This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to persons living, dead or otherwise is purely coincidental. The ideas and thoughts that follow are pure fantasies. In real life, at the very least they would be unpleasant and probably illegal. Fantasies are like that; daydreams where we can contemplate and imagine the sensations without suffering or inflicting the pain, despair or humiliation.
Chapter 1: The Old School
"I wonder what she's up to?" Ray mused as he noticed the young girl walk slowly passed the wall at the road end of his front garden for the fourth time. He called it a front garden but at the moment it was a waist high wilderness of grass and weeds; a wilderness he was trying to reduce to a manageable length using an old fashioned scythe hired locally. "When it's short enough, I'll use the ride-on rotary mower to keep it under control and eventually restore it to some semblance of a lawn," he told himself. "Why does she keep looking this way and then turns her head whenever I look at her? The other children have all gone by to catch the school bus. Is she playing truant?" The church clock, less than a hundred metres away in the compact little village, chimed nine.
Only three days previously he'd moved into the old, mid-nineteenth century, school building, and with sorting out the interior to make it reasonably habitable, this was the first morning he'd been able to work outside. The grounds hadn't been touched since the previous autumn and now in mid-May, everything had put on its springtime spurt of lush green growth. Grass, nettles, brambles and a host of sturdy weeds all competed for the available space. The previous owner, Jack Barham, had grandiose designs for the place but only completed the living quarters before ill health and death overcame him. Since then the windows had been boarded up to prevent vandalism that occasionally occurred even in this sleepy village, and for the last few days Ray opened all the available doors and windows to rid the place of a musty smell. On Jack's death he bequeathed the building to his two brothers and sister but the squabble between them over what to do with the place took months to settle before agreement was finally made to sell and, had the building not been a grade one listed property, developers would have snapped it up, however, access to the old school field behind the building which formed part of the property, was limited to the narrow driveway alongside. With the timber frame cottages on either side also listed, together with the church, they formed the historic core of the village. Because of the access problems and with restrictions from English Heritage as to what alterations could be made, he was able to purchase the property at a reasonable price. Money was not a problem. Royalties from his three best-sellers and selling the film rights to one of them, ensured Ray was financially well off for a thirty-one year old man.
However, his reason for wanting it was twofold; he needed a quiet place to write and he envisaged setting up a small gym where he could keep fit and overcome some of the unwanted side effects of long hours spent at his computer without having to go into town. It was something of a necessity as well as a hobby that helped him to relax and sometimes to overcome 'writers block'.
The picturesque building, with its knapped flint walls and tall, many paned, windows, had two front entrances with arched stone lintels and ornate strapped ironwork hinges fastened to green painted doors. Into the lintels were incised, "Boys' over the left hand one and 'Girls' over the right but nowadays the Boys entrance led to a cloakroom and the main hall and the Girls to the living accommodation. Between the road and the building lay about 30 metres of what was grass and, similarly, at the back, were another fifty metres of grass, which originally served as a playing field but his predecessor had converted some of it to a vegetable garden. All now looked wild and overgrown. It was the front 'lawn' that he now attacked with the scythe and having started nearer the school than the road, he could watch the girl's movements from behind almost a hedge of weeds.
Hesitating several times as though making up her mind what to do, she moved off only to return ten minutes later and, after peeking at him several more times, finally plucked up enough courage to enter the squeaky wrought-iron gate. Pausing for a few moments on the driveway, she gave a little startled cry when the gate sprung shut with a loud bang, and, on recovering, with uncertain steps continued slowly towards the man. Ray stopped working, leaned on the scythe handle and waited for her to approach.
"Good... morning... Sir," she stuttered in a whisper, "Mother told me... to come... and see if you wanted some help... if you could... could give me a job."
Now he could see her clearly, Ray recognised the girl as having been with her mother in front of him in the supermarket check-out queue the previous day. Probably he wouldn't have paid them much attention had not the mother continually berated the girl for her slowness in bagging the items and generally treating her like a five-year-old child. The mother, a large woman with an overbearing manner, never lifted a finger to help and he'd taken an instant dislike to her when, without a word of apology, she pushed his trolley back against his legs to give her a few inches more room at the PIN machine. At the time Ray felt a little sorry for the girl but never expected to meet her again. Now seeing her close-to, he realised that she was more of a young woman than a girl and being very short, about five feet, and thin, she could easily pass for a child. Again he felt sorry for her standing, almost cowering in fear a good three metres away from him. Clearly she was being forced to come and ask for work.
Indeed that was the case. Myra, the mother, stopped in the supermarket car park to speak with her friends Ethel and Rita, "That's the man who bought the old school," Ethel indicated Ray who was now loading his car, "He must have pots of money to afford to buy a place like that." "And it will need a fortune spent on it after it's been neglected for so long. No one seems to know much about him yet. Doesn't have a wife as far as we know." "Perhaps his manhood is as small as he is." Amid giggles the women gossiped and speculated on the new resident in the village. Meanwhile, the girl stood silently and waited but Myra's thoughts turned to the possibility of getting her hands on some of the man's wealth.
"Come closer girl so I can hear what you are saying and introduce yourself. Head up so I can see your face." Ray spoke in his usual calm, confident way. Reluctantly she took a few steps closer. Standing, she was not much shorter than his five feet three but her stooping posture made her appear much shorter. He noticed her rather drab, but workable clothes, her neck length straight hair and lack of make-up, all of which added to her very plain and ordinary appearance.
"I'm Mary Sir... Mary Stevens."
"Well good morning Mary Stevens, I'm Ray Shipton. What sort of work can you do?"
"I don't know Sir. Mother said..."
"What jobs have you had?" he interrupted. Tears started to spill from her eyes and he noticed a slight shaking in her body. "She seems terrified to come and speak to me and to ask for work. I guess that her bully of a mother is forcing her to get a job," he thought as he waited for a reply.
"I've had a few office jobs... and done some waitressing... worked in a records office... nothing lasted long. Mother said to..."
Intending to shock her and perhaps break her reserve a little, impishly he asked, "What would your mother say if I offered you a job warming my bed at night?" It had some of the desired effect but now she seemed ready to take flight. Indeed she nearly did.
Her face showed an expression of horror. "I couldn't do... that... Sir."
"I didn't offer you the job, I asked what your mother would say if I did."
For a second there was a hint of a smile. "I expect she would ask about the pay Sir."
Ray grinned at that; it indicated that there was some life behind the oppressed mind. "I'm more interested in what you say and what you can do. Could you cut this grass?" His hand swept a wide arc indicating the forest of weeds. Startled again, her eyes opened wide but before she could say no, he took hold of her hands and placed them on the scythe. "You hold it like this and swing it from the waist." Gently he moved her arms and body to get her into the swing. "Now you carry on." Flustered by the feel of his hands on her body as much as by the feel of the heavy tool, she didn't make a very good job of it but neither did he at first. At least she attempted it.
"I think I'd better carry on before someone loses their legs," Ray laughed, "You can rake the rubbish into heaps to dry."
It was with a sigh of relief, she asked, "Are you really giving me a job Sir?"
"Only if you stop calling me Sir and I find other things that you can do. Raking weeds or even grass won't keep you employed for long."
.... There is more of this story ...