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.

January 13, 2010

Spank & Correct: Pride & Shame

"Turn around," Dad ordered, from behind us.

I would have been a little slower, but Mom and Jenny spun around almost instantly as if they were eager to be viewed from the front rather than the rear. My own thoughts on the subject were a little more complicated. I guess it is different when you are sleeping with the man about to see your naked assets. From my point of view, it was just embarrassing from every direction, but a little more so having to face Dad and Steve.

When were all facing the room and consequently, the large window to the street, Dad said, "To say I'm disappointed would be an understatement."

Steve took up position next to Dad and frowned at us each in turn. He said, "Your red backsides tell me you're all appropriately sore and your red cheeks tell me you're appropriately embarrassed, but I'm not convinced you're appropriately ashamed of your behavior."

Next to me, Jenny coughed on a sob while Mom and I remained silent. I stared at my brother and wondered if he knew how ridiculous he sounded. Dad managed to look proud and disappointed all at the same time while he nodded agreement with Steve's words. I probably should have stared at my toes and pretended to be contrite, but sometimes I am just not that smart.

Dad caught my eye and marched his way to stand directly in front of me. Inches separated our noses and still I stared back at him, unblinking. The ticking of the clock was the only sound as our eyes conversed on an intimate level I would normally have shied away. He expected my respect and I expected his. Neither of us was about to get what we wanted.

"You hate me," He said, his voice barely a whisper. I swallowed any response I might have give, knowing there was nothing I could say to improve the situation. My thoughts wandered back to the morning and Mr. Candle's office as Dad allowed another blanket of silence to fall over us.

I froze in place staring at Joseph Candle's back while he gazed out over the city. The hum of fluorescent lights in the ceiling filled my ears and my mind swam with an ocean of questions. I remembered the man as I had viewed him before ever setting foot in his high rise office; Manipulative, deceptive, dangerous, corrupt, and that was the more positive impressions. Maybe he had not meant it as a threat, but the way he mentioned my nephew, put into context with an elusive threat to my entire family, was beginning to feel like the threat was standing right in front of me.

"How is it you know that?" I asked. His knowledge of my nephew's existence was unsettling enough, although reasonably understandable if he was to be believed at all, but knowing his genetic sequence was another matter entirely and a frightening one at that. I watched his shoulders twitch as he considered his answer or whether to give me one at all.

"The details are unimportant," Mr. Candle said.

"Not to me," I said, my eyes narrowing as I studied his turned back. "Deny it if you want, but I've already concluded you manipulated things to leave me with no option except to take your job offer. What I really want to know is just how many lines you have crossed and how many more are you willing to cross?"

"You know what I'm trying to do," Mr. Candle said.

"Do I?" I said. "How can I believe anything you've told me?"

"Because you've seen the evidence with your own eyes." Mr. Candle said, turning around to face me. "Because I haven't told you anything you didn't already know or suspect."

"You think I'm so arrogant I won't consider the possibility I could be wrong?" I said, "But I'm not that foolish and I'm starting to wonder if I've been participating in my own deception."

"I can understand why you would no longer trust me," He said, walking back to his desk and I said, "I never did."

The memory wavered, penetrated by the harsh whisper of Dad's voice as he said, "You blame me." A shiver washed over me. Dad's face solidified in front of me, replacing Mr. Candle's office. I expected Dad had more to say, but the ticking of the clock was the only sound following his whisper. The memory came rushing back and Dad faded away once more.

Mr. Candle paused in mid step, glancing back at me and said, "Then why are you here?"

"The best of bad choices," I said with a shrug.

He smiled, sitting down in his chair and spinning to look clearly at me. "I won't stop you from leaving," He said.

"Perhaps not directly," I said, leaning against the window wall and staring back at him, "But you've already placed obstacles in that path. Besides, I'm in too deep to just walk away."

"Curiosity," Mr. Candle said with a nod, "Your grandmother was cursed with it as well."

His use of the past tense struck a familiar chord in my thoughts. I had assumed, from the moment I discovered her, he was trying to rescue her from whatever existence she was trapped within, but it was just another deception. The quest was about something more, maybe the same reason our shadowy competition was seeking the same things. I could speculate on the motivations, assume I knew the pertinent facts, but with the curtains being drawn back I saw clear enough to know the things I knew were only a portion of the facts and unlikely even the most pertinent ones. My grandmother was not going to tell me because she wanted me to figure it out for myself and Joseph Candle had his own reasons, but the result remained the same; I was going to have to put the puzzle together for myself.

"You know what I'm really curious about?" I said, closing my eyes and remembering everything I could about Mom's reaction to my working for Quondam and consequently Joseph Candle.

"I'm sure you'll tell me either way," Mr. Candle said.

"Does my Mom know you?" I asked. Mr. Candle shrugged as my eyes flashed open. "If she does, why doesn't she want me to know about it?"

"Seems like questions you should be asking her," Mr. Candle said.

I scoffed at his predictable response and said, "How about this then; Are you and I related?"

Mr. Candle said, "Most scientists believe everyone on the planet is related in some manner or other by this point in our evolution."

I shook my head and said, "You know what I meant."

"Yes," Mr. Candle said.

Suspiciously, I studied him relaxing in his desk chair with an amused smile on his lips. His answer was cryptic despite being simple. I considered pursuing the matter for a straight answer, but realized if he wanted to give me one, he would have already done it. It did not really matter in the end, because blood relation or not, I still was not about to start trusting his intentions.

Dad's whispering voice pulled me back into the present again. He said, "Maybe you're right." Dad backed up a step and then turned his back to me and walked to the end of the couch where Steve remained standing. Dad said, "Maybe I failed you."

I stared straight ahead at the window. My eyes narrowed gazing at the reflection of myself and Mom and Jenny. My skin crawled with goosebumps, a shiver ran down my spine, and I was left with the unmistakable feeling we were being watched. Not by Dad or Steve, but somewhere outside, beyond the dark reflections in the glass, somewhere underneath the moonlight. He was watching and listening and probably smiling.

The ticking clock enveloped me once again and the living room faded away. It was morning once more and I was talking to Joseph Candle in his office. For a fleeting moment I wondered if I had become my grandmother, floating through time and space, but it was just a memory, like a dream only real.

I asked, "How long?"

"What do you mean?" Mr. Candle said, looking confused as I jumped tracks to a new line of questions.

I enjoyed the momentary power of control and said, "How long were you watching? You didn't just find me, but does it go back to college, high school, or further?"

"You were just a little girl the first time I found you," Mr. Candle said. "I had no idea how important you were at the time and in fact I didn't know who you were."

"That doesn't really answer my question," I said, walking to his desk and leaning on the front corner of it.

"Your mother changed her last name and I wasn't sure it was her at the time," Mr. Candle said, swiveling to look me straight in the eye. "It was years later when a series of clues led me back to you when I realized exactly who you were."

"You were fooled because she got married?" I asked, trying not to laugh and at least partially failing.

"She changed her name before marriage and then again after, which made her much harder to track down," Mr. Candle said, a defensive tone entering his voice and making me smile.

"She fooled you and probably this other guy as well," I said, suddenly proud of my mother. "You still haven't answered my question though."

"You participated in a blood drive in your senior year of high school," Mr. Candle said. "That was the final clue leading me to your door."

"Figures," I said, recalling how Cherise had boycotted the very event because it had been backed by none other than Quondam Innovations. "I guess no good deed does go unpunished."

"You're lucky I found you," Mr. Candle said. "If he had found you first, there is no telling what would have happened to your family."

"Maybe," I said, staring down at him with suspicion in my eyes, "Or maybe you just want me to believe that."

"He captured you," Mr. Candle said, a hint of surprise flashing in his eyes. "Of all people you should know just how dangerous and deadly he is."

I nodded. There was just enough truth, I might have easily fallen for the lie. If the man was deadly though, why was I alive at all and better yet, why was Tom? No, whatever the man in shadows was, he was not as deadly as Mr. Candle wanted me to believe. Cruel? Perhaps, but if he was the killer portrayed then Tom would have been killed and possibly the rest of the team as well.

Dad's voice called me back to the living room. He said, "You're my daughter and I don't want to spend the rest of my life at war with you. You've started down a path I'm not proud of and I don't think you can be proud of it either. All I'm trying to do is help you get back to a place where we can both be proud. Is that too much for a father to ask?"

The question oversimplified our situation. I could have answered it honestly with both a yes and a no, but he would not have understood. It was better to keep my mouth shut and let him have his say. If it would make him feel better I would agree with him, but his feelings were not the issue, rather his need to be in control. A smile reached my lips as I realized it was something we had in common and it was the source of our abrasion.

The smile faded from my lips as I felt the unseen presence beyond the glass once more. There was something not quite right about it. He was out there watching I knew it without doubt, but it was not just him. There was someone else looking in and relishing in the view. I wished I could have dropped my arms from their laden post above my head and covered my nakedness, but it would not be sufficient. I closed my eyes and returned to Joseph's Candle's office.

"Have you figured out where or what we should be searching for next?" I asked, changing the subject to avoid confronting the doubts in my head.

Shaking his head, Mr. Candle said, "No. Dr. Michaels has been too wrapped up in his new role as Mr. Barker's second to spend the appropriate time on his translations."

"Aren't we racing against a clock on this?" I said. Between Mr. Candle and my ethereal grandmother I had the impression there was not much time left before whatever big event we were waiting for was going to happen.

"We are indeed," Mr. Candle said.

"Then why are you allowing Mr. Barker to screw around with the team?" I said.

"It's his team," Mr. Candle said, a mix of amusement and scorn flickering in his eyes. "And he's right. You haven't demonstrated the type of leadership we can rely on to see this team through the difficult journey ahead."

"Because I won't blindly follow you?" I said.

"No, because you take unnecessary risks and fail to consider the consequences," Mr. Candle said.

"Maybe if I had all the information," I said, hoping he heard the accusation in my tone.

"You know everything you need to know," He said.

I nodded and said, "I think I might now."

"The team is waiting for you," Mr. Candle said.

It was a dismissal and tempted as I was to prove he no longer controlled me, I realized it was not the time or place. I straighted up off his desk and nodded again before turning and walking away. His eyes stared into my back as I went, but I kept my eyes focused ahead of me. The truth I was seeking was not to be found in Joseph Candle's office, but in the quest I had joined. I knew, as I stepped into the elevator, there would need to be sacrifices and going back home would be one of them, but in the end something more important rested in the balance.


  1. Ash,

    Another spectacular post...its getting very interesting with Mr Candle and like the little changes you see in Allison/Virginia...good job with memory and back to the present... great picture too

  2. Ash, an interesting episode, flashbacks are a useful tool, but ---.
    Allison is beginning to think, or at least look before she leaps.
    Quite a bit to think about, thank you.
    Warm hugs,

  3. I admit my head was spinning a little due to the back and forth flashbacks. Allison's mother could probably reveal some useful information, but somehow I doubt Allison would ask her directly.

  4. Al, Things should be getting more and more interesting on the mystery solving front. Glad you are enjoying it and the pictures.

    Paul, Yes, the flashback is getting a bit overused this month. There is just one more post with it in there so please hang in there, and things will start moving forward again. Allison is changing and hopefully for the better, as she starts putting the mystery of her life together.

    Ace, Sorry about the confusion with those, like I said above, they will be over with very soon. Even if Allison asks her mother, it's not definite her mother would share all that she knows because she seems to prefer to bury her head in the sand rather than face the things happening around her.