159: The Gatekeeper



In Malta Terrace, there is a statue made of bronze, hung from the roof of a block of flats that is known as “The Gatekeeper”: it is an androgynous robed figure with flowing hair and one palm outstretched as if giving benediction, that stares out at the Gorbals with vigilant eyes. Although a recent installation, it is already a prominent focal point in Glasgow’s living mythology. 

In 2002, there were a number of thefts from the Hunterian Museum – and one of the objects stolen was a small, sealed jar. This was not reported to the public, as the object was part of a collection not exhibited in the museum. The sealed jar has a dire connection, however, as it is one of the artifacts held within the Gorbals Plague Cart, a monstrous contraption that supposedly lead to an outbreak of plague in the city in 1900. The individual who stole the jar was intent on unleashing it again in the Gorbals – only for his ritual to fail completely. He had not counted upon the Gatekeeper, which bore the pain of the plague itself: the residents of the Gorbals marveled at a miracle in their very own neighbourhood as they noticed that the statue had mysteriously acquired a stigmata-like wound in its outstretched palm.

For as long as the Gatekeeper hovers above the streets, the Gorbals will be safe: in fact, the Gatekeeper can prevent harm coming to any area that it resides in. The only reason that it hasn’t yet been stolen is that Eilidh Kinnaird, a powerful acolyte, lives in one of the nearby flats, and uses it to safeguard her apartment block.

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