I hope you all enjoy it,
- Tabitha Kohls
by Tabitha Kohls
“Where the fuck is it?!”
Ashley frantically ran her hands through the desk drawer, again wishing she had thought to bring a flashlight. Just papers and random junk. She pushed the drawer shut again, trying to keep quiet. The next drawer was searched, and again shut. She gave up on the desk altogether and began to search the room's many display cases. She risked a glance out the window; her boyfriend was still there, waiting for her in his car.
“Why am I doing this?” thought Ashley, again. She looked down at herself, just barely visible in the shaft of light coming in from the street. She was dressed in a nearly perfect replica of the Knothole High School girl's uniform, complete with cheap black Mary Janes, and a blue tartan skirt just barely reaching the minimum regulation length. It was nearly perfect, but that was the problem. She didn't want nearly perfect, she needed it to be the most perfect costume ever!
She happened to look up, just as a car passed by the house, its headlights running across the walls in a slow flash. And then she saw it, momentarily illuminated in the car's high beams. As the room fell back into darkness, Ashley carefully pulled the wooden instrument down from its perch on the wall.
It was a wooden paddle, she could tell easily, as she ran her fingers over it. It was very smooth, but it was the shallow etches on one side that most interested her. She could feel the small bumps rise and fall, and tried to map them out in her mind. But she was certain, this was it! This was the Knothole High School paddle, complete with its infamous marking! Her costume was nearly complete!
She turned to the window, preparing to jump back out of the house, when she realized her boyfriend was gone! The bastard left her! She was fuming, and nearly screamed in rage. Instead, she screamed in terror, as an ancient wrinkled hand firmly grasped her shoulder!
Michael Martin, the long retired former Principal of Knothole High School, looked at the terrified young woman with disbelief.
“Are you really telling me that you broke into my home, in the dead of night, to steal my old paddle just to complete some stupid costume?” He said, though he managed to hold back his anger.
Ashley Burns sat across from the large old man, her hands placed in her lap, as if she feared a sudden gust of wind would blow her short skirt away.
“Yes, sir...er...Mr. Martin.” She gulped, and started again. “I mean, I know it sounds stupid when you say it aloud like that, but it is very serious. I have to have the best looking costume and so I need your paddle. I was just going to borrow it for a moment and then put it back, but my lousy boyfriend ran away.”
Old Man Martin cleared his throat. “Actually, I tapped on the glass of his car, then he scurried off like a bat outta Hell. So, exactly why do you need my paddle, for just a moment I mean. And what does it have to do with your costume?”
Ashley sighed, and began to explain. She had first moved to Knothole three years earlier, having accepted the position of Principal. However, Knothole was a community of barely more than two thousands, and small town politics ruled everything. Every year, the faculty and their families held a Halloween contest, largely in secret. The Knotty Girl contest, as it was called, was the most prestigious. The participants would compete to see whose schoolgirl costume was the best.
“You broke into my home to win some contest?! I hope they pay good prize money, you'll need it to post bail.”
Old Man Martin reached again for his phone, slyly taking a bit longer than he needed to. As he hoped, Ashley rushed to intervene. “Wait! Please! Let me explain. The prize is irrelevant. This isn't about money, it's about winning. Gloria Neusbaum always takes first place, and I've gotten second two years running. You know her, don't you? She's the wife of the Science teacher, Mr. Neusbaum, Jimmy?”
Martin scratched his chin. “Yeah, I know Jimmy, used to earn his fair share of swats back in the day, believe me. Never did know why the school board hired him, he's a little trouble maker.”
Ashley grinned with relief. “Yes, and his wife's worse. She's been pushing to have him made Principal for years, and never misses a chance to bad mouth me in the PTO meetings. I know it sounds strange, but winning this contest would really help me knock her down a notch, and help me save my position as Principal.”
“That sounds a little ridiculous,” said Martin, making Ashley sweat, “But then I know how small town politics works. These little details are everything. Little victories can make all the difference. So, you want to win this contest. Fine, I can understand that much. But what does my paddle have to do with your costume?”
Old Man Martin thought he knew exactly why Ashley wanted his paddle, but he was more than happy to play dumb, just to hear her explain.
Ashley Burns gulped. “Well, um...I was just wanting to borrow it...So that my boyfriend could use it...on me, you know?”
“Are you saying you wanted your boyfriend to...paddle you? Yes, I suppose a red bottom would complete your costume quite nicely. But surely you could have purchased any random paddle at the mall, or just let him use his bare hands. Why is my old paddle so important?”
Martin used every last bit of his self-control to keep from smiling. Luckily, he was old-hat at dead-pan delivery.
Ashley continued, “Well, surely you must know that there is an old legend about that paddle? About certain...Markings?”
Old Man Martin knew about the legend alright, he'd heard it for years. Supposedly, the Knothole High School paddle left a unique Mark behind on the rumps of those who felt its painful kiss.
“The Marking, you mean? Yes dear, I have heard of it. And you believed the stories?”
Ashley nodded. “I do know, I mean, I didn't really believe any of it, not until I found it tonight. I felt the Marking on the board itself, and now I'm certain that the stories are true.”
“This paddle, you mean?” He turned the wooden paddle over. Ashley gasped, as she saw the markings she had earlier only felt. The words 'Bottom Warmer' were engraved into the wood.
Martin continued, “This pine board was a retirement present from the faculty, a sort of joke. You didn't think I'd keep the real paddle up on some wall, collecting dust, did you?”
Not waiting for her answer, Martin stood up and left the room. Ashley briefly considered making a run for it; after all, if the old man really was going to have her arrested, he would have done so already. But her curiosity got the better of her. She was still sitting when he returned, a small case in his hands.
“Now this... this is the real paddle, my dear. Ol' Knotty, himself.” He opened the case, sliding a long, thin piece of wood from a velvet bag. He placed it carefully in her hands.
Ashley looked down at the ancient paddle, its ebony surface worn smooth from use. Unlike the cheap pine board paddle she had found earlier, this paddle was work of art. It was polished to a nearly mirror-like sheen, and swirls of grain lay just beneath the surface lacquer. She turned it over, and gasped. The grain rose up in seemingly random patterns, with large knots worming through the wood, yet it was all clearly purposeful.
This, she realized suddenly, was the Mark itself.
As she marveled at the paddle's surface detail, Martin began to speak, as if telling a well-worn tale that had passed down through the generations of Knothole High School Principals.
“Back when this town still had a thriving lumber mill, my great-great grandpappy would pick through the mill's pile of castoffs; mostly broken boards and rotten trunks. He collected the choicer bits of wood to give to the school, to burn for heat on the cold autumn mornings.
“But on this one particular day, my grandpappy found a small, perfect board lying in the mud. Thinking that it would make a nice piece for the fire, he picked it up, and was shocked at what he saw in the mud under it. The board had some very strange patterns in its grain, and well placed knots, as you can see now for yourself. And it was these features that had left an unique imprint in the mud beneath. A marking. The Marking, that would grace many a backside in the years to come. My grandpappy took that board home and worked it into the paddle you now hold.”
Ashley swallowed, imagining what it would be like to be paddled by such a thing. It made her eyes water.
“What is the Marking, though? The stories never say, just that the board leaves behind a Marking on anyone who gets paddled by it.”
Martin laughed, “Well that would be telling wouldn't it? No my dear, there is only one way to learn about the Marking."
He slid the paddle back into its protective bag, and returned it to the case.
"I will tell you that the Marking consists of two simple words, left behind by the paddle. Of course, they aren't like a tattoo, these words are written in red and bruises. They aren't immediately readable either but much like a face in a cloud, once you see the words you'll never be able to unsee them.” Martin continued, enjoying the look of fear growing across Ashley's face.
He sat back, and began to lightly tap his fingers over the paddle's case, waiting.
After several minutes, Ashley finally asked the question that had been hanging in the air. “Mr. Martin, would you mind...letting me use the paddle? I... I need the Marking. I'm certain that it would complete my costume, and there is no way that Gloria could beat me this year. Please, Mr. Martin.”
The old man pretended to mull things over, making Ashley squirm on his couch. Finally, he replied, “Alright, I'll let you take Ol' Knotty out of retirement, but I'm not letting that trash boyfriend of yours touch him. If you want a paddling, I'll be the one handing it out.”
Ashley had expected him to say something like that, and slowly nodded.
“I don't see why we have to do this here, wouldn't your living room have sufficed?”
Ashley looked around her office, as Old Man Martin rummaged through her desk drawer.
“I'm afraid not, my dear. The Legend of Ol'Knotty's Mark is only partially true, I'm afraid. Oh the Mark is real enough, but it isn't left on just any random student. No, the Mark is only left on those most naughty of students. Ahh, here it is.”
Martin pulled out a small set of yellow cards, the official punishment cards that teacher's handed out to students before sending them to see the Principal. Now that the school board had done away with corporal punishment, the cards were never used. Martin blew dust off of the stack and peeled the top card away. Ashley stomped her foot, impatiently, as Martin filled the card out. She noticed, with annoyance, that Martin was sitting in her chair, as if he was Principal again. She looked down at her schoolgirl uniform. Maybe he was right.
“Please hurry, Martin, the contest begins in an hour. If I'm late this will all have been for nothing.”
“It's Mister Martin, my dear.” Martin shoved the card across the desk to her. “Now, just sign there at the bottom, and we'll get started.”
Ashley held back her pen, reading the card aloud. “Knothole Student, Ashley Burns, has been sent to the Principal's Office, for punishment. Reason for Punishment: Caught Masturbating in Girl's Restroom! What!?!”
Martin smirked, “I told you, only the very naughtiest students get Marked.”
Ashley glared at him, but continued reading. “Recommended Punishment: Bare Bottom Paddling, 10 Swats. You have to be kidding me?!”
Martin sighed, “I'm losing my patience, dear. Just sign it, and bend over for your paddling. Or I can just take my paddle home, if you prefer.”
Ashley sighed, and signed the punishment slip. Martin directed her to grab her ankles, which she did. He flipped her short skirt up, and pulled her thin panties down to her knees. Ashley shivered with anticipation.
“FUCK!” Ashley screamed, as the first swat came down! She had expected Martin to wait, dragging out the whole paddling.
“I'm afraid that one won't be counted, dear. I expect you to keep count. Let's start again, shall we.” Before she could even suck air back into her lungs, the paddle came down again. This time she made sure to count.
Martin smiled to himself as he brought the paddle down, again and again. Ten times. His expertly administered swats left perfectly spaced red lines across Ashley's upper thighs, rising over her swollen buttocks. But the Mark was nowhere to be seen.
Ashley rubbed her bottom, looking very mad. “Why didn't it Mark me?!”
“I told you, the paddle doesn't leave its Mark on everyone. I hoped the punishment slip would be enough, but maybe you just aren't naughty enough.”
Ashley glared at him. “You bastard, you tricked me! You knew it wouldn't work! I bet the Mark isn't even real at all! Fuck this, I'm leaving!”
Ashley barged out the office door, still rubbing her bright red derriere. Martin followed, saying, “Well, I'll just go congratulate Gloria Neusbaum on her victory then.”
Ashley stopped cold. After a few seconds, she spun around.
“Oh you devious fucking bastard. Fine, what do I have to do to get the Marking?”
Martin smiled, and waved the punishment card. “Well, I hoped the slip would be enough, but maybe if it was true, Ol'Knotty would believe you were worthy of his Mark.”
“You want me to masturbate in the Girl's Restroom?! You're out of your mind, old man.”
Martin shrugged, sliding his paddle back into its velvet liner. “Suit yourself, dear.”
Ashley glared at him, then signed, resignedly.
“Oh God! Oh God! I'm so fucking naughty!!!” Ashley Burns cried out, her fingers a blur as she desperately jilled off in the girl's restroom.
Old Man Martin stood outside the stall, listening as the young principal's self-deprecating cries of pleasure. As Ashley's cries began to rise in pitch, clearly indicating that she was reaching a very real climax, he hammered his fist upon the stall door. "That should be plenty, girl! Come on out, now!"
The retired former principal spoke with a firm, commanding voice, and Ashley stopped instantly. Grumbling to herself, she walked unsteadily out of the restroom stall, her hand wet and her face red.
"Okay," She said, trying to keep her composure. "Are you ready to give me the Mark now?"
Old Man Martin swung Ol'Knotty through the air a few times, before bringing the heavy paddle down into his palm with a loud crack. Ashley winced, despite herself, and Martin grinned.
"I believe so. Now, bend over and hitch up that skirt." Martin commanded. Ashley's face burned, but she did as he told her. Leaning against the restroom sink, she lifted her skirt up until her pale buttocks were revealed.
"Wi-will it hurt?" She asked, wincing again as her voice broke. Martin said nothing, just rose the paddle up into the air. Ashley gulped and looked at her reflection above the sink. She was the splitting image of naughty schoolgirl, her face flushed from her excretions in the stall.
Old Man Martin held the paddle above her for several long seconds, and waited. As the seconds drew on, Ashley began to squirm impatiently. He waited a bit longer. Finally, just as she began to turn around to yell at him, he brought Ol'Knotty down, and hard.
"FFFUUUCCCKKKK!!" Ashley screamed, as the flat paddle connected squarely across her rump. The blast of wood-on-skin drove her against the sink, and for a split second, she felt no pain at all. Then pain exploded through her butt, hot as a supernova, and she shrieked. The young principal grabbed her buttocks in both hands and rubbed furiously, trying desperately to work out some of the paddle's horrible sting.
After several minutes of rubbing, the pain finally died back down to a low, but constant smoldering. She turned and stared hesitatingly at her bottom in the mirror, fully expecting a huge wound.
Instead, there was only a reddish patch of skin running across each cheek, and...
...Nothing more. No Marking, as far as she could see. Ashley turned back and glared angrily at Old Man Martin. "It didn't work! You said if I fingered myself in the restroom, that damn paddle would leave the Marking on me!"
Martin stared back at her, his expression cool. Finally, when she finished ranting at him, he began to laugh. "What's so funny?!" She demanded, still rubbing her cheeks.
He held out her punishment slip, and pointed to the last line. "I believe this says you are to be paddled TEN times, missy. That was only one."
Ashley opened her mouth to argue, but snapped it shut again. She breathed heavily through her nose, almost snorting in rage, then turned back to the sink. She hefted her skirt again, and braced herself for another paddling.
Old Man Martin grinned slightly, and raised Ol'Knotty once more. He waited again, even longer this time, his well-honed sense of timing staying his hand until the very moment when Ashley would be most off guard. He swung down, just as the young principal least expected it.
Martin paddled Ashley, again and again, each blow coming down across a fresh patch of pale buttocks. No two paddlings were exactly the same, each timed a little differently. Just when Ashley had come to expect him to pause and drag out her punishment, he would drop the paddle twice, in rapid succession.
But finally, he was ready for the tenth and final paddling. Ashley's butt had become a large mass of red lines, and he knew she'd be sore for days to come.
He lifted Ol'Knotty for one last time, reflecting that the old paddle would probably go back in retirement forever after this swat. He blinked back a tear, and resolved to ensure that this would be a swat Ashley never forgot.
Martin held the paddle over his head, and waited, waited, waited, until suddenly he swung down. Just as the paddle connected with the young principal's fanny, he twisted the handle, ensuring that the side of the paddle that held the Marking would fall upon her at long last.
Ashley's shriek was soundless, her pupils wide in the mirror, as Ol'Knotty slammed across her upper thigh. She gasped for air for several seconds, her mouth gaping over the sink like a fish's. Finally she chocked in a breath and screamed, "Oh GAWDDAMMITFUCKINGSHITMOTHERFUCKER!!"
Martin chuckled and slipped Ol'Knotty away into its bag and case, there to remain forever.
Ashley tried to rub her ass, but pulled her hands away as soon as they touched. Her bottom was one single huge painful welt, too sore to touch. She gingerly turned, wincing with each little step. She looked up at Martin. She sniffled, despite herself, and wiped away tears.
Finally, she regained her composure and asked, "D-did it work? D-do I have th-the Marking now?"
She blinked back a fresh stream of tears, and bit her lip. Martin said nothing for a moment, taking his time to lock up the case. Then he said, "Yes, you have the Marking."
Ashley sighed. She silently hoped it was all worth it, and turned back to see into the mirror. She had to climb up on the sink, a painful job but she managed it, and then lift up her skirt again to see her red bottom.
Sure enough, there along her upper thigh, just too low to be covered by her skirt, was the Marking. She squinted in the dim restroom light, and tried to make out the two words. They were reversed in the mirror, and as Old Man Martin had said, they were made up of red marks and bruises. It was difficult to see where the Marking ended and her red skin began, but finally something clicked in her mind, and she saw the Marking perfectly.
She read the words aloud: "I'm Knotty? Seriously?! I'm Knotty! That's the fucking Marking!?!"
Martin shrugged. "Grandpappy always said when he lifted the board up that day, he saw the board had left its mark in the mud beneath. 'Course, back in those days, leaving your mark meant your signature, or your name. Ol'Knotty left his name in the mud, and that's that. He never could figure out why a whole legend grew up around it."
He helped her jump down from the sink, and added, "Though I must say it does finish out your costume quite well."
Ashley Burns glared up at the older principal and rubbed her sore butt, wincing all the while. The words 'I'm Knotty' were starting to really show up now, appearing just below the hem of her skirt.
She turned toward the door, and shot him a nasty glare again, before leaving. She'd have to hurry across the High School campus to get to the Costume Party in time.
Old Man Martin watched her go, skirts waving as she walked. He grinned, and idly wondered if she knew the Marking was permanent. He considered calling after her, but decided against it.
She'd figure it out, eventually.