New Winslow S7E26

Andrew had to be impressed that Iris held off for two days before having Noah back at the store. He wasn’t particularly thrilled with the fact that she had to know that Noah was going to continue to be reckless about all of this. And the fact that Noah had immediately dived back in with the same recklessness after everything was also irritating him enough that he was going to have to address it at some point.

But after their session with the spirit board, where Billy had made himself known, Noah had said he wanted to go back to Iris’s and try again. This time, maybe they could get something out of Billy. Maybe he’d gotten the stress out of his system last time and would be ready to talk.

As they walked into Forest Charms, that sense of doom Andrew had expected didn’t quite materialize. Maybe it was because Noah was obviously nervous. He wished Noah had told him he was coming back the other day for multiple reasons, but especially because maybe he wouldn’t be as nervous now if Andrew had been with him then.

But, just like Olivia had said the last night during a very late whispered conversation that neither of them had wanted to be audible through the vents to upstairs, Noah was an adult. He was entitled to make his own decisions about his life, even if they weren’t great decisions. So instead of saying anything beyond what he’d said in the kitchen the other day, Andrew had just quietly said he’d like to come along for tonight’s meeting. Noah didn’t seem to notice anything strange about it, but he supposed that Iris and Andrew having their meetings was such a regular thing that Noah probably reckoned that was the main reason Andrew was going.

But having the three of them in the shop was so similar to that last session before Noah took off that Andrew still had to stop and take a breath as they walked in. Iris was in the back, but she came out as the bell rang.

“Hi!” she said cheerfully, as though there was nothing weird happening at all. “I have everything we need, but do you think we should go upstairs and do it or stay down here?”

Noah shrugged, but Andrew could see the way his eyes went to the metal chair and the glass balls displayed on the counter. “Do you think it would make a difference, energywise?” Andrew asked Iris, hoping Noah didn’t catch him watching.

“Doubt it,” Iris said. “There might be less interference though. If Noah’s the beacon that’s kind of pulling Billy here, then that won’t matter. But if it’s the spirit board, then maybe the energy could get confusing downstairs.”

Andrew supposed some of that might make sense. And there was a possibility that it was all bullshit designed to make Noah feel less guilty about moving them upstairs. But he glanced at Noah. “Upstairs sound good, mate?”

Noah nodded, and they headed into the small wooden stairwell. Noah hit his head twice on the low ceilings and Iris grimaced as they got into the apartment, where the ceiling wasn’t much higher. “Sorry,” she said.

“Not like it’s anything new,” Noah muttered with a hand pressed against his head.

Iris laid out the candles and drew a protective circle in chalk on the living room floor. “Noah, I’ll need you inside the circle,” she said. “Just like last time. Andrew, how about you stay right outside it? We don’t want too many people in there.”

He felt ridiculous being offended and tried to shake it off. “Right, sure thing.”

It was just like any spirit board session. Andrew watched closely as Iris called Billy. She told him Noah was here beside her and they wanted to talk to him. “Last time you kept repeating ‘home’,” Iris said. “Can you tell me why? Do you want to go home?”

The planchette under her fingertips slid over to YES, the first indication Andrew had seen that Billy was aware of any of them.

“Billy McBride, this is you?”


“And you’re in your childhood house now, right?”


Poor Billy, Andrew realized with a start. This had to be so confusing for him. He looked over at Iris. “If that isn’t home, what is?” she asked gently.

The planchette moved under her fingers. Andrew couldn’t see it, but Iris and Noah watched closely. “New Winslow?” Iris said after the spirit slowly spelled it out on the board. “Yes, your house was moved to Petersham, but that’s not home, is it?”

She was being so gentle with him.


The planchette kept moving.

“Woman…house…New Winslow…” Iris read slowly. “Is that me that you’re talking about?”


“I don’t understand,” Iris said as the planchette slid again. “Billy, I was at your home,” Iris said. “I called you and you didn’t answer.”


“Was it another time? Did you see me at your house?”


“Is that what drew you here?”

That’s when the planchette took off on its own again, just as Noah had told him about before. Iris’s fingers barely stayed on as the words came through too fast for Andrew to read from where he was.


She pulled her fingers away from the planchette, blowing on them as Noah motioned toward the board. She nodded, and he took her spot. A noise of protest rose in Andrew’s throat, but he hung back.

“Billy, um, hi,” Noah said awkwardly. “I think we’re related. I’m Noah? I’m Miranda Kelly’s son. She’s the granddaughter of your cousin Katherine. Do you remember Katherine? She would have been a kid when…”


“I know you miss your family,” Iris said. “We want to help you rest so you can see them again, but we need your help too. Thank you for talking to us.”

The planchette slid toward GOODBYE. “Wait!” Iris said. “Wait, I still want to talk to you!”


She took her spot back from Noah and tried a few more times to ask Billy questions, but it was just like all the other times when he hadn’t answered. Finally, she reluctantly closed the door and unsealed the circle.

“So he did know who you were,” she said a few minutes later as they all sat at her little kitchen table, just off of the living room. “I think it was when I was there with, um, with Olivia. If he sensed the connection to New Winslow, maybe that was what caught his attention after all these years? Some things the owners said back then kind of fit with that too.”

Noah was nodding like any of this made sense. But Andrew could tell under the fatigue he was encouraged by what had just happened. Andrew was too, but Noah’s eagerness still had him apprehensive about what was going to come next.

“And he wasn’t going to talk to me, I’m not his family,” Iris said thoughtfully. “But you are. And if he latched onto you, then that would explain the dreams starting up. And the pain you felt when you remembered his death.”

“Pain?” Andrew asked, looking at Noah, who suddenly seemed to find a hangnail on his finger fascinating.

“It was fine,” he muttered. “Just a headache.”

“It was from the energy Billy was putting forth,” Iris said, ignoring the way Noah was looking at her. “You aren’t a psychic and you aren’t trained to deal with it in any way. So of course it hurt you.”

Andrew wasn’t happy, but Noah ignored the pointed look Andrew was sending him. “I’ve got other family though,” Noah said. “My sister and my mother are also blood relatives and they’re still alive. Why go after me?”

“Because you’re the only one who is physically in New Winslow?” Iris suggested.

“I wasn’t in New Winslow when the dreams started, though.”

“Where were you?”

“Iris, bloody hell,” Andrew muttered, rubbing his forehead.

Iris looked at him. “What?”

Noah grimaced, but then gave a little laugh. “No, it’s fine,” he said with a quick shake of his head. “I was in rehab. For alcohol abuse.”

In the yellow light of the overhead fixture, Andrew saw Iris’s cheeks go red. “Sorry.”

Noah shrugged. “It is what it is,” he said. “But I wasn’t in New Winslow. Why stick to me?”

Iris thought for a second. “Did you ever dream about home when you were in there?”

The look that came over Noah’s face made Andrew’s heart break. “Every night,” he admitted.

He reached over and took Noah’s hand, giving it a squeeze. Noah took a deep breath. “So now what?”

“I’ll have to think,” Iris said. “But it’s you he’ll talk to. Apparently nobody else unless you’re here. And the energy is intense, but he’s the only one that has answered without violence.”

“I’m sorry, what?” Noah asked, looking at Andrew.

“The son hasn’t answered,” Andrew said. “And the mother set Iris on fire.”

Noah looked horrified. “We’ve set that option aside for a little while,” Iris said.

“Yeah, I fucking hope so.”

Noah stood up. “I have to go, I’m taking Mia for Liv for a little while tonight, so I have to go pick her up from her grandfather. Andrew, are you coming over or are you going home?”

Right, the flat. The flat he’d literally moved all of his belongings into? Why was this such a hard question to answer? He wanted to say yes, absolutely, he was coming over. But maybe Noah wanted a break from him.

If he thought Noah was capable of those kinds of mind game questions, but that was completely unlike him at all.

“Do you want any help with her?” he asked instead.

“Only if you want to,” Noah said. “If you want a break or anything…”

And now they were at an impasse like they were teenagers again. “Thanks, Iris,” Noah said as Andrew floundered. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow? I’ve got both jobs, but I can do any of this either early in the morning or later at night if you want.”

“Yes,” Iris started to say, but must have seen Andrew’s face, because her eagerness faltered. “I mean, only if you’re around.”

“I am.”

“Or we can do the next day?” Iris said, again clearly picking up on every nonverbal message Andrew was sending her. “That works fine- better, it’s better – for me. I think everyone could use a rest.”

Maybe there was hope for her yet. The three of them said goodnight, then Andrew and Noah headed downstairs, where Andrew was immediately called out by his own brain for his hypocrisy. “If you want to come over, we’re not doing anything exciting,” Noah said. “So don’t feel like you have to.”

They made their way out of the shop, letting the door click locked behind them. Andrew tested it with a brisk tug as Noah pulled out his keys. “We could always try to contact Billy too,” he said. “I mean, the faster we get answers, the…”

He trailed off as Andrew turned and looked sternly at him. “Let’s do a movie,” Andrew said. “No, two movies. A cheery kids’ film for the girl, then something else for us that has nothing to do with anything we’ve been doing here. I’ll even let you pick.”


When Olivia got home from her mother’s house, still wearing the nicest dress she’d ever owned, Andrew and Noah were asleep in her living room. She tiptoed past them into the nursery, where she gave Mia a gentle kiss on the forehead. When she came out, Noah was awake and looking at her.

“You look hot,” he said through a yawn. “How was the event?”

“Good,” she said. “Fancier than anything I’ve done in a while. But she had fun, and it was so nice to see her get an award.”

He nodded and rubbed his face as she sat down on the end of the couch. “He’s spending the night?” she asked, nodding toward Andrew.

“I guess so,” Noah said. “We came from Iris’s.”

There was that same icy chill that she kept trying to smother. “Any progress?”

“This poor kid latched onto me because I’m his only blood relative left in New Winslow, apparently.”

“Are you still dreaming about him?”

“I kind of was a few minutes ago,” Noah said. “I mean, along with the storm, because that hasn’t gone anywhere. But he was thinking of home, I think. And there was a woman, not his mom. I think it was Rosalind Alderidge. He was young, and she was so kind.”

“Maybe she was,” Andrew said sleepily from his spot on the other sofa. “She had a kid who loved her, it makes sense his best friend would too.”

Olivia wasn’t sure how she felt about Noah receiving new messages from Billy McBride, especially within the bounds of their house. But before she could ask any questions, Noah stood up and stretched. “I’m going up to bed,” he said. “See you both tomorrow.”

Olivia half-expected Andrew to get up too. Whether it was to follow Noah upstairs or to go to his own apartment. Though they still basically shared a car and he was far too polite to ask to borrow it in the middle of the night. But instead, he just waved a hand to Noah, then smiled at Olivia, clearly only half-awake.

“Stay there,” she said before he could even ask. “I’m going to bed too.”




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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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