A girl is sentenced in the magistrate’s court

By Kenny Walters

“The cane? Eight strokes? Are you serious? They can’t do this to me!” Tori Mitchell exclaimed as she sat down behind the table at the centre of the small interview room.

“This is not what we were expecting, Mr Pentlock,” her mother added as she sat next to her daughter. “You mentioned clemency, and even told my daughter how to dress for her court appearance. What went wrong?”

Arthur Pentlock, a bald-headed man in his sixties, wearing a once-smart grey pinstripe three-piece suit, placed his overflowing briefcase on the table and took out a scruffy brown folder. Then he sat opposite Tori and Jennifer Mitchell.

“Mrs Mitchell, let me be clear. As Tori’s solicitor, I advised her to plead guilty because the evidence against her was overwhelming. The prosecution had photos, CCTV footage and three eye-witness accounts. You went against my advice and pleaded not-guilty. Apart from anything else, you wasted the court’s time, and magistrates never like that.”

“But I left the money on the counter,” Tori whined.

“Tori, there was a CCTV camera pointed directly at the till area. It showed you leaning right across the counter taking several packets of cigarettes and a bottle of vodka. At no point did it show you leaving any money on the counter.”

“But other people were doing exactly the same,” Tori argued, before adding, “Maybe I forgot to leave the money. You know, in all the excitement that was going on.”

“And if those other people could be identified, they too will have their time in court. There has been a fair bit of public outrage against all those who took part in this civil protest, shall we call it? Most people are calling it a riot, and they are incensed so many shops were looted. The courts are taking that public outrage into account with the sentences they hand out. And forgetting to pay is tantamount to not paying, which is stealing, Tori.”

Tori scoffed and looked away.

“The thing is, Mr Pentlock, as our solicitor you suggested Tori might get a fine, maybe some community work. And now she faces this, this awful thing.”

“Yes, and you had me dress up in my school uniform and everything,” moaned her daughter. “That was a waste of effort, wasn’t it?

Arthur Pentlock looked at the teenage girl. She certainly looked smart in her well-ironed white blouse, blue and red school tie and navy-blue blazer with the school crest. He’d followed her along the corridor from the courtroom and admired her red and blue tartan skirt, pleated at the rear with a box panel at the front. White knee-length socks and black shoes completed the uniform. Tori’s blond hair, tightly fastened back in a ponytail, complimented her neat appearance.

“No, it wasn’t a waste, Tori. The magistrate could have been a fair bit harder on you. He might have sent you to prison for a short period, for example, or he could easily have awarded more strokes, even a combination of the two. I think your smart appearance, at least, was to your credit. What let you down was your insistence you’d done nothing wrong when all the evidence showed otherwise.”

“But we can appeal, can’t we, Mr Pentlock?” Jennifer Mitchell asked. “We can ask for a different sentence, can’t we? Community service, or something?”

“I’d seriously caution against that, Mrs Mitchell. To appeal and fail would mean an increased sentence without a doubt. It could make things much worse.”

“So, what are our options, Mr Pentlock?”

The old solicitor wiped a hand over his near bald head and leaned back in his chair. “Frankly, Mrs Mitchell, Tori is best advised to simply accept the judgement of the magistrate, take her punishment and move on.”

“We have no options at all?”

“Not in my opinion. Not about the sentence anyway.”

“They’re going to cane me no matter what? Is that what you’re saying?” Tori’s face was a mixture of anger and watering eyes.

“I’m afraid that is the case, Tori. You would only make things worse for yourself if you didn’t accept the judgement.”

While Tori buried her face in her hands, her mother asked, “When will it be carried out, Mr Pentlock?”

“Ah, now there is some choice there, Mrs Mitchell. There is a small team in the basement of this building who can carry out the sentence today. Alternatively, Tori can report to the local prison during the next ten days and have it carried out there. She’ll need to phone and make an appointment first, of course.”

“Prison? How long will they keep her there?”

“No longer than is necessary, Mrs Mitchell. About an hour or so, maybe an hour and a half. There’s no element of detention in that. It’s just the time taken to carry out the caning.”

“Can I go with her?”

“You can escort her to the prison gate, but then only she will be allowed to enter. You can, of course, wait for her outside.”

Jennifer Mitchell looked at her daughter, now crying openly.

“And the people here? Are they any better?”

“They are a little more accommodating, Mrs Mitchell. I could have a word and they might allow you to accompany Tori.” The solicitor smiled. “I do have a little influence.”

“Could we come back here within the ten days and get it done?”

“No, it’s a small team. They only deal with those who wish to be dealt with on the day.”

“What do you think, Tori?” Jennifer Mitchell brushed her own long blond hair back as she turned to her still sobbing daughter. “Get it over and done with?”

“Please don’t let them do this, mum!” Tori sniffled.

“I’m afraid it doesn’t look like there’s any choice, darling.” Jennifer put an arm around her daughter’s shoulder and pulled her into an embrace. “At least here I can be with you.”

Through her tears and wrapped in her mother’s arm, Tori nodded briefly.

“Get it done here?” Mrs Mitchell asked again.

Tori nodded again, this time with small sharp movements that splattered several tears on her mother’s cream-coloured dress.

“Can you arrange it, Mr Pentlock?” Jennifer Mitchell looked across at the solicitor.

“Of course, Mrs Mitchell.”

The old solicitor left the room, leaving Tori sobbing in her mother’s arms.

“Come on, darling, I’m sure it won’t be too bad. I expect there’s other girls in just the same situation. You’ll soon get over it.”

“They’re going to hurt me, mum,” Tori wailed.

“I know. I know. But it can’t be helped, I’m afraid.”

“I’m not sure I can go through with it, mum.”

“Don’t worry, they’ll be well used to dealing with reluctant girls who are scared of what’s going to happen to them. You won’t be the only one.”

“Perhaps I should wait a few days?”

“But then we’d have to go to the prison, and I couldn’t be with you. You’d have to face it all on your own, and I really don’t think it would be any better.”

“It’s just that it’s all happening so fast. Only a few minutes ago I was standing in the dock, and now they’re going to cane me, like very soon!”

“I know, but let’s get this sorted now, then it will all be over and you can put this whole awful affair behind you.”

“How do they do it, mum? What will I have to do?”

“I don’t know, darling. They’ll have their procedures, I’m sure.”

Tori continued to weep gently in her mother’s arms, and then Arthur Pentlock returned. He sat down opposite the two females and started stuffing his papers back into the scruffy briefcase.

“It’s all set, Mrs Mitchell. I’ll escort you down to the reception desk and they’ll take it from there.”

“Thank you, Mr Pentlock. Come along, darling. Let’s get this over with.”

Mr Pentlock led them along one corridor where they turned into another and then arrived at some steps leading down into the basement of the building.

“It’s down here,” Mr Pentlock explained as he started descending the stone steps.

At the bottom they found themselves in another short corridor. At the end, arrows signified that females should turn left and males should turn right. They turned left and immediately came to a glass-fronted counter with a small opening. A woman dressed in a black skirt and white blouse sat in the small office behind the counter. She stood and came to the counter as soon as she spotted Arthur Pentlock.

“This is Tori Mitchell and her mother, Jane,” the solicitor explained. “You already have the paperwork, I believe.”

Jane, a dark-haired woman in her late forties, went back to her desk and returned with several papers clipped together. She ran her eyes briefly over the top document and the one immediately below.

“Thank you, Arthur. Yes, all in order.”

“Good. I’ll leave you in this lady’s capable hands, Mrs Mitchell. Good luck, Tori.”

“Good afternoon, Mrs Mitchell,” Jane said politely as Arthur Pentlock left them. “Can you confirm your full name and date of birth, please Tori?”

Tori, now wiping away her tears with a small white handkerchief, left her mother to give the required information.

“Don’t get upset, Tori,” Jane said softly. “Do you have ID?”

Tori handed over her provisional driving licence.

“Thank you, Tori. Put your driving licence away safely and both of you come with me, please.”

Jane came out into the corridor and led them to another small room almost opposite.

“Take a seat, Mrs Mitchell. There’s just a few formalities I need to complete.”

Jennifer Mitchell sat on one of three chairs placed to one side of the room and looked around. The décor was similar to a doctor’s office with a small desk to one side, a gauge for measuring a person’s height, a pair of scales and a small examination couch, its plastic surface covered by a sheet of fresh paper. The room even smelled of disinfectant. A computer sat on the desk, and Jane started typing as Tori and her mother looked around the room.

“I won’t be a moment, Tori,” Jane said, sensing the girl’s trepidation. She plugged a small machine into the computer. “I just need to take your fingerprints, Tori. Don’t worry, no nasty ink involved these days. Just press the tip of each finger onto the glass screen for me.”

Her fingerprints taken, Tori was then directed to stand against a white painted section of wall. Jane plugged a camera into the computer and followed Tori over to the wall.

“I need four photographs. First, please stand with your back to the wall.”

The camera flashed as it was held near to Tori’s face, then she was asked to pivot ninety degrees to her left so the right-hand side of her face could be photographed. Rear view and left profiles soon followed.

“Thank you, Tori. Now I just need to check your height and weight.”

First, Tori had to stand by the height gauge.

“Five feet two inches. Now, stand on the scales for me. Nine stone, three pounds.”

These measurements taken, Tori was asked to sit next to her mother while Jane tapped the information into the computer.

“Will these records remain on file forever?” Jennifer Mitchell asked.

“Ten years, Mrs Mitchell, assuming no further offences are committed.”

“And then they’re destroyed?”

“That’s correct.”

“That’s something, I suppose,” Jennifer muttered to herself.

A few minutes later, Jane finished typing and got to her feet.

“All done. Now, if you’ll follow me, please?”

Jane led them further along the corridor and stopped at another door which she held open for them. Inside was a small waiting room with about a dozen chairs placed around the walls, a cold-water dispenser and a coffee machine. A low coffee table held several rather tatty magazines. An inner door was directly opposite. Just one woman, around forty years old with long dark hair and wearing jeans with a white T-shirt, sat on one of the chairs with a black jacket folded up on the chair next to her.

“Take a seat, Mrs Mitchell and Tori. It shouldn’t be too long. Help yourselves to water or coffee.”

Jane then left the room. Jennifer nodded briefly to the seated woman and sat down. Tori sat next to her mother and rested her head on her shoulder.

“What happens now?” Jennifer Mitchell asked to no one in particular.

“I’m not sure,” said the dark-haired woman. “They go through that door there.” She pointed to the door opposite to where they’d entered.

“I see.”

“They’ve already got someone in there,” the dark-haired woman continued. “They’ll be coming for me very soon, I expect.”

“Yes?”

“Third speeding conviction,” the woman explained.

“I’m sorry?”

“My third speeding conviction. I was fined on the two previous occasions. This time, it’s a fine and five strokes of the cane. I’m dreading it.”

“I can imagine. I’m glad I’ve managed to keep a clean licence,” Jennifer Mitchell frowned. “What are they like?”

“Firm, but not unpleasant. Efficient, I suppose.” The woman ran her fingers together. “There’s a young woman in there now. With her mother. The poor girl was very nervous.”

Jennifer nodded, while Tori held on to her mother even more tightly.

Soon, the second door opened and a weeping dark-haired girl, around the same age as Tori, emerged with her mother trying to cuddle her. They ignored everyone and headed straight for the door onto the corridor. The girl tenderly rubbed the seat of her black legging-style trousers.

“Mrs Templeton?” A woman, perhaps in her early fifties, entered from the inner door. She, too, was dressed in a black skirt and white shirt that seemed to be the staff uniform.

The dark-haired woman remained seated, looking up at her.

“Come along, Mrs Templeton.” The officer took the woman by the arm and more or less dragged her to her feet.

For a brief moment, the woman held onto the frame of the doorway to try and stop herself being taken through, but the officer was stronger and pulled her into the room beyond, shutting the door behind them.

“I’m next,” Tori declared in a weak voice. “How long?”

“I don’t know, darling.”

“I’m so scared, mum!”

“I know, darling. But I’ll be with you. We’ll get through this together.”

Even Jennifer Mitchell’s heart was pounding as the minutes ticked by, and her daughter’s fate came ever closer. As they sat in silence, the tension mounted.

Twenty minutes later, the door opened and the dark-haired woman emerged crying openly and clutching her backside through her jeans. The same officer they’d seen before led the woman through to the outer door and pushed her out into the corridor.

“The exit is that way, Mrs Templeton.”

Tori and her mother sat in rigid fear as they watched the officer close the door.

“Won’t be a moment,” the officer said as she looked down at the sobbing Tori.

As the officer returned to the room beyond, the outer door opened again and another teenage girl, also with an older woman, presumably her mother, were shown in and told to make themselves comfortable. Both were ashen-faced and looking extremely anxious.

“Oh god, mum!” Tori exclaimed in her mother’s ear.

“I know, darling. I know.”

And then the inner door opened.

“Tori Mitchell?” The same officer that had dealt with the dark-haired woman hovered over Tori. Come with me, please.”

Jennifer Mitchell stood first and pulled her daughter up out of her chair.

“Come on, darling. It has to be done.”

“Sorry, who are you?” The officer asked Jennifer.

“I’m Tori’s mother,” Jennifer replied weakly. “We were told I could be with her?”

“That will be fine, Mrs Mitchell. Through here, please.”

Tori and her mother were escorted into a very small room with yet another door leading off. A table sat on one side of the room, next to which were several clothes hooks fastened to the wall. The officer locked them into the small room by sliding a bolt on the door.

“You’re looking very smart today, Tori,” The officer commented as she ran her eyes over Tori’s school uniform. “I bet your solicitor told you to wear that.”

“Mr Pentlock? Yes, he did,” Jennifer Mitchell replied for Tori.

“It might have saved you a couple of whacks.” The officer smiled. “I’m Karen, by the way. We’re quite informal here.”

“What happens now?” Jennifer asked nervously.

“Calm down, Mrs Mitchell. Both of you, calm down. My colleague and I will lead you through the process stage by stage. Just relax and we’ll take you through it, one step at a time.”

“Hard to do, in the circumstances.”

“I’m sure.” The officer continued smiling.

“Now, we’re all girls together here, Tori. I need you to undress for me. That’s blazer, skirt, shoes and socks. Keep your bra and pants on for now.”

“What, here? Now?”

“Yes, that’s correct, Tori. Mrs Mitchell, would you like to help Tori? You can use the hooks and the table to put her clothes on.”

“Come on, darling. It’s obviously their procedure. Let’s get you stripped off.”

“Why? Why can’t I keep my clothes on? Mum?”

“Tori, please just do as you’re told. It’s pointless delaying it. You’ll just make things worse for yourself if you stand and argue.”

“That’s correct, Mrs Mitchell,” Karen added. “Listen to your mother, Tori. I need you in just your bra and pants before we go next door.”

“Next door?” Tori questioned.

Karen smiled sympathetically, but didn’t answer.

Jennifer Mitchell took Tori by the arm and crossed over to the table. She helped Tori off with her blazer and hung it on one of the hooks.

“Slip your shoes off and take your socks off.”

Tori reacted very slowly, but her mother was finally able to pick up the shoes and socks and place them on the table.

“Tie and blouse, darling.”

Tori fumbled nervously with the tie, and her mother had to undo it for her. Tori also struggled with unbuttoning her blouse, and again her mother did it for her.

“Slip your blouse off, darling.”

“Mum!”

“I know,” Jennifer gently eased the white blouse off her daughter’s shoulders, revealing her daughter’s black lacy bra. She folded the blouse neatly and placed it on the table.

“Let’s get your skirt off.”

The wrap-around red and blue tartan skirt had fastenings at the front and when undone by Jennifer Mitchell, the skirt fell away easily. That, too, was folded carefully and placed on the table.

“All done?” The officer, Karen came over to them and ran her eyes briefly over Tori’s black lacy bra and her near G-string-like black panties. “Wait here and I’ll just check everything is ready for you.”

The officer opened the inner door and peered through. Both Tori and her mother tried to see past the officer into the room, but were unsuccessful.

“Yes, come on through.” Karen held the door wide open.

“Come on, darling, let’s get it over with.” Jennifer Mitchell put one arm round her daughter’s shoulders and led her towards the door. “In you go.”

She gave Tori a gentle pat on her bottom, and then they were both inside the next room. Another officer, a younger woman in her late twenties, greeted them. Inside the room was a metal trestle topped with a padded plastic-covered rectangle measuring around two feet wide by fifteen inches across. Towards the bottom of each pair of front and back legs, an adjustable metal cross bar ran from side to side. Ominously, towards the centre of each of these cross bars were two padded cuffs with velcro straps.

“Don’t look so worried,” the new officer smiled gently at Tori. “I’m Sophie. You can call us both by our first names, if you like.”

Tori’s eyes were focused on the trestle. She didn’t reply.

Jennifer Mitchell, though, had looked around the room and spotted a two-and-a-half-foot length of rattan cane, around half an inch thick, that rested on a side table. Blue tape had been wrapped around one end to form a handle.

“Come and stand by the trestle, Tori. That bit won’t hurt.” Sophie smiled as she patted the padded top.

The attempt at humour was lost on Tori, who did as she had been asked, and stood anxiously looking into Sophie’s bright green eyes.

“Let me go through a couple of things with you, Tori. I’ll get you to bend over this trestle when we’re ready. As you can see, the top is padded so it won’t hurt your tummy. Then I’ll fasten these padded cuffs around your ankles and wrists. That’s to stop you moving and maybe falling off and hurting yourself. Is that clear?”

“Um, yes.”

“How many strokes is it, Karen?” Sophie looked over to her colleague, who checked some paperwork.

“Eight strokes, Sophie.”

Sophie grimaced as she turned her attention back to Tori.

“Do you want to take your panties off now, or shall I do it for you in a moment?”

“What?” Tori asked, seeming not to comprehend.

“Standard procedure, Tori. You have to be naked below the waist.”

“Why?”

“Those knickers are very brief,” Jennifer Mitchell added in support of her daughter. “They hardly cover her bum, and that’s what you’re going to hit, isn’t it?”

“That is correct, Mrs Mitchell,” Sophie acknowledged. “But we treat everyone the same, and that means they have to come off.”

Turning back to Tori, the young officer smiled again and added, “We’re going to see your bare bum sooner or later, Tori. Would it be easier for you to let me slip them down when we’ve got you over the trestle?”

“Go on, darling,” Jennifer Mitchell encouraged. “I should take them off now.”

“What do you think, Tori?” Sophie added.

Tori looked once more into Sophie’s green eyes. This young officer wasn’t so many years older than her. She was quite pretty, and she had a friendly-looking face.

“There’s no need to be embarrassed, Tori,” Sophie tried to reassure the teenager.

“Are you the one that’s going to cane me?” Tori asked.

Sophie hesitated, the question taking her by surprise. “Yes, I am, Tori.”

Without another word, Tori slowly pushed the black, very brief, underwear down her legs and stood on first one leg and then the other as she unhooked the garment from her feet.

“Perhaps mum will look after them for you?” Suggested the other officer, Karen.

Jennifer Mitchell quickly stepped forward and took the panties from her daughter.

“Stand facing the trestle, Tori,” Sophie ordered, her voice becoming firmer now.

Tori complied, and felt her mother rubbing her right arm up and down.

“Can you shuffle forward a couple of inches so you’re closer to the trestle, Tori?”

The officer put her hands on Tori’s hips to guide her into the precise position, both hands then brushing the girl’s buttocks as they were removed.

“That’s good. Now, can you bend over the trestle for me?”

“It’s a bit high,” Tori replied as she contemplated the move.

“Perhaps a little jump up onto it?” Sophie suggested.

Fresh tears trickled from Tori’s eyes as it became clear the worst part of her ordeal was now very close. Even so, she managed a leap up and over the padded surface, grabbing hold of the legs on the far side to prevent herself falling back.

“Well done, Tori,” Sophie commented. “Now, can you shuffle forward just a little so you’re lying across the padded surface?”

Tori inched forward and found her legs dropped almost vertically down the front of the trestle.

“I need to fasten these cuffs around your legs, just above your ankles,” Sophie explained, adjusting the padded cuffs to a higher position on the rearmost trestle legs.

“Can’t you just whip her like that?” Jennifer Mitchell suggested, sensing how frightening all this was for her daughter.

“We have to follow procedures, Mrs Mitchell, and I want Tori in just the right position,” Karen explained. “It’s for Tori’s own good, really. Trust us, we know what we’re doing.”

Jennifer took a half-step back, leaving Sophie just enough room to secure Tori into the padded lower leg cuffs.

“They’re tight, but they are comfortable, Mrs Mitchell,” Sophie said as she stood up straight again. “They won’t hurt Tori.”

“Okay,” Mrs Mitchell murmured.

“Now for your wrists, Tori,” Sophie said briskly as she went round to the other side of the trestle. “Reach down for the floor as far as you can.”

When Tori extended her arms down as far as she could, she saw Sophie kneel down and adjust the wrist cuffs higher up the front trestle legs and then felt her wrists being encompassed and secured by the cuffs. Now her arms and legs were stretched down and her ankles and wrists firmly gripped, and her stomach was pressed down onto the padded top. It wasn’t very comfortable and she could hardly wriggle an inch.

“Well done, Tori,” Sophie complimented. “You’re nice and secure, and your bottom is in just the right position.”

“Okay.”

With Sophie still kneeling, Tori found her face quite close to the young officer’s. Sophie gently placed the teenager’s ponytail to one side of her face.

“There. You can see more of what’s happening now. You’re doing fine, Tori. Thank you for cooperating.”

Sophie stood up and turned to Jennifer Mitchell. “Mrs Mitchell, why don’t you come round and stand in front of the trestle? You can maybe offer Tori a little comfort, although I have to warn you not to interfere with what happens next. If you do, you will have to leave the room. Your presence is allowed so you can offer support to Tori, nothing else. Is that clear?”

“I understand.”

As Sophie fetched the cane from the side table, Jennifer Mitchell went round and began stroking Tori’s hair.

“Can you wipe my eyes for me, mum?” Tori’s voice faltered as she sensed the worst moment of her life was about to happen.

Sophie waited for Mrs Mitchell to dry her daughter’s eyes carefully with a handkerchief before she spoke again.

“We’re about there, Tory,” the young officer explained. “You will not be released until I have applied eight strokes of this cane across your bum. I’ll take it slowly, but if you want a few seconds rest at any time then just say so. Okay?”

“Okay,” Tori croaked, her throat now very dry. She shut her eyes.

Sophie raised the cane high into the air and brought it swiftly down until it struck Tori’s naked backside with a sharp crack that seemed to reverberate round the room.

“Aaaahh!!” Tori screamed. “Oh my god!”

Her mother paused from stroking her daughter’s hair, and the colour drained from her face as the force of the stroke shocked her.

Within moments, Sophie swung the cane up high and swept it down for another hard stroke.

“Uuuunn!!” Tori cried. “Mum! I can’t do this!”

Jennifer Mitchell, still shaken by the severity of the beating, was unable to speak, so Sophie paused and patted Tori on her naked lower back.

“Yes, you can do this, Tori,” the young officer told her. “It’s harsh so you’re never tempted to re-offend. It will hurt, and your bum will be well bruised, but you will take your punishment. You have no choice. Shall I continue? You say when.”

Tori sobbed and breathed heavily, craning her head back to look at her mother for help, but Jennifer Mitchell was powerless.

“Tori?” Sophie reminded the teenage girl.

Realising now that she was on her own as far as her punishment was concerned, Tori looked down at the floor and nodded. “Okay, go ahead.”

It took little more than a second    for Sophie to take aim, swing the cane high above her shoulder and swish it down forcefully, hitting the girl’s naked buttocks plumb in the centre. Tori’s face instantly screwed up, fresh tears ran down her face, but she didn’t cry out.

Two more firm strokes followed before Jennifer Mitchell took it upon herself to dry Tori’s eyes again, and Sophie allowed her all the time she needed. It was only when Jennifer took a step back that she unleashed another stroke of the cane. This time, Tori let out a long low moan.

“Just two more, Tori,” Sophie said in a low, soft voice. “Ready?”

Tori’s head bobbed up and down, and the officer took that as a sign to continue. The next stroke swished down and hit Tori’s bottom low down.

“Eeech!!”

“One more.”

The eighth stroke whistled down and landed with a loud crack.

“Aaaahh!!” Tori gasped.

“All done!”

Sophie turned and placed the cane back on the side table, while Jennifer Mitchell caressed the back of her daughter’s hair. “Well done, darling. It’s all over now.”

Tori didn’t respond. She felt breathless and utterly demoralized. The aching pain across the whole of her backside filled her consciousness to the exclusion of anything that was happening around her. And then, slowly, awareness of her surroundings returned.

“Let’s get you out of these cuffs,” Karen, the older officer, began unfastening the velcro straps holding the teenager over the trestle. “Stay over the trestle until I can help you down. I expect your legs will be a bit weak.”

Karen quickly removed the restraining cuffs and gripped Tori by the waist as she helped the teenager off the trestle back onto her feet. Tori held onto the trestle with her left hand while she ran her right hand gently over her bottom. Jennifer Mitchell came round to the back of the trestle and took over from Karen. Her mouth sagged open as she saw the marks inflicted on her daughter’s bottom.

“You poor darling. That must hurt like anything.” Jennifer turned her head in Sophie’s direction. “Did she have to be hit that hard? Look at those bruises!”

“We treat everyone the same, Mrs Mitchell,” Karen answered. “It’s only fair.”

“Mum! Don’t start,” Tori moaned.

Sophie came over and put an arm on Tori’s shoulder. “Karen is correct, Mrs Mitchell. We do have to treat everyone the same. The court decides the punishment, that is the number of strokes, and we are tasked with carrying out the sentence. Tori, the pain will soon start to subdue and then you will feel sore for a couple of days or so. I’m sorry, but it had to be done.”

“I know. I’m fine, really I am, mum. I did steal from that shop and I accept my punishment. Please, don’t go on about it.”

“Perhaps you’d like to help Tori out to the other room and help her get dressed,” Karen suggested. “I expect she’d like to get off home now.”

“Yes, I would.” Tori began to move towards the door with her mother still holding her by the arm. “Sophie, thank you.”

“Take care,” Sophie replied. “Hopefully, we won’t see you again, at least not here.”

“No fear of that!”

In the next room, Tori immediately went to the table where her clothes still lay.

“Have you got my knickers, mum?”

“Yes, here they are.”

Leaning with one hand on the table, Tori slowly dipped down and threaded her feet into the skimpy panties.

“Let me,” her mother offered and pulled the panties up until they were back in place.

Tori took her blouse from the pile of clothes and slipped it on unaided. Her uniform tartan skirt followed with a little more difficulty. Her mother then helped with socks and shoes, and Tori put on her school blazer. She stuffed her school tie into a pocket in the blazer.

“Are you ready to go, Tori?” Karen asked. “There’s no rush. Take as much time as you need.”

“I could use a drink of water,” Tori answered, her voice sounding quite croaky.

“There’s water and coffee in the outer room,” Karen said. “Do you want me to fetch some for you?”

“It’s alright. I can get it.”

“Okay. Good luck for the future, Tori. Thank you for supporting Tori and not interfering, Mrs Mitchell.”

Tori’s mother wasn’t sure how to respond, so she remained silent and just took her daughter by the arm as they went through to the outer room, where another mother and daughter sat anxiously waiting. They both studied Tori intensely as she crossed to where the water and coffee dispensers were. Tori carefully filled a cardboard beaker with water and sipped it slowly. She turned to look at the waiting pair, and saw the fear written on the face of the dark-haired teenager.

“It won’t be long now,” Tori said to the girl. “It’s not that bad really. They’re very nice, actually.”

“Really?” The girl’s mother asked incredulously.

“It hurts. It really hurts, but they’re just doing their job and they’re as helpful as they can be. I wouldn’t want another dose though.”

At least the mother seemed encouraged by Tori’s remarks, even if her daughter wasn’t.

“Come on, darling, let’s get you out of here,” Jennifer Mitchell suggested, just as Tori finished her water.

They managed to leave the court building without anyone gaining even a hint of what Tori had just experienced, and they walked slowly back to their car.

“You might find it more comfortable to lie on the back seat,” Jennifer Mitchell suggested.

“Good idea,” Tori answered, and waited while her mother opened the back door. She crawled across the seat and bent her knees so her mother could close the door.

“God, that was awful,” Jennifer declared as she sat in the driver’s seat. “Don’t you ever do anything to earn yourself a repeat of that, thank you very much!”

“Awful for you, do you mean? It wasn’t that great for me, mum!”

“Sorry, it must have been dreadful for you. And why on earth you thanked that woman for thrashing you like that is totally beyond me.”

“She was just doing her job, mum. She had to do it.”

“Perhaps, but she really laid it on. No wonder your bum is all bruised. It will take days for it to heal. I wish now that you’d pleaded guilty, then you might have been spared such an ordeal.”

“Too late to worry about that now. At least it’s all over and done with.”

“Yes, but…”

“No buts, mum. I shouldn’t have stolen from that shop. I was stupid to do it and arrogant to think I’d get away with it. It’s taught me a good lesson.”

“It’s still a hard way to learn. I never believed in corporal punishment. That’s why I never spanked you when you were naughty.”

“Perhaps you should have done. I remember those long lectures when I did something wrong, and then the long silences when I thought you’d stopped loving me. A spanking would have been kinder, and much more effective.”

“Really? Do you really think that?”

“Yes, mum. I do.”

The End

© Kenny Walters 2022

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