The Hourglass – Winner for the StoryBaaz Kids Story Writing Contest

It was the middle of a typical, London evening, with an incessant, monotonous, drizzle. The river Thames seemed quiet as ever, the weightless but unusually evocative drizzle pattering upon its calm waters. Yet, something in the cold mist aroused suspicions. There was something invisibly filthy and disgraceful in the air, and Matthew Johnson could sense it. It was not unexpected when Cornelia came up to say something to Matthew, who was staring out of the huge arched window with sinister looking, yet seemingly nonchalant eyes.

“He’s dead.” Those were the dreaded yet expected words that came out of Cornelia’s mouth, her face also looking expectant. Matthew did not need any further explanation. He knew who the dead man was. A very respectable noble in their neighbourhood, Andrew Rivers was capable of espionage and had returned unscathed from The First World War, while bringing tonnes of war prisoners to Scotland Yard.

The Triple Alliance were thirsty for revenge, and they had caused trouble in the area hereafter, causing unexpected attacks for over a month on totally innocent citizens. The ones who had fought in the War faced a dangerous threat, and thus they were advised to stay back home, with their houses being guarded by police personnel. After Matthew’s father was shot dead in a bloody battle, yet another death was too much for the neighbourhood. This time, though, it was a case that brought shock and uncertainty all over the city. It was a murder. Andrew Rivers had been shot.

“I knew it,” said Matthew with an all-knowing air in his voice. He looked at his sister, Cornelia, and sighed.

“Should we, Matt?” she asked anxiously. Matthew realised that she was talking about the hourglass.

“Why not?” replied Matthew. They had a plan: They would change the past and would save Andrew Rivers.

Cornelia went to the attic to fetch the hourglass. She opened the safe and carefully picked up the hourglass and brought it downstairs to Matthew. Together they held it up high in the air and saw the grains of iron fillings going upwards, causing a tremendous, gravity-defying force. They felt the glass shake in their hands and their surrounding became so turbulent that the Johnsons were pushed to the ground. They had landed at the Rivers’ cellar. Silence had fallen. A shadow moved above them. They followed it. Upon reaching the top, the shadow turned into a man and a gun took shape in his hand. Before they could stop him, a shot came whizzing past Matthew and hit Cornelia in the chest, and she fell into a lifeless heap on the ground. Outraged, Matthew went for his own shot. The battle of bullets had begun and would only end when one had fallen.

The next time Cornelia opened her eyelids, she was in a hospital. She recalled the agonising shot that had struck her. She thought she was useless. She was on the verge of losing hope, but Matthew’s smile stopped her.


About the Writer: Aranya Tanvir G, aged 10 and a half, was born in Bombay and absolutely loves trains because for him they are extremely majestic. He would rather hitch a train ride than play football. His mother is Bengali and father, Marwari, but most of the time, he considers himself a Hyderabadi, because he has lived the longest in Hyderabad. Books are his all-time favourite and he digs Agatha Christie and  JK Rowling. He also plays guitar, keyboard and is often tempted to explore Minecraft.