New Winslow S7E46

Andrew’s phone rang as he was debating advertising options on social media and drinking yet another glass of orange juice to try and ease the hangover from last night’s sleepover with Cleo. The sound made him cringed as he looked over and saw Iris’s name on the screen. “Hey, Iris,” he greeted as he answered, abandoning his laptop on the couch to get up and look out the small window at the rain coming down.

“Andrew, hi,” Iris said. “Are you and Noah free tonight? I wanted to try the spirit board again, maybe see if we can get some clearer answers. If he’ll talk to Noah, I’m thinking it’ll gradually get more coherent as he gets used to the communication. We can start taking steps to ask Billy to talk to Samuel. Or, if you’re not around, do you know if Noah is?”

Andrew sighed. “Um, Iris,” he said. “I think Noah should take some time away from this.”

“That seems like his decision, Andrew.”

He knew she didn’t mean to press his buttons, but they were pushed anyway. “He fucking relapsed,” he snapped. “Stole Liv’s wine, got drunk after nearly a year sober, and isn’t doing great. So, yeah, it’s his decision but I think you should know what you’re asking before you hang up with me and go call him like I know you’re about to.”

There was silence on the other end, just long enough for him to feel guilty. “Right,” Iris said. “No, you’re right. Sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry,” Andrew said, rubbing his forehead to ease the hangover creeping back into place. “You didn’t know. But can you maybe give it another day or two?”

“Of course,” she said. “Maybe there’s still a chance that Samuel will answer me directly, rather than us having to go through Billy to reach him. I can try that for now, it might work.”

Not likely, based on every other time she’d tried. But he had to appreciate the pivot. Then he paused. “Hey, Iris,” he said.


“Tell me to shut up if you have to. But is there…is there a reason we haven’t tried to talk to Evelyn Harbinger about all of this?”

Again, the pause on the other end. “Huh,” Iris said finally. “That’s…a really good idea. Assuming she actually exists.”

“Why would we think she doesn’t? She’s written three books on New Winslow history?”

“And Judith can’t find any sign of her in the cemetery or anything at all beyond the fact that her name is in the town’s history. What if it’s a pen name?”

“Can you still find her if it is?”

“I don’t know,” Iris said thoughtfully. “Vivien, um, Vivien told me she’d talked to her. It’s worth a try. I just figured we were searching down so many other paths right now that if the pages were gone and…shit, that is what I’m going to do.”

“Just be careful, yeah?” Andrew said. “I don’t think she seems like the fiery type, but we never know. And I really, really don’t want you getting hurt.”

“I won’t,” she said, as though that was a promise she could make while still remembering the way the flames had crackled and Vivien had screamed.

“I should come over,” Andrew said.

“It’s not going to be anything intense,” Iris said, though based on her tone she was clearly only half in this conversation right now, the other half of her concentration going toward figuring out this new puzzle. “No, this seems more like…do you know what lucid dreaming is?”

“Yeah, when you know you’re dreaming inside the dream,” Andrew said. “I’ve had that happen plenty of times. Is that what you’re thinking?”

“Yeah,” she said. “The spirit board isn’t all that good for conversations and really, what’s the proof that you’re talking to the right person? I wanted to find who caused the curse and got Roland instead.”

Her voice was lightly self-deprecating and Andrew laughed as he glanced at over at the clock. “Obviously I can’t ensure that I’ll dream about her, but it’s a safer option than a summoning or…” Her confidence faltered as she said it.

“Or self-hypnosis that might lead to nothing but a nap? Or a spirit board that might lead to Roland the Second?” Andrew finished lightly.

She laughed and he could feel the weight lift a little. “The nap is a bonus here too, but God, don’t conjure that second one up,” she said. “Alright, I’m going to go do a little preparation and see if I can talk to her. I’ll, um, let you know?”

“You’re sure you don’t need me there?” Andrew asked. “We close at six today, I’ve got the evening.”

“No, all you’d be doing is staring at me sleeping,” Iris said. “But I really appreciate it.”

“Of course,” Andrew said. “Call me after, alright? Or call me anyway, even if it doesn’t work.”


Iris was fairly good at falling asleep whenever she wanted to. It had been a gift in college and she still used it sometimes today. Usually for situations like this that called for attempting lucid dreaming. She’d done it plenty of times, including to try to contact the Alderidges. It hadn’t worked, outside of seeing flashes of their lives that she couldn’t quite prove. But now, as she blinked and stretched after half an hour of quiet meditation on her living room floor, she was preparing to contact Evelyn Harbinger.

The idea of contacting Harbinger had occurred to her in the past, but before she had truly considered it, they’d made contact with Billy McBride through Noah. So she had figured they might as well stay on that path. But if Noah was doing that badly this week, then a potentially futile attempt to contact an old historian might be worth spending an afternoon on.

Contacting Billy to actually speak to him was still going to be a priority once Noah felt better. Maybe he’d allow her to put him back into a trance and try to actually talk to Billy through him. Not possession, necessarily. More using his body as a conduit, like a magic telephone. It had worked already with the traumatic memories Billy had been sending forth. And maybe now that they’d responded, he would be able to really talk to them. Even right now, she felt a little leery, but Noah would be fine with it. He seemed like he’d do really anything that it took to break the curse. And get Andrew out.

Oh, yeah, that made sense. The curse wasn’t the priority there, Andrew was.

Iris took a hot shower, trying to go through her ordinary bedtime routine as though it weren’t early afternoon. All the windows were blocked, and the room was dark. The only light came from a small lantern on her bathroom counter as she washed, then slid into pajamas. The house was equally dark as she got back into bed, reminding herself over and over that she was going to lucid dream today. She’d meditated on the idea, used the shampoo she saved for magical and magic-adjacent situations, and now she was going to go to sleep, saying the words over and over to the beat of her own heart.




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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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