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

Basket | Spirit | Light

Once upon a time, there lived a spirit on the great wall—an ethereal being, in the form of beaming light, who guarded the stone border of the Northeast. It was believed to be a powerful force with mystical powers—capable of wiping out the monsters that attempted to invade the land. But legend has it that the spirit wasn’t of the gods. It wasn’t made to be a guardian—the spirit was meant to be mortal. In fact, the ancient scrolls called it… a man.

This man came from a faraway place. He wasn’t of the Northeast kingdom—a ‘trespasser’ and ‘intruder’ as some would say. Though, the man had no evil intent. Unlike the power-hungry nations that sought the treasures in the Northeast, he embarked on the treacherous journey for a promise—a freedom from the flesh-eating, ravenous beasts that roamed the land. After all, it was only the Northeast kingdom that had built a wall—a wall high enough that no monster could ever scale.

With that dream, the man ventured beyond the ice and cold. It took thirty days on foot from the caves of the North Mountains to the great wall. And along with him was his wife and their young daughter. Without much, the family armed themselves with a blade—their only weapon against the demons of the night. And bravely, they traversed the dense timberland where the creatures slumbered in the day. “Do not step on their tails,” he reminded his daughter—a task far more difficult than the journey itself as the spiked tails trailed across the forest floor, each three times the length of a beast’s body. “It’s time to climb,” he would also prompt, just as the sun began to set. For when the moon graced the night sky, the monsters would awake and begin their hunt.

Since the beginning of time, these creatures had been a part of their world. Their saw-like teeth and razor-sharp claws had snatched many lives. Their beady red eyes against their black, hairless skin had turned peaceful dreams into haunting nightmares. To be free of them was worth the risk, or so he thought. But it was at the great wall that the man discovered the truth—that not all monsters were villains, and not all promises were sure.

“Turn around,” the soldier on the wall ordered.

“Please, we only seek refuge—safety from the monsters,” the man pleaded.

“You’re not welcomed here,” the soldier said. “Go home.”

“We’ve travelled this far. We can’t go home now,” the man replied. “Please let us in. We have a child.”

“And the world is full of them.”

“Please, I beg of you.”

“You can try climbing,” the soldier offered. “You have five hours before the sun sets.” And with that, the soldier disappeared into a turret.

At that moment, the man hesitated. The wall was made to keep the monsters out—it couldn’t be scaled by the beasts let alone a child. However, if he made it to the top, he could toss a basket down and pull his family up. So the man decided to climb with his bare human hands. But soon, the sun began to set. And at the fifth hour, the clear blue sky streaked with hues of pastel orange—their cue to scale the trees for the night.

“Climb the trees,” the man shouted, leaning against the cold wall for rest. “Tomorrow, I’ll pull both of you up,” he added, turning to look down below. But instead of finding his family—gazing up at him—he found no one. Where had they gone to? The man panicked. Should he continue his ascent or return to the ground?

“Keep climbing,” a voice from above hollered. “You’re almost safe.” The soldier on the wall peered over, seemingly impressed by his determination.

“I can’t. My family,” he uttered.

“Come on—our kingdom needs men like you,” the soldier said.

“I can’t just leave them,” he insisted. He couldn’t—he wouldn’t betray his wife and daughter. And so he began to descend.

“Even if you find them, do you really think we’d let them in?” the soldier asked.

“They promised,” the man replied. “They said-”

“Did they also tell you what the beasts are?”

“Yes, but there’s a cure.”

“A cure?” The soldier chuckled. “Climb up or return to your family, it’s your choice,” the soldier replied and lingered no longer.

As the day bid its final farewell, the howls of the monsters rumbled through the timberland below. If his wife and daughter had climbed a tree, he would see them at dawn. Alas, descending risked his own life—no one had ever survived amongst the beasts, in their domain, to see the sunrise. Thus, from that fateful night onward, he was no longer a man.

How the spirit came to be, no one knows for sure. However, many believed that its mystical powers kept the real monsters away—away from his wife and daughter who were both finally free.


Basket, spirit, and light were words given by Hui Xuan on Facebook.

So let’s be honest, I edited her ‘words’ a little as holy spirit and street light weren’t exactly one word each, and were also rather difficult to write with unless I decided to do a Ghost (1990) fan fiction. However, with that minor removal, I managed to come up with something rather decent. And, yes, I left the plot twist and ending a little vague—leaving the rest of the imagination to you.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story with the three words given. If you managed to work ‘holy’ and ‘light’ into your story, be sure to link it in the comments below!

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3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Guitar | Bittersweet | Condescending

Bittersweet – the kind I like.

“Have a piece. It’ll calm the nerves,” she said, gently pushing the box of chocolates toward me.

I hesitated. The thin pieces, wrapped in translucent plastic, inclined along the grooves of the package. I doubted it calmed the nerves, but chocolate was a luxury these days. Still, I hesitated.

“No thank you,” I replied.

“Are you worried?” she asked. “Don’t worry. We’ll be there with you.”

She gracefully strode to my side – her long, white robe trailing behind her. Hands clasped together by her waist, she gave a pleasant smile. Unfortunately, it was devoid of my needed assurance. Yes, they would all be there – the elders, as they call themselves. But these people, with their glorified title, would be standing behind me – far from any range of fire.

“I know,” I merely replied.

“Nobody will harm you,” she added. “Remember, you’re the chosen one – the son of man. You speak the truth, and the people will listen.”

Such blasphemy. How did this happen?

All I wanted was to live. And there I was, about to give the last speech of my life. I knew the odds. In this so-called revolution, there were those who’d give their lives to save the world. Some would shed their blood to protect mine, while others would shed theirs to have mine. But I wasn’t one of them – not on the ruling end, and never on the opposition. I merely sought to preserve my life. Being the chosen one was supposed to save me – at least, that was what he said.

“You have the mark. Do you know what this means?” he asked.

“It’s a scar. I fell off my bike when I was a kid.”

“Nobody’s going to ask you how you got it. They just want to believe you exist. And you do.”

“So what, you think I should be the chosen one?”

“Hell yeah. Do you actually think you’ll survive this? When they start cutting the population, you’ll be the first to go – just saying. You have no talent, you’ve not held a job for more than a month, and you’re empty, up there,” he said, poking my head.

He was my friend, yes – a friend who was, more often than not, condescending. And as his friend, I was immune to his candid vocabulary. Sadly, little can be said about others. If only he kept his mouth shut, he would still be alive.

“Imagine what you’ll have as the chosen one. They’ll put you up in a mansion. Feed you food you cannot afford, even before all this. And you know what, I’m sure if you ask them for anything, they’ll give it to you,” he added.

“And what if they find out I’m not the chosen one? What then?”

“You die. But you’re going to die anyway,” he joked.

I thought he joked. I thought he joked about everything, until they came knocking on my door.

The day after our chat, he left in the early morning, claiming he needed to fix his guitar. I didn’t find it odd. He’d been practicing Chopin’s Marche Funebre for days – I thought it natural for the instrument to finally give way. Little did I know, he’d went ahead with a plan we never discussed.

“They’re here!” he announced, hurrying to let the devil in.

I wasn’t a religious person, but I knew to not give the devil a foothold. Instantly, as those black-suited men entered my safe haven, a wave of dread swept over me. And since then, I’ve tried to stay positive. I’ve tried to survive.

When they put me through a physical exam – scrutinizing the scar on my heel – I hoped to be excused as not-the-chosen-one. I hoped they’d see how ridiculous it was to make such vague claims about the saviour. Alas, nothing went as I imagined.

When they provided me a tutor – teaching me their crooked doctrine – I prayed they would see my incompetence. I prayed someone else would declare himself God and take my place. Alas, no one had a friend as brazen as I did.

When they prepared me to be their leader – bribing me with the splendor of my supposed calling – I wished it was all a dream. I wished to wake in my dingy bedroom, free from their unyielding grasp. Alas, reality was a harsh wake-up call.

Now at the fringe of death, made to declare my own sovereignty – of which I, myself, didn’t believe in – I wanted to live. I wanted to run. Alas, I was ushered out the door, into the velvet carpeted hallway, and up a stage set before an audience. They weren’t all friendly – I could see it in their eyes. And as I cleared my throat before the single microphone, I attempted one last time to survive.

“Please,” I said. “Help me.”

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Guitar, bittersweet, and condescending were words given by lielabigail, allowing me to write another open-ended story. Don’t you just love this kind of fiction? I joke. But I won’t lie, making readers question the end makes writing so much more fun.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words to write a piece of your own. Also, if you could give me more sets of words below, we can save the world. I cannot do this writing challenge without you. So please… help me.

*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.)