This is, indeed, a grim tale. It is an old story that I haven't written down before but one that has been in my head for a long, long time. It is about a kind of humiliation that is not so often there in such stories...I think. But then again, I don't read that many stories. I have no idea why this story came out like this. And a goldstar by your name if you spot the literary reference in the story.
It was not so long ago it happened. Counting in days and hours, it was not long ago but it could have been a lifetime.
The holiday had been brilliant. The sun was hot and we were happy, Kathy and me. We visited the temples and the museums during the hottest part of the day and spent the afternoons and evenings in the bazaar, the tea houses and the restaurants. We truly enjoyed ourselves. We had two whole weeks together and we made the most of it.
We were an odd couple. Kathy was the one who caught the eyes. She was flamboyant, beautiful and very, very sexy. She wore long flimsy skirts, a broad leather belt low on her hips and sandals with quite high heels. She had to be modest in her dressing, so there was no cleavage, no revealing tops but she managed to look sexy in her sleeveless, tight fitting shirts. She even wore a hat to cover her flowing auburn hair but still managed somehow to look gorgeous.
I was a grey mouse by her side, had always been. I was half a head shorter and always with a ponytail, the good and boring girl. I never understood why she even liked me, if she did. I hated heels and wore ballerinas the first days but realised that sandals were better, allowing the sand to escape from my shoes. The sand was everywhere. I bought that kind of ancient looking sandals that consisted of a leather sole and some bindings that made me look like someone in a film about the Romans.
I was daring and had brought a sleeveless linen dress. It was dark green and the skirt was knee length. It was more cheerful than the ones I usually wore and I felt very special and smashing in it. Looking in the mirror I think I looked timeless, like someone from ancient history. Still I was nothing compared to the flamboyant and beautiful Kathy.
I loved the bazaar, the smells, the sounds the throng of people, being everywhere and going everywhere. We found a favourite tea house and spent hours there in the afternoons and then went shopping when the sun set.
This afternoon we didn't go to the tea house, instead Kathy dragged me across the town square to a dingy looking shop on a narrow side street. She told me she had something she wanted to show me. I thought that she must have found this shop last evening when we split up and went our separate ways. I had been scared and lonely all the time but Kathy had been very pleased when we met up.
Entering the shop was like travelling in time. It was like something from Arabian Nights but more real. It was a shop full of beautiful rugs and kelims. It was dark and cool and smelled of wool, tea and sandal wood. It was magic. I had never seen a place like that.
The shop keeper was like something from a horror film, toothless, age old and wrinkly. His skin had the same colour as the sand and his burnous was dark, dark blue and very dirty. When she greeted the old man I knew that Kathy had been there the day before.
She turned to me and pointed to a big rug lying on a pile of other rugs.
'Isn't it beautiful?' she exclaimed.
'It is gorgeous,' I said touching it.
It was red and covered in an intricate pattern of blue and black. It was like a dream, like a flying carpet. It would look fantastic in her flat, in front of her sofa. I told her so. She nodded and looked happy. I could have given anything to buy her the rug in that moment.
'How will you afford it?' I asked, knowing that these rugs were very expensive even in this part of the town. Or at least, so I was told.
'I will find a way,' she said, looking a little strange.
She was serious, I realised that when she said something to the shop keeper, in his language, which surprised me. I shouldn't have been surprised. Kathy had that ability to pick up useful phrases and use them without fear of embarrassing herself. I was far more cautious. I always thought that I would say something wrong and ask for a donkey instead of directions to a restaurant or something similar. People would laugh and I would blush with embarrassment.
What she said to the old man resulted in him inviting us to an inner room. I was a little apprehensive as we entered this inner sanctum. Kathy seemed at ease and I relaxed a little. The shop keeper invited us to sit down at a low table. He clapped his hands and a young man, almost a boy, entered. He looked like someone from a romantic dream. He was a very handsome contrast to the ugly old man.
I was beginning to feel uncomfortable as the old shop keeper kept ogling me. He stared at me as if I was an animal at the zoo, or if he wanted to have me. I didn't understand why he was looking at me while I was sitting by the gorgeous Kathy who was far, far more attractive than me.
The young man, whom I named Ali in my head served tea in small delicate glasses and we sat down to negotiate. They mixed the languages and since I didn't understand the local tongue and the shop keeper was not that brilliant using our language, I lost interest and looked around the room and tried to see what Ali was doing. He was indeed a very handsome young man.
Suddenly it appeared as the deal was done. The old man clapped his hands and the sweet young Ali came in and was given some orders. He returned with the rug in a neat roll and put it down besides Kathy. The old man looked happy. I was glad we could leave.
The shop keeper didn't seem to be too concerned with my friend. Instead he kept on staring at me and smiling a very ugly toothless smile.
We rose to our feet and the deal was sealed with a hand shake between the rug merchant and my friend. It was a little odd to see her do that, using a gesture that seemed so very manly.
Then things changed. In that moment, when I was about to turn and leave this ugly man and his lovely shop assistant, things changed. Suddenly he shouted for Ali, whose real name was Hosni, while he took hold of my arm. Before I could express my disgust he started pulling at me. I turned to Kathy and was surprised as she just stood there with a stern expression on her face.
Hosni came in and he grabbed my other arm. I was puzzled and confused. This was very strange and very unpleasant. I looked at the shop keeper who had his ugly face close to mine and he smiled his horrible smile. Even Hosni smiled. I turned to Kathy and she smiled too.
'Sorry,' she said, still smiling, 'I couldn't resist that lovely rug.'
Before I could scream Hosni put his hand over my mouth. I felt a cloth being pressed between my lips. I was being gagged. The cloth was pressed down my throat and I felt as if I was choking. I struggled for air, panicking as they tied the gag in place.
As I came around I felt how my dress was being unzipped and promptly was slipped from my shoulders. I squirmed and wriggled in their grip but I couldn't stop them from slipping my dress from me. My old life was brutally but without problem stripped from me and soon I was dressed only in knickers and my bra.
I cried in agony and fear as those last items of clothing unceremoniously was taken from me. My body shivered in anger and horror as my hands were tied behind my back. I was still on my feet as the old man knelt before me, removing my shoes as Hosni held me in his strong and young hands. I looked up and saw Kathy standing there. I stared at her and pleaded with her, although no words came out of my gagged mouth. She said nothing, just looked at me. I couldn't believe she had done this to me.
There I was, the shy girl, who had almost never been kissed, standing naked in the back of a dingy rug shop, bound and held by a shop assistant. I cried and I tried to scream but to no avail.
The old man gathered up my clothes and handed them over to Kathy. I screamed as I saw that. It seemed the ultimate humiliation, that she would get my clothes, my clothes that had been ripped from my body.
She took the clothes, smiled at me and left. I was alone with the two men, naked and bound and sold for a beautiful rug. Then it became worse. The two men stared at me, smiled at me and then they touched me. I felt their hands on my body, touching, probing, caressing. I felt the rough hands of those men sliding over my soft skin, kneading my breasts, touching me belly and sliding along my legs.
The old man stood in front of me and smiled a toothless smile as he put his hand on my belly, slid it down and in between my legs. I held my breath as his finger found their wriggling way and finally slid into me, entering me. Tears filled my eyes as I felt him touch me and penetrate me with his dry fingers.
He then withdrew his fingers, smelled them and laughed with his toothless, ugly face. He dismissed me with a gesture of his hand and Hosni led me through a back door, led me away to my new life as a captive.
It was only a week ago, counted in days but it could have been a lifetime. I am now a slave, although slavery is abolished, property although a woman cannot be owned.
I am changed. Maybe I was changed in that moment, in that shop. As I was led through that door I was overcome with the shameful memory of the shop keeper's fingers in my sex and the horror! The horror! I was aroused.