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.)

Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 32

Taking his hand, Joanna felt an immediate surge of energy as Tom brought her along in an apparation. A few seconds later, they appeared in front of a mansion.

“What is this place?” Joanna asked.

“My place. Supposedly,” Tom answered, as he led her through a door which entered a dusty kitchen.

“If it is your place, why are we entering from the back?”

“It is supposed to be mine, but it isn’t.”

Tom pulled out his wand and brightened up their path out of the kitchen, pass the dining room, and into the hall.

“Whose is it then?”

Tom did not answer as they started up the curving steps to the first floor.

“What if we get caught?”

“You’re still afraid of being caught?” Tom asked in reply.

It was Joanna’s turn not to answer him.

Finally, they entered a huge reading room. Tom started a fire by the fireplace while Joanna examined the room. There were tall bookshelves, a grand piano, and three sofas that sat by the fireplace. The house looked abandoned for several years, as the dusty carpets and cobwebbed ceilings made the air so stale and difficult to breath. However, this room was an exception.

“You live here?” Joanna asked, settling down on a sofa.

“This is the Riddle House. It’s mine by default.” Tom took a seat across her before he continued, “I don’t use the front door because it’s booby trapped. I’ve put spells around the house so no muggle would dare enter. Their fear of the dead is an advantage.”

“Fake ghosts?”

“Fake ghosts of my dead father and grandparents. Even their loyal gardener is afraid of entering the house after their deaths.”

“I see.”

“But this is not what I wanted to show you.”

Tom smiled before he whispered in parseltongue. A few seconds later, Joanna heard a hissing reply.

“Should I close my eyes?” Joanna immediately asked. The last time she met one of Tom’s pets, it was a killing machine.

“No. Nagini is not a basilisk. She’s a rare crossed breed snake I acquired when I was travelling.”

To Joanna’s surprise, the snake that entered the room was not at all huge. It was merely 4 feet long and half a feet wide.

“She’s still a baby. But she’ll grow,” Tom said, after he saw her slight relief.

The snake slithered up the sofa next to Tom, and rested its green head on his lap.

Tom said something else in parseltongue and the snake turned its head to look at Joanna. With its tongue flicking in her direction, it slowly stood up.

“What did you say?” Joanna asked, watching the snake closely.

“I introduced you to her.”

The snake slowly slithered onto the wooden table in the between them and Joanna reacted by standing up immediately.

“Relax. I told her you’re not dinner.”

Was that a joke? Joanna asked herself as she turned to Tom.

“She’s just being friendly,” Tom continued. “Give her a pat on the head, so she knows you’re not hostile.”

Joanna shook her head in reply.

“Nagini won’t bite. She’s a baby and she’s friendlier at this stage. In a couple of months time, it would be impossible to befriend her.”

I don’t want to befriend a snake, Joanna thought.

“If she knows you now, she won’t attempt to kill you later on.”

Looks like I don’t have a choice then? Joanna thought.

Slowly, she reached out towards the snake. It was watching her hand as she watched it, and Joanna had a bad feeling about it. Quickly, she touched the top of the snakes head and pulled her hand back. The snake then lowered its head, before returning to Tom.

“That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

Joanna sat back down cautiously.

“I just wanted you to meet my new friend. Nagini has been accompanying me for some time now and she sort of reminds me of you.”

“I’m not a snake,”Joanna immediately responded.

“Of course not. But you’re a friend.”

Tom’s reply made Joanna smile. He never stopped taking her as a friend. That was good, she thought.

…..

Throughout that one month break, Joanna had been catching up with many of her old friends during the day, and spending the nights with Tom in the reading room. One evening, while Joanna was reading a book on dark magic, which was one of the many that rested on the tall shelves, Nagini entered the reading room.

Tom was not around that evening as he said he had an errand to run. Joanna was fine being alone, but certainly unsure on how to react when his snake decided to be her company.

“Hi,” Joanna said, as she lifted her legs off the ground and folded it on the sofa.

Nagini headed up to her and hissed.

“What is it?”

Nagini rose higher off the ground, hissed at her, and turned to look at the door.

“What do you want?” Joanna asked, pushing herself against the sofa. She had to admit that she was still afraid of the snake, baby or not.

Nagini dropped to the ground, slithered to the doorway, rose from the ground and hissed at her again.

Does it want me to follow it? Joanna asked herself.

“Do you want me to follow you?” Joanna then asked Nagini, which she knew did not understand English.

Like a puppy trying to hint for something, Nagini slithered back and forth with its head turning to the hallway outside the room.

Joanna was now certain it wanted to be followed. Yet, Joanna was not so sure if she should. God knows if Nagini intended on attacking her somewhere else.

To Be Continued…

(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Joanna should follow after Nagini!)