Hour Glass
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A girl moves carefully through a forest, softly lit by the amber rays of sun stretching down from gaps in the canopy. She counts softly as she steps, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty. She does this for a time before she stops, and closes her eyes. She concentrates, organizing her thoughts. She finally opens her eyes and looks up, and is momentarily dazzled by the sun streetlight above her. She blinks the spots from her eyes, then looks around at the fairly disgusting alley she was in.
At least she was in the alley though, the brick wall behind her was far too close for comfort. She edges away from the wall, grateful for the clarity this story brings her. The forest always feels like a dream, which can be nice, but was not a good environment for stealing things. She closes her eyes, fixating on the stories, turning them over in her head one by one. After a moment she opens her eye, and flexes her bare toes on the asphalt sandy ocean shore.
Waves crash into the beach, over and over again. In the distance, huge shards of glass rise from the surface, only loosely held by the sand beneath them, glinting in the sunset. They slam together in the surf, creating an unbearable noise. The girl begins to run into the water, as the noise of the shards becomes louder, and more and more like a scream. She plunges headfirst into the water, and the noise is blocked out. Swimming as fast downwards as she can, she heads for a landmark she has used before, a clam, as big as a king sized mattress.
She comes to a stop above it, and closes her eyes. She is desperately trying to focus, despite her screaming lungs, and stinging eyes. Soon, she can no longer hold her breath, so she opens her mouth, sucking in a lungful of water thickly scented air. She coughs violently, a number of times, before taking a deep breath. Her lungs, no longer full of water, still vaguely feel the singularly unique sensation of drowning. The heady, warm, atmosphere of the basement is a relief, after the cold of the ocean. Eventually however, the warmth from the incense-heavy flames in the grated fireplace behind her grows too intense, and she moves on. She steps in between the overstuffed chairs and couches, the plush carpet padding her steps.
She hopes the house's inhabitants are not now awake after her coughing fit, but in these wee small hours, they should be sound asleep. She reaches the door on the other side of the room, and reaches out and grabs the knob branch. She steps back, confused, glancing around at the silent forest. This isn’t where she wanted to be, what happened? She closes her eyes, she knows she might be running out of time soon, so she focuses on the smell of that basement, the feel, the sound, the thick carpet seaweed around her. She gasps, and chokes, thrashing in panic. Her violent, desperate movements unintentionally wrap the long, drifting fronds around her limbs. She thrashes desperately, pulling up one of the kelp strands, dislodging a puff of sand ash. She collapses to her knees, the thick layer of ash coating the ground jumping up and wandering off as she does so. She looks around at the burned, ruined jungle she has found herself in. She breathes heavily, ash tickling her nose. She has no idea what's happening, but she knows she needs to leave, now. But before she can even finish struggling to her feet, she hears a deep rumble behind her. She turns, falling again into the ash, to look up and behind her at the scaled monstrosity police officer, gun in hands. He barks a command at her, and she flinches, trying to scramble backwards away from him. He yells one last time as she gets to her feet and turns to run. She sees out of the corner of her eye, the officer raises his gun, and he fires lunges with the knife. The creature misses with the blade, but sends them both crashing to the ground. It gets its hawk-like talons around the back of her neck, and pins her to the ground with its knees. It raises its feathered arm, long wicked knife glinting in the fire. With a screech of fury, the creature swings down the knife wave that crashes down on her. It rolls her up the shore and water threatens her with suffocation once more. Luckily the waves recede, leaving her beached and soaked. She drags herself further up shore, trying to stay out of reach of the oceans grasp. She eventually collapses, exhausted, to the sand. As she lays there she becomes aware of the noise from the spires. The terrible screeching of glass on glass on sand. It rises and falls with the tide, yet still it become more and more like a terrible scream of agony and fear. The girl falls back into the sand, too spent to move or even cry. She closes her eyes and awaits the fate of those who listen to that terrible scream for too long.

Then it happens again. The screaming is gone, and it it no longer sand beneath her. She feels a gentle breeze, and feels grass tickling her neck. Then she hears a noise like dry leaves scraping on concrete. She feels hot breath on her face, and it stinks.
She doesn’t open her eyes.

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