Note: All the girls in Hazely Reform School are aged between eighteen and twenty-one. The Wardens, of course, are considerably older.
It’s 8.55 p.m. In the Dormitory of Hazely Reform School, thirty girls stand beside thirty beds. The beds are in two rows of fifteen, facing each other. The girls are all naked.
Miss McCloud, who is on duty tonight, walks between the two rows of beds scrutinising the girls. Miss McCloud is not like Miss Bulstrode. She does not bawl and intimidate: rather her manner is gentle and persuasive, on the surface even friendly. Unlike Miss Bulstrode she does not carry a riding crop, preferring instead a thin whippy cane. The cane doesn’t look up to much. But ask any girl who has felt it on the backs of her legs whether or not she prefers it to the riding crop and she will be hard put to decide.
The girls are all standing to attention, their eyes forward and their shoulders back. Nothing seems to be amiss: except that one of the girls, Clare Davenport, looks unusually downcast. This strikes Miss McCloud as odd: usually Clare is one of the least surly or miserable-looking girls in the reformatory. She wonders whether or not to say anything: then remembers the ordeal Clare went through that afternoon, which Miss Bulstrode has recounted in the Wardens’ Canteen.
“Very well girls,” Miss McCloud says: “Put on your chastity belts.”
The girls turn round in unison, and each takes from the metal locker beside her bed a hinged, stainless steel contraption, shaped like a letter U attached to a band which fits round the waist. They place the U-shaped steel between their legs, pull it up tight, then close the waist band and snap it shut. Miss McCloud now approaches each girl in turn and pulls at the band to confirm that it is locked in place. Satisfied, she returns to the aisle.
“Now put on your night-dresses.”
The night-dresses are already laid out on the beds. Miss McCloud watches as thirty female bodies, short and tall, fat and thin, full-breasted and flat-chested, broad-hipped and narrow-hipped, dark-toned and light-toned, all of them shaved around their pubic area, extend their arms and wriggle their way inside thirty regulation grey- and white-striped cotton Reformatory night-dresses.
“Now get into your beds.”
The hands of the clock show 9 p.m. as Miss McCloud switches off the lights and locks the Dormitory door behind her.
Outside she pauses for a few minutes to listen: but all is quiet, as it should be.
Inside the Dormitory it is now pitch dark. The girls shift about under their grey blankets, trying to get comfortable, silently cursing, for the hundredth time, the stainless steel contraptions between their legs. All masturbation, all forms of self-pleasuring, are strictly forbidden at Hazely Reform School. During the day chastity devices are not required, for the girls are monitored from the moment they rise to the moment they go to bed, even whilst using the lavatories, for the cubicles have no doors and two Wardens are always on duty whenever the lavatories are open. The girls are not even allowed to wipe themselves when they please, but must wait until their allotted time is up: two minutes during Break, five minutes morning, lunchtime and evening. Then, closely supervised by a Warden, they must wipe themselves in unison.
But at night it is different. No Warden, however vigilant, can track the movements of thirty girls under their bedclothes in a darkened room. And so the devices are employed.
And they are one hundred per cent successful. There is not, and probably never will be, an inmate who has not tried to find a way through or round or under the devices, using fingers, drinking straws, hair-grips or whatever ingenious material she can think of: always without success. Nor is there an inmate who has not tried, with the same hair-grip, or pen-nib, or dental-brace wire, to pick the lock. But no lock yet has yielded to such manipulations.
And whoever designed these devices was not only a clever engineer, but he or she also knew a thing or two about the resourcefulness of frustrated girls. For not only do the devices fit so tightly around the groin, tummy and waist that not even the slenderest finger can slide underneath, but also the critical area, which covers the clitoris and labia, is shaped such that a small space is created, a centimetre gap between steel and skin, such that the girls cannot even press the device against themselves where it matters, and are thus denied any genital contact.
Locked away in their devices the girls can no more get at their own vaginas than they can break into Fort Knox.
Not that this stops them from trying. Following the reflexes of a lifetime their hands, once under the bedcovers, will stray down towards their legs: their clitorises, so long neglected, will call out to them like lambs strayed from their mothers. Their hands will glide between their legs, longing to be reunited again: only to come up against harsh unyielding steel.
The needs of Clare Davenport are no different from those of other girls. Initially, when she had first been admitted to Hazely Reform School, she had not understood. The loss of her liberty had so overwhelmed her that the chastity device had seemed trivial, just one minor restriction in a world where restriction, discipline and punishment ruled.
“You won’t think like that when you’ve been here a month,” another girl, Eve Thomas, had told her.
And Clare had not believed her. Now, two months on, she knew what the girls said was true. Ask an inmate of a few weeks how many years of her life she’ll give for a rub and she’ll answer: one or two. Ask her after six months and the answer will be in double figures.
But tonight Clare is not thinking about masturbation. For once, the restraint between her legs is not uppermost in her mind. Instead she is anxious, wondering what is going to happen to her, what punishment the other girls will inflict. Unable and unwilling to sleep, for she does not want to be taken unawares, she runs through the various possibilities.
There are several standard punishments dished-out to girls who, for whatever reason, have fallen foul of other inmates.
One is a spanking – administered by hand on the bare bottom. That may not seem much, when compared with the punishment that can be inflicted by the riding crop or the cane. But these girls pack a mean slap: repeated over and again, in the same spot, by numerous hands, such punishment can leave you with a bottom that is raw and painful.
Then there is bedwetting. Not self-inflicted, but the practise of one girl wetting another girl’s bed.
For there are strict protocols around bedwetting. For a first offence, the culprit is obliged to wear a placard round her neck, like a cardboard tabard, with the word “BEDWETTER” written large front and back. The humiliation this entails can all but crush a sensitive girl. For a second offence far worse ensues. In addition to the placard the girl is compelled to wear, in place of skirt and knickers, a Terry nappy and plastic pants. For the whole of the next day she is denied access to the toilets: instead she is changed at regular intervals, by Miss Bulstrode or whoever is in charge at the time: changed on top of the desk at the front of the class; changed like a baby or toddler, with the whole class looking on.
Clare trembles as she thinks of this. It is true that she would be a first offender: but supposing the girls were so mad at losing their Break that they decided to wet her bed twice in a row?
Of the two punishments she would much prefer to have her bottom smacked. It will be painful, in the way placard- and nappy-wearing are not. But it will be over when it is over; no Wardens will be involved; and she has had all the humiliation she can bear already today.
There are other punishments, some she has only heard about, some that may only be rumours and myths.
Then there is a third punishment, one she has witnessed only once, the memory of which makes her clench her jaw.
Pissing in a girl’s mouth.
It isn’t easy, pissing in a chastity belt, but it can be done. For at the bottom of the device is a narrow chute, about an inch long. Typically it is ‘s’ shaped, such that nothing, not even, say, a pipe-cleaner or a piece of wire, can be inserted without difficulty. But piss, though it drains slowly, will drain through. And with one girl holding your mouth open and a second pinching your nostrils closed… you have no option but to swallow.
She pulls a face. And yet, whilst she’s not been in Hazely long enough to know all the ins and outs, she has the impression that this is a punishment largely used to settle an individual score, a reparation one girl must make for committing some trespass against another. Whereas she – she has upset the whole of the class. And surely, surely, they could not force her to drink the piss of a dozen, a score, maybe even twenty-nine other girls?
She is jolted out of her introspection by the sound of a whimper. It reaches her from somewhere across the aisle. She does not know which bed, or which girl, it comes from.
Across the aisle from Clare Davenport, Abigail Morgan is feeling low. It is now seven months and fifteen days since Abi last masturbated; and unless a miracle is to happen it will be ten months and fifteen days until her sentence is over and she will be allowed to masturbate again. Not that she usually thinks in this way. For there are three unwritten but cardinal rules the girls in Hazely Reform School follow. The first: you never sneak. No matter what anyone does to you, you never, ever, go to a Warden. If you do, the nigh-time Dormitory punishments will seem like children’s games compared to what will happen to you.
Rule number two: you never cheek, argue with or disobey a Warden. This is not always easy to keep.
And rule number three: you never think about the long stretch of time that lies ahead. Rather, you take each day as it comes. And at the end of each day you tell yourself that is one more day you have got through.
Normally Abi follows rule number three. But today is her nineteenth birthday, and she is feeling sentimental and sorry for herself. Not than many people know it’s her birthday, for birthdays are not celebrated or even acknowledged in Hazely Reform School. But Abi knows: and she cannot help thinking back a year, and remembering how different her eighteenth birthday had been.
She had spent much of it in bed with her boyfriend Tom, fucking and drinking champagne and fucking again. And again. And later, when she was so fucked she would have agreed to anything, allowing herself to be persuaded that robbing a Post Office was a good way of getting money for a deposit on their own flat.
Tom is no longer her boyfriend. Currently he is serving five years in an adult prison, and when she thinks of him at all she does so with hate. He has got her into this mess. And, whilst she doesn’t know much about conditions in a men’s prison, she doesn’t suppose his genitals are kept under lock and key as are hers. She hates him and resents him.
But she misses his cock inside her, filling her up, making her body ripple with pleasure. And the only thing she had had inside her during the last seven months and fifteen days (apart from Matron’s fingers during her medical) is a tampon.
So she feels sorry for herself; and inadvertently emits a small whimper into her pillow.
This is the whimper that Clare has heard. She stiffens for a moment and holds her breath: is this the signal that they are coming for her? But the sound dies away and is not repeated, and she breaths again. The night is like that: a medley of faint sounds, sounds of girls stirring and turning over, of coughs and sighs, the occasional snore, the cry of somebody having a nightmare.
Then she hears another sound, a whisper only but quite distinctive, the sound of her name being called.
“Clare,” she hears a second time: “Are you awake?”
It is Tina Dukes, the girl in the next bed, whispering to her. Tina is Clare’s most devoted friend: if one girl can be guaranteed to support her tonight it is Tina.
“Yes,” Clare whispers back.
“I thought you would be,” Tina whispers. “Oh Clare – it was awful what happened to you today.”
“Yes,” whispers Clare distractedly: the last thing she wants is to relive that again. “Tina – do you know what they’re going to do to me?”
“No,” whispers Tina. Then, her voice rising almost out of a whisper, she says fiercely:
“But I’ll stop them – really I will.”
At this Clare smiles indulgently: the idea of the diminutive Tina being able to overpower or even influence girls like Donna May and Ruth Bowers is preposterous – though that would not have stopped Tina from trying.
“Thanks,” whispers Clare. “But I don’t want a rumpus. Best to just get it over with.”
“But it’s so unfair,” hissed Tina. “It wasn’t your fault we were all kept in.”
“That’s not how the others see it,” says Clare.
“Would you like a cuddle?” asks Tina.
Clare hesitates: she would have loved a cuddle just then. But the others will be coming for her any time now: and if they find Tina in her bed it will only complicate things.
“Best not,” she whispers back.
“Hold my hand then,” whispers Tina. So Clare stretches out her hand between the two beds, gropes in the dark for a moment, then finds the other girl’s hand and takes it in her own, drawing comfort from the contact and the warmth.
“Thank you,” she says.
Clare had first become friends with Tina some three weeks before, just after Tina had arrived. She was a small, undernourished-looking girl, with wispy, ash-blond hair, quite pretty in a smudged sort of way. The oldest of four children, she’d led a difficult life, with a lot of family and financial problems: and when one day, on the bus into town, she had spotted a purse lying exposed on the top of a shopping bag she had taken it impulsively. Believing herself unobserved she had gone down the stairs intending to get off at the next stop. But though the bus stopped the doors did not open: not until several minutes had passed and two police officers were waiting to greet her.
For whilst the owner of the bag had not spotted the theft, the bus driver, through his periscope mirror, had.
So Tina was now spending four months of her life in Hazely Reform School.
And though she was an inoffensive girl with a heart of gold, these qualities had not stopped her from incurring the wrath of Miss Bulstrode, on only her third day inside. Her crime: asking another girl for help when she lost her page. Her punishment: two strokes of the riding crop on her bare bottom in front of the class.
“And consider yourself getting off lightly,” Miss Bulstrode had said. “Next time it will be three.”
That night Clare had heard her sobbing in the next bed. The pain from the riding crop was still biting into her buttocks, and she could not sleep. She felt miserable, lonely and humiliated. She was crying as much for her siblings, left behind, as for herself.
It was not uncommon for girls to sob themselves to sleep on the first few days after their arrival. But this sobbing seemed to go on and on. Clare’s heart went out to the new girl. She was gathering herself to say something, some words of comfort, when she heard a voice from the far side of Tina’s bed.
“Shut that bloody racket or I’ll give you something to cry for!”
That decided Clare: she slid out of her own bed, and onto the edge of the bed next to her.
In doing so she was taking an enormous risk. Occasionally there were spot checks on the Dormitory, when a Warden would materialise out of nowhere, waving a torch, scanning the beds, checking to make sure everybody and everything was in place. To be caught out of bed, or in the bed of another girl, was to be in serious trouble. Not the sort of trouble that was dealt with by a few strokes of the crop or the cane, but the sort which got you a public flogging in the gymnasium. The sort which, when Clare thought about it, made her white with fear.
But she could not harden her heart against such distress. Breaking Reformatory rules for the first time, she placed her hand on the back of the sobbing girl’s head.
“It’s all right,” she said, comfortingly. The girl turned her head at this – even in the dark Clare could see her hair plastered across her face by her tears – took Clare’s hand in her own and lay her wet head against Clare’s forearm. Clare put her other arm around the girl’s shoulders. Then she shivered, for it was cold in the Dormitory.
“Would you like a cuddle?” she whispered in the girl’s ear.
The girl seemed too distressed to speak; but she slid back in the bed, all the time keeping hold of Clare’s hand. And so Clare slipped in beside her and the two of them huddled up together. Then, with her head on Clare’s chest and Clare’s arms around her, the new girl sobbed herself to sleep.
For some time Clare lay with her, holding her, feeling the warmth of her body, feeling her body gradually relax. The girl, though she was small and thin, had large breasts, which pressed through the flimsy night-dresses, against Clare’s own, slightly smaller ones. And as she spread comfort to the girl, Clare found herself comforted, her own concerns and worries also ebbing away. It felt so good, so nurturing, to be able to comfort another girl. Unconsciously she stroked the other girl’s back, and the other girl shifted in her sleep and nuzzled into Clare. For an hour, maybe two, Clare lay there, her breathing synchronising with that of the sleeping girl. And when the girl turned over, and curled into Clare like a spoon – flinching as her smarting bottom grazed Clare’s thighs – she took Clare’s hand and held it over one of her breasts.
And in the morning, long after Clare had safely returned to her own bed, the new girl – Tina – looked into Clare’s eyes with such gratitude that Clare knew she had been right to risk the worst punishment Hazely had to offer.
“Thank you,” Tina mouthed, as the girls took off their night-dresses and Miss McCloud walked up the aisle unlocking chastity belts. “You saved my life.”
All that some five weeks back. Since when, though they had not dared to share a bed again, a bond had grown between the two girls that on Tina’s part could only be described as love. She thought Clare was wonderful: the kindest, most beautiful and intelligent person she had ever met. She would do anything for Clare, seize any opportunity to repay her.
But even Tina knows that, despite her protestations to the contrary, there is nothing she can do against Donna May, Ruth Bowers, and who knew how many more angry girls hell-bent on revenge.
For the time being the two girls hold hands. Time passes, but the girls are not allowed watches and in the darkness it is impossible to keep track of time.
Across the aisle, at some distance from the beds of Clare Davenport and Tina Dukes, a girl is stirring. Her name is Donna May. She is a tall, strong girl with black hair and a chipped front tooth. She has a reputation for hardness because she glassed a girl in a pub – a scheming bitch who had stolen Donna’s boyfriend. She is not really that hard: the glassing was an impulsive, drunken act. But she knows her way around a fight, and she likes to cultivate the image of hardness for the power it gives her over the other girls. Her face is set, now, intent on what she is about to do.
She slides out of bed and kneels down on the cold floor as though she is about to pray. But she is not about to pray. Rather, she reaches between the mattress and bed-springs, and removes something she has kept hidden there.
Then she rises and, feeling her way carefully in the dark, arrives at a bed just two beds down the aisle from her own, where she lays a hand on the shoulder of a recumbent girl.