The sand in the hourglass trickled slowly into the lower chamber. It wouldn’t be long now until the last of the pristine white granules made their way through the slim conduit into the mounting heap below. She felt it mocking her. She knew what would happen once that last grain of sand exited its top chamber. It had happened twice before.
She had bought the piece in a thrift shop filled with things owned by people from another time. The proprietor of the place was an elderly man who reminded her much of Gepetto, he with the bulbous nose on which a pair of granny glasses rested; he with the virgin white hair and full, white mustache. At any moment she had expected a wooden boy to appear.
The hourglass piece had beckoned her. Unlike usual hourglass pieces that were capped by wooden circles on each end and three wooden spindles on the sides, this one was made entirely of glass. The pieces connected seamlessly, melding together into one unit. She was in awe of its flawless craftsmanship. It was stunning and as the bright morning Sun touched it surface it fractured prisms of light into the dark, dust-covered room. She knew she had to have it.
She learned it was a one of a kind creation. Gepetto informed her the timepiece was unlike any other and did not measure time in minutes or an hour but instead it measured time in years. Twenty to be exact.
“Twenty years?!” She humored the old man and he added that if she ever tired of the piece she mustn't get rid of it, donate it or give it to anyone else; instead, she was to return the hourglass to him and he would refund her money in full regardless of how many years she had owned it. He said this was a condition of the sale and wrote it as much on the bill of sale. She thought him daft but kindly and politely promised she’d abide by the purchaser’s responsibility to the object and left with her purchase.
The next day she sat at the kitchen table intently studying the hourglass. The sand was still running through yet the heap of sand in the lower chamber still looked the same. It had not grown in volume. It was obvious now that it was some kind of trick gadget. Noting the old man’s sense of humor, she laughed and loved the piece even more.
And now, twenty years later, she waited for the the last granule to filter through. And as it did, she once again blacked out.
She woke and found herself in her old apartment, the hourglass in front of her, its top chamber full once again. She was thirty again. And on her third life.
Inspired by Ken Grimwood's Replay which I'm currently reading.
For Write on Edge