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New Girl At St. Justine

EXTRACT FOR
New Girl At St. Justine's - Book 1 
(Victor Bruno)


NEW GIRL AT ST JUSTINES 1

CHAPTER ONE

 

"THIS PLACE IS the brain-child of Mr Knudson ..."

"Of Uncle Erik?"

"Your Great Uncle, I believe."

"Yes, that's right.  But I've always called him Uncle.  How surprising!"

"I expect you find it so ..."

"He always seemed such a kind man."

The woman behind the broad desk topped by green leather smiled faintly.  "Appearances can be deceptive," she said.  Possible she smiled because she was thinking of herself.  She had pale, placid, almost nun-like features yet, as she was well aware, she was capable of behaving with extreme cruelty.  That, however, troubled her not at all.  If it had done she would not have taken up the post of Head of the unique establishment Erik Knudsen had set up.

"Does he ever come here?" asked the young woman seated before the desk.  She was blonde, blue-eyed and exceedingly pretty; a German, just twenty one, and her name was Fiona Von Bal.

The nun-like figure shook her dark head of short-cropped hair.  "No ... never," she said simply.  Perhaps only in the eyes could her hard nature be observed.  They were green-blue.  Like the cold sea.  And, like the sea, as the clouds chase over it, they could change quickly from sombre chill to hard, flashing brilliance.  This was Martha Duerrisse, forty five years old and Belgian born.

The blonde girl looked puzzled.  "Well ... how strange.  I don't see what he gets out of it then.  I mean ... why arrange such a place?"

Again the faint smile.  "As you know, your Great Uncle, has turned sixty."

"Yes, that's true."

"However, he gets a very great deal out of St Justine's.  In the first place, he organises everything.  Rules and Regulations.  Uniforms.  Modes of conduct.  He issues what you might term Edicts to me.  In effect, he is a one-man Governing Body."

Fiona Von Bal nodded.  "I suppose that would keep him occupied ... amused even," she said.

"Beyond that," continued Martha Duerrisse, rather as if Fiona had not spoken, "he receives a regular weekly Reports on all the 'pupils' here.  There are always twenty four in number ..."

"What happens when a new 'pupil' arrives then?" came a quick question.

The Head raised her hand authoritatively.  "Please don't interrupt Miss Von Bal.  All will be clear to you in due course.  Allow me to get on."

Fiona felt the power of this woman in that gesture and her tone.  She felt rather put down.  I would not at all like to be in her charge, she thought.  "Sorry ..." she said rather lamely.

"On receiving those reports, Mr Knudsen may issue certain instructions to me.  As to special punishment for a particular 'pupil'.  However, in general, he leaves that sort of thing in my hands."

Fiona felt a catch of excitement within herself at the word 'punishment', she wondered what form that punishment might take.  Certainly it was good to know that there was punishment for a 'pupil'.  For, with the agreement and co-operation of Uncle Erik, that little bitch of a step-sister of hers was soon going to be incarcerated is St Justine's!

"I see," she said.  Though she didn't really quite see.

"Furthermore," went on Martha Duerrisse, "Mr Knudsen regularly receives selected video tapes of most of the activities here.  They are in full colour with sound over.  So you see, Miss Von Bal, there is no need for your Great Uncle to visit here.  We go to him.  He can see and hear whatever he wants in the privacy of his own study.  If he orders a particular punishment, within a few days, he can witness it being carried out."

"I wondered why he seems to spend so much time in that study of his," said Fiona with the trace of a nervous laugh.

Martha Duerrisse's face remained impassive.  Nothing about St Justine's - or the Governor - were a laughing matter.

"Very shortly, Miss Von Bal," she said, "I shall show you one of those tapes.  Then you will be able to see the sort of treatment your step-sister will receive if she does not behave herself while she is here."

Fiona felt her heart suddenly pounding.  Literally thumping with joy.  Incredible to think that Belinda could be punished!  At just eighteen, that arrogant little English cow was just too big for her boots.  Trying to steal not only her Uncle's affections ... but also her inheritance as well.  Yes, Belinda certainly needed taking down a peg or two.  How lucky it was she had mentioned her concern to Uncle Erik, who had at once suggested that the girl be send away to a special 'school' he knew of.  Just for six months or so, he had added, so that her behaviour could be improved.  Fiona had thought it a marvellous idea and, after no more than a week this meeting with the Head had been arranged.  All very secretly, of course.  She did not have the faintest idea where she was.  No idea of the country even.  For Fiona had to agree to being put under sedation for the journey to St Justine's.  In view of what went on at the place, the reason for such tight security was becoming more obvious.

"May I ask a question, Madame Duerrisse?" asked Fiona a shade nervously.  Under normal conditions she would most like have addressed this woman simply as 'Martha'.  Certainly she would not have asked the question.  However, Madame Duerrisse radiated such commanding authority that Fiona paid her the greatest respect.

"Yes," came the flat answer.

"What ... what happens to a 'pupil' at, say the end of their time here?"

"One of two things," came the immediate reply.  "It depends on the instructions of the Governor.  They are put into deep hypnosis and undergo a form of brain-washing which removes all memory of their time here.  The 'pupil' comes round, imagining she has been in some health clinic being treated for a nervous breakdown.  Then she goes back to her former life.  Alternatively, the Governor may decide to sell the girl ..."

Fiona gasped.  "Sell?"  Her eyebrows shot up.

"Yes ... sell," said Martha Duerrisse calmly.  "As a slave.  There are plenty of markets still in the Middle East and South America.  Of course, these are not public auctions but discreet private ones.  Slave-dealers buy for the harems of rich Arabs and the like.  A young white girl fetches a good price.  Not that your Great Uncle needs the money.  He donates it to me to help fund St Justine's."

Fiona felt slightly dizzy.  It was unbelievable to hear such terrible things spoken of in such a matter-of-fact way.  Girls sold as slaves.  Yet this was the second half of the twentieth century!  Why ... even Belinda could end up like that.  Fiona's heart began to pound again and there was a dryness in her throat.

"I see," she said in a whisper.

"Are you shocked?"

"I suppose I am.  A little ..."

Doubtless there are many things here which would shock you.  We, living close to them, come to accept them quite easily."

"So my Uncle Erik decides?" mused the young blonde.

"That's right ..."

"How many ... may I ask ... are sold as ... as ... slaves?"

"About seventy five per cent."

Fiona's heart leapt.  I'll work on Uncle Erik, she thought.  I'll make sure Belinda's one of the seventy five per cent.  I'll make sure she goes to a harem where they can make use of her backside day in day out!  God yes ... that serves the haughty little cow right!  She found herself smiling.

"And they are never seen again?"

"Never.  You seem pleased Miss Von Bal.  Have you something against your step-sister?  Has she offended you?"

"Yes ... yes ... she has," replied Fiona.  She was about to go off in a tirade about Belinda's doings when Martha Duerrisse raised her hand again.

"I don't particularly want to know,' she said coolly.  "Suffice to say that, whatever her offence, or offences, she will pay dearly for them here."

Fiona clenched her fists.  Good, she said to herself.  Oh good, good, good!

"She deserves it," she said in a low voice.

Martha made no comment but opened a filing cabinet beside her desk.  "Would you like to see one of the Reports your Great Uncle gets each week?" she asked.

"Yes, please," said Fiona, trying not to sound too eager.  She took the sheet of foolscap paper which slid across the desk top. 

It was divided into five days, Mondays to Friday.  The Saturday and Sunday were simply marked Rest Days.  The weekdays were divided into class periods, from nine thirty to twelve thirty.  Periods were of one hour each.  MATHS, LITERATURE, FRENCH, GERMAN, GEOGRAPHY and so on.  Fiona read.  Just like a real school, she reflected.  How unpleasant to go back to all that when you were adult!  The afternoon ran from two thirty to five thirty ... and there were always at least two hours of some sporting activity, like SWIMMING, GYM TENNIS, CROSS-COUNTRY RUNNING.

At the top of the form was the girl's name, age and class.

 

Name:  EMMA PERCEVAL.  Age: 22.  Class: II.

Good God ... twenty two years old!  Amazing!

Down the right hand side of the Report was a column headed COMMENTS AND CLASS PUNISHMENTS.

Fiona's eyes ran down, noting the neat hand-written entries.

 

Monday

Inattention in Maths. 

SIX STROKES OF SINGLE STRAP.

Further inattention in Geography.

SIX STROKES OF DOUBLE STRAP.

There were no entries against Tuesday.

Wednesday

Fifth in Cross Country.  So no punishment.

TO BE HANDICAPPED NEXT TIME.

Thursday

lost tennis match 6-4 accordingly.

EIGHT STROKES OF PADDLE.

inattention in French (third time this week).

SIX STROKES OF TRIPLE STRAP.

At the base of the Report was a space headed:-

(Third time this week0

SIX STROKES OF TRIPLE STRAP.

At the base of the Report was a space headed.

HEADMISTRESS'S COMMENTS and, in a different but firm, clear hand, Fiona read:

 

Emma's failure to pay attention in class cannot be excused.  If it occurs again next week I shall give her a good caning.  Perhaps that will wake her ideas up!

 

Signed

Martha Duerrisse.

 

Fiona felt a trifle dizzy again.  A 22-year-old strapped, paddled ... and threatened with a caning.  Unbelievable!  But there it was, in black and white.  What an amazing place this St Justine's was!  And what a wonderful one for Belinda to be sent to!

The Report was taken away from her and put back in the filing cabinet.

"Your Great Uncle receives twenty four Reports like that every week, said Martha.  "He returns them with his own comments attached.  On the one you have just seen, for example, he might have recommended that Emma be caned immediately for her lack of attention.  As it turned out, he did not."

Fiona swallowed.  "I see,' she said a trifle weakly.  Thank God I'm not sitting here as a 'pupil', she thought nervously.  At the mercy of an old man maybe thousands of miles away ... and in the hands of this obviously relentless woman.

"As I say," said Martha, "we have twenty four 'pupils' here.  They recently arrived.  In Class two are those who have been here longer.  When your step-sister arrives, one of the senior class will leave.  In one of the two fashions I have already described."

"I see," said Fiona again, this time nodding.

How shocking it all was!  Yet, somehow, she was gradually getting used to hearing such terrible things said.  This Madame Duerrisse was so emotionless about it all.  It was as if she had milk in her veins instead of blood.  Yes, like a nun, reflected Fiona again and the Head's plain black dress with purple collar and cuffs somehow added to that impression.

"Have you any more questions?"

Fiona had many she wanted to ask but thought it best not to be over-inquisitive.  The last thing she wanted to do was to cause offence.  I expect that's how 'pupils' feel, she said to herself.  Only a hundred times more so!

"Do ... any of them escape?"

The dark head shook.  "Never," said Martha.  "It is quite impossible.  Security here is one hundred per cent plus.  However, if a 'pupil' is so foolish as to even make an attempt, she is publicly birched.  That, I can assure you, is quite a deterrent!"

Fiona gulped.  She could well imagine it would be.  What a frightful thing!

"How can they stand it?" she asked wonderingly, speaking almost to herself.  "You ... you'd think they'd ... well ... do away with themselves."

"Again, quite impossible," replied Martha.

"Oh?  I don't understand ..."

"I told you about the deep hypnosis and brain-washing when they leave.  Well, they also undergo that on arrival.  The suggestion is firmly induced that it is impossible for them to harm themselves.  Or others, for that matter.  Given a pistol and a girl might hold it to her head, but she could not pull the trigger.  In fury, or terror, a girl might strike out but, before any blow fell, it would be as if her hand had come up against a sheet of plate glass."

"Remarkable.  Quite remarkable," said Fiona.  "And how clever!"

"All the ideas and doing of Mr Knudsen.  Yes, he is indeed a clever man!"

Fiona's brain raced.  "There's another thing," she began.  Then paused.

"Yes?"

"All these strappings ... canings ... and so on.  They must make a lot of marks.  I mean ... well ... I mean ..."  Fiona's voice trailed off.

There came a faint smile to Martha's thin lips.  "You mean repeated beatings would cause permanent harm to the flesh?  That it would become so abused that further beatings would be impossible?"

"Yes ... that's right ..."

"Well, Mr Knudsen has seen to that too.  We have jars and jars of a very special ointment at St Justine's.  I don't know where he gets it made, but it's quite miraculous stuff.  It would be a great boon to mankind if he ever put it on the open market.  Cuts and bruises would disappear almost overnight."

"Really?"

"Oh yes ... really.  If a girl has had, say, a dozen strokes of the strap and this ointment was put on a tonight, there would be no trace of those strokes in the morning."

"Incredible!"

"Of course, if the strapping was more severe, it may take twenty four hours.  It simply depends on the severity.  In the case of a girl caned by me, she is afterwards taken to the Sanatorium where she remains for two, three or even four days, receiving repeated doses of the ointment.  All marks will have gone by the time she emerges.  That aspect presents no problem."

"I am becoming more and more impressed by what you call Uncle Erik's 'brain-child'," said Fiona.

"Good," said Martha, getting up.  Her smile was almost friendly.  "Now, if you will follow me, Miss Von Bal, I shall show you the Punishment Room where I cane my girls ... and after that you might care to look at one of the video tapes."

Fiona's heart leapt to her throat.  She found herself actually flushing with pleasure.  Knees feeling a little weak, she followed the Head across the study.

A black door with brass fitments faced them on the far side of the room.  Martha Duerrisse opened it.  She did not invite Fiona to enter first but preceded her.  The young woman felt faintly resentful, after all, she was a guest with a prospective 'pupil' in mind.  However, she showed no sign of her displeasure.

"There," said Madame Duerrisse, as Fiona looked round eagerly yet fearfully.

The room had a plain brown carpet and two facing walls were fully mirrored.  On one of the other walls was a tall, wide cupboard; whilst the wall opposite was bare.  The walls were creamy white.  But what rivetted Fiona's attention was the appliance set before one of the mirrored walls.  It was something like a gym vaulting horse but lower.  The top of it was about two feet six inches from the floor.  Also, the top, rather than having the normal leather, flattish top of a vaulting horse, was surmounted by what looked like a leather bolster.  Straps and buckles hung from each side of the contraption.

"This is my Whipping Horse," said Martha Duerrisse crisply.  "Though that is something of a misnomer.  My girls do not get whipped.  They get caned."

"I ... I ... s-see ..." said Fiona feeling an apprehensive twinge.  What a ghastly room it was!  How terrifying!  Just imagine ... but then she did not want to imagine.

"It is over this Horse," continued Martha (rather as if she were a Museum Guide), "that any errant 'pupil' learns the folly of her ways.  A girl may not come here often, but when she does, it is a memorable occasion.  I do not believe in light canings.  Mine are severe and exceedingly painful.  The very minimum is twelve strokes but more usually a girl receives eighteen or twenty four.  More, if I think fit, naturally."

Fiona experienced a certain freezing of the blood.  It seemed impossible that a young woman could endure - indeed survive - such savage treatment.  Yet ... yet ... it had to be admitted.  Madame Duerrisse talked about these terrible things in such an unconcerned way.  This was a whole world away from normality.

And it had all been devised by her Uncle Erik!

For his pleasure ...

His amusement ...

An entertainment in his declining years ...

Well, he had worked hard and made several fortunes out of the ore-mining business, so perhaps he deserved to enjoy his retirement, reflected Fiona.  But at what cost to others!

Then she pulled herself together.  What the Hell did all that matter?  It was at St Justine's she was going to have her revenge on Belinda ... and get rid of the girl for ever.  That was what mattered.  What a marvellous thought it was!

Fiona continued to look at the Horse, with it crimson leather topping and its plain deal sides.  Also the heavy straps for pinioning the thighs.  On the opposite side, in the mirror, she could see other straps for securing the wrists.  Anyone over the Horse, she realised, would be able to witness clearly her own torment from both fore and aft.  Most, most unpleasant!

Yes, this St Justine's was surely as horrible a place as any young woman could find herself.  Well, that suited Fiona perfectly.  As far as she was concerned, the sooner Belinda got there the better.