Original Works

Tattoo | Cut | Window

A new beginning gleamed—the break of dawn with its inspiring hues, stretching across the horizon. There it was—hope within my reach—the fresh start I had dreamt of. But despite my inmost desire for the first light of day, something was in my way. Something so fragile and breakable yet capable of inflicting pain. Something that framed the world beyond yet kept me imprisoned within these four walls. Something I treasured in my solitude—a kaleidoscope of my aspirations—yet unyielding in its design. And the only way I could seize the opportunities beyond was to break free—shatter the only window in the confinement of doubt, insecurity, and fear I called my mind.

I have tried to escape. I had armed myself with the wobbly oak chair that often stood beside my study table. With all my might, I had swung the old furniture against the window. And it broke. The glass fractured. The warmth of the sun streamed through the rough edges, kissing my skin in delight. The cool breeze from beyond swept into my room, embracing me like a long lost friend. And the sweet scent of Spring, in full bloom and all its glory, rushed to fill the dead space—an amiable hello from a beauty I’ve never known.

I wanted out. I had a taste of the world I was missing out on—the adventurous and meaningful life that could be mine if only I was brave enough. So, I gathered my courage. I reached through the aperture in the window, bearing sharp edges in attempts to discourage my curiosity. And just when I returned the handshake offered to me by endless possibilities, my inner demons awoke. My forearm brushed against the uneven contour of what was once whole. The sharp edges tore my skin with the fear of the unknown. And there was blood—a deep cut that scarred my soul. Could I ever be free without a scratch? Was there a way to leave this dreary room without affliction? I didn’t know which was worst—to be stuck in the gloom of yesterday or to bear agony for a tomorrow. Should I try again?

Hope was still within my grasp. It was a new day—the first blank page of a book I was given to write. Every word and every sentence was mine to decide. The moment I chose to break free, my story would begin—the tale I was meant to tell finally told. It would be an epic journey with a fulfilling resolution, encapsulated within the final pages I would call my epilogue. But first, this prologue had to end. I had to make a choice—choose to try again or choose to remain in an introduction that never becomes a story. And so, I chose to live.

I chose to escape the lonely tower that rose high above this prodigious land of past, present, and future. I chose to be like the ones below—liberated from the restraints of the swallowing darkness that once plagued their souls. I was ready to embrace the pain—to home the markings of the cage. For despite the ink that blackened their skins—the tattoos that depicted their history—they were living. Those outside of these walls were truly living.

There—the rickety chair I doubted could carry my weight—my saviour. The study table wouldn’t mind if it departed. They weren’t a pair—they didn’t belong. And neither did I in this state of mind. This time, I swung the chair with the intention to let go. And I did. The chair crashed through—the window shattered at a force fueled by an ache for freedom. It was a sound I would never forget—the announcement of my new beginning.

Snatching for the covers of my bed, I wrapped it around my right hand—I had to clear the merciless serrations. I was ready for scars but if I could lessen the pain, why wouldn’t I? When only the chippings of glass remained—adamant about leaving the frame—I tossed my protection aside and reached for my exit. And, as I expected, the first weight upon my palms broke flesh. The warmth of blood brought hesitation. But, I wasn’t submitting to it this time. This time, I pushed down further to climb over. This time, I was taking a leap of faith. Even if I fell, breaking bones and tearing flesh, I wasn’t returning to the tower. I was going to live—truly live the life I was always meant to live.

And there it was—the start of my story.


Tattoo, cut, and window were words given by Caroline Guisson on Facebook

Since it’s the new year, I decided to write a little piece of encouragement for all those who are still hesitating to take a leap of faith. I know it’s scary and it can be painful, but the world beyond your fear and doubt offers endless possibilities. So make the choice to start writing your story this year!

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. Perhaps this is the start to your own adventure? Give it a try! You never know what can happen.

*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

Learn | Window | Brussels

One window remained. The only window un-shattered. Our last window to freedom.

“Are you sure we’re going the right way?” I asked, as skepticism settled.

“We’re almost there,” Marie answered – too confidently for someone without a map.

“I think we’re lost,” I stated.

“We’re not.”

Marie tapped on her compass, signalling we were still heading north. North was what we were told to follow – go north and you’ll find the castle. But after three hours of trekking the Hallerbos, my doubts could no longer be silence. What was I thinking? Could we be walking into a German trap? Should we turn back? I hesitated to suggest.

“Marie…”

Marie hissed. “Believe, Camille. We cannot lose hope now.”

Hope – hope started this mad venture. It had us believing the whispers of a butcher, whose family had successfully fled to the United Kingdom. He claimed that they escaped through a magical window of an ancient castle, nestled within the Halle Forest. But as fictitious as it sounded, many believed him. And to add truth to his fairy-tale, those who left for Hallerbos never returned.

The skeptics theorised that the Germans had caught those who attempted escape. But the believers clutched at the promise of freedom. As Marie and I hoped to flee the war, we believed the story too. So, we packed our bags and traveled from Brussels to Hallerbos.

To some of the older Belgian folks, Hallerbos was known as a mystical forest. During a specific time of the year, bluebell flowers would carpet the terrain. In such great numbers, the deep blue and purple flora was said to be magical – it could bring forth or shadow what lay on the forest ground. But before the seasonal bluebells could lead us to the castle, it brought us the soldiers.  

“Down,” I whispered, tugging Marie to her knees.

I couldn’t see the armed men in their field-grey uniforms, but I could hear them. Their foreign chatter traveled between the tall, scrawny trees. And as their voices rose in decibels, my heart pounded deafeningly in competition.

“Where are they?” Marie mouthed.

In reply to her question, I snapped my head in all cardinal directions. But in hope of glimpsing the enemy first, I saw no one – not even a silhouette. With the disembodied voices and the trudging of footsteps growing louder every second, I froze in fear. And then, as though they had heard my racing heart, the soldiers halted their conversations.

Instantly, I lay flat on my stomach. I cupped my hands over my mouth and lowered my head. I prayed to be unseen. I wished for peaceful silence. Unfortunately, the crunching of dry leaves and broken twigs persisted. They drew nearer until eventually, I could sense the enemy’s presence. I could feel their movement. And I knew, they would soon find me. But like a child, I believed that if I couldn’t see them, they couldn’t see me too. What a naive notion it was, until the encircling bluebells rustled.

The flowers shifted, as though someone was moving through them. Stiff as a log, the bluebells brushed against my body. At that moment, I expected a painful jab from the end of a rifle. But as I waited, nothing happened. Did they not see me? With courageous curiosity, I turned my head to peek. And to my surprise, there was no soldier hovering above me. Cautiously pushing myself into a seated position, while I scanned the dense timberland, I heard no voice and saw no man.

Still, something odd was occurring. The bluebells continued to rustle with the sound of heavy footsteps. The flora parted, creating multiple trails that slithered away from where I sat. Then, after what felt like an eternity of the strange phenomenon, silence cloaked the Hallerbos.

“Marie,” I whispered.

Marie remained on her stomach, stifling what sounded like sobs.

Marie,” I repeated.

As I moved in to comfort her, a peculiar shadow caught my eye. It had emerged up ahead, veiled by a ghostly fog. It didn’t outline a castle, but was large enough to be what we were looking for.

“Marie,” I said. “I think… we found it.”

Marie peered up – cheeks wet with tears. As I pointed toward the silhouette, she turned her head and gasped.

“We… we found it,” Marie chimed. “Let’s go – the window is on the first floor.”

Without hesitation, Marie rushed ahead. Staying on her tail, I kept the silhouette in sight. As the fog around the structure began to thin, I squinted my eyes in search of the window. How it could take us to safety was no longer a question. All I hoped for, was the sight of the window itself. For if I saw it – the only un-shattered window – I would learn that the story is true… and that my faith had finally saved me.

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Learn, window, and Brussels were words given by iamvickiroberts. I chose to build this story around the location, because I don’t think I’ve done something like this before. I guess… it didn’t turn out so bad. And, I discovered the existence of Hallerbos – yes, it’s real, I didn’t make it up.

Now, it’s your turn. You have until the end of January to write a story of your own with the three words given. Oh, and if you’d like me to write a tale set in your country, leave 3 words (one of which being your country) in the comment section below!

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3 Words, 1 Story © 2018 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Window | Pillow | Chocolate

windowpillowchocolate

It has been three years. Three years since we boarded the plane together. Three years since we fought over the window seat. Three years since we flipped a coin, just to see who should ask the air steward for an extra pillow. Three years since he proposed with a box of chocolate. And three years since we said goodbye.

As I curled up in the stiff economy class seat, I wondered what life would’ve been if he didn’t walk away. Would we be living in the cozy apartment we imagined? Would we have named our first child after his favourite actress? Would we be flying to Peru, right at this moment, for our great Machu Picchu adventure? Would we still be in love? If we didn’t say those words, would we still be together?

I can still recall the night of our tiff. It was a pleasant night. The day was filled with gentle showers, setting dusk in a cool breeze, fresh with the scent of rain in the air. It was the perfect night to cuddle with a hot cup of cocoa, as we shared the stories from our uneventful day. But that didn’t happen. We would still be together, if it actually did.

“So you’re coming to my mum’s birthday party, right?” I asked.

“Sorry love, I can’t make it this weekend. I’ve got work.”

“It’s the weekend. Why are you always working on the weekend?”

“Trust me, I don’t want to. It’s the boss. You know how he’s like.”

“You should quit.”

He turned to me, eyes wide with surprise. Then he chuckled.

“I’m serious,” I added.

“I can’t just quit. The wedding needs money.”

“You’re not the only one working.”

“But I want to be. I want to give you the best wedding ever.”

Resting his hands on my shoulders, he gave a gentle squeeze as he flashed his famous childish grin. I smiled. How could I not?

“Fine. But you still have to attend my mum’s party. She’s turning sixty,” I said.

“Only sixty. She’s still young.”

“You know how some of the older people are. Sixty is a big deal. And if I go without you, she’ll ask an unbearable amount of questions.”

“I can’t go. I really can’t.”

“Just tell your boss-”

“I can’t,” he interrupted.

Why did he interrupt? If he hadn’t done so, I might have given in. I might have let him skip the party. I might have held my tongue.

“Why are you so straight with your decisions?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why can’t you try to work things around? Saying you can’t when you’ve not tried-”

“How do you know I’ve not tried?”

“I know because I know you. And I know, for sure, you didn’t ask your boss if you could have the weekend off.”

“Are we seriously arguing about this right now? I’m tired. Let’s talk about it tomorrow, alright?”

“It’s always tomorrow with you.”

“Yes, because I don’t want to say something I’d regret. So let’s talk tomorrow.”

He gave me a quick peck on the forehead before stalking toward the door. Here’s my regret. I didn’t let him go. I made him stay at a time he needed to leave the most. I went after him, reached for his wrist, and pulled him back.

“No, let’s talk about this now. We will forget about this tomorrow-”

“And maybe that’s a good idea.”

“How is that a good idea? We’re getting married. This is something we need to discuss. How do you expect me to live with a man who will be absent every weekend?”

“It’s only this weekend. Why are you making such a big deal out of it?”

“It’s always ‘only this weekend’ with you. Fine. Go then. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

Like a child, I folded my arms and glared. And for that brief moment, I had hope. I was expectant. I thought he would stay and ask for forgiveness. That he would choose to work things out, instead of leaving. But I guess, he really was tired. And without another word, he walked out the front door never to return.

I have cried enough over what happened three years ago – stifling tears in the shower and hyperventilating by the sidewalks. But nothing I did brought him back. What could tears do to bring the dead to life? Was there a potion for resurrection? Would true love’s kiss work? When I became too tired to feel anymore, I forced myself to move on. I forced myself to disassociate the past from my present. Though unfortunately, the memories live on. I can recount every part of it as if it were a movie I’d watch one too many times. But even if I don’t tear up, it leaves a bitter aftertaste of regret.

As the air steward walked past with a pillow in hand, as the child clumsily unwrapped his chocolate bar, as I gazed at the cumuliform clouds, I wondered once more what life would have been. And then I concluded before the seatbelt sign blinked red: life would’ve been great. We would’ve been happy. We would’ve created wonderful memories. But life, unfortunately, goes on. And if I were to ever find love again, so should I.

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Window, pillow, and chocolate were words given by kara562. Firstly, let me apologise for writing this rather depressing piece. You see, I’ve been watching too many sad dramas recently that they’ve had an affect on me. So, when I saw those three words, the two things that came to mind were aeroplane and regret. I don’t why. Hence, this story. I do hope it was an engaging tale though.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. It’s fun. You don’t have to try so hard. And oh, it makes a great writing practice.

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

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

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