The alarm has sounded. They know I have gone and I have not got more than a mile. Sweating and dirty I run through the trees, hoping to escape the Borstal I have hated for the last year. It is not long before I hear footsteps behind me and shouts. I try to run faster but I am tiring already and have no idea where I am going. I feel an arm grip me round the waist and I am wrestled to the ground. My arms are pulled roughly behind my back and I feel handcuffs cut into my wrists before I am hauled to my feet.
I am marched back to the building where the clang of the doors behind me tells me all I need to know about my immediate future. I am taken to my cell and locked in for the night. I can hear the calls from the other inmates but I cannot answer as my eyes are full of tears and I don't want the others to know I am crying.
The following morning I am taken from my cell and brought before the visiting magistrate. I am utterly shocked when he sentences me to a public birching on my bare bottom. I am to be the first girl to ever be birched. I want to cry all over again. I have heard that the birch is almost unbearable. I am taken back to my cell and ordered to strip by one of the officers. I am left on my own shivering and shaking with fear. I can hear the preparations outside but I have no idea what it is they are doing. When the door does finally open I am shocked to see all the other inmates outside their cells on the landings. I am taken down the stairs and marched towards a bench in the middle of the floor. I am bent over it and my wrists and ankles are firmly restrained to it. I can see the dreaded birch on another table in front of me. The visiting magistrate picks it up and gives the implement a swish. I flinch but am unable to move from my prone position.
The magistrate takes up his position with another officer opposite instructed to give count. The first stroke swishes through the air and lands on my bottom with such a sting I can only gasp in sheer pain. The stroke is counted and I am given a brief reprieve before the second one is applied. If I thought it would get any better, it didn't. The burning sensation simply increased causing me to wobble my bottom in order to relieve myself of the pain, much to the amusement of the officer. The third stroke was applied and was so painful I screamed loudly, which did nothing to alter the genial mood of the officer in charge of the count. I could not believe I had another 9 to go. Each stroke was applied with increasing force and no matter how much I wriggled and writhed I could not escape the punishment. The final stroke was so hard tears began to run down my face but the punishment was not to end there. I was to remain on the bench for the morning so that everyone could see what happens to those who escape. Naked and prone across the bench, my nether regions exposed I felt humiliated at the thought of being made an example of in such a way. Needless to say, all thoughts of escape had completely run away from me....
Given Spring is in the air I thought a birching scene was most appropriate! I hope you enjoy it!