Day 24: Vicious Cycle

She Just Wanted to Be Heard
Day 24: Vicious Cycle
Part of Story Arc 1: Counterclockwise
A "The Ring/Ringu" Fanfic
by Laurel (Sailorhathor)

Chapters: 24 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 January 2008.
Word Count: 2,452
Summary: While researching Alexandra Baptiste and her supernatural paintings, Sam learns about their connection to Adolf Hitler and the SS forces. Alexandra tries to turn Sam to her way of thinking, but she may lose him when she badmouths John.
Warning: Contains spoilers for the entire Ringu and The Ring series.
This chapter also contains fictional content based on the history of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
Fanfic Challenges: Fits [info]50_darkfics Prompt #24 Power and [info]Coclaim100 Prompt #24 Lies.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Nicky for translating my English into German.
Set pre-series for Supernatural, during Sam's years at Stanford.

        Sam came upon another passage that seemed important enough to mark. Baptiste had kept a journal about Heptamera and the things he had supposedly told her through the psychic link. Rowan Bloodworth had translated several entries in the book about occult imagery. One entry explained how daemons and other divine beings naturally attract some people to them, and because the daughters of Heptamera were half-divine, this would also be true of them. But they seemed to be cursed to attract people who would cause them suffering. Perhaps the revenge thing that Alexandra Baptiste talked about in the nightmare was because of this.

        Not buying the innocent victims routine, Sam wondered if the girls sometimes brought that suffering on themselves. It might just be a vicious cycle. Evil deeds, retaliation, revenge, and more evil deeds. Which came first? He couldn't help but question it after the way they'd threatened him.

        Sam, laying his head on his folded arms, intended to close his eyes for just a few minutes. He fell asleep instead.

        Not the least bit surprised to be caught in another dream, Sam was taken aback by the fact that he was wearing his pajamas in it, with bare feet and everything. The floor was cold, made of concrete. Walls devoid of paint or decoration. Sam wasn't sure at the time why this word came to mind, but the room had a bunker feel.

        He moved along the wall, trying to be quiet. People were making noise in the next room. He snaked around the corner and right into a strange scene. A man, fairly handsome, with slicked-back blond hair, wearing black boots, a white shirt, and a smock, stood before an artist's canvas. He was painting rather frantically; time was of the essence. Sam felt as if he'd stepped into the past, what with the man's old-fashioned haircut. There was a large object to the right of his painting. Sam leaned over to see what it was.

        It was another painting. A finished one. A little girl, black hair. A soldier in a very old-timey uniform, cupping her chin. The child looked frightened, the soldier appeared smug.

        The blond man was recreating it. He was desperately trying to paint that work of art again, on his blank canvas. To copy it. Sam hoped that accuracy didn't count, because the man had no natural artistic talent. Proportions were off. Colors, too. But perhaps, as long as you did your best...

        A little girl came out of the shadows, from some other room. The hanging light above her head began to swing ever so slightly. The motion made the shadows dance like monsters that could change their shape. She hadn't been here long; her dress was still clean and pretty, lacy, and white, in stark contrast to her father's soot and paint-stained face. The shadows stretched and cowered across her. "Papa, was machst du da?"

        The translating voice spoke in Sam's ear. "Father, what are you doing?"

        The man only glanced at his girl, concentrating on the painting. "Ich versuche mein eigenes Leben zu retten, Kind."

        "Trying to save my own life, child."

        They were speaking German. Sam then looked down to see the jacket of a Nazi SS guard draped across a chair.

        "Holy shit," muttered Sam. Examining the black jacket, he noticed a patch near the collar with a serpent insignia; Sam knew that was the symbol of a member of the medical corps. He'd have to do some research to really pin down what this guy did for the SS forces, but Sam suspected that he worked in the concentration camps. "What the hell is this all about?"

        "It's her. It's the child Rowan Bloodworth wrote about in the book. Hitler's pet."

        Looking to his left, Sam realized there was actually someone there, whispering in his ear. He jumped away with a start and a hiss.

        Alexandra Baptiste. Her again. Only she wasn't all there this time. A ghost made of mist, floating in midair, her legs lost in a cloud of smoke. Parts of her hair covered her face, and she made no move to brush it away. She just spoke to Sam from under the curtain of shiny black strands. "An intricate story, don't you think, Sam?"

        He sneered at her. "Don't talk to me like we're friends." Sam indicated the scene with the father and daughter. "Why are you showing me this?"

        Alexandra shrugged lightly. "You're researching us, aren't you? All of Heptamera's girls want to be known; they want their messages spread." She lifted her head enough for some hair to fall away and Sam to see her lips curl up in a smirky smile.

        Gesturing toward the father and daughter again, Sam said, "What's going on here?"

        Alexandra turned her head slightly in their direction, then looked back at Sam. "Hitler wanted to know how our curse worked. Out of loyalty, the soldier volunteered to test it. Isn't it funny what people will do in the name of ambition?"

        "Why is he reproducing that painting?"

        Alexandra smirked again. "You're a smart boy, Sam. Figure it out for yourself."

        "Were you playing the Nazis to further your own agenda?"

        Snickering, she replied, "Of course."

        "How could you ally yourself with such monsters?" he asked, spewing venom in his tone.

        "Well, we all lie to protect what we love. Don't we?" Alexandra returned Sam's tone with a smug one of her own. "I left out aspects of the truth for the sake of my daughter... all the daughters of Heptamera... and you... you spent your childhood lying to protect your negligent father. Hm? Didn't you?"

        Sam, completely caught off guard, visibly winced. How dare this bitch... "I can't believe you're even comparing the two."

        "Oh, of course, on the surface, the situations are nothing alike. We're just a bunch of homicidal bitches and your father is a hero." Alexandra then looked up until the hair fell away from her face. Regarding Sam with those ice blue eyes. "Deep down, though, there is a little bit of monster in your dad. Isn't there?"

        Sam fumed at her words. That a woman like her could talk about his dad like this... "You don't know shit about me, lady."

        She laughed like she was regarding a child. "You're smarter than this, Sam. You know about my rapport with Heptamera. Do you think you understand the limit of his power? Do you think he didn't work through me at other times when I wasn't painting? We can see inside you, Sam Winchester. Read your mind. You chastise me for saying these things about your father, but you've thought them yourself."

        The rest of the room faded away until the Nazi and his child were gone, and there was nothing there but hazy grey. Sam swallowed hard. He didn't want to think about this, he didn't want to hear this out of someone else's mouth.

        "Your father left you and your brother alone to fend for yourselves for days on end, when you were far, far too young for it. Anything could have happened. And it often did, didn't it? He was so neglectful. So emotionally abusive. You've thought about the pressure he put on Dean so many times."

        "The pressure he still puts on Dean," Sam mumbled.

        "Yes. Think of all those times your father urged you to lie to CPS, your teachers, any adult who asked too many questions. Just so he could run off again. If the police ever caught up to your brother, he'd go to jail for a long time. And who taught him all those scams? Your father. What kind of lesson is that for a child?" Alexandra shook her head.

        Tilting his head quizzically, he wondered what the woman was up to. She was the last person who should be criticizing anyone for teaching a child bad lessons. "It's not like he does it for evil purposes. My father has his own methods, many that others don't agree with, but he does it to save people."

        "And why should his children suffer for that, I ask you? How could he push aside his own kids in favor of saving the children of others?" she questioned accusingly.

        "I don't know how to answer that. But he's not a monster, not like your precious Heptamera, and certainly not like the Nazis," protested Sam.

        "And yet, you ran away from him."

        Sam wanted to immediately reply that no, he did not run away, his father kicked him out. But that would be a lie, at least partially. Sam would have left even if his dad hadn't said that if he walked out that door now, he shouldn't come back. God, that was such a cliche, words so overused that people didn't even mean them half the time, but when said to you, they hurt, and you believed them. "Yes. I left home, with a big kick out the door. But that doesn't make my father as bad as the fucking Nazis."

        A small smile crossing her lips, Alexandra said, "Isn't that always how it is? You can be mad at your family and say whatever you want about them, but let someone else insult them and suddenly, you feel the need to defend them. No, your father is not as bad as the Nazis. My point is, you left home to become your own man. It was the right thing to do. So why are you acting like your father? He's not a great hero that you should emulate. You don't hunt anymore, remember?"

        "I'm not researching you for my father's sake."

        Her smile turned gentle and motherly. "You're doing it for Dean."

        Sam did not answer her, just swallowed hard.

        Alexandra knew this was all about Dean. "That's alright. We understand it. In fact, we don't mind if you know a little about us. After all, that is our major goal. His daughters have suffered, they must be heard. But perhaps it's better for us and for you that we keep this between ourselves. Dean and Dad would just be wasting their time anyway." Smiling in that motherly way again, she finished by saying, "Can't we be friends, Sam?"

        Sam smiled back, but his grin was obviously put on. "You know, my dad isn't always right. Sometimes, he's a downright asshole. But he always told me never to ally myself with monsters, because like thieves, there is no honor among them. I think in this case, I'd be stupid not to listen to him."

        As much as she wanted to present a face unaffected by emotion, Alexandra could not help the angry cast that fell over her eyes. Her smile became fake, with tight, thin lips. She floated over closer to Sam. He stood his ground. "Alright, then. If that's the way you want it."

        "So be it," Sam replied.

        With a smug look, Alexandra snapped her fingers sharply before Sam's eyes. It made him blink in surprise, and when he looked again, he was in another room. The walls and floor had a marble look to them, with lights in rows down by the floor. The lamps illuminated at least twenty paintings hung along each wall; Sam avoided looking at them because he had a suspicion he knew what they were. Cursed paintings. A very large item near the wall ahead of him stole all of his attention anyway.

        It was a flat screen TV on a pedestal, the biggest one he'd ever seen. The screen had to be at least five feet tall by eight feet wide. The image on the TV was of a pile of rocks in a clearing surrounded by trees. Upon closer look, Sam realized the pile of rocks was probably a...

        Ding Dong Dell.

        A well.

        The sunlight in the grainy image faded in and out at times, indicating that this was a film and not a still picture. What Sam found the most confusing is the fact that in each corner, there were rows of numbers spaced at regular intervals. They were counting down.

        Counting down to what?

        After looking at the strings of numbers for several seconds, Sam figured that they must represent days, hours, minutes, and seconds. There were at least nineteen strings of these numbers. In three cases, there were only 3 days, 4 hours, 37 minutes, and 41 seconds left... 40 seconds left... 39 seconds left... fourteen others had 3 days and 6 hours. One lone string had a little more than four days left, and another, about four and a half.

        Then there were the cycles that had stopped. Four of them, where the countdown had ceased.

        As he was trying to put two and two together, Sam's thoughts were interrupted by Alexandra Baptiste's voice. "Do you understand now, Sam?"

        He whirled on his heels, expecting to see her creeping up behind him. But she was just a disembodied voice.

        "There's nothing you can do to stop it. Only they can make the numbers stop turning."

        Looking around for where the voice may be coming from, Sam said, "These are countdowns for people who have been cursed by your paintings. Aren't they? They die in seven days, just like Hitler's enemies."

        "You're a very smart boy, Sam. But you've got more to figure out. You think about it." It was almost like he could feel her hands on his chest, pushing him from the room. From the dream. "Goodbye."

        "Wait! Just answer me this." Sam pushed back against the force inching him toward the door; the friction and resistance of his bare feet as they slid on the cold, hard floor made squeaking sounds that echoed off the walls. "The Nazi. Please tell me he died more horribly than all the others."

        Alexandra laughed derisively. "He died when the Israeli Secret Service found him."

        Not expecting that, Sam stopped resisting for a second and was involuntarily pushed quite far across the floor. "What do you mean?" Regaining momentum, he temporarily stopped the backward motion of his body. "The curse didn't kill him?"

        Laughing again, Alexandra simply replied, "No," and shoved Sam from the room.

        Sam awoke with a loud, sharp intake of breath. His head came up off his arms and he looked around, relieved to be back in his own room.

        But, also, confused.

        He wondered about that room with the paintings and the television. Was it just a symbolic concoction of Alexandra's dream world, or a real room somewhere? All those cursed works of art... had he just been looking at the Bloodworth's collection?

        What consumed Sam's mind more, though, was the Nazi, and how he had survived the war. Sasha's curse hadn't killed him.

        The question wasn't Why?

        It was Why not?

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.

Comment on this chapter on LiveJournal
Comment on this chapter by e-mail

there really is a tape