The next in the series. Helen returns to her mentor for more motivational discipline.


After the weekend, at the beginning of December, when Helen and her Mother, Penny, had invited James Simmons around to their house to administer motivational corporal punishment, Penny felt matters had gone well beyond what she was personally comfortable with and decided it was not going to happen to her again. Consequently, the Brown Family House was taken out of bounds, but Helen understood her Mother’s stand. She was a married woman, and it should never have happened there in the first place. However, the original stated arrangement between her daughter and her daughter’s ex-headmaster, where she was visiting him to receive discipline purely for the purpose of keeping her focused on her studies, was a basis to which Mrs Brown had already agreed and therefore saw no reason to try to stop Helen seeing him again. In reality, she knew she probably couldn’t anyway, as Helen was of legal age to determine what she could do for herself and, secondly, Helen had argued, vehemently and convincingly, that there was nothing sexual, no dark motives, no money, nothing at all else involved; Helen went and saw him, took a hard caning which she said she enjoyed, then left again, and that was all. Mrs Brown felt she didn’t have any sound reasons on which to try to dissuade her and, anyway, having partaken herself, it was hypocritical to even try.

On the train back to university after that weekend in December, her bottom still very pleasantly warm, Helen was on a high. She was extremely pleased with her disciplining, pleased that the experiment with wearing tight trousers had been successful; she felt the cane had burned a lot more, and was keener than ever to experience it all again. As the train sped along, she began to wonder if somehow it could become more regular. She smiled at the thought. That would be nice! At the same time she knew she would need to call her Mother quite often in the coming days, support her and let her know her decision was completely understood as Penny Brown had been quite subdued afterwards. Then, without the use of their house, how and where could she find a way to go on seeing her former Headmaster? As she pondered this tricky issue, an image of him came into her mind; subconsciously she was aware of him as a masterful, dominant figure; now she pictured herself being with him, under his control, thrilling as she stripped off before him; then bending over to receive his cane, his hot, blistering strokes, the image in her mind was a delightful combination of sheer pain, blissful submission and beautiful after-feelings. Now she was going to have to find a new way of meeting him. However, part of a plan had already hatched that morning, before she had even set out from her parents’ house.

By carelessness, James Simmons had left his private log book out on his last visit. He had gone to the bathroom before leaving and, not that they were being nosy, of course, Helen and Penny had had a peek and later Helen, guessing at the initials seen, thought one set referred to Stephanie French, who became Head Girl after Helen left. They still had occasional contact through various social media so she decided the next step in her pursuit of continuing to receive formal discipline from Mr Simmons would be to find out what he and Ms French were doing. Was he visiting the French household perhaps, or was Stephanie visiting the school Indeed, was it Stephanie at all! Once back at University, Helen made contacting her Mum her top priority for a few days until she felt she was settled, then she texted Stephanie to see if she would like to meet up for a drink before Christmas.

It took a day for Stephanie to reply. “Yes! Good to hear from you. Saw on FB you got away in the summer. What do you have in mind? L&BW, Steph.”

Helen replied: “Term here ends on 12th, what about W/E of 15th or 16th?”

To which the reply came: “Parents taking me out then. What about one night week following?”

So, eventually Tuesday 19th was selected.

The remaining days sped by. Helen was doing well and her tutor called here in just before the end of term to ask after everything. Her marks were good, consistently on the 1st / upper 2nd boundary and, considering she had settled in quickly and was obviously working methodically and well, he wasn’t able to offer much more than a “Keep up the good work, I’m here if you need me. 5% more effort will get you a 1st and I hope you have a good break over Christmas.”

Helen thanked him for the tea and smiled to herself. Where could she really get the 5% from, and even if she found it could she access it? She thought about calling Mr Simmons, but knew her Mother would have done already, to tell him that she would not be seeing him again and Helen could not use their home. After a lot more thinking she decided to wait until Stephanie French had been sounded out. Annoyingly she realised that Tuesday 19th was very near the end of term at Archdean; but not absolutely the end. Could she wangle a Christmas present for herself, she wondered?

Term ended and Mum picked her up from the station. Mr Brown was flying back from America on Thursday overnight and so not due back until midday on Friday, but they spent a nice evening. Helen had a lot of washing stored up. Mum had prepared a nice supper and they mooched about, pleased to be in one another’s company again. Helen treated herself to a long lie-in the next morning, and did almost nothing for the next couple of days, easing down after term before finally, on Friday, reading through her last pieces of work and ticking off some of the comments that had come back, then putting on one of her nice print dresses and a bit of a face to look good for her Father arriving and the whole Brown clan being reunited again.

The weekend was really wonderful. Mr Brown had a fountain of stories to tell about Washington and Helen noticed her Mum was listening with glazed eyes. They decided to go out for a meal on the Saturday but it was probably a bridge too far for her Father who was nearly falling asleep by the time they finished eating and he went to bed as soon as they got in. Mum blamed the Diplomatic Christmas party cocktail round in Washington. “It will have been keeping him up night after night,” but she spoke in such reverential tones Helen could tell Mum was absolutely dying to spend some time there with him and find out what it was like.

On Tuesday it was snowing. The pub Stephanie had suggested was not that far from Archdean but still quite a way from where the Brown’s lived so Helen begged a lift from her Mother, texting to say she was on the way. Mrs Brown said she would come in to see if Stephanie was there; Helen objecting, saying she was old enough to look after herself, but just as they pulled up Helen received a text to say, “In car park, one minute,” so she scooted off inside. The arrangement was Stephanie’s parents would pick them up later and give Helen a lift home.

Helen couldn’t help grinning, neither could Stephanie French. “Hello, stranger,” she said. They went in and ordered two glasses of wine. The pub was quite quiet, but it was early and the bad weather probably discouraged people from coming out, even though it was Christmas.

They chatted about University, gossiped about various friends and through this route Helen was able to move the subject on to the school and what had happened after she had left.

“Very little, really. I’d like to think I carried the mantle as well as you did!”

Helen wondered if there was a bit of a smirk there.

“Are there any staff changes?” prompted Helen.

“Um, well, I’ve only been gone a whole six months. Beaky Davis, the Maths teacher, retired. Oh, and Mrs Ogilvy left to have a baby. So did Miss Summers, come to think of it!”

“Is Mr Simmons still there?”

“Oh yes,” said Stephanie quickly, “but he’s off with flu right now and not expected back this term.”

Helen Brown registered this in an instant. How did she know that? And answer so quickly? Then she realised she must have given herself away as Stephanie registered her registering it; a twitch of the face, a movement.

Stephanie looked at her curiously for a moment, then smiled. “Anything to say?” she teased.

“I was thinking of popping in to say hello again, before term ended, that was all,” said Helen defensively.

“I’m sure he would have been glad to see you” was the reply, “I know he stays late in the school, on his own, one night a week. Maybe you could ask to go then, it’s quiet. Well, sometimes it is.”

“Mm, yes, maybe I will do that when he’s back. I think the school starts a few days before University.”

Stephanie’s cool gave way then, though, and she laughed. “I have a little idea about why you’re thinking of seeing him!” she said.

Helen didn’t know what to say and felt herself blushing. Steph was fishing, they both were.

“I think you’ll find nothing’s changed if you do.” Stephanie added.

Helen asked outright how Stephanie knew.

“I’ve stayed in touch with a few and I just left in the summer, after all,” she said.

The conversation was beginning to go around in circles and Helen thought it best to change the subject now, so offered to buy some more wine and then the talk went back to University life. She was convinced there was something going on but it would have to wait until the New Year and new term, and an out of hours phone call to her former Headmaster. She wasn’t going to play Stephanie French’s games.

Christmas was its usual fun, generous and happy occasion in the Brown Household. Presents were exchanged, the neighbours called around for drinks and reciprocal visits were made, then Helen’s boyfriend came to stay for a few days. She went back with him and saw in the New Year with his family. Mr Brown left to return to his post in Washington on the 3rd, the day after Helen arrived back, in fact, and the house quietened down.

Discreet enquiries revealed that school started back on Monday January 8th, Helen was due to return to University on Thursday 11th but there was only one lecture that day and she knew she could probably skip it and catch up easily if she needed to. It was then a question of talking to James Simmons to see how the land lay. She was a little worried that he might politely dismiss her after what had happened. Well, there was only one way to find out. The tried and trusted method was to call about two hours or so after school had ended. His secretary rarely stayed very late and, although a few of the teachers sometimes held behind to do marking, most competed with the pupils to be first out of the school gates. Helen went up to her room after tea on the Monday, reasoning Mr Simmons would probably have quite a lot to catch up on. She told her Mother she was going to get on with some work, but once the door was closed she dialled the number for Archdean.

After just two rings, the familiar voice came on the line. Helen simply purred as Mr Simmons announced how nice it was to hear from her, hoping she had had a nice Christmas, and this formed the basis for a relaxed opening to the conversation. Nevertheless, she still found it difficult to get to the point until saying she hoped her Mother’s decision not to see him again did not come as an unpleasant surprise.

“I think I realised there was awkwardness there,” he replied.

Well, nothing for it. Helen took a deep breath. “It’s why I really called, Sir. I was talking to my tutor at the end of term,” Helen said. “I’ve been running at about 67 or 68% in all my course work.” Then she paused before going on. “And my Tutor felt that if I could find about 5% more from somewhere I would, er, be in the running for a first.” Nothing else for it now but to drive straight to the point: “I know what happened in our house, but was wondering, Sir, if, er, you could help motivate me find that extra 5%. I know our house can’t be used, Sir, but I was wondering if there was some other way.”

James Simmons smiled to himself. He had been almost certain that Helen would come back to him, was surprised it had taken this long, but then he’d been off before Christmas. “I understand. Quite a lot has changed for me, so if you would like to come into school on Wednesday at about this time I can let you know about things and see if we can indeed motivate you to find that 5%. Will that be OK for you?”

Helen felt a surge of relief at his words. “Thank you Headmaster,” she said. “That will be ideal.”

“Well, until Wednesday then, goodnight,” was James Simmons’ ending.

Helen punched the air and looked for her short navy skirt in the wardrobe, then wondered about her new tartan trousers, then whether she should ask permission to borrow her Mother’s tartan skirt. So many decisions! And should she tell her Mother? A lift would be handy! The deluge of jubilant thoughts took ten minutes to subside.

One decision was easy, as Penny Brown asked who she was talking to upstairs.

‘Bit nosy,’ thought Helen. However she haltingly explained what had happened at University and about the 5%, and she had decided to ask Mr Simmons if he could give her some motivation through corporal punishment.

“Well, you know I am not the greatest supporter of this, but if you genuinely believe you get the push you think you need then I don’t object. Will you want a lift?”

“Oh Mum, thanks,” said Helen, hugging her. “Thanks for being so understanding.”

Penny Brown said nothing else.

Wednesday came around. The time of departure was set for 5.30 that evening. Helen would be dropped off, then her Mother would park discreetly a few hundred yards from the school entrance and wait. Penny had wanted to ask her daughter what was going to happen but felt it was best not to pry too much. She was old enough to do this behind her back if she chose to and Penny preferred to have some knowledge of what her daughter was up to rather than none at all.

Helen had considered whether to change what she normally wore to see Mr Simmons, but it was school skirt in the end. Traditional. She was nervous; Mum asked if she was.

“Yes, a bit,” she admitted. She wondered if Mum was too.

School was reached at five to six and Helen skipped out with her bag.

“Good luck,” said Penny.

Helen kissed her and looked her in the eyes. “Thanks Mum,” she said, then got out of the car, closed the door and watched it disappear back into the main road.

She turned and walked up to the school doors. They were locked, so she rang the bell. A few seconds later, there was a clatter as the internal door opened and there, silhouetted by the lights in the front corridor, was Mr Simmons.

“Come in, Helen, it’s nice to see you again.”

She stepped inside and shook the offered hand. The door was locked behind her and she stood aside to let her former headmaster lead the way to his study.

“Take a seat for a moment, Helen,” he said, indicating one in front of his desk as he circled around to his own chair and sat down. “It’s nice to see you again. How are you? And I hope your Mother is OK?”

Helen thanked him and confirmed both of them were well.

“Before we start, I hope that no further bad feeling has arisen. There’s certainly no need for you to feel any responsibility.” He paused for a moment to see if Helen had anything to say in reply, but there was nothing so he continued: “It’s me who should have been more aware. However, as you are here now and I understand your reason for making the call on Monday, perhaps I can let you know a few things that were happening at school, but not really something I could have brought up last time we spoke; simply inappropriate in the circumstances.

“Firstly, it was only your Mother who felt it was out of order to meet here. At the time, it was easiest to agree. I am not breaking any confidences in saying this, but other former pupils, and indeed some others, have availed themselves of the kind of motivation you have sought and I meet about half here. It is perhaps pushing limits, but in my position I have to see a variety of people for a variety of reasons. I wanted to make that point clear.

“Then, the Education Department had issues with their block insurance policy. Now, out of hours, and that is an hour before school starts and an hour after it ends, the main doors can only be accessed by myself or my deputy, who has gone home, and the caretaker. Rest assured, Mr Perkins will not be here this evening.

“Something else, which I only informed the senior staff of yesterday, and in confidence, is that I am leaving Archdean at the end of the summer term to take up a role as a senior advisor in the Government’s Overseas teaching support program. So I am not leaving education altogether, but I will be based in London from later this year.”

For Helen, feeling quite tense sitting in front of her former Headmaster, this speech served mainly to increase her nervousness. She had come to receive her regular spanking, and all she could really say was: “I am so pleased for you, Sir. It sounds like a major promotion,” even though she was disappointed, but other words wouldn’t come to mind.

Mr Simmons, sensing that Helen was struggling, smiled at his former pupil.

“What it means is that, if you wish to meet here I will be happy with that, but only until the end of the school year. Before we start, though, having mentioned I see others, in confidence, for disciplinary matters, I was considering whether to have a little get together in the summer, a summer party if you like, but it would only work if everyone agrees and is prepared to turn up on the day, not really knowing who else they might meet. Are you interested?”

By now Helen was nervously twitching. “I think so, sir. Yes, I would come if I can.”

Mr Simmons smiled. “I hoped you would say that, Helen. Now, shall we attend to the matter you called me about?”

Helen looked about herself and could not help a faint smile herself. “Yes, Sir. My tutor is happy with my work but I am consistently on the borderline between first and upper second degrees. I would like, well, I think you know, sir, I get a motivational boost from coming to see you. After what you have just said, Sir, I was wondering if we could come to a regular arrangement for the rest of this academic year, given that you are leaving?”

The words just dried up and the last few syllables were almost whispered.

Mr Simmons nodded. “What do you have in mind, Helen?” he said.

His favourite former pupil struggled a little. “I was thinking, Sir, perhaps, well Sir, a little more often; maybe once a month?”

“That would be quite acceptable to me,” said James Simmons.

He was rewarded with another slight smile from the very nervous girl sitting in front of him.

“Shall we start?”

Helen nodded, so he stood up, walked across his office, pulled out the stool and selected a cane from the cupboard. “Very well. I remember you often preferred to change beforehand. The Secretary’s office is open if you would like to use it.”

Three minutes later, clad in her old school uniform, Helen knocked softly on the study door. There was an imperious command of “enter” and Helen stepped inside, her pulse high and her breathing forced. She knew she was about to be caned, yet as she looked about and saw the wall cupboard, the head’s desk, the chair in front of it, the notice board and of course the stool in the middle of the room, she realised not much had changed.

She walked over to the stool and reached under her skirt to start lowering her panties, then on a whim took them off altogether along with her skirt. She had one more look around the office, at Mr Simmons patiently standing with the cane in hand and waiting for her to present herself, at the blinds, tightly drawn, the cupboards and the panelled ceiling. As she bent over, she felt she had come home again, home to Archdean, to renew her relationship with the cane.

As the fiery sting of the first stroke knocked the wind out of her, she felt the wave of shock, yet also something else. By the time the sixth and seventh and eighth strokes had added their sting and smart, Helen’s mind was blank. That feeling was that being caned hurt, it hurt a great deal, but it was part of a very deep and special relationship, a relief and a happiness that a strange and unusual need within her was being met, a thirst quenched. It hurt, but Helen Brown loved it. Adored it.

Twenty minutes later, a slightly tearful and very sore girl tapped on the car door. Mrs Brown opened it and Helen very carefully lowered herself onto the passenger seat. Twelve scorching, stinging strokes from the same dragon cane had been professionally administered to her bare bottom. Helen knew she had been well thrashed. Nothing was said until they were nearly home.

“Thanks Mum,” said Helen.

“I hope it was OK and you are OK,” was all Penny Brown could say in reply.

“Mmm. When I’ve got over it I will redouble my efforts to get a first class degree,” said Helen, quietly. They got to the house, stepped inside and Helen went straight to the bathroom. The marks were there but for now lost in some swelling. Her whole bottom was a mass of red and was hot to the touch. Cold cream and moisturiser helped, so did a large glass of wine later, watching TV with Mum and perched on a very soft cushion.

The arrangement Helen had asked for meant she would be coming home more often, although she didn’t tell her Mother yet. The motivational reason she had used was still a perfect excuse, but the main reason was still the deeply erotic thrill of submitting to this powerful man and feeling him exercise that power by having her undress before him then bend over the stool and cane her bare bottom.

Back at University, Helen started wondering about organising herself better. She spent some evenings at the beginning of that term wondering just what was missing, some segment of knowledge, something like a spice in a dish that you were only ever aware of when it wasn’t there. The problem was, she didn’t know what it was. One part of her work got marks of over 70% quite regularly, but the other part of the course, where she felt she was doing just as well, never got more than 65% and sometimes less; she was aware that if she got just one poorer assessment she was never going to push that overall score to a first class mark. Neither the tutor, nor the lecturer, were much help. They just kept saying she was doing well and a small amount of extra effort should see her achieve a first. It wasn’t effort, she decided. The effort was there. There had to be something else.

After several more days’ deliberations, she decided to write to Mr Simmons.

Dear Mr Simmons, 

I am due to see you in a fortnight. While we are both aware our situation is

Unusual, I cannot tell you how much I value what we do and the positive effect

it has on my work. But I am writing to you now because, following our last

meeting, I have spent some time wrestling with a problem that I am unable

to answer myself. The motivational aspects and the question of me applying

effort are perfectly supported by yourself and our arrangement. But I now believe

there is something else though, something I cannot see, that is lacking in part

of my work here. I feel I do not have adequate perspective on this myself, but

it is like a missing ingredient in a dish, as near as I can describe. When we next

meet, I would like to talk to talk to you about it if I may, and seek your guidance. 

With my best wishes,

Helen Brown.”

A fortnight later, Helen was picked up at the station by her Mother on the last Friday of January.

“Hello Helen,” she said as her daughter jumped into the car. “Things going well?” she asked as they drove off.

“Yes thanks,” Helen replied.

For Penny Brown, while she was pleased to see her daughter, she was worried that the real purpose of the visit was to visit James Simmons tomorrow for another thrashing. It made for slightly fraught conversation, at least at first, but a glass of wine and eating supper together levelled things out and, even if the main purpose of Helen’s visit was not really to see her, Penny Brown felt at least she was going to see her daughter slightly more often now. For a while, anyway.

Next morning, Helen had a bag packed. Her mother guessed what was in it, and declined anything other than a cup of coffee before they left. Mrs Brown felt that lingering outside the school, even on a dark winter day, might lead to suspicion, so she said she would drive home then be back outside the school exactly one hour later.

Helen smiled to herself; she knew her Mother would be early. And fretting. They were also half an hour early in getting ready, so Helen went upstairs to check messages, really to keep out of Mum’s way. She didn’t want to have to reply to Penny Brown saying: “Helen, are you sure about this; you know, sure, really sure?” one more time.

They were still ten minutes early at the school gates. It was a typical January morning; dark, cold. Helen saw one car in the staff car park and just a shimmer of light at one window. She got out and walked as slowly as she could up to the front of the school, then counted to sixty to let another minute pass before ringing the bell. She saw her breath was hanging like a cloud on the freezing winter air. Almost another minute passed before James Simmons opened the door and ushered her inside; the school was warm, and that smell, the undefined smell that the school had, hit her nostrils. Once inside the Headmaster’s study, she truly felt at home again, like the time before, and in reality the time before that too.

After a few minutes of chat, Mr Simmons reached out for Helen’s letter.

“I read this with interest, Helen, and rather than try to second guess what it is you wish to talk about, perhaps you could tell me, more fully, in your own words?”

Helen felt secure in Mr Simmons’ presence, so she told him that, while one part of her work nearly always got a high mark, whatever she did to try to improve the marks on the other part of her course never seemed to make any difference. She explained about listening to the lectures and trying make more detailed notes, about reading, then re-reading the course notes, then reading, and re-reading the recommended text. It made no difference.

Mr Simmons asked her to describe the two elements of her course. He noted that one part was given rather more time than the other, so he then asked her specifically about the part of the course that always got high marks. He now suspected that Helen had a bias in her intrinsic interest without even being aware of it, and was reading more widely and so producing slightly deeper and better reasoned essays for this. Her answer confirmed his thoughts. It was clear to him then; he told her that the solution was reading other books as well as the recommended course text, widening her factual input on the part of the course she now admitted she found slightly less interesting. He explained to her how the ‘missing ingredient’ she had correctly identified was simply the need, here as in all life, to draw on a variety of sources. He also suspected, but didn’t say, that the lecturer had been lazy in producing the course notes and that they were almost certainly based only on the recommended text.

Ascertaining that Helen was satisfied with his analysis, he proposed they now turn to the motivational discipline. His former head girl nodded and asked if she could get changed. Mr Simmons of course agreed so she left the office for a few minutes, quickly stepping out of her leggings and sweater and buttoning up her old white shirt, zipping up the skirt and pulling on her white socks. After a deep breath she returned to Mr Simmons’ office and knocked on the door.

There was, of course, a few seconds wait.

“Come in,” came the stentorian voice after the due delay. Just the tone made Helen shiver. She was about to be physically disciplined by this man and her mind was a mixture of apprehension and cold fear as she opened the door and stood before him. The caning stool was set out in the middle of the room and the dragon cane, which she had herself partly organised the acquisition of, was lying across it.

“If you are ready, Helen, I propose we get started. Twelve strokes with the dragon cane. Please take your knickers down and lift your skirt. Bend right over the stool.”

Helen’s breathing was tight in her chest as she followed the instructions. Prepared, she lowered herself onto the stool. Mr Simmons tapped the cane a few times, then let go a powerful stroke that had Helen recoiling and gasping as the fierce sting shot through her body like a bolt of lightning. It made her tense up, from head to toe, as she struggled to absorb the blow. Just as the immediate surge of pain was reducing, Mr Simmons applied the second stroke. The effect was the same but Helen gasped out loud at this one, the impact was shocking and she exhaled in a controlled way in order to come to terms with the fiery smarting the cane was producing.

The third cut had her twitching as she lay prone over the stool; the fourth produced the first yelp. It was really hurting, and while Helen was used to it, the penetrating sting and the deep burn of the dragon cane was difficult to take. Slowly the simmering heat built up as the fifth acutely painful stroke was delivered, then the sixth. More strokes were slowly applied, Helen sometimes crying out, wiggling her body, tensing up her bottom, jerking uncontrollably as a new wave of hurt made her muscles convulse; she was trying to control her breathing, and showing all the signs of the huge physical discomfort the cane was causing.

As the tenth stroke whipped viciously, directly over an earlier welt, Helen’s whole body went absolutely rigid from top to bottom, or top to toe. Her bottom was already in a state of muscular compression as the sting engulfed her whole being, her mind now completely blank. The eleventh stroke was applied just as firmly but across the tops of Helen’s thighs, causing her to stifle a scream as the even sharper sting on tender, sensitive flesh brought out a new and even higher need for reaction in her whole body. Only by supreme willpower did Helen not yell out loud.

Finally, the twelfth stroke was administered and Helen lay still for several seconds, absorbing it, slowly coming to terms with what had happened, with an almighty burning feeling in her bottom and a complete emptiness in her head. After a dozen or so slow, steadying breaths she made an effort and rose up from the stool, brushing away a tear. Even as hardened a discipline addict as Helen Brown sometimes broke down under the cane. She put her hands on her burning bottom, feeling straight away the ridges the cane had embossed on her; she felt the heat, like putting her hands close to an electric fire. Right then it was agony, the cane seemed to produce a very dense sort of pain, hard to come to terms with at first. Helen of course knew that later that day, and next day, the feeling would be replaced by one a lot more stimulating, somehow comforting, and of course erotic. But not for a while yet.

After a few minutes, she thanked Mr Simmons for caning her so well and they talked for a short while about Helen’s work, and whether she was still planning to come to the next appointment. The Headmaster quickly pointed out that this could be confirmed by phone nearer the time. Helen agreed, then left to get changed back into her ‘ordinary’ clothes. A few minutes later, she came back to his office and he wished her well before walking her to the front door, politely holding it open when they reached it and saying: “Goodbye and good luck, Helen,” as she stepped away. The lock clicked loudly behind her as she walked stiffly off towards a car waiting at the gate.

Penny Brown saw Helen approaching and, even in the half light of a cold and overcast winter morning, noticed the glint of a tear in her daughter’s eye.

“Hello,” was all Mum could say, but she got a: “Hello,” and, “Thanks for waiting Mum,” back. Whatever Helen was feeling she never forgot her manners.

‘At least I taught her one thing,’ thought Penny.

They drove off in silence, each with their own thoughts, and Helen spent a quiet day recovering.

The End

© PW 2019