Original Works

Food | Party | Head

Costumes, food, and music—that was what the invitation card read. Nothing more, nothing less, just a fun night with friends. As someone who preferred to cosy up on the sofa with a murder-mystery novel, I contemplated long and hard on my answer. But in the fear of missing out, I said ‘sure’. Did I regret my decision? Yes, but not in the way most introverts did. Rather, what I thought would be an insignificant and boring night changed my life… forever.

“Who are you going as?” I asked my friend—the very same friend that convinced me I would enjoy myself.

“I’ll probably just throw a mask on and be done with it.”

“Seriously?”

“It doesn’t really matter. You don’t have to try so hard,” she said with a chuckle.

“It says, come in your best costume.”

“I’ve been going to this for years—best costume simply means looking your best. Trust me, you don’t want to overdo it—you’ll be the weird one. Just go get yourself a mask.”

If she said so, she must be right. So I took her advice. After all, I was losing interest as the days went by, wondering if I should cancel my attendance. And perhaps, I should have listened to my gut. If only I didn’t feel the need to push myself to socialise and make new friends, I could have escaped this fate.

When the night of the event finally rolled around, I had already planned my exit. I had no intention of staying long and had made up my mind to excuse myself after an hour. But as I entered the three-storey bungalow, belonging to a complete stranger, I had an inkling I wouldn’t be allowed to leave until the host said so.

“This is Jon,” my friend introduced. “The man of the house.”

Jon’s costume was a dinner tuxedo, finished with a black Zorro mask. Alike everyone else, his only costume was a horrible disguise. And at that moment, I heaved a silent sigh of relief—having thrown on a red dress, and a party mask that I bought at a Halloween store. What a nightmare it would’ve been to be an oddity—a thought that would soon mean nothing.

“Welcome to my humble abode,” Jon said. “Make yourself at home—it’s going to be a long night.”

I nodded with a thin smile. But as Jon went to greet the next arriving guest, I turned to my friend and said, “I’m leaving at nine.”

“Why?” she asked.

“You know I don’t like this kind of gatherings.”

“You’ll like this one,” she said with a wink. And before I could utter another word, she ushered me toward a group of people she claimed to be her friends.

“Have you guys met Natalie?” my friend introduced, as she gave my shoulder a gentle squeeze.

For a moment, I was confused. Was she referring to the lanky woman with the broad smile? Or, had she forgotten the name of the person she’d known for almost a decade? “She goes by Nat. Be nice to her, all right?” my friend continued. “Now excuse me, I think I see someone who owes me something.”

Just like that—after tossing me into a bizarre scenario—she vanished. Should I reintroduce myself? I hesitated. Oddly, I chose to pretend that my name was indeed Natalie before feigning interest in the group’s chatter about the newest mobile phone. Oh, how dull it was. But before I could escape the torment, the conversation took a turn.

“So, why did you say ‘yes’, Nat?” the lanky woman named Amber asked.

“Yes? To what?” I replied.

“To tonight.”

“Oh, I thought it would be… fun,” I lied. I never once thought I would enjoy myself, despite my friend’s claims.

“That’s sick,” Amber said. “Honestly, I didn’t know what I was getting into until I arrived.”

“Me too,” one of the two men echoed.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Oh,” Amber replied, eyes widening as though she had just realised I was clueless. “So you don’t know.”

“Know what?” I found myself holding my breath. I didn’t know why, but my stomach knotted—a strange urge to leave surfaced, but my feet rooted themselves to the ground.

“Sam hasn’t told you yet, but things are about to get interesting,” Amber said.

“Sam?”

Who was Sam? I had yet to meet anyone by the name of Sam. Unless, Amber meant…

“Your referral?”

Sam—Victoria’s fake name. What did Victoria drag me into? Why did she invite me to something like this—whatever this is that Amber would call me ‘sick’ for thinking it would be fun? I took an unintentional dry gulp, before scanning the room for Victoria. I needed answers. But more importantly, I needed to leave.

“Don’t worry, everything’s going to be fine,” Amber said. “You’ll understand once they bring out the head.”

“What?” I asked. “What do you-”

“I’ve been told we have a good one this year—all the way from Germany.”

“I-I need to-”

“Look,” Amber prompted, pointing at the doorway behind me. “It even looks fresh.”

I didn’t want to look, but I did. And unfortunately, I cannot say what I saw. For if I told you what occurred that night, I would have to give you a fake name too.

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Food, party, and head were words given by Lars Driessen on Facebook. Fun fact: Halloween isn’t celebrated in my country. But, I thought it would be fun to write something in line with this season. Usually, I try not to craft such tales. Thus why I’ve left the ending open—I didn’t want to imagine anything more, so I’ll leave it to your imagination.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. Perhaps you can take on a lighter approach.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2018 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

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Original Works

Voices From The Attic [12 Genre Months]

Whispers, they often called it—unintelligible whispers between people. But unlike the visitors, I didn’t hear an utterance of a word coming from the dead space. In fact, I couldn’t hear at all.

I was raised in an old Victorian house. Every year, my father would order tins of white paint to keep the pillars, balustrades, and walls in pristine appearance. He would often check the floorboards—quick to fix even the softest creak. And every single time I asked him why he was in a rush to mend the walls and polish the doorknobs, he would declare his love for the place we called home.

My father claimed that our home held more history than the local museum. He would rattle about the heritage to anyone who would listen. But strangely enough, my father never once shared a story about its past—who built it, what happened to the early settlers, and why was it worthy of his love? Those common questions were left unanswered—the moment someone brought them up, my father would default to babbling about the weather. Strange, yes. But though his response always made me curious, I chose to remain ignorant.

For the most part, nothing bizarre occurred within the ever-white walls. The house wasn’t haunted—or at least, it never felt that way. Nothing moved or went missing, and there weren’t any cold spots as how TV ghost hunters would determine the presence of otherworldly beings. However, when I was finally old enough to host sleepovers, I began to wonder if my father had a reason for withholding his stories—if they were more sinister than I expected.

They said they heard voices, I told my father. Voices coming from the attic.

“Voices?” he asked. “What time did you girls go to bed?”

Ten. It wasn’t that late.

“You know what happens when you’re tired, right?”

I shook my head, clueless as to what my father was implying.

“You imagine things,” he merely stated.

My friends could very well be imagining the voices they heard. After all, children had a knack for exaggeration. But because of the whispers—claimed to have come from right above my bedroom ceiling—none of my friends would sleep in my house again. From that day onward, I had to go to theirs. And, for the rest of the summer, everyone thought my house was haunted.

Was I ever curious about the voices? Yes. But just like my friends, it was a fleeting curiosity. I was quick to forget the conversation I had with my father. And since no one else mentioned about hearing them, I forgot about it altogether. It was only after fifteen years—when my husband and I visited my parents—did that particular memory resurface.

“Are there people in the attic?” my husband asked.

No. Why?

“I… never mind,” he said.

What is it?

“I thought I heard something, that’s all.” When he caught apprehension sweeping across my face, he added, “I must’ve been imagining it—it was a long drive.”

Let me ask my dad.

“He’ll think I’m crazy.” My husband chuckled. “It’s probably just the fatigue. Let’s call it a night.”

I agreed—perhaps it was indeed the exhaustion. But as someone who couldn’t hear a single sound since birth, I found myself awoken in the middle of the night by an intrusion I least expected.

“I want them to leave,” a female voice whispered—words seemingly carried by the wind.

The hair on my nape stood as I pushed myself seated on the bed. While I contemplated waking my husband, I heard another voice—belonging to a man—reply, “They won’t be staying long.”

The voices were coming from above my bedroom—the same bedroom I slept in for eighteen years of my life. But as I gazed up at the ceiling, I saw nothing but well-patched plaster. Was I imagining too? Was it a dream?

“I’m leaving tomorrow. I cannot live here anymore,” the female voice insisted.

“They won’t harm us,” the other replied.

“Then why are we hiding?”

“I’ll… I’ll call him tomorrow.”

“Tell him we’re selling—I’m not raising our child in a haunted house.”

Silence followed after the woman’s declaration. There were no more whispers—no more voices from the attic. I strained my ears for a decibel of a sound, but I heard nothing. Assuming it was all in my head, I returned to sleep. But when the rooster crowed, I found it hard to ignore what I had heard. So I pulled my father aside after breakfast, hopeful for a reasonable explanation.

I heard voices last night, coming from the attic.

“Voices? What kind of voices?” my father asked.

Human voices. They were talking about us.

“What time did you go to bed?”

Dad, I’m not a child.

“Then you should know better than to ask.”

What do you mean?

“I mean, go to bed early. You shouldn’t be hearing anything.”

I don’t understand. Why-

“If they can’t hear you, you can’t hear them.”

Dad, you’re not-

“Forget it,” he sternly replied.

Dad, what’s-

“The weather looks good today, doesn’t it? We should have a picnic—I’ll inform your mother.”

From that day onward, I didn’t hear the voices again. There were no more ghostly whispers. The attic was silent. And not because I went to bed early. It wasn’t even because I was deaf. There were no more voices because there was a fire—a fire I would soon have to forget for this story to repeat itself, over and over again.

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12 Genre Months © 2018 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Missing Buttons [12 Genre Months]

There were always two buttons missing—two buttons from my white, collared shirt, two buttons from the back pockets of my navy blue jeans, and two buttons from my black, iron-pressed blazer. I grew up with two buttons less than everyone else. And, it was never a problem despite the curiosity my strange circumstances stirred.

Growing up, everyone seemed to notice my missing buttons—my friends, their parents, the teachers, and the bullies. Nobody dared to ask where my buttons had gone to—some teased and made wild assumptions—but they were all very curious. From the way they parted their lips in hesitation of a question to the way their eyes darted to and from the loose threads, I knew they wanted to know. Alas, I myself had no idea where my buttons were. I didn’t remove them on purpose. There was no reason for me to un-thread them. They just always went missing in my possession. And the older I got, the more baffled I was by their mysterious disappearances. Yet, oddly enough, I didn’t see the need to find out why, how, and what. That is, until the day they reappeared—all of them… in my bedroom cupboard.

I had lived thirty-five years with two missing buttons from everything I owned. I had learned to adapt, using zips and velcros to hold things in place. People were still curious. I still shrugged in oblivion of the answer they sought. However, it wasn’t a predicament. I could live with missing buttons. I didn’t need them. But on the night of my thirty-fifth birthday, I found them.

I had just returned from a dinner with friends when I yanked my cupboard open for a clean pair of clothes. As the door clicked free from the magnetic lock, a heap of buttons streamed onto my wooden floor. At first, I thought it was a joke. Everyone I knew, knew about my missing buttons. There was a possibility that someone thought it would be funny to gift me hundreds of buttons to make up for all the missing ones. But while I cupped the buttons into an empty pail, I noticed something about them—most of them weren’t new. The white, plastic buttons had turned off-white, the metal ones had browned from oxidation, and the cloth-covered buttons were peeling from their seams. They were my buttons. And at the realisation of my past returning to haunt me, I hastily reached for the phone to give my mother a call.

“The missing buttons, mum. The ones from my shirts and pants—they’re all here,” I said, withholding not the apprehension in my voice.

“What about those buttons?” my mother asked.

“They’re here, mum. Right here, in my house—in my cupboard.”

“Just toss them out if you don’t need them,” my mother replied, too calmly.

“I know. I will. But why are they here? All of them—suddenly?”

“I don’t know,” my mother said.

“Wait…” My mother wasn’t reacting the way I thought she would—she was taking the event too lightly. Was she the culprit? Could I now heave a sigh of relief? “Was it you? Did you put them here?” I asked.

“Why would I put buttons in your cupboard?”

“This isn’t funny, mum. Are you and dad hiding in the kitchen or something?” I stalked toward the bedroom door, ready to call my mum out on her joke—ready for the birthday surprise. Unfortunately, such wasn’t the case.

“Ben, I wouldn’t take a five-hour flight just to put buttons in your cupboard,” my mother insisted—her tone now serious.

“Then how did they get here?” I demanded. “Who put them here?”

At that question, I froze. There was more to my fear—now rooting me to the ground. Who… put them here? Who was the person who had stolen my buttons for thirty-five years and had just decided to return them without reason. Was this person still in the house? Was this person watching me?

“Mum, I need you to ask dad to call the police,” I said.

“Ben, you need to calm down.”

“I can’t calm down, mum. Those missing buttons…” I paused, hesitating to leave the bedroom. “Someone was here. Someone put-”

“Ben, I need you to calm down.”

“How do you expect me to calm down? Someone-”

You… put them there, Ben,” my mother interrupted.

“What? What are you talking about?”

“Ben, I need you to listen.”

“Mum-”

“I need you to collect those buttons and throw them out. Can you do that?” my mother asked.

“I… don’t understand.”

“Just do as I tell you.”

“Why?”

“Ben, listen to me. You have-”

“I’ve got to go, mum.” I didn’t know what she was talking about. She sounded insane. “I’ll call you later.”

“Don’t hang up on me. I need you to throw the buttons away and tell me once you’ve done so.”

Why did she insist I do that? I turned to look behind me where the buttons had spread across the bedroom floor. But in the expectation of their disconcerting nature, I found them gone.

“Ben,” my mother called. “Ben, are you there?”

“Yes,” I replied. Where did the buttons go? How did they just… disappear. “They’re gone… the buttons.”

“You threw them out?”

Should I tell her that they simply vanished? I didn’t know what was going on. I wasn’t sure if I should continue to panic. Did I imagine it all? Despite the many troubling questions, I heard myself say, “Yes, I threw them out.”

“Are you sure?” my mother asked.

“They’re gone now.”

“Good,” my mother said. “Now, go to bed—it’s late.”

I hesitated to douse the mystery—to demand for an explanation. But instead, I did as I was told. After all, they were gone now—the buttons were missing once again. And honestly, that was all that mattered.

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12 Genre Months © 2018 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Nightmare | Lantern | Murder

The three-headed monstrosity, with emerald green scales, wide bat-like wings, thick murderous whipping tail, and six pairs of black beady eyes, rose from its slumber. It shattered the still night – bursting through the glistening waters into the starry canvas above. Screeching in fury, it lowered its gaze at the sailing party that boldly awakened it.

“What do we do?”

“Cast the invisibility spell!”

“What? We didn’t summon it to hide.”

Beep, beep, beep.

“Use the lightning spell!”

Beep, beep, beep.

“Whose is that?” I asked.

Beep, beep, beep.

“It’s mine. Sorry guys, we have to end the game.”

“You gotta be kidding me.”

“I’m sorry. You know how my parents are like.”

I peered out the window of our wooden treehouse. The night was young – families still roamed the streets – with boisterous excitement in the air.

“The kids are still out. And your house is ten feet away,” I stated.

“It’s late. And I don’t want to die.”

“Your house is just there,” I repeated.

“I have to go.” He maneuvered past me – careful not to knock over our game pieces – toward the rope ladder. “I’ll see you guys at school, alright,” he added. And with that, he left.

“Buzzkill,” I murmured, rising to my feet.

The twins followed suit and we grudgingly descended, what we called, our ‘Adventure Fort’.

“See you guys on Monday,” I said, jogging to my bicycle.

“See you,” the twins replied in unison. “And don’t let the Jack-O-Lantern get you!” the twins added, cycling off in the opposite direction.

The murder had ruined a promising weekend. And honestly, I couldn’t understand the paranoia. People died all the time. Crazy people existed. To me, the commotion was exaggerated. Whether it was the Jack-O-Lantern or the Serial Santa, learning about another death by another killer was plain old news. I didn’t gasp, question, or cry. I was nonchalant – never a victim, but so was the majority. It baffled me that half the town wanted to cancel the weekend.

As I sped down the street, where parents ushered their children for their final ‘trick-or-treat’, I decided to ring a few doorbells. Knowing my parents didn’t mind if I stayed out late, I cycled into one, then two, and then three more driveways until my backpack brimmed with treats. After which, I headed home – it was almost midnight and my street had gone to bed.

That night, I expected nothing out of the ordinary. Strolling into my house, I shuffled straight to the dining room and emptied the contents of my backpack on the table. But it was then, I heard a noise. It was a series of thuds, alike a banging on the wall – muffled and periodic. It didn’t come from above, but below.

“Dad?” I called.

The thudding stopped. I shrugged it off and returned to separating my treats. The night was still for five minutes. Then, I heard another sound. This time, it didn’t come from below. As though something heavy was being dragged, my curiosity spurred my feet into action.

“Mum?”

I strode to the back of the house. Arriving in the kitchen, I fumbled for the light switch. But just before I made the flip, I caught sight of a figure in my backyard through a window.

The figure donned a red check shirt beneath a blue denim jumper. With a large pumpkin head resting on its shoulders, it hovered over a lifeless creature. Inching closer for a better look, the dead creature’s form came into view. It wasn’t a large animal, as I’d previously assumed – it was a person.

I gasped – hands cupped over my mouth. I didn’t know what to do. Should I run, hide, or call the police? Was the dead person one of my parents? No, it was merely a trick – an elaborate trick my father occasionally played on me. But, I hesitated. I didn’t dare to face the figure outside.

Backing away from the darkness, the kitchen lights flicked on. I jumped startled and spun toward the doorway. My heart pounded in my chest, as I stared at the person before me.

“You’re home early,” my mother said.

“It’s… it’s midnight,” I replied. Then snapping my head toward the window, I said, “There was someone outside.” Gesturing at the now vacant backyard, I stuttered, “I-I-it-it looked like the Jack-O. It wasn’t you, was it?”

“No,” my mother replied.

“We need to call the police,” I said. But just as I headed for the phone, my father stepped into my path. “Dad! Someone’s outside. You have to call the police.”

“There’s no one outside,” my father said. “I just came from outside.”

“So it was you?” I asked. Then gazing at him from head to toe, I noticed his brown-stained shoes and sweat-covered shirt. “What… what were you dragging?”

“Happy Halloween!” my father replied, with a childish grin. “I got you, didn’t I?”

“That was a trick?” I frowned – it was a horrible trick with no pay off. “But-”

“It’s late,” my mother interrupted. “You should go to bed.”

Before I could respond, my mother led me to my room. She didn’t answer any of my questions. And it became obvious. As the clocked ticked into the night, I laid still and awake in my feathered bed. I couldn’t sleep – not with the haunting sound of dragging bodies below. How many were there? I didn’t want to know. All I hoped for was day to arrive – the end of this nightmare. That’s right, it was simply a nightmare – a figment of my imagination, just like my three-headed dragon.

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Nightmare, lantern, and murder were words given by Kurotsuba. You might have noticed I drew inspiration from Stranger Things and the classic Goosebumps stories. As I didn’t have much time to work on this piece, I just went with the theme of the season. Hopefully, it isn’t too weak of a tale from being rushed.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words to write a piece of your own. The real challenge is writing out of theme. I wish I had more time to do so, but perhaps you could give it a go.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

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

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

Original Works

Dear Macy

Dear Macy

It was a dark afternoon. The clouds were thundering outside and the rain poured heavily. It was the perfect weather to work on my novel, so I grabbed my laptop from my bag and brought it to the fireplace.

My novel was called ‘BFF: Best Friend Fail’. It was about two best friends who grew up and did everything together, until they met a man. The man charmed the best friends and they both fell in love with him. Since they each could not give up on that man, they became rivals.

I know, it’s a rather cliché story, but my agent said there was a market for it. I finished writing the first draft a few weeks ago, and I was planning on improving it before sending it to my editor. Opening up the file on my laptop, I began with chapter one, ‘Dead Macy’.

No, that was not the title for chapter one. It was an error. I quickly changed the morbid word to ‘Dear’ and moved on. By the time night had fallen, I was done with five chapters and ready for bed. I also felt good about myself; only thirty more chapters to go!

The following morning, I decided not to waste any time and started on my novel right away. As I swallowed my buttered toast, I opened up the file and immediately groaned at what I saw. Those bold words did not seem to have saved the last time. After changing ‘Dead’ to ‘Dear’ again, I scrolled through what I had done the day before to check if the other changes were saved. Strangely they were, but I did not dwell on it much.

That day, I managed to go through ten chapters. By then I decided it was better to print it out and work on paper instead; I always wanted to be an English teacher. So before heading to bed, I hooked my laptop to the printer and left it to print while I snoozed.

When morning arrived, I put off working on my novel and decided to go for a walk. There was a small path behind my holiday cabin that led to a lake, and I was hoping for nature to inspire me. After my walk, I returned to the cabin and went straight to the printer. Rearranging the sheets of paper, I came across a word that was starting to annoy me. Quickly grabbing a red pen, I crossed out the word ‘Dead’ and wrote ‘Dear’ above it.

Checking my laptop after, I found that the error was still there. Frustrated that my laptop was acting up, I retyped the word, and printed the first page. I was confident this time, as I strutted to the printer only to find the same grim word.

Somehow having inkling that my laptop had revised itself again, I decided to ignore my novel all together and read a book instead. Maybe my eyes were playing a trick on me or maybe I was just too tired after my walk to the lake, whatever the reason was, I was not going to touch it that day.

Cuddling up on the couch as a light drizzle began, I let the crime novel take me on an adventure. Halfway through Detective Frigate’s theory on who murdered Lady Gloria, my phone rang. Grunting at the disturbance, I pulled away from the Detective’s office and answered, “Hello?”

“Hey Rosy, how are you?” my friend asked.

“Good. I was reading. You interrupted Detective Frigate,” I replied

“Nice to know you’re feeling better,” my friend said with a chuckle.

Better? I was not sick, but I responded with a ‘thank you’ anyway.

“So, how’s the book going?”

“It’s going fine.”

“I heard you’re going to let Macy take credit for it.”

“Macy?”

“Sorry. I know, it’s too soon to be talking about her.”

I did not reply. I had no idea what she was talking about.

“Anyway, it’s good to hear from you. Jake said he could not reach you, so I was worried.”

“Jake?”

Who were these people she was naming?

“The guy that you and Macy always hung out with? The one Macy liked?”

“Oh, Jake,” I said. The conversation did not go on after that, because I became extremely disturbed by chapter one’s title. When my friend hung up, I went straight to the pile of printed words and read the first chapter again.

Chapter 1: Dead Macy 

My dead friend Macy was always kind and generous, but she was only kind and generous with strangers. With me, she had a habit of taking everything, even the man I liked. Too bad for her now. She’s gone and-

I could not read on. It was not what I had written a few weeks ago. Somebody had changed it. As I checked the rest of the chapters, I found one titled ‘Goodbye Jake’ and another ‘Daddy’s Funeral’. I had no recollection of writing any of it and I began to freak out.

Maybe I was sick. Maybe that was the reason my parents sent me away. Maybe that was why a doctor came this morning. What was his name? Doctor Lake? No, I took a walk to the lake. Did he ask me to? Wait, where am I? Where’s Macy?

We’re supposed to finish this novel together.

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Occasionally, a random idea pops up in my head and I write it down. This story is one of them. There’s no ‘moral’ to it, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway.

Do let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

The Other Me

The other me

The first time I met the other me, I was in my bedroom hovering over all the candy I had collected from my run of Trick or Treat. I was happily splitting the chocolate bars from the lollipops when I felt a presence watching me.

I first thought the feeling came from the fear I felt of being caught. You see, not all of the candies were mine. Before I entered my room, I took 3 handfuls from my brother’s bucket. So the fear of my mum storming in deceived me into thinking I was imagining things. Of course, I soon realized I wasn’t.

As I turned to look behind me, I saw something moving at the corner of my eye. Quickly turning towards it, I found myself staring at the mirror in my bedroom. The mirror reflected me perfectly, except that I was standing and smiling.

I swallowed hard as I got to my feet. Walking slowly towards the mirror, I asked myself, “What is going on?”

To my surprise, my reflection replied, “Nothing. I’m just watching.”

Not being a big fan of ghost stories, I found the hair on my nape rising. I also had the urge to dive under my blanket and call for my mother. But just as I was about to act on it, my reflection said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m you, and I’m here to help you.”

“You… are?” I asked, skeptical at the way he grinned back at me.

“Yes. Just take me as your invisible twin.”

“O.K,” I merely replied.

Going back to the candy on the floor, I continued with the grouping. I tried my best to ignore the other me in the mirror, and when I was done I turned to see if he was still there. True enough, he was. He had not left, and was now seated in a position that looked as though he was sitting across from me.

“You might want to hide some of the candy. You know mum only allows a piece after dinner,” he said.

“You’re right,” I replied and did as I was told.

Since then, I’ve always done what he had told me to do. Sometimes, I would contemplate and question his morality, but he always had good reasoning. More often than not, I would lose in my arguments with him and follow his directions.

As I grew older with the other me, he became my closest friend. He was me after all, and nothing stood between us. What I didn’t know was that the more I trusteed him, the stronger he got.

On the day of my graduation, I found him hovering over my bed and no longer trapped in my bedroom mirror. In shock and delight, I sat right up and asked him how he did it. He merely shrugged and told me to hurry. He also said that I could be the one giving the valedictorian speech if I played a little trick.

I did pretty well in university and was in the list to give the speech on graduation day, but a fellow classmate topped me and she was chosen instead. I was not happy about it but I accepted it eventually, except that the other me did not. That morning, he told me to stain my classmate’s robe so she would be too embarrassed to get on stage. There was a moment of hesitation, but the other me insisted that I deserved to be the one in the limelight. Agreeing with him, I did as I was told.

When I saw my classmate that morning, I walked into her with a cup of coffee. She gasped in horror as I began to apologize profusely. Knowing her well enough, I offered my robe for her to use being sure she would turn me down out of her kind nature. She then told me to give the speech on her behalf and trusted I would do a good job.

Did I feel bad for using her trust to my benefit? Of course I did. But the other me said I did nothing wrong. She did not hate me or blame me for anything, instead she pat my back after I delivered the speech. I manipulated her because he told me too, and the manipulation did not stop.

After receiving my masters, I went on to work in a bank. I worked my way up with his help and found my way in the CEO’s chair. He would sit in my office all day, pitching me great ideas, and I would jot them down whenever a good one struck. Where I was then, was all because he guided me through. He was like the evil twin who had no conscience and I was the good one being corrupted. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I did not see his true colours until I became a billionaire.

I was lying in my bed one night, with a smile plastered on my face. I had just swindled billions from my company and placed the blame on a fellow colleague. I laughed at how my colleague was so easily blind sighted, but little did I know, I was a victim of it too.

When my happy soul was finally at rest, I was awakened by the other me. He stood by the side of my bed, with an eerie smile that did not terrify me as much as the knife in his hand. Before I could ask what it was for, he lifted it above my chest and plunged it down. Immediately, I felt my soul escaping my body and switching places with him. Unfortunately for me, I was not given the right to stand on my own and was sucked into my bedroom mirror.

Struck with horror, I pounded on the glass and demanded for my body back, but all he did was turn on his side and returned to a deep slumber. Confused and hurt, I realized I was the dumb fool who lost it all.

Now, I was the other me; the insignificant reflection of the beast I created.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Can you guess the analogy? It’s greed. Greed starts off small but grows the more we feed it. Greed itself is greedy and would not stop till it gets what it wants, and that is all of you. It has a way of controlling our emotions and reactions, and it can come up with ingenious plans. It also ultimately makes us a fool for thinking we have it all. When greed wins, we lose.

I will be embarking on the theme of ‘7 Deadly Sins’ with my short stories for the next few weeks. Pride and Greed have been done and I hope to address the rest in similar dark premises. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed this story and took something from it. Do let me know what you think as I’m looking forward to your comments!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

Black Ghost – Pt. 1

Black Ghost Part 1

Clang, clang, thump. Clang, clang, thump.

The familiar rhythm of my machines played in the background as I got up from my seat. There he stood, fingers interlocked so tightly together they were turning white. He was scared, so scared I would fire him.

“Do you know what this is?” I asked, as I waved the article he wrote in my hand.

“I’ll write another one, Mr Trots,” he quickly replied.

“This is rubbish. A useless piece of rubbish!” I shouted, as I tore up the brown paper and threw it in his face.

“I’ll- I’ll-”

“You’ll give me a piece worthy of my paper. No junk stories! Do you hear me?!”

He nodded his head vigorously.

“Clear this mess and get out of here!” I ordered.

He scrambled to gather the torn pieces of paper, but when he took too long I shouted for him to leave. I should have had him fired, but that wasn’t the day.

As I reclined in my armchair, I picked up my half smoked cigar and shut my eyes. The sound of my machines began to build up like an orchestra. The rotating of gears and the pressing of ink onto smooth brown paper was music to my ears.

Behind me was a wide glass panel that overlooked the machines. I made sure to have sight of them because they reminded me of my success. I started out as an amateur journalist, but I soon ran a news publication. I had hundreds of people under me, I owned a big house, I had my own driver, and I was well known throughout the city. I have never failed to remind people of my success, and they would do well not forgetting it.

The soothing clanging and thumping took me deeper into my thoughts. But when I was about to hit another climax, something sounded wrong.

Clang, clang, thump, THUD!

My eyes shot open. As I whirled my chair to face the machines, I noticed black smoke seeping out from the gears. I watched as it slithered towards the glass panel. All of a sudden, there was a loud thud and I nearly fell out of my chair.

Within a split second, the smoke shaped itself into the upper body of a human being and slammed its hands onto the glass panel.

It did not have much features, only blue eyes and a smoke tail below its waist. I stared at it in horror, unsure of what to do. The only moment my eyes looked away was when I heard a knock on my door, and by the time I turned back to the black ghost, it was gone.

That night, I had trouble sleeping. I lay in bed and watched the ceiling fan spin. The black ghost did not follow me home, but even though it was not visible I could still feel its presence.

What did it want from me? That was a question that kept hammering in my head even when morning arrived.

As I clocked into work the next morning, I pulled my office blinds up to look out at the empty desks outside. I was always early, and that day was no exception. The office was very quiet except for the young journalist typing away at his desk. He must have burned the midnight oil for the story I wanted, and just as I was thinking of him, I saw him rise from his desk and walk to my office.

“Mr Trots, I have written another story,” he said as he handed me the paper.

I immediately noticed the many correction marks beneath the different words. And that alone annoyed me.

“Do I not provide you with enough paper and ink? Or are you just too lazy to type it out again?”

Of course, I knew that making corrections took more work than retyping, being he used a typewriter, but I decided to overlook that fact.

“I, I just wanted…”

He could not continue, so I let him shut himself up and began reading the story. But while I was reading it, I saw him fidgeting at the corner of my eye. As I looked up to give him a glare, I saw something that widened my eyes instead.

Floating in front of him was the black ghost. He did not seem bothered by it as he continued staring at the ground, but when I opened my mouth to ask him about it, the black ghost entered his body.

Standing up, I demanded, “Did you see that?!”

He looked up at me and then at the paper in my hand. He swallowed hard and stopped fidgeting.

“Are you deaf? Answer me!” I began to panic.

“Mr Trots,” he paused and inhaled deeply before continuing, “I quit.”

“What?” His words caught me off guard.

“I quit. I don’t want to work for you anymore. You’re a prideful, egoistic tyrant and I’m sick and tired of your treatment. I quit and I will never come back!”

Before I could find the words to answer him, he stormed out the door. And just as he took a step out of my office, the black ghost seeped out from him and stayed behind.

It seemed as though the black ghost could not leave my office. And as it watched the young journalist pack up his things and leave, I watched it. After the man was gone, the black ghost simply vanished.

I was so certain the man was possessed. He would not have quit if not for the black ghost. What was the black ghost doing? Why was it bothering me? What was its plan? Whatever it was, I was not going to let it succeed.

To be continued…

____________________________________________________________________________________________

This story was too long, so I decided to split it into two parts! You can read Part 2  here 🙂

Do let me know what you think of this story! Also, what do you personally think is the black ghost?

I would love to read your theories and your comments. So be sure to leave them below!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Others

7 Things About Me

7thingsaboutme

Hip hip hooray for 2,400 subscribers!

I just want to thank all of you, both old and new, for your readership. I can’t say it enough, and at the same time I’ve probably over said it. But you know what, there’s no overdose with gratitude. So thanks guys!

Recently I’ve been getting a few blog award nominations, and since my last ‘get-to-know-me’ post was when I hit 1,111 subscribers, I thought I should do another.

So here are 7 things about me (none repeated, of course):

#1 I have a brother, he’s 5 years younger than me. I’m glad that our age gap made us close. I’m also glad he has outgrown his angst-y years, cause we don’t fight anymore, yay!

#2 I secretly wish I could draw. Then I could paint my fictional characters and worlds as close to my imagination as possible. I also wouldn’t need to ask for favours all the time.

#3 I recently discovered Running Man and I love it. HaHa is my favourite! Now I want to learn Korean 🙂

#4 Apparently I’m allergic to a particular sunblock. And here I was thinking I’m not allergic to anything.

#5 I hate horror films; horror in terms of ghostly women with long hair and white robes that either crawl or contort. Let’s not forget their faces… after all, that’s the mission of horror films; horror at first sight.

#6 That being said, I don’t believe in ghosts. Demons yes, ghosts no.

#7 I love coffee and tea. I love them differently and I can’t choose one over the other. Don’t make me!

There you have it! Now you know me a little better 🙂

If you would like to support me further, check out the bookshop, follow me on twitter and like me on facebook! I would thoroughly appreciate it!

Thanks once again guys, I hope you have been enjoying my stories as much as I have been writing them 🙂

*Current blog post schedule: A post every Thursday alternating between an original short story and a Harry Potter fan fiction. On a side note, my picture storybook is almost done! Free download soon enough.

Original Works

The Bloody Book

The Bloody Book

It was a bloody book, bound in human flesh. No one was suppose to find it, because in it were the names of his victims scrawled in crooked black ink. But on one unfortunate night, his book slipped from under his cloak and landed on the damp grass of someone’s lawn. He didn’t notice it missing until he arrived home, and by then he could not do anything. Morning was arriving and he would just have to wait for the book to return to him. It always did.

Giselle had just returned from a school trip; one her school organized to make up for a prom-less year due to the lack of funds. She did not complain like the rest, because she did not care much about prom. She was busy sending in her applications to the universities of her choice and studying for her final exams, and she had no time for such trivial events.

As she was heading up to her front porch that afternoon, she noticed a book wrapped in brown cloth lying on the grass. Naturally, she picked it up. But before she could check what book it was, her younger brother ran from the house and gave her a hug.

Giselle and Sam were rather close. They once had another sister, but she died when she was eight. The police said it was an accident, and even though they believed otherwise they could not prove it. Carla was a smart girl, even at the age of eight. She was the responsible little girl that scolded Sam for climbing on things, so how could she have died falling from her bedroom window? The thought of an intruder was frightening, but there was no proof of that either.

After Sam was done hugging Giselle, claiming he had missed her, she went to her room and started to unpack. Sam helped a little before he left for a cartoon show on TV. When Giselle had finally cleared everything up, she went straight to the cloth wrapped book.

When Giselle removed enough cloth to see what she was holding in her hands, she dropped it. After staring at it  for a long time, Giselle convinced herself that the cover was made out of un-cleaned animal skin and the pages had been soaked in red paint. That was the only logical explanation to the hideous book on her bedroom floor.

Picking it up she was tempted to throw the book away, but her curiosity got the best of her and she found herself flipping through the pages. The first few pages were written in such horrid handwriting that it was impossible to read, but the next few were much better.

‘She was a pretty thing. Big blue eyes and long brown hair. I married her when we were 17. Two years later, she  gave birth to my son and we were happy. I was happy.

I was happy and it made him angry. He whispered horrible things in my ear and I couldn’t shut him up.

That night… I took a kitchen knife and silenced my crying son. The next morning, my wife woke me up to the dead baby in the bloody crib. She wanted to call the police but I told her she couldn’t because I killed him. She called me crazy, and that was the last word she ever said.

My blade had taken Miranda and little Gary to this bloody page.’

After reading that page, Giselle immediately put the book down. There were so many pages filled with that same handwriting and she did not want to read it anymore. She found her hands shaking as she reached for the phone, but before she dialled 911, she wondered if the book was merely a prank. Could it be? Her thumb hovered unsteadily over the number 9, and when she finally decided to make the call, the front door slammed shut and she jumped to her feet.

“Sam!” Giselle immediately called.

She could feel fear creeping up her spine and the hair on her back was slowly rising. “Sam!” Giselle yelled.

“What?” Sam came running into her room casually.

“Did you hear the door?”

“Mum and dad are home,” Sam merely replied.

At that moment, Giselle felt stupid. All she could do was give her brother a weak smile as he looked at her worriedly.

That night, Giselle could not swallow anything that was on her dinner plate. She had been chewing on a piece of steak for so long, that it was now dry and tasteless in her mouth. Her parents were busy talking about getting a new car that they did not even notice Sam slipping away and returning to the TV. After she was tired of attempting to fill her growling stomach, she excused herself and returned to her room.

There, she reached for the phone once again, but she hesitated longer this time. Maybe it was prank, she thought. Wanting to prove herself right, she took the book from under the bed, where she previously hid it, and flipped through the pages.

Randomly stopping at one page, she read silently.

‘He had black hair and dark skin. He was my colleague, a good friend, and my bowling buddy. That night, we won our first bowling competition against our rival company, and we were happy. I was happy.

I was happy and it made him angry. He whispered horrible things in my ear and I couldn’t shut him up.

That night, I went over to his house to celebrate our winning. And when he had drank too much, I took my shiny blue bowling ball and shut him up. I did not stay after it happened, and I left town.

My blue bowling ball had taken Brad to this bloody page.’

That night, Giselle couldn’t sleep. She found herself clutching the phone, tempted to call the police. At the same time, she convinced herself to speak to her parents first. They would know what to do, right?

When the next morning came, Giselle did not recall falling asleep. Her mum woke her up rather violently as the alarm had been going off for 30 minutes. When she finally reached school, she was too tired to think about anything… even the book.

After school, she hurried home hoping to catch her parents before they left for the day. Her dad ran his own metal factory and he went to work at random hours, her mum was a housewife and a freelance landscaper, she usually disappeared after lunch to pick Sam up from school.

That noon, Giselle returned home a little too late as both her parents’ cars were gone. Sighing to herself, she headed up to her room and reached for the phone. She thought of calling her parents… and the police came to mind. But as that thought came and left, Giselle had the strangest urge to pick up that bloody book and read another page.

Not really knowing what she was doing, Giselle felt herself going for the book and diving straight into its contents. This time, she did not stop at one story but she went on. She kept reading till the clock by her bedside ticked 8 o’clock, and only then she wondered why her mum had not called her down for dinner. Heck, it was 2 hours past dinner time!

Thinking if she should go down stairs and check, Giselle decided to read one more page before she did.

‘She had bright brown eyes and curly long hair. She was a pretty and clever girl… and she was only eight. I liked her a lot, she was not my favourite but I liked her. We went to the park one evening and she made me laugh. She said the cleverest things and it made me happy.

I was happy that evening, and it made him angry. He whispered horrible things in my ears and I couldn’t shut him up.

That night, I woke her up from her sleep. She asked me what was going on and I said I wanted to play a game. I brought her to her window and told her to sit on the ledge. I promised her I wouldn’t let her go, but I did. I went back to bed after that.

My promise had taken Carla to this bloody page. My dear darling Carla.’

It had returned once again, that same fear she felt the night before. This time, it was far worse and almost paralyzing  Giselle couldn’t move or think; she could not even control her breathing as she felt her heart racing madly in her chest.

Carla was indeed murdered… murdered by someone they knew. Someone close. When Giselle had finally managed to snap out of her frozen state, she reached for the phone on her bed. That was when her room door opened and standing at the door was the person she least expected.

“What are you doing in your room, Giselle? Is everything o.k?” Her father asked, as the darkness in the hallway hid half of his face.

Why was her father checking up on her?

He never checks up on her.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Someone I know (same person who drew the background of the above banner) made a catchy creepy statement on Facebook, painting an image of a bloody book bound in human flesh. Immediately, I knew that book would make a good story. So… after a good response from Bobby, I decided to write another horror story.

I hope you guys liked this one too! Do let me know what you think!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

Bobby

bobby

In my final semester as a Psychology student, I was required to do a three month internship. It was to my joy and dismay that I was placed in a nut house. Unfortunately, I was the only one. The good news was that I had a chance to deal and handle with patients with serious mental disorders. Being that I was fond of the human mind, I saw it as an opportunity. However, on the day I was told that I would be sent to the asylum, my friend warned me.

“Don’t get possessed,” she said.

She believed that some mental illnesses were the cause of demon possession. Whether I believed her or not, I’m pretty open minded, and if ever it was proven that the supernatural realm had something to do with mental illnesses, I would gladly accept it.

“Don’t worry,” was all I could say at the end of the conversation.

A couple of weeks later, I found myself in the hallways of the asylum. I expected it to be grey and dull, and to have flickering lights that forced visitors into a foreboding state, but I was wrong. It was clean, bright and well decorated. Fresh flowers with curtains drawn back were practiced in every room, reminding me of an old folks home. Often times, I wondered if I came to the right place.

Work at the asylum proved useful to my course of study. Every conversation I had with the patients weren’t all crazy talk, and some of them actually understood what was going on. One day, while saying goodbye to a young girl who was ready to go back to a normal life, I overheard a couple talking about their son and how he needed help.

“He starts chanting at night,” the woman said.

“He wouldn’t go back to bed no matter what I tell him, and he would be so exhausted in the morning,” the man added.

“I see,” my supervisor said, as he nodded his head.

“You have to help our son. Something is not right with him,” the woman pleaded.

“We will send someone to evaluate your son’s condition for a few days, and if we see that he needs help, we will give it to him,” my supervisor said, before asking them to fill out a form.

Once the couple had left, my supervisor turned to me. He must have noticed me listening in on the conversation.

“You think you’re up for it?”

“Huh?” I simply replied.

“You think you can evaluate the boy, and see if he needs help?”

“Erm… maybe?” I answered un-confidently.

“This would be a good experience you know. Plus, it would look good on your internship report,” he said.

“O.k then,” I replied. It didn’t sound like a hard task after all.

A week later, I paid my first visit to the couple and their son. They lived in a small town outside of the city. Their house had a huge yard of freshly mowed grass, and behind it was the woods. A small family in a small town, what was I expecting?

The first visit went on pretty well, and the boy did no chanting. His parents insisted he would only do it at night, but from what I saw, they probably thought his intelligence was a mental illness.

Bobby, their 10 year old son, had a brain like a super computer. As I watched him do his math homework, he threw up all the answers as though he was merely copying them from an answer sheet. A genius he was; that was the conclusion I made on the first visit.

During my second visit, I got to know Bobby a little better, maybe more than I expected. I had paperwork to finish up at the asylum and I ended up getting caught in the jam on the way to his house. The moment I reached for my evaluation, it was already 8p.m.

“Sorry for being late,” I apologized. “I could come back tomorrow.”

“No, it is alright. You only need a couple of hours right? He goes to bed at ten these days,” Bobby’s father said.

Thanking him, I headed up to Bobby’s room immediately. That night, I caught him drawing on his bed. And when he saw me enter, he attempted to hide his drawings.

“What’s wrong Bobby? You can show them to me, I won’t laugh, I promise,” I said.

Bobby hesitated for a while before pulling out his drawings from under the blanket.

Bobby couldn’t draw alright. He was good in math, but he was horrible at art. The first picture I saw was of a man, standing among tall trees. He was in all black, and his arms were extremely long.

Slenderman much? I asked myself.

“He’s in the woods,” Bobby said. Then he handed me another picture, and this time, Mr. Slender was standing in front of a house.

“Is this your house Bobby?” I asked.

Bobby nodded. He handed me another picture, and Mr. Slender was now at a window of the house.

“Whose room is this?” I asked.

“Mine,” Bobby replied. He turned to look at the window, and he never took his eyes of it, even after I asked him more questions.

Just when I was about to turn Bobby to face me, his father entered the room.

“I’m sorry Amy, but you need to leave,” his father quickly said.

“Why, what’s the matter?”

“My mother-in-law just had a heart attack, and we need to go.” Turning to Bobby, he said, “Get changed Bobby, we need to go to the hospital.”

“There’s no need. I can look after him while you’re gone,” I quickly suggested. Immediately after, I wish I didn’t have. What was I thinking? Alone, in the house with a boy, who I think, might just be crazy after all.

“Really? I won’t be gone long. I’ll just drop my wife off so I’ll be back in a couple of hours,” he said.

Too late to say ‘no’ now, I thought.

“No problem. Bobby and I could have a longer talk,” I said.

A few minutes later, they were gone. Bobby and I watched them drive off and returned to his bedroom where he immediately said he wanted to sleep.

“You sure? Your parents are not around, so you could stay up later and watch TV?” That wasn’t a good thing to teach him, but I wanted to continue our conversation on the Slenderman.

“No. I’m sleepy. I should sleep. I have school tomorrow,” Bobby replied. After failing to convince him further, I tugged him in and headed down to watch some reality game show on TV.

After the game show and a talk show ended, I was starting to wonder when Bobby’s father would be home. It was almost 12 and I needed to get home. As I headed to the kitchen to make a call, I heard a loud crash coming from upstairs.

“Bobby?!” I shouted. Quickly, I ran upstairs and into Bobby’s room, and there I found him sitting in a corner. He was hugging his legs and swaying back and forth.

“Bobby? What’s the matter?” I asked. Bobby did not reply. He seemed to be mumbling something softly and I decided to try and shake him out of it.

Once I was close enough, I heard him chant, “He is in the woods. He is in the yard. He is in the house. He is up the stairs. He is in the room.”

This kid IS crazy, I immediately thought.

Trying to snap him out of it, I headed to the window which overlooked the back yard.

“Bobby, there is no one in the yard,” I said. But when I turned to look out the window, I froze.

Standing in the yard was a man. He was definitely not the Slenderman because he was in the right proportion, but Bobby was right; HE was in the yard.

Taking my eyes off briefly, the man vanished after that.

Bobby stopped chanting once I lost sight of the man, and moments later, he started again. This time, he said, “He is in the house. He is up the stairs. He is in the room.”

“He’s not in the house,” I said. Recalling shortly after that I previously said he was not in the yard too.

But he isn’t in the house, the doors were locked, and I didn’t hear anyone coming in, I told myself.

I was proven wrong immediately when I heard the staircase creak. Quickly, I ran and shut the bedroom door. I locked it and headed to the window, trying to pry it open. My failed attempts pointed out the fact that the windows were nailed shut.

Before I knew it, there was a pounding on the door. I screamed questions at the unknown intruder and I screamed at Bobby, who kept on going with ‘he is in the room’. What happened after, I could not fully remember. All I can recall was a bright flash followed by a car accident; a memory of something I swear did not happen in real life.

Now, all I see is him. The man that was hit by the car. He is in the woods. He is in the yard. He is in the house. He is up the stairs. He is in the room. He is in my head.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

When I was a kid, I remember watching the Twilight Zone. There was a story of a boy who was chanting those exact lines and, if I’m not mistaken, his mother actually hit a man on the road. Upon impact, the man crashed into the car windscreen right in front of the boy, imprinting the image on his young mind. That was how the actual story was, IF I’m not mistaken. As a kid, the idea of a creepy dead person stalking another kid was disturbing, I guess that is why I never forgot the story.

So, this is my remake. I hope you like it 🙂 Let me know what you think!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)