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The Old Guard

Floating on soft sponge-soled shoes and listening to his footfalls echoing faintly through the hall a step or two in front of him, listening to his creaking leather belt and his stick clicking against his holstered gun, the old guard makes his rounds, punching all his clocks on time. Someone strikes a chord on the clavier, and the notes fall from dissonance, like dust, into an empty octave. They lyre and the lute are out of tune, and the banjo in the glass case brings Susanna back to mind. The watchman sounds the alarm, and someone strikes another chord on the clavier and goes away.