It’s true what I say about the monks. They do indeed speak to me in dreams. Their faces come out of the darkness, candle-light flashing on their cheeks, and they whisper in my ear. I smell their body stench and beery breath, and their words are only barely recognizable. They step back, wait for a moment, half-expecting a response from me. Then they turn and walk away, their tonsured heads disappearing again into the darkness.
I can’t seem to retain all that the monks say to me, but some things are coming clear. They are from the high medieval period, their abbey is in disarray, or so they believe. A woman has been “assaulted” in the cellarium, the abbot has turned a blind eye. A strange visitor has been ushered into the chapter house, and no one, not even the sub-prior, knows who it is or what is going on. Other visitors have appeared as well, such as knights and men of wealth from the nearby village. The abbot is evasive when questioned in chapter, and there have been whispers that he is in contravention of the Rule, in this instance.
There is an increasing urgency in their visitations. The lines on their faces are deepening, there is a sense of portent, a feeling that some evil has been released within the abbey’s walls.
When I’m not writing all this down, I’m teaching English to students from a very modern world. We communicate with computers, we study grammar and vocabulary. I ride my bicycle to and from work through city streets that are choked with cars and buses and traffic lights. The monks are frozen a different world — in a cloister — during the day, waiting patiently until I return.