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

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

Window | Pillow | Chocolate

windowpillowchocolate

It has been three years. Three years since we boarded the plane together. Three years since we fought over the window seat. Three years since we flipped a coin, just to see who should ask the air steward for an extra pillow. Three years since he proposed with a box of chocolate. And three years since we said goodbye.

As I curled up in the stiff economy class seat, I wondered what life would’ve been if he didn’t walk away. Would we be living in the cozy apartment we imagined? Would we have named our first child after his favourite actress? Would we be flying to Peru, right at this moment, for our great Machu Picchu adventure? Would we still be in love? If we didn’t say those words, would we still be together?

I can still recall the night of our tiff. It was a pleasant night. The day was filled with gentle showers, setting dusk in a cool breeze, fresh with the scent of rain in the air. It was the perfect night to cuddle with a hot cup of cocoa, as we shared the stories from our uneventful day. But that didn’t happen. We would still be together, if it actually did.

“So you’re coming to my mum’s birthday party, right?” I asked.

“Sorry love, I can’t make it this weekend. I’ve got work.”

“It’s the weekend. Why are you always working on the weekend?”

“Trust me, I don’t want to. It’s the boss. You know how he’s like.”

“You should quit.”

He turned to me, eyes wide with surprise. Then he chuckled.

“I’m serious,” I added.

“I can’t just quit. The wedding needs money.”

“You’re not the only one working.”

“But I want to be. I want to give you the best wedding ever.”

Resting his hands on my shoulders, he gave a gentle squeeze as he flashed his famous childish grin. I smiled. How could I not?

“Fine. But you still have to attend my mum’s party. She’s turning sixty,” I said.

“Only sixty. She’s still young.”

“You know how some of the older people are. Sixty is a big deal. And if I go without you, she’ll ask an unbearable amount of questions.”

“I can’t go. I really can’t.”

“Just tell your boss-”

“I can’t,” he interrupted.

Why did he interrupt? If he hadn’t done so, I might have given in. I might have let him skip the party. I might have held my tongue.

“Why are you so straight with your decisions?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why can’t you try to work things around? Saying you can’t when you’ve not tried-”

“How do you know I’ve not tried?”

“I know because I know you. And I know, for sure, you didn’t ask your boss if you could have the weekend off.”

“Are we seriously arguing about this right now? I’m tired. Let’s talk about it tomorrow, alright?”

“It’s always tomorrow with you.”

“Yes, because I don’t want to say something I’d regret. So let’s talk tomorrow.”

He gave me a quick peck on the forehead before stalking toward the door. Here’s my regret. I didn’t let him go. I made him stay at a time he needed to leave the most. I went after him, reached for his wrist, and pulled him back.

“No, let’s talk about this now. We will forget about this tomorrow-”

“And maybe that’s a good idea.”

“How is that a good idea? We’re getting married. This is something we need to discuss. How do you expect me to live with a man who will be absent every weekend?”

“It’s only this weekend. Why are you making such a big deal out of it?”

“It’s always ‘only this weekend’ with you. Fine. Go then. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

Like a child, I folded my arms and glared. And for that brief moment, I had hope. I was expectant. I thought he would stay and ask for forgiveness. That he would choose to work things out, instead of leaving. But I guess, he really was tired. And without another word, he walked out the front door never to return.

I have cried enough over what happened three years ago – stifling tears in the shower and hyperventilating by the sidewalks. But nothing I did brought him back. What could tears do to bring the dead to life? Was there a potion for resurrection? Would true love’s kiss work? When I became too tired to feel anymore, I forced myself to move on. I forced myself to disassociate the past from my present. Though unfortunately, the memories live on. I can recount every part of it as if it were a movie I’d watch one too many times. But even if I don’t tear up, it leaves a bitter aftertaste of regret.

As the air steward walked past with a pillow in hand, as the child clumsily unwrapped his chocolate bar, as I gazed at the cumuliform clouds, I wondered once more what life would have been. And then I concluded before the seatbelt sign blinked red: life would’ve been great. We would’ve been happy. We would’ve created wonderful memories. But life, unfortunately, goes on. And if I were to ever find love again, so should I.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Window, pillow, and chocolate were words given by kara562. Firstly, let me apologise for writing this rather depressing piece. You see, I’ve been watching too many sad dramas recently that they’ve had an affect on me. So, when I saw those three words, the two things that came to mind were aeroplane and regret. I don’t why. Hence, this story. I do hope it was an engaging tale though.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. It’s fun. You don’t have to try so hard. And oh, it makes a great writing practice.

*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.)

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)

Fan Fiction (Novel)

FHB: Chapter 34

FHB Chapter 34

Tanya stopped her pleas as her eyes glistened with the fear of Lucius’ next move. There was a part of her that actually believed he would do it. Lucius could see it too, but he knew he was too weak. A coward, perhaps; too afraid of what his decision would do to him.

“The secret is to not hesitate,” the annoying death eater added.

Lucius was glad he hesitated, because at that moment he knew what he should do.

“I can’t,” Lucius whispered.

“What is it, Lucius?” the Dark Lord asked, as he took a step closer to him.

Lucius took in a deep breath, readying himself to defy an order.

“I-”

“Avada kedavra!”

A bright spark shot from behind them, whizzed past Lucius’ head and struck Tanya in the chest. The emotions in her eyes faded into a blank glare before her lifeless body hit the ground. In shock, Lucius stood frozen in place. He did not even attempt to look at the person who fired the curse as his mind tried to process what had happened. Tanya was dead and dead silence waited for someone to acknowledge the murderer.

“Ah, it is nice to see you on your feet again,” the Dark Lord said.

There was no reply to his words. Lucius wanted to see who it was, but he struggled to pull his eyes away from Tanya’s body.

“You should be resting, Abraxas,” the Dark Lord added.

Upon hearing his father’s name, Lucius managed to turn his head just enough to see his father giving the Dark Lord a bow. Silence continued on for a few seconds before the Dark Lord announced, “I’m feeling tired. Walk with me, Abraxas.”

Everyone, including Lucius, watched as the Dark Lord ascended the dungeon stairs with Abraxas right behind him. The moment both of them were out of sight, murmurs were exchanged. Everyone had something to say, but no one said anything to him.

Lucius stood statue-like as the other death eaters finished up the job. As his mind seeped into a world of emptiness, reality sped up around him. Spells were fired, ending the lives of the remaining aurors, and bodies were dragged to a corner, before the death eaters apparated with the dead, leaving Lucius behind. There was no one around to tell him what to do any longer and suddenly, he felt lost. Constantly having to choose, the lack of a choice disturbed him.

Standing in the lifeless dungeon as the cold air wrapped around his conflicted soul, Lucius completely lost track of time. A few hours later, he heard the dungeon door open and a series of hurried footsteps. He would have turned to see the stranger, but he didn’t know how. He had become too comfortable, stuck in the same dark and lonely place.

“Lucius!” the voice called out, as the footsteps hurried to his side. “Lucius, my dear boy.”

His mother reached out for him and pulled him into an embrace. The sudden warmth defrosted his petrified state and he slowly returned to his senses. When his mother released her grip on him, she reached for his wand, still tight in his grip, and took it from him.

“Are you alright? Talk to me, Lucius,” his mother asked worriedly.

“I knew her,” Lucius replied instead.

His mother did not say anything and waited for him to continue.

“Her name was… Tanya,” Lucius continued.

Lucius could not help but imagine everyone who knew her; the pain in their eyes when they learn about her death in a few hours. All her friends and teachers in Hogwarts would be in shock. Everyone had such high hopes for her, thinking she would become a great auror, but none of them would have expected death to take her so quickly. The worst part of it all was the fact that no one would ever know that Lucius watched her die. It was something he had to live with, a secret he had to keep from everyone who knew her. How was he going to do that?

“Mother,” Lucius said softly, “she was a friend.”

“Oh, my dear-”

“She was not your friend,” a voice echoed throughout the dungeon, interrupting what would have been comforting words to a distraught soul.

“You did this!” his mother accused.

“I protected him,” his father replied.

“No. You never did! You cursed our family,” his mother stated, “I should have taken Lucius and left many years ago.”

“Why didn’t you?” his father shot back with a question he could never retract.

His mother simply shook her head before storming off. Lucius watched her leave, wishing she took him with her.

“She’ll understand soon enough,” his father said.

No. She won’t. I don’t.

“You should have listened to me, Lucius. People you care about are only a liability.”

Like mother and me.

“Don’t make the same mistake again. And the next time the Dark Lord asks you to kill someone, do not hesitate.”

I won’t have a choice the next time. Lucius nodded.

“It’s late. Go to you room,” his father ordered.

Lucius retreated to his room as he was told to, but he could not find rest on a night as such. So, he took the family album off his wooden bookshelf and took a seat by the fireplace. He did not know what he hoped to accomplish looking at the family tree and old pictures, but he found that it distracted him.

Halfway through the album, he stumbled upon a picture of his father and the young Tom Riddle. Taking it out and turning it over, Lucius saw a message that read, ‘Don’t be mean, Malfoy.’ and it was signed by a girl named Joanna.

“I’m sorry, Joanna. I’m sorry you were a liability,” Lucius whispered, and then turning to look at the two people in the picture, he added, “I hate you.”

“I hate you both.”

In a swift motion with no hesitation, Lucius threw the picture into the flames and watched it burn. That was the only thing he did that he wanted to… for the rest of his life.

Original Works

Eulogy

eulogy

Paige Livre was the worst person I know. I knew her well enough and I can boldly say this. Paige was a selfish girl. She always thought about herself and contemplated on whether someone was worth her time. She was envious, always trying to compete with her friends and making a huge effort to outdo them. She was very vain, always standing in front of the mirror and spending hours just to be sure she looked better than anyone else. And she was prideful, always judging people and seeing them as inferior.

Paige was also hateful. You wouldn’t believe the ridiculous things she had announced hate upon. She hated the sun, because it was too bright and it made her sweat. She hated the sea, because its breeze would mess up her hairdo she spent hours on. She hated people, the ones that she could not see eye to eye with and the ones she just hated out of pride. She hated lifts that moved too slowly, she hated carton fruit juices that lied about containing real fruit juice, and she hated waiting for anyone and anything.

Seeing Paige everyday, I sometimes wondered if she had trouble dealing with all of those flaws. But I soon realized that all those flaws made her unique. Paige was a hateful person and the worst human being I’ve ever known, but she was also the best one I’ve ever met.

Paige Livre was the best person I know. She was very thoughtful, always thinking of ways to make someone’s day… even a stranger’s. She was positive, always encouraging those who had a hard time and constantly looking at the bright side of life. She was helpful, always putting aside her selfishness for those she cared about and going out of her way to put a smile on their faces. And she was careful with her words. She knew that words had the power to destroy and she tried her best to not say anything hurtful.

Paige was also loving. She loved the rain, because it gave her a chance to unwind with a hot cup of chocolate and a book. She loved the birds, because she always heard a song in their cheerful chirps. She loved the stars, because it gave her hope that tomorrow would be better. And most importantly, she loved people.

She loved her parents more than anyone else. She loved her father for begging the doctor to let her visit Disney Land. She loved him for pushing her wheelchair at the park and standing in line so that she could see her favourite Disney characters. She loved him for reading her stories on the nights when she was too weak to read to herself. She loved him for simply being there.

Paige loved her mother too. She loved her for trying to give her a normal life when things started to get rough. She loved her for driving her to the mall and to parties so that she would not feel left out. She loved her for preparing her favourite meals everyday, helping her get dressed, putting up with her random moments of tears and screams, and for hugging her when it hurt. She loved her for simply being there.

There was also a bunch of people she loved, and they were her friends. She loved them for visiting her and bringing her cards and balloons. She loved them for writing her encouraging notes with hope of her recovery. She loved them for sleeping over at the hospital to keep her company. And she loved them for hiding their tears from her. It was hard knowing her days were numbered, but her friends spared her the agony of seeing them in grief. She loved them for simply being there.

Being someone who knew she was dying was not easy on Paige. She had dreams she wanted to achieve, places she wanted to see, food she wanted to taste, and words she wanted to hear. But when she thought about all that she was missing out, she couldn’t help but think about all that she had gained. It was in that hard time that Paige learned to love herself.

She loved all her unique traits; the good and the bad. She loved how her teeth were not even and how her hair was always messy. She loved not being able to wear the colour yellow because it did not match her skin colour. She loved her healthy self when she could run, dance, and laugh, and she loved her sick self when she found it hard to speak, eat, and move.

Paige Livre died with love. The kind of death the world envies. That is all that matters, don’t you agree? I love you, Paige Livre. Thank you for the few good years.

That was it. I could not write anymore. There was a pain in my chest and my fingers were too weak to scribble another word. I wished I could reread what I just wrote, but my head was spinning and the words were starting to appear blurry.

As the monitor beside me beeped slowly, almost fusing into a single dead note, I began to wonder if that night was my last. Two days ago, my family and friends came to see me. They said I could let go and rest, but I couldn’t even utter a final goodbye when they walked out the door. I knew I had to leave them with something, so I gathered all the strength I had left and wrote my own eulogy. It’s not normal to write your own eulogy, but let me be the first.

Well, I guess I can close my eyes now. I hope that last page of my book would bring more smiles than tears. Goodnight Paige, goodbye world.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

As depressing as this story was, I want to leave you with a question; do you love yourself?

We are not perfect and there will be parts of ourselves that we dislike, but those imperfections make us unique. Understanding that we are special and loving ourselves for it, is what we should all do. It is definitely not easy as we are our own haters, but loving ourselves will make a huge difference in the way we view life. I hope you love yourself, but if you can’t, I hope you find a way 🙂

As always, let me know what you think of this story in the comments below! I would love to hear your thoughts and I hope you enjoyed it. 

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

Inked

inked

It started after the fire, on a cold night with rain pelting heavily against the mouldy windows. I shot up on my bed from a dream I could not remember, and found sweat trickling down my forehead. Even though the air around me was bone chilling, I felt an intense heat inside my body. Desperately wanting to cool myself down, I headed to the window, ready to let a gust of cold air in. But it was then that I saw it.

Even though it was pouring outside, the moon was still peaking from behind the dark clouds. It shone directly at my room window, and when my left hand reached out, I saw a name on my forearm. At first I thought it was a stain, but after attempting to rub it off with my skin turning pink, I knew it was not. Thinking I was still dreaming, I returned to bed only to wake up the next morning with the same name on my arm; my father’s.

Not knowing what to do, I wore a long sleeved shirt to hide it from others. That was the best I could do while I cracked my brain on how to remove it. In this world of mine, having inked skin is not a good sign. Those whose skin are covered with inked symbols and names are thieves and raiders; the bad kind of people that terrorised smaller villages. To have ink on my skin might end badly for me and I knew I needed to do something about it fast. Unfortunately, I was too slow.

As the nights went by with me contemplating burning and cutting my skin, more names began appearing on my arm. It started with my father’s name and spread on with my neighbour’s name and the name of the little girl that used to sell me oranges every morning. The worst part was, the names that were appearing on my skin belonged to the dead… the ones that died in the fire that wiped out my whole village.

When I realized what was happening, I became desperate. I started acting strange and I snapped at anyone that touched me. The people in the neighbouring village, that took me and the other survivors in, thought I was mourning for the lost of my family, but my cousin saw right through me… somehow. She knew something was not right and she kept asking me about it. One afternoon, when she attempted to find out what was wrong, I ignored her and ran. I ran into the forest trying to get away from her, and when I thought I was far enough, I stopped at a small stream.

Pulling my sleeve back, I prayed silently that the ink would miraculously wash away. But when I dipped my arm into the cold water, none of the names came off. I began scratching my skin in anger, with my nails digging into my flesh, but when I saw fresh blood I quickly stopped. My hands were shaking and my body was trembling with fear. Why wouldn’t the names come off?

As I tried to compose myself, I heard someone coming up behind me. I did not need to guess as my cousin asked, “What’s wrong?”

I could not answer her, and without giving it much thought, I showed her my forearm. She looked at me with worried eyes, but she did not say anything.

“I don’t know how to get it off! Why are they appearing?” I asked in exasperation even though I knew she could not answer me.

Why the names were appearing made no sense, and I tried hard to deny the only reasoning I had at that moment. Was I cursed? If I was, what did I do wrong? And then I remembered.

I had blocked out what happened during the night of the fire the moment I found myself safe from the flames’ reach. It was not something I did intentionally as my mind always drew blank when people asked what had happened. That night, the blank canvas of my memory began to fill with colour.

It all started with a dare. I had challenged my friends to sleep in my father’s old barn on a chilling night. It was probably the stupidest idea I’ve ever had, but my friends took me up on it. So that night, we each found our own corner and shivered our way into a horrible sleep. A few hours into the challenge, I woke up to a flickering light a few feet away from me. Knowing immediately that someone was attempting to cheat, I crawled over to my friend and flicked the lighted match from her hand.

“You’re cheating,” I whispered angrily.

“I’m cold, alright? Spare me one match,” she replied.

“Go home if you’re going to cheat.”

“What difference will one match make anyway?” she asked.

Immediately after her question, we realized the huge difference one match could make. When I first saw the bright light coming from a stack of hay, I thought I was imagining it, but when my friend saw it too, I knew it was real. Within seconds, the flames leaped from one haystack to another and before we could fully wrap our heads around what was happening, the barn was halfway from being completely devoured.

Quickly, I scrambled to my feet and began calling for my friends. Because we had scattered ourselves around the barn, I had to find all of them before I could leave. By the time I yanked my last friend from his sleep, half of the barn had already caved in. We did not have to think twice as we both ran out of the barn, only to learn that the fire had caught on to the neighbouring wooden houses.

Almost instantly, my head began to spin; maybe because I inhaled too much smoke or maybe because I could not accept what I was seeing. Screams filled the air as people rushed out of their houses either in flames on in tears. And when I did not want to watch any further, my body did me a favour and shut down.

“I killed them,” I muttered, as the canvas of my memory began to fill with red.

“You didn’t,” my cousin said softly.

“I did. I killed my father,” I said, and when I looked at my father’s name on my forearm, my chest began to tighten as tears began to roll down my cheeks.

“You didn’t,” my cousin repeated.

She quickly got on her knees and reached for my hands. “You didn’t kill anyone. It was not your fault.”

“I did. I killed your parents too,” I choked on my words.

“The fire killed my parents, and the fire killed your father. You’re not responsible.”

“You’re lying!” I snapped.

“I’m not. You’re blaming yourself because you have no one else to blame. Even if it was your fault, it’s the past now.”

There were tears in her eyes and her gaze was as firm as my father’s. They had the same eyes and it was as though I was looking at my father for the last time.

“Forgive yourself, my sweet girl,” I heard him say.

And when I did, the names disappeared.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Two weeks ago I wrote about forgiving others and remembering those who have forgiven us. This week, I thought I should address the kind of forgiveness we struggle the most; forgiving ourselves.

When certain bad situations happen in life, we tend to unconsciously put the blame on ourselves. We don’t know we are doing it and we continue to pile on the guilt on our shoulders. When we finally feel the weight of it, we collapse emotionally because we firmly believe we are responsible. Yes at times we are actually responsible, but either way, living in guilt cannot turn back time. The only way to move forward and to carry on is not to keep calm but to forgive yourself. It’s not easy, but it’s doable.

I hope you enjoyed this story 🙂 As always, let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

Forgiven

Forgiven

The clouds growled angrily as flashes of lightning streaked across the dark sky. As I ran as fast as I could, I thought about how foolish I was. Why did I think that crossing the border was a good idea? What was I trying to prove by rebelling? With those questions filling my clouded mind, my legs led me to the only place I prayed would be my refuge.

Panting and covered in sweat, I pounded my fist on the wooden door. When it opened, I pleaded, “Help me, please help me!”

“What did you do now?” my friend asked in a worried tone.

“I…” I hesitated to tell him the truth because somehow I knew he was not going to save me if he knew.

“What did you do?” he repeated.

“I… I crossed the border,” I muttered.

“Are you crazy?”

“You have to help me, you have to hide me. They’re coming,” I quickly replied.

“I can’t help you, go home,” he said and before I could utter another word, he slammed the door in my face.

I stood there for a brief moment as the rain began to pour, and then as though his words had soaked into my skin, my legs went into motion again. This time, it took me to my home. It was not a home I grew up in but a home I was placed in after my family disowned me. The owner of the home took me in like a stray cat and attempted to domesticate me. Unfortunately, I was too wild for my own good.

Drenched from head to toe, I scrambled up the stone steps to the home I occasionally slept in and pounded at the door. It only took one hard knock and the door swung open. Rushing in, the door slammed shut behind me and I jumped in mild shock. With the rain pouring outside, the small house was partially swallowed by darkness.

“Why did you do it?” a voice asked.

Spinning around to see who it was, I found Erue seated by the window. Erue was the only son of the man of the house. He was a few years younger than me and he had a gift, a gift I knew nothing about because I never bothered to hold a conversation with him. If only I did, I could have asked him to save me.

“What’s the matter?” someone else asked, and a short moment of relief swept across me.

Erue’s father was standing at the doorway of his bedroom and I hurried to him.

“You have to help me, you can’t let them take me,” I begged.

The man stared me in the eyes and then he nodded his head, but before he could do anything, Erue announced, “They’re here.” And just as he did, the door burst open and the hooded men stormed into the house.

In a gliding motion they made their way towards me, but Erue’s father quickly took position in front of me.

“You can’t take him,” he said.

“We will,” one of the hooded men replied and swung his hand down on the poor man, sending him sprawling on the floor.

“Father!” Erue shouted as he ran to his side.

I wanted to run to his side too, but they grabbed me with their cold damp hands and dragged me out of the house. There was no point in struggling then, as I watched my hope disappear in the eyes of the boy by the side of his unmoving father.

After they caught me, they placed me in a small dark cell while I waited for my execution. The law was clear and those who crossed the border for whatever reason would be pierced with three silver arrows. That was my fate and I knew there was nothing I could do to change it.

On the day of the execution, I was brought to a dome like chamber. They stood me in the centre and secured my legs and hands with heavy metal chains. When the hour of my execution was nearing, the chamber began to fill with people. They stood behind a barrier and waited for the executioner to arrive, and when he did, he brought along with him three hooded men with crossbows in their hands.

“Today, you pay the price for your crime. Do you have any last words?” the executioner asked.

I took a quick look around and saw Erue with his father. They looked at me sympathetically and I said, “I’m sorry.” I was sorry for not trying hard enough to be a better person, and sorry I hurt them along the way.

Hoping to see a response from the two, I watched as Erue turned to his father and mouthed what I guess to be a comforting statement; “There’s no other way.” It looked like they had accepted my fate, and I turned away ready to accept mine.

“Arrows ready,” the executioner ordered. “Fire!”

With my eyes shut tight, I waited for the three arrows to strike my chest and take my soul from me. But instead of feeling a shooting pain in my body, I heard a cry from the crowd. When I managed to brave myself and open my eyes, I gasped in horror. Falling to my knees, I stared at the body that lay before me.

Erue, the gifted boy, was sprawled on the ground with my three arrows in his chest. His eyes were shut and his blood trailed down the cracks of the floor. As I turned to look at his father, a pain erupted within me. The man was on his knees weeping over the sudden death of his son. At that moment, the question that rang in my head was not the question of how he did it, but why. It did not make any sense as I slowly reached out to the boy’s lifeless body.

 “It looks like someone has paid the price for you,” the executioner said in a casual tone. When I looked up at him angrily, he chuckled and added, “You’re forgiven.”

His words were more painful than I had expected. They were painful because they were true. Erue died… so that I would be forgiven.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 This is probably the first time you’re hearing this; forgiveness comes with a price. Why do I say so?

When we hurt someone, we do not deserve forgiveness. The price we pay for doing wrong is un-forgiveness, but when the person we have wronged decides to forgive us, they have to get through the pain we’ve caused them. They pay the price of accepting our wrongs by forgiving us. That is why I say forgiveness comes with a price.

We all have been on both sides of the coin; we have been forgiven and we have forgiven. Often times, it is easier not to forgive because we are unwilling to let go of people’s wrongs, but if we take some time to recall the moments when we were forgiven, forgiving others isn’t so hard after all. Never forget those who have forgiven you, and forgive others because you have been forgiven.

Anyway, I hope this story was entertaining. Let me know what you think of it in the comments below 🙂

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

As Silent As Day

as silent as day

A ghost town, that was what most people thought when they rode past Old Dune. But those who actually lived in this little cowboy town knew the dead silence only reigned in the day. For when night came, the saloon would overflow with guffaws and the dusty streets would light up with songs and food. Old Dune was the quietest town when the sun was up, but the liveliest one when the moon clocks in.

I grew up in Old Dune. My father was the town sheriff and my grandfather before him. My older brother was to continue the family tradition, and that made me a little envious as a child. Unlike my brave and outspoken brother, I was known as the boy that pored over mystery novels with an imagination that would make people laugh. But even so, not all my imaginations were tickling.

These imaginations came from a secret Old Dune cleverly hid. But if you are as unfortunate as me, then you would know that every end of the month, the bell tower would ring and everyone would skip the partying to hide in their homes. The day after that would be a day of mourning as we bury the dead of the on going massacre. Who killed our people on those still nights? No one knows.

Growing up, the image of the killer was a ghastly sand beast entering houses and choking people to death. But that was just my imagination; reality could be far more horrifying… as horrifying as the day I woke up to find my father dead.

It was a scorching morning when my mother’s screams filled the air. My brother and I rushed to her side and wept with her the moment we saw our father’s pale face. Soon after my father’s burial, my brother took my father’s place as town sheriff. But five years after my brother took the post, I woke up to my mother’s screams once again.

As I comforted my mother who was beginning to go paranoid, I was approached to take up the post as sheriff. It did not take me long to decide as I wanted to make my father and brother proud. But unlike them, my first mission was to find the murderer and end the horror once and for all.

I did not tell anyone about my mission, as everyone would think it was a waste of time. There were many who attempted to solve the mystery before me, but none found the answers. Most went with the notion that Old Dune was cursed and would continue to stay cursed for hundreds of years to come.

Though many found it easy to accept such a fate, I was not one of them. So the first week in office, I went through old files of crime cases and deaths. But the unorganized trunk full of dusty parchments did not help, as it was hard connecting the dots when everything was scattered. After the week was up, I found nothing. When I knew I could not neglect my real duties, I juggled between keeping the peace and my research. It was not until I attended the mayor’s birthday that something finally clicked.

The mayor threw a grand feast in the main street of my town. I was there with my deputy, keeping an eye out for any trouble. Being so predictable, three men found their drunken heads out of the saloon and stirred up a fight. Soon, I had to shoot my pistol in the air and lock them in a cell for the night. Two weeks after that, the bell tower rang and the following morning was greeted with three deaths. They weren’t the same drunkards, but the coincidence sparked me to dig deeper.

I went back to reading parchments until I found a report on two murders. It dated over a hundred years ago and it read, ‘Two girls were raped and murdered by five men. The girls were daughters of a travelling native couple that left the town soon after.’ It was such a short report, but from what I had, I formed a theory that I immediately tested.

That month, I put 2 men in the cell and let off 4 boys with a warning. When the end of the month arrived, the hair on my nape rose at the official death count of six. Though my theory proved true, I kept it to myself to investigate further.

A few months later, a grand wedding of a wealthy old man and a young girl took place. The ceremony in the morning was rather peaceful, but by night chaos broke lose. Everyone had too much of everything and a fight took place. It was one that I could not even control with firing my gun, but it eventually stopped when more than half of the town were either too bruised or too tired to throw another punch.

After that day, a new fear arose within me. It was not the fear of my mother losing her life when the end of the month came, it was the fear that there would not be a town left when it was all over. When the day arrived for me to face that fear, I stayed in my office and waited for it. Maybe I could convince whatever it was to stop? I thought.

Unlike the previous night, there was a foreboding silence in the air. There was no wind to hint death’s arrival and not a single sound to give a warning. I sat facing the window, which looked down the main street, and waited impatiently. Then, when the clock ticked two, I saw something heading down the street. Braving myself to meet the enemy, I took a lit lantern and exited my safe house. I stood at the steps watching it come closer, and when it got close enough I finally knew what it was.

Standing not too far away from me were two young girls. They were made of sand, yet everything about them was so clearly defined… everything but their faces, that is. At the sight of the faceless girls, I stood frozen in fear with sweat trickling down my forehead on that chilly night. Strangely, the two girls stood frozen as well, as though waiting for me to defend my town.

“I-I beg you,” I said with a croak. “Please, please stop.”

Being they had no lips, they remained silent to my plea. But after a few minutes, an eerie whisper floated to my ear. It said, “It ends tonight.”

The voice sounded as though it came from behind, so I spun around immediately. When a small relief greeted me with the absence of death, I turned back only to see the two girls dispersing into a trail of sand that shot towards the houses.

Not thinking twice, I ran straight to my own house. I eventually past the trail of sand, but I did not turn to see if it followed. When I finally made it home, I stumbled up the steps and stood blocking my front door. If I could not protect my town, I could at least protect my mother.

It did not take long for the dusty death sentence to sweep through the houses and make its way to mine. The moment I saw it exit the house across the street, I held my breath. No, it was not a ghastly beast, but terror still resided in me as I watched it stop at the wooden steps. A second later, it shot straight towards me and when it was inches from my face it began forming odd shapes like a contortionist in a freak show.

At that moment I was ready to accept death, but at the same time, it surprisingly decided to spare me and sharply turned towards the next house instead. Exhaling as though I nearly drowned, I was filled with relief of being spared. Unfortunately, everyone else was not.

When the ‘curse’ was finally done, it shot into the sky and an intangible wind blew it away. It was right. That night was its last, and nights at Old Dune would forever be as silent as day.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

This one is pretty long and I didn’t expect it to be. I did expect it to be pretty predictable though, so I’m guessing most of you already know which deadly sin this is. Yes, it’s gluttony. Gluttony was not the easiest sin to write about, being that it is uncommon yet common at the same time, but I did try my best 🙂

As the story shows, gluttony is more than just ‘overdoing’ something. The moment we ‘overdo’, we don’t just harm ourselves but others around us. The innocent bystanders are affected whenever we overindulge, overspend, overreact, etc. Gluttony may not seem like such a big ‘sin’ to be considered deadly, but the fact that it is an act that causes harm to others, on top of the harm that it does to us, justifies its deadliness. So the next time we want to overdo something, let’s take a step back and see if it would do more harm than good, because the moment we do it, we have no control over what happens next.

Well as always, let me know what you think of this short story in the comments below!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

Dark Skies

darkskies

The rain fell like the bursting of a dam. There was no rhythm to the heavy drops, but there was thunder to the unsynchronized falling of rain. The windows in my room vibrated softly as the strong wind pushed against them. And that made me wince.

I never liked heavy rains. They scared me. The clouds always stayed dark after a heavy downfall, and unlike a drizzle in the afternoon, the sun never came up immediately.

There is just this feeling of uncertainty and worry when it came to heavy rains. You have to be homebound and if you are on the road, you can barely see. If you are walking with an umbrella, you know you are in a battle to stay dry as the wind sends your only protection scrunching.

Nobody would dance in such a rain. No one would leave the windows open for the wind. Not a single person would leave their house, and plans were better off cancelled.

I say all these as I have experienced them. But unfortunately, this heavy rain might be my last. It fitted the feelings I have right now; the cold, foreboding, and unstable situation that rested on my shoulders. Not once have I related so well to the weather than right now.

The dark sky, almost like the night sky, was the epitome of fear. Don’t believe me? Lie on your bed, look out your window, and don’t fall asleep. Watch the trees fight the wind, hear the wind chimes clash in loud cries, and feel the cold seeping into your skin. Are you afraid now?

I’m sure we all have experienced fear before. Fear alike the heavy rain, but much more real. These experiences are never easy to forget.

I, myself, remember my first encounter with fear. I was seven. I was at the swimming pool and my float was too big for me. Slipping through the hole and sinking, while my ears muffled the world around me, was a strange and scary feeling. I remember the cold water, the crushing in my chest, and my desperate fight to survive. I remember not dying, but fear still won. I never swam again.

Another encounter I had with fear was my final exam in university. I studied all I could but when the paper sat right in front of me, my mind went blank. The cold examination room, the loud ticking of the clock, and the words my mind could not wrap around, made me scared. I did not fail, but fear still won. I’m constantly struggling to believe in myself and I don’t know why.

Thinking back, my university encounter was not even up to par with my most recent one. A couple of years ago, I lost my job and I struggled to find a new one. Everyone shut their doors and there was not even a window to peep through. The sight of my bills terrified me, the sound of rejection resonated within me, and the nights where the chills of reality greeted me, made me want to run and hide under my bed. I was like a child, afraid of the bogeyman that was out to get me. Thankfully I did not go bankrupt, but fear still won. I have never been more worried about my future since then.

Honestly, after I got through that mess, I thought I had seen all the faces of fear. Of course I was wrong. I was wrong not because I’ve not experienced them all, but because I don’t know the fear I was about to face.

When it came, it hit me so hard that my hands shook, my insides bubbled, and my head started to spin. Was I afraid of death or was I afraid of uncertainty? What was my fear? I never had the answers.

Today, I laid in my bed staring at the rain. Chills ran down my spine as the beeping of the monitor grew louder and louder. I was hoping for the rain to stop, and for the dark sky to clear up, but it looked like it would not do so anytime soon. I was hoping for a glimpse of a rainbow, or a hint of hope, but the world was refusing to calm my soul.

I was not ready for what I had to face. I was scared, fearful, terrified, and paralyzed. Where was my courage? I wondered silently.

Briefly pulling my eyes away from the madness outside, I turned to stare at the ceiling. I found my eyes fixated on the ceiling light; the light that was so… stable. There was no flicker when the clouds thundered, and it kept my darkened room lit.

It was then that I realized something. There was a way to beat fear… and that, was hope. You don’t need a sign to have hope, you just need to believe there is hope. Even in the darkest places, there would be light. The strong stable glare of warmth is not shaken by the cold winds and tremors.

Hope was a powerful weapon, one that could defeat the daggers of fear. And for once in my life, I actually tried to let hope breathe. I did not have much of a choice anyway, as my future was uncertain. But with a little hope, I know I stand a chance, however small it was.

It’s true, they say, fear cripples. I have been crippled in different areas of my life unable to truly live it. And now, I’m about to go through an operation where my chance of survival is the same as my chance of death. But even so, I have decided not to let fear rob my last conscious thought.

When my doctor finally came in to see me, I took one last look at the world outside my window. This time, I was full of hope to see the clear blue skies again.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

This short story is self explanatory and the question it raises is simple. Are you living in fear? Was there an event or a situation that has crippled you? If so, it’s time to let a little hope breathe.

No matter what you are afraid of, rejection, disappointment, loss, hardships, and even death, remember that hope is always there. You just have to see it and acknowledge its presence. Finding the light in darkness is not easy, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any. Sometimes it takes faith, other times it takes courage, but believing there is hope changes the way you look at things. When you see things in a different light, it’s no longer the end of the world.

I know this story is pretty simple, without strange analogies like my previous ones, but I hope it conveyed the message well enough. So, do let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)