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The Witch Queen And The Whip

EXTRACT FOR
The Witch Queen And The Whip's Caress 
(Michaela Francis)


Slaves Of The Amethyst 6

 

Jennifer was too upset to accompany, her guardians, the Appletons, to church on the Sunday morning and, just to add to her general malaise, her body took it upon itself to inflict her monthly period upon her. The Appletons were sympathetic although disappointed. They had been looking forward to Jennifer’s reception at church. Still they were understanding and they left Jennifer and Julie in the house as they left to attend Sunday service.

Jennifer pondered the Appleton’s apparent Christian devotion as she watched them leave. It was odd that she had never thought of it before. On the face of it, the Appletons were extremely devout. They attended church several times a week. That, in itself, Jennifer did not find strange. After all, in her father’s house, Jennifer, as the daughter of a vicar, had been obliged to attend service nearly every day. What was odd was that the Appletons never seemed to display any of the trappings of true Christian faith other than their regular attendance at church. They never talked about their faith; never discussed the day’s sermon; never even said grace over the dinner table. Jennifer had been surprised to discover that they did not even possess a Bible between them and they were woefully ignorant of biblical teaching or Christian theology. Jennifer, with her background in Christian teaching, had frequently brought up some point of doctrine only to find out that the Appletons were rather embarrassed about it and would change the subject.

When she was honest about it, she realised that the Appletons were by no means singular in this regard in Mathomdale. The church was nearly always full on a Sunday and even in the week there was usually a good turnout. Yet nobody she had talked to seemed to show the slightest interest in Christian teaching. It was as if they went to church because that was what you did on a Sunday morning and not out of any sense of religious devotion. Even the parish vicar seemed to be simply going through the motions and the serious passion of her father’s church was noticeably lacking. On the occasions that Jennifer had talked to the vicar he had been kind and inquired about her well-being but he had never heard him mention any item of Christian learning. He never asked if she had enjoyed the sermon and, most tellingly, other than when conducting the service, she could never recall him having used the word God.

The church she saw was an institution in Mathomdale but it was markedly divorced from Christian piety. In a sense the church services were more an excuse to get out and gossip with people than a format for worship. She had never come across a Christian community that paid so little heed to God. There were no Christian symbols anywhere in the village other than in the church. Even the war memorial in the village square was conspicuous for possessing not a single reference to Christianity, no crucifix upon it or any words that could be construed as Christian. Even the gravestones in the churchyard held such phrases as “In loving memory” but there were no signs of the cross or any reference to God or Jesus. The church in Mathomdale was a sham, camouflage almost. Everywhere you turned there were statues of the Goddess and symbols of Her but the Christian God had but merely a tenuous foothold within the valley. The church in Mathomdale masked the true pagan nature of the local beliefs.

 It was a mark of Jennifer’s heightening awareness that only now had she come to notice this peculiarity. Once again it struck her forcibly just how curious Mathomdale really was. In a way she had been blinded to its peculiarities by the seemingly normal façade it maintained and yet she was forced to conclude that the whole valley was completely outside the normality of society. She also realised now that she herself belonged very strongly within this valley. Her own actions and experiences over the weeks of summer reinforced this, culminating, of course, in the fact that her own mother was now negotiating to sell her as a slave to the Lady of the Manor. She was quite sure that nobody outside of the valley would ever understand or even believe that such a reality was possible. Yet she was coming to accept the bizarre conditions of life in the valley and even beginning to find those conditions rather more pleasant than life outside the valley was. The valley had taken possession of her and claimed her for its own. Now all she had to do was walk into Mathom Hall and say, “Please accept me as your slave My Lady!” Every time she thought about it the whole idea seemed absurd. Her disquiet increased.

It must be said that Julie was little help to the troubled Jennifer this morning for the normally cheerful girl was suffering from a wretched and well-deserved hangover. After the Appletons had left Julie sank her head on the breakfast table and groaned piteously. “Bloody ‘ell! I feel summat rotten!”

“I’ve no sympathy Julie Hawthorne! You didn’t have to drink that much last night. I’ve a good mind to tell Mrs Wilkinson about your shocking intake of alcohol. That should earn you a painful session in the back room of the pub!”

“’Ave an eart Jenny love! I’ve got a bloody boulder where me ’ead should be!”

“You won’t die!”

“Don’t say that! It’s only t’ ‘ope of dyin’ wot’s keepin me alive!”

“Really Julie! You’re a mess! We’d better find something for you to wear.” Julie was currently adorned in one of Jennifer’s dressing gowns. “I’ve put your dress in the wash. I think you spilt more champagne down it that you actually got in your mouth. You couldn’t possibly have appeared in public in it.”

“I don’t want to appear in public! All I wanna do is crawl back inter bed an’ pull t’ bedclothes ovver me ‘ead!”

“Nonsense! We’re going for a nice long walk up the valley. A bit of fresh air will do you good!”

Julie groaned again “Oh flippin’ eck!”

“That’s right Julie. No further arguments now! Mr Appleton has a fine selection of garden canes in the back shed so if you don’t want to add a sore bottom to a sore head you’ll do as you’re told and start pulling yourself together!”

“I’ll try Jenny love.”

“Good girl! Anyway, we’ve got a lot to talk about. I got a letter from my mother from Lady Mathom last night and it affects our future Julie.”

“Flip me! Wot was in it?”

“I’ll tell you later. Right now, let’s jump into the shower.”

“Wot both together?”

“I see no reason for being wasteful with the hot water supply.”

“I feel better already!”

“Come on then! I’m going to teach you not to drink so much with a spanking over the end of the bath and then I’m going to torment you with the shower head!”

“Things is lookin’ up!”

“It might be messy Julie. I started my period this morning. Do you mind!”

“Nay love! I saw this vampire ‘orror film once and ….”

“Ugh! Julie! That’s disgusting! Get up those stairs this instant and make yourself ready for your spanking!”

Julie wasn’t the only one with a hangover that morning and nor was she the only one to have earned herself a sore bottom for her disgraceful condition. At that moment Rebecca was stood, naked, facing the wall with her hands on her head. She was wriggling her bottom a little trying to alleviate the soreness of it. She was in the day room of the Starlight Suite and Robin was busy at a computer console on the desk, looking over and answering his copious Emails. Rebecca had started to argue with him about his unannounced arrival at the fête in the village yesterday and for once he had stood his ground and, quite rightly, pointed out that he had every right to do as he wished. She was being impertinent, please be as good as to fetch the cane. Three dozen strokes later and Rebecca had lost the inclination to take umbrage with Robin’s conduct of the night before. Now she was ordered to remain in her position until given leave to do otherwise. He was ready to forgive her by now though and, in any case, he had a nice surprise for her that would soon make her forget her stinging posterior.

Amongst his Emails was a confirmation from Bolswick Bay. Before going down to the village yesterday Robin had been busy. The arrangements would be finalised by Monday morning but he had to all intents and purposes completed the necessary steps. He’d had to drag the finance officer out on a Saturday but the man had been understanding especially after being promised a bonus for expediting the arrangements. After that he’d discussed the matter with his mother and they’d come up with a plan. His mother had phoned Bolswick Bay and now the Email from there was glowing on his monitor. It was time to see if his beloved Rebecca was in a more receptive humour by now. “How are you doing Rebecca?”

“Wonderful sir! This is the third thrashing I’ve had since Thursday! I can’t think when I’ve had so much fun!”

“Be nice Becky or we’ll make it number four!”

“I’m sorry sir!”

“Are you now going to behave yourself Rebecca? We’ve got something to do and I want you in a better mood.”

“Yes sir. I’m sorry. Forgive my ill humour. Thank you for punishing me. I was disrespectful.” 

“That’s better. Now come over here darling and fetch the telephone.”

“Can I put something on?”

“No! I’m enjoying seeing you naked. Now fetch me the phone.”

“Yes sir.” Rebecca brought the phone to Robin’s desk.

“Now give me a kiss Rebecca and then I’ve got something nice for you.”

Rebecca obeyed flowing onto Robin’s lap to kiss him “Really I’m sorry sir. You were right to beat me. I was in a foul mood when we got up.”

“You shouldn’t have drunk so much!”

“Goddess was I a handful?”

“Yes, you were. Don’t you remember?”

“Erm it’s all a bit fuzzy.”

“So, you have no recollection of stripping naked in the car on the way home? Presumably also you have conveniently forgotten running around in the gardens naked singing the bawdy version of “She’ll be coming round the Mountain.” Rebecca groaned “Nor I suppose can you recall trying to sexually assault the night porter or the fact that I had to carry you up here over my shoulder whilst you were blowing raspberries at the images of our illustrious ancestors in the portrait gallery!”

Oh Goddess this is worse than I thought! Shall I go and fetch the cane again?”

“No need my treasure. The full story of last night’s debauchery is already on my mother’s desk. I assume that she will be summoning you in front of her to account for your behaviour at some point later today.”

“Oh my! She’ll have the hide off me!”

“I would consider that to be a distinct possibility my dear. If it’s any consolation you won’t be alone. Abigail and the twins haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory either, so, unless she delegates, my mother’s right arm is going to be getting a thorough workout at some point today.”

Rebecca sighed and wrapped her arms about Robin’s neck “It would be just nice once in a while to get through more than forty-eight hours without earning myself a good hiding.”

“Never mind love. Look at this Email.”

Rebecca twisted on Robin’s lap and read the missive on the monitor. Her eyes flew open in wonder. “Oh Robin! That’s wonderful!”

“Yep I got it all sorted out whilst you were making a disgrace of yourself with Jenny and Julie yesterday.”

“You wonderful, wonderful man!” Rebecca snatched him and started to carpet bomb his face with kisses.

“I thought that might cheer you up. Shall I tell my mother that you’ve already been punished? She might let it go at that.”

“You can tell her but don’t ask for me to be pardoned Robin. I’ll not have you plead on my behalf. If she wants to thrash me within an inch of my life I’ll go quietly. It sounds as if I deserve it.”

“You’re marvellous Becky! Come on then shall we?”

“Oh yes sir! Here or in the bed chamber?”

“You’ve got a single line rail road for a mind woman! I wasn’t talking about that! I meant shall we phone Alice and Danny?”

“Oh! Of course! Let’s do it right now!”

Robin laughed and dialled the number on Alice’s mobile phone. After a couple of rings Alice answered. “Hello?” she sounded puzzled. She evidently didn’t recognise the number.

“Hi Alice, its Robin.”

“OH! Hello sir! This is fantastic! ‘Ow are yer?”

“Very well Alice. Listen is Danny there?”

“No sir. ‘Es just popped down ter t’ village ter get a paper.”

“Ok. Listen what are you doing this afternoon?”

“Well we didn’t ‘ave owt planned. Why?”

“Because I’ll tell you what you’re doing this afternoon. You’re going over to Amanda Braithewaite’s to sign the deeds for your new house. Ok Alice? Alice…? Are you still there Alice?”

“What did you say sir?” The voice was a hoarse whisper.

“I repeat Alice. This afternoon at two o’clock, if it’s convenient for you, the papers for your new house are at Amanda’s awaiting your signature. Mrs Braithewaite has agreed the price and is merely waiting for you to come along and take legal possession. I have an Email to that effect showing on my computer screen this very instant. Is that clear enough you?”

“What…. I mean what about the money?”

“All done and dusted Alice. The agreed upon amount will be in Amanda’s bank account the first thing on Tuesday morning. This is not a loan Alice. It is a gift. A gift of gratitude from the House of Mathom. You can start moving into your new digs tomorrow morning!”

There was a sob from the other end “Oh God! I can’t believe this!”

“Don’t you remember what Rebecca told you Alice? Dreams do come true!”

“Oh, sod it! I think I’m gonna faint!”

“There’s more Alice! The Mathom Hall foundation is also prepared to loan you, interest free, a further seventy-five thousand pounds. I’ll match that with a personal loan for the same amount to make it a total of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds for you and Danny to set up in business.”

“But... but... ‘ow can we ever pay yer back sir?”

“Alice that’s entirely up to you. If you want to pay us back at the rate of a quid a week for the next three thousand years that’s fine by me.”

“Robin! Sir! Yer can’t do this! It’s too much!”

“It’s not anything like enough Alice.”

 “I don’t know what to say sir. ‘Ow can we ever thank yer?”

“Listen Alice this is nothing! It’s only money! We’ve got money to burn. We earn more than that in interest every few minutes. You’ve more than thanked me for this piddling amount. My thanks is sat on my knee right now trying to grab the telephone off me and if she doesn’t stop squirming I’m going to turn her over and spank her! No amount of money is equal to the gift you’ve given me Alice.”

“Oh, is Becky there?”

“Yes, she is. Do you want to talk to her?”

Of course I do!”

“Ok here you are!”

Rebecca snatched the phone “Alice! Darling! Angel! Isn’t it great?!”

“I can’t believe this is ‘appenin’ Becky!”

“Oh, but it is! I was there when Lady Mathom approved Robin’s request. Took her about twenty seconds! I told you my mistress was far out! You’re going to have that little house by the sea Alice. All those dreams… well they’re reality now. Didn’t I tell you they would?”

Oh Becky I’m blubberin’ like a baby ‘ere!”

“Then cry sweetheart! Those are happy tears. I can’t wait to visit you in your new home.”

“There’ll allus be a place fer you an’ Robin Becky. I told yer that in Saltersea! In our ‘ouse, in our bed an’ in our ‘earts! That’s from both of us! Oh ‘ell wait till Danny gets back! ‘E’ll pee hissen! ‘Ow can we thank ‘Er Ladyship Becky? I’m not ovver good at dealin’ wi’ gentry!”

“I’d come up here and do it in person Alice. Her Ladyship is very interested in meeting you.”

“Oh ‘ell Becky! I wouldn’t know what ter say! Why’d she be interested in t’ likes of us?”

“Just a second Alice. Robin is jiggling my elbow. I think he has something to say to you.”

Back on the phone Robin addressed Alice soberly. “Alice, I didn’t get a chance to say this before Rebecca grabbed the phone but now that it’s come up I’d better tell you that there are certain provisions to that loan.”

“What sort of provisions sir?”

“Don’t worry! They’re not impossible. I talked with my mother about this yesterday afternoon. Her most important concern is that she wants you to put up some collateral against these loans. The house is a gift but for the rest she wants something in return after which she won’t really give a damn whether the loans are ever paid back. The deposit she requires however might be more than you are willing to pay.”

Oh Christ sir! Wot does she want?”

“You!”

“Eh?”

“Listen very carefully Alice and try not to flip out. It goes back to that discussion we had in the Vampire in Saltersea honey. My mother wants you and Danny to come to the Hall next weekend possibly to stay for a couple of days. She wants to look you over. We’ve told her that you and Danny are part of our future plans and naturally she needs to get to know you. If she approves of what she sees, and I’m sure she will, then she will gladly sign the documents releasing the funds to you under one proviso.”

“And that is?” asked Alice although she feared she already knew the answer.

“That you in turn sign the documents of indemnity declaring yourself a slave of the House of Mathom. I think you already had that worked out Alice. It did come up in conversation before.”

There was a long pause on the other end of the telephone connection. “Wow! I … I mean. What would it mean Robin?”

“Just what it sounds like Alice. You would officially be a slave of Mathom Hall and specifically of my mother. You would be expected to take oaths of fidelity and obedience to the House of Mathom. It’s the same thing as declaring yourself in slavery to Rebecca or myself or Daniel for that matter. It would however be formal and binding. You’d be swearing yourself in servitude for perpetuity. Your slavery doesn’t come cheap Alice. You would be a very valuable slave. Lady Mathom is paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for you. As her slave you would be entitled to all the protection and assistance the House of Mathom can provide in accordance with the high value of your slavery. Naturally you will still live in Bolswick Bay but you would have to be ready to present yourself at Mathom Hall whenever your mistress required you to. A command from her would be absolute Alice and take priority over any other considerations. As her slave of course you will be trained to realise your full potential and also you would be free to pursue future relationships with Rebecca and myself. Bear in mind that Rebecca is a slave also, and, in a somewhat different way, so am I. I don’t think you will find your slavery intolerable Alice.”

“Christ, I don’t know what Danny is goin’ ter say!”

“We’ll work out the details with Danny. In effect he’ll be selling you as a slave to Mathom Hall. This won’t affect your marriage fundamentally since all slaves are expected to perpetuate their marriages and remain loyal to them. It’s a mechanism if you like but it is very serious Alice. Danny will be just one person with rights of ownership over you. A slave of the House of Mathom is highly respected Alice. It is considered a great honour and privilege to wear the badge of slavery to this House. You’ll be a sister in slavery with Rebecca and she is enormously proud to be a slave of Mathom Hall.”