Maggie watched Karen sleep contentedly in the bed on the other side of the room. Sher slept on her stomach, Maggie noted, but didn’t seem otherwise bothered by the events of the evening. If anything she seemed more relaxed than she had in the last few weeks. As her roommate, Maggie had become accustomed to Karen’s nocturnal mumblings and jolts, but tonight she barely moved as she slept with an occasional soft purr that was the only sign of life. Now that she thought about it, Maggie realized Karen had always seemed more relaxed after visiting Uncle Jack.
Karen’s visits to him had been going on since early in her second year at Michigan Tech. As they had been randomly assigned first-year roommates and the only two female students in their class of electrical engineers, they became instant friends and it was no question that they would continue to live together throughout their college careers.
Maggie remembered Karen’s struggles the first few months. She couldn’t count the number of times she’d come back to their room to find her in tears trying to work through an assignment before the next morning’s deadline. Karen’s discipline had certainly improved the next semester, and, knowing what Maggie did now about her arrangement with Uncle Jack, it was certainly no surprise.
Karen had managed to keep it quiet for most of the first semester, but as roommates it was inevitable that Maggie walked in on her changing with clear signs of Uncle Jack’s mentoring on display. Marveling at the marks on her roommate’s bottom, Maggie had asked about them before her verbal filter could kick in to block the sensitive question. Karen had been embarrassed for sure, but realized that this wasn’t something she could hide from the woman with whom she shared a room. The story came out slowly in bits and pieces and blushes. Uncle Jack was not an uncle at all, nor any kind of blood relative. He was a person she met on the internet for this exact purpose. Maggie had to admit she was a little frightened by what she saw when, once Karen had left for a study session, she had looked up the site Karen had used to find him. The shock wasn’t quite enough quash her growing interest, though. A few days later, she cautiously brought up the subject with Karen again. Perhaps because the ice had already been broken, or maybe because she recognized her own need to discuss the subject, Karen had been much more comfortable and was more than happy to answer her questions.
It had felt rather odd, talking about a very personal and rather taboo topic in a relatively quiet corner of the MUB that evening over dinner, but Karen’s approach to the subject didn’t seem all that different from her approach to a typical homework assignment, other than not needing the pressure of a due date to get started. She had discussed the whole process of finding, meeting, and being mentored by Jack as if it had been some sort of lab experiment she had carefully planned out and conducted. Any passing listeners could hardly have guessed the nature of the topic from her tone, though if any of them had listened for more than a few seconds to the content of the conversation Maggie wasn’t quite sure what they would have made of it.
Even though Maggie had been intrigued, she wasn’t quite prepared for the invitation Karen extended to join her for visit Uncle Jack the a few weeks later. Karen had made it clear that nothing was expected of her, but that meeting him might give her a chance to ask questions more directly and hear the other side of the story if she were interested. Maggie had accepted without much hesitation, but had tossed and turned in her sleep every night that followed. What little sleep she managed to get was filled with frightening and fascinating dreams tinted with things she had recently read.
He lived in a log cabin. As in an actual cabin made from logs. Maggie was rather apprehensive as it came into sight. Karen had mentioned that it was a rather rustic place, but she had always assumed that was a relative term. Waiting on the front step, Uncle Jack fit the cabin perfectly. He wore only a long-sleeved flannel shirt and jeans, but seemed perfectly comfortable in the brisk air of early March. Setting down his bottle of Sprecher stout, he stood up and smiled warmly as they got out of the car and approached the house with their bags.
Inside, the cabin smelled of woodsmoke and pine, and Maggie was delighted to see that the interior was sufficiently modern; at least there was electricity and running water, if not with the sort of décor Maggie was accustomed to back home out east. The place felt more like a temporary hunting lodge than a permanent home, with a rather spartan feel and far too may bits of animals tacked to the walls for a vegetarian’s comfort. Still, the place clearly fit Jack and it was clear that he felt comfortable there. Dinner was as warm and hardy as his welcoming hugs, and Maggie quickly felt at home despite her initial qualms. Jack had prepared a venison stew, but had set aside a meatless pot for Maggie without comment or ceremony. By the time dinner had finished, he had won her approval for both his tact and culinary expertise.
After finishing with the dishes, Karen and Jack had quietly disappeared outside to an actual woodshed to have the sort of discussion that Karen had told her of. Maggie had started to follow them, but Jack had told her to calm down and wait in the house. “There will be plenty of time tomorrow,” Jack had said. “Why don’t you settle in and get some sleep. We’ll have a chat, a real chat with just words, in the morning and get to know each other a bit before you decide if you want to follow in Karen’s footsteps here. It’s a lot to take in and I don’t want to rush you.”
Maggie had been grateful at the time, though now as she tried to sleep she wished he had just gotten it over with. The last two weeks had given her plenty of time to think this through. She wasn’t about to change her mind now, she thought, not after making it all the way out here without losing her nerve. Still, although the butterflies in her stomach had been sedated slightly when he had given her the temporary pardon, they had now grown into birds as she nervously anticipated the next day’s conversation.
Noting the soft light spilling through the crack under the door and assuming it meant Jack was still awake, she threw back the blankets and headed downstairs, not quite knowing what she was looking for.
She shivered as she crept down the cold, bare wooden stairs, feeling like she had when she was five and went to seek the comfort of her parents’ arms after bedtime when she’d had nightmares. The feeling in her tummy now was similar, though from an entirely different kind of fear. It wasn’t that she was afraid the monsters would get her. She was afraid that they wouldn’t.
She found Jack watching television in the den, just as her parents always were on such occasions, she remembered with an odd feeling of deja vu.
Looking up, Jack noticed her at the foot of the stairs and muted the television. “Sorry, am I keeping you up? No bother at all. I have plenty of more quiet things to be getting on with,” he said as he flicked off the TV and picked up a tattered paperback from the end table.
“No. . .it’s not that. It’s just. . .” Maggie twiddled with the hem of her nightshirt uncertain as to how to continue.
“Come here and sit down,” Jack said with a smile, patting the cushion next to him.
Grateful that he was taking the lead, Maggie scampered over to him and settled in. Seeing her shivering slightly, Jack reached over and grabbed an afghan off a nearby char and gently wrapped it around her. Before she could second guess her actions, she snuggled up close to him. Jack draped an arm around her in a semi hug and prompted, “So, what brings you down here at this hour? It must be far past your bedtime.”
Maggie giggled a little, thinking back on all the late nights at school and wondering why she had ever resisted having a bedtime. In hindsight, it seemed almost a luxury to know the day would end at a specified time and any unfinished games would simply wait for the morning. It occurred to her that the same logic still applied, though it would be several more years before she could put this into practice.
“I couldn’t seep,” Maggie started.
“That would seem obvious, unless you’re quite the accomplished sleepwalker.” Maggie could almost hear the smirk in his voice.
“Well, yes. It’s just. . . I can’t stop thinking about what you did to Karen. I mean, what you do with Karen. What you and Karen do. I don’t think I want to wait until tomorrow.” Maggie looked up at him, hoping he would catch her drift and not make her ask in any greater detail.
“I see,” Uncle Jack looked down at her kindly. “You’ve given this a great deal of thought already haven’t you?” Maggie nodded but remained silent so he continued, “I was a little worried when she asked if she could bring you along. I wasn’t sure how much you knew or what you were looking for.”
“I think I’m looking for the same thing she is. We’re really very similar, I think. I’ve noticed she seems much more motivated, more disciplined, since she started coming here. . .” Maggie trailed off again.
“I figured as much,” Jack replied, “but why tonight? As I said, there will be plenty of time tomorrow.”
“But I don’t know if I’ll go through with it tomorrow.”
“I would think that’s all the more reason to wait,” Jack said gently, hugging her a bit closer. “I’m not going anywhere, and there’s no need to rush into anything. Get some sleep and we can talk.”
Maggie almost laughed, but in her nervous attempt to stifle it, it came out sounding more like a snort. “I haven’t been able to sleep since I decided to come here. I don’t know why tonight would be any different. I know this is something that I want to do but I’m worried I’ll talk myself out of it. I haven’t yet. I made it here, but I wish I didn’t have to worry about that.”
“Very well. I guess I could give you a quick introduction tonight.” Jack hugged into her one last time before removing his arm from around her shoulders, taking the afghan with it. She shivered in the sudden rush of cold air as he shifted over and sat straighter on the couch. “Best get over my knee if you’re determined to get on with this tonight.”
“But won’t we wake Karen?” Maggie asked anxiously as she rubbed her arms to stave off the chill. She was concerned, though to be honest with herself it wasn’t her friend’s sleep patterns that topped her list of worries at that moment.
“If you’re already cold in here there’s no chance of us getting out to the woodshed. I’m sure she’s sleeping soundly. Besides, she knew what could happen when she brought you here. If we happen to wake her, she’ll understand.”
Realizing, just as Karen had, that this wasn’t something one could hide from a roommate, Maggie slowly nodded and positioned herself across Jack’s lap. She tried to relax, but knew from experience over the last week or so that it was a losing battle.
Without further ceremony, Jack gave her a firm swat on the seat of her pajamas, quickly followed by another on the opposite side. He continued until she started to squirm, at which point he stopped and rested his hand on her back.
“Do you still want to go through with this?” he asked.
“I thought this was going through with it?” Maggie choked out.
“How adorable,” Jack chuckled. “I did say this was a brief introduction, but I had a quite a bit more in mind than this. Do you still want to continue?”
“Yes, sir,” Maggie’s response was barely audible as she began to realize what she had gotten herself into.
She felt his hand shift to her waistband. She shivered yet again as he drew down ber pajamas and underwear. Although she hadn’t anticipated this development, she lifted her hips a bit to help lest he think she had changed her mind.
Just as before, he began spanking without any further conversation. The slaps bit harder now, and Maggie began to struggle on his lap. His strong left arm kept her firmly in place, though she wasn’t quite trying to escape in earnest. She tried to remain quiet, telling herself that she was concerned about the sleeping Karen upstairs (as if the sound of the slaps alone wasn’t enough to wake her), but also afraid that Jack would head her protests and bring the spanking to a close before he had intended to do so. Soon, however, she was unable to keep from emitting little yelps and realized that both of these concerns were unfounded. There was no chance that Karen, or anyone else in the neighborhood, it seemed, would be able to sleep thorough this, and Jack certainly was showing no sign of stopping anytime soon.
She began crying softly well before the slaps transitioned into soothing strokes as Jack sat her up on his lap and hugged her close. If not for the cold, she could have easily fallen asleep on his shoulder.
Once she had calmed down, Jack helped her to her feet. “Better get to bed. This was a brief introduction, so don’t think this will get you out of our discussion tomorrow,” Jack winked at her as he dismissed her to her bedroom.
Slipping back into bed, she could tell from Karen’s breathing that she was awake but mercifully feigning sleep. Grateful, Maggie slid carefully back into her own bed and rolled over. There would be plenty to discuss in the morning, but for the time being she was more than happy to get some sleep, her first good night’s sleep in what felt like forever, and mull things over on her own. They would all no doubt sit down to an unusually deep converation over breakfast. Maggie’s last though before drifting off to sleep was that, at the moment, she was less worried about the conversation part than the simple thought of sitting down at breakfast.