Original Works

Twenty-Twenty [12 Genre Months]

March 18, 2020

It’s a typical Wednesday—bumper to bumper traffic on the Federal Highway since 8 a.m. The midweek blues has officially set it, and I can’t wait for the weekend. How boring can today be, am I right? There is, however, an interesting topic for discussion—my colleagues and I have been talking about a virus. Its rapid spread in the past few months has made it a global affair. It’s literally #trending. Oddly enough, no one seems to care. I guess… we’ll get over it soon.

March 20, 2020

One more long day before the weekend! And guess what? We’re having a farewell party for Siva tomorrow. It’s his last month with us before he leaves the country for his new job in Germany. Since he told us he resigned, we’ve been trying to speak German with him. I’ve gotta say, he’s pretty good. Granted, he took classes. Meanwhile, I’m here trying to learn Korean from k-dramas.

March 21, 2020

Evelyn just called. She said she isn’t feeling very well, and might even call in sick next week. Evelyn rarely falls sick. I mean, she’s the healthiest one of our lot. The girl hits the gym like… everyday? Well, I guess there’ll be more food for me later. Though, I don’t really feel all that great either. But… I can’t just bail too, right? We’ve been planning this farewell for a while now. So… I’ll just go. After all, I already bought a new dress for tonight—when else can I wear it?

March 23, 2020

Yup, Evelyn called in sick. She must be feeling horrible—she barely replies to my messages. Poor girl. She isn’t even sure if she has the flu or some other virus. Hopefully, with enough rest, she’ll get back to the office soon. We’re in a very busy season, and one man down affects us all. Now if only… I could call in sick, too.

March 25, 2020

Unbelievable. Three more people called in sick today. I can’t possibly be covering for everyone. This is insane! I already have this impossible client on my hand, and now I have to take on their clients, too? Also, why do people think it’s okay to call in sick over a little cold? Just pop a freaking Panadol. Don’t have Panadol? The office has some! Just get your butt to work!

March 27, 2020

Just got a message from our office WhatsApp group—Evelyn is in the hospital. A few of us want to visit her this weekend. We’re thinking of getting a few balloons, just to brighten her mood a little. Though, we don’t know what time we should go. Evelyn still hasn’t been responding to her messages. Honestly, I’m a little worried.

March 28, 2020

I can’t remember the last time I went to a hospital, but are all hospitals this busy? There were so many people, it took us forever just to get Evelyn’s room number. As for Evelyn, she wasn’t conscious when we arrived. Her family was there though, and they said she has the virus. Since we couldn’t talk to Evelyn, and it was awkward conversing with her parents, we left the balloons and called it a day.

March 30, 2020

I had to apply for an emergency leave today—mum wasn’t feeling well. She said something about not being able to breathe. So I had to take her to the hospital. This hospital, too, had a lot of people. For some reason, everyone decided to fall sick at the same time. And it’s a little troubling—I don’t think they have enough staff to handle the crowd. Well, hopefully mum gets better soon.

March 31, 2020

The nurses told me I can’t visit mum anymore. They said it was too dangerous. They wouldn’t explain anything. Heck, they don’t even have the time to entertain any of my questions. So I’m not sure what is going on. It feels like the end of the world… yet everyone is acting like it’s just another regular day. I also heard some people mention the virus. Apparently, it’s still trending. But… no one seems to care? I hope we’ll get over it soon.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Sword Of Destiny [Music Meets Story]

There it was—the glistening blade of steel that reflected the drifting clouds of the afternoon sky, rivaling the picturesque valley in its perpetual Autumn hue—the Sword of Destiny. Plunged deep into a jagged boulder, it was often mistaken as the legendary Excalibur. For many had come to where it stood, bejeweled in grace and elegance, in hopes of a better future. Alas, this very sword in the stone had a different story—a tale of irony with no promise of magic, wealth, or even a royal crown. And should one succeed at freeing it from its home… therein lies a cruel fate.

Yet, there I was. I had heeded its relentless beck and call. After months of intruding my nights with bizarre dreams and my days with unending questions, I yielded to its desire. But more than submission to the unknown, I needed to know the truth—who was the girl with the haunting dark eyes and the blazing red hair? Why did she drive a blade into her lover without sparing a single tear? And how was I related to a narrative from a millennial ago?

Destiny.

I heard it again. The disembodied voice that spoke in the stillness—a whisper that only I could hear. It called me toward the sword, pulling me forward with an in-explainable force. And after months of travelling, having dealt with all my qualms, I confidently reached for the weapon. As I wrapped my hand around its embracing grip, a strange warmth filled my chest. What I thought would be an antagonistic creation by design was surprisingly welcoming. It was as if… I had held it before.

Destiny.

I knew what I had to do. Without hesitation, I pulled the sword with all my might. But in the expectation of the blade gliding from the stone, I was left befuddled. The Sword of Destiny remained in place. Didn’t it call for me to set it free? Wasn’t I the chosen one to inherit its strength and power? Confused and stubborn, I attempted once more… and then another, and another, until the sun bade goodnight. Alas, even with both hands and countless bouts of catching my breath, the blade had rooted itself unmovable.

Destiny.

“What destiny?” I exclaimed in exasperation. “Why have you brought me here? What do you want from me?”

“It doesn’t want anything from you,” a voice replied.

Had I not been alone the entire time? I spun around to find a woman in a long, hooded cloak. As the cloudy night shrouded the pale moon, I could barely see the stranger’s face. If only I had the Sword of Destiny in my hand, I wouldn’t have feared for my life—why hadn’t I come prepared?

“Who are you?” I asked, as I took a few steps back.

“The Sword of Destiny is not yours,” she replied, disregarding my seemingly unimportant question. “It never called for you either.”

“What do you mean?” I frowned. “It gave me dreams, and I can hear its voice.”

“You’re not the only one with dreams,” the stranger said. “And what you hear is not its voice… it’s yours.”

I chuckled in disbelief. Who was she to make a fool out of me? I knew what I had dreamt—those recurring dreams that made no sense. I knew what I had heard—the very reason for my quest.

“You want something that isn’t yours,” she added. “But the sword will never come free for you. The sword never comes free for anyone.”

“Then why-”

The stranger took a step forward, revealing half her face in the faint light of the moon. And in that instant, my heart stopped. It was her. She was the girl who betrayed her lover at her father’s orders—the girl who couldn’t shed a tear despite the wretched pain that tore her soul apart.

“The sword cannot change the past,” she said. “The sword cannot change what you did or what you’ll do.”

“I don’t… understand,” I replied.

“Look.” She gestured to the blade, now basking in its own magical glow.

Shifting my gaze from the stranger, I turned to the object of my desire. And in its reflection of the starry sky, I saw myself—the hopeless creature, whose dark eyes remained haunted by the past. Once brave and fearless, as often attributed by my fiery hair, I had become a broken soul. She, or should I say I, was right all along.

“Destiny isn’t set in stone,” I said. “Destiny… is what you will make of it.”


This story was inspired by the original composition, The Defiant One by Josh Huck.

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Umbra [12 Genre Months]

“Count yourself lucky,” I would say. “If you know what you are.” After all, there are many beings, such as myself, who will never truly understand what it means to exist. For the very idea itself is a foreign concept in our inconsequential realm. And if only we could uncover the secret of our identities… such wouldn’t be our fate.

If you are unlike me, this account might puzzle you. How is it possible for a being to not know what it is? Alas, it isn’t as uncommon as you think. Who, what, how, why—these were the burdens I carried as I drew my first breath. I was granted a life of perpetual suffocation, with no guidance or clarity, as I drowned in the unknown. Yet, upon my arrival into the world, I wasn’t alone. 

As I embraced the break of dawn—my dreadful beginning—I found myself tethered to an odd-looking creature. It was a rather small beast, and it made unintelligible sounds. Frankly, I didn’t know what it was, let alone who I was to have been attached to it. So why were we bound together? Where did it come from? And how did we become one?

With no recollection of my life before, I soon accepted my fate—I was a prisoner of a mysterious entity for the rest of my life. I would live with it, laugh with it, and die with it. But unlike my captor, who quickly understood what it was, I remained a nothing—a nothing that needed permission to even show itself. And even so, such bouts of freedom were often short-lived—I would soon find myself unseen, once more, as I returned to the world of the invisible. Oh, what a life. How could I ever escape? Was there a way to cut myself free from such a malefic beast? Yes. In fact, there is. And this is where you can help me.

I have thought long and hard on what it means to exist. I have also observed the ways of my master, and the company that existed with it. It took many years, but I soon found a common denominator between the creature that had me on a leash and the others—they all owned a defining moniker. These beings had a name. They were blessed with a chosen word, of which they built a life upon. For without it, they would lurk in the darkness—forever wondering what they were. Simply put, they would be me… if they weren’t gifted with an appellative. Now, how then can you help me?

My name is Umbra. I had chosen this name for myself—a blinding reflection of the life I have lived thus far. But no more. I refuse to remain hidden. And it is through you that I will finally exist. For who am I without you… but a shadow? Your shadow—the one who followed you, envied you, and wondered if you knew I was even alive. I am the being of insignificance whose name you are now acquainted with—whose existence you finally acknowledged. And unfortunately, this is when you cease to exist.

Still, count yourself lucky. At the very least, you once knew… what you were.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

The Unseen [Music Meets Story]

Forgotten, rejected, and neglected—oh, if only they would see me. If only they knew, that more than a masked vigilante in the night and a magical tooth fairy, I was human, too. But perhaps, it was better to remain unseen. After all, some heroes… were never heroes to begin with.

Who was I to hold any true value? I had fallen from grace—I was a corrupted being. Even if I carried a flaming torch in the dark, bravely slayed a hundred dragons, and demanded a murderous storm to cease, it would mean nothing. I was the cold darkness itself, the mad beast in the cave, and the unforgiving rage in the seas—would it be hypocritical to try? Did I deserve a second chance—was I even worthy of a dream? At the break of dawn, could I wish for more or should I live in the lifeless shadows forever? But in those moments of unending questions, there she was… relentless.

I could see it in her eyes—we shared the same dismal thoughts, the same unceasing doubts, and the same burning questions. She wondered if I saw her, accepted her, and remembered her. Yet, she never once asked if I did. She simply donned her cape, day and night, for me. She held the blinding light at the end of my tunnel, she lured the blood-thirsty monsters away, and she braced the howling wind as she steered us through the wild waves. She was the true hero while I questioned my worth. She stood by me while I chose to be a saviour… to the others around me.

If only I saw it sooner.

She was my rock while I strived to be someone else’s. And in the midst of every rejection, I had rejected her, too. But not anymore—I have chosen to see the one beside me. I choose to spark the flames, battle the ravenous creatures together, and sail through the thundering nights as a team. For only then, we would both see the hope in the sunrise—together, we will learn that even as fallen and broken souls, we can rise from the ashes and soar once more. But… was I too late?

Did I stray too far off? Did I leave only my dusty tracks—a path she could choose not to follow? Or, was there still hope? Perhaps, I should turn back—if she didn’t come to me, I would go to her. And this time, even if she looked past me, I would stay… relentlessly.

Even if she rejected, neglected, and forgot who I was, I would be her unsung hero. She didn’t need to know. She only had to live. After all, I wouldn’t have travelled such a distance alone—I would have given up, gone off route, and wandered in the unknown. So for once in my life, I choose to go unnoticed… for the sake of the one who first saw me.


This story was inspired by the original composition, Vibrations by Thomas J. Curran.

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Hashtag [12 Genre Months]

“Oh my gawd, did you see what she posted? #CrayCray.”

“I was #shook, girl! But seriously, I heard she broke down in front of his house… over a piece of sandwich. A freaking piece of sandwich.”

“Talk about dramatic. She has always been a #dramaqueen.”

“What’s #new? She loves the attention.”

 “Oh my gawd, did you know what happened on #Tuesday?”

“Why, what happened? What did I miss? #FOMO.”

“Our class got cancelled and no one told us about it. So we waited for a full 30 minutes before we left. #Seriously.”

“You guys just… left? Like… for real? That’s super #thuglife.”

“Yea, we strolled out like a #boss. But oh my gawd, what a waste of 30 minutes. 30 minutes of my life that I will never, ever get back!”

“I feel you, girl. Just the other day, I had to wait 5 minutes for the bus. #Unbelievable! Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

“Wait, don’t you have a car? How dare you take the bus! #Scandalous.”

“I had to get it repaired. Something about the engine or the brakes, god only knows. #FirstWorldProblems.” 

“Oh, hold on. My mother is at the door. #Ughhh she’s asking about dinner.”

The hall erupted in a deafening applause. Its audience rose to their feet, cheering in delight at the seemingly impressive dialogue between two plainly dressed actors. Praises of brilliance—‘bravo’, ‘such ingenuity’, and ‘oh, how captivating’⁠—filled the air. And even after the lights dimmed and the stage emptied, everyone wanted to know—what did it all mean?

“It’s art,” many insisted. “An artistic exchange between two beautiful souls. Couldn’t you feel it? Those colourful words spoke to my soul. ”

“It’s the future,” others concluded. “In the future, that is how people will speak. The writer has predicted a world full of expression.”

“It’s reality,” some suggested—though not a popular opinion. “Who we are as people, and the reflection of our inner insecurities.” 

Alas, it didn’t matter what it all meant. In fact, there wasn’t any meaning to it—there was no story, no real character development, and nothing philosophical between the lines. If one dared say, it wasn’t a real performance either. The actors on the stage, reciting their lines in dramatic Shakespearean manner, were not telling a story. The ones who truly performed… were the audience. Ah, how strange—it seems that some did uncover the meaning behind it all.

“It’s reality,” they said with an excited grin. “A beautiful slice of life.”


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Circus In The Clouds [Music Meets Story]

“They’re here! They’re here!”

Every five years, I would hear the shouts of the children as they lifted their gazes into the sky. Their irrepressible excitement would echo deafeningly through the cobbled streets—a shrill of enthusiasm that broke all torpor and humdrum of the dreary city. For what then could be more exciting than the visitors from afar? The very thespians who promised a magical evening with sparkling silver hot air balloons, ascending into the ember dusk for a spectacle of phantasmagoria—the Circus In The Clouds.

‘Forget the clowns, the lions, and the freaks. Oh, what boring shows and unimaginative tricks. It is time to behold a mesmerising parade of wonder and awe. Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for more?

‘Feast your eyes on the unbelievable. Stir your soul with the mystical. Unleash your imagination with the stars as we whisk you away on a journey of a lifetime. Oh, you will not be disappointed, boys and girls!

‘So look right up, all citizens of the ground! For the circus… is in the clouds!’

I was merely three years of age when I first learned about the circus—too young to yearn for the great adventure that lay beyond. But when I turned eight, I discovered true envy. Oh, how I wished to own a Golden Ticket—if only every candle blown during each uneventful birthday would make this one dream come true. Alas, I soon learned that if I truly wanted to witness a display of amazing, daring, and death-defying acts, I would have to achieve it on my own. For some of us weren’t meant for just this—some of us were meant for more.

“Oh dear, the Golden Ticket isn’t for everyone,” my mother said—the same exact words, on repeat, whenever I coveted for a world beyond my reach. “Some of us simply have to live with what we’ve got.”

“But father might win a ticket this year,” I stated.

My poor father’s reward, for toiling for his master, was his name in the Golden Ticket raffle—a lucky draw with minimal odds of winning a prize every drudge could only dream about.

“And I’m sure he will let you have it… should he be lucky enough,” my mother said with a thin smile.

Alas, that wasn’t the answer that I wanted—after ten years of waiting, I couldn’t place my future in the hands of Lady Luck. Surely, there was another way.

“I’m going to check on the balloons,” I said.

“Don’t do anything silly,” my mother replied.

Was finding a way to truly live silly? Was choosing to broaden my horizons unwise?

“I’ll be back in the evening,” I assured her. “I’ve never done anything silly, mother.”

As the sun now settled in the clear blue morning sky, I shuffled up the deck and toward the stream of glistening hot air balloons. Their silver envelope reflected the shimmer of day as the shuttle crew ran their routine checks—for at the arrival of dusk, these baskets would brim with peppy children and their blue-blood parents. Oh, the wealthy below would soon have their minds bewildered while the penniless above… descend without his Golden Ticket.

‘Embrace the magic of night. Bask in great celestial delight. Be enchanted by our dauntless souls as they grande jeté with the spellbinding darkness. And if you wonder….

‘What truly is the Circus In The Clouds? Oh, it is a world without words, a place no man can ever describe. For all who have gone before has had their minds mystified—their only syllable now… is ‘go’!

‘So don’t miss our spectral stage. From North to South and East to West, bid us farewell now and you may never see us again.’

“That balloon! It’s slipping away!” I shouted as the rally for ticket sales boomed over the massive speakers. “Somebody, help!”

As promised to my mother, I had put all silliness aside. All it took was cleverness—a few loose knots and a smirk—before all heads turned to the rogue vessel. And within moments… I didn’t need to pay for my way down.

Slipping past the shuttle crew in their frenzy, I hopped into the nearest balloon, hastily set the knots free, and pushed against the starboard beam. I had learned how to navigate the silver vehicle from my father—a ferryman for the circus—and before anyone could stop me, I began my descent.

“Don’t worry, mother,” I muttered under my breath. I knew I couldn’t truly escape this life. But at the very least, I tried. “I’ll be home before the show even begins. Oh, the magical Circus In The Clouds.” I scoffed.


This story was inspired by the original composition, Highlands by Hans Magnus.

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Geheim [12 Genre Months]

‘I didn’t know what I was getting into until now—the moment I chose you. But as romantic as this sounds, we have always known that our lives would be different. From the day we chose this path, we are living out our vow to leave all normality behind—accepting that one day, we will be given a responsibility beyond our capabilities. Still, the choice is ours. It has always been and it will always be. Thus, you have a decision to make.

‘But… before you do, know this—it wasn’t an easy decision. Choosing you wasn’t easy. Our company has struggled to bring this case to a close, and only the most capable is trusted with the job. Alas, you are the most capable amongst our colleagues—both a compliment and a curse, I’m afraid. So even if you think you are not ready, trust me when I say, you are the most ready. Still, this will not be forced upon you.

‘You do not, in any way, have to feel obligated. I, myself, accepted this task out of choice. Thus you are free to decline. No one—neither those before nor those after you—will pass any judgement. After all, none of us wished to be called upon for this—the daunting quest we all secretly feared. The perilous journey where no man before has ever returned from—that even I can only pray to succeed as to not have the baton passed on to you. But forgive me, should you be reading this. I did try my very best.

‘Now, decide. At eighteen past noon, you are to drop this letter in the blue mailbox at the junction between Geheim Street and Upper Agentin Lane should you wish to accept. However, if you have chosen to decline, do nothing except erase these last words from memory. Once you have made your decision, you will receive your next course of action—either way, what we signed up for has no end.

‘I wish you good luck, my dear friend. I hope that you treasure every moment of peace in this turbulent world. It has been an honour to serve with you, and may you continue to make me and our company proud.’

“Sign,” she ended.

I scribbled my name at the bottom of the handwritten letter—crafted under her dictation—before handing it over.

“If you fail,” she added. “We will have to send this.”

I nodded. I knew the procedure. I had only one reservation—one that reflected on my countenance.

“What, Agent Lee?” she prompted.

“Well, I’m not too sure if the letter is convincing,” I said.

“You shouldn’t be worried about convincing your colleague,” she replied. “You should be worried about the mission, and accomplishing it.”

“Ah, yes.” Of course, succeeding at the mission was my top priority. The day I received my summon in the mail—the handwritten note that was supposedly sent by my mentor—I knew I would be the one that finally infiltrated the nuclear base. Still, a bizarre discomfort had settled in my chest—one that I couldn’t shake. “I’m sorry, you can count on me. It’s just…”

“Just what, Agent Lee?”

“The letter… and the words…” I hesitated. Was it even worth mentioning? It seemed, almost, trivial.

“What about them?” she asked.

“I… wouldn’t call this mission romantic. And I don’t use the words perilous or, say, turbulent.”

“Agent Lee,” she replied.

“Yes ma’am.”

“It doesn’t matter what you would call this mission or what words you say. The decision will be hers either way,” she stated.

“Yes ma’am.” She was right—the content of my letter didn’t matter. It was, indeed, trivial. It must have been the nerves. After all, I had a mission to accomplish—to do what those before me had failed to do. And should I succeed, the letter itself wouldn’t even leave the room.

“Now, report to weapons. We have a few upgrades,” she ordered. “And agent…”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Keep your head in the game.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll return with glory,” I said with a firm nod.

Glory—what a strange word. Was that a word Jonathan had used? Jonathan was a man of little words. He barely spoke, let alone write. Clearly he didn’t pen his letter, too. Still… glory—the only word I could recall from his letter. Oddly enough, everything else was a blur. But… it didn’t matter what he wrote—I was on a mission.

A mission so romantically perilous… that I chose to enlist in the fullness of my sanity.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Into The Sky [Music Meets Story]

“Have you decided?”

“I think so,” I said. It wasn’t a difficult decision—I had always wanted to fly. The great rush of the wind against my skin, in the embrace of the peaceful amber skies, had always been a dream.

“Well, no matter what you choose, know that I’ll support you… fully,” she said.

“I know,” I replied. I had never once disappointed her. In fact, I often believed I made her proud. My only fear then was making the wrong decision—despite it being an easy one. Alas, one could never be certain if easy was good, nor if hard was any nobler than easy.

“Goodnight then,” she said with a gentle smile.

As she left my wooden tent, I pushed myself seated. Turning to the window above my bed, I heaved a sigh. There were five days, three hours, and sixteen minutes left—the remaining time to reach a decision. Perhaps, I should stick with my first choice—to spread my wings and escape the never-ending battles and the haunting smell of blood that reigned over my reality. If I could close my eyes and wish it all away—taking to the sky with my glorious snowy-feathered wings—wasn’t that the hope of every being in a hopeless world?

With the stars twinkling in the distance as the cloudless night presented the full moon, I wondered why—when my brother made his choice, it was to run fast and furious across the golden sand dunes. And when my sister made hers, it was to brace the wrathful waves of mighty storms. Yet, just when I thought they could flee from the raging turmoil that plagued our land, they stayed.

Still, five days, three hours, and sixteen minutes later, I chose to fly.

“Have you decided?” I asked.

“I think so,” he said. It wasn’t a difficult decision—I always knew he wanted to fly, too.

“Good. You have my support, you know that, right?” I replied.

“Yes. But can I ask you something?” he said with a frown. Therein lay the same hesitation in his mien. The same hesitation that was once mine—if my choice was selfish and cowardly.

“It’s alright if you want to run,” I stated. “Everyone secretly wants to. I did, too.”

“Then why did you stay?”

I chuckled. Indeed, why did I? The night after I received my gift—to own the body of a magnificent bird of prey—I could have bid farewell. I could have left everything behind to start anew. I could choose the adventures I wished to embark on—ones that weren’t marked by death and destruction. But just as the battle horns blew at the arrival of yet another challenger, seeking the very ancient art that granted me my gift, I rose from my bed ready to protect what was mine.

“The same reason you might,” I told him.

“I don’t understand,” he said. Alas, neither did I in his state. “But it’s not wrong if I leave, right?” he prompted.

“No one is stopping you,” I replied with a smile. “And no one will judge you either. The gift is yours to use, however you wish to use it.”

He nodded. He had made up his mind—he was going to fly. And yet, I knew, he would stay. Just like every single one before him, the allure of the great beyond could never snatch us away from home—more than the magic we fought for was the family that fought alongside us.

At the next blow of the battle horns, we would be the vigilant eyes in the sky. Our brothers would rumble the earth with their spirited roars. Our sisters would wield the elements of the sea with righteous anger. This… had been the ways of our ancestors—to unleash the primeval beast within, to defeat the teeth-baring demons that were hungry for our souls, and to grasp onto hope with our fragile hearts… even when there seemed to be none.

“Goodnight then,” I said.

Five days, three hours, and sixteen minutes later, he chose to fly. And as quickly as an enemy arose, he was by my side—not on a quest to resign from life but to be bold, passionate, and determined… to fight for it.


This story was inspired by the original composition, Everything Will Be Alright by Niklas Ahlstedt.

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Tragedy [12 Genre Months]

I often thought it was a tragedy—how life, as you know it, could change the moment you lost your family. How horrifying it must be as the one left behind. Yet, I never once believed that it could happen to me. After all, I was of noble birth. So who would have thought that I, the child of a respected minister, was just as vulnerable—unspared from the anxiety, fear, and torment? It was only when they came that I realised… I was just like everyone else.

It was never my choice. It was the law that governed our flawless society. Alas, with one wrong step, your blood didn’t matter. For when they came for you, just as they came for us, no amount of pleading or gold could save you from their loaded rifles. It was, after all, a merciless procedure—your fate had already been sealed. And just like mine, I was the only one left—once belonging, now alone. Once free, now a captive.

“Welcome to the cage.” The cage—introduced so indifferently after my mother told me to run. “You’ll get used to it.”

A cold metal collar was strapped around my neck—its incessant beeping tracked my every move. And with the plain white, over-sized uniform hanging loosely on my shoulders, the guards of the hidden world led me to my isolation. This was my new reality—no longer a being but a number. If only… I could find a way to escape.

“You want out?” she asked.

“You know, if they catch you trying, they’ll zap you,” he said, tapping on his own collar. 

“They won’t kill you though,” she stated. “They’ll just warn you not to do it again.”

“I’d rather die,” I replied. “They might as well kill me.”

I had anticipated my cell neighbours to nod in agreement. Oddly, they laughed—a belly-aching laugh, with tears at the corner of their eyes, as if I had told a good joke.

“Why is that funny?” I asked with a frown. 

“Because it is,” he said with a smirk. 

At that instant, I had an inkling that they knew something I did not. And though I was tempted to ask, I was unsure if I could trust them. For some bizarre reason, they seemed rather contented with their lives.

“You’ll find out why, once you get used to this,” she said. 

Life in the cage wasn’t difficult—honestly, it was easy to get used to. There was nothing to do but eat, sleep, and play—there was no work or chores, except for the 3 p.m. gathering in the hall where we would watch static for an hour. From the outside world, where I was told that no one in the cage ever saw the light of day, I was given plenty of sunlight within the confinement. So perhaps, they were right. Still, why did they laugh at my desire for more?

“You don’t know a lot, do you?” she asked. “You think this is a nightmare.”

“I had a life,” I stated. “I had parents and friends.”

“We had parents, too,” he said. “But they weren’t real. None of it was.”

I furrowed my brows.

“Don’t worry,” he added. “One day, they’ll let you out again. You’ll get new parents and new friends… if that’s what you want.”

What were they talking about? Was I missing a memo? Not once did any of the guards offer me a chance to leave. 

“But, you’ll be lucky if they don’t let you out,” she said. “If they do, the cycle will repeat itself. And it kind of sucks, trust me.”

I couldn’t grasp their words—it was a strange notion that the life I knew was fake. But even more difficult to comprehend was wanting to stay, when there was a chance of a new life beyond the cage. Little did I know, they were right. Three weeks later, I was free.

The choice was a vicious cycle. At the end of every experiment, I would wish for a freedom I already had. I would ask the same questions, frown at the same notion, and realise the truth of my predicament a little too late. I would return to the test tube over and over again—unable to change my mind, before I lost all recollection of what was.

Funny, how I once thought it was a tragedy—to be trapped by fate and robbed of a future. But the true tragedy was a joke—a joke on whoever believed that that… was all what life truly was.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Stone Blind Eyes [Music Meets Story]

“If you believe it, you can see it,” she said.

“I can’t. I wish I could,” I told her as I bit my lower lip. Alas, I wasn’t an imaginative child—the other children often said so.

In their bouts of play pretend, I often failed to conjure the monstrous fire-breathing dragon, the majestic crystal castle in the sky, or the magical ruby that could make me fly. I would hear my friends squeal and laugh as they went on great adventures in the glade—taking a back seat with reality as my ordinary world remained as lackluster as it always was. Oh how I wished, that just for a moment, I could step into a realm of wonder and awe.

“Do you believe?” she asked.

“I want to,” I said. “I’ve tried. But… I just can’t see it.”

She reached for my hand with a beaming smile—a smile my mind often drew across her small face—and replied, “Just listen, do you hear them?”

I strained my ears. “What am I listening for?”

“Just listen,” she stated.

The autumn leaves rustled in the afternoon breeze, the shouts of my friends filled the air as they beckoned each other to defeat the army of villainous fairies, and the gentle whisper that was her voice.

“Now,” she added. “Feel them.”

I titled my face toward the sky. The warmth of the sun settled on my skin, the breath of wind brushed through my hair, and the comforting touch of her hand upon mine—for a moment, I didn’t feel alone.

“Do I smell next?” I guessed—it seemed to be some sort of a game, and I didn’t mind it.

“Yes. Do you smell the roses?” she asked with excitement in her voice.

I chuckled and shook my head. “We don’t have roses here.”

The orphanage was sequestered in the embrace of nature. And though the caretakers had a garden of wild vegetables and flowering plants, there were no roses as they were delicate and difficult to grow.

“I smell them,” she stated. “Do you smell them?”

“I…” It took me a second before I played along. “How do they smell?”

“It doesn’t matter how they smell. Just smell them,” she said as a matter of fact-ly.

“All right,” I replied—a hint of sweetness like a jar of candy, a bit of orange peel after an orange has been peeled, and a little perfume like that of a fresh bar of soap. “Okay, I smell them. But I’m not sure if I’m right. I’ve never smelled roses before.”

“Do they smell good?” she asked.

“They smell…” I laughed. “They smell strange, but in a good way.” I nodded my head.

“My roses smell like peppermint and a new book,” she stated confidently, as though that was the scent of real roses.

“Mine smells like soap and candy,” I said with a shrug.

“Your roses smell good,” she replied. “Now…”

“What’s next?” I prompted, wondering where our little game was headed.

“Now… open your eyes.”

I frowned. “What do you mean?”

She knew, just like everyone else, that I couldn’t open my eyes. And even if I could, I would see nothing—I had lost my sight at a young age, and my only perspective of the world was that of a six-year-old’s memory.

“Just like the roses, silly,” she said. “Open your eyes!”

Ah, so that was what she meant. “All right,” I said. “But what am I supposed to see?”

“You tell me—what does today look like?”

That day was a good day. “The sun is bright and round, it’s not hot as usual with the cool breeze, and you’re here… telling me to open my eyes.” I chuckled.

“What colour is the sky? How big are the trees?” she prompted.

“The sky is a bit of blue, a bit of purple, and a bit of pink,” I said. “The trees are big and small—some as small as my toes and some as big as… a troll.”

“A troll,” she said with a gasps. “Guys, there’s a troll!” she shouted to our friends.

I heard my friends running toward us—questions of where the troll was and if it was sent by the maleficent fairy queen intruded our little moment. But before she said a word, she tugged me to my feet.

“Tell them,” she prompted. “Tell them about the troll.”

The world beyond quieted as my friends eagerly waited on me. “The troll…” I hesitated.

Did I really see one? Was it among the trees? There was a colossal tree that looked particularly odd—the thick branches were like giant arms and the stump was like a massive eight-toed foot.

“There!” I pointed ahead. I didn’t know if there was the neighbouring forest, but I saw it… there. “It’s hiding in the trees. But it only has one foot, so all we need is a little magic.”

“We have magic!” one of my friends exclaimed.

And just like that, I felt her hand pull me forward into a run. “You see,” she shouted as we headed toward the troll. “All you needed to do… was believe.”


This story was inspired by the original composition, Euphoria by Mechanical Might

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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