Tuesday, May 23, 2017

From the Top Shelf - A Master of Discipline, part 18

Last week, Ruth pondered the after effects of her severe punishment and wondered if she would ever escape the clutches of the evil Robin. She has convinced Robin's girlfriend Nicky to call Stephen, but will help arrive before she undergoes yet another humiliating chastisement?

Half-walking, half-dragged, Ruth followed Kim out of the room, thankful that there was no one else to see her nakedness as she was ushered along the landing and down the stairs. Arriving at the hall, Kim opened the door with one hand, keeping a tight hold on Ruth with the other. Entering the room, she was surprised and frightened to find that only Kim's brother, Luc, was present. The idea of being left to the mercies of these two implacable stewards was beyond Ruth's wildest nightmares. Surely, she thought, Robin can't have tired of the idea of revenge so soon? He can't have left and maybe taken Nicky with him, before she had chance to get help? She recognised the bitter irony; she now regarded the prospect of a further thrashing from Robin as being, in a strange twist, a safeguard against even worse treatment from the Karabengses.

Luc was smiling evilly as his brother half-dragged Ruth towards the antique pillory which she had spotted on her first visit to the priory. He had already lifted the top plank out of its slot, and Ruth tried to hold back as she realised that they intended that she be locked into this ancient device. She might as well have tried to resist the tide coming in. Kim dragged her towards the old timber frame and Luc grabbed her free hand. Together, the two men forced her into the slightly stooped position which the height of the pillory required her to adopt. Kim held one of her wrists in position and grabbed her by the scruff of the neck, forcing her head down, while Luc slammed her other wrist into the corresponding hole in the cross beam. With a thud, the heavy timber of the yoke slammed into position, and the two pins which held it were swiftly inserted. Ruth felt a terrific wave of claustrophobia wash over her. The slots in the yoke of the pillory were lined with a soft leather band so that the coarse-grained wood did not actually chafe her skin, but the feeling of utter helplessness was totally overwhelming.

She felt strong hands grasping her legs and almost choked as she stumbled, forcing her body weight to come on to her neck, held firmly in the yoke of the pillory. Taking a leg each, Kim and Luc yanked her ankles forward, simultaneously spreading her legs wide. She immediately felt stout leather straps being buckled to her ankles to retain them in place. With her head restrained about six inches lower than was natural, Ruth's back was arched, her bottom thrust out in a most vulnerable and uncomfortable position.

"Ah, I see my brothers have been taking care of you." Madam Karabengse's voice came from somewhere to Ruth's right, and she craned her head to try and see where the woman was standing.

"Why am I being held like this? What are you going to do to me?" If Ruth's voice betrayed alarm, it was still understating her true feelings. Never, in her entire life, had she experienced the mixture of emotions which were running through her at this moment. She was utterly vulnerable, and the awareness that she was literally wide open to both physical and sexual assault both horrified and tantalised her.

* * *

Stephen had been thinking about bed when the telephone rang. It was very late - almost midnight, in fact - but, living alone with no one else to consider, that did not bother him. What was bothering him, the reason why he had sat up for so long, were the recurring images of the events at Damocles Priory. He might have been less troubled had he realised that he was not the only one to be affected by the Reverend Mould's unconventional course. However, he had not been as fortunate as Ruth in having a stable home relationship and enough job satisfaction at work to distract him, and so had steadily become more and more introverted and self-doubting since leaving the priory.

Superintendent Mathews had thought that he was encouraging Stephen by making lewd remarks about the sights that he must have witnessed at Damocles.

"I do hope that, now you've thrashed a few bare arses yourself, you won't be so soft with some of the young thugs we have to deal with." He dug Stephen in the ribs. "Were there any nice young fillies there? To tell you the truth, young Langton, I think perhaps I might have been a bit quick in my judgment the other week. That young niece of mine, Sally, has been getting a bit big for her boots just lately. I know you two have been eyeing each other up over the last few months. No it's no use denying it." He dug Stephen in the ribs again, his air of false 'we're all boys together' making Stephen's stomach churn. "All I was going to say was, well, if one night you cared to find a quiet spot while you're out in the patrol car, and you wanted to practise what you were taught at Damocles by putting that young lady across your knee, I for one wouldn't blame you. I don't reckon you'd get too many objections from her either, provided you went about it the right way and made it up to her afterwards, if you know what I mean." The stage wink which he gave Stephen was so contrived that Stephen had to look away to conceal his disgust.

"I'll think about that, sir, I really will." It was no less than the truth; he would think about it, but he could hardly reveal his real thoughts to the older man. Although he couldn't really make up his mind, the fact of the matter was that Stephen had found that being caned by Ruth was every bit as much of a turn-on as his use of the birch on her gloriously spread bottom-cheeks. He had not realised what was happening, at first, but the longer he thought about it, the easier it was for him to reconcile his feelings .

All this, and more, had been churning through his brain, over and over again, when the jangle of the telephone startled him and he jerked back to reality.

"Langton," he mumbled into the handset.

"Is that...Mr. Langton?" It was a girl's voice, unfamiliar. She sounded young and agitated.

"Yes, Stephen Langton speaking."

"Mr. Langton, you don't know me, but my name is Nicky. I'm phoning about my teacher, Miss Jamieson."

"Ruth? Ruth Jamieson?" Steohen suddenly snapped into alert mode, his heart rate rising.

"Yes, yes Miss Jamieson. She's in trouble, terrible trouble, and she needs help."

"What kind of trouble? Look, just who are you and how did you get this number?" Like most policemen, Stephen was careful about who he gave out his private, ex-directory number to.

"There isn't time for a long explanation. Miss Jamieson said you would help her. She said to tell you to come to Damocles Priory, that you'd understand."

Understanding was certainly not on Stephen's agenda at that point, but the mention of Damocles Priory certainly got his attention and gave the call some credibility.

"Please say you'll come. Please." The voice at the other end of the line sounded really desperate.

"All right, but you'll have to give me some more information."

"There isn't time, there just isn't time. They might find me here at any minute and then I'm in deep trouble too. Look, if somebody doesn't help her soon it'll be too late and she'll finish up in a brothel in Thailand. I must go now, but don't be too long. Please come quickly." There was a click, followed by the dial tone.

Stephen replaced the handset. He knew that something was wrong, very wrong, but what was he to do about it? Damocles Hall was well outside his area of jurisdiction and, although the mention of Thailand and a brothel in the same context was totally convincing to him, he knew that he could never convince Superintendent Mathews, who had never seen the sinister Thais who staffed Damocles Priory. The best he could hope for was that his chief would agree to a request to the local force to send an officer along to make a routine enquiry and, from what the girl on the phone had said, that might be far too late. The only thing to do is to get down there myself, he thought, but I'd better arrange some back-up just in case.

Quickly, he thumbed through a note-pad which he kept by the phone. When he had first returned from Damocles, he had entertained some crazy idea about making contact with Ruth again, and had gone to the lengths of finding out both her telephone number and that of Tony Chalmers. He had no idea what he was thinking of achieving, and had soon realised it was a hopeless quest, but the numbers were still there.

Feverishly, he dialled Ruth's number first, just in case it was a practical joke. If Ruth answered, then he could just put the phone down, without speaking, and then he'd have to get his own number changed again, to prevent any more nuisance calls. The phone rang, three times. Then his heart gave a leap as, unmistakably, Ruth's voice answered.

"Hello. This is Ruth. I'm not available right now so please leave a message after the tone."

Stephen took a deep breath. Silly of me. Never gave a thought to an answering machine. He replaced the receiver without speaking, then dialled Tony Chalmers's number. This time he was more prepared and, when the voice on the other end identified itself as a recording, he was able to leave a sensible if enigmatic message saying that if Tony was unaware of Ruth's whereabouts he should get himself and a squad down to Damocles Priory as soon as possible. Acting on a whim, he did not identify himself.

It took only a few minutes for Stephen to get kitted up in his motorcycle gear but, just as he was about to lock the door, he decided to make one last check and rang Ruth's number again. This time, he did leave a message on the tape.

The journey to Damocles was easy; the powerful bike ate up the miles, unimpeded by any traffic, and, by two thirty in the morning, Stephen was in place, crawling through the undergrowth at the edge of the priory grounds. He had carefully hidden his motor cycle, covered in bracken, in a gully just off the road near the main gate.

Now that he was in the priory grounds, Stephen began to wonder just what he was going to do next. He couldn't just march up to the front door, in the middle of the night, with no legal authority, and say "Have you got Miss Ruth Jamieson here?" The only option open to him was to wait and see if there were any suspicious signs when it got light and then, if necessary, try to get some evidence that would convince the authorities to take action. Creeping up to the edge of the tree line, he saw the main building, perhaps fifty yards away across the lawn. Everything was in darkness and he was thankful that his motor cycle kit, designed to keep out the gales of a 150mph slipstream, was well lined and warm. He made himself as comfortable as he could and settled down to wait. It was going to be a long night.

In reality, he had to wait for only about three hours before the grey dawn light began to put some detail into the dark shadows he had been watching. Anyone who thinks a town is noisy at night should do this at least once in their lives, Stephen thought to himself. The cacophony of sounds which had kept him awake and alert for the last few hours had been alien to his townsman's ears; from the hooting of the owl in the trees behind him to the coughing which had made him think he was not the only one watching the house. He had almost laughed out loud with relief when the fox had padded silently across the lawn, paused to look directly at his hiding place, then barked again, the sound exactly like an asthmatic smoker. Stiffly, he eased himself into a better position, and began to wish he had brought some food and drink with him instead of setting out in such a hurry on this scatterbrained scheme.

During the course of the morning he made a cautious exploration of the woods which separated the grounds of the priory from the surrounding fields. By a stroke of luck, at the back edge of the woods to the rear of the house there was a galvanised trough, no doubt for the benefit of the cattle which he could see gathered on the far side of the adjoining field. The trough was fed from a stand-pipe and, although the water which emerged as he turned the tap had been pretty rust-coloured at first, it had cleared after a few seconds, allowing Stephen to slake his thirst, albeit with some concerns about what it might do to his gut later.

Throughout the morning and early afternoon, Stephen manoeuvred himself around the building, trying to obtain a better vantage point. Whichever way he looked at the building, it seemed boringly normal. At about nine in the morning, a young man had emerged from the front door, walked to the side of the building, and a few moments later re-emerged driving a flashy-looking Japanese sports car, which he had driven off, rather fast and noisily, down the lane. At about three in the afternoon, the same car had returned. The young man had abandoned it on the drive at the front of the building and gone inside. Apart from that, Stephen had seen the housekeeper and at least one of her thuggish brothers, whom Stephen had difficulty telling apart. But they had simply been performing routine domestic chores, appearing from time to time at one or another of the windows, and once, emerging briefly from a side door to put some rubbish in the bin outside. Everything was totally, crushingly, normal.

A movement in one of the upper windows caught his eye. He could see a pale shape behind the glass, and cursed that he had not brought any binoculars with him. The rays of the sun, lowering in the sky as the door wore on, glinted on the window, blotting out the shape momentarily, then, as a cloud drifted across the sky, for a brief two or three seconds the sun was obscured and the glass became fully transparent. It was Ruth! Stephen stiffened with excitement. It was not a hoax after all! She was standing facing directly out of the window and, as far as he could tell at that distance, was unharmed. But she was plainly, deliciously, tantalisingly naked. For a moment he forgot why he was there, and entertained a rapid mental slide show of suggestive images. Then the cloud drifted on and Ruth disappeared behind the sun's reflection as swiftly as she had been revealed.

With a new sense of purpose, Stephen withdrew into the deeper cover of the trees. It wouldn't do to be caught now, just when things were starting to happen. Returning to the spot where he had hidden his bike, he rummaged in the pannier, fetching out the small tool kit which he always carried. The biggest screwdriver in the kit was still a flimsy thing, but might be better than nothing if it came to breaking in. Swiftly, he cleared away the covering of bracken he had used to hide the bike and heaved the machine upright. He looked around, checking that there was no one within earshot. Then he inserted the key and started the engine. Thankfully, it fired first time, and the big motor immediately settled into a smooth, purring tick-over. If he and Ruth were going to make a rapid getaway, he needed to be sure he could rely on the machinery not to let them down. The thought of Ruth, naked as a baby, clinging to her gallant rescuer as they tore down the lane both excited him and made him smile.

His rising ego and the noise of the bike engine combined to confound his romantic dream. He never heard a sound as Luc crept behind him, his broad hands extended in classic karate pose. Bike and rider tumbled into an untidy heap in the bottom of the gully as the heel of Luc's calloused hand hit Stephen just behind the right ear.

* * *

Ruth stood, squirming in anticipation, futilely testing the strength of her bonds. After waiting for several agonising minutes, she heard a commotion outside the door, which suddenly burst open. Nicky was roughly pushed in, followed by Robin Henderson and Madam Karabengse. Robin angrily pushed his erstwhile partner across the room and Madam Karabengse was quick to follow, grabbing the girl's arms and holding them tightly behind her back. As this trio cleared the door, another figure appeared. Luc had evidently been out in the grounds because his shoes were muddied and there were green stains at the knees of his trousers, as if he had slipped or fallen on wet grass.

However this did not hold Ruth's attention for more than a movement. Her horror-struck gaze was riveted to the burden which Luc carried like a sack, slung over his shoulder. As he leaned forward to deposit his load on the floor, she saw, to her utter dismay, that it was the unconscious body of Stephen Langton.

Ruth knew beyond doubt that now she was in very deep trouble indeed.

Yikes! Now what?
From Hermione's Heart

Monday, May 22, 2017

Recap: Spanko Brunch for May 21

How do you feel about birching?

Sir Wendel: No desire to try it.

Amy: I had to look up what birching was. Google, an amazing thing. Intrigued is where I ended up and if Eric was game, I'd try it. In particular, my interest was piqued when I read a story about a Victorian girl who had to prepare her own birching implement. I've always wondered how much the anticipation of a spanking would be increased by having to go out and find, get or make whatever would be used to dish out a punishment.

Roz: Nope, never been birched and don't desire to be! Birching isn't my favourite to read either.

Simon: I have been birched several times and have been lucky enough to have birched a delightful lady once. The sensation is very different to a cane as the separate switches spread out in flight and cover quite a lot of the the target, also unless you are very careful the twigs will wrap round striking the thigh and hip. The pain initially does not seem that bad but it builds in intensity very quickly and I would suggest that a full size birch is only for very experienced receivers of punishment. However a small birch composed of light thin twigs under a foot long is ideal for punishing parts of the body even more sensitive than the buttocks. Another problem with birches is that bits break off during the punishment so after my birching I can often be found with a bare backside vacuuming the carpet—a sight guaranteed to cause hilarity in any watchers.

Leigh: Never been birched. To me, it's always seemed pretty harsh, although, like everything else it depends on those doing the birching, I guess.

Domhnall: I was birched once. The wrap around is hard to avoid and can be very painful. Bee stings come to mind.

Anon: I would probably regret it, but would try it if I had with the right playmate.

Samuel: I was birched five times by my grandfather. One time my own father watched as his dad
made me feel the full extent of his wrath. The was the hardest thing to have my dad witness my shame. I should add that the last time I was a boy of 16 and was made to go out and gather the branches that Gramps used on me.

Ronnie: I have been birched and have no desire to try it again. Wrap round happens. I agree with Domhnall the Second, does feel like bee stings.

Hermione: I have read quite a few birching scenes in the Victorian magazine, The Pearl. As Amy mentioned, the preparation of the birch is often part of the punishment and adds to the anticipation. However, descriptions of birchings were all too often over the top; rather bloody, in fact, and blood is one of my hard limits. I can think of other forms of punishment that appeal to me more, and am in no hurry to try it.

Thank you all for expressing your feelings on this subject. See you next week!
From Hermione's Heart

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spanko Brunch 2.0 #177

Welcome, dear friends, to our weekly spanko brunch. Here in Canada we are enjoying a long weekend in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday on May 24. It's the traditional weekend for us Northerners to plant our gardens without fear of frost, and the garden centres are hives of activity. To celebrate, I offer you a slice of Victoria sponge.

Speaking of the Victorians, we are currently watching a television series in which a London Victorian slum has been recreated, and several families have volunteered to live in it. Each week they experience life as it was in a Victorian slum, starting in 1860 and moving ahead 10 years each week. They wear the clothing, eat the food, and do the jobs of that time period, and it all seems very realistic—and terribly miserable. Can't pay the rent? Then it's the doss house for you. Out you go!

Naturally I am wondering if there will ever be a reenactment of the corporal punishments typical in the Victorian era. Birching comes to mind, and I suspect my hope is in vain.

What are your thoughts on birching? Have you ever wanted to experience it? Have you ever actually tried it? How did that go? When you read fiction that includes a description of birching, does it interest you, or is it something you would rather not read about? Have you seen a video of a birching?

Leave your response as a comment and I will publish your thoughts once everyone has had a chance to speak.
From Hermione's Heart

Saturday, May 20, 2017

You Completed the Caption

Simon: Ella thought it was very cruel of Henri to make her do cornertime whilst he was off enjoying himself at the Moulin Rouge.

kdpierre: "What an odd little man," Giselle thought. "Usually when a guy pays me to take off my clothes I end up doing more than just gazing at my reflection! Ah, but the absinthe is tasty, so c'est la vie!"

Hands63: Recently discovered! Leonardo da Vinci's kinky period work. "Moaning Lisa".

This is a most unusual police station. I'm guessing there are detectives on the other side of this two way mirror watching and getting excited. 

Enzo: Proof that Corner time is not a new idea, but a traditional post-spanking punishment.

arched one: As she looked in the mirror she wondered when her spanking would start.

Red: Husband said he didn't want my feet to be cold so I should keep my socks on, and he would make certain that my bottom was very hot shortly, and redder than my hair.

Sir Wendel: She stood waiting for someone to paint a spanking on her bottom.

Ronnie: He said to take my dress and undergarments off - does that mean socks as well?

Liza: Kim Kardashian contemplating whether she should dye her hair black.

Dr. Ken: "Hmmm--I think my bottom needs a touch of color, too..."

Hermione: Sammy Monet loved to paint nudes but he never quite got the hang of how to paint faces.
From Hermione's Heart

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday FAIL

It's time for another journey into the wonderful world of grammar. Let's see where the yellow brick road takes us.

Well played, Sir!

I'll bet his major wasn't English!

These two were not meant to be friends.

None whatsoever.

It's hard to read, but the writing on the car window says, "For seal".

From Hermione's Heart

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Complete the Caption

What's the story behind this portrait? I have an idea, but I want to hear your explanations first.

Complete the caption by leaving a comment and I will publish your contributions on Saturday.
From Hermione's Heart

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

From the Top Shelf - A Master of Discipline, part 17

The future was looking mighty bleak for Ruth last week, but our heroine is quite a resourceful individual and is not giving in to the whims of ruthless Robin.

Ruth lay on the bed, waiting for something to happen. She tried to work out how much time had passed since her abduction. It was difficult to know because she had been unconscious for some of the time, but she thought that it must be almost forty-eight hours. After Kim had dumped her on the bed and locked her in, she had cried herself into a fitful sleep, which she guessed must have lasted an hour or so. When she awoke her first reaction had been to have a shower.

What hurt more than the bruises, she realised, was the insight into her own psyche: the knowledge that, as she was being caned, one corner of her mind was actually relishing what was happening to her, even as the conventional side of her was recoiling in horror. She hated herself for it but, as each stinging stroke of Robin Henderson's merciless punishment had sent fresh shock waves shuddering through her lower body, she had felt herself reacting, craving more and more punishment. And, although she had not anticipated it, she was disgusted to realise how she had reacted to what followed...

While she dried herself, she was surprised to hear the key scrape in the lock. Wrapping the towel around herself to instinctively cover her nakedness, she cowered in the corner of the room, fearful that one, or both, of the brothers had come to use her body again. To her intense relief, it was Nicky's slim form that slipped into the room.

"What do you want?" Ruth did not disguise the anger in her voice when she saw that her former pupil was alone.

"Robin says I can give you some food." Nicky held out a tray covered by a white napkin. Ruth eyed the tray, tempted to lash out and knock it from the younger girl's hands. The urge to give way to her anger was offset by the awareness that it was a long time since she had eaten. She decided that common sense should prevail, and gestured to the bed.

"Put it down there." She made her tone as icy as possible.

"Ruth...Miss Jamieson.." Nicky's voice was hesitant and timid.


"I'm so sorry for what happened. I didn't know what they were going to do to you, honest I didn't."

"So 'sorry' makes it all right then, does it?"

"No, of course not. I mean...well I really mean it. I am just so sorry. Don't you see? I just don't know the words." The girl was clearly close to tears.

"Welcome to the real world, Nicky," Ruth said bitterly. "'Sorry' doesn't cut it, and it doesn't undo what you took part in either. What's done can't be undone."

"I know that, miss, but I don't know how to make things better. Oh please, miss, it's all gone so terribly wrong! It seemed like just a bit of a lark at first, and you did hurt me terribly when you and Mr. Fullerton caned me. I was angry and I wanted to get my own back. Oh, it was wrong, I know that now, but it seemed as if we could get away with it and not much lasting harm done. Robin was so confident and convincing...and I thought he loved me. Oh, it's all got so out of hand." She began to sob, the cries wracking her body in a series of shudders which ran right through her, shaking her from top to toe.

Ruth was not inclined to let Nicky off lightly, but it was not in her nature to be vindictive, and the sight of the girl in such deep distress did not help her own plight.

"If you really want to make things better, you can help, you know," she said, hopefully.

"How?" The word was choked out on another sob.

"You could get us out of here, or contact someone who can."

"I can't do that. Robin would never let me, and in any case, I won't call the police. It is the police you mean, isn't it? If they get involved we'll all be locked up. I couldn't face that and it would kill my parents. I'm sorry, miss, I couldn't do that, no matter what."

"Nicky, have you any idea what they are planning for me if you don't get some help?" Ruth tried not to let the desperation show in her voice.

"Yes, but Robin said you really enjoyed it...you know...being beaten. He showed me the video that Mould made. He said it was perfectly obvious how much you were enjoying it. That's why I thought it would be OK when he first suggested that we give you the cane. Just a return on what you gave us."

This revelation made Ruth colour up as deeply as at any time over the last few weeks. The knowledge that her once-favourite pupil had actually seen her in such a humiliating position, had actually detected that she had drawn some deep, not yet fully understood, pleasure from her subjection to corporal punishment, was the most deeply shaming insight she'd yet had to face.

"Nicky, listen to me. I don't know what you thought you saw on that video. Maybe it didn't show me in the best possible light but, like I said, what's been done can't be undone. That applies to me as well as to you. Perhaps I have made some mistakes lately and perhaps one of those mistakes was in punishing you too harshly. Believe me, Nicky, I never intended to be unjust, but in the real world mistakes happen, miscalculations happen. All I'm asking is that you don't make another one, one that you'll really be sorry for. You are a decent girl and it will ruin the rest of your life. Do you know they are planning to send me into slave labour in Thailand, never to be heard of again. Do you want that on your conscience?"

Nicky looked doubtful but she was clearly wavering. Ruth could see that her impassioned plea was having some effect on the girl and her hopes rose.

"I-I don't see what I can do. I won't call the police."

It was Ruth's turn to think hard. How could she get help, in a way that would not frighten Nicky into betraying herself to Robin Henderson. Then she had a brainwave.

"Nicky, when you saw the video of me, when I was here before at Damocles, were there any other people on the video apart from the Reverend Mould?"

"Well, yes, the tape had two other women and a man. You all got punished one way or another, and Robin said you all seemed to be really into it, or you wouldn't have been there. Although it didn't look as if one of the other ladies was enjoying it much, the thin one, I mean."

Ignoring the embarrassing implications of Nicky's insight into the pleasure she had taken from having her bottom beaten, Ruth concentrated on her objective. "Nicky, if I gave you the telephone number of the man on the video, would you contact him for me? He knows where this place is so there is no problem of giving directions, so he could organise some help, if you just told him I was in trouble."

Ruth was careful, of course, not to mention what Stephen Langton did for a living, and Nicky, after a moment's hesitation, fell into the trap. "All right," she said hesitantly, "I suppose that would be OK. What's his number?"

Ruth's spirits sank. She had not bothered to memorise the number on the card, she had never expected to make contact with him again.

"It's on a card, in my purse. Do you know what happened to all my things?"

"All your clothes and belongings are still downstairs, in the main hall. Robin said to leave them there - he said you wouldn't be needing your clothes for a while." Nicky looked uncomfortable, aware that her teacher was covered only by a towel.

"Can you get to them? Is my purse still there, do you know?"

"Yes, I think so." Nicky was hesitant. "I can try."

"Good girl. When you find my purse, look inside it. There is a card, like a business card, with the name Stephen Langton on it, and his home telephone number. Phone Stephen and tell him where I am. You don't have to tell him all the details, it would take too long. Just say that I am in desperate trouble and I need his and Tony's help. Tony is my boyfriend. They will know what to do."

"All right, I'll try, but you must promise that you'll do your best to help Robin, whatever happens."

Ruth wondered how on earth she could reassure the girl without deliberately lying to her. After a moment she said: "Nicky, I won't lie to you. You have to trust me. You and Robin have done something very wrong and sooner or later you will have to face the consequences. All I can promise is that my experiences over the last few weeks have made me very careful about injustices, and, if you help me now, I'll do all I can to help you in return."

The worry on Nicky's face lifted a little and she stared into the eyes of her teacher.

"I appreciate that very much, miss. You've always been straight with me and anyway I wouldn't have believed you if you'd said we'd get away with it. OK I'll do what I can to help. Now I'd better go or Robin and the others will get suspicious. Oh, by the way," she added as an afterthought, just as she turned to the door, "I put a jar on your tray. It has some stuff called Moon Balm in it. Madam Karabengse and her brothers say that it is very good at soothing pain. I thought you might need it."

Ruth smiled her appreciation. "That was a kind thought. It is good stuff and I could certainly use some right now. If they ask why you have been so long with me, just tell them that you were helping to massage it in for me."

* * *

Almost a full day had elapsed since the brief meeting with Nicky had raised Ruth's hopes. After the girl had left the room, Ruth had inspected the tray, which contained a few sandwiches as well as the Moon Balm. She had decided that her hunger was worse than the throbbing inside her bottom, which had been greatly reduced by Luc's application of the balm as a lubricant, so she attacked the food first. Afterwards, with nothing else to do to pass the time, she had applied the balm to all the areas that still ached. The massage had brought back all the memories she had unconsciously erased from her mind and, despite her situation, she was amazed to find that she was becoming aroused again. Eventually sleep overcame her, and by the time she woke up the sun was streaming through the window.

At first Ruth had not known where she was and had sat bolt upright on the bed, puzzled by her unfamiliar surroundings and the fact that she had no clothes on. Then it all came back to her and she realised with a heavy heart that she was still a captive. She tried again to work out how long it had been since her abduction. With a shock, she realised that, as her caning by Robin had taken place in the early evening, and it had been evening when she was taken from in front of her own house, she must, somehow, have lost a full day. The knowledge that so much time had passed deeply depressed her, and the thought that, even if Nicky managed to phone for help, it was unlikely to arrive for several hours depressed her even more.

Suddenly there was a noise, the key turning in the lock, and Ruth saw the door handle begin to turn. She grabbed the towel from where it had fallen and did her best to cover herself. The stony-faced Madam Karabengse came into the room, closely followed by Kim, who stopped just inside the door and stood impassively, clearly there to prevent any attempt at escape. Madam Karabengse was carrying another tray, which she put down on the bedside table.

"It is good to see you awake and alert," she said, her voice betraying no hint of compassion. "We do not want our merchandise damaged before you get to Thailand. I have brought you some more food as I don't want you to feel we are starving you - but first I want to inspect the damage from last night."

"Leave me alone!" Ruth shouted frantically, backing away from the bed towards the farthest wall of the room. "Don't you touch me!"

"You must stop being such a silly girl, " responded Madam Karabengse. "I am your mistress now, and you do as I say. You turn around now and face the wall. Let the towel drop."

"I will NOT!" Ruth was ready to fight.

Madam Karabengse spoke a few words to her brother, her voice leaving no doubt as to her intentions, even if Ruth could not understand what was said. The stocky Kim carefully locked the door and handed the key to his sister, before advancing on Ruth. Determined to put up some resistance, to make it clear to these people that she was not just their plaything just there to do their bidding, she launched herself at him, her hands out, determined to scratch at his face and use her knees.

In a split second, she knew that she had misjudged the situation. Despite his apparent lethargy, Kim moved like lightning. Ruth never did work out the sequence of moves but , in a split second, she found herself pinned face down, across the bed, bereft of even the scant protection of the towel. Madam Karabengse swiftly moved between Ruth's legs, forcing them apart. Ruth flinched as she felt the woman's cold hands on her buttocks, squeezing them, kneading, spreading the cheeks wide so that everything was open to examination. She sobbed with frustration, shame and anger as Kim held her firmly down.

"OK," Madam Karabengse pronounced with some satisfaction. "You are not marked much at all. I think the Moon Balm did its work well. You will be ready for another lesson tonight. We shall leave you now to think about that but first, Kim will give you something to remember. You will learn not to make a fuss when I give you an order!"

She said something to her brother which was unintelligible to Ruth and Kim's hand, as hard as a board from martial arts training, whacked down on Ruth's bottom four times in rapid succession, twice on each cheek. It was so sudden and unexpected that Ruth squealed loudly, wriggling frantically in a fruitless effort to escape. Madam Karabengse went to Ruth's head and lifted the tear-stained face.

"You will obey quickly next time or Kim will not stop at four. You understand?"

No reply was necessary and Ruth felt the weight of Kim's other hand leave her body. She lay on the bed sobbing for some time after the housekeeper and her brother had left, the warmth of the spanking soaking into her. Eventually she tidied herself up, applied some of the ubiquitous balm, and tried to eat some food.

The rest of the day was a mixture of boredom and anticipation, interrupted briefly when Madam Karabengse and Luc brought her some lunch, sometime in the early afternoon. Ruth again resorted to the towel to cover her nakedness, despite the fact that they had seen all there was of her, and this time there was no additional trauma. Luc simply leered at Ruth from the doorway as the housekeeper exchanged the empty tray for the full one. Ruth stood back against the far wall, the big bath towel clenched tightly to her body, staring at Luc and trying not to think about what had happened the night before. The expression on his face left her in no doubt that he was remembering the same experience, and she sensed her knees weakening as she relived the sensation... The thought dominated her mind for the rest of the afternoon as she lay on the bed, listening to the various muted sounds which drifted up to her from various parts of the house.

Of Robin and Nicky there was neither sight or sound. Occasionally she got up to look out of the window, leaving the towel, on which she depended for some degree of modesty, on the bed. There was nothing to see. The priory was surrounded by thick woods, stretching back for a distance of several hundred yards on all sides, and she was too far from the road to see or hear any passing traffic.

Now, after being alone with her thoughts for so long, Ruth guessed that her wait must be coming to an end. The shadows of the trees were lengthening and she guessed that the afternoon was drawing to a close. She was sure that, whatever Robin and the Karabengse family had in store for her, it would not now be long before she found out. She suddenly felt a terrible urge to pee. The tension was unbelievable; a mixture of fear and sexual anticipation which added to her sense of humiliation and made every nerve in her body hypersensitive Every slight sound in the house made her jump. Was this the moment? Had the time come for her to be dragged downstairs again, naked and vulnerable? Right on cue, she heard footsteps outside the door and the familiar sound of the key in the lock. It was Kim, alone, who opened the door.

"You come now," he said sternly, holding out a hand. Ruth knew that is was no use to resist. She didn't want another hard on-the-spot spanking, so, clutching the towel tightly to her body with one hand, she grudgingly allowed him to take her other hand in his. With his free hand, he grasped the towel she was clutching desperately to her bosom, wrenched it away from her with ease, and hurled it to the floor.

"You won't be needing that, " he said.

There might be some hope for Ruth if Nicky managed to find the card and telephone Stephen without arousing Robin's suspicions. Will Tony and Stephen arrive in time? What is in store for the towelless Ruth?
From Hermione's Heart