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To maintain order, all women go through a mental reassignment reverting their minds to six- year-old girls - progenies. By keeping the women innocent in all ways before marriage, they can later function as a wife and mother more efficiently. The progenies are sheltered, nurtured, babied, and even disciplined by their assigned poppas. The progenies have no baggage, no hardship, no broken hearts. There are no dark secrets in their lives, no torrid affairs, and no pain. Their husband is buying the purest gem there is. He adopts for marriage so his wife is flawless. Life has not chipped away at her.
But what happens when the mental reassignment doesn't work? This is what happens to Juniper Ambrose... she's not truly the little girl she should be. She has no choice but to play the twisted game of pretend, hoping no one, especially her poppa, finds out. Secrets, lies, pretending - this is the world the progeny, and her poppa, have been thrown into.
It was play time. Juniper looked around the room at all the other women, unable to stop wishing that she could, for once, be just like them. But that was never going to happen. And in all honesty, she didn't truly want it to happen. Yet, when she looked at them all playing happily with their dolls, it hurt that she wasn't as content as they appeared to be. She never would be�at least until she was adopted by her future husband and could be converted back to the adult that she was. Unlike the rest of the women, she knew that she was twenty-eight, so it shouldn't be long. Being adopted for marriage would happen soon�hopefully.
She focused on brushing the hair of her own doll, hating the life she was forced to lead. Hating the people who made her do it, and mad at the 'poppas' who surrounded the room, each watching over his appointed progeny. Her secret ate at her. She had no choice but to hide it from them all, including her Poppa Costello, because no one truly knew what happened to the girls the mental reassignment program didn't work on. Juniper didn't want to find out.
Parents of girls had two choices. One was coming up with a dowry to give to a future husband. The second�if a dowry couldn't be afforded�was to send your daughter to a facility that would ready the girl to be adopted for marriage by a wealthy husband. Since the majority of the world was engulfed in extreme poverty, adoption facilities were built by the hundreds.
She, like every other girl in the group, had had her mental age changed upon entering the facility on her eighteenth birthday. From the day of the change, all girls would mentally be six until they were adopted to be married. But for some reason the mental reassignment hadn't worked on her, and Juniper's mind did not revert in age. So she had no choice but to play the game for ten long years. Ten years of an excruciating game of pretend.
Juniper knew it was just a matter of time. Of waiting. The waiting, however, became harder with every day that passed, and she didn't know how much longer she could last without doing or saying something that would make them realize that she wasn't one of them.
Feeling the need to move, she went over to the dressing up box. It had been fun to dress up when she really was six, and she knew all the girls around her would be having a wonderful time, so she had to act in the same way. As she kicked her pink ballerina slippers off, which actually weren't that bad in comparison to some of the other things she'd worn, she picked out a pair of plastic high heels created especially for adults who thought they were children. Walking in them as though she didn't know how was more difficult, but Juniper had been practicing for a decade, so she didn't think anybody noticed.
At the make-up table she picked out some bright orange eye shadow, as that was her favorite color, a lipstick she knew wouldn't go with the orange, and a blush that was so red she'd look like an apple. The eye shadow she applied all the way up to her eyebrows. She pushed aside the laugh that threatened to escape, and focused on covering as much of her face with the blush as possible, making herself look more like a lobster than anything else. Nodding to herself, she put her bright red lipstick on and this time, let herself laugh as joyfully as possible, knowing that she didn't have long before Costello came over to sort her out.
"Come on, Juniper." He took hold of her arm. "Let's get you cleaned up so you can enjoy the rest of play time."
"No!" She stomped her foot and pouted. She was pretty good at acting out and knew it was expected. The girls in this room all knew how to be a brat, and Juniper was no different. "I look pretty."
"Yes, sweetheart. You look very pretty. But you don't need all of that on your face to be a lovely lady." He reached for her arm gently and started to pull her away from the make-up.
She tugged her arm away sharply and stood her ground. Some of it was an act, but she was also tired of always being watched, always being told what to do. At least in defiance she maintained some control� the only control possible.
Costello furrowed his brow and his jaw set firmly. Juniper knew the look. "Juniper Mae�" He only called her that when a storm was brewing. "Does someone need a reminder of what happens to naughty girls?"
She could stop it right there. All she had to do was take his hand and allow him to wash off the ridiculous make-up. All she had to do was be a sweet little girl. But damn if defiance didn't sound a hell of a lot better right about now. So she did it. She sealed her fate and stuck her tongue out at him.
Without an ounce of hesitation, Costello firmly grabbed her by the arm and led her over to a pink wooden chair in the corner of the room. Juniper did her best to fight him off and drag her feet, but his strength overpowered hers. Effortlessly, and within seconds, Costello had her over his knee, face down and bottom up.
"Wait! No! Please, I don't want a spanking," she howled. This was no act. She'd known it was coming, and at one point had sort of wanted one. But when faced with the reality of it, her mind changed.
"You should have thought about that before being a bad little girl." He lifted up her floral skirt and yanked down her ruffled panties. Bare bottom! Oh no!
Humiliation washed over her when she glanced around, and realized the whole room was watching her discipline. "Please, I'll be good! I'll be good!"
His answer was a simple swat to her naked behind. And then another, and another. She kicked and flailed her arms the best she could, but it only caused Costello to tighten his grip and increase the severity of the spanking as he peppered her behind with one smack after another. Juniper had had enough spankings in her ten year stay to know that putting up a fight only made it worse. It didn't matter what mental age you were�spankings hurt.
Costello paused for a moment, which sent a completely new terror through Juniper. The longer the spanking, the higher the chance of him seeing the arousal his punishment caused. A progeny with a successful mental reassignment, would definitely not be aroused by a spanking. Her sexual juices could reveal it all. She tried her best to think of other things and not allow the wetness to take over. But she couldn't help it! When Costello spanked her, she always wanted more. She wanted his touch in more ways than just blistering her backside.
Luckily, or unluckily, he continued with the spanking. Swat after swat, until her entire butt blazed. Tears filled her eyes as his palm reddened every square inch of her bratty behind.
"I'm sorry, Poppa. I'm sorry." She really was. He made sure of it.
He stopped, resting his palm on her bottom. "Are you going to be a good girl, or do you need more of a spanking?"
"I'll be a good girl, Poppa. I promise."
Costello lowered her dress and stood her up. Her panties still hung at her ankles. Juniper looked down at them, feeling humiliated that all the other poppas and progenies had witnessed her bare bottom spanking.
"Keep your panties down and go stand in the corner for ten minutes. When the time is up, we will remove your make-up as I originally planned," he commanded.
She quickly did as he asked, hobbling over to the nearest corner and placing her nose in it. She knew better than to question Costello when he was in discipline mode.
* * * * *
Costello hated looking at Juniper when she was covered in that horrible make-up, but he hated when she bratted even more. Especially in front of the other poppas and progenies. He had no choice but to punish her�or risk losing respect as one of the authoritarians.
As he took her to the little bathroom just off the playroom, he could see the others smiling and shaking their heads because they all thought he was overzealous when it came to looking after his progeny. They had no idea that he had feelings for the girl, and it was just as well. She was a progeny�forbidden. He wasn't permitted to have feelings for her, but there were times when she looked at him, and he couldn't help but think that something was different. Physically, she was twenty-eight. Mentally, she was supposed to be six. Most of the time she acted as though she was six, except when she thought no one was looking, and then� well, he could easily have been making it up because he didn't want her to be another one of them, but he was certain that she was different than the rest. Fortunately, she was good at hiding it. Costello had heard all sorts of stories about what happened to the girls who couldn't be mentally reassigned, and he didn't want anything to happen to Juniper.
Gently, he cleaned her face with a wash cloth as she stared at him, her lip pouting slightly, making him want to tell her that he knew she wasn't really six. But he knew better than to do that. Trying not to sigh, he focused on getting her clean and hoped that she wouldn't do it again, although he had a horrible feeling that she would, because it seemed to him as though play time was getting harder for her. Everything was probably getting harder for her. What must it be like to know that you're twenty-eight and have to pretend all the time that you are six?
She shook her head. "You spoil my fun all the time."
"You don't have to look like a clown to have fun."
She crossed her arms and looked away. "You didn't have to spank me."
Costello placed a finger under her chin and forced her head to turn to look at him. Her blue eyes made contact, and she didn't look away. "Yes, I did. What happens to naughty girls?"
"They get spanked." She uncrossed her arms and placed her hands in front of her, letting go of her pouting behavior.
"You didn't get spanked because of the make-up. You received a spanking because you were defiant and chose not to listen." He smiled at her and brushed a piece of blonde hair away from her eye. "Can you be a good girl now?"
She nodded. "Yes, Poppa."
"Good. How about I paint your nails for you to apologize for spoiling your fun?"
"Maybe�" She nibbled her bottom lip. "I want you to use the proper nail polish, though. Not that stuff that peels off all the time."
"Okay." He smiled at her. "What color do you want?"
"We have that new sparkly orange; I could use that. They only bought it a few days ago. You might be the first person wearing it."
Juniper nodded. "I'd like that." For a moment she really did sound like a very tired adult. "What comes after play time?"
"The plan is to take you out to see the rabbits, and then it will be nap time."
"Yay! Rabbits! I love the rabbits, Poppa Costello. I want one in my bedroom, so I can hug him all the time. Can I have that?"
"No, sweetie, they have to stay outside so all of you can enjoy them. If you got one to yourself, then everyone else would want to as well, and that wouldn't be fair, now would it?" He hated talking down to her.
* * * * *
Occasionally, she knew she slipped. Pretending all the time was hard, but mostly she managed it. She knew she had to. Then there were times when Costello looked at her, and she could see the question in his eyes. Was she really a progeny? Occasionally she thought about telling him the truth, but she didn't think he would keep her secret� or couldn't be positive of it. So she did her best to keep the truth as hidden as possible. What would telling him gain her anyway?
Pouting, she let Costello lead her out of the little bathroom. He took her straight over to where the adult nail varnishes were, kept away from the progenies who would think nothing of using them to paint on the walls or furniture.
"When are we going to have paints again?"
"I don't know, Juniper. The last time they were available, three of you decided it would be a good idea to paint one of the walls, and corporate has been very unhappy about it ever since."
"They wouldn't let us have pudding for three weeks."
"You think I don't remember that?"
The tantrums she'd thrown when she wasn't allowed pudding had been fun. She took pleasure in being a whiny brat. It made the poppas work for their money. Costello sighed�he seemed tired. "I'll have a chat with them and see if they'll let us get the paints out if we cover the walls beforehand."
Juniper nodded, doing her best to hide her smile. If they covered the walls, she'd cover the ceiling. Not having pudding for three weeks wasn't exactly a punishment to her, and it gave her a chance to let out some of the anger she felt. "Thank you, Poppa Costello."
"You're welcome, sweetie. Now, you sit down and I'll get the nail polish."
Nodding again, she did as she was told. As she stared out of the window, she wished for an actual real manicure instead of having to have her nails cut short. But at least Costello was kind to her. Some of the other girls hadn't always been so lucky. Fortunately, those poppas were soon found and removed from the facility. By then, though, the damage was already done. Many progenies were abused, taken advantage of, and sexually assaulted. Although, to be fair, most progenies were nurtured, babied, and cared for with the utmost love.
When Costello took hold of her hand, her mind was still wandering, so it made her jump before she looked over at him, their eyes meeting for a moment.
"You okay, Juniper?"
"I'm fine, Poppa. Just thinking about the rabbits. How much longer do we have left of play time?"
"Just long enough for me to do your nails. Then we'll go see the rabbits."
"Good. I love the rabbits." She detested them, actually. She detested most everything these days.
"I know you do. Hold still for me. You don't want orange sparkly fingers now, do you?"
She did as he asked, enjoying the sensation of having someone pamper her. She liked watching his brown eyes squint as he focused on painting just the nail. The sight of his large hands trying to be as delicate as they could almost made her laugh. He lowered his face so close to her fingertip that she could feel his breath against the top of her hand. The entire act was a mixture of amusement and comfort. She enjoyed the loving attention and desired his touch�even in this simple manner.
The closest she usually came to being pampered was bath time, although that was never anywhere near as much fun. The women in control of it�as that was the one time their poppas weren't permitted anywhere near them�were often harsh, wanting to get it all done as quickly as possible. A few were kind. They were the ones who'd wash your hair gently and scrub your back when you asked them to. But like everything else in the facility, Juniper dreaded it. Bath time was just like every other scheduled activity. Just another chance for Juniper to accidently reveal her darkest secret. Just another opportunity to get caught.