Original Works

Monster [12 Genre Months]

Living is a gift—a chance to experience the fullness of emotions and the excitement of life’s many adventures. Yet, to some of us, existing is a curse. And if we had a choice, we would never have been born. For why would we, when our first glimpse of life is that of a monster.

Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. But fret not, my dear Adam, you will grow to accept this change. Yes, it is indeed shocking at first,” he said. “But soon, it will be as if it was meant to be.”

No, it was never meant to be. He would often try to lift my spirits, cajoling me to embrace life and defend the soul within this body. But no, he could never understand—his mind was clouded by his own delusions, for this monster often thought himself a god. So how could he truly perceive mortality?

“No, Adam, you are not alone. Even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation, why would you ever be alone?” he asked. “I am here for you, Adam, always. I will be your father and your companion. And I shall never leave you, Adam, never.”

If only he heard me—listened to my bleeding heart—he would know that loneliness was what I longed for. There was a peace that rested in my chest in his absence. Oh, how I often wished for him to never return. Without him breathing down my back, forcing my hand to become what I refused to be, I could actually find a nugget of joy in this life. Alas, he only sought to be with me… as all monsters do.

Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose. Let me help you find your purpose, Adam. You will find much happiness and meaning in life when you do,” he stated. “How about we visit the library tomorrow? Or, if you like, we can find you a suitable teacher—one who knows how to practice discretion, of course. We shall do that, Adam, yes, we shall.”

Did I have a choice? Should I ever refuse to do as he asked of me, he would extend a look of disdain—not that I cared for his approval, but each moment I disappointed him, I only sparked his desire to fix me. Hence, I always conceded. But perhaps, if I broke his heart countless times, he would soon put me in my grave—ah, the only gift that I would cherish… for eternity.

The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. It is all right, my dear Adam. You are allowed to feel as you should, and you are most certainly meant to make mistakes. After all, feelings and mistakes are part of human nature. So you mustn’t shun them.”

What did he know about human nature? And how naïve of him to think that every mistake was an accident. I knew what I was doing—there was no accident. The mistake was failing at what I had set out to do. Yet, he often looked beyond my intention. Perhaps, he was afraid—afraid to accept that I am not who he wants me to be.

We are fashioned creatures, but half made up. Thus, I am just like you, Adam. Do you think of me as a stranger—that I do not understand your plight? I do, Adam. I understand you. If only you would let me in, I can show you how much I am just like you.”

He was not like me, nor did he understand my plight. How could a monster ever comprehend my reality? If only I could flee from his unrelenting grasps. If only I was bold enough to venture beyond his prison. If only… he would offer me a choice. Alas, that is not what monsters do. I would forever be cursed to live with a creator, who wouldn’t even dare to look in the mirror. For if he saw his reflection, there would be no brilliant Victor Frankenstein. No, he would see a beast greedy with pride and mad for knowledge beyond his own mind—the real fallen angel who should have left creation to God.


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

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

 

Original Works

Cave of Dreams [12 Genre Months]

It began with a curse, passed down from one generation onto the next–a curse many of his ancestors called a gift. Yet, in the mind of this boy king, he was condemned–condemned by the boy in the mirror. For unlike his father and the kings who ruled before him, he loathed his reflection.

What he saw, even in his human state, was a beast. His deep-set eyes hung tired from the fear of death. His youthful grin lost in the kingdoms he had conquered. His sword-wielding arm stained by the blood of his enemies. Never was he just a boy–always, he was a monster hungry for the next victory, the next throne, the next war. What a miracle it would be, if he stopped swinging blades for a day. And, a miracle it was.

“This will be my last battle,” he said.

Sheathing his double-edged sword, he strolled to his steed with his royal army behind him.

“This will ruin your empire,” his advisor replied. “This will ruin you, your majesty.”

“I’m already ruined.”

“You are more victorious than the kings before you. And, you can do so much more.”

“This isn’t me. Before I lose myself again, I must do this.”

During the battle at Vita, while his men pillaged the kingdom, he heard of the Cave of Dreams. Some of the citizens of Vita had braved the beast within in order to flee the war. Alas, no one knew what became of the courageous few. But as Vita crumbled to ashes, the folklore reached his ears–what seemed like a myth was hope.

“Your majesty-”

“I am a monster. I have no control over this body and what it becomes.”

“You are a warrior–a king–not a monster. What will our kingdom become if this beast takes your gift?”

“Gift?” He chuckled.

Arguing with any of the men in his royal court was a futile endeavour. They were the first to reap the harvest of war and would say anything to stop him. Deciding he had wasted enough time with the pointless debate, he excused his advisor and mounted his horse. Reining his stallion East, the journey began.

The Cave of Dreams nestled within the Eastern volcanic range, by the foot of the tallest mountain in the snow-capped massif. From the ruins of Vita, he rode through the pine-dense timberland, crossed pebble-shored rivers, edged around slippery cliffs, before reaching the valleys of the mounts. The tallest of the mounts rose at the head of the range–the colossal grey rock was both daunting and magnificent. But unlike its siblings lined behind it–all birthed from the same phenomenon–it homed the gift only bestowed upon the first born: the cave.

From above the valley, the cave was invisible to the human eye. But as the entourage descended into the first basin, stirring with a bone-chilling breeze, the cave made its presence known. Its mouth, as wide as his kingdom’s iron gate, opened to an unwelcoming darkness. No sound escaped its cracking lip. Nothing living grew within. If he was a common boy, who had never faced death, he would’ve rode by without hesitation. Unfortunately, he was a king–owning a list of enemies before he even became a man.

Dismounting his steed, he strode to the mouth of the cave. But as his men lit their torches, ready to go before him, he had the strangest thought. It wasn’t his own–or at least, it didn’t feel like his own.

Taking a blazing torch, he said, “I’m going alone.” The captain of his army parted his lips, but before the soldier could insist, he repeated, “I’m going alone.”

His men knew not to challenge him. Retreating to their horses–possibly wondering if his nine year-old brother could fill his shoes should he never return–he turned his back toward them. Then, with determination to break the curse, he pushed forward.

He had no fear. He had seen darkness far more consuming than the one before him. He had swam in silence far more lifeless than the hollow engulfing him. He lost his soul at the age of twelve, when the weight of the crown was placed upon his fragile shoulders. And though he had feared death for the past three years, he didn’t fear it anymore. With each step he took, he set his eyes on salvation. But, how many steps were there? The walk down the burrow felt like an endless journey. The entrance of the cave had long vanished–only blackness surrounded him. When he finally spoke, as a question to himself, he found the answer.

“When does this end?” he murmured.

“It ends… when you want it to end,” a deep voice echoed.

“Are you the beast?” he asked the disembodied voice.     

“I am… what you want me to be.”

“Then grant me a wish, as the people say you will do.”

“What do you wish for?”

“I wish to be human.”

“Human? You look human.”

“I am not. There’s a curse upon my family–the men who wear the crown become monsters on the battlefield.”

“Then… take off the crown.”

“I can’t–I will only be passing the curse to my brother.”

“I will grant your wish, if you take off the crown.”

“You will break the curse?”

“Yes.”

“Very well.”

Without contemplation, he lifted the gold, ruby-encrusted crown off his head and placed it on the uneven ground.

“Good. Now,” the voice said, “wake up.”

He opened his eyes. The bright light, streaming through the window of his doctor’s office, blinded him for a second.

“How do you feel?” his doctor asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied, blinking his eyes into focus. “Am I supposed to be a different person?”

“Hypnotherapy doesn’t reflect immediately after a session. Let’s see how your week goes before we give it another try.”

“Sure. I can do that.”

His doctor grinned, before swiftly scribbling on a page in a leather-bound book.

“What are you writing?” he asked.

“You said, you can do that.”

“Is that… odd?”

His doctor merely smiled. “I’ll see you next week. Same time?”

“Sure, doc. I can do that too.”

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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

Beautiful Monster

Beautiful Monster

I can still remember what happened.

I don’t remember everything, of course, but what I remember are the worst parts.

It was a Sunday night. I was driving home, after a little reunion with my university friends, when a freak explosion in a petrol station sent my car flipping sideways and on to the opposite lane.

My memory is still fresh with the sight of flames engulfing my car and the strange feeling of being pushed into the air by the heat waves. When my car made a full 360° flip and landed on the ground, I thought it was over. But before relief could sweep in, I knew I was wrong.

Cars were swerving to avoid me, and even though the road was not as heavy as it was on a Monday morning, there were enough cars to cause chaos and panic. It was terrifying to be stuck in a car while many others  approached head on in your direction.

Strangely, I don’t remember screaming or attempting to free myself at that time. I was awake, yes, but I felt powerless. In those few minutes, as I held my breath hoping not to be killed, I lost my consciousness.

The last thing I can recall is looking down at my seatbelt, and everything went black after that. I never really knew how I ended up in the hospital and what had happened to me, until a nurse told me about it.

A truck was not able to swerve in time and it crashed into my car. I was trapped for hours and when they got me out, I was barely alive. How I wished I wasn’t.

I knew I should be thankful for being alive, and I was, until I met my doctor. As I lay on my hospital bed, unable to move, my doctor told me I suffered from broken bones, minor burns, and disfigurement. That explained the bandage on my face and the strange feeling in my lips. But that news never hit me until a few days later, and that was when I stopped seeing him.

He had been by my side since I was admitted to the hospital. He never left… until I forced him to. He kept assuring me that I would look fine and that he still wanted to marry me, but I convinced myself it was a lie. He had not seen my face, neither had I, and I had a bad feeling I was never going to look ‘fine’ ever again.

After he was gone, I was all alone in bearing the horrible news. I would cry every night and dream of ripping the tubes from my body so that I could die. I even tried to suffocate myself once, but I backed out at the last minute. I was so afraid of the day where I had to remove the cloth and look at myself. Would I recognize me? Could I live with me? Will I be able to accept myself?

That dreaded day soon came and when the nurse placed a mirror on my lap, I hesitated for a very long time.  I remember watching my shaking hand reach for the mirror, and I remember regretting it.

When I saw myself, I was too shock to look away. I was ugly; my lips were not where it once was, my nose was crooked, and the flesh on my right cheek was stitched on as though it had fell off before. I hated myself and that was not me. I immediately went into a frenzy and screamed at my doctor to give me back my face.

“This is not me!” I yelled, over and over again. They had to calm me down with sedatives

The next day, a nurse told me he was waiting to see me. She said family and friends will help me get through this nightmare if only I let them in.

I told her ‘no’. How was I going to face them when I could not even face myself? How could I bear the sympathetic looks and the shocked expressions? I knew many would have to put up an act when approaching the hideous creature that I am, and I knew they will never look at me the same again.

This person, lying in the hospital, is no longer Christeen. This person is a monster. That was what I told myself day and night, and I soon believed it wholeheartedly.

When I was finally able to get back on my feet and return to the real world, I ran from my family and the man I loved. I started going for all the plastic surgery I could afford, just to fix this ugly face. But none of them did much, as it seemed like my entire future was now scarred with the curse of an accident.

All was lost at that time. I dreamt of happiness once in a while, but reality crushed it. Reality kept squeezing me up against a corner until I pinned my last drop of hope on my final attempt at plastic surgery.

I can still clearly remember sitting on the bed and getting my face unwrapped. I was hoping that I would look better this time, but when I saw my reflection I threw the mirror against the wall. I screamed and demanded my money back, but the doctor said it was the best he could do. I couldn’t accept his answer, but I managed to pull myself together before the nurses had to pull out a needle.

Everyone left me after that, and I thought I was alone again. But just as I was about to drown myself in hopelessness, I heard my room door open. I immediately demanded for privacy until I saw who it was. He was walking towards my bed and I quickly hid my face in the pillow.

“Get out! I don’t want to see you!” I said.

“But I want to see you,” he replied.

“Just get out!” I yelled. I was ready to call for a nurse when he reached for my hand.

“Christeen, would you look at me?” he asked in a gentle voice.

I did not answer. I really wanted to look at him and to see his face. It had been so long since I last saw him and my heart was aching to turn to him. But my mind told me not to.

“Christeen, I don’t care how you look like. I just want to see you. I’ve missed you so much.”

I attempted to pull my hand free from his gentle grasps, but instead he pulled me. He managed to pull me up into a sitting position, and I was angry. I didn’t know why, but I was so angry.

“You want to see me?!” I yelled. “Well, look at me now!”

His concerned expression did not change into horror when he laid his eyes on mine. He just looked at me so intently as though he was looking at a painting he admired.

When he took a seat on my bed, he wiped the tears that began rolling down my cheeks. What he did next shocked me, as he cupped my face in his hands and planted a soft kiss on my lips.

For a brief moment, I thought I was dreaming. I wanted the moment to last, so I shut my eyes and hoped it would not end. But of course it did, and when he finally pulled away, I heard him whisper, “You’re beautiful.”

My ears could have deceived me, but when I opened my eyes, he was still there. Only then I realized that he had never once left me, and in his eyes… I was always beautiful.

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We are all beautiful. Our emotional scars, past hurts, bad decisions and everything that might make us a monster cannot take away our true beauty. Even if no one else thinks you are beautiful, SOMEONE does.

They say beauty is skin deep, I say beauty is soul deep. Despite our flaws and failures, we are beautiful. No one and nothing can change who we really are inside and that is all that matters.

If only we all know how precious we are, we would not hurt ourselves and drive the world away. If only we all know that someone cares, we wouldn’t beat ourselves up for our past. We are not perfect beings, but we all have a value. It’s time we all believed it!

Well, as always, leave a comment and let me know what you think of this story!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)