Two prefects are given a difficult choice

By Lorna Monroe

Fiona Grey and Tina Neilson had always been rivals. From First Year at Braidburn Towers, a minor Edinburgh girls’ school of relatively recent foundation, they had competed at every academic and athletic endeavour. The struggle for ascendency had see-sawed between them as they alternated as top of the class and sometimes shared the distinction. When Fiona became hockey captain, Tina occupied the same position on the netball team.

The eighteen-year-olds were popular with their peers, unsurprisingly; Fiona with her bobbed dark hair, sparkling brown eyes and slim build, and the blonde, blue-eyed, slightly fuller-figured Tina were not short of male admirers either.

This unofficial competition, which some of the school staff found rather tiresome, culminated in both girls becoming prefects in Sixth Form. Their advancement to such high office proved to be somewhat awkward as it required the pair, who hardly ever spoke, to cooperate in the interests of the school, something which, only a month after their elevation, they were proving unwilling or unable to do.

Fiona and Tina’s failure to be as mature as they were intelligent presented their Headmistress with a problem. In particular, they were expressing their competitive spirit by sending each other’s favourites to Miss Bennet’s office to be disciplined with monotonous and time-consuming regularity. Matters had come to a head when Tina had sent a Fourth Form girl to her for shortening the blue and white tartan skirt of her uniform by a couple of inches.

This infraction of the rules was common-place in the decade of the mini skirt, and would normally have merited a hundred lines which the prefect could have awarded herself. However, given that it had been formally reported, Miss Bennet felt it necessary to administer a perfunctory two strokes of the tawse on the palm of the astonished student’s hand. The unfortunate girl’s sobs were more the result of an injured sense of justice than the sting of the strap.

Following a consultation with her Deputy, during which they discussed the possibility of rescinding the girl’s prefects badges, the canny Headmistress decided instead to offer them an alternative in the hope that it would make them think twice before again abusing their authority.

A check of the prefects’ records revealed that, while both had excelled in every field, Tina had exhibited a streak of rebelliousness and had been spanked on several occasions and even caned twice, although the last time was two years ago. Fiona, on the other hand, had a blameless disciplinary history, even if that had, as the experienced Head Teacher correctly surmised, been down to a certain devious ability to conceal her sporadic misconduct.

The following morning, both girls had a double Maths period at the end of which they were surprised when the school secretary handed them a note from Miss Bennet. They were required to report to the Head’s study at 3pm that afternoon. As was usual, the summons did not offer any reason as to why their attendance was required, and they each assumed that they were being invited to receive more of the praise they had become accustomed to for their many accomplishments.

Just before the appointed time, the two prefects met outside the Head’s office. They exchanged polite but cold greetings, before being ushered in by Miss Bennet’s secretary. The tall, dark-haired Headmistress looked up from her correspondence and removed her reading glasses.

“Girls, I am very disappointed to have to bring you here this afternoon.”

The surprised pair exchanged glances. This was a bad start.

“I appointed you prefects in recognition of your academic and sporting successes. In doing so, I expected that you would set a fine example of maturity and leadership. It also appeared to me that this honour would be a fitting culmination to your scholastic careers before you leave us for university next term. Unfortunately, it seems that I may have been mistaken in conferring so much responsibility upon the pair of you.”

Both girls were aghast.

Fiona spoke first. “But why, Miss? What have I done wrong?”

Miss Bennet raised her hand in silent admonishment.

“It has always been clear to me that, despite your both being academically outstanding and paragons of sporting commitment to the extent that you have brought great credit to the school, you have a very serious flaw in common.”

Outraged, this time both pupils attempted to interject, but the Headmistress would have none of it.

“Enough. My records speak for themselves. The facts are that the two of you have used your authority to pursue your personal rivalry in the most petty, childish and irresponsible manner. Not only that, but you have done so in a way which has been detrimental to other girls. In the last month alone, you have both reported four pupils for very minor offences, obliging me to punish them and to place their offences formally on record. In addition, I have received complaints from a number of parents regarding the bullying of their daughters, and in one case a threat to remove their child from the school.”

Tina blushed at this final revelation. In fact, it involved a slight element of hyperbole as was occasionally the case when Miss Bennet was reinforcing a point. Nonetheless, as Head, she was determined to make an example of the girls in order that future prefects would not see their elevation as an invitation to bully and intimidate.

“So, I now find myself having to give very serious consideration to revoking your appointments. Obviously, this would be a serious humiliation in your final year at the school, as well as something that I would not be able to ignore if asked for a reference from a future employer.”

Fiona spoke first, her pretty face pinched with anxiety.

“Please Miss, I realise how immature and foolish we have been. We had no right to abuse the authority you entrusted to us and we are truly sorry.”

Tina was surprised but deeply grateful to hear her arch-rival speaking up on her behalf. She was intelligent enough to maintain the momentum.

“Could you consider punishing us in any other way, Miss?”

“I hadn’t actually finished,” replied the irritated Headteacher. “In view of your previous good character and conduct, I am prepared to offer you both an alternative. If you wish to avoid the more far-reaching consequences of the punishment I am considering. By that, I mean the demotion from prefect. You may have the option of accepting a caning instead.”

Observing her pupils dazed expressions, she added: “You may retire to the Common Room to consider your decision. Return in one hour.”

Over a much-needed cup of coffee, it became apparent that their ordeal had brought something of a thaw in relations between the long-term rivals.

“I, I’ve never actually been caned before, Tina. I did hear that you have had a couple of whackings. Is it really awful?” Fiona asked tentatively.

“I won’t pretend it doesn’t hurt, but think how embarrassing it would be to be reduced to the ranks, as it were. It would be the talk of the school. But worse would be the consequences Bennet mentioned. I mean, it would show that we couldn’t be trusted with responsibility. Imagine how that would look to a potential employer.”

“Yes, we couldn’t risk that, could we?” Fiona unconsciously nibbled her bobbed hair, as she did in moments of stress. “Will it be on our bare bums? I don’t know if I could take that.”

Despite her nerves, Tina laughed gently. “No, it will most probably be on the seat of our skirts.”

Fiona sighed with a degree of relief, even if she wasn’t entirely reassured. However, after talking it through, the new friends agreed that painful and undignified though it would be, a caning was ultimately the lesser of the two evils. Having exchanged hugs, they set off for the Head’s study, fully resolved to see it through.

Miss Bennet expressed her approval of the Sixth Formers mature decision and wasted no time in getting down to business. Unlocking a cupboard between her bookshelves, she produced a rarely used yellow rattan cane, which, as a concession to modernity, had a rubber handle rather than the traditional crook. Fiona felt her knees wobble at its fearsome appearance and was not reassured when her Headmistress gave it a brisk swish.

“You will both receive two strokes on the palm of the hand,” she decreed, before adding: “And six on the bottom. Tina, you will go first as you are not unfamiliar with the procedure.”

She moved to the front of her desk, standing to the right of the young penitent.

“Hold out your left hand, please, supported by your right.”

Tina took a deep breath, then put her hand straight out, determined to show courage in front of Fiona. The pliable cane sliced down on her exposed palm and the girl exhaled sharply.

A moment to compose herself, and then a wicked sting was delivered in exactly the same spot. A suggestion of a whimper came from the recipient. Fiona winced in sympathy.

Miss Bennet turned to the window, admiring the view while she flexed the bamboo disconcertingly.

“Now Tina, you will remove your skirt, fold it neatly and place it on the chair beside Fiona. Then I want you to take your tights down and bend over the front of my desk.”

The girl swallowed hard. This was a shock; it was going to hurt much more than she thought. Thank God she was wearing regulation knickers today and not the frilly sexy ones she preferred. As she lay across the desk, events took an unexpected turn for the worse for the startled girl.

“Pull your knickers up between the cheeks of your bottom, please. I want them as bare as decency will permit. I intend to make this punishment a lesson neither of you will ever forget.”

Shame-faced, the miscreant fumbled to obey while the horrified Fiona absorbed the fact that she must expect the same treatment.

Finally satisfied with the preparations, Miss Bennet placed the rattan across the surprisingly plump centre of the girl’s bottom.

“I want you to count each stroke, Tina. You will stay in place until I give my permission for you to rise. Failure to comply with these instructions will result in the stroke being repeated.”

The bent girl felt the cane tap on her bottom several times. The wait seemed interminable. Then the swoosh was followed by a streak of pain that sucked the breath from her lungs. Her head shot up and her mouth opened and closed noiselessly. Just in time, she remembered to whisper: “One, Miss.”

“A little louder next time, please Tina.”

Already the stern Headmistress was lining up the second. It seared across the crest of Tina’s already burning rump.

“T-Two, Miss,” she cried in desperation, terrified of a repeat stroke.

Number three was further down, right on the sit-spot and was the hardest yet. As Tina gave way to tears, she called out the stroke with a pitiful sob.

Paralysed with fear as Fiona was, she shed a tear of her own in sympathy for the girl she had once hated.

The Headmistress paused for a moment, allowing herself to draw breath and letting the heat wash over the girl. When she returned to her task, it was to place a fiery stripe in the crease of the undercurve. Tina began to sway her hips and wiggle her bottom frantically. Her head flew back, then drooped forward, tears spilling on the desk.

“Four, Oh God, four.”

To her horror, Fiona could see where the next stroke was going to fall; the tops of the thighs!

As it struck, Tina screamed out in agony. Again, her voice dropped to a whisper as she confirmed the fifth; something for which Miss Bennet once more admonished her.

The finale proved to be somewhat of an anti-climax. Tina was flat out on the desk now, and completely physically and emotionally exhausted. When she called the last stroke, which was in the middle of her cheeks just above the first, it was with relief more than anything else.

As the punished schoolgirl stood against the wall frantically rubbing at her striped bottom, Miss Bennet calmly sat at her desk signing a few papers. Transfixed with fear, Fiona stood awaiting her own fate. After a few moments that seemed like an hour to the girl, the Head put down her pen and glimpsed over her glasses.

“Your turn Fiona,” she said almost cheerfully. “Hold out your hand, please.”

Miss Bennet delivered two wristy cuts which, while not as painful as Fiona had feared, certainly irrigated the eyes of the recipient.

“Now, please remove your skirt and uncover your bottom as you saw Tina doing.”

Her normally nimble fingers struggled with buttons and zips until, at last, she was settled over the desk.

“Tina, as this is Fiona’s first caning, I shall require your assistance. Please go to the other side of the desk and take her hands. This will help her to stay in position and save me from having to impose extra strokes.” As she spoke, she tugged Fiona’s knickers into her tight bottom cleft.

Forgetting her own throbbing weals for a moment, Tina gently clasped her friend’s trembling hands in her own.

“Be sure to count each stroke clearly, Fiona.”

“Yes, Miss,” came the softest whisper.

The Headmistress resolved to be a little easier on Fiona. Not only was she a novice to corporal punishment, but her alabaster bottom was not so well-padded as that of her fellow miscreant.

As Fiona felt the touch of rattan on her buttocks, the girl flinched reflexively.

“Steady now, relax your bottom, please.”

As she spoke, Miss Bennet drew back the rod and whipped it down, just above the thighs. A startled yelp came from the sting’s victim, but she managed to count the stroke clearly. Tina squeezed her hands in tender sympathy.

The second bit into the centre of the upturned cheeks.

“Twooo! Oh please, Miss, I’m sorry Miss.”

“I am very glad to hear that, Fiona; it means my efforts are not in vain.”

Surreptitiously, Tina pressed a comforting cheek against that of her friend.

The third stroke hit across the top of the buttocks. The first tears came as Fiona shook her hips.

“Three,” she wailed, her face a study in pain.

The fourth caught her across her tender thighs, and produced the most frantic reaction yet. She kicked like a young deer and emitted a piercing shriek.

“Four,” whispered Tina, and Fiona repeated the word just in time.

Five, a meaty thwack across the middle of the bottom. Fiona screamed, sprang on tip-toe and shuffled up the desk as if trying to escape the pain. Only Tina’s tight grasp kept her from rising, but the tormented girl did remember to shout the stroke number.

With the final stroke, Miss Bennet was determined to leave a lasting impression that would ensure a basically good girl remained that way. She delivered a whippy stinger diagonally across the previous tramlines.

“OOOOOOH! Six, Miss!”

Technically, Miss Bennet should have awarded an extra stripe as the chastened girl rose before she was granted permission, but she let that pass.

“You may rub your bottom.”

The Headmistress’s words were superfluous, as Fiona was performing a bottom dance that was almost indecent.

“When you are ready, you are both dismissed,” she added.

The moment they left the study, the chastised pair collapsed into each other’s arms.

“Oh God, that was hell,” sobbed Fiona.

“It was worse than my previous punishments,” agreed her new friend. “At least it’s all over and there will be no further consequences. Now, it so happens that I have some witch hazel cream which works wonders on a sore bum.”

*          *          *

In their sixties now, and still firm friends, when the two ladies look back on that fateful day there is no doubt in their minds that they made the right choice, even though it was certainly not the soft option.

The End

© Lorna Monroe 2019

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