Story, The Academy

Chapter One (Part II)

If you’re new to the story, read the prologue and chapter one (part I) first!


“We’ve arrived,” the guide said, breaking into her thoughts. “This is the east dormitory for girls.” Jing’s eyes followed the broad sweep of his arms as it took in the building before them. Tall shrubs lined the sides obscuring all but the upper floors from view and even those had windows framed by long, overgrown vines that stretched wildly in every direction. The sight renewed her feeling of awe; Jing was amazed at how much greenery there was here. It was so different from the hard gray concrete and cold steel that she was used to in the capitol; even the gardens in his mansion could not compare to this place.

She remembered the first time he brought her into his private sanctuary; Jing had been captivated by all of the brightly colored plants, the feeling of the grass on her bare feet, the softness of the flower petals under her fingertips. After those numberless days in that stark white room, the garden was a paradise. Jing had felt herself come alive, energized by the fresh air and cool breeze. It was there that she first experienced the connection to the gift he had given her, and eventually learned how to use it.

Continue reading “Chapter One (Part II)”


On Writing Chapter One (Part I)

Dear Reader,

It took me a while, but I finally wrote out the first section of Chapter One, which you can read here. Posting it was definitely a bit nerve-wracking, in part, because it means that I have committed to sharing this story with you, not just general ideas and reflections, but the actual story. And I’ve never done this with my creative writing in such a public way before. So it’s scary, but exciting too.

Writing this piece pushed me to immerse myself into the world of The Academy- something I haven’t really done in any kind of depth. While this story has been on my mind for years, I have always been more preoccupied with the characters and their relationships than the history and basic details of the landscape they inhabit. Thinking from Jing’s perspective was interesting because she is a new initiate into the gifted community, so I could discover the nuances and eccentricities of this world right alongside her.

Continue reading “On Writing Chapter One (Part I)”

Story, The Academy

Chapter One (Part I)

If you’re new to the story, you can read the prologue here.


Thirty-one years later.

Jing closed her eyes, letting the cool sea breeze wash over her as she stepped off the boat. It was an outmoded form of transportation to be sure, but it served as a testament to The Academy’s firm belief in preserving tradition. After all, there was something poetic about welcoming young gifted students the same way that generations before them had been brought to the island. For most, it was a thrilling adventure, a break from the humdrum familiarity of hovercrafts and travel pods, that marked their initiation into a long, illustrious history, into futures replete with opportunities.

But for Jing this welcome was different. She was not surrounded by a throng of fellow students, whispering excitedly, leaning over the rails for their first glimpse of the place that had shaped the lives of their parents and relatives. She was arriving at The Academy alone. This was to be expected of course, given the way they’d found her; an unconventional entrance exam to say the least. Flashes of that night came back to her as she followed the guide across the dock and up the steep stone steps.

Her body radiating electricity, lighting up the darkness. In that grimy, trash-laden alleyway, she had waited for them to come, heart-pumping, near breathless. She let herself go, allowing the crackle of energy on her skin to grow, ignite into blue flames, just like he had told her she should. Relinquish control. Let them see who you are are… They will be amazed at your power.” 

Jing held on to his words, letting them echo in her head as she reached the top of the hill. She would need the confidence they inspired now more than ever. That night was just the first act- the real performance begins today.

Continue reading “Chapter One (Part I)”


On Writing the Prologue

Dear Reader,

After sharing the prologue to my story, I’ve been wondering if it’s enough. If you read it, you would know that it offers a glimpse into Victor’s childhood, the pivotal moment when he realizes that he is different from the rest of his family. That he is the sole ungifted child in a long, well-respected gifted lineage. Can you imagine how it must have felt, learning that the life you imagined would be yours has slipped beyond grasp, and all because of something you cannot control?

It was this moment of stark realization, while he was hiding behind his parents’ bedroom door, eavesdropping as they fought in hushed whispers about his fate and what it would mean for their family, while his siblings slept soundly, that Victor felt for the first time that overwhelming sense of loneliness which would one day turn into bitter resentment and, then, burning hatred. Perhaps if his parents had caught him listening and taken him into their arms, things might be different. Perhaps if his brother and sister had found him on that long solitary trek down the hall, they could have reminded him that he was not alone, that their bonds were stronger than the magic any of them did–or did not–possess. But none of that happened.

Continue reading “On Writing the Prologue”

Story, The Academy


“It’s impossible. I won’t believe it,” she cried, shaking her head vehemently.

“But dear, they’ve already tested him three times.” After a slight pause, he added firmly, “We cannot embarrass this family any further. We have to find a way to accept this.”

“You think this is embarrassing,” she asked, her voice rising to a high pitch. “What about the alternative? Th-that it might be true? What then? How are we to face everyone? …How do we even begin to tell him?” her voice broke.

“Don’t worry, we’ll find a way,” he said, placing a hand on her shoulder.

“It doesn’t have to be now. There is still time.”

“Yes. And maybe something will change. Yes- yes-,” she whispered, “There’s still time…”

Continue reading “Prologue”