Warning: This is not a nice story.
This story contains extensive sexual content — what with it being porn and all — and is not to be read by readers who are under 18, or who do not want to read adult material. In addition, this story contains content that some people may find disturbing, including references to non-consensual sex. If you don’t like that sort of thing, please don’t read it.
But if you’re a sick fuck like me — enjoy!
Penitence as a Perpetual Motion Machine
by Greta Christina
(Originally published in Fishnet)
“I’m here to see Sister Catherine.”
“Yes. It’s nice to see you again, Mary. Please have a seat. Catherine has just finished up with another — visitor. Why don’t we take care of business now. She’ll be with you in a moment.”
Mary Elizabeth nods. She hands the woman behind the desk four hundred dollars in cash, and sits, keeping her coat on and her purse clutched in her lap. She tries not to look at the lobby: the garish red and black decor, the velveteen curtains tied back with steel chains, the worn spot on the black leather sofa. It makes it harder for her to think of this the way she needs to think of it. She sits, and stares at her knuckles gripping the handle of her purse, and waits.
“Mary Elizabeth. Please come in.”
Catherine has stepped into the lobby. She is dressed, as always for their meetings, in a modified modern habit: the knee-length gray dress, the heavy hose and sensible shoes, the small, unimposing wimple. She has carefully wiped all traces of makeup from her face.
She takes Mary Elizabeth by the hand, and leads her to the now-familiar room, the one fitted up like a schoolroom. An office or rectory would have been better, but this was the closest they had.
“Sit down, Mary. We have to have a difficult conversation.”
Mary Elizabeth — formerly Sister Mary Elizabeth — left the convent a little over two years ago. She left, more in need of penance than when she arrived. She left, unwilling to let the Church ever tell her a blessed thing about right and wrong again. She left, desperately needing somebody to tell her that she has done wrong, and to administer justice for it. So she comes here.
At Sister Catherine’s gesture, she sets down her purse and takes off her navy blue coat. She is dressed, as always for their meetings, in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform. A real one, ordered from one of her own convent’s suppliers, the ones for the older girls fit her awkwardly but adequately. She sits, her hands behind her back, shaking. Knowing, in a general way, what is about to come, and being terrified of it anyway. Not knowing, specifically, what is to come, and being more terrified of that. Sister Catherine begins.
“So, Mary. I think you know what we’re here about. The incident at school yesterday. One of the girls was badly hurt. I know that you weren’t one of the main girls involved, but I know you were there, and you didn’t stop it, or tell any of the sisters or fathers about it. This is a serious matter. Two other girls have been expelled, they may even be arrested. But you have a good record, and you weren’t as deeply involved, so I have persuaded Father Dominic to let you stay on, with a less severe sentence. I have told him that I would handle your penance.
“We will start simply. Bend over this desk. Raise your skirt, and lower your drawers.”
All of this part is scripted. All of this part — the lecture, the position, the implement — is the same every time. The content of the lecture isn’t perfect, but it’s the closest she could come to what really happened without saying too much. It took Mary some time to find a… professional… who was willing to work with a script, even a short one. But Sister Catherine seems to have some genuine affinity for the script. She says the lines with passion and intensity; she wields the implement with grim determination. And Sister Catherine seems also to appreciate the free hand that she has with Mary once the scripted part is completed. Sometimes, she seems to appreciate it rather too much. Mary always pays for two hours: the scripted part is usually over in twenty minutes. Sister Catherine never has trouble filling the rest of the time.
Mary complies at once with the instructions. She is praying that it won’t be too hard. But she is also, deep in her mind, praying that it will be. She is thanking God that she was caught. She is wracked with guilt over her crime, and the guilt is stronger than the fear. She immediately bends over the desk and raises her skirt to her waist. She lowers her underwear, more slowly, reluctantly: still, after all these times, feeling the shame rise up in her body with the lowering of the fabric and the revelation of her naked flesh. When her underwear has finally been lowered, she stretches across the desk and clutches the edge… praying that the punishment will be hard, viciously hard, unbearably hard, so her guilt will be cleansed, and she won’t have to feel the way she feels.
The first stroke of the cane lands on her bared bottom like the fires of Judgment. Mary screams. She always thinks she’ll be ready for this, and she never, ever is. Her scream seems to inspire Sister Catherine to greater wrath, and the next blow lands harder.
She has asked Sister Catherine never to tell her how many lashes she’s going to get. If she knows how many, she knows she’ll hang to the last one like a life raft. She doesn’t want to do that. She needs to drown. She needs the pain to feel like it might never end. Sister Catherine is happy to oblige. She is happy to let the rising pitch of Mary’s screams be a signal, not that she should slow down, but that she should turn up the volume.
It works. The guilt begins, ever so slightly, to break up inside her. The first lash on her naked backside breaks off a piece of her guilt, like a chunk of ice breaking off a glacier; the lashes that follow crush that chunk into smaller and smaller pieces: pieces that are small enough to melt and spill out of her body.
It works. But there’s an obstacle: an obstacle that arises every time she lowers her panties to receive Sister Catherine’s judgment. An obstacle she should have expected, given her history, but one that she nevertheless doesn’t how to handle.
The obstacle is that, on the days before she meets with Sister Catherine, she is filled with a gruesome excitement. She remembers or imagines the lash of Catherine’s cane; she remembers or imagines her helplessness and shame, her position bent over the desk with her backside exposed, the other — things — that Sister Catherine has made her do… and she touches herself. She imagines the things she’s afraid Sister Catherine might make her do next timeâŠ and she touches herself. She touches herself, until she finds release. On the rare occasions that Sister Catherine has forced her to masturbate as part of her penance, she has obeyed, with a familiarity and a lack of reticence that she knows must be a dead giveaway.
All of which means that now, she has something new to feel guilty about.
So even as her old guilt is being demolished by Sister Catherine’s blistering justice, new guilt is building up behind it. And so she has to keep coming back. For weeks, months. Perhaps for years. She doesn’t know yet where this is going, or how it will end.
Penitence as planned obsolescence. Penitence as a fraudulent physician who makes his patients sick so he can keep treating them. Penitence as a perpetual motion machine.
The storm finally breaks. Sister Catherine has beaten Mary Elizabeth through her screams, through her hysteria, through her frantic clawing and pounding on the desk. She has beaten Mary Elizabeth until hellish red welts rose up out of her backside, and has then echoed those marks on the backs of her thighs, and has then repeated the theme of merciless justice, with variations, back on her backside again.
But she seems to have received an invisible signal, and has finally set down the cane, and is standing behind Mary, considering. Mary tries to catch her breath, clutching the far side of the desk, feeling the criss-cross of welts rising up out of her flesh like an alphabet of scarlet letters, advertising her shame to the world. She tries to catch her breath, tries to feel relief at the brief respite. She tries not to feel dread. She tries not to feel the other things she feels when she thinks about this. The scripted part, the familiar part, is over. The unknown part is coming up.
“And now,” Sister Catherine says, “we will move on.”
Her voice has changed. The solemn voice of disappointment and censure is gone, and has become gleefully sinister. The voice of the Wicked Witch crowing over her beautiful wickedness. The voice that speaks, not of justice, but of malice. The voice that Mary replays in her head when she touches herself.
Mary is beginning to think that Sister Catherine has figured out the truth. Or has figured out something that’s close to the truth. The standard punishments have been growing more severe; the improvised punishments have been growing more… imaginative. In recent months, Mary has had to lie on her back with her legs parted, and say ten Hail Marys while Sister Catherine whipped her between her legs. She has had to lie face down on the floor and lick Sister Catherine’s shoes, with her skirt still raised and her drawers removed and her legs opened wide, while Sister Catherine flicked her between the cheeks of her backside with something slim and vicious, and told her this was where bad girls had to be punished. She has had to put her body into positions of indignity and gross obscenity, and has then had to beg Sister Catherine to chastise her again in each new position. She has had to drink two quarts of water, and then let Sister Catherine cane her again until she wet herself. She has had to administer fellatio to this… thing, an object shaped like a phallus but with an image of Christ on the cross molded on the surface in relief. She had to flick the tip of her tongue rapidly up and down Christ’s body, and tell him how sorry she was for being wicked and adding to his suffering, and then thrust the profane object deep down her throat… while Sister Catherine traced the welts on her backside with a sharp fingernail, and murmured a stream of obscenities into her ear.
She has allowed all of it to happen.
Because she knows what she did.
She never did any of it herself. But she knew. She had even, on a few occasions, been in the room when the incidents began. And been ordered out of the room before they were completed. Twice, she had been ordered to assist: to pin down a pair of struggling hands, or hold her hand over a screaming mouth, while the incidents happened from behind. Those were two of the times that she was asked to leave the room: times that she knew the incidents were going to continue, and were going to get worse, after she left.
She had known. She had even seen it, some of it. And she hadn’t tried to stop it, or told anybody.
So this seems like justice.
“Stay in place,” Sister Catherine says. “We’re going to move forward now.”
Mary hears stirring behind her. She tries not to imagine what is happening, what is being prepared for her. Then she feels it. Something hard, and cold, and slippery, being pressed against the opening between her legs.
Over the weeks and months, Sister Catherine has done unspeakable things to her. She has trespassed almost every law of human decency that Mary could imagine, and many that Mary had never known existed. But she has always stayed within the boundaries of the house rules, and of the law. Mary can’t find her voice, but she shakes her head fiercely. No. Not this. Sister Catherine stops, and speaks.
“Do you think this is unfair?” she sneers. “Really? Given your crimes, given the things that you did — and the things that you failed to do — do you really and truly consider this an unfair punishment?”
The guilt rises up in Mary’s belly. The old guilt, the one that has yet to be broken into pieces, the one that sits like a glacier in her heart. She shakes her head again. No. She cannot say that this is unfair. It is a violation, it is a breach of trust, it is a flagrant abuse of an unspoken but clearly understood agreement. But it is not unjust. It is entirely, perfectly just.
She begins to cry as the object is pushed into her vagina.
It is certainly not how she had imagined her first time. For years, of course, she thought she would never have a first time; since she left the convent, she has begun to imagine the possibility. But this is not how she imagined it: bent over a desk, her clothes in disarray, her bare backside marked with vicious welts, weeping in pain and shame. It is entirely just. She lets the justice fill her, lets herself feel the enormity of her guilt, and the completely appropriate justice of what is happening to her. The object is hard and smooth, like plastic: it hurt when it first went in, but now it slides smoothly in and out, with no resistance.
“This is what happens to bad girls,” Sister Catherine says through gritted teeth. “Bad girls have to let things be put inside them. Bad girls have to let themselves be touched in bad places, in ways they don’t like. Bad girls have to let their bodies be invaded and used by people who have power over them.” Her voice has changed again. It is no longer solemn and punitive, nor is it gleefully sinister. It is a voice of quiet, carefully controlled rage. The object twists inside Mary at a savage angle. She flinches, and screams. She doesn’t protest. She digs her fingers into the edge of the desk, and keeps as still as she can, and holds herself in place for her punishment.
“And bad girls,” Sister Catherine says, “have to be made to feel things they don’t want to feel.” She slides the object out of Mary’s vagina, and begins stroking her clitoris with it. Mary is aghast. She feels the way she did the time Sister Catherine made her drink the water and then beat her until she peed. She feels like she is going to burst, like she can’t possibly allow herself do what she knows she will inevitably have to do. The object pushes back into her vagina, filling her anew with helplessness and humiliation; it then slides out and over her clitoris again, filling her with a different helplessness and humiliation, as she bucks her hips and rubs herself desperately against the object. The last strut on her self-control collapses, and the dam breaks. Her climax is forced into her body, and she receives it with shame and a desperate hope for forgiveness, as if her orgasm were the cane beating her backside, or the plastic object being pushed inside her.
Sister Catherine keeps swirling the object in slow circles on Mary’s clitoris, until every last shudder has been forced out of Mary’s body. She holds it in place for a minute longer, making Mary continue to feel it as she returns to reality. Then she sets it on the desk, and rests her hand on the small of Mary’s back.
“I’m sorry I had to do that,” she says. “But you had to learn.” She always says this at the end of a punishment. She usually says it snarkily, the cruel voice pretending to be punitive. This time, she sounds like she means it.
“I know,” Mary replies. “I am so sorry. You have no idea — I am so sorry. Please forgive me.”
Catherine shakes her head. “It’s not up to me to forgive. It’s my job to make you feel repentance. Forgiveness is up to somebody else.”
Mary nods, and wipes her eyes with the back of her hand. They stay in place for a long time, quietly. Finally Catherine pulls Mary’s underwear back up, and pulls her skirt back down.
“So, I’ll see you again next month? So we can continue your discipline?” Normally, Sister Catherine issues these words as a statement. A command, even. I’ll see you again next month, so we can continue your discipline. This time, she asks, a bit tentatively.
Mary stays silent, praying for guidance. She is now more uncertain than ever about where this is going, or how it will end. This is taking a strange direction, a disturbing direction, leading to places she’s frightened of, and to people she’s not sure she wants to meet… or become.
But she knows she’s not finished.
“Yes, Sister,” she says, as she always does. “I’ll be here when you say, to accept whatever discipline you consider necessary.” She says the words “whatever discipline” with unusual emphasis.
“Good,” Catherine says. She walks in front of Mary, still bent over the desk. She hands Mary a business card and puts her fingers over her lips.
“This is my home number,” she murmurs under her breath. “Meet me there next week.”
Mary nods, her face still wet. She fingers the card like a rosary. “Yes, Catherine. I’ll go wherever you say.”