Thursday, October 11, 2012

Their Time Forever Gone 
(250 word fic)
by Georg Freese

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.

Ascending 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.

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