A Minor Misdemeanor

Chapter 29

Breakfast was served at seven for Jenny. To save unlocking all of the cells, the warders simply pulled a large kettle of oatmeal porridge through the corridor, doling out a ladleful into each prisoner's bowl as they passed. Each prisoner had been provided with a metal spoon with extremely thick edges, along with a tin bowl. The bowl, all told, held perhaps two ounces of porridge, and Jenny took care to eat hers slowly enough that she didn't burn her throat and mouth, or end up feeling even more hungry afterwards.

It was about eight when her cell door was hauled open, and she was politely handcuffed, before being led through to the wheel, a short, ungainly walk through the prison away, which took her about five minutes. Inside the room containing the wheel, she was uncuffed, before being placed into one of the booths, and left to perform her first ten minute stretch walking around the wheel.

Three hours later, she made a mistake.

She put her foot down on the wrong part of an oncoming step, and it slipped off of the wheel, before momentarily jamming between two of the steps, caught by the chain around her ankle.

There was a crack as the chain broke part of the wheel, and she heard herself yell in pain, before stumbling backwards. She'd been just about to finish her latest stint of walking around the wheel, so there was a warder standing behind her, who took a step forward and caught her, forgetting for a few moments that she was just a prisoner.

As a result, she didn't suffer a head injury.

When she looked down at her ankle, her foot was pointing the correct way, but she was still in agony from a sudden wall of pain.

"Bugger." She cussed, before slumping backward in a not particularly faked blackout.

It was only eleven-o-clock.

"Up." Clara demanded, hauling open the bedroom curtains, and permitting several gallons of sunshine into the same room as a still extremely sleepy Vastra.

"Knock it off, mum... I'm still asleep." Vastra groggily muttered under her breath, before Clara came up with a very simple solution.

"Breakfast starts in ten minutes, and will be serving for the next five. If you're still up here, you'll miss out on a Full English."

The Silurian's departure towards the shower would have disgraced many an Olympic sprinter.

Clara hurried downstairs, before checking on the progress of the sausages she'd put in the oven, having checked carefully that they contained no garlic. According to the small (no more than fifty pages) notebook that Jenny had left in the pantry, giving Vastra garlic was an excellent way of ending up at the local nick bailing her out for doing something incredibly stupid, annoying and criminal. Like climbing up the side of Nelson's column, and swinging on the statue.

The Silurian's progress through her morning ablutions was incredibly rapid, and it took her no more than seven minutes to be clean, dressed, and at the table, looking extremely expectant.

She hadn't quite reached the stage of drumming her cutlery on the table when her large breakfast, consisting of four sausages and seven rashers of smoked back bacon. Alongside the bacon, there was a sea of baked beans, complimented with a continental shelf formed from bubble and squeak, with six sausages and a forest of fried mushrooms. Clara had a more modestly sized version, with a mere three rashers of bacon and two sausages.

Vastra still finished first, which left her sitting at the table with the aggressive patience of a teenager, fidgeting with her cutlery, and casting acquisitive looks in the direction of Clara's breakfast.

Clara was relieved, though, when she wandered lazily through to the drawing room, before curling up in her armchair, and simply dozing off in front of the roaring fire.

When the darkness lifted, Jenny was on her back, or rather, on one side with her hands positioned to brace her head and keep her airway open. She could hear the yelling of at least one guard, followed by a rapidly receding pair of hobnailed boots, travelling at a dead run.

Then a cool pair of fingers gently probed her ankle, and she squeaked in pain, a noise she hadn't heard herself produce for years, since she took up with Vastra.

"Stay there." She was told. "Alf's gone to go and get the doctor."

"He's on Algarve." Jenny muttered.

"He should be here in a few minutes at most." She was told, before a cushion was slid under her head, and she relaxed onto it for a few moments, slipping peacefully back into unconsciousness.

When Jenny came around, she was lying on a remarkably comfortable bed in a far lighter and more pleasant part of the prison, with her irons removed.

When she tried to sit up, she was pushed gently back down onto the bed.

"Stay lying down, Miss Flint." A calming and reassuring voice told her. "You've probably got a broken ankle, and I'd rather you didn't do anything to it while I put it in a cast."

She just lay there, feeling the man wrap several lengths of gauze around her calf and foot, before applying warm plaster, molding it into the correct position, and ensuring that her foot was at ninety degrees when the plaster set, which was achieved by attaching an elastic cord to her waist, and positioning it so that it couldn't drop back below ninety degrees.

She still gasped in pain when her foot moved, and the doctor noticed immediately.

"I'll give you something for the pain." He said, before disappearing into the dispensary cupboard, from which she could hear rattling and movement.

Vastra is going to be extremely unimpressed with me. Jenny thought. First I get myself arrested and sent to prison without her, for doing something stupid, even compared to some of her brainwaves, but the stupid thing was done after having too much to drink, on an empty stomach. And I would have spent an awfully long time in here if she hadn't been able to use her own unique version of a mitigation speech. And now, I'm going to be off the run for another six weeks, thanks to a single moment of carelessness while doing enforced exercise.

Then the prison doctor returned, and slipped a crude needle, made from brass, into her arm, before pressing down on the metal plunger, sending something cool and strange into the main vein in her wrist. Then, he produced a grease pencil, and wrote a large M on her forehead.

"That's so that if you're in pain later, they know you've already had morphine, and can check the chart to find out when you can be given another dose."

Jenny weakly nodded on thanks, having seem the results of someone overdosing on morphine first hand. It was a very slow way of dying, as the victim would slip into a coma, and then gradually suffer a total respiratory arrest.

As he continued to apply the cast to her right leg, the morphine allowed her to turn her mind elsewhere, and she began to remember the Christmas just gone at paternoster row.

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