The Freshman Ch. 35bycaligula97236©
Chapter 35 - Tiffany's third punishment
As the summer progressed, Cecilia realized that she was destined to become much closer to Tiffany Walker and Cynthia Lee than to Kimberly. The reason was the lives of Tiffany and Cynthia were similar to Cecilia’s life, while Kim’s life was very different. Tiffany and Cynthia were single and continued to be very American in their outlooks, while Kim was much more Danubian in her thinking, only a year away from becoming sworn in as a public official, and nearly two years into her marriage with Sergekt Dolkiv. When Cecilia got together with other women, she was with Tiffany and Cynthia much more than she was with Kim.
During July Cecilia witnessed an event in Tiffany’s life that made her understand her fellow American much better. In the end, the incident also would help her to understand some details about Danubian culture and thinking. On July 12, Tiffany was scheduled to receive her annual switching. The punishment was to be a full 50 strokes, delivered with severity.
What astonished Cecilia was Tiffany’s resignation to her punishment and the way she casually discussed it. It turned out that Tiffany had absolutely no resentment about enduring such a cruel ordeal, nor any indication she was really afraid. Instead she was quite stoic. Her attitude was that the annual punishment was a necessary part of her life, something that she deserved and had to deal with. The switchings were an important part of the sentence Apprentice Lee-Dolkivna had negotiated with the Prosecutor during her trial, something she fully accepted.
Tiffany explained that July 12 was the date that, four years before, she had been indirectly responsible for the death of a high school friend while using heroin in Prague. The other girl died of hepatitis resulting from sharing a dirty needle at a nightclub. Her friend’s death, coming only ten days after the two girls had abandoned Kim to her fate in Danube City, was the final unhappy event that sent Tiffany into a downward spiral of depression and drug use.
Tiffany Walker felt very guilty over her actions, which was why the annual whippings were such an important part of her life. She needed to suffer for what she did, to be forced to remember and atone for behavior that ruined the life of one friend and ended the life of another. She felt that the intense pain she had to experience every July 12 helped keep her soul clean. It was an annual ritual she endured, and endured quite willingly.
There was a detail about the punishments that struck Cecilia as very odd. Tiffany’s fiancé, Vladik Dukov, was the cop responsible for punishing her. It was Tiffany herself who insisted that only Vladik should be the officer administering her switching. At first Cecilia assumed that Vladik was assigned to punish her to administer less severe strokes, because he was always very courteous and respectful every time Cecilia ever saw them together. It was obvious that Vladik and Tiffany loved each other and were very committed to their relationship.
However, during the hour that Criminal # 98946 was strapped to the switching table, Vladik Dukov was a police officer, not her fiancé. During a punishment he showed her no mercy whatsoever. He struck very hard, in a slow methodical manner that left a full minute between each stroke, the legal maximum. To experience intense pain was what Tiffany expected, and what she wanted. Every July she expected Vladik to punish her severely.
“July 12 means a lot to both of us. That’s the one day I have a chance to face what I’ve done, and really suffer for it. I have a lot of bad memories, stuff that sometimes keeps me up at night…and when he’s finished whipping me, I don’t think about all that shit. All I’m thinking about is how much it hurts. I’m just thinking about the moment, and nothing else. Anyhow, when I’m on the table I’m only getting what I deserve. I don’t know if you’re going to be able to understand this, but the day Vladik is switching me is the one day I don’t feel guilty about what I did to other people. I’m suffering, and especially on that day, on July 12, I want to suffer.”
Knowing Tiffany’s past, Cecilia understood that part of her thinking, but she couldn’t understand why Vladik was the one punishing her. Tiffany continued with her explanation.
“Vladik’s the one whipping me, because he’s the one who loves me. He understands me. He knows my story, and he knows about all the crap that I did before I got sentenced. He sympathizes, but he doesn’t let me make any excuses. He loves me enough to punish me the way I need to be punished. It’s a special understanding that we have with each other. He’s the one who loves me, so he’s the one who’s making me atone for what I’ve done. And when he’s finished and I’m lying on the recovery table, he holds my hand and comforts me, and stays with me until I can get up. He understands. I need him to hurt me, but then I need him to comfort me and tell me that everything’s gonna be fine. I need those moments with him, because it’s the only way I’m able to face what I did with my life before I came back to Danube City.”
“What you did was really that bad?”
“Yes. It wasn’t just Kim and Susan. It wasn’t just the drugs. There was more…a lot more. If you’d seen some of my clients, and some of the shit they wanted me to do…and I did it ‘cause I wanted their money…I mean…I still have flashbacks. Vladik’s the only person who understands that part of me…he knows how he needs to treat me. He’s always very worried about my honor. He’s the kindest boyfriend I’ve ever had. But he also understands one day out of the year; things between us gotta be very different. His kindness wouldn’t mean anything to me if he didn’t make me suffer when I’m on the switching table. That’s just the way I am. I can’t appreciate pleasure unless every so often I feel real fear and real pain.”
As strange as Tiffany’s logic might have sounded to someone who didn’t know her, Cecilia realized that what she was saying did make sense, given her past and her circumstances. The criminal’s needs simply were a more extreme version of what Jason needed during the first couple of months she was disciplining him in her dorm room. Tiffany’s punishments were much more ritualized and much more painful than anything she ever did to Jason, but the basic need was almost the same.
July 12 came and Tiffany was up early. The young criminal was scheduled to present herself to the Central Police Station and be strapped to switching table at 9:00 a.m. If everything went according to plan, she would be finished by 9:50. Kim would then escort her to her office to recover. Vladik would stay with her until she was well enough to leave the building.
Cecilia also woke up early, because she had volunteered to be go with Criminal # 98946 to the Central Police Station as a witness for the Court. The previous evening Tiffany had surprised her by asking if she wanted to watch her punishment. She explained that a punishment had to be officially witnessed, and that if the witness was someone related to the criminal, so much the better. Cecilia also realized that her housemate wanted her to see the punishment so she could better understand her situation. It was as though Tiffany wanted to entrust her with a very intimate secret. Cecilia agreed, partially because she was genuinely curious to see a Danubian switching first-hand.
Cecilia accompanied Tiffany as she ate a very light breakfast and drank some water to calm her nerves. She called Jason to tell him to pick up her assignment from their language instructor, since she would not be going to the university that day and would have to miss classes. She told Jason to tell the professor the truth about why she would be gone, that her housemate was being switched at the Central Police Station and she had agreed to serve as a witness.
Both young women stepped outside at about 7:30, along with Victor Dukov and his wife. Vladik Dukov and Kimberly Lee showed up a moment later. Tiffany and Cecilia dropped to their knees, as customary for two collared women greeting public officials.
Kim ordered Cecilia to get on her feet and stand at attention.
“Cecilia Sanchez, I understand that you have agreed to witness the punishment of Criminal # 98946 for the Court?”
“Yes, Apprentice Lee. Tiff…I mean…Criminal # 98946 requested that I serve as a witness and I told her I’d do it.”
“Very well, Cecilia Sanchez. You will present this certificate to the presiding judge before the punishment begins. I will translate and relay any directions from the judge to you. Please remember your obligation to exercise correct protocol as required for a person performing public penance.”
With that Cecilia went back on her knees to take the certificate from Apprentice Lee-Dolkivna.
Kim then addressed Vladik in Danubian. She saluted Vladik and he saluted back, signaling the transfer of custody. For the next couple of hours, Tiffany’s fiancé also would be her legal custodian. He sharply spoke to her in Danubian. Immediately she knelt upright and put her hands behind her back. He quickly put on a pair of handcuffs and helped her stand up.
Because Vladik and Kim had shown up at her residence, the beginning of Tiffany’s annual atonement ritual was not typical. Ordinarily a criminal took a trolley to the Central Police Station on the day of a scheduled switching. He went directly to his Spokesperson’s office and waited for the police escort to show up, handcuff him, and deliver him to the punishment room.
Tiffany did not like to do it that way. Instead, about 90 minutes before her scheduled appearance in court, Officer Vladik Dukov and Apprentice Kimberly Lee-Dolkivna showed up at Victor’s house and formally transferred custody. Vladik then handcuffed Tiffany and made her walk with her hands behind her back from her home all the way to the Central Police Station, which was nearly two kilometers away. When he walked with her he carried his switch, so there was no doubt to any bystanders what was about to happen to Criminal # 98946. To Tiffany it was very important that she be marched in such a manner through the busy streets of the capitol. On her annual day of suffering and personal atonement, she wanted the entire city could see her for what she was, a criminal facing a severe punishment. Most other criminals would have found what she was doing horribly humiliating, but Tiffany took a strange pride in announcing her situation in such a public manner.
Although it was by Tiffany’s own request that she be officially escorted to the Police Station, Vladik treated her as though she were an ordinary and slightly uncooperative criminal. He grabbed her hard by the arm and brandished the switch in front of her face to let her know that he was in charge. Then, with her arm still very firmly in his grip, he marched her onto the sidewalk and in the direction of the Central Police Station. Kim and Cecilia trailed behind, while Victor Dukov and his wife went back inside their house to get ready to go to work.
For the next forty minutes the police officer, the Apprentice, the criminal, and the penitent made their way downtown. They were a strange sight and caught plenty of curious looks as they approached the Central Plaza. They walked around the Parliament Building and continued across the open square to the main entrance of the police building. From there they went down one flight of stairs and entered a large room that had a judge’s desk at one end and a switching table at the other. The table was turned so that the bottom of the criminal being punished was facing towards the judge. There also was a video camera set up to record the punishment, which was a standard part of a routine switching. The videotape would be added to Tiffany’s criminal file to document that she had complied with that portion of her sentence.
Tiffany and Cecilia dropped to their knees when the judge entered the room. Cecilia heard Kim addressing the judge in Danubian and then telling her to stand up to give him her witness’s certificate. The judge then directly addressed Cecilia in Danubian. Kim translated:
“The judge is letting you know that your need to comply with the protocol expected for public penance is suspended during your time in this courtroom. Your primary duty as a witness is to keep your eye on Criminal 98946, and that overrides your responsibilities to comply with public penance. Also, along with me, you are responsible for counting 50 strokes and making sure Officer Dukov does not strike Criminal 98946 to the point of drawing blood. You are authorized to raise your hand if you think Criminal # 98946 risks serious injury. You will consult with me, and I will determine whether or not the punishment may continue on that part of her body. If you agree to all that, please say ‘doc-doc’ to the judge.”
Cecilia turned to the judge and very nervously got out:
“OK, keep your eye on me. When I salute the judge, you’ll salute him too.”
The judge asked Apprentice Lee-Dolkivna about Criminal # 98946’s custody in Danubian. Kim responded that she already had transferred custody at the criminal’s house, because of a prior agreement between herself and Officer Dukov. Because of that, there was no need to transfer custody in the courtroom and Tiffany was spared the indignity of having to kiss her fiancé’s shoes before the switching. However, before the punishment could begin, there was the obligatory exchange between the Police Officer and the Spokeswoman:
“Apprentice, are there any restrictions concerning the punishment of this criminal that I need to know about?”
“No, Officer, no special restrictions.”
The judge then spoke directly to Tiffany in Danubian, asking her if she understood the conditions of the sentence about to be carried out. Without raising her head she responded that she understood. The judge then ordered Tiffany to stand up and position herself over the switching table.
The punishment table was a very sturdy metal table that looked like it could have been taken out of an industrial shop or hospital and converted to its current purpose. Several sets of thick leather straps were attached to the metal surface and another pair of leather cuffs was attached to the legs on the side facing the judge.
Tiffany quietly bent over the table and extended her arms to allow her wrists to rest near the straps. Vladik buckled the straps, checking to make sure they were as tight as possible without cutting off the circulation to the criminal’s hands. He then wrapped her waist with another thick strap, buckled it firmly, and moved to immobilize her ankles. Once her ankles were secured Tiffany’s legs were widely spread and her shaved pubis on full display to the judge.
Although he loved the woman he was about to punish, Vladik did not say anything to reassure her. He would later stay with her and comfort her, but that would be in the privacy of Apprentice Lee-Dolkivna’s office after he released her back into Kim’s custody. In the punishment room he had a single purpose in life, and that was to properly administer the switching of Criminal # 98946.
In spite of her inner need to have this happen to her, Tiffany was very scared now that she was actually strapped to the table and awaiting her first stroke. Her legs were trembling slightly and her breathing came in irregular frightened gasps. Her eyes were closed and beads of sweat already were forming on her face.
Vladik did not delay administering the first stroke. He stepped back, tapped the base of Tiffany’s bottom with the switch, and glanced back at Kim and Cecilia. Then he twisted back and delivered a fearsome blow across the very base of Tiffany’s tightly stretched bottom. The criminal jerked slightly and clenched her fists. She gasped from the mounting pain of the blow, struggling to catch her breath as she involuntarily pulled against the restraints.
Vladik waited about 45 seconds to make sure Tiffany felt the first stroke in its entirety. Then he lightly tapped the unmarked skin immediately above the darkening weal, and once again twisted back to deliver a cruel stroke against his lover’s unprotected backside. Again Tiffany gasped and struggled to catch her breath as the searing pain from the second stroke mounted into an unbearable burning.
Cecilia’s duty was to keep her watch over Tiffany’s bottom to make sure that Officer Dukov did not draw blood, but she was far more interested in seeing the criminal’s expression. Even at the very beginning Tiffany’s face was beaded with sweat, and as the punishment progressed her entire body became covered in perspiration from her ordeal. It was clear from her expression that the only thing on the criminal’s mind was horrible burning on her backside, which only increased as the minutes slowly wore on. The tears were flowing from her eyes and her face grimacing from the pain, but she was determined not to cry out as long as possible. She had her honor as a criminal to maintain.
Cecilia and Kim flinched in sympathy each time Vladik’s switch made contact with Tiffany’s shapely bottom. Kim knew exactly how such a punishment felt, having endured it three times herself. Cecilia had an idea of how a blow from the switch felt, but the punishment that Ruth Burnside had given her the previous year was nothing compared to what Tiffany had to endure.
Vladik slowly worked his way up to the top of Tiffany’s backside, laying on new strokes as the older ones at the base of her buttocks began to swell and darken. He aim was excellent, because each new stroke was perfectly parallel to its predecessor, almost touching it. Vladik was able to cover Tiffany’s bottom with a solid band of welts, laid so close together that they formed a solid stripe of dark reddish color on the skin.
Vladik managed to lay 20 welts on Tiffany’s bottom during the first part of her punishment without allowing any of them to cross or touch each other. He would continue by striking the backs of her thighs, and then return to her bottom with the strokes that would overlay the welts already present. The final blows undoubtedly would break her silence. It was during the second set of welts that the Spokesperson had to be especially vigilant, because it was towards the end that there was a much greater risk of breaking the already swollen skin.
Officer Dukov touched the switch to the middle of Criminal # 98946’s thighs to let her know that the backs of her legs would receive the next part of his punishment. He struck, leaving a cruel weal across both legs. Tiffany grit her teeth and grunted from the pain. She was shaking badly but still was not openly crying. He moved up her thighs, striking with methodical strokes as he closed in on that very first line at the base of her bottom that marked where the punishment had started. As the strokes landed Tiffany groaned through her clenched teeth, her resistance finally beginning to break down.
Once he had worked his way to the very tops of Tiffany’s thighs, Vladik paused to tap the narrow strip of unmarked skin that remained at the precise spot where the fold in her skin divided her bottom cheeks from her legs. Vladik struck especially hard at that tender area with three strokes in rapid succession. The pain was so intense that Tiffany was left breathless for a couple of minutes. When she finally caught her breath her voice cracked as she started crying in earnest. Her body heaved with sobs while Vladik waited for the strokes to take their full effect.
He continued by striking hard at the main part of her bottom, crossing the first set of welts with new ones and leaving very painful-looking dark marks across the center of her buttocks.
Tiffany’s resistance finally vanished. She had done very well by not crying until the 40th stroke, but she couldn’t resist any more. Her body was shaking violently and she screamed as each stroke cut across her already very sore bottom. Between strokes she struggled to catch her breath, but then cried uncontrollably.