For Glenda, Fiona, Glynnis, and Jane the only solace in attending Harderwood Boarding School was each other. The foursome stuck together through good times and bad. They covered for each other, helped out when needed, and consoled whoever needed cheering.
Harderwood, notorious for its strictness, became the boarding school of choice for any girl who caused too much trouble at home. Even the prefects earned a reputation for implacable severity having long enjoyed disciplinary discretion exceeding that of most other institutions. Currently, Glenda, Fiona, Glynnis, and Jane all shared the same hatred for their prefect, Allison Taylor. Not a week went by without one of the four punished harshly in one way or another. Prefects had wide latitude not only in the severity of their punishments, but their method as well. While caning was always popular, a prefect could just as easily impose a switching, birching, paddling, or spanking. Though typically less severe than the rest, even the spankings at Harderwood were nothing to scoff at. For one thing, no disciplinarian ever spanked with only their palm. Instead, an impressive arsenal of hairbrushes and hairbrush shaped paddles remained at the ready.
Allison tended towards freshly-cut switches. If chosen well, a proper switch could not only deliver a stroke nearly as devastating as a cane, but also had the added bonus of the irregular budding so apt to break young bum-skin. Mere welts did not content the cruel prefect. To be truly satisfied the girl needed to draw at least a few speckle-swipes of blood before she finished. A rough switch produced this result better than anything else.
But even Allison needed variety. Sometimes nothing pleased her more than ordering a girl her own age across her lap for a thorough work-out with a hairbrush. How embarrassing she figured it must be to be spanked like a child over a lap by someone in your same level. She loved to venture into the minds of her victims and employing the technique with the most effect. The results achieved through changes in target, tempo, and force always amused her. Whereas caning required skill, spanking required imagination.
One afternoon, Jane, Glenda, and Fiona, looked up from their studies to see Glynnis shuffle painfully into the dorm room, wincing with each step.
“Allison?” Jane speculated aloud, while Glynnis merely nodded with scrunched face.
“Right then,” Fiona barked. “Over on the bed, and let’s have a look. Glen, fetch the balm.”
Glynnis did as she was told, hiking her skirt as she gingerly unpeeled her red stipled panties.
“Bandaids too,” Fiona added, noting the fresh cuts.
As Glynnis flinched under her friend’s care, she explained, “wicked as that bitch is, I can’t blame her for this one. She warned me that I’d get it if she caught me smoking again. So what do I do? I sneak one in the girls’ room just as she pops out of a stall.”
“You didn’t check first?” Jane asked.
“No. I was so desperate for a puff I just lit up as soon as I got in there. My luck of all the girls who could have been taking a pee, it would be Allison. She didn’t even wait. She had me dead to rights and next thing I knew I was watching her snip switches. God, I hate watching her do that. She’s always so smug as she evaluates each one out loud.”
“Oh I know,” Glenda chimed in, “it’s always like…’ohhh, this one is so nice and licky’, or ‘oh, this one has such nasty buds....I’ll bet you feel each one.’ Ugh!”
“Bitch,” the four remarked in unison...then laughed at their perfect timing.
“I thought you gave up smoking after your last whipping? I saw you throw your whole stash away,” Fiona observed.
“I did. Then I broke down and went back and got them. I have nearly a full carton hidden in the shoebox under my bunk.”
“You’re incorrigible! No wonder you end up like this,” Fiona scolded as she covered the last oozing nick with a band-aid. “There,” she concluded with a friendly pat. “All done.”
“Thanks,” Glynnis winced as she changed into fresh panties. “But you know, there might be a silver lining in my little cloud.”
“Well, during my switching, Allison said something about it being her ‘going away present’ to me. It seems the witch is transferring to another school nearer the country. Seems her dad got relocated and they are all moving before the year is too far along. I guess they don’t want to take her out just before the term ends.”
“Hurrah!” the crew exclaimed. “Ding dong, the witch is dead!”
The group all smiled and laughed at this new turn of luck. Their arch-nemesis was to be no more. But after a bit of celebrating, Jane turned pensive. “You know chickies, if Allison goes, they will replace her. The next prefect could be even worse.”
“Worse than Allison? Doubtful,” Glenda replied assuredly.
“You never know,” Jane warned in a rising tone.
“Well, they will definitely replace her. That’s for certain. The question is, with whom?” Fiona posed the question matter-of-factly.
“Hey, wouldn’t it great if it was one of us?” Glynnis speculated with wide-eyed hopefulness.
Jane slumped with her face in her hands, moaning, “oh, we’d never get that lucky.”
“Why not?” asked Glynnis. “We are all senior girls. Our grades are decent. Heck, Fiona here is nearly top in the class. Why wouldn’t they pick her?”
“I really hope they don’t,” Fiona replied with a frown.
“Why not?” Glynnis demanded excitedly. “It would be great! Our own Fiona as prefect. No more sliced bottoms. We’d be free to enjoy our last year.”
“I just hope they don’t. That’s all,” Fiona repeated in a voice so down that her friends decided to change the subject. None of them liked when Fiona got into one her depressed moods.
“Call in Miss Roberts, Gladys,” Mrs. Beckridge cooly informed her secretary. As the elderly assistant opened the frosted glass door to the hallway, Mrs. Beckridge thumbed through the file in front of her. A moment later, a nervous Fiona Roberts tentatively approached the headmistress, worried what trouble she had unknowingly gotten into. Seeing the apprehension on the girl’s face amused the stern headmistress, but after savoring her squirming for a few seconds more, she asked the girl to sit. “Do you know why you’re here, Miss Roberts?”
“No, Ma’am,” the redhead replied with dry throat.
“Well, Miss Roberts, I’m sure you’ve heard that our Miss Fenton has unexpectedly left us and Harderwood is looking for a new prefect to replace her. I’ve been looking at your records, Miss Roberts, and I must admit your academic record, as well as your disciplinary file, are both quite impressive.”
“I know I’ve been punished a lot here, Mrs. Beckridge, but I’ve always tried to be good.”
The matriarch laughed. “You misunderstand, Miss Roberts. Your disciplinary record is well within what would be expected of a girl who has been with us as long as you have. True, it’s not spotless, but neither is it excessive. Besides, Miss Roberts, I believe only a student who has experienced regular discipline fully understands what it takes to administer discipline.”
“With all respect, Ma’am, I’m not sure I’m the right person,” Fiona deferred with downcast eyes.
“Nonsense, girl,” the greying headmistress rebuked over her glasses. “You have even been recommended.”
Recalling the other day, Fiona speculated, “was it Glynnis?”
The woman laughed again. “Miss Hamilton? Why heavens no, girl. Why would I trust anything that scamp would say? No, no, my dear, it was Allison Fenton herself who suggested you as her replacement prior to her departure.”
“Allison?” Fiona repeated in disbelief.
“Why, yes. She told me that in her opinion....um, how did she put it? Oh yes, ‘you had the stuff’. And I quite agree. So unless you wish to refute me………… which I would not recommend, you will begin your duties as prefect immediately.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Fiona reluctantly consented.
The satisfied headmistress then dismissed the new disciplinarian, but as she left, added, ”oh, and Miss Roberts, I know full well you are quite close to the girls in your dorm. That is all well and fine, but I would be very disappointed if I were to find out that your comraderie prevented you from doing your duty as a prefect when called for. Is that perfectly clear, Miss Roberts?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Fiona replied, knowing full well before ever being told that her own very nature demanded nothing less. It was a fact she was all too aware of the day Glynnis advocated her as prefect. She wished she could have warned them all, and now it was too late.
Two days into her role as prefect, Fiona stumbled upon two younger girls arguing in the courtyard. She interceded just as one of them, a lanky brunette named Sarah Finch, yanked a fistful of the other girl’s curly brown locks so hard the poor girl’s glasses fell off. Luckily they did not break, but they just as easily could have. A crowd had gathered in anticipation of what Fiona would do. Included in the rabble were her own dorm mates. Fiona chose to say nothing but merely grabbed the guilty brunette by her coat collar and led her into the school. Not more than 20 minutes later the curious crowd watched as Sarah Finch burst through the doors, clutching her books hard to her chest, and wordlessly pushed past them all ignoring their questions. Everyone could see her face was ruddy with tears and her nose ran freely. There was no doubt she had been punished.
A moment later Fiona emerged from the building as well. Now, however, the crowd did not risk badgering the prefect with questions, and instead all scurried in all directions to their next piece of business. Only Glenda, Glynnis, and Jane remained behind.
“Wow, all hail the new prefect,” Glynnis teased.
“Shut up,” Fiona snapped.
“Oh come on, Fiona, we are all behind you. I’m just teasing,” Glynnis explained sincerely.
Fiona looked at her friends as they walked back to their dorm. “You know I didn’t ask for this. But what am I to do? Mrs. Beckridge made it pretty plain that a refusal would not go over well at all.”
“Don’t worry about it, love,” Glenda reassured, “that Finch girl had it coming. You did alright.”
As the girls settled into their bunks, Glenda again spoke up, “hey Fiona, would you mind telling your old mates here just how you handled that bully Finch?”
Fiona rolled her eyes at the question, but realized such curiosity was to be expected. Turning on her side with a frown, she said, “oh, if you ghouls must know, it was a good 50 with a hairbrush, over my lap, knickers down. Satisfied?”
“I knew it!” Glenda exclaimed, then turned to Jane who was already sulking. “See? I told ya it would be a spanking. Pay up!”
As the brooding loser handed Glenda a folded note, Fiona looked on in shock. “What are you two doing?” she demanded.
“A little wager....which I won,” Glenda retorted smugly as she tucked the money into her purse.
“You both know gambling is against the rules,” Fiona scolded.
“It’s not gambling. It was just a friendly bet.”
“Friendly bet? Then why did I see money exchange hands?”
“Fiona, dear,” Glenda smiled as she retrieved the note and held it up. “It’s just a one pound note. You call that gambling?”
“I’m afraid I do, and I think if asked, Mrs. Beckridge would feel the same,” Fiona snapped.
The wagering pair looked at their friend in disbelief. “You aren’t going to rat us out for a pound, are you?”
“Of course not,” Fiona replied. But just as a look of relief passed into the girls’ faces, she continued, “there’s no need to involve the head over this. I think we can take care of it right here and be done with it.”
“What do you mean?” Glenda asked with newfound concern.
“I mean just what I said. I will take care of this unfortunate indiscretion and there’ll be no need to report it to anyone higher up. It’s one of the advantages of me being a prefect. If I take care of something, it is considered settled,” Fiona explained calmly as if her explanation would reassure her friends. She seemed genuinely surprised when her remark seemed to incite them further.
“And just how will you ‘take care’ of it?” Glenda demanded indignantly. “Are you going to switch us bloody like Allison?”
Fiona laughed at the suggestion. “No, of course not, silly goose. We are still friends. And besides, I’ve tended to enough bleeding welts on your three bottoms to make me never want to wield a switch in my life.”
“That’s better, then,” Glenda concluded with a nod.
“No,” Fiona continued, “I think a good spanking each will suffice.”
“I most certainly am not. Now if the pair of you will kindly prepare yourselves, we can have this all over and done with in a trice.”
Glenda sat upright on her mattress so apoplectic the room remained silent for several moments. As the shocked friend tried to find a response, Jane merely cowed at the suggestion. Fiona looked on as if her suggestion was the most reasonable thing in the world and found her friends’ resistance to be almost hurtful. No one spoke, until Glynnis, who had been watching the whole scene busted out laughing until all three girls were just staring at her as if she had gone crazy.
“Well, ladies, what are you waiting for?” she asked with a broad grin.
Glenda turned on her with a scowl. “What, you’re taking her side?”
The laughing teen just nodded emphatically. “Yes I am. She’s not wrong, and I think if you two actually listened to what she was saying, you’d see she was being nice. Like it or not girls, our friend Fiona is a prefect. What do you think Allison would have done if she saw that bet? Jane, heck, I can see it your face, even you know this is more than fair.”
“I suppose,” Jane admitted shyly.
Seeing Jane’s acceptance of her fate, Fiona focused in on her, “come on, Jane,” she prompted gently. “Are you brave enough to go first?”
Jane only nodded as she rose from her bunk with a blush. “Can I change into my nightdress first?”
“Of course, dear,” Fiona assured her and as the nervous girl undressed, calmly advising, “and leave off your knickers.”
Jane looked back at Fiona somewhat appreciating her gentle approach. Allison Fenton would never have been so kind. Fiona retrieved a rather stout hairbrush from her bag absent-mindedly explaining to no one in particular, “rather good that I keep this with me.”
Fiona pulled the chair from the oak desk and sat with expectant authority as she waved her sheepish friend towards her. Jane then quietly crawled over Fiona’s lap and supported herself with two palms flat on the floor in front of her. Doing so slid her weight forward as well, centering her bottom perfectly until her toes could no longer even brush the rug. Fiona then raised the nightgown from behind and pushed it well up the dangling girl’s back so that there was little chance of it sliding back down. Jane gasped reflexively at the baring. It seemed odd to her that she seemed embarrassed since Fiona had seen and tended her bottom countless times after her prior punishments. Perhaps it was because this time Fiona would be punishing her bottom rather than soothing it?
Then without warning, Fiona struck the pale flesh causing it to ripple and the girl to yip. A pink oval magically appeared in the middle of the creamy cheek. The brush descended again, now on the other doughy bun causing the same effect. Two spanks underway, Fiona saw no reason to continue tentatively and began spanking with enthusiasm and determination. Soon Jane was kicking like a swimmer as she pleaded for mercy. But Fiona had a job to do and did not stop until the guilty gambler’s behind was pink and hot. As abruptly as she began, Fiona finished with a couple of extra-crisp slaps and said, “ok, off with you now.”
All the while Glenda had been looking on in anticipation of her turn. Now that it was imminent, the seemingly braver girl began to balk, but one cold stare from Glynnis convinced her to take her place on Fiona’s lap. This time, once she had her victim bared and ready,
Fiona broke her silence to ask, “so who suggested this wager?”
Glenda knew better than to lie. She also knew no one would believe it was Jane’s idea. “Mine,” she admitted.
“Well, as instigator, I think you’ll be getting a bit more than Janey.” In a matter of minutes Glenda was carrying on far worse than her predecessor. Jane looked on in sympathy while Glynnis grinned in delight. There was simply something in Glenda’s personality that made seeing her punished seem amusing. Jane just aroused one’s sympathy, but with Glenda, Glynnis couldn’t help but smile. It was all she could do to avoid urging Fiona to spank harder. Still, without the urging, Fiona rendered Glenda’s bottom a blazing inferno of blistery heat. Once let up, the punished reprobate grabbed her sore bottom with both hands as if it was about to fall off and she was catching it. On her way back to her bunk, Fiona merely added, “and return the pound.”
After the day of Glenda and Jane’s ‘wager spankings’, the girls were all a bit more cautious around Fiona. Being a prefect overrode friendship. For her part, Fiona began to fall into her new role quite easily. Within a few weeks she punished the guilty without hesitation or regret. And while some girls aroused a bit of sympathy in her, there were others she found she truly enjoyed beating. Initially, that bit of self-discovery shocked Fiona, but she quickly accepted that fact as an unexpected perk. And as long as she was being fair, what did it matter if she enjoyed her new duties? She was good at what she did and people always said that a person should love what they do.
Over time, in an effort to hone her disciplinary skills, Fiona experimented with other implements besides the hairbrush and paddle. The only method she avoided, due to its association with Allison, was the use of natural cut switches. In an attempt to be proficient with the cane, she even sought out instruction from some of the strictest teachers, though in the case of one such instructor, Mrs. Bernard, who taught history, Fiona got a bit more instruction than she had expected. To Fiona’s chagrin, Mrs. Bernard believed that to fully understand the cane, it was not enough to merely learn how to wield one. A good caner also needed to understand what a solid caning felt like. So after two after-hours lessons with the history teacher, Fiona could slice a waiting bottom with uncanny precision……even if the knowledge cost her an impressive set of evenly-spaced welts on her own behind. But that was the price for perfection.
Fiona’s interest in caning proficiency extended beyond perfectionism however. The prefect had decided a while back that a particular offense she was aware of warranted something more corrective than a spanking. Once she had acquired the skillset needed, she was prepared to confront the guilty culprit. One Friday, after endless classes, Glynnis rushed to her dorm in the throes of nicotine withdrawal. So in need of a cigarette, the girl barely noticed anyone else in the room as she dove headlong under her bed to retrieve her precious shoe box, but once in her hands the frantic girl searched fruitlessly for a tobacco fix.
“What the hell,” she exclaimed to herself. “Where are you little fuckers?”
“Are you looking for these?” Fiona asked as she held up a crumpled pack.
“Oh thank god! That’s my last pack and I’m dying here. Since when did you take up smoking?” Glynnis joked as she reached for the pack.
But Fiona pulled her hand away and replied, “I have not taken up smoking. Smoking, as you well know, is against the rules here at Harderwood. And Glynnis, considering all the trouble cigarettes have gotten you into, you should know that better than anyone.”
“Oh come on, Fiona. You’ve known for weeks that box was there. Why make a fuss now?”
“For two reasons. First because I figured once you saw I was serious about being a prefect, you’d eventually get rid of these. You do realize if anyone from the staff found them here, we’d all be in trouble? And second, it wasn’t until very recently that I learned how to properly use the cane. After all the times you’ve been spanked and switched and birched for smoking, do you really think that one more was going to cure you? I don’t. I think the only chance you have of ending this habit before it gets you expelled, is a tight caning. And now I am equipped to do just that.”
“I don’t believe you intend to cane me. I stuck up for you from the day you became prefect.”
“That’s exactly why you know you need to come with me to Room 387.”
“Oh fuck, Room 387? So this is going to be the full treatment, huh?”
“I think nothing less will even make a dent in your obstinance,” Fiona sighed. “Come on then. Let’s get to it.”
“It’s a fair cop, I guess.” Glynnis shrugged grabbing her woolen overcoat.
On the way across the courtyard to Beacham Hall, the pair bumped into Glenda and Jane who had just come back from a snack in the cafeteria. “Where are you two off to, eh?” Glenda inquired.
Fiona said nothing, but Glynnis did not seem to mind her friends knowing the truth. “Room 387, it seems.”
“What? Whatever for?” Jane asked in awe of the news.
“It seems I have cigarettes under my bed,” Glynnis explained with droll sarcasm.
“Can we come?” Jane asked innocently.
Fiona was about to dismiss the idea as she looked over at Glynnis, but Glynnis surprised her by shrugging, “why not? Seems fair since I got to see you two punished. If I’m going to get it, at least someone might enjoy it.”
“That’s not what I meant....” Jane replied apologetically but was cut off.
“I know, love,” Glynnis smiled at the timid teen, “no seriously, it’s OK. I could use the moral support. I may sound brave, but I haven’t been caned in ages and can’t say I’m looking forward to it. But you should probably ask Miss Perfect Prefect here to see if it’s allowed.”
Fiona rolled her eyes in exasperation at the way her friends now saw her. Looking at Jane directly she assured her it would be fine.
The walk through Beacham Hall seemed endless, but eventually the four reached the dreaded Room 387. Fiona used a key that she as prefect was allowed to carry for times like these and let the other three in. The room would be scary even if weren’t for the restraining bench and rack full of assorted canes. The tiles were dingy and scuffed and the drapes stark and even a bit dusty. Only the bench looked pristine. Constant use kept it not only clean but polished from the friction of twisting bodies under the lash.
“You two can sit there,” Fiona ordered.
“Yes, Ma’am,” Glenda saluted mocking her friend’s authoritative demeanor.
Fiona simply looked at her dorm mate coldly and said, “Glennie dear, one more bit of cheek and it’ll be your cheeks up there next.”
It had been a while since Glynnis had last been secured to the rack for a caning but such an experience was not something one easily forgets. Still, Glynnis knew that different disciplinarians had their personal preferences for how a victim should be presented. A girl could be strapped down with just her knickers off and her skirt hiked up, or some could be made to strip completely. The last time Glynnis was caned it was by Mrs. Bernard, who was a fanatic for a naked victim. Some thought it was because she was a perverted old cow, while others more graciously maintained she did it to add embarrassment and helplessness to the victim’s thoughts as they waited for her strokes. Regardless of her reasons, all Glynnis knew was that she hated having to strip off everything and be secured like that for all to see. She did not know which method Fiona would prefer and in order to appear ambivalent the girl just acted as nonchalantly as she could manage under the circumstances. Rather than make a fuss, she just bluntly asked Fiona, “kilt up or starkers?”
Unfortunately for Glynnis, Fiona, who while having no great desire to see her friend in the buff, also recalled quite clearly how much Glynnis had complained about being naked for her punishment. Therefore, to maximize the punitive aspect, Fiona replied just as casually, “why not just take everything off, since we all know how much you like that?”
Glynnis flushed as she silently cursed her former friend’s memory, and began to strip. Afterwards she knelt over the rack and let herself be strapped down. Fiona secured her wrists, ankles, waist, and legs just above the knees. Secured like this, Glynnis could struggle about and achieve only the slightest movement. Her bottom would be in perfect position for every stroke regardless of whether she was ready for it or not. The only freedom left to her was to clench or scream. Or so she thought.
“I learned a little something about caning that I hope will enhance your experience, Glynnis,” she warned as she walked around to the secured girl’s face. Then holding up a freshly-peeled and spade-shaped chunk of ginger, she added, “I got this from the cafeteria kitchen. I’ve been soaking it all day. Can you guess where it goes?”
“No please,” the girl begged no longer able to maintain her brave front. “I promise not to clench, Fiona. You don’t need that.”
“Sorry, my dear,” Fiona replied and walking now behind the panicky miscreant, and with one hand splayed the already separated buttocks a bit further so her other hand could insert the wet root into Glynnis’ flat, striated anus with a single deft push. “Now let’s just wait for that to work its magic.”
While Glynnis certainly felt the unwelcome intruder, she was surprised that despite what she had heard, the ginger seemed to do nothing more than occupy her tight little orifice and she began to wonder what all the fuss was over being figged. However, after a minute or so, an odd sensation radiated through her clenched ring. At first, it just tingled a bit, but eventually the feeling grew to more of a mild burn. Instinctively she clenched harder at the sensation and immediately discovered that act made the burning worse. She relaxed herself and the burning eased. Eventually the burn shifted to a strange widening sensation, as if her anus was trying to fully splay itself without any conscious effort from her.
Fiona could see what her victim was doing and smiled. “So are you feeling that now then? Amazing root. Now, given the shape the ginger’s carved into, it should stay in place without any effort from you. But it will come out if you force it out. However, if you do, I will merely shove it back in and we’ll start the caning all over again. As you’ve probably discovered, if you tighten up the ginger burns more than if you stay relaxed.”
Fiona then selected a yellow rattan cane from the rack and swished it through the air. It was the one she had practiced with, medium in both length and girth, but with a whippy flexibility near the last quarter. Swinging it with a bit of a reverse flick at the end of the stroke sent the biting tip forward with astonishing speed. It would do admirably. The prefect took up her place alongside her target and remarked, “so, Glynnis, I hope this cures you of your smoking habit.” With that proclamation Fiona landed her first stroke dead level and dead center across both cheeks with the tip nipping the right buttock just right of center. A perfect cut.
“Oh god,” Glynnis exclaimed as she took a deep breath. The stroke initially stung with a shock, but in the seconds after, a growing burn followed the thickening double-line welt from end to end.
“Five more to go, dear,” Fiona remarked before taking her second swing. Her practice had paid off as the stroke landed just a half inch above the first and perfectly parallel to it. Glynnis just screamed, unable to twist away. Her anus choked the ginger firmly but quickly surrendered as the root retaliated with fire. Almost immediately, the tethered miscreant’s bottom presented itself relaxed and ready for the next stroke. Fiona took full advantage as her third cut burned a twin line of lava no more than 3/4s of an inch below the first, which by now had plumped into an impressive welt. Glynnis emitted a shrill wail of frustration, a sickening sound to hear.
“You’re killing her,” Jane accused.
But Fiona paused calmly and turned to the trembling witness. “No I’m not. I’m trying to keep her from being expelled. Now, no more interruptions. There’s just three to go, and I am sure our dear Glynnis is tough enough to handle them.”
“Actually,” Glynnis responded from her secured position, “I am. So let’s finish this.”
Fiona landed the last three cane-strokes with cold precision. Each was delivered as masterfully as any professional golf or tennis swing. The six double-track lines that resulted from her efforts looked as if they were made by a machine, spaced so exactly as to seem fake. Were it not for the raised ribbing one would swear they were painted on with a ruler.
As the sweaty penitent panted in her restraints, Fiona pulled out the ginger root and deposited it into a small bag. No longer innocent and pert, the vacated orifice now appeared lewd and sloppy, like the slack and swollen lips of a punch-drunk boxer. Unencumbered by the irritating intruder, Glynnis’ posterior still seemed in no hurry to constrict. Smiling at the effect, Fiona vowed to always keep ginger handy in the future.
Returning to their dorm, the four friends did not speak, making the walk seem longer than it ever had. Once inside, Fiona went to her drawer, took out Glynnis’ cigarettes and returned them. “Don’t let me find them again,” she warned.
“You won’t,” Glynnis replied her eyes still red-rimmed and moist. Taking the pack she crushed it hard in her fist and threw the mangled mass of paper and tobacco into the wastebasket.
Despite the overall strictness of the institution, as the holidays approached, spirits at Harderwood grew more festive. Still, misbehavior was not to be overlooked. As issues arose, Fiona dealt with each as fairly as she could manage, but if a punishment was warranted, she administered it with precision and determination. Her reputation around the school was mixed, depending on whether the person evaluating the girl felt she had been treated fairly or not. As such, the trouble-makers hated her and the girls who strove to be good, found her fair, even if they ended up punished. And while her skill with cane, paddle or birch was unmatched, she was the only prefect that no one ever accused of being sadistic.
As for Fiona’s roommates, following the caning, Glynnis bore a new respect for Fiona. She thought that while strict, the girl did strive for a certain rigid fairness in whatever she did. And if she punished you, you knew you were punished. The shy Jane shifted from affection to fear with each passing issue, sometimes fawning all over her friend and other times avoiding even her gaze. But it was the tough and rebellious Glenda who made no attempt to hide her growing contempt for her former friend. One afternoon, Glenda jumped onto her bed with a Cheshire-cat grin.
“Look at you,” Glynnis drawled. “You look like you’ve just won a lottery.”
“Lottery? Gambling isn’t permitted here, Glynnis,” she replied with icy sarcasm. Then with a shift back to her initial glee added, “no, it’s something even better.”
“Do tell, my dear.”
“See these?” Glenda asked, holding up a clinking ring of keys. “These are the keys to everything in Beacham Hall, the supply room, the record room, even Room 387.”
“Where did you get those?” Glynnis asked with awe.
Glenda kicked her feet giddily with a look of sheer triumph. “They’re Fiona’s. Her ‘prefect’s set’. She had them on top of her books in the cafeteria and they slid off without her realizing. So I just sort of very smoothly pocketed them.”
“You should give them back,” Glynnis advised.
“Oh, no. I’m going to use these little darlings to tarnish Little Miss Perfect-prefect’s halo. That girl needs to be knocked down a peg. I didn’t even tell you the latest, but this morning after you and Janey went to your classes, Fiona stopped me just before I went out as well, to tell me that my side of the room was messy.”
Glynnis chuckled. “Well, Glen, you have to admit it is. You’ve always been a bit of a slob.”
“Yeah, but that’s just it. It’s nothing new. I’ve always been this way and Fiona knows it. Now that she’s prefect though, it’s a big deal all of a sudden.”
“She does take her position seriously. That much is true.”
“Too seriously, if you ask me. She didn’t just tell me it was messy and to tidy up a bit. Oh, no, not her. She had me go across her lap for a nice taste of her damned hairbrush.”
Gynnis couldn’t stifle a chuckle. “Oh, Glen,” she sighed with a nod of bemused sympathy.
“It’s not funny. She roasted my backside but good. All the while scolding me and reminding me to be tidy in the future. I’ve been sitting on a tender bum all day. But now,” she said jingling the keys, “I will have my revenge.”
“What are you going to do?” Glynnis asked with a scowl.
“You’ll see,” Glenda giggled evilly. “But when I’m done, our little martinet will be the one to end up in Room 387…….on the receiving end of the cane. Maybe, with luck, she’ll even be demoted from prefect back to just one of us.”
“Don’t do anything stupid, Glen,” Glynnis warned and secretly vowed to keep a vigilant eye on her vindictive roommate.
The following day Glynnis approached Jane and without telling her why, insisted that she inform her of anything suspicious with Glenda. The instruction paid off, as Jane rushed to inform her during dinner that Glenda had said something about sneaking into Beacham Hall. Glynnis watched Glenda closely and when the girl got up from dinner and exited the main cafeteria, Glynnis followed. She hoped she could stop Glenda before she got herself in trouble, by learning where she had the keys, retrieving them....by stealth or by force, if necessary.... and returning them safely to Fiona’s drawer. But it was impossible to tell where the thief had hidden them, and Glynnis was not prepared to wrestle and strip-search the girl to find out. Instead she followed closely behind and waited for Glenda to take them out.
Her stealth was rewarded as she saw Glenda sneak up to the supply room and fidget for the proper key. Now out in the open, Glynnis saw her chance and darted out from her hiding spot. Glenda turned in surprise, momentarily startled by the intrusion, which afforded Glynnis enough time to grab hold of the keys and yank them free from Glenda’s grasp.
“Give those back,” she yelled, as Glynnis scurried towards the stairwell, then bolted after her. “You are going to ruin everything!”
Glynnis ran down the stairs as fast as she could manage with Glenda in rapid pursuit. But as she reached the landing, her progress was blocked by the sudden appearance of Mrs. Bernard.
“What are you two doing in here? And where did you get those keys?” the teacher demanded.
Just as Glynnis was about to answer, Jane, who had followed her out of concern, yelled up from the landing below. “Hey, are you OK. Come on out of there, I think someone’s coming. You’re going to get in trouble.”
Mrs. Bernard turned in recognition of the warning voice and called out, “Miss Winstone, your friends are already in trouble....as are you.”
Since the keys were Fiona’s she was brought in for questioning. Mrs. Beckridge demanded to know if she had given her keys to her friends. She insisted that she had not. After a bit of interrogation, Glenda gave in and admitted to taking them, but insisted that both Jane and Glynnis were not involved. Her story, unfortunately, did not convince those judging the situation. To the faculty it seemed much more believable that Glenda and Glynnis were plotting together on some mischief and Jane was acting as their look-out. When asked her opinion, Fiona reluctantly admitted that this explanation did seem the most believable. She reasoned that if only Glenda was involved, neither Glynnis nor Jane would have been in Beacham Hall. And if Glynnis’ claim that she was only there to stop Glenda, she could have just gone to any teacher rather than sneak into the building.
The headmistress also saw things the same way. If nothing else, Glynnis and Jane had to at least know about the keys. And if so, they should have reported the theft. Whether guilty of collaboration or omission, the key fact was they were guilty. Given the situation, Mrs. Beckridge decided that each girl should receive no less than a dozen strokes of the cane, and since it was Fiona’s keys that were taken, she should be the one to administer the punishments.
That evening, Glynnis, Glenda, and Jane all found themselves waiting for their turn at the block. Fiona delivered the punishments without mercy, completely distraught over this apparent betrayal by those she considered friends. She requested permission to sleep elsewhere that evening, feeling too heartbroken to return to her room.
After returning to their room welted and cowed, the three disciplined girls flopped onto their beds. Jane seemed to be in a state of shock or depression. The timid girl wasn’t even fully sure know why she had just been given a dozen strokes of the cane. She had never received a punishment that harsh before.
Even Glynnis cried most of that night, prompting Glenda to remark, “you see? You should never have tried to stop me. Fiona is out of control.”
“I can’t believe she had us all punished....and caned us herself. I was just trying to help so no one would get in trouble....not Fiona, or you. And poor Janey? She didn’t do anything.” Glynnis wiped her eyes in frustration feeling totally betrayed. “I hate her! I wish she would just go away for good.” Glynnis punched her pillow and sobbed until she fell asleep.
Glenda just smiled, more convinced than ever that something had to be done about Fiona. After all, even Glynnis could see that now.
They say, ‘time heals all wounds’. Glynnis Hamilton had never truly believed it. In her experience time merely allowed more opportunity for wounds to fester. She had seen it with her parents, and she had seen the slow deterioration of her beloved circle of friends. However, after the triple caning, Glynnis observed an odd closeness grow between Fiona and Glenda. Glenda, who had seemed so determined to bring about Fiona’s downfall, somehow miraculously let her bitterness fade in favor of friendship. Within the last week, as the weather grew colder, the familiarity between the two warmed in contrast.
For her part, Glynnis still felt resentment towards Fiona. When the prefect eventually returned to room with them once again, Glynnis barely spoke to her. Even gentle Jane behaved very coolly and kept a noticeable distance from Fiona. Jane reminded Glynnis of a docile puppy who, once beaten, remains evermore wary. Given both of their attitudes towards their former friend, it made sense that Fiona would eagerly accept whatever attention she could still get, even if it came from as unlikely a source as Glenda.
But Glenda's sudden shift from schemer to buddy made Glynnis suspicious. Even her ‘friendliness’ seemed fake. It was as if she was deliberately feigning friendship in order to lure Fiona into some sort of trap. But despite her concerns, Glynnis said nothing to Fiona. The girl was already being shunned. How would she react to Glynnis telling her that her only seeming friend was not to be trusted? Besides, perhaps Glenda was merely adhering to the old adage, ‘keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.’
One gray morning, Glynnis and Jane woke to the sound of some uproar in the courtyard. Looking at the other bunks, the pair saw that neither Glenda nor Fiona were in their beds. Dressing quickly, the two darted outside to see what was going on. As Glynnis ran she saw foggy puffs of breath obscuring somber faces as most of the school stood out in the cold murmuring amongst themselves. It was impossible to see past the crowd, but somehow Glynnis knew that whatever the cause was for this commotion, it could not be good.
Pushing past the younger girls, they approached a tight circle of teachers who were covering their mouths and doing their best to prevent anyone from coming closer. Mrs. Beckridge stood in the center, and alongside her was another teacher, the school’s custodian, and Glenda. Glenda’s face was tear-stained and white as she nervously gesticulated to the headmistress. Between the standing bodies Jane and Glynnis could see a pair of pale legs twisting out impossibly from underneath a large wool overcoat. After years of friendship the girls recognized the mangled limbs as Fiona’s. Jane screamed and began to hyperventilate between choking sobs. The guttural sound drew Glenda’s attention and Glynnis stared into her malevolent eyes as she looked over. The horrified girl saw a look of satisfaction and triumph masked with deceptively sorrowful tears. In that moment Glynnis knew what had happened far more accurately than the story that eventually came out.
Once the proper authorities had attended to the gruesome issue, Mrs. Beckridge announced the official account at a special assembly. In an effort to photograph an aerial view of the school grounds blanketed in a dusting of snow for the holiday edition of the school newspaper, Fiona Roberts and her friend Glenda Caldwell had ascended to the outer parapet of the school’s old bell tower. Though the tower was no longer in use, as prefect, Miss Roberts had a key to gain access to the stairway. According to her companion, Miss Roberts succeeded in getting a few good shots, as evidenced by the developed film in her camera. But looking to get an even better perspective, the eager girl leaned over the rail and due to some ice coating the platform, slipped and fell over the side.
No one ever asked Glynnis what she thought about that explanation. Without proof, beyond her suspicion and the look on her roommate’s face, she dared not come forward with any accusations. How could she accuse Glenda of murdering Fiona when she herself had practically suggested it?
Not long after the tragedy, Jane Winstone’s parents withdrew their daughter from Harderwood in order for her to receive special treatment from a psychologist who specialized in cases of nerves induced by trauma. Glynnis formally requested transfer to another dorm room, and due to the circumstances, the request was immediately granted. In fact, the room formerly occupied by Fiona Roberts was left vacant for some time and eventually used for storage. Glenda and Glynnis never spoke, but on the rare times they passed each other, they each knew what the other was thinking.
Glynnis Hamilton found herself seated in front of a grim Mrs. Beckridge about a week later. The headmistress now formally offered her the position of prefect.
“I accept on one condition, Ma’am,” Glynnis declared.
The surprised headmistress frowned and replied, “I am not accustomed to granting conditions, Miss Hamilton, especially to someone about whom I already have reservations.”
“Given your reputation, Ma’am, I don’t think you’ll object to my request. I will be your new prefect, but before I take up that role, I respectfully ask that you yourself take me to Room 387 for the maximum dose of the cane.”
The shocked woman removed her glasses and asked, “whatever for, my girl?”
“For the death of Fiona Roberts, Ma’am.”
“That was not your fault. You weren’t even with her when it happened. It was an accident, but I can understand your grief. She was your friend and you miss her, but you are not responsible for her death. In fact, to my knowledge, Miss Roberts had no closer friend at Harderwood than you.”
Glynnis looked away briefly, and blinked away a few sudden tears, then looked back at the headmistress. “That’s my condition, Ma’am. Consider it an unusual form of grief therapy. Either way, I will not accept the prefect position unless that condition is met.”
“Very well, my dear,” Mrs. Beckridge sighed. “Beside the obvious discomforts associated with a good caning, I've never known one to do a girl any real harm. Quite the opposite, it builds character. So you shall have your thrashing, though I daresay you may well regret having asked for it. And since we have already been a week without a prefect for that house, I see no reason to wait. Unless you care to make further demands upon me, I suggest you follow me to Room 387 right now. You can have your caning, and then I can have my new prefect.”
Despite her sympathy towards the grieving girl, Mrs. Beckridge delivered the punishment exactly as if Glynnis had committed an offence deserving of the fate. The maximum punishment at Harderwood consisted of two dozen strokes. Given the Headmistress’ extensive experience, each was delivered masterfully but due to the quantity it was impossible to land each cut on fresh cheek. The girl’s bum was simply not that large. Instead, the second dozen landed atop the welts from the first, inevitably deeply bruising and even abrading the skin in several places. Glynnis' naked body glistened with sweat from the effort it took to endure all twenty-four strokes, and despite her wish to remain stoic, Glynnis couldn’t help but scream out before the punishment concluded. Once the ordeal was over, the Headmistress gently dabbed away some of the slight oozing from the worst spots before unfastening the restraints. Glynnis then thanked the woman, redressed, and slowly made her way back to her new room.
As she walked, she thought of the kind of prefect she wished to be. She thought of Fiona and shivered recalling her tangled body barely concealed under a tossed coat. Given what some people were capable of, her new position was not without risk. If not careful, being the kind of prefect she aspired to be could get her killed.