Abbey Gate, Bury St Edmunds
Brother Dominic had been Porter at the priory for nearly 18 years, now. He was proud (if that wasn’t too much of a sin) of the work he did. He was responsible for the dual role of welcoming pilgrims to the monastery, but also of securing it from the influences of the world.
All that stood between the holy sanctuary within and the sinful chaos without was the rough wooden gate, and himself.
Forty years before, he had entered that same gate himself for the first time. He was only ten then, an average farm lad but with a religious disposition. He was brought here by the village priest after his mother had died, and he was to become a novice. His worn clothes really not much more than rag, but now he would get a warm habit, and regular meals.
And novice he had become, then a full brother of the order. He was keen to help, and kept “the Rule” as well as any. He was rewarded for his efforts when at 32 he was appointed keeper of the gate.
That’s all there was to it, really. He had a cell in the gatehouse, and a small office. Three younger brothers assisted him. Days had become routine, but he liked the regime. Early prayers, breakfast, and mass which were followed by duties at the gate. Then more worship, vespers, and to bed. But within this routine, he had important duties. Dominic as the Porter was keeper of the keys. All of the keys! Every gate, storeroom, and door was in his charge.
A key at a time might be issued out to his subordinates, but the bag on his hip was sacrosanct. Only the Porter could lay hands upon it. Only he knew all which it contained. This was a point of envy (if such is not too much a sin) among his assistants. They longed to have control of the bag, and to know all of its secrets.
Dominic smiled to himself as he thought of the curiosity of the younger monks about his bag. Still smiling he closed the door of his office and withdrew the flask of wine from the his mysterious bag.
This story was prompted by the challenge on The Secret Keeper’s page to use five prompt words to create a poem or story. This week’s words were:
ROUGH | GATE | RAG | HIP | WINE |