Original Works

Faith | Work | Love

“Tis’ the season to fall in love,” she said. “The snow is falling. The mistletoe is waiting. If anything, Christmas is when you find the one.”

“Right,” I replied. “But-”

“Just look at the movies! And don’t get me started on Hallmark,” she added.

“And your point is…”

“My point is that this is your season,” she said, with a gentle nudge of the shoulder.

With a halfhearted smile, I returned to the unopened files on my desk. As the week-long holidays were just around the corner, I intended to complete the remaining work at break-neck speed. Alas, my colleagues often found their way to my workstation with invites to Christmas and New Year parties—none of which I had any intention to attend.

“So you’re coming to the office party, right?” she continued. “You’ll get to meet the guys from the other departments.” She winked.

I sighed. If only the party wasn’t mandatory—our manager had invited each and every person with a personalised card—I would’ve skipped out. “Yea, I guess,” I replied.

“Great! Who knows, you might just find the love of your life,” she said with a beam.

“Awesome.” I gave a thumbs up before plugging in my earphones.

Oh, how easy I’ve made it for everyone to think that I was a Grinch. After all, I hadn’t shown much enthusiasm for the holiday. But truthfully, that wasn’t the case—I adored Christmas. I loved sitting by a decorated fireplace as the Christmas tree lights flickered on the surrounding walls. I enjoyed the company of family and friends as we shared a warm cup of eggnog after a hearty Christmas dinner. I didn’t even despise the music—I would prepare my very own Christmas playlist in November. But things had changed—Christmas was no longer about faith, love, and hope. Christmas was all about finding the one. And just like she said, don’t get me started on Hallmark.

If only I could celebrate Christmas the way I wanted to. If only I could make this holiday my own. If only I could return to the good old days—building a snowman with my sister, guessing the gifts under the tree, and singing cheesy carols without shame. And just as I thought about home, there came a ping from my desktop chat.

‘Wanna go home for Christmas?’ my sister sent.

‘Flight is expensive now,’ I replied.

‘So you’d rather spend it with people trying to hook you up?’

I chuckled. “Are you going back? I thought you couldn’t.’

‘I changed my mind,’ she said. ‘I forgot what Christmas was like.’

‘Me too.’

‘I’ll see you at home then,’ she added with a wink emoji. And at that moment, I knew that she had bought her air tickets—that she would be home for Christmas, experiencing the very meaning of the season that had been lost for many years. This year, my sister had the courage to choose her own holiday story—did I?

That night, before I slipped under the cosy covers of my bed, I made up my mind. I had no plans to stand under a mistletoe at my office Christmas party—unfortunately, I would have to gracefully decline the invite. I also had no plans to fall in love—to write my own cliche Christmas romance. There was, after all, more to this holiday. And since it was still my choice on how I wished to celebrate it, I chose to do so in a way that mattered to me.

‘I’ll see you at home,’ I hit reply. And then, to both my mother and father, I sent, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas. It’s where I belong.’


Faith, work, and love were words given by Caroline Guisson on Facebook.

This bite-sized piece of holiday fiction was written to remind us all that we still have a choice on how we wish to celebrate the end of the year—whether it’s falling in love, spending time with family, or using this time to reconcile, let’s celebrate in a way that matters to us.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story with the three words given. As the words are pretty ‘Christmas-y’, you could write your own Christmas story—perhaps a piece on what this season means to you.

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

3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Disenchanted | Syncopation | Avalanche

“It’ll do you good, honey,” my mother said. “It’s only a year.”

The boarding school nestled at the foot of Mount Avalanche—a white brick building, accentuated with bay windows that overlooked the emerald-green garden with its ever blooming flower beds. The grand Victorian-esque structure had once served as a haven during the third world war. But five years after our last city was razed to the ground, the sanctuary opened its oak doors to final year students—promising those who graced its pristine halls a better future in the new world.

“We’ll get you at the end of the school year,” my father added, just as the towering iron gates swung open.

My parents were part of a humanitarian organisation on a quest to find and document all survivors of the war. As many still lived in the rubble of their desolated towns, it was their job to bring them back to civilization.

“I just hate…” I hesitated to continue. It wasn’t the school, despite the rumours of its strict and unorthodox regiment. It wasn’t the thought of living alone either—having done so countless times before. “Just… just be careful,” I said.

“We always are,” my father assured.

As the car rolled up the pebbled driveway, my only concern was of my parents’ safety. They had been assigned to the north, where ruthless scavengers were known to loot. But little did I know, my apprehension was displaced—the danger wasn’t in the wasteland. The danger was here.

“Have a good year, honey,” my mother said. “We’ll call whenever we can.”

After a hug and a peck on the cheek, I bade my parents farewell. And from that point onward, I found myself trapped in the facade of an academy—discovering the secret to its promise on the very first night, snugged under the covers of my soft feathered bed.

It began when the lights went out—a disconcerting rhythm, with offbeat syncopation, resonated through the dormitory. The music echoed down the empty hallways and filled the sleeping garden with its unsettling nature. Yet, the other students were unfazed. They remained sound asleep as though the erratic cadence was a soothing lullaby.

Seeming as though I alone could hear it, I believed it was a figment of my imagination. After all, the rhythm was oddly familiar. But as I struggled to sleep with the disturbance, I couldn’t place where I had previously heard of the discord either. And when morning arrived, my daily schedule left me with little room for contemplation.

From one class to the next—language, arithmetic, the sciences, and extra curricular—I could barely catch my breath. Students were given five minutes to walk to their next class. And meal times were kept brief—every single body moving in perpetual haste. It was only when the sun retired that I finally recalled the night before. And by then, the strange music had returned.

The soundtrack of chaos—there it was again. Was it still just in my head? Unfortunately, the exhaustion from the arduous day ushered me to sleep. Despite the peculiarity, fatigue drowned the noise. And in the hopes of a peaceful slumber, a memory filled the darkness of my eyelids. Oh, how I wished it was a pleasant recollection of the past—a sweet and comforting dream. Alas, I was swept into a disenchanted world—a time where the smoke and thunder of war robbed me of my simple life… and my sister.

“Let’s go back. It’s not safe,” she said, as the siren of an incoming attack shook the trees of the timberland.

“Yea, let’s go,” I echoed.

My sister and I hadn’t travelled far from our backyard. We had only followed the walking trail for fifteen minutes, escaping the harsh reality for Mother Nature’s comforting embrace. Alas, even Mother Nature couldn’t shield us from the war. It was there, amongst the sky-scraping pine trees, that the enemy struck—an air raid that ripped through my sister’s chest while I cowered behind a fallen tree trunk.

“Eva?” I called. “Get up. We have to go.”

I knew—I had found my sister sprawled on a bed of dried leaves. Her small body limp and lifeless on the forest floor. And I knew—I was simply too afraid to face the truth. Then, the siren stopped.

I snapped awake. Dawn had arrived at the academy. And at the chime of the first bell, my routine began—a regiment that, after a day, I had surprisingly acclimatised to. Every morning I would be awakened by the same nightmare. I would then shuffle through my draining classes, with short meals in between, only to return to the distressing memory. It was a never ending cycle with no answers and dead end questions. What was going on? I lost my grasps on reality. And it was only at the end of the school year that I finally understood—I now knew what a better future meant in this new world.

“We missed you!” my mother exclaimed.

“I missed you too,” I replied. “Why didn’t you call?”

“We did but you were always in class,” my father said.

“It must’ve paid off.” My mother beamed. “Your teachers said you did well in your tests. They’ve even recommended you to the New Order.”

“The New Order?” I asked.

“You’ve always been a fighter,” my father replied. “Think you want to enlist to defend our country?”

“Oh, sure,” I replied without thought.

“Eva would’ve wanted that,” my mother said as she gave me a tight hug.

“Yea, she would,” I echoed—Eva would’ve wanted it. That I knew… for sure.


Disenchanted, syncopation, and avalanche were words given by Ryan SMJ on Facebook.

Honestly, these three words weren’t easy to bring together—it was certainly a challenge on my end. But somehow, I managed to concoct something from them and I can only hope that this makes a decent read. So… if you have any thoughts on this story, be sure to leave it in the comments below.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story with the three words given. It might not be easy but it’ll definitely push the boundaries of your imagination and skill.

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

3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Cinema | Heart | Hospital

Romance movies—a poor imitation of reality. Yet, when I recalled that day—the evening I had long planned and hoped for—I found myself in an almost cliche plotline.

“I don’t feel so good,” I said.

We were barely halfway through the latest action adventure when my heart began pounding. No, it wasn’t from the thrill of the film and neither was it from being on a date—if, I was even allowed to call it that. The sudden eruption in my chest was something else, sending me into a panic. And, as much as I wished for my dear heart to calm down, I knew something was wrong—I had no choice but to call an end to our short time together.

“Can you… can you send me to the hospital?” I asked, embarrassed at the request.

At once, apprehension and concern swept across her previously entertained mien. “Why? What’s wrong?” she replied. Oh, how awkward it was from that point on.

Who would’ve thought that our first time alone would be in an emergency ward, wondering if I was having a heart attack? Who would’ve thought that it would end in such an ill-fated manner—a disappointment from the hope of a pleasant and delightful evening? Who would’ve thought that it would be cruelly memorable, like a tragic romance meant to make one weep? Who would’ve thought that it would make the perfect premise of a depressing love story?

Alas, I was unlucky, bearing a fair share of dating mishaps. From a punctured tire, spilled coffee, and a broken nose in a single date to missing keys and an unexpected thunderstorm, my love life had either been a comedy or a tragedy. Why was it difficult to catch a break—a chance to have things go my way? Little did I know, it was all in my head—fiction that was once reality.

“What did the doctor say?” she asked.

It was the day after and I wasn’t sure how to feel about her call. She seemed to care. But perhaps, it was simply a natural, human thing to do. I would do the same, too, with a friend. Was I someone special to her—had my fate changed?

“I have to go back for a full check-up,” I replied.

“I see. Make sure to listen to the nurses,” she said.

“Okay?” I chuckled. It was an odd statement but I brushed it off. After all, she had called me first—she started the conversation, even if it was out of concern.

“I’ll come see you tomorrow, all right?” she added.

“Huh?” I replied. Were we set for a second date—was there a lapse in my memory? Just like that evening, in the dimmed theater hall, something felt off. Alas, I couldn’t pinpoint the problem—it certainly wasn’t my heart.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” she repeated. And before I could reply, she ended the call.

I couldn’t grasp her words at that moment. It seemed strange and out of place. It didn’t belong in my world. Until it became clear, the following morning, when she knocked on my room door. I hadn’t forgotten her promise to see me but it was then that I had to face my reality.

“Hi dad,” she said, welcoming herself in. She placed a bag of lunch boxes on the table, before asking, “What time will the doctor see you?”

“Dad?” I asked with a frown. Wasn’t she the girl in the cinema—the beautiful Anna, with short curls and big brown eyes? At my confusion, sympathy glazed her gentle face.

“Are you hungry?” she asked. “I packed your favourite—peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

“Who are you?” I asked. The more I looked at her, the less like Anna she was. “Where’s Anna? Anna drove me to the hospital yesterday.”

“She did,” she replied. “I’m Jess.”

“Where’s Anna, Jess? I have to speak to her after our terrible date,” I said.

I had to apologise for the trouble I caused—it was ungentlemanly to make her wait while I changed the flat tire, and more so humiliating to have her drive me to the ER again with a broken nose. One mishap after another, it was as if we weren’t meant to be.

“Mom-I mean, Anna is busy,” Jess replied. “But she’ll visit soon.”

“Soon? That’s great!” I beamed.

Not all hope was lost. Perhaps, we could go on a second date. Perhaps, I could win her over. Perhaps, we had a future. There was much that we needed to do, and much I was excited for—much like a love story with a happy ending I had long been waiting for.


Cinema, heart, and hospital were words given by Nick Ko on Facebook.

Initially, I wanted this story to be fully romance but I soon realised I’m not very good at romance. Thus my ‘poor imitation’ of what should have been a proper love story.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story with the three words given. Let’s be honest, you probably can do a better job than I with these words. So why not give it a go!

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

3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Clown | Balloons | Chuckle

“It’s just a movie,” they said. “What’s the worst that can happen—a nightmare?”

Alas, they didn’t know—a nightmare was what I was truly afraid of. It wasn’t because I was a child—I was old enough to handle a disturbing dream. It was because, unlike everyone else’s harmless night terrors, my dreams weren’t mine alone—my dreams shaped a world.

“I hate horror movies,” I stated.

“It’s not that scary,” Rich replied. “It’s more of a… psychological horror.”

“Come on, Bill,” Bev pleaded. “It’s the last weekend before school starts.”

“Fine,” I acceded. What was the worst that could happen? A nightmare. Thankfully, there was a way to prevent nightmares.

After learning what my mind could do, I scoured for ways to stop dreaming. Unfortunately, against most of my efforts the foreign world prevailed. The second I departed from my reality, I am swept into another realm without a choice and without reason. Thus, the only way to keep myself away—lest I hurt anyone else—was to take naps. And so, I had a plan to set an alarm at every hour, until I was sure no monster would invade my overdue rest.

My friends were right—it was just a movie with a few jump-scares. If I cupped my ears—dulling the intense soundtrack, the sudden bangs, and sinister chuckles—it wasn’t as scary as I had anticipated. But, I wasn’t risking it. The last time I watched a horror flick, eight people died.

“I killed them,” I remember telling my mother. “I didn’t mean to but I did. I brought it in.”

“It’s just a dream,” my mother said. She couldn’t understand—nobody could. And if I ever tried to explain, they would think I had lost my mind. “Go back to sleep,” my mother prompted.

Alas, I couldn’t return to sleep. In fact, I couldn’t sleep every night after for a week. It was the first dream that had ended with death. And though it happened two years ago, I hadn’t forgotten—it was almost Christmas and my brother suggested a satire holiday film about a murderous half-goat demon.

On that chilly night, I returned to the same place where my dreams often took place. It was a world on its own with the same high-rise buildings, pristine sidewalks, and ordinary-looking people—people who weren’t from my waking moments. But as I stepped through, the clouds darkened and a foreboding iciness settled in the air. Winter had arrived ahead of schedule. And before I could warn anyone, I heard the jingle of its bells.

“It’s just a dream,” Ben echoed. My best friend, too, didn’t believe me.

“It’s the same place almost every night. The same people. The same shops,” I stated during our lunch break. “Do your dreams happen in the same place too?”

“No. But-”

“After the demon killed those people, they were gone. I couldn’t find them. And the dream people… they said a demon had murdered them.”

“That’s some extensive dream plotting,” Ben said, almost sounding impressed. “You should be an author.”

“I’m not joking, Ben.”

“Fine. Let’s just say it’s real—what can you do about it?” Ben asked. “Do you know how to stop it?”

“No. I wouldn’t be telling you if I did.”

Ben nodded, and silence ensued. He didn’t utter a single word until the lunch bell rang. And when we spoke again, it wasn’t about my dream. Ben never spoke about my dreams from that moment on.

So that night—after witnessing an eldritch clown terrorise a group of children—I set eight alarms until dawn. I expected a dreadful following day, with fatigue weighing down my eyelids, but that was the price to pay for yielding to my friends. Hopefully, when the sun rose, there won’t be any blood on my hands.

“You’re early,” Ben said.

After the sixth round of beep-beep-beep, it was almost impossible to return to sleep. Deciding to take a short nap before class, I made my way to school earlier than usual.

“Can you wake me up before the bell rings?” I asked, seeing as Ben had found me in the cafeteria.

“Sure,” Ben replied, plopping onto a neighbouring chair. “What did you do last night?”

“I watched a movie,” I muttered, as I folded my arms on the table. “Stupid horror movie about a child-eating clown and red-”

“Balloons,” Ben interrupted.

“Yea. Have you seen it?” I asked.

“No, balloons,” Ben repeated, raising his finger toward the doorway.

Turning toward our only exit, obscured with floating, bright red balloons, I frowned. Was I dreaming? No. That notion didn’t seem possible. “Ben,” I prompted. “Is this a prank?”

Then, as if a thought had just struck him, terror glazed across Ben’s formerly placid mien. With eyes wide in horror, Ben asked, “Did you say the movie was about a child-eating clown?”

“Yea. Why?”

“You need to wake up, Bill,” Ben replied. Rising to his feet, he pulled me up and added, “You need to get out of my world.”

“I… I don’t understand. What-”

“You need to wake up, right now, before you kill us too.”


Clown, balloons, and chuckle were words given by Aaron Kwan on Facebook.

With IT being in theaters, I thought it would be fitting to write something inline with it. Oh, and have you seen the satire holiday film with the half-goat demon? I actually enjoyed that one.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story with the three words given. Perhaps now is the time to write that IT fanfic you’ve been thinking about! Also, if you have three words you’d like to challenge me with, be sure to leave it in the comments below.

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

3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Basket | Spirit | Light

Once upon a time, there lived a spirit on the great wall—an ethereal being, in the form of beaming light, who guarded the stone border of the Northeast. It was believed to be a powerful force with mystical powers—capable of wiping out the monsters that attempted to invade the land. But legend has it that the spirit wasn’t of the gods. It wasn’t made to be a guardian—the spirit was meant to be mortal. In fact, the ancient scrolls called it… a man.

This man came from a faraway place. He wasn’t of the Northeast kingdom—a ‘trespasser’ and ‘intruder’ as some would say. Though, the man had no evil intent. Unlike the power-hungry nations that sought the treasures in the Northeast, he embarked on the treacherous journey for a promise—a freedom from the flesh-eating, ravenous beasts that roamed the land. After all, it was only the Northeast kingdom that had built a wall—a wall high enough that no monster could ever scale.

With that dream, the man ventured beyond the ice and cold. It took thirty days on foot from the caves of the North Mountains to the great wall. And along with him was his wife and their young daughter. Without much, the family armed themselves with a blade—their only weapon against the demons of the night. And bravely, they traversed the dense timberland where the creatures slumbered in the day. “Do not step on their tails,” he reminded his daughter—a task far more difficult than the journey itself as the spiked tails trailed across the forest floor, each three times the length of a beast’s body. “It’s time to climb,” he would also prompt, just as the sun began to set. For when the moon graced the night sky, the monsters would awake and begin their hunt.

Since the beginning of time, these creatures had been a part of their world. Their saw-like teeth and razor-sharp claws had snatched many lives. Their beady red eyes against their black, hairless skin had turned peaceful dreams into haunting nightmares. To be free of them was worth the risk, or so he thought. But it was at the great wall that the man discovered the truth—that not all monsters were villains, and not all promises were sure.

“Turn around,” the soldier on the wall ordered.

“Please, we only seek refuge—safety from the monsters,” the man pleaded.

“You’re not welcomed here,” the soldier said. “Go home.”

“We’ve travelled this far. We can’t go home now,” the man replied. “Please let us in. We have a child.”

“And the world is full of them.”

“Please, I beg of you.”

“You can try climbing,” the soldier offered. “You have five hours before the sun sets.” And with that, the soldier disappeared into a turret.

At that moment, the man hesitated. The wall was made to keep the monsters out—it couldn’t be scaled by the beasts let alone a child. However, if he made it to the top, he could toss a basket down and pull his family up. So the man decided to climb with his bare human hands. But soon, the sun began to set. And at the fifth hour, the clear blue sky streaked with hues of pastel orange—their cue to scale the trees for the night.

“Climb the trees,” the man shouted, leaning against the cold wall for rest. “Tomorrow, I’ll pull both of you up,” he added, turning to look down below. But instead of finding his family—gazing up at him—he found no one. Where had they gone to? The man panicked. Should he continue his ascent or return to the ground?

“Keep climbing,” a voice from above hollered. “You’re almost safe.” The soldier on the wall peered over, seemingly impressed by his determination.

“I can’t. My family,” he uttered.

“Come on—our kingdom needs men like you,” the soldier said.

“I can’t just leave them,” he insisted. He couldn’t—he wouldn’t betray his wife and daughter. And so he began to descend.

“Even if you find them, do you really think we’d let them in?” the soldier asked.

“They promised,” the man replied. “They said-”

“Did they also tell you what the beasts are?”

“Yes, but there’s a cure.”

“A cure?” The soldier chuckled. “Climb up or return to your family, it’s your choice,” the soldier replied and lingered no longer.

As the day bid its final farewell, the howls of the monsters rumbled through the timberland below. If his wife and daughter had climbed a tree, he would see them at dawn. Alas, descending risked his own life—no one had ever survived amongst the beasts, in their domain, to see the sunrise. Thus, from that fateful night onward, he was no longer a man.

How the spirit came to be, no one knows for sure. However, many believed that its mystical powers kept the real monsters away—away from his wife and daughter who were both finally free.


Basket, spirit, and light were words given by Hui Xuan on Facebook.

So let’s be honest, I edited her ‘words’ a little as holy spirit and street light weren’t exactly one word each, and were also rather difficult to write with unless I decided to do a Ghost (1990) fan fiction. However, with that minor removal, I managed to come up with something rather decent. And, yes, I left the plot twist and ending a little vague—leaving the rest of the imagination to you.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story with the three words given. If you managed to work ‘holy’ and ‘light’ into your story, be sure to link it in the comments below!

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

3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Reach | Goals | Hotel

They say that some goals are impossible to achieve—that no matter how fervently you imagined, dreamt, or even planned, it could never come true. And perhaps, they are right. But, did I believe them?

“What do you think—grand, isn’t it?” I prompted, as I showed her yet another one of my sketches.

My mother responded with a thin smile. It was the same smile that had graced her meek demeanour for the past few years—an empathetic expression of little belief. Though, there was a time when she truly did believe—a time when we would have sweet cereal and cold milk for breakfast, when the weekends involved a game of frisbee at the park, and when my father would take us on spontaneous road trips in his sputtering jeep. It was a time of jaw-aching laughter, silly yet dangerous pranks, and wide grins of true belief in the bright side of life. But within three years, my mother had lost it all.

Some days, those memories didn’t seem real to me either. It would play in the blackness of my eyelids right before I fell asleep—like a family-friendly film in the popcorn-scented theater we had not visited since. It often felt like someone else’s story—perhaps, the story of another me from another universe. Were we really that happy? Is that how a genuine smile looked like—raised cheeks and wrinkles by the eyes? Some of those memories had slipped from my mind all together—now surreal.

“There’ll be three floors of swimming pool, connected with a swirling water slide. It’ll shoot through the ceiling!” I added.

“That looks like a lot of fun,” my mother said. “But you’ll need lifeguards.”

“Right. Like at the public pool,” I noted.

I almost forgot about the swimming classes I took every Friday. My father would pick me up after school—my yellow swim bag and metal lunchbox often placed on the backseat. Yet, in the recollection of those sunny afternoons, there were gaps in what was once a weekly routine. I had forgotten the warmth of the sun on my skin, the soothing humming in my ears while underwater, and the shiver in my spine as I dashed for my towel on the pool bench.

“Is it almost done?” my mother asked.

“Almost,” I replied, flipping through my sketchbook. There were a few sketches left before the blueprint of my first hotel was complete. It would be my proudest creation yet—the first step toward achieving my dream of becoming the world’s youngest architect.

“Don’t forget to show your dad,” my mother said. “He’ll want to see it.”

“Yup! I also need to ask him about the piping.” I smiled. And at that moment, I wondered—was my smile a true smile? I had no mirror—were there creases by my eyes? When my mother responded with a loving gaze, I knew—I had a smile of belief.

My parents may have long lost their belief but I had yet to lose mine. Despite the past years of uncertainty and fear, I still believed. Even when I struggled to be brave, even when I cried into my pillow, even when they could no longer remove the endotracheal tube, and even when the doctor said it could be any time now, I still believed that dreams do come true. That if you stretched your hands—reach for the stars—nothing was impossible. And though I might have forgotten what life was like—what it should be for a healthy twelve-year-old—I had not given up on it yet.

One day soon, I would be free from my restraints. I wouldn’t have to peer out of the hospital window to glimpse the stars, I would stand beneath them. I wouldn’t have to replay old memories, I would make new ones. There would be no more tears. There would only be belly-aching laughter. One day soon, my dream would come true—I would be the boy who conquered death. And there would be plenty of smiles—authentic smiles of true belief.


Reach, goals, and hotel were words given by Mervin Raymond.

It has been awhile since I’ve written something like this. And honestly, I found myself tearing up a little. I’m sorry if I made you a little sad too. I just felt like writing an emotional piece and this was it.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story with the three words given. Perhaps you can lighten the mood with a story of your own?

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

3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Candle | Craft | Colour

They said that if you truly believed—owning a faith so unmovable—you would find it. They said that if you trusted in its existence, despite the echoing doubts, you could tear through the very fabric of space and time. But what they didn’t say was that it wasn’t as simple as believing. For if it was a matter of belief, many would have glimpsed this realm of magic—I, myself, would have traversed its land with my credence since birth. Alas, I lacked… the one thing that would’ve unlocked its doors. I lacked the one thing I had all along—I lacked courage.

Oh, how envious was I at the claims of those who had gone before me. They spoke of a spellbinding universe, overflowing with enchanting colours no human mind could ever conceive. They recounted the shimmering lights—a descending of the stars of the universe—that surrounded their very being, of which weren’t merely a sight to behold but a gift of overwhelming wonder and peace. Those who had journeyed beyond the boundaries of this world had an experience that was uniquely theirs, yet coherent with this gifted faction of society. And despite all that, they claimed to be ordinary. Despite their very own odyssey in such a sentient space, they believed it was a place for all.

Still, none of them made mention of courage. In my desire to leave this world behind, their only advice was faith—faith I thought I already had. Alas, I had to recognise what true belief was… on my own. For only when my present cloaked me in a veil of hopelessness—when darkness was all I could see—I had to retrieve my candle. I had to find the only remaining light—the light within—to lead me forward. And with that flickering yet undying flame, I wielded the courage to carry through. I found my belief in my craft.

True belief isn’t a notion—it isn’t merely the possibility of a great future but the reality of which I wanted to escape from. True belief is the courage to do, even if what I did wasn’t grand or magnificent. True belief is magic—the only door that opened to a realm so breathtaking, it can only be explained with colours and light. I am but a neophyte in this cosmos of curiosity and imagination but should one ask for a map to this universe, my answer would be the same as my predecessors—believe, truly believe. And once you do, the keys to this realm would be forever yours.


Candle, craft, and colour were words given by Emily Tong.

I wrote this short piece of fiction with a dash of reality in mind—a message I hope many would read in moments when they are afraid to step out. Believing isn’t just a good idea. If we truly believe, we’ll find the courage that has been within us all along.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. Don’t be afraid to try. Start believing in your craft today!

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3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Hat | Handkerchief | Car

His name was Jasonian Arventus—the kind of name you wouldn’t forget because it had pretentious written all over it. Jasonian Arventus—who had always insisted I used his entire moniker, as he couldn’t accept the shortening of his name to that of a commoner—never once left his house without his silk, peach-coloured handkerchief. Routinely, he had it snugged in the front left pocket of his expensive grey-checkered, double-breasted wool coat, before taking a foot past the front door. The plain and glossy piece of fabric was akin to a child’s security blanket, for Jasonian Arventus—whose name I’m bound to misspell in the near future—believed it brought him good luck.

Jasonian Arventus had a myriad of possessions but none as precious as his rabbit’s foot of a mouchoir. He lived in a Victorian mansion the size of a Slovenian castle, and had not one but fifteen automobiles that would awake your inner green-eyed monster. He also had a private collection of historical armaments from the Crusades and ancient scrolls from the age of pharaohs. And, if you ever had the patience to hold a conversation with him, he would boast of the ungodly amount of jewellery he owned that rivalled the royal museum. Yet, you would find that Jasonian Arventus would give it all up for his handkerchief—except for that one night, when he was offered a hat in exchange.

The felt hat arrived at his doorstep in a box. It wasn’t a package he had ordered nor was there a delivery man requesting for his fanciful signature. When Jasonian Arventus attended to the chime of the doorbell—he didn’t believe in squandering his wealth on a doorkeeper—he found a note attached to the parcel. The scribble of a letter read, ‘Exchange the kerchief for the bowler and you’ll receive your greatest desire.’

Some days, I wonder if I am to blame for what happened to Jasonian Arventus. However, it was a blessing in disguise. As I was, unsurprisingly, the only person who cared enough, Jasonian Arventus rang me over. He sent his chauffeur to my humble abode, ensuring that I couldn’t decline his seemingly urgent request—made a few hours shy of midnight.

“You have to help me, Beasty,” Jasonian Arventus hollered, just as I exited from the daylight robbery he called his favourite car. “I don’t know what to do.”

My name is not Beasty—lest you believe my parents would actually pen such an atrocity on my birth certificate. Jasonian Arventus never saw the importance of learning my name as I did his. Thus, he called me Beasty—short for Aarion Beastanol.

“What is the matter, Jasonian?” I asked, questioning my kindhearted nature for attending to his almost always childish beck and call.

Jasonian Arventus, Beasty,” Jasonian Arventus corrected.

“What is the matter, Jasonian Arventus?” I repeated.

“I received this.” Jasonian Arventus slammed the letter on my chest—forcefully enough to knock all the air out from my last breath. “And that,” Jasonian Arventus added, pointing to the box on the marble front porch.

“Hmm,” I said, after reading the hastily written words. “Exchange the kerchief for the bowler.”

“You think I should?” Jasonian Arventus asked. His eyes widened as though he had already decided but needed further affirmation.

“You want to, don’t you?”

“But you know how important silkie is to me,” Jasonian Arventus said.

“The letter didn’t say what to do after the exchange—there’s no return address. Once you make the trade, I’ll take silkie out and keep it for you,” I offered. All I so desired, as my eyelids weighed heavily in the need of rest, was to end the conversation.

“Good idea, Beasty,” Jasonian Arventus said. He took my proposal as encouragement and shuffled to the package. Ripping the box open in unrepressed excitement, he swapped his prized possession for a promise. Then waving me over, he prompted, “Take silkie.”

Withholding a sigh, I did what Jasonian Arventus asked once more. If it meant that he would send me home, I was more than happy to abide. Little did I know, that was the last time I did anything for Jasonian Arventus. In fact, it was the last time I ever saw him or uttered his name. For the following morning, as I returned to Jasonian Arventus’ mansion, I found only the bowler.

Some Wednesdays, while I sipped on earl grey tea in my cluttered office, I would wonder about Jasonian Arventus’ greatest desire. What was it that he had secretly coveted—that made him, his entire household, and every paraphernalia that moulded his persona, disappear overnight? Other days, I would imagine a different scenario, of which I didn’t suggest he trade his handkerchief for the bowler—would he still be boasting his grand and lavish lifestyle? Fortunately, on most days including the weekends, I left my inquisitive thoughts at the back of my mind. After all, if it wasn’t for Jasonian Arventus’ vanishing, I wouldn’t have learned about my sickly aunt in Chenonceaux, France.

Who knew that I—an ordinary man of no stature—could be someone of great importance. Who knew that society would someday say my name—the entire moniker, Aarion Beastanol, that should not and could not be shortened to the likes of a commoner. Perhaps, Jasonian Arventus was right about the handkerchief—luck was now on my side. And should I be offered a hat in exchange, I would be less of a madman to make the same mistake.


Hat, handkerchief, and car were words given by Manua De Cia.

I wrote this with Discombobulate, from the Sherlock Holmes film soundtrack, on repeat. It may or may not have anything to do with the tone and setting of this story. Also, the names were given by a friend—an inside joke that could have, possibly, inspired the characters themselves.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. And while you’re at it, feel free to challenge me with 3 MORE WORDS in the comment section below!

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

3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Ink | Carpet | Donkey

The joke was always on me. From Pharaoh’s scroll and the labyrinth beneath the royal palace, to my quest by the Silk Road and the expedition into space, I was a fool. But for you to understand why, I must start at the very beginning—the time when I learned I could live forever.

It was a time before yours—a time when people spoke different tongues, when the oceans were too great to traverse, when there were more gods than there were men, and when I was but an orphan child in a house made of clay. I cannot remember who my parents were—their faces have long faded from my memory. But what I can remember—my only recollection from that time—was the day he stormed into my home. He didn’t come to pillage. He had a different mission. The towering burly man, with a brown cloth hiding half of his face from recognition, pinned me to the ground. He lifted a glistening dagger above his head. And with a narrowed gaze, he drove the blade into my chest.

Just like him, I thought my short life was over. With a searing pain in my chest, I awaited my last breath. But as my blood saturated my tunic—the warmth ushering me into the afterlife—the pain abated. And shortly after my killer retreated, believing he had succeeded, I inhaled a new breath without a scar from the event. I was alive. I didn’t die. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t. And when more like him came after me, I knew I was indestructible.

I was neither a man nor a god. The ancient scroll, gifted to me by Tutankhamun, accounted only of the deities in the sky. The ink made no mention of a creature like myself, dwelling between the heavens and the earth. For a century, I believed that I had descended from above. But the more I learned, the more I was certain—a god had more power than immortality. A god couldn’t feel pain, fear, or rejection. And it was only in the millennium after, when I finally accepted my lack of an identity, that I journeyed north.

During my years of study, I came upon the tale of a beast that roamed the labyrinth beneath the Palace of Knossos—a beast with knowledge of the universe that should you slay, you would gain its abundant wisdom. Hoping to uncover my origin, I crossed the Mediterranean Sea. I had a plan involving a donkey as a distraction and a sword as a weapon. Alas, I was centuries too late. There was no beast but a hollow of a labyrinth beneath a fallen structure claimed by disaster. However, all hope was not lost—or so it seemed, in a time as such.

In the rubble of what was once a grand and complex architectural beauty, I found an etched map on a broken stone tablet—a route that connected to the east—that led to a world of ancient magic. It ran parallel to the common route for traders except that it wasn’t for the common man. And when I found it, I was reassured of my uncommon descent. But what I truly am was still a mystery.

It was on the path by the Silk Road, where the human traders journeyed through the celestial world unaware, that I sought for the legendary carpet. Fei Long, a dragon I met as I neared the east end, said the carpet was capable of bringing me anywhere—even through the very fabric of time that connected me to this world. And so I spent five centuries, questioning ethereal creatures and bargaining with superlunary beasts, in hopes of acquiring the carpet. But when mankind no longer found use of the road, so did the mystical world. And when there was no path left to traverse, my quest came to an end.

You see, the joke was always on me—a life whose sole purpose was to find purpose. Yet strangely, despite the many years without an answer, I kept scouring the earth. Even in light of extinction—the death of humanity—I continued on my search. Though, I wouldn’t have died if I lingered. I could have been a god—claiming the identity I’ve always wanted. Alas, as coincidental as my encounters in the past, I found myself on the last shuttle to space. Despite knowing, deep down in my being—perhaps a ‘soul’—that my answer wouldn’t be amongst the stars, I looked once more. Ah, a fool I was and a fool I am… for never once looking within.


Ink, carpet, and donkey were words given by Chrystin on Facebook

I wasn’t sure what to write for these words as they weren’t easy ones to work together, but since April 1st was a few days ago, I thought ‘something along the lines of a joke and a fool’ might be a good story. So this is it—not what I was expecting for sure!

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. And if you have three words you’d like to challenge me with, leave it in the comments below!

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

3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

You | Me | Us

You.

Where you come from, the night never sleeps and the day never ends. A dimension where dawn and dusk aren’t defined by nature but by your very hands. It’s an unceasing universe powered by the undying vision of its driven core. A realm I call foreign, though not quite—known waters I’ve yet to tread. And should I choose to venture into this familiar yet unexplored plain, I will have to wield a courage unprecedented in my domain.

Me.

Where I come from, the night isn’t night and the day isn’t day. A place where time is relevant to its inhabitants—an undefined and fluid pace. It is a single moment in a single space that homes a million stories. Its mythical depths full of untold tales—its very essence defining its entirety. I cannot leave this realm—of strange and unknown adventures—not without taking a piece of its soul. And should I ever go beyond, I risk converging our seemingly different worlds.

Us.

Origins diverging from the start. Polarities in space and time—disparate beings in dichotomous habitats. But perhaps, there will be a moment when we aren’t worlds apart—our realms coalescing with merging topographies. Our planets aligning on the same plain—orbiting around the same blazing sun and surrounded by the same myriad of glistening stars. Perhaps, if we take a risk, we will find that we are not so different after all.

The north and south, though poles apart, are both covered in snow. Yet an auto-antonym is an irony in itself—is to cleave to cling or to split apart? And here—the very definition of you and me—is us; the sui generis nature in plurality finding singularity—a distinctiveness of individuality in pronoun. If the risk is simply redefining, will we take it—will we choose to believe in… us?

Paths don’t cross without reason—just as parallel roads don’t remain disconnected without cause. And perhaps, if we believe, we can build a new world together. A place better than our own—a place where we define what us… means to you and me.


You, me, and us were words given by Natalie Fong on Facebook

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it’d be fitting to write a love story (?) Or at least, my attempts at something poetic about love in flash fiction. Honestly though, I don’t even know if this can be classified as romance. What do you think—is it Valentine’s enough?

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. You would probably do a better job than I did. So if you’re feeling romantic, why not turn these three words into a story of your own?

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

3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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