Skirt Raising Hazing
Beth looked at herself in the mirror and was surprised to find the uniform fit her so well. The sleeveless top hugged her breasts snugly while the short skirt covered just enough to make her feel comfortable. The large ‘S’ on the front representing the schools name seemed to her a superhero insignia. She had never felt like a Supergirl before.
Being new to town, Beth was eager to join up with a social group at school, her background in ballet made cheerleading the somewhat obvious choice. The other girls greeted her kindly; once she proved her capability of being a valuable member to the squad they treated her even better.
Four days later she was given her uniform along with simple instructions: at seven o’clock she was to go to the school parking lot dressed in her cheerleading uniform; once there, she and the other new members would go through initiations and become official members of the squad.
Excited to be apart of the secret activities with her new friends, Beth checked herself once more in the mirror then went downstairs to tell her parents she was leaving.
Driving her small, used car into the school’s parking lot, Beth saw the three girls who had also made the team huddled together smoking between cars. Beth parked next to them and as she got out she realized they all looked better in their uniforms than she did. The confidence she felt twenty minutes prior began to fall as she joined their little group.
“Have you guys been here long?” Beth said, after none of them returned her hello.
The three girls looked at each other as if contemplating what to say.
“You’re not from around here,” The Blond-haired girl said, breaking the silence. ”They’ve been known to make it really hard on new members. Why do think there weren’t many girls at tryouts?”
Beth thought for a moment and realized her point. The schools cheerleading team was one of the best in the state, yet at the tryouts there were only six girls.
“It can’t be that bad.” Beth said
“Last year a girl ended up in the hospital after initiation night.” The Red-haired girl said while taking a drag off her cigarette. “She refused to tell the police what happened and after she got out of the hospital her parents sent her to a boarding school five states away.”
“They say,” The Black-haired girl said. “That she suffered a complete breakdown. She was screaming about the guilt being too much to live with.”
“That’s a rumor and you know it.” The Blond-haired girl said. “It will be bad, but I’m sure they won’t have us do anything too crazy.”
A white van screeched into the parking lot and skidded to a halt inches from Beth and the three girls. The side door slid open and a group of ski-masked girls in cheerleader uniforms rushed out and forced them into the van.
It was cramped in the back of the van. Beth looked to the other new recruits, trying to make eye contact in order to feel like she wasn’t going through this alone, but the three ignored her; whispering amongst themselves.
The ski-masked cheerleaders were laughing and talking excitedly as the van jostled its occupants. Beth didn’t know whether she felt scared or in a state of anticipation. As the van pulled onto a dirt road she caught a glimpse through the front window of where they might be heading.
Skidding to a stop, the girl in the passenger seat jumped out and slid open the side door. Beth looked over the girls shoulder and was upset to learn her guess had been right; they were at the cemetery.
The six ski-masked girls led the other four through the cemetery and into the woods.
“On the ground!”
It was hard to tell the masked girls apart, but the voice of the driver did all the talking.
“Face down, don’t move or say anything. Do you understand?”
Beth and the three others nodded their heads as they lay down in the dirt. Beth felt it was a shame that the first time she got to wear her new uniform, she was forced to get it dirty. To her right the Black-haired girl began to ask a question and was yelled at for not following instructions. A masked girl poured a thick liquid into the Black-haired girls hair. It coated her head and caused dirt and leaves to stick to the once soft hair. Beth could smell that the substance was honey and wasn’t impressed; the night wouldn’t be as bad as expected.
“We’ll be back in one hour. If any of you leaves this spot or does anything other than lying perfectly still, we will know and you will be punished. Do you understand?”
The girls shook their heads silently except for the Red-haired girl who answered with a faint ‘yes’.
“What did I say? No talking!”
Beth couldn’t see what was being done to the Red-haired girl, but she assumed it was something as trivial as the honey in the hair trick.
The ski-masked girls laughed as they ran back through the cemetery. The van started up and peeled out down the road, leaving the four alone in the woods.
When the van could no longer be heard, Beth stood and began wiping dirt off her uniform. The Black-haired girl looked up at as the honey began running down her neck.
“We’re not supposed to move.”
“Oh, come on.” Beth said. “They’re gone. You do know that’s just honey, right?”
The Black-haired girl licked her lips and was pleased to find it wasn’t anything worse.
Walking over to the Red-haired girl, Beth saw her hair had been cut and placed in a pile on her back.
“That is too mean.” Beth said, kneeling down.
“Did they take much off? Can I fix it?”
“It’s not that bad. I’m sure you can do something with it.”
“Will you lay back down?” The Blond-haired girl hissed at Beth.
“They won’t be back for an hour. You guys are getting yourselves worked up over nothing.”
Beth stopped talking and laid back down: the van was approaching.
The masked girls walked slowly through the cemetery and into the woods.
“So, how were they?”
Beth heard steps coming out from behind a tree.
“Well, Blondie did just fine. The fire-head almost lost it. Ms. honey did fine, too.”
“What about this one?”
“She’s kind of a different story.”
Beth was on her stomach; a foot was placed on her back, holding her down.
“You three, stand up.”
The three others stood slowly and brushed themselves off. The silence was uncomfortable and Beth considered fighting back.
“Welcome to the team, girls!”
The masked girls cheered for the official new members off their squad as Beth felt more pressure being applied to her back.
“We will now be treating the three of you to complete hair makeovers. We’ll hope you’ll forgive us? Tradition is tradition”
“Do you think you can fix it?” The Red-haired girl said.
“Wait till you see where we’re taking you.”
“We’ve also got something in the van for the honey” Another cheerleader said.
“What about her?” The Blond-haired girl said.
“Beth here is none of your concern.”
The girls began walking back to the van leaving behind Beth and two of the masked cheerleaders. The foot was still on Beth’s back as the girls entered the cemetery and the Blond-haired girl turned around.
“My hair is fine.” The Blond-haired girl said. “Can I stay?”
The girl standing above Beth laughed.
“Julie, give her your mask.”
The Blond-haired girl took the mask she was given and slid it over her head. As she walked back into the woods the van started up and drove away.
“Do you still want to be a member of the squad?” The voice above Beth said.
Beth didn’t feel comfortable saying anything other than yes.
“Of course I do.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, totally sure.”
The foot was taken off her back and she was given a quick, soft kick to the ribs.
Beth got to her feet and looked at the three masked girls surrounding her. The Blonde-haired girl’s hair was exposed, making her easy to distinguish. The girl who had done all the talking had bright blue eyes; the other girl stayed silent and had soft brown eyes.
“March.” The Blue-eyed girl said, pointing deeper into the woods.
“Where are we going?”
“She said march!”
The Blond-haired girl shoved Beth roughly from behind, causing Beth to lose her footing and fall to the ground.
After walking a half-mile through the woods, the girls came upon an old dirt road. The Blue-eyed girl and the Blond-haired girl walked side by side in front, while Beth and the Brown-eyed girl walked behind. As it got later, Beth became nervous she wouldn’t be given a chance to call her parents before they started to worry. She thought of asking if any of the girls had a cell phone, but knew they would probably use the fact that she wanted to call home against her. They followed the road for another twenty minutes then the Blue-eyed girl stopped and turned towards Beth. The masks looked more frightening in the darkness of night.
“Walk straight through these woods to the dump.” The Blue-eyed girl said. “Hop the fence, find three deflated basketballs and bring them back here. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” Beth said.
“You realize you’re doing this on your own free will, right? Any injuries you may get are in no way to be blamed on any members of the squad, agreed?”
Beth thought it strange that the Blue-eyed girl would go into legalities.
“What kind of injuries are you talking about?” Beth said.
“You’ve got thirty minutes. Starting…Now!”
Beth ran through the woods as quickly as she could. The moon was out, giving her light to see with and making the woods around her ominously intimidating. She thought of abandoning her task and returning to tell the Blue-eyed girl she wouldn’t be apart of such foolish activities. Her talent was why she was chosen to be apart of the squad, so would they really refuse her if she decided not to burglarize some worthless treasures.
The chain link fence surrounding the dump was over ten feet high. Through it Beth could see broken down cars, old television sets and endless piles of other objects long forgotten. Climbing the fence was easy enough, and once on the other side she was glad to be amongst the few lights that burned throughout the dump. Instantly, she saw an old basketball and figured this would be simpler than she first surmised. She picked up the basketball and threw it over the fence where she would be leaving.
In the distance she spotted the second of the three basketballs she would need. Walking towards it she stopped abruptly and looked directly to her left. A large dog was sleeping with his head hanging out of his doghouse; a gnarled bone inches from his drooling mouth. Torn between running for the second ball or going straight towards the fence, Beth could only stand as still as possible and hope not to wake the dog.
‘Sadists,’ Beth thought. ‘That’s what these girl are.’
Movement from behind caused her to turn. There was a second dog, and he was not sleeping. Beth dug her feet into the ground with each running step she took. The dog was fast and its catching up with her would have been an inevitability had the fence been ten feet further away. Jumping, Beth landed half way up the fence and was quickly up and over the other half. Falling roughly, she rolled onto her back. The dog barked and bit at the other side of the fence as Beth picked up the basketball and started the walk back to the girls waiting for her.
“Again, you have failed.” The Blue-eyed girl said when Beth stepped out of the woods. “Two might have been acceptable, but bringing back only one of what you were supposed to get is inexcusable.”
“What do we do with her know?” The Blond-haired girl said. “We have to keep making it more difficult for her, right?”
Beth didn’t like the way the Blond-haired girl had so quickly took to the game.
Walking back to the cemetery, Beth saw a girl had returned with the van. Getting in, they set off towards Beth’s next trial by fire.
Beth knew her parents would be worried. The van ride had been over an hour long and when they finally stopped, Beth was unsure of where they were. The girl who had driven stayed with the van as Beth, the Blond-haired girl, the Blue-eyed girl and the Brown-eyed girl walked down a steep trail leading to a flowing, frigid river.
Upon reaching the bank of the river, Beth was given two options from the Blue-eyed girl. Swim across the freezing cold river, or take her chances on the other, final test.
“What’s the other test?” Beth asked.
“That’s for you to find out…unless you swim across the river.” The Blue-eyed girl said. “Pick carefully.”
Under the moon and within the cold wind that blew across the river, the two laughing girls seemed to Beth to be immature children; their only thought being on making Beth’s night as uncomfortable as possible. As Beth made eye contact with silent, Brown-eyed girl, she was met with sympathetic eyes. Beth felt as though the Brown-eyed girl was much in the same boat as she was; being put through activities she didn’t really want to be apart of.
“What’s it going to be?” The Blue-eyed girl said. “Swim for it, or take what’s behind door number two?”
Taking off her sneakers and socks, Beth stepped to the edge of the water and stuck her foot in, spreading a chill quickly through her body. She thought of taking the second, unknown option, but was frightened of what else these girls were capable of. A gust of wind blew water off the river and onto Beth’s legs. She wished for anything else to wear besides the cheerleader outfit that for her had now become the garb worn by both slave and master; she being the slave.
The current was weak enough to swim through, but the frigid temperatures made Beth worry that she would become too numb to swim, and she was unsure if these three would risk their own safety to jump in after her.
“What’s the matter, is it too cold?” The Blue-eyed girl said laughing. “I thought you really wanted to be one of us, but if you don’t…”
The Blond-haired girl started laughing along with the Blue-eyed girl as Beth took a few more steps into deeper water. Beth’s arms began shaking and her teeth chattered as the water wet her skirt, causing it to cling to her legs. Two steps more and the water reached her waist, causing uncontrollable shivers. The river wasn’t that wide but already it was more than Beth could take. Lifting her leg she saw her knee was already turning blue due to the cold. Thinking it was best to just go for it, Beth dunked herself under the water and then stood back up instantly regretting her action.
“It’s too cold.” Beth said as she got out of the water, wrapping her arms around herself in an effort to stay warm.
The Blue-eyed girl and the Blond-haired girl laughed in hysterics as the Brown-eyed girl said quietly to Beth, “There are towels in the van.”
“Yes, lets get Beth nice and warm before her final exam.” The Blue-eyed girl said. “This will be your last chance to prove yourself, so you had better put a little more into it. It would be a shame to come all this way and not earn the respect of the squad. If, you still want to be a member. Do you…Beth?”
Determined not to be beaten down buy such childish peers, Beth decided at that point that she would do whatever was asked of her, then, once she had ‘proven’ herself, she would decline joining the team out of spite. Beth didn’t want or need friends like these, her only desire now was to walk away with her head held high.
“Of course I want to join.” Beth said. “And I’m sure I won’t disappoint you again.”
“Very good, that’s what I like to hear.”
With that, the Blue-eyed girl led the way up the trail back to the van.
Beth sat in the center of a small bedroom with nine masked girls tightly surrounding her. It was too dark to tell them apart, but Beth could hear the voices of the Black-haired girl and the Red-haired girl within the group. The Blue-eyed girls voice could be heard above the rest demanding silence and Beth knew it was time.
“Do you still want to be a member of this squad?”
“Of course.” Beth said, trying to sound casual.
“Everything you’ve done tonight has been on your own free will, right?”
“Sure.” Beth said.
“Grab her girls.”
The room went black as Bath was thrown unto the bed. The girls were on all sides of her, sounding to Beth like a pack of escaped convicts hooting and hollering while looking for a bad time.
Three candles were lit and held next to the bed, their light showing the girls had removed their masks. The faces were all familiar to Beth – the only difference she noticed within the group was the short and sassy new hairstyles worn by the Red-haired girl and the Black-haired girl.
“Okay, girls, quiet down.” The Blue-eyed girl said, stepping into the candlelight.
Beth recognized her from tryouts; she was the teams’ captain.
“Do you know what branding is?” The Blue-eyed girl said. “It’s quick, but it hurts.”
The Blond-haired girl held a metal wire over the candle flames until it burned red. Beth saw the serious faces of the girls surrounding her and felt like she was being offered up by some strange cheer cult.
“In cheerleading, our cute little outfits are part of the deal.” The Blue-eyed girl said. “We’re at the games to encourage the crowds to have a good time while watching our schools team get beat week after week. Unfortunately, its hard to get a crowd cheering along with you unless you’re dressed in next to nothing.”
Beth watched the Blond-haired girl continue heating the metal wire.
“At competitions,” the Blue-eyed girl continued. “We are there to win. And in order to compete, you’ve got to wear the little outfits like all the other teams. This is our uniform and we must wear it with complete confidence. The point I’m getting to, is that if you’re going to allow yourself to be burned in order to prove your loyalty, we can’t have that burn be visible while were at games and competitions; it would be a distraction. Beth, if you want to join the squad, I’m going to have to ask you to raise your skirt.”
Beth was mortified at the request and she decided that what she had been through was more than enough. She would not be used as a torturing devise for these sick-minded girls.
“Everything is of your own free will, the choice is yours.”
Beth knew if she walked out, this night would never be spoke of again. Of course she would be allowed to be on the team, but would be snubbed and ignored by the other girls. She decided to take what they had to offer then turn her back on them. Show that she could take their silly little burn, that they didn’t frighten her. She knew that most of them in this situation would run scared, but she wasn’t one to back down so easily.
Beth rolled on to her stomach. Reaching down, she pulled up her skirt.
Beth could hear all the girls congregating at the foot of the bed.
“She’s a brave one, girls. This squad needs some bravery.”
Together, the girls began counting down.
Beth took a deep breath and closed her eyes.
Beth’s whole body clenched as she felt what she thought to be the searing wire against her skin. She couldn’t take anymore. Spinning on the bed quickly, she was about to start screaming her frustrations when the lights came on. Standing at the foot of the bed, the now normal looking girls began clapping and cheering.
“Welcome to the team.” The captain said, throwing the ice cube to Beth.
Beth caught it and didn’t understand. She reached around to where she expected to be burned and felt only cold wet skin.
“You didn’t think we’d actually burn you, did you?” The Blue-eyed girl shouted over the applause.
“You were going to let me drown.” Beth said, unsure of how she should react.
“Are you kidding? No one ever goes further into the river than you did, that waters freezing. And if you were crazy enough to try and swim for it, we’ve got the head of the swimming team to fish you out.”
Beth looked over and saw the Brown-eyed girl was smiling at her.
“When you dunked yourself, I thought you were going to give yourself hypothermia.” The Brown-eyed girl said.
“What about trying to feed me to the junk yard dog?”
“Rusty is older than anyone here! That dog hasn’t run in over ten years.”
“There were two dogs.”
The girls all stopped cheering and looked at each other in shocked silence.
“A second dog? I guess we should apologize for that one. Wow, you really are brave. Well, lets hear it again for the newest member of the squad, she’s earned it.”
As the girls celebrated Beth’s induction, Beth couldn’t help but smile. She had earned their respect and they had given her a night to remember.
The Blond-haired girl leaned close to Beth and whispered to her through the cheering.
“No hard feelings, right?”
Beth looked the Blond-haired girl in the eyes and was glad the night was over.
“The new members next year,” Beth said. “They’re all mine.”
The Blond-haired girl smiled.
“Tradition is tradition.”