New Winslow S6E65

As soon as Dr. Degas left, Noah turned back to Iris. “Do you really think someone is trying to reach me?”

“I do.”

“And is this what you did to Liv?” he demanded, that same aggression returning to his voice.

Iris’s eyes widened as she shook her head. “No, that was completely different.”

She looked like she wanted to say more, but there wasn’t anything else to say about that. Andrew watched as she looked up at Noah. “It would be to help you remember the dreams more clearly, that’s all,” she said. “It’d just bring your subconscious to the forefront. You’re in control the entire time and I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. And I promise you can get out of it at any time. Andrew’s here too, okay?”

There was more than a trace of desperation in her tone. Noah looked uneasy, and Andrew could tell he was about to shut Iris down completely. And Andrew couldn’t blame him. But then Iris put a hand on Noah’s arm and he turned back to her. “Listen,” she said. “I’m not positive, but I think I know who it is. And if you can remember their message, it might be the key to breaking the curse and getting Andrew out of here.”

Noah looked at Andrew now. He tried to keep his face as neutral as possible so that Noah didn’t think Andrew was going to pressure him, even as his heart hammered at the idea that Billy McBride might be willing to talk after all.

“It could help Andrew?” Noah asked, holding Andrew’s gaze.

“It could.”

Noah stayed where he was for a long moment, then he turned back to Iris and let out a long breath. “Yeah, sure,” he said. “I guess. What do you need me to do?”

“Loosen any tight clothes,” she said, looking relieved. “And try to relax before we begin. Um, sit or lay down. I can find a yoga mat somewhere or…”

“I’ll sit here.”

Noah sat stiffly in the small metal chair Andrew had used during the meeting. Iris looked like she wanted to say something, but she left it alone. Instead, she pulled her bag over the counter and started searching through it. Andrew looked at Noah, who was more tense than Andrew had seen in a long time.

“Do you want me to stay or leave?” he asked.

Noah glanced over at Andrew again. “It doesn’t matter.”

You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”

“It’s fine.”

He still looked uncomfortable and Andrew was beginning to think this might not work. He wasn’t sure what would be the best move for him right now, but he stepped aside to give Noah a little breathing room.

“Alright,” Iris said, the unease leaving her voice as she looked at Noah. “Are you warm enough?”


“Good. Can you lock the door?”

The last part was directed at Andrew, who jumped as Iris picked up a pink crystal. She held it up in front of Noah, who somehow managed to become even more tense as she did so. Iris’s face fell, and she looked around the shop for a second. “I need… shoot. Andrew, can I borrow your watch?”

“You’re going to swing a watch in front of my face?” Noah asked incredulously as Andrew unclasped his watch and handed it to Iris.

“Not quite,” she said softly. “Just relax. It’s okay.”

He didn’t look at all relaxed, but Iris didn’t seem concerned as she took Andrew’s watch and held it up in front of Noah. “I want you to keep your eyes on the watch,” she said, lifting it just above his eye level. “Just keep your eyes right there. On the watch.”

Her voice was low now, the words slower and more deliberate as she tilted the watch to catch the neon pink light from the nearest display case. Noah shifted his eyes up toward the watch and Andrew could see that he was still skeptical. But he followed Iris’s instructions as she told him to breathe and keep his gaze on the watch.

Andrew walked over to the door and slid the deadbolt into place, taking his time to give Noah some privacy. He could hear Iris talking to him, the smooth stream of her voice too quiet for Andrew to make out all the words. The shades were still down from their quasi-clandestine meeting, so the shop was dim despite the bright afternoon sunlight glowing orange behind the cheap fabric.

Andrew had no idea how long this was supposed to take. But there was nothing that could pull him from this shop right now if Noah needed his support, whether Iris’s idea worked or not. Which, judging by the way Noah had been decidedly un-relaxed since the moment he’d walked in the door, it likely wouldn’t. But there had to be another way to hear Billy’s message when this didn’t work out. Andrew would lock any disappointment away, deep down where it couldn’t hurt anyone. And then they’d move on, yet again.

He stayed where he was, taking a few minutes to straighten an already-perfect display. Iris was still murmuring behind him and he was tempted to turn around. But he didn’t want to distract either of them. He looked at the protections around the doors, noting how specific they were. Was she only worried about Roland, or was he missing something more advanced in the looping designs carved discreetly into the doorjamb? Maybe they were in the frame of the building itself. That might be something to consider for the duplex and the Limerick building. Andrew would have to ask her about it sometime soon.

“Two…one…that’s it,” he heard Iris say encouragingly. “That’s it, you’re doing great.”

Andrew turned and saw Noah’s head had fallen forward to his chest. Iris was whispering to him again as Andrew made his way back over to them, now realizing how certain he’d been that this wouldn’t actually work.

Iris looked up at him with a small, excited smile. He’s fine, she mouthed. Andrew nodded back at her, then watched as she carried on.


Noah hadn’t expected much. The idea of letting Iris hypnotize him was not one he was too thrilled about. Both the idea in general and Iris in particular. He’d been all set to refuse her request and get the hell out of the shop when she’d said it might break the curse. So then of course he’d agreed to do it. Because he’d do anything for Andrew and it was long past time he just admitted that to himself.

He felt ridiculous as he strained his eyes upward to look at the watch she was holding. She kept telling him to relax, and he forced himself to try for Andrew. If this would even work. Which it wouldn’t, it was an enormous waste of time.

No. He’d promised to help in any way he could, and apparently this was something he could at least try to do. So Noah needed to shut the hell up, stop being so skeptical, and just follow Iris’s instructions. Then maybe he could actually be useful for once in solving the curse.

Step by step, he did what she told him, focusing his attention on his breathing and the glint of the watch raised uncomfortably above his line of sight. Despite his initial unease, pretty soon he couldn’t help but relax. He was doing everything right, he wasn’t messing this up too. And it was something he could do for Andrew.

Iris kept talking, her voice a wordless wave by now, and his eyes were so tired as she told him to close them. All the thoughts that had been swirling around his head about what he needed to do after this, as well as the usual yelling that rang through his mind all the time, had all gone to sleep and he could focus everything on what they were doing right this second.

It was quiet now. On one level, Noah could hear Iris perfectly as she kept talking. He couldn’t quite remember why they were doing this, just that it was important and it was for Andrew. But it was alright, he’d remember when he needed to.

He was drifting, his body weightless on the waves. By now he was dimly conscious of Iris and the shop around him, but his awareness flickered as he dipped in and out of the darkness. Iris spoke to him and he knew he was answering, but didn’t know what exactly he was saying.

Soon she was leading him somewhere, telling him he was safe and could go back to the messages. Noah didn’t know about any messages, but the dreams were clear again. The waves roared, the previously gentle motion becoming ferocious as they tossed his body and towered over him. He was talking, the words coming out without having to think about it. He described the waves and felt them slapping against his face as though his words were bringing them to life.

He was afraid.

“It’s alright,” Iris said, her voice distant above the wind. “You’re not really there. You’re safe.”

So he was. He could still see the storm and the ship, but it was detached now, like he was watching a movie. Still, Noah felt uneasy. And when she asked him what he remembered while sleepwalking, he couldn’t bring himself to say it.

“I want to be done,” Noah said, shaking. “I don’t want this.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Iris said. “We can be done. Come on, set the dream down and let it go.”

He felt it drift off, the fear evaporating as quickly as it arrived. Time didn’t seem to be passing at all, and he was okay with that. Iris spoke to him and he answered, but his words and awareness faded away again. Then she was counting, and he was coming back to himself, feeling of the chair underneath him and the heaviness of his body.

“One, awake and alert.”

He lifted his head and looked at Iris, who was smiling. “How are you feeling?” she asked.

Good question. Noah blinked and looked around, trying to get his bearings. That vague peaceful feeling was still wrapped around him, even as reality filtered back through. There was the shop, his own hands. He glanced over and realized Andrew was standing a polite, yet protective distance away.

“Um, good,” he said. “Yeah, I feel good. Did you get what you needed?”

“Not quite,” Iris said. “But it was definitely a start. Would you be willing to try it again later?”

Now that Noah had gone through the process already, he wasn’t quite so concerned about it. And apparently, it was actually going to help Andrew. “Sure,” he said. “If you think it’ll help break the curse.”

“I do,” Iris said, and the confidence in her voice made him sit up a little straighter. “I’m certain someone is trying to contact you in these dreams. And if we can figure it out, I’ll be able to respond. When can you come back? Tomorrow?”

“No,” Noah replied, and Iris’s face fell slightly. “I have plans tomorrow.”

“All day?”

That lingering contented feeling was quickly evaporating. “Yeah,” he replied flatly. “All day. I’ll be out of town.”

Noah saw Andrew glance over at him. Why had Andrew stayed? The peace was gone, replaced by an agitation that was rapidly spreading through him. The phantom sound of waves still rocked Noah’s heart, and he needed to get out of here for a little while.

But it really hadn’t been so bad, not like he’d feared. If things worked the way Iris seemed to think they would, then maybe it was better to just keep going and figure it out. Keep Andrew safe. But Cleo had taken the day off so the two of them could go to Andrew’s storage unit and get his things for the new apartment. Noah didn’t know when she’d be able to go again.

Still, maybe he should come back tomorrow morning before they left. Or just offer to do it again right now, even if he had a headache and felt like he’d just drank a gallon of coffee. Maybe Noah was just being selfish. This might be what he needed to do for Andrew, to keep him safe.

But none of this meant that he fully trusted Iris.

“Sorry,” Iris said, looking like she meant it. “I just think we’re close.”

“No, it’s fine. We could do it right now if you-”

“No,” Andrew interrupted quietly. “Don’t rush for me. Day after tomorrow is fine.”

“Day after tomorrow,” Noah repeated. “I have the Limerick during the day, but I’m free late afternoon.”

“Thank you!” Iris exclaimed, startling him slightly. “Yes, perfect. Um, I think it will be pretty much the same as what we just did.”


“Are you alright?”

She was looking at him with genuine concern in her eyes. “Yeah, I’m fine,” Noah said. “Just a little anxious. Or something.”

“I’m sorry,” Iris said. “I’ve had that happen to me before too. A hot bath or shower usually helps. Or we could do a quick guided meditation?”

Noah shook his head. “No, I think I’m going to go home and shower,” he said. “I have to go to work soon.”

“Hang on, I’ll go home with you.”

That was code for Andrew was going to drive and Noah knew it. But he didn’t argue.

“Call me if you need anything.” Iris said.

Not a chance, but he nodded anyway.




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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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