A Minor Misdemeanor

Chapter 20

Waking up as stiff as a board seemed to be something Jenny was going to have to get used to, she realised, as she groaned her way off of the hard wooden board that served her as a bunk, feeling the cold morning air as she unfolded herself from under the threadbare blanket that was her only source of warmth or comfort in the room.

Reluctantly, she hurried over to the bucket that was her sole source of sanitation, before eventually relieving herself into it, muttering several four lettered words of Anglo-Saxon origin at having to use an open bucket.

Once she'd finished answering the call of nature, she moved back into the middle of her cell, before beginning some stretching exercises. They weren't anything complicated, just some simple yoga exercises that she could do despite having her ankles shackled together. She kept on repeating them for about twenty minutes, glad of the scraps of fabric she'd fastened around her ankles to cushion her restraints.

Then there was a bang on her door, before the hatch slid open, to reveal a warder she didn't recognise, accompanied by someone she did. Even though she knew he wasn't a threat to her, her breath still caught in her throat as she recognised the prison chaplain.

Then, she realised something far worse.

She'd left the case that disguised her Gameboy exposed, rather than tucked underneath the covers or inside her clothing.

His face twisted into what could only be termed a smile, although it put her in mind of a crocodile yawning just before slipping underneath the surface of a muddy river, next to a ford.

"Would you like some words of comfort, child?" He asked.

Jenny hesitated. Despite everything she'd seen, and despite being married to a lizard woman from the dawn of time, she still had a core of belief inside her heart. It drove Vastra mad at times, the sight of her little ape occasionally glancing at what to the Silurian’s eyes was an entirely meaningless, although extremely popular, item of jewellery, as they passed down a street full of jewellers. She also couldn't understand why Jenny insisted that they both went and sat in a cold stone building for an hour or more, listening to someone reading from a book, on a particular day of the week.

"I would, father." She replied, keeping her eyes low, hoping to get through whatever was going to happen next without an issue occurring.

The warder unlocked the door, before the chaplain turned to him, with a gentle smile.

"Why don't you go and get a cup of tea?" He asked. "I'm sure I have nothing to fear from the prisoner here."

"If you're sure, sir, I will." The warder replied, before the chaplain nodded, and the chaplain entered the cell.

The small room used by the warders as a staff room was half full when Jerry Halright walked in, grinning.

"The old bastard has just decided to go into the same cell as Jenny Flint." He told one of the other warders, when the man raised an eyebrow.

At the news, most of the warders started grinning as well. It was a grin usually associated with sharks, although in this case, there was also a certain amount of genuine amusement.

"Do you reckon we should go and help?" One of the others asked.

"Mike, is she going to need any help?" Halright replied.

"I want to watch, anyway." Thomas replied. "This is going to be even better than giving that piece of godforsaken shit Sykes a kicking was."

There was a general movement of warders towards the exit at that point, most of them still holding their mugs of tea.

Jenny sat nervously on her bunk, trying to project a sense of calm and strength into the room, as the chaplain stood a few feet away from her, with a smile on his face that she really hoped she was misinterpreting.

"This is the way it is going to go." He said. "You take your skirt up around your waist, and I untie anything you're wearing underneath it. Then I have some fun, and hopefully you do as well."

"And if I tell you to get lost?" She replied.

"Then I still have fun."

He made a mistake, though, at that point. He moved in, mistaking the dropping of her shoulders for resignation.

She quickly ran through her options. He's not that big. About five nine, I reckon one hundred and ninety pounds. My ankles are chained, so this isn't going to be a footwork job.

The instant he touched her shoulder, she acted, driving an elbow into his gut, before grabbing his extended arm in a single move. She twisted to face him, using his arm as a pivot, before using all of her strength to pull the man's arm straight, then driving the base of her hand against the wrong side of the elbow joint, causing it to bend entirely the wrong way with a sickening series of sounds and tendons and cartilage ruptured and broke, sending a wave of agony shooting up the man's arm.

If her ankles had been free, her first blow would have been lethal. She'd have taken a step away from him, before driving the full force of her anger and fear into muscular action, powering a kick that would have connected just below the man's ribcage, all of the force focused through the smallest possible area, and hopefully into her attacker’s heart. The hydrostatic shock would have caused an almost instantaneous heart attack, and quite possibly ruptured several chambers in the heart. Vastra had shown her the technique using a training dummy, before making it very clear that Silurian martial artists only used the move when they intended to kill someone. It had taken her about a week to perfect.

When the pain arrived at the man's brain, he bellowed in pain, before Jenny darted backwards, avoiding the clumsy punch she'd known was coming before he threw it. A rattle momentarily distracted her, and she turned, seeing the face of Warder Thomas grinning broadly at her through the hatch, before he slid it shut again. She grinned as well, darting up onto the balls of her feet, before catching the next clumsy blow the man threw at her. He paled when he felt the strength of her grip, before she twisted his arm out, and broke it in the same way she had the other.

Then she grabbed him by the back of his robes, and hurled him against the cell door, before following up with a single blow with her knee, which rose viciously between the man's legs, almost pulping his testicles with a single hit.

The groan of pain caused the door to open, and she saw what looked like most of the shift of warders standing outside, several of them exchanging coins, and all grinning broad grins at the sight of the chaplain on the floor in agony.

"We all saw it, didn't we?" Thomas said. "He was coming out of Jenny's cell when he tripped and fell, landing very awkwardly and breaking both of his arms, before catching the closing door between his legs."

There was a chorus on the theme of "indeed".

"Sorry about that, Miss Jenny." Thomas said. "We knew what he was like, but he had too much power for us to stop him."

"I know." She replied. "I didn't want to touch him, but he tried to... tried to..." She broke off, her shoulders falling as the anger leaked out and was replaced by fear.

"I know." Thomas replied, as several of the other wardens scooped up the semi-conscious clergyman. "He does that to all of the girls he likes the look of. And we're right pleased someone managed to stop him doing it for once."

Clara still hadn't managed in any way to get even slightly free. Both arms and both shoulders were hurting like they were on fire, and it didn't matter what she tried, there was no way out. She had run out of Anglo-Saxon words some time earlier, and resigned herself to waiting until Vastra returned.

Meanwhile, in the pig and hound...

Vastra played her hand with a certain amount of amusement, having successfully strung along several of the male humans from a combination of facial expressions and their smell. Reaching out, she scooped up her winnings for the hand, a mound of coins totalling around three shillings, before taking a sip of her wine, and dealing the next hand.

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