Original Works

Bewitched | Dog | Traveller

bewitcheddogtraveller

It was the night before Christmas. On a street lined with the brightest red in Autumn, its inhabitants scrunched through the pale white snow. Vapour rose from their breaths, as they borne their stories home. Not excluded was the very being at the end of the sidewalk. With a navy scarf tight around his neck, he remained hunched beneath the street lamp. He was on a search – a search for the meaning of Christmas.

Perhaps somebody had the answer. Perhaps the home to his right, adorned with Christmas lights. From the window frames to the shovelled driveway, the house shone the brightest in blinks of red and green. Through the frosted window, an elderly couple sat before the flickering television. The corners of their eyes crinkled in the reminiscence of their past. As their children and grandchildren hurried to join them, the festive lights reflected in their eyes. But there was more to this picture perfect Christmas.

A tradition it was for the white-haired lovebirds to watch the reruns of Bewitched. They shared their first Christmas Eve believing in the magic of Samantha’s nose twitch. And they vowed to keep the practice till their very last. So, their family obliged – every year without fail. It was the little they could do for the beloved pair; watching, chuckling, and sipping hot cocoa till the stroke of midnight.

Why did they celebrate Christmas? Whom did they do it for? Was it for themselves, their parents, or their grandparents? In the comfort of loved ones, what did Christmas mean to them?

Rubbing his nose with a sniff, he turned to the house on his left. A dog trotted back and forth on the barren porch. Occasionally, it slipped through the dog door. But it didn’t stay inside for long, as it jumped back out and returned to its pacing. The black-furred beagle braced the chilly air in the wait for someone special. And when that someone pulled the car up the driveway, it bounced from the porch and dashed to the woman in the long, wool coat.

A smile stretched across the woman’s pale cheeks, as her dog greeted in incomprehensible joy. She patted it, then picked it up for a hug.

“What’re you doing outside?” she asked.

The dog barked and licked her face in reply. Chuckling, she returned the kiss. Done with the cold, the pair retreated to the home they’d once shared with another. Now just the two of them, they served as each other’s comfort and companion.

Did they celebrate Christmas? If so, whom did they do it for? Why did the dog linger in the bitter winter? It didn’t – it couldn’t – comprehend Christmas. Was it loyalty, love, or friendship?

The woman didn’t know, and neither did he. Having hoped the neighbouring houses could enlighten the reason for the season, he sighed in disappointment as he stepped away from the light.

As a traveller, who sought adventure and the meaning in every experience, he’d failed to uncover the simplicity of this holiday. After a year spent in ten countries, learning and embracing cultures, he’d forgotten his own. But did it matter? Was a reason necessary? Perhaps not to everyone. But for him, there had to be one.

With every step, the house he once called home neared. Unlike the Bewitched family, his parents had kept the decorations inside. At the foot of the door, he heard their voices – hollers from the living room, asking about his arrival. Just last week, they’d called and requested he returned for Christmas. For their sake, he cancelled his flight to Asia and rerouted home instead. As he inhaled a deliberate breath, he rang the doorbell.

“You’re home!” those were his mother’s first words.

“It’s good to have you back, buddy,” his father added.

He nodded. In the inability to hide his regret, having ditched the well-thought itinerary of his escapade in Japan, his sister pulled him in for a hug.

“We missed you.” Smacking him on the back, she added, “A little sacrifice won’t hurt. Try to enjoy yourself.”

“Huh,” he responded. She’d said it – the meaning of Christmas.

For the first time, it wasn’t peace, love, joy, goodwill, or even family. For the first time, it was sacrifice.

The Bewitched family sacrificed their plans for an episode they could recall from beginning to end. The dog sacrificed the warmth of its home to welcome the only person who needed its love. Once a year, they put aside their own desires for others. They mirrored the ultimate sacrifice. And that was the true meaning of Christmas: the giving of oneself for the joy of others.

In the revelation, he smiled. Indeed a little sacrifice didn’t hurt. When a greater sacrifice had been made, what was Mt Fuji in comparison. It was the giving of his presence that made Christmas, Christmas. And embracing the essence – understanding the power of sacrifice – gave his Christmas its meaning.

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Bewitched, dog, and traveller were words given by Krystine Therriault. Since we’re two days away from Christmas, I ran with a Christmas story. Honestly, it wasn’t as easy as I thought. The world has seen and read many Christmas tales, and I can only hope I brought something new to the table.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. I challenge you to end this year with a little creativity in the Christmas spirit. Oh, and for all those who celebrate Christmas, a merry, merry one to you. May you find your meaning of Christmas amidst the festive cheer.

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

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

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

Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 37

Blog FF

Joanna wondered when she was going to die. At that moment, death was such a welcoming thought.

“You’ll be alright,” the voice said again. Then she felt someone touching her face gently.

Tom, Joanna thought.

“Joanna.” His voice was not so faint anymore.

As though death was giving in to her wishes, her eye’s briefly cleared up and she saw Tom hovering over her. A relieve swept across her once aching heart, and the only pain she now had to bear was the one in her body.

Joanna tried to keep her eyes on him when she saw a tear roll down his cheek. Trying to utter a word, Joanna knew that if she failed, it would be the end.

When she could not managed to even mutter, she felt her world slowly slipping away.

“Joanna! Please stay with me!” Tom shouted.

I can’t, Joanna thought.

“Joanna! No, please! Please don’t go!” Tom’s voice slowly dissolved into a whisper.

Soon, there was no more air to breathe in, and no more pain to bear. It happened so smoothly, Joanna did not even realize it.

“Joanna! No!” Tom tried to prop her up but she slipped from his grip.

It did not struck him before, but now it did. Staring at the red glistening blood all over his hands and cloak, Tom realized that he made the biggest mistake in his life.

Joanna was the only one who made him human. She gave him the ability to feel, if not for others at least for her.  He never knew he could feel, and the wretched sting in his chest made him wish he could turn back time. Why was he so blinded by power and revenge when he could have the one thing he never had all his life, love?

The bed she was lying on was soaked with blood that the smell started to make him dizzy. Tom slowly backed away from her body, trying not to fall over the furniture in the motel room. His hands where shaking and no matter how hard he tried, they wouldn’t stop. Just like the tears that fell from his eyes.

Clenching his fist, Tom shuffled to a table and slammed his hands on it. He let out an angry yell before he started trashing everything in the room, until he collapsed by the side of the bed.

He could not look at her, for if he did, all he saw was regret. She was the only one who accepted him without fear or hate. She actually loved him, and he actually loved her. He hated himself for not telling her that. He hated himself for not choosing her. He hated himself… for being weak.

Dumbledore killed her, he thought, wiping his wet cheeks dry.

Finally being able to compose himself, Tom stood up and called for Nagini. At the sight of Joanna, Nagini became upset and started to hiss. Tom wished the snake did not have to make things worse, and he was tempted to kill it when it started asking questions. But then he realized that Nagini was all he had left.

“Don’t worry about it Nagini. We’ll have our revenge,” Tom said as the snake slithered right next to him.

“No more games. No more distractions. No more weakness,” Tom added. He closed his eyes briefly, as though bringing himself back to his ‘real’ self, and when he opened his eyes, flames started to grow from thin air. They rose up the walls and slithered onto the bed like a fiery snake devouring its prey; curling and twisting all over the room as the walls blackened and the furniture were torched.

“Everyone who ever crosses me will suffer. Especially that old man. He thinks he knows it all but he has seen nothing yet.”

By the time half the room was engulfed, the flames slowly drew back, as though it had enough.

Finally turning to face what was left of the room, Tom found Nagini wrapped around a skull that now sat on the bed.

Tom watched briefly before he looked up at the gloomy afternoon sky, through the hole in the ceiling. He often wondered how he could find peace is something so plain. A blink later, he found himself looking at the very same sky, just darker and on a different day. There were no stars, and it was a perfect canvas for his dark mark.

A spell shot out into the night sky shortly after, and when it exploded, a skull appeared with a smoke imagery of Nagini, slithering around it and through its mouth.

“That’s for you,” Tom whispered. “And so will everything else.”

Tom knew that was not what Joanna would have wanted, but he told himself that he had no choice. She was now a mere memory and her memory would not be the cause of his downfall, but the reason for his success.

“It’s time the war ends. Tonight will be the night,” Tom said, looking at what was left of Hogwarts; the place he once called home.

“What do we do now, my lord?” Bellatrix Lestrange asked cheerfully, like a child eager to take on every carnival ride available.

“We wait,” Tom replied shortly. He didn’t like the woman, no matter how hard she tried to please him. She was just not Joanna. If only she could take a hint without him having to kill her.

“Do you think he will come?” Bellatrix hurried to his side.

“He will.”

Tom knew the boy well enough, and if there was something they both understood, it was sacrifice.