New Winslow S7E51

Iris was eager to get started as soon as Andrew and Noah explained what was going on. Andrew felt better in here, surrounded by magic and sturdy locks. Iris was a professional after all, her setup made this shop nearly airtight when she wanted it to be. And if Noah said he was ready to keep moving on this, who was Andrew to tell him not to?

As Iris set up her audio recorder and got the spirit board ready, he turned to Noah.

“Sorry for snapping at you earlier,” he said. “I was really on edge, but I shouldn’t have done that.”

Noah shrugged. “It’s fine.”

He didn’t elaborate, just continued to look around the shop. They’d been here a number of times since they’d managed to connect with Billy, but Noah still looked a little unsettled whenever they were here. Not that Noah ever looked particularly settled these days. It was like there was constantly a buzz of energy under his skin, keeping him from relaxing. Andrew knew there were a lot of factors to it, but he wished he could help more than he was right now.

“Got it,” Iris called over before Andrew could say anything else. “Alright, Noah, you’re in the circle with me. Andrew, you stay out there.”

Noah walked into the chalk circle, standing beside Iris as she barely rested her fingertips against the planchette on her old spirit board. “We’re trying to contact Billy McBride,” Iris said. “Billy, it’s us. Your descendent, Noah, is here. He’s your family, remember? Can you speak to us?”

The room was silent except for the faint buzzing of electricity through the lights. Andrew wondered if they should turn those off. Maybe fluorescents kept the ghosts away as well. Did that make sense or was it bullshit? Despite all his time steeped in this world, he’d barely scratched the surface of what was possible.

“Billy?” Iris called after a moment of stillness. “Can you hear me? I’ve got Noah here. We need to talk to you, it’s important.”

She looked grim as the planchette remained motionless in front of her. “Are there too many locks on the place?” Andrew asked.

“That’s not it,” Iris said. “I just took down all of them except the ones specifically targeting Roland. I’ll put them back up after, but he should have no problem getting in.”

“Billy?” Noah called, his voice catching slightly. “Billy, man, we need you.”

After a few more minutes of silence, Iris handed control of the planchette to Noah, but the planchette remained as lifeless as it always had.

It was an hour of this before either Noah or Iris would call it quits. Andrew appreciated the determination, but he didn’t want them wasting time and energy any longer than they had to. To keep himself from intervening, he pretended to be interested in some nearby crystals that he had actually shelved a few days earlier. But finally, he came back over.

“I appreciate this,” he said, knowing full well he was tiptoeing into dangerous territory. “But you should take a break.”

“Why isn’t he answering?” Noah asked.

“I assume the reason he didn’t answer me before was because you weren’t here and he only wanted to talk to family,” Iris said. “But I don’t know why he doesn’t now. He seemed pretty distraught on those recordings, which has me worrying that he might be more volatile than we expected. So he might not hear or understand us all the time.”

Noah was glancing around the room and Andrew recognized the expression on his face. He was looking for a solution, some big thing they hadn’t considered that would be the key to solving all of this. And Andrew had a bad feeling about where this was going.

“But it might not be that,” Iris said. “Maybe he’s just being an eighteen year old and ignoring us.”

I’d ignore you too. Judith’s words came unbidden to Andrew’s mind. “We should get going,” he said, hoping his disappointment wasn’t audible in his voice. “Iris, thanks for taking the time.”

“Hang on.”

Andrew dreaded what Noah was going to say after that. Iris looked at him as she started putting the spirit board back in its case. “Are there any other options for talking to the dead that we haven’t tried yet?” Noah asked.

“Noah-” Andrew started, but Iris shook her head.

“Not really,” she said. “I mean, there’s the standard seance again, but if a spirit board isn’t working, sitting at a table holding hands isn’t going to either.

“Do you think if you were to hypnotize me again, you could talk directly to Billy?”

“Noah, no,” Andrew snapped.

Noah ignored him. Meanwhile, Iris looked cautiously thoughtful. “Maybe,” she said after a moment.

“Liv said she talked to him when I was sleepwalking,” Noah said, still deliberately avoiding Andrew’s gaze. “She said to leave for the night and he listened. I know it’s different, like, states, but what if we tried it again? And you, you talked to him, right? I remember that, I remember you asked my age and I was him! And I told you I was eighteen.”

Noah’s voice was on the edge of frantic, tripping over his words as though he was rushing to get his thoughts out before someone stopped him. And Iris had that look on her face that Andrew knew meant she was seriously considering what Noah was saying. “I don’t know that it was him,” she said. “It’s possible, but it’s more likely that it was you, just deeply influenced by his memory. Billy won’t talk to me. He hasn’t talked to me at all unless you were there.”

“But I was there. And I will be there. And maybe it’ll be different if he’s talking to me. Do you think maybe I could talk to him that way? Or maybe he’ll be more receptive to actually having a conversation with you if he’s talking through me? Since I’m there.”

He seemed to just be desperately throwing ideas out now. “I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Andrew said. “If we couldn’t reach him today, then we’ll just try again tomorrow. Maybe he’s just off the clock for the night, yeah?”

Liv was going to kill them all, then dig him up and kill him again specifically for letting anything happen. And here was Iris seriously considering what Noah was saying, as though Liv hadn’t held her at knifepoint a matter of weeks ago.

Fine. If Andrew had to pull out the guilt card, he would.

“Noah,” he said. “Celine stitched your soul back together after last time.”

“It’s not the same,” Noah said, finally turning to look at Andrew. “This isn’t…Vivien’s dead. And I’m not going to leave.”

“Liv wouldn’t want you doing this.”

“It’s not her decision.”

“Then I don’t want you doing this.”

That, at least, got him to pause. Sensing his in, Andrew stepped into the chalk circle. “I already told you,” he said, running his hands gently up Noah’s arms as he looked up to catch his eye. “Anything that involves putting you at risk to get me out isn’t worth it.”

The ringing of the phone interrupted any argument that Noah might have. Iris went to get it while Noah looked around the room to avoid eye contact. Everything about this was too familiar and Andrew needed to figure out a way to convince Noah to leave with him right now.

And the town of New Winslow delivered in its usual shitty way.

“Who is this?” Iris snapped. “Who are you?”

Andrew couldn’t hear the other person, but he didn’t need to. Iris hung up the phone, the extra force causing it to ring out just slightly as it landed. “Fuck,” she muttered, rubbing her forehead.

“Was it a gravelly sort of voice?” Andrew asked.

She shook her head. “High pitched,” she replied. “Like something out of a cartoon.”

“So either Baxter is a very talented voice actor in his spare time or he’s got several people doing his dirty work for him.”

“You two should leave,” Iris said, her voice laced with tension and disappointment. “Billy isn’t coming through tonight and there’s no point wasting our energy. You’ve got protections up, right?”

“A lot of them,” Andrew answered, relieved.

Noah looked ready to argue, but Iris looked at him. “We need to be careful,” she said, with a firmness Andrew had never heard from her. “I know you think we’re going too slow and maybe you’re right. But if we mess up, the consequences could be brutal. For you, for Andrew, for all of us.”

“Let’s go to the town line before we go home,” Andrew said before Noah could argue with her. “Maybe it’ll let me out because it has a sense of humor.”

Noah looked at him. “Fine,” he said. “You guys know better than me.”

It wasn’t said in the kindest tone, but Andrew would take it if it meant not having to have that conversation with Liv again.


Thirty minutes later, they were at the town line, Andrew leaning heavily against the invisible barrier in the glow of Noah’s truck’s headlights. Like always, there’d been that tiniest spark of hope as they pulled up. And like always, it had been immediately extinguished.

“Come on,” he said to Noah, who was standing beside him, one foot barely over the line. “Let’s leave, we’re not protected here.”




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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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