Avye was fuming as she caught the bus home that evening, even though PE was long behind her. The way that Sammi so shamelassly tripped her was completely scandalous, and because she and Avye were so far ahead, Rose didn't even see it, so she couldn't really sympathise.
"I'm sure it was only an accident." Rose reasoned, "Even Sammi wouldn't do something like that- it's just plain childish.".
Great, thought Avye. Now even my best friend doesn't understand. So Avye was sat at the bus stop again, one hand wrapped around her bag strap, the other thrust deep into her pocket. To distract herself from constant thoughts of Sammi, Avye mentally ran through the pile of homework she had to do that night. Avye was always up to date on her homework, and always tried her hardest to do the best she could, even on mundane essays that had no real purpose, but it never stopped her from stressing out about her homework when she had more than five bits she'd left undone. That was usually her limit, and then she got down to some serious work. Today, though, she had 8.
Something had been up with Avye all day, since the Sammi incident. She felt as if the day was passing her by on either side, without touching her, like she was standing still and everyone else was rushing around her. The feeling continued on the way home. One minute she was standing in the bus shelter, and the next, the bus steps were moving under her feet and a seat had rushed underneath her. Then the bus steps wooshed past her again, and she was alone. Then it stopped.
Suddenly, she was in the centre of everything that was happening. She was standing, alone, at an unfamiliar bus stop way past where her house was. She started, reasoning with herself that she must've just missed her stop. She almost turned around, before something called her to step forward, again and again, until she reached the wrought iron gates of a park.
As soon as she stepped under the rusted iron arch, she could feel it. A vibration, coming up through her from the soles of her feet. Not a thump, like loud music at night, but not a tap either. It was more like a... Tick.
People walking out of the park beside Avye hardly looked at her, but she stared at them with wide eyes. Why were they walking so slowly? Why wouldn't they run? Something was happening, and Avye just couldn't help these people. Dread filled her with cold. She ran up to the nearest woman and shouted at her "Run! Get out of here! Something's coming!" She gazed for a second at the woman's shocked expression, before she carried on walking, a slow, slothlike gait. Avye tried another passer-by. The same effect. Why weren't they listening? Avye's stomach dropped. What if she was the only one who could feel it?
Cautiously, Avye walked deeper into the park, until she was level with a particularly large group of bushes. Then she stopped. There was something in the bushes, something big, something powerful, something dangerous. But also something beautiful. Drawn like a moth to a flame, Avye crept closer to the bush, and reached inside it. The ticking grew louder, more pressing. It was in her head now, loud and clear. Tick. Tick. Tick. Her hand passed through something cold before touching something smooth and warm. As if burned, Avye drew back her hand sharply. What was in there? Slower this time, she reached in with both hands and grabbed the warm object. It was light, and small, about the size of a salt or pepper grinder. And as she drew it out, she knew what it was. An hourglass. Avye stared at it, shocked.
"And what are you doing, young lady, out alone?" a gruff voice from behind her made Avye jump. She slipped the hourglass into her coat pocket as she turned to see who had addressed her.
"I was just looking for my bag," she said, shrugging at the boy-like policeman peering uncertainly at her from through his glasses. "As you can see, I just found it." and she turned to walk away.
She almost thought she'd got away with it until the policeman called her back. "Where do you live? You're aware it's nearly midnight, right?" he frowned at her: more concerned than admonishing now.
"Um, near Wilson High," she stammered out, "but I'm fine, I just need to catch a bus. Even as it left her mouth, she knew it was useless.
"There are no buses left at this time of evening," the policeman told her. "I'll give you a lift."
He left no room for argument. Avye had to go with him. She knew deep down she should've been more worried about Sammi, her homework, or what Aunt Nedra would think when she arrived home at nearly midnight with a policeman, but all Avye could think about was the small, ticking hourglass nestled in her coat pocket.