New Winslow S8E8

When Olivia brought the pizzas home, Andrew was the only person there. He was laying on the couch with a heating pad on his chest, reading a book. Before she could stop him, he got up and started helping Mia take her shoes off.

“Noah’s out with Roman,” Andrew called in as Olivia brought the pizzas into the kitchen and set them down on the messy counter. “But he should be home soon. If he’s lucky, we’ll save him some pizza. What do you think, Mia? Should we eat the pizza all up and leave Noah with none?”

Mia giggled and Andrew came to the doorway just as Olivia was about to go back into the living room.

“What’s the plan tonight? Olivia asked, trying to discreetly steer him back toward the couch.

Judging by his face, Andrew knew exactly what she was doing, but went with it anyway. “I suppose I’m going to Iris’s shop,” he said, laying down with a groan. “We’ll… just keep going. Same as always. Find the ghosts. Find the damn papers. I suppose that’s all we can do.”

“I’ll still go with you.”

“Are you sure?”

“This needs to end,” she said, willing her body not to tremble as she sat down on the other couch. “And another set of eyes can’t hurt. I know there isn’t much difference that I can make, but if we’re all there, then maybe we’ll be able to think of something new.”

“You don’t have to,” Andrew said. “I mean it. I appreciate it, I really do. But you don’t need to be there for this. Between me and Iris, we have it under control.”

“It’ll be alright,” she said. “Sammy and Mom offered to take Mia for a little bit, so I already told them I was going. I need to be directly involved. I should have been earlier.”

“No, you had way too many things going on,” Andrew said. “Me and Iris- I mean, I didn’t expect you to.”

The guilt that had been simmering in her stomach cooled off a little at that. He meant it, clearly. And she knew he had since the start when he said she didn’t need to feel obligated to join them. But things had taken a dangerous turn and they needed to find a new option.

“I still think I spoke to that ghost, Billy,” she said softly, hoping this conversation wasn’t where Noah would walk in. “He heard me, even if he couldn’t or wouldn’t respond. Maybe there’s something I can do with that.”

Andrew considered this for a moment as he adjusted the heating pad behind his shoulders. “There’s… huh,” he said. “I wonder if he’d speak to you through a spirit board. He’s been silent, but maybe that’ll change.”

“Or maybe he’ll just speak to me. Without using Noah’s body. Just me and him.”

That was the obvious, terrifying solution here as well. And the way Andrew studied her made it clear that he was aware of that.

“I’m not going to do anything reckless,” she said.

“See, you I believe.”

The words were almost so quiet that she couldn’t hear them. “We’ll talk at Iris’s shop tonight,” he said. “I don’t think Roman will be calling in, but Noah said he’ll be there. And maybe you’ll have another angle that we haven’t considered yet.”

She doubted that. “This spirit won’t talk to Iris?” she asked, hoping her voice sounded as professional as she wanted it to.

“No, he won’t talk to anyone,” Andrew said.

“Except Noah.”

“Except Noah. Or, through Noah. I suppose. But he’s gone silent.”

This was such a tangled mess, and she was sure there were parts of it that she didn’t know about yet. And she’d get all the rest of it tonight when they got to Iris’s shop, which was a place she’d never hoped to visit in her entire life. 

Iris showed up in her nightmares fairly often. Sometimes she actively took part in the horror and sometimes she just stood off to the side, watching. Olivia didn’t trust Iris, but she was going to have to do her best to do so if they were going to make any progress tonight.

Her kitchen phone rang, interrupting her thoughts. Andrew moved to get it and Olivia glared at him, then stood up and went into the kitchen.


“Hey, it’s me,” Cleo said over the line.

“What’s up?”

Cleo didn’t sound too concerned, but all the possibilities were bubbling up anyway. She’d gotten trapped in New Winslow. Her mother, maybe it was her mother’s health. Or her father. Or maybe Olivia had pissed her off and-

“Do you mind if I stay with you tonight?” 

Or it was a simple, obvious request. “Of course,” Olivia said. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” Cleo replied, sounding a little distracted. “Yeah, I just feel like I should be there with you guys tonight. I just got back from my mom’s appointment and I know I met up with Noah earlier to avoid going into town. But gut feeling, you know? I want to be there for this shit.”

Olivia wasn’t someone to argue with gut feelings. “You never need to ask,” she said. “You know that.”

Cleo laughed. “I know,” she said. “But it’s your house.”

“And you’re welcome to it anytime. I’ll see you tonight.”


Noah got home about twenty minutes later. He was quiet, accepting the pizza Andrew offered him with a small smile. He stood by the couch and picked at his food silently as Olivia caught him up on what they’d learned today. She was midway through telling him about her conversation with Tara Stevenson when she realized what the last part of it was going to be, and stopped talking.

“I know what they’re saying, Liv,” Noah finally interrupted as she hedged around the truth. “I’m not fucking stupid.”

“Hey!” Andrew snapped as Olivia pulled back, stung. 

“I’m sorry,” Noah said immediately. “I’m so sorry, that was shitty.”

“Yeah,” Olivia agreed cautiously. “It was. Are you okay?”

“Fine,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m sorry.”

She wasn’t sure what to say in response, but Andrew stood up with a groan. “I’m moving to the recliner,” he said with a half-laugh, in a failed attempt to break the tension. 

By the time he’d moved and settled in, heating pad in place, Olivia thought she was ready to let that little incident go. Noah laid down on the couch Andrew had just abandoned, leaning his head against the armrest and staring up at the ceiling. And her first attempt to restart the conversation didn’t even leave her mouth before dying.

“I’m gonna…” Olivia trailed off and stood up, walking into the kitchen without another word.

There hadn’t been coffee in the house this morning, but there were plenty of baking supplies. She didn’t even have a plan in mind as she moved toward the oversized bag of flour sitting on the counter. She worked on autopilot, trying to find comfort in the movements as she poured flour into a mixing bowl, then whisked in baking soda and spices she barely considered as she grabbed them off the rack. There was pumpkin puree in the cabinet and who gave a shit that it was summer? 

She slammed the can on the countertop, unintentionally, but she didn’t regret the noise. Really, she was tempted to slam it again and see what happened. Maybe the worn granite would finally crack. There was no repairing granite, was there? You just had to fill it in and hope for the best. Her hands trembled as she opened the can and shook the contents into another mixing bowl, pureed pumpkin splattering the sides as she did so.

Olivia tried not to think, there was no need to think, she knew all of this by heart. She’d planned a pumpkin themed menu starting next month, and it was going to have three different kinds of pumpkin bread rotating throughout it. Two of them were perfected, and the last one just needed some adjusting. Then pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin scones too, a controversial choice that was only on there for the potential novelty that would bring in additional sales. Andrew broke out in hives whenever she mentioned it and honestly, that was part of the appeal too. Where was her good whisk? This one sucked, she had a much better one. It wasn’t here, where-

Her good whisk had burned up in the fire, so she grabbed the potato masher and slammed it into the pumpkin, the force sending puree spattering onto the counter. It felt good, so she did it again, the satisfying squish of metal through pumpkin reverberating up her arm. 

She cracked the eggs perfectly, no shell going into the mix, no egg white dripping down the side of the bowl. She was an expert, why wouldn’t she be able to do that? After all, she was in charge of production and the menu at The Limerick. Which was never coming back and the opportunity to do the one damn thing she wanted to do with her life had trailed off with the smoke that had killed their business and almost killed one of her closest friends. And she couldn’t stop it, couldn’t prevent any of it. And-


Noah’s voice was soft behind her. She didn’t turn, just mixed the eggs and some brown sugar into the puree. “It needs butter,” she said. “I’m out, do you have any?”

Of course he didn’t, Noah barely kept anything in his apartment. He wasn’t allowed within ten feet of a lit stove and spent more of his grocery budget filling her fridge than his own. 

“I’m sorry,” Noah said again.

“It’s fine,” she said, grabbing one of Mia’s applesauce cups and dumping it into the mix instead. “This’ll do. And it’s not you. You didn’t burn down the Limerick.”

“I know.”

“Good. Then act like it.”

“We’ll fix it.”

She laughed a little at that, the sound alien in her ears as she poured the pumpkin into the flour mixture and started to combine them. “The building burned down and we have no money.”

“I know,” Noah said.

He didn’t move, and she finally turned and looked at him. “It has to come back,” he insisted, motioning toward the half-finished pumpkin bread batter. “Liv, I’ve seen you there. This is your calling. I know I’ve said it before, but I can see it when we’re there. It’s the passion, you know, it’s your thing. The thing that sets you on…”

He trailed off. “Fuck,” he muttered. 

Olivia started giggling, covering her mouth until finally, Noah was laughing too. And then they were both laughing so hard that she could barely catch her breath. Tears burned her eyes and she had just started to calm herself before she was off again. And when Noah, between his own desperate laughter, held out his arms to her, Olivia hugged him tightly, still laughing.




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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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