Day 9: Meandering

She Just Wanted to Be Heard
Day 9: Meandering
Part of Story Arc 1: Counterclockwise
A "The Ring/Ringu" Fanfic
by Laurel (Sailorhathor)

Chapters: 9 of 100
Rating: Overall 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: 3,083
Summary: Jodie and the professor discuss the tape with Japanese Teacher's Assistant, Akemi. Quinn writes an e-mail to his twin. Jolene has an epiphany about the effects of the tape after a strange encounter with a fly.
Warning: Contains spoilers for the entire Ringu and The Ring series.
Beta Thanks: Beta'ed by Meredevachon.
Fanfic Challenges: Fits [info]50_darkfics Prompt #9 Branded and [info]Coclaim100 Prompt #9 Soothing.
Author's Notes: Cross-over with the TV show, "Supernatural."


        Akemi stood in the doorway with her hands folded together behind her. A curtain of shiny black hair fell halfway down her back. She spoke quietly and politely. "Did you need something, McNeal-sensei?"

        Professor McNeal looked up at the Teacher's Assistant, who was another exchange student at the college, this one from Japan. "Yes, Akemi." He held up his copy of the videotape. "Would you take some stills from this tape? Frame by frame, and put them on a disc? It's part of Miss Searling's final project."

        Jodie nodded and said hello. She knew Akemi from the professor's classes.

        Taking the tape, Akemi replied, "Of course. May I ask what's on it?"

        He grew a little sheepish. "Ah, yes... I need to warn you that some of the images are unpleasant. I wouldn't pay extremely close attention."

        "Oh?"

        "Miss Searling brought it to me." Professor McNeal indicated Jodie with a flourish of his hand. "Have you ever heard the urban legend of the videotape that holds a curse? That seven days after you watch it, you die?"

        Akemi, turning the tape over in her hands, nodded. "Yes, I've heard of it. Sadako's tape."

        Jodie and Professor McNeal both appeared confused. "Sadako? You mean Samara," said Jodie.

        But Akemi shook her head. "No, I mean Sadako. Kids used to talk about that legend all the time in school." She laughed. "It was a big thing at parties. 'I've got the cursed tape! Who isn't afraid to watch it?' That sort of thing. I was dared to watch it, but I was too scared." The girl laughed again, and looked down at the tape. "Now that I'm older, I realize it's just a story."

        Reeling a bit, Professor McNeal tried to get it all straight. "You're telling me there is a legend like this in Japan, too?"

        Akemi looked up at him and blinked, not fully understanding. "Yes." She glanced from Jodie back to the Professor. "Isn't this tape about Sadako?"

        "No. It's about a little girl named Samara. From Washington state," explained Jodie. "This video has the same legend attached to it. But that's not so strange, is it?" she asked Professor McNeal. "Urban legends travel around."

        "But not to other countries," he replied. "Very few legends translate to other cultures so thoroughly. The phantom hitchhiker legend has various incarnations across the globe, anywhere there are cars, but they're all very different. If this legend exists in Japan too, it seems to exist in almost the exact same form. A videotape that holds a curse... seven days... the watcher dying... all specific details, all exist in both legends. That's exceedingly rare, especially when you compare Asian urban legends to American." Professor McNeal turned to Akemi for confirmation. "Akemi, what happened to this Sadako? Does the legend say?"

        She shrugged apologetically. "I'm sorry, McNeal-sensei. I don't know much about the story behind the videotape. Just that she was named Sadako and she died at the bottom of a well many years ago. You'll excuse me." Akemi bowed and turned to go.

        The professor and Jodie exchanged an amazed look. Then he called the T.A. back. "Akemi, wait."

        She appeared in the doorway again with an expectant expression on her face.

        "Do you know if the legend had any truth behind it? Did Sadako really exist?"

        "And did she own any horses who died?" Jodie added.

        Akemi shrugged again. "I'm not sure if Sadako really existed. But I do know the legend never contained anything about horses." She smiled politely.

        Professor McNeal asked, "What was her last name?"

        "I'm not sure, but I can try to find out. I want to call home anyway." Akemi flashed another grin, a more genuine one, at the thought of her family.

        Tapping a pen on the desk, the professor decided that this whole thing was just weird enough to warrant caution. "Thank you, Akemi. Before you watch that tape, I must warn you that some people who have seen it have had nightmares. They've awakened with a brand on their skin, that of a human hand, like someone has claimed them as property. There - "

        "That's part of the Japanese legend, too. Sadako grabs you, and you awaken with her handprint on that part of your body." Akemi held up one of her hands. "Like a burn."

        Jodie and Professor McNeal again exchanged disbelieving glances.

        The exchange student continued. "People said she had supernatural powers. I don't think her hands could actually generate heat. It was some sort of projection of her mind. She just willed it to happen, and... you both look quite pale." Akemi didn't know the whole story; she didn't fully understand their reaction. "Does this other girl have that power too?"

        The professor nodded.

        "Well, it sounds like someone has stolen our Sadako and brought her over to America!" Akemi grinned. "Probably someone Japanese. Maybe they missed home, and brought a little piece over in the form of a wild story. It wouldn't be so hard to get it started by word of mouth, would it?"

        Sighing, Professor McNeal said, "I guess not." But if Sadako really existed... "Anyway, the video may contain subliminal messages. I just wanted to make sure you knew. If you'd rather not watch the tape, I'll understand."

        "And miss my chance to see the American Sadako? I don't think so." Smiling, Akemi bowed to them. "I'll be alright, Sensei. I'll get to work now. If you need me, I'll be in the AV room." With that, she left them.

        They looked at each once more. Jodie laughed nervously. "This is very weird. We know that Samara really existed..." She fanned out the articles that had been printed from the Internet. "...What if this Japanese girl really lived once too? What do we make of that?"

        Shifting uneasily, Professor McNeal rubbed his chin. "Two girls die in the same manner on different sides of the globe. Both are rumored to have supernatural powers, and both have a videotape associated with them. A cursed videotape." He looked over at some of the framed photographs sitting on the left side of his desk, under the cork bulletin board and the cabinet that needed organizing. They were friends from his other line of work. Paranormal investigators. Some who called themselves exorcists or even demon hunters. He wondered for the first time if he should call one of them and bounce a few ideas off him. This was turning out to be a very abnormal urban legend. Most urban legends didn't have this much truth to them, and an Asian twin to boot. "If Sadako really existed, we have got ourselves one strange story here."

        "What do we do now?"

        Professor McNeal, grinning at her, tossed the pen on the desk blotter. "We wait for Akemi to finish the task I gave her. If there are any visual subliminal messages on the tape, they'll show up in the stills. Then we slow the soundtrack down and listen to it for implanted messages, too. We're even going to listen to it backwards."

        That sounded like a lot of work, but Jodie was excited to do it. She joked with the professor, "You're going to get Akemi to prepare all that? Must be nice to have Japan just give you your own slave."

        Professor McNeal chuckled and gave her arm a playful shove.

        Jodie did not look at the professor's photographs. If she had, she would have recognized someone. Third picture from the left, in the ornate silver frame. John, Sam, and Dean Winchester, in a photo taken about four years before. Demon hunters.

        Dean Winchester was the blond that Svetlana kept drawing.

***

        After doing a little shopping with Svetlana, Quinn came home alone. She had to spend some time at her dorm room. Svetlana was away so much, her roommate often joked that she sometimes wondered if Svetlana had died.

        He sat down at his desk to transfer the good pictures he'd been able to take with his digital camera from the camera to the computer. Pictures taken shortly before it had gone all wonky. What a shame; the camera had been working so well up until then. To test it one more time, Quinn snapped off a photo of the collection of goofy little action figures and tiny stuffed animals lined up under his computer monitor.

        That one came out fine.

        Perplexed, Quinn held the camera out and took a picture of his own face. This one was warped, like the others.

        "What the hell?" he thought. Quinn's inner voice of suspicion and dread added, "It's just like the burn on your arm. You're marked."

        Marked for what?

        With a sigh, he gave up trying to figure it out for now and uploaded only the good images. Then he rattled off an e-mail to his sister Danica.

"Dearest and Most Honorable Sister Danica,

Greetings! Please to read message from most handsome and desireable brother-type, Quinn. Okay, then just read this e-mail from your goof of a sibling? Great!

How are things going over there? Everyone's relatively fine here, though you did miss the weekend from hell. I'll tell you about that when I see you. Long story. It's always a long story. Finer points: Mom and Dad both had pretty bad accidents in the span of three days. Dad totalled the Dorkmobile. Can you believe it's finally gone? Dorkmobile, NOOOOOOOO! I mean, HELL YEAH! It's gone!!!!1 That was about two weeks ago. Dad's already got this new monstrosity to replace it. Ack. Mom and Dad are fine otherwise. Janet's a big goober, but you knew that.

How is London? Still British? Dude, what is wrong with our school's over here, you trendy little "I only like foreign things" snobbette? Stop exchanging yourself and get back here! We all miss you LIKE WOAH!!! Even Gunnar. Still remember Gunnar? My hunky friend you've wanted to snork for, oh, about a gazillion years? Yeah, you come home next year, you could have him! He told me. <--- lies, all lies!

I've atached a picture we took with my new digital camera, which promptly started phucking up right after. :P Ain't modern technology GRAND???? It's of me, Jodie, and Svet. Yes, I'm still dating Svetlana. Don't start. Incase you've been away so long you've forgotten who everybody is, Jodie's in the blue shirt, Svet's the gorgeous one in the middle, and I'm on the right. Who is that handsome devil? *wiggles eyebrows*

We can't wait to see you on Tuesday when you come home for Spring Break. I've taped all your shows for you, so you'll have a giant box of video's to take back to London. That was a good idea of Moms, sending the region 1 VCR, huh? So you wouldn't go crazy(ier)?

Hope you're ready for the big party. (Muhahahahahaha.) We all miss you. Luv you like a sister! (haha)

Your favorite and, coincidentally, only brother,

Quinn"


        He sent that, along with the attached picture of himself and the girls. Less than twenty minutes later, Quinn received an answer. Danica seemed in very good spirits, although she mischievously corrected all his spelling and punctuation mistakes (the current state of the Internet on those things drove her insane - everyone knew it) and teased him about the time he almost totaled the Dorkmobile. She went on about how much she loved England, chastising him in a sisterly manner about trying to 'guilt trip' her, but also promised to consider staying home next year.

        For one semester.

        Quinn grinned at that. As much as he missed his twin, her globe-hopping ways had become a staple of her adult personality.

        Thanks for sending the picture! I miss the Jodester a lot. Still dating Svet, huh? My lips are sealed. But when you say 'she's the one in the middle,' you ain't kiddin', bro. *evil grin*

        Quinn scoffed and thumped the monitor in reaction. "Evil," he mused to himself with a lopsided grin, shaking his head.

        The last part made him tear up and laugh with fondness for his faraway twin.

        I miss you too, Quinny. You're the other side of me. Without you, I'm just half a person.

        The better half. *evil grin part deux*


        The contact with Danica put him at ease. It was about the only thing that could have soothed him into the nap he took right after, a short but thankfully dreamless sleep.

*****

        Jolene, her eyes closed, held the icepack on her head while listening to the evening news. This whole mess with her walking in her sleep (only she hadn't been asleep) at the office had her on edge, in the worst mood. Jolene had never wanted to hurt a child in her life, but if she could get a hold of that little brat, Samara, she'd take the switch to her, as Jolene's grandmother used to say.

        She wondered exactly what it was that the kid could do. Throwing chairs around with her mind... what did they call that? Telekinesis. Although, Jodie had said at some point that there was a new name for it now. Some fact she got from her hunky Film professor, with his "second job" studying the occult. Maybe they should talk to the guy about what they were dealing with on Samara's Seven Days o' Terror and Fun ride. Or just wait it out.

        Same difference.

        Jolene pulled up her sleeve and looked at her wrist again. And what power was this, little Carrie clone? She could move things with her mind, but Carrie couldn't scar people by touching them. Jolene suddenly wondered if the mark of Samara's hand would fade, or if she was stuck with this damn handprint forever. God, she hoped not. What did they call this? What did they call it when someone could brand their handprint into your skin? At least it would be easier to believe if Samara was alive, and had actually touched her. But Samara was a ghost.

        "This is so fucked up," Jolene muttered to herself.

        She noticed something strange happening on the TV before her. A commercial mimicked a scene from that damned videotape fairly closely. There was a cliff with a thin tree on its edge, bowing in the wind. It didn't look exactly the same; the image on the TV now was in color. But... a fly buzzed through the air and landed on the screen. It walked around on the curved glass, in the right corner, just like another fly had done in the videotape. Meandering in a circle, counterclockwise.

        "Just like your tape, you little devilspawn. Is that the same fly?" Jolene sat up. The icepack was still in her hand. "What do you want from me?" She threw the icepack at the screen.

        It hit the fly dead-on, then flopped to the floor.

        But the fly was still there.

        Jolene's mouth gaped like a dead fish. She'd hit it. She knew she had. That little fucker should be a very flat fly by now. But it wasn't; it still crawled around on the screen like some super insect, shrugging off a pack full of partially melted ice like it was just a strong wind.

        Angry, Jolene jumped up and crossed the space between her couch and the television. She swatted at the fly on the screen. The action made a hollow ping sound when her hand hit the glass. She expected to see a smear of fly blood on the screen and her fingers now, but that is not what she saw.

        Instead, Jolene saw the fly still crawling about on the screen.

        Inside the screen. Just like the fly from the videotape.

        She'd seen the insect sail through the air and land on the screen with her own eyes. Now, Jolene placed her finger on top of the fly and rubbed at it. All she felt was glass.

        Jolene gasped and pulled her hand back like she'd touched a hot stove. A second later, the fly emerged from the screen and flew away.

        She watched it until she couldn't see it anymore. The scene on the television changed to a commercial for Taco Bell. Shaken, Jolene wondered if she had just seen what she thought she saw.

        "This is some fucked up shit," she nearly repeated. Jolene was struck by an epiphany. Quinn and Svetlana, they were having dreams. Jolene, she was experiencing hallucinations. Different people reacted to this thing in different ways. She wasn't sure which she preferred. Sure, she could get a good night's sleep, but as she rubbed the goose egg on her head that she'd gotten when she fell against the railing, Jolene wished she could just have the dreams instead.

        "That's okay, Samara." She looked around the room. "I can last through the whole week. You can take what I throw at you." Jolene picked up the icepack. "I can take what you throw at me."


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.


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

there really is a tape