And I don't want you and I don't need you
Don't bother to resist, or I'll beat you
It's not your fault that you're always wrong
The weak ones are there to justify the strong
- Marilyn Manson, The Beautiful People
Damsel tapped away at her computer, deep in thought. It had taken her weeks, but she’d finally gotten her multi-media search and filter program up and running. It checked a hundred and fifty news sites every ten minutes for any stories that referred to anything from the keyword master list. It checked text, audio, and video. Whenever it found something, it sent her an email with a link and pinged her PDA. The hard part had been getting it to ignore advertisements.
She leaned back in her chair and smiled. She started humming to herself and then sang, “The internet is really, really great! I’ve got a fast connection so I don’t have to wait! There's always some new site, I browse all day and night! It's like I’m surfing at the speed of light!”
Damsel quieted and spun her chair as she heard the light click of her door closing. “Heather?” she whispered.
Heather pulled her sister’s door shut and stalked down the hall towards her own room, her boots silent on the plush carpet. She pushed her door shut and leaned against it, slowly sliding down to sit on the floor.
She looked around the dark, dismal room and sighed. “Is there anybody here it doesn't suck to be?” she sang quietly. “It sucks to be me.”
“Fly, fly my pretties,” Cherry said, waving her hands dismissively at the Flying Monkeys. “Find her and bring her to me!” The three boys headed off in different directions, diligently seeking the target set for them by their mistress. “And bring me her little dog, too!” Cherry yelled at their vanishing backs.
“Why do those guys put up with you?” Steve asked, shaking his head in bemusement.
“I’m not sure,” Cherry said thoughtfully. “I’m betting it’s my stunning good looks and captivating personality.”
“Don’t forget your humility and deep sense of self-honesty.”
“Hmm, yeah. That too.”
Sam made his way across the school lawn, neatly evading the small knots of talking students. Concealing himself behind a convenient hedge, he settled in to eavesdrop on a nearby group of Rennies.
“Oh, I went and talked to Mr. Lane about it on Monday,” Jessica said. “He told me that he’d already discussed what happened with Mr. DeMartino and I should keep it loose.”
“Keep it loose?” Damsel asked.
“Yeah.” Jessica glared in the general direction of the music room. “I don’t even know what the hell that means.”
“Sounds like a come-on to me,” Mike said, cracking his knuckles.
“He’s not like that,” Damsel said. “Mr. Lane is really nice.”
“Oh yeah,” Jessica said, turning her glare towards Damsel. “Aren’t you related to him or something?”
“He’s my uncle.”
“I can’t believe that little tramp is gonna get away with busting my lip.”
“It’s not really her fault,” Damsel said. “She was probably drunk, too.”
“Probably.” Jessica sniffed angrily. “I bet she was the one that put that nasty stuff in the punch to begin with. You can’t trust a freak.”
Sam adjusted his baseball cap and casually walked out from behind the hedge. He smiled broadly at Mike and Jessica and nodded at Damsel. He looked meaningfully at Jessica and held one hand out in front of his chest, pretending to hold something fairly small. When he mimed dropping it, she flushed and glared angrily at him.
Still smiling, Sam turned towards Damsel. Doffing his cap in a grand gesture, he made a leg and bowed over it. Standing and replacing his cap, he gestured back in the direction from which he had come.
“I think he wants me to go with him,” Damsel said. “I’ll catch up with you guys later.”
Sam walked back across the lawn with Damsel following behind.
“What do you know?” Mike mused. “A freak with manners.”
“Shut up,” Jessica seethed.
“What?” Damsel asked Cherry, her voice full of impatience.
Cherry rolled her eyes and looked over at Sam. “Wrong twin, moron.”
Sam shrugged and pointed at Damsel.
“Did you think I was serious about the dog thing?” Cherry asked.
“Dog thing?” Damsel said with a scowl. “What dog thing?”
“I’m calling you a bitch,” Cherry said, then turned back to Sam. “Why are you still standing here? Shoo! Shoo!”
Sam rolled his eyes and wandered off, presumably in search of Heather.
“So was there any particular motive to having your henchman drag me over here, or did you just want to get in a couple of cheap insults?”
“Damsel . . .” Steve started.
“No,” Damsel interrupted. “I want to hear what dear cousin Cherish has to say.”
“Cherish?” Steve asked, looking quizzically at Cherry. Cherry rubbed her temples in a vain attempt to ward off a headache.
“My vengeance shall be as a terrible, swift sword,” Cherry muttered.
“Whatever,” Damsel said, turning to leave.
“Wait,” Cherry said, “hang on. Look, I’ve had a bad week. We’ve all had a bad week. I’m sorry.”
“Apology accepted. Now, what do you want?”
“Where’s your sister?”
Damsel’s normally cheerful face settled into a cold non-expression. “What makes you think I know?” she asked in a flat monotone that her mother would have recognized.
“She’s your sister,” Cherry said, startled by the sudden change.
“Yeah, that’s what they said to King Arthur,” Damsel said. Abruptly, she turned and walked into the school building.
“That was strange,” Steve said, watching her leave.
“No, really?” Cherry replied, rolling her eyes.
“Alright, class,” Mr. Miller said. “Read pages eighty-seven through ninety-one and diagram the sentences on page ninety for tomorrow.”
The bell rang, and Cherry was first to slip through the door. Sam was right behind her.
“Ok,” Cherry said. “You head to the lunchroom. If you see her, text me. I’m going to scout around the girls’ bathrooms.”
Sam nodded and headed down the hallway. Cherry started walking the opposite direction, weaving in and out of the crowd of people headed towards lunch. She spotted Heather down the hall, but the redhead turned a corner before Cherry could call out to her.
Hurrying as the crowd thinned, Cherry rounded the corner and looked for her friend. Heather was nowhere to be seen, and as the hall emptied Cherry realized there was nowhere for her to hide. There were no bathrooms in this part of the school, and all the nearby class rooms were still full of students waiting for their turn at the slop in the cafeteria.
Cherry walked the short length of hallway, looking into the dark corners and even peeping into a nearby trash can. Frustrated, she gave the hallway one last look before leaving and noticed a windowless door set near the end of the hall.
Cherry walked up to the door and examined it. It seemed much like the other doors in the hallway, but the lack of a window implied that it didn’t lead to a classroom. There was a light colored rectangular spot about two-thirds of the way up the door that probably used to be a sign saying what was on the other side.
Cherry tried the knob, and found it locked. She glanced around the hallway to see if anyone was around and found herself alone. Tentatively, she knocked on the door.
“Heather?” she whispered. “You in there?”
There wasn’t an answer. Cherry frowned and regarded the door thoughtfully for a few moments.
“Hey,” someone said from behind her. Cherry jumped into the air and spun around, making a high pitched noise. Cherry stared goggle eyed at Damsel, who had backed a few steps away from her.
“I’m sneaking!” Cherry sputtered. “You don’t sneak up on people when they’re sneaking!”
Damsel’s eyes narrowed. “Can I talk to Sméagol, please?”
“Sure. Wait. What?”
“You don’t read at all, do you?” Damsel sighed, and then continued before Cherry could interrupt, “I just wanted to apologize for snapping at you this morning.”
Cherry and Damsel started walking towards the lunch room.
“So,” Cherry asked, “what the heck is Heather doing in that room back there?”
“Dunno,” Damsel said with a shrug. “I think that’s where she’s been sneaking off to every day, though.”
“You don’t know?”
“She hasn’t spoken to me since the dance.”
“Oh. You guys got into a big fight, didn’t you?”
“Yeah. I shot off my mouth and said some things I really shouldn’t have.” Damsel sighed morosely. “I deserved to get slapped.”
“What did you say?”
“Nothing that bears repeating.” Damsel glanced over at her cousin. “Haven’t you heard it from the gossip chain by now?”
“Nah. I think people are afraid to gossip about Heather.”
Damsel shook her head. “You’re just not listening to the right grapevine.”
“Oh.” Cherry shrugged. “You guys get grounded?”
“No. Mom said that she was going to deal with us later and then never got around to it. Probably busy with the movie and all.”
“Yeah, the new Melody Powers movie is opening this weekend. Mom’s been giving interviews and stuff for it, and she’s probably going to fly to LA for the opening night. I think she’s already talked to Aunt Quinn about it.”
“Wait, wait,” Cherry said, stopping in the hallway. “You mean Aunt Daria is D.L. Morgendorffer? She wrote the Melody Powers books, and the movies?”
“Yup,” Damsel answered smugly.
“Nobody ever said anything about it, so I thought the name was a coincidence. I wonder if she’d sign something for me.”
“Probably. She enjoys talking to her fans, I think she likes being appreciated for her writing.”
“Chill. I’ll have to swing by tonight with some stuff.” Cherry’s smile faded a little. “And I’m going to have a talk with your sister. I don’t like the way she’s sneaking around, it’s not healthy.”
With that, the girls entered the lunch room and went their separate ways. Cherry got her lunch and sat at her usual table with Sam and Chaz. The boys nodded as she sat down, she waved half-heartedly at them and started eating.
“No luck?” Chaz asked.
“Sort of luck,” Cherry answered between bites. “I found the room she’s hiding in, I just don’t know how to get in there.”
“I say forget about her,” Chaz said with a shrug. “She wants to go hide somewhere, I say we let her. It’s her business, ain’t it?”
“She’s our friend,” Cherry said, gesturing at Chaz with her fork. “And she’s my family. We’re not going to let her mope around feeling sorry for herself.”
“You’re the boss.”
“Damn right,” Cherry answered. “So, we got a gig for this weekend?”
“We had one, but it got cancelled.”
“Yeah, Luke’s dad said that he was gonna throw a big Melody Powers party Saturday instead of having a band. They’re gonna rig up a projector screen and show the first two movies.”
“Yeah, but I dunno if I like it.” Chaz shrugged again. “The Zon is a pub, not a movie theater. What if he starts doing this stuff all the time?”
“Then I talk to Uncle Trent and we get gigs somewhere else,” Cherry said, rolling her eyes.
“Yeah, ok.” Chaz nodded. “That’s why you’re the boss, Cherry. You have all the good ideas.”
Sam started banging his head on the table, much to Cherry’s amusement.
Cherry felt nervous and out of place, a pair of feelings that she hadn’t been familiar with before the Morgendorffers moved to Lawndale. She took a deep breath and knocked quietly on Daria’s office door.
Cherry stepped into the room and glanced around. The walls were painted industrial grey, and a couple of Jane’s paintings were hanging on them in expensive frames. The furniture consisted of a desk, a chair behind the desk, and two more chairs sitting across from the desk. All of the wood was dark, and looked antique.
Her aunt sat in the chair behind the desk, apparently working on something at her computer. Daria looked at Cherry quizzically.
“Hello, Cherry. Is there something I can do for you?”
“Hi, Aunt Daria.” Cherry smiled nervously and sat in one of the available chairs. “I wanted to ask you, well, that is, I was talking to Damsel today and she said that . . .”
“You want me to sign something, don’t you?” Daria asked.
“Please.” Cherry tried to imitate the ‘sad kitty’ look that she’d seen Damsel flash a few times, but it didn’t seem to have much effect on her aunt.
Daria smirked at her and asked, “What have you got for me?” Cherry slid the chip cases for the first two movies onto the desk and Daria quirked an eyebrow. “What, you didn’t read the books?”
“I did,” Cherry said, blushing. “But I got ‘em as e-books on my computer at home. Nothing to sign.”
“Ah.” Daria pulled a sharpie out of a desk drawer and scrawled a signature on each of the cases, then added ‘to my niece, Cherry Lane.’
“Thanks!” Cherry said, grinning madly.
“You’re welcome,” Daria said. She replaced the sharpie, and pulled a small glass bottle out of the same drawer. She used the bottle to refill the tumbler on her desk and then put it away again.
“Was there something else, Cherry?”
“Sorta, yeah.” Cherry sighed and bit the bullet. “Remember how you wanted me to keep an eye on Heather?”
“I’m sorry I screwed it up. I tried.”
“I know you did, Cherry.” Daria picked up her glass and studied the contents. “We appreciate your efforts, but I think we may have asked too much of you.”
“What? No.” Cherry blinked in confusion. “It’s totally chill, I think family should always try to help each other out.”
“Are you sure you’re a Lane?” Daria asked dryly, and drained her glass.
“Yeah.” Cherry frowned, not liking where the conversation was going. “Anywho, I’m kinda worried about her. She’s been hiding and stuff, none of her friends have seen her in days and I thought you should know she might be upset or something.”
Daria calmly refilled her glass and placed the bottle back into the desk drawer. She stared at her computer screen wordlessly for a moment, then emptied the glass once again.
“Did you hear me?”
“Yes, I did.” Daria looked at Cherry, and Cherry felt a creepy sense of déjà vu when she saw the look on her aunt’s face. “Could you please ask Jane to come in here, if you see her on your way out?”
“Um, ok.” Cherry stood and pocketed her movie chips. “Thanks for the signatures.”
“You’re welcome,” Daria said absently, reaching into the drawer that held her bottle.
Cherry walked back out into the hallway and closed the door. She stood there for a moment, staring at the closed door and the office that lay behind it.
“That,” she muttered to herself, “was in no way awkward or creepy.” Shaking her head, she turned and walked towards the family room to look for Aunt Jane. She’d mentioned that she was going in there to watch the holo after letting Cherry into the house.
She found Jane sitting in the family room, but she was on the telephone and the holo was off.
“Yes, of course Ms. Takahashi,” Jane said into the phone. “I’ll discuss it with her and see to it that it stops. Thanks for calling.” Jane turned the phone off and shook her head.
“Aunt Jane?” Cherry said.
“Yeah, sweetie?” Jane answered. “Whatcha need?”
“Nothing. Aunt Daria wants to talk to you, she asked me to tell you.”
“Ok, thanks.” Jane waited until Cherry was gone and stood up. She raked her fingers through her short hair and squared her shoulders. “Get it together, Morgendorffer,” she muttered to herself. “You’re in a real family now, you need to remember that . . . and stop talking to yourself.”
With that, she headed upstairs to find out what new crisis awaited her in Daria’s office.
The next morning Cherry was lurking in the gap
between two sets of lockers, watching people trickle by on their way to class.
Her target came into view, and
Cherry stepped into the hallway behind her. She followed the dark haired girl about fifteen feet down the hallway and then suddenly grabbed her by one arm and pulled her into the bathroom.
“Hey, hey, hey!” the girl protested. “What the hell, freak?”
Cherry ignored the girl struggling to escape her grasp and glared fiercely at the two girls checking their make-up in the mirror. “Out,” she snarled at them.
As they fled, Cherry turned her glare on her prey in an attempt to frighten her into submission. The other girl finally jerked her arm free and answered Cherry’s glare with one of her own.
“You’ve got good glare,” she commented, “but since I know you’re just doing a Heather imitation I’m not impressed.”
Cherry dropped the glare and smiled brightly at the other girl. “Good one, Katie. Look, you’re the Gossip Queen of Lawndale. I need to know some things.”
“Why should I gossip with you?” Katie asked, rolling her eyes. “You’re not going to have anything juicy to share with me . . . at least not about anybody that matters.” Katie suddenly flashed an innocent smile. “Unless there’s something you’d like to tell me about Steven?”
“I don’t kiss and tell,” Cherry said, “but I can give you a back stage pass to the next Taronado gig.”
“Wow,” Katie said sarcastically, “there’s an offer I can’t resist.”
“I can also introduce you to Luke.” Cherry smirked.
Katie opened and closed her mouth a few times, but said nothing.
“What? You thought temporary hair dye and fake glasses would fool me? You’ve been front row for the last two months, ignoring the whole show except the drummer.” Cherry’s smirk grew predatory. “I noticed, but he’s clueless.”
“Men,” Katie sighed.
“Men,” Cherry answered, nodding.
“Ok,” Katie said, “you ask, I’ll answer. I will deny ever speaking to you if asked and I expect you to do the same. Can you leave the pass for me at the door or something?”
“There’s not an actual pass. I’ll just tell the bouncer you’re ok to come back, and I’ll give him your name.”
“Then we have a deal. Ask.”
“What did the twins argue about at the dance?”
“Damsel accused Heather of being in a gang, killing people, selling drugs, and prostitution. Heather was fine until that last one, and then she damn near slapped the ‘pretty’ clean off Damsel’s face, and then they left.”
“Who spiked the punch?”
Katie’s eyes narrowed. “Remember that part about us both denying we had this conversation?”
“If you go back on that, I will destroy you at this school. Do you understand me?”
“Yeah, whatever. Spill.”
“Mike Leon did it, but it wasn’t his idea. Jessica is the one that bought the stuff, mixed it, and gave it to him. She’s always been the brains of that operation, though, so no surprise there.”
“Dammit!” Cherry said, and kicked the wall. “I knew that half-pint bitch was up to something.”
“I have to ask,” Katie said, “by ‘half-pint bitch’ are you referring to Mike or Jessica?”
“They’re both kinda tiny, ain’t they?”
“Ah, short love.”
Both girls started snickering.
“Ok,” Cherry said. “Thanks for your deniable assistance. I’m heading out, I suggest you spend a minute checking your make-up or something before you follow.”
“I know how to avoid being seen leaving with somebody,” Katie said, rolling her eyes. “First time I’ve needed to worry about it with a girl though.”
“On that note . . .” Cherry said, and headed for the door.
As she left the bathroom, she turned and headed towards the door Heather had disappeared behind the previous day. Cherry had decided her best course of action was to lurk nearby and catch Heather in the hallway.
As she reached the door it banged open and Mike shot out, sprinting down the hallway like his hair was on fire. Cherry watched him run until he turned the corner out of sight and shook her head in confusion. Suddenly, she remembered the door and jumped forward, catching it just before it latched. She pulled it open and looked inside, seeing stairs leading up. Glancing around the hallway and seeing no one, she began to ascend the stairs.
At the top of the stairs she found another door, this one being held open with a little wooden wedge. She pushed the door open and stepped out onto the roof, the tar paper crunching under her boots. Cherry glanced around and saw a big swirly design painted on the roof in badly faded white, red, and green paint. Heather was standing next to the low retaining wall, occupied with working a long braid out of her hair.
“Hey, aren’t you Heather Morgendorffer?” Cherry asked, sauntering up to the other girl. “We went to school together, didn’t we?”
Heather glanced over at Cherry, said nothing, and finished unbraiding her hair.
“So, what were you doing up here with midget man?”
“Sometimes I need to find things out. So I go find somebody that knows more than me and I ask him.” Heather pushed her hair back and looked at Cherry, wearing a slightly creepy non-expression that gave Cherry another twinge of déjà vu. “Sometimes I ask pretty hard.”
“You’re trying to find out who spiked the punch?”
“You know Mike did it, but it wasn’t his idea, right?”
“I seek the will, not the hands,” Heather said, smiling thinly.
“Would you quit quoting at me?” Cherry snapped.
“So let it be written, so let it be done.”
“Dammit, Heather.” Cherry raked her hands through her short hair in frustration. “You can’t just run off half-cocked on some kind of freaky revenge trip. Damsel is worried about you, and frankly you’re creeping me out.”
“Damsel doesn’t worry about anybody but herself.”
“You’d be wrong about that.”
“What makes you think so?”
“She and I had a mostly civil conversation yesterday. She only insulted me once, she compared me to Gollum out of Lord of the Rings.” Cherry paused thoughtfully. “Did you know those were books before they were movies?”
“Maybe she is upset,” Heather said, ignoring the question. “Probably still mad I gave her a bruise.”
Cherry rolled her eyes. “Your parents are worried about you, too. Aunt Jane is really pensive and jumpy, and Aunt Daria was kind of weird and distant.”
“When did you talk to Mom and Dad?” Heather asked, her eyes narrowing.
“Last night.” Cherry blushed a little. “Damsel told me that Aunt Daria writes Melody Powers, and . . .”
“You had her sign something?” Heather interrupted.
“Bad move,” Heather said with a sigh. “She hates Melody Powers, hates the publicity she has to do for it, and especially hates signing stuff for people.”
“Oh. Um . . . why?”
“Did you know that she’s published two books of short stories and close to a hundred essays?”
“That’s why she hates Melody Powers.”
“Oh.” Cherry frowned thoughtfully. “How’d you get Mike to spill the beans on his girlfriend, anyway?”
“We reasoned together,” Heather gestured at the low wall, “and then we took the time to appreciate the great view from up here.”
“You threatened to toss him off the roof!?” Cherry exclaimed. “You could get expelled for that . . . or end up in jail . . . or both!”
“Just let it go,” Heather said, picking up her backpack and walking towards the door.
“You’ve got to stop hiding like this,” Cherry said, following her. “Your family misses you, including me. I talked to Katie the Gossip Queen this morning, for Goddess’ sake.”
Heather stopped at the door and looked back at her cousin. “Stay away from me,” she said flatly. “I don’t want to hurt you, too.” With that, she pulled the door open and vanished down the stairs.
Cherry stood and watched the door slowly swing closed, stopping when it hit the wedge. Suddenly it occurred to her what the sense of déjà vu had been all about. Both of the twins and their mother dropped into the same flat voiced, no facial expression mode when angered or upset. Cherry sighed and rubbed her forehead.
“I gotta talk to Uncle Trent,” she muttered to herself. “Maybe he’ll understand the communal Morgendorffer insanity.”
Daria knocked on her eldest daughter’s door and waited a moment. When there was no answer, she turned the knob and pushed the door open. Stepping inside, she saw Heather sprawled crossways on the bed with her legs propped up on the wall and her head hanging off the edge of the bed. Her eyes were closed and her long red hair swept the floor. Daria sat on the edge of the bed next to her.
“Want to talk about it?” she asked.
“Willing to talk about it anyway?”
“Yes, I’m going to pester you until we talk.”
“Fine. I hurt Damsel and I can’t deal with it.”
“Oddly, she said almost the same thing when I spoke to her. She thinks she deserved to be slapped for what she said.”
“If I’d used my fist I could have broken her jaw.” Heather swallowed. “Or her neck.”
“I think you’re being a little melodramatic.” Daria patted her daughter on the shoulder and continued. “It’s not the first time in the world one sibling has struck another. Quinn and I got into a couple of slap fights when we were younger, and we both survived.”
“Hey, at least you didn’t cut her heart out with a wooden knife in a fruitless attempt to please your creator.”
“Bible. Cain and Abel.”
“Oh. I found out who spiked the punch at the dance.”
“What do you intend to do with that information?”
“I was going to go put the skanky little bitch in the hospital.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“I talked to Cherry. She told me I shouldn’t go get all revenge happy, and that everybody was worried about me.” Heather sighed. “I’m trying to control my temper. I went down to the office and talked to Mr. DeMartino about it instead.”
“I’m proud of you,” Daria said with a small smile. “You did good, kiddo.”
“It seems less satisfying than the pummeling would have been.”
“Only in the short term. Doing the right thing isn’t easy, but in the end you’ll always be glad you did.”
“Hard won motherly wisdom?”
“Something like that,” Daria answered. “So, no more skipping class? No more sneaking into the house and hiding from everybody?”
“Don’t guess, research and know,” Daria said with a small smirk. “Now if you’ll excuse me I have to pack. I’m on a plane to Los Angeles in three hours.” Daria stood, smiled down at her daughter and turned to leave the room.
“Hey, Mom?” Heather said.
“If I broke my arm, you’d take me to the emergency room, right?”
“Of course I would.”
“And if you weren’t around, you’d trust me to know to go by myself, right?”
“I should certainly hope so.”
“Ok.” Heather rolled over on the bed and sat on the edge in the spot recently vacated by her mother. “Thanks, Mom. I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Daria answered, sounding slightly confused. Shaking her head, she left the room to go pack. “Kids,” she sighed to herself.
Heather started pensively at the closed door after her mother left, until her reverie was broken by the sound of her PDA ringing. Without checking the caller ID, she thumbed the device on and held it to the side of her head.
“Hey!” Cherry said, “I’m glad you answered, since your voicemail is full. Where are you?”
“Outside the asylum,” Heather said, glaring towards the phone, “which is more than I can say for you.”
“Great! Come to the Zon, there’s a movie party tonight and it’d be sub-zero if you were there.”
“Because I’m D.L. Morgendorffer’s daughter?”
“Um, because your friends miss seeing you?” Cherry paused. “Besides, Damsel is already playing up the whole author’s daughter angle.”
“I’ll think about it.” Heather turned the phone off and dropped it onto the bed. With a sigh she ran her fingers through her tangled hair and looked around the gloomy room.
“Ah hell,” she muttered, grabbing her boots and starting to strap them on. “I got nothing else to do.”
Disclaimers: Stereo Hifi font is ©1997 by Cathy Davies. This story based on characters and situations created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis. The Daria TV show is a trademark of MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International Inc. and is referenced here without permission, and without profit. Original characters and situations created by the author are under (K) – all rights reversed. Hail Eris.
Author’s Notes: The opening scene for this chapter can be entirely blamed on vlademir1. The rest of the chapter . . . well, I guess you can blame that on me.
Author: the NightGoblyn