Friday, 29 January 2016
Hands That Do Dishes? Two Velvet-soft Palms - And a Springy Cane
Might be a bit rough, this one - just knocked it out today, which is damn quick for me. It fits in with something else I've been working on, but this bit's been a bit rushed - so let me know if you spot any 'howlers'
The pretty wide-eyed teenager blinked against the harsh glare of the spotlight through a soft veil of tears. She was still struggling – and failing - to deal with the sheer fast-forward rapidity of the events that had led up to this moment, the ground-rushing blur that separated the mundane normality of the train, then the taxi cab ride and finally the roads, leafy lanes and avenues of this, one of the more distant reaches of London suburbia, from the unreal surroundings she now found herself in.
Unthinkingly, her arms aching, she lowered both her hands for a moment, reaching back and cupping her tight throbbing bottom, as best she was able, through the unfamiliar smooth fine-weave manmade fabric of the little tunic dress they'd dressed her in, sensing the heat radiating off, gingerly feeling the shallow furrows and thin raised edges, tracing their outlines beneath her fingertips and feeling the odd slippery sensation of the dress fabric sliding back and forth over the underwear she'd been given. Then - remembering herself and fearful lest this act might be interpreted as 'willfulness' - she rushed her hands back to the top of her head, instinctively going to interlock her slender fingers before touching her fingertips together instead, biting her lower lip nervously as the little thin light gloves - so dainty, so delicate, so sensitive - nevertheless steadfastly resisted even this simple maneuver.
The movement was swift, cat-like, was accompanied by a hissing rush of starchy dress fabric and came from behind her and to one side where the woman had presumably been hovering stealthily out of sight all this time, hidden away even from the view of the room afforded by the mirror, and as quiet as to have had young Miranda Burden-Braithwaite convinced she'd been left alone.
She yelped as the woman's fingers sharply slapped her right cheek, like a puppy whose paw had just been accidently trodden upon, a glimpse of navy fabric sleeve and buttoned cuff coming and going in a flash in the mirror as the woman stepped in and out of view. Words tumbled from her lips, as accidently and uncontrollably as dried beans spilling out and rattling across the floor from an over-filled hessian sack someone had just carelessly kicked over, her mind bursting with questions, conflictions and contradictions. This was a mistake too, a kneejerk reaction she'd yet to learn to repress – but she'd learn that trained instinctive restraint, given time:
“What do you think you're...? ”
The second slap was harder, involving part of the woman's palm too this time, but still somewhat restrained from the kind of strike she knew the woman COULD deliver, far short of leaving her seeing stars, just a reddening sting intended as much to shock as produce real pain as such. There was no hint of anger in the simultaneous admonishment; it was just a dispassionately calm, impersonally detached, instruction delivered with precise and authoritative enunciation, like a pronouncement issued by a judge with the full and vindicated weight of the law behind it, the woman's voice almost warm, almost apologetic, and belying the harsh edge her accent's slightly Germanic character tended to impose.
“No talking!” The woman's voice softening, she added: “I'm sorry, but talking is just not allowed – you know that!”
“Do you WANT the cane... Again?”
Miranda blanched, then shuddered, her cheeks colouring, her left cheek flushing with red to the point of competing with its palm-stung right hand side compatriot, though lacking the latter's fingermarks. The cane to which the woman referred hung directly in her eye line.
Glossy, polished and as white as bleached whalebone, its twisting brown-red leather wrist strap, a figure of eight loop arising from a short leather-bound section which functioned as a hand grip, was strung over a small brass hook which extended out from the wall alongside the mirror she had been left facing. Fashioned from a long smoothed and sanded length of ash – chosen as much for its elastic, resilient qualities as its toughness - and gently tapering along its length from the width of a young woman's little finger to a point a little thinner than a pencil, this implement of discipline was every bit as pliant and as whippy as it looked, a fact her freshly tenderized young bottom could thoroughly attest to.
It was a terrible thing: When applied by experienced, professional, hands – as it had already been; several times since her arrival in fact - it was difficult to comprehend just what a thoroughly efficacious instrument of correction something so simple could be. Something else her near-flayed young bottom could attest to.
That was another concept she was having difficulty dealing with - beyond the shocking blitzkrieg change of circumstances she'd undergone in the last... how long had it been? - the concept of the term, 'professional', as applied in the context of what she simply saw - as any modern teenager would have, let alone had she had the relatively 'progressive', permissive, upbringing Miranda had would - as an abusive vicious beating, or rather, series of beatings, since she'd already suffered more than her nervous system could take. 'Professional disciplinarian' was a term that beggared belief, that belonged in the lexicon of the kind of perverted literature whispered about in tight secret circles or from back in the darker, more shadowy corners of the Victorian era, along with 'correction', 'reform school', 'workhouse', 'reformatory', house of correction' and 'corporal punishment'.
“ Please.. I...” Was all she could think to say – it was too much; FAR too much; but she was desperate; so, SO desperate. She needed respite, just a little rest, time to regroup, to re-assess.
“Ok, then – have it your way, but we'll give your bottom a rest I think... Hands out in front of you, please... Three strokes of the cane, I think!”
“No, please... Not my hands... you don't understand... I'm a,a,a....”
“Ok... SIX strokes of the cane. Now... GET THOSE HANDS OUT IN FRONT OF YOU... RIGHT NOW - MANDY!!! PALMS UPPERMOST - MANDY!!! You're not an ANYTHING, at the moment, just a silly headstrong child in need of being taken in hand. There is a MASSIVELY wide gulf between winning a scholarship and actually attending the college, let alone attaining a professional standard, you stupid little girl. In any case I'll be aiming at your palms - and aiming to use the slender, end section, of the cane; besides, those gloves will protect your fingers.”
Shaking, slowly, reluctantly, Miranda lowered her hands from her head, extending her arms out in front of her and turning her palms uppermost as instructed. The gloves were indeed a singularly unique design, a fact now born out as a broad velvety-pink ovoid area of palm came into view each side whereupon a seamed cutout region in each soft dove-white glove purposely exposed the sensitive silk-soft central area of the palm for just such punitive attention as each was about to receive.
“Higher up – and stretch those arms right out at shoulder height, elbows locked and supporting your right hand with your left underneath… Yes, that’s the way. You see, Mandy? We’ll soon have you properly tamed; a little discipline is all you need!”
Biting her lip she watched the woman in reflection as she first crossed behind her before then coming round to the side to reach for the cane, the woman brushing past her as she reached out to pluck the cane from the hook, deftly slipping her wrist through the leather wrist strap as she stepped back and to the side to give herself room, her slender fingers purposefully curling and tightening around the crisscross bound leather hand grip.
Raising the cane to shoulder height the woman slashed it three or four times through the air experimentally; a ritualistic action cold-bloodedly calculated to work on her subject’s nerves as much as to ‘get her arm in’. The springy, tapering length of ash, curving under the twin forces of momentum and air resistance, made an almost musical swooping sound – and the teenage girl cringed, her eyes following the cane’s arcing path in the mirror as if mesmerized, her gaze locked on its tip.
“Don't look at me, Mandy – look at yourself in the mirror, not me. Take your eyes off yourself, just for an instant – or close your eyes - and I'll start again... from scratch!”
Amelia’s gaze involuntarily switched to the woman wielding the wicked looking implement of correction, the thin lips set in a surprisingly youthful face made older by the tightly pulled back hair, the incongruous full skirted long-sleeved Victorian frock with its mutton chop puffed shoulders and tightly-belted waist and silver nurse’s watch pinned to its bust. Then just as quickly she fixed her gaze on her own reflection in the mirror, trying not to see the childish short grey zip-fronted school pinafore dress and the elasticated legs of the white acetate pantaloons peeking out from beneath its abbreviated hem.
“The same applies if you lower your hands, unlock your elbows or step back for any reason…”
With phenomenally unerring accuracy and uncompromising force and energy, she brought the slim pliant cane down directly across the girl’s exposed right palm. Miranda let out a soprano squeal, equal parts shock and pain, as the whippy pencil-thin end section made contact with the soft flesh exposed through the oval opening in the palm of her glove. The sting was unbearable, like a row of wasp stings placed end to end without gap right across the palm of her hand. The urge to squeeze her hand between her knees or under the opposite armpit was almost undeniable, almost beyond the scope of her willpower to control; but control it she did, determined not to give the woman any excuse for a repeat performance, buoyed up by the fact that having survived one there were but five more to go; and of course the next would be on the other hand, giving her right hand time to recover; and THAT hand only had to survive two more itself.
“Swap over your hands, Mandy… That’s the way – left hand on top this time, right hand underneath supporting it… Hold it out higher – arms straight... Higher, girl, HIGHER! That’s it – that’s a good girl, Mandy!”
The second stroke slashed in with similar markswoman-like accuracy and with equally uncompromising force and energy dead across the center of the girl’s exposed right palm, the fine bridal-white fabric of the remainder of the glove surrounding the oval window cutout, being completely out of harm’s way, doing nothing to ameliorate the sting. Again, somehow the teenager was able to fight the urge to withdraw her hand and dance around pressing it between her thighs – though this time it took a supreme effort of will, as if the stinging pain developing in the two palms were somehow adding together…
The teen suddenly heard the woman intone, the woman’s tone solemn as if presiding over some sort of officially sanctioned ceremony. Her blood ran cold, her legs, seeming to liquefy beneath her, threatening to give way; it felt as if an unbearably heavy burden had been suddenly been slumped down on her shoulders, pressing her into the ground:
“Wh,what?” She heard herself say, somewhere far away – then bit her lip to prevent herself saying anything more.
“Hold out your right hand again, Mandy. Higher, girl, higher! Stop crying, girl, and just do what I say, and there’ll be no need for more unpleasantness.”
“Bu, but…” Hearing the woman disciplinarian’s words she was suddenly aware she was indeed crying – in floods of tears in fact; and that it had had started the moment she’d heard that count ‘one’. She was also aware that once again words had come tumbling out her mouth unbidden.
“I said ‘one’! You can work it out for yourself, can’t you? Right and left equals one stroke – that should be easy enough for you to comprehend. So, hold out your right hand again, Mandy – and we’ll get on!”
Somehow, with a superhuman effort of will, Amelia managed once again to extend out her right hand as instructed, supporting it with her left from underneath, her arms out straight in front of her and level with her shoulders and shaking as she fought to lock out her elbows against all natural instinct.
The air seemed to sizzle - and for the second time the cane viciously bit into the teenager’s right palm, this time seemingly sending a searing electric bolt of white hot flame flashing up to her elbow, the reflex urge to simultaneously squeeze her fingers into her palm, instinctively forming a protective balled fist, countered by the resilient springy inserts discreetly hidden within the fingers of the little white gloves. Wincing, fighting the urge to shut her eyes, she fought to hold back further tears – and failed. She wailed, sobbed - and torrents poured down her cheeks as if a river had burst its banks.
“Now the left again…”
She heard the implacable heartless woman instruct, coldly, her voice as impassionate as at the start. Somehow Miranda was still managing to keep her arms up at shoulder level and her hands out submissively in front of her, but was showing signs of hesitation now, delaying repositioning her left hand for its second stroke – she heard the woman begin to count, measuring off seconds… The meaning was clear:
“Five… four… three…”
Not knowing quite how – and while keeping her arms straight out in front of her – she re-crossed her wrists, positioning her left hand atop her burning, sizzling right, beating the count by just one second. The cane stroke came immediately, before she even had time to brace herself; it felt like I branding iron had been drawn across her defenseless, stretched palm.
She heard the woman slowly intone “…Four more to come…” she heard the woman add, a vague sense of something which could have been taken as enthusiasm edging its way into her voice where before there had been just ice cold detachment.
“Enough! No more talking! Remember it’s your inability to control your tongue which has earned you this correction in the first place.” Came the brusque warning. “You’d be well advised to know there are other methods I know of which can be put to use in order to deter and discourage a girl from talking” the woman went on. “Now swap hands and put out your right again… Four more strokes to come – on each hand…”
“Pl,pl,please – not four more.. please… not that many – not on my hands, you’ll damage the nerves… You’ll stop me from…”
“What nonsense! Damage your nerves indeed – and what’s so special about YOUR hands, hmm?”
“But you don’t under...”
“Ok – we’ll start again from scratch; I DID warn you…SIX strokes to come… Now get those hands out!”
“NNNo…please…my b,bottom…cane my b,bottom instead…”
“I’ll tell you what… Yes. I’ll cane your bottom, if you want – as WELL as your hands; six on each palm AND six across your bottom, knickers down…. Now get those hands back out – else it’ll be TWELVE across each palm and TWELVE across your bottom; along with a repeat dose tomorrow morning to look forward to… How do you feel about THAT?”