As the vicar spoke of hell fire, and how the wicked are condemned to eternal torment, the sexton gazed sideways at his youngest daughter – a girl with the figure of a dancer. A real heart breaker he thought, and yet she was pure as the newly fallen snow on the nearby moors, before the cattle had trampelled through the drifts, leaving their footprints and dung behind.
Alice, (his 18-year-old daughter) sat, her eyes half closed in the pew, a dreamy expression on her face. Her prayer book lay open (but unheeded) on her lap.
“Can I help you miss?”, the shop girl said to the young woman who stood, her nails digging into her palms at the counter.
“Yes err … err”.
The shop assistant repressed a sigh. She’d seen it all before,but couldn’t help getting impatient at times.
The assistant smiled encouragingly.
“Do you have, whips?”, the young woman whispered, her face turning the colour of beetroot.
The assistant reached under the counter and withdrew 2 whips. One was of the fluffy, joke variety, whilst the other was of the kind used by jockeys.
“I’ll take that one”, the young woman said, pointing to the fearsome looking riding crop.
“Cash or card, Miss?”.
“Oh god, no card, cash!”, the customer said, her hands fumbling in her purse.
“This rounds on me”, the young student said.
“Thanks”, Marie said. And as her friend went to the student bar to pay for 10 drinks, Marie wondered, as she had on many previous occasions, where her friend got the money for those expensive clothes and the leather handbag she sported.
With trembling hands the vicar typed, “Saturday at 9 pm. Usual place. OK with you?”. Then moistening his dry lips he clicked send.
“There’s this new club opening in town this Saturday. Are you up for it?”, Marie said.
“Nope, sorry, I’m visiting my family this Saturday”, Alice said and, despite her best eforts her cheeks burned …