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The Talon

The Talon

October Literary Magazine

Eos Gustafson
This is the debut of The Talon’s literary magazine. With a new theme each month, our October theme is: horror. Get ready for some eerie poetry and some haunting tales that will send shivers down your spine. These words will invade your nightmares, and just in time for the spooky Halloween season. Art by Eos Gustafson


Art by Eos Gustafson

By Sophomore Sophia Hughes


In those darkened shadows lay those eyes, 

they have always been there, never moving, 

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but once you look away they vanish as if they were never there to begin with. 

Others only see them when you see them too. 

Those darkened shadows hold watching eyes. 

So look away. 

When you do they will creep ever closer until they reach upon you with unseen hands 

connected to unseen arms 

connected to an unseen body. 

Belonging to those unseen eyes. 

They whisper you your fate,

In words you know but cannot hear 

but once you turn they are back in those shadows, 

staring at you, 

their silence louder than you remember. 


By Junior Taylor Walker


Menacing faces spying 

White speckles on orange 

Hands prying

Costumes to mask the derange


Night grabs hold 

With tight fists 

Dead corpses of the cold

Testing your wits


Scavenging through the sweetness

Of what will be your doom

To what only feels like completeness 

And you question what will follow and loom


Pry my eyes open

Scrunch my lips together

Whitten my knuckles

Pop my neck veins 


Pry my eyes open

Stab my ears

Bind my hands

Cut off my feet


Pry my eyes open

Rip off my fingernails

Suffocate me 

And smile 

Short Stories

Art by Eos Gustafson

By Sophomore Ren Miller

He stirred his coffee, though it contained no added sugar or creamer. He liked it black. Rich. Bitter. 

Just like the look on the choking woman’s face. 

He supposed the look was granted, however. The taste of arsenic wasn’t sweet. He shrugs and sets the coffee on the blood-stained table. The red sticky liquid pooled around the plates, still set for breakfast. 

Too bad. All those waffles, going to waste. The man supposed it was for the best. They were all poisoned anyway. 

“..why” The choking one croaks and the man chuckles. His voice is like melting butter on a hot griddle. 

“Simple, love… you should know…” He explains quietly. The woman obviously was oblivious so the man let out an exasperated groan. “You were CHEATING on me, Harriot! With the milkman no less.” He muses and sips the coffee yet again. The pungent taste soothed his anger. 

The woman was starting to foam at the mouth. She spits but to no avail, the froth bubbling up more and more. 

The man peers at her from over the top of the cup and sighs, putting the piping hot white mug down on the table again with a slight clunk. 

“You can’t blame me, dear. You were just a few letters off being cliché. Cheating on me with a Milkman? Mailman- see the similarities there.” He chuckles at his own joke. 

Harriot growls through the foam. “You… are a pompous… JERK!” She coughs out, her voice like a cat coughing up a hairball. The man rubs his eyes and glances at her. 

“Dear…” He whispers and gets up, abandoning the bitter coffee he so loved. Perhaps more than he loved his wife. Who was still dying in front of him.

He crosses the tile, his heeled shoes clicking on them with a resounding tap. He crouches down and tilts his head as he stares at her. Her brown hair was long and curled. Her eyes, which watered, were a sweet green with flecks of gold. 

He touches her cheek gently and his voice softens. 

“…I loved you.” He whispers and closes his eyes. His fist then closes around her collar and he glares at her. His vibrant golden eyes bore into her. 

“But you betrayed me.” He spits, venom trickling into his voice like a cobra. The woman’s eyes glaze over and her body goes limp as he watches the life drain from her eyes. 

He drops her body and stands again. He looks over at the Milkman’s lifeless body, just on the other side of the table. His blood was the one which ruined the already tainted waffles. 

He had come home early from a trip. That’s how he knew. 

He came home and found them upstairs. They hadn’t seen or heard him however so he had decided to make a plan. 

He went downstairs again after spotting the two and then made breakfast. Then he had called up for his lovely wife, or who he thought was lovely, that he was home early and had made dinner. He then said he had forgotten something in his car he had to retrieve. 

He knew his wife would let the milkman slip out while he was gone. And that’s when the man struck. 

A kitchen knife to the temple. That’s all it took, really. The blood however thought differently as it had splattered. It almost got in his mug of coffee, however, he had made sure to move the cup. 

When his wife came downstairs, he was sitting. Sipping his coffee. He had stared at her as she went by him.

The cheater buttoning her night shirt still… He was calm, however. He smiled his charming smile. 

“I made you coffee.” He had said sweetly. His wife had smiled back and picked up her mug. She took a drink and had coughed. 

“Why is it bitter, honey?” She asked and the man had taken another drink of his mug. 

“…I made it just like you like.” The man says carefully. His voice was poised with honey and sugar. Much unlike the coffee. 

“I don’t like black coffee.” His wife had said with confusion in her tone. Her eyes then wandered to the body of the Milkman and she had screamed. She dropped the mug with a shatter and jumped back. 

“MARTIE!” She shouts and her eyes had watered. 

The man never broke his calm. It was eerie…how calm and collected he was. How he never lost his temper. 

Brought back to the present. The man picks up his coffee mug as he rests his hand on the knife, still lodged in Martie the Milkman’s head. He wraps his fingers around it elegantly and pulls. With some force, the knife is removed and the man takes it and the mug from the house and into their backyard. Where they had an incinerator. 

The man tosses the knife into the large vat and goes back into the house. He takes the plates of poisoned food. One by one. And dumps them in the large metal container as well. He leaves. His wife’s and the milkman’s bodies in the kitchen. The blood reached Harriot’s body. Like a final kiss goodbye. 

The man dumped the woman’s coffee mug into the incinerator finally and poured in the fuel. With a click and a whir. It lit ablaze. And the evidence that he had committed these murders were burned to a crisp.

The man sips his coffee again and stares at the smoke. The house behind him dark. A sick grin plastered on his chiseled face. 

“Thaddeus?” His neighbor’s voice calls out from beyond the privacy fence. The man sets his coffee gently on the outdoor table by his side and walks to the gate. He opens it slightly with a simple smile. 

“Yes, Tony?” He asks kindly. His voice was as charming and trustworthy as his smile. 

“Didn’t know you were home! How’s the wife?” The man before him asks. The man lets his grin back a slight bit. But to Tony. The grin was simply mischievous. Not psychopathic. 

“…just a little choked up to see me back so soon.” He muses. The neighbor nods. 

“I bet! Been a few months, hasn’t it? Well. I’ll let you get back to your trash burning. Enjoy your time with the wife!” He exclaims with a smile as the Man closes the gate again. 

Turning back, his eyes fall to the coffee mug. He crosses to it and picks it up. He swirls the liquid inside. The bitter. Liquid. 

Of black coffee.

“It’s Lonely”

By Sophomore Arwen Johnson

    It’s dark. Dark and cold and lonely and terrible

           But it’s always been like this.

    The darkness was normal, mother never liked the sunlight, and the cold was normal, father wasn’t a fan of warmth. 

                        It was lonely.

    It was lonely not because I wasn’t allowed to have anyone over, but because no one ever made it through the night. They’d just be added to the collection of “cute” little trinkets she liked to collect. I don’t blame them for their deaths, our house rules did seem ridiculous, they did seem like a joke. They weren’t. Our rules consisted of instructions to follow, some to get to our house and some to survive the night. 

           The rules are simple enough.

    Well, they sound simple, for outsiders they are much easier said than done, that much was evident. If you want to make it to our house, you have to walk a mile, no running, no jogging, just walking. If you’re not walking you’ll miss the next step. You’ll come across a few roads, all lined up nice and pretty in front of you. You’ll be tempted to go down the friendliest one, the pink one lined with flowers and honey bees, but that’d be a mistake. You have to go down the one that brings you the most overwhelming sense of dread, it’ll go against your every instinct to go down this road, and maybe you should listen to them. This is your one and only chance to turn back. Take it. 

    Once you go down the right road you’ll be introduced to a split in the road, go right. Going left will make your head pop like a balloon. Trust me. I’ve seen it.

    After that turn, you’ll walk up to my house. It may look cute, nice, inviting even, but don’t be fooled, it’s hell on earth.

    The house rules are the ones that are easier said than done. The first is to always greet mother, she’ll always be the one to answer the door. Ignore father. Pretend he’s not there, pretend he doesn’t exist. When he talks don’t respond. He thinks he wants to be interacted with, he doesn’t, he’ll turn violent the second you talk back. He will kill you. 

    Take your shoes off at the door, mother doesn’t like it when the house gets dirty. If you see a woman in purple, no you don’t. 

    Always eat whatever mother gives you. It doesn’t matter what it is, getting salmonella will be better than what mother will do to you if you don’t eat. 

    The woman in purple will be walking around, taunting you with death. Please, ignore her, don’t look at her, don’t talk to her, don’t talk about her, don’t even think about her. Breaking this rule will land you in her collection. 

    After dinner, don’t ask to leave the table, don’t ask if you can help. Mother will see this as you thinking she’s incapable and will kill you. When we leave, you have to follow me to my room. We must lock the door as soon as we enter and barricade the door with every heavy thing we can get our hands on. We have to stay in my room until 9:00pm, only then is it safe to roam the house again.

              Well, with one exception.

    The woman in purple will try to scare you, don’t scream, screaming means you’re weak, you’re easy. She will follow you around, don’t be scared. She’s powerless to do anything if you’re not scared. You have to be back in bed by 4:50am. Not for long, just so mother can check on you, pretend to be asleep. 

    You’re free to leave after 8. You can take any path you want back home, they’ll all take you.

    Most people fail to follow the rules because of the lady in purple. They get added to her collection in the basement, screaming and pleading and begging to be set free, misery in their eyes or lack thereof. They’re there, put on display every time I go to do my laundry and at some point I just gave up on trying to make friends, I gave up on trying to make the house less lonely.

    It’s dark, and cold, and lonely, and terrible. The worst part is, I’ll never be able to get out. I’m never going to be free, I’ll be stuck to rot here and turn into the very monsters I hate. 

                          It’s lonely.

Art of Eos Gustafson

By Luke Miller

It was a dark, stormy night. The wind was howling and the rain was pounding against
the windows. The power had gone out, leaving the house in complete darkness. The
only sound was the ticking of the grandfather clock in the hallway.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. A chill ran down my spine as I slowly made
my way to the door. When I opened it, there was no one there. I stepped outside to take
a look around, but there was nothing but darkness and rain.

As I turned to go back inside, I felt a cold hand on my shoulder. I spun around, but there
was no one there. Suddenly, I heard a whisper in my ear: “I’ve been waiting for you.”

I ran back inside and locked the door, but I could feel a presence in the room with me.
The grandfather clock started ticking faster and faster, as if counting down to
something. I could hear footsteps coming closer and closer, but there was no one there.

Then, I saw it. A figure standing in the corner of the room, its eyes glowing with an
otherworldly light. It started to move towards me, slowly at first, then faster and faster. I
was frozen with fear, unable to move or even scream.

And then, everything went black.

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About the Contributor
Eos Gustafson, Artist
Eos Gustafson is a senior at Ankeny High School. He is active in show choir and theater at school and the Des Moines Play House. In his free time, Eos likes to play with his cat Eva, read a good book (his favorite is 1984), and improve on his cooking and baking skills. Eos plans on attending a four year college for musical theater technology after he graduates.
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