The morrow moment approaches (Pt 4)
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After Jessica's bravely-born belting at the hands of the Games Mistress, it was time for lunch. Jesse couldn't touch a thing, flicking her eyes at her watch every few seconds as the minutes flew by: less than an hour now to her two o'clock appointment with the Head Nun, Sister Mercy. Jesse's friends tried to cheer her up, alternately telling her that it "wouldn't be too bad" (as if they knew: none of them had ever been caned), or that she "might be let off with just an ear-bashing," (about as likely as 'Merciless' smiling).
'Merciless', sitting at the end of the top table, seemed to be tucking in to a good lunch. Probably to give strength to her right arm, Jessica mused morosely. At last the dining room started to clear. Jesse was almost the last out, smiling wanly at the nods, pats, and uplifted thumbs pointed in her direction. Then she knew she could put it off no longer. On weak knees she made her way to the secretary's office, the bleak room where 'executions' were awaited. The secretary, who was not a nun, sat behind her desk, her face a mask of severity to match the grey bun pulled tightly back on her head. She briefly glanced up at Jesse and without speaking, indicated a hard chair set against one wall.
The secretary clacked away on a typewriter, once stealing a quick glance at the waiting girl and making a tiny shrug of her scrawny shoulders. It wasn't her problem and she didn't see why she should feel any sympathy for these girls. They got themselves into trouble and if the results were painful, so much the better. They'd grow up to be good Christian citizens.
Jesse looked at the twee little plant in its twee little pot on the chest of drawers in. She tapped her toes and fiddled with her fingers. Why couldn't the wretched 'Merciless' just get on with it.
The clock edged closer to two. As its minute hand made the last jump to point at 12, the intercomm from the headmistress' study crackled.
"If Jesse's there, please send her in."
The secretary still didn't look up: she just flicked her hand towards the door.
Jesse stood, wobbled, and then walked out and across the corridor. She tapped on the heavy oak portal and could just about make out the terse oder to "Enter!" She briefly ran her hands over the her bottom, as though wishing it good luck, opened the door and trod across the thick carpet to where 'Merciless' sat behind her desk.
Apart from the Sister's hands, the only thing on the desk was a long, heavy cane.