Original Works

The Winter Raven [12 Genre Months]

Every year, at the arrival of the winter festivities, there came a call for the bravehearts—the warriors of hope, the heroes of peace, and the defenders of faith. A call that was sent to the chosen few—a call that came as a raven, perched on my window sill. Little did I know, being chosen meant that Christmas would never be the same again.

“Mum!” I called from my bedroom. “There’s a bird on my window. And it won’t fly away.”

I was an ordinary nine-year-old, who had just attempted to shoo the feathered creature with a pillow. Alas, it stood stock-still with unwavering determination to accomplish its task.

“What bird?” my mother replied as she strolled in. After a quick glance around the room, she headed to the window to pull it shut. “How many times do I have to tell you to close the window before bed?”

“The bird,” I merely replied.

My mother shook her head as she turned toward me. Believing that she had dealt with the raven, I slipped under the warm comforter—ready to call it a night. Alas, night had only just begun. Once my mother bade goodnight, flicking the lights off as she did, I heard an echo of a deep raspy caw. It sounded almost ghost-like—not of an actual bird. And when I couldn’t ignore it any longer, I sat up and looked at the window.

There it was—on my window sill with an illuminating purple gem between its beaks. It bore no gifts earlier and I hesitated. Was it safe to approach the creature? But as a curious child—who still believed that there was magic in the world—the glowing stone was the perfect bait. Slipping out of my bed, I went to the avian messenger to unknowingly accept my heroes calling.

That night, the cut and polished stone determined my fate. For the next three years of my life—on the fifth of every December—my raven would return. I would take the stone from its beak and glimpse into the chaos of the world—the invisible monsters with life-sucking fangs and soul-crushing claws that sought to destroy the remaining hope of the year. These otherworldly beasts roamed the streets and entered homes in search of unsuspecting victims. And it was my mission to stop them from destroying my slumbering neighbourhood.

Who would have thought that a child could be a hero? I was nine-years-old when I was gifted the light—the radiant and blinding amber of hope that beamed from the palms of my small hands. It was the light that kept my family and friends safe. It was the light that made me the unsung hero. And though it meant that Christmas was when the monsters of my nightmares came to life, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. For when I turned thirteen, the messenger went to another child.

At thirteen, I knew that my quest was over. Still, I couldn’t forget. And every night since, I would wonder about the shadows of humanity—was there an eldritch spectre outside my bedroom door? Unfortunately, it was no longer up to me to save the day. Another hero had been chosen—a reality I had accepted until my own child spoke of a bird on a chilly December night.

“Dad!” she called from her bedroom. “There’s a bird on my window. And it won’t fly away.”

“A bird?” I asked as I entered her room. Turning to her opened window, where I saw no avian creature, I frowned. “What bird?”

“There.” She pointed at the vacant space within the window frame. “It’s just… looking at me,” she added.

It had been over twenty years since my own encounter. And I would have shut the window—just like my mother did mine—if not for the strange inkling to keep it open.

“Dad, can you close the window?” she prompted. And therein, I remembered.

“It won’t hurt you,” I said. Crouching by the side of her bed, I continued, “But if it has a stone in its beak, you have to take it.”

“There’s no stone,” she stated.

“Not yet.” I winked.

“Okay. But what does the stone do?”

“It makes you a hero,” I replied. “It’ll make you brave. And even if the monsters scare you, you’ll be strong enough to destroy them.”

“Okay, dad.”

“Goodnight, Hope,” I said.

Flicking her bedroom lights off, I could only wonder if it were all true. I had grown to doubt. Still, I found a hint of belief. And if there was one gift I could offer my child this Christmas, it was to help her uncover the superhero within.


12 Genre Months © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

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

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.)

Book Teasers

The Majestas Regia

themajestasregia

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m tired,” Thom lied. “Carry me.”

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

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

“Yes, carry me,” Thom ordered.

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

“You’re getting heavier, your highness.”

“I know.”

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

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

“No. You can go.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Magic comes from within, not from outside.”

“Then magic is boring.”

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

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

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

“The stars?”

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

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

“What’s there?”

“You can’t see it?”

“See what?”

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

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

“Look carefully.”

“I am. What does it look like?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I will?”

“You will.”

“What are you doing?” Seanna asked.

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

“Looking for something,” Thom replied.

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

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

“Oh, the royal constellation.”

“Is there anything you don’t know?”

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

“You didn’t find it?”

“No.”

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

“Well, can you?”

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

“You’re lying,” Seanna scoffed.

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

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

“Oh, okay. You go ahead then.”

“We won’t wait for you to start.”

“I’ll be right in.”

“There’s turkey pie.”

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

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

The Slave Prince © 2015 – 2016 Jeyna Grace

Others

Happy Christmas, Merry New Year!

happychristmasmerrynewyear

For some of you, it would still be Christmas Eve, but… there’s no harm is being wished earlier, am I right? So Happy Christmas everyone and a Merry New Year!

December is my favourite month because of the digital snow gracing my blog, the jolly mood in the malls, and of course, Christmas. Even though the uncertain new year is just around the corner, everyone is in a festive spirit! What’s not to love about that? In my country, we don’t have snow or house decorations but there is still something about this season that is magical. I hope it’s magical for you too 🙂

AND I hope that magic continues on till the new year strikes. Once Christmas is over, we will all have to start our countdown (have you completed your 2014 resolutions?). For me, this year is a little different. Tomorrow will actually be a reminder that I have 10 days left. 10 days for what? 10 days to complete my crowd-funding project!

I have been mentioning about my crowd-funding project for the past few months, and this would be the last time I mention it. The next 10 days will be a make it or break it season. Either I finally get my book fully funded and see it hitting bookstores in 2015, or… let’s not think about what happens after ‘or’.

So! If you have excess Christmas cheer to share and would like to support an indie author in going global, check out my novel’s crowd-funding project HERE. I hope to end this year with a bang, and it can only happen if you hop onboard and ‘pre-order’ my book.

If you’re still contemplating, I know, boxing day is tomorrow… I know, there’s a sale. I hope you find some really good deals, but before you head to the stores, please check out my project and make my Christmas wish come true! I’m already at the 76% mark and I just need a little push to hit 100%! Your support will go a long way.

*Want to be creative with your gift giving this year? Fund my novel under someone else’s name and surprise them when they find their name at the back of my book 🙂 It would be an unexpected gift when they receive it next year!

Anyway, I hope you are having/had a great Christmas this year. Naughty or nice, snow or the blazing hot sun, I hope you’re spending this holiday with cheers and smiles. You might have had a rough year, but don’t let that put a damper on your spirit. A fresh start is just a couple of days away! So lighten up and end the year with a cheer.

Well, that’s all for now. Here’s to a new and exciting year together with more magical adventures and fictional journeys! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

(There’s no The Clubhouse chapter today, as I don’t want to double post on the same day. Polls are still open though, so if you have not voted, you can do so :))

Original Works

The Gift of Life

thegiftoflife

It started with a white speck in the blue sky, guided by the cool breeze as it tumbled to the ground. It was the first sign that the season of cheer, laughter, and joy was just around the corner. It was the day of the first snowflake; the day I was lying in bed feeling sick. There was nothing physically wrong with me, but somehow my head was hurting and my stomach was rejecting whatever I put in it. In the end, I gave up trying altogether.

The year had been a rough one on me. It started off great with no worries, but then halfway through, everything turned sour. The man I planned to see the world with, build a family with, become grandparents with, became ill. His sickness was the one with no cure; the one where upon discovery, there was no more hope.

It was so sudden and so shocking that at first, I was certain the doctors were wrong. But then reality hit, and the fantasy that I had created in my head shattered; David was going to die, David is dead. There will no longer be anymore Christmases to share, no more plans to see through, no more love. A few weeks before the first snowflake, David faded away.

Everyone I knew tried to comfort me. They sent me cards, called to check in, and even offered to come over and keep me company, but I soon grew tired of it all. I appreciated their efforts, but there was nothing they could do to make me feel better. So I stopped answering the phone, the doorbell, and logged out of life completely… for as long as reality permitted.

When I finally decided it was time to return to the world, it took me a lot of effort. Even though I was in no mood to celebrate Christmas or the New Year, I was going to try and be human again. It was not easy but within a few days, I managed to get into a routine.

I would get out of bed every morning, eat something for breakfast, read a book, clean the house, try to eat something for lunch, answer my parents’ calls, watch the children across the street play in the snow, force myself to eat something for dinner, read some more, before heading to bed. Leaving the house was not part of my routine, not even to check the mail. One day, however, I heard an unexpected ding dong.

Dreading the thought of having to speak to someone, I dragged myself to the door only to find a parcel on the ground. Taking a quick look around, I hesitated to bring it in when there was no one around. Who was it from? The parcel was wrapped like a gift with a red bow on top, and the card that sat with it was addressed to me. I assumed it was a gift from a friend or a family member.

Bringing the parcel in, I briefly contemplated on waiting for Christmas day, but then I recalled not wanting to even think about Christmas and proceeded with opening it. Inside, I found an instruction card and a little pot filled with soil.

“Place the plant near a window and water it everyday. Not too much though, or it’ll drown,” I read.

That is morbid, I thought. Is this a joke?

David did not drown, but death was still a sensitive topic for me. Strangely, I decided to keep the plant despite the tasteless instruction and the lack of information on the sender.

The following day, I heard it again; the doorbell. When I went to my door, I found no one outside but a mini watering can. There was an instruction card attached to it as well, telling me to use it when watering the plant. The day after that was surprisingly the same, I found a bag of fertilizer instead of a person. It was not hard to come to a conclusion that someone was trying to help me feel better, or at least fill my day with a new activity. Honestly, it was rather fun.

Everyday was the same, with a new gift at the doorstep for the little plant. I soon became dedicated in caring for the plant, that when I saw the first leaf I jumped with joy. I was also very curious as to the person that planned the whole thing. Someone knew I was struggling and someone wanted to help me through. Their approach was so unique, but it was almost impossible to catch the ‘angel’. Then one day, it stopped.

It was a few days before Christmas and I was honestly upset. Why did this person decide to stop just before my favourite day of the year? Yes, despite not wanting to celebrate Christmas this year, it had been my favourite holiday since I was a child. If this person did it on purpose, the whole thing was a cruel joke. Angry, I decided to pretend it never happened. I still watered the plant though, because it was finally in my routine.

Little did expect, on Christmas night the doorbell rang again. Thinking it was the neighbourhood carolers, I was prepared to ask them to leave. This time however, I found my answer. Once again, there was no one at the door except for a red envelope. It seemed to me the sender was finally revealing his or her identity and I excitedly tore it open. What I found inside was a polaroid and a letter.

The polaroid was a picture of me and David from three years ago. At the base was the caption, ‘Our first Christmas together’. Reading those words, I immediately felt a lump in my throat. My hands began to tremble as I silently told myself to breathe. The picture was indeed our first Christmas together. I could remember the day so clearly, as David wanted to decorate the tree with polaroids instead of ornaments. He insisted on it and I gave in. That memory made me laugh as a tear rolled down my cheek.

Turning my attention to the letter, I began to wonder if I should give it a read. I was afraid of its contents, afraid of the memories it would bring up, but I needed to know who planned it all. Slowly unfolding it, I took a deep breath and started from the date.

25th September, 2014.

Three more months before Christmas! Are you excited? I hope you are. It won’t be an easy time, but it’s your favourite holiday of the year so you better be smiling. Smile for me right now, do it!

I forced a smile.

Good girl, I saw you.

I chuckled.

Emma, I know you’re hurting and probably still grieving, but I want you to know you’re not alone. You are never alone. Yes, I made a promise to hold your hand when you turn eighty and I’m sorry for breaking it so early, but I want you to know that I’m still with you. That’s why I prepared your gift before I left.

I don’t want your Christmas to be about my death. I want it to be about our life together. What we had was amazing! How we met over an argument on who saw the last turkey first, to the day we took a hundred polaroids to hang on our first Christmas tree as a married couple… we had a great life together, don’t you think? And yes, even though it was only a short one, it was the best years of my life. You were my best friend, my supporter, and my own personal doctor… you were everything. Your life gave ME life!

If you have not guessed by now, it’s me, David. Yes, goofy David who gave you a plant for Christmas. That plant is the last gift I can give to you and I hope it will keep you company for many years. I hope it would be there to hold your hand when you turn eighty and remind you that even though I’m not by your side, you are not alone. Provided you take good care of the plant like how you’ve taken good care of me these few years. Don’t let it die, or drown! Too soon?

I love you Emma, I always will. Promise me you’ll put up a Christmas tree next year, promise me you’ll wrap horrible gifts and sing the cheesy Christmas songs. I want you to be happy and that’s the only gift I’m asking for. Don’t let me down!

Merry Christmas, love.

Your one and only, David.

Are letters capable of making you laugh and cry at the same time? For the first time since his death, I could hear his voice; a voice that always lifted my spirit up in dark times. David did it again and it was all I needed to get back on my feet.

“Don’t worry, I won’t let the plant drown,” I whispered.

Merry Christmas, love. Thank you for the gift of life.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Let me first start by saying this is fiction. It’s not a true story. But, I believe it’s a story we can all relate to.

We have all experienced loss in our lives, whether a person, a job, a pet, or a sentimental object. You might have even lost something this year. But in this season, don’t let that stop you from looking forward. Life is a roller coaster with highs and low, with us dwelling in the lows more than the highs. So let’s change that!.

Let’s celebrate life and reflect on the good this year. And whatever bad we’ve faced, let’s have hope that the coming year would be better. Keep your head up high and aim to end the year on a positive note. You can do it! I know you can.

Anyway, it has been awhile since I’ve posted short stories on my blog. So I’m not sure how this fairs, but I do hope you like it 🙂 Do let me know what you think in the comments below and happy holidays!

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

A Pen Pal’s Christmas Wish

A penpals christmas wish

I have a pen pal. I know it sounds ridiculous in an era where Internet exists, but I have been writing letters to this ‘pal’ for as long as I can remember. Even though emails are faster, we agreed that the ugly scribbles gave our letters a special touch. So, we stuck to it as the black ink told stories of day-to-day life and the deepest secrets of our hearts. We were basically ordinary pen pals except… he wasn’t ordinary.

This year’s ‘pen pal-ing’ started off with me writing to him about my fear of failing my driving exam. A week after I poured the horror on a piece of paper, a package came in the mail with a book titled, ‘Driving For Dummies’. Together with it was a note telling me not to worry and encouraging me to believe in myself. Surprisingly, that little note did its job.

A few months after I passed my driving exam, I started working. That was when I stumbled upon a rather annoying colleague who made my life a nightmare. It was only normal to vent my frustration in my next letter, so I did, with my alphabets morphing into ghastly creatures that were feeding off my frustration. I have no idea how he managed to read them, but a week after I dropped my letter in the mailbox, a reply arrived with a gift voucher for an expensive restaurant. And to make my life easier, there was also a ripped classified page from a newspaper with jobs highlighted in green.

With time and his help, that issue soon passed and the year began to smoothen out. Unfortunately, before the last crease could be straightened, I bumped into another problem… literally. It was my first car accident and the world managed to push me into a corner. There, I wrote a letter of my confusion and anger and shortly after, I received a reply with a few hundred dollars. He offered to pay for the damage knowing I needed the help, and he warned me not to return him the money.

Of course, I thanked him profusely in my next letter for his help. I always thanked him whenever he did something for me, but I soon realized it wasn’t enough.

When Christmas began to roll around the corner, I asked him if he had a wish for Christmas. I told him I would give him anything, as long as it made him happy. The reply I got from him was both expected and unexpected.

Dear Ally,

You know I do not want a gift from you. I’m not the type of person who yearns for presents. But knowing you well enough, you would probably beg me for a request. So, I did some thinking and I found what I would like for Christmas. Since you promised to fulfil it, here it is: I want another year of being your pen pal. Don’t let me down!

Now, what do you want for Christmas?

Love, Dad.

The first time I read that letter, it made no sense. Obviously, I was still going to write to him next year. I may be away from home, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten where I truly belonged. It was a rather dull request, but after a few rereads, his words began to hold a new meaning.

All my dad wanted was another year of exchanging letters, where he could pick me up when I fall, send me gifts to put a smile on my face, and be my friend in a world where I’m on my own. He finds joy in being my light, refuge and strength, and all he wanted was to continue being just that. It was a wish so selfless that I struggled to see its true nature in a world that was completely the opposite. When my heart finally realized the love he has invested in me throughout the year, a tear fell from my eye.

Compared to him, I spent lesser time on my letters and filled them with complaints, worries, and requests. I wrote to him regularly but the dedication I had was nothing compared to his. When I understood his heart, I felt like I did not deserve it.

That night, I wrote a reply saying I would do as he requested. I told him it would be my honour to continue writing to him and that I appreciated everything he has done for me. As for my Christmas wish, I told him I wanted what he wanted, and that was another year where I can try to out love him even though I know I can’t.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I know today is supposed to be fan fiction day, but since Christmas was just yesterday I decided that a Christmas story would be more appropriate. To some, this is merely a simple story revolving around the theme of love, being Christmas IS about love… but to me it is more than that.

You may not be in the Christmas mood this year and this story might not be as exciting as the previous one, but I do hope you take something from it, whether it be a little tingling sensation or a small message. That is all I can hope for 🙂

Anyway, Merry (belated) Christmas and may 2014 be a great year for all of you!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Others

Christmas Giveaway

Christmas giveaway

This post is here again and it’s paired with a something special, but first I would like to thank my readers!

This Christmas season I cheer for the number of readers that have decided to make my blog their regular stop. 2013 has been great and my blog has grown a lot this year, but it would not be where it is today if not for all of you. So I just wanna thank all 3,200 subscribers that have shown support over this thing we call the internet. I would love to meet you guys one day and thank you personally, but for now, I can only thank you through satellite signals. I hope you don’t mind 🙂

Since I’m cheering for the support I’ve gotten, I would like to spread the cheer too. So, I’ve decided to give away 20 e-books for free!

I would be posting 2 links on my Facebook and Twitter page on Christmas Day, one would be The Dreamer and the other would be Dream World: The Lost Child. The links will bring you to a download page, where the first 10 people will be able to download for free. Since it’s first come first serve, be sure to click the link the moment you see it!

I know these two books may seem ‘old’ to some of you, but rest assured, I have 3 works hitting my online bookshop next year 🙂 So it’s definitely going to be exciting!

Anyway, thank you all once again and I hope you all have a merry, merry Christmas!

Others

Wait!

wait. i dont have a title yet

Before I barely have enough time to think of a title for my 1,900 sub count, here I am having to write it. Man, you guys gather fast!

Well, I just want to say thanks for your speedy subscription and loyalty. I have always dreamt of having over a thousand subscribers and today I’m nearing two thousand! It’s exciting yet… kind of scary as I have a lot of expectations to meet. But I’m really grateful for all of your support. I have said this before and I will say it again, all of you help me become a better writer. Your presence itself makes me want to do better every week! So thank you 🙂

Just a little update: My free e-book is still in progress. I’ll probably have to run through it a few more times while my friend finishes up the illustrations. It’ll definitely be out before Christmas, but I don’t want to push it till then. If possible, I’ll try to get it out sooner.

Secondly, if you are new subscriber I would like to inform you on the current blog post ritual. I publish a post every Thursday, alternating with an original short story and a Harry Potter fan fiction novel. The fan fiction is for  those awesome Potterheads out there and for writing practice, the original short story is for everyone to read, share and hopefully be inspired.

My goal as a writer is to write stories that carries a message. Sometimes, I’ll try out different genres for fun, but ultimately I want to create fiction that is meaningful. If you have read my past short stories, you would have noticed the trend.

I believe in the power of words, and words that can touch, inspire and bring a positive change can really make a difference. Here is me trying to make a difference 🙂

Anyways, enough of heart sharing. Thanks once again everyone, and stay awesome!

Others

Merry Christmas!

While digital pixels of snow gently fall, I just want to wish you all a Merry, Merry Christmas!

Another year has passed and I would like to thank all of you for your support and readership.

Next year, I hope to achieve more through my blog, and through my journey to becoming a full time author.

2013 may look kind of scary, as I’m making a big transition, but I hope to end that year gratefully and ‘great-fully’.

I’m also looking forward to another year of adventure with all of you 😀

As for the next few days, have a wonderful holiday and may your 2013 be better than your 2012.