Day 17: Double-sided Painting

She Just Wanted to Be Heard
Day 17: Double-sided Painting
Part of Story Arc 1: Counterclockwise
A "The Ring/Ringu" Fanfic
by Laurel (Sailorhathor)

Chapters: 17 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: 2,989
Summary: Good to her word, Jessica brings over some books about the artist from Sam's nightmare. There is something obviously supernatural about her paintings. They research her together while their romance buds.
Warning: Contains spoilers for the entire Ringu and The Ring series.
Fanfic Challenges: Fits [info]50_darkfics Prompt #17 Fear and [info]Coclaim100 Prompt #17 Different.
Author's Notes: Not beta'ed. If anyone wants to look over the remaining chapters, even if it's just this one, I'd really appreciate it.
Cross-over with the tv show "Supernatural." Set pre-series.

        There was a knock at the door.

        Sam quickly lowered the screen on his laptop and wiped at this eyes before hurrying to the door. Just before he opened it, he said a hopeful little prayer that it would be who he thought it was.

        "Hi Sam," Jessica said.

        Even just standing in the doorway holding a couple of books, she looked amazing. Sam found himself just standing there staring at the mole between her eyes. The way that she didn't even try to cover it, just let it show with such genuine confidence...


        He came to his senses when she said his name, and felt like a gigantic dork for just standing there. "Um, oh... sorry." Sam laughed lightly with embarrassment.

        Jessica thought that had to be the cutest thing about him. The boyish charm. "It's okay." She held up the books. "I got them."

        "Huh? Oh!" He opened the door wider. "Come in."

        Jessica spread the books out on Sam's desk. "There have only been two books written about Alexandra Baptiste, both by the same author. A guy up north who owns just about all of her paintings."

        "He must really like her work." After pulling Gerald's desk chair over and offering it to Jessica, Sam took a seat himself. He couldn't help but watch her cross her legs in that cute little jean skirt she had on before turning his attention to the items she'd brought. He read the cover of the first book. An Unusual Life: The Paintings of Alexandra Baptiste, by Rowan Bloodworth. Sounded like a generic overview of her work. The second book could prove to be a little more informative. The Art of Alexandra Baptiste and Occult Symbolism. Sam raised an eyebrow at that one.

        "You can keep those for two weeks. I checked them out from the library." Opening the first book, Jessica pointed to some of the paintings as she flipped through it. "I mentioned this earlier, but Baptiste claimed she got all the ideas for her paintings from visions she received from a divine sea serpent. There was a cult that worshipped this being at the time. She painted these visions and the people in them exclusively, nothing else." She indicated a painting of a small child. "This was her daughter, Sasha. There were rumors about her, that maybe she was the product of an affair Baptiste had. Very scandalous stuff for the time."

        Sam grinned. "You sure know a lot about her."

        "Not really. I mean, I just skimmed some of the chapters." Jessica had to smile herself before admitting, "I was almost late because I got so engrossed. It's all really interesting."

        Sam snickered. He couldn't be more happy to just be here with her, looking through books and chatting.

        "A lot of shit about these paintings is weird, besides all the divine serpent stuff. Like, look at this one." Jessica indicated a painting on the page facing them; it featured a woman standing on a grassy cliff overlooking the water, her back to the viewer. They were not aware that this woman was Anna Morgan, in a scene from Samara's videotape. "Look at the clothes she's wearing. They're much too modern for 1774, when this painting was done. Baptiste claimed that she received visions of the future."

        "Really?" Sam had to pretend that everything about this artist that made her odd was interesting for completely different reasons than the fact that it was probably all true. Jessica had no idea about the validity of the supernatural, and he had no intention of ever letting her find out.

        You really think you can keep that from her forever, Sammy?

        Shut up. I don't hunt anymore.

        Really. You don't?

        Jessica was talking. "...You have to admit, it is pretty strange that the woman claimed she could see into the future through the powers given to her by this serpent, and she painted things that she couldn't have possibly known about in her time period. Look at this one." She flipped through the pages until she found a painting of a stone well in a grassy clearing. The view of the well was from an angle, like one was standing nearby, looking down at it. On the opposite side of the well, on the edge, someone had left a sawed-off shotgun.

        The painting was called Ding Dong Dell.

        Sam tried not to make any noise as he swallowed hard. He knew that silly little song from childhood. Ding Dong Dell, Susie's in the well... Who pushed her in? Little Johnny Finn... Who pulled her out? Little Tommy Stout. The implications the painting suggested chilled his bones. That shotgun was exactly the same kind that his family used. It hadn't been placed there carefully, either. The gun sat at an angle, like it had been left there hastily.

        Or dropped.

        Ding Dong Dell, Dean is in the well...

        Is this what was going to happen, what Sam feared for Dean? What was down in that well?

        Sam suddenly felt a sharp pain between his eyes. He groaned and rubbed at the bridge of his nose.

        "Sam, are you okay?"

        The pain dissipated quickly. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just getting a headache or something."

        "You want some aspirin?" asked Jessica.

        "Uh, sure, that'd be great. Anyway, you were saying...?"

        While she fished the aspirin out of her purse, Jessica said, "I bet if you checked, you'd find that a gun like that wasn't manufactured in the late 1700's. It looks far too modern."

        "No." Sam rubbed between his eyes. "No, it most definitely wasn't manufactured then."

        "You know something about guns?" Jessica pried the cap off the bottle and offered it to Sam.

        His eyes briefly shifted back and forth. "A little."

        Continuing, she turned the pages to another chapter. "Baptiste also did a whole series of double-sided paintings. Usually, people painted on both sides of the canvas only because they couldn't afford to buy a new one every time they wanted to paint something. But her family was loaded, so that had nothing to do with it. She painted all these women she called Brides, and their children, who she called Messengers. The paintings had a side of light, and a side of dark. This is one of them." Jessica put her finger beside a painting and said something that made Sam gasp. He couldn't help it. "It's called Samara."

        Just staring for a while, Sam wondered if this was really the child he had spoken to in his dream. He looked at her white dress, her long black hair, and her far off, melancholy expression.

        "What?" Jessica questioned.

        "Nothing, just... there was a kid in the movie named Samara."

        "Really? That's weird. I don't even think it's a Japanese name."

        Sam finally looked up from the painting. "Uh, it wasn't necessarily a Japanese movie. Just had a Japanese character in it."


        He wished he didn't have to lie so much to her about all this. In a way, he was telling the truth... he just wasn't telling Jessica the whole truth. Sam turned his attention back to the book. Next to the art of 'Light' Samara was her painting of darkness. In that one, the child's dress had grown filthy; her feet bare; her hair wet and straggly, completely obscuring her face. Sam noticed that Samara's fingernails were bloody. Some of them might even be missing. The bits of her skin that he could see looked grey and wrinkled, like she'd been in the water for a long time. The child looked dead. He wondered what had happened to her.

        The dark side of the painting was called, She Never Sleeps.

        "The Light and Dark portraits of Samara form the only double-sided painting that survived the war. The others might've been lost forever. No one knows where they are, if they even exist anymore."

        Looking up from the book again, Sam blinked at her and asked, "The war? What do you mean?"

        Jessica sighed, but with a grin. "Here's where it gets really bizarre. The Bloodworth family didn't begin their collection until the 1950's. Before then, the paintings were in the possession of various museums and private collectors. During World War II, Adolf Hitler seized many of the paintings, especially the two-sided ones, for his own collection. You know, he was into art."

        This almost stunned Sam into the loss of speech. He stammered, "I, uh, yeah. I know. Adolf Hitler? The Adolf Hitler?"

        "The one and only."

        "What did he want them for?!"

        Indicating the second book, Jessica replied, "Hitler was also into the occult. You probably knew that too. He thought the paintings had supernatural powers." She snickered, clearly astonished. "Can you believe this shit?"

        It took him several seconds, but Sam finally stammered out, "What kind of powers?"

        Jessica looked at him funny. "I don't know; it's all in the book. But why does it matter?" She tittered with amusement. "You're acting like you believe all this stuff."

        Embarrassed, Sam tried to hide the fact that he did. "No, of course not. Paintings with supernatural powers, pfft."

        Laughing at him harder, Jessica grabbed his forearm and squeezed it. "Sam, do you believe in the supernatural? Are we a little superstitious, hm?"

        He laughed too. "Me? No way."

        "You're trying too hard to convince me," she giggled. Jessica gave his belly a little tickle. "Who are you really trying to convince?"

        "Oh, you're one to talk. You seem to believe that Alexandra Baptiste could see into the future." Sam reached over and tickled her back. She squealed laughter. "A gun like that wasn't manufactured way back then," he said teasingly, imitating Jessica's voice.

        "I don't sound like that." She doubled her efforts to find all of his most ticklish spots.

        "Yes you dooo-ooo," Sam teased in his Jessica voice some more. She found the most ticklish Sammy spot of all, under his arms. Sam snorted loudly as his knee involuntarily bucked upward and almost turned the desk over with a loud THUMP! They both scrambled to keep the contents of the desk from falling to the floor. A pencil can full of pens and pencils, a stapler, and a stuffed monkey with long arms were the only casualties. They looked at each other and broke into renewed giggles.

        "Okay, Mr. Smarty Pants. Oh, you tease me about believing that this woman could see into the future? Wait until you get a load of this." Jessica picked up the more generic book and flipped through it, occasionally peeking at Sam over the top until she found the page she'd been looking for. "Ah. Here we are. This is a painting Alexandra did in 1779. The clothes these people are wearing are very modern, and the men in the painting are holding guns I bet weren't manufactured anywhere near that year. You might also find it interesting that the guy on the left looks like YOU!" She shoved the book out at him with her mouth open in shock; it was all meant as a joke.

        Sam could not, however, take it in the spirit it was meant, for the painting he was now looking at in this book was the same painting Alexandra had been creating in the dream he'd had the night before. The one she'd had him "pose" for, where she went into the trance and burned his image into the canvas. Here was the finished painting.

        Sam could be seen only in profile. One could make a good case that it was not Sam, because, after all, Alexandra's brushstroke style could be wide and indistinct. But it did look an awful lot like Sam. He had more of his back turned to the viewer than the other male in the painting, and held a sawed-off shotgun, the same make as the one from the painting of the well.

        The other man in this work of art was Dean.

        He was also depicted in profile and held the same type of gun. Sam recognized the shirt he was wearing. He knew his own brother well enough to realize that Dean was older in this painting, older than he was now. Whatever was going on in this painting, whatever was making them look so determined and serious, it hadn't happened yet.

        Between them stood, no, floated a dark-haired girl in a long flowered skirt, wearing boots and a denim jacket. Her arms were outspread and her eyes had become mirrors. No whites, no irises, no pupils. Just mirrors.

        The painting was entitled, For Quinn.

        Sam jumped up from the desk, hitting his knees on the edge and making it wobble again. He backed away so fast that he knocked over his chair. The actions nearly scared Jessica right out of her skin; she let out a little squeal of surprise. Sam outright refused to accept what that painting meant. If this Baptiste woman really had been able to see into the future, then that meant that somehow, perhaps by his connection to this very case, Sam would be pulled back in to the world of demon hunting.

        It was all right there in vivid color. Working side by side with Dean, using rock salt guns, a girl with plainly supernatural eyes - Sam, you're going back whether you like it or not!

        "No!" he yelled angrily at the book, which, despite being jostled, was still open to the same page. "NO! I am not going back! Do you hear me?! I'm through! I'm done! I'm not like them! I don't hunt anymore!" Sam turned away from the desk and tried to get control of himself. "I don't hunt anymore..."

        Startled and confused, Jessica got up and crossed the small room to put a hand on Sam's shoulder. His broad chest and back heaved with quickly-drawn breaths. "Sam, what's the matter? Are you okay?"

        He desperately tried to calm down. "I'm, ah... I'm fine, Jess. I just... I... I'm sorry I freaked like that. It's just that..."

        "No, Sam, I'm sorry. I upset you."

        Turning around, he took her gently by the arms. "You don't have anything to be sorry about. Okay? It's just that the guy in the painting does look a lot like me, and he's holding a gun... When my brother and I were kids, our dad taught us to hunt game, and I did it for years. I just went along with it because, well, my family was all I had. But as I got older, it started to feel wrong. Like it just wasn't for me. You know what I mean?" Sam asked.

        Jessica nodded in understanding.

        "When I saw that painting, it was like I was right back there. In the thick of it. Everything, hunting. Nothing else matters." He let out a heavy sigh. "When I think of it, I can't breathe."

        Her fingers gently touched his cheek in a brief caress. "Didn't you like anything about it?" She could hardly stand the thought of little Sam being forced to kill animals by a tyrannical father, that maybe his childhood was unhappy.

        Because he hadn't expected that question, Sam blinked, and gave it some thought. Then he smiled warmly. "Yeah. At times, it was fun. Nothing is ever all bad." A hundred memories flashed across his mind. Most of them contained a lovably arrogant blond who never stopped calling him Sammy. "Some things, I miss." An instant later, his eyes hardened again. "But I never want to go back to that life."

        "You don't have to do anything you don't want to," Jessica assured.

        With a satisfied smile, Sam agreed with her. "That's right. I don't."

        Jessica had to go after that; she had a night class at six-thirty. She left him the books. Sam sat at his desk for a while, just staring at them, knowing that he had to figure out two things. One, how to get Jessica for his very own. And two, how to give the information they had uncovered about Alexandra Baptiste and the sisters to Dean without Dean knowing it came from him.

Additional Author's Notes: The Hitler thing comes from a dream I had which was basically about exactly what's in the story. If the whole idea sounds a little cracktastic, please remember that 'obsessed' is pretty much an understatement when it comes to me and this movie series. It sounds totally plausible to me. ;)

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