The Parish Counselors of Little Sprodwell-under-Fosse were having what they all gloomily suspected to be one of their last ever meetings as a corporate body. All of the members had good reason to be convinced that their days of elected office were numbered. The previous year had not been a good one for any of them. They had all been overwhelmed by various kinds of shame and threatened scandal.
Counselor Colonel The Honourable Foxe-Benson-Fortescue had not done his already dubious reputation a great deal of good by being discovered naked and indulging in intercourse with his wife's buxom and educationally subnormal niece.
Counselor Evans-Foster was deeply troubled and fearful as a result of an affair of the heart with a psychopathic and vengeful ex-soldier who was now threatening to reveal all – with a wealth of documentary and photographic evidence, not only to the Counselor's wife but to a very much wider public.
Counselor Mrs. Jenkinson, the only female on the Parish Council, was in daily fear that compromising photographs depicting her in the course of performing unnatural acts with an Irish Wolfhound were about to be distributed among the townsfolk.
The other two Counselors were also aware that their own behaviour, whilst by no means as luridly disgraceful as that of the above three, had, nevertheless, failed to live up to the high standards demanded by the electorate – an electorate whose members themselves consistently and resolutely declined to uphold such standards themselves.
They were meeting to discuss the arrangements for the forthcoming annual village Spring Fete.
This was an occasion that had become widely famous in recent years. Owing to judicious and highly unscrupulous marketing, it had been presented to the world as a relic of a bygone era – a link to the Merrie Englande of old, instead of the carefully devised piece of increasingly vulgar and tawdry show biz that, in reality, it was.
All members of the parish Council were determined to end their days of office on an appropriately high and sleazy note. If only they could exceed the total takings of last year's event – who knows – they might even have a sporting chance of reelection!
"The ‘Spotted Lady’ tent went down very well last year," said the Colonel. "I thought it a bit feeble, personally, but it's amazing what a bit of exposed female flesh will do to bring in the money."
The event to which the good and gallant Colonel was referring was a tent inside which was a platform, on which had reposed the homely, cheerfully smiling and buxom form of Dorothy Parrish, her ample young body covered with spots of black paint, which tended partially to conceal much of her strategic areas from view. Dorothy was a non-too-clever and sad to say, a not-too-pretty lady, whose good natured willingness to allow all and sundry to experience the delights of her body more than made up for the said body's imperfections. In any case, Dorothy was young and to the old and middle-aged, youth has its own beauty, particularly when freely available for a modest fee or in her case no fee at all.
"Maybe we could dispense with the tent this time round and have the display open for all to see. It would mean any passing tourist coaches might stop and take a closer look!"
This suggestion from the animal-loving Mrs. Jenkinson drew some approval, but the Colonel was not convinced.
"If people don't have to queue to get into the tent, they will see all of Dorothy for nothing – not that they can't anyway, whenever they like! No. Not a good idea, I'm afraid. You know what the townsfolk are like. As tightfisted a bunch of skinflints as you're ever likely to have the misfortune to meet."
"We could always cordon off the town square so that nobody could get near the platform without paying an entrance fee and we needn't have another ‘Spotted Lady’, but something more imaginative and daring, involving more than one lady. The Raynsford cousins are staying at the Hall – I dare say they could be persuaded to help in a good cause," replied Mrs. Jenkinson.
At the mention of these two young ladies, the Colonel fell silent for a while. These were among the two most desirable young sirens he had seen at any time in the course of a long and sexually active life, a life that had taken him from the North West Frontier to the steaming jungles of Equatorial Africa, the Far East and many other exotic locations where many a sultry and dusky damsel had enlivened his leisure hours.
Julia Raynsford was a delight to watch as she walked through the little town, her firm and voluptuous breasts seeming to defy gravity as she strode around, her braless condition delightfully obvious to all. The gyrations of her generous and mellifluous young bottom as she went about her daily business had rightly been described by the Reverend Mr. Scott-Talbot, the town's worldly-wise Rector, as "Poetry in Motion."
Mr. Gregg, the local butcher had reacted in a less high flown manner by describing her walk as, "a Fucking Fifteen-Jewel Movement." He had further ventured to express the notion that there was no limit to the sum he would be prepared to pay in order to enjoy what he described as, "One lovely fucking night with that gorgeous little prick-teaser."
In a word, Julia Raynsford was head-turningly lovely, as old Josiah Hemlock had discovered to his cost on a famous occasion. Josiah had been emerging from the hairdresser's one Saturday morning preparing to make his arthritic way to the Kings Arms for his lunchtime drink, when he espied the fair Julia's splendid young bottom, attired as ever in close fitting Lycra shorts (it was high summer at the time, but this splendid young lady was always reluctant to cover too much of herself even when the weather was far from clement) and his head swiveled involuntarily around, the better to observe her progress as that splendid posterior wiggled its sinuously lovely way along the High Street.
Sadly for Josiah, his arthritic neck let him down at that point and his head remained obstinately stuck in the turned position for long afterwards. It was weeks before he was able to look straight ahead without having to engage his old frame in the most uncomfortable contortions, much to the amusement of the town's ribald and unsympathetic youth. Despite all this, old Josiah remained one of Julia's devoted admirers, one of a long list.
The other cousin was Beatrice Patterson. Why the two were always referred to as the Raynsford Cousins was something no one had ever satisfactorily explained. Where her fair-haired cousin was pneumatic and blonde, Beatrice was dark, tall and slender. Where Julia exuded crude sexuality, Beatrice was ethereally and distantly beautiful, seeming to glide along rather than walk. Where Julia was always scrupulously careful to wear the most scanty and figure-hugging clothes, Beatrice affected long, and loose fitting attire, with skirts that swept along the ground as she walked. It was even rumored at one time that she didn’t actually have legs, but moved around on castors.
However ethereal her appearance, though, there was nothing else otherworldly about Beatrice! Her appetites were as determinedly materialistic and devoted to the single-minded pursuit of carnal pleasure as were her cousin's. Where the one used her physical charm to knock men sideways with a full frontal assault, the other was more subtle but every bit as devastating. Both girls exulted in the effect that they had on the men of the village although they were united in their contemptuous dismissal of these men as a bunch of rural yokels. They wanted admiration, but only from a safe distance. When it came to satisfying their healthy and voracious young carnal appetites, it was the bodies of a succession of well-connected and well-born young men from London, rather than the simple villagers, who gave them physical satisfaction.
The Colonel returned from his mental contemplation of these two lovelies and took command of the situation again in his brusque and efficient manner.
"Lovely girls both, but a bit standoffish. I can't honestly see them making an exhibition of themselves to please our local yobbish tendency. Pity, though - they're two gorgeous young ladies – they’d strip really well, especially Julia!"
"Maybe we could appeal to their sense of social responsibility," said Mrs. Jenkinson, "tell them how big a contribution a successful fete would make to the new changing rooms"
This was a reference to the projected development at the local playing field. The existing facilities were primitive, with only cold showers and primitive toilet facilities. In the winter a cold wind whistled through the wooden and all-too-well-ventilated structure.
Those of a ruggedly Spartan disposition were well satisfied with this state of affairs and scorned any idea making the place more comfortable, but such hardy souls were an increasing minority nowadays. And they could always use an outside cold shower, as those advocating the improvements assured them.
"Why should those two care about a facility they are never going to use," sighed Mr. Evans-Foster. "When they stay up at the Hall they have that superb gymnasium, the tennis courts and two swimming pools. I can't say I blame them, though. Some of the village girls would love to have the chance of sorting them out on the playing field and making them look a bit less pretty for a while."
"Those two could take pretty good care of themselves. They aren't scared
of anybody and they don't need to be," said Mrs. Jenkinson.< "Anyone
who took either of them on would pretty soon be sorry. They're both
into various martial arts and young Julia is a wonderful boxer, believe
it or not, for such a sweet-faced kid. They were both tomboys as little
girls and there's still a bit of it in them now. No – it’s just social
snobbery keeps them from joining in local events, but I think I might
have a chance of talking them into doing something for us. I know for
a fact that their cousin, the Brigadier thinks they need to come out
of their shell and they would do anything to please him. I'll go up to
the Hall and have a word with them all."
Julia and Beatrice were lying side by side in the Spring sunshine on the Hall's extensive lawn, whence they had just taken themselves. Each lay with her chin propped up by her cupped hand and each was in a reflective mood. Mrs. Jenkinson had just left the Hall after a long and persuasive sales pitch in which that good lady had extolled the virtues of the new mooted communal facilities and the duties of those who are more fortunate in life's lottery towards those upon whom Lady Luck had smiled less kindly.
"A little bit of harmless fun," was how this good lady had described the forthcoming fete and carnival. The pair had heard about last year's "harmless fun" and were none too keen to be bracketed with the equine-faced and unintelligent Dorothy as a source of amusement to the village's drunken and lascivious youth.
"Aren't there any other local girls who would bare a bit of flesh?" Julia had asked at one point in the conversation. "There must surely be a few presentable girls, even amongst that lot of inbred turnip-headed grotesques."
Mrs. Jenkinson was only partly able to conceal her amusement at this unkind, if broadly accurate description of so many of the townsfolk.
"Yes, my dear, there are several quite acceptable girls, but their fathers raised objections last year and would surely do so again. In fact we daren't even ask this time around – not with the elections coming up next month."
"Bloody hypocrites!" interjected Beatrice. "Quite happy to ogle other people's daughters just as long as their own are kept under wraps. Well, I don't choose to show myself (as you know), but I'm not ashamed of what I've got, and if you ever got to see it, you'd know why! I just don't see why there aren't less salacious ways of making money!"
"There are, my dear," replied the Counselor, "but they all involve time, money and effort and we've always prided ourselves on making a modest capital outlay in relation to the money raised. As the dear Colonel said, people will always pay to look at bare female flesh – a sad reflection on our debased culture, but there we are. And if they'll pay to look at poor simple Dorothy, who has a face that would curdle milk, they'll pay even more to look at you two!"
The good lady finished her exhortation by reminding them that they both clearly delighted in using their good looks to secure male admiration as a way of gratifying their own vanity, so why not use those physical charms to help raise money for a worthy and noble cause?
"It's not as if anyone is going to lay hands on that lovely flesh – they’ll only be looking and thinking dirty thoughts and they think those thoughts about you two in any case."
The two girls continued to digest the good lady's pleas for some time as they lay, bikini-clad and slightly goose-fleshed in the still anemic sun and fresh vernal breeze. Julia was the first to talk. As she stretched herself and wiggled her bare toes together, her legs up in the air, she looked over at her cousin.
"It's only one day in the year, Beatrice, and it would be in a good cause, even if we never use the playing field ourselves. I vote we give it a go."
Beatrice groaned loudly.
"Just think about it Julia my love. Six hours on the town square without a stitch on us with all those repulsive Neanderthal peasants lusting after us and seeing everything we've got. It's so utterly gross, Julia darling! I can't even begin to think how you could go along with it. And what if the weather turns cold? It can in April, you know. We've had snow in April before now! Just our rotten luck if we did this year!"
Julia wriggled her feet again.
"Don't be such a killjoy, Bea. Just because you choose to keep yourself under wraps all the time like some Iranian concubine in purdah! It would do you a lot of good to let the villagers look at you for a change and why should I be the only one to gaze at that lovely slim heavenly body! You know we always do everything together. I'm going to agree and so must you unless you want to break my heart."
"I could never break your sweet gentle heart, Julia! You know that! Maybe it won't be too bad – after all it's only for a few hours and I'm sure it's going to be a lovely warm spring day."
Julia turned herself and lay on her back. She looked across at her cousin's slim and almost nude body – a sight so very few others ever got to see. She had never ceased to admire that body – so different from her own. Looking at the house and hoping they were not observed, she deftly undid Beatrice's bikini top and gently turned her not unwilling cousin to face upwards like herself. She bent over and kissed those small, adorable and perfectly formed breasts over and over again as so many times before.
"Come on Beatrice! Let's give those peasants a show they'll never forget!"
"We can't just pose around on a stage for the whole day, Julia," said Beatrice. "We won't make anything that way. We simply must think of something a bit more interesting than that. Some sort of sponsored challenge. What, though?"
"Get people to sponsor us for each minute we stay nude in the town square and then we go for a nude walk along the canal towpath for ten miles earning money for each mile we complete – like that creepy Jenkinson woman was saying. Sorry, my darling, but I can't come up with anything else. And quite frankly, I can't imagine anyone in his or her right mind shelling out good money for anything as boring as that!"
"Our bodies aren't boring, Beatrice! Those subhuman, drooling, clod-hopping peasants will love every minute of it! And as for poor old dim-witted Dorothy, she won't be anywhere!"
"I suppose she'll be doing her sad Spotted Lady routine again – poor girl! You weren't here last year, but I was and it was so pathetic, although they did all pay to go in and see her. We two can do better than that just by being there in all our glorious satin-smooth-skinned nudity and nobody's hiding OUR nice titties and pussies under daubs of black paint! We only have to stand around without moving a muscle and a hundred young and not-so-young peasant penises will rise to the occasion!”
“OK Julia, I agree! Let's do it! We'll think of other ways to increase the attraction as time goes by. Maybe the boys will think of something when we see them on Saturday – they’re quite inventive, especially Piers."
"Giles is quite bright as well, Beatrice, a bit slow to get going, but no fool. Yes, we'll discuss it with them."
Having come to this momentous decision, the two cousins, one dark and one fair, one slim and one well-stacked and curvaceous, got to their feet and moved away to a part of the grounds where no one in the Hall could see what they were doing. The closely observed sight of each others' near naked and shivering bodies had been driving them both wild for some time now. They had lovely things in mind one for each other! There we will leave them for the time being, but not for long.
Brigadier Charles Henry Raynsford, the owner of Fosse Hall, stood at his drawing-room window and watched his two young nieces as they lay in the early spring sunshine, bravely trying to get the year's first suntan, despite the freshening breeze that was so delightfully ruffling Julia's long golden locks and blowing Beatrice's equally lengthy brown hair into her face.
He would dearly have liked to make up some excuse for joining them, in order to see their goose flesh-covered bodies close-up. This rather unusual gentleman nursed a lifelong fascination with the prospect of the tender and half-nude bodies of lovely young maidens being exposed to the cruel cold of the English climate. With this consideration in mind, he’d made his fine open-air swimming pool available to a local round-the-year swimming club, in the vain hope that some of the members might one day turn out to be lissom young females with a liking for minuscule swimwear. Alas, so far, only a group of elderly men and equally elderly women had turned up, but he was ever the optimist and lived in hope from year to year. Maybe Julia and Beatrice might be persuaded to take an interest, if only they could be eased out of their haughty refusal to mix with the lower orders!
He gazed down at himself and sighed resignedly at the bulging evidence of his arousal. However much he might lust after these two lovely young people (and it was very considerably) he never forgot his duty to them as their guardian, which he had been since the sudden and simultaneous deaths of both the poor girls' parents seven years ago.
As he witnessed the couple starting to fondle each other, Julia having removed Beatrice's top, he sighed again. When they made off, arm in arm, for the cover of the copse, he turned away from the window and went over the conversation they had all recently had with Mrs Jenkinson. He was anxious to help out with local matters and very keen to recover the seat on the parish Council, that he had voluntarily vacated some years earlier. He was not convinced, however, that he would be discharging his responsibilities properly if he allowed his young relatives to exhibit their charms in the way that had been proposed.
One of Mrs Jenkinson's enthusiastic assurances still resonated in his brain.
"I'm sure the weather will be much warmer in a few weeks time, Brigadier. And in any case, it will be no hardship to two such healthy young girls to get a bit of all over fresh air for a few hours. And they'll pick up a bit of a tan as well – the sort that goes all over!"
What if it was NOT a warm day?!? This was the wonderful thought which immediately occurred to his kinky old mind. What if it was, in fact, a very cold day – even a very cold day indeed? The thought of those two luscious young lovelies shivering away for five hours and then having to walk along a breezy towpath for another three or four drove him to a frenzy whenever it came into his mind! And what about a swim in the Hall pool afterwards for them both, with spectators being charged five ponds a head to watch?
All the while he could be appealing to their sense of public duty and urging them to brace themselves to endure still more discomfort. As an organising official, he would have ample opportunity to see them close-up and maybe, as their relative and legal guardian, have the chance to lightly embrace them from time to time, feeling their icy cold skin under his hand.
The two girls, meanwhile, were sitting beneath a tree in the old copse and studying each others' quivering limbs as each vied to outdo the other in a contest of endurance. The cold gradually ate into them both, but still they stayed.
"Wish we had a watch to time this. I'm sure we've set ourselves a record of some kind," said Julia. "If it's a sunny day tomorrow, we mustn't forget to bring one!"
"I think we ought to come here anyway – sun or no sun," replied Beatrice. "We'll need to acclimatise ourselves for the Fete. We can have our nice endurance game and build up some kind of immunity to the cold at the same time. Now that you've talked me into it, I'm really looking forward to it!"
They both sat trying not to look as cold as they felt for some more minutes, before Julia was finally overcome by boredom.
"Come on, Bea! I've got a wonderful idea! Let's have a swim in our dear old Uncle's pool! It'll make the kinky old boy's day for him! Race you there and the first one out's a sissy!"
In their eagerness, both girls forgot that they had, some time ago,
divested themselves of their, in any case exiguous, swimwear. They were
quite naked as they ran towards the pool. Sadly for the Brigadier, he
was not in a position to witness the first ever time that two freezing
cold girls, rather than the usual cohort of chilled old portly men and
flabby old women, got into his freezing cold pool. The good and gallant
gentleman had some time earlier sunk into his customary afternoon doze!
The Colonel and the Brigadier, fortified by a good lunch, were deep in conversation in the lounge of the Conservative Club discussing the ways in which the village's available female pulchritude might best be unveiled and exhibited both for the greater good of the community and also, and very importantly, their own perverse gratification.
They agreed that the amiable and willing Dorothy should be allowed to be displayed as the "Spotted Lady" once again and further that she should be asked if she would mind foregoing the shelter of a tent this time. (Last year she had had the comfort of an oil heater under the platform to keep the unseasonable cold at bay.)
The Brigadier was even more delighted at this suggestion, to which he gave his immediate agreement. Now there would be at least three delightfully shivering young females for him to fantasise about! Never mind if the third was not a great facial beauty, she had a very impressive body – strong, well made and capable of reducing the strongest village stud to a state of pleasurable exhaustion, as his friend, the Colonel, had good reason to know!
The discussion resumed.
"We can't just have them standing there as some kind of tableau vivant. Don't want the dear girls catching their death of cold and it would soon become boring," said the Colonel. "A kind of dance routine would be a good idea, at least for Beatrice – lovely sinuous body that girl! Maybe we could have a guy playing a flute or reed pipe or something – sort of snake charmer act with Beatrice as the deadly charmed serpent! That would take care of her. How would Julia fancy a bit of bondage – what would you say to that…chains and ropes…maybe staked out on the ground, spread-eagled?"
The angry scarlet flush that came over the Brigadier's face caused the Colonel to sigh inwardly and backtrack hastily. The two continued to cogitate for some time. Finally the Colonel spoke.
"It really is frightfully good of you to agree to this you know – I only wish my daughter Rosie could participate, but Bessie wouldn't hear of it, I'm afraid, and I'm in enough hot water with her as it is, damn it."
The Brigadier tried to hide his amusement at this reference to the Colonel's disgrace – a disgrace that would (so he hoped) allow him to replace the said Colonel at the next elections, due in May a week or two after the fete. As for the lovely Rosie appearing in a state of undress, well, that would be too much to hope for; he could see that. Bessie, the Colonel's lady, was famously strait-laced and nobody could understand why she had ever married such a serial and tireless philanderer in the first place – or why she had not divorced him long before.
"I saw a film many years ago, starring the late Elvis Presley, whom you may remember was a noted warbler and darling of the great unwashed of his day," said the Colonel. "It was called 'Roustabout' as I remember. In one scene, at a carnival, a young lady was placed on a platform above a tank of water and underneath the platform was some kind of lever mechanism whereby the platform was kept in place. A well aimed shot at this mechanism would cause the platform to collapse and send the young lady dropping into the tank of icy cold water."
The Brigadier's eyes gleamed at the thought of his nubile young relatives and any other of the village maidens soaked and shivering as they descended time and again into a tank of freezing cold water! Oh - bliss! Then he remembered the spirited nature of these very formidable young ladies, his nieces, and thought again. They would never submit to such an indignity and he would never dare suggest it to them. Perhaps one or more of the other village girls might be persuaded to take part. It was agreed to canvass opinion forthwith.
The two further agreed that Julia should be asked to put on some kind of gymnastic display. This would help to keep her warm if the weather took a turn for the worse on the big day and both men had seen lady gymnasts in the past and realised that this particular young lady's charms, as well as her skill, would be shown off to excellent effect. The regretful Brigadier declined to ask his niece to put on a display of unarmed combat and challenge all comers. He knew full well that the disdainful young girl would never in any circumstances submit to having her nude body touched by the local peasantry, even if she did thereby get the chance to humiliate them.
A few brandies and soda later and the retired military men had tired of the topic of the fete and descended into a series of reminiscences of campaigns and military glories of long ago. Before leaving, the Colonel assured the Brigadier that he would get his fellow Counsellors to co-opt him onto a special committee to finalise the arrangements for what both men hoped would be a memorable day.
Meanwhile, the two putative star turns were on their way to London and a meeting with their current beaux. On the phone the day before they had explained to the amused pair, the ordeal to which they had somewhat reluctantly submitted themselves and instructed them both to put on their thinking caps.
"Think of something good for us to do, you two, or you're both history as far as we're concerned," an implacable Julia had instructed the ever faithful and besotted Giles.
The two boys, Piers Willoughby-Vane-Fanshaw and the Hon. Giles Anstruther-Grey
were desperately trying to cudgel their brains as the two girls sped towards
them. They didn't want to lose these lovely young things so soon after
first screwing them; and necessity is the mother of invention. Surely
to Goodness, they would come up with something.
"Darling Julia," Giles smoothed the hair back from his beloved's forehead and kissed it lightly, before drawing back and looking fondly at the vision beside him, at the sweet face and the long golden locks spread over the pillow. How he yearned to earn the right to look on this heavenly sight every morning for the rest of his life!
"Darling Giles," Julia alternately tightened and loosened her grip on Giles's penis, feeling it harden under her sweet and increasingly violent stimulation. He really was such a sweet boy, and very well-connected, the heir to an ancient Barony. Yes! He would do very nicely as a future mate!
After Giles's seed had safely been deposited, the conversation turned to the subject of the Fete, to his disquiet. He had only come up with one idea and was uncertain whether or not to raise it. Finally he plucked up enough courage.
"What about a knife-throwing act, Julia? They always use a beautiful young lady for that kind of thing and they don't come any more beautiful than you!"
"You must be mad, darling. Quite raving mad! I doubt there's anyone in that village could throw a knife with that kind of skill and I don't fancy becoming a human pincushion! I still love you, so don't think I'm about to drop you, darling, but that idea gets the thumbs down without a shadow of doubt."
Giles smiled tolerantly. "No, I don't suggest just any alcoholic village idiot with the shakes, my sweet. I love you too much for that! I know a guy who would turn up for an hour or so and he's an ace – literally never misses. Come and see for yourself later on before you go back to the Hall. All it would take would be strong nerves on your part as you'd have to stand absolutely still."
"We'll think about it, darling. There'll be a few jealous cows hoping he misses, or rather that he doesn't miss. And a few disappointed and resentful young men who wish me no particular good."
"You're too stuck-up, my love. That's your trouble. I know you come from out of the top drawer and all that, like me, but people don't like having their noses rubbed in it. They don't like the way you flaunt yourself with your nose in the air. You could find that pride comes before a rather nasty fall, if you aren't careful, and I'd hate to see that!"
"I know all that! I'll take my chances, Giles darling. I doubt if any of that bunch of dough-headed morons will ever get the drop on me! I can look after myself, as they would find out pretty soon! And what if I am proud? I've a hell of a lot to be proud about and most of those peasants have bugger all!"
Giles allowed this to pass. He was a few years older than Julia - a little wiser and more tolerant. He knew she would learn in time and just hoped it would not be too painful for her. He loved her more deeply every time he looked at her and every time he thought about her. The prospect of any kind of humiliation visiting her frightened him a great deal. He would do anything to protect her from that.
It was half-past six in the morning. A nude Julia and Beatrice, newly returned from London, had just finished swimming in their uncle's outdoor pool and were walking hand in hand down towards the wood where they intended to spend a couple of hours alone and naked together. This served two purposes. They always liked to be together in the altogether and they knew that a bit of continuing practice in sustained outdoor nudity before the fete would be no bad thing for them. The warm weather had continued for the week since they had agreed to take such a public and exposed role, but this was no guarantee that the big day would not be cold, wet and windy – it usually was.
Julia looked around and caught sight of light gleaming off the binoculars that the good Brigadier was keeping trained on them.
"Daft old pervert! The old goat's still got his eyes on us. I wonder what the attraction is at his age?" said Julia.
"You're never too old to be turned on by lovely girls especially when they're starkers like we are," replied the wise Beatrice. "Mind you, I can't help thinking there's more than the mere sight of our flesh that appeals to him. I think he gets a kick out of seeing us being cold – just like we get a kick out of being cold together! This particular fetish must run in the family!"
"He should try experiencing it himself like us, Bea. I wonder if we can't arrange it for him somehow, sometime. Could open up a whole new lease of life for him, and if he gets pneumonia and passes away..."
"We inherit the Hall jointly and live here happily ever after!"
Laughing merrily at this thought, the two girls broke into a run, after first waving back at their watching uncle who sadly put away his binoculars as they disappeared into the wood. Those two should have more male company at their age, he thought. Not healthy the way they seem so sensually engrossed with each other. Just not natural at all. Had he known of the energetic and wildly abandoned lovemaking both had just indulged in with Piers and Giles, he might have been reassured.
Meanwhile the two girls had positioned themselves in there favourite place against adjoining trees a few feet apart. They studied each other closely for a long time, looking for evidence that the other was succumbing faster to the early morning chill.
"Your nipples are really standing out, Julia. I bet they're as hard as rocks by now!"
"Like to come and have a feel, Beatrice?"
Within a split second of this invitation, the two were locked in each other's arms and soon subsided onto the mossy ground, lost in bliss. Half an hour later, they reluctantly disengaged and, arm in arm, they made their affectionate way back to the Hall for the first meal of the day. On the way they talked of the forthcoming fete, now little more than a fortnight away.
"That disgusting Colonel wanted to have me in a cage, chained and handcuffed or something. He's even grosser than Uncle. My God, but what a load of freaks there are in this one small village! It is a problem, though. You will be doing your dance routine, dopey old Dorothy will be covered in spots again and some of the village swimsuit beauties will be being dropped into a tank of cold water, but I'll just be standing around like a spare prick at a wedding half the time! There's a limit to my gymnastics and that knife-throwing."
Beatrice nodded. "About that tank act, Julia, I heard Uncle discussing it on the phone. He's going to arrange for blocks of ice to be dropped in the water from time to time to keep it nice and cold all day! Can't you take over for an hour or so – you could give the village girls time to warm up a bit – poor cows! They'll be half dead if they don't get a break."
"As if you care about those peasants any more than I do!" laughed Julia. "All you want is for me to have a nice cold plunge and why ever not? We'll suggest it to Uncle – can’t see him disagreeing!"
Over breakfast, this suggestion was put to the brigadier, who assured the girls that it would almost certainly be agreeable. He further explained that it had been agreed that both girls would be required to walk ten miles along the canal towpath to Lower Bridgwell Lock when they had completed their five hours at the fete.
They would be given transport back to the Hall as well as clothes to wear when they reached the lock and so far fifty people had pledged to give five pounds each to the playing field changing room fund if they completed all their engagements for the day. In addition, of course, would be the money taken at the fete by those wishing to stand near enough to get a close-up view of them as they bared their all to the crowds. Julia was still worried.
She might have by far the more voluptuous figure of the two – her breasts and bottom were a dream, to say nothing of her rounded feminine belly and thick pubic bush – but she would soon lose her appeal if she just stood around doing nothing. She refused to contemplate doing the kind of things she had seen a pub stripper doing some months ago. She was NOT going to open her legs and fondle her pussy in full view of the town's youth or shave herself the better to reveal her female mysteries to their leering gaze!
The gymnastics and knife throwing would only take up a fraction of
the time and the hour or so taking over at the water tank another fraction.
There were still vast stretches of the day unfilled. She opted for the
rather unsatisfactory Micawber solution for the time being. If she had
known in advance the hugely popular solution that was to present itself
on the day, she would most certainly have arranged to be elsewhere – anywhere
other than the town square!
Professors Arnold Potts-Johnson, Joachim von Hatzendorff and Hiram P Hackenbacker from England, Austria and the United States respectively, were nearing the end of their allotted task of drawing up the agenda for the forthcoming Anthropological Congress to be held in a couple of weeks time at University College, London. Most of the work was complete and it only remained to arrange the field trip. Part of the purpose of the forthcoming Congress was to study vestigial ancient customs in the developed world, England in particular, since this was the country favoured with the task of hosting this year's event.
Professor Hackenbacker spoke in his rich baritone voice. "I hear that there is an ancient fair held each year in a place called Little Sprodwell. This is a festivity which has roots going far back into the pagan and pre Celtic past of this country where each year is re-enacted an ancient pagan sacrifice of a young maiden as an appeasement of the fertility gods."
"Bollocks!" said Professor Potts-Johnson in his reedy and querulous tones. "And the full name of that one-horse arse hole of the universe is Little Sprodwell under Fosse – God help us all!"
"I beg your pardon, Professor, but I have this on the very best authority. The trouble with you locals is you can't see the wood for the trees. You are blind to the treasures to be found in your own back yard."
"Bollocks, if you will permit the repetition, Professor! This particular shindig is as phoney and ersatz as it comes. Believe me, I know! The presiding genius is a relative of mine – the black sheep of the family and a total charlatan to boot! But, what the Hell, it'll be a nice day out and a goodly display of female flesh can be practically guaranteed if I know anything of the Colonel, the old lecher!"
Professors Johnson and Hackenbacker looked at their silent Teutonic colleague. This learned and weary Viennese gentleman shrugged his acquiescence – the first indication on his part for some time that he was actually awake. A visit to the Fete by a coach load of learned anthropologists from the four corners of the globe was duly pencilled in. The three then happily adjourned to the Lamb public house in Lamb's Conduit Street, Holborn.
Mr. Harry Fenton-Jones, travel agent, entrepreneur and sometime jailbird was finalising the arrangements for a party of visitors from various parts of the New World. He had five Australians, three new Zealanders, four Canadians and twenty Americans to take care of for a week as they visited the land of their ancestors and breathed in the atmosphere of Olde Englande – or so they fondly believed. The usual weary round of visits to the Tower of London and Shakespeare's Birthplace and all that old hat had been arranged, but there was still the Saturday to take care of. Once again, he read the letter from his Aunt Jenkinson in Little Sprodwell.
He spoke to his associate, a Mr. Lemmy Goldberg. "Auntie says they have arranged some kind of re-enactment of a virgin sacrifice this year. Just an excuse to bare a bit of flesh of course. Apparently it won't be quite as proposed, alas! They were going to tie this absolutely gorgeous and bare-arsed naked honey – a really exceptionally lovely chick, by all accounts, down to a kind of pagan altar with her legs spread out so all could get a good look at her merchandise, but the lady refused point blank in extremely emphatic and even more extremely unladylike terms. They've still got something pretty good lined up for her, though, even if she doesn't actually know it yet, poor bitch! This promises to be even more of a sleaze-fest than usual."
"Whatever you say, my boy," replied his genial associate.
"Well, I vote we put this on the itinerary again. Hell's Bells! They've successfully sold it to a party of so-called learned anthropologists as being the real McCoy! We should have no trouble fooling a bunch of dumb colonials and their equally dumb blue-rinsed ladies, especially if we get them well tanked up beforehand on whatever ice-cold fizzy poison they consume in their part of the world! I really think I've found my vocation at last as a shameless fraudster – God, but it feels so good!"
Professor the Reverend Canon Felix Algernon Hurst-Pierpoint-Majors, the Dean and Principal, was going over with Jimmy Fraser, Captain of the College First Fifteen, and the arrangements for the Harington Theological College's away game with the Jeremiah Bible College at Twickenham a week on Saturday.
"This little village here looks a good place for you all to stop off for a bit of refreshment on the way back, my boy. I know it so well. Plenty of good old hostelries. Somewhere to celebrate thumping the shit out of that nest of beastly Nonconformists – pardon my language dear boy! And I believe they have some kind of fair taking place on that day, a new thing since my time but it should be great fun. It will be a chance for you all to let your hair down."
"Yes, Sir! It looks just about the ideal place to break the journey. I just hope we're not too knocked about to take advantage of the local hospitality. Pity you can't come with us, Sir!"
"I agree my boy. I'd love to visit the old place again. My first
Parish, you know. A heavenly and blessed spot. I wonder how those lovely
little cherubs are, the ones I christened in my first week there – dear
little Julia and Beatrice. Cousins and orphans now, sad to say. Oh, yes!
I'd dearly love to go there once more!"
"What was he like, Julia? This knife thrower – can he be trusted. Is he any good?"
"Not a shadow of a doubt. Not the faintest possible shadow of a doubt. Not a shadow of a doubt whatever! I watched him perform for two solid bloody hours and he didn't miss once! He can place a knife a millimetre away from the body and never touch it once. He can throw them, one under the last and leave a perfect vertical line of knives. I did a session with him – stark bloody naked as I will be on the great day – and he pronounced me the best, coolest and most unflinching partner he'd ever had! That part of the mid morning and afternoon is no problem. Giles is a honey for coming up with that suggestion – I love him more and more all the time! And he'll make me a Lady one day – lovely dear boy!"
"I'm glad about that sweetheart. But, my love, I'm so terribly worried that the villagers are going to do something horrible to you. I keep hearing whispered conversations between various women that break off when I am in earshot. Some of those girls are insanely jealous of us both and especially you because their boyfriends prefer us to them. And that cow Jenkinson (do you know, I heard the most amazing rumours about her and a dog – horrible). I'm sure she has something nasty in mind; and that loathsome Colonel – what Uncle sees in him, I can't imagine!"
"Of course they all have it in for me, my darling. This Fete is their big once in a lifetime chance for them all to take out their petty resentments on me. The hell with them all! I despise the whole lot damned lot of them and with very good reason and they know it! I can't wait to find out what they propose to do! They don't scare me! In fact, if they try anything, they are the ones who need to be frightened – very, very frightened indeed – I promise you that! And I know about the dog; I know a whole lot about that!"
"Darling Julia, please be careful!"
"Course I will, my love! Now let's go into the wood and be really nice to each other in ways that dear old Giles and Piers can't even begin to think about – poor buggers!"
An earnest and increasingly desperate Mrs Jenkinson was deep in conversation with the increasingly irritable Brigadier. They stood in the drawing room of Fosse Hall and watched the two nude girls walking hand in hand, and talking animatedly, towards their beloved wood.
"I really think this Pagan Sacrifice idea will be terribly popular, my dear Charles. I'm so disappointed Julia will not consider being the victim – she would come to no harm, I promise you – just be tied down on a stone slab for a few hours. She has just the face and figure for it – such a perfect body with those amazing breasts – I can't ever get over their firmness! It would be delightful to see her squirming and struggling as the hour of sacrifice approached; such a splendid actress, dear Julia! I really am very saddened at her lack of public spirit."
The Brigadier bridled both at the wretched woman's persistence in the matter of a humiliation for his niece that neither he nor Julia would ever countenance and even more at her unwelcome familiarity in using his Christian name – he was a stickler for protocol.
"I'm sorry, Mrs Jenkinson, but Julia is quite adamant on that score. She has agreed to be naked for the entire day – somewhat reluctantly – she will perform as a gymnast and take part in a knife-throwing act and consider any other proposals ether before or on the day. She will NOT submit to the indignity you keep proposing and that is final. And if you will excuse me, dear lady, I am rather busy. I have several meetings to attend in Town. I bid you good-day."
Mrs Jenkinson accepted her defeat (or appeared to) and left. Having failed in a frontal attack, she decided on a more elliptical approach. She walked towards Dorothy's home to have a conversation with her mother. As she emerged after half an hour from the humble abode of the girl known as "The Village Bicycle" there was a smile playing about her lips. It was a smile that Julia would not have been happy to see, and rightly so, since it boded the lovely and haughty young blonde no good – no good whatever!
Darlene Smith, Tracy Nicholls and Kylie Harrison, the three candidates for dropping into the cold water tank, were deciding on what swimwear to don on the great day, assisted by their boyfriends, Wayne, Dean and Gavin.
"Oi can't see why you can't be nude. If it's OK for they two stuck-up lahdidah bitches from the big 'ouse, Oi can't see whoi it ain't roight fer you three – straight, Oi can't." This was Gavin's opinion and probably the longest single utterance of his entire life.
"I bet you can't, you filthy sod," said Darlene. "Moi Pa would spank me black and blue and that's the end of that. That Brigadier, Lord Muck, should be ashamed for the way he lets those two shameless tarts carry on. Oi hear there's moves afoot to take them down a peg or two, especially that Julia – though it's good of her to offer to take over from us for a while – I’ll give her that much! So Oi'll not be party to anything nasty against her!"
The other girls agreed. They were not looking forward to their ordeal and only the persuasiveness of their landlady, Mrs Jenkinson, had persuaded either them to take part or their parents to give their sanction. If Julia was offering to give them a mercifully welcome break from their suffering, then she was their friend, if not for life, at least until the fete was over.
Darlene opted for a mauve one-piece suit with a thong back and very high cut legs. Tracy chose a fluorescent green bikini of conservative cut. Kylie, the most adventurous chose and tried on to Gavin's delight, a black thong bikini whose top scarcely hid her ripe pink nipples from view and allowed the watching world a generous glimpse of her areola rising up from the cups like twin dawn suns on the Eastern horizon. One violent movement too many and more, much more would certainly be revealed.
The three stood in front of a long mirror and were pleased by what they saw. They were well-made, fit and moderately pretty maids (in the loosest possible sense of the word). The bottoms of the two thong-clad lovelies looked particularly inviting – firm and well-rounded, covered with silky smooth skin, lovely backsides to slap – as the two boys in question were not slow to demonstrate, to the delighted squeals and giggles of the lucky girls.
With two days to go, all three were beginning to experience the onset
of stage-fright, but they were all in it together, having agreed to take
turns, giving each a chance to warm up after her immersion. This sisterly
solidarity gave them some confidence. They wondered how the two nude girls
from the Hall were feeling and what exactly was in store for them and
they agreed that, whatever it was, they hoped it would not prevent Julia
coming across to take their places for an hour or so. She would have their
assistance as far as that was concerned!
"I wish you two would wear something. I allow you to run around the grounds naked, but I think you might appear for breakfast properly dressed, my dears!"
"Why, Uncle? We're going to be very publicly naked most of the day. Why bother to dress, only to have to take it all off later? We're walking to the village like this and we'll stay this way all day. You let us in for this, after all said and done, trying to get yourself back on the Council – fat chance of that, by the way," said Julia. Beatrice nodded her agreement as she chewed enthusiastically on a piece of toast and marmalade.
"I know! I regret it more and more and you can still pull out – say you are feeling unwell or have to go away suddenly. I won't blame you one little bit."
"We gave our word, Uncle and I'm not reneging and I'm certainly not lying to anyone, even those unspeakable villagers. You agree, don't you, Bea?"
Beatrice, by now tucking into a plate of eggs and bacon, again nodded her agreement.
"Beats me how you stay so slim, Beatrice, eating all that fattening stuff. You never seem to stop."
Beatrice paused unwillingly, just long enough to say, "All to do with the metabolism, Uncle," and then continued her systematic and rapid demolition of two fried eggs, three thick rashers of bacon, two large mushrooms, a brace of sausages and two substantial pieces of fried bread. Julia smiled at her beloved cousin as she herself finished off her muesli and cup of weak China tea without milk, eating and drinking with that amazing delicacy which characterised her every action.
The great day had arrived at last. Untrue to form, the sun was already shining and the temperature climbing. A bright and sunny day and an unseasonable high of 80 were forecast, much to the relief of Tracy &Co as they prepared for their ordeal by cold water. Julia and Beatrice were none too disappointed to be robbed of their chance to shiver together; only the poor Brigadier was reading the forecast with a heavy heart.
Mrs Jenkinson had just put down the phone, after talking to the amiable Dorothy. That young lady was now fully briefed on her expanded role for the day. At first there had been reluctance, even outright refusal, but the atrocious Jenkinson's powers of persuasion and a financial inducement had finally made up the girl's mind. The evil woman's scheme to get back at the Brigadier for a million and one slights through the ritual humiliation of his favourite niece was coming along nicely.
She slipped out of her house and wandered down to the square to inspect the preparations, paying particular attention to the large stone slab with its four iron rings, one for each of Julia's supple limbs. The image of that proud young beauty lying spread-eagled under the hot sun for hour after hour caused her pulse to race and a red mist to form. She controlled herself with an effort. A wooden board had been placed for the knife throwing act and some equipment set up for the gymnastics. She would have to be patient and wait until these activities were over before springing her surprise.
Then she examined the large glass tank and its assemblage of platform and levers. The poor girls would have to toil all day and with no relief from Julia who would be tied up and in great discomfort! The hot weather would be a mixed blessing as well, since the contrast between the air and water temperatures would be so much greater – just about the only consolation the brigadier was going to get all day!
A visit to the barbers shop and a discussion with the barber, Mr Monks, completed her preliminary reconnaissance. She returned home well pleased and very excited. Only the worries about those very incriminating photos cast any gloom and it had been so long now without any hint that they were in the wrong hands that even that worry was fading away. She was a very happy lady that morning early in the day of her triumph!
The Colonel was also hopeful and happy. The memory of his disgrace had faded and a successful day would clinch his re-election next month and foil the Brigadier's attempt at a comeback. He was still very disappointed by the refusal of the lovely Julia to be the virgin sacrificial victim, but Mrs J's solution was almost as satisfying – more so in some ways.
Julia looked up at the clock. It was half-past nine.
"Time to make a move my darling" she cried out to Beatrice who was in the next room. "We're under starter's orders at last!"
The two set off, hand in hand as ever for the village. An exciting day
was ahead of them and a rather nasty experience for Julia, who was expecting
something unpleasant although she knew not what, and another nasty surprise,
a very, very much nastier surprise indeed, for one other person.
That admirable man of business, Mr Fenton-Jones had shepherded the last of his charges into the coach, which then glided smoothly away on its journey to Little Sprodwell under Fosse and tea with his Aunt, the redoubtable Mrs Jenkinson, while the tourists drank in their fill of the fete and its lurid attractions. This lady had phoned him a minute or so before his departure to brief him on the latest developments and he had been able to assure the excited party that they would arrive shortly after the commencement of a re-enactment of an ancient sacrifice in which a young virgin was slaughtered to appease the Fertility Goddess and secure a good harvest.
One or two of the more nervous ladies in the group had gone pale at the receipt of this titbit of information, but he was able to assure them that the lovely and naked young lady volunteer would not suffer the ultimate fate, but only a more gentle, though deeply humiliating one; precisely what, they would find out later in the day. ‘I wonder how she fixed it?’ he thought to himself as he sank back into his seat and let the miles go by.
His assistant Mr Goldberg kept up a running commentary for the benefit of those who had not been lulled to sleep, being very careful not to be too specific and inadvertently trigger any awkward to answer questions; there were a couple of smart-arses in the party and they would have to be treated very carefully. The first stop of the day was at a country hostelry, where the two associates intended to stay long enough to make sure the party were, as near as possible, high as kites by the time they arrived at the village.
The theology student Rugby team and their supporters were on their way to the game and would not be in the village until early evening, in time to see the so-called sacrifice. They would then follow the girls as they rounded off the day with their canal side walk. Sadly for these young people they would see little else. And there would be much else to see as the day progressed.
The International Anthropological Congress was also on its scholarly way to see at first hand this ancient relic of England's pre-Roman past. All except the cynical and world-weary Professor Potts-Johnson were eagerly looking forward to the day's outing. They were armed with notebooks, tape recorders and cameras, prepared to take home with them a full record of all that they saw and heard and the many recorded interviews with ancient locals with all their wealth of antique memories.
As far as the Englishman was concerned, a call to his friend, the Rector had confirmed all his very worst fears about the day's forthcoming events. This particular Fete promised to be the sleaziest yet, with an assortment of half-naked and totally naked girls being displayed in a variety of degrading and unpleasant ways. He comforted himself with the thought that he would at least get to look at a bit of bare and, hopefully, luscious young female flesh. After that he would find somewhere to get a decent pint before going to the Rectory. The Rector had invited him to stay for afternoon tea and also meet a distinguished colleague, his predecessor as Incumbent of the Parish. He closed his eyes wearily and fell asleep as his colleagues chattered excitedly around him in a multiplicity of languages which was making his head spin.
Professor, Canon Hurst-Pierpoint-Majors was also on his way to Little Sprodwell. His other engagement for the day had fallen through at the last minute, and he had phoned his successor and very good friend, the Reverend Mr. Jeremy Scott-Talbot. Old Jerry was a delightful fellow, as well as very able, and Canon Majors was a little surprised that over the years he had continued to occupy this obscure rural incumbency when he had several times been offered a Canonry at one of the country's most famous Cathedrals.
"This place has its charms, dear boy," had been Mr. Scott-Talbot's only explanation of his odd lack of ambition. The chap needed a wife to spur him on was the Reverend Professor's opinion; someone to make him buck his ideas up – dome nice girl from one of the better families in the village – what about Julia or Beatrice? They must be eighteen or nineteen by now; a little young, but very good family, a perfect match socially for an ambitious young cleric. He would see what he could do by way of guiding his young colleague's footsteps in the right direction. He loved managing people's lives for them!
Giles and Piers had decided not to attend until later in the day, if at all. Giles in particular had a feeling that today was going to be a hard one for his darling Julia and he was torn between a wish to be there to protect her from harm and give her moral support, and a feeling that she really had to face whatever was in store for her alone. He also strongly doubted that Julia would appreciate his presence until whatever crisis that was in wait for her had passed one way or another. His thoughts were very much and constantly with her, but he realised his actual presence would be no help to either of them. He would be so glad when today was over and he and his sweet girl would make love once again in her London apartment tomorrow afternoon.
Piers was less worried about Beatrice. This tall and quiet girl had never flaunted her charms in the same shameless way as had her cousin. Although certainly by no means a friend of the lower orders, she entirely lacked Julia's icy and obvious contempt for her perceived inferiors (not that either girl was ever downright rude to anyone, but there are polite ways of putting people down, and Julia was a supreme mistress of them). No, Julia was the one who needed to watch her back, but if Giles intended to stay away, then so would he. They decided to go to Twickenham where Piers' brother, Victor, a budding vicar, was playing for his seat of theological learning against some other college.
The two girls, meanwhile, had completed their naked walk down to the centre of the village and, since there was still a little time before the fete got properly under way, were inspecting the various attractions, none of which, they noticed, looked likely to rival in appeal their fresh and luscious charms; charms that had already caused the square to be more full of people than was usually the case this early in the proceedings!
They examined the tank of chilled water and the lever mechanism which, when subjected to a direct hit from a heavy ball was to drop Tracy, Darlene and Kylie (and later, Julia) into it.
"Look at that, Beatrice! It would have to be a semi-paralytic blind man who missed that and couldn't hit
it hard enough to work the lever. Those poor kids will be for the drop with every throw! Trust Uncle and that Jenkinson to fix the odds – what an utterly egregious pair they are!"
The slab of marble serving as the sacrificial altar was next to be inspected.
"I'm sure she still intends to have me tied down on that, Beatrice.
I hear from a little bird that she has a wheeze to get me down there
– pathetic cow! Still, it certainly needs an occupant and must have
one. The 64 million dollar question is, who, exactly? Who will be the
It was a little after ten when the apprehensive, and soon to be very wet and even more cold, trio of Darlene, Tracy and Kylie arrived at the scene of the small town's festivities, and their misery. As with the earlier arrivals (Julia and Beatrice) they had decided to undress at home and parade through the village barefoot, though swimsuit-clad rather than naked like the other two brave girls. They had collected an enthusiastic retinue along the way. Particularly loud, if crudely expressed, appreciation was voiced regarding the two thong clad ladies as their fine young bottoms rolled from side to side in sweet co-ordination with the walking motion of their long well-muscled and shapely legs. Mrs. Jenkinson, who was anxious to get things started as soon as possible, clucked disapprovingly at their tardy arrival.
A crowd of eager young and not so young men soon gathered around the booth. The three scantily clad and pretty young ladies sat in a demurely delicious row at the foot of a ladder leading up to the platform from which they were all fated to be dropped with great regularity and frequency throughout the next few hours. A second ladder led up from the tank back to the platform. The process of changing over from one girl to the next promised to be both complicated and lengthy – at least this would give a few added seconds for them all to warm up before the next plunge.
Darlene bravely elected to go first and climbed up the rungs, turning frequently as she did so to smile enticingly at the assembled citizenry below with a seeming bravado that she was very, very far from feeling. Poor Darlene felt inwardly very much as a French aristocrat ascending the steps of the guillotine must have done; and at least it would all have been over quickly for him, rather than the start of a day-long ordeal by cold torture.
As the observant and pessimistic Julia had all too accurately predicted, the very first shot to be aimed at the lever, a piece of wood the size of a barn door, sent poor Darlene straight down into the water. A mighty cheer went up from the heartless spectators and the hearts of the other two girls sank into their boots; or would have if they had not been barefoot and thus bootless. The hapless and shell-shocked Darlene gasped as she dropped the ten feet towards the water, seemingly leaving her stomach suspended in mid-air above her. She then sank right to the bottom of the deep glass tank and emerged gasping with cold. She could not remember ever having had such an utterly shattering physical experience in the whole of her life, and she had been to the seaside last year and swum when the water was still far from warm. She was unable to suppress scream after ear shattering scream as her head finally emerged from the freezing cold water and after she had shaken it from her face and hair.
As she climbed the ladder, it was only a mixture of her own defiant courage and fear of letting down her two companions in misfortune that cut off her hysterics before they got the better of her. Darlene climbed back down to her friends and took her seat, shaken and almost sobbing next to Kylie. "Oi bloody warn you, it's 'orrible, really 'orrible. Oive never known anything so cold; it's so cold, it's painful, just like a knoife going through you," she whispered to the frightened girl at her side. "We'll never last all day. Thank God Julia's going to help out, bless her! Oi hope the people who dreamt this up get their just desserts, that's all Oi can say! Oi don't mind a bit of a ducking for a good cause, that's just a bit of fun, but this is something else altogether. That fucking bitch and that sick bastard of a Brigadier are going to pay for this! It's roight out of order what those two are doing to us."
As Mrs. Jenkinson had realised earlier on, the warm weather was a very mixed blessing and the contrast between the high air temperature and near freezing water was likely to be nearly lethal to the poor girls' physiology. It would be some time before they were even half-way adjusted to their torment.
The Brigadier had arrived just in time to see this first victim suffer her hapless fate. He rubbed his gnarled old hands with glee as he watched a trembling, but bravely smiling Kylie ascend the ladder ready to be sent falling to her icy fate. This was going to be such a fun day; such lovely girls and the first one looking so cold already and they had hardly begun!
Dorothy Parrish undressed on the site of her stand and handed her clothes to her mother to look after. She was covered in spots as before, but not so many as last year, and whether by accident or design, none of the spots covered her nipples or were anywhere near her pubic hair, which a watching Julia had to agree was a fine sight, a large, black, wiry triangle of strongly curling hairs whose apex stretched almost up to her navel. She had a plain face, although not by any means displeasing and a well-proportioned body which she obviously kept in reasonably good trim. Her main physical drawbacks were a noticeable thickness of the ankles and feet which had sadly suffered from wearing unsuitable shoes in childhood.
You would not call her graceful, but some of the more unfavourable things that had been said about her appearance were obviously unfair and maliciously so at that. Julia could not help but feel a little sorry for her, despite her patrician contempt for this wantonly promiscuous tramp. Then she remembered that the girl, by all accounts, was in some way designed to be the instrument of her downfall. She accordingly hardened her heart against her.
There was soon a line of people queuing up to pay their money to get close enough to see Spotted Dorothy and talk to her, doubtless arranging assignations for later on. Julia could not see this rather pitiful girl attracting more custom than she, but she did notice something odd, which made her wonder.
"Beatrice, my sweet. We've got a few minutes before the snake charmer and the knife thrower arrive, would you be a dear and see what that placard is next to Dorothy, the one turned on its face so you can't read it? It worries me."
Beatrice returned shortly.
"Sorry, Julia that witch Jenkinson whipped it away out of sight before I could get near. I agree. It's a worry. I'm sure she's planning something against you and it's to do with Dorothy in some way. Not really such a bad locker, is she, our Dorothy – if you like your women strong and meaty?"
A worried and distracted Julia agreed. In advance of Robert and his knives, she turned to the gym apparatus and started off with her first gymnastic display of the morning. It was getting very warm and she was soon covered by a sheen of perspiration making her supple, sultry and evenly tanned body gleam in the morning sunlight. People began to gather around, the young men, as she contemptuously noted, standing in a rapt huddle where they could best see up and between her opened legs as she did her stuff on the vaulting horse. With an effort she ignored them and concentrated on giving a good, and flawless performance – these awful creatures were customers, after all, and entitled to their money's worth.
As Julia went through her routines the regular sound of the platform dropping,
bodies plopping into cold water, the odd gasping scream and frequent applause
and cheering echoed across from the other side of the square as the unlucky
trio continued to provide amusement to a group of unfeeling men and women
not one of whom would ever have had the hardihood or courage to go through
what those three were enduring. As Julia dimly comprehended this, she hoped
the poor girls would last until she could go and help them out. Did she
but know it, she was going to be grateful for the touch of cold water on
her skin when the time came – very grateful indeed.
Well over an hour had passed since the Fete had started and the three cold and wet girls (Darlene, Kylie and Tracy) were either becoming accustomed to their ordeal or were, by this time, too numbly apathetic to care. They still smiled brightly at the throng as they climbed the ladder. Between immersions, as they patiently and resignedly awaited their next turn, they were contriving to restore their ruined coiffures to some kind of order.
Kylie's bikini top had early on started to cause trouble and on her third downward trip had come adrift altogether, the strap breaking and the insubstantial bit of fabric fluttering down into a crowd of hooting youths, whose anxiety to capture it as a souvenir had caused a minor riot, after which one person had required immediate and urgent medical attention and another was to limp painfully for several weeks thereafter.
This unfortunate mishap had clearly left her with a few questions to answer when next she was next in the terrifying presence of her short-tempered father, who might be away for the day, but would surely find out when he returned – this being a small and tightly knit community whose microscopically small-minded denizens delighted in gossip. She could feel, in an anticipatory way, the wheals on her backside already, as she rubbed her exposed bottom. The germ of a GREAT IDEA was forming in her young and bucolic mind. Something to do with sheep and lambs. (You've guessed it already, folks, haven't you? - author)
To those watching from the opposite side of the square, her one remaining covering, a tiny and triangular piece of black cloth, looked not unlike her pubic forest and several people mistook it for precisely that, immediately wandering over to take a closer look, only to turn away, regretfully, when they realised their mistake.
Beatrice had indeed attracted a large audience for her dance routine, but was finding it tiring in the heat and had just taken her second break of the day. The piper too was getting tired and more importantly, thirsty. This gentleman had just taken himself off to the Royal Oak for a bit of much needed lubrication, as he put it. He was to be away for quite some time and his playing was not, alas, of quite the same high standard afterwards as early in the day.
The involuntarily idle Beatrice wandered around the square, looking at first one attraction and then another, followed by a devoted group of admiring young men who were still not entirely used to the sight of this hitherto fully covered girl in all her glorious nudity. Each stand she visited benefited from her presence because of this following and she soon became quite popular with the other exhibitors, many of whom were seeing this hitherto distant and otherworldly girl in a new light.
On the whole, things were going pretty much as planned. There had been a couple of disasters, as was inevitable at such events. The lady fire-eater, supported by a group of concerned friends, was being offered glass after glass of cold water after a slight misjudgement on her part. The Sword Swallower had just been admitted into the Intensive Care Unit of the local hospital with a punctured gut, after he too had somewhat optimistically overestimated his capabilities. Otherwise all was fine.
Julia was taking her third and final bow after her last knife throwing act. There were present a few ladies of a venomous and jealous nature who had hoped she might be the victim of another mishap, such as had visited the fire eater and the sword swallower, but these sour-faced viragos had been disappointed. It must be said in the defence of these women, that they did not wish Julia's death…not quite. However, a few flesh wounds and the sight of copious amounts of her aristocratic blood splattered across the square would have made their day. Alas! They were fated to suffer yet another disappointment to add to the many that their sad and barren lives had already known.
It was getting hotter all the time and Julia was taking a refreshing drink of lime juice cordial, when she heard a rhythmic slapping sound that had not been heard before. It seemed to be coming from the general area of the Spotted Lady, poor old Dorothy. Beatrice came running across to her cousin, her face flushed.
"I know what that placard was now, Julia! It invites all and sundry to come and slap Dorothy's bottom in return for a payment of £1.50 per cheek per slap! It's already an amazingly popular attraction! The queue gets longer by the minute! I can't believe the money she's taking – it could even be she gets to make more than you and I put together!"
Julia was about to say that Dorothy was welcome to make as much money as she liked and that it was only a bit of fun anyway, when pride took over.
Hell! She would never submit to being outdone by that ill-favoured peasant with the ever open legs! She swore that nothing would allow her to be bettered by that woman. Whatever it took, she would be the more lucrative attraction. Whatever!
As Julia fumed away to herself, Mrs. Jenkinson, smiling broadly, came
over to the two cousins, her eyes fixed triumphantly on the shapely and
lovely blonde. Now she had her! Only the sight of Julia stretched out
on the Pagan Altar would better the slapping of Dorothy's ample buttocks
as a money spinning attraction!
"Looks like you've no choice, Julia, not if you want to make more than Dorothy which honour demands that you do. I'm so sorry! It's going to be awful for you, you poor thing!"
Julia, if she was worried about her impending fate, showed remarkably little sign of it. Mrs. Jenkinson came up to the two girls, smiling broadly.
"Well, Julia. Had any more thoughts about your decision not to be our Pagan Sacrifice? You want to be the biggest draw of the day, don't you? This is the only way, my dear. Shall we get it over with now?"
Julia smiled sweetly and said, "You just don't give up, do you? And I'll thank you to call me Miss Raynsford in future, Mrs. Jenkinson. I greatly dislike your unsolicited and odious familiarity – as does my Uncle."
Mrs J. paled with rage at this coolly delivered rebuff and a scintilla of doubt entered her mind. Perhaps her triumph, so carefully planned, was to be denied her after all. Then she recovered herself. This was just a bit of bravado on the part of the defeated Julia, who would shortly submit herself to her fate.
Before Mrs. Jenkinson could open her mouth, Julia continued. She had been looking forward to this all day. "I agree with you, though, that that fishmongers slab does need an occupant. Those two towel heads look a bit redundant standing next to an empty altar!"
Her last remark was a reference to two men dressed in sheets and some kind of improvised turbans, meant to represent a pair of Druid Priests, each standing on one side of the altar, ready to perform the sacrifice when the time came. Mr. Moss, the barber had been chatting to them on and off all day.
"Yes, Mrs. Jenkinson we need a sacrifice and I know just the lady! You, Mrs. Jenkinson! Come on, Mrs. Jenkinson – get those clothes off!"
At this monstrous suggestion the lady Counsellor went a shade paler and then laughed.
"We need a virgin, Julia – remember that!"
The sound of Julia slapping an astounded Mrs. Jenkinson hard across her face rang out around the square.
"I thought I told you to call me Miss Raynsford, you insolent woman!"
By this time Mrs J. knew that things were not going as she had planned and she remained speechless as her young intended victim continued.
"What makes you think I'm a virgin, you daft old bat? I ceased to be one of those shortly after my fourteenth birthday – a lovely experience, and it's been repeated many times since! Come to think of it, the next time should be tomorrow with a delightful and lovely man that I'm going to marry soon."
Her voice dropped to a whisper and she put her hands on the older woman's shoulders.
"And another thing, Mrs. Jenkinson…apart from the odd kiss and cuddle with my cousin, all very innocent, I always do it with men. Never had a yen to do it with man's best friend. Funny thing that; don't suppose you'd understand!"
From being white with rage, Mrs. Jenkinson's face became green with fear. She forced herself to speak.
"I don't know what you're talking about, Ju- Miss Raynsford." She saw Julia's hand raised again, ready to strike and corrected herself in time.
"Of course you know what I'm talking about. I have some photographs of you, which you drunkenly allowed to be taken last September by that loathsome man Charlie Watkins. He was persuaded to let me have them. I was literally sick when I saw them, you horrible old sow. I'm sure even the degenerate inbred inhabitants of this village won't be too happy either when they get to see them!"
"Oh, yes I would! And you know it. Get undressed this second! We're wasting time!"
"How do I know you have the photographs?"
"You'll just have to take my word for it. They were taken in a clearing in Pettifer’s Woods and you were wearing that mauve hat which I never liked and very little else; my word, but you looked ridiculous! I don't believe in telling lies, Mrs. Jenkinson, never have not even to a repulsive unnatural perverted bitch like you. Get undressed! I'm beginning to lose my temper with you!"
People were beginning to take an interest in this little altercation by this time, and Mrs J., fearful that the conversation might be overheard, began tremblingly to comply.
Julia was impressed by the sight of the nude Mrs. Jenkinson and so were the members of the coach load of American and Commonwealth English-descended tourists who had just begun disembarking. She was not yet forty and obviously believed in keeping herself fit. There was not a wrinkle or a bit of sagging flesh on her. Her medium-sized breasts were as firm as if she were still in her twenties. All in all, she made a very satisfactory sacrificial victim; not for one second to be compared to the lovely Julia, but good enough to pass muster before this audience of already more than half inebriated yokels.
A triumphant Julia led the poor wretch across to the altar. She curtly bade the two phoney-looking priests to piss off (a rare use of obscenity on her part, which she instantly regretted, apologising very charmingly to them for her rudeness, but nevertheless making it clear that their services were no longer required).
"Beatrice and I are going to be the naked Priestesses, Mrs J. Don't
worry. We'll take good care of you!"
Twenty minutes after losing her tiny bikini top, Kylie had deftly and smilingly removed her equally tiny thong, waving it triumphantly around her pretty head a few times before tossing it down to the cheering crowd below to join the rest of her meagre outfit. This caused even more of a riot this time, hospitalising two unfortunates and leaving several others bruised and bleeding. The Colonel, who was watching from the vantage point of the Rose and Crown's saloon bar window, chuckled appreciatively. This really was turning out to be a splendid day! He thought of Kylie's father and his happiness lessened momentarily, but after all said and done, his was only one vote.
Whether it was the sense of freedom that her first ever experience of outdoor, let alone public, nudity brought her, or the fact of her body's belatedly adjusting to the many sudden temperature changes, Kylie was really enjoying every minute of it by this time and she pushed into a mental recess, the knowledge that her father was certainly going to give her the thrashing of her life, and then some, when he returned and heard all about today.
Kylie's daring made the baying crowd yell out for the other two to follow suit. They kept up a cacophony of sound which after twenty long and noisy minutes, showed no sign of abating. "Come on darlings, get em off", being the only identifiable words to emerge from the maelstrom of noise.
The other two were reluctant at first, both aware that the welfare of their own tender young bottoms was in peril. But the onlookers' full-throated persistence bore fruit after a further forty minutes, when Tracy removed her fluorescent top. She passed it to her boyfriend, Dean, who had just turned up at this time and instructed him to take good care of it as it had cost her a lot of money. Dean complied leeringly. He was glad that all his mates could see what a fantastic pair of knockers his beloved possessed! Thirty minutes later they were to see the rest of her goodies! As Tracy slipped off her bottom, the conformist Darlene, not wishing to be left out, also bared all. It was at this point that they became aware of a commotion on the other side of the square.
"There now, Mrs. Jenkinson! That's about as tight as I can make it! I always was good at knots. You can't move an inch in any direction; can you, you poor old dear? That'll teach you to fool around with me! I must leave you now – I have to compete with Dorothy as an attraction – alas, that will be a slight consolation for you, I fear and rather painful for me! Then I must help out with the water tank and assist generally now that you are all tied up and the Colonel and Uncle seem to have gone missing. Come with me Beatrice, we can leave this old cow on her own for a couple of minutes; she won't be going anywhere!"
When the two cousins were alone, Julia told Beatrice to fetch Mr. Moss, the village barber, or Gentleman's Hair Stylist as he lately and grandiloquently started to call himself. This gentleman soon arrived, looking distinctly uneasy but his face lightened when Julia merely asked for the loan for an hour or so, of his leather razor strop. Acting on her instructions, the dutiful Beatrice fashioned a placard which was placed against the wooden screen lately used for the knife throwing act. It read as follows.
"LEATHER MY LOVELY BOTTOM! NO BLOW TOO HARD TO TAKE FOR THIS TOUGH COOKIE! £2.50 PER BLOW PER CHEEK. ENJOY!"
"There. I can't have those peasants laying their dirty hands on me. Even my arse is too good for them to touch! But they are welcome to use dear Mr. Moss' strop on it for an hour or so. Go and look after Mrs. J., my sweet. I'll take care of this side of things. As soon as Dorothy tires of having her bum slapped I'll wrap this up and get over to the tank to help out those poor girls. I'll soon overtake her takings, what with charging so much more and having such a much nicer bottom anyway."
Beatrice looked as though she doubted her cousin's wisdom, (which she did) but complied and went over to the Altar, where the collection box was filling up fast, although not as fast as if Julia had been the victim. Mrs. J.'s nephew, the fraudster travel agent was commiserating with his distressed relative as Beatrice returned to her post as Priestess. "Fuck off sunshine" said Beatrice, whose use of language was far freer than her cousin's, "but leave a fiver behind you before you retire to the Feathers or wherever. Yes, the Feathers I think; easily the nastiest joint in town, right up your street, arse hole!"
Mr. Fenton-Jones complied. He had always feared Beatrice for some reason. After depositing part of his ill-gotten gains as directed he slunk off, his tail metaphorically between his bandy legs (The poor man had suffered as a child from Rickets).
As she stood by the makeshift altar, the sharp cracking sound of leather being forcefully and lustily applied to Julia's sweet and tortured flesh began to sound out across the square, drowning out the noise of the much milder slaps which were still being administered to the homely and increasingly pink peasant buttocks of the good Dorothy. For the first time in the last half hour, Mrs. Jenkinson began to feel better. Her plan had after all worked out after a fashion. A bird in the hand and all that!
Mr. Fenton-Jones's group began to mingle with the townsfolk and take part in the various activities. Some were particularly taken by the naked Kylie, who was just on the point of being joined in her total exposure by the other two. Some preferred the sight of the poor Mrs. Jenkinson and her attendant Priestess lovely. A not inconsiderable number joined the lengthening queue of those anxious to administer cruel chastisement to the still shapely but already badly thrashed bottom of the stoic and ever smiling Julia.
Mr. Cyrus A Parkinson of the great and beautiful city of Vancouver BC was the last person on that memorable day to lay hands on the sore bottom of poor Dorothy, who signified, once his large firm hand had descended with stinging force on that bruised rump, that she had bloody had enough, thanks all the same.
Beatrice saw this (she had been looking out for this and praying that
it would happen soon) and ran over to her cousin, who looked mightily
relieved. Sadly for Julia, she had been in the middle of a transaction
as Beatrice arrived and felt in honour bound to cater for this one last customer.
To both girls' horror, the said customer, a large and powerfully built
lady, who had long resented her husband's admiration for Julia, was flourishing
a fifty pound note. She was emphatic that she did NOT want any change!
Mrs. Patterson, for this was the jealous lady's name, brandished the high denomination note before Julia's horrified eyes.
"I suppose you know how many blows I get to give you with this much money?" she asked with a nasty smile.
"Meaning you're too thick to work it out yourself, I suppose, you half-wit. Well, I don't make a habit of helping low-class idiots like you with their sums, but I'm in a good mood today, luckily for you. You get twenty, but as you're a bulk buyer, so to speak, you get a bonus of five. Listen very carefully you turnip-brained lump of lard, twenty plus five equals twen-ty fi-ve; got that, bird brain? Twenty five. I'll count since you almost certainly can't make it any higher than five!"
Julia bent over again, thankfully for the last time that afternoon and began counting off the strokes in a clear and unwavering voice which faltered not once until all twenty five soundly delivered slashes of the leather strop had inflicted yet more agony to her already sore bottom.
It had been a painful hour already. Most of her customers had been pretty gentle, especially the boys of the village and the visitors, and had only delivered lightly stinging blows which had not bothered her a lot, but some of the village women in the queue had scarcely been able to believe their luck as they laid viciously into that beautiful and hated bum, about which they had heard with increasingly jealous rage, their husbands and boy friends rhapsodising for so long.
Some of the other women had hurt her quite badly, but Mrs. Patterson's strength and fury were a revelation both to the silent onlookers and to the suffering Julia. Everybody expected the poor girl, whose incredible and defiant bravery had captured their absolute and unstinting admiration by this time, to faint away at any moment. Finally the ordeal was over. Mrs. Patterson laid down the strop, breathing heavily after her exertion, into which she had thrown her all.
"How did you loike that you dirty, stuck-up, toffee nosed little tart?" asked this far from amiable lady as soon as she had sufficiently recovered her breath.
"I hardly felt a thing, you feeble cripple. And how do you like THIS?"
Those who witnessed what followed were to talk it over among themselves for years afterwards. So much seemed to happen in such a minuscule atom of time, that nobody could ever take it in or call it back to mind in any but the sketchiest of detail. The bent-over Julia straightened up and wheeled round. Before anybody was aware of any movement taking place, Mrs. Patterson was reeling back senseless into the arms of the onlookers after Julia's unerringly aimed fist had flashed out and crashed solidly into her jaw, fracturing it in three places with a loud and sickening noise which all who had heard it would remember until his or her dying day.
Mrs. Patterson's long-suffering husband was to become a greater admirer of Julia after this even than he been before, since it was for several blessed and peaceful weeks that he was to be spared the hated sound of his wife's unmelodious and incessantly nagging voice, as she lay in hospital with her jaw wired up, only able to take liquid nourishment through a straw. There was nothing that was too good for Julia in his view; he was to worship her from afar for the rest of his days!
Supremely confident that she had despatched the good lady to a temporary, but lengthy oblivion, Julia, contemptuously not deigning to give the comatose woman any more of her attention, picked up the strop and handed it to Beatrice – like everyone else present, thunderstruck at what had just happened, telling her that it might be needed again later and, without one backward glance, walked away towards the three now naked girls to give them a welcome break from their incessant soakings.
"My word! But that's one lovely, brave and formidable young lady," said Professor Potts Johnson as he reluctantly tore himself away from the town square and directed his footsteps towards the Rectory and his meeting with his good friend Jerry Scott-Talbot, to whom he had some important words to say and a tempting offer to convey.
He had not been in Little Sprodwell for some years now, and the last he had seen of the two cousins had been the sight of a couple of tomboys whose wildness then had already given some hint of their future characters. ‘What an absolute peach she has turned out to be,’ he thought, ‘one hell of a woman! I wonder what lucky man will end up marrying her. Lucky, he may be, but he'll have his hands full with a spirited lady like that. I'd give a King's ransom to be in his shoes, though!’
And he resumed his walk to the Rectory.
The disappointed Professor Hackenbacker had been only three places away from the head of the queue when the flaying of Julia had (mercifully and not a moment too soon) ceased. He was ashamed to admit to having been utterly carried away by the excitement of the occasion and his hand had been itching with anticipation as he slowly got closer and closer to that lovely posterior from whose scarlet surface the sound of leather on skin was issuing forth, sending its message of pain ringing out loud and clear across the square. He only hoped that none of his Harvard fellow academics ever got wind of his heretofore uncharacteristic access of sadism. He was to hate himself and be deeply ashamed for long afterwards for this fall from grace. Thank God he had been denied his wish at the last minute, he told himself.
As he watched the proud and undefeated girl stalk off, with her buttocks angrily red, but otherwise seemingly none the worse for her terrible, if utterly voluntary ordeal, walking confidently and firmly across the square to help out the reluctantly aquatic trio, he appreciated how right his English colleague had been in his tersely contemptuous dismissal of this whole tawdry affair. But it had been worth it just to witness that scene of sheer bravery and subsequent poetic justice that had just been enacted.
Like his British fellow academic, he was lost in admiration for the
beautiful Julia, and like Potts-Johnson he too saw that this was a woman
who would never submit to being any man's property. And what sane and decent
man would want to stop such a lovely flower from blooming in her own
way and according to her own needs, fulfilling her own beautiful and unique
destiny? His mind was full of such thoughts as he made his way reflectively
back to the coach to await the return of the rest of the party in a few hours’
time. He had seen enough. He had seen too much. Enough of the fete and
too much, far too much of his own inner self and the darkness there of which
he was so deeply ashamed and afraid.
"Are you sure you still want to take over, Miss Raynsford? We all saw that over there, and you must want to go home and loy down after that awful beating that cow gave you; served her bloody roight the way you laid her out though! That were lovely to watch, it reely were!"
Julia wiped a tear away. It was not the pain, almost unendurable though it still was that caused this sign of emotion, but shame. The warm-hearted sympathy that this girl had just expressed served to remind her of all the unkind things she had said about her in the past and about so many other village girls. At this moment there was nothing she wanted more than to have them accept her as a friend. She had witnessed, with amazed and growing admiration, their stoicism as they had descended time and again into the freezing water and had come so ardently to admire them that she desired their friendship and approbation as she had never desired any others'.
"Thanks, Kylie! I'm fine. Oh! You look so divinely and utterly lovely without your costume – really lovely! Don't you feel how great it is to be free of clothes for a while on this Feast of the Lord of Misrule? And the rest of you, you all look so utterly sweet. I love all three of you. I've been watching your ordeal and you've all been pretty brave yourselves! A promise is a promise, Kylie. I've never broken one in my life and never will, so help me God! You three go off and enjoy the fete for a while, and don't be in a hurry to come back. My arse needs a good cooling down. It feels like it's on fire. And another thing, don't any of you three ever dare to call me anything other than Julia from now on! Got that? You'll all be in such trouble if you don't! Seriously…I'd think it the nicest thing that had ever happened to me if you did!"
"OK Julia! Thanks for helping out, my love! You're a great girl; you really are! See you later!"
After Kylie had said this, all three girls kissed a weeping but very happy Julia and scampered off, bare-arse naked and happier than they had any of them ever been before, to enjoy the fun.
She climbed the ladder and prayed that the first shot would be so
aimed as to plunge her into that delicious and longed for cold. Thankfully,
her prayer was answered and after her fall from the platform she gloried
in the icy kiss of the super-cooled water as it drew the fiery pain out
of her tormented body. "Thanks, Uncle, you old pervert," she said as she
luxuriated in the cold, finally dragging herself out with immense reluctance
to face, with extreme delight, the by now expertly aimed throws of the
sick-minded youths who had become so addicted this last few hours to the
delights of sending three decent, courageous and lovely girls to one icy
soaking after another.
"Did you get a chance to speak to old Mossy, our very own Gentleman's Hair Stylist?" asked Julia, fresher and cooler after her multiple ducking, although still tender from the attentions of the odious Mrs. Patterson and a bevy of other unpleasant village ladies, whose names were inscribed forever in her mind. (They might not know it yet, but they were all due to be paid back with interest in the days that followed.)
"Yes," answered the loyal Beatrice. "He had been asked to lend the bogus priests a cut-throat razor. Mrs. Jenkinson was going to shave you, when it came for the time to sacrifice you – I mean your pubic hair of course, not that on your sweet head."
"I'd an idea that might have been what she had in mind, the cow! Well, let’s go and take a look at the bitch. I bet she's feeling the heat by now, although it's not quite as warm all of a sudden. I think tomorrow will be another kind of day altogether."
"It's getting a lot cooler, Julia. We've had the best of the day, that's for sure. Let's untie that cow and get off on our walk along the canal."
Julia did not respond to this immediately but seemed lost in thought.
"I think we'll have to do the sacrifice on the old bat, but not shave her. Something more painful is in order for her. Still got that strop?"
"Well, see if you can get your hands on another one or some other suitable leather belt or strap. We are about to get a bit of exercise; get the circulation going a bit and warm that cow up at the same time!"
"Please let me go, Julia! I'm going through hell on this slab and now I'm getting cold. I would never have tied you down so tightly. Please let me go, I beg you!"
"Get lost, you loathsome woman. Your ordeal's hardly started."
Julia turned her back on the distraught lady so that she could see her still inflamed buttocks.
"See that, Mrs. Jenkinson? I regard it as partly your doing. You put that stupid bitch Dorothy up to getting herself spanked and I couldn't think of any other way of outbidding her. Maybe it was silly of me to lay myself open to the malice of so many people, but I still blame you and now you are going to feel a bit of pain yourself. Since you feel cold, I'm going to be nice to you and warm you up a bit with Beatrice's assistance. I got twenty-five very painful belts from that Patterson cow and about the same from a variety of other malicious bitches and we are going to pass them on to you, only, since you're lying on your back it'll have to be that very well toned belly of yours that gets it. OK Beatrice! Let’s get to work on the bitch!"
Beatrice wielded Mr. Moss's spare strop and Julia the one that had done such effective and painful work on her bottom earlier in the day. Once again, the sound of leather against flesh echoed around the square, now beginning to empty as the citizens repaired to the town's many hostelries. As the harsh cracking of the lustily wielded strops mingled with the yelps and howls of distress emanating from Mrs. Jenkinson's throat, the square began to fill up again as the citizenry, whose appetite for other people's pain and discomfort had by no means been sated, emerged from the Rose and Crown, The White Lion, The Feathers and sundry other places of refreshment to stare at the amazing scene.
Mr. Fenton-Jones was on the point of coming to his aunt's assistance when one of the locals reminded him that Julia was not a lady to be crossed, especially in her present vindictive and vengeful mood. He thought of the example of the hospitalised Mrs. Patterson, rubbed his own jaw reflectively and decided that his aunt was on her own. He just hoped Julia and her cousin would desist from their frenzied assault on Mrs. Hankinson’s trim athlete's belly before they did her any serious and lasting harm.
After they had given her fifty good hard whacks, turning her belly a bright red to match the hue of Julia's still smarting rear, plus a few more for luck, they stopped, panting and sweating.
"There, you bitch!" said a still angry Julia. "You'll be feeling a bit warmer now, won't you? I hope so, because you'll be here all night. We're off for our walk now. Sweet dreams!"
Mrs. Jenkinson whimpered pitifully and begged to be released, but the merciless and still furious Julia took no notice. She began to realise that it was going to be a long and cold night for her.
Kylie and Co had returned to their duties as drowned rats after touring the rest of the fete, attracting as much attention and admiration as the two cousins and a great deal more than the Spotted Lady, who was by this time rubbing her sore bottom ruefully and cursing Mrs. Jenkinson for talking her into it. Owing to the fact that the blocks of ice had all been used up long ago, the water was getting warmer all the time and they spent another couple of hours splashing happily around before the declining attendance caused them to bring their unusual experience to an end. They all agreed that it had been enormous fun once the initial shock had worn off, and accepted Julia's invitation to use her Uncle's pool whenever they felt like it.
"Don't bother to bring any swimwear," she had said to them. "We girls have all grown out of that, haven't we?"
They forgave the Brigadier for his unkindness in making the water so cold, indeed they were inclined to be grateful to him for inadvertently bringing them closer to Julia, a girl they had always been inclined to both like and admire, despite that frigid hauteur, which they had shrewdly guessed to be as much due to shyness as to any kind of malice. Their feelings towards Mrs. J. had not softened, however. They realised that their new friend Julia's terrible suffering was at least partly her doing and rejoiced at her discomfiture, although not openly as she was their landlady and might cause trouble.
When they saw Julia and Beatrice move off to start the ten-mile nude walk that was to bring the day's events to a conclusion, they decided to follow, along with many others. Since Kylie's attire was not available to her to put back on, they all remained nude. To their surprise, they saw that Dorothy was running to catch up with the cousins.
The square emptied again, leaving Mrs. Jenkinson alone and shivering on the marble slab that she had intended as a resting place for Julia, as the temperature continued to plummet.
"What are you tagging along with us for, Dorothy?" asked an irritable Julia whose buttocks were still throbbing painfully and was not about to forget whose doing it was.
"Oi'm being sponsored as well. Mrs. Jenkinson thought you might not be well enough when she came to see me the other day. Does it hurt Julia? It looks awfully red!"
"Mind your own business! And take those shoes off, if you must come with us. This is a naked walk. Do you see anything on our feet?"
"OK Julia. What do I do with them?"
"I don't know. Give them to one of your many lovers; you've pretty well the whole village to choose from, to say nothing of the rest of the county! Go on! Get rid of them. You're holding us up, you stupid girl!"
The two cousins continued to walk towards the towpath and Dorothy, after handing her shoes to a bystander, ran to catch them up, already feeling sore-footed even before she drew level. The trio walked in silence for a couple of miles, poor Dorothy showing more and more signs of distress as the sharp stones on the gravelled path cut into her tender soles.
"Oh come on you stupid ugly cow, you're holding us up. Whatever have I ever done to deserve being lumbered with a halfwit like you?" Julia' temper was not improving and her still sore behind served as a constant reminder of the fact that she had Dorothy to thank for it.
"Don't talk to me loike that, Julia. It isn't noice."
"Stupid ugly cow."
"Oi dare you to say that again you stuck up bitch"
"Very stupid, nil witted very ugly cow! Go away and get out my hair you horse-faced bitch!"
An enraged Dorothy, who, although good natured and slow to take offence, was in some pain herself by this time and getting to be as irritable as Julia, aimed a mighty punch at her tormentor. Julia saw it coming a mile away and ducked, aiming two wicked punches of her own, neither of which missed, one to the face and the other just below the ribs. Dorothy's legs buckled momentarily but she quickly recovered. She was a strong girl and it would take more than a couple of blows to stop her.
Fired up by the pain, Dorothy lashed out again and this time Julia was not entirely successful in avoiding the big girl's fist which glanced off her shoulder, stinging Julia a little but doing no harm. Both girls squared up to each other and prepared for a long and bloody fight to the finish.
A horrified Beatrice, at some risk to herself, stepped between the combatants.
"Stop it, both of you! Apologise to Dorothy, Julia for being so unkind
and let's get this walk over with." When neither girl showed any sign of
backing down, she continued, "Well, if you must fight, and maybe you
do need to get it out of your system, don't do it here. What about that
field? Plenty of room for spectators and we can charge them all a pound
for each round. We are still on duty you know and supposed to be raising
money for a good cause. We'll need a timekeeper and seconds. I don't
suppose either of you want a referee to spoil the fun? No. I thought
not! Oh, look here's your Giles and a couple of friends!"
"Can I say a couple of things to you, Dorothy, before we continue our fight?"
"What, Julia?" asked the battered Dorothy, her eyes almost closed and her face a bloody mess after seven rounds, during which she had hardly landed a blow on the skilful Julia. The two combatants had just come out of their respective improvised corners to start another round.
"Number one: you're a wonderful and brave girl. I'd be proud to call you my friend. I truly would!"
Dorothy blinked in surprise. "What else, Julia? You said two things."
"I'm sorry for the wicked way I spoke to you back there. Will you please forgive me, not only for that but what I've done to that poor nice face of yours? I won't hit you again, but you are welcome to hit me as hard and as many times as you like. I won't duck, I promise you! I deserve it! Go on. Go ahead!"
Dorothy shook her head and tears trickled down her cheeks.
"I don't want to fight you any more, Julia – not if you're saying you're sorry. Shake hands?"
Julia stepped up to her bruised ex-opponent and gently brushed the proffered hand aside.
"I think we can do better than a handshake, sweetheart!" and she put her arms around Dorothy and gently kissed her bruised face, the tears streaming down her own cheeks as she did so.
The watching crowd began to drift away. Some were glad to see the two girls settle their differences in such a tender way and others were disappointed to be denied the sight of Dorothy's body slumping senseless to the ground. Giles, who had been watching his beloved's merciless demolition of a completely unskilled but plucky opponent with growing disgust, breathed a sigh of relief, his faith in Julia's basic decency and goodness at least partly restored.
"Our walk along the towpath had better be cancelled, Beatrice. Dear Dorothy's in no state to go through with it and I want to help her clean up a bit after the mess I made of her. How I hate myself for that. How could I ever have been so vicious?"
"Oi hit you first, Julia, or tried to and I did get you a sore bum as well as one for myself! And I'm OK really I am. I want to finish the walk. You might need to help me along towards the end, but Oi'll be foine."
Julia smiled at her latest friend, she was making quite a few today, and told her she had better retrieve her shoes at the very least. Dorothy shook her head obstinately and said she would go on until her feet were cut to ribbons and still keep going, even after that.
Both cousins congratulated her on her spirit and the three set off, with the still nude ex-mermaids a few paces behind.
They rounded a bend and reached a point where the road and the towpath met. A car was parked at this spot and the Rector, Jerry Scott-Talbot was standing by it waiting for the girls to draw level. He was with another gentleman whom Julia remembered having seen earlier during the course of her chastisement.
"Beatrice, I would like a word if I may. Would you step a little aside? I don't want to be overheard."
The puzzled girl agreed. For the first time that day she was very embarrassed. She knew the good rector must disapprove of her nudity and she had always liked the man and wanted to please him for some reason she could never quite fathom.
"Beatrice, I know it must seem a very odd time to ask you this, but I'm moving on soon. My friend here, Professor Potts-Johnson has unofficially/officially passed on an offer of a vacant Archdeaconry in London. I have decided I must move on and will accept. One reason I didn't go a couple of years ago was that I didn't want to leave a town which had your charming presence in it! What I am trying to say is, will you come to London with me, as my wife?"
For some reason, Beatrice was not surprised at this amazing request – a man of the cloth proposing to a naked girl in full view of other naked girls and a bevy of townsfolk. She heard, from a great distance, her voice saying, "Yes. Oh! Yes, please, Darling Jerry. I can see it now so clearly. I've loved you myself for years, even when I was a tiny girl, I adored you. How silly of us not to have realised it before!" And her naked body was immediately enfolded by the delighted Rector's arms. He slipped off his coat and covered her with it. A ripple of applause broke out and an ecstatically happy Beatrice was bundled willingly into the car and driven away.
"Well! Who'd have thought that? Poor old Piers and WHERE has he got to?" said a bemused Julia. "Looks like it's just you and me, Dorothy my dear!"
"And us," chimed in Kylie and company. "Don't forget us. We're coming all the way as well."
Julia laughed, her pain forgotten and even her animosity against Mrs. Jenkinson in abeyance. She sent her faithful Giles back to the village to release the poor shivering Counsellor and rejoined her new friends to complete the day's activities. She wondered what next year's fete would be like. One thing she knew for certain. Dorothy would not be painted with spots again to be an object of ridicule. No friend of hers was going to suffer that indignity!