NOTE TO READER:
I'M NOT SURE HOW DISTURBING SOME PEOPLE WILL FIND THIS STORY - IT WAS WRITTEN IN AN ATTEMPT TO BREAK A THREE YEAR STINT OF WRITERS BLOCK, AND THE CHARACTERS JUST ALL FELL INTO PLACE. SORRY IF I'VE OFFENDED ANYBODY, BUT SOMETIMES A GIRL'S GOTTA WRITE WHAT A GIRL'S GOTTA WRITE. (AND ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, ALL MY SUBSEQUENT EFFORTS HAVE BEEN FAR MORE UPBEAT AND SNICKER-WORTHY...WELL, MAYBE CHORTLE-WORTHY BUT WHEN YOU GET INSPIRED TO WRITE ABOUT JELLY EXPLODING WHAT ELSE DO YOU EXPECT?) ANYWAYS, IT'S A SHORT AVENUE OF EXPLORATION BEHIND DARIA'S MORE ISOLATIONIST TRAITS. I'M NOT THE WORLD'S GREATEST WRITER, BUT I'VE TRIED TO KEEP IT AS TRUE AS I COULD WITHOUT DESCENDING INTO AN ANGST-FEST.
I WOULD SAY ENJOY, BUT AFTER THAT INTRODUCTION IT SEEMS KINDA FACETIOUS, DON'T IT?
Feet against the desk, back against the door. Listening carefully for movement. Dark, very dark. A creak. Sitting up straight, barely breathing. Clock glowing, three twenty am. Eyes wide, heart racing, waiting for the telltale noise. Waiting. Waiting. Breathing out. Picking up the book. Squinting, orange street glow. Lids falling - NO! Waiting, always waiting.
"Yo, Daria!" Startled out of her reverie, Daria Morgendorffer turned to look at the source of the welcome reprieve - a smock coated, paint encrusted restless hub of energy, Jane Lane. Despite her odd appearance, and manic glee - Daria could not miss the look of concern boring through the paint.
"You okay? You were totally zoned out there. Thought the paint fumes had got ya." Despite the chill Daria still felt she smirked at her friend. The paint fumes thing had been a long standing joke, and like any long standing joke between friends, the comfort and familiarity in the simple gesture warmed Daria, more than any superficial sentiment ever could.
"Fine Jane, just trying to work out where the third pink elephant went." Awarded with an eye roll for the dry humour, Jane returned to her work. When the muse hit, it hit hard, and not much could get in between Jane Lane and a blank canvas, or any surface for that matter, when she was in full flow.
Glancing at the clock, Daria sighed. Time to return to the homestead, or risk being trapped there for the next week. Missing curfew got you a week in Morgendorffer family court, and that was something Daria could ill-afford at the moment. Stretching her legs as she stood, she indicated to Jane she could let herself out and was waved away.
Smirking as she closed the door behind her - Jane had such a royal air sometimes. Probably came from her confidence in herself and her art - Daria both admired and envied that quality, something that had been taken completely from her...
Stopping that line of thought she turned to walk down the stairs, and immediately collided with something solid.
"Aah!" Clamping her hand over her mouth at her shock, Daria looked at the source of her fright. Tall, dark, and handsome fright it had been, yet genuine nevertheless.
"Whoa Daria - you alright? Didn't see ya there. Sorry - was just wandering, the muse hitting ya know?"
Daria nodded dumbly. Trent was a nerve wracking experience enough at times - totally narcoleptic, yet unnervingly perceptive - it seemed to Daria he could see right through to her inner most secrets. And with the 'visit' next week, it was something she really didn't want to test out right now.
"Daria?" Trent bent down to her height, and looked straight in her eyes.
It's so dark...CREAK! Push harder! A lock, all I want is a lock!
"Daria!" Seizing up as she felt hands clasp around her wrists, the panic set in.
"Leggo!!" She wrenched her arms from Trent, and turned to run. Stumbling blindly down the stairs, and out into the night - away from her one refuge, and back to the past.
Troubled, Trent half-thought to go after her, but after seeing the blind terror in her eyes a few seconds ago, he turned and walked into Jane's room, where she was looking out at window, presumably at the slight brunette hurrying along the street.
"Did you hear that?" Janey, still gazing out of the window, gave an imperceptible nod. Trent moved forward to join her, watching the tiny figure as it turned out of sight.
"She was terrified, Janey. Like, trapped animal terrified. I've never seen her freak like that." Jane sighed and turned to look at the one remaining member of her bohemian family. Trent may have been a total slacker for sure, but he was a good guy. He cared more than he should sometimes, and while he held few close, those he did he protected fiercely. Perhaps that could have been why, along with concern for Daria, she could read buried hurt in his eyes.
Moving over to her bed, she sat and looked up at her brother. Motioning for him to sit, he settled cross-legged on the floor, and cursed softly as he pulled a paintbrush out from under him.
"I don't know what's going on with her Trent, I really don't. She's been so jumpy these past few days, and she keeps zoning out when I'm talking to her. She nearly hit me the other day when I went to shake her out of it." Jane was startled to feel tears in her eyes, and quickly moved towards the window. Staring off in the direction her friend disappeared, she shivered and tried to swallow the pain she was feeling for her normally stoic friend.
Rising from the floor, Trent went to put his arm around his little sister. The Lane home was somewhat a lost and found for society's outcasts, a place where the real world never intruded, a solace from the pain of isolation. Trent liked to think of his home this way - in that it drew the hidden gems from the cheap costume jewellery of society. Daria was truly one of the hidden gems, and sometimes she sparkled so bright it was difficult for Trent to imagine that she was anything less than gifted by the Gods. To see her fragmented like that shook him to his core.
"Trent, she's really afraid of something! This is Daria! I thought she was indestructible, that no matter what she'd just brush it off and keep going." Resting her head on her brothers shoulder she whispered;
"I don't know how to help her."
Jane began to cry quietly while Trent tightened his grip on his little sister. He knew what Janey was really afraid of - that if she couldn't help Daria, Daria wouldn't help herself - and God only knew what would happen then.
For the first time in his life, Trent Lane couldn't make it all better for his little sister.
Daria couldn't bring herself to sleep. The vague memories that had begun reinvading her consciousness over the last week caused her subconscious to form increasingly disturbing images and vivid flashbacks while sleeping. To be fair, lying awake would probably leave her more rested.
"I thought I'd left this behind when we left that goddamned town," she whispered to herself in the dark. Why would he come back now? Why did he have to? Why did her parents not realise? Why did no one realise?
A small voice spoke up in the back of her mind. Because you never told them. It was a sacrifice you made at the time. You can't waste all those years by telling them now, can you? An even smaller voice spoke after that - would they even believe you anyway?
Her chest tightening at that last thought, she threw off the covers and went to look out the window. It was peaceful, quiet - just your usual suburban town. But Daria knew better - she knew what horrible secrets could linger behind the two point four, two car façade of normality. She knew first hand, because she kept them herself.
Willing herself to breathe easy, Daria began to think out her tactics for the coming week. Three days. Three days wouldn't be so hard. One was a Saturday night, so she could stay at Jane's. The Sunday would be more difficult however - for some reason they had always been the toughest back in Highland, and this time looked to be no different. Supposing she could circumvent the parental units she could visit the library in Morristown - that would bypass the whole day, yet...yet...the night. Feeling the sweat break out on her palms, she rubbed them on her legs.
Feet against the desk; back against the door. Dark.
Shaking her head to clear it, Daria began pacing the room. Anger flared through her like a beacon. She wasn't a scared ten year old anymore damnit! She shouldn't have to be even considering this. The futility of it all made her want to throw things, bang her head of the wall till she couldn't think anymore - it made her want to get out her 'kit' for the first time in years.
Rummaging through her pillow bank she found what she was looking for directly at the bottom - a two inch broken piece from a vase, a lighter and a well worn pack of Marlboro Lights.
Leaning out of her window five minutes later, blowing the smoke into the cool night air she found some release. The bloodletting was symbolic, normally done by ripping the outer layers of skin on her thigh, till it trickled down her legs, and onto the floor. The cigarettes were the relaxant - they settled her nerves, as much as they could be anyway, and let her focus on nothing but the glowing red tip for five glorious minutes. It had been many years since she had performed this ritual, and it saddened her that it had come back to this, especially after this had felt like a clean break.
The voice returned. If it felt so much like a clean break then why did you keep the cigarettes? Hating the truth that lay within her, Daria took one last draw of the smoky intoxicant and put it out on her thigh.
Any comments, ideas, responses, anthrax mailings and/or outraged ramblings send 'em my way - I've been getting too soft lately anyway and I'd appreciate an opportunity to flex my claws. Or at the very least practice my headlocks, a girl can never get too much of a good noogie. :D
Daria Morgendorffer et all belong to MTV, Glenn Eichler, and defintely NOT ME!
Elle Elle 2004