Characters at the Gate

I’ve promised you a brief look at what has happened to the Elizabeth’s Story folks since the latest edition of the book appeared. I hope you took a look at the April 14 post. The first of these glimpses. If not, I would encourage you to read that one first, and then return here. Your call.

There are some concerns, and Elizabeth probably feels as though she has lost control of the authorship. So many collateral stories. Here is the second in a series of eight 500-word narrative essays which take us forward, toward some clarity. If you have a question, please ask. I will put it to one or another of the group and let you know what is said. Or withheld. They are a squirrely bunch. Especially at night. Or when riding in the car. I don’t like it when they drive. I hide the keys.


Watcher at the Gate – Elizabeth

Billy returned to the house. Kathryn sat at the kitchen table. Two cups.

“Miss Kathryn,” he began. She motioned him to sit, a finger to her lips. Darkness at the door’s edge. Billy sat down.

“The shed!” he hissed. “It’s an office. And a bed? What in the world?” Kathryn smiled broadly. Hint of worry.

“It’s been sort of a secret.” She looked directly at him. “I wasn’t certain that you would return. From Europe. Maybe a new adventure.”

“What are you talking about?” She waved him quiet.

“I listened to you this evening. Talking about your trip. And about college, and Hollister, and plans. I was relieved.”

“The shed, Miss Kathryn. What’s up?”

“Okay, William. And let’s start by you calling me my real name. Just Kathryn. If you want to work in the shed. The Gate.”

“The Gate? I saw the sign over the door. What’s this about, Miss, I mean. Well, Kathryn?” She smiled, nodding. She leaned forward.

“William. You could take my place. At the Gate.” She held her coffee cup halfway to her lips. “You will graduate college in a couple years, but you need to begin planning and preparing yourself. It’s an opportunity. Priceless rewards. It’s about the stories. The books. Each person’s story. Like your William Book. And it’s not the Billy Book anymore.” Her smile broadened.

“What?” He almost shouted.

“You’ll see. I want you to take my place, William. Soon. You will find out what I mean. About the stories people will tell. When they arrive. At the Gate.”

“The stories?” Elizabeth’s voice. Clear and strong. She stood in the bedroom doorway. She pointed at Billy.

“It was my story! I wrote it, instead of simply living it, a haphazard victim of each day. Then I realized I needed to finish the telling, actually write the final chapters, and re-write the earlier ones. And chapters I hadn’t even dreamed of yet. So I took the train to California. To hide with the only friend I ever had, find her protective shadow. And finish my story. Kathryn. My Kathryn never tried to make her way into my story. Or tell it to other people. She always knew my story. Elizabeth’s Story.” She paused, caught her breath and went on. Looking at Kathryn.

“Okay, Billy Johnson helped me. And got it published. Then my mistake. Asking him to deliver the two books. And he started telling the story. Confusing it. Complicating it. He lost track of whose story it was. And who was telling it. Kathryn, it’s my story.”

Kathryn eased herself out of her chair and made her way around the table to Elizabeth.

“Come on, Elizabeth. Let’s sit down and talk. William, you too.” Elizabeth put her arm around Kathryn and shuffled to the table. Kathryn looked over Elizabeth’s shoulder. Billy’s shocked eyes.

“Here we are, William. Sooner than I thought. The Gate. Help her to the table.” Billy gently grasped Elizabeth’s elbow.

“And toward the Gate, William. The Gate.”


3 thoughts on “Characters at the Gate

  1. Excellent new glimpse, Morgan!

    I love it when Kathryn says, “Okay, Billy Johnson helped me. And got it published. Then my mistake. Asking him to deliver the two books. And he started telling the story. Confusing it. Complicating it. He lost track of whose story it was. And who was telling it.”

    I’m not certain that it was “a mistake,” as Kathryn seems to believe, but she is ever so right: when we tell someone’s story, we become a part of it, rewriting the story as we retell it!


  2. Thanks, Brent. That’s Elizabeth’s take on it, and it’s true. But Billy learned something more. It’s not just the story that changes in the telling. It’s the person listening. Or persons. I recall the bedtime story in Jutland. Bodil and her man. The blessing. And I guess that’s it. Blessings change both benefactor and beneficiary, no?


  3. Mimi: Many thanks for following Elizabeth’s story. She is preparing to search further. Make her way home. I think an unlikely companion will join her, and perhaps one or both will be healed. Again, thanks. The stories are alive. Morgan


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