New Winslow S4E29

Iris breathed a sigh of relief as she stepped into The Countess and saw no sign of Vivien in the sitting room. It had been six days since their disastrous attempt to connect with Billy McBride. Not only had she spent two hours cleansing the area of all the spirits and spiritual residue Vivien had brought forth, she’d also pissed off everyone she was working with on the curse by forgetting their planned ritual.

Sure, Vivien had helped with the cleaning. She’d been able to send the spirits away. But that hadn’t closed the doorway, and she hadn’t known how to do it herself. Iris had done it for her while Vivien decided it wasn’t worth the bother and she’d just make her own seal.

But despite her anger, Iris couldn’t stop seeing the way that Vivien had cleared the room of the beings she’d summoned so quickly. It hadn’t been with the snap of a finger, but she’d managed to wipe them away. Energy, she’d explained to Iris afterward. Energy wiping away energy. Leaving only cleanliness behind. Iris had been tempted to tell her it was actually cleanliness and a wide-open door, but had kept it to herself.

Missy and Anna were right about Vivien. She had incredible natural power. Iris had never even heard of anyone who could manipulate energy like that. Between that, the flames in her hands, and her obvious psychic abilities, she had abilities that honestly scared Iris a bit. But despite her confidence, she was terrible at utilizing them. She didn’t know how to set wards or do any cleansing more delicate than a flamethrower. And they were probably right that this wasn’t a good thing. But with that amount of power, she might be able to break through the curse with brute force.

“Hello, Iris.”

Missy was walking through the foyer in a heavy woolen coat and beanie. She smiled at Iris and slowed down.

“Hi, Missy,” she said. “I’m just here to do some readings up on the fourth floor.”

“Oh, fantastic.”

Missy grinned, revealing sparking teeth. “I was going to ask you how that investigation was going.”

“Good!” Iris said, feeling herself back on solid ground. “I think the spirit you’ve been hearing is the ghost of the boy who lived here originally. I’m trying to get in touch with him, maybe coax him on to his next life. But so far he’s avoided me.”

“I heard you up there the other night,” Missy said.


Missy’s face fell slightly. “Iris,” she said. “I know Anna already talked to you, but Vivien-”

Iris held up a hand. “I know,” she said.

Missy nodded. “Just keep it in mind,” she said. “I know she’s powerful, but do the benefits outweigh the risks?”

How much did Missy know about their mess the other night? She apparently wasn’t saying anything about it outright though, so Iris was going to let it lie.

“I’m off,” Missy said, interrupting her thoughts. “It’s past time for me to be wrapping some of the trees up out there for the season. So if anyone needs me, I’ll be fighting with the raspberry bushes.”

She winked at Iris, then walked out, leaving Iris alone in the silent foyer. She stayed where she was for a second, then remembered what she’d been planning to talk to Missy about. The Alderidge plot. Iris had been so distracted by Vivien and everything that had happened that she’d completely forgotten to bring it up.

Bracing herself for the cold, she followed Missy out the front door. The wind was bracing, but not as bad as she’d anticipated as she walked down the front steps and onto the walkway. Missy wasn’t out front, but as Iris rounded the side of the mansion, she could see the other woman back in one of the gardens.

“Missy!” she called, making her way over.

Missy looked up and Iris hurried her steps down the frozen dirt path. “I nearly forgot,” she said as she got closer. “I used the map from your collection and found where this house used to stand in New Winslow.”

“Oh?” Missy asked, pausing what she was doing.

“Yeah, I went there, actually. It’s a little bit of a hike in the woods and it’s overgrown, but was pretty easy to find. I wanted to see if you’d like some photos of it.”

“I’d love that,” Missy replied, a smile coming across her face. “Thank you so much.”

Iris blushed a little at the genuine gratitude on Missy’s face. “It’s nothing,” she said. “You’ve done so much for me and…”

She trailed off as Missy watched her, still smiling. Then her smile faded a little. “There’s something else too, isn’t there?”

Was Missy psychic? Or was Iris incapable of hiding her emotions. “There is,” she said. “The house next door was the Alderidge place. From the Harbinger history. I went there too and it was-”

Smoke filled her throat as the image of the desolate lot came back to her. Iris coughed on the acrid air. It wasn’t real, but tell that to her lungs. She tried to stop coughing, but it set her off even more, hot flames crackling in her brain as she tried to catch her breath.

Missy was beside her now, a firm hand on Iris’s back as she steered her onto a bench. “It’s okay,” Missy said firmly. “It’s okay, just sit down.”

Iris nodded between coughs. Missy sat down next to her and the woman’s solid presence was the anchor Iris needed as she tried to take a deep breath.

“I take it you didn’t just inhale a popcorn kernel?” Missy asked.

Iris shook her head. The scent of smoke lingered faintly in the cold November air, but the flames were gone now. “It’s the Alderidge lot,” she said, voice hoarse. “Nothing was growing there.”

Missy didn’t say anything as Iris continued. “I can’t find anything that confirms there was a fire. But there was. Every time I even think about being there, I can feel that fire in my head. Something really bad happened there and I feel like it might be key to everything.”

“But you can’t prove it.”


Iris cleared her throat again, a little bit of the psychic smoke still lingering in it. “I don’t even know where to begin. But the Alderidge House and the McBride House are connected and that connection has something to do with the curse.”

Iris had so much to do today, but she couldn’t bring herself to stand up and get back to work. She almost felt guilty because she knew that Missy was busy too, but she couldn’t help feeling grateful as they sat together in silence for a while.


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The Northern Worcester County branch of the Foundation for Paranormal Research is one of the organization’s top investigation and cleanup teams. So when a case comes in involving a century of mysterious disappearances, they figure they’ll be done before their lunch break is supposed to end. Investigators James and Amelia go to the site while their coworkers remain behind. But in seconds, Amelia vanishes in the cursed house and the others are forced to find her with no help from their bosses. Will they be able to get her back or will the house claim one final victim?

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