Bus Stop Part 2

© HotBottoms

Continued from Bus Stop

A short hour later, Mary awoke from her post coital nap and blinked at the sun streaming through the blinds. She stretched and grinned sleepily as she rolled over onto the dildo which, having served her well, slept soundly beside her hip. She sat on the side of the bed for a moment before rising, then turned and stripped her sheets off the bed and made a pile on top of the mattress. Then, still feeling slightly buzzy from her session with the vibrator, opted not to dress or cover herself, she took the bundle down the hall, deposited it in the laundry room, then headed for the shower. 

She’d been experimenting with cold showers, but this morning after a mile run and two orgasms, she defaulted to hot and steamy. Since the haircut she washed her hair more often and this morning lay a heavy glop of shampoo and rubbed hard into her scalp as the water drummed onto her breasts. She lathered the washcloth and worked her underarms, then her legs and before she realized completely what she was doing, raised her arms to shave. It was odd-she was going to shave her legs as well. Did they need it? She was reverting back to her single days of leaving nothing to chance before heading out for the evening because you never knew, right? But she wasn’t heading out for a night on the town; she knew nothing but wine and sexy chit-chat-for her anyway, was on the docket but she was doing what she was doing. A righteous session of self-love always upset her equilibrium.  She detached the shower head and directed the stream to her smooth legs then, eyes closed, up between them. She wanted to, of course, but didn’t, opting for a complete southerly rinse then turned off the stream. 

Back in the bedroom she flipped through her closet and dresser. Her daily uniform was pretty routine: workout clothes of some description. Today It would be black sweats more loose fitting than yoga pants which she typically wore without underwear. Her first decision had been the new lilac hipster panties-the least sexy ones she owned. Tight black T-shirt instead of a bra and a silky V neck that covered her butt. It was just past noon. She slipped on sandals, grabbed the wine from the small fridge below the counter and headed for the garage for the half mile drive to Jules’.

Her friend came to the door in her usual worn jeans, sneakers and a faded coral long sleeved crewneck-. She looked better than she had at the bus stop, clear-eyed and pink-cheeked. Mary was pleased that she wasn’t the only one to have put some care into her appearance.  A thin headband that kept her hair behind her hair and off her face completed the picture of suburban chill

They exchanged a quick peck on the cheek as Jules took the wine. “Come on”, she said, nodding to the table in the sunroom. “Food just got here-I’ll open this.” They ate leisurely and too patiently for Mary who wanted to steer the conversation away from how nice the mums were this year and who had the best corn stalks. The wine was sharp and tangy, complementing the slight buzz in Mary’s head after the first glass. 

Lunch finished, they retired to the living room, Mary to the sofa and Jules across a coffee table, curled in a large leather recliner-obviously John’s preferred seat. 

“So”, said Mary, opening her hands. “Spanking.”

“What about it?” Jules asked coyly.

Oh, this is the way its going to be, thought Mary. Gonna have to pull teeth. Before she could restate the question, there was a rumble of the garage door below them. that startled Mary-she looked toward the kitchen and  the stairs from the garage.  Jules had  not reacted, as if she hadn’t heard anything. She maintained eye contact and her teasing smile. Then there were  clearly footsteps on the basement stairs. 

“Someone’s here?” Mary leaned forward as if to flee, when she saw the door open and Mary’s husband nonchalantly step out of the stairway. She collapsed back into the cushion, then deeper as if a weight had been placed on her lap. “John”, she breathed, the tight smile on her lips not reflecting the confusion of emotions in her eyes.  She took comfort in Jules’ warm and relaxed smile. John strode into the room and kissed his wife on the cheek, then moved over and stepped  behind the couch. She stiffened slightly when he lay a hand on each of her shoulders. Okay, they’d established this morning that John liked her, but he’d never been handsy with her.

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary”, he recited leaning down, “how does your garden grow today?” the last words popped breathily into her ear.

“F-fine, John.” she stuttered and looked wide-eyed at her friend who sat peacefully, smiling beatifically. “Just fine.”

“Sorry for the surprise, sweetie, but we really can’t talk spanking without John. This is our thing, but he’s the boss. In the beginning, all I did was supply a sometimes willing bottom.” Mary started to feel that familiar fluttering in her stomach just hearing about a “willing bottom.”

“Babe?” said John, moving toward her and Jules popped up out of the chair and moved over to the couch.. Mary did not sit at the other end of the couch which might be expected but beside her friend, close enough to take her hand. 

Once they had all settled, John asked, “What do you want to know?”

Mary hesitated, then asked meekly “ How’d it all start?”

“The first time?” John mused, settling into his chair. He and Jules shared a look and she nodded a go ahead. 

“We had been married six months…

“Too long for me to easily get out of it,” Jules teased.

‘Shush! It was this time of year-late September’

“Early  October actually.

He gave her a look that Mary couldn’t place-not exactly threatening but enough for Jules to pantomime locking her closed lips and tossing the key over her shoulder. 

We had gone down to The Highlands to see the leaves.”

It’s so beautiful down there”, Mary piped up.

“Yes, and it was a beautiful weekend, were were at the Lodge on old route 40. It was their last weekend of the season, place was pretty much deserted.

“The first day was bright and clear, colors were fantastic,. We hiked a little,…gathered acorns, buckeyes, walnuts everywhere…

“You had a bottle of brandy..”, said Jules. 

“We had packed a lunch…

“We laid a blanket out in a field of dead wildflowers…It was a perfect day.

“Then it rained. 

“Not till that night. We had the whole day. Then over night we heard a couple of rumbles of thunder and the wind kicked up, by morning it was gray and rainy-the leaves were plastered in puddles and against the windows. Good morning for snuggling.

“I love rainy mornings”, said Mary.

“Except this one”, John nodded toward Jules, “wanted to play tennis. All she did was look out the window at the rain falling on the courts and whine.”

“I wasn’t whining!”

He shook his head, “Whining…”

When he called me over, he was sitting on the end of the bed-I was in my undies-so what did I think? A little rainy morning nooky. I figured, OK, can’t play, might as well..”

When he pulled me down over his lap, really ddn’t know what was going on.  I just went with it.

You should have that printed on a T-shirt, “I just went with it.”

“Like I said, I didn’t get it right away. There I am, bottom up, looking at the floor then he pulls down my panties and the first slap gets me. 

“Did you yell?”

“No, I didn’t know what I should be doing so I didn’t make a sound. Took it…”

“Hurt, I bet..”

See Honey,” John spoke up, “In all my years in any learning or training situation, you’re told “don’t tell-Show. That’s how people learn, by being shown…not by telling…” Mary squeezed Jules’ hand lightly to keep her own from quivering. This is what she had hoped for, to see her friend spanked over her husband’s knees. Whatever she was feeling in her stomach, surged lower. 

“Sorry sweetie”, Mary said, patting her friend’s leg.

“For what?”

“ I didn’t mean to get you spanked…”

“Oh Honey, I’M not getting spanked…”

Mary’s eyes were saucers as her mouth fell open. If watching Jules being spanked was her hope, herself being spanked was her dream. She had assumed it could happen…eventually. It would be a long term dream-that maybe after weeks of talk and daring back and forth, something might happen. But no. It was here and now and she was conscious of her blushing with all four eyes on her.She opened her mouth to speak but could only croak, 

“What?” John and Jules laughed, enjoying her discomfort.

“Johnny, I think this is a bit much for Mary. She just wants to talk about spanking…”

Well that’s boring”, said John leaning toward his flustered quarry. More than flustered, Mary was almost paralyzed now that something she’d fantasized about most of her adult life was here to be had. If she wanted it.

“It’s up to you,” he said, If you wanna talk, we’ll talk. But if there’s anything else you want to do, that’s on you.”

“Why me?” she asked, finding her voice. 

“I can’t do any of this myself.” John went on “Here’s what you have to know about spanking. It’s a two person job. A cooperative effort. No adult can spank another without their agreeing to it. Explicitly or implicitly. The act of submission, giving yourself up to receive a spanking is the most important-and intimate part of the thing.”

John just thought he was giving information. What Mary heard were instructions on what was expected of her. 

“I want it”, Mary squeaked, then turning to Jules, “I’m just nervous.”

“I know, Sweetie.” Jules said and squeezed her hand again. “We’re all friends here.” She put her hand on Mary’s back and lightly pushed. “Go, go to John.”

Mary stopped thinking and stood on weak knees.. John’s chair was wide and deep but the arms were short and plush. If he sat forward, which he did once Mary rose, his wide lap was accessible. She crossed in front of Jules, still sitting on the couch and was surprised to feel her friend pat her butt as it passed. She liked the feel of it. She looked back and answered Jules’ smile with a pouty grin that was the best she could offer through the whirls of emotions that were coursing through her. How could something that she wanted so badly confuse her so? 

When she reached the chair, John put his hand on her hip and positioned her in front of him, then pulled at the hem of her jersey. “Take this off”, he said. “It’s going to be much too warm for this.” She crossed her arms and grabbed the jersey at the bottom and carelessly pulled it up over her head realizing too late that her T-shirt had rolled up in it. John watched her flat belly appear then her ribs then her small breasts rising and falling with every breath.

“Oh my God”, Mary gasped and made a move to pull her jersey back over her head. He stopped her with his hand on her upper arm. “That’s fine”, he said gently. “It’s good like this.”

From the couch, all Jules  could see was Mary’s back but her heart flipped, knowing what John was seeing.  What they were doing here clarified in the clear view of Mary’s s naked back. She had never felt jealous or feared the influence of other women on her husband. She had always thought that her submission to him and ‘their thing’ bought them an extra level of intimacy, a sort of force field, that would keep others out. But now she, herself, had opened the gates.

What was she thinking? Mary was a few years younger, not many, but younger. And that mattered to men, didn’t it? With no kids or husband she had more time and energy for the gym and tennis. Jules had seen enough of her body to know how she was put together. 

She heard John talking but was too distracted to follow. ‘Sit here’, he was saying, pulling her between his legs and turning her. Like a child she obediently sat on his knee. Jules watched his hand  press on his chest between her breasts as if watching a movie. “Your heart is beating like a bird’, he said. 

“I’m so nervous.”

“Why?” he smiled warmly as he pressed his hand firmly against her breastplate.  ‘Jules put this together for you.’ 

“I don’t know. Maybe I’m not ready.”

“That’s up to you, but if we waited until we thought we were ready we’d be waiting the rest of our lives.’

Jules’ ears perked up at that old chestnut. She remembered the first time she heard it and wondered now how many women might have been cajoled by it. Stop it! She chided herself, don’t put this on him, this is your own doing!” She thought she had been doing a good thing for a friend and for her husband but now, viewing the action before her, she wondered how much of it was for herself. Knowing what was coming excited her in a way she hadn’t expected. 

Mary was calming, his warm hand on her heart serving as a weighted blanket to slow the tumbled jumbles rolling through her. Watching his lips, Mary’s breathing settled into his slow relaxed rhythm. His hand slipped up to her neck where his fingers caressed her pulse there. 

“There, there,” he said lightly, “That’s much better.”

“I feel better.”

“Ready then?”

She nodded once.

“Words, please”, he said

“I’m ready”

“Ready for what , Dear?” he coached.

She looked into his eyes for the first time. 

“Ready for my spanking.”

“Ahh, very good. Stand please.”

Back on the couch Mary was giving into her wanton thoughts as she watched her husband’s hands slide gently from Mary’s waist, up to her ribs and back down again as his eyes, unseen from where she was sitting, drank in Mary’s breasts and flat stomach. She realized that she envied him his view, and Mary, her closeness to him just then and how close she would feel when she offered her bottom. The only evidence of Jules’ surrender to lasciviousness was the rising heat in her face. It was warm in here! She settled back into the cushion.

Mary wriggled slightly as the waistband of her pants loosened and she knew John was untying the drawstring on the front. As was his torturous wont, he did it slowly and deliberately. Then Jules watched her husband’s fingers on both sides as he slipped his thumbs into the waistband and pulled her sweats slowly down. He did it gently, saving the panties for a different unveiling. 

The purple panties snugly held the woman’s firm round bottom. His hands ran over them and down the backs of her thighs which, Mary knew from many hours on the tennis court were clean and tight with nary a dimple, deposit or wrinkle.

She watched John shift her to the side and guide her over his lap. For balance, she reached first for his knee, then for the coffee table.. Small enough that she didn’t reach the floor on both ends Mary felt extremely exposed and she balanced bottom up, head down, her hands finally flat on the floor, almost upside down. She allowed herself to be handled and pulled so that her hips broke over his legs pushing her bottom subtly backward. 

“Comfy?” he asked, his strong left hand splayed on the small of her back while his right, between her legs, pulled them slightly open. “Oh, my. Jules, come look at this,” he said gazing down at the wide wet spot darkening the crotch of Mary’s lilac panties.

“You ARE ready, aren’t you.”

I’m sorry”, she squeaked.

“ Don’t apologize. And, don’t be embarrassed. You feel the way you feel. The body reveals all, in time. Doesn’t it honey?”

“Yes sir”, said Jules weakly looking down at her friend’s upturned bottom. She felt a little queasy with her own desires, wanting to reach and peel the panties down herself.

“We better get on with this,” said John, raising his hand and bringing down what Jules thought to be a rather light swat on Mary’s right cheek.

“Ouch”, she peeped. 

Not much of an ‘ouch’ said John. 

“Not much of a smack”, Jules said. . 

John, hand still on the bottom where it had landed, said “Jules thinks I should spank you harder”. He squeezed lightly. “What do you think?”

Mary lifted her head slightly to look back over her shoulder. “Whatever you guys think is fine with me.”

Jules thought that Mary could have no idea what she was thinking. 

“Alrighty then’, said John raising his hand. Jules was sitting back on the couch when the second swat landed, then the third and the fourth right after. He was alternating cheeks with more force than before but much less than he was capable of. 

Mary finally began to answer the swats with grunts, small “mmm-mmm’s” and John raised the intensity slightly until he got a nice yelp. He stopped then and rubbed her bottom. Is that warming up a little?”

“Yes, she said breathlessly. “It’s fine…”

“Fine, huh? Maybe it’s best we move along”. And with no further warning of preamble he snatched the top of Mary’s panties and pulled them off her bottom, slowing when they stuck in her moist folds.  He slipped his hand between her legs to free them, allowing his fingers to gently caress her sopping crotch. Jules clenched her fists but didn’t move or say a word, even when her husband’s finger elicited a louder cry than any of his smacks had. 

His first two swats on her bare bottom were hollow sounding thuds as he aimed at the void where Mary’s cheeks met her legs at the bottom of her bottom. Jules clapped her legs together knowing the vibrations that such attentions sent down between the legs. Then there were more loud cracks as he spanked thoroughly, spreading the pink evenly from side to side, top to bottom. Jules was so deeply curating her own fantasies and desires that she didn’t immediately hear Mary’s moans that had very little to do with pain or discomfort. 

“I think that should about do it”, John said cupping her glowing bottom with his big warm hand.He helped her up with his left hand and patted her bum with his right as he guided her toward the stairs. “Go upstairs. Wait for us in our room.”

Jules moved toward her husband as she watched her friend’s red bottom move quickly up the stairs.

“Our room?” she asked.

“That’s where the hairbrush is.”

“You’re giving her the brush?”

“Not her. That would be rather severe on her first time, don’t you think?”

“Yes it would”, Jules breathed, straddling her husband’s knee.

“She’s a girl,” he spoke into her face as she leaned closer, rubbing herself on his thigh “It’s best she sees how a woman handles the brush.”

“Whatever you say love”, she said as she covered his mouth with her own.

Plague Life – Part II

Continued from Plague Life – Part I 

In the kitchen Megan could hear the water running in the shower. Her heart had settled, and she was breathing almost normally again. What the hell was that? She smiled widely as the pan heated and she pulled the bread from the freezer and um, cheddar, she decided, from the fridge. She dropped two slices into the toaster but waited to drop them. When the oil in the pan was just shy of shimmering, she poured in the egg whites and over filled a glass of Chablis.

In the shower Joyce was still shaking her head not quite believing what she’d just done but smiling at the thought of it. She’d apologize, of course. What the hell was she thinking? But that’s as far as she got before starting to giggle again. She was thorough under the hot stream but fast. She wanted to get out to the kitchen. She turned the water off.

Megan put the cheese on the eggs and folded the omelet, smacking her lips at the tartness of the wine. The bread went down and she pulled a robin’s egg blue Fiesta Ware plate from the cabinet knowing how good it would look with the white omelet. Would she have cared about the presentation of a midnight omelet an hour ago?

When she heard the door open to the mudroom Megan pulled her mask, which had been hanging around her neck, up over her mouth and nose. The kitchen was spacious and wide open, but they’d been cautious. Joyce came in, her short auburn hair damply cupping her face.  The towel she had covered with earlier was around her neck and she was wearing a clean set of green scrubs. Seeing without looking Megan could tell she wasn’t wearing a bra. Probably no underwear either but impossible to tell. Megan mentally slapped herself in the head for thinking about that, but it had been a weird evening.

“Yessss…” Joyce said, sipping an offered glass of wine as she sat. She also ooohed and ahhhed at the omelet but didn’t spend too much time admiring it. She didn’t realize how hungry she was until she began eating. She worked around the crisp edges of the eggs and wolfed down half a piece of buttered toast. “This is wonderful…Thank you.”

“Easily done…”

“…About earlier….”

“What?” said Megan innocently, using her eyes to compensate for the smile the mask was covering.

“I was tired…giddy, I guess…”

“Stop it…”

“No! Really. And I’m not a modest person…”

“Obviously…”

“I can’t be. Not now. That was my fourth shower today. We’re all the time in locker rooms, underwear, bare-assed changing clothes. I shouldn’t have…”

“Here. Can I do something?” Megan asked. Without really waiting for permission she slipped behind Joyce and put her hands on her shoulders.

“Wait…” Joyce protested.

Megan said nothing, just began kneading Joyce’s shoulders and neck.

“Don’t…”

“Oh Shush!” She continued to knead her shoulders ignoring Joyce’s words and instead following the lead of her head lolling from side to side. They’d been in close quarters for over a month-essentially quarantined together so while this could have been seen as risky, neither was immediately willing to stop.

“I warn you”, said Joyce, “I might cry. It wouldn’t be the first time today.”

“You also laughed, so it’s been a big day.” She left a hole in the conversation in case Joyce wanted to fill it. When she didn’t, “You should do whatever you want. This is your home-this is your safe place. You want to cry, cry. You want to laugh, laugh.”

“What about mooning the babysitter?”

“By all means”, she said giving her a firmer squeeze.

“Does feel good.”

“I audited a kinesiology class.”

“Really?”

“I didn’t finish. There was a guy, then there wasn’t. But I learned a little of this.”

“You have a gift.”

“You’re sweet. And beat. What are you doing tomorrow?”

Joyce wasn’t due at the hospital till six tomorrow evening, so she was planning a day of nothing. Vegging with Tommy. They talked softly as Joyce ate and Megan continued to work the knots out of her shoulders. She’d be over at five to help get her off and ease the separation that Tommy always felt. It was their routine but there might have been another layer to it now. Joyce felt it as did Megan. And neither regretted it.

Dinner over and the massage finished, Megan moved toward the door. “I’ll be working in the garage all day tomorrow. Refinishing a trunk that I found in a shop a couple months ago, before the world changed. I’m available. If you need me before five, just text.”

“I’ll be fine”, said Joyce. “See you tomorrow…”

“Yep”, then pausing with a smile behind the mask, “Thanks for the bum shot.”

“Get out of here.”

She left and Joyce sat, nursing the wine and rubbing her shoulder where Megan’s hands had just been. It felt like they were the first hands on her in months.

Continued here Plague Life – Part III

A Whipping – Finale

(Continued from A Whipping – Part II)

She howled like a wolf at the rising moon as the first stroke cut cruelly across the top of her buttocks. The pain-THIS PAIN-she didn’t remember. The second followed immediately just below the first. “OWWWW!” she cried again lurching against the thick leather across the small of her back. She tried to gasp his name, to beg some kind of quarter, but another wicked stroke, then another, stole her words replacing them with yelps and cries.

“These walls are thick Missus”, he said in a way to calm her. “No one will hear-yell as you must.”

And she did, ignoring the memories of cries she had heard wafting from the high archer’s windows in the tower. Anyone passing by now would hear her but she cared not.

“But don’t forget to breathe”, he said pausing to inspect the deep pink and purpling weals slashing across her alabaster bottom. The eight stripes were perfectly spaced from the top of her deep crease to almost the center. He tenderly patted her right buttock which twitched at the touch. “Shhh… he said, gently palping the softness at the bottom of her cheek. When he last caned Eleanor Swick she was a girl whose slight curves flattened and disappeared when she bent. This was a woman bending now, her thickened body retaining its lush roundness as she reclined forward. She lifted her head and made to glance backward, curious about the delay.

“Sixteen more Ellie.”

“Yes…I don’t know how I’ll stand them.”

“You just will. Prepare”

She gripped the edge of the bench as the cane burned into the center of her bottom. She needn’t wonder any longer how a hot poker might feel touched to her skin. Her crying was now complete and non-stop; howls punctuating the kisses of the cane. He slowed his pace watching the new stripes bloom lightly. They were pink, no longer red. Ellie’s cries had likewise softened. Pulled by duty, he tightened his grip then hit a strong one low that bit into the top of her right thigh.  “Owww…” she cried anew.

“I’m sorry Ellie.” She felt him close again-his breath on her hot bottom then his finger at the top of her thigh. “Afraid I broke the skin on that one.” He rubbed it gently. “I’ll dress that for you…”She clung to the board wishing she had taken her top off as well, desiring as she did the feel of the leather against her nipples that-regardless of the pain-were hard and scratching as live beetles.

“How many more…?” she asked breathlessly, fearing the number.

He paused again before answering “None” definitively and laying the cane aside. “You are finished.”

“But that was only twelve or…”

“Shall I continue?”

“No! No! Thank you, Roger. God…I…” She blathered in relief and in another kind of heat.  “Come around”, she rasped. “Come to me.”

Roger stepped to the front of the bench where Eleanor’s grasping hands reached for him. He allowed himself to be taken by the hips and pulled forward. Her fingers worked feverishly untying the leather cord that cinched his trousers.

“Ellie…Eleanor…I don’t know…”

“Shush!” she said as the knot came loose and she pulled his thickening shaft free. “You’ve had your fun, now it’s my turn!”

He pulled back. “It was no fun for me Ellie! I didn’t…”

“Shush! Of course I know that…It’s a joke, that’s all…I’m sorry. Here, now…” Her hand wrapped around his cock and pulled him toward her tear streaked face. “You must come closer…”

Her grip tightened and pulled him to her mouth opening wide as a baby bird at dinner. The Punisher allowed himself to be guided forward and watched as her lips circled his manhood. He stood still, allowing her no more than the head, which she gobbled hungrily, stretching her neck for more. He stroked her hair allowing his staff to expand to its fullness under her feverishly flicking and rolling tongue.

“You must take me Roger. You must take me…back there.”

“Ellie, this would be a breach of office that I’ve never even contemplated.”

“Never?” She looked up at him with red eyes. “Never Roger?”

He gulped. “The one time. Yes.” He admitted.

“You will find that my wicked thoughts and your cutting cane have left me wet enough to accommodate even this-once I ready you.” She put him firmly back in her mouth and reached, taking his hips to draw him closer turning her head to better take him. Her arms wrapped around him clutching his backside-hugging him to her face his wild hair scratching her cheeks, his cock deep in her throat. She bobbed once, then again then pushed him away her saliva glistening on his engorged cock.

“Now Roger-take me. If you don’t it will be your cruelest punishment.”

He slipped between her legs and opened her bruised cheeks. She gasped as he placed his purpling dome against her moist folds to hear her beg once more, then slowly and inexorably pushed forward surprised and pleased that she could accommodate him. She moaned when his body touched her bottom-then again as he pulled back and thrust forward. Again, then again, he ground deeply into her. With his hands gripping her hips he quickened his pace, banging and slapping into her sweating body.

“Roger! I’m coming Roger-I’m going to come….!” She grabbed the sides of the bench and gritted her teeth as he worked faster feeling his own finish building deeply in his loins. He rammed her firmly as she squealed in release-pushing backward as much as she could against the leather. His pace now a gallop he kept her full of him pulling more cries with his rod than he had with the cane.

With a final shudder she ceased her fevered bucking. He withdrew his throbbing cock and gripping firmly, allowed himself to spurt fully across her backside. She moaned at the feel of the wet heat against her skin. Deflated against the bench she closed her eyes and just breathed, luxuriating in the twitches and jolts that emanated from her warm and well-served pussy.

There was movement behind and she felt the cool wet of a soft cloth cleaning and cleansing. Her senses were clear for the first time in weeks; she smelled the unguent as he gently touched where she needed it. She allowed him to minister as she wondered at her emptiness-the serpent of her needs had been cast out. For the time being.

Epilogue

Having cleared the room, the Queen Regent regarded The Punisher from her seat behind the ornate, elevated desk. She was high enough on her platform that even Roger Peterman had to look up to her. Not one to dabble in emotion, she regarded him silently as he wondered how she could look so much the same as when he first laid eyes on her as a boy.

True, her thick golden locks were thinner and laced through with platinum but her face didn’t betray her years. Her life on horseback-her preferred mode of travel around the realm-kept her body, which she did little to conceal beyond the conventions of the day, vital and strong. No longer a warrior, her mien nonetheless betrayed a readiness-maybe even an eagerness-for physical effort; for combat. Her iron-gray eyes penetrated still.

“So. I hear there was no whipping in the square while I was gone.”

“No Mam”, he said.

The silence was deep enough that dust motes could be heard crashing into each other falling through the sunlight.

“Did I not clearly express my wishes?” she asked simply and evenly.

“Oh, yes Mam. Verily so.”

Those who knew the Queen Regent best (and they were precious few) would have noticed a smile just then. If not at the corners of her mouth then in her eyes. The Punisher saw nothing.

“You’re not quite old enough to be considered eccentric. Or charmingly cantankerous…”

“No Mam.”

“Or odd. But. You want to be careful of appearing willful. Or disloyal.”

“No, Mam. Never that.”

“No, not you. But there is such a thing as misplaced loyalty. Misguided perhaps.” She paused and regarded him coolly.  “If I were to bring Mrs. Plumm-and it is Missus, Roger, with a husband and child-if I were to bring her in and strip her down, what would I see?”

“Thirty purple stripes Mam, cut right across the bottom. Evidences of abrasions. At least six open wounds.”

“Some caning. Thirty strokes at your hand.”

“Yes, Mam. Shall I send for her?”

“She would come for you, wouldn’t she?”

“At your behest Mam. At your behest.”

The Queen Regent allowed another invisible smile to bloom unseen across her face. “No, that’s fine. Let her be. You though, come to my chambers at sundown. We will discuss this further.”

“Yes, mam.”

“Use the back stairs from the library, so you won’t be observed.”

“Yes, mam. Thank you, mam.”

“You might want to save the ‘thank you’.”

“Yes mam.” He bowed his leave.  “Until sundown, then.”

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Katheryn Winnick as as Lagertha in Vikings. Not necessarily the model for the Queen Regent…

At Dawn

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It was a dream, within a dream
Wrapped in a memory.

The streets were wet and empty-
Deserted in the middle of another rainy night.

Running fast to no end, but as the distance rolled out
Found it easier to drop to all fours and gallop.

Hands clattered along the shiny brick
As a dog’s claws on ceramic.
Slipping left-sliding right;
Gaining precious purchase then sliding back,
Making no progress.

I was telling this to my Aunt Peggy-
Not in her doughy middle age-
But as she had been.
Slim and boyish; twenty-five to my
Lusty Sixteen.

She leaned close,
All overbite and collar bones
And told me that I should.
That she would.

I whiffed flowers
Hyacinth-
At the base of her neck.

You should, she whispered,
Eyes wide open.

Her mouth tasted of spearmint.
Her soft tongue,
Alive and welcoming.

You should, she whispered.