Fiction, As Promised.

Enjoy after the flip.

The Tutor

Carrie smoothed her dress and sat down on the sofa, making sure that her back was straight and that her hands were neatly folded in her lap. Despite the closed window, the sounds of afternoon traffic were ever present, a steady stream of carriages and pedestrians on the avenue outside. The clock on the mantle chimed four o’clock. She raised her eyes towards the door as Dr. Henry Gardner entered the room carrying a leather briefcase which he placed on the floor just inside the doorway. He reached into his inside coat pocket and retrieved a pair of small wire-rimmed spectacles which he placed on the tip of his nose before looking up at his student.

“Good afternoon, Miss Travers. Are you ready for your lessons today”, he asked.

“I believe I am, Sir”, she said.

He opened his case and brought out a small moleskin notebook which he unbound, putting the length of twine that had bound it in his side pocket. “I hope it is more than a belief, young lady. You had plenty of time to study your vocabulary”.

“Yes, Sir”, she said looking down at her folded hands.

“Then we should begin”, he said, “with something from your recent studies”.

Dr. Gardner lifted the notebook in front of his face and read aloud from it.

“Lychnobite”, he said.

Carrie paused for a moment, lost in thought. She looked out the window then back at her folded hands as if unsure what to say. When she did speak, it was with a quiet and wavering voice.

“I’m sorry, Sir”, said Carrie. “I don’t seem to know that one”.

Dr. Gardner looked up from his notebook and gave the girl a disapproving glare. “Think”, he said. “You studied this word the other day”.

Carrie shook her head slowly. “I’m sorry, Sir”.

He sighed loudly and placed the book on a small table next to the sofa. Gardner walked to the far end of the room opposite the door. Leaning against the corner was a thin cane, its surface dull with use. He lifted it from its resting place and walked back to his student.

“Stand up please”, he said.

Carrie hesitated for just a moment before lifting herself up. She took two steps towards him and stopped. Her eyes were focused on the floor in front of her.

“You had three days to study these words”, he said, a tone of anger in his voice. “I do not come here to simply waste my time and your parents money. I am here to educate you as best as I can. It is quite a disappointment when you fail because it tells me I have failed as well”.

“I’m sorry, Sir”, she whispered.

“Perhaps a not so subtle reminder will help you study, hmm? Now step over here and bend over”.

She moved to where he pointed, a spot in the center of the room. She bent forward and placed her hands on her knees. He walked behind her and lifted her skirt up exposing her white cotton drawers.

“You will reach back and take those down”, he ordered. “You will be caned on the bare today”.

Carrie lowered her drawers and allowed them to fall to the floor. She bent forward again, her white and flawless bottom presented for Dr. Gardner’s cane.

“Six hard strokes”, he announced. “That will be the penalty for not doing your studies”.

“Yes, Sir”.

He stood beside her and slightly behind. The cane was lifted into the air and then brought down across her bottom. She drew in a quick breath as the sharp pain evolved into a steady burning sensation. A red line quickly appeared in stark contrast to the pale skin around it. Gardner lifted the cane again and struck her again, forming another wheal slightly below the first.

By the time the third stroke had fallen, tears started to form in the corners of Carrie’s eyes. A person who works during the night and sleeps during the day, that’s what a lychnobite was. She filled her mind with the flood of words she had studied over the last few days, recalling each and every definition. The quiz would have been easy for her as they all were. ‘But what would be the point’, she thought. ‘I would not be here — like this — with him’.

In this house, in this life, with the clock tirelessly ticking away the days and months and years for the good little Carrie Travers, she felt, for a brief time, completely alive. In the chill air of the room, as the carriages rumbled by and people moved from place to place right outside the window, she felt warm. Not only where the cane had marked her but inside as well, in her mind and in a place she was only beginning to discover and explore. Dr. Gardner, with his graying temples and furrowed brow over dark, dark eyes, was teaching her lessons beyond mere words in a book. That he did not know he was teaching these things were of no concern to Carrie and, in the end, were not relevant.

When the caning was over, she dressed herself again and sat back down on the sofa. The burning was now a steady tingle but she knew that it was not enough, would never be enough. The outside world and its noisy and wonderful sounds were miles away as Carrie sank into the warmth that enveloped her.

“Let’s begin again”, said Dr. Gardner.

Carrie allowed a tiny smile to briefly lift a corner of her mouth. “Yes”, she said, “let’s”.

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15 Responses to “Fiction, As Promised.”

  1. loretta Says:

    nice story Rad, you shoudl publish your stories, i’d buy the book for sure. Thanks for thinking of us all and writing this blog.

  2. “Its surface dull with use” – nice.
    You have a lovely and fresh style, emotionally edgy in an internal way.

  3. Hi Rad,
    I just recently found your blog and have visited it regularly….even going back to read some of the older posts. 🙂 Thank you for the insightful posts that you make. I enjoyed the story!

  4. Wow, that was really well written and exciting.

    • radagast Says:

      Thank you. I think my writing is improving over time — at least having it get from my brain to a page.

  5. Just read this and commented over at FetLife – you are really good, Rad!

  6. That was excellent.

  7. It is true – the more you write, the smoother it becomes. It flows well and the “tricks” of writing come more naturally. You could do the POD thing like Erica did. You have surely built an audience.

  8. Yes – Print on Demand. The idea being there is no stock to be paid for. Your book is listed on the publisher’s site, on Amazon too or wherever, and as people purchase your book it is printed and sent out. You can buy copies for yourself and it makes your book available for purchase. You get to set prices and profits per book. One such is createspace.com which is Amazon’s POD arm, another is Lulu.com, and there are more.

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