Book Teasers

The Majestas Regia

themajestasregia

Seven year-old Thom shuffled up the steps of the tallest turret in the prince’s palace. His goal was the highest window. It overlooked the army training camps in their New Year celebration.

Once at his comfortable spot, he peered down at the bright lights and loud cheers. Everything below looked like a play set, except he couldn’t reach down to join the fun. Thom was still too young to attend the celebration with his family. And he hated it. Missing out on all the songs and games, despite how rowdy they could get, was like missing out on the best birthday party in the kingdom. Yet no matter how much he begged, his mother always said no.

Resting his chin on his crossed arms, Thom imagined growing up. Oh how he couldn’t wait. It seemed wonderful to be an adult. He could even make the climb up the turret without huffing like an angry bull. Sighing, he made a wish for the years to fly by. If only he had magic to speed up time.

“Your highness! I – I found you. You shouldn’t be up here,” his royal maidservant said. She stopped a few steps below in attempts to catch her breath. It looked like some adults never outgrew the panting. “It’s time for bed, Prince Thom. The queen will be back to check on you soon.”

Thom frowned. He mentally noted to pick another turret next year, since the maidservants knew of his special spot.

“Your highness, come down with me, please,” the maidservant pleaded.

“I’m tired,” Thom lied. “Carry me.”

He had grown in the past two years, and despite hating being carried, it was a torture to those who spoilt his fun.

“Ca-carry you?” The maidservant looked aghast at the idea.

“Yes, carry me,” Thom ordered.

He skipped down the few steps and jumped into the maidservant’s arms. Stumbling backward, the maidservant quickly leaned against the wall, saving them both from a bone-breaking fall.

“You’re getting heavier, your highness.”

“I know.”

Thom held on tight as the maidservant huffed and puffed her way down the steps, all the while smirking at what he deemed was justice. When she finally dragged them both into his bedchamber, he climbed off and waved her away.

“Shall – shall I tuck – tuck you in, your – highness?”

“No. You can go.”

The maidservant gave a bow before shuffling out of the room. When she shut the doors, he heard her inform the guards to keep watch. Grunting, he knew his plan to escape was foiled.

Not yet tired as the night was still young, he climbed onto the windowsill and looked out into the night sky. The stars twinkled across the black canvas, while the clouds drifted by the pastel full moon. The music and laughter of the celebration could be heard, but only as a distance whisper carried by the wind. Nothing was out of the ordinary, and it was quite a disappointment to the imaginative little prince.

“Not even a single dragon,” Thom muttered, as he heaved a sigh.

“And a good thing, that is,” someone replied.

Turning, he saw his mother walking toward him. He didn’t hear her enter, being occupied in his search for something magical.

“A horrible thing, that is,” Thom corrected.

“Why?” his mother asked. She pulled an armchair near the windowsill and gestured for him to come down.

“It means there’s no magic tonight,” Thom replied. Obediently, he climbed off the hazardous ledge and planted himself on his mother’s lap.

“Magic comes from within, not from outside.”

“Then magic is boring.”

His mother laughed as she wrapped her arms around him. She gave him a tight squeeze before poking at his rib.

“Hey!” Thom pushed her hand away, holding back a childish giggle.

“You know, if you want to find magic, all you have to do is look at the stars.”

“The stars?”

“Look right there,” she added, pointing toward a direction in the sky.

Thom leaned closer to her arm, and aligned his sight with her finger. But all he saw were a cluster of twinkling dots and no magic.

“What’s there?”

“You can’t see it?”

“See what?”

“The Majestas Regia. It’s a constellation only royals can see.”

“I can’t see it. Does that mean I’m not a royal?”

“Look carefully.”

“I am. What does it look like?”

“It looks like a crown.” His mother began to draw in the air. When she was done, she asked, “Do you see it now?”

“No.” How she could point it out bewildered him. Knowing it would take too much effort, he stopped trying and turned the other way.

However special the constellation was, it seemed like a waste of time trying to find it. It wasn’t magic. It was just a bunch of stars. And the fact that it could only be seen by royals? Well, he didn’t like that thought either.

“You can’t give up so quickly, dear Thom.”

“There’s a dragon over there, can you see it?” Thom pointed in the opposite direction, hoping to change the subject. There wasn’t a dragon, of course, but he could easily imagine one.

His mother laughed and pulled his hand down. “Just because you cannot see it, doesn’t mean you’re not a prince.” It was as though she’d read his mind. But it was to no surprise, as mothers had that special magic within them.

“Who says I’m not a prince?” Thom snapped. “It’s just a bunch of stupid stars.”

“You see, that’s why magic isn’t on the outside. It’s on the inside.” She gently tapped at his chest. “To see it, you must believe it. You’re a prince, little one. A true prince. And one day, you’ll find the Majestas Regia as quickly as you gaze into the night sky.”

“I will?”

“You will.”

“What are you doing?” Seanna asked.

She skipped down the steps of the ember-glowing farmhouse. Seated on a log in the open field, Thom instinctively shifted to make space for her.

“Looking for something,” Thom replied.

“What are you looking for?” Seanna asked, plopping down beside him. She dropped her gaze at the ground and began brushing the wet grass with her boot.

“Not down there, up here.” Thom pointed to the stars. “The Majestas Regia.”

“Oh, the royal constellation.”

“Is there anything you don’t know?”

“I don’t think so. Did you find it? They say only royals can see it. I’ve tried looking for it before, but…”

“You didn’t find it?”

“No.”

“I guess the saying is true then. Or, it’s just prove that there are things Seanna cannot do,” Thom said with a smug.

“Well, can you?”

Thom pointed to the sky, where his index finger hovered by the tip of the crown. “Over there.”

“You’re lying,” Seanna scoffed.

“It’s really over there,” Thom insisted, connecting the stars with his fingers to draw a crown on the invisible canvas.

“Whatever. It’s almost dinnertime.” Seanna got to her feet and dusted her pants. “By the way, Reid and Tavia are joining us for tonight’s Passover celebration.”

“Oh, okay. You go ahead then.”

“We won’t wait for you to start.”

“I’ll be right in.”

“There’s turkey pie.”

Thom chuckled, before looking at the sky once more. And just like his mother had said, he spotted it as quickly as he lifted his gaze. It was there, to the right of the moon, the Majestas Regia.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Merry Christmas (eve) dear reader! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas day, full of love, hope, and good food.

I also hope you liked this short story 🙂 It is actually a teaser for my crowd-funding novel, The Slave Prince. I know it raises some questions, but that’s the whole idea!

If you’re new to my blog, The Slave Prince is actually in the running to being published as part of the Sword & Laser Collection Contest. If it piques your interest, do give it a look-see. I have until the 15th of January to be in the top 3 books. Then, it’s a guarantee you’ll see it on bookshelves next year! So head over to the project page to read further. The prologue and first 2 chapters are there too, for some light reading this Christmas day 🙂

(*UPDATE: The Slave Prince has been entered into the Geek & Sundry Fantasy contest. The contest runs till November 1st, 2016 and the same rules apply!)

The Slave Prince © 2015 – 2016 Jeyna Grace

Book Teasers

Dr. Slubgob’s Letters

Slubgob

The fireplace crackled softly in his quiet mahogany themed office. He had just returned from a class graduation ceremony and he was too lazy to move from his chair behind the desk, even if he was starting to get a chill from the lack of heat in the room.

He often blamed his age for his inability to stay on his feet for long hours, but it was simply a lame excuse. The fact was, Slubgob had grown to be rather sluggish after his retirement and it was not a trait to be celebrated, unlike his apathetic personality. Nobody could blame him though, for he had nothing else better to do these days. He was filled with head knowledge and the lack of fieldwork left him reading old dusty books to kill time.

Having surrounded himself only with books, Slubgob was rather surprised when he received the invitation to the graduation at Tempters’ Training College for Young Demons. He actually thought the invite was out of respect. But when he found his seat three rows from the stage, among the bored, agitated and noisy parents, Slubgob knew he was there to be made fun of. Makallous, the newly appointed principle, had invited him just so he could whisper among his fellow subordinates of how the ‘old one’ had finally left his glory days to rot in an office.

When Slubgob realised the childish plot, he decided to keep his ego and remained seated throughout the ceremony. He didn’t want to give Makallous anymore joy in seeing him leave.

Joy, what do any of us know about joy, Slubgob thought.

Finally finding himself so close to a sneeze, Slubgob hurried to the fireplace and added more wood. The temperature was fluctuating these days and Slubgob could only suspect more victories from the enemy. He hoped their father below had not suspected the change, for if he did, they would all be in trouble. Though none of them would end up taking a beating as bad as Makallous.

The imagery of Makallous being punished made Slubgob smile. Why would Slubgob be in trouble when he did nothing, nothing at all?

This sedentary lifestyle isn’t so bad after all, Slubgob concluded silently, returning to his desk.

As he reclined in his chair, ready to catch a shuteye, he noticed a letter sitting on top of his stack of reread books. Scribbled on the brown envelope was his name and when he turned it over, he saw no seal or name of whom it was from.

Slowly taking out the letter, oddly finding himself not at all interested at what it had to say, Slubgob found himself staring down at three words, so poorly written that he started to wonder if he now needed glasses.

“Please help him,” Slubgob read aloud, after a few attempts of trying to piece the alphabets together. Signed beneath the three-word letter was an initial, one he recognised all too well.

That would explain the bad handwriting, Slubgob thought.

Bledbrush was a very old friend who fell from grace. He lost both his hands after he failed a special assignment that was personally handed to him by their father below.

Perhaps he wrote the letter with his feet. The sudden flashes from his rusty imagination made Slubgob laugh.

“Oh Bledbrush, this is your job,” Slubgob said with a sigh. Slubgob did not need to guess whom the letter was referring to as he began thinking about his godson.

Bledbrush had a son named Vilefire. Vilefire was part of the graduating class that morning, and at the memory, Slubgob recalled not seeing Bledbrush among the group of parents.

Where was Bledbrush? Was he in trouble?

Bledbrush used to be a good friend, until he messed things up. The community was kind enough to accept his son, but Bledbrush was no longer welcomed at family barbeques or invited to any festive celebrations. He went from the number one Tempter to the number one outcast, and in Slubgob’s honest opinion, he deserved it.

Bledbrush was to lead his patient away from the enemy, but instead, he lost him to the enemy. That patient ended up leading an entire generation in the enemy’s ways, wasting all efforts and destroying all future chances of winning any of them back.

Pitiful… Pitiful Bledbrush. Should I help him? Slubgob asked himself.

With such a father, Vilefire had no choice but to fend for himself. Forced to make up for his father’s abhorrent reputation, the boy could definitely use Slubgob’s help.

“That’s a poor way of asking for a favour, Bledbrush. The enemy forbid, your manners are appalling. But… I’ll help you anyway,” Slubgob said, as though speaking to someone across his desk.

Just as he had decided on that, a knock came from his office door.

“What is it Mrs Gregious?” Slubgob asked, slightly annoyed at the disturbance. His caretaker knew better than to disturb him at any time of the day.

“I have a letter for you, sir,” Mrs Gregious said, as she opened the door and hurried to his desk to hand him the letter.

“Another one?” Slubgob was surprised at the amount of attention he was getting that day.

Mrs Gregious nodded and left without saying another word.

Not hesitating, Slubgob tore the letter open and read.

Dr. Slubgob,

This is to inform you of the disappearance of former Tempter Bledbrush.

If you have any information on his whereabouts, you are to report immediately.

Demons who withhold information will not be spared.

Signed,

Dartloath

(Captain of the H. G Security)

“Ah. Well done Bledbrush, you angered our father below. You should think twice about making it a hobby,” Slubgob said, as he shook his head in disappointment.

That explained the letter from Bledbrush, and Slubgob was glad that Bledbrush’s letter was just that. Anything more would get him in trouble.

Contemplating on what to do next, he decided to give Dartloath a call. If Mrs Gregious decided to speak about the mysterious letter he received earlier, he would not be able to have a day without the Hell’s Ground Security knocking on his door. So, he decided to come clean.

That night, Slubgob invited Dartloath over for dinner. Dartloath was not as old as he was, but the towering demon was well into his age. He also had a scar on his right eye, making it the eye no one dared to look into.

“Doctor, I know you are one with little friends and surely I am not one of them. What is the reason for this dinner?” Dartloath said, just as he emptied his glass of wine.

“You have enjoyed my food and now you fear not in jumping into questions and reasons. I respect the thickness of your skull, Dartloath.”

“I waste no time. I am a busy one.”

“Of course. Well, earlier today I received a letter from Bledbrush, he-”

“Does it say where he is?”

“No. He simply asked me to look after his son, who happens to be my godson. But, I think I do know where he is.”

“You do?”

“Yes.”

“What are you waiting for? An invitation to dinner at my house instead?” Dartloath did not like waiting, it seemed.

“Tell me this first, what are you planning to do with Vilefire?” Slubgob replied, as he took another bite at his red meat.

“We’re keeping him under surveillance. Bledbrush might attempt to contact him and vice versa. We-”

“Now, tell me what Bledbrush did that made him run,” Slubgob interrupted, completely ignoring the steam that was rising from Dartloath’s head. Literally.

“It’s confidential. Our father below gave orders not to disclose any information on Bledbrush’s offense.”

“How interesting.”

“So, where is he?” Dartloath snapped.

“Well, since Bledbrush is not down here, he must be up there, frolicking with our fellow patients,” Slubgob replied with a smile.

“Do you think this is funny, old one?”

“No. I’ve simply told you all I know. Now if you would excuse me-”

“Where’s the letter from Bledbrush? I want to see it,” Dartloath interrupted him this time.

“You won’t be able to read it. He writes with his toes now that he has no hands,” Slubgob casually replied as he got up from his seat. “Just take my word for it. I called you here, didn’t I?”

“I’m not sure what your reason is for such an invite. You know, it is true what they say, a lonely, bored old one is what you are,” Dartloath replied without hiding his spite. As he stood up, he tugged his suit and left without even thanking Slubgob for the delicious meal.

Not taking any offense, Slubgob returned to his office and decided to write a letter to Vilefire. With a mystery as such, he foresaw less idle days in his office and it excited him. Slubgob could also put his knowledge to the test and do a real field task at last. If it got him in trouble, he could always pretend to be senile.

Pulling out his favourite fountain pen from his desk’s drawer, Slubgob stared briefly at the flickering shadows that dominated his office before he began to write.

Dear Vilefire,

You are probably wondering why I am writing to you. To be honest, your father sent me a letter asking me to help you. I suspect it could mean to help you in your new assignment, but it could also be a plea to keep you from harm’s way, now that he has fallen from grace again.

I know I have not been a very good godfather to you, but I am not one to build relationships. As you might have heard from your lecturers in college, or even your fellow classmates, I am as unfriendly as an alligator and as cold as a snake.

Oddly, I find myself writing a letter to you, hoping to do your father one last favour. He was once a good friend and a good Tempter, and you would do well not to forget that.

Of course, I will not barge my way into your mediocre life, but if you would like my assistance, I am sure to have more head knowledge than anyone you have met.

Write back to me once you have decided. There is no rush, only the time wasted to do great things for our father below.

Your willing Godfather,

Dr. Slubgob

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

You have just read Chapter 1 of Dr. Slubgob’s Letters. Want more? Grab the entire novella HERE!

Book Teasers

The Battle For Oz: Exitium

tbfo banner

The court erupted with angry shouts of agreement. They were urging an immediate action to have her banished to the wastelands and they were not backing down. There was nothing she could say or do to convince them otherwise as even her husband did not squeak in her defence. She was done for.

Before the sun could set that day, she was escorted out of the kingdom. A crowd gathered in the streets to bid her farewell, and she had a feeling they would be celebrating once she was gone. That made her even more furious, but she knew her orders for their banishments would only fall on deaf ears.

As she left the happy kingdom behind, most of her feather-skinned guards continued on with her. She told them they could stay and celebrate, but it was more of a threat than a kind offer. Nevertheless, she enjoyed their nervous and silent company.

By the time they reached the black, flat, foul smelling wastelands, her guards found her a large rabbit hole that led to a giant burrow. She wanted to strike them on the head for finding such an unfitting place for her status, but she held her hand back when she found a motherless litter of muttbits curled up among each other.

Muttbits were like dogs, except for their rabbit ears, long whiskers and two sharp front teeth. They were a banished species for their wild and aggressive behaviour. Honestly, she once thought of them revolting but after being able to identify with them, she thought they would make good pets.

She also had an idea… a crazy idea she was not going to let go.

The muttbits were strangely welcoming towards her as she invaded their home, and it was probably because of the raw meat she was feeding them. So while she bonded with her newfound friends, her guards began to make the stinking place liveable. Torches were placed around the dome like burrow and a pile of pillows were stacked up at a corner for her sleepy head. They even sprayed some perfume in the air, hoping to rid the nose scrunching smell.

The burrow itself had a rather high ceiling and plenty of space. It was a suitable place for a home in the wastelands, but she knew she was not staying. How could a royal live in such a God forsaken place? She may be insane as what the court had called her earlier that day, but she was not stupid. This burrow was merely a temporary home until she found a new one; a new palace to be precise.

As she held back her mad urges of reclaiming her throne, she took her time in raising and breeding her muttbits. Two weeks in and she had doubled the number, with half as big as full-grown bears. Her guards were terrified of the muttbits because they would snap violently every time her guards approached them. But when it came to her, they were angels. She was convinced they saw her as their mother, and she soon started calling them her babies.

Once she had raised an army of muttbits, she knew the right time had arrived. She was going to claim the throne and be called queen again. Her muttbits would fight for her and she would regain her power. But she wouldn’t be fighting for the throne of this land, as most people would have expected her to. Instead, she found another land filled with powerful magic she coveted. That land was Oz.

She first learned about Oz from a book in the royal library. It was a place with magical creatures, picturesque mountains, lush forests, and a city built with green glass. Green was not her favourite colour, but jewels were definitely her favourite accessories.

On top of that, there was powerful magic; magic that she could later use to seek revenge on everyone that agreed to have her banished. Oh, wouldn’t that be glorious? she silently asked herself with a smile plastered on her fair face.

With her imaginations floating around her head, she became even more excited. When she could not contain it any longer, she ordered her guards to bring her a small velvet pouch. Of course, no one knew what was in that pouch except her, for if they did she would have been banished much earlier.

The contents of this little pouch were actually stolen from the royal archives, where artefacts of different realms were displayed in glass casings. Weeks before her trial, she snuck into the archives and stole the tail of a winged monkey that was supposedly from Oz. She then had it burnt and mixed with black fairy dust. From the words of different magic books, the powdery substance should take her to Oz, and she was so sure of it.

Rounding up her guards and her muttbits, she placed the small pouch in the centre of the burrow. Everyone was waiting for a special spell of some sort, but instead she ordered, “Burn it!”

The guards who were unfortunate enough to be standing near the torches, pulled the torches out of their holders and walked up to the pouch. As the guards lowered the flames, the pouch immediately caught on fire but nothing expected happened. After a few minutes of nothing, she thought the magic had failed and her chest began to bubble in anger. But when her disappointment was about to burst into fury, a deafening pop startled her angry heart.

The velvet pouch had exploded into a large cloud of dust and the dust began swirling. The air in the burrow was so still that all eyes were locked on the dust in fascination. Unfortunately for the guards in the centre, they only had a brief moment of awe before they were pulled into a rapidly growing tornado. There were screaming and growling, and also a hysterical laughter that was escaping her lips. The magic was working and she couldn’t be happier.

 As the tornado burst through the top of the burrow, it swept everyone off their feet. A few seconds after the outburst of the tornado, it died down quickly and the wastelands returned to its usual silence. The only difference was the big hole in the ground that no one would have ever noticed.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

This is chapter one; a teaser to The Battle For Oz: Exitium.

Exitium is book 1 in my latest novelette trilogy and it would be released at the end of May. It will also be free to download! To get you excited, I have a slideshow below that will introduce you to some of the characters and the contents of the book. Check it out!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As you can see, the book is filled with awesome illustrations that I myself cannot get enough of 🙂 I hope that you guys would feel the same way too! To know more you can visit the Facebook page, but for now this should be enough to ‘tease’ you with.

***UPDATE: The Battle For Oz trilogy will be combined into a novel. A crowd-funding project was done to make it possible. Visit HERE to find out more!

The Battle For Oz © 2014 – 2015 Jeyna Grace

Book Teasers, Original Works

DW: The Lost Child – Chapter 1

Anna stared out the window, taking in the nocturnal view at one o’clock in the morning. She usually went to bed much earlier on regular days, but tonight was special. You see, every year, on this very day, she would lie down in bed at two forty three in the morning, taking a maximum of seven minutes to fall asleep, just to be in time to board a train.

It was a special train; an old train alike the Orient Express that would come through a cloud of white smoke. It was her dream train. When the clock in the forgettable train station strikes three, the train would start moving, and Anna would be on board.

Anna would get off the train at the next station where the first step she takes off the train would be on freshly cut grass, in a park, where children would be playing.

There, in the midst of the laughing children, she would meet him, the boy with bright blue eyes and brown hair; the boy who would be turning 12 this year; the boy her parents took from her, 12 years ago.

The boy’s name was Bryan. Anna was 15 when she had him, and every 3rd of December, she would meet him in her dreams. When he was one years old, she saw him in a stroller, by himself, in the park. He was laughing as butterflies flew around him.

When he got older, Bryan would be seen playing with the other children. And three years ago, when Bryan turned 9, Anna befriended him. Strangely, she never told Bryan who she was, for she was not sure if he was her son. But she believed that he was, even though he might just be a figment of her imagination.

Today, in her dreams, she saw Bryan again. And when he saw her, he ran into her embrace.

“I miss you Anna!” Bryan said.

“I miss you too Bryan,” Anna replied, as she pulled him in for another hug.

“How come I only see you once a year?” Bryan asked.

To be completely honest, Anna tried to board the train every other day of the year. She would lie in her bed at the same time, and fall asleep right in time to catch the train, but oddly, there was no train to board. She would appear in a different place, and not in a train station, or so she remembers.

“I don’t know Bryan, I just can’t seem to get here every other day of the year,” Anna said with a sigh.

“It’s o.k. I’ll try to find you tomorrow.” Bryan smiled as he took her hand and led her under a slide and into their secret hideout, a cave.

Funny how dreams work, you never know what you’ll find beneath a cupboard, or inside a refrigerator. It is always a surprise, unless you know where to look to find what you’re looking for.

“Anna, look at my sand castle!” Bryan said excitedly as he exited the cave into the isolated beach.

Far in sight, stood a gigantic sand castle, 20 feet high, with flags on the roof of the towers.

“Do you like it?” Bryan asked.

“Yes, I do!” Anna said in amazement as she ran up to his side.

“I made it for you.” Bryan took her hand as he looked up at her.

It was then that Anna could not take it any longer; she had to tell Bryan who she was.

“I have to tell you something Bryan,” Anna said, kneeling down on the soft sand. “I’m your mother.”

“What?” Bryan looked confused as he narrowed his eyebrows at her.

“I’m your mother Bryan,” Anna said again.

“I don’t have a mother. I’m an orphan.”

“I know, but-“

“If you’re my mother, why am I an orphan?”

Anna didn’t know how to answer her child. It was hard enough to tell him who she was as she feared it might ruin their relationship. But this was just a dream, wasn’t it?

“I made a mistake, and I would take you back if only I knew where you are,” Anna explained.

Bryan merely looked at her, unsure on how to react as he stared deeply into her eyes, which were as blue as his.

“Come find me then,” Bryan finally spoke after the rapid change from day to night.

“Where are you?”

“I’m in-“

Whoop, was the sound Anna heard next. In a swirling motion, she watched as Bryan finished his sentence inaudibly, and then he and the beach vanished.

Anna woke up immediately after that, in her bedroom, and the clock by the side of her bed was ringing a wake-up call.

Still unsure of what just happened, the memories of her dream slowly slipped away. And no matter how hard she tried to hold on to it, the only thing left to remember was the sand castle and Bryan’s blue eyes.

____________________________________________________________________________________________
Dream World © 2012 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the mini series’ may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Jeyna Grace.
Book Teasers

The First Dream

Tad was special. His mother was told that she could not bear any child, and when the doctors told her she was pregnant, his parents immediately knew he was a miracle. The day he was born, the stars sparkled in the clear dark sky and a bird sang a beautiful song as it perched by the window, watching the baby boy breathe his first breath.

Tad had dark hair and big brown eyes that would light up every time someone made a funny face, forcing him into the most adorable giggles a baby could give. He was the talk of the town for a while as his presence gave dark times a glint of hope.

As Tad grew older, his father pampered him more than his brothers. He was given better clothes and was spared from the farm work. But on the down side, Tad was forced to study, day in and day out. As though education was only made for him and not his brothers.

At the age of 7, something rather peculiar happened. One night, while Tad was asleep in the room he shared with his brothers, he heard someone calling to him. Even under the loud thundering rain, the voice was so distinct as though it was in his head. And when he finally could not ignore it any longer, Tad got up and squinted his eyes in the dark, hoping to find the source. The same deep voice then told him to look out the window and Tad obediently did as he was told.

When he pressed his palms on the cold window pane, he saw a baby bird in a nest, on a tree near the window. Its parents were not around and it was struggling to stay in its wobbling nest as the wind blew. Tad tried to pry the window open, to safe the baby bird from impending danger, but his small hands could barely lift the weight of the tightly bolted panels.

And then the worst imagination Tad could have at that moment, happened. The nest fell and Tad gasps. But to his surprise, the baby bird took off into the sky, flapping its small wings as it battled the strong winds. Every time the bird seemed to be loosing its fight with the wind and the rain, it would force itself to try harder. And every time it tried, it succeeded. Tad watched for a while before he felt a heaviness in his eyelids and as everything plummeted into darkness, Tad could not even remember walking back to his mat on the floor.

The next morning, Tad hurried out to see the nest, hoping to be able to place it back to where it was, but there was none.

“Where’s the nest?” Tad asked himself as he looked around the tree.

“What nest?” Roth, his oldest brother, asked.

“There was a nest. I saw a nest last night and the wind blew it off the tree.”

“Well, if the wind blew it off, I guess you won’t find it anymore,” Roth said as he walked off to his morning chores.

“But…”

“I kicked the nest, destroyed it, so the birds won’t have a home anymore.” Simon, his third oldest brother, smirked with his arms folded by the door.

“Why would you?! The baby bird won’t find its home anymore!”

“Aw. I imagine the baby bird to be you, lost and alone, with no home, and no mommy and daddy to cry to,” Simon said and laughed.

“You’re mean!’

“And just like the bird, nobody wants you.” Simon shoved Tad against the tree before he left.

What Simon said made Tad scramble around, looking harder for the nest, but when he found none, he retreated to a corner in his room and sobbed. He didn’t know how long he was there until his mother came looking for him. When she heard his soft sobs, she hurried to his side and gave him a hug.

“Mommy, the baby bird is all alone,” Tad said softly as his wet brown eyes stared out the window.

“Baby, there was never a nest in that tree,” his mother whispered in his ear. His brothers must have told her the story.

“But I saw it last night!”

“It was a dream.”

“No, it was real!”

“It was a dream Tad. If there was a nest, I would know. Trust me o.k?”

 “But mommy, the baby bird fell and -“

“Don’t worry about the baby bird, it will be strong, even on its own. It will learn to fly and reach for the stars. Just like you!” his mother said as she tapped his nose.

“Like me?”

“If ever you think you are alone, and if the world throws you out of your nest, just trust yourself and fly.”

Tad nodded and gave his mother a tight hug. If only he knew his mother’s words would carry so much weight in the future, he would have memorized it day and night.

Tad never knew his first dream would come to pass, in fact, he had forgotten about it over the years. But as he fell in and out of consciousness in the sweat smelling van, after the cold-hearted betrayal of his brothers, he vaguely recalled what his mother said, and it was the strength he held on to for as long as he could.

“If the world throws you out of your nest, just trust yourself and fly.”

(Wanna know what happened to Tad? Get an E-book copy of The Dreamer at USD3!  Visit the bookstore to purchase one!)

Book Teasers

The Dreamer

Another day indoors. Tad sighed as he stared blankly at the book in front of him.

He wanted very much to be out in the field playing ball with his brothers instead of reading a 500-page manual on ‘How to un-root an Energy Canister’, as though removing an energy canister was the job only for a highly professional engineer, if that was the case, the world would have plenty of them.

Tad shut the book forcefully and peered out the window. He could see his brothers being interrupted by his father in the middle of their game. He knew automatically that they were being ordered to get back to work. He couldn’t help but smirk. Maybe reading wasn’t so bad after all, compared to feeding the chickens and milking the cows on his father’s farm.

And yet Tad wondered why he was the only one that needed to do all these reading and counting. He once asked his father but instead of a reply, five more books were placed in his arms. When he asked his mother, she said he was special and that both she and his father loved him very much. Tad concluded that he was their favorite, which proved true when he was the only one given second helpings during dinner that night.

Tad wasn’t all that hungry but he ate anyway. He caught his brothers eyeing him with a hint of jealousy, but that didn’t bother him. He had gotten that look way too often to bother responding.

When dinner was over, his mother asked his brothers to clean up while his father took him to the room he and his ten brothers slept at night.

“I saw you watching your brothers today Tad,” his father said, shutting the door behind him.

Tad didn’t know what to say. There was no point denying since it was true.

“I know you want to go outside and play, but for right now, it is better if you stayed indoors and study. I do not want you to work on the farm with me when you get older. Your brothers are already doing so. The future you have is not here. Do you understand?”

Tad sighed and nodded. He had heard his father mention his future a million times, and yet he never said where it would be if not the farm. Some future, he thought to himself.

“Good. Now that our little talk is over, why don’t you get ready for bed? And reduce the energy release on the canister will you? We’re running short. You DO know how to do it, don’t you?”

“Yes. I’ve read how,” Tad drawled. His father responded with a smile and patted him on the shoulder before leaving the room.

Tad headed to the far corner of the room where a metal cabinet was. He pressed some buttons and the cabinet doors slid open. In the cabinet was a cylindrical canister with blue electric veins pulsing in it. It was the same energy canister he was studying earlier that day.

The energy canister was hooked up to multiple wires which supplied energy to the entire house. All the houses used a canister as their source of energy, and one canister lasted for a month for most homes. When all the energy is used up, the canister must be replaced with a new one if they wanted to survive.

Tad slowly turned a knob at the top of the cylinder, being careful not to touch any of the wires. Immediately he saw the reduction of energy flow in the wires. And that was when the lights in his room started to dim. Tad nodded to himself and shut the cabinet with a press of another button.

Tad stared at the cabinet for a while and wondered who his father would send to the city this time to exchange the canister. He secretly wished his father would pick him as he had never seen the city before. He heard his brothers mentioning of high rise structures and super highways with cars powered by blue energy. Unfortunately for him, the only car he had ever seen was the old junk that ran on fuel.

Tad sighed and headed to his mat on the floor. They couldn’t afford beds and this was the best they could. Moments later, he heard his brothers entering the room, but he just ignored them and fell straight to sleep.

He was awakened shortly after by a tremor. He sat up trying to get his bearings but no hint of light was to his aid. The ground beneath him was vibrating violently and it felt like it was about to give in. Tad stood up and waved his hands blindly around him in search of a wall, but there seemed to be none.

Tad started to panic but before he could react, he saw his chest glowing. And then, as if crawling out of the shadows, were his brothers. Their bodies were hunched, in a prostrate manner, surrounding him. Tad swallowed hard and he didn’t realize he was holding his breath as he watched them bow to him expressionlessly.

Briefly taking his eyes off his brothers, he began to notice the glow in his chest becoming brighter. Both terrified and amazed, Tad closed his eyes expecting the worst when a sharp pain pierced his stomach.

Tad opened his eyes immediately and found himself back in his bedroom. His third oldest brother stood hovering over him.

“Get up,” Simon said monotonically.

“You didn’t have to kick me.” Tad glared at Simon and sat up.

“I was trying to make sure you weren’t dead.” Simon smirked as he folded his arms.

“Right. Well, I’m not.” Tad climbed to his feet. He wasn’t as tall as Simon but he was almost his height. Tad secretly wished he was taller, that way he wouldn’t have to look up at him all the time.

“I had a dream about you. You were bowing to me, and so were the others,” Tad continued.

“Wow! Isn’t that something! Let’s tell Roth and the others,” Simon said sarcastically as he grabbed Tad by the arm and dragged him downstairs where his other brothers were already having breakfast on a wooden table in the tiny dining room.

“Let go!” Tad squirmed out of Simons grip and managed to free himself.

“What’s the problem?” Roth asked uninterestedly.

“Tad had a dream about us,” Simon announced.

“Must be some dream eh, Tad?” Luther jeered. Luther wasn’t the oldest, but he came in second after Roth and he was famous for his fist of anger.

“He dreamt we were bowing down to him.” Simon turned to eye Tad.

“And I was glowing!” Tad blurted out. He immediately felt stupid as laughter erupted at the table.

A wave of embarrassment washed over him. He was being ridiculed by his own brothers but his pride made him continue with details of his dream.

“You were all bowing to me! Every single one of you!” Tad said loudly, even though his voice wasn’t as firm as he wanted it to be.

“So you’re saying you’re going to be king?” Luther stood up and shoved Tad against the wall. “You’re going to rule over us? Us, who are older than you?”

Tad tried to stand his ground but fear crept up his spine. He could never stand up against all of them and he silently prayed for a miraculous intervention. Just when he was about to receive a broken nose from one of his brothers, his father came through the door.

“What the devil is going on here?”  His father began pulling his brothers away from him.

“Go get yourselves to work!” his father ordered his brothers out the door as Tad breathed a sigh of relief.

“What was going on, my boy?” His father turned to him.

“Nothing.  Just a misunderstanding,” Tad muttered.

“Well, if that’s the case, let’s just leave it as that shall we?” his father said and suspired.

Tad nodded and followed his father out into the front yard. He saw his brothers watching him as they carried hay into the nearest barn. He somehow knew he wasn’t at all safe from a broken nose yet.

Trying to keep his mind off them, he turned his attention to his mother who was carrying a package in her hands.

“Have you forgotten what day today is?” she said as she gave him a tight hug.

“Tuesday?” Tad was slightly confused.

“You poor boy, how could you have forgotten your own birthday!” She pinched his cheeks and handed him the package. Tad never liked the pinching but he gave his mother the benefit, after all, she loved him the most.

“See what all the studying could do to him?” his mother said sternly, speaking directly to his father as Tad chuckled. Mother knows best, Tad silently thought to himself.

Tad waited for his mother to nod at him before he started unwrapping the package. It only took him a second to realize what he was holding in his hands. It was a silver vest, and running along the sides were small tubes, with blue energy flowing through it. His parents must have ordered it from the city, and with no doubt, he knew it was an expensive order. Tad took a minute or so staring at it before he quickly put it on and asked excitedly, “How do I look?”

“Handsome. I think your father wouldn’t mind letting you have the day off from those books,” his mother said as she eyed his father with her beautiful brown eyes, and his father nodded in agreement.

“Yes!” Tad exclaimed as he gave his parents a peck on their cheeks. Tad was ecstatic. He had the day off from books and it felt like heaven.

Turning seventeen wasn’t all that bad after all, especially when he had the day all to himself and a new silver vest. He couldn’t wait to show it off to his brothers, and the best way he thought he should do so was to walk pass the barn they were in as slowly as possible, making sure the sun’s reflection catches their attention, and when they looked, he wouldn’t say anything, since a picture speaks a thousand words anyway. And so he did what he had planned to do, and after he caught all their jealous faces, he decided to spend the rest of the day, by himself, at a nearby creek, in which he had fallen in love with the first time he found it when he was twelve.

Soon day was slowly giving way to night and Tad decided to head home. On his way home, he saw a familiar sheep running across a small hill. He assumed his brothers were grazing the flocks in nearby field and decided to spy on them, since he didn’t have much to do anyway.

Tad quickly but quietly followed after that lone sheep as it made its way to the field, but to his surprise no one was around. The sheep however, continued trotting into the forest by the field and Tad decided to follow. He had caught his brothers with their alcohol before and maybe he would catch them again, at least that would save him from an impending broken nose.

The sky was turning dark, but Tad took no notice. He followed the sheep as quietly as possible as it led him to a clearing. There he spotted his brothers, and with one wrong footing, they spotted him too.

“Look, it’s the dreamer!” Luther exclaimed sarcastically and his brothers laughed.

“He’s come to tell on us again.” Tad heard one of them say as they started to form a circle around him. He tried to find a gap between them in hopes of making a quick dash out of their circle, but he found no escape.

“I have an idea. Let’s kill him and throw him into that cistern. Then we’ll just tell father a lion ate him up,” Simon said and to Tad’s surprise, the rest agreed.

Did they hate him that much? Tad could hear his heart pumping and a quick silent prayer he made. A broken nose was way better than death.

“You can’t kill me, I’m your brother,” Tad quickly said, hoping it would save his life.

He heard his brothers laughing at his statement and Tad couldn’t believe they found it funny.

“I agree with Simon. Let’s just kill him and then he’ll be out of our hair forever,” Luther said as he walked up behind Tad and placed his strong hands on his shoulders.

Tad tried to free himself but Luther’s grip was too tight. Tad looked to Roth, his oldest brother, hoping he would save him as he mouthed ‘Please’ to him.

“No. Let’s just throw him in that cistern and leave him be. We shall not kill our own brother,” Roth said sternly.

“Half brother,” Simon muttered in disappointment.

Tad sighed a small relief. Maybe one of them will come back for him later, or so he hoped. His brothers tussled him around as they took off his vest and shoved him towards the cistern. It did not take another touch as Tad fell right down into it.

It wasn’t very deep as he didn’t break any bones on the landing, but it was dark and cold. Tad sat and hugged himself, trying to stay warm. His thoughts were racing and so were his emotions. What were his brothers planning to do? Leave him? He felt a concoction of emotions and the coldness around him became more bearable than the coldness and hatred his brothers had showed him.

He began to feel tired and weak and he was nearly falling asleep when he heard voices. It was his brothers talking. He heard them mentioning of traders and money when a rope came falling down the cistern.

“Climb up!” He heard one of his brothers shouting to him.

Relieved that they weren’t really going to leave him there, he quickly made his way up. As he nearly reached the top, strong arms pulled him out of the cistern, but they didn’t let him go. It took him a while before he realized that those strong arms belonged to two men he had never seen before.

“He’s rather scrawny don’t you think?” one of them said to the other.

A third unknown man came up to him and eyed him from head to toe. He dressed sloppily in a suit, and he wore a crooked smile that showed his golden tooth. He had gold rings around his fingers and he had tattoos all over his hands. Tad personally found him scarier than the men that were holding on to him.

“We’ll take him for twenty silver coins,” the third man said.

“Sold,” Luther announced as though the bidding was over, taking the bag of coins the man had handed to him.

Tad was confused more than ever. Did his brothers just sell him off to these city traders? He didn’t have to question himself any longer as he was sure he knew what had just happened

“No! You can’t sell me! I have rights!” Tad shouted at his brothers.

“Well, we’re town people, we don’t have rights brother, especially you!” Simon chuckled.

“You still can’t sell me! That’s against the law! Please!” Tad tried to free himself from the men’s grip.

“No such law young lad,” the third man said as he started walking out of the clearing. The two men holding him were following after and dragging Tad along the way.

Tad could feel tears swelling up in his eyes as he shouted to his brothers, “Please! I’m your brother. Please don’t do this!”

But his brothers did not respond to his pleas and Tad knew, from that moment, that he was on his own.

“No!” Tad screamed and kicked. He tried to wiggle himself free and he seemed to be doing it right as the two men were losing their grip on him.

“Knock him out,” he heard a voice gave an order and then he heard a loud thud. Tad was knocked out in a millisecond.

The Dreamer is now available in the bookshop!