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Once

The Doctor and Felix came to the village of Once on New Years' Eve.  Or rather, they came to where the village of Once had once been.

"Where is it?" asked Felix in his lilting German accent, staring into the empty valley beyond the copse in which they stood.

The Doctor tipped her head forwards slightly, to let accumulated snow tumble from the crown and brim of her battered, crumpled old top hat.

"Exactly," she said.

The village had disappeared years ago, she told him.

"Well," she continued, her words turning to steam in the cold air, "nobody knows exactly when it happened... or should I say when it, the village I mean, stopped happening."

It had taken a few months of accumulated surprises and puzzlements and disappointments and silences and ominous remarks before the conscious realisation had gradually dawned upon the people in the surrounding villages that the village of Once was no longer there.

"The government realised pretty quickly of course," continued the Doctor, "because the people in Once stopped paying their taxes.  But the government kept quiet about it, in case it gave any other villages ideas.  As best ...

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