A-Z: H for Hourglass

Writing Prompt: HOURGLASS

Provided By: Pencilgirl, a fellow A-Z participant whose posts I’ve been following. Visit her! Also, I need prompts between R and Z!

Genre: Fiction/FLash


It was once not unusual for Dina to wait for Raoul in his study. When they were still children, and the study belonged to Raoul’s father, Uncle Robert, Dina holed up and waited for Raoul to come home from school, watching the hourglass and matching the trickle of sand to the minutes and seconds on the clock.

Blood-spattered blue hourglass
The Blue Hourglass-A-Z blogging

The companion of her childhood vigils was too physical a reminder of time trickling away for her, Raoul, and everyone else. It had already run out for Robert Umbridge, who lay stiff and blood-spattered upon the dining-table at her place.

She had to stop thinking about it, because when the butler carried word to Raoul she was here, in tears, he would hurry back from the stable. She would have to tell him all about it.

Her hands played with brass knobs on the table drawers. They felt cold and heavy in her hands, like her heart. As she sat watching the trickle of the sand in the hourglass. It seemed to glow blue, then flicker. She blinked to clear her eyes.

Without warning, one of the drawers slid out. Amongst the papers with the Umbridge family crest, her eyes fell on her name. Raoul’s strong hand on a plain brown envelope: Dina Middleton.

Without pause, she tore the envelope and read:

If you have this in your hand, Father is dead, I’m on the run, and They’re coming for you. I’m sorry I couldn’t do better than this Dina, but I knew you would come to the study. I wish I could tell you more, but right now, do not go back home. RUN. No, wait, take the hourglass. It will protect you.

Before she knew it, Dina had grabbed the letter and the hourglass, wrapped them in her scarf, and jumped out of the window. In the darkness of the evening the hourglass glowed blue through her scarf, but she paid it no mind.

Turning, she caught a glimpse of the butler at the study door, and behind him, figures in black, gleaming swords in hand.

She ran into the woods behind the house of Umbridge, unaware that Raoul stalked her, sword at the ready.


Book of Short Fiction
Book of Short Fiction

The A to Z challenge led to a book: A to Z  Stories of Life and Death.            Twenty-six A to Z stories, based on the twenty-six letters of the alphabet, question our moral compass: How do you judge a teacher toying with the sexuality of her teenaged student? A boy who decides to murder his mother? What thoughts rage inside a pedophile serial killer before he shoots himself? They challenge the concepts of beauty, truth, and morality, by revealing the face of the other side.

The stories focus on a crucial juncture when a character’s life changes, for the better or worse, because of a choice or decision. Some of the characters in the stories confront death, others talk about life with its quirks and whimsies. Each voice, ranging in age from a six-year-old to a centenarian, has its own riveting story to tell. Together, this collection of stories at over 12000 words attempts to prove that when it comes to stories, depth can sometimes replace length and breadth.


I’m tweeting A to Z posts at #atozchallenge.  And there’s also the Twitter A toZ Challenge Daily.

Thanks and shout-outs to organisers Arlee Bird (Tossing It Out) , Jeffrey Beesler’s (World of the Scribe),  Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh) , Jen Daiker ( Unedited), Candace Ganger (The Misadventures in Candyland) , Karen J Gowen  (Coming Down the Mountain) , Talli Roland ,  Stephen Tremp (Breakthrough Blogs )

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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Add Yours
  1. Cheri L.

    What an intriguing excerpt! Because it has to be an excerpt, that can’t be the whole thing. We have to find out if Raoul knows his father is dead, and did Dina kill Robert or was it someone else and is Raoul stalking her to defend her from the guards as his letter indicated or is he an enemy too?
    Meanwhile, thanks for stopping by The Brass Rag. Come again soon and bring your characters. It will be great fun – I can tell.

  2. dayya

    Hey Damyanti! After reading (for the second time) H for Hourglass, I bought the ebook! It’s Sunday where I live and I’m going to settle down and read A to Z! d:))

  3. jjspina

    Thank you for following me. I love the A-Z idea for daily blog. You are very creative. I will be following you. Nice to meet you.

  4. Pattaya Hotel Job Vacancies

    You actually make it appear so easy together with your presentation but I
    in finding this topic to be actually one thing which I believe I’d by no means understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very vast for me. I’m taking
    a look ahead for your next publish, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  5. rockhouse54.wordpress.com

    i due a variation (?) of this whenever i stumble on what to write and am sure not the only, i crack open the dictionary and whatever day the month it is i use that numbered alphabit, so far so good.

  6. Augusta

    Having read this I thought it was very informative.

    I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put
    this content together. I once again find myself spending way too much time
    both reading and leaving comments. But so what,
    it was still worth it!

  7. walkinthebeat

    Hey, thanks for checking out my blog. What you are doing here is very cool. As for R to Z blogs, here is my contribution: The Rights of Every Writer, Sometimes I…, Typical Madness, Unburdened, Venom, Waterfall, Xenophobia, Yardbird, Zealot

  8. Lorraine Marie Reguly

    Hi. I just wanted to offer my advice about the R through Z prompts, and that is to read the dictionary! Informative, and how I discovered the meaning of “ab ovo”, which I added as a page to my blog. You will thank me for this advice later, if you heed it. Trust me!

  9. Jodi Lea

    I am humbled, and honored that you’re following my blog! I will be reading more of your A-Z posts in the near future 🙂

  10. bramkamp

    I love your attitude, very Natalie Goldberg: writing as practice! And thank you for following Newbie Writers Guide – we hope we can deliver insights and information you’ll find helpful!

  11. Glenda

    I rarely write comments, however after browsing through a lot of remarks on this page A-Z:
    H for Hourglass | Daily (w)rite. I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be only me or do a few of the responses look as if they are coming from brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are posting at additional online sites, I’d like to follow everything fresh you have to post.
    Could you post a list of all of all your social networking
    sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  12. Rebecca

    Thanks for liking my post, “OK, I’m mad.” Nothing I ever intended to write but what can I say? The title says it all. Thanks for dropping by and I will be dropping back by here as well.

  13. Judy Guion

    A very fascinating and unique idea. I too, would love the “rest of the story”. In those few short words, you’ve written at least a third of the story. Challenge – could you write a middle and an end that were just as short and concise? I think you could. Would you take the challenge?

    • Judy Guion

      Great addition. Is that the end. Does Raoul track her down? How does the hourglass, shining blue, save her? Is Raoul responsible for the murder? So many questions with no answers.
      I really enjoy your writing style. I’m following you and look forward to future posts.

  14. bronxboy55

    The amazing thing about your A-Z posts is that each one reads like a full-blown story that we’ve opened up to at some random page. It feels as though a lot of things have gone on before, and a lot more is about to happen. You must be working harder at these than you’re admitting — maybe even harder than you know. Great work, Damyanti.

    Thanks, Charles. Your words mean a lot to me, because I have read your work, and have nothing but great respect for you as a writer. You’re right, these are getting more time and attention, mostly cos I’m scheduling them in advance, and can tweak them a little before they get published. It is good practice, and I’m betting if I keep working at it, one day my Muse will do my bidding.

  15. Lisa

    Nice flash! It’s detailed, and I always love a good twist at the end. Well constructed and executed (no pun intended).

  16. Wendy

    So each of your posts are flash fiction? That’s great, and so was this story. Thank you so very much for your kind words on my “I” blog entry about Indian cuisine.

    May I contribute some “prompts” for your R-Z dilemma?

    Rituals. Sanity. Turmoil. Urgency. Validation. Wistful. Xenophobia. Yearning. Zamboni.

    Maybe you have some for the letter J thru Y (except for K)? Food related in some way.

  17. Alana

    Just finding you through the A to Z Challenge and your comments on another blog I follow. Wow – a daily blog even without the challenge – quite impressive!!! I’ve just subscribed to your site by e-mail so I look forward to reading your posts.

    Let’s see about those R to Z prompts –
    R – ruckus
    S – slighted
    T – tossing and turning
    U – underwhelmed
    V – vociferous
    W – wacky
    X – xerox
    Y – yap
    Z – zen

    Good luck for continued success with the challenge! I’ll be reading!

  18. Nicole/MadlabPost

    Here are some prompts that I came up with for you to use for the challenge:
    ……hope this helps!

    Oh, Nicole! Bless you for the prompts…I am so stuck with some of the letters, this would indeed help!

  19. Nicole/MadlabPost

    This story based on the Hourglass prompt is such a tease, lol. You kept the reader’s attention from beginning to end. I may have to try and get you to collaborate with me on some projects!

    :)…Thanks! I’ll be happy to collaborate, depending on the project, of course :D!

  20. Nutschell

    Oh i hope this doesn’t go to spam again. 🙂
    I looove this post. And all I can say is, what happens next?? I need to know the rest of this story!

    It did go into spam again, but I rescued it:). Thank you so much for coming by to comment the second time. Now that it has been taken out of spam, should not happen if you choose to comment again!

  21. Manzanita

    Your stories are fascinating. I read back posts as long as my time allowed and I was taken in with each one. Thank you for visiting my blog so that I was able to meet you.
    Wanna buy a duck

    Thanks Manzanita, hope you come back to read more.

  22. Alex Fayle

    Oh! That last line slammed into me like Raoul’s sword. Well done!

    Thanks Alex. The ending changed thrice before this one came:)

  23. Tara Tyler

    you have so many stories. how do you come up with them all!
    happy h day!

    I don’t know Tara, they come by themselves. I make sure I wait for them 🙂

  24. Nate Wilson

    I don’t know how, but you seem to catch me off-guard with every story. I never quite know where it’s headed. Excellent, as always!

    Thanks, Nate, that’s very sweet of you to say that :). I try. Hope you keep visiting.

  25. EJ Wesley

    So cool (and challenging) to do flash fiction for your A-Z! Really enjoying them!


    Thanks, both for your visit and comment 🙂 Appreciate it!

  26. Laura Eno

    Loved the treachery in this! Excellent twist. It would be a great opening for a novel!

    LOL…don’t know if I have enough sustained writing in me for a novel. But I guess I’ll find out very soon. Thanks for stopping by and the comment!

  27. bornstoryteller

    I am really so glad to have connected with you. Reading your posts is inspirational in how you can just hook people in like you do.
    Love this story, like all you’ve done.

    Thanks. I wring my hands a lot while writing these, and it feels nice to be validated. Glad you enjoyed the story 🙂

  28. Talli Roland


    That’s a great H word and an even better story. Loved it!

    Thanks Talli! It means a lot that a writer like you likes my work! 🙂

  29. PencilGirl

    Wow!! That was terrific!! 😀 😀
    I love thrillers.. It’s so cool that you can write such an interesting, intriguing piece with so few words!! 😀
    Awesome post!! 😀

    Thanks, your prompt was inspiring, as are your comments. They give me the vim to keep going!