I'll just throw this here, since it's not worth a thread of it's own. It's a first draft, if anyone wants to fix it, go ahead.
This is what you liked, isn't it?
Penny heard the words, almost saw them floating in the air, and wondered what kind of question that was. After all, here she was in a dark, featureless room, strapped to a table in her birthday suit at the wrists and ankles. She pulled and tugged at the straps holding her, realizing that she wasn't getting out that way. Her muscles felt wrong, like she was underwater. An odd sense of unreality was the only thing that kept her from a full panic, like the entire room was wrapped in plastic.
She looked around, seaching for the voice. Left, right, back again, straining her neck up high to look behind her, everywhere for the voice. When she settled back down, with a shock she found Stan looking at her. But his eyes. They weren't eyes, exactly, more like polished mirrors that she could see her distorted reflection in, her face changing as her head shifted to look at it better, like trying to see through a cat's-eye marble. He seemed...out of focus, like there were two of him standing there, him and his mirror. And where had he come from? She'd just looked there. Something wasn't right, but everything felt normal.
"This IS what you liked, isn't it? I did what you liked, right?" Stan/<Stan> said in his gently mocking tone. "If I'd only known that time in your bedroom, I'd have made more than plans to cover Jack's ass, wouldn't I?"
Penny gaped. What? She knew Stan wanted in her pants, remembered a wanting of her own, but...
"I don't think so." She hoped she sounded less unnerved than she felt.
"Yeah, probably not. That's what I get for being a nice guy, I guess." Duane/<Duane> replied, his mirrors shining. "Definintely not what you were looking for, right? You weren't after a boring, nice person after all."
"That's not fair, Duane." Why had she thought it was Stan there?
"Oh, yes. Yes it is. I was too tame for you. You wanted a struggle. A fight. Something I never did." Her reflection in his eyes changed, hit a flaw, hardened, sharpened. "That's why you went for me when I challenged you, wasn't it?" Rich/<Rich> leaned back slightly, an amused look in his eye.
"The challenge got me in, past your guardians. You liked that fight...and losing that fight."
"No, that's not it." Penny could only shake her head. "I always won when we argued. The stupid helmet. The videos. The tuxedo. Everything. I won."
"But you're losing now, princess. And you like losing, don't you? Funny, the Ice Queen never loses, but now she never wins. What's different?"
"I - I don't. It's not. Losing, that's not what it is." Penny was searching for the words to prove Rich/<Rich> wrong. "I'm not losing."
"Then what is it you're doing? You seem to like it."
Penny stood in the hallway at Belleville High, holding a sobbing Sara again, feeling the mixture of tears and mascara all over her shoulder. "Sara, it's ok. Ok, Sara. You just...need to stop now. Just stop now."
Again, something felt wrong, but Penny couldn't place it. Slowly it hit her - the hair on her shoulder covering the face there wasn't black...it was blue. A very distinctive shade of blue.
"Aggie? Aggie, what's wrong? What....?" Penny broke off, realizing the crowd around her.
The crowd. All girls and boys from the school. Ringing them, grinning. Grinning EVIL grins, with teeth showing, sharp and glittery. Hollow eyes with cinders burning back in the deep of the eyeball. Grinning at her.
As she watched, unable to move from her position cradling Aggie, She saw things appear like gods and goddesses from the middle of their foreheads. Strings, some long, some short. As they appeared snakelike from the crowd, they filled, stretched, formed into words like balloon animals.
DYKE. FAG. GAY. Dozens of them, all stretching towards her and Aggie, growing.
She backed away, still holding on to Aggie. The words came, still growing, the size of small dogs, now. Reaching for her. For Aggie. Jaws open, needle teeth gleaming.
Penny turned and ran, dragging Aggie. She looked back once when she felt Aggie stop running, gave her an extra jerk, realized that it wasn't Aggie she was holding, but a mannequin with a blue wig. It didn't matter. Penny had to save her. She kept running.
The words finally caught her and Aggie hiding in a closet. Strangely, it didn't seem to hurt as they tore her into pieces, her world fading to white.
Penny stood in a hallway. White, like the hospital. A long corridor without doors stretching out. She started walking, looking for the end of the corridor.
Turning the corner, she saw an older man with a hammer, patiently tapping at a square peg that he was trying to put in a round hole. It wasn't working, but he kept tapping anyways. She stopped.
"Who are you?" she asked. She didn't recognize him at all.
"Oh, I'm nobody." the man replied. He never looked up as he continued tapping.
"What are you doing?" It seemed very important for her to ask this.
"Writing." Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.
"That doesn't look much like writing." she mused.
"No, no, it never does." He replied, with a small, fading smile. "You'd better be going, she's waiting for you." He pointed down the now-paneled wall with carpeted flooring towards the door with the brass handle.
Penny approached the door. There was a plate on the door, inscribed with the words HERE THERE BE TYGERS. She grabbed the handle, pressed down on the lever, opened the door.
Outside was dirt. Drying grasses, a sizeable enclosure, a moat all around, and a high wall. She turned to go back out the door, she must have opened the wrong one.
There was no door. Only the unbroken moat and the wall. The wall seemed taller, as if it was growing or she was shrinking. Childlike.
She turned. Saw the tiger. It sat there lazily, licking a paw, looking at her. Penny wanted to run, wanted to hide, was unable to move. The tiger stopped licking, put down the paw. Looked at Penny, green eyes like lasers.
"Oh. My. God."
Curled up sitting. Watching the tiger over her knees. The tiger on it's haunches, waiting.
"Aggie...Aggie told me about you. About the dream. After I broke her arm." Her voice barely audible. "You killed me. Killed me because I made her lose focus."
"Why are you here?"
The tiger, being a tiger, said nothing, only looking at her.
"I wouldn't hurt her. I - i" The words wouldn't come. The tiger's head cocked, as if to say Oh Really?
"I -i L-lo" The words died again, as the tiger got up and approached her, it's every move mocking her. She could virtually hear it saying Do You? Really? You don't know, do You? Are You REALLY happy?
Closer. Closer. Filling the space, Now all orange and black stripes, filling her vision.
This is what you wanted, right?
Penny woke. Felt Aggie's weight on her breast, where she'd fallen asleep.
She knew the question.
Soflty, not to wake her, she gave her answer.
"I've always been mad. I know I've been mad like the most of us have. Sometimes I don't know if I'm mad even if I'm not mad." - Jerry Driscoll