The Daredevil

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Another erotic story from the FLOGMASTER!

Copyright 1985-2016 by the Flogmaster. All Rights Reserved. Free distribution via electronic medium (i.e. the internet or electronic BBS) is permitted as long as the text is _not_ modified and this copyright is included, but _no_ other form of publication is allowed without written permission. This document _may_ contain explicit material of an ADULT nature. ***READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!*** Anything offensive is your own problem. This story is for **entertainment** purposes only, and it does _not_ necessarily represent the viewpoint of the author or the electronic source where this was obtained. All characters are *fictional* -- any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental.

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The Daredevil

(****, M/F, Severe, caning, birching)

A female daredevil who has spent the last thirty years cheating death goes for the ultimate thrill--confronting her old schoolmaster. (Approximately 6,541 words. Originally published 1996-02.)

Part 1

Dana leaned firmly back in her seat and was comforted by her body rocking with gentle rush-ta-truck rush-ta-truck of the train. "I cannot believe I am doing this," she whispered to herself, shaking her head. Without seeing she stared out the window at the blur of trees and homes and occasional roads.

"That's my life," she said softly. "A blur, one continuous blur of movement." Her heart thumped loudly in her chest and sounded far louder than the clanking of the train, but a quick glance at her companions saw that most were dozing.

She gave a deep sigh. Southampton was still a half hour away. Perhaps she should take a nap. She closed her eyes. Her mind began to travel, back to the beginning. She saw a little girl, scrawny and thin, in a knee-length schoolgirl skirt and looking very uncomfortable. The girl had a stubborn, arrogant smile, and she was wielding a half-ripe apple in her right hand.

Dana smiled. The girl was herself, many, many years ago. It was amazing that at one time she had been so young, so naive. She felt old now, old and tired.

As Dana looked at the girl in her mind she saw that though the girl smiled menacingly and glared at the world, there was something soft and frightened in her eyes. Despite all her bravado, tough Hilary Johnston, later to be known as Ms. Dana Daring, the most famous female daredevil on the planet, was nothing but a scared and lonely little girl.

Her body stirred restlessly, and then quieted. Dana Daring was asleep.

* * * * *

Forty miles away, in Southampton, an elderly man stood in his kitchen and looked at the clock. It was almost ten. Her train would arrive at ten-thirty--the Express from London was never late--and she would be here ten minutes later.

Slowly the old man stretched and listened to his ancient muscles pop and groan. "This is going to be an interesting day," he thought. He wondered again about the phone call, about the woman who had called. What did she want? She was so famous now, what possibly did she want to speak to him about?

But it didn't really matter. Just the thought of meeting her filled the old man with vigor. Mr. John Moore, age 68, had never felt more alive. He felt as fit and eager as a ten-year-old boy, ready to dash out the front door and tackle whatever adventures life sent his way. He still could scarcely believe it was true, that the phone call had not been something out of his dreams.

"Perhaps I am becoming delusional?" He shook his head. He didn't believe it. He might be growing old and slowing down, but he was still kicking. He walked three miles every morning and his mind was still alert and functioning. He read most days, worked in his garden, and occasionally labored on his memoirs, which would be of no interest to anyone but himself and perhaps a few of his former students.

Like Miss Hilary--"Miss Dana," he corrected himself sternly. She was undoubtedly his most famous pupil, though of course she had not been his pupil long. At age 16 she had run away from the exclusive boarding school in Kenton. John shook his head remembering all the ruckus _that_ had caused. For weeks there had been investigations, police inquiries, threats of lawsuits, and endless searches. It had been a living nightmare. In the end, of course, the girl had not been found and eventually John and the school had been cleared of all charges. The Johnston's had withdrawn their threats and gone away, furious at the school and at their rebellious child.

Who could have known that that little lost girl was gaining life experience and training to become a famous adventurer? It was decades before anyone made the connection of course. When her true identity had come out Dana--Hilary Johnston--denied it at first but eventually confirmed the rumors.

Her parents were old and bitter and had publicly rejected the girl. "If she couldn't have contacted us in twenty-three years than it's obvious she has no need of us," Mrs. Johnston had said in a self-pitying voice to the newspapers and television cameras. Mr. Johnston had been even crueler, glaring at the camera and growling, "Daughter? What daughter? I have no daughter!"

John had been shocked when he had seen the news reports. He remembered Hilary Johnston well, and not just for her spectacular exit from the school. He remembered her as a bright girl who refused to perform up to her potential. She was always outdoors climbing trees and wading through ponds, wearing pants, and teasing the boys. She was a troublemaker, but she did it with such enthusiastic innocence that he had always been reluctant to punish her.

How many times had he been required to cane her? Three? Four? Perhaps half-a-dozen? He had known she often got the slipper in the classroom, too, and at the time he had thought Hilary was simply incredibly naughty. Now, of course, he knew better. She _was_ naughty, that was true, but it was not intentional--she was simply overspirited.

John heard a car rumble to a stop outside his home. He put down his mug of lukewarm tea and hurried to the front window. It was her!

The woman who emerged from the taxi looked nothing like what he had expected. She was tall, still thin, her hair cropped so short it was almost spiky. She was wearing long brown slacks and white blouse covered by a tight-fitting tan vest. As she marched up the walkway John thought she looked confident and comfortable, ready to defy the world.

Reaching the door, however, she paused. John could just see her through the gap between the curtains and watched her without revealing himself. He wanted to understand this woman, this stranger who had called him out of the blue to bring back awkward memories from his past.

He saw with surprise that her face--such chiseled, cold beauty, if it could be said to be beautiful--was now wan and uncertain, hesitant and frightened. Her eyes were soft and vulnerable and John got the sudden impression of a little girl. "She's lonely!" he said to himself in astonishment. The world-famous adventurer who was almost as famous for using and discarding male admirers right and left was lonely!

John went and opened the door before the woman could knock. She appeared startled for a second, her face filled with alarm and a vulnerability she normally did not project, but then her mask was in place and it was the infallible smirk of Dana Daring that met the old headmaster.

"Mr. Moore!" she exclaimed with the appropriate surprise.

"Why, Hill--I mean, Dana, Ms. Daring, please come in, come in!"

"Thanks."

"Why, it must be thirty years since I saw you last."

"Thirty-one, but who's counting," said Dana with her trademark grin wrinkling of her nose.

There was a few minutes of polite greetings as John poured them both some fresh tea. Dana expressed her admiration for the home and sorrow at the death of John's wife of thirty-four years, and John congratulated the girl on all her numerous achievements. Dana shrugged them off and smiled at the man.

"I can see that you are not fooled, Mr. Moore! Everyone admires me and tells me what a success I am, but I can see that you are not fooled. You still think of me as nothing but a naughty little scamp out to break the library windows and go skinny-dipping with the boys down at Miller pond!"

John grinned. Her enthusiasm and joie-de-vivre was inspiring. "I can't fool you, eh?" he cracked. "Just as a father always thinks of his daughter as age ten, a schoolteacher never thinks of his students as growing up. To me you will always be that terrible little scamp!"

They laughed, then, two old friends sharing a old joke. Finally Dana shook her head. "I really am sorry, you know."

"For what?"

"For all the trouble I caused you. I'm certain you didn't like having to discipline us children all the time."

John shrugged. "It's part of the job. Besides, most of the children deserved whatever I gave them. There were a few--you among them--that while you certainly earned it, didn't really have the character for evil."

Dana arched an eyebrow. "You mean that? Thanks. That means a lot to me. I really appreciate that."

Both fell silent for a few minutes, John quietly sipping his tea. Dana hadn't touched hers.

"So, what brings you here," John finally said. "Are you retracing your life, going back and visiting old acquaintances?"

Dana looked up and again, for a split second, John caught a flash of vulnerability. She slowly shook her head. "Can I tell you a story?"

"Certainly. I love stories. What's it about?"

"It's about me, my life, why I am here." John nodded. "Please."

Dana smiled and stood. She put her arms behind her and her eyes glazed over. "I left Colonton School when I was sixteen. No doubt you remember the circumstances. It was a Saturday afternoon. I was in a terrible mood. You had caned me just that morning for breaking Mrs. Naderly's crystal vase which I swore to you I had not broken."

"And later Heather Allen turned herself in, weeping and afraid that my unfair caning had caused you to run away."

Nodding, Dana continued. "Yes, I was innocent. No, I don't hold a grudge, sir--there was no way you could have known and my reputation certainly didn't help matters. Today I have no problem with that caning. But on that day I was furious. I always hated the cane. It hurt far worse than the slipper and it was so embarrassing. All the girls always wanted to see your 'stripes' and they'd tell you whether or not they'd been good ones or not. I hated it.

"Anyway, I was naturally in a bad mood. I put on pants in direct disregard of the rules and went outside, determined to smash something or someone. I found Johnny Rogers and he and I got into a fight. We tussled pretty good out there on the lawns behind the school. Somehow we ended up near the edge of the orchard and found apples and began pelting each other with them.

"I was soon victorious, if that's the right word. I gathered up an armload of rock-hard apples and chased the boy, throwing them at his retreating figure. He ran near the library and I somehow managed to break several of the large windows, but that wasn't the worst. I'm certain you will never forget Mr. Carstairs' broken nose, sir, and how he railed. He swore he'd see me birched and expelled and dragged me to your office to await your return.

"I was already sore, sir, and I was really mad. I was probably just as mad at myself, but I knew that I didn't want to be expelled. My parents would be embarrassed and probably never speak to me again--that's what I thought at the time--and I certainly was not in a receptive mood for a birching!

"So I ran away. It actually wasn't such a foreign idea to me. I'd thought of it many times, and I even had put together a plan of escape. But I never had the nerve until that Saturday.

"So I ran. I ran and ran and ran, staying away from people and towns, sleeping in the woods and eating wild fruits and berries--thank God it was spring--and stealing food occasionally. I made my way to Portsmouth and managed to stow away on a private yacht. Four days after leaving the school I was on my way to Italy.

"We docked at Naples, and there I was discovered. The cook found me raiding his gallery. The old man--I will not tell you his name--was angry at first. He slapped me. But then he told the cook to leave and he stared at me for a long time. He asked me if I was running away. I said yes. He asked me how old I was and I said nineteen. He laughed.

"Finally he asked if I'd ever been with a man." Here Dana turned away from her former schoolteacher and walked to the front window. Tears glistened in her eyes. "He was an old man, very large and fat. He didn't want anything but my mouth. He usually fell asleep before I was done anyway. I hated it, but he let me stay with him. I traveled with him for several months, all over the Mediterranean. He was old but not stupid, and very wealthy. In Rome he bought me a passport, one that indicated I was his niece and I was eighteen.

"Finally I grew so sick of him I could not stand it any more. I begged him to let me go but he refused, saying if I ran he'd call the police and they'd bring me back immediately. I was frightened of him and so I stayed.

"One night I woke up next to him--I slept in his bed though I never slept _with_ him--and he was not breathing. I checked and he did not have a pulse. He was dead. Terrified, I ran away. I slipped off the boat with some of his money and some clothes he had bought me and ran away. We were docked at Athens at the time, and I eventually found my way to a travelling gypsy circus.

"They were leery of me at first but needed workers. I slung animal dung at first, and cleaned pens and slowly began to learn acrobatics. I suddenly found a use for my tomboy qualities. I learned to fly on the trapeze and walk the tightrope, to dance, to juggle, to ride horses, and to do all manner of stunts. I soon gained quite a reputation for being fearless and talented, and soon I was accepted as a regular member of the circus.

"It was a grueling time, but every educational. The days were long and the work arduous and painful. The leader of the circus was a large gruff man who was not shy to cuff you if he thought you'd been shirking in your duties. There were times I thought of running away but I really enjoyed performing, and I found the challenges engaging.

"I stayed with that circus for over four years. The skills I learned there were the foundation for everything I later accomplished." Here Dana paused and turned to face her former teacher. "The rest I am sure you have heard. After leaving the circus I worked on my own for a while, occasionally joining other circuses, and eventually started my own troop called the Flying Daredevils. I saw how the crowds reacted to stunts--the more dangerous or flamboyant the better, so I began to pursue the wild and crazy and even insane. I learned to fly and did stunts with small airplanes. I did stunts with knives, guns, explosives. I did swimming stunts, shark stunts, lion and tiger stunts. Anything dangerous I did. When I heard another daredevil had done something I promptly went and did it one better. I soon grew famous throughout Europe and I began a world tour.

"Eventually my troop folded and it was just me, Dana Daring, doing the impossible. I was wealthy and famous but I still longed for something. Finally, at the height of my popularity in 1983 I quit the daredevil business and became an explorer. I travelled to Africa and went on hunting safaris, often armed only with a spear or bow and arrow. I traveled to India and played with cobras, took up mountain climbing and scaled K2 and others. I swam the Channel in 1985 and in 1986 I did that balloon flight across the Atlantic that got caught in the hurricane and almost killed me. Next I went from San Francisco to Maui in a rowboat and then tried to swim to Japan but failed and had to be rescued.

"My life was a frantic race from one death-defying adventure to the next. People said I was crazy, that I had better be careful because my luck would run out. But I am always careful, Mr. Moore. That's the greatest irony. In truth I am not such a brave person at all. I have no desire to die. Everything is carefully calculated and planned and there really is very little risk.

"Of course the risk is what I live for. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush of water skiing 90 mph through waves and rocks or leaping off the edge of a mountain with only a thin bubble of nylon to slow you down. Well, almost nothing." Dana paused.

"For a few years there I settled down. I wrote several magazine articles about some of my adventures and then several best-selling books. Now I host a weekly television show in America, spend the summer performing in Las Vegas, was featured in a music video on MTV, and I'm planning a trip to Antarctica next month. It's quite a hectic and fulfilling life."

John nodded at the woman. He understood. "But?" he asked gently.

Dana sighed. "Exactly. But. Something's missing. For years I've been searching for something, for that next high, something more intense, more meaningful, more awe-inspiring. Every new feat is exciting at first but soon grows stale and familiar. I long for something engulfing, mind-bending, like it was when I first started."

"I understand. But why have you come to me?"

Dana's cheeks grew crimson. She stared at the floor for a minute before answering. "In all my years of wandering and nearly killing myself or being killed or eaten literally scores of times, there is one terror I will never forget. I've never felt anything like it. I don't know if the memory is so intense because I was so young when I first experienced it, but I would like to try it again."

Dana's eyes focused directly on the headmaster's without blinking. "I want you to cane me, sir."

John gasped and pulled back in astonishment. He laughed uneasily, uncertain if she was joking. She did not laugh or smile. "You can't be serious," he said slowly.

"I am. I've never felt more fear and terror than I did as I teenager standing outside your door waiting to be called in for a dose of the stick. It's a more intense high than anything I've felt since."

John shook his head. "This is crazy. You are crazy."

Dana smiled. "Gee, I've never heard _that_ before." John laughed. "You really want this? Are you sure?"

"Of course. And I want it severe--your worst ever. It has to be real, it has to be painful. No holding back."

"Well, I'm not as spry as I once was," began John. Dana waved him silent.

"You and I both know that a good caning doesn't come from strength but from expertise. You are the best expert I know. How many canings have you given over the years?"

"Oh, I couldn't begin to count--"

"Exactly. You are an expert. You can cane me much more severely than someone who just cuts my skin."

John nodded. It was starting to make sense. He thought of his old cane, stored in the closet all these years. He hadn't used it since that time two years ago when he'd caught the neighbor boy stealing apples from his tree. It would be good to swing the ole cane again.

"All right," he said with a sigh. "But we have to make this real. You are an adult now, not a child. And you are used to pain."

"I know."

John looked at the woman before him. She suddenly seemed much younger, her face was relaxed and less tense, her blush bringing welcome color to her cheeks. "You know," he said slowly, "I never did get to birch you for bobbing Mr. Carstairs' nose with that apple..."

"Oh, sir..." breathed Dana, a twinge of fear gripping her heart. She felt a surge of emotion go through her body and her heart thumped loudly. This was what she needed, this was what she sought! "Surely you don't have a birch switch, sir!"

"Even better. I have a tree in my back yard." John walked to a dresser and took out a small penknife. "Here, why don't you go out and cut some birch switches, good long ones. Bring a few dozen--we'll need plenty. I'll mix up some salt water and we can let them soak while I cane you."

Dana felt her heart drop and begin to bob up and down in panicked terror. This was too horrible to be true! It was wonderful, terrible, exactly like she was wanting. She's been so right to come here and see Mr. Moore, but now, of course, she was afraid. Just how much punishment did he have in mind?

Outside, the air was cool and Dana quickly found the birch tree. She began to cut off long thin rods of about two feet in length. As she did so she could not help wondering how they were going to feel. Surely a birching was done on bare skin, just like in the olden days! The thought of baring herself before her old teacher brought a sudden thrill to Dana's heart. She hadn't felt so excited in years. She gasped as she realized there was a growing warmth between her legs. Impossible but true--she was becoming aroused at the thought of her impending birching! She hadn't felt real arousal in ten years!

After she'd cut about forty stout rods she carried them inside. "Perhaps I really am crazy," she thought. "I can't believe I'm doing this!"

She froze as she saw the sight in the house. John was standing in the living room with his old white cane stretched horizontally between his hands in the traditional pose of the angry schoolmaster. Dana felt her mouth go dry.

John had cleared off the dining room table and was waiting with string and pair of scissors and everything needed for assembling a birching rod. "You will make your own birch switches," he said firmly, "but first I need to get back in the 'swing' of things. I noticed you are wearing slacks. You know pants are forbidden. I shall practice over your pants, then, and later I will punish you for wearing them."

Dana sucked in her breath and carefully set the birch rods on the table. She was finding it difficult to breathe all of a sudden. The atmosphere here was rich and heady and she felt dizzy and confused. Her sex quivered ominously. This was _too_ exciting! She was about to be engulfed in pain and there was _no_ way to escape!

The headmaster tapped his cane against a large stuff chair. "Over here. Kneel on the chair, please." Swallowing, Dana nodded and went. She climbed into the chair on her knees and felt like a little girl in a big girl's body. As she bent over her butt stuck out behind her and she felt quite lewd. Her thin slacks pulled tight across her ass and suddenly Dana grew frightened. In her mind the cane was an awful pain. She was more used to pain now--her injuries had been too numerous to count--but in her memory the cane had always been worse.

"This is just for practice, Hilary," said the headmaster, and Dana felt a thrill being called her old name. She cringed and cowered and waited. "These will not count toward your punishment. I just need to get limbered up. I apologize if these are not up to my usual standard, but it has been years."

Dana figured that knowing Mr. Moore anything close to his standard would be good enough for her, and she was right. She heard the dreaded swish and then the muted "thwick!" and a tiny sound escaped her lips. It hadn't been that hard but it had stung and she felt a cold fear go through her body. The stinging woke her up delightfully.

Thwick! Thwick! Thwick! came the cane, and Dana squirmed. Thwick! Thwick! She let out a soft moan. Thwick! Thwick! THWICK! "Oooh," she groaned. "That _hurt_!"

"I'm glad," said John. "I guess I'm not so out of practice after all." Thwick! Thwick! Thwick! Thwick! Thwick! On and on the cane came down, light blows that stung her bum mercilessly. Thwick! "Ooouch!" she yelped. That one had been across her thighs! More followed. Thwick! Thwick! Thwick! Soon tears glistened in the woman's eyes. This was rapidly beginning to really hurt, and yet she knew they hadn't even started. Mr. Moore was just warming up!

Finally he put down the cane. "That's good enough for now. Let's have you make your birching rods now. I hope you brought in enough twigs for three."

Part 2

Finally he put down the cane. "That's good enough for now. Let's have you make your birching rods now. I hope you brought in enough twigs for three."

"Yes, sir," whispered Dana, slowly getting off the chair. Her bottom tingled and felt quite sore in places. As she sat down at the table she could feel heat from her bum. He'd warmed her up, all right! She quietly began to assemble her birching rod.

She'd never made a rod before, but she had seen them. She'd never even been birched before, though she had heard horror stories. It was supposed to be more intense than a caning!

John peeking in on her occasionally, but generally he was gone upstairs. When she finally had all the rods done and he'd inspected them and pronounced them "fit for use" he had led her back into the living room. Dana was excited now, knowing that the real caning was about to take place.

"Touch your toes!" he ordered sternly. "Pants are unsightly and unfeminine, as well as forbidden. When I am through here you will understand that."

Dana nodded and bent over. She was limber and touched her toes easily without bending her knees. Her bottom stuck out behind her but there was nothing she could do about that. She waited. Then they came. Six searing strokes that took her breath away. When she stood she felt like she had been bent over for a week.

"Take off your pants." Dana obeyed. She was wearing only skimpy underpants underneath and that made her nervous, but she obeyed. She laid the pants on the chair near her and bent back over. This time the six stung more, and the stinging lasted longer. Tears were in Dana's eyes when she stood.

"On the couch is one of my wife's skirts. I think it should be a close enough fit. Put it on and come back over here."

Dana walked to the couch and found the large pleated skirt. She climbed into it with a blush, wondering how she looked half naked. The skirt made her quite conscious of the growing soreness of her bottom and she wondered when they were going to get to the birching. This caning business was starting to hurt!

In a moment Dana was bent back over, the skirt lifted high and folded across her back. The position was far more embarrassing that when she had only been wearing panties. The skirt just reminded her of her near nakedness. A second later her nakedness was the least of her worries. The first stroke was the hardest yet and Dana felt her throat clenching. She wanted to cry out or scream but dare not. She made muffled sounds during the next five strokes and was greatly relieved when John told her to stand up.

"Good. I think that will teach you that a skirt or dress is the proper attire for a young lady."

"Yes, sir."

"Now, back to those birches. Let's put them in brine to soak." John guided her to large bucket in the kitchen where he had mixed a salt water. The liquid would keep the rods supple and the salt would really make the strokes sting. Dana felt herself shuddering.

"Now let's let those soak while we take care of your warmup." A chill went through Dana. _Now_ the warmup was to begin? She obediently followed Mr. Moore, however, and bent over when he ordered. It was awkward, this time. Her bottom felt stretched and sore. And she still had the birch to go after this!

Mr. Moore held up something black and heavy in his hand. "Do you know what this is, girl?"

"Y-yes, sir. I-it's a t-tawse, sir."

"Have you ever had the tawse before, Miss Hilary?"

"No, sir."

"Well it's excellent for warming up your bottom. I'm going to give you a dozen strokes and then we'll bare your bottom and give you a dozen more."

"S-sir!"

The headmaster glared at her. "Do you have a problem with that Miss Hilary?"

Dana dropped her head. "No, sir."

"All right." The strip of leather went high and came crashing down across Dana's out-thrust bottom cheeks leaving a widely stinging path in its wake. Dana clenched her teeth to keep from howling. Again came the strap, and then again. By the time they reached ten Dana was sweating heavily and wondering if this was such a good idea.

After the last one, however, when she was ordered to stand and pull her panties down to her knees, she felt a peculiar thrill go through her body. She was damp between her legs and just thinking of more whipping make her heart pound in excitement.

The next twelve were the same but worse, the stinging fiercer yet and her skin beginning to welt. She was made to stand for this set, legs apart and her bottom relaxed. Several times she earned an extra stroke because John told her she had not relaxed and it didn't count. Many of these landed on her naked thighs, too, and she didn't like those at all. She was glad when she saw he was putting down the tawse.

Then he picked up the cane. She was allowed to pull her panties back on and bend back over. The first few strokes were loud and painful, her tight bottom really feeling the strokes deep down. Then he settled into a steady rhythm and he didn't stop until she'd taken a full two dozen.

She was crying by the time it was over. Her buttocks felt bruised and battered. But she knew she wasn't bleeding--Mr. Moore was too skilled to permit that. She'd be sore for a while, that's all. She'd heal.

"Go stand in the corner," order the headmaster. "Take off your panties and hold your skirt up so your bottom is exposed. If you drop it or try to rub your bum I will give you another dozen with the tawse."

That was more encouragement than Dana needed. She flung her panties over my her pants without any hesitation. She stood obediently in the corner of the living room with her skirt up and her naked bottom exposed. She waited, her breathing heavy, her body covered with sweat. She suddenly realized she was as tense as a bowstring and her body was exhausted.

Twenty minutes later John returned and announced that the birches were ready and they would begin. He placed a small stood in the center of the room and ordered Dana to take off the rest of her clothes. She didn't want to--she was now legitimately afraid--but she obeyed.

Naked, she felt very vulnerable and small. Her bottom was hot and pulsing and she could only imagine the weals. But that was nothing. Her birching was eminent and how would she look after it?

As ordered, she placed her knees on the stool and bent forward until her forehead touched the carpet. It was a ridiculous position, her bare ass thrust up into the air. She was painfully conscious that Mr. Moore could see everything she normally kept hidden between her legs. She waited uncomfortably.

Then she felt the strings. They wrapped around her ankles and calves, binding her to the stool. Her arms were then bound to the front of the stool. She was now bound and completely helpless. She heard John go to the brim bucket and select a good birch. She trembled as he returned. Oh, what had she done! How had she managed to get herself into this horror!

The first dozen of the birch were surprisingly mild. They stung, of course, but like a whisper. Her bottom and thighs just tingled with the sensation. Then, slowly, they began to build up a fire. By the time the second dozen had landed Dana was beginning to squirm. Each stroke left a multi-colored splatter of red and white streaks across her bare bottom. Dana began to whimper.

Then John threw down the birch is disgust. Dana saw it was broken and coming apart, completely useless. But John was soon back with another, and this time the pain started immediately. He didn't seem to be doing it any harder but the intensity was growing. Dana had never felt anything like it.

By the fourth dozen Dana had tears in her eyes. By the fifth she was whimpering and moaning out loud. The birch was descending slower now, each stroke a monumental event. Waves of fire and ice swept through Dana. She felt engulfed, enflamed, enraptured. She had never felt so many emotions at once before.

Soon the second birch was limp and useless and the final one was called into play. Dana had long since lost count but it seemed that each rod was good for only three or four dozen strokes. She could scarcely imagine what her backside looked like. "Probably like some kind of roadmap," she thought with misery. "Red lines going everywhere."

The birch now was kissing at the base of her rump, coming up to greet her spread haunches. Dana squirmed and burst into tears at the massive invasion of pain. As the strokes continued, Dana began to lose control. She began to kick and fight to escape, quite vocal in her agony now.

"Pllleeeezzzee," she moaned, arching her back and wiggling her stinging bum. "Eeeennuuufffff. Nooooo mmoooorrrrr!" But the licking continued, the birch rising and falling, each stroke raising the heat of Dana's bottom a degree. She had never felt so hot, so exposed, so violated. She felt bereft and alone, a miserable figure who must be eternally tortured. She knew for a fact this had been going on for over thirty-eight years.

There was a burning between her legs that would not go away, a tingling that was so light in contrast with the fierce strokes across her rump that it almost tickled. She ached to slip her hands down there and touch herself, to bring pleasure to her aching body, but she dared not. For one it would be horribly shameful to touch herself in front of her former headmaster, but even more significant, she feared his punishment. What would be the price of such a release?

So Dana tried to ignore her rising orgasm and instead thought about the pain, thriving on its breath-taking bite, its unbearable pressure, its paradoxical combination of dull ache and sharp sting. She tried to distract herself, to let herself feel every quivering part of her body. The pain swept through her and she wept and trembled completely out of control.

And then it was over. Dana's backside from the top of her bottom to the backs of her knees were covered with a solid river of welts. She had run out of tears and could only convulse and heave silently, shaking her head and moaning.

* * * * *

It was hours later. Dana sat on the couch near John. She felt much closer to him than she had ever felt before. He was such a father figure and she'd never really had a father, at least not one she could respect. She was dressed in her own clothes again. Her bottom burned and the couch was not the most comfortable, but she purposely sat there suffering, knowing that she would have to get used to the pain. She still couldn't believe the way her bottom looked. The bath had been heavenly, but now she just felt sore.

"How was that?" asked John.

She didn't answer right away. "Intense," she whispered finally. "Mind-blowing."

"It was what you needed?"

Dana nodded. "It was the high I was looking for. The only thing is, I realized the real high isn't where I thought it was."

"Oh?"

"Yes. The high isn't the pain or even the risk of the pain. It's the trust. For me to be able to bend over and accept your punishment, no matter how severe, requires a phenomenal amount of trust on my part. That trust is what's so wonderful. That I can be so vulnerable and open in front of you. It's incredible. A real rush."

John grinned and nodded. "You are growing up, aren't you?"

Dana looked embarrassed. "I suppose so."

"Trust is a big part of adulthood. If you had trusted me more as child--trusted the school, your parents, your friends--you would not have gone through life running from everything and everyone."

The woman's eyes flickered with surprise. "How did--"

"I know. I know you have never trusted anyone. You have always been far too independent. You have always thought of your independence as a strength, but now you can see that it is a weakness. Without trust there can be no intimacy, and there is no greater high than intimacy."

Ms. Dana Daring stood before her former school teacher and smiled. "I am always learning from you, aren't I?"

The old man shrugged. "What are you going to do now?"

"I have to go back to America. But you know--I think I will cancel that trip to Antarctica. I really don't need it. Instead I think I will settle down for a bit, smell the roses, if you will. Maybe even meet a nice, down-to-earth man."

"You are going to abandon being a daredevil?"

"Oh, probably not. I do enjoy it a great deal. But I've never had a family or even a real relationship. You are right about me not being able to trust. I see that clearly now. It's time I took that risk. It's scary, very scary, especially at my age, but I've never been one to back down from a challenge."

John watched the woman leave and he sat down on his sofa and sighed. She was a remarkable woman. Very few people could simply start their life over at her age. But she was going to do it. And if anyone would succeed, it would be Ms. Dana Daring.

The End

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