Writing Journey

Looks Like… I’m Back!

It has been a little over 3 months since I last posted on January 28th, and boy, does it feel like I’ve been gone for a lifetime!

To be honest, after close to 9 years of posting weekly, I began to feel a little burned out last year. Of course, posting weekly wasn’t the only reason why I was no longer inspired—2020 was the year I transitioned from employed to self-employed, where I had a few business ideas and partnerships that flopped, and… well… the pandemic in general. The accumulative effect of all that transpired in the last year made 2021 feel like an extension of it. And perhaps, I just lost my drive to keep writing for this blog—one that I’ve spent many years building. But, the good news is…. I’m back! And, I’ve also gotten my first dose of vaccine!

With that being said, however, there will be one minor change in how I blog from now on. For many years, I made posting here a ‘job’. After all, I found myself feeling guilty whenever I missed a week. Hence, to find the joy in blogging, storytelling, and creative writing in general, I’ve decided not to impose the ‘once a week’ rule upon myself. Additionally, I will kickstart this renewed blogging spirit with the final story of 12 Genre Months—that I didn’t publish last December, nor write for that matter—this month. Yes, it’s time to get back to writing!

Oh, and to all who stuck around in my absence, thank you so very much! Oddly enough, I’ve been getting traffic and new subscribers in the past few months… of which I’m quite confused about since I’ve stopped posting for a while. But thank you, nonetheless, for joining me here. I do hope you will stay onboard as we embark on a ‘new’ blogging adventure together!

Original Works

Spliced [12 Genre Months]

‘500,000 dollars or she dies. Call the police and she dies. You have until Sunday.’

I can end our marriage here—call the police or fail to prepare the money, either way, it’s my ticket out. I won’t have to spend a single cent on our divorce, and I’ll benefit from her life insurance. Is this a blessing in disguise?

No, don’t judge me. I can sense your disapproval, as if you have any clue on what my wedded life has been like. From the second I roll out of bed to the moment I shut my eyes, I am living in a nightmare—no meat, it’s bad for my health, no going out on the weekends, I have to help around the house, no guys night out, it didn’t include her. The last one is the straw that broke the camel’s back. And to think she was always accepting of my friends, and the time I spent with them, before we said, ‘I do’. So what changed? Nothing did. It was all an act—a ploy to tie me down and keep me from the rest of the world.

So, should I call the police or… play pretend? Which choice will make me a victim—lest I become a suspect in her death—as I weep over my wife’s lifeless body? You’re right, I should call the police. After all, where would I find five hundred grand? I’m not the one with the money.

‘You called the police. Do you think this is a joke?’

A blood-caked ear in the mail—the police dusted the letter and the severed organ for fingerprints, but came back with nothing. Yes, it was her ear. Whoever that’s holding my wife hostage knows what they’re doing. And, I’m kind of glad. It would mean she will never return. Unfortunately, I can’t celebrate just yet. The police have devised a plan—two black duffle bags of fake hundred dollar bills. We are to wait for the kidnapper’s next letter, as they haven’t yet disposed of my wife. But honestly, what difference will it make? If only I didn’t have to play along.

‘Drop the money under the slide in the playground on fifth avenue.’

I did what I was told but found another letter by the slide. The letter tells me where my wife is. Apparently, she’s at her family’s holiday home outside of town. But… that’s not the weird part—the letter tells me to go on my own. It says, if I tell the police where she is, I’ll find her dead. As bizarre as that sounds, it only makes sense to show the police the letter, right? I mean, we both know I want her gone.

No? Don’t tell the police? You do have a point—they’ll start to wonder why I’m not out of my mind, making rash decisions, because I’m desperate to save the love of my life. Very well, I’ll go to the holiday home on my own. I’m sure I can sneak away. Let’s hope the kidnapper sees the counterfeit dollars and kills my wife before I get there.

‘Wine cellar.’

How nice of them to direct me to her. At this point, I do think I should call the police. I am here, after all. By the time they get here, it will all be over. And, if my wife is alive, I just wasted my only chance at being free of this marriage. I’ll call-

No? What do you mean, no? It’s over anyway. So why bother any longer? Wait, I think I hear something. I think… there’s someone else in the house.

‘500,000 as promised.’

That was easy. Who knew he would listen to you? Well, I’m just as surprised as you are. Make good use of the money. And yes, I won’t forget. Just send me a postcard when you’re ready. Also, you might want to get a sharper blade—trust me, two bottles of wine doesn’t help.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Monster [12 Genre Months]

Living is a gift—a chance to experience the fullness of emotions and the excitement of life’s many adventures. Yet, to some of us, existing is a curse. And if we had a choice, we would never have been born. For why would we, when our first glimpse of life is that of a monster.

Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. But fret not, my dear Adam, you will grow to accept this change. Yes, it is indeed shocking at first,” he said. “But soon, it will be as if it was meant to be.”

No, it was never meant to be. He would often try to lift my spirits, cajoling me to embrace life and defend the soul within this body. But no, he could never understand—his mind was clouded by his own delusions, for this monster often thought himself a god. So how could he truly perceive mortality?

“No, Adam, you are not alone. Even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation, why would you ever be alone?” he asked. “I am here for you, Adam, always. I will be your father and your companion. And I shall never leave you, Adam, never.”

If only he heard me—listened to my bleeding heart—he would know that loneliness was what I longed for. There was a peace that rested in my chest in his absence. Oh, how I often wished for him to never return. Without him breathing down my back, forcing my hand to become what I refused to be, I could actually find a nugget of joy in this life. Alas, he only sought to be with me… as all monsters do.

Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose. Let me help you find your purpose, Adam. You will find much happiness and meaning in life when you do,” he stated. “How about we visit the library tomorrow? Or, if you like, we can find you a suitable teacher—one who knows how to practice discretion, of course. We shall do that, Adam, yes, we shall.”

Did I have a choice? Should I ever refuse to do as he asked of me, he would extend a look of disdain—not that I cared for his approval, but each moment I disappointed him, I only sparked his desire to fix me. Hence, I always conceded. But perhaps, if I broke his heart countless times, he would soon put me in my grave—ah, the only gift that I would cherish… for eternity.

The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. It is all right, my dear Adam. You are allowed to feel as you should, and you are most certainly meant to make mistakes. After all, feelings and mistakes are part of human nature. So you mustn’t shun them.”

What did he know about human nature? And how naïve of him to think that every mistake was an accident. I knew what I was doing—there was no accident. The mistake was failing at what I had set out to do. Yet, he often looked beyond my intention. Perhaps, he was afraid—afraid to accept that I am not who he wants me to be.

We are fashioned creatures, but half made up. Thus, I am just like you, Adam. Do you think of me as a stranger—that I do not understand your plight? I do, Adam. I understand you. If only you would let me in, I can show you how much I am just like you.”

He was not like me, nor did he understand my plight. How could a monster ever comprehend my reality? If only I could flee from his unrelenting grasps. If only I was bold enough to venture beyond his prison. If only… he would offer me a choice. Alas, that is not what monsters do. I would forever be cursed to live with a creator, who wouldn’t even dare to look in the mirror. For if he saw his reflection, there would be no brilliant Victor Frankenstein. No, he would see a beast greedy with pride and mad for knowledge beyond his own mind—the real fallen angel who should have left creation to God.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

 

Original Works

Twenty-Twenty [12 Genre Months]

March 18, 2020

It’s a typical Wednesday—bumper to bumper traffic on the Federal Highway since 8 a.m. The midweek blues has officially set it, and I can’t wait for the weekend. How boring can today be, am I right? There is, however, an interesting topic for discussion—my colleagues and I have been talking about a virus. Its rapid spread in the past few months has made it a global affair. It’s literally #trending. Oddly enough, no one seems to care. I guess… we’ll get over it soon.

March 20, 2020

One more long day before the weekend! And guess what? We’re having a farewell party for Siva tomorrow. It’s his last month with us before he leaves the country for his new job in Germany. Since he told us he resigned, we’ve been trying to speak German with him. I’ve gotta say, he’s pretty good. Granted, he took classes. Meanwhile, I’m here trying to learn Korean from k-dramas.

March 21, 2020

Evelyn just called. She said she isn’t feeling very well, and might even call in sick next week. Evelyn rarely falls sick. I mean, she’s the healthiest one of our lot. The girl hits the gym like… everyday? Well, I guess there’ll be more food for me later. Though, I don’t really feel all that great either. But… I can’t just bail too, right? We’ve been planning this farewell for a while now. So… I’ll just go. After all, I already bought a new dress for tonight—when else can I wear it?

March 23, 2020

Yup, Evelyn called in sick. She must be feeling horrible—she barely replies to my messages. Poor girl. She isn’t even sure if she has the flu or some other virus. Hopefully, with enough rest, she’ll get back to the office soon. We’re in a very busy season, and one man down affects us all. Now if only… I could call in sick, too.

March 25, 2020

Unbelievable. Three more people called in sick today. I can’t possibly be covering for everyone. This is insane! I already have this impossible client on my hand, and now I have to take on their clients, too? Also, why do people think it’s okay to call in sick over a little cold? Just pop a freaking Panadol. Don’t have Panadol? The office has some! Just get your butt to work!

March 27, 2020

Just got a message from our office WhatsApp group—Evelyn is in the hospital. A few of us want to visit her this weekend. We’re thinking of getting a few balloons, just to brighten her mood a little. Though, we don’t know what time we should go. Evelyn still hasn’t been responding to her messages. Honestly, I’m a little worried.

March 28, 2020

I can’t remember the last time I went to a hospital, but are all hospitals this busy? There were so many people, it took us forever just to get Evelyn’s room number. As for Evelyn, she wasn’t conscious when we arrived. Her family was there though, and they said she has the virus. Since we couldn’t talk to Evelyn, and it was awkward conversing with her parents, we left the balloons and called it a day.

March 30, 2020

I had to apply for an emergency leave today—mum wasn’t feeling well. She said something about not being able to breathe. So I had to take her to the hospital. This hospital, too, had a lot of people. For some reason, everyone decided to fall sick at the same time. And it’s a little troubling—I don’t think they have enough staff to handle the crowd. Well, hopefully mum gets better soon.

March 31, 2020

The nurses told me I can’t visit mum anymore. They said it was too dangerous. They wouldn’t explain anything. Heck, they don’t even have the time to entertain any of my questions. So I’m not sure what is going on. It feels like the end of the world… yet everyone is acting like it’s just another regular day. I also heard some people mention the virus. Apparently, it’s still trending. But… no one seems to care? I hope we’ll get over it soon.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Umbra [12 Genre Months]

“Count yourself lucky,” I would say. “If you know what you are.” After all, there are many beings, such as myself, who will never truly understand what it means to exist. For the very idea itself is a foreign concept in our inconsequential realm. And if only we could uncover the secret of our identities… such wouldn’t be our fate.

If you are unlike me, this account might puzzle you. How is it possible for a being to not know what it is? Alas, it isn’t as uncommon as you think. Who, what, how, why—these were the burdens I carried as I drew my first breath. I was granted a life of perpetual suffocation, with no guidance or clarity, as I drowned in the unknown. Yet, upon my arrival into the world, I wasn’t alone. 

As I embraced the break of dawn—my dreadful beginning—I found myself tethered to an odd-looking creature. It was a rather small beast, and it made unintelligible sounds. Frankly, I didn’t know what it was, let alone who I was to have been attached to it. So why were we bound together? Where did it come from? And how did we become one?

With no recollection of my life before, I soon accepted my fate—I was a prisoner of a mysterious entity for the rest of my life. I would live with it, laugh with it, and die with it. But unlike my captor, who quickly understood what it was, I remained a nothing—a nothing that needed permission to even show itself. And even so, such bouts of freedom were often short-lived—I would soon find myself unseen, once more, as I returned to the world of the invisible. Oh, what a life. How could I ever escape? Was there a way to cut myself free from such a malefic beast? Yes. In fact, there is. And this is where you can help me.

I have thought long and hard on what it means to exist. I have also observed the ways of my master, and the company that existed with it. It took many years, but I soon found a common denominator between the creature that had me on a leash and the others—they all owned a defining moniker. These beings had a name. They were blessed with a chosen word, of which they built a life upon. For without it, they would lurk in the darkness—forever wondering what they were. Simply put, they would be me… if they weren’t gifted with an appellative. Now, how then can you help me?

My name is Umbra. I had chosen this name for myself—a blinding reflection of the life I have lived thus far. But no more. I refuse to remain hidden. And it is through you that I will finally exist. For who am I without you… but a shadow? Your shadow—the one who followed you, envied you, and wondered if you knew I was even alive. I am the being of insignificance whose name you are now acquainted with—whose existence you finally acknowledged. And unfortunately, this is when you cease to exist.

Still, count yourself lucky. At the very least, you once knew… what you were.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Hashtag [12 Genre Months]

“Oh my gawd, did you see what she posted? #CrayCray.”

“I was #shook, girl! But seriously, I heard she broke down in front of his house… over a piece of sandwich. A freaking piece of sandwich.”

“Talk about dramatic. She has always been a #dramaqueen.”

“What’s #new? She loves the attention.”

 “Oh my gawd, did you know what happened on #Tuesday?”

“Why, what happened? What did I miss? #FOMO.”

“Our class got cancelled and no one told us about it. So we waited for a full 30 minutes before we left. #Seriously.”

“You guys just… left? Like… for real? That’s super #thuglife.”

“Yea, we strolled out like a #boss. But oh my gawd, what a waste of 30 minutes. 30 minutes of my life that I will never, ever get back!”

“I feel you, girl. Just the other day, I had to wait 5 minutes for the bus. #Unbelievable! Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

“Wait, don’t you have a car? How dare you take the bus! #Scandalous.”

“I had to get it repaired. Something about the engine or the brakes, god only knows. #FirstWorldProblems.” 

“Oh, hold on. My mother is at the door. #Ughhh she’s asking about dinner.”

The hall erupted in a deafening applause. Its audience rose to their feet, cheering in delight at the seemingly impressive dialogue between two plainly dressed actors. Praises of brilliance—‘bravo’, ‘such ingenuity’, and ‘oh, how captivating’⁠—filled the air. And even after the lights dimmed and the stage emptied, everyone wanted to know—what did it all mean?

“It’s art,” many insisted. “An artistic exchange between two beautiful souls. Couldn’t you feel it? Those colourful words spoke to my soul. ”

“It’s the future,” others concluded. “In the future, that is how people will speak. The writer has predicted a world full of expression.”

“It’s reality,” some suggested—though not a popular opinion. “Who we are as people, and the reflection of our inner insecurities.” 

Alas, it didn’t matter what it all meant. In fact, there wasn’t any meaning to it—there was no story, no real character development, and nothing philosophical between the lines. If one dared say, it wasn’t a real performance either. The actors on the stage, reciting their lines in dramatic Shakespearean manner, were not telling a story. The ones who truly performed… were the audience. Ah, how strange—it seems that some did uncover the meaning behind it all.

“It’s reality,” they said with an excited grin. “A beautiful slice of life.”


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Geheim [12 Genre Months]

‘I didn’t know what I was getting into until now—the moment I chose you. But as romantic as this sounds, we have always known that our lives would be different. From the day we chose this path, we are living out our vow to leave all normality behind—accepting that one day, we will be given a responsibility beyond our capabilities. Still, the choice is ours. It has always been and it will always be. Thus, you have a decision to make.

‘But… before you do, know this—it wasn’t an easy decision. Choosing you wasn’t easy. Our company has struggled to bring this case to a close, and only the most capable is trusted with the job. Alas, you are the most capable amongst our colleagues—both a compliment and a curse, I’m afraid. So even if you think you are not ready, trust me when I say, you are the most ready. Still, this will not be forced upon you.

‘You do not, in any way, have to feel obligated. I, myself, accepted this task out of choice. Thus you are free to decline. No one—neither those before nor those after you—will pass any judgement. After all, none of us wished to be called upon for this—the daunting quest we all secretly feared. The perilous journey where no man before has ever returned from—that even I can only pray to succeed as to not have the baton passed on to you. But forgive me, should you be reading this. I did try my very best.

‘Now, decide. At eighteen past noon, you are to drop this letter in the blue mailbox at the junction between Geheim Street and Upper Agentin Lane should you wish to accept. However, if you have chosen to decline, do nothing except erase these last words from memory. Once you have made your decision, you will receive your next course of action—either way, what we signed up for has no end.

‘I wish you good luck, my dear friend. I hope that you treasure every moment of peace in this turbulent world. It has been an honour to serve with you, and may you continue to make me and our company proud.’

“Sign,” she ended.

I scribbled my name at the bottom of the handwritten letter—crafted under her dictation—before handing it over.

“If you fail,” she added. “We will have to send this.”

I nodded. I knew the procedure. I had only one reservation—one that reflected on my countenance.

“What, Agent Lee?” she prompted.

“Well, I’m not too sure if the letter is convincing,” I said.

“You shouldn’t be worried about convincing your colleague,” she replied. “You should be worried about the mission, and accomplishing it.”

“Ah, yes.” Of course, succeeding at the mission was my top priority. The day I received my summon in the mail—the handwritten note that was supposedly sent by my mentor—I knew I would be the one that finally infiltrated the nuclear base. Still, a bizarre discomfort had settled in my chest—one that I couldn’t shake. “I’m sorry, you can count on me. It’s just…”

“Just what, Agent Lee?”

“The letter… and the words…” I hesitated. Was it even worth mentioning? It seemed, almost, trivial.

“What about them?” she asked.

“I… wouldn’t call this mission romantic. And I don’t use the words perilous or, say, turbulent.”

“Agent Lee,” she replied.

“Yes ma’am.”

“It doesn’t matter what you would call this mission or what words you say. The decision will be hers either way,” she stated.

“Yes ma’am.” She was right—the content of my letter didn’t matter. It was, indeed, trivial. It must have been the nerves. After all, I had a mission to accomplish—to do what those before me had failed to do. And should I succeed, the letter itself wouldn’t even leave the room.

“Now, report to weapons. We have a few upgrades,” she ordered. “And agent…”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Keep your head in the game.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll return with glory,” I said with a firm nod.

Glory—what a strange word. Was that a word Jonathan had used? Jonathan was a man of little words. He barely spoke, let alone write. Clearly he didn’t pen his letter, too. Still… glory—the only word I could recall from his letter. Oddly enough, everything else was a blur. But… it didn’t matter what he wrote—I was on a mission.

A mission so romantically perilous… that I chose to enlist in the fullness of my sanity.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Quietus [12 Genre Months]

They had predicted it wrong—from the famed prophecies of Nostradamus to the scientific journals by acclaimed scientists—no one could foresee the end of times. And though the wild imaginations of filmmakers and conspiracy theorists were one step closer to the truth, even they had failed to be prepared. For in reality, the end of the world had long been in motion—we were simply blinded by our conceit and complacency to notice it happening… right before our very eyes.

It began on the dewy morning of August 6th, 1954—my arrival to the dying planet. The wheels of time, determining the fate of humanity, creaked in the rust of the lives that once were. And I… was the only being who could hear it. Funny, isn’t it? How not a soul that graced the earth had ever came to be with death in mind. Yet, from the moment they captured the beauty of the world, heard and uttered scores of intriguing sounds, and stumbled foolishly on their little feet, they were in a dance with death—death that they never knew existed. Death that even I wasn’t spared from. Alas, I was no different.

Despite my hope to be an observer, I had little choice but to be. Thus, it wasn’t long after my arrival that I learned of my never-ending demise. From the squabbles beyond my bedroom door that led to broken china, to the antagonistic notes I found in my school bag that framed my identity, every bit of the young starry-eyed dreamer was destroyed before I could even grasp the magnitude of the world. But thankfully, I saw the planet for what it was… and found a way to live.

Perhaps, you wonder—how did such a foreign being succeed? No, I hadn’t unlocked the secret to escaping death. I was no magician, nor crazed enough to concoct a draught for eternal life. In fact, there was no possible means to triumph over one’s destiny. After all, it was a dying planet—not the land itself but the very notion of life that lived within. So how then did I survive?

Just like the taunts of fate, that often sets a macabre stage, are the taunts that reach into the soul—the descent into darkness that swallows all hope, contorts all belief, and destroys the very essence of self. But I, unlike most beings, understood the purpose of those dreadful seasons—not the ‘why’ for their existence, but the ‘how’ to overcome them. Thus, at every dark corner, I learned to pick up the pieces of my shattered dreams and rebuild what was broken. And all it took was a single decision… to live again.

To live on a dying earth is an incredible feat—a planet designed to outlive all physical demise. Yet, in an apocalyptic world, with a vicious cycle of lost, pain, and regret, there was more—a bountiful land of wonder, love, and adventure. And though all life was set to run a course, truly living wasn’t escaping. It was believing that life prevails.

On the morning of August 6th, 2054, my dance was over. I took a step back, bowed at death, and received a deafening applause. It was a praise only I could hear, for keeping the twinkle in the eyes of the young starry-eyed dreamer. But it was all the praise I needed—an acknowledgment that I found a way to live until my dying breath.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Tragedy [12 Genre Months]

I often thought it was a tragedy—how life, as you know it, could change the moment you lost your family. How horrifying it must be as the one left behind. Yet, I never once believed that it could happen to me. After all, I was of noble birth. So who would have thought that I, the child of a respected minister, was just as vulnerable—unspared from the anxiety, fear, and torment? It was only when they came that I realised… I was just like everyone else.

It was never my choice. It was the law that governed our flawless society. Alas, with one wrong step, your blood didn’t matter. For when they came for you, just as they came for us, no amount of pleading or gold could save you from their loaded rifles. It was, after all, a merciless procedure—your fate had already been sealed. And just like mine, I was the only one left—once belonging, now alone. Once free, now a captive.

“Welcome to the cage.” The cage—introduced so indifferently after my mother told me to run. “You’ll get used to it.”

A cold metal collar was strapped around my neck—its incessant beeping tracked my every move. And with the plain white, over-sized uniform hanging loosely on my shoulders, the guards of the hidden world led me to my isolation. This was my new reality—no longer a being but a number. If only… I could find a way to escape.

“You want out?” she asked.

“You know, if they catch you trying, they’ll zap you,” he said, tapping on his own collar. 

“They won’t kill you though,” she stated. “They’ll just warn you not to do it again.”

“I’d rather die,” I replied. “They might as well kill me.”

I had anticipated my cell neighbours to nod in agreement. Oddly, they laughed—a belly-aching laugh, with tears at the corner of their eyes, as if I had told a good joke.

“Why is that funny?” I asked with a frown. 

“Because it is,” he said with a smirk. 

At that instant, I had an inkling that they knew something I did not. And though I was tempted to ask, I was unsure if I could trust them. For some bizarre reason, they seemed rather contented with their lives.

“You’ll find out why, once you get used to this,” she said. 

Life in the cage wasn’t difficult—honestly, it was easy to get used to. There was nothing to do but eat, sleep, and play—there was no work or chores, except for the 3 p.m. gathering in the hall where we would watch static for an hour. From the outside world, where I was told that no one in the cage ever saw the light of day, I was given plenty of sunlight within the confinement. So perhaps, they were right. Still, why did they laugh at my desire for more?

“You don’t know a lot, do you?” she asked. “You think this is a nightmare.”

“I had a life,” I stated. “I had parents and friends.”

“We had parents, too,” he said. “But they weren’t real. None of it was.”

I furrowed my brows.

“Don’t worry,” he added. “One day, they’ll let you out again. You’ll get new parents and new friends… if that’s what you want.”

What were they talking about? Was I missing a memo? Not once did any of the guards offer me a chance to leave. 

“But, you’ll be lucky if they don’t let you out,” she said. “If they do, the cycle will repeat itself. And it kind of sucks, trust me.”

I couldn’t grasp their words—it was a strange notion that the life I knew was fake. But even more difficult to comprehend was wanting to stay, when there was a chance of a new life beyond the cage. Little did I know, they were right. Three weeks later, I was free.

The choice was a vicious cycle. At the end of every experiment, I would wish for a freedom I already had. I would ask the same questions, frown at the same notion, and realise the truth of my predicament a little too late. I would return to the test tube over and over again—unable to change my mind, before I lost all recollection of what was.

Funny, how I once thought it was a tragedy—to be trapped by fate and robbed of a future. But the true tragedy was a joke—a joke on whoever believed that that… was all what life truly was.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Mortal [12 Genre Months]

In a time much like our own, there lived a king who long believed that nothing—not famine, plague, nor disaster—could befall his nation. It was a notion ingrained into his very being—a promise from the Gods that all of him and his possessions were blessed by the heavens. But despite the promise being true—where the king could have led a rich and full life—he soon met his demise… in the hands of his own.

Some believed that it was the first born son who had murdered the king. The stubborn and proud warrior, who had his birthright revoked, had plotted to usurp the throne. And those who admired the unlawful crown prince became accomplices in the coup—believing that the royalty they served was valiant, bold, and fearless. Alas, not all of this is true—the prince failed to procure the throne, let alone any support from the people. And most unfortunately, he was neither living nor valiant at the time of the king’s death.

Without evidence to find the prince guilty, those who swore on the prince’s innocence shifted their arguments to the king’s sister instead—that the graceful princess had committed fratricide in a moment of anger. But how could the gentle, poised, and well-loved royalty commit such an atrocity? Many believed that it was unintentional—that in that very moment, she lost all control of her being and mind, and reacted on her primal nature. Alas, some of this is true—the princess often defaulted to fear. And when faced with a threat, her actions were for her own. Still, there was no proof to accuse her of murder—at the hour of the king’s death, the princess was seen retreating to her bedchamber with baskets full of bread.

With the other royals seemingly faultless, there was much to say about the people in the king’s court—men and women with motive and reason. Unfortunately, the king had died in an odd circumstance—one would say it was the doing of the Gods. Cold and un-moving in his bed, there was no breath in his lungs when his Royal Advisors came to see him. And after a close examination to find the cause, there was none. Thus, it became a blame-game of who had done it and why. But one thing was certain, the king died in the hands of his own.

In his ignorance, that the kingdom and his people were at his feet, he failed to see that he was human too. His eyes had been set above all others—blinded by the promise made at his birth. Alas, blessed or cursed, chosen or neglected, ignorance knows no difference. And when the world began to crumble around the king through a plague, it was too late—it had struck his heart, with no one else to blame but himself.

In a time much like our own, there lived a man who had forgotten who he was—a mere mortal in seasons of famine, plague, and disaster. And though he thought himself untouchable, he soon learned that mortality made all men equal.


In light of the recent events, I’d like to urge every reader to wash your hands often and stay home if you’re feeling unwell. If your country has issued a lock-down/movement control, please abide by the law. We are all mortals. And our actions do not simply affect ourselves but those around us too. So let’s choose wisdom, especially so in this season, over ignorance and pride.

12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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