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Jayne Eyre

Chapter Text

The wind was sweeping across the moors as little Jayne Eyre…

“Who you callin’ little?”

… sorry, as strapping Jayne Eyre, who was very big for ten, sat in the window seat of the Reed library, reading tales of strange and exotic places in one of their leather-bound books.

“Actually, it’s a copy of Playboy. Them gals is right looksum.”

Into the library came young Master Reed, who was seeking Jayne.

“You are a sneaking, rude, and ill-bred girl, Jayne,” Master Reed said, yanking back the curtains on the window seat. “You have no right to read our books!”

“I ain’t no girl!” Jayne cried out in anger. “Even though your family makes me wear these damn black dresses and wear these stupid boots!”

“Is not your name Jayne?” asked Master Reed.

“Yeah,” Jayne affirmed.

“Jayne is the name of a girl,” Master Reed said wisely.

“I ain’t no girl, and I got the man parts to prove it!” Jayne yelled vociferously as he attempted to find his way through the maze of petticoats and pantalettes that formed his costume. Eventually, he gave up. “How the go se you people ever use the damn bathroom?”

“As I was saying, Jayne,” Master Reed continued as though he had not been interupted, “you have no right to read our books. I am going to knock you down as punishment, and you shall have no recourse but to submit yourself to it, for you are but little and poor and a girl.”

“The hell I will!” yelled Jayne, launching himself across the room at a frightening rate of speed and slamming young Master Reed into a wall. “I ain’t little!” Jayne yelled as he flung his kinsman’s face into a bust of Pallas Athene, breaking it into shards that sparkled like crystal snowflakes. “I ain’t a girl!” he reitereated as he masterfully grabbed his cousin by the seat of his trousers and flung him onto the settee, where he was decorated by a swirl of fluttering anti-macassers. “And I might be poor now, but I ain’t gonna be once I become the best damn merc in Victorian England!” Jayne finished, popping his fist into his mother’s brother’s son’s nose unti the bone cracked and he bled copiously upon the Turkish carpeted floors.

“Mama!” wailed Master Reed through a veritable waterfall of blood as he ran from the room, leaving Jayne behind, twitching his skirts in satisfaction and sprawling across the settee to resume reading his ill-gotten Playboy.

Mere moments later, his lady Aunt Reed arrived in the library, along with her daughters, the beauteous Georgianna and the parsimonious Lizzie. Master Reed hid behind his mother’s voluminous skirts, his nose ensconced behind a thick wadding of floral handkerchiefs.

“Jayne,” said the terse voice of his aunt, “did you attack my son?”

“Yeah,” he said, barely looking up from his Playboy. “What of it?”

“You are the most intractable girl I have ever seen! You are evil and coarse and your soul is utterly decayed, and what is more, you are a most foul liar,” Aunt Reed said with a look of disgust on her face.

“You got most of that right, ‘cept for the part about bein’ a girl again,” Jayne said, rising to his feet. “You make me sleep in a damn crib, you ain’t givin’ me nothin’ to eat ‘cept crusts of bread and crumbs of cheese, I don’t git no exercise cause you lock me up in the gorram nursery all the time, and you took away my crossbow!”

“You had used it to threaten the chickens,” Aunt Reed said superciliously, her lip curling in unfeigned dislike.

“I was hungry!” Jayne yelled. “That’s it. I don’t care if I am ten, I’m headin’ to London or Ariel or Sihnon or some such port. Maybe I can join up with Fagin’s gang or somethin’.”

“I have decided to send you away,” Aunt Reed said imperiously. “You are going to school.”

“School?” Jayne replied as though someone had trodden upon his toes. “What you tryin’ to do? Kill me?”

“Yes, actually,” Aunt Reed muttered under her breath. “You shall repair at once to Lowood, from whence I hope I shall never have the undesirious result of seeing you more, young Jayne Eyre.”

“You people sure do like speechifying with the big words,” Jayne said, stomping up the stairs to pack his simple bag of effects, including his dresses, his pantalettes, and his doll.

“I ain’t got no doll!”

It says you do in the book.

“Hell with the book!”

Fine. No doll. The next morning, his cheek unkissed and his kinspeople still happily asleep in their finely draped beds, Jayne boarded a carriage to be transported away to Lowood school, a place renowned for its rampaging bouts of typhus, consumption, and chillblains.

“Does my coach get robbed by a gang of desperate outlaws?”

It’s not that sort of coach.

“Well, it woulda been more interestin’ if it were.”

Sorry, dearheart. Jayne’s coach sped through the misty countryside of England, off to unknown places, where he should be faced with new trials and tribulations to make him prove the goodness within his heart was paramount to all obstacles.

“Narrator, I think you’re gonna be right unhappy with the outcome of that sentence.”