A story from Janus 32 by R.T. Mason & The Editor, illustrated by Paula Meadows
10.30 was zero hour. That was when they always started. 10.30 as you lay in your bed in the darkened dorm, half an hour after Lights Out, and everyone on edge, on tenterhooks, even Lisa Howard who could put on an air of bravado about the whole thing. Everyone wondering if the dorm door was going to abruptly open. For your name to be called out.
Not every night of the week of course. The other nights you could be reasonably relaxed, getting off to sleep or having a quiet conversation with the girl in the next bed or just lying still thinking your private thoughts, But on Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays you wouldn’t be doing any of those things, not from 10.30 till about 11.30. Then you were wide awake with every nerve alert. Tonight was a Monday — the second Monday of term in fact — and so everyone was taut and still... and listening. Because in Dorm 4C you didn’t have to imagine, you could hear it.
Yelps and yells. Anguished cries. The cries of a girl suffering repeated sharp searing pain. And the unmistakable, awful, cracking whacks of a cane, coming at about ten second intervals. A bit muffled naturally but distinct enough because there was only the single dividing wall between Dorm 4C and that room at the end of the corridor. The room used for Prefects’ Court.
What made it worse was that it was all legal and sanctioned by the Head. Because that was Miss Featherstone’s idea of how a school should be run — the girls imposing their own discipline. The Head Girl and the prefects imposing it, that is, and to this end the use of the cane was quite OK. Well, wasn’t that the way things were organised in those famous boys’ public schools? Miss Featherstone was always going on about the famous boys’ public schools, at Assembly and suchlike, and saying that they were the models that St. Monica’s should strive to emulate.
St. Monica’s School for Girls was clearly not a boys’ school and nor was it famous. It was in fact a very minor school, so minor that most people would not have beard of it. That was probably all the more reason why the Head liked to think in terms of the very best. And that was why it was quite all right for the prefects and Head Girl to hold their Court.
The Prefects’ Court: to which you could be yanked out of your nice cosy bed in the middle of the night — or at 10.30 or so at least — and in front of the assembled Head Girl and prefects ordered to lower your pyjama bottoms. Or just occasionally when they were feeling really kind they’d let you keep your pyjamas on, but getting it through this thin material felt almost exactly the same. And then you had to bend over the wretched stool they’d got and get four or six or even eight wicked whacks with that cane on your bottom. And it could happen to you, any Monday or Wednesday or Friday night. Without warning beforehand.
They weren’t allowed to do it to all girls, the younger elements had to be disciplined with lines and gating etc. But once you were in the Fifth Form you were fair prey and it could happen any time. They were all Fifth Formers in Dorm 4C — new Fifth Formers, for it was the beginning of Michaelmas Term. So it was hardly surprising that they were all sweating.
For it was an accepted fact that new Fifth Formers were especially at risk as far as Prefects’ Court was concerned, because they liked to give you an early taste so that you knew what was what. And everyone said that this year’s Head Girl, Helen Reynolds, was the worst on record, a real hard case; although in any event Miss Featherstone always picked as Head Girl someone who could, as she put it, ‘keep a tight rein’. And the others, the prefects, were also chosen largely for the same reason.
‘They’re all sadists!’ Lisa Howard blurted out from over near the window. Nervous voices in the darkness told her to shut up. It was now 10.45 and muffled yells could be heard at regular intervals from the other side of the wall. Someone was getting it. The eight girls of dorm 4C lay still and tense: by about 11.15 you would probably be safe unless they’d got a larger number than usual.
As yet none of the eight had had any direct experience of the terrors that lay on the other side of the wall, but the law of averages said that someone was going to get it very soon. Tonight was the fourth Prefects’ Court of term. If not tonight then on Wednesday or Friday the dorm door was suddenly going to burst open...
They lay silent and tense as the minutes ticked off. No sound except those muffled yelps. No movement except perhaps in the secret darkness a girl’s hand down the front of her pyjama bottoms with a finger doing a surreptitious something to ease the tension. The minutes ticked off. The cries from next door had ceased. It became 11... Then 11.15... 16... 17...
There were sighs of relief. They began to breathe more easily. A nervous laugh from the darkness. It must have finished now. They were saved for another night...
Then the door opened. A shaft of light from the corridor against which were silhouetted the forms of two girls — two prefects.
‘Lisa Howard! Come out. Prefects’ Court!’
There were gasps. It had happened! — and when they were all sure the danger was over. A shocked silent pause... and then the sound of Lisa getting out of bed. Pretty, slightly plump 16-year-old Lisa. For the seven others at least once they’d collected their wits there was some relief. It wasn’t any of them; it was poor Lisa. And, well, it wasn’t completely unexpected.
Chirpy Lisa with her rather boisterous manner had got on the wrong side of various people in the past and a couple of them were now unfortunately prefects and in a sweet position for getting their own back. No, it did not come as a complete surprise to either Lisa or the others. All the same as she struggled out of her nice warm bed she fell distinctly sick. Lisa went out, the door closed. It was dark again. No one spoke. They waited. Any sound through the walls now would be Lisa. Getting it.
Just a short distance along the dimly-lit corridor and then Lisa was being ushered in. With all the lights on and after the dark of the dormitory it was dazzling. She stood blinking.
‘Lisa Howard! Come forward!’
Helen Reynolds’ voice and as Lisa’s eyes became adjusted to the light she saw, at the opposite side of the room, the Head Girl seated in an upright chair in a dressing gown over pyjamas. To the left and right of her, also sitting on upright chairs in their dressing gowns, were the prefects — three on either side, to make a U-formation with the Head Girl at the centre. Inside this U, in the middle, was a stool. cloth-covered and about 18 inches high. This stool had a two-foot-long rattan cane lying on it.
‘Stand at the stool!’ commanded the Head Girl.
The door had been closed by the two girls who had brought Lisa in and they now drew up chairs to sit behind her and thus complete the circle.
Lisa stood at the stool, a pretty girl of medium height with soft features and shoulder-length russet hair. Her form-fitting pink pyjamas showed off a ripely rounded figure; firm breasts, rather plump bottom. Now wide awake from the shock of what had happened she was trying to put a brave face on it, but did not look very happy.
‘Lisa Howard, you’ve been a pain at this school for quite a time now, and now you’re a Fifth Former you can at last get something that may have some effect. You’re going to get the cane on that fat bottom of yours. Eight strokes — the maximum allowed. And if that doesn’t do any good we’ll have you in here every week until it does. Is that understood?’
Lisa had gone bright red. She stuttered, ‘I haven’t... done anything.’
‘You’ve been an awful pain and you know it. So now you can drop those pyjama bottoms. Down to your knees. Come on!’ The last two words had a grating harshness all their own.
Lisa gave a quick panicky look round. She was completely surrounded by the seated prefects, most of them with expressions of pleased anticipation. There was no choice and Lisa knew it. She licked dry lips, and then her shaking hands went to the waist of the pyjamas. Eyes lowered, she pushed the trousers off her full hips.
‘Come on! Right down to your knees!’
The pyjama bottoms came fully down. At the front, at the centre of those softly rounded hips and thighs, was a neat triangle of dark brown hair. Behind was that part of Lisa due to receive the attention of the cane — twin plump cheeks trembling slightly, nude and vulnerable-looking.
Helen Reynolds got up and stepped forward to pick up the cane. ‘Now get over the stool. Right over with your hands flat on the floor and your knees straight and that fat bottom up. Now we’ll see if you can take it quietly or if you blub like a baby. I expect all your friends next door are listening, don’t you?’
She’s just a bloody sadist, thought Lisa as, hot-faced, she got over the stool. She would do her very best not to cry out but from what you heard in 4C that did not seem to be easy.
She gasped as the cane whipped lightly across her bum. ‘Come on! Get it up!’
A pause, and then a desperate involuntary yelp as the cane splatted down in earnest — a vicious transverse cut across the full fat undercurve of the cheeks, landing with a sharp crack. It felt like a burning flame. There was no hope of suffering in silence. The plump bottom did an agonised dance.
‘Keep still, Lisa! And get it up again otherwise I’ll have you in here for another eight on Wednesday.’
With the waves of pain rippling through her Lisa nonetheless became more or less still. Another brief pause, and then it was all repeated: the explosive biting sting of the cane, this time an inch above the first line of impact, followed immediately by the desperate yell, the agonised writhings. It was absolutely unbearable... and there were six more to come...
Standing over the bare-bottomed Fifth Former, with her own face distinctly pink, Helen Reynolds continued to whack the cane into the plump bum just about as hard as she could. By the fifth stroke Lisa wasn’t only yelling out, she was unashamedly crying, hot tears flooding her flushed cheeks. She had meant to be brave but this was simply impossible, the pain in her bum was absolutely intolerably awful.
Helen Reynolds kept going, eyes shining. The eighth and final one she laid in with a flashing crack just where the plump bottom met the equally plump thighs. She was rewarded with a desperate wild cry coupled with a frantic jerking of the stung bottom which almost threw Lisa off the stool.
The Head Girl put the cane down and went back to her chair. Lisa’s extravagant writhings gradually stopped. Her sobbing continued.
‘That’s all, young Howard. You can cover up that fat backside now and get back to your dorm. And remember, any more nonsense in the future and you’ll be over that stool again.’
Still crying and gasping with pain, Lisa got to her feet and struggled to tug the pyjama bottoms up over her now red-striped rear. She acted almost like an automaton, shocked clean out of any sense of self-possession. She turned and, half blindly, stumbled to the door. Out of the brightly-lit Prefects’ Court and into the subdued light of the corridor. There was now the other ordeal: going back into the dorm with the others all lying wide awake in the darkness, ears stretched like antennas to pick up her reactions. Her seven room-mates who had all just heard her humiliation at the hands of beastly sadistic Helen Reynolds.
Lisa steeled herself, she had to do it, she couldn’t stay out in the corridor all night. She stumbled forward, her bottom blazing. The door made a horribly loud click as she opened it. At least in the darkness they couldn’t see her awful red face and the tears which even now wouldn’t completely stop. But she also couldn’t stop the sobs which every ten seconds or so kept coming. In the tense silence those sobs sounded deafening.
‘Tough luck, Lisa,’ called out Sally Mitchell. ‘But at least you’ve got it over. We’ve still got the awful suspense — waiting for it to happen.’
There were shivers in the darkness from the seven girls who weren’t sobbing. They had all heard Lisa yelling out, making that dreadful noise, and the cracks of the cane coming through the walls, and when you considered that Lisa was a pretty brave girl it was obvious that she must have really had that cane lashed into her. Which, come to think of it, must have been so, considering how loud those strokes had sounded. It was over for tonight, none of the others would get it now. But Wednesday, or Friday...?
‘It’s driving me bonkers.’ whispered Angela Ross to Julie Hollings, in the next bed. ‘I almost wish they’d call me out and get it over.’
Julie didn’t answer. She knew what Angela meant but she certainly didn’t wish they’d come for her and get it over with. Julie was quite simply terrified of the thought of that cane. She had this really dreadful mental picture of the scene next door and always, as with Lisa just now, it was herself she could see bent over that stool and her own bare bottom thrust out for Helen Reynolds’ cane. It was a picture which made her feel quite sick and she had been dreading the start of this term knowing that she would now be liable for it. She felt she would do anything to avoid that fate.
Julie turned over and tried to get to sleep. Her school record had been exemplary, there was no real reason why she should get the cane, not like Lisa or one or two of the others, Except that now there was the other awful business. Mr Spriggins, the gardener.
It was the practice at St. Monica’s for a number of Fifth and Lower Sixth Formers to be assigned minor tasks in the running of the school: for instance assisting in the library or helping Miss Smith, Biology, in looking after the small animals she kept or helping Mr Murdoch, the groundsman. If you had one of these assignments it took up only a few hours per week and it got you off a corresponding period of prep it wasn’t all bad. This term pretty blonde Julie Hollings had been given an assignment helping Mr Spriggins the school gardener. Mr George Spriggins was in his fifties, a nondescript-looking character, an ‘old lag’ certain girls said. Julie had not had much to do with him before though she had heard girls say things. And what she had heard came very sharply into focus last weekend when she was working in his shed.
Before that Mr Spriggins had been OK although he had been sort of eyeing Julie’s slim shapely form in the white blouse and quite short blue pleated skirt. But on Saturday morning he had just grabbed her. She had been potting some plants and Mr Spriggins came up behind her and his hands had slid round underneath her arms and simply taken hold of Julie’s pert breasts in the crisp white blouse. A firm lightly-brassiered breast in each large hand.
Julie had let out a yelp and struggled away. There had been a rough cackle from Mr Spriggins. ‘Now now, young Miss, let’s be friendly. We don’t want to be up before Prefects’ Court, do we? With our pretty bottom getting that nasty cane!’
As he spoke his hand had come down and round to intimately grope at Julie’s rounded bottom. Gasping she pushed him away again. In spite of what those girls had said she would never have imagined Mr Spriggins could behave in such a beastly way. But that threat about Prefects’ Court was just as bad as what he’d done, and he had then proceeded to reinforce the threat.
‘I keeps well in with the Head Girl and they prefects. I’d only ‘ave to say you was cheeking me or mucking about in ‘ere and number’d be up, my pretty Miss.’
Julie had felt a stab of pure terror. As she stood there and contemplated the dread prospect he gave her bottom a sharp slap and then went outside. That had happened on Saturday and ever since Julie had naturally been able to think of nothing else.
She didn’t know what to do; she was between the devil and the deep blue sea. She could complain to Miss Featherstone or someone, but Mr Spriggins would just deny it and then she could be put down as a trouble-maker — and be sent to Prefects’ Court anyway. Now, having had to listen to Lisa get it, Julie knew there was just no way she could face that cane, she’d rather die. And tomorrow afternoon she had to go and help Mr Horrible Spriggins again in his shed.
Eventually she got off to sleep. In the morning Lisa bravely showed them all her bottom and you could still see the corrugated marks of the cane. Julie felt really queasy. The morning flashed by and then it was time to go over to that horrible shed.
She had a vague hope that perhaps Mr Spriggins would miraculously have changed since last time, but that was not the case as almost at once he did the same thing — grabbed those pretty tits in both hands. Julie had told herself that if necessary she was going to let him take these liberties but she couldn’t help struggling. As they lurched against the bench a big pile of flowerpots rolled off and hit the floor with a resounding crash. Pieces of broken pottery everywhere.
Mr Spriggins, red-faced, looked grim. ‘Just look what you done, my girl! It’ll be Prefects’ Court for this and no mistake.’
Julie started pleading but he cut her short, his eyes gleaming. ‘I’ll give you the choice, my girl. Prefects’ Court or otherwise I can do it meself. But I’ll just give ‘e a spanking, not the cane.’
What could she do, with Lisa’s cries of last night so fresh in her mind. ‘Come on!’ coaxed Mr Spriggins. ‘I won’t take they knickers down; least-ways not for this first time I won’t.’
He went to lock the door, then sat on his wooden chair over at the end where you couldn’t see from the window. He beckoned her to him, and, well, did she have any choice?
Julie whispered , ‘Promise. That you won’t... take my knickers down...’
He pulled her to him and then over his lap. Right over so that her head was hanging down and her hips were centred on his thighs and stomach. Julie felt her skirt being pulled up, over her back, and then Mr Spriggins’ horrid hand was on her bare thighs and tightly-knickered bottom.
He didn’t take the knickers down but, in spite of her protests, he managed to achieve the same effect by pulling them sharply up. Hooking his thick fingers in the lower hems, first one side and then the other, and yanking the nylon material up and across into the cleft of her bottom. Julie yelped and struggled but his other arm firmly round her waist had her helpless; and shortly her bottom was virtually bare.
Mr Spriggins’ hand started groping and fondling. Underneath her, Julie could feel something stiff and hard. Then the groping stopped and the spanking started. Crisp hard smacks to those exposed bottom cheeks. Left and right , top and bottom. Smack!... Smack!... Smack!... Smack!... Hard, unhurried splats of that large leathery hand.
Julie was soon in tears. It really hurt and also it was just so humiliating. But the hand kept coming down on her poor bare bottom, and then on the sensitive backs of her equally bare thighs. Finally he did stop, and started fondling again. Twisting and struggling Julie managed to get off his lap with its still bulging centre. In fact she finished up sprawled in a heap on the floor.
Blinking away the tears she got up and adjusted her knickers. Mr Spriggins had a red face and a leering grin.
‘You... you’re just b... beastly and awful!’ she managed before stumbling over to unlock the door.
It was a really traumatic experience all right but on Wednesday night, when the dorm door burst open at 20 to eleven and a prefect called out ‘Sally Mitchell — Prefects’ Court!’, Julie thought that perhaps it had been worth it. And a little later when they all heard Sally’s anguished cries she was quite sure it was worth it. Anything had to be better than having that cane slashing down on your bare bottom.
But if you submit once to someone like George Spriggins you are going to have to do so again. When Julie next had to go and help him, on Friday, he made the same no-nonsense grab at her. And said he thought she needed her bottom spanking again.
Faced with that same threat — Prefects’ Court — Julie reluctantly submitted. This time, in spite of struggles and yelps of protest, he took her knickers down: The rest was much as before; pretty dreadful. But again that night when Julie heard the mind-whirling, measured whacks and the cries of another girl being caned, she decided that it was worth it.
And so it continued for some weeks; Julie on her visits to Mr Spriggins’ potting shed allowing him to do what he wanted which was invariably to take her over his lap and take her knickers down and spank her bare bottom. It continued and Julie told no one — while two further members of Dorm 4C (Angela Ross and Sharon Roberts) were in turn called out to Prefects’ Court. The tension in the dormitory after Lights Out was often excruciating.
Julie hated it but she had the feeling that now she was safe from Helen Reynolds’ cane which was the main thing. She had not made any enemies in school and she was properly behaved and did her work, so apart from Mr Horrible Spriggins there was no logical reason why she should be called out. It was hateful having to get over his lap two or three times a week but she was sure it was better than the alternative. So long as none of her friends found out about it...
By half term all but three of them in Dorm 4C had had a session in Prefects’ Court and Lisa had gone twice, but the general feeling was that the worst was past, the blitz on the new Fifth Formers was over and they had dealt with all those they felt needed it. And indeed after half term Prefects’ Court was reduced to once a week, on Mondays, and even then you might not hear any cries so that someone might be getting a ticking off rather the cane.
Yes, it was generally agreed that those who hadn’t gone would now be safe, as long as they didn’t commit any awful crime. And the others wouldn’t have to go again if they could manage to toe the line, although for Lisa at least that was not easy.
Julie was still getting her bottom spanked by Mr Spriggins but even that wouldn’t last forever because she only had that job for this term and after that would be free of him. So there was that to look forward to and also she had not got the cane. In some fanciful way she almost felt as if Mr Spriggins had protected her from it.
And then it happened. The second Monday after half term, a Prefects’ Court night but no one was too bothered now, there wasn’t that feeling of abject terror in the darkness that there’d been at the beginning of the term. They were chatting and laughing softly, and many of them were already asleep. Suddenly the dorm door was open, the darkness split by that shaft of light silhouetting a figure. The chat and laughter froze.
‘Julie Hollings! Come out. Prefects’ Court!’
Julie stood blinking in the light as all the others had, still not able to fully comprehend the awful truth. She was also shaking from head to toes. It was all as she had been told, as she had imagined; the Head Girl and prefects in their dressing gowns in the U-formation with in the centre the stool, the cane... She stumbled forward at Helen Reynolds’ sharp command.
‘Julie Hollings, you disgusting creature! I have very reliable information that several times a week you have been in the habit of allowing Spriggins to spank your bare bottom. And I dare say allowing him other even worse familiarities as well. You absolutely disgusting creature! What have you got to say for yourself?’
Julie shook her head helplessly. She could hardly think with the shock of it all. Who had told Helen Reynolds and how did they know? Because Mr Spriggins always did it over in that corner of his shed where even if someone was peering in the window they couldn’t see. Perhaps there was a spyhole or something...
‘Well!’ demanded the Head Girl.
Julie blinked back the tears. ‘H... he made me.’
‘That is absolutely ridiculous! There is no way he could make you. You must at the very least have agreed to it even if you didn’t instigate the disgusting business. As you well know, allowing a male member of the staff to do anything at all like that is strictly, strictly forbidden. Anyway we’ll jolly well make you wish you’d never done it, Julie Hollings. Take down those pyjama bottoms and jump to it!’
Julie looked at the cane, like a rabbit transfixed by a weasel, then up at the grim face of Helen Reynolds.
‘Look... please... He... he did make me...’ She could hardly speak, she was so frightened, and her voice was little more than a whimper.
‘Get them down, girl!’
Somehow, scarcely knowing what she was doing, Julie pulled down the pyjama bottoms and then was bent over the stool. It was a dream, it couldn’t really be happening, because hadn’t they all agreed that the danger of Prefects’ Court was now over? She focussed her eyes on the carpet just a few inches from her face. This couldn’t be happening.
Then her mouth was open and a wild screaming yell had come out, and her bare taut-buttocked bottom was doing a fiercely desperate dance. Because what felt like a red-hot poker had landed squarely across those rounded bottom cheeks. No, she quite clearly wasn’t dreaming, no dream could feel like that.
Nothing could feel like that!
‘Get your bottom back up, Julie Hollings, and get those legs straight. You seem to like being spanked, so let’s see how you like this cane!’
CRA...ACK! The red-hot poker landed again, this time reinforcing the flaming pain that was still there from the first cut. It was worse than Julie had ever imagined on all those nights when she had laid awake taut with fear in the darkness, She would have been even more afraid if she had known.
Through the desperate pain Julie heard Helen Reynolds’ tight voice: ‘That’s two; and there’s six more to come!’
Her own voice pleaded, ‘No... I can’t!...’ but the words were cut short by a third full-blooded cut of the cane. She gasped and yelped, Her face was wet with hot salt tears. She fought to handle the fearsome pain. And then the red-hot poker landed again: WHAAACKK!
Somehow Julie did take the eight. She didn’t know how but somehow yelling and sobbing and writhing and at one point actually falling off the stool onto the floor — somehow Julie managed to take them. At last it was over. The cane had stopped coming down. There were eight bright red stripes on her bottom, blazing to hell. Julie was ordered to stand up.
Back in 4C she crept numbly into bed. No one spoke, they were all too shocked that Julie of all people had got it now when they’d all thought it was more or less over. And those who could not sleep for thinking of it heard their poor dorm-mate twisting and turning and sobbing into her pillow seemingly forever.
Afterwards, in the morning, they wanted to know what it was for.
Biting her lip Julie mumbled, ‘Cheeking Helen Reynolds.’
It was obviously quite out of character but it was all Julie could think of. She had to think of something, there was no way she could tell them the real humiliating facts: that she had been letting Mr Spriggins spank her bum in order to avoid Prefects’ Court and then after all she had been sent there for that very reason.
As for Mr Spriggins, he was spoken to about it but naturally said that Julie had invited it. And naturally he was believed — because for one thing the school could not afford to lose a good gardener. And he had never been known to do such a thing before.
So the matter was kept quiet. Julie never found out how Helen Reynolds learnt about the spankings. At least they now stopped, although she had to continue her full term helping Mr Spriggins. Mr Spriggins himself seemed perfectly unconcerned.
‘Ah, young Miss. I heared you got a caning. I warned ‘e it could happen, didn’t I?’
There was just no answer to that. And though he stopped the spankings he continued to touch Julie whenever he felt like it, and to grope her bare legs under her pleated grey skirt. If she protested he said, ‘Now, we don’t want another caning, do we?’
Prefects’ Court continued, Mondays only. They were not quite so confident now in Dorm 4C that it was all over. And indeed Sally Mitchell got another one, for not doing anything very much. The girls’ general standard of behaviour became all but impeccable. And then on the last Monday of Michaelmas term, barely 36 hours before they were due to break up, the dorm door opened once more at 10.30.
‘Julie Hollings! Come out. Prefects’ Court.’
She stood in the dazzling bright light again before the stool and the cane, surrounded by a ring of prefects. Helen Reynolds said, ‘We thought a little reminder, Julie Hollings, before you go home. To make sure you won’t want to get up to any of those tricks again next term. So take those pyjama bottoms down. Jump, to it, girl!’