Genre: slice of life
They were about to enter the movie theatre when they discovered the complication. Somehow, they had six child tickets instead of six adult tickets.
They were already running late, so Roxana and Max hurried to the customer service desk to sort the tickets out.
Changing the child tickets to adult tickets was a small matter. It didn’t take the customer service assistant long to fix their tickets. With their now valid tickets, they turned their attention to the rest of the group.
Melanie laughed from where she perched on the top of the promotional prop for the movie they were about to watch. Unconcerned by the attention she drew, she egged the others on as they struggled their way up to her.
Roxana and Max turned back to the customer service assistant.
“Those four are with us. Can they use child tickets instead?”
To read more about Melanie and her friends, check out these stories.
Genre: slice of life, family
A mountain stood in between the two towns. To travel between the two, they took the mountain path that wound along the side of the mountain. No one thought twice about using it. Children regularly ran along the path unsupervised to visit their friends on the other side.
For this little one, however, his first solitary trip had been a little premature.
“There there,” she said as her son wailed in her arms, frightened and hungry after losing his way for an hour (which was forever in the mind of a toddler) on the mountain path.
“Don’t cry. We’ll go together next time, alright?” her niece said, voice heavy with concern over her son’s distress with a touch of guilt. Her niece had been running an errand when her son decided to follow her. Her niece had been in a hurry and didn’t notice him. Her son kept quiet because he wanted to frighten her but ended up getting lost because he couldn’t keep up.
Ah, she thought with fond exasperation, My silly boy.
In the future, when he was old enough be properly embarrassed, she would retell this story with relish.
The training session disguised as ‘just a game’ had three sides. Red, blue, and white. The goal for every team was to finish the game with the most members.
The game began with everyone on the white team except for one red and one blue starting member. The red and blue teams increased their numbers by touching the white members’ tags and ‘infecting‘ them into their team. The white team protected their numbers by touching the red and blue members’ tags, which turned them black and eliminated them from the game.
At first glance, the white team had the advantage because they completely outnumbered the other teams. That was a trap to lull them into a false sense of security. In reality, the starting red and blue members were often elite hunters, and the white team their unsuspecting prey.
In a flash, both starting members pounced and infected two members each into their team. The white members nearby fled in terror.
‘Just a game’. Lies! More like merciless hunting ground. Would he be the hunter or the hunted?
He braced himself.
Time to go hunting.
Only a thin paper screen separated her from the guards. She pressed her hands against her mouth as the stolen jade sat like live coal in her pocket.
Surely, they could hear her frantic heartbeat all the way across the room. But despite the vigorous search she could hear on the other side, no one uncovered her.
Finally, the doors closed and silence descended. She waited. When minutes passed and she still heard nothing, she unfolded from her hiding place and stepped out.
A young man sat on the window seat.
“I mean no harm,” he said immediately with his hands in the air, “The jade you took is important, but not very valuable and easily traced. Let me trade you this gold bracelet for that jade.”
The bracelet hung from his curled fingers, plain but heavy. Just selling the gold itself would fetch a pretty price.
“What’s stopping me from taking both?” she asked. Why make an offer unless the jade was actually worth something?
“What bodyguard?” There were only two of them in the room.
“A stealthy one who knew you were hiding there all along. Look. The jade’s worth lies in its sentimental value, not monetary price. This bracelet will serve you better than that jade will.”
Ah. Sentiments. Truth be told, she had only just crept into the building when the guards came. The jade was just something she picked off the floor on the way to her hiding spot. With everyone on high alert, it would be difficult enough to escape, let alone steal anything else.
“Give me.” She held out her hand.
“We exchange at the same time,” he said.
She traded the jade for the bracelet and escaped through the window.
Alone inside the room, the man released a sigh of relief.
“Awake, guardian of my house.”
The jade shook off its stiffness and uncurled in the man’s palm.
“Good thinking,” the jade guardian said as it stretched.
“I thought you were supposed to be my bodyguard, not the other way around,” the man teased.
“I’ve saved you and your ancestors more times than I can remember. It’s only fair that you save me occasionally.” The jade climbed up his arm to settle into its usual spot at his neck. “So, back to what we were doing before that brat knocked me off.”
“Gladly.” The man opened the door and left the room.
Genre: general, fantasy
Everyone was efficient and perfectly capable, but there were a lot of things that needed moving.
“I can help,” he said as he rolled up his sleeves.
“Little Master, someone of your pedigree should not concern yourself with this small matter.” The head housekeeper guided him out of sight.
“We both know I don’t have a fancy ‘pedigree’,” he argued.
“When Big Master adopted you, she adopted you completely into her family. That includes her heritage.”
“But, I’m just like everyone else. I’m worse than everyone else.”
The head housekeeper knelt and looked him in the eye.
“That no longer matters. And you are young yet. You will grow and improve. If you truly desire to help us, you will apply yourself to your lessons and learn everything you need to be a master who can manage this estate well and protect us. That includes focusing your attention on your education instead of worrying about our menial work.”
At the last part, the head housekeeper raised an eyebrow. He remembered the study materials left unread on his desk and looked away.
“Please continue with your studies, Little Master, and worry not about us. Our role is to deal with the small troubles so that you can focus on the big problems.”
The head housekeeper bowed. He clumsily acknowledged it the way he was taught and returned to his study, ready to tackle the never ending pile of books for the sake of the people who relied on him.
When Ezra was younger, he helped his aunt with her magic tricks. Under her tutelage, he learnt the techniques of sleight of hand, the power of decoys, the advantage of technology, the skills of showmanship, and the readiness to grab even the slightest opportunity.
When they discovered his ability to create doubles of himself, that was just the icing on the cake. It opened up more possibilities, and Ezra was certain he would follow his aunt’s footsteps into the world of magic.
Then a colony of monsters attacked the city. The wall crumbled under the onslaught and the monsters spilled in.
Shadow appeared not long after to single-handedly beat the monsters back. But there were still a few who slipped past and they pounced at the people nearby.
He saw an opportunity.
Safely tucked away, he created doubles as decoys. The doubles threw themselves at the monsters and bought time until Shadow picked the monsters up and tossed them out of the city.
One week later, he received an invitation to join the Department of Defense.
He took it.
The monster event mentioned can also be found in It Started as a Little Bud.
Genre: slice of life, family
It was magic. With just one knife, Daddy cut the apple core out of the apple. With the same knife, he peeled the skin off in one long ribbon, then cut the apple into perfect bite-sized pieces.
“There you go, princess.” Daddy pushed the bowl of apple pieces across the island table.
“Thank you, Daddy.”
She munched on the pieces as Daddy continued cutting the rest of the apples. Sometimes, he stole a corner, made sure Mummy wasn’t looking, and threw it into his mouth. She giggled.
“Stop eating. Mummy needs the apple for the apple pie. Eat this.” She gave Daddy an apple piece from her bowl.
“Thank you, love.” He paused to bite the apple off her fingers and continued turning the apples into baking apple bits.
It really was magic. And after this, Mummy would do more magic and they would get apple pie.
And she would do the greatest magic of all.
Make it disappear!
Genre: family, slice of life
Ang pao: red packets given out during Chinese New Year
He had a card, a table-ful of crafts, and an instruction.
“Make a Mother’s Day card.”
He ignored the chatter of the other kids to focus on his card. Mummy was the best mummy in the world, so he would make the best card in the world.
He folded the card in half, because that was how cards looked like. Mummy liked oranges, so he drew a lot of oranges. Oranges made him think of ang paos, so he drew that too. Belatedly, he squeezed in a drawing of his family and the new dog.
“Your parents are here. Don’t forget to give your cards to your mothers.”
Finally, he ran out of blank spaces, and he wrote:
Tears pricked at his eyes. It was too late to make a new card.
“What’s wrong?” Daddy asked.
He just stared down at his card.
“Oh darling, that looks wonderful,” Mummy said.
“I wrote it wrong,” he said, close to tears.
“I think it looks wonderful.”
He shook his head and grabbed the card to throw it away. Mummy placed a hand over his.
“May I take this?”
The card was already ruined. It didn’t matter anymore. He nodded.
Mummy smoothed the crumpled card and picked up the crayon he used. With the crayon, Mummy drew over the wrong words until it became a pretty ‘Happy Mother’s Day’. His eyes sparkled. Mummy could fix anything!
“How about that?” Mummy said.
“Mummy is amazing!”
“We’re just missing one thing.” Mummy handed him the crayon. “Your name.”
He wrote his name on the card and gave it to Mummy.
“Happy Mother’s Day!”
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. May you be loved, treasured and empowered!
They entered the forest as twin lost souls, still hurting from their exile from the only home they knew. But they had each other, and home was more than a place.
They began with a simple shelter between two trees, crudely made in the middle of a storm with whatever scraps they could find. As their days in the forest increased, they branched out.
A nook high in the branches, a shelter near a stream, a hut in the side of a hill, pockets of storage along their favoured paths. Slowly but surely, they created their place. It wasn’t the same as their old community, but it was home.
Genre: family, slice of life, fantasy
Features the family from Parenting Pains.
Sometimes (all the time), she wishes it is her calm, mature older son who developed superpowers instead of her temperamental, rebellious younger son.
“I’ve told you before. No.”
The furniture rattles. A few cushions rise in the air. She pretends not to notice her youngest’s impending temper tantrum and instead of fighting head on over the same issue again, diverts his attention to a different target.
“Your brother needs to rest. Don’t wake him up.”
The furniture settles silently back into place. Even the cushions are lowered with care. As expected of her eldest. Even when he was bedridden, he could still keep her younger son under control.
“I’m going to make jelly for your brother. You want to help me?” she offers.
“Pineapple jelly?” her youngest asks.
She nods. “Pineapple jelly.”
Her youngest considers it.
She offers her hand and take it, movie (hopefully) forgotten in favour of the jelly they are about to make for his favourite person in the world.
She hides a relieved sigh.