Day 30: The Shadow People

She Just Wanted to Be Heard
Day 30: The Shadow People
Part of Story Arc 1: Counterclockwise
A "The Ring/Ringu" Fanfic
by Laurel (Sailorhathor)

Chapters: 30 of 100
Rating: Overall Rating Sup13+ (adult theme; horror elements that might be too scary 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 March 2009.
Word Count: 3,960
Summary: Sam Winchester, Quinn, and Svetlana are pulled into a dream of young Charlotte and Samara, and the moment when they decided to start using their powers for revenge.
Warning: Contains spoilers for the entire Ringu and The Ring series.
Beta Thanks: Thanks to Sammie for beta'ing this chapter!
Fanfic Challenges: Fits [info]50_darkfics Prompt #30 Chains and [info]Coclaim100 Prompt #30 Rain.
Author's Notes: In case you do not have these places in your state or country, Olive Garden is a chain of Italian restaurants, and Charlotte Russe is a chain of women's clothing stores.
"Wake Me Up Before You Go" is a Wham song from the 1980's.
X-over with the TV series Supernatural. Set pre-series, during Sam's years at Stanford.

        The Kirklands' ride from the airport proved to be far more lively with conversation than the ride in. Danica chattered about music school, her progress in learning how to play the guitar, and how much she loved singing duets with her boyfriend. "Colin's teaching me some new chords. He's much better at it than I am. But he's been playing a lot longer." She looked at her brother, sitting next to her, and then at Jodie, on her other side. Danica sighed dreamily. "Colin Phillip Owens, my fi - " Catching herself, she tried a save. " friend. My best friend."

        "Such a British name, Colin Phillip," Steven teased.

        Svetlana, sitting behind Quinn and Danica, leaned up on the seat and popped her head in between them. "Phillip?" She suddenly exclaimed, "Like the lamb!"

        Quinn and Jodie, knowing to what she was referring, winced, while Danica and her parents just looked confused. "Like the lamb?" Danica repeated, but in a bewildered tone.

        Svetlana, sheepish, tried to wave it off. "Nothing. I was thinking of TV show."

        Quinn couldn't help but let out a brief chortle. Even if Svet's little slip-up did concern the pet of the ghost tormenting them, it was kind of funny.

        "We've all got to meet up for dinner tonight. Danica gets to choose the restaurant," Steven declared.

        "Olive Garden!" she practically squealed.

        "How did I know she'd pick that?" muttered Quinn, giving his sister a teasing look out of the corner of his eye. "Probably because she always picks Olive Garden."

        Smacking his arm with the back of her hand, Danica retorted, "They have great food."

        "Oh, those breadsticks!" Jodie added.

        "Olive Garden it is. Quinn, do you want to just meet us over there later?" his father asked. "I thought I'd drop you all off at your place so you can finish your project."

        "Huh? Oh, yeah. Good idea."

        By that, Danica had a sneaking suspicion there was no project. She wondered what they were really up to.

        "Shall we say, six?"

        Danica, pouting, said, "Aw, but I wanted to spend some time at Quinn and Jodie's this afternoon."

        "You can go over there after dinner." Dahlia turned in her seat until she could see her daughter better. "The afternoon belongs to you, me, and Charlotte Russe."

        Bouncing in her seat, Danica squealed with delight. "Yay, shopping!"

        As soon as they arrived home, Quinn and Svetlana headed for the bedroom. "I want to be more awake than this so I can actually enjoy Danica being over here tonight," he said. "We're going to take a nap. Wake us up at 4:30, okay?"

        "You got it," Jodie replied. "I just hope Danica's awake, what with the jetlag she's bound to have."

        After Svet got into bed, Quinn followed her, pulling the covers up to his chin. "Don't go to dinner without us."

        Svetlana added, "Wake me up before you go-go," before putting the blanket over her head.

        It was such a random music reference that Jodie couldn't help but laugh the entire way out of Quinn's room.

        She called her mother on Jolene's lunch hour and got the full story on all the new things she had experienced since the last time they talked. "If he isn't cursed by the tape, then what was this Sam guy doing in your dream?"

        "Boy do I have no flippin' idea," Jolene sighed.

        "Maybe he's like this Dean guy. Knows how to stop it and all? If you see him again, ask him how to end the curse."

        "Yeah. If I see him again, it means I'm having another one of those fucked up hallucinations. You'll excuse me if I won't look forward to it."

        "I'm just saying, if you happen to see him. I didn't tell you to go looking for him," Jodie laughed.

        Laughing a bit too, Jolene said, "I know what you meant, honey." She paused to take a gulp of coffee. "How are Quinn and Svet holding up?"

        "Uh, not so good. Lots of bad dreams, very little sleep." She stared at Quinn's closed door. "They'll be fine... if they can make it through the next two and a half days."

        "That all we got left?" Rolling her eyes, Jolene pretended to wipe sweat off her forehead and blurted out, "PHEW!" so loud that her assistant turned and looked at her funny.

        Hearing that, Jodie was struck by how easy she'd gotten off in all this, and wondered, not for the first time, why that was. Was it something she'd done differently?

        Beyond the door, Quinn and Svetlana slept restlessly. And they dreamed.

        They came upon a white ranchhouse with a barn, and horses eating grass in an attached, fenced pasture. A tree stood watch on one side of the house. From this tree hung a wooden swing, and in the swing was the sullen, pouting figure of Samara Morgan. She turned the swing a few inches one way, and back, the other way, and back, not so much swinging as sulking, digging the toe of her mary jane shoe into the soft, damp dirt. Looking up, Quinn saw the sturdy branch that held the swing, heard the sound of the rope that held it pulling and creaking against its bark, and noticed the grey cast of the sky.

        "It's all so real. Like we're actually here," he said quietly to Svetlana.

        She took hold of his hand. "What you think she want us to see this time?"

        Quinn sighed. "I'm sure we'll find out."

        Another little girl walked over and pulled up the little weather-worn bench near the tree. She sat down. "Hey Samara."

        The long black hair, the way she walked, the inflection of her voice... Svetlana's lips twitched in contemptful recognition.

        "Hi Charlotte," Samara said without looking up.

        "It's her," Svetlana remarked. "She younger here, but I still know it's her. Charlotte. So that's your name."

        With sympathetic eyes, Quinn squeezed his girlfriend's hand lightly. The things Charlotte had said to Svetlana in that one dream... they had been too harsh for Svet to brush off so easily.

        "You're sad, huh?"

        "Of course I'm sad. You're moving away. Your whole family and all your horses and stuff, you're all going to Texas." Samara looked up at her for a few seconds, obvious pain in her eyes. "We can't even play with your dollhouse or Phil or Buttercup or Lightning one more time before you go, because you're going today." The child held back tears; they could all hear it in her voice.

        Charlotte kicked at a rock stuck in the dirt. "I don't want to go. I don't want to leave you either." Now both girls were trying not to cry.

        "Are we suppose to feel sorry for them?" Svetlana muttered to Quinn. The tone in which she said it showed that she had no intention of doing such.

        "We should run away. That would show them, for trying to sep'rate us," Samara said defiantly.

        "Samara, we don't have nowhere to go."

        "I could hide in your stuff and go to Texas with you. I could live in your treehouse and you could sneak me food."

        Charlotte bowed her head, shaking it in doubt.

        "Then we'll run 'way with Christina. She's older, she knows where we could go," declared Samara. "I bet she could get a job and buy us food."

        "She's not old enough to get a job. She's only twelve," Charlotte reminded her.

        Then Samara did start to cry. "You're not even trying to keep us together! You don't care if you do leave me." Head down, her curtains of black hair obscured the sides of her face as she sobbed.

        Charlotte put a hand on her knee. "I do, I do care. I want to stay together. But we're just little kids. We can't stop this from happening. We're only seven and nine. Kids don't have any say in stuff like this." Now she bowed her head, hands clasped tightly in her lap, toe kicking ruthlessly at the stuck rock.

        The two girls were quiet for several seconds, the only sound being Samara's sobs. "Stupid parents don't care what we want," she cried.

        Charlotte looked up. There was a new gleam in her eye. "There are ways they can never break us apart."

        Sniffling, Samara said, "How?"

        "I know things they don't." Charlotte glanced around as if they'd be sharing conspiracies she didn't want the adults to hear, then moved her bench closer to Samara. "Have you seen the shadow people?"

        An involuntary shudder moved up Quinn's spine. He already didn't like the sound of that. Shadow people. How ominous.

        Looking confused, Samara repeated it. "Shadow people?"

        "You can't always see them head on. Most of the time, you have to look out the corner of your eye..." Charlotte demonstrated, pointing to her left eye and looking out of its corner. "...And there you'll see them. Just dark shadows. They look like people, but they got no faces. No clothes, nothing like that. They're like shadows without a person to follow."

        Recognition came to Samara's eyes. "Oh yeah, yeah! I think I've seen them."

        "They slink along walls, around corners..." Charlotte moved her hands like feet walking along a floor. "When you try to look at them, they disappear. At least for most people."

        Biting at her bottom lip, Svetlana suddenly glanced over her shoulder. "I thought... I see something," she tried to explain to Quinn.

        "You don't have to explain, Svet," he sighed. "She's spooking me too."

        Charlotte continued, "The shadow people got no one to follow, so they look for someone who will take 'em in. They're our friends, Samara. They're loyal to us."

        "Like a doggie?"

        "Kinda. They're smarter than a pet. They want to do things for us. They have for a really long time."

        It was obvious that she had gone over Samara's head. "What kinda things?"

        Rolling her eyes, Charlotte replied, "I'm getting ahead of myself. I have to tell you what the head shadow guy told me. Their leader, the guy who tells them what to do, he's the one in the flat hat. Have you seen him?"

        "I think so..."

        "You'll know him 'cause he's the only one who wears a hat. The others don't."

        "He tells all the shadow people what to do?" Samara asked with wonder.

        "Well..." Charlotte, choosing her words, finally said, "I don't think this is all of them. They're all over the world." She dramatically spread out her hands, as if spanning the globe. "We got, like, a little group of them."

        "Like a club?"

        "Yeah, I guess that's a good word for them. The Sawyer and Morgan Club."

        Sawyer. Quinn made note of that last name; it might be important at some point.

        Her face bright with the idea of everything Charlotte was telling her, Samara piped up, "Can I be in the club?"

        "Samara, we're the whole point of the club," Charlotte reminded her, rolling her eyes again.

        "Oh. So what did the man in the hat tell you?"

        Charlotte thought about it a moment and blurted, "A fedora! I think it's called a fedora!" She noticed Samara staring at her. "The hat."

        "Oh," she said again, and smiled.

        Realizing that Samara had stopped crying, Charlotte smiled along with her and continued her story. "Anyway, the hat man you can see straight on if he wants to tell you something. I was sleepin' in my bed and he woke me up, whispering in my ear." Her eyes opened wider. "I was scared at first, but he told me I had nothing to fear from 'im. He told me how come we can do things, stuff other people can't do."

        Samara, who had been kicking at the dirt, looked up sharply. "You mean like making things move by thinkin' about it?"

        Charlotte nodded. "Uh huh. And putting pictures in people's heads and stuff."

        "Why can we do those things, but other people can't?"

        Leaning forward, she said, "Because we're special." Charlotte checked again to make sure no one was coming. "Your mom told you we were both adopted, right?"

        Samara bobbled her head up and down. "I'm a big girl now. I'm old enough to know."

        "Do you know what that means?"

        She nodded again. "Somewhere, I got a second mom and dad. But they couldn't take care of me and they're never coming back."

        Charlotte's eyes gleamed. "The hat man told me that we're not really cousins. That's just our adopted family. Samara, we got the same father. Our real dad is magic. He's got powers."

        Instantly springing to her feet, Samara hugged her around the neck. "You're my sister! I knew it!"

        Charlotte hugged her back. "We both knew that, right? We always could feel it."

        "Then my suspicions were right. They're both the daughters of Heptamera."

        Quinn and Svetlana turned to see a very tall man with brown hair standing just a few feet away. "Who the hell are you?" Quinn asked.

        At first, Sam's eyes widened, but then he realized it only made sense that they could see him. "Of course you're not part of this scene; Charlotte wouldn't be checking to make sure no one was listening if you were really just standing there. You've been cursed, haven't you? By one of the videotapes?"

        "Yeah," Quinn uttered, amazed. "And I repeat, who the hell are you?"

        "I'm Sam. My involvement in this... is complicated." He put up a hand to shush them. "They brought us here for a reason. Let me listen."

        When he told them his name was Sam, in response, Svetlana looked bewildered. The name held significance to her for some reason, but she couldn't currently remember why. "What is it you try to figure out?" she asked.

        Sam almost said, "How to save you," but held his tongue. Were they aware that this curse could kill them? Was he right, in that all it would take to keep them from dying is for them to make a simple copy of the videotape they'd watched? Or was Alexandra telling the truth when she said Sam hadn't figured out everything?

        To survive the curse of the seven paintings, you reproduce them, so doesn't it follow then that to survive the videotape curse, you copy it as well? Oh Dad, I wish I could run all this by you, Sam thought.

        He'd been quiet, lost in thought, for too long. "Sam?" Svetlana said.

        He shrugged. "I want to make sure my theories are right."

        Quinn started to ask what theories, but the little girls began to talk again, interrupting his train of thought.

        Sitting back down on her swing, Samara urged Charlotte to continue. "So we got our powers from our dad?"

        "Yeah. He's almost like God. Strong." To illustrate, Charlotte flexed her little arms like a bodybuilder. "If we practice, we can get really strong too. Grown-ups will never tell us what to do ever again."

        "Woooow..." Samara cooed.

        "The hat man told me a story about the first daughter our dad ever had. Her name was Sasha."

        The things Alexandra had said... All he wanted was to have a family. But they took that away from him. Took it all away! My little girl! I am not Heptamera's only bride, but I was his first. "Sasha Baptiste," Sam muttered to himself.

        "You mean we got other sisters?" Samara asked.

        "There are a lot of 'em. And there will be more." A wrathful edge colored Charlotte's voice as she spoke about Sasha Baptiste. "One of the powers our dad gave Sasha was she could see the future. You can do that sometimes, can't you?"

        Samara nodded, her eyes wide and sparkling with amazement. All of her attention was on Charlotte and this story.

        "Well, 'cause Sasha could see what was gonna happen, she knew that some people in the village was gonna die. They were going to get real sick, you know? And she told them this. They just thought she was kiddin' or something, you know, 'cause she was just a little girl. Nobody listens to little girls on stuff like that."

        "Don't I know it," Samara remarked, rolling her eyes.

        "When the people did die, suddenly everybody was like hey, that Sasha girl said they were gonna die. You'd think they'd be grateful, and ask her if anybody else was sick so maybe they could take some medicine or something and stop it, but that's not what happened at all," Charlotte spat. Her voice became more disgusted and indignant with each passing second. "They thought she had caused those deaths. That she had cursed those people."

        "Oh wow," Sam said to himself. If the events had really happened that way, then no wonder Alexandra and these other girls were so angry with the world. Perhaps the curse had begun over a simple, tragic misunderstanding.

        Samara said nothing, just listened with a stunned look upon her face. How easily something like that could happen to her...

        "After that, the people were terrified of Sasha. They thought she could kill someone by just saying it would happen. And do you know what they did to that little girl?"

        Now Samara's eyes were full of fright, and she shook her head.

        Charlotte leaned forward. "They took her away from her mother, and they trooped on down to the caves with her, and they held her down and cut out her tongue." The intensity in her eyes made Charlotte look older than her mere nine years. "So she could never speak another curse."

        Covering her mouth with both hands, Samara didn't say anything. She was afraid to.

        "Then, those people left Sasha to die in that cave. They found a hole that formed a natural well and threw her in it. She was trapped down there, up to her waist in water, for seven days before she died. Couldn't call for help. Couldn't even scream."

        "Charlotte, quit it. You're scaring me."

        "You should be scared. Because it could happen to us."

        Jumping up from the swing, Samara argued, "My mommy would never let anyone do those things to me!" and defiantly waved her finger in Charlotte's face.

        "Don't be so sure, Samara. Don't be so sure."

        "So what are we supposed to do?" She took her seat on the swing once again.

        Charlotte, grinning impishly, let out a little giggle. "We practice."

        "With our powers?"

        "Yeeees." The way the girl drew out the word, Sam wondered if her gleeful wickedness was all a bunch of childish bravado, or if Heptamera started 'em early in the family business of soul reaping. "They thought Sasha was cursing people, and they killed an innocent kid because of it. As revenge, her mother made sure they would all be punished. There wasn't a curse before, but after Sasha died, her mom and dad cursed them all. They worked together to make it happen. The curse goes on even today.

        "If we practice using our powers, we can curse anyone who would ever try to hurt us. Maybe we'll even get so good that the world will never forget who we were after we're gone."

        "Maybe one day you'll even be able to curse innocent people who did nothing to hurt you!" Quinn yelled angrily; he didn't care if the children could hear him or not. "When did that become one of your goals, huh?"

        Sam looked at Quinn and Svetlana with sympathy. It was written all over their faces that Samara had already put them through hell.

        The girls didn't seem to hear him. "The shadow people thought we could start with films. Making our own little films."

        "With our minds?" Samara asked.

        "Um hm. Maybe the Beta videotapes your dad bought for his video recorder."

        "But those are expensive!"

        "We could make tapes for each other, though. Just to start off. For practice." Charlotte grinned again. "We can build up to curses. The curses will be for them." She tipped her head toward the house. "For separating us."

        Nodding, Samara agreed, "Yeah. For Daddy." She slumped and pouted at the ground. "Daddy loves the horses."

        They both looked up at the window on the side of the house. Sam made note of the distinctive look of the black shutters, striped diagonally with white lines at the top and bottom, in case he needed to give a description to... well, any hunter who might go looking for this house. Richard Morgan stood in this window, gazing down at the girls for some reason. Watching them. When he realized they had noticed him, he turned his head to the right, trying to appear casual.

        "We'll make him sorry. The shadow people are loyal to us and all our sisters, so they'll help us every step of the way." Charlotte leaned forward to whisper to Samara, "They told me that when we get really good at cursing people, they'll help us by watching them, and let us know what they're doing. That's in case we have to curse more than one person at a time. We can't watch everybody at once."

        Samara laughed. "No, that'd be hard."

        Quinn and Svetlana looked at each other, and she squeezed his hand. "You hear that?"


        "Shadow people, watching us..."

        "If I had trouble sleeping before..." Quinn shuddered all over.

        "Samara, we talked about reading people's minds before, didn't we?"

        Samara nodded, as if this wasn't a strange topic of conversation.

        "Have you noticed that you can't do it when people are asleep?"

        She nodded again.

        "If you feel like someone's thinking about hurting you, like your dad, your adopted dad, keep them awake, so you can read their mind all the time. The shadow people will help you." Grinning, Charlotte gave a nod of her own. "They like to watch what we do. They think it's cool."

        Sam wondered how long they'd been practicing at these various powers. Years? It wasn't a pleasant thought, children with such abilities, wielding them like toys against the people around them.

        "I want you to remember something for me, Samara." Charlotte took her by the shoulders. "No matter what happens, I will always be there for you. Always looking after my little sister. No matter how many miles they put between us. Just call." She tapped her head, then gave Samara a big hug.

        In reaction, Samara appeared sad, eyes and mouth drooping. "You're talking like we're never going to see each other again."

        "I just want to make sure I get to say everything before my parents make us leave. It could be any time now."

        As if the sky could hear her, thunder rumbled across the grey clouds above them.

        The twelve-year-old Samara had mentioned, Christina, came out of the house and walked down toward the tree, hugging her sweater around her. Sam let out a gasp. The girl was younger here, with longer hair, but he recognized her instantly - the blonde riding a horse across a beach. The girl from the dream he had, the image that flashed across his TV screen. The girl from Alexandra Baptiste's painting, One Regret. It shouldn't have surprised him, not really, what with the paintings being all about the lives of Heptamera's daughters. Charlotte Sawyer's adoptive sister had been a big part of her life once.

        "Hey you guys, Mom wants you to come inside. It's going to rain," Christina said.

        Samara, rocking her swing back and forth, asked, "Christina, will you run away with us? We don't want to be sep'rated."

        "You could get a job," Charlotte added. Even after she had doubted this idea herself, she was feeling desperate enough now to back it up.

        Christina rolled her eyes and snickered. "No, I'm sorry, no one's running away. It won't be that bad, guys. You can write and visit each other. You're welcome anytime, Samara."

        "But it's not the same," Samara pouted.

        Christina just shrugged. "Let's make the best of our last night together, okay? Dad said because of the storm coming that we're going to stay overnight here after all. He doesn't want to drive in the rain."

        Charlotte and Samara jumped up and hugged each other. "Hooray!"

        "If you promise not to pout, I'll play a few games of Clue with you until dinner's ready. I'll even let you be Miss Scarlett and Mrs. Peacock." Christina put an arm around Charlotte's shoulder, then Samara's.

        Both girls hopped up and down excitedly.

        One of their mothers came around the side of the house just as the raindrops began to fall. "Hurry, girls. Rain's coming."

        Taking his chance, Sam turned to Quinn and Svetlana. "I think I've figured this whole thing out. You two aren't staying in this on purpose, are you?"

        "No, of course not."

        "We just want it all to end," Svetlana added.

        None of these people seemed to be hunters, then. "Alright, I've done some research on these girls, and all signs point to a very simple solution. You still have the videotape, don't you?"


        "I want you to take it and - "

        Someone came from Sam's left side, moving around him quickly and slapping her hands together in front of Quinn and Svetlana's faces. The sound was so loud it was almost like a thunderclap.

        They came awake in Quinn's bed, startled out of the dream.

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. 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. This fanfic is heavily inspired by ideas presented in the American movies, which were directed by Gore Verbinski and Hideo Nakata and written by Ehren Kruger.
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