ANTI-ABBEY by Kine Fall
An hour before dawn, the new renunciates were expected to meet in the courtyard of the temple to receive blessings. There were no alarms, phones, or any devices for that matter, we had to use free will to complete this simple duty of our Lord. Those who could not wake up in time had to be exorcised and slept in separate wings of the dormitories.
One unfortunate morning, I was in the midst of an intriguing and epic dream. I was walking down a forbidden hallway in the temple, only it was ages before females were even admitted. I had this intense sense of urgency, as if someone or something were chasing me. I reach a large door with an iron gargoyle in the center, with menacing eyes and lion paws protruding from the sides. I hesitated but pushed against it and it creaked open, breaking a web that had been in the cracks of the doorway. I slid into the crack of light and closed the door shut behind me. There was a spiral staircase that wound all the way up the tower, and I peeped through little slits that were cut out of the wall looking at the orange shingled roofs below. I could feel vertigo from running up in tightly wound spiral. Finally I reach the mezzanine level, there was no door, just a large dusty room filled with vials of liquids, desks strewn with parchments of various instructions and diagrams, books written in Latin of all sorts of symbols that had been etched into the hardwood floor below me. One single ray of light shone into the room from the left, and it hit directly on a caldron in the far corner. I had a white robe on with a large hood, and began to inch closer to it to peep inside but just as I had my head directly above it bats began to fly around me and I awoke. The only woman left in the 18 beds of our dorm.
I did not bother to make my bed, only grabbed my rope and tied my sash quickly and hastened out the door. I had no idea what time it was or if the blessings were over but I felt frightened that the later I had been the worse the punishment would be. To me, an exorcism was a sort of cruel punishment because the rest of your days all the monks and nuns would see you as a burden, attached with demonic forces. You were basically exiled from the holy ones, but kept close for the sake of humanity. I decided to try and take a shortcut. I had only been admitted to the Abbey because my father’s ancestry were all renowned members of the clergy in the South of France. The moment I was of age and in love, my father sent me away to this prison of sorts only to keep me from realizing my true destiny.
While attempting the shortcut I found myself in the far west wing of the cathedral which had been forbidden to us upon arrival. Only the ministers and few nuns were permitted to enter. I don’t know how I got there but I felt that it had been fate. Something was terribly familiar about the gothic designs on the ceilings, and golden tapestries that hung there depicting miracles of saints that were believed to have lived in this area of France.
When I reached the end of the hall, I realized this was not coincidence at all. There was the door, with the lionesque gargoyle on it glaring me in the face, inviting me in. I pushed it but this time It did not open so easily. It was locked. I peered in through the keyhole and through it sure enough there was the spiral staircase. Suddenly, sounds of footsteps were approaching rapidly from behind me.
“What do you think you are doing in here!” My lady was so swift she could have been a member of law enforcement. She grabbed me by the ear and twisted it with the fear of her own punishment.
“We have been looking for you everywhere you dreadful child! Your bed has not even been made! The devil must be cast away from you!” and with that she literally dragged me away, as I stared at the door that led to my true destiny.