Daria in "Freaking Out"

Synopsis: Due to a cruel twist of fate (and Brittany), Daria and Sandi got a shared secret that they need to prevent from leaking out. Will they do it, or will Ms. Barch triumph? Read-on and find out.

Daria and related characters belong to MTV and Noggin, and are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended. Please send comments and feedback to Bacner, Olgak531@rogers.com.

The night at the Zen was noisy and loud. The fact that it was the Mystik Spiral that provided the entertainment contributed to that factor a lot. And once again Daria Morgendorffer wondered, what the Hell she was doing in here – after all, her crush on Trent was more than over, and Jane’s companionship wasn’t such a treat, either… "Remind me, what am I doing here?" she asked for an uncountable time.

"Contributing me moral support," Jane Lane, sister to the Mystik Spiral’s head singer, said. "I couldn’t brave tonight alone, you know?"

"Now, that’s tomorrow’s night," Monique, Trent Lane’s part-time girlfriend, approached the table.

"What’s tomorrow?" Daria instinctively asked. "Oh yeah, Halloween. Big deal."

"Yeah, and there’s a party at Trent’s shindigs – didn’t he tell you?" Monique frowned, still looking at Jane.

"Oh, you know Trent," Jane breezily said. "He’s so scatterbrained…"

Monique’s frown deepened. "Is that so? Jane, where is your brother anyways?"

"If he’s not on stage or backstage with the guys, I have no idea," Jane shrugged, looking rather cockily at seething Monique.

"What is going on?" a soft, slightly accented voice spoke from the Zen’s darkness, and a young man approached the three females. He didn’t look much older than Trent and Monique, but was much more muscular and wider in the shoulders as well. Several colorful tattoos decorated his body as well.

"Balboa," Monique exhaled with a look of relief. "Do you know if Trent’s aware that tomorrow’s party is at his house."

"Hey, I live there too!" Jane protested, but Monique ignored her now.

"Yes, I told him that personally," the mysterious Balboa spoke from the shadows, "and if you want – nay, you need to – you can remind him backstage."

"Thanks," Monique said and scurried off.

"Yeah, thanks a lot, Balboa," Jane said in a bitter tone. "Why’d you have to intrude?"

"As much as I like seeing you jerking Monique’s collar and chain… tomorrow’s party isn’t a good cause, Jane, you know that," Balboa administered Jane gently. "Besides, who’s your friend? Is she coming to the party tomorrow night?"

"Absolutely not," Daria said quite firmly. "I hate parties, people always end up throwing-up on my boots and stuff; and besides, these are just the people I know and go to high school with; complete strangers will be even worse."

"Come on," Jane said in a rather whiny tone (similar to the one used when she got Daria into helping her enter the poster contest, made so memorable by Ms. Li). "I would like another person of my age hanging around; it sucks being the youngest there."

"What about Nick’s family? Wouldn’t they be there, and wouldn’t that make you second youngest?"

"Actually," Balboa interrupted slightly gnashing his teeth. "It is rather unlikely that they’ll be there. His kid is… too young to be there."

"Oh well," Daria shrugged. "Then I guess. Jane, that you will be on your own after all."

Jane sighed. "Still, I do have till tomorrow’s night to change your mind, right?"

Daria shrugged. "Sure, why not. It’ll be fun seeing you sweat."

"I think I’ve overstayed my welcome here," Balboa said, reminding the two girls that he was still here. "I’ll see you tomorrow, Jane; Daria – hopefully you too as well." With these words he turned around and vanished back into the Zen’s shadows.

"Lovely gent," Daria muttered through her teeth. "Really lovely."

"Hey, he’s a cool guy – for a part-time bouncer, anyways," Jane shrugged. "He’s also a part-time martial arts’ instructor, so don’t piss him off, Daria."

"Whatever," Daria shrugged, not really caring. "I’ll see you tomorrow, then?"

"Yes, you’ll see me tomorrow…"

Janet Barch, the science teacher of Lawndale High, was in a foul mood. The children were ruly and misbehaving, and despite her better efforts, the boys were not cowed yet. But it mattered not to her, for soon her research would be complete, and then…

"Oof!" Somebody relatively light, but bony, barreled into her, knocking her down. Upon a closer examination, it proved to be Brittany Taylor. "Miss Taylor!" Janet Barch exhaled crossly, imitating Ms. Li very well. "What is the meaning of this?"

"It’s… it’s my Kevvy!" Brittany managed between sobs. "He’s cheating on me… with this nasty girl…"

Brittany looked absolutely miserable, and that proved to be the last straw for Ms. Barch’s already shaky tolerance for male members of Homo Sapiens. "Wait here," she told the sobbing cheerleader, and went into her office.

Once inside, she looked around, saw no one, and pulled a painting off one of the walls, revealing a wall vault. She quickly dialed the combination and opened it. Inside was a row of syringes, filled with serums of various colors, mostly of dark and/or murky variety. Ms. Barch picked one that resembled a cross of tar and tequila and smiled happily.

"…This’ll fix his wagon," she told Brittany shortly hereafter, giving her the loaded syringe. "Just stick it into him!"

"Thank you, Ms. Barch!" Brittany smiled and ran-off.

"Kids," Ms. Barch smiled, and went back into her office. She didn’t hear the sounds of a collision between a pair of bodies, sounds of "Ow", "Oops", "You pricked me you- GAHH!"

"Daria, come on…"

"In a gazillionth time – no, Jane."

"Come on! I don’t want to be the only one below their twenties back there! Not to mention," Jane shuddered, "those damn clown masks! Teeth as big as baseball cards and stuck in a perpetual grin, eyes bigger than most marbles, nose as big as an eggplant and redder than a ripe tomato…"

"So. You’re afraid of clowns," Daria stated. "Interesting – in a sense that if you don’t bug off, you’ll receive one on your next-"

Suddenly, Sandi Griffin ran into the washroom, and into one of the stalls, slamming it shut.

"What was that all about?" Daria wondered.

"Maybe she got a belly-button ring?" Jane snorted, reminding Daria when she was hiding in a stall."

"Jane, if you weren’t my only friend, you’d be a decedent by now."

"A descendant? For your information, I’m already a descendant – a descendant of a long line of Lanes!"

"I meant a decedent – as in "deceased’."

"Oh. Well, ah, shouldn’t we be checking on a head fashion fiend as it is? She did look kind of purplish when she hid in there – and are those choking sounds that I hear?"

Daria frowned, as Jane approached the stall. Something was wrong, she just couldn’t pick what was it exactly.

The next moment, however, that point became moot, as the stall’s door fell off its’ hinges, knocking Jane unconscious, and Sandi Griffin appeared in the empty doorway in her full, new-found "beauty". Her skin was now completely black, her eyes – bulging and protruding like a crazy fish’s; her teeth now protruded from her mouth, resembling a boar’s tusks or a snake’s fangs, framing an equally protruding tongue, black, swollen, almost as big as an average lizard…

Daria merely stared at a newly born gorgon. For a few moments, both she and Sandi were static and then Sandi took-off again, taking the washroom’s door down in the process.

Daria momentarily surveyed the new damage of the school, and took-off after her.

Sandi Griffin was semi-blinded – partly because tears were welling in her eyes… and partly because her eyesight had changed alongside with her eyes’ shape, and not necessarily for the better. Her ears, however, were still working fine, and so Sandi clearly heard the school bell ring, signifying the break between classes, meaning that most of LH’s staff and students will soon be in the school’s corridors, having a good look at her…

The realization as to what was to happen to her after this was enough to freeze Sandi in her tracks. Then, as she heard the classroom doors getting open, she felt a pair of strong hands grab her by the shoulders and pull her upwards.

"Wah!" Sandi spoke-up suddenly, looking around. "What is going-on?"

"Quiet, you," she heard a semi-familiar growl, and slowly turned around. "Care to explain, rather, why are you looking like this?"

Sandi blinked. "Quinn’s cousin? Why are you helping me?"

"Because I’m interested in knowing, how’d you end-up looking like this," Daria explained.

"Well, maybe I don’t want to tell you!" Sandi exclaimed in a huff.

"Would you rather explain it all to the scientists in Area 51?" Daria calmly said. "Of course, giving the fact that they may prefer to pull you apart in order to learn how your organs work instead, makes that rather doubtful – you telling anyone anything, that is."

"Yes, well, maybe I should bite you instead!" Sandi snarled, gnashing her newly enlarged teeth.

"I think not, young one," Daria snarled, moving into Sandi’s viewing range.

Sandi stared, as she looked at a very similar creature, who was somewhat bigger – with bigger teeth – and had claw-like nails on her hand, nails with a steely glint. "Whoa!" she exclaimed unwillingly. "Did Brittany accidentally stab you with a syringe as well?"

"No, I was born this way," Daria shrugged. "You see, back in Highland, there was more than just uranium in the drinking water and the water table, you know?"

Sandi blinked. "Look, I’m a mutant – and so are you," Daria explained in a more straightforward manner. "Only I… got born with these powers-"

"Wait a second, you got born in such a manner?"

"No, I was born as a cute little baby – well, not exactly cute, but still, all human. It was years later, when I freaked-out once, I got turned into this."

"So how did you change back?"

"I, eh, started to think about me – like what made me, Daria, human. In other words, think of what defines you as a specific human being, if you know what I mean."


"Just think about what makes you Sandi, and not, say, Stacy or Quinn."

"Oh, let me try that," Sandi said, and began to think.

…Some time later there was a pinch on her arm. "What?" Sandi said, opening her eyes. Daria mutely pointed at her hand. Sandi looked at it as well, and her hand – as well as the rest of her, was now back to normal.

"Now what?" Sandi said after a momentary pause.

"Now we get back to our topic," Daria sighed. "Sandi, what had happened to you to mutate in the first place?"

"Look, I ran into Brittany – on accident – and she accidentally stabbed with a syringe – kind of like the ones Ms. Barch is using in her science classes, you know?"

"And given the fact that it is highly improbable that Brittany carried one of her own past Li’s security…"

Sandi looked blankly at Daria. "Are you saying that Ms. Barch has mutant serum in her office?"

Now it was Daria’s turn to look blank. "Well, it is a stretch," she said slowly, then brightened up. "Unless, Sandi, remember when we were giving those obligatory blood samples? Ms. Barch was handling that."

"Doesn’t Ms. Li supervise it personally?"

Daria just waved her hand. "Ms. Li is just a stickler for general order, I daresay Ms. Barch could trick her when it came to specifics and details… look, let’s just go to Ms. Barch’s office and check it out."

"I’m after you," Sandi muttered, realizing that otherwise she was still stuck in the school’s air vents.


"You know, Quinn’s sister, there is a reason why us humans have invented the door and doorway-"

"And you had done quite a number on the washroom’s doorway too, I should add," Daria grunted from underneath the Fashion Club’s president. "Get off me and start looking around for the safe-box or wherever Ms. Barch keeps her serums!"

"Oh, that’s easy," Sandi shrugged, pulling down a painting off the wall and revealing an in-built vault. "Every teacher’s office has it."

"Great," said Daria. One of her hands instantly twisted back into her mutant shape, together with steel-tinged claws. Then she ripped the vault’s cover off, revealing stacks and stacks of syringes.

"Now why can’t I do that?" Sandi complained somewhat bitterly. "One cool thing in all of this, and I don’t have it."

"Because," Daria said in a strangely sounding voice, "that syringe didn’t contain my DNA; it contained-"

"-miss Landon’s. I know," Janet Barch’s voice sounded from the doorway. "Miss Morgendorffer, I must admit, isn’t the only one in LH with a unique talent, it seems."

"Barch," Daria’s voice turned weary. "Why’d you give one of the syringes to Brittany? You know that she’d always forget or otherwise mess up anything."

"So I’ve had an off day – big deal! Look, just leave the office and my research intact, and I promise I’ll pretend that the two of you are normal, okay?"

"Excuse me," Sandi felt suddenly insulted. "But we’ve got all the fangs and scary looks, and what not. Why should we listen to you."

"Because I got this!" Ms. Barch proudly exclaimed, pulling out a large silvery colored flashlight.

"It’s a flashlight," Sandi immediately pointed that out.

"Indeed." And with these words Ms. Barch flicked it on. Light – and then pain – assaulted Sandi’s eyes and the brain, overwhelming them completely. But as she fell into merciful black-out of an oblivion, the last thing she heard was Daria’s – "Why do you think I wear glasses?"

…Sandi awoke some time later. "Where are we? Where’s Ms. Barch?" she groggily asked.

Daria just shrugged and said nothing. Sandi paused and decided not to press the question about Ms. Barch further. "So, now what?" she asked. "What Ms. Barch’s mad scientist stuff?"

"I took care of it," Daria replied. "Sandi – if you ever feel weird, talk to me, and we’ll talk to Jodie Landon together, ‘kay?"

"Sure, but unless that happens – I still won’t associate with you, ‘cause you’re unfashionable," Sandi said firmly.

"Whatever; bye!"

And the two girls started to walk their separate paths once again; each thinking just how more complicated her life has just become…


Author’s notes

Just a few short comments. I’ve run into this challenge on PPMB where a regular member (at least) of "Daria" cast (except Andrea) was to be shown as some sort of a monster. I thought for a while, passing vampires and such ilk, until I remembered Daria’s comments in "Esteemers" about Highland and uranium in the water. Figuring that a scary mutant would do the bill nicely, I decided to use it instead.

The mutations – all right, I admit it – I’m a mythology fan. Furthermore, back in high school, I once saw "Clash of the titans", and was deeply impressed by how that old movie was realistic – its’ Medusa and the Kraken were much more realistic and scary than, say, "LotR’s" more authentic-looking monsters. So I started to investigate, and found-out that Medusa and the other gorgons of the authentic Greek mythos were scary even without their petrifying gaze accessory, which was perhaps even unnecessary, because they were man-eaters, not stone-eaters… Anyways, I used their original descriptions (not D&D ones) in creating mutations of Daria and Sandi.

Why Daria and Sandi? – well, according to the same classics, originally the gorgons were quite beautiful, turned monstrous from Athena’s wrath, and that kind of influenced it for me. Maybe the next time I actually do spoof some of the Greek myths, I’ll do the whole Fashion Club; but for now, Sandi – with Daria as some sort of a guide – will have to do.

Ms. Barch and her ‘mad scientist’ attitude – another popular ‘monster’ of today, and it kind off grounded my story in Lawndale rather than in Ancient Greece.

The Halloween party at the Lanes? – maybe I’ll do it another time. Cheers, Bacner.