End of Term: Neil Roper

by Mr Hicks

"Get up," said the commander.

The boy bending over the chair didn't immediately obey. He was naked from the middle of his back where his shirt was rolled carefully out of the way to just above his knees where his trousers and pants were gathered. He was a strong boy with tight little buttocks. There were a few wisps of black hair on the backs of his thighs but his bottom was smooth and lean. Across the white of the skin was a classic five-bar-gate pattern: five purple and red weals, absolutely parallel and about half an inch apart; the sixth diagonally across all of them, and a vicious red mark just under his bottom on the right thigh where the last inch of the cane had flicked him. What could only be apparent to an expert in such things was that each weal across the boy's bottom represented two strokes of the cane one on top of the other. Where the last diagonal strokes had crossed the lowest of the five sets of parallel strokes a bead of blood oozed.

Gingerly the boy pushed himself upright. Briefly his hands went to his bottom, but then he pulled down his shirt, carefully pulled up his pants and then his trousers. Only then did he climb down off the chair and turn to face the man who had beaten him. The commander had sat down behind his desk once more and the cane was back in its place, lying on top of the neat piles of paper. The boy's father had stood up and was now glaring at his son.

"I hope that has been a lesson to you, Roper," said the commander.

"Yes, sir," said the boy, now pulling on his jacket.

"But you said that after each of the canings I have had to give you this term, and on both previous occasions when your father has been here to witness your punishment."

"Yes, sir." Roper hung his head and his hands went again to his backside.

"Did you not tell me that on those occasions your father had given you an additional beating when you got home?"

"Yes, sir."

"And he'll get another _d_a_m_n_ good dose of the cane. I can promise you that, headmaster," Mr Roper intervened.

"I'm glad to hear it. I hope, Roper, that between us your father and I can beat a little sense into that obstinate frame of yours. Well off you go, and I hope to find you more amenable to discipline next term."

"Thank you, sir," said Mr Roper, holding out his hand. The two men shook hands and then the boy was shepherded out of the study by his father's hand on his shoulder.

The drive home took over six hours. Every bump in the road registered in the stripes across Neil's bottom and he was forced constantly to shift his position. His father greeted each move with macabre jokes about the state of his son's tail and more sinister threats about what was going to happen to it once they were at home.

But he couldn't keep that up for the full six hours. After a bit, when the waves of misery coming from Neil were intolerable, he softened a bit and they talked about things at home, plans for the holiday, friends Neil would be seeing again, and so on. And slowly, slowly, the intolerable, burning pain faded to a hot glow. But his resolution never wavered. Neil would have to be caned and caned hard.

"Do you want your beating tonight or tomorrow?" he asked as they drove into the yard just before nine o'clock.

"Tomorrow, please, father," said Neil.

"All right. Ten o'clock in the library. Don't be late."

They ate together, standing up in the kitchen, and then Neil was chased off to bed while his father took the paper away to his den to catch up on the day's news.

In his room Neil examined his rear end in the mirror. The weals were black and purple now with a white core down the centre of each stripe. With his fingertips he could feel them hard and swollen under the skin which was still hot to the touch and very tender. He had said nothing to his mother about the caning from the old man, nor about the beating he was going to get from his father. He presumed that she knew about it, but she too said nothing. Tomorrow, his father's swagger stick would be very terrible.

He presented himself at the library spot on ten o'clock. After breakfast he gave his mother the customary morning kiss and went to his room to change into his games kit. He had forgotten why this was necessary. His father had been beating him in the library since he was about seven years old, and at some time, during a holiday from prep school, he had been made to change his clothes and it had stuck. It had two advantages from his father's point of view, both of which were drawbacks from Neil's: the stick hurt more through just the one thin layer of cotton; and it was easier to strip them off if a beating on the bare backside was needed.

His father had had a small collection of the short swagger sticks since he was in the army, and Neil had felt most of them across his bottom. There wasn't much to choose between them they all hurt like buggery. But the worst was the one made of malacca cane. It was the same length as the others, a bit thinner (which of course made it sting more), but it also had lots of very prominent, sharp joints less than an inch apart which made a beating an excruciating form of torture. Neil knew that this was the one he was going to be beaten with today.

His father had got things ready. When he was little his father had laid him over his knee and applied the stick like that. Then there was a couple of years when he had had to bend over and touch his toes. Now that he was bigger there was a chair similar to the commander's. It had been moved into position already and the malacca swagger stick was lying on one of the arms.

"I'm not going to drag this out," Mr Roper said. "I was appalled to get the summons to come and see you swished again. I thought we'd dealt with all that the last time. Anything to say?"

"I'm sorry father."

"I dare say you are, now you're in line for another dose of cane oil. Well, I don't suppose there's anything I can say that will change you. Get your shorts off and let's have you over the back of the chair. The sooner we start the sooner it'll be over."

Neil whipped down his shorts and stepped out of them. He would much rather, of course, that his father didn't beat him or the commander for that matter but there was no escaping it that he had deserved all but one of the whackings he'd had last term. And he had to admit that the commander was probably right to whip him so fiercely. And if he was right to do it, then he could hardly argue that his father shouldn't.

He climbed on to the chair, kneeling deep into the seat, his knees sinking into the leather cushion. He lowered himself over the chairback, offering his bottom to the cane. There was no rail as there was on the commander's chair so he gripped the back legs right down low by the floor. He was pulled into a tight position so that his buttocks were pulled slightly apart.

The stripes across his bottom were even more spectacular now that all the bruises had come out a technicolour demonstration of what a cane could do to bare flesh. His father was impressed. On the previous two occasions the damage had not been as severe as this. But then, the first had been on the seat of his son's trousers and the second had been only six strokes. He also remembered the times he had suffered under various headmaster's canes. He too had been given a dozen with his pants down and he remembered vividly that it was no picnic.

He stood over his son with the short little cane taking aim. He didn't take any kind of run at it, or even swing the cane very hard. He merely lifted it to the height of his shoulder and brought it down smartly on the unmarked upper part of Neil's buttocks. And then he repeated the stroke over and over again. Neither he nor Neil ever counted the strokes of one of these beatings but he timed himself by the clock on the mantelpiece. This time he was going to keep going for five minutes. Gradually he moved the cane lower over his son's bottom, and then it was falling on the area striped by the commander's cane. Neil started to cry out then and several times the sharp little joints of the malacca landed on a swollen weal and broke the skin.

After two minutes Neil was yelping each time the cane hit him and the whole of his bottom was black and blue with the marks left by the cane's joints sharply visible. Many were bleeding.

And that was enough. There were no fresh places for the cane to strike and he knew that with each succeeding stroke the additional pain would be less and less. He stopped, but Neil remained bending over the chair. It wouldn't hurt to let him think it was just a pause.

"Get up," he said.

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