New Winslow S7E13

Vivien looked elegantly skeptical as she assessed Noah, who was sitting across from her at a small table in one of the many parlors off of the Countess’s main foyer. Noah, on the other hand, looked politely confused as Vivien stared him down.

Olivia knew it ultimately had to be his decision to try to repair the tear in his energy, but she’d stayed up all night worrying that he would decide he was happier like this. And judging from the movement she’d heard out in the living room from Andrew – who had spent the night despite the fact that, in theory, he had his own apartment now – she knew she wasn’t the only one. They’d at least managed to convince Cleo to stay away for the night. Liv knew that if Cleo got hit by the curse right now, just as she and her mother were both in the process of moving, the three of them would all separately never forgive themselves. But judging by all the late night texts she’d received, Cleo wasn’t sleeping either.

When Olivia had woken up that morning to see Noah sitting in the yard, looking out of the woods, she’d gone outside to talk to him. The door squeaked on its hinges as she opened it, but he hadn’t looked back.

“I’ll do it,” Noah had said as she approached. “I want her to fix me.”

He hadn’t looked broken while he was sitting there. In fact, he looked peaceful, like maybe he hadn’t spent a sleepless night like the rest of them. As he sat in the sunlight with his coffee on the deck step beside him, all the worries of the past several years were gone. This was going to hurt, all the memories coming back. But even as she felt selfish, she could be incredibly relieved.

“What do you need me to do?” Noah asked now, his gaze darting quickly over to Olivia, then back to Vivien.

“Do you remember what we did?”

Noah frowned. “No? Is that-”

“That’s not an issue,” Vivien said, waving away his question. “It’s a simple process, at least when done the right way. Which I did, with no expectation of trying to change it later.”

Olivia sat on a small antique couch, perched on a flat cushion that wasn’t doing much to make it more comfortable. She was at one end while Celine was at the other, Roman between them. Iris sat on a couch on the other side of the table, watching intently. And Olivia knew that Andrew was checking his phone every thirty seconds back in New Winslow.

Iris lowered the lights while Vivien put a hand to Noah’s forehead, her fingers curling over so that the tips brushed the crown of his head. “Close your eyes,” she said.

That was it? No candles, no chanting? Olivia was skeptical, based on this woman’s theatrics yesterday. But then the candles on either side of her sparked to life as the scent of rosemary and lemon rose from the small pewter dish on the table. The flames danced almost in unison, gently illuminating Vivien’s face while leaving Noah in darkness. On the other side of Roman, Celine let out an almost imperceptible scoff.

Vivien hummed softly, her light voice blending with the scents and the flickering of the candles in a way that made Olivia dizzy. She thought it was solely the lack of sleep until Roman gently nudged her. She glanced at him and he leaned in. “Stay focused,” he whispered in her ear. “It’s all part of the illusion.”

She glanced at Celine, who nodded. “Illusion?” she whispered back.

“The theatrics,” he said, glancing at the table, where Vivien still had her palm firmly on Noah’s head. He had his eyes closed, but his shoulders were stiff and even in the darkness, Olivia knew he was forcing himself not to bolt. “She’s not faking, but the atmosphere is bullshit.”

She swallowed a laugh, forcing herself to stay sharp. Noah needed her to. And she needed to be able to kick this woman’s ass if she didn’t fix what she’d done.

She wasn’t sure what Vivien was doing, but nothing seemed to be changing. There was no flash of remembrance on Noah’s face, or spark of lightning around them, or whatever. Iris was watching carefully on the other side, her face solemn in the flickering lights.

Olivia suppressed a shiver, any amusement at what was happening gone. Theatrics or not, these people kept messing with others for their own ends. And she was very decidedly not going to think about her own experience right now. It was bad enough being back here and she needed to force it down until everything was over.

The humming grew louder and she didn’t realize she was shaking until Roman took her hand in his. His hand was rough and comforting and she gripped it tightly. Celine glanced over and Olivia’s face went hot, but Celine didn’t say anything, just nodded to her again, then went back to watching Vivien’s work.


Noah flinched and ducked away from Vivien’s hand. “Jesus Christ, that’s hot!” he snapped.

“I’m trying to do the impossible,” Vivien said, her haughty indifference tainted by petulance. “To remove the pain, that is easy for me. Not for others, but it is my specialty. I didn’t get into it to put the pain back, so you’ll need to be patient if I’m even going to try.”

“You can’t do it?” Olivia blurted out.

“No one can do it, little medium,” Vivien retorted. “Not if I can’t.”

She motioned for Noah to come back, then put her hand back in place on his head. “Mr. McBride, you were happy with the results when I was done.”

“My name is Kelly,” Noah said. “Not McBride.”

“I’m sorry,” Vivien said, not sounding sorry at all. “It’s those family eyes. You’re connected. Don’t you feel him walking above us?”

Iris looked wary. “No,” Noah said.

“You will,” Vivien said. “And you’ll feel every drop of the fear and pain you came here with, just as fierce and burning just as brightly as it was when I found you. And you’re sure you want to do this?”

“I’m sure,” Noah said, scowling under her hand.

“Then let me focus.”

Another twenty minutes of humming and smoke and light. Shadows danced on the walls around them and Olivia realized she was still holding Roman’s hand. And then, just as quickly as the swirling show had begun, it dropped away. The candles went out and the smoke curling from the stone bowl seemed just a little less pungent.

She looked at Noah, who was still sitting motionlessly at the table with Vivien’s hand on his head. Vivien had a look of great concentration on her face in the light of the single remaining candle. Then she let go of Noah’s head and snuffed the flame, leaving them in darkness.

“Iris, get the light,” Vivien said.

Olivia could hear the shuffle and it might have been funny in a different situation. But then light flooded the small room. Noah looked exactly the same, eyes still closed. He opened them and looked around.

“Nothing’s changed,” he said.

Olivia’s heart dropped and Vivien scowled.

“I tried,” Vivien said with a shrug. “Like I said, there are some things that can’t be undone.”

Noah blinked again and Olivia considered whether she could take this woman down. Vivien was powerful, but she was a little smaller than Olivia was. Olivia could take her if she was fast enough.

“You’re a clown,” Celine said, disdain dripping from every syllable as she walked over to where Noah and Vivien were sitting.

Vivien stood up and looked at her. “Oh, what, and you’re going to try? A pretty face and some household magic doesn’t make you a sorceress, sweetheart. You might be strong, but if I can’t alter my own handiwork, there’s no way you’d be able to do so.”

“Look,” Noah said. “I just want to go home, alright? If it didn’t work, then fine, whatever. Just…let me leave.”

He got up before anyone else could say anything and walked out of the sitting room. Olivia hurried after him, leaving Celine and Vivien in the room, staring each other down. But as she was catching up to Noah by her car, Celine was hurrying out the door toward them.

“Listen,” she said. “I can’t make any promises. But Noah, if you want this, I can try. It’d be different from her approach, more like stitching the energy tears back together. And I can’t promise anything, like I said. But it seems like it could work.”

“Can we do it at home, at least?” Noah asked. “This place gives me the creeps.”

“Of course,” Celine said. “Do you need a night first?”

The sun was still up, but it was midafternoon by this point. “Not unless you do,” Noah said.

“We’ll be in my apartment,” Olivia told her. “Just let me know when you’re coming over.”

She remembered the feeling of Celine forcing the spirit out of her body last winter, the power emanating from her as Olivia regained control. And she realized she felt more hopeful about this option than she did about anything Vivien might have done.




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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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