New Winslow S8E11

 They were all silent as the familiar tapping started up against the window again. Tap…tap…tap…



And then the glass shattered, spraying into the store. Andrew put up a hand to block his face from the rain of glass shards, then he heard the rest of the remaining windows going too, one after the other, like neatly timed explosions. 

“He can’t get in!” Iris exclaimed over the noise. “Roland can’t get past the barrier, it’s designed specifically so he can’t… oh fuck.”

Andrew should be ducking, moving as quickly as he could with his injured back. Injuries caused when the head of the town council set his home on fire. He should be screaming as the implications of what Olivia just said – what Iris just said – settled in. But all Andrew could do was laugh. It welled up from somewhere deep inside of him, a silent laughter that shook his body painfully as the shop went quiet again, every window now broken. He sounded insane, hell, he felt insane. But he could not stop laughing, clutching his bruised ribs as the laughter tore through him, leaving him helpless.

“Andrew?” Cleo started.

He was laughing so hard he was crying, but he couldn’t stop. “You…” he managed to choke out, pointing at Iris. “You… you fucking blocked him. No bloody wonder Samuel Alderidge wasn’t answering, you put up a fortress to keep him out!”

And then he was off again, gripping Iris’s arm for support as he howled with laughter. Iris looked like she wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry as she went to move toward the broom leaning against the counter. But Noah got there first, sweeping up the sparkling glass that coated the floor. 

Olivia sat wordlessly in the corner beside Cleo, studying Iris. “You didn’t see him?” she said finally.

“I swear on my life,” Iris said. “I mean it, Olivia. I don’t see all spirits, just some of them. I’ve never seen Roland- Samuel – as more than a haze. But why tell me he’s Roland? Is it definitely-”

“It’s him,” Olivia said simply. “Maybe it’s his middle name, who cares? It’s him.”

She looked down at the picture again. Wiping his eyes, Andrew walked over and did the same. It showed two people, a stern woman and a very young man with dark hair. She pointed at the man. “There’s no way he’s anyone else.”

Andrew looked over to see that Iris was now staring dully at the broken windows, the night breeze blowing her hair gently around her head. “He told me,” she said. “That night I summoned him. He said the curse was his responsibility.”

“And you just dropped that?” Olivia snapped, voice tinged with disbelief.

“He also said to eat his ass, so I didn’t take anything he said seriously. Even before he started drawing penises everywhere in town.”

Iris’s tone was more defensive than Andrew would have expected her to get with Olivia, but he couldn’t blame her too much. Not when they were all feeling so delicate.

“What the hell do we do with this?” Noah asked.

“No, no, this could be good,” Iris said, going over to the empty windowpane as though Roland might still be hanging out there. “Roland is… he’s chaos. He’s angry, but he isn’t just fury. Not like Rosalind. So if he was there at the start of the curse and says it was his fault, then maybe it started because Rosalind died in the fire at the Alderidge House. The curse was his revenge. And she’s angry because they killed her. She wants revenge too. She’s the one who died, so of course she’s the angrier of the two. And maybe he couldn’t save her, not against the powerful men who started it, which is why he set the curse.”

“No,” Olivia said, looking at the picture again.

Now Iris turned to her. “What do you mean, no?” she asked in disbelief. “Olivia, I understand you hate me. And I get it and I’m so sorry, I really am. But this is serious.”

“I’m being completely goddamn serious,” Olivia said, looking Iris dead in the eye. “You are wrong, Iris. You have it backward. That fury? That murderous, righteous fury that’s strong enough to create a curse that is still this powerful a hundred years later? It’s not because they killed her. It’s because they killed her kid. There was a fire and someone died?”

“Yeah. I saw it and Andrew found the newspaper clipping to confirm it.”

“It wasn’t Rosalind that died in the fire, it was Samuel. That’s what causes a pain and a rage so powerful that it sets a curse. Not revenge for yourself.” She jabbed her finger onto the picture of Samuel Alderidge. “Revenge for your baby.”

Andrew stared at her. It all made sense. And as he thought back to that night just off of Roman and Celine’s property, he remembered that Olivia had screamed for Mia’s safety before anything else. And judging from the look on Iris’s face right now, she was thinking the same thing.

You put her kid in danger. 

“You’re a mom. Do you think she would-” Iris started, then stopped so abruptly that she nearly tripped over herself as Andrew glared at her.

“We need to reach Samuel,” he said quickly, as though he could cover up what Iris had been about to say. “Rosalind is too deadly, so we need Samuel. If anyone’s going to be able to stop his mother’s curse, it’s him.”

“You should all leave,” Iris said. “I’m going to take down the barriers and try to get him to talk to me. But he’s volatile, I don’t know what he’s going to try to do.”

“Like burn you to death?” Andrew asked. “Iris, are you mad?”

“He didn’t before,” Iris said. “The worst he did was trash the shop and he’s been doing that already.”

“You’re not doing it alone,” Noah said. “Listen, I’ll stay.”

Andrew turned to argue uselessly with him and Noah shook his head. “Which of us fell off a fire escape two nights ago?”

Andrew glared at him. Neither Olivia nor Cleo looked happy either. “Guys, it’s fine,” Noah said. 

“I’ll stay too,” Cleo said before Andrew could say anything that might start a new fight with Noah. “How about we’ll wait right outside the windows and if things start looking bad, then we’ll come in and help. Okay?”

Olivia looked pissed, but she also looked like she knew there were no other options here. “Fine,” she said. “I need to get Mia, anyway.”

“Take Andrew with you,” Noah said as Andrew gave him a look. Noah shrugged, but kept watching him until he relented and followed Olivia out of the shop.


Two hours later, Olivia and Andrew were sitting in the living room, waiting for the others to come back. Olivia could see that Andrew had been listening for every little creak and groan that didn’t come from his own body, unwilling to take anything that might make him foggy before the others got home. Finally, the door cracked open and they both were able to relax just a little as Noah and Cleo walked in, unharmed.

“No luck,” Cleo said, kicking off her shoes.

“Is Iris alive?” Olivia asked.


“He just didn’t answer,” Noah said before Olivia could say something completely inappropriate. “She used a spirit board and tried talking to him. He threw some rocks in the window at one point, but I’m not sure if they hit her. If they did, she didn’t say anything. It was wild, he must’ve been right next to me but I couldn’t feel anything.”

Olivia laughed suddenly. “Can you fucking believe she was about to ask me to try to reach Rosalind Alderidge? Like ‘I’m a mom too, don’t set me on fire?’”

“He’d answer Billy, though,” Noah said quietly from the doorway.

“We’d need to have an actual conversation with Billy first,” Olivia replied, beckoning him to come sit down on the couch. “So how would that work?”

“I’m not sure,” Noah admitted. “The spirit board stopped working at all. But he’s been able to listen to you, Liv, through me. So I bet he could actually talk through me if we tried, like have a full conversation. And that way someone else, like Iris or one of you, or something, can talk to him, get his agreement, and then he could use me to talk to Samuel if he had to. He’d have to talk to one other person aside from me and Samuel to do this, but it’s worth trying.”

“Wow, I hate that plan.”

Olivia couldn’t bring herself to filter anything by this point and she could tell the others were slightly surprised by her bluntness. But she’d been so careful and so polite for so long that she just couldn’t push herself to do it anymore.

“I’m with Liv,” Andrew said, coming to her rescue. “Reaching him through you didn’t work again for a reason, and I don’t think it’s a good idea to force the issue. Not after what happened last time.”

“Last time it was because I left. I was going to come home, but Vivien caught me when I was leaving the Countess.”

“And what stops something like that from happening again?” Olivia asked.

“I don’t leave,” Noah said. “I’ll stay. I’ll just stay here this time. If I don’t leave the house, that won’t be a problem.”

“So, what exactly are you suggesting?” Andrew asked.

“That we just use me,” Noah said, and Olivia’s heart sank at the anger in his tone. Here it was, exactly as she’d anticipated. She opened her mouth to say something, though she wasn’t exactly sure what it was going to be. But it didn’t matter because he kept going.

“Whatever the approach is, I don’t care. Whether it’s the same thing or maybe something else. All I’m saying is I’m the only one he’s spoken to, so we need to use me to solve this, however it takes.”

“Shut up.”

Apparently Olivia wasn’t the only one having trouble keeping everything under control tonight. Andrew shook his head. “You’re not doing that again,” he continued. “Not here and not at Iris’s. Even if we could, say, put you back in that same trance and truly reach Billy, communicate with him this time, I don’t know if we could prevent you from picking up whatever memories he throws at you. Noah, you stopped breathing. And you got hurt. Don’t try to tell me you weren’t, I was there and I saw you. And I don’t know what actually trying to pull him through would do to you if his projecting memories was that bad. So please don’t put yourself back in that position.”

Noah looked trapped and Andrew looked scared. So did Cleo, who hadn’t said anything yet, but was watching Noah intently.

“How about this,” Olivia said, shoving down the nausea that came from the idea of something possessing Noah, something possessing anyone. “Do you think there’s a way to make him more likely to come to you when you’re sleeping? If we could put out, like, a signal or something? I know he can reach you here on his terms, but if we try to get his attention, maybe he’ll be more likely to come back. Noah, you mentioned that a while back and maybe that’s what has kept us from reaching him. Like, what if maybe he got lost and a beacon would lead him here. Then I could…”

Everyone was looking at her and she wanted to hide. “It worked last time,” she said, voice tight. “I took this off-” She touched the amulet around her neck, “for a minute and Billy listened to me. He didn’t really talk, but he listened. I could keep it off tonight. Last time, he – I don’t know if you were possessed or- or-”

Olivia swallowed hard and tried to think of the devastation of this woman looking for vengeance. Seeing her son again would help her, wouldn’t it? Olivia could do this for her friends and for a shattered family.

“Maybe you were possessed before, when you were sleepwalking. Or just passing on his message,” she said. “You woke up right after, so it wasn’t like… He could hear me through you. It wasn’t like when I was possessed and I couldn’t hear you.”

She blinked hard and kept forcing the words out as Cleo’s hand slid into hers. “I think that’s a safer idea,” Cleo said. “Noah, how do you feel about it?”

“Like I’m sick of things crawling into my mind,” he muttered, rubbing a hand down his face. “She called me the goddamn beacon, but if there’s anything else that’ll work, then sure, yeah. It probably is the safer option. But I haven’t sleepwalked in weeks, what makes tonight any different from all the other times we’ve tried this?”

He didn’t seem to notice Olivia’s distress, which was apparently obvious to the others. Not that she wanted him to comfort her right now, but this abrupt change in attitude from Noah made her even more uneasy about all of this. Olivia didn’t have an answer, but Andrew looked relieved. “I’m sure there’s a beacon that wouldn’t require all the wards to come down,” he said. “I’ll talk to Iris.”

 “I can stay up on your couch, maybe?” Olivia said. “If you want some privacy.”

“Or tie a bell to your ankle,” Cleo added.

Olivia braced herself, waiting for Noah to snap at Cleo or walk out of the room. But he just looked at Cleo for a long second, then dissolved into laughter. “This is bullshit,” he muttered, still laughing as he shook his head. “Load me up with jingle bells. Jingle jingle, baby.”

He stopped laughing abruptly and looked around at all of them. “Yeah,” he said. “Fine, that works, I guess. Let’s try it. Sure.”

He stood up. “I need to give Roman a call.”

He said it casually, like he was talking about the curse and the huge things revealed tonight. But Olivia knew that it was also one of Roman’s new additions to sponsoring Noah in AA. Noah had been talking to him a lot more, something that she was very glad for. And hopefully he’d be in a better space to keep discussing this once their call was over.

“What about those papers, though?” Olivia asked Andrew once Noah was gone. “Are we just setting those aside until you’re out?”

Andrew shrugged. “No clue. It’d be nice to have a neat little paragraph describing what happened instead of this paranormal muck we’re stuck in. But things have changed so quickly and those papers – if they are still intact – could be anywhere. And honestly, I’m a little worried what Baxter would do if we were to expose him before the curse is broken.”

Images of Andrew helpless at the town line crowded into Olivia’s head unbidden. She swallowed down her nausea and tried to focus as he began talking about potential beacons. Crystals and sigils and oils, all familiar to her these days. If she didn’t think too hard about the fact they were deliberately inviting a spirit into their home, Olivia might just get through this with her sanity intact.




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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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