Story from Roué 9
It had been a chilly day, rain and an East wind blowing in from the North Sea so that the smoke from the mill chimneys had gusted down across the tightly-huddled streets making even the shine of the rain on the steep slate rooftops look grimy. Standing at the top of the street and looking down the hill, with the overcast sky glowering down from only a few hundred feet up, it could have been the end of the nineteenth century instead of the middle of the twentieth. There were few cars, though here and there a motorbike lounged against the kerb and there was a motorcycle combination parked on the skew so that it wouldn’t roll away down the hill. A lamp-post leaned over at an angle close to the edge of the narrow pavement, its light on too early but welcome in the gloom of the rainy weather. Draggled down from the lamplighter’s ladder bar of the lamp post was a rain-sodden Union Flag, left over from the Coronation celebrations of a few weeks previous. Already it was blackened by airborne soot.
No more than a few feet away from the foot of the lamp-post the red-polished front-door step of number fifty-seven gleamed in the leaden light from the sky, and behind the brass-knockered door a family were at tea. At the head of the table sat Ernie Rudge, bread-winner, reader-of-lessons on Sunday evenings and as careful with money as any self-respecting Yorkshireman would be. At the opposite end of the table sat a man whose pale skin and dewy blue eyes prepared you for the fact that he was a minister, a keeper-of-flocks and minder-of-morals. He was a frequent guest at this table and sat comfortably in the place where he had become accustomed to sit whenever he visited. He smiled occasionally at one or other of the two girls who sat at either side of the table, and they would politely return this gesture, though not with a great deal of enthusiasm. One girl indeed found it a considerable effort to smile at all, having nothing much to smile about. Unlike the others at table she alone was seated on a rush-topped stool, and her pink flowered dress overhung the stool on three sides, the fourth being that side closest to the table and on which the backs of her thighs rested, though ‘rested’ is perhaps not the word to describe the fitful way in which she nudged and eased her legs to one side and then the other when she wasn’t doing the self-same thing with her hips. The minister caught her eye for a moment, making her glance dart back to her plate, the girl knowing full well that their guest was quite aware of the reason for her fidgetiness.
As indeed he was. He knew without being told that the little piece of white bunting dangling forlornly from the hook behind the kitchen door, which he had glimpsed as he came in through the back yard, was in fact a pair of knickers. Beryl’s knickers, which she had been made to hang up there after her belting that afternoon. The rush stool was simply an extension of her punishment, the coarse prickliness of the seat guaranteed to keep the sensation of sitting on hot gravel well and truly alive in her strap-toasted bottom. He was irresistibly reminded of the probable colour of Beryl’s bum-cheeks by the warm crimson glow in her flushed face as she wriggled self-consciously under his gaze.
Across the table from Beryl the other girl, older by a year, could sympathise whole-heartedly with her young sister. Now and then their eyes met, Beryl’s pained expression saying all that need be said, and occasionally too the minister’s eyes wandered to Patricia’s growing-up breasts under her green gingham dress with the white-covered buttons. She in her turn would look away, embarrassed by the attentiveness of their visitor’s over-interested stare.
If Ernie was aware of the glances exchanged across his table, and their meanings, he gave no sign of it. He ate his food patiently, chewing each mouthful deliberately and apparently content to play master-of-the-house. There was only one person missing from the gathering, if you didn’t count Mrs Rudge’s absence which had now stretched into its fourth year. Doubtless she was happy with her steel-worker somewhere in Durham. The other absentee, the third and oldest daughter, though she was only a half-sister to the two girls at the table, by virtue of her mother having conceived her prior to her first meeting with Ernie Rudge, was Carol, eighteen now and a ‘big girl’ in the sense that she was attractive enough to turn heads in the street. In consequence she was never allowed out after half-past nine at night on any pretext, Ernie being too conscious of what he imagined to be his status in the community, to risk having one of his girls ‘get into trouble’ and thus disgrace him.
Carol’s situation was indeed a curious one, since she was not related by blood to any of those seated round the table, yet it had never occurred to her to leave what she considered to be her family. Theirs was the only home she had known, and in it, despite the trials of attempting to run the house to Ernie’s impossibly high standards, she felt a sense of security. One day she would leave, but that ‘one day’ seemed a long way away yet.
Carol’s situation within the family circle was perhaps a little unusual, but the situation she was in right there and then was distinctly commonplace. Standing out in the little kitchen she was uncomfortably aware that whenever their visitor chose to look in her direction, which he did as frequently as he could without making his wandering attention too obvious, then she was in his full view, through the open living-room door. The kitchen being quite narrow, and end-on to the passage across which the reverend gentleman so frequently cast his glance, there was no way in which she could move out of his line of sight without either climbing up onto the table or perhaps sitting on the draining-board. Having no alternative, Carol stood rather dismally under this intermittent scrutiny and kept her hands folded demurely across her front so that the guest at their table should not see the unavoidably suggestive way that her knickers pulled across the mound at the apex of her thighs. Those knickers! With her ‘father’s’ careful money management and his refusal to let her get a job while there was the home to look after, the pants which Carol was wearing were coming up to their fourth birthday, faded green school knickers which might have fitted her well enough at fourteen but were now so tight on her full young hips that the side seams were pulling as if to burst and she’d given up replacing the elastic in the legs simply because there was no point, so closely did they fit. She could have turned away from the door of course, but then she wouldn’t know when she was being stared at, and she wasn’t at all sure that the too-snug fit of her knickers at the back was any less provocative than the front. In this predicament Carol lingered, knowing that, miserable though she now felt, she was going to feel a lot more miserable in a little while.
At length the clatter of cutlery died away, Ernie dabbed at his mouth with his handkerchief, and sent Beryl for her knickers. The two girls exchanged glances but dared not risk speaking. Beryl stepped into her knickers and yanked them up, the upward flick of her dress showing off the reddened glow of her young bottom before the knickers hid most of the strap-marks from Carol’s unwilling view. Her tummy turned somersaults at the sight and she swallowed several times as the imminence of her own forthcoming strapping came hard home to her.
Pat joined Beryl in the kitchen and made tea, whispering something that Carol didn’t hear and didn’t dare ask her to repeat in case their father heard. The tea was taken into the front room and the door was closed at last, leaving Carol to dread the next time it would open, knowing that when it did she would be only a few seconds away from that awful moment when her knickers would have to be peeled down and her naked tummy laid against the cold, bare wood of the kitchen table.
Although, the minister was there. Of course! If the minister was there she wouldn’t have to take her pants down. She felt behind her and brushed a hand over the threadbare material, finding another little place where the weave was now so thin she could prise the thread aside and feel the skin of her bottom underneath. But better than nothing! Anything would be better than having that awful strap cracking against her bare flesh, wouldn’t it?
Carol stopped fiddling with the threadbare place in her knickers and her bottom lip pouted itself out so that she would have looked somehow prettier should the minister have seen. She realised that she was kidding herself — if she was allowed to keep her knickers on, and she would be, because of course the minister would be invited to watch her chastisement since he was here — then she’d get the cane, not the strap! She’d heard it plenty of times, as she or her sisters had stood trembling by the table, hands fumbling at their knicker-elastic while the strap lay wickedly on the table in front of them — ‘Come on lass — get ‘em down. The strap needs a bare backside to do its work properly!’
And now she remembered the whacking she’d got at Easter. The minister had been there then, and her father had been anxious to demonstrate his willingness to thrash his own good Christian principles into his daughters. She’d gone to pull her pants down, even though the minister had been standing in the passage and she’d been a bundle of nervous embarrassment, but her father had shoved her across the table first and shouted at her about wantonness or something, and didn’t she have any respect for a man of the cloth! She’d got the cane that time, and she knew that she’d get it this time too — not because of anything except that it would go against his grain for her father to let one of his girls off without a ‘proper’ whacking, and he wouldn’t consider that he could do that with a strap across the seat of her knickers, ‘— needs a bare backside to do its job properly!’ She was going to be caned, that was for sure!
The worst of it was that if he caned her she’d get it virtually on the bare anyway, because the cheeks of her bottom were nowhere near covered by the stupid undersized knickers. Carol bent forward and touched her bottom experimentally to find out just how high up her pants actually came — it was an awfully long way. The lower third of her buttocks were completely bare for most of their width, and that was where he would cane — where he always caned. The bottom bit of your bum, so that it hurt when you sat down. Carol straightened up and eased the legs of her knickers down the curve of her cheeks as far as they would go, but she knew it was hopeless. She might just as well take her pants right off for all the good they were going to be.
The sound of conversation from the front room gave no sign of abating — she might have to wait a while yet. She stood disconsolately in the middle of the kitchen and found that she couldn’t help thinking about the cane now that she knew she was going to get it. It was on its hook behind the kitchen door, though with the door open she couldn’t actually see it at that moment. She struggled against a morbid urge to look behind the door, and had to distract herself by casting her glance around the kitchen to find something else to think about.
Her eyes came to rest on the old kitchen table. She stared at it as if seeing it for the very first time. It was somewhere between four and five feet long, four closely fitted boards on which the grain could clearly be seen. At the far end there was the big knot hole — this was making her feel worse! She’d seen that knot-hole from close-up hundreds of times, mostly through eyes wet with tears. She looked away, to the other end of the table.
Along the near edge the wood shone dully, the ends of the boards, the middle two especially, being discoloured slightly and polished as would be the handle of an often-used tool. Carol remembered the way she’d had to cling on to the far edge of this table even as a girl barely into her teens, her knickers down round her thighs and the near edge of the table hard and uncomfortable against the front of her legs. Her sisters too — the strap, (and the cane, she reminded herself) made you wriggle alright — no wonder the table edge was polished like that, the number of times one or other of the three girls had been stretched out over it squirming around against the wood! The thought sent chill shivers running down her spine. She wondered whether the other end of the table would look the same, where the girls’ fingers had scrabbled for a hand-hold while the strap cracked across a bare, jerking bottom. Funny that she’d never noticed.
Her heart seemed to stop. The living room door opened and suddenly there was no more time to give a damn about marks that might or might not be on that table. Her father was coming, was there in the kitchen! Was reaching round behind the door for the cane — Carol swallowed in panic and realised that she was starting to shiver. The minister had followed her father into the little room, eyes loitering around her snugly-knickered hips.
‘Bad girls have to be punished — moral standards — doesn’t do ‘em any harm —’
Carol couldn’t concentrate on what her father was saying, but she was acutely aware of the wicked way the cane quivered as he swooshed it up and down through the air.
‘Quite so — a father knows what’s best —’ The minister didn’t take his eyes off her for a moment. Beyond his shoulder Carol saw Beryl tiptoeing upstairs, then the cane flicked waspishly across the bare backs of her thighs.
‘Across the table my girl —’
Carol shuffled blindly forward and toppled over the edge of the table, arms stretched forward, fingers seeking the far edge. She’d grown a few inches taller in the years since she’d first found herself in this position. Her toes touched the floor easily now, and the table edge cut uncomfortably across the very tops of her legs exactly on a level with the plumpest part of her pubis. She subsided with a nervous exhalation of breath, eyes darting to the side as she lost sight of the cane. A pair of sharply-creased trousers which she recognised at once as the minister’s came into her restricted view, edged sideways into the space between the end of the table and the wall, stopped only a couple of feet from Carol’s table-level viewpoint. Near to panic though she was, Carol saw the fattening bulge in the front of those trousers and in that instant became properly aware for the very first time of just why it was that the minister so frequently contrived to be on hand when one of the girls was due for a tanning.
This enlightenment faded in significance the next moment as the cane tapped experimentally against the resilient firmness of her obediently proffered bottom. Carol sucked in her breath and squeezed her eyes tightly shut. She didn’t hear the swoosh of the cane, only the solid whack as it met the lower curve of her half-bare cheeks, and then the searing smart oozed into her bum and she felt her buttocks nip together, her hips thrusting hard against the table, the push of her toes scrabbling against the floor. She could hear her breath sighing in her throat, and through eyes jolted wide-open by the pain in her bottom she saw her fingers clutching frantically at the table edge as though they were nothing to do with her at all.
As the wretched girl lay taut and quivering along the length of that often-used table, her green-knickered bottom wasn’t the only thing which twitched in response to the first cane stroke. The minister’s eyes feasted themselves on the shivering nervousness of Carol’s bum and not for the first time in that little kitchen he felt the surge of lustfulness in his loins. He watched mesmerised as Ernie Rudge lined-up with his cane for the next stroke, then drew it back beyond his shoulder and whipped it with wicked speed down across the plump rotundity of his daughter’s helpless bum.
The girl’s gasp sounded clearly, though partly muffled by the proximity of her face to the table top, but it was a second or so before her bottom seemed to feel the full pain of the stroke. And then, with an obviously uncontrollable spasm, her buttocks squeezed themselves together and her hips bounced sideways across the table, then back. Her outstretched legs kicked up as her belly came into contact with the table again, and the squeal which escaped her lips left it beyond doubt that already her self-control had deserted her.
The cane did not descend again until all movement save an unavoidable trembling had been stilled in Carol’s backside, and this fragile control of her natural urge to wriggle in anguish clearly drained the girl’s will-power considerably. Stroke after stroke was delivered, each time only when the quivering target had been given the chance to settle back into the expected punishment position, and as the sixth stroke followed the fifth, and the seventh the sixth, the interval between the carefully measured strokes lengthened into something like a minute, while poor Carol squirmed hard against the table edge in a delirium of distress. Cries and tears, bawlings and blubberings were ignored while Carol’s father waited for his daughter’s tenuous self-control to reassert itself over the lewd wrigglings of her hips. The last stroke was finally administered to a bum aglow with the tender evidence of a caning well-applied and a girl well and truly chastised. Carol’s gasping sobs continued unabated for two or three minutes after the cane had been replaced on its hook behind the kitchen door, and the helpless, involuntary jerks and twitches of her elevated bottom held the minister’s attention for all of that time, and ensconced themselves in his memory for considerably longer.
Ernie rested his hands on his hips and looked from the minister to Carol’s reddened bottom and back again, seeming to be satisfied with a job well done, if not actually pleased that he had had to do it. That the minister should be so intent upon the half-bared cheeks of his grown-up daughter’s bottom seemed not to concern him at all, indeed he appeared to accept it as something of a compliment.
At length Carol pushed herself down off the table and on to her feet. Her face was streaked with tears and she seemed to have quite forgotten her modesty of ten minutes before. With both hands holding her whipped bottom she seemed unconcerned, indeed unaware, that the plump thrust of her pubis under the closeness of her knickers now attracted the careful, though somewhat more discreet scrutiny which the minister had previously bestowed upon the sight of her caned bottom.
Early though it was, being only a little after seven o’clock, Carol was sent to bed, which made the minister smile more than somewhat. Still sniffling shamefacedly Carol took herself and her striped bottom upstairs, mortified by this final humiliation. Being sent to bed without her tea, at eighteen mind you, was almost the worst part of all.
Carol having been dealt with to the satisfaction of her father, and in a different sense to the satisfaction also of the minister, the family at fifty-seven retired to the front room. Beryl having tiptoed back downstairs again once the frightening business of Carol’s caning was over, and then soon it was time for the minister to be getting along because that evening there was choir practice. Patricia being in the choir it was natural that the two of them should leave together, so ‘goodbyes’ were said and the two, minister and choirgirl, stepped out into the slight drizzle and went down the hill.
When they had walked for several minutes and turned the corner into the main street which would lead them, after half-a-mile, to the little church, the minister felt sufficiently distant from the Rudges’ house to speak to the girl on a confidential subject, which he introduced with a deliberate lack of tact calculated to unbalance the composure of his young companion.
‘Your sister Carol got a good hiding tonight.’ The words dropped into the little silences between the sound of their footsteps and Pat felt a shiver dance down her back at the mention of the scene in the kitchen which she had overhead plainly from the front room. She didn’t know how to reply so she walked on in silence, though trying to convey an air of having heard what had been said.
‘And young Beryl had too, by the way she was wriggling around at tea-time.’
She felt she had to answer.
‘Yes. She — she got strapped, not long before you came.’
‘And, of course, you might well have done too, eh? If we hadn’t kept our little secret.’
Pat didn’t think she wanted to answer that, but she muttered ‘Yes’, to be polite.
‘Yes, I think you might well have ended up over the table — d’you think he’d have strapped you? Or caned you.’
‘I — I don’t know —’
‘D’you think he’d have taken your knickers down — eh?’
‘He — he always does —’ Pat stumbled over the words, embarrassment colouring her cheeks.
‘Hmm — he didn’t take Carol’s down though. He caned her on her knickers.’ He slipped the word “knickers” in again for the pleasure of being able to say it to this young girl. ‘Why d’you think that was, eh?’
‘I — I don’t know. P’raps it’s ‘cos Carol’s grown-up. Cos you were there.’
‘She didn’t sound too grown-up though, did she? She bawled like a kid — didn’t you hear her?’
‘Yes,’ she said it in a whisper.
‘Do you cry — when he straps you?’
Pat swallowed and didn’t want to have to answer.
‘I expect you do. I expect you cry just as loud as she did — don’t you, eh?’
He seemed satisfied with that. They walked in silence for a minute or so. Then he said: ‘So you wouldn’t have liked to have been punished tonight.’
‘N — no.’
‘No. And he’d have caned you, wouldn’t he? If I’d told him about Simon and you, out the back of the Church in the long grass? He’d have taken your knickers down and caned you — isn’t that right?’
Pat trembled at the very prospect. She mumbled ‘Yes’ and stared down at the ground.
‘Yes, he’d have caned you.’ The minister looked sideways at Pat again. ‘And quite rightly, too. If any girl of mine had been — well, doing what you and Simon were doing — I’d cane her. That’s for sure.’
The Church was only fifty yards further on now, a light shining in the porch to welcome anyone who might come. A few yards from the gate the minister stopped, so that Pat stopped too.
‘So there’s one naughty young lady who hasn’t been properly dealt with tonight. Wouldn’t you say so, Pat?’
‘Hasn’t been dealt with because I’m silly enough to cover up for her, eh?’
‘I — I s’pose so —’
‘Hmm — and that young lady wouldn’t want to go home to a good old-fashioned whacking tonight, would she?’
‘N — no —’
‘No. I didn’t think she would. So — if she doesn’t want a tanning from her Dad, she’ll wait in the choir vestry after practice won’t she, eh?’
Pat stared down at her feet, a tremble with emotion, not wanting to give in to him yet dreading what might happen if she didn’t.
‘Y — yes. Alright. Only — please don’t tell — about me and Simon. Please!’
‘I won’t.’ The tension seemed to drain from his face. ‘Right — see you after choir practice.’ He smiled and walked off over the grass to the big dark house next to the church.
Pat tried to calm herself down, then went in under the light of the porch through the big wooden doors.
As the reverberating bass of the organ died away the choir members began to file out of the stalls and pile their books on the last seat. Mrs Drummond trilled goodnight to everyone, and Pat edged out of the light and slipped away through the door which led to the crypt. It was dark in there, but she stuck it out until she had listened to ten minutes of eerie silence before she risked venturing out into the now-deserted Church. Her footsteps echoed frighteningly as she made her way nervously to the end of the aisle and toward the crack of light which showed under the choir vestry door. Outside she listened, and heard nothing. Her heart hammering in her chest she pushed open the door.
The minister was already there, his eyes seeking hers as she entered, then running down over the shapelessness of her robe.
‘Close the door.’
It clicked shut behind her. A crooked finger beckoned, not to be denied. With butterflies running riot in her tummy Pat went to stand in front of him.
‘Now then —’
Her choir robe was gathered in eager hands, slipped up, up.
She held it up, chill evening air around her bare legs, hands stroking her chubby buttocks, a finger nudging at the gusset of her pants. She was still trembling, and yet —.
‘Have to have these down,’ whispered the minister. ‘Still, you’re used to that, aren’t you — one way and another.’ His hand slapped playfully against one knickered cheek, then insinuated itself under the elastic. The knickers slithered down to the floor, abandoning her when she most needed them. She felt herself being manoeuvred over a chair, the back of it hard up against her tummy, choir robe up around her shoulders the fingers slipping in between her legs, parting, coaxing.
‘Please, no —’ she said breathlessly, but even she wasn’t sure she meant it. Her buttocks began to quiver under a slow and methodical spanking, the sting nothing like so dreadful as the strap at home, in fact almost — well, almost nice.
She ‘oohed’ and ‘ouched’ and pressed her knees together, more to disguise the confusion of her feelings as the minister teased and tormented with his free hand, and little by little, as if he’d known she would, Pat began to ‘ooh’ and ‘oow’ less and to squirm rather more, her eyes half-closing and her lips parting.
Nothing was said as, bare from the waist down, she slipped into a ruddy-bottomed rhythm of her own, pushing forward against the encouraging fingers and almost ignoring the steady slap, slap, slap which jiggled her bottom and spread the red flush more widely around the pert apple-roundness of her buttocks.
Gasping and swerving obscenely from side to side she had to give way in the end, though she tried to cling on to her dignity, not wanting him to make her do it, not wanting to come in this ridiculous position. But come she did, panting unashamedly at last as she let herself be swept away on the crest of a tumbling, roaring wave.
The rain had cleared up by the end of the week, and someone had at last removed the scruffy Coronation souvenir from the lamp post outside number fifty-seven. Out in the little kitchen of the terraced house on the hill another drama, not unlike that of a week or so previously when Carol had been caned, was being enacted.
The minister smiled benignly at young Pat, who, standing in her blouse and knickers, was about to be prodded into the face-down position across the kitchen table. Behind her, strap coiled around one hand, her father slipped a couple of fingers into the elastic of his daughter’s pants and tugged them up so that the material pulled into the declivity of the girl’s cheeks, letting a fair proportion of their plumpness spill out under the elastic of the legs.
‘Bend over lass!’
Pat’s young bottom curved very prettily over the end of the table, the strap touched it briefly as her father adjusted the knickers one last time, and then the strap was curving away over Mr Rudge’s shoulder swooping down upon the defenceless cheeks, cracking sharply across both rounded globes and squeezing a first gasp of anguish from the prostrate girl.
The minister tried not to feel too guilty. After all, when Mr Rudge had asked him, this very evening, why it was that Pat had had to stay behind after choir practice to see him, he couldn’t very well have found a convincing reason, not on the spur of the moment. It had seemed by far the best thing to do to deny it altogether. And Pat wasn’t going to argue about it, was she. True she was now being punished for telling a lie which she hadn’t told, but on the other hand she hadn’t yet been found out about that Simon boy, behind the church. All in all it seemed a reasonable arrangement. The strap cracked wickedly across the girl’s already twitching buttocks and she gasped again, the sound of desperation more evident than before. Yes, a most agreeable arrangement.