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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

The Perfectionists - Part II

Story from Janus 55 by Stephen Sims
The perfectionist chapel, grey-slated and sombre-bricked on its high rocky spur, seemed to glare sternly about itself through colour-stained panes that shone with sunrise as it reared up out of a mist which blanketed the countryside far below — so the chapel appeared to be floating through clouds as if the heaven-high ideals of Perfectionism were influencing the solid Victorian structure as comprehensively as they aspired to transform its human adherents.
Even at so early an hour the frontmost pews of the tiny congregational hall were crammed with young females, 35 in number, who comprised the growing sisterhood — for this was a very special occasion. The only approach to the chapel was up a steep flinty climb from the road, often slippery with mud, and though all the devotees were in vigorous health each was aware as she entered, panting hard, through the carved stone doorway, that an ordeal had already been imposed and undertaken. Upon their arrival today all girls had been obliged to strip off their everyday clothing at once and don the penitential grey gowns over their nakedness, for although only one of their number was to receive Prime Atonement, the Magister had decreed that all taking part must themselves be garbed for penitence.
Aged between 18 and 25, each ardent aspirant led a normal everyday life when not at her devotions, for though each yearned to achieve a state as close to absolute soul-purity as the human condition allows, the Magister deemed it essential that the intensely arduous striving towards Perfectionism was undertaken not in some airy-fairy ivory tower, but from a standpoint of gutsy reality. As mothers-to-be and prime influencers of the coming generation the Perfectionists formed thereby the nucleus of a wonderfully elevated society which would spearhead a worldwide movement to raise Mankind from the morass of degeneracy, amorality, apathy and violence into which it had allowed itself to sink.
Now they sat on the hard wooden benches, hips shivering warmly against hips and hands clasped on laps as they waited raptly for their spiritual guide the Magister to appear. Many a softly-curved cheek was flushed with guilt at its owner’s little weaknesses which she strove continually to transcend; and private pleas for inner strength fluttered on plumply kissable lips. Yet all too many an eye gleamed with not-entirely-admirable excitement today — an excitement which each who experienced it would feel compelled to own up to, and be punished accordingly for, when next she took contrition. A Prime Atonement was a rare event, but the anticipation of it struck into their hearts, for every girl knew that a sufficiently serious breach of Perfectionist principles would have her on the receiving end of the awesome ritual about to be carried out.
One of their number, a dancer called Melissande, was especially intrigued, for this ultra-special atonement would climax something which took her back to her very first visit here three months before. The 19-year-old’s pretty eyes blinked at the memory of Anita, the stunningly attractive lady lawyer who had taken contrition ahead of Melissande on that occasion, and had then hurried from the chapel in obvious distress. Whatever Anita’s ‘offences’ were had clearly been considered extremely grave by the Magister, for her atonement had evidently been continuing ever since, and this Prime Atonement at the sleepy dawn hour was to be its cataclysmic finale. Melissande certainly recollected how astounded and embarrassed she herself had been, having shyly responded to the Magister’s invitation to take her own first contrition, to find herself bent double across a padded beam being spanked firmly on her bottom with a paddle over tight-fitting whipping drawers by way of initial atonement! And yet, extraordinarily, the experience had filled her heart and mind with light somehow; and since then the sprightly ballet girl had expanded her vital awareness to a remarkable degree, eliminating many selfish traits and negative attitudes which had been holding her back. But the road to inner purity was rigorous indeed, and Melissande had so far received six further chastisements, without the scant protection afforded by the whipping drawers, on her glaringly bared bottom. Indeed, the rear ends of most of the girls gathered in the chapel that morning, pressed squirmingly against the time-seasoned pews, glowed from the Magister’s recent devout attentions.
Now the object of all this speculation and anticipation, the young female barrister called Anita, was alone in the chapel basement kneeling on a rush mat, as naked as the rest beneath the grey gown she wore. She had been in that cripplingly humbling position for six hours following a midnight arrival. A single candle had burned the night hours away with the scent of joss, accompanying the agonised inner contemplations of her lone soul-vigil. Physically Anita was lovely. Five feet eight inches tall, her magnificently-proportioned body was crowned with a head of shiny-thick butter-coloured hair which made it seem that sunshine played constantly about her vivacious film-star face. The candle-light flapped and flickered on her bowed figure, casting the rounded cheeks into shadow and igniting summer-sky eyes, half-closed in the healing anguish of penitence. The vertical forehead and plucky chin were a sculptor’s dream, the full red lips seemingly made for kissing rather than mere functions like eating or speaking.
As Anita squatted there with pain-cramped muscles, the flame-radiance glissaded down her spine and brought into shadow-valleyed relief the twin rumps trapped tightly in the gown’s fabric, while her breasts hung hidden like cherry-tipped moons under cloud. Pressed for so long against the floor the girl’s knees had ached to burning-point, then numbed. Her hands had chafed with elegant fingers at thighs and hips to restore circulation during the long hours, and had wrung themselves hard together as she had contemplated over and over the deep offence against Perfectionism for which the Magister had ordained such extreme atonement.
Yet and again too, Anita had relived in her mind the particular contrition she had taken those dozen or so weeks before — of stripping naked as usual and pulling on the chill grey gown, then kneeling inside the Contrition Box. The Magister, so imposingly tall and broad in his snowy robes, the white hair of a magician or prophet belying the youthful handsome features, had invited her to unburden to him the lapses from grace which were retarding her way to Perfectionist enlightenment.
‘I have broken a marriage,’ she had declared in her husky, highly-cultured tones. Her normal niceties of expression and clever word-flow had deserted her. ‘His wife found out,’ she had continued bluntly, horribly aware of how coarse and flagrant it sounded. ‘I’m a normal woman with full appetites, Magister! Because of my — well, my looks — I have many temptations. My lover’s wife begged me to end the affair, if only for their children’s sake, but I insisted that the decision lay with him. Her husband refused to stop seeing me, so she sent him packing, had a breakdown. It all amused me, rather. He asked me to live with him — then begged. I felt only contempt at how quickly he fell apart under stress, and told him to go. And then I found another. And another. My body burned for sexual gratification. I am Scorpio. My body rules me, Magister. The more I attempt to pursue the Perfectionist ideal, the more my body burns with impure lusts. One day I wish to marry, to truly and purely love, to have children raised in enlightenment. But I cannot get through. Help me…’
Here Anita, choked with emotion, had been unable to continue.
The Magister had helped the distraught young woman from her side of the Contrition Box. This time he did not fetch any instrument of chastisement, but said with passionate solemnity: ‘The first part of your atonement, Anita, is abstinence from all sexual practice for the next three months.’ She had gaped at him, appalled. ‘During this period,’ he went on, ‘you are forbidden absolutely to relate to any partner in a sexual way. Nor are you permitted to gratify yourself. You will conduct your professional life with your usual dignity and skill, but not respond to or make use of sexually orientated advances. Chastity and decorum must be your watchwords. If at the end of this period you have managed to triumph over these base bodily cravings, you will receive Prime Atonement…’
At this the already shocked Anita had cried out in amazed protest. ‘Yes, Prime Atonement,’ the Magister repeated firmly. ‘To be regarded as privilege rather than punishment. It will take place in the chapel hall with all your Perfectionist sisters participating, for in this ceremony of ultimate abasement you will be celebrating the ascendancy of spirit over impulse, and have demonstrated to yourself that you truly have lit your inner light which will lead to Perfection.’
That had been three months ago. Now, upstairs in the chapel hall, the grey-gowned neophytes sat up more alertly as the Magister appeared through the velvet curtain from his inner sanctum. For more than a minute he stood surveying each of his charges in turn from beneath the imposing brow, sensing each tender soul quail under his searching gaze, his Messianic form etched dramatically against the high eastern window behind him. Then he raised large hands, of crushing power or butterfly-gentle, to demand their total attention, and many a girl’s eye grew moist at the recent memory of those hard palms spanking their rosy upturned rumps in the atonement room, rumps which had grown so accustomed to the stinging detonations that they yearned for more, for soul’s ease, as a thirsty body yearns for drink.
‘Sister Perfectionists,’ the Magister began in a clear, reverberating voice. ‘We are here to help our fellow sister Anita transcend the shackles of her baser senses, just as each of you must learn!’ In the congregation breasts rose and fell, fingers twisted tensely. ‘As you are discovering, we weak human creatures can find great strength by constant self-examination of our sinful selves, and by unflinchingly driving out all foulness and damagingly negative traces from our natures. As mothers of the generation yet to be born you hold the keys to a vivid new world of joyous fulfilment, of universal peace and plenty and compassionate understanding. A world where cowardly crime, uncaring cynicism and self-degrading morals will have been rooted out in their infancy. Perfection is attainable by all. We are here to make reality of dreams!’
The Magister now turned towards the altar stone — a flat surface of prehistoric granite some three feet square, raised as many feet above ground level. With great ceremony he took a spotlessly white cloth which he opened out and laid over the chill stone so that the multi-coloured daylight streaming in through the tall windows stained it with rainbows. He then indicated a large open box beside the altar, filled with what appeared to be long strips of dark coarse hair tied together in bundles.
‘You will file up here, please,’ he instructed more quietly, ‘and each take one of these swishes, with which you will at once assume your positions around the hall, in readiness.’
The congregation rose with a strange collective sigh and shuffled silently forward, one by one, to withdraw from the box a horsehair swish some two feet long, bound with a thong at the top to form a handle. Pretty faces, pursed lips, gleaming eyes, hips broad or slender, breasts softly shivering, feet bared, the Perfectionist sisterhood moved dutifully, love-hot in the purest sense, and took up their individual prearranged stations around the walls of the little chapel — a long grey-garbed snake of perfumed femininity which began at the head of the basement steps and ended at the snowily cloth-draped altar stone, each gripping one of the long swishes as though a pony’s tail grew from her feminine fist.
‘Ready yourselves,’ came the Magister’s ringing tones. ‘The Prime Atonement of our sister Anita will now begin!’ So saying, he strode across the hall and started with awesome solemnity down the steps.
In the basement side-chapel the kneeling Anita stiffened. The three-month sex ban had seemed to her an impossible ordeal when the Magister had ordained it. Many times since, she had woken sweating in the night, aching for masculine comfort. Many times she had decided the Perfectionist road was far too arduous for such as she. And yet that dream of enlightenment had continued to shine like a beacon through fog — and the highly intelligent, erudite young woman had rebelled furiously against her own frailties and continued to relinquish all carnal or romantic contact with men, though the yearning was like an appalling void in the centre of her being. Racked by desire, her fingers had strayed time and again to her own roused moistness — but had not touched, for in those rages of need the thought of the Magister’s reproving gaze had stilled her.
In due course, then, the intense yearnings had ebbed, as a fever will pass. She re-read Nietzsche, seeking solace. In Also Sprach Zarathustra Anita had smiled to find again:
I teach you the superman. Man is something to be surpassed.
And under the heading of Chastity she had wept contentedly to read:
Would at least ye were perfect, as are the beasts. But to the beast belongeth innocence. Do I counsel you to slay your senses? I counsel you innocence of the senses!
Now, three months later, already much elevated in spirit by her abstinence, Anita had to face and endure the Prime Atonement. Still kneeling, she pushed steepled fingers against her lips, mumbling pleas that she might bear the humiliation and pain. She had heard the rustling commotion up in the chapel as the sisterhood prepared to receive her, and her heart began to slam as the Magister’s footbeats approached down the basement steps. Then he was there.
‘Are you ready to receive Prime Atonement?’ His voice was calm and deep as he stood over the kneeling penitent.
Anita’s lips had dried. She could not speak, but managed to dip her head in obeisance. Now the moment was here, trepidation froze her.
‘It is time to be brave,’ he murmured. ‘You may stand now.’ The Magister stooped and grasped the girl’s elbow to help her rise. Anita’s muscles were cramped, and although the stabbing ache was acute as she slowly straightened her legs, the brief physical contact with the man shot exquisite bolts into her which made her gasp. The Magister at once released the young woman. ‘Take off your gown,’ came his commanding tones.
‘Must I?’ It was a plea. Surely this ordeal would be enough without the ultimate abasement of nakedness! The restoring circulation stabbed her with a million pinpricks.
‘Take off the gown,’ he insisted.
Anita’s fingers trembled as she fumbled with laces, then eased the grey garment back off her shoulders so that two beautifully spherical breasts burst clear in the candle-glow, softly quivering, marble-white. The crimson nipples surrounded by dark-brown areolas were stiff with fear. Even the Magister, as accustomed to naked females as a surgeon, felt an awe settle into him as he gazed at the sublime girl. Her gown rustled to the floor, and Anita stood defencelessly exposed, every inch of her bare flesh lapped by the candlelight. Her buttercup-yellow hair framed a face of heart-wrenching appeal, the dazing blue eyes wide with apprehension. The neat nose and full sensuous lips, the plucky chin and plump cheeks, seemed to the Magister to have come to glorious life from some mediaeval masterpiece. Her body was truly magnificent, the broad shoulders tapering to a narrow waist, the belly flat as a boy’s beneath the ripely hanging globes of her gorgeous breasts. Her hips and pelvis widened to support long stately legs, at the apex of which was a triangular bush of yellow-gold hair. Instinctively the graceful arms swung forward to cup hands over her private regions and a faint flush appeared on her cheeks. Untouched for many weeks her skin was elsewhere flawlessly pale, tender and warmly pliant.
‘I’m afraid,’ she whispered.
The Magister’s voice, normally vibrant, sounded hoarse. ‘What is about to happen,’ he declared, ‘is done with purest love, Anita. There is not one of your sisters who does not wish you the ultimate fulfilment of Perfectionist enlightenment.’ He moved around behind the young woman, and his throat constricted. Her supple back swooped down to the top of the deep incurving cleft between the swelling glories of two exquisitely rounded, petal-soft buttocks, the under-cheeks dipping tightly into the bushy crevice between sturdy silken thighs. A staunchly-controlled joy surged in him, for that marble-white, flawless bottom — the gateway to her soul in Perfectionist parlance — was to be his to chasten and control on the final drive to the ecstasy Anita yearned for.
‘Go now!’ he instructed. And Anita squared her shoulders, stepped out into the lower passage. Then, her extreme agitation tempered by an incomprehensible elation, she mounted the steps.
Up in the congregational hall the 35 young females tensed where they stood in a staggered line to left and right of the path Anita would have to take around the back of the pews and down the far side to the white-draped altar-stone. Grey-gowned over their nakedness they gripped their swishes more tightly. The first in line, called Berenice, red-haired and freckled, gaped in momentary stunned rapture at the sight of Anita as she came slowly into view up the steps. Indeed, Anita’s appearance was as sensational as a Venus rising from the deeps to walk among mortals — and there wasn’t a girl there who didn’t sense that this breathcatchingly lovely young lady, as naked as when she was born, was about to blaze through her self-imposed barriers to achieve a glorious destiny.
Anita sensed it too. Her glamorously attractive face was rapt, the angelic eyes widely alight as she took a pace towards the first girl, Berenice. The redhead, transfixed for a moment more, came suddenly to herself as Anita drew alongside, eyes fixed on the ground a few feet ahead. She swung back the light horsehair flail and struck it with an energetic grunt at Anita’s thigh. The scourging was symbolic rather than punitive, and although the coarse hairs lashed the soft flesh of her upper leg with some force, they did little more than prickle the skin there and pinken it, as a light slap might do.
Anita had paused, surprised at the lack of impact in the caressive thrash. ‘You must not stop. Keep walking!’ Was that the Magister’s voice, somewhere behind her? Anita felt entranced, like a firewalker dreading the sear of red-hot coals yet experiencing instead a mild, almost pleasurable, warmth. She took another step — two, three — and to her left a grey-robed figure swung an arm. There was a brief whistle in the air and a slap against her other thigh, tingling in her blood like sparkling wine. On she moved into the waiting gauntlet of femininity till the next mild, hissing splat of a hair-flail sprayed against her stomach — that firm, flat belly with its snug golden triangle between the slender thighs, across the backs of which the following flail lightly stung. Her golden head held high like a lovely nude model practising deportment with an invisible book perched atop it, Anita trod ever forward along the sides of the pews, flinching only slightly as each swish hissed and tingled.
At every stride, and as she turned the corner to start along the rear of the hall, Anita’s bright bobbing hair ruffled her shoulders, the glorious pendulous breasts shivering and swinging. The light caught her eyes and lit each with glittering radiance, her redly kissable lips raptly parted as each gowned sister waited her turn to apply the gentle scourge — the collective purpose of which was to stimulate the Prime Atoner’s skin follicles like a loving massage, to attune her beautifully statuesque young body for what was to follow once she reached the altar-stone; to open up her senses as sunlight opens a flower.
Swish-swosh! Two flails struck almost simultaneously with a slight smart and a tickle across her back and shoulders; and still Anita trod on past the staggered line of grey-garbed young women with flails raised to whip down or across with calculated accuracy as she came by. The coarse-hair bundles flicked and flashed as each sister struck — now on Anita’s calves, her elbows and knees, the back of her neck. Each girl had been pre-primed to strike in a particular spot on Anita’s delectable anatomy, and after more than a dozen flailings Anita’s proud straight back was reddened as if from sunburn; as were her shoulders, the backs of her legs, her thighs. Pinkly tingling, arousing her like the light-fingered subtle stokes of many diverse lovers, one after the other with scarcely a pause. The licking blows had a cumulative effect, stimulating from its dormant state the inexpressibly sweet arousal she had spent so many long, lonely weeks denying.
Anita turned the second corner at the top of the hall to pursue her naked walk along the frenziedly active line of grey-garbed lashers; and the swishes continued to strike her, from either side and sometimes both sides at once, with tickling tingles — now across her throat, her midriff, the backs of her knees, her feet. One bundle of rough hairs caught her left breast and made the lushly pendulous mound quiver and blush; another kissed her right breast with the same effect; the next brushed both nipples to full erection. And Anita strode on, her lovely long-lashed eyes watching in dazed fascination the gowned arms rising like train-signals at her approach, to unleash the swiftly-whipped swish then fall to rest as the recipient passed on her way.
Anita’s body was now swarming all over with warm tingles, itching and tingling in a most arousing way — but it came to her, even in the heat of the activity, that the only part of her body that none of the switches had touched was her buttocks, which shivered chaste and inviolate at every step she took. In a sort of wonder her hands went behind her and cupped each fleshy cheek, marvelling at their unblemished coolness. She could not see, as she turned the final corner in a continuous hail of whippy tickles against her shins, forearms, upper chest and sides to move along the front of the pews to the altar-stone at the front-centre of the chapel hall, that almost every inch of her skin-surface was now flushed a bright pink where the 35 swishes had aimed and struck. Except for her buttocks, whose enticingly swelling rounds glared like two white moons in contrast.
Reaching the sanctuary of the altar-stone, Anita sank devoutly to her knees. The first part of the Prime Atonement was over, and all but four of the gowned sisterhood filed wordlessly back to their places in the pews, where they perched and tensely watched for the next stage of the proceedings to begin. They saw how unmovingly the beautiful young lawyer knelt before the altar-stone, her naked reddened back towards them, tapering from broad shoulders clouded by tumbled saffron hair to the enviably narrow waist and outswell of nubile hips. They could not properly see, until Anita rose up off her haunches, how flawlessly white above her flushed thigh-backs were the exquisitely rounded buttocks.
Four of the Perfectionists had remained standing when the others returned to the pews. They were Melissande, the young dancer, Gail, the fashion executive, the redhead Berenice, and a girl called Ingrid who had a mop of flaxen hair and was a Scandinavian au pair. Having been allotted this important role by the Magister, they stepped around to flank the kneeling nude, two on either side. And then the Magister was there, appearing dramatically between altar and high eastern window. His imposing, white-robed form approached Anita — who, in rising from her haunches while remaining on her knees, was offering herself submissively for inspection.
This the Magister now did, with great and exacting thoroughness, noting how the creamily petal-soft nether-cheeks stood out in stark contrast to the pink skin-flushes which lividly coloured every other part of her body. And a sigh went up around the chapel hall, for the grey-garbed sisters knew that their spiritual mentor was satisfied with the part they had played in the ritual scourging of this lovely young woman.
‘Present our sister Anita to the Place of Punishment,’ came the deep-toned command. The statuesque blonde shut her eyes as if in prayer as the four Perfectionists so detailed assisted the Prime Atoner to her feet. They led her, unprotesting, to the altar-stone and stood her to one side of it. Then they turned Anita so that she was facing the rapt congregation.
With the window at her back, the young solicitor appeared ethereally beautiful: sapphire eyes upraised in the face of an angel, a face wreathed by the thick hair-clusters of tumbled golden radiance set atop a figure with the timelessly exquisite proportions of a Greek goddess. And all those in the pews watched entranced as, at a signal from the Magister, Anita turned her mother-naked body to her left to face the side of the white-draped altar-stone, which reached up as high as her pelvis. Her upright, graceful form was now in profile to the watching congregants, who gazed in dazed pleasure at the firmly out-thrust glories of her unsupported breasts, the supple swoop of her spine to the ripely-rounded convexities of her marble-white buttocks and the long slender legs, pinkened in contrast, which by now were shaking more than a little.
‘Place our sister across the stone,’ the Magister intoned. Just for a moment Anita struggled, like a wild bird trapped in a net, as the four assisters were required to use a certain force to draw, heft and pull the Prime Atoner forward over the high, flat stone. But once she was lying helplessly across it, and the chill of the stone, striking up through its snowy drapery, was sinking into her naked belly and breasts and thigh-tops, Anita gave a long sigh and her struggles ceased.
‘Secure our sister to receive her thrashing.’ At this ringing command, Gail and Melissande each seized one of Anita’s outflung wrists and squatted down. In like manner did Berenice and Ingrid each take one of her ankles and do the same — so that the lovely nude girl was spread-eagled across the altar-stone with her outstretched arms and legs secured in an enchanting cross. And, with the four limb-pinioning assisters crouched low at each corner of the stone, the rapt congregants had an unrestricted view of Anita held down naked across the draped altar-rock, her pallid buttocks, swellingly rounded in horizontal profile, gleaming ripely in the strengthening light.
The Magister now took up a long-bristled ceremonial brush called an aspergillum, dipped it into a font of pure spring water and flicked it with devotional fervour and a murmured blessing at Anita’s sacrificially prepared bottom-cheeks, observing the muscles flicker beneath the pump satiny skin. Then he drew out from behind the ancient lectern a stout rod of birch-twigs, raised it on high — and all in the congregation gasped. Muttering invocations, the Magister now stepped down from the slightly-elevated platform behind the altar and stood before Anita’s down-hanging head and its cascade of butter-hued hair. Stooping, the tall powerful man placed the instrument close to her mouth with a humbly sacramental gesture. ‘Kiss the birch, Anita,’ he murmured.
With an involuntary shudder, Anita pursed her mouth and touched it to the birch-twigs, smelling the brushwood aroma, tasting the bitter tang of the whippy strips.
She kissed tentatively at first, then greedily, with her sensuously wide, full red lips. The Magister then withdrew the rod, remounted the step and took up a position facing the congregation of grey-gowned femininity, standing a little above Anita’s smooth white waiting buttocks, his right arm at sufficient height to allow for a vigorous downswing.
Standing thus, with his ruggedly handsome head irradiated in dramatic silhouette against the sun-filled coloured windows behind him, he raised his voice to address the sisterhood.
‘The world which our sister Anita seeks is the world you all seek, the one I have had the everlasting joy to find!’ he exclaimed. ‘A plane of soul-incandescing experience infinitely beautiful, beyond this immediate plane and yet an integral part of it, where joy and light infuse every element of our beings!’ His voice lowered to a husky growl, inflexibly sincere. ‘It is in pursuit of this rapturous and perfect life-condition, attainable by all who truly seek it, that Anita’s Prime Atonement now continues.’
There was a watchful, exhilarated stillness as the Magister paused, then proffered the birch-rod to the Prime Atoner’s rich, springy bottom-cheeks; and Anita sucked in her breath at the tickly feel of the slender twigs pressing coolly against the fleshy cushions upon which she normally sat. The rod felt so intimate, intimate and virtually alive, and thrilling flickers seeped into her. Elsewhere her lightly-flagellated, reddened body continued to tingle with deliciously languorous warmth. Anita squirmed, with the softest little groan of what she had to admit of as pleasure, as the supple twigs sank into the snug crevice between her posteriors and briefly, tantalisingly, touched the quick of her. She felt the eyes of the entire congregation focused upon her, an exhibitionistic, self-sacrificing rapture kindly in her soul.
Then the Magister raised the birch-rod into sun-hazed silhouette, paused a further moment in stern contemplation of the recipient spread-eagled naked across the altar-stone before him, then brought it swishing down to collide with a profound Thrashhh! against the marble-white cheeks of that glorious upraised bottom.
Pain roared through Anita’s senses and found expression in a harsh yowl which echoed round the wails of the tiny chapel. While the shock of the blow, full-blooded on the petal-soft mounds of that exquisite womanly arse, infused them with furnace-heat, the birch climbed above his shoulder and swept down again to jar splatteringly against her buttocks with the sizzling impact of a lightning-flash. The watching sisterhood strained forward with mouths agape and hearts drumming, imagining with stabs of bewitching dread how that fearsome rod would feel battering against their own bared bottoms.
Even the Magister grunted with effort as he dropped the next stroke with accurately-placed force against the shuddering hillocks, making them wobble and jump. A meshwork of scarlet lines had sprung up glaringly on the satin-smooth surfaces of the target area, changing their previous ivory hue to the healthy pinkness of a maiden’s blush; and he knew it was his stern duty to cover every inch of those ripely curvaceous mounds so that Anita’s entire bare body was one all-suffusing flush. Thwosh! The birch-rod slammed against the under-cheeks of Anita’s rippling seat; and when she began to plead incoherently and tug against the four girls who held her legs and arms in rigid grips, he struck through her cries with another scorching stroke.
As the hurt erupted again and again in searing shocks against her bottom, Anita began to squirm and groan all the more, grinding the front of her naked body on the hard cool surface against which it was pressed, restrained as she was at ankles and wrists. Berenice and Ingrid, hugging her feet to their breasts with all their strength, strove against Anita’s kicking struggles and stretched her long shapely legs. Anita’s gasped shrieks rent the chapel air as the Magister shifted position and directed the birch in a series of hissing swipes to turn even the flesh closest to her intimately private zone a livid red.
As the thunderous birching continued, thrashing and swoshing across her roasting nether-globes, it seemed to Anita, impaled on a rack of anguish, as if a tiny silver spot in the very centre of her consciousness were beginning to activate, as if the blasting pains which slammed with such remorseless regularity through her entire being were combining with the throbbingly pleasant post-chastisement tingles of her back, breasts, legs, arms, hands, belly and thighs to melt into a single core of paradisiacal sensation somewhere at her spine-base. Anita lost count of the number of thrashes which lashed with stunning severity across her proud haunches: 15, 20, 25 — it had now become of vital importance only that they continue. The Magister took on, in her hazing senses, the aspect of a tower of numinous magnificence hovering somewhere on another plane — and as her mind floated into a limbo where pain and joy were fused into one extraordinary new sensation, only the slashing impacts of the twigs served to connect her to earth; while piece by piece, as stroke followed stroke, the fierce sparkling jolts were easing the beautiful, highly-sexed girl free from the shackles which bound her to baseness: the scalding blasts were transmuting to concussions of sweet energy feeding into her soul via her blazing bottom-cheeks — an inner-irradiating force which began to vibrate to her very extremities, swelling and intensifying.
Hrrrassh! The twigs slammed yet again across the lushly feminine derriere now crimson-hot — but the Magister did not stay his hand, for cries of a subtly different kind — little sobbed bleats and trills of wonderment — started from Anita’s red, parted lips, her adorably lovely features contorted to bare perfect pearl-white teeth in a silent snarl remarkably like that of a woman in the throes of mounting desire. Melissande and Gail still clung to her rocking wrists, Berenice and Ingrid her ankles, yet found it increasingly difficult to maintain their hold on the perspiring skin as Anita’s soundly-thrashed body bucked and writhed in its anguish on the altar-stone. The four girls holding her down were beginning to sweat themselves, and each could feel a dark excitement building inside them where they crouched — transmitted from the naked gold-haired beauty being birched so intimately close to them, whose every breath and groan might have been their own, whose every muscular contraction rippled through their own bodies, whose arousal was striking directly into their senses now, like a maddeningly exciting perfume.
Thwash, thwosh, swish! The birch had life of its own. Anita was no longer Anita, but an entity of light: a blazing light which had intensified from that tiny silver core; and as the vortex of delectable sensation swirled ever wider and deeper, Anita’s hips began to rock with rhythmic urgency, and at each spasm her tormented buttocks heaved upwards, so eager did they seem to meet the birch’s downstroke. And the Magister saw, and a stern joy flowed through him as he subtly altered his arm’s rhythm to match that of the beautiful livid bottom which was now rising and falling with the intent thrusting energy of a piston.
For Anita, the whirlpool dominating all her senses boiled suddenly up. She did not know how loudly she cried, nor how her body wrenched and pushed to the plunging kisses of the birch. She did not know that the four Perfectionist sisters who held her were in the grip of those same transmitted throes which incandesced her entire being, their own thighs beneath the grey robes jerking with elated shivers. She did not know that five of the watchers in the pews had sagged sideways in a faint, nor that the rest were ululating in transports of shared ecstasy. The thrilling, sparkling whirlpool turned in on itself, became a sun which burst apart into wave after wave of inconceivable rapture.
Anita’s long climactic wail was the enthralling culmination of the symphony her delicious body and the birchen scourge had played. At the massive intensity of her release the sisterhood in the pews fell forward, spent. The four who had held her sank down shaking and weeping. And the Magister stepped back and laid the birch-rod to rest, with great reverence, on the altar-stone beside his Prime Atoner.
And Anita burst into a land of light: she was transformed, flying through zones of spirit unimagined. No mere lover could ever give her what she had just known, an emotional implosion so comprehensively prodigious that she would never again experience self-doubt or fear the path she must take. It was as though the burdens of her worldly self, grey and poisonous, had fallen from her like a chunk of granite as cumbersome as the altar-stone across which she still lay, face-down and gasping, laughing, weeping.
When Anita stood up, the Magister saw that she was indeed transformed. Her eyes were clear, the storm had passed; her smile was of a quality that only he could recognise, as one who had himself broken through that largely self-imposed barrier which separates the dross of earthly life from the spiritual gold.
Anita sank to her knees and kissed the Magister’s hands. She did not thank him in words, for words were too preposterously trivial a vehicle of communication. Her lovely upturned eyes, melting into his own steady gaze, said what her lips could not. And the rest of the sisterhood, enchanted by the revelational happening to which they had all contributed, felt their own souls uplifted, their own wills reinforced to continue along the path to Perfection.

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