Cynthia invites Jennie to bend over the horse
Beth was next...
...afterwards, as they showed off their 'trademarks' to their friends, it was difficult to decide who had come off worst.
Top: Women in Control
Upper 'trademarks': 64 Cardinals
Lower 'trademarks': The Penitents
Right 'trademarks': Alan Davies Disciplinarian
Cynthia's revenge (for Part 1, see 'Too Clever by Half').
It didn't take long for Cynthia to break down the rather feeble alibi which the three girls - or, rather, Anna - had constructed. Cynthia pointed out that she had passed the Sixth Form Common Room at the time the girls claimed they had been listening to a radio programme there, and the room had been empty.
"Now, turn out your pockets," Cynthia ordered.
It was inspired guess. The first two girl's blazer pockets contained the usual assortment of fluff, paperclips, sweet wrappers, and tissues, but as Jennie fumbled in hers, she realised to her horror that it held the receipt for the bottle of wine they'd bought in the Blue Moon. She brought out a chewed pencil stub and tried to pretend there was nothing else. Cynthia could see guilt written all over her face, and so felt in the pocket herself, producing the incriminating receipt. She read it, and then brandished it in front of Jennie, who blushed with shame and guilt.
"OK, where's the wine?" Cynthia demanded. Sheepishly, Jennie reached behind the sofa and produced the distinctive brown bottle of Three Nuns.
"Right," said Cynthia, "let's see: that's sneaking out of bounds, visiting a banned shop, buying alcohol, and lying to the Headmistress. Not to mention trying to make me look like a fool. After I've taken you back to Winnie's study and presented this evidence, I doubt that you'll be able to sit down for the rest of the term."
The three young ladies paled. This would certainly involve a prolonged and painful encounter with the Principal's dreaded Dragon cane.
Anna took the initiative again.
"Please, Cynthia, don't report us to Mrs Winchester. You know she'll thrash the living daylights out of us. Isn't there another way?"
"You deserve all you're about to get. I just hope she'll allow me to stay and watch!"
Cynthia had inadvertently given away her Achilles Heel: she rather enjoyed the whole process of corporal punishment, providing she wasn't on the receiving end, of course. Anna was well aware of this proclivity and was about to play on it.
"You see," Anna ventured, "well, I just wondered whether you could deal with us yourself. I know you might have to give us more than the six strokes you're allowed, but I'm sure we would accept that, wouldn't we?" She looked at the other two, who nodded in agreement. The thought in all their minds was that Cynthia's cane was only a Junior, and even if she gave them twice her permitted limit, it would still be far better that being on the receiving end of a Dragon wielded by a furious Principal.
"Well, maybe," Cynthia took the bait. "But it'll be a dozen each, on the bare, and it'll have to be in the gym after Lights Out. The gym's far enough away: no-one will hear us there, even if you screech, which I strongly suspect you will. If I cane you in my study, too many people would hear that you were getting so many strokes. Do you accept?"
The girls murmured their agreement, even if they were daunted by the prospect of what was coming their way.
And so that is why, a few hours later, Jennie lowered her knickers to her ankles, lifted her skirt as high up her back as she could, and draped herself across the vaulting horse at the far end of the gym. Anna and Beth looked on apprehensively, awaiting their turn.
Cynthia, relishing the moment, swished her cane a few times, well aware of the effect the singing rattan would have on the prone girl. She laid the cane across Jennie's bottom, judging her aim, tapped the pale cheeks twice, and then raised the rod high above her shoulder.
The girls were going to pay a very high and painful price for a confiscated bottle of riesling.
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