A prequel to ‘The Tuck-Shop Theft’ and ‘Head Girl?’. Two senior girls have a falling-out.
By Joanna Jones
The prefects’ room was quite quiet as the bell went after the first morning period at St Joan’s, with only Emily Graeme remaining, on a double free-period, using one of the three or four desks in the small room to catch up with some work for her A-level French.
A couple of minutes later the door suddenly crashed open as Susan Fletcher stormed in, causing Emily to look up confused as Susan carried on to angrily approach her.
“What do you think you are doing, you bitch?” She demanded at a shocked Emily, who clearly had no idea what she was talking about.
Susan continued: “I saw you this morning, snogging David Marshall. David is my boyfriend, you cow.”
Realisation and anger surged through Emily as the issue upsetting Susan became clear.
“What are you talking about? I have been going out with David for over two months, since Christmas.” She exclaimed, then made her own statement of possession. “You, keep your hands off my boyfriend, you bloody c**t.”
Susan stormed furiously up Emily and put her face inches from hers. “You lying shit, I have been going out with David for weeks now, since he invited me to the football social. Keep your paws off him and your ugly face away from his.” She gave Emily a small push for good measure.
If Emily had taken time to think, she might have remembered being invited by David to that event, but being unable to go. However, she was now rather too upset. “I don’t know what you are talking about and you keep your puck marked face away from him, you slut.” She gave a small push of her own by way of riposte.
Slap! Susan had landed a perfect open-handed blow across Emily’s left cheek. Moments later blows were being exchanged, and by the time Marge and Denise came in, the two girls were brawling on the floor, giving the two entrants a clear view of Emily’s stockings and white knickers as she struggled under Susan’s onslaught.
Marge and Denise tried to pull Susan off but only succeeded in giving Emily the chance to turn the tables, forcing Susan to the floor, her skirt in turn riding up to reveal her tights, which were really just becoming commonly available, partially masking a pair of blue knickers.
As Marge and Denise tried to separate the feuding girls Emily lashed out, scratching Marge badly on the cheek. As Marge gave a shriek of pain Denise gave up and chose to take her suddenly crying friend to get some help for the cut.
Looking back, Denise saw that Susan was once again in the ascendancy and seemed to be half strangling Emily, whose sharp nails were in turn flailing at Susan’s arms and face.
She did not want to, but felt she had no option but to ask the teacher in the nearest classroom to intervene, before one of them seriously injured the other.
As Denise took the tearful Marge to the school nurse’s room, Miss Harp had the foresight to take three of the stronger girls in her fifth form history class to deal with the two girls. She was in good time as Emily was beginning to struggle to breathe as she was throttled. She was desperately gouging her nails into Susan’s arms in response. Neither girl heard Miss Harp demanding they stop, and it took the three fifth form girls and the teacher together to finally get them apart. After a few moments finally Susan and Emily ceased struggling and the erstwhile friends resorted to glares of utter hatred towards each other.
Miss Harp took the opportunity to give her shin a good rub, to assuage some of the pain from the kick Emily had landed on it. Similarly, one of the fifth from girls was nursing a bruise on her cheek caused by Susan’s struggles.
Finally, after she, and for that matter Susan and Emily too, had caught their breath, Miss Harp spoke. “I have never seen such a dreadful display as that in all my time. You are both coming with me to Miss Norbert. Now are you going to walk politely and separately, or do we need these fifth formers to stay and ensure you remain apart?”
Reluctantly the two girls, still glaring daggers, agreed to keep their hands to themselves. Miss Harp, after sending the fifth formers back with some instructions for the class, then set off for the Headmistress’s office, taking the precaution of keeping herself between them on the way.
The Headmistress’s secretary, Mrs Firkin, looked surprised at the teacher and the two still angry prefects as they came in. Both of the girls were very dishevelled, with hair all over the place. Emily had clearly lost at least one blazer button, while Susan, who was carrying hers, had lost a couple of blouse buttons. As a result the centre of her white bra was clearly visible.
After Mrs Firkin had briefly checked that she was free, Miss Harp escorted them into Miss Norbert’s office.
Upset, the two prefects still had not assimilated just what sort of predicament they were now in, though both had the good sense to remain silent as Miss Harp described all she knew; from the nasty scratch on Marge’s cheek, the uncontrolled brawling, the appalling language, her own bruised shin, and the bruise on fifth former Kate’s face.
Miss Norbert looked darkly at the two girls with ties askew, blouse-tails out, as well as the missing buttons, and hair that was completely rumpled. The clothing also had the hallmarks of their bout of wrestling on the prefects’ room floor. She took the opportunity to walk round the two protagonists, making particular note of the red marks on Emily’s neck and the deep scratches and odd cut on Susan’s arms, as well as a few, fortunately lighter, scratches on her face. This had clearly been no mild altercation.
Finally she asked Emily for her account.
Emily got little more of a sentence out before Susan angrily interrupted. Despite their location, moments later they were bickering, with Miss Harp having to strategically place herself between then to stop a further bout of physicality breaking out.
Miss Norbert was shocked. After two years as headmistress she had never known two pupils of any age start to square up to each other in her office.
“Enough!” She demanded. “Both of you follow me.”
With that she led them out of her office and stood the two of them in different corners of Mrs Firkin’s room. They were to face their respective walls, calm down, and consider both their actions and the position they were now in.
Meanwhile, after releasing Miss Harp back the her class, the Head decided take the opportunity to make her way to the school nurse’s room, where she found Denise comforting a clearly upset Marge who looked miserable with a cheek plastered in white cream. Alice Smith, the school nurse, made it clear to Miss Norbert that this was no minor scratch but one that could have done far more damage. Indeed she whispered quietly that she was not sure whether Marge might end up with a faint mark permanently, despite her efforts with the cream.
After commending and sympathising with her two prefects, she returned to her office in a dark mood. It was then she made the decision that she had, in her mind, been putting off since Miss Harp had brought them in. It was a reluctant, though perhaps inevitable one, as she strongly disliked disciplining senior girls in particular. However, there was no option. For the first time she was going to have to apply the school’s ultimate sanction, and administer not one but two prefects’ canings.
It was a fate the two irate girls in her secretary’s office had not yet even remotely considered. It was also a fate that Miss Norbert knew she had to show them they had no option but to both accept.
In her secretary’s office she looked at the backs of two young women, hands clasped in front of them, still gazing at their corners of magnolia coloured wall. She hoped the five to ten minutes of contemplation might have calmed them down sufficiently to actually realise what sort of trouble they were now really in.
“Emily Graeme, my office now.” She ordered.
More nervously, the sixth form girl followed the Head into her sanctum. Miss Norbert left the scolding till later, and concentrated on extracting ‘the facts’ as Miss Graeme saw them. A few minutes later, Emily was once again back outside in her corner, while her opponent, Susan Fletcher underwent her inquisition.
It soon became clear that neither girl had the slightest inkling this David Marshall lad had been two-timing them. Despite their protestations, both were essentially innocent as regards the charge of stealing the other’s man. The trouble was, there were far too many offences against school rules that they most certainly were not innocent of.
On impulse she phoned Mr Highbury, headmaster of David’s school, and asked if she could get the truth of the matter out of the boy.
Ten minutes later he had returned the call to confirm it. Apparently David claimed he really liked both of them and didn’t know which one, or how, to let one down gently. At least that is what he had said. Having not really committed any offence he had let him go after a severe admonishment.
After thanking him, Miss Norbert took a deep breath and called them both back in. They had after all waited long enough. Unusually for what was going to be essentially a disciplinary interview she told them both to sit opposite her on the other side of the desk, in chairs she had placed sufficiently far apart that they would need to stand to actually physically assault one another.
The two girls sat opposite her nervously, though without the trepidation that she would have expected. Caning a sixth former was rare. She had only done it once since arriving at the school two years ago and she had, to that point, never caned a prefect. Her predecessor had told her she had given only one ‘prefect’s caning’ in her ten years in charge, and probably an average of one or two sixth form canings per year during her tenure. She guessed that, despite the standard warning given to new prefects every year, the two in front of her had not yet realised their position did not grant them an exemption to punishment, but rather the opposite if such punishment became necessary.
However, first she needed to deal with the source of the trouble; the boy David.
“I have listened to both your stories and, Susan, found you to be wrong on two counts. First, Emily was indeed going out with David from before yourself, and second she was unaware of your newer relationship. Emily, you too were mistaken; Susan was not aware of your relationship either. I have spoken to David’s headmaster who has confirmed these facts with David, and he has admonished him for his behaviour towards you both. However, there is sadly nothing in his school rules to prevent pupils having more than one girlfriend, or boyfriend here, for that matter, so that is the end of the matter for him.
Miss Norbert took a breath. “Unfortunately it cannot be the end of the matter here.”
Both girls now looked at each other rather differently, as they realised the object of their anger was not four feet away, but actually half a mile distant in a different school.
Miss Norbert caught the look. “If you wish to apologise to each other, you may.”
With that she pointedly got up and walked around to her window, while the two girls rather self-consciously took the opportunity to do so. If only they had thought to find out the facts beforehand this whole issue would never have happened, she thought dejectedly. However, it was time for the really unpleasant aspect of her morning’s work to begin. Miss Norbert turned to face them and fixed the two in the eye. “Fighting at St Joan’s has only one outcome, ladies, and you know what that is.”
Both of them looked rather suddenly sick.
It was Emily who spoke. “But it was all a dreadful misunderstanding and we have apologised now, Miss Norbert.” She said, rather hopefully.
Miss Norbert felt a little sorry for the two normally well-behaved girls in front of her, but hardened herself. “It was a misunderstanding that led to a sore shin for a teacher that one of you assaulted and to a cut and some other rather nasty scratches on the cheek of a prefect who tried to separate you. Between you, you also bruised the face of a fifth former trying to help a teacher separate you. Then look at yourselves; hair messed, clothes dirty, buttons missing, cuts and scratches. You were wrestling around the floor in a disgraceful manner. Miss Harp was of the view that one of you might well have seriously injured the other if she had not intervened.”
Both girls looked rather appalled and cowed as their Head blasted their behaviour. Miss Norbert concluded by saying: “So I hope, Emily, you can understand why your ‘misunderstanding’ can only have certain consequences as a result.”
Was that a sniff Miss Norbert heard from Emily? She expected there was going much more in that vein very soon.
Miss Norbert took a breath and gazed levelly at them. “You can both start by passing me your prefect badges, then we can deal with your punishment.”
If it was not so serious, the headmistress would have found the shocked slack-jawed reaction almost amusing as the girls stared bewildered first at her, then at each other.
Susan was the one who broke first. “Please miss, don’t take our badges. It will never happen again.” She begged.
Emily was quick to follow up. “I know we have behaved poorly, please give us another chance.”
Miss Norbert noticed the first tears had begun to ooze out of Emily’s eyes. However, she was not going to be moved. “Look, you are young ladies, not little schoolgirls, and you have been fighting, not just the odd push, but fighting in a most serious and inappropriate manner. There have been fights between girls before and they have always been dealt with appropriately. I will not tolerate that behaviour from prefects. Your badges, now!”
To Miss Norbert’s irritation it took a few more minutes before Susan, then Emily, reluctantly passed their precious badges back to their Headmistress. Both had tears running down their cheeks as they sat down again on the seats they had been allocated.
However, that of course, was not the punishment, but the prelude.
Miss Norbert took a breath. “Now when you were appointed to the prefects in the lower sixth, and reappointed back in September, you will remember being told the consequences for serious misbehaviour. In addition to losing your status, you will both be caned, and as prefects you know exactly what that means, I presume.”
For Emily, who was in the tiny minority who had never been caned, having by luck avoided the couple of teachers who seemed happy to cane an entire class when angry, the shock was absolute. Now in the upper sixth, she had fully expected to remain unscathed. It was like some horrible worst nightmare. A nightmare she was unable to wake up from.
Susan, meanwhile, was remembering the canings she had received in her three most junior years when she had been a much more impetuous girl than that into which she had matured into. Those whackings had always been horrid, leaving her humiliated and in tears after. The worst had been the last; six over her knickers with a senior cane by Miss Norbert’s predecessor. This she knew would be much, much worse.
Miss Norbert continued. “You both know I am obliged to give you a full dozen strokes with the most severe of my canes, and they will be to your bare bottoms. Now…”
However before she could order them to prepare, Emily was sobbing out: “Please, I… I’ve never been caned before, please d… don’t cane me too.”
The pleas we’re clearly contagious, as Susan echoed Emily’s desperate call, pointing out again that they had made up and realised their foolishness. Was losing their prefect status really not enough?
Miss Norbert’s irritation increased. She, however, took another, deeper, breath and adopted as reasonable a tone as she could manage. “Not a single pupil at this school has ever not been caned if caught fighting. Not a single pupil has not been caned for hitting a younger pupil than themselves. I believe there may actually have been pupils who have not been caned for hitting a teacher or prefect, before my time, but that was only because the girls concerned were expelled! You have, between you, attacked and injured each other, a fifth form pupil, a fellow prefect and a teacher, Miss Harp. For that litany of issues you cannot expect not to be given a prefect’s caning. It is a caning you have both earned and I promise you it is a caning you will both receive. Now I suggest you both get over to that corner, or separate corners if you prefer, and get ready.”
The firm threat did not have the desired effect. Indeed, following Emily’s lead, both girls were now leaning across the desk from their chairs begging tearfully for a more lenient punishment and then, when that failed, to at least be allowed the dignity of their knickers.
Eventually Miss Norbert’s irritation turned to anger at the dreadful, cowardly exhibition the two girls were making.
“Enough!” She exclaimed furiously. “The school rules concerning prefects are ones that I believe go back to its founding more than forty years ago. They are not going to be changed, and even if you were not prefects you would both be getting severely caned, in all probability bare-bottomed in any case. Now get over to a corner of my office and get your blazer, skirts and knickers off now! Any more nonsense, even one more plea, and I will have you back in two weeks’ time for a second dose of the cane, am I clear?”
It finally hit Emily that she had not a chance to escape her fate. With a moan she turned to the corner and started to shrug off her blazer as she slowly made her way to it.
However, Susan looked at her headteacher and continued, trying a different tack. “Please miss, can’t you at least reduce it a bit for Emily? It was me that started it, after all.”
Emily, now in a corner hanging up her blazer, felt a small flash of hope, then had it dashed as she heard Miss Norbert’s angry reply. “I warned you, so yes I will give you a more severe punishment then. You can return here for three extra strokes in two weeks’ time!”
Emily glanced as the sickly shocked countenance of her colleague as she reluctantly started to fumble with the clasp on the back of her skirt, and heard Susan spontaneously reply.
“Oh! Oh! Please miss, I am sorry. Please, please don’t add extra!” She begged, without for a moment considering the consequence.
That consequence came immediately. “Make that six stokes in two weeks’ time, Miss Fletcher, and I suggest you shut up and start getting ready if you don’t want more!”
Susan began to open her mouth, then closed it as a fresh bout of tears started to trickle down her face instead. Slowly she made her way across to the same corner as Emily and hung the blazer she was still carrying on a second peg.
Meanwhile Emily had slipped off her skirt, kicked off her shoes, and was now contemplating her knickers. Closing her eyes, her hands went to her waist and with a determined push they were down to her ankles and off.
Having stuffed the garment in her blazer pocket, she turned to face the headmistress, placing her hands in front of herself for modesty’s sake. She then realised Miss Norbert had also been busy, and was now holding her cane in front of her, clearly waiting.
“Do I need to take my s… stockings off too, miss?” She stammered.
Miss Norbert shook her head. “No, just bring that chair over here and bend over the back of it.” She replied, flicking the cane in the direction of the chair she wanted.
In a trance like state, Emily did as she was told, trying to use the chair to protect her modesty as much as possible as she carried it towards the middle of the room where the headmistress was waiting. In a few moments she found herself gripping the chair seat, feeling her suspenders rubbing lightly against the sides of her buttocks as the straps moved forward slightly as she assumed the position she was to be punished in.
Miss Norbert did not start immediately; instead her attention was on Susan as she reluctantly unclipped the buckles on her school shoes and placed then next to Emily’s. Her skirt was already on top of the peg holding her blazer. Susan glanced desperately up at her headmistress as her fingers went to her waist and prised the nylon of her tights away from her bottom. She carefully slid them down and off, before she too had to contemplate taking her knickers off. It took more tears of frustration for her to summon up the courage to do so, drawing the thin pale blue fabric down to finally leave her naked below the waist.
“Face the wall with your hands on your head and contemplate your stupidity, Miss Fletcher.” Intoned the headmistress icily, before returning her attention to Emily. She was bent waiting with her rather petite bottom protruding, from which her hips still tapered into a very neat waist where her fairly short cut white blouse ended. The black fabric of her suspender belt accentuated that taper in and Miss Norbert found herself briefly thinking wistfully of the figure she had once had; sadly her waist had rather filled out now that she was in her fifties.
Shaking herself out of the reverie, her mind returned to the matter at hand. She raised the cane, then tapped it gently across the crown of the pale buttocks presented to her. She heard a sniff of misery from the depths of the chair, which she merely ignored.
Emily felt the touch, felt her heart jump as she realised how close she was to her first experience of the cane. Closing her eyes she gripped tighter and hoped it would not be too bad.
Moments later she was standing, sobbing, clutching at the outrage that had been inflicted. Nothing in her relatively sheltered life had prepared her for such agony. She had heard the sick swish, then the thwack as it hit. A brief moment of detachment before the overwhelming pain engulfed every sense in her being. How could anyone, or for that matter anything, inflict such pain?
Miss Norbert was rather impressed by the reaction, which she guessed was pure shock at a first-ever cane stroke. The girl facing her was now careless of the modesty she had so consciously tried to protect as she brought the chair across her office.
Normally she would give an extra stroke for standing, but she would make allowances on occasion for a first-timer, and to call her back for a single cut in two weeks seemed rather pointless in any case. Thus, after giving Emily a few moments to come to terms with the nature of her punishment she hardened her voice to say: “Emily Graeme, you are an upper sixth former, not a little first year. Stop this disgraceful display immediately and get yourself back over that chair! I should warn you, if you stand again before I am finished, then you too will be back in two weeks’ time for two extra strokes!”
‘How, how could this be happening?’ Wondered Emily through the blazing pain that was just beginning to settle to something she could just cope with. Desperately she wanted to run out the room, but her obedient nature overrode the thought as she tearfully turned to the chair and presented her bottom back up for its chastisement.
Miss Norbert looked at the single mark blemishing the middle of the target and decided to give her the top stroke, for which a little less power was needed, to ensure accuracy.
The pain surged through Emily once again, causing her to drum her stocking soles on the carpet in the office. Somehow, somehow she managed to resist the temptation not to stand up once more as she gave a wail in response.
It was a pain that seemed to build and build as she waited in her bent over position. Just as it seemingly reached its peak…
Another blow crashed into her bottom, this time significantly harder.
No! She could not do this; she could not bear this intolerable pain at all. There was absolutely no way she could endure nine further blows like that.
To Miss Norbert’s resignation she was up again, dancing on the spot as she sobbed for mercy.
“Two stokes, in two weeks’ time!” Intimated the headmistress coldly. “Now get over that chair and keep hold of it unless you want me to call Mrs Firkin in to hold you down, and also get six on your visit in two weeks.”
Emily backed away towards the door. She just couldn’t do it, couldn’t bring herself to return to the chair, to receive her thrashing. It was in her mind impossible. The only thing that stopped her literally running out of the school and home was the residual awareness of her partially clothed state.
Eventually, Miss Norbert realised that no amount of remonstration was going to work. Going across to the door she gripped one wrist of the sobbing girl and guided her out of the way to open it and call her secretary in.
Emily realised immediately what she was doing, what was now going to happen and struggled ineffectually to escape the vice-like grip around her wrist. However, wailing, begging and screeching she found herself being dragged back to the chair by the two women, then bent over once again, this time with her face forced into the rather rough tweed of Mrs Firkin’s skirt.
With the secretary leaning over her, arms firmly clamped around her midriff she was fairly well immobilised with her hands unable to reach back to protect her poor rear. All she could do was bend her legs a bit up and down and drum her feet a little.
Susan was horrified as she contemplated the subdued wallpaper in the office. Horrified that the actions she had started was having such a terrible effect on Emily, a girl she had normally been on good terms with if not a close friend, horrified at the severity of their headmistress, horrified of course that her turn over the chair was coming all too soon.
In contrast Miss Norbert was annoyed and angry at the fuss Emily Graeme was making over her punishment, a punishment that was still only a quarter of the way through its now first instalment. The girl’s behaviour had not inclined her toward leniency.
Finally the girl’s legs stilled enough and she lashed the cane down full force on the lower half of her buttocks.
For Emily, who could not imagine things getting worse, the effect was awful as they of course did. She screamed, wailed and struggled to no avail against the firm grip of the secretary.
Despite Miss Norbert’s usual pause between strokes, she was still crying: “No, no, please no.” As the fifth stroke scythed in with a vicious hum and an even more awful crack, it was followed by a desperate scream of agony.
Emily could not believe the assault on her senses as every fibre of her being seemed to revolve in agony around her bottom. Once again she was struggling desperately to escape.
On the sixth she finally gave up struggling in exhaustion and the scream was more resigned. Emily was finally broken.
It did not improve Miss Norbert’s mood as she lined up the seventh stroke, equally hard on the bottom slumped over her secretary’s knees, causing a convulsion of agony and a brief, half-hearted struggle to escape again for Emily, before she finally slumped back into a crouch over Mrs Firkin’s knees. Normally the Head would insist the girl raise her bottom and straighten her legs more, even when held like this, but instead she herself bent to ensure the cane did not come down inadvertently on the girl’s lower back. Miss Firkin also helped a little, sensing the worst of the fight had left the girl and she pushed herself back slightly while keeping a tight grip, forcing Emily’s back upward thus raising her bottom up too.
For Emily, the change went unnoticed as she just wailed continuously into the woollen skirt. Those wails and sobs continued, punctuated by regular screams and mild struggles as the cane crashed in to the target. The lowest tenth stroke was given with a vicious upper thrust landing right where the crease of buttock and thigh would be. It caused a rather more desperate cry from Emily as she straightened her legs in reaction. Rather than wait her usual 15 seconds or so, Miss Norbert took the opportunity to thrash down two hard diagonal cuts in rapid time to bring poor Emily’s torment to an end.
Gazing briefly at the mess of redness and bruising forming she finally indicated that Mrs Firkin could let go. Emily remained and if anything slumped further into her lap, unable to stop sobbing into the tweed skirt she was lying in. Later she could not recall anything of her thrashing other than the complete sense of helpless agony she had been in. After about the eighth stroke she totally lost awareness of how many blows she had endured.
It was only when eventually the secretary gently raised her up that she realised her caning was over. Mrs Firkin escorted the shell-shocked girl to the wall, putting her unresisting hands onto her head. She then quietly told Emily, who had just about sobbed herself hoarse, to stand still.
Emily was in a daze, a daze of pain and misery, desperately wondering what had happened, wondering if the pain would ever go away, whether her bottom would ever be the same again. Oh how she desperately wanted to take her hands down and put them back to touch her bottom, perhaps caress away some modicum of the agony, but she was far too cowed to do so, remaining sniffing with interspersed more guttural sobs as she stared unseeing into the wall, to stand there while Susan took her turn.
Miss Norbert watched coldly then addressed her secretary. “Perhaps you had better remain just in case you are needed again.” She intimated
Ominous words indeed for Susan who was in palpitations as her doom approached.
Which was now.
“Right Miss Fletcher, let’s have you over here. A display like your friend here and you will be getting another twelve in two weeks instead of the six you are already due.”
Listening to Emily’s tribulations had stiffened Susan’s resolve somewhat, and she managed to get out a: “Yes, miss,” as she meekly scurried over to the chair, acutely aware of the semi-naked state she was presenting frontally to the Head. Soon her narrow waist was over the back of it, leaving her rather fuller backside fully exposed.
Miss Norbert took a breath to settle herself after her battle with Emily, who was now relatively quietly, but still tearfully, moaning into the wall next to Mrs Firkin, who was looking at Susan’s upturned bottom fairly impassively.
It was a pause that allowed Susan to feel the tense anticipation of her upcoming chastisement. A tension that she felt rise as the thickish three foot dark brown cane touched her bottom.
After a few taps the cane left ominously and Susan tightened her grip on the chair legs below the seat. She was desperate to avoid the humiliation of being held that had befallen her schoolmate. Further, she was already due a second unpleasant visit to this office and that was one she desperately did not want to make any worse.
Miss Norbert had raised the cane slowly and allowed herself a moment to focus on her, as she saw it, duty: to ensure her displeasure was fully imparted to this girl in who she had previously give her trust to as a prefect.
The cane crashed down sharply preceded by its characteristic hiss. Almost instantly Susan’s buttocks were disfigured by a horizontal mark, rapidly reddening.
Susan, despite her intention to be stoic, let out an involuntary howl. It was far more shockingly painful than she had expected. She immediately understood why Emily had jumped up, as she forced herself to keep her hands tightly gripped to the chair legs and wait for the next attack.
Susan bit her lip as a second stroke assaulted her senses, seeming just as the first was reacting its crescendo. Had she really forgotten just how awful a caning was, or was this cane really that much worse?
Whatever the case, she gripped even tighter and forced herself to remain steady.
Each of the next four blows seemed to lead to another quantum jump in the intensity of the desperate messages the nerves in her rear end were sending to her brain. Thus after six Susan was grunting loudly as each impact was made to her bare flesh.
Through the haze of pain she heard Miss Norbert’s angry voice. “Keep still girl!” She demanded. Vaguely Susan realised her legs were moving from side to side in an effort to assuage some modicum of the agony being inflicted. Consciously she locked her knees straight, and was rewarded with a viciously hard cut low on her bottom.
Miss Norbert smiled inwardly as a screech came from the depths of the chair and the left foot lifted up off the carpet before settling back.
The eighth stroke landed to another screech and a reluctant sob as the tears started once more from Susan’s eyes.
Susan was close to breaking point as a ninth blow landed on her now well-reddened bottom. All she could do was cry into the chair and somehow, just somehow hold on to her pose.
The last three, including two utterly excruciating diagonals at the end, were a haze of pain as Miss Norbert brought the punishment to its conclusion. Somehow she had managed to retain sufficient composure to know that she had survived the full twelve, but she was unsure if she was now able to stand.
Miss Norbert, meanwhile, was admiring her handiwork, glancing over to her secretary who also looked impressed. Emily was still seemingly too lost in her own world to register any awareness of her colleague’s punishment.
Finally the head told the tearful Susan she could stand, to get a grip of herself, and go and join Emily facing the wall. She was to clasp her hands back into her hair on top of her head; that pose that so emphasized one’s disgrace.
Soon Miss Norbert was at her desk writing the letters to two sets of parents, for the two girls whose sobs were now slowly subsiding into deep guttural snuffles as they began to get some control of themselves. From her desk the two bottoms, now decorated with distinct black and blue lines, were directly visible.
After, she started to consider the choice of replacement for the two girls in front of her. Both Susan and Emily had enough awareness to feel a further sick misery as Miss Norbert asked Mrs Firkin to arrange for the Head Girl to see her after the interval to discuss the necessary new arrangements and also the names of two of their sixth form colleagues, her choice of replacement prefects. Emily, who had nearly stopped crying, found refreshed tears welling up as she was reminded of her lost status.
After twenty minutes or so, the bell went for the end of morning interval, about an hour after Susan’s fateful entry into the prefects’ room to confront Emily. What would either of those girls do to get that last hour back, Miss Norbert wondered abstractly.
Both now had calmed enough and she ordered them to get dressed, then stand in front of her desk. It took a good few minutes for them to replace their knickers, tights (in Susan’s case) and skirts before they could replace their blazers and stand very red-eyed in front of her. In contrast it did not take long for the Head to give them their letters, and remind them of their joint appointment in two weeks’ time.
Miserably, the girls filed out of the office, passing Marge, the Head Girl, who looked rather shocked at their dishevelled state, a mix of the residual results of their fight as well as their consequent punishment.
For Emily and Susan, their fight and its results led to a bond rather than enmity. It was a bond formed in a determination to get revenge on their two-timing ex-boyfriend. David never quite found out how he got framed, but the caning he got for being caught with a large quantity of cigarettes in his bag that he knew nothing about was undoubtedly the worst of his school career. The one he got two weeks later for having a quarter bottle of vodka in his blazer pocket was worse.
For Susan and Emily, despite the efforts of a friend’s brother, it was really still scant consolation for the dreadful punishment they felt he had caused them to endure, and of course continued to suffer, having lost their precious prefect status.
© Joanna Jones 2015