Monday, December 24, 2012

From the Top Shelf - Schadenfreude

As a special treat, her's a lovely Christmas story for you by the late Alex Birch.


"Oh for God's sake, stop arguing!" The attractive blonde woman turned in the driving seat, her face flushed and angry, and glowered at the two children in the back seat.

"I didn't start it, he did," replied Karen sullenly, glaring at her younger brother who sat smirking beside her.

"I don't care who started it, you are old enough to know better. Now stop it at once or I'll tell your father!"

That's it, thought Karen, staring angrily at the woman who had now turned back to concentrate on her driving. Tell daddy, that's your only answer to everything. Karen was ten going on twenty and was heartily sick of both her seven-year-old brother, Mark, and her stepmother, Caroline, the focus of her sullen frustration. It wasn't that she hated her stepmother - there were times when they got on well - but Caroline had no understanding of children. Karen's eyes misted up as happened so often when she thought of the patience her real mother had had with them both - but she wasn't here any more. She knew how sad her father had been after mummy's death and how it taken two years before he could shake off the misery to start dating again. She had been glad when he met Caroline at an office party, strangely, for a little girl, not feeling jealous or possessive at all. She wanted daddy to be happy and it was clear Caroline made him happy. It had soon become equally clear that she made Caroline nervous. Her stepmother was never comfortable around the children and there were times when Karen found this funny, for she could play jokes and keep her stepmother on the hop. But deep inside, the little girl was hurt. She wasn't that hard to like and she'd never met an adult before who behaved as if she was on hot coals around her. She hoped that one day Caroline would become comfortable with her, try to understand...but until then....

Karen's reverie was interrupted by a sharp pinch on her thigh and an accompanying giggle from her brother. She squealed loudly and almost in reflex, smacked him over the head with her school satchel. Predictably, Mark reacted as if he had been savaged by a dog and began to bawl his head off.

Immediately, Caroline swung round in the driving seat once more, her face a mask of fury.

"What did I tell you about behaving yoursel....oh shit!" the expletive muttered in anger as, with the sound of bending metal, the car suddenly stopped, throwing the three occupants violently forward. All were strapped in and Caroline had been driving slowly behind traffic, so no personal injury was done, but the car had mounted the pavement and struck a tree with some force.

"Oh you little cow!" Caroline almost cried in frustration. "Now look what you've made me do. Your father will be furious..and it's all your fault!"

Karen sat open-mouthed at the rush of invective, tears pricking her eyes at the unfairness of it all. Mommy would never have called her such names and it wasn't her fault anyway. What was she supposed to do, let her snivelling little snit of a brother get away with it?

Caroline swung her shapely legs out of the car, clearly shaking with rage and walked round to the front of the vehicle. Karen could see the suffused glow of anger increase as her stepmother surveyed the damage. She was soon back behind the wheel.

"Well, thanks to you and your stupidity, I've now got to get the bumper fixed before your father finds out. He was furious when I scraped the garage door. Good job he's working away until Christmas Eve! Gives me a chance to get it fixed. Now you dare say a word about this, young lady, and you'll be for it!"

Karen suppressed a smile. Caroline didn't know, but she had been listening through her open bedroom window when her father had spotted the paint on the garage door. He had called Caroline out to him and promised his new wife a damn good hiding if she did anything so stupid again. Caroline had been shocked - unsure if her husband was joking, but Karen knew otherwise. She knew about her father's little 'weakness'. She had once heard snatches of conversation between her parents, three years before, and had seen mummy's flushed face when she came down to breakfast..and noticed how gingerly she'd sat down. But Karen was mature for her years, even at seven, and had never said a word. She grinned as an image of what Caroline might be in for flashed across her mind, but said nothing.

"Now I'll have to drop that car into Brettel's garage and we'll have to go home on the bus," Caroline snapped "and you can take that smile off your face, young lady - this isn't funny!"

Not for you it isn't, thought Karen, but had the good sense to keep her own counsel.

When they arrived at the garage, Caroline ordered them both out of the car. "You can come with me," she ordered, "I'm not leaving you two alone to do more damage!"

Reluctantly but obediently, both children trailed into the garage reception area and heard Caroline explain the situation to Mr Brettel. "Look I can't pay for it now," she pleaded "but I can let you have my husband's credit card number over the phone when I get home. You will? Oh that's great. And you'll have it ready tomorrow? Oh that's marvellous!"

They sat on the bus for the 30 minute journey home and while Mark made infantile conversation, Karen was still fuming. "Daddy won't like you using his credit card without permission." she muttered and that was the last straw.

"Don't you tell me what daddy will or won't like!" Caroline snapped. "This is all your fault anyway. Now I have to pay for a cab to get Mark to his piano lessons...and you're grounded, young lady!"

Karen's eyes opened in horror. "But that's not fair," she whined, " it was all his fault and I'm going to an end of term party this afternoon at Clare's and....."

"You're not going anywhere, miss," her stepmother said angrily, "you've done enough damage for one day. It's about time you learned to behave!"

The remainder of the bus ride was spent in angry silence and Karen reluctantly trailed behind Mark and her stepmother up the garden path and into the house.

"Mark, go and wash your face..quickly..and get your music together," Caroline sapped, "and you my girl, get up to your room and stay there."

Karen glared at her stepmother and stomped up the stairs, threw open her bedroom door angrily and sat on her bed. Caroline followed swiftly behind, reached inside the door and extracted the key.

"What are you doing?" Karen almost screamed and her stepmother smirked in triumph.

"Locking you in until I get back," she said triumphantly. "You don't think I'd trust you to stay there, do you?"

"But you can't do that, it's..." but the click of the lock signified all too clearly that Caroline could indeed do that. Karen sat back on her bed, pummeling her little fists in anger. Maybe twenty minutes elapsed before she heard the hoot of the taxi and the sounds of her younger brother and Caroline departing. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, a slow grin spread across her face for she had developed a skill which negated all Caroline's attempts to imprison her and which would have given her poor father a heart attack had he known about it.

She dragged her bedroom chair to a spot directly underneath the attic window of her bedroom, climbed up on it, and pushed the window open, easing her small body through the aperture and out onto the tiled roof. There was maybe a foot of tiling before the guttering and a sheer drop onto the path but Karen was as sure-footed as a cat, never once looking down as she walked like a trapeze artist across the roof to the similar structure which indicated her young brothers room. She heaved a sigh of relief to find that his window was wedged open, as she guessed it would be for her stepmother was all for fresh air being allowed to circulate in all the rooms. Without looking down at the pathway below, Karen eased open the window and slid through it into her brother's room.

Pausing only to wrinkle her nose in distaste at the mess in there,she opened his door and made her way downstairs, her first aim to get a drink from the fridge before disappearing to the end of term party at her friend's home. But when she reached the kitchen, she spied something which made her chortle with glee. Caroline had left her cell phone behind on the kitchen table.

The little girl's mind raced with possibilities and, hastily, she checked the stored numbers for Brettel's Garage. Yes!!!! She raised her palm in a high fives gesture to an imaginary friend and then reached in her pocket for a handkerchief. She turned on the kitchen radio, the station playing a predictable stream of carols and deliberately stood close to it. Then she clicked on Brettel's number and put the handkerchief over her mouth. She cleared her throat and tried for her most mature voice

"Hello, Mr Brettel...Yes Mrs Forrester I'm in a store and having to shout above the music..sorry..yes I know it makes my voice sound funny. Look about the car. I've had second thoughts. When you have an estimate for the damage could you phone Mr Forrester," and she gave her father's works number in London. "I think he should be consulted before you go ahead with the work. Yes, thank you."

Putting the phone back where she'd found it, Karen gave a little squeal of delight and retraced her steps back through her brother's window and out across the roof to her own room. She decided to forego Clare's party and behave herself. This would be far more fun!

Two hours later, Caroline and Mark returned and soon she heard the key turn in her bedroom lock. Her stepmother walked in and gave an approving smile to find the little girl lying on her bed reading a magazine.

"My goodness, no howls of protest, no screaming fits?" Caroline muttered, "You must be growing up!"

Karen smiled as politely as she was able and Caroline allowed her to downstairs and rejoin the family unit. She was as good as gold for the rest of that evening and even kissed her stepmother good night before departing for bed.

The next day was Christmas Eve and Karen spent most of the morning putting decorations up, which she loved, and avoiding her little brother. She also kept a discreet eye on Caroline who was becoming ever more nervous as lunch time approached. By now the two females in the family were back on speaking terms and Caroline was fretting. "I better phone Brettel's and ask them what time the car will be finished" she muttered anxiously and Karen nearly had a fit.

"Didn't they say they'd call when it was ready?" she asked, trying to sound as casual as she could. "If you keep phoning them up, they'll just think you're..well...a woman." To her relief, Caroline managed a smile. "I suppose you are right.... sometimes" she said. "I'll leave it until after lunch."

By 2 p.m. Caroline was really stressed out. "I'm going to phone the garage," she said anxiously, "I daren't leave it any longer - your father will be back at six." Karen began frantically racking her brains for another stalling ploy when suddenly all their ears pricked up at once as a key turned in the front door.

"Daddeeeeeeeeee!" squealed Karen and Mark together, fighting each other to be first for a hug as their father walked into the hall. Caroline simply stood still in shock, her hands clasped together, her now panic stricken eyes fixed on her tall husband as he tucked a child under each arm.

"Y-you're home early," stammered Caroline, just keeping her voice steady. "I-I didn't expect you till six."

"No, well I caught an early train from London, my love," he said, his voice even but with a chilling air of menace. "You see I got a phone call from Brettel's garage about my car being in for repair....again. So I thought I'd pick it up myself and see what kind of a job he'd had to do this time."

Karen tucked her head further under her father's loving arm so that she could grin with malicious pleasure, unseen by her victim.

"I-I was going to mention..." her young stepmother sounded hapless, and for a moment Karen had a twinge of sympathy. It soon passed.

John Forrester cut his wife short, abruptly. "Later," he said tersely. "We'll discuss all that later. Let me go upstairs and change and then I can relax with a drink...and you can tell me what's been going on in my absence."

Karen reluctantly released her father's arm and shot a surreptitious glance in her young stepmother's direction. Somehow she managed not to grin but it was a giant effort. Instead she managed a phony look of sympathy. Poor Caroline looked like a woman who has just put on her best dress and then had a ton of bird shit deposited on her head. Her face expressed a kind of childlike shock and horror and Karen had to leave the room abruptly lest she burst into a fit of giggling.

When her father came downstairs again he'd changed into casual shirt and jeans and now sat with a child on each knee, each competing for his affection, while Caroline fussed around him like a nervous heifer, her eyes constantly darting toward his in mute pleas for forgiveness, frequently replenishing his whisky glass like an anxious waitress.

"So what have you all been doing while I was away," Karen's father asked, "apart from wrecking the car, of course."

Caroline flushed and looked hapless once more. This was the time for Karen's master plan to kick in. She was proud of her Machiavellian skills and knew she could play this situation like a fish on a line.

"Oh that's not nice, daddy," she said, playfully smacking his thigh,"it wasn't Caroline's fault. I think it was partly mine. I was arguing with Mark." Her stepmother looked at her, eyes wide in grateful surprise.

"But you weren't the one in the driving seat, were you pet," her father replied mildly, but with clear meaning, and she saw Caroline's face turn a deeper pink. "Anyway apart from that, what have you been up to?"

"Well, Mark went for his piano lessons and Caroline and I have been putting up decorations, haven't we?" She shot a warm smile in her stepmother's direction, a gesture of solidarity which was clearly appreciated. Great! Now she had them both on her side for what she knew would happen next.

"Good, good," her father smiled, "I'm so glad you two have been getting along."

"Oh no they haven't," giggled Mark, unable to resist what he thought was a dig at his sister, "Caroline told Karen she was naughty and locked her in her bedroom!"

"That's enough, Mark" said Karen gravely, playing the 'little mother' to perfection. "That's all forgotten and it wasn't for long."

There was a silence that seemed to last for hours until her father said, with steely anger, "You did...what, Caroline?"

Karen shot her stepmother a look of feigned sympathy, secretly delighted that her blabbermouth of a brother had played his part to perfection. Stupid little boys were so predictable. But now she was 'little miss innocent' and her stepmother was now in deeper shit, that much was clear.

"John, if only you knew how much I...." Caroline's voice was strained and anxious but her husband cut her short.

"Later, my dear. We'll discuss all this later. After the children have gone to bed."

The remainder of the evening was spent in a slightly strained atmosphere which only idiot Mark failed to pick up, scampering around as he always did with his inane prattling until he tired himself out and went off to bed, rambling about whether to hang up a pillowcase or a stocking and what time Father Christmas would come. Karen, being a big girl now who knew that Father Christmas was really daddy, was allowed to stay up much later. This Christmas Eve she did so with malicious relish. It was clear her father would prefer she went to bed as he clearly had serious business to attend to, but she was happy to pander to her stepmother's fawning attention....would she like another mince pie...a chocolate..was there anything on TV she wanted to watch. She grinned to herself, knowing it was simply Caroline's way of staving off her own nemesis just a little bit longer.

Eventually Karen tired of the teasing game, yawned and said she was going to bed, making a big point of hugging both her father and her stepmother tightly before retiring. As she hugged Caroline, she felt the fearful trembling of her young stepmother's body, and she smiled, an unseen triumphant grin.

She went up to bed and knew there would be some minutes before anything happened - and Karen was sure it would. Her father knew it was usually only ten or fifteen minutes after her head hit the pillow before Karen was in a deep sleep and he normally came up to check that both children were sound asleep. Mark would be well in the land of nod already. So she undressed for bed and sat upright, singing quietly to herself to stay awake until she heard her father's footsteps on the stairs. Quickly she got into bed and turned on her side, feigning sleep as her father walked into the room. Gently he leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on her cheek before turning and leaving, checking on Mark, and then returning downstairs.

Karen shot up in bed, got out and crept to the door, opening it very carefully. She heard her father's raised voice from inside the living room and a series of sobbing replies from Caroline. Quietly she crept along the landing, careful to avoid the one creaky floorboard, and began to tiptoe down the stairs until she reached the halfway point where she could sit, hunched up, but hidden in case the living room door opened suddenly. She could hear clearly what was happening in there, for the soundproofing in the old house was not good. At first her father was talking about carelessness, the cost of repairs, dishonesty and she heard Caroline's voice cracking, apologising, almost craven in her pleas.

Then Karen sat bolt upright, her eyes wide with excitement as the conversation took a more thrilling turn.

"...and I told you what to expect if this happened again! Well now you're going to find out that I wasn't joking!"

"No, John, please, I meant to tell you. I was just...."

"..and you were going to use my credit card? What have I told you about that?"

"John, please I.."

"Take your trousers and knickers off, Caroline!"

"John, please..."

"Do it!"

There was the sound of sobbing and some activity then her father;s voice again.

"Now get over my knee...and be quick about it. Come on, I've seen your bare arse plenty of times!"

Karen wondered how she managed to not giggle aloud, but she bit her lower lip and squeezed her nails into her palms, inclining her head to listen. She wanted to go to the door and peep through the keyhole but that would have been far too dangerous.

The spanking started in earnest and for the next five minutes she heard her father's heavy hand descend over and over on clearly unprotected flesh and she put her hand over her mouth to stifle a chuckle of delight, imagining the state of her young stepmother's bottom as it got redder and redder. Well she'd deserved every one, Karen thought, then sighed almost audibly as the spanking stopped. Surely it wasn't over already. That wasn't nearly enough! She heard Caroline's choking sobs as she clearly tried to come to terms with the pain and the shame of a good hiding. Then Karen brightened up as her father spoke again.

"That, my dear, is the issue of the car accounted for..and don't you EVER do anything like that we come to the issue of locking my daughter in her room while you went out for two hours!"

"Oh John, please, if you only..."

"Shut up and listen. She is ten years old. What if there had been a fire? For a start you should never have left a child alone in the house and certainly not locked in her room. She could have been burned to death!"

"I-I'm sorry I didn't think..I..."

"Well you'll be thinking a lot from now on. Go to the cupboard where you'll find a stiff backed wooden hairbrush. Bring it to me!"

"Oh, John no more please, I..."

"Fetch the hairbrush!"

Karen sat on the stairs the lace of her nightdress now between her teeth as she listened. She had never heard her father in this mood before and she found it strangely exciting. This was beyond her wildest expectations!

"Now get back over my knee!"

The next sound was her stepmother's agonised cry as she responded to the sound of a dull thudding thwack. Karen almost winced in sympathy as she sat, hunched on the stairs, listening to every blow.

"If you cry out like that again, my girl.." her father's voice was a growl, "'ll wake the kids. So if that happens the punishment will be delayed until tomorrow night, when you'll get twice as many And I'll make you stuff your panties in your mouth, Is that clear?"

"Y-Yes John, I'm sorry."

Karen had never heard her stepmother sound so meek and submissive. Nor had she heard her father sound so demanding and crude. Sticking her knickers in her mouth? Wow, how gross was that? Maybe there was some adult thing going on here she didn't understand but she had never felt so alive and excited. She was sure she would never get to sleep that night. The spanking with the hairbrush continued until Karen had counted twenty strokes and her stepmother was weeping like a baby.

Her father's voice had changed. It was gentle, soft, reassuring.

"You took those well. You see, you can be a good girl. Now you go and get the lotion out of the kitchen, get back over my knee and I'll rub it better."

There was the sound of soft, mewling consent from a woman who had been weeping buckets only seconds before. Wow but these grown-ups were odd! Karen wrinkled her nose in disgust. She was a young woman of the world and she guessed that all this 'rubbing it better' and the kitten-like noises from her stepmother were all a prelude to daddy doing that sex thing and she certainly did not want to eavesdrop on that!

Quietly she tiptoed back up the stairs and back into her bedroom, her little heart pounding in her chest. She clambered into bed and looked at her luminous alarm clock before rolling over on her side and closing her eyes. It was 3 minutes past twelve....Christmas Day already! She snuggled up in bed and smiled in contentment. Santa Claus had brought her Christmas present very early this year!

Happy Christmas, everyone!

From Hermione's Heart


sixofthebest said...

Hermione, you chose a great spanking author Alex Birch's "Schadenfreude", for your Christmas present to us 'spanko's. Thank you for the story, and may all your family enjoy the holiday festivities. With a good cheer. Here's to your bare bottom up, for a warmed soon reddened naked rear end, delivered to you by your ever loving husband.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas. xoxo

SNP said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

ronnie said...


A perfect choice. Thank you.

Have a wonderful day tomorrow.


Unknown said...

Thank you for such a DELIGHTFUL Christmas present, dear Hermione!! How do you find such wonderful tales??

I did think it was a *bit* unfair though... I get that her step-mother is a beast, but the kids were driving her bonkers. (says the nanny who feels unable to discipline sometimes :))

Unknown said...

Merry Christmas, Hermione.

Julia D. said...

That Karen is a little rotter, isn't she? I can understand her, but she's not at all playing nice.
Still, a very nice story, thank you.


Aimless Rambling said...

I think Karen needs a spanking for being such a meanie. Oh well.

Great Christmas story, thanks Hermione.

May you and Ron have a lovely holiday.

Kaelah said...

A Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, Hermione! Have a happy and peaceful holiday season. :-)

Hermione said...

Six - I am so pleased you enjoyed it. happy holidays to you, dear friend. I'm sure my bottom will soon be sporting seasonal colours.

OFG - Thanks you, and Merry Christmas to you too.

SNP - And the same to you.

Ronnie - I certainly will.

Young Lady - I read a lot of blogs:)
I agree, the kids were probably trying her patience.

TL Bucko - Merry Christmas to you too.

Julia - She certainly was devious. Her step-mother had a good reason to be nervous around her.

Sunnygirl - That's actually where I thought the story was going when I first began reading it.

Kaelah - We intend to enjoy ourselves, feasting and making merry.


smuccatelli said...

Oh, please let Karen get her just desserts. From Daddy and "stepmommy". I'm sure her Dad would be less than amused to hear about her climbing out on the roof OR using her stepmom's cellphone to call the body shop and bust her. It would seem about time that she became a "real mom" to those kids. After all, Dad can't be home all day watching them himself. I know Alex Birch is deceased, but if he wrote a sequel to this please let me know, otherwise I may have to write one myself. Bratty Karen needs a good comeuppance.
Having said that, I LOVED the story... ;-)

ricky said...

I said it before, and I'll say it again,
Merry Christmas, everyone!

garyntboy said...

Are you still looking at me over half moon glasses? Merry christmas Hermione, don't work too hard. Gary.

MrBBSpanker said...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Hermione :)

Michael M said...

Great story. Have a Happy Christmas

Enzo said...

I may be too late comment on this post as I am catching up on my Blog reading, but great story choice Hermione.

My favorite part was Caroline being threatened with "and I'll make you stuff your panties in your mouth, Is that clear?" -- Not enough panty gaging to be found as that is one of my favorite punishments.