Original Works

Desk | Engine | Butterfly

deskenginebutterfly

“What’s wrong, Captain?” I asked.

“Our butterfly isn’t working,” the Captain replied.

I strode toward him and spotted the fragile machine lying lifeless on the work desk. The Captain wore a monocle strapped around his head, as he leaned in for a closer inspection.

“I can handle this. The men up deck are waiting for your instructions,” I said.

“All right. Come up once it’s fixed.”

“Yes, sir.”

I watched the Captain exit the cabin before turning to the mechanical critter. Unmoving, it was harmless. But I knew, that once its wings fluttered, it had the power of a God. I also knew, that once it breathed again, the adventure would be over. Still, I got to work.

Unscrewing the top exoskeleton and removing the protective case, I found the source of the problem. There was a deep dent on the butterfly’s engine. It must have had a collision for it to receive such damage. Using a pincer, I detached the heart-like device and lifted it out of the shell. The Captain would be proud.

“You’ll be fine, little one,” I said.

Heading to the shelf across the work desk, I dug through boxes of mechanical hearts. It didn’t take me long to find the perfect fit. In fact, I didn’t have long. Giving the butterfly a new heart, I hit the reboot button and watched as its buggy eyes lit up while its wings flitted in the air.

“Hello there. I’m sorry there isn’t much time to rest, but you’ve got to get to work.”

Cupping my hands around it, I hurried to the top deck where everyone had gathered. When I arrived, our ship steered to face the large volcanic island. We were still far from our enemy’s sight, but they were not far from ours.

Under the pastel moonlight, the island was covered with specks of ember. The glows of the flames illuminated the stone buildings, as the shadows of its people drifted along the walls. I could almost see them. I could almost hear their cheerful music and their oblivious guffaws. I could almost smell their savoury meat pies. Oh, if only they knew what was coming.

“Is it fixed?” the Captain asked.

“Yes, sir.”

I gently placed the butterfly onto the Captain’s palm and immediately, the crew shuffled in for a look.

“You’ve done good,” the Captain said.

“Thank you.” I beamed.

“You just might be ready for the ship.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

The men around me gave me pats on the back. Working and fixing the Unschuld was my lifelong dream. When I met the Captain for the first time, he told me the Unschuld was mine. But before I could own it, I had to learn everything I could from him. And while I did, he promised to protect the vessel for me.

“Thank you!” I exclaimed.

“Now, we must end this quest. Shall we set the butterfly free?” the Captain asked.

“Yes, sir. Set it free.”

The Captain nodded and released the butterfly along the sea breeze. For a while, the butterfly tumbled in the wind. But after a few flaps, it piloted itself in the right direction. A hundred times quicker than its living siblings, it made its way to the island. And as it did, I watched it closely… until the darkness swallowed it whole. From then on, I had to use my imagination.

The butterfly landed on a wooden dock. It gracefully folded its wings and stood motionlessly while the world carried on in its ruckus. The gears in its tiny body began to work, powering a different machine – its brain. Firing electrons to the special chip in its head, a mellow hum swept across the island. No person heard it. No person knew. The people basked in their last moments of ignorance before BAM!

“Raise the flag and blow the horn!” the Captain ordered. “Today, we claim this island as ours!”

The men roared in excitement and I roared along with them. Unschuld and her sisters speared through the waves toward the volcanic island. The final moments of the quest had begun. As the island’s machinery exploded to the surface, the men on-board unsheathed their swords and loaded their guns.

“Are you going to fight today?” the Captain asked me.

“Yes, sir!”

“Then don’t hold back.”

“Yes, sir!”

“Show me what you’ve got!”

“Yes, sir! I’ll-”

“Dinner is ready!”

I looked behind me and then back at the Captain.

“Ignore her,” the Captain said. “We have a battle to win.”

“I made meat pies. Your favourite. You two can continue playing later,” she said, stepping on deck.

At the intrusion, the Captain’s shoulders slumped and so did mine.

“But mum, we’re-”

“After dinner, ok? After dinner you can fight those monsters-”

“Pirates,” the Captain corrected.

“You can fight those pirates and claim their booty. After dinner.”

I wanted to insist that the battle had to happen then, but she was more powerful than any butterfly we’ve encountered. Even the Captain said nothing. He gave in and told me to wash my hands before coming to the dinner table.

“We’ll play later, ok princess?” the Captain said.

“Ok.”

“Make sure to wash your hands properly.”

“Ok.”

“Use soap.”

“Ok dad, ok.”

“It’s Captain, not dad.”

The Captain gave me a narrow stare and I giggled.

“Yes, sir!”

“Now that’s my little pirate.”

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Desk, engine, and butterfly were words given by live60. Now what a coincidence it is that this coming Sunday is Father’s Day. Since I wrote a Mother’s Day story for this challenge, I thought it only fair to write a story for all the fathers out there too. Fingers crossed, I hope I captured the heart of a father with this story.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. Whatever you’d like to write, write. I know it can be quite a challenge, but it is a challenge after all. I find it challenging myself, but I’m always surprised with what I can come up with. So give it a shot.

Happy Father’s Day to all! And happy writing to you.

*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

A Pen Pal’s Christmas Wish

A penpals christmas wish

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Ally,

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

Now, what do you want for Christmas?

Love, Dad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

How Much More?

How Much More?

Sometimes, I wonder how much more of this I can take. How much more physical pain and mental abuse? How much more tears? How much more fears and uncertainties? How much… more?

When my wife was pregnant, I thought I was going to be the best father to my perfect child. I will bear with his late night cries and smelly diapers,  I would teach him to kick a ball and to swim when he got old enough,  and I would share experiences of girls, college, and marriage as he grows up. I had all of these planned out and I was looking forward to it. But then something happened… and everything changed.

The day my son came into the world was the same day my wife left the world. The feeling of shock, horror and grief are still so fresh within me. The first time I held my boy in my arms, I asked myself if I really wanted him. He was not as innocent as everyone claimed him to be. After all, his mother died bringing him into the world. It took me a while before I saw my wife’s death as a sacrifice that should not end up for nothing. And when I accepted him as my son, I did all I could as a father.

I would wake up in the middle of the night to dry his tears, and then return to an empty bed with no one to dry mine. I would feed him and put him to sleep, and then eat my dinner alone with an empty chair in front of me. I still grief for my wife now, but back then, it was worse. I didn’t know how I was going to raise this child on my own, and yet I knew I had no other choice. There were nights where I would dream of giving him up, but the memory of my excitement when I fixed his crib and painted his room walls made me change my mind.

After months of struggling as a single parent, I soon began to learn the ropes of parenting. I began to truly feel for this boy, and the love I could not give my wife, I gave him. He became the most important person to me, and the thought of losing him terrified me. I was also finally able to feel a pinch of happiness again, but it did not last long.

When my boy was one year old, something out of my nightmares happened. My boy fell ill, seriously ill, that he needed to be admitted to a hospital with tubes attached to his body. At the sight of him in such a state, there was a wrenching pain in my chest; one that sent my mind spiraling down an endless tunnel of thoughts. When the doctor tried to explain my boy’s condition, his words were inaudible but his face said enough.

The day I brought my boy home was the day I became a father to a different child. This child was not going to kick a ball or swim, he was not going to school or college, and no one would want to marry him. Even his smile was not the same.

As I stood over his crib where he looked up at me gleefully, I realized life was not going to get easier. I had to feed him, cloth him, and bathe him for the rest of his life… literally. But strangely, I slowly grew numb to that confliction in my heart.

I found myself wanting to do everything for him. Yes, he would not be able to kick a ball as he would be stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but I would still teach him to kick and swim. I would teach him all I know, and try to get him into schools. I will show him what love is, love that he will never need to receive from anyone else.

If he wants to be an athlete, I’ll train him. If he wants to be a speaker, I’ll speak for him. If he wants to see the world, I’ll show him.

No, life was not getting easier. My boy will never be a normal child, and the perfection I hoped for is scarred. But I was not going to deprive the happiness he deserves. Yes, I admit questioning my actions and wondering if I could take one more day as such.

“How much more?” I constantly asked myself.

But, “So much more,” would always be my reply.

I don’t know if my boy will ever understand me or my intentions. I don’t know if he would love me in return, or if he appreciates my hard work. All I know is my feelings towards him are real, and there are no limitations to it.

As I watched him sleep, still young and fragile, I whispered, “Tommy, daddy loves you. And daddy would do anything for you.”

Till the day I draw my last breath, everything I do would be for him; the boy I truly, truly love.

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True love is not mere words or fairy tale endings. True love is sacrifice, suffering and hardship. True love has no limitations or conditions. It’s more than sweet moments and laughter, its the bitter experiences and tears too. True love is a strong emotion, so strong its like a hurricane sweeping you off your feet and a tidal wave crashing down on you.

And true love… should move you to tears just by thinking about it.

Today, the word ‘love’ has been so diluted that it’s used too casually. The reason why we are never able to fully grasps and understand the real idea of love is because we have never truly experienced it. I hope that one day, everyone would be able to experience true love for themselves; true love that dives into the soul, and breathes new life into it.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my short story. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)