Original Works

Faith | Work | Love

“Tis’ the season to fall in love,” she said. “The snow is falling. The mistletoe is waiting. If anything, Christmas is when you find the one.”

“Right,” I replied. “But-”

“Just look at the movies! And don’t get me started on Hallmark,” she added.

“And your point is…”

“My point is that this is your season,” she said, with a gentle nudge of the shoulder.

With a halfhearted smile, I returned to the unopened files on my desk. As the week-long holidays were just around the corner, I intended to complete the remaining work at break-neck speed. Alas, my colleagues often found their way to my workstation with invites to Christmas and New Year parties—none of which I had any intention to attend.

“So you’re coming to the office party, right?” she continued. “You’ll get to meet the guys from the other departments.” She winked.

I sighed. If only the party wasn’t mandatory—our manager had invited each and every person with a personalised card—I would’ve skipped out. “Yea, I guess,” I replied.

“Great! Who knows, you might just find the love of your life,” she said with a beam.

“Awesome.” I gave a thumbs up before plugging in my earphones.

Oh, how easy I’ve made it for everyone to think that I was a Grinch. After all, I hadn’t shown much enthusiasm for the holiday. But truthfully, that wasn’t the case—I adored Christmas. I loved sitting by a decorated fireplace as the Christmas tree lights flickered on the surrounding walls. I enjoyed the company of family and friends as we shared a warm cup of eggnog after a hearty Christmas dinner. I didn’t even despise the music—I would prepare my very own Christmas playlist in November. But things had changed—Christmas was no longer about faith, love, and hope. Christmas was all about finding the one. And just like she said, don’t get me started on Hallmark.

If only I could celebrate Christmas the way I wanted to. If only I could make this holiday my own. If only I could return to the good old days—building a snowman with my sister, guessing the gifts under the tree, and singing cheesy carols without shame. And just as I thought about home, there came a ping from my desktop chat.

‘Wanna go home for Christmas?’ my sister sent.

‘Flight is expensive now,’ I replied.

‘So you’d rather spend it with people trying to hook you up?’

I chuckled. “Are you going back? I thought you couldn’t.’

‘I changed my mind,’ she said. ‘I forgot what Christmas was like.’

‘Me too.’

‘I’ll see you at home then,’ she added with a wink emoji. And at that moment, I knew that she had bought her air tickets—that she would be home for Christmas, experiencing the very meaning of the season that had been lost for many years. This year, my sister had the courage to choose her own holiday story—did I?

That night, before I slipped under the cosy covers of my bed, I made up my mind. I had no plans to stand under a mistletoe at my office Christmas party—unfortunately, I would have to gracefully decline the invite. I also had no plans to fall in love—to write my own cliche Christmas romance. There was, after all, more to this holiday. And since it was still my choice on how I wished to celebrate it, I chose to do so in a way that mattered to me.

‘I’ll see you at home,’ I hit reply. And then, to both my mother and father, I sent, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas. It’s where I belong.’


Faith, work, and love were words given by Caroline Guisson on Facebook.

This bite-sized piece of holiday fiction was written to remind us all that we still have a choice on how we wish to celebrate the end of the year—whether it’s falling in love, spending time with family, or using this time to reconcile, let’s celebrate in a way that matters to us.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story with the three words given. As the words are pretty ‘Christmas-y’, you could write your own Christmas story—perhaps a piece on what this season means to you.

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

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

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

Original Works

The Songbird of Andromeda [12 Genre Months]

I had long searched the galaxies for the songbird—the bearer of unparalleled beauty, the heir of unprecedented grace, and the keeper of the songs of the universe. She was known by all men—her transcendental voice echoing from the stars both near and far. Alas, no man has ever laid his eyes on her. And it was my mission to be the first.

Ninety-seven light-years from my planet, I travelled to the brightest star in Andromeda—the navel of the steed, Alpheratz and Sirrah. After a millennium of mapping the constellations, I had found the source of the songs. And if the stories were true, I would find the songbird in its blazing core—her wait for her saviour finally over.

Alpheratz and Sirrah was an incandescent mercury-manganese star. It was a blinding furnace, deathly to the voyagers of the galaxies. But I came prepared—my spacecraft was a creation of Jovian, the Father of the Sky. Upon my arrival at the outer atmosphere, my gifted vessel remained unscathed by the perils of its roaring nature. And it was there that I heard a song. It was called, ‘Epsilon’.

‘Return to me my fifth star, the son of Pegasus. From distances near and far, and across the universe. Remember our promise, the vow we made for us. Remember me my love, oh break heaven’s curse.’

Epsilon—a melody of despair, the story of the songbird’s fate, and a call for salvation. But it was more than a ghostly tune one would hear on the fifth day of each century. Epsilon was the name of her beloved—the fifth son of Pegasus, cursed by the Gods to forget his eld. It was only Epsilon who could free her—only Epsilon who could hear the words that made the music. It was only Epsilon who could find her. Granted, if he could remember.

If he could remember her tender smile, adoring gaze, and loving touch. If he could remember the rise of stars that bowed at her majesty—a shimmering of light upon her celestial being, as they fought for her hand in marriage. If he could remember the moment she chose a lowly and insignificant star—the epoch of their story. If he could remember the promise that they made to never part. Epsilon had to remember.

‘For my heart can no longer bear, the void of this despair. Still with faith, I believe that you are there. Remember dear Epsilon, of how they tore our souls apart. Remember dear Epsilon, the missing piece of my heart.’

Epsilon had to remember the night that the Gods descended—the night that the Gods discovered their vow. Epsilon had to remember the curse—how he was made to forget the songbird and was sent to live on a foreign planet, ninety-seven light-years from home. Epsilon had to remember the heavy chains that bound his bride, trapping her for all of eternity. And until he remembered it all, they would remain as separate pieces of the same heart.

“I remember, my songbird.”

No man has ever laid their eyes upon the songbird but it was my mission to be the first—to be the only. When I remembered—the reason for the ache in my chest, the meaning of each melody that filled the vast universe, and the promise that I had made beneath the heavens—my quest began. And after aeons of searching for my lost love, I had finally found her.

“The wait is over, dear Andromedae. I remember.”


12 Genre Months © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Cinema | Heart | Hospital

Romance movies—a poor imitation of reality. Yet, when I recalled that day—the evening I had long planned and hoped for—I found myself in an almost cliche plotline.

“I don’t feel so good,” I said.

We were barely halfway through the latest action adventure when my heart began pounding. No, it wasn’t from the thrill of the film and neither was it from being on a date—if, I was even allowed to call it that. The sudden eruption in my chest was something else, sending me into a panic. And, as much as I wished for my dear heart to calm down, I knew something was wrong—I had no choice but to call an end to our short time together.

“Can you… can you send me to the hospital?” I asked, embarrassed at the request.

At once, apprehension and concern swept across her previously entertained mien. “Why? What’s wrong?” she replied. Oh, how awkward it was from that point on.

Who would’ve thought that our first time alone would be in an emergency ward, wondering if I was having a heart attack? Who would’ve thought that it would end in such an ill-fated manner—a disappointment from the hope of a pleasant and delightful evening? Who would’ve thought that it would be cruelly memorable, like a tragic romance meant to make one weep? Who would’ve thought that it would make the perfect premise of a depressing love story?

Alas, I was unlucky, bearing a fair share of dating mishaps. From a punctured tire, spilled coffee, and a broken nose in a single date to missing keys and an unexpected thunderstorm, my love life had either been a comedy or a tragedy. Why was it difficult to catch a break—a chance to have things go my way? Little did I know, it was all in my head—fiction that was once reality.

“What did the doctor say?” she asked.

It was the day after and I wasn’t sure how to feel about her call. She seemed to care. But perhaps, it was simply a natural, human thing to do. I would do the same, too, with a friend. Was I someone special to her—had my fate changed?

“I have to go back for a full check-up,” I replied.

“I see. Make sure to listen to the nurses,” she said.

“Okay?” I chuckled. It was an odd statement but I brushed it off. After all, she had called me first—she started the conversation, even if it was out of concern.

“I’ll come see you tomorrow, all right?” she added.

“Huh?” I replied. Were we set for a second date—was there a lapse in my memory? Just like that evening, in the dimmed theater hall, something felt off. Alas, I couldn’t pinpoint the problem—it certainly wasn’t my heart.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” she repeated. And before I could reply, she ended the call.

I couldn’t grasp her words at that moment. It seemed strange and out of place. It didn’t belong in my world. Until it became clear, the following morning, when she knocked on my room door. I hadn’t forgotten her promise to see me but it was then that I had to face my reality.

“Hi dad,” she said, welcoming herself in. She placed a bag of lunch boxes on the table, before asking, “What time will the doctor see you?”

“Dad?” I asked with a frown. Wasn’t she the girl in the cinema—the beautiful Anna, with short curls and big brown eyes? At my confusion, sympathy glazed her gentle face.

“Are you hungry?” she asked. “I packed your favourite—peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

“Who are you?” I asked. The more I looked at her, the less like Anna she was. “Where’s Anna? Anna drove me to the hospital yesterday.”

“She did,” she replied. “I’m Jess.”

“Where’s Anna, Jess? I have to speak to her after our terrible date,” I said.

I had to apologise for the trouble I caused—it was ungentlemanly to make her wait while I changed the flat tire, and more so humiliating to have her drive me to the ER again with a broken nose. One mishap after another, it was as if we weren’t meant to be.

“Mom-I mean, Anna is busy,” Jess replied. “But she’ll visit soon.”

“Soon? That’s great!” I beamed.

Not all hope was lost. Perhaps, we could go on a second date. Perhaps, I could win her over. Perhaps, we had a future. There was much that we needed to do, and much I was excited for—much like a love story with a happy ending I had long been waiting for.


Cinema, heart, and hospital were words given by Nick Ko on Facebook.

Initially, I wanted this story to be fully romance but I soon realised I’m not very good at romance. Thus my ‘poor imitation’ of what should have been a proper love story.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story with the three words given. Let’s be honest, you probably can do a better job than I with these words. So why not give it a go!

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

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

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

Original Works

You | Me | Us

You.

Where you come from, the night never sleeps and the day never ends. A dimension where dawn and dusk aren’t defined by nature but by your very hands. It’s an unceasing universe powered by the undying vision of its driven core. A realm I call foreign, though not quite—known waters I’ve yet to tread. And should I choose to venture into this familiar yet unexplored plain, I will have to wield a courage unprecedented in my domain.

Me.

Where I come from, the night isn’t night and the day isn’t day. A place where time is relevant to its inhabitants—an undefined and fluid pace. It is a single moment in a single space that homes a million stories. Its mythical depths full of untold tales—its very essence defining its entirety. I cannot leave this realm—of strange and unknown adventures—not without taking a piece of its soul. And should I ever go beyond, I risk converging our seemingly different worlds.

Us.

Origins diverging from the start. Polarities in space and time—disparate beings in dichotomous habitats. But perhaps, there will be a moment when we aren’t worlds apart—our realms coalescing with merging topographies. Our planets aligning on the same plain—orbiting around the same blazing sun and surrounded by the same myriad of glistening stars. Perhaps, if we take a risk, we will find that we are not so different after all.

The north and south, though poles apart, are both covered in snow. Yet an auto-antonym is an irony in itself—is to cleave to cling or to split apart? And here—the very definition of you and me—is us; the sui generis nature in plurality finding singularity—a distinctiveness of individuality in pronoun. If the risk is simply redefining, will we take it—will we choose to believe in… us?

Paths don’t cross without reason—just as parallel roads don’t remain disconnected without cause. And perhaps, if we believe, we can build a new world together. A place better than our own—a place where we define what us… means to you and me.


You, me, and us were words given by Natalie Fong on Facebook

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it’d be fitting to write a love story (?) Or at least, my attempts at something poetic about love in flash fiction. Honestly though, I don’t even know if this can be classified as romance. What do you think—is it Valentine’s enough?

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. You would probably do a better job than I did. So if you’re feeling romantic, why not turn these three words into a story of your own?

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

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

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

Original Works

How About John? [12 Genre Months]

“How about John? He’s the closest to your type,” she said.

I shrugged in reply. It was almost always like this–conversations that moved from work to the possible candidates around me. And, because my type was often considered a niche, I was given the same names–encouraged to approach the same few men on a helplessly short name list.

“If you want, I know of a way I can get you and John acquainted,” she added, with a beaming smile.

Yes, I didn’t know John. But funnily enough, I knew a lot about him. Friends in common have showed me his social media profiles. They have spoken highly of him. They have shared their encounters and praised John’s admirable qualities. I wasn’t even sure if I could call John an acquaintance. I knew too much–it was as if we were actually friends.

“Nah,” I replied. My answer was always the same.

“A few of us are getting together this weekend. You should join–John will be there.”

“Nah,” I repeated. Why should I try? Based on past experiences, trying didn’t do me any good. Whenever I took steps to get to know someone new, I would quickly learn I didn’t fit their bill. It was always a waste of precious time–time I could’ve spent reading that book I bought three years ago or simply staring at a wall.

“You have to make an investment if you want something to happen, you know,” she said.

Did I actually want something to happen? Everyone made John out to be this sought after man, that I should make a move if I wanted to be noticed. But honestly, I didn’t care if he noticed me. So why did I need to get his attention? Why couldn’t he be the one seeking my attention instead?

Perhaps it wasn’t like this for John. Perhaps the gentlemen didn’t suggest names, show pictures, and offer help during their get-togethers. Perhaps it was only us ladies who tried endlessly to match-make our friends. Why did we do that? Why were we all equally guilty of making romance a key player in our happiness?

“It sounds like too much work,” I replied.

She sighed an expected sigh. It wasn’t the first time–I’ve made a lot of people sigh. They would either sigh at my lack of attempt or when I turned down a potentially good candidate.

“That’s not a priority right now,” I added.

She frowned an expected frown. It was a common response to my hypocritical statement. Despite the quest for love not being a priority in my life, it sometimes felt important–important enough to entertain suggestions and make plans. So yes, I was a hypocrite. But, not because I chose to be one. I had no reason for oscillating between genuine interest and resignation. I didn’t understand my actions and decisions in this subject matter. Was it just me? Or were we all on the same swaying boat, tossed in a storm of expectations and acceptance.

“How about Matthew?” she asked.

She wasn’t listening to me. No one listened to the boy who cried wolf. And, to prove my role in the acclaimed fable, I asked, “Who?”

“Hold on, let me show you.” She swiftly retrieved her phone from her handbag, excited to show me a new candidate. Alas, when I gazed upon his picture, I could only offer a disappointing response.

“Oh, this guy,” I replied with little enthusiasm.

“He’s almost your type.”

“Yea, but…”

“No?”

“No.”

“Seriously, it’s impossible to find someone you like.”

“I know.”

It was a blessing in disguise. If no one could fit my ideals, I could think about something else. I could spend my energy and resources on the other things that made me happy.

“How about you?” I asked. It was time to shift the conversation around–to stop dwelling on the fact that I might be single for life. Was that a happy or a sad fact? It didn’t matter. It was her turn to contemplate about her happiness. “Aaron is a nice guy,” I stated.

“He is,” she replied. “But our desires don’t align.”

“What desires? He seems like a good fit for you.”

“He wants a stay-at-home wife. I can’t be that.”

“Oh. That’s disappointing. I guess we can scrape him off your list then.”

“Yea.”

“How about John? He’s almost your type,” I said.

“I… don’t know.”

Was she now pondering if a relationship could truly make her happy? Did she care if John noticed her? Was she willing to take the first step?

She wasn’t like me. She never once said that a relationship wasn’t a priority. But, maybe she kept that thought to herself. Perhaps I wasn’t the only hypocrite. Or, maybe I was–she could be more hopeful than I would ever be. She could have more suitors and prospects. In comparison, my lack of effort could be a reflection of my unpopularity.

Stuck in the unknown of my own wants and desires, it was my turn to heave a sigh. I didn’t sigh at her response but at the undetermined, incomprehensible, and often bothersome state I was in. How long would I have to float in this unsettlement? Alike its very nature, I will never know.

____________________________________________________________________

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

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

Original Works

The Myth of Politicus and Zhen [12 Genre Months]

“I’m here to see Professor Lin. My name’s Rob Whelan–I made an appointment.”

The secretary–who looked like a student of the university itself–scrolled through a list on his tablet. When he found my name, squeezed between a Professor Doherty and Doctor Lyon, he rose from his seat and gestured at the oak door to my right.

“She’s expecting you,” he said.

Already late for the appointment, I thanked the young man and stalked into the mahogany-themed office–a uniform decor of the historical establishment.

“You’re late,” she stated.

Lin was seated behind a polished wooden table, surrounded by books stacked high on the carpeted floor–the bookshelves against the four walls offered no space for the newer editions.

“Sorry. Bad habit,” I replied.

“Have a seat,” she prompted.

Lin’s dark straight hair, deep set eyes, and thin lips were the same as how I remembered them to be. But on that sunny afternoon, Lin wasn’t in a pink, silk gown. She donned–what most educators in a place as such would–a dull, black and white suit.

“It’s been awhile. How’s your book doing?” she asked.

“Not good. My publisher wants another. Soon,” I admitted, planting myself on the velvet armchair across her desk.

“And… that’s why you’re here.”

“Partially.” I smirked.

Lin chuckled. “So, what do you want to pick my brain on?”

“The myth of Politicus and Zhen.”

“What about it?”

“I have a few ideas to run by you.”

“Something you could’ve done via email.”

“True. But I wanted to see you–it’s been awhile, like you said.”

Lin and I met when we were ten. She lived with my family for two years, while her parents had ‘some issues to sort out’. We kept in touch after she returned home. And, once in a few years, our families would get together for Christmas. But since she began teaching at the university, it was almost impossible to meet her–she was a fourteen-hour flight away and always working on the holidays.

“We can catch up later. Let’s get to work first,” she said.

“Right. So, Politicus and Zhen–do you think they could’ve actually existed?”

“The Empire of Chrysus isn’t in any historical records, neither is King Politicus and Queen Zhen. I would say their story is parallel to Greek mythology.”

“But, I did some reading online, and some people theorise that Queen Zhen was the youngest daughter of Emperor Gaozu.”

“None of Emperor Gaozu’s daughters left their country. That’s a fanboy theory, Rob. But, a good one to roll with. Is that your intended direction?”

“No. I just wanted to know what you think.”

“I don’t think they’re real.”

“I see. Personally though…” I hesitated.

“Personally what?”

“I believe otherwise,” I stated. Lin raised her eyebrows. But as her lips parted to question my belief, I continued, “Anyway, do you think it’s possible for Politicus to retain his memories after each life?”

“The original tale didn’t say he could. But since you’re writing fiction, anything goes.”

“Do you think, that with his memories, he can help Zhen remember their past?”

“How–with true love’s kiss?” Lin chuckled. “Wait, is this new book a romance novel?”

“A little romance doesn’t hurt.”

“The themes of this myth are greed and violence. The consequence of Politicus’ brutality was an eternal curse–witnessing the death of his lover in each life cycle, with no hope of happiness. You can toss in a little romance, but a happy ending will be far-fetch, not to mention, cliche.”

“He can break the curse.”

“By wakening Zhen’s memories?”

“That’s a good idea, isn’t it?”

“Not really. It doesn’t quite make sense.”

“Why?”

“Is your story set in the twenty-first century?”

“Yes.”

“Then first off, Politicus claiming to be Politicus will make him seem insane. Nobody will believe him, let alone Zhen. Secondly, Zhen recalling her memories won’t save her since thematically, the myth isn’t about love. What I logically foresee, is Zhen living in an endless loop, well aware she only has twenty-nine years each cycle. And, the idea that Politicus helped her remember–under the pretense of breaking the curse–paints Politicus as selfish as he was before. It won’t be a show of love. Making the love of your life aware of eternal damnation isn’t love. Love is Politicus suffering alone until he breaks the curse, which is unlikely to involve wakening Zhen’s memories.”

“Right.”

“But, that premise can make quite an adventure–Politicus and Zhen working together to free themselves from the curse.”

“It just… doesn’t make logical sense to you.”

“It doesn’t.”

I sighed. Why couldn’t I see it before? Still, I had to ask. “One more question,” I prompted. “If you were in Zhen’s shoes and Politicus awakened your memories-”

“I might grow to resent him,” she interrupted.

I nodded. “Well, I guess it’s safe to say romance isn’t my forte.”

Lin chuckled. “Stay away from romance, Rob. Stick to your action-adventure-treasure-hunting stuff. It’s what you’re great at. Honestly, I thought you were going to ask me about Politicus’ sword of vengeance. The sword makes a good set-up.”

I forced a smile. “It sure does.”

There was no need to ask about the sword–I knew a lot about it already. And she was right; the sword did make a good set-up. It brought upon a curse I could only blame myself for. But trust me, I’ve tried. No matter how far and wide I’ve searched–in this lifetime and the ones before–I’ve yet to find anything that will break this eternal damnation. But admittedly, I am selfish to wish I wasn’t alone. Is it wrong to desire recognition from the one I love? I’ve lived more than a thousand lives with her by my side, but not once has she looked at me the way she did when she first died. Even in this twenty first century life–a month and fifteen days before her death–there was no love in her gaze. And, if I didn’t want her to resent me, I will have to watch her die… again.

“Free for dinner tonight?” I asked.

“No questions about the sword?”

“None.”

“I should be free tonight.”

“Great. It’ll be awhile before we get to meet again.”

Lin chuckled. “That’s life, isn’t it?”

I nodded. “That’s… how it always seems to be.”

Perhaps in our next life, I’ll finally break the curse—ending this vicious cycle–and make what Zhen calls a cliche ending… our reality.

____________________________________________________________________

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

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

Writing Journey

Write To Challenge

writetochallenge

Over the years, I’ve come to realise that writing isn’t just writing. In order to become a better writer, I’ve got to do more than writing.

You see, writing isn’t just about writing my niche genre, building familiar worlds, and creating characters I can relate to. Yes, it’s good to have a label under my name. And it’s natural for me to keep building it – heck, I should build it. I should master the art of my choice. But in order to become a stronger writer, I have to expand. I have to grow. Just like a kingdom, once established doesn’t remain stagnant, I need to push the boundaries of my world. But… how do I do that? Do I change my writing style and publish novels in different genres? No, I don’t. I simply experience – experience what I’ve never experienced.

To grow as a writer, I need to write beyond the comforts of my pigeonhole. I need to write outside of what I’m accustomed to. It will make me extremely uncomfortable, yes. I will struggle to convey my thoughts. And potentially, I’ll create disastrous pieces. But in order for me to become better, I need to take the leap of faith. I need to explore the vast universe and adapt to its varying nature. I may not be a master of all realms, but I have to experience them. And who knows? I might just write a decent piece.

There’s a reason why writing challenges and writing prompts exist. They don’t merely serve as a filler for when you don’t know what to write. These challenges, as they are called, challenge a writer to write something different. Despite not being good at a particular genre, world, or character, taking the challenge helps one get better. It is the stepping outside of a comfort zone that carves a writer. It is the embracing of something new that broadens the mind.

Personally, I’ve endeavoured to write in other genres, embrace different worlds, and toy with characters. I’ve written and will continue to write sci-fi, romance, mystery, and other genres outside of fantasy. I’ll mould different worlds with different cultures, beliefs, and eras. And I’ll create protagonists whom I’ll dislike more than the antagonist itself. Even if I don’t excel in these challenges – even if I don’t write novels through them – I’ll write anyway. I’ll write to challenge. I’ll write to challenge myself, my imagination, my skill, and my potential. I’ll write to challenge, because I know it has helped me in many ways. And I’ll write to challenge you, to write to challenge too.

I’m not just saying this on a whim. Through past experiences, I’ve grown from the challenges I put upon myself. From Dr. Slubgob’s Letters, a novella about a demon and his quest for the truth, to The Clubhouse, a blog series with characters I disassociate from; I’ve learned to construct deeper worlds and fuller personas. I’m still not good in either arenas – I don’t think I’ll ever master them. But, I have improved. And with a long way to go in my writing journey, I’ll continue to challenge myself.

This 2017, my writing goal is simple: write to challenge. As this year revs its engine, I encourage you to adopt this goal too. In fact, I encourage you to adopt this goal in general. It isn’t just for writing, but for anything – for areas you want to see growth. And If you stick through it, no matter the obstacles, you’ll come out a finer jewel than before.

Also, it can be quite fun.

quote-the-further-you-get-away-from-yourself-the-more-challenging-it-is-not-to-be-in-your-benedict-cumberbatch-6-89-37

Original Works

Pirate | Lace | Concussion

piratelaceconcussion

I was eight. He was ten. And I liked him.

“What should I be at the class party?”
“I don’t know.”
“Pirate or superhero?”
“Pirate?”
“Yea, she likes pirates.”

I was eighteen. He was twenty. And I liked him. 

“Which dress looks better?”
“Is it for her?”
“Who else? With lace or without lace?”
“With lace.”
“She’ll look great in this!”

I was twenty-eight. He was thirty. And I grew up.

“Hey.”
“What happened?”
“Just a little accident. I’m fine.”
“Are you really?”
“Yes. Ha! For a moment, I thought I was going to die.”
“Are you feeling dizzy or nauseated? Are your ears ringing?”
“No. Do I have a concussion?”
“No, you don’t.”
_________________________________________________

I was ten. She was eight. And I didn’t like her.

“What should I be at the class party?”
“I don’t know.”
“Pirate or superhero?”
“Pirate?”
“So you like pirates, huh?”

I was twenty. She was eighteen. And I didn’t like her.

“Which dress looks better?”
“Is it for her?”
“No. It’s for you. With lace or without lace?”
“With lace.”
“You’ll look great.”

I was thirty. She was twenty-eight. And I realised…

“Hey.”
“What happened?”
“Just a little accident. I’m fine.”
“Are you really?”
“Yes. Ha! For a moment, I thought I was going to die.”
“And I thought I wasn’t going to see you again.”
“Do I have a concussion?”
“I’m afraid you do.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Pirate, lace, and concussion were given by Megan. And as much as they could’ve made a swashbuckling, jolly rogering adventure, I went with breezyonthebeach‘s suggestion and wrote it in the spirit of Valentines. I hope you liked it! This isn’t like the typical short stories I’ve written. I wanted to start this blog challenge light and easy. And, I also wanted to try storytelling through dialogue alone. Fingers crossed this piece made some sense.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. Like I said in the introduction, there are no rules – the universe and your imagination beyond is your limit. Don’t forget to link your work in the comments below. And if you have any more three words you’d like to challenge me with, leave it in the comments too.

Also, feel free to use the banner in your blog post. Just click on it and you’ll be able to download it 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading your awesome works! And happy writing!

*On a completely unrelated yet related note, I was listening to this song on repeat while writing this. Not that you need to know or anything, but yea, it might have inspired me.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2016 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

The Fearless

The Fearless

(Play THIS before reading. When you reach the gap in the music and story, briefly stop before continuing.)

My name is Hwa-Jae. I have lived over 20 years motherless, and now I’ve become fatherless too. My father was known as the Black Dragon. People feared him, as he was not only the ruler of my clan but a warrior. I would often hear of how he rode dragons into the battlefield and destroyed our enemies, but I never had the chance to hear those stories from his own lips. He was my father second, and my king first.

Growing up, I was raised to be an heir. I learned the art of war and was taught to let go of human emotions. Like one of our dragons, I was trained to kill and it was no surprise I excelled at it. But, despite my upbringing, I still feared my king. I feared him like everyone else, and I feared him so much that it surprised me when a stranger did not.

He was not from my clan, but a traveller or a lost soul as he often called himself. The first time I saw his dark eyes I felt a warm sensation in my stone cold heart. I thought I was only imagining it, but when I found myself sneaking out of the palace to meet him, I knew something was not right.

Why was I stooping down to the level of a commoner to befriend this foreigner? I was a princess, a warrior, and a ruler. If my king knew… I wouldn’t be alive.

It is strange how feelings work. It is unpredictable and inseparable from the soul. I thought I didn’t have any, but his smile, his laugh and his voice would make butterflies flutter in my stomach. Yes, I liked him.

I started to realize that I was willing to give up anything just for an hour with him. Heck, I might just give up my destiny. But those daydreams were shattered the day we ran into a couple of soldiers.

No, they weren’t coming for me; they did not even recognize me. These soldiers were after him. When he told me to run as he drew them away from me, I wanted to be by his side and protect him. But instead of doing just that, I did as I was told.

Safe behind palace gates, I found myself aimlessly walking to wherever my feet led me. It was until I heard his voice echoing down a hallway, did my heart stop.

I watched as soldiers dragged him into the throne room and knelt him before my king. They called him a spy and a warrior from the country behind the mountains. And when I heard it all, I stood at the back of the room unable to hear my king’s call.

I might have been deaf, but he surely wasn’t. When he turned to face me, we stared at each other for what seemed like the longest time. Neither of us said anything, and when the world around us could not wait any longer, he swiftly stood up and painted the room red.

My head was screaming to do something as the soldiers tried to fight him off. The shouts of my inner voice to stop him and to help him were useless when my body refused to move. I just found myself watching it all go down, and only when he planted the blade in my king’s stomach did I utter a cry.

When my king inhaled his last breath, it was as though he had done his work. Pulling the blade out, he slowly turned to face me. He said nothing as he let the blade slip from his fingers. It hit the ground with a loud clank, and crimson blood began to wrap around its edges.

Even as the world around me recovered from the chaos, all I did was wait. I was waiting for him to say something; something that made sense in a situation that did not.

.

.

… I…

 

                                     … I really…

 

                                                                                   … loved her… 

.

.

The soldiers that were still breathing immediately seized him, and sent him to his knees. None did anything as they waited for my orders. Then, as if my body was programmed to react, I pulled a blade from a dead soldier’s sheath and walked up to him.

I don’t think I have ever been that conflicted emotionally and mentally. And yet, I found myself gripping onto the blade tighter. When I was a few feet away from him, I pulled the blade back and sent it through his chest.

Nothing made sense then, and I didn’t know why I did it. As his body slumped to the ground, I silently asked myself, why Jeong-Sa, why?

But I never had an answer.

He never gave me one… because I didn’t give him the chance.

I guess my heart has to accept that. There isn’t much of a choice now. All I have is a heart broken… with never ending questions.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

While you wait for my 20th ‘Thank You’ post, here is a special Sunday short story! Who says there is no post on Sundays, huh?

This is actually another experimental music accompanied short story. I previously did this with one of my fan fictions, ‘She’s Not My Daughter’ and it turned out pretty well.

Unfortunately for this, I could not find a -1 or another violin cover of the song. But hopefully, you guys read and hit the mark… or not, I would have failed. Haha! (Btw, you should visit the violinist’s YouTube channel.)

Anyways, if you have not figured it out, this is actually the answer to Jeong-Sa’s fate. If you have been wondering, you can wonder no more. He’s dead 😦 But if you are still lost and wondering who is Jeong-Sa, read The Root.

As always, let me know what you think of this story and if my experiment was a success. I don’t think this is one of my best short stories so far, but ah… what can I say.

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)