Prairie Firma

Prairie Firma

by GhostWriter

This story is connected with another story by GhostWriter called M.A.P. (external link) but it is no prerequisite to understand this one.

New Home

The rain had made the trail slightly slippery and she had made a slight slip but Hillary quickly regained her feet. The pouring rain may have made the trail slippery but her real problem was walking while being chained alongside 13 other women.

Hillary concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and tried to enjoy the rain that was falling on her face. Despite the rain, she much rather be walking in the rain then being struck in the van. Both her parents were members of Prairie Firma, a group that believed the world had grown “soft”. With modern technology, people had lost their ability to be self-sufficient and Prairie Firma believes that the world would be better off if people had the self-sufficiency of the early pioneers of America. A commune was built with the aim that it would be a self-sufficient entity.

Women in the commune wear pioneer dresses and in a bid to further the pioneer spirit, only men were allowed to hold leadership positions in the group. Hillary’s parents had been members before she was born, and Hillary had never known life outside Prairie Firma. Not that she minded as she had heard horror stories from sisters who had left the group only to come running back once they had a taste of the outside world. Hillary was content with her humble position in Prairie Firma but about 5 years ago, there was a spilt in the group.

A sub-group appeared and they believed that simply living and dressing like the early pioneers wasn’t enough, Prairie Firma should also have the outlook of the early pioneers.

This group believed that Prairie Firma should be as close as possible to the early pioneers, including having the same outlook of life the early pioneers had. This means a hard-working, god-fearing people whose men were brave and fearless and whose women were submissive, quiet and obedient. The group also believed that the modern male/female relationship must be changed in Prairie Firma. Men should be the clear head of the household while women kept quiet and obeyed their husbands.

Members of this sub-group banned modern technology like television, phones, and vehicles for women and only men were allowed to use electrical or motorized equipment.

Hillary remembered it as if it was yesterday when her parents told her 3 years ago that they would be joining the new group. She was just 14 then. At 17 now, Hillary had 3 years of experience with the new sub-group of Prairie Firma and it wasn’t pleasant.

From the start, there were more rules and they were more strictly enforced. Women and girls were told that they would always be expected to be submissive and quiet in both public and private life. Men in the new group treated women like cattle, because that’s what women in pioneer times were treated as. Women in those times were there to serve men and the new sub-group believed women in Prairie Firma should not be treated any differently.

Women of the sub-group also had to change their attire slightly. As a member of Prairie Firma, Hillary’s blond hair was tied in a tight braid and she was wearing the normal attire of Prairie Firma; a light brown pioneer dress with frills at the end of her long sleeves and an apron hanging from her neck to her feet. Tied around her back, the apron had the name “Parson” on it. The frills on the sleeves of her dress were to indicate that Hillary was an unmarried girl and the apron showed that she belonged to the Parson family. It was exactly like the attire of normal Prairie Firma members.

However as a member of the group, Hillary also had to wear a scold’s bridle. The bridle was a device that had 3 straps that wrapped around her head and a metal rod that intruded into her mouth. The rod was positioned on top of her tongue to prevent it from moving and to stop her from ‘gossiping’. Unfortunately it also caused her great discomfort.

The driver stepped up his pace and the women dutifully followed. For the past few days, Hillary had been struck in the back of a van with these 13 other women. She had no idea where she was going as the windows of the van were all blacked-out and Hillary could not see the scenery outside.

This was normal as most of the vans used for transporting females had their windows black-out to prevent females from looking out into the outside world. The group had made short stops along the trip but these short periods were used to eat and Hillary noticed that the driver always made a point of stopping only at deserted locations. It was all very strange.

However early this morning, they had stopped and the driver ordered everyone out. At the driver’s command, the 14 women lined up in a row beside the van with the tallest on the left and the shortest on the right. While they were looked down submissively at the ground with their hands at their side, the driver locked a collar on all the women and chained them together with a long silver chain.

They were then ordered to walk along a deserted dirt track in a single file. That was hours ago and dirt track had turned into a trail awhile back.

However Hillary still prefers this to being struck in the van. One of the most common activity members of Prairie Firma partake in was walking. As the early pioneers of America walked everywhere, most members of Prairie Firma enjoyed taking long hikes and loved the outdoors.

Even while chained, Hillary could see that she wasn’t the only one who was enjoying this. All the women were walking with a spring in their steps and even the pouring rain wasn’t affecting their mood.

Hillary then saw the camp. It was probably the reason why the driver stepped up his pace and as they walked into the camp, Hillary looked around and saw that there was no road leading to the camp. You could only reach the camp walking up the trail. She was musing on why when the driver ordered them to stop.

Again, Hillary looked down submissively at the ground while the driver introduced himself. “Listen up, my name is Jake. Most of you don’t know me. That’s okay because I only joined Prairie Firma less than a year ago and it’s because of newcomers like me that we are here now.” Hillary kept her face down as Jake walked along the line giving his speech. “The Prairie Firma group has been growing these past few years and the elders agreed that the old camp was getting crowded, so a new camp has to be built.” The driver paused as he stopped. “Welcome to the camp of Prairie Firma: Water Springs!”

A Deal

This was definitely not what Enrique had expected. Water Springs was a semi-famous town in Canada as it was the only place in North America where women do not have the vote but no one had even rumored about anything about this.

“I see you are very surprised.”

Enrique turned to the speaker. Frankly, he don’t mind the amused comment but letting it go would put him on the defensive, and that is something he wished to avoid at the moment. “I would say Mr. Evans,” Enrique pointed at the scene below them. “This would surprise anyone.”

Evans gave a good belly laugh at that. The 2 men were standing on a hill overlooking the training field of M.A.P. The rain had made the field below muddy and Enrique suspected that the condition of the field was deliberate.

Below them, in the great field were groups of women undergoing what Evans called “training”. There was a group of women doing jumping-jacks, another group was crawling on their belly across the muddy field, a group further down was running laps around the field, and the final group was just standing at attention with their hands on their head and their legs wide open.

The groups were a mixture of young and old but all of them were women. Everything seems normal till you realized that all the women were naked and there were male trainers/guards standing around the groups with batons in their hands. Enrique had seen the guards used the batons already and he admired the ferocity of the guards.

“I can see why.” Evans chuckled, “it’s not something we advertised.”
“But how do you keep this secret?” Enrique asked.
“Oh, I’ve been the town mayor for the past 12 years. That plus the fact the town sheriff and the owner of the town newspaper are all members of M.A.P,” Evans looked at Enrique in amusement, “you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to keep things secret.”
“So all the men in Water Springs are member of the Male Alpha Party?”
“Most are, all the men who matters anyway. Come, let’s walk this way.” Evans signaled Enrique towards the M.A.P compound.

The two men walked further down the valley. To call it a valley was being kind as it was just a small area between 2 hills, however the M.A.P called it the “Secret Training Valley” and Enrique guessed the name fits. It was definitely secret.

“I hope your members find the camp to their liking.” Evans asked.
“They do,” Enrique had to admit. “It had everything we ask for. I am authorized to buy over the land by our leaders and I would be willing to sign the agreement immediately.”
“I’ve have Shitface drawn up the papers already and…” Evans smiled when he saw the surprise on Enrique’s face. “Still not use to how we called our women I see.”
“It’ll take time but it’s not disapproval if that’s what you’re worried about Mr. Evans. In fact some of my boys are thinking of adopting Water Springs’ way of calling women.” Enrique smiled at the thought. “Call it the integrating of local customs.”

Evans gave a short booming laugh at that. Enrique’s smile was genuine. Beside him and Evans were two women from M.A.P. The 2 ‘slaves’, as Evans called them, were carrying umbrellas which were used to protect the two men from the rain. The 2 slaves were also naked but for a collar around their necks. Enrique knew they must both be cold standing naked in the rain but you couldn’t tell just by looking at them.

Despite the welts and bruises on their bodies, both slaves had a serene smile on their face. One of them even had a black eye, but both looked desperate to be useful to the 2 men. Truth be told, Enrique found their nakedness and smiles to be quite disturbing.

“Yes, I guess we can call it that. Tell me, will this new camp be under the bridle faction of Prairie Firma?”
“What?” Enrique was truly surprised. “How did you know that?”
“Despite what you heard, I didn’t became mayor of Water Springs by chance Mr. De Silva. I did a check on Prairie Firma before offering you my land for purchase.” Evans waited a moment for the revelation to sink in. “I know all about the spilt in Prairie Firma between the traditional “pioneers” and your own “bridle” group.”
“There is no spilt,” Enrique hotly disputed. “I admit there are certain differences and some of our members…”
Evans put up a hand to stop the argument. “Please don’t. I assured you that M.A.P has no interest in the internal dispute of Prairie Firma. I know of how the “pioneer” group wish Prairie Firma would like to continue the traditional beliefs of self-sufficiency by your founders while the “bridle” group believed in tighter restrictions on the behavior of group members…especially among women.”
“That’s why Water Springs offered us the land at such a good price” Enrique nodded as if something had finally become clear to him.
“That’s why Water Springs offered the land to the “bridle” group of Prairie Firma.” Evans corrected. “Much like Prairie Firma, the Male Alpha Party believes that only men matter and females are good for nothing but as breeders and slaves. Unlike most groups of our nature however, M.A.P intend to do something about it. Change is not going to happen if we hid ourselves from view but by being politically active about it.”
“This valley is secret,” Enrique quipped. “Some would say this is hiding.”
“This is gathering strength for the battle ahead,” Evans countered. “Changing our ways back to the past will not something that will happen overnight, maybe not even in our lifetime. That’s why I started M.A.P. We are a political party and we intend to change the world back to the way it was when there was no vote for woman, no such nonsense as women suffrage and when women were property of their fathers, husbands and sons.”
Enrique was impressed with Evans conviction if nothing else. “And this training will do that?”
“Females need to be retrained into thinking of their men as their gods, this is just a start. However, there’s only so much I can do myself. In this, I need allies.” Evans gently pointed a finger at Enrique. “That’s why we invited Prairie Firma to join us here at Water Springs.”
“I’m sorry Mr. Evans, but I fail to see how Prairie Firma can help you. All my people are Americans, we can’t vote here in Canada.”
“Oh, I didn’t ask you here for politics. What I need to do is to make the town grow. Even though the town has been growing since I and M.A.P took over, it’s not enough. I need industry, a business that will power the growth of Water Springs.”
“So you want us?”
“Yes! I know about the successful organic farm you guys have in Arizona. It’s successful because people know you guys don’t use modern pesticide and stuff. I’m no farmer but imagine that on a bigger scale here.”
Enrique thought about it and realized the opportunity it’ll represent. “So that’s why you are offering the land to us at such a good price. Buy why tell me all this now?”
“Because I need you to understand I fully support the bridle group of Prairie Firma. I’m with you.” Evans said. “And because I need you to do something that might not be that popular with some members of your group.”

Like everything in life, there’s a catch and Enrique figured he was about to hear it.

Then and Now

Jake Michael Coleman walked into his house pleased with himself. The trip was a success and all the girls were delivered safely to the new camp. Frankly, the trip was nothing for a long-haul trucker like himself but it felt good to be doing something for his new home.

The fact that he was transporting women like pieces of goods was an added bonus. However after a long trip, he would like nothing more than a good meal, a good bath, and a good fuck.

Opening the door to his house, he discovered that his wife was ready for him. Carrie Pears-Coleman was waiting submissively for her husband by the door. The moment Jake opened the door, his wife kneeled on the floor and looked submissively at the ground.

Jake looked over at the dinner table and saw a hot meal waiting for him. He decided that joining Prairie Firma was the best decision he had ever made. Jake walked past his wife without a word but slapped his hand against his thigh. Like a good puppy, Carrie got up and quietly followed her husband.

Jake sat down heavily on the sofa and put his legs on the coffee table. His wife kneeled again and started to untie his boots. As his wife struggled to take off his boots, Jake decided that maybe joining Prairie Firma was not the best decision he had ever made; joining ‘bridle’ faction of Prairie Firma may be the best decision he had ever made.

Jake found Prairie Firma by accident. As a trucker passing through Arizona, he heard of the group in one of the truck stops. Frankly, he found the idea of a group of people living like the pioneers kind of stupid but when he passed next through the area, Jake took a slight detour to Prairie Firma.

The camp surprised him. It was rustic but it was also clean, well-maintained and friendly. From then, Jake always visited the camp whenever he passed through the area. Their rustic way of life agreed with him and Jake admired the idea of self-sufficiency.

When his wife got laid-off, money got a little tight for them and Jake told his wife about Prairie Firma. Their relationship was stormy at best and it took awhile, but Jake finally convinced his wife that joining Prairie Firma was the best financial decision they could make.

While living in Prairie Firma, they didn’t have to pay for anything but in return they would work for the group. Jake found that he was at a great advantage to his wife. While Carrie was learning the ways of life in Prairie Firma, Jake was actively helping out in the camp as a mechanic and driver. Using his experience as a trucker, Prairie Firma often sent Jake out to help the camp get goods and essential items.

It did not take long for Jake to discover the spilt within Prairie Firma. As he was often away from the camp, he decided to align himself to the ‘bridle’ group. Jake often suspected that his wife was sleeping around while he was away on his trips and the ‘bridle’ group’s belief that women should be submissive and tightly controlled appealed to Jake.

The problem was how he was going to get Carrie to join the group. The ‘bridle’ group solved his problem for him. The group told him to hand Carrie over to them for a 4 weeks re-education course. By the end of that date, they promised him they would return his wife back to him an obedient, submissive woman.

Jake told Carrie he got a better paying job out of state but they required him to relocate immediately. Never a fan of Prairie Firma in the first place, Carrie agreed to move immediately. Jake delivered Carrie to the ‘bridle’ group and told everyone in Prairie Firma that they would be visiting relatives for a month but will be back after that.

The ‘bridle’ group then sent Jake to Water Springs to survey potential sites for their new camp. When he got back to Prairie Firma, Carrie was a changed woman. She was now an obedient, submissive woman who treated him like a god. When Jake saw the whip mark on the back of her body, he could understand why.

As his wife finally got his boots off, Jake mused that he loved the lack of backtalk from her now. He got up and walked to the dinner table. The hot meal had all of his favorites and he stuffed himself with the food. Halfway through the meal, he remembered his wife standing quietly beside him.

“Have you eaten?” It was a rhetorical question. You can’t eat with the scold’s bridle on and his wife’s bridle was locked on tight. His wife shook her head in answer. Ignoring her, Jake continued with his meal.

When he was finished, he got up and went behind his wife. “Kneel!” At his command, Carrie dropped to her knees. Jake took out the key he had with him at all times and started to unlock the scold’s bridle.

The scold’s bridle of Prairie Firma was exactly a simple device with 3 metal frames. It had 2 metal frames that went around the head; one across the forehead, the other at mouth level which also placed a metal rod into the wearer’s mouth. The last frame went from the top of the head to below the jaw. 2 locks at the back of the head keep the bridle in place.

“Finished the meal, clear the table, and then wait for me in bed,” Jake commanded. “I’ll take a bath. Be ready for me.”

“Yes, my lord.” Carrie was taking advantage of the bridle being off, but Jake ignored it and went for his bath. As Jake entered the bathroom, he could hear Carrie rushing to finish the leftovers. He knew she would finish everything.

Jake turned on the tap and started to take off his cloths while the hot water filled up the bathtub. Some members of Prairie Firma refused to use hot water from taps as the pioneers never had it, but Jake thought that to be foolish. If they were to follow blindly everything the pioneers did, then the scold’s bridle should be dumped as well.

Unlike some members of Prairie Firma, Jake never deluded himself into thinking they would ever be the same as the early pioneers of America. With that thought, he stepped into the hot water and soaked in his bath.

Directing Traffic

It was dark when Enrique got back to the Prairie Firma camp. The meeting with Richards Evans took a lot longer than he thought, but when he got back he immediately swung into action.

Despite the time, he got all the men into the makeshift meeting hall and laid out the ‘proposals’ Evans gave him. As he had expected, most of the men were unhappy with the ‘proposals’ but Enrique reminded everyone that coming to an understanding with the town mayor would give Prairie Firma some political coverage in the future, and that’s more important than their own personal discomfort.

There were disagreements on which ‘proposal’ to accept, so Enrique asked everyone to sleep on the question. Enrique De Silva already knew which proposal would be best for Prairie Firma but he was an oddity in Prairie Firma and Enrique knew it. He was a Hispanic in charge of a group comprising almost totally of whites, so his leadership style consist mostly of finding compromises between the men and directly the group to the middle ground.

The next morning, he was out and about looking to gather info from the men on which proposal they were most keen on but his real aim was to direct the group to the option he wanted. When he got to Jake Coleman, he was already making some progress.

“Frankly man, I don’t like any of them. The M.A.P don’t want our women to be seemed in public with the scold’s bridle, then they shouldn’t have invite us here in the first place.”
“I understand Jake, but look at it from their point-of-view; the M.A.P can’t have pictures of women in scold’s bridle in national papers. The reporters would kill them.”
“Yeah, I understand. It still sucked though. They should have told us this before we came over.”
“Maybe, but I fail to see what differences it would make.”
“It would prevent the camp from being in an uproar for one.”
“Uh…true. What does Carrie says?”
“Didn’t ask her. She’ll do as I say.”
“And…what do you say?”
“First option is to build a wall around the camp and keep the women inside. It’s probably the best idea in my view.”
“That’s what most of the men says also.”
“Your tone says you disagree. Why man?”
“You must think of the cost Jake. We are already spending money building the camp, the budget is set already and it’s not a small amount. Now you add in the cost of a wall, and it must be a high one to boot or it’ll be useless, well…”
“Yeah, you right. I didn’t think of that. That’s why you’re going one-on-one with everyone?”
“Partly…though mostly I wanted to make sure everyone think through all 3 choices first before committing to a decision.”
“Well the wall is the best option in my view, though I admit I hate the idea of fencing ourselves in. The scenery was one of the reasons why we picked this site to being with, to destroy it with a wall…”
“Most guys feel the same way and from what I gather, most of the women too. If you add in the cost it will take in building the damm thing, it’s just not feasible”
“If it will hurt our finances badly, then I rather go for option 3.”
“Take off the bridle?”
“Don’t sound so surprise Enrique. You know as well as I do the pioneers never placed scold’s bridles on their women. Hell, it’s wasn’t even that common of a practice in the Middle Ages.”
“Uh…I have to say Jake, you’re the first guy I spoke to who want to get rid of the bridle.”
“Considering it’s the main reason we spilt from Arizona, I’m not surprised. Like I said, I’m not happy with any of the options but if our finances would be hit by the wall, then option 3 is better than option 2.”
“You’re going to get out-voted on this Jake. I can count on one hand the number of guys who even consider getting rid of the bridle.”
“You’re the boss Enrique. Look I’m not stupid, I know you’re trying to bring everyone ‘onside’ to the burqa but man, that’s just looking for trouble.”
“The women get to wear the bridle, we get to continue our ways, and the M.A.P don’t have to worry about bad publicity. The women putting a burqa make everyone a winner…well, if you exclude the women on the matter. Some of them would be unhappy about it.”
“But we’re not an Islamic group. Hell, almost everyone here is a Christian.”
“Come on Jake, when was the last time you went to church? No one here is religious…”
“That’s the problem man. The burqa is an Islamic garment. We’re not an Islamic group. That’s a problem, and a huge one.”
“No one says the burqa is an Islamic garment, there’s no rule on that. It’s true that they’re the only one using the burqa now, but that can change.”
“Ha…does that line exactly work on anyone?”
“Exactly no; but I got something that works. Come with me Jake.”

As leader of Prairie Firma, Enrique had taken the cabin at the centre of the camp. As the camp wasn’t that big to begin with, it took only a short time to direct Jake there. Along the way, Enrique spoke to Jake on how the new camp was coming along. Jake wasn’t the first person who needed some convincing with the idea of the burqa, and Enrique found that it’ll be best for him to have an example on how useful a burqa could be.

Entering his cabin, Jake stopped when he saw the woman wearing the all-covering burqa. Enrique waved him forward. The two men walked to the kneeling woman. Jake looked at Enrique in puzzlement and saw that Enrique had a big smile on his face.

Enrique bended down and lifted the burqa off the women. Jake recognized Enrique’s wife Gloria and she was a sight. Gloria was naked saved for her apron and a scold’s bridle in her mouth. However what caught his eye was the chain that went from Gloria’s bridle to the floor, locking Gloria to the floor and the numerous whip marks on Gloria’s back. Without a word, Enrique threw the burqa back onto Gloria.

It was then that Jake noticed that there was no mesh on the burqa. Jake remembered that in all the news he saw on TV, there was a mesh on the burqa for the women to see through. There wasn’t one in this one, and Jake realized that this wasn’t a burqa. What is this? Is this a burqa or a piece of cloth? Of course! How the hell were they supposed to get a burqa on short notice in Alberta, Canada of all places?

“The burqa hides everything.” Jake looked at Enrique after hearing the words and realized what Enrique meant. Under the burqa, the men can dress the women in anything they wished. Corsets, chastity belts, hoods, chains; these are just some of the things that flashed across his mind. And a smile came to his face.

New Regime

Hillary slowly regained her footing. She didn’t know why the women had to wear the burqas but her father ordered her to wear them, so wear them she would.

The burqa gave her a limited view of her surroundings but outside that, Hillary didn’t really mind it that much. The orders for wearing the burqas came 3 weeks ago and already she was beginning to get used to it. However just as she was getting comfortable with the burqa, new orders came in and she now saw why the men wanted the burqa.

The men had a flurry of late night meetings for the past 3 weeks and orders came quick and fast. Hillary was wearing her pioneer dress, apron and scold’s bridle but now she was wearing several items that went with them. A chastity belt, and chains for her hands and feet were all now part of the uniform for women in Prairie Firma.

Hillary could deal with the chastity belt, but the chains on her hands and feet were causing her serious problems. The chains on her feet limited her stride and the chains on her hands limited her movements as a chain connected the chain on her feet to the chain on her hands. That plus the limited view of the burqa caused Hillary to have serious movement problems.

What made worse for her was the knowledge that she helped made the burqa she was wearing. Like women in pioneer times, women in Prairie Firma were expected to be able to sew. When orders came in to wear the burqa, all the women were gathered in one of the bigger cabins in the camp and were ordered to sew the burqas.

Someone had went on the internet and printed out diagrams for how a burqa could be made. It took a few tries but the women finally got to gripes on how to make it. The women even came up with a system where they could sew together burqas in quick order for all the women in Prairie Firma. Some of the men even quipped that they should start a clothing line for burqas.

That was a joke because on more than one occasion, Hillary had dreamt of taking off the burqa and the chains. However there was no way for her to take off the burqa without been seen by others and the chains and chastity belt were all locked on her body and only her father had the keys to them.

It seemed however that this didn’t stop 2 of the women in Prairie Firma. Hillary could understand why they did it; beneath the burqa, who could tell if she wasn’t wearing the chains? Who could tell if she wasn’t wearing her chastity belt below her pioneer dress? In fact, she could take off her scold’s bridle and as long as her burqa was on, no one would be the wiser.

That was what these 2 women thought as well, but the men found out. Hillary wasn’t sure how the men found out but they discovered that one of the women wasn’t wearing her chastity belt while the other had too long of a chain on her feet. Hillary didn’t quite get the second offence because her father had not mentioned there was a rule on short her chain had to be, but it seemed that there was such a rule.

Now the men intend to make an example of the 2 women and everyone was ordered to gather at the camp square to view the punishments. It was just as well that there was plenty of time till the punishment because Hillary was having a hard time walking with the short chain on her feet.

Hoping to distract herself, Hillary looked at her surroundings. Since she came to the Water Springs camp, it had been a whirlwind of cleaning and sewing. She mused that one good thing about her chains was that it allowed her more time to notice the glories that surrounded her.

Her burqa limited her view but Hillary could still see the bellflowers that were carefully planted throughout the camp. She spent her slow walk noticing the flowers gracefully moving in the wind and understood that though it was hard, all the members of Prairie Firma were committed to making the camp a success. To Hillary, the smell and energy of the camp was alive and well.

When she finally arrived at the camp square, she noticed that a crowd had gathered already. She saw her father and slowly walked towards him. Her father noticed her walking towards him and asked who she was when she stood in front of him. With the scold’s bridle around her head, Hillary was unable to answer him so she did the only thing she could; she lifted the front of her burqa to show off her apron with the name “Hillary Parson” on it.

This had become the standard practice in Prairie Firma when a man asked a woman for her identity. To Hillary, it seemed stupid to lift up the burqa every single time someone asked her for her identity but this was the order by the men, so she obeyed. Of course it could be that the stupidity of the action was why women had to do it; the humiliation of having to lift up your cloths every single time a man ask for your name could be a reason why the men seem to enjoy this rule. On her father’s okay, Hillary lowered down the burqa and stood behind him to view the punishments.

She didn’t wait long. 2 men led 2 women dressed in red burqas into the camp square. Mr. De Silva came out and made a speech on how the 2 women were found to be improperly dressed as a woman should be and would be punished according to their crimes.

Their names, crimes and punishments were announced and the 2 women were unceremoniously thrown to the ground. The 2 women were made to lie face down on the ground with their hands high above their head. 2 men took position beside each woman and they held down the women’s hands and feet. Another 2 men arrived in the square and Hillary noticed that one of them was the driver named Jake.

Hillary noticed that these 2 men were each holding a cane and knew that they would be the ones carrying out the punishment. Surprising Hillary, the 2 men sat down beside the women. Before she could wonder what the men were doing, the 2 men lifted their canes over their shoulders and nodded to Mr. De Silva. It seemed that the men would be delivering the punishments while sitting down.

When Mr. De Silva gave the word, the punishments began. The 2 canes went up and down, hitting the women across their backs and buttocks with ferocity. The women tried to squirmed away but they were held down by the men and a shiver went up Hillary’s body when she saw how much the driver, Jake, was enjoying giving out the punishments. Hillary looked around and noticed that he wasn’t the only one with a look of joy on his face. Whereas some of the women were looking away from the scene, all the men were looking intently at the punishments. Most of them looked curious but Hillary could see that more than a few of them were smiling at the plight of the women.

The beatings stopped. The 2 women were released and as they slowly stood up, Hillary saw Mr. De Silva walking up to them. Announcing to the camp, Mr. De Silva said that there would be a new rule in place from then on. All girls in camp from age 7 onwards were to put on the burqa. All girls age 7 to 20 were to put on a white burqa unless they were married; all unmarried women age above 20 were to put on a yellow burqa; and all married women were to wear a sky-blue burqa. The only exceptions were women under punishments were would wear a red burqa. Mr. De Silva announced that these 2 women would wear the red burqa from then on till the men were satisfied that the 2 women had learned their lesson.

Hillary was horrified. To wear a sign of your disobedience for everyone to see; and you don’t even know when you could take it off! The humiliation for the women must be unbearable.

As everyone slowly left to do their work, Hillary vowed to find out from her father just how short her leg chains must be.

Epilogue & A New Beginning?

“Hello Mat, good to hear from you again.”
“Hi Ed, what’s this about burqas in Water Springs?”
“Always down to business uh.”
“Of course! I’m the big-time editor of a national newspaper; you think I have time to waste like a certain small-fry editor of a tiny local paper?”
“Oh my breaking heart! I’m hurt!”
“Bullshit! Newspaper men like us have no hearts. We’re heartless bastards who laugh at the misfortune of other.”
“You’re forgetting about wining and dining on their corpses.”

Both men had a good laugh at that. When Eddie Blackmore picked up the phone, he already knew who was on the other line. He was always happy to speak to Matthew Mansell. Not only was Mansell one of the few M.A.P members who lived beyond the town of Water Springs, he was also a newspaper man like Eddie, though on a much bigger scale.

“Really Ed, what the hell is going on over there?”
“Richard met his match was what happened. Those guys you recommended from Prairie Firma rather covered their women in burqas than built a wall around their camp.”
“A wall?”
“Richard gave them some bull about newspapers showing their women in scold’s bridle and bringing bad press to the town.”
“That couldn’t have gone down well.”
“It didn’t but Richard gave them a few ‘options’ to choose from. Build a wall, cover their women with a veil like the burqa, or take off the bridle.”
“And he was hoping for the wall…why?”
“Money. Despite his best efforts, Richard hadn’t been able get the town out of the downturn. With the financial crisis, less tourists are coming to town to see ‘The Only Place in America where Women Do NOT have the Vote!”
“Yeah, you guys should really change that slogan; it’s getting a little old. I thought constructing the camp for Prairie Firma got some jobs for the town.”
“It was short-term. The camp is done and those guys are back to being jobless. Richard figured constructing a wall for the camp will continue to provide jobs for the town…at least for awhile. He even offered to provide soft loans for Prairie Firma.”
“But Prairie Firma didn’t bite.”
“Nope. Their leader, some guy called Enrique De Silva, somehow managed to get the group to choose the burqa. So now Richard has a group of burqa wearing women in town and no jobs.”
“Oh, of all the best laid plans”
“Funny, I know but who would guess a group called Prairie Firma would choose the burqa?”
“I’m shaking my head right now Ed because what did you expect from a group that believe in self-sufficiency. They are not going to be beholden to anyone.”
“True but it’s not all bad. Some guys in town are thinking of dressing their women in burqas now. We may have a niche clothing industry emerging here.”
“Yeah, you remember Rex Harper, the sheriff? He thought that with all the women in town with bruises and black-eyes, the burqa would be a good idea. Richard is in some sort of early talks with Prairie Firma about making the burqa a viable business. They sew the burqas, we’ll do distribution; stuff like that but…”
“Someone in Prairie Firma knows how to sew a burqa?”
“The internet is a wonderful thing Mat.”
“Ha, so how’s Richard taking it?”
“Piss, but he’s calling it an acceptable loss. Prairie Firma starting their organic farm, hopefully that’ll pan out, but even if it didn’t, they gave a shot to the local economy with the construction of the camp so Richard is making the best of it.”
“What about the burqas? It won’t play well in public.”
“I’m spinning the story about ‘religious tolerance’ and accepting people making ‘adult decision’. Free speech, free thought, freedom to live as you will; should be enough to get people off our backs. Help that not one guy in Prairie Firma is a Muslim though.”
“Yeah, that’ll give us even more cover in the national press. Mat, about that…”
“Say no more Ed, I own you guys a lot. I’ll give you guys so much good coverage as I can.”
“Thanks Mat. By the way, Richard is asking about whether you got any other groups to recommend?”
“So soon? Prairie Firma just got there and Richard is thinking about asking another group to relocate?”
“There’re a lot of empty hills around town for more camps like the ones we and Prairie Firma have and Richard has always been a ‘big picture’ kind of guy. He thinks getting people to Water Springs is important to jumpstart the economy but the rules are still the same though…”
“No violence, believes in male supremacy or male superiority, and preferably has some way to contribute economically to Water Springs.”
“I know it’s hard to find groups who fulfill all 3…”
“Actually I have a few in mind.”
“You do?”
“Yeah, tell me Ed. Have you heard of a group called…Humble Serenity?”



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