She Just Wanted to Be Heard
Day 11: Rattling the Cage
Part of Story Arc 1: Counterclockwise
A "The Ring/Ringu" Fanfic
by Laurel (Sailorhathor)
Chapters: 11 of 100
Rating: Overall Rating Sup13+ (some elements might be too intense or scary for those under 13; includes bad language)
Dates: Begun September 2006. Some material is based on previously written stories from 2003-2005.
Word Count: 3,283
Summary: Lisa and Gunnar question Quinn about why he coughed up a necklace belonging to Samara's mother. He tells them what's been going on the last few days.
Warning: Contains spoilers for the entire Ringu and The Ring series.
Beta Thanks: Beta'ed by Meredevachon.
Fanfic Challenges: Fits 50_darkfics Prompt #11 Weapon and Coclaim100 Prompt #11 Messenger.
Author's Notes: The conversation between Lisa and Quinn is based on a scene originally written in 2003 in a played-by-email roleplaying game. That scene was written using completely different characters. One character was played by me, and the other by my roleplay partner, K-kitty, who has granted her permission for what she brought to the story to be used. (She wrote for the woman in the scene.) I rewrote the scene quite a bit, though I used some of my original dialogue.
Also, this chapter contains spoilers for the movie When a Stranger Calls.
"Was that in his sandwich?" one of the nearby patrons asked anyone who might be listening.
Lisa's mind was reeling, but she still heard what the other customers were saying about the rosary that this guy had just coughed up. They thought the necklace had been in his food. Of course they would think that; it made the most sense. But Lisa knew that was impossible, because this guy (Had his friend said his name was Quinn?) had eaten nothing but chicken wings and beer. A rosary couldn't get into a fucking chicken wing.
But they just went right on speaking in hushed tones, building the hysteria.
"Did he order the Flappertizer? 'Cause I ordered the Flappertizer..." a man said to one of the other waitresses.
That waitress, Danielle, hurried over to Lisa. "What the fuck happened?"
Lisa pointed to the rosary. "He just coughed that up!"
Giving her shoulder a push, Danielle quietly said, "Take him into the break room and see if he needs an ambulance. I'll get Scott."
Lisa took Quinn's arm. "Come with me. You should lie down." What Danielle suggested was for the best. The customers would calm down once they couldn't see the guy anymore. She surmised that there could be all kinds of ways that necklace had gotten into his stomach... maybe he even swallowed it on purpose so he could try for one of those suing scams. Although, something told her this wasn't an act. The guy just seemed too shocked.
Perhaps he'd been in the hospital, and someone in the surgical team prayed over the rosary and thought it would help better if they actually put it inside him. Some religious fanatic. Or maybe he was like that guy who went on all the talk shows and swallowed lightbulbs and other objects and brought them back up undamaged. Surely the talk show guy wasn't the only one who could do that.
There had to be some rational explanation.
Quinn did not fight her. He just allowed himself to be pulled toward the back of the restaurant. As they went, Quinn kept staring at the rosary, coiled up on the table; it got smaller and smaller as he got further from it, but he would never forget how it looked, sitting there. How the holy living hell had that gotten in his throat?!
Lisa took him through a door marked Employees Only and into a break room with a couch and table, among other things. Gunnar followed them in; he certainly wasn't going to stay out by the table and twiddle his thumbs after what had just happened. "Quinn, are you okay?!" he asked, nearly pouncing on his friend before the door was even closed.
Quinn plopped down on the couch. He looked shell-shocked. "Uh, I guess."
"We should call you an ambulance," Lisa suggested. "Were you in the hospital recently?"
He shook his head.
"Then how did that thing get in your stomach?" she asked.
Gunnar added, "Does this have anything to do with what you and Svetlana are into?"
Looking up sharply, Quinn sighed and then covered his face with his hands. "I don't need an ambulance, okay? It's nothing they can help with. I'll be alright."
A man with a "Manager: Scott" nametag on entered the room. He carried on a tense but polite conversation with Quinn and Gunnar. Quinn repeatedly refused the idea of calling an ambulance. The manager offered to pay for their meal, which they accepted. They knew it was his way of doing damage control, but only Quinn knew that the gesture was unnecessary. The rosary had not come from his food, no matter how much that made better sense than the real explanation.
When Scott had left, Gunnar turned to Quinn again. "So? What really happened? When did you swallow that thing?"
As Quinn began to talk, Lisa brought him a bottle of water. "Thanks," he said as he took it. "This is going to sound crazy, but I never swallowed the necklace. It's like it just... appeared in my throat. I have no idea where it came from."
They listened, and stared in disbelief. "What do you mean, it appeared in your throat?"
"I mean, one second, it wasn't there, and the next, I felt it, like it just... materialized. Like a magic trick or something."
Lisa and Gunnar were stunned into silence for several moments. Gunnar finally said, "Quinn, that's crazy."
"Told you." He opened the bottle and drank from it, bracing should some other bizarre object come up. None did. When he brought the bottle to his lips again, he saw that his hand was shaking.
"Better?" Lisa asked.
Gunnar asked again, "Does this have anything to do with whatever you and Svet have gotten into?"
Quinn, taking a deep breath, thought about the whole situation for a few seconds before answering. He gave them the usual disclaimer that he was having to adopt with this bizarre story. "If I tell you what I think is going on, do you promise not to think I'm totally nuts? Because it's all going to sound insane."
Gunnar shrugged. "I already know you're insane," he joked.
After a pause to think it over, Lisa nodded her encouragement. "I'm willing to listen." She didn't know these guys, but after you watched someone cough up a rosary that came out of thin air, you wanted to know the full story.
Quinn looked at both of them, then began, "I swear to you, this is all true. You heard me speak when you brought the beers to our table; you know I couldn't have put that thing in my mouth and faked that."
Lisa agreed with him. "Yeah, I heard you talking to your friend when I walked up. I don't think that you faked it. You're too freaked out."
Relieved, Quinn grinned slightly and continued. "I haven't tied one on for weeks, so there's no chance I could have swallowed the rosary while I was drunk. I really have no clue how it got there.
"Except... I do have a clue, but... it's crazy. Stuff like this simply isn't supposed to be real."
"What isn't supposed to be real?" asked Gunnar, crossing his arms.
"You've heard all the nutty stories kids tell in school, right? All the stuff about Bloody Mary appearing in the mirror and the escaped mental patient with a hook for a hand? What do you think of stories like that?"
Gunnar shrugged again. "They're just stories. Stuff you tell around the campfire in Boy Scouts."
"Have you ever thought one of them might be true?"
Lisa and Gunnar briefly fell silent. "What?" Gunnar said in an incredulous tone.
Lisa touched Quinn's arm. "One of my friends from high school swears that thing about the psycho calling the babysitter happened to her cousin's college roommate. You know, like what happened in that movie. He kept asking her when she was going to check on the children."
"Where it turns out the calls from the psycho are coming from inside the house?"
"Yeah," Lisa replied.
"Pfft," Gunnar scoffed. "That's just a story. Never happened to anybody."
Frowning, Quinn said, "Gunns, can you be a little more open-minded? This is a pretty crazy story I'm about to tell you..."
"I can try," Gunnar shrugged. "Lay it on us."
Quinn let out a heavy sigh. "Well... have you ever heard the story about the videotape with the curse on it, that once you watch it, something really bad happens to you seven days later? I think... well, the more weird stuff that happens, the more I think... this is crazy, it's crazy." He scrubbed tiredly at one of his eyes. "I think I may have watched it."
There was a pause before Gunnar burst out in mocking laughter. "Oh, Quinn, you really had me going there for a second. Cursed videotape..." He laughed some more.
Quinn hadn't expected to be taken seriously at first, at least not by the realist, Gunnar. But Lisa was looking at him with wide eyes. "I don't know if I believe in stuff like that."
"But you've heard the story?"
It felt good to tell this to someone outside the situation, a stranger. Spilling your guts to a person who didn't know you was sometimes the best thing you could do to feel at least a little better. "I thought it was a bunch of hooey too, until that tape appeared in my mailbox."
"Did someone mail it to you?" asked Lisa.
Quinn told her how the videotape wound up in his possession. "...Jolene put the tape on and we watched it. It was just a bunch of random, weird images. They all seemed to be about some girl with black hair who kept it brushed over her face, so you never got a look at her. Some of it was gross, some of it was creepy, but it wasn't that bad. There kind of seemed to be a narrative there... like, something really bad happened to this family, and the mother jumped off a cliff, and the girl wound up dead down inside a well. The tape ends with a shot of this well. Then, just static." Quinn's eyes were getting bigger and his hands were shaking more and more as he spilled out the story.
"Svetlana and I started having dreams. Nightmares. They always center around the well, and the girl is still down there, but she's, like, adopted the place as her fortress. And... it's like she wants to pull you down there with her."
Lisa instantly believed he was telling the truth. Quinn's face was too serious, too stressed, his eyes too frightened.
"Jolene, she's been seeing things. Hallucinating."
That got Gunnar's attention; Quinn was his friend, but he was still just a college student. People their age sometimes indulged in the wacky tobacky a little too much and saw freaky shit. But, Jolene, with her partying and trampy ways, was still an adult. Almost 40. She was seeing things too?
Quinn continued. "We did some research. Turns out the girl in the tape is real. Her name is Samara Morgan, and she was alive during the 1970's. Samara's adoptive mother murdered her. Bashed her head in, and threw her in the well. I don't know the whole story, but I think Samara made this video somehow. That she has powers."
"Powers?" Gunnar said.
"Yeah. There was this guy in some of the dreams who said that Samara was sending them to us. She seems to be able to use her mind as a weapon.
"The tape is her way of getting revenge, or something. Maybe she wants justice. I don't know, I don't even know her! God, I should have known this wouldn't just go away after the mark." Quinn saw them looking at him expectantly. He started to remove the bandanna tied around his wrist. "I had a dream the other day that I leaned on the rim of the well, and the girl reached up and grabbed my wrist. When I woke up..."
Quinn showed them the wrist with the burn on it in the shape of a slim, female hand: Fingers, thumb, and most of the palm.
Both Gunnar and Lisa goggled at it. Gunnar felt the marks, as if he thought they might rub off. "Christ... that's a welt."
Lisa did not say anything; her eyes spoke for how disturbing she found the burn on Quinn's wrist.
"Let me get this straight. This girl, who's dead, came to you in a dream and grabbed your wrist, and you woke up with this mark on you?" Gunnar asked, amazed.
"Then Jodie lied to me. She said you were stressed over mid-terms." He paused, thinking about it. "I can see now why she didn't tell me the truth."
"I know, Gunns. When I tell myself this story in my head, I say, 'Quinn, you're fucking crazy.' Dead girls don't crawl up out of wells and grab you and leave marks on your skin, and then give you the kind of nightmares that could scare someone who's hardly been afraid in all of his life."
Looking at the handprint again, Lisa made a connection. "This mark on your wrist, it's similar to what just happened to you out there. You coughed up a rosary, a physical object. The stuff that happens to you in the nightmares is so real that is has physical effects on your waking life."
Gunnar couldn't resist. "Wow, that's pretty intellectual for a waitress at Hooters."
Scowling, Lisa replied, "Hey, screw you, buddy. This is just a job. I'm a Psych major."
He snickered. "Sorry."
She rolled her eyes, then turned back to Quinn. "What's the rosary mean? Do you know?"
He explained about Evelyn, how he and Svetlana had dreamed of her the night before. "I think this is Samara's way of reminding me that there are only a few days left until... whatever's supposed to happen. That the clock is ticking. It's like there's something I'm supposed to do. But I don't know what. And this thing about seven days... I think I've figured that out. I think that this all ends in seven days, that she lets you go. That'll be Thursday night. At least, I hope that's what it means. The legends have a few different endings, though... that once your days are up, you go insane, or you get absorbed into the tape and become a part of the narrative, or you die. But this is real life, right? That bitch isn't gonna come up here and drag me away..." Quinn looked at Lisa with the most childlike, frightened look in his eyes, as if he'd decreased in age right before her eyes. "...is she?"
Lisa could understand why this guy was so shaken. What he described concerning Samara, and what he had experienced, it all tapped into typical childhood fears. Fear of small spaces. Fear of the dark. Fear of monsters and people with spooky powers. Fear of death. She touched his arm again, trying to be reassuring. "Of course not. People don't die that way." Lisa laughed a little. "I'm not even sure my friend was telling the truth about the psycho and the babysitter."
Although Quinn appreciated her trying to make him feel better, he still let out a deep sigh. "I just wish I knew why this girl was doing this to us. There seems to be a message there, in the tape. Maybe she just wants us to listen and understand her pain. But what can we do for her?
"I'm not usually this easily shaken, but it's rattled me. I admit it. Do you hear that Samara? I admit it, you rattled my cage." He spoke to the ceiling. "Now go bother somebody else."
Gunnar added, "This is why I brought Quinn here tonight, to get his mind off whatever was troubling him. Jodie thought all the hot bods would be a good distraction. Now I see what from."
"Jodie's my roommate," explained Quinn.
Lisa just nodded to that. "Well, Quinn, I'll tell you, that has got to be the craziest story I've ever heard. But I've seen enough to believe it. You know what you're going to do?"
"You and your girlfriend and whoever else has watched this videotape are simply going to wait out your seven days. If there is something you're supposed to do, I bet Samara will tell you what it is someday soon, maybe on the seventh day. It sounds like this girl enjoys playing with your head."
"That's what Jodie said, that it was someone's idea of a mindfuck," nodded Quinn.
"Right. You're going to wait out your seven days, and you'll see that there's nothing to fear. It'll all be over then." Lisa patted his knee. "Then you and Svetlana are going to come here for dinner on Friday night, and I'll give you drinks on the house, okay? We'll have a good laugh over it."
Although it was a tentative smile, Quinn's grin did contain some hope. "That sounds like the best idea I've heard all week."
When Lisa escorted them back out to their table, they discovered the rosary was gone. Danielle gave them a guilty look as she passed them by with a loaded tray.
"Lisa, can you do me a favor?"
"Can you get that rosary back from your friend? I know this sounds weird, but I sort of want to keep it. For proof."
She shrugged. "I'll see what I can do. We don't even know that Danielle took it."
Gunnar chuckled. "For a Psych major, you don't read people too well, do ya?"
With another scowl, Lisa flipped him off. Gunnar grinned and laughed heartily. She ignored him, turning back to Quinn. "I'll ask Danielle what happened to it, okay? And if she has it, I can give it back to you on Friday." Lisa added a reassuring smile.
Quinn smiled back, bigger this time. "Yeah. Friday."
As the two men prepared to go, Gunnar smirked and tried one last ditch effort to flirt. "You wouldn't have any interest in accompanying me home, would you, Lisa? Help me check under my bed for monsters?"
Lisa leaned toward him, putting her hand on his arm. "I think you're old enough to do that yourself, buddy boy."
She waved as they went out the door, then spent the rest of her shift distracted, trying to make sense in her head of the whole crazy story.
It was the last time Lisa saw Quinn Kirkland alive.
it won't stop
The Ringu series is (c) 1998 The Ring/The Spiral Production Group. It is based on the novels by Koji Suzuki.
The motion picture The Ring is (c) 2002 DreamWorks Pictures. The title "She Just Wanted to Be Heard" comes from a line of dialogue spoken by Rachel Keller in this movie. The motion picture The Ring Two is (c) 2005 DreamWorks Pictures.
I do not know if the prequel, The Ring 3, will have any bearing on this story or not until I see it.
Supernatural is (c) 2005 Kripke Enterprises, Wonderland, & Warner Brothers/The CW Television.
Everything else is (c) Demented Stuff.
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there really is a tape