Copyright 1996 to <pablo@thetreehouse.net> Please respect this copyright. Don't distribute or archive this story in any way except for personal use without explicit permission. No, it's not in the public domain. Ask first, okay? Thanks.

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[Image of Mr Impossible]Will I Cry, Sis?
by Pablo

It's cold and dark, a sharp winter's evening, but we've gloves and scarves on, and although our legs are bare above our knee socks, each of us has a formidable source of central heating under her school gym-tunic and thick winter knickers.

We reach my house first. I say goodbye to Jane and Naomi, and I'm about to go through the garden gate, but I stop and, turning back, find them solemn. One of those moments. It's been quite an evening, one we won't forget, and without saying anything, we know we've never been as close as we are now. I hug Jane. I hug Naomi, and she holds on tightly. She's getting used to the fact that hugging shows punishment's over, that hugs come after spanks, once the twisty, wriggling feeling of having been naughty has been converted to the happy, clean pain of a sore bottom.

I tell them I'll see them at school on Monday. As we part, I find myself hoping that Naomi's parents are there to hug her when she gets home. Tonight was her first Visit, and she needs to be covered with love, more than ever before.

As soon as I push open the front door, Daddy's there to meet me, pipe - as ever - clamped between his teeth, his eyes full of concern. He waits patiently for me to take off my scarf and gloves, and drop my satchel by the stairs, then enfolds me greedily in his arms. I feel my face reddening with the warmth of the house and of his love; my nose attempts to run, but I sniff determinedly.

'How was it, kiddo?' he asks.

'Painful,' I say.

'Good,' is his response, although he hugs me even tighter. 'Your mother's in the kitchen,' he says, and pats me ever so gently on the bum as I move away. It feels like an electric shock, and I wince.

I can tell something's wrong the moment I go into the kitchen. The table is set for supper, but there are only two places. I knew there'd be no supper for me - it's always straight to bed after a walloping - but there should be a place setting at the far end of the table, in front of the chair with the stack of cushions on its seat. I can smell something roasting in the oven, and I realise I'm really hungry. Mummy isn't occupied with the dinner, though. She's busy ironing.

On a Friday evening?

A small pile of freshly-washed and neatly-folded clothes sits beside her. She finishes ironing a blue school shirt, buttons it up, then folds it adroitly and places it with the rest of the clothes. It's a school uniform, but it's not mine. Girls in the sixth-form wear white shirts, not blue. Besides, the gym-tunic, the socks, the knickers - they're all too small to be mine.

Mummy is preoccupied. She hasn't even looked up from the ironing, and I know why. I feel sick in my stomach.

'Mummy, where's Pippa?' I ask.

Now she looks at me, and she seems as if she wants to cry.

'Phillippa has been sent to bed,' she says, in an even tone, crosses the kitchen, and brings me a typewritten letter on headed paper. The crest is that of our girls' school. I have a similar letter in my school bag. As I read the letter, the soreness in my bottom shoots into the foreground.

I finish reading.

'Would you like me to take her?' I ask. I know Mummy always found it terribly hard to take me for punishment, before I was old enough to go myself.

'Would you?' she asks.

'Of course,' I say. 'Have you talked to her about it?' I ask, thinking of Pippa, alone in her room.

'Yes, but...'

I feel Daddy behind me. He puts his arms around my shoulders and pulls me into another hug. I squeeze out of it, impatient, and turn to him.

'Daddy,' I ask. 'Could I go to see Pippa before I change for the inspection?'

He thinks for a moment.

'Fifteen minutes,' he says, suddenly rather stern, 'and then I want you back down here in your pyjamas.'

I stand on tiptoes to kiss his cheek.

'Thank you, Daddy,' I say, with a grateful grin.

'Take these up for Phillippa, would you, darling,' Mummy says, lifting the pile of uniform onto my outstretched arms.

As I'm leaving the kitchen, she seems to remember something.

'How was it?' she asks.

'Painful,' I say.

'Good,' is her response.

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As I'm climbing the stairs, carrying the clean clothes, I can't help thinking how preposterous it is for Pippa to need to wear her school uniform; how preposterous it was for me, too, whenever I've been for a Visit on a Saturday. I can remember putting on my gymslip, in the full knowledge that the only reason for putting it on was to have it turned up later, and pulling up my knickers, in the full knowledge that the only reason for pulling them up was to have them taken down later.

I go to my room first, lay down Pippa's uniform, throw my satchel onto the bed, trying to forget that it contains homework assignments for Monday. Friday evening is not the time to think about homework.

I take off my blazer and put it on a hanger, then remove my school tie, draping this on the same hanger. With some relief, I finally unbutton my shirt collar, and rub away some of the soreness caused by having to keep the horrid thing fastened all day. It'll be great to spend a couple of days slobbing around in jeans and a T-shirt. I pick up Pippa's uniform again, and cross the landing to her bedroom.

The light is off, but her door is ajar - Pippa likes the security of the light from the landing - so I can see enough to know that she's not asleep.

I ease open the door, slip inside, and take the uniform over to her wardrobe, where I leave it next to her little blazer and her school tie - miniature versions of my own. I notice that her school shoes have been cleaned and polished, and are sitting patiently by the rest of her school clothes, waiting for the morning.

Pippa stirs, and her bedside lamp clicks on. She pushes her long fair hair away from her eyes, which she rubs, squinting in the light.

My kid sister. She looks so small, so vulnerable. I want to keep her from trouble, to protect her from pain. This time, though, perhaps all I can do is help her understand why the pain is necessary, help her to see the good things that lie on the other side.

I sit on the bed beside her, lowering myself carefully down. She's had a bath, and she smells of peaches. This close, I can also see that she's been crying. I notice William, her bear, has been flung into a far corner.

'Hiya, Pipsqueak,' I say, with forced jollity.

'Hiya, Sis,' she says, but sadly, her chin awfully low.

'I brought you a clean uniform up,' I say, pausing. 'Ready for tomorrow morning.' She looks on the verge of more tears, just like Mummy.

'Do you want to talk about it?' I ask.

Pippa nods, slowly.

'Maybe you could tell me about what happened at school,' I say, moving closer, lifting my legs onto the bed, so that we're right next to each other.

Pippa takes a couple of deep breaths, and launches into her story.

'There was a new girl today. Called Harriet. Miss Spencer said I had to look after her, 'cos she was nervous and shy and everything, and I was such a grown-up girl.'

'So you are, Pipsqueak,' I tease, and she giggles just for a moment.

'She was following me round all morning, Sis! And she never said a word! After we'd had dinner, I said I was going to play with Megan and Molly, and I told her where I'd be if she needed me and everything.'

Pippa squeezes out a tear, and her lip is trembling a bit. I pull her close.

'I went off with Megan and Molly, and the next thing...next thing Miss Spencer's shouting my name, Sis, and she was so angry. I could hear her getting closer and closer, and her voice was getting louder and louder, and angrier and angrier, and I...I couldn't...I couldn't think what I'd done wrong, to make her so mad! I didn't mean to cause trouble, Sis!'

'Shh, shh, I know you didn't, Pip,' I console.

'Then she grabbed my arm, and started dragging me over to where there was a crowd of girls, standing around Harriet.' Pippa's quiet for a moment, and she wipes her eyes. 'Someone had taken her bag, and thrown her things all over. She was just crying, and...and...and there was a puddle where she'd...where she'd wet herself.'

'Oh, Pippa,' I sigh.

'Miss Spencer took Harriet to get cleaned up, and then I had to see the Headmistress.'

'Oh, Pippa, it wasn't your fault,' I say, but I'm not so sure. 'Was too,' Pippa says. 'The Headmistress said I deserved a sound sp-spanking for being so irresponsible, and she said she'd have put me across her knee there and then if she could.'

'Come here,' I say, and Pippa rests her chin on my shoulder.

'If I have to have my bottom smacked,' Pippa asks, 'why couldn't Miss Spencer or the Headmistress smack me?'

It's a fair question, with an answer far too complicated to go into if I'm to keep to Daddy's fifteen minutes.

'You know teachers aren't allowed to spank naughty boys and girls any more,' I say. 'Not even mummies and daddies can.'

'It's silly,' Pippa protests. 'Used to. Daddy used to smack your bottom.'

'Can you remember that?' Pippa can't have been older than four when Things Changed.

'Yes,' she says. 'I remember you holding Daddy's hand, and going up the stairs to your room. I remember the sounds of you being smacked, and you crying afterwards. It made me sad.'

I move away from Pippa for a moment, so that I can look her in the eye.

'Do you know where I was after school today?' I ask.

Pippa gives her head a little shake.

I lie face down on the bed, my head resting on Pippa's pillows, then I reach down, fold the skirt of my gymslip up to my waist. Pippa is intrigued, and shuffles over, getting herself a ringside seat. I put my thumbs inside the waistband of my knickers and slowly, carefully ease them down to my knees.

Pippa gasps. I don't need to look around - I've already surveyed the damage in the mirror. The entire surface of my bare bottom is a deep, angry red. Across the cheeks are six evenly-spaced cane weals.

'Can I...can I touch?' Pippa asks.

I can't help smiling. 'Yes,' I say, 'but be gentle.'

I feel a warm little hand brush over my behind, the fingertips moving up and down the corrugations where the caning bit. An open palm is placed on each cheek, and explores furtively.

'It's really hot,' Pippa says.

'Yes,' I say. 'I know.' We both giggle.

'Does it hurt a lot?' Pippa asks.

'Yes,' I say.

Then I feel something softer and cooler caress the punished flesh. Turning my head, I see that Pippa has lowered her face to my bum. We are cheek to cheek.

'What did you do?' Pippa asks.

'Jane and Naomi and me, we snuck over the fence into the boys' school at lunchtime, to watch them play rugby. Got to see almost the whole game before we got caught. We had to go to be walloped straight after school. First time I've had the paddle or the cane.'

'Paddle?' Pippa is puzzled. I tend to forget. The thing is, kids these days who are sufficiently well-behaved to avoid Visits to a Discipline Centre just don't know about these things. Corporal punishment just isn't in the culture in the same way it used to be, even when I was little. Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx don't get slippered, no matter how naughty they are, and even the Bash Street Kids go uncaned. Kids who do go for Visits are no more likely to talk about them than they would slightly embarrassing medical complaints. The world of spanking seems to lie entirely within the soundproofed walls of Discipline Centres up and down the country.

'You know what a ping pong bat looks like?' I ask.

'Um, yes.'

'Well it's a bit like that, only smaller, and made of leather.'

Pippa looks a bit uneasy about this. I realise I've forgotten myself, and pull my pants back up again.

'Paddles and canes are for big girls when they're naughty,' I reassure. 'Little girls, with little bottoms, only need little spankings.'

Pippa doesn't buy this, and I'm not surprised.

'But I don't...don't want a spanking!' she protests, and the waterworks start up again. 'Even a little one.'

I hold her shoulders, look her straight in the eye. She's in genuine distress. It's no wonder she can't sleep.

'You want something, though, don't you, Pipsqueak?'

She nods.

'I want to be a good girl again,' she says, simply.

I consider this for a moment.

'Do you feel bad in your head?' I ask.

Pippa nods.

'I know it frightens you, Pipsqueak,' I say, 'but a proper spanking has a special magic, which gathers up all the badness in here...' I tap her frowning forehead with my finger. '...and turns it into redness and soreness and warmth...' I lift her over onto her side, and pat each of her cheeks through her pyjamas. '...here. I promise you, Pip, after you've had your bottom spanked, you'll feel like the best, the most angelic girl in the whole world.'

Pippa regards me seriously.

'And I promise that Miss Spencer will have forgotten all about it on Monday morning. That's the best thing. It's painful for a short while, when you're over the knee, but afterwards everything's forgotten, everything's forgiven, everything's all right again.'

'Couldn't you do it, Sis?' Pip suggests. 'Couldn't you give me my spanking?'

'No, Pipsqueak,' I say. 'You know there are rules. You have to go to the Discipline Centre.'

She looks down. Her fingers play with her long hair, winding it around and around.

'Will you...will you come with me, Sis?' she asks, not daring to look up in case the answer is no.

'Yes of course I will, Pipsqueak,' I reassure. 'Mummy's already told me I can.'

A look of steely determination comes over Pippa. She's trying to be brave, and I just want to scoop her up into my arms, hold her tight. We snuggle up together.

'Did Mummy tell you what would happen?' I ask, but Pippa shakes her head. It's important that she knows. Most of her fear is from not knowing.

'I'll get up early to plait your hair, and help you with your uniform. I know it's Saturday tomorrow, but you're being punished for being naughty at school, so you must wear your school uniform for the Visit, and it must be as smart as possible.'

'Okay,' Pippa agrees, quietly.

'We'll get the bus, so that we can be there in plenty of time. When we arrive, I'll show them the letter you brought home from school, and then we'll go to the waiting room. You'll see that it's just like the waiting room at the doctor's.'

'Is there a parrot?' Pippa asks, innocently, and I giggle when I realise what she means: there's a bright green parrot in a big cage in our doctor's waiting room.

'No, Pipsqueak. There'll just be lots of boys and girls, sitting with their mummies and daddies and big brothers and big sisters, waiting for their turn. Before we sit down, I'll take you to the toilet, just to make sure you won't need to go while you're being punished.'

'Okay.'

'When it's time, one of the teachers will come through to the waiting room and call out your name. I'll give you your letter from school, and you must go straight over to the teacher. Give her the letter, and hold her hand when she offers it to you.'

'You will come with me?' Pippa hopes.

'Oh, Pipsqueak, I can't. You must go with the teacher on your own, like a big brave girl.'

Pippa's chin drops.

'Perhaps it'll be Mrs Farnon,' I say, partly to myself. 'She was the teacher for my first Visit. I was old enough for the hairbrush, then, and she gave me a real scorching, but...but...'

I've drifted off, and Pippa is watching me with wide eyes. It was a moment of curious nostalgia; my first Visit, my first hairbrushing, long before I'd graduated to the paddle or cane. I find myself hoping Pippa is dealt with by Mrs Farnon, remembering how safe she'd made me feel, how all my nervousness had evaporated once I took her hand, how I knew instantly that her lap would be a place of happy, cleansing tears. Just like Daddy's always was.

'Whoever it is,' I continue, 'they'll know that it's your first time, so they'll expect you to be unsure of things and a bit scared. Just be polite, listen to what the teacher says, and everything will be fine.

'As you go through the door,' I say, looking Pippa straight in the eye, 'tell yourself that I'll be thinking about you all the time you're being punished, and that I'll be waiting for you once it's over. Don't ever forget, even when your bottom hurts the most. Okay?'

''kay,' Pippa whispers.

'You'll go to the teacher's office. First, she'll read the letter carefully, and then she'll ask you some questions about what you did, why you think you did it, and how you feel about it. Sit up in the chair, listen to the questions carefully, and answer as truthfully as you can, just as if you were talking to me. The teacher will be making notes, for the report she has to make for school.'

I feel Pippa's hand work its way around my waist. She hugs me as if I were a huge teddy, her head resting on my chest. I kiss the top of her head, and she sighs dreamily.

'Then the teacher will want to have a look at your school uniform, to check you are showing proper respect for your school, and wearing it smartly.'

'What would happen,' Pippa asks, shaken from her reverie, 'what would happen if my uniform was all horrid and scruffy?'

'You have a nice, fresh uniform, all ready for tomorrow, Pip,' I say.

'But what if?' Pippa insists.

'Too many questions, little miss,' I chide gently, trying to avoid telling her that the last time my uniform failed the inspection - skirt too short, blazer and shoes dirty - was only two months ago, and I'd found myself over the teacher's knee, pants down and everything, for a vigorous and thorough hand-spanking, before I'd even gone through to the schoolroom for my formal hairbrushing.

'Your uniform will be just fine,' I say, and Pippa seems happy. 'After this, the teacher will take you through a different door into the schoolroom.'

'Schoolroom?' Pippa seems alarmed by this.

'Like schools used to have, long ago, even before I was born, with wooden desks, and a big blackboard at the front.'

'Will there be other naughty girls?' Pippa asks.

'Not this time,' I say. 'For your first Visit, you go to school on your own.'

'What then?' Pippa asks, hungry for information.

'You'll sit at one of the desks in the front row, leaving your blazer by the door. There'll be a sheet of paper on the desk, and a pencil. The teacher will tell you that she wants you to write about how it feels to have been naughty, and how you feel you ought to be punished.'

Pippa looks up, saucer-eyed.

She whispers: 'A...a spanking on my...on my bare bottom?'

I'm startled for a moment; I've said nothing to Pippa to suggest she will be spanked on the bare. Although she will.

'Is that what you think you need, Pipsqueak?' I ask, trying to suppress tears of my own.

Pippa nods. 'I want to get the naughtiness out of my head, and into my bottom.'

'There's a brave girl,' I say, and feel a surge of love for this wonderful kid.

'But I want it to be over,' Pippa adds, weeping.

'Oh, Pipsqueak, I know. It'll be over soon. When you've finished, the teacher will read what you've written, and make a few more notes. Then...' - at last! - '...she'll bring a stool to the front of the schoolroom, and call you forward.'

'To have my bottom spanked?' Pippa asks.

'To have your bottom spanked,' I say.

'Will it hurt, Sis?' Pippa asks, and it seems a strange question. She knows it will. This isn't an appointment at the dentist, where it's just remotely possible there won't be pain. She's going to have her bare bottom soundly spanked, and the pain and humiliation are exactly the reason for her going.

Still, she wants me to say the words.

'Yes, Pipsqueak,' I say. 'It will hurt very much.'

'Will I cry, Sis?' Pippa asks.

'Yes, Pipsqueak,' I say. 'You will cry harder than you have for a long time.'

She seems strangely satisfied with this.

'Do you cry, Sis?' Pippa asks.

'Yes, Pipsqueak,' I say. 'I always cry.' Whether it's a warming with the teacher's palm, a paddling with the teacher's hairbrush, or a blistering with the teacher's paddle, by the time I'm set on my feet again, and all through the corner time, I'm sobbing pitifully, vowing myself never to earn another Visit.

'But you're a...a big girl,' Pippa questions.

I smile. 'Yes I am, Pip,' I say. 'Big girls need to cry just as much as little girls.'

And big girls need spankings just as much as little girls, I think.

'Listen to me, Pip. When the teacher puts you across her knee, you must try to lie still. First she'll turn up your gymslip, and then she'll take your underpants down to your knees. Lift your bottom a bit, to let your pants come down.'

'Then will I be spanked?'

'No,' I say. 'Not just yet. First the teacher will pat your bare bum a bit, and rub it all over, to get it warmed up. It's to help you take the spanking.'

'Then will I be spanked?' Pippa is urgent, impatient.

'No, Pipsqueak,' I say. 'Then the teacher will scold you. She'll be very cross, and she'll tell you what a naughty girl you've been, and how you really deserve the soundest of smacked bottoms. You mustn't worry if you feel a bit ashamed and embarrassed with your pants down and being scolded. Everyone feels that.'

'Do you, Sis?'

'Yes, Pipsqueak.' I've always hated being across the teacher's knee with my knickers down, like a bad little kid, maybe even more than the sore bottoms that follow. 'I just try to remember that it'll be over soon.'

'Then will I be spanked?'

'Yes, Pipsqueak. Then you will be spanked. The teacher will hold you firmly around your waist, and she'll smack your bare bottom very hard with the palm of her hand, for about three minutes. It will hurt, and you will cry. You mustn't try to be a brave girl by not crying. Crying helps to wash the naughtiness out of your head.'

'And into my bottom,' Pippa adds.

'And into your bottom,' I repeat.

At this, Pippa leaps up from my side, and skips across the bedroom. Before I can question her, she's thrown off her pyjamas, pulled on the clean, snug navy-blue school knickers I brought up, and slipped into her uniform tunic. She moves the chair from her desk into the middle of the room, and the next thing she's saying:

'Show me.'

'Pippa! No!'

'Pleeeeeease, Sis. Pretend?'

I can only guess that she just wants to know what it feels like: the comfortable lap underneath her; the strong arm around her waist; the tiny panic as her little pants move over her cheeks and down her thighs; the tingle of a firm palm against her bare bottom.

Whyever not. She'll have to wait until the morning for the last of these, but whyever shouldn't she find out how the others feel right now.

I sit myself on the chair, smoothing out my pleated skirt. Pippa's face darkens. Suddenly she's scared, and nibbles at her bottom lip.

'Come here, young lady,' I say, with as much sternness as I can summon up (not much).

She's scared, but she's brave enough to go through with what she's started. She comes to my side, and I lift her over my lap. There's a moment of brief panic as her feet leave the floor, and her legs kick, but soon she's in position.

I remember something, and lower my head to whisper conspiratorially.

'When you're across the teacher's knee,' I say, 'you absolutely must not try to put your hands behind you. If you do, you will be severely punished. What I normally do is grab hold of one of the rungs between the legs of the stool. I grab hold, and I keep hold until the spanking's over.'

Pippa reaches for the chair leg, and takes hold of it just as hard as she is able.

'Now then,' I say, once more mock-stern. I lift Pippa's gymslip skirt and then, with both thumbs, I slide Pippa's knickers right down to her knees. She wriggles a bit, but not too much.

'Scold me, Sis,' comes a soft voice. I smile, despite myself.

'You are a bad, naughty, wicked little girl!' I scold, 'and it's high time your bottom got the reddening it so badly needs!'

'Spank me, Sis,' the voice says, and there's a quiet sobbing. It doesn't sound like sadness, though. It sounds like a liberating release of tension, Brief Encounter tears.

Very, very gently, I pat Pippa's bare cheeks with my palm, just enough to cause the puppy fat to wobble. The sobbing intensifies.

That's enough. I lift my little sister onto her feet, and give her my shoulder to cry on. We hug, and it's a long moment.

When she's back from wherever it is she's been, I wipe her face with a tissue, and help her into her pyjamas. She slips into bed, then slips out again, collects William from his resting place, and I tuck the pair of them in snugly.

Pippa seems sleepy now. I sit beside her.

'Do you think you'll be able to go to sleep now?' I ask.

Pippa nods.

'After you come out tomorrow,' I say, 'and you feel okay, we'll go to the park.' It's just across the street from the Discipline Centre. Walks in the park are something of a tradition after first spankings. It's not at all unusual to see uniformed kids of all ages, one hand firmly within the grasp of a parent, the other rubbing gingerly at a trouser seat, or sneaking under a skirt-hem to explore the smarting pants. 'Would you like that?'

Pippa nods enthusiastically.

'We'll find a nice place to sit, and we can talk about what it was like, how you felt. It'll be perfectly okay if you want to have another good cry. I'll be there to hold you. I'll take some bread, and we can feed the ducks. How's that?'

'Good,' Pippa says, meaning it.

There's a polite knock on the door. It's Daddy.

'I did say fifteen minutes,' he scolds, but he isn't angry. He knows tomorrow is a big day for Pippa, so tonight is an even bigger night.

'Sorry, Daddy,' I apologise.

Daddy leans over to kiss Pippa goodnight. She wraps her arms around his neck, kisses him.

'Night, sweetheart,' he says. 'Bright and early tomorrow.'

'Yes, Daddy,' Pippa says.

'Goodnight, Pipsqueak,' I say, and get another big hug. 'Sweet dreams.'

'Love you, Sis,' Pippa says.

'Love you too, Pipsqueak.'

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'How is she?' Daddy asks, once we've left Pippa to sleep.

'She's just fine,' I say.

'Thanks, kiddo,' he says. 'Your mother, she...she...'

'I know,' I say, cutting him short.

'Two minutes,' he says, frowning, but not with his eyes.

He heads downstairs, and I go to my bedroom, take off the rest of my school uniform, and climb into fresh pyjamas. A quick wash, a moment to pick up the punishment report, and I'm on my way down.

I can hear mummy getting supper ready in the kitchen as I go into the lounge. There's a roaring fire in the hearth, and my face blushes at once.

We don't say anything. There's nothing to be said. Daddy takes a moment to knock out his pipe, then sits forward in his chair. I stand in front of him, hand him the report. I clasp my hands behind my back while he reads it. His forehead wrinkles as he reaches the second page. He looks up.

'You were caned for talking during corner time?'

'Yes, Daddy.'

'Why did you talk?' he asks. He knows I won't lie.

'Naomi had just been sent to the corner, and Jane was over the knee and being scolded. Naomi was hurting very much, and out of the corner of my eye I could see her moving her hand down to her bottom. I didn't think she would be able to take six with the cane on top of the paddling - not on her first visit - so I had to do something.'

'That was very brave,' Daddy says. 'I'm proud of you.'

He lays the report down, and draws me across his lap. Without ceremony, my pyjama pants are at my knees, and Daddy performs the necessary post-punishment inspection. He emits a low whistle at the sight of the cane stripes, but everything is okay. Plenty of colour and heat, but no permanent damage. Using the small of my back as a table, he signs the punishment report, ready for me to take back to school on Monday. Then:

'You know, don't you, that I would have tanned your backside if I still could, after what you did today,' Daddy scolds.

'Yes, Daddy,' I say, knowing what's coming, what always comes.

'Well, then,' he says, 'I think an even dozen should be enough.'

And very, very gently, no harder than I've just spanked Pippa, Daddy spanks my red, sore cheeks, twelve of the very worst, a gesture of transference, taking the source of punishment from the teacher's paddle and cane, putting it back where it belongs. My Daddy's right hand.

On top of the very real punishment I've had this evening, Daddy's spanks do tingle, though.

Daddy pulls up my pyjamas, and I pad across to the corner, where I stand, facing the wall, completing the last step of the symbolic punishment. While I'm in the corner, I hear Mummy come in, tell Daddy that supper's ready.

Suddenly I'm ravenous, and my stomach rumbles. Mummy and Daddy seem to both hear this, and I sense their sympathetic smiles. Daddy coughs, which means it's over. I turn, and they're both waiting for me.

Mummy gives me a hug. 'Goodnight, Wendy, love,' she says.

Daddy gives me a hug. 'Goodnight, Wendy,' he says. 'Up nice and early for a huge breakfast?'

'You just try and stop me,' I say, and smiles abound.

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Once I reach the landing, I peek into Pippa's room. She seems to be fast asleep, squeezing the life out of William.

I can't help thinking how much more mature she'll seem tomorrow when she emerges. She'll be older by so much more than the twenty minutes or so that it'll take for her bottom to be spanked rosy red for the very first time.

Time for bed.

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Notes:

I've deliberately kept explicit mention of ages out of this story. For those of you who absolutely have to know, my feeling when I was writing this was that Wendy is seventeen or eighteen, and Pippa is about ten or eleven.

Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids are characters in a very long-running British children's comic called the Beano, which I used to read during the early part of my childhood.

For US readers, I've read in several places that the US Dennis the Menace and the UK Dennis the Menace were invented entirely independently, but at almost exactly the same time, on both sides of the Atlantic. Contrary to what I've seen of the US version (mischievous but basically well-meaning scamp), the UK Dennis was always seriously, almost pathologically naughty. (I think the strip has been toned down a bit in recent years.)

Dennis, Minnie (rather like a female Dennis) and the Bash Street Kids (a motley collection of schoolchildren), long after it became a complete anachronism, were spanked and/or caned with considerable regularity. Dennis and Minnie would find themselves across their fathers' knees for slipperings, and the Bash Street Kids would be caned by their teacher (often, surreally, bending over in a great long line).

A number of years ago, the comic was revamped, and the CP disappeared. This comic, and others like it, was a considerable influence on this burgeoning spanko.

Pippa gets punished for failing to look after a new girl properly. With some changes, this happened to me, when I was about seven. I was charged with looking after a new boy at my school, because he was unsure of himself, and I was seen as suitably responsible. After a while, I got wholly sick of this, and I left him to do something far more interesting, on my own.

When the teacher discovered this, she careered through the school practically screaming my name. I was transfixed. I had no idea what she might do to me: after all, this was the same teacher I'd seen spank a girl's bare bottom not long before.

I was not punished. She just shouted, but I don't think I've been quite so frightened either before or since.

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