Chapter 10:

Chapter 10

Mokhoddis School Days Episode II

Part 1

The sun reached its slumber. It radiated a bright red across the fields of Golden Hills that turned the world into a beautiful pink color before finally disappearing. The full moon followed and illuminated the night sky. The streets of Golden Hills were lit up with lanterns by volunteers. Rows of vendors lined the streets. Children zoomed around as they chased each other with sticks. A man played the flute to gain the attention of passersby. Another man advertised his beer pong game “Only for 3$ each, come for a chance to win a human-sized teddy bear.” Crowds of people roamed from vendor to vendor. Pumpkins, cranberries, and radishes filled the barrels. Farmers gestured to each other to unload trucks, and hang signs. The aroma of popcorn and smoking wood coated the air. It was the Golden Hills Annual Autumn Festival.

“Wow! These hotdogs are so good! You should try them.” Phet handed Nina one hotdog from his handful as he gobbled the rest.

“No I’m good, thank you though.” Nina declined.

“Oh my god, where are Rubina and Josiah? We all agreed to meet up half an hour ago.” Elisa complained.

“I think Rubina wanted to add some final touches to her painting and Josiah is helping her,” Phet replied with a mouth full of hot dogs.

“Oh? Rubina and Josiah? I’ve never seen the two of them together like this before.” Elisa chuckled.

“Nah it's not like that,” Phet replied as he swallowed his chewed-up dogs.

A loud chant came from the crowd.

“Looks like they’re almost done setting up for the art contest.” Nina looked ahead.

“Did all of you submit your paintings already?” Elisa asked.

“Yeah, it’s just Rubina and Josiah that’s left,” Phet replied.

“You sure Mokhoddis isn’t going to come?”

“Yeah, once he sets his mind on something he won’t change it.”

“Well, that sucks because the whole class is here beside him.” Elisa stomped her feet.

“Has anyone seen Mr.Deyoung?” Rosemary asked.

“Nope, not a clue. I doubt he’ll be meeting with us anyway; he's probably too busy sucking up to the judges.” Elisa shrugged her shoulders. “Hey, since Josiah and Rubina aren’t here, do you guys want to go play some beer pong? The winner has to buy corn dogs for everyone” Elisa rushed ahead.

“Hey what kind of rule is that Elisa?” Phet followed.

Rubina turned around, and scanned the area. Mokhoddis was nowhere to be seen so she followed Phet and Elisa. “Come join us, Rubina,” Elisa shouted.

The moon, round and bright lit up the wheatfield hills, the neighborhood so quiet except for crickets chirping in the night and a young boy speaking to himself.

I see the smaller strokes as jabs and the curves as hooks.

“A line there and a line there… Imagine I’m on level 12 and fighting the demon railgun pirate. I dodge this and I shoot here.” Mokhoddis commented on his work.

Here comes the hard part, I need to make the glass here transparent but at the same time reflective enough, otherwise it won’t look realistic and will look cartoonish.”

Use your logic to paint, doesn’t have to be like everyone else

“More strokes there. Now I'm at level 25. Things are getting hard. I have to sell my default weapon. I have to upgrade my boosters and buy a laser gun.” Mokhoddis rinsed the small brush, picked up a bigger brush, and mixed a hue of blue and red. He dipped the brush in his cup.


“Hahaha I’m just too good at this.” Elisa let out a crazy laugh.

“Elisa, you remember the rules you set for beer pong right?” Phet asked in an assertive tone.

“Yeah, whoever wins gets treated by everyone to corndogs.”

“That’s not what you said!”

“Enjoying the festival without us?” A voice called out.

“Josiah… and Rubina” Elisa called out.

“I’m glad you guys could make it” Nina squinted and smiled.

“Yeah, Rubina just had to do some final touches on her painting. You all submitted yours right?”

Josiah asked.

“Yup all of us except Mokhoddis.” Elisa looked at the sky. “Where is he?”

“Have you guys seen Mr.Deyoung yet?” Rubina asked.

“Nope, he’s probably at the art contest section. We should go there too, I heard they’re going to

start the pumpkin weighing contest while they’re getting stuff ready for the art contest.” Elisa pointed at the rock reserved for displaying the largest pumpkin.

“SPACE ROCKS!” Mokhoddis screamed.

“Ugh, I hit a dead end. How do I get the depth of these asteroid soldiers? No matter what I do they look so flat and not 3D at all. Unless I can fake a 3D effect by casting a shadow and…” Mokhoddis paused and took a big sigh “I don’t have time to experiment”.

Painting is where you create your own world

“In my world, these asteroid soldiers are 2D”


“Welcome everyone to the 73rd annual autumn festival of Golden Hills.”

A cheer from the crowd rose.

“We will be starting our pumpkin weighing competition shortly, but first let us have a word from the mayor himself.” The man pointed to the mayor.

The crowd cheered even louder.

“Woooo!” Elisa and Phet followed.

“Thank you everyone for joining us. We are so glad to have such heartwarming members of the community and such vibrant kids that will lead the future of Golden Hills. Speaking of the kids, as you know, today we will be ending the festival with an art contest… and I’ve heard that there are a lot of kids from Mr.Deyoung’s class who are participating. So we are all excited to see their art pieces on display. We will have the three of us standing here as judges. First up, we have principal May of Golden Hills.” The crowd cheered.

“Oh my god, why is she a judge?” Elisa rolled her eyes.

“Even Nina isn’t going to win if she's judging.” Phet mocked.

“Next, we have me, the mayor, as the judge.”

The crowd cheered as confetti flew around.


Papers flew around his room. “No this can’t be happening.” Mokhoddis put his hands on his head and trembled. “I can’t seem to get the tentacles right of the Alien King. He’s the centerpiece of my painting. If he turns out ugly then it’ll ruin the whole painting…” He paused. “It doesn’t matter what I do, I just can’t do it.” He set his head on the desk and stared at the full moon “Everyone must be having so much fun right now” Mokhoddis closed his eyes.

The crowd erupted into a celebration.

“And the final judge, the one and only…” The crowd went silent. “Old man from the East Bakery.”

“Wow, the Old man is the judge,” Josiah exclaimed.

“Nina, you probably knew he was judging right?” Elisa asked.

“What is it because she’s his granddaughter?” Rosemary asked.

“Uhh, I’m actually as shocked as you guys,” Nina replied.

“I’m glad he's one of the judges, he's cool and cancels out principal May’s bad energy.” Phet joked as everyone laughed.

“The old man has really helped shape this town into the number 1 pumpkin exporter in the region, and what better way to honor him than having him interact with the youth of Golden Hills? He was hard for us to reach, but Mr.Deyoung of Golden Hills Academy managed to convince him to come so let's have a round of applause to Mr.Deyoung, who seems to be absent at the moment.”

The crowd cheered once more.

“I wonder what Mokhoddis is doing now?” Phet bit into a corndog.

Mokhoddis, I need your help man, please

Who was that? It was Phet. He needs my help.

Mokhoddis you’re the only guy I trust… Rubina’s words echoed

“Thanks, Rubina.” Mokhoddis murmured.

Mokhoddis wait up. Who’s calling? It’s Josiah

Mokhoddis over here… Mokhoddis…Mokhoddis

It’s not just him. It’s the entire Class E.

But I don’t have years to master it like you.

You won’t need years. You’re a smart kid Mokhoddis…

You’re a smart kid…. Rashid turned around and left.

“AHH” Mokhoddis cringed. He lifted himself up and breathed in and out heavily. He turned his head towards the clock. “Did I fall asleep? The moonlight must’ve woken me up.”

The moon shone down on the festival as everyone watched the stage.

“So now to start off, would you like to give a few words old man?”

“Yes.” Old man grabbed the microphone. “Hello, I am old man and I am incredibly proud of the youth of Golden Hills.” He smiled and stepped down.

The crowd cheered again

“Mmmm! These octopus sticks are the best!” Phet said, stuffing his face.

“The tentacles can be lined up at a 45-degree angle. Mr.Deyoung taught us the golden ratio, so If I have the longest tentacle on the left here and the smaller ones on the side, then I can create harmony. So if I divide up the shapes here…” Mokhoddis smiled. “It’s working... I just need to paint it now.”

“Let’s start off with contestant number 1… This is his 34th visit at the annual pumpkin weighing competition, our most senior contestant here…”

“It’s finally done! I can’t believe it!” Mokhoddis looked at the clock. “Now I just hope I can get there in time.”

Part 2

“Contestant number 6, she is young and beautiful, but that won’t stop her from competing with the men here… Let’s see just how strong her pumpkin stands.”

Mokhoddis held the painting high. “It's risky carrying it uncovered like this, but I hope the wind helps it dry.” Mokhoddis ran down the stairs, passed the dining room and out the door. The cold air freezes his nose with each breath in and warms his mouth with each breath out. His legs took one step after another even though his brain commanded him to stop. A huge cold gust blew onto Mokhoddis’ face. The dust left him blinded, but he kept on running and eventually tripped, sending his painting on the edge of the riverbank.

“The submission for the art contest will be closing soon so make sure you get your paintings in.” The announcer paused. “Next up, we have contestant number 9, the most educated farmer of Golden Hills, he has earned a PhD from Hamsterdam and made his way onto…”

Mokhoddis struggled to get up. He brushed his knees. They were bleeding. He limped to the painting. He hesitated to turn it over. If the painting gets ruined now, it would have all been for nothing. He has no time to go back and paint another. He tried to stop his intrusive thoughts and turned the painting over. The acrylic seems to have been dried. Mokhoddis smiled. Before he continued trudging towards the field. Now, he could see the lanterns from the festival illuminating the river as they flowed down it.

“So Mokhoddis really isn’t coming?” Phet asked Rubina.

Rubina placed her hand on Phet “Sorry Phet, but looks like he’s not. I know he had no interest in the art contest, but I wish he still showed up.” Rubina comforted Phet looking even more bummed out than him.

“I’m going to take a walk.” Phet brushed away from the crowd.

“Is Phet alright?” Asked Nina.

“I’ll go check.” Replied Josiah.

“No, don't worry, he’ll be fine.” Replied Rubina.

“Most of all, are you okay Rubina? You seem to have been down ever since this whole art contest started.” Josaih asked.

As it got deeper into the night, Mokhoddis felt the cold air biting into his lungs like a hound who had caught the taste for blood. His legs felt like they were dragging through a muddy basin.

“I can’t go on like this, if I do, I might actually die. My fingers are numb…”


“Huh? What’s that?”

He looked out into the distance. A group of bikers were approaching the bridge. “HEY!” Mokhoddis tried shouting but his voice was weak. “Maybe they can give me a ride.” He started his way towards them, climbing up the steep hill. The bikers got closer as Mokhoddis waved his arms around. The headlight from the bike shined at Mokhoddis’ face, leaving him blinded.




Each bike, one after another, zoomed past Mokhoddis.

“HEYY!” Mokhoddis waved his arms in the air and tried to gain the bikers’ attention. When he opened his eyes, they had already crossed the bridge.

“What are bikers doing in Golden Hills anyways? Are they here for the festival?” Mokhoddis wondered.

“I still have some ways to go.” Mokhoddis rubbed his hands together and exhaled warm air on them.

Mokhoddis picked up the pace again. He turned his head. The light and smoke from the townhall gave him a sense of warmth even though the warmth did not physically reach him.

A freezing gust cleansed through Mokhoddis’s body, blowing his scarf away.

His vision became blurry and started to fade, lights from the corner of his eyes dancing throughout. “Am I dying? Is this what death feels like?” Mokhoddis wondered,

“So after all this effort, that’s it? I’ll fall to the ground, dropping my painting into the river. The flow will take it downstream where some kids will find it and wonder where it came from. How about me? I’ll probably lay dead in this bridge until someone finds me tomorrow. Mom…Phet…Rubina…” Mokhoddis’s eyes closed as the ground got closer and closer to the back of his head, until he suddenly stopped. He wasn’t falling anymore. He was resting on something… no someone.

“And now for our last contestant… we have the mayor himself. As busy as this man is, he still made some time on his schedule to participate in this contest..”

“You okay Mokhoddis.” That voice sounded familiar.

“Yeah I’m fine… but I need to get my painting submitted…” Mokhoddis looked up. It was Mr.Deyoung.

“Don’t worry, your friends will make sure your painting is there for the contest. You have a good group watching your back” Mr.Deyoung smiled. “Here have some water.” Mr.Deyoung held a bottle of water at Mokhoddis’ mouth.

Mokhoddis drank it all in one go as if he had been surviving in the sonoran desert for the last week.

“Thanks Mr.Deyoung, but I have to hurry.”

“Rest for a while, you’re bleeding.”

Part 3:

Mokhoddis, patched up and rejuvenated, rushed to the festival. He brushed past people, occasionally tackling people and apologizing. He scanned for the art contest. He made his way there.

“Excuse me, are they still accepting submissions for the art contest?” Mokhoddis asked a stranger.

“I think they just closed, sorry.”

Mokhoddis turned around and walked over to the area where all the art pieces were being displayed. There were all kinds of pieces. Some made an enderman out of wires. Others carved a Golden Hills map on a pumpkin. There were some familiar faces among the artists. “Hey It was the college students from the Goldfinch Academy. He and his girlfriend both submitted their sunset painting from earlier.” Mokhoddis scouted for more paintings “The kids asking for donations earlier were there too. Looks like they had the balls to submit their disproportionate horses. Hmm, Norman and Ruben, maybe I should’ve donated to them after all.” On the right, there was a wall of paintings, it was a wall filled with paintings from the Class E students. Mokhoddis sat down. “At least i tried.”

“What do you mean you can’t? It’s just one painting. Can’t you just give us 5 more minutes, what’s the rush?” A voice shouted.

“I’m sorry kid, but the pumpkin weighing contest is about to end. We are starting immediately. I can’t change the rules.” The employee answered.

Mokhoddis got up and turned. The employee was talking to someone. As he got closer he saw a tall beautiful girl with long hair and one braid flowing alongside her right cheek. “Okay, lets compromise, you give us 3 more minutes.”

“Rubina?” Mokhoddis called out.

Rubina turned to look at Mokhoddis, a scowl on her face. She went ahead and slapped Mokhoddis. “Woah Rubina, you’re going to ruin the painting. I spent all evening on it.”

“Why did you do that to us?” Rubina asked.

“Do what? Mokhoddis responded, rubbing his cheek, “Also your slap was weak, didn't even leave a mark on me.”

“Seriously, you were late to class this morning and now even to the festival that’s once a year?”

“Mokhoddis! I knew you would come!” Phet hugged Mokhoddis as ketchup dripped down his shirt.

“Phet?” Mokhoddis smiled as he tried to get the human pillow away from him.

“I came to get you guys back to Class E. The crowd just got huge! So you wouldn’t be able to find your way to us if I left you alone.” Phet answered.

“Oh, thanks…” Mokhoddis turned back towards Rubina.

“You know Mokhoddis, you really are a strange guy. First, you didn’t want to paint with us, then you wanted to beat our paintings, then you quit painting and didn’t want to come to the festival,” Rubina paused for breath “And now you co.. come into the festival last minute to submit your painting.” Rubina scolded.

“Yeah Mokhoddis, you think you’re the main character?” Phet stuffed his face with corndogs.

“Sorry guys” Mokhoddis scratched his head.

“Anyways, what’s the painting?” Rubina reached over to the canvas.

“It’s…it’s about…” Mokhoddis struggled.

Flashback… 6 years ago

“Phet you idiot, don’t press the button until I say so… and Rubina, make sure you remember the Alien King’s attacking pattern clearly. It randomizes every turn.”

“And what will you do Mokhoddis?” Rubina asked.

“Since I'm the leader of the group, I will be controlling the spaceship,” Mokhoddis replied.

“No fair, why do you get to be the leader?” Phet whimpered.

“Why? Because I have the highest IQ out of the three of us.”

“Yeah, then that IQ better get us a high score!” Rubina shouted. “Oh it will be all right, just follow your roles.” Mokhoddis grinned.

“Woah, these kids beat the high score in SpaceMan.”

“I can’t believe it.”

“HunterChad72 huh? That’ll be a legendary name across all of Golden Hills.”

“Remember when we beat the high score in SpaceMan together? This is a painting of it. Phet is the laser gun of the spaceship, Rubina, you’re the radar on top to detect the enemies, and I’m the control center… the most expensive upgrade. We all face the Alien King… Together.”

“I accept your apology.” Replied Rubina, a smile forming on the corners of her mouth.

“Yeah, it's great!” Phet said, snot pouring down his face.

“Who said this was an apology?” Mokhoddis’ face flushed. “This painting would’ve won if I made it in time.”