It is by this time that the sun had hastened to meet its end on the horizon and the sky dulled at its absence. Grunting to myself, I clasped a hand on my cloak to keep it from flying as I sped through the causeway; it was a cold night and I bristled at the chill that nipped at the skin of my hand like rabid sprites. In an attempt to cast away the numbness gathering at my exposed limbs, I thought of Thornfield Hall and its inhabitants; all whom I had acquainted myself with once before and had the misfortune of being around once again. I found no mirth in their company, for Adele was too spoiled a child to find any pleasure in her broken chatter and Mrs Fairfax too slow-witted to partake in anything of my interest. Ah, yes…Thornfield Hall, I wish no more to spend time there than the next person. Perhaps it was my cancerous character or the wicked sorcery born from only that of a necromancer that led me to find myself upon the ground and no less the wiser.
“What the deuce is to do now?” I spoke aloud and cast a glance around me; my eyes not used to the darkness could find no soul except for that of a dog, who in panic and haste had run behind me and left me deserted on this cursed patch of land. I may have grumbled again had Pilot not returned (speak of the Devil, I suppose) and this time with a stranger; a woman from her tone of speech.
“Are you injured, sir?” I would have scoffed had the question not irked me to my bones. I inspected my body in feigned ignorance. Why, may I be damned…I am injured after being felled by necromancy. Cursing under my breath, I ignored the presence of the girl, finding it in myself not to be insolent.
“Can I do anything?” Yet another ridiculous enquiry! I set my hands on my temple to rub away the throb of frustration that threatened to emerge.
“You must just stand on one side.” I rose to knees slowly, shifting my weight as I tried then to rise to my feet but my body betrayed me as a sharp spike of pain shot through my leg. Fumbling between standing and sitting down I was acutely aware of the fact that my ungraceful movements were being watched by the witless girl and the hound which, upon witnessing my struggle had been jumping around me incessantly.
“Down, Pilot!” Believing I had exerted enough, I collapsed onto the hard ground and inspected my ankle.
“If you are hurt, and want help, sir, I can fetch someone either from Thornfield Hall or from Hay.” Had she not spoken, I would have disregarded her being there again.
“Thank you; I shall do: I have no broken bones – only a sprain.” In an endeavour to prove my well-being, I stood up but the persistent and torturous ache in my ankle only made me groan in agony.
Biting my lip to stop any other feeble sound from being let out; I shifted my weight to the leg that was most able. The action was difficult to say the least but allowed me to scope the land around me. I wasn’t far from Thornfield Hall and was sure that if I could get upon my steed I could make it back within the hour. The dimness of the night had finally settled in the bleak sky, occasionally being pierced by the moonlight as the clouds glided across like ghouls. The silence was immediately detected and the uncomfortable chills that shook me made me aware that the girl was staring with an unbearable amount of concentration. I opened my mouth to voice my complaint when she shifted back into herself and I felt the discomfort begin to fade.
“I cannot think of leaving you, sir, at so late an hour, in this solitary lane, till I see you are fit to mount your horse.” I finally cast my gaze upon her features which I promptly found to be plain, much like her clothes which bled into the darkness of the night.
“I should think you ought to be at home yourself, if you have a home in this neighbourhood. Where do you come from?”
“From just below; and I am not at all afraid of being out late when it is moonlight. I will run over to Hay for you with pleasure, if you wish it; indeed, I am going there to post a letter.” I noticed her disposition to have morphed into that of an officious girl and I raised my eyebrows.
“You live just below – do you mean at that house with the battlements?” I pointed at the hall, my deception undetectable.
“Whose house is it?”
“Do you know Mr Rochester?”
“No, I have never seen him.” By now, it was evident that she knew nothing of me or of anything at all.
“You are not a servant at the hall, of course. You are—.” I stopped, and pondered the business of this girl whom I now realise I have become acquainted with. Running my eyes over her attire, I found nothing that struck a chord of familiarity. It was all…so plain. My puzzlement must have shown because it seemed to elicit a response from her immediately.
“I am the governess.” Understanding rushed over my features and I mentally clapped my hands together in acknowledgement. She is a labourer of mine then. After this revelation, I made it so that she was useful and asked her to bring my humble steed. Despite her denial of trepidation of my mare, it was blatantly obvious she could not aim to bring the horse to me if she could not command its approval. A good master I must have been for it to trust me solely, as I made my way to it with the girl’s help- pardon, the governess’ help. Her petite frame cheated me from noticing her strength until I laid a hand on her shoulder for it was sure and able – far more than that of Adele or Mrs Fairfax combined. Nodding to her, I bid her farewell before setting off towards the Hall. Necromancy or not, the ache in my ankle made sure that the night was not to be forgotten.