Day 40: The Alchemist

She Just Wanted to Be Heard
Day 40: The Alchemist
Part of Story Arc 1: Counterclockwise
A "The Ring/Ringu" Fanfic
by Laurel (Sailorhathor)

Chapters: 40 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 July 2010.
Word Count: 4,187
Summary: Sam and Meredith serve witness to one of the most traumatic moments in the lives of the Metternich twins.
Warning: Contains spoilers for the entire Ringu and The Ring series. Spoilers for Supernatural episode 5.20 "The Devil You Know." Abuse and attempted murder of children, content concerning the Nazis and concentration camp-like killings, and drug use.
Beta Thanks: Thanks to Sammie for beta'ing this chapter!
Fanfic Challenges: Fits [info]50_darkfics Prompt #40 Dance and [info]Coclaim100 Prompt #40 Strangers.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Nicky for the German patty-cake rhymes!
I needed a movie that came out in early 2004 to slam, that's the only reason Brady slams Agent Cody Banks II. I heard it sucked anyway. ;D

X-over with the TV series Supernatural. Set pre-series, during Sam's years at Stanford. Brady/OFC, Sam/OFC.

        On his way up to Meredith's floor, Sam could already smell the pot all the way into the stairwell. He briefly wondered where it was coming from and who could be smoking it as he came through the doors into the central room of the dormitory floor.

        Meredith, crying with relief, ran to him and hugged Sam around his prominent chest. "God, Sam! I'm so glad you're here."

        He put an arm around her. "It's okay, Meredith. Try to calm down." Honestly, he didn't know if it was okay at all, but it seemed like the thing to say.

        "Hey, Sam! Do you know this girl?" Brady asked.

        He looked ahead and to the right. "Brady? What are you doing here, man?" Sam's friend, Brady, sat on the right couch with a girl he'd never seen before.

        "Tabby and me were on a date and we came back here to this chick freakin' out." Taking a drag off the joint, Brady patted Tabby's shoulder.

        "I'm Meredith's roomie," she added.

        Sam frowned at them both. "How can you smoke that in here? What if the R.A. smells it?"

        "She sleeps like the dead," Tabby laughed. "Nothing wakes her up."

        "Oh... so, you guys are just sitting here, watching Meredith freak out?" Sam asked in disbelief.

        Brady shrugged, chuckling. "She sees a china cabinet where there is none."

        Shaking his head, Sam looked around the room. First, he saw the china cabinet. "Hey wiseguy, I see it too. Maybe you two can't see it 'cause you're too baked."

        Brady and Tabby just laughed again.

        "You see it too... you see it too..." Meredith said, more to herself than anyone else. "Of course you can see it."

        Sam patted her back in a soothing manner. Then he looked around the room some more, and second, spotted the young woman sitting on the couch to the left. She seemed quite out of place there, dressed in a red slinky evening gown that sparkled in the light, so low cut that it was open almost to her navel. Her legs were stretched out on the couch to her side like a cat in repose. The woman's long black hair cascaded down over her shoulders in waves; she ran the fingers of her left hand through the dark tresses and over her cleavage in what could only be a show of seduction. Sam couldn't have mistaken the half-lidded cast of her eyes for anything else.

        The sides of her hair were taken up and rolled in an old-fashioned style, perhaps from the 1940's or 50's. He wondered for a moment if she actually belonged there.

        "Who's this?" Sam questioned, and gestured to the girl.

        Even Meredith looked at him funny. "Who's who?"

        Tabby and Brady began to giggle. They weren't going to be any help.

        "You don't see the girl lying there on the couch?"

        The two partiers giggled harder.

        Meredith shook her head. "You're seeing someone even I can't see."

        Looking down at her, Sam said, "Who are you?"

        The young woman smiled. Her fingers ran provocatively between her breasts again. "You look exactly as you did when you were mine, darling. Exactly." The woman's voice held a thick German accent.

        Sam took a step back. "What...?"

        Meredith let out a whimper. This stole his attention from the woman and toward the china cabinet; the scene there had changed significantly.

        The cabinet was now full of fine dishes, with a rectangular table and chairs set in front of it. One of the little girls sat at the table. Sam thought this must be Sophie from the dark shadows under her eyes. The man he had seen in an earlier vision, the Nazi doctor, brought her a bowl of soup and set it in front of her.

        "Eat up, my little Sophia," he said, although when he said it, it was in German. The translating voice that had so often spoken in these instances did its job once again.

        The child began to eat. She slurped up several bites of chicken and noodles while her father watched her with the gaze of a predatory wolf, his hands folded over one another on the table. Why was he looking at her with such rapt attention?

        Sophie made a face. "It tastes a little funny."

        "Hm. What does it taste like?" he asked.

        Slurp. Slurp. "A little like almonds."

        Her twin, Suzette, came into the room. The girls were wearing identical dresses, white dresses with a pink ribbon tied around the waist and forming a large bow in the back. The child was dancing around the room, turning like a ballerina, and humming a song.

        "Well, you like almonds," the man reminded his daughter. "Finish it up. You need it to bring back your strength." He stood, going over to his other child. "Ah, my pretty little princess. You are a ballerina today, are you?"

        "Yes, Papa," Suzette replied with a giggle. Her father took her hands and danced her around the room, humming the same song. She went on giggling as her sister ate the soup, making the occasional face of distaste.

        "Holy crap, Sam," Meredith suddenly exclaimed. He looked down at her. "There are poisons that taste like almonds when they're added to food. Her father, her own father, he..."

        "He was poisoning her," the woman in the red dress said.

        Sam heard the anger in her voice. "Are you their mother? Is that who you are?"

        She only laughed. No. No, not their mother.

        "What do you think's happening?" Tabby whispered to Brady.

        The scene changed. When Sam and Meredith looked again, the china cabinet was now empty, stripped of its shelves, the doors laid open; Metternich was making some type of modifications to it. A dark-haired woman approached him. This was no longer the dining room - the floor had changed. Now, Sam and Meredith saw concrete under their shoes. The woman strolled about, a troubled look on her face.

        "She is our mother," the woman on the couch informed him. Sam realized who she was then.

        "You're Suzette," he said. She smiled at him, but not in an innocent manner; she was still trying to be seductive. "You lived your whole life and now that you're dead, you can appear as any age you want."

        "Very good, my love," Suzette replied.

        This took him aback for a moment; he couldn't speak. Finally, he asked, "Why do you keep talking to me like that? With the pet names?"

        With a laugh, Suzette put her head back and gave a sinuous stretch, using the slinky dress to its fullest potential. Sam couldn't help but watch her curves move under the clingy fabric. "Ah, Sam. Your mind does not remember me. But..."

        Mrs. Metternich interrupted her by speaking to the Nazi. "Rudolph, what is that you're doing to my china hutch?"

        "I told you..." He used an electric drill to put in a screw, installing some sort of metal vent in the top of the cabinet. "...I am performing an experiment. I promise you, you will get a new and better hutch. Much larger, with a new punch bowl set as well."

        The mother seemed to be pleased with this news. She clapped her hands and jumped in place a few times. "Ooh, that sounds wonderful. But why do you need to use the hutch in the first place?"

        "I saw a better use for it than holding dishes." Rudolph stepped back, surveying the work he had done so far. "Think of it as my own little pet project."

        "Oh, you and your projects. I don't even want to know what you're doing this time." Mrs. Metternich searched around in her purse for something, and brought out a set of keys. "Are you sure you want the girls to stay here with you for the weekend?"

        "Yes. You go see to your mother. She's waiting for you."

        "Alright. Goodbye, Rudolph." She kissed him on the cheek.

        After Mrs. Metternich had walked off and faded from the scene, Rudolph grinned, smacking the cabinet on the side in satisfaction. "Goodby~ye," he sing-songed.

        "I don't like this," Meredith said, hugging herself to Sam's body again. "Something really bad is about to happen."

        "Try living it," Suzette shot back bitterly.

        Sam looked down at her. "This is where he killed Sophie, isn't it?"

        Leaning forward, adult Suzette froze him in place with a steely gaze. "This was only the beginning."

        "You're seeing Suzette on the couch?" Meredith whispered, as if the ghost wouldn't hear her if she spoke quietly.

        "Yeah. She's appearing to me as an adult, about my age," he responded.

        "Does she know what's about to happen?" She whispered her question again, looking from Sam to the couch, her shoulders tense.

        Leaning forward, Suzette spoke in a quiet voice. "You don't have to whisper," she said with a sarcastic grin.

        Brady snickered.

        Sam looked over at him. His eyes narrowed in suspicion. "She said you don't have to whisper," he told Meredith, and then leveled a pronounced stare at his friend. "Brady, you sure you can't see or hear her?" Sam asked, pointing at the other couch.

        Brady straightened up a bit. "Huh? Why would you ask that?"

        "You just... it was like you laughed at something she said."

        Continuing to play dumb, Brady looked at Sam and shrugged. "Musta been something else."

        Sam glared at him for several more moments before the sounds of the Metternich family again stole his attention. Rudolph Metternich practically sauntered into his daughters' room, a wolfish grin on his face. The twins were sitting on the floor cross-legged, facing each other, playing a child's patty-cake game. The sound of their little hands slapping together in rhythm echoed throughout the room.

        As Sam listened to the rhyme they recited, he noticed how deep their concentration was on each other, eyes locked across their clapping hands. Almost as if they were in a trance.

        "Bei Müllers hat's gebrannt -brannt, -brannt, da bin ich hingerannt, -rannt, -rannt. Da kam ein Polizist, -zist, zist, der schrieb mich auf die List, List, List."

        The translating voice spoke a beat behind them; although the rhymes sounded musical in German, they were quite flat when translated. "There was a fire at the Miller's house, so I ran there. A policeman arrived, and put my name on his list." Even so, Sam began to feel a pronounced pressure in his brain the further the girls went with their clapping game.

        "Da rannt ich schnell nach Haus, Haus, Haus, zu meinem Bruder Klaus, Klaus, Klaus."

        "So I ran back home, to my brother Klaus."

        Rudolph tried to speak over them. "Girls?"

        "Der Klaus, der lag im Bett, Bett, Bett, bei seiner Frau Elisabeth."

        "Klaus lay in his bed, next to his wife Elizabeth."

        "Ow..." Meredith put a hand to her temple, rubbing it with her fingers. "Sam, do you feel that?"

        "Yeah, I do."

        Even Tabby began to react. "Shit, is this pot giving me a headache." She looked up at Meredith and Sam. "Wait... why are you guys getting one too?"

        "Girls, stop that and listen to me," Rudolph was saying.

        The twins continued. "Erster Stock, Zweiter Stock, Dritter Stock, Vierter Stock, Fünfter Stock..."

        "First floor, second floor, third floor, fourth floor, fifth floor..."

        Sam found that he absolutely could not look away from the girls' clapping hands. He saw Rudolph Metternich crouch down beside them; the look on his face told Sam and Meredith that he too was mesmerized, almost hypnotized, by the moving hands, the musical chanting voices, but he was trying his damnedest to tear himself away from the power they held. "Girls..."

        "Sechster Stock, Siebter Stock, Achter Stock, Neunter Stock, Zehnter Stock - " They suddenly turned and said right to their father, "- eine Frau im Unterrock!" and broke out in giggles.

        Sam breathed a sigh of relief when he heard them finish the rhyme; after completing their count to the tenth floor, they ended with, "- a woman in her underskirt!" The pressure in his head instantly stopped. Meredith let out a gasping cry as if she'd been holding her breath the whole time.

        "Shit, what was that?" Tabby exclaimed.

        Even Rudolph blinked rapidly, clearing his head, and put on a smile for his giggling daughters.

        A thin rivulet of blood ran from Meredith's nose.

        The only ones who didn't react were Brady and Suzette.

        Eyeing his friend, Sam reached in his pocket to get a tissue for Meredith. "Your nose is bleeding," he said.

        "Oh, that's happened before." She took the offered tissue and put it to her nose.

        His arm draped casually over the back of the couch, Brady tried to cover for the fact that he was the only live person who hadn't gotten a sudden headache. "What did you guys see? And why didn't I see it?"

        "I didn't see anything," Tabby replied. "Just felt this really intense pressure in my head. Did your ghosts do something?"

        "Those little girls... they were playing a patty-cake game. It, it did something," Meredith tried to explain. "I don't know how to describe it. It was supernatural."

        Suzette was looking at Brady now. "Are you saying you can't see our illusions?" she asked, addressing him directly.

        Taken aback, Sam turned to his friend.

        Brady did not react; it seemed like he couldn't hear her.

        She let out an amused chuckle. "Fine, have it your way."

        "What the hell is that about?" Sam questioned.

        Suzette, looking up at him, smiled and shrugged. "I guess he can't hear me." But something about that smile told him that she thought Brady should be able to hear her.

        Sam began, "Brady, have you seen any weird films or videotapes in the last week? Anything that just kind of sucked and didn't make any sense?"

        Now he shrugged. "Just Agent Cody Banks 2."

        Rudolph Metternich interrupted them by beginning to tell his daughters a story. "Your mother has gone off to attend to Grandmama for the weekend, so we'll be on our own, just me and my two girls. What would you like to do first, hm? Do you want to hear a story?"

        "Tell us about the children and the candy house!" little Suzette said, getting on her knees and bouncing up and down.

        "I want to hear a story about a princess!" Sophie added.

        Rudolph pretended to think it over. "Hm. I think I'll tell you about the princess first."

        Suzette stopped bouncing. "Aw."

        "Don't be sad, my little Suzie. You will hear your story next." Standing up, he walked slowly around the girls with his hands clasped behind his back as he began to tell the tale. "Once upon a time, there were two sister princesses from the land of the dark green dragon. This happened so long ago that there weren't even the countries that we know now; the land was separated by where each of these terrible dragons lived and claimed as their land. Back then, there were dragons of every color imaginable, as this was long before men even dreamed of the weapons that would help them conquer the beasts. And you must know, we did conquer them eventually, or you'd see them on every street corner, wouldn't you?"

        The girls giggled.

        "Can you imagine your teacher trying to do her lessons with a dragon hanging around outside the classroom window?"

        They laughed again.

        Rudolph continued. "No, this was the time before warriors cut all the dragons down. These two princesses resided in the kingdom ruled by the dragon that had been alive the longest, a selfish, greedy dragon that couldn't be happy just to stalk around his cave and swim in the sea like the other dragons."

        "Some dragons could swim?" Sophie asked.

        "Yes. Some of them had fins and gills as well as lungs. They spent as much time in the water as they did on land. Most of them left people alone unless the people bothered them first, but not the dark green dragon. He demanded that people worship him and serve him tribute every seven days. If they didn't, he would use his powers against them."


        "Yes, powers. And his powers were frightful. He could attack people by putting horribly scary images in their heads, images so frightening that sometimes they scared people to death!" Rudolph said.

        The girls looked at each other and fidgeted like this turn in the story made them uncomfortable. At the same time, Sam and Meredith also glanced at each other. They knew this story, or a version of it, anyway. He was putting his own spin on the story of Heptamera.

        "This dragon also used his powers to entrance anyone he took a fancy to, and lure them into his lair. For years, the king of this land did his best to live in harmony with the dark green dragon, but the dragon's demands became more and more unreasonable. One day, a great magician, an Alchemist, came to the kingdom to set the king straight. He had a magic eyepiece that could see the truth about anyone." Rudolph mimed that he was placing a round eyepiece, like a tiny telescope, up to his eye. "The Alchemist's powers were, in many ways, greater than the dragon's. He could even turn plain ol' lead into gold.

        "The things he saw with his eyepiece revealed to the king just how he had been betrayed. The betrayal went back many, many years." Rudolph crouched down before his daughters again. "The Alchemist turned the eyepiece on the queen and the two princesses, and what he saw enraged the king against the dragon. He had never been so angry in his life. But really, the knowledge he gained that day explained everything he had ever wondered about his family, things that didn't fit, things that never made sense.

        "The magic eyepiece told the king that ten years before, the dragon had lusted for his wife, the queen. Do you know what that means?"

        "Jesus Christ... how could he say that to them?" Meredith wondered aloud.

        "What, what?" asked Tabby. Sam shushed her, which made her roll her eyes in frustration.

        Brady played with her hair. "They'll tell you whenever the story's done," he said quietly.

        The little girls looked at each other, uncomfortable, fidgeting uneasily; they seemed to be trying to decide how truthful they should be. They weren't exactly of that age yet, but, being ten, had some knowledge of what adult words meant. "The dragon wanted to have sex with the queen?" Suzette replied.

        "Yes, that's exactly what it means."

        "How can a dragon have sex with a person?" the girl added.

        "There are ways," Rudolph said. "There are ways."

        "So what did the king do?" Sophie asked.

        "Well, the things that the Alchemist told him made the king very curious about what could have been going on at the castle when he wasn't there. Kings are important people; they can't spend all their time hanging around at home. So he asked the Alchemist to take a look at his wife and children with the magic eyepiece." His eyes intense, angry, Rudolph leaned in, closer to his daughters. "He found the children were not his."

        Suzette and Sophie only stared back, beginning to grow tense at their father's story.

        "As you can imagine, this was very shocking for the king. He didn't want to believe it. The royal doctor was called in to run some tests so the king could be sure it was true. No man wants to believe that his wife has betrayed him and that his children are not his own. In fact, it could be the most painful thing a man could ever deal with." As he continued the story, Rudolph's voice grew more angry and his mouth tight. "The doctor took some samples from each girl and he tested them. The kingdom had such techniques. It was quite curious what he found. Not only were the two girls not his daughters, but... there were impurities in their blood. Things that were strange, that could not be identified."

        "Papa..." Sophie cut in, her voice meek and afraid, "this story you are telling... does it have anything to do with the blood tests you had us take?"

        Rudolph just looked at her for a moment, then he sat back on his heels, thinking over what he wanted to say. "They have spoken to you, haven't they?"


        He looked one way and then the other. "The beings of Thule."

        "The... what?"

        Grinding his teeth a moment, Rudolph suddenly lunged forward and grabbed Sophie by her upper arms, shaking her. She whimpered and squirmed. "Don't play dumb, girl! I know about the odd results of you and your sister's blood tests! I saw them for myself! The Ancients speak to you, don't they? I've seen their shadows in this house, moving along the wall. What are you? What are you?!" He turned his eye on Suzette. "You are the dominant one. Maybe you will tell me the truth."

        Suzette sprang up and ran from the room, hoping to draw his attention away from her sister. Rudolph pursued her; he was dragging Sophie behind him by the arm. The little girl was crying. Suzette wasn't, though - as Rudolph had said, she was the dominant twin.

        When he grabbed her arm too, Suzette whirled around and stomped on his foot, hard. He cried out and jumped in place. The girl tried to use the distraction to get her sister free of their father, or at least the man they had come to know as their father, but his grip was too strong. In the end, Rudolph caught her as well.

        "If you want to know what we are and what we can do, you should ask your precious 'Alchemist'!" Suzette yelled, trying to yank her arm from his grasp. "He started this whole thing. We never would have known about Thule if not for him. He chose me, you know! He said I was special!"

        "I know exactly what he told you, and I know he's interested in the both of you and what you can do. But you're impure, don't you see that? Your mother won't tell me what she did, oh no, she just hides her face and shakes her head every time I ask her. She won't acknowledge that she did anything at all. I have no idea, no idea, what you are!" Rudolph dragged both girls toward the dorm window, where the china cabinet had been before. "We do not have such sophisticated tests as they do in this made-up kingdom, so I can never prove it for sure, but I am positive that you are not my daughters! The oddities in your blood say you may not even be fully human!"

        The cabinet faded back into view. It had been modified quite a bit. There was now a metal tube running out of the side, as well as a ventilation shaft in the top that ran to the outside, through the wall of the garage. Some sort of white material had been attached all around the edges of the doors, and the cabinet was lined with it, like Metternich was trying to make it airtight when the doors were closed. The windows were uncovered, though, with white lines of weather sealant at the edges of the glass. If someone were to be put inside that cabinet, the people on the outside would be able to see everything that happened to them.

        When the girls saw it, they both began to scream and struggle harder than ever before. Somehow, they knew one or both of them was going in the cabinet.

        Rudolph Metternich only confirmed this for them. "My 'Alchemist,' as you so astutely put it, has given me his blessing to run a test on you. He thinks you will survive it. I am not so sure."

        No matter what the girls had done to her that week, Meredith didn't want to watch this. "Oh, God..."

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