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Category Archives: Original Works

All my originals, mostly consisting of short stories.

Willow | Mouse | Hat

Once upon a time, there lived a mouse. He hid under the dying shades of a willow tree. And bearing the weight of a gargantuan human hat were his feeble shoulders. For most of his life, that was the frame of his identity. He was a small and weak creature, shielded from the world by a soulless perennial plant, with a destiny that mirrored a curse. And with such a fate, he couldn’t live. Yet, in the irony of his birth, he was told to live – a great and mighty life.

Growing up, he heard stories about the creatures beyond. They lurked outside the drapes of the sallow. They had monstrous fangs, sharpened claws, and an insatiable appetite for little mouses. And the one he trusted – the one that groomed him – the tree, continued to feed him those lies. It painted a hazardous unknown, one he feared the most. But then came the day he was done – tired and frustrated of living in the shadows.

“I cannot live like this, Willow,” he said.

“Then how should you live – as dinner for those beasts?”

“I can sneak.”

“And your hat?”

“I can be quiet.”

“You stupid little mouse. I’ve told you, these devils can smell you. They can’t see, but they can sniff.”

“Then what am I to do – continue with this purposeless life?”

“You have a purpose. You will be great one day. But that day, is not today.”

The tree shook its branches – shedding its browning leaves – ending the conversation. The mouse was left to wallow in the growing darkness, as day gave way to night. Soon, the moon would bask in the starry canvas. And soon, he would hear the terrifying howls of the monsters outside. Perhaps the tree was right. Perhaps he should remain where he was, do what he was told, and wait for the promise of a great life. But how long should he wait? He was no longer a pup. He could now carry the human hat with little difficulty. Should he wait till his shoulders were broader? They didn’t seem like they could grow any wider. Deciding to take control of his destiny, he left the tree.

As he cautiously slipped from under the willow’s shade, the glorious evening hues had altogether vanished. It was now the darkest hour. There was no warmth in its embrace, and absent was the comforting scent of spring. His little feet scurried to the nearest rock for safety – his shadow stretched distorted under the moonlight. And in the silence, his ears perked for the familiar call of the beast. Yet oddly, there was none. Were the monsters in hiding? His eyes darted to every moving shadow, as his breath grew short.

Five feet behind him was the tree in its slumber. It was unaware of his truancy, and he was tempted to scuttle back in fear. But, he pushed forward. He’d caught sight of a glistening body of water, and its preternatural attribute called to him. Its stream winded through the field of grass. Its current stirred a soothing melody. And in its transparency, it reflected the night sky. Dragonflies zoomed above, unafraid of the night and the monsters in hiding. Having not met any creature outside his cocoon, the prospect of friendship excited him.

“Hello there,” he greeted in a whisper.

Three dragonflies buzzed past, but one stayed behind. It had a peculiar question, one the mouse didn’t expect to hear.

“Why are you whispering?” the dragonfly asked.

“The beasts. They might hear me,” he replied.

“What beasts?”

“The beasts that devour mouses like me.”

The dragonfly, in its graceful flight, oscillated from left to right. “I see. But you don’t have to whisper,” the dragonfly stated.

“The beasts-”

“It makes no difference, little mouse.”

“It doesn’t?”

The dragonfly caught the night breeze. It rose in its lift before diving down. “It doesn’t. And with a hat like that, you’re safe.”

“But Willow said my hat makes me vulnerable.”

“Did it now? See that owl on that tree.”

A few feet down the stream was an autumn tinted tree. Faint were the colours of its leaves, but bold was the predator on its branch. The snow white bird swivelled its head toward them, and a shiver ran up his fragile spine.

“That’s a beast!”

In the panic, he scurried into a bed of periwinkles. The dragonfly promptly lowered itself on a leaf beside him.

“One of the many beasts in this world, I’m afraid. But look, it isn’t coming after you,” the dragonfly said.

“Because of my hat?”

“Because of your hat, and because of you.”

“Me?”

“Go to the water, little mouse. It’ll show you who you are.”

“But the beast…”

“Go.”

The dragonfly didn’t wait for him, nor did it offer to watch his back. It left him words without assurance, taking off into the sky. But as it did, a strange desire to see himself sparked. So he took a bold step forward. And with one step, came another, and another, until he was at the bank. In his peripheral, the owl remained perched. But the caution toward his predator evanesced when he caught his reflection.

Staring back, in the mirror of the universe above, was an aged man. Adorning his head was a shimmering crown, embellished with rubies and sapphires. Draping from his broad, square shoulders was a crimson robe. He was no mouse – he was a king. The willow had lied. And a costly lie it was. But could he blame it and not himself? He chose to believe the willow’s tale. He chose a sheltered life. Now, if only he was braver sooner. If only he wasn’t fearful of the unknown, he could’ve lived a greater and mightier life – a life promised from birth. But at the very least, he could now die a man. At the very least… he was no longer a mouse.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Willow, mouse, and hat were words given by SJJ. When I think of these words, I think fairytale. Hence, I’ve attempted to write a story one would read to a child during bedtime. I’m not sure if I did a good job, so I’ll leave the judging to you.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. You could, perhaps, take a fairytale spin to it too. The choice is yours.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2017 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2017 in Original Works

 

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Love | Hearts | Roses

loveheartsroses

It was on a sunny day in the year 1995. I stood by a tree in the park, with a box brimmed with origami hearts – it was what she wanted, or so she told me.

“Hey!” I called, waving her over in the middle of her game of hide-and-seek.

“What?” she asked.

Her hazel eyes reflected my grin, as I handed her the gift. That day, she wore a yellow floral dress with puffed sleeves. Alike a princess, she caught my breath in her innocence and grace.

“What’s this?” she asked. “And who are you?”

“It’s what you wanted,” I said.

“My mummy says I shouldn’t talk to strangers.”

“And your mummy is right.”

She frowned, as bewilderment glazed her small face. I had the urge to reach down – to brush her hair – but I pocketed my hands instead.

“Anyway, that’s for you. Happy Valentine’s Day, Emily,” I said.

“Eww!” she exclaimed. “You’re not my boyfriend.”

I chuckled. And just when she proceeded to unwrap her gift, I left.

1995 was the last year I saw her. It was also the last time I did something for her. But it wasn’t the only time. At least, in this respect, I was in control.

It was on a rainy day in the year 2007. I stood outside the diner, with an umbrella and a bouquet of velvet roses. It wasn’t something she wanted, but perhaps something she needed.

She once recounted a tale of being stood up by her date. The boy blamed the weather for his no show, and she laughed at the absurd excuse. But as I caught the glistening tear, trailing down her cheek that evening, I needed to rewrite history.

Entering the quiet eatery, I confidently strolled to her booth. In the warmth of the building, she wore a polka-dotted, monochrome mini dress. When I halted before her, she gazed at me expectantly. Then realising I wasn’t her high school crush, she turned away. Her disregard of my presence broke my heart. But I wasn’t there for me – I was there for her.

“I have something for you,” I said.

“I don’t know you,” she replied, eyes fixated at the barren street outside.

“Someone asked me to deliver these to you,” I added.

Shoving the bouquet in front of her face, I left her with no choice but to accept it. And when she did, she promptly asked, “Who?” Her dejected mien now replaced with curiosity and anticipation.

“Not whoever it is you’re waiting for, that’s for sure,” I replied. I had to tell her – he wasn’t worth her time.

“Then who?”

“Your secret admirer.”

“I have a secret admirer?”

I nodded. I contemplated on asking if I could join her, but the eyes behind the counter narrowed on me like a hawk. So after acknowledging the presence of the stranger, I turned to her and wished, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Emily.”

“Who’s my secret admirer?” she repeated. “Tell me.”

I shrugged in reply. Then before I raised further suspicion, I stalked into the wet outdoors – leaving her wondering from behind the glass window.

2007 was a memorable year. I lingered for months to see the result of my intervention. It didn’t alter the course of history, but it did repaint a memory in good light. That was my intention all along… after I failed her.

It was on a cloudy day in the year 2017. I stood by the sidewalk, moments before her death. She wore a red, fitted dress – one I told her not to, but she insisted anyway.

“I’m ready,” she said.

“No. Let me try again,” I replied.

“You said it yourself. Nothing you do can save me.”

“Please let me try.”

“How many times have you said that – how many times will you watch me die?”

She wasn’t afraid of death. The fear in her eyes, and the dryness in her voice, were for me. She fought back the tears, threatening to break her in the face of death, for me. And at that moment – the moment I’ve experienced countless times – I knew it was the last. Her words were different. Her countenance was foreign. In this timeline, she embraced her fate.

“Emily,” I pleaded.

“I don’t want you to live your life on repeat. Please let me go this time.”

“I can’t do that. I cannot let you go.”

“You can. And you will.”

“No, I need to go back. There’s a loophole somewhere. I know there is.”

She sighed. Then reaching for my hands, she said, “If you must go back, then go back. But when you do go back, don’t return to this moment.”

“What?”

“Let this be our first and final goodbye.”

“I…”

A wrenching pain wrapped inside my chest. Its asphyxiating nature dragged my soul into a darkness I never knew existed. My throat tightened in response. My head scrambled for words I couldn’t say. And my eyes blurred in her final moment alive.

“I love you,” she said, with a thin smile.

“I… Em…”

“Happy Valentine’s Day.”

That was, indeed, our first and final goodbye. Of all the endings to her life, I’d found the one with the most peaceful facet. And so I heeded her words – I went back.

It was on an ordinary day. I stood before the place I called home. As I reached for the door, ready to accept the life within, the door opened from inside.

“You’re back!” she squealed. “Happy Emily Day!”

With a smile, I picked her up for a tight hug. That day, she wore a navy blue jumpsuit.

“Happy Emily Day, Emily. Did you miss me?” I asked.

“Every second of every day.”

“I missed you too, Emily.”

Every second of every day.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Love, hearts, and roses were words given by breezyonthebeach. In fact, they were given as a Valentine’s Day prompt last year. I thought, since it’s Valentine’s Day next week, I might as well run with them.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. If you’re not up for a fictional tale, then recount your Valentine’s Day with these 3 words. It shouldn’t be difficult… unless you’re as single as I am.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2017 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2017 in Original Works

 

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Ridley | Burrito | Pluto

ridleyburritopluto

It was on Wednesday night when a delicious wrap of 223 calories went missing from the kitchen table. The burrito, of greens and beans, had been prepped for a simple dinner. Having not eaten the entire day, I was looking forward to savouring it. But just before I sank my teeth into its glorious flesh, the house phone rang. Briefly leaving to attend a common case of ‘wrong number’, I returned in horror to find my wrap missing. Who had eaten it? There were only two suspects.

The first was Mr Ridley. Mr Ridley wore fake moustaches, as he was very fond of playing detective. He had an unrepressed love for mystery novels. And I wouldn’t be surprise if he created a crime just to solve it.

Minutes before the incident, Mr Ridley was in the hall. A stone throw away from the kitchen, Mr Ridley saw me assembling the masterpiece. When the phone rang, the 46-inch television was playing a rerun of Sherlock. It seemingly grasped all of Mr Ridley’s attention, as he wouldn’t leave his seat to answer the call on my behalf. However, his oblivion of the monotonous ring was suspicious. I toyed with the possibility he feigned ignorance to steal my meal. So, I questioned him.

“Did you eat my burrito?” I asked.

“No,” Mr Ridley replied.

“You could’ve asked me to make you one, if you were hungry. You didn’t have to steal it.”

“Why would I steal your burrito? I don’t even like burritos.”

“That’s the thing – why would you steal, when you don’t like them?”

“Exactly. Why would I?”

“Then who ate my burrito?”

“I don’t know.”

“There was no one else at the scene of the crime.”

“You could’ve misplaced it.”

“I didn’t.”

“Well, it wasn’t me. But if you want me to help solve the case-”

“It was you, wasn’t it? Give me back my burrito.”

“I don’t have it. I never did.” Mr Ridley shrugged.

Seeing as Mr Ridley wasn’t admitting to the crime, nor were there any physical evidence he’d committed it, I had to consider my second suspect. His name was Gregory Pluto Junior. I just call him Pluto.

Pluto lived with Mr Ridley and me. He didn’t have a place to stay, so we rented him the guest room. I’ve never met Pluto until he arrived at our doorstep. He was a friend of Mr Ridley’s, and the pair shared a common passion for adventure and mystery.

On most nights, Pluto and Mr Ridley watched Sherlock together. That night however, Pluto was nowhere to be found. He wasn’t in his room. He wasn’t in the garden. He wasn’t even responding to my call. Where could he be, if not hiding and devouring my delicious dinner? Then again, if Pluto did commit the crime, was he capable of executing it on his own?

Now, I did consider waiting until the next day to question Pluto – when he showed up. He was never gone for long. But, I had an inkling the suspect was nearby. Thinking Mr Ridley might’ve witnessed the crime, I switched the television off for further investigation.

“Where’s Pluto, Ridley?”

“I told you, I didn’t steal your burrito. Now please, let me watch Sherlock in peace.”

“Where’s Pluto, Ridley?” I repeated.

“I don’t know where Greg is. Did you call him?”

“He isn’t answering.”

“Well then.”

“If it isn’t Pluto, then it must be you.”

“I. Don’t. Eat. Burritos.”

“Did you see what happened then?”

“I was watching TV until you turned it off.”

“Liar. You helped him, didn’t you? You know Pluto couldn’t have stolen the burrito on his own. So you helped him. You’re his accomplice.”

“Ha! Now who’s the one reading too many mystery novels?”

“Seriously Ridley. I need to eat.”

“Go make another burrito then. Is that so hard to do?”

“Oh… So you did steal it. Or helped steal it. Just confess – tell the truth.”

“Fine, I ate your burrito. You happy now?”

“No. You’re covering for Pluto.”

“Yes, I’m covering for Pluto. Now give me the remote.”

I narrowed my eyes. Tossing the remote at Mr Ridley, he shifted in his seat in reach for it. And when he did, the front door opened. No, it wasn’t the suspect Pluto.

“I thought you guys would be hungry, so we bought pizza on the way home,” Mr Watson said.

“Ah, real food!” Mr Ridley exclaimed.

“Where’s Pluto?” Mrs Watson asked. “Have you kids fed him yet?”

“No. He wouldn’t answer my call,” I replied.

More confused than before, I thought through my theories. There was Mr Ridley, who could’ve eaten my burrito despite claiming dislike. He was clearly hungry, seeing as he wolfed down the pepperoni pizza. And then there was Pluto, the smart canine that could’ve stolen my food by leaping onto the kitchen table. Whether Pluto had the help of Mr Ridley, it was another theory. So what really happened? Who was the culprit – or should I say, culprits?

For now, it remains a mystery unsolved. Perhaps one day, the truth will surface. And perhaps breaking the fourth wall will help uncover it. After all, ‘nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person’. You being another person, what do you think happened?

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Ridley, burrito, and pluto were words given by Mr Ridley. The idea to write a mystery piece wasn’t planned. It came in a snap and I rolled with it, drawing inspiration from The Case Files of Sherlock Holmes. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of mystery. But, it was certainly fun to write.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. And while you’re at it – concocting a story with such random words – leave a comment below with 3 more random words of your choice. Go on, I’m up for the challenge.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2017 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Original Works

 

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Bewitched | Dog | Traveller

bewitcheddogtraveller

It was the night before Christmas. On a street lined with the brightest red in Autumn, its inhabitants scrunched through the pale white snow. Vapour rose from their breaths, as they borne their stories home. Not excluded was the very being at the end of the sidewalk. With a navy scarf tight around his neck, he remained hunched beneath the street lamp. He was on a search – a search for the meaning of Christmas.

Perhaps somebody had the answer. Perhaps the home to his right, adorned with Christmas lights. From the window frames to the shovelled driveway, the house shone the brightest in blinks of red and green. Through the frosted window, an elderly couple sat before the flickering television. The corners of their eyes crinkled in the reminiscence of their past. As their children and grandchildren hurried to join them, the festive lights reflected in their eyes. But there was more to this picture perfect Christmas.

A tradition it was for the white-haired lovebirds to watch the reruns of Bewitched. They shared their first Christmas Eve believing in the magic of Samantha’s nose twitch. And they vowed to keep the practice till their very last. So, their family obliged – every year without fail. It was the little they could do for the beloved pair; watching, chuckling, and sipping hot cocoa till the stroke of midnight.

Why did they celebrate Christmas? Whom did they do it for? Was it for themselves, their parents, or their grandparents? In the comfort of loved ones, what did Christmas mean to them?

Rubbing his nose with a sniff, he turned to the house on his left. A dog trotted back and forth on the barren porch. Occasionally, it slipped through the dog door. But it didn’t stay inside for long, as it jumped back out and returned to its pacing. The black-furred beagle braced the chilly air in the wait for someone special. And when that someone pulled the car up the driveway, it bounced from the porch and dashed to the woman in the long, wool coat.

A smile stretched across the woman’s pale cheeks, as her dog greeted in incomprehensible joy. She patted it, then picked it up for a hug.

“What’re you doing outside?” she asked.

The dog barked and licked her face in reply. Chuckling, she returned the kiss. Done with the cold, the pair retreated to the home they’d once shared with another. Now just the two of them, they served as each other’s comfort and companion.

Did they celebrate Christmas? If so, whom did they do it for? Why did the dog linger in the bitter winter? It didn’t – it couldn’t – comprehend Christmas. Was it loyalty, love, or friendship?

The woman didn’t know, and neither did he. Having hoped the neighbouring houses could enlighten the reason for the season, he sighed in disappointment as he stepped away from the light.

As a traveller, who sought adventure and the meaning in every experience, he’d failed to uncover the simplicity of this holiday. After a year spent in ten countries, learning and embracing cultures, he’d forgotten his own. But did it matter? Was a reason necessary? Perhaps not to everyone. But for him, there had to be one.

With every step, the house he once called home neared. Unlike the Bewitched family, his parents had kept the decorations inside. At the foot of the door, he heard their voices – hollers from the living room, asking about his arrival. Just last week, they’d called and requested he returned for Christmas. For their sake, he cancelled his flight to Asia and rerouted home instead. As he inhaled a deliberate breath, he rang the doorbell.

“You’re home!” those were his mother’s first words.

“It’s good to have you back, buddy,” his father added.

He nodded. In the inability to hide his regret, having ditched the well-thought itinerary of his escapade in Japan, his sister pulled him in for a hug.

“We missed you.” Smacking him on the back, she added, “A little sacrifice won’t hurt. Try to enjoy yourself.”

“Huh,” he responded. She’d said it – the meaning of Christmas.

For the first time, it wasn’t peace, love, joy, goodwill, or even family. For the first time, it was sacrifice.

The Bewitched family sacrificed their plans for an episode they could recall from beginning to end. The dog sacrificed the warmth of its home to welcome the only person who needed its love. Once a year, they put aside their own desires for others. They mirrored the ultimate sacrifice. And that was the true meaning of Christmas: the giving of oneself for the joy of others.

In the revelation, he smiled. Indeed a little sacrifice didn’t hurt. When a greater sacrifice had been made, what was Mt Fuji in comparison. It was the giving of his presence that made Christmas, Christmas. And embracing the essence – understanding the power of sacrifice – gave his Christmas its meaning.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Bewitched, dog, and traveller were words given by Krystine Therriault. Since we’re two days away from Christmas, I ran with a Christmas story. Honestly, it wasn’t as easy as I thought. The world has seen and read many Christmas tales, and I can only hope I brought something new to the table.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. I challenge you to end this year with a little creativity in the Christmas spirit. Oh, and for all those who celebrate Christmas, a merry, merry one to you. May you find your meaning of Christmas amidst the festive cheer.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2016 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2016 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 75: Hitting Reset

clubhouse75

For the first time, the fate of her family’s survival rested upon her sister’s shoulders. And though it was the result of her so-called betrayal, Guinevere couldn’t be more pleased. When it briefly became Genevieve’s burden, Guinevere could breathe.

To save the company after her father pleaded guilty, her mother found Genevieve a match. Giving Guinevere the silent treatment, it meant Genevieve had to put up with their mother’s pushing and nagging. Under the pressure, Genevieve stopped her habitual loitering and submitted to their mother’s plans. Six months later, she married the second son of a foreign competitor and the Dae’hans lived to see another day.

As much as Guinevere felt guilty for her actions, she had no regrets. It was her opportunity to start anew – her family’s opportunity to do things right. And despite her father never being able to forgive her, her mother and sister had little to no choice but to rely on her expertise. So even if her family was broken – not that it wasn’t to begin with – they were still together. That was all that mattered.

After the marriage, Guinevere and her brother-in-law restarted the company. The responsibility of putting branded goods on the table returned to Guinevere after the short-lived hiatus. It required more work than she’d ever done before. But, she could truthfully say she didn’t mind. It was better than being puppet-ed by her father. Also, it was a breath of fresh air when people stopped assuming she was a rich, spoilt brat. Back in her father’s shadow, nobody took her seriously despite her attempts. Now, she could make something of herself.

“Serve the entrees,” Guinevere informed the catering crew.

“Is everyone here?” Genevieve asked.

“No. Not everyone. But those who want to be here, are already here. So we should start.”

“Shouldn’t we wait a little longer?”

Guinevere shook her head and her sister pouted. “Stop hiding in the kitchen and go entertain the guests,” Guinevere said. “Or stand next to your husband if you don’t want to.”

Not waiting for her sister’s glare, Guinevere left through the back door into the garden. She’d said her round of ‘hellos’ and yearned for a pinch of quiet. But in that silence, she involuntarily thought about Wayne.

Planting herself on a bench, she wondered if what Jodie said was true – if Wayne was simply too busy savaging his status. But then reality hit, and along with it the reminder of his warranted silence.

Since her confession, Wayne refused to speak to her. Even after he was cleared, he didn’t answer her calls. He was also seemingly impossible to find and catch. The only times Guinevere saw Wayne were when he entered his car. And despite having made eye contact once or twice, he’d turned away as though he hadn’t seen her at all. How could he be so cruel?

Yes, she’d made a mistake. But everything she did, she did for family. Why couldn’t he forgive her? Why couldn’t he see her loyalty instead of her betrayal? Some days, Guinevere wished she’d come clean earlier – at least to Wayne.

“If only I-”

“Your sister said I’d find you here,” someone interrupted.

Turning to the direction of the voice, Guinevere stood at the sight of the intruder.

“You… came.”

“I was in the area when Jodie called.”

“And, you came?”

“I was in the area because I, well, I thought it’ll be good for our companies to work together.”

“Oh. Yes, it will be. Thank you, for coming, Wayne.”

Guinevere dropped her gaze to the freshly mowed grass. His polished shoes in her peripheral vision turned toward the kitchen door. But Wayne didn’t take a step.

“I’m sorry, for not responding to your messages and calls. I’ve been busy,” Wayne said.

He’d been busy for over a year? The old Guinevere would’ve rolled her eyes.

“I know. I’m glad everything worked out for you. And I’m sorry for being the cause of… everything,” Guinevere replied.

“You’re not in the wrong. I’ll be honest. I dated you because of your family. So in some respects, we used each other.”

“That’s… comforting.” Guinevere chuckled. It was indeed comforting to know she wasn’t entirely to blame for his former predicament.

“But for what it’s worth, I did like you. And the only reason I didn’t reach out after it ended, was because I knew I was in the wrong too.”

“So I guess now we’re even?” Guinevere finally shifted her eyes to meet his.

“We’re even.”

“Good. Friends?” She stuck her hand out hopefully.

As tensed as the conversation was, Guinevere hoped to put the past behind them. She also longed to hold his hand again, no matter how brief a moment it was. But while her heart raced with expectation, Wayne hesitated. His hands remained stuffed in his crease-free pockets.

“I don’t… want to be friends.”

Her throat tightened at his blatant candour. Pulling her hand back, Guinevere nodded with a forced smile.

“I mean, I don’t think we can be friends,” Wayne added.

“You’re right.”

“But I want us to try again. Honestly, try again. With no ulterior motives.”

“As… a couple?”

“Yes. Would you like that?”

With breath held, Guinevere replayed his words in her head. Did he mean it? Was he sincere? More importantly, should she say ‘yes’? It was tempting. She’d missed him – his voice, his gaze, and his touch. But what they’d done to each other couldn’t be erased. They’d have to carry it for the rest of their lives. Was it a good idea to try again? Guinevere had to choose.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

You’ve decided the fate of the characters. Now they live on in their own stories, not to be tempered by our own desires. Thus the end of The Clubhouse.

Thank you for joining me in crafting the stories of Zach, Jodie, Matthias, Richard, and Guinevere. I hope you enjoyed this series. Despite its ups and downs, I hope it entertained you. Personally, I entered into The Clubhouse with a goal to improve my character development skill. And, it’s safe to say, I’ve come out of Skypeak a better writer. Though I’m not sure if I have ‘character development’ nailed down, I’ve pushed my boundaries and brought this series to completion. That, I’m proud of – I didn’t give up halfway through.

So thank you for coming along for the ride. If you’re new to this series, you can find the chapter list here. Fingers-crossed, the story stands on its own without the polls.

The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2016 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the 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.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2016 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 74: Descending After A Climb

clubhouse74

She hit reply. Then tossing her invite into the bin, she typed, ‘Sure.’

Jodie had received the beige envelope too. But despite the surprise, she decided to go. Guinevere had proven to be more than a gold-digger when she stood for the truth. And the least Jodie could do was acknowledge that. Knowing Zach made good company, she agreed as his plus one. Honestly, it was a relief when he asked – she preferred seeing a familiar face than none. Little did she expect, there were more than one.

After Jodie’s case with the Cortezs resolved, she spent most of her time in the office. Due to the scandal, her company took a financial hit. Stabilising it required arduous hours of work. There were never-ending meetings with investors, partners, and staff. She had little to no life outside those concrete walls. And the almost non-existing friend’s list shortened even further.

Mentally visioning the list, Jodie realised the only person she still met was Zach. Wayne hadn’t responded to her text message two months ago. Neal was on life support. And Piper… well, Piper’s life only made her envious. Piper didn’t run a publishing empire, and had the time to travel the world. Those pictures on social media, garnering thousands of ‘likes’, tempted Jodie to take a sabbatical.

“That’s a good idea,” Piper said, during her phone call from the ruins of Machu Picchu. “We can see the world together.”

“That sounds fun, but I can’t just pick up and leave. The company needs me.”

“The company needs you?”

“There are still-”

“Jodie, I know you. The company doesn’t need you. You need the company.”

“Well, I do need to survive.”

“Oh, please. You have more than enough.”

“Not for the rest of my life.”

“Your company will still be there when you get back.”

“That all depends.”

“Even if it isn’t, you can always start another. Perhaps it’s even better to do so without Neal involved. Bless his soul.”

“Too soon, Piper.”

“We’ve grieved him. His parents are only dragging it out for money. By the way, do you have the contact of that lawyer friend of yours?”

“Which lawyer friend?”

“The one that helped with your case?”

The call ended with Jodie giving in to Piper’s request for Matthias’ phone number. She also promised to ‘seriously, seriously, seriously consider the sabbatical’, as how Piper worded it. Despite the denial, Jodie knew Piper was right. She needed the company. She needed how it made her feel – powerful and influential. Nothing was holding her back, except for the fear of losing the glory that came with the crown. But how long could she keep it up? Jodie opted to rethink that life decision after the party, which arrived sooner than she’d like it to.

“Do you think she invited Richard and Matthias?” Zach asked, as he rang the doorbell.

“She might have.”

As Zach parted his lips to add to his thought, the door swung open. Instantly, the melody of a classical piece, accompanied by a pastel yellow beam, escaped the white-walled bungalow. And there, standing by the doorway, was Guinevere in her favourite colour – red.

“I’m so glad you two made it,” Guinevere said.

“You have a neat house,” Zach replied.

Guinevere chuckled. “You’ve not changed a bit, Zachary.”

“Actually, it has always been just Zach,” Zach corrected.

“Zachary sounds better. Come on in.” Guinevere stepped back to make way. “Oh, Richard and Matthias are here too. You should go over and say ‘hi’.” Guinevere pointed to the staircase where the pair were chatting.

“You go ahead,” Jodie prompted. “I’ll be right over.”

The moment Zach left, Jodie turned to Guinevere with a smirk. “You’ve not changed either.”

“Well, I have. A little. But yes, I’m pretty much the same.”

“I’m surprised you invited me.”

“I’m surprised you showed up. And, as Zach’s plus one.”

“Why? We’re friends.”

“Of course. Was I implying something else?”

“I’m glad we’re on the same page.”

“For once. But honestly, I’m glad you’re here.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I’d like us to be friends. I know I didn’t make a great first impression, but I’m not as horrible as you think I am. If you must know, I really did have feelings for Wayne.”

“Did you invite him tonight?”

“I dropped the letter at his office myself.”

“But he’s not coming?”

“I didn’t hear from him. So, no. But that’s fine. I understand.”

“He’s just busy.”

Guinevere nodded with a thin smile. “Now if you don’t mind, I need to make sure the kitchen is ready.”

“Sure.” Jodie waved Guinevere off, before retrieving her phone.

Whether they could be friends, Jodie didn’t know. But seeing how Guinevere was making an effort, she thought she should do the same too. Despite it being out of character, she considered giving Wayne a call. Perhaps she could convince him to show up. Still, Jodie hesitated. Helping Guinevere meant stepping down from her ivory tower – the self-made empire that defined who she was. And in that consideration, she noticed its uncanny resemblance to her outside world. The simple act of calling Wayne wasn’t going to change her life, but it could affect the way she approached it moving forward. With Wayne’s contact at her fingertips, she had to decide. Jodie had to choose.

 

Final Chapter >
(For the chapter list, visit here.)

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The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2016 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the 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.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2016 in Original Works

 

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Bagel | Rust | Lanyard

bagelrustlanyard

“That’s a stupid necklace,” she said.

Her fingers toyed with the glistening diamond resting on her chest.

“You know what it is, right?” she asked.

Her eyebrows rose condescendingly.

“Yes,” I replied. “My mum wears it to work.”

Her lips curled into a smirk.

“Did she lose her job and gave you that as a present?”

I dropped my gaze to the floor, contemplating on walking away.

“So, are you having dinner tonight?” she asked.

I stuffed my hands into my pockets, knowing what was coming next.

“Or are you too poor to even celebrate?”

I shrugged.

She laughed.

“You’re pathetic.”

She motioned for her posse before shouldering past me. And that was my day at school.

When the bell rang, I heaved a sigh of relief. I was eager to head home. I wanted to run from the chuckles and whispers, and see what my mother had planned. For days, I’d been looking forward to the celebration. Despite knowing it wouldn’t be as grand as my friends’, I was still excited. So I sprinted – my backpack bouncing on my shoulders, as I placed one foot before the other.

“There’s going to be food – lots – and lots – of food!” I told myself, stealing quick breaths in between. “Dad’s – going to be – home. And we’ll – have – the best – family dinner – ever!”

Beep!

My shoes skidded against the gravel.

“Watch where you’re going, kid!” the driver of the black sedan shouted from the open window.

“Sorry!” I bowed and saluted apologetically, before continuing in my sprint. As dangerous as it was, I wasn’t stopping for anybody. I’d been waiting for this day since the letter slipped under the door. No matter how hazardous my route, I needed to get home as fast as I could.

When I finally reached my destination, I took a second to catch my breath. While I gulped the air, stained with a rancid stench, I pondered upon my entrance. Should I take the front door or the window? I decided on the window. I could peek into my mother’s surprise, and surprise her instead.

Jogging into the side alley, I climbed onto the rectangular garbage bin, and jumped for the ladder. Coated in rust, the bars screeched in their descent and I hesitated little as I hopped on. My home was on the third floor of the old, brick building. But the question of its structural integrity never came to mind, as I ascended two steps at a time. Once I reached my floor, I kneeled behind the half drawn kitchen sink curtains and peered cautiously.

My mother was not to be seen. The dining table stood barren, the flattened pillows on the couch remained scattered since morning, and the ceiling fan was frozen in the time I left. There was, however, a letter by the door. And the moment I spotted it, dread hit me like an unexpected tidal wave.

“No. Not again,” I muttered. “He promised.”

Grasping whatever hope I had left, I slipped into the kitchen and snatched the letter from the floor. This time, I hesitated. I wondered if it was worth the read. Was the discovery worth the ache in my thighs and my child-like ignorance? Just before I made up my mind, the front door clicked and swung open.

“You’re back already?” my mother asked. Then seeing the letter, she tugged it from my weakening grip, and added, “You shouldn’t read letters addressed to me.”

“But it’s not addressed to anyone,” I replied. “And I know who it’s from.”

The handwriting drew a memory of when my father held my hand, in attempts to teach me the alphabets.

“He’s not coming home again is he,” I said.

My mother nodded her head, but oddly, with a smile.

“Why are you smiling?”

“Well, if he’s not coming home, it means we’ll have more to eat tonight,” she said.

“But… I want him here. I’d rather have him here than more food. I want him home.”

Aware she was unable to fulfill my wish, my mother remained silent. She simply gave my forehead a peck, before placing the brown paper bags on the table. Then standing by the kitchen sink, she read the letter to herself.

“What did he say?” I asked.

“He’s not coming home.”

“Is he coming home next year?”

“No.”

“Why? Did something happen?”

“No. He’s just not coming.”

The disappointment swallowed my hope in a single breath. Braving myself in the face of the many emotions stirring within, I fought against tears. Then, my mother repeated herself.

“But I’m glad.”

Frowning, I asked, “You’re glad? Because you want to eat more?” I was almost horrified at my mother’s response.

“No. I’m glad he still writes.”

“But he writes broken promises.”

“Yes, but he’s alive. And I’m thankful he still is.”

Now the one lost for words, I retreated to my room. I planted myself on my bed, staring at the ticking clock by the bedside. The urge to cry had vanished, as I thought over my mother’s words. It was only when she knocked on my door that I concluded she was right.

“Are you ready for our feast?” my mother asked in excitement.

“What are we having?”

“For starters, bagel. And in your favourite flavour!”

I smiled and wrapped my arms around her waist.

“What’s that for?” she asked.

“You’re right. I’m thankful he’s alive too.” Then looking up at her, I added, “And I’m thankful you’re alive, mummy. Happy thanksgiving!”

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Bagel, rust, and lanyard were words given by Mr.Hematite. I went with the thanksgiving theme as coincidentally, today is thanksgiving! And despite thanksgiving not celebrated in my country, I thought it’s worth writing about. After all, it’s always good to remind oneself to be thankful.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. If you don’t have a story, here’s another challenge: make a list of everything you’re grateful for this year. I’m sure, that from the list itself, there’s a story to tell.

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3 Words, 1 Story © 2016 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2016 in Original Works

 

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