Friday, 11 October 2013

Back To School

In this prequel to the "Education" series we follow a young student in her first year at St Martinas academy - the last university in the UK to still use the cane. This doesn't worry our good-girl narrator, of course, since there's no way she'd ever break a rule. What she hasn't counted on, however, is sadistic prefect Mellissa, who seems determined to find some excuse to dole out a punishment.

Melissa hovered by each bed, examining it for the slightest crease or wrinkle. She was a tall girl, with a neat brown bob and a sharp and knowing face. I watched the expression on that face as she moved from bed to bed. A slight twitch of the nose, or a little movement at the corner of her mouth made me feel like I was balancing on the edge of a deep, dark pit.

I watched as she came to Jane's bed. Poor Jane looked like she was about to burst into tears again already - I could see her legs trembling. But - as I kept telling myself - there could be no punishment. The dorm was perfect. Working together we'd spent almost an hour cleaning it.

Melissa seemed to have come to the same conclusion. She strode to the middle of the floor. Even though it was just an inspection she had brought her cane with her and she held it clasped behind her back. Her face was sour - obviously she wasn't very pleased to have no excuse to punish us. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Too early, as it turned out. After a moment's hesitation, Melissa's face lit up and she moved to the door, reached up and ran a finger along the top of the frame. It came away coated in dust, which she showed to the room with a sly smile on her face. She flicked the dust away.

"Disgusting," she announced. "It is your shared responsibility to keep this dormitory in good condition. This is unacceptable. Line up, all of you."

At this stage we were all scared, fresh young students, just turned eighteen, who wouldn't dare disobey a prefect. We did as we were told, all four of us: me, Jane, Helen and Winter forming a line in the middle of the room.

"Now," said Melissa, and I could hear the delighted cruelty in her voice, "all of you bend over and hold your ankles."

That was the moment when I knew a punishment was coming. I looked desperately to my roommates, hoping that one of them would protest, but no. Jane, terrified, had already bent over and put her hands around her ankles. Helen and Winter, with pained looks on their faces, did the same. It was so unfair - I couldn't believe that I was about to be caned. Me! I'd never broken a school rule in my life. And yet, just like the others I found myself bending over, wrapping my hands around my ankles. I felt my school skirt ride up a little and I bent my knees, hoping that my knickers weren't exposed.

In that position all I could see of Melissa was her feet. I watched as she moved behind us, walking slowly, enjoying our fear. Winter was first in line, and as soon as I saw Mellissa take up position behind her I looked away, focussing on the floor. An eternity of waiting, and then...


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