The rustic bell tower was all that was left of what once was a thriving educational campus, in its time it served as a recognized foundation for learning and career placement. Hardly visible from across the abandoned field just at the edge of town, it stood fearlessly against the elements throughout the years.
Like an old soul, the ornamental structure held within the voices and faces of those who went on to discover, contribute, and shape an evolving world that was soon approaching the turn of the century.
Some had claimed to still hear the chimes from the bell tower, even though it had been abandoned nearly eighty years ago when the city began to develop, leaving the historical landmark in the darkness.
As three teens went along running and chasing each other through the empty field, the tall grass and weeds provided them a temporary hiding place as they wondered aimlessly through its interior, carrying with them cigarettes and weed. As dusk approached one youth pointed at the bell tower, and began in that direction encouraging the other two to join with him. They followed, still laughing and fake hiding along the way, finally making it to edge of the field and to the heavy ornate wrought iron fencing that surrounded the old bell tower.
They had gone too far away from their pre-determined safety areas designated by their parents, and the two youths who had followed decided to return home before dark. Waving them away, the single boy scoffed at them momentarily. As he gazed up at the old bell tower, drawn by its mystery, he opened the unlocked heavy iron gate. Compelled to go further, he would then be on his own.
Pushing downward on the iron latch, the thick wooden door opened a couple inches, then was stopped by the small pile of bricks placed there to hold the door shut, as resident blackbirds flew out overhead. Having cleared the bricks out of the way, the heavy ornate hinges finally allowed the door to slowly open a few more inches, as the metal creaked against itself, illuminated by the fresh full moon of the night. Squeezing through the doorway, the musty scent of old books, lamp oil, and tobacco filled his senses. He became entranced as he then began up the winding stairway with only the moonlight peering in through the small openings used as lookouts to guide him. As his eyes adjusted more to the darkness around him, he pulled his lighter from his pocket, lighting the area dimly, he could see the tower walls were filled with brushed paintings of distinguished individuals, graduates, and various stages of completed campus development. Spotting an old fire house lamp placed upon a shelf, he lit the weathered wick, it would burn for just a short while since the oil in the base had long been evaporated over time.
Now he could see more clearly the painted faces of those who had studied within, the small round eye-glasses and handle-bar mustaches, stern faced individuals wearing jackets, ties, and vests with pocket-watches. He was intrigued with what he saw as he continued up the winding stairway, finally making it to the top landing area, as a slight breeze filled the air, he could see the giant bells begin to sway. It was true he thought to himself, people had heard the heavy bells chime, though he could not hear anything standing right there next to them.
It was very late, and he had become tired, so he sat down on the floor with his back against the wall as the light from the fire house lamp dwindled. He had come to far to then turn around and go back . . .
With the early dawn breaking, the sunlight warmed his body as he awoke. As he reached to rub his eyes with an early morning yawn, he could feel the glasses on his face although he hadn’t worn any last night. Rubbing his face, there he felt the stubble of an unshaven face, and under his nose the bushy texture of the mustache. As he tried to stand up, he stumbled over his legs that were much longer than last night, bumping his head on one of the rafters in the small landing area of the bell tower overlook. As if by instinct, he reached into his vest pocket and checked the time at eight forty, knowing too that the day would begin at nine with the prompt chime of the tower bells. Stepping through the adjacent doorway, he looked in the mirror at a scholarly man in his mid fifties, forty years older than the young boy who had arrived last night. Adjusting his glasses, he straightened his vest and tie, then brushed his mustache using the familiar grooming shelf at the base of the mirror.
Through another doorway he instinctively made his way to the ringing telephone, also knowing too that his tasks for the day would begin upon lifting the telephone receiver . . .
— A portal through which time has been interrupted, allowing the living into another era, a capsule of time frozen eternally in the memories of those individuals having lived before or after us with no option for return, having been duly called upon, chosen by those very souls —
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