"Emma! You're talking to Sheila again!" snapped Miss Bowen, the history teacher. "This is the last time I'm going to warn you. If you talk one more time in this lesson you'll go straight to Mrs Turner!"
Emma closed her mouth tightly. She didn't want to be sent to the headmistress. Girls in her year, the fifth year, did not often get the cane but it could happen. Two girls in her class, Brenda Ainsley and Diane Turley, had been sent to Mrs Turner only the week before and both girls had received three strokes of the cane. Bren had shown her the cane marks on the palm of her hand afterwards and it had frightened her. She had avoided the cane so far in her school life, more because of her fear of the cane's painful effect than because she was naturally well-behaved. She resolved to avoid Miss Bowen's eye for the rest of the lesson.
But a quarter of an hour later, when Miss Bowen had turned her back to write on the board, Emma took her opportunity to whisper to her neighbour once again. The teacher whipped round.
"Emma! Come out to the front of the class!"
The sixteen year old stood up and walked out to the front. She tried to look unconcerned as Miss Bowen scribbled a note on a small pad of paper and handed it to her. "Well, you had your warnings, Emma," she said. "I told you what would happen. Now go straight to Mrs Turner and hand her this note."
Emma took the note with as much unconcern as she could muster and walked out into the corridor defiantly. But once she was outside the class her face fell. Oh, God. She was going to get the cane. How could she have been so stupid!
Still, Emma thought, it might not actually be a caning. Being sent to the headmistress's office was regarded as a punishment in itself and she might just be let off with a warning or detention. She stood still and unfolded the note, hoping that Miss Bowen hadn't exaggerated the extent of her misbehaviour. After all talking in class was not so very serious. The note read as follows:
"I am sending Emma Reeves to you for talking repeatedly in class after several warnings.
Emma's behaviour has deteriorated seriously of late and is beginning to disrupt the class.
I feel that Emma needs a sharp lesson to bring her to her senses.
Emma grimaced as she read the note. That last sentence was practically asking Mrs Turner to give her the cane. Miserably she continued her slow walk towards the headmistress's office.
She knocked on the office door and entered after hearing a loud "Come in!" barked out in Mrs Turner's familiar tones.
"Well, girl. What is it?" enquired the headmistress.
"Please, ma'am, Miss Bowen sent me and asked me to give you this note." The headmistress took the note and read it slowly and carefully.
"Do you know what this note says, Emma?"
"Yes, ma'am," Emma admitted.
"Well, Emma," said the headmistress, "I am going to cane you. I am always sorry to have to punish senior girls, such as yourself, in this manner. And I am especially sorry in this case as you have never been caned before. However Miss Bowen is quite right. Your behaviour has been much worse recently. Miss Ashworth told me that you were ten minutes late for her lesson on Monday and that you answered her back insolently when she asked you where you had been. And you were lucky not to be sent here last week. Mrs Rowe told me that you and Edwina Bates were shouting at each other in front of the whole class. You used to be a sensible girl and I hope that a caning will restore you to your senses."
Mrs Turner rose and went to a cupboard in the corner of the room. When she opened it three canes were revealed, hanging by their crook handles. She selected the one in the middle and walked back to stand in front of the now trembling teenager.
"You're right-handed, Emma, aren't you?"
"Right. Hold out your left hand. I am going to give you two strokes."
With a shudder Emma extended her left arm. The position, however, was not quite to Mrs Turner's liking. She tapped Emma's hand with the cane until the hand was in just the right place and told Emma to stick her thumb out away from her fingers. Then she stepped backwards and raised the cane above her shoulders. Emma closed her eyes.
The cane whipped down and crashed down onto Emma's tender palm below the bottom of her fingers. She screamed and jerked her hand away. It felt, literally, as though her hand had been cut in two. She danced in agony, holding her injured hand in her right hand. Emma was sure that Mrs Turner had made a mistake and had hit her much harder than intended, she could not believe that the headmistress had meant to hurt her that much. But she had; and she wasn't finished yet.
"Come on, Emma. Hold your hand out! I said two strokes!"
"Oh, ma'am. Owww! . . . P . please . . . it hurts . . . ooooow!"
"It's meant to hurt, Emma! Now please hold your hand out immediately. Otherwise I'll call Miss Goodman in to hold you down over my desk and you'll get the cane on your bottom!"
Emma began to cry, but she raised her painful hand once again. As soon as the hand was in position Mrs Turner lifted her cane and slashed it down. It landed diagonally across the fleshy part of the girl's palm from the ball of her thumb to the base of her little finger, crossing the already-swelling weal raised by the first stroke. Emma shrieked her anguish and did a pain-crazed dance around the office. She waved her hand wildly in a frantic and vain attempt to calm the raging sting. Mrs Turner caught her by her shoulders and stilled the sobbing schoolgirl.
"I hope that will be a lesson to you!" she said. "I don't want to see you sent here again. But if you are I will not let you off so lightly again! If this hadn't been your first time for the cane you would have received four strokes. You can count yourself lucky! Now go back and rejoin your class."
Emma stumbled out of the office still crying. As she made her way back to her class, with her stinging hand tucked under her right arm, she didn't feel she'd been let off lightly! She paused for a couple of minutes in the washroom to dry her tears and wash her tear-stained face, using her right hand to manipulate the tap and the towel, but she was frightened to delay too long. All eyes were on her as she entered the classroom.
"Ah! Emma! Welcome back! Did you see Mrs Turner?" asked the history teacher.
"And what happened?"
"I got the c-cane, miss," stammered the embarrassed girl, nearly in tears once more.
"Good! Let it be a lesson to you! Now sit down, and we'll continue with the lesson without your interruptions."
Emma returned to her place and sat down. She put her arms down on the desk in front of her and buried her head in them. Miss Bowen ignored her for the rest of the lesson.
The intense stinging gradually diminished, but Emma's hand was badly swollen and still throbbed painfully as she walked home that evening. Her mother saw that something was wrong as soon as Emma arrived home. Emma told her what had happened, hoping that her mother would be sympathetic, but Mrs Reeves thought that a caning was just what Emma needed and sent her straight to her room. Emma had been due to go out with her boyfriend, Paul, a sixth former at the nearby boys grammar school, that evening but her mother told her she would not be allowed to go out for the next week. She flung herself down on her bed and began to cry. She felt so humiliated.
Mrs Reeves phoned Paul and told him that Emma could not come out as she was ill. Upstairs Emma heard the call and hoped that Paul would never find out that she had had the cane. But other girls in her class also had boyfriends at the grammar school and the very next day Paul discovered the true reason for the broken date!
After Emma's caning her behaviour did improve. For several days she was really quiet and subdued, and well after the physical effects of the cane wore off - which took almost two days - her memory of the pain and her fear of an even more painful punishment next time kept her carefully observant of all the school rules.
But Emma also developed a deep antipathy to Miss Bowen who had sent her to be caned, and one day she could not resist writing out an obscene, scatological story about her and passing it on to a friend in class. Unfortunately the note was very rude indeed and Heather could not help gasping in surprise and laughing as she read it. Miss Bowen saw that there was something going on, pounced, and picked up the note.
As she read it she was speechless with anger. She was about to tear it up and then felt better of it. She brought herself under control, it was so hurtful that girls in her class could pass each other such notes about her. Trying to keep her temper she gave poor Heather a hundred lines just for reading the note and for laughing and then, identifying the writing, she turned to Emma.
"Emma Reeves, did you write this note?"
Emma knew there was no point in denying it and reluctantly confessed.
"Right. Go straight to Mrs Turner and show her this note. Let's see if she thinks it's funny. And you can show her one of my notes too!" said Miss Bowen, handing the rude message back to Emma together with a hastily scribbled note torn from her pad.
Emma did not want to get the cane again; she remembered how much it had hurt and was certain that Mrs Turner would keep her word and make sure that it hurt even more this time. But there was no point in arguing with the irate history teacher. She took the two notes and walked out of the class, head held high.
As she walked down the corridor her mind worked feverishly, trying to think of a way out. She stopped and read the teacher's note:
"Emma passed the note she will show you around the class. I leave her punishment in your hands.
Suddenly Emma had an idea. In her pocket she had a shopping list that her mother had given her that morning. If she showed that to Mrs Turner instead of the rude story the headmistress surely couldn't punish her severely. She might not get the cane at all! It was definitely worth a try.
Mrs Turner was surprised when Emma produced the shopping list and said that it was the note that she had passed on in class. Miss Bowen did not usually send girls to her who did not deserve the cane, but she was certainly not going to cane a fifth year girl just for passing on a shopping list in class! She recalled that it had been Miss Bowen who had sent Emma to her the previous term. Perhaps she had a prejudice against this girl? The headmistress also remembered that she had been told by other teachers that there had been a marked improvement in Emma's behaviour since her caning.
Not wishing to undermine her teachers' authority she spoke sternly to the sixteen year old. She told her that passing on any notes, no matter how innocuous, in class could be disruptive of a lesson and deserved punishment. She ended up by giving her 100 lines and telling her to hand them in first thing next morning.
Emma walked back to her class joyfully, filled with a feeling of great relief. She could hardly keep the expression of triumph off her face as she entered the classroom, obviously not having been caned.
"Emma! I told you to go to Mrs Turner!" Miss Bowen said angrily.
"Yes, miss. I've been to see her," Emma said cheekily, "She gave me 100 lines and told me not to do it again!"
Miss Bowen was terrifically angry. She felt Mrs Turner had completely let her down. She felt humiliated. But there was nothing she could do. She told Emma to sit down and, being a fair woman, let Heather off her lines. It would not be just for Heather to have the same punishment as the far more guilty Emma.
Immediately the history lesson was over and it was afternoon break Miss Bowen went straight to Mrs Turner's office to ask why Emma had not been punished properly. She was surprised to find that the headmistress wanted to ask her why Emma had been sent to her for such a petty reason! But it didn't take long before they had discovered Emma's stratagem.
"The deceitful little vixen!" said the headmistress, "I'll make an example of her!"
Emma, meanwhile, was sure that she had escaped with just lines. She didn't notice that her teachers in the last two lessons that afternoon were looking at her strangely. They had heard what she had done and knew what was going to happen to her. As Mrs Rowe dismissed the class at the end of the last lesson she told Emma to go to see Mrs Turner. She would not tell Emma what it was about.
Emma hoped it was not that note again - could she have made some mistake - was she going to be caned after all? When she entered the headmistress's office she knew her worst fears were to be realised. Miss Bowen was sitting in front of the desk. She must have told the headmistress what the note really said. And there was a cane lying on the desk between them.
Emma had not expected Miss Bowen to be there. It made it difficult for her to continue with her story, but she did her best. She told the headmistress that she had taken out the shopping list by mistake and had not realised that she had given her the wrong note. But even as she spoke she could see that her auditors did not believe her, and she found it difficult to put conviction into her account.
When she had stammered to a halt the headmistress told her bluntly that she did not believe a word of her story. She said that Emma had lied and lied again in a deceitful attempt to evade well-merited punishment and had nearly succeeded in making her distrust a senior teacher and in making that teacher doubt her justice. Emma fully deserved a severe caning for her initial offence of writing an obscene note and passing it around her class, but in her opinion her subsequent actions were even more outrageous. She had been in two minds as to whether she could allow Emma to remain at the school at all, but Miss Bowen had asked for her to be given a final chance and she would not like to see Emma's chances of obtaining qualifications lost. She continued:
"I have decided that you will receive the most severe corporal punishment that I am allowed to carry out by the rules of this school. You will receive eight strokes of the cane on your bottom. This is the first time that I have regretted that I am unable to award more severe punishment!"
Emma was speechless with shock and horror. She heard Mrs Turner ordering her to take her tights down and she obeyed automatically, in a daze. Then she was told to bend over Miss Bowen's lap. As she did so she felt the teacher turn her skirt up exposing her bottom with its inadequate protection of a brief pair of light pink panties. If Mrs Turner could have had her way these too would have been removed but unfortunately the rules of the school and the local authority required one layer of clothing.
Miss Bowen grasped Emma's arms securely across her back and made sure that she was unable to struggle loose. Mrs Turner walked round to check that Emma's bottom was in the correct position and that she would have enough room to swing the cane. She pulled Emma's panties up as high as possible, they had to comply formally with the 'one layer of clothing' rule, but she had made sure that Emma would not obtain much benefit from it.
She picked up the cane and swished it through the air. Miss Bowen felt a tremor pass through Emma's tense body. The cane tapped against the girl's bottom as the headmistress lined up the first stroke. Emma felt sick, her eyes were screwed tightly shut and she was trying to believe that all this was not really happening. Her bottom quivered at the first touch of the cane.
Mrs Turner lifted the cane up, right back behind her shoulders to give herself the maximum possible swing. Using all her accumulated skill she brought it down to crash with terrific force against Emma's vulnerable bottom.
A line of agony burnt itself across the girl's hindquarters and she yelled out loud in pain. Her body contorted and she struggled to be free but she was restrained by the strong grasp of Miss Bowen.
The second stroke whipped down with equal force to land marginally below the first. The two weals quickly merged to become one. The pain seemed to explode within Emma and she shrieked loudly. She was doing her best to be brave, but the pain was just too much, it was impossible.
Mrs Turner brought the third stroke down to land above the first two, high on the flinching bottom. It stung like hell. Tears flowed down Emma's face and dripped off her nose. She had never experienced pain like this and her punishment was not even half over.
Emma tried to free her hands from Miss Bowen's grasp and protect her bottom, but she could not do so. The pain did not diminish now after each stroke but seemed to increase. She felt another line of pain scorch across her behind and she screamed and kicked her legs wildly. She was no longer aware of how many strokes she had received. All she was aware of in the world was the pain in her rear end.
She tried to tell herself that she'd had the cane before and that this was no worse. But it was no good. This was worse; this was unbelievable.
Mrs Turner brought down the fifth stroke with equal power diagonally across the existing weals. She was still very angry with Emma and the girl's writhings and screams had no effect on her. Miss Bowen, too, had no mercy to spare for the girl whose lies had caused the headmistress to temporarily mistrust her. She held the struggling girl firmly as the new increment of pain exploded across her bottom.
Mrs Turner calmly walked across to the other side of the girl. She waited until there was a temporary lull in the girl's kickings and then surgically delivered the sixth stroke to cross the others and from the opposite direction. It was the hardest stroke yet. Emma struggled desperately to be free but she could not escape from Miss Bowen's strong, impersonal grip. She just managed to free a hand and tried to interpose it to protect her tortured bottom, but Miss Bowen quickly grabbed it again and held her still more firmly.
The headmistress surveyed the sight: a naughty schoolgirl's bottom marked with fresh cane marks. She intended the last two strokes to really teach Emma her lesson. Emma was sobbing like a teething baby.
The cane hissed down to land low on Emma's bottom just where she would sit. She had almost screamed herself hoarse but she still shrieked and kicked her legs uncontrollably. Mrs Turner waited until the kicking died down and then she delivered the final stroke as hard as she could, low down on Emma's bottom where it would hurt the most.
Emma screamed at the top of her voice and kicked her legs frantically. She had lost count of the number of strokes and didn't realise it was all over. Mrs Turner returned the cane to its cupboard. Then she indicated that Miss Bowen should release Emma and the girl fell, still squirming, to the floor. After a few moments she pulled the sobbing teenager roughly to her feet.
"Pull your tights up!" she ordered.
Emma obeyed, her whole body still shaking with sobs. As she drew the tights over her swollen, wealed bottom the pain intensified and she squealed out loud.
"Let that be a lesson to you, young lady," said Mrs Turner, somewhat breathlessly. "You are dismissed."
Emma could not speak and could hardly bring her mind to think about anything except the intense smart. Her hands cupped the seat of her skirt, pressing the material against her exquisitely sore rear. She tried to walk and found that this brought fresh spasms of pain as the welts on her well-punished bottom rubbed together. The two teachers watched her impassively. Finally Emma stumbled to the door using very short steps.
As she made her very slow and painful way down the corridor Emma wondered what she could say to her mother. She was definitely not going to do her shopping now!