(female form ghoul or ghul is given as ghoulah and the plural is ghilan.)
Her customers, well “friends”, knew enough to knock before they entered her crypt. If they didn’t want to see her getting some or having a ghoulish meal that is. They much preferred their own fetishes acted out than watching someone else get theirs. The secret knock that said they knew her. One no one else would know. It’s not like they could see when someone knocked either. For miles around, all that existed was gravestones.
Some of her customers came over everyday just to see what she looked like that day, so they wouldn’t be shocked when they arrived for their appt. To hear the story of the person she had eaten and how they had died. They would sit in a quiet circle while she told a tale of mayhem or murder. And clap when she was done. She sounded like Scheherezade. Telling tales so she wouldn’t be killed in the morning. So passionate, it could be taken as life or death. If she weren’t already dead. So convincing. Her stories were riveting.
I’m sure they would have fascinated you too, if they hadn’t taken place in a very small town in the middle of a dessert. Miles from anywhere. Where most of the people had Bedouin ancestors. They might still, from a ethnographic POV,
She told tales of brothers who were killing to get the oldest son’s piece of the estate. You might think a little shack in a small village in the middle of nowhere wasn’t worth killing for, but it is when it’s the only roof you have ever known. And if you don’t get it, you will have to leave everyone and everything you love and go to a strange place, with strange people.
There were also tales of sisters who fought over the cute guy at the end of the village lane they both had a crush on. If he had a roof big enough to shelter them and any infants they might bring about.
And there were the drunken spouses who fought until one of them fell and cracked their head. Or forgot to douse the fire and burnt to death. Or beat or neglected their children and woke up to the results. Full of tears and a pounding head. Or the wife or husband who crept into their child’s bed and got caught and killed in a moment of rage.
The only one who had any clout was the village headman and the old herbalist and theirs ended where the village borders did. So there was next to no intrigue in the village. Everyone knew their place.
But the way she told the stories, you’d think Richard Burton had translated it. It was hard to remember that these people lived in the village they all knew and loved. They saw huge palaces and silk gowns in their heads. Even though they knew the people wore linens and heavy cottons.
She was an amazing story teller.
She was also an amazing courtesan. Her lovers came from miles around. For her services. Even though somewhere in their souls they were petrified that one day they would be the subject of her tale. Even though they never knew what she would look like from one day to the next.
She was intense. She was high risk. She was dead ffs!! But oh that made them want her even more. You’d swear they were necrophiles…