After a busy morning waiting in line at the council for Sarah’s new chip, followed by a long talk in the principal’s office at the Minos Kerala Academy for Adults, Sarah was led to her first class of the afternoon; art. She felt self-conscious since she was wearing one of Ral’s shirts, which came to her knees. The sleeves were rolled back and she’d found something to use as a belt but no one else was wearing an oversized man’s dress shirt and sparkly red shoes to class; they all had neat uniforms. She felt quite anxious being separated from Ral until she saw Laila stood behind an easel.
“Class, this is Sarah Bryan. She’s just started today, so I want you all to make sure she is welcome,” the principal said. Sarah was keen to avoid all the attention, so as soon as it seemed appropriate, she scuttled to the empty easel beside Laila.
“Hey, you’re here!” Laila declared.
“Yup.” Sarah confirmed the obvious. She couldn’t think of anything witty to add, so she examined the shelf under her easel instead. It was covered in dried-on blobs of paint and held a palette, several brushes, and a selection of pencils. Sarah felt distinctly uneasy being here.
Sarah hadn’t taken art since she was in high school, when she had failed it. Her imaginativeness produced Technicolor horses, back-to-front portraits, and Escher-like impossible landscapes. The teacher’s idea of creativity was to draw things exactly the way they looked, or to copy some other artist’s style, with grades usually dished out based on how much something looked like something else. Unfortunately, the teacher’s word was final. Sarah had found refuge amongst math and science, where the facts were irrefutable, provable, and not subject to interpretation.
All the programs of study at the Minos Kerala Academy required a common first year where students took a broad range of subjects at an appropriate level, as Sarah had been told by the principal this morning. Being faced with mandatory art classes was her personal idea of hell, and she wouldn’t have agreed to go back to school so readily if she’d known this would be on the timetable. She didn’t like getting graded on things that were so subjective.
The art teacher arrived and addressed the group. Sarah quickly looked at her new timetable, and saw the woman’s name was Miss Juniper.
“Class, it’s time for us to choose a new topic. I want to show you a movie, so you can get an idea about your next piece of work.”
To Sarah’s surprise, Miss Juniper turned her tablet sideways and it projected a film onto the wall of the classroom, automatically adjusting itself so they didn’t need to close the blinds or turn off the lights.
The film showed snippets of Andy Warhol, Natalia Goncharova, Henri Matisse, and M.C. Escher, along with Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo. When it finished, the teacher addressed the class again.
“Your task is to produce a project that brings together some element of Earth’s twentieth-century art and something from our modern times. You will need to research, plan, and write out your reasons for doing your work the way that you chose, and the hand-in date is four weeks from now.”
Everyone around her started work. To her surprise and terror, Sarah found herself putting her hand up to ask a question.
“Miss, how can I find out about modern art?” she asked. Miss Juniper wound her way between easels to talk to Sarah.
“We are going on a field trip to an art gallery next week, but otherwise, look online if you want to start earlier. If it’s too much to learn all at once, do a project linking twentieth and twenty-first-century art instead. You should have a head start on that; what I’m looking for is whether you can produce something new using specific styles that appeal to you.”
Sarah nodded. This class wasn’t going to be so bad after all.
The bureaucracy of the council offices had taken up most of the day, so Sarah’s only other class this afternoon was science. Laila had something else, so Sarah had to find the room on her own. She went inside the classroom with some trepidation. It was a standard chemistry lab, with perhaps a little more glassware in it than Sarah would have expected. The teacher, Mr. Tarik, didn’t seem very interested in Sarah’s arrival and instead went straight into a demonstration of an endothermic reaction. While she was staring at a pink liquid bubbling in a conical flask, a thought occurred to her: How did Miss Juniper know Sarah was from the past so quickly? News surely traveled fast around this school.
When the bell rang, Sarah went outside and saw Laila perched on the safety rail around the ramp that led to the main door.
“Hey, I’m waiting for my daddy to pick me up,” Laila greeted her. Sarah hopped up beside her.
“Aren’t you bored?” she asked. Laila shook her head.
“I’m thinking about all the things I’ll tell my daddy when I see him,” she explained.
“Really? That’s how you think? If I were waiting here on my own, I’d find something to do. Climb a tree, find a shop to look around, whatever I wanted.”
“This city’s dangerous. You can’t just go off without someone knowing where you are,” Laila said.
“I don’t buy it. This place is like a giant holiday resort. I went to college in New York. You want danger? That place had it in spades. I didn’t care, I still went out for walks on my own late at night.”
“I got kidnapped in Minos Kerala once. I’d only left my hotel room to get a hot chocolate from the vending machine.” Laila spoke in a soft voice. As Laila recounted her story, Sarah decided that Minos Kerala was only dangerous for people who had drawn the attention of gangsters.
“So… anyway, what classes do we have together?” Sarah asked, changing the subject before she inadvertently said anything that might hurt Laila’s feelings. Clearly, Laila thought Minos Kerala was dangerous and Sarah didn’t want to argue with her.
On their tablets, they pulled up their timetables and compared them.
“We have art together.” Laila pointed to the square on her timetable.
“Did you color code your classes?” Sarah looked at the fluorescence of it. Some things were the same around the universe, apparently. Laila nodded shyly.
“I like colors,” she smiled, still looking at the timetables. After staring at Sarah’s timetable for a long minute, Laila put her finger to the tablet and seemed to be using it to read. Sarah decided to help her out.
“You take completely different classes to me, except art. It’s a shame you’re not taking any science subjects.” Sarah saw Laila’s face fall, then regretted saying anything.
“I’m mostly in kindergarten. I’ve got a lot of remedial classes for literature and math, as well as regular play therapy sessions. There wasn’t much room for optional subjects.” Laila looked at her timetable sadly.
“They’ll have frequent progress tests, though, right? So they’ll put you in regular classes when you pass them. Unless school here is totally different to what I knew.” Sarah tried to reassure Laila, whose face seemed to brighten again.
“You think? I never went to high school before, so I wasn’t sure.”
Sarah didn’t know what Laila’s entire story was, and she didn’t really want to pry, but Laila was slightly odd; she never seemed to think of things that were perfectly normal. Although Sarah was from three hundred years ago, she thought Laila seemed even more old-fashioned in a lot of ways; she didn’t seem all that stupid to talk to, but she couldn’t read very well or do basic math. Laila was patient, though, and was the only person Sarah had met who didn’t find it funny when Sarah got confused by her own tablet, which was often. All things considered, Sarah decided she liked Laila.
“Well, if you need any help at all, just let me know. I was a straight-A student at school.” Sarah remembered there was a reason she’d been enrolled in the academy again, and wondered if she’d get good grades any time in the near future. High school literature and math couldn’t have changed much though, surely.
“Thanks, sometimes I can’t catch up with all the homework. Ooh, that’s my daddy! See you later, Sarah!” Laila skipped off toward Basil, and Sarah was left on her own. She was a little bored waiting to be collected, and after a few minutes, she decided to walk home, since it wasn’t very far and the weather was so nice.
The street was leafy. In this area, huge hanging baskets were suspended from the sides of buildings, giving the impression that the trees were floating far above the street level. The sunlight dappled through the trees and Sarah watched the occasional flying car hover down the road as she strolled along. At the end of the road, she stared around, wondering which way to go next, but the features were unfamiliar. This was such a bad idea, she wondered if she should return to the academy and wait for her daddy to collect her. Determined to get the hang of the layout of Minos Kerala city, she stubbornly set her jaw and turned left, figuring she could always return to this crossroads if she didn’t recognize anything further down.
Walking further and further from the school, turning occasionally when things started to look half-familiar, Sarah finally had to admit she was lost. How could she fix this?
Her tablet buzzed and she pulled it out. Ral was trying to get in touch. She ignored it, wanting to get back to him when she wasn’t failing at simple directions. Maybe if she’d taken a right instead of a left at that last junction?
She was walking back to the offending left turn when her tablet buzzed again. Why couldn’t he just give her time to solve this? She was sure the right way was around here somewhere. Instead of letting it time out, she hit ‘reject’ on the tablet’s screen and kept walking.
“He just doesn’t know when to quit!” Sarah complained, as her tablet started buzzing again. Perhaps answering wasn’t the worst idea ever?
“What?” she snapped, as she hit accept. Ral’s face went from concerned to angry in a nanosecond, as Sarah realized this was the worst idea ever, after all.
“Where in the world are you? I’m outside the academy and you’re not there!”
“I wanted to walk home,” Sarah replied, rolling her eyes. Why was he making such a big deal out of this?
“So where are you?”
“Um… maybe a few blocks away?” she hazarded, having no idea whatsoever. He didn’t need to know that.
“A few blocks away from what?”
“A few… blocks… away… from… uh… stuff?” Sarah imagined her conscience was sitting on her shoulder right now doing the slow sarcastic clap. She had blatantly messed up.
“Street name. Give me a street name.”
Sarah looked around the intersection.
“Corner of Grandle and Kal-El Street.”
“I’m going to come and get you. Don’t move from that exact spot.”
“What if someone’s coming down the street in a wheelchair or something?” Sarah asked.
“Don’t be facetious, young lady, you’re in enough trouble for walking off like that.” He ended the conversation and her screen returned to its pinky-purple background.
Was it really a good idea to stand still and let a grumpy daddy come and get her? Sarah was sure he was furious with her. Turning around, she set off down Grandle Street in the hope that she’d find her bearings again soon. Unfortunately, about five hundred feet down the road, the surface of the street changed from the usual shiny black to a weird brownish stone, looking more like sandstone than anything else. It was definitely not the way home. Sarah thought this part of town looked more like parts of New York than anything else. Intrigued, despite knowing that she didn’t live in this part of town, she wanted to look around.
A couple of men were walking in the opposite direction, and when Sarah tried to move aside, they copied her, stopping her from getting out of the way.
“Excuse me, I’d like to pass.” She didn’t know what else to say; maybe if she acted like everything was fine then it would be.
One of them reached out and stroked his hand up and down her neck. She tried not to cringe.
“No collar, baby. You’re fair game,” he leered at her, and Sarah closed her eyes. Ral had even warned her about this when he had spanked her for running away from the tentacle monster.
“I think she’s into you!” the other one laughed. Sarah realized she didn’t even know if there was anything like 911 here.
“Leave me alone. I just want to walk.” She felt ineffective against this ridiculous situation.
“We’re not stopping you. Are we stopping her walking?” The man stepped closer, his hand still touching her skin. She felt repulsed by him.
The quiet hum of a flying car got louder, and pulled up alongside them. Sarah hoped they weren’t going to make her go with them, but to her surprise, the passenger got out and attacked the two men, who were dwarfed by his stature. She realized it was Ral as he kicked the man closest to him.
“Hey, man, chill out! We were only being friendly,” one of the harassers whined as Ral elbowed him in the stomach.
“Put a fucking collar on your property, asshole!” the other wheezed from where he was doubled over on the pavement.
“Either of you so much as walk on the same side of the fucking street as my little girl, and I’ll hunt you down, y’hear me?” Ral turned to Sarah, who opened her mouth to speak. “Get in the car right now, young lady, you are in big trouble.”
Sarah got in and sat down on the single wide seat that could accommodate three average-sized people. Ral squeezed in beside her and set the navigation for their apartment.
“I’m sorry, I just wanted to see what was there, this area looked so interesting, I—” she began, but Ral cut her off.
“I told you to wait at the corner of the street names you’d given me. When we had that conversation, you had already wandered off on your own; you were already in trouble. Instead of listening, you went off by yourself and nearly got hurt. It’s a good thing I got here when I did.”
“I didn’t know that was going to happen! I didn’t ask for them to do that!” she retorted, not seeing why she was in trouble.
“I knew this was a dangerous area of town. I wouldn’t walk down here on my own and I’m taller than most of the people who live here,” Ral said, as the car drove them to their destination. “Do you know what it’s like to see scumbags like that surrounding your little girl? Touching her? To see the look of panic on her face because she can’t get away? You could have avoided the whole situation by doing as I told you. I should spank you right now.”
“Please, not in public,” Sarah whispered, losing a lot of her feistiness. If she stopped arguing, she hoped she may at least avoid getting spanked in full view of anyone who saw inside the car. Getting out of the spanking completely could happen later.
Back at their apartment, however, Sarah didn’t have a chance to try to talk her way out of this spanking, because Ral simply took her schoolbooks from her, placed them on the low table, then hoisted her over his shoulder. He went into the kitchen area and opened a drawer for something—Sarah couldn’t see what it was—then he maneuvered her over his knee and pulled her borrowed shirt up above her hips, exposing her underwear.
“I was going to take you shopping this afternoon, to pick up some of the things you’ll need so you can be comfortable here. The shops will be closed by now. If you’d waited outside the academy, you would have finished the day with a nice shopping trip.” He slipped his fingers into the waistband of her panties.
“No! Leave them alone! What are you doing?” she demanded.
“This behavior calls for a bare bottom spanking, young lady. That means your panties need to come down.”
“They can’t! I won’t let you!” Her face flushed hotly as she tried to resist, but in spite of her movements, he gently worked her panties over the curve of her ass and down her legs, where they tied her legs up, stopping her from kicking much. She tried to wiggle them off, but the angle was all wrong.
“You don’t have a choice, young lady. If you want to avoid this happening again, you need to behave yourself.” His tone was stern and firm, and she knew he wasn’t pleased with her behavior.
She felt so exposed as she felt air against her bottom cheeks. He couldn’t see between them, though, as far as she knew. She tried to reassure herself that he wouldn’t do anything untoward. Then, she thought about what it might be like if he did do something improper. A shiver coursed through her body as she contemplated his big hands parting her cheeks and pressing into her most intimate places. She imagined him caressing her clit while she writhed helplessly over his knee.
Her train of thought was interrupted when his hand landed on her ass. It was worse than it had been the day before, when her panties had protected her from the full force of his hand; that, or he was spanking harder today. Sarah knew that he wasn’t messing around. She must have really riled him up this time, but he seemed so calm, she couldn’t imagine that he was still angry with her. Before he was very far into spanking her with his hand, she was trying to bargain with him and get him to reconsider.
“Isn’t it punishment enough that I got touched up by a creepy sexist guy? C’mon! This isn’t fair! I have the right to a fair trial!” Sarah protested. He didn’t even pause as he spanked her.
“Getting harassed wasn’t a punishment, it was exactly what I was trying to keep you safe from.” His hand landed loudly on the crest of her bottom and she yelped.
“But why should you have to keep me safe? People just—oww!—shouldn’t do that shit! I was only walking down the fucking street!” She tried to wriggle out of his grasp, but he was just so strong.
“After I told you not to because I knew you could end up in a dangerous area if you got lost. It’s not up for discussion. And while we’re on the topic of behavior, you’re not allowed to swear during a punishment.” He spanked her harder and her bottom really burned now.
“Okay, fine, I get it; you’re spanking me because I didn’t do as you said!” Her voice was barely audible now over the fast succession of loud swats, then Ral stopped spanking her. Sarah was pleased she’d convinced him that she didn’t need any more spanking.
A few seconds later, something solid rapped sharply on her sit-spot and she yelped in surprise at the unyielding hardness of it.
“I thought it was over! It should be over!” She tried to kick free again because she was sure she didn’t want more of that hard thing.
“It will be over when I decide you’ve learned your lesson. By the amount you’re arguing with me, that’s not going to be any time soon.” He brought the hard thing down again and she yowled like a startled cat.
“What the purple fuck is that?”
“It’s just a wooden spoon I keep in the kitchen drawer. It’s made from Cerulean hardwood, so it produces a very satisfying result. And since you’ve been warned about swearing already, I’ll show you the main advantage of using a spoon instead of my hand.” He pulled her cheeks apart and landed the hard spoon on that area of her butt cheeks right beside her puckered hole, making her howl as he did it again on the other side.
“How is that an advantage? What’s wrong with you?” she demanded in surprise, as she tried once more to twist out of his grip. She cursed her stupid panties for being tangled around her calves as she tried to elbow him instead. It was so sore when he spanked her there, and felt so much more intimate.
“This can always get worse, young lady. If you continue fighting me, I’ll make you hold your own bottom cheeks apart.” The idea of having to actively participate in her punishment was horrifying, and she stopped struggling.
The skin around her bottom hole was a lot more sensitive than the rest of her bottom, and as he continued to spank her there, the sharp pain made her claw at the rainbow floor. She was furiously humiliated that he could see her rosebud as he continued to punish her in her most intimate and shameful place.
She had just about come to terms with that when he landed a particularly nasty swat directly over her bottom hole. She shrieked in surprise as her entire bottom seemed to tingle for a moment. Every time she thought this couldn’t get any worse, he found a more sensitive and humiliating place to land that evil spoon. What was worse, she could feel her clit throbbing as he swatted her bottom hole again.
As she began to cry, he returned to spanking her sit-spot, and she sobbed over his knee from the embarrassment as much as the pain. She wished the ground could just open up and swallow her about now. Had he seen her clit, engorged and pulsing? Was her slit wet from this? It was too much to imagine him looking down at her right now and seeing how her body felt about this spanking. He moved the spoon down to the sensitive area at the top of her legs and she howled and tried to kick through her tears. By that point, Sarah felt pretty bad about what she’d done.
“Go and stand in that corner, Sarah, and don’t even think about pulling your panties up.”
She was still tearful as she shuffled to the appointed corner. She wanted to make things right. Facing the convergence of two gray-blue walls, she cried herself out and thought about what she’d done. He told her to wait for him outside school, and she had gone off on her own in an unfamiliar town. Then, when she had gotten lost, she had still ignored his attempts to get in touch. When she had finally answered him, he had told her to stay where she was, and she’d deliberately walked off. She hadn’t known that part of town was dangerous, and she hadn’t known she was going to get harassed, but maybe she should have trusted him to have a good reason for telling her to stay put.
When he called her back to him, she turned and saw two hot chocolates on the low table. She pulled her beanbag closer to his and before she sat on it, she turned to face him; his height even when sitting gave her a slight chill.
“I’m sorry I left the academy grounds on my own, Daddy. And I’m sorry I didn’t answer your calls. And I’m really sorry that I walked off like that. I guess I was trying to prove I could find my way home, and I couldn’t.” She looked at the floor, her cheeks turning the same color as she was certain her bottom had gone. “Thank you for saving me.”
“Thank you for apologizing; I accept your apology, and everything is forgiven. Now pick one of these hot chocolates to drink while you tell me all about your first day at the academy.”
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