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Monday, 17 September 2018

Two of a Kind

From Blushes 22
‘What was it like?’ The girl who asked the question fidgeted nervously in her chair.
The girl who answered was standing. Long eyelashes flickered up and down as if to prevent tears. Pale pink lips twitched. ‘It… it was a-awful…’ The eyelids closed briefly. ‘Far worse than I thought it would be.’
There was an intake of breath from the seated girl. ‘Oh Lord,’ she half sighed, ‘and I’ve always thought of you as much tougher than I am. I mean… you’re Hockey Captain… and you won the long jump last summer. You’re sort of strong.’
The eyelids were raised. A film of tears could be seen. ‘It doesn’t make any difference. Because it hurts too much. It doesn’t matter how tough or strong you are. Until you’ve felt it… you… well… you can’t believe the pain.’
Another gasp from the seated girl. ‘I…I think I shall run away,’ she said.
‘That’s up to you,’ said the standing girl. She put her hands up under the short grey skirt she was wearing and pressed her hands gently to herself. ‘It still burns like crazy.’
‘No… I don’t think I can go through with it…’
‘Then your parents will hear all about it. Mine too, probably. Then I’ll have suffered for nothing. It’s not fair.’
The seated girl nodded. ‘I’m sorry,’ she said.
‘Don’t you love me anymore, Rosie?’
‘Yes… of course I do. But I’m so scared. I wish I was as brave as you, Liza.’
‘I’ve told you… being brave doesn’t help much. Look, I’m still here, aren’t I? I’ve survived, though it was awful at the time. But now, for me, it’s over. The slate is clean. Don’t desert me now, Rosie.’
‘A-alright…’ A head was lowered. ‘It wouldn’t be fair. I do understand that. But… but… oh Liza… I’m so frightened…’ The girl rose from her chair and clasped her companion. Then she kissed her.
‘Don’t… don’t do that… we might be seen!’
‘Of course… of course… oh Liza… I wish it was this time tomorrow.’
‘All over and done with, you mean?’
‘Yes… naturally. I want it out of the way. It… it’s kind of like going through the sound barrier.’
The corners of Rosie’s mouth turned down. ‘Sound… mmm… yes… there’s plenty of sound. Doesn’t make any difference how hard you try.’
‘Don’t go on, Rosie,’ Liza sat down again. ‘It’s bad enough thinking about it already.’
‘Sorry. Just trying to prepare you.’ Liza paused. ‘Oh, by the way, there’s something you ought to know.’
‘O-oh… what’s that?’
‘He makes you take your knickers down.’
‘What!’
‘You heard me, I think. He says it’s a principle with him. He only canes on the bare.’
‘I… I won’t do it! It… it’s downright indecent!’
Liza shrugged. ‘He’ll make you. The alternative is to have Miss Armitage up. Then you get several extra ones.’
‘Oooohh… no!’
‘Oh yes… that’s the way of it, I’m afraid, Rosie.’ Liza, having gone through the fire was feeling a certain sense of superiority. One might almost have described it as smugness. But she still loved her friend very much and naturally felt sorry for her.
‘I won’t do it!’ Rosie covered her face with her hands.
‘I advise you to,’ said Liza gently. ‘Hell… what difference does it make anyway?’
‘A… a lot…’ sobbed Rosie. ‘Oh what a beast that man is!’
‘But he’s in charge,’ replied Liza, ‘and you can’t exactly say that we were acting like innocent angels.’
Rosie, head bowed, remained silent. She was aware of the truth of both statements. ‘Oh how unlucky we were.’
‘Unlucky… but lucky too, I think.’
Rosie looked up and smiled. ‘Yes, of course. I’m being silly. It’s all been wonderful.’
‘And will go on being so, I hope,’ Liza was smiling now.
‘Yes… yes… it must!
‘So you’ll go through with it. No running away? No chickening out at the last minute?’
‘I’ll go through with it.’ Rosie was striving to keep a brave face. ‘After… afterwards… we’ll have something else in common.’
‘Burning weals, you mean?’ Rosie nodded and Liza came and patted her head.
‘You’ll even take your knickers down?’
A shudder. ‘If I really have to.’
‘There’s no doubt about it. But it’s nothing. Nothing really.’ Liza was beginning to feel rather more confident. For a while she had thought Rosie was going to drop her right in it. After all she’d gone through, that would have been the bloody end! ‘I’ve told you the truth,’ she said in a comforting voice. ‘No point in pretending. But, let’s face it, it’s not the end of the world. Millions have suffered a hundred times worse.’
‘I suppose you’re right,’ said Rosie miserably. The sufferings of others did not particularly concern her at that moment. Hers did, however.
----//----
It took a tremendous effort of will to even knock on the door. It was a big brown door with a high polish and a round brass handle. Somehow Rosie managed it. The time was precisely nine thirty a.m. Liza had done just the same twenty-four hours ago, she realised.
‘Come in…’
Heart pounding like that of a young animal in a trap, Rosie turned the handle and pushed open the door. The carpet was thick and brown, the heavy curtains green. The wide desk seemed far away.
‘Ahh… Rosalind Martin. Close the door, please.’ Rosie closed the door and, turning, knew if she had not taken the precaution of going to the lavatory, might well have wet herself at that moment. ‘Come… stand in front of my desk.’
On rubbery legs, Rosie moved across the room. It’s all happening, she thought. Now. She’d agonised about it so long, now it was here. She was reporting to the Head, as ordered… for offences which were considered best left nameless. She stood, trembling. ‘It… it wasn’t my fault… s-sir…’ she said. Betraying her dearest friend seemed of little importance at that moment. Her comment, however, was quite ignored.
‘You know why you are here,’ said the Head. ‘I do not intend to discuss the disgusting details. As I understand from Miss Armitage, you have opted to accept my punishment. Correct?’
Rosie’s thumping heart seemed to rise and settle in her throat. She still had a chance to escape. To be expelled, to face her parents with the hideous facts. To let Liza down. For a moment or two, she thought that might be the easier way. Even if a coward’s way. ‘I… I… well…’ she heard herself stammering.
‘Answer, girl!’
Rosie dissolved. ‘I… accept y-your punishment… sir…’
‘Sensible girl.’ He was up on his feet, brisk. A slim, pale yellow cane slid across the top of the desk. Rosie’s stomach turned to water. ‘Let’s have no nonsense. Once I award a punishment, I carry it out. One way or another. If you change your mind on the way, I shall send for Miss Armitage. That will make matters worse. I hope you understand me.’
Liza had been right. It was exactly as she had said. Terrifying! ‘Yes… I suppose so… sir…’
‘Suppose?’ Eyebrows raised; fingers now running along a flexed cane. ‘Don’t you know full well you deserve to be punished?’
Did she? Well, yes, she supposed she did. But oh, oh, how awful it was! It had seemed such fun, so exciting. Not a sin. Rosie gulped. ‘Y-yes… sir…’ she heard herself saying hoarsely.
‘I’m glad to hear it.’ Round the desk he came, cane still curved in an arc. ‘Now Rosalind, we’ll have that skirt off. And remember what I said about Miss Armitage.’
Rosie remembered… and unfastened the skirt and let it drop.
Perhaps, she thought, it will be different with me. Perhaps he will let me keep my knickers on. After all, I’m a year older than Liza. I’m 18. She stood, trembling, realising the thinness of the tight white briefs she wore. They would offer no protection. What was the point of taking them off? ‘P-please… sir… I’m awfully s-sorry… I’d never do it again…’
Was that her voice? It was like that of a whining child.
‘I don’t think you will,’ said the Head. ‘Now, Rosalind, before you bend over my desk, you will take your knickers down. After that, I shall give you twelve hard strokes with this cane.’
There it was. Out in the open. Knickers off and twelve strokes. What she had known all along but could never bring herself to quite believe. She felt sick. She wanted the floor to open up and swallow her. ‘P-please…’
‘Don’t try my patience, Rosalind!’
Feeling the colour flooding into her cheeks, Rosie pushed down the tiny briefs. They settled around her ankles and she stepped out of them. Instinctively she covered her downy triangle with her hands. The Head, however, seemed uninterested. He was tapping the front of the desk with that swishy cane. ‘I want you over here, Rosalind,’ he was saying. ‘Legs straight, bent right over, holding on to the other side of the desk. Don’t for one moment forget you thoroughly deserve what is coming to you.’
Did she deserve it? Did she really? Well, she had been awfully naughty in a certain kind of way. But did she deserve this? It made very little difference now. It was happening. She thought of Liza. If only I could be as brave as she. Once again she felt as if she might wet herself. Then she bent across the desk, feeling its hard coldness against her belly, feeling her bottom curving taut. Oh, oh, it was going to hurt! That whippy cane… and she quite bare! ‘It… it’s not right!’ she cried out involuntarily.
‘Nor was your behaviour young lady,’ came the sharp reply from above and behind her. Then came a harsh, high-pitched whistling sound… and, the next moment a streak of the purest fiery agony blazed across Rosie’s flesh. It was quite, quite incredibly painful. As Liza had said, it didn’t make any difference whether you were tough or weak. It took you by surprise; it robbed you of your reason. In an instant, Rosie was down on the floor, twisting and jerking, hands pressing to the terrible red-hot wire of pain which was encircling her.
She couldn’t endure twelve like that! She couldn’t!
‘Back over my desk, Rosie,’ came that relentless voice. ‘We’ve only just begun.’
It couldn’t be true! He couldn’t go on like that! He must see she couldn’t possibly endure it. ‘No… no… I can’t b-bear it! Don’t you u-understand?’ She was on her knees, looking up at him through a mist of tears.
‘You imply, girl,’ he said, voice grating, ‘that you wish me to send for Miss Armitage. In which case, let me assure you, I shall give you not a couple more strokes… but six extra. Am I making myself clear?’
Indeed he was! Rosie’s mind reeled at the thought of Miss Armitage holding her across the desk… and she getting not a terrible twelve but an excruciating eighteen. That was beyond all normal belief. Her throat worked; she heard herself uttering incoherent sounds. ‘P-please… please… it’s so d-difficult, sir… but… but… I’ll try…’
‘I expect it is difficult. Just bend over my desk Rosalind.’
‘P-please, sir… not quite… so h-hard…’
‘Just bend over, Rosalind. I am going to cure you, once and for all, of this outrageous behaviour.’
Rosie bent and stretched again, feeling her bottom-flesh clenching uncontrollably with dread. How could she endure even one more such stroke? That harsh, high-pitched whistling sound came again. And so did the incredible streak of fire across both buttock cheeks.
It was unendurable! Unendurable! Once more she was down on the floor, squirming like an eel freshly landed… head tossing, mouth gaping… gasping yelps jetting out.
The Head looked down, flexing his cane. His features were set and lined. Down-turned. But there was a look of infinite satisfaction in his sea-grey eyes. Here was a girl suffering precisely as she ought to!
‘Up… up… Rosalind… we’ve hardly just begun!’ He barked. The ferocious delight in his voice could not be hidden.
----//----
Liza had told her it had been ‘awful’, but it was something far, far worse than that. It was a monstrous inhumanity imposed by one being upon another. Whatever one had done, one did not deserve such pain. It was intolerable.
Yet she had to tolerate it… or endure worse.
Time and time again — it seemed to go on for ever — Rosie dragged herself up and back over that desk. Sobbing and pleading desperately, yet getting no mercy. This was true punishment. Something she could never have quite envisaged before. The word ‘awful’ did not remotely describe the incredible torment of it.
It took Rosie a full fifteen minutes to receive — ‘voluntarily’ — her twelve strokes.
----//----
Now it was Liza who sat and Rosie who stood. Now it was Liza who watched as Rosie put her hands up and under her skirt, sobbing out as she pressed to the ridged weals. Oh the burning throbbing of them! Would it never, never stop?
‘It’s all over now, Rosie,’ said Liza. ‘We’ve paid the penalty — for a lot of pleasure.’
‘But it’s not over… not over… not yet!’ wailed Rosie. And her hands kept pressing and pressing. Uselessly!

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