The grains of sand have touched evil
Molly sat fingering the ornate hourglass next to her, blindly tracing the carved patterns on the frame of the large wooden treasure. From her position on the oversized bricks lining her grandmother's hearth, she pondered the meaning of life and death. Her mood was sullen with her heart aching from the loss of the woman who meant the world to her. Her Grammy, as she called her, had raised her after the death of her parents in a motor vehicle accident. The one solid rock in her foundation was just laid to rest beneath six feet of dirt. Understanding the whole aging process didn't make it any easier for Molly. She suddenly felt very alone.
As a child, she had spent many evenings listening to stories as the sand in the hourglass drifted downward. Her Grammy would wrap her in a cozy quilt before bed and regale her with olden tales of wonder, as the pair sat by the fire. Molly believed the glittering grains in the glass were magical because the hour before bedtime seemed to stretch on forever. She always woke up warm and snuggled in her bed never remembering how she got there. Just as important as the time spent together, were the stories her Grammy told. They were filled with ancient intrigue and mystery.
A smile graced her lips, as she remembered the day she had told her Grammy that she should write a book. "Ain't nobody out there wants to hear what I got to say, girlie," the old woman had muttered pointing at the air towards the outdoors.
"You're wrong Grandma, your stories are wonderful!" Molly had told her.
"Well, I'll be leaving it up to you to pass them on then. I get a little winded these days."
That was the day that Molly became an author. Now five years later, copies of her three celebrated novels sat idly on her Grandmother's shelf. The pages were dog-eared from the tender touch of her Grammy. She had been so proud of Molly, rereading the stories as often as she read her bible. She always said Molly was good at bringing her characters to life. Grammy's favorite tale was the "Sandman in the Hourglass." She had told Molly that she had to throw a blanket over the hourglass when she read that story because it frightened her.
Molly rubbed her hands roughly over the wooden frame of the hourglass as if making a wish. Her eyes were closed, willing her mind to be filled with the sights and sounds of her Grammy. In a hazy dream-like fog she could see the woman's image hugging her. The scene brought her comfort. She could almost smell the scent of bread baking and gingersnap cookies cooling. She could hear Grammy's voice telling her to carry on, as the cool rush tears flowed down her cheeks. Molly shook herself from the reverie, remembering her reason for coming to the house. She couldn't endure the thought of losing the hourglass. It was now her most prized possession and holder of all the memories of her Grammy.
"Careful, girlie. Sandman is still here," she heard the faint whisper of Grammy's voice behind her. It startled her, making her turn towards the voice. The room stood empty. Molly rose from her seat on the fireplace feeling all at once uneasy.
"The Sandman is magic and the granter of wishes. Sandman can give you all that you desire," a voice deep and masculine filled the room with its promising call. Molly's eyes searched the room for the maker of the voice, but still, she stood alone. She glanced at the hourglass, staring in disbelief as the tiny glittering grains drifted upward in the glass.
She stifled the scream in her throat, as the deep voice seemed to drift around the room trapped in a misty vapor. "Grammy can live again. It takes but a wish."
"Remember, Sandman touches evil," the quiet loving whisperer warned.
The simple words of her Grammy reminded her of the very story written in the pages of her book. She grabbed the book from the shelf waving it like a shield from the evil that filled the room. Grammy had told her that the sand in the hourglass held the power of the universe. Through the glass, we could vision all that had gone before and all of God's wonders through the ages. The grains in the glass allowed us to touch the memories of our loved ones. She told her that the sand must never be allowed out of the glass because it would give the evil trapped by the magic free reign. As a kid, Molly thought it was just Grammy's way of warning her not to break the glass, but the truth of the woman's wisdom was standing beside her.
"Break the glass and Grammy can live again, Hurry before it's too late!" the dark voice bellowed behind her.
After the death of her parents, Molly and Grammy had been filled with grief. Gloom hung in their hearts for weeks making it hard for the pair to lend each other support. They each dealt with their loss alone, in separate chambers of pain. Each night her Grammy sat by the fire weeping as she rubbed the hourglass like a Genie's lamp.
Molly never understood the woman's obsession with the glass, until she told her the story of the Sandman. Each night, after Molly had gone to bed, the Sandman had visited Grammy luring her to make but one wish. The Sandman promised to restore the lives of her loved ones if she freed the sand from the glass. Grammy had wept when she told Molly the story because all she wanted was to see her children live again.
Grammy told her that sorrow had made her weak on one particular night. She had pried a handful of the sand from beneath the frame. Gripping it tightly in her palm she made a powerful wish and a deal with the devil. She spoke of the voice, dark and deep, that pranced through the room in a puff of smoke. The smoke billowed in a wavering flight of freedom toward the front door. The wooden entry opened to reveal her loved ones standing in the doorway. The Sandman stood beside them smiling an evil grin.
Molly remembered the stern grip on her shoulders as Grammy had told her about the vision of her parents. She had said," Molly, they weren't as we knew them. I promise you, they weren't the people we loved."
It was years later that her Grammy had described in detail the vision. She said the voice kept calling and begging in desperation for her to release the sand from her grip.
The figures at the door called her by name enticing. The shadowy shapes resembled her family members but their rotting flesh hung loosely about them. Craters of oozing puss pockets dripped bodily fluids onto the dirt beneath them. Worms weaved a willowing path through the orbital sockets once filled with the organs of life. The skeletal frames of her parents now buried bodies grabbed for her Grammy. She spoke of how the bony fingers had pried at her hand in an attempt to free the Sandman. Grammy had battled the corpses in a fight against evil. The hardest decision of her life had been casting Molly's parents back into the grave from where they had come. She had flung the sand into the fireplace. She had watched in horror as her loved ones and the Sandman burned in the fiery pit. The screams, she said would haunt her forever.
"Don't let the Sandman fool you, girlie," the sweet whisper of her Grammy called
Molly danced backward away from the voice. "Grammy, I remember! I love you," she called to the air in the room.
She inched back toward the hourglass cradling the glass between her fingers. Molly spoke to the hourglass, as she caressed, "May the magic keep you safe, Grammy. Keep away from the Sandman."
Word Count 1340