The Crimson Hourglass: Prologue

~Fire Fairy Elf~

Solitude and Silence

After long hours of conversing with family and the other guests at the hotel, Carmia wanted some peace and quiet. She had searched everywhere in the hotel for a quiet room and she had found it at last in the five-star hotel's spacious library. She found it oddly comforting that she was able to be alone with the books. As a writer she had always loved to read as a child and was still an avid reader at the age of thirty-three, despite work and family she still found time to sit down and read a good book.

The library was a wide chamber shaped as a three-quarter circle with auntique bookcases lining all the walls save for a part of the wall opposite the large, oaken double doors. This small section of the wall was covered in long, tinted windows the reached from the floor to the valted ceiling. Grotesque, baroque-like gargoyles were perched on a rim the circled the bottom of the arched ceiling which was heavily engraved with baroque and rennassaince figures.

Her feet moved silently over the lush, maroon carpet that completed the room. She glided lithly towards one of the bookshelves, a particular book catching her eye. It was tattered and the bindings were barely holding the old book together. She wiped some dust off of the soft cover, A Realm of Darkness and Fantasy, she read the barely visible letters.

Her father had told her of this book once. He had said that it contained knowledge from the ages of Christ. Knowledge that was lost over time of the fantasies that may have been facts and the creatures that roamed the land. She stared at the cover in wonder, she had always believed the creatures to have once been real as her father had told her about them since she was young. This was what she had been searching for her whole lifetime. Now she could explore the mysteries her father had told her of. It was a pity that he wasn't with them, she thought, had he been here he would have been exstatic about the book. So she would just have to read it for him and tell him what she had learned.

Carmia ti'Avoy sat down in one of the plushly cushioned vintage chairs that were placed around an ornately carved, lacquered table. Her sholder length, sandy-blond hair brushed across the top of the chair and fell nicely around her ovaline face, framing it to perfection. Heart shaped lips formed into a slight frown as she set the book down on the table, looking around her for a moment, her intensly green eyes searching for the source of her sudden discomfort. Yet she only saw the antique chairs and couches scattered around the room, the table that rested in front of her, and the mahoghany lamp standing beside her, softly lit lamps resting on them.

She sighed as she listened and heard only the sound of one of the guests down the hall attempting to sing opera. A glint off of something shining caught her eye for a moment and she turned towards its source. On the table she saw a porcelein figurine of a girl in a pink dress sitting down at the piano to play, a smile on her face. Carmia turned the key on the music box and listened to its soft, comforting music as she picked up the book to read.

She decided that picking a random page would be as good as anything. It was something she had learned from her years of practing the piano and other various instruments, learning to improvise the unspoken notes in her head and learning to piece together a seemingly random selection of pieces to make a well composed concert. It also came in useful in her writing. She found that adding a random side-plot or idea in now or then helped in the future and added to the confusion. Confusion was one of the few things that was similar in all of her novels, keeping the reader on the tip of their toes so they wouldn't know which way was up or down and would continue reading so they could figure out what was happening and what would happen.

As she opened up the book it fell open to a page somewhere near the back of the book. The page was heavily decorated with pictures and symbols and was written in the old Greek text. She sighed as she realized she would have to use more brain power than she would have wished to while she was relaxing. Slowly Carmia began to digest the words, beginning to understand their meaning. Her limited knowledge of Italian and Old English (for she was part Italian and English among other cultures) helped her in her deciphering of the text.

Her short hair swayed as she shook her head back and forth, slowly she began to read a passage aloud in English to see if it would help her understand better, "a child-like character born of the beast Epiccilies and burdened with carrying the world's sorrows in a sack that rested on his shoulder...," she read on about the creatures and the stories.

After hours of reading she decided it was time to give it a rest. She was amazed at how much information she had gained and how much she still had left to digest. Her pale peach face glowed with excitement from having read so intensely, at the moment she could not have wished for anything else in the world but to stay there forever learning more.

After resting for a few moments Carmia pulled out a leather notebook from her coat pocket and placed it in front of her. Ghastly Encounters: A Book of Real-life Encounters with Supernatural Beings, the book cover read. It was a novel she had been working on for quite some time now, she only wished she could find a few more people who had had real-life encounters. Perhaps one of the guests may have, wondered Carmia.

Carefully she opened up the cover and turned to the middle of the notebook where she had left off. Her hand seemed to flow over the pages as she began to finish writing an experience she had heard of. She wrote the whole thing from memory, not many details excaped her mind once they were put there, she left out nothing in her account of the story.

Carmia was dso intent on her writing that when someone came up behind her she never even noticed. As she put her book down she stood up to leave but once she was up she found that a strong hand was holding her back. She gasped as she recognized the person. "You! What are you doing here? Oh," she smiled in relief," you scared me so. I-"

The person pressed a finger to her lips. "Your time is up."

Carmia screamed as she saw the hourglass resting on the persons hand. "No! No, this isn't possible. How?" Her eyes filled with horror as she saw the hourglass being lifted into the air by the hand. Suddenly her face regained composure, a sure, steady look of defiance showed on her features, causing her to seem taller than her heigth of five foot seven.

She fell to the floor with a grunt as the hourglass struck her head. The figure let the hourglass drop beside her head, the glass crimson with her blood its sand slowly spilling onto the carpet. Carmia had never noticed that the music bx had continued to play during the hours when she had been reading and writing, now the soft notes of the music box tinkered out gently. Across the hall a voice could be singing in pure operetic tone, "Time to say goodbye, paesi che non ho mai veduto e vissuto con te adesso si li vivro." The porcelein figures' smile changed slowly into a frown.