New Winslow S6E40


Iris bolted out of the back room to see Andrew locking the door of the shop behind him, despite the fact she’d only been open an hour. “Andrew, what the hell is-”

“They’re buried,” he said, coming closer and motioning for her to go into the back room with him.

She followed his lead and he closed the door behind them, leaving them in a darkness only broken by the glowing EXIT sign at the back of the room.

“I was at Town Hall,” Andrew said. “We were doing paperwork and Baxter asked to talk to me in private.”

“You didn’t, right?”

“I didn’t go far, Noah and Liv were right around the corner. And yes, he did threaten me. Not in so many words, but trust me, it was implied. But Iris, he said they’re buried. The papers, he knew exactly which ones they were and they’re buried with Evelyn Harbinger.”

“So we have to dig up Harbinger.”


Andrew looked stunned in the thin strip of red light and Iris realized a moment too late that that wasn’t the direction his mind had gone in. “Jesus, how the hell do you expect to get away with that?”

“I don’t know,” she hissed, aware that they were both whispering as though someone might have an ear pressed to the door outside. “But if those papers are in her coffin, then that will give us the answers we need.”

“Evelyn Harbinger died in 1950,” Andrew said, and Iris’s hopes deflated as the meaning of that statement became clear. “Do you really think any paper buried with her survived until now?”

She could hope. Maybe they’d been tucked into a protected area of the coffin, where the ravages of time wouldn’t get to them. “Maybe paper doesn’t dissolve that quickly,” Iris said, as though that could possibly be true.

There was one person in town who could answer that question for them and Iris wasn’t welcome anywhere near her without express permission. But maybe this would be worth the fight. “Come on,” she said.

“I swear to God, Iris, it’s broad fucking daylight.”

“No, no, we’re going to the town archives.”


Iris knew that Judith wasn’t going to be happy to see her. In fact, she was actually surprised that she got in the front door of the New Winslow Historical Society before being thrown out. The fact that Andrew was with her had to be a factor because otherwise there was no way that Judith would have helped, even after the revelations from earlier in the winter.

For a moment she stood outside the heavy wooden doors of the Historical Society and considered maybe she should knock on the door. Then she remembered, no, this is a public building. No one was going to be there to answer, so while she was tempted to just go home and figure out a new grave robbing technique, she knew she had to do this. And if she didn’t do it, there was no way that she could force Andrew to do it instead. So she screwed up her courage and push the front door of the archives open

Judith Perez was standing there by the front desk talking to the secretary. Both women spun around at the sound of the door slamming open. “Iris,” Judith snapped, “What the hell are you doing here?”

“I’m sorry!” Iris exclaimed, turning to see Andrew still standing in the doorway, clearly not about to get in between her and Judith. “I just needed to talk to you.”

Judith raised her eyebrows and the secretary looked almost amused, much to Iris’s dismay. “And you couldn’t call?”


That got Judith’s attention. Despite her irritation, she glanced from Iris back to Andrew, then to Iris again. “Come on,” she said, motioning for them to come in.

The secretary looked surprised as she moved aside to let them pass. As Iris walked past the desk, she saw the picture that had caught her attention when she’d come in this way last winter, the last time she’d come in the front door of the archives. The mansion. The one Andrew had confirmed was the Alderidge place before the fire.

“Honestly, Iris,” Judith snapped again once they were in her office with the door firmly closed behind them. “What part of subtlety and secrecy did you forget about?”

“I know, I’m sorry,” Iris said, holding up her hands in surrender. “But I had to ask you something important.”

“What?” Judith asked. “And lower your goddamn voice.”

If they couldn’t be friends, hopefully Iris could at least keep them all safe. Or they could all keep each other safe. “How long does it take for paper to deteriorate in a coffin?”

Judith blinked at her for a moment. “Why would you possibly… no.”

Iris nodded grimly as the implications of her question sank in with Judith. “The pages,” Judith whispered.

“They’re buried with Evelyn Harbinger,” Iris said, keeping her voice equally low.

“How do you know?”

“Charles Baxter told me,” Andrew whispered, stepping toward the two of them. “He confronted me at Town Hall and told me they had done it for the safety of the town. I don’t know who ‘they’ are, but I’m assuming it’s his father who did it as he likely couldn’t have pulled that off as an infant.”

“Shit,” Judith muttered.

“If the papers are still there, then maybe…”

“No, put your shovel away,” Judith said, rubbing a hand over her eyes. “Those papers are long gone. Even if they’d done something to protect them, which I doubt they did considering they did it to hide the truth, nothing they could have done would keep paper intact for this long in a coffin. Even if no moisture got in, which is an extremely big if. And think about the paper Harbinger used. It’s not bad quality paper, but even the best available during that time would have been ravaged. And since she was writing during World War II, when paper was rationed, we need to consider what was available to her.”

Judith’s voice had taken on a bit of a professorial lecturing tone. What she was saying was actually pretty interesting, outside of the horrific implications for them. However, beside her, Andrew just looked mostly relieved that she wouldn’t be making him dig up a grave anytime soon.

“What do we do?” Iris asked, mostly rhetorically.

“It’s a lead blown,” Judith said. “Do you have any others? From your side of things?”

The metaphysical side was what she clearly meant. “I’ve got two,” Iris said. “One’s not answering the phone and one might be a possibility.”

“I hate to say it, but you’re going to have to rely on those connections to get that information,” Judith said. “Even if you wanted to dig up her grave, it isn’t marked.”

“What the hell do you mean?” Andrew asked.

“I mean I’ve been looking for Evelyn Harbinger’s burial spot for a month and we’ve only got one cemetery in town. I have a death certificate in 1950, but no burial records.”

“There’s no way that’s unintentional,” Iris said. “Baxter’s family must have… Christ, what the hell are they hiding that they wouldn’t even give this woman a gravestone? How could her family have let them get away with this?”

“You’re assuming she had a family,” Judith said. “She existed, but that’s about all I can prove in the town records. They’ve been altered too.”

A headache was blooming in Iris’s skull, but she tried not to think about it right now. There was too much else to focus on. “Alright,” she said. “I’m going to try Rosalind again tonight.”

“Is she the one who isn’t answering?”

Iris wasn’t sure exactly how much Judith actually believed her, but the otherwise sweet and gentle Judith wasn’t exactly the humoring type when it came to Iris. Any sweetness she’d had toward Iris had evaporated a year and a half ago and Iris had only herself to blame.

“No,” Iris said. “She… I had a bad reaction to her energy the first time I tried. The last time, I think there was something there. I can’t reach her son at all, there’s just nothing when I try. But she’s there in some way, so she seems like my best lead.”

“And the son – Samuel – you mean he’s not answering?”

Judith seemed to believe what Iris was saying. “No,” Iris said. “It’s like he just doesn’t exist, but I know he does. I’ve also been trying to reach…” She sighed, rubbing her temples. “There’s a boy, Billy McBride. He was Samuel’s best friend. And I know his spirit is at the Countess still. I’ve heard him there multiple times. But every time I try to reach him, he ignores my summons.”

“I’m not surprised,” Judith said with a shrug. “That’s how you refer to it? Your summons? I’d ignore it too.”

Iris’s face burned. Andrew looked meaningfully at her and she briefly considered smacking him. “That’s all I have for you,” Judith said. “You should go now. You came in the front, so I can’t have you go out the back to avoid attention. But for Christ’s sake, could you at least call next time and say you’re stopping by? Now Mari knows you were here and her aunt is on the council.”

That hadn’t even occurred to Iris and, judging by the surprised look on Andrew’s face, it hadn’t occurred to him either. But it was such a simple thing that Iris was suddenly surprised she hadn’t gotten screwed by this yet.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“Me too,” Andrew added.

Judith sighed. “It’s fine,” she said. “It’s a small town, we can only hide so much. Just be careful.”

She walked the two of them back down the hall toward the front door. Mari, the secretary, was behind the desk. She waved brightly as they left and Iris gave an awkward wave back.

“Worst fucking spies in the universe,” Andrew muttered as they got back in Iris’s car a moment later.

“That answered our question though,” she said. “Not the answer I wanted, but at least we’re not going to waste any more time digging through cellars for those papers.”

“Or digging up graves,” Andrew added. “You actually wanted to do that, didn’t you?”

Maybe a little. Iris didn’t want to consider what that might mean about her. But she just shrugged. “I’ll try Rosalind again tonight,” she said. “Last time didn’t go nearly as bad as the time before, so maybe third time’s the charm.”

“The last… Iris, you tried to reach her again?”

“Yeah,” Iris said, surprised at the frustrated tone. “I just told Judith that. It was fine, it was nothing like last time.”

“Did you think maybe you should call and let me know? Or something?”

Maybe he had a point, considering the first time she’d been so sick that she could barely get to bed on her own. “I was fine,” she pointed out. But at his expression, she added, “Maybe I should have called. But I promise, it was fine.”

“Are you going to do it today too?”

“Yeah,” she said. “We need answers. We need to know what happened the night of the fire. And if Harbinger’s pages are gone, then one of these three silent ghosts is going to have to be the ones to tell us. Preferably one of the two who were actually there.”

Andrew was quiet for a second as Iris started driving. “Why are you so hellbent on reaching Billy McBride, then?” he asked.

“Honestly, I’d rather reach one of the other two,” she replied. “But if I can talk to Billy, maybe he’ll have some insight, or he can help me reach the others. He seems like the most present, you know what I mean?”

“Not at all.”

“His footsteps are in the Countess all the time. It’s his childhood home, and he’s constantly walking around in it.”

“And you’re sure it’s him.”

“As sure as I can be. I’m not the only one that’s heard him.”

“No, of course not,” Andrew said. “But we’re talking about spirits, yeah? And what makes you think it’s actually him, as opposed to an echo of him among the other ghosties lurking there?”

It wasn’t his fault that the irritation of being asked that yet again flared up, so she tried not to let it out in her voice. “Because there’s just enough variation,” she said. “The footsteps are there, but there’s other movements that change. And an echo wouldn’t do that. It has to be him, Andrew. And if he’s the only one truly connected with this plane, then he’s our best bet. If the other two want nothing to do with me, maybe they’ll talk to him.”

Andrew studied her for a moment and she tried not to turn away from the road to look at him. “Alright, I suppose,” he said. “Seems like the long way round, but our options are limited. Unless Baxter Sr decided to laminate those pages, we’re going to have to look to these ghosts for help if I ever want to get out of here.”

He sounded less happy about that than she would have liked, but at least he was working with her.




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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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