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.

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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.)

Original Works

Bagel | Rust | Lanyard

bagelrustlanyard

“That’s a stupid necklace,” she said.

Her fingers toyed with the glistening diamond resting on her chest.

“You know what it is, right?” she asked.

Her eyebrows rose condescendingly.

“Yes,” I replied. “My mum wears it to work.”

Her lips curled into a smirk.

“Did she lose her job and gave you that as a present?”

I dropped my gaze to the floor, contemplating on walking away.

“So, are you having dinner tonight?” she asked.

I stuffed my hands into my pockets, knowing what was coming next.

“Or are you too poor to even celebrate?”

I shrugged.

She laughed.

“You’re pathetic.”

She motioned for her posse before shouldering past me. And that was my day at school.

When the bell rang, I heaved a sigh of relief. I was eager to head home. I wanted to run from the chuckles and whispers, and see what my mother had planned. For days, I’d been looking forward to the celebration. Despite knowing it wouldn’t be as grand as my friends’, I was still excited. So I sprinted – my backpack bouncing on my shoulders, as I placed one foot before the other.

“There’s going to be food – lots – and lots – of food!” I told myself, stealing quick breaths in between. “Dad’s – going to be – home. And we’ll – have – the best – family dinner – ever!”

Beep!

My shoes skidded against the gravel.

“Watch where you’re going, kid!” the driver of the black sedan shouted from the open window.

“Sorry!” I bowed and saluted apologetically, before continuing in my sprint. As dangerous as it was, I wasn’t stopping for anybody. I’d been waiting for this day since the letter slipped under the door. No matter how hazardous my route, I needed to get home as fast as I could.

When I finally reached my destination, I took a second to catch my breath. While I gulped the air, stained with a rancid stench, I pondered upon my entrance. Should I take the front door or the window? I decided on the window. I could peek into my mother’s surprise, and surprise her instead.

Jogging into the side alley, I climbed onto the rectangular garbage bin, and jumped for the ladder. Coated in rust, the bars screeched in their descent and I hesitated little as I hopped on. My home was on the third floor of the old, brick building. But the question of its structural integrity never came to mind, as I ascended two steps at a time. Once I reached my floor, I kneeled behind the half drawn kitchen sink curtains and peered cautiously.

My mother was not to be seen. The dining table stood barren, the flattened pillows on the couch remained scattered since morning, and the ceiling fan was frozen in the time I left. There was, however, a letter by the door. And the moment I spotted it, dread hit me like an unexpected tidal wave.

“No. Not again,” I muttered. “He promised.”

Grasping whatever hope I had left, I slipped into the kitchen and snatched the letter from the floor. This time, I hesitated. I wondered if it was worth the read. Was the discovery worth the ache in my thighs and my child-like ignorance? Just before I made up my mind, the front door clicked and swung open.

“You’re back already?” my mother asked. Then seeing the letter, she tugged it from my weakening grip, and added, “You shouldn’t read letters addressed to me.”

“But it’s not addressed to anyone,” I replied. “And I know who it’s from.”

The handwriting drew a memory of when my father held my hand, in attempts to teach me the alphabets.

“He’s not coming home again is he,” I said.

My mother nodded her head, but oddly, with a smile.

“Why are you smiling?”

“Well, if he’s not coming home, it means we’ll have more to eat tonight,” she said.

“But… I want him here. I’d rather have him here than more food. I want him home.”

Aware she was unable to fulfill my wish, my mother remained silent. She simply gave my forehead a peck, before placing the brown paper bags on the table. Then standing by the kitchen sink, she read the letter to herself.

“What did he say?” I asked.

“He’s not coming home.”

“Is he coming home next year?”

“No.”

“Why? Did something happen?”

“No. He’s just not coming.”

The disappointment swallowed my hope in a single breath. Braving myself in the face of the many emotions stirring within, I fought against tears. Then, my mother repeated herself.

“But I’m glad.”

Frowning, I asked, “You’re glad? Because you want to eat more?” I was almost horrified at my mother’s response.

“No. I’m glad he still writes.”

“But he writes broken promises.”

“Yes, but he’s alive. And I’m thankful he still is.”

Now the one lost for words, I retreated to my room. I planted myself on my bed, staring at the ticking clock by the bedside. The urge to cry had vanished, as I thought over my mother’s words. It was only when she knocked on my door that I concluded she was right.

“Are you ready for our feast?” my mother asked in excitement.

“What are we having?”

“For starters, bagel. And in your favourite flavour!”

I smiled and wrapped my arms around her waist.

“What’s that for?” she asked.

“You’re right. I’m thankful he’s alive too.” Then looking up at her, I added, “And I’m thankful you’re alive, mummy. Happy thanksgiving!”

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Bagel, rust, and lanyard were words given by Mr.Hematite. I went with the thanksgiving theme as coincidentally, today is thanksgiving! And despite thanksgiving not celebrated in my country, I thought it’s worth writing about. After all, it’s always good to remind oneself to be thankful.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. If you don’t have a story, here’s another challenge: make a list of everything you’re grateful for this year. I’m sure, that from the list itself, there’s a story to tell.

*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.)

Fan Fiction (Novel)

FHB: Chapter 35

FHB Epilogue

My dear boy,

By the time this letter reaches you, I would be long gone. I do not have a choice and no one can save me now. From this point onwards, everything you do will be of grave importance. Your actions will determine the fate of this family. It is a heavy responsibility and I apologize for making you carry it. You must understand, that all that I have done was for us. I did not plan to leave like this and if I could change my fate, I would. At this very moment, the best I can do is to write you this letter.

I will never admit this verbally, but I am weak. The choices I have made were never my own and my actions were all for the preservation of our family. Family, honour and blood, has always been our motto. But the most important of all three is family. It may not seem like it sometimes, but I try my best to keep us together. Even if the world calls me a coward, a hypocrite, a liar, and a murderer, I do not regret my actions behind those words. You can look at me the same and I won’t blame you for it. It is the truth. I am not proud of who I have become, but I am proud of you.

Ignorance is not my forte. I know that you are struggling with your identity. You should not be fighting this war, but you’ve been thrown into it because of me. I apologize for the pain I have caused. I wish I could have given you a better life, but that is merely a wish. Maybe when this is all over, you can give your son a better life… one away from this madness. I pray you will get that chance.

As this letter might contain my last words, I want to be honest with you. A parent should not say this to their child, but I have to. The day your mother and I brought you home from St. Mungo’s, I wanted to end your life. I wanted to spare you from a harsh fate, but after watching you peacefully sleep, I could not do it. Sometimes, I wonder if I made the right decision that night. Sometimes, I even regret not having done it. I’m a horrible father, I know.

You’re probably wondering what the point of this whole letter is. You’re probably seething with hate as you digest my words. I have disappointed you, and I will have to disappoint you again because I need you to do something. When the time comes for you to end a life, please do not hesitate. I know you would, but you will have to fight against it. Think only of this family and it wouldn’t be so hard. If you cannot bear to think of me, think of your mother. We have to do what is hard to protect those we love… even if we end up being hated.

Remember, you’re not weak. You have never been weak, Draco. You are far from a coward and you are not a hypocrite. You are not me and you will never be me. You may be my son, but you are a better human being. You are strong, you are brave, and you will never lose your soul in these dark times. I will lose mine, but I will try to find a way back.

Take care of your mother for me, and goodbye.

Your father, Lucius.

He could not believe what he had asked his son to do. Lucius hated himself for it; for following his own father who asked him to kill. He knew that the letter would only torment Draco further, but he had to write it. Lucius had to prepare his son and remind him to be strong. It pained him to see the confliction Draco had to go through for years, but he had a small hope that it would all be over soon.

Lucius folded up the letter and was about to seal it with some wax when his bedroom door violently swung open.

“They are coming for you!” Narcissa said with fear in her eyes.

“I’ll be fine,” Lucius lied.

“No, they cannot take you! On what charge, Lucius? What evidence? Can’t we call someone for help?”

Lucius shook his head before putting the letter in Narcissa’s hand. “Give this to Draco, please.”

“Lucius…” Narcissa trailed off, lost for words as her hope diminished at the sound of Ministry Officers storming up the stairs.

“Narcissa, I need you to do something for me,” Lucius quickly said, knowing his time was running out.

“What is it?” Narcissa’s voice had lost its strength as her eyes began to water.

“I want you to leave me. I want you to take Draco and leave.”

“What? I can’t do that! I will never do that,” Narcissa insisted, as she grabbed onto his hands.

“You have to.”

“No! Not now! Don’t do this now,” Narcissa choked.

Tears began to stream down her cheeks and his heart ached at the sight of her struggle. Why she loved a man that only brought her pain? Lucius wished he knew.

“When the time comes, walk away. Do it for Draco,” Lucius stressed on each word.

Narcissa could not respond to what may seem like a ridiculous request, but Lucius knew that she was strong enough to do it. She had kept them together, protected the family as best as she could, and talked sense whenever Lucius was about to lose himself. She will leave him at the right time.

Now, as much as it hurt him to do so, he had to go. All for family, honour, and blood.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

This fan fiction has officially ended!

Thank you to all who have followed it religiously and voted in the polls. I’m glad that it has finally come to an end and happy that we got to take this adventure together 🙂 I hope you guys enjoyed this story, so do let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

To commemorate the entire series, I decided to whip up a little something. I thought it would be fitting as it ties in with the original series. You can download it if you like 🙂

fhb quote

Just to restate, this will be the last piece of fan fiction on my blog. From now onwards, everything will be original 🙂 If you are new here and would like to read my past fan fictions, you can visit the fan fiction page for all the links. Also, if you would like to read a short Draco fan fiction, click here.

Thanks again and Potter on!

Original Works

Hello, Stranger

Hello stranger

Snap!

The Polaroid camera slipped out a film and as the image of my smiling face slowly appeared, my favourite waitress scribbled down ’37 seconds’ at the white space.

“Would you like to do it?” she asked.

Nodding my head, I took the picture and headed to a corkboard on the cafe wall.

“Hello, stranger,” I said out loud, as I reached for the picture already pinned on the board.

This young man, flexing his muscle with a doughnut in his hand, had previously pinned his picture thinking he was the new doughnut king in the joint. If only he knew the crown was no longer his.

Handing the picture of this stranger to the waitress, I secured mine on the board and beamed proudly. Yes, it may seem silly to be proud of such a small accomplishment, but I dare say it is an impressive one. I can down five doughnuts at top speed and everyone month I make sure to secure my throne. No competitor has taken my spot for the last ten months, and I deserve an applause for that.

After reclaiming my throne, I headed to my day job at a coffee house. I was working as a cashier while looking for a proper job that matched the degree I had. It was not the best job in the world, but it provided for my meals. And that afternoon, my friends decided to drop by and have lunch with me.

The round table of three people was accompanied with lattes and sandwiches. Not the typical meal for me, but nothing about that lunch was typical to begin with. It had been a year since I last saw my friends as they were studying and working across borders, and having them over had become a strange experience.

Thinking of them and the stranger that attempted to dethrone me, I skipped the ‘how are you’ and went straight to the oddest question I had in mind.

“Have you ever wondered what Hugh Jackman is doing right now?” I asked.

One of my friends looked at me, shook her head, and said, “Still fangirl-ing over him?”

I rolled my eyes and replied, “Have YOU ever wondered what Ed Sheeran is doing right now?”

“I’m done with him,” she said.

“That’s not the right answer.”

“It’s a strange question, but no. Now that you asked though, I’m beginning to wonder.”

My other friend chuckled and joined in. “I know what Woo Bin is doing right now. He’s probably on set shooting his latest drama.” She ended her sentence with the widest smile and I could not help but laugh.

“On a first name basis already?” I asked.

She hid her blush by downing a big gulp of her latte before asking, “Why the odd question though?”

I simply shrugged in reply.

I honestly had no reason for that question, it just fell on my lap and I had to bring it up. It was then that I started to wonder what my father was doing at that very moment; he was probably at lunch with his colleagues. And then my mother came to mind; most likely trying to reach my brother over the phone. Without having to try, I ended up wondering what my brother was doing; hopefully he was in class listening to a boring lecture.

Even though I did not intend to continue floating through the thoughts in my head, I ended up doing so. It took me a lot of effort to stop wondering about Hugh Jackman working out at the gym, but I eventually managed to focus on the two girls in front of me. When my ears were finally on their stories, I left the wondering behind.

After lunch, I made my friends promise me a dinner date before bidding them farewell. The day then carried on as usual, with customers making special orders, complaining about their coffee, and leaving generous tips. By the end of my shift, I was ready to clean up and go home. But just before I left, I decided to take one more customer.

“Hello, stranger,” the customer greeted.

“Hello! Having here or takeaway?” I asked.

“Takeaway,” he replied.

“What would you like to have?”

“A regular cappuccino, single shot.”

I typed in his order, gave him a smile and waited for him as he took out some cash from his wallet. As he passed me the bill, he asked, “Have I seen you before?”

Giving him a small smile, I shook my head. After all, how would I know if he has seen me before? As he didn’t press further, I waited silently as my colleague made his coffee. When it was finally done, I handed it to him and at that moment I took a good look at him.

“Have I seen YOU before?” I asked, before I could think it through.

He laughed and a thoughtful expression spread across his face. The two of us stood there for a moment trying to recall where we last saw each other and at the very same time, we blurted out, “John’s Doughnut House!”

“You tried to dethrone me!” I immediately continued.

“I did it again,” he replied with a smirk.

I was shocked but I was not backing down. “Ha! Not for long.”

“We’ll see. I was wondering who you were,” he said with a smile.

“Wonder no more,” I replied as I folded my arms coolly.

As soon as those words escaped my lips, they bounced right back at me and hit me hard. Why was I wondering what people were doing when I could just ask them? It was so strange of me to prefer one action I had no answers to, instead of another action that gave me what I needed. If connecting with a stranger was so easy, there was no difficulty connecting with someone I know.

That day, I went home with the phone number of a new friend and a revelation that the world is small simply because of human connection.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

We live in a world where we are surrounded by technology, and recently there has been a lot of talk about how technology has handicapped our ability to build relationships. This story is not about that. This story is about human connection and how we all have the ability to connect with someone without even trying. It is in our nature to do so. Technology did not make the world smaller, it simply showed us how small our world is. To have a world without boundaries, we simply have to connect with one another.

Yes, we might still be left wondering what our favourite celebrities are doing at this moment, but we don’t have to wonder when it comes to our family and friends. Give them a call or meet up for lunch; stop wondering and start connecting!

As always, let me know what you think of this story in the comments below 🙂 I have never written such a simple, plotless story before, hence this is a test to see if I can write well without a proper story arc. So please connect with me and give me your thoughts!

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 22:

“O.k,” Joanna replied, trying to hide her blush, and to her biggest surprise, Tom pulled her in for a hug.

It was a strange feeling, one Joanna had never felt before. She was never hugged by a man, not her father, not anyone. And this being the first time, Joanna didn’t want to let go, and Tom didn’t seem to want to either.

They stood, hugging, in their hideout spot in Hogwarts for a while before an owl came swooping in the balcony with a letter attached to its feet.

Unwillingly pulling away from Tom, Joanna headed to the owl and detached the letter.

“I wonder who this is for,” Joanna said, as the letter wasn’t addressed to neither of them.

“Definitely not for me,” Tom said with a shrug.

Without hesitation, Joanna pulled the letter open and saw three words scrawled on the parchment.

“Borgin and Burkes?” Joanna read, looking at Tom with her eyes narrowed.

Tom merely smiled and shrugged. “Probably a mistake.”

Somehow sensing Tom was hiding something, as the same false smile was plastered on his handsome face, Joanna had the urge to ask. But then she recalled not wanting any part of his plan and decided to pretend the letter didn’t matter.

Crumpling the letter up, Joanna said, “Oh well, I guess the owl was lost.”

Then heading to the door, Joanna added, “It’s getting late, I don’t wanna get caught and expelled NOW.”

“Why? You would miss me?” Tom replied as he raised his eyebrows.

And immediately Joanna felt her cheeks burn up. No wonder girls go crazy about him, he knew how to work his face! Joanna thought as she turned away.

“I think you would miss me more,” Joanna said and hurried out the door, not even bothering to look behind.

As Joanna walked silently to her common room, the empty hallways were slowly clearing up as students began disappearing in the direction of their common rooms. She was pretty sure she was alone until an owl came swooping from behind her, scaring the hell out of her as she screamed.

The owl landed by a wall niche and it began hooting periodically at her.

“You didn’t have to scare me!” Joanna yelled at the animal, as she stormed towards it and untied a small parchment from its feet.

The owl then gave her a hard peck on her hand in reply before it took off angrily.

“Stupid bird,” Joanna shouted, hoping the owl could actually understand English, as she rubbed her hand.

Finally turning her attention back to the parchment, Joanna flipped it open, hoping it was a sweet message from Tom, but was disappointed when she saw that it was from Professor Dumbledore, who had requested to see her the following day.

Somewhat knowing what Dumbledore might want, Joanna thought less on what to answer him as she made her way back to the common room that night. Joanna could officially say she knew nothing about Tom’s plans, well, sort of, and found it no longer difficult to tell half the truth.

When morning came, Joanna went to see Dumbledore after her second class. He was in his same old office, looking not too happy the moment she entered.

“You requested to see me, sir?” Joanna asked.

“Yes. I hope the owl didn’t wake you from your sleep?” Dumbledore replied, with a tone of friendly sarcasm in his voice.

“No, it didn’t,” Joanna replied with a smile, as she took a seat. She felt like she had been playing games with Dumbledore all year round and this was just another little game of his.

“Well, I have some rather grim news for you today,” Dumbledore said.

“What is it?”

“Your mother isn’t feeling so well. According to your father, she has fallen ill.”

“Can I go visit her then?” Joanna quickly asked.

“You can, of course. But your father has informed me that your mother needs more caring for this time.”

“She’s not going to die is she?!” Joanna asked, standing up from her seat.

“No, of course not. She’s just bedridden for now. Your father will tell you more. As of now, he wants you back home, to look after your mother for a while.”

“O.k. But what about school?” Joanna asked casually. She didn’t want to have to repeat the year, and she didn’t want to leave Hogwarts for long either. If she had to look after her mother, to buy time for her father to look for a caretaker, she didn’t want it to affect her studies.

“Well, I know a few colleagues, who would be more than happy to home school you,” Dumbledore replied.

“But, I won’t be gone long, I can self study. There is no hassle to do that Professor,” Joanna said.

“I’m afraid it is necessary. Your father has requested you to look after your mother until he gets back-“

“I don’t know when he’s coming back,” Joanna interrupted.

“Then I’m afraid you have to finish up your final year at home.”

Shock at the news, Joanna was unsure on how to react. This was not just a short visit back home, this was a one way ticket home with possibly no returns to Hogwarts. Joanna would not be able to graduate with her friends, nor would she see them for the remaining year.

Joanna wanted to find an excuse, she wanted to say ‘no’, but it was her family. How could she say no to her family? But how could she say no to Tom after saying yes to him? She didn’t know what to do, or who she should pick.

To Be Continued…

(Leave a comment below or vote on who Joanna should pick!)