This story was written for the 2010 SSC (Short Story Contest). It was inspired by the following picture. Go on, play along.
Copyright 2010 to mijita (AT) the treehouse (DOT) net . Please respect this copyright. Don’t distribute or archive this story in any way except for personal use without explicit permission. No, it’s not in the public domain. Ask first, okay? Thanks.
A shout startled the daydreaming girl from her novel.
“Fairfield, what are you about?”
Fiona (aka Fairfield) looked up, annoyed. A pair of navy wool knickers were being shaken in her face.
“I’m not sure what you mean, Miss” said the girl resentfully.
“These knickers, *your* knickers, are shredded. Clearly you took a shortcut on your run.”
“Only once. I–I got lost. I’ll write to my mother — she’ll send me a new pair by return post.”
The matron drew herself up as her annoyance visibly increased.
“No you won’t. Bad enough cheating, but as our headmistress made it quite clear at the start of the term, we are *all* were expected to conserve and ration as part of the war effort.”
“But I can’t do gym without knickers,” replied Fiona, sounding hopeful. Perhaps she would be excused gym.
“Right. And so,” said the older woman, thrusting out a sewing basket “you will give up your free time until each of the tears is properly darned. And remember you have gym class Monday morning.”
As the older woman sailed from the room, the sixteen-year-old eyed the basket with disdain. Fiona hated sewing and darning. Further, it was Friday evening and she’d looked forward all week to finishing her book. With a sigh she examined the long tears in her tattered knickers before opening the basket.
Inside were slim darning needles threaded with several rows of wool stitching, a perfect darn. Perfect save the color.
“Fairfield! What are you wearing?”
Fiona looked up at the games mistress, sulking.
“Matron had me mend my knickers, Miss.”
“I doubt she had you mend them in red, but be sure I will ask. Now stand forth and touch your toes.”
The girl felt the eyes of her classmates burning into her as she stepped forward and bent over. At least one classmate giggled. Her pleated games skirt rose. Tears pricked the corners of Fiona’s eyes as the slipper thudded into her darned knickers, once, twice…
Fiona’s bottom still ached as she stood in Matron’s study. The woman’s face flushed as she examined the knickers.
“What a lazy sneak you are! Fairfield, these knickers are truly ruined; they’ll have to be replaced.”
Nervous as she was, Fairfield couldn’t help but feel pleased there’d be no more darning. Unfortunately she couldn’t keep the delight from her voice.
“Sorry Matron. I’ll write to my mother tonight.”
Matron eyed the girl grimly, making Fiona blush.
“Well you should be, and will be when I finish with you. Have you forgotten clothing is rationed, you horrible girl?”
Fiona felt hot with fear and embarrassment, anxiety rising. She was unable to say anything as the matron removed a heavy wooden hairbrush from her side table.
“If only your mother had spanked you longer and harder I dare say you’d be more responsible and considerate. Knickers down and across my knee, Fairfield.”
The matron raised the brush and continued.
“Think of this as me doing *my* part for the war effort.”
Category: A Picture is Worth 500 Words (Your Ration Book*)
Word Count: 500
(*Note: I didn’t notice until after I’d written the story that the ration book in the picture is for food rather than clothing. Doh!)