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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: The Hourglass
By John Huckstep


“Hey mister, can you spare a little change?”

I turned around long enough to notice a young man sitting just outside the store entrance. He held a young dog wrapped inside his ragged coat and an old beanie hat covered his head. I usually ignore panhandlers but for some reason I walked back to where he was sitting.

“Cute dog, what’s your story?”

He smirked, “we all have one don’t we.”

It was a cold day in the Northwest, snow still covered the ground from the last snowstorm and the temperature hovered around freezing. Having recently retired from law enforcement I knew that most of these guys were scammers. I looked at this young man sitting out in the cold with his puppy shivering inside his coat and thought this one really knows how to tug on the heartstrings.

“Are you a cop?”

“Retired,” I said.

“I knew it, I knew you’d come by today. I’ve been waiting for you.”

The man now had my full attention. Like I said, I usually don’t give these guys the time of day! How did he know I would stop by? I’d been so absorb with him and his dog I hadn’t noticed the hour glass of sand sitting beside him.

“What’s with hourglass?” I said.

“I measure time with it.”

Now I was thinking this guy might be wacked out on drugs but I continued.

“Why would you want to measure time?”

“It’s not my time I’m measuring; it’s the world’s time detective. The world is heading into a place it’s never seen before.”

How did this guy know I was a detective? Maybe I had arrested him or questioned him on one of the many cases I handled in the past.

“Do I know you?”


“What do you mean the world is heading into a time it’s never seen before?”

He pulled out his King James Version of the Bible and read from Revelation 6:6.

“A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and [see] thou hurt not the oil and the wine.”

“What does that mean?” I said.

“Famine detective, Life in this world will be reduced to its barest necessities soon. Measure your time wisely and prepare yourself spiritually.”

He stood up and handed me his dog.

“Would you mind holding him for just a second, I need to use the restroom.”

I stood there holding the dog as I watched him disappear into the store. I looked over at the hourglass; the last bit of sand fell to the bottom just as the little girl screamed.

“You found my dog! I’ve been asking Jesus to help me find her. Thank you mister!”

I handed her the dog and it began to enthusiastically lick her face. She thanked me again and left.

I picked up the hourglass and walked over to the store. The doors were locked. I knocked on the door and the manager walked over.

“Sorry sir we’re closed.”

“How long have you been closed?”

“Over an hour now.”

“Did you let anyone in to use the bathroom about ten minutes ago?”

“No sir, I’m here alone.”

That evening I tried to sort out my encounter with the panhandler sent from heaven. He warned me to measure my time wisely for we would go through famine and hard times before Jesus returns.

Then I remembered there was a second part to his message. It was a message of watch care and love. He sent His angel down to return a little girl’s lost dog. Yes, hard times were coming but God would provide watch care over all His loved ones.

I walked over to the fireplace mantle turned over the hourglass and watched the sand fall.

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This article has been read 312 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Barbara Lynn Culler01/17/13
Wow! This gave me goosebumps. You just never know.Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/21/13
This is a great story. You captured my attention in the first paragraph and held it to the very end. Many writers use the literary device of the mysterious stranger who turns out to be an angel. Often this concept can be over used and not fresh and original. However,I think you did a fantastic job of putting a fresh spin on this tool. Having the little girl find the puppy in the officer's arms was an act of genius.This is a delightful read!
C D Swanson 01/22/13
Moving! Nice job.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/24/13
Congratulations on ranking 6 in level 3 and 34th overall!