by Ghost Writer
Later in life, when she looked back at the day of her sale, Zara would find difficulty in remembering what happened after hearing the news from Amir. She would vaguely remember doing her chores with the rest of the women; the cleaning, cooking, and serving, but she would be unable to recall any other details.
Only when her uncle, Johairi, ordered her to be bathed would her memory returned. She would remember stepping into the bathtub, squatting down to pee as water ran over her skin. It was a welcome and rare sensation as women in the Dhall household were only allowed one shower per week. Rarer still was the fact that two older women, her mother and one of her aunts, were in charge of cleaning her. Zara knew the two older women were washing her for her sale but she was glad her mother was with her anyway. The death of her father had hit her mother the hardest, but she fought through her despair and in the ensuring years she had been there for Zara and Amir, showing her children their place in this new world.
“Remember to smile,” Zara looked at her mother who repeated herself. “Your smile is your most beautiful feature. When you are up there, remember to smile.”
Her mother’s love for her children was without question but it was still a surprise when she hugged Zara. Standing in the shower naked except for their collars, mother and daughter hugged each other for the last time.
Mother and daughter left the shower. After drying herself with a towel, Zara stepped out of the bathroom to see that a meal had been prepared for her. Unlike the men who had proper meals prepared for them by the women, the women of the Dhall household usually ate simple food like rice or oatmeal with a bowl of plain water. It was still far better than other households. Uncle Johairi made sure all the food for the women were halal, something that couldn’t be said for every household in the Middle East , as many people believed the sins of women were so high it was just a waste of time for them to try to follow God’s word.
Here in front of her however was a proper meal with chicken, vegetables, milk and even a mezze. The whole household was there with the women kneeling at attention on one side of the room and the 4 men of the Dhall household standing on the other. Standing in front of everyone was her Uncle Johairi.
The middle son of three boys, her uncle took responsibility for the sons, wives and daughters of his dead brothers when both of them fell to the disease. Zara knew it must have been a hard slog for him as it couldn’t be easy to be the sole man taking care of 14 people, ten of whom were women. Despite all that had happened, Uncle Johairi never lost his innate kindness. Kindness that many would argue women did not deserve.
“Have a good meal Zara,” Uncle Johairi said. “Then we need to go.”
Zara did the only thing she could to show her gratitude; she knelt and bowed her head to ground. Slowly, she crawled to the submission plates on the floor. The food was placed in dishes that were originally designed for dogs, but in the years since the practice started, people had started to call them submission plates or "subplates" for short.
With her hands behind her head, Zara began to eat.
The food was delicious and Zara ate greedily. It has been some years since she ate anything like this outside the holidays, and she was sure her mother, aunts and cousins put in some time to get it perfect for her farewell. She didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
The meal ended too quickly and Zara found herself been guided to the living room where she was dressed for the public. First was the embarrassing but necessary diaper that Zara put on quickly. After that came her gag. Designed to be a replica of a male tool with Islamic verses written on it, the gag was attached to a leather strap which Zara's aunts helped buckled behind her head. Zara felt the gag in her mouth and noticed that it was different from her usual gag which she had for the past few years. In another example of his kindness, Uncle Johari must have had it made especially for this day.
Zara then put on a long-sleeved black dress that reached her ankles, ankles that were covered by a pair of black socks. The dress was two sizes too big for her, but nowadays that was the accepted and expected practice in the Middle East. A thick black scarf of the same material was then placed over her head and her mother put on Zara's niqaab. The thick black veil was fastened above her eyes and only a tiny slit was allowed for her vision. Zara then held her hand forward together and her aunts covered them in a pair of black gloves. Her mother then cuffed her hands together with a pair of black handcuffs while an aunt cuffed her ankles together with another pair. Finally her mother knelt before her and linked the two pairs of cuffs together with a short silver chain. The short silver chain prevented Zara from standing upright and Zara had to stand with her back hunched. Her uncle may be kind but he was also devout. He followed the Islamic ruling that women should not be allowed to stand upright in public. In truth, Zara couldn’t say she disagreed.
“Zara,” Uncle Johairi kindly said. “Say goodbye to the family.”
Zara looked to her kneeling mother and was immediately hugged by her. A hug that was soon joined by the other women of the family.The group hug was only finally broken up by the soft sad command of her uncle.
“Zara,” Uncle Johairi said. “We need to go.”
Her mother with tears in her eyes released her hug and whispered her final advice to Zara, “Remember to smile.”
Zara looked at her mother and did the only thing she could. She nodded. The women of the family moved back a step as Zara felt a hand on her elbow.
"We need to go Zara," her uncle said.
Cuffed, silenced, and hobbled, Zara was led to the driveway where the family car waited. Like most family vehicles in Dubai, the rear doors of the car were bigger than the front and the reason was waiting for her.
The Islamic Isolation Cube, widely known as the IIC for short, and was based on an American design. In the ironic aftermath of The Plot, nations around the world had truly joined together. With the shortage of men throughout the world, the remaining men of the world had to help each other in the control of women. Ideas and technology of how to control women were freely shared between nations and the IIC was just one example.
A cube-like machine, the IIC was officially designed for the safe transport of women over long distances, but everyone knew and understood the real reason for the IIC: To strictly control women even when they are out of the house and to isolate the world from their evil. In the Middle East, the movement of women was strictly controlled, but, even in this region, sometimes there was a need for them to go out in public. In such situations, there was a need to control what a woman could do and see. The IIC was the result of such concerns. It provided a safe, isolated, and controlled way to move women from one location to another.
Amir opened the door of the IIC and as her uncle led Zara into the machine, Amir gave a friendly smile to her. Zara nodded in return, glad that her brother was there to send her off. She had no hard feelings at Amir’s actions this morning as it was nothing but what she, and all other women in the world, deserved. She was old enough to know that it wasn’t always this way, but everything changed due to The Plot and she was about to get a history lesson; a lesson to remind women of their horrible nature.
Zara was grateful for the soft cushions of the chair in the IIC. There were many families who do not care to spend such expenses for the comfort of their women, and it was another show of the concern and kindness of her uncle. As Zara sat comfortably in the chair within the IIC, her uncle strapped her in with the leather straps that came with the chair.
Kind as he was, there were some things even he couldn't get away with. Locking a woman in the IIC was one of them. Uncle Johari used the straps to lock Zara's hands, legs, body, and head in place, and after making sure she was as secure and comfortable as possible, he closed the door to the IIC. A brief darkness surrounded Zara before her history lesson then started.
A screen lit up in front of Zara's face and with her head locked in position she had no choice but to look at it. A strong male voice sang an Islamic verse. Within the dark and soundproof IIC, the idea was that the screen and the voice would become Zara's world. Zara had to agree it was a good idea.
The lesson started with a picture; a picture of dead bodies. A picture showing thousands and thousands of dead bodies laying in the desert. Laying there because there was just no place in the morgue to house them. The male voice of the IIC then told Zara of the horror of The Plot. Of how seven years ago, a flu-like disease swept the globe and changed the world.
At first the world thought it was another worldwide flu epidemic like the 1918 Spanish Flu, but events soon proved that this was no ordinary pandemic. In 1918, those infected by the Spanish Flu had a mortality rate of 10%, this disease however had a mortality rate closer to 25%.
As the disease spread, the world soon realized a strange characteristic of the disease. The disease affected men more than women to a degree previously unseen throughout history. Throughout the world, men died in the millions while women died only in the hundreds. The world soon discovered why as news came that the disease sweeping the globe was in fact a man-made virus.
Traditional enemies immediately began to blame each other for manufacturing the disease. Even though no one had any evidence, fear, panic and unfounded accusation led to wars throughout the world. In the Middle East, a short and bloody war now known as the “Months of Mistakes” erupted. The war made Mecca a nuclear wasteland and Jerusalem a chemically uninhabitable city. The screen in front of Zara showed the destruction of the Great Mosque in Mecca as well as what was left of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Throughout she had seen the pictures countless times, Zara still feel the horror of seeing the two holy cities of Islam in ruins. She wanted nothing but to closed her eyes but she crushed her desire and cursed her own weakness. This was the truth and as a woman, like all women, she needed to be reminded of the evil her gender was capable of.
Memories of the day when a then nine year old Zara lost her father came flooding back.
Mohammad Dhall was a fit, healthy man, a loving father and husband, but the disease took no notice. It took him to Allah along with millions of others. Zara remembered that day clearly when news came from the hospital that his father had fallen to the disease. The disease spread so quickly that no one knew anything about it and patients had to be quarantined for the public’s safety. So her father died alone, without his family beside him. A heartbreak that was soon compounded when her two year old brother, Iskander, also fell to the disease.
The history lesson in the IIC continued on.
As disease and global war made Earth a living hell, a discovery changed everything. The news came from the Americans. The American government, or what’s left of it by then, announced to the world they had uncovered the origin of the disease. Zara still remember that day when crowding around the television, her surviving family members heard the news that the disease was not a man-made; it was a woman-made disease.
Now commonly known as The Plot, the disease was invented by a group of militant women with a devious aim. These women desired a world where there was female dominance of the planet, and to achieve this they decided to knowingly kill millions of men throughout the world.
The news spread throughout the world like a firestorm. Unless you were in the deepest jungle of the Amazon, there was no way anyone would have missed the news of The Plot and the plans of the women involved. To make matters worse, the American government informed the world that the women in America had help in inventing and spreading the disease. The disease had spread too quickly throughout the world and the Americans believed there was no way the women could have been so successful without help from other like-minded groups in the invention and spread of the disease. This was a plot that had worldwide global help but with the American population so depleted due to the disease, they found that they no longer have the necessary resources to find all these women.
That was the reason they made the information public. They were asking for information and help from other governments in tracking down these collaborators. So began the worldwide witch-hunt for the collaborators of The Plot.
It was a hunt everyone wanted in on.
Every family has lost at least some male family members to the disease and in a region like the Middle East where family is everything, vengeance was on the mind of everyone. Women who had lost sons, fathers, and husbands were especially “helpful” in tracking down the collaborators, but when the first collaborators were captured and tried, the information that came out was more infuriating than satisfying.
It was another period of time Zara could remember clearly. The collaborators could be divided into two groups. The few women who had full knowledge of the plan and knew what they were doing, and the majority of the plotters who did not. Most of these secondary collaborators swore by the Koran they had no idea they were helping to spread a disease to kill their own family members, much less 25% of the male population in the world. Even the few women who did know of the actual plan were surprised by how well it worked. To these women, the plan was kill “some” of the male population of the world, not one out of every four of them. The shame and horror Zara felt when it was revealed that women, not men, were responsible for the deaths of millions were compounded by the fact these women thought that it was okay to just kill "some" of the men.
Needless to say, all these women, even those who did not have first-hand knowledge of what The Plot was doing, were executed. Unlike in the soft West, ignorance was not considered a reasonable excuse when millions of bodies were already in the ground.
The wars that started due to the disease stopped almost immediately when The Plot was discovered but by then the damage was done. Not only had millions been killed, and cities destroyed, the disease continued to spread unabated. Drugs were created to slow and combat the disease but men still died in the tens of thousands. However, the months after the “Months of Mistakes” were not just a period of mourning, but also a period when the world showed its resilience.
The World Health Organization received help from almost every major country and the United Nations, which had helped in the return of peace throughout the world, passed a UN treaty that banned the right to go to war for 100 years.
Frankly, it wasn’t all that difficult as no one was interested in more deaths but it was a great giant step for humankind. Grievances between nations, races, and even religions were all put aside as everyone wanted to rebuild what the women took away. It was the same in the Middle East as every nation laid down its arms to start rebuilding. Food, technology, building materials; anything that was needed for the rebuilding was willingly and happily shared by everyone. However, with the rebuilding came the need to ensure that what had happened would never happen again. With that need came a small miracle.
The UN passed a non-binding treaty that banned the right to vote for women throughout the world. In the aftermath of the horror of The Plot, the treaty passed easily but it was the decision of the various countries of the world whether to implement the treaty. Zara had heard rumors that there were still some countries in the world that still foolishly allow the vote to women, but in the Middle East there was never any doubt all countries would implement the treaty. This was when the miracle happened.
The screen in front of Zara showed the press conference where senior religious leaders from Islam, Christianity and Judaism from all sects came together to support the treaty and urged all people of the faith, of any faith, to support it as well. A civil law now came with universal religious consent and the people took to it with vigor. Strict laws were passed banning women from all jobs but the most mundane and menial. Strict laws were passed in the control and confinement of women. Strict sumptuary laws were passed to control the dressing of women in public and private settings. In short, anything and everything a woman did was controlled and harsh punishment was issued to anyone caught flouting the laws.
The program in the IIC ended with scenes of the rebuilding the world had undertaken in the years since The Plot was discovered. Saudi Arabia was building a new city called New Mecca; Iran hosted a conference where senior Sunni and Shite clerics came together promising peace between the two major sects of Islam; religious leaders from Islam, Christianity, and Judaism were discussing a new site to build a New Jerusalem; and the peace was shared throughout the world. The final scene of the lesson was that of a museum and monument was under construction in Geneva for the men killed by The Plot.
With the end of the lesson, the IIC became dark with only the sound of Islamic music in the background. Zara closed her eyes to enjoy the sweet sound of the music when it suddenly stopped. The screen then lighted up and Zara opened her eyes. This time the program started with a woman confessing proudly to her part in The Plot.
Zara knew her.
She was Mia Limburg, an Israeli woman who was one of the leaders of The Plot in the Middle East. Zara had seen this program before when she was taken on a long trip to Abu Dhabi last year. The program would show a series of confessions from the women involved in The Plot, and while some like Mia Limburg were proud of their work, most were horrified by the results of their actions.
Zara sat in the darkness with her eyes closed, listening to the confessions of these women and silently glad of the control the men had in her life. Zara had no illusions of herself; she was just a normal girl and if she had been born ten or twenty years earlier, she would had grown up in a time when women had more freedom. Freedom like what these women had; freedom that allowed them (willingly or unwillingly) to join a mad plot that killed millions of men.
No, it was better now with women taken out of public life, being fully controlled by their men. Zara tugged at the chains and straps confining her. They did not give her a millimeter of freedom and Zara was relieved. These hateful women who proved once and for all that women should never be free. With her confinement, the world was still at peace.
Copyright© 2014 by Ghost Writer. All rights reserved.