SELINA turned the amber-coloured Volvo off the little side street and up the curving drive. Gravel scrunched under the tread of the new tyres. The spreading evergreen still stood at the back of the building, its branches shading the bay windows and the mellow old brickwork. She parked the car and turned off the purring engine and lit a long, expensive cigarette and gazed at the house and what she could see of the grounds and the pond. It had been, she reflected, more than a dozen years since she had last seen this view.
After a few moments she flung open the car door and stepped out, shaking out the skirt of her two-piece and dipping into the car for her elegant beige leather handbag. She flung her half-smoked cigarette onto the gravel without bothering to put it out and slammed the car door, walking away without locking it. The autumn breeze lifted the fringe of fine blonde hair from her brow.
When she stepped through the door and into the corridor, off which led the doors to most of the ground floor classrooms, she was at first struck by how small the place seemed. The ceilings had been higher, the polished boards wider and more glossy, the panelled walls endless, she thought.
‘Of course,’ she murmured to herself. ‘I wasn’t even quite 18 then. The place must have seemed a lot grander. After all, I’d seen little enough of the world. Now then, where’s the staircase?’
At this hour of the early evening – before classes had commenced – there were but a few people in the old priory which had been the scene of Selina’s schooldays. The one or two members of the administrative staff who passed her directed a curious glance or two at her, but her confident bearing and the cut of her clothes gave her an air of authority, as if she had every right to be there. No one challenged her. And she was making her way so directly to where she was going that nobody thought to ask if she needed directions. She ascended the oaken staircase. The paintings that had been on the walls in her day were no longer there. Kept by the trustees, she guessed, when they had sold the building to the local authority to be an annexe of the technical college and evening institute, and the small private school had moved out into rural Warwickshire.
Miss Felton’s form room was where she remembered it: at the head of the stairs, across the landing. The branches of the evergreen swung near the panes of the bay window. She fancied she could still scent the chalkdust in the air, although the old blackboard on its tripod had gone, replaced by a modern, greenish one on the end wall. The walls were bare except for a few timetables and the fire regulations. The heavy old desks and chairs, scored by innumerable compass points and penknives, had been superseded by insipid, modern furniture. Miss Felton’s desk, raised on a dais a foot so that she could stare down on her pupils in regal authority, was replaced by an ordinary table with a formica top.
Selina closed the door behind her and leaned back against it, her hands pressed flat between the wood and her bottom, and took a deep breath. The years fell away and it seemed as though she could hear the scratch of pens, the rustle of textbook pages, the measured tread of Miss Felton patrolling the ranks of desks as the class of a dozen girls laboured over their set task. It seemed she could hear the hissing whispers of the plump, fair girl with the pageboy hairdo, a rather florid girl who was an incessant chatterer – what had been her name? Gail! Gail Wethered.
‘Gail Wethered! Come here at once, girl! How many times do you think I am going to tell you?’
The hush that instantly fell upon the class was that of a dozen girls holding their breath. Gail’s round face had instantly constricted with something approaching panic as soon as she heard her name rapped out in that tone. Her china-blue eyes were as round as saucers and her jaw hung down. She gulped and shot a look at Selina before haltingly rising to her feet. Selina, perhaps disloyally, just felt enormously glad that she had merely been the slightly irritated target of Gail’s whispered chatter. She had not reciprocated nor had she, it seemed, been included in Gail’s crime. Miss Felton was standing, hands on her hips, in stern reproof, in front of the class. Her position made the severe cut of her tweeds look even more formidable and masculine. She tapped her foot, once. As if stung by this sign of increasing displeasure, Gail leapt to her feet and scampered out to the front of the class, the hem of her dark-grey pleated skirt bobbing. Miss Felton waited until she had stopped and then thrust her face forward into that of the trembling plump blonde.
‘Did you not hear me when I reprimanded you for talking not ten minutes ago?’ she asked, her voice low and even.
Gail seemed to shrink. ‘No, Miss. I mean yes, Miss.’
‘Are you trying to disturb the entire class, is that it? When I specifically tell you there is to be no talking do you set out deliberately to defy me?’
Turn around and face the class. Stand in front of that desk there.’ Miss Felton propelled the unlucky pupil about-face by one shoulder, shoving her against the edge of one of the empty desks which always somehow gathered in the front row.
‘Get across it.’
‘Oh no, Miss, please!’
‘Are you arguing with me?’ Miss Felton’s tone was icy.
‘No, Miss,’ Gail mumbled miserably, leaning forward over the desk so that her hair swung around her face. Miss Felton picked up the heavy wooden ruler from her own desk top.
‘Right down, Gail.’ The girl grimaced and leaned even further forward, flattening her ample breasts against the wood surface which sloped down and away from her. Her rear end was now higher than her head. Miss Felton seized the hem of the short pleated skirt and flung it up around the girl’s waist. Selina and the rest of the class drew a corporate breath of teenage horror. They were then treated to the sight of Miss Felton taking hold of what they rightly supposed to be the waistband of Gail’s panties. Poor Gail gave a wail and attempted to stand up, clapping her hands behind her in a vain effort to stem the tide of indignity being visited upon her. But Miss Felton simply and expertly crossed Gail’s wrists at the small of her back and, holding her thus down upon the desk, hauled the panties down with her indefatigable right hand before picking up the ruler once more.
The class could now be in little doubt as to what was about to follow. They could see Gail’s face, but not her bottom. Those at the sides of the classroom craned for a better view of the brief knickers now resident around her knees. Miss Felton lifted the ruler above her shoulder and brought it swooping down onto that ignominiously bared behind where it landed with a crack which echoed across the room. Gail’s yell was ear-splitting.
‘Arrgh!’ she howled, and all Serena’s nerves were thrilled by the sound. The ruler went up and down again with speed and regularity, its reports punctuating Gail’s squeals and Miss Felton’s remonstrances.
‘In future –’ Whack! ‘Owwch!’ ‘– you will keep quiet when you are told –’ Whack! ‘EEErgh!’ ‘– and if you ever dare –’ Whack! ‘Yeeeow!’ ‘– to disobey again –’ Whack! ‘Owwwww!’ ‘– then you will find that –’ Whack! ‘Ouch, oh, please –’ ‘– a taste of the cane will soon deter you from –’ Whack! ‘Ooooh –!’ ‘– ever doing so again!’ Whack! ‘EEEEEK!’ ‘Now get back to your seat!’
Miss Felton turned and strode back to her desk. Poor Gail scrambled her panties up beneath her skirt, wincing as the elastic scraped across her flaming cheeks, then hurried, head down, back to her place beside Selina. She sat down, and immediately rose again, with something which started out to be a screech, but which, at a glance from Miss Felton, was quickly cut off. She snuffled a little throughout the rest of the lesson but was more silent than Selina had ever known. Her cheeks were still wet when the bell rang.
* * *
Selina came to with a start. She looked around the classroom as if surprised that it no longer contained the hushed class, the cowed Gail and the imperious Miss Felton. Daydreaming again, she thought to herself, and giving a shrug, left the room and started down the stairs to the college office.
To her surprise, the room which had housed the school office was now a classroom, the original door from the hallway bricked up. A half-glassed door bearing the sign ‘College Administration’ was in front of what she remembered as the principal’s office. Selina entered without knocking, causing the single occupant of the room, a middle-aged woman seated before a typewriter, to look up.
‘Can I help you?’ she asked.
‘You may be able to,’ answered Selina briskly, striding so purposefully to the counter that her full skirt positively swished around her slender knees. She placed her handbag on the counter and paused for a moment to let her appearance have its customary effect. It usually got the desired results from people employed in menial positions.
She was tall for a woman, five-feet-eight without heels, and her model’s training showed in her walk. Her sheer hose, high heels and careful and exquisite make-up all combined with the obvious expense of her outfit to give the impression of privileged elegance; a woman who had no need to work and no worries over money. The fine fair hair framed her face and fell neatly around the collar of her jacket. The green eyes, set above a rather long, straight nose, were cool and aristocratic. They were the eyes of a woman who, at the age of 29, had grown used to getting her own way.
When she was convinced that the other was suitably impressed, Selina spoke.
‘You are aware, perhaps, that this building was formerly the Priory Academy for Young Ladies? A private school? Before it was sold to the local authority and turned into –’ Selina flapped her gloves around her in a gesture of distaste. ‘In those days it was presided over by a Miss Felton, MA (Oxon) I believe, who –’
‘Miss Felton, yes, that’s right.’
‘I beg your pardon?’ Selina, irritated by the interruption, looked hard at the woman behind the typewriter. ‘You know of her? I am trying to trace her.’
‘I don’t know of her,’ replied the woman archly. ‘I know her. She teaches English here on Tuesdays and Thursdays.’
‘She does?’ Selina was momentarily taken aback. ‘I had thought that she had retired. I expected to find her at an address in the country somewhere. Tuesdays and Thursdays, you say? Will she be in this evening?’
‘It’s a Thursday, isn’t it?’
Really, thought Selina, some people scarcely know their place.
She extracted a small gold propelling pencil and a leather-bound notebook from her handbag and wrote busily for some moments. ‘Would you give this to her?’ She passed over the folded slip of paper.
‘Why not wait for her?’ asked the woman. ‘Her class starts at six and she’s always well ahead of time.’
‘No thank you,’ said Selina, turning to go, firm in her determination to be in the driving seat when she finally did come face to face with Miss Felton again after all these years. The woman had always had such a powerful personality that Selina, like all her classmates, had been in awe of her. Going back to try to beard her in her den after all this time was an attempt to exorcise the power she had once wielded. She, Selina, was now in possession of both wealth and position. Miss Felton was stuck; apparently still teaching bored office girls and surly louts at night school. She did not seem to have prospered. With her acquired poise and experience Selina knew she ought to emerge victorious in any confrontation but she still felt some kind of disquiet which convinced her she ought to choose her ground. She moved towards the door briskly then suddenly halted, her attention arrested. Something about the way the light fell had shown her a glimpse of this room as it used to be: long and richly carpeted, with leather furniture. She had a sudden memory of Betty Trask, dark and curly-haired and 17 (just the same as Selina herself), face down over Miss Felton’s lap. She could see the dark grey gymslip crumpled around her waist, the dark blue knickers around the gyrating knees. The sound of the plimsoll was like a pistol shot each time it landed and Betty was squealing and promising, her hands firmly held in the small of her back, out of the way of that devilish plimsoll. Selina’s throat was dry and she had felt momentarily dizzy. The trepidation that she felt as she watched that scene, the only other person in the room, swept over her once more: she had known it was her turn next.
‘Er… I said, is there anything else?’
Selina jolted herself out of her reverie and went towards the door. ‘Just see the message is delivered,’ she said thickly. ‘That will be all.’ She left the office and then went out of the building and down the drive, past her Volvo.
* * *
The interior of the pub was quiet at that hour. Selina walked in with the newly-bought local evening paper and stood at the bar to order a vodka and tonic. The landlord, when he perceived that she was alone, looked her up and down suspiciously. Selina glared at him and he looked away, abashed. ‘Anyone of my class who was on the game wouldn’t pick this hole,’ thought Selina crossly and sat down and opened her paper.
Try as she might, she could not help but feel a creeping and gradually growing nervousness. It was foolish, she told herself. Even if she comes, which I doubt, she’s an old woman now. The school seemed so much smaller and so will she. She’ll be old and feeble now, and I’ll be able to get free of her lurking shadow.
She signalled to the landlord for another drink. After her glare and her action in sitting in one of the alcoves, disdainfully glancing at the decor and shaking out her skirts like a dowager duchess at a state function, he had come over, drywashing his hands and being very considerate. Could he get her anything? She was waiting for someone, perhaps? She agreed that she was and allowed him to fetch her next drink. This was her third, on an empty stomach. She began to feel mellow and her mind began to drift… Betty Trask had levered herself off Miss Felton’s knee and stumbled tearfully away, rubbing her blistered behind. Then, Miss Felton beckoned sternly, fixing Selina herself with a severe glare. Gulping, with eyes downcast, Selina went forward on dragging feet. She came to a halt within a couple of feet of the tailored tweed knees.
‘Bare your bottom,’ rapped the mistress. ‘And get across my lap this minute. Come along, girl!’
Swallowing hard, Selina hoicked up the back of her grey skirt and pulled the blue knickers down to her knees. Her face burned with embarrassment. Avoiding the piercing gaze, she left her knickers around her knees, then lifted up the folds of her skirt at the back and leaned forward. At the point when she could go over no further without toppling, she put her hands on Miss Felton’s left leg (the skirt stayed up by itself now) and lowered her weight across the woman’s lap. She felt the rough texture of the skirt, scratchy on her soft bare thighs. Her bottom felt huge and vulnerable and way up above and behind her. She felt it clench and twitch. Her hands moved down onto the floor and she balanced herself by placing her palms flat on the carpet. Far away, she could hear Betty Trask snivelling and Miss Felton seemed to be lecturing her but her head spun and the wisps of blonde hair which escaped her plaits tickled her chin. Then there was a pause and she caught her breath. All of a sudden she felt the impact of the plimsoll on her buttocks, numbing at first and then hot and stinging…
‘Oww!’ she heard herself squeal.
Whack! The plimsoll landed again.
‘OOOOh,’ howled Selina, her hands flying back behind her as she reared up. She heard Miss Felton’s voice raised in reproof and felt her hands seized in a firm grip.
Whack! The plimsoll seared across her soft curves, her hips churned and swivelled around on Miss Felton’s lap.
‘Owww! Oh please, Miss –’
‘Eeeek! Oh Miss, no more, please –’
Would it never end? Would Miss Felton’s hand rise and fall until Selina lost all her composure?
‘Oh, ow, ooh! I’ll –’
‘Miss, I’ll be good, I will!’ –
‘Well, well, so it is you! Little Selina Smith! After all this time.’
Selina looked up, totally flustered. A figure, weighed down with a satchel full of books, stood before her.
‘Uhh, actually, it’s Selina Parker, now. Um, Miss Felton, excuse me. I-I-I was miles away. S-s-s-sorry –’
Damn the woman, thought Selina, standing up, first waving to the landlord and then offering her hand, covered with confusion. She has me stammering like a schoolgirl already, she realised.
Miss Felton accepted the offer of a dry sherry and seated herself with the minimum of fuss. Selina was disconcerted to note that she had not aged at all and looked no less firm and determined than she ever had.
‘Well now, Selina, you’ve changed your name I see. Married, then? And what does your husband do? Where do you live? Have you children? I always enjoy meeting my former pupils. How long have you been married?’
Selina suddenly found herself pouring everything out. What on earth is the matter with me? she found herself thinking. Her mouth was running away with her. She could hear herself blurting out all the troubles of her marriage and how Derek had suggested that they had a trial separation and think about divorce. She even told Miss Felton how she had blocked Derek’s chance of promotion by refusing to live in Geneva – ‘too antiseptic a town’ she had said. All the dissatisfactions with her life poured out of her; all that she felt was wrong about the privileges and the ‘easy life’. I must be drunk, she thought.
Miss Felton listened to it all, sipping her sherry. Finally, when she put the glass down, it was empty. She allowed Selina to call for it to be refilled, and watched with lips primmed in self-evident disapproval as Selina ordered a double for herself. And then, when silence had fallen between them and Selina, if it were not for the effects of the alcohol, would have been feeling thoroughly silly, she spoke, her voice low and non-committal.
‘What happened to the Waterford glass?’ she asked.
Selina gaped. How on earth –? She gulped and stumbled and it was a long time before she found her voice. ‘I suppose you want the truth this time?’ she said, at about quarter volume.
‘That would be best, yes. I never was given it before, was I?’
‘I broke it. That is, er, someone else broke it and it was because of me that they did. I’m sorry, I don’t think I can give you the other name. It would be like snitching, even now.’
Miss Felton inclined her head. ‘I can understand that,’ she said.
Selina experienced the same warm glow which praise from this older woman had always caused her and marvelled that it should have the same effect all these years later.
‘Do you want to tell me how it came about?’ asked Miss Felton, lifting the sherry glass to her lips.
Selina shrugged. ‘We were in the staff room where it was laid out – where we had no business being, of course – and she said something I didn’t like so I pushed her and she pushed me back and I pushed her again, but a lot harder this time and she cannoned into the table where it was all set out and crash, over it all went. Funny, really, that’s what we’d sneaked in there for another look at. We thought it was a smashing leaving present and that particular mistress was so popular – even though I can’t remember her name. Then when you got up in assembly and said would the culprit please confess, well, we knew it was only two days to the end of term and we just had to keep our heads down for a little while to be in the clear. We knew you weren’t going to stop all of us – the whole school – going on our summer vac, just to find out.’
‘But I never needed to find out. I always knew. I just looked around at assembly and the guilt was written on your faces large as life. I just hoped that I had taught you enough self-respect to want to own up and take your punishment. I felt bitterly disappointed in you.’
Selina, who had gaped at the news, now shivered theatrically. ‘No fear,’ she said, tossing her fine blonde hair. ‘I had had quite enough experience of being walloped by you when you slippered Betty Trask and me that time for smoking. I didn’t want any more. Especially as it was a caning job this time, we were all sure of that. I’d heard quite enough about your skill at wielding a cane, Miss Felton, I was only too glad not to have to find out at first hand. Funnily, sometimes I find myself feeling almost wistful about that. Sort of wishing I’d had the moral fibre to own up and take what was coming to me and that you might have respected me for that. Now I learn you’ve known all along. How you must have despised the pair of us! You know who the other girl was, don’t you?’
‘Yes, I do: Betty Trask.’
Selina sighed. ‘That’s right. But tell me: if you knew, why didn’t you punish us anyway?’
Miss Felton shook her blued grey locks, and tutted. ‘Can’t you answer that question for yourself? After all I tried to teach you?’
Selina raised her glass and took a deep swallow to cover her confusion. She was definitely feeling a little tight. ‘Not unless,’ she said at last, ‘you wouldn’t punish us without proof. That you’d feel that wasn’t fair, according to what you always used to tell us? That if there was evidence or we got caught red-handed, then we’d been stupid and deserved a tanning? That owning up to something we could have got away with would be, I don’t know, sort of character building?’
Miss Felton looked at her with what Selina could swear was warmth and affection. ‘All these years,’ she said. ‘And I thought that I had failed with you. But it did sink in, didn’t it? You did, ah, as you young people say, “get the message”, didn’t you? A pity that you don’t seem to have put it into practice.’
Selina gasped; her hands, with their perfectly manicured and polished nails, flew to her face and her cheeks were suffused with a blush. ‘Why, what on earth do you mean?’
It was the older woman’s turn to shrug her shoulders, clad in their greenish tweeds. ‘Look at your life,’ she said softly. ‘You’ve made a mess of your marriage to the extent that your husband is thinking, quite rightly in my opinion, of turning you out. You’ve everything you want and yet you aren’t content. All because you lack the ability to take the more difficult option. You drift in whatever direction is easiest. No wonder you’re not happy.’
Selina’s eyes blurred with tears and she lowered her head. ‘That’s not fair,’ she said. ‘It’s not true!’ Deep in her heart, though, she knew she had heard the truth. She did lack the ability to take the harder option: it was a lesson she had never learned. ‘Besides,’ she said. ‘It wasn’t just me! I couldn’t confess without dropping Betty in it! She’s as guilty as I am! Why should I take all the blame?’
Miss Felton stroked her hand reassuringly. ‘You don’t, my dear,’ she said. ‘Betty has fully admitted her part in it all, a couple of years ago. She came to see me, just like you did. She was in a very similar situation. She, too, recognised her failing, all those years ago, but she faced up to it and she felt much better when she’d settled her account. She writes to me regularly. She’s blissfully happy with her husband now and wishes she had realised what she needed to do years earlier.’
Selina raised her eyes, now filled with tears. ‘What do you mean: “settled her account”?’ she asked.
Miss Felton primmed her lips. ‘What do you think?’ she asked. ‘She just took her medicine – the way she should have done when she was a schoolgirl. Got it all off her chest. The relief, she said, was enormous.’
‘D-d-do you mean –’ stammered Selina. ‘B-b-but how? I mean, wh-wh-what?’
‘My dear I still keep a locker over at the old school, even though there is little that I do there now. Sentiment, if you like. There are still a few souvenirs of my days as a Headmistress. I was able to ferret out a cane without a lot of difficulty and Betty gritted her teeth and took her medicine.’
‘B-b-but she’s a grown woman! She must have been! I mean she couldn’t just bend over for a caning, could she?’
‘Of course she could: and did. It did her the world of good. And on the bare backside, too, madam!’
‘B-b-but where? How?’ Selina could scarcely take it in. No-one who knew her now had ever seen her like this.
‘Why, across at the college, of course! I have always had keys. After nine o’clock the place is completely empty. We had absolute privacy. A half-an-hour and it was all over. Like a weight lifted from her shoulders, she said. Now, my dear, I think I will have one last sherry. I think you have had quite enough. Why don’t you go and powder your nose? Your mascara is a little streaked.’ So saying, she rose and went to the bar.
Dizzily, Selina clambered to her feet and wended her way to the ladies. A few minutes later, when she emerged, Miss Felton was sitting, engrossed in the evening paper. Selina stood at the bar, ordered a double and drank it at a gulp. Then she walked with a determined stride across to her old Headmistress’ table, stopping beside it but not sitting down.
‘Miss Felton,’ she said. ‘Do you still have keys to the college? It’s gone nine o’clock, hasn’t it?’
* * *
The lights flashed on and filled the oblong classroom with illumination. Miss Felton held the door open and closed it behind Selina, who looked around the room and gave a slight shiver as she heard the key grind in the lock. Miss Felton crossed to the formica table and placed upon it her bag, a long garment of black cloth and a slender beige-coloured object nearly three feet in length and slightly curved, with a complete semicircle twist at one end. Selina hugged her shoulders, looking around the room, her breath coming faster now. Her gaze came to rest on the black windows with the branches of the evergreen waving outside.
‘Please,’ she said. ‘Could we have the blinds drawn?’
Miss Felton obligingly complied then went to the table and shook out the long black academic gown and shrugged her way into it.
‘I’m glad you had that here,’ murmured Selina. ‘It makes it seem more – more sort of official, somehow.’
‘Quite so, my dear,’ replied Miss Felton smoothly. She took a chair from behind one of the desks and placed it in the clear space in front of the rows and facing them. She then picked up the rattan cane and flexed its springy length between both hands.
Selina spoke, her voice coming out at first in a nervous squeak. Her knees had turned to jelly.
‘Uhh, Miss Felton, umm, er…’
‘Yes, my dear?’
‘Um, I was wondering, so I can prepare myself, er: how many?’
Miss Felton pursed her lips. ‘Well now. I should have given you six at the time, so what do you think would be fair?’
Selina gulped. ‘Well, I was thinking: suppose six for the original thing and, er, six more for dodging. And so I’ll remember. What do you think? Would that be alright?’ She glanced anxiously at the older woman, sensing that it would be unacceptable to propose less. And she had to find a sufficient antidote to her own cloud of guilt.
‘Yes my dear, I think that that would be fair. Now, shall we get on? If you’ll just come here and position yourself over this chair. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how.’
Selina’s high heels tapped hesitantly on the floorboards as she approached. She gestured down at her full swinging skirts. ‘Er, shall I, er…?’
‘If you’ll just bend over, my dear. I’ll arrange you how I want you.’
Selina stood behind the chair and leaned forward, grasping the seat of the chair with both hands, bending straight from the waist.
‘Right down, please Selina, head well down now, bottom up.’ Selina complied and suddenly felt the hem of her skirt and slip lifted and laid across the small of her back. A slight chill seemed to waft across her bare thighs.
‘Ah good, my dear, I’m glad to see that you eschew tights: unhygenic as well as unsightly things. Now, let’s have these down and then we can get to work.’
Selina was wearing skimpy nylon lace briefs in a shade of coffee. Her suspender belt matched and was also trimmed with lace and held up sheer tan stockings with stretched, glossy welts. As her bottom was revealed, perfect and flawless and fully rounded, complete with matching dimples, a tremor went through it. The panties ended in a scrap of tangled cloth just below her stocking tops. She took a deep breath. Her bottom felt fragile and vulnerable.
‘Place your ankles together. Now lower your tummy onto the chair, that’s right. Now stretch your legs out straight. Now, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you not to put your hands in the way, do I? Or not to attempt to stand up before I have finished? If we are going to do this, after all this time, let us do it right. Now, I want you to count each stroke after it lands. After that, I will deliver the next. After twelve, you may stand. Are you ready?’
‘Yes, Miss.’ Oh, the comfort of falling back into that former diction.
Miss Felton tapped the very centre of Selina’s pale and perfect bottom with the cane, just to show where the stroke was aimed, and then drew the rattan back. There was a pause, then Selina heard the cane hiss through the air.
‘Owwww! Uhh, I’m sorry Miss. One.’ A thin red stripe now bisected Selina’s twin cheeks.
‘That is alright, Selina. I don’t expect you to hold completely still, nor to keep silent. Next one coming up.’
Swish! It was really loud.
‘Oww! Two.’ Selina shifted her feet and clenched her hands on the seat. A second stripe had appeared below the first, where her bottom was slightly fuller.
Swish! No holding back at all!
‘Eeeek! Oooh! Oh, sorry, Miss: three,’ Selina moaned. Ducking her head, which had involuntarily bobbed up, down again, Selina awaited the next stroke.
Swish! It cut the air.
‘Ahhhh! Oh, um, four.’ Selina gritted her teeth. The blonde hair hung over her eyes and her skirts were awry. The panties had worked their way down to mid-thigh. There were three double-edged stroke marks visible below the original one. This time the cane tapped above.
Swish! The sound seemed to rip the very fibre of the air.
‘Eeeeeow! Oh Miss! It stings!… Five,’ she quaked.
‘Six! Owww! Oooh, halfway, Miss!’
‘Ooooooh! Oooh Miss, please! A moment! Uhhh, seven. Sorry, Miss.’
Miss Felton shifted her stance and the cane rose once more, aiming higher.
‘OWWWW! Oh Miss, please, lower! Where I’m plumper, please, Miss Felton! Eight.’
‘AAARGH!’ For the first time, a stroke half crossed an existing one. Selina half rose, her knuckles white, before controlling herself. Her panties slipped further down her legs as her feet rattled on the floorboards. She gave an audible sob and it was moments before she could give the count. Relentlessly, the cane rose and fell once more.
Swish! Similarly ear-splitting.
‘Oooooh! Ten, Miss!’ This time the stroke again struck the lower slopes of Selina’s striped behind. There was now just enough space to skillfully fit two strokes onto the unmarked space which was the very lowest curving underside of her bottom. Miss Felton raised the cane.
‘Uhhh!’ It was a strangled sound, and Selina jerked and tossed her head. Her panties now slipped entirely down and entangled around her twitching ankles and the straps of her shoes. Her hips wriggled and jerked on the chair back. Miss Felton waited.
‘Oh! Ooh! Ahh! Sorry, Miss. Eleven.’
‘Last one Selina. Well done, you’ve taken this well. You may stand after this one.’ The cane went aloft for the last time, paused, and then flashed down.
‘Arrrrgh! Oh Miss! Oh, that was so extra hard! Oh… twelve!’ Selina croaked. She sprang to her feet, her hands flying to her caned rear, massaging the tender stripes that adorned it. She stood, her knees pumping, her skirt still up and her panties in a puddle around her feet. The older woman gave her an admiring glance, put down her cane and shrugged out of her gown. She then sat down for the few minutes required for Selina to get her breath and her composure back, craning over her shoulder to see the damage the cane had wrought. At length, Miss Felton took out a mirror and showed her. Selina gasped when she saw the stripes.
‘Oh Miss! You did lay it on, didn’t you!’
‘Well, I think you’ll agree you deserved it, didn’t you? And you feel better, don’t you, for having faced up to things?’
Shyly, Selina agreed that she did.
‘The only trouble is, I’m afraid you’ll have those marks for at least a week. I know you’re staying in town tonight, but what will your husband think when you get home? What will you tell him?’
Selina stood, her skirt and slip still hoicked around her waist, her long legs sheer in nylon, her bottom red-lined and sore and a proud expression on her face and an uplift in her heart.
‘I shall tell him the truth,’ she said proudly, with a fresh and direct enthusiasm. ‘I’m through with fibs and evasion and soft options. And I shall ask him if we can try all over again. And I shall tell him, if he’s got any reservations about taking up my offer, that I shan’t mind in the least if he decides to buy a cane!’
Selina tossed her head proudly in a new-found freedom, and Miss Felton smiled privately to herself: after all these years, she had completed the job.