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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 )

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Ampbreia says:

    That’s it. I’m intrigued. How could you end it there? When are you going to write more?

  • Cheri L. says:

    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.

  • Sounds intruguing! Thanks, too, for visiting my blog.

  • Angela Cohan says:

    Nicely done….

  • Edgar Swamp says:

    Thank you for reading my latest blog entry and making me aware of your blog in the process. Wonderful entry, very interesting!

  • emilli2012 says:

    Great idea. Excellent writing!

  • Wow! You have a gift for pulling people right into a story…this is awesome. Great job!

  • gettyhesse1 says:

    This is brilliant! If this were expanded into a novel, I would totally read it.

  • dayya says:

    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:))

  • Great writing 😀 Maybe I’ll try one of these challenges sometimes

  • Oh Wow! Scary!!

  • jjspina says:

    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.

  • I nominated you for the liebster award. Please visit this link:

  • 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!

  • Great storyline idea and post – I also did an A-Z post for the French Riviera on my blog ( Thanks, too, for visiting my blog.

  • 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.

  • Augusta says:

    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!

  • jamieayres says:

    Great post!!!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • pishnguyen says:

    Simply beautiful!

  • Jodi Lea says:

    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 🙂

  • bramkamp says:

    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!

  • Glenda says:

    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?

  • Great twist! I really enjoyed your piece!! 🙂

  • I meant for my last comment to come from my emmebooks account – thank you for the “like” on that blog – we appreciate it!

  • Wow! quite a read. I need to come back here again. Thanks for reading mine – it’s appreciated.

  • rose says:

    very intriguing concepts for a collection of stories!

  • What a neat blog!!! Love the writing!!!

  • Rebecca says:

    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.

  • chinks says:

    Thanks for stopping by my post. Loved yours. Defenitely coming back for more.

  • This is a very compelling story. It makes me want to know more, and I definitely worry about Dina.

  • Judy Guion says:

    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 says:

      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.

  • L. Marie says:

    Wow! So intriguing! And what a great goal–the daily rite of writing! Love that!

  • coastalmom says:

    Consider yourself validated!

  • cealarenne says:

    Nice story. Would love to read a little more. Well done.

  • dayya says:

    Great short! Well done.

  • graciehill48 says:

    The blue hourglass brought me here. What a talent! Makes one want more…

  • Effective says:

    Cracking piece of writing

  • indigo bunting says:

    That Raoul…

  • bronxboy55 says:

    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.

  • Lisa says:

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

  • Wendy says:

    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.

  • Toby Neal says:

    Love the mystery and suspense, great to pop back by!

  • Alana says:

    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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Nutschell says:

    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!

  • Joyce Lansky says:

    Stopped by after reading an AtoZ tweet. Wonderful writing.


    Thanks Joyce, please stop anytime.

  • Manzanita says:

    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.

  • Ellie says:

    We want more! More!

    Ellie Garratt

    I guess you will have more for all the rest of the days of A-Z!

  • Alex Fayle says:

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

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

  • Intrigue… 🙂

    Wagging Tales – Blog for Writers

    I’m glad this intrigued you 🙂

  • Tara Tyler says:

    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 🙂

  • Nate Wilson says:

    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.

  • EJ Wesley says:

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


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

  • ooh, thrilling and you left us hanging! I like.

    p.s. your answer has been posted.

    Thanks 🙂 And I went and read your reply!

  • Laura Eno says:

    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!

  • 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 🙂

  • Talli Roland says:


    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! 🙂

  • PencilGirl says:

    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!

  • Dafeenah says:

    I wish each one of these were a novel. I would read them all.

    Thanks, Dafeenah. That made my day 🙂

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