New Winslow S6E5
Noah had been right about the masks. Later that afternoon, Olivia was alone at the Limerick while the other two were at their other jobs. She’d decided to try to finish the small kitchen today and the sheer amount of dust in the space was becoming painful. Eyes watering, Olivia finally relented and walked back out into the front of the shop to get some fresh air. The electricity had been turned on a couple days ago and the entire place was bathed in a dim yellow light as the sun set outside the grimy windows. There were no curtains, and she felt painfully exposed as she looked over and saw her own grubby reflection looking back.
It’s the first day, she reminded herself. They were a day in and already she could see improvement. Nearly all the trash that had been lingering in the back hallway was gone and she was going to take a hatchet to the bigger pieces tomorrow. The galley kitchen wasn’t as cluttered, but it had been closed up for so long that she was going to need to figure out a way to safely go back into it. And judging by Noah’s appearance every time he’d surfaced from the cellar today, she couldn’t even begin to think about how messy it was down there.
She looked around as though the solution to her problems was going to be sitting there watching her. And sure enough, there was a worn red bandanna sitting on the counter. That would work as a face covering if she didn’t want to stop long enough to go to the hardware store and pick up a pack of masks or wait for Noah. Since she had no idea what time he’d be back, anyway.
She was about to pick it up, when she heard a noise out back. “Hello?” Olivia called out, her heart picking up speed in her chest. “Noah, is that you?”
There was no answer. She wanted to just stay in here, but this was her responsibility, right? So Olivia took a deep breath to steady herself, then pushed open the door and stepped out back.
She almost didn’t see the ghost in the corner of the back room. It was so transparent that it took a moment to realize there was a figure there at all. Olivia reached up to make sure her medallion was still around her neck, and paused, waiting for the right decision to come to her. She wasn’t going to speak to this ghost. She wasn’t going to speak to any ghosts ever again. This medallion kept them from seeing her, though unfortunately she was apparently still seeing them.
The ghost glided toward the back door, oblivious to Olivia’s presence. She watched it move into the small hallway leading up to the apartment above them, then disappear.
One point against the charms she’d bought. But it hadn’t seen her, so she went back up front, grabbed the bandanna from the counter, and wrapped it around her face before striding back into the kitchen with her broom in hand.
She’d never know what happened to the spirit that possessed her. If she was honest with herself as she reached precariously up to sweep the cobwebs out of the corners of the ceiling, that was the thing she had the most trouble with. There was no way to get closure, at least not like there would be with a human. And it was hard to talk to the others about it. It was hard to consider things like punishment and justice when it came to the spiritual realm she barely understood. What, was she going to take him to ghost court? There was nothing she could do except take precautions and hope it never happened again. And Olivia would just have to deal with that.
“Liv, you know I’m happy to do this.”
The next morning, Andrew stood at the single wobbly metal table they’d cleaned off yesterday. Its surface was covered in the tools he was going to need. Candles, charms, some savory smelling herbs, and a few things she didn’t recognize. He was standing there, looking like a wizard in expensive jeans and a button-down shirt as he lit a squat, white candle.
“I know,” Olivia said. “It’s just- you’re already doing so much and you’re still working while we’re doing this. And you bought the building, so I just feel bad rushing-”
“Stop feeling bad,” he ordered. “And go do something else so I can concentrate on this.”
Chastened despite his gentle tone, Olivia walked out back to the kitchen. After her cleaning session last night, the space wasn’t quite the disaster it had appeared to be when they’d arrived yesterday. But it still needed a solid scrub and that was something she could throw herself into to stop thinking about what Andrew was doing out there and why it was necessary.
An hour later and the bleach fumes were making her dizzy despite the open windows and cold wind when Andrew came walking in. “Almost done,” he said. “I need to do the back hallway and upstairs. Tonight I can reinforce Mia’s protections as well.”
“Thank you so much,” Olivia said.
“It needed to be done anyway.”
Like he was talking about sweeping the floor or going to the grocery store. She was about to say something, but Andrew had already ducked into the back hallway with his equipment. He’d been clear that he couldn’t promise nothing would get in, but his initial work at the house had been strong enough to keep her out (her stomach roiled again at the thought), so it would be strong enough for now.
She wanted to ask him how he was doing. While she knew he was happy for Roman, like all of them were, it couldn’t be easy for him to still be thoroughly trapped within the town limits. But any time it had seemed like she or Noah was going to bring it up – whether or not they actually were – Andrew had smoothly shifted topics. And then things had gotten so busy at the Limerick that she’d barely seen him. Maybe she’d give it a few more days, then try to talk to him about it.