|© 2000. The author retains sole ownership of all copyrights. Any and all further distribution of this story, in whole or in part, including re-posting to other sites as well as by paper and/or electronic means, is expressly prohibited. Whether you read it here or download it to read off-line, don't give anyone a copy--just directions to this site. Other than that, enjoy!|
This story was originally written for Enema Lover's Forum. The author has agreed to its appearance here.
The portal in my cell's iron door shrieks me to wakefulness. "God be with you this day, Garreth the Tailor," the jailer utters softly.
Today I am to be taken to the great square before the church, where I shall be cleansed of the demons which led me to this place! Rising from the straw, I blink at weak light as yellow as the rime on the bucket in which I make water. "And with you."
This day my jailer passes me not food to break my fast but warm water, a coarse cloth, and a remnant of lye soap. He favors me since the repair of his smock, as I surrendered my shears to the sheriff's men but mentioned not my needles.
I understand that I am to perform ablutions, washing my body that it might more readily contain my freshly innocent soul. Knowing not the hour of my purification, I go about it quickly, removing my jerkin, the thin sark of linen worn beneath, my boots, stockings, and finally the breeches. My sinful mind turns at once to standing thus in bedchambers and haylofts, feeling the admiring eyes of this wench or that on my flesh.
Nevermore. I dip a corner of the cloth in the warm water, work the gritty soap-cake to a grey froth, and scrub. Grateful for the harsh soap, I dip again and scour a new spot, until my pelt is as cleanly white and pimpled as a plucked bird awaiting the oven. The rough cloth chafes me pink as I dry, remembering Maude's rosy roundness when we bathed in an early morning pond, the sun shrinking the droplets on our skins until we turned to one another and made them anew of nothing but our ardor.
Maude and I had parted well enough when our passions for one another were spent. I thought seldom of her until a cowherd of her acquaintance gave me the sad news of her untimely death by accident.
The sheriff's men had but to inquire to learn of me, nor did they look far to find me. The men took me of an early morn where Maude rested.
"She'd been to vespers, and after, confession," the sheriff himself told me. "Maude knelt in penance 'til the streets did grow dark. An ill-broken horse had thrown his rider half a league back and did gallop over the girl. She died instantly. And the unborn child."A child? My child? I can hardly speak for the shock. "I'd not chanced to see her for many months. I knew not of her death for over a fortnight!"
"The house servants preparing her for burial discovered your secret," he said, "and informed the lady of the manse, who in turn reported the impending bastardy to the church and to me."
" 'Twas not my secret--I knew not!" Poor Maude, and poor babe! The sprig of posies as I'd never given Maude in life already wilted on the fresh-turned earth. Would that months before my manhood had wilted thus!
" 'Twas your staff which made her to swell with child. Since you sought not to evade the law, the magistrate has agreed to accede to the church's wishes regarding your lewd conduct. You're to be jailed in the meantime."
Awaiting my soul's freshening proves difficult. I pace my straw-strewn cell, three strides each way, filled with strength which has no outlet. My thoughts tangle like uncarded wool, overpowering the awakening moans and cries from the poor wretches over whose damned souls the good jailer will one day murmur the Prayer for the Dead.
Unlike those miserable creatures, this day I shall be cleansed, and freed! Good fortune indeed.
At twenty-and-four, I've had more good fortune than most old men of forty, I remind myself. Fair of face and strong of limb by birth, with wit enough to leave the wearied village of my youth when it no longer held me, I oft went hungry, cold, and wet as I made my way to this great city. Betimes a farmer discovered my huddled shivering and bid me warm by his fire and share the land's bounty--and on occasion his daughter, in stealth. Good fortune indeed.
Once in this city of many thousand souls, I was spared by God's good grace from the ills which returned so many to His presence. Using what I'd learnt at my mother's knee, I plied a swift needle so well that first the merchants, later the lessers of the Royal Court, sought Garreth the Tailor by name. Good fortune indeed.
Cleverly stitching snippets of the fine velvets and brocades of my trade, I dressed above my station, feasting on the libidinous gazes of noblewomen, servants, and fishwives as I strode the broad streets wherever my tailoring took me. I frolicked with the jolliest serving wenches, goose girls, and milkmaids and sported with them as often as not. None grew ripe with my seed, save Maude. Good fortune indeed.
The straw on which the sheriff's men cast me still smelled sweetly of summer's sunny hay ricks. "See that he has clean food and water," one ordered the jailer, clanging shut the great iron door. "And mind you well: he's to bear no marks of beatings when his sentence is carried out in three days' time." Good fortune indeed.
At the church's urging, those demons in me which bid me lie with Maude will be purged from deepest hiding and forced to flee until at last I am as pure in body and spirit as a newborn babe. No one disturbs me in my cell as I thank the Lord for the new life I am to begin.
Good fortune indeed.
The hour is at hand. The jailer makes the sign of the cross as the sheriff's men, gripping my arms, march me from my cell. Already the good man is busy with pitchfork and broom, readying my cell for the next transgressor. The bundled straw awaiting him smells fresh as spring. My last glance backward shows him moving the bucket of my water, which would have been fouler still had the food not been so unappealing I ate little and shat not at all.
The men lead me through weeping-wet corridors and up cold stone stairs, warmer with rising, until the bright air out of doors pains my jailed eyes. They laugh at my owlish blinking and guide my steps until vision returns.
From a distance I see a raised platform awaits me, but I pay it little heed, for the crowd consumes my attention. Surely the people are not so wantonly idle as to abandon shops, mills, stables, and public inns to see the ceremony I anticipate: a lengthy oration of official condemnation, mayhap from the magistrate himself should he deign to stoop so low, then whatever ritual the church decrees to banish the demons which prick my lust. Only then, sun-dazed, word-numb, and contrite, shall I again taste my freedom.
So far away, the people seem a lake of muddy browns and greys. Maude liked a bit of color, when it could be had. Never posies save the day of my arrest, but more than once a bright ribbon I admired at some fine house whilst going about my tailoring, given freely as a gift and in turn gifted to Maude. My heart still aches, not with the missing of her, but of the child that was not to be.
We near the crowd. Sorrow becalms my thoughts, but my legs know not my heart and wish to run, to steal away from the eyes fast on my approach. Why so many? Could the magistrate have decreed a hanging after my purification? I think not, for no gallows loom, though my heart misses a beat when I see the pillory. Why did no one tell me of my ignoble detention during the rite?
We pass knots of townspeople. All of them stare, and many point or laugh. I hold my head high, unwilling to abandon even such false dignity. It will be wrest from me soon enough, my head and hands locked in the stout pillory before all these people!
Throngs of men and women clutch their girls and swat at their boys as they scamper through the mob. Couples embrace, and men foolish with drink play nearly as recklessly as the boys they curse.
As the sheriff's men guide me toward the platform's stout boards, the crowd parts like Moses' sea. For the first time I see individual faces, and I am frightened at the excitement therein. The mob frolics in the collective merriment of a hanging, or perhaps worse.
Now it is not my heart but my legs which are heavy as the men march me up the steps of the platform. The smell of fresh-hewn timber enters my nostrils while my frantic eyes seek out the instruments even holy men fear. I dare breathe only when they find not the sharpened hooks, the crushing mallets, braziers to heat tongs and spikes to tortuous red which makes innocent men to confess crimes.
There is naught save the men who grasp my jerkin'd arms, the short pillory on its stout legs, before it two oaken buckets, a small covered crock, an un-stoppered brown bottle, and a willow basket of oddities which puzzle: fire bellows, a tin funnel, wrinkled bags of leather, a bundle of reeds or canes, a broken oar, a thick strip of leather and a jumble of thinner ones, and an excellent short length of azure blue, the only true color I can see, which my skilled eye knows to be silk from the East.
With gesture, the men show me I am to place my throat and wrists in the open pillory. I breathe deeply and do as I am silently bid, bending so low to comply that my hams do protest. As I close my eyes in silent brief prayer, the taller of the two moves my hair lest it be caught by the pillory's top as it closes. Finished, my open eyes defy the crowd so intent upon me. I will endure the rite and the mob's scorn, make peace with my Lord once the demons have departed, and again walk the streets as I will, purer than most.
Behind me, I see between the pillory's legs the pointed toes of costly footwear--the magistrate himself! His deep voice announces my guilt and its penance, though none save God be listening. "Garreth the Tailor, being found to have lain with Maude of the scullery in a husbandly manner, shall upon this day have the demon spirits vanquished from his body and beaten from their point of emanation until no more be forthcoming."
The pillory blinds me to all which is behind me save the magistrate's departing heels, quickly replaced by a sturdy pair of boots and a hand's-breadth of the wearer's stockings and breeches. The owner is built thick as a bull. "Hurry yourself, girl!" Boots' voice is deep as the magistrate's, but coarse.
A wench in ill-fitting servant's garb comes between me and the crowd. She sets a small sack of netting in the better of the two oaken buckets. The gloss of her sable hair, the curve of her cheek, are familiar.
I know the girl! My shame is ten times the worse for it than before the mob of strangers. Margaret, of the sweet longing kisses and no more despite my pleadings and much mead, is to see my countenance as the demons are scourged by church and state. She scurries from my limited sight without meeting my eyes. Mayhap she remembers me not, for it is two years or more since my lips tasted hers.
Just as well, then. Through the netting I make out seed pods and papery leaves of many shapes and hues. My own mother dosed us with herbal remedies and lost only one infant before the bloody flux took them all my fifteenth winter. Herbs can drive out all but the most powerful demons.
Soon enough Margaret returns, bearing a large crockery ewer in each hand, the weight of the pitchers causing tremor of her limbs. One at a time she empties them into the bucket and hastens away. The water releases the herbs' essence, briny and bitter both. Already the servant girl is back with more. Wisps of steam rise from the bucket's pungent contents as she stirs it with the broken oar's blade. Still she looks not toward me.
Am I to be made to quaff a draught of this concoction? My gorge rises and my mouth fills with spittle at the prospect. I swallow it down, though my gullet clunks loud enough that Margaret surely hears.
Behind me, rough hands grasp my fine breeches and tug. I feel and hear my careful stitches rent. For an instant I am angered that my work is damaged, but quick enough I am dismayed, for my struggles to retain my nether garment prove futile. I am bared before the assemblage! My shamed face heats and I drop my head at the crowd laughing at my predicament, mothers shielding their daughters' eyes. I resist not as my boots and stockings are also taken from me.
My head drooping as my staff did not, I see behind the pillory the muddy boots of the men who brought me here an instant before hands grasp my lower limbs and lift me from my feet! "Will you hurry, girl?" Boots orders derisively.
Before me, Margaret rushes to the willow basket and removes long strips of leather. Wood scrapes the platform, and I am set down, my widespread knees resting on what may be a crude bench. My shanks are lashed to it, no doubt with the leather, not so tightly as to give grief. The tall bench raises my posterior higher than my pilloried head.
The crowd divides itself, many seeking view of my hindquarters, others content with my face and hands. Only a few goodwives and their young ones observe from either side. Margaret watches not, as her heels are to my pilloried head.
Boots barks at the girl. "The oil-bag and the pleated clyster--and be quick about it!"
I know not 'clyster,' but she scuttles to the willow basket for the small leather bag which does indeed gleam with oil. Am I to be anointed? I think not, for the bag bulges with perhaps a pint, drops a-dribble from its wooden-tipped neck pooling on the platform, staining the fresh wood dark.
Now the girl retrieves from the basket the bellows. I recognize good workmanship despite my plight, reluctantly admiring the burnished leather covering the flat wooden sides which extend to handles, the glossy folds of oiled and waxed leather joining the two, even the smooth wooden tip, a short tube the size of a man's thumb ending with a polished wooden ball just a bit larger.
The girl glances at me as she sets the funnel over the opening opposite the tip, buried in the leather pleats betwixt the handles. She then dips a ewer into the bucket and carefully pours the vile brew through the funnel and into the bellows. She dips again, but the bellows cannot contain but half the second ewer.
My heart flutters within my ribs as a caged bird. Had I the day from matins to vespers, I cannot drink so much! Is it to be forced into my mouth? I shall drown in the vile brew!
Holding the heavy bellows upright so as not to spill a drop, she fits a stopper to the opening where so recently the funnel rested, then immerses the ball on the tip in the wee crock. It shines greasily, dripping fat which dots the platform as the wench scoops the oil-bag and carries both behind the pillory. I watch her small boots stop before the larger. The toes rise at the unmistakable sound of a slap.
"You're slow, girl!" Boots says. "Hold that one at the ready."
The large boots leave my sight. One rises, disappearing behind the pillory, then the other, as the wearer ascends the bench to which I am bound.
Hard wood touches my puckered fundament, which closes tight upon itself. No! It cannot be! My innards are to be purged before the entire assemblage, before Margaret whom I would bed, would she have me? I cannot endure such humiliation! My face flames.
The dripping stopper at the neck of the oil-bag presses without ceasing. Boots' hand grasps my cheek with a clap and pulls my cleft wide. The tip no bigger than Maude's little finger intrudes a way, then enters. My face's heat spreads to my ears, which burn. I look not at the crowd, but their approval resounds in the square.
No doubt Boots squeezes the slippery leather bag, for a cool, thick slickness invades my body. It feels heavy within me as it runs ever deeper, seeking demons, while more gushes in to its aid.
At last the pint is within me, the tip drawn away. I know the demons to be disturbed, roiling just inside my fundament in their eagerness to depart.
Before I can thrust them from me, I am touched anew with a larger invader I know to be the rounded bellows tip. This, then, is a clyster. The relentless ball of wood presses onward, paining me so sharply that after only a moment my resistance flags and my oily bowels admit the intruder. Agony--I am pierced as on a roasting spit! Behind me, I hear the crowd's gasps louder than my own, then eerie silence which extends as we wait for Boots to begin.
The sharp pain of my impaled fundament shrinks and my shame grows. The herbal infusion has cooled but remains hot enough to cause my posterior to flinch as the first gush enters, though it scalds me not. The man controlling the bellows is hardly kind, but I am grateful for the gentle slowness with which the potion is injected. I feel the hot wetness spurt within me, then a pause, then again. Had Boots squeezed the bellows as one might to renew a flame, I might well have burst and joined Maude.
Simple tailor's words cannot describe my state as gill after gill of the herbal tea gushes into my forced fundament, first filling my nethers, next stuffing my bowels tight as a fat sausage, then bubbling into my entrails, forcing the oil before it until I fear I might puke my demons oily upon the crowd.
I withstand the purge as long as I am able. "I can contain no more!" I finally groan. Some of the people laugh.
"He can contain no more," Boots announces to the mob. "But he must, to exorcise the demons!" He squeezes the clyster-bellows afresh.
"God! Yes, I must." Another gill, and another. My belly swells so large it presses my thighs, yet still the rhythmic surges push in more.
I cannot contain myself! A dram of the potent demon-chaser courses warm down my hams, causing merriment behind me. "No more!" I gasp, mortified.
"More," Boots says simply.
My gorge rises anew. I get the gut-ache, then terrific cramp such a killed my mother, brothers, and sisters in the death-grip of the flux. I writhe in the pillory, not to dislodge the bellows but because I must. I cannot endure it! "Please, for the sake of the infant Jesus, I can contain no more!" I groan.
As if God heard the name of His Son, the bellows move not again. The young miss I woo'd so ardently for naught takes the worse of the two buckets, so poorly made as to be the efforts of a cooper's apprentice whose hind was beaten well that he might do better. One large boot, then the other, reappears on the platform as Boots steps down from the bench, the bellows tip twisting and jerking within my taut fundament. Again a dram escapes me.
I feel the bucket set between my tied shanks on the bench, then the bellows tip removed slowly, paining me afresh as the ball gapes me wide. I can control neither my fundament nor my mouth, both letting forth a rush of foulness. Before me, mothers scowl fiercely and cover their children's ears. Behind me, raucous laughter swells as the demons in my body push the surge of soil and water well beyond the waiting bucket.
I have been scolded roundabout by nobles who expected my stitches to expand as if by magic to accommodate their new girth, slapped by Margaret and a hundred others for my wanton hands' wanderings, laughed at by more willing wenches who demanded more of my staff than it could give, but never have I felt so debased as I do evacuating the evil spirits from my bowels into a bucket held by the hapless serving girl who only manages to catch most of it. Each turd brings exclamations and applause, the watery squirts catcalls, sorry rivulets coursing down my hams laughter and encouragement to push the demons out harder. My face burns with such ignominy I am loath to bear it, though I must.
Last to emerge is the oil, no doubt teeming with demons which depart in bubbling liquid blats which afford me much chagrin and amuse the mob no end. Boots laughs heartily, though I hear not Margaret's voice.
At last I feel no more of the potion nor oil within me, nor any evil in my soul. Behind me, I hear sniffling and look down to see the hands and coarse skirts and apron of poor Margaret cleaning the platform I'd soiled. Though she would not have me, I will make it up to her, I vow, stitch something fine, perhaps a bodice in strips of velvet.
The crowd is restless but does not depart as my demons do. Perhaps now comes the condemnation to further shame me, last the prayer.
"Fetch the oar!" Boots orders.
The lass lifts the broken oar from the bucket of cold herbal remedy and carries it to Boots behind me. At once the magistrate's words echo in my mind: 'beaten from their point of emanation.'
Other boys of the village felt the wrath of father of master, oft deservedly, but fatherless, I knew not such things, for not once did my gentle mother, whose disapproving look could sting my heart until I cried for forgiveness, strike me. My empty belly tightens.
The oar slices the air and licks my upturned posterior with kiss hot as Margaret's. It has only begun to cool when a second stroke lands, and a third... I know not how mere boys endure such punishment, nor how they could misbehave knowing such consequences awaited.
I grind my teeth and move not in my humbled restraint nor make any sound, though the boy-Garreth would have wailed at the sting. When at last Boots stops, I do not lift my head to sing God's praises, but inside I rejoice nevertheless. The demons within are purged, driven from their point of emanation! I am cleansed!
But I am not released.
The milling crowd settles to the paving cobbles once shady spots are exhausted, bringing out bread, sausages, sweating cheeses, and fruit. Pic-nicking while I remain bared in the pillory!
The serving lass brings me a dipper of blessedly cool water, which I drink thirstily. "Many thanks to you, Margaret," I whisper, hoarse.
She speaks not, and gives me more water.
The day's heat, uncommon for autumn, is upon us, and I am wearied from the exit of demons. Their filth which streamed from my entrails onto my body dries to a foul itching crust on my hind and longshanks, but there is nothing for it, nor the flies it draws.
I allow my eyes to close, the sounds of the crowd to dim, then fade altogether. My naked hindquarters upthrust, the halves agape to show my pouting fundament, I doze. I dream not of Heaven nor of Maude, but of my sainted mother tenderly cleaning my soiled posterior and hams, ever so gently wiping my fundament scoured raw from the flux I brought to our home.
A sharp crack returns me to the pillory.
"Stupid, worthless girl!" Boots shouts.
One of the wench's little boots steps back, only to be dragged forward as the man no doubt grasps her bodice and slaps her yet again.
"I understood not, good sir. You said 'cleanse' and I--"
"You what? As you've exhausted our kettle we must use it, but you'll not make such mistake again, miss!" Another blow.
Boots comes round the pillory and speaks to me. "The witless girl emptied the kettle of warm water and mixed it with the lye soap instead of the church's herbs. It should serve to expel your demons well enough."
I know not how to reply. I take in breath, but before I might accede, I hear the sound of broken crockery, and a wail I know to be Margaret's.
The blow sounds to be a fist. "You clumsy ninny, you've broken the greasepot! There's nothing for it--you'll have to grease him yourself, girl! And do it well or I'll take the rod to your back!"
She meets not my eye as she lades her fingers with grease. Her cheek is welted, still swelling large. Though it is I in the pillory awaiting further purge, it is Margaret who has my pity.
"Don't just stand there, girl! Grease him well!"
She does as she's bid. Her hand is gentle-smooth as I remember, and pains me not.
Would that the same were true for the clyster bag. "Oh!" I groan through teeth clenched tight. Its tip is the thickest yet to be forced into my fundament, and despite the girl's good greasing, forced it is.
"O-o-oh!" I gasp as the lye-soap-and-water streams in. It stings not as a hornet but as skin burnt red from the sun. In moments I cannot contain my wriggling, though the people laugh loud at my antics.
"Mercy, sir! No more!" My fundament especially is sand-scoured, stinging, throbbing in its greased grasp of the thick tip.
"It's just begun. You'll take the full draught and be glad of it," Boots growls, squeezing the leather bag mightily if the soap flooding me is to measure.
Would that I could! My stuffed bowel turns back on itself without my accord, but the fat tip allows only a trickle to escape as the sharp mix fills me to overflowing. Still more, and yet more! I writhe in the agony of my lye-stuffed belly, to the roar of the watching crowd. I pray that the demons remaining suffer as I do.
Again I have no control once Boots steps down and the thick tip is taken from me. The girl and her bucket are there, catching the offal which streams from me in great gouts. This time the merriment over turds is seldom, as I have few and small to offer, to the relief of my scraped and stretched fundament. Minutes pass with no further demons leaving me. Am I then rid of evil?
"Less of the demon-signs," Boots observes loudly for the people who cannot see. "Go, girl, fetch it!"
"Fetch what, sir?" Fear shakes her words, with good reason, for I hear yet another slap.
"Your ears are no better than your clumsy hands! The strop, miss!"
Oh, no! No! In the village of my youth, there were some wont to strop son or apprentice with the thick leather. More than once I happed to round house or shop to find a boy over a master's leg or lap, breeches at his kneejoints holding fast his kicking limbs, eyes and nose running like tapped kegs of ale, bared hind already hotly crimson. Well I remember the leather raised aloft, whipping down so as to blur, then smacking the poor lad's posteriors, him screaming high as a child. The stropping paused not for his struggles nor my witness, 'til the beaten rounds be swollen scarlet, speckled with purple, sometimes bloodied, all resistance gone from the unfortunate lad.
I see my strop not, but hear its whir keening high with the misery it is to bring to my posteriors. The leather bites so--I burn! Anguish as I have never known fills my being! I need no sharpened hooks, no red-hot spikes, nor mallets, to be tortured, just a sturdy arm and a thick, swift strop slapping my hindquarters full sore yet stopping not.
Seeking the strength to endure, I remind myself of demons fleeing my flesh. No longer a boy, I will welcome their leave like a man, dry-eyed, silent, and still. I shall! But my resolve crumbles under the onslaught. Tears roll down my face, hot as the water forced into my fundament, and after a short time I can no longer contain my body but must jerk in place and give my pitiful bleats full voice, to the crowd's amusement. Finally, my manliness as trampled as my dignity, my bleats become crowings, then sharp cries, and I wail betwixt. Would that I had never lain with Maude, or anyone! Would that I never lived!
Then the Lord produces a miracle: the blows cease. "Praise God," I sob, "and give thanks, praise Our Merciful Father..."
A man of the cloth stands suddenly before me on the platform, leading the crowd in prayer as I slow my sobs and re-gather my wits until I, too, pray, not in unison with the good father but a song of great thanks.
My tear-filmed eyes enlarged with dread as my mouth is filled with gratitude, I watch the girl scurry, ignored by priest and people, tossing aside the netted herbs and filling the bucket afresh with steaming water. She removes the huge tip from the shrunken leather bag and sets the funnel in its place. Using a ewer, she fills the bag until it bulges as never before, its very seams strained at its massive contents. Restoring the tip, Margaret glances at me with brimming eyes of her own. Her cheek's weal has turned purple.
Again the beaten wench scoops grease from the broken crock, gobbets leaking between her joined fingers before she passes behind my pillory. She butters my cleft thick, working it in and over and even inside a little ways. I try my best to accept her probing fingers, knowing they ready the passage for a larger intrusion.
Mayhap I am stretched lax, for when Boots climbs the high bench of my cleansing for the third time and thrusts the tip to me, my fundament blooms open as if in welcome to the instrument, which glides in deep.
Boots begins his rhythmic squeezing at once, the water seeming hot as my sorely thrashed posteriors. Anon I am weighted heavy, overbrimming, and would flail about were my limbs not held fast.
I know not how the demons could have eluded such purges as went before, but they thrive within me still, for though my shamed eyes view neither wench nor woman, my staff rises. As another gill gushes in, he stands taller, and yet again taller as I am filled to groaning.
In the swirling rush of hot water, the world dissolves away, though through demonry or miracle I know not. Gone are the mocking grey-brown crowds. Vanished be Boots, Margaret, the pillory, even the bag forcing its scalding, copious load ever deeper.
My purge becomes my world.
My hotly throbbing hind, its weals swelling still, wantonly exposed. Likewise my brazen fundament flowering greasy-lewd about the bag's tip, squeezing the wood intimately in response to each gill streaming in. The water within, coursing hotter than e'er my blood did, Maude or no. My vastly distended gut, galled with cramp and demon and ever more hot water. My staff hard as wood, harder, bobbing with my speeding heart but mercifully hid by my sark.
I am my purge. I am my demons. I can endure no more!
I love it.
"More!" I groan. "Purge me pure!"
Boots' words dismay. "There is no more. You've taken the entire imperial gallon."
It is a day of many miracles. Good fortune indeed.
"Come, wench, and be quick about it or you're next for the strop!" Boots bellows. "Press here, and hard."
Her hand nestles firmly at my greasy fundament as the wood tip of the bag is slowly drawn from me. Eased, my fundament bears down, but Margaret's hand pushes him firmly, preventing the blossoming which would release the wondrous agony. My manhood aches for release as much as my entrails.
"Push it in, girl!"
What? Push what? the crowd asks.
Whatever it is touches my pucker which would open not to admit it but to spurt.
"A good fat turnip," Boots shouts, "that he'd keep the purge within 'til he depart the church square, fouling it not with demonry."
The merriment of the assemblage at this cannot be contained.
My head drooping as my staff cannot, I see Boots' boots before me. Craning my pinioned neck, I try to see his visage, but can only raise it enough to view a larger expanse of his coarse breeches, badly patched. His own manhood has enjoyed the purge, though not as mine has. Like Boots, it is thickly built.
It is to be my final sight of the square for a time. The azure silk flashes for an instant, then covers my eyes in a blind-fold knotted behind.
What must I see not? What is to happen to me now? My blinded eyes seek desperately, turning left and right behind the cloth, but I am soon robbed of concern by the crowd's roars of laughter as the turnip finds its mark.
I'd thought the tip on the leather bag had stretched me wide, but it be naught compared to the root whose blunt point plugs me. My fundament opens willingly enough at first, but as the firm flesh widens, my opening doth protest. I groan, then gasp, finally grunt at the hurt sharp as knives. Behind my blindfold I see shooting stars in a red-orange sky.
That concern is also forgotten, for the pillory is opened! The hands which help me upright, though stooped with the water within me, move my sark to cover the staff which still doth project. They steady me there kindly, so I know them to be Margaret's.
The turnip pains more sharply when I'm no longer deep-bent, and its greens tickle my hams. Someone thrusts a bundle into my benumbed hands. I know my breeches by the hand of the cloth, my boots by the shape, and feel the hand-holds of my shears as well. I hold my things below my distended gut, hiding my rampant manhood, and turn my blind face toward where I think Boots to be. "I am freed?"
The magistrate's majestic voice booms. "Garreth the Tailor, you are to retain both bung-plug and blind-fold until you are beyond the church square. The people will send you on your way. You are freed." A light clattering, I know not its cause, follows his words, then the crowd scrambles, jostling for what was thrown from the platform, by the sound of it.
Brutish hands push me stumbling down the platform stair. Not the girl, but Boots. The rolling turnip pains afresh with each step, but I care not.
I am freed! Blind, bare of flanks and shanks, my belly huge with the imperial gallon, the turnip greenery debasing me without and its flesh tormenting within, my staff leading the way 'neath the double cloak of sark and breeches-wrapped boots and shears, my hind surly-sore, I am freed!
"Run, Garreth! Run!" Margaret calls. "They've given out canes to whip you from the square! Run!" A blow smashes her silent.
The whoosh! makes me gulp at both ends, the turnip nestling deeper as if in hiding. As well it should at the sound of a cane slicing the air so near! Though I cannot stand straight, my belly is weighted so, I run as bid, my bare feet stumbling over the cobbles, knowing not which is the way but determined to find it. I flail, canes finding my jerkin, my tender-sore hind, my hams, but not striking hard. It is a day of many miracles. Good fortune indeed!
An arm rounds my shoulder and Margaret's sweet voice finds my ear. "This way, Garreth, and faster!" With the wench working my reins, we move through the mob. The canes speed both my heart and steps with their sound, but I pass from the square with little more than a few stinging stripes, no worse.
"You're safe now," Margaret says anon, gasping for breath as am I.
I tear at the blind-fold, saving the fine cloth, but know not the place. My belly, rounder than Maude's ever was, cramps so that I must clutch myself and would stumble beneath the load were it not for the girl. Margaret leads me to a foul alley-way rich with offal and worse. "Release the purge," she urges.
Hands clumsy with pilloried hours rip away the tickling greens but leave the root well up my fundament. My belly twists with the purge held so long, and I attempt to thrust it from me, turnip first. "I cannot!" I moan.
"Bend, good Garreth, and hold open that which I did grease," she bids me. "The turnip does block the way."
Mortified anew, I set down my bundle and bend myself well over, though my face heats afresh that Margaret, who would kiss me but touch me not, see me thus and touch me so. My fingers splayed do cause some grief on my punished rounds, but I feel the root move 'neath her gentle ministrations, and move yet again, my fundament spreading to allow it.
Sudden, I am un-stoppered and do fall to a squat amid the squalor as my bowel and entrails do divest themselves of the great purge. Laughing, Margaret dances back from the first torrent which muddies the alley-way, setting my bundle out of harm's way, along with an apron-bound bundle of her own. Shuddering, my eyes wet, the purge rushes from me, stops, rushes again, until I am emptied and feel light and pure as Margaret's good soul. It is a day of many miracles.
Margaret fetches me my breeches and boots. Donning my garments with unaccustomed speed, I inquire of her wounds.
" 'Tis naught," she says, waving a hand to clear my concern, "though I've been let go for being slow and stupid. I'm neither." She smiles slyly. "No one else knows that which I know of Garreth the Tailor."
"What do you know, girl?" I ask, as we pick our way through the filth to the next thoroughfare. "I know this street, only a goodly walk from my rooms." I lead the way.
My land-lady sees me admit the girl. "So you're freed, Garreth, but a demon still!" She laughs. "She's a pretty one, at least!"
"My good woman," the girl says with gravity, "my master would that I attend him 'til he be recovered. He would beat me should I refuse."
"I see he's over-quick with his fists," the land-lady says with a moment of unaccustomed pity she then turns upon me. "Are you hurt, Garreth?"
I can but shrug. "With Margaret's tending, I'll soon recover."
"Good. Attend poor Garreth in what manner you choose, I'll not know of it." She huffs up the steps, chuckling.
"My thanks, Margaret, for that and more," I tell the girl as I close my door. "I'll give you a few coppers 'til you find a new position."
"I want no position save wife," she says simply. "Who but your wife would know there are demons within you still?" she adds, and looks pointedly at my breeches, where my staff yet strains for release.
I know not what to say, and speak not, for the demons within me would already that I lie in a husbandly way with the wench who would not sin as I did. Were I to bed her as I did Maude and the others, and were the sheriff to get wind of it, I would surely suffer, perhaps a scalding purge and a whipping! Were I to simply bed my wife, though... "You would marry me despite my lustful demons?"
Margaret smiles. "Were I your wife, I'd take your demons to me in our marriage bed."
"I'd take them back with each kiss," I say, though my staff near-weeps with joy. Margaret is good, keen of wit, kind, and fairer than most, her kisses hot and sweet as baker's buns.
"I'd take them yet again from your staff, and should a single demon remain..." She sets down her apron-bundle on my sturdy cutting-table and folds back the cloth, revealing both bellows-clyster and the large leather clyster bag! "...I should wash him away!"
"How did you--"
"No one watches a serving girl when a beaten, blindfolded tailor holding his turnip'd gallon would escape the square full of canes. Betimes I'll purge you of your lustful demons, then drive them away, as was done in the square." She moves the leather bag, showing the strop as well. "And glad will I be for such wifely duties."
My manhood leaps within my breeches. "We shall marry this day, whilst the church does believe me pure." And so we do, as darkness falls, as it takes me many hours to find the good father who prayed o'er me and many coins to convince him he need not read the banns announcing our intent to wed.
We exchange our demons that night, and when the demons of my staff cannot be waked, she purges me most devoutly. The blue silk stifles my cries of "No more!" and "More, I beg you!" as my wife beats the demons from my hind and makes my staff to rise anew with the joy of my purity, for marriage is a sacred and holy union.
Good fortune indeed. It is a day of many miracles.
E-mail the author, who welcomes readers' reactions, positive or negative, in complete privacy and confidentiality. You probably won't receive a reply, but the author values your opinions and suggestions.