Late

A schoolgirl learns  there is no excuse for unacceptable behaviour

By Steven Wilson

Laura Williams was late. She had never been late for school before but as she glanced at her watch it was a real possibility that she would be today. She hardly ever dozed off again in bed once her alarm had gone off, so why on this of all mornings did she have to do so when her mother had left early for work so she was not around to give her a reminder to get up.

In a state of panic, Laura had leapt out of bed, pulled her nightie off and put her uniform on, skipped breakfast, grabbed her bag and raced out the front door, slamming it shut behind her. By her reckoning, if she hurried and ran part of the way, she might just get to school on time. As she set off down the road she resisted the urge to run too fast as it brought attention to herself and was all rather embarrassing.

At last she arrived at the main road with the school in sight a little way beyond; it was now nearly nine o’clock. As usual it was busy, there was a pedestrian crossing further down the road but if she went down to that it would use up precious seconds. She instead decided that she could run in between the cars if she timed it right and was careful. There was a gap in the traffic on the near side and she made her move, rushing across the road and darting in front of a white Audi coming in the opposite direction which braked and sounded its horn at her.

As she made it to the far kerb, she turned and gave the driver a ‘V’ sign and shouted: “Fuck off,” at them.

She wasn’t so much annoyed with the driver as annoyed with herself for having to rush like that. It was just after the expletive had left her mouth that she saw the driver of the car, and with a look of horror recognised them; it was Miss Henderson, her Headmistress.

Did she hear her outburst ? Did she recognise her ? She didn’t know, but couldn’t dwell on it just now as she hurried the last couple of hundred yards to the school gate, arriving bang on nine o’clock. She’d made it just in time. Ahead of her, she saw her best friend Heather and quickly caught her up.

“What’s up with you? You look all out of breath,” was Heather’s greeting.

“I was late. I went back to sleep and really had to rush to get here on time, and mum wasn’t around to get me out of bed or give me a lift or anything. Do I look a mess or am I okay?”

“You’re a bit flushed in the face and your hair could do with a comb put through it, but you’ll do,” laughed Heather. “Anyway, you’re an idiot running like that. So what if you were a few minutes late? I mean, you’ve never been late before so it wouldn’t have mattered this once. As long as you were here for assembly, nobody would be too bothered.”

“I suppose you’re right, but I didn’t want to get into trouble.”

“You get into trouble? That would be a first! Miss Goody two shoes,” laughed Heather again.

“You know I’m not like that, I just try and avoid getting into bother. That’s all.”

“Whatever you say,” Heather grinned. “Is there something else the matter? You look as if you’ve got something on your mind.”

Laura hesitated for a moment before replying. “Yes, there is. You know I said I was rushing to get here?”

“Yes, go on.”

“Well, when I got to the main road it was really busy and I didn’t have time to use the crossing, so I just ran across between the cars. It was perfectly safe. I wasn’t nearly knocked down or anything like, that but one of the cars honked me and I gave the driver a ‘V’ sign and told them to F Off. The thing is, it was Miss Henderson.”

Heather stopped and turned to look at Laura, her mouth gaping open in amazement. “What? You told old Henders to F Off? Oh that’s hilarious, that’s brilliant, I wish I’d seen it,” she laughed.

“No, it’s not funny, it’s awful.”

“Did she see you?”

“Well of course she saw me, she couldn’t not see me when I was right in front of her car. I just don’t know if she heard what I said or if she recognised me. What do you think will happen if she did?”

Heather could see her friend was genuinely worried about what had happened and, despite her amusement, stopped laughing. “Well, you’ve never been in trouble with her before, so she might just ignore it or give you a bit of a telling-off. I suppose the worst that could happen is that she would slipper you.”

Laura’s face dropped. “That’s what I’m afraid of,” she replied.

“Oh come on, it’s about time you had your bottom whacked. It would be a good experience for you. I don’t know how you’ve managed to avoid it up to now. Look, I’ve had the slipper a few times and it stings but it isn’t that bad. You soon get over it, so don’t worry about it. Anyway, you’ll know soon enough if she calls you out at the end of assembly.”

Heather then put on her finest ‘Miss Henderson’ impersonation. “Laura Williams, will you please report to my study at morning break to have your bottom whacked,” before once again bursting into laughter.

For Laura Williams, however, it was no laughing matter. She had joined Saint Judes school for Girls just over a year ago at the start of the lower sixth. It had been her parents’ idea to transfer her from the comprehensive school she had been at previously to Saint Judes, a private school with an excellent academic record, as they thought it would help Laura achieve her ambition to get into one of the top universities when she came to leave. It was certainly true that the standard of teaching was much higher at Saint Judes and the expectations on the pupils much greater, and that was something Laura welcomed and embraced.

However there were downsides too. Laura missed her friends from her previous school. She was a friendly, attractive girl, average height and slim with long dark hair that fell down over her shoulders and framed a pretty face, but she was also quiet and studious and could be quite shy at first when meeting people. Fortunately she had made friends with Heather early on and the two of them were now inseparable.

The other area that had taken some getting use to was that Saint Judes was very much an old fashioned school, or traditional as they liked to describe it. Even in the sixth form she had to wear a uniform of blazer, blouse and tie, knee length skirt and, worst of all, knee length socks. There were even rules around the underwear the girls were supposed to wear with traditional school knickers being specified and briefs, or god forbid thongs, being out of the question. For her part, Laura had taken to wearing white cotton knickers of the sort she hadn’t previously worn since she was a little girl. When changing for gym or games she did notice that many of the girls flouted the underwear rules and wore whatever they felt like, but although she was tempted she was also worried of what might happen if she were ever caught out. It was a far cry from her last school were uniform consisted of dark trousers, a plain coloured top and sweatshirt if needed in the winter, and no rules at all about underwear.

And then there was discipline. She had been shocked when she heard that Saint Judes still used corporal punishment, and that the slipper and cane were still used when required. Such practices had been abolished at her last school a long time ago, well before she started there, and she was surprised their use still continued at any school these days. She was also terrified of receiving it. The thought of being slippered or caned genuinely frightened her and she had made a conscious effort to avoid it at all costs. It helped that she was normally a well behaved girl who kept out of trouble, and she had not got into any serious misdemeanours at her last school despite the absence of corporal punishment.

She was not however a ‘Goody two shoes’ as Heather liked to put it. She did get up to things that she shouldn’t do, but she was careful and besides, there was nothing wrong with keeping out of trouble, was there? Except that at this moment in time, perhaps she wasn’t. It was alright for Heather saying that having her bottom whacked would be a good experience for her and it was nothing to worry about, but she did worry about it, or more precisely how much it would hurt.

The two girls were now seated in their form room waiting for registration, and as luck would have it Miss Fenshaw their form teacher was late. She had been delayed and arrived with barely enough time to take registration before sending the girls to morning assembly.

“See, you needn’t have rushed,” said Heather.

“Okay, but I wasn’t to know, was I?”

And then they were standing with the rest of the school in the main hall, Miss Henderson on the stage directing operations as usual. Laura’s stomach was churning, she couldn’t recall ever feeling this nervous for a long time and what was being said during assembly went in one ear and out the other as her mind was elsewhere. And then at last it was coming to a close. Miss Henderson read out a few notices and then ended with: “That will be all this morning. Please leave in an orderly fashion and quietly,” stressing the word quietly.

Heather nudged Laura. “Looks like you’ve got away with it. Your bottom has a charmed life, doesn’t it?”

Laura tried to summon a smile in response, but was still in a state of surprise that her name hadn’t been called out. Had she been lucky enough to get away with it? She couldn’t be sure. It was too early in the day and there was still plenty of time left for her to be summonsed.

The rest of the morning went by without any word from Miss Henderson, although Laura jumped every time the classroom door opened in anticipation of seeing her striding through it to grasp her by the collar and drag her to her study to slipper her. Afternoon registration was also a likely time for her to be summonsed, but Miss Fenshaw completed it without anything being said. For the first time that day, Laura began to believe that she had indeed got away with it, that either Miss Henderson hadn’t heard what she’d said, or had decided to do nothing about it.

“I can’t believe how you keep yourself out of trouble,” said Heather, “even when you tell old Henders to F Off nothing happens to you!”

“I can’t believe it either, although it must have been a close call this time, I think.”

It was now just after a quarter past three, less than fifteen minutes of school remaining, and Laura was in her maths lesson, sitting with her chin resting on her left hand staring into space. She had finished the task set for the class by Mr Thomas, the maths teacher, and was thinking about the coming evening. She had a date with her boyfriend; they’d only been going out together for the last couple of weeks and he was taking her to the cinema to see a film. She wasn’t thinking about the film, more the opportunity it presented to have a kiss and cuddle together under the cover of darkness. And then suddenly her thoughts were brought crashing back to the present.

The classroom door had opened and in came Mrs Collins, the Headmistress’s secretary. As soon as Laura saw her, her heart stared to race and her stomach once again churn. She went over to Mr Thomas and spoke to him. Laura strained her ears but couldn’t hear what was being said.

Then Mr Thomas looked up and said: “Laura Williams, can you go and see Miss Henderson please. You might as well take your things with you as you won’t be coming back before the end of the lesson.”

Laura felt herself go pale. This was it. She hadn’t got away with it. Miss Henderson wanted to see her. She told herself she’d apologise. Miss Henderson would accept it and realise she hadn’t really meant to do what she did and that would be it, there would be nothing else, no slippering, nothing to worry about, she’d be fine. If only she could believe that.

She hurriedly put her books into her bag and got up from the desk. All eyes were on her, wondering what Miss Henderson wanted to see her for. Apart from Heather, she hadn’t told anyone about what had happened that morning. She glanced at Heather who smiled and mouthed a “Good luck” to her as she went past. Mrs Collins was waiting for her in the corridor.

“Do you know what Miss Henderson wants to see me for, I’m not in trouble am I?” asked Laura.

She tried to make her question sound light and unconcerned but her nervousness was clearly evident in her voice.

“I don’t know, but I daresay you’ll find out soon enough,” came the reply.

A minute later they arrived at Miss Henderson’s study, Laura waiting outside, Mrs Collins having gone inside alone first. Laura was breathing deeply trying to calm herself and control her nerves. Her thoughts were interrupted, however, by Mrs Collins emerging from the study and beckoning her to enter. Laura stepped forward, aware that her legs were trembling as much as the rest of her, and walked through the door into the study, Mrs Collins closing it behind her once she’d entered, leaving her alone with Miss Henderson.

She had only ever been in Miss Henderson’s study once before, on her first day at the school when Miss Henderson had welcomed her before taking her to the sixth form common room and introducing her to the rest of the girls. The room was relatively large for a study, the floor was carpeted, one of the few rooms that was in the school, and there was an overwhelming presence of wood, brown wood, polished, worn and looking as if it had been there for all eternity. There were wooden bookshelves on two walls containing books that looked as if they hadn’t been touched for years. There was a wooden coat stand in one corner and a small wooden table and cupboard against another wall. There were photographs on the walls, many of which looked to be girls hockey or netball teams, victorious after some tournament or other, along with other photographs of pupils in academic dress having received awards for their achievements. There were chairs too, a couple of them straight backed, uncomfortable looking and made of wood, obviously, while there were also two leather covered armchairs which looked much more comfortable. Looking incongruous amongst all this was a modern steel filing cabinet which seemed most out of place in the room, as if it had landed from a different age.

Then, directly in front of her, sat Miss Henderson. She was seated behind a large wooden desk with a red leather insert, and behind her was the only window in the room, which looked out over the hockey pitch. Laura stood in the centre of the room, her hands clasped in front of her, trying to stay calm, concentrating on her breathing and waiting to be spoken to. Miss Henderson was ignoring her, continuing to read a file she had been looking at when Laura had entered the room. To all intents and purposes, Laura may not have even been there. A clock ticked slowly and ponderously on the wall, it was the only sound in the room.

After a couple of minutes Miss Henderson finally looked up, pushed her glasses down her nose and regarded Laura over the top of them. Miss Henderson was in her late fifties, tall, slim, her greying hair cut in a neat bob, and it was evident that she would have been quite attractive in her younger days. She was well spoken and, as always, immaculately dressed, every inch the Headmistress of a private girls school. She had been at Saint Judes for the past twelve years and had reached a point where she practically felt part of the furniture. She had a reputation for not putting up with any nonsense and for administering discipline swiftly and effectively when she felt it necessary to do so. However she also had a softer side to her for those fortunate enough to encounter it.

“Laura Williams, isn’t it? Do you know why I have asked to see you?”

At last the silence was broken.

“No, Miss Henderson.”

Again Laura tried to sound unconcerned, but her nervousness was once again all too present in her voice.

“Let me see if I can jog your memory for you then. Can you recall anything you may have said or done on your way to school this morning that may have caused me to want to speak to you?”

Laura turned even paler than before, Miss Henderson had obviously recognised her and, worse, she’d seen and heard what Laura had done. Laura started to panic and gabbled out her reply.

“I’m sorry, Miss Henderson, I really didn’t mean it. If I’d known it was you I wouldn’t have said or done those things, I really wouldn’t. It’s just that I was late and in a rush and when you sounded your horn I just did what I did without thinking. It was wrong of me and I’m ashamed of myself. You had every right to sound your horn at me running across the road like that. I’m sorry I really am.”

Miss Henderson didn’t reply, instead she pushed her glasses back up her nose and looked again at the file on the desk in front of her. Eventually she raised her head again and looked at Laura.

“I see that in the report that your previous school sent me you seem to have been rather well behaved and not been in any serious trouble. Am I correct?”

“Yes, Miss Henderson, I do try to avoid getting into trouble.”

“Avoid trouble, or just be good at avoiding getting caught for it? I take it that your previous school was one of those modern ones that didn’t believe in or use corporal punishment?”

Laura shuddered at the mention of corporal punishment. Was she going to be slippered?

“No, Miss Henderson, they didn’t use it.”

Miss Henderson sighed. “That explains a lot, why so many girls of your age have such little respect for others and display such a low standard of behaviour. Which of course leads me on to your disgusting outburst this morning that you have just referred to.”

“I’m sorry, Miss Henderson, I really wouldn’t have done it if I’d known it was you and it was only because I was late.”

“Being late is NOT an excuse. You should get out of bed earlier if you can’t get to school on time. And I am glad that it was me who your vile outburst was aimed at and not some other poor unsuspecting member of the public. What on earth do you think you were playing at?”

Miss Henderson’s voice was even, but her rising anger was all too apparent to Laura. She continued.

“I will not tolerate any pupil of this school making obscene gestures like that or uttering such foul mouthed uncouth language, the like of which I would only expect to hear on a building site. It’s obvious to me that there have been some severe shortcomings in your upbringing that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

“Please Miss, I don’t use language like that all the time, honestly, it just slipped out without thinking.”

“You expect me to believe that? Things don’t just slip out unless they are there in the first place, so I hardly think it was the first time you have used such language. When you are travelling to or from school dressed in your school uniform you are representing this school to the outside world and I reasonably expect certain standards of behaviour to be maintained. What sort of impression of this school and its pupils do you think your outburst this morning gave to anyone who witnessed it? That all the girls attending here resort to gutter language and obscene gestures at the slightest provocation? It is shaming to everyone connected to this school.”

Laura looked down at the floor and could feel tears starting to form in her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” she said quietly.

“And sorry you soon will be too. There’s also the matter of your reckless crossing of the road, running between cars like that, you could have been killed, girl! I really don’t know where to begin with you.”

Miss Henderson paused for a moment, seemingly in thought.

“You’ve been at this school just over a year now and up until today I’ve had no reason to discipline you, although I suspect you may just be adept at avoiding detection rather than being angelically behaved. What is apparent to me is that you have a foul mouth on you and that is something that I intend to do my utmost to rectify. I am therefore going to cane you, something that I think you are long overdue.”

For a moment Laura thought she had misheard; she was going to be caned? She had half prepared herself for the slipper, which was terrifying enough, but the thought of the cane had never even entered her head. That was surely only reserved for the worst offences such as bullying, smoking or being rude to a teacher. The slipper was used fairly frequently at the school, but canings were much less common. She could only think of one girl in her year who had received it since she’d started at the school, and Laura had been shocked when she saw the four vivid red stripes across her bottom in the showers after gym, later that day. And now she was going to be caned herself? Her panic increased.

“Please Miss Henderson, not the cane. I promise I’ll never do it again or use language like that again, truly I won’t. You don’t have to cane me. I’ve learnt my lesson, I won’t do it again, please, I mean it!”

“Be quiet, girl, and stop behaving like some first year junior. If I hear any more nonsense out of you, then I will cane you in front of the entire school after assembly tomorrow morning. Is that what you want?”

“No, Miss Henderson.”

“Well let that be an end to it, then. You are going to receive six strokes and I intend to make this a caning that you will remember for a while, and if I have any more protests from you then I will increase the number of strokes you will get. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Miss Henderson.”

Laura felt as if she was in the middle of a nightmare that she would hopefully soon wake up from. She had never had so much as a smack on the legs in her entire school life up to now, and yet here she was, about to be caned, six strokes too. She was terrified of what was going to happen.

Miss Henderson took her glasses off, placed them on the desk, and stood up. She walked over to the cupboard that stood against the wall, opened it, and, reaching in, selected a cane which she took out and carried back to her desk, placing it on the top.

Laura’s eyes were transfixed on it, a mixture of fascination and fear. She had never seen an actual cane before. It was a senior cane, although that would have meant little to her. All she could see was its length, thickness and the crook handle at the end. And soon she would also know what it felt like when applied to a girl’s bottom.

Her trance was broken by the sound of Miss Henderson’s voice again.

“I want you to prepare yourself for your punishment. Please remove your blazer and skirt and place them on one of those chairs over there,” she said, indicating one of the leather armchairs.

Laura wanted to turn around and run out the door, out of the school, all the way home to the safety of her bedroom, but she knew it would be pointless. There would be a scene with her parents. They would no doubt bring her to school the next morning, to Miss Henderson, and no matter how much she struggled or protested she would be caned, probably more severely and with more strokes than if she went through with it now. She had no option but to do as she was told, no matter how awful it was going to be.

She took her blazer off and placed it on the chair. Next, her hands went to the waistband of her skirt and she attempted to undo the button and lower the zip. She was shaking so much that it was a struggle for her, but eventually the skirt was undone and she lowered it down, stepped out of it, and placed it on the chair also. She returned to her position in the centre of the room.

Miss Henderson pointed to one of the straight backed chairs placed against the wall.

“Bring that chair over here and place it where you’re standing now.”

Laura did as she was asked, fully aware of what it was soon to be used for. Without thinking, she stood behind its back, awaiting the next instruction.

“Bend over the back of the chair and grip the seat with your hands. Keep your legs straight and part them in line with the feet of the chair.”

In a daze, Laura lowered herself over the back of the chair, the top of it pressed hard against her tummy, her hands gripping the seat of the chair as tightly as she could. She straightened her legs out and placed them in line with the chair legs. The position was uncomfortable, although she doubted that would be on her mind for long, and she was acutely aware of her bottom now being the most uppermost part of her body, thrust up prominently in the air, her knickers stretched tightly across it, perfectly positioned for the cane.

Miss Henderson moved behind her and lifted up the hem of Laura’s blouse, dropping it over her back so that her bottom was fully exposed. Then, to Laura’s horror, she felt fingers pulling at the waistband of her knickers, pulling them down until they slipped over her thighs and lay stretched between her knees. Her bottom was now bare and totally exposed.

Satisfied with her preparation, Miss Henderson went back to her desk and picked up the cane, flexed it in her hands, and then swished it through the air a couple of times. It served no real purpose doing so, but she knew the sound would heighten the anticipation Laura must be feeling. She surveyed her target. The girl’s bottom was full and nicely rounded, more than suitable to receive a good caning. In normal circumstances, she would probably have let her retain her knickers but that crude outburst of the morning had not been normal in any way and she felt warranted in caning her on the bare bottom. The advantage, too, was that without her knickers present she could see the full effect of each stroke on the bottom and measure them out with some accuracy.

She tapped the cane lightly several times on Laura’s bottom and watched as the cheeks clenched tight in anticipation.

“Relax your bottom and push it out for me.”

For Laura, the tension and anxiety of the moment was hard to cope with and, despite her fear of what it would feel like, she was almost willing Miss Henderson to do it, to finally give that first stroke and let her punishment begin. She pushed her bottom back and out as far she could, causing herself to rise up onto her toes as she did so, and then there was a swishing sound followed by a sharp impact on her bottom. For a split second, she felt nothing, but then a searing, stinging sensation shot through her. She felt as if her bottom had been sliced in two, as if she’d been stung by several angry wasps, she could never have imagined anything could have felt like this. It was such a shock to her system that she didn’t cry out, make any noise or move in any way. Miss Henderson stood back and watched with satisfaction as the faint white mark where the cane had landed quickly turned to a deep red stripe with raised skin either side. She had applied the first stroke perfectly across the centre of Laura’s bottom.

She waited the best part of a minute to let the sensation of that first stroke sink in before tapping the cane once more on Laura’s bottom. Again the cheeks clenched tight in anticipation.

“Bottom out, Laura.”

Laura pushed her bottom out again and another swishing sound was followed by a further impact on her rear. This time she couldn’t help but yell out, “Owww,” and let go of her grip on the chair. She started to stand up before a hand in the small of her back pushed her back down again.

“Get down girl and do NOT attempt to stand again until I tell you to do so. If you do, I will repeat the stroke. So unless you want to be here all evening, I suggest you hold tightly to the seat of that chair and we can get this over with as soon as possible.”

Laura gripped the seat as hard as she could. The stinging in her bottom had become even more intense and she could feel the tears which had been present for some time start to roll down the cheeks of her face. The next couple of minutes passed in something of a blur for her. She was aware of Miss Henderson’s demands for her to push her bottom out, which she did as best she could, and then the sound of the cane, her crying out in pain, and the ever increasing stinging in her bottom. Her tears were now flowing freely and she just wanted this whole thing to be over with.

Miss Henderson surveyed the sight in front of her. Laura’s bottom had five well spaced red stripes descending down it, the raised wheals already evident. She wasn’t enjoying having to do this, but it was a lesson the girl needed to learn and her introduction to corporal punishment was well overdue. She was making this an exemplary caning that Laura would remember for a while, and she felt a certain pride in how accurately she had delivered the first five strokes. There was one remaining and she knew exactly where she was going to place that; on the crease between the top of the girl’s thighs and her bottom. She would feel the discomfort from that stroke for several days afterwards, she was sure.

“This is the last stroke, Laura, so let’s have your bottom well out for this one, shall we, and remember to stay in position until I tell you to stand, otherwise we will repeat it, do you understand? Well?”

“Yes, Miss Henderson,” came the tearful reply.

“Good, now let’s have that bottom right out. Come on, up on your toes.”

Miss Henderson waited until Laura, with one last painful effort, thrust her bottom back, and then delivered the sixth and final stroke exactly where she intended it to land. Laura’s yell this time was ear splitting and she grasped the chair seat for dear life, determined not to have to endure another stroke despite the overwhelming desire to rub her bottom to try and ease the dreadful stinging.

Miss Henderson kept her in position for a full minute after the last stroke, letting her absorb its sting and watching with satisfaction as the final stripe emerged precisely in the place she intended it to do, at the juncture of bottom and thighs.

“You can stand now, Laura, your punishment is over.”

Laura slowly straightened up. Her bottom felt as if it had swollen to twice its size and the throbbing stinging was refusing to ease. Her hands gently felt her bottom and rubbed it, it was warm and she could feel ridges in the skin, no doubt where she would have cane stripes when she later looked in the mirror at home. Miss Henderson took a tissue from a box on her desk and handed it to Laura.

“Here, dry your eyes. I’m sorry I had to do that, but you needed to learn that the sort of behaviour you exhibited this morning cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. Hopefully, that is a lesson well learned.”

Laura was by now starting to get control of herself again and the tears were becoming more sniffles, although the throbbing in her bottom was taking longer to subside.

“When you are ready, get yourself dressed and get off home. Would you like me to contact your mother to come and collect you?”

“No, Miss Henderson, I’m okay.”

Having her mother turn up with her in this state was the last thing she wanted. She could compose herself better by the time she got home. Laura pulled her knickers up from around her ankles and winced as the elastic bit into the stripe at the top of her thighs. Miss Henderson didn’t fail to notice, and inwardly smiled. Yes, she was right. Laura would feel that one for a while to come. Having less painfully replaced her skirt and blazer, Laura walked slowly towards the door, then stopped and turned.

“I’m sorry, Miss Henderson, for what I did this morning and for you having to punish me.”

“Thank you, Laura, just don’t let it happen again, will you?”

“No, I won’t, I promise. Besides, I never want to have the cane again.”

As Laura left Miss Henderson’s study, she was glad the school was now deserted. She didn’t want to be seen by anyone else in the state she was in, all red eyed and tearful. Mrs Collins was not around either, thankfully. She wondered about going to the toilets to inspect the damage but decided it was best to get home. She was late enough as it was and she could study her stripes for as long as she wanted in the privacy of her bedroom.

As she left the main building, she saw a figure standing by the school gates. It was Heather. She had decided to wait for her friend, if for no other reason than to find out what had happened to her, whether she had got the slipper after all. As Laura approached, it appeared from her slightly stiff walk and red blotchy face that she had indeed got the slipper.

“Well, how was it? I take it old Henders finally introduced you to the slipper, then?”

“No, she didn’t. She gave me the cane instead. I got six strokes, and on the bare bottom too!”

For the second time that day, Heather opened her mouth in amazement.

“What? You’ve been caned? Wow! I never thought she’d do that to you. What was it like?”

“It bloody hurt! That’s what it was like.”

“Have you got stripes? Will you let me see your bottom?”

“I think I do have stripes. I can feel marks anyway, but I’m not taking my knickers down here for you to see, not in full view of anyone who might be passing. If you want to see, you can come home with me and you can have a look in my bedroom.”

“Okay, you’re on. I can’t wait to see what they’re like.”

“You don’t have to sound so enthusiastic, you know.”

As the girls arrived at the main road, Heather turned to Laura. “Come on, we can get across the road here, it’s not that busy.”

“Sorry, I think I’ll use the crossing this time, I think I’ve learnt my lesson.”

The End

©  Steven Wilson 2018