She hated the summons to the attic. That was where the punishments always took place. Sometimes her father would be there waiting for her, holding the tawse or the the cane or the paddle or whichever implement he intended to use that day. At other times, like today, she'd be sent up first and told to choose an implement to suit the crime. That was always so difficult: if she chose a strap, because that hurt the least, but her father thought it was a tawsing offence, then she'd get a double ration of the tawse.
Today she was in trouble for getting home late from school. She'd been messing round with friends and had missed the bus. That wouldn't have been too bad - she'd probably have got away with it - if she caught the next one. But (just her luck) it had been cancelled and she had to wait another whole hour for the following one. That made her two hours late getting home and, worse, she had overlooked calling her parents to explain what had happened. Her mother and father had been in towering rages when she arrived and she had been sent straight up to the attic.
Judging from her father's frame of mind, today the tawse wouldn't be considered sufficient. Should she choose a cane, or hope to get away with the paddle?
Oh golly! She twisted her fingers and screwed her feet together as she looked at the frightening selection on offer. She was sure she was going to get at least twelve strokes of whichever weapon was chosen. How she hated being chastised: the pain of the actual ordeal, the embarrassing way she'd be squirming around on her chair at supper and at school the next day, the demands from her friends to see the marks.
Oh God, she could hear her father coming up the stairs. Quick - what to choose?
With a sinking heart she reached out and picked up the medium cane.