This week

This week.


Not fun.

And it’s only Thursday, give me a break.

Because of that and because I’m listening to my music playlist that’s actually named ‘Eclectic Stuff’ and I’m not in the least bit tired, I’m going to blog 100 things  (originally it was 50 but hey, we all need a bit of cheering up, right?) that are still great.

Here goes.

  1. Paper Cranes
  2. Tossing an apple back and forth in your hands
  3. Painting
  4. Listening to music
  5. Particularly this song
  6. Watching your favourite TV shows on TV (so much better than on a computer, right?)
  7. Yelling at friends about your favourite TV shows
  8. Travelling
  9. Even travelling to the next city
  10. Or house
  11. Walking
  12. Driving
  13. Any mode of transportation, really
  14. Teleportation is alright as well
  15. When you wake up after being sick and you aren’t sick anymore
  16. Coming to brilliant conclusions, even if it seems like everyone else already knew it
  17. When you find a place that’s really comfortable and nice
  18. Drinking something warm on a cold day
  19. Drinking something cool on a hot day
  20. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
  21. When your favourite song comes on (via radio or autoplay)
  22. Rain
  23. Sun
  24. When you get into the bath/shower and it’s just the right temperature
  25. Doing something right the first time
  26. Finally succeeding at doing something right after trying a bunch of times
  27. Flowers that smell good
  28. People drawing things for you
  29. Free stuff
  30. Books
  31. Writing
  32. Doing something you’re really proud of
  33. Having people praise you for something you’re really proud of
  34. Really comfortable clothes after a long day of uncomfortable ones
  35. Space heaters on cold days
  36. Campfires
  37. Marshmallows
  38. Going on a mad ‘clean everything’ spree and just sitting down afterwards and enjoying how nice things look
  39. Messing everything up after you’ve cleaned it all
  40. Lego
  41. Really old video games
  42. Really new video games
  43. Staying home and watching horrible movies
  44. Staying home
  45. Eating food after you’ve been really hungry
  46. Chipotle mayonnaise
  47. Blankets
  48. Deja Vu
  49. Nice wallpaper designs
  50. Those books you really love reading that you just re-read over and over and over
  51. Mixing colours on a paint palate
  52. Getting something stuck between your teeth out
  53. Sleeping
  54. Waking up really early to go somewhere and that weird between feeling that you get from not having enough sleep but not caring
  55. Wandering around Ikea
  56. Those really random and pointless topics that you know a lot about [Bonus: when people bring them up as a topic]
  57. Really nice photographs
  58. Really nice paintings
  59. POETRY
  60. *inspired by Christina Zhang* The new car smell
  61. Wandering around cities without a map
  62. That one song that just makes you feel better no matter what [This is mine, by the way]
  63. Buskers with strange instruments
  64. Old stuff [typewriters, fountain pens, keys, everything] [[okay, maybe not everything but you get it]]
  65. Making food that tastes good
  66. Guitars
  67. Movie Soundtracks
  68. Those flashes of inspiration at the same time that you have a total lack of procrastination
  69. Trees
  70. When you notice something interesting that nobody else saw
  71. Space [as in the universe, but open spaces are really cool too]
  72. Hummingbirds
  73. Birds singing in general
  74. ANIMALS WITH STRANGE COLOURS [Have you seen mantis shrimps]
  75. Timbits
  76. When you fix things that are broken
  77. Colouring books
  78. Crayons
  79. Magic illusions
  80. Sushi
  81. Candles
  82. Bowties
  83. Cameras
  84. Paperclips. Just take a moment and contemplate how terrible stuff would be if you didn’t have paperclips
  85. Pencils, too
  87. Playlists of music
  88. Genuinely nice people
  89. Beaches
  90. Singing along to songs
  91. Picnics
  92. *brought to you by Jeff Gao* Puppies
  93. *brought to you by Jeff Gao* Bacon
  94. Bagels
  95. Paint splatters
  96. Clouds
  97. Newspapers
  98. Cinematography
  99. *brought to you by Jeff Gao* Drawing on fogged up windows
  100. This

AAAAAAAAAAAnd done! I realise that I self-projected some of my own things onto this and really, how many people think that cinematography makes the world a better place (me) but oh well.

So let’s try and make it to the end of the week. At least.

– Jess

DEAR FUTURE/CURRENT/PAST (why would anyone be past?) WRITERS

And everyone else? Anyone, okay, this is some really cool stuff.

By really cool stuff I mean a smaller version of NaNoWriMo ( National Novel Writing Month [November] ), called 750 words.

750 words is a website where, each day, you have to write (you guessed it) (you also probably guessed I’d say ‘you guessed it’) (so cliche) (parenthetical overkill) 750 words!

I’ve been attempting this for the past week or so and am mildly ashamed to say that I’ve only achieved something like a two day run. Anyway, it’s really worth it and I’m seriously considering doing NaNoWriMo this year, so it’s a nice stepping stone of sorts.

BUT TAKE NOTE: All accounts made after May 21 (or is it 31?)  are PAY-ONLY. So if you have some tiny bit of you interested, SIGN UP. If none of you at all is interested, SIGN UP. This is a great way to make yourself get into the habit of writing daily (I suppose I’m not the greatest example…) and that’s a GOOD THING.

Alright, that is all.  Have fun, kiddies.

– Jess

TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability

[ted id=1042]

We watched the above Brene Brown TED talk a few years ago in TALONS to inspire the class’ writing  of their This I Believe essays (I heartily recommend you checking out the fruits of that unit’s labour here on the English wiki site). But I thought that Brene’s lesson here – that the vulnerability each of us feels about sharing elements of our true potential is a universal and necessary barrier to surmount – is especially applicable to both of the TALONS cohorts as we look ahead at the spring’s challenges.

With In-Depth Studies underway, an Adventure Trip on the horizon, and the rush of AprilMayJune quickly approaching, I think each member of the class community would benefit from reflecting on Brene’s thesis, here. Springtime in the TALONS classroom is a time centered around actualization, and to hear Ms. Brown tell it, engaging our own vulnerability may hold the key to not only individual success, but our collective triumph.

What do you think? Can we grow by continually trying to expand our ‘comfort zone’? Or is there another purpose to remaining vulnerable that Brene Brown (or I) might have overlooked?

Passion is Life Unbalanced


Our quad interviewed two different people, taking away from our interviews ideas on passion and how unbalanced life can be. In a way, this picture represents our idea through the fact that such an event [cliff diving] makes us feel unbalanced and unnatural while airborne. To truly be dedicated to doing such a thing, you would have to be passionate about your endeavours, which is why this picture represents our quote.


This is just a handy reference I used while writing. DON’T READ IF YOU HAVEN’T READ PART 5.


District 1 – Athletic (Derek, Duncan, Isaac, Bronwyn, Sam)

District 2 – Math and Science (Johnny, Tyler, Jen S., Jen A., Galen)

District 3 – English (Richard, Jess, Emlyn, Kim, Katie, Iris)

District 4 – Art (Chelsea, Immy, Alisha, Zoe, Emily, Julie)

District 5 – Music (Clayton, Sepehr, Sean, Leanne, Daniel, Toren)


Athletic people are strong and have a desire to win. Math and Science people can build traps. Art people can be good at camouflage. English people can communicate well and form alliances. Music people can be charming and win over sponsors.

(The stats were made by Julie, all credit goes to her.)

District 1 – Music
1. Weapons of choice: Bow and Arrow
2.Fighter Type: Long-Mid Range Combat
3.Skills: Survival, Hiding, Stealth, Agility
4.Survival Skill Level 4/5
5.Weakness: Strength, Tracking, Kills
6.Likely death: Dehydration, Kills
7. Overall score 9/12
1. Weapons of choice: Hacking/Axe Knife
2.Fighter Type: Close Combat
3.Skills: Strength, Brutality, Endurance
4.Survival Skill Level 2/5
5.Weakness: Logic, Arena Knowledge, Pride
6.Likely death: Kills
7. Overall score 7/12
1. Weapons of choice: Knife, Spear
2.Fighter Type: Tracking, Hider, Mid Range Combat
3.Skills: Hiding, Nutrition, Ambitious
4.Survival Skill Level 1.5/5
5.Weakness: Insanity, Speed, Agility, Energy
6.Likely death: Cornucopia, Kills
7. Overall score 6.5/12
1.Weapons of choice: Knife
2.Fighter Type: Hider
3.Skills: Nutrition, Hiding, Alliances
4.Survival Skill Level 2.5/5
5.Weakness: Speed, Agility
6.Likely death: Cornucopia, Kills
7. Overall score 6/12
1. Weapons of choice: Hunting Knife
2.Fighter Type: Close-Mid Range Combat
3.Skills: Strength, Alliances, Endurance
4.Survival Skill Level 2.5/5
5.Weakness: Agility, Arena Knowledge
6.Likely death: Kills
7. Overall score 7/12
1. Weapons of choice: Knife
2.Fighter Type: Hider
3.Skills: Hiding
4.Survival Skill Level 1/5
5.Weakness: Speed, Agility
6.Likely death: Cornucopia
7. Overall score 3/12

District 2: Math and Science

1. Weapons of choice: Bow and Arrows, Throwing Knives
2.Fighter Type: Trapper, Tracker, Long-Mid Range Combat
3.Skills: Intellect, Speed, Strength
4.Survival Skill Level 3.5/5
5.Weakness: Close Combat
6.Likely death: Kills
7. Overall score 10.5/12
1. Weapons of choice: Small throwing knives, Rope
2.Fighter Type: Trapper, Tracker, Long-Mid Range Combat
3.Skills: Logic, Intellect, Running
4.Survival Skill Level 3/5
5.Weakness: Speed, Strength, Close Combat
6.Likely death: Kills
7. Overall score 8/12
Jen S:
1. Weapons of choice: Knife
2.Fighter Type: Trapper, Tracker, Mid-Close Range Combat
3.Skills: Logic, Intellect, Survival, Strength, Endurance
4.Survival Skill Level 4.5/5
5.Weakness: Speed, Agility
6.Likely death: Killed by Alliance
7. Overall score 10.5/12
Jen A:
1.Weapons of choice: Spear, Knife
2.Fighter Type: Trapper, Tracker, Mid Range Combat
3.Skills: Logic, Speed, Endurance, Arena Knowledge, Alliance
4.Survival Skill Level 4.5/5
5.Weakness: Pride, Insanity
6.Likely death: Kills
7. Overall score 10/12
1. Weapons of choice: Small Knife
2.Fighter Type: Hunting, Trapping
3.Skills: Speed, Climbing, Hiding, Agility
4.Survival Skill Level 3/5
5.Weakness: Strength, Close Combat
6.Likely death: Dehydration, Kills
7. Overall score 7.5/12

District 3: Art

1.Weapons of choice: Spear
2.Fighter Type: Pack Hunter,
3.Skills: Persuasion, Alliances, Stealth,
4.Survival Skill Level 2.5/5
5.Weakness: Insanity, Speed
6.Likely death: Cornucopia, Kills
7. Overall score 7.5/12
1.Weapons of choice: Bow and Arrows, Knife
2.Fighter Type: Hider, Mid Range Combat
3.Skills: Speed, Alliances, Climbing, Hiding
4.Survival Skill Level 2.5/5
5.Weakness: Brutality, Strength, Close Combat
6.Likely death: Kills, Dehydration
7. Overall score 7.5/12
1. Weapons of choice: Knife
2.Fighter Type: Hider
3.Skills: Camouflage, Alliances, Insanity
4.Survival Skill Level 1.5/5
5.Weakness: Endurance, Speed, Brutality
6.Likely death: Cornucopia
7. Overall score 7/12
1.Weapons of choice: Knife, Rope
2.Fighter Type: Mid-Close Combat, Hunter
3.Skills: Alliances, Persuasion, Hiding, Insanity
4.Survival Skill Level 2.5/5
5.Weakness: Agility, Insanity, Endurance
6.Likely death: Kills
7. Overall score 8/12
1. Weapons of choice: Rope, Knife
2.Fighter Type: Hider
3.Skills: Camouflage, Alliances, Hiding
4.Survival Skill Level 2/5
5.Weakness: Speed, Strength, Close Combat
6.Likely death: Cornucopia,
7. Overall score 6.5/12

District 4: English

1.Weapons of choice: Large Sword
2.Fighter Type: Runner
3.Skills: Persuasion
4.Survival Skill Level 1/5
5.Weakness: Most things
6.Likely death: Cornucopia, Choking on own spit
7. Overall score 3/12

1. Weapons of choice: Small throwing Knives, Knife
2.Fighter Type: Hunter
3.Skills: Running, Hiding, Climbing, Alliances, Surveillance
4.Survival Skill Level 2/5
5.Weakness: Energy, Nutrition, Agility, Close Combat
6.Likely death: Kills
7. Overall score 7.5/12
1. Weapons of choice: Axe, Rope
2.Fighter Type: Hider, Runner
3.Skills: Hiding, Alliances, Surveillance
4.Survival Skill Level 1.5/5
5.Weakness: Endurance, Agility, Insanity
6.Likely death: Cornucopia
7. Overall score 6.5/12
1. Weapons of choice: Knife, Rope
2.Fighter Type: Hunter, Mid-Long Range Combat
3.Skills: Agility, Hiding, Climbing, Alliances, Surveillance
4.Survival Skill Level 2/5
5.Weakness: Energy, Malnutrition, Close Combat, Clumsy
6.Likely death: Dehydration
7. Overall score 8.5/12
1. Weapons of choice: Knife
2.Fighter Type: Pack Hunter, Hider
3.Skills: Running, Hiding, Climbing, Alliances, Logic
4.Survival Skill Level 1.5/5
5.Weakness: Energy, Nutrition, Close Combat, Brutality
6.Likely death: Dehydration, Malnutrition, Kills
7. Overall score 7/12
1. Weapons of choice: Knife, Spear
2.Fighter Type: Pack Hunting
3.Skills: Alliances, Agility, Running, Logic, Hiding
4.Survival Skill Level 2.5/5
5.Weakness: Strength, Close Combat, Brutality
6.Likely death: Kills
7. Overall score 8/12

District 5: Athletic
1. Weapons of choice: Sword, Knife
2.Fighter Type: Hunter, Tracker
3.Skills: Agility, Running, Intellect, Responsive, Climbing, Energy, Speed
4.Survival Skill Level 3/5
5.Weakness: Clumsy
6.Likely death: Kills, Accident
7. Overall score 10.5/12
1. Weapons of choice: Small Throwing Knife, Rope
2.Fighter Type: Hider, Hunter, Tracker
3.Skills: Stealth, Hiding, Digging, Camouflage, Brutality
4.Survival Skill Level 2/5
5.Weakness: Climbing, Tall things, Agility, Arena Knowledge
6.Likely death: Accident, Kills
7. Overall score 7/12
1. Weapons of choice: Knife, Rope
2.Fighter Type: Pack Hunter
3.Skills: Alliances, Agility, Running
4.Survival Skill Level 2/5
5.Weakness: Strength, Close Combat, Brutality, Logic
6.Likely death: Kills, Dehydration, Malnutrition
7. Overall score 7/12
1. Weapons of choice: Bow and Arrow, Knife, Rope
2.Fighter Type: Hunter, Pack Hunter
3.Skills: Alliances, Agility, Logic, Hiding, Camouflage, Brutality, Endurance
4.Survival Skill Level 3/5
5.Weakness: Falling, Insanity, Finding Shelter, Sympathy
6.Likely death: Kills
7. Overall score 9/12
1. Weapons of choice: Knife, Rope
2.Fighter Type: Hunter, Tracker
3.Skills: Running, Speed, Climbing, Hiding, Stealth
4.Survival Skill Level 2/5
5.Weakness: Strength, Close Combat, Brutality, Sympathy,
6.Likely death: Kills, Accident
7. Overall score 8/12


The numbers were supposed to be the orders of their death, but it didn’t pan out.

Clayton – Jen causes him to be mauled by a wave of cats (6)

Toren – Bronwyn pours metal on him(17)

Zoe – Poisoned by Alisha(3)

Sean – Partners up with Chelsea; jumps off building into lava(9)

Leanne – Mauled by Asians for holding badminton racquet wrong(19)

Jonny – Cornered by Alisha and Zoe(7)

Tyler – Killed by Alisha(22)

Iris – Duel to the death with Sam(14)

Sam – Duel to the death with Iris(13)

Chelsea – Partners up with Sean; jumps off building into lava(8)

Emlyn – Wins(1)

Jen S – Stabbed by Derek(3)

Jen A – Stabbed by sharp tree branch(12)

Emily – Jen kills her(21)

Alisha – Shot by Zoe(4)

Immy – Killed by Jonny by hiding under raft(15)

Jess – Dies in cornucopia(28)

Bronwyn – Dropped in liquid nitrogen then smashed by a racquet(10)

Kim – (18)

Richard – Crushed under a boulder by Toren(23)

Daniel – Knifed by Jonny(24)

 Julie – Killed by Zoe(11)

Galen – killed by Derek(20)

 Katie – Dies in cornucopia(27)

Derek – Wounded by Jen S, dies of blood loss(2)

Isaac – Dies in cornucopia(26)

 Duncan – Killed by Derek(16)

 Sepehr – Drowned by Jonny(25)



Talons Hunger Games, Part 5 (FINAL POST!) – Derek

Ok, so. blood, violence, death, graphicness, I own none of it, it all belongs to Suzanne Collins.

Also: Sorry it’s so short, I wrote it in a ten minute bout of excitement over the last part and the very end I had already written about a week ago, not to mention the fact that I was worried people would go guessing who won.

Oh, and finally (If you want, you can skip this part), I just want to say thanks to the Talons for being okay with me killing them. Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Derek clutched at Bronwyn’s hair, his mind foggy, driven by the single need to win. Mercilessly, he lowered his arm down and dunked Bronwyn straight in the liquid nitrogen, muting her screams. Raising her up, he noted how she had been frozen perfectly.

How beautiful, Derek thought as he raised his badminton racquet up and threw Bronwyn’s frozen body into the air. With a yell, he swung the racquet and tried not to flinch as it broke through the body. He watched, spellbound as little chips of ice fell around him. He turned around and began walking, leaving behind the racquet, searching for his last enemy. Jen.

It was nighttime and Derek still hunted through the arena, calling for Jen to come and get him. He knew the Gamemakers would probably try to drive them together, but there had been so many deaths in so little time that any viewers would probably be satiated for another day or so. Still, Derek continued on, challenging Jen to come out and fight. He knew she had killed people, but so had he. Both were merciless and both wanted to win. He no longer cared about his family, and just spent his time wondering how he’d kill Jen.

Death had become an obsession. It was everything he thought of, everything he knew. He was a cold-blooded murderer, content to search and destroy until he won.

And Jen felt the same.

Their showdown began at sunrise, when Derek circled back to the Cornucopia, searching for Jen still. Both tributes were dazed, tired and wanting everything to end. But they would fight. They would fight to the end.

Derek drew his sword, raising it in front of him. He began to circle, with Jen doing the same. They paced like that for one, two, three circles until Derek’s mind became so overpowered by the desire to kill that he lunged. Jen was expecting this, and she deflected quickly, returning with a slash to the arm. The two of them slashed and defended and stabbed so much that by the end, blood flowed freely from both bodies and fatigue was setting in. Derek saw his chance as Jen slashed diagonally, her arm momentarily poised upwards. He lunged towards her, feeling his sword hit her in the chest, watching the life drain from her eyes. She fell back, his sword still embedded in her.

Derek lay on the ground, blood spilling from his body, Jen’s lifeless body on the ground just metres away from him. He tried to stand, but more blood just gushed from him. When would that helicopter come? He was dying for God’s sake. You’d think they could come faster for a winner.

But … was he a winner? Was there another tribute out there, sitting up in a tree, eating something and healthy? Not dying? He groaned, wanting to roll over but being unable to.

“You know, I was injured like you. But I got some parachutes and healed myself. Pity that you won’t have time for sponsors to help you.”

Derek knew that voice. Who was that? It was definitely a girl, but WHO?

“Did you know the sponsors love me? They realised what I was doing and sent me a voice scrambler. I could make my voice…”

The sound deepened and Derek recognized another sound. His own voice.

“Sound like anybody else’s.”

There was a soft clump and Derek saw a shadow fill his sight. He looked up and sucked in his breath, realising who it was.


She leaned down, her face obscuring his vision.

“Want to know how I survived, Derek?” She smiled, her voice turning back to her own, taunting him, the sound of it so pretty and soft. But underneath it, he knew just what she was capable of. Or did he?

She lowered her head down beside his ear and began whispering to him.

“By killing.” She giggled, her laugh sounding both musical and murderous at the same time.

“You actually thought you were going crazy, didn’t you? I decided to keep you around for a while. Nobody thought I could kill, so if I made you go insane and then killed people, you’d think you did it. So, honey, murderer? Don’t think so. Crazy? Just a little bit.”

“But … but cornucopia…”

Emlyn laughed again, shaking her head.

“You killed all those stupid people at the cornucopia. Katie, Galen, whoever. But after that you realised what you had done and…”

Emlyn gestured beside her head, indicating Derek was crazy.

“Bronwyn… Jen…?”

“Ugh, you won’t let it go, will you? I showed you the bodies, idiot. Then you went and made up your own little story about how you went and killed people. You turned yourself into a bigshot, too. It was rather interesting to watch.” Emlyn blinked at him and shrugged thoughtfully. “But, alas, all things must end.”

Derek lay on the ground, vision obscured yet again by her face, just taunting him. He hadn’t killed Jen or Galen? Just the people at the Cornucopia. He … wasn’t as much of a murderer…

As if she had heard his thoughts, Emlyn grinned.

“Nope. You, I believe, killed only those idiots in the cornucopia. Isn’t that strange?”

Derek closed his eyes and opened his mouth, trying to think of some kind of meaningful last words, but the only thing he could think to say was,

“Say hi to my family for me, Emlyn. Make sure they know I love them. Make sure they know I did it for them.”

With a smile, Emlyn bowed her head, unsheathed her knife and swiped it across Derek’s throat.

And the First Annual Talons Hunger Games came to a close.

Talons Hunger Games, Part 4 – Alisha/Zoe

Warning, death, violence, blood, graphicness… you’ve already heard all of this, but I’m obligated to tell you all this. Also, I don’t own anything. At all. Nunavut (Get it? Because none of it and Nunavut? Ahaha … ha.)


“Well, Julie’s dead.” Zoe smiled as she entered the clearing where Alisha sat.

“I heard the cannon. So is Jen A.” Alisha giggled. “I got her with a tree branch. Hell-o, irony. How was Julie, though?”

“It’s Julie,” Zoe smirked, sitting down beside Alisha. “What do you think?”

Alisha nodded and looked around, “I think we should leave. We’re too out in the open here.”

Zoe shook her head and sighed. “Please. We have tons of weapons, food and water. We have supplies, and to top it off,” Alisha grinned and finished Zoe’s sentence.

“We’re just a little bit crazy.”

But Zoe agreed that they needed to move. Even though they both had tons of supplies, cover and mystery was always useful. As they trekked through the forest, they heard a sudden noise in the middle of the bush. Both of them ducked down, pulling out their weapons and sneaking towards the noises.

It was Sam and Iris. They were circling around each other, unblinking and weapons at the ready. Alisha straightened up and Zoe had to have a grip on her shirt to keep her from running forward into the fight.

Suddenly, with a whirl of steel and blood, both Sam and Iris lay on the ground. Zoe stood up, Alisha at her side. They crept forward slowly and went to check out both of the bodies. Dead. Both of them.

“It … it happened so fast.” Alisha whispered, her eyes wide and full of a mixture of emotions.

“Death often does.” Zoe replied, sagely. Then, as if she were possessed, her face clouded with a dark expression and she leaned over Iris’ body.

“Let’s check for supplies.” And within 5 minutes, both bodies were stripped down of supplies and both girls were leaving, weighed down with more supplies than when they had begun their journey.

“I don’t like this feeling…” Alisha growled, shifting back and forth as they crept through the forest. “There could be people everywhere, Zoe.”

“But there aren’t. Only 8 people left, Alisha. We can win this.”

“Except… we can’t win this.” Alisha glanced up at Zoe, who stopped and turned to her. “Only one can win, Zoe. The rules won’t change.”

Zoe began walking again, and Alisha ran to catch up, saying the words that she’d regret until she died.

“Maybe we should end the alliance.”

Zoe continued walking, saying nothing. Alisha could feel the anger, though. It was the same when she was just about to kill someone. Anger and insanity, mixed together. Alisha could feel it directed towards her. And, for the first time since they had begun their alliance, she felt scared.

“Never mind, I didn’t mean it. Let’s keep going, I think I hear someone up ahead.”

Alisha sprinted ahead, afraid that Zoe would stab her if she said one more thing wrong. She surveyed the area, and instead of finding a person there, she saw a cat. A small, white kitten that blinked up at her with huge eyes.

“Awwwww, Zoe, look!” Alisha crouched down and was just about to touch the cat when Zoe screamed out and Alisha fell backwards, just as Clayton entered the clearing. Zoe leaned down, her lips right beside Alisha’s ear.

“It’s a muttation. Look at it, that’s no ordinary cat. It was made in the Capitol. We need to stay back, I’m not sure what it’s going to do.”

While she spoke, Alisha’s eyes were fixed on Clayton and the cat. He had leaned down and put his hand out to it. Bad move. Without a seconds notice, the cat suddenly hissed and began to grow. Within 30 seconds, it was about six feet tall, and at one minute, it had mutated and a second cat was forming alongside it. Clayton stumbled backwards as a third cat grew out and began to creep towards him. All three were hissing and yowling, beginning to move faster as he backed away.

“We should help him.” Alisha whispered, a bit of her sanity returning as she remembered back to their days in Talons.

“No. Even if we could, he’s as good as dead. Those cats will kill him, then us. We need to leave.” Alisha agreed, but she almost couldn’t bear to turn around and leave her friend to die. Zoe crouched down and snuck forward as fast and quietly as she could as Alisha followed, swearing she wouldn’t look back.

But she did, and what she saw haunted her. Blood smeared every surface of the clearing, and almost nothing was left of the person who was once her classmate. Instead, a small cat sat in the clearing, licking blood off its paws, yellow eyes searching for prey. Alisha turned around, swearing to herself that it wouldn’t be her.

But Clayton’s death had just scratched the surface. As soon as the two got away, both realised that they were hungering for more. They didn’t want to see more deaths, they wanted to cause them. As they walked, deciding beforehand to go to the city, they talked about who to kill.

“Who’s left?” Alisha frowned.

“The better question is who’s left that’s important to kill.” Zoe replied, stalking forward.

“Jonny.” Alisha responded promptly. Zoe nodded, “Jonny.”

“Well he’s in the city. I heard Julie talking to Jen before I killed them. Apparently he’s stationed at a swimming pool, which is no surprise.” Alisha gave Zoe a sideways glance, and Zoe nodded thoughtfully.

“Then what are we waiting for?”

And the two of them whipped out their weapons and began running into the old ruins, straight towards their deaths.

They found the pool in almost no time at all, their adrenaline pumping, knives swinging. Zoe was the first to appear in the doorway. Jonny had barely looked up before an arrow shot forward, hitting him square in the leg, right where Sepehr’s knife wound had begun to heal. Doubled over in pain, he could do nothing as Zoe and Alisha darted forward, choosing which of their vast array of knives to kill Jonny with.

Alisha plucked one gently out of her bag and sauntered over to Jonny, a grin plastered to her face, knife sharp and stained from her last kill.

“No… don’t, please…” Jonny’s eyes were wide with fear as Alisha stood over him, smiling innocently.

“Sorry Jonny, but sometimes you have to lose the game.” And with a slash, he fell to the ground, blood running through the cracks in the floor and leeching into the pool.

“Hm. Want some of his food? He has a lot.” Zoe pulled some containers of what looked like meat out of Jonny’s bag.

“Let me go out and heat it up. It’ll be a lot better.” Alisha took the container and stepped outside, beginning to search for materials to make a fire.

About half an hour later, Alisha was happily roasting several chunks of meat over a spit. She leaned forward and studied them carefully, inspecting them and making sure they were cooked thoroughly. Then, with quick and precise hands, she whipped out a handful of Japanese Yew berries and stuffed them into the meat.

Humming to herself, Zoe loaded up Jonny’s crossbow, and crouched down, lying on her belly and began to aim. Alisha had been right. Only one could win.

Alisha stood up, the meat balanced perfectly on the lid of the container, cooked perfectly all around. She opened her mouth to call Zoe, and the moment the name escaped her lips, she fell to the ground, a one hit death.

Zoe stood up and skipped over to Alisha, sitting down beside her and scooping up the meat.

“Too bad you didn’t have a last meal, but it’s alright. I’ll save some leftovers for when I have my victory dinner.”

And with a bite and a gulp, Zoe died, the cannon’s boom still ringing in her ears.

Talons Hunger Games, Part 3 – Chelsea/Sean

Ok, so if you’re reading Part 3 then not only are you awesome, but you probably realise that this contains blood and death and violence. Not a lot mind you, I’m not morbid, but it’s The Hunger Games, so there is some. Also, I don’t own this. I mean, I can’t legally own any of these people, nor do I own the story. That belongs to Suzanne Collins . Anyway, I hope you … enjoy. For lack of a better word. 

“What was that?” Chelsea glanced up, dropping the berries she had been collecting for the last 10 minutes.

“Chelsea, you dropped the berries. And it’s almost night time; we need to get high up.” Sean leaned down and began to help Chelsea picking up the berries. Chelsea sighed. She hated being here. She probably would have ended up dying if it hadn’t been for Sean grabbing her hand and herding her away from the Cornucopia. She still had no idea why, but he did and that was that.

Chelsea climbed up the tree, searching for a place to stay. Sean climbed close behind, trying not to look down. He didn’t know why he had saved Chelsea, but he had. Shaking his head, Sean called up to Chelsea that he had found a branch. Swinging sideways, Sean landed on the branch and pressed himself against the trunk, closing his eyes and listening for any noises. Instead, the anthem played and Sean blinked and looked up at the darkened sky.

Chelsea shivered, studying the faces of the people who had died. Tyler, Emily, Galen, Leanne, Kim, Toren, Duncan. Chelsea closed her eyes, feeling suddenly overwhelmed by the realization that one of her best friends in the world, Leanne, was dead. Tears began to run down her face, so much so that she almost didn’t even hear the crack of branches or the shift of leaves. Whipping her head around, Chelsea clenched her hands into fists and scanned the area. With a sudden movement, Sean landed on the branch beside Chelsea.

“I saw Leanne.” He murmured. “I’m really sorry.”

“It’s not like you were the one who killed her.” Chelsea replied.

“Yeah, but I’m still sorry.”

Chelsea nodded, feeling blank inside remembering Leanne. All the times they had hung out together, laughed together, everything.

“Stay here. Please.” Chelsea  blinked, gripping Sean’s arm in a tight grip.

“Of course.” He replied, and sat down on the branch, looking out over the treetops. “Why don’t you sleep. I’ll take first watch.”

Chelsea nodded dully and closed her eyes, wishing for the days before she had to worry. Before death was a promise and not something you shoved to the back of your mind and forgot about. Before Leanne died.

Morning came with Sean shaking Chelsea awake, gently. She blinked a few times, trying to remember what was happening. When it hit her, she just wanted to close her eyes and sleep again. Maybe forever. But Sean wouldn’t let her. He had packed up all their stuff and stuck it inside the bag and was now just waiting for Chelsea.

She climbed down the tree and began to walk alongside Sean, wondering if maybe, just maybe, she could find Immy. And then, they could band together and convince the others to stop the death. To stop the killing and the hate.

They continued walking and before she knew it, Chelsea and Sean found themselves in the maze of ancient ruins, far beyond the forest they had slept in the night before.

“Let’s look around. There wasn’t any water in the forest. They must have some here.” Sean coaxed Chelsea forward, and she was just about to begin walking again before an arm wrapped itself around her and yanked her backwards. Screaming, she crashed to the ground and tried to leap up and see what was going on before Sean’s face clouded her vision looking visibly shaken.

“Oh my God, Chels. I’m sorry, but look at what you were about to walk into.” Chelsea sat up and looked forward, fascinated to see a large pool of what looked like lava. Beyond it was a second pool filled with a smoking liquid that reminded Chelsea of liquid nitrogen and a third that appeared to be liquid metal.

“Gamemakers.” Sean hissed through his teeth, glaring at the pools, shaking his head.

Chelsea thought it was rather ingenious, but she didn’t say so. Instead she stood up and looked around.

“I think … I think I hear water, Sean.” She blinked, turning to her companion with surprise.

“It’s just the-“

“No, listen. It’s all echoey and … water-y.”

Sean frowned then shrugged. “It’s not as if there’ll just be a random pool there, the arena is a lot more random than that.”

Instead of listening, Chelsea took Sean’s hand and began leading him through the maze, all the while listening carefully. Just as she was beginning to lose hope in herself and the entire idea of ever surviving, she turned a corner and found a huge room with an enormous pool right in the centre.  Chelsea turned to Sean in glee and was just about to run in when the look crossed his face again and he grabbed her and pulled her back behind a large slab of rock. Seconds later, a figure went running forward.

“Immy!” Chelsea cried out. Sean clamped his hand over her mouth, but Immy had heard her.

“Chelsea? Chels, where are you?” Immy whipped around and for a second their eyes met, and Immy’s face lit up with recognition before it froze and Immy fell forward, an arrow stuck in her body, blood beginning to drip from it. Jonny stepped forward and pulled the deadly weapon from Immy’s lifeless body. He unscrewed the cap form a bottle and poured its contents all over the arrow.

“Water!” Sean hissed. “It must be clean if he has it in a bottle! If only we could get in there!” But Chelsea wasn’t listening. She had just watched one of her best friends die. Right before her eyes. Sean seemed to realise, and he was about to console her when Jonny’s head turned and looked directly at them.

“RUN, CHELSEA.” Sean commanded, and she leapt up and began to run. Together, they shot forward, both trying to find somewhere to hide.

“UP THAT WALL. HE’S GAINING, QUICKLY.” Sean ran forward and flung himself at the wall, Chelsea following behind in quick pursuit. Together, they climbed up and tried to run away, only to realise that they were trapped on the roof. On one side was Jonny, clasping a knife in his teeth and beginning to heave himself up the side of the wall and on the other side…

“ The lava.” Sean turned to Chelsea, wide-eyed and gripping her hand with such ferocity that little red marks appeared.

“Sean, you can fight. I know you can. I, on the other hand, learned that two of my best friends just died. One, right before my eyes by the boy who’s coming to kill me as well.” Chelsea let go of Sean’s hand calmly, turned and walked towards the edge of the building. Just as she was about to jump over, a hand grabbed her own and she turned.

“We both jump.” Sean corrected. Chelsea nodded very slightly and turned forward.

“One … Two … Three.”

Seconds later, two cannons exploded, and 12 remained.

Homestuck, the Thing You Aren’t Reading – Toren

For those of you who aren’t aware, which seems to be everyone in Talons I’ve talked to, Homestuck is a thing.

It’s a good thing too.

Homestuck is the most popular web comic ever made. It’s also the longest. It has the largest fan base the most complex plot, the largest art and music teams and the most in comic flash videos.

Whatever you’re reading, this is better.

^She's so frustrated she's throwing her hat down so hard her mustache falls off.

I tell people this and find that I have them totaling convinced they want to read it, and then not read it. Or only read 20 pages. I think this can be mostly attributed to the first act. The first act is slow and mostly boring, which tries to establish the characters and what normal life is like for them. Its 100 pages of conversations between people you don’t know or care about, talking about things that aren’t necessarily all that interesting. They are important to the plot later on, but you don’t know that and there’s not much reason to pay attention. Once you hit Act Two though, things speed up dramatically and you have to actually work to understand all that’s happening. Most people don’t make it that far.

Generally they’re “too busy”. You are never too busy. That’s stupid. If you have an hour or more leisure, read Homestuck. It’s that good.

Trying not to be redundant here, the story starts simply with a few little animations and fairly boring art and then gradually accelerates with more exciting things, plot twists, characters and much better videos. This continues until the story is screaming through plot and the teenagers are blowing up suns with bombs made of their own collapsing universes. Every detail is important, and the more you pay attention the more you appreciate what happens later.

Now since I’m tired of writing and I could say that the more people opinions you’re hearing the stronger my argument, I hired my middle school friend James to write his own commentary.

James’s stuff is below.

At the risk of sounding like every other person who has ever read Homestuck; Homestuck is an amazing piece of literature, which combines that aspect of a story, a game, a puzzle, as well as a miniature cartoon.
Homestuck is a marvelous tale that started in 2009 about a young lad and three of his friends, who decide to play a game. Since then, it has–
Alright, so I realized this is a lot like an essay and Toren is telling me I’m supposed to “be all cool” and the “hip dood” who is “walking the streats” so I guess I’ll start over. Here goes.
You guys should read it. All of you. In fact, I’m surprised you guys haven’t, this story has, what, billions of readers? Okay, I’m lying, I don’t know how many readers there are, but I’m sure it’s something like 10% of the population. The story has so many plot points, is well written, and has so much humour that I’m surprised that my mouth hasn’t filed legal papers to part with my face, because of too much happy. Liquid happy. The kind that sprays out of your mouth and ears when you feel too good. Some people call it liquid rainbows because of its multi-coloured look and it seems to be an ongoing meme or something, but the technical term is Liquid Happy. Anyways, back to topic, The story and seven “acts”, like in a play, five of which are completed (five was split into two parts because it was so massive) and act six has just begun.
I’m not quite sure what else I’m supposed to be writing here. This essay-like thing has hardly been edited, and is in the order of what came out of my head.  When Toren said to make a commentary I didn’t know what a commentary is, I’m kind of winging it. Is this too long? Is this going on the blog? Will people read this? Will normal people read this? These thoughts are running through my head but it doesn’t matter, what matters is Homestuck, what I’m here to talk about. I think Toren covered most of it and I’m just here as a guy who has opinions that don’t matter to make this more important. I don’t even know three people in Talons, and this is going on a Talons blog right? Whatever, read it guys. He’s not kidding, it’s good. The fanbase is massive, so massive in fact that unsavory fanfics and fanarts have arose. No more details. You said casual and walking the streats, Toren. Here you go.

In the comic this would be an animated gif in which the small plush dragon bounces on the dead boys face.

Toren’s writing again.

There. Evidence. Other people like it too. Also my blog post is now double its original length.

Now go! Kill a weekend! Get through Act 1! Seriously. Please.