Friday, 8 July 2011

Thoroughly English

Story from Whispers 06.

Thoroughly English

A little south coast resort basking under an August sun high in a clear blue sky. The bay is drowsily dotted with small craft. The hot sands of the beach are cluttered with holiday makers whose generously exposed flesh is grilled to varying degrees: salmon pink, crimson, a range of browns. Children shouting, laughing; dogs barking. An archetypal English scene full of life's simple delights. In fact, though, not everyone in this crowded picture seeks the simple obvious pleasures. Some, with questioning eyes, look for something a little different. Or one, at least, does.

He is 50ish, with a stiffish, upright bearing. That and his clipped grey moustache and the fact that on this hot afternoon he is wearing jacket and tie might indicate a man of military background. The jacket and tie could also indicate a resident, not a visiting holiday-maker. Both of these suppositions are correct; our man is ex-army and is also a highly respected pillar of the local community. And so the Major, as we will refer to him, must tread warily if he has any interests which do not accord with publicly accepted tastes.

Round about 5 o'clock on this hot Tuesday afternoon the Major is at the far end of the sea front in conversation with a vendor of paintings: pleasant enough works, sketches in pen-and-ink and water-colour of the bay and nearby views. The vendor who is also the artist is a young man, in his 20's probably, bearded, in shorts and sandals, a contrast to the Major's precise appearance. This part of the sea front is largely deserted at present, many of the visitors heading home for tea, so what the Major has to say to Dave, the artist, cannot be overheard. It could be that our man is interested in these simple views of the locality, or is merely passing the time of day. It could be that he fancies Dave; or contrastingly in his capacity as member of the parish council the Major is telling the artist that he needs a licence to sell.

In fact it is none of these things; the Major is mentioning a girl.

A girl one might have seen here earlier this afternoon chatting with Dave. A tall and pretty teenager with long blonde hair, in a yellow one-piece bathing suit which showed off a shapely, firmly prominent bottom. Earlier, this morning, one might also have seen her on the beach, with her parents.

Arlene Hartfield she is called, though the Major does not know this, nor indeed does Dave. But Dave certainly knows who the Major is referring to. He gives a knowing look and scratches his head. Then laughs.

* * *

'Going on the beach?' Elizabeth Hartfield asks her daughter. 'It's going to be hot again. Yesterday was almost too hot.'

Arlene makes a non-committal sound, as 17 years olds will to their mothers. When Mrs Hartfield repeats her query Arlene says, 'I might. But I might, uh, go for a walk.'

It is Wednesday morning, the day after the Major's meeting with Dave, and Arlene and her parents are having breakfast in the house they have rented for the next two weeks. Elizabeth Hartfield, probing, as mothers will, asks if her daughter has met anyone nice. Arlene, deciding it is best to put discretion before honesty, says, 'Uh, well, there's this girl.'

There is no girl there is only that Dave who has those sketches at the end of the front. Arlene strolling along there yesterday fantastically somehow managed to get talking with him. And also fantastically when she went out to post her mother's letters after supper yesterday happened to see him again. It was all quite fantastic because he was really super, really keen looking and also quite old — 30 at least. Yes really something. But she guessed that her mother will not be impressed, not favourably at least. So it is best not to mention Dave. Certainly best not to say that in that fleeting meeting yesterday evening she had agreed to see him this morning.

He was there where he said he'd be, on that corner, and also on time. Arlene was quivering with excitement: she had half feared he would not turn up. When she did see him there was also the fear that he might suggest going on the beach and that was where her parents would be. But he didn't, he said, 'Let's go out in the country, away from all this yobby lot.' That sounded OK, super in fact.

Dave said he was just there for a few weeks and then he'd be moving on. He sold enough of his stuff to make a living but he wasn't going to get rich. Arlene said what she'd said before: that she thought his things were super. When he asked about herself all she could say of course was that she was still at school. She had thought of making something up, that she had left and got a job but thought better of it. For one thing she had her rotten school gear on this morning. Not the tie or blazer but blouse and skirt and white knee socks. Her mother had made her wear this possibly thinking Arlene might be on the lookout for boys and trying to pass herself off as older.

It was pretty awful to have to admit she was still at school but Dave only laughed and said, 'Some schoolgirls can be pretty hot stuff.'

Arlene laughed too, though feeling herself blushing a bit. Actually she had never been out with a boy before — or a man for that matter. Her friend Sarah had had an experience last Summer on holiday. Sarah had almost lost her virginity. Arlene, sitting next to Dave on the bus, shivered.

They didn't really go right out in the country. Just to the edge of town where the houses sort of petered out, then got off the bus.

The house was down a lane that led off the main road. A biggish house like the others in this area, all set back in their own grounds and very private. Dave opened the gate and they went in up a drive. He said he knew the chap who lived here. If this bloke wasn't in they could go in anyway and make themselves at home. Dave laughed and slapped Arlene's bottom as they walked up the gravel driveway.

There wasn't anyone in and somehow she had sort of thought there wouldn't be. Dave knocked at the side door a couple of times and then opened the door which wasn't locked. Inside in spite of the warm day it was cool, one of those old houses that stay cool even at the height of summer. They went through into a cozy little parlour which had a fireplace.

Dave slapped Arlene's bottom again and gave that little laugh of his. 'Let's light the fire: it'll keep you nice and warm.'

She looked at him. He pinched her arm and laughed again. 'You're trespassing, aren't you? Naughty schoolgirl trespassing. So you've got to have some punishment. You're going to take your skirt off and then slip your knickers down and I'm going to smack your bottom. That nice big round bum.'

She coloured. He was laughing and it must be a joke. An embarrassing joke, especially his reference to her prominent bottom. Arlene knew it was big and was not especially happy about that fact. Some girls said men liked big bottoms but Arlene was not at all sure she could believe that.

Grinning still, Dave darted his hand behind her and gave her bum a quick feel through her skirt. Arlene squealed.

The Major, eye glued to his little spyhole, eased the tightness in the front of his trousers. Imprinted on his mind was a picture of that ripely rounded bottom in the yellow swimsuit. The skin-tight yellow material rucked up slightly and stuck in the cleft of that exquisite rump. That rear that was now under the grey skirt in his parlour. His heart was thudding like a train.

On the other side of the wall Arlene looked uncertainly at Dave, now engaged in lighting the fire... As far as she could tell he did mean it and the thought was sending hot and cold shivers through her. She wasn't sure what she had expected on this date with Dave but it certainly hadn't included having her bottom smacked. It was rumoured of course that men did like to smack girls' bottoms if they got the chance but that was supposed to be mostly older men. Diane at school apparently had had her bottom smacked when she was caught trespassing by a farmer and had cheeked him. He had hustled her into his house and taken her over his lap and just grabbed her knickers down, Diane's friend Susan had told Arlene. It had been really, really awful.

'Come on then,' Dave told Arlene, putting a chair in front of the fire and sitting on it. 'Let's get started. I'll do it here so your bum stays nice and warm.'

Arlene chewed on her lip. 'Look, uh, Dave, I... I don't want it. I mean I didn't think... you wanted to do that.'

He laughed. 'It's cos you've trespassed. Anyway what did you think we were going to do? Fuck, I suppose.'

'No I didn't,' she said hotly.

'I think you did, Arlene. You thought you'd go and get fucked. Then you could go back to school and tell all your friends that you got fucked on holiday. Well that's another reason why you should get your bum smacked.'

'That's not true, that's a dreadful thing to say.' Arlene felt almost as if tears might start. 'And... and don't keep saying that word.'

'What's wrong with it? I bet you and your friends are whispering it to each other all the time at school. I know what 17 year old schoolgirls are like on holiday, Arlene. Hot to trot. Especially pretty blondes with nice big bums.'

'Cut it out!'

'Well come on then. I'm going to smack it so stop messing around. Just pretend I'm your Headmaster and you've been sent to him because you've been fucking a boy and someone's told on you. You'd get at least a smacked bottom for that.'

'Stop it!'

'Come on then. Take that skirt off.'


'Take it off. Or d'you want me to?'

The grey skirt finally came off. Arlene stepping hot-faced out of it and dropping it on the floor. Brief navy blue knickers and full womanly flesh, not yet tanned by the sun. Dave reached for her arm and pulled her close. 'Yes you have got a nice big bum, Arlene!' He slapped one rounded thigh. 'Now slip those knicks down.'

She hesitated for two seconds and then put her thumbs in the sides of the knickers. Dave, eyes intent, laughed his little laugh. 'Pretty pussy!'

And then he had hold of her arm again and was pulling her down, over his lap. A funny, heavy, faintly feeling in Arlene's head: Dave seeing her thing and now being over his lap with her bottom bare and his hand on it. The hand on her bare bottom electric, like hundreds of volts, as it stroked. But then it wasn't stroking, it was smacking. Really hard. Making her gasp and cry out. Making her feel sick.

He kept on smacking, on and on. And then he was pushing her to her feet but it wasn't over, he was making her stand, on rubbery legs, at the fireplace, her hands spread on the mantelpiece. And that hard hand was coming in again: Smack!... Smack!... Smack! Juddering the firm, heavy flesh. On and on. Stopping to tell her to stand with her legs apart... and then just starting up again...

'There, that's what naughty schoolgirls should get.'

Dave standing, over her, a grin on his face, breathing deeply from his efforts. Arlene now sitting on the chair, on her glowing bottom, her own breathing disjointed, her heart going like the clappers. Her skirt still on the floor, her knickers still down close to her knees.

'Did you like it?'

She shook her head, hardly able to think, let alone speak. Dave gave that laugh again.

The Major was naturally in a state of some excitement too at this point. He had in fact just reached the very peak of his excitement, allowing it finally to climax after managing with difficulty to hold it back all this time. Probably any longer and it would not have done his straining ticker any good.

* * *

Outside, 15 minutes later, the sun was as hot as yesterday but Arlene shivered. Although naturally she did now have her skirt on again and her knickers pulled up under the skirt. 'What shall we do?' asked Dave. She shook her head. Actually she would just as soon go back and join her parents on the beach, square and boring though that had seemed yesterday. But after what Dave had just done. 'Let's go in the woods,' he said.

In the woods that wasn't far away, sitting under a tree on a grassy patch, there was something else. Something at least as mind-blowing as getting your bare bottom smacked and presumably more, well, grown up. Arlene had heard vaguely... things girls had half said. But the actual reality... 'Come on, you've got me all excited and you say you won't fuck.' It would be something to tell Sarah all right — except that Arlene would never ever have the nerve to admit she'd done it.

* * *

The next day that house again. 'Not if you're going to... to spank me,' Arlene said. She had been very much in two minds about coming out again with Dave but, well... she had told her mother she was seeing this girl Dierdre again.

Dave with his little laugh said, 'No I won't smack that bum, not if you don't want it.' Arlene didn't say anything about not doing that other thing. Would he want her to do it again? She was shivering as they went in, the door again unlocked and again the house was apparently empty.

In the little parlour Dave grabbed Arlene and gave her a sexy kiss, rubbing up against her, one hand groping the bottom that yesterday he had so devastatingly spanked. 'Mmm, hot and sexy 17,' he breathed.

Then he let go, listening. 'What was that?' Arlene had heard nothing. Telling her to stay there Dave said he'd go and investigate. He went out...

A few minutes later the door opened again. Arlene gave a gasp. It was not Dave. An older man with a clipped grey moustache, in proper jacket and tie. He closed the door behind him.

'May I ask who you are and exactly what you are doing here?' His voice was sharp, authoritarian.

Arlene said something, she wasn't sure what, too shocked at his sudden appearance.

'I presume you were with that young man I've just had a word with. For your information he is well known around here. Drug offences and other matters. Being with him can put you in a very serious spot, young lady. Very serious. The authorities could well wish to send you away for a period of corrective training.'

Arlene simply started weeping.

The man, close up now, his face pinkish, squeezed her arm. 'Sit down, young lady. I'll make a pot of tea and we'll discuss this.'

When he returned he explained to a shaking, still tearful Arlene just what serious trouble she was in. He made her give all her personal details: name, address, school, etc. Arlene started weeping again. The man put his hand on her knee. Perhaps he might not have to inform the authorities... if Arlene could agree to his dealing with the matter himself. Naturally she was only too desperately eager to agree.

What the man did was very similar to what Dave had done. He made her take off her skirt and pull down her knickers and then get over his lap. He proceeded to give her a quite ferocious spanking on that plump bare bottom and also the backs of the full thighs. It was killingly painful and dreadful but it was either this or the quite dreadful alternative he had told her. And anything was better than that.

When it was finally over the man abruptly pushed Arlene off his lap and went out of the room, telling her to sit and wait. She didn't know if she was allowed to pull her knickers up or put her skirt on so she didn't. This holiday had turned into a nightmare.

The man shortly came back. Red-faced and breathing a bit heavily. He sat on the chair again. He told Arlene she had been a good girl to take her punishment like that and he thought things could be hushed up. But she had better not say anything to her parents, or anyone else.

Arlene, standing shakily at his side with her knickers still down, said she wouldn't. 'Good girl,' the man said. His hand came round behind and started stroking her still glowing bottom. 'That's a good girl.'

His hand stroked and fiddled around. He said that if he was going to keep things to himself he rather thought Arlene had better come round again tomorrow and have another dose. Because entering private property and being in the company of known criminal elements was very serious.

Arlene didn't have any choice but to agree. After a bit he let her pull her knickers up and put her skirt back on. He said she had better be back there tomorrow morning.

* * *

Outside there was that clear blue sky and the hot sun again. Everything nice and normal and summery. Dave didn't seem to be around so Arlene caught the bus back, then went on the beach to look for her Mum and Dad. It was all the same, people getting brown or bright red, with their kids, and a few dogs going mad. The boats out in the bay. Pretty boring really but sometimes boring was nice. Reassuring. Arlene found her parents, sitting on deckchairs. She said hello and sat down on the sand.

It was difficult to believe there was that house out there on the edge of town. With that little parlour and that man. But they were there. And she had to go back tomorrow. She wondered about Dave. Her mother said, 'Put your swimsuit on, Arlene.'

Arlene thought of doing so — but then thought about what had happened — that spanking. She could still feel it a bit and her bottom and the backs of her legs might still be all red.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


Story from Janus 52.

by Andrew Grantham

ANGIE didn't feel as brave as she had done in the Rose & Crown an hour earlier. Then, with all those drinks inside her, it had seemed a bit of a giggle. Now that the crunch had come, everything was very different.

Dark-haired Pam, her friend from work, sat curled up in an armchair lazily smoking a cigarette. The blonde flicked a glance at the young man sitting back in the depths of the settee. Brian, tall, muscular and handsome, shared the flat with Pam. Granted, he was a dishy-looking bloke, but that didn't make the prospect of what was going to happen any more appealing.

The blonde took a deep breath. She had let herself be talked into the situation, so it served her jolly well right. She couldn't back out now; the moment of truth had come. She undid the zip of her jeans and pushed them down her legs, then raising first her right knee and then her left pulled them completely off.

Brian hunched forward and rested his elbows on his knees. He obviously liked the sight of her long, slender legs. Pam took a deep draw on her cigarette and blew out a couple of smoke rings. There was a smile of satisfaction on her broadly sensual features. She had been trying for weeks to get the blonde girl from the office to agree to this.

'I'm not stripping right off, you know,' stated Angie as firmly as she could.

'That won't bother Brian,' grinned Pam. 'He's not a tit man.'

He smiled, his eyes firmly fixed on the girl's lean, exciting thighs and her flimsy pink nylon knickers which left uncovered about as much as they concealed. Already he had noted that Angie was a natural blonde.

'Shall I take them down for you?' he offered.

'That's what I like about my Brian,' laughed Pam, looking at the younger girl. 'He's always so bloody generous.'

Angie shook her head. Pam's boyfriend wouldn't have been the first to whisk a pair of panties down her long, graceful limbs, but he was going to be the first to give her a spanking.

Wishing again that she had not let herself be railroaded into this situation by the persuasive Pam, she started to slide down the triangular scrap of pink nylon. Raising her legs to step out of her knickers gave a revealing view of her pubic region. Brian stared hard.

Pam stubbed out her cigarette, got up and stood behind her friend. 'What a lovely bum,' she enthused. With that, she gave Angie's buttocks a slight pinch to test their fullness and to break the ice.

Being partially naked in front of a male naturally caused the young girl to experience a flutter of excitement.

'What happens now?' she asked, her hands at her side.

'What happens now, my dear,' whispered Pam in her ear, and at the same time trailing her fingers over the soft contours of her behind, 'is that Brian gives you a gorgeously warm bottom.'

The young man patted his knees. 'Come on,' he coaxed.

With a sinking feeling in her stomach, Angie stepped a few paces forward and let Brian take her arm. She felt a loss of self-control, especially as the pressure of his hand on her shoulders guided the upper half of her body through the horizontal plane so that her hands were flat on the floor and her bare bum poked up in the air, with her hips resting on his lap. Pam rolled up the blonde's white tee-shirt, baring most of her slender back then knelt down, positioning herself where she would have an excellent view of the action. She exchanged a conspiratorial wink with her boyfriend.

Brian admired the full and well-rounded bottom at his disposal. Pam could certainly recognise a nice arse when she saw one. His girlfriend had waxed lyrical over the new girl's derriere ever since her first day at the office. He would see she got her reward directly after he had finished with Angie!

The blonde was tense. She stared at the patterned carpet, so close to her eyes. He could feel her rigid apprehension as a physical sensation. The cheeks of her bottom flinched as Brian lightly ran his hands over their satin-smooth surface.


'Oohh!' responded Angie as she received the first-ever smack on her deliciously-curved bare behind.

Her bottom quivered as if it was on springs, much to the delight of Brian and Pam.

The young man struck the voluptuous buttocks again, but much harder than the first time, making a very sharp sound.

'Ooffh!' let out Angie, whose breath then came in gasps.

Brian glanced at his girlfriend. She grinned and gave him a 'thumbs-up' sign. He nodded and poured on some more heavy slaps with hardly a respite between each one.

Angie groaned and wriggled a little. Already her burning bum felt twice its normal size. Brian took his hand away and watched her heated skin changing from magnolia to pink. Then his palm smoothed over the smarting cheeks, in a way that would have made other girlfriends jealous.

Once more the heat of his hand suddenly blazoned through her up-poked bum.

'Oww!' she yelled, kicking her long legs. The tingle she had experienced earlier turned into a blazing sting. To think that Pam actually liked being spanked. There must be something wrong with her. She must be mad!


Four more heavy-handed smacks landed on her bottom so quickly and so noisily that they resembled the rattle of a machine gun.

'Ow...ow... owww!' protested Angie, tossing her head from side to side and trying to raise herself up. Brian hadn't restrained her in any way, but now he ringed her trim waist with one arm, gripping her powerfully. He needed to use his strength, for the whole of Angie's body was alive with jiggling energy.

Every inch of her nates on both sides of her long, deep cleft was bright scarlet. She clenched and unclenched her thighs, striving to keep them pressed together. Panting as if running a race, not resisting him but unable to keep still.


So hard! So loud! As her burning bottom received these two sharp blows Angie began to squeal and she beat a tattoo on the carpet with the palms of her hands. 'Stop! I've had enough!' she cried.

Brian looked at his girlfriend with raised eyebrows. Pam nodded in silent agreement.

The young man however just couldn't resist landing one more humdinger of a spank on the blonde's glowing behind. Angie's body twisted in reaction to the fierce hurt and a jagged croak broke from her throat.

Pam got to her feet and helped Angie to stand up. She comforted the weeping blonde whose hands were glued to her bum. Burning warmth covered it like a blanket.

Angie's head was swimming. She blinked the tears away and smiled at her friend. The awful stinging in her bottom was now becoming a warm glow. She experienced a heavenly feeling of relief, of the release of so much tension in an adrenalin haze. Her buttocks throbbed with rapid on-off pulses.

'Wow!' she said. Her smile broadened. She had entered the world of CP. It was a world she knew she would never, ever leave.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Outfit

Story from Uniform Girls 39.

The Outfit

Bathed and perfumed, Vanessa studied herself carefully in her bedroom mirror, turning this way and that self-critically, but unable to suppress a smile at what her reflection showed.

It was four years since she had last worn her Sixth-Form outfit, and her further development since then was shown by the way her bottom more proudly filled-out the short, dark-blue pleated skirt which she had managed with just a little difficulty to clip around her waist. Her old striped tie had been a bit scruffy and she had had to wash and iron it the day before. It looked all right now, lying in the valley between her firm tits whose peaks thrust through the cotton of her blouse.

And that, too, was tight, but she had expected it to be. A few twisty movements and a couple of buttons at least would soon burst. Like they had been made to four summers ago, but that was a blush-making thought, causing her bottom to stir with the reminiscences that returned to her, but which she always tried to blot out.

If she had never told David about that, then she wouldn't be wearing what she so saucily was now. With each twirl, her abbreviated skirt floated above her tightly-rimmed stocking tops. Pale rims of thighs – now plumper than they used to be. Suspender clips. At fifteen she had changed from white socks to nylons. At times they had seemed to her to become an even greater and more bottom-stinging attraction than her spotless socks had been.

At seventeen – so Vanessa could not help remembering now – she had had her first caning. 'Friday nights are caning nights', she had been told, and not all her edging away, her clutching at the hem of her skirt, her hoarsely-whispered pleas had stopped her panties from coming down. Right off even, once. Oh! – and that time... that was what she had told her husband about, soon after their wedding night two months ago.

Eighteen and a half was too young to marry, her mother had said, but Vanessa hadn't listened. And as for David, he had gone on and on at her to put on her old school outfit again.

'You'll cane me', Vanessa had pouted – pouted as she had once used to do. – 'I won't. Don't be silly. We haven't got a cane. I just want to see you in it – how you look. Cute, I imagine. After all, your figure and your height...' – 'Yes, I know', Vanessa had interrupted hurriedly. She had heard the same before... when her outfit had been new. How that could have been an excuse for caning her, she couldn't imagine.

'Well, then...' David had said. He was a bit weak, Vanessa thought. An older man would have simply told her to put it on and not have discussed it. It was that sort of obedience that the cane had taught her; she knew that deep inside herself. David might just spank her, though. After all, it was all so tight and revealing and she had even taken the trouble to go to the local school-outfitters and get a pair of blue knicks into which (truth to tell) she had only just managed to squeeze. The crutch rubbed her as she walked – rubbed and cuddled at the same time.

Perhaps she should put her hair in a bow, too – at the back. There was one somewhere in one of her drawers. Even as she opened it to look, the doorbell rang and Vanessa shot upright and stood very still. Oh god, she couldn't go down to answer the door dressed like this!

Twenty seconds and then it rang again, more persistently, making her squeeze up her eyes as if she didn't even want to see herself. Not knowing who it might be, she waited. The master bedroom faced out on to the rear garden and she daren't creep down and look. Footsteps... faintly going. Phew! Whoever it was had gone and she could free herself from her momentary tenseness. Then with an awful start she heard the back door into the kitchen open and called nervously, 'Who's there?'

'Me, Vanessa', came a deep voice which she recognised, half with relief, as that of David's father, Ralph. Footsteps again – but this time coming up the stairs! – 'No, wait!', Vanessa called desperately, but the sounds did not cease. – 'Why? Aren't you dressed?', he asked and then – a few feet as he by then was from the bedroom door – Vanessa put her hands up to her face like a little girl and gritted out, 'Yes, but...'.

Ralph ignored that. The bedroom door was ajar and he opened it. – 'Why didn't you...?', he began and stopped as Vanessa bit her lower lip and clipped her legs together, standing almost exactly as she used to do on Friday nights. Their eyes met and snagged like thorns before Vanessa dropped her gaze, feeling his attention like an electrical charge all round her curves. But to her amazement he said nothing about her abbreviated and school-girlish attire. – 'I asked you why you didn't open the door, Vanessa, Come here!' he barked. And it was a bark, and the memories quivered in her all anew. Half slouching, she dragged her feet towards him across the deep-pile carpet – wondering why she did and yet knowing why.

'I d...didn't know it was you', she stammered. – 'Which is a poor excuse. General lack of politeness, Vanessa. I have been wondering about you lately, and that's why I came round. You have a broody look about you sometimes, do you not?'

Vanessa hung her head, was silent first, then shook it slowly. – 'If... if I'd known it was I w...would have answered the door'. – 'Dressed like this?' Ralph queried. He had said it at last, and he knew he was going to make her answer. – 'Well...', Vanessa began, but then feeling a strain of silent impatience in him, forced her to say, 'yes'. He was so much older than herself that she knew somehow she had to say it. They demanded it of one: obedience.

His hand touched her hair, making her start a little. It slid down, fondled the back of her neck and then trailed down her back. There was no bra-clips, no straps – and in any case the fulsome thrusting of her jellied tits told him that the blouse was her sole garment above her waist. – 'You almost fibbed then, Vanessa, did you not?' he asked, producing a sudden inward trembling in her and a sense of apprehension.

'Didn't', she mumbled, and then a quick, anxious 'No!' burst from her lips as his hands toyed beneath her skirt-hem at the front and fingers slid around her stocking tops. But at that cry, his hands encompassed the backs of her thighs, gripping the firmly-fleshed columns just below the bulge of her bottom and rammed her body into him so that she uttered a little 'Ah!'.

'What?', Ralph asked sternly. – 'All right, all right, I almost fibbed, but...' — 'There are no buts, Vanessa, and you know it', he answered, gripping her so firmly that despite all her surreptitious efforts and a little wriggling of her hips she was unable to draw the lower part of her body back from his, her tits bulbing into his shirt-front. – 'Oh no, please don't', she murmured all too quickly, the words forming such a confession – coded as they were – that he instinctively knew her meaning.

'But I have to, don't I? And you know I do. I have to do something about your broodiness and your fib'.

'No! No, you don't', Vanessa choked and tried to make it a sobbing sound, but did not quite succeed. And he was moving her now, moving her until her back came against the wall. – 'No, please look. David...', she began with a panicky tremor in her voice, only to be cut off by his sharp response. – 'David will be late tonight, Vanessa. He was going to call you but I told him that I would tell you instead. Very late, and now I have to get you ready for what you need, don't I?'

'Ah, no!' Her cry – her cry again too late. One hand of his had cupped itself beneath the ripe peach of her bottom while the other fondled up her lovelips through her tightly-knickered crotch. – 'Get you ready', Ralph repeated amid the little whining sounds that issued from her lips, 'Somebody has to see to you now, don't they'. – 'St...stop it!', Vanessa whimpered. The easing of his finger, the growing of the moisture beneath which seeped through the blue serge was making her knees wobbly. Pressing her moist palms against the wall, she averted her face from him, blushing and yet not daring any longer to resist.

Slowly, very slowly, her father-in-law brushed aside her dangling tie with his free hand and commenced unsnicking the near-bursting buttons of her blouse one by one, causing Vanessa's fingers to press tighter to the wallpaper and her breath to hiss out. Tugging her top out from within the tight confines of the waistband of her school skirt, he unfastened the last two and let the sides fall away, bringing her tie to hang between her bared tits whose brown nipples showed their prominence.

'I... mer... mer... mer... mustn't' she whimpered, this bringing from him such a stern and demanding 'what?' that Vanessa knew she daren't say it again. It had never been any good, anyway, saying that. His fingers fondled the luscious melons, causing her nipples to tingle.

'I have three things to spank you for now, Vanessa. What are they? quickly, or your bottom will burn even hotter than I mean it to. Look at me when you speak, please!'

Meeting his eyes then – her own slightly glazed, her knees flexing despite herself, Vanessa blurted, 'Because I nearly fibbed and because...' – 'Yes, Vanessa go on'. His forefinger up between her thighs stayed its movements then save for a subtle brushing back and forth of the tip which made her feel just as quivery. – 'Broody – you s...said I was broody, and... oh, I can't think!'

'Can't? But it's easy. What is the opposite of 'must'? Didn't you say the opposite to me just now?' His voice coaxed; his fingertip, moving like a metronome, coaxed. The sticky, liquid seeping through her knicks was too obvious for either to hide their awareness of it. – 'Yes', Vanessa whispered. It was a submissive 'Yes'.

'Good. You have learned; I thought you had. On the bed, my dear with your knickers off. You have precisely thirty seconds to do this or I shall fetch a cane. From my car, yes. I do have a cane. In a way it has been waiting for your bottom, Vanessa, so quickly please – and counting now!'

'Ow!', Vanessa gasped. There was something that told her he was speaking the truth. 'All right, all right!' Her words were as hurried as her actions, wrestling down her school knicks as she had to and clambering up on to the bed, though clamping her thighs together as she flipped her skirt up to reveal her naked bottom to his view.

'Suspenders. I like your suspenders', she heard him say as if they were the only thing he was looking at. Then came such a slap on the backs of her thighs as made her screech and jerk her head up even as he said, 'Legs, Vanessa, legs! We do not keep them close together, do we now?'

Choking back a sob, Vanessa mutinously shifted them apart, but far too gingerly for her father-in-law who – knowing that he had to quell every sign of rebellion in her now – placed his hands on the backs of her bent knees and pulled them apart, producing thereby to his view the appealing fruit of love that nestled underneath her bottom's bulge.

'Fibs. We don't want fibs, do we, Vanessa?' smack! His palm rebounded from her out-thrust globe, bringing a stricken cry from her. 'Nor do we...' – smack! – 'want you to remain in broodiness, Vanessa, eh? Did you speak? Did you?' smack – smack – smack!

'Yah-haaar! Oh no, please, I won't be, I won't be!', she babled while Ralph longed to caress her now hard-nippled tits and feel her honeypot again. Not yet, he told himself, not yet. Laying his open hand against her cleft, he could feel already the heat he had induced, the subtle throbbing underneath the silky skin. – 'What else do we not want, today or in the future, Vanessa? Come, you can remember now'. Splatt-smack!

"Don't, don't – oh don't!', Vanessa sobbed. There were real tears now, the pearls upon her cheeks. She was crying for her yesterdays, he thought, and smack! – he made her supple hips to jolt again. – 'I said, I said... oh, please... I mean, I said mustn't, and I mustn't – ' 'Ah, there's the conundrum you see', he laughed, 'for you must, Vanessa, and you know you must. Naughty girls flaunting their school ties between their tits are often spanked, sometimes for being naughty and sometimes because they are going to... what?'

'Oh-woh!', Vanessa sobbed. She knew what he wanted her to say, and – ah! – oh god, another burning smack that made her bottom feel on fire. 'Be...because they are g...going to be naught-tee!', she blubbered, feeling her salt tears upon her lips.

'Sometimes even before they are caned, yes. Not always, but sometimes. Sometimes, sometimes, sometimes', repeated Ralph and with each smacked hard into her bulbing cheeks bringing a long howling cry from her. One leg kicked back and almost caught his thigh, and then she fell, fell flat upon her tummy, scrabbling with bent fingers at the quilt. Her hips squirmed and her bush rubbed furiously upon the smooth material – then she was still, eyes closed, her breathing soft. At the first new touch of his hand upon her bottom, Vanessa quivered visibly and then was still again, hiding her face, her fingers clenched while lazily his thumb trailed up and down her cleft where the red cheeks inrolled.

'I would like tea now, Vanessa. Remove your skirt, tidy your hair, button up your blouse and come down thus. Five minutes, girl that is all'.

'But D...David!' Such a tearful little cry.

'David will not be home tonight, my dear. You forget that I am his father and his boss. I sent him up to Manchester. He won't be back tonight and you – you naughty girl – have wasted precious seconds. I am going down. I expect you right on time, Vanessa. Hurry, please'.

'Oh-wer!' Her cry followed him but he ignored it. Within another half a minute he heard her scuttling into the bathroom and smiled. The cane was in the kitchen where he had left it when he entered. Marvellous of her to dress like this. Love's play – but there were other ways. He had to make it real for her and would. Those timorous footsteps that he finally heard made him sit down and pick the local evening paper up, not even glancing at her as she hurriedly walked by and vanished with a twinkling of her heated bottom into the kitchen.

Ralph felt even cosier then. Tight black stockings, peaking at the front and back where her suspenders clipped. The blouse that would flare around her waist, the gently-swinging tie. Upon her equally hesitant entry after the kettle had whistled its song, Ralph continued reading that which he did not really care about, looked at her briefly once and said, 'Kneel down before me, Vanessa, while I drink my tea. Hold this'.

'Oh no! But you said...', gasped his young daughter-in-law as she found herself grasping the dreaded cane. Equally awful was the fact that he could look down between her legs and see her crisp triangle there – and did, as if reflectively. Receiving no reply, she asked timidly, 'Aren't you? I mean...'

'Am I going home tonight? No, Vanessa. Stand now, hands behind your back, holding the cane. I may not have to use it, of course'. He placed his cup on a side table by the sofa as he spoke. – 'May not have to – not yet', he said and beckoned her with his hand until once more Vanessa half-blindly shuffled forward and stood with downcast head between his legs. 'Do you think I will have to?', he asked, and Vanessa shook her head dumbly, unable to look straight at him. – 'Well?', he asked sharply. His hands reached behind her, carving the resplendent and still very warm cheeks, feeling and fondling the deeper bulge of flesh beneath.

'D...d...dunno', Vanessa mumbled. She wanted it to be finished with and over. She wanted it never to happen. He held her springy cheeks apart for a moment, causing her to suck in her lower lip, then let them spring together again. Deliberately his hands fell away. To see if she would move. Vanessa did not move. But then words burst from her that she never knew she meant to speak. – 'I know you're going to cane me, I know you are!', she burst wildly and fell to her knees, pressing her cheek upon his thigh as if seeking protection.

'Yes. I have to, don't I', Ralph said quietly and stroked the back of her head, causing her to sob again. He waited and allowed the blubbering, glubbing sounds to die away. 'Have to', he repeated, 'Perhaps now, Vanessa, perhaps now'.

'Oh, no! no! 'Something stark and stiff was pulsing close against her cheek. She did not want to think about it, did not want.

'It doesn't take long. You know it doesn't take long. Up now – come on – up, girl, up!'

Drawn up, Vanessa wanted to cuddle into him. That had worked sometimes – had almost worked, hands stroking her bared, waiting bottom as she stood, head buried in a shoulder and room so quiet.

'If... if I...', she began and stopped. – 'If you what, Vanessa?' But she merely shook her head. She couldn't say it – not to him. Though if he caned her... Oh god, now they were going out – the stairs a mountain that she had to climb, his hand beneath her orb, her every movement mastered as they went.

The bed looked as if it waited for her – but they always did. – 'Take your tie off Vanessa and undo your blouse'. The cane fell from his hand on to the bed, its end a finger pointing in between her legs. Amid the fumbling of her fingers he walked out. The dusk was like a cloud within the room. A lawnmower whirred somewhere; a young child, screaming, had a tantrum, then was quiet.

Vanessa could hear the soft movements in the bathroom. It had never been this way before – had always been more quick before. Hearing the bathroom door open and the padding of his bare feet, Vanessa quickly turned her back though not before she had glimpsed that he was naked, stiffly armed.

'Why I have to cane you, Vanessa. You know why', Ralph said cryptically and admired her naked girlhood as she stood, her fingers slightly clenching as she stood. – 'I asked you', he said slowly as if she had difficulty in comprehending English, 'I asked you if you know why'. Her tie lay crinkled on the floor, her pleated school-skirt, the blue knickers that would still be faintly moist.

'It st...stings me', Vanessa whimpered. In the mirror – she could see him in the mirror, oh so stiff!

'Why you have to be caned – to be caned first. You know why?', he asked her once again and closed the door, picked up the cane and stood again behind her back. The skin there rippled and was still. – 'You have a superb young bottom, Vanessa', Ralph said with deliberation, and then added, 'Bend, please. Bend right over, legs apart'.

'I don't...', began Vanessa all too defensively as she so unwillingly paraded her cleft cheeks up to him again – and then immediately, hooo-wittt!, and 'yah!' she screamed and cupped her buried face. The red streak showed: a thin line full across her offered peach.

'Once again – just once again we'll try, Vanessa, now. You know why I have to cane you first?' – 'Yeh-esss! I do!' – swooo-ish! Her ardent, pleading cry again that bounced from off the walls and fell like a discarded sheet. – 'And tomorrow, Vanessa, when I return again tomorrow afternoon and finding you wearing your school clothes, you will know again then, won't you?' – hooo-wittt!

'Ah, don't! I do know, yes, I do know – honestly!'

'Three more, Vanessa. Stick your bottom out'. And the room was whirling, whirling all around. Her legs apart, her bottom urging out, mind screaming no, and yet... yet afterwards...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Perfect Match. Part Two

Story from Februs 37. Continued from Februs 36

The Perfect Match. Part Two
The Part Two of a Short Story by Tim Starfield

'Whenever you're ready, my darling...' Paul's tone is soft, gentle, as ever. But, as ever, there is a thickness in his voice which betrays his excitement. He has checked and double-checked the MiniDisc recorder, to see that it is, in fact, recording. Re-calibrated the input levels for the umpteenth time to ensure that Eliza's voice won't be lost, that her yelps won't peak and send the meter crashing into the red. Checked the position of the microphone, and adjusted the cable. Everything is ready for the creation of this most important aural document. A record of the amazing change that has taken place in their relationship. A record to be copied and kept by each of them in the weeks ahead, to remind them just how strong and how special that relationship is.

Paul stands back and flexes the thick three-tailed strap. Swishes it experimentally through the air a couple of times, relishing the elastic strength of it, watching appreciatively the involuntary shudder that quivers through Eliza's bare bottom as the strap passes close behind it, sending a cool warning breeze across her defenceless skin.

Eliza tenses. Even under normal circumstances this is a difficult time. The moments just before a whipping when you want nothing more than to disappear, preferably to somewhere else altogether, at the very least to curl up into a silent ball of self-pity and fear, to wait for the onslaught in the privacy of your own thoughts.

She flinches. These are not normal circumstances. This time, she has nodded her agreement to all aspects of the game so meticulously planned by Paul. She herself has the dread task of beginning. She must speak her lines clearly and calmly. Truth to tell, she is almost more in terror of hearing her own recorded voice played back than she is afraid of the strap.

No, that's silly. But she can't stop herself thinking. 'How on earth did I come to end up here?'

She is bent over the end of their bed. Stocking-clad knees resting on cool cotton sheets. Bare tummy and torso stretched out over a should-be-comfortable-but-isn't-really stack of rolled-up duvet and pillows. Weight supported on hands which push into the carpet. Trying to ignore the microphone, set up barely a foot from her head. Squinting at the A4 sheet of paper on the floor before her, on which Paul has thoughtfully typed, in large easy-to-read bold letters, the poem.

Shakespeare. Sonnet 57. The script.

The rules are simple (they always are). Eliza will read out a line of verse, and wait for the harsh thwack of the three-tailed leather strap on her naked backside. When she is ready, and only then, she will recite the next line, and wait for a second stroke. And so on, and so on, to the end of the poem.

Like all sonnets, this one has fourteen lines. Fourteen stripes! And Paul will not hold back. Never one to pull his punches, in any case, but today is even more special than usual. 'We don't have red-letter days in this house anymore,' thinks Eliza, 'we have red-arse days.' Wincing at the thought, at the inappropriateness of a joke at a time like this, she is brought back from her reverie by the gentle caress of cool leather, as Paul reminds her that he is waiting, by exaggerating the care he is taking to line up the first of the fourteen strokes.

Deep breath. Sooner we start, sooner we finish, says Eliza to herself, grimly. Another deep breath, clear the throat, and then, in the best BBC voice she can muster, a voice that would sound impossibly faint to a stranger (and will be the softest element in the recording) but which sounds almost unbearably loud to her as it breaks the intense expectant silence:

'Being your slave, what should I do but tend...'

She gabbles the last five words and tenses for the stroke. Wisely, for he has learned a lot, Paul waits for the tension to subside, for her body to – if not relax, for she is already shaking like a blancmange – at least find an equilibrium. Then, with unhurried precision, he strikes.


Strokes like this, on disc, will ring louder than anything else, sending needles off the dial, exploding through speakers or headphones like claps of angry thunder.

Eliza yodels her pain as the three-tailed leather strap catapults fire into her bottom.

And calms herself with another deep breath, bends and straightens her elbows, as if this could in some way help the agony to pass through her body and out into the carpet. Composes herself.

'...Upon the hours and times of your desire?'

A nail-biting pause. And the strap goes to work again. Another clap of stage thunder, another howl, etched for eternity onto the tiny silently spinning disc.

Paul grins as he watches his gorgeous wife buckle and writhe under the onslaught. This recording will see him through long days and lonely nights on tour. His fellow musos may wonder why he's grinning so inanely, almost drooling, as he slumps in his seat at the back of the bus, listening to who knows what strange music on his earphones. A perfect souvenir to take away, a sweet forget-me-not, more potent than any card or photograph, to ensure that for the next six weeks he will not fail to remember the most wonderful of partners. And for Eliza to listen to, at home, at work, on the Tube, to remind her of her most wonderful, special husband. A perfect love token, in sound, a perfect moment caught forever with digital clarity.

Paul and Eliza. The ideal couple. The perfect match. Everyone says so. But only the two of them know exactly why.

So how did they get here? Last time we saw them we left them lying in bed, the same bed, the same mattress even, as Eliza's stockinged toes are drumming on now. Together, but not together. As apart as a couple could be. Each dreaming of a fantasy world. Neither of them daring to mention these erotic dreams to the other. For fear of what, exactly? Rejection? Derision? Humiliation? How little we each of us know about others. About ourselves.

It's been over a year now since they got their act together.

Paul, who dreamed of being a Headmaster, has found the most willing, yet suitably the cheekiest, pupil he could ever have imagined. He's had her in detention. In gym-slip and white socks. In the corner, hands on her head, in tears.

Eliza, who dreamed of army floggings, has found the strongest, cruellest Sergeant Major a girl could hope for. Together, they've experimented with whips, canes, crops, ropes, straps, cuffs and collars. They've made a few mistakes. They've made the occasional mess. They've made marks, fabulous marks, stripes to look over the shoulder at in the bedroom mirror and admire, to caress wonderingly and lovingly, to smooth cold cream into, to kiss and sooth.

They've shared, they've planned, they've cuddled, and above all, they've laughed together. And the sex! Well it's been incredible. That much Eliza does tell her friends. And they grimace at her, more jealous than ever. It seems clear. Most people will agree; it's because Paul's got himself sorted out. Still the same shambling bear of a man, still the world's most laid-back jazz musician, with an easy-going style which shines through his playing and makes his relaxed swing such a joy to listen to. But with a new drive, a new 'get up and go' which has seen him teaming up with a fading 70s glam-rock star to record and release an album of brand new takes (all Paul's own arrangements) on hit songs from the Thirties. An album now storming up the charts in Europe (helped by TV advertising), and about to take them on a six-week record-company-paid tour of the States. The Big Time; and, most important to Paul, he's made it without sacrificing any of his musical integrity.

But those who would name this as the reason, who'd guess that the improvement in the circumstances of his professional career has given a new balance to Paul's relationship with the high-powered, go-getter Eliza, would be mistaking Effect for Cause. Because the real source of his happiness (and hers!), a happiness greater than either of them had previously known, is the regular presentation to him of a beautiful female bottom, upturned before him, and ready to spank. Any man who has that, can go out and conquer the world in his tea-break. You better believe it. Likewise, any woman feeling the regular smack of firm government on a bare and tender rump can sail through the most vicious of business meetings unfazed, cool as a cucumber, efficient, the envy of her enemies. Eliza's the living proof, and she has the balls of several media tigers as trophies, stapled to her growing portfolio.

An old-fashioned type, a believer in fairy stories, in happy ever after, might even suggest that the new-found spark in the couple might stem from the sheer fact of their having got married. As if marriage itself was the magic word, the gold rings magic talismans bringing joy to all who wear them. In these unhappy Godless days of rising divorce rates, single mothers, Families-Need-Fathers and the CSA, I think we all know that can't be true. But in a way, in this case, it is.

Really, it was pretty much a last-resort thing, deciding to get married. They'd been together a long time, couldn't face the thought of life apart, couldn't perhaps understand why, as the perfect match, they weren't enjoying themselves more. Chose, almost as a last throw of the dice, a whim of desperation, to tie the knot. Make it official.

It was a lovely ceremony. All in the best possible taste. Eliza looked stunning (of course, as did the bridesmaids, but less so), Paul (almost) dashing. Mothers wept, choirboys sang and at the reception a bunch of Paul's mates occupied one end of the huge, white, flower-decked marquee (not cheap – fathers weep too, you know) and kept the whole party swinging with a stream of hot, top-quality, happy, music.

But the sting was in the tail. Literally. When you have a wedding, you get presents. Dualit toasters that will never toast, teasmaids that will never make tea, pictures that will never be hung, canteens of cutlery (why canteens?) that will sit, pristine, in kitchen drawers, unused and unremembered until god-only knows when. Archaeologists of future millennia will come looking for our lost civilisation, and they will dig and find the wedding presents and they will think what on earth were these people doing?

After the honeymoon (Goa, not usually known for being a sex-free zone), when the presents had been unwrapped and many of them sent back to the store in exchange for credit notes and the last of the thank you letters had been written to Paul's Auntie Mabel or Eliza's Cousin Fiona, there was still one particular parcel that neither of them could fathom out. In plain brown paper, it had waited until last to be explored and even then it was a mystery.

A large black leather paddle, bigger than a table-tennis bat with a motto etched on one surface: 'A STING IN THE TAIL'. And no name, no greeting on the label, other than the cryptic message: 'For a long and happy marriage. X.' Who could have sent it? Who did they know who'd even think of such an outrageous, presumptuous gift?

Well, to put you out of your misery, if you must know, it was me. I'm the author, I'm allowed to do these things.

Certainly the effect that the paddle had on Paul and Eliza was strange. Of course, each of them was fascinated by it. Eager for it to be tried out, to swing in anger and land with a crump! on soft bare flesh. Each of them, independently, secretly determined that it should not be laughed away, forgotten, thrown out. But each of them convinced that the other must be horribly embarrassed by it, worried sick that to mention it would mean its going straight in the bin.

It sat idly in the corner by the television for four days (and five almost sleepless nights). Then, one evening, in the course of the usual rummage that was the hunt for the remote control, Paul found himself holding it. Found himself slapping it against his other wrist.

'Ow!' he said, surprised by how much, unexpectedly, it stung.

'You know,' he said, ruminatively, a moment later. 'That could really hurt, in the right place.'

He glanced tentatively across at Eliza. She was sitting bolt upright on the sofa. He was taken aback by her expression. She looked as if she were trying to say something, but couldn't. He'd never known her speechless before.

It was true. If Eliza could have thought of one, just one, intelligent or intelligible thing to say, she'd have said it, you bet. But amazingly, of all the thoughts that raced through her head, all the 'Yes, please do!'s and the 'No, please don't!'s, not one would form itself into a coherent whole long enough for her to articulate it. She felt herself blushing. She was. She felt her insides going crazy (they were), her cunt soaking wet (it was), and her legs turning to jelly (don't panic, they weren't, it's only a figure of speech).

Paul felt a new, strange confidence flowing through him, like molten steel through a Bessemer Converter. Maybe some intrinsic magic from the potent leather paddle with its corny message, was some atavistic throw-back to the days before New Man, most likely a conscious discovery, a realisation, all of a sudden, of the subconscious world of his nightly dreams. He felt strong, powerful, happy, controlled, ready for anything.

'You should try it,' he said, calmly, in a voice he didn't recognise. He was grinning, tenderly, but there was a spark of fire in his eye as he advanced toward her.

"You wouldn't dare!' squeaked Eliza, finally. But he did, and anyway, in that instant, she knew that he would, and that she wanted him to.

And that evening, for the first time, they truly found each other.

So here's Eliza, nose now inches from the carpet, struggling to read, through soft, unbidden but not unwelcome tears, the next lines of her speech to her Master. The finest poetry in the English language and so apt for the occasion. Why write your own words, when Shakespeare (in love himself, no doubt) has been there before you, and done such a good job? Hallmark Cards never put it better.

She gulps.

'I have no precious time
at all to spend,

'Nor services to do,
till you require.

'Nor dare I chide the
world-without-end hour

'Whilst I, my sovereign,
watch the clock for you,

'Nor think the bitterness
of absence sour

'When you have bid
your servant once adieu;

'Nor dare I question
with my jealous thought

'Where you may be,
or your affairs suppose,

'But like a sad slave,
stay and think of nought

'Save where you are,
how happy you make those...'

...she intones. Each time she reaches the end of a line, the recitation is punctuated with the sharp 'CRUMPP!' of the strap. Each THWACKK! sends another line of fire arching across her tender bottom. Framed by the blackness of her stocking-tops and the thin lace of the suspender belt, her well-tanned rear is now blushing a deep crimson, with here and there, a flashpoint of livid scarlet.

Paul watches his adorable wife with affectionate satisfaction, mixed with stern determination, as her adorable buttocks tremble involuntarily, absorbing the pain. Her whole body bucks. She is nearly at the limit of what she can endure. He knows this, knows why she is in no hurry to get to the last two lines. They both know these last strokes will sting harder than ever, and while he has much sympathy with her plight, no way is he going to ease up. Quite the contrary, in fact, and she loves him for it, his strength of purpose as well as the strength of his arm.

At length, Eliza masters her emotions long enough to be able to speak. In a voice now which is as small as that of a tiny girl, a voice so far removed from the brisk brusque bark that has the office quaking that her co-workers, were they ever to hear it (they won't!) would swear it was a different person, she gets out:

'So true a fool is Love
that in your will...'

That 'will' is really a 'willll!' a squeal like that of a small child, a plaintive diphthong with a delicious upward inflection, a 'willlll!' that will haunt and delight Paul's waking dreams for weeks to come, carrying him contentedly along freeways, holding him spellbound in wonder as it replays in motel room after identical motel room.

She is rewarded with a swift straight crack of the strap which sends her sprawling, knocking the breath right out of her. Still her body trembles and writhes, but now the end is in sight, and she controls herself.

'Though you do anything,
he thinks no ill.'

Eliza sighs, partly with satisfaction (triumph?) at having finished, survived, mostly with a kind of weary resignation, because she knows that after Paul too has taken a deep breath, he's going to give her the best one yet.


He doesn't disappoint her. And this time, she screams, well and truly screams.

And that (almost eardrum splitting) scream is the last thing you hear on the recording. Immediately after flicking the pause button on the MiniDisc, Paul throws the strap onto the bed, and at once he is kneeling in front of her, cradling her wet face in his hands, caressing her, murmuring congratulations, telling her how wonderful she is, how brave, how beautiful she looks, how fantastic she will sound when they listen to the playback. And they both will, not once, but hundreds of times.

Soon. But not right now. Right now, he is lifting her, tenderly, helping her back to the bed, laying her down. Hot, sore, randy bottom on cool cotton sheets. Stroking her, kneading her. Needing her, wanting her, now more than ever before, and she him.

Oh yes, they're the perfect match. Better than that, they're the perfect fit. Only that's none of our business, so we'll excuse them while they prove it to each other, yet again.

Monday, 4 July 2011

The Bareback Girls

Story from Janus 56.

The Bareback Girls
Felicia and Louise

by Richard Manton

THE ROMANCE of Leon and his two young mistresses ran the full course of the Cirque Eden's summer season at Cabourg, in the last days of the belle époque. Against a sea that was millpond-smooth, the white caps of the tents rose among the trees of the Parc des Princes. Throughout the well-kept streets of the fashionable resort the gaudy posters were filled by trumpets and horses, bare-legged girls and Bengal tigers.

All day the summer tide lay glittering and languid beyond the sands. At dusk the coloured lamps of the promenade and the windows of the Grand Hotel shimmered and flickered like Aladdin's treasure on the whispering water. From the white steam-yachts anchored in a line, a beat of music and the laughter of dinner parties carried to the esplanade, where the wives of brokers and lawyers paraded in dresses of butterfly elegance.

At night the Parc des Princes belonged to the Cirque Eden. Leon, assistant to Madame Solange the ringmistress, was master of many trades. He was Tonton the children's favourite clown, in his pointed hat and baggy pants. In jerkin and breeches, he was also a trainer of horses and their bareback riders, a master of properties, and wire-walker.

Of his exact relationship with his 17-year-old bareback rider Louise, much was suggested but very little known. Neither she nor Leon had a history. Louise might be a lost princess or a petty thief. To the fashionable world, a circus-girl was no better than a thief. To the common people of the town, she was a princess in her short tunic and black silk pants, straddling, standing or kneeling on the speeding horse.

Louise was no fashion-plate but a warm-blooded girl with an appealing sauciness that would make a soubrette at the Chatelet or the Vaudeville sigh with envy. She had a rounded firm-chinned face with a pert little nose. Her blue eyes, their lashes darkened by mascara, could go wide with teasing mischief or playful shock. She wore no elegant coiffure but swept her dark hair back flat and straight from her wide forehead, trimming it short at her nape and cutting it clear of her devilishly pretty ears and neck.

She was not as tall as the most elegant showgirl should be. Though not too plump, there was still a hint of adolescent softness in her white-skinned figure. Combined with the cheeky roundness of her eyes, it made her the sort of girl with whom a man might take innocent liberties, perhaps a hug from behind with hands upon her breasts or a pat or two on the soft young cheeks of Louise's bottom when such encouragement was really superfluous.

To her admirers among the audience, Louise was a breath of bare and perfumed flesh moving in the warm air. Her knickers of thin black silk with lace hem did not quite reach her thighs nor quite uncover the soft adolescent whiteness of her buttocks. A girl of such sensuality was to some a fancy-dress doll and to others an angel from another world.

By the allowable fiction that she might be Leon's daughter, she shared his caravan. There was no family relationship between them. He had acquired her, somehow, a year or two before. The circumstances remained a mystery.

Stripped of her costume's glamour, Louise had an awkward beauty peculiar to her age. To glance at her when she was standing in the shadows of the tent, after her performance, was to see that her face could easily grow tense and self-conscious. Despite the glamour of her costume, she was not yet sure of her place in the unexplored adult world. Moreover, she atoned for her moments of spangles and applause by hours of scrubbing and grooming the white horse, Fleur-de-Lys.

Every morning she worked in the stables in blue cotton riding-pants and short jacket. Her attitude was an endearing mixture of the adolescent female ruffian with dark brown hair slick and cropped, and the dutiful daughter attending to the tasks set by her elders.

But no man ever adored a daughter as Leon did, watching Louise groom the white horse. She worked the brush with loving energy on the thick mane and tail of the gentle animal. At 17, her saucy round-eyed provocation gave her a look of self-assurance that she felt only with her trainer. Even her figure betrayed her inexperience. The slight adolescent plumpness of her white-skinned breasts and buttocks showed the charming awkwardness of a teenage goose not yet become a feminine swan. It was as well that Leon had disciplined her strictly and kept a firm hand upon his protégée.

With the innocence of her age, the girl assumed postures and attitudes incompatible with proper womanly dignity. Was it for this very clumsiness that the good-natured clown treasured her? She straddled her shapely legs in a most unbecoming posture as she braced her young strength against the mare's bulk. Dressed for the ring, she bent unselfconsciously in the thin silk of the black panties whose lace hem did not quite cover the lower inch or two of Louise's pearly backside in such a posture. Leon watched her for a moment with eyes which made wistful caresses upon her flanks and thighs, her backside and her loins. He was tense and thoughtful, as if recalling certain scenes of private correction which had been necessary in his education of the girl.

To the discriminating audience there was a heightened sensuality in the contrast of her costumes. Louise was, by turns, the roughly-clad stable-girl and the silken princess on her steed. No man but Leon was permitted to touch her. He would give a light and teasing pat on the sleek bare pallor of her thighs between the tops of her black stockings and the lace hem of her knickers, or he would stroke her neck and Louise would rub her face against the knuckles of his hand. When she stooped to her labours he would caress her thinly-clad hips or impart a lover's smack to Louise's softly full and rounded backside.

The other circus folk could only imagine the scene in the caravan when the light burnt beyond midnight. They smiled at the thought of Louise lying, or bending, or kneeling before Leon's chair. They imagined the light and breathless parting of her lips or the opening of the gates of love's desire to admit her master to a pleasure palace beyond description.

Every day before the season began, Leon was alone with his pupil for an hour in the big top. Here he put Louise and Fleur-de-Lys through their paces. With a girl of her kind, false modesty was not necessary. The girl wore her green bodice and the black silk stockings that made her bare thighs above their tops seem dazzlingly white. But the black silk knickers of her costume were not to be squandered by hours of practice riding. Instead, she wore a pair of tight-fitting white briefs, Louise's everyday covering under her skirt. On Leon's instructions, before mounting the white horse, she drew the seat of these briefs up on either side. The cotton was gathered in the central crack while the sleek white shimmer of Louise's bottom-cheeks themselves appeared bare. The spectacle added to the trainer's enjoyment and the contact of Louise's bare buttocks with the warm steed heightened her own thrill.

Louise and Fleur-de-Lys flew round the ring with its resinous sawdust and animal scents, under the pale light of the canvas roof. Leon drew his long thin-lashed whip through his fingers. The rhythmic crack of the fine leather scarcely touched or even caressed Fleur-de-Lys. As if the mere sound of it spoke a language, the pure white horse obeyed, cantering or prancing. Between Leon and the girl with her teenage softness of breasts and rump quivering a little at each stride, there was a more mysterious understanding. The slight muscular tensings and spasms of her stockinged calves and bare thighs astride her mount gave her a look of animal exertion. Her firm chin tilted, her lips parted, and her blue mascara'd eyes went saucily wide. The plump resilience of Louise's bottom made a sensuous smack on her mount as her hips rose and fell.

Leon's aim with the thin black lash was deft and controlled. From time to time he landed it smartly across the white shimmer of Louise's rear cheeks so that it drew a gasp from her and left a printed curlicue upon the pale adolescent buttocks. It was meant to sting her hard, and so it did. But it was always done in such a way that it seemed an extension of the exhilaration she enjoyed while she hugged the animal power between her legs. Sometimes Louise gave a soft cry and the quivering cheeks of her young backside clenched quickly with the smart. But when she jumped down from the horse at the end of the rehearsal, she always ran to the clown and wriggled wantonly into his arms. Indeed, after she displayed this tapestry of his affection on her behind, the light in the caravan would burn almost until dawn.

Whatever obedience he taught this teasing creature, she learnt it through the time-honoured method. But on days when there was no performance of the circus, she earned a preliminary reward. He would give her a kiss on the cheek and a flat fondling smack on her well-warmed bottom.

'Put on your black silk panties, you little vamp! It's dinner at the Ritz!'

'Really?' Louise walked away, flirting her backside at him and looking at him round-eyed over her shoulder. 'In a hat with a feather and black silk knickers?'

Leon smiled. Their 'Ritz' was a brasserie in the Vieux Port.

It was here one evening, when the ramshackle buildings rose like stranded vessels, that they encountered Felicia.

The name suggested all that was chic and elegant but the reality was quite opposite. Felicia was a petite dark-skinned beauty, round and skittish in her way as Louise, her origin a colonial island or an eastern paradise. The dark copper-skinned warmth of her high-boned cheeks was matched by odalisque eyes and a striking profile. Her eyes, though slanting a little in the manner of her race, were wide and proud. Her dark hair was simply worn, in a series of pretty plaits that fell about her shoulder like a bead-curtain. Felicia appeared a charming little creature, simply dressed in black and a thin gold loop hanging from each earlobe.

Pretty and provoking, this late-teenaged child of untamed nature had worked at sweated labour in a small cafe, patronised by the circus folk. Then her parents had been sent to prison for a theft they could not deny. The cafe proprietor dismissed the daughter of the criminal class. Felicia was destitute. She would beg until she had a few sous. Then she would walk to buy or scavenge scraps from the covered market.

This dark-skinned beauty was sitting on the quay, a picture of dejection.

'And your parents?' asked Leon, when she told him of her lost employment.

'I don't know where they are now,' she said despondently. 'I haven't seen them since the flics took them away.'

'So where do you live?'

Felicia turned her beautiful dark eyes upon him.

'Here, on the pavement. Yesterday the concierge took away the key to the room in the Rue de l'Ocean.'

Leon pitied her but he was also agreeably excited at being her only hope.

'And how do you manage to eat?'

'I have had no food today,' she said, raising the slant of her proud dark eyes. 'Perhaps I shall have none tomorrow.'

'You shall eat with us tonight.'

His sympathy was instinctive. Yet it was tinged by the exciting possibility of being the protector — even the possessor — of a dark colonial Venus. They walked to the brasserie with Felicia as a guest at their modest feast.

Afterwards, Leon's good nature could not leave her on the streets.

'Where will you sleep tonight?'

Felicia shook her head. A tear began to gather in one dark and lovely eye. Misery robbed her of speech. He spoke gently to her.

'If you promise not to take up too much room, we shall find space for you.'

Felicia looked doubtfully at Louise. But the saucer-eyed charmer, who sat next to her, hugged the bronze-skinned beauty with all the love of her closest sister.

'So long as you can be friends,' Leon said.

Louise hugged Felicia more tightly.

'We'll be such friends!' she whispered.

'And as long as my pretty little kittens don't scratch,' Leon added with a smile.

For a few days, he and the two girls lived in that exaggerated courtesy which infects people thrown together in such a manner. A curtain divided the caravan at night. On one side lay the trainer of horses. On the other, snuggled up in a bed designed for only one, lay Louise and Felicia.

Felicia, dark-eyed and wondering, watched Louise on Fleur-de-Lys at the morning rehearsals. A few days later, Leon was in an imperious mood. The hoop was held up and Louise sprang through it, safely again astride the back of the obedient horse. She posed and turned upon its smooth pale hide. Then lying forward, she hugged its neck, the light catching the short cut of her hair swept sleekly back from her white brow. The hem of her briefs had been tugged up as usual, so that her shimmering buttocks were the more pale in the limelight. Her thighs moved and her backside rose and fell, as if she loved the animal warmth between her legs in her most abandoned manner.

Leon cracked the thin black whip hard, so that it landed across the cheeks of Louise's bottom with a cruelty he had never before shown her. The girl cried out in shock. But he, in his horse-taming costume, was determined to train her rigorously. He brought the lash across her young backside again and again. By the time that Louise got down, there were tears in her saucy round eyes. She stood back, as if in fear of him.

'You were slovenly!' he shouted at her. 'You were late at every jump.'

A few nights later, thoroughly ashamed of himself, he parted the curtain and entered the half of the caravan where the two girls slept. Taking Louise by the hand, he led her to his own quarters. Felicia, lying wide-eyed in the dark, saw nothing. But she heard clearly even the softest sound they made.

Leon loved Louise, his cheeky adolescent girl. There was no doubt of that. He loved her as a princess in her showgirl stockings and black lace panties. He loved her as an awkward stable-maid. He adored her now, in her white nudity which was the only night attire Louise had ever possessed.

He was systematic in his adoration. First he took her lips with his own and trilled his tongue, tasting the cleanness of her youth and beauty. He kissed her, until she shuddered and moaned for Felicia to hear. He stroked and kissed the cool pallor of her swelling curves. He caressed and tickled her until she shivered convulsively and sighed.

Another hour of night passed before he was ready for her, as gently as always.

Long before this, Felicia responded to the soft sounds beyond the dividing curtain and began to run her hands over her own copper-brown thighs and dark-haired loins. Yet perhaps the shrill mewing which proceeded from her was the more indicative of her intense and excruciating release.

From that time, Leon treated Louise with great tenderness. Night after night, Felicia lay alone and listened to her, just the other side of the curtain. When her mouth was not stopped by the pillow, the teenager would cry her lover's name. When he had finished with her, he would stroke Louise's bottom or thighs gently and send her back to the other bed. There she must curl up, her pale body naked and cool from its exposure by contrast with Felicia's dark-skinned nudity warm under the blankets.

Leon wondered what the effect on the two girls might be as they lay together naked after he had spent. His bed was so narrow that it was impossible to avoid a constant touching of bare flesh. As Louise turned away, Felicia's leg must still brush against her thighs. Or else their breasts would tickle together with accidental arousing. Or the pale softness of Louise's bottom-cheeks would curve into the harder and dark-haired warmth of Felicia's loins.

Consumed by curiosity, Leon spied through the curtain. He had heard the bed-springs moving softly. There was light enough to make out the shape of the girls under the sheet. Felicia lay on top of Louise. There was squirming and gasping, sharp breaths and a hissing release of tension between the teeth. Poor Leon had not the least doubt that his girls were making love to each other. He drew back and knew that he did not mind in the least. Had another man seduced Louise, Leon would have fought him to the death. But to see her with a woman was not at all the same. Indeed, it excited him. He devised schemes to induce them to do it willingly in his presence.

His mistake was evident next night when he had Louise behind the curtain. He could feel, let alone see, the evidence of Felicia's jealousy. It was in places not always concealed by the black silk panties, which were far too small to cover completely the adolescent plumpness of Louise's bottom-cheeks and hips. They had been fighting. Felicia used her cunning to hurt Louise where it was unlikely to show. From feminine pride, they fought with only gasps and hisses.

He said nothing. Perhaps, like young animals, the two girls fought in play or earnest to work off their natural frustration.

It was Madame Solange's suggestion that Felicia should replace Leon as the hand with the whip during Louise's evening performance. With her hair in a score of pretty little braids, like the woven tails of a lash, there was a suggestion of the barbaric and the perverse in the dark-skinned girl's command of Louise the captive rider. Madame Solange chose for her a little jacket and black leather trousers of a Spanish equestrian kind, worn tight as drumskin on the tautly rounded curves of Felicia's backside and thighs.

The innovation was a great success. Fashionable society from the resorts of Deauville and Trouville, even a painter or two of la vie de boheme, graced the ranks of the audience. It was alluringly suggestive to see Louise riding astride her mount, blue eyes round as saucers in their seductive teasing, the nude pearl of her thighs, the provocative jump and quiver of her soft rear cheeks in the tightness of translucent black knickers, while the beautiful and barbarous little mistress cracked the cruel whip. The audience would gasp with dismay, spiced by excitement, each time the black thong smacked across the thinly-clad adolescent plumpness of Louise's bottom.

But all this was in play. As if by some complicity the two girls gave full vent to their jealousy only in bed. Why so secret? Felicia feared she might be turned out. To Louise it was a matter of pride. She must fight unaided to retain her place.

This continued for several weeks. Then, one morning, there was a row in the tent. Leon heard Madame Solange's anger and the muttered replies from Felicia.

The ringmistress swung round as he entered. 'This thieving slut of yours has the impudence to steal my best riding-switch! The one with the pearl stock that Monsieur Le Commandant presented to me at the Cirque d'Hiver!'

'No!' said Felicia. It was the sulkiness of a little girl caught in the act.

'Three days ago it vanished. This morning Anton found the pawn-shop ticket in her costume clothes. We fetched the switch from there, not half an hour ago, pledged by your dear little Felicia for six francs! The little bitch learnt this from her parents! She deserves the police!'

'Perhaps a really good hiding,' said Anton the juggler hopefully. 'That's what the police give a young rascal-girl like her. We might as well save them the trouble.'

Madame Solange turned to Leon again. 'Will you do it, or must I get the tent-master for her?'

'Not I,' Leon said, turning away indifferently. 'Fleur-de-Lys must be shoed before tonight. Let the tent-master thrash her.'

Felicia had been looking at him with something like contempt in the slant of her gaze, caring nothing for his whip. As he walked off, her dark eyes seemed to implore him desperately to be the one who punished her — and then they filled with panic as he left her to the others. They were obliged to hold her until the tent-master came.

'Now you shall feel leather, my girl!' said Madame Solange vindictively. 'Burning hotter than the tightest pants you can imagine!'

'Give her a really good hiding with her knickers down!' cried a woman in the crowd. The tent was filling with circus folk and idlers from the streets. Felicia was stripped from the waist down. There were murmurs of admiration for the smooth warm copper-tones of her trim little thighs and hips, the taut and demure rounds of her tawny buttocks. She was hauled astride a trestle and made to lie along it. Willing hands held her arms and legs, others crooked an elbow round her waist or grasped her wrists or ankles. Felicia twisted her face round, the defiance of the noble female savage fading in alarm from the dark elipse of her eyes.

As an act of poetic justice the burly tent-master used the recovered riding-switch, which was long and supple. He thrashed the bare beauty of the young odalisque until his muscular arm ached too much to continue. The maidenly olive-skinned swell of Felicia's bottom-cheeks bore ample evidence of it. When she was hoarse from yelling, Solange allowed her only a moment's pause. Then the ringmistress took the riding-switch from the tent-master. She too thrashed the dusky Venus across rear cheeks already smartingly chastised.

It was only then that someone asked Anton how he knew the pawn-shop ticket for the stolen riding-switch would be found among Felicia's costume clothes. He explained that a note was left in his caravan. Unfortunately it was unsigned but clearly the work of a believer in justice.

Leon shrugged at this news. Yet he noticed in the days after Felicia had the whip that the muffled struggles between the two girls in bed seemed to cease. When the tent-master and the ringmistress had finished with her, the copper-skinned beauty returned to the caravan and was heard to weep softly for the greater part of the afternoon. She threw herself down over the bed, and lamented with good reason the sorry state of her backside and the rear of her thighs. It was out of the question for her to appear in the show that night. For the future, Leon was master of horse when Louise rode bare-legged on Fleur-de-Lys. Felicia was reduced to menial employment.

The good-natured Leon still had not the heart to turn the dark-skinned girl on to the streets. At the best, she must prostitute herself and at the worst she would starve. His own situation was not at all the life he had imagined with two beautiful girls at once. For a week he slept alone behind the curtain. Then came the climax of the bewildered clown's domestic drama.

Performances at the Cirque Eden concluded with a melodrama to bring the audience to its feet. It was adventure from the Wild West! At its climax a savage tribe of warriors — mounted and on foot — poured into the ring, trying to bring down the girl from her horse and lead her off to rape and slavery. The excitement was intense and the spectacle well-rehearsed. A degree of danger was inevitable but Fleur-de-Lys was used to the whoops and gunshots of the savage tribe.

On this fateful evening, no one noticed that there was one more Indian than usual. Without the least warning, a female warrior on foot dashed in front of the white horse, firing a blank from a pistol almost in the animal's nostrils. The mare reared up. Louise, for all her practice, slid from the horse's back and fell before the hooves of her pursuers.

Cries of dismay rose from the audience. Leon saw the motionless form of Louise lying upon the sawdust. Why did he not go to her? Perhaps he could not bear to look. Perhaps he was seized with fury on her behalf.

From whichever impulse, he ran in pursuit of the assassin — and had not the least difficulty in catching her. Felicia made no effort to escape but reached the caravan first. By the time he threw open the door, she had stripped off the disguise of her Indian costume and every stitch of clothes. She was superb in bronze nudity, the slant of her dark eyes fired with triumph.

'You shall do to me as you did to her!' she hissed. 'Now you no longer have her, you shall take me behind the curtain at night! I shall never again have to lie and listen to the pair of you!'

He looked at her, understanding too late the violence of feminine jealousy. But he could not endure her company. Leon went back slowly to the sawdust ring where Madame Solange and the others had gathered. He was absent for half an hour and then came back to the caravan alone.

He seemed undismayed to find Felicia still there in the lamplight, proud and naked as before. Without a word, she took his training-whip from the table and gave it to him. Turning, she lay naked on her stomach over the bed, her forehead resting on her arms as she waited to be flogged.

'Take your revenge for what I have done,' she said, 'and then make me your girl. I will do all that Louise did for you. You shall use me in every way a man can use a woman. I shall warm your bed and work for you. I will be your slave.'

He stared at her as if he might be dreaming. At last he raised the short lash. With all his strength he thrashed her from the back of the waist to the back of her knees. He whipped her harder and more implacably than the tent-master had done, until the copper-toned mounds of Felicia's bottom were zebra-striped. She swallowed almost every cry and uttered only muted sounds of anguish deep in her throat. Felicia writhed and contorted her round trim buttocks as if squirming in some passionate honeymoon embrace. She did not resist nor even seek to avoid the lashes of his vengeance.

When she had been chastised, Leon allowed nature to take its course. He finished and stood back looking at her on the bed. Just then, the door of the caravan opened. Felicia scrambled up, shaking with fear, as if she saw her own death. With a cry she sank to her knees and hid her face in her hands. In the lamplight stood Louise. Her face was pale and her eyes shocked. But she was no ghost, and Leon had known it before he returned to the caravan.

He spoke quietly to Felicia. 'You cannot kill us so easily. You suppose we never fall from horses? You imagine our mounts are not trained to avoid trampling us? You think we do not know how to avoid their hooves? My poor little fool! When you confront us, you are in the presence of the immortals.'

At last they heard Felicia's sobs. Only the misery of being ignored by him at night and fear of being sent away had driven her to a desperate act of jealousy. Leon's anger had now gone and his kindness returned. He knew that he had been unwittingly cruel in showing no more than cool courtesy towards a warm-blooded odalisque. But it was only Louise, the injured party, who could pass judgment. She approached, raised Felicia, and embraced her. The girls cried a little in each other's arms for the folly of hatred and jealousy. But Leon had the last word for Felicia.

'Can you imagine,' he murmured, joining the embrace, 'that I should raise my whip over you, if Louise lay dead? You have learnt little of how men and women behave. There is more to love than a man's pride between your legs!'

He left Louise to express their forgiveness. She kissed and petted Felicia, for all the world as if it were the warm-skinned beauty who had suffered the danger and injury. Leon, after the passionate whipping and ravishing, was now uncertain what to do.

Louise in her adolescent wisdom put the matter right.

'You shall stay with us,' she whispered, holding Felicia's head to her breast and stroking her braided hair. 'We shall love you and make you forget all the bad things that have happened.'

By a course of events quite unlike those he had imagined, Leon became possessor of both girls. Their only rivalry was to prove which of them loved him more. When there was temper or rudeness he, without partiality, spanked the bare bottom of Louise or Felicia with his strap or cane. This only drove them deeper into one another's arms, and so back into his own.

Love and infatuation spring back from jealousy and obsessive hatred like a ball from a racquet. The sounds from the bed which the two girls shared were still short, breathless exclamations and soft cries as if of some ordeal. But the squirming under the sheet — and often with the sheet thrown clear to reveal the writhing of mutual desire — had a different cause.

Leon was their master, in public and in private. For both Louise and Felicia, the training in the ring became an extension of his passion. The dividing curtain was removed. If he drew one of them to his bed, he no longer hid her from the other. Often it was the pair of them with whom he enjoyed himself. Like a good master, he made an equal and scrupulous division of his substance between the two girls.

With Madame Solange and his friends, the two girls walking as meekly beside his caravan as slaves in the triumph of a conqueror's procession, he travelled the fairgrounds of spring and summer. Why did Leon accept Felicia so easily after her attempt upon Louise's life? The answer was one that he never revealed, not even to the girls themselves.

When Felicia was punished for the theft of the ringmistress' riding-switch, Anton had been alerted by an unsigned note accusing the girl and describing where the stolen object might be found. By the unwritten law of the circus folk, her punishment was not in doubt. She would be stripped and soundly thrashed by her protector. A day or two later Anton had shown Leon the note. He recognised the handwriting from the little bills which the former barmaid of the Cafe du Vieux Port once presented to the customers.

Felicia accused and condemned herself, in the mistaken belief that it was Leon who would strip and chastise her. The heat for him which plagued her loins was so great that she never doubted her power to seduce him by the erotic witchcraft of her naked writhings while he was beating her. When he whipped her on that later occasion, the truth of this was proved. But what terror and dismay had appeared in her face the first time, when he recalled that Fleur-de-Lys had cast a shoe and handed Felicia over to a cold and vindictive thrashing by the tent-master.

At night, when the lights of the great tent were darkened and the arena was deserted, the three of them withdrew to the caravan and the key was turned in the lock. As the two girls undressed, Louise soft and white, Felicia lithe and tawny, Leon considered the events of the day. Occasionally he would lay the cane or the strap upon the bed. But always, even after the training which those objects suggested, he would take his two adoring circus-girls into a long and intimate embrace. Sometimes Madame Solange or the others would hear a sound in the night, intense and perhaps shrill. But they would turn over and go to sleep again with a smile. It was only Leon and his bareback girls.