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Hourglass Book One – ‘The Turning’

All Truths Lie In Folklore.

The Hourglass Book Series

HOURGLASS BOOK 1 ‘The Turning’

Release date 28th May 2021.
Written By: Jo Kemp

Manifested out of ancient folklore, the Hourglass must be turned to keep the balance between Order and Chaos. Should the Turning fail, the Alternate Prophesies decree Chaos would rule, hastening an inevitable Armageddon. The Turning can only be implemented by the Foundling and this is where the story begins.

Raif, a boy with a passion for clocks and no inkling of his future has a recurring vision of colossal waterspouts unaware this vision is shared by the villainous Darke. He is chosen as the Foundling Elect to succeed Canatu who is mysteriously murdered. Darke, having been instrumental in this murder, desires power absolute and to achieve this has to prevent the Turning but where is the Hourglass hidden? And will it be found in time?

Drawn in by a gilded clock gifted to him, Raif is flung into the adventure of a lifetime while being hunted relentlessly by Darke and his evil forces. He has cause to call into question the improbability of coincidence as he’s catapulted from the Dorset countryside to the terrifying catacombs below Paris and finally to the barren shores of the Arrid Sea and a spectacular showdown. But is this the end or just the beginning…

Cover design Alex Lopez (Yellowalpaca) & Luke Kemp (SEO-Hampshire)

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Introduction: The Hourglass

‘The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.’ Eden Phillpotts 1862-1960

In April 2019, NASA released breath-taking images of the Southern Crab Nebula in honour of Hubble’s twenty-ninth birthday. Using the powerful Hubble Telescope, it revealed a hitherto unknown ‘hourglass-shaped’ star system.

The object was first reported in the late 1960s but was assumed to be an ordinary star. However, in 1989, astronomers used the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory in Chile to photograph a roughly crab-shaped extended nebula, formed by symmetrical bubbles.

Ref: https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2019/hubble-celebrates-29th-anniversary-with-a-colorful-look-at-the-southern-crab-nebula

Taking this revelation as our inspiration, The Hourglass – the shape of infinity – is a fabulous journey through the improbable being made probable. It requires the acceptance that migrants from other galaxies and dimensions have always lived amongst us and that travel is not confined to physical laws.

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Hourglass Prologue: The Vision

     It was weird. It was like watching a film – but it wasn’t – because he was actually there albeit passively. He knew he was there because he could smell the hot air and feel the dust in his mouth. There was the dryness too, a total absence of water. And a stillness.

     Because time adheres to its own laws, everything unfolded in deliberate slow motion. Also, such was the clarity of image, details like the legs on a fly or the denim weave of the ragged shorts the young boy was wearing – stained with oil and grease – were so vivid and so magnified, one felt compelled to marvel and to want to reach out to touch them.

     It was the same story over and over: The hot Puerto Rican sun beats down on a local boy playing with a football. He’s barefooted – isolated – in some derelict parking lot. Carefully, he positions the ball and selects his target. He then kicks the ball which arcs, exactly as intended, and smashes through a grimy third-floor window. It doesn’t matter; nothing there matters. It wasn’t his football.

     But something has changed? The sun dips behind a rogue cloud and the colours, once so sharp and vivid, take on a muted, indigo hue and the shadows, a peculiar shade of blue? The dirt floor – the sand – changes from gold to ochre and burnt orange. In fact, everything looks burnt. Inside the building, a shaft of sunlight has caused a pile of abandoned oilcloths to smoulder. The draught of air, created by the football smashing through the window, ignites the fire, which, as it takes hold, draws in more and more air. 

     The boy watches with his mind’s eye as a long way away, the dry brown leaves of a palm tree hang limply then, almost imperceivable at first, the leaves twitch. It’s nothing, just a breeze, but the breeze takes hold and the leaves awaken and get drawn into a rhythm sassing this way and that until throughout the entire plantation whole avenues of palms have joined in to step up the momentum until they too are raging. Or are they cheering?  So great becomes the wind that sweeps across the landscape, all things in its path are devastated until it reaches a sea where the elements of water and air unite causing the sea to froth and boil until that too deafens as it rises up and swirls creating a colossal vortex – a vast and unpredictable column of water – which teeters and balances up through the clouds as if a clown juggling plates. It has thirstily consumed everything in its path. The water is cold and enveloping. Its power is immense. He’s strong and tries to fight being drawn in but it’s futile. He’s sucked into it – he has no choice – and he doesn’t want to be there but then he sees from some elevated position that there’s more than one. There are now dozens and horror – a terror – grips him.  It’s not where he is or what’s happening to him; it’s the terrible knowledge implanted in his head and he tastes seawater and then nothing, only an unquenchable thirst and a rasping dryness.

     Raif had become accustomed to this psychic intrusion which would come upon him when he least expected, much like a headache. He’d first experienced it about four or five years ago – certainly before Uncle Frank’s funeral and still had no idea as to its meaning – if indeed it had any meaning – but rather than dwell on it, he accepted the inevitability of its intrusion and took comfort in the normality of his surrounding, usually the familiarity of his bedroom and his eclectic collection of novelty clocks, all of which whirred or ticked or struck or chimed soothingly with the symmetry only interrupted by the sound of a distant bus or vehicle passing.

     He assumed, quite naturally, that this experience – this strange visitational vision – was privy only to him and had no inkling that another being, who would prove to be pivotal in his life, shared this same curious premonition. 

Hourglass Chapter One

It was the most peculiar sound. Almost indiscernible, it was akin to a peripheral vision where you can see something but at the same time, you can’t if you try to look at it squarely. This was a buzz or was it a hum? To some, it would be a high-pitched whine and where it came from would be anyone’s guess as you stared into the infinity of the warm night sky with nothing beneath other than the endless rolling hills of the English countryside.

Yet it was there in the quiet of dusk and it was getting louder. Now it carried an overtone of urgency – impatience even – as the industry of the maker was either running late or eager to get to his or her destination.

Dina was in her garden finishing up having spent the day waging war on the weeds which grew quicker (and taller) than anything she could cultivate. Her house, thatched and sunken, lay deep in the countryside accessible only by a track not even the postman would risk. It was overgrown and ram-shackled in a way that was homely and stuffed with artefacts and curios the most favourite being her two longcase clocks, of which only one appeared to be working. Dina was a true believer – a devotee – of sentience. She believed in the sound principles of animism proclaiming that all objects, places, creatures, plants, rocks, rivers and so forth (even weather systems) possessed a distinct spiritual essence and in their own way, were as alive as she was. Her clocks, therefore, were no exception and this supportive faith resulted in her living amongst the things she loved without the constant need for human company.

However, occasional visitors were more than welcome, and Dina very quickly picked up on the sound which now resonated all around her. In bird-like fashion, for indeed she was birdlike in both manner and stature, she blinked a bright eye suspiciously and cocked an ear as the first gaze of moonlight fell on the silver and turquoise rings that bedecked both her restless hands.

“That sounds like Motto,” she smiled knowingly and pulling a favourite cashmere close to her shoulders, she went inside to put the kettle on.

She paused to acknowledge her oldest long case clock – Mr. Cuff of Shepton Mallet – and smiled as she always did, at his crotchety ways and unhurried pace. A rotation of painted scenes directly above his dulled brass-clock face recorded the passing of the day and she was amused by the depiction of the cheery moon with its gay, rosebud lips as she thought how delightful it was to see a moon so obviously confused as to its gender.

She was mildly curious as to what the actual time might be and consulted her other longcase clock, Mr Bath. He hailed from Cirencester, not that this carried any significance but could be relied upon to tolerate no-nonsense. He rang out dutifully informing her that in his world it was exactly ten o’clock and since dusk was approaching, Dina took it to mean ten o’clock at night – give or take an hour or two – as opposed to perhaps ten in the morning.

Motto didn’t materialize but Dina nevertheless took her cup of tea outside into the remains of what might have once been a conservatory and lowered herself onto the rickety bentwood sofa where she leaned comfortably against a large floral cushion stained with watermarks. She observed the night-sky canopy, so magnificent in its hugeness, and identified – those that she could – the twelve planets she’d visited on her psychic travels. Silently, she recited the list as if a litany. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Charon and the new-comer 2003 UB313 of which even she knew very little about.

The Hourglass Book Series

HOURGLASS BOOK 01 ‘The Turning’

Release date 28th July 2021.
Written By: Jo Kemp

Beautifully written fantasy from the shores of the United Kingdom.  All truths lie in folklore.

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