Day 13: Dispelling of Shadows

She Just Wanted to Be Heard
Day 13: Dispelling of Shadows
Part of Story Arc 1: Counterclockwise
A "The Ring/Ringu" Fanfic
by Laurel (Sailorhathor)

Chapters: 13 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: 4,337
Summary: Quinn and Svetlana make their first attempt to communicate with Samara directly.
Warning: Contains spoilers for the entire Ringu and The Ring series.
Fanfic Challenges: Fits [info]50_darkfics Prompt #13 Nails and [info]Coclaim100 Prompt #13 Not Enough.
Author's Notes: Not beta'ed. If anyone wants to look over it, even if it's just this chapter, I'd really appreciate it.
Rappings are a form of communication with ghosts where the spirit is invited to knock on a solid surface to answer questions.
Yes, this is how I learned to spell Mississippi. ;)


        Quinn did have some good-looking friends, but that didn't mean Jodie wouldn't give any of them a run for their money when it was time to argue a point. "Okay, Gunns, if you don't believe in any of this stuff involving the tape, then explain where the rosary came from." Even as she said it, she could hardly believe it herself. Quinn had coughed up a necklace out of nowhere. Samara's birthmother's necklace. Jodie couldn't help but be a little excited at this bizarre horror movie come to life. She only wished she was experiencing more of it firsthand.

        Shrugging, Gunnar scratched the back of his neck and said, "I dunno. Maybe you guys tied one on the other night and someone dared him to swallow it. People do dumb things when they're drunk."

        Quinn had been sitting on the arm of the couch, not adding much to the conversation, until this moment. Now he said, "I already told you, I haven't gotten drunk in weeks. That's a stupid explanation anyway. Stop grasping at straws and just admit that something unexplainable is going on here."

        "I think you guys are playing a joke on me." Gunnar looked at Jodie. "I know about you and your horror pranks, you know."

        Jodie and Quinn rolled their eyes in unison. "Fine, smarty pants. If you're so sure, then you'll have no problem watching the tape," Quinn dared.

        "Oh hell no. You're not getting me with that shit."

        Pointing at him and waving her hand wildly, Jodie cried, "Ah! Ah HA ha! See, you won't watch the tape. You believe it has power."

        Gunnar smirked. "I'm just not going to take the chance. Just in case."

        With a sigh, Quinn lowered his head sharply and shook it back and forth.

        Jodie, crossing her arms, said, "I can't believe your stubborn, skeptical attitude, Gunnar. With the brother you have! I'd think you'd have a more open mind."

        At the mention of Beckett, Gunnar ducked his head sheepishly. He didn't like talking about this. When your kid brother regularly worked with the police on cases as a psychic, you grew to believe in a lot of strange things. But not everything. "Yeah, my brother does work for the cops from time to time as a psychometrist. But why does that mean I'm supposed to believe in any crackpot thing that comes along? Suddenly I'm some kind of expert on paranormal shit? You think I like complete strangers who find out about this coming up to me on the street with their photographs of white blobs, badgering me to tell them whether they're ghosts? 'Look, look, I've got pictures of orbs. These are real ghost orbs, aren't they? Never mind that I took my photographs in a cemetery on a night that it was raining; I know they're real. I just want the brother of the psychic weirdo to confirm it for me. Screw lens flare. Stop giving me rational explanations! I want my pictures to be real!' Why are people so damn obsessed with the ghost orbs anyway? They're not so great."

        Jodie couldn't help but giggle at his rant; Gunnar's tone and sarcastic delivery made it funny. "I'm sorry, Gunns. I guess I shouldn't expect you to believe in just anything."

        "You bet your sweet bippy you shouldn't. You know, I believe in what my brother can do because I've seen it in action. But this? This is some unbelievable bullshit you guys are spouting. I mean, really. A cursed videotape? Can't you do better than that?" Gunnar scoffed.

        Quinn frustratedly bounced on the arm of the couch. "I show you a burn on my arm in the shape of a girl's hand, and not even that makes a dent in that hard head of yours? I give up."

        "How hard did Jodie have to rub to give you that Indian burn anyway?"

        Quinn shook his head in defeat. He was getting used to making that gesture lately.

        With a desire to lighten the mood a little, Gunnar added, "You know what ghost orbs remind me of? The bouncing ball from those musical cartoons. You know, the ones where a song plays and a white ball bounces along the lyrics just so you don't fuck 'em up."

        Jodie giggled again.

        Quinn grinned slightly. "Yeah, I remember those."

        Gunnar continued, "Early karaoke. You know what one was my favorite? The one that taught you how to spell Mississippi. I'll never forget how to spell it because of that cartoon." He looked around, found Jodie's dusty volleyball forgotten in a corner, and held it out. "'M-I-S, S-I-S, S-I-P-P-I.'" As he sang, Gunnar bounced the ball on the imaginary lyrics. Jodie started to laugh, then sang along as the song came back to her too. "'That used to be so hard to spell, it used to make me cry.'"

        Although part of him wanted to continue sulking over the fact that Gunnar didn't believe him, an involuntary smile broke out across Quinn's face. He softly joined in, where they could barely hear him. "'But since I have learned spelling, it's just like pumpkin pie.'"

        "'M-I-S, S-I-S, S-I-P-P-I!'" As Gunnar finished, he spiked the volleyball. It sailed across the room, bounced off the wall, and skidded across the kitchen table, scattering napkins, coupon circulars, and condiments everywhere. Everyone busted out laughing. Quinn fell over on the couch and had a good chuckle; he needed it.

        "Even though our evening went to bizarro world, I hope you had a good time anyway, buddy," Gunnar told his friend, and picked up his jacket to leave.

        Quinn did not sit up; he merely spoke to Gunnar from his teetered position on the couch. "I know you think I'm yankin' your chain, but can you do me a favor? Will you ask Beckett to come over here as soon as he can manage it? You gave me an idea."

        "What?" Gunnar asked, squinting with suspicion.

        "Well, he's a psychometrist, right? He holds things and gets psychic impressions off them?"

        "That's how it works..."

        "I want him to hold the videotape," said Quinn. "Maybe he'll get some useful impressions from it. Like, he might see who gave it to me. Or, I don't know, something else." Quinn hoped Beckett would see whatever it was he was supposed to do to make the curse stop.

        Gunnar gave him an exaggerated eye roll. "I'll see what I can do. But why you want my brother to touch that tape and then describe how you and Jodie plotted your little trick, I'll never know." He turned to go with another smirk.

        Jodie threw a couch pillow at the back of his head. "You'll see!"

*****

        That night, Quinn was more than a little sorry to be sleeping alone. The darkness of his room took on a whole new eerie quality now that he was on Samara's ride, the roller coaster that lasted seven days. Although he'd never want to admit it, he was afraid. All the shadows formed arms reaching for him.

        Shortly after midnight, he tried Svetlana's cell phone. Quinn got her voicemail. "Lucky you. You must be snoozing," he mumbled to himself.

        He couldn't have said when he fell asleep. All Quinn was aware of was waking up to the sounds. It was an eerie scratching, all around him in the dark. He looked at the clock. 3:26 AM. It sounded like an animal in the walls, then like someone standing in the corner running their fingernails over the wallpaper. Repetitively. Randomly.

        In reaction, Quinn turned on the lamp for the first time. The noise stopped as soon as the light touched the room. Nothing out of the ordinary.

        A small, childish part of him wanted to leave the light on, but the adult part vetoed that idea as silly, pure cowardice. Quinn switched the lamp back off and tried to go back to sleep.

        Within a minute, there came a faint scratching sound from the corner behind the door. It grew louder, but it seemed to stay in the same place this time. Quinn squinted in the blackness and tried to make out whatever could be causing that noise.

        There was something there.

        Scritch, scritch, scritch.

        It was just indistinct blobs at this point, black and white, but the longer Quinn looked, the more he could make out.

        It was Samara.

        Stop it, he scolded himself. But it did look very much like a little girl in a white dress facing the corner, her hand touching the wall. Quinn stared for over a minute, waiting for any movement. There. That scratching sound again. At the same time, the hand on the wall moved. Quinn was sure of it. Samara's little fingers scraped down the wall, the nails going scritch, scritch, scritch.

        With a small whimper, Quinn quickly reached over and turned the light back on. The corner was, again, empty. He stared at it, just feeling his heart beat fast and his arms shake with the anxiety of knowing something had been in his room.

        Samara was playing games with his mind. Whatever she was trying to do, it was working.

        That was it. Quinn could not turn the light back off, nor could he just fall asleep alone in his bed. He was prepared to beg Jodie to let him sleep with her. Whatever it would take to slow his panicked heart down. The adult side of him chided his behavior again. How could he even think of sleeping in Jodie's bed like some four-year-old who'd just had a nightmare? What would Svetlana think when she found out?

        Shortly after, Quinn found himself standing in the living room several feet from Jodie's closed door, too embarrassed to go into her room, too freaked out to go back into his alone. He fidgeted and paced and chewed on his fingernails with indecision. Lucky for him, he didn't have to torture himself for more than a few minutes, because a key turned in the lock of the front door and Svetlana walked in with Darcy in tow.

        "Hey... what are you doing here so late, babe?"

        Both were dressed in their pajamas. They'd thrown on their coats and shoes and were carrying pillows and blankets from their dorm room. "We, um... we couldn't sleep in our room anymore."

        "You could have called before you came over. I know I gave you an extra key, but you still nearly scared me out of my wits."

        Svetlana gave him a tired, annoyed scowl. "Don't start, Quinn. Let's just go to bed, okay?"

        "Where am I supposed to sleep?" Darcy asked. She had a shell-shocked expression on her face, like she had a million things she needed to say, or she'd completely lose it.

        Quinn instantly knew from that look, and the veiled panic in Darcy's voice, that something had happened. Samara had messed with Svet tonight too. "On the couch, I guess."

        "Alone?!"

        Jodie's door opened and she peered out with a sleepy, irritated squint. She also had a colossal case of bed hair. "What are you guys doing out here?" Noticing Svetlana and Darcy, her eyes widened in surprise. "Uh, hi?"

        Svetlana asked, "Can Darcy sleep with you?"

        Darcy looked at her like a lost puppy, hopeful and practically begging.

        "What happened?" Something had to of occurred. Svetlana wouldn't have come over in the middle of the night with Darcy right behind her otherwise.

        "Let's talk about it in the morning, okay? Be a pal?"

        Jodie didn't want to be a bitch to Svetlana just because of who she was, and she didn't dislike Darcy or anything. Besides, she knew something had happened, and wanted Darcy to spill the details. "Okay, sure. But don't hog the covers. My bed's not as big as Quinn's."

        As soon as Quinn and Svet had gone in his room, and Jodie had closed her door, the two girls nearly pounced on each other.

        "What happened?" Jodie asked.

        "Oh my God, Jodie!" Darcy said at the same time.

        Jodie added, "You go first."

        Darcy, keeping her voice to hushed tones, began, "What the hell have Quinn and Svet gotten into over here? Devil worship?!"

        Taken aback, Jodie replied, "What? Devil worship?"

        "There was something in our room tonight! I swear to God, Jodie, there was some kind of thing there." She hugged her blanket to her chest. "Did you lie to me when you said they were acting weird because of stress?"

        Jodie sighed and sat on the edge of her bed. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you what was really going on, Darce. Trust me." She paused before saying, "What kind of thing?"

        Darcy nervously described how something began scratching at the walls in the dark. Unlike Quinn and Svetlana, she hadn't actually seen anything, just heard it. "Svetlana reacted to it like she could see something. She addressed the corner like someone was there. Every time we turned on the light, the noise would stop. But when the lights were off... it was like some sort of... of beast was in the room. Svet called it 'Samara.' Said Samara was going to get 'er."

        Wow, this was awkward. "Darcy..."

        "I read a book on this, you know. For church. You can't blow smoke up my ass anymore. I know what's going on."

        Jodie had to hear this. "What do you think's going on?"

        With conviction, Darcy hugged her blanket and replied, "Svetlana's possessed, isn't she?"

        Jodie put a hand over her face and just started to laugh.

*****

        Quinn wasn't at all surprised by Svetlana's familiar story. "Samara's playing a game with us, Svet."

        "You know, I told myself that, but it just wasn't enough." Sitting on the bed, Svetlana looked up at him with fear in her eyes. "I'm really scared of her. In fact, you could say I'm terrified. Quinn, I have horrible feeling that this evil little girl means to do us harm." Her voice broke with threatening tears.

        Quinn sat next to her on the bed and hugged her to him. "That's exactly what she wants you to think. But, Svet, remember all those people on the message board? They're fine."

        "I keep telling myself that too," Svetlana said with a teary laugh, "but it do not help. I keep thinking that in reality, no one die from a curse put on a videotape. But then I remember what D guy told us in the dream. That if we didn't do some special task, we would die, Quinn. What does it all mean?"

        Reaching over to the bedside table, he picked up his digital camera. "This is how we find out. We bargain for information."

        She looked at him, perplexed.

        "That girl Vanessa thinks we don't know what she's up to, but I know a thing or two about what she wants. She gets a high off all this horror stuff, just like Jodie. Her seven days are through, and I don't think you can repeat this experience by watching the tape again. One ticket equals one ride. If Samara's trying to spread a message, what good does it do her to tell the story to the same person over and over?"

        Svetlana sniffled. "I guess none."

        "Exactly. So, the only way Vanessa can experience her high repeatedly is to live vicariously through new victims of the curse. That's why she wants us to scan our pictures and upload them to her message board." Quinn absently kissed the side of his girlfriend's head. "The more cool shit we upload for her, the more she tells us what she knows."

        "You think she know more than she's letting on?"

        "Shit yeah."

        With trepidation, Svetlana lightly touched the camera. "What we going to take picture of?"

        He knew she wasn't going to like this. "You know all the pictures on the message board, where people photographed the hallucinations caused by Samara? We're going to try to get some pictures like that." Quinn gestured toward the empty corner behind the door. "If we turn the lights off, Samara will come."

        Just the thought of that instantly set off a fresh crying jag for Svetlana. "No, no, Quinn! You can't mean that."

        "Do you have any other hot ideas?" he asked. Quinn added another kiss to her temple. "Don't worry. I'm here to protect you. You can just hide under the covers and I'll do the rest."

        That is exactly what she did while they waited in the dark for Samara to come. They were both under the sheets, listening for any sound. "I gather that bed covers are monster shields in Holland as well?" he whispered.

        She rolled her eyes and giggled.

        Scritch, scritch.

        Svetlana jumped at the sound. "Quinn!"

        "Shh!" He waited a few more seconds before peeking out from under the sheet and steadying the camera in front of his eyes. On the little preview screen, he could faintly see the outline of Samara standing in the corner. Quinn briefly wondered if he was really seeing anything there at all, or if it was just his sleep-deprived mind making reality of phantoms.

        Her hand moved. Scritch, scritch.

        Quinn took a picture, using the flash. Then he dove back under the covers with Svetlana and waited for the photo to reload.

        It only took two seconds. They both gasped at the small, illuminated screen.

        The picture was very dark and fuzzy. It did seem, though, that a little girl stood with her face to the wall, head down, one hand on the wall. But she didn't appear to be in Quinn's room. Samara was flanked by black blobs of furniture that he had never seen before; it wasn't even clear whether she was standing in a corner or against a flat wall in this photo.

        "Your walls aren't that light," Svetlana whispered. "Your wallpaper dark blue."

        "This isn't my room," Quinn said of the photo.

        Svet, trying to find the right words, looked for small details on the screen, anything of which she could make sense. "It's like... it's like you took picture of some other place... in the past. Samara sent us one of her memories."

        "Only, this can't be one of her memories, because she couldn't stand here and look at herself from the back. This is something that came from her imagination, or - "

        Scritch, scritch.

        The sound came from the wall next to the left side of Quinn's bed, not that far from his head.

        Svetlana let out a squeal and scooted frantically across the bed, squishing herself into the wall that the right side of the bed was up against. Quinn moved toward her. The sheets looked like they were covering a tumultuous volcano. "Svet, shh, shhh, calm down," he said in a hushed voice.

        "She going to get in the bed with us!" Svetlana replied, terrified and panicked.

        Quinn managed to get a handle on her flailing arms and hugged her to his chest. "I don't think so. Samara's just trying to scare us. Calm down, calm down, shhhh."

        Svetlana tried to take deep breaths, but she couldn't stop crying, not after the thought got into her head that the scary little bitch might actually crawl into bed with her. She buried herself into Quinn's chest and hid her face against him.

        The scratching noise moved to the footboard of the bed. The child's nails sounded different moving over the dark cherry wood. Scratch, scratch.

        The cry Svet let out this time was even more shrill and frightened. She jumped against Quinn's body, but she didn't move away this time.

        Quinn remembered something his sister Danica had told him one time. She read a lot of books on the paranormal as a hobby - the interest is what sparked her first conversation with Jodie, in the library of their junior high. Danica had once told him how ghosts would sometimes communicate with the living by knocking on a solid surface. Maybe...

        "Is that you, Samara?" It didn't matter if the covers muffled Quinn's voice. She would hear him.

        Scratch, scratch.

        "Don't talk to her," Svetlana wept so quietly that Quinn almost didn't hear her.

        "If I asked you some questions, would you answer them? Indicate that you understand me by scratching once."

        Scratch.

        "Okay. Scratch once for 'no,' twice for 'yes,' and three times for 'it depends.' Do you understand?"

        Scratch, scratch.

        "Who gave me that tape?" As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Quinn rolled his eyes at his silly mistake. Only 'yes' or 'no' questions. "I mean... did Jodie engineer it so I would get your tape?"

        Scratch.

        Once for no. That was a surprise. "They why - shit, this is hard."

        "Just tell her to go away," Svetlana sobbed in fear.

        "Calm down, baby. We've got to find some stuff out. I won't let her do anything to you." Quinn continued, "Jolene brought the tape in. Is she the one who did this to us?"

        Scratch.

        "She was just an innocent bystander?"

        Scratch, scratch.

        "Did, um... did Gunnar give us the tape?"

        Scratch.

        "Why am I even asking that; whoever gave it to us knew what the tape could do."

        "They wanted to hurt us," Svet added.

        "Yeah." Quinn searched his memory for enemies from the past. He couldn't think of a single person who'd want to hurt him now, but there were a couple of ex-girlfriends who were probably still a little mad at him. Jodie was the only ex he'd ever been able to stay friends with. "Did Marianne give us the tape?"

        Scratch.

        "Did Tanya give us the tape?"

        Scratch.

        Quinn shot a brief sidelong glance at Svetlana. "Did Ashly give us the tape?"

        "Quinn!" she said angrily.

        Scratch.

        No. Another surprise. "Sorry."

        Svetlana smacked his chest. "Like it even be possible."

        With a sigh, Quinn tried to just move on with the questioning. "The person who gave us the tape is someone we'd never expect?"

        Scratch, scratch.

        "Great. I wanted to know so I could thank them," he said bitterly.

        Svetlana made an "mm-hm" sound of agreement.

        "So, there's something we have to do to make you stop bothering us, right?"

        Scratch, scratch.

        "We've got seven days to do it?"

        Scratch, scratch.

        "What happens - I mean... if we don't..."

        Svetlana knew exactly how to phrase the question. "Are you going to hurt us?"

        Scratch, scratch... scratch.

        "Man, you're a wicked little brat for pausing, you know that?" Quinn said, suddenly lashing out at the child.

        Scratch, scratch.

        "I wish I could find that funny. Okay, it depends. Depends on what? Does it... uh..."

        Again, Svetlana knew how to ask the most difficult question of all. "If we don't complete task before end of seven days, are you going to kill us?"

        It was torture, how long Samara waited. But she finally answered.

        Scratch, scratch.

        Her face falling, Svet began to cry harder against Quinn's chest.

        "Bullshit," he spat.

        "Just tell her to go away," sobbed Svetlana again. "Please, please go away."

        "Will you leave and let us sleep for the night, Samara? Please?" Quinn asked.

        The child paused once more before replying. Scratch, scratch.

        "Good. Good," Svet chanted to herself, rocking against his chest.

        Angered by how much Samara had scared his girlfriend, Quinn growled, "Good riddance, you evil little brat."

        He felt the two small hands dig into the sheets on either side of his right leg and knew what Samara was about to do a split second before the covers were yanked off the bed. Svet jerked violently in his arms and let out a hysterical shriek so jagged with fear that Quinn thought he might never get her calmed down again.

        He turned on the light as quickly as he could, but not even the dispelling of shadows could make her stop crying.

        The scream had roused Jodie and Darcy, who listened to the story with uneasy attention. Jodie wished she had been there; communicating with the dead by a form of rappings? Badass. Darcy just wished she could get rid of the horrible feeling that chilled her insides every time she thought of being alone with Svetlana again.

        No one slept any more that night.


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