The Village

The Village

by Dave Potter

the_village

Exclusively for the ‘Tales of the Veils’ website

Rainy Thursday

The rain was beating down outside and Chrissie snuggled into her sofa all the more. The cold was coming now and there was nothing to look forward to. He took a drag on her Marlboro and then cracked open another can. What was on the telly was shit, total shit. Nothing! She flicked over to the Sports channel and there was darts. Hardly the best but better than anything else. She sat and swigged her beer as Taylor and van Barneveld battled it out yet again. Then she began to feel sleepy. She glanced at the clock. It was only ten, what the…? In fact, she was feeling really sleepy, really sleepy indeed. Why? She’d not done a lot that day save for go down to the job centre to pretend to look for a job, then it was the pub. She took another swig and the drowsiness came over her all the more. Then she heard a click. The back door. Had she left it open? Probably, after she’d put the bin out. She turned round to see two masked figures enter the room. Then all went black.

What? Where?

Voices, detached voices. “She’s stirring”, “Prepare her for the Village!” She wearily opened her eyes, her body desperate for nicotine. She was in a hospital, white masked figures leaned over her. One said, “She woken!” Then she felt a stab in her arm and the world went black once again.

This time when Chrissie awoke she was alone. Alone on a bed in a plane room. No windows, but lit by natural light from a skylight. Her head hurt and she wanted a cigarette but there was none about. Indeed, there was nothing! She was totally naked under the sheets! What the…?! Well, not totally naked; she had something tight biting into her waist and going around her private parts. Panties? No, this was hard, not material. She pulled back the sheets and gasped in horror! A pair of metal pants, a chastity belt! What on earth had happened to her? Who had done this? Had she been raped? Had she been kidnapped? She screamed but no answer came. She felt strange all over her body, sort of tingly. Where was she? What the fuck had happened? Where were her cigarettes???

There was a knock on the door and Chrissie pulled her sheet up over her almost naked body. “Hello!” she said tentatively.

“Hello!” came the reply. It was a female voice. “May I come in?”

“Yes.”

The door open and a young woman with blonde hair and a winning smile came in. She was dressed in a long loose black dress such as Arab women wear but the rest of her was undoubtedly Western.

“Hi, I’m Ralitsa, I’m your flatmate. I heard you moving about and thought I’d give you a moment or two before introducing myself. After all, it’s a bit disorientating. I should know after all.”

She had a European accent which fitted with the strange name but she seemed friendly and Chrissie needed some answers. “Where am I? What’s happened to me? What is that… thing around my waist?”

Ralitsa sat down on the bed next to her and hugged her. “You’re in the Village, Chrissie. You’re in your new apartment in the Village. You arrived late last night; I didn’t see you come as I was confined to my room but I heard them move you in. You were fast asleep, drugged of course.”

“But why? And how? And how do you know my name?”

“The last one I can answer at least. I know your name because they left me a message yesterday saying that I would be having a new flatmate called Chrissie, that you speak English and that I needed to be in my room by 10. As for why and how, I can’t help there I’m sorry. It’s all as much of a mystery to me as it is to you.”

“But how can it be? I mean you said that you live here? And who are ‘they’?”

“Yes, I do live here and I have done for about six months now, maybe longer. Before that I, like you no doubt, had a normal life back home in Bulgaria. But then one night I went to sleep and when I woke up I was here in the Village. ‘They’ had brought me here, but I don’t know who they are or why they would do such a thing. At first I thought I had been kidnapped and would be tortured or beheaded or held to ransom or something; you know you hear all these terrible things about Al-Qaeda and that. Then when that didn’t happen I wondered if I was brought here to be added to some perverted Arab’s harem, but no, that’s not happened yet and no one has tried to rape me, not that they could with this chastity belt on – yes, I have one just like yours, we all do here – and so that is that, I am here, have been for some months after I woke up. I haven’t a clue what happened although I remember some vague snatches, being in a hospital room and people talking but that was all. What they were doing exactly I can’t be sure but obviously one thing was putting the belt on – it’s locked by the way and try as I might I can’t get it off – and also I think my hair was depleted and something but on to stop it from growing since below the eyes I’ve been totally hairless since I came here and although I can’t check for sure because of the belt, I’m pretty sure that I’m hairless down there too. I also think I have a piercing down there; I can feel something and it kind of makes me excited in a sexual way if you know what I mean. I’ve spoken to other girls and we’re all the same.”

Chrissie was feeling over her body. Yes, she was completely hairless too, and there was something down there. “Me too, I think, and I vaguely remember a hospital and people talking but the only talk I recall was someone saying, ‘She is to go to the Village’. And that is here?”

“Yes, here, the Village is where we live, our world. It’s not a bad place I suppose. It’s hot and I suppose in an Arab country or something, but I can’t say for sure. We have no links with the outside world here, although sometimes I see passenger jets fly high overhead and I wonder where the people are going. Anyway, this will be difficult for you, it was for me; I cried for a week I think, but this is your home now and I am your flatmate and, I hope, also friend…?”

Like Ralitsa, Chrissie cried. Her new friend hugged her tight and she felt glad of the company. Then, after an hour or so, Ralitsa suggested that they have something to eat. Chrissie wiped her eyes and agreed and went to the toilet first. The bathroom, adjacent to the bedroom, was quite normal and luxurious with a huge, deep bath. She found that she could do her business quite easily with the chastity belt on.

Dressing Up

Returning to her room, she realised that she couldn’t go anywhere dressed as she was. “Your clothes are all in the wardrobe there,” Ralitsa said. Sure enough, when she opened up the said wardrobe it was full of garments but to her surprise, like Ralitsa’s, they were all in black, the cloaks and veils of an Arab woman.

“Is this place Arab then?” she asked, putting on a plain black underwear set and then picking out a long gown like Ralitsa was wearing and letting the Bulgarian girl show her how to put it on.

“Maybe so, maybe not. Certainly it is hot and the clothes that we must wear are all Arabian, but there are all races here: Thais, Armenians, Polish, Venezuelans, Filipinas, Indians, Americans, French, Iranians and also Arabs. We are very multicultural, but we must all wear these and that is the main rule here: to leave your apartment you must wear not only the abayah – that’s the dress you’ve got on now – but also stockings, a headscarf, underscarf, gloves and a faceveil.”

“What?!”

“It is true. If you don’t wear them, then the door refuses to open and you’re locked in here. Don’t worry, I’ll show you how to put them on and to be honest, once they’re on you hardly notice them at all.

And so Ralitsa helped her to put on the strange outfit. First she put on the stockings and then Ralitsa tied her hair back in a ponytail and fitted an underscarf. Then came a black headscarf which was pinned into place neatly so that only Chrissie’s hands and face could be seen. The hands were then covered by a pair of stretchy black cotton gloves with a little flower embroidered on the back of each one and then finally came the faceveil – or ‘niqaab’ as Ralitsa called it – a piece of black cloth with a slit for the eyes which was tied at the back of her head over the punched up ponytail with a knot. It was strange to be so completely covered, her whole body hidden from the world except for two eyes peering out. Chrissie had never much thought about what Muslim women wear before; I mean, it’s up to them what they want to put on so long as it’s not forced on them of course. Ralitsa then disappeared and a couple of minutes later she reappeared looking exactly the same except that the eyes peering out of her slit were blue, not brown. Chrissie was shocked at just how much of a person’s identity the veil took away.

The two walked out of the apartment, two ghosts in black. Chrissie marvelled at how her abayah swept around her and felt smooth against her skin beneath. She also found the experience of being covered so much exciting though she couldn’t say why. Ralitsa took her gloved hand and they walked out abroad.

A Tour

The Village was a strange place. It was not a large place, more like a series of courtyards with apartments or other facilities grouped around them. Except that each courtyard was also a garden with fountains, lawns and flowerbeds. There were five courtyards in total, one larger central one which was about half the size of a football field and four smaller ones. Their apartment was situated on one of these.

In the garden were several veiled figures. Two were dressed just as they were, but the third had more garments and a veil that covered her eyes, leaving her face a blank wall of blank cloth. Ralitsa waved at them and they walked over to them. She introduced them to Chrissie and vice versa. They were Agata and Someya and the fully covered one was named Indira. Agata was Polish and spoke English with a strong accent whilst Someya was from Pakistan. Indira was Indian but she didn’t speak, only hugged the new girl. The girls invited Chrissie to come over to their apartments when she was settled in and reassured her that they knew what she was going through but welcomed her to the Village and reassured her that she would be ok. “We’re all in the same boat here,” said Agata and both Pla and Someya nodded.

Then Ralitsa took her gloved hand and they walked across the garden and through an archway to the larger, central courtyard. There were dozens of women here, all veiled, milling about or engaged in activities. Ralitsa knew all of them and introduced each and every one to Chrissie. As she had said before, they were from all over the world, yet all veiled as they were, although some more strictly like Indira. One, Pla, was covered in what looked like a black shroud which had no openings whatsoever and the material seemed so thick that Chrissie wondered how she could see out of it. Indeed, it seemed that her sight was limited or nil because her flatmate, a girl called Yasmin, sat with her and seemed to guide her when she walked. “I’ll explain it later,” said Ralitsa.

Then Ralitsa showed her the facilities. There was a tearoom where women sat drinking beverages, lifting up their veils carefully, and there was a gym which was locked because Ralitsa said that it must be pre-booked and only one apartment could enter at a time. And then there a hobby room in which women did crafts – then several veiled figures were arranging flowers – and another room where women practised cooking together. Then finally, there was the shop. “Good,” said Chrissie, “I’m desperate for some fags and beer.”

“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there’s no tobacco or alcohol in the Village,” said Ralitsa.

“No tobacco! But how will I…?”

“You will, but it’ll be hell. I know. I smoked twenty a day before coming here, I had done ever since I was fifteen. And I liked a drink too. But we have no choice. Anyway, come in, let’s get you some food.”

They went in and Ralitsa picked some items from the shelves. All the food on offer was healthy – yoghurt, lentils, vegetables and the like – and most of it unprepared. Obviously in the Village she would have to do some proper cooking, not just microwaving a curry!

She went to the counter where the veiled woman typed in her name. “You have 9,300 credits left,” she announced, “and your flatmate here has the introductory balance of 5,000. Welcome to the Village, Chrissie!”

After the shop they went to the tearoom and Ralitsa ordered them a coffee each with a muesli yoghurt. It cost her 600 credits. Then, when the veiled waitress had brought the drinks, Ralitsa showed her how to drink the coffee under the veil, without revealing her face. “Why can’t I just lift it up?” Chrissie asked, but Ralitsa replied that she would receive a punishment penalty if that were to be the case. Then, as they drank and ate, Ralitsa explained the credit and penalty systems.

“When we arrive here, we all have a balance of 5,000 credits, and every week that is topped up with another 1,000. However, dependent on what we do and dress, we can increase or lower that. To be fair, 1,000 a week is enough to survive but it isn’t much fun; just enough to eat, that’s all. That’s why we all do stuff to get more. For example, the girls working here and in the shop get 1,000 a day for that, although they can only do a day a week because demand is high and there is a waiting list for this work. So, most of us top-up our credits by changing what we wear. The clothes that we have on now are standard attire, but if you wear extra then the credits can roll in. For example, a veil over the eyes gets you an extra 1,000 per day and just putting on a khimar – that’s one of those cloaks there that hides the arms – that can earn you 500. I usually wear one because it’s no hassle really and is easy money to earn. Also, since women are meant to be modest – that’s what all this clothing is about, don’t worry, you can watch a video on it – then if we agree to a chain that links our ankles giving us a 20cm stride that can earn us another 1,000. I always wear that whilst working in the shop since you’re not moving much anyway there. And then if you agree to wear a gag – yes, I know it sounds strange but that is an option – then that gains you a whopping 3,000. That is why Pla didn’t speak to you. She is low on credit so has decided to gag and wear a full veil for a week to boost her account as she is having a party soon. And then, do you remember Indira? Well, she is on a massive credit earner. That shroud that she wears which blinds her that gives you 5,000 credits per day. I tried one once but couldn’t do it again; it is so isolating and you feel so dependent; my flatmate had to guide me everywhere. And she is gagged too and, since they are confined under her shroud, her arms are restrained, so she is rolling in it, but she has to be because she wants to get married and hasn’t enough to enter the marriage register. You need 100,000 to do that. Still, wearing that get-up, she should get there in a month or so. But of course, it works two ways as well. Show you face in public and you get your credit reduced to a 1,000 if less than 10,000 and by 9,000 above that. And you get locked in too; the door to your apartment won’t open for a full week. And if you exposed more than your face it would be a month. I’ve only ever known one girl do that and she said it was horrible. But to be honest, it’s nothing to worry about; I’ve never incurred a penalty and so my account is quite healthy. If you like, you and I can try earning some credits tomorrow?”

After their drink, they went to the gym and Ralitsa booked them both a session for the following afternoon. It cost them both 500 each for the two-hour slot. They then explored the other courtyards before returning to their own and sitting in the shade on the terrace of their apartment whilst Ralitsa showed her how to play backgammon. Then they went in to cook a meal. Although she removed her veil and gloves, Chrissie was surprised at how much she had got used to it and this surreal place in general. It was as if her old life was but a dream.

The DVD Part 1

That evening Ralitsa put on the DVD that she had talked about. They had a TV in their apartment but it couldn’t pick up any channels, only play DVDs of which there was only provided. This was entitled “The Village” and the menu revealed the following sections:

  • Welcome
  • Modesty
  • Marriage

They watched the first section which was basically an introduction to the Village and showed Chrissie all the stuff that Ralitsa had introduced her to that afternoon. It was narrated by a lady with an English accent but gave no clue as to who was behind this whole weird set-up. The only allusion to the unusual situation was a reference to how some “sisters” find it hard to adapt at first and that “your flatmate should be your source of comfort and strength”.

The Modesty section talked about the clothing and revealed more of the Village philosophy. It stated that, like with many “traditional” cultures, modesty was extremely important in the Village and by this it meant not tempting others with your female charms. It then stated that although no men are allowed into the Village – it was only at that point that Chrissie realised that she hadn’t seen a single male since arriving – modesty as a virtue was still to be practised and as such, a sister should only appear unveiled before her flatmate who should be considered the same as a “co-wife” or “blood sister”. It then detailed the standard outdoor attire and explained that this must be worn when visiting others sisters’ apartments as “anywhere beyond your own flat is considered public space”. Then there was a talk on the other forms of modest clothing, with the narrator modelling the khimar, extra veils, restraints and the like. After that “voice modesty” was explained – apparently the sound of a female’s voice can be as arousing to a male as her intimate parts – and various gags were demonstrated as well as sisters communicating with one another in the coffee shop using notes. Finally, there was a short warning that when wearing an outfit for extra credits, one must spend a minimum of ten hours in public space otherwise the credits would not be registered.

After that Chrissie wondered about watching the Marriage section but Ralitsa said that it was rather long and the hour was late, so they turned in for the night. However, once she was alone in her bed with the light off, then the fullness of her predicament, her separation from her family and friends and this surreal place in which she now found herself finally hit her and she started weeping, silently first, then with loud sobs. Soon afterwards Ralitsa came in and without saying a word got in bed with her new flatmate, wiped the tears from her face and held her as she sobbed endlessly into her shoulder before they both dropped into sleep in each other’s arms.

Intermission

“So, this is the design sir, does it meet your expectations? It’s quite simple really. The whole complex is contained within one building; there’s a larger central courtyard with the amenities on it and then four smaller ones, each with the living quarters surrounding them. These are all connected through an archway to the main one so as to engender the feeling of community. All rooms are, of course, monitored by CCTV which cannot be seen by the residents and thus we can check if the residents are obeying all the dictates particularly with regards to clothing. Behaviour can also be monitored using this system and the chips implanted within each resident and this information can be accumulated and analysed for future use. All doors to all apartments are sliding and automatically lock at ten every evening and will not open again until eight in the morning. These locks can also be used to secure any indecently-dressed residents. Access from the outside is achieved here: the entire back wall of the gymnasium slides back and we can enter through it to add or remove residents as we see fit. It is also in the gymnasium that meetings with potential spouses may be held. Like all areas, this can be sealed off. From the outside the whole complex will appear like this, namely a large warehouse in the desert. It is surrounded by a security perimeter fence, but the locals – such as they are – will think that it is merely a storage facility for tube lighting and they will become accustomed to seeing our lorries go to and fro daily with the legend Mehdi Lighting. The whole complex will be constructed, as you suggested, here, approximately three kilometres away from the main settlement. How does this concept appear to you, sir?”

“Excellent, Pierre, excellent indeed.”

Pla

Chrissie was awoken by a hand stroking her hair and the smiling face of Ralitsa. “You feeling better?” the Bulgarian girl asked. Chrissie nodded, desperate for a cigarette but knowing that it was not an option. “Listen,” continued Ralitsa, “I’ve made us some breakfast and then run a bath. Get yourself clean and fresh after last night.”

“Sorry about that.”

“Don’t worry, a good cry is the best thing sometimes.”

Breakfast was yoghurt and muesli and then the bath was ready. It was a huge tub, easily big enough for four people and the water was steaming invitingly. Chrissie stripped down to her chastity belt and then, to her surprise, so did Ralitsa. Then they got in together and had great fun soaping and sponging one another and then splashing about like children. Afterwards they sat and Ralitsa wrapped her legs around her flatmate’s. Although she had never been into women, Chrissie enjoyed their smoothness and snuggled up to the Bulgarian girl. Then, to her surprise, Ralitsa leant over and kissed her on the lips. She drew back and Ralitsa looked guilty. “Sorry about that,” she said, “I got the wrong idea and…”

“No,” replied Chrissie, “I liked it. Do it again.” And so she did, and this time their tongues explored one another. This main Chrissie feel extremely horny and so she rubbed herself against her flatmate, but of course, wearing that damned chastity belt, there was nothing that she could do about it.

They got out and towelled one another dry and then started to dress in their black clothes. “Do you fancy earning some extra points today?” asked Ralitsa with a grin.

“Ok, but nothing too hardcore.”

“Fair enough, just this then.”

‘This’ was a khimar, the tent-like garment that was fitted over her head, her veil pushed through the face opening. It draped down to her knees and wasn’t really restrictive except that to use her hands she needed to actively lift it up. Actually, she quite liked the way that it looked and draped over her and thought that there could be worse ways of earning a few more points.

They went out of the apartment and there in the central courtyard were the girls from yesterday. Yasmin was as she had been before Pla however, was far less covered and restricted (although she wore a khimar) and so they sat down to talk with them and after introducing herself, Chrissie asked the Thai girl about her extra clothing.

“The thing is I want to get married so that is why I’m wearing the clothing. To marry here you need to be put on the marriage register but to do that costs 100,000 credits. That’s a lot of course so I decided to try and earn it as quick as possible by spending little and saving lots. But you know, wearing such clothing is not easy. The gag especially; it is very hard for me not to be able to talk and to have to write notes to my sisters, but I suppose also it is good training.”

“Training for what?”

“Marriage of course. Some husbands insist that their wives fully veil or gag, it just depends.”

“But if you don’t want such a husband then you wouldn’t marry them.”

“Theoretically that is true but it is not so easy as all that as you will soon learn. The thing is, once you are put on the marriage register, then your details are sent out to all the men on the register and vice versa. If you are both interested in one another, like a dating site I suppose, then you can have a meeting to see if you want to go forward. But realistically, there are only ever one or two men on the register at any one time and the 100,000 only pays for a month so the choice is not so big. You have to think, ‘Can I love this guy?’ not ‘Do I love this guy?’ Also it is hard for them as they cannot see what you look like, or hear your voice. In the meeting you wear a shroud and gag and they talk to you and you nod or shake your head. I know some girls that paid to go on the register several times but most do it only once. Saving up is so hard.”

“But if it is so hard and you can’t even choose your husband freely, then why bother marrying at all?”

“We all say that at some point because life here in the Village, once you are used to it, is very pleasant really. We have our flatmates and everything is provided and we don’t need to work. But it gets a little boring after a while and not being able to leave is like being in a prison. Most of all though, I must say that I find the lack of sexual release unmanageable. Before I came here I worked in a hostess bar in Pattaya and, well, I enjoyed a lot of sex with many men. So I am used to the release, but wearing this chastity belt, I am feeling horny all the time but there is nothing that I can do about it.”

After her session in the bath that morning with Ralitsa, Chrissie understood exactly what Pla meant.

The Gym

They sat talking for some hours and then they went to the shop to buy some food to make lunch. Then after lunch they headed out again for the gym to use the session that Ralitsa had booked the day before. Once inside the door slid closed and then locked itself. Ralitsa explained that it would not open for two hours. They stripped off their clothing and put on black lycra catsuits. Then they got on the machines, doing some time on the treadmill, rowing machine and then the weights. Chrissie’s lifestyle before coming to the Village had not been conducive to health and she was terribly out-of-shape and wheezing due to the smoking. She looked across at Ralitsa in her catsuit and thought that she looked amazing and decided to use her time in this weird place to get fit.

Fifteen minutes before the end of the session a buzzer sounded. The girls stripped down and had a quick shower and then put on their outdoor clothes again. Then they waited until the door opened and left, greeting the next pair of flatmates who came in after them. Following that, both shattered but mindful of the need to stay in a public place to guarantee their credit points, they lounged about in their courtyard, talking to Indira and Agata who were doing something similar before finally turning in at ten to ten in the evening just before the doors shut for curfew.

Intermission

“Right gentlemen, thank you for listening to the presentation on the Village and how exactly it operates. However, I am sure that many of you have some questions to ask, so please, fire ahead. Nick at the back there.”

“Thanks Dave. Yeah, I was just wondering about the whole thing about the credits encouraging the girls to stay in a public space for longer. I mean, what is the point of that?”

“Good question and thanks. What’s the point? Well, a very good one. The whole credit system has been carefully thought out to achieve a number of objectives, but the main one is this: left to their own devices, the residents would not dress modestly. They would be wandering about in T-shirts or underwear or less than that. Look at the kind of girls we have here after all! No, we need to make them modest and so we utilise both push and pull factors to do that. Obviously, the threat of being incarcerated within your apartment is a push factor, but what of the pull ones which are far more effective? The fact is, we need the residents to think that they have a degree of control over their own lives. Obviously they will want to get married at some point so the high price tag for getting on the register is a great incentive for them to dress more modestly and accept restrictions that they would normally baulk from, but the other treats we offer – the gym, coffee shop, better food and the like – they help too. But we need the fixed time period aspect otherwise, with the more restrictive outfits – the all-encompassing shroud for example – all they would do is don it, go for a short stroll around and then stay indoors for the rest of the day. Well, that is no use to anyone because the sole reason why we have these outfits on the menu as it were is so that they get used to wearing them for long periods of time. They wear the standard uniform because they have to. Most choose a khimar as well because it is easy. When they get used to that, they may go for a light eyeveil and without them realising, they get used to the extra money and that khimar and eyeveil become the norm and almost mandatory for them. Two years ago we had a situation where all the residents got so used to gagging and communicating via notes that no one spoke for a month or so. And this is important because then, when they have a Meeting with a prospective suitor, then when that suitor says, “I require all my wives to veil fully and observe voice modesty” then for them, that is not such a shock, maybe even normal. Remember, the Village is a training ground. A training ground for wives…”

The DVD Part 2

After coming in, Chrissie asked to watch the Marriage section of the DVD as her conversations with Pla had intrigued her on the subject. So Ralitsa slipped it in and they both snuggled up together to watch it.

The DVD began by saying how good and pleasant life was in the Village but that after some time, many sisters feel that they want to get married. As there are no men allowed in the Village, this means leaving their home for the home of their husband, although, it then stressed, this is not to be seen as a betrayal or abandonment of one’s sisters as it is perfectly natural to desired to be united with a man and then ultimately, to start a family. Furthermore, the video stressed, after marriage, so long as the husband allows it, sisters can always come back to the Village to visit their old friends and of course, those other sisters who have also got married can visit one another.

It then went on to talk about the marriage register and mentioned the 100,000 credits joining fee which it said covered the “extensive administration costs” and also “the cost of the wedding gown should a successful union be the result”. It explained the necessity for the system as follows: Firstly, ladies living modestly should not be contacting non-related males and vice versa. However, both sides needed to know if any suitor was suitable so both the male and the female had to join the register. Then the details would be searched and analysed and the most suitable matches selected. After that, profiles of the suitors would be sent to each applicant. “Usually there are between two and four suitable matches for each sister” the narrator explained. When the sister has decided which

suitors she would like to meet – and meeting all is a possibility – then these meetings are set-up. The sister is to get dressed in the full meeting outfit – i.e. the blinding shroud with gag and other restrictions – and then she is to wait in the central courtyard until after the 10pm curfew. Then her suitor will be allowed to enter the Village and talk with her. Naturally, neither will compromise their honour by seeing each other, nor too could the sisters unfairly “tempt their suitors with their seductive voices” but she may listen to him and nod or shake her head in answer to any questions that he may put to her. It is his duty to explain the manner of the life that he would expect her to live and to talk about his own interests and character. Finally, he will then formally propose to the sister. Then the meeting is concluded, he returns to the outside world and her flatmate is released in order to bring her back to the flat and remove her restrictions. Any acceptance or rejection of the marriage proposal must be made within three days.

After this the DVD then discussed married life within the Community. Although married sisters leave the Village to be with their husbands, it appeared that all the husbands were picked from a sort of settlement or commune which was called the Community and was situated somewhere near to the Village and that all lived by Village values. All “wives” were still expected to veil and live modestly, although the severity of that lifestyle would be determined by their spouse and his particular values. There was a section on how the skills learned in the craft club and cooking classes in the Village could help in running a successful household, but it was the next bit that shocked Chrissie most of all. “Due to demographic issues, the Community has always suffered a gender imbalance; that is to say that on average there are many more females than males. To counter this and provide for all sisters, it is decreed mandatory that all marriages in the Community be polygamous. There is no upward limit to the amount of wives that a man may take, although an even number is recommended to prevent isolation and no more than six is encouraged. Some have as few as two, others more than ten. So, be prepared sister, if you are thinking of marriage, you will not be alone. This might seem quite daunting at first, sharing your man in all ways possible, but remember, a co-wife is also a sister, a confidant and a friend. Talk to the wives in the Community and you will learn that none of them would have it any other way. And of course, remember this: if the idea does not appeal to you, then there is no compunction in getting married; it is purely your choice. You are welcome here in the Village for as long as you wish to stay!”

Marry a man who was already married! The idea seemed so strange, so horrible! To share her bed with another woman! Her mind railed against it but then she looked across at her flatmate who was nestling her head on her shoulder. She’d only been in this place for a couple of days and wasn’t she already doing that! Ok, it wasn’t the same, no sex involved and no man, but the thought of having Ralitsa as a co-wife did not seem so bad. She kissed her on the hair and the Bulgarian girl looked up at her and then lifted her lips to Chrissie’s.

Intermission

“Yes, Mo, you have a question?”

“Thanks Dave. Yeah, what’s coming across to me as you’ve been talking is that you keep going on about the flatmates and how important they are and I was just wondering, what is the thinking behind the whole flatmate concept?”

“In short Mo, the flatmates are the key to the success of the whole operation, nothing less. In the trials that we did initially, the residents lived alone and, all in all, they proved to adjust far less and be less suited for the kind of lives that we have mapped out for them. It’s not nice to talk about this, particularly as we view ourselves as a force for good, a charitable concern almost, but in those early days there were many suicide attempts. The girls felt the loss of their friends, family and old lives – such as they were – most when alone at night in bed in an apartment where they were sealed off from the world. With another human being around we have less chance to dwell on our woes and it is a scientifically-recognised fact that we all need companionship. After all, why are you all here today?

But to return to the flatmate concept in particular. So, first and foremost, it combats loneliness and isolation and can stop any self-harm or suicide attempts. What is more, whilst we do provide the DVD guide, we have found that by far the most effective way to integrate the girls into the Village is to have another resident do it for us and the flatmate fulfils that vital function as well. However, the main point is that it prepares the girls for their future life and helps them to accept it. The fact is that all of these girls are destined for a future as a co-wife of some man whom they have only had a degree of freedom in choosing. That is a prospect that most would baulk at if put to them before ever going to the Village. But if they have developed an extremely close attachment to another woman, platonic or, as is more often the case, romantic as well, then they accept that new reality more easily because it is a means of staying together with that special friend and, if the feelings are Sapphic, possibly consummating that relationship.

The fact is that sex is a powerful force and it permeates every aspect of the Village. The chastity belts that the girls wear keep them unable to achieve orgasm manually, so a degree of frustration is natural. However, this is multiplied manifold by the fact that all the food and drink served there are heavily laced with powerful aphrodisiacs. Every time they eat and drink, they feel aroused and excited and yet there is nothing that they can do about it. And as they are encouraged to cook and then eat and drink together with their flatmates, then naturally that increase in sexual excitement becomes associated with the flatmate. Furthermore, remember that these girls never see nor touch another human being in the flesh. All they see are mounds of black cloth, perhaps with a pair of eyes peeping out, but that is all. The gloves and clothing deny any direct skin to skin contact with another human being except of course, the flatmate whom they can do whatever they want with except the act of sexual congress. Statistically, it only takes two nights before a pair of flatmates starts, of their own volition, sharing a bed in the Village. Very few if any of the residents had lesbian tendencies before entering the Village, but all are extremely attractive girls – or become them – and denied of all other human contact, frustrated by their belts and sexed up by their food, they turn to each other. What is more, all the girls are analysed before entering the Village and so have a flatmate selected for them who will be a good match. Some are naturally submissive, others domineering and so the two are put together. Only on a few occasions has it not worked, but when that happens it is no crisis: one girl will choose marriage as her relationship with her flatmate is unsatisfactory and then we just provide the one left behind with a more suitable partner. And the result? Well, when one gets married the other either follows them then or, left lonely for a month or two, chooses to do so later. And for you, you get happier wives, more enjoyable bedroom sessions and, when the day comes that you want to change them, you have the knowledge that they will be ok together in the Retirement Centre. You are happy, they are happy and society is balanced.”

Village Life

And so began Chrissie’s life in the Village. Early on she still cried a lot and Ralitsa had to hold her tight, but gradually she accepted it as if her past life had never existed, and she began to enjoy the leisure time, the gym sessions, the craft sessions and cookery classes and preparing meals with her flatmate. They would go to other sisters’ apartments to play backgammon, cards or chess and they would hold each other tight in bed or splash in the bath like children. It was a carefree life and also a healthy one for the fresh food and regular gym sessions meant that he weight dropped pleasingly and she felt alive and toned. Ralitsa complemented her on how hot she was looking and that pleased her immensely. Furthermore, as time passed she craved her cigarettes less and less and almost forgot that alcohol existed at all.

The main diversion was clothing. Right from the start it became clear to Chrissie that she would need to earn extra credits and so she began adding items to her clothing. The khimar was rarely off, and soon the full faceveil became de rigeur as it actually shielded her eyes from the bright desert rays much like a pair of sunglasses do. Then they explored some of the more extreme items. The ankle chains were worn regularly, particularly on days when they knew they would be just playing games with other sisters. If you’re not moving much then such a restriction didn’t matter. And slowly, she got used to the restricted gait and walking with small shuffling steps became like second nature. After all, it wasn’t like she was pressed for time or had a long way to go!

The gag took a lot more getting used to. It made her drool and dribble and caused her to retch at times with such a large intruder in her mouth. Worse than that though was the way that it stopped easy communication. Writing with notes took so much more time and, wearing her gloves, was not so easy and her hands grew tired quickly. On the days when gagged she often found herself sat with sisters listening intently, nodding when appropriate but not even attempting to communicate herself except when there was something really important to say. And that brought home to her just how much drivel people do talk and what we really need to get across can be said very quickly with few words indeed.

After a month or so she tried restraining her hands. There were two ways to do this. The first involved wearing gloves with small D-rings on them and through these a string was threaded so that the hands were tied together with only 20cm between them, and then also attached to a belt around her middle. This was a mild nuisance but not too difficult. The other version involved wearing a sleeve behind her back which rendered them totally useless. She tried this one day and found it a real pain as she relied on Ralitsa for everything and could not play any games or even drink her tea unaided.

Then one day Ralitsa suggested that she try the full shroud outfit. She didn’t really need the money but she had long wondered what it would be like and knew that, if she ever fancied marrying, the extra cash would come in useful. Since she would be blind and helpless anyway in there, it was decided to go for the full thing, with the gag, arm sleeve, khimar and veils and ankle chain. After all, with the shroud on, what difference did it make? Putting it all on was quite exciting, kinky even, but once the fearsome garment was lowered over her head, she found herself isolated in a black and almost silent world of her own. They went out, Ralitsa guiding and holding her and then met with some other sisters in the courtyard. Chrissie had no choice but to sit there and follow the conversation but even that was hard for the thick material muffled it considerably. Even worse was the fact that she heated up really quickly and sweat was soon streaming off her but of course she had no way of getting this across to Ralitsa. She tried to communicate by wiggling a little but no one noticed, but then finally she heard Agata say, “You know, wearing that shroud is very hot. You should bring Chrissie into our apartment. Never before had she felt so grateful!

And so it continued, the restriction and sensory deprivation frying her mind and the heat frying her body until lunchtime when they went back to the apartment and the shroud could be removed. Her face was soaking and she promptly drank three pints of cold water one after the other. After dinner she didn’t want to go out again but Ralitsa reminded her that if she didn’t, the efforts of the morning would have been in vain and so she relented and the torment resumed. They did very little, merely sitting in the shade and talking and twice she popped inside for a drink, but at the end of the day when she could finally take all those layers off and jump into a nice steaming bath with her flatmate, she vowed never to wear “that damned thing!” again, although deep down she knew that she would.

A Visitor

About a week or so after the day spent in the shroud, Chrissie and Ralitsa received a surprise. When they went into the shop to buy some food, the veiled girl behind the counter said, “Rali, you’ve got a letter!” This puzzled Chrissie as she didn’t know that there was a postal service in the Village. However, when her flatmate opened it, it turned out to be from her former flatmate, a girl called Gemma who had got married just before Chrissie had arrived in the Village.

Hello my dear Ralitsa,

It’s me, your old flatmate. I’m still happily married to Manuel and everything is fine. I have two lovely co-wives, Phuong and Trang. They are both Vietnamese but very friendly and welcoming. However, to stop me from being left out, Manuel has promised to marry again which I’m very excited about. We have a small house in the Community and I often meet up with lots of the old girls – Tatyana, Heather, Ana Rosa, Azufa, Cindy – although as Manuel is quite strict, I’m always gagged outside the house and we communicate using notes. Anyway, I’m writing to say that he’s given me permission to come and see you. I’m arriving tomorrow morning and we can spend all day together. Can’t wait for it!

See you!

Gemma xxx

For some inexplicable reason, Chrissie resented Gemma’s familiarity with her flatmate but at the same time she was excited about the visit. They spent the day cooking lots of delicious food and talked excitedly about the event. Ralitsa told her that she and Gemma has shared a flat for about three months having arrived in the Village on the same day. They got on well, but not like she did with Chrissie and there was very little bed-sharing, Gemma not being attracted to the female form at all. Gemma it seems had quickly got tired and frustrated in the Village and had entered the marriage market as soon as she had enough credits and had accepted the first offer that came along, just to get out. “Oh well, from her letter, at least she sounds happier,” Ralitsa had concluded.

“But what was her wedding like?” Chrissie had asked.

“Well, like all Village weddings. The price of entering the Marriage Register entitles you to the dress which is much like a standard western wedding dress but on top there are veils like ours now but in white. There is a party in the coffee shop, cake and soft drinks for all the sisters and then at curfew everyone returns to their apartments, laying a thick blinding veil over the bride before they leave. Then the next morning she is gone.”

Gone she may have been, but the very next day Gemma came back. They got up early and went out to find a figure heavily veiled in a shroud sat in the main square. “Gemma?” asked Ralitsa. The figure nodded and Ralitsa hugged her and then guided her back to their apartment where she removed the shroud and she was introduced to Chrissie.

They had a marvellous day, catching up and finding out all about married life and the Community which was the place where families lived although Gemma could tell them little about it as her husband never let her out of the house without the shroud on. She talked about her two lovely co-wives and then announced with great excitement that she was pregnant which caused more hugs to be offered. The only thing that was weird was how she never ungagged or unveiled at all, so everything was done through notes. Chrissie wondered how she could live in that way but then remembered just how much she herself had adapted to over the previous few months. By the time evening came, they were sorry to have to leave Gemma shrouded in the square but they enjoyed stripping off and plunging into the bath together where Ralitsa held her flatmate tighter than usual.

A Shock

The next morning Chrissie was awoken with a kiss on her lips and the smell of freshly-made coffee. Her flatmate snuggled up to her and they held each other tight but then Ralitsa said in a rather guilty-sounding voice. “Chrissie, there is something I’ve got to tell you…”

From her tone, Chrissie knew that this would not be good. “What?” she replied.

“I’ve decided to apply for the marriage register.”

Chrissie lay back. “This is because of Gemma’s visit isn’t it?”

“Partly, yes, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while. You coming here and being with me is what’s delayed it.”

“Do you want to become Manuel’s fourth wife, is that it?”

“No, that isn’t it. I doubt I’d accept him; he sounds rather strict and Gemma and I were never that close… not like us. I’d want a husband who…”

“Who what?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Yes it does. Who what?”

“…who would marry you as well, so that we could be co-wives like we are flatmates now.”

“But I don’t want to marry! You know that. We’ve talked about it and we both agree that marriage may be the whole purpose behind the Village and why we were abducted in the first place.”

“I know but, well, life here is ok, but it’s.. it’s… how can I put it; we have no cares here but we are prisoners, we can’t get out, do anything, we are like…”

“…songbirds in a gilded cage?”

“Yes, that’s it exactly, pretty birds who cannot fly away. Maybe in the Community we can spread our wings a bit more. I need to leave here and marriage is the only way to do it. I’m only a couple of thousand off and some heavy veiling and restrictions for a week or so and I could buy entrance to the register. But I don’t want to hurt you or leave you.”

“But I am not ready for marriage, and even so, I don’t have the credits.”

“I know, I know. I’m sorry.”

Over the days that followed Ralitsa wore restraints and thick veils and communicated all day with notes. After ten days she submitted her entry at the shop and several days after that she was told that there were three suitors interested in her. One was Manuel Velasquez, Gemma’s husband, the second a guy called Nick Unsworth and the third one Kim Dae-Il. She agreed to meet all three and the “dating” was arranged for the following night.

That evening Ralitsa wrote out her letter of demands and expectations to show to all three suitors and then Chrissie dressed her in her gag, restraints and shroud. Then, at a ten to ten she was led out to the main garden and left by the fountain, Chrissie returning before curfew.

A couple of hours or so later the door to the apartment slid open of its own accord and Chrissie walked out into the forbidden night to collect her flatmate who was still sat in her shroud by the fountain. Once inside she stripped her of her garments and they jumped in the bath together. “Did they come?” asked Chrissie.

“Yes, all three.”

“And…?”

“Well, Manuel was first. He rejected my main demand so it was never going to happen but he didn’t sound that amazing anyway, rather serious like Gemma so she’s welcome to him.”

“And then?”

“Kim Dae-Il. A nice enough chap but he struggled with English.”

“And then Mr. Nick Unsworth?”

“Now he sounded much better and he readily agreed to all my demands.”

“Which were?”

“A secret and don’t go looking for the letter, Nick took it.”

“So what next?”

“Well, they all proposed and…”

“… you accepted Nick…?”

“Yes!”

“Wow!”

“Our wedding day is in three days’ time!”

Intermission

“Are you sure that this will all work out as we planned, Dave? I mean, after all, I entered into this scheme and invested considerable funds in the Village because I had always dreamt of marrying Chrissie Bailey, and yet here I am with her still refusing any kind of marriage and instead I’m due to marry Ralitsa Dimitrova who, I must admit, after watching the videos of her with Chrissie seems both an incredibly attractive but also kind-hearted and lovely-natured woman, but she is not the one that I originally chose!”

“Nick, I understand your anxiety, but trust me, this is normal and within three months you shall be marrying your Chrissie as well. Few, if any women can stand the Village for longer than a year, they just get bored, and Ralitsa has been there for several months longer than Chrissie due to the error in placing her with Gemma who, it turned out, was not suited at all. But for Chrissie, who, as you have witnessed, is both naturally submissive to Ralitsa and deeply attached to her, life alone – for we shall not be providing her with another flatmate – will be so tedious and painful, that she will soon be desperate to marry you, no matter how strict you decide to be.”

“I hope so, as you know, ever since I first saw her I knew that she had immense potential but was in the wrong place.”

“She is the classic girl-next-door and it is only natural that you fell in love with her as she walked past your house every day, although, from what you are saying, I doubt that she will remember you. Her sorry life on that council estate is all but a bad dream to her these days, as it is doubtless to you after your life changed completely when you made millions out of you phone app ChavLife. But it is a great credit to you Nick, that you saw the potential in her. She is a wonderful girl, truly, but when she first arrived, fat from all the junk food and lack of exercise, pasty-skinned and stinking of cigarettes, that potential was hard to see. You rescued her from a sad state of affairs and for that I salute you. But Chrissie is for later, for now go and enjoy Ralitsa, for you deserve her Nick, you deserve them both, you really do!”

Post-Wedding Blues

Ralitsa’s wedding was a great occasion in a Village short of notable events. All the girls agreed not to wear anything too strict that day so that they could see each other’s eyes and hear each other speak and they all clubbed together to cook the most wonderful food so that the best party possible could be enjoyed. On the day itself a mysterious parcel was found in the shop addressed to Ralitsa which of course contained the dress itself, a beautiful creation that caused Chrissie’s flatmate look like a real fairytale princess before the veils were put on for her to go outside. It was wonderful but both Chrrise and Ralitsa cried as the time for parting drew near as they both loved each other very much and wondered what life would be like separated from each other. Then Ralitsa was left sitting alone in the courtyard, her arms restrained so that she could not lift the thick blinding veils that covered her pretty face.

When Chrissie left the house in the morning, she was gone.

After that the days passed in slow agony for the English girl. Although the others were all friendly with her, back in her apartment there was no one to talk to and she never saw another human in the flesh. She wondered at first if she would be granted another flatmate like Ralitsa had after Gemma got married, but none came and so she just stayed sad and alone. To make up she started veiling more heavily to save up money for she knew that it would not be long until she too would want to marry, if only to break the loneliness and boredom. Her life was empty now, a mere routine punctuated only by trips to the gym and veiled conversations with the other girls.

But then, after what seemed like months but was in fact only three weeks, a letter arrived, the letter that she had so looked forward to. Ralitsa was fine and well and coming to see her the next day. She was so excited that she hardly slept that night despite having worked hard all day to make tasty food for her former flatmate. She imagined taking her beloved in her arms, showering together and lying in bed, entwining their naked limbs around one another. It was a vision of absolute heaven!

And the next morning there she was, the love of her life, waiting for her. But things were not to turn out how she imagined them to be. Ralitsa was, as expected, covered in a thick blinding shroud, but after removing that, the English girl was surprised to discover her former flatmate still extremely heavily covered and when she tried to remove more, Ralitsa shook her head and took out a notepad and wrote:

No, do not remove more. My husband has allowed me to come only on the condition that I remove no more than the shroud and I stay in the public places and do not enter a private apartment, even the one that used to be ours. I can only communicate through notes I am afraid and drink liquidised food through the hole in my gag. But I can see you my darling – just about – through my thick veils and that is enough for me.

So, instead of showering and cuddling as Chrissie had imagined, they merely held hands, exchanged notes and played games of chess and Monopoly. Even so, it was great to be back with Ralitsa and it drove home just how much Chrissie missed her company and how unhappy she had been during the time that her flatmate had been married.

As the sun began to set and they became aware that their time together was becoming shorter, the conversation became more serious. Chrissie expressed to her friend just how much she missed her and how lonely she now was. Ralitsa nodded understandingly and squeezed her gloved hand.

I know what you’re saying, it was similar for me when Gemma left but even worse for you as Gemma and I were never half as close as you and me. I miss you too, dearly I do, but I am luckier because I have Nick and he is an excellent husband. He is patient and kind and at the moment I am his only wife although, by Community rules, he must wed again within six months of us marrying and so I shall be welcoming a co-wife into our house. However, that is what I need to talk to you about. I know you said that you didn’t want to marry, but you should reconsider. My condition for all my suitors was that they be prepared to marry you as well and Nick agreed. Please consider it, really do. He is a marvellous man and although I am restricted out of the house, inside he is liberal by Community standards and, well, being able to enjoy bedtime activities is such bliss after the frustration of the Village.

“Oh, I don’t know Rali, I am unhappy here but is that the answer?”

Chrissie, don’t think of it as a marriage to him, but as a reuniting with me, except that if we were co-wives, we could do far more in the shower and bed together and we’d have a man to boss. Think that you are marrying me, not Nick!

“Put like that, how could I ever refuse?”

A Nice Day for a White Wedding

And so it was that Chrissie got engaged. Not formally of course. That came when she’d saved up to enter the Marriage Register which took the best part of a month and then formally met Nick, gagged and blinded under a thick shroud, and then accepted his proposal. But, as Ralitsa had suggested, he was not the reason for acceptance but her beloved new co-wife and so it was only fitting that, on the day of the wedding itself, Ralitsa returned to the village and partook in the party with her former flatmate and new co-wife and then helped shroud her in her white wedding finery and then sat by her side as all the other Sisters entered their apartments in time for curfew and they were alone in the square, ready to leave the Village permanently as a partnership, ready for a new life where they both hoped they could fully realise all their hopes and dreams.

Intermission

“So Nick, how are you finding married life?”

“Dave, put it like this: I have two veiled beauties waiting patiently for me, getting each other excited ready for an interesting night between the sheets. My household is harmonious, not filled with gossip and my wives are pure and loyal. How can I ever thank you enough for introducing me to the Village and the Community? What more could a man ask for?”

“What more? Well, it’s interesting that you should mention that for we’ve just had a pair of new girls in that might just interest you. Maiya and Kristina are both twenty-one and are sharing Apartment 7. Ever thought about having four wives instead of just two, Nick…?”

The end

Copyright © 2014, Dave Potter

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