New Winslow S8E1

(Hello! Welcome back for the final season of New Winslow! Before moving on, I first need to say THANK YOU to all of you. I have an actual Thank You post you can read here. New Winslow has been a long process and I couldn’t have done it without the help of so many people.

And here’s the final season!)


Andrew was back in Boston. He could smell the subway train, that distinct smell of humans and bitter cleaning detergent the T always had. The car he rode in was mostly empty, the lights dim and yellow above him, illuminating only the outline of the seats and the traces of advertisements along the walls between and above the dark windows. He strained to read the nearest poster. It had been so long since Andrew had been in Boston, what were the posters saying these days? But as the car creaked and swayed beneath him through the silent subway tunnels, he could only make out vague shapes.

He wasn’t alone anymore. Next to him in the two-seater was a woman, as tall as him with greying brown hair. She was beautiful, her hair pulled into an elaborate updo that showed off the simple gold chain around her neck. She wore a dress that was far too lovely to be wearing on the T and he couldn’t see her face, but that was okay. He didn’t need to. All he needed to do was sit here and let the rocking of the train comfort him as he made his way home.

Andrew was going home, wasn’t he? That was why he’d gotten on the train at…where exactly? What stop had he been at? He usually got on at the Park Street stop, but that was when he’d lived on Beacon Hill. That flat was long gone now, sold to someone else as Andrew had worked months of overtime attempting to earn the bloody twenty percent that his landlord had required. And now that twenty percent was sitting in a bank account while he was stuck in New Winslow.

Wait, no he wasn’t. He was here on the T. And it wasn’t, either. Andrew had invested it, every penny, into the Limerick building. He owned that building outright with Liv and Noah. They had a coffee shop there. Andrew, God help him, had a coffee shop in New Winslow. So he couldn’t be in Boston right now.

But no, he was pretty sure he was on the Red Line. Was he going Christmas shopping? That must be it. It was Christmas time, and he was heading into Harvard Square to get something for Cleo. 

He needed a gift for Noah too. Was Noah on the train right now? Andrew spun around to look for him, immediately feeling silly when he didn’t spot him. No, of course Noah wasn’t here. Noah was long gone. Andrew was in Boston and he wasn’t going back to New Winslow, so of course Noah wasn’t with him. But maybe Andrew could still get him something nice for Christmas.

“Is this my stop?” the woman beside him asked.

Andrew turned and noticed the woman was now looking directly at him. He looked in her eyes, but found his gaze kept sliding away from them. “Pardon me?”

“Is this my stop?”

The train was still. He couldn’t read the map behind her, but it was her stop. He knew that as well as he knew the Red Line route, like it was etched into the wall of his heart. “Yeah.”

“Thank you, darling. Have you seen my son?”

There weren’t any kids here. Where was Mia? Should she be here? Christ, if Andrew had let Mia wander off on the T, he’d never forgive himself. “No, I haven’t.”

“You will.”

She kissed him softly on the cheek, then got up and walked down the silent aisle, disappearing into the hazy, flickering yellow light. Andrew was alone on the train again. He could smell the faint trace of smoke as he sat here in this hard plastic seat, gazing out the window into the darkness. They had to be coming to the end of the tunnel soon. That Christmas shopping really needed to get done. What was he getting for Cleo?

And that was when the sound of the smoke alarms tore him back to reality.


The smoke alarm going off downstairs ripped Andrew abruptly out of an instantly forgotten dream. He shot up in his bed, looking around the tiny bedroom. No sign of anything off up here, but the alarm was blaring downstairs in the shop. 

Damn thing probably needed new batteries. Swearing under his breath, Andrew threw off the covers and got up. There were probably some fresh batteries down there in Noah’s myriad junk drawers. But if not, at the very least, Andrew could just turn that particular detector off and fix it in the morning like he had done with the phone last night.

These bleary thoughts disappeared as he walked into his living room and smelled smoke.

The alarms in his own flat weren’t going off yet, but there were now multiple alarms screeching downstairs, crying out in uneven formation. He could trace them mentally from the front counter to the back kitchen. Was it the electricity? Or had he left something on downstairs after they closed? It wasn’t like any of them lit candles in the shop, but they had plenty of hot appliances that could easily malfunction and overheat. Liv had the car tonight, so he’d just get out of here and call the authorities, then call her and Noah.

He hurried down the stairs toward the front door of his flat, pulling his shirt up over the bottom half of his face in the thin smoke now curling up the stairwell. The back door was just outside of his, he could get out through there easily as long as he stayed low to the ground and kept his t-shirt over his mouth and nose. But then, Andrew’s pounding heart sank as he took the knob and pulled his hand back with a hiss of pain. The metal was burning hot, and he knew from vaguely remembered fire safety lessons back in primary school what that meant. 

And sure enough, the smoke was now heavier, streaming under the gap and through the cracks in the sides of the door. Opening it was a death sentence, Andrew knew that. But going back upstairs was almost as scary when the back door was right there. Still, that was where fresh air was and the smoke was getting heavier down here as the heat grew more intense.

Andrew ran upstairs, keeping his head low as he tried to remain calm and consider his options. There weren’t many beyond the fire escape off of his bedroom. Eyes stinging as the flat filled with smoke around him, Andrew hurried to the bedroom. He could barely see in the light of the lone streetlight outside, but grabbed his wallet and mobile off the bedside table as he went. He snatched the old stuffed dragon from its perch on the windowsill, mind swirling as he pushed the half-open window all the way up and punched out the screen. It popped easily out of place and he stepped one foot out onto the fire escape, jerking back in the window as the tiny platform creaked, then snapped under what little weight he’d put on it. It dangled precariously along the side of the building, trapping Andrew where he stood.

He was two floors up and hadn’t bought a backup ladder because they’d been assured that the fire escape was solid. A decision he reckoned he blamed himself for more than anything. And now here he was, hanging half out the window, fifteen feet in the air with his only other escape option now filled with fire behind him.

Andrew was going to die here. Alone.

No, like fucking hell he was going to die in this terrible little flat in New Winslow. That was not an option. Taking a deep breath, he tossed the dragon, wallet, and phone out the window, knowing full well that the phone was about to shatter. He then stepped out onto the dangling platform as carefully as possible. It groaned and wobbled in the late night breeze, but held as he started down the ladder. It was going to snap, there was no doubt about that. But the closer Andrew could get to the ground, he reasoned, the less likely he was to sustain a serious injury when he did inevitably fall.

This happened with about eight feet left to go. The fire escape snapped off of the building entirely, taking Andrew with it. The iron ladder flipped, smashing through the windows beside it and taking out the glass. Flames licked outward along the brick, searing Andrew’s back as he fell free of the metal.

He landed painfully in the grass between the muddy parking lot and the sidewalk. Stunned, Andrew lay still for a moment, breathing heavily and waiting for whatever pain was about to kick in. The night air was cool on his face and he was struck by how many stars he could see above him. It was like the sky was illuminated, the filmy starlight blending with the glow of his flat burning down. Right.

The building was completely in flames beside him now and he could hear sirens in the distance that he had to hope were on their way for him. But this still wasn’t a safe place to stay. He just needed to stop stargazing and get up.

Andrew gingerly sat up. He hadn’t hit his head, small favors, but his back and neck flared with pain as he slowly got to his feet and backed away from the flames now swallowing the awning Noah hated so much. Noah would be happy about that, Andrew thought wildly. He couldn’t bring himself to think about anything that was in there, anything that was happening, short of just getting away from it.

“Hey, man, you alright?” a voice called over. “Shit, hang on!”

He didn’t know who the man running toward him now was. But the guy was gentle as he steered Andrew away from the building, going around the insurance company next door and across the street, safe from the flames. The buildings on either side of the Limerick were dark and seemingly empty.

“Are there flats in those?” Andrew asked the man, pointing dazedly at the buildings.

“Not that I know of,” the man answered, picking up the leash of the concerned dog he’d been walking. “Shit, was there anyone else in there?”

Andrew shook his head. “Alright, man,” the guy said. “Fire’s on their way, I see them now.”

It was a blur of first responders from there and the man who’d helped him disappeared into the crowd as it grew. An ambulance crew wanted to bring Andrew to the hospital, and he had to explain in a raspy voice that it wasn’t possible. It hadn’t been possible for over a year now.

“I know,” the paramedic, a young blonde woman, said as she and her partner got him into the back of the ambulance. “I understand. But it’s worth a try, right?”

He was too tired and stunned to argue with her as she slid an oxygen mask over his face. Instead, he just closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable thud of the ambulance hitting the town line. It’s possible, the paramedic continued to insist cheerfully as she monitored him. There was this guy earlier in the year and they thought he’d get stuck. And he was definitely going to die if that happened. But he got out and maybe Andrew would too.

Not this time. As he expected, the ambulance hit the line, stopping short in a way that made Andrew gasp with pain. The paramedic’s face fell as she checked him over. It was alright, she told him. His situation wasn’t life or death and the clinic was always on call for emergencies. He was going to be fine.




Leave A Comment

3d book display image of The Vanishing House

Want a free book?

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?

Get Your Copy Today>>