The Crow- Daria Ascension.


It is said that when someone dies a crow carries their soul into the afterlife.

Sometimes it brings them back.

He hid among the machinery, trying to catch his breath and listened for any sound of pursuit. The shadows seemed to exist solely to heighten his fear as he scanned for his pursuer.

:Crazy Bitch.: He thought before the gentle sounds of footsteps shoved a spike of terror into his heart.
:She killed my partner like he was Amish.: He thought as the darkness around him moved like a dancer, frustrating his search for the killer.

He looked down at his gun and knew the tool that had defined his life since he was 16 years old had failed him.

:I put a full clip in her and she didn’t even slow down.: He thought as he tried to locate her but the acoustics in the building were to distorted by the pipes and machines.

“One for sorrow, two for joy.” The child like voice sung out.

He moved down to ground level, making sure there was nothing that blocked his ability to run. Once he knew it was clear he would make for the door.

“Three for girls and four for boys.” The sweet amused voice continued.

He moved toward the edge of a large water tank and peeked around it. :Where is she?:

“Five for silver, six for gold.” The voice said sounding farther away.

He broke into a run and headed for the door at top speed, never slowing until he smacked into the wooden frame and tried turning the handle.

“Seven for a secret never to be told.” He heard directly behind him.

He turned and fell to his knees at the sight of her standing before him.

He made to slip by her but a booted foot knocked him back to the ground.

She was bloody standing there, all smiles and calm, like it was a dream.

:Mikey’s blood.: He thought more terrified then he had ever been his whole life.

And the barrel of the gun she had pointed at his head was very big, he could almost see the round at the back of the chamber, but it was her eyes that told him all he needed to know. He had spent his life at war and he had seen those eyes before. They said don’t bother trying to deal or plead, nothing mattered now.

“We killed you.” Fled from his lips as he tried to scramble backward from the living specter. .

“Shhhhhh.” The voice sang out and pulled the trigger.

He didn’t feel the shot, or his body hitting the ground. He didn’t feel his medallion being ripped away from his neck, he didn’t hear her words.

“One by one, till all is done.” She said, her voice almost perfectly childlike as she disappeared into the shadows.

The rain was a down pour that darkened everything and blinded her past 10 or so feet, but she could see the grave.

Jane Lane stood under the umbrella as the officer explained what she was looking at.

“At some point last night, someone stole Daria Morgendorffer’s remains.” The officer said trying to reassure her with a firm hand on her shoulder.

“Why?” Jane said. “And why now, it’s been a year?”

“Maybe that’s why, do you have anyway to contact her family?” The officer asked.

“Yes, they live in Middleton, they wanted to be close to their daughter Quinn who goes to school there.” Jane answered.

:And to get away from this hell.: Jane thought.

“We’ll need to get that from you.” The officer said and Jane nodded not really hearing what was being said anymore.

“What the hell happened to Frankie?” A man stood over the fallen body of one of his partners. The body was lain out perfectly, clean and neat, not a hair out of place.

“Someone capped his ass, they got Mikey outside.” A second man said.

“This isn’t just dead, this is something different. This had meaning.” The first man said looking worried.

“Hey guys take a look at this.” A third man said and pointed up at the ceiling with his flash light.

“Is that what I think it is?” The first man asked.

“It’s a bird.” The third man informed him.

“Looks like blood to me.” The second man said giving the third man a glare.

“I think we got a new player in town.” The first man said, apparently the leader of this group.

She sat on the roof eve, staring out over the city and tried to understand the madness that had overcome her mind. Her clothes were torn and ripped and covered in holes.

She knew who she was and where she was but fragments were missing but they kept coming back to her. She didn’t know what was happening and burst of memory started returning.

“He doesn’t know what it means, just listen to the nice man’s soothing voice.”

“You’re hurt, let me help you.” She heard herself saying.

The broken and bloody figure shook it’s head side to side and tried to push her away.

“Ruu un.” The man said clearly in pain and coughing up blood.

“What do we have here, a curious cat.” A voice said sounding strange coming from behind her.

“Ya, we’re the kind of friends that can’t stand the sight of each other.”

“Hey you look familiar sweetheart.” A man’s voice whispered.

“You were right to be honest, that’s what I’m going to go do.”

Everything was dark, she was still, walls everywhere. She couldn’t move, everything was tight. She turned struggled, nothing worked. Then a cracking sound and freedom.

There was a for sale sign on the lawn and the house was dark. The door was locked but she forced it open. No furniture, no family, nothing.

Daria Morgendorffer looked around feeling the pull toward the others like the two from last night. The ones that tried to kill her when she approached, the ones she killed, enraged by the very sight of them. “We killed you.” She remembered him saying.
She had a name and a memory and answers needed to be found.

“I think it’s time to find Jane.” Daria said as she rose to her feet as the crow landed on her shoulder.

She jumped without thinking and fell four stories to the ground and rose as the broken bones mended and the blood flow stopped, seconds after landing.

“I’m going to enjoy this.” Daria grinned.

Quinn Morgendorffer, miles away sat upright in her bed and gasped. “Daria!”




Part 2

She made her way through the back alleys and darkened streets. Lawndale had transformed in a blink for her from the pleasant city she had once dwelled to a nightmarish landscape of crime and despair.

The once clean streets were dirty and covered in trash and prostitutes mingled with drug dealers right in the open, no police seemed to be on duty. No one seemed to care.

She was passing what had been the Zon and saw it had been changed into a strip club and the girls outside looked far younger than 18.

“Hey girly this is my block, you want to sell your goodies then you need to talk to me.” A reject from a 70s movie said as he approached her.

Daria looked at him, tilting her head as he approached.

“You stoned or what.” The would be pimp said as stopped in front of her.

Daria looked down at her clothes and realized that her shirt was opened far more than she would normally be comfortable with it and the holes exposed even more skin.

His hand lashed out and slapped across her face, jerking her head to the side.

“I’m talking at you.” He yelled at her.

“Get out of my way.” Daria said her voice cold and flat.

“You know who you talking to?” He said before slapping her again and driving his fist into her stomach. She didn’t see the knife until he pulled it out, covered in her blood.

She felt the injury heal itself and somehow knew it was gone.

“A dead man.” Daria said before sending her hand straight into his throat.

He gagged as her hand crushed his airway and stumbled away.

“Crime everywhere, children being forced to sell their bodies, how did this happen here?” She demanded.

He didn’t hear her or even realize she was still there as he tried to cough. She moved up behind him and grabbed his hair and jerked him backward at the same time she kicked out his legs, knocking him to the ground.

“I asked you a question.” She said coldly and lowered her leg on his temple pressing roughly.

He looked up at her as he tried to dislodge her foot, his features becoming distorted.

“What happened to Lawndale?” She asked pressing down harder on his head.

“Morgan.” The pimp managed to get out, his voice sounding horse and torn.

“Thank you.” Daria said and lifted her foot off his temple and then brought it down on his throat, twisting it.

She left him to die in the filth.

:Another piece of the puzzle, but every time I find a piece it just shows me the puzzle is bigger than I thought.: Daria thought as she realized she had just killed someone else.

:That’s three but why does this one feel different than the two last night.: She thought.

She thought it would start getting better as she left the business district but the suburbs were a ruin of abandoned houses and burned out wreckage. She had missed the level of destruction when she had made her way to her parent’s home but now it was shocking.

It didn’t take her long to reach Howard Dr and she relaxed when she saw most of the homes were still intact.

There were groups of people gathered around burning barrels to keep warm. Daria moved past them without speaking, her goal in sight.

Jane sat in her living room watching the flickering light outside the window and wiped at her red and puffy eyes. Her bother sat in the chair next to the couch, he was staring into space.

“It’ll be ok.” He whispered without the feeling his voice use to carry.

“How? My only friend was murdered and now her body has been stolen. The town has gone to ****. How’s it going to be ok, why don’t you go play guitar, oh that’s right you can’t because they broke both your hands.” Jane said pointing at the casts on his hands.

“Janey.” Trent said calmly.

“I’m sorry Trent, it’s just too much.” Jane said knelling on the floor and resting her head on his leg.

“I know, you sleeping any better?” He asked as he brushed his hand through her hair.

“No, I keep having the dream.” Jane said.

“The buried alive one.” Trent sighed.

“Ya, it’s like I’ve been buried and I have to break out of the coffin.” Jane heard her voice shake.

Neither heard the light steps entering behind them.

“I know that dream.” A voice said from behind them.

Jane spun and quickly rose and Trent jumped to his feet and froze. Jane reached for the sledgehammer handle she kept handy and swung it at the voice.

It never landed, she saw the body that went with the voice and tried to stop the swing but it was too late. Daria blocked the swing with her forearm and Jane heard the bone crack.

“It’s not possible, I saw your body.” Jane said stepping backward letting the handle drop to the ground.

“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Daria said as she flexed the arm that seemed to be healing right in front of their eyes.

“Janey run.” Trent said as he tensed his body for the attack he was sure was coming.

“Don’t, I’ve had a bad couple of days and I need answers.” Daria said coldly.

“You’re dead.” Jane said shaking.

“Lots of people keep implying that.” Daria said shaking her head.

She moved around the couch, scooping up the handle and holding it out to Trent and letting him take it.

“Look, I woke up in a coffin, had to break my way out, then my house is empty, the town looks like it’s the end of the world. Where are my parents and what the hell happened?” Daria said dropping onto the couch causing her shirt to rip the rest of the way open.

“Here.” Trent offered handing her a crumpled up shirt, she took it but didn’t move to put it on.

“Your folks left after you died, Quinn was about to start school so they moved to be closer to her.” Jane said weakly.

“Ok and the town and the coffin.” Daria said waving her now completely unbroken arm at her.

“You were murdered, they never caught who did it but everyone knew. It was Morgan and his pack of animals. They moved into town and turned it into this. Apparently you found them killing a federal marshal and tried to save him and they killed you too.” Jane whispered.

“I remember finding someone hurt and trying to help him.” Daria said as memories exploded in her head.

“Wrong place at the wrong time.” One of them said.

“She’s kinda cute, maybe we can play for a while.” Another smirked and grabbed her, ignoring her feeble attempts to keep his hands from grouping her.

“You want to play then keep holding her, Morgan doesn’t like witness so she’s dead and if you want to die with her, go right ahead.” The first one said pointing a gun at the injured man on the ground and firing three times into his chest.

“No need to be like that.” The man released her and stepped away.

She looked at the crowd and counted 11 faces and one name.

“Almost a shame but this is business.” The first man said and shot her.

She felt the bullet pound her chest, ripping flesh and muscle, breaking bones as it ripped through her body.

It blasted her backwards to the ground where she tried to crawl toward the headlights of her car.

“She’s tough.” One of the men said.

“Look at her go, don’t she know she’s already dead.” Another laughed.

“No she don’t.” A third replied.

“Goodbye sweetheart.” The first man said and while she couldn’t see him she heard his arm move, then nothing.


“I remember now, I tried to crawl to my car and they shot me again.” Daria whispered.

Jane nodded. “They found your car and both of the … bodies…” Jane started before breaking down into tears.

“It was the next morning, the cops swore they would find who did it but it was right after that everything changed.” Trent finished.

A loud squawk came from the television and all three people turned and saw the iron black bird sitting, staring at them. It showed no fear of them and carried itself like a predator.

Trent raised the handle awkwardly in his casted hands and prepared to strike at the bird when Daria moved and caught his arm, holding back the swing.

“He’s trying to show me something.” Daria whispered.

An image filled her mind.

He stumbled from his car, bottle still in his hand. She knew his face, he hadn’t spoken but he had been there.

He kicked against the door as he tried to work the key and the frame gave out before he figured how to put the key in the lock.

She saw the street sign and the house address.

“I have to go.” Daria said and peeled off her shirt and the ruin of her bra and pulled the long sleeve pullover shirt over her head, it was almost as black as the bird.

“You can’t leave.” Jane said looking worried.

“I’ll be back. We need to talk some more.” Daria said and pulled out the gun and held it out toward Jane.

“I don’t want that.” Jane said taking a step back; shaking her head, but Trent took it.

“I need to know, I need to understand.” Daria said and started toward the kitchen door that led into the back yard.

“Be careful they run in packs out there.” Trent warned her.

“I’m coming back.” Daria said and left.

“Daria.” Jane cried on the floor.

“Things just got weird.” Trent said as he knelt to hold his sister.

Daria moved into the night toward the address the crow had shown her. She knew without doubt or guilt that she would be killing again tonight but this time answers were going to come.



Part 3

She made her way through the ruins of the town and something in a store window caught her eye. Everything seemed to cause bits and pieces of her memory to fire off.

“You’d look really good in that.” Trent told her a million years ago.

The shop was closed and by the look of it, had been for a long time but the dress still hung in the window.

“We killed you.”

:He knew who I was, I don’t want this coming back on my parents or Quinn.: Daria thought and made up her mind.

She punched through the front window and reached in through the broken glass, letting it cut into her arm and unlocked the door, amused as the wounds closed themselves quickly.

Inside she found a pair of jet black pants and changed into them. A small display of makeup caught her eye next. Grabbing the white crème she smeared it on her face and then grabbed the black lipstick and marked her lips, then remembering a Mardi Gras mask she had seen in a book quickly added lines leading from her lips to her cheek and then crossed her eyes with straight vertical lines. She could feel the madness within her guiding her hands.

:There that should do it.: She thought pleased as she looked in the mirror behind the register.

She grabbed the dress from the window and walked out the door, closing it behind her.

Markus dropped the empty bottle onto his floor and grabbed another fifth of whiskey up and opened before taking a large drink and laughing.

“Damn junkies and whores.” He muttered out loud as he paced the floor.

:This is stupid, what’s the point of taking over the town if we can’t keep the power and phones working.: He thought angrily as he turned up the kerosene lantern that lit the room.

“Why don’t you know when to stop.” He yelled to the empty room.

He kicked over the TV and felt some satisfaction in the sound of breaking glass.

:We had it made, running the drugs, hell all the crime in this entire city but no Morgan wants a kingdom.: He thought bitterly.

“Love what you’ve done with the place.” He smirked out loud.

He heard the squawk behind him and spun, drawing and raising his 9, and scolded himself for being spooked by a bird.

“Whole town is going to the birds.” He laughed and turned back around.

The girl was sitting there, sitting backwards in one of his dining room chairs that hadn’t been there a second before. She was dressed in all black, with her face painted up like a mime.

“Stupid junkies, I don’t keep any of it here. Get out.” He snarled.

She just sat there resting her chin on the back of the chair looking at him, the look burned through the alcohol induced haze he was working on creating.

“I said get out.” He continued pointing the gun at her face.

“No, I want answers and you have some.” Daria said her voice taking on the almost childlike quality from the previous night.

“I’m warning you, I’m not in the mood.” He said and clicked off the safety.

“This can go fast or slow but either way is going to be really painful. So hurry up and make up your mind.” She said, it was almost a whisper but it sent waves of fear moving up his spine.

“That’s enough of this sh**.” He said and put two rounds into her.

Both of the rounds went through the back of the chair and through her chest, knocking her to the floor.

“Dead now.” He said as he tossed the ruined chair away and looked down at the body.

“That’s what happens when you mess with the pack, dumb ****.” He laughed down at her.

She smiled from the floor and sped into action.

Her left foot swung out and knocked the gun from his hand and she allowed it’s momentum to turn her body over, then her right foot slammed into his knee. She leapt from the ground and grabbed his head jerking it downward as she brought her knee up.

3 impacts later she pushed him toward the couch and followed behind him grabbing up the empty bottle.

She smashed the bottle leaving only the next and top half still intact and straddled him.

“I spent my life studying the human anatomy, everything from bone structure to nerve clusters. This is going to hurt.” She said coldly.

She stabbed the bottle into the right side of his chest and cruelly twisted it. He started to scream but she shoved her left hand into his mouth as she continued to twist the bottle. She could feel the glass breaking as it started to fill up with blood. She tried to push away the nagging questions in her mind, like how did she know how to fight and torture, it seemed she had picked up a few skills.

“You should have answered my questions.” She said so sadly as she removed her hand from his mouth and leaned her weight onto the bottle.

“This would have gone so much easier.” Daria sighed.

He jerked as he tried to dislodge her but between being drunk and having just had his ass kicked he couldn’t manage it.

“You haven’t asked me anything.” He cried out, sobbing from the pain.

The white faced girl looked down at him and a smile broke on her face.

“Did I forget that part?” She said twisting the bottle roughly, feeling it grind against bone.

“Oh god… please I'll tell you what ever you want.” He cried as his hands weakly tried to stop the bottle from turning.

“Who killed me?” She asked and he didn’t understand.

“What?” He sputtered looking around the room, trying to grab some proof it was all a dream.

“You were there, I saw you. It was last January, out near the interstate. You were killing a marshal and he got away and made it to the road. I stopped my car and tried to help him and you and the others murdered me. I was 19, my whole life in front of me and you took it all away.” She growled pushing as hard as she could on the bottle.

“It wasn’t my fault, I was just doing my job, that fed got out of the cuffs and made a run for it. You saw him and us.” He tried remembering that night. “But we killed you.”

“I know and now I’m back and I’m killing you.” Daria said as she slammed her hands down on the bottle, shattering it and trying the shards into his destroyed chest.

He screamed in pain as she got up and walked town the other side of the room.

“That can’t be you, Jon capped that girl quick and clean.” He said no longer in control of anything as he held his hands over his chest.

“Then I’m a ghost but I’m real enough to do this.” She said turning and holding up his gun.

“No … no… please … don’t.” He said shaking his head and holding out his bloody hands toward her.

“Sorry but I think I’m short on time so … well. Goodbye.” Daria said and pulled the trigger and emptied the gun into his face.

She ripped the medallion off his neck and shook the chunks of skull off.

She went into his bathroom and stood under the shower letting it wash the blood out of her clothes until the water around the drain was no longer pink.

She made the symbol on the floor with pieces of broken glass from the collection of empty bottle around the house.

She grabbed a small bag and tossed her dress into it and followed it with the gun and a box of ammo she found on the night stand. Moving outside she wasn’t surprised to not hear sirens, not anymore.

Enjoy yourself.” A cold sterile voice said as she started away from the door. She heard it in her mind as well as her ears.

She spun and scanned with her eyes trying to find the source of the voice but there was nothing.

Three kills in two nights, that’s not bad for a beginner.” The voice came again, this time from directly in front of her.

“Four.” She answered as the figure approached her.

The pimp doesn’t count and you know it, kill as many bad guys as you want but they don’t count in the grand scheme of things.” The voice replied.

It stepped into view. Bones and rags in cowboy boots, still wearing a pair of six guns.

She saw the crow perched nearby and somehow knew this creature wasn’t a threat to her.

“Who the hell are you?” She demanded.

A guide, you want the cliff notes or the whole book.” It smiled, the scraps of flesh hanging onto its face popped and ripped when it did.

“Lets start easy.” Daria said moving to keep her new friend at a distance.

You died a violent and senseless death and your soul was trapped into eternal suffering. So you get a chance to avenge what was done to you.” It said calmly, clearly amused by her attempts to keep a distance.

“So this happens anytime anyone gets murdered.” Daria asked.

Nah, just special cases. Sometimes the world needs the wrongs to be righted. This whole town is crying out for vengeance and who better than a cynic to wipe this filth from the world.” The cowboy answered.

“I think it’s got to be more than that.” Daria said feeling the holes in his story at once.

Of course, someone here had to have a strong enough link to call you, to guide the crow back with your soul. That alone is pretty rare.” He stated.

“So what am I?” She asked.

You can’t be killed, at least not with guns or knives or fire. The wounds heal. The longer you’re here the faster they heal. The bird is here to help you finish the task, then you go back and hopefully your soul will be free to finish its journey.” He answered.

“So this is temporary, kill the bad guys and then I die again.” Daria said her eyes narrowing.

That’s the way it works. I’ll be along to collect you when everything is done.” He said turning away and starting into the darkness.

Oh and your welcome for the fighting skills, I thought you could use them.” His voice said as he disappeared.

“Damn.” Daria said as she stared into the empty street.

The sun was coming up when she slipped into the back door at the lane home and found Trent passed out in the living room and she moved toward Jane’s room.

She heard the brush against the canvas before she opened the door.

Jane was painting, a crow was pulling Daria free from an ocean of blackness, that was littered with bodies.

Jane didn’t hear her approach, Daria shuffled her foot and saw Jane tense before relaxing.

“I didn’t hear you come in.” Jane said without turning.

“No one does anymore.” Daria replied and looked at the piles of completed art works. All dark, Jane’s work had taken on the aspect of the grave, making her previous works look almost cheerful.

“Where’d you go?” Jane asked.

“I killed one of the men that murdered me.” Daria answered.

“Oh.” Jane said as she finished the painting.

“That’s why I got brought back, to kill them.” Daria said calmly but she felt the tears start to fall.

“I don’t care; all that matters is that you are.” Jane said turning and grabbing her into embrace and cried against her.

Daria slowly wrapped her arm around crying friend and held her as the sun rose in the sky.

:I wonder what happened to my glasses.: She thought as she laid Jane down in her bed after she fell asleep.




Part 4

Trent approached his mother’s old workshop and listened to the sounds of industry within for several seconds before he built his nerve and opened the door.

Daria was standing in front of the kiln wearing nothing and he could see the steel bucket filled with water and some kind of soap and the clothes soaking within.

There were two new scars on her back, ragged circles that he had come to know quite well in the last year and he watched as they seemed to fade just a little in seconds he stared at the slender figure.

“Hello Trent.” She said without shame or concern for him seeing her naked body as she turned.

“Em… I …. Was just. …. Do you …” Trent said blushing brightly and turning to look at the wall opposite her.

He heard the loud sigh and a fluttering of cloth.

“I’m covered now.” Daria told him and he turned back around and saw she had wrapped a ragged sheet around herself and was tying the ends into a knot to keep it up.

“I was wondering if you were hungry.” He said. “Janey is still asleep so I thought I would make up some grub for when she wakes up.”

“I could eat.” Daria nodded.

:Maybe, but I’m not hungry, not really.: Daria thought and wondered if she needed food to fuel this new life.

“Cool, I’ll be in the backyard.” He said and then blushed again. “Someone blew up the power substation so we don’t have any power so I have to cook on the grill outside. Water still works but that’s about it.” He said and turned to leave.

“Ok, I have something to take care of in here but I might be out to help in a few minutes and I’ll dress first.” She answered then smirked. “At least I can be sure you know I’m a girl now, I did kinda wonder.”

Trent laughed and broke into a cough. “Good one Daria.” He said as he made his escape beet red.

She turned back to the kiln and looked down at what she was making and after confirming the temperature was what she needed to be at turned toward her clothes soaking in the bucket.

She wrung out the shirt and pants until she could get no more water to drop off them and then hung them next to kiln to dry, poking her fingers through the two new holes in the shirt.
:Fine I heal but couldn’t they have done something about the pain. Damn getting shot hurts.: She thought with a sour smile.

Jane awoke with a start, her heart pounding in her chest. She looked around her room and saw the painting she had finished before Daria got back.

:Daria.: She thought.

She jumped from her bed and ran through the house searching, she heard Trent in the backyard and hurried to join him.

“Hey Janey.” Trent said and she saw a tiny flicker of his old self dancing in his eyes as he cooked so sliced potatoes and fatty pieces of meat on the grill.

“Trent, was it a dream?” She asked, her voice desperate.

“Nope, she’s in mom’s workshop.” Trent said and pointed toward the house.

“She was dead. I saw the body, you remember the Morgendorffers let me see her before the funeral because I was having a hard time accepting it.” Jane said.

“Looks like you were right.” Trent said as he turned the meat.

“Dead people don’t come back to life, how is this happening?” Jane asked.

“Go ask her.” Trent shrugged.

“Why are you so ok with this?” Jane asked her eyes narrowing.

“Because if you can come back then there’s got to be something to comeback from.” Trent said calmly.

Jane opened her mouth then closed it again and turned to return to the house. She found Daria where Trent said she’d be and Jane entered the room and shut the door after her and turned to her friend, first, best, only.

“I was scared it was a dream and scared it wasn’t.” Jane admitted.

“I can understand that, it’s not every day someone comes back from the dead. You made it possible; you were the beacon that allowed me to be brought back.” Daria said turning to Jane and stepping toward her and found comfort in the fact she didn’t retreat.

“I have these dreams; I was you in those dreams wasn’t I.” Jane said, knowing that Daria wouldn’t have the answers.

“Maybe.” Daria shrugged and checked her clothes and pulled them down after finding them dry.

Jane watched Daria remove the sheet and felt a flush as she watched her pull the pants on, quickly followed by the shirt.

“Um you might want to get another shirt.” Jane said trying not to laugh as she pointed to the holes and Daria looked down and saw her right nipple poking out of the bullet hole.

Daria shifted the shirt and looked around the room and Jane spotted something and held it out.

“Electrical tape, perfect.” Daria smirked.

“Better than duct tape.” Jane teased.

“I can see without my glasses.” Daria said as she felt a uneasy silence setting in.

“Really, good because Quinn wouldn’t give them up.” Jane answered without thinking.

“What?” Daria tilted her head confused.

“She wouldn’t let me have anything of yours, I had a few things you left over here but she wanted all the rest. It hit her pretty hard.” Jane said.

“Oh.” Daria said not sure what to say.

“There’s a working phone at the rest stop right outside of town. We can go call them whenever you want.” Jane suggested.

“I’m not ready for that yet.” Daria evaded.

“Ok.” Jane said carefully.

Daria picked up something and Jane realized it was some kind of knife.

“What’s that?” Jane asked nervously.

“9 left. 8 of the ones that were there and the one that started all of it. I need weapons to give me an edge.” Daria answered.

“Being able to heal isn’t enough.” Jane joked.

“I like a stacked deck.” Daria said coldly.

Jane shifted her weight uneasily and said the first thing she could think of.

“I dated Kevin.” Jane blurted.

Daria turned and stared at her and put the blade down and smirked.

“So you want to fill me in or do I have to torture you.” Daria said her voice flat.

“It was short, only about two months but he helped me get over your death and pissed off his folks royally.” Jane laughed.

“Anything else I need to know about?” Daria smirked.

“Upchuck knocked up Sandi Griffin.” Jane said.

“No way that’s like dating outside your own species. It’s a new low even for him.” Daria said looking shocked.

“Apparently she got dumped and he said just the right things and got himself some fashionable action and she got pregnant.” Jane chuckled.

“And?’ Daria demanded.

“His dad offered the two of them a wad of green to get married and take care of the kid. They’re still married and looked like happily so, last I heard.” Jane sighed.

“Wow, that’s weirder than coming back from the dead.” Daria said shaking her head.

“I tried to sell the story to Sick Sad World but they said no one would believe it.” Jane smiled.

“Do you have a pair of boots I could borrow?” Daria asked looking down at her bare feet.

“Mine won’t fit on those battleships you call feet but I can snag one of Trent’s extra pairs.” Jane said thinking.

“At least it’s my feet and not another part of my anatomy that’s huge.” Daria said patting Jane on the rump as she moved past her to go out the door.

“Hey I have it on good authority that my butt is very sweet.” Jane said following her.

“Kevin?” Daria smirked.

“Let’s just say I know why Brittany put up with him for so long and the boy has skills.” Jane returned lightly.

“That’s a story you can skip, completely and totally.” Daria shuddered.

Daria stood in the backyard as the sun went down and waited knowing somehow she was going to be hunting again tonight and when the crow landed a vine covered modern art statue it didn’t surprise her.

The man stood in the warehouse looking over the stacks of boxes and shouted orders to the various armed men that seemed to be standing guard over 5 certain boxes.

“No mistakes tonight, the boss is getting nervous about some new player and he wants to make sure this stuff hits the streets.” The one she knew said.

The men responded to his commands by snapping up even more alert.

He fingered the automatic, slung over his shoulder but he was ready to bring it into play in a second.

She remembered him. “Look at her go, don’t she know she’s already dead.”

:He laughed.: She thought her blood boiling.

She broke into a run heading toward the warehouse that the crow showed her and as soon as she hit the business district she made her way to the roof tops and followed the bird’s flight directions, leaping from one roof to another.

:It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t know fear anymore.: She thought calmly as she skidded to a stop on the roof of the warehouse and peered down through the skylight.

It was exactly like the crow showed her. She checked the 9mm glock that she had taken last night and confirmed it was loaded and then checked her blades to make sure she could get to them if she needed.

:Make that when, must be at least 30 thugs down there.: She thought planning her attack.

:What do I need to worry about.: Daria thought and jumped onto the skylight and felt it shatter beneath her weight and she was falling.




Part 5

Willy McCoy wasn’t stupid but he was a long trip from smart. He excelled at one thing in particular though that made him very useful, following the orders of anything he was scared of and that was Morgan.

Morgan had given him quite specific orders to protect this shipment of coke and he had no plans on failing. He looked at his security measures and smiled.

:I got 30 of the meanest cold blooded killers that ever walked the earth loaded for T-rex, let’s see something get near those crates.: He thought proudly.

He was finishing one of his sweeps he was doing every 15 minutes when he heard the glass breaking.

He looked up in time to start running as 20 pounds of glass rained down along with one body. The crash of the body did nothing to dampen the sounds of the hundreds of pieces of glass falling to the ground.

He scrambled out of the way and turned to look; one of his boys had taken a shard through his face and was stone dead.

“What the hell?” He exclaimed in disbelief as the girl stood.

She was in all black and her face was painted up like a Mardi Gras whore and she couldn’t weigh a buck ten soaking wet.

:But she’s packing heat.: He thought and that changed everything.

“I’ve come to deliver a message. Tonight you’re all going to die.” She said as calm and cool as a Sunday picnic.

“Put her down.” He called out to his men and swung down his beloved M-4 and leveled it on her just as his men opened fire.

He watched her body twist like a plastic bag in the wind as the bullets cut into her body before she dropped out of view.

“Alright that’s done.” He said and stepped forward to get a look at the corpse.

That’s when everything changed.

Three quick shots went off and two of his men dropped and a blood soaked devil was coming over the top of the crates and she was shooting.

2 of his so called top notch killers went down in an instant before anyone moved. His men returned fire and he could see the blood splatters from the hits on her body but nothing stopped her.

He froze not understanding what he was seeing but it was his lack of brains that made him move. Another of his men went down as she calmly walked toward the man shooting.

He fired off a burst with the M-4 and blasted her and one of his men to the ground.

“What was that?” One of his men started to say.

She was on her feet again and she emptied the clip into four of his men before scooping down and coming up with a Spaz 12 gauge and blasting in any direction there was someone still standing. 6 more of his guys went down before she clicked empty and one of his guys rushed her only to get the stock shoved into his face.

The hard plastic folding stock punched through the man’s face and skull and stuck, resisting her efforts to pull it free.

Another of his men got close and pulled a 38 and fired off all 6 shots into her back and she staggered away from them and fell against a crate.

Two more of his men moved to join the one about to grab her and she rolled over the top of the crate to avoid their reaching hands and landed neatly on her feet on the other side, facing them.

Her hand blurred out and all three were clutching their throats and he saw the thick blood spurting out between their grasping fingers.

:This isn’t happening.: He thought as a little girl tore through cold bloodied killers like they were nothing.

Another of his men grabbed her from behind and knocked the strange knife to the ground and tried to hold her still.

“Control her arms.” He called running toward them but it was too late.

Her hands dropped in a familiar fashion and did something not to intimate and his man screamed in pain and let go of her.

She spun and kicked his bent over face and then dropped an elbow onto his back and he almost heard the bone break.

She turn toward two more of his men that were approaching and quickly dodged their amateurish attempts to attack her with within seconds was spinning the second’s neck, turning his lights off. The other she stabbed through with the strange blade with an upward strike and the tip burst from the man’s shoulder.

:She’s cutting us to pieces.: He thought and tried to track her but she moved back and forth engaging the remaining 7 of his men.

:I have to tell Morgan about this.: He thought and started toward the exit.

He felt the blade hit him and drop him to the floor and as he tried to reach behind himself to pull it out, he heard it crack and break off in his hand.

He passed out from the pain.

He didn’t know how long he was out but he was being dragged when he came to.

He couldn’t move his legs and the pain in his back was sending waves throughout his whole body.

He say the girl then, covered in blood, pulling him along until she stopped and rested his head on something then picked up his legs causing him to scream out in pain and lowered them on top of one of his men’s back.

He turned his head and saw he was laying on another of his now dead men and they all seemed to be arranged into a shape on the ground.

He heard the cracking of the wood and saw her taking out the large bags of white powder and dumping on the bodies until she had emptied each of the crates. Some of the bodies looked like they were dipped in flower but what came next really frightened him. The sound of pouring liquid.

“No listen you got to listen to me. I got money, I’ll pay you. Just drop me off at a hospital and we call it square. 100 grand, cash. You can’t do this I’m still alive.” He screamed as he heard her move around the shape.

He heard her come up behind him before he felt the foul smelling liquid pour over him.

He had expected the odor of gasoline but this was different.

“Collodion.” She said answering the question he hadn’t asked.

“What?” He asked.

“Highly flammable with a very low flash point, I hope you like it hot.” She said to him.

“Please anything I got, I’ll give to you.” He begged as she dug something out of her pocket.

“Can you give me back my life? The one you stood by and laughed as Jon wasn’t it, put a two bullets in me and took away. Don’t you know you’re dead already?” She said as she pulled out the Zippo lighter and spun the wheel.

He knew her then, his own words coming back to him.

“You’re dead, you’re dead.” He said shaking his head rapidly in compete disbelief, his eyes never leaving the flame in her hand.

“That’s right I am and I’ve come to collect the devil’s due and he wants interest.” She said bending down and picking up a gym bag loaded with guns.

“See you in hell.” She said as she turned and tossed the lighter over her shoulder.

He watched it fly through the air and knew where it was going.

It landed neatly on his lap and he was ablaze before his eyes could register it.

“Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.” He screamed as the flames burned away his flesh and melted his muscles.

The last sight he saw was her walking away, never looking back.

She waited for the crow to return and it perched itself on her shoulder as she walked. She moved through the streets hoping for an attack any excuse to kill some more of the trash that had taken over her city, her home.

:This ends.: She thought as she moved past children digging through trash cans for food, woman selling themselves for the price of a good fast food dinner and a cheap movie.

She stripped her clothes off in the back yard and started trying to wash the blood out of her clothes. She knew it wouldn’t all come out but she wanted as much as possible gone.

:How can my body replace so much blood, none of this makes sense by the laws I understand. It might be time to learn the rules.: She thought.

The pants were salvageable but the shirt was barely a rag now. She washed the makeup and blood off her body and hair with a hose and shivered as the winter air hit her wet body.

She hung both on the clothes line and moved inside without any clothes at all and was honestly pleased with the unpleasantness off the cold night.

:That’s pretty bad when I’m happy to be cold, or anything really anything other than dead.: She thought as she entered the house and found Jane waiting for her.

“Rough night at the office.” Jane joked but Daria saw the fear in her eyes at the mass of scars and wounds that were still healing and disappearing.

“It was enlightening.” Daria deadpanned and accepted the robe Jane was holding out to her. She slide the robe over her arms and sighed as it cut the wind and chill from her back and front as she closed it.

“Why do you smell like a mixture of smoke and my Dad?” Jane asked as Daria moved to head toward the bedrooms.

Jon Teels stared at the still burning pile of bodies and acting on instinct he climbed up a stack of crates and looked down at the scene as others searched the room for any sign of the attackers.

He saw the spread wings and knew it was the same as the one from Marcus’s apartment, from the factory where they found Frankie and Mikey the night before that.

He pulled out a cell phone and dialed it and held it to his ear.

“It’s me, someone took out Willy and his entire team, the shipment is gone. No I think they burned it here. Another of those damn bird symbols is here. No I don’t know of any gangs or cartels that use a bird for their signal. It’s bad, someone came in here and took out 31 one guys, armed to the teeth and walked away with enough left to carry off their own wounded and dead.” He said calmly.

“We’re cleaning it up now but the Blood Dogs aren’t going to be happy we don’t have their coke.” He answered.

“I understand, I have all my people out looking for anything new and not a whisper has gotten through. Either we’re dealing with some serious mofos who know how to keep their mouths shut or those rumors about fed death squads are true.” He advised the person on the other end of the phone.

“We got some casing but I don’t think they’re going to help, remember Marcus’s tricked out 9, I found it here, used, I think either they picked up the casing from their guns or they managed to sneak up and use the guns here to kill these guys.”

“I told you, I don’t have a clue.” He said and closed his eyes tightly trying to control his voice.

“I’m on it.” He said and the call ended.

:I don’t care if I have to burn this entire town to the ground I want whoever did this strung up in the town square as a warning.: He thought angrily.

Jane sat on the foot of her bed and watched Daria sleep peacefully; she tried not to stare as the wounds faded to scars then disappeared completely. She caught herself stroking Daria’s foot gently and pulled her hand away and curled up on her bed looking down at Daria who had opted for the floor where she always slept when she stayed over.

:She has to finish the job and then things will start getting normal again. Maybe we can all leave, find someplace clean and start new lives.: Jane thought with a smile, not noticing the crow staring at her from its sleeping perch on a dresser.




Part 6

Daria and Jane made their way down the street and the bird followed them. Daria wasn’t sure where they were going but Jane said she had a goto person for all things super natural.

The shop didn’t have a sign, it was just a single door in a brick wall. Jane opened the door and waited for Daria and the crow the enter before she followed.

“If that thing is going to follow you around maybe we should give it a name.” Jane joked.

“I don’t think so.” Daria replied.

“Fine but I think he looks like a Midnight, in the back.” Jane pointed to the back beyond the empty shelves and Daria followed her. The crow perched itself on Daria’s shoulder as they walked.

“Hello Jane, I won’t try to contact past the veil of life again.” The slender redhead said.

“No need.” Jane smirked and pointed over to Daria.

“This is trouble.” The woman said.

“Daria, meet Scarlett she tried to get me in touch with you after you died.” Jane said.

“Ummm, thanks.” Daria shrugged and the crow stared intently at the redhead.

“Keep him in line, Roger doesn’t need to lose any more fur.” Scarlett said as a white head poked out of her pocket and stared at the bird.

“Hello Roger.” Jane said at the tiny mouse.

Daria looked at her then shrugged. “How are you doing little guy?” Daria asked the mouse and waited.

“Um Daria, he’s a mouse. He doesn’t talk.” Jane nudged her.

“Oh.” Daria blushed.

“It’s ok. He’s been my friend for such a long time that I forget that too.” Scarlett smiled.

“So … Jane tells me you might be able to help me with a few problems.” Daria sighed.

“Well as I’m assuming that isn’t a familiar so I would guess you came back to avenge your death.” Scarlett said nicely.

“That’s one right out of gate.” Jane cheered.

“Wanna go for two?” Daria pushed.

“You are a dead soul locked into torment and this is your release. To strike out at those that hurt you and whose deaths will serve the greater good. You are the sword of the gods unleashed unto the earth to destroy those that have offended them.” Scarlett explained.

“Explain how this works to me, my other source seemed to be leaving something out.” Daria said carefully.

“That’s the Cowboy; he was the first of you here in the new world. He screwed up and whatever runs the show gave him the job of guiding each of the newcomers on the process.” Scarlett answered.

“Screwed up how?” Daria asked her eyes narrowing.

“Got himself burned alive, all the way to ashes, it took about a hundred years for his body to heal and by that time those he was brought back to kill were long dead. He was an immortal but they didn’t want to give him free reign on the earth so they made him start to rot. That’s what happens when you live a few lifetimes to many.” Scarlett answered.

“Is that what happens to me.” Daria asked.

“No, after you kill those you’re here to kill, they send you back and you die.” Scarlett said.

“NO!” Jane yelled and she moved forward slamming her hands down onto the counter.

“Easy.” Daria said and moved toward Jane and pulled her friend to her.

“No, you don’t get to leave again.” Jane cried against her.

“It’s how it works.” Scarlett said.

“Yes or no will I rot like him.” Daria demanded.

“If you fail to kill the men then you rot but he’ll come for you the next night after you complete your task.” Scarlett said forcefully.

“And if I don’t let him take me.” Daria asked.

“He’s like you but older, stronger and meaner.” Scarlett said carefully.

“Can I fight him?” Daria demanded again, her voice getting cold.

“Yes but you can’t beat him, no one could.” Scarlett said.

“Does he have a weakness?” Daria asked.

“Maybe fire or hanging, that’s the two things that stopped him before.” Scarlett answered.

“How can I be hurt, he hemmed around the issue when I asked?” Daria asked.

“If you’re hurt bad enough that it would take a very long time to heal, like the Cowboy or if you’re trapped or the bird is hurt.” Scarlett said.

“What?” Daria said looking at the crow that was sitting on the counter.

“If anything happens to the bird, it happens to you. It is your link to this world.” Scarlett said.

“Does anyone else know that?” Daria said and her voice grew cold as ice.

“I doubt it; it’s not exactly common knowledge. …I understand.” Scarlett said and lowered her head and waited.

She didn’t hear the bird move or Daria put she did hear Jane leave and was about to raise her head when Daria’s voice came from the doorway.

“Don’t make me regret this.”

:I think it’s time for me and Roger to try country life.: Scarlett thought and went to pack a bag.

Jane waited until they reached her house before grabbing her friend and slamming her into a wall.

“You don’t get to run off and die again. I spent a year and that was too long. If you leave I’ll follow.” Jane said and Daria saw she was telling the truth.

:It’s all in the eyes.: Daria thought.

“I’m going to fight him, I don’t know if I can win but I’m going to try.” Daria stated and Jane let her up from the wall.

“When were you going to tell me, that’s why you don’t want to call your folks? Isn’t it?” Jane said.

“Yes, I don’t want to give them back their daughter just to have her taken away again.” Daria admitted.

“Whatever I can do just tell me. We’re in this together.” Jane said and held tightly to Daria.

“I need to get smarter, if the guys last night had been smarter they might have captured me. I need to take them out cleaner. Getting shot hurts.” Daria said and tossed a smile at the end.

“Did you ever think of ducking?” Jane laughed.

“What?” Daria said confused.

“Ok, you heal but wouldn’t it be better if you didn’t have to heal so much. Quit standing there like a target.” Jane explained.

“I guess some tactics might not be a bad idea.” Daria admitted.

“Besides, I only have a few more long sleeve black shirts and I look hot in them and I really don’t want to wear one that’s full of holes.” Jane smiled at her.

“I’ll get you some more, when this is all over.” Daria promised.

Jon Teels entered the neat and tidy office of his employer.

“Any news?” The most powerful man in Lawndale asked.

“Nothing. No one is so much as jaywalking that we don’t know about it.” Jon reported.

“Then how are four of my pack dead and a host of lessers with them?” Morgan asked politely.

“Not a single clue yet, just those damn bird symbols.” Jon answered carefully.

“Can we assume that more killings will occur?” Morgan asked.

“I think that’s a safe bet.” Jon said. “We’ve doubled security on all shipments and posted guards on the entire pack’s homes.

“Good, setup cameras. I have no doubt that whoever is responsible will find some way of taking out the security measures we put in place so let’s use that to gain some information on our enemy.” Morgan smiled.

“You want to let them kill more of our guys?” Jon asked surprised.

“No, of course not but I don’t believe we can truly protect ourselves until we know who we’re fighting.” Morgan said with a dismissive wave.

“I’ll get it done before nightfall.” Jon promised.

Daria stood stroking the crow as it filled her mind with the mental image. Someone she really wanted to kill would be getting a visit tonight. The bird showed her the camera’s being installed around the man’s home but she knew it wouldn’t stop her.

:I’ll have to make sure that no one can follow me back here. I won’t bring them down on Jane and Trent.: Daria thought.

Her target was going to suffer though. “She’s kinda cute, maybe we can play for a while.”

:I’ll teach him to put his hands where they don’t belong.: She thought with an almost feral growl.

The sun was setting and she knew it would be a few hours before she left to go hunting.

“You want some dinner before you go?” Jane asked from the back door.

“Sure.” Daria said nicely.

:I wonder if I sent out invitations if they would all show up in the same place.: Daria smirked as she headed into the house.




Part 7

She waited without movement for him and the two guards to enter the small house. It was filthy and smelled like rot but she didn’t care.

She saw him and remembered his face, staring at her hungrily, making her feel that, making her almost want him to do what he wanted.

:Just a few more minutes.: Daria said as she waited.

“Hey I don’t see why I can’t bring a girl home.” Greg Elis grumbled at his two bodyguards.

“Boss said no distractions.” One said calmly.

The other didn’t speak merely kept watch, standing where he could see the hall toward the back of the house and the front door.

“I need some action to stay focused.” Greg laughed.

“Jon said no.” The first guard repeated.

Daria looked at the camera that was scanning the room. She didn’t know how they didn’t see her but the darkness was her friend now and she would use it.

“Feels wrong.” The third man said looking around.
He was clearly uneasy with the shadows that danced within the room.

“I’m going to bed.” Greg said looking defeated.

“Let me check out.” The talkative guard said. He started down the hall and she could hear him inspecting the rooms that lay in the back side of the house.

She waited for him to return wanting no surprises before she moved.

The first shot went to the camera and bits of plastic flew as it struck true. The three men turned toward her and froze at the shock of her sudden appearance.

:The quiet one is dangerous.: She thought and turned her attentions to him as he recovered light years ahead of the other two and started shooting.

“Kill her already.” Greg screamed as he fumbled with his weapon.

“Get out of the way.” The first guard said as he joined his partner in shooting at the intruder.

:You would have thought they would have seen me duck behind this wall.: Daria thought disgusted at the sheer stupidity.

Then she realized that the quiet one was moving to get an angle to shoot around the wall.

She stepped away from the wall and fired a shot in his direction and watched him disappear down one of the rooms off the hall way.

She stepped out from behind the protection of the wall and fired a single shot catching the first guard through the temple, killing him instantly.

Greg watched the body guard drop and looked for the other one.

:That chicken ran off and left me. It’s time to ghost.: He thought and kicked his kitchen table toward the attacker and fired two shots to distract her.

He was heading for the door and didn’t see her dive over the table as it blocked her line of sight. He heard her body smack the ground and dive at him.

Daria drove a ceramic blade into the man’s knee and watched him stumble and fall into the door, slamming his head into the frame.

“I thought you wanted to play, don’t you still think I’m cute.” Daria said moving onto his back and shoving another blade into his spine.

Greg screamed when the blade took out his knee but the one in his back did far worse but it cut the pain out when it killed his legs.

“Morgan’s gonna kill you in so many different ways.” He said trying to swing his arms at the crazed girl.

“He can try.” Daria said her lips just inches from his ear.

That’s when he got really scared.

Daria stood and started to look around when the quiet guard shot her from the hall.

:Damn I knew I was forgetting something.: She thought as she fell.

Her wound was healed before she hit the ground and she rolled out of the sight path from the hall and came up on her knee.

She heard his steps now, a whisper of movement that she could feel through the ground than hear.

She jumped out bringing her gun around to fire but he blocked her arm, knocking the gun away and kicked her in the stomach.

She threw herself against him and managed to get her hands on his gun and kept him from using it while she slammed her head into his face.

He knocked her away and while she lost the gun, so did he.

He attacked with a flurry of punches and she watched as her body responded without thought and parried each one.

She countered and felt her hand bite against his face and jaw with little effect.

:I guess the Cowboy’s fighting skills aren’t all their cut out to be.: She thought rudely.

He attacked again, combos of punches and kicks that drove her back against the wall as she continued to defend herself.

She lashed out with a booted foot and struck his shin and raked down, then stomped down on his arch causing him to jerk toward the side.

It was the advantage she needed. Her hands flew at his neck and face striking every nerve that she knew was there and the attack drove him back and allowed her to move off the wall.

He stumbled backward limping slightly and she circled him, waiting.

He attacked at her trying to drive her back but his injured leg threw off his timing and she sidestepped his attack and kicked her foot into his chin, knocking his head up and opening his neck for a knife hand strike that sent him to the floor and allowed her to bring the boots into play.

Boots are meant for stomping on things and she did, breaking his shoulder and the bones of his face in seconds.

His head wasn’t much more than a pile of bone and mush when she was done. Daria stood over him gasping for breath.

Greg sat in the kitchen trying to reach his gun as he watched the girl kill the last body guard. She turned to him and smiled.

“Crazy freak, don’t you know what Morgan is going to do to you?” He said as he continued to crawl toward the gun.

“It won’t be as bad as what I’m going to do to you.” Daria said moving toward him.

She kicked the gun away from his hand and slammed her palm into his nose, knocking him out.

He wasn’t heavy but the fight had worn her out and by the time she had him in his disgusting bed she was exhausted but still she continued.

He woke up when he felt his clothes pull off his body. He tried to sit up but found his hands and legs were tied to the corners of his bed.

“I’m a member of the pack sweetie, if you do this there ain’t no coming back.” He said as he tried to find her.

“Do you remember touching me?” Her voice returned and he looked toward his door and she was there, leaning against the doorway.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He said truthfully.

“You and your friends murdered me, but you did something worse. You wanted to touch me, to play. They wouldn’t let you. I remember being so scared that I wished they would let you because I would live that much longer. You made me feel that, to be ready to trade my body for a few minutes of life. I’m going to hurt you for that.” Daria said and he saw the steel blade as she laid it down on his night stand.

He watched her start to undress and carefully lay out her clothes and his body started to respond despite the fear.

“Just in case there is any doubt, I’m going to really enjoy this.” She said as she picked up the knife and dragged it up his thigh and across his groin.

“We can party all you want darling, there ain’t no need for the knife.” He tried.

“Oh there really is.” She said cruelly and he saw her eyes.

He started to scream.

Daria made it out of the house just 15 minutes before Jon and his team arrived to check why the camera was out.

Jon walked in first and saw the blood by the door and then the body of the first guard. He waved several of his men into the house and started using hand signals to direct them into the living room where they found the second guard.

“Damn.” He whispered.

He moved down the hall toward the only other lit room in the house and gently pushed open the door and froze.

He couldn’t make out what he was seeing at first but as it sank in he couldn’t control the gagging that jumped from his stomach. It took almost a full five minutes before he tried to enter the room again.

Greg was dead, thankfully but they wouldn’t be able to id the body without a dental record.

Parts of him were spread throughout the room. The symbol was on the wall and it was marked out in his intestines that were still attached inside his body.

One of his men moved into the room and after turning snow white, ran as soon as he saw what lay on the bed.

:I’m not getting paid enough for this.: He thought as he looked for any clues, a bloody towel explained why there wasn’t footprints in the puddles that covered the floor.

He saw the part that had governed Greg’s life shoved into his mouth and had to control the urge to start gagging again.

:This wasn’t a message this was personal.: He thought as he stepped out of the room.

He pulled out his cell phone.

“Anything on that tape?” He demanded not caring about the shaking in his voice.

“GO over it frame by frame but something had to happen before the camera got taken out and I want to know what it was.” He growled into the phone before hanging up.

He dialed another number and waited for the person to pick up.

“They got Greg and both his body guards, looks like Myers put up a pretty good fight and pissed them off. They didn’t just kill Greg they destroyed him and I think they did it why he was still alive. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Jon admitted.

“I have the techs review the tape now but they knew about the cameras and took it out right off the bat. We weren’t ready and they bent us over.” Jon said anger creeping into his voice.

“Boss I know that but this was cold, the kind of cold you only get when you hate someone. Whoever is doing this hates us. This isn’t about drugs or territory, this is personal and that makes them dangerous.” Jon said before the call ended.

:Keep looking at this like some is trying to move in on us and we’re going to get smacked hard.: Jon thought then walked out of the house.

Daria let the water wash over her in the shower, let it wash the blood and tears off her body.
:I hated him. I can’t lose control like that again not if I ever want to come back from this.:

Jane washed the little bit of blood out of the shirt and sighed at the bullet hole in the back of the shirt. It wasn’t that big and she found herself wondering how wrong it was for something so small to be able to kill so easily.

She quickly sewed up the whole and hung the shirt to dry and waited for Daria to come out of the shower.
:I have to be here through this, I have to give her a reason to keep fighting to stay here.: Jane thought as she heard the water turn off.

:Scarlett is gone so I can’t see if there is anything I can do to help but I’ll be there no matter what.: Jane thought as the bathroom door started to open.

“Hey you look like you need a thousand year nap.” Jane joked to Daria and the humor picked up her own mood.




Part 8

The knocking at the door continued.

It echoed through her dream and chased away the peaceful memories of life.

It grew louder and more insistent.

Daria sat up and rubbed at her face and saw the sun was still bright and warm outside the window.
“Damn it.” She groaned and lifted herself off the floor and made her way to the Lane’s living room.

She approached the room and heard an unfamiliar voice speaking from the kitchen. She paused and listened.

“Miss. Lane I told you I would stop by and give you an update on the Morgendorffer case.” The male voice said.

“And?” Jane pushed.

“We still don’t know who stole the body from the grave and I’ll be truthful with you, the available manpower for trying to find out has been reduced greatly. Our informants within the various criminal operations in town have informed us of some kind of gang war happening. We’re being pulled of other less urgent cases to work that.” The police officer said.

“So you’re not going to be looking anymore.” Jane said and Daria wanted to smack her at the sound of relief in her friend’s voice.

“I didn’t say that, it’s been moved to the back burner but I promise you that I won’t rest until Daria is resting inside her grave again.” The officer said missing Jane’s slip.

She realized another mistake as she looked at the table Jane was standing next to in the kitchen, three coffee cups were being filled.

The officer didn’t miss this one. “You have company over.” He asked.

“What?” Jane said confused and Daria heard the alarm set in and Jane’s heart beat triple out.

“I see three cups, who’s the third cup for?” The officer asked and his voice sounded amused.

“Me.” Daria said stepping out from the hall into the kitchen.

“Oh ... my ... god.” The young cop said, stepping backward in fear. His hand dropped to his sidearm.

“Hi.” Daria sighed.

“Wait, this is Lynn. Daria’s cousin. She came down to see if there was anything she could do after hearing about the grave robbery.” Jane said quickly.

:The mind jumps at the easiest answer.: Daria thought as she saw the fear turn into chagrin on the officer’s face.

“I thought for a minute there …., well you like just like her.” The officer said visually relieved. “Except she wore glasses, right.” He chuckled.

“Ya.” Jane said almost shaking.

“I need to cut back on the caffeine.” He said shaking his head.

Jane hurried the officer out the door as Daria sat down to drink her coffee and to wait for Jane to return.

“Are you trying to make my heart explode?” Jane said upset when she returned.

“Sorry, but c’mon what kind of trailer park trash name is Lynn.” Daria teased.

“Oh my bad, maybe I should have gone with the risen from the dead story.” Jane said with a pout.

“Fine, I’m Lynn, … Daria’s cousin.” Daria sighed.

“I’m not walking away from this town.” The figure sitting within the shadows said firmly.

“Every night we stay, we lose another member of the pack. Someone here is taking issue with us and making us pay in blood. Lets burn the town and start over, someplace warmer maybe.” Jon said forcefully.

“No.” The figure answered.

“Morgan, you aren’t being reasonable. I’m no closer to finding these vigilantes now than I was after the first attack. Of the 12 of us that rode into this s***hole, 5 are dead. I truly believe that someone else will be dead when the sun comes up tomorrow.” Jon sighed.

“Then have the pack stay in groups to watch each other’s backs.” Morgan dismissed the concern.

“Ok, but understand this. Tomorrow one of those groups is going to be dead.” Jon said and walked out of the home made throne room.

:You keeping playing king and someone’s going to leave your head on the castle walls.: Jon thought as he went to issue the orders.

“What’s wrong?” Trent asked gently as he wrapped an arm around her.

“I can feel it healing.” Daria said. Both of them stretched out under the covers of his bed.

“I don’t get it.” Trent said puzzled.

“It’s bad enough I had to die a virgin and now I’m stuck that way.” Daria said as she climbed out of the bed and started to dress.

“It’ll be ok.” Trent offered and got a glare in return.

“We aren’t going to tell Jane, right; it was just this one time.” Daria said almost shyly.

“If that’s what you want.” Trent answered.

“Thank you.” Daria said and leaned over and kissed the top of his head.

“Daria, it will be ok. I’m sure of it.” Trent promised her as she left the room.

:How?: Daria thought as she went down the hall and checked to make sure Jane was still sleeping.

The sporty Honda 2 door pulled into the roadside hotel as the sun set.

Daria placed the bags of homemade explosives into each of the cars outside what had been the Zon.

She moved through the shadows to the wall and started climbing to the roof. As she climbed she avoided the windows but a slow voice caught her attention.

“I … need … it.”

“To bad, you piss me off enough that you can’t dance so you don’t get to party.” A cruel voice said.

“Give … it.” The voice she knew too well start to say clearly begging, followed by the crack of a slap.

“Remember your place girl.” The male voice said and she heard a door slam.

:Don’t do this.: She pleaded with herself.

She moved to the window and managed to get it open, she crawled inside.

Tiffany Blum-Deckler was on the floor sobbing and convulsing.

“Leave her.” Daria told herself but she felt something stirring within her.

Struggling with the internal battle going on within her Daria heard the sound she was waiting for.

Every night when members of the pack came here they were heralded by a large bell.

“Damn it.” Daria said and quickly reached down and grabbed the girl and tossed Tiffany onto her shoulder and moved out the window.

She couldn’t make it to the roof in time so she didn’t try, choosing instead to climb down and move away within the shadows.

She didn’t go far and soon she was sitting on top of a neighboring building waiting for the exit horn to be blown. Tiffany passed out besides her. If she hadn’t heard her speak she wouldn’t have known who it was. The once slender form now a collection of bones in a bruise colored bag.

She reached down and turned the arm to get a look and the tell-tale tracks and needle marks covered it.
:I can see the sickness in her.: Daria thought.

It was four hours before she heard the bell tolling. She saw three members of the pack walk out surrounded by various thugs and body guards. She picked up the rifle and aimed carefully. Half the cars she had placed explosives in were gone but there were still more than enough to do the job.

:They just stood there.: Daria thought. :Just stood there and watched me die.:

She waited for them to get in between two of the cars before she fired. The bullet flew straight to its mark and impacted with the bag and ripping through the two compartments within causing a reaction.

The explosion took them out, and the parking lot and most of the building sending debris flying in every direction. She saw the blast wash over them and her only regret was in the fact they were killed far too quickly and spared having to suffer.

:And that’s why I got an A in chemistry.: Daria thought smugly.

She tossed Tiffany over her shoulder again and started down the fire-escape opposite the carnage and thought. :And then there was 4.:
It took her an hour to sneak her way back to Jane’s carrying Tiffany’s dead weight.

“Daria I understand why you want to help her but she needs to get to a hospital.” Jane said for the tenth time since Daria dumped Tiffany onto the couch and started cleaning her up.

“I can help her.” Daria said confidently.

“How, you can’t scare a junkie straight.” Jane sighed sadly looking at the girl on her couch.

“I can see the need, … the sickness within her. I’m going to try to take it out.” Daria replied.

“You are not cutting her up on my COUCH, take it to the garage.” Jane said horrified.

Daria turned and looked at Jane then both girls broke into laughter.

“Don’t try to explain, I don’t need the mumbo jumbo floating around in my head.” Jane said when Daria started to open her mouth.

“Jeez I try to bring some work home one time and you go nuts.” Daria smirked.

“Just for that I’m going to tell Trent to burn your dinner.” Jane said with a grin.

“Oh, check my bag, I stopped off on my way to work and made a withdraw at a crackhouse.” Daria said as she turned back to Tiffany and continued to clean her up.

Jane moved over and picked up the bag and opened it carefully and gasped at the pile of cash shoved into the bag.
“This has got to be at least 50 grand.”

“Figured it might help out with Trent not being able to work much with his hands and well I wouldn’t let you outside alone either.” Daria admitted.

“Are they going to know it’s missing?” Jane asked nervously.

“I burned the house down and about 100 thousand went up in smoke so I don’t think they’ll notice it missing.” Daria shrugged.

“I love these conversations we have. I’m back from the dead, I just killed a guy, I’m bullet proof or super healing or whatever. Now you’re blowing up buildings and setting them on fire. How exactly am I ever supposed to impress you after this?” Jane laughed.

“If we’re both still around for “an after this” then I’ll be really impressed.” Daria answered slightly distracted by what she was sensing in Tiffany.

:It looks like a snake, all curled up inside her.: Daria thought as she rested her hands on Tiffany and felt them reach within the girl until they rested on the dark mass she could sense there.

Quickly she pulled it out and felt it move inside her body and she felt herself wrap it in her will. Tiffany’s body seem to lift off the couch as her back arced and tried to follow the addiction before coming back to rest.

“Oh my god.” Jane’s scared voice said from behind Daria.

“I knew I could do it. And I know what to do with it.” Daria said, her voice getting colder than Jane had heard before.

“What?” Jane asked.

“Honey, I’m taking tomorrow off to take care of some personal business.” Daria said in a haunting child like voice. Jane watched as Daria continued to use a wash cloth to clean Tiffany up.

“I don’t care what Morgan wants. I’m not leaving the headquarters until people aren’t getting BLOWN UP anymore.” Archie said slamming his fist against the wall.

“Amen.” Tony laughed as he put his feet up on the desk.

“I don’t care what you two do as long as it doesn’t involve dying.” Jon sighed as he assigned guards around the windows and doors.

“Should we take that as ringing endorsement of our value?” Tony asked.

“No, take it as I don’t want to have to train a whole new pack.” Jon replied and walked out through the door.

Daria watched from the shadows as the employees from the Zon leave while the fire fighters still tried to save the building. She saw the dancers and house hookers leave and then she saw a greasy suit clad man, overweight and sweaty and she knew he was the voice she heard earlier.

She tagged behind him all the way to the rundown house and waited for him to go inside before moving around to the back of the house. She watched him move around looking distraught.

She checked the back door and found it unlocked and entered into what appeared to be a never used laundry room that bordered the kitchen.

She stepped into the kitchen and watched him paced in the dining room until he turned and saw her.

“F****** whore, get out of here, the club’s blown up. So it doesn’t matter how much you want the job and what you’re willing to do.” He dismissed her.

“My sister had a friend, a little slow and not the nicest thing on the planet but they were friends.” Daria started moving closer to him.

“And that matters to me why?” He demanded with a smirk.

“The town went to hell and someone got her hooked on heroin. Then she ends up stripping and hooking to support the habit, except when you beat her up so bad she can’t.” Daria said moving in so close she could touch him.

“That stupid Asian b****. Well she’s blown up now.” He laughed.

“No, I got her out in time and I have something for you, a parting gift.” Daria said and her hands sprang forward and grabbed his bare arms. She pushed the snake that she removed from Tiffany into him and watched as his body took on the early signs of withdraw.

“What did you do to me?” He demanded, pulling free and backing away.

“I gave you her addiction.” Daria said and she struck.

She kicked him against the wall and then started slamming his head against the very same wall until he dropped limp at her feet.

She retrieved her bag and started pulling out the needles, already loaded.

:You might have been able to fight it but this mix should keep you stoned and addicted for the next three or four days and then to bad so sad.: Daria thought as she began injecting him with each needle in turn.
He started to come to just as she was leaving.
“Where you goiing its party time.” He slurred.

:Maybe I should mention that I included enough parasitic trematodes that hopefully he will effectively castrated, at least until he goes to a doctor.: Daria smirked as she left.

The Honda sat in the middle of the road in the middle of downtown Lawndale, blocked by one car in front and another in back. The driver side door stood open.




Part 9

She ran down the street as her pursuers chased after her. Years of focusing on appearance didn’t lend themselves well to physical exertion.

Quinn Morgendorffer felt her chest heaving with each breath as she continued to push herself harder and harder as the three men yelled threats as they struggled to keep up with her.

She didn’t bother to look around as she ran and it cost her dearly. As she turned down a side street hoping to get a chance to find someone to help her she didn’t see the trash can knocked on its side until she was slamming into the ground after falling over it.

A cry of frustration broke from her lips as she scrambled to regain her footing only to be tackled by one of the men.

“Time to teach you some manners.” One of the men said as they dragged her quickly into a nearby alley and started grabbing at her.

“Who gets to go first?” Another asked as she swung her arms wildly.

She felt her clothes get ripped away, first her shirt and then they moved down and started on her pants.

She tossed and kicked trying to break free as her bra was ripped away and rough hands grouped at her as the other two men struggled with her pants.

She screamed when her knee dislocated as they jerked away her pants and snatched off her underwear. A lucky kick loosened the hands holding her and she turned over and started to crawl away until a weight fall on her pinning her to the ground.

She felt hands moving between her body and the one on top of her and then she felt skin against hers.

She squeezed her eyes shut and braced for the pain.

The weight on her back suddenly went slack and dropped on top of her unmoving. She heard sounds of a struggle and a cut off scream. First one then another sound of something large falling to the ground.

The weight on her back lifted away and hands grabbed her and pulled her up then into an embrace.

Quinn stared into the black clothing that her face was pushed against.

“I thought you were in school.” The shaking voice said.

Quinn pulled back from her rescuer and straightened up then looked down into her sister’s face before fainting.

Quinn swam back to reality with voices guiding her way.

“What’s she doing in town?” Jane’s voice said.

“No idea, but I found her car, how I knew it was her car I’m not sure and I brought her here.” Her sister’s voice replied.

:Sister! Daria!: Quinn’s mind screamed at her and she exploded awake and sat up to find herself covered in a blanket on a shabby couch.

“Daria!” Quinn cried out when she saw her.

“Take it easy Quinn.” Daria said approaching slowly, Jane moving up from the other side of the couch.

“I saw your body; I went to your funeral. I mourned you.” Quinn cried as she jumped off the couch not caring about her nakedness or the swollen knee and rushed her sister and hugging her tightly.

“I got better.” Daria smirked as she returned the hug.

“I got better, that’s the best you could come up with.” Jane groaned.

“Bite me Lane.” Daria replied.

“Excuse me, but can you explain why you did all this.” Quinn demanded.

“What?” Daria said surprised.

“Faked your death, hid for a year.” Quinn sighed and Daria understood.

“I didn’t. I died Quinn and I got brought back to avenge my death.” Daria replied.

“It’s true Quinn.” Jane added.

“Ok, lets say I believe that. How and by who?” Quinn asked harshly.

“Good question.” Jane said and turned to look at Daria.

“No idea, the cowboy never said and I didn’t think to ask Scarlett.” Daria shrugged.

“Cowboy.” Quinn said looking puzzled.

“My name is Jessie, or it was.” A voice said from the darkness and a walking corpse stepped out of the shadows.

“Oh my god.” Quinn said as she cowered behind Daria who stood strongly.

“Oh look a family reunion. You taking time to save that piece of trim last night and tonight your sister. I think you should be focusing on the final four.” The cowboy said in his ghastly voice.

“I don’t think you need to worry. I’ll be taking out the two who are hiding at their head quarters tomorrow night.” Daria said coldly.

“Good, remember I’ll be coming for you the night after you finish up. Then you get paradise.” The cowboy stated.

“We’ll see about that.” Daria answered.

“Planning on taking a shot at the title .. eh. Good luck then but I’ve been killing folk for a few hundred years, even before I died so I won’t bet against me.” He almost laughed.

“I thought you would be upset.” Daria said concerned and she noticed something as she inspected him.

“Nah, I expect it out of some of you arisen and it would get boring if you didn’t. Maybe one of you will finally kill me and I can rest.” He answered.

“I’ll try not to disappoint you.” Daria said as the cowboy stepped back into the shadows and disappeared.

“Where did it go?” Quinn asked shaking as Jane wrapped the blanket around her shoulders.

“No idea but I just realized something.” Daria said.

“What?” Jane asked.

“I know how to beat him.” Daria answered strongly.

“How?” Jane demanded.

“I don’t want to say.” Daria replied.

“Why are you going to fight that thing?” Quinn asked as she returned to the couch.

“If I don’t then I die, again and maybe if I beat him I can stay here.” Daria answered.

Trent and Tiffany walked into the room, Trent holding Tiffany up as she moved slowly.

“Tiffany!” Quinn exclaimed.

“Hi … Quinn.” Tiffany said distantly.

Tiffany roboted toward the couch and took a seat next to Quinn who winced at the skeleton that had displaced her friend.

“What’s wrong with her?” Quinn said trying not to pull away.

“She was a junkie for god knows how long and well beat up pretty badly. I took the addiction but I can’t heal the damage. That’s going to take time.” Daria answered.

“Is she going to be ok?” Quinn asked relaxing a bit.

“I don’t know.” Daria answered honestly.

“She’ll be fine.” Trent insisted and he patted the girl brotherly on the head.

Jon looked at his two partners that were listening to his explanation of the protection that was being setup to keep them alive.

“So guards outside and in.” Archie said nervously.

“Wonder what Morgan is doing tonight.” Tony argued.

“Same level of protection but at his house.” Jon answered.

“And you.” Archie pushed.

“I’ll be hunting.” Jon answered coldly.

“Better you than me.” Tony replied and Archie nodded his agreement.

:Cowards. It’s better than sitting waiting for them to come after you.: Jon thought.

None of the men noticed the bird sitting on the branch of a nearby tree that stood directly outside an open window.

Daria sat in the living room of the Lane household and watched as the memories of what the crow saw played in her head. She smiled as everything from the guards walking path to the exact location of three of her targets were shown to her.

:Jon can wait. The others are dying tonight.: Daria though with a grin.

Jane watched as Quinn and Tiffany shared her bed and slept peacefully as the sun burned through the day.

“Staring is really rude you know.” Quinn said making Jane jump.

“Just thinking.” Jane answered weakly.

“Why didn’t you call us to let us know that Daria was alive?” Quinn accused.

“I suggested she call you, … I did but she didn’t want to show back up then be gone again. I wasn’t going to call you.” Jane said ending harshly.

“That’s spiteful, my sister had died Jane.” Quinn said her tone still sounding like an accusation.

“And my best … hell my only friend. I was hurting and we could have helped each other get through it but you just wanted to hoard all of her stuff to build a shrine.” Jane spat out.

“I needed her things to help me remember her.” Quinn said and then added. “I shouldn’t have shown up here demanding her stuff. I’m sorry about that but you wanted her glasses for god’s sake.” Quinn sighed.

“Neither one of us made the right choices.” Jane admitted.

“So she’s got to beat that cowboy thing to stay, right.” Quinn said.

“Looks that way.” Jane answered.

“If she loses, I want to do it right this time.” Quinn said, her voice choked with emotion.

“I’ll be going with her if she loses.” Jane said and stood then walked out of the room.

“Figures.” Quinn mumbled weakly.

Trent tried not to scream when he heard his sister’s words as she left her room but there was no doubt in his mind that she meant it.

He looked in on the two resting girls quietly before heading downstairs.

:Tiffany doesn’t have anyone anymore and Quinn’s going to be a wreak. Daria has to beat that guy or things are going to get real bad, real fast for them.: Trent thought as he tried to figure out some masterfully clever scheme to ensure her victory but nothing came that didn’t include finding a hidden magical weapon or a team of special forces soldiers showing up.
:Damn.: He thought as he came up with nothing.

Jon hopped into the jeep that was going to be his transportation during his night of hunting and looked back at the office building that served as a headquarters for the pack and sighed.

:Only three targets left, them or Morgan is my guess. A moving target isn’t anyone’s first choice.: Jon nodded his head in thought.

His driver started up the jeep and headed down the prearranged path that Jon had marked off ahead of time for him.

Archie sat in a backless chair and stared down at the cards in his hand and smiled.

“Don’t smile you Irish goof. I’m going to clean you out.” Tony challenged.

“Don’t count on it or are all Italians as stupid as you.” Archie tossed back.

The sounds of gunshots from outside brought both men to their feet, looks of fear on their faces.

“Get away from the window.” Tony said as he moved a position of cover behind the oak desk in the room.

“I want to see what’s happening.” Archie said in defense as he peered into the darkness. A single shot rang out and his head fell in on itself and his lifeless corpse tumbled to the floor.

“And that shows who is stupid.” Tony growled.

The sounds of gunfire tapered off and he listened for anything that could give him a clue as to what was happening.

Random shots occurred and he knew that either it was over or he was alone.

Footsteps moved down the hall and stopped in front of the door and he watched the door swing open.

The black clad girl walked in, her face covered in clown makeup with her auburn hair a frenzied mess and he froze. This couldn’t be what caused all the gunshots and deaths he knew had occurred outside.

She looked down at the table and flipped over both of the poker hands that were resting on the table.

“Full house against a two pair. Someone was going to really rub it in the other’s nose.” She said calmly.

He rose confused as his brain tried to process what was happening. His gun pointing directly at her.

“Want to play?” She asked nicely. “We could play strip.”

“What?” He asked.

“Here I’ll ante up.” She smirked and pulled the black long sleeve shirt over her head exposing her breasts to him and dropped it on the table.

“What?” He stuttered as his confusion increased.

“You really aren’t too bright are you?” She sighed.

He didn’t answer but his gun dropped slightly and she moved like lighting. Her hand came up holding an automatic and fired twice into his chest. She turned and pulled her shirt back on and walked over to Archie’s body and pulled off his pack medallion and then turned and walked to Tony.

“Remember me.” She asked as she knelt and removed his gently.

“No.” He answered, spitting up blood as he tried to speak.

“You helped kill me. Just two left now.” She said as she turned his head and he felt the coldness of the barrel press against his skull.

“Goodbye.” She whispered as she pulled the trigger but he didn’t hear.

“What do you mean the entire building is burning to the ground, where are the guards?” Morgan demanded as he sat at his dinner table enjoying a feast.

“All dead. Everyone there is dead. Tony and Archie are laying on the front lawn with their heads blown off.” A nervous looking man said.

“And Jon.” Morgan asked.

“Said to tell you… he said … he said to tell you he told you so.” The man gulped.

“Tell him to get his ass back here and I don’t care what he says we aren’t going anywhere.” Morgan roared.

“Yes sir.” The guard answered and hurried out of the room.

Morgan looked down at his meal and pushed the plate away from him.

“Are you done with that?” A polite voice asked and he saw a feminine hand pluck up the plate and move it to the seat next to him.

Morgan looked at the makeup covered face and let one hand drop to his lap.

“This is really good.” The girl said as she started to eat his dinner.

“My cook used to work at some French restaurant here in town, before I made him a better offer.” Morgan said calmly.

“My sister used to eat there all the time, her dates would take her.” The woman said and then smiled. “I’m Daria.”

“Pleased to meet you, Daria, I’m Morgan.” He answered.

“Guess you heard about your guys over at the office building. My dad used to rent one of the out parcels for his consulting firm.” Daria stated as she continued to eat.

“You mentioned a sister.” Morgan pressed gently hoping to distract her so she didn’t notice him drawing his gun.

“She’s in college now; I don’t know what she’s studying.” Daria answered and she pointed to a bottle of wine.

Morgan nodded his head with a smile and watched as his guest poured herself a glass and then offered to refill his glass which he accepted.

“I thought that maybe she was why you’re here.” Morgan admitted.

“You mean why I’m killing all your men.” Daria said after swallowing a mouthful of some kind of fish she had never tasted before.

“Yes, if it’s a job interview, you’re hired.” He said with a smile.

“No, a year ago the pack was taking care of a Federal Marshall outside of town and he escaped.” Daria informed him.

“I remember that, before we even really started moving in.” Morgan said still moving the pistol into a firing position.

“Well he stumbled onto a college girl that was down visiting her parents and tried to help him.” Daria said between bites.

“Yes.” Morgan said wanting to here more before he fired.

“Well Jon and the pack killed them both.” Daria said and finished her glass and quickly refilled it.

“She was a friend or perhaps a lover. You’re looking for revenge. I wasn’t there so I don’t know the details.” Morgan said grateful to understand what had happened to his kingdom.

“She was me.” Daria answered and Morgan felt ice water run through his veins.

“I thought she was killed.” Morgan asked confused.

“I was and then a crow brought me back to avenge my death, it’s all just so McFarlane.” Daria sighed.

“A crow, the symbol.” Morgan said as the last piece fell into place.

Daria finished the plate and leaned back into the chair she was sitting in.

“Ya, the bird showed it to me as well as the makeup job. Apparently it’s like a trademark of the arisen or whatever.” Daria shrugged.

“Now you’ve come to kill me.” Morgan said as he started to squeeze the trigger.

“Yep, Jon is going to be tough but you and the moron twins are pretty easy so I decided to take all of you tonight.” Daria replied and she finished her glass again.

“You realize I have a gun pointed at you right now.” Morgan smirked.

“Yep. Thanks for letting me finish eating it was very respectful of you. I’ll try to make sure you don’t suffer when I kill you.” Daria said with a grin.

Morgan saw that grin and fear was born in him and he pulled the trigger.
Over and over again he fired into her body as it and the chair were knocked over. His gun clicked empty as he stood and looked down at her.

He saw the wounds and then realized they were changing before his very eyes until she turned and looked at him.

“And then there was one.” She said up to him and he heard the single shot that ended his life.

As she promised it was painless and quick.

The guards found his body within seconds but they found it alone.

“That girl has talent.” The Cowboy said from his vantage point where he watched Jon arrive at his former employer’s home.

“I might have to take this one seriously.” He laughed.

Daria crawled into the bed over the top of Jane sleeping at the foot and in between Tiffany and Quinn who looked peaceful enough to break her heart.

:Tomorrow Jon is going to find out everything.: She thought as she drifted to sleep



Part 10

Jon stared at the burned out wreckage that had been the headquarters of the now defunct Pack. The bodies of every single hired gun he had been sure would be enough were littered around like so much rubbish.

:Everyone else is dead and most of my soldiers have taken off, nothing left but the dregs or the really stupid.: He though looking at the various men that stood around him. They were the dumbest collection of wanna be killers and thugs he had ever seen.

:They’re going to get me killed.: He sighed within his head.

“Alright listen up, the Pack is gone, take what you can grab and get the hell out of town before whoever did this decides to come after you.” He spoke with a raised voice and the men around him disappearing let him know they heard and understood.

:This may be my last day on earth, how should I spend it.: He thought with a small chuckle.

“First I need a steak.” He said as he walked to his jeep.

:Time to do anything I want today, might not be another day to put it off to.: He thought as he drove away.

“You killed Morgan!” Jane gasped as Daria sat sewing up the holes in her shirt.

“Only one left now and I’ve got the bird keeping an eye on him.” Daria answered not looking up from the last of the black shirts.

“I thought Morgan was the big boss, shouldn’t he have been last.” Quinn said looking confused.

“Jon is the one that killed me; Morgan was a joke and a bad one at that. The rest were just tools. Jon has always been the real target for me.” Daria replied.

“So tonight you off him and then tomorrow you face the Cowboy.” Trent nodded.

“You still think you can beat him?” Jane asked.

“Scarlett told me how; she just didn’t know she did.” Daria smiled.

“Say that again in English please.” Jane sighed.

“She told me his one weakness.” Daria replied before lifting up the shirt to inspect her work.

“So I won’t have to kill myself tomorrow, that’s good. You owe me four shirts.” Jane laughed.

“After you beat him can we tell mom and dad that you’re alive?” Quinn asked.

“Yep, the hard part is going to be convincing them I didn’t have a choice.” Daria sighed.

“Dad is going to have another heart attack.” Quinn smirked sadly.

“I’m more worried about what ever speech Mom is going to pull out for this.” Daria grinned.

“I won’t worry about that too much; she’ll be too busy screaming about you putting the family through all this.” Quinn laughed loudly.

Jon was the only person in the movie theater as he watched a three month old block buster as he topped off his steak with fresh popcorn.

:6 years I followed that man from one town to another, using them up and walking away. Here he wanted a kingdom. It’s all over now and me living through the night isn’t such a sure thing.: He thought when the movie failed to provide adequate distraction.

“Did …I …thank …you …for …saving …me?” Tiffany asked as Daria allowed the mental link with the crow to allow her to peek on Jon.

“I can’t take much credit, I tried to talk myself out of saving you.” Daria admitted as images from the crow’s vantage point played in her mind.

“But …you …still …did.” Tiffany smiled. “Thank …you.”

“You’re welcome.” Daria replied.

“I …hope …you …win.” Tiffany stated honestly.

Jon watched the hooker undress slowly, he knew it wouldn’t be him she was climbing into bed with but then she wasn’t who he planned on thinking about being in bed with.

It wouldn’t be great but then it didn’t need to be. Sex was just another release to ease the passage of the day.

Daria sat next to Jane on an old bench in the backyard and stared out into the sky with her head resting against Jane’s shoulder, neither spoke they just enjoyed the time together.

Trent watched them for awhile before joining Tiffany and Quinn in the kitchen.

“I want both of you to come with me out of here if Daria loses.” Quinn said as he poured himself a cup of coffee.

“I’d like that. This town has gotten a stink to it.” Trent agreed.

“What …about …Jane?” Tiffany asked.

“She’ll be with Daria. No matter what happens.” Quinn informed her.

“Oh.” Tiffany said sadly.

Jon enjoyed his lunch in the park wishing for children playing.
:But I took all that away when we came here. Children aren’t safe here now.: He thought and felt the dark clouds rally within his very soul.

Daria sat with family and friends and smiled as she reached out and rubbed Quinn’s hand gently as they enjoyed a simple meal. No one pretended that they weren’t terrified.
:They’ll all be gone soon and then maybe my life can start again.: Daria thought as she smiled at Jane.

Jon parked his jeep in the parking lot of an empty warehouse on the edge of town and walked inside.

He carried two large bags and once inside took a position in the center of the half lighted room and started pulling weapons out of the bag.
“It’s time for me to go.” Daria said as she stood.

First Jane and then Quinn hugged her tightly. Trent squeezed her shoulder and Tiffany caught her hand and held it for a brief second before releasing it.

“Let me go with you.” Jane begged. “I can help.”

“No. This is for me and I don’t want you to see it.” Daria said as she pushed back the cold that was taking over her body and soul.

“Just come back.” Quinn said as she wrapped an arm around Jane and pulled her back from Daria.

“I will.” Daria promised and then she walked from the room and in seconds she was gone.

“Let me follow her.” Jane said as she moved to follow only to be held back by Quinn and then Trent.

“She’ll be back.” Trent said strongly.

Jon heard the door open but it didn’t alarm him.
:A quick kill doesn’t make sense here, they’re going to want an up close kill.: He thought as he waited.

An explosion of gunfire followed by more darkness and falling glass almost shook his resolve but he managed to hold firm.

“I’m going to kill you.” A voice called out, it was almost musical.

He stood and chamber a round in the P90 he was carrying and waited for any sign of where to shoot.

“I was 19 and you took it all away.” The voice said.

“Let’s do this.” He said loudly.

He saw the flutter of movement to his right and he blasted into the shadows at full auto.

“Missed me.” The voice said from his left. He fired again into the shadows.

“Getting closer.” It said calmly.

“Something you want to talk about.” He called out as he circled, scanning the darkness.

“I wasn’t ready to die. You killed me like I was nothing, like a dog in the middle of a dirty road.” The voice said and he heard anger for the first time in it.

“Killed you, are you a ghost?” He laughed.

“The girl on the road, one to the chest and another to the back of my head.” She answered.

“I did kill her. It was a shame, wrong place at the wrong time and all that.” He said honestly.

“You killed me.” She almost screamed.

“Look I don’t know what that girl was to you but here’s a news flash. You aren’t dead so you aren’t her.” Jon laughed.

“I am Daria Morgendorffer, the girl you murdered and I was brought back to life to kill you.” The voice said gently, emotionless.

“I don’t believe the dead can come back to life.” He screamed at the dark.

He continued to turn slowly until he saw her. The shadows dancing around her from the swaying overhead lights that remained.

“I’ll make you believe.” She spoke in a grave voice.

He raised his gun and emptied the clip at her and watched her get blasted backwards. It was almost in slow motion that she fell to the ground as blood splattered behind her from the dozens of bullets ripping through her.

She flipped up from the ground and fired four shots at him blasting into his chest knocking him to the ground. Each bullet hit like a hammer to the chest and he struggled to rip away the bullet proof vest and tossed it at the approaching girl.

“Remember me.” She said as she got closer and started wiping away the makeup from her face.

He stared up as he climbed to his feet and remembered her.

“No.” He said shaking his head at the impossible sight before him.

“Now you’re getting it.” Daria said and she kicked at his face.

Jon Teels was dealing with the reality bending sight of the dead returning to life but he was first and foremost a fighter and he parried away from the kick and returned a punch to her lower back.

She spun swinging a back-fist, trying to take off his head but he ducked it smoothly and fired off a double palm strike to her chest with enough force to knock her onto her back.

“This isn’t happening.” He said as he tried to stomp down onto her chest only to strike down onto the concrete as Daria rolled away and leapt to her feet.

“I heal quick.” She smirked and drove a hand against his nose and he heard it break. “Do you?”

She blocked his counter strike with a smile.

They walked in a circle each looking for a sign of weakness and finding none.

“Don’t suppose you believe in the old saying to salute anything you can’t kill or eat.” He said painfully.

“I was brought back to kill you; it’s all I’m here for.” She shrugged.

“Damn.” He sighed and lunged forward and faked a punch to her face then kicked her knee out.

She fell to her knees with a scream but it didn’t stop her from punching his leg, breaking it.

He dropped down in front of her and grabbed her head and spun it roughly. Her neck broke and she snapped her head back forward and he saw the bones realign. She broke some of his ribs with a quick series of hits.

Her hands struck out and crushed his collar bones then struck both sides of his jaw. The force of the blows sent pieces of his jaws back against the skull and drove him backward.

He lay on his back and felt her crawl on top of him and wrap her hands around his head.

“I’m going to kill you now.” She whispered.

He stared into her brown eyes and waited with her body pressed down against his in an almost intimate fashion.

:Not such a bad way to go.: He thought and then felt the sharp jerking and only blackness existed.

Daria stood up and stared down at the body below her and wiped at the tears running down her face.
:I want to go home.: She thought and then she started running.

Jane and the others were waiting in the kitchen when she walked into the room and stared down at each of them as they sat at the table.

“It’s over. I killed them all. I killed so many people. I killed them all and anyone who got in my way.” Daria said.

Her face was cleared of the makeup but tears flowed freely.

Jane left the table and moved to her and pulled the shorted girl into an embrace and held her tightly.

“I didn’t want to die.” Daria cried against her.

Quinn joined them and they sank to the floor holding each other.

“It’s going to be ok now.” Jane said, her voice choked with tears.

“So she’s finished up her task and now rests in the loving embrace of family and friends. She better enjoy it because tomorrow night I’m taking her back, one way or another.” The Cowboy said to the crow as he stood in the street outside the Lane household before walking into the darkness.

The crow merely squawked as he disappeared.




Part 11

Daria stood in the graveyard and looked down on her marker and the empty grave. It stared back like a hungry mouth.

:Tonight it gets a body, one way or another.: She thought grimly.

Her family was with her, no power in heaven and earth could have kept Jane from coming tonight.

Trent stood next to Tiffany and Daria could see the protectiveness in his actions and movements around the girl. Quinn was near them scanning the fog waiting for the spectral form of the Cowboy to make its appearance.

“Maybe he decided not to come.” Jane said hopefully.

“No, he’ll be here.” Daria said sadly. Her mind was a race of emotions now, a storm that moved through the core of her being and set itself upon all that rested within her.

“Maybe …” Jane started.

“I was brought back to right the wrongs, that’s done now. He’ll be here.” Daria interrupted her.

“Maybe he figured out there are some wrongs that can’t be righted with bullets. Sometimes the real wrong is when love dies, before its even had a chance to live.” Jane said and Daria heard the tears.

“Something’s here.” Quinn said.

Daria felt his presence a few seconds before he moved into sight.

“I didn’t figure you to run but meeting me here is a bit of a surprise.” The Cowboy laughed.

“We ready to do this.” Daria said coldly.

“You can’t beat me, darling. I gave you your fighting skills and I’m just as immortal as you.” The Cowboy seemed to want to convince her.

“I have to try.” Daria said and she waved Jane and the others back.

“You really think you can beat me, I guess you found my weak spot.” He laughed mockingly.

“I did, Scarlett told me.” Daria smiled.

“And what did she tell you.” The Cowboy said as he returned the smile.

“That you were the first one of us.” Daria deadpanned.

The Cowboy suddenly looked nervous.

Daria drew her pistol and continued to speak.

“You were the first one to be brought back by a crow and then she told me something else.” Daria said calmly.

“What?” The Cowboy didn’t smile anymore.

“Whatever happens to our crows, happens to us. They are our link into this world.” Daria said and her own smile dropped away.

“You see a bird around here, besides your own?” The Cowboy said nervously.

“Yes I do.” Daria said and she raised her gun and fired. She emptied the clip in the Cowboy’s leg.

:It’s moving.: She remembered thinking as she looked at his leg the day he had shown up at the Lane home.

That’s when she noticed it was so much fatter than the other thigh, almost human sized.

Then she knew.

Daria approached the fallen Cowboy and watched as he ripped open the rotted pants and with drew the twitching form of a crow, it hadn’t rotted like him but its feathers had lost all their color in its long life.

The Cowboy cradled it like a newborn babe as the bird’s last throws of life shook gently out.
“He was the only friend I had.” The Cowboy said calmly.

“I had to win; I need to be with them.” Daria said and waved her arm back toward her family.

The Cowboy’s body seemed to be rotting away right in front of her.
“Not going to be th… easy … they came after … me.” The Cowboy said, his words broken by sharp coughs.

“I’ll deal with them, whoever they are when it happens.” Daria said with a doubt.

“It really ….is …paradise for us on ….the other” He said and his body tilted to the side and fell to the ground.

“My paradise is here, with them.” Daria said as the body rotted to dust in minutes.

Daria sat on the Lane couch feeling numb, only Jane’s hand around her own managed to get through it.

“You won.” Jane was saying over and over again.

“So when do we get out of this sucky ass town and start living again.” Quinn said with a smile.

“It’s not over yet. I’m still linked with the crow. I still feel the same.” Daria said sadly.

“It’ll get better.” Jane promised happily.

“No it won’t.” A voice said, it seemed to come out of the air.

Daria stood and quickly scanned the room for any kind of threat.

“I have no form.” The voice said, it sounded amused.

“Leave her alone.” Jane cried out.

“She does not belong here. She is no longer part of the living world. We did not bring back a person. We sent back a weapon but first and foremost we sent back the dead.” The disembodied voice answered.

“So I’m dead.” Daria said not understanding the meaning.

“The dead do not grow, they do not learn. Nothing can change. You will always be as you are and no different.” The voice responded.

“So what.” Quinn said angrily.

“She’s fine, just go away.” Jane begged.

“Who will you kill next? The thoughts are already moving within you. One evil destroyed but others still exist. It is the only purpose you have and you will continue to fulfill it, in a hundred towns and cities, until the darkness within you takes hold and you will become the evil.” It spoke honestly.

“So I’ll keep killing, going after one gang after another. I can accept that. Not what I want to spend the rest of my life doing but it’s better than the alternative.” Daria answered.

“And what evils will you punish. Murder, rape, robbery, adultery, theft. All will become as one in your mind and there will be only one answer it each, judge jury executioner. That is all that stands before you.”

“So I’ll start hurting people for stealing a pack of gum the same as for killing someone.” Daria said in disbelief but her mind answered back for her and she knew it was true.

“You aren’t taking her.” Jane said forcefully as she sensed the change in Daria.

“The choice must be hers.” The voice spoke calmly.

“Daria, you won. Don’t do this.” Jane pleaded.

“What if it’s true? What if I’m going to become some kind of crazed killer? Hunting down anyone who breaks the smallest law and killing them.” Daria sighed.

“I don’t care, I just want you.” Jane said as she began to cry.

“Daria, I love you and I trust you to do what’s right here.” Quinn said as her tears joined Jane’s in falling.

“I’m going with you.” Jane said forcefully.

“I don’t want you to die.” Daria gasped in shock.

“I died a year ago, I can’t live without you.” Jane voiced her truest feelings.

“What about Trent, he can’t take care of himself. And Quinn needs someone to keep her out of trouble and Tiffany, well she needs family.” Daria tried.

“We’ll take care of each other.” Quinn promised and she knew what her sister had decided.

“Janey’s gotta do what she believes. I’ll be ok.” Trent said sadly.

“One way or another, either take me with you or I follow on my own.” Jane promised.

“I don’t even know if I can.” Daria admitted.

“It is possible and acceptable.” The voice answered.

Jane stood and grasped Daria’s hand and stood almost touching next to her.

“Then I’m ready.” Jane whispered.

“I love you guys, Quinn take care of Trent and let him be a brother to you. Trent do what you do best, be a big brother and Tiffany just try to keep getting better.” Daria said as her own tears started.

“The paths are unending and who can say if they shall ever cross again.” The voice said warmly.

“I’ll never forget you big brother.” Jane said with a smile at Trent as a fog sprang from nothingness in the room and gathered around the two girls.

“I was never ashamed you were my sister.” Quinn said to Daria.

“Tell Mom and Dad I love them, I’m really going to miss not getting a chance to get to know you better.” Daria responded.

Jane leaned over and kissed Daria surprising her.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that after so I wanted to do it at least once.” She shrugged.

“Damn it Jane.” Daria said as the fog over whelmed and they disappeared from sight.

Quinn watched her sister leave the world and wrapped her arms around herself but she felt true happiness for a brief second.

:She let us feel what’s on the other side of the door for her and Jane.: Quinn thought and she saw Trent and Tiffany both smile and knew they felt it two.

:Paradise. She deserves it.: Quinn thought sadly.