New Winslow S7E19

An hour later they were lying quietly under the blankets on Andrew’s bed, clothes tossed on the floor beside them and no sound except for the rain now coming down outside. Noah was dozing, an arm draped over Andrew, who was lying on his side, gazing out the window. The fire escape was old and rickety and from where he lay, he could see mud puddles forming in the grass of the yard next door.

Had he fucked this up again? Feeling slightly foolish, Andrew mentally scanned himself. He felt warm, comfortable, maybe a little stunned that he was currently naked in his bed with an equally naked Noah beside him. And he’d had sex for the first time since well before he’d gotten trapped here, so he was feeling pretty damn good.

But no guilt. No obligation. No fear about where this was going or how he’d say goodbye.

Yes, Andrew wanted to be able to leave New Winslow. Of course he did. But if the past two years had taught him anything, it was that he couldn’t wait until then to live his life. And if Noah wanted to do this too, then Andrew was going to take that joy where he could.

Noah murmured something, his breath warm against Andrew’s neck. Andrew smiled and rolled onto his back, shifting so Noah could settle in against his chest. As Noah got comfortable, Andrew saw the tattoo on the arm draped over him. That simple compass rose he’d seen bits and pieces of since coming home. He traced a finger over the ink lines, feeling the way small parts of it were raised on Noah’s skin.

His watch was on the same arm. It was a little after four and, as much as Andrew wanted to stay here, he knew that Noah had plans tonight. So he reluctantly nudged him.

“Hmm…what?” Noah murmured.

“It’s quarter past four,” Andrew whispered. “What time is your meeting?”

“What meeting?”

Andrew laughed. “And you mentioned work you had to do?”

“No one ever actually looks at the back door.”

Noah nestled back in and Andrew was so tempted to just let him keep sleeping, especially when he was feeling so relaxed here too. The relief of having Noah back safely, the good nerves that were flickering back to life as they lay here, and the idea that after all that had happened, here they were, all had him smiling as he ran a hand through Noah’s graying hair.

“Come on,” he said. “Up you get. I know you want to go.”

Noah groaned, but reluctantly rolled off of Andrew, sitting up beside him. “Fine. God, I know when I’m not wanted.”

The joke was obvious, but sent a pang through Andrew anyway as he sat up too. And Noah must have seen something in his face because his face fell. “Shit, I mean-“

Andrew kissed him before he could finish depressing himself again. “Shush.”


As he was leaving his AA meeting a little while later, that itch to do something productive was gnawing at Noah. And it wasn’t because he’d been lazy. No, between working at the Limerick and spending his late afternoon having sex with Andrew (which he was still internally flailing and panicking and celebrating about as he tried to focus on his meeting) it had been a busy day. But they were in the middle of something important. And now that the pieces were back in place, he needed to do this for Andrew.

Noah took out his phone and dialed as he was walking to his truck from the church steps. After a few rings, it connected.

“Forest Charms, this is Iris.”

“Iris, it’s Noah.”

“Noah, hi! How are you?”

“Fine,” he said. “Listen, what do we do from here?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, for the curse. What’s the next step?”

“Well, I mean, we found Billy McBride,” Iris said as he suppressed a shiver. “My thought was that he might be our key to reaching the Alderidges. So we need to establish two-way communication with him.”

“Do you know how?”

Noah got in his truck, slamming the door closed behind him. It was sticking a little. He’d left the door open, hadn’t he? How had the battery not died? Christ, he didn’t even remember getting his truck back.

“I have some ideas,” Iris said as he started up the truck. “Are you free at all tomorrow? Billy McBride has never answered any of my calls, but I think maybe if you were with me, that might change.”

“And how are we calling him?” Not that it made any difference, Noah would do whatever it took.

“Spirit board,” she replied, to his immense relief. “We’ll try a spirit board with you present and see what happens.”

“Why do you think…I mean, why did he talk to me?”

“Well, I don’t know if he necessarily talked to you,” Iris said. “Remember? It’s just a theory, but he might not have even realized he was sending you those messages.”

Now he was a little lost. “Wait, you weren’t there,” Iris said. “I mean, you were there, but you weren’t there there when we talked about that.”

He knew she meant the fact that he’d been in a trance when they’d had that discussion, but the shame from years of being disconnected from everything floated up anyway. He tried to shake it off and listen.

“So, my theory is that he’s projecting those traumatic memories out from where he is at the Countess or wherever he’s lingering around. That happens and then the energy signal can be picked up by someone with a connection to the source, even if they’re not particularly psychic.”

“Which I sure as hell am not,” Noah said.

“Not at all?”


“Huh,” Iris said. “Okay. But Vivien kept saying you were connected to him by blood, so she must be right about that one.”

He’d somehow forgotten how exhausting talking to Iris could be. The windshield wipers attempted to clear the rain from his windshield, leaving streaks behind. He’d have to get new ones soon, he thought, then pulled his focus back to Iris.

“Okay, so my theory is that this connection is what is drawing Billy to you, consciously or not. It’s…like I told Andrew, it’s an energy transfer, so my primary worry is that the energy might hurt you.”

“No, I’m fine, that was all from Vivien’s…whatever she did.”

“Did it hurt?”

“Did what hurt?” Noah asked, feeling like he was stepping into a trap.

“Like, after. Did it hurt? Physically, I mean?”

That crushing headache he had nearly forgotten about. “I don’t…not that bad,” he lied.

Iris was quiet for a second and he knew she hadn’t bought it. But this was Iris, so maybe she wouldn’t let something so small as Noah’s physical comfort get in the way of obtaining knowledge?

“Either way, it’s a concern,” she said, releasing them both from the trap she’d accidentally sprung. “But a spirit board doesn’t concern me like that. And if you’re there with me when I try to reach him with the spirit board, then maybe he’ll respond.”

That seemed harmless enough, though Noah knew that with Iris, nothing was ever guaranteed. “Alright,” he said. “How about tomorrow morning?”

“Perfect. I’ll see you then.”




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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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