Cliffhanger Contest: Clark Cohn & Derin Leon

Derin Leon & Clark Cohn



The pressure of the world, a weight too massive for a weak hopeless soul like myself to overcome. 

Why? Expectations, sarcasm, troubles. The politeness in this world is a mask for the burning hell of mental war it is. Does anyone really care? 

I raised my head, facing the smiles of everyone on my team (Like a school team). Were all of these people victims of this world as well? I wondered, as I too kept a smile stapled on my face.


The shrill of the bell rang through the air as my anxiety was relieved with the possibility of a mental challenge, the bad part, every hour that went by would be an hour closer to my going home. I peeked into my next class, the one place that I feel at home. I love language arts, I’ve known the teacher since I was 7. She’s known my mom and dad since they were in college. More importantly, Ms.Brown helps me deal with my dad. He hasn’t been the same ever since my mom died.

As I peek into the room I see my friend Shia sitting in her corner I wave to her and Ms. Brown. I’ve known her since we were 6.  But she still  doesn’t know much  about me. Sometimes it’s hard to contain myself in a bubble of a false reality. My mouth sometimes wants to move from the wide smile I normally wear, violating the laws of this hidden fiery hell. It’s hard to hide under a mask. Keeping your feelings hidden. Sometimes you don’t want to put on a happy face. Sometimes you want to let it all out. Yet here I was with a bright smile hiding from reality.

The bell rang again announcing the end of passing time. As I took out my notebook and pencil Ms.Brown began talking

“Good afternoon class, I know it’s a Friday and you have a lot of energy but you will have to focus today. As you know we have our realistic fiction fiction stories due next week,” 

As I read through my story editing it for the thousandth time Ms.Brown came up to me. 

“I take it you’ve already finished your story,” She stated, smiling. My story was about a kid, much like myself who had run away from home to escape the grasps of their unforgiving father. 

“Yeah, I’m already mostly finished,” I replied. Although, I’m not finished with the transfer from story to real life, I thought. The shrill of the bell started to fill the air for about the 18th time that day.

As I walked to my next class tears began to well up in my eyes. I used to love math but now it’s an unremovable stain on a cloth I’ve been trying to wash for years. The one thing about my mother I can’t clear from my mind. Memories came flooding back to me. Everything she taught me. We’d sit out on the bench on my porch in the summer; work on the coffee table in the winter. I still have trouble accepting the fact that my Mom is gone.  As I walked into math I could only think of her warm smile that could fill the room. Every Time she saw me like this she would make me some cookies and ask how she could help. I cried to myself simotamiosly upset for my self pity. “I could really use a cookie right now,” I thought. The response of my mother was the silence of her unexistent self. As the final bell rang I left the horrid that is math class.  As I walked to the bus and saw harsh judgemental eyes staring at me. The bus ride was quick, I was occupied by rejecting tears the entire time. The bus driver waved me off as I began to walk down my street again, toward the hell that was my home. I realized maybe I didn’t just need to go downward. Why repeat the process of endless pressure and pain. Why not just leave? I have nothing left anyway. Maybe change will finally be a benefit. Maybe I will be able to crack my own mask.