It was the first time she'd received a thrashing with the Dragon, that most awesome of canes.
Julia had been a regular visitor to the Head's study ever since she first came to the school, which was perhaps surprising for a girl who had never been spanked before she entered the Fourth Form at Bexhill. Within two weeks she'd received the slipper from her Dormitory Captain, and by the first Half Term she'd howled under the whack of Stinger, the Headmaster's fearsome hairbrush, and then the Deputy Head's tawse. From then on, scarcely a month went by when Julia did not find herself doing 'carpet study': bending over to examine the pattern on the floor while awaiting the first swish and crack of whichever implement was being used to chastise her on that occasion.
And perhaps the strangest thing of all was that, although the punishments were always painful at the time, afterwards Julia found that she had - deep down - actually enjoyed them. The damp state of her knickers would attest to this dilemma, as would her urgent need to hide herself away in her room and allow her fingers to wander down to where Matron said they shouldn't go.
Today was no exception. She'd been busted for breaking the school bounds to visit the 'Blue Moon', the general store just across the road, where a jar of peppermint bulls-eyes stared beckoningly from the window. She'd been caught, and the outcome was never in doubt: it was always, without exception, twelve on the bare. What made today different was that, since this was her third - or was it even fourth? - offence, the Headmaster had decided to dispense with the services of a Senior cane. He reached instead for the top of the cane rack and took down the Dragon. Julia's heart had leaped as she watched him. She'd never had the Dragon before; nor indeed had most of the girls. Those few who had, left everyone else in no doubt at all as to the excruciating pain the Dragon inflicted: far worse than even the most lively whacking with a Senior.
They had been right. She was now three-quarters of the way through: nine down, three to go if she could stay still and take them without jumping up and massaging her throbbing cheeks. Good grief, it hurt! Each swat had been like having a white-hot poker laid across your backside. The thud; the moment of calm; then the shuddering sting sweeping through every fibre of her bottom.
But beneath the pain, that strange, familiar fire had been ignited and now blazed between her legs. She was becoming very wet: she hoped it didn't show. Only a few more seconds and she could seek the blessed privacy and relief of her dorm.
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Photo: Michael Masterson via The Penitents