7/1/15. Written in response to Brother Grimace's "The First Ten Minutes" challenge on PPMB.


A dull throbbing in her head pulled Daria from her sleep. She rolled around in her sweat soaked sheets trying to find a comfortable position and fall back asleep, but had no luck. As she tried to sit up, a wave of nausea hit and she quickly rolled over and emptied what little food she'd managed to eat into a waste bin next to her bed.

Jake dashed into the room, panic on his face. "Daria are you-" He noticed the full waste bin "Eww."

"Sorry I can't vomit up something more pleasant," Daria said, wiping her mouth with a tissue and throwing it into the trash. Her voice was a low croak, lacking its usual edge

"Aw kiddo, that's not what I meant. How are you feeling? I mean besides the, uh..."

Daria rolled onto her back and stared up at her ceiling. "Well, I just got woken up by a throbbing headache, even trying to move exhausts me, and I'm sweating like a politician hooked up to a lie detector. All in all, pretty crappy."

"Well good ol' dad is here to help. Hmm, I guess first I better get this out of here," he said, gingerly grabbing used waste bin and carrying it out of the room.

After a short wait, he returned with a freshly lined bin, a glass of water, and a couple of Advil. He set the bin down and helped Daria sit up to take the medicine.

Propping his daughter up on some pillows, Jake asked, "Do you want to watch some TV?"

Daria shook her head, regretting the gesture as soon as she made it, her head pounding. "No, too loud," she said weakly.

"Okay. I'm gonna go get you a cold washcloth for your head. Do you feel up to trying to eat some crackers?"

Daria almost shook her head again, then stopped herself and managed to say, "Not yet."

Jake nodded and smiled warmly. "Alright, I'll be right back. If you need me just ring the bell," he said before leaving the room again.

Her dad was off in his own world most off the time, but he really did care and always came through when it counted. As her eyes grew heavy and she drifted mercifully back to sleep, Daria smiled.