Original Works

Reach | Goals | Hotel

They say that some goals are impossible to achieve—that no matter how fervently you imagined, dreamt, or even planned, it could never come true. And perhaps, they are right. But, did I believe them?

“What do you think—grand, isn’t it?” I prompted, as I showed her yet another one of my sketches.

My mother responded with a thin smile. It was the same smile that had graced her meek demeanour for the past few years—an empathetic expression of little belief. Though, there was a time when she truly did believe—a time when we would have sweet cereal and cold milk for breakfast, when the weekends involved a game of frisbee at the park, and when my father would take us on spontaneous road trips in his sputtering jeep. It was a time of jaw-aching laughter, silly yet dangerous pranks, and wide grins of true belief in the bright side of life. But within three years, my mother had lost it all.

Some days, those memories didn’t seem real to me either. It would play in the blackness of my eyelids right before I fell asleep—like a family-friendly film in the popcorn-scented theater we had not visited since. It often felt like someone else’s story—perhaps, the story of another me from another universe. Were we really that happy? Is that how a genuine smile looked like—raised cheeks and wrinkles by the eyes? Some of those memories had slipped from my mind all together—now surreal.

“There’ll be three floors of swimming pool, connected with a swirling water slide. It’ll shoot through the ceiling!” I added.

“That looks like a lot of fun,” my mother said. “But you’ll need lifeguards.”

“Right. Like at the public pool,” I noted.

I almost forgot about the swimming classes I took every Friday. My father would pick me up after school—my yellow swim bag and metal lunchbox often placed on the backseat. Yet, in the recollection of those sunny afternoons, there were gaps in what was once a weekly routine. I had forgotten the warmth of the sun on my skin, the soothing humming in my ears while underwater, and the shiver in my spine as I dashed for my towel on the pool bench.

“Is it almost done?” my mother asked.

“Almost,” I replied, flipping through my sketchbook. There were a few sketches left before the blueprint of my first hotel was complete. It would be my proudest creation yet—the first step toward achieving my dream of becoming the world’s youngest architect.

“Don’t forget to show your dad,” my mother said. “He’ll want to see it.”

“Yup! I also need to ask him about the piping.” I smiled. And at that moment, I wondered—was my smile a true smile? I had no mirror—were there creases by my eyes? When my mother responded with a loving gaze, I knew—I had a smile of belief.

My parents may have long lost their belief but I had yet to lose mine. Despite the past years of uncertainty and fear, I still believed. Even when I struggled to be brave, even when I cried into my pillow, even when they could no longer remove the endotracheal tube, and even when the doctor said it could be any time now, I still believed that dreams do come true. That if you stretched your hands—reach for the stars—nothing was impossible. And though I might have forgotten what life was like—what it should be for a healthy twelve-year-old—I had not given up on it yet.

One day soon, I would be free from my restraints. I wouldn’t have to peer out of the hospital window to glimpse the stars, I would stand beneath them. I wouldn’t have to replay old memories, I would make new ones. There would be no more tears. There would only be belly-aching laughter. One day soon, my dream would come true—I would be the boy who conquered death. And there would be plenty of smiles—authentic smiles of true belief.


Reach, goals, and hotel were words given by Mervin Raymond.

It has been awhile since I’ve written something like this. And honestly, I found myself tearing up a little. I’m sorry if I made you a little sad too. I just felt like writing an emotional piece and this was it.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story with the three words given. Perhaps you can lighten the mood with 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.)

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Original Works

36,200 Feet [12 Genre Months]

“We’re here,” he announced.

Our deep sea watercraft—barely large enough for the two of us—swayed on the coordinates said to be the gateway to a new world⁠. It was a promise from a time-worn expedition journal, found in the rubble of the recent apocalypse. And despite the absurdity of the seemingly fictional work, we believed that if we reached the depths of Challenger Deep, we would find a hidden realm—a habitable space of amazing wonders.

“Thirty-six thousand and two hundred feet. You ready?” he asked.

“As ready as you are,” I replied. And, as though it was only natural, we shifted our gazes to the journal on the control panel.

We had both been fixated on the paperback since its discovery—an odd find during one of our routined foragings for provisions. As the one who pulled it off the top most shelf of a partially submerged bookshelf, I didn’t think much of it—except of how it would serve as a great time killer, with its intriguing symbols and charts. Little did I know, we became obsessed. The maps, drawings, numbers, and accounts offered us the possibility of a fresh start. So who could blame us? In a world that had lost all glimmer of hope, therein sprouted our radical faith—an idée fixe.

After the great flood—sweeping the planet like a vengeful beast—three quarters of our home became inhabitable. Mother Nature reclaimed her birthright with the sheer determination to spare no one. Alas, some of us survived. But what good did it do being alive? It only seemed logical that when the possibility of a future presented itself—as ludicrous as it sounded—we tried our luck.

“Our adventure begins,” he quoted—the first handwritten sentence of the log—and yanked the lever that submerged our vessel beneath the calm waters.

We were lucky to have found an operational mini-submarine at the Marine Research Centre of our once thriving city. Its 300-paged waterproofed manual was snugged beneath the control panel—one that became his second favourite read after the journal itself. Thus, when he said that it would only take us two and a half hours, I believed him. Yet strangely, after my watched beeped twelve thirty, we had yet to arrive at Challenger Deep.

“Are we lost?” I asked—a difficult question to answer in the engulfing darkness of the ocean deep.

“We…” He stood befuddled, hovering over the radar and the numbers that tracked the depth of our descent. “We’ve passed thirty-six thousand and two hundred feet,” he stated.

“Did we miss something?” I added, flipping the journal open. “Did we miscalculate?”

“That’s not possible,” he said.

“We could’ve made a mistake,” I replied, turning hastily to the page that led us down this path.

“No, we couldn’t have. The deepest part of the ocean is thirty-six thousand and two hundred feet. We can’t be going any deeper,” he explained.

“Maybe the numbers are wrong.” I reached over and tapped at the screen. “Maybe we should go back up to find another submarine.”

“Or maybe,” he paused, turning toward me. “Maybe we’ve passed the gates.”

At his prompt, we looked out the glass panel and into the black canvas. The journal made no mention of the crossing from our world into the new one—it merely stated to descend. Perhaps, we did miss something. But just when we were about to refer to the written work once more, we felt a forceful tug in our chests—a sudden lifting sensation as our vessel began to ascend at rapid speed.

The numbers on the control panel rolled in reverse, flickering faster than our eyes could blink. As though propelled by a force, air bubbles rose from beneath—obstructing all view until the glistening of daylight hinted at the world beyond. It took mere minutes—the compression in my ears nearly muting all sounds, despite a cabin designed to withstand the atmospheric pressure. And when our watercraft eventually halted, we had reached the surface.

“What happened?” I asked, seconds before I noticed the thumping in my chest.

He leaned forward, peering into the world beyond—his eyes searching for a sign that we had succeeded. Alas, what appeared before us was the same endless ocean. Was the journal a lie? Did our vessel fail? Were we out of our minds when we decided to go on such a quest?

“We tried,” I muttered. “At least we tried.”

He turned away from our reality with a sigh. “At least we tried,” he echoed—disappointment evident in the resonance of his voice. “I’ll set a course for home,” he added. But while he keyed in the coordinates, there came a resounding wail overhead.

“Is that a… plane?” I frowned, pointing at the aircraft flying past us and toward the horizon.

“Someone must have found one,” he stated.

“Even if they did, where on earth could they have taken off?” I asked.

His eyes widened—he caught my drift. A chill ran up my spine as the hairs on my nape stood. Our mission wasn’t a failure. We had arrived. It wasn’t the fantastical world from our wildest imagination, but it was a living planet nonetheless.

“Did we… go back in time or is this a parallel universe?” he asked.

“Does it matter?” I chuckled with disbelief.

“No,” he said with the widest grin. “It’s the new world.”

“Yes, and we’re here,” I exclaimed. “We’re… home.”


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

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

Original Works

Candle | Craft | Colour

They said that if you truly believed—owning a faith so unmovable—you would find it. They said that if you trusted in its existence, despite the echoing doubts, you could tear through the very fabric of space and time. But what they didn’t say was that it wasn’t as simple as believing. For if it was a matter of belief, many would have glimpsed this realm of magic—I, myself, would have traversed its land with my credence since birth. Alas, I lacked… the one thing that would’ve unlocked its doors. I lacked the one thing I had all along—I lacked courage.

Oh, how envious was I at the claims of those who had gone before me. They spoke of a spellbinding universe, overflowing with enchanting colours no human mind could ever conceive. They recounted the shimmering lights—a descending of the stars of the universe—that surrounded their very being, of which weren’t merely a sight to behold but a gift of overwhelming wonder and peace. Those who had journeyed beyond the boundaries of this world had an experience that was uniquely theirs, yet coherent with this gifted faction of society. And despite all that, they claimed to be ordinary. Despite their very own odyssey in such a sentient space, they believed it was a place for all.

Still, none of them made mention of courage. In my desire to leave this world behind, their only advice was faith—faith I thought I already had. Alas, I had to recognise what true belief was… on my own. For only when my present cloaked me in a veil of hopelessness—when darkness was all I could see—I had to retrieve my candle. I had to find the only remaining light—the light within—to lead me forward. And with that flickering yet undying flame, I wielded the courage to carry through. I found my belief in my craft.

True belief isn’t a notion—it isn’t merely the possibility of a great future but the reality of which I wanted to escape from. True belief is the courage to do, even if what I did wasn’t grand or magnificent. True belief is magic—the only door that opened to a realm so breathtaking, it can only be explained with colours and light. I am but a neophyte in this cosmos of curiosity and imagination but should one ask for a map to this universe, my answer would be the same as my predecessors—believe, truly believe. And once you do, the keys to this realm would be forever yours.


Candle, craft, and colour were words given by Emily Tong.

I wrote this short piece of fiction with a dash of reality in mind—a message I hope many would read in moments when they are afraid to step out. Believing isn’t just a good idea. If we truly believe, we’ll find the courage that has been within us all along.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. Don’t be afraid to try. Start believing in your craft today!

*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.)

Writing Journey

The Reality Of Fiction

Last Thursday was the 1st year publication anniversary of The Slave Prince. It marked the sixth year of my relationship with Thom. And… looking back at Thom’s life, I realised that some stories will never truly be over.

Prior to the publication of the book, I wrote a ‘farewell’ letter to Thom. Though I knew our relationship had ended, it wasn’t really goodbye. Thom will always be there—somewhere, out there—even while I work with other characters. After all, our history together has shaped my present—there is no way that he could ever disappear from my life.

Funnily enough, I’m not sentimental with all of my characters. It is only the ones I’ve known for years who tend to linger on. And, as I embark on a newer adventure with Robb and Myra—of which their tale might go on for far longer than I had previously envision—I have an inkling that they too will join Thom when it’s all over. Which… makes me glad—thankful they are here to stay even when the work is done.

Truthfully, writing isn’t always fun. And my relationship with my characters is one of the factors that make writing their stories meaningful—it is they who make the experience memorable. Because, let’s be honest… I’ve spent more time with these fictional people than with the friends of my reality. They—Thad, Thom, and Robb—have molded my life just as much as I have molded theirs. They have helped me to understand myself better—to grow in trying seasons—carrying parts of me in their personas. Despite their different stories and identities, I trust them to bear the unfiltered and tangible version of me. Despite their fictional disposition, they are real.

‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’

Ask any author and I’m sure they can name a character that is far more real than reality itself. These characters break the barriers of imagination—the reason why Thom’s story feels like a personal experience, why I sometimes find Robb to be annoying, and why Thad will never be forgotten. But… it doesn’t stop there. At the end of my own story, I hope that these people wouldn’t merely be a part of me—that they wouldn’t die with their creator but will live in you.

I hope their lives will be an encouragement in your difficult times. I hope their stories will be a light in your darkness moments. I hope they linger on because they have become a part of you—as real as they can be… in what we call ‘this reality’.

Original Works

Lady Chivalry [12 Genre Months]

Since her birth, Bella had been taught the ways of grace and sophistication. She acquired a mastery in early Renaissance art at the age of five and was fluent in Latin, Greek, French, Italian, and German before she turned seven. Her remarkability modelled finesse, of which only a lady from a powerful household could ever procure. But Bella was no damsel, let alone in distress.

There came a time when Bella Fortunia refused to play by the rules of society. What was the meaning of life if all she ever did was don burgundy velvet dresses and feign bashfulness in the presence of men? No, she was going to wield a sword in a quest for honour and justice. And what finer way to begin her heroic and valiant adventure than with the rescue of her betrothed, Ziennaticus Vera.

It had been a week since Ziennaticus Vera went missing. He was last spotted at the Temple of the High Society, pounding on the oak double doors in request for entry he was seemingly denied. The High Society was an organization for the noblests of nobles—Bella’s father would attend its weekly meetings whenever it was required of him. And though she had heard of the exclusivity and prestige of the High Society, Bella knew little of what went on beneath the ribbed dome roof—never was a lady invited and never will a lady be. Alas, to the High Society’s dismay, Bella was about to kick its doors in the name of love.

Since it wasn’t ladylike, Bella had acquired a fine level of swordsmanship from a retired musketeer—excusing herself every alternate afternoon in the name of literary pursuits. And, because she knew of no one else who would be in possession of suitable garb, Bella paid her teacher an unexpected visit—at his cluttered room above his favourite tavern—on the morning of her quest. After an intoxicated night, the middle-aged man stood fuddled as Bella swiped a deep crimson doublet with golden laces, a black cape, and the retiree’s polished rapier. Promising to return the attire, she slipped into the swordmaster’s former persona and wasted not a second more—storming toward the Temple of the High Society.

What was Bella’s grand plan? Surely, the chivalrous young lady had it well thought out. And she did, without any need for theatrics. Standing at the heavy double doors of the High Society, Bella demanded for her lover—whom she strongly believed to have been kidnapped by the coterie of elitists—to be released.

“Do not make me swing my blade,” Bella threatened. “Release Sir Vera this instant and I shall be on my way.”

“We have not heard of this Ziennaticus Vera. So be on your way, woman,” a voice replied from behind the doors.

“I am no woman,” Bella stated, in abhorrence of the foul appellation. “I am a lady and I am here for my knight in distress.”

“We do not have your knight. So be gone!”

Oh, how the stranger regretted his words. Instead of a futile argument, Bella responded with a forceful kick at the door. The sudden impact—despite failing to send the door crashing down—led to an oof as if the doorkeeper had fallen on his back.

“Have you caught the plague?” the man yelled—outrage present in the resonance of his voice.

“My knight or I’ll send you the plague!” Bella raised her own in competition.

Bella hesitated for a moment—in contemplation of offering the stranger a chance to concede—but the thought of her beloved locked in a cage, hanging high above treacherous spikes, sparked her to action. Bella raised her knee high, ready for another kick, when-

“What the devil is going on in here?” Lady Fortunia asked, failing to hide the horror that had swept across her face the second she walked through the reading room door.

“We’re… just playing,” Bella replied, promptly tossing the wooden sword onto the floral hand-woven carpet.

“Is this how a lady behaves?” Lady Fortunia questioned. Ziennaticus, who had placed an armchair between him and Bella as the imaginary door, lowered himself from view.

“No,” Bella replied, dropping her gaze as she did. Instantly, she knew her fate had been sealed—additional hours pouring over manuscripts with her aging tutor and the arduous task of embroidering the entire garden with her nursemaid.

“Ziennaticus,” Lady Fortunia ordered forward.

“Yes, Your Ladyship,” Ziennaticus muttered, daring not to raise his head.

“Tell Lady Vera that you’ll be too ill for anymore visits this month.”

“No,” Bella interjected. Reading and needlework was acceptable, but prohibiting the only time she could be herself was cruel.

“Not another word from you, young lady.” Lady Fortunia snapped. “Now off you go, Ziennaticus. I don’t want to see you until the month is over.”

If there was a time Bella Fortunia needed to wield her sharpened rapier, that was the time. Alas, some rules of society couldn’t be broken. Even if Bella Fortunia refused to play along, her mother would see to it that she did. After all, Bella was a damsel… but one in distress? No, never—at the very least, that decision was hers and hers alone.


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

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

Original Works

Hat | Handkerchief | Car

His name was Jasonian Arventus—the kind of name you wouldn’t forget because it had pretentious written all over it. Jasonian Arventus—who had always insisted I used his entire moniker, as he couldn’t accept the shortening of his name to that of a commoner—never once left his house without his silk, peach-coloured handkerchief. Routinely, he had it snugged in the front left pocket of his expensive grey-checkered, double-breasted wool coat, before taking a foot past the front door. The plain and glossy piece of fabric was akin to a child’s security blanket, for Jasonian Arventus—whose name I’m bound to misspell in the near future—believed it brought him good luck.

Jasonian Arventus had a myriad of possessions but none as precious as his rabbit’s foot of a mouchoir. He lived in a Victorian mansion the size of a Slovenian castle, and had not one but fifteen automobiles that would awake your inner green-eyed monster. He also had a private collection of historical armaments from the Crusades and ancient scrolls from the age of pharaohs. And, if you ever had the patience to hold a conversation with him, he would boast of the ungodly amount of jewellery he owned that rivalled the royal museum. Yet, you would find that Jasonian Arventus would give it all up for his handkerchief—except for that one night, when he was offered a hat in exchange.

The felt hat arrived at his doorstep in a box. It wasn’t a package he had ordered nor was there a delivery man requesting for his fanciful signature. When Jasonian Arventus attended to the chime of the doorbell—he didn’t believe in squandering his wealth on a doorkeeper—he found a note attached to the parcel. The scribble of a letter read, ‘Exchange the kerchief for the bowler and you’ll receive your greatest desire.’

Some days, I wonder if I am to blame for what happened to Jasonian Arventus. However, it was a blessing in disguise. As I was, unsurprisingly, the only person who cared enough, Jasonian Arventus rang me over. He sent his chauffeur to my humble abode, ensuring that I couldn’t decline his seemingly urgent request—made a few hours shy of midnight.

“You have to help me, Beasty,” Jasonian Arventus hollered, just as I exited from the daylight robbery he called his favourite car. “I don’t know what to do.”

My name is not Beasty—lest you believe my parents would actually pen such an atrocity on my birth certificate. Jasonian Arventus never saw the importance of learning my name as I did his. Thus, he called me Beasty—short for Aarion Beastanol.

“What is the matter, Jasonian?” I asked, questioning my kindhearted nature for attending to his almost always childish beck and call.

Jasonian Arventus, Beasty,” Jasonian Arventus corrected.

“What is the matter, Jasonian Arventus?” I repeated.

“I received this.” Jasonian Arventus slammed the letter on my chest—forcefully enough to knock all the air out from my last breath. “And that,” Jasonian Arventus added, pointing to the box on the marble front porch.

“Hmm,” I said, after reading the hastily written words. “Exchange the kerchief for the bowler.”

“You think I should?” Jasonian Arventus asked. His eyes widened as though he had already decided but needed further affirmation.

“You want to, don’t you?”

“But you know how important silkie is to me,” Jasonian Arventus said.

“The letter didn’t say what to do after the exchange—there’s no return address. Once you make the trade, I’ll take silkie out and keep it for you,” I offered. All I so desired, as my eyelids weighed heavily in the need of rest, was to end the conversation.

“Good idea, Beasty,” Jasonian Arventus said. He took my proposal as encouragement and shuffled to the package. Ripping the box open in unrepressed excitement, he swapped his prized possession for a promise. Then waving me over, he prompted, “Take silkie.”

Withholding a sigh, I did what Jasonian Arventus asked once more. If it meant that he would send me home, I was more than happy to abide. Little did I know, that was the last time I did anything for Jasonian Arventus. In fact, it was the last time I ever saw him or uttered his name. For the following morning, as I returned to Jasonian Arventus’ mansion, I found only the bowler.

Some Wednesdays, while I sipped on earl grey tea in my cluttered office, I would wonder about Jasonian Arventus’ greatest desire. What was it that he had secretly coveted—that made him, his entire household, and every paraphernalia that moulded his persona, disappear overnight? Other days, I would imagine a different scenario, of which I didn’t suggest he trade his handkerchief for the bowler—would he still be boasting his grand and lavish lifestyle? Fortunately, on most days including the weekends, I left my inquisitive thoughts at the back of my mind. After all, if it wasn’t for Jasonian Arventus’ vanishing, I wouldn’t have learned about my sickly aunt in Chenonceaux, France.

Who knew that I—an ordinary man of no stature—could be someone of great importance. Who knew that society would someday say my name—the entire moniker, Aarion Beastanol, that should not and could not be shortened to the likes of a commoner. Perhaps, Jasonian Arventus was right about the handkerchief—luck was now on my side. And should I be offered a hat in exchange, I would be less of a madman to make the same mistake.


Hat, handkerchief, and car were words given by Manua De Cia.

I wrote this with Discombobulate, from the Sherlock Holmes film soundtrack, on repeat. It may or may not have anything to do with the tone and setting of this story. Also, the names were given by a friend—an inside joke that could have, possibly, inspired the characters themselves.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. And while you’re at it, feel free to challenge me with 3 MORE WORDS in the comment section below!

*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

Crown Prince Philius [12 Genre Months]

Once upon a time, there was a crown prince named Philius. Philius stood at thirty-eight inches tall, with feet the size of his oval head and arms that stopped short of his waist. He was a splitting image of his father the king—an actuality his mother often declared in pride.

As the firstborn of the royal bloodline, Philius was to inherit all of Aeter—every flowering crop, fertile soil, bountiful harvest, and living creature. But when his father left for the underworld, Philius learned that he would only receive half of what was promised to him.

It was on a rainy day when Philius and his envoy of lions set out for Shec. Shec was a prosperous city in Aeter—a place where many amphibians and reptiles gathered for their extravagant celebrations. However, on that un-fine day, all the inhabitants of Aeter assembled for one reason and one reason only: Philius’ coronation.

Despite the gloom, the ceremony was nothing less than festive. The multifarious crowd cheered, glorious steamed beetles were served, expensive gifts in the shapes of square and rectangle were stacked two-storeys high, and Philius was pleased. He was in a boisterous mood, until an unexpected guest arrived.

Thorad, an official in the former king’s court, invited himself to the party—the one who had once engendered a rebellion and fled when his crimes were uncovered. With a plain golden chest in his hands, Thorad said, “I have come to congratulate you, Your Majesty. Here is a gift I have brought from my travels in the land of Yellow and Blue.”

“Thank you. It has been a while,” Philius replied, contemplating if he should summon his baboons to escort the traitor out.

“Is has been a while indeed, Your Majesty. You have grown.”

Philius nodded in reply—he had grown nearly five centimetres since Thorad’s insurgence.

“Your Majesty, if I may add,” Thorad continued.

“You seek a favour?” Philius asked.

“Yes, Your Majesty. Your father has put a yoke on me and my birds. Now that you are king, I wish for you to lift this burden from us. With your kindness, we will surely serve you wholeheartedly,” Thorad said, with a seemingly forceful smile.

“My father has indeed put a heavy yoke on you,” Philius replied. “But as my father’s favourite child, it is only right if I make your yoke heavier.”

“I beg your pardon?” Thorad asked, with disbelief glazing his hawkish mien.

“My father sequestered you for your betrayal, but I shall banish you instead,” Philius said.

“Your Majesty, are we not your citizens? Don’t we have a share of this land? To banish us is cruel,” Thorad challenged.

“If I am cruel, your shoulder would be missing a head and your birds their wings,” Philius threatened.

Thorad lowered his head. “Very well, Your Majesty. Your wish is my command,” Thorad resigned. And with that, Thorad and his birds departed.

One would think that King Philius could rest well that night. Alas, Philius was afraid that Thorad might rebel again—the avian king had an army of wilful aves that would attack on his command. So to keep a watchful eye on the betrayer, Philius sent a three-eyed deer after Thorad. Unfortunately, before the deer could be of any use to the king, it became the rebel’s dinner. And with that one meal came a series of events that led to the destruction of half the land—the end of half of Aeter.

Instigated by the actions of the king, Thorad ordered his birds to incite the citizens against the ruling family. And in response to the threat, Philius sent his army of eighty thousand baboons to Thorad’s camp. Philius hoped to capture Thorad, and reclaim the land Thorad had attained through mutiny. But on the night before the battle, the Star bestowed Philius a message.

The Star instructed Philius to abandon the war and send another three-eyed deer instead. The Star could foretell the future, so Philius did as he was told. When the birds saw Philius’ deer, they directed the creature with their flattering wings and deafening squawks toward their leader. And when Thorad caught the mammal, he butchered it for dinner. However, unlike his previous carnivorous meal, Thorad shared the cuts of venison with his allies—a pinch of meat each to unify their forces. And, a pinch was all it took.

When the sun rose at the break of dawn, those who had consumed the three-eyed deer didn’t wake from their slumber. Half of Aeter—who had sided with whom they hoped would be their new king—had died. And with that, Philius won the fight against the anarchist. Alas, he also lost half of what was promised to him—destroying his own inheritance, with a deer that would’ve been his own dinner the same night before.


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

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

Writing Journey

Your Alternate Ending

Our life is like a book except that the ending is constantly changing. With every decision we make—from what we eat for lunch to the time we go to bed—our future is being revised over and over again. It is an alteration we do not see, perhaps in belief that certain actions are too small to account for anything. But once we start paying attention—noticing even the minute details—we’ll begin to see the ripple of our every action and thought. We’ll realise that with every breath, we are rewriting the epilogue of our story.

To some, grasping the notion that ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’ is terrifying. And indeed, it is a scary thought—what will happen with every success and failure? Will we end up with a bad final chapter? What if our decisions change our entire book? Unfortunately, that is how life is. But it’s not all that bad when we start to see the possibilities that come with change.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to realise that change is good. Change has broadened my perspective of the world and the opportunities it has to offer. Change has forced me out of my comfort zone—to try new things and embark on different adventures. Change has led me down roads I never thought I would traverse, changing my ending repeatedly—the same unpredictable future from the start now as unpredictable as before, but… much brighter and more exciting than yesterday. Change, if I dare say, is a gift.

Now, of course, there was a time I was afraid of change—a time I feared that it would alter my dreams, divert my goals, and lead me astray from the grand plans I had for myself. But, not any longer. I’ve learned to adapt to change. And with every adaptation, I’m writing a better story for myself. With every trial and error—every uncomfortable moment—I’m shifting my perspective for the better. And so, I challenge you to embrace change too.

I challenge you to create an alternate ending for yourself. You do not have to give up on your dreams. You do not have to drop any of your plans. I, myself, didn’t stop being an author when I started doing Facebook videos. I didn’t stop writing stories while I explored other platforms to share my ideas and experiences. In fact, when I challenged my status quo, my dream expanded. So I’m glad—I’m glad that I’m no longer afraid of change. I’m glad that my ending isn’t what it used to be. And I cannot wait to uncover the alternate end to my story because I know… it can only get better from here.

Original Works

Ink | Carpet | Donkey

The joke was always on me. From Pharaoh’s scroll and the labyrinth beneath the royal palace, to my quest by the Silk Road and the expedition into space, I was a fool. But for you to understand why, I must start at the very beginning—the time when I learned I could live forever.

It was a time before yours—a time when people spoke different tongues, when the oceans were too great to traverse, when there were more gods than there were men, and when I was but an orphan child in a house made of clay. I cannot remember who my parents were—their faces have long faded from my memory. But what I can remember—my only recollection from that time—was the day he stormed into my home. He didn’t come to pillage. He had a different mission. The towering burly man, with a brown cloth hiding half of his face from recognition, pinned me to the ground. He lifted a glistening dagger above his head. And with a narrowed gaze, he drove the blade into my chest.

Just like him, I thought my short life was over. With a searing pain in my chest, I awaited my last breath. But as my blood saturated my tunic—the warmth ushering me into the afterlife—the pain abated. And shortly after my killer retreated, believing he had succeeded, I inhaled a new breath without a scar from the event. I was alive. I didn’t die. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t. And when more like him came after me, I knew I was indestructible.

I was neither a man nor a god. The ancient scroll, gifted to me by Tutankhamun, accounted only of the deities in the sky. The ink made no mention of a creature like myself, dwelling between the heavens and the earth. For a century, I believed that I had descended from above. But the more I learned, the more I was certain—a god had more power than immortality. A god couldn’t feel pain, fear, or rejection. And it was only in the millennium after, when I finally accepted my lack of an identity, that I journeyed north.

During my years of study, I came upon the tale of a beast that roamed the labyrinth beneath the Palace of Knossos—a beast with knowledge of the universe that should you slay, you would gain its abundant wisdom. Hoping to uncover my origin, I crossed the Mediterranean Sea. I had a plan involving a donkey as a distraction and a sword as a weapon. Alas, I was centuries too late. There was no beast but a hollow of a labyrinth beneath a fallen structure claimed by disaster. However, all hope was not lost—or so it seemed, in a time as such.

In the rubble of what was once a grand and complex architectural beauty, I found an etched map on a broken stone tablet—a route that connected to the east—that led to a world of ancient magic. It ran parallel to the common route for traders except that it wasn’t for the common man. And when I found it, I was reassured of my uncommon descent. But what I truly am was still a mystery.

It was on the path by the Silk Road, where the human traders journeyed through the celestial world unaware, that I sought for the legendary carpet. Fei Long, a dragon I met as I neared the east end, said the carpet was capable of bringing me anywhere—even through the very fabric of time that connected me to this world. And so I spent five centuries, questioning ethereal creatures and bargaining with superlunary beasts, in hopes of acquiring the carpet. But when mankind no longer found use of the road, so did the mystical world. And when there was no path left to traverse, my quest came to an end.

You see, the joke was always on me—a life whose sole purpose was to find purpose. Yet strangely, despite the many years without an answer, I kept scouring the earth. Even in light of extinction—the death of humanity—I continued on my search. Though, I wouldn’t have died if I lingered. I could have been a god—claiming the identity I’ve always wanted. Alas, as coincidental as my encounters in the past, I found myself on the last shuttle to space. Despite knowing, deep down in my being—perhaps a ‘soul’—that my answer wouldn’t be amongst the stars, I looked once more. Ah, a fool I was and a fool I am… for never once looking within.


Ink, carpet, and donkey were words given by Chrystin on Facebook

I wasn’t sure what to write for these words as they weren’t easy ones to work together, but since April 1st was a few days ago, I thought ‘something along the lines of a joke and a fool’ might be a good story. So this is it—not what I was expecting for sure!

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. And if you have three words you’d like to challenge me with, leave it in the comments below!

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

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

Original Works

The Little God [12 Genre Months]

In the Celestial Court, amidst the infinite stars, there were many gods—beastly and titanic, dainty and diaphanous, faceless and elemental. They were beings of great achievements—creators of many worlds—except for one, the Little God. The Little God was often in the shadows, seemingly of little importance. No other had ever lowered their gaze in acknowledgement as she had done nothing of significance. After all, her only attribute was bearing the innocence of creation.

Unlike the gods who wore their own divine flesh, the Little God carried the faces of babes, mimicking the youthful stature of a myriad of opuses. She was as little as her name—too small for grandeur. But at that particular time—that turn of the millennium—the Little God lingered not in the periphery. For in the rise of chaos that preceded a new dawn, the Little God spoke.

The Little God had not once spoken since the conception of time. Her gentle voice commanded no authority in the Celestial Court—her words inevitably falling on deaf ears. However, the gods were failing. When their creations refused change, the gods could not forge a new beginning. And should there be no resolve for the resistance, the ethereal beings would lose their purpose. They would no longer be gods—unable to wield the power of the universe, they would cease to exist. Thus, a little bravery was warranted. Thus, the Little God said, “Let me.”

Let me grace the worlds and remind creation of their genesis. Let me show them the finer masterpiece that awaits. Let me help them believe again.”

“Do you think our creations will listen to you—a Little God trapped in the past?” the Colossal One, with white scales and black beady eyes, said. “You are of paradoxical nature to our plan.”

“Am I?” the Little God asked. “To grasp the beginning is to release the future. And as paradoxical as it may seem, I am the reflection of dawn—both yesterday’s and tomorrow’s.”

The Colossal One parted his lips. But instead of words, he hissed in reply—the Little God presented not a juvenile solution. “My very nature, of innocence and youth, is what we need,” the Little God added. “Your creations have lost the child within, and only I can help them remember.”

“Alas, we cannot be sure,” the Eidolon said—her form a silhouette, drowning in radiant light. “If we send you to our creations and you fail, we will all come to an end. We do not have time for such uncertainty.”

“But I am certain,” the Little God insisted. “Do you not trust me?” Unfortunately, the Little God knew the answer to her question the moment it left her lips. None of the other gods would trust her with this mission. None of them believed she was capable. Despite aeons of wisdom, The Little God appeared as a little one—young and foolish. “Please,” the Little God said. “Do not judge me by my appearance.”

“How can we not when your stature is the reason you fail to create? You can barely reach for the stars above—your hands unable to sustain their weight,” the Colossal One challenged. “We do not wish to look down upon you, Little God. Alas, you are what you are.”

“I may not be able to snatch the stars and wield the power they home, that is true. But I can reach into your worlds and speak into those souls—I can do what you can with your creations. Why not let me try?”

Murmurs filled the Celestial Court. The gods whispered amongst themselves and the Little God felt a pinch of hope. Perhaps they would finally accept her, looking past her childlike demeanour and believing she was just like them—a god in nature. If enough of them stood by her side, she could finally show the universe what she was truly capable of.

“I am sorry,” the Eidolon said. “I cannot believe in you, Little God.”

“Neither can I,” the Colossal One added.

“Why?” the Little God asked. “I am just like you. I can do great things.”

“You are just… too little,” the Eidolon replied. “Maybe one day, when you are able to seize a star from the universe, we will entrust our future in your hands. But for now, you shall remain where you are.”

The Celestial Court echoed in agreement and the Little God was silenced. She knew that she would never be what they wanted her to be—it wasn’t her destiny to create. The Little God had a different path—one that could save their very kind. Unfortunately, she was given no chance to prove herself worthy. The Little God would remain little… until the end of time.


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

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