Saaliha was led down a corridor, her nipple bells tinkling faintly as she moved, to a large white room. Seated in the room on carpets were three other black mounds of cloth. Hanifa guided her next to them and sat her down too. Then she said something in Arabic and the other girls came over to greet her. They did not hug her as a western girl might as their hands were obviously restrained somehow. Indeed, they did not even seem to have arms and hands at all, and Agne guessed they were hidden behind their backs somehow. Instead, each girl pressed her veiled face against Agne’s. Nothing was said. When they had done, Hanifa pointed at her and said “Saaliha.” The girls nodded. Then she pointed at each of them in turn and said, “Kaneez, Batool and Nasrullah.” She was giving the names of the other virgins. Agne nodded to indicate that she understood. Then Hanifa took out several pairs of headphones and started putting one on every girl, flipping down their outer veils first. When she got to Agne, she simply said, “Quran.” She flipped down her outer veil and then the headphones were placed over her ears. After a few seconds a kind of melodic recitation began. In total darkness, restrained and silenced as she was, Agne had no choice but to listen to it.
After an indeterminate length of time, she felt the headphones being taken off and her outer veil was flipped back. As her eyes adjusted to dim sight, Agne noticed a different kind of chanting coming from elsewhere. Hanifa got out a series of rugs and set them out on the floor. Each girl got up, her nipple bells emitting a muted tinkling as she did so, and knelt on a rug. Agne was bidden to do likewise. “Salat,” explained Hanifa. The girls started moving and Hanifa indicated that Agne was to follow them. She recognised this as Islamic prayer. Agne, defeated as she was, aped their movements, but in her heart she prayed the Lord’s Prayer. This silent and secret act of rebellion pleased her. The wailing stopped and the rugs were put away. The girls returned to their original positions and Hanifa flipped down their veils and refitted their headphones. Agne expected to receive the same treatment but, to her surprise, Hanifa took her by the hand and led her to another room. In there she gave her a lesson on the rudiments of Arabic, showing her the letters and repeating how each one sounded. This lasted some hours.
Then she was led back to the main room and sat down next to the other girls. Four maids came in carrying bags with tubes and each one went to an assigned girl. Carefully they lifted their veils enough to locate the mouth hole but not so much as to reveal anything of the rubber skin beneath to the others. Then food or water or whatever liquid was pumped down her throat. After that, the other girls were led away. Hazira also took her. They went back to her bedroom and through a side door into a bathroom with toilet. Hazira pointed at the toilet. Agne nodded. Hazira then lifted up her charge’s layers and undid the chastity belt. Agne felt a slight breeze on her exposed nether parts, oddly refreshing compared to the rest of her body, then sat down on the toilet and relieved herself. Hazira watched her throughout which was extremely embarrassing, and for once she was glad that no one could see her expression. Then, even more embarrassingly, Hazira indicated that she should turn around and bend over. She did this and Hazira washed her bottom like a mother would do a baby. Agne felt so humiliated. Her bum was then dried and the layers returned. After that, she was led back to the others. As this was happening, the wailing began again and so the rugs were brought out and the prayers repeated. Again, Agne secretly prayed the Lord’s Prayer. After prayers, the girls got up and went outside. Agne noticed that all of them seemed to have functioning arms now and she could see hand movements beneath the khimars.
Beyond the main room was a terrace. The girls reclined on cushions there. The terrace was open to the elements but was surrounded by a sort of grilled screen made up of intricate geometric patterns. Hanifa indicated that this was called a jali. It mean that the light could enter and, if she pressed her face against it, she could see outside, but onlookers could not view them. It was yet another veil to separate women from the world.
This was obviously free time, for the girls then socialised, or at least, as much as one can when silenced, restrained and heavily veiled. Hanifa provided them with a large writing pad and they passed silent notes to one another using the indistinguishable swirling Arabic script. They tried to include Agne but, of course, it was almost impossible. A few basic drawings were attempted but there were no natural artists there and when Agne tried to draw a picture of herself, Hanifa snatched it away. Agne later learned that it was because Islam forbids pictorial representations of animals and people. Nonetheless, this “conversation” accompanied by the muted tinkling of eight nipple bells showed that there was at least something human about these poor, hidden creatures and Agne enjoyed it, although, even though the sun had set and the evening air was cool, encased in rubber and layers of cloth, she found herself extremely hot, as if she were in a sauna that she could not leave. On several occasions, the maids came with water bottles and straws and so she could suck down the liquid to slake her thirst, but unable to taste it, the relief was minimal.
Then, after an hour or two, the wailing started again, prayers were repeated and Hazira returned her to her room. Once in there she was, thankfully, stripped of all her black clothes until only the virginal white rubber alien remained. Then she was led to the bathroom, offered another toilet opportunity – this time she could only manage a pee – and then returned to the bedroom and ordered to lie on the bed.
Except that there was already something on the bed.
It was a large, white, leather sack, open for its entire length. Hazira indicated that Agne should lie on top of it. This she did and once she had, Hazira deliberately laid her charge’s arms by her sides and then, taking a zip, enclosed Agne within the sack. The zip went the entire length and once it was fully closed, she was plunged into darkness, although her breathing was not impeded as it incorporated two small holes that aligned with her nostrils. Then Agne felt her maid do something to the side of the sack and the whole thing began to contract. She realised that it was laced like a corset and, as the laces were tightened, she was being compressed inside it. Once one side had been completed, Hazira saw to the other side and then, once those had been done, placed something over Agne’s head. After a couple of seconds the Quranic chanting began anew. Agne squirmed in her bonds, seeing if she could dislodge the infernal noise, but so tightly was the sack laced that she could hardly move at all. She also realised that there were rigid bars, probably metal, embedded within it, so she could not bend at the waist or arms. As someone who had always slept on her side this disconcerted her, but there was nothing she could do and after a few minutes she gave up.
The Quranic recital continued for an indeterminate length of time and then, when it finished, Agne was left in the silent darkness.
Sometime later she drifted into a troubled sleep.