Jane watched Daria stare almost reverently at the box before them. "Well, you spoke the truth. It's a box, alright," Jane observed, hoping to draw a snark out of her friend. She had been acting strangely lately.

"It's more than a box," Daria responded cryptically. Crap.

"Um, from here it looks exactly like a box." Calling Daria on her bullshit sometimes worked.

"I mean, that box is trying to tell me something." Crap.

Jane shrugged. "If you say so. All I hear is the rustling of a gentle breeze wafting through cardboard. Quite soothing, really." Playing along might snap Daria out of it too.

"...You're right. It is soothing." Crap!

"I was kidding," Jane assured her friend.

"No, there's something about it..." Daria abruptly got on her hands and knees and crawled inside.

"Um, Daria? What are you doing?" Jane was starting to worry just a little bit now.

"Yes. This is...This is...this is almost right..." Jane watched as Daria's hands reached out to close the box flaps.

XXXX

Daria clutched her bedsheets anxiously as her parent's angered voices entered the room. "Damnit Helen, that's it!" her father ranted. "How much am I supposed to take?"

"Jake, this isn't about you -- it's about her, having a little trouble fitting in," she attempted to reassure him.

"She doesn't WANT to fit in, damnit! Why can't you admit that?!"

"Jake, she's a child, she doesn't know any better!" her mother defended.

"That's what she WANTS you to belive!" Jake exploded in a burst of paranoia.

"Where are you going?" Helen cried as Jake's footsteps echoed off, followed shortly by the slamming of the front door and the sound of a car's engine starting up and driving off.

Daria listened as hard as she could for a few minutes, but heard no sign of her parents coming by to check on her. She tentatively stepped out of bed, grabbed Black Beauty and a flashlight off of the nightstand, and approached her box. She opened the box flaps and crouched down to crawl inside. She was actually halfway inside the box when she noticed the woman sitting at the far end of the box, hands on her knees, gawking at her.

"Crap," they said simultaneously.