Day 7: Subliminal Messages

She Just Wanted to Be Heard
Day 7: Subliminal Messages
Part of Story Arc 1: Counterclockwise
A "The Ring/Ringu" Fanfic
by Laurel (Sailorhathor)

Chapters: 7 of 100
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: 2,967
Summary: Jodie thinks she's figured out how the videotape works. Svetlana has another dream where she tries to communicate with the unknown blond, whom she sees as a protector.
Warning: Contains spoilers for the entire Ringu and The Ring series.
Beta Thanks: ¡KaijaWest y Meredevachon son los más excelentes de betas! ¡Fabuloso! ¡GOOOOOALLLL!
Fanfic Challenges: Fits [info]50_darkfics Prompt #7 Awakening and [info]Coclaim100 Prompt #7 Laughter.
Author's Notes: The blond with the shotgun is Dean Winchester, a character from the show Supernatural. This part of the story takes place pre-series of SPN. The "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto," part comes from the song "Mr. Roboto" by Styx. More notes at the end of the story.


        Something about the walk in the brisk night air put everyone in a good mood, despite the subject of their conversation. Laughter permeated their talk just as much as the warnings and caution they foisted not so subtly on Jodie. People passing by Quinn, Jodie, Svetlana, Jolene, and Mukluk on his leash often turned back and stared, wondering if they'd heard them right. They only caught snippets... "horses went crazy and broke free of their fences"... "mother murdered her"... "tape is all about her life"... "our dreams paralleled what really happened"...

        "You don't want to feel this, Jodie," Quinn assured her as they headed up the walk to their apartment building. "It's not like any horror movie; it's too real."

        "I'm going to head off, you guys. Thanks for the walk. I can't wait for this week to be over." Jolene kissed her daughter's cheek. "Don't watch the tape. It's some fucked up shit."

        Jodie wanted to roll her eyes again, but knew it would just earn her another round of lectures. Didn't they realize that the more they told her that the tape was too intense for her, the more she wanted to watch it?

        After Quinn put Mukluk in his room, he headed toward Jodie's to get the tape from her. Only a few feet from the door, it was closed in his face. "Jodie?" He knocked, but she only called for him to wait a minute. When Quinn tried the knob, he found the door to be locked.

        The familiar sounds of the videotape wafted from under the door.

        "Jodie! You idiot! Did you not hear a thing we said?!"

        The tape seemed to go on a lot longer than Quinn remembered. At least twice as long. Jodie opened the door after about five minutes.

        She held up the tape. "Here, you can have it back now."

        After snatching it from her hand, Quinn shook his head and said, "When you start having your nightmares, I'll be there to say I told you so."

        She just smiled and posed, with her other hand behind her back.

        "Why would you do that? You some kinda masochist?" Quinn bounced the tape in his hand.

        Jodie smiled ecstatically. "That was totally worth it. Somebody had a field day with the atmospheric black and white. Very cool. I can't wait to show it to my Film professor."

        "How are you going to do that? I'm not giving it back to you." Quinn taunted her, shaking the tape in Jodie's face.

        She took another tape from behind her back and imitated him, shaking it. "I made a copy."

        His mouth dropping open, Quinn tried to snatch that one too, but Jodie was too fast for him. "So that's why it took you so long to watch it."

        Jodie snickered and giggled. She showed him her cell phone. "It's on my voice mail. 'Seven days...'"

        Svetlana did not want to sleep that night, for fear there would be more nightmares. But all the sleep they had lost the night before kept catching up to her. She dozed on the bed while Quinn obsessively searched the Internet for more articles on Samara Morgan. Jodie occasionally read over his shoulder, pacing back and forth as he did his search.

        A little doll Quinn got in Japan sat on the shelf above his monitor. She was dressed in a kimono and held her hands before her in a traditional Japanese posture, with her palms together. When a button on her base was pressed, she would bow and speak one of several typical Japanese phrases. While Quinn did his searching, Jodie insisted on repeatedly pushing the button every time she passed that side of the desk.

        "So the authorities thought the horses were sick somehow?"

        "Yeah."

        "Why would that make them commit suicide?" Jodie asked.

        "Maybe the horses weren't trying to kill themselves. Maybe they didn't know what they were doing, or they were... I don't know, thirsty?" Quinn shrugged.

        "For salt water?" she laughed.

        He just shrugged again.

        "Konnichi wa." The doll bowed.

        Quinn gave it a brief glance. "Either way, the Morgans must've lost a lot of money when those horses started dying off. It's a really bizarre story, don't you think? Horses just don't behave like that." He paused to give it some thought. "I bet that creepy little girl had something to do with it."

        "Domo arigato."

        "Mr. Roboto," Jodie added.

        Although he didn't want to encourage her in her attempt to distract him from his research, Quinn couldn't help but laugh and shake his head. She giggled right along with him. It was so nice to spend time with him without anyone else in the middle. Sometimes, Jodie liked Svetlana in spite of herself, but she really preferred these times alone with Quinn. She pressed the button again, and was rewarded when the doll said the same thing.

        "Domo arigato."

        "Mr. Roboto!" Jodie said loudly, as if to make the joke stick this time.

        "Shhhh!" Quinn pointed at Svetlana, sleeping on the bed, though he was laughing at the same time.

        Jodie looked at her. "You think she can have those weird dreams on her own? Or is it something the two of you can only do together?"

        "I don't know." The mention of the dreams got Quinn thinking, and he grew solemn. "Jodie, how is something like that possible? That two people can dream the same thing at the same time? You know what disturbs me more than that, though? The fact that Anna Morgan attacked me in the same way she attacked Samara. I mean, what's that about?"

        Becoming serious too, Jodie leaned on the edge of Quinn's desk. "Well, we saw her suicide on the tape. Maybe the lady's ghost is caught in a loop. She acts out her daughter's murder, then kills herself over and over. Maybe watching the tape puts you in the loop, too."

        "But... does she want to do us harm? Does her ghost want to... to kill us?"

        Shrugging, Jodie replied, "Maybe."

        "If she can make us have bad dreams, do you think she can..." Suddenly looking a bit scared, Quinn visibly shuddered.

        "What?" Jodie looked at him a long time before bursting out laughing. "Are you actually scared, Quinn? You baby."

        "Shut up." He put a hand to his forehead and looked down at his desk. God, he was tired...

        "Quinn, don't you see? This is somebody's idea of a mindfuck. Someone who knows about this murder made a videotape about it. They got some woman who looks like Anna Morgan..."

        He tried to speak over her. "That was Anna Morgan. Looked just like her."

        Jodie continued without stopping. "...to act out all these scenes, and then put the tape into rotation through video traders, or something like that. And once you watch it, you..." An idea dawned on her, recognition coming into her eyes. "Quinn! I know how they're doing it!"

        "Shhhh!" he shushed again.

        Svetlana moaned and rolled over on her back.

        But Jodie couldn't calm down. She had figured it out! "Subliminal messages! They're making you dream and hallucinate all these things through subliminal messages!"

        A measure of tension left Quinn's shoulders. "You mean... there are hidden messages on the tape?"

        She nodded. "Watching the tape puts you in a semi-hypnotic state. You're still able to respond to others around you and all that, but your mind is receiving information from the video. The hidden messages on the tape implant hypnotic suggestions in your head to see things, to dream about the Morgan family, and so on. The suggestions also tell you to disregard everything after seven days. So you think you're on some kind of countdown to death - the ultimate mindfuck. That's how you make a curse. It's a lot of trouble for someone to go to, but the explanation is really very simple." Jodie grinned triumphantly. "Fortunately for me, I am very hard to hypnotize. It probably didn't even get me."

        "Wow, Jodes... that makes a lot of sense."

        "Yes it does." Jodie put her hands on his shoulders. "Don't be afraid anymore, little Quinnster. No ghost is going to get ya."

        Laughing, he tossed her hands off. "Screw you, Leatherface."

        Svetlana groaned in her sleep again, and turned onto her side.

        "You think she's having one of those subliminal suggestion dreams right now?" Quinn asked in a quiet voice.

*****

        Svetlana knew she should stop and check to see what was wrong. However, something compelled her to keep walking. So she passed through the rented hall, down the aisle, and did not stop to check on Quinn's sisters, Danica and Janet. They were sitting on the first bench, hugging each other, and crying. Both were dressed predominantly in black.

        "Get the boy," Janet sobbed. "Get the boy, get the boy..."

        When she was only a few feet from the double doors that formed the entrance, Svetlana heard someone else crying nearby. The sobs sounded somehow familiar, so she turned her head. Her eyes widened in shock. "What are you doing here?" Svetlana exclaimed.

        The man had his head in his hands, and did not seem to hear her. She just went on, out the doors, into the clearing that led up to the well.

        Quinn was right. Everything led back here.

        Anna Morgan floated half a foot off the ground again. She looked to her right, refusing to even glance at the well next to her. The guilt was written all over her haggard face. "So, now that you know... tell me... did I do the right thing?"

        Svetlana scanned the clearing and the trees beyond. "Why isn't Quinn here? We've always dreamed together on this."

        "He's not asleep right now."

        Svetlana turned her head to see the handsome blond with the shotgun standing next to her. He continued this train of thought. "Quinn is still awake."

        "Who are you? You know what's going on, don't you?" Svetlana asked.

        The blond shook his head. "I don't know anything yet. I won't even know of the existence of a cursed videotape until I see all your names in the paper. Even then... cursed videotape? Pssht. Who would believe that?"

        "You shot Samara in the face. You try to help." Svetlana leaned in close to him. "You're here to protect us from her. Aren't you?"

        The man's face showed just as much regret as Anna's as he whispered in Svetlana's ear, "I can't save you. I won't even know that you're in danger until you're already dead."

        Svetlana jerked back, glaring into his eyes. He had the brightest green eyes she'd ever seen. "What?!"

        He tried to explain. "That's the only way we ever know that we're needed somewhere. People have to die first." The man flinched. "How else are we supposed to know? It's not like any of us are psychic."

        Anna interrupted their talk. "I thought I was doing a good thing. My little girl... she was a monster. We thought Samara came from a normal teenage mother, but there must've been something wrong with her to produce such an evil, malicious little girl. Sometimes, she was like any other child. Cute and innocent, running around, laughing... asking for toys and pony rides... then the pony would become skittish of her. Animals are aware, you know. They could sense it long before we could."

        Confused, overloaded with information, Svetlana looked for clarification. "Samara was adopted?"

        Anna nodded. "I thought of suicide for years before I... took care of things." She cringed and swallowed hard. "The doctor prescribed sleeping pills for me. Samara can't hear us when we're asleep. That scares her, so she deliberately kept Richard and I awake as much as she could. Often, I would pour all the pills into my hand and just look at them for I don't know how long. Thinking about it. Wondering what it would be like to be dead. Hoping it would set me free of my daughter.

        "I loved her. I did. I loved Samara. But only her human side."

        Svetlana tried to get her to stop. "Mrs. Morgan - "

        Anna glared at her, silencing Svetlana with only one look. "I dreamed about it too. I had dreams in which I harmed Samara in all sorts of ways. Something was telling me that she needed to die. 'Kill her in water, always in water,' a voice said. Someone was talking to me in my dreams!" She laughed hysterically. "Even Samara's own mother tried the same thing; did you know that? She tried to drown Samara when she was a baby. But she was stopped."

        The expression on Anna's face showed acceptance as well as a deep, mournful sadness, a woman resigned to her fate, but never pleased with it. "I had to finish the job."

        Shuddering, Svetlana turned to the blond man. "What if you were told that we're in danger before something bad happen to us? Would you come help us then?"

        He nodded. "Shit yeah."

        "Okay. What's your name?"

        He tried to tell her, but a high-pitched whine, like the feedback whine on the tape, covered the sound of his speech.

        "What?" Svetlana cupped her hands around her ears. "I couldn't hear you."

        The man tried again, but that whine rang all through the clearing and the forest beyond.

        Svetlana tried to read his lips. "Dan Whe... White... Whittier? What is that noise?!"

        Her expression angry, Anna glared at the blond. "Tell her to stop meddling! You shouldn't even be here!"

        "What? Me?" Svetlana asked, confused.

        He addressed Anna directly, the gun held up against his shoulder. "You can tell your little daughter that she doesn't scare me. I may not be able to get there in time to save them," gesturing to Svetlana, "but Samara will be stopped, and I'll be there to see it happen. Me and my family, we'll take her out." He looked Anna up and down. "Why are you helping Samara? You killed her."

        Anna's lips grew tight over her teeth. "There was something I failed to understand when I threw my little girl into the well." She finally looked down into the darkness of the stone structure. "Killing her wouldn't stop her." Anna paused to swallow back tears. "Killing her only made her stronger."

        Svetlana awakened then. She looked over at Quinn and Jodie. He was sitting at his desk, pondering the information on the computer screen, with Jodie looking over his shoulder. Svetlana put one foot on the floor, starting to get off the bed.

        The Japanese doll on the shelf moved without anyone touching it. "Sumimasen," she said, bowing.

        Quinn suddenly turned to Svetlana, like he was just noticing she was awake. "I'm sorry too, Svet," he said. "You should have gone home when you had the chance."

        Samara's hand emerged from under the bed and clamped onto Svetlana's ankle.

        This time, Svetlana awakened for real. She heard herself gasp, and saw Quinn and Jodie jump at the sound. They had been standing in the same position she saw in her dream before she startled them.

        "Svet? You okay?" Quinn asked.

        Svetlana's gaze first went to the doll on the shelf. When it didn't move, Svet sat up to rub the sleep from her eyes. "I had another dream."

        "About Samara?"

        "Yeah."

        Quinn nudged Jodie. "That answers your question. She can dream without me being there."

        Svetlana suddenly remembered how the dream had ended, and pulled up the leg of her pajama pants. Her ankle was marked just like Quinn's arm, with a burn in the shape of Samara's hand. Everyone's eyes widened in reaction.

        "Samara did that?"

        Svetlana nodded.

        Snapping his fingers, Quinn swiveled in his chair to face Jodie. "Okay Miss Subliminal Messages - you explained the dreams and the hallucinations." He pulled up his sleeve and pointed to his own mark. "Explain this."

More Author's Notes: When I get spooked by something, I'm always afraid to hang my feet over the side of the bed for fear that something will reach out from under it and grab me. How scary it would be if that actually happened! Muahahahaha, sorry Svetlana.


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