Original Works

A Thousand Lives [Music Meets Story]

If I could live a thousand lives, what would I see?

I would see ember evening skies of suffocating smog, dusty with the ashes of a war-torn city. The sunset in the horizon now shrouded by devastation, absent of the welcoming starry night that once filled the world with awe. For reality was a macabre series of hopelessness… of which, I could only pray, would never be the future of those to come.

If I could live a thousand lives, what would I see?

I would see a multitude of broken souls, whose eyes dimmed with life as their will to live wavered. I would question if what I saw were true, for how could there be such disparate worlds, coexisting in such a time—of both carefree innocence and breathless fear, where fate had predetermined whether one lives or dies. Unsettling it was, for such a conflicting habitat to own this reality, with no saving grace—no reason nor choice. But perhaps, the future was different.

If I could live a thousand lives, what would I see?

I would see a rising courage for a new world. From endless defeat to a cry of victory—a movement to live, with flags waving high in the fight for freedom. Righteous anger filled the disposition of many in their quest to own the choices they were gifted. Oh, how the world has changed—suddenly, destiny belonged to those who owned it. Suddenly, to be human was to defend one’s rights. Was this the future?

If I could live a thousand lives, what would I see?

I would witness what seemed impossible eons ago—a coming together of all and sundry. What one would deem an unlikely marriage, in a time of great segregation, became a normality. Diverging paths with little commonality had united for the greater good. From a thousand lives, the passage of space and time had proven my faith in humanity was not in vain. There was… indeed… a different world beyond the now.

If I could live a thousand lives, what would I see?

I would see lifetimes of turmoil, pain, and despair. Yet, in the midst of it all, I would see hope, change, and the true meaning of life. For a thousand lives on a single planet paints a story from a palette of a million hues, not of mere black and white as many souls often choose. And should any being grasp the nature of living, as I have from an ethereal plane, they would know… a thousand lives is never worth more than one.

Still, the question remains—if I could live a single life, would I glimpse the same?


This story was inspired by the original composition, Wish You Were Here by Ülvi Zeynalov.

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

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

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

Cologne | Magnet | Banana

There it was again–the smell of his cologne–a subtle blend of citrus notes with a mild woody undertone. He had just walked by. His light footsteps drowned by the chatters of the afternoon crowd. If only it wasn’t routinely busy at the hour of his arrival, I could, possibly, point him out. Alas, such was rarely a case in this joint.

Just like me, he frequented the cafe every Saturday. But while I clocked-in in the morning, he visited only by noon. I speculated he enjoyed the midday set meals. My favourite waitress once told me that their lunch sets were very affordable in this expensive city. So perhaps I would give them a try one day. But as for now, I preferred my regular order of plain banana pancake with a side of freshly brewed black coffee–those two made great companions to whatever book I was reading. They were all I needed, until he appeared.

That Saturday, I was pages away from completing The Magnet & The Mouse when I caught his scent. I was drawing close to the conclusion of the acclaimed philosophical book–how the mouse found its magnet after the thunderstorm–but loss all concentration when he walked by. I’m not one to be easily distracted. The noise in the cafe never once bothered me–my focus never disturbed by the yapping children, boisterous students, hollers from the kitchen, and hissing of the coffee machine. The smells of this establishment had not once drew my attention elsewhere–not the homely waft of fresh waffles, and certainly not the deep, soul-pleasing aroma of a dark brew. But, he was different.

What was it about his cologne that stole my senses? Why was his light, almost indistinguishable footsteps so aurally pleasing? I’ve never seen his face nor heard his voice, but I’ve yet to fail at sensing his movement–his presence. Oh, how I wish I knew more about him. The strange desire to speak to him–to learn about his past, present, and future–could not be shaken.

“Is this seat taken?”

There it was again–the smell of his cologne now stronger–as though he was the one who spoke. Then, there were those familiar footsteps as he moved to stand before me.

“No,” I replied, gesturing for him to take a seat.

Was the cafe busier than usual that he had to share my table? Or, did he notice me like I noticed him?

“Good book?” he asked.

“I’ve yet to finish.”

“What’s it about?”

I briefly contemplated about sharing the whole incoherent plot, but settled with, “Life. It’s about life.”

“Life,” he echoed.

“Sounds boring, I know.”

“No, it actually sounds interesting. What is life like for you?”

What is life like for me? Life was once bright, colourful, and beautiful. Then life became dark, lonely, and disconcerting. I didn’t know what to expect the moment I rose from my bed. I could no longer predict what would happen, or avoid–what was once avoidable–misfortunes. I was lost. I had to try harder at discerning the world around me. That was life.

“Ordinary,” I replied. “What is life like for you?”

“Scary,” he said. “How do you make life ordinary?”

I didn’t. I wasn’t. I lied. “I adapt.”

“Do you believe life can be exciting?”

I hoped–I wasn’t reading The Magnet & The Mouse because I enjoyed philosophy.

“Yes,” I said.

“You see, I-” he abruptly halted. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to be insensitive.”

“Words are just words. What do I see?” I prompted.

“You see,” he continued. “I’ve been noticing you for awhile now, and I’ve been wondering how you do it.”

“How I do what?”

“How do you smile and laugh without a care in the world? How do you pardon the intrusive nature of your surroundings? How do you enjoy just that–a pancake and a coffee?”

“I read good books,” I replied with a chuckle.

“I thought so too, but there’s more than that. And I want to know what it is.”

I didn’t know what he was talking about. There wasn’t anything more. “Honestly, I just read really entertaining and engaging books.”

“Or, you just don’t realise how un-ordinary your life is.”

Yes, my life was indeed un-ordinary but in the bad kind of way. Did I miss the memo on how my life should be? Was my current predicament a celebration?

“I know I sound rude,” he added. “It’s just… I find hope in you.” I must have wore bewilderment, as he continued, “I… well… I’ve been told I won’t be able to see for very much longer. So with the days counting down, I’ve chosen to look at what gives me hope. And, you’re one of them–hope.”

“Me?”

“Honestly, I don’t come here for the food. I actually come here for you–the stranger with the book, coffee, and pancake.” He chuckled.

“I… didn’t know I made an impression.”

“Well, just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean you don’t.”

I never thought that me being me could ever make a difference in someone’s life. How could someone so broken be a bringer of hope? Was I truly capable despite my disabilities?

“Thank you,” he added. “I truly hope, that one day, you’ll see what everyone else sees in you.”

Me too. “I hope so too.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Cologne, magnet, and banana were words given by Wei Keat on Facebook–I never knew one could actually bring these words together in a story until I actually tried. And boy, was I surprised at what came out of them.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. And, if you’d like to throw a challenge my way, leave your 3 words in the comment section below! To be honest, I’ve almost used up all the past comments, so your 3 words will help keep this streak alive.

*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.)

Original Works

The Gift of Life

thegiftoflife

It started with a white speck in the blue sky, guided by the cool breeze as it tumbled to the ground. It was the first sign that the season of cheer, laughter, and joy was just around the corner. It was the day of the first snowflake; the day I was lying in bed feeling sick. There was nothing physically wrong with me, but somehow my head was hurting and my stomach was rejecting whatever I put in it. In the end, I gave up trying altogether.

The year had been a rough one on me. It started off great with no worries, but then halfway through, everything turned sour. The man I planned to see the world with, build a family with, become grandparents with, became ill. His sickness was the one with no cure; the one where upon discovery, there was no more hope.

It was so sudden and so shocking that at first, I was certain the doctors were wrong. But then reality hit, and the fantasy that I had created in my head shattered; David was going to die, David is dead. There will no longer be anymore Christmases to share, no more plans to see through, no more love. A few weeks before the first snowflake, David faded away.

Everyone I knew tried to comfort me. They sent me cards, called to check in, and even offered to come over and keep me company, but I soon grew tired of it all. I appreciated their efforts, but there was nothing they could do to make me feel better. So I stopped answering the phone, the doorbell, and logged out of life completely… for as long as reality permitted.

When I finally decided it was time to return to the world, it took me a lot of effort. Even though I was in no mood to celebrate Christmas or the New Year, I was going to try and be human again. It was not easy but within a few days, I managed to get into a routine.

I would get out of bed every morning, eat something for breakfast, read a book, clean the house, try to eat something for lunch, answer my parents’ calls, watch the children across the street play in the snow, force myself to eat something for dinner, read some more, before heading to bed. Leaving the house was not part of my routine, not even to check the mail. One day, however, I heard an unexpected ding dong.

Dreading the thought of having to speak to someone, I dragged myself to the door only to find a parcel on the ground. Taking a quick look around, I hesitated to bring it in when there was no one around. Who was it from? The parcel was wrapped like a gift with a red bow on top, and the card that sat with it was addressed to me. I assumed it was a gift from a friend or a family member.

Bringing the parcel in, I briefly contemplated on waiting for Christmas day, but then I recalled not wanting to even think about Christmas and proceeded with opening it. Inside, I found an instruction card and a little pot filled with soil.

“Place the plant near a window and water it everyday. Not too much though, or it’ll drown,” I read.

That is morbid, I thought. Is this a joke?

David did not drown, but death was still a sensitive topic for me. Strangely, I decided to keep the plant despite the tasteless instruction and the lack of information on the sender.

The following day, I heard it again; the doorbell. When I went to my door, I found no one outside but a mini watering can. There was an instruction card attached to it as well, telling me to use it when watering the plant. The day after that was surprisingly the same, I found a bag of fertilizer instead of a person. It was not hard to come to a conclusion that someone was trying to help me feel better, or at least fill my day with a new activity. Honestly, it was rather fun.

Everyday was the same, with a new gift at the doorstep for the little plant. I soon became dedicated in caring for the plant, that when I saw the first leaf I jumped with joy. I was also very curious as to the person that planned the whole thing. Someone knew I was struggling and someone wanted to help me through. Their approach was so unique, but it was almost impossible to catch the ‘angel’. Then one day, it stopped.

It was a few days before Christmas and I was honestly upset. Why did this person decide to stop just before my favourite day of the year? Yes, despite not wanting to celebrate Christmas this year, it had been my favourite holiday since I was a child. If this person did it on purpose, the whole thing was a cruel joke. Angry, I decided to pretend it never happened. I still watered the plant though, because it was finally in my routine.

Little did expect, on Christmas night the doorbell rang again. Thinking it was the neighbourhood carolers, I was prepared to ask them to leave. This time however, I found my answer. Once again, there was no one at the door except for a red envelope. It seemed to me the sender was finally revealing his or her identity and I excitedly tore it open. What I found inside was a polaroid and a letter.

The polaroid was a picture of me and David from three years ago. At the base was the caption, ‘Our first Christmas together’. Reading those words, I immediately felt a lump in my throat. My hands began to tremble as I silently told myself to breathe. The picture was indeed our first Christmas together. I could remember the day so clearly, as David wanted to decorate the tree with polaroids instead of ornaments. He insisted on it and I gave in. That memory made me laugh as a tear rolled down my cheek.

Turning my attention to the letter, I began to wonder if I should give it a read. I was afraid of its contents, afraid of the memories it would bring up, but I needed to know who planned it all. Slowly unfolding it, I took a deep breath and started from the date.

25th September, 2014.

Three more months before Christmas! Are you excited? I hope you are. It won’t be an easy time, but it’s your favourite holiday of the year so you better be smiling. Smile for me right now, do it!

I forced a smile.

Good girl, I saw you.

I chuckled.

Emma, I know you’re hurting and probably still grieving, but I want you to know you’re not alone. You are never alone. Yes, I made a promise to hold your hand when you turn eighty and I’m sorry for breaking it so early, but I want you to know that I’m still with you. That’s why I prepared your gift before I left.

I don’t want your Christmas to be about my death. I want it to be about our life together. What we had was amazing! How we met over an argument on who saw the last turkey first, to the day we took a hundred polaroids to hang on our first Christmas tree as a married couple… we had a great life together, don’t you think? And yes, even though it was only a short one, it was the best years of my life. You were my best friend, my supporter, and my own personal doctor… you were everything. Your life gave ME life!

If you have not guessed by now, it’s me, David. Yes, goofy David who gave you a plant for Christmas. That plant is the last gift I can give to you and I hope it will keep you company for many years. I hope it would be there to hold your hand when you turn eighty and remind you that even though I’m not by your side, you are not alone. Provided you take good care of the plant like how you’ve taken good care of me these few years. Don’t let it die, or drown! Too soon?

I love you Emma, I always will. Promise me you’ll put up a Christmas tree next year, promise me you’ll wrap horrible gifts and sing the cheesy Christmas songs. I want you to be happy and that’s the only gift I’m asking for. Don’t let me down!

Merry Christmas, love.

Your one and only, David.

Are letters capable of making you laugh and cry at the same time? For the first time since his death, I could hear his voice; a voice that always lifted my spirit up in dark times. David did it again and it was all I needed to get back on my feet.

“Don’t worry, I won’t let the plant drown,” I whispered.

Merry Christmas, love. Thank you for the gift of life.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Let me first start by saying this is fiction. It’s not a true story. But, I believe it’s a story we can all relate to.

We have all experienced loss in our lives, whether a person, a job, a pet, or a sentimental object. You might have even lost something this year. But in this season, don’t let that stop you from looking forward. Life is a roller coaster with highs and low, with us dwelling in the lows more than the highs. So let’s change that!.

Let’s celebrate life and reflect on the good this year. And whatever bad we’ve faced, let’s have hope that the coming year would be better. Keep your head up high and aim to end the year on a positive note. You can do it! I know you can.

Anyway, it has been awhile since I’ve posted short stories on my blog. So I’m not sure how this fairs, but I do hope you like it 🙂 Do let me know what you think in the comments below and happy holidays!

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

Eulogy

eulogy

Paige Livre was the worst person I know. I knew her well enough and I can boldly say this. Paige was a selfish girl. She always thought about herself and contemplated on whether someone was worth her time. She was envious, always trying to compete with her friends and making a huge effort to outdo them. She was very vain, always standing in front of the mirror and spending hours just to be sure she looked better than anyone else. And she was prideful, always judging people and seeing them as inferior.

Paige was also hateful. You wouldn’t believe the ridiculous things she had announced hate upon. She hated the sun, because it was too bright and it made her sweat. She hated the sea, because its breeze would mess up her hairdo she spent hours on. She hated people, the ones that she could not see eye to eye with and the ones she just hated out of pride. She hated lifts that moved too slowly, she hated carton fruit juices that lied about containing real fruit juice, and she hated waiting for anyone and anything.

Seeing Paige everyday, I sometimes wondered if she had trouble dealing with all of those flaws. But I soon realized that all those flaws made her unique. Paige was a hateful person and the worst human being I’ve ever known, but she was also the best one I’ve ever met.

Paige Livre was the best person I know. She was very thoughtful, always thinking of ways to make someone’s day… even a stranger’s. She was positive, always encouraging those who had a hard time and constantly looking at the bright side of life. She was helpful, always putting aside her selfishness for those she cared about and going out of her way to put a smile on their faces. And she was careful with her words. She knew that words had the power to destroy and she tried her best to not say anything hurtful.

Paige was also loving. She loved the rain, because it gave her a chance to unwind with a hot cup of chocolate and a book. She loved the birds, because she always heard a song in their cheerful chirps. She loved the stars, because it gave her hope that tomorrow would be better. And most importantly, she loved people.

She loved her parents more than anyone else. She loved her father for begging the doctor to let her visit Disney Land. She loved him for pushing her wheelchair at the park and standing in line so that she could see her favourite Disney characters. She loved him for reading her stories on the nights when she was too weak to read to herself. She loved him for simply being there.

Paige loved her mother too. She loved her for trying to give her a normal life when things started to get rough. She loved her for driving her to the mall and to parties so that she would not feel left out. She loved her for preparing her favourite meals everyday, helping her get dressed, putting up with her random moments of tears and screams, and for hugging her when it hurt. She loved her for simply being there.

There was also a bunch of people she loved, and they were her friends. She loved them for visiting her and bringing her cards and balloons. She loved them for writing her encouraging notes with hope of her recovery. She loved them for sleeping over at the hospital to keep her company. And she loved them for hiding their tears from her. It was hard knowing her days were numbered, but her friends spared her the agony of seeing them in grief. She loved them for simply being there.

Being someone who knew she was dying was not easy on Paige. She had dreams she wanted to achieve, places she wanted to see, food she wanted to taste, and words she wanted to hear. But when she thought about all that she was missing out, she couldn’t help but think about all that she had gained. It was in that hard time that Paige learned to love herself.

She loved all her unique traits; the good and the bad. She loved how her teeth were not even and how her hair was always messy. She loved not being able to wear the colour yellow because it did not match her skin colour. She loved her healthy self when she could run, dance, and laugh, and she loved her sick self when she found it hard to speak, eat, and move.

Paige Livre died with love. The kind of death the world envies. That is all that matters, don’t you agree? I love you, Paige Livre. Thank you for the few good years.

That was it. I could not write anymore. There was a pain in my chest and my fingers were too weak to scribble another word. I wished I could reread what I just wrote, but my head was spinning and the words were starting to appear blurry.

As the monitor beside me beeped slowly, almost fusing into a single dead note, I began to wonder if that night was my last. Two days ago, my family and friends came to see me. They said I could let go and rest, but I couldn’t even utter a final goodbye when they walked out the door. I knew I had to leave them with something, so I gathered all the strength I had left and wrote my own eulogy. It’s not normal to write your own eulogy, but let me be the first.

Well, I guess I can close my eyes now. I hope that last page of my book would bring more smiles than tears. Goodnight Paige, goodbye world.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

As depressing as this story was, I want to leave you with a question; do you love yourself?

We are not perfect and there will be parts of ourselves that we dislike, but those imperfections make us unique. Understanding that we are special and loving ourselves for it, is what we should all do. It is definitely not easy as we are our own haters, but loving ourselves will make a huge difference in the way we view life. I hope you love yourself, but if you can’t, I hope you find a way 🙂

As always, let me know what you think of this story in the comments below! I would love to hear your thoughts and I hope you enjoyed it. 

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

Espionage

espionageThere I was, arm stretched out with a loaded pistol in my hand. My eyes were on target and I simply had to pull the trigger to end it all. But at that very moment, I waited.

“Why are you doing this?” he asked. No, he demanded.

I remained silent to his angry question, not because I did not know what to say but because I was not sure if my answer was acceptable.

“Are you going to shoot me now? Your childhood friend?!” he demanded. His words were fuelled with a concoction of pain and hatred put together by my betrayal.

“Answer me dammit! Have you grown mute?”

As I stared him straight in the eye, with the coldest expression on my face, I saw him break. His eyes were watering and the hand he held his pistol with began to shake. He was not doing this to himself, I was.

Since the day I said ‘yes’ to the other side, I cut off all ties to the life I had. My friends were no longer my friends, my family was no longer my family, and the organization I worked for was now the one I betrayed. No, I was not forced. It might seem so but there was no gun pointing at my head when I joined the other side. I made the decision and I’ve stuck with it for years.

When he asked me why I decided to switch sides and turn on everyone I once loved, I wanted to tell him it was because it felt right. There was money, protection, and a whole lot of other promises, but the only reason why I flipped was because it felt right. I felt as though it was the normal choice to make, and somehow they managed to convince me that I was fighting for the wrong cause all along.

“Was it worth it?” he asked, this time in exasperation. He seemed tired and he dropped his hand to his side.

I don’t know, I silently said.

“Seeing you right now, it’s like you have been brainwashed. Are you just going to do what they tell you to do? You have a choice, man. You can stop it all and come back with me. Please just come back with me,” he pleaded, as his body language indicated he was letting his guard down.

He was easing up, but I was far from it. Even though my arm was growing tired, I still held it straight. One shot was all I needed to end the night. I had a disc in my other hand full of information I needed to take down my former employer, and I just wanted to get it over with.

“I have a choice,” I said.

“Yes, you do!” he quickly replied, thinking he had successfully convinced me.

 “I choose this,” I said.

“What?” he asked, unable to believe his ears.

“You heard me,” I simply replied.

He laughed. It was a laugh of disbelief; short, strained and false. The kind of laugh that marked the end of a long and faithful friendship. As though the world could sense it too, the night sky acknowledged our broken ties and grumbled softly.

When his laugh faded, there was a brief moment of silence between us, but I waited. I gave him time to come to terms with my betrayal. That was the least I could do for him, in fact the last thing I could ever do for him. When he finally accepted that I was a lost cause, he shook his head, wiped his eyes and then lifted his pistol again. His arm was firm and his eyes locked on mine. At that very moment, we were a mirror image of each another.

“This is it then. You’re going to kill me,” he said. Anger, pain, and disbelief had left his voice.

“I don’t have to if you get out of my way,” I replied. I didn’t want to kill him, but if he insisted on making things hard I would not hesitate to shoot.

“I’m not moving. You have to shoot me,” he boldly stated.

Fine, I said to myself. A millisecond after that, a bullet shot out of my pistol and whizzed through the cold night air. He did not see it coming and his reflexes could not dodge the bullet that went straight for his head. Before the clock could tick another second, the bullet hit its target and sent it shattering into pieces.

It was a loud shatter as the mirror crashed to the ground. The tiny motel floor was now scattered with glass shards. As I remained seated, I stared at where the standing mirror once stood. I silently told myself he was gone, and that side of me was never going to stand in my way again.

Knowing that the gunshot would send people to my room, I pushed him out of my head and quickly got to my feet, tucking my pistol into its holster as I did. Without wasting anymore time, I grabbed my belongings and the disc before climbing out the back window.

Now all I needed to do was make a call and drop the coveted information off. I made my decision that night, I was not forced into it… it was my choice.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

There will be a time in our lives where we choose a side; the side that seems right and the side that reflects our hearts. And when that time comes, will we go for the side that tells us what to do and what we should believe in, or will we stay true to the person we grew up with?

Often times, we find it hard to go against the grain and be ourselves, so we choose to act and behave a certain way just to fit in with the majority. But every time we do that, we betray ourselves. We are taking what we know about ourselves and handing it over to the world, where the world can use it to judge and conform us. Yes, it might seem right and the most common choice, but is loosing yourself in the process really worth it? No one is forcing you in this decision, so choose wisely.

Anyway, I hope you guys liked this story 🙂 Do let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

Not Human

Not Human

I am not human. I live inside this shell that looks like a human but I am not. I can hear, see, smell, taste and touch, and yet I’m different. I understand love, fear, joy and grief, and yet I’m an alien. I know you don’t understand me, as my words are always met with strange stares and frustrated mutters, but you can’t blame me for trying. I just want to be you… I just want to be human.

Those were once my daily thoughts.

I used to constantly wonder what was wrong with me. Why was I born this way? Why was I thrown into a world I did not belong in? Was I expected to survive human years in a state no human could understand? Why, why, why?

I remember the day I uttered my first words, they were a messy clash of syllables. It was deemed normal for a while, but as I got older, it was a sign… a sign I was not human. The two people I called father and mother could not believe I was not like them. I could see the fear in their eyes, and I genuinely feared for myself. Would they rid themselves of me now that they know the truth? Was I a danger to them and myself? Will they ever love me again?

It was not easy going through that stage of life, but I soon realized that father and mother were unlike the other humans. They struggled in raising me but they still felt for me. They would whisper kind words and though I could not tell them how thankful I was, I hope they know. I hope they know I appreciate them and their efforts of trying to make me fit in. It’s not easy trying to put me in a society of humans and all three of us knew it was always going to be a challenge, not just because I was different but because of the other humans.

When I was old enough to play outside my home, I found myself stumbling upon humans I have never met before. I was smart enough to know they would not accept me, but determined enough to try. So, I approached a human my size and tried to talk to her. Her response was an odd stare and a run in the opposite direction. She did not even turn back once and she did not tell me why we could not be friends. Sadly, she was not the last human that turned away.

I remember during one Christmas, I was building a snowman with father when a new neighbour came to greet us. They gave father a basket of cookies and took a few quick glances at me. When father told them my human name, they looked at me with pity. Was it because they knew I did not belong? Or was it because they were sad I was so far away from my real home? Every time a human wore sympathy in their eyes, I wondered if they knew something I did not. If only I could ask them… if only they could tell me how to go home.

Growing up in the human world has not been easy for me. Every day I struggle with my true identity. I fill a book with questions in the human language, yet I find it a challenge to say those words out loud. Father and mother tried to help me over and over again, but nothing seemed to work. They sent me to a human school once, but when I could not understand what was being taught no matter how hard I tried, they had to take me out. My failure of being human hurt them… as much as it hurt me. Why wasn’t I just born human?

The day I finally found people like me was the day I began to realize who I truly was. It was a rainy afternoon when mother drove me to a special school. She said there were others like me and I could finally make friends. I was sceptical at first, and I had the right to be. As I stepped into this school for non-humans, I found so many others like me. Strangely, none of them were really like me. They could not speak they way I speak, nor could they understand what I was saying. Soon, I gave up trying… just like how I gave up in human school.

One evening, while I sat alone on a park bench in the school compound, a stranger walked up to me. Most of the teachers had also given up on me, so I spent most of my days away from humans. That evening, a human decided to say hello.

“Hi there, can I take a seat?” the human asked.

I nodded my head, not wanting to speak my strange language.

“Nice day isn’t it? I love watching the sun set.”

I nodded my head again.

“You remind me of someone I know. She was just like you.”

 I turned to face the human, curious to know more.

“She liked watching the sun set but she did not like speaking either. Maybe because she thought she was different. Sadly, she left before I could tell her she was no different than me.”

I remained silent, as the human looked me in the eye.

“You are like me too. We’re the same. We may think differently and speak differently, but on the inside we’re the same.”

It was hard to understand the simplicity of the human’s words. What was this human trying to say?

“Everyone on this earth is the same. You’re human, I’m human, and you should not let anyone tell you otherwise.”

As the stranger got up and left, I felt a feeling I never thought I could feel. I felt… human.

I may not speak your language, I cannot comprehend your logic, and I struggle at what you find easy, but I am just like you. I’m not different, I’m not an alien, I am simply human… and the truth is, I have always been.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

When I was a kid, I was one of those who avoided other children with special needs. That was because I thought they were strange or weird. Of course, as a child it was hard to understand why some children spoke and acted differently from the way I and my friends did. If only I heard their thoughts… I would have acted differently.

Hence this story. I don’t know how accurate I am with the ‘thought’ depiction of those with special needs, but I have a feeling they simply want to fit in. They just want to be like the rest of us, constantly struggling with their identity. We may find it difficult befriending them, but they find it difficult to live with all the rejection. It’s not easy to accept what we see as abnormal, but it is something we should learn to do. Those with special needs are humans too.

This week, I wasn’t sure on what story to write. So, I decided to pick up a subject we know but rarely talk about. Do let me know what you think of this story in the comments below! I would appreciate it 🙂

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

A Pen Pal’s Christmas Wish

A penpals christmas wish

I have a pen pal. I know it sounds ridiculous in an era where Internet exists, but I have been writing letters to this ‘pal’ for as long as I can remember. Even though emails are faster, we agreed that the ugly scribbles gave our letters a special touch. So, we stuck to it as the black ink told stories of day-to-day life and the deepest secrets of our hearts. We were basically ordinary pen pals except… he wasn’t ordinary.

This year’s ‘pen pal-ing’ started off with me writing to him about my fear of failing my driving exam. A week after I poured the horror on a piece of paper, a package came in the mail with a book titled, ‘Driving For Dummies’. Together with it was a note telling me not to worry and encouraging me to believe in myself. Surprisingly, that little note did its job.

A few months after I passed my driving exam, I started working. That was when I stumbled upon a rather annoying colleague who made my life a nightmare. It was only normal to vent my frustration in my next letter, so I did, with my alphabets morphing into ghastly creatures that were feeding off my frustration. I have no idea how he managed to read them, but a week after I dropped my letter in the mailbox, a reply arrived with a gift voucher for an expensive restaurant. And to make my life easier, there was also a ripped classified page from a newspaper with jobs highlighted in green.

With time and his help, that issue soon passed and the year began to smoothen out. Unfortunately, before the last crease could be straightened, I bumped into another problem… literally. It was my first car accident and the world managed to push me into a corner. There, I wrote a letter of my confusion and anger and shortly after, I received a reply with a few hundred dollars. He offered to pay for the damage knowing I needed the help, and he warned me not to return him the money.

Of course, I thanked him profusely in my next letter for his help. I always thanked him whenever he did something for me, but I soon realized it wasn’t enough.

When Christmas began to roll around the corner, I asked him if he had a wish for Christmas. I told him I would give him anything, as long as it made him happy. The reply I got from him was both expected and unexpected.

Dear Ally,

You know I do not want a gift from you. I’m not the type of person who yearns for presents. But knowing you well enough, you would probably beg me for a request. So, I did some thinking and I found what I would like for Christmas. Since you promised to fulfil it, here it is: I want another year of being your pen pal. Don’t let me down!

Now, what do you want for Christmas?

Love, Dad.

The first time I read that letter, it made no sense. Obviously, I was still going to write to him next year. I may be away from home, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten where I truly belonged. It was a rather dull request, but after a few rereads, his words began to hold a new meaning.

All my dad wanted was another year of exchanging letters, where he could pick me up when I fall, send me gifts to put a smile on my face, and be my friend in a world where I’m on my own. He finds joy in being my light, refuge and strength, and all he wanted was to continue being just that. It was a wish so selfless that I struggled to see its true nature in a world that was completely the opposite. When my heart finally realized the love he has invested in me throughout the year, a tear fell from my eye.

Compared to him, I spent lesser time on my letters and filled them with complaints, worries, and requests. I wrote to him regularly but the dedication I had was nothing compared to his. When I understood his heart, I felt like I did not deserve it.

That night, I wrote a reply saying I would do as he requested. I told him it would be my honour to continue writing to him and that I appreciated everything he has done for me. As for my Christmas wish, I told him I wanted what he wanted, and that was another year where I can try to out love him even though I know I can’t.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I know today is supposed to be fan fiction day, but since Christmas was just yesterday I decided that a Christmas story would be more appropriate. To some, this is merely a simple story revolving around the theme of love, being Christmas IS about love… but to me it is more than that.

You may not be in the Christmas mood this year and this story might not be as exciting as the previous one, but I do hope you take something from it, whether it be a little tingling sensation or a small message. That is all I can hope for 🙂

Anyway, Merry (belated) Christmas and may 2014 be a great year for all of you!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

Original Works

Dark Skies

darkskies

The rain fell like the bursting of a dam. There was no rhythm to the heavy drops, but there was thunder to the unsynchronized falling of rain. The windows in my room vibrated softly as the strong wind pushed against them. And that made me wince.

I never liked heavy rains. They scared me. The clouds always stayed dark after a heavy downfall, and unlike a drizzle in the afternoon, the sun never came up immediately.

There is just this feeling of uncertainty and worry when it came to heavy rains. You have to be homebound and if you are on the road, you can barely see. If you are walking with an umbrella, you know you are in a battle to stay dry as the wind sends your only protection scrunching.

Nobody would dance in such a rain. No one would leave the windows open for the wind. Not a single person would leave their house, and plans were better off cancelled.

I say all these as I have experienced them. But unfortunately, this heavy rain might be my last. It fitted the feelings I have right now; the cold, foreboding, and unstable situation that rested on my shoulders. Not once have I related so well to the weather than right now.

The dark sky, almost like the night sky, was the epitome of fear. Don’t believe me? Lie on your bed, look out your window, and don’t fall asleep. Watch the trees fight the wind, hear the wind chimes clash in loud cries, and feel the cold seeping into your skin. Are you afraid now?

I’m sure we all have experienced fear before. Fear alike the heavy rain, but much more real. These experiences are never easy to forget.

I, myself, remember my first encounter with fear. I was seven. I was at the swimming pool and my float was too big for me. Slipping through the hole and sinking, while my ears muffled the world around me, was a strange and scary feeling. I remember the cold water, the crushing in my chest, and my desperate fight to survive. I remember not dying, but fear still won. I never swam again.

Another encounter I had with fear was my final exam in university. I studied all I could but when the paper sat right in front of me, my mind went blank. The cold examination room, the loud ticking of the clock, and the words my mind could not wrap around, made me scared. I did not fail, but fear still won. I’m constantly struggling to believe in myself and I don’t know why.

Thinking back, my university encounter was not even up to par with my most recent one. A couple of years ago, I lost my job and I struggled to find a new one. Everyone shut their doors and there was not even a window to peep through. The sight of my bills terrified me, the sound of rejection resonated within me, and the nights where the chills of reality greeted me, made me want to run and hide under my bed. I was like a child, afraid of the bogeyman that was out to get me. Thankfully I did not go bankrupt, but fear still won. I have never been more worried about my future since then.

Honestly, after I got through that mess, I thought I had seen all the faces of fear. Of course I was wrong. I was wrong not because I’ve not experienced them all, but because I don’t know the fear I was about to face.

When it came, it hit me so hard that my hands shook, my insides bubbled, and my head started to spin. Was I afraid of death or was I afraid of uncertainty? What was my fear? I never had the answers.

Today, I laid in my bed staring at the rain. Chills ran down my spine as the beeping of the monitor grew louder and louder. I was hoping for the rain to stop, and for the dark sky to clear up, but it looked like it would not do so anytime soon. I was hoping for a glimpse of a rainbow, or a hint of hope, but the world was refusing to calm my soul.

I was not ready for what I had to face. I was scared, fearful, terrified, and paralyzed. Where was my courage? I wondered silently.

Briefly pulling my eyes away from the madness outside, I turned to stare at the ceiling. I found my eyes fixated on the ceiling light; the light that was so… stable. There was no flicker when the clouds thundered, and it kept my darkened room lit.

It was then that I realized something. There was a way to beat fear… and that, was hope. You don’t need a sign to have hope, you just need to believe there is hope. Even in the darkest places, there would be light. The strong stable glare of warmth is not shaken by the cold winds and tremors.

Hope was a powerful weapon, one that could defeat the daggers of fear. And for once in my life, I actually tried to let hope breathe. I did not have much of a choice anyway, as my future was uncertain. But with a little hope, I know I stand a chance, however small it was.

It’s true, they say, fear cripples. I have been crippled in different areas of my life unable to truly live it. And now, I’m about to go through an operation where my chance of survival is the same as my chance of death. But even so, I have decided not to let fear rob my last conscious thought.

When my doctor finally came in to see me, I took one last look at the world outside my window. This time, I was full of hope to see the clear blue skies again.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

This short story is self explanatory and the question it raises is simple. Are you living in fear? Was there an event or a situation that has crippled you? If so, it’s time to let a little hope breathe.

No matter what you are afraid of, rejection, disappointment, loss, hardships, and even death, remember that hope is always there. You just have to see it and acknowledge its presence. Finding the light in darkness is not easy, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any. Sometimes it takes faith, other times it takes courage, but believing there is hope changes the way you look at things. When you see things in a different light, it’s no longer the end of the world.

I know this story is pretty simple, without strange analogies like my previous ones, but I hope it conveyed the message well enough. So, do let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)