Cliffhanger Contest: Tia Diyoka & Jaslynn Lopez

August 17th, 2018.


“Next, on AK news, there has been a report of 4 teen disappearances in Juneau, Alaska. Presley Houston (16), Melanie Campbell (14),” 

My eyes widened. Melanie Campbell, my best friend’s younger sister? For a second, I just sat there. I sat there thinking about why he hasn’t been answering my calls, thinking about how devastating this is to him and his family. On the verge of tears, I shakily grabbed the remote, and unpaused it. “Brandon Bulkley (17), and Kimberly Garcia (15) have been reported missing by their families. All have no relation to each other except they were all last spotted going into the Tongass forest yesterday, around 11:40pm, August 13th. William Kong, who lives nearby claims that he heard a faded scream in the distance, nearly 2 hours after the teens entered. His statement has been discarded by the JPD due to his diagnosis of dementia in 2014. These cases aren’t the first disappearances in that area though, so far there has been over 40 disappearances in the exact same area in the past 8 months. The CSI (crime scene investigators) have found no evidence to prove this has been anything but a disappearance. The police department has come to a conclusion that all disappearance cases over the past year, have fallen into the Situk river or have been hunted by a wild animal deprived of food. The families would li-”



I switched off the tv, my hand shaking slowly, feeling as if I left something behind from when I first started watching. The police can’t just shrug off a case this severe, they’re just kids. I get up off the couch and pace around my house. Maybe I just got the last name wrong, right? I grab a coffee and head to my home-office, the disappearances, yet to leave my mind. The thought that they could still be alive, getting tortured, or in hope someone is looking for them, weakened me. As a million thoughts rush through my head, one catches my attention. What if I venture into the forest they went in missing and try to find them? I hesitate. I try to find a reason why I shouldn’t and my head is blank. Those kids deserve a chance to be found. I’m doing it. I hesitate once again. What if I end up getting lost? I dont know whats out there… screw it, I’m going. I put my jacket on, and slid my boots, took a deep breath and headed upstairs. It felt weird going into my weapon room after so long. I looked around my room and spotted it, the hunting rifle. I unhooked it from its hook that it was attached to and put the strap over my shoulder. You don’t know what could be in that forest, I’m not taking any chances, that or I’m just paranoid, I don’t care. I grab my sharpest pocket knife and slide it in my jacket pocket. I grab a powerful flashlight. I’m ready. I think.


Getting myself out the door was the hardest part, I knew someone had to do it, but I felt like I didn’t have the guts. I still went out there, i kept repeating in my head *they’re just innocent kids* they’re just innocent kids* As I drove to the spot, the fear developed and spread, all over my body. My heart beated faster and faster, my thoughts pounding in my head. The drive wasn’t far from my house, it was only 20 minutes away.


It’s 11pm. I’m standing, face to face with the tongass forest, anxious for what I might find, what I might see. I slowly, hesitantly, turn on my flashlight and step into the forest. I run through the trees, past the bushes, until I make it into the depths of the forest. I approach an area, trees everywhere, pitch black. I walk cautiously until I find rope before me, laced onto a tree. I look to the front side of the tree and there I see a bruised corpse, tied to a tree, tongue and lips, withering. I quickly reach into my pocket and feel for my phone, 


I reached in the other pocket, I felt the sharp blade of the pocket knife I had stuffed into my pocket earlier, but no phone.

I must’ve forgotten it… why now? I’m surrounded with a bunch of rotting corpses and don’t even have a phone to call the cops?


remember this is what you came here for. I shine my flashlight on every tree, and everywhere, discolored corpses, with burnt out eyes, lips, noses, ears, and hands. I swallow hard, immediately regretting my choice. immediately . 

mm mm,


I quickly turned my head, all I saw was rotting corpses, tied to trees, but one caught my attention. It was a girl, with dirty blonde hair, unlike the others, her eyes were open. I hear the sound of her muffled scream


“HELP ME….” 

Without any other thoughts, I grab out my pocket knife and cut off the rope attached to her,

“Are you Okay?!” My heart was almost beating out of my chest, The girl wipes the dirt off of her, out of breath, she’s covered in blood.

“N-No… this man h-he” she stutters, she’s in tears, poor soul.

“Who’s he?” I ask sympathetically, “And how did you end up here!?” 

“A fi-” she stops. And then I hear it.


I turn around, and point my flashlight towards the noise. In the distance, a tall figure stood.

What. is. that.

All of a sudden the figure starts running, the closer it got, the more clear it became that that thing wasn’t human, and it was chasing us.

I grabbed the girl’s fragile arm and ran, as fast as I could. I felt the pocket knife that was in my jacket pocket fall out, but I didn’t care, whatever that was, It wasn’t going to touch me or this girl, my rifle was clenched in my other arm.


That was all I needed to hear. My legs were starting to lose speed. I cut through trees, bushes and thorns, the pain was real. The girl was beginning to slow me down, So as soon as I got far enough from the figure, I  leaped into a bush right next to the entrance of the tongass, and pulled the girl in with me. I tried to catch my breath but I couldn’t, so much had just happened in the last 30 minutes that I couldn’t even think straight. The girl was curled up in a ball beside me, I had just realized how much of an idiot I was. 

I shouldn’t have come here at all.

“Who was that guy?” I whisper, just loud enough so she could hear me.

“H- h- he abducted me.” She whispered back, tears filling her eyes.

Then, I heard it again. I silence the girl and as I hear the sound of footsteps getting louder and louder, I lift up my shotgun. Suddenly, I hear heavy breathing. We sit there, silently. We don’t move a muscle until we hear footsteps getting farther, and farther. I close my eyes, for just a second, and I hear the girl screaming. I open my eyes to seeing the girl being dragged out of the bush, and a chuckle following it. I crawled out of the bush slowly to see if she was anywhere near. Then, my heart drops.


“I want your hands behind your head! Thomas Johnson you are under arrest for the disappearances of Presley Houston, Melanie Campbell, Brandon Bulkley, and Kimberly Garcia.”

I slowly put my hands up, standing there, in confusion. How?

They pushed me into their car, as if I was an actual criminal. Annoyed, I zone out, thinking about how to prove myself. They sat me in an interrogation room, asking me an unlimited amount of questions, but the only thing on my mind was the girl.

A couple days go by and it’s court time. I couldn’t pay attention. The fear bottled up in me distracted me. 

“As the jury of the disappearance case, Out of the choices, guilty and innocent, I deem Thomas Xavier Johnson…”