The Betty McCloud Collection
                                              Below Bars
    
    The pretty, five foot three inch teacher flexed her muscles, placing an
elbow on the desk. ‘If you really think you’re up to it Dolly.’
    The bully stared down, hatred in her eyes. ‘I can take you anytime.’
    ‘Then be my guest.’ Betty raised her hand and smiled sweetly as Dolly
clenched it, then watched as she strained and grunted, slowly exerting her
strength until Dolly reddened and panted, plainly out-muscled.
    ‘Best of three?’ Betty asked, casually flicking her shoulder length, dark
curly hair.
    But Dolly was having none of it as she stomped away, furious at being
beaten out of sight and already planning her revenge.
    ‘Show us your muscles Miss.’ Debbie Langton stood applauding and
causing her classmates to do likewise. Betty duly obliged by raking her
fingers in her hair, causing her arm muscles to ripple like waves in an
ocean, pushing through the sleeves of her red cardigan.
    ‘I’ll tell you the truth,’ she said confidentially, glancing as Dolly flew out
slamming the door, ‘it was my weaker arm.’
    Debbie’s admiring smile faded. ‘Be careful Miss, she won’t leave it at that
you know. You’ve made her look daft; she’ll try to find a way back at you.’
    ‘I’d best be on my guard,’ Betty acknowledged thoughtfully, ‘but if anyone
needed putting in her place it was Dolly.’
    Debbie watched her schoolteacher march quietly out; when she was
forty odd she’d be proud to be in the same condition as Miss McCloud. She
was stocky but in great shape, terrific boobs and all. But she was known as
“muscles McCloud” for good reason; she’d heard it said she could lift five
times her weight, it sounded incredible but knowing Miss, Debbie didn’t
doubt it. Fancy bone headed Dolly Bamber having the temerity to challenge
her – well she’d paid with her ego, but all the same Dolly Bamber had friends
and Miss McCloud would do well to watch her back.
    Betty slipped on her jacket and took her customary woodland walk
home, through a narrow clearing cutting between dense oak, elm and birch,
their leaves dropping slowly with the fall, creating a multi-coloured carpet
of red, amber and green. It was a barely used trail as reflected by the
undergrowth.
   The few who used the route did so cautiously, stories abounded about
perverts who lay in wait, hidden by the terrain. But such tales held no fear
for Betty, she would dispense with any aggressor by hurling them against
the nearest stout oak trunk, and there were plenty to choose from.
    Further into the woods there was a small clearing, created when a
snarling gale had brought down a huge oak leaving a seven foot hollow
below ground. A rusting metal grate protected the public from a nasty fall
but today the volume of leaves covered it completely.
    Entering the clearing Betty cocked her head at the sound rustling leaves
behind; a sudden squall she supposed, though the weather had been bright,
calm and still.
    Before she could turn shouts broke out, taunts of ‘bitch, cow,’ hit her
ears and before she could respond a shove in the back sent her slithering
feet first through the soggy leaves, and then the sensation of tumbling, of
falling down a shaft, though with horror rising from the pit of her stomach
Betty realised what she’d really fallen through – the hollow with its grid
removed.
    She’d landed on her side in the small, confined space at the bottom, a
faint numbness in her left leg, but what concerned her was the thunderous
rumbling of the grid being replaced and three leering adolescent faces
staring between the thick metal bars.
    ‘Take that bitch!’ Dolly Bamber snarled, ‘Now who’s got mud on her face,
eh?’
    Betty rose unsteadily to her feet, hands placed against the cavity sides,
‘Get me out of here or I’ll…’
    ‘Or you’ll do what bitch?’
    Betty stared at the three faces defiantly, though she knew there was
nothing she could do. She cursed herself for being so casual, for not
considering the possibility of being taken from behind. She heard a crash as
a foot struck the side of the grid, ‘Rot in hell, bitch!’
    Then silence as she struggled to breathe in the suffocating still air which
reeked of dank earth, but with slow deep breaths she composed herself.
Someone would find her, she had a supreme physique and along with it the
endurance to last out as long as it took, until help came and then she’d –
    But be real – even she couldn’t last long in this hell below earth, the air
reaching her lungs was stale and scarce, her massive strength would slowly
ebb away until –
    She couldn’t let that happen, it wasn’t her way. If she could only reach
the grid she could remove it, but at five foot three and standing in a hole at
least seven foot deep how could she do that?
    The hollow was narrow, she had barely two foot width either side of her.
Betty’s only weapons were her arms and legs but even she hadn’t enough
power to transform the inside of the pit, though at least she could try to
blast enough footholds to enable her to reach the grid. It was the only thing
she could do apart from sit resigned to her fate.
    She blasted away in what little light there was, until it faded into total
darkness whereupon she sank to the floor, hands clasped around her knees,
rocking to and fro until her mind matched the darkness of the hollow.
             *                *                *
     Debbie had felt uneasy the moment she’d witnessed Dolly Bamber’s
humiliation; Dolly just wouldn’t be able to live it down without some kind of
backhand retribution – and the absence of Miss McCloud the following
morning had increased her concern threefold.
    Dolly Bamber noticeably had re-assumed her normal boisterous,
disruptive behaviour in league with her two cronies, seeming to delight in
Miss McCloud’s absence, and the devious look given as Debbie glanced over
in her direction confirmed something was cooking.
    But what?
    Debbie took a coffee at break, and as she did so a hand clasped like a
claw on her shoulder. She shuddered as she felt Dolly’s hot breath in her
ear, ‘Where’s your little schoolteacher friend today then? Feeling lonely are
we?’
    ‘Shove off.’ Debbie backed away, beyond reach of Dolly’s heavy hand and
headed across the yard in the direction of Miss Strode, the stand-in teacher.
    Where was Miss McCloud? She asked. The stand-in didn’t know – only
that she hadn’t reported in, presumably she was sick.
    But Miss McCloud was never sick, and Debbie’s fears intensified. She
could feel Dolly’s eyes like hot coals on her back and when she turned
Debbie was standing there with that same stare.
    She knew what was ailing Miss McCloud and Debbie was intent on
finding out what it was, though she needed to be careful. Dolly was alert to
her suspicions.
   So she faked illness late that afternoon, thirty minutes before school
ended. A quick look at Dolly showed she’d been taken by surprise, but there
was little she could do other than follow with watchful eyes as Debbie
headed out the door, bound for Miss McCloud’s house.
               *                *               *
    Betty forced her eyes open, a faint grey light overhead told her it was
dawn. Her legs ached from being confined in the narrow space and her
knees groaned as he got up.
    It was total misery but she couldn’t allow herself to dwell on that; she’d
regulated her breathing and overcome the initial effects of confinement. She’
d forced several deep indents into the solid earth by fist and foot but it wasn’
t enough and now her knuckles were red raw. Moreover, there was no
possibility of being able to create footholds higher up.
    Her greatest, her only weapon was going to be her stamina, her ability to
outlast the crisis. But in a dismal, dingy hole any help seemed to be light
years away.
              *              *             *
    Although it cut time, Debbie hardly ever took the woodland route that
Miss McCloud frequently trod, on her way home. She supposed the only
reason she did so now lay in concern for her teacher.
    The wind had risen a little during the day and a colourful array of leaves
swept up from the ground to intermingle with those that were falling. She
trod cautiously with regular glances back, half expecting Dolly to have
sneaked out in pursuit, but the way behind was clear.
    She came to a clearing, recalling a concealed hollow covered by an iron
grid, only today the grid wasn’t visible; it was covered in foliage so she
needed to be careful lest she tripped. But the rising wind seemed to be
clearing a way through for her and swatting flying leaves clear of her eyes
she now saw the grid, partially exposed. She noticed it wasn’t properly
centred, that someone brave or foolhardy enough to pass through the woods
might hurt themselves.
    Debbie tried to shift the grid with her foot but it was heavy, so she
reached down to use her arms –
    And then she heard the voice from below –
    ‘Debbie, Debbie it’s me, Miss McCloud…’
    Debbie swept the remaining leaves away, looked between the thick iron
bars of the grid and in the faint light made out the dishevelled shape of her
favourite teacher –
    ‘A rope Debbie – I need a rope.’ Miss McCloud’s voice came through, crisp
and calm despite her predicament.
    ‘What? Where from?’ Debbie shouted down.
    ‘My garage, the rope is hanging on the wall – here –‘ Betty felt in her
pocket for the keys – damn – nothing, they must have dropped out in the
rough and tumble. She scraped furiously around in the dirt, cursing, finally
running her hand blindly over them.
    ‘Catch,’ she tossed them through the grid at her first attempt, ‘it’s the
small key you want, now go…’
    Debbie rushed as quickly as she could through the remainder of the
wood and in a few minutes it had fanned out to reveal Miss McCloud’s
bungalow, one of several dotted around the woodland perimeter.
    She unlocked the garage and heaved the rope down, it was heavy and
she struggled along with it looped over her shoulder, thinking she’d soon
develop muscles like Miss McCloud.
    Panting, Debbie arrived back at the hole to find Miss McCloud waiting
eagerly, ‘Good,’ she called up, ‘now loop the rope around the grid and
tighten it as firmly as you can – it needs to take my weight.’
    Debbie scrambled to her knees, tightened it around the grid with all her
might and then dropped the tail through, turning in alarm as familiar voices
came ringing on the wind. Dolly’s trio were on their way.
    Betty grasped the rope with both hands, tested it then began winding her
way up, working the sides with her legs for support.
    A couple of foot below the grid she stopped, steadied herself. ‘Miss, I
won’t be able to move the thing,’ Debbie declared, her head shaking
frantically, ‘it’s too heavy for me.’
    ‘You won’t need to Debbie,’ Betty said calmly, ‘just stand well clear.’
    Debbie watched open mouthed as Betty exerted all her power, and with
creaking, screeching and groaning the rusting central bars of the grid
contorted outwards, leaving enough gap for Betty to swing feet first through
it.
    She sprang to her feet, tapped Debbie on the shoulder, ‘Thanks.’
  ‘Me?’ Debbie uttered in amazement. ‘All I did was to get the rope and tie it,
but you were incredible, I’ve never seen such strength.’ She shook her head,
diverted from the sound of approaching company by Betty’s feat.
    Betty nodded, her eyes on the clearing. ‘Well it wasn’t strength Debbie,
perhaps a little, but age took its toll on the grid chiefly – now if that’s who I
think it is I’ve a little surprise in store for them. Stand back.’
    Collecting the grid she’d mangled, Betty guided Debbie a yard or two into
the undergrowth, while as expected Dolly and her two cronies ran towards
the hole to inspect their handiwork.
    By the time they’d realised the grid had been removed it was too late,
Betty sprang into the clearing ignoring the complaints from her stiff legs,
before grabbing and hoisting the thirteen stone Dolly in one arm and a
skinnier companion with the other.
    Debbie watched, marvelling at the athleticism and power of a woman old
enough to be her mother, as dangling the screaming girls above the hole
she dropped them carefully through – Dolly first, then her mate.
    Betty turned to the third, who prepared to run until Debbie blocked her
path. ‘Thanks Debbie,’ Betty said, ‘I’m getting too old to chase after her.’
She raised the third as if she were gathering a paper bag, depositing the
struggling girl onto her mates and then stood over the dark void, watching
the three figures writhe.
    ‘Oh my,’ Betty said quietly, a glint in her eye, ‘it seems the tables have
been well and truly turned.’ Ignoring the shouts for help she swung to
Debbie, ‘Come on, I feel peckish all of a sudden.
    Debbie frowned, ‘Miss. You can’t just leave them there, you’ll get into
trouble.’
    ‘Oh, more trouble?’ Betty ran a palm across her grimy face in mock
horror. ‘Yuck, I need a shower. That’s it – a shower, a meal in that order and
then I’ll think about pulling them out.’
    Betty dangled the rope above the hole teasingly before snatching it
away. She leaned her head into the darkness, ‘See you later.’

Return to home page