A guilty conscience troubles a young woman
By Marcella Cabana
Blanca Paredes was raised in a churchgoing family where standards were strict, and failure to meet them had consequences. Between the ages of six and twelve, whenever they transgressed, she and her brother, Leo, found themselves over their mother or father’s knee, feeling the sting mounting as they were firmly spanked. Leo always made a tremendous noise when he was spanked, yelling and crying. Blanca was more stoic, and would lie in position in silence, tears streaming down her face, but not yelling.
Spanking stopped when they were twelve, and Blanca assumed that was the end of her experiences of corporal punishment. She was to be proved wrong.
When Blanca was in 4th grade, about 13-years-old, bullies began to pick on her. She suffered a lot. The bullies called her by insulting nicknames. They disrespected her personal space, her things, her boundaries. They belittled her, laughed at her. Gradually, her self-esteem began to evaporate. Her grades suffered. There was no escape except the library and her bedroom.
She couldn’t take any more. She faked illness to get off school. It wasn’t that hard. Pain is hard to disprove. She lied. A lot.
She was kept off school for the last three months of the year. She was admitted to hospital for tests. The lies grew bigger and bolder. Her parents were worried half to death. But Blanca didn’t care. She had one aim; to stay out of school. It worked.
Eventually, she underwent expensive treatment and returned to school the next year, aged 14.
She felt guilty. Guilt gnawed at her conscience about all the trouble she’d caused, and the stress she’d caused her parents particularly. It followed her like a black dog. She felt awful about herself, and this time she couldn’t blame the bullies. Not entirely.
For 6 years, she couldn’t shake the shame of her lies, the quiet self-reproach that buzzed in her ear and never quite went away. “You’re a bad person,” it said.
She grew up and out of school and went to university. She moved on. She was happier, not being bullied any more. But the guilt was there.
One day, Blanca happened to read an article about justice. It said:
A small portion of the human population are psychopaths. The psychopath has no guilt or conscience. For everyone else, punishment can serve a useful psychological function. Punishment can remove guilt because bad deeds have been paid for.
Blanca suddenly had an idea. If she was punished, the guilt might go away. She could feel good about herself again. Thinking back, she remembered her spankings and how, when she’d deserved it, she’d always felt better.
Discretely, Blanca researched the spanking scene. She found a woman who offered to administer corporal punishment. At this point, Blanca would have done anything to make the guilt go away. She sent an email, explaining the situation. An appointment was made, and she cleared a date in her diary. She had requested a punishment. The instrument to be used and the severity was up to the disciplinarian, as it would have been had she submitted to corporal punishment at school or at home.
She was given an address in Madrid. She went to the flat and stood outside the door. She felt like she was entering a dragon’s lair, as if a new, unfamiliar and dangerous adventure awaited her. Steeling herself, she knocked on the door.
The door opened. A woman of about forty opened it. She had once had blonde hair, but it was shaved. She was dressed in an elegant black dress.
“Come in. I’m Lucia.” The woman kissed her once on each cheek. “Welcome! Please, help yourself to water or coffee. I’m just meting out a bit of justice, so if you could wait in the hall.”
The woman disappeared into a room which appeared to be a study and closed the door.
Blanca took a seat, fidgeting nervously. She couldn’t help listening. The crack! crack! crack! was loud. Even worse were the sounds made by the person being punished.
The punishment next door went on and on, but at last a man emerged, his face red, clutching his rear end. He brushed past Blanca and went straight to the exit, slamming the door. A minute passed, and then the woman emerged. She looked exactly the same. But her tone had altered completely. She spoke firmly and coldly.
Her voice was steely and cold. Blanca realized that she wasn’t being unfriendly; she was in character. Blanca stood sheepishly, and followed her into the room. She saw the woman pick up a cane and swish it through the air. It was long and thin. The woman turned to face Blanca.
“For three offences, bunking off school and disrupting your education, wasting the doctor’s time and lying to your parents, I am going to give you nine strokes of the cane. I want you to take down your trousers, please. Your knickers can stay on.”
Blanca unbuttoned her jeans, and she knew at once that her paper-thin cotton knickers wouldn’t provide any meaningful protection against an instrument beating her.
The disciplinarian waited until her trousers were down then said, “Bend over, Paredes. You’re about to learn a lesson that will linger longer in your memory than most, I suspect.” And the woman tapped the desk with the cane.
Slowly, Blanca reached for her glasses and removed them, placing them on the desk. Time seemed to freeze, and it was as if all the events over several years that had led to this moment flashed before her eyes as she bent down. She heard the cruel, mean words the bullies had said to her. She heard herself tell her mum, lying on the sofa, feigning discomfort, that she was in pain. She heard the doctor recounting the results of the test, her heart in her mouth lest he diagnose, “You are faking!”
Stretching across the table, she felt the elastic of her knickers tighten. Her bottom felt uncomfortably exposed, for sure. Blanca closed her eyes and said a little prayer. She prayed that she could bear her punishment and be forgiven. And she hoped it would have the desired effect, and release her from guilt.
“Good girl. Hold still like that.”
The woman took a step back, drew the cane back and swung it hard onto Blanca’s rear end. Blanca rocked forward, as if pushed by the force of the blow. At first, she felt nothing. But a second later, the pain made itself felt.
“Ahhhh!” Where the cane had struck, a fierce, burning sting was felt.
Crack! The second stroke landed almost an inch lower.
“Ah, por Dios!”
“Sshhhhhh. Quiet. No yelling.”
The disciplinarian could see she was having an effect. The skin on the edges of Blanca’s underwear was reddening.
Blanca’s bottom was stinging with a hot, prickly sting, and each stroke caused a new bout of pain. This cane was much worse than a spanking. That she could get through in silence. This was a whole different ballgame!
Crack! The fourth stroke landed on almost exactly the same spot as the second had, and the pain was so fierce that Blanca cried out in distress.
“Oww! Oww!” She gasped, her breath taken away by the pain.
Her whole bottom was tender now after five strong blows.
Could three more strokes add to this pain? She felt that it was at the highest level pain could reach.
“Do you want me to go easier on you, girl?”
Blanca wanted nothing more. But she gritted her teeth, knowing this had to be done ‘right’ to work.
“Very well. Three more.”
The cane swished down in a diagonal line, slicing across the six welts that lay across her buttocks. Blanca moaned.
Stroke number eight did the same, but formed a cross with the seventh. Blanca was gnashing her teeth and weeping. She swallowed hard, muttering, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” under her breath.
“One more,” said the woman.
The ninth stroke seemed to light her backside up in flames.
“You may stand and dress.”
Blanca pulled her jeans back on, but it hurt to do it. There were tears in her eyes.
“Now get out,” the woman said indifferently, as if she had just given her a telling-off.
Blanca left the flat quickly. She made for the Metro, rubbing her sore backside. When she was on the train, she couldn’t bear to sit down, the injuries that the cane had left were so bad.
But when, after a warm bath and a night’s sleep (on her front), she realized that she had been suitably punished, she felt a tremendous sense of release. The unhappy chapter of her school days had been closed forever. She was free.
© Marcella Cabana 2022