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Trapped is a horror novella written by Jim North. It won the "Favorite Horror" award in the 2010 Daria Fanworks Awards.


After suffering horrific visions, Daria and the rest of her history class find themselves trapped inside Lawndale High School.


Warning: The following contains plot or ending details.

After suffering a strange vision in which she is in a void of nothingness from which unintelligible whispers emanate, Daria comes to in the middle of history class. Everyone else seems to have had similar experiences, and they panic in various ways until Mr. DeMartino shouts for order. He leaves to find out if anyone else in the building had also suffered hallucinations, but finds the nearby rooms completely deserted. Upon coming back to the class, he orders an immediate evacuation.

As they head for the nearest exit, unusual things begin to happen, including an inability to escape the building as reality outside of the doors appears to have been wiped away completely. In an effort to more efficiently find a way out, DeMartino splits the class into groups of four and sends them in different directions. Daria is paired up with Jane, Shaggy, and Jennifer, who prefers to be called Burnout.

As they head in their designated direction, the school's lights get dimmer and dimmer, the walls take on a mildewed appearance, and unusual events continue to take place. Before reaching an exit, they stop off at a janitor's closet and retrieve flashlights. Burnout also takes a broken mop handle, which she wields like a staff.

The exit they find is as unusable as the last, this time because it is completely covered in sand. Turning back, the foursome start checking classrooms as they go, but find that the outside windows are just as blocked off. They soon come across Mr. DeMartino, who claims to have found room with a window that they can crawl out of, but when they reach the room, they find that it has been blocked by spider webs and that the spiders have killed the student that had been guarding the exit. As the teens escape, DeMartino stays behind and is rapidly covered by the arachnids.

While Daria and Jane stop to wait for Burnout to catch up, Shaggy keeps running on heedlessly. The others follow to find him in an area where space and gravity have both altered themselves from the norm, and he is hanging from a doorway in the ceiling. Burnout tries to save him, but he slips, falls, and disappears.

Continuing on in their search for an exit, Jane comes upon the realization that the mildew on the walls is actually a residue of modeling clay. Taking Daria and Burnout to the school's art room, she proves that the school is a fake, mostly constructed of various art supplies like paint and the clay. She then conducts an experiment in which she paints a light bulb, which becomes real upon drying. Further experiments prove to be partial failures, as the items she creates work, but not always in the way she intends them to.

The trio go back out into the hallway to find that everything has changed again, a disgusting organic shell having grown over every surface, including the doors. After searching for an exit in vain, Burnout decides to make one when they hit a dead end. She has Jane draw a knife, then uses the knife to cut through the organic shell to get to a door on the other side.

The next room they enter turns out to be a grisly display area in which they find the other history class students suspended in separate enclosures, each of them bearing the wounds of unique and horrible deaths. In the very center is DeMartino, still bearing the marks of his spider attack and bound up in a full-body straitjacket. He turns out to be the only one still alive, but he dies after his eye explodes and sprays acidic venom on Jane. Daria and Burnout take Jane back through the door to find themselves in the school gym, where the artist dies painfully.

Daria, brokenhearted over the death of her friend, begins to scream at Burnout for not protecting Jane. After she falls silent, Kevin and Brittany appear and start to threaten her, but Burnout easily dispatches them with her staff. More of the dead students appear and attack, however, and eventually Burnout is disarmed and then brutally killed.

Daria flees, but finds herself back in the void that she had seen in her vision. Shaggy reappears, wearing a strange device around his neck which causes him to multiply at a geometric rate. Each time a new Shaggy appears, Daria finds that her fear rises higher and higher until it starts to drive her insane. Just as she is about to break, however, she realizes that nothing she had encountered so far, including Shaggy, had actually managed to physically harm her. She pulls herself up and loudly proclaims that Shaggy doesn't frighten her, at which point all of his clones break apart and the original Shaggy is killed by the contraption on his neck.

Picking up Shaggy's prescription sunglasses and putting them on to replace her own broken pair, Daria suddenly sees her surroundings for what they truly are. She then uses the art supplies she is carrying to turn the void into the Lawndale High cafeteria.

Mack appears just as she is finishing up, but is quickly revealed to be another of the dead students being manipulated by some unknown force that has invaded Daria's space. Daria demands to know what he is, but he evades the question and asks her to tell him how she'd figured out that she was trapped in her own mind the entire time. She lists incongruities in Jane's behavior, claiming that she wasn't the real Jane, but a part of Daria's subconscious mind - specifically, the part that represented her creativity and sense of humor - as was the case of all the other people in the history class.

Daria tells the invader, who has morphed from Mack into a rotted version of Jane, that she has surmised that though it can directly harm her subconscious, it cannot destroy Daria herself except by driving her insane since she represents the real Daria's conscious mind. As Daria's free will, she cannot be directly hurt unless she chooses to allow it.

The invader becomes agitated, but Daria forces it to back down by further revealing that some of her parts had given them pieces of themselves to help her save herself: Shaggy's sunglasses, giving her just enough paranoia to stay alert and see how things were connected; DeMartino's pack of cigarettes, giving her anger and guilt to motivate her; Jane's earrings, allowing her to create the cafeteria mock-up complete with a gas leak; and Burnout's lighter, giving her the resourcefulness to set up the trap and the will to destroy herself if it also meant destroying the creature trying to take over her mind.

The invader attempts to bargain with Daria, but she refuses to deal and uses the lighter to set of the gas. The flames engulf the school, the construct that represents her mind, apparently destroying it and everything in it, including Daria and the invader.

Daria suddenly finds herself in what looks to be the real Lawndale High cafeteria moments later. She immediately rushes to Jane's house and finds the artist alive, well, and wondering where Daria has been all day.

The next day at school, they continue to discuss the events Daria described to Jane. Daria then walks over to Jennifer in the hallway, calls her Burnout, and asks if she's lost her lighter. Jennifer searches through her pockets and then holds up a lighter that looks exactly like Burnout's, except for the wording on the side.

As they walk away, Daria hands another lighter to Jane, this one being absolutely identical to the one Burnout gave her.


All of the characters in the story are from the TV show and can be found on The Angst Guy's Backgrounders website. Though the author had to make up a first name for one of the students, last names for a few others, and fleshed-out personalities for Shaggy and Burnout, none of them were created whole-cloth by the author.

The story itself was based on the line "Daria Morgendorffer sat in the room" in Roentgen's Daria Fan Fiction Classification Test on the PPMB.

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