New Winslow S7E12

Missy was working at the front desk of the Countess when Iris walked into the blissfully cool main foyer. “Iris, hey!” Missy said with a broad smile.

“Is Vivien here?”

Missy’s smile faded. “I really can’t give out that information, Iris,” she said. “What’s going on?”

“She hurt my friend,” Iris said. “And she needs to fucking fix it. Where is she?”

She waited for the “I told you so” from Missy. After all, Missy and her wife Anna had, in fact, told Iris multiple times not to get involved with Vivien. And she hadn’t listened. Though, to be fair, this time she and Vivien were only tangentially related.

“The friend I told you about the other day, the missing one,” she said. “He came here. And Vivien- she – I don’t know. He was vulnerable, and she got to him with her fucking energy wiping thing. And now she’s going to undo that or I’m going to kill her.”

By this point, Missy had gone from placid and cheerful to barely containing her anger and Iris couldn’t tell how much of it was heading in her direction. “I told her,” Missy said as she looked across the foyer, her voice trembling slightly. “I told her not to bring that nonsense into my home.”

She spun around and jabbed a finger at Iris. “And I told you, young lady, not to get involved with her!”

“This one wasn’t-“

“I don’t care!” Missy snapped. “She’s reckless and dangerous and you’ve been headed down that same path. And it isn’t going to end well for either of you!”

“You can’t kick me out, please!” Iris said, her own voice shaking. “I need to be here when she gets back. She tried to get to Roman, and he told her no. But she got to Noah somehow.”

“Iris, I don’t know who Noah is,” Missy said, her voice gentler now. “But if Vivien hurt him, then yes, stay here and wait for her. But I mean it, I don’t want any of this on my property. No magic, no fighting, no nothing. You two want to go at it, get it away from the property line.”

A mean, insulted part of Iris thought that if she and Vivien were to go head to head in here, then there really wasn’t much that Missy could do about it. But her attention was pulled to the front door as it opened and Vivien appeared in elegant silhouette against the glaring sunlight.

“Oh, Iris, what a surprise!” Vivien cooed as she came in the door. “And I don’t get surprised easily, you know.”

She laughed, the sound tinkling down Iris’s spine in an infuriating way. She remembered the rage in Olivia’s grip as she slammed Iris into that bookshelf. Now Iris was tempted to do the same to Vivien. “Vivien,” she started instead, squaring her shoulders and swallowing her fear. “What did you do to Noah Kelly?”

“Who, darling?”

“Don’t pretend you don’t know,” Iris said. “You did something to him the other day and now his memory and energy flows are all messed up.”

Vivien frowned prettily. “That couldn’t have been me,” she said. “I have countless clients and nothing like that has ever happened. I would know.”

“It’s been two days, I’m sure you remember,” Iris snapped as Missy watched them both with narrowed, angry eyes. “He might have been upset, or in shock when you found him?”

Vivien made a show of thinking, even tapping on her chin with an elegant finger, all of which just made Iris even more furious. “Perhaps, but like I said, I get so many people begging for my help. Even over the course of a few days, it’s hard to keep track.”

“Kid’s seven fucking feet tall, does that maybe ring a bell?”

Iris glanced over at where Roman and Celine were standing in the entrance to the foyer. Even from here, Iris could feel the energy crackling around Celine and, judging by the way Vivien’s eyes narrowed as she looked over at them, she could feel it too.

“Oh, the McBride boy. That’s right, how did I forget those family eyes?”

Iris’s heart was hammering in her chest. “Not the ghost,” Vivien said, “No, little Billy’s spirit is still lingering here. I can sense him now, up there in his room, all alone. No, the living relative. Oh yes, Iris, I do remember him. You hurt him, didn’t you?”

Now Missy was looking at Iris pointedly. Neither Roman nor Celine looked surprised by this, so Andrew must have told them the whole story. “What did you do?” Iris demanded instead of trying to defend herself.

“I removed his pain, just like I do for all of my clients,” Vivien said, idly checking a perfect deep purple fingernail for chips. “He seemed satisfied with my work when he left.”

Celine stepped forward, ignoring Roman’s half-hearted attempt to stop her. “You need to fix it,” she said. “Whatever it is that you’re doing, you’re tearing through people’s energy. You’re damaging their souls. You’re not helping, you’re hurting them.”

Vivien looked at Celine, a ghost of a smirk on her face as she scanned her. “The pretty one,” she said, nodding to Roman. “Sweetie, you should know that this kind of work can’t be undone. Souls, really? We’re not stage magicians. I wiped away the energy. I destroyed the energy and destroyed his pain.”

Iris rolled her eyes. “Basic fucking physics,” she muttered.

Vivien turned to her. “Hmm?”

“You can’t ‘destroy’ energy,” Iris said. “There’s a solution. Find it.”

“My, aren’t you bossy these days,” Vivien said with a laugh.

“Listen, whatever this is, I’m sick of it,” Missy said. “Vivien, we’ve already discussed this, so none of it damn well better be happening in my inn.”

“You know there are other places in the region who would be happy to have my business,” Vivien snapped.

“I’m sure they would,” Missy said.

Iris knew that Olivia was on her way with Noah right now, but she didn’t know how much longer it would take. “Please,” she said, turning to Missy. “Just let her fix what she did here. Then you’ll never see either of us again if that’s what you want.”

Missy looked a little tempted by that offer, which stung. But she softened slightly as she looked at Iris. “You know I don’t want that,” she said. “But you need to make better choices.”

She turned to Vivien. “Can you fix…whatever this is?”

“There’s nothing to fix,” Vivien insisted.

“Then put it back to how it was,” Iris said.

The front door creaked open and Iris’s heart started going even faster as she saw Olivia step inside. Olivia looked at her with that familiar fear and anger in her gaze and she noticed that Noah was walking protectively beside her. Right, the first possession had happened here, hadn’t it? And despite that and despite Iris’s presence, Olivia was willing to be here with her friend.

Iris buried that pang, that wish that she had someone like that, deep down where it couldn’t hurt her right now.

Noah looked healthy enough. In fact, he looked way better than he had when he’d left her shop the other day. But any hope that things had magically resolved themselves on the ride over died when she saw him looking at Roman, eyes wide for a second before he politely tried to hide it.

Roman gave him a wry smile and Noah looked a little sheepish.

“Sorry,” he said. “It’s just…it’s weird seeing you out of New Winslow, man. That’s all. I’m a jackass.”

Roman actually laughed. “I’m just glad you’re alright.”

Vivien walked over to Noah and looked him over, very slowly and deliberately. “Do you remember me?” she asked him.


“Step aside, dear.”

Vivien said this to Olivia, who somehow moved even closer to Noah. “No.”

“Relax, I’m just checking my work.”

“What the hell do you mean, your work?” Noah snapped.

She put a hand to his cheek, much like Celine had done back in the yard. But there was no tenderness this time. “I can’t get over those family eyes,” Vivien murmured.

She took a long breath, the inhale and exhale excruciating, and likely intentionally so. Iris thought of Andrew, who was probably losing his mind back in New Winslow. Not that things were much better here right now.

“I suppose I can try,” Vivien said finally. “If you want me to, that is. Are you happy?”


“I said, are you happy? Or more, are you in pain right now?”

“No?” Noah replied. “I’m just confused. Who are you again?”

“I’m the one who took your pain away, dear.”

Vivien patted his cheek, then turned to the room at large. “I need to rearrange a few things in my schedule, but be here tomorrow if that’s what you want.”

“Why not now?” Olivia asked, the heat in her voice outweighing the fear.

“Because there are people out there who are even more powerful than I am, believe it or not, little medium,” Vivien said smoothly. “And I can’t back out of my obligations to them. Tomorrow afternoon. I’ll give you my word.”

That meant something, especially as small sparks came from Vivien’s fingertips as she spoke. Iris glanced at Celine. “Tomorrow, then,” Celine said, looking over at Noah. “Noah’s free to make his own decision, but I’ll be here tomorrow, regardless.”

Noah looked like his decision was about to be telling them all to get fucked. But he stayed where he was, looking around the room distrustfully. “Liv, you alright?” he asked.

“I’m…yeah, I’m fine,” she said. “Just a lot that’s happened. Here, I mean.”

Olivia looked like she might cry and Iris took a breath, waiting. They were talking so quietly that Iris was pretty sure she was the only one who could hear. “We’ll talk tonight,” Olivia continued. “The decision is yours, but we have to talk tonight.”

“If that’s everything, I really do need to go get ready for my event tonight,” Vivien said. “I’ll be here tomorrow, I’m not some monster.”

She swept past Roman and Celine, then they all heard her footsteps going up the stairs. “Listen,” Missy said as they faded out of earshot. “Tomorrow is fine. But anyone who is not staying here, please head out now. I’ve got other guests that are checking in in the next forty minutes and they don’t need this, alright?”

Iris wanted to say something, anything to fix things on her own end. But she just nodded. “Thank you, Missy,” she said.

She walked out at the same time as Olivia and Noah, keeping a careful distance. Noah waved cheerfully as they got in their separate cars, but Olivia didn’t even acknowledge her.


“Hey, I was thinking I’d get a six-pack and some pizza. We can watch a movie or something tonight.”

Why did Olivia look like she was going to throw up when Noah said that? Maybe it was the pregnancy. “Have you seen my phone?” he asked her, feeling around the side of the passenger seat. “I can drive if you want.”

“I’m fine,” Olivia said. “But no, let’s…come on, let’s go in the backyard for a bit.”

They got out of the car. Liv looked strange, and he didn’t blame her. The events of the past few hours seemed to all be blending together in his brain right now, and grasping onto them was difficult enough that he didn’t want to bother.

The sun was almost completely gone as Olivia led him into the backyard, where the flood light turned on immediately, illuminating the plants he’d bought earlier in the day. “Listen,” she said as they sat on the stone wall together. “And Noah, I really need you to listen.”

“When don’t I?” he asked with a laugh, doing his best to hide how insulted he was.

“Remember what we talked about earlier?” she asked, ignoring that. “Your memory is messed up, that’s why we were at the Countess. That woman Vivien did something to screw up about three years of your memory.”

He started to interrupt, then faltered as she pulled out her phone and showed him the display, which included both a gorgeous picture of the baby inside and the full date.

“No,” he said, shaking his head.

“Yes,” Olivia said firmly. “Noah, I need you to keep that in your head. Because it has to be your decision tomorrow whether you want to let Vivien fix your memory.”

“If she, like, took my memories, why wouldn’t I want her to?” Noah asked.

Already, that year on her phone was trying to fade, but he held onto it tightly, repeating the numbers over and over in his head. If he was missing memories, of course he needed to get those back. Why was that even a question?

“Listen, the past few years…” Olivia started as he felt the numbers trying to escape again. “They haven’t been great for you.”

“Okay?” Noah said. “Did you have the baby?”

“Yes, I had the baby,” she said. “She’s gorgeous. She’s two years old and her name is Mia. You’re like a father and an uncle to her. She adores you.”

Why couldn’t he remember something like that? Noah nodded. “What else?” he asked.

She took a deep breath and he waited with dread. “You’re an alcoholic,” she said. “Recovering. You’ve worked really hard and you’re doing great, but I know it’s difficult for you. You’re in, um, AA. I don’t think you’re doing the steps? I don’t know, you haven’t mentioned anything about it if you are and I don’t really… But it’s helped. That and rehab.”

No wonder she’d rejected the beer idea so quickly. Embarrassed, Noah looked out into the woods. “That’s not all,” he said with a bitter laugh. “You wouldn’t be this uncomfortable if that was all.”

For a second, he didn’t think she’d tell him. But there were tears in her eyes as she took his hand. “Your dad…” she trailed off again. “Noah, your dad died a couple years ago. Cancer.”

That one wasn’t processing. He knew he should be devastated, knew that this should absolutely knock the wind out of him. But it was like it couldn’t get in. She might as well have been reading him a newspaper article about someone else’s dad for all the emotion this brought up.

Olivia waited a moment. “Are you okay?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Noah said. “Yeah, I am. That’s weird. I don’t think I should be. I love my dad. Do you think it’s whatever that woman did that’s making me okay with it?”

“It’s your choice,” she said instead of answering. “And if you choose not to let Vivien try to fix what she did, no one is going to be mad. At least, no one who matters.”

“What about Andrew?”

“He won’t be mad.”

“No, I mean, what happened with him? Why is he here? He hates this place.”

“He got stuck.” Olivia said. “Noah, a lot has happened. Look, you guys should talk. If you decide not to-“

“No, I can’t.”

For all her talk of it being his choice, she looked devastated for a second before she realized he wasn’t talking about the memory thing. He looked toward the house. “Liv, I can’t do that.”

“It’s fine,” she said.

She looked like she had more to say, but she just kept holding his hand as they sat in silence.




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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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