"Daria, I can't believe that you and Jean started a riot in your school like that."
"Mom, it wasn't a riot. Upchuck made one of his typical pig remarks to Jane when she was already upset and she hit him. Frankly I think he got what he deserved."
"Well, that's the sort of attitude that gets you into this kind of trouble! If you'd only spoken to me about it, instead of resorting to violence, I could have gotten a court order against him, or something."
"He's in three of our classes with us. Besides, with everything else that was going on, its no surprise that someone snapped. Every student in Lawndale was wondering what was going on."
"Oh my God! Did you hear about this?" Dad said, pointing to the headline in the paper about Mr. Sevrin's murder.
"Jake, will you please pay..."
"Mom, this is what I'm talking about. We were all sitting around waiting to find out what had happened and a lot of us were getting nervous about it. Jane was begining to panic when her chair broke. Twice. Is it really surprising that she blew up at Chuck when he started hitting on her?"
"That's still no excuse for violence. Really, Daria, I can't let you hang around with someone who is going to be a bad influence on you like..."
"EEEEEEEW! It looks like something ate him!" Quinn was staring at the lurid color photos of the dead gym teacher.
"Jake, will you please put that away, its disturbing the children!" Then, turning back to me, "I refuse to let you spend any more time with this Joan person. And that goes double for her brother. You shouldn't be spending so much time with an older man, especially one as aimless as he is."
"You confidence in my judgement is overwhelming. If you don't mind, I'm going up to my room to pick up the shattered pieces of my life."
"Daria, don't you dare ignore me! If you don't come back here this instant, I'll, I'll...send you to your room!"
"Darling, does Daria seem upset to you?"
By the time I get upstairs, Jane is already waiting for me in my room. She has a bandage on one hand and a black eye. I knew about the black eye; she ran into a door on the way out of school.
"I guess you heard that, huh?"
"In Dolby stereo. Lock the door, will you?"
I wave a hand at the door and the lock moves itself into place. For some reason, there's a lot of that wierd energy around in my room, and it makes it easier to do that sort of thing.
"Great," she says, waving a newspaper in my face, "have you seen this yet?"
"Dad was busy reading it. Quinn nearly vomited when she saw the photos."
"Well, I guess some good can come out of tragedy, after all." Sitting on my bed, she continued, "According to the article, he was attacked by some kind of animal, but no one remembers seeing anything like that on the school grounds."
"Well, a bear wandering the halls isn't really something that would draw attention, is it?"
"Aaaactuallly....they say that the bite marks are remarkably like those of a wolf."
"Jane, don't even say it. There's no way in a million years that you're going to convince me that..." I stopped short.
"Well, it sure wasn't aliens. And at least one student who was near the gym office at the time fainted. Whatever she saw, it must have scared the piss out of her, 'cos she doesn't remember any of it."
"Jane, there's got to be a better explanation than..."
"Quit doing you Scully impression and sit down. We both know that ordinary explanations don't work. We went over that when our psychic powers started appearing. Now, we know that some people...like you and me...can do things like teleport and read minds and screw around with time. The two of us do it all the time lately. You've seen enough Sick, Sad World to know that there's all kinds of crazy shit out there. Remember the Serculius thing?"
Of course. It was the first time that Highland was on Sick, Sad World: some kind of talking cloud appeared at a monster truck rally and dumped an enormous pile of crap on everyone. I even remember what Beavis and Butthead looked like on the way home; it was the best laugh I'd had in a long time.
Coming back out of my litle flashback, I said, "That still doesn't mean that werewolves exist. I've got to draw the line somewhere."
"You can't draw a straight line to save your life."
Thank you miss art critic. "Funny. Not that you'll be drawing any time soon from the look of things. What happened, anyway?"
"Tried to pick up one of my mom's vases when it was still hot. Don't change the subject. Just because you don't believe in something doesn't mean it can't exist."
"It doesn't mean it does either. I know you're into the whole Area 51, X-Files thing, but..."
"But nothing. The truth is out there, and we already have a piece of it ourselves. Why can't you accept that?"
"Let's not argue over this anymore. What else does the paper say?"
"OK. According to reports, there were bloody tracks of some kind leading from the office to the girl's locker room. They end right in front of one of the sinks."
"So what did it do, fall down the drain? Jump into the looking glass? I don't remember any werewolves in Wonderland..."
"May be it just turned back to it's normal form. Maybe its just one of the students, like you and me."
"Oh, of course. Brittany's a werewolf. Sure."
"What? I never said Brittany. Are you still convinced that she's got some kind of powers?"
"I'm not sure. It's a terrifying thought."
"That's for sure. The biggest ditz in school turning into a giant killing machine. Just what Lawndale needs."
The next day, there was a meeting in the principal's office about Jane's fight with Upchuck. To make a long story short, Ms. Li concluded that Jane had been perfectly right to 'proactively respond to Charles' unwanted advances' and gave Upchuck a week's detention. I suspect that her conference with Ms. Barch just beforehand may have had something to do with her decision.
Anyway, as we were coming out of her office, we saw Brittany in the hallway. She was wearing a blue dress, and had an odd look on her face.
"Uh, Daria? Can I talk to you?" Oh, no, its time for me to be 'the misery chick' again. I'll probably be getting this all day.
"Sure. I'll bet you want to talk to me about Coach Sevrin, right?"
Panic flashed on her face. "Uh, yeah. I mean, its not like there was anything I had to do with it, but its really wierd, y'know?"
"Oh, I thought giant animals appeared out of nowhere to eat people all the time."
"You do? I mean, why d'you say that?"
"Never mind. I'll bet that you feel guilty because you never really thought much about Mr. Sevrin, and now that he's gone you can't help thinking that something might happen to you suddenly, right?"
"Uh, yeah, I mean no, I...." she was turning paler. "...I mean, he was a real jerk of a teacher anyway, but its not like he deserved it, y'know? I mean, it just sort of happened, right?"
"Yeah." Jane was obviously bored stupid, and I could guess what was coming next, as burst of psi energy flared out from her. "It really makes you think, doesn't it?"
Well, that was original, I thought at her. A chill welled up on my spine, as I 'remembered' her reply. Hey, it worked, didn't it? That much was clear, from the stricken look on Brittany's face; it must be hard to have to think so much when you have so little practice. Easy target, she continued.
We'd better just leave her with her pain, I answer, slowly moving on. A slight grin crosses both our faces once we're out of sight.
It wasn't until the end of the day that anything else happened. Or rather, didn't happen.
What didn't happen was Kevin leaning on my locker like he usually does. Instead, he was just sort of standing in front Brittany's locker, looking more confused than usual.
"Uh, Darlene? Have you seen Brittany around?"
"Its Daria, and no, not since this morning."
"Oh, wow. She was really upset today, and she hasn't been around since before lunch. I mean its kind of depressing me too, y'know? The thing about Coach Sevrin. It really..."
"...makes you think. Listen, why don't you just see if she's gone home? She probably could use you're firm guidance in this time of troubles, you know."
"Yeah! I bet she's waiting for me right now!" Sarcasm is wasted on him, obviously. "Thanks!"
He ran down the hall to where his own locker was. Problem solved.
Or perhaps not. A few minutes later, I heard some shouting from just about that vicinity. Intrepid investigator that I aspire to be, I walk over to see what's happening.
"YOU BASTARD! How can you go around with your best friend's girl like that?"
"Are you crazy? I asked you how it got in my locker in the first place!"
"Oh, sure. I'm sure you planned it that way, to make me think it wasn't you!"
"Kevin, your nuts! Take a look at it! It s all torn up and bloody like Coach's clothes were! Aren't you..."
"Sure there torn up! You couldn't pull'em off her fast enough!"
"Aren't you worried about what's happened to her..."
"You better worry about what I'm gonna do to you..."
Wonderful. I pull up a little closer, and can see that, sure enough, Mac's got a shredded cheerleader's outfit in his hands.
This is getting really scary. Brittany's missing, and her clothes are all torn up? Is she the victim of whatever it is that's around? And why would it end up in Mack's locker?
[Introduction] [Part 1] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Story Notes]