Cliffhanger Contest: Olivia Beaton & Jess Selzer

Olivia Beaton & Jess Selzer


I stare at the wall, the distant sounds around me fading. My mind is focused. The wall was white, but specks of dirt and dust sprinkled the once clean surface. The wall resembles a canvas, just begging to be stained. Hanging right in the center of it, is a framed picture. Just looking at the golden frame makes my pulse race and my heart beat faster and faster. It is one of very few items from my past that I still have. I see myself in the picture, a younger and brighter image of what I am today. I was happy, and I had a big smile that stretched from one ear to the other. I was standing up with my arms around my older brother who was sitting down in front of me with my parents by his side. “Such a long time ago.” I mutter. “I looked so different, so… alive,” I sigh, “I wish things could go back to the way they were before.” It’s too much for me, the walls around me seemed to be closing in. I’m not able to look away. I gasp for air. It’s getting harder to breathe by the second.


3 days earlier


I sat on my couch in the living room, ignoring all the calls from my friends and family. “I can’t contact them,” I thought out loud, “I don’t want to get them involved in all of this.” I pressed the red button on my phone even though it hurt me, and the ringing went dead. I shook off any feeling of sadness or regret, and slumped back on the couch. I grabbed my laptop from the table and quickly typed in the Google search bar; “”

As the website loaded, I ran my hands through my hair, and fiddled with my shirt. I felt the sweat running down my neck. My whole body was on alert, even though nothing was happening. I started thinking about my past and all the terrible things I had done. There is a reason for it, I thought to myself. 

I did what I did to survive. I thought back to when I was racing into the bank, threatening everyone to be still. 

What would have happened if I hadn’t done what I had done. I couldn’t shake the feeling of regret. I didn’t have a choice, I told myself over and over again, I needed the money. But I can’t shake the feeling of guilt. All I can do now is try to avoid everyone. It would be best for me and my family. No one needed to know.

As soon as my laptop finished loading, I immediately typed in; “Security Systems.” My insecurity was taking a toll. The entire screen overflowed with different types, sizes, and qualities of security systems from around the entire world. Feeling a little overwhelmed, I quickly selected the most expensive ones I could find, and put them into my cart. Alarm systems, security cameras, motion detectors, and more.

As it went through, the total came back as $8,219 for everything I had wanted to buy. This would usually be a huge amount of money, but I couldn’t risk anything. Soon after, I selected; “Proceed to checkout”. I shrugged off the payment. This little shopping spree didn’t affect me, it had barely even made a dent in my wallet considering the money I had kept away in the walls of my huge house. After the deposit went through, I sat back, waiting.


Back to the Present


The doorbell rings, causing my whole body to jump, and forcing me back to reality. I tear my eyes away from the picture and quickly fix my hair, and my jacket. I pull my phone out from my back pocket and check for any alerts. None. A wave of worry flows through my entire body. “Who is at the door?” I ask myself in a panicked voice. A chill rushing down my spine. I make a mental list of the people it could be.


  • Amazon Delivery (Best case scenario)
  • My family and friends
  • The police or the FBI coming to arrest me


I gulp, the odds are not on my side. I take a deep breath to calm my nerves as I cautiously creep towards the door at the end of the hallway. It seems so close and yet so far away. “It’s just a pointless door.” I tell myself again and again. But I know that whoever was on the other side of that door, could change my life. I had no weapons to defend myself if needed, but slowly I reached out with my shaky hand towards the door knob and twisted it. I’m not prepared. This could be it and I could lose everything.