The Evil Daria Vignettes

 

As collected from the PPMB

( part two )

 

 

In Pro Per, by NightGoblyn

 

"Who do I have to strangle around here to get some decent coffee?" Helen shouted, throwing a styrofoam cup at her trashcan.

"Um, Helen?"

"I said I didn't want to be interrupted," Helen snapped, turning to look at her secretary. Marianne pushed the office door the rest of the way open so Helen could see Daria standing behind her. "Marianne, go to lunch."

The secretary vanished so fast that Daria almost saw hairpins twirling in midair. She walked into her mother's office, pushing the door closed on her way in, and sat on the chair in front of her mother's desk.

"What do you want, Daria?"

"I have some things that I need you to sign," Daria answered, holding up a manila envelope. Helen snatched the envelope and sat at her desk. She pulled the papers out and began reading through them. After a few minutes she looked up at her daughter.

"This is preposterous," she said, "do you honestly think this is going to fly? No judge will sign off on these."

"Judge Ackerman has already agreed to," Daria answered smugly. "We're just waiting for you."

"Ackerman?" Helen sputtered. "He's one of the most corrupt judges in the state, rumor is he . . . ." Helen's eyes narrowed. "So, that's how things are."

"A pity," Daria said, leaning over the desk to met her mother's eyes directly. "that only now at the end do you truly understand."

"I won't do it," Helen said. "I don't know what's gotten into you young lady, but it stops now. I'm going to have you evaluated by a professional, and we're going to get you the help you need. We should have done it a long time ago."

"Do you really want to know what's gotten into me?" Daria said, leaping to her feet and grabbing her mother's lapels. "Because I'll be happy to spell it all out for you."

"Daria," Helen said, shocked at being pulled half out of her seat by her normally demure daughter.

"Although it really isn't what's gotten into me that's the issue, it's what's gotten into you," Daria hissed. "Have you ever met a cock you didn't like, Mother? I'm curious to find out if Quinn and Veronica have the same father."

"Daria," Helen said again, becoming frightened.

"Dad doesn't know that you're still sleeping around on him," Daria continued, "but I do, and I have proof. He forgave you for having two kids that weren't his. He forgave you for stuffing one of them into a fucking institutional Hell in the great, godforsaken state of Texas. Do you think he'll forgive you again when he finds out what you've really been doing here on all those late nights?" Daria shoved her mother back into her chair, and then sat down herself and glared hatefully across the desk.

"No," Helen said quietly, "I suppose he won't. I guess you think this is justice or something, don't you?"

"I don't bother myself with petty concepts like justice anymore," Daria answered, "I've risen above all that. All I'm concerned about is taking what I want, punishing the people who get in the way, and rewarding the people who obey."

"I'm sorry," Helen said, a single tear tracking down her face.

"I'm not. Now: sign. the. papers."

Helen signed the papers and slid them back across the desk to Daria. Daria tucked them back into the envelope and left, pulling out her cell phone on her way to the elevator.

"Jane," she said, when her friend answered, "are you done signing your mother's name on that paperwork? Good, meet me at the court house in ten minutes. Yeah, I've already arranged payment for His Honor's time to hear our case . . . in half an hour, we'll be emancipated. Tomorrow, we're flying to Houston so I can take custody of my sister. No, the other one. You'll like her, she already has a record. Ok, see you in ten."

Daria flipped her phone shut and exited the elevator; intent on leaving the building, and her weeping mother, behind.

 

The Big House, by Brother Grimace

 

Vidalia Johanssen laughed as she saw the trio of boys glance over at her best friend's impossibly long legs, stretched out from the 'Sailor Moon' skirt she was wearing.

Well, that was what 'Evie' (for Evelyn Veronica - she wasn't happy with her middle name and loathed her first) was all about: just loved to screw around with the minds of anything male in the 'big house', as they both referred to the institution. Talk about maturing early... she's like Cordelia in W.I.T.C.H. - in more ways than one...

"Trying to cause more trouble, or just want to give the boys something to think about at night?"

Evie Morgendorffer tossed back her long mane of deep, dark scarlet hair, and smiled at the girl four years her senior. "Come on, Vi. You're the one who likes screwing around with boys - oh, wait. Let's take off the word 'around."

The tall, thirteen-year old girl (she'd had her birthday a month earlier) shifted her legs back under the library table, and continued to read her copy of The World Inside as Vidalia moved over and looked at the pages. "More science fiction?"

"Hey, just because we're jailbirds doesn't have to mean we're dumb."

"We're not dumb - and we're not jailbirds. People just didn't want us."

Vi saw her friend's huge, jade-green eyes narrow behing the ugly, state-issued glasses she wore - glasses that did nothing to hide the fact that Evie was a very beautiful young woman. "That's about to change."

The petite, raven-haired girl pulled the book from Evie's hands, her blue eyes wide with surprise. "You're kidding! You're flying the coop?"

"Well, since you're getting out of here come May since you're done with high school classes, and I can go off to college anytime I want..." Veronica's face clouded as she remembered the looks of the state councilor when she said that, yes, she was a highly intelligent child, but that she was still just a teenager, and she'd need adequate supervision if she were to be allowed to attend college... however, since even the monies from a full scholarship wouldn't cover the expenses, and that a college environment wasn't the best place for a girl her age, and from her circumstances...

"MV - you're about to blow your stack..."

The red-haired teen had dug her nails into the tabletop and left scratches. "So, tell me about your plans to go over the wall!"

"It's my older sister..."

"You've got a sister! Spill!"

"It turns out that I've got a family," Evie said, and anyone who knew Daria would have recognized the facial expression that her sister wore, the way her voice took on a cold, toneless quality... and would have started running. "I can't wait to meet them."

Fingernails started scraping along the tabletop. "Especially my mother. Oh... I can't wait to meet her..."

Paranoia will Destroy Ya, by NightGoblyn

 

 “You’re sure you don’t want to come with me?” Daria asked.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” Jane answered. “I thought you might want some time for sisterly bonding before heading back to Lawndale.”

The young women sat in a small eatery just inside the security gates at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, having lunch while waiting for Daria’s flight.

“She’s a Barksdale,” Daria said with a smirk. “She may thank me the way the genie thanked the fisherman.”

“Aladdin?”

“No,” Daria said, and then quoted, “I have been trapped in this bottle, and here I abode a hundred years, during which I said in my heart, ‘Whoso shall release me, him will I enrich forever and ever.’ But the full century went by and, when no one set me free, I entered upon the second fivescore saying, ‘Whoso shall release me, for him I will open the hoards of the earth.’ Still no one set me free, and thus four hundred years passed away. Then quoth I, ‘Whoso shall release me, for him will I fulfill three wishes.’ Yet no one set me free. Thereupon I waxed wroth with exceeding wrath and said to myself, ‘Whoso shall release me from this time forth, him will I slay, and I will give him choice of what death he will die.’ And now, as thou hast released me, I give thee full choice of deaths.”

“Morbid,” Jane said, “but unlikely.”

“Yeah, and I don’t think she’s fifty feet tall or blue,” Daria said with a shrug. “I guess it’s a good idea to leave you here to keep an eye on things, anyway.”

“About that,” Jane said, looking down at her cheese fries.

“Hmm?”

“I’m worried about you. It seems like everybody either hates you or is afraid of you.”

“Let them hate me so long as they fear me,” Daria said with a smirk, “Let them fear me, so long as they obey me.”

“Does that include me?”

“Jane, you’ve got plenty of motivation to be by my side. You’re my partner in crime, not my lackey.”

“You’re my best friend, Daria.”

“Same to you.”

“No, I mean that’s my motivation: you’re my best friend.” Jane shrugged. “Improving my math grade is nice, and I love being back on the track team. Those are just side perks, though.”

Daria reached out and took Jane’s hand. “Jane, don’t worry. Trust me, and I’ll do all the worrying.”

“Ok, amiga. It’s just that some of the things you’ve been doing are . . . .”

“Flight 357 to Houston is now boarding,” the loudspeaker boomed. “Repeat, flight 357 to Houston is now boarding. Thank you, and enjoy your flight.”

“That’s me,” Daria said, standing. The two women hugged briefly, and then Daria hefted her carry-on bag and headed for her gate. Jane stood and watched pensively as the little brunette disappeared into the crowd.

Later, the plane taxied down the runway and Daria watched through the window as the ground dropped away. Her breathing was steady as tears streamed down her impassive face.

She’s going to betray me.

 

Turn the Crazy Key, by NightGoblyn


Jane walked down the school hallway feeling as if she were Alice and the mirror was somewhere over the horizon behind her. People she barely knew were opening doors ahead of her, or shouldering other students aside so she’d have a clear path to walk through the halls. People she’d once considered friends, if distant ones, were now avoiding her. She saw Brittany duck into a class room, and Jodie shuffled past without meeting her eye.

As goes Daria, Jane thought, so go I. I may not like some of the things she’s doing, but there's no turning back now. And, I have to admit my life has gotten a heck of a lot easier.

“Lane,” a young man called out. He was about her height, and made of lanky runner’s muscle.

“Evan,” Jane said with a smile. Life is a lot more fun now, too.

“Where’s the queen bee?”

“Out of town, family stuff,” Jane answered with a shrug. I’m glad she texted me when she landed, but I wish she’d have called. I hope nothing’s gone wrong. Jane frowned slightly when she remembered Daria’s genie story, and the three messages she’d already left on Daria’s cell phone.

“Cool, we on for tonight?”

“Sure, pick me up at six.”

Evan gave Jane a quick kiss and jogged off down the hallway. Jane leaned against the lockers and watched the muscles in his legs bunch and release as he moved.

“At least you’ve got decent taste in guys,” Quinn said. Jane jumped and glared at the redhead, who had been standing at her elbow.

“Hey, Quinn. You look . . . .”

“Like hell?” the redhead asked.

“A little under the weather,” Jane said, “but good. Give it another day and you’ll be fit and bouncy again, eh?”

“Maybe,” Quinn said with a shrug. “You have the pictures.”

“How do you know about the pictures?” Jane asked, suddenly embarrassed.

“I watched you pick them up off the floor,” Quinn said, her eyes narrowing.

“What? Oh! Those pictures. Yeah, they’re at my house. Do you want them back, or do you just want me to destroy them?”

“What do you want for them?”

“Um, nothing.”

Quinn studied Jane for several seconds before she said, “Ok, I’ll give you a ride home from school and get them then.”

“Sure,” Jane said as Quinn turned to leave. She’s cranky. Guess she has a right to be, though.

“Pssst! Hey you, art girl or whatever.”

Jane glanced around and noticed the class room door across the hall was opened just a crack, and someone was watching her through it. She sauntered across the hall and grinned.

“Hello, talking door. My friends call me Jane.”

Sandi pulled the door open slightly and whispered, “I want to talk to you.”

“Sure,” Jane said, stepping into the classroom. “What’s on your mind?”

“Since you tried to warn me about Quinn, I presume that you’re acting as an agent percolator in her sister’s organization. Do you still want to help me?”

Oh boy, Jane thought. “What did you have in mind?”

“Nothing, yet. I just wanted to know if I could count on you when I start planning.”

“Sure, Sandi. Whatever you come up with, let me know.” And I’ll go straight to Daria with it, you dumb bitch.

“Thanks, Jane.”

At the far end of the hallway, Quinn watched as Jane and Sandi left the classroom. Quinn turned, her hair flaring out around her head like a scarlet halo, and marched towards the girl’s bathroom. The fire in her gaze was enough to send those in her way scrambling for cover. She slammed the door back as she entered, and walked up to the mirror.

“Quinn, what’s wrong?” Stacy asked quietly.

“Recently or in general?”

“What’s bothering you right now?”

“My dad isn’t my dad, my mom is a whore, my older sister is Kathryn Merteuil, and I’ve got a surprise younger sister that’s probably some kind of psycho. My girlfriend is introducing me to some of the freakiest sex ever, and I’m enjoying it . . . which means I have to completely re-evaluate myself as a person. Oh, and my big sister’s part-time lick buddy has pictures of me being . . . victimized . . . and just had a quiet meeting with Sandi fucking Griffin. So yes, I’m feeling a little bothered."

Stacy stepped behind Quinn and put her arms around the redhead’s waist, pulling her back until they were tightly pressed together.

“So, you did like it?” she purred into Quinn’s ear.

In spite of herself, Quinn started giggling. “Quit it, Stacy!” she said, “That tickle . . . uh . . . ohhhhhhhhhhhh!” Quinn’s eyes rolled back as the other girl started nibbling on her ear.

“Quinn mustn’t worry about the bad girls,” Stacy whispered, “Stacy will take care of the bad girls, and they won’t bother Quinn ever again.”

Data Recovery, by NightGoblyn

 

Sandi pushed open the door to the rickety wooden house and slipped inside, hoping no one noticed her. Of course, considering the state of the yard and the amount of clutter in the living room chances were good that nobody paid attention to this house, ever.

How stupid does that cow think I am? Like I don’t know that everything I tell her is going to go straight to Miss Pert ‘n’ Bitchy.

Sandi quietly walked up the stairs and pushed open the first door she came to, and found a dingy bathroom. The second room seemed larger, but it was so dark it was hard to tell. She flipped the switch next to the door and light flooded the bedroom. The whole place looked like a bomb had gone off in it; every available surface was covered in dirty clothes, and they looked at least a foot deep on the floor. She saw several plates and glasses that had gone fuzzy. Finally, she noticed the sleeping man. He was lying flat of his back in the middle of the bed wearing a pair of boxer shorts, white with red hearts, and cradling a guitar in the crook of his arm.

She turned the light off and pulled the door shut just before one of Trent’s eyes opened. He glanced around the dark room and muttered, “weird.” With a half shrug he went back to sleep.

She tried the next door, and found a much less cluttered bedroom with an easel in it and several canvases stacked up against the far wall.

She told Quinn the pictures were here. Sandi looked around the sparsely furnished room. Not many hiding places.

She started with the dresser, and spent several minutes rifling Jane’s socks and underwear. She found nothing interesting except a leopard print thong and a frighteningly large sex toy.

Compulsively wiping her hand on her shirt, Sandi moved to the closet. It was full of unfashionable clothes, half of which were spattered with paint. The shelf at the top of the closet had a stack of towels on it. A couple of pairs of sneakers and a pair of hiking boots were the only things on the closet floor, although Sandi did find a sandwich bag containing what she presumed was pot in the toe of one boot.

Growing frustrated she looked around the room and suddenly stopped, staring at the canvases leaning against the wall. She wouldn’t hide something important with clothes, she doesn’t think clothes are important. Sandi walked over to the canvases and started hunting between them, chuckling to herself when she spotted the 24 Hour Photo envelope. She grabbed the envelope, quickly flipped through the pictures to make sure at least most of them were there, and turned to leave.

Her eyes fell on Jane’s laptop, quietly humming to itself on the foot of her bed.

I wonder, Sandi thought, and sat on the edge of the bed. She lightly touched the trackball and the screen came to life, displaying an image that made Sandi’s jaw drop.

I knew they were, Sandi’s thoughts whirled as she felt a knife twist in her gut. I knew it, but I never thought I’d have to see it. She reached out with one shaking hand and let her fingertips trace the image of Quinn and Stacy in the throes of passion. She closed her eyes a moment and fought back another crying jag. When she opened them, she looked at the screen again and realized she wasn’t looking at a still picture, she was looking at a paused video.

Her face hardening she started clicking windows and issuing commands to the computer, copying the entire folder the video was in to the flash drive sticking out of the side of the laptop. She glanced up when she heard the room’s door open, and saw the man from the next room looking in at her.

“Do I know you?” he asked.

“Um, Daria sent me,” Sandi said, thinking quickly.

“I thought she went out of town, something about her sister.”

“That’s why she sent me,” Sandi said, inhaling quickly and giving the man a shy look.

“Oh,” he said, and then his eyes widened. “Oh, right. Look, I’m gonna need a shower first, ok?”

“Sure,” she said, smiling coyly.

As soon as the idiot in the lame boxers was gone she pocketed the flash drive and picked up the envelope. A few minutes later she was out of the house and back in her car, with just enough time to get back to school before lunch was over.

 

Shadow Strings, by Brother Grimace

 

Sandi actually skipped out of the Lane house, a beautiful smile on her face as she slid into her Mustang and inserted the key into the ignition.

Her eyes went wide as a meathook of a hand clamped a cloth over her face-

*****

Stupid bitch - didn't anyone ever tell you not to do anything important yourself, because that's how everyone KNOWS that it's important?

Ted Dewitt-Clinton was just like her, Tiffany thought as she looked over the photos of Quinn and her molester - rapist, she corrected herself. Nobody really paid attention to him, either.

He overheard EVERYTHING, just like she did, and with his camera, which was just as unnoticed as he was, he also got great photos. He was also able to notice the way things happened... and he knew all sorts of ways to knock someone out for a few moments. He was really good with herbs and natural remedies, thanks to his mom and dad.

His price? A favor, to be collected later.

Sorry, Sandi - but you don't get a one-up on Daria or Quinn, Tiffany thought, and the temperature in her room dropped ten degrees as she smiled, taking a DVD-RW from her strongbox - the one NOBODY knew she had - before dropping Quinn's photos into an envelope and sticking it inside. I see you need to learn a lesson about people with cameras and sex. You loved it when Quinn was on the rack - now... let's see how you like it...

I'm so glad that the Maryland age of consent is seventeen... because this is just straight porn from a consenting adult.
Tiffany stopped for a minute, thinking that over, and then burst out in peals of laughter. Oh, that's right. This is against the law! It's wrong for me to show these images...!

She rolled the flash drive in her palm for a minute, and then it, too, went into her strongbox.

Oh, yeah - thanks for the video of Stacy and Quinn, Ted. This may prove useful. Ted KNEW to take it for one reason... why would someone like Sandi Griffin have one? Her homework?

Tiffany locked up her strongbox, and turned to her computer; even Daria would have been stunned with the way Tiffany had jazzed up her machine. She inserted the DVD-RW...

A minute later, she'd sent the file to another source, far away, who would transmit it for her. They transmitted blind, from an artificial web address that would terminate in thirty minutes - but by then...

Five minutes later, Sandi's image... and the sounds of her voice... were cast out across the World Wide Web - as she enjoyed a little tryst with Tori Jericho... They always were close, Tiffany smiled, as she checked AnyBodyPorn.Com... Now, everyone gets to see that for themselves. Sorry about you, too, Tori - but, collateral damage does occur.

It's true, Sandi. The camera loves you.


Tiffany took the DVD-RW and locked it back up, then went over and laid down on her bed. She needed a nap.

You're no longer useful to me, Sandi, once you decided to take out Quinn. You screwed up the balance - so, you're heading down to the D-list.

Enjoy the ride.

 

Unicorn Blood, by NightGoblyn

 

Sandi frowned, the mild headache causing her to sigh and reach up to rub her forehead. Except her hand only moved a few inches and then jerked to a stop, held in place by what felt like a wide leather cuff.

Her eyes popped open and she looked around in a panic. The last thing she remembered was getting into her car at Jane’s, and then . . . then someone grabbed her from behind, and pressed something against her face. Now she was naked, and bound to a strange bed at her wrists and ankles.

She struggled in the cuffs a minute and then slumped back, exhausted and woozy. While she rested, she examined the room, and she slowly realized where she was. This was her parents’ mountain cabin, a good three hour drive from Lawndale. She hadn’t been here in a long time, not since . . . .

“You brought me here,” Stacy said from the doorway. “Remember that? We were thirteen, and you said we needed a weekend away so we could be ourselves.”

Sandi nodded and stared at Stacy. She’d forgotten how pale and perfect Stacy was, how beautiful her hair looked when she let it hang loose.

“That was the first time you cut me.”

Sandi nodded again.

“Right here in this room, this is where you demoted me from flunky to victim. We had such a good time that weekend. I still think about it sometimes when I’m, well, you know.”

“Stacy.”

“Shhhh,” Stacy said, “don’t talk, Sandi.” Stacy walked across the room, looking for all the world like a cat stalking a mouse. “It’s time you got a dose of your own medicine.”

Sandi swallowed and tried to shrink back, but her bonds would only allow her to move so far.

“I got an interesting phone call on the way up,” Stacy said as the sat on the edge of the bed. “Remember that time you cheated on me with Tori?”

Sandi blushed and looked away.

“Well, maybe I speak too strongly. After all, you really can’t cheat on a slave can you? Anyway, it looks like a little video got made and now it’s all over the internet. You’ll be happy to know that you’re getting more favourable comments than Tori.”

“I’m sorry I hurt you.”

“No you’re not,” Stacy said with a smirk, “don’t lie Sandi, not now. You enjoyed every minute of it, and so did I. But now it’s over. Now it’s my turn.”

“I . . . I still love you.”

Stacy smiled and picked up a knife from the bedside table.

--

Sandi lay back, her wrists aching from the time spent yanking against the restraints. She glistened with sweat; sweat that stung and burned in the dozens of long, shallow cuts that covered her body. Her face throbbed and her mouth was bloody where Stacy had decided to slap her a few times. Stacy was curled up next to her, gently tracing Sandi’s jaw line with one finger.

“I brought you up here to torture you, you know.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“I did,” Stacy answered with a smile. “This is how things could have always been between us, Sandi. You threw all this away because you couldn’t treat me like a human being. Because you had to be the best, and on top, and in charge. Because you can’t be the girl Quinn is.”

Sandi closed her eyes and felt the tears start tracking down her cheeks.

“Isn’t this a worse torture than hot pokers and smelly chemicals?”

Sandi nodded, and then whispered, “Stacy, please don’t kill me.”

“The mighty Sandi Griffin begs for her life?”

“No,” Sandi said, looking at Stacy through her tears. “I don’t have a life left to beg for, Stacy: you and Quinn and Daria have seen to that. I’m begging for your life.”

“My life?”

Sandi leaned forward, straining against her bonds, and pressed her lips against Stacy’s forehead. She leaned back and saw that she’d left a perfect, bloody kiss on the center of the pale brow.

“I’ve marked you with my kiss, Stacy. You were mine first, my victim, and part of you will always be mine.” Sandi slumped back against the pillows. “You are what I made you, and you’re right: I’m not sorry. We loved each other, in our broken and twisted ways.”

Stacy sat up and touched the mark on her forehead, then stared at her bloody fingertips. With a quick, cat-like motion she licked her fingers clean.

“You were the victim, Stacy. You were good, and honest, and pure, and kind. Don’t throw that away over bitterness and regret. Don’t become a murderess.”

“You don’t understand,” Stacy said, picking up the knife on the bedside table and resting it against Sandi’s throat. She nestled back down next to Sandi, close enough to see the artery in her neck jumping in time to her heartbeat.

“Then explain it to me.”

Stacy leaned forward so her lips were right next to Sandi’s ear. In an almost silent whisper she said, “Sometimes, unicorns have to die.”

Stacy made a sharp motion with the knife, and Sandi jerked once.

 

Thin Ice, by NightGoblyn

 

“Hey, Quinn. You ready to head to my place?” Jane asked, joining the younger girl in the school parking lot.

“Yeah,” Quinn answered, looking pensive. “We’ll have to walk, though. Stacy took off just before last period, she said she was having really bad cramps.”

“Ow,” Jane said sympathetically.

Quinn shrugged noncommittally and the two girls started walking towards Jane’s house.

“So,” Jane said a few minutes later, “how have you been?”

Quinn shot Jane a venomous look and continued walking.

“Oookay.”

“I know you were talking to Sandi today.”

Jane sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. “Yeah, she has this idea I’m going to help her overthrow Daria.”

“Probably because you warned her I was coming after her.”

“What!?”

“Tiffany told me,” Quinn said with a shrug. “What I want to know is are you really going to try to undercut Daria or is this just between you and me?”

“Neither,” Jane said, “I swear. I don’t want blackmail and power games. I just want to hang out with my best friend, ok?”

“Mmm.”

“What ‘mmm’?”

“Jane,” Quinn said with a tone of great patience, “you’re either very, very good or very, very naïve.”

“What do you mean?”

“For all practical intents and purposes, my sister is now the reigning queen of Lawndale High.” Quinn smirked and continued, “God save the Queen. We really mean it, man.”

“You listen to the Pistols?”

“Jane, what you don’t know about me would about fill the Grand Canyon.”

“Oh.”

“Keep that in mind, if you get any funny ideas.” Quinn smirked at Jane again, then continued, “See, me and you . . . we’re Daria’s right and left hands. She has me to keep the popular people in line, and you deal with the outcasts. Right?”

Jane frowned, remembering all the discussions she’d had with Burnout Girl and Shaggy.

“Which means that if we work together, we could run the show without her. It wouldn’t be hard, the peasants always love a lynching.”

“Nuh-uh,” Jane said. “I will not betray my best friend. Even if I were inclined to, she has sources of information other than you and me. I also know what dirt she has on you, Quinn.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, don’t fuck up. She’ll make your life a living hell.”

“I wonder what she has on you,” Quinn mused, then laughed aloud at the look of shock on Jane’s face. “Please tell me that you considered that at least once or twice.”

“No.”

Quinn chuckled the entire rest of the way to Jane’s house.

-

“I hid them between my canvases,” Jane said grumpily as she led Quinn into her room. She flipped through the paintings once, and then again, her expression changing from irritation to worry. “They’re gone.”

“So this is between you and me.”

“No, I swear they were right here.” Jane looked up at Quinn, clearly near panic. “Quinn, please believe me . . . even if I was interested in having dirt on you I wouldn’t use that dirt. I’m not Sandi.”

“No, but you’re working with her.”

“I’m not!” Jane shouted.

“Whoa,” Trent said, sticking his head in the door. “What’s up, Janey?”

“Trent, have you seen anybody in my room today?”

“Um, just that girl. Tell Daria I said thanks for the thought, but I really think it’s a little creepy that she sent somebody I don’t know over here.”

“What!?” Jane said.

“Did you get her name?” Quinn asked, taking a step towards Trent and glaring at him.

“Uh, no.” Trent scratched his head and gave Quinn a worried look. “By the time I got out of the shower, she was already gone.”

“What did she look like?” Quinn demanded.

“Um, about your height. Long brown hair, kinda cute in an underage sort of way. She had this really sexy voice, kinda husky y’know?”

“Damn,” Quinn said, taking another step forward and grabbing Trent’s t-shirt. She pulled him down so they were eye to eye and said, “So you have no idea who this girl is?”

“Uh, no.”

“And you let her rifle around in your sister’s room?”

“I was asleep. I woke up and she was in here, so I talked to her.” Trent swallowed and tried to pull away from Quinn. “You might wanna cut down on the decaf.”

“There’s also a flash drive missing,” Jane said grimly. “I keep some of Daria’s dirt on my laptop.”

“You are an idiot,” Quinn said to Trent, her voice like frozen helium. She let go of him and looked at Jane. “You’re not much better.”

“I’m not inclined to argue,” Jane muttered. Trent took the opportunity to vanish back into his own room, locking the door behind him.

Quinn flipped open her cell phone and hit a speed dial number. She listened to the phone ring a few times, and then frowned and flipped the phone closed. “Why won’t she answer?”

“Daria? She’s not answering for me, either.”

The two girls exchanged a worried look, and then Quinn dialled another number. Once again, she got voicemail and this time she left a message, “Call me soonest.”

“Who was that?”

“Somebody you better hope calls me before she sees you.”

 

Dear Diary, by NightGoblyn

 

The little red haired girl shook some mouse food into her pet’s cage, and watched with a smile while he ate. She walked across her bedroom and sat at her desk, pulling out a heavy leather journal and a well chewed ink pen. She opened the book and began to write.

Life is still weird. It’s like I fell asleep and woke up in Hell, or maybe that one episode of Star Trek where Spock had a beard. Jen and Shag make fun of me, but I know I’m right – this is NOT how things are supposed to be. I have this horrible feeling that things are going to get worse.

The cheerleaders are all depressed, which is deeply ironic. The Fashion Club imploded, and that was really ugly. Sandi Griffin had to go to the hospital after getting beaten up by Stacy Rowe – which nobody saw coming. Now word around school is that Sandi was way into cutting --- cutting other people! She would cut somebody and lick on it or something pretty gross. I don’t know if I believe it, she was always so prim and proper.

Stacy didn’t get in trouble at all, which is weird. You’d figure beating another student until they pass out would get you detention or something, but I guess not. She’s gotten really close to Quinn Morgendorffer, and I mean close like Jen and Shag were close before she chucked him into the friend zone. I don’t have a problem with the whole girl-crush thing, but Quinn is way in denial and Stacy is way into creepy stalker territory. If somebody watched me the way she watches Quinn I would run, not walk, to the nearest police station and scream bloody murder.

Daria, otherwise known as ‘Her Majesty, Bitch-Queen of Lawndale,’ wasn’t at school today. I overheard Insane Jane talking to her boyfriend, apparently Daria is out of town for family stuff. I’m hoping that was code for being chucked in a loony bin, because she needs it. Every trail I follow leads back to her. Well, almost every trail --- there’s somebody else doing stuff, too. I think it’s probably Sandi, but it won’t do her any good.

Anyway, I’m just trying to keep my head down and my mouth shut until I graduate and move away from all this craziness. I wrote a poem, here it is:

Like clattering teeth
striving, each against his brother.
Rattling, the mocking laugh of Death.
The world comes to bad ends,
in the Apocalypse of Dominoes

 

Pyre, by NightGoblyn

 

The girl turned off the water in the shower and stepped out onto the bathroom rug, wrapping a towel around herself. She sat on the toilet and began brushing her hair, stroke after stroke, until most of the water had been wicked away. With practiced ease she wove her hair into the familiar braids and tied them off.

She stood and removed the towel, using it to pat herself dry before dropping it on the floor. Her clothes were neatly folded on the sink and she began to dress, only pausing once or twice to absently rub her forehead.

Once she was clothed, she left the bathroom and went into the bedroom across the hall. Sandi still lay on the bed, her hands folded between her breasts and her eyes closed. She looked peaceful, as if she might awaken at any moment . . . if the illusion had not been destroyed by the bloody ruin of her throat.

Stacy quietly walked across the room and leaned against the bed, careful not to touch any of the still-tacky blood. Very lightly, she brushed her warm lips against her dead lover’s cold ones. She stood and walked to the door, stopping to look over her shoulder.

“I still love you, too.”

She kicked over the can of kerosene by the door and left the room. There were four more cans between the bedroom and the front door of the cabin.

Stacy left the front door open, and stopped on the walk to dig around in her pockets. She pulled out a box of kitchen matches, lit one, and tossed it in the door. Nothing happened for a moment, then she heard a gentle whoosh as the kerosene soaked carpet caught fire.

She climbed into Sandi’s Mustang, cranked the car, and pulled away from the burning building. She checked her appearance in the rear view mirror, rubbed her pale brow a moment, and then accelerated towards the main road.

 

Gone to Texas, by NightGoblyn

 

Flight was decent. Call you later.
-D-


Daria sent the text message to Jane, dropped her phone into her jacket pocket, and picked up her bag. She didn’t have any trouble from the rental agency, and soon found herself on the freeway headed into Houston, Texas. Surprised by the heat, she’d taken her jacket off and tossed it in the passenger seat while cranking the AC to the max.

I forgot about the weather . . . t-shirts and shorts in December. God, I hate this place.

About half an hour later, she parked at the hotel she’d chosen. It wasn’t the most luxurious of establishments but it was close to the orphanage and there wasn’t any need to spend a large sum of money for a bed and place to stash her belongings.

She got out of the rental car and went inside, intent on having a shower before going out in search of dinner. She thought she might swing by the orphanage and see if they’d let her talk to her sister, even though the formal meeting was supposed to be in the morning.

Maybe some Mexican food . . . I haven’t had any decent Mexican since we moved to Lawndale.

In the car, her cell phone beeped once to let her know that Jane had sent a reply to her earlier text message.

 

Ms. Foster’s Home for Incorrigible Sisters, by NightGoblyn

 

 “This is most irregular,” the thin-lipped, grey-haired woman said. She gave Daria’s short dress a disapproving look, and sniffed disdainfully at her battered Doc Martins.

“I know it is, Ms. Foster.” Daria smiled at the irritating old bat and put some extra syrup in her voice. “But she’s my baby sister, and I flew out here just as soon as I found out about her. Please, the paperwork will be signed in the morning. Can’t I take her out for dinner to celebrate?”

“I suppose,” the woman said, relenting at last. She picked up a phone on her desk and dialled a three digit number. After a moment she said, “Frankie, could you ask Evie to come to my office? No, dear . . . she isn’t in trouble this time.” The older woman hung up the phone and gave Daria a stern look. “These children are very important to me, Miss Morgendorffer.”

“Please, call me Daria.”

“Very well,” the woman seemed to warm slightly. “You’re only an adult by a legal technicality, Daria. The paperwork was handled over my head, and I can’t stop you from taking your sister out of here. I just want your assurance that you’re going to give her a good home.”

“I already take care of our other sister,” Daria said. “I’m sure that Veronica will fit right in with the two of us.”

“The name is Evie,” a girl said from the door, “you must be my new big sister.”

Daria looked the girl over. She was tall, very tall, and most of her height was in her legs. Legs that she was showing off to good advantage in a skirt short enough that it’d have made Quinn blush to wear it. The rest of the outfit consisted of a tank top and a pair of red converse sneakers. Her hair was a darker shade of red than Quinn’s and she wore it a lot longer.

“I might dispute the term ‘big’,” Daria said, “although I take some comfort in the fact that you’re taller than Quinn, too.”

Evie studied the girl sitting across the desk from Old Lady Foster. She was a tiny little thing, short and petite. She was wearing a little, clingy green dress and a pair of scuffed up Doc Marten boots, and her auburn hair was done in expensive-looking, bouncy curls.

“I thought you were getting me tomorrow.”

“I am,” Daria smiled up at her, “tonight is a celebration dinner. Last night in the big city.”

“Ok,” Evie said with a shrug. She glanced at Foster and asked, “Curfew?”

“Nine o’clock,” the woman answered primly, “and you behave for your sister, do you understand me?”

“Yes’m.”

The sisters left the orphanage and climbed into Daria’s rental car, Evie tossing the blue and yellow jacket into the back seat.

“You wear a letterman’s jacket?”

Daria laughed, and something about it unsettled Evie slightly. “Yeah, it’s a really funny story. I’ll tell you later, maybe on the plane tomorrow.”

“Ok.”

“Let’s get Mexican,” Daria said. “You may not believe it, but you’re really going to miss decent Mexican about six months from now.” Daria cranked the car and pulled away from the orphanage.

 

Perilous I, by Ranger Thorne

 

She waited until she was certain Jane had left the house and Quinn was in her room before she took out a key and opened the door to the closet. Using the pull chain, she turned on the light and smiled.

"Hello, Daria," she purred. "Miss me?" She took a moment to check the IV bag and to change the one connected to the catheter, then exchanged her round glasses for an oval pair that had been perched on the face of the twin tied to the chair.

Daria looked up through her drugged haze as the glasses were switched. She tried to speak through the gag but was unable to make much noise. Her t-shirt and skirt had all the signs of something worn for a long period of time.

"You know," her double said, "I'm having a hell of a time destroying your little life. But it's only fair, after all. I mean, from the moment I moved here everyone keeps thinking I'm you. So," she shrugged, "I just decided that I would be. Of course," she smirked as she leaned in close, "that meant you had to lose that life."

"Nmmm," Daria said through the cloth over her mouth.

"Now, now, don't thank me. Besides, when I'm done, all I have to do is get my glasses and redo my hair and clothes and I can walk away. You on the other hand . . ." With a chuckle, she closed the door most of the way before leaning into the room and saying, "You will have to answer for everything Daria Morgendorffer has done. Sweet dreams, Daria." After switching their glasses back, she reached up and turned off the light before closing the door. As she walked away, she could hear the sound of a muffled scream.

"Ah, Lynn," she told herself, "you're having just too much fun."

 

Perilous II, by NightGoblyn

 

Stacy stood in the bathroom, concealed by the shadow cast by the hallway light. She frowned to herself as Daria headed for the stairs and out of the house, skipping as she walked.

Who the hell was she talking to?

Quietly, Stacy slipped into Daria's bedroom and looked around . . . the room was empty. Frowning to herself, she began prowling around and peeking under and around the furnishings. Finally, she pulled open the closet door and stood, staring in puzzlement, at what she saw.

Daria's old outfit - the horrible skirt, t-shirt, and jacket - was draped over a chair. More specifically, it was tied to the chair; loops of rope wrapped around the arms of the jacket and chair back, and then tied off around the chair legs below the skirt. There was an IV stand in the closet, with an empty bag and a tube running to one of the jacket arms. Some other bit of medical paraphernalia was rigged up on the floor, with a second tube running into the skirt.

Stacy glanced around at the otherwise empty closet and saw the writing carved on the walls. Most of it looked old, some of it looked new, and all of it was creepy as hell.

She's gone mad, Stacy thought calmly. She'll have to be watched. I can't let her hurt Quinn.

 

Perilous III, by LSauchelli

 

Lynn Cullen smirked as Daria motioned her to sit on her bed. As she looked around the padded room, her smirk turned into a smile, a very... frightening smile. But Daria didn't seem to notice or simply didn't care.

"So we're really sisters" Lynn stated, staring directly at Daria's eyes.

The other girl nodded with a smile of her own. "I've been doing some investigation on my free time, I've so far discovered that I don't have one sister, but three."

Lynn's smile dropped for a second, she quickly recovered. "Three?"

Daria raised one finger and said, "Quinn, whom you already met," then another and continued, "you," and shook her head, raising a third finger "and a younger one, Veronica Barksdale."

Lynn blinked. "How do you know all this?"

Daria stood up and showed her the computer. "Easy, internet" She opened some hidden files and showed her pictures of the two abandoned sisters.

Lynn narrowed her eyes. "And tell me, dearest sister, why are you doing this? Why help me?"

Daria looked at her and raised an eyebrow. "Because I refuse to believe that my morality is meaningless. I want to stop being a cynic. I want to believe there can be goodness in this world." Her face darkened a little. "I want to live up to my own standards."

Lynn laughed quietly at that. "I should be thankful for that." She looked at the padded bedroom one more time. "Is this room soundproof?"

Daria shrugged. "It's not."

"A shame" She opened the door to the closet, ideas popping into her head. Dark ideas. She noticed quite a few notebooks hidden in there. "Diaries?"

Daria blushed a little and nodded, not bothering to stop staring at her computer. "I like to write."

Lynn closed the door again. She took a step towards Daria and slowly took the skull from Daria's desk. "About that thing you wanted to believe? The thing about goodness in this world?" She hit Daria on the back of her head. "It's just an illusion."

 

Polite Notice, by vlademir1

 

In an apartment somewhere in Washington the phone started ringing. The auburn haired sole occupant of the apartment glanced from her book at the clock then picked up the phone, "A little late to be soliciting isn't it? Dinner was over a while ago."
"You haven't changed Amy, you're still just as funny as ever."
"People are still people, time doesn't change that, Jim. Jesus, it's been what fifteen or sixteen years since the last time we spoke?"
"Well since that whole sordid affair of yours down in Texas. Anyway, let me get to the point of why I'm calling..."
"My sordid affair?" She laughed, "As I recall it, at least one of us was involve din every part of that."
"It doesn't matter Amy, I found her."
"Found who? I didn't know there was anyone missing that involved both of us."
"I found our daughter."
The book all but forgotten thumped against the floor as a slack, glazed expression of shock came over Amy Barksdale. "Tell me again who you found, since we don't have any children."
"Actually the paternity test was rather conclusive, though I've made sure she doesn't know just now... she has had enough familial shock recently. What was funny is she has been right here under our noses for so long and neither of us noticed."
"What do you mean?"
"Only that the only real question is where Helen's eldest daughter got adopted to as ours."

 

Good Nachos, by NightGoblyn

 

Evie stared across the table at her new sister as Daria ordered their dinner in fluent Spanish.

“Nice,” she said after the waiter left the table.

“Quinn can speak conversational French,” Daria said with a shrug. “I presume you have at least one foreign language you speak.”

“I do ok with Spanish, better if it’s street slang.”

“I spent the entire flight reading your records,” Daria said. She paused when the waiter brought their drinks and appetizer, then continued, “you’re an extremely intelligent girl, and I have a great deal of respect for that. You will respect my intelligence as well.”

“I understand.”

“No, you don’t.” Daria smiled across the table at her sister. “The fact that you’re mouthing the platitudes you expect me to want to hear proves that. You don’t respect my intelligence, and I certainly don’t expect you to . . . I haven’t proven anything to you. My statement was that you will respect me.”

“Ok, I don’t understand.”

“You’ll test me. I’m sure you’ll win a couple of these little battles of wits, because you are very gifted. You’ll lose most of them, and then you’ll respect me.”

“You’re expecting me to cause trouble?”

“You’re a thirteen year old girl with abandonment issues, a serious problem with authority, and genius level IQ. The only way you’re not going to cause trouble is if I keep you sedated.” Daria took a bite of nachos, then smiled. “I’m not going to keep you sedated, it would be a waste.”

“All right,” Evie said, also having some nachos. Her sister was wrong . . . Evie did respect her intelligence. For the first time in her life, she might be having a conversation with an intellectual equal. She found the thought both frightening and exhilarating.

“Are you familiar with the concept of the stick and the carrot?”

“Yeah.”

“Ok, here’s the stick. You break too many rules, or the wrong rules, and you go to juvie hall. I’ve talked to a couple of girls that have been inside juvie, and according to them it makes the orphanage look like the McRonald’s playground by comparison. Also, I know people who know people inside; I can and will make your life a living hell. Am I understood?”

Evie nodded wordlessly.

“Now for the carrot. You play ball with me, and I’ll get you double enrolment. You can start taking college level courses now instead of spinning your wheels with high school crap. I can also arrange recreation, depending on what your tastes are.”

“Recreation?” Evie asked, raising one eyebrow.

“Think it over,” Daria answered, “in the mean time, let’s get to know each other a little better. I’m sure you have questions.”

 

Of Two Minds, by LSauchelli

 

She sighed as she closed the door to her room. She was worried about her sister, had she done the right thing getting her? Veronica was the perfect weapon against Helen, but... using her could very well be overkill. And then she would have Veronica to deal with.

She took a deep breath and raised her head, she almost screamed when she noticed a figure already on her bed. "Oh, you definitely made a big mistake there, sis"

She turned the lights on and glared at the other auburn haired girl. "How did you get here?"

"Lynn" Daria said and gave her a Mona Lisa smile. "I'm smarter than you think. And so is Evie."

Lynn glared at her sister. "How did you get here?" She repeated.

Daria frowned. "That's for me to know and for you to find out. But I'm sure you will be able to get me again, sooner or later."

Lynn growled. "I rather it be sooner" she quietly retrieved a gun from her Letterman Jacket.

Daria didn't look scared, at all. "You really are the bad one, aren't you? But I'm not only the good one; I'm also the smart one."

Lynn smiled sickly. "Good, bad. I'm the one with the gun"

Daria actually laughed at that. "Heh, Evil Dead? I thought you were more... classy."

"What do you know about Veronica?"

Daria stood up. "Call her Evie. She's not too fond of that name"

"And how would you know that?" She put her finger on the trigger, ready to fire if Daria did anything funny.

"I know that she's smarter than you, and I know that had you played the loving sister card on her you would've gotten a big supporter."

Lynn was growing irritated. She pressed the trigger. Nothing happened. "What?" She pressed it again.

Nothing happened.

Daria raised her hand, showing the missing bullets. "Guess what, I'm not an idiot" She approached her. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me- oh, wait, can't get fooled again."

Lynn glared at her. "What do you want?"

Daria didn't bother answering Lynn's question. "Do you know how many people you pissed off?"

"So what?"

"And Jane? How do you think Jane will react to all your stupid evil?"

"I'm not stupid."

Daria smirked at that. "Neither was Hitler or Napoleon for that matter."

Lynn narrowed her eyes. "What the hell are you trying to say?"

"I gave you a big enough clue right there. Your downfall is already inevitable. Jane. Quinn. Evie. Mom. Hell, even Stacy. They are all pawns to you" She sat down again on the bed. "Guess what, they're also mine."

"They're of no concern to me, I don't need anyone."

"Yes, 'cause you're smart and stuff" Daria walked past Lynn and opened the door to the hotel room. "Remember this: never wound what you cannot kill."

She left the room.

Lynn turned her heel around and followed Daria. But there was no one there. She narrowed her eyes. "How did she do it?" She closed her eyes.

There was no way Daria escaped on her own. Someone must have helped her. "Someone betrayed me" She started pacing. "Jane or Quinn?"

 

Long Distance, by NightGoblyn

 

Evie sat on her narrow, institutional bed and stared at the darkness. She was sitting against the wall with her long legs tucked up, her chin resting on her knees and her arms wrapped around her shins. Vi called it her brooding pose, a term that was especially accurate tonight as she considered the rest of the dinner conversation with her sister. Bits and pieces of the talk floated through her memory, tagged as important.

“You’ll need to be careful around Quinn,” Daria had said. “She acts like a vapid slut, but she’s neither. I’m not saying she can’t be trusted, just make sure you know what angle she’s working before you count on her.”

And later:

“You can say whatever you want to Helen, but you’re not to physically confront her. She’s a lawyer, and a very efficient one. Do not give her any weapons to use against us, because she will use them. She hates me, and she thinks of you as an embarrassment.”

Evie frowned in the dark, feeling strangely wounded. She’d always had a suspicion that she’d been dumped at the orphanage, but having it confirmed hurt more than she’d thought it would. Especially the way Daria had said it, like it was just another fact that needed to be kept in mind.

“Jake is harmless and useless, best just to be nice to him. He’s not your father, but you’ll score a lot of points with him if you call him Dad and act like he is.”

“Score points?” Evie muttered to herself. “Like how you might have scored points with me by acting like we’re sisters? I guess I can at least appreciate your honesty, though.”

“Quinn’s got a girlfriend named Stacy, and you need to steer clear of her. She’s dangerous, in a ‘might snap and start murdering people and never stop’ kind of way. She’s also very protective of Quinn, so don’t let her think you’re a threat.”

And that had been the list of people that Daria had said she was likely to run into around the house. There’d also been a mention of a Jane, but Daria hadn’t said much about her beyond hoping that Evie liked her. Then, when Daria had dropped her off at the orphanage, things had gotten really strange.

Daria climbed out the car and walked around to hug her sister. For the first couple of seconds the hug had been stiff and formal, and then Daria had softened and pulled Evie into a tight embrace.

"Please be careful," she'd whispered, "she doesn't love you, but I do."


Evie reached into her pocket and pulled out the cell phone that she’d palmed when tossing her sister’s jacket into the back seat of her car. She flipped it open and saw that there were several missed calls from Jane, Quinn, and Mack. She paged through the phone list, selected a number, and dialled.

“Hi,” she said after a moment, “is this Jane?”

 

Planning Ahead, by NightGoblyn

 

Stacy carefully slid the glass door to the Morgendorffer kitchen open and slipped through, pulling it closed again after. She slipped into the living room and saw Quinn asleep on the couch. Smiling to herself, she crept upstairs and into Daria’s bedroom.

She went immediately to the closet, and pulled the door open. Nothing had changed since her last visit. Her smile twisted from the joy of seeing her beloved to the dark amusement of her plan, and slipped a set of car keys into the pocket of Daria’s old green jacket.

Just in case. If she doesn't go after Quinn, this will never matter.

She stepped back into the hallway and closed the bedroom door quietly. She rubbed her forehead absently and walked down the stairs, joining Quinn on the couch.

“Mmm,” Quinn said, blinking sleepily.

“I’m home,” Stacy whispered.

“Where’d you go?”

“Just an errand I had to run, sweetheart. Doesn’t matter now.”

“Mmkay, let’s go upstairs. I’m sleepy.”

“Anything for you, Quinn.”

 

Message Received, by Brother Grimace

 

After her conversation was over, Evie curled up beneath the covers, but sleep would not come.

Pieces of information, trivia, folk sayings - data was flowing through the young woman's mind; a small smile went across her face as the memory of one of the testing sessions from childhood rose up from the depths:

*****

"...The reason why she's having trouble in the classes is that, quite frankly, the child is more intelligent than you are, Miss Hammond. Your instructors' lessons are not enough to keep her engaged - she's nine years old, and she's more well-read than you and I combined, not to mention that she's easily more advanced in mathematics than any of the high-school-age students."

"Yes, she's an intelligent child-"

"Calling her 'intelligent' is akin to saying 'cats enjoy pieces of yarn.' If we have any manner of doing so, we need to take her out of this facility and place her so that she can have every opportunity to allow her gifts to blossom to the fullest extent! You look at her and see just another child alone in the world that you have to warehouse until you can toss her into the street at eighteen - but I look at her and see a future Space Shuttle pilot, or a Governor, or the winner of a Planck Medal or a Lasker Award."

The older woman took a deep breath, not knowing the child she was speaking about was seated on the other side of the office door. "If she were in a regular home environment, I'd have recommended that Evie be placed in a private educational facility, or if the Academy in Evansville, Indiana were already active, I'd break my neck sending her out of this snake pit. We're - you're - hampering her development having her here-"

"Our staff psychologist believes differently," the other woman scoffed. "She has assured me that Evelyn will receive the highest level of intellectual stimulation possible here - and I resent you referring to this institution as a 'snake pit'. If you don't believe that we're doing enough for the children here, perhaps you should find another instructor from your agency to run your 'seminars' here."

"I understand," the older woman said stiffly, and rose from her chair; Evie picked up the dog-eared copy of The Stand and buried her nose in it as the door opened.

"That hasn't ever fooled me," the familiar voice said, and the little girl looked up to see the tall, attractive Black woman in the blue uniform and gold clusters of an Air Force major. "Listening in, hmn?"

"Yes."

"That's my girl," Major Paula Trainor said, smiling down at the girl. "Look, we have to talk-"

"They won't let you take me with you, and they won't let you place me with a family so I can get out of here."

"No, they won't," Paula said, sincerity in her voice. "I'd take you myself, Evie, but with my job, they won't accept me as a foster parent or as an applicant for adoption."

"Miss Hammond just likes being mean," the child said, and Paula felt her heart go out to her. "She never wants anyone to be happy. You can see it in her eyes; she wants people to think that they're going to get a chance to be happy, so that they really hurt when she takes it away from them."

The kid's perceptive, Paula thought. God help us all if this kid doesn't ever learn how to love, or show mercy...

"I'll always come to see you-"

"Don't," Evie said. "That would make Miss Hammond happy. She'd get to see me waiting for you to come, and then like it when she had to tell me in front of everyone that I couldn't go with you, or that you wouldn't be able to come..."

Paula shook her head. "Evie, you listen to me. The only thing that's going to help you now is up here."

She tapped on the little girl's forehead. "You keep studying, okay? Read everything, from great literature to comic books. Learn everything you can, wherever you can, from anyone you can, and then, you learn more. Learn everything you can - it's going to give you options when you get out of here; options these people don't want you to have. The option to actually have your own life someday, free of people like her."

"Okay, Major Paula," the girl said.

"There's something else I want you to remember, Evie," the Black woman said. "There's a little story I want you to look up someday. You'll have to look for it; it's the story of the bird and the cow dung."

"Ewwww - gross!"

"It is gross," Paula laughed, happy that she could make the little girl laugh. "It gets grosser - but I want you to find that little story. When you do, I want you to read it, and remember it, and understand it. It'll take a while, but I think it's important for you to know that one."

"Like all of the other books you bring for me to read?"

"Everything I've given you is important. This is, too."

Paula reached down to hug Evie. "Evie, I know that you hate this place - but don't take it with you when you leave."

"I don't understand, Major Paula."

"You will. Also, someday, you'll find a way out of here. Don't just jump away at the first opportunity simply because it's a way out of this place..."

"But, isn't anywhere better than here?"

"No, Evie... not at all. You'll understand, someday, when you read that story. Oh, I almost forgot."

She opened her handbag, and took a small green book out to hand to Evie, who looked at it with wide eyes. The book was obviously old, with yellowed pages, and worn on the fading green cover, which had a small image of a little lack cat with a red wool scarf on as she stood on her hind legs and looked out a window.

"The Cat Club", Evie read the title. "What's this about?"

"This is a precursor - it's the book I want you to read first."

"First- before something else?"

"Yes. After you read this - and feel that you understand why Jenny Lindsky was happy at the end - I want you to read Jonathan Livingston Seagull."

Paula hugged the little girl again. "I expect to see you on my beach someday, little girl. Don't disappoint me."


*****

Evie sat back up.

Just because someone pulls you out of a pile of crap does not mean that they are your friend...

"Thank you, Major Paula," Evie said to the darkness. "Thanks for warning me."

 

Guy Talk, by NightGoblyn

 

“Here,” Charles said, putting the bottle down on the table, “have a beer.”

“I don’t know,” Ted said, examining the bottle. “It is unlawful to consume alcoholic beverages before the age of majority.”

“It’s a beer,” Charles said, opening his own bottle, “I’m pretty sure it doesn’t count as an alcoholic beverage.”

“Well, if you say so.” Ted opened the bottle and took a swig. “Interesting.”

“I’m glad you approve. My advice is to never drink anything American, it’s all swill.”

Ted nodded.

“What is up with these women?” Charles muttered, slouching back in his seat. “I mean there’s feisty, and then there’s scary. Know what I mean?”

“Yeah, have you noticed Stacy recently?” Ted sighed sadly and took another swallow. “She used to be so sweet and nice. Now she just follows that redhead around and glares at everybody.”

“Well, I happen to know that those two play in the Clubhouse Sans les Hommes if you follow me.”

“Without men?” Ted asked, sounding puzzled. Suddenly, his eyes widened. “Oh, you mean that they’re Sapphic.”

“And all of Miss Morgendorffer the Younger’s suitors wail and gnash their teeth,” Charles said with a smirk.

“Well, as long as they don’t come to school in sackcloth and ashes we’re probably ok.”

The two men shared a chuckle and Charles finished off his bottle.

“I think they’ve all gone mad,” Charles said.

“The girls?”

“Yeah. I’m not sure that I disapprove, though. Maybe that’s what this place needs, a little madness. A few people standing up to take what they want and to hell with the consequences. A few people willing to say, if you’ll indulge me in a movie quote, ‘I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore’.”

“Maybe,” Ted said, rolling his half-full beer bottle between his hands. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’ve spent too much time thinking and not enough time acting.”

Carpe Diem,” Charles said, nodding.

Ted knocked back the last of his beer and stood. “Thanks for the beer, it was neat. I can feel the slight delay in my motor reflexes.” Ted grinned broadly. “Cool.”

“My pleasure, you should drop by again. With all these crazy women running around we guys need to watch each other’s backs.”

Charles walked Ted to the door, the two men shook hands, and Ted left - whistling cheerfully to himself.

Jail Bait and Switch I, by NightGoblyn

“Hi,” Jen said into the phone. “I’m so glad I caught you at home.” She wasn’t talking in her normal voice, instead using a higher pitch, and adding a slight drawl to some of her words.

Shaggy was sitting on the edge of her bed, grinning like a loon. Scarlett sat on the floor with a shopping bag resting on her lap. She occasionally looked in the bag and shook her head in disbelief.

“Yeah, I just can’t seem to stop thinking about you. The allure of the forbidden, you know. All the girls love that, and you’re so sensitive to our needs.” Jen pulled the phone away from her face a moment and made several exaggerated gagging motions.

“Oh, those rumors are totally true. It’s just that . . . well . . . while we’re locked up in my bedroom rubbing all over each other we . . . well . . . sometimes a girl just needs a man. And two girls need a very special man.”

Scarlett clapped one hand over her eyes and tried not to imagine the other half of the conversation. Shaggy had to cover his mouth to hold in the giggles.

“Uh-huh, how about you meet us after school tomorrow. Down at the football field. We’ll pick one of the locker rooms and wait outside, when we see you we’ll wave and go in. We want to start getting ready for you. Yeah, we’ll see you then.” She smirked at her friends’ reactions, then continued, “Oh, and you’ve got to play it cool during school hours. Don’t act like anything is going on, don’t say anything, be completely normal or else we’ll call off the whole thing. Understand? Ok, good.”

Jen hung up the phone, and hooked one finger in the side of her mouth. She jerked her hand a couple of times, indicating a fish that had been thoroughly caught.

“This is such a bad idea,” Scarlett said with a sigh.

“It’s a brilliant idea,” Shaggy said. He jumped off the bed and dropped to his knees in front of the redhead. “Please, please, please, please tell me you’ll help Starlet. It won’t work without you.”

“Insane Jane said that Daria was ok with us doing this,” Jen said with a shrug.

“I don’t find that comforting,” Scarlett said, “especially in light of the fact that Jane also demanded we not give her any details.”

“Come on, Red.” Jen smiled winningly down at her friend. “You know this guy has got it coming. We owe him, all three of us. You can duck out the back once he’s taken the bait, if you really want to.”

Scarlett sighed and reached in the bag, pulling out a pink baby doll t-shirt. “You guys must be my best friends in the whole world, because I’m going against my morals, ethics, and common sense to help you on this.”

Shaggy did a victory whoop and started dancing around the room, while Jen fired up a celebration joint.

 

Breaking Point, by NightGoblyn

 

Jane let herself out onto the roof, in a hurry to get away from all the crazies in the school below her.

I really should have asked Burnout Girl what she was planning to do, and to who. Daria told me that keeping up with her was my responsibility . . . I hope this doesn’t blow up in my face. Especially after she finds out I let Sandi get back those pictures of Quinn, and maybe a copy of the video. Hell, all the videos . . . Daria doesn’t know that I’m still recording them.

Jane walked to the edge of the roof and leaned against the short safety wall. She pulled a pack of cigarettes out of her pocket, and pulled out the only one left. She didn’t smoke tobacco, it was bad for her lungs and would hurt her running endurance . . . no, she smoked something else, and only when she really needed to relax. She started hunting for her lighter, and stopped. Someone was behind her.

Before Jane could move, she felt a slight weight press against her back as a pair of arms wrapped around her waist. Whoever had snuck up on her was a bit shorter than she, and a whole lot sneakier than Jane was comfortable thinking about.

“I’ve been meaning to talk to you,” someone whispered. The mouth was so close that Jane felt the lips moving across her ear and shivered.

Oh, God. It’s Stacy. Please, God . . . let Quinn have talked to her. I don’t want to get pitched off the fucking roof.

“I don’t blame you for losing the pictures, Sandi was a sneaky bitch.”

Jane relaxed slightly. Stacy’s right hand shifted and slipped under Jane's shirt, resting on the smooth skin of her stomach. Jane’s heart started trip-hammering in her chest. She’d seen what Stacy’s idea of a good time was, and suddenly being the object of her attentions was something Jane found deeply terrifying.

“I’ve seen the way you look at her. She hasn’t noticed yet, and I don’t think Daria has either. As long as you just watch, I don’t mind. But that’s as close as you’re ever going to get, Jane . . . you can watch. Do you understand me?”

She knows about the cameras. How does she know? The damn things should be impossible to find. She can’t know.

“Do you understand me?” Stacy repeated, beginning to draw her nails slowly across Jane’s stomach.

“Yes,” Jane hissed.

“Do you like this?” Stacy whispered in a mocking tone. She began circling Jane’s belly button with her nails, dragging her fingers slowly.

“Yes,” Jane whispered back, clenching her eyes. She could feel her face flushing with embarrassment and the strength of her reaction.

“Good.”

The weight and warmth were gone from Jane’s back as suddenly as they’d appeared. Jane dug her nails into the short wall in front of her as she listened to the footsteps recede across the roof. The door creaked open and banged against the chunk of wood they used for a door stop.

Jane opened her eyes and looked down at the crushed cigarette in her hand.

So much for relaxing.

Redhead Spiritual, by NightGoblyn

Evie tossed her suitcase into the back of the rental car and then nonchalantly handed Daria back her phone. Evie's talk with her sister’s friend Jane had been very interesting . . . more interesting than Jane probably thought it had been. Jane was very chatty, once you got her started.

“Why do you have my phone?”

“I grabbed it out of the car last night thinking it was mine,” Evie answered with a shrug. “By the time I realized my mistake it was late enough that I figured you were asleep already.”

“Ah,” Daria said, looking sceptical.

“I used up all your minutes calling a Hong Kong sex line.”

Daria smirked and dropped the phone into her jacket pocket. Veronica’s eyes very carefully didn’t twitch when she noticed the way the jacket was hanging.

Great. Big sister comes strapped. Didn’t think this neighbourhood was that bad.

“Just one suitcase?” Daria asked, getting back into the car.

“Yup,” Evie answered, climbing into the passenger seat and sliding it back to accommodate her long legs.

“Ask Quinn to take you shopping. The endless prattle can be annoying, but the girl knows from clothes. She’ll set you up.”

“Ok.”

Daria cranked the rental and pulled smoothly away from the orphanage. Evie’s heart leapt in her chest in spite of her rigid self control.

Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.

Breakfast with the Sloanes, by LSauchelli

 

"Have you heard the news, Tom?" Elsie Sloane asked as she sat down.

Tom didn't bother to look up from his meal. "What news?" He obviously didn't care for anything she had to say.

Elsie frowned at her brother, clearly annoyed, "about Lawndale High, bro" she smirked as Tom suddenly raised his head and looked at her straight in the eyes.

"What about Lawndale High?" Why would we care?

Elsie Sloane shifted slightly in her chair and smiled. "Well, one of my sources tells me that there's some sort of criminal organization over there. It's quite amusing..." her face darkened a little "... until I was told that it's also reaching Fielding."

Tom nodded. "I know about it. It's Daria Morgendorffer's doing."

"Morgendorffer?" The girl asked, as if trying to place the name with a face.

"You wouldn't know them, they're... not our type, as you would put it" Tom said, as he went back to eating his meal.

Elsie nodded. "And she managed to extend her operations to Fielding, I simply can't understand that."

Tom nodded. "I'm looking into it. I managed to get near one of her inner circle. But I wouldn't call it an inner circle; she pretty much doesn't trust anyone other than her friend, Jane."

"That artist girl you’re sleeping with?" Elsie raised an eyebrow at him.

Tom raised his glass of water and smirked. “The very same”

Elsie started to look worried. "I didn't think you would know so much about this. Why would you go snooping around?"

Tom shrugged. "She had her people rape one of my friends, sis. I don't like that. I simply don't. I will take her little empire down. She will be spending the rest of her life behind bars."

Elsie's eyes widened at that. "She would?

"That Daria, she's evil. I know I will find enough dirt."

"Don't go around playing 007, you idiot." She looked about ready to cry. “I don’t want you to die.”

“Don’t worry so much.” Tom smiled at her. "Sloane, Tom Sloane. I like the ring to it."

Sharing a Slice, by Brother Grimace

 

"Hey - Stacy, right?"

"Y-yes..."

Even though she was with Quinn, and took it seriously - he still had the dreamiest eyes...

"I thought you always hung out with Daria's sister... and those other girls..."

"Well - well, I’ll picking up a pizza! We're, uh, ah, I'm going to have a - I mean, I'm getting a pizza, because Quinn and I are doing homework over at her house and this is for dinner!"

"Oh. That's cool..."

The doorway to Pizza King was suddenly filled with sound, as Kevin Thompson came bounding in, a cheerleader wearing the silver and black of Dunlap High on his arm. "That's Claudia Otto - the head cheerleader for Dunlap," Stacy said, watching as Kevin and the girl planted themselves into a booth - and moments later, upon each other's faces. "Didn't take him long to find someone else..."

"Yeah. Janey said things were getting weird at Lawndale High," Trent Lane echoed. "Hey - what do you think of this?"

Stacy turned back, and could barely keep her eyes on the slice of pizza Trent held up for her. "They're making a new pie - 'Meat Masters'. Twelve different types of meat on it, with three kinds of cheese."

Stacy could barely keep her mouth from watering; she loved pizza with all kinds of meats and toppings, but since Quinn always wanted cheeseless pizza..

"It looks... It looks good."

Trent held out a slice on a pair of napkins. "Take a taste. Tell me what it needs..."

Stacy hesitated for a moment; her eyes flickered for a moment, moving from Trent's gorgeous eyes to the thick, gooey pizza slice, almost hypnotic as it seemed to call out to her...

Before she realized it, the first bite had slid down her throat... "Oh, it's so good!"

"Cool," the young man replied. "Knock yourself out."

Stacy needed no further encouragement, and demolished the slice with a gusto that made Trent smile. "Hey... you want another slice?"

"Oh, I couldn't..."

"I just came in to pick it up, and I decided to sit down... it's just for snacking later on - cold pizza... it speaks to my muse..."

"I like your music..." Stacy didn't even realize that she had sat down, and Trent slid another slice of pizza over to her.

"Here's something to wash that down with," he said, sliding his large glass of water over, and Stacy drained half of it before attacking the slice... "I was thinking of how the pizza inspires me..."

"Inspires...?"

"I was thinking of lyrics," he said, and seemed to stare into space:

Behind that door you wait for me
At five hundred degrees
Twelve burning meats and boiling cheese
My hunger's enemy.

Ten slices I can see
The party cut's cool for me
Even though you are not free
You're my hunger's enemy

There's a beast inside of me
Prowls my stomach endlessly
In this box there is the key
For my hunger's enemy


Trent seemed to come back, and he glanced over at Stacy, who - even though she was wide-eyed with awe - was almost finished with her second slice.

"Can you do that anytime you want?"

Trent seemed confused by the question. "Do what...?"

"Come up with songs like that?"

"No. You have to be inspired..."

"It sounds like a commercial!" Stacy piped up. "They could probably make a pizza commercial with that!"

"Really...?"

*****

Thirty minutes later, as he sat in his room, Trent burned the small brown envelope with the tiny amount of powder in it that he had placed on Stacy's slice of pizza as she watched those two kids come into the Pizza King. Of course, he'd made VERY sure not to breathe any of it, or get any of it on himself...

He watched it burn into tiny ashes in the glass; he then took the glass into the bathroom, poured water in the glass and swirled the ashes around before pouring the mix down the toilet.

Trent turned and reached under the sink, and pulled out the small bottle of bleach. He poured some liberally over his hands and lower arms, his nose wrinkling at the smell, then took a washcloth and the antibiotic soap Jane always had for guests and completely washed in the stinging hot water... just as he was instructed to.

A soft trilling echoed from his back pocket, and Trent pulled a slender cell phone from his pocket. "Hello."

The voice spoke without preamble. "Is it done?"

"It's done."

"Good. Stacy's... become a problem."

Trent didn't even crack a smile as he recalled how Stacy gobbled down the slice of pizza, unaware of what else she had consumed or that, within twenty-four hours, that she'd not trouble anyone for a very long time - if ever again...

"No, Lynn. She's history."

 

Kinky Shoe Girl, by NightGoblyn

 

The bell rang, and the students all started shuffling towards the door.

“Daria,” Mr. DeMartino said, “may I have a moment of your time?”

“Sure, Mr. D,” Daria said, stopping next to his desk.

“I realize that as your history teacher, this may sound like an odd question. However, I feel I must ask: have you considered the future results of your current behaviour?”

“Anthony,” Daria said, glaring at her teacher. Before she could continue he chuckled and held up one hand to stop her speech.

“Yes, I know. It would be bad for my career as an educator if my gambling addiction became public knowledge, or my drinking problems, or the fact that I like to drive up to Baltimore a couple of times a month to enter drag pageants. Frankly, I don’t care.”

Daria blinked a couple of times, for once lacking a snappy reply.

“One of those things is a lie, by the way,” Anthony continued with a smile. “The point is that you have managed to disrupt what pathetic and fragile learning environment we had at this school, to the detriment of yourself and your fellow students.”

“I already know everything this school has to teach, and most of the other students don’t want to learn anything.”

“I know that education is important to you,” he replied with a shrug. “Daria, I leave it up to your better nature. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to go track down Ms. Bennet; she was saying something earlier about Cashman’s having a sale on high heels in my size.”

Daria left the classroom feeling slightly traumatized, and then cleared her head with a quick shake and a frown.

Leave it up to Daria’s better nature? I’ll pass it on to her next time I visit our closet, you meddling old bastard.

 

Pensive, by NightGoblyn

 

Mr. O’Neill sat at his desk, fidgeting. He’d been more jumpy and distracted than usual all day, and had finally just started giving his classes a reading assignment and then sitting behind his desk to dwell quietly on his inner conflict.

The last period of the day, he overheard a whispered conversation between two of his students. He couldn’t remember their names, but he vaguely recalled that the blond boy was a yearbook photographer. The red haired girl was pretty much absent in his memory, but he was absolutely certain that she wasn’t Quinn Morgendorffer.

“Hey,” the boy whispered, leaning across the space between their desks.

“Hmm?” the girl asked, looking pensive and distracted.

“Can I talk to you, later?”

“I guess.”

“Cool, after class maybe? We could go to that pizza place everybody likes so much.”

“Huh?” the girl looked around for the first time and seemed to actually focus on what the boy was saying. “Oh, I can’t. Not today. I’ve got stuff to do.”

“Oh,” he said, looking sad. “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” she said sharply, “and if you’re going to pester me about it you may as well leave me alone. Geez.”

The boy looked stricken for a moment and then, for a flash so fast that Mr. O’Neill wasn’t sure he saw it, enraged.

“I didn’t mean to pester you,” he said quietly. “We’ll talk more some other time.”

“Sure, later.” The girl had already gone back to whatever worries she was thinking over.

“Absolutely.”

 

Ghosts, by NightGoblyn

 

Jane pulled into the Morgendorffer driveway in Trent’s old blue bomb, parking behind a small red convertible.

“Aunt Amy is here,” Daria said, looking surprised.

“Aunt Amy?” Evie asked from the back seat.

“You’ll like her, she’s actually a human being,” Daria answered.

“Cool.”

The three girls got out of the car and went into the house. Quinn was sitting on the foot of the stairs waiting for them, and jumped to her feet as soon as they came in.

“Shh,” she said, “Amy and Helen are in the kitchen. They’ve been fighting and I think they’re drunk.”

“We better sneak upstairs then,” Daria said. “I really don’t want to deal with that.”

“I do,” Evie said, gritting her teeth. “I’ve got about thirteen years worth of that to deal with.”

“Veronica?” Quinn said, noticing the girl for the first time.

“Evie, please.”

“Hi, Evie. I’m your big sister, Quinn.” Quinn stepped up and hugged the girl. Evie was a little surprised at the warmth and welcome in the gesture, and wondered briefly whether Quinn was that good an actress or if Daria had been lying about the middle sister all along.

“That’s touching,” Jane said with a small smile.

“Daria,” Quinn said, “please come upstairs with me, I think Stacy is sick.”

“You guys go take care of that,” Evie said, reluctantly pulling away from Quinn. “I have a burning need to talk to my mother.”

“Jane,” Daria said.

“I’ll make sure there’s no bloodshed,” Jane said with a sigh. She and Evie headed off to the kitchen while Daria and Quinn went upstairs.

“Have you been in my room while I was gone?” Daria asked casually. “Found anything interesting, maybe?”

“No,” Quinn said, looking confused. “I only open your door under extreme duress, you know that. Why, are you afraid I raided your stash of blackmail material?”

Daria said with a small smile. “I keep a pet these days, and I think she might have gotten out.”

“It’s not a snake is it?” Quinn asked, opening the door to her own bedroom.

“No, she’s not the snake.”

“Oh, God. Stacy,” Quinn gasped. The brunette was lying on Quinn’s bed, her eyes were closed and her nose was bleeding.

“I’m sure she’ll be fine in a few hours,” Daria said with a shrug.

“You did this,” Quinn said, whirling on her sister. “You did something to her. What did you do!?

“I didn’t do anything, I was in Houston. Maybe this is your fault, you know. When you don’t keep track of your toys, they can get broken.”

Stacy heard the angry voices from far away, and slowly opened her eyes. She felt like she was wrapped in warm cotton, and her vision was blurred. First, she saw a girl: tall, and willowy, with hair like flame and eyes like emeralds.

Quinn, Quinn, Quinn. The sun rise in the morning, the moon rise in the evening. You make my heart beat and my blood flow.

The other girl stood farther away. Shorter than Quinn, curvier, wavy brown hair. Stacy tried to focus. They were arguing, the dark haired girl said words and the words wounded that which must be protected.

“This is why you’re always in second place,” the other girl said, her voice dripping with snide condescension. “You never consider what might happen next.”

“What is wrong with her?” Quinn asked. Stacy could hear the tears in her beloved’s voice. “What did you do to her?”

She’s weeping, for me. I’m sick . . . really sick. She’s . . . wait . . . do to me? Quinn said that . . . .

With monumental effort, Stacy sat up and pulled herself to the edge of the bed. She focused on the other girl, but she was still blurry. Short . . . busty . . . brown hair . . . that voice . . . with a shaking hand, Stacy reached up and brushed her fingertips across her forehead.

You’re dead. I killed you and still you come back to hurt Quinn, this time by trying to hurt me. I will not be used as a weapon against my beloved.

Stacy reached over and grabbed the knife from the bedside table.

We’ll need a new knife after this, Quinn. I’m sorry.

With shocking strength, she leapt from the bed to finish what she thought had been done already.

-

“Veronica,” Helen said, staring into her empty shot glass. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am. I want a chance to make things right, please. Will you give me a chance?”

“You’re not sorry for what you did, you’re sorry it came back to bite you on the ass,” Evie said, “and don’t call me Veronica, call me Evie. You gave me the name Evelyn Veronica and I hate it as much as I hate you.”

“Evelyn is your grandmother’s name,” Amy said quietly.

“Great. Then I hate her, too.”

Jane opened her mouth to start refereeing, when the conversation was suddenly cut short. From upstairs, the women heard a banshee wail and the sound of running feet. A second later, Quinn started screaming incoherently and Daria cried out in pain. A second after that, there were gunshots . . . one, two, three. Then the twin thumps of people falling to the floor.

“Oh. My. God.” Quinn screamed, and her voice sounded as if the world had ended.

 

Dodge This, by Brother Grimace

 

Stacy lay on the floor, blinking tears of rage and sorrow away.

I missed.

Daria saw her coming and moved faster than she thought possible -but not fast enough to keep Stacy from plunging the blade into her left shoulder.

She went white with shock immediately - the sound of Quinn's screaming caused her to turn, bringing her out of her blood haze -

A feminine grunt of pain passed by her without much notice.

Stacy turned her focus back to Daria-

The Earth itself suddenly slammed into her side - no, it was a comet, burning off its corona as it slammed into her, burning her all across her side and feeling as if it went straight across her path - like Zyra... why would I think of that right now...?

A laser beam caressed the side of her head. She felt the heat but saw nothing - It didn't blast me! -

Her right knee didn't work anymore.

I'm not fat - I only weigh - well, I don't weigh much - why is my knee doing this? Why can't I stand up straight-

Her ears suddenly rang with a sound like an atom bomb going off besides her. That's the third one, something inside her spoke in an oddly detached manner. Oh, and they're not atom bombs - they're gunshots. Do they hurt?

Stings a bit, don't it, bitch?


Her eyes flicked upwards, and she noticed the bulb in the lamp: That's a 100-watt bulb. They're only supposed to use 75-watt bulbs - it could cause a fire. I have to tell Quinn that she needs to change that bulb...

Why does my side hurt so much now?

I'm - I've been shot...?

Stacy blinked.

I always liked Annette O'Toole... when she was younger, in that movie... Cat People... she has her hair exactly the way that Quinn does... and her skin is the same tone as Quinn's... I wonder if it's as soft as hers is...?

Cool air moved past her ears, and it felt so good...

But who shot me - how could -

Sound and pain combined as Stacy felt the back of her head connect with the floor of the room.

She had never heard a sound so loud before.

Far off in the distance, she heard someone drop something really heavy, and it struck with a mushy thump! as it hit the ground... ewwwwww...

“Oh. My. God.”

Stacy blinked again as Quinn screamed, and her voice sounded as if the world had ended.

My world has ended. I'm sorry, Quinn... I'm sorry...!

I couldn't protect you...

 

Jail Bait and Switch II, by NightGoblyn

 

Scarlett tugged on the bottom of her pink baby-doll tee for the umpteenth time, acutely aware of the several inches of pale white skin between the hem of the shirt and the top of her low riding blue jeans.

“Calm down,” Jen said, smirking at her friend. “Nobody can see you but me and Shag.”

“I had to go buy new underwear so I could wear these jeans,” Scarlett muttered.

“Now there’s a thought that’s going to keep me warm at night,” Shag said from behind them. He was concealed just inside the locker room used by the visiting team, the trio having selected it because it was on the far side of the football field from the school.

“I’m going to kick your ass,” Scarlett said, blushing furiously while Jen snickered at her.

“As long as you do it in those jeans, I’ll die a happy man,” Shag replied.

“Laugh it up, why don’t you?” Scarlett asked Jen, studiously ignoring Shag. “I keep thinking this is some kind of conspiracy to doll me up like a Fashion Trollop.”

“I’m dolled up like a Fashion Trollop, too.” Jen motioned down at her capri pants, denim jacket, and strappy sandals.

“Yeah, but you got to pick the one that doesn’t go around half naked all the time,” Scarlett pouted.

“Yes, this is all a conspiracy for us to check out the ivory flesh of our favourite Gothic Goddess of Hot Sex,” Jen said, rolling her eyes.

“You weren’t supposed to tell her,” Shag said, peeking around the door.

“Zip it, here he comes,” Jen said, pointing at the man standing on the far side of the football field. At this distance the only thing recognizable about him was his trademark pale yellow shirt.

“Wave at the nice man,” Jen said, doing so herself. “Try to be sexy.”

“I’m so not kissing you,” Scarlett muttered.

Read All About It, by NightGoblyn

Daria sat at the kitchen table, reading the art section of the newspaper while absently eating a bowl of oatmeal. She heard someone settle into the chair across the table from her, and neatly folded the paper. She set it aside and looked at her companion.

She sat across the table from herself. The newer Daria wore a clingy green dress with a hemline a couple of inches shorter than Daria usually wore her skirts. Daria’s trusty green jacket had been replaced with Kevin Thompson’s letterman jacket. The other Daria wore no glasses, and her hair had been permed into a bouncy curl.

“Well, this is a fine mess you’ve created,” Daria said dryly.

“I’ve created?” Lynn said angrily. “You’re the one that started meddling in my plans. If you’d kept your nose out this wouldn’t have happened.”

“My fault?” Daria asked, slowly raising an eyebrow.

“You’re the one that encouraged Quinn to take over the Fashion Club, it’s your fault that Sandi turned on her and brought out those pictures, so it’s your fault that Stacy snapped and tried to kill me,” Lynn said, crossing her arms and glaring angrily.

“You had Jane call Sandi and warn her, that’s the only reason there was a fight at all,” Daria said flatly. “I’ve wanted Quinn to dump Sandi and take over that club for years. It hurt, watching my little sister get ground down by that arrogant bitch.”

“Oh, yes . . . I forgot,” Lynn said, her voice dripping with sarcasm, “everything you do is driven by your lily white motives and selfless integrity.”

“No, I can be a right bitch when the mood takes me,” Daria replied with a smirk, “but I don’t go out of my way to hurt people, not like you do. And if this is anybody’s fault it’s yours for having Trent give Stacy what ever the hell it was that you had him give her.”

“Method Number Four,” Lynn said with a small smirk, “a fine admixture of ergot mould, heroin, and angel dust.”

Daria paled. “You were hoping she’d kill Quinn, too.”

“They’ve both become liabilities,” Lynn said with a shrug. “Stacy is a blooming psychopath that can only be controlled by Quinn, and even then she’ll do what she thinks is in Quinn’s best interests and not what Quinn tells her to do. Little sister shattered when she saw those pictures, and I don’t think she’s going to put herself back together anytime soon.”

“We could help them,” Daria started.

“No, we can sweep them aside and replace them.”

“Evie,” Daria said flatly.

“With the proper incentives in place, she’ll be a more valuable asset than Quinn, Stacy, and Jane combined.”

“Never mind the little fact that she’s our sister, it’s far more important that she be turned into an asset,” Daria said sarcastically.

“Exactly,” Lynn said with a smug smile.

“You may not have caught up on the news,” Daria said with a motion towards the paper. At Lynn’s blank look, Daria held up the paper so she could see headline.


We Got Stabbed, You Dumb Bitch
Was That Part of Your Plan?

“We?” Lynn said blankly. “I got stabbed, and I’m pretty sure this is the most annoying sedative induced hallucination ever. You’re probably running around undoing all my good work even as we speak.”

Daria closed her eyes and sighed to herself. She stood and walked around the table, and began to rap her knuckles lightly against Lynn’s forehead.

“Hello, you self-centred psychotic slut!? We are not two separate people, or have you not figured that out yet? Maybe you should do a bit less with the plotting and bit more with the introspection.”

Lynn recoiled from Daria, slapping her hand aside as she stood. The two girls stood in the kitchen and glared balefully at each other.

 

Back To Part One!

Onward To Part Three!