1Jane and Edward: Zombie and Monster Hunters
A-Trolling We Will Go
NOTE: I don't own Jane Eyre; this is out of love for the novel.
On a cold winter's night in Norway, a small deer made its way across a snowy field from one side of the forest to the next, seeking shelter from the white flakes falling from the sky. It ran deftly from shade to shade and finally making it to the cluster of trees hiding what seemed to be a large cave. It poked its nose in the air, sensing what seemed to be a safe shelter and made its way inside the cave. It inched closer and closer inside the stony opening to find a lighted area with a fire and savory smells coming from what seemed like a cooking pot, surrounded by some of the most grotesque creatures ever seen. Most of them had heads full of red hair. They wore animal skins for clothes and huge fang-like teeth projected from their mouths. They spoke a language quite different from English and their ears were pointed like ones seen on elves. They heard the sounds of the deer coming into their shelter and immediately set their eyes on the creature. One of the older creatures turned to a younger creature that appeared to be his son, then pointed at the deer and made a chopping motion with his arm. The young man-creature nodded, grabbed his axe and made his way toward the furry intruder.
The grotesque humanoid chased the deer out of the cave, axe in hand. The minute the two sped out of the stony cave, the young humanoid knew that the deer had the upper hand as it ran out of sight and he, into a tree. With dinner long gone, the humanoid grunted in frustration and turned to go back to his cave dwelling when he spotted something else: in a clearing, there was a man bent over what seemed to be a horse lying on the ground. He couldn't outrun a deer but he could definitely catch up to an actual human and a horse would be a bigger meal than a deer.
A gentleman with no business being out in the snow now found himself stuck. His horse's leg had broken and with no help. He was a stout man of about three and forty with black hair and a fair complexion. Despite appearing to be healthy and strong, the man stumbled about, looking for a nearby farm or house but managed to find a stony encampment. Here, he could wait out the night and then find help in the morning. As he inched closer, a creature appeared out of the woods, grabbed him and dragged him, screaming and writhing to the cave and summoned several others of his kind to retrieve the injured horse.
"Let me go!" the man cried. "Don't you dare harm my horse!"
The young humanoid ignored the man's pleas and dragged him further into their dwelling. More of the elf-like humanoids gathered together with torches, lighting the way for those bringing in the man's horse. From the light, the man could make out not just a small cave but a whole community of huts and small houses full of these creatures (he could no longer speak as his captor's hand was firmly over his mouth). The man was eventually thrown into a cell-like apparatus. He was left wearing only his shoes, pants, and shirt while his top hat, coats, vest, and other articles of clothing were taken away. The cell guard was a menacing fellow; his muscles were far bigger than any human male and carried a sword on his belt and an axe in his hand. The man gripped the cell bars and looked across the way as there were other people imprisoned with him; both men and women but no children. The man's eyes widened in surprise and he mouthed the word, "trolls."
One bright morning, Edward Rochester was at the breakfast table, reading his usual morning paper while his wife Jane had fallen ill in the morning and decided to stay in bed after not being able to keep certain foods down. Mrs. Fairfax had sent for the doctor and he arrived just as Edward had started to read a story about people being abducted in the night by strange creatures. That would have to wait for now, thought Edward as he directed the physician to their bedroom where Jane was lying in bed with a chamber pot nearby. The color in her cheeks appeared and she started to feel a little better but the doctor insisted upon an examination and Edward went into his study. Sometime later, the exam was finished and the doctor appeared quite cheerful as he walked into Edward's study.
"Well," said Edward. "How is my wife? Is she well? Is it a fever of sorts?"
"No fever," replied the doctor. "She will be just fine. In fact, I have great news for you."
Edward raised his eyebrows. "Good news, you say. Do tell."
"Your wife is with child," said the doctor. "The illness she had this morning is quite normal for women who are expecting."
Edward smiled and shook the physician's hand. "Thank you sir." He clapped him on the back.
"You're quite welcome, Mr. Rochester. I had given Mrs. Fairfax some instructions on how to care for Jane."
"Thank you good sir," said Edward. "After having a son three years ago, this time should be a bit easier." He turned his back and poured a glass of alcoholic libations. "A little brandy to celebrate?" Edward offered a glass to the doctor but he refused.
"I still have other patients to attend to but thank you very much." He tipped his hat and left the study.
Edward then made his way to the bedroom to find his wife sitting up in bed with a book in her lap. She saw him and smiled as he embraced her. The two shared a kiss and Edward sat down on the edge of the bed with his wife's hand in his.
"I'm so excited Edward," she said, fanning herself with her free hand. "My heart is racing."
"Now Henry will have a new sibling to play with in the near future."
"Edward, I never imagined being a mother to two children let alone one. It's exciting but a bit overwhelming at the same time."
There was a knock at the door; it was Henry's nanny with Master Henry in tow and Edward welcomed him in the bedroom.
"Good morning Papa," he said. "Is Mama all right?"
"Your mama is doing fantastic, my boy," he said, picking up Henry and sitting him on his knee. "In fact, we have something to tell you."
"You do? Tell me, tell me!" Henry said excitedly, clapping his hands.
"Well Henry," said Jane. "I'm going to have a baby."
"A baby?" Henry asked.
"Yes. You will have a new brother or sister."
Henry smiled. "Do you know if I will have a brother or sister?"
"Unfortunately no," said Edward. "But we will have another little one in our house in the next several months."
"When the baby does come," said Edward. "You will be the older brother. And I will trust that you will be a good boy and set an example for your younger sibling."
"I promise I will be a good boy, Papa," said Henry with an air of confidence. Unlike some children, Henry was an obedient child who did not require frequent discipline.
"Good." Edward kissed his son's forehead. "Do you have any questions at all?"
"Yes Papa. Do you know where babies come from?"
Edward's face cringed a bit while Jane clapped her hand to her mouth to stifle her laughter. After a brief moment, Edward finally came up with an answer. "Well, if a mother and father want a child, they pray to God and if God feels that the time is right, He will give them a baby." He gave Jane a quick glance and she returned with a sly smile and a wink.
"But where is the baby?" asked Henry?
"The baby has to grow inside Mama's stomach," said Edward. He invited his son to lightly pat his mother's mid-section. He continued to answer Henry's questions about childbirth, making sure to answer in a manner that his young son would understand, deliberately sparing the more grotesque details. He eventually handed Henry over to his nanny to be dressed for the day and pulled out the newspaper article that he had been reading earlier. Apparently, there had been disappearances of various people during the night in Norway. The authorities had suspected a kidnapper or murderer of some kind but the town folk believe it was the work of trolls that lived in the snowy forests that would prey upon weary travelers and kidnap them for unspeakable reasons. Edward shared the article with Jane, feeling that this might call for their monster hunting expertise.
"But Edward, we only have experience in vampires and zombies, not trolls."
"Well, it's about time we expanded our expertise in such creatures," said Edward. "An old friend of mine, Torstein Bjornstad, lives in rural Oslo. I haven't heard from him a few months but he would be the one to know about these alleged troll abductions. I'll write him a letter asking if we can pay a visit."
After receiving a letter from Mr. Bjornstad, the Rochesters packed up and headed to the snowy world of Norway, taking Edward's dog Pilot along the way in case they needed use of his acute sense of smell. Some two and twenty miles away from Oslo was a small village. In the small village was a modest, two-story house that was home to old Torstein Bjornstad, a widower and retired magistrate. His hair was completely white and he had a frail appearance despite his being strong and spry. He lived with his granddaughter, Ragnhilde, a blonde girl (whose parents died when she was an infant) of eighteen with high hopes of marrying local businessman Thorvald Magnussen, a handsome fellow of five and twenty. Unfortunately, the two lovers lived in opposite towns and in the middle of them was known as "troll territory" and traveling from one side to the next was treacherous at night so folks traveled by day and even still with caution.
Upon arrival, the Rochesters were greeted by Mr. Bjornstad's maid and his unofficial hostess, his granddaughter Ragnhilde.
"We have been expecting you," Ragnhilde said in perfect English. "Come in, it's quite cold outside. We'll have your things taken to your room."
"Thank you very much, Ragnhilde," said Edward. "Is your grandfather here?"
"He'll be ready shortly. You must be hungry after your long trip. Dinner is almost ready."
While Pilot seated himself near the fireplace, Edward and Jane were seated next to each other at a modest dinner table with Ragnhild, Torstein, and a handful of servants. Torstein's hair was completely white, his skin wrinkled, and his eyesight was starting to wane but he was always in good spirits. As they were about to sit down, a familiar figure came in from the cold. He was tall with blonde hair and a fair complexion and immediately set his eyes on Ragnhilde.
"Thorvald!" she cried as she ran to embrace him. "You're just in time for dinner. Come, we have visitors from England."
"Welcome Thorvald," said Torstein. "Pleased to see you! How did you manage to get here without being abducted?"
"I'm staying with a friend here in town," Thorvald said in a booming, baritone voice. "I thought I would stop to say hello to my bride-to-be." He put his arm around her shoulders and kissed her cheek. "So I will not be traveling back home tonight."
"Isn't that sweet, Edward?" Jane whispered to her husband. "He traveled across town just for her."
"But he's still intact, meaning that he hasn't lost his eyesight or his limbs or his sanity," Edward whispered back.
"Well, I must introduce you to our guests, Thorvald," said Torstein. "This is Edward and Jane Rochester from England. I've been an old family friend for so long that I remember when Edward was first learning to speak.."
Edward blushed. "Why thank you Torstein. Must've been wonderful memories," he said with a smile.
"Hello Thorvald," said Jane. "Pleased to meet you."
Thorvald shook hands with the British guests and sat down to a hearty meal of chicken and fish. During the course of the meal, Torstein cleared his throat and made the mention of the alleged troll abductions. Apparently, several night travelers had been reported missing, the most recent being a lawyer on horseback on his way home. Both he and his horse had been allegedly taken in the night. After hearing about the "Creature Killers of Thornfield," Torstein felt it was necessary to have them come to solve the problem as authorities felt it was the work of a murderer rather than "folk monsters."
"So the authorities believe that this is the work of a criminal mastermind, do they not?" asked Edward.
"Yes," replied Torstein. "Despite the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that. There have been reports of troll sightings at night, especially in the deep woods."
"I've come across large footprints in the snow nearby," added Thorvald. "They couldn't possibly have been made by any average-sized man."
"And some claim they've seen devilish creatures prowling about the forest," said Ragnhilde. "Creatures with horns on their heads and tusks for teeth. They wear animal skins are terribly ugly!"
"I can't imagine any creature with horns and tusks to be terribly beautiful," mumbled Edward to Jane. Jane said nothing but slightly elbowed him in the side.
"And they have warts on their faces and they kidnap innocent people for food!" cried Ragnhilde. "And they..."
"Pardon the interruption," said Edward, pointing out his hand. "But have you seen any yourself personally, Ragnhilde?"
"No but I know people who have."
"Do these people live here in your area?"
"Yes. And the folks in the village across the way claim they have seen them."
"All right then. First thing tomorrow, we shall speak with the eyewitnesses to these alleged troll abductions and we shall go from there."
That night, as Jane was crawling into bed, Edward stood out from the bedroom window with his spyglass, surveying the surrounding area for anything out of the ordinary. It was a typical practice that he had always done in cases of zombies, werewolves, vampires, and the like. On Edward's watch, he found nothing. No movement near the trees or the nearby forest. For the first time, Edward started to doubt the existence of such creatures. Maybe it was a murderer after all, he thought to himself. But then there were reports of huge footprints much larger than the average human. Some have even reported bones belonging to various animals near the woods. However, that could be the work of bears, not humans, Edward thought. He then put away his spyglass and went to bed, crawling beneath the layers of blankets and sheets.
"Did you see anything, Edward?" asked Jane.
"No," replied Edward. "Nary a soul out there. I'm starting to even doubt that these creatures exist. Jane, this trip out to Norway may be all for naught."
"If it is, at least Torstein was nice enough to pay for our trip out here. It's very beautiful and I've never been here before."
"It is beautiful but the winter is frightfully cold up here. How are you feeling, my dear?" He put his arm around his wife and pulled her close to him.
"I'm feeling well actually. I wasn't too terribly hungry this evening, though."
"From the conversation this evening, I wonder what Thorvald sees in that flighty girl, Ragnhilde. I don't think she's grown up quite yet."
"I don't think anyone is truly grown up at that age, Edward."
"Well, I believe you were. In my opinion, you were more mature at eighteen than Blanche Ingram was at twenty five." He chuckled a bit.
"Mrs. Fairfax told me she finally got married not too long ago. I wish her the best of luck."
"I wish her husband the best of luck. She's married to a man whose wealth supercedes mine. By the end of the year, I predict they'll be destitute." Edward then kissed his wife's cheek. "Enough chatter for the evening. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow. Good night, my dear."
"Good night, Edward." The two of them kissed each other and went to sleep.
The next morning right after breakfast, Edward, Jane, Pilot, and their hosts set out for the wintery fields where the abductions were alleged to have occurred. They combed up and down the entire area with Pilot's nose close to the snowy ground. After not finding anything, they visited the various villages and questioned their inhabitants (with their Norwegian hosts as interpreters) and all their stories matched; beast-like monsters abducting innocent people crossing the nearby snowy field in the evening and into the night. After an entire day of hearsay and no clues, the Creature Killers of Thornfield decided to retire for the evening. After dinner, Jane and Edward retired to their room to read. Just as they had dressed for the evening, Edward pulled out his spyglass and continued to look about the seemingly endless snowy area separating them from the next town over. This time, something caught his interest. In the snow appeared to be a piece of dark cloth. He motioned Jane to look.
"I can barely see it, Edward."
"Adjust the spyglass, Dear," he said.
Jane did as instructed. "I see it. It appears to be a scarf or some sort. Someone must've tried to come here and was abducted."
"Do you know what this means, Jane?" cried Edward, grabbing his wife's arms. "We have a clue! Let's get dressed and head out."
The two of them changed out of their evening attire into their usual clothing and with Pilot in tow, made their way toward the object. It was indeed a scarf and they brought it inside. Ragnhilde greeted them inside the living room and immediately looked at the scarf.
"This scarf," she said. "I know who this belongs to." Her face started to turn white.
"Well, who?" asked Jane.
Ragnhilde's lips trembled. "T-t-thorvald," she muttered. "This is his scarf that I made for him not too long ago."
"Now what's going on?" asked Torstein, coming into the room.
"We found a clue, Torstein," said Edward. "Unfortunately, according to Ragnhilde, it's Thorvald's scarf. It appears he was trying to cross over and something must've taken him."
Ragnhilde sunk down in a nearby armchair and cried. Jane approached her and gave her comfort. "Let us trust in God that Thorvald is safe," she said to Ragnhilde. "We'll do our best to find him."
"Let's go Jane," said Edward. "We have no time to waste. We need to find Thorvald."
Jane gave Ragnhilde a hug and left Torstein to comfort his distressed granddaughter. Edward then gave the scarf to Pilot to see if he could pick up a scent. Pilot's nose sniffed the clothing item and then lead them outside and into the dark, snowy night. Pilot followed a scent trail to another article of clothing hidden in a bush; it was Thorvald's hat. Pilot pointed his nose toward the hat and wagged his tail.
"Good dog, Pilot." Edward patted his canine friend. "We'll make sure you get something good when we get home."
Just as Jane bent down to pick up Thorvald's hat off of the ground, she saw a pair of beady eyes staring back at her. Her free hand, while shaking, grabbed a pistol from her belt.
"Back away Jane," said Edward. "Back away."
Jane did as she was told, her pistol still pointed at the set of eyes staring back at her. The owner of the eyes then made its' appearance; a young beast-like humanoid appeared from the bushes, clothed in animal pelts. A set of fang-like teeth protruded from his mouth, his ears pointed like that of an elf, the tresses on his head were fiery red and one of his muscular hands gripped a huge wooden club. There was an intimidating anger in his eyes as he stared down the two people in front of him. Edward raised the end of his rifle toward the creature. In response, the creature grunted and knocked away Edward's rifle with his club, damaging it completely. This prompted Jane to fire her pistol but instead of the heart, she shot his knee by mistake. The humanoid howled in pain as the creature killing duo headed off into the woods, followed by a limping monster. While running through the woods, they came to a cave that appeared to have light and entered it, only to find a family of creatures similar to one that was following them.
"Jane, I think we have found the trolls," Edward said, gripping his wife's hand tightly."
"I think you're right," said Jane.
The troll that had been following them limped inside, blood pouring from his knee. He pointed to his wound and, in Norwegian, told his fellow trolls what happened. Before the creature killing duo could explain themselves, they were grabbed and dragged down to what seemed like an underground prison filled with several people. They were put in separate cells next to each other (some trolls may not be the brightest individuals), however Jane's pistol was confiscated and given to the guard who examined it and tucked it into his belt. Jane and Edward looked around and right next to Jane in a cell was Thorvald. He was sitting with his head down, his hands between his knees. After the guard fell asleep, Jane whispered to him.
"Thorvald," she said quietly.
"What, oh, hello Jane," he whispered back. "How did you and Edward get here?"
"It's a long story," said Edward. "We need to find a way out of here. But wait a minute, what happened to Pilot?"
"The last time I saw him he was running back to Torstein's house when they took us," said Jane.
"That's the last time he's coming with us on trips like these," muttered Edward. "Anyway, let's find a way out of this place."
Luckily for Edward, his cell was located at the end. On the wall facing him was a piece of metal sticking out of it. Hanging from that piece of metal was the set of jail keys. Edward stuck his hand out and grabbed the necessary items. One by one, he unlocked every cell, freeing the trolls' prisoners. As they quietly made their way toward the exit, the guard started to awake from his slumber. Immediately, Edward took the guard's club and smacked it over the guard's head, knocking him out cold. From his belt, Jane took her pistol and aimed it around the area until she felt it was safe. Led by Thorvald, the group of prisoners made their way up the steps to an opening only to be greeted by another troll; this time, it was a troll-child, about Master Henry's age. He put his finger to his lips as if to keep the escapees from making noise. He then motioned them to follow him as all the other trolls were sound asleep. He led them outside the cave and back into the woods. Meeting them nearby was Torstein with Pilot at his side.
"You found everyone," he said, his gaze pointed toward Edward and Jane. "Good work!"
"Well, we wouldn't have been able to escape without the help of that little fellow," said Edward, pointing toward the troll-child.
"A troll, helping someone?"
"He led us out of the prison that was underneath that cave over there," said Jane pointing in the direction they just came from."
"They kept prisoners?" cried Torstein.
"Yes, they did," said a man in heavily accented English. "They even took my injured horse!"
"Sven!" Torstein yelled at the man in Norwegian. "Worry about yourself, not your horse!"
Just then, everyone felt a rumbling beneath their feet. A horde of armed trolls were headed their way, led by a very sore prison guard and an even sorer troll leaning on a wooden crutch, his knee wrapped in cloth. As they grew nearer, the troll-child stepped in between, sending his fellow trolls to a stop. The guard then yelled at the troll-child to move aside but the little fellow refused to budge. A young female troll appeared out of the crowd and stood next to him. Edward figured out that the two of them were mother and son.
The female troll then spoke to her kin, pleading with them to stop the animosity between them and their human neighbors, citing that the farmer that accidentally killed one of their sheep was no reason for them to kidnap out of retribution. Torstein provided translation of the woman's speech to his English friends.
"This was all over a sheep?" asked a puzzled Edward to Torstein.
"Apparently so," he replied.
As the female troll continued to speak, all her fellow creatures hung their heads in shame, some even dropping their weapons. She then turned to the group of humans and apologized for the trolls' behavior. She even ordered one of them to bring Sven's horse, his injured leg in a sling device.
"They kept my horse!" cried Sven.
Torstein then told the troll-woman that her apology was accepted and that they promised to leave them alone in the future. One of the captors then spoke up, admitting that he was the farmer who accidentally killed one of the trolls' sheep, offering to replace it with another one along with an apology. The troll woman forgave him but turned down the offer, thanking him anyway.
When all was said and done, Torstein, Jane, Edward, Thorvald, and Pilot headed back to Torstein's warm cottage-like home. Morning was just starting to break and once they entered the house, Thorvald was nearly knocked over by Ragnhilde who threw her arms around him and planted a huge kiss on his lips. In return, Thorvald briefly picked her up off of her feet and returned the kiss.
"Looks like everything is back the way it should be," said Torstein.
A week later, Jane and Edward were invited to Thorvald and Ragnhilde's wedding. It was a modest ceremony inside a small Lutheran church. Despite not knowing Norwegian, Jane and Edward perfectly understood what transpired during the ceremony. While most of the church were filled with human beings, there were trolls among those in attendance, most notably the little troll-boy who helped save the two beings from killing each other over a petty dispute (he had also served as a ring bearer).
When the Rochesters came home, they felt good to be in their own home. Master Henry Rochester was excited to know about what trolls were, what they looked like, and what they ate. Edward told his son that they were different from humans but no different in their behavior or eating habits as they ate the same food that humans do and that they did not eat humans themselves. Jane, meanwhile, had set aside Henry's former nursery as the baby's room. A week or so later, the Rochesters received a parcel in the mail, addressed from Thorvald and Ragnhilde Magnussen. It was a letter of thanks and a knitted blanket for Jane and Edward's new baby. Jane marveled at the gift while sitting on a sofa near the fireplace in the living-room sitting next to her husband.
"God bless their hearts, Edward," she said, holding up the blanket. "This will go well with the baby's bed."
"To think that whole episode was a misconception; both human and troll realized that neither one was evil and decided to live side by side in harmony," Edward said. "To think, we never took the life of those creatures although we have come close to doing so. Thank God it never came to that." He smiled and picked up a glass of wine, sipped from it, and put it down. "I think we could learn a thing or two from these individuals."
"Of course, Edward. If it weren't for that little boy and his mother, the outcome would've been entirely different. Hopefully this will be a good teaching lesson for Henry someday," said Jane folding up the blanket. "He must know that being in the creature killing business isn't all about indiscriminately killing alleged monsters and asking questions later on."
While the two chatted, Henry and his nanny appeared in the living-room. Apparently the littlest Rochester could not sleep and asked to stay with his parents for a while. His parents nodded in agreement and let him climb up on the sofa between them. Jane then put down the blanket and draped her arm around her son.
"I can't sleep," he said. "I'm scared."
"What are you scared of, darling?" asked Jane.
"I'm scared that I won't be a good brother when the baby comes."
Edward chuckled and patted his son's head. "I trust you will, Henry. It's absolutely nothing to worry about."
"Are you sure, Papa?"
"Of course." He kissed his son's cheek. "I think you will make a wonderful brother. You've always been a good boy for me and Mama and we both love you very, very much."
"Thank you Papa. I think I shall try to sleep again." He gave both his parents a kiss good night.
"I'll take him to bed," said Edward to Jane. "All right son, let's go." He picked up Master Henry, placed him on his shoulders and walked upstairs to Henry's room. He came back downstairs and rejoined his wife on the sofa.
"We'll teach him about monster killing later; for now, it's about new baby siblings coming into the world," said Jane, putting her hand on Edward's.
"When it comes to bringing children into the world," said Edward. "I think that discussion is also best left for 'later.'"