New Winslow S8E3

Andrew woke up from a nightmare of fire and for a second, that’s all it was, the flames licking the inside of his skull. Then he shifted against the mattress and a bolt of pain crackled from his neck down to the base of his spine, shocking the memory back into place. He must have made a noise somewhere in the lightning, because Noah lifted his head and looked at him. “What’s up?” he murmured.

“It wasn’t a nightmare.”

Noah moved closer, shifting carefully so as not to hurt Andrew any further. “They called a little while ago,” he said. “There were traces of gasoline in the front of the shop.”


Andrew’s head was a little clearer as he noticed the way the sunlight was coming into the room around the little curtain on the window beside Noah’s bed. He must have been asleep for hours, especially if there was time for them to figure this out.

“I, um, I called your mom to let her know before anyone else in town did. And Iris called me a little while ago to check in. Cleo’s downstairs,” Noah said, before Andrew could register a lack of call from her.

“I’ll go down in a few minutes.” 

Noah had the decency not to look skeptical, considering Andrew hadn’t even sat up yet. “Arson,” Andrew repeated. “That motherfucker actually did it.”

Noah kissed him on the temple and handed Andrew his own mobile. “No idea where your phone ended up,” Noah said, then left him alone in the bedroom. 

Before remembering it wasn’t his phone, he moved to text his mum back and the bolt of pain that ran through him was like God telling him, no, you muppet, you call her. But first, he needed to try to wrap his head around the fact that Charles goddamn Baxter had burned his house down.

“Time doesn’t exist in this bloody town,” he muttered to the empty room.

He spoke with his parents, both of whom offered to come to town and take care of him. He refused flatly and, of course, his mum was the one who argued with him about it. But eventually he managed to talk her down by promising to stay in touch. After recovering from that phone call, he called Iris back.

“It was Baxter,” he said as soon as she picked up.

“I was going to ask if you’re alright.”

“Everything hurts, but I’m alive and I don’t have a concussion,” he said. “But they said it was caused by someone igniting gasoline in the front of the shop.”

“Yeah, he tried to get my shop last night too,” Iris said. 

“Did it catch fire?”

“No, I’ve got… a lot of protections in place. And apparently one of the things they protect against is fire, which I didn’t know. But I saw the signs this morning and come on, there’s only one person who hates me that much.”

Apparently he was silent for a beat too long. “Wow, thanks,” Iris muttered.

“I’m still drugged up,” Andrew said. “Forgive me, my home burnt up and I climbed down a broken fire escape so that I wouldn’t die.”

“But why now?” she asked, sounding more like she was talking to herself than him. “He’s known that we know his connection for months. And that we’ve been trying to find a solution to the curse. Obviously it’s him that’s been messing with us, or at least his flying monkeys. But I don’t know what would cause him to take a step like this.”

“Desperation,” Andrew said, leaning back against the pillows. Noah had an extra long bed, and it was an odd feeling to have his own feet more than six inches from the end of it. It was also an odd, but extremely pleasant feeling to be in Noah’s bed in the first place. Noah himself was still gone, probably downstairs with the others. But the pillows still smelled of his shampoo and it comforted Andrew greatly.

“You’re at Noah’s house,” Iris said suddenly.


“Is it protected?”

“I mean, between me and Celine, we’ve sealed this place up pretty tight.”

“I should add the charms that stopped the fire. I think I know which one it was.”

“Noah lives in the same building as Olivia. And like I said, Celine already took care of it. But I’ll ask her about fireproofing.”

“But I could put some extra protection up, too. You don’t think she’d be willing to have me do that?”

“Absolutely not. Iris, you put her kid in danger, do you think she’ll let you near her home? Celine has it covered.”

He felt guilty the second he said it, but his filters were completely down right now. And the silence on the other end made him feel even guiltier. But then she said, “You’re right. I’ll stay away.” 

Andrew swallowed hard. “Thank you,” he said finally. “And if he tried to burn down two buildings last night and succeeded with one of them, I don’t think he’s going to try it again. He’s pushing his luck with this little historical re-creation he’s got going. Between this and the threats, he’s going to get too visible.”

“It is odd, isn’t it?” Iris said. “That this is the route he’s taking?”

“Not at all. If it worked back then, why bother changing it?”

“But it didn’t work,” Iris pointed out. “Harrison Barlow died.”

Andrew didn’t have a response to that.


The others were in Noah’s living room by the time Andrew was up and slowly tottering around the flat a little while later. Mia was there as well, playing with an incredibly patient Gray Lady as the adults sat solemnly around them. Olivia looked like she was trying to hide her devastation as she watched the game in front of her, but Andrew knew it was only a matter of time as he slumped down between her and Cleo.

“Insurance will cover the costs,” he said, his head against Olivia’s side. He hadn’t intended to fall against her like this, but he was also relieved when she didn’t make him move. “Silver lining there, I suppose. Might even cover our lost wages for a time. Got the land still too.”

“Great, but I’m more worried about you,” Olivia said.

“Right as rain,” he said, looking up at her with a smile.

“Stand up, then.”

“Not fucking likely.”

That got him a laugh. “So, I wasn’t too worried about exposing Baxter’s family before,” Andrew continued, rubbing the back of his sore neck. “I mean, before now. It was sort of a bonus to go with actually solving the curse. But he burned down the Limerick and he tried to burn down Iris’s shop too. And after weeks of notes and calls at all hours of the night, I’m ready to get on a megaphone and tell the world about this creep. I don’t expect or want anyone else to put themselves in extra danger to do this, but I think we’ll be speeding up the search now. Somehow.”

“I’ll go with you.”

He looked up at Liv in surprise. She looked furious as she blinked back tears. “It’s time,” she said. “I’ll go with you, I’ll tolerate Iris as long as I have to. Whatever we need to do to get you out of here.”

He took her hand with a grim smile. “Thank you,” he said. “But first, I think I need those tablets. I can’t move.”

“They’re downstairs,” she said. “Let me get some for you.”


“Maybe we should shut down the shop for a few days.”

Celine was getting ready to go back to work when Roman spoke. He watched from his usual perch by the window of their room at the Countess as she brushed and tied back her hair, preparing to take over from Tatiana for the dinner shift over at the House of Pizza. She adjusted the hair tie in her smooth blonde hair, then turned to him.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“I mean, we already have the kids staying out of New Winslow because they’ve been threatened,” Roman said, carefully avoiding saying flat out that he thought any of them going back was a terrible idea. “And I just worry…”

“You just worry someone is going to kill me at the House of Pizza.”

Thank God none of the kids were in here right now. Jamie had brought them outside to play, something that Celine and Roman were fine with because of the amount of protection around this bizarre little inn he felt a little too at home in now. 

Roman had seen it for himself, how the boundaries cast people out. Of course it hadn’t cast out Vivien like it should have, but before Baxter’s threats against the kids, Roman had seen a man get out of his car and start up the walk, only to hurry back to his car at nearly a run. When he’d asked Anna about it later, she’d explained there was a charm on the property to send away those who had bad intentions. It was a common one that Celine had recognized. Obviously not foolproof, but enough that the kids could safely go into the gardens with Jamie. 

“Honestly, yeah.”

If she was going to be blunt, then so would he. 

“Roman, I can take care of myself.”

“Of course you can,” he assured her. “I’m not saying you can’t. I’m just saying that if we’re not letting the kids off the grounds, then we should be taking precautions for ourselves too, you know? So maybe we should all just kind of hang out here. Together.”

“We can’t shut down the shop,” Celine said. “It’s our family’s livelihood. And about eight other people’s.”

“I know that,” Roman said, trying his best not to let his temper take over and turn this into a fight. “But maybe we can figure out a way to pay everyone and-”

“We’re not doing too hot,” Celine interrupted. “Personally or with the business. We’re surviving, but if we close for too long or any other unexpected money problems come in, we could be screwed. You know that as well as I do. And I’ll be fine, I promise. The shop is charmed up, which might be part of the drop in customers, too. But even if something were to happen, I can manage it.”

“I know you can. But we’re not young anymore.”

“I know that.”

Shit, now they were having an argument whether he wanted to or not. “I just mean that I don’t want you to get hurt. Either from those jackoffs or because your abilities require too much from you.”

Celine didn’t look impressed as she put on her jacket, but if he was going to go in, he might as well go all the way. “It takes you longer to recover now,” Roman said, waving goodbye to any chance of a peaceful resolution. “And that makes sense. And of course it’s going to and you’re still more powerful than anyone I’ve ever met. But it took two days for you to recover when you stitched Noah’s energy back together, right? And I don’t want you to burn yourself out.”

“Says the man with the stents in his arteries.”

“Exactly!” Roman protested as he stood up to face her. “I made that mistake and almost died, so trust me when I say I know what I’m talking about.”

She gave him a long look, the kind that he knew meant he was about to get destroyed. And maybe this time it would be one of her lightning bolts, which were the most terrifying and hottest performances of magic he’d ever seen. But before she could say anything, the door opened and Jamie hurried in, holding his phone in front of him.

“Jamie, where are the babies?” Roman asked.

“With Missy,” Jamie said breathlessly. “Did you see what happened to the Limerick building in New Winslow? It burned down.”

Roman and Celine looked at each other, their argument postponed a little longer.




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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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