Benediction and Vestments

Story of Flo, Part III

Instant recap: Father Peter liked my sexy Shakti dance but Mother Dominique did not. She said, “Within two weeks this shameless slut will be a fully-surrendered, lusciously obedient, perfectly chaste bhakta.”

2. Benediction

There’s a twinge in my navel and I rise up on my knees. Another twinge causes me to raise my head and look at the two people seated on the couch. Dominique is smirking at me, and I tremble slightly, upset that I incurred her displeasure again. Peter stands up, steps toward me and holds out the back of his right hand to my face. On his middle finger is a ring with a magnificent purple gem. This time I need no prompt ~ I instinctively kiss the ring. Before he can withdraw his hand I grasp it with my own, look at him and say, “Thank you, Father!” There are tears rolling down my cheeks; my heart is breaking with love and gratitude, though my mind is puzzled as to why.

Peter places his hand gently on my head, flooding it with luscious white light. In a resonating voice he says, “Benedictio Arietum ~ may the blessings of the Ram be upon ye.” He lifts his hand and I look up at him, feeling like a little child. “It’s truly been a pleasure, Flo. We’ll meet again soon.” He turns to Dominique and says, “She’s all yours, MommaDomma. Do with her what you will!” Then he strides out of the room and disappears into the deeps of the hallway.

Dominique looks at me haughtily and says, “Put on your clothes!” I do, very swiftly. I’m thinking that she could’ve just prompted me psychically, so evidently she wanted me to hear that edge of venom in her voice. Now I stand before her decently garbed, trying not to look scared. Her face softens a little; she says, “Sister Flo, your training will be rigorous here in our cloister, but you’ll come to feel grateful for it when the transformation begins to flower. Do you have any preliminary questions?”

Breathing a little easier, I say: “Um, is it really like a Catholic cloistered order, Milady?”

“Ah, very good question. Such orders seclude their members within strict confines, an extreme which is often detrimental socially, psychologically, and spiritually. So in that sense the answer is no, but we use the term informally because we are indeed totally removed from the society of the surrounding Green Zone ~ the Matrix, Amerika, ZOG, whatever you wish to call it. We are an outpost of Thule, and live by its Dharma. The main difference from the homeland is that most of the kindred are in transition from the Matrix, and are learning our ways.”

“I understand, Milady; thank you.”

“Anything else on your mind?”

“No, I can’t think of… uh…” Despite my effort to stifle it, I give a big yawn. Oh no, Dominique is sure to take offense!

But she doesn’t. She’s surprised and annoyed for a moment, then says, “Heavens, girl, how much sleep did you get last night?”

Last night seems like last year, but now it dawns on me and I say, “None.”

“Ha, not surprising considering how you spent the night.” She looks to the side and beckons, and Janice walks over from the vestibule entrance. Dominique says to her, “Flo needs a bit of a nap. Is there a convenient place available?”

“She’s welcome to use my room, Milady. After that it’ll be the wardrobe, right?”

“Yes indeed, like all novices. Get her fitted up nicely, and then her debut can be at dinner instead of lunch. Unless you missed breakfast too, Flo?”

“Actually I did, Milady. The pastry was all I’ve had today.”

“Well then, make a little detour through the kitchen, Janice.” I’m happily surprised at how Dominique is feeling for me and arranging for my needs. Considering that she has absolute power over me, this is very heartening to say the least! “And so be off,” she says with a blithe wave of her hand. We both give her a bhakti-bow, and I follow Janice through a door I hadn’t noticed before. Now I’m out of sight of Dominique, and I heave a humungous sigh of relief.

3. Vestments for the Neophyte

The kitchen is a great beehive of activity as a dozen people prepare a meal for hundreds. Janice points to a spot near the door and says, “Just stand there ~ I don’t think you’ll be in the way.” Now she wades into the action, exchanging friendly greetings with people, grabbing a plate and filling it with tidbits from one pot, pan, or tray at a time, deftly dodging moving bodies every step of the way. She disappears momentarily behind a grilling oven, and I try to take a few steps to keep her in view ~ and find that I can’t! It’s like I’m riveted to this spot where she planted me. It’s almost as if I were wrapped in the cocoon again. Why is Janice able to do this to me? After all, Peter didn’t transfer to her any psychic command over me, like he did to Dominique.

Janice suddenly reappears at my elbow and hands me the plate covered with a little metal dome. She beckons me to follow her again, and in a moment we’re out the door and heading up a flight of stairs. I tell her what happened, and she says, “It’s from your vow of obedience. It works on all of us, in a hierarchical way. As the newest neophyte, you have to obey everybody ~ even me, the lowly housemaid, though otherwise I really am your humble servant.”

After traipsing down more hallways and through a couple of common rooms, we come to a door and Janice says, “Here’s my cell.”

“Cell?” I say with a bit of alarm. But my trepidation vanishes as she opens the door and we step into a small but elegant room, with art on the walls, a carved Goddess on a pedestal, and delightful knick-knacks filling the shelves. There’s a cot with a reasonably thick mattress and an old-fashioned hardwood writing-desk. She picks up some paperwork from it and beckons me to sit down for my lunch.

“We use the monastic term for our single rooms,” she explains; “but you see that we’re not into sackcloth and ashes or breadcrusts and water.” She stoops down and opens the door of a tiny refrigerator and takes out a pitcher. “Is grape juice okay? If not I have some cans with other flavors.”

“It’s wonderful!” I say, as I dive into what turns out to be a gourmet-quality meal. I’m so famished that I have it half gobbled up before I slow down enough to start relishing it.

Janice folds aside a decorative screen revealing a narrow clothes-closet, and takes out a dressing-gown. “When you’re finished eating,” she says, “strip off everything you’re wearing and slip into this. It’ll do for the short stroll to the wardrobe room. Meanwhile you could sleep naked if you like; the bed has clean linen.”

I’m slightly befuddled by these instructions, and Janice chuckles. Finally I say, “So I guess my vow of poverty includes even the clothes on my back.”

“Of course!” she says with a grin. “Just put them in this laundry sack, and it’ll be the last you see of them. But don’t worry, you’ll be pleased with your new raiment.”

She scoots off to other duties as I polish off the lunch, wash up in her private half-bath, then strip naked as she ordered. I slip into the silky sheets, and after a quick rush of intense imagery from the scenes just passed, I fall into a deep slumber.

In what seems like no time at all, I’m wakened by a soft knock on the door and a voice saying, “It’s Janice, Flo.” She enters immediately, and I sit up in some confusion as my mind struggles to remember what I’m doing in this unfamiliar place. It quickly falls together, but not before I reflexively cover my breasts with my arms. Janice laughs in delight and says, “Oh, what a dear modest girl! You’ll be one of us in no time.”

A few minutes later I’m padding along barefoot with Janice, enjoying the feel of the lush carpeting as we head to the wardrobe room. “We usually call it the vestry,” she says, “but neophytes aren’t often familiar with that word.”

“Right, I never heard it before. I guess it’s from traditional usage?”

“Yes ~ it holds the vestments of priests, nuns, and other members of religious orders.”

We arrive, she opens a double door, and I gasp at the size of the space ~ aisles and aisles of racks with all manner of attire on hangers. “I’m sure you’ll find some things you like,” she says.

She leads me to a section filled with dresses, all of them with calf-length skirts. “This is what you’ll have to wear for the first week or so,” she says; “long sleeves and high collars indoors, but if you work in the fields on warm days you can go with short sleeves and lower collars, but no cleavage whatsoever.”

“Wow, that’s modest all right!” I begin searching and soon find a lovely number in shades of violet. “Where should I try it on?”

“Just doff the dressing-gown and do it right here.”

I’m a little startled, but respond instantly to Janice’s command, and actually blush as I’m standing momentarily naked in front of her. She gives a wonderfully girlish laugh and says, “You sure are well-built. I’m jealous.” I don’t know what to say in reply, so, still blushing, I try on the dress. It fits perfectly.

We proceed through the racks and as I gather more vestments I ask Janice, “Did you come here from the, um, Matrix too?”

“No, I was born and raised in Thule, in what you call the wildlands south of here.”

“Wow! I can’t even imagine what that might be like.”

“Would you like me to tell you about it?”

“I’d love it!” And she launches into a spiel, talking very casually but boggling my mind at every turn.

4. The Housemaid’s Tale

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