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Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

She lets her finger trace the curve of the water-filled glass tenderly. She is lost deeply in thought. Her collection of custom or secondhand hourglasses are not all registered with the Guild yet, but the first one given to her is. It’s stamped with a rune of authenticity and it was a gift from a boyfriend. He left her, with no explanation.

The legal Guild one was made of gold and measured turns. She had made a chart for how many turns were in a day, week, and so on. It was attached on the brick wall nearby with putty.

She’s still not sure why. She never got any closure on that.

Kalum never answers his door anymore and it bothers her, in a distant fashion, thinking of him again, wondering if her attitude was why he decided to call it quits.

Zise was able to duplicate its operation into smaller hourglasses, using the same cursed water and measuring it out carefully with flasks. She paid the Guild extra to receive identical curse water for the other five. Each one has a crude plaque with a label on it for which customer’s rent payment she’s tracking.

She taps a claw on the glass of the one she’s looking at and its measurement. Days until payment: 0. The top bulb of the hourglass is empty of water and the remaining water floats aimlessly in the bottom like an oily swarm.

Blucini is late on her payment again. No surprising. She would probably have to stop by and make a show of it in order to get an advance.

Once upon a time, Zise didn’t have to struggle for customers in Mistseek. She wouldn’t have had to take on risks like this in order to break even on the lands she owned and maintained.

When the bane of the gulf happened roughly two decades ago, it would change everything. Half of the population left and the fishing businesses floundered or went under. If she could have left by now, she would have already.

She picks up her suitcase, puts a couple papers and a pen inside. There’s nothing actually important in it, but it makes her feel more official. She hopes it’ll help when she has to go subtly threaten the feline with eviction. This is the fourth time this year.

Definitely not her favorite part of this job.

Zise just hopes she can flip the hourglass back over before the day is out. Maybe Blucini will pleasantly surprise her today.

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Published by Watercolorheart

Artist, animator, painter, writer, aspiring musician. Working on short stories for an animated series called Sparse. Pen name Lyn Mitre.

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