The ‘doctor’ tapped her bottom again with his belt. His hand, with the hem of the green jersey in it, rested now atop the small of her back.
Just another little taste of society’s ‘justice.’ Deporting her brothers, sending her sister into custody service. Relman, above the law, sending Prender to some colony in the Alpha Andromeda system. And now a doctor with a belt.
“Why am I punishing you, Eliana?” His voice seemed to come from far above her. Of course: the man who gave the ‘justice’ always wanted to make you think he towered over you.
“Seriously?” she said. She couldn’t help it. Despite realizing she had to give in, if she were to start the plan of fooling this strange doctor into thinking he had reformed her, the idea of following obediently the way he wanted events to unfold—above all the notion that she would have to say things, and for example, right now, tell him why he should whip her—was going to be very difficult to accept, El could already tell.
“Seriously, Eliana.” There was that damned patient tone. The thought that he might be able to outwait her gave El pause. And then there was that fucking gentleness, and along with it a veneer of reason: just bend over, Eliana, and learn your lesson. Eyes respectfully down, Eliana. When you learn to follow the rules, everyone will be happy. Raise your bottom for the belt, and when your punishment is over you’ll be a better person. “We can’t get started here until you show me you understand why I have to discipline you.”
Dammit. “I tried to hurt you,” she said, trying desperately to make it sound like she was sorry.
“That’s right. I need you to understand, Eliana, that I will punish you for bad behavior. That’s the first step toward setting new boundaries for your future life. Now thank me for punishing you.”
“What?” Again it had just burst from her. Of course Doctor Fitzgerald would spring some shit like this. Of course she had to ‘thank’ him.
“You heard me, Eliana,” he said calmly. “I know you won’t mean it now, but you’re going to start using the forms of civilized interaction, and soon enough you will see how important they are.”
“You’ll brainwash me, you mean.” Why did this man make her talk when she wanted just to stay silent? Well, maybe it’s better if I show him a little resistance now, so that I’m more convincing later.
“If you want to call it that, you can go ahead. That’s an old, old term, and it didn’t have a real meaning even when it was young. I’ll definitely be changing your attitudes and modifying your behavior. If you want to call it brainwashing, go ahead.”
What? El felt her brow furrow. Weren’t they supposed to say, “No, we would never do anything coercive like brainwashing”?
Once again, he tapped her bottom with the belt, and now the voice from above had a note of severity in it. “Thank me, Eliana.”
“Fine. Thank you, Doctor Fitzgerald.”
“You’re welcome, Miss Wildwood.” El had a momentary mental image of the two corrections officers nodding approvingly and, to her horror, she felt herself blush. Just a stupid bodily response. Exactly what he wants, and exactly what I won’t give into.
The belt left her bottom, she heard the whistling sound she had imagined, and the leather cracked against her right cheek. Then, before she felt she could even sense the pain, he had struck again, harder, on her left one. She hadn’t wanted to make a noise, but the suddenness and speed of the lashes raining down, quickly and mercilessly, took her by surprise, and she made a little yelping sound.
El didn’t know why she had stupidly assumed that Dr. Fitzgerald wouldn’t really punish her. Even if he used the belt, she had thought deep in her mind that this little farce would be some sort of symbolic thing. Maybe something about the softness of his manner made her think, unconsciously, perhaps, that he wouldn’t spank her hard.
But although at the start the pain was definitely manageable, as the lashes fell in spots that he had already thoroughly punished, the belt quickly made her grit her teeth, and then her eyes had begun to water and she was sobbing with pain. Dr. Fitzgerald, despite appearances, didn’t mess around. To her distress, she started to squirm, clenching her cheeks and even trying to get away. Again she pictured Jones and Eagleson, and her face grew hot while her sobs became real sobs of shame.
“Stop! Please! I’m sorry!” burst from her throat, to her disgust, but the doctor just kept whipping her, for what seemed like forever.
“Um, doctor?” came a voice from in front of her—Jones?
“I’m nearly through,” said Dr. Fitzgerald calmly. “This first corporal punishment has to be decisive, officer.”
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” El shrieked.
The whipping stopped. “I’m glad to hear it,” the doctor said. “You may stand up, and pull up your pants and underwear. Then please turn to face me.”
Why was it nearly as humiliating to be told to pull up your pants as to be told to take them down? The reason came to El in a flash as she obeyed, because at this point why shouldn’t she, so she could get the hell out of this office and to whatever ‘home’ the doctor had: because the shame lay in the control the doctor had just exercised and demonstrated over that part of her body—the part from which shame and humiliation seemed to spring. Even Relman had known that, and shown it in keeping his custody girls naked and waxed between their legs. Because of her criminal expertise, El had been spared that; now she suddenly wondered whether she would be spared it in the doctor’s house.
Her eyes downcast as much in shame as because she consciously tried now to obey his wishes in order to fool him into thinking his ‘protocol’ was working, she turned to him, and to her shock found that he had opened his arms.
“Look at me, Eliana,” he said. She didn’t want to, but the act demanded it, so she looked up into his blue eyes, sure that her own face must look frightful, with her eyes swollen and her nose running. “I’m going to hug you now. I know you probably don’t want it, but you have to have it. No society should discipline its miscreants without love, even if the miscreant refuses to accept that love, or even to believe it genuine.”
El felt her jaw drop. He couldn’t be serious. She glanced at Jones, across the desk. His white-mustached face wore a bemused look, as if he recognized that the doctor had spoken the truth, but a truth that existed in some parallel universe.
Then the doctor had stepped forward and gathered El into his arms, and though she made herself go stiff and stay stiff against his strong chest, he held her that way for a long moment, rubbing her back at the same time.
“You were a good girl for your punishment,” he said. “Thank you.”