New to Quest Five?
The stories are best enjoyed when read in order beginning with May 1, 2009.

Welcome To Quest Five
Allison Beaumont is having trouble finding a job after college until one day the wealthy and powerful Joseph Candle offers her a job at his rather unusual corporation, where mistakes can lead to bare bottomed spankings. Adopting the alias of Virginia West, she joins four highly skilled colleagues, racing around the globe in search of mysterious treasures, but wherever she goes, trouble is sure to follow.
Note: Some stories contain scenes of a sexual nature, corporal punishment, non-consensual corporal punishment, and strong language which some reader's may find offensive. If you feel this material might be inappropriate for you please move on to another blog by clicking the next blog link at the top of the page.

November 7, 2009

Casting Shadows: Reflection

"Yessir," I said.

In the dark shadows of my closet a red rubber ball sits in the corner, deflated. The once round sides have gone flat and dust collects in the cracks and crevices of its textured surface. Forgotten and alone, it passes the time, content in the shroud of obscurity it has fallen into. Oh how I wished I was that ball instead of standing next to Dr. Michaels in the lobby of Quondam Tower.

It probably had something to do with the twin orbs of fire I used to call my butt or maybe it was the alarming number of eyes staring at me like I was stark naked. Oh wait, where the hell are my clothes? My gaze turned to Cathy and the stack of my clothing behind her, without turning my head. It was a neat trick which almost kept Dr. Michaels from noticing the focus of my attention. He glanced over his shoulder and nodded for a moment at the stack, making me wonder what question it was my clothing asked him.

"Cathy, would you please see to it Miss West's things get cleaned and then delivered to her home?" Dr. Michaels said.

At first it seemed extremely considerate of him to take the time to worry about my clothes and how they would get back home. Then it hit me. My eyes sprang forth from my head and rolled like marbles on the floor. Okay maybe not, but they could have when I realized if my clothes were going home without me, I was going someplace without them.

"Of course, sir," Cathy replied.

"Um, what am I supposed to wear?" I asked, hoping the answer was not as obvious as it appeared.

"Nothing," Dr. Michaels answered.

"You can't," I said.

"I can and more accurately, I have," Dr. Michaels said.

I blinked at him, speechless. If I had any real options for getting my clothing back, they were escaping me entirely. My arms were tiring of holding my hands atop my head and all I wanted to do was rub the sting out of my bottom, which seemed to be getting worse by the minute. Trying to find a whole in the company's discipline policy which I only had a cursory understanding of in the first place was far beyond the level on concentration I was capable of assigning to the task. I swallowed and bit at my lower lip with nothing but useless arguments rolling around in my head. That it was embarrassing remained self evident. That it was outlandish would certainly fall short in appealing to Dr. Michaels' better nature, if he actually has one.

Outside, Kyra waited for us, leaning up against the side of the limousine. She smiled widely when Dr. Michaels opened the door from the lobby and ushered my out, hands still planted atop my head, stiff nipples pointing the way and bare breasts bouncing with every step. If spontaneous combustion was even a remote possibility, I would have proven it fact right on the spot. Unfortunately, I had to bear the humiliation and walk the full distance to the limousine.

The plush leather seats may as well have been a wood slat bench for all the comfort they provided. My swollen posterior seemed to instantly heat the leather and then began to stick to it causing every little movement to feel like another slap to my already glowing backside. Kyra sat in the seat across from me, her lips quivering occasionally with the barely repressed laughter undoubtedly roaring freely on the inside. Her taunting eyes teased more than any words my brother ever uttered in the aftermath of my most memorable, and embarrassing, spankings at home. If only she would laugh aloud or whisper some deliciously taunting comment, I have no doubt Dr. Michaels would have followed through with his threat to discipline her as well. Is it wrong that I wished he would or that she would give him a reason?

No, I had no expectations for sympathy nor any illusions I deserved it. The spanking was a fair repercussion for my lapse in good judgment. Why I neglected to inform someone, anyone, of my whereabouts before leaving the office after having just received a humiliating spanking at the hands of Jack for the exact same thing only a few days before, is beyond my conscious comprehension. I may as well have simply asked for a spanking, but the manner of that spanking or more specifically, the location, felt excessively embarrassing and certainly went beyond the bounds of what was strictly necessary to deliver the message. I would have been shocked except this Quondam Innovations, where everything is done to excess and corporal punishment is a daily routine.

Riding in the limousine, bottom ablaze, it was hard to keep things in their proper perspective. It was overwhelmingly tempting to lay the blame for my pain and misfortune at Kyra's feet. While the logical part of me knows better, a little bird in my brain keeps chirping away and the music sounds a lot like Kyra manipulating all the right buttons to bring about a clash. There is no arguing I messed up, if there were I'd still be arguing it, but what I really want to know is, "How exactly did Jack find out?"

Preparing to board the plane I experienced a slight wave of deja vu, recalling the first time I had stood outside the limousine staring at the staircase leading up to the plane. At the time, Mr. Candle had led Dr. Michaels to believe I had received a spanking for some perceived affront to him and before climbing aboard, Dr. Michaels had commented disappointedly about my skirt denying him a view of my marked buttocks. This time he had nothing to complain about as he followed me up the stairs.

I spent the flight sitting gingerly and throwing myself into research. It was easier to allow myself to be absorbed in the obscure texts, conjectures, and theories discussing the history of western South America and its connections to Easter Island than to process the myriad of emotions threatening to overwhelm my conscious thoughts. Kyra's smug, laughing eyes did little to help, nor did Dr. Michaels wandering ones, but at least the research allowed me to pretend things were normal, well, if I were a nudist that is.

The plane had barely came to a stop when the side door opened and Jack Barker walked inside. His suit looked like he had worn it to bed with wrinkles and creases in all the wrong places but I was still jealous of it. A small brown paper parcel was tucked underneath his arm, making me wonder if he and Tom had already found Olivia and secured whatever artifact we were supposed to find, but the grim smile on his lips told me he was far from a happy man.

"Gene, Kyra, you'll find Tom waiting in the jeep. Grab your gear and get set up at the hotel. Virginia and I need to have a little talk," Jack said, "In private."

Jack grabbed me by the arm and pulled me to his private office at the front of the plane. The door closed softly, sealing Jack and I inside and alone. He threw the parcel down on the desk and it landed with a soft thud. Without a pause he walked around to the far side of the desk, barely, if at all, looking at me. I couldn't tell if he was disgusted with me or embarrassed or maybe even both, but no matter it was disconcerting to think my body apparently held no sway over him.

"Get dressed," Jack ordered, pointing at the parcel.

No one needed to tell me twice. I ripped into the package like an early Birthday present and discovered a pair of shorts, a tee, and a pair of sandals. I was so pleased to have something to wear I didn't even mind the fact it was lacking the usual undergarments one might expect. I'm pretty sure I set a world record in dressing, but no one was there to record it and I don't think I want to repeat the exercise.

"Thank you," I said.

"Don't thank me," Jack said. "If it weren't for Tom you'd be on your way back to L.A. right now."

"I see. I don't suppose you even care what I've been through today on account of Dr. Michaels?" I said.

"Is that what you think?" Jack said, staring at me without blinking until I had to look away.

"Then this was your idea?" I asked, feeling betrayed.

"You're lucky Dr. Michaels was able to convince HR you were a necessary part of this team and our mission here," Jack said.

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

"Did you ever read the disciplinary handbook? No, of course not or you wouldn't be blaming anyone but yourself for your situation," Jack said.

"Are you saying the handbook is responsible? That's got to be the biggest shrug off of responsibility I've ever heard," I said.

"HR monitors the disciplinary record of every employee at Quondam, even ours. It's how the company ensures the disciplinary policy is uniformly enforced without anyone receiving preferential treatment," Jack said.

"I certainly didn't get preferential treatment," I said.

"No, what you got is exactly what anyone would get for violating a serious infraction twice in less than two weeks," Jack said.

"Serious infraction? I went home for a few minutes," I said.

"Walking out of work without prior notification and permission from a supervisor is a serious infraction. HR requires the discipline meet a certain standard and just in case you have any illusions here, they aren't done with you. When we get back you'll have to deal with the consequences just like anybody else would," Jack said.

I stared at my bare toes feeling extremely foolish. I should have known better than to think Dr. Michaels was out to get me, considering he only a few days ago saved my life. The company's disciplinary handbook was more like a world encyclopedia and I had browsed only the very basics rather than studying it in detail. At the time I had hoped it would never be relevant to me, but when Mr. Candle had me sign those papers I wondered if it might come back to haunt me later. Apparently, it was doing just that.

"Do I even want to know?" I asked.

"Get used to standing because I don't think you'll be sitting too easily. I can't even begin to express just how disappointed I am in you," Jack said.

"I'm sorry," I said, feeling all of two feet tall. "It won't happen again."

"It better not because I'm pretty sure they'll send you off to a discipline retreat for a week if it does," Jack said.

I wanted to ask what a discipline retreat was, but something told me I didn't want to know. Jack might even lose his patience with me if I kept asking things I should probably know anyway. The bookcase beside his desk held a copy of the handbook and I figured it was probably going to be reading material for the flight back because it was becoming clear, what I didn't know, could hurt me.

"I guess we should get to work then," I said.

"We aren't finished. I'm temporarily demoting your authority on the team," Jack said.

My eyes stung with tears as if he had slapped me and as they did, I wondered when it was I had started to care about my position with the team and Jack's opinion of me in that role. I blinked back the tears and swallowed the objections threatening to burst forth in the form of angry, desultory words.

"Dr. Michaels will replace you as the team's number two until such time as I feel you are ready to resume the role," Jack said.

"I know I've made some mistakes," I said, struggling to find the words and tone of voice to change his mind.

"More than some. You've consistently chosen to follow only those instructions with which you agree and disregard everything else," Jack said.

"That's not true," I said.

The words had come blurting out as a reflexive defense to an attack on my character. It was only in the aftermath I considered what contradictory evidence I might offer to support my claim. Unfortunately, I quickly came to the realization the only evidence I had in support of my defense rested in an intimate knowledge of self. Without such knowledge, Jack was left to judge me by the actions he had witnessed and they were, admittedly, damning.

"So you were following orders in Italy when you ran off with Kyra in the middle of the night?" Jack said.

"No," I replied.

"Oh maybe it was only in my imagination that you were arguing with my orders on the beach in the Philippines?" Jack said.

"I didn't realize expressing my opinion was a crime," I said.

"It's not the opinion, but you don't know when to stop. I heard you out, made a decision you didn't like and you were determined to force me to change my mind. I had to spank you until my arm was ready to fall off to get you to follow orders or is my memory flawed?" Jack said.

"I was trying to follow your orders when I was captured," I said.

Jack said, "Did it ever occur to you that if you hadn't made me waste all that time on the beach we might have made it back to the hotel and gotten you on a plane before they found us? It was as much your arrogant assumption you knew everything better than me as anything that wound up with the majority of this team in a potentially deadly situation."

"That's not fair!" I said.

"Isn't it? Maybe you need to take a step back," Jack said. "I don't know where Joe found you or who or what you used to be, but you're a part of a team now and that means working with people, not against them. You've been throwing around a superior attitude since the day you arrived and the rest of us are sick of it. You aren't better than us, and it is way passed time for you to figure that out."

"I don't think I'm better than anyone," I said.

"That's why you try to tell everyone how to do their job instead of worrying about doing your own," Jack said.

Tears rolled down my cheeks and I sniffled trying to get it all back under control. His words stung a thousand times worse than any paddle ever could. Jack shook his head, disgusted with me and no doubt thinking my tears were some sort of ploy. I had arguments somewhere in my head to refute every point he had made, but all of them escaped me at the moment I needed them. Instead, I saw myself through his eyes for the first time and it was far from a pretty sight.

Jack handed me a box of tissues and walked around his desk to open the door. I dabbed at my eyes trying to staunch the flow but the day had taken its toll on my emotions and there was nothing to do but let the tears flow and come to their own natural end. I would have been embarrassed in front of Mark or my brother or even my father but with Jack it felt like he could understand. He paused at the doorway to turn around and give me a supportive smile.

"I'll be waiting in the car when you're ready," Jack said. "There's no rush tonight."

And then I was alone.


  1. Ashley, I'm sorry to say Jack is right, V needs to get her head on straight.
    Warm hugs,

  2. The loss of clothing was a really fitting addition to the punishment from last chapter. I hope it gets used more later. There is a lot to look forward to in the upcoming chapters. V's visit with HR, maybe some details on the handbook rules, and the potential for a disciplinary retreat sometime in the future. That last item seems particularly interesting to me and I'd love it if it was explored later in the story.

  3. Ash,

    very good post looking forward to reading more