He That Spares the Rod
She knew the bite was coming. Growing up in the footsteps of her father’s weekly sermons had taught her well enough to expect it. The non-repentant sinner always had it coming, sooner or later.
Sprawled across the well-worn plank floor in a semi-conscious state, she even quoted her father’s words from a previous sermon, in verbatim and tone, which foretold her current predicament.
“Then the lust,” she heard her father saying from the pulpit, “when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death.”
She recalled the exact passage, hearing her father’s voice gather voluminous momentum the way a train’s sound does coming down the track. She exclaimed it to herself in loud internal solitude of affirmation.
“James 1, verse 15!”
Death, she thought. What a price to pay. She was just 18 years young, and barely that.
It was early summer. Not even two months had passed since her mother had sent away to the state for her home-schooling high school diploma. It had not yet arrived, but that was just a formality. Once the required coursework had been completed, she moved on to the next stage of her life without hesitation because she couldn’t conceive of an alternative. Nothing was complicated about it, according to her father's plan – no school meant more time for work around the house.
Before her last test was submitted, weekdays plus Saturday meant two hours of schoolwork and eight hours of chores. After, weekdays plus Saturday meant she had a full 10 hours for chores. Sundays were always a day of rest, and church. Her father viewed schooling as a matter of state law that had to be obliged, for the most part. He viewed domestic work and church as a matter of God’s law that had to be obliged.
Emma had learned reading, writing, and arithmetic, with her mother serving as more of a headmaster than a teacher, and Emma excelled to the point of wanting more exposure to each. But that was out of the question.
“They make us do too much already,” her father. “Too much of it is pointless. We learn from the Bible. The state should stay out of our business.”
Science wasn’t taught to Emma at all by her mother, though, even though the state did require that.
She passed the state’s final exam required for her home schooling diploma without ever studying science nonetheless, relying upon what she knew from observational learning, and what her mother called the “educated guess.” Common sense came easy to her, her mother often reminded, so Emma just applied it to the blanks left in the wake of her father’s insistence.
The Bible suited Emmaline Margaret Mays just fine. She just didn’t like how it served as a wall to the rest of the world for her, according to her father's convenience. She believed each and every word she had heard, or read, and she knew most of it by heart. By her calculations, she had either heard or read each of the scriptures enough to constitute seven or eight complete readings. She knew what the Bible said, and she knew what it meant. She just did not see why it had to separate her from everybody else so, and why her father had to use it to make her feel so bad.
Her father preached against lust, and told her gratification was wrong. Yet when the house was quiet at night, her chores done and her parents asleep, Emma could not help but slide down the covers, pull up her night gown to around her neck, moisten the tips of her fingers, gently rub the tips of her nipples until they became hard and tickled her clitoris, slid down her panties, lick the fingertips of her right hand, rub her pussy in slow circles at first, getting faster with each passing second, pinch her nipples in rotating fashion with left hand, dart a finger into her pussy, and come when she could not take any more until juices oozed onto her hand and sheets so hard she had to muffle grunts into her shoulder blade.
It felt so good she could not imagine how it could be wrong -- it wasn't hurting anyone, after all -- but that's what her father said. She tried not to do it every night. She thought about it every night. But she tried not to do it every night. Two to three times per week, she could not help herself, however.
"Her thing," is what she called it in her mind.
"I guess I'll do my thing," she would say to herself.
Or, "don't do your thing," if she had done it the night before and needed to talk herself out of it. Emma had done it as long as she can remember. When she was young, she did her thing by squeezing her thighs together at night. By the time her breasts sprouted and hair grew across her pubic bone, she had used her hand, tickling the spot she could mark hard, into a small sensational button.
Emma had wondered in days gone by of what it would be like living as others her age in the community. She had wanted to walk down the road with a boy on an early spring day when tender new flowers reached firmly up and the afternoon sun reached gently down, his hand clutching hers. Where they walked, or how long they walked, would not have mattered at all. She just longed for sweaty palms, a soft-touch sun, and flowers reaching up.