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The Glass Harem by Adriana Arden

EXTRACT FOR
The Glass Harem 
(Adriana Arden)


TGH1-extract

Captain Velasquez of the Kabesh police, a lean greying man in his forties wearing a uniform shirt with rolled sleeves, frowned at Isobel and Lorna across his big desk, which disturbingly had a braided leather quirt laid across it.  They sat before him in their now stained and dishevelled summer dresses.  Somewhere during the chase Lorna had lost her sunhat while there was a tear in her mother’s skirt.  The two policemen who had rescued them from the mob outside the mosque were standing attentively behind their chairs. 

Velasquez consulted the notes he had taken from the reports made by his officers.  ‘It appears you have caused material damage to the wares of several street traders,’ he said, speaking in good English but with a more marked accent than Rashid’s.  ‘You started a public commotion and you have deeply offended the elders of the Dharami Street mosque which you entered so irreverently.  They also suffered injuries while trying to eject you.  In addition you, Mrs Forbes, physically assaulted Hassan al Rashid, one of our most respected citizens, when he was only trying to come to your aid.  Do you deny any of this?’

Isobel took a deep breath. ‘No… but all this happened because Mr Rashid kept pressing his attentions upon us.  I was frightened that he had an ulterior motive so I tried to get away from him.’

‘Are you saying that this is his fault?’

‘No… I mean, I found his behaviour… disturbing.  I was worried about my daughter’s safety!  So I… may have overreacted.’

‘I understand that Mr Rashid was only paying you both a compliment.  Did you not think to make allowances for different customs in another country?’  Velasquez asked acidly.  ‘Or do you believe the whole world must behave according to English standards?’

‘No… I am sorry for what happened.  Of course I will pay for any damage I caused.’

This did not appear to improve Velasquez’s temper.  ‘Do you think of it as simply as that?  You have done more than cause damage, Mrs Forbes; you have deeply insulted us with your public display of wild and uncontrolled female behaviour.  I’m afraid your case will have to go before a court, which means you will be staying with us for some time.  I will arrange for your baggage to be removed from your ship…’

Isobel and Lorna both looked horrified.  ‘What?’ Isobel choked. 

‘You will not be completing your cruise,’ Velasquez said simply.

‘But…I said I could pay… I have money.   How much do you want?’

Velasquez glowered. ‘Are you trying to bribe me?’

Isobel looked horrified.  ‘No, of course not...’

‘Perhaps you think that as I am just a policeman of a little African country with skin darker than yours, I will accept a bribe to, as you say, turn a blind eye?’

‘No not at all!’

‘That is good, because the penalty for attempting to bribe a public official is fifty lashes.’

Isobel bit her lip while Lorna swayed, feeling sick.

‘We have our own form of justice here,’ Vasquez continued, ‘and this will affect you; especially since you do not have a protector.’

‘A “protector”?’  Isobel asked.  ‘I don’t understand you…’

‘For women travelling without an older brother, husband or father in Barbouria, they need to have an officially designated protector: a male who will take responsibility for their actions.  There was a space for such a person to be named on the entry permits you signed when you were disembarking from your ship.  I see yours was left blank.’

Now Isobel recalled seeing the phrase.  ‘I didn’t know what it meant.  We don’t have such things in…’ she finished lamely…’ England.’

Velasquez smiled grimly.  ‘You should have asked.  Why are you not travelling with your husband, Mrs Forbes?’

‘I’m a widow.  I lost my husband in the war.’

Ahhh…. my commiserations.  It was a terrible time.  But you are still a most attractive woman.  Why did you not remarry?’

‘I did not feel the need to.’

‘All women need a man to care for them.  That is only natural.  Now you are facing criminal charges without anybody to speak for you.’

‘I’m perfectly capable of speaking for myself; and for my daughter!’

‘Perhaps in England, but you must understand that your word alone counts for very little here.  We allow visiting foreign women their liberties as long as they behave, but it is a courtesy not a right.  In your case that courtesy has now been withdrawn.’

 ‘I… I want to see a lawyer.’

‘Your protector could have engaged one.  As it is you do not have the right to do so.  One will be found for you nearer the time of your trial…’

‘But how long will that be?’

‘Oh… Three months… maybe four.  We do not rush justice in Barbouria.’

Lorna looked horrified. ‘B… but we can’t stay here for four months!’

Velasquez scowled.  ‘Are you saying Barbouria is not a fit place to stay for four months?’

‘No… not at all,’ Lorna said fearfully.

Isobel said: ‘I demand to talk to the British ambassador!’

Velasquez shrugged and spread his hands eloquently. ‘You may demand, Mrs Forbes, but alas, our small country does not concern your own enough for them to provide a full ambassador.  There is a consul, but I happen to know he is indisposed at the moment.  Not that there is anything he could do for you.  There is no doubt of your guilt.  I’m afraid you must face the consequences of your actions alone.’

Lorna snivelled while Isobel groaned in despair.

‘You brought it upon yourself,’ Velasquez reminded her. ‘And now, as subjects of criminal proceedings, you must be properly secured.’

‘Secured?’ Isobel asked.  ‘What do you mean?’

‘You are criminals and criminals and must be secured so that you cannot escape justice nor commit any more crimes.  Your passports will be confiscated and will be kept in custody.  That is the law.’

‘But aren’t we allowed bail?’

‘If you had a protector you could be released into his care upon payment of a surety,’ Velasquez said.  ‘But as you don’t…’

‘This is ridiculous!’

‘No, it is our law, and our people must see that even pretty Englishwomen are not above it.  The time of your great British Empire is passing, Mrs Forbes.  No gunboat will come to your aid.  Now you must obey the rules even of a little country such as ours.’  A smile played about his lips as he contemplated the consequences of that statement with evident pleasure, and for the first time his eyes lingered on their bodies until they squirmed uncomfortably.

Lorna snivelled and clutched at her mother’s hand.  Isobel squeezed her hand back reassuringly, although with little hope.  Velasquez smiled at the forlorn gesture.

‘First; female prisoners are not permitted clothes so you will both undress…’  He waved a hand and added generously: ‘… though you may continue to wear your sandals.’

As Isobel’s eyes widened and her mouth opened to vent forth her outrage at such a degrading suggestion, Velasquez rose, snatched up the quirt that had been lying across his desk and slashed it menacingly through the air before their eyes. 

‘No, not another word from you, Mrs Forbes!’ he thundered, so that she and Lorna flinched back in fear.  ‘In deference to your English sensibilities I have permitted you to speak for long enough already.  But women are given to us to be seen and enjoyed and their talk can soon become tiresome.  You and your daughter will obey my command without question or else I promise you will suffer for it!’

Behind them the two arresting policeman unhooked the quirts that had been hanging from their belts and stroked them menacingly.  Lorna squealed in fear.

‘Obey or your clothes will be removed by my men…’ Velasquez growled.

Isobel looked into Lorna’s pale disbelieving face.  ‘I’m sorry, dear… but I don’t think we have any choice…’

They stood up and with trembling hands began to remove their clothes.  Under the eyes of Velasquez and the two policemen they stripped off their thin summer dresses, then their silk slips and finally their underwear.  In a minute they stood before them shivering although not from cold, wearing only their white leather sandals.

Instinctively their hands crept over their groins and breasts as if to shield them from the strange men’s gaze, but Velasquez snapped: ‘No, you will cover nothing!  This shame you feel is necessary.  Now clasp your hands behind your necks and stand straight!  If you drop your arms without permission you will taste the whip!’

Stifling sobs of despair, they obeyed.

Velasquez stroked his full moustache and nodded in satisfaction.

Isobel was lusciously full figured.  She had a slightly doll-like face crowned by long golden wavy hair was coiled up in a bun.  Direct deep blue eyes shone out under straight, no-nonsense brows.  She had wide pouting lips and a neat nose with finely arched nostrils.  Her heavy breasts hung in soft, liquid curves, capped by large brown nipples.  Her hips were womanly in their fullness and her pale buttocks were smooth and fleshy.  A deep cleft mound of Venus with pouting inner lips showed at the junction of her soft thighs beneath a fluffy tangle of dark gold pubic curls.

Lorna was a slightly slimmer and less full-bodied version of her mother.  She had straight collar length brass-blonde hair brushed back from her high smooth forehead, light blue eyes, a straight neat nose and pouting, slightly petulant lips, not quite as wide as Isobel’s.  Her breasts were high set and prominent without being overlarge, capped by red-brown nipples.  She still had slightly girlish slim hips and her buttocks were well-rounded but not heavy.  Her pubic bush, thin about the edges but thickening to the centre, was a dark gold like her mothers, crowning a tight pubic cleft.

Under Velasquez’s unflinching gaze both women felt both fear and shame.  Their nipples, acting according to their shared instincts, at first shrank and crinkled in shame at their exposure, and then, perversely stimulated by this scrutiny, tingled and throbbed and swelled again to confuse and embarrass them with a show of arousal.

‘Turn around so I may see you from all sides,’ Velasquez commanded.

Miserably Isobel and Lorna obeyed, lowering their eyes to avoid the leering gaze of the policeman standing close behind them. 

‘I see where your daughter gets her beauty from, Mrs Forbes,’ he said.  ‘My compliments to you.   Now you will not speak again until I give you permission, or else…’ He held the tip of the quirt before their eyes.  ‘Keeping your hands where they are, you will turn and go through that door…’ He pointed to the entrance of a side room.

One of the policemen walked ahead and opened the door and then stepped aside.  Isobel and Lorna went through it with Velasquez following after them, driving them on with light flicks of his quirt across their pale bare buttocks.  Inside they caught their breath in horror at what they saw…