Really, my 23rd birthday party was the last straw. Still reeling from the loss of first my father, then my mother a couple of years ago I invited everyone I thought was my friend. Quite a few people didn't bother to come or even to send apologies. Sure, some turned up. Several boys hoping to get into my panties made an effort. But I was shocked to realise that there was virtually nobody who felt friendship as opposed to friendliness to me. I was not unpopular, nobody hated me, but there was nobody who really cared. When the party was over, I just lay down on my bed and cried.
The next morning, I came to an important decision. I would make a completely fresh start, leave London and return to my childhood home in Manchester. I still owned my grandparents' house there, a detached mansion in large grounds. It had been rented out, but the tenants were due to leave in a few weeks. I would live there and rent out my house; with that rent and the substantial sum of money I had inherited, I could live comfortably for a while even if I couldn't get a job immediately. My parents both had relatives in Manchester; I could track them and maybe some old schoolfriends down and even if they weren't interested in me I could surely make new friends.
So a few weeks later, in late autumn, I was on a train to Manchester with a one-way ticket. I had told nobody where I was going. The estate agents had found a tenant; they would collect the rent and put it in my bank account. They knew my hotmail account if they needed me. As for my friends, maybe I'd contact one or two of them in a few months, but at present I was just disappearing, with the last ten years of my life, in a puff of smoke.
The move went well. I wasn't in a hurry to look for a job, so had plenty of time on my hands. In the first few days I started to explore the neighbourhood, taking long walks round the narrow side streets. Just a week later, just after it had got dark, I was walking down an alley when I saw two burly men walking abreast towards me. They were both wearing hooded jackets, their faces concealed by the hoods and the darkness. I slowed down, wondering how I'd get past them. Footsteps sounded behind me, and suddenly a leather-gloved hand grasped my face tightly. The thumb and forefinger pinched my nose while the palm covered my mouth, silencing me. An arm went round my throat and squeezed, nearly choking me. I panicked, and frantically clawed at the strong arms trapping me and kicked out behind me.
The two men in front reached me. "Calm down and you won't get hurt," said one. They grabbed my arms and handcuffed them, then put manacles on my ankles. By now, I was hysterical and paralysed by fright, not to mention nearly suffocating. I was completely unable to resist them as they picked me up and put me in the back of a van parked further down the alley. Two of them got in with me, while the third slammed the doors, then climbed in the front and drove off.
The two men sat on me. I tried to scream, but they stuffed a dirty rag in my mouth and fastened it in with a tight strap. Then they blindfolded me. I had no idea how long I was in that van or where we went; all I could do as I gradually calmed down slightly was wonder what they wanted to do with me. I realised that nobody would notice I was missing. My grandparents' house was quite isolated so the neighbours would probably notice nothing amiss, and there was nobody else who would know or care.
Eventually, we stopped. I was lifted out and carried some distance. Then I was dropped on a hard floor. A door slammed behind me and I heard the sound of the door being bolted.
I managed to remove my blindfold, but it did me no good as the cupboard I was in was pitch dark. There seemed to be nothing in it but me, and it was so small I could hardly move. The door was immovably solid. I got rid of the gag too, but there seemed no point in shouting. No doubt I was somewhere where nobody but my captors could hear me. I could not remove the handcuffs or manacles. All I could do was make myself as comfortable as I could. With no room to stretch out on that hard floor, I curled up and eventually dropped off to troubled sleep.
The door being opened woke me up. There were three girls there, all about my age and wearing white blouses, striped ties and pleated skirts, looking just like schoolgirls. "Come on Wendy, the headmaster wants to see you immediately," said the tallest one.
"Who ... what ..." I said sleepily. They dragged me out of the cupboard.
"Don't answer back, just come," said the girl. Handcuffed and manacled as I was, I could scarcely resist the three of them as they marched me down a long corridor with a tiled floor and panelled in dark wood, and stopped me in front of a large door with "Headmaster" written on it in large gold letters. One of the girls knocked diffidently on the door.
"Come in," boomed a deep voice. The girls opened the door and ushered me in. The room was panelled in the same dark wood, but it had a thick carpet. A large man in a smart pinstripe suit sat in an expensive leather chair behind a large desk.
"Welcome to The School, Wendy," he said with a warm smile.
"But ... but ... I don't want to be here. Let me go!" I shouted.
"Silence, Wendy," he said sternly. "You're in The School and you'll do what you're told. And always call me Sir."
So all these people were acting like it was a school and the girls were schoolgirls. What sort of crazies had abducted me?
"But I'm too old for school ... Sir, I'm 23 and left school five years ago," I said in as normal a voice as I could muster, doing my best not to annoy him.
"Nonsense Wendy, you're not nearly ready to look after yourself." The headmaster was back to having a warm smile. "We have a team round at your house now who'll take control of your bank account, rent out your house and control your finances while we look after you here until we think you're ready to leave."
I bit my lip. Yes, they had my handbag with my keys. With my carelessness I had no doubt I'd left enough information lying around for a clever intruder to find the passwords to my Internet account. Unless and until I escaped, they could do what they liked with me and my property. I'd just have to play along with their weird fantasies and try to escape.
"How ... how many other pupils are here ... Sir?" I asked hesitantly. Get as much information as I can to help me.
"About fifty girls," he said. I should explain that all the others are prefects. So of course you'll do what they tell you. And if you come and tell me something that contradicts what a prefect tells me, you know who I'll believe."
Madder and madder! Fifty prefects and me. And I expected there'd be teachers too, but I didn't have the courage to ask anything more just yet.
The other girls went and stood between me and the door while the headmaster took out a bunch of keys and removed my handcuffs and manacles. Four against one - no chance of escape yet.
"Now, you must change into your uniform," he said, waving at a pile of clothes folded up on a chair.
"What, here?" I said, startled.
"Certainly, here, and the next time you don't call me Sir I'll cane you," he replied.
I slowly stripped off down to my underwear.
"Underwear too," cam the stern voice.
"Yes ... Sir," I said slowly as I reluctantly removed my bra and panties. I quickly put on a pair of dark green cotton knickers that came up to my waist. They were a size too small. "Please, Sir, there's no bra."
"Don't be silly, you're too young to have a bra. Now hurry up."
The white blouse was cut in a way that seemed designed to emphasise my braless breasts, fitting very snugly over them. It was accompanied by a navy blue pleated skirt, barely long enough to cover the knickers, white knee-length socks, black low-heeled lace-up shoes and a striped tie. Wearing them, I felt like I was fourteen again. The shoes were very uncomfortable; it would be painful to run in them, or walk any great distance. Maybe that was deliberate, to make it harder for me to escape.
"The cost of the uniform will of course come out of your bank account," explained the headmaster. "These old clothes and the ones in your house will be given to charity. You'll only wear a uniform now."
I was seething with rage but frightened to say anything. I was paying for all this!
"Now, Wendy, just so you'll know what will happen if you're naughty, I'm going to cane you." Before I knew what was happening, the three girls had grabbed me and bent me over a chair. My bottom waved in the air, doubtless showing off my knickers. The headmaster flipped up my little skirt and pulled my knickers down to my knees. While the girls held me, he picked up a cane. Swish!
"Ow," I yelled, as the cane cracked onto my bare bottom.
"In future, Wendy, if you don't accept a stroke in silence it doesn't count. I'll let you off just this once, so only five more to go."
Somehow I managed to stay silent as he gave me five really painful strokes on my bottom. When he had finished, one of the girls got a jar of cream and rubbed some on my bottom. It stung!
"No," she said, seeing my discomfort, "this isn't meant to soothe you. It's part of the punishment; it stings for ages. Now stand up and pull up your clothes."
I pulled up my knickers and straightened my skirt, trying to ignore the stinging in my bottom.
"Now girls, take Wendy to breakfast," said the headmaster.
"Yes, Sir," they said, and led me out of the door.
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