She Just Wanted to Be Heard
Day 23: Bookmark
Part of Story Arc 1: Counterclockwise
A "The Ring/Ringu" Fanfic
by Laurel (Sailorhathor)
Chapters: 23 of 100
Rating: Overall Rating Sup13+ (adult theme; horror elements that might be too much for children under 13; bad language)
Dates: Begun September 2006. Some material is based on previously written stories from 2003-2005. This chapter was written in December 2007-January 2008.
Word Count: 3,472
Summary: While researching Alexandra Baptiste and her supernatural paintings, Sam learns about their connection to Adolf Hitler, and remembers an incident from his childhood where Dean had a bloody encounter with one of the daughters of Heptamera.
Warning: Contains spoilers for the entire Ringu and The Ring series. This chapter contains light sexual content. No pairing; teenage Dean teases Sam about getting a stiffy.
This chapter also contains fictional content based on the history of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis - nothing more graphic or unpleasant than what you saw in the movie.
Fanfic Challenges: Fits 50_darkfics Prompt #23 Unholy and Coclaim100 Prompt #23 Hatred.
Author's Notes: Set pre-series for Supernatural, during Sam's years at Stanford.
So focused on what he was reading, Sam was barely aware that Gerald had even been in the room; the smell of fast food stirred him out of his concentration long enough to see the door closing and notice the bag next to his arm on the desk. He had heard Gerald say something about joining a study group and, "Hey, got you something," before he dashed back out the door.
Sam dug into the bag. A Whopper and fries. Good ol' Gerry. If it hadn't been for him, Sam might have completely forgotten to eat dinner, at least until his stomach went on strike around midnight.
He ate his hamburger while continuing to read the books about Alexandra Baptiste. As Sam went along, he bookmarked certain pages with Post-It Notes, passages he intended to photocopy for the file he would build for Dean. The book about occult symbolism had the most yellow tabs sticking out of the top in uneven lines like a haphazardly organized filing cabinet.
The author, Rowan Bloodworth, described why Hitler had been interested in Baptiste's paintings.
The dictator believed that many of the paintings had the supernatural ability to come alive and kill anyone he targeted. Seven particular paintings had to be viewed in a special sequence, like the playing of a movie one frame at a time. This would put a "curse" on the unfortunate art connoisseur that would eventually result in their death seven days later through the use of one of the "Messenger" paintings, which were the pieces of art that were purported to be able to come to life. A survivor of World War II who was just a child at the time described how Hitler had her brought to him one night to bear witness to one of these deaths. The daughter of a Nazi SS guard, she claimed that one of the double-sided paintings, the one that is Sasha on the Light side and Everyone Will Suffer on the Dark side, was brought into the room and put before a man that Hitler seemed to have a quarrel with. Within minutes, the Dark Sasha moved, crawling out of the painting. She dripped paint on the floor that dissolved away as if she truly was the painting come to life. The man screamed and ran around the room while Sasha pursued him; soon he clawed at his head and fell down dead, his mouth frozen open in his last scream. Hitler reportedly laughed the entire time.
Sam ran his hands through his mop of brown hair, scratching at his head. This one ran so deep... just how would Dad and Dean be involved in it? Sam didn't want to give them too much information and cloud the issue, but not enough information and they could be walking into something they couldn't handle. He stuck a Post-It in the corner of this page, absently running his fingers over it until it flattened down while he took the time to better organize the thoughts jumbled in his head. As outlandish as it might seem, Sam thought the tale of Hitler using supernatural paintings to murder his enemies could be true. If he hadn't dreamed of Alexandra Baptiste the night before, he might be a lot more skeptical now, but it was the dream that put him on this track in the first place. Each piece of this puzzle led straight to the next.
The girl says that Hitler forced her to watch three more of these deaths over time, performed by the Sasha work and two other "Messenger" paintings. When she asked him why he kept showing her these horrible deaths, he claimed it was because she was a descendent of the Baptiste family. He mistakenly thought that Alexandra Baptiste was one of the "Ancients," a race of superior beings that held the secrets of Thule. Thule was a legendary island like Atlantis, lost in a catastrophe, supposedly populated by a god-like race, much like the master Aryan race that Hitler aspired to create. He told the girl that he'd performed mystical rituals to make contact with the Ancients, hoping to be endowed with supernatural powers. The spirit of Baptiste had answered him. According to him, the artist was the one who told him that this child was her current youngest descendent, possessing her own paranormal abilities. After encouraging her to practice using the powers she'd inherited for the betterment of his ideal society, Hitler also suggested that film might be a more efficient way to accomplish the seven-day curse, and told her to experiment with it to see what results she could get by making her own "cursed films."
One word kept jumping out at Sam as he scanned the paragraphs two and three times over: Mistakenly. He mistakenly thought that Alexandra Baptiste was one of the "Ancients," a race of superior beings that held the secrets of Thule. How did Bloodworth know it wasn't true? Was the man just not a believer in the supernatural, and thought this was yet another insane idea to come out of the mouth of a raving lunatic responsible for the hate-fueled genocide of millions of people? Or did Bloodworth know something about who Baptiste really was in the scheme of the paranormal world? Sam also wanted to know if Baptiste had actually visited Adolf Hitler, like she'd visited him. The woman said she was spreading a message concerning the horrible things that had been done to her daughter. Could it have been that Baptiste saw Hitler as a powerful man with the ability to help her spread that message if she could only convince him that she had power to give too? Had she played Hitler for a fool?
Either way, it must've been one of the unholiest alliances ever forged.
The possibilities got Sam's heart racing. He wished he had someone to talk to about this, someone who could help him sort it out. His brother wasn't stupid, but a lot of this might go over Dean's head. Besides, they weren't really talking, especially not about cases.
Because Alexandra Baptiste was on his mind, Sam opened his desk drawer and took out a Ziploc bag. The hair that had been wrapped around his wrists when he awoke from the nightmare, her hair, he had saved in the bag; he wasn't sure who he was ever going to show it to, but... just in case.
Books marked up with Post-Its, a baggie with a spectre's hair in it, a bunch of half-formed theories... no, you're not hunting, Sammy.
That sarcastic conscience-voice again. Sam realized, with little surprise, that it sounded like Dean.
He closed the book and absently examined the cover while finishing his french fries. Sam read the name of the author again. Rowan Bloodworth. Bloodworth. Where had he heard that name before?
Devouring the fries three or four at a time, Sam opened both books again, placing them side by side, and began flipping through the one about Baptiste's art. Something... something had stuck in his head; it was on the tip of his tongue. Halfway through the book, he stumbled upon that sliver of memory that had been pecking at the edge of his mind.
Baptiste had painted a dark-haired girl who appeared to be in her teens with her fingertips to her temples, eyes closed, face pained with concentration. Deep purple light surrounded her head. The painting, reproduced on page 74, was entitled Cheyenne.
Sam barely remembered her. He wasn't even sure he would have been able to describe what she looked like until he saw her again in this painting. What he remembered about the incident was the effect she'd had on Dean.
John had taken his sons to a demonstration organized by Cheyenne's father when Dean was sixteen and Sam was barely twelve. Agents from Child Protective Services had been sniffing around John's door to the point that he didn't feel safe leaving the boys to their own devices for the day; Dean would just skip school again and risk getting picked up for truancy. Then it would all be over, and they'd have to run. They might have to run anyway. But either way, it was best that John keep the car packed and his kids close to him for a while.
A cultured associate of John's, an eccentric man with money who was interested in the supernatural, wanted John to accompany him to this demonstration. It wasn't John Winchester's usual concern, but Mr. Eisley promised to fund an important hunt if he could get John's opinion on what they were about to see that day.
Sam remembered sitting slumped down in the padded folding chair, pouting over the fact that he was missing a very interesting lab experiment by not being in science class today. He wondered to himself why men like Mr. Eisley were considered eccentric while men like his father were called crazy, and surmised that it must have something to do with how much violence was involved. A demonstration of psychic photography wouldn't involve any guns or blood or monsters to behead, not real ones anyway. Maybe just ones projected onto photographic plates.
No, this definitely wasn't John Winchester's usual affair. Bill Bloodworth touted that his daughter could project images of thought onto photographic plates, a psychic ability known by several different names: Psychic photography, thoughtography, nensha (the Japanese term), psychic projection... according to Dean, it was known as "Boreography."
"You know, because it's so damn boring," he'd said.
Mr. Bloodworth had managed to turn it into a moneymaking enterprise by giving lectures during Cheyenne's demonstrations and writing books about her abilities. Something about the man put John off, but many parents would have felt the same way about a father making money off his child by parading her before the scrutiny of the world.
That scrutiny could be pretty damn cruel. Especially with the claim Bill Bloodworth made about Cheyenne's projections.
He said that sometimes, they became real.
There had been many demonstrations during which whatever the girl had imagined onto the photographic plate had been pulled from that plate and held, a photograph metamorphosised into a tangible object. Bill Bloodworth always passed the object around for everyone to touch so they could see it was real. Critical skeptics called the demonstrations cheap magic shows where the Bloodworths employed slight of hand; Sam remembered reading an article Mr. Eisley had given his father where a notable skeptic called Bill and Cheyenne Bloodworth "the Sigfried and Roy of charlatan psychics." He also remembered the writer of that article noting that when confronted with the comment, Cheyenne cried.
Now, as Sam looked at the hair in the plastic bag that he'd pulled from a nightmare, he wasn't so sure that he agreed with those skeptics. Maybe a girl could possess such abilities as to turn a photograph real.
Still sulking, Sam didn't pay much attention when Cheyenne and her father came out on the stage and the man began to explain psychic photography and how it worked. He jumped in his seat when Dean smacked his knee with the back of his hand.
"Hey squirt, look at this chick. She's got some amazing tits."
Sam immediately giggled with his hand to his mouth, blushing a bit. He was, after all, only twelve at the time, on the cusp of sexual awareness. Dean just loved to embarrass him by saying things like that, making it a goal to catch Sam off guard.
"No, really." Dean was slumped in his seat too, with his legs sprawled apart, completely comfortable. Most of the other people at the demonstration were dressed like they thought this was a job interview, but Dean? He had on ripped, worn jeans and a denim jacket with a few rock band patches sewn onto it. The picture of teenage rebellion. "Look at those bazooms. The perfect shape to cup in your hands and put your face right in between them." Dean held his hands in front of his own chest like he was cupping Cheyenne's breasts.
Sam laughed so hard that he couldn't stifle it, and snorted. Someone shushed him crossly.
John turned a stern eye on them. "Boys!" he whispered in a harsh tone.
With a pause to reflect on how Dean had almost gotten him in trouble again, Sam swatted Dean's leg. Dean promptly swatted him back. Sam flicked his brother's arm, and got a kick in the ankle in return. Before Sam could stomp on Dean's foot, John glared at them a second time, which ended the shenanigans.
Sam also remembered from the article that Cheyenne was only a year younger than Dean. Shit, but she did have some nice breasts, pushing ever so roundly at her fluffy sweater, with her hair laying across the tops of them in a flattering - Damn it, Dean! Sam shifted uncomfortably in his seat, willing his penis not to do what it did naturally all the time at this age. Thinking about the most unsexy things he could usually did the trick. Dead kittens, naked 70-year-old nuns, Grandma Winchester in a thong...
Dean just sat there with a smug look on his face.
Remembering it now, Sam smiled and shook his head, feeling embarrassed and amused at the same time. Big brothers could be such jerks sometimes.
Making a few flourishes with his arms as if he really was a magician, Bill Bloodworth picked up a metal photographic plate and held it out. "Cheyenne will now demonstrate psychic photography by picking an interesting face out of the audience at random and projecting it onto this film."
Cheyenne scanned the crowd. The audience grew quiet; the demonstration had become a little more interesting. They were all curious if the girl would be able to do it. She eventually looked right at Sam and seemed to settle on him.
"Hey, your girlfriend's looking at you," Dean teased.
Sam muttered, "Shut up." Truthfully, Sam felt a little special that the girl had chosen him. Girls hardly ever looked at him, with his bad acne.
Cheyenne put her fingers to her temples, closed her eyes, and concentrated. Nothing happened. Thirty seconds went by. The crowd began to shift in their seats. Half a minute was a long time for people to sit still and wait in this kind of situation; everyone expected quicker results.
Putting his fingertips to his own temple, Dean made a small groan and rubbed his head a little.
Mr. Bloodworth glanced at his daughter, obviously growing uncomfortable. "Cheyenne?"
She scrunched up her face as if she was in pain, concentrating as hard as she could. A white blob appeared on the film. Several people in the audience gasped. Dean closed his eyes and made another sound of discomfort.
John looked at him. "Dean, what's the matter?"
Dean slumped down further in his seat. "Getting a headache."
More white objects appeared on the photographic plate. It was starting to look like a person's face with all of the colors reversed, like a negative. A murmur passed through the crowd, some sounding impressed, others scoffing.
Sam smelled something burning, similar to the odor of a burned out lightbulb. Something was off about the picture she was creating of him. It was hard to tell what it was since his face was in negative. He started to lean across Dean to ask his father what was up with the picture when he noticed how much pain his brother was in; it was obvious from how far down Dean was buried in his chair with his fingers to his temples, rubbing deep circles into them and wincing.
"Dean? You okay?" Sam asked.
He watched as a single drop of blood slowly ran from Dean's nose to his upper lip. Sam leaned over him to tell their father that Dean had a nosebleed.
Before he could speak, Sam was sprayed with blood.
Dean had whimpered just before a sudden torrent of blood burst from his nose. It ran over his lips and stained the front of his shirt and jeans. He blew out in an attempt to breathe through his nostrils and only sprayed his brother with flecks of crimson. Sam flinched away in surprise. Dean's hand went to his nose just before a woman sitting nearby let out a scream at the sight of the blood.
Cheyenne's eyes flew open and she looked to see what the commotion was about, gasping and covering her mouth when she saw the blood all over the front of Dean's shirt. Mr. Bloodworth put down the plate, rushing to his daughter and pushing her backstage.
A few more women shrieked and two men cried, "Jesus!" as blood ran in thick streams over Dean's fingers. Mr. Eisley handed Dean a handkerchief. Dean put it to his nose, sputtering and coughing.
"Put your head back," John commanded, and pushed back on Dean's forehead. He made sure Dean held the handkerchief tight to his nose, blocking off his nostrils, and added, "Son, breathe through your mouth," when he realized Dean was still sputtering as if he couldn't get air.
The flow of blood stopped fairly quickly then, and John estimated that Dean couldn't have lost more than a few ounces, but it was enough to be horrifying, especially coming on with such suddenness. The front of the boy's shirt wasn't exactly drenched, but it was stained with enough blood to be sickening; John doubted they could save it from the trash pile.
"Does Dean get these nosebleeds often?" Mr. Eisley questioned.
Putting two and two together, John said, "No. Either my son has suddenly taken ill, or this girl you wanted me to see has some real psychic ability. You don't think it was an awfully strange coincidence that just as she tried her hardest to make that image appear on the photographic plate, Dean had this reaction?"
Mr. Eisley didn't have to consider that for long. "Cheyenne was trying to project an image across a stage... perhaps some people in the vicinity of those psychic waves have a bad reaction to them?"
Dean suddenly lifted his head. "I heard a high-pitched tone," he said, trying to be helpful. "While she was sending the picture across the room, I heard a tone. It started off not so bad and got piercing by the end."
"Keep your head back," John repeated, pushing Dean's head back on the seat again.
Sam, with concern, put his hand on Dean's leg so he'd know he was there. "Dean, are you okay?"
Because he wasn't currently allowed to lift his head, Dean looked at him out of the corner of his eye and gave Sam a thumbs-up. "I'm fine, Sammy. Just gimme a minute and I'll be rockin'."
It was at this point that a security guard walked up with a few others in tow to restore order to the shocked audience. John's back stiffened up defensively. "Does your son need a doctor?" he asked.
Remembering it all now, Sam understood what happened that day better than he had when he was a kid. Cheyenne Bloodworth was a daughter of Heptamera. She had to be. Alive or dead, they had the power to hurt people, even kill them, through this projective ability - a twisted version of thoughtography.
He also understood the picture that Cheyenne had been trying to make on the photographic plate. Her family owned almost all of Alexandra Baptiste's paintings. Sam didn't know how she and Rowan were related, but it made sense that they came from the same family, and had both seen the family art collection.
The image that Cheyenne had been projecting was an adult Sam in profile. Just as he looked in the painting For Quinn.
It creeped Sam out that the girl had made that connection. And what had she thought of the fact that the man in the painting was attending her demonstration, but as a boy? Did she think it was just a passing resemblance?
Furthermore, did Dean's nose bleed because he was just one of those people who had bad reactions to projected psychic energy, or because Cheyenne Bloodworth had attacked him?
Sam pressed a yellow sticky note to page 74.
it won't stop
The Ringu film series is (c) 1998 The Ring/The Spiral Production Group. It is based on the novels by Koji Suzuki. My fanfic is more based on ideas presented in the films, which were created by director Hideo Nakata and screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi.
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