TITLE: The Hourglass Bridge
GENRE: YA Fantasy
Di couldn’t decide whether to run away or wet herself. Thankfully, being paralyzed with fear made it difficult to do either.
There’s someone in my house! The realisation struck her again. Locked in a silence pierced only by the ring of her nervous system in her ears, she stared at the miniature, wooden hourglass on the bookshelf. It didn’t look particularly scary, standing on a lace doily next to a bowl of potpourri, but those things had been there five seconds ago.
The hourglass hadn’t.
Coby? She grasped at a desperate hope as the last, silvery grains of sand trickled through the rough, glass shell. No. Her brother was upstairs, oblivious, while she was alone with a potential robber, axe murderer or raving lunatic for company. Or maybe even all three.
She pressed herself against the wall to cover her back, throwing panicked glances up the hall in both directions. The skin on her right arm prickled, where, only an inch away, the wall ended for the world’s creakiest stairs. If she went up to check on her brother, she’d cut off any means of escape. But if she tried searching for the intruder, she couldn’t move anywhere without leaving the rest of the house open for them to sneak around.
Di locked her eyes on the hallway phone. And something crashed to the floor above her.
Coby! She dived around the corner, without considering who she’d meet or how she might defend herself, and found Coby standing at the top of the stairs. He raised his hands in surrender.
“Before you go mental,” he said as a cricket ball rolled out behind him, “that vase was ugly anyway.”
“Uh-huh.” Di couldn’t even process his words. “Where did this come from?” She jerked a thumb over her shoulder.
“What?” Coby craned his neck to see beyond her. She turned to follow his gaze. The hourglass was gone.
“That’s impossible.” Di groped across the doily and checked behind the bookshelf; on the floor; and even in the gap between the shelves and the grandfather clock. “There was an hourglass right here – a little antique thing. I swear.”
“Ooookay…” Coby raised his eyebrows. “Forget the vase, you’re mental already,” he added, kicking the ball into his room and disappearing after it.
Ignore him, said a voice in her head. Sure he’d caught her creeping through the house with a butcher’s knife two weeks ago, looking for what turned out to be nothing more than a mouse in the pantry, but that didn’t make her crazy and neither did this. No, she was just seeing things after last nights’ study chewed into her scheduled seven and a quarter hours’ sleep. Di yawned and checked her watch – and the sight woke her faster than being drenched in a bucket of ice water. How could it be that late already? Ironing Coby’s shirt had stuffed up her routine a bit, but by this much? The bus would be there any minute.