It’s not fair. That’s all I can think of. It’s bad enough that I was sent to this so-called “school”, now they expect me to wear a uniform and do homework like I’m still a fucking teenager… Pfft, even in my mind swearing makes me tense, like one of the so-called teachers in this place could hear me. They call it the “Hardwood Academy for Troubled Girls”. The Shitwood Shittydemy for Unfairly Treated Girls, more like.
I sigh. The bench is uncomfortable. I can’t believe I’m sitting by the Headmistress’ office, at 22 years of age, like some kind of schoolgirl. I tug on my ugly, scratchy skirt. I sigh again. Bloody uniform. I guess I am a schoolgirl at the minute… Still, it’s better than juvie, I guess. Barely… A reform school, the last chance at redemption, queue the strings and emotional music…
It’s not a fun place. It’s work, work, work, and you get in trouble for the slightest thing. They had me write “I must not smoke” a hundred times. By hand as well, like, have they never heard of copy and paste? Jokes aside, it’s pretty miserable. At least most of the other girls are all right. There’s even one teacher who’s got a nice ass, Mr Scott. He’s well boring, mind you, but he’s something to look at while the minutes go by. Slowly.
Still, it’s not fair. One, I shouldn’t even be there. Yes, I messed up, blah blah blah, driving without a license, blah-dee-blah, under the influence, yada-yada… Like they’ve never been young or something? There wasn’t even anyone in the car I hit. So yeah, I shouldn’t be here. In this… School, Academy, whatever.
But more importantly, I shouldn’t be here, waiting by the door to be called-in and scolded by that old bat, the Headmistress. Madame Dubois, they call her. She’s French or something. Don’t know, don’t care. She’s old, and she thinks she’s better than you, that’s what I know. She wears tight skirts and blouses, and peers at you from behind her frames, like an old owl. I haven’t had the pleasure of being called to her office yet, besides the introduction on the first day. They had my parents in as well; that was really uncalled for. I swear they were relieved to be rid of me for a few months. Rude. I haven’t had a party at home for months, I don’t know what they’re complaining about. Plus, if they want me to move out, in this economy, they can pay my rent. Boomers.
Anyway, I keep getting distracted. I didn’t do it. I didn’t bring the smokes in, I didn’t steal Nicole’s money or whatever, and I didn’t flood the toilets on the second floor. I’ve been here a week and I swear they’re just trying to pin stuff on me like it’s beasting season on Rachel’s bloody back. Oh yeah, I’m Rachel, by the way. Nice to meet you and all that, but please leave me alone, yeah? I’m not in the mood. I don’t know why I’m even here and it’s not f—
“Rachel?” comes the voice from inside. Sounds French. I don’t like it. I get up, nonetheless. Deep down, I know that if I behave, I’ll be out of here faster, so I might as well try, for now, and see what she wants.
I shuffle in, uncomfortable and stand in front of Madame Dubois’s desk. I don’t know what to do with my hands. I don’t think she’ll like me crossing my arms. Do I put them behind my back? I miss jeans and pockets. In the end, I just let my arms hang loosely and try not to think about it. I feel pathetic. She hasn’t said anything, and she’s already made me mad. This is going to be fun…
“Rachel, how long have you been with us?” she asks. I know that she knows, I wish she would get to the bloody point.
“A week,” I reply.
“A week ma’am,” she corrects me. Does she think she’s the Queen or something? R.I.P., by the way.
“A week, ma’am,” I repeat back like a frigging parrot.
“Better” she says with a smile that cracks her old wrinkly face. She’s like, ancient. Older than my mum, which isn’t saying much, really, she had me young. That’s probably why I’m so troubled, the bloody counsellor told me. Can you believe it? Bang out of order, that.
I say nothing. If she’s got something to say, she can just say it, I’m not here for a little tea party and a chinwag.
“A week,” she says again like I’m deaf or something. “And already your teachers have been reporting to me that your behaviour is causing trouble.”
“Who said that?” I ask, genuinely curious.
“Does it matter?” she answers. I shrug.
“I haven’t done anything,” I say, and it’s true, I haven’t. Not really.
“Let’s see…” she says, opening a notebook. Not a computer file, no-no, a green notebook with a handwritten sticker on it. I swear these people hate technology. Everything is musty and old. Old classroom with tables and benches, blackboards and chalk, the whole shebang. I think I visited a school museum as a kid that had more modern equipment than that. Oh, and no phones allowed, of course. I guess they’re afraid that we’ll call for help to escape this hellhole.
She flips a few pages of dense handwriting. It looks alright, I guess. I do like calligraphy, it’s about the only fun thing they have us do. That and the showers after P.E., but I don’t think we’re supposed to do that the way that we do. Finally, she finds the page. It has my name at the top. There’s a lot of lines filled in. I feel a knot in my stomach. It can’t be all bad stuff, right.
“Well,” she says with a very dry smile, “it seems that every teacher had something to report, miss Bennet.”
Rachel Bennett, that’s me. My friends call me Rach. Don’t call me Rach, we’re not friends. I shrug again.
“Just getting used to the rules, I guess…” I say, “Ma’am,” I add.
She nods. Her finger goes down the list of things that I’ve supposedly done. She tuts and shakes her head slightly. I blush in spite of myself. She seems genuinely disappointed, and for some reason, I seem to care. Bloody nonsense. I shuffle on my feet.
“Have the other girls told you about how we deal with behaviour here, miss Bennett?” she asks, her gaze fixing me. Kind of intense, the old lady. I swallow.
“I’ve… heard… things…” I say, unsure. It’s true, I have heard things, but it’s mostly been stuff that’s been made up to wind me up. Like, I know they’re old school, but they’re not that backwards.
“What sort of things?” she asks, crossing her arms.
“I… Some of the girls say that you still do, like, corporal punishment and stuff…” I say, “I can give you their names, if you want, like, they’re spreading rumours…”
“Rumours are unfounded pieces of information, my dear,” Madame Dubois says, “And this is anything but. Corporal punishment is a fundamental part of our process here at Hardwood Academy. It’s written there, in your agreement, the one that you signed.”
I scratch my hand uncomfortably. Yeah, I did sign that thing, it was better than jail, but did I read it? Did I read it bollocks. Still, I would have remembered something about getting my ass spanked in there. Right, there was this girl the other night, Helena, who was crying, and Nicole told me that it was because she had been spanked, yeah? But I didn’t believe her, of course, because that’s ridiculous. I did notice she didn’t shower with us the next day, but that must have been unrelated, right?…
“Anything to say, Rachel?” the old bat asks.
“No ma’am,” I say, “I’ve done nothing, like I told you.”
“Rude comments to Mr O’Leary, drawing a penis in your book in Mrs Schwartz’s class, hiding your classmate’s underwear in P.E., caught smoking by Mr Lewis,” she enumerates, “Need I go on?”
All right, there were a few things. The schlong was funny, though, it had veins and everything. Haley found it hilarious, that why Mrs Schwartz saw it. I try not to smile at the memory. I fail.
“Oh, you think this is funny, do you, young lady?” she says, the tip of her fingers on her desk.
“N-no…” I say. She might be ancient, but there’s something scary about her, I don’t know what it is. She glares, and a shiver runs up my spine. “I’m sorry, ma’am…” I say a sincerely as I can, which is not much. I shouldn’t be here, and if I wasn’t, then I wouldn’t be drawing dicks and hiding Molly’s fugly knickers. She’s got a fat ass anyway, Molly. I don’t like Molly.
“Well,” Madame Dubois says, “I think that once you understand exactly how things are done here, your behaviour is bound to improve dramatically.”
The knot in my stomach tightens as she drags a chair from behind her desk.
“Please, ma’am…” I say, “Just… like, give me a chance. I’ll earn it back, okay? There’s really no need for…” I can’t even say it. I’m not getting spanked. I’m 22, not 12, and even then, my mum never did. I wonder what the counsellor would think of that. Wanker.
“Harwood Academy is your chance, Rachel,” she says, and sits down. She can dream on; I’m not going to go over her lap. I’m not.
“You, like all the girls here, have got an opportunity to seize,” she continues, “and it is my duty, as is the duty of every other teacher here, to make sure that you do. We all want you to succeed, Rachel, and if that means punishing you when you go astray then, well, we’ll do it.”
She’s got a point, it’s pretty much my last chance before things get bad bad. Still. No way.
“I-I don’t think there’s any need for… This…” I say, still unable to say it.
“A spanking,” she says, looking at me past her glasses. It sounds weird in her accent. “You are going to come over my knees and get spanked over your skirt. Then, I’ll lift that skirt, and your knickers will go down. A bare-bottom spanking, young lady. That’s what’s going to happen.”
She doesn’t smile, but I swear that there is a glint in her eyes. She’s loving this, isn’t she? Perverted old lady…
“And if I refuse?” I say. I wish I could sound more confident.
“Then all that you’ll achieve is making the punishment harder, my dear.” Now she’s smiling. “I haven’t used the cane in a long time, but rest assured it is ready.”
I shake my head “N-no, not the cane…” I stutter. I’m embarrassing myself.
“Then over my lap, young lady,” she says sternly.
“No…” I say, unable to argue further.
“One condition of your remaining here in our care is that you abide by the rules that you signed. If not, I’m afraid there is only one way out… And even if you think this place is not to your taste, let me tell you that His Majesty’s Prisons are a lot less… Refined.”
That’s low. Straight to the prison threats. It’s also pretty effective. I take a step towards her. She says nothing, like she knows what’s going through my head at the moment. Okay. I messed up. It’s been a week and I didn’t really try to keep a low-profile. Maybe she cares. Maybe. She’s not even mad. She’s not yelling. It’s bloody awful. At least with my dad, I knew where I stood. When the door slams, you know, you know? But she’s just calm, she’s just telling me that’s she’s going to spank my naked arse like it’s nothing…
I take another step. I disgust myself. I should run away from this bloody office, and that smug French woman. But I don’t. I take one more step. She’s still saying nothing. I suddenly notice she has a ruler in one hand. Bloody brilliant… I stand two steps away from her.
“I’m sorry,” I say. She nods.
“Do you want to tell me why?” she asks. I chew on my lip.
“For not trying very hard…” I finally say. I leave it at that. There’s no need to go through the whole list, is there? She doesn’t care about the list. Well, she might care, I don’t know, but I don’t. I don’t think it’s what I did that’s getting me the… spanking. It’s that I’m not making any progress, or any change at all. Shit. I feel… bad about it.
“Do you want to try harder?” she asks, and her voice seems surprisingly soft. I feel tears coming to my eyes. I nod and sniffle. I shuffle two steps forward and lower myself over her knees. That seems to answer her question.
Her hand pats my skirt a few times as a adjust my position over her lap, then she holds my hip firmly and slams her palm into my ass. I let out a cry of surprise and tears start running down my face. It’s not the pain, though the following quick succession of slaps make my bum warm-up in no time. No, it’s not the pain but the sudden realisation that makes me cry. It’s that for the first time, I realise that I’m really in trouble; I fucked up badly and it’s taken me this long to realise it. Not when the police got drunk old me out of the car. Not when I saw the judge, not even when my dad started yelling at my mum because of me. I shrugged it all off back then. But look at me now? How low do you have to get to find yourself over an old woman’s knees, getting your bottom battered? She keeps spanking me, and the tears keep coming.
I fucked up. Badly.
Soon, my skirt comes up, and I don’t even think about the embarrassment of it. I don’t think I have any more shame left to wallow in. Her hand feels cold against my warmed-up cheeks, even with my pants still on. I know it won’t last, and that she’s not even nearly done with me. The pain is brutal, radiating from my bottom upwards. My eyes hurt as well, my whole face is burning in wet embarrassment. This whole time, she hasn’t said anything. Does she know what I’m thinking?
I suddenly realise that the slaps have stopped echoing around the wood-panelled office. I sniffle and turn my head round to look up at Madame Dubois.
“Are we learning something, miss Bennett?” she asks.
I noddle and try to wipe my nose. I feel like a year 7. “Yes ma’am…” I say between the tears.
“You know what’s going to happen now, don’t you?”
I nod again and clench my buttocks in anticipation.
“Y-you’re going to… take my pants down…” I say. I can’t believe it. Rachel, how have you let it go this far?
“I am,” she confirms, “And I will spank you with the ruler.”
“Oh ma’am… Please…” That’s all the protest I can muster. My ass is already on fire, and that was just a warm-up to her.
“A bare-bottomed spanking, young lady, that’s how it’s done. And that’s how it will be done any time that you need to be reminded to keep your behaviour to the straight and narrow.”
“Please…” I try again, knowing full well that it won’t change a thing. She doesn’t even reply, and I feel her fingers grabbing the elastic band of my knickers and pulling them down to my thighs. The tears roll down my cheeks once more. She takes the ruler that was resting over the small of my back in her hand.
The pain is like nothing I’ve felt before. It’s like fire raining down on my bottom every time the wooden ruler smacks it, and it does so hard and quickly. Right, left, right, left, Madame Dubois is relentless and systematic. Soon, there isn’t an inch of my round cheeks that isn’t marked and painful. She continues. I’ve long since abandoned any pretence of dignity, and I’m bawling like a baby, promising to whomever is listening that I’ll be good, that I’ll try hard.
And I do mean it. For one, I never want to be over her lap again, it hurts so much I know I won’t be able to sit for the next ten years. I know why Helena didn’t come to shower that night; these marks are going to be there a while. And it burns. I never want to feel so much pain again. I bet that childbirth is nothing compared to this. I cry all the tears I have left.
But I do mean it because I want to try. I owe it to myself. It’s my last chance to make a choice for myself. I need to— fuuuuuuck, she hits my thighs with that damn ruler, and I bellow in pain. I hate her. So much. But I stay over her lap and take it. She does it again, and again. I take the pain. I’ll do better.
No matter what, I’m never getting spanked again. I swear. Never.
At least not for a month.
A girl’s gotta start somewhere.