Lisa Griffiths was in her one hundred and twentieth week of strict solitary confinement. After so long in this position she was finding it harder to get through the days and the effort of fighting down the horror was getting too much for her. Each day she woke up with a feeling of surprise that she should still be alive and in her right mind. Those first days of sheer horror might be two years in the past, but she continued to feel, each time her eyes opened to face yet another day of hopless captivity, the despair of her first seconds after stepping into that tiny cell. Her days were still devoted to forcing her mind to enter another world and leave this claustrophobic hell behind her, but the effort was growing harder each day her ordeal came that bit nearer the end. At the back of her mind was a growing fear that her last few days of solitary might be the ones that consigned her mind to the horrors of incurable madness.
She was expecting to be allowed out in three weeks time and was standing upright as ever in her cell, mentally working on the plot of her seventh novel and thinking it must be mid-day, when the door made a strange noise - the first time she had heard anything like it. To her surprise, it swung open and two guards became the first people Lisa has seen for two years and four months. And a smiling Hatchet-Face told her to come out.
"I must have lost count somewhere along the line" said a delighted Lisa as she followed the guards into the reception hall where she had been stripped and shaved more than two years ago. "I thought I had three more weeks coming to me!" With a feeling of shame, she saw that she could not control her trembling - or her tears.
"Your counting was correct, Lisa! But the Justice Department looked at your case and your excellent record and decided to take off a few weeks for good conduct. You will have the weeks given to you in some other form, so your punishment isn't quite over. But the worst of it is. You will not be locked up again. Please sit here in this chair!"
Lisa obeyed. She was ecstatically happy to be out early and totally unbothered about any substitute punishment. Hatchet Face hurried off and returned with a pair of scissors, a bowl of hot water, soap and a razor. Soon her long golden hair which had grown down to her waist by now was lying all around her on the floor. Her head was shaved until it was utterly smooth.
"Luckily for you, you have a well-shaped head!" said the guard, desperately forcing herself to keep her hands off this exquisite piece of womanhood. She had drooled over Lisa for one hundred and twenty weeks except for her annual leave and the week she had been sick. Now she had the warmth and musky feminine odour of her favourite inmate close enough to touch and smell. It was sheer Heaven!
Lisa was told to sweep up and dispose of all the clippings and shorn tresses, finally bagging them up. She was then ordered to stand to attention, while the Guard told her about her continuing punishment now that she was finally an ex-solitary inmate.
"As you know, all solitary inmates continue to be punished by being barefoot for the remainder of their sentence. A woman serving a second term will lose her upper garments and be bare-breasted for the remainder of her imprisonment. You are the first woman to be awarded three terms and in addition you served another woman's second term. This means that you will remain naked for the remaining months of your sentence. In addition, you will keep your head permanently shaven and any sign of growth will be punished by six strokes of the cane to be administered to your bottom.So be careful to keep that scalp smooth in future"
And if you don't I hope I'm the one who gets to cane you! was her unspoken thought! She pictured the sound of the swooshing cane and the sharp crack on those lovely cheeks and the red lines she was drawing on that soft skin and felt her loins throb and burn.
"Further to this, on the first day of each month, until you are released, you will be publicly flogged on your back with a leather strap. The number of strokes will never be less than twenty and never more than sixty. The exact number will be decided at the time and you will know the number the previous night."
Samantha, working in the field near the solitary building, was the first to see Lisa emerge. She was not surprised that her much missed and eagerly awaited friend was nude, although she had hoped that they would at least allow her to wear briefs. What truly shocked her was Lisa's shaven head. No one else had been shaved after being freed from the punishment cells. She looked at her supervisor, who nodded, and ran over to Lisa. She stopped short of touching her, but Hatchet - Face smiled for a change.
"Have a good hug, you two! Then get back to work, Samantha. Then we get Lisa over to the infirmary for a check-up. If she's OK we'll have you both working side by side before the day ends!"
Lisa put both arms round Samantha and kissed her on the lips, drawing back straight away as she wondered if this might not be to the liking of her escort. But Hatchet - Face was smiling tolerantly and Samantha'a eyes were shut in ectsasy, so she kissed her again and two tongues rubbed against each other. Then the gaurd coughed and the tender reunion was over.
The prison doctor gave her a very thorough examination. As a healer, she hated to think of people like Lisa being sick and untreated in that hellish place and was determined to ensure any damage done to her was put right as soon as possible. But this girl was incredibly fit! She asked her several questions and again was pleasantly surprised to see that her mental processes seemed to have escaped the degenerative effects of prolonged solitude. He finally returned her to Hatchet - Face's care.
"Here she is, Rosanne! Fit as a fiddle and ready to get her substitute punishment at any time you see fit!"
Lisa was then taken to see the Governor. He looked a great deal more embarassed than she felt! This was the first time she had been naked in the actual presence of a man, but she knew she had been visible both to Menendes and, just over a year earlier, her own father, so this was really nothing new. She stood with her arms at her side, making no attempt to hide her private parts. Because thay had only shaved her head and she stood straight as ever he couldn't see much of her womanhood although Lisa was amused to see his eyes wander down to her generous blonde bush only to jerk guiltily back a number of times!
"Congratulatiions on completing your confinement successfully. I expect you have been told that your final three weeks are to be replaced with another punishment which you may chose to receive at any time in the next three weeks. You will receive twenty one strokes of a leather strap on your back - one for each day's solitary remitted. Or you may choose to go back and serve the final three weeks. And never fear! Twenty one days is all you'd get."
"I'll take the flogging, Sir! I don't know that I could face that cell so soon after getting out! Not now that I've smelt fresh air again after so long. And I don't choose to wait. There's no time like the present!"
"Very well! I should have mentioned that the flogging will be witnessed by all inmates and staff. You may remain in my ante-room until we get things ready for you. Maybe half an hour" he looked at Rosanne, or Hatchet-face as Lisa still thought of her! She nodded. "So! Thirty minutes it is. I hope you show the same courage as you have during the last one hundred and twenty weeks! I'm sure you will. You will find plenty of reading material to amuse yourself with while you wait!"
She went into the other room, picked up an English newspaper and started to catch up on a world from which she had been excluded for so long, and sat in a comfortable chair. Soon she decided it was too comfortable and she got up and sat on the floor. Even the carpet felt unnaturally soft and she almost longed for the cool clean touch of polished marble against her skin! But only the marble - not the awful confining walls. The Governor was as good as his word and in thirty minutes she was marched between two escorts to a wooden construction on the opposite side of the prison enclosure to the solitary block. They secured both arms and legs and she was spread out like a St Andrew's cross.
Rosanne had been given the unpleasant task of whipping her and she whispered some encouragement before laying on the strokes with great force and at five second intervals.
"Don't worry! This won't break the skin and even if it does the cuts will be very superficial. There'll be no permanent marks, I promise. But it will hurt, because I am a strong woman and I hold nothing back, so you'll need to be brave!"
Hatchet-Face was right about it hurting! Lisa had never been hit by anyone until getting punched bloody by Sandra and that hadn't hurt at all at the time, the excitement of the novel experience of fighting being her only sensation. But this relentless strapping was hellish! She quickly regretted refusing the piece of wood to bite on! This useful aid to bearing pain had been used before and was covered with deep tooth marks left by generations of agonised defaulters. She had grimaced with disgust and politely declined the offer! She knew she would gratefully accept it for her eight remaining floggings!
Rosanne was good at her job and kept her promise to leave no deep cuts, hitting her ferociously hard but always with the flat of the strap. When it was all over, her back was red all over but there were no more than a few trickles of blood from abrasions which would heal in just a few days. Then the shaven headed twenty year old was released and taken back to the doctor.
"I see you chose not to go back to the cell, then!" said the doctor cheerfully. "I don't blame you. After a taste of freedom those last days might have been very damaging.Now let's examine today's damage!"
She washed the blood away with some lint dipped in antiseptic. She flinched but made no sound and he apologised.
"Don't be sorry, doctor. It hurt a lot less than the strapping!"
She was told there was no need for a dressing. Not that one would have been allowed, as it would have meant she was no longer naked. Thanking the doctor, she was led away and soon found herself hoeing the rocky soil of the prison gardens side by side with a delighted Samantha. The two worked hard until the day's work was over but had plenty of time to talk and the rest of the afternoon went by very quickly, as would the remaining months of her imprisonment.
"Remember that day when you asked why some women were barefoot" asked Samantha.
"Yes! I said it must be very uncomfortable stepping on these razor sharp stones. Take my word, Sammy - it is! But I've eight months to get used to it!"
For three weeks Lisa shaved her head every morning, getting Samantha to feel it and ensure no bristle was left before they all lined up for the morning inspection, standing outside their hut in all weathers. It was wet and windy at this time and sheets of rain were driven acoss the grim yard as the guards, dry under their capes walked up and down the line of cold inmates, Lisa being the coldest and Sandra, now on the mend mentally, the second coldest.
The day Lisa didn't shave to the satisfaction of the inspecting officer was particularly stormy with the wind howling across the prison buildings and the rain forming puddles inches deep. Both Samantha and Lisa overslept by few minutes. If they had gone to sleep at lights out, all would have been well, but they had talked into the small hours as well as kissed, innocently enough at first, but very passionately after a while and it got more steamy as the hours ticked by! Finally Sandra hissed at the pair not to be such bloody fools and get some sleep.
"You'll need all your strength for tomorrow - you're both working outside all day and it's not easy, I can tell you in this weather - or had you forgotten in your mad lust for each others' young and nubile bodies! And don't be selfish Lisa. Sam can't afford to get into trouble. She needs all the good conduct marks she can get!"
This shamed Lisa into getting into her own bed and letting Samantha get to sleep, but she found it hard to get off. Some of the effects of her long incarceration were beginning to make a belated appearance after she had successfully kept the horror of her predicament at bay for so long. Night-time was not happy for her these days. When she did wake up both she and Samantha were behind the rest in the race to be ready.
"I'll shave myself, Sammy without your help! Don't get yourself in trouble! I'll be fine and it's so dark and stormy they'll not check me that thoroughly!"
Lisa might not need to dress, unlike the rest. But she always took a long time shaving and it was never without thoroughly going all over that naked head that she felt confident enough to face scrutiny. She felt a bit of bristle, but had no time to go over that patch again so she hurried out and took her place in line with only seconds to spare.
As luck would have it, the inspecting officer was Hatchet-Face, a woman who was thoroughness personified. It would take more than a drop of rain to make her skimp on her duties! The isolation cells were empty at present, and the whole complex locked up and deserted, so she was on normal duties for the time being until some foolish woman stepped out of line, which might not be for a long while. Since Lisa had come out and the signs of what could happen to malefacting inmates were there for all to see, there had been an amazing falling off in acts of indiscipline. No one wanted to end up like her, naked, bald and facing a monthly public flogging!
Lisa cursed under her breath as the woman made her way steadily along the line of women, taking her time to inspect each one and ordering the odd one here and there to be placed on report. She was getting colder and colder and wetter and wetter and only wanted to start working and getting some warmth into her body. And she knew that her scalp was not one-hundred percent shiny. In fact it was not shiny at all, and several tiny golden hairs could be seen. And the bitch had a flashlight with her!
Finally she got to Lisa and shone the torch onto her head. Lisa felt herself going red in the face. She prided herself on her own thoroughness and knew that her romantic session last night had caused her to fall below her own high standards this morning. Six of the best were soon to be marking her bum, and there was no escape for her - not from this hawk-eyed cow!
"Well, Lisa! We have been careless today. What happened? Couldn't we sleep?"
This was her chance perhaps to avoid a caning. But she refused to plead and make excuses.
"I stayed awake too long, Ma'am. It won't happen again I hope. I promise to try and do better in future."
"Are you trying to get out of your caning?"
"Oh, no Ma'am. That's not what I meant! Surely you know by this time that I'm not afraid to take my punishment!"
"Very well! I award six strokes in accordance with your tariff as an ex-solitary inmate and eighteen for talking back. Do you want to appear formally before the governor or take my punishment now?"
"Take your punishment now, Ma'am."
Since Lisa had been at the end of the line, she was told to walk over to the trestle which was always outside the girls' hut and from which many a brisk crack of wood on skin could be heard from time to time!
She bent over it so that she was almost doubled up. Lisa hoped that they would not tie her hands and feet as was the usual practice. She wouldn't move under her caning and the delay was making her colder and colder. Her head ached terribly as the rain and wind battered its shaven nakedness. She might have had a not too close shave, but it still felt bloody cold! She recollected how eating an ice cream too quickly had caused her similar pain in the past, but that had always faded soon enough. But this pain would last all day until she got indoors again!
Of course, the pettifogging Hatchet-face had to secure her! And she had to read out her pompous bit of ceremonial before setting to work on her!
"LIsa Griffiths, imprisoned for theft and ex-solitary inmate, you have violated the terms of your continuing punishment by having a perceptible growth of hair on your scalp. For this you will receive the statutory six strokes of a rattan cane upon the buttocks. For failing to address me with what I feel to be the respect due to me and, I suspect, trying to wriggle out of your caning, I award a further eighteen strokes. Do you have anything to say?"
"Yes, Ma'am. I was not trying to get out of my caning. I'm not scared of a bit of pain. And I repeat that you ought to know me better than to think so badly of me! And now, for God's sake get it over with. I'm perished!"
"You're lucky I don't give you eighteen more on top of the eighteen I've already awarded. But, as you say, you've proved many times that you're no coward and I'm sorry to have said you were! Are we happy now?"
"Yes, thanks Ma''am!"
And then the swishing started. Each time the cane struck her cheeks, sprays of water were thrown up. As it proceeded she wondered whether the wet was a bad thing after all. She was pretty sure that it was making for a decidedly less painful time than it would be if the weather were dry. In any case, the throbbing in her buttocks eased within the first hour and she was hardly aware of it for the rest of the day as she and Samantha toiled away in the open, drenched with rain and buffeted by the wind the whole time.
They had just unloaded twenty heavy crates from a truck and were waiting for further instructions when the first chance came for the two friends to talk.
"Does it hurt, Lisa?"
"A bit. I think the rain helped. When I get caned again and if it's a dry day, I'll be able to make a comparison. It's a big day for me, Sammy! My brother got lots of canings at his school but Dad wouldn't hear of me going to a place that used any form of corporal punishment. It was interesting to experience what George did. Mind you, I bet he never got twenty four all at the same time! The wimp never got more than six! Wait until I tell him! Won't he be jealous!"
"You might joke, Lisa, but it didn't sound too funny to me! I should have helped you shave. I wish you'd let me! You know how I love helping you!"
"You mustn't risk losing any points, Sammy. Sandra was right last night. I was selfish and I'm glad it was me and not you who got it! I get out in August whatever happens. I spoke to a nice man from our Embassy, called Potts. He says it's guaranteed and my ticket's booked! But you could lose loads of remission if you aren't careful. I can't let that happen to you, my darling. If you ever get in trouble, I'll always try to take the blame. I promise!"
"You're such a friend Lisa. I never had a really good friend before. It's been a very bad life for me up until I met you. I'll maybe tell you about it one day. But not now. It hurts to talk about it, even to you my love!"
Then a guard came up and told them to carry the cases over to an open store. Each case was heavy and needed both of them to carry it. By the time they had finished it was time to go inside for lunch.
"I wonder what was in those cases?" mused Samantha as they sat side by side at the same table and ate. Lisa made sure she was close enough to be in constant contact. it was so wonderful to feel another body against her after two years of utter loneliness!
"Most likely nothing but rocks, Sammy. I don't think they're anything useful. Just a way of making us sweat! Certainly it can't be anything perishable or delicate - not if it stays out in the open in this weather!"
"I was sweating and that's for sure. I bet I smell!"
Lisa leant sideways and sniffed her friend's armpit.
"Yes, you do. But a nice smell! The nicest! Sammy?"
"Come and visit me in Wales when you get out. In fact, come and live with me. I've got loads of money, you know. My grandfather left me a fortune in trust and I get to get my sticky little paws on it the minute I get home! Come and live with me. I'll start looking around for a cottage in the middle of nowhere - or a house in town if you prefer to live in a city."
"The country would be lovely. We both like the open air, don't we?"
Having thus settled their future they got to their feet, the break being over and followed the guard outside. Lisa gasped again as the rain hit her unprotected head. Soon that confounded pain was slicing through her again. Samantha saw she was in some discomfort.
"The bottom still hurts does it? I'll kiss it better later!"
"My head hurts, darling Sammy. You've no idea what it's like being bald!"
"I get the same in this weather. But I suppose you get it worse, like you seem to get everything worse. It's only a week before your next public flogging. I'll be there after to kiss your back better. I wonder if the same bitch will do it?
"Most likely! There's nobody in solitary is there? We're all good girls these days. And when I am paraded before them to be whipped as an example of what can happen, they'll be even better behaved!"
"Why don't you go to the governor and ask him to let you off the beatings? He is quite a nice guy. I know he likes you."
"It's not up to him, Sammy. The Justice Ministry revised the rules for ex solitary people to take my case into account. Bare feet for one offence, bare feet and topless for two, naked for three, and naked, shaven headed and regularly whipped for four. I don't think they've dreamt up a schedule for five. That sixteen extra weeks means I am considered to have served four terms. And to think my father had just about managed to get me off them and I told him not to."
"You must feel really stupid not to have let him!"
"Not really. I wasn't having him dig me out of this one, Sammy. It's my life and my responsibility to take what comes. That twenty one were bearable and you yourself say they haven't left a mark. Mind you, Sammy, I'll take advantage of that bit of wood next time - I think. I nearly cried out a few times towards the end. In fact, if you'd been close enough you'd have heard a few squeals!"
"They must have been very little squeals. None of us heard a thing! And you'd better not cry out ever in the next eight months! You've a reputation as a hard woman, Lisa! And I get a kick out of my best mate being so tough. You mustn't lose face over a bit of a beating!"
Three days later, a new inmate stood in Lisa's way as she went to get a drink of water after shovelling vast quantities of gravel. It had been the heaviest hard work since they let her out and she was sweating and very thirsty.
"Nice tits, baldy! Nice bum too. Those assets are wasted on a butch cow like you! They should shove you back down below where you belong and can't corrupt innocent girls with you disgusting ways!"
"I'm sorry! May I please pass! I'm thirsty and we only have a short break. I don't want any trouble!"
The new arrival's response was to push Lisa and send her sprawling, causing her to cut her bare body on the gravel. She was furious at this and all the rage which had made her attack Sandra came back to her. But she knew she mustn't get sent back to solitary and be parted from Samantha again. She loved her too desperately for that. So she kept her cool. Hatchet-face/Rosanne came up and asked what was going on. Lisa chose her words carefully.
"I just slipped and fell, Ma'am. But as I was falling I decided that it would be very nice to fight this girl and wipe that stupid smile permanently off her ugly face. But I would never do so without permission!"
Hatchet-Face laughed uproarously.
"Well, if I had been spoken to like that, I would certainly take up such a challenge" she said to the angry new girl. "I'll try and get a fight between you sanctioned by the Governor. It'll need to be a proper organised affair - no crude brawling. I'll try and arrange it before your flogging Lisa. You won't want to fight a big girl like her in a weakened state."
"I'd fight her straight after being cut down! I'm not scared of her or anyone!"
"Calm down, Lisa!" ordered Rosanne in a kindly voice. "We don't want to be going back down below, do we. Now! I think from what I saw that you are the injured party here and I'll let you choose your weapons"
"My fists, Ma'am. Maybe the odd kick!"
"Bare fists it is! And feet are allowed too. My, this should be fun! Not for you, maybe But I love to watch a good fight with loads of blood and cracked ribs. Don't let us down now, you two. And let's get back to work. This isn't a holiday camp!"
Lisa downed her water thirstily and rejoined Samantha. Soon they were shovelling away side by side.
"You've got great shoulders, Lisa. All those exercises paid off in that hole! The way you've muscled up in these weeks is amazing! They won't recognise you when you go home. You're cut all over, Lisa. That looks bad, what happened!"
She had not seen the brief scuffle, having needed to visit the toilet at the time.
"I was pushed over and fell. I asked Rosanne if I could fight the other bitch and she's going to set it up. I expect it will be after work so everyone can come and watch us. Will you be my second, darling!"
"Yes. If you like. But I think you need someone who knows about patching up cuts. I might not be all that good. Ask Rosanne. She likes you - and how! - and she'd know how to repair the damage between rounds and I bet there'll be lots! I'll watch and learn the ropes in case you get in any more fights, which you will, especially if you win! They'll be lining up to challenge you!"
"I'm not looking for a career as a fighter, not just to entertain my fellow inmates and Rosanne! All I want is to show that cow she can't get away with bad mouithing me and shoving me around."
"That's what you say now, Lisa. But it may not be your choice. If you beat that girl and give them a good show, you'll have no choice. Get to work with that shovel, Lisa! Keep building up that muscle, 'cause you're going to need it!"
Lisa flung a huge pile of gravel from the skip and Samantha started spreading it out over the square prison parade ground. It was not a warm day but the sweat was pouring off her already. She had little time to think about anything apart from keeping her rhythm going, but she was aware that her body was coping well with all this hard work, and she was enjoying every minute of it. She loved being out in the open, after those two terrible years. The fact that a high wall topped by barbed wire surrounded the compound mattered not a bit. It sure as hell beat that tiny cell! And she was being allowed to work with Samantha all the time! They were still the youngest inmates and the Governor had stipulated that they should be together as much as possible. If only that new girl had not ruined it all by forcing her into a fight she didn't want. And then it hit her! She did want that fight. And if they forced her to do it again, then so be it! In fact she hoped they did! She shovelled more furiously than ever and the veins in her arms started to show with all the effort. Samantha had to ask her to slow down at one point, because she couldn't keep up!
"What's all this, Sammy?" asked Lisa.
The girls had just got back to their shared cell - their second night there after being moved out of the dormitory - after a hard day at work, in the course of which Lisa had found herself challenging a new prisoner to a fist fight, which Hatchet-Face had agreed to. She still smarted from the grazes her unprotected body had suffered as it had slid on on the sharp gravel and wanted nothing more than to rest. But Samantha had other ideas for Lisa. Where had she got that rope from? She surely wasn't thinking of escaping with less than a year now to serve?
"It's a skipping rope, Lisa. Go and work out in the corridor! There's bags of room and you need to work on those legs and it's good for co-ordination. GO ON, Lisa! You want to win against that cow, don't you?"
Lisa obeyed and was soon dripping sweat and attracting an admiring audience as she kept up a skipping rhythm until they were all ordered into their cells to be locked in for the night.
"Now do I get some rest?" she asked her self-appointed trainer.
"Push-ups! One hundred. Then a hundred sit-ups. I'll hold your feet for you. Even if they are dirty and smelly!"
Samantha counted up to one hundred as Lisa did her push-ups and then leapt off her bunk and held her feet until she finished the second exercise. By this time Lisa's body smell filled the entire area of their not too large cell.
"Is that all?" panted an exhausted Lisa. "Can we go to bed now?"
"Yes. But not together! You're in training now and sex is bad for you!"
"Maybe, but I won't be fighting all the time between now and August!"
"Yes you will! So we'll have to wait until we get that lovely country cottage!"
"We'll probably have found ourselves a couple of men by then, Sammy! Never mind, it's just so lovely being this close to you."
"Isn't it, though! You smell gorgeous, Lisa, my darling sweaty friend. Absolutely wonderful!"
In the morning the sound of a bell wakened them and they started a new day. Lisa shaved her head carefully (she wasn't in love with that cane, still less with the kinky Hatchet-Face) and Samantha checked it for her, running her hand over every square millimetre.
"You missed a bit, darling. Give me the razor and I'll soon zap those naughty blonde bristles and save those adorable buttocks from another thrashing! I bet you're glad you're not a man! Fancy having to do this for the rest of your life and not just a few months!"
"A man only shaves his face as a rule. And I think it might be great! If I were one, the first thing I'd do would be ask you to marry me!"
"And I'd accept! And we'd better hurry or we'll be late on parade. We'll be marching on all that nice new fresh gravel we laid yesterday! Your poor feet!"
Samantha giggled at this. She had a great love for Lisa but absolutely no sympathy for the discomforts her nakedness and continuing punishments brought her. Lisa wondered about this at times, but she wouldn't have her friend any other way than she was. The morning drill session following the inspection, in which Lisa's shiny skulled perfection brought her a rare word of praise, was as tough on Lisa's feet as Samantha had laughingly predicted. They were marched up and down and then double-marched around the parade ground until some of the older women dropped from exhaustion. The barefoot prisoners were all fine at the end, except for Lisa who limped beside Samantha to their assigment for the day. Lisa was not anxious to walk too quickly but a prod in the back from a rifle butt soon livened her up, eliciting yet more giggles from Samantha.
"Come on, slowcoach. We haven't all day! We need the points. At least I do! So hurry up and don't be such a baby! Just forget about those silly feet and think what a lovely day it is!"
"It's a horrible day. I thought it was warm all the year round in this country! It's nearly as cold as it was in the hole. It is good to be outside, though. I just wish we could get a bit of sun. I want to get broken in to it gradually before it gets too strong. This bloody cloud is not helping at all."
"It never shines till March and after that it burns like Hell. You WILL suffer Lisa. But I'll be there to soothe your poor old body at night. Seriously, I hope they give you some sun cream. You'll be really ill for a while if they don't."
"I'll be ill. I can't see them making life easy for me. That's not the point of stripping me, Sammy."
"When you go home will you always wear clothes, darling? I think it would be a shame! Grow your hair, though, but not too long. I like you to have nice short cropped hair" But be naked a lot, all round the house and in the garden and anywhere you can get away with it!"
"I don't know. It gets terribly cold in the winter, so I will be dressed then - outside at least. I thought when I started my punishment that nakedness depersonalised me, but I still feel like a human being and just as good a one as I ever did - better in fact - and I don't need clothes for anything other than warmth. So the answer is that I will continue to provide my exposed body for you to admire just as long as I don't freeze and sometimes even if I do!"
"I'm looking forward to seeing your home and settling into our special one together. I met your father. I wonder what he'll think of you living with a girl!"
"Don't worry about him! He does as he's told! And anyway he's too polite where our sex is concerned. He puts women on a pedestal. Like he did with me, which in a way wasn't good for me, but if he hadn't I'd never have met you! So it's all for the best, darling Sammy!"
Today's task involved removing the turf from the sports field and replacing it with an artificial covering. Lisa doubted very much that this would be complete much before her release, if at all before. After the grass had been removed by dint of spadework, the field would be levelled with heavy rollers, all pushed by prisoners. Finally the artificial turf would be laid. Why the authorities should be wasting time and money on such a pointless exercise, Samantha and Lisa were unable to fathom. This first day of the enterprise saw four women engaged on stage one.
Lisa and Samantha were working together, Samantha trying to give Lisa all the really heavy work to build her up for the fight, whenever it might be. But it was pretty heavy work for both, especially as it was raining again, and the whole field was like one large bog. Lisa looked down at her legs and feet and wondered despairingly how she was ever going to present spotlessly clean toes and soles to the eagle-eyed inspecting officer next day! It was this aspect of the inspection that gave her most cause to fear. Whereas failure to shave her head properly got her six strokes, there was no upper limit where feet were concerned. Three days ago, one of the ex-solitary women, a forty year old had been bent over the trestle to receive an eye-wateringly vicious twenty. Lisa felt sorrier for the older woman's loss of dignity that anything else. Whopping a twenty year old like her seemed less offensive, somehow. She did not seek to query such crazy illogicality, but knew that she must look after feet with great zeal!
One of the other toilers in this muddy waste was Prisoner 10343, as her soon-to-be opponent was known. Lisa called her Queen Kong, which was a bit of an exaggeration, but did emphasise that she was bigger and far uglier that Lisa. Smashing that face in might actually improve its appearance, Lisa thought as she stole the odd searching glance, trying to size up the problem she was going to have in a few days. Judging from the way she was loading up the cut turves onto the barrows, she was pretty strong, but Lisa noticed a certain breathlessness about her after she had been working for twenty minutes. She wasn't in such good condition as Lisa, who would be skipping tonight and every night until the sweat poured off her and made puddles on the floor! She saw that if she could only survive for a half dozen rounds, she would still be fresh and this woman would be tiring rapidly. She grinned as she saw Hatchet-Face give her a rifle butt in her back to encourage her to keep up her work rate which was visibly slowing. She redoubled her own efforts and soon sweat was mingling with rain as she showed 10343 and the watching guards just how good aand tireless a worker she was.
Hatchet - Face came up to her and watched her slaving away for a few minutes.
"Happy little thing today, aren't we! I saw you sizing up the oppostion! Give the cow the lesson of her life, Lisa. Knock her so hard she meets herself coming back!"
"I'll do just that, Ma'am! Oh, Ma'am?"
"Would you be my second, Ma'am? Sammy thinks you'd be better at it that she would. I'd account it an honour, Ma'am!"
"I'd be proud to, Lisa. Now get on with it. I've seen what you can do, so keep it up. Got that, Lisa? Don't you dare slow up or I'll find a way of caning that arse till your eyes water!"
Lisa wondered, after this exchange, if it was such a good idea to enlist Rosanne as a second. What with her and Samantha between them she wasn't to get much rest in the days to come! Correction! She wasn;'t going to get any. But she kept up her work rate all day and then got marched back to a long hot shower, evening meal and more bloody skipping followed by one hundred and fifty push ups and the same number of sit-ups.
"You must like the smell of my sweat, darling!" she said wearily as she got into bed.
"It's just heavenly, Lisa. Just heavenly. You'll sweat even more tomorrow!"
But Lisa was dead to the world long before her task-mistress had finished talking!
"Big day for you tomorrow, Lisa!"
"Nice of you to remind me!"
Tomorrow was to be Lisa's first public flogging. She would be told this evening after supper how many times that strap would descend on to her ever naked back on this occasion. She wondered how they determined the number. Was it a random selection of a number between twenty and sixty or had her conduct over the weeks since her release got something to do with it? If it was the latter, then her only failure had been not shaving her head peoperly one morning and she had been punished for that. And there had been the passage of words with Rosanne which had cost her eighteen strokes. But she had worked well and knew full well that her output was way ahead of most other women here, with the possible exception of Samantha. So why was she so frightened and why was Samantha so sure she was going to get the full works? She would know the worst tonight and then have to sleep on it. Fortunately Lisa was so tired these days that she could sleep through anything!
It was one of those rare days when work was going so well that Sammy and Lisa were given a short break mid-morning.
"You seem to think I'll get the max tomorrow, Sammy. Why?"
Samantha grinned. "It's your whole attitude, Lisa. I know you work hard and are doing your best to put on a great show against that ugly cow whenever the fight happens to be. And you always call the screws Ma'am. But you aren't humble with it, Lisa. You forget you're a convicted criminal. I know you didn't do it, and so do they by this time, but they can't take any notice of that. You are here to be punished. Not only punished for your original offence but for getting sent four times to solitary. By the time you leave they are determined to beat that pride of yours well and truly out of you. And you are just as determined not to crawl on your belly. So sixty it is, both tomorrow and every other first of the month! 'Cause you won't knuckle under. Even if you wanted to, you just don't know how and I love you for it and they respect you for it, but they'll make it bloody tough for you all the same!"
"I guess you're right, Sam! I do obey all the orders they give me. I keep myself clean and my head shaved (with a bit of help from you). But I can't feel inferior to these guards because I know I'm not. I respect Rosanne, because she's good at her job and keeps her lust for my body under control - thank goodness! And I've come to respect the governor in a way because he's a decent man working for a bad system. But you're right. I'll just have to accept it's going to be a hard eight months. But with you with me it won't matter."
Samantha looked serious. "Lisa! About me helping you shave. I won't do it any more. I love helping you, darling Lisa, but you've got to do it yourself. If they knew I was helping it wouldn't look good - not for you and not for me either. Sorry!"
"Don't be sorry, Sammy! You're quite right. A few canings and I'll soon perfect the art of having a nice shiny head every morning! Starting tomorrow, then!"
By the end of the day, the field was looking like the site of a major battle. Most of the turf had been removed by now but Lisa could see that the unco-ordinated effort was getting exactly nowhere. The guards were doing no more than watch the toiling prisoners like hawks and the only on eof them who seemed to share Lisa's exasperation was Hatchet-Face.
"We need a proper foreman to organise this lot! It's a shambles!" she said as Rosanne passed.
"Did I hear you say Ma'am?"
"Sorry, Ma'am. But this field's about as level as the Himalayas and not getting any better!"
"You are right, Lisa. It's getting worse by the second. I'm putting you in charge as from tomorrow. Straight after your flogging you come and sort this bunch of wankers out!"
With that unwanted reminder of the coming public humiliation, she left Lisa to carry on working.
Where did you get this from, Sammy?" said Lisa, looking at the punchbag hanging in the corridor oustide their cell.
"Your second got hold of it. We saved it up as a surprise. She says you've got to practice kicking and punching and if you break a bone in your foot she'll personally kill you with her bare hands - if I haven't got there first! hat are you waiting for, Lisa. Get stuck in. The fight could be only days away!."
Lisa had been practising for an hour when Rosanne turned up, told her she was doing it all wrong and sorted out a few problems of technique. By the time she had put Lisa through her paces both of them were perspiring. As she turned to go, she handed Lisa an envelope.
"That contains your instructions for tomorrow. I'd turn in now if I were you. You've a long and very painful day ahead of you! First the flogging and then getting that awkward squad working together. I think you'll find the flogging by far the easier challenge. Goodnight Lisa."
Lisa opened the envelope and took out the single sheet of paper. She read it and Samantha could see her face go pale as death. Her hands shook and she silently handed it to her best friend.
Samantha read it and handed it back.
"Poor old Lisa. I never thought it would be that bad. But this time tomorrow it will all be over. So cheer up and get some rest. As Hatchet-Face said. Boy! Are you going to need it!"
The instructione were as follows.
"Lisa Griffiths, convicted thief and former solitary inmate still under punishment - You will receive your first formal public flogging at six tomorrow morning, the First day of January. You must be ready to be given a full inspection by the Inspecting Officer at four thirty. This will be a particulalry thorough inspection and any failure to be in impeccable condition will be severely punished by thirty strokes of a rattan cane on your buttocks in addition to the six strokes, if appropriate, relating to unsatisfactory head shaving. On completion of the inspection and any necessary physical chastisement you will be taken to the reception area in the Solitary Confinememt Block and be prepared for your flogging. This preparation will consist of your hands being manacled behind your back and both ankles being manacled, the manacles being attached to a three foot long chain.
All prisoners will be lined up to witness your punishment and you will be paraded in your chains past each and every one of them, your head bowed and your eyes looking at the ground.
You will receive the maximum number of sixty strokes of a heavy leather strap. The flogging will be performed by three of your fellow inmates, all of whom have been given the strictest instructions to show you no mercy.
Both before and after the flogging you will thank each of your floggers in a loud and clear voice, kneeling in front of each as you do so. Failure to obey will result in your immediate return to solitary confinement on reduced rations for the remainder of your sentence. After your flogging you will return to duty and have no meals until supper."
"You won't be silly, Lisa, will you? Please, Lisa! Just grin and bear it. Don't get sent down there again!" Samantha was almost in tears.
"Don't fret my love. As you say - this time tomorrow it will all be over and we will be together again!"
Lisa was standing at her cell door at the time appointed. The guard took her to the communal wash-room and she had to wash, shave, use the toilet and be outside on parade in five minutes. Less than five minutes, where she usually allowed herself ten. Her hand shook as she tried to shave and it just refused to do as it was told. She felt her head and knew it would not satisfy the zealous Rosanne. Her feet had been given a good clean last night and then she noticed the dirt under a toenail and she knew she was lost. She had no more time as the instruction came to get a move on, NOW! She followed the junior guard out into the inspection area, usually full of anxious women hoping to pass muster.
But this time she was alone. Alone and totally sick with fright and shame. This was what happened when you get a friend to help you with something you should do yourself! As she had feared, the inspecting officer was Rosanne, so friendly yesterday and last night, but so implacable this morning as the light shone full on the one prisoner in the parade.
Rosanne must have seen at a glance just how unprepared Lisa was but she made a show of looking her up and down as if subjecting her to a minute medical examination. Finally she spoke in her "official" voice. "You were told this would be a strict inspection and you turn up a disgrace. Your feet are filthy - filthy! As for your head, you could strike a match on that stubble! I may do so just to show you!"
Lisa bowed her head, ashamed and wretched. She just could not stop her trembling which was beginning to verge on the convulsive. Then Rosanne's voice changed "Thank Heaven we have time to get you properly cleaned and shaved before the Governor sees you! We'd best hurry!"
Lisa's voice shook as she was marched to the dreaded Solitary Wing. "What about my caning Ma'am? If ever anyone deserved one it's me today!"
"You'll get more than enough pain when they flog you later on. Let's just say you owe me! I'll collect in time. You haven't got away with anything - just a reprieve!"
"Thank you so much, Ma'am. I was so scared this morning - not of a caning and a flogging - I know by now I can take them OK - but all the other things." The "Other thing" that had reduced this usually confident and brave young person to a near wreck was getting nearer. It was the Solitary Block with all its terrible memories.
"I know! I hope you will believe me when I swear to you I had no hand in today's devilry. When I gave you that letter I had no idea what was in it. Not until I got to my quarters and read my own instructions."
"I would never doubt your word Ma'am."
They reached the Solitary Building and Rosanne unlocked the outer door. Soon Lisa was back in the underground reception chamber and the shaking that had impeded her attempt to shave earlier, became uncontrollable in this place of ghastly memories. Rosanne got her into a chair and put both arms round her, soothing her as one might a frightened animal or a child.
"I know. This brings it all back. That's why the bastards sent you down here. You took it so bravely for two years and never cracked up, but they still want to break you. But you won't be broken - will you, my brave and lovely Lisa? Try to pull yourself together! It's only for a short time! Then we go up into the fresh air and you won't be coming back down here - ever!"
"Until next month's flogging!"
"I said never, Lisa. You won't be going through all this again. That is a promise! It took me by surprise this time but next time I'll refuse to go along with it and I have a certain - shall I say - influence with my colleagues. Let's see how the Justice Ministry like it when they have a strike on their hands!"
Lisa smiled and started to feel better."I hate to think what that might lead to. I'm OK now, Ma'am. And if they want to bring me here before the rest of my floggings, that's OK. The panic's gone. I think I can wash and shave myself now. The shaking's quite over."
Lisa soon did a perfect job of shaving her head and cleaning her feet. Having dried herself off and removed all traces of soap she came back to the chair, bent over across the seat, presenting her butttocks to the astonished Rosanne.
"I'll pay my debt now, Ma'am while there's still no interest on it! Forty two I think! Don't be afraid to lay them on properly. I'm a strong girl these days! Then let the fun commence. I hope they all enjoy it as much as I will!"
"As you wish, Lisa! And it's a relief to see you your old self again!" said Rosanne raising the cane that she had still in her hand.
Lisa managed not to cry out through the worst chastisement of her life to date, but she was groaning as the last few hit her right across the tops of her thighs. Rosanne was a perfectionist and Lisa was spared nothing.
Then they secured her hands behind her and put her feet in chains. Apart from the cold touch of metal to her skin it was not what she had expected. It was time by now to make the long journey up the many stairs to the ground.
She felt foolish and degraded as she shuffled along, her chain clinking rhythmically, past the line of other prisoners. Most were silent as she walked awkwardly past them, her shaven head obediently bowed. With her hands secured behind her she had no choice but to keep her eyes on the ground so this part of her ritual humiliation lost a bit of its sting. Although most of the watching prisoners were silent, a few muttered words of encouragement and she sensed an atmosphere of sympathy. There were a few gasps as the women saw how terribly she had been caned and a bit of angry muttering. They all knew, by this time, how much more she had to endure before the day was over and most of them were willing her to come through. But she knew all this sympathy would evaporate if she failed to be brave. She would be very glad of that piece of wood to bite on as the screams rose within her and she struggled to keep them down!
Her brother George had been caned a few times and once in front of the whole school. He had told her about this, after he had left and gone to college.It still haunted him, he had said in a moment of self-revelation to his little sister. Lisa wondered if this was going to haunt her! On the whole she thought not. Compared to other things she had been through, this was not the worst. And she'd have a lot to tell George when she got home! She was the one who would have all the adventures to regale her incredulous friends and family with! Because that was how she still saw this three years - an adventure, and one which had taught her a lot, not least about herself.
She saw her three tormentors and knelt before the first of them. She did not know the woman, a fifty year old native of the country who spoke no English. She contented herself by uttering their word for "Thankyou" - one of the half dozen words she had ever needed to know - in a clear voice which carried to all listeners. The next was 10343 and she said thank you in English, since this woman, who would be under her control later in the day, was American or perhaps Canadian. To the last, Sandra, she said in the same clear voice "Thank you Sandra for flogging the girl who got you into trouble." and in a lower voice meant for Sandra's ears alone but overheard by Hatchet-Face/Rosanne "For God's sake, give it all you've got. Don't get into trouble on my account!"
10343 heard this and sneered. Rosanne saw her expression and vowed to get the bitch banged up in solitary if it was the last thing she did.
Funnily enough, it was less humiliating to kneel before her three floggers that she had expected. They were three people in temporary authority, given strict instructions to hurt her as much as they could, and that was that. It was going down on her knees and getting up again that was the problem and she concentrated hard on doing it properly and not staggering and falling. Then she was helped onto the platform, her hands freed, the chain removed so that she could be tied up for her flogging.
Lisa wondered why they were not offering her the piece of wood and Rosanne must have read her thoughts.
"You turned it down last time, Lisa. That decison can't be revoked. Sorry! But it really doesn't matter! Other women might need it, but you don't need to bite on a piece of wood to stop yourself screaming! You've got all you need to keep quiet stored up in that great heart of yours!" And so it turned out, although there were moments when she almost cracked.
After it was over they did not chain her up again and the kneeling and saying "thankyou" were that much easier. To 10343 she said "Thank you for flogging me" To Sandra she said "Thank you and well done" and to the third she merely said 'thank you' but in English this time.
Then she joined the others in the field and, despite hunger, thirst and a body which ached and throbbed all over and was crying out for rest, she organised the three pairs of women to get the field properly raked into a semblance of a level playing field, showing herself to be every inch the working foreman and refusing to take advantage of her new authority to rest her tortured body until the siren announced that another day had ended.
Even the hate-filled and embittered 10343 had to admit that Lisa was both brave and strong, but she felt sure she would beat her in a few days time. She was taller than Lisa, although she only had to stoop to appear the same size and a wear a blonde wig to make herself resemble her - especially if the photograph was a poor one!
"How's it feel darling?"
Samantha was dabbing away at Lisa's back with a lint cloth dipped in saline solution. She had already applied soothing ointment to the bruised buttocks. One of the three prisoners who had been given the job of beating her was her future opponent, the mysterious 10343. This woman certainly had got in for Lisa. She had preceded every stroke with comments like "Take that you skinhead dyke" and "try this one for size you butch freak", and she was careful not to use the flat side of the strap. Fortunately she lacked Rosanne's strength and Samantha was relieved to see that the cuts she had inflicted were not deep, though her friend's back certainly was a mess at present.
"It feels great, my love. Just keep on like that for about ten minutes and then I think I must resume training before lights out!"
"Your second says you must take a rest for a couple of days. The fight is in a week and you're already more than good enough to take her out. That's the word of Rosanne! I wonder when your second fight will be and with whom? You'll have to give what's left of 10343 a rematch if she wants it of course. There! I think I've done all I can. Time to let the air get to it and Mother Nature will do the rest! You get plenty of air on your skin all day and every day so that's the rest of your treatment taken care of!"
The couple lay together in silence. The door was shut and Rosanne had promised they would not be disturbed all night! But Lisa was just too tired to do other than lie close and just be aware of the warm body of her dearest friend, the thought of whom had done so much to get her through those hellish two years. Her back hurt too much for passionate embraces and she was on the verge of sleep. She saw how silly was her idea of any more training for a while. It was Samantha who broke the silence.
"I thought you were wonderful today! And so did all the women and most of the guards. You were the one that walked tall today even if you were shackled and forced to keep your eyes to the ground. There's such dignity about you. And when you thanked them all before and after you could see how ashamed they were, except 10343 of course. It really made that bitch's day! I wonder what it is with her. That's one thing about being in the dorm, you do get to hear more. But this is better! Just the two of us - like it's always going to be!"
Lisa managed to give her partner a kiss before drifting off.
"I think you'd better leave well alone, Giles."
Giles Potts was making his latest visit to Lisa to ask how she was being treated. It was five days after Lisa's flogging and the signs of it and the caning that had preceded it had by no means faded. She had seen more than anger in his face as saw the damage. This man was beginning to get personally involved.
"I don't understand. After what they did to you, I should have thought you needed all the help you can get."
"I couldn't agree more! I'll never get through the next seven and a half months on my own. But it's my friends here who will help me to get through. That and a friendly guard who has already shown she's on my side. That last was in strict confidence by the way - very very very off the record! But I have a hunch your coming to see me so often is just putting their backs up and my back is paying for it. So tell them you are dropping my case now I'm out of solitary and being allowed to write home once a week. Say you'd like to make a purely routine visit now and again - maybe every two months and be quick to drop the idea if you get the impression they don't even like that. I'm sure it will be easier for me that way. I'm sorry, because I really like seeing you for our weekly chats. You're a great fellow to talk to! And wish me luck for later on!"
"Later on" was her fight with 10343, which had been scheduled for midday, some two hours after Potts should have left. She wanted him to stay and watch but he was reluctant.
Potts called in to the Governor's office and did as Lisa requested. The relief in that gentleman's face was palpable.
"I may be asked by my chief to make the occasional visit, but this case is no longer so important to us."
"Of course, Mr Potts. We will see you in a month or two. I think three short chats with her between now and her release would be appropriate. She is to help entertain the prisoners later on and at the same time settle a difference with a fellow prisoner, after which I hope the two will kiss and make up as you say in your country! Would you care to delay your departure and see her in action?"
"I think not. Lisa asked me to and I said I would not." he hesitated and went on. "It seemed important to her though. Maybe I will surprise her as a last gesture before we take her case off our books!"
Looking up and out of the window, Mr Potts had a shock as he saw a group of prisoners, one of whom he recognised. How had Gloria West ended up here? She certainly looked none too pleased about it! Her face was full of the vicious rage and general malice towards all which had apparently been her hallmark for her entire twenty five years in this world. He shook his head in mournful frustration. She being locked up here meant yet another avenue blocked off in his never ending fight to free Lisa, whom he had come to love as well as respect. But at least the real thief was herself in prison. There was some justice in this corrupt country, after all.
Should he tell the Governor? It seemed the logical thing. Then one or two fresh pieces of the jigsaw fell into place and he saw the danger of saying anything. He only hoped his interest in the unpleasant American thief, blackmailer and general evildoer had not been spotted!
Two hours later he was sitting next to the governor and other members of staff in a front row seat as Lisa, naked and shaven headed, but still lovelier than all the rest of the women in the world put together, climbed through the ropes into the improvised ring, together with an awe inspiringly grim faced lady -not one you would want to meet on a dark night - who was apparently her second. He almost fell off his seat when the poisonous Gloria turned out to be her opponent.
"Oh, Lisa! Lisa my love! Knock that bitch into the beginning of next year, never mind next week! Kill the rotten cow. Kill her!" was his silent thought. He could hardly bear to watch, but at the same time he would not be able to tear his eyes away throughout a long and bloody contest until it was all over and the loser had been caried out, still limp and senseless, minutes after hitting the floor!
Lisa saw him and smiled happily. So he had changed his mind! She was so glad! But why was he looking so venomously at 10343? And then something, maybe her woman's intuition, told her all she needed to know!
"I agree, Potts. We must sit on this one; and very firmly. What a crying shame the poor girl has to serve every last undeserved second of that rotten sentence!"
"Indeed, Sir. It is plain I have done all I can, and maybe too much. Might I suggest that it's about time I had a posting? That would be a sure-fire way of making them think we'd truly lost interest!"
"Right you are Potts. I'll be sorry to see you go, and so will Lisa!"
"Lisa will be fine, Sir. At this moment she is probably on top of the world! This afternoon, shortly after my last interview with the well meaning but spineless governor, I watched Lisa publicly fight Gloria to settle a quarrel that had somehow arisen between them. And I had the supreme pleasure of seeing the splendid Lisa, with great skill and thoroughness, make that bitch wish she had never been born. She knows the truth, Sir. God knows how she guessed it, but she knows who landed her in this mess, and she took that evil morally deformed woman apart bit by bit and left the pieces scattered all over the ring - figuratively! I may hate the idea of women fighting each other, but this was one such fight I wouldn't have wanted to miss and I'll relish the memory for as long as I live!"
Samantha was more than right about Lisa winning, but even she didn't think that 10343 would get quite the merciless going over that Lisa gave her! She wondered, a trifle regretfully, if there would be any more fights after that. It seemed hardly probable that any one would be so suicidal as to face her unexpectedly fearsome friend! But she need not have worried! There were plenty willing to take a shot at the incredible Lisa, with all the kudos that knocking her out would bring them, and one or two were to come nail-bitingly close to beating her over the next seven months. Because Lisa was never again to fight with anything like the same concentrated and incandescent fury that she did againt the prisoner she only knew as 10343. She would always fight well enough to win, never lacking that vital reserve of skill,strength and pride when defeat looked likely, to turn a match around somehow. But only one of the many women she was to face, both here and back home, before the first of four pregnancies was to end her career in the ring, ever suffered such an onslaught, so remarkable in its implacable fury, as this, her first opponent.
It started normally enough. All Lisa knew as she got into the ring was that her opponent needed a lesson in good manners and she was happy just to knock her out and leave it at that. She was still thinking about Giles Potts after very regretfully telling him to lay off his campaign to free her. Then she saw him in the front row and her heart didn't just miss the proverbial one beat! Gosh! Good old Giles! He'd made her day by staying behind, missing a few silly meetings, and seeing her show him what a truly liberated woman she was!
After this 10343, dressed in shorts and singlet, got through the ropes, but less deftly that had Lisa. And then Lisa saw the look on Giles's face. There was the purest and most venomous loathing in that usually amiable visage! Why? She had said little or nothing about her opponent,save that she had jostled and then assaulted her. These incidents happpened all the time in a place like this and Giles knew that. But he clearly saw something in 10343 that made him hate her.
And then she knew! Giles had inadvertently hinted that he had discovered who the real thief was; not directly, but she had picked up on it and saw clearly that he hated 10343 because this was the one who had dropped Lisa in this deepest of deep shit in the first place! The hatred that 10343 had for her was born of guilt - the loathing of the criminal for her victim. But Gloria's paranoid animosity against her victim Lisa was nothing when set beside Lisa's coldly merciless contempt for her. Two wasted years were about to be avenged!
"Don't mix it with her too early, Lisa!" said the hatchet-faced Rosanne."Let her get tired first. Keep moving around and wait your chance! This is a long fight and the one with the stamina will win - if you have the sense to wait your opportunity!"
Then the guard appointed as the MC made a brief introduction in two languages.
"This is an officially permitted fight between two detainees. They are to settle a private difference in a sporting manner. We have a fight between Lisa Griffiths whom you all know by now (loud cheers) and Prisoner 10343, who may not be so familiar ( boos)"
10343 looked furious to hear herself hissed and booed, even before the fight had started. The MC continued.
"This is a contest, in which bare fists and bare feet will decide the issue. There will be an unlimited number of three minute rounds. This contest will be fought to a knockout finish. There will be no referee and no throwing in the towel however badly a fighter has been hurt. Both girls will keep fighting until one is knocked out. A refusal by either girl to stand up when she is judged capable of carrying on will be punished. May the better girl win and may they both give us all a damned good show!"
"Ave Caesar!" muttered Lisa to Rosanne as she prepared to do battle. She knew she would never back down and guessed 10343 felt the same.
"Sorry?" answered Hatchet-Face.
Morituri te salutant!" answered Lisa. "I'll explain later, Ma,am!"
"Well - whatever! Just keep out of range as much as you can at first. Her reach is a bit longer. Let her get tired before you really get going on the close stuff. And good luck!"
And then the bell! (A gong, to be accurate!)
Lisa lost no time in opening the proceedings, landing a seriously painful punch on 10343's squat and unappealing nose, drawing blood. A cheer went up, in which Potts's roar was the loudest! If Lisa thought her opponent would be thrown by this, she was wrong and only her superb fitness enabled her to avoid a clubbing right which would have put her straight into hospital, if not the morgue, had it made contact. But she felt the draught from it as it narrowly missed her ear! Jumping back she kicked up and caught Gloria on her stomach and caused her to gasp. She heeded Rosanne's advice for the next minute and kept her distance, exchanging a few probing punches and also causing the crowd to get a bit impatient at the lack of excitement after Lisa had opened so spectacularly. The first three minute round had a minute to go when Lisa ignored Gloria's superior reach and came in close, getting a bruised eye but hammering the other girl on the body with a frenzied attack which made her retreat to draw breath. Lisa, ignoring Rosanne's advice, pressed forward and transferred her attention to the head making the air ring with three rapid-fire punches which had her opponent sagging at the knees. Then the bell.
"What did I tell you, Lisa?" asked Rosanne. "Keep out of her reach. It's too early for that kind of thing. You did well, but you can't take risks. Just one lucky punch from her and you're finshed."
"Yeah! Whatever!" Then the bell went.
Once again it was Lisa who opened the proceedings and Gloria's nose started to bleed again. But this time Lisa had really enraged the odious 10343, who could hear how partisan the crowd was in Lisa's favour. She got the younger girl with a punch to the side of her face, making a red mark on her cheekbone, which was destined to become a purple swelling before the fight was over. This was the last time she did any significant damage to the furious twenty-year old in the course of a fight which would last for ten rounds yet, before Lisa finally put her detested foe out of her increasing misery.
Then the bell for then end of round two.
"You don't need my advice, do you" asked Rosanne as she sprayed cold water over her perspiring charge's pink nudity. She could see how controlled Lisa was being and at the same time how audacious.
"I need your support, Ma'am. That's why I asked you. How's it feel to be close enough to smell me and feel the heat from my body?"
"Pretty good, Lisa. You knew?"
"Is the Pope Catholic! Here we go again!"
And she got up and went straight for the jugular, sending 10343 to the floor for the first of several times before she sent her there for keeps. To her credit, Gloria fought back after that and gave Lisa a hard time for the rest of the round, but her face was unmarked at the end of it, except for the bruise which had been inflicted before. In the interval Rosanne worked on her legs, especially her thigh muscles, going up and down them hitting them quickly, crisply and expertly with the sides of her hands. Lisa could feel the energy flowing back into her as this massage continued. It was doing her a world of good and clearly Rosanne was loving it! Lisa raised her arms high and let her second get a good whiff of the ripe odour steaming from out of her hairy sweating armpits.
Potts clearly saw the rapport between these two and made a mental note to look into this senior guard's background before he left his present post. He already had a very large pile of evidence about this case and she might be a useful addition.
Three rounds followed during which Lisa became increasingly, even contemptuously, confident and made no further effort to keep out of trouble. She sustained little damage to her head and face, but her body was becoming very red as 10343 tried to slow down her relentless, not to say demented, opponent by a series of hard and punishing punches which Rosanne was sure must be sapping her fighter's strength by their sheer power and accuracy, but Lisa seemed not to care, concentrating on reducing that hated face to a bloody mess.
After that, what Rosanne had predicted happened and Gloria started to slow down. It was like a slaughterhouse in the ring after that as Lisa went for 10343 like a tigress. Every time she sent the other woman to the floor there was an excited roar of approval. But Lisa was nowhere near finished with her and would have played with the by now helpless Gloria all day, letting her survive round after round, just to have her there in the ring to batter again after the break, when Rosanne told her to finish it or she would make sure Lisa paid for it!
"End it this round, Lisa! That's an order! This is not your friend talking. It's a senior guard who will make your life a misery if you disobey! Enough is enough! Get that?"
"I get it! And you're right. One day, I'll tell you all about it!"
And so Lisa got to her feet, went straight for the other girl and mercifully put 10343 to sleep. She was out for quite a long time! Soon the victor was surrounded by a throng of women, all anxious to congratulate her. Finally she excused herself and went over to Samantha, receiving and giving kisses as Rosanne looked on enviously. After that, she allowed Rosanne to hug her and tell her how proud she was of her fighter.
"But why were you so merciless, Lisa, when you knew you had her beaten? It wasn't like you!"
"I can't tell you how I know, but it's thanks to her that I'm here! Can't you see? She hates me because she knows she wronged me. That's how it goes, I suppose, sometimes and with some people. Most of us would have pangs of conscience but some just hate the ones they've wronged."
Rosanne looked puzzled and agreed not to pass on what Lisa had said. She herself had thought something strange had been going on lately. Lisa asked if she might run and catch up with Mr Potts and was given permission when she gave her word that she would make no attempt to escape with him.
Potts started with surprise as Lisa, running like a deer, caught up with him and grabbed his arm.
"I showed her, didn't I?"
"You certainly did! Do you know who she is, Lisa?"
"The real thief?"
"Yes. I won't say how I knew, but I've been on to her for months. Unfortunately she is here now and it will be next to impossible to gain access to her. I'm thinking of moving on since I can do more for you. Do you mind?"
"Yes! Very much! But I agree that you should go. We've got to stop stirring things up. It's only a few more months and with Samantha and I sharing a cell and being together all day, I think it's going to be a lovely seven months! I'll have to take half a dozen floggings of course, Lord knows how many canings and fight more women, but all that is nothing and I don't want you to worry. I'm a very tough young lady after all I've been through, as I hope I just demonstrated! After I'm free, we can tell the world what we know. But until then we keep very quiet and pretend we know nothing. Bye, and thanks!"
Lisa went off to get something to eat and was told that she and Samantha could have the rest of the day to themselves. They spent the time in their cell talking about Lisa's future career, if there was one.
"I bet no one, but no one will want to face you after what you just did. And 10343 will never want to come back for more. Never."
"I fear you are wrong, Sammy. And it's back to training after today's nice rest. I'm tired. Can I just lay my head on your knee and sleep while you bathe my one and only wound?"
"Hardly a wound, Lisa! Just a lump and 10343 looks like she went through a car windscreen. You must really hate her a lot. I know she shoved you and called you filthy names and all that but so do a lot of people say things about us and you don't usually mind"
"Never mention her again, Sammy! When you and I are together, in the depths of rural Wales, I'll tell you all about it. Just rest assured that I am not usually vindictive."
Samantha bent down and kissed her angry bruise. "You'd be vindictive against whoever got you in here, though? Right, darling?"
"Right. Although I have her to thank for meeting you! I think I will forgive her now. I'll try and make it up with her tomorrow!"
But that was not to be. Gloria 10343 was in the infirmary for a week and on her first day back in the dormitory she was attacked by all dozen of her fellows, all of whom had seen how she had lacerated Lisa's back at her flogging. They had held their fire in order to let Lisa have her revenge and now it was their turn! In the morning she was too ill to work and taken back to the infirmary. There was not enough room to put all twelve in solitary, so eleven were pegged out for three days without food or water. The twelfth given eight weeks and mysteriously earned no penalties. 10343 was herself put in protective solitary confinement. When Rosanne raised the matter of her deliberate wounding of Lisa by not using the flat of the strap and by attacking her without provocation in the first place, her confinement was later increased to strict punitive confinement on reduced rations for a total of thirty two weeks. So Lisa was never to see her again.
This was the end of any further danger to Lisa. The one witness who might reveal the truth was safely out of the way for a time and it was ultimately to be permanent. She was not as tough as Lisa and became ill shortly before her release from solitary was due and didn't get better.
Lisa had two more fights before the first of February and won both by knocking out her opponents in the third round. She was right about attracting a long line of challengers and was never to be short of opposition until she left. On the eve of her next public flogging she was handed the letter by Rosanne. With Smantha eagerly looking over her shoulder she read her fate for the next day.
"Lisa Griffiths, imprisoned for theft and former solitary inmate under continuing punishment, you will be publicly flogged at six in the morning of the First Day of February. You will be ready to be taken to the washroom at twenty five past four and outside to be inspected at four thirty. Failure to pass inspection will be punished by forty strokes of the cane. A further six will be imposed if your head is not satisfactorily shaved. After the inspection and any necessary caning you will be taken to the guard room where you will wait in a cell until five forty five, at which time you will be marched to the punishment frame and secured. You will receive forty lashes to be admistered to the back with the flat of a leather strap. The flogging is to be carried out by the senior guard. All prisoners will be lined up to watch. On completion of the flogging you will be allowed food, drink and one hour's rest in your cell with a fellow prisoner to render any necessary treatment."
"That's not too bad! Make sure you wash properly! No dirty feet! No dirty finger nails. Let's have a look! Yes, Lisa! Those feet need a good scrubbing. It should be possible to get all the dirt out, but it is ingrained a bit! But forget the head! Six is nothing! Just mind you don't get the forty!"
"Wise advice! So wise that I worked it out myself! It's to be a stubble headed Lisa tomorrow!"
But Lisa stupidly decided to do her head first. She then scrubbed the dirt out of her feet and thought she was OK. But Rosanne thought differently! She sniffed at Lisa's body and her nose wrinkled in mock-disgust. Lisa had not remembered her armpits that morning, but Rosanne would not be genuinley disgusted becaue Lisa always smelt good to Rosanne, washed or otherwise.
"I think we forgot the body Lisa! Feet good, head good, fingernails very good. Armpits smell bad and belly button dirty! I bet the arsehole is a mite grubby too, am I right.? I won't embarrass you my probing up there but am I, or am I not, right?
"Nasty dirty Lisa! Get your arse ready to be caned! You know the fold where it joins the thigh, Lisa?"
"Yes, Ma'am" Lisa was over the trestle by now. She knew that fold only too well! A cut there hurt about ten times as much as on the buttocks proper!
Rosanne gave Lisa the promised forty. Then, just as Lisa was getting painfully upright, Rosanne pushed down again and ordered her to stay where she was. Surely she wasn't going to get any more! She was!
"I take your sloppy, not to say disgusting, appearance as a personal affront and you know I have the power to punish that, don't you?"
"I think another dozen on those sore but soon to be sorer buttocks. Then an extra special treat to teach dirty Lisa a lesson!"
Lisa thought the extra dozen was enough of a special treat, but did not doubt that what was coming after would be far worse. She concluded, ruefully, that these monthly inspections were not going to get better. She'd better get used to loads and loads of pain every month before the floggings proper had even started!
"Now, you dirty little girl with the dirty arse and the smelly cunt! Lie on your back lengthways on the trestle. Use you arms to balance yourself and get the bum just sticking out. That's good! Now spread those legs nice and wide. There's a good girl. You've heard the expression 'pussy whipped' before?"
Lisa felt sick. Whatever she did to come up to scratch, she knew that Rosanne, that Jekyll and Hyde character, would always treat her wretched victim to the nastier side of her nature on these occasions, and so it was to be.
Rosanne stood in front of the obediently spread legged Lisa and brought the cane down as hard as she could, plumb centre onto her vagina, parting her lips, digging deep into that pink and senstive flesh and making her scream. Six more times Lisa felt that ghastly slicing pain and six more times she made some sort of noise. She didn't scream again but she did whimper and moan. Then it was over and she was marched to the guard-room.
"Did you enjoy that?" she hissed quietly to Rosanne on the way "Because I tell you, that's the only way you'll ever get near my cunt in future! I had intended to let you put your tongue in there as a farewell gesture of gratitude but the only way in now will be by force! And how am I supposed to be properly clean all over and shaved in just five fucking minutes? You try it sometime! Ma'am!"
Rosanne was silent.
Rosanne did not answer at the time, but a few days later she came to Lisa and Samantha's cell and handed over a package to both girls. She left without a word.
They unwrappped it and found it was a box containing all the sweet confectionary that Lisa had not seen in two and a half years and Samantha had never seen.
"Don't eat it all at once, poppet!" said Lisa. "It'll make us both sick.We'll make it last. If we just have a treat now and again they'll last for weeks!"
"I wonder why she did that?" mused Samantha after they had made hasty but passionate love, fearfully eyeing the door in case of a sudden inspection.
"She wants to make amends, Sammy. Every now and then her lust for me turns to cruelty, but she always feels sorry after. I feel a bit sorry for her, being the way she is in a place full of women, none of whom she can touch except with a cane!"
"She's weird alright! But nice weird! And you must let her suck your pussy before you go. Promise me you will!"
"Won't you be jealous?"
"Very! But I think you owe her, Lisa! She's done a lot more good than harm to you. So let her enjoy one sweet taste of that magic has been mine alone to savour and will be again by Christmas!
Lisa was never given longer than five minutes to get ready for all six of her remaining pre flogging inspections and Rosanne always gave her a prolonged and ferocious caning, but never in her secret place again. In March she gave Lisa forty six strokes plus another twenty, causing the other women to mutter of mutiny when they saw her raw and bleeding buttocks. Lisa soon stopped that by signing to them not be so stupid!
In April Rosanne only gave Lisa the six strokes for not shaving properly. Instead of further damaging her rear end, she varied the rountine by making Lisa lie down with her legs straight up in the air, whereupon she caned the soles of her feet with such demented savagery that the poor girl was hobbling around for over a week. She was still having difficulty moving on her feet when her next fight came up. Despite the agony in her still badly bruised metatarsals, she kept on the move sufficiently well to keep out of the worst of the trouble her very able opponent was giving her and finally knocked her out, but only after eleven rounds in which her face was cut and bleeding and her body a mass of abrasions and bruises. One breast had been a particular target for Sandra, the same girl Lisa had fought nearly three years before. The nipple oozed blood by the time it was all over and Lisa could not allow Smantha near her for several nights thereafter.
Both Sandra and Lisa were popular with their fellow inmates and there was equally strong and vociferous support for both fighters. Cries of "Come on Sandra! Go for that tit again!" competing with equally bloodthirsty encouragement for Lisa to perform similar acts of mayhem on Sandra. When Sandra came round, it was to see Lisa was standing anxiously over her. Although both of them had been keen for this fight and had gone all out to inflict maximum damage, they were still the best of friends.
The unauthorised use of the bastinado on Lisa nearly got Rosanne in serious trouble but Lisa refused to give evidence against her tormentor and the case against her was reluctantly dropped. The periodically sadistic senior guard was given the dressing down of her life and all future canings were only according to the prescribed tariff. All six remaining floggings up and including the final one on the First of August were of twenty strokes only.
Apart from the first day of every remaining month Lisa was never caned again but there was one remaining horror for her to endure. She was pegged out in the sun for three days on the second of August when the temperature was forty five degrees by day and thirty five by night with but one glass of water per day. She was so ill after this that for the rest of the week she was excused all duties. The guard who had sanctioned this punishment was dismissed when Rosanne, who had been on her annual week's leave at the time, returned and heard about it. Whether she was genuinely shocked or no, Lisa could not decide. She suspected that Rosanne was angry at not having thought of this new way of inflicting pain on Lisa herself!
On the eve of Lisa's release Rosanne came up to the shared cell to say her farewells. Samantha slipped out, saying she would only return when Rosanne gave the word.
"Well, Lisa! I'm glad you're finally going home, but I will miss you! How long will you grow your hair now you won't have to shave again?"
"Very long! But if I meet up with Samantha again. I'll have it whatever length she tells me to cut it! I'll even shave it off if that's what she wants! I think she likes the masculine side of me, somehow. That's why she always egged me on to keep fighting week after bruising week! But you forget! I have still tomorrow morning to serve. I will shave my head in the morning for the last time and Samantha can help! And now, Ma'am - I will open my young and shapely legs and you can eat my pussy!"
Rosanne was about to do as she was invited and her head came to within an inch of the delights she had been thinking of for so long!
"No, Lisa! It's against the rules! I can't betray a lifetime of discipline - of keeping my hands off girls I hunger for. I can't!"
"Yes you can. Just this once! We're special, the two of us! It's my goodbye gift.Please don't turn it down! Look at it smiling at you and asking you to drink long and deep of its succulence. Look, Rosanne! It's dripping wet with desire. Take it! Take it!"
Rosanne accepted Lisa's goodbye gift and was to dream about it for the rest of her life.
Potts' successor was waiting to drive Lisa to the airport. He had been a couple of times to visit her and was used by now to her shaven head. This was the first time he had seen her dressed, however. He sensed that she was not easy after so long in the nude. He looked sympathetically at her shod feet.
"Best slip those off, dear. They can't possibly fit after all this time. I'll get you a pair of flip flops before we go to get the plane."
She complied gratefully and scratched. These clothes itched like the very devil and she longed to tear them off. But the time of nudity was over now and she must get to like freedom. She already longed for Samantha, though, and their last marathon kiss had been only an hour ago! Summers, Potts' successor guessed at her state of mind.
"If I drove you back there and you were told you had five more years to serve, you'd be glad. Am I right?"
"Yes. I'd willingly go back, floggings, canings, solitary confinement, stupid rules, having to say Ma'am to apes I despise -- the lot! I'd go back like a shot, because I'd also be going back to the one I love, and if she was in for life then I would want life too, as long as I could be with her! But she'll be out in a month or two and I'll get used to normality and find a nice place for her to come to and get herself better (because she has had so much more to recover from than I). I shall nurse her mind back to health and that won't be possible in that place."
"Potts thought a lot of you, Miss Griffiths. He even wrote a poem about you. Terrible stuff! I won't embarrass him by showing it to you, but if you put your hand in the glove compartment you'll find a large buff envelope. Take a look inside."
She did as she was told and took out a piece of foolscap. It was a drawing of her! Bald head and all.
"It's very good! I think he flatters me a bit, though! What do you think, Mr Summers?"
He laughed and said, "I think it's a great likeness. You are every bit as lovely in real life. Lovelier, even!"
"You only say that because it's true!"
And they both laughed together.
Lisa Griffiths had been back in her own country for six months when she heard that Samantha would be arriving in three days' time. She had kept her promise to buy a country cottage and one was ready for them to move into.
Lisa had been living mostly with her parents up till then, with only the occasional visit to her new home. Truth to tell, she had little or no idea what to do with herself. George was away on some academic exchange and not expected back until the Trinity term and her parents were smothering her with every kindness. Nothing was too good for their daughter now that she was back from her long false imprisonment to say nothing of all the extra horrors that she had suffered. But she had meant what she said when she wrote from the depths of the earth, half way through that dreadful two years. She wanted to be her own woman and not Daddy's little girl! But alas, Daddy was not anxious to be reminded of his promise. It would not be until Sammy came and the two set up house together that her new life could begin.
Early in her first days back home, her mother had come into the bathroom and found her naked in front of the mirror. Her back still bore the marks of her most recent beating, administered by the guard who had later caused her to be pegged out. This lady had not caned her, having failed to find any fault, although Rosanne would have. (It was when a snarling Lisa was found guarding Samantha from the attentions of two other inmates who had designs on her body, having given one of them a bloody nose and the other a black eye that the excuse had been found to punish her again just a day after her flogging. She hoped Sammy was alright now that her protector had gone, but the girl had survived three years without her before she arrived so she would most likely get through the remaining months.) Her mother paled when she saw her daughter's back and she failed to understand her casual attitude when asked what had caused it.
"Oh, that? Is it still showing? It's usually faded by now. Golly! In ten days I was due for another flogging! I got them once a month regularly on the first day of the month. After a while I hardly noticed the strap landing on me. But it's over now, thank goodness. It was getting to be a bore. It’s time to move on and find bigger and better ways of getting hurt."
"What can you mean?"
"I mean that I'm too used to getting knocked around (and knocking others around in return) to want to give it up just yet. I'm going to be a lady prizefighter. And when she comes to join me Sammy will be my trainer just like in prison. I do hope she gets here soon!"
Her mother thought she was joking -- until Lisa went off for a few days and returned sporting a black eye and a cut lip.
"Did you get mugged, darling?" asked her mother.
"I'd like to see anyone try to mug ME. No, I was in a fight and I won. Here's the prize money! Three hundred pounds! The first money I've truly earned!"
When her parents had recovered from the shock, her father asked how she had got such a job.
"I saw an advert for female fighting tapes in a magazine at the dentist's. I wrote to the address asking if they had any opportunities for new fighters and they said I should come along. I worked out with a couple of girls and they took me on. I had my first fight in a run down former drill hall in front of about a hundred people -- nearly all men! And I won easily. I knocked her out cold, Dad! They taped it and they think it will sell pretty well. I'm very good looking and brutal with it! I take no prisoners, as the saying goes! So they want me to do lots more work for them. I bet you hate the idea don't you?" And she laughed prettily.
Her father was stunned! "How do you know how to fight that well?" he finally asked.
"In prison you either learn to protect yourself or you go under. And I had to fight. I was ordered to! But I learned to love it. It's such a buzz getting into a ring and knowing one false move could get you knocked out. And the feeling when you win is incredible -- after a while it's like a drug and you just have to have more. No wonder George loved it at school!" (As a matter of fact, the pacifist George had NOT loved it at school, but Lisa had yet to learn this.)
Relations were very strained for a time and Samantha's arrival was not a moment too soon. She met her at the airport and the entire arrivals area was treated to the sight of two very attractive girls, one dark skinned and with long black hair and one fair skinned and with her head shaved, kissing passionately and for a very long time.
"Have you had it shaved all the time since you left, darling?" asked Samantha as Lisa drove the two of them to stay for a day or two with Lisa's parents.
"No. I let it grow a few inches and kept it short, but when I got up this morning to drive down here, I took it all off. I think it's me somehow. What do you say? I've had some fights since I left. I'm doing quite well, but I need a gimmick, Sammy! And a topless skinhead in a skimpy thong with great tits and a fantastic arse should go down pretty well. At least I hope so! I haven't sprung it on them yet!"
"I don't know, Lisa. I think you should think about it. I was glad to see you just like I've pretty well always known you, but being like that was a punishment, darling and your time for being punished is over forever!"
No more was said for some time and Samantha was afraid she might have offended Lisa. But Lisa put her mind at rest when she did speak.
"You are so right, my love. How lucky I am to have you around to keep me sane. Do you know I thought that it was me who would be nursing you back to mental health, but I guess it may be the other way around, because I am seriously screwed up, Sammy; utterly fucked up mentally?"
"You went through a hell of a time, Lisa. It's delayed shock. I bet you've got your parents worried sick. You mustn't hurt them by acting as you are! Stop this fighting and be a normal girl again, even if it's just to please them!"
Lisa's parents were delighted with Samantha, whom Mr. Griffiths had already met briefly, and who spoke English with a strange mixture of British, Australian and American accents. They made the most tremendous fuss of her and persuaded Lisa to put off her departure for the cottage for several days before the pair finally made good their escape.
"From what Lisa said of you I was expecting an altogether less feminine person," said Mr. Griffiths one day as Samantha and he were walking the family dog.
"I suppose she told you about me being her trainer. Well, I am not an aggressive person myself, but I do admire Lisa for being so strong and ready to stand up for herself and for me on more than one occasion. It got her into trouble, of course, and I spent two years pining for her. But when she came out she got involved in another fight almost right away, but this time she asked for permission and they let her. We all got to come and watch, including Mr. Potts who was lapping it up. And Lisa did so well that they made her stand up and fight any girl who challenged her. Loads of women did put their names down so that she never did get around to fighting them all. She must have had fifteen contests altogether and won them all by knockouts. Not just hitting them so they were too dizzy to get up in time, but laying them out cold for about ten minutes on average. The worst was her first, though. That girl was out for an hour! And it turned out she was the one who committed the crime Lisa did time for. That's what made her so mad that she really destroyed her. Her second, who was also a guard, got sick of seeing what she was doing and ordered her to finish it quickly and not keep dragging it out just to hurt her some more. But you can't blame her!"
"No. I would have felt just the same. I'm glad she got her own back -- at least up to a point. Is that woman still in prison?"
"No. She was put in solitary like Lisa was and she got sick and died in there not too long after Lisa left. Sad in a way, because she only had a few days left to do."
"Mr. Potts did tell me about running down the real culprit but he never mentioned this. I can't say I'm sorry she's dead. I know it's wrong and all that, but my daughter is a totally different person and that woman is the one who took the old sweet Lisa way from me forever."
"But you've got the new Lisa, Sir! And she's a wonderful person. You've just no idea how wonderful. Try getting to know her, and you'll find out! I suppose you know we were lovers in prison and will be again when we get to the cottage?"
"I'd guessed and so had her mother. I think she takes it harder than me. It's not what I'd hoped for, though. I think I've looked forward to giving her away to the right man all her life!"
Samantha put her arm in his.
"Maybe you still will, sir! We're neither of us that old -- not twenty-two yet. Lisa did say we'd both most likely find nice men in time!"
And they returned to the house arm in arm.
"You two could get arrested!"
It was May and the first really warm day after a terrible winter and soaking wet spring. Lisa and Samantha were lying out on the lawn outside their home, and were both wearing not a stitch of clothing as they reveled in the hot sun. Samantha jumped up and recognized the visitor. She went red and dashed inside to put something on. Lisa saw who it was too and smiled lazily, turning over on to her back to give the visitor a full frontal view of her browning and naked body. She was glad to see Mr. Potts, late of the Diplomatic Service and now looking around for a second career.
"Welcome, Giles! Nice to see you. Take a few things off, like your coat and shirt, and come and sit next to me. Samantha will bring out some nice cool beverage for you, if I know her. She loves to play the hostess! So! What excuse do you have for being so long visiting me? It had better be good!"
"I've been in Uruguay since we last met. And now I am an ex-diplomat. I really don't know what to do, but there's no great rush. Linda, my daughter has left school and instead of doing the modern thing and going for a career she got married the other week." He took off his jacket as he spoke but left his shirt on. Lisa giggled.
"Take it off, Giles; unless you want me to do it for you. It's boiling today! Come on! I don't bite!"
He complied and was soon feeling cooler, at least on top, but down below was a different matter. Lisa saw his embarrassment and grinned wickedly.
"I know! Seeing me naked in jail was different. I'll spare any more embarrassment. Stay where you are and I'll get us a couple of cold beers."
When she came back she had a minute thong to cover her most vital parts so her behind was still very visible! The breasts, still as firm as ever, remained bare.
"There, get that down you! I suppose your wife would kill you if she knew you were cavorting with a naked woman!"
Potts looked sad.
"My wife died ten years ago, Lisa."
"Which makes you?"
"Available. And very much in love with the most delightful person I have ever met. And for goodness sake, take off that bit of buttfloss! I like you the way you were; especially now you have at least a modicum of hair on your head!
"I still keep it shaved a lot of the time, Giles. When I have a fight it all comes comes off and it's shiny-skulled Lisa again. It's my trademark. I think I intimidate my victims with it. Not that I need any psychological boost, mind you. My opponents find me an excellent cure for insomnia!"
Potts might have found this last remark amusing, but he certainly did not show it. "And what do you propose to do with your life, aside from getting yourself brain damaged. And don't tell me there's a fortune to made fighting nude in front of a lot of sad middle-aged men."
"You need to be hit to get brain damage, Giles. And hit a lot of times. I generally avoid being hit and do all the hitting. Anyway I don't believe what they say! They're always trying to scare us with one health so-called danger or another! And I like it and I'll happily run the risk. So there! And a lot of young men watch and quite a few women."
"And what else are you going to do!"
Lisa turned onto her side and leant over her friend, rubbing her hand over his chest. She bent down and kissed it briefly.
"I have been writing down the seven novels I dreamt up in my two years in solitary. I did them just to keep sane, Giles. But looking at them now that I've got them on paper, I'm not sure I succeeded. They really are weird. I haven't shown them to anyone. But since you're staying with us for a while, you'll have time to go through them and tell me what you think. And you can do some more drawings of me -- and Samantha."
"I hadn't intended more than a passing visit, Lisa. And what will Samantha think?"
"She will be OK. And we'd better go and see how she is. I could never leave her, Giles. Not as long as she needed me. Sorry and all that, but that girl comes first in my life -- a long way ahead even of you! And your "passing visit" has just been indefinitely prolonged -- and don't argue with me or I'll punch you so hard you won't wake up until supper time!"
Giles looked at the firm, hard body lying next to him and knew she would be more than capable of carrying out her threat, although he was sure she wouldn't. But she obviously wanted him to stay and he could think of nowhere he wanted to be apart from as close to Lisa as he could get. He was left alone to enjoy the spring sunshine while Lisa took the empty glasses inside and went to see how Samantha was.
"I've asked Giles to stay for a few days, Sammy. Don't worry, he's not taking me away from you! I'm going to get him to read my stupid novels. That should keep him out of mischief for quite some time."
The sun went in shortly after and cloud after cloud came drifting slowly across. Samantha and Giles stayed inside and chatted while Lisa went outside to lie some more on the lawn, naked, reading and apparently not bothered by the sudden chill. Every now and again there would be a break in the cloud and she would stretch out to soak up the rays until, after a few seconds, the sun went in again. Then she carried on reading.
"You'd think she got enough sun last year," said Samantha as Lisa continued to stay where she was. "She really suffered once it started getting hotter. Not like me. I've a darker complexion and I go brown in seconds, but she went through agonies. They didn't let her have any sun block so she just had to adjust the hard way. That's her whole life, though -- the hard way. At least since I met her. But she's a hard woman now, Giles. Beautiful, but hard. Think you can handle that?"
"I won't need to, Sammy. She won't leave you. So don't think you'll be losing her, because you won't."
"Yes I will. And to you. And I'm happy for you both. We can't live this idyll together for ever, Giles. It's great now, but I'm not ending up as one of a pair of eccentric old maids, and I'm sure Lisa doesn't want it either. This is just a rest cure for us until we've adjusted to freedom."
Giles had been with Samantha and Lisa for a week and was wondering if he should bring his visit to an end. He and Lisa had left the cottage and climbed the hill behind it. After climbing steadily for half an hour they stopped and sank to the turf, looking at the valley underneath them and the tiny speck of green that was Lisa's little property. Lisa had left home wearing a two piece swimming costume of daring cut and little regard on the designer's part for modesty, leaving nothing to the onlooker's imagination. Lisa's disdain for shaving any of her body save the head made things even worse as tufts of golden hair peeked out from the minute bikini bottom. Half way up she had given up trying to stop the top slipping and taken it off, asking Giles to put in his pocket.
"It's still warm, Giles, from the heat of my hot little body! Feel it! I bet it gives you a thrill. Does it make you jealous to think Samantha can put her steamy little mitts all over these luscious tits all night long, and kiss them as much as she likes and you can't touch?"
He had not answered. For one thing he was out of breath, unlike Lisa who ran six miles every day and trained all morning. Now that they had stopped to rest, he answered her earlier question.
"Yes, I admit I do have difficulty coping with having to keep my hands off you. But I live in hope."
Lisa pulled off her remaining clothing, dangled it from her fingers, laughing. She lay back a few feet away and spread her legs wide so as to give Giles a splendid view of her hairy pussy and moist pinkness.
"I think Sammy wouldn't mind if I let you have just a quick one, Giles."
"A quick one?"
"All right! A nice long one! A marathon. passionate fuck, emptying yourself into me out here under the leaden skies with the wind blowing over us and helping to cool our bodies writhing together in the wildest of wild passion. What are you waiting for Giles? Fuck me, or don't you remember how after all this time?"
Giles certainly did remember how and Lisa was dripping wet all over after they had finished. They lay side by side for some minutes, saying nothing. Everything that needed to be said had been well and truly said as Lisa joyfully surrendered herself.
"Shall we carry on with our walk, darling? The top is flat and you can go for miles and see the greatest views and we won't meet a soul. Come on. Then we have to tell Samantha. Poor Sammy. I feel dreadful already."
Giles got dressed but Lisa did not. She carried her bikini brief in one hand and was ready to slip it on if any wayfarer were about. But it was their lucky day and Giles had a naked Lisa to himself.
"Do you ever wear shoes, sweetheart?" he asked at one point.
"No. Never! Except when it snowed, of course. I'll wear nice ones to our wedding, though! And I sometimes wear boxing boots, and gloves. I like barefoot fighting best and the sort of gloves that just protect the hand but don't soften the impact. You saw how good at brutal fighting I am!"
"I certainly did. It was very satisfying at the time seeing you slaughter that wicked bitch. But I'm sorry you haven't put that behind you. I hear that woman died in solitary?"
"So Sammy says. I'm sorry about that. I don't know how they can live with themselves, letting someone die when they could so easily let them out for a few days to treat them. And it could have happened to me, Giles -- except I wasn't going to let myself ever be that ill! No, once I'd taken out my anger on her there was no more anger left. I couldn't do a thing to help her, though. Once you go down into that solitary wing you are lost. I should know! You need to be strong to survive there for any length of time. Even two months is too much for some poor souls. But your Lisa is very strong. Why was she just known by her number, I wonder? We all had numbers but we were hardly ever called by them. I can't remember mine, I used it so seldom!"
"People get released from prison, Lisa. Like you, for instance! And someone didn't want her name getting out to the outside world. I still don't know all the facts, but that woman had a lot of secrets. Not only was she a thief but a blackmailer and she had some pretty high up victims. I know the US ambassador was involved and the Justice Minister. When she was caught stealing from the hotel wearing a blonde wig they knew perfectly well who she was but she knew too much and so you got to carry the can and she went free, for a time. That's why I resigned, Lisa. I am going to tell all I know, even if I go to prison for it!"
"No, don't my dearest Giles! I'd come and visit you, of course. But I doubt that you could take it, my pet! Don't take it to heart, but you're not strong enough; believe me, I know! It would break you. Just forget about me, my sweet! I've done my time and I'll never get those years back. But we've still got the future, my darling! Let the past be!"
"Too late! I've already spilled the beans! I posted off one stinker of an article yesterday. It will be all over the papers in no time. And I resent you saying I couldn’t take a spell inside! If you could do it, I could!"
"I wonder? But have your own way, darling! You stood by me and I'll stand by you and make a better job of getting you out of a mess than you made of rescuing me!"
Lisa had been reluctant to face the press up until now, but since Giles had taken this risk for her she was happy enough to give evidence. She told him this and added:
"And I'll do more that that. I'll send my own story to the papers. It's all written down, darling. The two years in solitary, the beatings -- the lot. I should think it will go down pretty well, and they'll never send you to jail after reading about what was done to me. I should have done this before! I just couldn't abide being in the public eye but I won't let you go to prison. So it looks like I'm going to be famous! Worse luck! By the way! Did you finish reading my novels?"
"I did. It's better that anything I could do! I enjoyed them all, Lisa. When you send them your prison memoirs, you should send the books as well."
Giles looked sadly at her. It grieved him to think of this child of nature being made to step into the limelight. She belonged here in the hills and woods, with the occasional trip to London for one of her appalling acts of mutual brutality! He could just imaging what the popular press would make of her story. Pretty young thing slung into the slammer emerging as a combination of hardened fighter and semi-recluse. He could see that Lisa hated the idea of being photographed and interviewed, traced to this peaceful spot and forced to live in a real world which would always be hard for her to cope with.
Lisa and Giles had been out walking after Lisa had done her usual six mile run and training in preparation for her next fight, which was scheduled for eight days' time. It was against her toughest opponent yet -- she was giving away quite a few pounds as well as three inches in height. Although it was not going to be easy, she was confident enough of at least giving the other woman a run for her money before she suffered her first knockout. Having Giles out of the way would be a good thing, now that they had just made love out on a barren hillside. She could put in some serious, hard training and be ready to do battle!
Giles was dressed again, but Lisa was not. She felt the world beginning to close in on her, much as she had imagined those tiled wall in that ghastly place of punishment. There might not be many more days of freedom left and she was determined that her body would be free and open to the air until that time. Then, dressed decorously, she would have to face journalists, lawyers, judges, even! Because Giles would certainly be prosecuted for telling what he knew. It would take all Lisa's sweet blue eyes and feminine wiles to melt the jury's and judge's hearts. She would have to relate every dreadful detail of three years she only wanted to forget. But she couldn't let Giles go down.
"Whose car is that, Lisa," asked Giles. "It wasn't there three hours ago."
"Four hours, Giles. We've been four hours away. I can tell time. I had a lot of practice. And I haven't a clue. But whoever it is is in for a rare treat when he sees me like this!"
Giles sensed that Lisa was not about to put her swimsuit back on. Not that it hid a lot in any case! He was convinced that such a garment never saw serious action in a swimming pool. It wouldn't stay on for even half a length!
The visitor turned out to be George, Lisa's elder brother. He blushed as he looked up to see his sister walk in, naked and in the company of man he vaguely recollected as having been one of the officials at the Embassy years ago when he was vainly trying to help Lisa. He and Samantha were sitting together on the sofa and had been talking away like old friends when Lisa and Giles walked through the front door. He got up and seemed undecided whether or not to touch his sister, who he had always held in awe for some reason, despite being a couple of years older.
"Come on, big brother! Give your sister who's just got back from the dead a kiss!"
George did as he was told, doing his best to avoid too close contact with the still bare Lisa. Then he sat down again next to Samantha, who did not appear to mind this young man occupying the place at her side usually reserved for her partner and lover.
"I see you've already introduced yourselves, then!"
"Yes, Lisa. We've been talking away like the clappers for the past half hour since I arrived." He looked up at the clock. "Golly! It's more like three and a half hours! It seemed a lot less. I hope I haven't been keeping you from any important domestic duties, Samantha." A smell of burning indicated that he had indeed precipitated a culinary disaster of some sort.
Lisa went into the kitchen to investigate and found that it was only some vegetables that had boiled dry. Some minor adjustment to the menu was necessary, but all was soon well again. On going back into the sitting room she saw that Samantha looked very much happier than she had seen her for months.
"Your friend sure has had one hell of a life, Lisa. She's been telling me all about it. Pretty bad time she's had! As you know, of course."
"I knew that she had been through some bad times, but no more than that." Sammy had gone upstairs for a minute or two. "I never pushed her to tell me, George, because it was too painful. I had hoped to get it all out of her in time, but you have managed it in less than an afternoon! I thought you were going to be an economist -- not a psychotherapist!"
"It just happened, Lisa. I told her a lot about me. Things I never told you. Like how I hated school and being forced to do all sorts of boy things."
Samantha rejoined them.
"I've been telling George all about your time in prison after you came out of solitary. He couldn't believe how you got through it all!"
"That’s right, Lisa," said George, "all those fights, which you seemed to love. They made me learn boxing at school, but I was always worse than useless at it and I hated it. And you seem to be a sort of undefeated champion! And I dreaded getting the cane. God, how it bloody hurt! But you took more strokes in eight months than I did in that many years. I've seen Mum and Dad today, and they are really upset about you going in for all this prize fighting, but I say you know your own mind and you're a big girl now! You certainly look well on it!"
"That’s because I hit them before they have a chance to hit me" laughed Lisa. Though this was not entirely true and if George had cared to take a closer look at his sister's face and body he would have seen the many signs of battle in a number of little marks, none of which Lisa tried to hide. In fact it pleased her to look a bit battered. It made her feel like a veteran and not the unspoilt novice people still took her to be.
"Anyway," explained George, "I must be off now, but I've asked Samantha out tomorrow -- there’s a concert in Hereford in the Cathedral -- and I've got a small solo part in one of the choruses. Sammy said she'd love to come. So I'll be picking you up at about three, Sammy. You'll have to amuse yourself during the rehearsal and then sit and listen to a load of amateurs ruining great music, but there's a terrific restaurant I'll take you to and we'll be back around two in the morning. Bye!"
"So you like my brother, then?" asked Lisa after George had left and Giles had gone to pack before leaving in the morning.
"He's a great fellow, Lisa! Not like you at all, but as kind as you and gentle. He sang a bit of the thing he's doing tomorrow. He's got a wonderful baritone voice, Lisa. You never said anything about that."
"I never knew, Sammy! I did know he was a choir boy until his voice broke, but I had no idea he'd kept it up since. Marvelous! You two met only a few hours ago and already you know more about each other than I do!"
"Sorry, Lisa," Sammy looked about to cry. Lisa hugged her.
"Don't be sorry. Do you think you and George might get serious? Too early to tell, I suppose."
"I knew how much I felt for you as soon as I met you, Lisa. That's how it was with George today and I'm sure he feels the same. I hope so!"
"So if I told you that I as good as threw myself at Giles earlier on and that he duly responded as a red-blooded male should and screwed the arse off me up there, you might not feel too devastated?"
"I knew, Lisa! It was written all over the pair of you! The minute I saw you both come into the room I knew! You looked to have been well and truly shagged, all dreamy eyed, still sweating all over and juice running down your thighs! You can't hide things like that when you don't have clothes on! And he looked like the cat that's stolen the cream! I'm very happy for you. It started at the prison, didn't it -- between you?"
"In a way, Sammy. He never laid a finger on me during his visits, but I could see he was smitten! And now, I'm smitten with him! But it took time to grow with me, and I'm not hopelessly in love with him Sammy. I would never leave you. As long as you need me, I'm yours and yours alone."
Lisa was at the end of her morning run around the Serpentine. She felt sure she had easily done her daily six miles and was wondering whether to go straight to the gym or back to her hotel when a familiar voice disturbed her cogitations.
"Getting some exercise, Lisa? Fight coming up?"
Lisa looked round in surprise. "Yes. I always have a fight coming up! I'm a very combative and very busy lady these days."
"And when is this next contest for the brave and, I observe, still bare-footed Lisa?"
"Day after tomorrow. And the brave Lisa will get her arse whipped. The brave Lisa won't back down, but she won't win this one!"
"How many miles have we run today?"
"Let's do another four miles, Lisa. Then straight to the gym for some really serious working out. Then lunch. Then more exercise. Then we go to dinner and talk. And tomorrow, you rest and ready yourself. And don't you DARE lose! I don't have my same trusty old cane any more, but in a great city like this, there must be many places to buy a suitable springy, swishy length of bamboo to punish Lisa the Loser's backside! Let's start running. Keep up with me! No slacking!"
Lisa obeyed. She had no idea why she obeyed, or what the former bane of her life was doing in London. Perhaps she was having some annual leave. People did have vacations and they came here from all over the world to have them! Why should hatchet-faced prison guards not be among them?
As they ran, Rosanne asked Lisa questions about her present career.
"Still fight naked, Lisa?"
"Not all the time. It depends on where I'm fighting. Sometimes I wear boxing boots, gloves, shorts and a top. I've had a couple of bouts like that. Other times it's nude wrestling. Hate that! I like to bash the opposition, not strangle it! But mostly I do bare-fist (very illegal) fighting. Tomorrow we're wearing gloves and nothing else. The gloves are just to protect the knuckles from abrasions. They're really hard! No padding at all. I do miss those gloriously brutal fights to the finish at the prison, but tomorrow should be good, even if I lose. It won't get stopped until one of us knocks the other unconscious, no matter how much blood is flowing!"
"When do we grow our hair, again, Lisa? It looks so stunning when you grow it full length?"
"I like my head shaved, Rosanne. I know that leaves me in a minority of one, but it's my hair! And my head stays shaved. I'm good at it these days. You'd never be able to find fault again!"
"No, Lisa! It shines; that skull of yours! And you have a well-shaped head. Keep it that way! I am glad to find my Lisa again!"
Rosanne certainly kept up a cracking pace! But only for the first couple of miles and then it was Lisa who was setting the pace and Rosanne was beginning to flounder. They finished running and set off for Lisa's hotel, which was in the same direction that Rosanne was going. Lisa showered and came back into the room wrapped in a towel. She sat on her bed and Rosanne surprised her by kneeling in front of her. Her surprise was lessened when the former prison guard took one of her feet and began to massage it, very skillfully. Then she worked on the other and Lisa thanked her.
"You need to take care of those feet, Lisa. I must say that the state of them would get you a good caning if you were back in prison!"
"It's being in this filthy city that does it. At home where I can run for miles on grass, they stay clean the whole time. I come here, the dirt gets ingrained and it takes weeks to get out. But, as you say, they're not up to your standards!"
After her shower and foot massage, Rosanne went with Lisa to the gym. Lisa paid Rosanne's fee and was put through the mill. Then dinner.
"So what brings you here, Rosanne?" asked the still astonished Lisa, glad to see her kinky friend and tormentor again, but very confused.
"I am a political refugee! A fugitive from a despotic regime which I finally sickened of serving. I may be penniless and jobless, but at least I finally have my self-respect!"
"I suppose you wouldn't like a job the day after tomorrow?"
"You need a second for your fight?"
"Correct. You know how to patch up my wounds and fire me up to keep going. And believe me, win or lose, I'm going to need a lot of patching up! Have a nice big bucket to collect the blood in. I'll be losing it by the pint!"
"Why the pessimism, Lisa? You faced some big merciless women at the prison and won through. And you won because you wouldn't think of losing! You're a born fighter, Lisa -- a natural! Why are you mentally giving up before you even start?"
"It's Giles, the guy from the Embassy who came to see me at the prison. He's determined to go to the press about my case. And I know he'll get into trouble, and though I'll stand by him and do my best for him, I'm a woman with a criminal record. Our Embassy knew I didn't do it, but that's not the story they're telling now. They've just clammed up and said the matter's in the hands of a sovereign foreign government. I'm going to tell my story, though. I hate the idea of reliving all that, but once they hear all about what was done to me, there's bound to be a lot of sympathy, but it may not save Giles."
"And how is Samantha?"
"Very well indeed. You'd hardly know her! And she's engaged to my brother! A very short and whirlwind romance. They took one look at each other and fell in love! So they get married in three months and Giles and I are getting hitched as soon as this business has blown over. He won't consider it with a gaol sentence hanging over him -- not that I'd mind."
Lisa paused and then changed the subject.
"And how are things at the prison? Do they still have the odd licensed brawl? Or did that come to an end when I left?"
Rosanne smiled evilly.
"As if we'd let a fine tradition like that fall into desuetude? We appointed Sandra as the resident champion. When I left, she had beaten off four challenges. I think she'll last a few more years. She almost beat you when you two fought."
"When we first fought, on my second day, she half-killed me!" Then Lisa reverted to her concerns over Giles.
"So you could say that, with so much else on my mind, fighting that female gorilla tomorrow is not my number one priority right now. I'll do my best, I always do, but I fear I may not have that vital edge I need. And you can help me back to my hotel afterwards."
"Lisa! I have things to tell, but not now. May I say that you needn't worry about Giles? Give the fight your all and knock her out like you always knock out the opposition!"
"Try to keep that eye out of trouble, Lisa. I'm doing my best but that cut's getting worse and she knows it. Mind you, you've started one on her. Keep after that! You're ahead so far! She's not finding you a pushover!"
The bell went for the seventh round and Lisa got to her feet. As Rosanne has said, she was badly cut over her right eye. Happily, the blood wasn't impeding her vision yet. But the eye was closing rather ominously and all Rosanne's ministrations were only delaying the inevitable. Lisa started off aggressively, which was her favorite approach. She hated defensive tactics. That was why she had been so popular in the prison and it was why she was getting a reputation among the aficionados of underground fighting as a brave and attractive fighter, whose great physical beauty made her ruthless brutality in the ring so startling and dramatic. But tonight she was at the receiving end of a lot of brutality herself, sustaining far more damage than she could afford. At this rate she would soon be on her back and failing to beat the count as the other woman stood over her grinning in triumph. The opening salvos made little impression on the other fighter who answered back in kind and blood was splattered all over the ring as Lisa's head was snapped back time and again under a flurry of cracking blows from the other woman's hard leather fighting gloves. The interval came not a second too soon!
"You won't last another round like this, Lisa. For heaven's sake pull yourself together! Now get out there and show them. I've got myself a nice cane for you! You don't want a sore arse as well as a sore everything else, now do you?"
Lisa was knocked down at the end of the next round and saved by the bell. Rosanne got the bleeding and almost broken girl back to her corner. She hissed in her ear.
"Listen, Lisa. I can help Giles and you. I stole the files relating to your case. I've got them in a safe place. I can clear you and him as well. But it's a big story and a lot of people would kill to get those papers back. So say nothing until I get in touch. I only told you now because I want to stop you worrying. You've most likely blown it against that cow, but I still give you a fighting chance. You've come through so much and won through!"
"You're right about that" thought Lisa as the bell went and she faced up again to her toughest opponent yet. Rosanne was right about another thing. There had been a weight lifted from her mind and it was making all the difference. Her legs started doing all the things she wanted them to. Lisa kept away from the other woman's leather clad fists, getting quickly in and out of her range and working on the cut she had opened up in the second round, but which had begun to stop bleeding. Soon it was wide open and pouring blood all over the ring to join Lisa's. Each break they tried to clean it way but more was being shed all the time. But it was not Lisa's anymore that made the ring like a bloody shambles.
"My word, Lisa! That was a turn around!" said an admiring Rosanne, who had never seen Lisa do better than in the five rounds after she had told her about her news. "You've got her now. She's going down next round; right?"
And halfway through the fourteenth round of a bloodbath that had left both fighters unrecognizable as the attractive women who had first entered the ring and made many even of this hardened and bloodthirsty audience sick at the carnage, it was Lisa who stood over the other woman, rather than vice versa as had seemed likely at one stage.
"I see you still know how to produce a good KO, Lisa!" I thought that girl was never going to come round!"
"My father says that if a job's worth doing, then it's worth doing well. But I think I need a rest for a little while. I'll be weeks recovering from tonight. Are you going to tell me how you got hold of all this evidence -- and why?"
"I did it for you, Lisa. You went through three years of hell including all those months in solitary. I got more and more upset after you left. On your behalf I watched over Samantha like a hawk and made sure nobody did her any harm, staff or inmates, and when she was safely free and back and with you in England..."
"Wales, Rosanne! Watch your mouth!"
"OK, Wales! As soon as she was out of harm's way I started looking round for ways to get your name cleared. And I came up with plenty! There are files -- were files -- in the governor’s office and I have a friend in the Justice Ministry who showed me all the papers relating to you. They knew all along you were innocent. But the bitch who actually robbed the hotel had been blackmailing just about every top official in the country, including the Justice Minister and half his senior staff and the US Ambassador. When all this shit hits the fan, it's going to bring a lot of careers to an end. So when you go to the press, make sure to take my stuff along with you!"
"Aren't you coming with me?" asked Lisa. "You deserve the credit for all this. There should be a lot of money coming your way."
"I won't take a cent! I'll find a job in your great city. Go home, Lisa. Go straight home and await instructions. And well done tonight! You haven't lost your killer punch -- in fact you get better all the time! I'll be in touch, I promise."
"Pity that other girl died, though! If only we could have got a confession out of her!"
"LISA! Your face! What a mess. I never saw you that bad. I won't ask who won! Never mind! You couldn't have been expected to give your best, not with all you have on your mind right now. You'd better go to bed and stay there a week! I'll get the doctor to see to you. Get upstairs at once and prepare to be an invalid!"
"Stop fussing, Samantha! I'm fine. In fact I'm on top of the world! And, despite what that other cow did to me, I still have my one hundred percent record and you should have seen what I did to HER! She'll need reconstructive surgery! As for going to bed at this early hour, forget it!"
Lisa did disappear upstairs and shed her minute shorts and top. Soon she reappeared in her usual state of undress. Samantha had a chance to see all of the damage, to her body as well as her face. That wonderful athletic body was covered in bruises where the hard leather had crashed into her ribs and pounded her belly.
"Is there anywhere I can touch you without it hurting?" asked Samantha in horror. She had seen Lisa get hurt many times before but this was something else. She was torn between sympathy and regret that she had missed what must have been a magnificent duel.
"Not one solitary square millimeter was left unpunished, my dear. But come and be hugged anyway."
Samantha obeyed, trying to embrace Lisa gently but finding herself crushed in the familiar bear hug.
"And where is my brother today?"
"He's off to Birmingham, Lisa. He's singing in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. You'd never have believed how excited he was when he got the offer. They're a very good choir and usually get really well-known soloists. I bet you're proud of him, Lisa! I'd have gone, but I didn't want you coming back to an empty house -- not if you'd been badly knocked about -- which you obviously were, you brave girl! Are you sure you don't want a rest? We could get into bed together and chat. Come on!"
Truth to tell, Lisa was dog-tired after all that had happened. She was about to follow Samantha upstairs when she had an idea.
"Sammy! Let’s pile a few cushions on the lawn and sleep out in the warm! It's such a lovely day and who wants to be inside with the sun just begging us to soak it up?"
As soon as Sammy had prepared a makeshift bed outside, the pair settled down. Lisa told Sammy about her chance meeting with Rosanne. She was resting her head on her friend's breast and getting more and more sleepy. Samantha was not sleepy, though, and her mind was racing.
"That was no chance meeting, Lisa! People don't just bump into each other by accident in a big place like London. You could both have been there for weeks wandering about and never seeing each other. She was looking for you! It sticks out a mile. She probably traced you to your hotel and they told her you were running in Hyde Park. I wonder why she came all this way just to see you again. Probably got continuing designs on your bum! She wants to whack it again, Lisa! Do you feel it tingling?"
"Yes. Of course she was looking for me! She left her job soon after you left the country to come here. Now she claims to have got hold of evidence clearing me. Not only that but she says she has the wherewithal for creating a scandal of Watergate proportions; bigger, even!"
Then Lisa fell asleep, resting her head on Samantha's generous bosom. In time Samantha herself fell asleep. Then, as the sun was beginning to lose its strength, she was jolted out of her slumber by a man's voice.
"Something to sign for, Miss. Sorry to break up the party."
It was a courier company and Samantha, who was not wearing any more than Lisa, got up and signed for the package. She tried to ignore the eyes boring into her. Lisa was not too far away and she would soon deal with any predatory male who got the wrong ideas! The courier got back into his van and his colleague drove off. He soon became alarmed.
"Keep your eye on the road, Jimmy! We don't want an accident! What a pair of lovelies! And all laid out to view, bare-arse naked like the day they were born. And one of them was standing just inches from me as she signed for the package. She actually touched me! But did you see her mate -- the one who was asleep? She'd really been worked over! Maybe they'd had a lover’s quarrel or something! "
"I don't know who did that to the Sleeping Beauty, but she's too big a girl for it to have been the other one. That was a body you don't often see on a girl, let alone a pretty one! All muscle! I wonder what the story is behind those two?"
The package Sammy had signed for was the promised evidence from Rosanne. It took the two a while to fathom it all out. Lisa could read none of the language and Sammy only a little, but the letters from and to the US Embassy proved beyond doubt that poor Lisa had been no more than a scapegoat. One letter from the UK Ambassador showed that he knew of Lisa's innocence and had agreed not to make a fuss in exchange for some trade concessions (which never materialized).
And the most damning evidence of all was Gloria's confession! This cause of Lisa's many miseries had not died in Solitary. She had indeed passed out a few days before her time was up and been thought to have died. But when the camp doctor and Rosanne had taken her from the cell, they had discovered that she was still just about alive.
Rosanne later told Lisa how she had kept Gloria in a deactivated cell in the Solitary Unit until she was well enough to be moved. The doctor had agreed to provide a fake certificate of death and all three had left the country for Singapore, where the doctor and Gloria still were.
In the coming weeks the whole world was to learn the story behind Lisa and Samantha. Despite Rosanne's refusal to take a penny, Lisa determined that she would do something for this ex-guard who had helped her clear her name and rescued Giles from ruin and worse. The scandal was just about dying down, with a Minister of Justice in jail, the US Ambassador blowing his brains out and the UK government driven from office by universal rage that a sweet girl like Lisa should have suffered so horribly because of their complicity in a squalid cover up at the behest of a so-called ally.
Photographs of a happy carefree Lisa taken shortly before her arrest were shown side by side with Giles's portrait of the shaven headed victim in prison, and the rage was universal. With elections just months away only a miracle would save the government from defeat. Lisa grew her hair for the benefit of the press, and then shaved it off again as soon as the case against Giles had been thrown out by the jury.
At the same time as Giles' trial, her first novel had been published and was a bestseller. The other six were in the pipeline and the size of the advance she had received had almost given her a heart attack!
With heads rolling and governments falling Lisa was glad to get back to her rural retreat, now hers alone as the newlywed Samantha and George honeymooned in the Bahamas. Giles was away for three weeks and Lisa knew what she had to do. She got on the phone to Rosanne. Soon she was picking Hatchet-Face up from the station and driving her to the cottage.
She showed Rosanne her room and then told her what her reward was to be for helping her.
"I am alone here for three weeks, Rosanne. In that time I am at your disposal. You can do what you like to me. When I finish speaking, you are in charge again! All I ask is that you leave no permanent marks on me as you whip, cane and otherwise torture me. I have all you should need in the way of canes and straps and restraints. My body is yours to fill with agony, punishing it by day and by night for three wonderful weeks."
"Right, Lisa. I think we'll start with forty cuts on those ever luscious buttocks. Those sweet but naughty cheeks cry out for chastisement and they are going to get it! You will find my eye has lost none of its cunning or my arm its strength! Then get this place cleaned up! It's a disgrace! You sleep outside at night and be ready at six tomorrow morning to be flogged!"
The cane turned out to be less robust than the one Rosanne had used on her bottom in prison and broke at the twentieth stroke. The remaining twenty were done with a whip.
It took Lisa until well after dark before Rosanne was satisfied with Lisa's cleaning. She gave her twenty more lashes and sent her outside to sleep on the lawn, naked and cold as the temperatures dropped. At six, Lisa was standing to receive her flogging. Rosanne had to secure her first and it all took longer to prepare that at the prison but it was not long before leather cut into flesh and the sound cracked briskly out in the morning air.
As soon as she had finished, Lisa was allowed to dress and go for her morning training run. When she returned, she was tied up by the feet and hoisted over a tree branch. Rosanne said to her, "I think you can hang around here for the day."
At noon the thirsty Lisa saw Rosanne come out of the house with a glass of water in her hand. Any thought that refreshment might be due for the upside down and dangling Lisa soon vanished as her captor drank the glass dry herself. Lisa was left alone until evening when Rosanne came back with a riding crop.
"Lisa needs putting to sleep for the night," said Rosanne.
She then started going up and down Lisa whipping every part of her body with the crop. Soon Lisa was burning all over with the stinging impact as the leather thong came down remorselessly onto her skin. And it was not only her flesh that was on fire! Her head was spinning as she responded to the pain. Her groin ached with a craving desire for more of this punishment and she felt her juices running down her stomach as her vagina pulsed and throbbed with the sheer power of the most incredible orgasm she was ever to experience again in her life.
Rosanne left her hanging for the night and Lisa's dreams were full of one lurid image after another. It was a cold night, but when she woke in the morning, she was drenched with sweat. Then Rosanne came out and whipped her again and again and again until her body was raw. After that she left Lisa all day, after giving her something to drink, for she was thirsty to the point of delirium after nearly two days.
After Lisa had been a week hanging upside down and beaten several times daily, Rosanne released her and told her she had satisfied her twisted appetite for ever as far she, Lisa, was concerned. Because she was so weak after her ordeal Lisa needed to be assisted back into her home and Rosanne put her to bed, caring for her until she recovered. They slept together every night and both declared to the other that they had enjoyed the love as much as they had reveled in the torture.
Just before her guest left, Lisa examined herself carefully. Despite the mind blowing amounts of pain she had inflicted on her body, Rosanne had, in accordance with Lisa's instruction, left no lasting mark and her skin was a flawless as ever. Flawless that is, except for the many scars from her fights, a collection which was nowhere near complete as yet and which she would bear proudly for the rest of her life.
Although the rest of Rosanne's visit was left to Lisa's showing her the sights and the surrounding country, there was one last treat Lisa had to offer. On Rosanne's last morning as her guest, Lisa bent over, presenting her buttocks for one last blistering attack before the cane was laid down for the last time. Not long after this Rosanne left to return to her own country, now freed of its old regime, but still with a prison system whose cruelties no Western tourist in their right mind would dream of sampling.
A month after Rosanne left, Lisa and Giles were married at St George's Hanover Square. She continued her career as a female fighter until shortly after her twenty-fifth birthday when she fought an eighteen year old who pulverized her before knocking her out for her first and only time. Not long after this setback she became pregnant and never fought again, letting her hair grow full-length and becoming, to everyone's relief, a model wife and mother to four girls, not one of whom was to be spoiled as Lisa had once been. Giles and Lisa's father might have wished to indulge these four beauties but Lisa had a way of crushing both with one icy look!
THE END OF LISA'S STORY