irony of the situation: the alien had intended to conquer this planet's people and force them to worship his planet's gods, but he has come to a holy place. To the creature's growing dismay, the Doctor describes the god of these people as powerful and all-seeing. In addition, this is the holiest day of the year.

As the spirit of the anchorite watches the conversation between the Doctor and the "demon", he sees Ace trying to sneak up behind the creature with a heavy incense burner in her hand. She can't get close enough, though, or the creature will see her.

The creature, infuriated, grabs the Doctor by the throat and starts to strangle him. Ace won't be able to reach the Doctor in time. The anchorite, watching helplessly, shouts at the demon, telling him to stop. The demon, thinking it is the voice of the people's god, drops the Doctor. As the anchorite continues to yell, Ace sneaks up behind the demon and hits him with the burner.

Later, the Doctor tells the anchorite that he is free to rest.



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