Extract from 'The Game'
Natasha sat on her bed and listened to the sounds of the others leaving. In the large empty hallway at the foot of the stairs trainers squeaked on the tiled floor, voices echoed off the bare walls, she heard the burr of a zip being pulled up and a short burst of tinny melody as someone’s phone went off. Then there was a bang as the front door shut behind them, and silence.
Gradually the sounds of the hillside communities around them began to filter through the quiet in the house – dogs barking; goats bleating, and far away, a sudden burst of gunfire. As she strained to listen, the call to prayer blared into life at the nearby mosque, making her jump. The chant, its beauty distorted by the badly amplified speakers, filled the night, obliterating the other sounds, until, one by one, it was joined by similar broadcasts from every mosque across the mountainside – and the rest of the city – and the prayer descended into cacophony.
“Do you think we should offer to set up their sound system properly for them?”
Natasha turned at the voice. Dave was standing in the doorway to her room, leaning on the wall, hands in the pockets of his combat trousers.
“It couldn’t sound any worse,” she said casually, although she felt her heart begin to beat faster. She’d been pretty sure he’d stay in – she’d dropped enough hints – but it was gratifying to know her plan had worked.
Let the games begin.
“You didn’t go with the others? Well, obviously not,” she answered herself.
“No,” he said, looking down. Then he looked up, directly at her.
Just ask me, she thought. Or better still, don’t ask, just come here.
“Are you ok?” he said.
No, I need good hard shag.
“Yes, fine,” she said. “Just after some, y’know, me time.”
“Oh, of course,” he blustered and actually began backing away.
“No, no,” said Natasha quickly, “Sorry, I didn’t mean you.” And here she smiled her shy smile. “Actually, it would be nice to …chat,” she finished lamely.
She looked away, cursing herself and him. For fuck’s sake, did she still need to seduce him?
There was a loud clunk and the lights went off.
They both exclaimed as they were plunged into complete darkness.
“Evening rations again,” he said, the forced joviality in his voice even more evident when it came, out of the darkness, disconnected from his face. Then there was a thump and the bed moved slightly.
“Ow,” he said, “that was my knee. Where are you?”
Natasha’s eyes were starting to become accustomed to the dark and now she could make out his figure as he felt his way around the edge of the bed towards her. Through the thin curtains behind him she could see that the mountainside was also dark. He was right. The day’s allowance of electricity had finished.
The mattress dipped slightly as he sat down near her on the bed.
“I could get Ibrahim to put the generator on?” he said, his voice close now.
“To do what?” said Natasha, and then conscious of the sharpness of her tone, added, “It’s not really worth it is it? We can use the torches, or…” and she paused for a moment.
“Or, just go to bed?” he asked, his voice by her ear now.
She turned her head to where the sound was coming from and the next minute his mouth was on her face. She moved so their mouths met and parted her lips. His tongue, clearly bolder than he was, pushed assertively into her mouth and she gasped. Immediately he pulled away.
“Are you OK?” he whispered.
“Provided you carry on,” she replied.
He snickered. It was the sound of a man who knows he’s read the signs correctly.
“What about Ibrahim?” he asked.
“He won’t come into the house, especially if he thinks I’m here on my own,” she replied, putting her hands up to find his head in the darkness. As his tongue pushed into her mouth again she felt her insides begin to liquefy. She twisted her hands into his hair and tugged and moaned. In response he pushed her down on her back and thrust his knee between her legs, pushing them apart. Holding her arms down he kissed the side of her neck and then, leant back and began to unbutton her shirt. When it was undone, pulled her bra cup down and dropped his head to her breast. As his warm tongue pushed against her erect nipple she moaned and then cried out as he nipped her. He lifted his head. “There can’t be too much of that now,” he said, suddenly reverting to the Dave she knew.
“There’ll be as much of that as I like,” she said, pulling his head back to her breast. “I’m striking a blow for women’s’ rights here. I’m going to scream all I like, and let these fuckers hear what it sounds like when a woman comes.”
At that Dave sat up and began undoing his fly. “And I’m going to do what I’ve wanted to do since we first met.”
There was another clunk and the lights came back on again, momentarily blinding both of them. When they refocused, blinking, Natasha burst out laughing. She was lying on her back, one breast bare, while Dave was kneeling over her, his erect penis in his hand.
“Jesus, we look like a Carry On film,” she said.
“Actually,” Dave replied, his face darkening again, “It’s even better being able to see you. Lift your hips.”
He pulled her trousers and underwear down, pushed her legs apart and began to lick up her thigh. By the time he reached the apex of her legs, she was already so wet that at the first flick of his tongue she began to come.
Afterwards, much later, they lay on the damp sheets, and listened to the start of the early morning call to prayer. Sometime not long after their first coupling the lights had gone off again. But now, through the window, Natasha could make out the top of the mountainside, silhouetted against the glow of the coming dawn. Dave lay on his back, his eyes closed, his hand absent-mindedly stroking her naked thigh.
“Well,” he said with some satisfaction, “I think everyone within a half-mile radius now knows what it sounds like when a woman comes.”
This is an extract from the novel Julia Paul is currently working on. It’s called The Game, and is set in Afghanistan. It follows three main characters as they try to work out the issues holding them back, against the backdrop of the immense problems facing a country which has been fighting invaders for nearly two centuries.