Story from Februs 25 by Colin Weaver
When the Birley Institute was built in 1830, the wealthy businessmen who were financing it out of civic pride and the hope of a mention in the Honours List could not agree about its purpose. Should it be a museum, an art gallery or a library? The local firm of architects and builders who had got the contract under The Old Pals Act tried to please everyone, and the result was a queer, undecided mongrel of a building, like an oversized Nonconformist chapel on the outside, and with an interior which was such a maze of galleries and stairways and rooms and passages that a stranger should not enter without a native guide.
At least, that is what Mr Mytton told Lucinda. After a month in Birley, the sardonic, middle-aged curator of the Institute was one of the few people she was on easy conversational terms with. The other teachers at St Jude’s were civil enough, but they were obviously suspending judgement, waiting to see how this suspiciously good-looking young woman from “down South” was going to fit into their well-established ways. Her neighbours in the block of flats where she had found a home were evident mainly as noises through the walls and ceiling. In due course she would have some kind of social life; meanwhile she explored Birley and discovered the Institute.
‘Why,’ demanded Lucinda, ‘has this weird old place not been turned into a bingo hall or torn down to make way for a supermarket? It happens everywhere else.’
Mr Mytton chuckled. He was a big, homely man who smoked an unfashionable pipe and reminded Lucinda of a favourite uncle. ‘All the bright new development happened on the other side of town,’ he said. ‘Where the land just happened to be owned by Council members. And no-one is going to interfere with the Institute while the Mayor’s son-in-law has the contract for repairs and renovations. It doesn’t cost them much to run. They haven’t bought any new exhibits for fifty years and the only staff are a couple of part-time cleaners, and me to discourage vandalism and keep out the tramps and druggies. It’s a quiet life; I’m glad when someone shows an interest in the place. Though I should think there are better ways for a pretty girl to spend her time.’
Lucinda raised an elegant eyebrow. ‘In Birley? Perhaps I’ll find them eventually. Meanwhile I’ll look round your Palace of Mystery again.’
Mr Mytton laughed. ‘That’s not a bad name for it. You never know what you might come across.’
Lucinda, though, had a good idea where her tour of the Institute was likely to finish, no matter what other explorations she made first. She had discovered the statue in a gallery on the second floor on a first visit, and had returned to it again and again. The label said simply, “Seated Man” and that was just what it was. A life-size marble figure, naked except for a brief kilt, sitting on a plain block. The thin lips were unsmiling, the eyes lowered as though in thought. The open right hand was raised to shoulder height, either in greeting or command.
It was to this gallery that Lucinda’s wanderings through the Institute finally brought her again. She stood before the figure with her hands clasped behind her back, licking her lips, trembling with nervous excitement as she slipped once more into the fantasy she had devised.
‘Lucinda Horton reporting for punishment, sir,’ she said. She paused as though listening, then said, ‘I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t mean to be late.’
Another pause while the fantasy voice spoke in her mind. ‘I know I shouldn’t make excuses, sir,’ she said. ‘Please don’t be angry.’ Then, almost immediately, ‘Yes, sir, of course.’
She moved to the right side of the figure and started to bend over. Then she straightened up and said, ‘Oh sir, must I?’ Another brief pause and then, ‘I’m not arguing, sir, honestly I’m not!’
She lifted her short, pleated tartan skirt and pulled her black tights down to her knees. Then once more she bent forward and laid herself across the figure’s thighs, reaching back to flick up her skirt. She was wearing plain white cotton knickers, brief enough to expose the plump lower curves of her delightfully rounded bottom. The marble beneath her body was polished, and to keep her balance she placed her impeccably manicured hands on the floor and stretched out her long shapely legs behind.
Her eyes were half closed and she was breathing heavily as she lay quite still for a few moments. Then her body jerked a little, as though in response to an unseen hand landing sharply upon that delightful derriere, so invitingly offered.
It happened again and again, and Lucinda grimaced and gasped as though she was actually feeling the phantom smacks. She started to squirm across the figure’s lap, her gasps became louder, took the form of words. ‘Please, sir, please don’t smack me! I’ll do better, I promise, I’ll try so hard! Please, sir, I’m so ashamed, I’m too old to be spanked and it hurts so much! Yes, I know I’m in disgrace!’
More wriggling, each foot leaving the floor in turn, swinging back as though in a vain effort to protect her twitching buttocks, then again the gasping, almost tearful voice. ‘I’m sorry, sir, I won’t do it again, I won’t! Ah! Ah! Ah! I — I know what I’ve got to say, sir.’ A brief, squirming pause, and then, in tones of the most abject humiliation, Lucinda whimpered, ‘I am a very bad girl and I deserve to have my bottom smacked really hard and — and the next time I’m naughty I will have to take my knickers down and have my bare bum strapped and caned in front of everyone!’
The wriggling and gasping stopped, and Lucinda lay limp and passive across the statue’s thighs for perhaps three minutes. Then she said softly, ‘Thank you, sir,’ slid backwards and stood up. Automatically smoothing down her skirt she stared at the figure for a few moments. Her rapid breathing gradually returned to normal, though her face was still flushed as she ruefully shook her head. ‘Anyone would think I’m crazy,’ she said. ‘But it is only a harmless fantasy, after all.’
Needing to regain her composure she resumed her tour of the Institute, inspecting the stuffed birds and the beetle collection and the watercolours contributed by the Young Ladies Christian Sisterhood in 1923. Finally she returned to the entrance and Mr Mytton’s office.
‘Had a nice look round?’ he enquired.
Lucinda nodded. ‘Yes, thanks.’
‘And paid your usual visit to Gallery Three?’
His expression was benevolent, his tone inoffensive, but Lucinda felt a sickening premonition of disaster. Gallery Three was where the Seated Man was. She tried to speak but no words would come. Could he have followed her, spied on her? It didn’t seem possible, and yet.
‘I was rather hoping you’d take your knickers down this time,’ he said placidly. ‘A proper spanking should always be on the bare bottom. Of course, that marble must be a bit cold.’
‘How did you know?’ she whispered.
‘We’re not behind the times in Birley,’ said Mr Mytton, proudly. ‘The Borough Treasurer’s grandson knows all about this electronic business, and last year he fixed up a really good security system, very reasonable.’
He opened what Lucinda had assumed to be a cupboard door.
Behind was a monitor screen and speaker with a row of switches beneath. ‘Saves a lot of walking round, this does. I can see and hear what goes on in any part of the Institute.’ He touched a switch and the Seated Man appeared on the screen. ‘It’s all recorded on video too,’ he said.
‘Just what I needed!’ said Lucinda, bitterly. ‘Oh Christ, I was just beginning to feel my feet here. Now I’ve got to move on again and hope to find some school too desperate for teachers to ask too many questions.’
‘What for?’ said Mr Mytton, sounding surprised. ‘Don’t you like it in Birley?’
‘Well enough,’ said Lucinda. ‘But how can I stay once word of this gets out?’ She pointed at the figure on the screen.
‘What kind of bloody fool do you think I am?’ demanded Mr Mytton. ‘I get along very nicely by hearing a lot, seeing a lot, and saying nowt! Why should I go telling everyone you’re — well, one of them that enjoys a smacked bottom?’
‘Oh aye!’ said Lucinda in a mocking imitation of the flat Northern accent. ‘I’m one of them all reet!’
Mr Mytton grinned. ‘You’re a cheeky young madam. I think I should do something about that.’
He walked to the front door, locked it and put up a “Closed” sign. Then he returned to the office.
‘You’ve been a bad girl, haven’t you Lucinda?’ he said.
‘Yes, sir,’ said Lucinda, meekly.
‘What do you deserve for being a bad girl?’
Lucinda took a deep breath, looked him in the eye and said, ‘I think I deserve a really sound spanking, sir.’
‘So do I,’ he said.
Feeling a blissfully familiar mixture of fear, shame and excitement, Lucinda watched as he took off his jacket and neatly rolled up his sleeves to the elbow. He put a chair in the centre of the floor and sat down. ‘Come here, Lucinda,’ he said.
She moved towards him and he reached for her, half pulling, half supporting her as she went unresistingly across his broad thighs. She stared at the worn grey carpet as he turned up her skirt and put his hand under the waistband of her tights. He pulled her tights down. He pulled her knickers down. She felt the blood burning in her face as his hard, rough hand stroked and patted her naked buttocks with a sort of affectionate approval.
‘Very nice,’ said Mr Mytton, and his voice was almost a sigh. ‘Very nice indeed.’
Then his hand came down hard and she jerked a little, just as she had done during her fantasy-spanking in Gallery Three. She heard Mr Mytton laugh softly and she squirmed with humiliation as the hand came down again and again, punishing her tender bare cheeks with solid, stinging spanks. She gasped and squealed, and her suffering bottom was soon so sore that she could not resist a plea for mercy. ‘Please, Mr Mytton, not so hard!’
‘Oh, you’re just getting nicely warmed up,’ he said cheerfully. ‘You can take a lot more yet, a healthy young woman like you!’ The punishing hand was withheld for the moment.
‘Oh, thanks!’ said Lucinda, wriggling. Then she yelped shrilly as a dozen resounding slaps punished the tender flesh of her upper thighs.
‘You’re forgetting to call me sir,’ said Mr Mytton, reprovingly.
‘Ah! Oooh! I’m sorry sir, I didn’t mean to be impertinent!’
‘Don’t like it on your legs, do you, Lucinda?’
‘No, sir,’ whimpered Lucinda.
‘But naughty girls have to take what they don’t like, eh, Lucinda? That’s the whole point of punishment.’
He gave her four hard slaps on her right thigh, paused for a few moments and gave her four more on the left.
‘Am I being cruel, Lucinda?’
She struggled to find the right words to placate him. ‘You — you’re being very strict, sir.’
‘But you want me to be strict, don’t you, Lucinda? What shall I smack next, your legs or your bottom?’
‘My bottom, sir!’
‘Only if you ask me nicely.’
Oh God, his hand was patting her stinging thighs again!
‘Please, sir, please smack my bare bottom! It’s such a naughty bottom, it deserves to be spanked really hard!’
‘So it shall be!’ said Mr Mytton with obvious amusement.
Once more her wincing buttocks quivered under the impact of a heavy male hand. The spanking continued remorselessly with occasional pauses for question and answer.
‘When did you get your first spanking, Lucinda?’
‘When I was nineteen, sir. From a boy I met at university. We couldn’t afford to go out anywhere much, so we usually went to his flat and he smacked my bottom.’
‘And how old are you now, Lucinda?’
‘Oooh! Oww! Twenty-seven, sir.’
‘So you’ve had eight years of hot bottoms. With the cane and strap too?’
‘Yes, sir, but not all the time. Only when I found someone I could trust.’
‘And you trust me? That’s a good girl.’
‘If I’m a good girl,’ wept Lucinda, ‘why am I crying across your lap with my knickers around my knees and my bottom on fire?’
‘I suppose it’s just your lucky day,’ said Mr Mytton. ‘Cheer up, you’re nearly half-way through your spanking.’
‘Half-way? Oh but sir — Ow! Oooh! Aaaah!’
By the time she had spent half an hour facing the wall hands on head, the fire in her smacked bum had cooled a little but she still gasped and screwed up her face as she pulled her knickers up.
‘And now,’ said Mr Mytton, ‘since you’ve shown such an interest in the Institute you shall have the privilege of visiting the Reserve Room.’
‘Many museums,’ explained Mr Mytton, ‘have private areas not available to the general public, reserved for an elite few. You, Lucinda, are about to join the elite.’
‘Why do I have a feeling I am going to regret this?’ said Lucinda.
They went upstairs and through doors and along passages Lucinda had never noticed before. Finally Mr Mytton opened one more door. ‘The Reserve Room!’ he said.
Lucinda stared. ‘I’m not surprised you keep the public out of here,’ she said. ‘It’s hardly politically correct, is it?’
Mr Mytton snorted with amusement. ‘There’s not much of that in Birley,’ he said. ‘Still, you’re right, it wouldn’t do to let everyone see this.’
What Lucinda saw was a room devoted to all kinds of equipment for corporal punishment. There was a sturdy wooden trestle bolted to the floor; it had a padded leather top at waist height.
An equally sturdy oak table with a long, faded cushion along one side. Several chairs. On one wall, about six feet up, were two substantial metal rings bolted into the brickwork. And, in racks on the wall, lying on the table, hanging on hooks and pegs were canes, straps, whips, paddles, a rich variety of punishment implements.
‘The furniture and some of the other things came from the old Birley Reformatory which closed in nineteen-thirty,’ said Mr Mytton. ‘Someone must have thought it would be a waste to have them scrapped.’
‘Not all this goes back to nineteen-thirty,’ said Lucinda, inspecting the table. ‘I’m sure they didn’t have plastic rulers then.’
‘The equipment has been kept up to date,’ said Mr Mytton, ‘by SPOC.’
‘You don’t mean…?’
‘No, not him! The Society for the Purpose of Correction. A group of local people with interest similar to yours. Some like to give punishment, others to take it, some are happy either way. And — I happen to know they have a vacancy for another member.’
‘Well,’ reflected Lucinda, ‘it would be better than playing silly games with a statue. Have you any influence with them?’
‘The Secretary,’ said Mr Mytton, ‘is an old friend of mine. Would you like me to ask her?’
‘Please!’ said Lucinda.
Mr Mytton produced a mobile phone. ‘Helen? Jim Mytton here. How are you? Yes, fine thanks. Are you still looking for someone to take Molly’s place in SPOC now she’s gone to Canada? Yes, I think so. Her name is Lucinda. She’s not been in Birley long. She’s twenty-seven and she’s a teacher at St Jude’s. She’s very attractive and she dresses nicely, and she can take a good spanking. What? Yes, of course I’ve spanked her. I wouldn’t recommend her if I hadn’t tried her out. She’s with me now, in the Reserve Room. All right, I will.’
He handed the phone to Lucinda. ‘Helen wants to talk to you.’
‘Hello?’ said Lucinda, uncertainly.
‘Hello, Lucinda,’ said a warm contralto voice. ‘I’m Helen Withington. Jim sounds very pleased with himself. He always is when he’s had some poor girl across his knee. Are you very sore?’
‘I am!’ said Lucinda.
There was a sympathetic chuckle over the phone. ‘Jim has a hard, heavy hand. I should know, it’s smacked my bottom often enough.’
‘I shouldn’t have cried, though, at my age,’ said Lucinda. ‘I felt really ashamed of myself.’
‘My dear, it’s only natural!’ said Helen. ‘I’m forty-five and when my husband takes me across his knee and bares my bottom I’m soon bawling and blubbering disgracefully! Mind you, Robert uses the back of a hairbrush and he does go on and on!’
‘Is your husband a member of SPOC?’ asked Lucinda.
‘Oh yes. So is my daughter Kelly. She’s our youngest member at twenty.’
‘Then she knows about your punishments?’
‘She does,’ said Helen, calmly. ‘She teases me awfully too. She’s not allowed to watch Robert punishing me at home but she claims she can tell whether my bottom is receiving the cane or the tawse or the martinet by the sound of my yells from the bedroom.’
‘Is Kelly punished at home?’
‘Robert says it wouldn’t be right for him to do it, and she says she’s too old now for Mummy to spank. Which is rather disappointing really — I used to feel so happily maternal when I had her wriggling over my lap while I smacked her bare pink bottom! But when we go to SPOC meetings I tell my friend Marjorie if Kelly has behaved badly. Marjorie’s favourite instrument is the extra-long Glasgow tawse and she makes Kelly go across the table with her knickers down in front of everyone for a really first-class leathering. Later in the meeting she can be sure of one of Jim’s special spankings, and one or two of the other members will probably chastise her too. At the last meeting, as well as the strapping and the spanking, Kelly had her legs well smacked by Mrs Morris. She always seems to find that especially shaming and of course it’s intensely painful. Kelly’s thighs and calves were crimson by the time Jane Morris had finished. Then she took three strokes of the cane on each hand from Frank Kay, and finally her bottom was well and truly birched by Miss Foster. Not surprisingly, poor Kelly was sobbing her heart out all the way home in the car, and for the next few days my dear, delinquent daughter was unnaturally well-behaved.’
‘Oooh!’ said Lucinda. ‘I’ve never been birched — yet. Is it horribly painful?’
‘Miss Foster will be happy to demonstrate,’ said Helen. ‘Personally, I think I shall see how your sit-upon responds to a nice, whippy rattan. Do you wriggle nicely when you’re caned, Lucinda?’
‘I don’t know!’ said Lucinda. ‘All my attention is on what it feels like!’
‘We shall see,’ said Helen. ‘But Marjorie shall deal with you first. I’ll suggest that we shall have you and Kelly across the table side by side for a double strapping. I’m sure we’ll hear a very heartfelt soprano duet from the pair of you. Marjorie’s enthusiastic and experienced and she really puts her heart and soul into it! I speak from experience — she’s my dearest friend but when she has a tawse in her hand and my bottom at her mercy, oh my God!’
‘I’m accepted as a member of SPOC, then?’ asked Lucinda.
‘Certainly,’ said Helen. ‘Of course, there is a little initiation ceremony.’
Lucinda gulped. ‘I thought there might be.’
‘You shall choose,’ said the cool voice. ‘Select any implement you see in that room.’
Lucinda looked around, then reached for the wall rack. ‘I’m holding a cane,’ she said.
‘Give it to Jim, please. Now, how many strokes are you to receive, and where?’
Lucinda glanced at Mr Mytton. He grinned and flexed the cane in his hands. ‘I’ll take six strokes on my bottom, Helen.’
‘Very well. Bend over please, Lucinda.’ Again the friendly chuckle. ‘Remember, I shall be listening!’
Lucinda put the phone down and bent over the table, gripping the far edge. Her skirt was turned up and she lifted her hips so that Mr Mytton could take down her tights and knickers. She felt the smooth, thin cane stroking the cheeks of her buttocks, still tender from the spanking.
‘Ready, Lucinda?’ said Mr Mytton.
Whap! The cane struck where it had just been stroking.