Day 32: The Past is Always There
Part of Story Arc 1: Counterclockwise
A "The Ring/Ringu" Fanfic
by Laurel (Sailorhathor)
Chapters: 32 of 100
Rating: Overall Rating PG-13 (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 April-May 2009.
Word Count: 4,075
Summary: Sam/Jess. Sam finds out that Jessica isn't as perfect as he originally assumed. He tries to forget about it by throwing himself into the task of saving those who have been cursed by the Daughters of Heptamera, including a girl he doesn't know at Stanford. Professor McNeal's runaway daughter may have been found in California, but not under good circumstances.
Warning: Contains spoilers for the entire Ringu and The Ring series.
Beta Thanks: Thanks to Sammie for beta'ing this chapter!
Fanfic Challenges: Fits 50_darkfics prompt #32 Past and coclaim100 prompt #32 Sunlight.
Author's Notes: The scene with the coins falling from the ceiling was inspired by a similar scene from the movie Poltergeist, where ghosts made jewelry and watches fall out of a spiritual portal in the ceiling.
I'm always looking for interesting places to get character names from. The last name Carroll comes from a friend of mine. :)
For this chapter, I used some real life details about Stanford to make it a little more realistic, but some other details may be incorrect (I don't know if there are really arched doorways in Branner Hall or even a TV room on the bottom floor, for instance).
X-over with the TV series Supernatural. Set pre-series, during Sam's years at Stanford.
Tell your father and brother not to come to Boston.
Boston. Something big was going down in Boston in about three days, and most of those countdowns Sam had seen on the television in Bloodworth's vault ended in about that amount of time. It was a great place for him to continue his search.
Before he had headed down to the library, Sam had checked out the things Katherine Sawyer said in the dream. A chapter on Alexandra Baptiste's sculpture... well, the woman hadn't been lying. In the book that was only about her art, there was a chapter about Baptiste's brief foray into sculpture, casting several statues of the various daughters of Heptamera. They were all depicted in their dark, after death states, with hair in their stone faces and a wet look to their clothes. Sam could tell by the way the dresses hung. He wondered how Baptiste had created the statues, when the paintings had been accomplished with Heptamera's help. These works had been cast in bronze, then chemically treated to give them a dark blue marble-look patina. The casting process was not a short one, with multiple steps; was Alexandra in contact with Heptamera throughout each part of this process?
Katherine was right. The statue of Charlotte had been posed with just a little of her eyes showing through her hair. They did seem to stare right into you.
A few other works depicted different subjects, such as a woman in a long dress floating on a column of fire, her eyes closed and hair flowing, arms hanging limp. This one was called Head on a Pike. The title was perplexing; maybe it would make sense in time. All Sam knew was that she didn't seem to be one of the Daughters, and looking at the statue made the space between his eyes tingle.
He got a completely different feeling when he saw the work that Katherine had described as "the monolith." A cold, involuntary chill swept up his back at the sight of the eight foot tall stone structure. This one wasn't made of bronze, but of rock, like it had been carved from a slab taken off a cliff. Some sort of dark gray, earthy material. The slab had been carved and smoothed into a rectangular shape, eight feet tall, four feet wide, and about a foot deep. Except at two spots, where distinctive reliefs had been carved out.
The bottom half of the monolith was dominated by a three to four foot tall top section of a well, only the part of it that would be above ground, blended at the back into the towering rectangle. The tracks of cement that would be between each brick of the well had been carved out to make it look more realistic; there was even a large crack running down from the rim to give it a weathered look. Overhead shots revealed that the inside of this mock well had been hollowed out down to a stone floor, flush with the bottom of the monolith.
Another relief jutted out from the top half, that of a human face with its mouth open in a scream, forever frozen in rock.
Sam understood why this thing gave Katherine Sawyer the creeps. Even through simple pictures in a book, he could feel the darkness that radiated from the piece of art. But it wasn't just a piece of art, was it? It had some sort of function; Sam just knew it did. He thought the title was especially telling.
The monolith had been named Gateway to the Fortress.
This is why he now found himself in the college library, chewing on a pencil while he looked through the latest edition of The Boston Herald. Lucky for him, Stanford got many of the major papers for student use. It hadn't been long enough for this edition to be archived, so Sam had to paw carefully through every page, looking for any reports of an injured (or dead) woman named Jolene or teenager named Jasmine while the sunlight progressively waned outside the library's windows.
Sam had tried to get their phone numbers. Unfortunately, every avenue he utilized required that he have a last name as well in order to search for them, or at least the first letter. The woman at directory assistance attempted to be as polite as possible when she refused to look for Jolene Something under every letter of the alphabet. Sam apologized, embarrassed, for trying her patience. Then he decided he would conduct this search himself, once he was done with the newspaper.
That wasn't going to be a fun undertaking. The Internet White Pages required the first two letters of the last name to do a search. That meant Sam would have to use every letter of the alphabet and every possible second letter combination before his search would even be possible. Jolene Aa, Jolene Ab, Jolene Ac... by the time he finished, the woman would be dead, for pete's sake. If she wasn't already.
No, the bullet hadn't done any damage. Sam had seen it for himself. No blood, no bullet wound. Perhaps he was concentrating on the wrong person, and should -
A pair of feminine hands closed over his eyes. Sam grinned.
He took one hand and brought it down to his mouth, growling and nibbling playfully on a finger. Jessica squealed. Turning in his seat, Sam smiled up at her. "Hey you."
"Hi Sam." Grinning too, Jessica sat down in the seat next to his. She glanced at the notes he'd made. "What are you up to?"
Sam, trying to seem casual, put his elbow on his notepad and slid it under the newspaper as he leaned closer to her. He didn't want her to see such cryptic notes as Jolene, shot by one of the hunters? and Girl lying on a column of fire, dead or unconscious; how would he ever explain them? "Just reading the paper," he replied.
"From Boston?" Jessica remarked. "Now that's keeping up with the news."
"It's one of the best papers in the country," Sam added. That sounded like a good save.
She made an agreeable "Mmm," sound before launching into an important piece of gossip she'd heard. "Sam, you know how we were talking about those Bloodworth people and their Nazi grandfather?"
"Well, I still had that book on my desk yesterday morning, before I gave it to you, and - um, someone saw it sitting there. They told me a few things about the case that I know you'll find very interesting." Jessica raised her eyebrows and smiled playfully.
She was still treating this whole thing like it was all just a goof, a mystery to be unfolded. Sam had no idea how to get her to stop researching this thing for him without telling her the truth and, in her eyes, making himself look insane. He sighed, putting a hand alongside her knee. "I thought you weren't going to be my research assistant anymore."
Rolling her eyes, Jessica replied, "Oh Sam, you're so silly. Come on, let me tell you what I've heard."
He sighed once more. "Okay. Whatcha got?"
A satisfied grin spread across her face. She was so eager and happy to have something juicy to tell him; Sam was at a complete loss to figure out how he was going to get her out of this thing for good. He only hoped the information Jessica had uncovered wouldn't provoke Alexandra's rage. "Well, you know how the book said that Hitler encouraged Suzette to make cursed films?"
"Yeah, I remember."
"It seems that she actually made one."
Although Sam got a tingle of surprise up his spine, it really wasn't an unexpected bit of news. What was surprising was that the knowledge came from Jessica. "How do you know that?"
"My friend told me," she replied. Her eyes shifted back and forth briefly when she said it, like she was avoiding looking him in the eye.
Sam paused for a moment of thought before asking, "It's Craig, isn't it?"
Jessica jumped a little in her skin, her eyes widening for a second, then she settled down with a sigh. "Um, yeah. Craig's the one who told me."
Dread crawled through Sam's stomach like a tightening wire. "How does he know?"
"He heard a rumor about it that's going around campus. Some girl watched the film a few days ago, and since then, all these weird things have been happening when she's around. Some of the freshman in Branner Hall have been blabbing about it all week."
A few days ago... so he still had time. "How do they know it's Suzette's cursed film?"
"I don't know; it's just one of those stories that goes around. Someone said that a History professor had seen it and confirmed what it was." Jessica shrugged with a small laugh. "But who knows if any of it is true. You know how these stories are. An urban legend or something."
"A History professor? A professor here?" Sam asked. His mind swam with the sinister possibilities. Did this professor know what the film could do? Had he shown his copy to this girl on purpose? Or was it all a horrible coincidence?
Jessica just shrugged again.
With a pause of trepidation, Sam added, "You didn't watch this film, did you?"
"No," she replied, shaking her head. Jessica sounded disappointed. "I'm really curious, though. I mean, what could be on it, you know? If it's supposed to kill you," she finished with a snicker.
Sam, taking her hand, spoke with the most sincere and deadly serious tone he could muster. "Jess, I want you to promise me that if you're given the chance to view this film that you won't watch it. Alright?"
She laughed, "Why? Sam, you really believe in this curse, don't you? I was just teasing you before, but you really are that superstitious."
"Yes. Yes, I admit it - I'm just that superstitious."
Jessica started to laugh again, but something about the innocent, pleading puppy dog look on his face gave her pause. As he put his other hand over hers, enveloping her palm in both of his, she rolled her eyes and sighed. "I can't believe you're this serious. But if it means that much to you, then I promise I won't watch the film."
A relieved smile touched the corners of Sam's mouth. "Even if Craig wants you to?"
Putting up her other hand like a Girl Scout taking an oath, she said, "Even if Craig tries to show me the film, I promise I won't watch it. Happy?"
Now he did sigh with relief. "Yes."
"You know you're killing me, right? I'm really curious now."
"Actually, I may be saving you."
Jessica took her hand back. "Oh, right." She smacked his arm. "You're being ridiculous, you know."
Sam played along. "I know. But it still makes me feel better to have that promise."
Once again, she rolled her eyes.
Sam wondered if it was just a coincidence that Craig knew so many things about this film, at a time when Sam was researching it. And the film being here at Stanford, was that a coincidence? Or was it fate? Had this situation been engineered, just when Sam needed to know more about how the curse worked?
He had to find this student. "Jess, what's the girl's name?"
"The one who watched the cursed film? Uh, Meredith, I think."
"What's her last name?"
"Would Craig know?"
Shrugging, Jess said, "I don't think so. He didn't seem to know it when he told me the story." She narrowed her eyes at him, suspicious. "Why? What are you going to do, go looking for her?"
"I could help you. Some of the guys would be more likely to talk to me than you."
Sam tried not to wince where she'd notice. "Jess... I'd rather do this by myself, okay? I just... I don't want..."
"You'd rather spend time with me doing other things, I know," she finished for him, sighing in disappointment. "You're driving me nuts, keeping me out of this thing."
"I know, I know. But I told you..." Pausing to shake his head, Sam sighed and changed the subject. "Why don't we go to a movie tonight instead?
"I, um... I can't." That eye shift again. "I'm sorry, I have plans."
No one had to hit him over the head with the truth. Sam replied, "Craig?"
Jessica nodded sheepishly. "When I told you I wanted to break up with him, I meant it. But it's not something you can just do when... we, um... we've been together since high school, Sam."
That was something he hadn't expected. "So it's been years."
She nodded again. "And we, uh, we... live together." Wincing, Jessica briefly touched Sam's hand, hoping the things she was telling him wouldn't scare him away.
Leaning back, he put a little distance between them. "Are you sure I'm not just the rebound guy?" Sam said with a small, bitter laugh.
"That's impossible." Jessica, swallowing hard, braced for another negative reaction. "Tim was the rebound guy." She paused before quickly adding, "But that's over. It was at least six months ago."
"You cheated on your boyfriend?"
"Sam, it's been over between Craig and I for a long time. Problem is, I'm the only one who knows it." Shrugging, Jessica looked at the floor. "I understand that you'd rather I break up with him before we go much further. But you have to understand that these things take time." She leaned over and softly kissed his lips. Sam didn't move, didn't react. "Everything that I've said about you and me and how I feel about you is the truth."
Unsure how to digest everything that she'd just told him, Sam didn't meet her eyes. "Well, you guys do have history. I guess you need time to talk." He suddenly grabbed his backpack and stood up. "I completely forgot, I can read this paper online. I think I'm gonna..." Sam pointed to the library's front doors.
"You're upset, aren't you?"
He shook his head. "No. I just need some time to take it all in. I mean, you guys have been together for years. I don't really know what that's like, but I can imagine."
Jessica nervously jumped up and followed him across the library as he made his way toward the exit. "Call me tomorrow, okay?"
"Okay." Forcing a small grin for her, Sam put the Boston paper back in its slot and walked out.
Jessica nibbled on her bottom lip. She feared he may never speak to her again.
Outside, the sun had completely descended below the horizon.
Lassiter McNeal knew there was something wrong as soon as he entered his home and looked up from the table just inside the door.
Tutoring and meetings with his students had run long. He didn't get home until nearly seven. As soon as he'd come in the door that led out to the garage and put his keys in the bowl on the table, Lassiter began to talk to his teenage son, whom he spotted getting up from the couch out of the corner of his eye. "The lawn's getting a little ragged, Trace. Do you think you could mow it by..."
The look on Tracy's face told him everything. The boy was naturally pale, and his long black hair against his face usually made him appear even paler by comparison, but tonight, he looked unnaturally white, with wide blue eyes and a shocked expression on his face. His hands fidgeted nervously, the black-painted nails scratching at his denim jeans. "Dad?"
Lassiter's hand stilled on the keys he'd just dropped. His first guess would have been trouble at school, but the shell-shocked look on Tracy's face... "What happened?"
"Dad, the Los Angeles police called. They found the bodies of two teenage girls in a dumpster in the downtown area."
A chill ran up Lassiter's back, quickly replaced by numbness. He looked at the framed photographs lined up on the skinny table behind the couch. A family picture from five years ago, the way his family once was; a photo of his dead wife; and individual school pictures of each of his two kids. His eyes lingered on the photo of his daughter, Adrianna. She'd be fourteen now.
Tracy continued. "One of the girls has been identified. It's Crystal Stern."
Crystal. One of the kids Adrianna had taken off with just about a year ago. They, along with Jamie and C.J. Blacksmith, had stolen Mrs. Blacksmith's car and run away, each for their own variety of reasons. Lassiter hadn't see his daughter since.
There had been reports over the last year, reports from all across the country. The car had been found in Chicago. Probably abandoned. The kids didn't seem to be going to any particular place, just further and further away from home.
This was the first time that any of those reports had panned out. Unfortunately, when they actually found one of the runaway kids, she was dead.
"The police want you to fly out there and, uh... take a look at the other body." Tracy swallowed hard, rubbing his hands on his jeans. His voice shook. "Since she was with Crystal, they think she might... the body is really decomposed, and... they just want to be sure."
Lassiter knew exactly what the police wanted him to do. If the other body was Adrianna, they wanted him to identify her.
It wasn't like it couldn't be true. He remembered the argument he'd had with his daughter two weeks before she ran away, when he walked in on her and Crystal kissing in Adrianna's room, neither one wearing a top. The girl had tried to keep the focus of the argument on the fact that he'd walked in without knocking, that she'd thought he wouldn't even be home that early, and it had taken him a while to get the topic back to what the teen girls had been doing. Adrianna declared that Crystal was her girlfriend, which opened up a whole new can of worms.
It wasn't that Lassiter didn't want a gay daughter; it was her age that bothered him. He tried to explain that kids often thought they knew what they were feeling, but were too young to understand the complexities of life.
That hadn't gone over very well.
He doubted that the fight was the sole reason Adrianna had run away, but it probably didn't help.
So, the idea that the body found with Crystal Stern was Adrianna made a great deal of sense. Yes, it certainly could be true.
The entire way over on the plane, Lassiter would be praying it wasn't. "I'll leave right away."
He received his first call from Jodie on the way to the airport. Lassiter let it go to voicemail.
"Professor McNeal, this is Jodie. Jodie Searling. Things over here are just getting weirder and weirder, with the videotape thing. Could you give me a call? Please? I don't know what to do."
He could hear that she was trying very hard to stay calm, but there was hysteria in her voice, clawing to get out. Lassiter really wanted to call her back. He did. But Jodie's problems were small compared to what he faced in Los Angeles.
Lassiter, now sitting on the airplane and staring out the window at the dark, did not return her call.
Waiting in the common area on the bottom floor of Branner Hall, Sam stared at the screen of his laptop. He'd spent the last three hours desperately trying to appear casual as he asked every student he could find if they knew Meredith, a girl he didn't even know himself. He couldn't even describe her.
"Gee, no, man, I don't know anybody named Meredith. What's she look like?" most of them would say. And Sam had no idea. It was awkward.
Finally, an hour ago, two girls said they did know a Meredith who lived in this dorm. Long brown hair; pretty; no, she didn't wear glasses; yes, she had been complaining of not being able to sleep; and yes, several people who lived on the same floor had been saying that Meredith woke up screaming three times in the last five days, that she had been telling everyone that her dorm room was haunted. The girls told Sam that if he waited in the TV room, he could catch Meredith when she came home from her job at the bookstore. He gave them another innocent, boyish smile and thanked them, attempting to be as non-threatening as possible. Either these girls hadn't bought into all the safety lectures the campus police had given them at orientation, or Sam had been successful at minimizing his size and accentuating his charm. It was obvious that he knew nothing more about this girl than her first name. Meredith's friends had still told him everything, even that her full name was Meredith Carroll.
While waiting for her, Sam opened his laptop computer and began searching the Boston paper again. He found the article about Jasmine Fuller and, as he read, his body went numb.
Something about what happened to Jasmine baffled the police. Someone had been chasing her, had run the girl out in front of the police car, but they had escaped silently into the woods. The police were leaving something out; Sam could read between the lines. Something about what had happened to Jasmine was bizarre and unexplainable.
Sam stared at her picture in the middle of the article. She was real. The girl he'd chased through the forest hallucination last night was a real, living, breathing girl. And she was now in a coma at Massachusetts General Hospital.
At least she wasn't dead. For the second time since this whole thing had started, Sam wanted to call his father. Or, at least Dean. At the end of the week, a lot of people could die, and Sam wasn't sure there was anything he could do to stop it.
He thought again of Meredith. She was here, not unreachable in Boston, but here. If he could just save this one, there would be sunlight at the end of the tunnel concerning saving the rest.
It was because of his shock over finding at least some of the information he'd been searching for that he didn't realize the freshman had come into the room.
"You were asking about Meredith?"
Sam jumped, making his computer bobble in his lap. Looking at her for a moment, sitting on the couch perpendicular to the one on which he sat, Sam blurted, "God, you startled me." He noticed the tense, frightened look on her face, the way she was tightly wringing her hands. "Are you - "
"Shhh!" She glanced at an arched doorway nearby. "If we're quiet, maybe she won't notice us."
Following her eyes, Sam saw the little girl standing in the doorway. He gasped. It was one of the Metternich twins. Clad in a white dress, a pink bow tying her black hair back from her face, she crossed the room. Her face was sad, with deep circles under her eyes. She didn't look well. When she began to walk toward them, the freshman whimpered.
Sophie was the sickly one. Isn't that what the book said?
The child had her hands up, cupped together in front of her. As she got closer, Sam realized she was holding a pile of coins. "Sophie?" he nearly whispered.
She spared him one dismissive glance before turning to the girl. The freshman hissed and groaned as she pushed up on the back of the couch, prepared to just about climb over it in an effort to escape. But Sophie was already right in front of her. The little girl slowly dumped the coins into the freshman's lap, letting them run between her fingers. They made a jingling noise as they cascaded down and spread over the girl's thighs and the couch cushions. The freshman let out short, fearful groans.
A coin plinked off Sam's head. He looked up and saw a ring of icy blue electricity sparking above their heads, near the ceiling. Coins of all sizes were falling out of midair onto him and the freshman girl. Sam caught a few in his hand, looking at them in shock. They were all old, tarnished and nicked. One of the silver coins in his hand had an eagle and a Nazi swastika on it.
The Nazis manufactured their own money, Sam's mind doled out to him. It was all it could think of to do as the rest of his brain was frozen in disbelief. The ceiling was raining coins.
The freshman looked from the child standing before her to the sparking circle on the ceiling, her hands open to catch the coins too. One almost fell in her open mouth as they rained down upon her. "What the hell is this?" she cried. "What do you want from me?!"
Sophie said nothing. She gave the freshman one last sorrowful look and turned and walked from the room.
Before the ring of electricity disappeared, Sam realized that it resembled a phantom opening into a well. Perhaps Sophie's well.
The coins stopped falling, but they did not vaporize like the ring. The room smelled of a burned out circuit.
As soon as it stopped, the freshman jumped up and frantically brushed the coins from her body, squealing in horror as if she was covered in roaches. Sam examined several of the ones in his lap. They were all German coins. That shouldn't be surprising.
Once she got her breath, the freshman asked, "You saw her too, right? You knew her name."
Nodding, Sam stated what was now obvious to him. "You're Meredith, aren't you?"
"Yeah." She sat back down on the couch and leaned toward him. "Who are you?"
Before he could explain, she said, "Did Professor Keaner show you the film too?"
He lied. "Yeah. Yeah, he did." So, it was some History professor named Keaner. "When did he show it to you?"
Meredith's eyes teared up. "Almost a week ago. I have about two days left." She swallowed back her tears. "That's what they said to me. Sieben Tage. It's - "
"Seven days," Sam finished, and sighed. "Seven days in German."
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.
She Just Wanted to Be Heard
Day 33: As a Phantom
Part of Story Arc 1: Counterclockwise
A "The Ring/Ringu" Fanfic
by Laurel (Sailorhathor)
Chapters: 33 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 May 2010.
Word Count: 3,604
Summary: The gang holds a séance to contact the spirit that has been trying to help Quinn and Svetlana in their dreams, Mysteria. The results are, of course, enlightening and dramatic.
Warning: Contains spoilers for the entire Ringu and The Ring series.
Beta Thanks: Thanks to Sammie for beta'ing this chapter!
Fanfic Challenges: Fits 50_darkfics Prompt #33 Present and coclaim100 Prompt #33 Voice.
Author's Notes: My friend Sammie and I actually had this conversation about Swiss cheese once. :D
X-over with the TV series Supernatural. Set pre-series, during Sam's years at Stanford.
Bleary-eyed, Quinn stared at the mushroom and Swiss cheese burger in his hand before taking another bite. "Why is it that Swiss cheese alone tastes like crap and smells like feet, but put it on a burger and it's like heaven?" he said while chewing.
Darcy looked at him from her place on the arm of the couch, shrugging. "You're welcome."
"Thanks for bringing this food over," Svetlana said. She took another bite of her own hamburger.
"No problem." Darcy eyed Quinn's sister Danica as she excitedly paced the living room. "So what are we up to tonight?"
"I can't believe you guys didn't tell me about this right off," Danica said, continuing to pace. "This is badass."
"Badass? Did you not just see me have a complete meltdown in there?" Quinn replied, irritated.
"I know you guys aren't having any fun, but from the outside, this is pretty damn cool. Come on Jodie, back me up."
"Well..." Jodie, sheepish, cringed a little. "...it was cool at first. Then these two started freaking out and it wasn't so cool anymore."
Danica rolled her eyes and growled in frustration. "You sit here and tell me you watched a videotape that's cursed, a ghost is stalking you, and you won't even let me be excited about it?"
"Be excited all you want. I just won't be joining you," Quinn sighed.
Shaking her head, Darcy remarked, "I don't understand how you can see things that way, Danica. Your brother and his girlfriend are being stalked and bewitched by a demon."
"I thought you said it was a ghost..."
"It is a ghost," Quinn replied, nodding.
Svetlana explained, "Darcy think it's a demon."
Addressing Darcy directly, Danica asked, "How can the ghost of a little girl be a demon?"
Darcy waved the question off. "There's no proof we're dealing with the ghost of this child. Demons are crafty. They know how to pretend to be the dead."
"Well, we'll just have to find out exactly what we're dealing with." Danica rubbed her hands together. "Did you get in touch with your professor?"
Jodie shook her head. "He's still not answering his phone. So I called Akemi, his T.A., and she's on her way over."
"Is she a Demonologist too?"
"No, but I figure she's had to of picked up a thing or two from working with him."
"You may have something there. Now..." Snatching up a pad of paper, Danica sat at the kitchen table and prepared to write. "If you could ask this Samara girl any questions, what would you ask?"
"We told you, we already did that," Quinn reminded her.
Svetlana added, "Once was enough."
"Who else could we contact, then?"
"Contact...?" Darcy began. She didn't like the sound of that.
Suddenly sitting forward, Svetlana blurted, "Mysteria!"
"Hey, yeah," Quinn agreed. "I bet she could fill in a lotta blanks."
"How are we going to 'contact' Mysteria?" Darcy questioned.
"A Ouija board, of course," said Danica.
"Oh, hell no!" Darcy spat. "That'd be like opening the door and saying, 'Hello Mr. Demon, why don't you come on in and possess my body? I like it!'" She crossed her arms.
Quinn mumbled, "I believe that would be Miss Demon..."
Giving an exaggerated roll of her eyes, Danica said, "Oh my God, do you think I'm an idiot? This isn't a freakin' slumber party where we're going to try to contact Satan and all pee our pants in fear." She wiggled her hands in the air and put on a scared face, imitating a frightened teenager. "A Ouija board's just a tool. There are precautions you can take. For one thing, we're not contacting Samara. We're contacting Mysteria."
"But that's just what they want you to think..."
Danica rolled her eyes even more dramatically, leaning back in her chair and shrugging with her arms. "Well, you've just got an answer for everything."
"I want to see what Mysteria say," Svetlana threw in. She hoped it would quiet Darcy's protests.
"You don't even know what Mysteria is," snapped Darcy. "She could be a demon too."
"Look, if it really bothers you that much, we don't have to use a Ouija board. We can ask our questions through automatic writing," Danica offered.
"It doesn't matter how you make contact; it's all dangerous."
Quinn and his sister rolled their eyes in unison.
Darcy tried to continue. "In the Bible, it forbids contacting the dead and - "
"Hey," Quinn interrupted, "I appreciate that you're looking out for us and all, but we need to find out what the hell's going on here. This Mysteria chick... thing... whatever is trying to tell us something important, and if we don't find out what it is, this is all going to get a lot worse."
Darcy was unfazed. "That's exactly what it wants you to think. That you need its help, so you open the door."
"Does she have to be here?" Danica asked with an annoyed sigh.
Svetlana's head came up sharply. "Hey... Darcy's my friend."
"And Quinn is my brother." Danica tapped her chest. "And no little ghost bitch is going to come in here and make my brother cry."
Quinn had to laugh, but awkwardly.
"If there's something I can do to make this better, I'm going to do it. So you can either stay and watch, or you can leave," Danica said to Darcy, who tensed up and shifted a bit on the arm of the couch. "Protest all you want, but we're going to contact this spirit."
"Fine. I'm not leaving." She looked at Svetlana. "Svet is my friend and she wants me here. If you're bound and determined to do this, then I'll be here to try and protect us all."
"Well man the torpedoes!" Danica saluted her. She sat back down. "Now, questions for our friend Mysteria?"
Darcy started to shoot back an angry retort, but Svetlana cut in before she could. "Who are Dean and Sam?"
"Okay." Danica wrote the question down. "Let me see those drawings one more time."
Jodie retrieved a few of Svetlana's sketches of the Winchester brothers. When Danica saw the art of Dean again, she growled, "Phwoar!"
The sound made Jodie jump. "What the hell was that?"
"This guy, he's really hot. So I said 'Phwoar.'"
"Yeah. It's British slang for 'Schwing!'"
The others looked slightly less confused, except Svetlana, who said, "What is schwing?"
"You know..." Danica, frustrated, tried to explain one slang expression before she explained the other. "Wayne and Garth from Wayne's World, when they think a girl is hot, they say schwing. So, a lot of British people say phwoar instead. And this guy is phwoar-worthy..."
Quinn and Jodie exchanged a look. "You're not going to start 'across the pond'ing us now are you?" he asked.
"Never mind. He's good-looking." Switching to the next drawing, she remarked, "This other guy isn't half bad either. But I prefer the blonds." Danica smiled. "Colin's a blond, you know."
Getting up, Quinn crossed to the table and nudged her arm. "Hey, I'm sorry I wasn't there tonight, at the dinner. It really is great that you and Colin got engaged. Never met him, but you've told me so much about him that I feel like I know him already. He's a good guy."
"Thanks, bro." Danica stood to hug him. "I'll get him over here sometime." Still grinning, she sat down and picked up the pen again. "So, questions?"
When Akemi arrived, they had pulled the kitchen table into the middle of the living room; pages torn from Svetlana's biggest sketch pad lay on top of it. "I'll buy you another one," Danica had promised.
Akemi looked down at the table, touching the little heart-shaped piece of thin wood on wheels. "This is the planchette?"
"Yeah." Danica patted it. "Jodie and Quinn have volunteered to put their fingers on it for leverage. The pen goes here..." She put the tip of her finger into the little hole near the point of the heart. "...and it writes on the paper as the spirit moves the planchette."
Akemi nodded. "I'm familiar with the concept."
"So Professor McNeal did teach you a thing or two about his other trade?" Jodie asked with a grin.
The exchange student nodded again. "A little. This is automatic writing, yes?"
"Ah. My Oba-chan told me not to play with things like Ouija boards and the like. Said it wasn't good to disturb the spirits." A devious little smile touched the corners of her mouth. "I think I'll take the chance."
To herself, Darcy mumbled, "Your Oba-chan was right."
Danica grinned too. "It's kind of exciting, huh?"
Embarrassed, Akemi laughed. "I've only observed one session like this with McNeal-sensei. I'm very interested to see what happens here tonight."
"Oba-chan, that's 'Grandmother'?" Jodie asked.
Akemi nodded her head a third time. She didn't speak as much as her American counterparts; this was the most animated Jodie had seen her in a while. Spending time with the professor had exposed her to enough of the occult to teach her a few terms and get her interested in things about which her elders could be superstitious. Jodie figured part of the fascination in Akemi's eyes was about exploring taboos, as well as indulging in something different.
"Do you have Ouija boards in Japan?" Danica questioned.
Grinning wider and chuckling, Akemi replied, "Yes, but they can be expensive. Most people just play Kokkuri-san." She saw the curiosity in everyone's eyes, so she continued. "You draw the hiragana alphabet on a sheet of paper and use a yen piece as the pointer. Everyone puts a finger on the coin, and then you ask Kokkuri-san to answer your questions. It's practically the same."
"What does Kokkuri-san mean?" asked Quinn.
"It's a little hard to translate. It means 'to nod up and down,' but its kanji refers to the supernatural forces at work to make the coin move." Akemi laughed, her eyes crinkling almost shut, at a memory she did not share. "Some people use a pen to talk to Kokkuri-san as well."
"Yeah, the spirit just writes out all their answers. The pen gives them a voice."
Sitting at the table, Jodie placed the pen into the hole. "We getting this show on the road?"
Quinn sat on the opposite side of the table from Jodie. Svetlana took the seat next to him, but as soon as Danica lowered the lights and lit a nearby candle, she shivered and slid into Quinn's lap, putting an arm around his neck. He put one arm about her waist and the other on the table. "You scared?"
Svet just nodded.
Darcy stood watch, but stayed back, her arms still folded sternly across her chest. After watching to see where Danica planned to stand, Akemi hovered around the other side of the table to see what would happen.
"Okay." Taking a deep breath, Danica readied herself to switch out the sheets of paper when needed. "We would like to contact a particular spirit somewhere out there in the ether. God, please protect us while we embark on this contact with the realm beyond our own. Nothing may use the tool of contact to harm anyone here, especially not through possession." She gave Darcy a sassy look, to which Darcy almost curtsied, knowing that last comment was thrown in just for her. "The entity we contact may only influence the planchette to move. Nothing more." Danica looked at Darcy again. She didn't want to interrupt the quiet mood, so she clapped her hands softly in approval. Then Danica finished, "In other words, you malevolent spirits out there, you better stay away. You don't want to fuck with me."
Darcy rolled her eyes into a full head loll, her chin against her chest. Everyone snickered.
"Alrighty." Danica signaled the others, to which Jodie and Quinn responded by placing two fingers each on either side of the planchette, holding it as steady as possible. "We would like to contact the spirit that goes by the name Mysteria. If you can hear us, please respond."
The planchette did not move at first. After about four seconds, it teetered slightly under their fingers. Quinn and Jodie let out small gasps. Everyone smiled a little in anticipation, except Darcy, who jerked in her skin as if it startled her.
"Mysteria? Do you wish to speak with us?"
The planchette moved jerkily to the right, only enough to leave a tiny mark on the paper. Then suddenly, it began to glide smoothly into what appeared to be a word. Everyone made some sort of sound in reaction - some gasped, some snickered excitedly, and some moaned to themselves in dread of what might happen.
"It's moving," Jodie said. The others could see that for themselves, but they all wanted to exclaim the same thing.
"And it's making..." Quinn was about to say it was making sense until he saw what the spirit had written. "Is that English?"
Danica shook her head. "No, I think it's... Greek?" She sighed, crossing her arms. "Can you speak to us in English?"
"Yeah, like that universal translating thing my mom was talking about," added Jodie. "She could understand the people in her hallucinations."
"Shh." Danica opened her mouth to suggest something else, but the pen began to move over the paper again.
I am sorry, it said.
"Ah, so you can speak English."
"Are you Mysteria?"
A slight pause, and then, Yes.
"Oh my God, it's answering her," Quinn almost whispered. His eyes had grown big with amazement.
"Who are you, Mysteria?" Danica asked.
Another pause, before the answer came. Spirit guide.
"A spirit guide... wow." Danica seemed to know what that was. "Whose spirit guide are you?"
Jodie, Quinn, and Svetlana gasped at the answer. Sammy's.
"The guy! Dean's... whatever. The guy my mom saw!" Jodie exclaimed. Although the excitement was obvious in her voice, she still tried to keep it down, knowing that Danica was in control of the session.
As if to signal this fact, Danica put a finger to her lips. "You're the spirit guide of this guy Jodie's mother saw in her vision?"
"We meet him too," Svetlana whispered.
"Then he's psychic?"
"So he talks to you."
Taken aback, Danica replied, "What do ya mean, no? That's the whole point of a spirit guide, to guide their psychic through both worlds."
He's not ready.
"Oh. So why are you mucking around in the dreams Samara Morgan has sent them?" She gestured to her brother and Svetlana.
Trying to help without detection.
"You don't want to be detected? By who?"
The ones who cursed them.
"Huh, okay. Speaking to them in dreams through symbols and stuff is safer than talking to them when they're awake."
"Does that mean you're risking something by talking to us now?"
Svetlana whimpered at Danica's question.
They could almost sense the spirit nodding at her answer, Yes. And then, You're being watched.
Svet whimpered again, hiding her face in Quinn's neck for a moment.
Even Jodie shuddered.
"Should we hurry, then?"
Before continuing, Danica pulled out the full sheet of paper for the fresh one underneath. "I'll try. Why have you taken a special interest in helping us?"
You are mine.
"We are..." Danica knitted her brow at the cryptic answer. "What do you mean, you are mine?"
"Holy..." Quinn started, but didn't finish the thought.
"We're your descendants? Does that mean you were once a person? You were alive?"
"How many years ago?"
Danica tried to keep the questions coming fast. "Was your name Mysteria when you were alive?"
The spirit paused again. No.
"Then what was your name?"
Another pause, this one longer. You are being watched, she repeated.
"You don't want Samara to know your real name?"
"They would know who you are."
Yes yes yes.
Quinn let out a sigh of trepidation. "I can feel their eyes on us," he said, making Svet whimper again.
"Why are you trying to bring us together with this Dean guy?" Danica asked.
He might be able to help you.
"Why him? What does he know?"
He is a hero. He will help you, him and his family.
"How do we - "
The planchette began to move before Danica could finish her question. I tried to fight this evil in life. It has been passed down, you don't know the whole story. Ask your grandmother.
Akemi watched the planchette move the pen across the paper, almost scribbling now. "She's becoming frantic," she remarked, then gasped and straightened up. "Someone's coming."
Quinn just nodded. His girlfriend buried her face in his neck, not coming out to look this time. The ones who had been cursed could feel what Mysteria had mentioned.
They were being watched.
Again, Danica changed the page. "Wait, are you talking about that stuff Ms. Searling saw? Alexandra Baptiste and the horses and all that?"
"You said you were alive over two hundred years ago. That sounds about right. So you were trying to fight Alexandra Baptiste when you were alive?"
Yes. I passed it down. The story, the methods, it's all still there. Look for it. You will need it. And then, They don't realize what they are doing. They don't realize what they are setting in motion.
"What are they setting in motion?" asked Danica.
A long pause, then, Their own destruction.
Svetlana suddenly turned her head, trying to look over her shoulder at the front door. She appeared to sense that someone was there. "What Dean's last name?" Svetlana broke in, quickly.
Winchester, wrote Mysteria.
"How can... we..."
Again, Mysteria interrupted her by continuing to write. I can't hide anymore. You need to know.
I was Phaedra.
"That's your real name?" Even Danica could feel something now, some heavy atmosphere hanging over the room. "Why are you telling us this now?"
When the spirit wrote her last sentence, she bore down so hard she tore the paper.
Because she's here.
Her face a mask of fear, Akemi slowly turned and looked over her shoulder. Quinn looked at the front door now too. The others just looked, but did not see.
The ones who were cursed could see a figure standing behind the door, in deep shadow. She seemed to be wearing a cloak over her head. "You... you're still plotting against me," Alexandra hissed. "Why are you still plotting against me? You betrayer."
Svetlana started to cry, clinging to Quinn tightly.
"What? What is it?" Danica asked.
"I think it's Alexandra Baptiste," Quinn replied. His mouth hung open in astonishment.
Jodie wondered aloud, "Why can't I see her?"
"You ungrateful... you betray your own... how could you? I should have known... I should have known you were Mysteria." Alexandra took a step forward.
Akemi backed into the table, then went around it, toward Darcy, who began to pray quietly. Darcy couldn't see the demon either, but could feel it was there.
"Do you really think she can save you? Do you think the Winchesters can either?" Two more steps forward. "No one can save you." Suddenly, Alexandra rushed forward, right into Quinn's face. He fell over backward out of the chair, onto the floor, scrambling back into the short wall that divided part of the kitchen from the living room, Svetlana screeching and bouncing on his lap. They held onto each other for dear life.
When they saw Quinn go over, the others screamed in surprise. The wind created by Alexandra's supernatural rush across the room blew at their hair.
"No one can save you!" Alexandra repeated, and swiped at the planchette on the table. A heavy gust of phantom wind blew it and all the papers off the table, into Danica's face. She batted at them with a shocked barrage of yelps. "No one can save you but you!"
"Ahhh, God, make it stop!" Quinn yelled. He tried to cover his face and Svetlana's at the same time.
"It won't. Stop." Alexandra turned to go, stalking around the table and shaking it violently for good measure before she did. Jodie jumped up from her seat, eyes wide. At that moment, Danica pushed aside the last piece of paper that had blown over her face; Alexandra looked over the table at her. And finally saw her.
It was her. It was the girl from Alexandra's own painting, the one of the Winchester brothers with their guns. The girl across the table was the girl in the middle of that painting. For Quinn.
"YOU," Alexandra hissed.
The two women stared each other down across the table, only Danica didn't know it. Everyone tensely waited to see what would happen next. Livid, Alexandra let out a howl as she turned the table over, throwing it at Danica. Then she turned and sped from the room, passing as a phantom through the wall.
Danica had covered her face and screamed when the table came at her. She took several steps back. The table did not hit her, but laid on its side only inches in front of her now. She looked at it, shocked and panting.
Jodie spoke first. "What the hell was that?!" she yelled.
As Svetlana's whimpers began to border on hysterics, Darcy crossed the room, avoiding the table legs, to help Quinn calm her down. When she passed Danica, she craned her neck so she could see her over the upturned table. "I told you so!" Darcy spat.
Danica rolled her eyes. "You just couldn't resist, could you?"
it won't stop