The winding cobblestone streets, jostling with brown timber and white
plaster houses, converged at the square of the old German town.
There stood a tower of smooth masonry, a five stores stalwart which
arose from the square holding high a quadrilateral turret with a clock
on each of its four facades, a turret crowned by an arched belfry and a
spire of blackened brass tiles.
A door at the tower's base, a door
with its wooden planks chipped and its iron studs corroded, creaked
open to the abandoned darkness within, where a hundred and thirty steps
of stone clambered round the inside of the tower's walls.
past a titanic pendulum, the steps wound round and round until they
arrived at the turret above, where the clock's mechanism of interlocked
cogwheels and gears sat absent gyration, rusted by disuse, swathed in
spider's webs and mantled in oblivion's dust.
Further aloft, the
belfry was quiet but for the flutter and cooing of roosting pigeons,
where a bell of tempered brass once loud and solemn now hung dead from
its gallows, its flank blemished by a thousand strokes from the
mechanical mallet quiescent beside it.
Outside, at each of the
four clocks, the twelve roman numerals stood at their radiating posts in
eternal wait for the rotating sentries to pass their hour. But the arms
and the hands stayed to their last place of call, never to march again,
their time forever gone.