Five girls are called to the headmaster’s office.
By Kenny Walters
They barely tapped on the door before thrusting it open and barging in. Mrs McCormack stopped typing on her computer and looked up. They weren’t in the conventional school uniform but were nonetheless smartly dressed; therefore they had to be sixth form girls.
“Can I help you, girls?” The secretary asked, although she already knew far more than they did.
“We’ve been told to report here to see Mr Edwards.” A tall blond girl acted as spokesperson.
“And you are…?”
“I’m Becky Harding,” The blond girl announced. “This is Fiona Carver, Alison Streeter, Jane Brighouse and Susan Williams.”
Mrs McCormack made a play of checking the second page of a clipboard lying on her desk. “Ah, yes, you are expected. Take a seat, all of you, and I’ll let Mr Edwards know you’re here.”
As the five girls occupied most of the small chairs lining one wall of the secretary’s office, Mrs McCormack picked up the telephone and dialled once.
“Mr Edwards? I have five girls waiting to see you. Yes, those five. Two minutes? Yes, certainly.”
Mrs McCormack replaced the receiver and turned towards the five. “The headmaster will see you shortly.”
The mood amongst the five girls was light-hearted, although they spoke only in the quietest of whispers in reverence to their present location. None appeared to mind waiting and all seemed perfectly relaxed.
Within two or three minutes, the telephone rang and Mrs McCormack answered. “Yes, certainly,” she said before hanging up. Standing, she brushed down her close-fitting dark blue skirt and went to stand by the headmaster’s door. “The headmaster will see you now.”
With the secretary holding the door open, the five girls trooped through and stood line abreast in front of Mr Edwards’ large desk.
“We got a message you wanted to see us, sir.” Becky Harding continued to speak for all of them.
“So I did, Becky.” Frank Edwards removed his reading glasses and placed them on the light beechwood desk. “Please take a seat, girls.”
After a little milling around, all four girls were able to find chairs; two sat in comfortable upholstered armchairs while three settled for plain upright chairs with padded seats. Mr Edwards went round to sit on the leading edge of his desk, closest to the girls who sat upright and appeared keen to hear whatever it was the headmaster had to tell them.
“I’m afraid I have to ask you about an incident that happened a couple of days ago when Millicent Templeton ended up with a bucket of ice cold water tipped over her.”
A couple of the girls exchanged glances. They all seemed surprised and concerned.
“I’m told there had previously been a certain amount of teasing, shall we call it, name-calling, shoving and so forth which all culminated with the bucket of water being tipped over her head.”
Where Becky Harding and Fiona Carter appeared indignant, the remaining three looked even more alarmed.
“I’ve also been told this followed some days of lesser bullying for which you had all been warned by several members of staff and by a couple of prefects. Would anyone like to comment?”
“It was just a bit of fun, sir.” Fiona Carver toyed with her long dark wavy hair as she answered.
“Do you think Millicent Templeton enjoyed the fun as much as you, Fiona?”
“We didn’t mean any harm by it, sir.” Becky spoke when Fiona could only shrug.
“So, when Millicent became soaked and cold you all leapt to offer comfort and a dry towel, did you? Perhaps extend the warm hand of friendship?”
Both Becky and Fiona seemed too stunned to answer.
“Please, sir, Millicent is, well, not the easiest person to get along with, sir.” Alison Streeter, a small blond girl with a calm pleasant personality tried to explain.
“How so, Alison?”
“Well, she’s a bit of a swot, sir. Quite clever really, but just loves to make you feel less than adequate.”
Becky scowled at Alison.
“So, was this perhaps some kind of punishment for Millicent, in your eyes?”
“No, sir!” Alison retorted. “It’s just that she’d tried to sneer down her nose at us once too often. We started a little retaliation and perhaps things got a little out of hand. There was no real malice intended.”
“And of course no-one used any of these social networking websites to place photographs of Millicent after her dunking, I presume?”
“Yes, sir.” Alison conceded, with a purposeful look towards Becky. “I believe one or two photos did get on to the internet.”
“Which some of our girls spotted, who then showed them to their parents, who mentioned it to Millicent’s mother.”
All five girls now stood with their mouths sagging, knowing they were in some deep trouble and lacking any idea of how to talk their way out of it.
“A report has been made to me by Millicent’s mother alleging bullying towards her daughter and I’m afraid all I’ve heard from yourselves as well as others leads me to conclude the case is proven.”
“Are we in serious trouble, sir?” Becky asked while appearing to not want to hear the answer.
“I fear all five of you are in serious trouble, Becky.”
The five girls became grim-faced, expecting to shortly hear bad news. One or two tried to glance furtively at the headmaster for some forewarning of what was in his mind. Others preferred to look around the room, apparently more interested in the decorations than their own fate.
“I’m really left with three options, girls.” The headmaster paused until all were focused back on him.
“One thought, which I certainly don’t have any fondness for, is that you may feel unable to continue with your education here and seek to move to another school.”
All five now looked aghast.
“That would certainly not be my preference, as I say. Nonetheless, I have to tell you that anyone announcing their intention to leave will be allowed to do so, forthwith and without argument.”
Shock turned to horror. At least now there could be no doubting the seriousness of the situation.
“A second option is that you be suspended for a period of three weeks. During that time, you will not be allowed onto the school premises for any reason and you will not have any assistance from the staff. No work will be set you, and any private study you do will be off your own backs.”
Perhaps there was the slightest easing of tensions as the girls considered this option.
“I suspect you will all have to work extremely hard after your return to catch up on the work you’ve missed. It won’t be easy and you will have to put in some long hours.”
Doubtful expressions suggested the girls, too, believed such intense study and missing out on more pleasurable activities might be beyond them.
“The third option is that you all receive six strokes of the cane. The caning would be applied to your, er, bottoms. I would carry out the punishment and you would be wearing normal indoor clothing. There would be a female witness present.”
Dread filled their faces.
“If any of you insist on their caning being administered by a female member of staff then we will meet your request but you will then receive the punishment across your underwear only.”
A dryness in his throat allowed Mr Edwards to stop talking and leave the five to consider their options. He wasn’t allowed to stay silent for very long.
“Could we not be caned across our hands, sir?” Jane Brighouse, a friendly girl known for her robust hockey style, ventured.
“Not practical, Jane. Whilst we certainly want to punish you, I think that would be way too much for you to endure.”
“Do we have to all choose the same option, sir?” Susan Williams, a smaller, quiet girl with untidy-looking mousey brown hair, spoke.
“Not at all, Susan. Each of you is entirely free to make your own choice. It need have no bearing on the others.”
“Um, if we do decide to have the cane, how quickly could it be done, sir?” Alison Streeter asked anxiously.
“Assuming you’re happy for me to carry out the punishment, very soon, Alison.”
“Like now, sir?”
“Just as soon as everyone has made their decision, Alison.”
The five girls looked around, trying to silently predict their friends’ decisions. Amidst turmoil and procrastination, only Alison looked directly towards the headmaster.
“I’ll take the caning, sir.”
“Very well, Alison.”
While the headmaster continued sitting on the edge of his desk, Alison stood slightly apart from the others as they continued their silent deliberations. Then Becky asked: “Sir! I’ve never even seen a cane before. Could we see one, please?”
Mr Edwards slipped off the front of his desk and headed for the door.
“Mrs McCormack, could you bring me in a cane, please? One of the two on the right should be fine.”
The headmaster returned to hover in the vicinity of his desk while he waited for the secretary to fetch the implement from the stationery cupboard. Mrs McCormack soon appeared carrying a short length of rattan, one end of which was curved round into a handle.
“Thank you, Mrs McCormack. Here, Becky, do you want to inspect it?”
“Is that all, headmaster?” The secretary watched as Becky took the implement, flexed it, and tried a couple of tiny practice strokes on the palm of her hand.
“Er, could you wait for a moment, please Mrs McCormack?”
“Of course, headmaster.”
“I’ll take the cane to, sir.” Becky said soberly as she handed the cane back.
“Me, too, sir.” Fiona Carver added.
“Jane? Susan?” Mr Edwards looked at the last two.
Jane Brighouse shrugged and nodded solemnly.
“Yes, sir.” Susan Williams gasped nervously.
“And you’ll all take your punishments from me?”
Mr Edwards took a quick glance around. Everyone seemed to be nodding.
“Mrs McCormack, this of course relates to the matter of which you are aware. I’ve presented these girls with the options we agreed upon and all have chosen to be caned. Would you be happy to act as a witness?”
“Fine. In that case, could I ask you five girls to wait outside in Mrs McCormack’s office while we get things ready?”
After the five had trooped slowly out, Mr Edwards went across the room to a smaller office desk that matched his larger desk and which he used for paper work he was in the process of working on. It took a few moments to deposit the papers on top of some filing cabinets and then he started to turn the small desk around so it was end on to the wall.
“Let me help you, headmaster.”
With Mrs McCormack’s help, the task was soon accomplished and the cane positioned in readiness near the end of the main desk.
Mr Edwards took a deep breath and picked up the slender cane.
“I think we’re ready, Mrs McCormack.”
The secretary crossed to the door, opened it a small amount and looked out. Three of the girls were back sitting on the small chairs while two preferred to stand. They all looked up anxiously as they became aware of Mrs McCormack.
“Could we have the first girl, please?”
“Anyone want to go first?”
“Oh, all right!” Becky Harding, one of those leaning against the wall, muttered to herself. She tossed her long blond hair nervously and went through the open door.
“Ah, Becky.” Mr Edwards looked down at the dark blue, rather tight-fitting, trousers that appeared snug around Becky’s particularly pert round bottom. “Up to the end of the smaller desk, please.”
With long, tense strides, Becky reached the end of the desk in just five paces where she half bent over.
“Yes, bend over.”
Becky bent down flat on the surface of the desk, an action that caused her bottom to jut out. Mr Edwards wasted no time in laying the cane across the slim buttocks as he lined up the first stroke. With a quick backward swing, the cane sped back down and whipped across the waiting bottom. Becky grunted as she felt the impact and wrinkled her face as the pain spread across her bottom.
The second stroke soon followed with its fresh bout of pain and Becky tightly gripped the further edge of the desk. Three more strokes followed in rapid succession, Becky grunting at each but otherwise remaining pretty still and taking her punishment.
After the briefest of pauses, the sixth stroke whipped across the girl’s bottom.
“Ooouch!” She exclaimed.
“That’s it, Becky. You may leave.”
Becky soon pushed herself up and turned her head to look at both the headmaster and the cane that had inflicted sharp strokes across her bottom. She gave her left buttock a quick rub over the material of her trousers. After a couple of breaths, she turned and strode from the room.
As soon as she was outside, her four colleagues were awash with questions.
“How did it go?”
“How bad does it hurt?”
“What do you have to do?”
“It’s pretty quick actually.” Becky answered, giving her blond hair a sharp, nervous toss. “And, yes, it hurts! A lot!”
No-one noticed Mrs McCormack in the doorway.
Panic struck again, with everyone looking at everyone else.
“I suppose I’d better do it.” Fiona Carver broke away from the bunch, waited briefly for the school secretary to stand to one side, and headed through the open door.
“What do I have to do?” Fiona looked at Mr Edwards for the answer, terse in her anxiety rather than any intention of being discourteous.
“Bend over the end of that smaller desk, please Fiona.” Mr Edwards gripped the slender cane tightly as he watched the girl cross in front of him while noting her tight and rather thin black leggings.
“Here?” Fiona half leaned across the table and looked back.
“Yes, please. Right down on the desk, please.”
With a quick shuffle of her feet, Fiona bent right down and thrust her bottom out. It was a clear and inviting target in her tight stretchy leggings. The feel of the cane resting lightly across her bottom caused her to tense up.
A faint whoosh of air gave something of a warning but all too soon the cane whipped across Fiona’s bottom.
Keeping very still, she held tight while the second stroke lashed down onto her bottom. She grunted. The next three strokes rained quickly down and induced yet more pain and discomfort with each impact.
Then, with a couple of warning taps on her bottom, the cane cracked across the seat of her black trousers.
“Yeeouch!!” She leapt up and grasped her aching bottom.
“Thank you, Fiona. You may leave.”
Fiona’s head shot round and she glared at the headmaster. She took deep, loud breaths, thought about wiping away tears with the back of her hand and then reconsidered, with her dark make-up still in mind. Finally, she started towards the door.
“Thank you, sir.” She whispered as she crossed in front of the headmaster and Mrs McCormack.
“Oh my God!” Fiona declared, back outside with the others.
“Bad?” Becky asked.
“I’ll have bruises for a month!” Fiona exclaimed.
“Oh my God! One of us is going to have to go in next.” Susan Williams looked towards the door, expecting to see Mrs McCormack waiting there at any moment.
“It is very quick.” Becky tried to sound reassuring.
“Fast and furious!” Fiona added.
“I’ll go in next.” Alison Streeter combed her blond hair back with both hands, while Jane and Becky gaped in astonishment.
“Best idea.” Becky agreed. “Get it over with.”
The door clicked open.
“The next, please.”
McCormack barely had a chance to get her words out before Alison launched herself towards the door. Inside, the small girl looked up at the tall headmaster and smiled weakly.
“Alison.” Mr Edwards acknowledged her.
“I’m very nervous, sir.” Alison said in a trembling voice. “Er, where do I go?”
“Bend yourself across the end of the small desk, Alison, and hold nice and still.” Mr Edwards ordered, looking down at the girl’s tight grey skirt.
She went across and bent over, purposely pushing her bottom out until she felt it made a good enough target. Her eyes closed, she gritted her teeth and waited for the first stroke to hit.
Within seconds, a loud bang coincided with a massive bout of burning pain that scorched across her entire bottom. Her eyes, now open, filled with tears and she gasped for breath.
A second stroke suddenly lashed her bottom.
Concentrating on keeping herself as still as possible, even though she knew she wasn’t quite as low down as at the beginning, she braced herself. Three strokes whipped her bottom harshly and she was crying openly.
A hand on her back pushed her down lower onto the desk and then the sixth stroke slammed into her bottom. It was hard and fast and utterly painful. She jumped up in floods of tears and gripped her sore bottom.
“Here, take some tissue hankies.” Mrs McCormack’s softer voice breathed into her right ear.
She took the tissues, wiped her face and her eyes, then took more an blew her nose.
“Thank you,” she said weakly as Mrs McCormack held a waste bin for the used tissues.
“You can leave now, Alison.” A harsher male voice advised.
“I don’t want to ever experience that again!” Alison declared as she dashed from the room.
Outside, she found some comfort in the arms of Becky and Fiona.
“Oh great! Now’s it’s just you or me.” Susan Williams looked up into Jane Brighouse’s face.
“Shall I go next?” Jane offered, although with eyes as wide as saucers she practically implored Susan to let her go first.
“Okay.” Susan confirmed, nowhere near as anxious to suffer her punishment.
“Jane.” Mr Edwards acknowledged the girl entering his room and waved her towards the small desk. When the girl took up her position but looked round instead of getting down across the desk, he simply added: “Bend over.”
As she leaned forward, Jane immediately felt awkward as her grey trousers tightened, even strained, across her ample buttocks. When the headmaster tapped her bottom gently with the tip of the cane she thrust her bottom back and braced herself.
“Unnhh!” It was barely a moment or two before the cane rattled down and whipped across the seat of her trousers. With just a minor sway, Jane stiffened for the second stroke.
“Aah!” It hit her a moment later.
Several more sways from side to side were necessary for Jane to prepare herself for the following stroke. In the event, three strokes struck her bottom in rapid succession.
“Uuh-uuuh!” She gasped breathlessly.
Mr Edwards allowed her a few moments to settle and then administered her sixth stroke which cracked across her bottom like a rifle shot.
“Right, Jane, you are free to go.”
When Jane pushed herself up from the desk, her face was contorted in pain and both hands moved quickly to cup her bottom. As she turned, she tried to say something to the headmaster but her voice seemed too croaky to get the words out. A dash for the door suddenly became her favoured course of action.
“Oh my God!” Jane exclaimed when she was back with her colleagues. “That was just so painful.”
“Do I wait or do I go straight in?” Susan Williams asked, her whole body practically shaking.
No-one seemed to have the answer, the only response from her friends being the odd shrug of a shoulder.
The seconds ticked agonisingly by, allowing Susan’s panic to intensify. She stared at the closed door until, finally, it peeled open and Mrs McCormack beckoned.
“Last one, headmaster.” The secretary called across the room.
Susan stared at Mr Edwards, her mouth closed and her lips clenched so tightly together they were on the point of turning blue.
“To the small desk, please Susan, and bend over.”
After she’d walked unsteadily across the room, she paused and delicately bent herself over the end of the desk, her neat simple dark blue skirt riding up as she did so. She flinched when Mr Edwards tapped her bottom with the tip of his cane and positively jerked when the cane suddenly cracked across both buttocks.
Tears were already filling Susan’s eyes even before the second stroke whipped down and meted out another sharp dose of pain. She struggled to stay bent over as more strokes whistled down, each landing with a distinct crack.
One stroke felt extra hard, the cane seeming to cut right into both buttocks and intensify the burning agony.
“Okay, Susan, you may leave.”
It took a moment or two for the gruff male words to register. When Susan did finally prise herself up from the desk and turn, Mr Edwards and Mrs McCormack were deep in conversation as the headmaster sat at his desk, pen in hand, and the secretary stood by his shoulder.
As Susan tottered across to the door, both hands pressed to her bottom, she appeared to be totally ignored.
“Thank you, Susan.” Finally, Mr Edwards acknowledged her leaving.
“Come on, let’s get out of here.” Becky Harding said the moment Susan reappeared. “I’ve had enough of this place for one day.”
© Kenny Walters 2014