New Winslow S8E4

Cleo was completely drained as she got back to her empty apartment in Boston that night. She had wanted to stay in New Winslow for the night, but she had a job interview in Boston tomorrow morning and Andrew had insisted she go home for it. He was fine, he’d assured her. Just sore. He’d hobble around like an old man for a few days and then be ready for whatever came next.

Her phone was ringing as she dropped her overnight bag in the middle of the narrow hallway, then made her way into the small living room. She pulled it out, ready to ignore the call if it was anyone other than her family or the others. But then Edie’s name was looking up at her and she answered before she could think twice about it.


“Hi,” Edie said.

“What’s going on?”

Did Cleo sound rude? She hoped she didn’t sound rude, but she was so tired that her eyes weren’t going to stay open much longer. 

“Is this a bad time?”


Was it? Technically, it was a horrible time, but it wasn’t like she could go back and rebuild Limerick or break the curse herself. So there was nothing keeping her from taking this call. “No,” she said finally. “Sorry, no. It’s just been a really bad few days.”

“Is it your mom?”

Why was Edie asking? Why should they still care? Cleo’s life wasn’t their concern anymore, they’d made that clear. But she pushed the uncharitable, certainly unfair thoughts aside and tried to just appreciate them asking. “No, it was the Limerick,” Cleo said, sitting down heavily on the couch. “It, um, burned down last night.”

“Oh my God, is everyone okay?”

“Yeah, they’re fine. Andrew was there, he’s hurt but he got out. It’s going to… shit, I don’t know. I really don’t.”

She wiped her eyes. “Why’d you call?”

“Oh, um, nothing bad,” Edie said. “I was at a club today in Glasgow and I heard some people talking about your album. So I just wanted to tell you about it.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah. They were saying how they heard it and loved it.”

“Hey, that’s awesome.”

Cleo’s voice cracked, and she hoped she sounded genuine, she meant to be. But who cared about her album right now? Why was she thinking about it when everything was getting so bad?

“Yeah, they were really into it. There was another group too, who said they heard you on our social media and wanted to get to know you more.”

“Well, they can have my number.”

She meant it in a lighthearted way because no one three thousand miles away would really want her phone number, right? But Edie was quiet for a second. “You mean it?” they asked.

“Yeah,” she said, shrugging out of her jacket. “That’s cool with me. I mean, don’t give it to everyone you meet over there. But they’re musicians too, right?”

“Yeah,” Edie said quickly. “Yeah, they’re a good group. Kind of a collective.”

Cleo yawned. “Edie, isn’t it like two in the morning over there?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“How are you possibly awake? It’s nine here and I’m about to fall asleep.”

Edie laughed, and Cleo treasured the sound. “I’ve been up late the whole time we’ve been in Scotland,” they said. “I’ll start sleeping early again in Spain.”

“Sure,” Cleo said. “Because that’s what Spain is known for. Early bedtimes”

Edie laughed again. “I miss you,” they said.

Her throat went dry, and she was apparently quiet for a beat too long. “I mean-” Edie started, but Cleo interrupted. “I miss you too.”

They were both quiet now, Cleo completely unsure where to go next. “I should go to bed, though,” Edie said. “Goodnight.”


Edie disconnected and Cleo listened to dead air for a few seconds before setting her phone down.


When a police officer and Jean McNamara of the town council showed up at her front door the next day, Olivia wanted to close the door in their faces. She was exhausted, heartbroken, and furious. But she was also a professional, so she stepped outside with them, leaving the door open slightly as they stood on the walkway.

“We’re all so sorry about the loss of your shop,” Jean said, looking sincere as she smiled sadly up at Olivia. “It’s such a shame. But such a relief that nobody was in there when it happened.”

Olivia studied her for a second. “No,” she said, trying not to scream. “Andrew lives in the apartment above the shop. He was in there. In fact, he had to climb down a broken fire escape to get out. Who told you that no one was inside?” 

“Oh, that’s such a relief that he got out, then,” Jean said, eyes wide and innocent as she ignored the question. But Olivia didn’t miss the second of shock in her expression before it smoothed out.

“You got lucky,” the young officer said, and the harshness of his tone made Olivia jump. “Even if the wiring was faulty when you bought it, you should have hired a professional to do the electrical work.”

Was she dreaming right now? “We did,” she said. “The inspector found a couple issues, and we hired an electrician to fix them.”

“Having one of your employees do the work is not hiring an electrician,” the officer snapped.

“I-no, it was an actual electrician,” she said. “I have the paperwork, it’s…”

It was ashes now, in the back of the Limerick Building. Olivia swallowed hard. “If you need proof, I can get that for you,” she said. “The invoice was burned, but the checks were cashed and I’ve got records in the house. I can get the image and-”

“Just take the lesson for what it is,” the officer said, his voice cold and condescending as he stepped in too close and looked down at her. “If you’re going to run a business, you need to follow the same rules as everyone else. For your own safety as well.”

Was he a real cop? Olivia had never seen him before and suddenly she wasn’t quite sure what to believe. Except that she knew damn well that Noah had not done the electrical work. Jean smiled at her still, but there was a trace of something harder in her eyes now. How much did she know?

“The report said arson,” Olivia said, standing up a little straighter. “I spoke to the fire department yesterday, and they told me it was arson.”

“Things change quickly,” the cop said. “New evidence is found. And that’s what happened here.”

“We’re just so glad everyone is okay,” Jean simpered.

“What’s going on?”

She hadn’t even heard the door open behind her, but now Noah was here, eyeing the cop and Jean as he came down the front stoop. 

“They’re telling us that the fire was faulty wiring now.”

“No?” Noah said. “The fire department said gasoline. The wiring was fine. We got it inspected, then had a few repairs done by an electrician. I’ve got copies of the invoices upstairs. Or, hang on, I can call him and-”

“Sir, you’re lucky we don’t bury you in fines right now,” the cop barked as Noah was pulling out his phone.

He looked up, alarmed. “Just take it as a lesson,” the cop repeated.

“Good luck with the insurance,” Jean said.

The two of them walked away, toward a car parked at the end of the driveway. Olivia and Noah stayed where they were for a long moment as the two visitors got in and closed the doors. Jean McNamara was in the driver’s seat as the cop called someone on the passenger side.

“That was…”

“I’m not even sure that was a real cop,” Olivia said.

“Liv, I swear I didn’t-”

“Of course not,” she said quickly. “How many times did you tell me that you don’t touch electricity? It was arson, the county fire department told us so. They’re not going to be able to bury it like this, but they are going to keep trying to shut us up.”

She groaned, stomach rolling as she watched the car drive away, the cop in the passenger seat looking back at them. 




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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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