Original Works

Into The Sky [Music Meets Story]

“Have you decided?”

“I think so,” I said. It wasn’t a difficult decision—I had always wanted to fly. The great rush of the wind against my skin, in the embrace of the peaceful amber skies, had always been a dream.

“Well, no matter what you choose, know that I’ll support you… fully,” she said.

“I know,” I replied. I had never once disappointed her. In fact, I often believed I made her proud. My only fear then was making the wrong decision—despite it being an easy one. Alas, one could never be certain if easy was good, nor if hard was any nobler than easy.

“Goodnight then,” she said with a gentle smile.

As she left my wooden tent, I pushed myself seated. Turning to the window above my bed, I heaved a sigh. There were five days, three hours, and sixteen minutes left—the remaining time to reach a decision. Perhaps, I should stick with my first choice—to spread my wings and escape the never-ending battles and the haunting smell of blood that reigned over my reality. If I could close my eyes and wish it all away—taking to the sky with my glorious snowy-feathered wings—wasn’t that the hope of every being in a hopeless world?

With the stars twinkling in the distance as the cloudless night presented the full moon, I wondered why—when my brother made his choice, it was to run fast and furious across the golden sand dunes. And when my sister made hers, it was to brace the wrathful waves of mighty storms. Yet, just when I thought they could flee from the raging turmoil that plagued our land, they stayed.

Still, five days, three hours, and sixteen minutes later, I chose to fly.

“Have you decided?” I asked.

“I think so,” he said. It wasn’t a difficult decision—I always knew he wanted to fly, too.

“Good. You have my support, you know that, right?” I replied.

“Yes. But can I ask you something?” he said with a frown. Therein lay the same hesitation in his mien. The same hesitation that was once mine—if my choice was selfish and cowardly.

“It’s alright if you want to run,” I stated. “Everyone secretly wants to. I did, too.”

“Then why did you stay?”

I chuckled. Indeed, why did I? The night after I received my gift—to own the body of a magnificent bird of prey—I could have bid farewell. I could have left everything behind to start anew. I could choose the adventures I wished to embark on—ones that weren’t marked by death and destruction. But just as the battle horns blew at the arrival of yet another challenger, seeking the very ancient art that granted me my gift, I rose from my bed ready to protect what was mine.

“The same reason you might,” I told him.

“I don’t understand,” he said. Alas, neither did I in his state. “But it’s not wrong if I leave, right?” he prompted.

“No one is stopping you,” I replied with a smile. “And no one will judge you either. The gift is yours to use, however you wish to use it.”

He nodded. He had made up his mind—he was going to fly. And yet, I knew, he would stay. Just like every single one before him, the allure of the great beyond could never snatch us away from home—more than the magic we fought for was the family that fought alongside us.

At the next blow of the battle horns, we would be the vigilant eyes in the sky. Our brothers would rumble the earth with their spirited roars. Our sisters would wield the elements of the sea with righteous anger. This… had been the ways of our ancestors—to unleash the primeval beast within, to defeat the teeth-baring demons that were hungry for our souls, and to grasp onto hope with our fragile hearts… even when there seemed to be none.

“Goodnight then,” I said.

Five days, three hours, and sixteen minutes later, he chose to fly. And as quickly as an enemy arose, he was by my side—not on a quest to resign from life but to be bold, passionate, and determined… to fight for it.


This story was inspired by the original composition, Everything Will Be Alright by Niklas Ahlstedt.

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

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

Original Works

Stone Blind Eyes [Music Meets Story]

“If you believe it, you can see it,” she said.

“I can’t. I wish I could,” I told her as I bit my lower lip. Alas, I wasn’t an imaginative child—the other children often said so.

In their bouts of play pretend, I often failed to conjure the monstrous fire-breathing dragon, the majestic crystal castle in the sky, or the magical ruby that could make me fly. I would hear my friends squeal and laugh as they went on great adventures in the glade—taking a back seat with reality as my ordinary world remained as lackluster as it always was. Oh how I wished, that just for a moment, I could step into a realm of wonder and awe.

“Do you believe?” she asked.

“I want to,” I said. “I’ve tried. But… I just can’t see it.”

She reached for my hand with a beaming smile—a smile my mind often drew across her small face—and replied, “Just listen, do you hear them?”

I strained my ears. “What am I listening for?”

“Just listen,” she stated.

The autumn leaves rustled in the afternoon breeze, the shouts of my friends filled the air as they beckoned each other to defeat the army of villainous fairies, and the gentle whisper that was her voice.

“Now,” she added. “Feel them.”

I titled my face toward the sky. The warmth of the sun settled on my skin, the breath of wind brushed through my hair, and the comforting touch of her hand upon mine—for a moment, I didn’t feel alone.

“Do I smell next?” I guessed—it seemed to be some sort of a game, and I didn’t mind it.

“Yes. Do you smell the roses?” she asked with excitement in her voice.

I chuckled and shook my head. “We don’t have roses here.”

The orphanage was sequestered in the embrace of nature. And though the caretakers had a garden of wild vegetables and flowering plants, there were no roses as they were delicate and difficult to grow.

“I smell them,” she stated. “Do you smell them?”

“I…” It took me a second before I played along. “How do they smell?”

“It doesn’t matter how they smell. Just smell them,” she said as a matter of fact-ly.

“All right,” I replied—a hint of sweetness like a jar of candy, a bit of orange peel after an orange has been peeled, and a little perfume like that of a fresh bar of soap. “Okay, I smell them. But I’m not sure if I’m right. I’ve never smelled roses before.”

“Do they smell good?” she asked.

“They smell…” I laughed. “They smell strange, but in a good way.” I nodded my head.

“My roses smell like peppermint and a new book,” she stated confidently, as though that was the scent of real roses.

“Mine smells like soap and candy,” I said with a shrug.

“Your roses smell good,” she replied. “Now…”

“What’s next?” I prompted, wondering where our little game was headed.

“Now… open your eyes.”

I frowned. “What do you mean?”

She knew, just like everyone else, that I couldn’t open my eyes. And even if I could, I would see nothing—I had lost my sight at a young age, and my only perspective of the world was that of a six-year-old’s memory.

“Just like the roses, silly,” she said. “Open your eyes!”

Ah, so that was what she meant. “All right,” I said. “But what am I supposed to see?”

“You tell me—what does today look like?”

That day was a good day. “The sun is bright and round, it’s not hot as usual with the cool breeze, and you’re here… telling me to open my eyes.” I chuckled.

“What colour is the sky? How big are the trees?” she prompted.

“The sky is a bit of blue, a bit of purple, and a bit of pink,” I said. “The trees are big and small—some as small as my toes and some as big as… a troll.”

“A troll,” she said with a gasps. “Guys, there’s a troll!” she shouted to our friends.

I heard my friends running toward us—questions of where the troll was and if it was sent by the maleficent fairy queen intruded our little moment. But before she said a word, she tugged me to my feet.

“Tell them,” she prompted. “Tell them about the troll.”

The world beyond quieted as my friends eagerly waited on me. “The troll…” I hesitated.

Did I really see one? Was it among the trees? There was a colossal tree that looked particularly odd—the thick branches were like giant arms and the stump was like a massive eight-toed foot.

“There!” I pointed ahead. I didn’t know if there was the neighbouring forest, but I saw it… there. “It’s hiding in the trees. But it only has one foot, so all we need is a little magic.”

“We have magic!” one of my friends exclaimed.

And just like that, I felt her hand pull me forward into a run. “You see,” she shouted as we headed toward the troll. “All you needed to do… was believe.”


This story was inspired by the original composition, Euphoria by Mechanical Might

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

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

Original Works

Keeper Of Promises [Music Meets Story]

“There are some promises you can never break,” he told me. “You must remember this.”

“Don’t worry,” I assured—rather confident that I wouldn’t forget. “I got this. You can trust me.”

He nodded. Then, handing me the rusted bronze key, he heaved a heavy sigh. “Don’t lose this.”

“I won’t,” I said. “I’ll keep it safe.”

He nodded once more—a hint of melancholy in his disposition as he ended his tenure. It had been forty years since the key was entrusted to him. Now way past his retirement age, it was time for someone new to bear the responsibility.

“Remember,” he repeated as he headed to the door. “Don’t ever forget.”

“I won’t ever forget,” I said. I had labelled the jars. I knew which were important—the promises I had to protect. So how could I ever forget? Alas, ten years later, I broke my only promise.

It was said that none of my predecessors had ever succeeded at their task—that there would come a time when a promise is broken. But as a confident young lad, I thought myself different. I believed, that unlike those before me, the promises would be safe under my care—that every father who promised to be home for the holidays would be singing Christmas carols with their families, that every friend who promised to stay in touch would be a phone call away despite the distance, and that every lover who promised to love forever would chose to fight even in the darkest of times. Unfortunately, some promises were meant to be broken… even if I remembered to keep them safe.

“I had no choice,” I consoled myself.

A new promise had arrived at my doorstep—it’s ethereal shimmer of silver and gold was enclosed in a mason jar. And within the streaks of twinkling light was a ghostly memory of when the promise was made—a promise of a sickly mother to her young child. Glimpsing what the jar bore, I knew that I had to keep it safe—that it was up to me to ensure that the fear-stricken girl wouldn’t lose her mother. So, I headed to the trove of promises down the hall. And with the click of the old bronze key, I unlocked the rickety cupboard.

One would think that a cupboard storing magical jars of promises would be magic itself. To my dismay, it was but an ordinary piece of furniture—one that had to be cleared should I ever need more space. Hence, I had to break promises—I had broken a few before. But often times, the broken promises were the ones long forgotten or were no longer of any value to the one who made it. This time, however, all the jars before me were labelled in white. It was the mark I gave to the promises that can never be broken—promises that would change lives forever.

“What do I do?” I asked myself—a question I repeated as I held the new promise in my hands. “I can’t.” Then, after a prolonged moment of hesitation, I reached for the jar on the lowest shelf.

The jar had been in the cupboard before I became the keeper of promises. It was a jar I promised to never break—a promise to the man who had once kept it safe. Alas, I didn’t have a choice. It was, after all, one of the oldest promises in the cupboard—the promise itself barely visible behind the crud and limescale. Placing the new jar where the old one once sat, I gave myself little room for second thoughts and headed to the backyard. And it was there that I broke a supposedly unbreakable promise.

“I had no choice,” I told myself. “It was old. It probably meant nothing.”

Indeed, I was young and naive. I thought that newer promises had more worth than promises that had been kept for years—I failed to see that they were the ones you can never break. It was only when I passed my duty to my successor that I understood.

“There are some promises you can never break,” I told her.

“Which ones?” she asked.

“The old ones,” I stated. “You must remember this.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll keep them safe,” she said.

I nodded. But with a sigh, I knew what was to come—the mother who had been fighting to stay alive, for the past twenty years, would someday break her promise. And unfortunately, it was a promise… that was meant to be broken.


This story was inspired by the original composition, Dream World by Mustafa Avşaroğlu

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

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

Original Works

Glamour [12 Genre Months]

“Glamour,” she said. “That’s how they got out.”

“Glamour,” I echoed with a frown.

It had come down to this—banned magic that would have me expelled from the academy—magic that was forbidden since the Dark Ages. Alas, it was the only option left—if I wished to return home and see my family, it was a risk I had to take.

“Do you know where they got it?” I prompted.

Her lips parted—she knew. Unfortunately, hesitation kept her answer at bay.

“Are you sure about this?” she asked. “I mean, you can always stay until they find a vaccine.”

“Vaccine?” I shook my head. “What difference will a vaccine make with that thing on the loose?”

No vaccine nor miracle cure could undo what had been done—even if the greatest scientists could put a stop to the plague, the real monster had been unleashed. A dark and malevolent creature—that fed off fear and paranoia—had resurfaced, and there was no escaping its vengeful presence.

“Once everything returns to normal, the Court of Magicians will bind the creature,” she said. “We just have to be patient.”

“No, I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as that,” I replied. “I don’t think we can just put it back.”

Upon the announcement of the city lock-down, the nesting creature broke free from its spellbound chains. Once restrained by the facade of peace, it now roamed the streets—its shadow latching onto any soul that it deemed as a perfect host. With growing dominance, none of us were spared from its curse—either as a vessel of it’s evil spirit or a victim of its influence.

“This isn’t the first time,” she insisted. “The court knows what to do.”

“Yes, but it’s stronger now. Can’t you feel it?”

The new plague had granted the creature more power than before—unforeseen strength to reach across borders and swallow the earth whole. Unlike its previous escapes, it stirred discord and animosity on a grander scale—feasting on even those who had encountered death from the plague itself. Hence, I had to resort to the Glamour.

“But that-”

“Just tell me where they got the Glamour,” I interrupted.

I knew that she cared for me—that she didn’t want to lose yet another friend. Unfortunately, she failed to see my reality. Despite guarding her youthful soul from the creature’s dark influence, she couldn’t fully grasp the predicament I was in.

“You don’t even know how to cast a Glamour,” she replied.

“I’ll find out how,” I stated.

She grunted in exasperation. “Okay, fine, let’s say you successfully cast a Glamour—at most, it’ll get you across the border. It’s not going to last long enough for you to get home.”

“That’s all I need—I just need to cross the border.”

Truthfully, I hadn’t thought the idea through—it was the first time I had a feasible plan. Hence, I intended to solve any hiccups along the way. After all, I was the top of my class.

“And then what?” she asked. “If the authorities catch you, you’ll be quarantined. You’ll be worse off than you are now.”

“Well, they can’t keep me for long. They’ll have to let me go soon enough,” I stated.

“They’ve kept people on ships… for months.”

“Well, that’s because they were infected—I’m not infected. So they will eventually let me go,” I replied, withholding not my growing irritation.

“Fine. But what are you going to do once the academy finds out, huh?” she challenged. “You worked so hard for the scholarship, casting the Glamour will have you expelled with no appeal.”

“Then, I won’t get caught.”

“No,” she huffed. “I won’t let you do it. I’m sorry, but I don’t know where they got the Glamour.”

“You’re lying,” I replied, as I narrowed my gaze. “Do you know what it’s like to be here—where the creature has its claws in almost everyone?”

She frowned before turning away from me.

“You don’t,” I continued. “You don’t know what it’s like to be accused of being a carrier, to be called derogatory names, to be afraid of being assaulted simply because of your origins. So if I have to cast a spell to change my damned appearance, just to get home and be with my family, I will.”

She cleared her throat. “I’m sorry. I-”

“I’m going to do it whether you help me or not,” I interrupted. Surely, with a little digging, I could find the source of such magic. If only… I didn’t have to do it alone.

“Fine, do it,” she said. “But… I’ll get the Glamour for you.”

“You will?” I raised a brow.

“Yes. And I’m coming with.”


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

The End Of Arcadia [Music Meets Story]

“The last of Team Sigma has fallen,” he said.

The map of our utopia—a holographic projection of our glorious sky-scraping city, built within the embrace of Mother Nature’s lush topography—had dimmed. The last of our soldiers, who once lit the hologram with her beacon, had vanished from the grid. And, as any wise and learned individual would say, all hope was lost.

“What do we do?” he asked.

Alas, the other four remained silent. Despite inheriting the weight of our survival—a hefty responsibility placed upon their shoulders, after our original leaders had died in battle—they stood mummed. A concoction of apprehension and defeat now governed their collective mien. And I knew—it was now up to me. The uninvited guest, peeping from the vent above the room, was the only one left with a solution. If only they had listened—if only they didn’t wave me out of their meetings. Unfortunately, no one heeded the words of a child.

Retreating from the grave reality of our survival, I returned to my bunker—one I shared with a few other children. The leaders had sent all able-bodied men and women to fight the creatures, leaving all those below the age of twelve as orphans. With the war persisting, there were barely any adults left—the last I saw my parents was eight months ago, and my brother was in Team Delta. But as much as my heart ached in grief, I was humanity’s remaining hope. My only regret was not acting sooner, even if it meant breaking the rules.

“Are you really going to do it?” she asked me.

“I have to,” I said. “If I don’t, more of us will die.”

“But… you’ll die,” he chimed.

“I won’t be the first, but I’ll be the last.”

The adults insisted on protecting our utopia—preserving the toil of our ancestors that went into the living paradise. They believed that our world would be an everlasting home—one that thrived on renewable energy, powering our advancing technology without sacrificing the original inhabitants of the land. It was, indeed, Arcadia. Alas, their quest to defend our future costed many lives—more than we could have afforded. Thus, it was high time someone did the opposite.

“Can we come along?” she asked.

“No, you have to stay,” I said. “You’ll have to start over once the creatures are gone.”

“But it wouldn’t be the same without you,” he stated with a frown.

“It isn’t meant to be the same,” I replied. “It already isn’t the same, and you know it.”

My friends nodded. Then handing me my backpack—nestling the only weapon I needed—they each gave me one last hug before ushering me to the door.

“You guys remember what to do?” I prompted.

“Yes,” they replied in unison.

“Good. I’ll see you guys… soon.”

I turned on my heel, refusing to show the final tears I were to shed—there was no going back now. The only step back, that I permitted myself to take, was into history—a time before the invasion, where every morning presented a new hope. But despite what one would think, hope would arrive at dawn once more—after I was done with my mission.

The plan was simple—with the adults scurrying for another strategy, my friends would trigger the intrusion alarm. The alarm would initiate an evacuation procedure, unlocking the north exit that led to the surface. I would be close by—as the banshee-like shrieks echoed down the hallways—ready to slip out into the world above. And from there, my final journey commenced.

Was I afraid? I was. I had never met a single person who wasn’t afraid to die—I saw the fear in my parents’ eyes when they said goodbye, and I heard it in my brother’s voice when he promised to return. Still, they were brave—every person that left our subterranean haven was courageous in disposition. And more so was I.

With the map to the abandoned power plant in hand, and the explosives slung over my shoulders, I was headed toward destruction. The notion itself sounded preposterous—why would anyone destroy the only place we called home? But it was only absurd to those who couldn’t let go of what we had already lost. Starting over wasn’t the end of our perfect world, refusing to try again was. And if it took a child to help them see, so be it.


This story was inspired by the original composition, Legends by Rajiv Seewoolall of RS Soundtrack

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

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

Original Works

Rebirth [12 Genre Months]

Once upon a time—a story always begins. The same four words that captures a child’s curiosity upon utterance—the opening to many stories, folklore, and legends. Alas, there was one beginning that commenced differently. It was a beginning that came forth once every five-hundred years—a beginning that repeated itself over, and over, and over again. For upon its very first once upon a time, there would never be an end—a fictional happily ever after that ceased to exist.

I was twelve-years-young when my mother told me the story. It began as a tale of a great adventure, where the hero traversed the golden dunes in the North Desert in search of the Fountain of Youth. It was said that beneath the great sea of sand was a cave—one that would rise above the earth when a mortal, worthy of its gift, should stumble upon it. And, like every other story, the hero had been worthy since birth. Still, it took the hero thirty-seven years to face his destiny—he had just turned sixty when he uncovered his calling.

It was a fateful evening when the ground shuddered and groaned. A rocky chamber emerged before the hero’s aging eyes, striking him in wonder and awe. It’s iron-grey accents, disparate to the surrounding topography, revealed a winding hollow that descended into the earth. And, the hero had no reservations. He strode into the mouth of the colossal chamber, leaving the world at the foot of the cave.

As the uneven and slippery path led him into the abyss, the hero soon found himself out of light’s reach. But in that darkness, where the hero thought of assembling a torch, he heard a disembodied voice—it asked a simple question with a deep resonance that reverberated through his bones.

“What do you seek?” The ghostly echoes of the question sent a shiver down his spine.

‘What do I seek?’ the hero thought to himself. The answer was easy. The hero had long sought for one thing and one thing alone—it was the reason for his quest, and it was the very thing the cave was said to offer. So the hero replied, “I seek what you promised.”

Just as the hero uttered those words, the cave trembled. And almost immediately, the hero hesitated—should he stay or should he run for his life? Then realising how he had wasted many years for that very moment, the hero stood his ground. And at the resolution, the trembling ceased.

Silence and darkness reigned. A nothingness prolonged—seemingly perpetual to warrant a response. But before a word left the hero’s lips, a faint light flickered in the hollow up ahead. It drew nearer and nearer, until the hero could see its very form—a ball of light akin to the sun.

Again, the hero was uncertain—should he embrace the fiery orb or step out of its way? Was it the gift he had longed for or a curse of death? The hero chose to remain. And as he closed his eyes in expectation of the magical light, the hero felt a warm sensation entering his chest. The comforting heat extended to every inch of his body. Then, it dissipated—its heat lifting from his being as a cold draft stirred around him. As the gift was dispensed, the voice returned.

“You will live for a thousand years, and a thousand more. Never will you meet death.”

Thus, the end of the story—the closure that every mother offered as she tucked her children to sleep. Alas, that wasn’t the end. I would know, as I went on the same adventure, only to discover that the story never ended there.

Unlike the hero, I wandered a few years short of twenty. I thought myself lucky—having not to spend another night in the soulless desert as a mortal. But as I uttered the words of the hero and embraced the gift, I came upon the part of the story that diverged. Oh, how I had hoped for a warm and comforting sensation in my being. Oh, if only the legend was true. Alas, the gift was a curse.

As soon as the fiery orb nestled in my chest, an eruption of raging heat burst forth. A searing sensation scorched my skin from the inside out. And before my very eyes, ash rose from my being. I thought I was dying—I felt myself die. To my dismay, I was still alive. When the pain eventually ceased, I could no longer feel my body. The only sensation that remained was an unending fire that stirred within.

“You will live for a thousand years, and a thousand more. Never will you meet death,” the voice said.

It was too late then. I would have renounced the gift but I had lost my voice. No longer was I mortal. I had become the sun. And I was destined to grace the skies for all of eternity—to live as a mythical creature that would be reborn in its own ashes over, and over, and over again. Thus… once upon a time, at every quincentenary, my story continues.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Writing Journey

[NEW] Music Meets Story

There are times where I rely on music to complete a story, to set the mood, and to inspire creativity. And seeing how music has the power to shape a tale, I’ve decided to embark on a writing challenge inspired by original compositions.

Collaborating with ten composers from all around the world—amazing and talented artists from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Denmark, Azerbaijan, and the United States—I’m ready to push the boundaries of my imagination as I attempt to write stories thematically in sync with their creations. Sounds interesting?

Truthfully, this idea is both exciting and daunting. And it’s something I’ve been contemplating since the middle of last year, though not entirely ‘new’. I have done a similar piece in the past—a Harry Potter fanfiction accompanied with music. But… it wasn’t easy. Thus, I am at it again—the challenge being the main reason I’m on this ‘new’ adventure. So, will you join me on this quest?

The first story will be posted in February, and I do hope to see you there. Until then, don’t forget to stay awesome!

Original Works

The Winter Raven [12 Genre Months]

Every year, at the arrival of the winter festivities, there came a call for the bravehearts—the warriors of hope, the heroes of peace, and the defenders of faith. A call that was sent to the chosen few—a call that came as a raven, perched on my window sill. Little did I know, being chosen meant that Christmas would never be the same again.

“Mum!” I called from my bedroom. “There’s a bird on my window. And it won’t fly away.”

I was an ordinary nine-year-old, who had just attempted to shoo the feathered creature with a pillow. Alas, it stood stock-still with unwavering determination to accomplish its task.

“What bird?” my mother replied as she strolled in. After a quick glance around the room, she headed to the window to pull it shut. “How many times do I have to tell you to close the window before bed?”

“The bird,” I merely replied.

My mother shook her head as she turned toward me. Believing that she had dealt with the raven, I slipped under the warm comforter—ready to call it a night. Alas, night had only just begun. Once my mother bade goodnight, flicking the lights off as she did, I heard an echo of a deep raspy caw. It sounded almost ghost-like—not of an actual bird. And when I couldn’t ignore it any longer, I sat up and looked at the window.

There it was—on my window sill with an illuminating purple gem between its beaks. It bore no gifts earlier and I hesitated. Was it safe to approach the creature? But as a curious child—who still believed that there was magic in the world—the glowing stone was the perfect bait. Slipping out of my bed, I went to the avian messenger to unknowingly accept my heroes calling.

That night, the cut and polished stone determined my fate. For the next three years of my life—on the fifth of every December—my raven would return. I would take the stone from its beak and glimpse into the chaos of the world—the invisible monsters with life-sucking fangs and soul-crushing claws that sought to destroy the remaining hope of the year. These otherworldly beasts roamed the streets and entered homes in search of unsuspecting victims. And it was my mission to stop them from destroying my slumbering neighbourhood.

Who would have thought that a child could be a hero? I was nine-years-old when I was gifted the light—the radiant and blinding amber of hope that beamed from the palms of my small hands. It was the light that kept my family and friends safe. It was the light that made me the unsung hero. And though it meant that Christmas was when the monsters of my nightmares came to life, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. For when I turned thirteen, the messenger went to another child.

At thirteen, I knew that my quest was over. Still, I couldn’t forget. And every night since, I would wonder about the shadows of humanity—was there an eldritch spectre outside my bedroom door? Unfortunately, it was no longer up to me to save the day. Another hero had been chosen—a reality I had accepted until my own child spoke of a bird on a chilly December night.

“Dad!” she called from her bedroom. “There’s a bird on my window. And it won’t fly away.”

“A bird?” I asked as I entered her room. Turning to her opened window, where I saw no avian creature, I frowned. “What bird?”

“There.” She pointed at the vacant space within the window frame. “It’s just… looking at me,” she added.

It had been over twenty years since my own encounter. And I would have shut the window—just like my mother did mine—if not for the strange inkling to keep it open.

“Dad, can you close the window?” she prompted. And therein, I remembered.

“It won’t hurt you,” I said. Crouching by the side of her bed, I continued, “But if it has a stone in its beak, you have to take it.”

“There’s no stone,” she stated.

“Not yet.” I winked.

“Okay. But what does the stone do?”

“It makes you a hero,” I replied. “It’ll make you brave. And even if the monsters scare you, you’ll be strong enough to destroy them.”

“Okay, dad.”

“Goodnight, Hope,” I said.

Flicking her bedroom lights off, I could only wonder if it were all true. I had grown to doubt. Still, I found a hint of belief. And if there was one gift I could offer my child this Christmas, it was to help her uncover the superhero within.


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

(Click HERE for the 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.)

Writing Journey

How To End A Bad Year

We’re almost a month short of 2020 and I’m sure that not all of us have had a great year. I, for one, underwent a few challenging seasons—from the betrayal of the people I trusted to the questioning of my self worth, approximately six months of 2019 wasn’t the best. In fact, there were times when I wondered if things could actually get better—was there hope of a brighter new year? Was there actually a light at the end of the tunnel? So if you have had a rough year, you’re not alone. And let’s be honest—after what we’ve gone through—stepping into the new year feeling hopeful… is easier said than done.

Personally, I refuse to see my 2019 as a failure. Despite the deep waters and dark valleys, I did learn and grow from all the negative experiences. But as I entered the third quarter of the year, I was afraid in believing in a better 2020. I didn’t want to hope only to be disappointed again. I found myself asking, what if… it doesn’t get better? What if… the monsters get stronger? What if… it is all downhill from here? And that is when I realised—every year in my life isn’t meant to be the best year ever. Every year in my life is simply a chapter of my story—a story that will have both joyful and heartbreaking moments. And when I look at 2019 from this perspective, I uncovered my missing hope.

I found my hope in 2020—not as a greater year than 2019 but as a year that will advance my story. Frankly, I’ll never know what’s in-stored for me in the new year—2020 might be just as tempestuous, or perhaps there will be rainbows. But alike the adventures I had embarked on in 2018 and the storms that I overcame in 2019, the coming year will speak for itself. It is a new chapter with its own plot that will eventually become a part of my lifelong story.

So, how do you end an unfortunate 2019 with hope? Embrace it. Accept that 2019 has passed—a chapter that is about to close—and look forward to the next page where you’ll be entering a new stage of your life. And whatever 2020 has for you, remember that it is but another chapter of many more to come. After all, your life isn’t defined by a single chapter but your journey from one to the other.