New Winslow S7E30

Noah was alone in the Limerick, sweeping the back hallway before they opened. It was about five o’clock in the morning and already warm in here. Nothing felt quite right this morning and even with music blaring in his headphones, he felt out of sorts.

Normally, he’d have music playing throughout the building, but Andrew had moved in upstairs and Noah wasn’t an asshole. Or, at least he wasn’t the type of asshole to blast music when someone was trying to sleep. Especially Andrew. If anything, Noah was far more tempted to go upstairs and crawl into bed beside him.

It had been a week since the séance, and they hadn’t made any movement toward contacting Billy McBride again. Noah wasn’t sure why they needed to move so slowly, but he was trying very hard not to get impatient with the others about it. There was a simple solution here. He was the one that Billy would respond to. So why weren’t they just bringing Noah in and keeping him there by the spirit board while Billy’s answers gradually came through? Or ask more questions on a tape recorder? He’d certainly shown up loud and clear on Roman’s recording, so there was a path forward there. They could just give him some time to become more coherent, especially if they were moving slowly anyway.

Or they could just try talking to him literally through Noah again? Or they could just try talking to him literally through Noah again?

He knew that what had happened to him was a major part of everyone else’s hesitation, but it wasn’t Billy that caused his memory loss, it was that creepy Vivien lady.

He could remember it now, following her to her room at the Countess. She’d told him they were going somewhere else, somewhere he couldn’t know, so he’d need to wear a blindfold in the car. Noah didn’t care, not when it felt like his skull was trying to split in two with the knowledge of Billy’s death and all the memories flooding toward him in ways they never had in his waking hours.

He’d accepted the blindfold in a daze, the effects of the trance maybe still lingering on him, he didn’t know. But the time seemed to stretch oddly as they drove, Noah’s agony lessened with the touch of Vivien’s hand on his head. He still didn’t know where they ended up, just that the car had stopped, he followed her out, and then nothing. Then he’d been looking at plants in the Home Depot garden center.

Not that it was his first blackout. Not by a longshot, and the thought had been lingering somewhere in his mind all the time.

Fuck, Noah needed to just get over it. He was fixed. Celine had stayed for hours stitching his soul back together for him. She shouldn’t have spent that kind of time on him, not on Noah. And then  there was Liv. Liv had gone through a much more harrowing experience and she hadn’t had a choice in the matter. So he wasn’t going to complain. He was just going to push through and finish the job.

And if he got a headache from the energy or whatever, then he got a headache. He’d sleep for a week after Andrew got out safely. Who cared?

That scratchy back doorbell he’d been meaning to replace went off, barely audible around the music in his headphones. Noah set his broom aside, listening as he made his way to the back door. There was still silence from upstairs, so hopefully it hadn’t woken Andrew up, not on his one morning to sleep past six this week.

Noah moved the charms aside and pushed the door open to see Isabel Rivera out there, smiling at him from under a blue ball cap. “Morning!” she said cheerfully, handing him the clipboard.

He scanned the order form as she pushed the dolly containing their pallet into the back hall. “Is Olivia here?” she asked.

“No, just me,” Noah said as he checked everything off. “Her daughter was up late with an ear infection, so I made her stay home.”

“Poor thing,” Isabel said, and the light disappointment on her face was encouraging when Noah considered Liv’s very obvious crush. “Can you tell her I said hi?”

“Sure,” Noah said. “I’ll be seeing her tonight. She’s single, so it’s usually just us.”

He waited a beat to see Isabel’s reaction to his not at all subtle comment. And she did smile, just a little. Just enough that Noah felt like it was several years ago and he was playing wingman again. Like he’d felt the other day, young and upbeat, but now with everything else still intact from the years that had passed.

He winked at her, then passed over the clipboard. “She’ll be here tomorrow,” he said.

“Great. By the way, I found this out back. Is it yours?”

Isabel handed him a small piece torn and slightly muddy paper. The words NO MORE were written across it in a thick permanent maker and there were some symbols he didn’t recognize. Everything about it made Noah uneasy, and he turned it over to see that there was nothing on the back beyond marker bleed through.

“Not mine,” Noah said. “I can check with the others though.”

“It was just on the ground, maybe it blew off a car or something.”

“Yeah, maybe…”

He looked at it again. He didn’t want to jump straight to a threat, but he’d hang onto this until Andrew got up, then see what he thought of it.

Isabel left and Noah got back to work, but his eyes kept straying over to the paper on the counter.



Iris held the small scrap of paper in front of her, studying it as she walked into her shop. It was a simple piece of printer paper scrawled over with sharpie, the letters large and uneven like it had been written in a hurry. This was almost more annoying than unsettling. Obviously it was from Baxter’s ill-planned campaign of terror, but had he scribbled it in the car before sticking it in the door handle of her wooden front door? Was she not worth a little more attention and care to run out of town?

Probably not, at least in Baxter’s eyes. He’d never been a fan of Iris’s, even when she was a skinny little freshman struggling through Biology I and complaining about dissecting a frog. So maybe this one was actually him and not some lackey he’d sent in his place.

And all of this analyzing was Iris trying to avoid thinking about the fact that this asshole was trying to get her to shut up and leave it all alone. And he was now getting more persistent and personal with it.

She’d been at the general store, picking up some groceries right after they opened, so her own shop wasn’t due to open for another hour. She flipped the lock behind herself, then started up the stairs to her apartment, so deep in thought that the buzzing of her phone nearly startled her back down the stairs.

“We got a threat at the shop.”

Andrew didn’t even bother with the pleasantries, something she knew meant that he was too angry to bother being polite. It didn’t seem to be directed at her, she remembered the coldness in his tone last time it was. But still, she felt the urge to apologize.

“Why? You didn’t do it,” he said, after she’d given into that urge. “But this morning our supplier found a paper in the back lot with a note scribbled on it. Noah showed me about five minutes ago.”

She looked down at the paper in her own hand. “Printer paper with NO MORE written on it?” she asked.

“Once in a while you could pretend you aren’t psychic when we’re on the phone,” he said with a grim laugh.

“I wish that’s what it was,” Iris said, sliding a charm out of place, then undoing the three locks on her apartment door. “I got one too.”

He was silent for a second. “I assumed it was him,” he said.

“Or them,” Iris added. “Are we sure that the rest of the town council isn’t in on this?”

“You’d know better than me,” Andrew admitted. “I left here almost ten years ago and had no intention of coming back to this town ever again. I have no clue what they’re like. The only reason I know Baxter so well is high school.”

“They’re not as bloodthirsty,” Iris admitted. “They’re…I mean, they’re lifers, I guess. There’s been no real turnover for a long time. But they’re ineffectual enough that the idea of all of them being in on these threats without it completely falling apart before now is unlikely. At least in my opinion.”

Andrew groaned. “I hate this,” he muttered.

She knew all the reasons why not telling him were both garbage and completely irrelevant considering he’d now been threatened twice. But she still wished she could have just kept these problems to herself.

“We’re solidly secured,” Andrew said. “Alarm system is working and both myself and Celine have done a fair number of charms around the building. Same at home. I mean, Liv’s place.”

She wanted to offer additional help, but there was no way that Olivia was going to allow it. And considering the way she could still feel the tip of that knife and see the furious tears on Olivia’s face, Iris wasn’t going to push that right now.

“I need to open the shop,” she said. “Before I go, though. Have you…have you felt anyone watching you lately?”

“No,” Andrew said. “And believe me, I’ve been waiting for it. But no. Have you?”

“Not like I did,” Iris said. “Roland is still around, unfortunately. But no.”

“It’s odd, isn’t it?” Andrew asked. “But I suppose I’ll take the favor where I can get it.”




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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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