Bench Marks by Fidelis Blue
'Won't you tell me where we're going?'
He drove on silently, ignoring her question. They were in a part of town she'd never visited before, an area of warehouses and seedy office buildings. At last he turned down a side street and parked. He got out and she followed him across the road to a wooden door set in a red brick building. He pressed the buzzer beside it. After a while they heard the sound of a bolt being drawn and the door opened. A middle-aged man with white hair, wearing a brown carpenter's overall, stood looking at them.
'Mr Dunston?' William said.
The man nodded, then stood aside to let them enter. They preceded him down a corridor and through another door, into a large room with a high ceiling. At one end was a metal staircase ascending to a gantry, along which were a number of large cupboards. At the side of the room was a lathe and stacks of timber. In the middle of the room stood a large polished wooden bench of curious design. Back against the wall was a sofa covered in black velvet that had seen better days. Mr Dunston motioned them towards it. William sat down and indicated to Victoria to sit beside him.
'You wish to purchase one of our custom-made benches?' Mr Dunston said.
'Very well,' said Mr Dunston. He gestured towards the object in the centre of the room. 'This is our deluxe model. All our benches are capable of multiple adjustments, enabling them to fit any client. But we like to tailor them to an individual size if possible, to ensure the optimum fit.'
He waited for William's response.
'I see,' said William.
'The deluxe model is designed for three main positions,' Mr Dunston said. 'Now, if the young lady will permit, I can demonstrate its use.'
Victoria looked at William, who motioned her towards Mr Dunston. Nervously she got to her feet and approached the bench. Mr Dunston took her wrists and drew her forward so that the front of her hips rested against one end. Putting a hand in the small of her back, he pressed her down so that she was stretched along the bench's length. From a drawer at the far end of the bench he took two thin leather straps. Deftly he slipped them around her wrists then through two slots at the edge of the bench, buckling them so that her wrists were held. Her head protruded over the edge of the bench. Reaching underneath, Mr Dunston pulled out a small shelf, padded and covered in black leather. He locked it into place, then pressed her head down so that her chin rested on the pad. Taking two more straps from the drawer, he went round behind her and strapped her ankles to the legs of the bench.
'Now, you see,' he said to William, 'the young lady is securely held fore and aft, and you may work at either end as you please. In my judgement the height is about right, though I think perhaps we might lose just an inch. What is your view?'
William stood up and approached Victoria. Her skirt had ridden up her thighs, almost high enough to reveal her underwear. It was a warm day and she wore no stockings, only a pair of the skimpy little black silk knickers William favoured. As he stood behind her, she felt his groin press lightly against her buttocks, bumping against her once or twice. Then he moved to the front, standing just in front of her face. The flies of his trousers were on a level with her mouth. He reached down and put his hands on each side of her head, cradling it carefully. He stood still for a moment, leaning slightly towards her mouth but not quite touching, then released her.
'Fine,' he said. 'It's the right height.'
'Very well,' said Mr Dunston. 'Now for the ingenious part. As you will see, each of the legs is hinged.'
He went around the bench, moving a catch at each corner. Then, holding the front end, he pushed the legs outwards and lowered it until the headboard rested on the ground. The hinges on the back two legs allowed the bench to fold downwards in an upturned V while still supporting it. Victoria, her wrists still attached to the sides of the bench, was bent double, her head falling down, her bottom stretched over the back end.
'The beauty of this position,' said Mr Dunston, 'will be readily apparent. It is by far the best one for administering discipline from behind.'
Mr Dunston indicated Victoria's posterior.
William nodded. Mr Dunston lifted Victoria's red satin skirt up to her waist, at last revealing the black silk knickers. With his finger and thumb Mr Dunston pinched the centre of her right buttock through the thin material.
'You will see that in this position the muscle is tight, the skin drawn taut over the buttocks,' he said. 'This will guarantee that whatever force is applied will have maximum effect.'
'Yes, I see,' said William.
'However,' continued Mr Dunston, 'the piece de resistance is yet to come.'
He unstrapped Victoria's wrists and ankles. She stood up and watched as he lifted the front of the bench back into position. He motioned to Victoria to approach, this time lying her down on her back. Once more he attached her wrists to the sides. He also produced a wider leather strap, which he fixed across her waist just above the hips, pinning her tightly to the top of the bench. He moved two catches at the end where her head was and lowered that end of the bench to the floor, so that Victoria found herself leaning backwards at an angle of forty-five degrees, supported by her wrists and the strap around her waist.
Mr Dunston lifted up the legs on either side of Victoria's head and locked them into place at right angles to the sloping top of the bench. He produced two more leather straps, longer than the ones that held her wrists, and attached one to each of Victoria's ankles, pulling them back towards her head, fixing them to the legs of the bench on either side. The effect was to lift up her buttocks and draw her legs apart, rather as if she were prepared for a gynaecological examination. Her skirt had fallen back to her waist, exposing her knickers once more.
'Now, you see,' Mr Dunston said to William, 'the subject is positioned for either of two activities. The legs are conveniently parted should you wish to work between them. And the bottom is raised and, once again, rendered nice and tight by virtue of having the legs drawn so far back.'
William was impressed. 'Most ingenious.'
'Might I enquire,' said Mr Dunston, 'as to whether you have a preferred implement?'
'Well, I generally use a whip.'
'I see,' said Mr Dunston, in a tone that suggested he knew better. 'I wonder if I might make a proposal?'
'If you are going to work between the legs,' he continued, 'I think you will find that a heavy strap is more accurate, and will cause sufficient pain but not inflict damage. As for the bottom, a cane is more easily wielded than a whip, and will also leave a more distinct mark. Should you care to see some examples?'
'Very well,' said William.
Mr Dunston ascended the metal staircase and walked along the gantry until he came to one of the cupboards. He opened it and selected two items from the contents. He came back down the stairs and showed William a thick leather strap narrowing to a handle at one end, slit up the middle at the other. He also held a short, thin bamboo cane. William examined them both with interest.
'The strap is known as a tawse in Scotland, where it has always been the choice of disciplinarian schoolmasters,' said Mr Dunston. 'Should you like to see a demonstration?'
'No!' Victoria suddenly cried. 'No, please, William. Don't let him.'
The two men looked at her for a moment, both equally displeased by this intervention.
' A further suggestion,' said Mr Dunston.
From a drawer at the side of the room he produced a gag, a red rubber ball with leather straps attached. He handed it to William, who advanced on Victoria. For a moment she thought to resist, clamping her mouth shut. But William said 'Open' in the particular tone of voice that always made her shiver, and she meekly let him push the ball into her mouth and strap it tight behind her head. William moved to one side. With her legs drawn upwards and outwards, he could see the outline of Victoria's sex beneath the thin silk knickers, see the plump, tender labia and the cleft between them.
'Please proceed,' he said to Mr Dunston.
Raising the tawse high, Mr Dunston brought it down smartly between Victoria's legs. A muffled sound came from behind her gag. Mr Dunston raised the tawse again and laid it hard across the same spot. Once more the tawse lifted and fell with a thwack on the tightly stretched knickers. Victoria's face was flushed.
'Now the cane,' said William.
Mr Dunston took the thin bamboo and swished it from side to side.
'You will observe how flexible it is, yet very strong,' he said.
Mr Dunston positioned himself at right angles to the bench. He took careful aim at Victoria's bottom and brought the cane down hard across both buttocks, exactly in the centre. Again Victoria made a stifled noise. Mr Dunston waited for the full force of the blow to sink in, then accurately laid down another in the same spot. Each time the cane swished down, Victoria wriggled uselessly against her bonds, desperately trying to avert the full force of the blow. Further strokes followed at regular intervals, William allowing six in all.
'Thank you,' he said. 'Most impressive. I'll take both the cane and the tawse. Now when can you deliver the bench?'
'Would the end of the week suit you?' said Mr Dunston.
They went towards the far end of the room to a desk covered in papers, leaving Victoria prostrate on the bench. She could hear them busying themselves with the sales arrangements. When they returned, Mr Dunston lifted the bench back up and William loosened her bonds. She stood up, feeling both stiff and sore, and he took the gag off.
'Lift your skirt,' he said.
There was a brief moment when she thought to resist, but she merely shrugged her shoulders as if to register a protest and raised her skirt up to her waist. William reached out and pulled her knickers half way down her thighs. He and Mr Dunston contemplated the pattern of parallel red welts across the ivory skin.
'You're right,' said William. 'Excellent definition.'
They walked back down the corridor to the outside door. Mr Dunston handed William the two implements, wrapped in brown paper, and shook him by the hand.
As Victoria and William crossed to the car she said, 'I can't believe you let that old man do those things to me.'
William was silent. They got in the car. It was dusk and the street lamps had just come on. They drove towards the city.
'Take your knickers off,' said William.
She hesitated for a moment, then reached up under her skirt and drew her knickers down over her ankles, laying them beside her on the seat. He reached across and pulled up her skirt. He put a hand between her legs, pushing his middle finger up into her sex.
'If you didn't like it, why are you so wet?' he said.
She didn't answer. He withdrew his hand.
'Now masturbate,' he said.
'What?' she demanded.
'Don't make me repeat myself,' said William.
She spread her thighs and put her hand between her legs. Her finger found the soft little bud, swelling already, slippery and eager. She began to caress it. They drew up at a set of lights. Alongside was a big truck. She looked up and saw the driver watching her.
'He's looking at me,' she hissed.
'Good,' said William.
They accelerated away from the lights. She looked around nervously, fearing other observers. But her finger was working rapidly now. She felt the wave of desire rising. William stared impassively forward. Suddenly she gave a low moan. Her thighs gripped her hand, her hips rose up, twitching with pleasure.
She relaxed back into the soft expensive leather of her seat, her hand still between her legs. They drove on through darkening streets.