Pawnography
A twisted tale from the tortured mind of TAFKA
RATING: <R> 18+ For ages 18 and over.  It contains frequent extreme violence. Wo, hoo!

Explaination time. Anything in blue needs to be cut, it’s comments and/or instruction on your work. The pink bits (thought you’d love that.) are my changes.

A bit of information to help you digest this fic
Due to unfortunate twist of fate, Helen and Jake Morgendorffer were unable to have children of their own. The result is that Jake has managed, for the most part, to have put aside his angst towards his father, and Helen is more interested in actually putting her family before her career(than in the series). Daria and Quinn are actually sisters, who are adopted as teenagers by Helen and Jake Morgendorffer. The Morgendorffers have opted to adopt teenagers since they both have careers which will not allow for the demands of young children. My god, they turned out to be sensible people after all!
This is actually a teaser fic for another project I'm working on. The reason  I'm writing this as a semi-parallel to Daria cannon is simple. There are situations in Daria cannon that I wanted to use - creatively. But having said this I warn you now that this as close to cannon as this fic gets. If you are a purist, I advise you to stop reading this now and go back to from whence you came. If, however you enjoy a nice hearty thriller, then sit back and enjoy the ride.
 

Chapter One - Emergence

Jake looked fondly at the two girls he had, over the past few months, begun to consider his daughters. Two beautiful girls, daughters he could be proud of. He thought about the decision to move from Highland to Lawndale, and this train of thought brought him to considering the effects of the move on his girls. Suddenly gripped by parental concern for their welfare, he spoke to them. "Girls, I hope the move hasn't been too traumatic for you. I mean, I know it's not easy moving to a whole new town after just coming to grips with Highland."

Quinn looked at him speculatively. "Oh, Daddy, it's not so bad. We appreciate what you and mom have done for us." She gave her sister a piercing glance. "Don't we Daria?"

Daria slunk back into her seat. It wasn't fair.

Quinn, younger and much more adaptable than she, was playing her manipulative games again. Daria brewed with anger, but refused to let it show. I'll be damned before I let Quinn win again. Forcing her face into a stony, emotionless mask, she turned to her sister and spoke to her sotto voce. "That's what you want them to believe, isn't it sis?"

Quinn's sunny disposition briefly clouded over, as she chewed on that thought.

Daria smirked. This time, it was going to be different. This time, she intended to win. Hands down.

Jake tapped along to the beat of the music pouring from the tinny sub-woofers. The car pulled into the drop-off bay. "Well, good luck today. Hope you make lots of friends."

Daria pursed her lips sourly. Not if  I can avoid it. It's bad enough having to hear the vacuous prattle of my peers without having it become a constant clamoring in my ears. "Don't let visions of the undead walking prevent us from mingling, you mean?"

Daria climbed out of the car, closely followed by Quinn. As the leggy redhead emerged, a crowd began to form. And, as Daria predicted, vacuous prattle ensued. Daria slammed the door shut, effectively cutting off all further conversation, and stalked off towards the library. Meanwhile, her sister preened like a peacock among pigeons.

As Jake pulled out of the drop-off bay, he had something of an insight. "Daria's always like that. Morose, defiant, sullen. We're going to have to do something about that." he mused. "I can't have one of my girls feeling so down all the time."
He drove off, determined to talk to his wife about it.  Yet moments later, in a traffic jam, he had already forgotten.

 

 

Quinn perused her timetable, hoping that the administration hadn't ballsed it up again. She mentally ticked off the subjects, repeating them to herself in her head. English, Gym (ugh... got to take that... can't avoid it), Physics, Calculus, Math I, Math II.... yep... all there... although I wish I could get rid of Gym. She sighed, knowing her intellect could cause problems with her new friends. She wondered if they would be smart enough to see the connection between her fashion smarts and her mathematical mind. Probably not, she figured. I'll have to tell them some lie or another... if I change my story frequently enough, they should figure that I'm as stupid as they are. Idiots. Quinn looked at the girls who had been the most persistent in their clamoring. Sandi, Stacy and Tiffany - collectively known as the fashion club. She smiled at them, knowing how easy it was going to be to have them bow to her every whim. She briefly considered taking an obvious role of control, but vetoed it in favour of subtlety.. It was much easier to control someone if they thought that they had the power.

 

Daria stomped into the classroom without so much as an upward glance. She threw her bag down on the floor and was seated next to a girl in gothic style clothes, who's hair unkempt hair hung in her eyes. Daria said nothing, preferring to meet her new classmates' tentative glances with a glower that would have knocked down a brick wall, had it been a punch. She brooded momentarily before rummaging through her backpack and snatching out a crumpled timetable. "English. Good." she muttered. She sat back in her chair, visibly relieved. English was one subject she had an affinity for.

 

Andrea looked closely at the girl that sat beside her. A bespectacled figure whose long burgundy bangs concealed a petulant expression. Andrea was intrigued. The girl seemed to be self-contained, and the expression specifically designed to piss people off.

"A mask."

Andrea was surprised to hear herself say it aloud.

Daria turned to face her. "Very perceptive."

Daria smiled, her whole face lighting up. "I also do 'happy'."

Andrea paled, and 'eeped' in a marvelous parody of the heavily endowed head cheerleader. "Don't scare me like that."

She smirked. Daria returned the smirk. Andrea looked at her curiously. "You know, you look a lot like that popular new sophomore when you do that. What is she? Freak of nature? Botched cloning experiment?"

Daria's sour look returned. "Sis... I mean, cousin."

 

 

Daria's demeanor did not improve as the day wore on. She saw nothing overly impressive about this Lawndale High, and quite a bit which was below her high standards. The emphasis on sports in the school was enough to make her shudder, as was the undeniable hostility her fellow students were exhibiting towards her. It never once crossed her mind that she, herself, might have instigated that hostility. None the less, the school day was nearing its median, which meant she had yet another chance to find displeasure with her new surrounds.

She wasn’t disappointed.

Paradoxically, she wasn't disappointed. This makes logical sense, but it does not flow. A paradox is a contradiction in terms…but the term being used is too simple for such a “powerful” verb. Yes, I’m being picky.

Andrea, the gothic girl from her English class, stalked up behind her with a sneer. "Looks like today's special is Roadkill Surprise." she jibed. You used too many “-ed” words together.

Daria snickered.

Andrea continued. "The surprising thing is that the department of health hasn't closed this place down…yet"

Daria parried that comment with one of her own. "The surprising thing is that anyone would be stupid enough put this near their mouths"

Andrea chuckled openly at that one.

 

 

The two sat down at a conveniently vacant table, watching their mindless drones of peers congregating in their sacredly ritualistic midday meal. Across the room, the cheerleaders and the football team watched on enraptured as Kevin performed a perfect imitation of the most basic of mating dances with Brittany - a primitive wooing. Distasteful, carnal, completely in tune with what was about to occur at the table Daria and Andrea had claimed as their own.

Andrea groaned as the resident lecher swaggered his way across the cafeteria to their table. Daria quirked an eyebrow. Andrea shook her head sadly. "This guy is a walking slimeball. I wish he'd just piss off and leave us alone!" Andrea slammed her fist down on the table. "Dammit! I don't want to have to deal with his shit right now!"

Andrea hated Upchuck with a vengeance. Much like the rest of the school, she longed for something graphically violent and quite possibly debilitating to happen to him. She really wished someone would knock some sense into the little sleazeball's mind. As the thought crossed Andrea's mind, a rather large copy of the Increasingly Inaccurately Named Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy omnibus flew through the air, colliding with the head of one Charles Ruttheimer III. (1)

Upchuck was knocked to the ground with a sickening thud.

The room fell silent, yet no one made a move towards their fallen classmate They were still trying to find the launch site of the tome.

Very probably to congratulate the owner of the arm.

The sound of soft clapping rose from a table somewhere close to the far wall of the cafeteria. As more and more people joined in, it rose to thunderous applause.

No one so much as considered the welfare of their fallen classmate.

 

Quinn smirked to herself as she sat in on her first meeting of the fashion club. Things were going to plan. She was currently revelling in her induction as vice president of the fashion club. She felt a warm glow as she listened to the mindless blathering of her cohorts. It was almost a pity their minds could retain nothing save the details of this weeks fashion breakthroughs. Almost.

Interesting as it was to have such mental giants in her thrall, and unassumingly at that, she quickly tired of the chatter. She smirked and decided to play “el presidente” like a well-tuned guitar.

Sandi looked at Quinn speculatively. She seemed to have drifted off during the course of the meeting,and Sandi was going to call her on it. It was Sandi's way to make her fellow students feel insecure. Time for a showdown with miss 'popular on my first day' over there.

"Kuh-wiiiiiiin, are you even paying attention?"

Play dumb, make her work for it.

"Uh, suuuuuuure Sandi. you were talking about the significance of dyeing  chihuahuas purple." (2)

She's falling right into my trap.

"Actually Quinn, we were talking about poodles. And dyeing them lavender, not purple. Why would anyone want to even own anything as ugly as a chihuahua anyway?"

She's falling right into my trap.

"Oh, Sandi, i would never own a chihuahua, but anything you did to it would have to make it less ugly."

I can't believe she is this stupid.

"I sincerely doubt that anything could make a chihuahua look good, Quinn."

I can't believe she's buying this. It's perfect.

"I know, they're like so ugly."

Quinn chuckled. She looked at the girl with long brown braids. What was her name again... ah well I'll find out when Sandi reprimands her, which should be soon. Looks like she's about to say something stupid... again.

Stacy didn't disappoint her.

"I don't know... they're kind of cute..."

Sandi gave her a piercing glare.

"Staaaaaaaaaaacy, how can anything that ugly be cute?"

"Thaaaaaaaat's...... soooooo.... wroooong..." Tiffany contributed in her usual vacant style.

Quinn sat back in her chair smugly, knowing that no matter what she said or did, her vacuity would never be in question.

 

Charles Ruttheimer the third slowly came to on the floor of the now deserted cafeteria. He looked around, dazed, and wondered. How long have I been out? What hit me? Why didn't anyone help me, or at least take me to the sick bay? He rose dizzily, collected his belongings, and staggered his way to the nurse's office. Cut cautious here

 

 

**

 

Janet Barch was having considerable trouble keeping her Biology class under control. Even those stupid males, normally terrified into submission, were chattering loudly among themselves about some affair in the cafeteria.

Ms Barch, was at the end of her tether when the person she least liked of the entire student body, and around whom today's gossip centred, crept cautiously into the room.

Impaling him with her most deadly glare and her voice dripping with venom, she let her displeasure show. "Charles, I see you have finally decided that it is not enough to merely disrupt my class via gossip. Sit! I'll deal with you soon enough."

Upchuck paled and took the first seat he could find, opting not to further enrage the furious divorcee by taking his usual preferred seating behind the voluptuous Brittany Taylor. Still feeling uneasy from his concussion influenced his decision to sit next to the new girl, whom he had been about to accost when a well-placed book had prevented him from doing so.

Hmmm, okay. I’m sure you like this sentence, but I’m thinking you could have fun with the whole “concussion” thing.

Upchuck paled and took the first seat he could find, opting not to further enrage the furious divorcee by taking his usual preferred seating behind the voluptuous Brittany Taylor. Still feeling uneasy from a well-placed book, it’s possible that his decision to sit next to the new girl was influenced by his concussion…

…Or it could have simply been his decision to accost her.

 

Janet surveyed the room with a malicious glare. "Now that the source of your gossip has arrived, you can all SHUT THE HELL UP AND PAY ATTENTION!"

To a person, the room fell silent.

"Thankyou. As I was saying before this bottom-feeding-example-of-natural-selection-gone-wrong decided to favour us with his vile presence, you have an assignment.

The class wince.

“I want you to split up into small groups of no more than four people and study the effects of isolation. This is to prepare you young ladies for the joys that life has in store for you,” Barch glares at all possessors of the Y chromosome. “And to give you MALES a taste of what you seem to expect is the destiny of women in life. Maybe THEN you will think twice before walking out on the one good thing to EVER happen to you after 23 years of wedded life together…”

As Janet “was-discarded-like-a-used-Kleenex-in-an-adult-video-booth” Barch winds up for the usual man-bashing rant, the males of the class sit silently, not brave enough to even blink.

After running out of breath, she reverts back to the lesson-plan.

“I expect you all to isolate yourselves, as a group, for one weekend. You may use any means of deprivation you wish. For this study, you should have at least one 'control' specimen. Now, before we go any further, can anyone tell me what a control specimen is?" Ms Barch perused the mindless idiots in front of her, selecting one seemingly at random. "Charles?"

Upchuck leered at her with his usual grin. He couldn't help himself, he knew how to press her buttons and he knew the results, but his high hormonal imbalance and education at the hands of titles like 'Spanky' and 'Bad Grrrrrrls' resulted in the pornography that he used in leu of communication. "That's the specimen that does what it's told or else.” He paused, savouring a mental picture. “Wearing a leather bustier and a tiny little thong. Rowrrrrrrrrrrrrll!"

Ms Barch's face turned a bright shade of purple. The gall of that slimeball!

In the blink of an eye, Daria's arm whipped out, smashing Charles across the chest and knocking him to the floor. She snapped her arm back in front of her swiftly, realising that she hadn't hit him of her own volition, and not caring anyway. That boy was a jerk, in her opinion. Janet walked up to Upchuck, vengeance in her eyes. She dragged him up roughly by the ear, and smiled at Daria as she frogmarched the boy out of the classroom.

 

Jane had watched with barely concealed envy as the splenetic brunette in the front row decked Upchuck.

She was already upset that she had vetoed salmonella poisoning in favour of extra time in the studio, and having done so, missed the spectacular book-hurling that was until now, the height of gossip. But this display had certainly made up for it. The only thing she was upset about was that she didn't perform the deed herself. With the psychotic biology teacher gone for the duration, now was the perfect opportunity to congratulate the owner of the arm that decked the lecher. The lanky artist sauntered down to the first row, and slid into the chair previously occupied by Upchuck.

"Nice reflexes. Don't let Morris catch on or she'll have you cheerleading in a flash."

Daria turned towards the almost too cheerful voice. "You're the second person who's spoken to me today. Well, third, if you include 'he who must never be allowed to procreate'. So this is what popularity feels like."

Jane smirked. "So what plans do you have for the assignment?"

Daria favoured her with a malicious grin. "I plan to deprive myself of solitude for this assignment, and to have Charles on my team as the control specimen. In a nice soundproof room without lights, one small fridge and a bucket he can use as a latrine. Of course, the downside is that I will have to actually spend time with people."

"Upchuck deprived of human contact for a whole weekend. This I have got to see. Do you mind if I join your team?"

Daria looked her up and down with a cold stare. "You think I'm going to just let you in on this without any reason, other that our mutual desire to see that dickhead forced into isolation?"

Jane smirked. She'd been expecting something like this. She whipped out the picture she had been working on during the class, while the rest of the idiots had been gossiping. It was an accurate rendering of what had actually happened during lunch. Daria blanched. She hadn't realised anyone else had seen the aura around her and Andrea as the book flew across the room.

"How many saw this? How did you get this?"

"Just myself, for now, although I only need to scan it once before the whole world knows about it. And, a girls got to have her secrets, dear. Just like you. Now, do you want to let me on the team?"

Daria just glared at her. Jane smirked.

"Don't bother answering dear, I know your answer. You don't need this little piece of 'fluff' being sent to the offices of Sick Sad World, along with a note explaining the circumstances behind the drawing, do you now?"

Daria scanned the room, and saw that everyone else had collected into small groups while they had been talking. She had no choice.

"Fine. Just don't expect me to enjoy your company."

Jane sat beside her, grinning like a maniac. "I don't. No one has yet, so why break the habit of a lifetime by being all nice and sociable."

Daria allowed herself a slight upturning of the lips. It wasn't anything you could call a smile by any stretch of the imagination. If she wasn't so damn keen on blackmailing me, I could almost like her.

Almost.

 

***

 

The Morgendorffer clan sat together at the kitchen table, discussing the days events as they worked their way through their chinese takeaway. Helen looked at her youngest charge, who seemed animated and quite happy to wile away the rest of the evening talking about the day's exploits. Daria seemed sullen by comparison. Although, to Helen's trained eye, she seemed less despondent than usual. As she looked at her more attentively, Helen fancied she could see the beginnings of a smile forming on her eldest's face. She interrupted Quinn's monologue abruptly.

"Daria, tell us about your day." A pair of brown eyes seemed to bore into her from the relative seclusion of the heavy spectacles she wore. Daria drew a sharp breath.

"Nothing much to tell, really. I'm an outcast on my first day, more than likely thanks to the optical enhancers I'm required to wear to prevent me from being classified legally blind. But then again, why should I have expected one lot of braindead idiots to react any differently to all the others I've had the misfortune to co-exist with? On a more interesting note, some bitch blackmailed me into teaming up with her for a biology assignment. No doubt that too, can be attributed to the one accessory that 'all geeks' have in common. I sincerely doubt that my personality is gregarious enough to cause another person to resort to blackmail to work with me. Also, said assignment requires me to find a suitable living space for two people and a soundproof room with a refrigerator. If  this is going to be a problem, let me know now..."

"Soundproof room? What ever for?" Helen cut her off.

"The control specimen. The assignment is going to be about the effects of deprivation of solitude, and the control specimen must be kept pure of all influences. That way we will know that the data is accurate. All three specimens are to keep logs of their progress throughout the experiment."

Helen blanched. "That ...er... sounds more like a psychological experiment. Besides, where will you be conducting this experiment? We certainly don't have anywhere suitable. And more importantly, for how long?" Helen felt a certain twang as she spoke. She felt more like a lawyer than a mother. Maybe that feeling would pass as she got more practice. Meanwhile, she could pass of the brusque legal tone as motherly concern.

Daria took another breath before replying. The quicker I get this out and said, the sooner I can go and finish 'So Long and Thanks for all the Fish'.

"The teacher in question liked the concept so much, she forgot all about it being a psychological experiment, and gave us the go ahead. The blackmailer has offered to provide her residence as the site for the experiment, as it has a large soundproof room with a bar fridge. She only lives a few blocks away, so you can check in on us at any time over the weekend, should you feel that way inclined. And the duration is three days, from this Friday, lunchtime to the following Monday, lunchtime."

Daria looked Helen squarely in the eye. "Is there anything else you want to know about my miserable excuse for an existence?"

"Er, no..." Helen looked exasperated.

"Good. Can't talk - reading." With that, Daria made a swift exit to the comforts of her beloved padded room.

Jake looked up from the newspaper he was reading and noticed an absence.  "Wasn't Daria here a moment ago?"

After a few seconds of frustrated glances from his wife, he turned back to his newspaper. Momentarily hidden, he frowned heavily -trying to remember what he had forgotten. He knew he had forgotten something. Something to do with Daria. Or…was it Quinn? Ah well, it can't have been that important. If it's important, I'll remember it eventually.

Up in her bedroom, Daria lay on her bed reading Douglas Adams' finest. She smirked to herself. Not if your life depended on it, Jake.

 

 

Chapter Two - Isolation

 

"Why do I have to be the control specimen? Why can't one of you girls do it?"

Once he saw his living space for the next three days, Charles Ruttheimer the third began to panic. Without the pseudo suavity, he was a more timid than a mouse with ten cats on its scent. Daria gave him a malicious grin as she shoved him inside.

"Because we actually like solitude.”

Jane decided to twist the knife a little further. “Besides, it was the only way to get Barch to give us permission to do this assignment."

As Upchuck started to whimper, Jane smirked at him. "Hey, look on the bright side; at least you have a well stocked fridge. Unlike us… We have to deprive ourselves of solitude in order to get food."

Charles began show signs of strain. "A bucket? I have a bucket? Where's the toilet?"

Daria's temper started to flare. "Could you afford a freaking soundproof room that came with a flushing toilet?"

"Errrrrrrr.... no...." Upchuck started to tremble.

"What the hell makes you think I could afford to, then?! We were lucky that Jane's mother has this pottery bunker." She drew a deep breath to calm herself. "Besides, you'll have your pornography. That should keep you busy during the daylight hours. You're lucky this bunker has a skylight."

With that, she gave him a sharp shove, and he tumbled inside.

 

Daria and Jane walked back towards the house. They thought they heard a male voice screaming accompanied by steady, persistent thumps, but shrugged it off. As they walked closed in on the back door, the screams grew louder. Daria raised an eyebrow at Jane, who smirked as she led her to the source of the screams.

They stood at the head of the stairs that led down to the basement. Daria noticed for the first time, that the screams were backed up by an out of tune guitar, a tinny bass and a very simple drum beat.

"Did I forget to mention that my brother is in a band?" Jane said as she led her fellow prisoner down the stairs.

Daria looked at her incredulously. "You forgot to mention you were tone deaf amputees. They sound like crap."

"Piffle! What they don't know won’t hurt them."

Daria merely raised an eyebrow at that one. You don't know just HOW wrong you are, Lane.

Jane reached into her pockets, and pulled out two sets of malleable ear plugs. Daria ripped the packet open before she noticed a familiarity about them.

"These are from the storage closet in the art room, aren't they?"

"Miss Defoe has had the pleasure of meeting Trent."

Daria rolled the narrow end of the earplugs, and placed them in her ears. She squirmed uncomfortably as they expanded to fit he gap. She grimaced as the caterwauling continued.

"She teases and taunts me, she heckles and haunts me...." Trent screeched into the overstressed microphone. " But she's your muse, she's your muse, she's your muse ... and you love her." (3)

"Dammit, I can still hear them."

Jane smirked slightly as the music halted.

"And they can hear you, and your opinion of them, loud and clear."

Daria blanched as she caught a glimpse of the band. I hate you. All of you.

She could feel the anger building up in the room, as the bassist and the drummer had what looked to be a regular argument.

"Why do you keep going batida batida batida blam, when I'm going badum badum badum dum?"

"I keep telling you, it's not batida batida batida blam, it's batida batida batida blat!"

Daria smirked as the tension between the bassist and the drummer filled the air. She could almost smell it, the ozone scent like electricity. She could almost hear it, the zing-crackle of potential danger. And she smirked maliciously, watching with great interest as Max and Nick laid into each other.

First with fists.

Then with instruments.

Then the instruments began to  disintegrate, whether from the force of the blows or from something else altogether, she couldn't tell. It was a beautiful sight. Daria's vision smeared to a pale tint of  iridescent green.

Then the fireballs started flying.

It was a beautiful sight, if you weren't in the firing line.

Blazing balls of white light, sizzling and crackling with energy which popped and scorched the tender flesh of the two musicians. Jane, Jesse and Trent watched in horror as their friends smouldering remains crumpled to the floor. Nobody noticed that the pale green aura surrounding Daria had deepened to an iridescent glow. Bright means the same as iridescent

***

Four dark figures crept across the front lawn of the Lane household. Giggling at the thought of the mischief they had planned, they crept around the side, picking up any medium sized objects they found lying on the ground. Being the Lane residence, there was plenty of ammunition to be found. One of the figures spoke with a hushed 'valley girl' accent.

"Upchuck is going to like, totally freak out when he hears this noise."

"Shhhhhhh. Sandi. You'll wake up the Lanes. Besides, I told you this bunker was soundproof. How's rocking the bunker going to freak him out, if he can't hear a damn thing?"

"Are you, like, questioning my authority Quinn? Because if you are, I would have to totally reconsider your position in the fashion club."

"Oh, no, Sandi, I would never question your authority..." I might if you had any to begin with you brainless twit. "I just think we might be better off coming up with an alternative plan, just in case this doesn't reach our expectations."

"Well, we can think of another plan later. Right now, I have a rock that needs throwing." With that, she flung the rock as hard as she could at what she thought was the bunker. It was, in fact, a small tool shed, as she quickly realized when the rock connected with the aluminium.

Behind them, in the Lane house lights began to blink on.

Quinn started to lose her cool. That idiot ruined everything. I can't believe she's so damn stupid! How could anyone mistake a freaking tool shed for a bunker! Quinn began to pace madly, not watching where she stomped. Her vision began to frost slightly with a perky fluorescent pink. She tripped, landing on the skylight with a loud thunk. Sandi, Stacy and Tiffany, took this chance to make their escape, bolting out past the lawn sculpture as they did so. Quinn, however, fumed where she lay.

Upchuck, laying on his camper-bed directly beneath the skylight, was surprised to hear a quiet knock on the window above him. He glanced up, and saw a very feminine shape silhouetted by the pale moon light. He quickly grabbed his logbook, and noted what he saw. He knew that the saddlebagger would probably have him for breakfast over what was probably a sensory deprivation induced hallucination. It wasn't his fault that he was seeing the silhouetted form of a very attractive woman on the skylight, was it? His skin started itching, and he scratched madly at it, leaving shallow scratches that oozed.

Still staring at the closest thing he’d had for human company, his scratching intensified as the itching persisted. Thoughts solely on the form above him, Upchuck did not notice the strange change that his flesh had undergone. No longer pliable, it began to shred and peel off in strips… Then in chunks…

As Charles Ruttheimer III stared upwards, eyes closed, body disintegrating from the frenzied self-abuse, his thoughts changed from the woman above him to what was of utmost importance…

He felt dirty, deliciously dirty, wonderfully, wickedly sinful.

He felt like lust personified.

He felt... like liquid pleasure.

And it was good.

 

If Upchuck’s thoughts were not solely-focussed on his own little word, and if he still could focus through what remained of his eyes, he would have noticed an iridescent pink light emanating from his cherished silhouette.

 

 

Quinn pushed herself up, not at all surprised that the skylight hadn't caved in. It figures that a shatterproof, triple-glazed skylight would be fitted into a soundproof bunker. That's what I told the moron, but would she listen? She looked closely at the fixture. It hadn't even gained a single scratch. In her haste to depart the scene, she failed to notice the seeming lack of human life in the bunker below.

 

 

***

 

The protoplasmic puddle formerly known as Upchuck slid neatly under the door.

Hah! This place would never have survived a real bombing. Now to test out this lovely liquid form. The puddle oozed towards the house, slid underneath the back door and in through the kitchen. When was the last time this place saw a mop? Or a broom for that matter? The puddle rippled in a vague simulation of a shrug. It made it's way through the lounge and attempted to navigate the stairs. There's only one way to figure out if I can do this. Try. If it don't work, try HARDER!

With a wriggling motion similar to that of a snake, he wove his way up the stairs, zigzagging to avoid the accumulated debris. He reached the landing.

Cripes, that was harder than I thought it would be. He paused for a moment, before approaching the door directly in front of him. Let's see what's behind door number one.

He slid underneath the door, bumping into accumulated junk as he did so. He looked up and shuddered with a quivering ripple. It was not what he had hoped to see. Trent, the scrawny lead singer of the former band Mystic Spiral, was sprawled out on a double bed wearing a dirty, grey, threadbare pair of jocks.

Eeeeewwwwwwwwwww.

The Upchuck puddle made a hasty retreat. Flowing along, motion spoiling the perfect mirror of his glistening film with a slight ripple, Charles found a second door. He hesitated for a moment, afraid that what he might find would resemble his first gruesome encounter. Luckily, his lust overcame his doubts, as he slid with growing skill under the door. He was rewarded with an eyeful.

Rowwwwwwrrrrrrr!

Daria and Jane, in various stages of undress, were arguing with each other.

Two lovely ladies, feisty to boot. Charles Ruttheimer the Third, it's your lucky, lucky day.

 

Jane tensed for a moment. Daria gave her an inquisitive quirk of the eyebrow. "What now?"

"I've got this odd feeling that we're being watched."

Daria shrugged, like it was nothing out of the ordinary. "That's because we are being watched."

As both the girls searched the room, Charles beat a hasty retreat through the gap under the door. I don't care how tantelising those two morsels were. I'm not sticking around to find out just how much pain can be inflicted on liquid lust.

Jane turned on Daria with a malignant sneer. "And just how do you know that someone is watching us?"

"Was." Daria shrugged. "Same way you did. Telepathy."

Jane raised an eyebrow at that one. She never thought that anyone would openly to admit to such a ludicrous thing. "So you're saying that we're both telepathetic?"

Daria shrugged again. "If you want to call it that. I don't give a shit what you want to call it. I have it, you have it, who cares."

Jane looked at Daria incredulously. "You don't care about anything, do you? What about the two corpses down in the basement?"

Daria perked up a bit. "Are you kidding? That was a damn cool show. I've heard of spontaneous combustion. I've always wanted to see it happen. I never thought it would look so damn cool though."

Jane was furious. I know what I damn well saw and it wasn't freaking spontaneous combustion.

"Cool? Two of my brothers best damn friends were lobbing balls of fire at each other, and you think that's cool? Are you some kind of freak?"

Daria smirked at her. Hey, if you want to have a screeching match, why not keep the fucking thing in your head, so you don't wake up your precious freaking brother!

Jane stared at her. Are you reading my mind? These thoughts are PRIVATE property, dammit!

Daria shrugged in reply. Hey, if it's ok for you to pick my brain for your art projects, then it's certainly ok for me to give you a metal arse whipping.

Jane's jaw dropped. How did you.... How long.... Oh, who gives a damn anyway. I want you out of my mind, now!

Daria started to emanate a greenish tinge, as she stood before Jane. In answer to your questions, one - you know the answer already, two - pretty much from the get go.... I know that I was the only one knew about the glow. Now I have a question for you. How long have you been able to do this?

Jane watched as Daria's aura deepened to an iridescent green. She started to panic. My whole.... Getoutgetoutgetoutgetoutgetout!!!!

Daria watched with a serene smile as Jane Lane crumpled to the floor. We won't be doing that again in a hurry, will we Miss Lane?

Jane whimpered as she lay in a crumpled heap. "No..." She moaned.

"And we won't be blackmailing anyone in the future either, will we?"

"No..."

"Now that we have that settled, we can be friends."

Daria looked at the girl slumped at her feet. Dammit to hell, she's passed out.

Jane’s breathing indicated that her slumber wasn’t a pleasant one

Cripes, I didn't mean to hurt her.

She shrugged.

Well, not too much, anyway.

 

 

Chapter 3 - Licentiousness

 

Daria and Jane walked into the classroom together. Daria looked as sullen as ever, and Jane as though she had been subjugated. Ms Barch noticed the difference in Jane immediately. That poor girl has been through something traumatic. From the looks of it, they both have. I'll bet that Ruttheimer boy has something to do with this. A second glance brought something to her attention that she had missed earlier. Jane was carrying three logbooks. And the Ruttheimer boy was nowhere to be seen.

Daria looked her Biology teacher straight in the eye. "The only reason Jane here is carrying three books is because the control specimen seems to have disappeared."

Jane opened her mouth as if to speak.

Daria gave her a casual glance. Not a word, dammit!

Jane closed her mouth quickly, covering it with a hand in a poor attempt to conceal it as a yawn. Janet noticed this, but said nothing.

"We brought in his logbook any way, because it contains some interesting observations by our control specimen." Daria continued.

"Of particular interest is the final log entry. Due to the nature of it, we have assumed that the missing person went in search of his mystery woman. He may be still at large. On the upside, of course, he may have simply been jack of it all, and decided to go home to his x-rated skin flicks, worn out underwear catalogues and a rubbish-bin of sodden tissue."

Daria turned and gave Jane a nod.

Jane handed the logbooks to Ms Barch, and both proceeded out of the room.

 

Janet flipped through the logbooks. As she expected, there was nothing out of the ordinary with them, apart from Charles' abrupt final entry. Except there was something stuck to the paper. Something shrivelled and pasty-white, which has stuck to the page when wet, shrinking and drying on the page. She carefully peeled it off the page, and walked over to a phase-contrast microscope she had been teaching the seniors how to use in the previous period.

Carefully using a razor blade, she sliced a wafer from the object, approximately three cells thick. Placing a slide on the bench and squeezing a drop of distilled water onto it, she carefully positioned the fragment on to the slide using a pair of long nosed tweezers. Satisified with the arrangement, she dropped the coverslip, introduced a drop of Methyl-Blue dye to the edge of the cover and wiped away the excess, also removing the few trapped bubbles of air with a gentle press of her tissue-wrapped thumb.

Taking a moment to admire her competency, Mrs Barch mounted the slip in the microscope stage, dialled in the focus and stared through the eyepiece.

Blinking, she looked again.

And screamed.

 

The film formerly known as Upchuck glided into the girls locker room.

Noiselessly sliding to the basin, he zigzagged up the supports, extending and retracting his form until he was where he wanted – Able to observe without being seen.

Pooled next to the ever-present puddle on the female change bench, he chuckled inwardly.

 

Brittany was feeling particularly effervescent after today's cheerleading practice. She bounced merrily into the girls locker room and thwapped her pompoms down on the counter with a flourish.

"Gah! Watch what you're doing you oaf!"

The voluptuous cheerleader spun around. "Who said that?" She squeaked.

Momentarily puzzled until her brain started to protest, Brittany shrugged at the lack of response and headed off towards her locker. Throwing the door open with another crash, she began her search of a nice, big fluffy towel… And anything that would remove the scent of stale deodorant and recent exertion. Oh, and the sweat from cheerleading.

Upchuck lay on the counter silently, the garish pompoms draped over him. Idiot. If she wasn't such and ignoramus, you could have been busted. He quivered with excitement as a very large bra was flung with abandon over the top of the lockers, landing solidly near the pompoms.

"Ooof!"

This was followed by navy blue t-shirt, and a warm yellow and navy pleated skirt. Brittany wrapped a towel around her ample figure, and picked up the panties she had discarded. Hooking one edge of the waistline with her thumb, and the other with her index finger, she shot it like a rubber band across the locker room. Angie , who was walking towards her locker, was the resultant target.

The sweat stained briefs smacked her squarely in the face.

"Brittany!" She screeched indignantly. "Cant you just shower down like a normal person?"

Her reply came as a blast of steam from the cubicle Brittany was using. Angie hoped she wouldn't be singing today. The last time she did, they had to replace all the windows in the locker room. She sighed as she unceremoniously dumped Brittany's dirty underwear next to the rest of her belongings.

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. Upchuck fainted.

 

Timothy O'Neil was walking towards the staff lounge when he heard a piercing scream. He ran towards the source of the noise, expecting to find a student gagging at the prospect of dissecting a frog, or an unlucky male who had caught Janet’s ire. We really have to talk about her issues concerning the trauma that she’s undergone.

Worried about having to introduce this sensitive topic, when he reached the entry to the Biology lab he was surprised to find Janet alone. He poked his head in the doorway.

"Is everything ok in here?" He asked in a small voice.

Ms Barch turned to face the owner of the voice. "Skin..." She gasped huskily.

Mr O'Neil was used to the erratic mood swings of the menopausal woman, but he still couldn't understand the problem.

"You're looking at skin cells?" He asked.

Janet flushed slightly. When put like that, it didn't seem nearly so horrific. Still, she felt the need to explain herself. "These skin cells may belong to a student who has gone missing."

"Oh." The English teacher reflected momentarily, then brightened. "That's not necessarily a bad thing, is it?"

Ms Barch pointed to the chunk still sitting on the bench. "That is where I obtained my sample."

Timothy paled. "Oh dear." He started to shake.

Janet looked at him with concern, deciding to absolve their fears there and then. "You know, he may have simply barked his shin as he was trying to escape."

“Oh.” Mr O'Neil looked concerned, but no longer shook. "Ah, escape from what, exactly?"

"The project he and those two girls were working on.” Janet blinked, feeling the familiar rage she carried surge suddenly, unearthing bitter memories… “Leaving them to do all the work while he went home to watch some mind-numbing example of body-bouncing, orgasm-faking, plastic-made-flesh pornographic movie!

As Mr O’Neill tried to calm her, the ever-present pain once again expressed itself verbally. “Making the women do all the work while he sits on his ever expanding arse, drinking beer, eating peanuts and COMING ON TO THEIR YOUNGER, MORE ATTRACTIVE SISTERS!" Her eyes wild, she pants as Timothy O’Neill jumped into the fray.

"Now Janet, that's not necessarily what happened.” He felt his courage evaporate as she turned to face him in shock, but he tried to carry on. “Maybe he just got cabin fever and went for a walk... But…didn't…return...."

At Janet’s expression of betrayal, and the possible loss of one of his students, Timothy’s uncertain hold on emotional equilibrium disappears completely… And he breaks down.

With a sigh, Ms Barch helped her distressed, sobbing and shaking colleague out of the classroom in search for some chemical equilibrium.

 

 

Daria watched from her locker, lying in wait until they had gone.

Satisfied that the corridor was clear, she unfolded herself with care from the close confines, closed the locker and walked into the classroom. At the microscope, she concentrated, eyes closed, fists clenched and her small moist tongue poking between pouty lips.

The familiar green glow surrounded her as she focussed. The dried chunk of flesh started moving on the desk, wriggling as though attracted to her. As it launched itself from the table before her, it flew though the air to land neatly in her hand.

She secured her trophy in her pocket.

Taking a deep breath, she concentrates again, this time on the microscope's stage and the slide still present. Slowly, the spring-mounted clips holding the slide in place eased open, the slide moving forward and then leaping towards Daria as if pulled by a thread. Not so much as wincing as the edge of the glass slide sliced into her hand, she simply drew a deep breath and relaxed, placing the mounted specimen in the same pocket that held the chunk of dried flesh. You won't be needing that anymore.

She walked out of the classroom, not noticing the small drop of her blood now drying on the laboratory floor.

 

 

 

Andrea snuck around the treeline towards the carpark , taking the path worn bare by her daily ritual. He would be there. He always was. In that rusty blue Plymouth of his, he would be waiting. She would watch him from a distance, savouring the thought of his lanky form as he draped over the steering wheel.

She quivered with anticipation. Would he notice her this time, as he drowsed lazily, waiting - as he did - for his sister?

She scrambled up her favourite tree to her accustomed branch and gazed at him.

Watching, she let her mind wander back to the time she first saw her Adonis.

It was about three months ago. It was an unseasonably warm afternoon, one she felt like cutting short. O'Neill had been blathering about a particularly sappy novel. For the life of her, Andrea couldn't recall what it was. Not that it mattered. That was the day she first saw him.

Her vision of perfection.

Her ideal.

Her...

Andrea couldn't concentrate on those thoughts any longer, her mind turning instead to the physique below the grubby shirt, the torn jeans, the unkempt hair. Carnal. Evil. Wicked. She could hear the mental slaps of so much virtuous propaganda in her head. She blushed, in her mind caressing his with warm, welcoming thoughts. Andrea shuddered inwardly at her thoughts. My mind's like cotton candy on a sugar rush. It's sickening. It's cloying. It's..... it's so nice to be even this close to him.

Andrea sighed as her two natures conflicted, like muse and artist, ever at odds. One part of her wanted to give in to the saccharine depths of her adoration. The other fought against the emotion, calling it weak, shallow.

She felt as though she was tearing apart.

 

Inside the blue Plymouth, the lanky musician dozed. Face pushed up against the steering wheel, mouth slightly ajar. A small puddle of drool collected on the dash as he snored. Trent could sleep anywhere, anytime. He needed to. The rigours of dealing with his fellow musicians were exhausting. Sometimes he wondered why he put up with them. Then realisation would dawn on him. Like it or not, they were all he had.

Trent started as he heard a wet thud two metres away from his beat up vehicle. Wondering what could make such an unpleasant sound, he quickly opened the door and dashed out, dazed.

He looked about, trying to discern from whence the sound came. He walked over to a small line of trees.

In the grass were a bundle of bloody rags. And what appeared to have once been a human body.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Tiny droplets of moisture dripped down on Trent's head. Absently brushing at the dampness that he felt in his hair, he felt queasy looking at the distorted figure.

He stood under the branches, bending over to get a closer look, drawn to the tangled carcass with morbid curiosity. The dripping continued, the pace now slowing. Trent's hand again reached to wipe away the moisture. That's funny. I don't remember it raining this afternoon. He looked at the back of his hand; surprised to see it smeared with blood. He looked up.

The fresh half corpse of the girl dripped now-congealing blood; the crimson sliding gruesomely down pale, pink bone onto his face.

Trent blanched, then turned a pale green. Gripping his stomach, he turned away from the fleshy remains clinging to the bones resting in the forked branches.

 

In the distance, in the window of a classroom facing the scene, a bespectacled brunette watched as Trent voided the contents of his stomach.

She smiled.

“Daria, would you mind moving back to your seat?” Timothy asked, laying a gentle hand on her shoulder.

Daria shrugged the hand away, and returned to her seat, the smile fading, but still present. In the back corner, Jane noticed this and frowned. When that girl smiles, something has got to be up... but what?

Nobody noticed the absence of Andrea, for she was rarely in the classroom after 2.30pm anymore. The class resumed its usual inane chatter about anything other than the Shakespearian soliloquies their English teacher was trying to fill their minds with. Inside the classroom, it was business as usual.

 

 

 

 

“The Kevin Scene”

 

As Kevin straightened from the huddle, a warm yellow glow blinded him momentarily. “Must have been a banner, or something,” he thought.

He shook his head and concentrated on what was important, the game. They were 2 points down, they had to cover 20 yards and the Penguins were itching to revenge their earlier losses.

C’mon Mack Daddy, call it! Call it!

As if hearing Kevin’s wishes, Mack called the play and Kevin jumped for the ball. Hurdling one overly-eager interception, the same light flashed again.

Blinking furiously, he dodged another set of outstretched hands and lengthened his stride.

As he powered down to leverage his way out of a rapidly-approaching line of defence, a hollow crack echoed through his body, accompanied by a ragged wave of pain. Trying to scream as his entire skeletal system shattered like a glass Christmas bauble, Kevin fell, still holding the ball.

The rest of the Penguin Defence piled on Kevin, driving countless shards of his brittle skeleton through skin, through vital organs and as the Linebacker dived on top, through his rarely-used brain.

 

Daria watched from the sidelines, emotionless, as the shocked Penguins discover what was beneath the tackle.

Then she smiles.

“Rah! Rah! Rah!”

Jake beams. “That’s the spirit Daria!”

 

 

 

 

Andrea bits:

Ok, In this I’ve Andrea coming back...don’t ask how, I’ve not yet figured this wholly out, but I’m thinking that this could be used to dent Daria’s fašade.

 

As Daria opened he locker, she felt slightly uneasy. Casting around with more than the usual number of senses and finding nothing, she shrugged, opened her locker and organised her books for the period. The same sense of unease filled her, and she frowned as she closed the locker door.

To stare directly into Andrea’s face.

“What’s the matter, Daria?” Asked Lawndale’s no-longer-resident Goth. “Seen a ghost?”

“Daria!” Shocked, Daria turns from Andrea’s paler-than-usual face to see Jane running towards her.

“What?”

Jane covers the distance quickly. “It’s Trent, the Police think he’s found a body!” She looks at Daria. “What’s wrong?”

As Daria goes to wave a hand at Andrea, she stops herself.

No one is there.

 

 

Inside the Biology Lab, the last flickers of daylight deepens the shadows into a universe of darkness. However, there is still enough light to see the forgotten drop of blood left by Daria. As the night stalks closer, the droplets fade away.

 

 

Jane checks her eyes and yawns to work out the lethargy felt after having to sit through one of O’Neill’s patented slumber-secessions. Opening her bag, she extracts her lipstick and pops the top.

Andrea stares from behind her in the mirror.

“Yarrgh! God, Andrea, don’t sneak up on people like that!” Jane whirls, startled.

Andrea walks over and extracts eyeliner from somewhere.

“Why?”

Jane jokingly replied, “Well, heart disease is a major killer…” She pauses as some details sink in. “Are you using a different foundation or something?”

Andea looks up from the re-application. “Why?” She repeats.

“Well, you’re just looking paler than usual.”

“Oh,” the Goth starts again. “No.”

Jane looks to the mirror and concentrates on her lipstick. “Well, have you seen..?”

When she looks over to find Andrea not there.

More than slightly spooked, she scans the room.

Nothing.