Monday, 17 March 2008

A Strange Story

Someone asked, the other day, if my blog was on hold. I do admit that I have let some time pass between blog posts but it is definitely not on hold.

This is just a story I wrote. Hope you will enjoy it.

'He is coming to,' said the voice.

And it was a very sweet voice. He thought it was the voice of a girl. This puzzled him. There were not often girls around when he woke up. There were seldom girls out and about in the dingy alleyways of the town where he often woke up, these days.

'Seems like it,' said another voice, as sweet as the first.

'He is rough,' said the first voice.

'Yes, but not ready,' said the other and they giggled.

He was lying there listening for a while. He decided that there were only two of them. Two young women talking about him.

He opened his eyes and felt a slight headache, or rather a shadow of a headache. He couldn't be hung over. He couldn't afford the ale any longer. Perhaps someone had treated him. Yes, that was it. He remembered someone giving him a tankard of ale.

It was light. He was in a room. Not outdoors. There was no alleyway, no dingy backstreet. He was in a light and nice room. At least it appeared to be nice. He couldn't see clearly yet.

And then he saw the girls. And he was right, there were just two of them. As his vision became clearer he could see that the girls were not just young but also very lovely.

They were so lovely he didn't think he was awake but still dreaming, he even considered being dead and being blessed with being allowed into heaven.

In front of him stood two young women and as he let his eyes wander from the features of one to the other he saw that they were the same. There stood two lovely young women so similar that he wondered if he was still drunk and there was in reality only one.

'Good morning,' said the one to the left.

'Good morning, said the one to the right, 'I am Helena.'

'And I am Hermia.'

They smiled at him and he hoped it wasn't a dream.

They were both slender creatures, slim and delicate in a way he wasn't used to. They had no bosoms, not like the curvy maidens in the taverns he frequented when he could afford it. He thought they looked like angels with their blond shining hair and their light blue flowing dresses.

As his mind cleared he thought that if he was not dreaming or dead he must at least be in some palace or the like. The room was spacious and sparsely furnished but what he saw of furniture was as delicate and beautiful as to fit the girls.

The girls explained to him that he shouldn't worry and that he would be richly rewarded if he just did what he was told and now they were going to make him presentable.

He had not been prepared to put up any resistance to these lovely beings and their beautiful smiles and gentle manners made him more than willing to do anything they asked of him.

They directed him to a bathtub filled with hot water and they gently removed his clothes. He thought that he must still be in shock since he took it so calmly to be undressed by two so heavenly creatures. He meekly accepted to be prepared and put into the bath.

He was too embarrassed to accept the help Helena and Hermia offered and preferred to clean himself. This didn't mean he was left alone. Instead the two giggling young women were standing looking at him.

As he was enjoying the bath he had time to study the two girls. They were, indeed, the loveliest creature he had set his eyes on. And he almost felt a tear well up in his eyes as he remembered his youth and the girls in his village, the ones he fancied but never got a chance to touch.

'Helena,' said the one to the left, 'I think this gentleman like your appearance.'

'No, Hermia, I think he prefers yours.'

'Don't be ridiculous, you are much more beautiful than I am.'

'Don't be silly, you are much lovelier than I am.'

'You are wrong, Helena, in fact I think you should indulge this gentleman.'

'I will do anything to make him comfortable, Hermia.'

'It is settled then, show him your bosom!'

'Do you really mean that?'

'I am in earnest, Helena, I think you should show him.'

They giggled and he realised that this was a silly game they played and felt that, perhaps, they were mocking him.

He was surprised, in fact immensely astonished as the girl to the left actually moved her hand to loosen some hook or fastening at her neck and let her blue dress slide from her shoulders to reveal the sweetest pair of breasts he had ever seen. They were round, small - that has to be said - but so soft and sweet and rosy as anything he had ever seen.

The poor man almost burst into tears at the beauty revealed in front of him. The girls smiled at him and for a moment he toyed with the idea of reaching out to touch those lovely mounds before him.

He never came close to realising this idea because they were interrupted. A great double door was opened and another woman entered the room. The two girls giggled and withdrew to the side, Helena adjusting her clothes. They showed the entering woman all due respect but they showed no fear of her.

The third woman was taller than Helena and Hermia. She was as slim as they were, although her shape was slightly more pronounced but without taking away the impression of a slender and majestic figure. She had red hair flowing over her shoulders and she was dressed in a white silk dress. She was beautiful. Where Helena and Hermia were sweet and lovely she was beautiful and proud. She was their mistress, no doubt about that.

She turned to the man in the bathtub and spoke.

'You will do something for me and if you do that you will be richly rewarded.'

He could only nod in reply.

The beautiful woman turned to the girls.

'Prepare him!'

And then she left.

The two girls giggled and set to work on him. They helped him out of the bath and dried him and dressed him in a kind of white and very long shirt. He was given slippers and an embroidered gown was put on him. All this was done while the girls were giggling and seemed very excited.

They guided him to the big double door and he felt his heart beat faster as he was to know what was his task. In his excited mind he conjured up images of him rolling around in a great big bed with the red haired woman while he pleased her with all his skill. He sighed a little as he realised that his skills in that department wasn't that pronounced.

'Now, we will take you to your queen,' one of the girls said.

He had already lost track of them and had no idea if was Helena who was on his left or if it was Hermia.

'You see,' said the other, 'this is your queen, your supreme ruler.'

Then they opened the door and entered. The room was dimly lit by a multitude of candles. The queen, the beautiful, red haired, queen stood on a low dais.

'Now, don't talk! Just do as you are told!' said Hermia, or was it Helena.

'You will do as you are told and you will be rewarded.'

'And then you forget.'

'It doesn't matter if you forget or remember.'

'No one will believe you anyway.'

'Don't disobey!'

'There are guards close at hand.'

'And then you will be dead.'

'But only after prolonged agony.'

He nodded.

The girls left him standing by the door and approached the queen. They didn't smile now but looked more serious and more determined than ever.

A strange scene unfolded before his eyes. The two girls gently undid some buttons and hooks in the queen's dress and with a gentle movement let it fall from her shoulders. The man was astonished as they revealed the queen in this way. First he stared in amazement at her upper body being stripped bare like this. He then averted his eyes.

'You may look,' said one of the girls.

'I think you should look,' said the other.

He looked. His mouth was dry but he looked. He saw the exquisite beauty of the queen being bared before his eyes. Her body was slim, her shoulders narrow. Her breasts were round and small but a tad fuller than than Helena's. Her skin was fair but not as fair as the girls'.

The chamber maids proceeded to take the rest of the dress off and soon the queen was standing naked in front of him. He looked and he prayed. He wondered if he wasn't dead after all. This could not be true. This was a dream.

Then the scene became even stranger. One of the girls led the queen to a pillar in the middle of the dais. It was a slender pillar, perhaps made of wood, perhaps stone. He couldn't tell. The queen stretched out her hands one on each side of the pillar. One of the girls loosened a rope that seemed to be hanging from a ring and she gently tied the wrists of the queen together so she stood embracing the pillar.

Then the girl pulled the rope and the queen moved closer to the pillar and pressed her body to it as her hands were lifted. He watched in sweet agony as he saw her breasts press against the pillar and how she had to stand on her toes.

He knew what he was witnessing. He had seen this before. But then it had been in the central square of the town and the poor devil who was tied in place got their back flogged by the hangman. He had seen women being flogged like that and he knew how the crowd would cheer as her clothes were ripped open for her flogging.

This was different. There was no brutality, no crowd, no mocking, no cheering. But he knew that the girls were preparing the queen for a whipping. And she was naked. Not even the lowest of the low were stripped naked in the street like that.

One of the girls placed something in his hand and he realised that he had been lost for a while. He looked at the thing she had given him and he saw it was a whip. It consisted of a leather clad handle and some thin leather strands, they were not braided but single strips of leather. It was a brutal weapon, not as cruel and harsh as the whips used for punishment in the street but far worse than the switches or canes used in the homes.

He shivered as he was directed to the queen. He stared at her naked back, her bottom, the delicate shape of her body, her soft and sensitive skin. The whip was far too brutal for her.

'Now,' said the girl to the left. He thought it was Hermia.

'Now,' said Helena, 'now whip her!'

'Whip her on her bottom!'

'You can whip her wherever you like.'

'But we think the her bottom is best.'

'Her queenly bottom is the best.'

'I can't,' he said.

'But you must,' said Hermia.

'Yes, you must. It is your duty.'

'To your queen.'

'And to your country.'

'Don't worry, you will not be punished.'

'No, you will be rewarded.'

'But, why?'

'Don't concern yourself with that!'

'It is tradition.'

'A very old custom.'

He took a deep breath. He stared at the sweet body of his queen. She said nothing. She had turned her head away.

He hesitated for a long time. The girls were silent, awaiting his action, prepared to continue prompting him.

Then he let the whip swing. Not with great force but he was shocked as it hit the queen across her naked buttocks. He saw her body stiffen but she said nothing.

He stared as the marks appeared on her skin and he felt it to be such a pity to mark such lovely and tender skin.

'Harder!' said the one he thought to be Hermia.

'Much harder!'

'It is meant to hurt.'

'And it shall hurt.'

He swung the whip again and used more force this time. The queen drew her breath and lifted one foot as the whip hit her soft bottom.

He was full of the strangest sensation as he continued to whip his queen. He let fly of the whip and let it land on her naked body as his mind struggled with strange emotions. He feared he would be condemned for this, that this must be the ultimate sin, to whip your queen, but on the other hand he felt a kind of elated triumph in letting this sweet but powerful creature suffer.

He whipped her bottom but once or twice he hit her back and her thighs. He felt blood rush to his cheeks as he swung the whip time and again at his helpless victim.

The queen didn't scream but she moaned and squealed and moved in agony as the whip hit her helpless body.

'Stop!' Hermia shouted.

'Stop!' Helena said.

He stopped. He stood shivering. He let the whip fall to the floor. He stared at the queen, her sweet and naked body striped with the marks of the whip. He knew enough to see that she would heal. There were no broken skin, no wounds, so she would heal and there would be no trace of her whipping but she would be very sore, for a long time still.

Hermia gave him a goblet of wine.

'You must be thirsty.'

'Drink this!'

He found it odd that they would care for him instead of their queen but he gladly accepted the wine and drank it.

He stared for a while at the queen and wondered why Helena and Hermia still stood close to him and not attended to the poor whipped queen who was still tied to the pillar. He stared and felt a sudden dizziness. He had to sit down. Hermia directed him to a chair and his vision became blurred.

He woke up in a dingy alleyway. His head was humming and there was a shadow of a headache. He started slowly to remember what had happened but decided soon it was a great dream. He was dressed in his ordinary dirty clothes and he was lying in a place where he had been many times before.

As he struggled to his feet he felt he had to tell someone his dream. They would have a laugh and maybe someone would buy him a tankard of ale for the story. It was then he felt something heavy at his belt.

The purse was full of coins and they were not ordinary coins. They were gold coins. He promptly decided he should not tell anyone about his dream. In fact, he never ever told anyone.

It is said that the man returned to his village and bought some land and then married one of the girls there and lived a very ordinary and virtuous life. How this came about no one really understood but they were happy to see a drunkard turn farmer so no one really asked about it.


Paul said...

Janice, thank you a nice story, a parable perhaps.
Warm hugs

wilhelmina said...


This is an interesting take on the usual and I like the setting. It all feels quite surreal and it reminded me a little of the Sleeping Beauty, particularly the first one for some reason. Perhaps it was the Queen, though because of that I kept expecting her to get her paddle out and put him over
her knee.

It was interesting too that he was the star of the show and almost as if her needs were so mundane as to not require anyone to fuss over her, the Queen that is.

Interesting story.


Anonymous said...

KLSE: This was a truly lovely tale Mrs Smith, well done to you. I loved the "he is rough but not ready", how very clever of you: very Shaxperian (a Midsummer Nights Dream, and on the March Equinox too), Is it only me who connects the whipping of the queen story to Easter? It is God's Friday as I type this, but I imagine so: only me. Still there are two points of connection, the most obvious one for me (well, the first) being the tradition of both Czech and Slovakia that girls be whipped by boys at Easter as part of the ancient fertility rites of the Celtic Bohemians, the Boii (and I'm a Celt, and a girl, just for interest's sake). Then of course there is the scourging of my King, by the executioner, on such a day as this; but I know you weren't referring to that.

God bless you Janice, not because it's Easter, but just because you are Janice.


Janice said...

Dear Paul, I didn't think of it as a parable, not at all, to be honest. And I don't know what it would mean, either. Thank you for your comment, though...smiles.

Dear Mina, thank you, your compliments mean a lot. I thought it should be a little surreal, or at least a little baffling, for the hero. I bet you would have liked it if he had been smacked by the queen...giggles.

Dear Kirsten, thank you for your praise. You make me seem more profound than I am. I can assure you, I had no thoughts, whatsoever, of the Boii or of any other religious symbolism. But I will always maintain that a story belongs to the reader as soon as she reads it and your interpretation is as good as anyone's. Thank you ever so much for reading...smiles.



Anonymous said...

Helena and Hermia, eh??? They seem somehow familiar, and not merely as characters from MND -- but I will say no more.

Not just the Bohemians, but the Poles have a charming custom of plying pretty girls with willow switches (on Dyngus Day -- Easter Monday -- but you knew this already).

A charming fairy tale -- Dare we call it -- Bottom's Dream?????

Wystan E.

Ollie said...

A delightful story Janice, Thankyou.

There is quite a bit there to think about, and I enjoyed the descriptions and the ending of course.