The life and times of Rachel Kent

02Apr10

Rachel Kent’s bottom was a little stiff after sitting on the stagecoach’s seat for most of the day and she was about ready for any excuse just to stand. It had been three days since she had left Albuquerque and she was getting altogether very tired of the damn coach.

She shared the coach with two companions, neither she had met before coming aboard. One was a travelling salesman and the other a schoolteacher heading out to her first position in a small town on the Colorado and New Mexico border. In the beginning, there had been some conversation, but the trials of the journey and the nature of the talk had soon discouraged further discourse.

“You have folks out here?” The woman had asked days before.

“In a manner of speaking. A distant cousin of my mother’s and her family.” Rachel had replied.

“It’s a long way to travel for one so young, you’ll be from the east I take it?” The woman suggested.

“I am near 21 and mother is dead.” Rachel snapped. “I am to settle with kin out here somewhere.”

“Oh my a snippy one aren’t we?” The woman pursed her lips in disapproval. “You’ll find things very different out here.”

“I am quite sure of that.”

“My folks were from Virginia originally. I am all alone now myself. I know how it feels.”

“Oh have you been forced upon distant cousins you hardly know also?” Rachel said letting some surliness show.

“My we are sorry for ourselves aren’t we?”

“Oh are you feeling sorry for yourself as well?” Rachel said sarcastically.

“If I had spoken to my elders and betters when I was your age my mother would have taken a switch to my bare behind.”

The salesman who had been pretending to sleep choked back his laughter causing his hat to fall off his face. He quickly doffed it to the women, took a swig from his flask and went back to dozing.

“Is that barbaric custom a southern practice or did your mother acquire it here in the west?” Rachel sniffed turning back to address the schoolteacher.

“It’s a tried a trusted custom in many places.” The woman continued. “As the young ladies of my class will no doubt find when I take charge of them. A custom you would do well to keep in mind because if you speak so of my mother again, I will stop the coach to demonstrate on your tender bottom for the edification of this gentleman and the men above.”

The salesman began another coughing fit and after yet another swig settled down to sleep.

That had been some days before and neither had spoken much since.

At last the stage arrived at Benson, the small town nestled in sight of the San Juan Mountains, which was near the ranch that was to be her new home.

As she stood next to her trunk on the unpaved street opposite the small hotel, she suddenly felt more alone than she ever had in her life. This was it and for better or worse Boston was far behind her.

“Are you Miss Kent?” said a tall nervous man wearing blanket coat and a large hat.

He was about 45 and as he spoke, he took off his hat to reveal his thinning grey hair and held it to his chest.

Rachel blinked not knowing what to say.

“It must be her pa.” Said a young girl emerging from behind him.

She was a cute blonde of about 15 or 16, a storybook image of the west from all the books she had read in Boston. She wore a blue gingham dress over ridiculous over large boots and pigtails.

“I am Rachel Kent.” Rachel replied. “You must be Mr Peters and Hannah?”

“I ain’t Hannah.” The girl giggled. “I’m Becky-Sue.”

“This is my youngest Miss Kent.” Mr Peters explained. “Hannah my eldest and my wife, your cousin Ginny, are back at the house.”

“I see.” Rachel forced a smile. “Your wife is not exactly my cousin, she was my mother’s second cousin.”

“Better go back home then.” Becky-Sue teased.

Mr Peter’s launched a hard slap across Becky-Sue’s rear making her jump and squeal.

“You mind your manners or I’ll take strop to you.” Mr Peters growled.

“I was only funning pa.” Becky-Sue wailed as she rubbed her behind. “Course I don’t want her to go.”

“Don’t mind her.” Mr Peters smiled. “That still makes you some sort of cousin don’t it?”

“A second cousin once removed.” Rachel smiled back.

“Oh shoot I never learned all that stuff. Ginny said you had education Miss Kent.” Mr Peters grinned.

Despite the matter-of-factness of the Peters’ attitude, driving home in the wagon was to take a good few hours, and it was a long drive before they reached the ranch.

“Mom, Hannah, Miss Kent is here.” Becky-Sue said excitedly once they had arrived.

“I’m not having any of that Boston nonsense here.” Said a much younger woman than Rachel had been expecting. She had stood up suddenly from behind a fence holding a rake. “Rachel you are so welcome.”

Rachel was slightly appalled at the state of her cousin’s clothes, assuming this was Ginny, but said nothing.

“Mr Peters said you were expecting me two days ago.” Rachel said instead.

“Mr Peters is it? Lance, you call him Lance, we don’t want no airs here.” Ginny said.

“Lance.” Rachel tried it on for size.

He nodded shyly and touched his hat.

“You Rachel Kent.” Said another newcomer.

Rachel turned to look as a girl who could have been an older Becky-Sue walked out on to the porch of the ranch house. She was wearing a plainer dress and her hair was strawberry leaning on red, but otherwise there was no mistaking the resemblance.

“You must be Hannah.”

Hannah returned a hard stare. At 18 she had been first here where the kids were concerned and now she was sizing up whether Rachel was an adult or a rival kid.

“Lets not all stand here gawping you must be starved.” Ginny said ushering her enlarged family towards the house.

Rachel took to them all at once and even Hannah decided she couldn’t compete with Boston. Whatever else she was, Rachel was sensible and always offered to help in the coming days.

Ginny couldn’t help but think that Rachel had her mother’s airs, but she hid her distaste for their simple ways well, well enough so that Lance did not notice and that was good enough for her, for now at least.

It had irked her some that she had taken to calling Becky-Sue plain Becky. It was far too high and mighty for her tastes, but Becky liked it as it sounded more grown up and so it was one more thing that Ginny let slide.

Rachel had been there a week when she got see old frontier ways first hand. She had been helping Becky with her studies when they heard what Ginny would call a ruckus outside.

“What did I tell you about sloping off with Anna-Marie Webster to spy on the Carlson boys?” They heard Ginny roar all the way back in the house.

Becky’s face lit up and she dropped her books and went to the window.

“Shouldn’t we finish this?” Rachel asked.

“No fear there’s gonna be whooping.” Becky replied.

A puzzled Rachel went to join Becky at the window just in time to see Hannah being dragged by the arm towards the woodshed. Once they were out of sight Becky made for the door and headed around the back with Rachel hastening after still at loss to what was happening.

Becky got to a place a little way off and behind the woodshed half hidden by a stand of bushes where she crouched down to watch the unfolding scene.

“What are you doing?” Rachel asked making no attempt to hide.

Then she saw. Ginny was sitting on a woodpile and had upended her daughter over her knee and was busy rucking up her skirts.

“Mama no.” Hannah wailed.

“Mama yes.” Ginny said with steel in her voice. “The very idea of spying on naked boys bathing.”

“I was just. Oooh.”

Her words were cut off by the sudden rush of cold air on her bare bottom as Ginny parted the back of her daughter’s bloomers.

“This is too much.” Hannah pouted.

Ginny well used to securing the hapless girl held firm and took up a flat lathe of wood.

“Oh my gosh.” Rachel gasped suddenly realising what was about to happen.

“I am going to give you such a spanking my girl you won’t sit down for a week.”

Then she brought the improvised paddle down hard on her daughter’s naked bottom.

Hannah yelped and tried to reach back, but her mother secured her wrists and struck twice more.

“Please mama I was only looking.” Hannah wailed.

“Oh I know what you were only doing.”

Rachel could now see that there was an orange-pink bar of colour vividly staining her young cousin’s snow-white bottom. Despite herself, she flushed with the novelty of it. Becky looked up at her from where she squatted down and grinned.

“Get down here or we’ll get shooed away.” Becky whispered.

“The very idea.” Rachel protested. “Come away at once.”

Becky made no attempt to move and Rachel could barely tear her eyes from the action as she half-heartedly tugged on the crouching Becky’s arm.

The spanking had begun in earnest now and Hannah was lodging her protests at volume. Protests noted and ignored, Ginny set about extending the ever-reddening territory across both hams and well down her hinds to her under-bum.

“Please mama I’m sorry.” Hannah gasped tearfully.

“We both know you’re not. Not yet anyway.”

Hannah flicked the lathe up and under to elicit some high notes from her bawling daughter.

Rachel made one last attempt to pull Becky away but was herself pulled to a crouch by the determined voyeur and sank to her knees.

“How long will it last?” Rachel asked in hush tones.

“A while yet I hope.” Becky said excitedly. “Last time Hannah was caught peeking she got a switching.”

Meanwhile Ginny had a determined look on her face and was swatting the girl’s tail end with a will.

“Pleeease maaaaa.” Hannah sobbed. “I’m sorrreeee.”

Rachel clapped her hand to her mouth and was surprised at the heat on her face. Becky was grinning like an ape and beside herself with it all.

The spanking lasted another good 10 minutes before Ginny dropped her sobbing daughter to the floor. Rachel felt a strange pang of regret that it was over but shook herself suddenly embarrassed to have been caught up in Becky’s mischief.

As she tried to stand Becky hauled her back down.

“Wait.” She hissed. “Ma’s cutting a switch.”

Rachel remembered the conversation in the stagecoach and blushed. Seeing what was about to happen Hannah began to plead.

“No mama I’m sorry.”

Ginny ignored the sobbing girl and hauled her over to the saw-trestle and up ended her bottom upwards. Then she hauled her draws all the way down and set to her daughter’s bared hiney with the switch.

Rachel could hear the whisk-crack from where she squatted next to Becky and could see the dark lines that were raised on Hannah’s bare bottom.

“This is the most fun.” Becky gloated.

Rachel glanced incredulously at her evil little cousin and then blushed as she recognised something in herself.

“Mama.” Hannah howled angrily.

“Hush now, you know you got this coming.” Ginny said switching away.

The switching lasted almost as long as the spanking had until the thin branch was in a most sorry state, as was Hannah. Then at last Ginny tossed the broken stick away and cocked her head as if inspecting her handiwork.

Ginny helped her sobbing daughter to her feet and murmured something in her ear.

“Yes mama.” Said the defeated Hannah.

Rachel watched as Hannah shuffled over to the back wall of the half open woodshed and pressed her face to the wall.

“Not as bad as corner time back at the house.” Becky smirked.

“Or the porch.” She added with her eyes wide in genuine horror.

Rachel’s eyes were fixed on Hannah’s bare bright red striped bottom and decided to stay hidden until Ginny had gone.

Then without looking their way Ginny said:

“No work to do girls?” A smile played about her lips as she said it and she dusted her hands off with satisfaction.

Rachel and Becky stood up sheepishly, although Becky offered her mother a smile and shrugged. Rachel just wanted a great big hole to open up before her.

Rachel followed Ginny back to the house feeling both embarrassed and foolish while Becky strolled over to the woodshed to take a longer peek at her big sister as she stood bare-bottomed facing the back wall of the open shack.

“I was just, Becky said.” Rachel tried to explain.

“Why Rachel Kent I am surprised at you.” Ginny teased, then added. “I know all about Becky-Sue and her relish of such things. Anyone would think she didn’t get her share. More than her share, why only days before you came I left marks on her hiney she may still have.”

“I tried to pull her away but I was.”

“Distracted.” Ginny smirked.

Both women giggled together as they entered the house.

Later at supper, Hannah stood at the fireplace mantle wincing with each motion and periodically reaching behind to rub her bottom through her skirt.

“What nonsense has our girl be at today might I ask.” Lance said as he shovelled potatoes on his plate.

“Hannah was.” Becky began with glee.

Rachel kicked her under the table.

“A feminine matter.” Ginny said pleasantly.

Lance shrugged satisfied that it had been handled.

“Thanks I get carried away.” Becky whispered to Rachel. “Mama spank if I tattle.”

Ginny and Rachel exchanged glances across the table and something of a bond was formed.

Hannah was subdued all the next day and Rachel noticed she didn’t sit at all. Becky explained that unless she could sit at supper she would take it at the mantle again. Rachel affected not to care, but something about the situation gave her a tickling feeling on her skin and warm glow of belonging.

Determined to embrace this new optimism, she decided to chop the wood. Ginny winced when she saw the clumsy way that her cousin handled the axe but decided not to interfere.

“She has to learn.” She sighed.

After Rachel had been struggling with the axe for an hour with little to show for it a dark voice said:

“You struggling with that ma’am?”

Before she could answer or even see who had spoken, strong arms seized the axe and she was gently moved aside.

Rachel watch in awe and not a little irritation as a large man in buckskins hefted the axe with skill and in a few moments had cut more wood than she had all morning.

“You see ma’am you have to cut with the grain and chop with confidence or you’ll cut more than just the wood.”

“I can manage quite well without your help thank you.” She bristled.

“Oh I can see that ma’am.” The man chuckled. “I’ll just get you started some and then I’ll be about my business.”

Ignoring her protests and gentle curses he proceeded to chop more wood than Rachel could have managed in a day before handing her back the axe.

“Tom Bannerman.” Ginny said happily moving to embrace the stranger. “I see you have met my cousin Rachel.”

“Please to make your acquaintance ma’am.”

“I am not so sure the feeling is mutual.” Rachel harrumphed and walked off.

“Forgive my cousin she is from Boston.” Ginny said as if that explained it all.

“Nicely turned out.” Tom said with admiration as he watched Rachel sashay off. “Not here for a vacation I guess.”

“Her ma died and we are her only kin.”

“I see.” Tom said storing that nugget away.

“Are you staying for supper?” Ginny asked.

“If I am invited and there is a place for me in the barn.”

“You are and there is.” Ginny nodded solemnly and took his arm as they walked to the house.

Tom, Rachel learned, was an old family friend who had been helpful in the early days of the ranch. He had once saved Lance from a bear while hunting and when Tom had been on the wrong end of a knife fight, Ginny had nursed him back to health.

That evening at supper, Hannah asked to be excused. When permission had been refused, Hannah had tried with all the dignity she could muster to sit at the table. She had stood up quickly enough and her hands had flown to cup her behind.

“Ahh.” She gasped as Becky giggled.

Even Ginny smirked a little as she quietly set a place at the mantle while Hannah blushed every colour red and tried not to cry.

“Some one get a licking?” Tom asked dryly.

“Oh I hate you Tom Bannerman.” Hannah scowled.

“Hush now it ain’t the first time you got switched and Tom knows it. He’s seen it too remember?”

“I seem to remember I once paddled her myself.” Tom added with a wink.

Hannah was mortified as she remembered not only previous switchings, but also the time not so long ago when Tom had ridden up and had seen her nose to the porch wall with her freshly switched bare bottom on display. At least this time her skirts were not pinned up in back.

The other memory of a getting a spanking from him stirred altogether different feelings that she didn’t want to dwell on.

Hannah’s meal tasted like sand and when her mother finally released her, she had never been so happy to go to her bed.

Rachel for her part tried hard to dislike the houseguest but he was witty and spoke softly to Becky and Ginny. She also had to admit he was perfectly polite to her although she tried her best to be as rude as she could, which puzzled her somewhat as she was not just sinking to his level but far below it This was not the Boston way at all. But she couldn’t seem to help herself.

Then when the time came for him to go to the barn he had offered a warm farewell to her that set the Peters to exchanging looks.

By the time Rachel got up the next morning, he was gone, but not without a small gift for her. Out by the woodshed on the old stump she had singularly failed to cut wood on was a lone flower. She picked it up and suddenly regretted being so mean to him.

“What’s that?” Hannah asked when she saw it.

“Oh I rather think I am being wooed by Mr Bannerman.” Rachel replied with the lightest of smiles on her lips.

Hannah glared at her in dismay and then stamped her foot angrily, an act that she immediately regretted as she winced and clutched at her bottom.

“Tom?” Becky pulled a face. “He’s so old. Near as old as pa.”

“Oh that’s not so old.” Ginny said leaning forward to study the flower. “Never thought he had it in him.”

Then she shrugged and gave Rachel a woman’s look.

“Won’t sit well with Hannah though.” Ginny added in a whisper. “She is kind of sweet on him herself.”

“Nothing is sitting too well with Hannah at the moment.” Becky jeered as she ducked a swipe from her sister and ran off with a giggle.

“Oh Becky is right he is too old for me.” Rachel said dismissing the idea.

All the same, she carefully placed the flower in a pocket within the folds of her skirt.

Less than a week later, it was Becky’s turn to be unseated.

She came home one day from school with a downcast look ruefully rubbing her bottom.

“Best I tell you now ma.” She said reluctantly. “I got a whooped at school today.”

“You been fighting again?”

“Oh ma I was just.” Then she stopped in recognition of the futility of excuses. A whooping at school meant a trip to the woodshed, a time honoured tradition. “Yes ma.”

“Go cut me a switch and then wait in place.” Ginny said sadly.

Hannah cast Rachel a look and then with a smile returned to her stitching and Becky trudged over to the woodshed chewing her lower lip.

“Are you really going to punish her again?” Rachel asked.

“Its usual and she knows it.”

“But she has already been punished.”

“Not by me.”

After a while, Ginny dusted of her hands and made one last check on the supper she was cooking and then went to the door.

“You want to see how it’s done again?” Ginny asked Rachel as she left.

Rachel blushed and shook her head, although strangely she very much did want to.

“Suit yourself.” Ginny shrugged and went to meet her youngest at the shed.

Rachel turned and idly stirred the stew pot while Hannah watched her grimly as if making a silent promise.

It wasn’t long before the sound of wailing and howling assaulted their ears from outside.

“She won’t get it as bad as I got.” Hannah observed. “But still it will be the mantle for her come supper.”

“And how is your, lower person?” Rachel asked.

“Just fine thank you.” Hannah replied tartly although she would feel it a while when she sat.

Sure enough, Becky stood at the mantle for supper but she didn’t seem as subdued as Hannah had been and in fact showed no reluctance to join the family conversation and added cheeky asides at every opportunity.

Later when she went to bed Rachel was shocked to see the extent of the wheals on Becky’s bare bottom. Becky was lying on her bed face down making no attempt to cover herself.

“Ma got me good today?” She giggled. “Worse than Miss Hacker anyway.”

“Yes it’s eh quite red.” Rachel observed.

“Ain’t nothing.” Becky replied. “I had worse.”

“Never be licked yourself have you?” Hannah asked innocently.

“No. Not that it’s your concern.” Rachel blushed. “If you children will misbehave then, well I advise you not to that’s all.”

Rachel left quickly for her partitioned end of the room.

“Who does she think she is calling us children?” Hannah said haughtily.

“I thought it was good advice myself.” Becky said missing the animosity in her sister’s voice.

As the weeks passed and Rachel increasingly felt at home and she felt that she had learnt all there was to the ranch life and its customs. She even learned to cut wood, after finally admitting to Lance that she did not know how.

“That does my nerves a parcel of good to hear you say that.” He laughed. “I though you would never admit defeat.”

From time to time Becky got a trip to the woodshed and if she could, Rachel couldn’t help but spy on the proceedings as Becky had done that first time. She even got to see Becky stand penance on the porch a few times and several times, more than a woodshed vigil it seemed, stand in the corner of the family room instead of supper.

Becky always took this in good heart even if her bottom often resembled raw liver after and never bore Ginny the slightest resentment, even when she had to stand at the mantle for three suppers in row on account of the welts.

Then one day after church, Rachel came back to the house unannounced, the Peters having gone ahead. She found Ginny doubled over a chair in the kitchen with her full bottom red as two tomatoes. She was moist-eyed and yelping as Lance’s belt scored her bare bottom over and over.

Rachel stood dumbstruck as the thrashing continued, Lance making no effort to ease up in her presence. In the end, Ginny found the presence of mind to signal her displeasure with her witness and her eyes and looked daggers at the door.

Rachel finally getting the message fled to the porch to listen and steeled her honour not to peek through the window.

The stropping continued for as long as any of Becky’s switchings and long before the end of the punishment, Ginny was expressing her regrets and loudly ‘suggesting’ that Lance desist.

All afternoon Rachel avoided the house as the couple made up and wondered if Ginny would excuse herself come supper. She didn’t.

Ginny dutifully, and with a face as red as her bottom must have been, set a place at the mantle for herself.

“Mama got a whooping, Mama got a whooping.” Becky sang with glee.

“Yes Mama did.” Ginny groaned. Then added ruefully. “Mama had it coming.”

Rachel sat still dumbstruck in embarrassment for her cousin and amazement at her fortitude. All the while Lance sat there like a king without a care in the world. And Rachel had had him pegged as such a kindly shy man.

As she was going to bed, she caught Ginny’s eye, although the freshly strapped woman had the grace to blush she just shrugged and smiled.

After that life went on much as usual, Becky got woodshed time, everyone got chores and every once in a while Ginny and Rachel would talk about their former lives.

One day after both women had finished with the autumn round up, they hobbled down to the creek to bathe. Hannah and Becky had found other things to do and so the cousins found they could talk.

Rachel winced as she sat to remove her boots having been in the saddle all day.

“This country is certainly hard on the rear end.” She complained.

“You mean now or woodshed time.” Ginny chuckled.

“Both I guess.” Rachel grimaced. “Before I came here I never knew so much bottom whipping. Or any if the truth is known. Is it Lance’s doing?”

Ginny sighed as she slid her bare bottom into the water.

“Not so much. No.” Ginny answered. “Truth is my ma was a hard one. My sisters and I caught it plenty as girls.”

“As children sure, but Hannah’s near my age now.”

“You’re a little bit more mature, what with a Boston education and all, but don’t imagine I wouldn’t take a switch to you if I had cause.”

Rachel gave her a sidelong glance to gauge the threat, but Ginny was already looking away and soothing her ache under the water. Then as Rachel finally stripped down and joined her cousin in the water, Ginny expanded on the theme.

“Your wrong about whopping being just for children. You saw Lance paying me out. I ain’t gone a year for as long as I can remember without getting my tail warmed by someone or other. My ma used a switch on my tail right to the month I got married and I was your age when we wed.”

Rachel remembered Becky and smiled.

“You didn’t smile when you first arrived and you caught sight of me whaling Hannah, you looked fit to faint.” Ginny chuckled.

Rachel didn’t answer and eased herself back into the cool water.

“I wasn’t so different to Becky back when I was her age. Always hoping to catch ma spanking one of my sisters. It was our family sport. One time when we pushed cousin Lionel into the poison ivy ma laid it on bad. It was three raw hinies lined up in the parlour and we didn’t sit for a week. Lionel got to watch too. That’s where the mantel tradition got started. Only ma had us bare tail in front of company when she considered it needful.”

Rachel shuddered at the thought, but seeing the lightness of Ginny’s expression, she pictured the scene with some amusement.

“I had best get back to fix supper if I don’t want my bottom warmed by Lance. Yours too maybe.”

The idea gave Rachel an odd thrill, which she suppressed.

Three days later Tom Bannerman turned up again. Rachel had given him much thought over the months since he last called in and now she saw him again she thought that perhaps he was not so old after all.

“How are my favourite ladies?” He smiled, hugging everyone except Rachel.

“Rachel how have you been settling?”

“Quite well thank you.” She replied shyly.

“Oh you’ll speak to me now?” Tom smiled. “How’s the wood cutting?”

“Better.” She laughed. “I’m sorry I was prickly before.”

“Were you? I hardly noticed.” He grinned.

Rachel’s laugh tinkled like a bell and although she had not noticed, she was happier than she’d been since her mother had fallen ill.

“Thanks for the flower. I still have it.” Rachel admitted.

Hannah watched the exchange with much the same expression Ginny had offered Rachel when she had stumbled on her stropping. Everyone missed it but Ginny. There’s trouble brewing no doubt, she thought.

Tom stayed three days this time and spent all his time with Rachel one way or another.

Ginny and Lance exchanged knowing looks as they watched the couple and Lance even took Ginny’s hand in his.

“Tom asked me permission to court Rachel come spring.” Lance said to Ginny on the morning Tom was set to leave day.

“What did you say?” Ginny asked not looking up from packing Tom’s lunch.

“I said I’d ask you and if he felt the same come spring then it was alright by me.” Lance replied. “Did I say right? She’s your kin after all.”

“You said right.” Ginny said kissing him on the cheek.

“Come here woman that ain’t no way to smooch your man.” He growled.

After a few moments horseplay Tom wandered over to take his leave.

No one noticed Hannah standing nearby. A storm was brewing.

The next day in fact Lance looked at the sky and glowered as he read the signs. He called to Becky and Hannah to put the chickens in the coop as there was a storm coming.

“I ought to check on the stock but the horses come first and I need to secure the coral.” He added, worry written on his face.

“I’ll see to the horses.” Rachel offered.

“Good girl.” Lance forced a smile and took off riding hard without looking back.

Sensing the urgency, Rachel didn’t pause to get a shawl or coat and hurried over to raise the coral posts and hitched the gate. There were two fillies in the far meadow but she knew them both and knew she could handle them.

By the time she had them in the coral the storm broke.

“Rachel get in here.” Ginny called from the porch.

“I’m coming.” Rachel shouted back over the sudden downpour. “Just checking the hitch.”

Once inside the house it was clear that no one could speak as the rain was pounding like a hammer on the roof.

“Oh my I hope Lance will be OK.” Ginny fretted.

“Ma where’s Hannah?” Becky yelled.

“I’m here.” Hannah answered coming from the apple store.

“You’re all wet.” Ginny scolded. “I told you to get in.”

“Sorry ma.”

The storm didn’t last too long but by the time it had blown itself out they were all exhausted from yelling over the noise.

“You girls get to bed and I’ll wait for pa.” Ginny said.

Rachel fell right to sleep and would have stayed that way until morning if some yelling hadn’t woke her.

“What in tar nation.” Lance was shouting.

The girls all tumbled from their beds to see what was up.

“I thought you said you’d see to the horses.” Lance berated Rachel as she walked in the room.

“I.”

“They’re all over the ranch scattered and spooked, if one of them breaks a leg I’ll.” Lance was in a fury and he shook his fist in Rachel’s face.

Rachel turned white and for the first time she really saw the tough side to this mild mannered man. Even Ginny couldn’t calm him as he rejected all offers from meddling women to help gather his herd.

“What have you done?” Ginny accused her cousin shrieking and close to tears.

Rachel looked to the girls for support but they both looked just as terrified, especially Hannah.

“I now I closed up the coral, I know it.” Rachel wailed.

It took until nightfall the following day before lance returned with most of the herd.

“The bay is still missing.” He said sounding like a man defeated.

“I’m sorry pa.” Hannah groaned.

“It ain’t your fault.” Lance said in a voice of glass as he stared hard at Rachel. “In the morning I’ll ride out again.”

“Won’t it just come back?” Ginny soothed.

“Maybe, but maybe its spooked too bad.” Lance said not taking his cold eyes from Rachel. “But one things for sure me and lady high and mighty over there is going to the woodshed.”

“I didn’t do anything I swear.” Rachel wailed.

That was enough to break another storm and Lance grabbed his wife’s cousin and hauled out the door.

“Ma pa’s never done it so mad before will Rachel be alright?” Becky eyes were tear-filled.

Surprised at her youngest’s rare compassion in such matters she turned to reassure her that Rachel was loved and was only going to get her due when she caught sight of Hannah’s ‘hand in the cookie jar look’.

“Hannah?” Ginny was suddenly hard. “What do you know about this?”

Her daughter hugged herself in despair and looked anxiously towards the door.

Ginny, for her part remembered Hannah coming in through the apple store soaking wet and Rachel delayed getting in as she hitched up the coral.

“Hannah answer me.”

“Ma I only wanted to get Hannah a little whipping I didn’t know the bay’d run off.” She wailed.

Ginny didn’t wait and she ran from the house to the woodshed.

“Lance.” She yelled.

When she got there, Rachel was already half stripped and bent over the saw trestle with her bare bottom skywards. Lance had unfurled his belt and was about to strike.

Once he had heard the whole story, he was his old self.

“You fool Lance to hate kin over a darn horse.” He berated himself.

Ginny helped the sobbing Rachel back to the house. Once inside she didn’t even look at Hannah.

“Ma?” Hannah sobbed.

“Go to bed.” Ginny snapped. “I will deal with you in the morning.”

Then she turned and was about to let fly with her anger, but held herself and sighed.

“The morning will be a start anyway, if you can sit come Christmas then you’ll count yourself lucky. Now get.”

“Yes ma.” Hannah sobbed.

Once Lance finally came to bed, he told Ginny that he would take Hannah to task to settle things between them once he was calm about it all. Ginny nodded but silently vowed she not stay her hand a jot on account of that.

“How’s Rachel?” He whispered.

“She’s fine, just a scare ‘tis all.” Ginny reassured him. “She’ll get a show tomorrow to make her feel better.”

“Why’d she do it?”

“Tom you fool.” Men she thought, they could be so blind.

“She’s a woman now I guess. Should a know’d it once you started whopping her for spying on the boys skinny dipping.” He chuckled.

“You knew about that?” Ginny said relieved that Lance was back to his old self.

“There ain’t nothing on this ranch that I don’t know about.” He grinned.

The next morning Lance rode out early to continue his search for the bay. As he gathered his bedroll and Winchester, he passed Hannah who was already up and shivering in her shift with her nose to the outside wall on the porch.

“I’m sorry pa.” She said in a small voice without turning round.

“I know and I we will talk on it. But right now it’s your ma you gotta worry about.”

“And how.” She breathed.

Lance took one look back at his daughter as the morning breeze lifted the hem of shift revealing her milk white bottom. Then mounted his horse and moved off.

The sun was well up before Ginny, followed by Rachel and Becky walked out on to the porch. She solemnly balanced a laundry paddle and three fresh cut apple switches on the rail and turned to Hannah.

“You got anything to say.” Ginny asked. Before I pass sentence, Rachel thought.

“No ma.” Hannah answered in a thick voice. “’Ceptin I am truly sorry.”

“I am sure you are but it don’t cut it.” Ginny sighed. “Where do I begin? You betrayed this family for a petty slight. You almost killed your pa. You nearly got Rachel here, flayed half-alive. What were you thinking? Do you know how much the bay is worth?”

“I know ma.” Hannah sobbed. “I don’t know I just saw red. I’m sooo sorry.”

“You cold?” Ginny asked noticing for the first time how badly Hannah was shivering.

Rachel thought it was rather a dumb question to ask a half-naked girl on a fall morning. But said nothing.

“Not too bad ma.” Hannah said bravely.

“After I am through here today you put on what you need to above the waist, do ya hear?” Ginny said firmly. “But asides you boots you don’t get nothing else ‘til I tell you. You hear me?”

“Yes ma.” Hannah moaned.

She knew this sanction. No skirts or draws for a week and all the dirty jobs on the ranch. And if she weren’t doing chores, she was nose to planks on the porch or the corner in the pantry. She had gotten drunk at a barn raising when she was 16 and had a week of such purgatory. This time it was worse.

Becky-Sue had gone through it twice. Once when she tried tobacco and had burnt the barn down.

Ginny took up the paddle and then as if loath to start she steeled herself and grabbed Hannah roughly and turned her about. Hannah was then thrown over the rail with her bottom facing the yard and Ginny set to her behind.

The first swat echoed up the valley and Becky reckoned pa would hear it miles off. Hannah, as if saving herself for the ordeal ahead, just grunted as she gripped the lower porch rail.

Ginny raised the paddle far above her head and brought it down as hard as she might. Hannah grunted again, but this time was driven higher over the rail so that her bare bottom was pointing at the sky.

Rachel could see that it was already red and wondered how this punishment would compare to the last, which she remembered had been quite harsh enough. Despite almost sharing the girl’s fate, she felt some sympathy for Hannah, but truthfully, if she had been asked she would not have spared her.

One glance at Becky was enough to know that Becky had no such qualms and she loved every minute of her sister’s distress.

Ginny spanked her daughter hard and slowly with the paddle, putting some skill in with her wrist flick, but putting her hard won shoulder and arm muscles into the job as well.

Despite her mother’s efforts, Hannah continued to forbear with gasps and grunts for some time until she finally cracked. At first, Rachel noticed her young cousin’s shoulders shaking. Then Hannah began to let out small little sobs and then began singing out at each impact. Then the floodgates opened and she howled her despair into the ground inches from her nose.

By this time, her bottom looked like two blueberries complete with a dusting of white where the flesh was a little distressed.

But Ginny was far from done. All she could feel was Lance’s pain and fear and the betrayal her own daughter had perpetrated.

“This is the most.” Becky gasped transfixed.

By now Rachel had lost all sense of time and Hannah must not even know what world she was on.

“Ginny.” Rachel said softly. “Ginny enough now.”

Ginny looked up and nodded. She felt no pity for her sobbing daughter; she wondered if she even knew her anymore. But she recognised that this portion of the punishment was done.

Hannah was a mess of tears and lay clinging to the rail not knowing it was done.

“You can stay there awhile and think on.” Ginny sniffed tossing side the paddle.

Rachel realised that Ginny was close to tears herself.

Much later Hannah was released from the rail and told she would get a switching or two come supper time and until then she had best get on with her chores.

In fact so overloaded was she that it seemed to Rachel that Becky had nothing to do but gloat over her sister’s fate.

Before bed that first night Ginny had set to Hannah’s bottom again with a switch. Becky had watched the whole thing from the ladder-top and had drunk every tear like fine wine.

“You are a caution.” Rachel said as she pulled Becky away from the scene by her pigtail.

“Aw I don’t want to miss it.” She wailed.

“You had a good enough show at super time with Hannah in the corner and I’m betting there’s more to come for your poor sister yet.”

“Its only where she wanted you.” Becky argued.

“I know but I am sure she regrets it now.” Rachel chided.

“And how.” Becky chuckled.

The next day almost every task involved Hannah displaying her purple textured bottom to the world. It certainly was not lost on her that with each movement, she relived her switching, and even if she could forget, Becky was always there to remind her.

Over the next couple of days Hannah hobbled about the farm bare legged dressed only in her shawl and shift. As she had known, she had nothing but shit shovelling duties, stove scrubbing, floors, laundry and lugging water from the pump.

The week came and went and there was still no sign of Lance or the bay and definitely no sign that Ginny would let up on Hannah. Rachel realised that in some sense the two things were linked.

The only time that Hannah had come close to rebellion was when Ginny gathered the family before setting out to church.

“Please ma.” Hannah had begged on her knees. “You can’t make me go like this.”

The look on Ginny’s face revealed that she had so intended much to Becky’s glee.

“Please ma, give me another licking. I’ll never live it down.”

“She could stay home in case Lance returns.” Rachel suggested.

“You taking her part in this?” Ginny asked.

“I suppose I am.” Rachel agreed.

“Alright.” Ginny sighed. “Maybe she should miss church this once. Besides I don’t reckon the preacher will take kindly to it.”

Two days later Lance came riding in without the bay.

“Hello pa.” Hannah greeted him sheepishly. She tugged at the front of her shirt in the hopes of covering her upper thighs and half hid her face with her wayward hair.

He returned a tight smile.

“No sign of that darn horse.” He cursed as he dismounted. “I guess we have to give up on it for now.”

That meant forever and they all knew it. Ginny glared at Hannah who hurried away to do more chores. Rachel’s heart sank at this news. She couldn’t help but shake the feeling that it was her fault somehow. In any case it didn’t matter who’s fault it was, if the bay wasn’t found then Hannah and Ginny would be at odds for months.

She was awoken that night by Lance coughing. He was not a young man and these days on the trail had been hard on him. Suppose he went out again? Rachel shuddered at the thought.

Then she decided. She slipped quietly out of bed and dressing in her old clothes, she slipped out to the coral. Ginny would have a blue fit come morning, she sighed, but there was nothing else for it.

She saddled the gelding that Lance had said she could ride, an ugly brute she just called Horse, and led him as quite as she might out on to the trail before mounting.

By noon she was half-lost. She could still see the same white-capped mountains away to the northeast, they had hardly got any nearer, but the low hills above the town were long gone and she suddenly realised that she was on a fool’s errand. It had seemed such a good idea in the small hours and now she knew that if Lance couldn’t find the bay then she had no chance. However, the thought of the town gave her an idea that Lance may not have thought of. If someone had found it then she reckoned that was where they would take it. In any case, she could post a reward with the sheriff out of her own money, or maybe even buy a replacement.

The only problem was how to find the town?

Come nightfall she was shivering on a rise trying to start a fire. She was about to curse her folly when she caught sight of the distant lights of Benson. She had almost missed the town and as it was, it was still too far to make before morning but at least she was no longer lost. Then against all odds she got a fire going. Feeling very pleased with herself she settled down for the night with vague fears about grizzlies and Indians.

Strangely, her confidence ebbed with the daylight. She was no longer certain where she had seen the lights and the trail in that general direction was not as even as she had hoped. After an hour, she knew she was lost again.

“Heading my way?” Said a voice. She turned with a start cursing herself for not borrowing one of Lance’s guns.

“Lance.” She exclaimed.

Lance chuckled and outstretched his arms to embrace her. As she hugged him she noticed that trailing his horse on a cord was the bay.

“You found him.” She gasped in joy.

“Well in a manner of speaking you did.” He chuckled. “I weren’t more than three hours behind you the whole time. Then I heard this darn horse. You musta just passed this here bay by a merest mite.”

“I am so glad.” Rachel grinned nervously. “You mad at me?”

“Yep.” Lance smiled. “But not as mad as Ginny.”

“I bet.”

“Id give you a whooping myself but seeing as I got the bay back and Ginny is plenty mad for the both of us maybe I’ll let it slide.”

Rachel blushed at the idea of getting the strop from Lance, but since the night of the storm she was in no doubt that he would do it.

By the time they got back to the ranch Ginny was waiting on the porch with pursed lips.

“What in tar nation do you think you were doing girl?” She scolded.

“We found the bay.” Rachel offered lamely.

“Tada.” Lance offered hopefully, holding up the lead rope to the trailing horse.

Ginny tried not to smile at Lance’s antics but finally cracked. As they all traipsed into the house Lance and Ginny embraced. Even Hannah was smiling for the first time in days as she unconsciously tugged in back at the short shift trying to cover her bottom.

The chatter at the dinner table was as lively as ever and even Hannah, who still sat on a bare bottom, begged to know details of their adventure and how Lance found the horse. Then as the girl’s said their goodnights, Hannah asked her mother:

“I am forgiven now?”

“Almost I suppose.” Ginny said giving her daughter a hug.

“Does that mean I can put my draws and dress back on tomorrow, its getting awfully cold?”

“Come Sunday maybe.” Ginny sighed touching her daughter on the nose.

“Aw ma.” Hannah groaned with a pout, but Ginny sent her scurrying with a swat to her tail.

Lance, happy to have the family back in one piece, not to mention the bay, took out his pipe and lit up, peace like the smoke covered his face.

Rachel watched the scene and realised that she was well and truly part of this family. Then as she helped Ginny with the dishes her cousin sidled up to her and whispered:

“You and me are gonna have words tomorrow.”

“Yes Ma’am.” Rachel replied chewing her lip.

The next morning, breakfast was as lively as ever and Lance took his with him despite Ginny’s nagging because her wanted to look over the bay. Hannah begged to be allowed to dress gain and received a short reply from Ginny.

“But ma this shift is shorter than the other.” She wailed turning to show that it didn’t even cover her bottom.

“Well we don’t have another that don’t need mending, so wear it without complaint and come Sunday maybe you won’t care so much.” Ginny replied ushering her daughters in to the yard.

Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, for once Rachel joined Becky in gentle teasing of Hannah, who blushed and tried vainly to keep her obviously bare bottom hidden from view. Unlike the previous shift, which only lifted off her hiney when she bent forward, this one hid nothing whatever she did.

“Do you think ma will give Han another switching before Sunday?” Becky smirked.

“Oh don’t.” Hannah wailed. “I am to get the strop from pa after church and then we are done with it.”

“Oh Hannah I’m sorry.” Rachel said sympathetically.

“Its OK I got it coming.” Hannah shrugged. “And Rachel I’m real sorry about what I done. I guess if Tom Bannerman wants you then I can’t stand in your way.”

The mention of Tom set Rachel’s heart beating, but she accepted Hannah’s apology and returned to her chores, thinking best to say nothing.

Later that afternoon Rachel went back to the house to wash-up and to see if Ginny needed a hand with supper. When Ginny declined, Rachel tuned to go back out.

“And where do you think you’re going?” She turned to Rachel who was set to leave.

“I thought I would take a walk.” Rachel replied puzzled.

Ginny shook her head and pulled a hairbrush from the folds of her skirt.

Rachel swallowed hard and took a step backwards.

“Can’t we talk about this?” She whispered eyeing the brush.

“I reckon this’ll do my talking for me.” Ginny said grimly. “You’ll do your talking form the corner ‘til supper.”

“I’m 21 now.” Rachel blushed.

“And I’m 36. It never saved my tail once.” Ginny growled and tried to grab her cousin.

“I had to get the bay.” Rachel wheedled running around the other side of the table.

“You want it from Lance before the girls?” Ginny threatened.

“No ma’am, but please.”

Ginny caught her and sat in an armless chair. It was the work of a moment to ruck up her skirts and draw down her bloomers.

“You don’t have to do this.” Rachel wailed as Ginny bared her bottom.

“Oh I reckon I do.”

Rachel’s first spanking was a doozey. Her firm trim bottom was no match for Ginny’s brush but offered a tight canvas for Ginny’s drumming art.

Outside Hannah looked round puzzled at the sound of a shot. Then quickly more followed as if a gunfight ensued inside the house.

“Rachel is getting a spanking.” Becky said gleefully.

Both Hannah and her rushed to the ranch house window and peered in.

Rachel was firmly over their mother’s lap with her respectable full bottom served up for justice. The girls could already see that it was strawberry red all over and their mother would not be done any time soon.

Rachel for her part had never felt anything like it. Becky had once described it as a swarm off bees being mad at your hiney all at once. But that vivid picture did not describe it all.

“Please Ginny I’m sorry.” Rachel howled once she could draw breath.

“Well that is a start.” came Ginny’s reply.

Ginny’s ranch-woman arm polished her cousin’s bottom until it was shiny and sore. Then the glowing all-over red gave way to purple on the underside, which was the affect she was after.

Rachel was past caring and had long since surrendered to Ginny’s indignation. Hannah and Becky exchanged grins as their grown cousin sobbed like a schoolgirl and wailed out humble apologies.

Finally the spanking was over and the sobbing woman was put firmly in the corner for the edification of the family.

Ginny squeezed Rachel’s shoulder and whispered.

“I’ll set you a place at the mantle when you’re ready.”

Rachel nodded through her tears and remembered that Ginny had demanded it of herself not so long before.

She had not appreciated how much of a trial just standing still for almost an hour could be. Then just as she was feeling an ache in her back and wondered how much longer she would have to stand there, the door opened and Lance walked in.

Oh god he could see her bare bottom this was, oh my, she knew her eyes must have started out of her head and she was beside herself. Thankful Lance didn’t comment and after a moment, she knew he had settled down with his pipe.

Then Becky and Hannah came in. Hannah was perhaps too occupied with her own state of undress but Becky squealed in delight. Her forced attempts at surprise also told Rachel that she had seen the whole thing.

“Alright, its not like you haven’t been here before.” Rachel said sullenly muffled by the corner.

“Mind your manners or you will go without supper.” Ginny scolded.

“Yes ma’am.” Rachel sighed.

Supper was a trial as she knew it would be and Ginny did not deter Becky from having some fun at her expense.

After supper Rachel was returned to the corner until the girls were sent to bed. Then as they were saying their goodnights, Rachel felt foolish to say the least, Hannah came to the corner and hugged her.

“Welcome to the family.”

The next morning things had returned to normal, well almost, Rachel thought as she massaged her rear. Then she caught sight of Hannah’s bare bottom as she bent at her laundry basket, normal for here anyway, this is hardly Boston, she smiled.

The next few days went well enough and Rachel could see that the first snow had fallen on the high ground. Hannah looked particularly foolish bundled up against the growing cold but still barelegged and bare-bottomed even standing straight.

“I’ll be glad come Sunday.” She groaned as she rubbed her bare thighs vigorously to rub out some of the cold.

“I think you have learned your lesson now.” Rachel said with sympathy.

“I reckon.” Hannah replied ruefully. “But I had it coming, I know I did.”

“And the stropping on Sunday?”

“That’s needful too I guess.”

Just then two riders burst over the rise and headed hard into the yard.

The girls looked up in surprise and Hannah looked nervously towards the coral to make sure her father had his shotgun handy and had seen them. Then she realised at once that it was only the Hawkers and that the Hawker boy could see her half naked.

“I see we have a young miscreant in our midst.” Old man Hawker winked.

Hannah squealed in horror and ducked behind a hanging bed sheet that she had been putting on the line.

She couldn’t help but glance at young Daniel Hawker to see if he had noticed. She could see from the grin on his face that he had.

“Oh I hate you Daniel Hawker.” She wailed.

He just tipped his hat at her and grinned all the wider.

“What’s amiss?” Lance called over as he put down the shotgun he had seized.

“Its Tom Bannerman.” Old man Hawker yelled. “His horse came in alone at our place last night. Reckon he must be hurt somewhere.”

“You getting up a search?” Lance’s jaw was set tight.

“That was my way of reckoning.” Hawker agreed.

“I’ll get my gear.” Lance agreed.

“Lance I am coming to.” Rachel offered.

“No it’s best you stay here.”

“I’m coming.” Rachel set herself in his way.

Lance nodded.

An hour later they were over the rise and riding hard. Rachel could feel it where she sat and not just because she wasn’t used to hard riding, but she still had a trace of Ginny’s hairbrush embossed on her tail.

By nightfall there were eight of them. It gratified Rachel to see that Tom had so many friends but it was also frustrating that they seemed more concerned with beans and tobacco at the fireside than finding Tom.

“Hush yourself lass, there is no sense in searching at night.” Old man Hawker soothed.

The first night she had accepted that, but on the second day when they had decided to camp at the snow line with two hours left of daylight, so she quietly deicide on other plans.

The sun was not yet up and the moon still burned brightly when she stirred herself. The old man on watch was sleeping and it was an easy thing to saddle her horse. Horse snorted and sent a cloud of steam across the hillside.

“Easy boy.” She soothed, marvelling at how much of her own breath she could see.

By sun-up she was well into the snow and heading to where Tom was supposed to have been. It touched her mind once or twice that she had so easily gotten lost before, but now she had a purpose and all she could think about was that Tom was in trouble. Besides there was but one trail and it only needed those stupid old men to get a move on and follow it.

By lunchtime the others still hadn’t caught up and it was then that she realised that she had been counting on them to. She wished she had thought it through more, but her plan, such as it was, was to shame them into hurrying.

She thought briefly about waiting, but realised that would defeat the whole object of her going on ahead. She dismounted anyway and tried to drag Horse onwards through the snow. Could Tom really be up this high, she wondered.

Then it struck. It screamed like a banshee and startled her half to death. Whatever it was went for Horse, but she was knocked to the ground and made a soft landing in the snow.

It was a mountain lion. Poor Horse had its throat ripped out and the blood was everywhere. The lion watched her as it began to eat and Rachel’s horror was over taken by a crushing fear. She slowly rose to her feet and began to circle back the way she had come giving the cat a wide birth.

Luckily, the lion was more intent on its meal and she made good her escape.

The others could not be that far behind, she thought after an hour. But still the lengthening shadows began to fill her with dread. Everything she needed to survive the long night was in the pack on the dead horse.

Then she heard it again. The cat. It was stalking her.

“Get you varmit.” She called impersonating Lance to give herself courage. “You can’t be that hungry you just ate a horse.”

Maybe it was something else, she shuddered at the thought. What else was there?

It was near dark now and there was still no sign of the others. She was beginning to panic. The last of the daylight was orange and dragged through the trees all around her. Could she have followed the wrong trail? Was this where she died?

Then something snapped in the shadows. It broke cover and began racing across the snow at her. She swallowed determined to take death head on. The mountain lion was almost on her when the shot cut the late afternoon air. The cat fell half-dead. Then next shot finished it.

“Lance.” She sobbed turning to meet her saviour.

It was Tom.

“You looking for me?” He grinned.

Rachel flew into his arms with a sob.

“I though you were hurt.” She cried.

“Darn griz spooked my horse and I had to walk.” He said ruffling her hair. “I met the others around lunchtime, they told me you were a one woman rescue party.”

“Were they mad?” She grinned up at him.

“A mite I would say.” He grinned back. “I calmed them down and said I’d fetch you back,”

“How comes I missed you?”

“You left before daylight?”

She nodded.

He shrugged.

“I took the wrong trail didn’t I?”

“That’s about the size of it.”

“I won’t live this down will I?”

“I would be more worried about the spanking you gonna get if I were you.” He chuckled.

“Oh no.” She made a face like a lemon. “Ginny will won’t she?”

“I expect she will.” He said enigmatically.

Rachel spent the night snuggled up to Tom under his blanket for warmth. Then at dawn they set out to go back down.

There were two horses waiting for them at the snow line. Judging from the fire, the last of the search but had been gone less than an hour.

“Must have seen us coming.” Tom nodded. “Good I am glad they’re gone.”

“So am I.” Rachel smiled.

“Oh. Is that a fact?” Tom said sourly.

“What’s wrong?” Rachel asked picking up on his tone.

“Just what did you think you were doing coming on alone like that?” Tom scolded. “In fact what were you doing on the search party at all?”

“Well I like that. I come all this way to save your hide and you have the nerve to.”

“Silence woman.” Tom barked.

Rachel started.

“Woman if you are going to be my wife then you are going to have to learn to mind me and those that care about you.”

Rachel swallowed.

“I heard about that stunt you pulled with the bay. What were you about? What was going on in your head? You made the same mistake in what days? A mistake that nearly got you and Lance killed.” Tom jabbed his finger at her and took her by the arm. “I am about to give you the spanking of your life.”

Rachel’s eyes went wide and she remembered Lance whaling Ginny’s bottom that time.

“Please Tom I love you.” She wailed.

“And I love you.” He said as he upended her and dragged up her riding skirt. Her bloomers were easy to shuck down and then he shifted her position so that he could get at her bare bottom as he sat on a fallen log.

Rachel felt the biting cold on her bottom. I guess that won’t last she thought. It didn’t.

Tom was an expert spanker. He didn’t even remove his thin leather gloves. His tireless hands and fingers stung every part of her bottom and thigh tops. In just two minutes, she looked fondly on Ginny’s hairbrush. She was only glad that this time there was no one to see.

“Ow.” Rachel exclaimed. “I get it, you’re mad.”

“Mad don’t even begin to cover it. You selfish, arrogant, spoilt Boston brat.” With that, the spanking picked up a pace and for Rachel all normal conversation was over.

Amid the spanking and the blazing bottom, Rachel kicked her draws clean away. She didn’t take it in at the time but she later had a dim memory of the white linen drifting away on the breeze and making its own way home.

Before Tom was done Rachel was well and truly sorry and completely lost in her tears. Then he pulled her sobbing into his arms and cradled her hard.

“When I saw that cat.” He gasped at last. “If you ever fail to mind me out here on the trail I’ll skin you tail raw and I don’t care who is there to watch.”

“I trust if I don’t mind you at home I’ll get my spankings in private.” She laughed through the tears.

He set her on her feet and set about breaking camp.

“I feel a bit of a trollop standing here with no draws on.” She blushed.

“I don’t mind one bit.” He grinned.

Then as they were set to go she found that sitting on a horse was going to be a real problem.

“Tom.” She gasped clutching at her bottom. “I can’t.”

He shrugged and then offered her an evil grin. He upended her again so that she feared another spanking, but instead he put her belly down over the horse.

“Tom get me down.” She screeched. “You can’t do this to me.”

Tom ignored her and there she stayed as he led her horse down the mountain.

After an hour, she admitted that she might manage to sit and was set tearfully on her saddle.

“Oh you beast.” She grimaced trying to find a position that was bearable. “This is purgatory.”

The rest of the day went hard with her and she dismounted to walk as often as Tom would let her.

Rachel thought that she would never be so glad to make camp, as she was that night.

“Tomorrow we’ll make town.” Tom said as he collected firewood.

“Town?” Rachel asked. “Shouldn’t we get back to the ranch?”

“We have business in town first.” Tom said scratching his head absently at the paucity of firewood. “You stay here and gather up any kindling you can I am going to scout for some more.”

“I’ll go.” Rachel said brightly.

“You will stay here. You will not go 10 feet from this fire until we are safely on the trail tomorrow.” Tom said with real menace.

“But what if I.” But Tom was gone.

He returned with an armful of firewood 15 minutes later and Rachel knew that he had never been out earshot.

After eating, she spent another happy night snuggled up to her man.

Rachel woke around dawn and smiled in satisfaction at Tom who had sat dozing by the fire all night with his Winchester cradled in his arms. Then she felt her bladder move.

“Darn.” She grimaced uncomfortably.

She was horrified at the idea of squatting in sight of the camp. She looked around at the bushes some 30 feet way and then back at Tom. Her bowel decided.

She crept over to the bushes to relieve herself.

Then as she was wiping up, she turned and saw it. Its great nose and half a paw were poking out of the bush next to her. In her panic, she stepped back into the bush and became caught up. She yelped in fright and ran back to the fire tearing half her skirt as she went. Tom was on his feet and making a sweep with his gun before she reached him.

“A bear.” She started in terror pointing at the bushes.

He nodded and indicated that she should take cover. Then he crept forward.

“A bear?” He relaxed. “Try stick.”

“But I.” Rachel blushed. “Oh.”

Then she looked down at her half-naked state and pulled an exasperated face and her shoulders sank.

“Oh look at me and I don’t even have draws on.” She tugged at the shreds blushing lest Tom see any more of her than he already had.

“Rachel you are going to mind me if I have to stripe you daily.” Tom growled.

Rachel gulped as Tom put down the gun and went to a tree and stripped a thin branch.

“Now Tom I’m sorry I wasn’t trying to gainsay you, I just had to.” Rachel started to babble. “Tom what are you doing? Tom now please.”

Tom upended her and carried bent over under his arm to his saddle. There he deposited her on it so that she was folded over it bottom up. This time she didn’t need baring despite her best efforts to cover herself.

Then she got her very first switching.

It was quite an insight into Hannah and Becky’s antics under correction, but one she could well do without.

This time Tom laid on with a will until his future wife was howling out her regrets. Not that he stopped there. He continued the switching until every lovely inch of her bare bottom and upper thighs were welted and raw and she was a promise itself never ever to disobey him again.

Then he left her to cry herself out while he broke camp.

A short while later as he helped her up to saddled his horse, she stood sobbing and repeating that she was sorry.

“I should have paid you out like that yesterday.” He growled. “We ain’t even talked about the horse you lost yet. How am I supposed to pay for that?”

“I’ll pay for it.” Rachel sobbed hating that he hadn’t hugged her.

Tom turned to glare at her.

“You saying I can’t pay my own wife’s way?”

“No but I am not your wife yet and it was.”

He silenced her and finished with is horse.

This time he didn’t wait to see if she could sit. It was plain that she couldn’t. Instead, he up ended her over the saddle and started into town.

They were halfway there before she clamed down and realised her predicament.

“Tom I’m naked can you get me a blanket.” She groaned as she tried to ease her weight on her belly.

“Ain’t got no blanket.” He growled patently still mad at her. “Bit late to think on that now, I gave you my word on it.”

Rachel remembered that he had said if she ever disobeyed him on the trail again, she would be punished and he didn’t care who would see. She remembered Hannah’s punishment and the phantom bear that could have easily have been real after the cat. She swallowed.

“Please Tom I know I deserve this for all the trouble I caused but I love you. Please don’t punish me like this.”

He didn’t reply. But after a while he threw his jacket over her, It only half covered her and there was no way half the town weren’t going to get and eyeful but at least it was something.

“I don’t have a spare blanket.” He snapped. “I didn’t tear your dress.”

She could tell he was regretting his harshness but was proud. She suddenly loved him more than ever and thought ah well Hannah survived it.

Their entrance into town caused quite a commotion as women ushered their kids indoors and the men, especially those who had been on the search, began good-natured jeering.

Tom led her right to the church door before he helped her down. She wanted the ground to open as the preacher came out to berate Tom. The preacher’s wife draped her in a blanket and fussed over her, which only made her feel more embarrassed.

“We been out two nights in those hills. Soonest we’re married the better.” Tom said removing his hat.

“Tom.” Rachel exclaimed smiling broadly despite her half-naked state.

“Well I admire your intentions if not your actions.” The preacher sighed. “What do her folks say?”

“We already have an understanding, besides she’s 21.”

On account of Rachel’s attire, the preacher didn’t let them into the church but married them on the chapel steps. But not before the preacher’s wife berated Tom again and demanded that they come back in the spring to do it right.

Tom wanted to stay in town but Rachel said she had to get home to explain.

“Even if you put me bottom up over the saddle.” She winced.

In the event, the store-keep lent them his buckboard and a poncho and Rachel was able to ride home kneeling backwards on the front seat.

Everyone was glad to see them and even more so when they heard the news. The party went on until late and Tom and Rachel spent there first true night together in the barn.

In the morning, Tom broke it to her that he still had winter business and would be back to claim her in the spring as planned and they would be married right.

Rachel risked another spanking to argue but in the end saw the sense in it. He stayed another three days and then packed up his gear without a word.

“While I am gone you mind Ginny and Lance.” He kissed her.

“Yes Tom.”

“No more long lonely horse rides.”

“No sir.” She giggled.

After he cleared the last ridge Rachel turned back to the house to be confronted by Ginny. She was holding her hairbrush and a switch. Rachel gulped and felt her recently punished bottom throb a little.

“Mrs Bannerman you and me need to have some words.” Ginny said sternly.

Despite everything Rachel liked the sound of Mrs Bannerman and realised that what happened next would be part of Rachel Bannerman’s life and times. And that is another story.

Continues in the Life and Times of Rachel Bannerman



7 Responses to “The life and times of Rachel Kent”

  1. 1 Elly

    Wow a sore-bottomed epic – I loved it.

    Mills and Boon was never like this.

    I love the delayed gratification of R’s spankings – she could so easily have gotten it from the first part of the story.

    I love the slow emersion into the routine of ranch spankings.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Another DJ Black classic

    E x

  2. 2 Bratqueen

    Hi

    what bottom sizzling fun.

    Reminds me of Lizzie Baines – speaking of which where is the rest of that story.

    Bratqueen

  3. 3 ttleKarl Friedrich Gauss

    Great story. Could be the start of a series. I’m guessing you didn’t find this on some BBS out there on the web.

  4. 4 Kate

    This was terrific. I would be very interested in the life and times of Rachel Bannerman.

  5. 5 DJ

    No all original Karl

    LB soon promise

    RB maybe Kate thanks

    DJ

  6. 6 paul1510

    DJ, what a great story, I really enjoyed it, a great way to start the week-end, thanks.
    Paul.

  7. 7 DJ

    Hi all

    thanks sorry my last reply was really rushed.

    allow me to translate Lol.

    Thanks Karl this was an original DJ Black story.

    Lizzie baines will appear here eventually – sorry for th edelay and may thanks for the continued interest.

    Kate as for a sequel to RK – who knows maybe – it is gratifying that these efforst are well received. I have several such suggestions under consideration. Including one that I post too much too often.

    Thanks alos Elly (I think) Lol.

    DJ


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