A Contract with Many Appendices
by Dave Potter
She shut her eyes and then opened them again. Not that it made any difference of course. She was encased in her sleeping sack, the ridiculous bag that they forced her to wear every night in bed, so as to keep modest and pure, and so from the moment that she was zipped in by her maid until the moment when she was released, her world was devoid of any light and most of its sound too. She existed in a vacuum, a non-place separated from the rest of the world by an impenetrable wall of cloth.
How had she got into this mess? Her life, only a month before so normal, like that of any other career girl in London, was now like a scene out of some fundamentalist nightmare, some horror film about the Taleban or Saudi Arabia. Except that this was no film or hyped-up book of Arabian abduction; it was her life, her reality. And what made it worse was that she had not been abducted at all; instead she herself had signed up for it. Not that she’d realised what it was that she was signing up for but nonetheless, it had been there in black and white in her contract, the contract that she had voluntarily put her name to after only giving it a cursory glance. At the time there had been dollar signs dancing in front of her eyes, not the sober wording of a Contract of Employment. The only bit that had registered to her had been the annual remittance of £150,000 exclusive of tax, to be paid in monthly installments into her bank account on the 28th day of every month. The rest had never registered.
It had all begun when she had been approached by a head-hunter in London. She was a reasonably successful solicitor dealing in corporate fraud who had been building up a reputation ever since she’d qualified five years previously. The man had told her that he was looking for young and innovative professionals to work in the Gulf Emirate of Rifan to scrutinise deals made by customers of the Rifan National Bank. Her name had come up and they thought that she was the ideal candidate. The wage was triple what she was currently earning and there was free accommodation provided. The only problem was that it was the Gulf, so there was the heat and also women were expected to live traditionally. Whilst she did not fancy wearing a dress instead of jeans, and perhaps putting a headscarf on for special functions, Amy was sure that she could cope with it. After all, she was well-travelled and loved adjusting to foreign cultures and trying different food. When she’d backpacked around India almost a decade earlier she’d swapped her Western clothes for local attire and enjoyed it. No, if anything, all that would be a bonus, not a hindrance.
How wrong she had been!
She shuffled in her bag. What was taking the maid so long? Surely it must be time to get up now. She had been lying awake now for what seemed like hours. Not that she could tell of course, for in the pitch black of the sleeping sack time had no meaning. And it was pitch black too; yes the material omitted a little light but the room beyond was pitch black too, the blinds fully blocking the bright sunlight from outside. To help pass the time she recounted her arrival in Rifan.
The problems had started in the airport itself. She’d gone through Customs in her normal Western attire and then emerged into Arrivals Hall where she was met by a lady bearing a sign with her name on it and the logo of the Rifan National Bank. Or at least, she’d assumed her to be a lady although she could not be sure for she was covered head to toe in a burqa of forest green, (the colour of the bank), with two circular holes at the eyes covered by embroidered grilles, whilst above them, also in embroidery, was some Arabic writing. The only part of her that belied her humanity were her hands which poked out of holes in the burqa, although even these were covered by black silken gloves.
She’d gone over to the figure and introduced herself but to her surprise, instead of replying, the covered lady had merely got out a small hand-held computer and typed a message on it. Come with me. She’d then turned and walked away, her walk little more than a shuffle. Amy had followed her into a room with a sign above the door declaring, in Arabic and English, that it was the ‘Female Facilities’. They entered a bright and very inviting little hall. There was a bar, tables with food and drinks and even a large video display. Other burqa-clad women milled around but her forest-green burqa merely ushered her into one of the doors which turned out to be for a small, windowless cubicle about four metres square with a couch in the middle. Once inside, the burqa locked the door and then pulled off her garment to reveal a young and attractive lady wearing a headscarf and caftan. However, what shocked Amy about her appearance was that her mouth was filled by a large leather gag. As if it were the most normal thing to do, the lady reached round the back of her head, undid the gag strap and then flexed her jaw before turning to Amy and saying, “Hello Miss Calder, welcome to Rifan! My name is Someya Qureshi and I’ll be working with you at the Rifan National Bank as your assistant. Now, I’m sure that you have many questions which you are longing to ask, but first, as you know from your contract, your current clothing is unsuitable for Rifan and so you shall have to change into the outfit provided by the bank. Some of it might seem a little strange to you, but trust me, it is all standard here in Rifan, indeed, quite casual for this country. So, ask ahead as we get you ready. Please, take off your clothes and then lie on the couch.”
Amy stripped completely and when she was totally naked she lay down as instructed. Someya approached her with a most unexpected item: an adult nappy. “I don’t think that is necessary,” started Amy, but Someya stopped her. “We all wear them here,” her assistant explained, “since wearing a gag we can’t always say when we need to go to the toilet and also it is not always practical. It was in the contract anyway so I am surprised you were not expecting it.” Naturally, Amy did not want to admit to someone who could well have the ear of her new boss that she hadn’t read the contract, that would seem unprofessional, and so she replied, “Yes, I was expecting it on special occasions, just not right away.”
The Rifani girl fitted the nappy snugly and then brought out a pair of baggy harem pants which were fastened at her waist and ankles with straps. Made of white silk they felt smooth and sensuous against her legs. Then came a white slip in the same silk which dropped down to the floor and over that a caftan in a sandy colour with the bank’s logo on the breast and fine embroidery around the neck and sleeves. “This is actually the standard uniform of a bank employee,” explained Someya. “you, being a position of importance, will have a different uniform when you’re at work, but for just going home from the airport this will have to do. You will notice that it is the colour of our desert sands. The bank’s colours are forest green and sandy brown. In Rifan all unmarried women wear light colours and those like me who are married, wear dark, so the bank has two uniforms; mine is of course the other one.”
The caftan was floor-length and although not silk, was of very fine material indeed. Someya did up the hooks at the back and then turned her attentions to her colleague’s feet. She ordered Amy to sit on the couch again and then brought out a pair of closed sandals with only soft soles which offered very little support indeed. They certainly were a change from the high heels which Amy normally wore. Someya fitted the sandals and then fastened them together using a thick leather strap. When she stood up again the English girl realised that her stride was now reduced to a mere shuffle. Whilst this undoubtedly explained Someya’s slow walk, Amy was not happy about it. “What’s the meaning of this?” she asked. Someya looked puzzled. “These are standard Rifani footwear and were mentioned in the contract also. Are you sure that you read it in detail?”
“Of course I did,” retorted Amy, “but there was so much to remember that I must have forgotten that bit.”
“Very well,” said the Rifani girl, “and now your gag, mandatory at all times decreed by Mr. Soueif, your manager. In Rifan we must all gag whenever outside of our homes; in the home it is up to the discretion of the Head of the Household. As you will be living in an annex of Mr. Soueif’s home, then it is up to him to tell you what he expects at home although since he is rather traditional I suspect I know what his regime will be like. Are you alright now before I fit it? Anymore questions about other aspects of the contract which you might have… overlooked…?”
Of course she was not alright and of course she had more questions, but Amy did not fancy revealing anymore of her ignorance to this office girl, so she replied, “None at all, I know full well what Mr. Soueif is expecting as he outlined it to me in great detail by email. Please, fit this thing!”
The gag was a rubber protrusion which was buckled behind her head. It did not silence her completely but it made meaningful speech impossible. After the gag Someya fitted sandy silken gloves onto Amy’s hands which felt fantastic and then wrapped a headscarf in the same colour around her head, pinning it at the side.
Finally she pulled out a burqa, just like her own except in the same sandy silk as the rest of the uniform. She showed the headpiece to Amy and pointing to the embroidered writing above the eye holes she said, “This says ‘Soueif’. We all have our family name embroidered on our burqas so that we may be recognised. As you doubtless know from the contract, whilst in the employ of the Rifan National Bank, you will officially be a ward of Mr. Soueif, so it his name on your burqa. Now, let me fit it.”
The burqa was fitted by means of an inbuilt skull cap and then it flowed down to the floor. With the circular eye holes all her peripheral vision was gone and that which remained was blurred by the embroidery. But the garment was not heavy and the silken folds around her felt great. Fully dressed she then waited as Someya replaced her gag and burqa and they left the cubicle.
She blinked again. Still black and still silent. She could be all alone in the world. What if there had been a meteorite hitting the earth or a bomb? Who would let her out? She would be stuck in that hateful sack forever! She squirmed about but she knew that it would do her no good. The annoying thing was that, normally, she could free herself from such a garment quite easily, if it were not for her mittens. Every night she was forced to don padded leather mittens which rendered her as helpless as a baby. A baby, yes, babies. That is how the Rifanis loved their women, as babies who needed men to do everything for her. The feminist in her boiled with anger but there was nothing that she could do! She should have guessed there and then at the airport, but stupidly she’d thought that things could only get better. Once she met with Adam Soueif then things could be explained and the ridiculous Rifani regime relaxed. If only she’d known: it would only get worse!
After her dressing she’d minced through the Arrivals Hall to a waiting car where she and Someya were directed to the back and then strapped in. And when I say strapped, I mean strapped! None of your standard European seatbelts in Rifan! Instead of one, there were three, two across her chest and one over her lap. She could not move a muscle! They then sped through the desert city to her new home on the outskirts, the mansion of the Soueif family, major players in the Rifan National Bank.
Adam Soueif was there at the door with five shrouded figures which Amy assumed must be his wife and daughters. He bowed to her and then ushered her through to a lounge where drinks were served. Then he told her that she may ungag as he needed to speak with her and the others left.
“So Miss Calder, welcome to Rifan! I must say that we’re extremely honoured to have such a talented young solicitor working for us at Rifan National Bank. We’ve been having a lot of fraud problems, our clients declaring funds that they haven’t got and this has caused confidence in us to be shaken. We need a sharp young mind like yours scrutinising their books and alerting us of any suspicions. However, that is for when we are at the office, now it is the time to relax. I appreciate that although it was all outlined to you in the contract, you may be finding some of the restrictions placed on females here in Rifan a little overbearing. I shall not apologise for we see them as helping our females attain a pure and modest life, but at the same time I appreciate fully that your background is not ours. What you are wearing now is the standard uniform for a bank employee but due to your high status, you shall not be expected to wear the uniform, instead you shall wear the outfit of an unmarried girl of upper class Rifani society which is how you shall be seen as you are my ward.”
“Does that mean that I don’t need to gag then, Mr. Soueif?”
“No, I’m afraid that it does not. Gagging is mandatory for all females outside of the home here in Rifan…”
“Yes, but in work and at home…?”
“In work you shall be scrutinising accounts, Miss Calder, you can do that gagged.”
“But what if I need to use the telephone?”
“I understand your concerns but do not worry. You shall be equipped with a typepad such as Someya had at all times so you may communicate easily, and we have a male clerk who can make all the calls that you need. No, I am afraid we have a reputation to uphold and that would not be done if your office were filled with female chatter!”
Amy did not like the sound of this. “And at home? I am ungagged now after all.”
“Home is, as Someya told you, at my discretion, and I am afraid to say that I do run a traditional household. As I said before, I have a reputation to uphold and it would not be fair to treat you differently to the other females in my household. Gagging is mandatory at all times unless I say so; you shall soon learn that chatter is not a necessity and life is better without it. My wives and daughters all survive quite well without it.”
“Mr. Soueif, I must protest! This is quite unacceptable! I…”
“What is unacceptable Miss Calder? We informed you of all the details in Appendix 26c of your contract. Now if you chose not to read that document, then that was your prerogative although I have to say that the Rifan National Bank expects a much higher standard of scrutiny from its employees!”
“I did read it, Mr. Soueif, all of it, but I just thought that perhaps some of the more extreme regulations could be waived in light of my nationality and background.”
“Fair enough, but I am afraid that here in the Emirate of Rifan, we believe in equality, so no, you shall not be treated differently. Indeed, if you are fully aware of all the clauses, it is time to move onto some of the others. Your new name for starters…”
“Yes, as stated in Appendix 13b, you shall adopt a Rifani name so as to help achieve office and family integration. As my ward you shall be a Soueif naturally, whilst for your first name I have chosen Maryam since you are of a Christian background and she was the mother of Jesus-Isa. So, henceforth, all shall refer to you as Maryam in the home or Miss Soueif at work. Now, do you have any questions?”
“Yes I do. The nappies. Are they really necessary?”
“I can only direct you to Appendix 26d of your contract, Maryam.”
“And the burqa. Is that removed indoors?”
“Were my wives and daughters unveiled, Maryam? No, they were not. See Appendix 26a and whilst you’re at it, I recommend you re-read that entire Appendix as you shall find that it will impact on your life greatly. And indeed, with that in mind, I don’t want to keep you any longer as I’m sure you’re tired after the travails of travelling across continents and your maid has a shower ready and needs to make preparations for some of the other stipulations made in Appendix 26. So please Maryam, replace your gag and I shall summon her, and once again, a warm welcome to Rifan!”
Following that harrowing first meeting with the man who now ruled her life, she shuffled out of the room in the train of a burqa-clad maid and was led to the shower. But this was no usual shower. Hanging from the ceiling was a chain with an iron ring attached. As she undressed, Amy wondered as to what its purpose was, but when she had stripped down to just her harem pants and nappy, she found out. The veiled maid led her to the chain, opened the ring and then snapped it around her neck. She then took her left hand, snapped a similar ring around that and then attached its chain to a hook in the wall before doing the same with her right hand. Then she removed her harem pants and nappy before snapping similar rings around her ankles and fastening them, over a metre apart to rings in the floor. The English solicitor was now stood spread-eagled and defenceless in the shower. What on earth was happening? She asked the maid what was the situation, but there was no reply. She was probably gagged and just as likely couldn’t speak English anyway thought Amy.
Then the maid left the room and came back holding a bucket of what looked like wallpaper paste but smelt sweet. Using a large wallpapering brush, she started smearing it all over her charge’s body from the neck down. At first it was quite pleasant, then it began to tingle, then itch slightly. Amy longed to scratch but of course she could not. Then it got worse, feeling like a sunburn and Amy began to complain. The maid nodded and turned the shower on. Warm water flooded over Amy and, to her surprise, wherever the cream had been smeared, all her hair fell out leaving her skin smooth. So, it was some sort of hair removal treatment! Not pleasant certainly, but less painful than a Brazilian waxing and besides, it was understandable too: wearing all those layers and a nappy, it was probably necessary to prevent rashes and skin complaints. With the shower still on, the maid then took a hose and rinsed thoroughly all the areas the shower had missed and when she was satisfied, she turned off both the hose and the shower and disappeared, returning with a tub of cream. This she rubbed vigorously into every pore of Amy’s skin below the neck and then she left. As before, this was not unpleasant at first but then it began to burn, the feeling getting stronger and stronger until the English girl cried out with pain and fought against her restraints, eager to rinse it off. But of course, she was helpless and furthermore the maid did not return. Then, after what seemed like an age, her veiled form reappeared and she turned on the shower. The relief was intense and when this second cream was fully rinsed off, she returned again with a third, but this was obviously a balm for it cooled, not burned and to Amy it felt like heaven.
As her skin was being cooled, the maid rinsed and washed her hair, leaving a conditioner on for several minutes before giving her charge a final rinse and then rubbing a moisturising oil over her skin leaving her slippery and sweet smelling. This was pure luxury and Amy began to think that perhaps everything about Rifan was not so bad after all. Then however, came a new shock.
It was a metal disk, engraved and polished till it shone, with a small grille in the middle like her burqa. Attached to it was a chain and to her horror it was fitted around her privates and padlocked at the back. It was a chastity belt to prevent her from touching herself! Truly that was barbaric, like something from the Middle Ages.
But that was not all, for after she was dressed again in a new set of clothes, similar to her uniform but this time in sky blue, she was taken to her room where her contract had been left for her to read through properly, something which she duly did though at the end she was left almost wishing that she had not. More than that though, she was kicking herself for ever signing the damn thing in the first place. Yes, the money was good but the rest certainly was not, and most of the really painful bits were hidden away in the numerous appendices.
Appendix 26 for example, talked about the dress code which applied both inside and outside of work. She was to be veiled and gagged at all times, and wearing a nappy. But there was more than that. Her stride was to be limited to a maximum of twenty centimetres and she would have to wear an item called a spreading cage at all times “as is customary with middle class Rifani ladies”. She also learnt with horror, that her free time at home would be spend chained to a ladies’ post in the ladies’ sitting room whilst at night she would stay gagged and also be forced to slumber in a sleeping sack which was not explained but did not sound promising as it was “to ensure modesty and virtue”.
But it was not all about the dress code that worried her. She would only be allowed an hour of exercise a day which was hard since she was used to regular gym sessions, and at work her duties would be limited to scouring account books, there would be nothing face-to-face whatsoever. Furthermore, there was a clause about misdemeanours being punishable in the traditional manner which was explained in Appendix 15 which, when she turned to it, talked of using a wooden paddle on her naked bottom, with five strokes being customary for a minor misdemeanour such as a report with typos and 10+ for anything more serious such as excessive groaning into her gag, excessive movements and questioning of the rules.
Appendix 22 explained what had happened in the bathroom. It stated that she would “be subjected to a complete depilation of the hair below the neck upon arrival in Rifan” and then “treated with a substance to prevent any future hair growth in areas depilated in accordance with the above clause”. So, she was to be forever hairless and smooth.
Perhaps most worrying of all though was the section which detailed her wardship. When she read that she could not believe her eyes. She had signed over virtually every independence that she had whilst in Rifan to Mr. Soueif. She had no rights whatsoever and she was, to all intents and purposes, his daughter. That meant he could restrict her as he pleased, prevent her travelling out of the country and indeed, out of the house, read all her mail and withhold any that he saw fit to and even had the final say on any marriage proposal, not that she would have any chance to meet and date a guy living as she was. She was to be like a child, made helpless and dependent by her clothing, fully obligated in legal terms to a man whom she’d only met once. Amy sat and wept at her predicament, for the contract was for five years and there was no way of terminating it early unless Mr. Soueif himself decided to or if she got married, at which point she would become her husband’s responsibility.
It was soon after she had finished weeping that her maid came in to prepare her for the night. Still numb from what she had read, she stood passively by as she was stripped naked save for her nappy and then leather mittens fastened around her hands which rendered them totally useless, and then she was guided into her sleeping sack, a bag which totally enclosed her, leaving only the hood free until she lay on the bed and that too was zipped shut, leaving her in a pitch black and silent world.
The same world that she was in now. As helpless and as isolated now as she had been on that first night. And, as on the first morning when she had awoken and been forced to lie there for ages until her maid released her, she felt a build up in her bladder. Then she had resisted and resisted it until it became painful, but now she new better. She let the warm pee, (the result of her being forced to drink over a pint of water every night before bed in order to cleanse her system), flood out and fill her nappy. She would be changed soon. These days it felt almost normal; that first morning it had been humiliating.
Then it happened. A slight light beyond the material covering her eyes and some noises. Her maid was here. Her hood was unzipped and a warm damp towel placed on her forehead to freshen her and remove some of the perspiration of the night. She sat up and passively let her maid undress her and lead her to the shower where she was chained to the ceiling ring, her arms attached above her head also as the maid cleaned her thoroughly, before being released again, fed her breakfast like a baby and then dressed, today, as on that first day, in her full Rifani attire.
The dressing started, as it had at the airport with her being repacked with a nappy and then a pair of harem pants which were fastened at the waist and ankles, but which also went over her feet like bags so that there was no danger of any skin showing. Then came a new item that was most unexpected and that Amy at first did not understand. It was like a kind of cage, made to fit around her waist and the upper parts of her two legs, similar in shape to a pair of Victorian bloomers except that this was made of metal, not material. She let the maid fit it, wondering quite why such an item was necessary. It was in two parts, hinged along one side and it shut and was fastened by several latches. The fit was snug and Amy wondered as to how they had got her size so perfectly but then those thoughts were replaced by new ones when she tried to walk.
She could walk in that strange cage, but not normally. It held her legs apart and so she had to take strange, unsteady waddling steps, not made any easier by the fact that the maid then fitted closed sandals with soft soles and a leather strap between them on her feet. Yes, walking was possible, but it was difficult. The implications were clear: as a Rifani woman, she would not be required to move around very much and when she did, it must be difficult to remind her of her new status. Inwardly she seethed. As a lifelong feminist this went against everything that she believed in but what could she do? After all, it had been her and no one else who had signed that damn contract!
The dressing continued with the long shift, then the long gloves and then the caftan, the underwear all in white but the caftan, that first morning, in a summery yellow. Then attentions switched to her head. Her long brunette hair was combed out and then gathered together in a ponytail at the back of her head and then another new – and unwelcome – item came out.
It was a gag, but not the same gag as she had worn the day before on the trip from the airport. This gag was made like a mask covering the cheeks. Amy looked in the mirror to see that her face now was half covered, over the mouth and cheeks black leather was stretched. Furthermore, this new gag silenced her far more effectively than the other, only allowing her to emit a vague hissing sound
Then came something else both unexpected and unwelcome. It was a full face mask, again made of leather. It had small holes at the nostrils and larger holes for the eyes and it looked like a black leather face. The maid, started to fit it onto Amy’s face. First she held the lower part of the mask to the English girl’s neck and buckled it behind, next a strap from the forehead down the back of the head was attached to the collar. Finally four narrow straps going above and below the ears were assembled at the back. Amy touched the mask with her gloved hands, it was immovable and it covered her entire face. In the mirror she saw a black leather face without a mouth. She was no longer human, merely a mindless drone, silent, helpless and dependent on the men around her.
After the mask, a yellow headscarf was fastened around her head becomingly, framing the blank mask and then came the burqa, also in yellow, but with two small eye openings to see out of that appeared as embroidered suns to the outside world. Thus dressed she was ready to face the outside world.
On that first day, she had not gone to work for it had been a weekend, so instead she’d spent the day with the females of the Soueif household. There were five others in total, not including the maids since they were actually slaves, (yes, slavery was legal in Rifan!), Adam Soueif’s three wives and two youngest daughters, (the others had already been married off). Amy was led to the ladies’ sitting room where, in the centre, there was a short post about a metre high around which burqa-clad ladies were gathered. Amy was led to the post and then motioned to sit. Then the maid took a chain dangling from the post and snapped the ring at the other end around her ankle. So, she was to be chained up even when relaxing at home!
That morning provided her with an introduction to Rifani society. The daughters were called Leyla and Soraya but the wives did not have names, for apparently, in conservative Rifani society, they gave them up when they got married and so were referred to as First, Second and Third. They talked about all the restraints that Amy was now having to endure and explained them. Women, it seemed, were not meant to move about much save for their daily exercise sessions in their room and the soft-soled shoes which offered little support, the straps between them and the cage pantaloons which they referred to as ‘spreading pants’ sufficed to achieve that end. They said that very few women in Rifan ever worked and indeed none of them had or would, and indeed some very conservative women never left the house or showed their faces to anyone, including their husband, making love in a sleeping sack, although they were not quite that conservative.
What was shocking however, was when they talked about silence. Amy expressed how she found the gag very difficult to cope with and they all nodded and then Second Wife typed that she and her sisters (i.e. fellow wives), were lucky because their husband had kindly assented to them having an operation which permanently muted them, making wearing a gag unnecessary, although to remind them of the importance of silence and to prevent burping or other noises, they still wore one when going out. The thought of being permanently silenced, never able to express your thoughts and feelings vocally horrified Amy but the Rifani women seemed not to mind and indeed Leyla typed that she hoped dearly that when she married her husband would have her muted as had been done with her elder sisters.
And so was spent Amy’s first full day in Rifan, and very restricted and boring it was too and she was glad that the next day she would be leaving the house and attending work. However, this too provided her with new surprises. After dressing and mincing out of the house in her accursed spreading pants, she found that car travel was even more secure now than before, for as well as the straps over her breasts and waist, there was now an additional one bucking her head to the headrest, (and going over her eyes, it doubled as a blindfold), and her feet were attached to small rings set in the floor of the car. Totally motionless and blinded, she was driven to the office.
Once in the headquarters of the Rifan National Bank things weren’t much easier. Although she did not have far to walk by normal standards, crossing the reception hall to the lift and then negotiating the long corridors of the building were a nightmare. For starters there was the hindrance of the spreading pants, but worse than that her soft-soled leather shoes struggled to grip on the slippery marble flooring. It took her a full twenty minutes to get to Adam Soueif’s office where her induction was to take place.
And what an induction it was. Instead of being led to a chair, she was motioned towards ones of a series of wooden boxes situated by the wall. A maid opened the front of the box and motioned for her to get inside. The box was only a metre or so high so she could only fit in by kneeling down. This done, the door was shut behind her, but she could still see and hear for the top of the box was slatted like a cage. As she knelt she heard male voices and other people enter the room. Then Adam Soueif began.
“Gentlemen, I have gathered you here today in order for you to welcome our newest employee. Maryam here is our new solicitor from the UK who will be helping tackle those fraud issues that have so bugged us of late. I need not say again that you must all co-operate with her and assist her in her endeavours. As you can see, she is fully compliant with our company’s strict modesty policy and so you shall never see her veiled form, but Someya who is in the box beside her will act as her P.A. so you can send your enquiries to her as well as Maryam. So please gentlemen, can we have a big round of applause for our new colleague!”
After all the men had left, she was released from her cage and then taken to her new desk. It was pretty much like any other office desk except that once she was in her chair, her feet were chained to rings in the floor. Like everywhere else in Rifan, she would not be wandering off. For a fleeting moment she wondered about toilet breaks but then remembered her nappy which the fullness in her bladder meant that she would probably be filling soon.
And so her life began, sat chained to the desk (literally!), analysing reports sent to her. It was dull work and a dull life but it was what she had signed up for and the contract made it clear that there was no way out. She simply had to endure it for five years without going out of her mind, something that she was not sure that she could entirely avoid.
And so it had been everyday until this day; straight to her office and a whole eight hours analysing data. Everyday that is, until today when, quite unexpectedly, she had been ushered to Adam Soueif’s office rather than her own. Once in there she’d been placed in a cage and then her boss and master spoke.
“Maryam, I’ve asked you and Someya to be present today because I’m entertaining a client, a Mr. Potter, who is English like you but who I suspect may not be entirely honest with us. However, I may be wrong in my assumptions and I thought that you will probably know your own people better than I so I’d like a second opinion. Have a listen and then report back to me afterwards by email with your thoughts.”
Although the prospect of spending hours knelt inside a crate was not overly appealing, this was a change for Amy and the prospect of hearing an English voice again excited her so she was glad of the “meeting”. It was not long until Mr. Potter arrived and when he did, after a few polite greetings in Arabic, Adam Soueif suggested they switch to his client’s native tongue and Amy got a shock.
She knew that voice!
At first she was not sure, but as he rambled on about his investments and portfolios, she became more and more certain. He had a faint Potteries twang which stood out and the name ‘Potter’, well, that couldn’t be a coincidence could it?
But it was when, after referring to him as ‘Mr. Potter’ for a few times, that he said, “Please, call me Dave,” that she knew. Dave Potter! Dave bloody Potter! But what was he doing here in Rifan?
Soueif and Potter talked for a long time about business and Amy’s knees were really beginning to hurt her, but then they switched to more informal chat. “I can’t believe that we have an Englishman who has chosen to make Rifan his home. Most run away screaming because of the way we treat our women; your papers insult us daily.”
“That is true Adam, and it is wrong that they do, and I will not pretend that I agree totally with the burqa and purdah, but I am not a woman and I find this country friendly, safe and beautiful. Why would I not stay here? My only problem is that I never seem to be fully accepted. I have learnt the language, accepted your faith and I even dress as you do, but I still feel an outsider at times and I can’t fathom out why.”
“Ha! Ha! I can, it only takes two seconds!”
“What do you mean? Is it my accent or the hair colour?”
“No, not at all. Dave, you are still single and for a Rifani that is strange, we are all married, most of us several times. To fully integrate here, you need to find a wife and start a family!”
“But how can I? No English girl would ever come to live here and submit herself to all the restrictions!”
“Then why not a Rifani girl?”
“Who would have me, a foreigner?”
“It is true that that places an obstacle, but it is not insurmountable. A lower-class girl, or a liberal…”
“What, like your secretaries in their boxes there?”
“Oh not them; Someya is married already whereas Maryam treasures her independence too much. No, not them, but there will be someone. I can make enquiries if you like.”
“Well, I don’t know…”
“Rifani girls are very beautiful and they strive to please their husbands.”
“Yes, but the restrictions, I don’t know if I could enforce them?”
“Perhaps you could not though it is often the girl that asks for them and not the husband. Open your mind to the possibility.”
“Alright, I will. Could you make some enquiries?”
“I would be honoured to, Dave.”
“Thanks a lot. Listen Adam, I have to be going; I have an appointment with some contractors at 12. Do you mind if I leave?”
“Not at all, sala’am aleikum, Dave.”
“Wa’leikum sala’am Adam.”
As soon as she was at her desk Amy pinged an email off to Someya. The Rifani girl shuffled over to her soon afterwards and she typed on her typepad, Please tell Mr. Soueif that I need to see him urgently in his office. Someya nodded and shuffled off and soon afterwards, she was unchained from her desk and led over to her guardian’s office. Once inside she got out her typepad and typed: That man in your office this morning, Mr. Potter. He was looking for a Rifani wife. I know this might sound strange but I am adapting to the life here now and the idea of marriage appeals to me. If he is willing and if you give your permission, could I be considered as a candidate?
Adam Soueif read her message and then nodded slowly. “I have no objection to such a union in principle,” he said in reply, before adding, “I shall put forward the suggestion to Mr. Potter.”
It had been ten years ago. She’d just finished uni and had embarked on a trip of a lifetime, backpacking around India, visiting temples and partying on Goan beaches, in-between smoking weed in Manali and Pushkar and ogling the Taj Mahal and Rajput palaces. She’d gone with a guy from her course at uni, Dave Potter. He was a friend, nothing more, part of a group of friends in fact. Six of them had used to go drinking in the Faversham near to the uni campus. She’d been going out with Steve Hartley then and Dave with Alita Carson and they’d planned to go out as a foursome to India. But then Alita had dumped Dave for a guy she used to go to school with and she’d dumped Steve after a massive rows in which he’d slagged off her parents and called her a spoilt southern bitch. So, it was just the two of them. Of course, she’d always suspected that Dave fancied her anyway; she was an attractive girl after all, but it was only when they were over there that it became fully apparent just how much he’d fallen for her. But she wasn’t ready for a relationship and so she told him. He accepted it on the surface but kept pushing and then one night, after a few drinks in Jaipur, he’d really tried it on. That’s when they’d had their row, she’d told him to fuck off and then the next morning he had sneaked off before dawn and taken a train to Mumbai. And she hadn’t seen him since.
Not seen him but that morning in Mr. Soueif’s office she’d heard him, clear as day. She’d recognised the voice straight away and then Mr. Soueif had referred to him as Mr. Potter, to which he’d replied, “No, call me Dave.” It was him. Not that he knew about her of course; all he knew was that locked in that stupid crate, unseen and unheard was a girl called Maryam. But it was him and he was her route out of this hell! If she could get him to say ‘Yes’ to marrying her then on their wedding night she could reveal her true identity and all her worries would be over. Of course, she had to play along with the idea that she loved him for a while, at least until she was back in England, but she could do that no problem. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d used her looks and her pussy to get to where she wanted to go after all. But would he say yes, would he say yes? Like everything else in this ridiculous country, all she could do was sit in silence and wait.
That wait was for a full week. Adam Soueif never mentioned her proposal again until the following Tuesday when he summoned her to his presence after they had returned home from work. In front of the entire family he delivered the short message: “He says yes! You shall become the wife of Dave Potter a month from today!” This was followed by a loud round of applause from all present but no one was happier than Amy. In a month’s time she would be free!
That month, however, was not to follow the pattern of the ones before. Mr. Soueif took very seriously the fact that his ward would be marrying and so Amy was not expected to attend work at the bank so often and instead focus herself upon training to become a good Rifani wife. Naturally, Amy was not impressed with this as work provided the majority of the mental stimulation in her life but she submitted with a smile since she wished to demonstrate how she could become a good wife to Dave; after all, she didn’t want to create any reason for him to have second thoughts about the engagement.
One new insertion – that being very much the correct word – into her daily routine came the very next morning after the engagement had been agreed. Whilst still chained in the shower, the maid produced a hose which she then proceeded to ease into her charge’s rear hole before turning on the cold tap. This was not a new experience for Amy in fact; she’d undergone an enema once before on a weekend spent in a health spa as part of a friend’s hen party years ago, but what she could not understand was why it was being introduced now and why, once her bowels had been flushed out, a black rubber butt plug was produced which was then worked into the hole and sealed in place using the chastity belt. As per usual, no explanation was forthcoming from her maid, but later on at the women’s post, First Wife asked her how she was feeling about it and explained that it was standard practice for engaged virgins in Rifan. The reasoning behind it was that, apparently, traditional custom dictated that standard sexual congress was only deemed acceptable after sunset but that Rifani men, having grown up totally devoid of female contact of the human kind, but traditionally surrounded by wild animals, had a habit of enjoying the other hole, and that if they were taken by any urge during the day, rather than flout convention, they used their wives in that way instead. We must always try to be the best wives that we can and so the enema ensures that we are always clean there whereas the plug ensures that we are not too tight. All of us wives here wear one and so we thought it best for you to do the same. As usual though, Amy herself had no say in this.
The day after the engagement announcement, Amy was taken out in the car to one of the best bridal shops in the city where she sat mute and motionless whilst Mr. Souief mused over several (very expensive) outfits before deciding on one that was very elaborate and, she had to admit, beautiful, but which blinded her completely and kept her arms fastened to her sides whilst her hands were locked into a sort of silken embroidered muff.
Another pre-marital change came the week before the wedding. That day Amy was dressed in a special white mask decorated with pearls and a white burqa and was led to what looked like a dentist’s chair which the other wives proceeded to strap her to and the First got out a tattoo gun and inked a design on her upper arm, an emblem which she later learnt was that of her husband’s clan, (or at least, one that they had invented for such since Dave Potter had no clan per se), and demonstrated her ownership by him. Apparently, all Rifani women have such tattoos inked on them at puberty on their left arm of their patriarchal clan and then, when they get married, of their husband’s clan on the right.
Painful as that was though, it was not nearly so humiliating as what came next. Second Wife then stripped Amy of her harem pants, (she had not been dressed in her chastity belt and nappy that morning), and to her dismay and shame, started caressing her most private parts, tickling her clitoris so that it became excited. Then she took out some cotton thread and tied it around the base of the tiny nub and it grew more and more engorged. After so long without any sexual stimulation, Amy was moaning in ecstasy into her gag and was about to come when Third Wife approached her with a hypodermic needle and she then injected Amy near to the base of the nub and all feeling was lost. Then First Wife came with a hot needle and to Amy’s horror, she carefully thrust it through the centre of her passionate nub. She felt nothing but twinged as the needle passed through and then was removed. Then Second produced a small golden ring which was then passed through the piercing and brazed together. She was now decorated but, worse than that, her clitoris was permanently aroused and engorged. As the effects of the numbing injection wore off, the pain of the violation was intense and she was given a dose of morphine to soothe her, but although gradually the pain subsided, the sexual excitement did not but now, locked behind her chastity belt as it was, she could not release it and frustration began to cloud her thoughts. She hated it. The butt plug and the piercing made her feel like she was being turned into some sort of sex object for her husband. Well, it was a means to an end she reasoned, only one more week to go!
Amy was excited, at long last she would be free of her nightmare. When her husband unveiled her in her wedding bed, he would see, to a great degree of shock no doubt, that he had not married Maryam Soueif, some submissive, religious Rifani woman, but instead Amy Calder, his old friend whom he doubtless still had strong feelings for. She would make love to him as a wife should and then use him to get her out of the hell-hole of Rifan as fast as he could and once back in Britain she could resume her old life with the benefit of selling her story of abuse by backward Muslims in the desert to the Sun or the Mail for huge sums of cash. With these thoughts filling her head, she let Dave guide her up the stairs of her new home and into their bedroom as the guests clapped and cheered. Then, as she was led to her bed and the bedroom door shut she knew that her moment had come. She waited for him to remove her burqa but instead, something most unexpected happened.
“My dearest Maryam,” she heard her new husband say as he stroked the headpiece of her burqa, “I must admit that this is strange to me coming from such a foreign culture, but I so admire how you have deigned to accept the offer of a foreign man, born an infidel and so I will honour my promise to your father to accede to your every wish after you have already done so much for me. In your letter of acceptance to me, you state that you wish to continue living as a chaste and modest Rifani woman and that will extend to our marital bed. It will be hard for me to not see your face which I am sure is as beautiful as your soul, but I accept your demand. Your maid is here to prepare you as you have asked and so I will leave now to preserve your sacred modesty and return in a few minutes when we can truly become man and wife…”
What? Never see her face? What letter? Of course no explanation was forthcoming and instead she heard him depart and her maid started to strip her of her wedding dress and burqa. Then, leaving her blinding wedding mask on, she bundled her into a sleeping sack which was secured tightly at the neck, before encasing her hands in the all-too-familiar leather mittens. The only difference to when she was unmarried was that there was no nappy around her nether regions now, nor any chastity belt, and her sleeping sack could now be unzipped to reveal her naked body. Well, all of it except the head which was kept safely hidden away. How on earth could she let him know who she really was?
Minutes later her husband, her admirer from a decade before, came into the room. He climbed into bed with her, fondled her through the silken sack before unzipping it and then thrusting his member into her sex. After being starved of lovemaking for so long, it was exquisite and she reciprocated his thrusts as much as she could, but it was over all too soon. Her unseen lover, obviously as excited by it all as she was, came far too quickly, although to be fair to him, it was not so long before he was ready for Round 2 and besides, after so long completely covered by cloth, it was just nice to feel the skin of another human being against hers. Ever since she’d first been dressed in Rifani attire, it was as if she’d been experiencing the world second-hand; now at last it was first hand, but if only she could have seen it!
And that was her wedding night. Blinded and helpless whilst her new husband took her as he wished. He talked to her in-between, (although his conversation hadn’t improved since they had last met), but never expected a reply. But what was most infuriating was that he thought it was she who wanted to be silent and hidden, she who did not want to talk to him. Instead that old bastard Soueif had tricked her… and Dave. He’d sold her to Dave as some pious purdah girl and she had no way of letting her husband know any different. Yet. She’d find a way somehow though.
Eventually they slept, she in the pitch black, he with his head on her veiled shoulder, but in the morning it was the same, another bout of sex which she had no say in before he was off and she was let out and led to the toilet by her maid. Then it was back into her old clothes, the hated cage between her legs, gag, mask, nappy and burqa and in Dave’s house a new post to be chained to, although here there were no other females to exchange notes with.
If you’d have told Amy that married Rifani life could have been worse than single life in the Soueif household, she’d have laughed but it was, for Dave was as strict as he could be to the words of the letter of acceptance that she had “written” to him prior to their engagement. Apparently, she’d said that she wished to give up work permanently in order to “devote herself fully to her Creator and his husband” so there was no prospect of leaving the house accept to visit other local women in a similar predicament to herself. So, she spent most of her time chained to her post in the women’s sitting room, fantasising about what her husband would do to her when he returned. That annoyed her since their sex was not really consensual and she had no particular attraction to him, but since those moments of coupling were the only times when she truly forgot about the predicament she was in, she began to long for them. In the long times that she had to think about such things, she realised that this was probably some form of Stockholm Syndrome, for she was beginning to hate the man whom she had eagerly sought as a husband, even though she knew that the captivity in which he was keeping her was, to his knowledge, what she desired. Still she hated him for not having enough guts and will to ignore “her” ridiculous demands to be kept as some sort of anonymous, pure veiled object. An Englishman should try to liberate his woman, not keep her enslaved. Yes, she hated him for that, but she also hated him for the afternoons and her “special present”.
The afternoons were the time decreed for contemplation and meditation, or “Full Modesty”. This meant that she was led to her post after lunch and not only did she have to endure all her usual restrictions, but the additional trials of a blinding veil and “arm modesty”, an horrendous addition to her regime which involved her arms being pinioned behind her, palm to palm in a single leather sleeve which made them entire useless and caused her shoulders to ache. These additions apparently, were to focus her mind on God. Whatever.
But if that wasn’t bad enough, on unannounced occasions, when Dave’s “urges” were “uncontrollable” her husband would return home from work to “enjoy” his wife. Still blinded, her maid would take her to the sofa where she would be upended and her harem pants, nappy and butt plug removed. Her rear hole would then be greased and she would be left until he arrived when he would simply come in, pump away until his frustrations were removed and then leave her again, not a word being said.
The first time that this happened she was horrified. As per usual, nothing was ever explained to her in advance, she was simply the passive party that had things done to her rather than doing them. When her maid had first stripped her bottom half and greased her rear hole she’d expected an enema, but then she’d just been left. And then when her husband had ended and thrust his member into that hole she had screamed into her gag never had she felt so mastered by a man, as if she was fully under his control, unable to resist any demand. And when he had exploded deep within her, withdrawn and replaced her butt plug, never had she felt so humiliated.
Well, never? Perhaps not ‘never’, for her “special present” came close. Very close. It was for their first anniversary. One night after a blind coupling, in the post-coital bliss her husband was stroking her covered head when he announced that he had been made aware by the maid of her special wish and that he would be happy to grant it before thanking her for being such a wonderful wife. Naturally, she had made no special wish made to the maid, primarily because they hardly ever had any meaningful communication, but more because she had no special wish in her head anyway, but of course, as with everything else, there was no explanation made until a week later when she found herself strapped into the car and taken to, of all places, the hospital. They were shown into a consulting room where Amy was made to climb into one of the hateful crates which she was so familiar with from her days at the bank, and crouched and hidden away, she had to listen to her husband talking with a male doctor about her desire to have “the operation” done and the doctor’s assurances that her modesty would not be threatened as a foreign female doctor would oversee the operation. This raised some hopes in her as she realised that if she could communicate with this foreign woman, her husband might get to learn of her true identity and so as she was led away, she was rather excited.
She was taken to a small room with a bed and a nurse removed her burqa and leather mittens. Then however, to her dismay, the nurse brought out a wet pad which she put over Amy’s mouth and within seconds her world went black.
When she came to, she found herself strapped into a hospital bed encased in a sleeping sack. Naturally, she couldn’t find out what exactly her “operation” had been until she was released, but when she was it was all too clear. The veiled nurse took her to a mirror and showed Amy her newly-enlarged breasts. And how they had been enlarged too! She had always been fairly well endowed anyway, but her breasts were now enormous, truly enormous, and perfectly rounded too, with no sag whatsoever. She was horrified; she looked like some kind of porn model or sex toy. Once again, the feeling of helplessness overwhelmed her: here in Rifan they could even change her body without her consent. She was no longer an independent, intelligent woman, but instead some sort of faceless fuck doll ready for her husband to play with. And play with her he did, celebrating with gusto that night has he slapped and fondled her new funbags whilst she lay blinded and silenced beneath him.
That week had started like all the others. On Monday morning an awakening by her husband rolling up her sleeping sack and relieving his morning glory and then getting dressed in her full Rifani attire after breakfast. In the morning some neighbours had visited and they’d chatted using their typepads and then in the afternoon it had been her contemplation session, her arms strapped painfully behind her and then blinded and sitting in silence until she was removed to the sofa, prepared and her husband engaged in a bout of anal activity. Following that though, things changed. She was cleaned up by her maid and then led to her husband’s study where, with her knelt at his feet and him stroking her veiled head, he did something very extraordinary. He asked her a question.
“My darling wife, although I know you wrote that you never wished for me to see your face and never to hear your voice, for me it is hard, probably because of my British upbringing and I long to see and hear you just once in my life. This week I have to go away to Europe on business, but on Saturday it is my birthday and I shall be back and longing to spend time with you. Anyway, and I know that this is a lot to ask, but would it be possible, as a birthday treat for me, for us, for one night only, to actual lie together totally naked, to see each other, to kiss on the lips and to be as husband and wife. If you say no I shall understand and shall never ask again, but…”
But he never had time to finish his sentence because she was already nodding eagerly to him.
That week she waited on tenterhooks. She worked extra hard during her hourly exercise bouts in order to be as attractive as possible to her husband and she imagined a thousand times over the shock on his face when he entered the bedroom and saw who it was that he had actually married a year and a half before. And of course, all that time he was away without any sexual stimulation, the tension just grew and grew.
That Saturday he returned mid-afternoon but did not disturb her afternoon’s contemplation with an attack on her arse and instead when it was done she was simply led to the bedroom and stripped. Then her maid set to work, styling her hair, oiling her skin and applying make-up to her face for the first time in years. When it was all done she looked at herself in the mirror. “My God Amy, you’ve still got it!” she declared, able to use her voice freely for the first time in months. “You’ll knock him dead!” Then she switched off the light, lay on the bed and waited.
About ten minutes later he came. He opened the door, walked towards her and switched on the light. He stood beside the bed, looked her up and down and smiled. “By God Wife, you are beautiful, let me kiss those lips of yours!” He was on her and embracing her passionately, his tongue exploring her mouth in places that normally only her gag reached. She enjoyed it and savoured it for a moment, but then pulled him away. “Why stop? Why stop?” he asked.
“But Dave, it’s me! Don’t you recognise me!” she exclaimed in an accent unmistakably British.
“I recognise my wife, the woman I love!” he replied.
“Yes, but don’t you recognise somebody else, someone you once loved as well, a decade ago. Someone you last saw in Jaipur?”
He sat back and looked her in the eyes, but to her confusion there was no hint of surprise or shock. “I take it that you are referring to Amy Calder, the girl who refused to love me,” he replied.
“Refused then, but not now!”
“But Amy is dead, she is no more. I am looking at my wife, once called Maryam Soueif, not Amy Calder.”
“But I am Amy Calder; I came here and they gave me a new name. But really I am Amy, the same Amy that you loved all those years ago!”
But to her confusion, there was no look of revelation, instead only a frown. “No Wife, you are not. Once you were Amy Calder but when you came to Rifan that hateful girl disappeared forever. Now you are my wife, the one who shares my bed.”
“What? Do you…?” Then it dawned on her. “You knew? You knew all along? The whole thing was an act! You knew that it was me and yet did nothing to help me!”
“Knew that it was you, yes, that I admit, but did nothing to help, no, quite the opposite. I did everything to help, I made you the person you are today. Before you were a selfish, career-minded bitch, now you are a wonderful wife. Never ever say that I did not help you!”
“What? You think that this is right? To treat a woman like some kind of doll, to fuck when you want, shut up when you want, to keep hidden and…”
“And pure, Wife, and pure.”
“I am not Wife, I am Amy!”
“No, you are not Amy, you are Wife. You have no name now beyond my name, and don’t you forget it. Remember, I made you who you are today.”
“What? Do you… do you mean that… that you planned all this? The marriage, you planned it?”
“The marriage and more besides. After India I realised that I loved travelling so much that I discarded Law and took up teaching English. I taught in Arabia and got to know Mr. Soueif of the Rifan National Bank; he was one of my students. We became close friends and when I told him in a bar one night of my Indian adventures and how the only girl I had ever truly loved had led me on and then dumped me, leaving me to never be able to trust women again, then he suggested a solution. It wasn’t hard to lure Amy over here; she’s always fallen for the highest bidder and together we began the process of transferring her into Maryam. And then, when we deemed her ready, we made sure that she chanced upon me saying that I was looking for a wife. And the rest is, as they say, history.”
“You bastard! You absolute bastard! You did all that; you built my hopes up, you raped me repeatedly, up the arse too!”
“Oh come on now, Wife, I always got the feeling that you enjoyed that!”
“You bastard! You absolute bastard!”
“Oh, I’d forgotten how sexy you were when angry. But please, put that Amy away, I need Wife back.”
“Well you won’t have her, never, I shall refuse!”
“Whatever, that’s a shame, since I’d quite looked forward to a more open and honest relationship with you. I’d planned to have you in my bed without a sleeping sack or at least, with one that leaves the lips free, but if that’s not what you want, no skin off my back; I’ll just take my pleasure off Wife Number Two…”
“Yes, Number Two, I might as well let you know, since that’s where I’ve been this week. I figured you were getting lonely and needed some company… and me some variety… so I’ve been courting again, in the Rifani sense of the word. The Rifan National Bank have just employed an English teacher to help their female employees translate documents. Not that she’ll ever do much teaching mind, not with Mr. Soueif as a guardian. Oh yes, and it seems I know her too. We once went out actually, when I was teaching English in Korea. But then she dumped me for a rich American guy. Shame that didn’t work out for her, eh?”
But Amy wasn’t listening; instead it was slowly sinking in. There was no route out of this hell ever; she had to accept that her future was as the silent, faceless, nameless wife of Dave Potter in the oppressive Emirate of Rifan. Tears started to fall from her eyes and with no one else to turn to, she hugged her husband for comfort. Dave smiled. Yes indeed, he’d known that this scene would be difficult but in the future, with two wives, it would be great fun since they’d be competing against each other for his affections. He imagined two wriggling bottoms mid-afternoon, which one would he choose? The thought caused him to grow hard and he started to caress his wife. He had intended to tell her everything that night; that he’d left her ungagged so that he could listen to her voice for one last time before she went into hospital for the muting operation that was scheduled for the following morning, further reinforcing her helplessness and dependence on him. And what of his plans to tattoo her lips a deep red and to decorate her nipples with golden rings, further reinforcing her status as nothing more than his fucktoy. No, that could wait for the morning, now he would just enjoy the moment. “I love you Wife,” he whispered softly into her ear.
“I love you too,” came her reply.