I know you have all been waiting impatiently for another installment of Hall of Infamy by Amanita Virosa, so without further ado, let's get started.
The clouds had gathered as the day progressed and, by late afternoon, passing showers had left the cobbles of the courtyard slick and wet. Twice Kitty nearly went over, as her impossibly high heels skeetered on the treacherous surface and she only regained her balance at the last minute.
The reluctance with which the blonde maid approached the stable-block was, however, by no means solely due to the difficulty involved in negotiating the terrain.
Something about Lady Alicia's manner at teatime had made her nervous, and anxiety translated into clumsiness. Kitty's hand had trembled as she poured afternoon tea and a few drops spilled into the saucer. Naturally, her mistress had regarded this as deliberate. Kitty had quailed before Lady Alicia's wrath, as the Marchioness made it abundantly clear to the maid that she regarded the small spillage as an act of deliberate insubordination.
Standing with her head bowed, enduring the torrent of invective, Kitty had awaited the inevitable order to bend and lift her skirts. Her gaze had been transfixed by Lady Alicia's dressage whip, which she slashed viciously through the air for emphasis while listing Kitty's failings in detail. However the dreaded order had not come. It turned out that Lady Alicia had something worse than her riding-crop in store for the maid today.
"Clearly I have been too lenient with you, recently. It is time you were reminded of your place, my girl. Later this afternoon, after you have served tea, I want you to go over to the stables and ask Mr Blackstock to give you a damn good belting. Wear your tutu. I won't have you trailing mud and dung into the house on the hems of your garments - and don't bother to wear any knickers either. You certainly won't be needing those when Mr Blackstock deals with you!"
Kitty tried vainly to tug the hem of her dress down. The flouncing skirt of her tutu was buoyed up by half a dozen little petticoats and she could feel the breeze on her bare flesh, exposed above the stocking tops. It really was unfair! The maid's full uniforms were old-fashioned, and their billowing skirts could be a sore trial, yet they would have been quite respectable had they not been so low-cut at the front. Cruelly, this modesty was a privilege allowed mostly inside the hall.
Kitty's heels slid again and she struggled to right herself, having to bend forward to regain her balance as she did so, and all too aware that she was treating anyone watching from the hall behind her to a good view of her naked bottom. The logic of not dragging those long-hemmed gowns through the mud and worse was unassailable, yet Kitty could not see why her uniform's skirt had to be so short. Hemlines below the knee would have been both practical and modest. Above the stocking-tops looked indecent and absurd.
"Yes, what is it, girl? What do you want?" Kitty coloured under Mr Blackstock's cold appraising gaze as he dropped it from her full breasts to her silk-sheathed legs. The head groom was balding and had a definite paunch, but his arms were powerfully muscled and his strength legendary. Blackstock wore only a much-stained leather apron on his upper body, and his arms were beaded with sweat.
The maid swallowed hard. "Please, sir, I...I've been sent..."
Mr. Blackstock raised his gaze again to the full breasts proffered by the half-cups of her bodice, in a way that made Kitty's stomach churn with anxiety. "Well I can you've been sent, you silly little bitch!" he growled. "The question is, what have you been sent for?"
Kitty hung her head. "For...for a b-belting, sir," she whispered.
"For a what? Speak up, you little trollop! What do you want?"
"I, er, want a belting, sir," Kitty mumbled unconvincingly.
"A belting, eh?" he bellowed. "You want me to give you a leathering, do you?"
"Y-yes, sir," Kitty sniffled, tears welling in her eyes.
Blackstock strolled over to the trembling maid. He grasped a handful of her golden curls and forced the hapless girl's head back, forcing her to look into his glittering green eyes. Kitty felt herself impaled by his predatory stare, assailed by his stench. Kitty, used to the delicate perfumes of Lady Alicia's boudoir, felt her senses overwhelmed by the rank odours of horse sweat, human perspiration, leather and horse manure.
"Don't you get taught to say 'please' up there in the big house, you cheeky little hussy?" he hissed in her ear.
"Ow, oooooo, please, sir...owww.."
"Puh...please...oooh...please can...may I...oooh, have a b-belting...sir!"
"You see?" He retained his grip on her curls. "Manners cost nothing." He pulled her close into his body. The rough leather of his apron grazed Kitty's bare arms, and she was even more overwhelmed by the odour of leather and sweat. Blackstock's free hand reached under the little flouncing skirt.
"Be quiet!" His rough fingers probed her naked pussy.
Kitty fought a wave of pure panic. His calloused hand felt rougher than the leather of the apron against her soft skin. As his finger probed deeper, she gave a little whimper.
"Well, well." He chuckled deeply as tears trickled down her burning cheeks. "The little slut is dripping."
He shook his head. "Don't contradict me, girl," he growled, exploring further.
Appallingly, Kitty could not stop herself from pressing against his hand. It was as if her pelvis had taken on a life of its own. She gave a lost little cry.
"Oh, no you don't!" Blackstock withdrew his hand with a chuckle. "You'll have to wait for that, my girl. There's a little matter of a belting first, remember? Now the lads will want to watch that so you'll have to wait until they've done their work. You don't mind waiting half an hour, now do you, my pet?"
There was nothing Kitty could say, so she said nothing. There was nothing she could do, but stand in a quiet corner of the stables and try her futile best to look inconspicuous. Every time Blackstock passed her he would grin and wink lasciviously. Kitty would have given anything for a pair of drawers or a skirt of decent length. The head groom walked by, giving her another wink, and she relaxed for a moment. Then the sound of footsteps made her tense again.
"Blimey, Davey-boy, look what we got 'ere!" A wiry sandy-haired boy broke into a wide gap-toothed grin. "'Ello, Kitty, me little darlin'. Been a while since you been sent to us. Been a bad girl again, have you?"
"Get off me, Dick." Kitty tried to push his hand away as the grinning boy felt beneath her skirt. His companion, a handsome lad whom Kitty did not recognise, just stood staring at her as if rooted to the spot.
"Finish your work first, Dick. There will be time a-plenty for that, once you've given Caesar his rub-down. Davy, you still have to put that tack away." Blackstock chased the boys away, then he licked his lips and winked at Kitty once again.
The young maid got some respite after that, for some twenty minutes. Even so, it was an anxious and comfortless wait. From where she stood, she could just see the leathering saddle. It was placed over a horizontal beam at just above the height of Kitty's waist. It had been there on each of her previous visits. The maid did not know whether it was kept there specifically for disciplinary purposes, or if it was a riding saddle that happened to be kept in a convenient place. It was even possible that Lady Alicia had sent instructions earlier, and Mr Blackstock's questioning of her business in the stables was simply his cruel joke.
Even worse than that were the straps. To her left there was a partition of rough planks, and this was festooned with all sorts of leather stirrup straps, martingales and reins. Beyond this wooden wall there were three small stalls. These were unoccupied and Kitty did not want to think about their purpose. Nor did she want to think about the straps, which gleamed like well-oiled snakes of dark brown leather. Some of them were recognisably reins or other elements of harness, but Kitty did not know which ones were for use with the horses and which had other purposes. She did know that the sight of so much supple leather, all of which could be used to belt a girl's tender bottom, made her feel quite dizzy. Tearing her gaze away, she found herself looking at the saddle once again.
If the wait in the stables seemed to go on for ever, paradoxically, it also appeared to Kitty to be over all too soon.
"All right, boys," Mr Blackstock arrived, flanked by the grinning stable-lads. He advanced, drying his hands on a cloth, having evidently just washed them at the pump. "One more little job before we finish for the day."
Kitty stepped back as the three men bore down on her, unable to suppress a little wail of terror. She bumped into the rough stone wall behind her and nearly lost her footing as she teetered on her high heels.
"Careful now, my dear." Mr Blackstock caught her elbow and steadied her. "Dick, get that buffalo-hide stirrup leather. The inch and a quarter. Oh and I want a running martingale and some bridle straps. Get me a couple of girth extenders, too." The steadying hand pulled her towards the waiting saddle. "Now, young lady. Would you care to step this way?"
Kitty stumbled, her legs seeming to be semi-paralysed, so the groom steered her over to the saddle and beam. "Davy, go round and take her wrists. This filly is distinctly skittish and she might just try to bolt."
A firm push in the small of the back propelled the maid towards the saddle. Kitty's wrists were caught by Davy on the far side of the beam, and she felt strong hands grip her waist and hoist her up. Mr Blackstock lifted her the few inches required and she sprawled belly-down across the saddle, held in place by the stable-boy's firm grip on her wrists. An even firmer grip grabbed her right ankle.
"We'll have these things off, I think. I have no mind to lose an eye!"
Kitty felt him remove her shoes, and then she gave a little wail of fear as she felt the bridle strap pass under her thighs, against the bare flesh just above her stocking-tops. This was pulled quite tight before another strap secured her ankles together. Kitty gave an alarmed squeak. Mr Blackstock had not strapped her down for her previous visits to the stables and the procedure provoked a sense of mounting panic in her.
"Oh please, sir. This is really not nec-owwwwwwwww!" There was a resounding smacking sound and Kitty felt pain lance through her left thigh.
"Keep quiet or I'll put a bit on you," Mr Blackstock growled. "Dick, fetch me a curb chain and a lip-strap. Just in case." Then he stepped into Kitty's field of view, holding a selection of straps. He put most of these down on a nearby work-bench, but he retained two. One was a short double strap equipped with two buckles which he secured around her right wrist, threading one of the straps through a loop in the brow-band, a short length of leather with a loop sewn into either end. The groom then took another of the double straps from the bench and buckled it around her left wrist and the other end of the brow-band, creating a pair of leather handcuffs.
A hand on Kitty's bottom told her that Dick had returned, and she flinched as she waited for the inevitable pinch.
"Now, Dick, pass the ends of that martingale looped over the thigh strap to me, underneath the saddle," Mr Blackstock instructed.
Below her, Kitty saw a hand holding both ends of a buckled strap emerge, and felt the pressure pulling her thighs forward. The belt was buckled over the strap joining her wrists, and then Mr Blackstock tightened it up.
Kitty yelped as she found her knees pulled forward and her wrists hauled down and back, forcing her to embrace the saddle. She was quite helpless now and she knew it. Her bare bottom was exposed to the world and she could only move her head. Worst of all, she was deprived of even the illusory feeling of security that having her feet on the ground might have conveyed.
"Pass me that stirrup leather."
Mr Blackstock doubled up the heavy-looking strap in one hand. With the other, he took a fistful of Kitty's blonde locks and hauled her head up until she met his gaze. He looked enormous, towering over her, the size of his great biceps and shoulder muscles emphasised by the bareness of his arms.
He tapped the strap against her cheek. It felt cold and hard, heavy and unyielding. Kitty felt suddenly faint.
"Now, girl, I mean to leather you good and proper. I shall give you a belting now which you'll not forget in a hurry. I shall give you something to take to show your mistress when I'm finished. I don't mind if you squawk, and you can wriggle all you like. It will make no difference to me!"
Kitty could only listen with bated breath to his heavy-booted tread as he strode across the flags that floored the stable-block. Her arms were hauled down by the strapping, to the point where she could not raise her head and see what was happening behind her. She gritted her teeth and closed her eyes tightly, her bottom-cheeks clenching in anticipation.
There was a low whistle, followed by a sharp crack. The strap caught her right in her most tender groove and a ferocious blaze of pain coursed through her rear. Though she had been given permission to cry out, Kitty was determined not to give her tormentors that satisfaction, and she clenched her teeth together to prevent an agonised yelp escaping.
"Oh, good shot, Mr Blackstock!" Dick's coarse voice called out excitedly.
Leather strapping creaked in protest as Kitty writhed and wriggled. The fire across her bottom cheeks subsided slowly, but Mr Blackstock seemed content to wait.
"Oh no, that was just to get my length, lad. Nothing but a practice stroke, that. Still, I reckon that she might feel this."
At last there came another low whistle, and another pistol-shot retort, followed instantaneously by a scalding eruption of pain. This stroke seared the tops of Kitty's thighs, and it was agonising. Kitty grimaced and shook her blonde locks violently. She almost ground her teeth together, but a hiss escaped her lips all the same.
"You see, Davy, some like to work the same area, but I like to spread them. Unless the count is low, and then I do my best to deliver them where they'll do the most good."
"What is the count, Mr Blackstock?"
Despite the distraction of her throbbing backside, Kitty perceived that the stable-boy's voice sounded strained. So she tried to stop writhing and listen for the answer. Unfortunately, before replying, Mr Blackstock unleashed a third blistering stroke.
"Aaaaahoooooo...!" This time she could not stop the cry of pain escaping. If she had not been secured to the saddle, she would surely have jumped up like a jack-in-the-box. As it was, all she could do was writhe helplessly in her bonds. Kitty shook her head and kicked her legs back and forth, to the creaking sound of protesting leather, as if by doing so she could somehow disperse the pain.
"No count," Mr Blackstock replied at last, to Kitty's horror. "I shall give the wicked little chit just as many as I feel like. A dozen, maybe two dozen - even more perhaps. After all, there is no hurry. We'll give her a stiff dozen or so to start, and see if she would prefer to play a different game."
The thrashing continued quite relentlessly. The strap cracked across her bottom and thighs, time and time again. Kitty shrieked at the top of her lungs, quite helpless to prevent herself, now, all resolve forgotten. She squirmed and wriggled, and fought the straps that held her so invitingly in position for the lash, to no avail. The heavy stirrup-leather whistled through the still air of the stable-block, impacting mercilessly on Kitty's tender bottom, and she howled in pain.
Mr Blackstock was methodical and thorough, belting Kitty's hindquarters from the top of her bottom, right down to her stocking-tops. As he had promised, he was content to let her shriek her distress, and did not seem to mind how much she wriggled and writhed. Only when she got her heels up hard against her bottom, and kept them there, as if by doing so she could ward off blows on her thighs, did he intervene.
"All right, Dick, haul down on that ankle strap. Davy, your eyes look they'll pop out of your head. It is a pretty arse, there's no denying. Go on, lad - do what you like, step up and have a good feel."
Kitty whimpered as she felt the stable-boy's hand stroke her bottom.
"Nice, eh? I don't know how that juicy arse stays so soft, considering how often the wicked chit needs whipping!" Mr Blackstock barked with laughter. Tears ran down Kitty's cheeks and she watched forlornly as they splashed on the flagstones below. She tried to ignore the pain that the boy's hand provoked as he pinched and probed.
"Bloody hell, Mr Blackstock. You could fry eggs on 'er bum; it's positively scorching!" There was a tone of wonder in Davy's voice. Kitty winced as his hands passed over the welts on her thighs. He stroked and patted her, before fingering the sheer material of her hose. "I never seen stockings like these!"
"Course not - they're silk, you yokel," Dick chuckled.
Kitty felt the boy tug at her suspender straps, as she watched another tear fall and splash on the flagstone below.
"What are these things, then?" There was a note of rapt almost awe-stricken, amazement in his voice. A young acolyte, initiated for the first time into a sacred mystery, could not have sounded more reverential.
"Suspenders." Dick's voice from below was scornful. "They're attached to the trollop's corset. Haven't you ever seen 'em before?"
"Take no notice of him, Davy," Mr Blackstock said derisively. "I suppose you often got to fumble silk stockings and suspender straps before you came up to the hall, eh, Dick?"
"He never saw such things neither, till he came here, Davy. It's a new fashion, lad, instead of garters. That Mademoiselle Isobel in Hatherby makes 'em up. Anyway, let's get on with the job, shall we?"
Once more the sickening whistle echoed through the stable-block. Kitty howled with pain again.
"There's some beer in the jug - complements of Lady Alicia. Pour it out, Dick. There's three glasses there. Davy, you can unstrap the baggage's legs for her, now."
Kitty slumped limply over the saddle, gasping brokenly and trying her best to stem the flow of tears coursing down her cheeks. Her bottom and thighs throbbed abominably. She had lost count of the belt strokes she had received but was sure it was close to two dozen in total. The agony was seeping away to a dull ache but every time her sore bottom was touched, even gently, waves of pain would lance through it again.
Mr Blackstock waited for his glass of beer, occasionally patting Kitty's proffered rear and provoking a new gasp from the maid. She felt the straps unbuckled from her legs and the loosening of the belt that kept her hands pulled back.
Mr Blackstock walked round to the beam to her head. Kitty's attention was riveted to the stirrup leather that still dangled from his hand. In the other he held his beer , and he placed this on the bench before turning back to the quietly sobbing girl. A calloused hand lifted Kitty's chin until she found herself looking up into the big groom's eyes. His expression was one of amusement, but quite devoid of pity. Once again, the thick leather was tapped against her face.
"Now, sweetheart," he said gruffly, "have you had enough leathering? You could take another dozen, easy, but I thought you might prefer to do something else."
"Anything." Kitty blinked up at him desperately. "I-I'll do anything you like, sir. Please..."
The groom released his grip, allowing her to drop her chin again, and draped the stirrup-strap around her neck. Kitty shivered at the contact with the cool leather, closing her eyes and praying he would accept her offer.
"Funny," the big man said thoughtfully, "that's what they all say!"
Anything? Oh, Kitty, you naughty girl!