Friday, 14 October 2011

Petticoat Punishment for Lord George

On a bitterly cold day in the December of 1800, the very few relatives of Lord Lucius Lothario Ghastleigh dutifully arrayed themselves in mourning garb and attended the funeral service being held in the small chapel on his estate. They then witnessed the ornate and oversized coffin being lowered into the ground and covered over.

Apart from a multitude of retainers, servants and acquaintances of the deceased, only seven people present could claim kinship with the late Lord. His only son, George, aged ten, who was now the new Lord Ghastleigh, the late lord's sister, Amelia, her four daughters, Emily, Sara, Catherine and Emma, and Amelia's husband, Peter Stockton, a doctor whose fortune was a tiny fraction of that of his wife's family.

Amelia stared at her dead brother's massive and hugely expensive headstone with mixed emotions. A little sadness and a great deal of resentment for a life wasted. Dead at the age of thirty as the result of a fall from a horse. Lucius, she remembered, had been spoilt as a child and had spent his adolescence and adulthood eating and drinking far too much, spending his money on fine clothes and on horses, and gambling, a pastime he was very bad at.

All he had to show for his brief existence was his son, who was already a minaturised version of his father, complete with a gold watch and chain and a gentleman's cane. He also already had a haughty and superior manner, bossing his girl cousins around even though he was the youngest of the children present.

The funeral party returned to Ghastleigh Manor. Whilst Lord George made his cousins line up for him to inspect them, as if he were a General and the girls were merely footsoldiers under his command, the adults retired to the study for the reading of the will.

But there was, it turned out, no will. Lucius had failed to make one, announced his solicitor. The estate was entailed so the Manor and title went to the nearest male relative, namely George, automatically but as George was a minor it was unclear as to who would act as his guardians.
At length, it was agreed that as George's sole relatives, his Aunt and Uncle should be his guardians.

Amelia's husband, a kind, decent man, ran a busy practice in town. He had no time to look after the estate and would continue to live in the small house above his practice. Amelia would therefore run the estate and would live in the Manor with her daughters. And George, of course.

George was most indignant at finding himself under female rule. He was deliberately disobedient and determined to rebel against Amelia's authority. He was a insufferable monster to his cousins and said and did things that were so unkind that he caused them to cry.

However, George had underestimated his Aunt. Amelia was a forceful and determined woman. She had tried to assert her authority over the boy by various punishments such as spanking him or confining him to his room but these had had no effect.

So when George defied her again, scorning her for being a mere woman, Amelia decided to punish him by stripping him of his assumed superiority by virtue of being masculine. Summoning her maids, she outlined her plan to them. George had been as unpleasant to the servants as he had been to his cousins, so they had no love for him and gleefully became Amelia's instruments.

When George awoke the next morning, he found a quartet of maids waiting from him, instead of his valet. In spite of his protests and resistance, the maids hauled him out of bed and stripped him and then dressed him in the lacy chemise and befrilled knickers of a girl, and a small girl at that. He was put into a white lace baby frock with puffy sleeves and frilled edgings. Then the maids applied hot tongs to George's fine blond hair to give him ringlets and finally tied a girl's bonnet on to his head.

George had resisted fiercely throughout the entire process, threatening dire retribution, but he was no match for four fairly strong women and he found himself dressed up as a babyish looking girl. George was so ashamed at how he looked that he tried to hide under his bed. But the maids were having none of that and dragged him out and marched him downstairs to join the rest of the family at breakfast.

He was dragged, kicking and even biting, into the presence of his Aunt and cousins, who all of course burst out laughing at the sight of George. Like his father, George had been a glutton and was consequently a fat boy. His plump face and body helped to make him look even more babyish. His arms and legs were bare and he wore nothing on his feet whereas his Aunt and cousins wore dresses that at least covered all of their bodies. Most humiliating of all was that the baby frock was too short, due to George's plumpness, and so it was obvious that he was wearing girls' underwear.

George burst into tears at the shame. Amelia ordered him to stop making such a racket and sit down to breakfast. George flew into a tantrum, demanding his normal clothes back and threatening to do terrible things. Amelia and the girls ignored him. Realising that his tactics to get his own way weren't going to work, George eventually dried his eyes and sat down. Then he started crying again when he discovered that his breakfast was merely a bowl of cooling porridge instead of the feast he normally had.

Whilst George ate his paltry fare, Amelia spoke quietly to her daughters, as if George was of no consequence. Amelia explained why George was dressed the way he was. He had failed to act like a little gentleman should, showing kindness and courtesy to his friends, relatives and servants, and obeying the wishes of his legal guardian. He had also developed a low opinion of the female sex. This was not all his fault, Amelia explained, he had clearly been badly brought up so it was her duty to correct his aberrant behaviour. Petticoat punishment and experience of life as a small girl would improve him.

Turning to George, who listened to all this in horror, Amelia told him that from now on until she decided otherwise, he would be dressed and treated as the youngest girl in the household, and just like any girl he had to observe the rule that little girls were seen and not heard and he would do needlework and embroidery just like a girl would. If he showed improvement in his behaviour, Amelia said, she might relent and restore him to boys' things.

George stared at her in shock, his pouting lips quivering at this announcement. Reduced to the status of a small, babyish looking girl, and without the accroutrements of masculinity, the arrogant bully became a pleading supplicant. He begged Amelia to give him back his clothes. He even went down on his bare knees and pleaded with her but Amelia smiled and shook her head and told her daughters to take their cousin away and play with him.

Tittering and giggling, the four girls took their weeping cousin away. They put braclets and necklaces on him and made him play with one of their dolls. When he angrily threw the doll away, Amelia punished him by making him take off his frock and stand in a corner, clad only in his underwear, much to the hilarity of the the girls and the servants.

Amelia made another change, moving her daughters into George's large room, intended for occupancy by the lord of the manor and hence a very masculine environment, whilst George was moved into their old room, which was smaller and decidedly a ladies' bedchamber. Amelia intended to ensure that George was exposed to total femininity.

What made it much worse for George was that there was no pretence that he was a girl. He was still addressed by his male name and it was obvious that he was a boy being forced to dress as a girl.

Over the next month, George continued to be rebellious and he spent many hours in the corner in only his knickers but he could not hold out indefinitely. The effect on the wearer of feminine clothing and being forced to adopt traditionally feminine behaviours such as submissiveness and gentleness is that he becomes more feminine, no matter how masculine he is.

During the second month, a dressmaker came to the house and carefully measured George and then went away again. A few weeks later, a carriage arrived at the manor with boxes and boxes of things for George.

George was disgusted to find that the boxes contained brocaded gowns, dainty underwear, jewelley, hats and clothes. To be worn by him from now on!

The babyish clothes were removed and George found himself being perfumed and dressed up as a lady in the height of feminine fashion. His hair was styled in the lastest fashion. He had to move around in the cumbersome skirts and petticoats, which swished as soon as he moved. Worst of all was the realisation that he looked just a like a girl (and a plump girl at that!) and that everyone could see him dressed this way.

To make matters worse still, George's cousins were allowed to go riding, whilst he was not, and they were even allowed to wear trousers. George was envious. and chafed at the restrictions imposed on him.

After six months of this treatment, George's will was broken. The tantrums, tears and rebellions gradually petered out as George realised that only obedience would serve him well. He became a quiet, submissive little flower and did whatever his aunt and cousins demanded of him. He became adept at needlework and even completed some embroidery, which was given pride of place over the mantlepiece instead of the stag's head put there by his father.

Another month later, George was summoned into his Aunt's study. Strictly speaking, it was George's study and indeed George's house, but his Aunt's power in this house was now absolute. She was his legal guardian and so had complete authority over him until he reached the age of twenty one, which was many years in the future. George's cousins and all the servants did whatever Amelia told them. George, for all that he was peer of the realm, had no power or authority even within his own household. He was at the mercy of a female he had once scorned. He understood this now and knew he had no choice but to accept it.

George was dressed in a pale pink gown with many petticoats and his hair was in ringlets and beribboned. He was perfumed and made up. Underneath his voluminous skirts he wore shoes of a preposterous height and George struggled to walk in them and a pair of frilly drawers that made him blush underneath his cosmetics. He knew that, having lost a lot of weight, he actually looked quite pretty! His cousins had told him so. When he had studied himself in the glass after being dressed by his maids he found it hard to reconcile the image with anything resembling masculinity.

George was hoping that his Aunt would finally relent and restore him to his previous maleness. Amelia complimented him on how well his behaviour had improved. He was completely unrecognisable from the horrid boy he been before. Everyone had commented on it. Amelia paused. The tension was unbearable for George. He was desperate to get out of these clothes and back into trousers. He hadn't worn trousers for so long now that he had quite forgotten what it must be like to wear them after months in skirts.

Amelia sensed the tension and decided to put him out of his misery. She had come to a decision about his future, she informed him. There was a nice girl, the daughter of a dear friend, who would be most suitable for George to marry when he was older. Mary Hardcastle.

George was horrifed. Mary Hardcastle was five years older than him, much taller than him and stronger than him. She also liked to wear male attire and was very bossy. George remembered her smirking at him when he had last met her for she was dressed in her riding outfit, with trousers and boots, whilst George was dressed in a very similar way to the way he was dressed now. It had been an extremely humiliating episode and Mary had scorned him for being a sissy and calling him "lady boy". Mary would be wearing the pants in the relationship, quite literally.

Tremulously, George asked Amelia if, in the meantime, he could go back to being a boy. Amelia laughed and said, of course not. Mary wants you kept in dresses until you are married. Downcast, George looked down at his silken skirts and the frilled drawers peeping out from underneath them and realised that he would be trapped in skirts forever!

The End

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Amy and Antony - Part 14

Steve Walker awoke with a start and tried to get his bearings.

The last time he had been aware of anything, he had been in a prostitute's bedroom being massaged by the tiniest, cutest girl he had ever met. But the girl had tricked him and put him to sleep with an injection.

That girl had better be a long way away from me thought Steve, cos if I ever catch up with her...

Steve forced his mind back to his present situation. He was lying flat on his back on some kind of metallic surface. His eyes could only take in a bland white painted ceiling and ceramic tiling that comprised part of the walls of the room he was in.

Steve realised that he had clearly been moved from the bedroom and into another room, perhaps a completely different building. The room had a sterile, clinical feel and smell about it. During a long career as a police officer, Steve had spent enough time in laboratories, mortuaries and hospitals to be able to guess that he was in some kind of lab.

But what was it for and why had he been brought here?

Steve tried to sit up. To his shock and horror, he found he could not move as much as his little toe! Steve was inwardly panicking. Was this paralysis a permanent thing? Even if it wasn't, for the moment he was helpless.

There was a swooshing sound as the entrance to this chamber admitted some people. He could hear their footsteps getting closer and closer until he could see four people. Four female people. Three of them, he recognised instantly, but the fourth was a stranger.

He recognised two of the older women as Dr Craig, a Female Dawn Activist he had arrested, the female barrister who had grilled him in court but he could not recall her name and, to his disbelief, the girl prostitute who had been responsible for putting him in this situation.

His mind was momentarily filled with rage. Has he been able to move, he would have pounded the scheming minx into the middle of next week! But, all he could do was lie there helplessly and seethe impotently.

The fourth woman, who was older than all those present and had silver hair, wore a lab coat and carried a clip board. She was checking the monitors situated above Steve's head and nodding in satisfaction.

"A perfect specimen" she said, in a pronounced German accent "for our first test of the prototype".

"How much longer will the drug work for?" asked Dr Craig.

The German woman considered this for a moment "long enough, Dr Craig".

Dr Craig turned to the barrister "Will anyone miss our specimen?"

The younger woman shook her head "No one could care less about him. His expulsion from the police force is imminent. I checked with our source. Your arrest and subsequent court case caused the service considerable damage, both financially and in terms of their reputation, so they are washing their hands of him. His soon to be ex-wife has already found a new partner. He has no other family and as far as anyone knows, he is emigrating to Thailand".

Dr Craig's face suddenly invaded Steve's vision. Her expression was cold and impassive. "So, he is quite alone and helpless. Perfect!". Dr Craig allowed a tiny smile to crease her features and she spoke to Steve for the first time.

"You foolish man. Like all men, you allowed your primitive instincts to rule you! Not that it would have done you any good with that sweet little east european girl as "she" is not as she seems, are you Antony?"

The "girl" appeared in Steve's vision, sans wig, and "she" was clearly a he. The boy gave him a cheeky wink. Steve felt humiliated to be tricked and outwitted by a weedy boy.

"Thank you Antony, you can go now!" Dr Craig said, with authority. The boy, still clad in his mini-skirt and the rest of his working girl outfit, except for the wig that he held in his hand, bobbed a little curtsey and disappeared.

The three real women observed his exit with smiles.

"He is a rather sweet boy" said Dr Craig "If only ALL boys could be just like him! Just think how easy our task would be then....but, back to business! How long until the prototype is operational, Professor-Doctor Hartmann?"

The German woman looked mildly offended by the question "It is ready now, Doctor. We just need to run a few more routine tests".

"Then please proceed. Quickly. The Matriarch will be here soon. The prototype must be ready for her to see by then!"

Hartmann scurried off, shouting commands in German to a gaggle of female technicians, who rushed to obey her.

Amidst all this, Steve lay there, feeling helpless, humiliated, and alone.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Amy and Antony - Part Thirteen

Steve Walker could hardly believe his luck! Here he was, being led by the hand by the cutest boyish looking young girl he had ever met.

The mini-skirted girl confidently led him down some dark and obscure alleyways. They passed other couples snogging and fondling each other along the way.

Steve was getting randy as he saw the other couples making out. He stopped and tried to pin the small girl leading him against the nearest wall so he could kiss her, but the girl deftly wriggled away and shook her head. She took Steve's hand again - and control of the situation - and gently pulled him along behind her.

Steve was disappointed, but only for a few moments. His attention was soon absorbed by the slender legs of the girl, her cute behind wiggling away in that tiny mini-skirt (he could have watched that for hours!) and by the softness of her hand. Steve could barely wait to sample the delights offered by the girl's nubile body.

The girl stopped outside a doorway. The door was old, solid and wooden and the black paint was peeling from it. The girl extracted a key from her bra and used it to open the door, and then entered, gesturing for Steve to follow her.

Steve eagerly followed the girl through a dim hallway and up a flight of stairs until they reached what was obviously the girl's room. Steve had frequented bordellos for years and he found it odd that there was no pimp, or madam, hovering about to demand payment, or indeed any other working girls. He shrugged. What did it matter? If this was a ruse to rob him then that girl had chosen the wrong victim. He could break the diminutive female in two with just one of his massive hands.

The girl's room was unremarkable. Very simple furnishings, in keeping with what one would expect of a whore house. The girl gestured towards a small table upon which sat a tray with some glasses and bottles of wine. Some "clients" bottled it at the last minute and needed a drink in order to perform whilst others wanted to just sit and talk with the girl. Steve, eager to get down to business, shook his head.

The girl vanished behind a screen and Steve could see her silhouette behind it. She was beginning to remove her outer clothes and Steve gawped at her, mesmerised. The girl re-appeared, clad only in a red bra and matching panties. Her body was perfect. Soft and hairless.

The girl spoke, her accent betraying her east european origins "Please to sit on ze bed" she beseeched him. Steve obeyed. A few moments later he sensed the girl lightly scramble onto the bed and coming up behind him. Steve trembled in anticipation as he felt the girl's tiny hands in his shoulders and her sweet breath on his right ear. Then his vision was obscured as the girl tied something around his eyes. One of her stockings. Steve could dimly see the outlines of some of the room's furnishings through the delicate nylon barrier now covering his eyes.

For the next few minutes the girl massaged him. Steve was anxious to bed her, but tolerated the massaging as a prelude to the main act. Then, inexplicably, Steve felt a sharp pain in his neck. A needle in his jugular vein! But even as he registered this, everything went black......

Friday, 9 September 2011

Amy and Antony - Part Twelve

Stephen Walker sat alone in his tiny, depressing bedsit, cursing the fates for the disastrous turns his life had taken in the last year or so.

First, his actions against a demonstration by those Female Dawn harridans, all perfectly reasonable from his point of view, had resulted in his being hauled up before a police disciplinary board. He had been suspended from duty pending the verdict, which was due any day now.

His inspector (who had been wholly complicit in the whole affair but who now put all the blame onto his overzealous and heavy handed Sergeant) told him privately that he was likely to lose his rank at the very least and could even be expelled from the police force.

Then Steve's wife of thirty years set divorce proceedings in motion, citing his adultery. Steve supposed she had a point there. He had had dalliances with a number of females over the years, but that's what men did, wasn't it? It's in man's nature to copulate with as many women as possible. Men had needs that no woman could comprehend. Women! They just didn't understand men at all!

In the meantime, Steve had had to move out of the marital home and take up residence in this dingy dump.

Still, Steve allowed himself a crafty smile. He might have lost his job and his home, but he still had his hoard of cash, the proceeds of "voluntary contributions" from villians and crooks who had given the cash to him in exchange for him turning a blind eye to their nefarious activities. Steve had been accumulating this money over his whole career, which spanned almost thirty years.

Nobody else knew about this money. Not his wife, nor the police, and it was a tidy sum. Steve decided that once his divorce came through he would go abroad and start over. He had heard good things about Thailand. Over there, he'd be the equivalent of a millionnaire. A mansion and servants could be had for loose change and he'd be waited on hand and foot by young, pretty and submissive Thai girls, who would have to call him master and who would do anything he wanted.
The thought of scantily clad, nubile girls was getting him in the mood to have some fun. It'd be better than spending his last hours on these shores in this dismal hovel, looking at cracked paint and dusty furniture, or watching the rubbish that was evening TV.

Grabbing his coat, Steve ventured outside. The one good thing about his current abode was that it was located a stone's throw away from the town's red light district. You could literally fall over skirt every few paces.

Within a few minutes, Steve was in the main thoroughfare, its principal trade defined by the be-skirted and high heeled silhouettes of women.

Steve took a moment to sneer at them. All women were whores, in his opinion, even the ones who didn't stand on street corners, selling themselves. The female of the species was a parasite, who fed off men's energy and, of course, money. Women's Lib and all that tosh? It was a man's world and always would be!

Getting down to business, Steve strode briskly up the street. He sized up and mentally dismissed most of the women he saw. They were either too old and reminded him of his aging, saggy soon to be ex-wife, or too tarted up or too tall. Or too something.

Finally, his eyes almost popped out when he saw a young girl in a tiny denim mini-skirt and a pink top. She had a boyish figure, slender legs and a sweet, delicate face that was deviod of make up except for a little lippy on her pouty lips. She looked a little boyish, but Steve liked boyish looking girls. He went up to the girl and whispered in her ear.

The girl nodded, took one of Steve's hands in one of her tiny, varnished ones, and led him off.
Steve looked appreciatively at the small, slender girl. She had a great little body, but something about her personality suggested submissiveness, a trait Steve loved in his sexual partners. He could do whatever he wanted with this girl. Steve always had to be on top, in life and in bed!

Steve was getting very excited! This would his last night in this dump of a town, the last in this dump of a country, and it was going to be a night to remember..........

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Amy and Antony - Part Eleven

One year later.

Antony Starling finished his proposed article for the school magazine, ordered the computer to do a quick spell check (Antony was pleased to see it reporting back that it had found no mistakes), and then saved his work.

Antony sat back satisfied. It had taken him a good portion of his summer holidays to write this article. The article might never be published at all, given that the editor tended towards cautious, uncontroversial writing, but Antony was very proud of it.

His article "Why Girls are the new Boys" would certainly raise a few eyebrows, which was exactly what Antony intended. Without a moment's hesitation, he imported the article as an attachment in an e-mail and sent it off to the mailbox of the school magazine's editor, Harry Stott.

Antony smiled as he thought of the very nerdy, but would-be macho, editor reading the article in just a few moments' time.

Antony then become more thoughtful. The last year had brought some changes, not just in his life, nor in that of the medium sized town in which he lived, but the nation also.

For Antony personally, he had sat his GCSE's last summer. All sixteen of them. He had worked and revised almost 24 hours a day and the result had been mainly B's and C's and a couple of A's. Good enough for him to be allowed to study his favourite subjects, English Literature, History, Economics and Business Studies in the Sixth Form at school. He ought to have been pleased.

But then his friend, Amy, and a lot of other girls in his class, had sat eighteen GCSE's and got solid A's or A*'s in nearly all of them. Amy herself gained eleven A*'s and the rest of her grades were A's. Like Antony, Amy was now a member of the Sixth Form, although because her favourite subjects were the maths and sciences, he rarely saw her.

Antony was pleased for his friend, but disappointed that he had not done so well himself. It was what had prompted him to write the article in the first place. Girls always did so much better than boys, if those exam results were anything to go by.

Antony was also unhappy because he had hoped to spend the summer with Amy. But that was not to be. Amy had been sent to a special camp, run by Female Dawn, for some purpose or other, for pretty much the whole summer. Antony supposed that the camp taught political indoctrination, but whenever he tried to ask Amy about her summer she became all tight lipped about it and would make her excuses and leave him to join her Female Dawn sisters, quite a number of whom were also part of the Sixth Form.

Antony guessed that solidarity amongst the sisterhood was needed. Now more than ever. For the Alpha Movement was increasing its grip on both the very town where he and Amy lived and nationally.

The Alphas had won the council elections earlier in the year, giving them a slender majority. At national level, their leader had managed to get into Parliament through a by-election, thanks to the current unpopularity of the conservative, labour and liberal democrat parties. It reminded Antony uncomfortably of the rise to power of the nazis in the 1930's. An electorate, disenchanted with the moderate parties, went for one of the more extreme fringe parties to "give them a chance".

Even in this town, the Alphas were so puffed up with pride and self-importance at their petty victory that they strutted about in their black uniforms as if they owned the place. Antony thought about what would happen if the pattern was replicated in larger towns, cities, even London itself, and shuddered at the images playing in his mind.

Antony's thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a sound from his terminal indicating that an e-mail had been received. Antony opened it up and gave a sigh as he read it.

"Dear Antony

Thank you for your submission. After careful consideration, it is with regret that I have decided that I cannot include it in any publication of the school magazine in the foreseeable future, due to an overwhelming number of contributions. I hope you understand. I will, however, retain it on file for possible publication at some point in the future.


Henry J. Stott

It was what Antony had expected, but it was still a bitter disappointment.

Antony arrived home to find his parents in the middle of a row. Antony was stunned, as his father usually spent most of his time in bed, and spent more time snoring than talking. He was shocked to see that his father wore the uniform of the Alphas.

That his father had joined that movement had been the source of the row. His mother approved of neither the Alphas nor Female Dawn, and certainly did not want politics brought into her home.

Father was very firm though. It was time he started to be a man again, he said. He would be part of the Alphas and he would even find a job and win back his family's respect.

Mother was unhappy with the whole situation, but she could do nothing about it at the moment. Just because those Alpha thugs have won an election, you have to jump on the bandwagon. We'll see how long this fad lasts! was her parting cry as she went off to bed.

Antony tried to slink off to bed too, although it was still early, but his father spotted him and ordered him into the room. Antony stood before his father, who looked incongruous in the black uniform, all unshaven and with his large belly hanging over his belt.

"You, son, shall join the Alphas, just like me, and become a man!"

Antony mumbled that he didn't want to.

"Nonsense! I'll collect you after school tomorrow and we'll get you enrolled!" said his father, giving him a manly clap on the shoulder that almost knocked Antony over.

Trembling, Antony made an excuse that he had homework and went to his room. He sat on his bed, quivering. This was a nightmare! The last thing he wanted to do was join the Alphas. Amy would never speak to him again!

Amy. His mind seized on the name of his best friend. Hurriedly, he turned on his laptop and fired off an e-mail to Amy. Knowing her, she was probably out at one of her Female Dawn meetings or rallies, and wouldn't answer for hours, so Antony was pleasantly surprised when she replied almost immediately, and with an answer that brought a broad smile to Antony's lips.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Amy and Antony - Part Ten

A week later

Amy cried for a week after the fiasco at the shopping mall that had resulted in the arrest of herself, her sisters in the Female Dawn movement, and her mentor, Dr Craig.

Amy had been grounded and forbidden to attend any more meetings of the movement. Most of the other girls were much in the same boat, Amy had learnt by means of texts between mobiles. Dr Craig, who had insisted on taking full responsibility for her charges, had later been released without charge. Probably because even the pro-Alpha police were not daft enough to attempt to get a conviction based on the trumped up charges that had been brought against Dr Craig.

The gang of Alphas who had started the fracas in the first place, had got off scott free. Lack of evidence was the reason given in the local paper, even though there was one stall holder and a dozen women and girls who could have testified to the outrageous behaviour of the thuggish Alphas and the all too accommodating treatment given them by the police force.

Amy's rage at the blatant injustice and inequitable treatment that the Alphas had received compared to the Female Dawn members had barely subsided. She remembered well the humiliation of being bundled into a police van, finger-printed and put in a cell. Treatment that had been undeserved.

Dr Craig had had to attend an emergency meeting of the board of school governors, who had read all about the incident in the local rags (they had, of course, gleefully seized upon the spectacle of a school headmistress being arrested). The headmistress passionately defended her right to political activity outside her profession and pointed out that under her leadership, the school had been transformed from a failing school to one considered by the ministry of education as a school of excellence in the brief period that Dr Craig had been in charge.

Dr Craig survived in her post only by the casting vote of the chairwoman, who was an ally and (unbeknownst to her colleagues, a secret member of Female Dawn). But she was left in little doubt by the vice-chairman, a pompous little man called Sir Horace Philby-Smythe, that any further incidents that threatened to bring the school into disrepute would not be tolerated.

Dr Craig marched out of the meeting, her head held high. Dr Craig, being the formidable and indomitable woman that she was, immediately started legal proceedings against the local constabulary for wrongful arrest and detention. A high class barrister, one of the best in the country, Tabitha Willoughby-Clarke, offered to take the case and even more amazingly, refused to accept a fee.

In the weeks that followed, the press had a field day in the High Court. Willoughby-Clarke had a reputation for thoroughness, tenacity and detail that made her a feared opponent by all other members of her profession. She had never lost a case. And she didn't lose this one either. She wiped the floor with the defence brief, ripped his arguments to shreds and even reduced the overconfident Sergeant Walker to a quivering wreck.

The opposition threw in the towel after only a fortnight and admitted they had been wrong. Dr Craig was duly compensated for her ordeal at the hands of "apish thugs masquerading as police officers" as Willoughby-Clarke aptly put it.

Sergeant Walker and the other officers involved in the arrest faced disciplinary action.

Dr Craig, and Female Dawn, were completely vindicated. Amy's parents, on reading the local paper that had a picture of a triumphant Tabitha Willoughby-Clarke hoisting aloft one of Dr Craig's hand in a victory pose, realised that they had been wrong about their daughter and wrong about Female Dawn.

The day after the verdict, Amy proudly wore her uniform again as she attended the weekly meeting.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Amy and Antony - Part Nine

Three Months Later.

Amy's weekend was taken up with a recruitment drive for Female Dawn. Donning her white jumpsuit with the universal symbol for femaleness emblazoned upon it, Amy had worked tirelessly, handing out flyers and talking to prospective members. She had got a real buzz out of knowing she was helping the movement.

It was particularly important that Amy should be seen hard at work for the movement for last week she had been appointed as Leader of the Youth Section for her town. It had been an awesome honour when Dr Craig, the leader of the movement in the town, had put the blue sash that denoted her rank on her and shook her hand in congratulation.

Amy suspected that Dr Craig had pushed for Amy to be given the position over some of the older girls and so she desperately wanted to prove that she had been the right choice.

So Amy handed out flyers until they were all gone and talked to so many would be members that her voice was almost gone. But, thankfully, Dr Craig, trying to recruit adults into the movement had smiled in approval at her efforts.

After helping to pack up, Amy made her way across the park towards home. She was halfway across the park when she saw something that made her heart jump in alarm. A group of Alphas was heading towards her. Four of them.

In stark contrast to the uniform worn by the the female movement, the Alphas wore black jumpsuits and of course wore the symbol that denoted maleness. Amy forced herself to walk past them, rather than run away, and made herself hold her head high. She was not ashamed to be a member of Female Dawn. Quite the opposite.

The four youths, who looked sinister in the black uniforms, gave Amy looks of scorn, kept on walking. Amy breathed a sigh of relief as she turned her head slightly and saw the youths still walking in the opposite direction.

The Alpha movement was growing in this town. It was no big surprise, as the town had been hit especially hard in the recession and male unemployment was higher than the national average. There were a lot of disaffected men who resented losing their jobs whilst their wives and girlfriends kept theirs. The number of black uniforms to be seen around the streets had become more common than even a month ago.

This was worrying, in Amy's view. If the Alphas were growing so quickly, they could concievably win political power at local and national levels. This very town could be run by the Alphas before long. Female Dawn was growing too, but not as quickly as the Alphas.

Amy spent a restless night worrying about the situation.

The following day, a sunday, the movement set up shop in an unfamiliar place, a grubby shoping mall in one of the working class districts of the town. It had been Dr Craig's idea. She was concerned by the disproportionate numbers of upper and middle class girls joining the movement as compared to the very small number of girls from working class backgrounds.

"We must not been seen to be some sort of chic sorority cliche, so we must entice more girls from less privileged backgrounds into the movement" Dr Craig had declared.

Amy and her sisters in the movement did their best, but most of the girls who walked past just ignored them. It didn't help that, in many cases, the girls were in the company of their fathers or boyfriends. This would have discouraged them from showing any interest in the movement, Amy thought.

Two hours into the recruitment drive, Amy noted with dismay that a bunch of Alphas had turned up. In spite of the black uniforms, Amy could tell that all of them to a man were local louts, probably unemployed (and unemployable). Their unshaven faces, shaggy hair and BO (which was overpowering even though the louts stood ten feet away) gave the game away. These were not committed activists, but troublemakers.

The dozen or so men stood there, jeering at the women and girls running the stall, telling them to give up and go home to their men, hurling obscenities at them. Needless to say, the women and girls that Female Dawn hoped to recruit were giving the men - and the stall - a wide berth. It would take a brave woman or girl to be seen in the company of the members of Female Dawn.

The leader of the men, an obnoxious brute with rings in his ears and nose and tattoos that were visible on his neck and hands, suggested that the girls should pack up their little stall and go home. They were not welcome around here. This was an Alpha stronghold.

Dr Craig stood her ground and retorted that Female Dawn had every right to be here and that they should be the ones to go home as they were obviously drunk and upsetting everyone.

"Upsetting everyone? Upsetting everyone?" said the leader, imitating Dr Craig's slightly upper class accent "Listen love, we haven't even STARTED upsetting you yet!" Spying a market stall that sold vegetables and eggs, the leader and his gang seized upon its contents. The stall holder, an elderly small man, protested, but he was shoved aside. The man got up and ran off as fast as his legs could carry him.

Picking up a tray full of eggs, the leader began pelting the Female Dawn members with them. Composed and as dignified as they could be under the circumstances, the women and girls withstood the onslaught. Cabbages, cauliflowers, tomatos and even whole cucumbers were used as ammunition but the members of Female Dawn merely grimly locked arms, willing to take whatever was thrown at them.

The gang had clearly expected a pack of what was basically a bunch of toffee-nosed schoolgirls and a few old maids to scarper at the merest whiff of trouble and leave the Alphas in control of the field of battle.

Instead, to their consternation and confusion, although the girls were covered in egg yoke and tomato and the floor around them was covered in vegetables and eggshells, the girls remained, more defiant than ever. The gang, having exhausted their ammunition, were at a loss. Their exercise in intimidation had failed.

At that point the stall holder returned, with the local police in tow. The stall holder pointed excitedly at the men and exclaimed "That's them, officer, wot pushed me over and ransacked my stall. Look at it! Just look at it! All my stock! Gone! Ruddy hooligans!"

The Police Sergeant, a tall, broad man with an air of one used to being in command of any given situation, said "Calm down, sir, and let me and the boys do our job". The Sergeant was accompanied by four male constables who seemed to be in thrall to him.

The Sergeant walked over to the gang, who, surprisingly, had not bolted. It was soon obvious why. The Sergeant approached the leader and said "Ray, how are you doing, me old mate?"

Ray smirked in the direction of the women and girls "I'm very well thanks, Sergeant Walker. Got a little trouble with these women here, but nothing I can't handle".

Sergeant Walker pointed in the direction of the stall keeper "This gentleman here says you and your boys.." at this point, the Sergeant took out his notebook, flipped it over to the relevant page and dictated from it "did most grieviously assault the said gentleman and thereupon stole his merchandise, namely half a hundred weight of cabbages and over assorted vegetables and some five hundred eggs". The Sergeant shook his head "Really Ray, did you and your boys do this? Knowing you to be of sound character as I do, I can scarcely believe it!"

Ray laughed, and his gang, following his cue, chuckled also "I would say, Sergeant Walker, that the gentleman is mistaken. He IS old after all. Probably doesn't know what day of the week it is! Do we look like the sort of people who would do such things, such fine upstanding citizens as us?"

"Unfortunately Ray, and I'm really sorry about this, truly I am, but I'm going to have to take you and your boys down to the station for further questioning. Just doing my job, you understand, nothing personal".

Ray shrugged "Of course, Sergeant. And a fine job you do too, if I may be as so bold to say so!"

The Sergeant nodded in acknowledgement of the compliment. Then he turned to his subordinates.

"Haskins!"bellowed the Sergeant "Get these men into the van".

"Right away, Sarge! All right you lot, follow me!"

The Female Dawn members watched, and breathed a sigh of relief, as the gang meekly got into the police van.

But the Sergeant wasn't finished. He marched up to the stall "Right, which of you lot is in charge?"

Dr Craig stepped forward "That would be me, Sergeant". She proferred a hand "Dr Craig".

The Sergeant pointedly ignored the hand and Dr Craig, realising this, withdrew it as subtely as she was able. It was not a good omen.

There was an uneasy pause. Then the Sergeant spoke "Well, Dr Craig, you and your bunch of troublemakers are under arrest!"

"What! " exclained Dr Craig, shocked "But we haven't done anything! It was those men...."

"Silence!" bellowed the Sergeant. Even Dr Craig was momentarily cowed into silence by the stentorian voice of the Sergeant. Lowering his voice by several octaves, the Sergeant said "Haven't done anything? Let me see....pitching up a stall without authorisation, unlawful assembly, causing a disturbance of the peace, wasting police time...and those are just for starters Dr bleeding brainbox! By the time we get you down to the station you'll have had more charges than a cavalry brigade!"

The other officers chuckled.

Amy's heart sank. It was clear that they weren't going to get any justice from the local police. They were probably sympathisers of the local Alpha movement and quite possibly even closet members.

Dr Craig protested vehemently, as did everyone else, but it was to no avail. They were bundled into the van and taken to the station and put through the humiliation of being processed like common thieves.

As a minor, Amy's parents had to be informed of her arrest. They came to pick her up. The charges against her had been dropped, as Dr Craig had assumed full responsibility for the behaviour of her charges.

Mother had brought a spare change of clothes. She was angry, with Amy, that much was clear. "Get that uniform off and give it to me!" Mother ordered. Angry herself at the injustice meted out to her and her sisters by the very people who were supposed to uphold the law, Amy took off her sticky uniform. Mother turned to her husband "What did I tell you, Walter? No good would come of Amy being part of this woman's lib movement. And I was right! In trouble with the police! I have never been so ashamed of you as I am at this moment Amy!"

Amy's face burned with humiliation at these words "But Mother.."

"Don't but me, girl! You are grounded for the foreseeable future and you will leave this Female Dawn club. It's clearly leading you down the wrong path and this uniform is going on the nearest bonfire!".

Amy seethed. It's not a girls' club like the brownies, but a movement of women! And no way am I parting with that uniform!

At the moment though, Amy knew that it was pointless arguing with her mother when she was in this mood. Miserably, she got changed and trailed after her parents. She wondered what would happen to Dr Craig. Amy's heart smouldered with resentment at the unfairness of it all.

We will prevail was her enduring thought as she departed from the police station.

Amy and Antony - Part Eight

Two Days Later.

It was Monday morning and Anthony was studying his appearance very carefully. The new uniform looked good on him, he decided. Almost made to measure.

Now came the hard bit. Getting out of the house before his parents saw him. Well, his mother at any rate. Antony's father would still be in bed. He was rarely ever out of it. Since he had lost his job at the steel mill five years ago and had to rely on his wife to support him, he had fallen into a stupor. It was almost if he was too ashamed to leave the house and have to admit that his wife was the breadwinner.

Mum had not only kept her job at the local council, but had gained a couple of promotions and, of course, increases in salary. Thanks to her, the family enjoyed a relatively high standard of living. She gave Antony a generous amount of pocket money in exchange for chores, which Antony was pleased to do.

Antony was the only child. But that had not always been the case. He had had an older sister, Marcia, but she had died in a traffic accident seven years ago. Antony's mother had been grief-stricken and there was still an aura of sadness about her. Antony had only dim memories of his sister, for he had been young when she had died, but a photograph of her still hung beside one of Antony in the front room. Though long dead, Marcia was still part of the family.

Antony wondered what his sister would think of him of she could see him now. Perhaps she could see him from heaven.

Antony heard the bathroom door slam. Good, Antony thought. That would be his mother. This was his chance. Picking up his bag, he crept out of his bedroom and gently closed the door behind him. He slowly moved past his parent's bedroom from which he could hear his father snoring loudly and silently moved down the stairs. He got to the front door and opened it.

He called up to the bathroom "Bye Mum!". He thought he heard a reply, but if there had been one, it was muffled by the bathroom door. Antony quickly stepped out of the house, closed the door behind him and walked quickly towards the bus stop at the end of the road. The 29 would be along in a few minutes and he would be at school in less than quarter of an hour.

Some other pupils and some members of the public were at the bus stop and their eyes widened at the sight of Antony. The girls began giggling. The boys looked at him with disdain. Antony had expected these reactions but ignored them. The bus came along and the driver gave Antony a strange look as he flashed his bus pass in his direction and mounted the stairs to the top deck.

Antony had to endure more giggles and looks before the bus pulled in at the stop right outside the school. Antony got off the bus and hurried to his first lesson. Double Physics. Ignoring the looks from other pupils along the way to the classroom, he entered and took his place at the nearest desk.

The teacher, Mr Maxwell, did a double take when he saw Antony. He could hardly believe what he was seeing.

When he was finally able to speak, Mr Maxwell said "Mr Starling, what is the meaning of this?"

Antony looked non-plussed "The meaning of what, sir?"

Mr Maxwell snarled "Don't play the innocent with me, boy! You know very well what I'm talking about! Why are you in my class, wearing a girl's school uniform?"

Antony was indeed wearing the uniform as prescribed for girl pupils at this school. He wore a plain white blouse with the school tie. Underneath the thin blouse, bra straps were clearly visible. He wore the school blazer, but that was unisex, and a grey pleated skirt that fell to just above his bare knees which definitely wasn't unisex. He wore the white woollen socks and the clumpy black shoes.

Wearing the uniform would have been bad enough in Mr Maxwell's book, but Antony had gone further. He carried a handbag. His fingernails were varnished and he wore bangles on his wrists. His face had a light layer of make up and his longish hair was brushed to frame his face, just like a girl's would have been. He also wore a necklace.

To Mr Maxwell's fury, Antony gave him a gentle shrug "Because I wanted to, sir. It suits me, don't you think?"

Mr Maxwell's face became redder "I most certainly do not! It's an outrage! School policy clearly states that boys should not wear girls' uniforms and vice versa!"

"Oh? And precisely where does it say that sir?"

Mr Maxwell was taken aback. Now that he thought about it, there was no written rule about pupil's dress that he could recall. It was really custom that laid down what the sexes should, and should not, wear.

Flustered and angry at being caught out, Mr Maxwell said "Well....I don't know! But it must be written down somewhere. In the School Charter perhaps".

But infuriatingly, Starling was shaking his head "I checked, sir. On the internet. Where all the legal documents for the school are available for anyone to see. I've also checked all the minutes of the school council since the year dot right up to last week's meeting. Nowhere does it say anything about what pupils should wear".

Mr Maxwell was exasperated. This matter was now beyond him. He would have no choice but to take Starling off to that arch feminist, Dr Craig.

"Right Starling, you're to come with me to see the Headmistress. The rest of you, open your books at page 43 and start reading. I'll be doing a quiz at the end of the lesson, so no slacking!"

In spite of Mr Maxwell's instructions, the class began chattering excitedly as soon as Mr Maxwell and Antony departed.

Five minutes later, Antony was standing in front of the Headmistress's desk. He clutched his handbag firmly. He had no idea what Dr Craig was going to do with him.

Mr Maxwell was speaking to Dr Craig "Headmistress, never have I had a boy openly flouting convention and the authority of the school as much as this one has! He should be sent home. Suspended!"

Dr Craig looked at the flustered man coolly "I will decide what to do with Mr Starling. You may return to your class". Mr Maxwell looked at Dr Craig, as if he was going to challenge her, but thought better of it and stomped out of the room.

Antony was now alone with the formidable Headmistress.

Dr Craig got him to explain his reasons for coming to school dressed as he was. Antony reitrated pretty much the conversation he had had with Mr Maxwell earlier.

Dr Craig smiled "You are quite right, young man. There is nothing to say that a boy cannot come to school in a skirt if he wishes. However, much as I applaud your desire to dress as you choose, I have to think of the image of the school. At the moment, it is not appropriate for you to come to school dressed as you are currently. You are suspended from class for the rest of the day and if you come in to school tomorrow dressed as you are, I will have no choice but to suspend you for a longer period".

"But...Dr Craig...this is wrong! I haven't broken any rules! I thought you of all people would support me!"

Dr Craig sighed "It is wrong. But I am the Headmistress of this school. I have to do what is right for the school and that is to forbid you from wearing a girl's uniform and all the other paraphenalia. It's simply too controversial and disruptive to the running of the school to allow you to have your way. And that is my final decision on the subject".

Antony felt like crying. He so wanted to attend school dressed as he was and to be accepted. But he knew that taking on Dr Craig and disobeying her would be a bad move. He miserably asked to be excused.

Dr Craig dismissed him with a wave of her hand. Antony walked to the door and grasped the handle when he was arrested by Dr Craig's voice.

"Oh, and by the way, Mr Starling, you do look very elegant and feminine in that uniform, if that's any consolation, and speaking as a feminist and not the Headmistress, I admire your courage and desire to change the conventions of gender. It's such a shame that you weren't born a girl".

Antony's heart lifted at these words, so much so that he almost bounced home.

But, as he recounted Dr Craig's words, he became intrigued by them. Dr Craig had kind of hinted that although now was not the right time to defy convention, there would be a right time at some point in the future.

Antony hoped that that day would come soon.

Amy and Antony - Part Seven

One Day Later.

Amy was hard at work, clearing out her dresser and wardrobe. Dresses, blouses, skirts and even underwear were stuffed into bin liners.

Amy's mother was dumbfounded "But, Amy, why are you doing this? All those lovely clothes!" She pulled out a tartan dress from one of the sacks. "You can't throw this out! We bought it for you on your thirteenth birthday!"

Amy shrugged "I'm now a member of Female Dawn, mother. The rules are very simple and strict. Members are to refrain from wearing dresses, skirts and feminine undergarments are much as possible. I'll still have to wear a skirt to school, of course, but outside of school I won't wear a dress or skirt!"

Amy's mother stared at her as if she had gone mad. Tears began to form in her eyes "What's got into you Amy? You were such a sweet little girl".

Amy felt a residue of pity for her mother, but she was firm "I'm not a little girl any more, Mother, I'm a woman".

Amy's mother wiped away her tears "It's that Female Dawn movement that's done this to you!"

"Female Dawn hasn't done anything to me, mother. I choose to abide by the rules. You should join yourself!"

"You must be joking! Join a bunch of trouser wearing feminists? Never!"

Amy shrugged again. Her mother was being foolish, but it wasn't really her fault. She had been brought up in a different era when women had to be feminine and docile and she didn't know how to be anything else. If she would only come along to a few Female Dawn meetings, she'd realise that she could be more than a housewife. Amy was determined to keep working on her until she relented.

That was another rule. Members had to recruit as many of their female relatives and friends as possible. Males, of course, were not allowed to join. There had been some debate about whether to have a men's section, but it was decided that the risk of infiltration by the Alphas was too great.

Amy picked up her make up bag. A surge of emotion went through her as she remembered that her mother had bought her this bag and all of the cosmetics within and had said that she was old enough, woman enough, to use make up. Amy had been proud to graduate to womanhood but now she realised that make up was just another tool to turn women into airheaded dolls for the benefit of men. She tossed the bag into a sack without a second thought.

Amy was momentarily startled when she suddenly realised that she was not alone. She turned around to see her younger brother, Tom, hovering by the door.

"I wish you wouldn't sneak up on me like that!" Amy snapped at him.

"Sorry, sis" said Tom in a gentle voice.

Amy's anger quickly subsided. Tom was not like most boys. He was gentle, kind and affectionate. Amy remembered once, some years ago, her friend Ellie had come over to play and they had played weddings. Tom had been roped in of course to be the groom. The girls had worn bridesmaids dresses, but Tom had shyly asked if he could be a bride too. Giggling, the girls had put him in a dress and let him be a bride too. He had looked pretty convincing as a girl and he had clearly enjoyed the experience.

But Amy's parents had not been amused when they arrived home unexpectedly and found their son in a bridesmaid's dress. He was ordered to resume his normal clothes at once and Amy was sent to bed early as a punishment after getting a stern telling off from her father.

In some ways, Tom would have made a better daughter than Amy.

"What are you doing sis?" Tom asked her.

"I'm clearing out my old things".

"What are you gonna do with them?" Tom asked her.

"Oh, I don't know. Take them to a charity shop, I suppose. Some of theses clothes are almost brand new".

"Can.....I have some of them? Please".

Amy was astonished at the request "What do you want with them?" she asked him, but had already guessed the answer.

Tom's head was bowed low. He was very embaressed. "I want to, you know, wear them when mother and father aren't around".

Amy looked at him in astonishment and then shrugged "Ok. Help yourself to whatever you want" she said. She watched in amusement as her brother took the tartan dress, a couple of other dresses, a few skirts, some tights and frilly knickers and rapidly departed, probably to find a place to hide them.

Amy found it highly amusing that just as she was abandoning her femininity, her brother was exploring and adopting his femininity.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Amy and Antony - Part Six

Three months later

Amy sidled into the meeting hall, feeling nervous and yet excited at the sight before her.

The room was filled with women and girls. There was not a single male to be seen. The organisers had squeezed in as many chairs as possible but it was still likely that many of the attendees would have to stand.

The stage was decked out with long tables and chairs for each of the speakers and a podium. There was also a projector sitting on a small table and a projector screen. But these details were completely overshadowed by the white banners hanging from the walls behind the stage.

Printed upon the banners, in a bold blue, was the universal symbol for femaleness, and underneath, the words "Female Dawn".

All of the women present waited expectantly until, a few minutes later, four women appeared on the stage. Each of them was dressed in a white jumpsuit with the symbol for femaleness printed on the left breast.

Amy recognised one of the women immediately. It was her Headmistress, Dr Craig.

The four women on stage all looked very solemn and serious.

Without being prompted, the audience burst into applause.

Dr Craig walked over to the podium and waited until the applause died down.

"First, and most importantly, thank you for attending the first ever meeting of the Female Dawn movement. It gladdens our hearts to see so many women here!"

Dr Craig paused as the audience applauded once more.

Dr Craig next introduced her co-speakers. Dr Natalie O'Toole was an eminent psychologist who had high ranking politicians, celebrities and military personnel as her patients, Professor Esme Keith was the foremost academician on women's history and women's studies and had written many books about those subjects. Dame Veronica Riche was a self-made millionnairess who had built a food empire out of her kitchen and who had won her title for her charity work to help girls from disadvantaged backgrounds through scholarships and financial aid to help them do better at school.

Amy, and the rest of the audience, politely applauded as each guest speaker was introduced.

Dr Craig then set her face into a more serious expression.

"Now, Ladies, for the reason why we are here. What Female Dawn is all about. I bet you're probably wondering".

The audience nodded in agreement.

"Let me enlighten you, my sisters" said Dr Craig "We women have come a long way since the days when our aspirations were confined by society to marrying a man, keeping house for him and bringing up his children. We stand on the brink of actually taking control of everything. Political power. The economy. Monetary and non-monetary wealth. Everything!"

The women, Amy included, held their breath in awe.

"But, sisters, all we have won and hope to achieve is in peril! The male of the species, frightened out of his wits at the prospect of women having complete control over their own lives and having greater power in the world than they have ever had before, is re-grouping and organising a backlash to take away all that we have earned!"

"Our main opponent is, of course, that pernicious and misguided organisation, the Alpha Movement. Preaching the virtues of masculine rule and bemoaning that society has become dysfunctional as a direct result of the diminuation of male authority. They are seeking political power to form a government and to, as they put it "heal the wounds caused to the fabric of society caused by feminism. And they are gaining a significant following".

The women in the audience looked at each other in dismay.

"We can't let the Alpha Movement gain too much power in the political system. Were that to happen, we women, all of us here, would find our world once again reduced to the home and the cradle. But fear not, my sisters, together we can stop them! How?, I hear you ask, by forming our own political party. Female Dawn".

Everyone in the audience had already guessed what the solution might be, but enthusiastically clapped anyway.

"Already Female Dawn meetings are being held in every major town and city to alert our sisters to the threat facing them. We must remain united and together we will ride and overcome the tide of male supremacy that threatens to overwhelms us! I urge you to join the movement!"

Dr Craig's speech was so passionate, so sincere, that everyone in the audience jumped to their feet in unison and applauded for several minutes.

For the first time that evening, Dr Craig's lips formed a smile.

Dr Craig turned the meeting over to the first guest speaker, Dr O'Toole. Dr O'Toole spoke at length about the male psyche, using the projector to illustrate her points. Gleaned from over forty years as a psychologist, Dr O'Toole shared with the audience her observations of the psychologies of both sexes. Whilst the female pysche tended to be stable and rational, the male psyche was afflicted by aggressive tendencies, loss of focus and irrational and unpredictable behaviour due to a lack of self control.

Based on this evidence, Dr O'Toole pointed out, it was as clear which sex was better equipped psychologically to wield power in society. Yet, the Alpha Movement advocated that power be held by the sex whose psychological balance was more prone to dysfunction! On the basis of psychology, the male of the species was unquestionably the weaker sex.

Professor Keith was next up. She expounded on the raw deal women had been getting since the days of Eve, the years of struggle to get the vote and then more decades of struggle for women to get anything like equal status with men, and this had still not quite been attained. Now though, with many more girls than boys graduating from university, more women in senior positions in every sphere of society than ever before and even more women in the workforce than men, the tables were turning! The balance of power was rapidly tilting in favour of womankind.

At some point in the future, for the first time in recorded human history, the world would be dominated by the stronger sex: the female.

"Sisters!" said Professor Keith "We girls all know instinctively from an early age which is the stronger sex. We do better at school from day one than boys right through to postgraduate studies. We are more focused, more determined, more driven to succeed. Women are doers and get things done. Men get easily distracted by pleasure and put the serious business of life off. They assume that they are superior to women merely because they are male, but fail to realise that without ability and application they are doomed to failure, and are too trapped by their notions of what it is to be man to ever change. Sisters, we are the stronger sex. We have always been the stronger sex and always will be!"

There was rapturous applause to that speech!

Dame Riche was the final speaker. It was an old cliche, Dame Riche observed, but valid in any point in history and most especially the present day, "Women mean Business!" Dame Riche, a student herself of history, could scarcely credit that any society would be so short-sighted to exclude from the conduct of business the sex best qualified to perform it! Dame Riche recounted her own experience. The daughter of a successful businessman, she had quickly learned with bitterness how patriarchal society operated, as her father made no secret of the fact that when he passed on, his assets would go to Dame Riche's younger brother, in line with tradition.

Dame Riche, who had known herself to be a natural businesswoman, whilst her brother, though charming, was a dilettante in such matters, rejected her father's proposal that she should train to be a secretary and ultimately become her brother's assistant and moved out of the family home forever.

Difficult times followed. Dame Riche had to take waitressing jobs and jobs filing paperwork in order to make ends meet but she never lost sight of the dream and bore every humiliation and setback with a smile. Finally, at the age of twenty, she had amassed enough savings to start her own bakery business. From that point, she had never looked back. Within three years, she had become a millionnairess in her own right. Another three years later and she controlled a vast empire of business interests.

In the meantime, her father's business had not done so well. Dame Riche bought him out and put him out to pasture. She remembered the shock on her father's face when she revealed that it had been she who had acquired his company and the sudden knowledge that, out of all of the family, she had the business brains, and he had failed to see past outmoded notions of gender roles.

Her brother, effectively disinherited and without a role, begged her for a job. He was now HER Personal Assistant!

The ladies clapped loudly at that!

Dame Riche said that women were better at business than men. It was undeniable. Any business run by a woman, where the majority of the board were female, or even where a junior management team was mostly female saw increased profits and returns. A female run business invariably outperformed male competitors in the same sector. Even in investment banking and stock market futures, women's judgement was more often on the money than those of the men. Dame Riche showed facts and figures on the projector.

Women mean Business! was Dame Riche's closing statement.

There was more rapturous applause.

Dr Craig resumed control of the meeting "Sisters! You have heard today of the massive, yes massive, potential of our sex to change society for the better and to take control of the world for the good of all, be they female or male! This noble goal is within our grasp. But, as you have also heard, our destiny is threatened by attempts by the discontented male sex through political agitation to turn back the clock!"

Dr Craig's face was set in a most determined frame.

"This abominable scenario will never happen sisters! As long as we stand together! Join the movement! Help us along the road to a Female Dawn!"

Sweat poured from the brow of Dr Craig as she finished her speech and she slumped slightly, clinging to the podium for support.

Everyone present, leapt to their feet and gave Dr Craig a thunderous round of applause that lasted for well over ten minutes.

Dr Craig was now beaming "Thank you, my sisters! Your response has given the movement what it most needs in these dark times for womankind: Hope for a bright future for us women. Now, please prove your commitment to the future we all desire by joining the movement!"

Amy, fired up with passion to support the movement with the last strength of her body, hastened to the stand set up for enrolling new members. She had to wait a long time, aware that her father was waiting outside in his car to take her home. By the time she got to the stand, she realised with dismay that even the fee for the junior section of the movement was in excess of what she had in her purse.

The woman running the stand was about to turn Amy away with an air of disdain, when Amy felt a hand fall on her slender shoulder. "Enroll this sister immediately! I will pay for the cost of her membership!"

The membership secretary hastened to comply.

Amy turned around to see Dr Craig, looking at her with approval "I am greatly pleased to see you here sister!" she said.

Sister! Not Amy, or girl, or some other label a headmistress might apply to a female pupil under her control.

She was addressing her as an equal!

Amy was flustered, but determined "Dr Craig, I can't let you pay for me!"

Dr Craig said "Believe me, Amy, seeing you here is worth more than a few pounds. The movement has just been born, but already we are looking to the future. We anticipate that the struggle may take some years, even decades, before we achieve the desired outcome. You, Amy, are the future of the movement!"

Amy was stunned.

"Yes, we anticipate that you should be the next leader of the movement! You've indicated by your actions so far that you have the talents and abilities to drive the movement forward, when your time comes!"

Dr Craig paused for a long moment and then said

"You ARE ready for leadership?"

Amy faltered, but only for a moment and said "Yes" in a firm voice.

"Wonderful! I sense that you will be a powerful force within the movement! A great force!"

Amy was stunned when Dr Craig hugged her. It was the last thing she had expected.

"Sister! Our minds are as one, I know it. Women are destined to rule! Men to serve. All the statistics show that women and girls are outperforming men and boys at every of education and gaining more and more jobs. It's time that women ruled!"

Amy said "I agree!".

"Good! Work towards it, Amy! One day, the world will be a woman's world!"

Amy hoped so, in her heart.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Amy and Antony - Part 5

Three months later

Amy took Antony's small, delicate hands in her own and gave them a gentle squeeze. The poor boy was so nervous. Antony gave her one of his sweet smiles in reply.

He had no reason to be scared. Not really. If anything, he should have been calm and relaxed and happy, for all of his problems had been solved.

Amy's mother had gone to see Antony's overbearing father, who had beaten him and was threatening to send him off to a military academy to toughen him up. What was said between the two parents, no-one would ever know. But it had the desired effect. Antony had received no more beatings and there was no more talk of him going off to any academy, military or otherwise.

Added to that, Antony and Amy were now firm friends. Antony's obvious liking for everything feminine greatly amused Amy. He would often sleep over, in a set of her PJ's.

It had been Amy's idea for them to attend ballroom dancing classes, an extra-cirricula activity held on Wednesday evenings, to engage together socially and in public.

To her surprise, Amy saw her old nemesis, Barry Brooks, elegantly attired in evening dress, leading his new girlfriend, Sandi Winters, a petite and pretty girl, out to dance. Perhaps feminine influence was softening the former bully.

Amy and Antony had been coming for two weeks now and were not much further forward. Barry and Sandi were experts by comparison. It was a funny role reversal. In the classroom, Amy was the star performer and Barry was the dunce. In the ballroom, it was the other way around.

The problem, Amy had to admit, was her partner. That such a small, slender and delicate youth as Antony could be so awkward and clumsy had greatly surprised her. Dancing with Antony was become torture.

Miss Fontanye, the middle-aged Dance Mistress, who frequently boasted to anyone who would listen about her earlier career as a professional ballerina, was patient and prepared to spend time with them, but the simple fact was that Antony was no good at dancing.

Amy had to resist the urge to squeal loudly as Antony stepped on her foot again and she squeaked, which sounded ridiculous. As Antony was apologising for the umpteenth time that evening, Miss Fontanye came over.

She wore a frown on her brow. "You two being together is no good" she said firmly. "You both need new partners". Amy and Antony pleaded with her not to split them up, but Miss Fontayne stood her ground.

"Barry, please take Amy as your partner for the rest of the evening. Antony, Sandi will be your partner. Perhaps with more experienced partners, you will both improve!"

Amy and Antony, and Barry and Sandi, gave each other wistful glances as they parted.

Barry was a good partner. For such a big boy, he was surprisingly gentle and light on his feet. For the first time since coming to these classes, Amy was beginning to enjoy herself. It was such a pity that she couldn't enjoy the experience with Antony.

There was a loud cry. From Sandi. Miss Fontayne rushed over "What's the matter?" she asked.

Sandi, almost in tears, pointed at Antony "It's him! That's the fourth time he's trod on my toes! He's no good at leading. I'm almost having to take the lead myself!"

After comforting Sandi and sending her back to re-join Barry, Miss Fontayne took Amy and Antony aside. Amy feared that they were about to be asked to leave the class.

But Miss Fontayne was smiling "Thanks to Sandi, and to my own observations, I believe I've identified Antony's problem. He can't lead. Many men can't, at first, but soon pick it up with experience. But Antony should have developed some skill in leading by now, but hasn't".

"What's the solution, Miss Fontayne?"

"It's an unusual answer, but a very simple one. You two should switch roles. Amy, you lead and Antony, you follow her. Try it".

Feeling awkward and a little foolish, Amy tried it. At first, it felt all wrong to be playing the man's part and treating Antony as if he was the girl, but there was no denying that it was effective. Following her lead had transformed Antony into a half decent dancer.

When they had finished, Miss Fontanye and the rest of the class, who had been watching their performance, clapped loudly. "Bravo to you both. I believe we have our first couple where the woman leads and the man follows! Quite unique!"

Over the next few weeks, the unique couple's dancing improved dramatically and only Barry and Sandi could boast a better performance. Miss Fontanye commented that never had she seen a pair of pupils improve so much in such a brief space of time.

After their eighth week, Miss Fontayne took Amy and Antony aside. "There's a competition on this weekend. For beginners, like yourselves. I think you're good enough to take part. How do you feel about it?"

Amy and Antony were both excited about it. What an accolode, to be asked to take part in an actual competition!

"We'd very much like to take part" said Amy, speaking for both of them.

"Good! Let's see what the judges make of seeing a girl take the lead...."

The competition was a success from Amy and Antony's point of view, of the dancing at any rate. They had performed the steps perfectly and gracefully. But they had seen the judges' jaws drop at the sight of a girl leading a boy out and performing his role brilliantly, whilst he performed hers with equal excellence.

But the judges could not fault the quality of the dancing and so the first role-reversed dance couple won the cup for their age group.

The members of the press present picked up on this unique event and asked for photos and comments. Once Amy and Antony had finished posing for photos, and were about to leave, one of the journalists, a young woman, caught up with them.

"Hold up you two" she said "I've got a proposition for you! I've come up with another angle for this story!"

Amy and Antony looked at her, mystified.

"Yep" continued the woman "I reckon I should take another photo of you, but that you switch clothes. I can just see it now....she takes his pants as well as his role! It'll be a scream! What do you say?"

Amy wasn't keen. It all sounded a bit over the top to her. Was it really necessary to trade clothes to get the point across that she and Antony had gone against convention, and succeeded too? She didn't think so. Antony seemed doubtful too. Amy had no doubt that he wouldn't mind wearing her dress, but if his parents ever saw the photo he could be in hot water.

Seeing them looking doubtful, the reporter said "Aw, come on guys! It's a bit of fun. I'll tell you what, if you do it, I'll pay you!" She began to open her handbag to retrieve her purse. The woman pulled out some notes and proferred them.

Amy and Antony looked at each other and nodded "Ok, you've got a deal!" Amy said again.

They were excused so that they could change. Antony was about to go to the boys' changing area, but Amy took his hand firmly and led him into the girls'. All of the other contestants had left by now and it was deserted, so it didn't matter if, horror of horrors, a male entered the inner sanctum of femininity and used it. And as they would only be swapping their outer clothes and shoes, there was little flesh on display.

Amy quickly undid her dress and stepped out of it, clad only in her underwear. She kicked off her high heeled shoes that had made her feel so womanly, and took off her necklace and silk gloves. It took a little longer for Antony to take off his pants, shirt, bow tie, jacket, socks and shoes. He wore a pair of underpants.

Amy handed him her dress, a bright green ballgown with built in petticoats and a bodice studded with fake diamonds to make the gown shimmer, and the matching shoes, necklace and gloves and accepted his clothes in return.

With a little difficulty, Amy put on the outfit. After spending a lot of the day in ballgown and heels, it felt odd to be suddenly fully clothed - only her hands and head were not covered by material - and to not to have to constantly adjust her centre of gravity to accommodate the high heels. The outfit also fit her perfectly.

Antony, meantime, had attired himself more quickly than Amy, and now wore the ballgown, heels, silk gloves and necklace. His shoulders were exposed and Antony's slender legs could be seen beneath the hem of the gown's petticoats. Except for his short hair, he looked very girlish and quite pretty. Antony seemed perfectly comfortable dressed as he was and walked in the high heels with an ease that Amy envied.

They went back to the reporter, who looked them over. Amy had tied her hair back to look more boyish, but the woman insisted she wear her hair down "The point is to make it obvious to our readership that the one wearing the pants is the girl and the one in the frock is the boy! Your friend looks awfuly cute in that dress. He could almost pass for a girl!'

The woman got them to pose together, holding their cup. Then she got Amy to sit down on a bench and for Antony to perch on her knee. Then she snapped one of Amy on her own, holding the cup triumphantly. The final photo was of Antony on his own, executing a curtsey which showed off the frills of his petticoats.

Satisfied, the woman paid them and rushed away, presumably to her next big story. Happy with the money, Amy and Antony got changed and treated themselves to a sundae.

Amy bought a copy of the paper the following day. A whole page had been devoted to her and Antony. The headline was "Leading Lady takes the prize....and her partner's pants!". All four photos were featured. Luckily, as far as Amy knew, neither her parents nor those of Antony bought this paper, so hopefully they would never know.....

Friday, 15 July 2011

Amy and Antony - Part Four

Three months later.

There had been outrage, not only from most of the girls but from their parents, at the school council's ruling shortening the hem of the regulation skirt. This had been the most serious crisis that the Headmistress, Dr Craig, had had to deal with since she had taken over eighteen months earlier.

Despite her power and authority, Dr Craig had been unable to reverse the decision. She had used her veto to quash it, but, as predicted, Aaron Kemp and his gang had reintroduced the measure at the next meeting and Dr Craig was only allowed to veto a proposal once.

The previous Headteacher had allowed the school council too much power and autonomy, that much had become plain, but changes to the constitution could only come from the school council itself and that was firmly under the control of Kemp and so any change was unlikely to happen.

Over the last few months, other changes to female dress had followed. Girls were now allowed to wear make-up, high heels and jewellery. Some girls, like Tania Noble, girlfriend of the school council President, looked more like hookers than schoolgirls.

It was, Amy firmly believed, an attempt by Aaron Kemp, member of the conservative and reactionary Alpha movement, to force girls to conform to traditional gender stereotypes. If a girl was obsessed with her appearance, her mind wouldn't be on her studies or on asserting her rights.

He had to be stopped. But exactly how that was to be accomplished, Amy did not know. She turned back to the English essay she had been writing on Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night". Part of the tale involved a girl disguising herself as her brother, wearing male clothing and everything. Amy was reminded of the fact that she was currently wearing a schoolgirl's mini skirt, thanks to Aaron Kemp and his machinations.

If Amy had her way, girls would be allowed to wear trousers, just like the boys. It would be a gesture of equality between the sexes.

There was a knock at her bedroom door. A timid little knock. Thinking it was her little sister, Sonia, Amy was surprised to find of all people Antony Starling standing outside. He was clutching a notepad and his copy of "Twelfth Night".

"I'm struggling with this wretched essay" Antony offered by way of explanation "English Literature isn't my strongest subject".

Amy knew that to be untrue. Antony was near the top of the class in the subject. Only Amy herself scored higher marks. That meant that he had to be here for a different purpose.

To see her?

Amy gestured for him to come in. Of all the boys at her school, Antony or "Toni" as the other boys contemptuously dubbed him for his small, girlish figure and features and effeminate manner, was the most likeable. He was also the nearest thing that she had for an ally on a school council completely dominated by the likes of Aaron Kemp.

Antony made a pretence of talking about the problems that he was having with his essay, contradicted by his obvious thorough knowledge of the plot and the meanings of the strange language that Shakespeare used. Amy divined that he sought company, and that she was the nearest thing to a friend that he had.

They spent an hour talking about Antony's essay and he feigned an appreciation for her help. Amy thought about her own essay, still waiting to be written, and gently suggested that he should think about going home.

To Amy's horror, Antony suddenly broke down in tears. Amy had known that he was a very sensitive boy, but to see a boy cry was an unnerving sight. Boys weren't supposed to cry. Amy put an arm around him and tried to comfort him as best she could.

When the tears subsided, Antony said that he didn't want to go home. Not ever again. His father was a complete bully. Worse than Barry Brooks had been in his heyday even. He'd summoned Antony into his study and said that his mother had been too soft with him, turned him into a little pansy, and that he would make a man out of him if it killed him. He was sending Antony off to a military academy. That would toughen him up, get rid of any inclinations towards effeminacy.

A military academy? That was the last place such a sensitive boy like Antony should be sent. The other boys would make mincemeat of him. It would be a far more damaging environment then a school.

There was more, Antony said. His father was beating him and had been for a few years now. To prove it, Antony dropped his trousers and showed Amy the welts on his backside. Amy was of course horrified.

"You must tell someone" Amy insisted "Someone official, like the police".

Antony shook his head "I can't do that. If I do, my Dad will go to prison and my Mum will never forgive me!"

"Does your Mum know about the beatings?"

Antony shook his head again.

"Then your Mum might think differently once she sees those scars".

But Antony was firm. No police, no officials.

Amy took him by the hand and led him to her own mother and told her the tale. Mother was decisive "Antony can stay here for the night and we can decide what to do in the morning. I'll call his parents and just let them know he's staying over. Don't worry, young man, I won't say why".

Amy was left to sort out the sleeping arrangements. There were only three bedrooms in her house. One for her parents, one for herself and one for Sonia. Sonia would have to sleep with her tonight, but the sisters frequently shared a bed, so that would not be a problem. She turned to Antony.

"You can sleep in Sonia's room and she can come in with me. Her room's a bit girly. Barbie bedsheets and stuff like that, but it's only for one night" Amy looked him up and down "I don't suppose you thought to bring your night stuff with you?"

Antony shook his head.

Amy thought and then said "My Dad's pyjamas will be too big for you.....we're about the same size, so you can wear a pair of my PJ's!" Amy went to her dresser and rummaged through it, producing a set of satin pink PJ's and tossing them to Antony, who deftly caught them.

Without protest, Antony went away and reappeared a few minutes later clad in the shimmering pink satin garments. He looked awfully girlish, and actually, very sweet. And he wore something else, something unexpected.

A smile.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Amy and Antony - Part Three

One year later.

Amy Adams, now aged 14, was apprehensive and nervous.

As well she might be, for she had been unexpectedly summoned to the office of the Headmistress, Dr Craig

Amy hadn't done anything wrong (that she knew of anyway). She was a model student and had just been made Captain of the school's netball team, the youngest Captain in the school's long history.

But she was still a bag of nerves as sat down opposite the formidable headmistress.

Dr Craig had been Headmistress for just over a year now and she had turned the school from being a mediocre establishment into one of the best regarded in the county.

It had all started when Dr Craig had taken on the school bully, Barry Brooks, and defeated him by means of petticoat punishment. Amy smiled as she recalled the boy who had been every other pupil's worst nightmare in diapers and wearing the frilled bonnet and frock of a baby girl. Dr Craig probably had a photo of her triumph in her drawer, from which to draw inspiration in times of crisis.

That had been the end of Barry Brooks as a bully. As well as it being difficult for anyone to take him seriously after being seen in baby things, Barry was so traumatised by the experience that he was absent from school for a few weeks. When he returned, he was a transformed character. He did not even as much as raise his voice to another pupil, let alone his fist. His schoolwork was still abominably poor, but at least he was no longer disruptive. With just a few frilly things, Dr Craig had neutralised Barry Brooks as a threat to the authority of the teachers.

The other pupil waited to see if any of Barry's cronies would take his place, but none did so. Dr Craig had made it clear that anyone else caught bullying would get the same treatment as the last bully. For a boy, it was simply too humiliating to end up in diapers and dresses.

The threat of bullying was over. Dr Craig then fired (or had encouraged to retire on ill-health grounds) some of the less effective members of the teaching staff and brought in better ones. They were invariably young and female. With an increase in the quality of the teaching staff and rigourous discipline, the school's academic performance had improved significantly and Dr Craig had won accolades and praise.

Dr Craig looked pleased with herself as Amy's eye caught a small gold cup on Dr Craig's desk. The school governors had had it specially made for her as a tribute to her success.

Headmistress and pupil exchanged some pleasantries and then Dr Craig became more serious.

"Amy, allow me to come to the point of why I summoned you here. In the opinion of most of your teachers, you are a very bright and pleasant pupil. A real star. Having looked at your academic records, I'm inclined to agree with them. So, I want you to stand for the school council".

Amy was momentarily overcome by the praise and by the suggestion. Run for the school council? At fourteen, she was a little young. It was the final year pupils who sat on the school council, anxious to pad out their resumes by a year representing the pupils' interests.

Amy timidly pointed out that she was only fourteen.

Dr Craig dismissed that with a wave of her hand "Who says you have to be a final year student to stand? In theory, any pupil in any year is allowed to stand. You will be a good candidate, I know it".

Amy wasn't so sure and her doubts showed on her face.

"Let me explain why I really need you to do this for me. Whilst I've eliminated the bully problem with ease, there is a much more serious threat. Have you heard of an organisation called the Alpha Movement?"

Amy shook her head.

"The Alpha Movement is an all male outfit whose aims are to restore the patriarchal society that we women have fought so hard to get rid of. They want positive discrimination to favour men over women when it comes to education, jobs and the status of the male within the family unit. In short, Amy, they want to put us back in the kitchen, where they think we belong".

Dr Craig paused for a long moment to let that sink in. Amy's head was spinning.

"They started up a few years ago, founded by one Professor Parker, who has put out articles decrying the decline of men and a nightmare world where women have taken over the world. At first, I wrote him off as a crackpot. But, with the recession and the noticeable advance of women in recent years, more and more discontented men have joined the Aplha Movement. It's the biggest pro-male and anti-female organisation in the country. Parker is even thinking of putting Alpha candidates up for Parliament in the next election".

"And in the meantime, Parker is contaminating our boys. In my school. A couple of the school council members, Luke Parry and Aaron Kemp, have made some anti-woman comments about how it's unfair that girls are doing better in school and university than boys. That's why I need someone like you on the council".

Amy began to understand and appreciate Dr Craig's strategy. She was well aware of the fact that girls were doing better than boys in this single school, let alone the rest of the world, from her own schooldays alone. More girls than boys were in the more advanced classes in every subject, even math and science. They scored better in coursework and exams. It wasn't that boys were hopeless at schoolwork. It was just that they were immature and too easily distracted and prone to messing about, rather than working.

Besides, being on the school council would be interesting and if Dr Craig thought that she could aid the cause of women by being on it then she was game.

A fortnight later, Amy took her place as a member of the school council. She had been surprised how easy it had all been. Most of the candidates had been boys and girls a year older than herself. But she, and one other candidate, had been elected by the votes of the younger pupils.

The other candidate had been Antony Starling. He was also fourteen, but he was still small for his years, his voice had yet to break and he did not yet sprout hair on his face or elsewhere on his body like all other boys of his age. He looked younger than his fourteen years, and effeminate in spite of the boy's uniform he wore.

The first order of business was for the outgoing President, Mandy Myers, to organise the election of her successor. This proved to be merely a formality as there was only one candidate, Aaron Kemp, a tall, handsome boy with dark hair and who seemed to constantly wear a smug expression, as if he was superior to everybody.

Amy noted that he wore a strange badge on his lapel. It was a large "A", coloured blue and surrounded by the universal symbol for maleness. That must be the insignia of this Alpha Movement that Dr Craig was so concerned about.

Several of the other boys present wore the same badge. No wonder Dr Craig was worried. Already, roughly a third of the school council membership were members of the Alpha Movement.

And, Amy gradually realised as the meeting progressed, some of the girls were clearly the girlfriends of some of those boys, and they were willing to be guided by them. Amy was disturbed that these girls, supposedly older and wiser than her, were so passive and accommodating towards a group of boys who were members of an organisation whose professed aims were the subjugation of the female sex.

President for less than an hour he might be, but Aaron was already in control, more so than his predecessor had ever been. Amy had heard that when Mandy Myers had been President, Aaron and his cronies had heckled her and vetoed her ideas. Mandy's Presidency had been undistinguished because no new measures had ever got past Aaron Kemp and his faction.

So far, the council had voted to buy some new nets for the football pitch and to have the faded lines on the tennis courts painted. Amy had to fight the urge to stifle a yawn. Maybe Dr Craig was worrying too much if this sort of business was all the Alphas had control over.

But then, in what was clearly a totally orchestrated move, one of the girls, a silly, simpering creature called Tania Noble, unofficial girlfriend of Aaron himself, put forward a motion to revise the dress code for female pupils, namely by shortening the length of the regulation skirt by three inches.

That would mean the hem of the skirt would be at mid-thigh, rather than falling to just above the knee, the current length.

Amy's blood boiled at the thought of it. This was degrading to her sex. It had to be stopped!

Amy looked around. About half the membership were in Aaron's pocket. Including, Amy noted with disgust, some of the girls. The others seemed indifferent. Antony, sitting beside her, seemed more animated, but he was hardly an appropriate spokesperson, and he was looking toward her, as if expecting her to say something.

Aaron, in the President's chair, was suggesting that, unless anyone had any objections, he would be moving the motion to a vote.

There was a stunned silence when Amy raised her hand and said "I wish to speak against this proposal!"

Aaron and Tania and most of the others looked at her in amusement, as if she was a little girl to be given a dolly and told to go and sit in the corner and play whilst her elders made the serious decisions.

Aaron shrugged and said "OK, representative Adams, you have the floor".

Trembling, Amy rose and began to speak "This proposal is an insult against all women. We are more than just our bodies! We have brains too and, frankly, we use ours a lot better than the boys do...."

"Oh, shut up and sit down, you soppy cow!" hollered Tania. Most of the others present were also heckling Amy.

Amy became incensed and had to restrain herself from launching herself at the other girl, but managed to compose herself and said "I can't believe that you, my sister - and you are my sister - would so betray your own sex by this obscene proposal!" Amy was on the verge of tears.

Aaron Kemp, amused by the scene that had unfolded before him and in which he had not even needed to play any part, bade Amy to sit down and asked if anyone else wished to make any comments.

To everyone's surprise, including Amy, Antony raised his hand. Like Amy before him, he was trembling, and like Amy, he began to put forward the same arguments. Like Amy, he did not get far before Aaron's cronies heckled him.

"Put a sock in it, sissy boy!"

"Go and play with your dolly, little girly!".

"Why don't you just put your skirt on....Toni!"

Antony's resolve crumbled under this onslaught and he timidly sat down.

Amy didn't blame him.

The resolution was carried, of course. The Headmistress had the power to veto the motion once, and Amy had no doubt that she would, but then the council would vote for it again next month, and it would become as valid as the law. Amy's skirt would be shorter by three inches within eight weeks. That was as certain as the sun rising each day.

As she left the meeting, Amy had become aware of two things. One, that, as things currently stood, the school council was dominated by the Alphas, and two, she was not alone. She had an unlikely ally in the person of Antony Starling.