With permission from the author, none other than Wystan Ephraim, himself, here is a guest story. I think it is a little gem, with something of a sting in the tail, if you allow me the expression. Read and enjoy.
Roseena had sat in her cell, waiting for the sunrise. She saw the glow rising in the east, which foretold the unthinkable glow and burn of the stripes she must soon endure. At sunrise. At the town square.
The jailer had tied her to a chair, facing the tiny window. When she tried to look away, he would snap the whip and murmur unspeakable threats. She learned to sit still, to watch the moon rise, to see the stars slowly wheeling. She pushed away the horror that crept toward her. Being marched, prodded to the whipping post. Being stripped. Waiting for the first bite of the lash. The first of many. She had no illusions that she would be brave. She had seen prisoners whipped before. By the third stroke, they were panting and sobbing. By the tenth, the bravest pleaded for mercy…
The jailer contented himself with counting off the hours: 'Three bells …. Four bells, m’lady Rose….' With the rosy dawn he whispered, 'Won’t be long now…'
She saw the first yellow line, the top of the rising sun. 'There he comes,' the jailer murmured. 'He’s eager to watch you, from up above. He’s as anxious as the rest of us, to see you, naked, writhing…' He paused. 'He wants to heat your flesh, as I do, to redden it, to see your sweat trickle between your breasts and run down over the red weals…'
She heard a key turn stiffly. Rough hands grabbed her from behind. Her manacles were removed from wrists and ankles. 'Stand.'
Her shaking knees would not comply. He caught her as she fell. Bore her up, almost tenderly, his strong arm around her waist. She felt his hand feel for her breast, squeeze it. 'None of that,' another voice barked. 'Plenty of time … later.'
She tried to move her legs as she was half dragged, half carried out the door, to the jailhouse entrance. She opened her eyes, blinking in the half-light. The town square was already crowded.
They marched her past the whipping post. A bar had been placed between two trees, some seven feet high, with straps dangling. She was denied even the small modesty, the small comfort, of pressing herself to the sturdy post. She would be in full view…
Numb, she watched, rather than felt, her hands raised above her, saw her wrists secured. A winch clinked, and she was raised to her toes.
Roseena was dressed in a long, coarse blouse and a long skirt, much too large about the middle. It was held up by a knotted cloth belt. The blouse had six buttons, spaced from below her navel to her small chin.
The jailer faced her now. She pursed her lips, waiting for him to rip her shirt from her body. She had seen it before: a single yank, and an admiring (or derisive) gasp from the crowd as naked female flesh was revealed.
He leered at her, and reached for her throat. She shuddered, heart pounding.
He unbuttoned a single button. Voices from the crowd protested: 'Off with it! What’re you waiting for?' The jailer winked at her, and stepped back. The crowd pressed in. 'Can’t see her tits yet…' 'All in good time,' the jailer replied. 'In the meantime, just picture her tits... are they proud and perky, or do they droop a bit? Are her nipples small, or big as coins? Dark, or pale pink? You'll know soon enough.' Minutes passed. Again the jailer approached, and again, undid the second button. This time the crowd did not jeer. 'Isn’t she worth the wait?' the jailer sly asked. They stared, breathing hard. Stared… as the jailer unfastened the third button, and the fourth. Now he pulled her blouse open, showing just the white tops of her breasts. Roseena felt the crowd push forward for a glimpse. She felt their hunger, their need.
The jailer stroked her cheek with his gloved hand. 'So fair,' he mused. 'So brave. Still a hint of roses in your rosy cheeks... but ' (addressing the crowd) 'soon these cheeks will be wet with tears, her face red and contorted, her pretty mouth open as she howls...' He made a face, imitating her agony.
The sun was higher now. How long had she…? The jailer opened the last two buttons now. He untucked her shirt, pulling it open again, but left it on her.
Roseena felt a warm breeze from the front. Her blouse billowed out now, flapping, exposing, then hiding her breasts.
The jailer reached around her waist. He untied the belt, holding her skirt up for a second, then letting it drop. 'That’s the stuff!' a man cried hoarsely. But her long blouse, whirling about her in the gathering wind, still partly covered her bottom, and her coyly wrapped itself around her maiden triangle.
Once again, the jailer approached. He uncoiled the whip, the wicked braided whip. He shook it. Roseena thought, 'Finally… give me strength…'
But he held the whip out, handle forward. With the wooden grip, he tapped her right nipple. At once, Roseena and the crowd moaned aloud. The jailer teased her nipple to hardness, flipping and flicking it to a tight, red bud. Now the other…
He stepped back. The men licked their lips, breathing hard. Roseena could almost feel their scruffy beards chafing her breast, feel their nipping teeth, their swirling tongues and sucking lips.
Without warning, the shirt was ripped from her body. She heard the winch tighten, felt her arms raised… Roseena saw the jailer step behind her. She heard the whip whistle as he tested the distance. Dimly, then with fresh terror, she saw another man in front of her. He, too, was uncoiling a whip. He winked at her… She would be lashed, front and back…
The winch chattered. Roseena’s wrists were lowered to the level of her shoulders. She held her face in her hands, weeping…
The jailer’s master spoke for the first time. 'There will be no punishment today,' he shouted. 'The governor himself wishes to see the wench flogged. But last night he was called away on urgent business. Punishment will take place at dawn tomorrow.' 'No,' was the general cry. 'No, lash her now, flog her white skin…'
The bailiff silenced them. 'The wench will remain here, in public view, for two more hours. You may not touch her. You may come as close as you like, but you may not touch her. That,' he concluded, 'is for us, the keepers of the law.'