Chapter 13, like the first twelve chapters, is total fiction, as are all the characters in it.
I always say it: `Please don't try the punishment at home guys' – especially this chapter's variety.
Thanks to those who wrote to say that they enjoyed Chapters 1 to 12.
I'm always glad to hear of any suggestions that you might have for future chapters.
What am I doing here? This shouldn't be happening, but it's no dream. I'm strung up by my wrists, hanging from the cross member of the whipping posts. Only my bare toes are touching the ground and my claves are knotted and agonised as they strain to carry my weight.
The only thing that I wear is my thin cotton trousers since my shirt was torn from my body by the evil intentioned Tom.
It's so hot in the blistering sun, and the sweat is running down my chest and back and staining my pants. The sweat is more to do with what they are threatening to do to me than the heat.
I can't fully comprehend what they are proposing, or maybe I just don't want to believe it. Things like this just don't happen in this new enlightened age. Sure I'd heard stories passed down from the older ones on the plantation where I'd always lived, and I'd even seen an old man's scarred back. They said that he'd been bullwhipped a dozen times as a young man, but that was long before I was born. I'd never witnessed a whipping in my lifetime and I'm eighteen. It must be at least fifteen, or maybe twenty years since our plantation's whipping posts had a boy hanging from them as I am now.
My Master is a good and honourable man who expects loyalty and hard work from his men and women, but he is also progressive. Everyone knows that there are people who are trying to end our enslavement and there are new laws that help protect us.
The Master will always be our boss-man and he is always treated with absolute respect by us all and we always try to obey the rules.
I've grown up with the Master's son Joey as we were born the same week. We played together as children and we grew up almost like brothers despite our different status on the plantation. Sure, he went to school and I went to the fields to work, but every day we'd meet up afterwards and do what all kids do, enjoying the simple things in life together.
I'd lost my ma when I was small – she passed away giving birth to my brother Billy. When my pa also died after he contracted some form of complication linked to a snake-bite, the Master's wife looked after Billy and me and she ensured that we were brought up well, and she taught us right from wrong.
When we were bad, we'd be wupped on our butts by one of our own elders and we soon learned respect. Even Joey got the same wuppin' as me and Billy, and we all accepted it as it was always justified and we soon got over the treatment.
So how did I get here in this situation?
It's a simple story - Joey has been secretly teaching me to read for years. He and the Master's wife had read to me throughout my younger days, telling me stories of the past and about how the rich folks lived. I was enthralled and fascinated, and I absorbed the stories like a sponge.
Unbeknown to his mother, Joey had begun to show me how to read when we were thirteen. He taught me how to recognise the letters and simple words and he began to see it as a challenge to get me to read simple parts of his school books.
We knew that we had to be discreet because even at just thirteen, and in the relatively relaxed mood of the day, we knew that slaves couldn't, by law, have access to books, let alone be taught to read. The fear was that with education, we'd get ideas and start to make trouble.
My Master knew nothing about Joey teaching me to read, but I suspect that both he and the mistress knew that I had some rudimentary knowledge as they always left picture books scattered around the house when I did my chores.
Two years ago when I was sixteen, and my brother Billy was twelve, I discreetly told him the secret that I could read. He begged me to teach him too, and from then on I started to show him some of what I had learned from Joey. We were very careful to keep our activities very quiet and we never got a book out from under the floor till late at night...that is, until today.
My Master and his wife have been away all week attending a big wedding in the city.
Joey was left at home to watch the big house and manage the plantation. Now he's eighteen, like me, he is increasingly taking on more responsibility from his father. He also has his cousin Tom with him who is fifteen, a year older than Billy.
Tom doesn't like my kid brother as they'd fought once a couple of years back over some trivial matter and Billy had wupped Tom's arse despite being a year younger. Tom is a bully and he's always picked on the younger kids on the plantation.
Earlier this morning whist I was working in the fields, Tom had been sneakin' round our cabin and he'd seen Billy through the back window with the reading book that we always kept under the floorboards. Tom dashed immediately to tell Mr Fletcher what he'd seen. Mr Fletcher is our senior and most strict overseer, and they'd rushed into our cabin and caught Billy putting the book back under the floor. All hell was let loose, and Billy was slapped around and questioned about the book. He had protested that he'd just found it and he was keeping it safe `till he could give it back to Joey who `must have dropped it when he was going to school'. They didn't believe a word, and they accused Billy of lying.
By the time that word got to me in the fields and I'd dashed back to the cabin, Billy was on the floor crying and Mr Fletcher and Tom were shouting and threatening to thrash the truth out of him.
I grabbed Billy and tried to protect him and they then began to accuse me of knowing about the book. I said that I knew nothing and they pushed me aside and grabbed Billy. Tom told Mr Fletcher that they should lash the truth out of Billy's hide.
I had no choice but to tell them that I did know about the book and that I'd hidden it when young Master Joey had accidentally left it in our cabin after school. I told them that I liked lookin' at the pictures, and if anyone was to blame it was me, not Billy.
"Do you really like looking at books kid?" Mr Fletcher had asked me.
"Yes sir," I replied.
"Then I guess that you must love having that big, young back of yours whipped," he stated.
I was told to follow Mr Fletcher, and we left Billy crying on the floor.
I followed Mr Fletcher outside with Tom behind me. I was led here, to the big whippin' frame.
Mr Fletcher sent one of the men to get some rope and he told Tom to strip my shirt off ready.
Tom had smiled as he slowly unbuttoned my shirt from the top. He pulled it from my pants and then roughly dragged it from my shoulders leaving me bare and vulnerable.
Tom seemed to like what he saw and he gasped and looked long and hard at my big heaving chest. I could only think that they were just tryin' to frighten me, and that they surely wouldn't dream of whippin' me.
I know that I'm big and muscular for my age. My genetics and my life have contributed towards giving me a great physique. I know this from Joey who has always loved my muscles and he says that I've got the most fabulous body on the plantation. The girls often came to see me work and they'd embarrass me by commenting favourably about my chest and arms. They all love my big pecs and plump nips – Joey told me so.
Tom had walked round looking at me as I stood there stripped to the waist. He told me how much he was going to enjoy seeing my big back flayed. I was too scared to respond but I hate the monster.
The ropes were soon brought, and folks began to appear to see what was goin' on. Some of the older women cried out when they saw me stood shirtless under the whippin' frame.
Billy appeared and ran to me, crying for them to show mercy and let me go but Tom just laughed in his face and pushed him away. I shouted to Billy and told him to keep away.
Tom looked down at him laughin' and he told Billy that I was about to get the best whippin' that the plantation had seen in a generation.
Billy was dragged away and Tom brought the ropes to me. He laid them across my shoulders and stood back. He then slowly removed his own shirt. He was lean and fairly small, but for the first time ever, he looked quite buff as his nipples seemed to be standing erect and his chest was covered in sweat. The power that he had over me seemed to excite him.
He stepped towards me and roped each if my wrists then threw the ropes up and over the cross member of the frame.
A couple of Mr Fletcher's men grabbed the ropes and dragged my arms high in the air. Tom told `em to ensure my arms were stretched out so as my back was flared and presented proper' for the whippin'. They did that and they dragged me up onto my toes, which is how I got here and now.
My upper body is stretched and straining and my calves are knotted as they try to support my weight. I'm drippin' with sweat, but still believe that they are just trying to scare me.
"God no, don't do this sir, he's so beautiful," a woman shouts from somewhere in front.
"Nonsense, he knows the rules, and he'll take the appropriate punishment," answered Mr Fletcher.
"But he's just a boy," shouted another voice.
"He was eighteen last week so he's a man, and the laws say that he must be punished as a man," replied Mr Fletcher.
"But the Master wouldn't do this," said someone, "James is like a son to him."
"He has betrayed his Master, and anyway, I am in charge of all the slaves whilst the Master is away, and I will decide what happens to slaves who break the law," said Mr Fletcher.
"I thought that the Master had left Master Joey in charge?" shouted a man's voice.
"Master Joey will support the rule of law and we are all here to ensure that the Master's interests are looked after," was the reply.
I'm beginin' to think that they might be serious. Surely they won't actually whip me?
I notice that some of Mr Fletcher's men are stood around with guns.
Mr Fletcher is now directly in front of me.
"James, you have been here on this plantation all of your life haven't you?"
"Yes sir," I gag.
"And you have been educated to know right from wrong?"
"Yes sir," I agree.
"Do you understand that the law says that slaves shall not have books?"
"Yes sir, I know," I stutter.
"And do you accept that when Master Joey accidentally left the book, you should have gone and advised someone from the household so they could retrieve it?"
"I guess I should have known," I answer.
"You are a very big boy for your age James and your massive physique has been given to you by your Master's good food and hard work. Have you ever witnessed a slave being bullwhipped?"
"Oh Lordy," someone cries.
"Never sir," I answer.
"Then you will soon learn how bad it is," replied Mr Fletcher.
"Please have mercy on me sir?" I gasp.
"The punishment must fit the crime and it is written in the statute books," says Mr Fletcher. The Master would be liable for a fine of up to 500 dollars if word gets out to the authorities that one of his slaves has had a book in his keeping. Do you want the Master to be fined 500 dollars because of you James?"
"No sir," I have to answer.
"We must wait until Master Joey returns from town because his father's bullwhip is locked up in the study," stated Mr Fletcher.
I wonder what Joey will say when he arrives home. I'm certain that he will save me.
My arms ache, and the sun is so hot across my back.
"Whilst we wait for Master Joey, you can contemplate your fate," says Mr Fletcher.
I'm physically shaking and there's nothing that I can do to control it.
"According to the law James, any slave caught in possession of any literary article will be automatically sentenced to punishment. The punishment is to have his or her bare back bullwhipped. The statutory sentence is sixty-nine hard strokes of the bullwhip."
There were loud gasps and screams all around me and some women dropped to the floor.
I'm rigid with fear at what's being said and my shaking is worse.
Billy rushed in again and he grabbed at Mr Fletcher's ankles, begin' him not to whip me.
Mr Fletcher looked at him and looked around at the crowd of people. I notice some of the lads my age have taken off their own shirts and a couple are gently playing with their nipples. I'm embarrassed to see some of the girls my age who I often flirt with are here and they are wide eyed and open mouthed.
Tom is stood shirtless at Mr Fletcher's side. I look down and see that he is aroused at my plight.
Mr Fletcher begins to speak again – "James, you are eighteen years old and as such you are considered by law to be a man, and as I said you should be punished as a man which means you should be given sixty-nine hard strokes of the whip. You are a big muscular boy for your age, due to the Master looking after you and giving you plenty of good hard work. Your muscles are huge and your back is immensely strong and you should be able to enjoy the whip on that back. Even though men have lived through this punishment, you may not. As such, and as this is your first offence and as the Master is a man of great compassion, I propose that your sentence will be very much reduced."
"Thank the Lord," someone shouts, and I hear many voices agreeing with the comment.
I'm gasping and panting and mightily relieved.
"James, your sentence is two strokes..."
I sigh with relief.
"...two strokes for each year that the good Lord has allowed you to be on this earth. That is thirty six strokes in total."
I can't believe this, it's torture.
The women are hollerin' and screeching again at hearing the sentence and I can hardly breathe.
"The good news for you James, is that due to my compassion, you will almost certainly live through the whipping... The bad news is that you'll most certainly want to die."
My head is spinning. Is this a nightmare? I pray that I'll soon wake up in my bed...I don't wake up, and the pain in my wrists lets me know that this is for real.
The sun feels even hotter on my body as I hang here waiting for the sound of Joey's wagon returning from town. I'd normally be looking out for him, eagerly awaiting his return to the plantation with some little treat for me and Billy. Joey certainly would never guess that his return will only bring a treat for Mr Fletcher and Tom who are obviously relishing the thought of seein' me whipped to within' an inch of my life.
Tom is coming up close. "I'm going to enjoy watching your face and looking into your eyes Jim boy, when your Master's big heavy bullwhip starts to caress your big muscular back. I'm going to love seeing the fear and anguish in your little brother's face as your back is peeled of its skin, and we will enjoy seeing the white of your ribs beneath the flesh and blood."
I shudder. It feels like I'm somewhere else listening to the words and I can hardly contemplate the horrors that are being described.
"I can smell the fear in your sweat boy," says Tom. "You should enjoy the moment as I am."
They wander off to sit and wait in the shade. I hang here sweating and straining, and dreading Joey's return...yet praying that he will save my hide when he does.
An hour must have gone by and still no Joey. My back is aflame as the blistering sun burns into it. My arms are numb which is a slight consolation.
I hear the men with Mr Fletcher talking and getting restless at the wait. I can't hear what they are saying, but I hear Mr Fletcher laugh and say "OK, I agree. You have some fun while we wait for Master Joey."
I'm grabbed by the ankles from the back.
Three of the men and Tom are approaching and I feel sure they are gonna' do something bad to me.
They are all grinning.
A big, unshaven, ugly guy is in front of me.
"We've decided to give you some extra pleasure Jim boy," he sneers.
He is showing me two big steel rings – the kind we put through the bull's noses.
"We are going to make it a bit easier to control you James. We will adorn you big muscular body with these heavy rings so we are better able to restrain you when you are bad in future."
The others laugh.
I can only wonder what they are gonna' do to me.
"These, James are going to go through those big juicy tits of yours," the ugly guy tells me, laughing.
"Oh no, please don't do that sir," I'm begging.
"Oh yes, you'll love it," he says.
Tom is stepping forward and he grabs my pecs and begins to play hard with my nipples. I can feel my dick rising but can't understand how this can be.
"Just like chapel hat pegs on a wall," laughs Tom as my nipples engorge.
"And he loves it," laughs one of the men who grabs my dick through my pants.
They are all laughing again and I look out and I am disgusted at myself as I see the young girls who are watching me get a boner.
I'm amazed to see a couple of my friends who are openly wanking whilst they watch me.
The ugly guy suddenly has a metal skewer in front of my face and he grabs at my left nipple and immediately brings the skewer up to it. He pauses and looks me in the eye smiling.
I beg him not to do it and he laughs.
I scream as he starts to push the metal into the flesh of my nipple. It feels excruciating and I scream even more. It's a nightmare. I can feel him pushing and screwing the metal deep into my flesh and suddenly they are cheering and laughing.
I look down and see the metal spike through my nipple with blood running from it and down my belly.
They are stood back laughing.
They are talking about the task and discussing the next violation.
"You can do this one kid," says the ugly guy to Tom.
Tom looks rather shocked but he smiles at me and takes a second evil metal skewer from him.
"No, no more, please Tom, I've never hurt you have I?" I beg him.
"You haven't because you wouldn't dare," smiled Tom as he approached me.
He's grabbing my right nipple and looking hard at it. He looks a bit frightened and apprehensive but he continues and brings the spike to my tit. I'm too frightened to scream. I feel the point and I feel the pressure. He's pushing and I scream in pain as my flesh and muscle resist his violation. He pushes harder and I scream more. They shout to encourage him and I scream continuously.
I wake with a start. I'm choking and feel like I'm drowning. I cough and sputter...and remember where I am. I'm dripping with water and one of the men holds an empty bucket.
I must have passed out.
I look down as something doesn't feel right.
My eyes open wide as I see that each of my nipples now has one of the big steel rings through them.
I'm amazed that they don't hurt more.
"Don't worry Jim boy, we gave them big juicy tits a good cauterising like we do with the other animals," laughed the ugly guy.
I am too shocked and frightened to respond.
We can now rope you to a tree or put some reigns through those rings in you and drive you round the farm like the animal you are laughed Tom.
I continue to hang, burning in the sun like a piece of meat.
They are just about to settle down again when someone shouts - Joey has been heard returning from town.
I feel ashamed that Joey will see me like this.
I hear the wagon before I see it. It comes into view and I look at Joey. He looks at me, with his eyes transfixed and something of a look of horror in his face. I guess that I must look quite shocking.
Joey is leaping from the wagon before the horses stop.
He is soon in front of me shouting and demanding an explanation of what's going on.
Mr Fletcher stands tall and quietly tells Joey that they had found Billy with a book in our cabin and that I had confessed to keeping the book, in effect stealing it and looking at it. They said that I'd even encouraged Billy to look at it in our cabin.
"This isn't sufficient to cause you to torture James like an animal," screams Joey at Mr Fletcher.
"Oh I think that you'll find it is Master Joey," says Mr Fletcher, "and he has also been sentenced to thirty six strokes of the bullwhip across his bare back."
"Don't be mad, this isn't a whipping offence, cut him down at once," shouts Joey. "I will decide whether the slaves are punished in my father's absence."
"With respect Master Joey, I'm sorry to have to contradict you," says Mr Fletcher with firm authority. "On the first point, the law states that any slave caught in possession of literary media such as books shall be punished with sixty-nine strokes of the bullwhip laid on well. He will thereafter be left hanging till sunset whist the flies and mozzies feed from his flesh and lay their eggs inside his body. If he lives, he will have weeks of pleasure afterwards whilst the grubs and maggots eat their way out of his back, constantly reminding him of his sinful ways. On the second point, any disciplinary matters related to the slaves and plantation workers, are in the Master's absence, passed in total to the senior overseer – myself."
"But you can't bullwhip a boy, that is barbaric man," states Joey.
"He's a man in the eyes of the law," replies Mr Fletcher.
"But you'll kill him, and he's like a son to my father, your Master," argues Joey.
"That's why, as a sign of respect to the Master, I have halved the sentence and he'll only be given thirty-six lashes, unless, of course, your father decides to give him the other half upon his return," smiles Mr Fletcher.
"This is utter madness, and you will regret this when my father does return," says Joey.
"That may well be your opinion sir, but in the meantime we must get on. Please bring your father's bullwhip so we can get on and not prolong Jim-boy's punishment. He's waited long enough," states Mr Fletcher.
Joey is looking at me in utter despair.
I plead with them to spare me.
"Please sir, bring the bullwhip or else I might forget what a lenient man I am and I'll have to start on young Billy's hide then give Jim-boy the full sixty-nine," smiles Mr Fletcher.
Joey looks him in the eye and knows he's serious. He scans the people gathered around in the forlorn hope of finding an ally but nobody dares to step forward.
"Come," says Mr Fletcher as he begins to walk to the house.
Joey follows, head bowed down.
Ten minutes later, they return.
Mr Fletcher is carrying the fierce looking black plaited bullwhip that I'd seen many times hanging on the Master's study wall.
Now I am scared. My dick isn't hard now. How will it feel across my back? Will I survive? I feel like I'm gonna' piss.
They arrive in front of me and I notice that Tom now has a broad smile on his pug ugly face.
I flex my body and try to show no fear to him. He looks surprised.
Mr Fletcher is speaking to the significant audience and he's reiterating my crime and my sentence.
He ends..."The sentence is thirty six strokes of the bullwhip, laid hard across the slave's back."
I hear whimpers and mutterings of discontent but there is nothing anyone can do for me now. I wonder again whether I will live through the torture that they are about to inflict upon me.
Again, Joey speaks in my defence – "Mr Fletcher, can I please ask you to defer the whipping, as I believe that my father would not condone you doing this to James, not to any of his workers."
"Oh don't you worry about that sir," replies Mr Fletcher, "I'm not going to bullwhip the slave."
I sigh with utter relief.
"Oh no," continues Mr Fletcher, "I'm not going to bullwhip him – you are Master Joey."
There are gasps and groans from all around me. Was Mr Fletcher really suggesting that my best friend Joey would lay the bullwhip across my back?
"No way," screams Joey in an instant. "I'm not going to carry out your barbaric torture for you. James is like a brother to me and I could never do this to an animal, let alone to a boy who I love."
"Oh yes you are, young Master," says Mr Fletcher. "In your father's absence, it is your responsibility to whip the slave."
"Well I won't do it," states Joey - "let him down."
I sigh with relief again.
"If you don't whip him then I'll do it," says Mr Fletcher, "and it'll be sixty-nine lashes and he'll probably die of shock. I'll first give Billy-boy some, whilst his big brother watches."
"Don't let him hurt Billy," I cry. "Please just do it Joey or it'll be much worse for me and for Billy."
I'm in turmoil – why don't they just kill me before I die of fear?
I'm shakin' uncontrollably and Tom watches smiling, knowing that I'm scared shitless.
Mr Fletcher holds out the coiled whip to Joey.
It seems like an age before Joey raises his hand and accepts the evil looking bullwhip.
"OK Master Joey, I want thirty six good strokes spread across the slave's big muscular back. Each stroke must be laid on full and hard or he will take an extra lash for each failure," states Mr Fletcher. "I will ask you to stand close Master Tom and call out the strokes. Please add one each time that Master Joey does not lay on sufficiently hard."
Tom grins and steps closer to my chest.
Mr Fletcher also seems to be relishing the prospect of seeing me whipped.
"Remove your shirt," states Mr Fletcher to Joey.
"What?" cries Joey.
"Remove your shirt sir," he says, "we need to see that you are putting your back into the task, and I can assure you that it will help you to fully enjoy the task."
I have never heard anyone from the staff give orders to Master Joey before and this shocks me even more than my own plight. I feel so sorry for Joey.
"What is wrong with you man?" asks Joey. "How can any human being speak of enjoying doing this to another human being?"
"Don't think of him as a human being," states Mr Fletcher. "He is made for the whip and he wants to be whipped so he can demonstrate his strength and bravery to his girls. Look at Jim-boy's body, his rippling muscles and massive veins. Are they not gagging to be bullwhipped into subservience? Are his pals all around not wanking with pleasure at the thought of seeing Jim-boy being lashed?"
"I can't do it," states Joey.
"OK, then it's the full sixty-nine," answers Mr Fletcher who starts to unbutton his own shirt.
"All right - I'll do it," replies Joey, and he is starting to undo his shirt.
He pulls his shirt from his trousers and drags it reluctantly from his body, throwing it to the ground.
Joey has a beautiful body with a flawless complexion and good tight boy-muscles. He doesn't have my size, or strength, but he has fine broad, and straight shoulders, and perfect symmetry. The thing that everyone must notice immediately whenever Joey removes his shirt are his veins. His body is hard and it is covered with pronounced veins. This really is so sensual. I've never seen anything so beautiful in any other boy.
Tom also seems mesmerised and he is obviously erect as he stares at the sight and with the anticipation of the prospect of seeing Joey, shirtless and so vascular, and about to bullwhip my straining back.
Joey is picking up the whip and he glances at me, almost too scared to look me in the eye.
"Sorry," he mutters.
"Don't be, it's not you who's whippin' me," I reply. "Better you do it than anyone else."
"Let's get on now," states Mr Fletcher.
Tom looks very pleased and he has his right hand in his trouser's pocket playing with his boner as he stares at my body, and glances at Joey's.
Joey disappears from my view.
"Begin the punishment and make the slave scream," states Mr Fletcher.
I vow not to scream as I stare at the gloating face of Tom.
This nightmare is no dream. I just can't believe that this is happening. Is there a God?
I look out and now see fear in everyone's eyes, and then I hear a noise that I don't comprehend. There's a hideous screeching whooshing noise and almost immediately, my body registers something on the flesh of my back. My brain feels like it's exploding and my back feels like lightning has struck it. There's a massively loud crack. I'm not screaming as I can't breathe, and I feel like my lungs are bursting. I am gonna' die. I am screaming now. My body is shaking violently and totally involuntary spasms are coursing through my body. I have no control, and I realise that I'm pissing myself. I shake and scream and I now know that there can be no other agony worse than the lash of the bullwhip.
I so want to die, but I don't have this option.
"One," shouts Tom loudly.
I open my eyes and see his face grinning at me.
I feel something trickle down my back towards my pants. Is it sweat, or more likely, my blood?
There's another screech and high pitched whistle behind me. It connects with my arched back as I try to get away. I think that I can see the tip of the whip as it flies around my torso and wraps into my chest. It seems to linger a moment as if it's welded to my flesh, and the searing pain registers and I scream like a baby. The black whip then seems to saw and burn into my flesh as I look down horrified. Then the open slash that I see begins to run with blood across my right tit. My back is searing white hot, and it feels as if my flesh is gaping open.
"Two", shouts Tom and I stare at him with my mouth open and my mind shocked to the core.
"That's just thirty-four strokes to go," shouts Tom, as if to make my agony worse.
The whistle comes, and the whip bites into my flesh...
My back feels like it is being sliced open with a hot sword. I try to squeeze my back muscles to hold my flesh together. The agony continues without a break.
I'm almost out of my mind and my throat is sore and my voice sounds hoarse with my constant screaming...
..."Twelve, that's twenty four to go."
I just manage to open my eyes slightly to look at Tom the tormentor. He looks white and worried. His chest and face is covered in spatters of blood...Oh God, it's my blood.
"Thirteen, unlucky for some," shouts Tom.
I'm conscious only in as much as I know my body is contorted and twisted in absolute agony and I'm shaking violently.
I sense that my body is ripped open and my back is shredded. Everything feels wet and mushy and my trousers feel sodden.
There's no end to the torture and I can't even escape into death.
There will be no happy ending and my life will finish here today just eighteen years old, and whipped to death by my best friend and adopted brother. Goodbye Billy, I love you. Thank-you for looking after me Joey...Oh my God, the pain comes again.
"Twenty-four, that's just twelve more to go."
I'm kinda' dizzy and I feel like I'm being spun around and my mind is elsewhere now, I'm ready to die.
They have won.
The whistling scream comes again and the whip eats into my mangled flesh. I throw my head back and howl like an animal.
I try to open my eyes to catch a last look at Billy but I can't. I'm no longer able to control anything of my body. I can't even try to get away anymore and I wait the whip, limp and ready.
I wait...and I wait, there's a pause.
I hear voices and then a commotion, and more voices, raised and shouting.
"Just do it," I beg, "please, let me die."
"You will not die here today son," I hear a familiar voice...Surely I have indeed died and I'm in heaven.
"Who is responsible for this evil act? What are you doing Joey? This is your brother James. How could you?"
I can't see or comprehend but it's the Master's voice.
Someone is grasping me and holding me close. I'm not being whipped, I'm not hanging from the whipping frame...My God, my back, my back.
Who is holding me? I try to open my eyes.
Joey is clutching me carefully to his bare chest and he is crying uncontrollably. Why is he covered in blood?
Everything is black........................
Jamie closed the old book on his lap.
"Fuck me. Did he live?" asked Tyler.
"Yeah, of course he lived - just. How do you think that I'm here if he didn't live?" answered Jamie.
"And James was your great, great, great - something grandfather?" asked Shane.
"Yeah, and he's been a legend through every generation of the family since," said Jamie.
"You are named after him then?" said Jimmy.
"I'm the firsts in the family to ever take the name of James my ancestor great grand-daddy, and even now, everyone always just refers to me as Jamie, not James," stated Jamie. "I only got Christened James because by some incredible coincidence, I was born on the same day and month as James - my ancestor. They say that I was born at exactly the same hour."
"Fuck me," exclaimed Luke.
"So whipping is in your blood then?" smiled Tyler.
"Yeah, I guess it must be," agreed Jamie, and he picked up the brown sack that lay at his feet.
"What have you got there Jamie-boy?" asked Shane.
Jamie opened the sack and dug deep inside. He pulled out a big black leather bullwhip, tied neatly in a coil.
"Fucking hell," exclaimed Jimmy.
"This," said Jamie very seriously, "is the very same bullwhip that was used twenty-five times on James. It was presented to James by his Master on the day that he was given his freedom. It was then his twenty first birthday and three years since he was hung up and whipped. The handover of the bullwhip was a symbolic gesture. This has been handed down through the generations of our family, and it has been revered as a symbol of our freedom ever since."
"Fuck me, that brings it home. Look at that fucking evil bastard thing," said Craig.
"Yeah, it sure looks bad doesn't it?" agreed Jamie.
"Can you imagine being whipped with that fucker?" said Tyler, wide-eyed.
"Yeah, I can imagine it, and I've been imagining it all of my life," said Jamie. "In fact I have a dream that one day I might be big enough and strong enough to be able to sample this beast across my own back."
"That's mad," said Craig.
"Yeah, maybe it is," agreed Jamie, "but you guys can help me to achieve my ambition. Perhaps, by the time I get to eighteen and my body is big and strong and I have got acquainted to the correction on the farm, we will all agree that I am ready and worthy, and that I'm man enough to take this beast across my bare back as my grand-daddy did."
"Some fuckin' ambition," stated Shane.
"Yeah, but it's something to work towards, it will give me great focus," said Jamie.
"We can sure help you get prepared for the bullwhip," smiled Tyler.
"What happened after the whipping at the plantation?" asked Shane.
"Oh yes, I forgot to conclude the story," said Jamie reopening the book...
"The story says that James was taken to the big house and he was nursed constantly through day and night for four days by Joey. He didn't respond much till the fourth evening, and then he slowly woke and came out of the fever that the experience had caused. He was bathed and nursed more for the next two weeks before he could even get up out of bed. His back was open and bleeding for four weeks in total and he couldn't even contemplate wearing any shirt on his body for six weeks. James chose to keep the rings in his nipples and from that day, he never really wore a shirt except on Sundays until the day of his freedom three years later. The scars from the bullwhip subsided with time, but they stayed with him till the day that he died."
"What about Fletcher and the little bastard Tom?" asked Tyler. "Did they get some fuckin' treatment?"
"Well, it was difficult with Mr Fletcher as he was a free man and he was within the law. The Master soon dispatched him though, and most of his men – they were paid-off and never seen again."
"And Tom?" asked Craig.
"Tom was different, as he was family. The Master and Joey ensured that he was re-paid for some of the suffering that he'd help inflict upon James."
"The final chapter of the book says that Tom was initially hung naked from the whipping frame all through the first night. The next morning, all the slave Kids, including Billy were encouraged to thrash Tom with canes that they brought from the fields. This was allowed to continue on and off all day. In the evening he was finally let down and then put into a dark cabin with only some bare provisions. He remained naked to humiliate him further."
"Every morning for the next four weeks, `till James was able to get out of bed properly, they brought Tom to James' cabin door. He was bent over and had to grip his ankles, and either the Master, Joey, or one of the biggest slaves gave him six very hard strokes of the cane across his butt."
"By the end of the four weeks, Tom was totally broken physically, and he was defeated and humiliated mentally. His character transformed, and he became a much better person."
"When James was able to walk and see Tom, the Master made Tom beg for forgiveness. James was asked if he would bullwhip Tom, but James declined and said there had been far too much pain and suffering already. He stated that no man should ever have to endure such barbaric torture from another human being, and he even forgave Tom for what he did to him."
"Tom was of course mightily relieved, and he learned more that day about human compassion and forgiveness than on any other day in his life."
"Tom was put to work assisting Joey in the big house with James' recovery. James apparently was given some rather nice favours from Tom, but the book doesn't detail these."
"I bet James and Joey fucked the little shit," said Shane.
"Maybe. It doesn't go into it," replied Jamie.
"Joey continued to feel mightily guilty that it had been him who had actually bullwhipped James and he was inconsolable whenever he saw James' scarred back," said Jamie. "When James was fit again, Joey asked his father if he would tie him to the whipping frame and bullwhip his back to exorcise his demons. His father refused of course, but Joey continued to insist that he deserved it, and that he would never be able to rest if he wasn't punished with the whip. After much debate and discussion, it was decided that Joey would be given six strokes and that James would carry out the punishment."
"The punishment was carried out the very next morning. Joey was taken out and hung up shirtless. He looked absolutely magnificent and very strong and resolute on the frame. His veins were, if anything, even more pronounced as he hung there stretched and sweating in the harsh sun. James gave him the six, laid on well as he was told he must. Everyone watched, and they were amazed at how little Joey screamed despite having his back sliced open by the bullwhip. The Master spoke to Joey as he hung there after his whipping, and he said that no father could be more proud of a son as he was that day."
"Fortunately, Joey's recovery was relatively speedy."
"James and Joey remained friends throughout their lives and whilst Joey remained a bachelor, James took a wife and reared six fine children including four sons – that's all we know. The story ends there."
Jamie closed the old book.
"Fuckin' incredible story," said Jimmy.
"It must have been amazing to have lived in those days," said Tyler. "I might let you guys tie me up and bullwhip me too, one day."
"Not before I try it," said Shane.
Luke shook his head.
Jimmy just raised his eyes in wonder.
The end of Chapter 13