Original Works

Puteri & The Frog [12 Genre Months]

Once upon a time, there lived a princess in a white-bricked, two-storey house, complete with a shaded front porch and a tiddly garden. She had light brown eyes, thin lips, and a sprinkle of freckles—a reflection of innocence on her small, youthful face, framed by her short dark brown locks from her mixed heritage. She was like every other child, except for her name—her mother called her Puteri.

Puteri’s favourite past-time was an evening in the neighbourhood park—a gathering ground for the city-dwelling children to be one with Mother Nature. Every Friday, Puteri would bring her golden ball to the field, adjacent to a lotus pond, to toss, kick, and bounce. As she wasn’t very fond of the playground’s swings and slides, Puteri preferred her more solitude activity away from the other children. But on one fateful evening, to her dismay, her golden ball went bouncing into the still water.

“Do you need a hand?” a voice asked.

Puteri hadn’t noticed anyone else around—jumping startled at the sudden intrusion of her quiet playtime. Looking up from where her golden ball had disappeared into, she saw the owner of the voice—he stood across the pond with wide curious eyes, as though he’d never seen a girl before.

“Yes,” Puteri replied. “Can you retrieve my ball for me?”

“If I do so, will you be my friend?” he asked.

“Why do you need a friend?” Puteri frowned. She didn’t understand why friends were important—she enjoyed her own company and that alone was enough.

“I don’t like playing by myself,” he said.

“I do,” Puteri stated. “But if you don’t like playing by yourself, why don’t you go and make friends?”

“No one will play with me.”

“I see.” Puteri had no interest in being the strange creature’s friend, but she didn’t want to wade through the dark water either. So, for the sake of her beloved golden ball, she said, “I’ll be your friend if you retrieve my ball.”

“You will?” He beamed.

“Yes.” Puteri nodded and pointed to where her ball had sunken. “It’s somewhere over there.”

“At your service, princess,” he replied, promptly entering the pond.

The still water wasn’t as deep as Puteri had imagined—her imagination often wilder than her dreams. Once she was handed her golden ball, Puteri said, “Thank you.” Not waiting for a response, she promptly turned on her heel—ready to break her promise.

“Wait,” he said. “Aren’t you going to play with me?”

“Maybe next week,” Puteri hastily replied, before running home.

Puteri hoped to never see the frog again—his big round eyes, Cheshire-like grin, and stubby frame were perhaps the reasons why he had no friends. Alas, when the next Friday rolled around, there he was again.

“Hi,” he said, with a wide smile. “Do you want to play?”

“I-”

“You promised,” he said.

“I didn’t promise anything. I said, maybe,” Puteri stated.

“But you said you’ll be my friend,” he insisted. “We can toss your ball, and if it falls into the pond again, I’ll get it for you.”

Puteri hesitated. Then seeing how his excitement began to turn into disappointment—the mien of a broken heart—she said, “Fine. One game. Just one game.”

“Thank you,” he said. “We don’t have to talk if you don’t want to.”

Puteri nodded and tossed him her golden ball. For a while, the two played without a word—the golden ball bouncing back and forth, while the shouts and laughter of the other children filled the silence. It was a bizarre game but Puteri slowly came to enjoy his company—simply having someone to toss the ball to brought comfort. And it was then that Puteri entertained the idea of keeping a friend—to have someone who truly wanted her around. Alas, before she could ask her first friend for his name, the clouds began to grumble.

“Puteri,” her handmaid called. “It’s going to rain. Let’s go home.”

“I have to go,” Puteri stated, just as her golden ball bounced into her arms.

“Next week?” he prompted

“Sure,” Puteri replied with a smile.

“Let’s go, Puteri,” her handmaid repeated, reaching for Puteri’s hand. “Who are you talking to?”

“My friend,” Puteri said.

“Your friend?” her handmaid asked, bewildered as she glanced around. “Where?”

Puteri pointed to the pond where he sat poised on a floating lotus leaf, bearing the same curious gaze as though he’d never seen a woman before.

“The frog?” her handmaid asked.

“Yes. He’s my friend.”

Her handmaid chuckled. “Frogs make good friends,” her handmaid said. “Come now.”

“Is mummy coming home for dinner?” Puteri asked. Her mother often encouraged her to make friends—it would excite her to learn that Puteri had actually made one.

“Not tonight, dear,” her handmaid said.

“And daddy?”

Her handmaid gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “Maybe next week. Your mommy and daddy are very busy people.”

“I know.”

“You’ll have dinner with me tonight and we can talk all about your new friend, all right?”

Puteri nodded. She would rather have dinner with her friend, but she doubted her parents would let her bring him home. Though, would they notice if she did? They were rarely around. The only thing that was of them was the golden ball. And that itself was merely a reminder of their existence. At the very least, it made her… a friend.


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

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

Original Works

Willow | Mouse | Hat

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

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

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

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

“I can sneak.”

“And your hat?”

“I can be quiet.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hello there,” he greeted in a whisper.

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

“Why are you whispering?” the dragonfly asked.

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

“What beasts?”

“The beasts that devour mouses like me.”

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

“The beasts-”

“It makes no difference, little mouse.”

“It doesn’t?”

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

“But Willow said my hat makes me vulnerable.”

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

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

“That’s a beast!”

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

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

“Because of my hat?”

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

“Me?”

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

“But the beast…”

“Go.”

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

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

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

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

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

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