From that first day when Han had taken the aggressive lead, seducing me into spanking him, I had resolved to have nothing more to do with him. We were venturing into less trod-on territories. It tuned in all too well with the side of me that I knew existed but had always suppressed. I resented Han for bringing to the surface my closeted inclination towards S&M. I hadn't needed that kind of head trip.
So the next time Han came for his lessons I broke the news to him. Tears immediately misted his pretty eyes.
"Why?" he asked. "Is it because of what we did?"
"Yes, Han," I exclaimed. No need for pretenses. "It is precisely because of what we did!"
I tucked a note into the palm of his shaking hand. "This is the number of a friend of mine," I said. "Give it to your father. Tell him I refer him personally. He will take over as your tutor."
I also put money into his tunic pocket. "And give this back to your father. It's what I owe him in unfulfilled tuition hours."
"Please, Ky," Han begged, "please, sir, I'm sorry about last week. It won't happen again. I promise. Only please don't send me home this way."
I hadn't expected such an outpouring of devotion and this was breaking my heart. It didn't help that he had his arms around my waist. I embraced him a bit and then gently pushed him away. I looked at his doeful eyes. My longing for him was torturing me but how to tell him that it was not his fault? Not entirely? That I was shutting him from my life not because I did not trust him but that I did't trust myself? Trust my alter ego?
Kissing his head, I told him with finality that it wouldn't work out between us. And I led him to his car.
Later in the afternoon I heard the familiar sound of car engine outside my dorm. A feeling of doom engulfed me curling around my bones and sinews as the black Mercedes Benz glided to a halt just across from my window. And then the elderly village statesman, one of only three of the all powerful troika that managed the affairs of Han's village, alighted from the back seat with young Han in tow. But except for his seersucker tunic that skimmed the middle of his thighs, Han was quite naked. His slender adolescent legs and feet were bare and it was the middle of autumn. I was not too far to discern that his eyes were bloodshot.
I rushed to get the door, fearing that I might have rocked Han's household this evening.
The father spoke first. "My son has told me all about his mischief," he said, "his refusal to do the work you set him and his insolence towards you. I apologise on his behalf. I ask that you pardon him, he's an impish child, and reinstate him as your pupil. He has promised to be more obedient to you from now on."
The father turned Han sharply around so that the latter's back was to me. With one arm wound around Han's waist, he pushed him down slightly, bending him from the waist, and using his other arm, he pulled the trembling boy's tunic up to his shoulder. After that Han's underwear was quickly yanked down to his thighs.
I gasped to see his naked buttocks. Red grooves and channels crisscrossed his bruised skin. It was undeniable that he had been spanked and caned - a little too brutally for what I felt was a small misdemeanor, and even that was not entirely perpetrated by him.
"You can see that Han will keep his promise," his father said looking grim. For surely he did not much enjoy exhibiting or humiliating his son like this. "He has learned his lesson tonight."
Han had been exceedingly brave to be able to stay so calm in his adversity. I respected him for this. And as for me, I had my own urges to control.
"But if you're not satisfied," the father continued, sounding sad and old, "I shall spank him further in your presence. He raised his hand above Han's bared bottom. "But you must concur with me; I only am allowed to carry out his discipline. Something I promised to the women folk."
Han had turned his head towards me; his eyes were remonstrating me urgently. But it was not clear what he wanted.
"No," I said to his father, "No. sir, that won't be necessary. Han has my pardon. I take him back. You have my word."
I reached out to gather Han under my wings. I had to make amends. It was the decent thing to do. Was he not suffering because of my imprudence? But his father raised a hand to me as if to say it was not my place to interfere. He was disciplining his boy and in my culture, with the exception of the minority that worked with Amnesty International and some expatriate residents who regarded our mores a contravention of universal humanitarian laws, corporal punishment whether as a judicial or familial tool to deter miscreant behavior had not been questioned for centuries.
I heard now the father ordering Han to raise his hands.
"Papa, please..." Han begged, but only managing to bring his voice up to a sob.
"Do not force me to repeat myself," the father warned, his voice now thundering. "Or to have to slap you in the face. You know the rules. Raise your arms over your head. Now!"
Head bowed, nose sniffling, Han resigned himself to his next fate. The father took hold of the hem of his only insurance of protection and modesty and stripped him of it leaving him completely nude. He sank to his knees in a configuration of penitence as if on reflex or it was required and cried humbly and quietly to himself.
But just as I started to wonder if Han's father could be anything but despotic, he asked to be left alone to speak with his son. I acquiesced, allowing father and son their private little tryst in my cramped living quarters. I could make out little of the lengthy whispered dialectic that passed from the lips of the older man to the ears of his boy but in the brief moment that I caught sight of their reflection in the hall mirror and they were in tight embrace, I realised that there had been more affection there than I had seen in many families where, owing to cultural constrictions, hugging was regarded an otiose protocol reserved only for airport scenes and betrothals.
I returned to them, the father's unexpected and anomalous action still fresh on my mind. The elderly nonpariel now returned my money and reminded me that we had a deal and I was bound by a gentleman's contract to keep my end of it. And then he left promising to come for his son in a couple of hours.
I now had a naked humiliated boy to deal with. I sat on the floor, lotus style, and studied my pupil.
"Why did you say all those things to your father?" I asked. "It's as if you wanted to get into trouble. You only had to tell it as it was and be spared the cane. I'm sorry. All of this was my doing."
Han shrugged his shoulders.
I sighed, got up and extended my hand to him. "Come. You're filthy and wet. You're getting a nice, warm bath and then we'll have a short lesson."
He gazed nervously on my hand. I laughed at his funny ways and told him I wouldn't bite. It occurred to me soon after that he'd had his hands clasped over his crotch. I forced him to lift up his hands. He did after some serious threat otherwise.
"Why, you little son of a ...," I spat out. "You've got a nerve!"
I crouched in front of him and gripped his penis in my palm. It was ramrod hard, as they say, and oozing seminal fluid.
"What was it you enjoyed, huh? Being spanked by your old man? Or being stripped naked by him? I'll bet it was all of it. Did you plan all this from the start? You _d_a_m_n_ed little spankophile."
His eyes teared at this stage and he leapt up from his knees. "Well, don't sound so _d_a_m_n_ed self-righteous yourself," he shrieked aping my language. It was even sweet coming from him but I didn't say that to him. "You were enjoying the entire scene yourself!"
He was pointing at the bulge in my crotch.
"Why you insolent little prick!" I cussed. "Your father was right to cane you. A little spanking would not have been enough. In fact someone ought to throw you in a dungeon and whip you into a pulp. You're disgusting. You're a manipulative little piece of _s_h_i_t_, a user. I'll bet you used me the last time to get what you wanted, didn't you? And you're probably using your father all the time for the same end and God knows he's wasted his kindness on you!"
And so on and on I went bitching at the poor sod, stopping only when I realised for the second time tonight that he looked injured. And so confused. His chest was heaving as though at any time he would burst into tears or worse throw a temper. I would have retracted all I said had I not been such a prick myself. The truth was I was disgusted with myself. Han was right. I had thrown a boner all evening and was humiliated by his perspicacity. And so I was lashing out.
I hadn't wanted the evening to turn out this way. I was growing very fond of Han in synchrony with his growing dependency on me. Even if I had been right about him, but who was I to judge, I was monstrous to hurt his feelings. He probably had no idea what the hell he was going through for how could he? he was after all just a child. But then again he was a precocious one.
I caught him before he could reach the door. (How far did he think he could go in his nakedness?) I wound my arms around him. I apologised and begged for forgiveness. I hugged him. I kissed him. Gradually I melted him.
"All right! I forgive you," he said, his voice childlike and trusting again, his face refulgent once more. "But on the condition you do one thing for me."
I asked what it was.
"You know," he said teasing me, "you've always known. And you know you want to."
Little iblis. I stared for a long time at him pondering his delicious invitation. I had two roads to take: I could reject him and he would never make this request again. Or I could turn him over my laps the way he so longed to be taken, the way I so longed to take him, and together take the dark road towards furthering the experience he had initiated just a week ago.
I also thought about my former relationships, how each and everyone of them whether they were _s_e_x_ual or platonic, had left me feeling spent and empty. And then I thought about my experience with Han last week. I had been given a glimpse of the kind of life I could have with him. And the fulfilment of the heart I had felt, never mind what my brain told me. Intentional or not, Han had been responsible.
I knew what I wanted.
Silently I scooped Han into my arms and bore him into my bedroom. I laid him on my bed. I turned down all the blinds and turned up the radio. I got out some scarves from my bureau and then returned to him. I turned him over on his stomach, made him grip the bedrails and tied his wrists to the rails with the scarves. I placed two pillows under his stomach raising his sore buttocks high up in the air. I pulled out his genitals and arranged them on the top pillow pointed towards me. Now he was restained and ready. I turned to my closet, opened it and reached for my cane. It brought back memories of my childhood as I felt it with my hand.
I returned once more to Han who had not so much as let out a squeak all this time, and then stood behind his naked raised bottom.
"Yes, Han," I said softly, raising the cane above my head, "I do know."
(This translation of the original text was by my beloved JRK. Thanks sweetie, K.)