Legal disclaimer: This story is in no way affiliated with MTV. Daria, Jane, etc. are copyright MTV and used here without express permission.
This is my first attempt at a piece of Fan Fiction, some of you may feel you know this story and some of you will be right. The basic plot outline has been loosely taken from the 1988 film Paperhouse.
Daria has fallen seriously Ill, it is enough to have put her into the local Hospital. Jane is with her through this as is Helen, the story goes on to show how Daria is feeling about the dreams she is having from the morphine she has been given for the pain.
Daria’s House – Written by Eccles (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“Now then class for next week I want you to draw me something from your imagination, something that you have never drawn for me before and without using any outside influences. No magazines, Posters or Pictures nor still life, I want to see what you can do from within.”
“Miss Defoe does that mean I can’t do a picture on cheerleaders?”
“Yes Brittany I am afraid it does.”
“Or’ Babe you could always do one on the Team instead.”
“Oh Kevin you’re so sweet.”
“Well that’s the bell class; so remember everyone I want these in for next week.”
After Art class Daria and Jane made their usual way to Lunch and spent it on the roof of the school building not wanting to be part of the inevitable food fight that would be happening in the school cafeteria.
“This should be an interesting project for Ms Defoe then Daria, no outside influences at all?”
“It is certainly different, so how are you going to go about it Jane?”
“I am not sure yet, abstract would be one method but that is too easy and the last piece I did for her was an abstract so she may decide that I have not followed the brief.”
“Jane Lane; are you telling me you are worried about following rules…”
“No not worried but I do like the idea of this piece, to do something original from within.”
“Yes well how are you to do something without outside influences? All our lives have been shaped by things that have happened to us, things in the media, things we have read.”
“You have a point their Daria, so can I stay at your place this weekend? Your padded room might be enough of an edge to declare that no outside influences forced my hand in the creation of my work.”
“well I don’t see how we are to accomplish this task from no outside influences, even talking like this is one form of influence outside of ourselves?”
“I see what you mean Daria but in that case I have a question for you, How do you manage to write the stories that you do without copying anyone else’s story?”
“That’s a good point and it has given me an idea for my art project.”
“Well Morgendorffer if something I have said has given you an idea of how you can do your art piece then I declare right now that it has been from an outside influence.”
“Will it make you feel better if I say you can stay over this weekend to work on yours Jane.”
“Thanks I would appreciate it, Trent will be practising all weekend with Jesse as the Indestructible Tank has broken down again. So what is the big idea you’ve had?”
“It’s simple and almost follows the brief for her, at least follows it enough to keep my grade point, I will write a short story and base my picture on the story.”
“Not a bad plan but a bit time consuming, anyway it is English next and then History and then we can start on these pictures.”
Later that day Daria and Jane were walking home to Daria’s house. Jane has already dropped her things at her home collected her art supplies and left a note for Trent saying where she would be this weekend.
“So have you had any more thoughts on your art assignment Daria?”
“I started writing my story in English class and I’ve almost finished it, definitely more than enough to create the picture for Ms Defoe’s art class.”
“Well that didn’t take long, but what about the work for Mr O’Neill we were supposed to be reading Steinbeck”
“Oh that, I read that book three months ago, so I figured I would get a head start on the art work, and you know Mr O’Neill he never says anything as long as you’re quiet.”
“Yeah’ that’s true the worst thing he did to you was make you write a story for homework. Do you want to get some pizza before we get started?”
Daria and Jane went to the pizza shop. They dump their bags at Daria’s house first and set up Daria’s room so that they could both be comfortable and survive 3 days locked in near total isolation. Daria who preferred working on a smaller scale to Jane took her desk whilst Jane set up her easel.
They had done this a few times by now and had a perfect system worked out, so whilst Jane was unfolding Daria’s sofa bed, Daria found the spear bedding for Jane. Before Jane had even finished making her bed Daria had already finished her story and had begun typing it into the computer.
“You ready to go?” Jane asked “Sure I will get back to this later” Daria replied, “Are you going to let me read this story then?” “No not this one I just needed it for my picture, I won’t say it is the best work I have ever done.”
They finally made their way to the pizza restaurant, a simple place where they were both known and liked by the owner. They sat in their usual booth that had one of Jane’s own paintings on the wall above the table, both a present to the owner and a joke to Daria, Jane and a few other close friends. The picture of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers was from Jane’s adventure into the world of an Artwork Hack and although a present the free pizzas had more than made up for the cost of the canvas and paint.
They gave there usual order of a medium pizza to share but to Jane’s surprise Daria also ordered a portion of chicken fingers as well as her usual root beer.
“You know Morgendorffer those Chicken things will kill you.”
“Since when have you been against Junk food Lane?”
“I’m not against Junk food only processed chicken. Nicholas the bass player from Mystic Spiral spent 2 days in intensive care attached to a saline drip and a stomach pump after eating that stuff, and you know all these chickens that you see in supermarkets, you never see their heads. All those Chickens and no skulls it just gets you thinking…”
“Well I’ll risk it I like living dangerously.”
A few minutes later their order arrived Daria again offered Jane some of her chicken fingers but Jane flatly refused. They finish their meal and made their way back to Daria’s house.
For the next few hours both were working hard on their separate pieces, whilst Daria’s radio played quietly to itself unheard by either of them.
Jane was cursing quietly with every line she had drawn and quite a few discarded sketches were lying at her feet.
Daria had taken longer than she had expected to finish her short story but had now started on her own drawing, at first glance it started to look like a five year old child’s picture of a stylised farm cottage. A big front door placed in the middle of the house, five oblong windows scattered evenly around, two down stairs and three on the first floor. A chimney with smoke billowing, a garden with an apple tree, and of courses the picket fence. However the viewers eyes were drawn to the top right window where clearly a boys face could be seen sadly looking down onto the world below.
Suddenly Daria got up with a start and rushed to the door, as she left the room Jane called out I told you not to eat those Chicken things and carried on with her own work.
Daria was going to be in for a ruff night, it was twenty minutes before she came back nearly nine o’clock, she entered her room shaking and with a slight glistening of cold sweat on her forehead, Jane took one look at her and all thought of her own work disappeared to be replaced with concern for her best friend. She helped her to her bed shocked at the sudden change that had come over her.
Daria grateful not to be alone let Jane help her out of her clothes and into her sleeping things and climbed in to her bed, she knew she had not finished her project but felt it could definitely wait until tomorrow.
Jane waited for Daria to fall asleep and went to tell Helen what had happened to Daria. Helen was very grateful that Jane was there at the time and asked Jane what she wanted to do, whether she still wanted to stay the night or if she preferred to go back home, Jane said she would prefer to stay if it was okay and that she could help keep an eye on Daria through the night, for this was not the first time that Daria had been taken ill like this.
Daria woke with a start, she was surprised to find herself in her own bed and wondered how she had got there. She found her glasses in their usual place on the bedside table and put them on. The first thing she saw clearly was the concerned face of her best friend Jane.
Jane had finally settled on a subject for her art project, she had turned her easel round to face Daria’s bed and made Daria her subject, this also meant she was able to watch her more closely in case Daria needed any thing.
“Hay Lane” Daria said “that is cheating using me as your model, especially when I am in this state, and what happened for me to go to bed so early?”
“So you don’t remember anything, Well you had another one of those funny turns, You came back from the bathroom shaking and trembling, I helped clean you up and put you to bed. I also let your mum know what happened, what is the last thing you remember clearly?”
“Well I remember going to the bathroom but after that it’s just a blur, but hold on you went to my mother how did you convince her to let you stay and draw pictures of me.”
“Hay Daria I am not drawing pictures of you, I just turned my easel round to keep an eye on you. And as for your mum she is worried about you we both are, that’s why she let me stay.”
“Well Jane I didn’t hear much cursing whilst I was asleep so you must have found something to draw.”
“Oh baby did I find something, you were pretty out of it, I had been watching you for about ten minutes when I realised you were actually dreaming, your eyes were flickering, and your hands were moving as though you were holding a pen or something, so I decided to make my subject rem sleep patterns, even if it does not work for art class it was still something I had to sketch. Can you remember what you were dreaming about?”
“Yes I can it was weird, I entered my own drawing, I could see everything that I had drawn in detail, all of it. The house the garden everything, even the boy looking down from the window, but some things were missing from the house. Probably because I had not drawn them in. I could not get into the house, as there was no handle on the door, the smoke from the chimney just hung in the air, and the boy was opening and closing his mouth but no sound came out.”
“That’s a strange dream alright. It reminds me sort of, of a pop video I saw last summer at the Art colony. We were being shown things on the use of different medium, so they showed us a pop video from the 80’s called Take On Me it seems it was famous for a technique called Rotoscoping, were you a pencil drawing in your dream or were you as you are now?”
“no I was me but that is true I had not drawn myself in the picture so maybe that was why I was me.”
Jane went over to Daria’s desk and took a look at her work for the first time that day, “interesting composition Daria, and you are right, no handle on the door so no way in. The smoke looks still as there is nothing to show a breeze blowing into the picture and you have not drawn anything to show sound so that could be why they boy can’t talk. Can I read the story yet to find out what happens?”
“No, not yet but could you pass me the drawing and the pencil, I will add those missing items in and finish it off.”
Jane handed Daria her sketch pad and pencil and went to get a cup of coffee she asked Daria if she needed anything but Daria replied she was fine, as Jane got back to their room with her coffee she took one look at Daria, and for the second time that night she had great concern for her friend.
Daria was lying on her bed, curled up in a ball with her eyes screwed tight shut clutching her stomach, “Oh Jane it hurts so bad it feels like someone is stabing me, make it stop Jane, please make it stop.” With that Daria gave a scream that was cut short and fainted in Jane’s arms.
Jane who by now had witnessed a few of these episodes over the past few months had never seen one this bad, nor was Jane given to over reacting or panicking.
Helen came in alerted by her daughters scream to see her slumped on her side still clutching her stomach and breathing shallowly.
“Jane what happened?”
“I don’t know but whatever it is, it definitely seems to be getting worse.”
“I know, I think we might need to get her checked in to the hospital she has been like this more and more lately.”
“I can pack some of her things in a bag for you Helen”
“Thanks that’s sweet of you Jane. Do you want to come with me? It might be easier with two of us and I think Daria would prefer you to be there rather than Jake or Quinn.”
“Yes I will come with you.”
“Let me just go and tell Jake whats going on.”
Helen left Daria and Jane alone again, to go tell Jake what had happened. Jane started to collect up some things for Daria, as an after thought she also packed the current book Daria was reading (Heart of Darkness), her notebook, and her drawing, just as she was finishing packing the bag Daria come round a bit, again Daria had no idea what had happened.
“I spoke to him Jane his name is Mark he seems very frightened he told me to go away, that it is a dangerous place, I tried to get in but there was no way up to his room.”
“Who did you speak to Daria, there is nobody here but me, and I don’t know anyone called mark?”
“I, I don’t know Jane…. Jane this is hurting so bad.”
“I know look we are going to run you over to the hospital to get you checked over, I have packed you some clothes, a book, and your note pad. Anything else you think you will need?”
“No I don’t think so Jane, Oh yes make sure you pack my sketch, I don’t know why it just feels important.”
“Sure thing Daria it is already in the bag.”
At that moment Helen came back into the room, they helped Daria into the car this was not easy Daria was clutching a bear shaped pillow to her stomach a present from Jane after her return last summer from the Art colony, slowly they made their way to the drive and got Daria into the car. Daria was quietly sobbing to herself due to the pressure of the seatbelt pulling her, but eventually they set off towards the hospital across town.
As they arrived at the hospital Jane got Daria a wheel chair and helped her into it.
“Oh Jane I am so sorry you were so wanting to do that art project and now look at us.”
“Hey don’t worry about it, I decided you were right about this one anyway, everything has been done, to follow the brief all I can hand in is a piece of black paper, so I am going to stay with you for as long as they will let me.”
“Thanks Jane.” And with that Daria fell asleep again.
Again Daria found herself inside her own drawing; Mark was still sitting in the window looking down at her.
“You came back, I warned you not to and yet you still came, I told you how dangerous this place is but yet here you are.”
“Mark I don’t know what is going on I just fall asleep and find myself inside this drawing.”
“Drawing? What do you mean drawing?”
“This place, all of it, I drew it for a school project, the first time I came here there was no air movement and no sound. I changed that.”
“No Daria I’m afraid you did not, and the longer you stay here the longer you will realise that this place is not a dream and that you do not control it. Now go back whilst you still can. Please it is bad enough that I am here don’t let yourself get trapped in here as well.”
Daria woke up again, this time she found herself inside a strange room lying in a comfy bed. She was not wearing her glasses but a quick search located them on the bedside cabinet. The room was fairly small just enough space for the bed, a few chairs and other bits and pieces. A clock on the wall showed that it was fast approaching midnight; Daria was not surprised to find Jane sitting in one of the chairs with a small sketchpad balanced on her knee in front of her.
“Hey Jane where’s Mum?”
“She just went to find the Doctor, are you feeling any better.”
“A little, do they know what is wrong yet?”
“They think it might be Appendicitis, they have taken some blood, and you have had a few X-rays done, they also gave you something for the pain, I think they are just waiting for the lab results at the moment.”
“Hey Jane can you pass me my sketch pad?”
“Your not wanting to work on that now are you?”
“There are just a few things missing.”
“Missing! What do you mean missing! Have you had another one of those dreams?”
“Yes, the boys name is Mark, he says the place is not a dream but real. The only thing is that everything I add to the drawing is appearing in my dream.”
“Ok then Daria here it is, so what is left to add to the drawing.”
“Three things, a staircase, a piece of paper and a pen!”
“You think with these items you can control your dream?”
“I know that I can Jane, I just know it.”
With that Daria took the drawing from Jane and proceeded to turn the sheet of paper over, she then started to draw a staircase leading from the front door up to the room where Mark was located, she also added a few chairs and a table. On the table is drawn a notebook and a pencil. Feeling a little more relaxed Daria placed the drawing back inside the cabinet, where Jane had found it.
Helen came back into the room accompanied by a young Doctor; Helen introduced Daria to Doctor Phillips. Doctor Phillips went on to explain to Daria that the pains she had been feeling for the past few weeks were indeed the signs of Appendicitis and that she would be needing an operation to remove her appendix. Doctor Phillips went on to inform Daria that the operation had been scheduled for eight the following morning, and that she should not eat or drink anything from now until after the operation.
Doctor Phillips was surprised by Daria’s next question, “How are you going in Laparotomy or Laparoscopy?” Helen explained that Daria had always had an interest in the medical profession. Doctor Phillips answered that the procedure would be a Laparotomy using a Davies cut. He saw both Helen and Jane’s blank faces and explained that a Laparoscopy was keyhole surgery but for something on this scale the minimised recovery time, was not worth the dangers of the operation itself. He went on to explain that they would be going in with a small incision at the top of her pelvic area and would quickly remove the Appendix and close.
Before he left Doctor Phillips also introduced Daria to Doctor Davies who would be the anaesthetist. Both of them informed Daria that they would need to give her some blood and that they had to confirm that it would be ok to do this. Daria had no problems with this so Doctor Phillips fitted her with a line. Doctor Davies said he would call in to see her at six the following morning to give her some blood and a premed.
Jane and Helen remained with Daria for the rest of the night; Jane was surprised that the hospital had allowed them to stay. However a quick glance at Helen had shown her that nothing on Earth would have moved Helen from her daughter’s bedside on this night.
Daria chatted to Jane for a while but then helped by the painkillers Daria eventually fell asleep again.
As before Daria entered her drawing. This time things were looking more normal and settled. Everything was still in black and white and looked like pencil drawn onto paper, but the front door opened to her touch and this time a staircase led to the first floor, she rushed in to find Mark sitting on a bed looking out of the window.
“Hello Mark, I drew some stairs in so that I could reach you.”
“You still don’t get it do you, this place is dangerous, it can hurt you.”
“No, those with a strong enough mind cannot be hurt by their own dreams”
“Dreams! You still think that this place is a dream!”
“Well yes the two tone colour scheme gives that away.”
“So what does that make me Daria if this is a dream, the Easter Bunny… I am real Daria, not just a dream. I am a real human being; I fell off my horse during the holidays and I have been stuck in here ever since.”
“So what makes you say this place is dangerous, and why can’t you leave.”
“I don’t know why I can’t leave but why is it dangerous? Just have a look out of the window”
Daria went over to the bed were Mark was sitting and looked out of the window.
The scene she saw below was truly horrific, gone was the garden, the apple tree and the picket fence, to be replaced with a swirling grainy looking land mass. Roaming this were hundreds of strange creatures, some were floating across the ground, and others appeared to be walking on far too many legs. Every so often one of them would rise up and start shrieking, others would simply stop dead in their tracks and melt into the background. A few of them looked almost dog like in appearance, these had razor sharp teeth and were fighting in the middle of the scene, their bodies cut and mangled, lumps of flesh hanging off from their opponents frenzied and unrelenting attack. Every so often one of the smaller shrieking creatures would wander over and all the pack would descend upon it. Within seconds there would be nothing left but a bleached skeleton that would slowly blow away like a fine mist.
Daria had no idea how long they spent watching the scene together in silence, eventually she asked Mark “So who are you, and how did you end up here.”
“Well as I said Daria I’m Mark Madden, I live up at Crew Pass just outside town. I fell off my horse 2 months ago whilst playing polo and it has left me paralysed from the waist down. I got brought to the hospital in the centre of town straight away. The Doctors operated immediately; I was given Morphine and Desflurane. They started cutting before I was even asleep and when I woke up. I found myself here, I have been stuck here ever since.
“You live at Crew Pass? How come I have never seen you at school?”
“Well I have never seen you before either, but then I doubt you go to Grove Hills.”
“No that’s true I am stuck at Lawndale High.”
“Well it has been nice to chat I won’t say that it hasn’t but you need to get out of here now whilst you still can. Before They Return….”
At that moment the front door of the house creaked open, mark gasped and shouted for Daria to run, to get away before it was too late. Daria started to concentrate on getting out of her dream, all the time she could hear a mans measured tread getting close and closer and louder and louder as he climbed the stairs. The last thing that Daria saw before she woke up was a black hooded figure brandishing a large silver claw hammer in one hand and a flaming blowtorch in the other.
Daria woke to find that it was half past five in the morning. Jane had made herself as comfortable as possible in one of the hospital armchairs she had acquired a pillow and a blanket since Daria had last seen her, but still had her sketchpad on her knee. Helen had kept up her vigil by Daria’s bedside for for most of the night but finally succumbed to sleep in the early hours of the morning. This meant that Daria was able to talk to Jane without being overheard.
Daria explained to Jane all about her latest dream, she begged Jane to ask at reception after Mark Madden to see if he really was a patient. She told Jane all about his injury of falling off the horse and the fact that he went to Grove Hills. Jane agreed to find Mark if she could, with it being Saturday Jane told Daria that it would have to wait until visiting and that she could not just go now and ask at reception. She went on to mention that it was like something from Sick Sad World; mimicking the shows announcer she said “Tonight on Sick Sad World, Day Dream Deceivers, Shared Dream Antics of Adolescents Anarchists.” This got a stifled giggle from Daria one of a few Jane had ever seen.
A short time later Doctor Davies came in Helen had woken up by this time possibly by Jane and Daria talking, he checked Daria’s chart and started her IV drip. He explained that they wanted to add an extra pint of blood, he also gave Daria her premed and another small shot of morphine to keep her comfortable.
The next few hours went very slowly for all of them, eventually Doctor Phillips came in to take Daria to the OR. Jane followed Helen towards the OR and at that moment Jake and Quinn arrived. Jane left Daria with her family and headed to the cafeteria.
Jane found herself something that vaguely resembled her usual breakfast. You can always rely on Hospitals to serve good strong hot coffee in large quantities. To this she added a few croissants and a small pot of marmalade.
If it had not been for the circumstances of Daria being ill, and the fact she was on her own she would have been looking forward to a breakfast like this. She paid the waitress behind the till a few dollars and turned away to find herself a table and brooded about the charge Daria had left her with.
It was whilst she was in this mood that a voice struck a chord, Trent had approached her table quietly and sung in a whispered his usual greeting the opening from Billy Idols White wedding. “Hey Little Sister…”
“Oh hay Trent, late practice.”
“Or early. You look great Janey.”
“You liar, but you do always know exactly what to say to me to make me feel better.”
“So how’s Daria?”
“Not good she came down with appendicitis, that’s why were here at the hospital they are operating on her at the moment. Hey wait what are you doing here?”
“Daria’s Sister called to say that you had gone off to the hospital last night, you didn’t come home this morning so I figured you would still be here, we got the Tank running so me and Jesse drove over, I left Jesse in the Tank you know he is not a morning person.”
“Yeah Daria was pretty out of it last night, I got a few wonderful sketches of her whilst she was sleeping, just her eyes and facial expressions but I have never seen anything like it, I understand now why Warhol filmed 8 hours of a guy sleeping…”
“Hey let me get a cup of coffee Janey and tell me all about it.”
Jane went on to explain to Trent over breakfast the task that Daria had left with her; Trent liked the idea of meeting other people in dreams who existed in reality, he felt that there might be a song in there somewhere. Together they went off to track down the receptionist and see if Mark Madden did indeed exist, and was in the Hospital.
Helen Jake and Quinn stayed with Daria for as long as they could, but it was not long before Daria was taken in to the operating room. They let Helen stay a little longer until the anaesthetic took effect but then Daria was moved into theatre and the operation began.
Once again Daria found herself back inside the paper house, she re-appeared at precisely the same spot she had left the room only a few hours before.
Mark cried out in alarm at Daria’s sudden re-appearance.
“I see you have returned again, did you not heed my warnings, did you not see the Master last time you were here?”
“The Master! The man in black with the hammer and the blowtorch, yes I saw him. You called him the Master but who is he Mark?”
“He is the keeper of this Land, he makes sure no one gets in who is not supposed to be here, and stops those who are to stay here from leaving.”
“Did he stop you from leaving?”
“Yes he used the hammer, broke my legs.”
“So what happened when I left last time?”
“Nothing happened, you disappeared and he slowly melted back into the fabric of the building.”
“So what would he have done if he had caught me?”
“You saw the dog creatures on your last visit tearing each other and everything else apart. I warned you then that this place was dangerous, but with you I am unsure what he had in mind. I have never seen him with a blowtorch before.”
“Well I don’t fancy meeting him and finding out, are you coming with me? I think it is time we take charge of this place.”
“I told you Daria I can’t move.”
“Yes you can Mark you just have to believe that you can.”
Very slowly Daria coaxed Mark into moving his legs, it was a slow process but after what felt like hours Mark had started to move his toes again. Daria kept encouraging him and massaging his limbs one at a time until they had all started to move at Marks request.
As Mark tried to stand up the familiar tread was heard climbing up the stairs, Mark stumbled fell over and landed on the bed again. Daria grabbed him and shook him, but Mark was too frightened to move, She screamed at him and slapped him across the face but still Mark was just staring at the door to his room. As a last frantic hope Daria grabbed both his wrists and pulled him upright.
“Mark! Mark listen to me we have to leave now!”
“No! No! Mustn’t leave, must stay here where it is safe.”
“No Mark, please you must come with me, we can’t stay here its not safe.”
“Must stay here, The Master won’t hurt me if I stay here.”
The footsteps were getting closer and louder, Daria knew they had to get out but how. The only exit was the window, to fall below into that collection of weird creatures.
Daria pulled the mattress of the bed and pushed it out of the window. Next she grabbed Mark and pulled him close to her, “We are getting out of here whether you like it or not.” Daria jumped and as they jumped Daria saw the door to the room disappear in an explosion of wooden shards, blasted apart by the weight of the hammer blows.
They landed on the mattress and Daria felt a searing pain in her stomach, she had no time to wonder about that now, she just knew that had to run and keep on running.
She grabbed Marks hand and pulled him after her, the creatures had all disappeared leaving behind only the swirling mist, but they had little time to think about that now.
On they ran knowing that The Master would not be far behind, and could easily catch them. They headed for the horizon where could just be seen high mountains in the distance.
Neither of them knew why but they had to reach the mountains, It would all be ok once they got to the mountains.
Neither of them had spoken since leaving the house and they slowed down to a jogging pace.
It did not matter how far they moved the mountains never got closer, exhausted Mark collapsed in a heap on the dusty ground.
“Leave me Daria save your self I can’t go on.”
“I’m not leaving you Mark we can do this, we can beat this place.”
“I can’t I have nothing left, it is hopeless.”
“Mark I wont say this again we are getting out of here.”
Daria pulled Mark up and dragged him still further on towards the horizon, The weight of Mark pushing down on her was making the pain in her stomach feel even worse, but on they went, trying to reach the shelter of the mountains.
Finally Daria could go no further and collapsed like Mark had on the dusty ground.
Within Minutes The Master had reached them, He raised his hammer and brought down a crashing blow onto marks head, Mark slumped forward and lay still.
Slowly The Master turned his attentions to Daria. He discarded his Hammer and lit his blowtorch. Daria tried to back away screaming and screaming as The Master approached, he grabbed her by her short brown hair and slowly began to bring the flame closer to her eyes.
Daria closed her eyes tightly and could feel the heat of the flame on her face, then it was gone. The Master had let go of Daria’s hair. She opened her eyes.
Mark was standing in front of The Master the hammer in his had, He knocked the blowtorch out of the Masters hand, and proceeded to fight The Master.
They fought for a long time Mark using the hammer in a frenzied attack but the blows seemed to just be bouncing off. If Mark’s attack was having little effect on The Master it was at least keeping him at bay, for The Master was not able to get near enough to Mark to hurt him. Neither looked able to stand for much longer, but before Daria could again move, she was wrenched from this Land out of her dream back to the hospital.
Daria woke to find her mum dad and sister round her bed.
“You were out a long time honey we were getting worried.” Helen said, Daria tried to move and found it very painful, her throat felt dry from the gas and there was still a sharp searing pain in her stomach.
Quinn who knew Daria well but would never admit it, knew the first thing she would want would be her glasses. Carefully Quinn placed them on her nose and gently slid them up the bridge as far as they would go, she then put her arms round Daria’s shoulders and gave Daria a little hug.
“Hey Mum, Dad. Hey Sis. You were worried weren’t you?”
“Oh Daria were your family” Helen said, “Were supposed to be worried.”
Daria was kept in Hospital for the rest of the week, she did sleep whilst she was in the Hospital, but never again did she see Mark in her dreams. She missed him, she was torn with guilt, and still not sure whether her time with Mark had been real or not.
It was not until Tuesday before Jane had been allowed to visit; She had caught a lift from Trent but left him sleeping in the Tank. They chatted for a while about everything school, Music, the latest episodes of Animal Maulings on Home Video and Sick Sad World. Jane finally showed Daria the sketches she had done on the previous Friday night. Daria was surprised at how moved she felt looking at them; It is one thing to be dreaming a nightmare but quite another to see pictures drawn of you whilst in a dream state.
Eventually the conversation turned to the subject of her dream, and the task she had set Jane, to see if Mark Madden did indeed exist.
Jane was quite cagey about replying to these questions, she explained that she and Trent had spent some time on Saturday looking for Mark.
They had eventually found him and yes he did exist, but Daria was told not to get her hopes up. Jane had not found him in the department she had first expected. Instead she was directed to the Neurology Department. Here she found Mark lying very still connected to a respirator, he was in a coma. It seems that he had not taken to the treatment, and the surgeons had not been able to repair the damage to his spine.
Daria was very quiet after this; she felt she had lost a friend even though she had never actually met him.
As the days wore on Daria was again up and around, she insisted Jane take her to find Mark who grudgingly agreed, so before she left her room for the last time she dug out the picture she had drawn almost a week ago, and followed Jane to find Mark Madden.
However on arriving at the room where Jane had last seen Mark they found his bed empty and his possessions gone.
Daria was devastated; Jane placed her carefully in a chair and went to find a nurse for information on Mark.
A few minutes later Jane came back, Mark had been taken back down to ward five, he had finally after months lying in a coma regained consciousness late Saturday night.
Daria followed Jane down the twisting corridors eventually arriving at Marks new home. Jane waited outside whilst Daria knocked and entered.
“Who are you Mark asked.”
“Oh! Oh! I’m sorry I shouldn’t be here.” Daria turned to leave.
“Wait are you Daria!”
“You remember me?”
“I remember something, I feel I should be thanking you for something but I don’t know what, do you work here.”
“No I don’t work here, this is going to be hard to explain. Maybe this will help.” Daria gave Mark here picture
“That’s nice I drew one just like it a few hours ago…”