A Raven, Nothing More.
- A short example of stolen prose, involving Daria. 
By Lew. [Hey kids, don't do this at home - do it at work, where you can get paid…]
Abuse me, I like it! Mail to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or (Once again.) email@example.com
This one goes out to Mandii, and Desanera, and Yui, and Wouters, and Canadibrit, and Nemo, and Professor Moriarty and all those great people out there who sent in feedback, praise and the occasional spelling correction. I owe you guys.
Also to Kerryn, who knows that I know damn well why she's so bloody happy.
The usual disclaimers apply; I'm nothing, no one and not important enough to sue. Daria's not mine, she's MTV's golden girl and meal ticket. Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis deserve the praise for her creation, our salvation and a certain duo's frustration. (C. E. Foreman, you know who [or more accurately, what] I'm talking about.) 
Now, shall we begin, or shall we simply eat our guests?
A Raven, Nothing More.
Looking out a window, weary; a certain maiden, eyes all bleary,
Pondered over her work, an assignment… one designed to bore.
Squinting at words hard to see, her voice takes on a shade of glee.
"Finally done, at last I'm free, free to avoid this literary snore!"
But from below, a familiar woe; Jake in pain, she was sure.
"Gah-Dammit!" - that yell she daren't ignore.
It begs she come quickly down, but on her countenance a familiar frown;
For Jake has hurt himself far too many times before.
With a sigh she marks her place, hoping that swollen veins will not trace,
A map of pain on her father's face; he sounded very sore.
"Repairing Dad", she mused aloud. "Remains a chore."
"Still necessary, but still a chore."
The family kitchen she entered, and found her attention wholly centred
On a familiar figure, collapsed and laid out cold upon the floor.
No missing digits, no bloody pool… Just Jake awash in a sea of drool.
Checking out the family fool, a flutter of lidded eyes she saw;
Jake remained living, not yet facing the highest law.
(He barely escaping the time before.)
"Er, are you Ok?" Daria did ask. (Then she winces - not her brightest remark…)
"I think so kiddo, but would you be so kind as to help me off the floor?"
Daria leans and lends a hand. With wobbling legs, Jake can stand
(In his head a 3-piece band) To stand and gaze over the mess that's left in store,
"Dammit!" He wails, then winces, on account of an aching jaw.
Daria looks around while he rubs his maw.
Jake waves a hand (not broken) at the mess to which he's woken
(From lying unconscious upon the kitchen floor.)
"Look at this!" He cried. And so they spied
The bruised and wilt vegetables, defrosted meat lying raw
And a burning pot of pasta, by now too hard to gnaw.
(And spuds ablaze, steak still dripping gore.)
Of debris, Daria removes the worst, but Jake sees ruin with veins fit to burst,
"What shall I do? He wails. "I do so ever, to you, implore!"
"The potatoes needed turning and standing here, I see them burning!"
"When Helen is done returning, my head will be mounted above the door!"
"For soon she shall be here, from torts, and hate and war…"
He trembles. "I don't think I can take this, anymore…"
Daria, thinking quickly, dials the phone while Jake looks on, sickly.
"Hello?" She asks. "Have I reached 606-004?"
"I'll have your family pizza deal, no drinks or bread, they lack appeal."
"And for my father's sake, show some zeal, do not hem or haw…"
"For you delivery man? A hefty tip he will ensure."
"Yes, if delivered quickly, to our door."
Jake stared at her in wonder, a daughter saving from further blunder,
A silly foolish father that she happened to adore.
Jake's joy spread wings so stronger; grinning madly he could pause no longer
And whirled his eldest daughter out, dancing out upon the floor.
(On which he had lain flat and dozing, not a while before.)
(Blowing bubbles while mid-snore.)
Sorry to halt Jake's cheery beaming, Daria asked, "We should think of cleaning"-
Wryly, "I figure it would be best to hide your spoor."
Seeing wisdom in her suggestion, he removes wreckage that would raise awkward question -
Setting things as they should be, and not the disaster it was before.
(When Jake was laid out, cold and drooling upon the floor.)
Working quickly, sweat wells from every pore.
Finally, their labours completed, Daria asks a question, seated,
As Jake, from the sink, removes an apple, then its core.
"Dad," his daughter did ask, looking up from concluded task.
"What made you crash," (Her face a mask.) "And fall so hard upon the floor?"
"It was the bat of DEATH," cries he. "Like those shown on Nature's Law!" 
The expressionless Daria looks steadily on. "Sure."
Jake waved his arms in clear dismay, "To you my terror I can not convey,"
"But something dark and uncanny flew from yonder kitchen door!"
Daria looks at the unrestricted portal, but does not crack a smile or chortle,
But thinks of possibilities mortal, and investigates the open door;
Looking into the quiet night, not knowing whatever for.
(But no "bats of death"; of this she is sure.)
Suddenly, without a flutter, a midnight shape swoops off the gutter
Soaring down, then through the open kitchen door.
While Daria ducked and Jake did "Eep!" the midnight bird, with a leap
Hopping past the polished range to a heap, upon the floor.
It was a dusky raven, come in to explore.
As it was likely to have done, before.
As Daria stood and Jake did pale, it tapped once upon a snail,
(Securely held in it's dark and serrated maw.)
Daria: (Dry.) "Do you like escargot?" Jake: (Puzzled.) "What the…Oh." 
With a single blow, the raven cracked open the snail upon the floor. 
Clad in black, a savage beak stabbed out and with a "Caw!"-
A hungry C. corax it was no more. 
Daria: "It's had time enough to feast, I think I shall remove the beast…"
Jake: (Looking down.) "And I shall mop the floor."
(Looking sad) "It's bad enough, when you believe you're tough."
"To faint," (His voice now gruff.) "And be found on the kitchen floor."
"But scared by a bird?" (He sighs.) "I shall endure."
"But make it leave, once more!"
Daria runs and flaps her arms; the raven alights, beating at her palms,
Before departing through wide-open kitchen door.
Jake departs to unearth a mop, in a frenzy he will not stop,
Cleaning what did drop while he was drooling on the floor.
Until his pizza arrives, hot from distant store.
Or when lawyer Helen walks through the door.
Daria smiles, a little sadly. She says, "Dad, you're not doing badly,"
"And I won't tell a soul about what I saw…"
"You're not meek, Just please don't freak,
"If you see a beak like that, tapping at the door…"
"It was just a raven, nothing more."
"A raven departed from our door."
"From the family Corvidae, ravens, you see, are everyday," 
Jake: "Hmm. Didn't I see a movie, not so long before," 
"About a bird, a crow?" He shivers suddenly at his brush with woe.
"And once again in a poem by Poe!" He stands. "I know what I saw,"
"An ill-omened messenger, standing proudly upon the floor."
"Smashing open a snail, on my kitchen floor."
Sceptical eyebrow she did raise, but left her father in his daze,
Nothing she could do, nothing to help him more.
Instead, she returned upstairs, to the bickering dead, splitting hairs,
Authors in books of ancient airs, written long before.
Secure in her room, she shuts the door,
Jake's ravings she can now ignore.
To her window she did stride, pausing only to throw open wide
Her window, to survey the Night's Plutonian shore. 
Her lamp aglow, she cracks open a certain book by Poe,
And a poem, written long ago, of a rare and radiant maiden known to angels as "Lenore", 
And a certain annoying raven that uttered only, "Nevermore!" 
This she reads, then smirks… "'Twas a raven, nothing more."
Footnotes kids! - And I really hope you won't need these…
 For the love of whatever's holy, tell me you've heard of "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe? It was on the "Simpsons"! James Earl Jones read it! Homer and Bart?
 Beavis and Butthead, dumbass! You're the dumbass, fartknocker! Ring raider! Monkey spank! Butthole! Dillweed! Asswipe! Bunghole! Turd-burglar! Choadsmoker! Buttknocker! Hey, don't call me buttknocker! [Cue punch-up.]
 "Nature's Law" was a totally crap knock-off of "Wild Kingdom". I saw half a repeat a few months ago, and I think it was made in the 70's. It was baaad.
 Escargots (Ess-CARgo.) are the domestically raised snails of certain French cuisine. Anyone from Chez Pierre could tell you that. After you ordered them.
 Ravens are very intelligent, and like crows, are occasional tool-users. Smashing open something against a hard surface is a favourite trick of theirs.
 The common raven is classified as Corvus corax. That means the short form of its scientific name would be C. corax. (Ie: Bacillus cerus becomes B. cerus.)
 Corvus corax = the Common Raven. Ravens belong to the family Corvidae of the order Passeriformes - the largest order for birds.
 "The Crow"? Brandon Lee? Best alternate soundtrack for almost a decade? Mandatory for Goths?
 Pluto got to be god of the underworld in Roman mythology, (After he and his brothers, Jupiter and Neptune, overthrew their dad (Saturn) in the requisite orgy of bloodletting and mayhem.) so anything "Plutonian" indicates that it's pretty dark, gloomy and unpleasant. Also an almost direct quote from "The Raven" by Poe.
 Read "The Raven"! About 4 billion people have it on the net, thought you'll probably have to wade through more gothic literature then you ever want to see…
 Quoth the Raven "Nevermore!" - Also from the poem. And kids, calling a pet Corvidae "Quoth", be it raven, crow or jackdaw, is considered very poor taste, Hmm?
Ok, I suppose an explanation is in order, although you probably won't read this, anyway.
When I started writing Daria fan-fics, the only response I got back (Apart from people in the "real world") was a certain Daria & Buffy fan by name of Desanera. Since my first attempt (Hellmouth in Lawndale, started June 99.) is still under construction, you can imagine her frustration when I send over annoying messages like "Did you like blah, blah, blah?" Surprisingly, she remained polite and helpful, and managed to stop me from making too many weird-ass mistakes.
Feeling depressed after losing out on a lucrative job offer and still unemployed (You need a Food Scientist, I'm your man!), I managed to use certain negative feelings constructively, pouring out hate and vitriol like it was nobody's business. After a few funky nasty scenes (If you're good, guess which ones…) I knocked together a rough "sort-of, hmmm, maybe" plot direction, and started to write and modify with a vengeance, eventually producing "Heroes…"
Influenced by the trash 80's music I was listening to and my main constructive impulses; sugar, caffeine and sleep-deprivation (My body-clock is freaky, don't ask.) it turned out reasonably well, much to my surprise. I sent out a few betas, got nothing much back (You know who did and didn't.) so I polished it as best I could and sent it off merrily to Outpost Lawndale, about the only "Daria" site I like.
The responses were wonderful, like ego-explosion wonderful.
Canadibrit posted a glowing review (Now on my wall.), Wouter sent in what is now my desktop background and an awful lot of you sent in clever, useful and amusing insights on the story I wrote.
Buoyed by the warm-fuzzies, I started on the sequel to "Heroes…" ("Band-ied About") in between fixing spelling mistakes in "Heroes…" (Much shame.) and tried very hard to write "Hellmouth in Lawndale" without any Buffy to watch.
Through circumstances beyond my control, I started another Daria story ("The Domi-Matrix") and wrote about 40 000 words in 3 days just before Christmas. (Just don't ask, artists need to suffer.)
This little project was, in a way, started after I read Poppy Z. Brite's "Lazarus Heart", a "Crow" novel which showed me that authors who write erotic vampire fiction should stick to erotic vampire fiction. [I liked "The Crow" movie, and the soundtrack a hell of a lot more] But at the same time I found (In my local library.) a great little hardcover of Edgar Allen Poe's poetry.
Of course, I had to read "The Raven"; imagining James Earl Jones doing the voices, and read over a few more I was familiar with. (The City In The Sea: "Lo! Death has reared himself a throne, in a strange city lying alone, far down among the dim west".)
So I simply went "Bugger it, I'm gonna try." and I dedicate this to all of you out there who made writing Daria fun.