The two girls stood before the Headmistress's desk, goggling. Both had been caned before, but neither of them had seen the legendary Dragon cane which the Headmistress was now flexing so menacingly. Their insides turned to water and their knees to jelly.
"It seems you haven't seen the Dragon before," the Headmistress said evenly. "Most girls haven't. Most girls are sensible enough to get the message long before it's time even to think about the Dragon. Most girls. But not - apparently - you two." She glared at the two frightened faces.
"Only last term I caned you both for smoking, and now here you are again, caught in the act in - of all places - the sports' pavillion. What have you got to say for yourselves?"
There wasn't much they could say: 'Waste of a good packet of Rothmans' might not have been appropriate.
Amanda just looked at the ground and twisted her hands behind her back, dreading what was to come. Sophie tried "Sorry." "Rather too late for 'sorry', young lady. Now, last time I gave you each 12 with a Senior and apparently that wasn't enough to modify your behaviour. This time, we'll try 18, with the Dragon."
"Oh, noooo! Please no!" Amanda wailed.. The Headmistress ignored her.
"Right, both of you, lift up your skirts. Amanda: you're first. Bend over the desk."
The Headmistress got up and walked around the desk, placing herself on Amanda's left. She tapped the heavy cane against the girl's trembling cheeks.
"Now, this is going to hurt. You're getting 18 strokes, no more and no less, so if you get up and interrupt your punishment, it will merely delay the proceedings.. Are you ready?"
How could anyone ever 'be ready' for 18 strokes of a Dragon?
Amanda didn't trust her voice, so she just nodded.
The searing pain as the heavy rattan slashed into her pale cheeks was unbelievable. She clutched her bottom and danced a jig, wailing at the fiery sting. The Headmistress simply tapped the Dragon against her hand and waited until Amanda settled down.
Neither girl took her punishment with any dignity. What with the shrieking and jumping around it took nearly twenty minutes to complete the procedure, during which a small group had gathered in the corridor, at a suitably discrete distance, listening intently to the goings-on in the Headmistress's study.
When eventually the two tear-stained figures emerged, clutching frantically at their backsides, the on-lookers regarded them in awe. Eventually, when Amanda and Sophie allowed their closest friends to examine their derrieres, no-one could decide which of the two girls had received the hardest punishment.
It was declared a tie.
And in fact, once the agonising throbbing had subsided, the two girls themselves rather enjoyed the admiring looks they were given as they lowered themselves gently into their chairs at suppertime.
Next illustrated story HERE
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