New Winslow S8E15

Celine was absolutely bursting with pride as she watched Jamie stare intently at the candle on the table in front of him, but she did her best to keep it under control. They were in a spare room at the Countess, a little rental room a floor above Roman’s. Based on how much dust she saw on the furniture, it hadn’t been occupied in years. But that didn’t matter because she and Jamie were taking some time alone to start training Jamie’s powers. They’d been at this for about two hours so far and right now, her son was focused on the task at hand, not letting the past several chaotic attempts get to him.

The charred window curtain behind her would need to be replaced. Thankfully, Missy said they’d come from Walmart, not some esoteric source deep in the woods. After the curtains had gone up in flames, Celine had expected Missy to tell them to take it somewhere else. But all she did was very visibly display the fire extinguisher on the small table before leaving the room.

“You’ve got it,” Celine murmured as Jamie winced, closing his eyes and screwing up his face in concentration. Then the smell, like a struck match, and the candle was lit. The flame went high, too high for a second, then settled comfortably into place. It flickered gently, tossing small shadows onto the table. 

Jamie opened his eyes and looked at the flame in wonder. For a second, Celine could see him as a child, looking at a flower in the garden with that same expression. “How do you feel?” she asked him.


Celine laughed. “That’s normal,” she said. “Or, at least for me it is. I used to carry granola bars everywhere I went just in case.”

“I don’t know if a granola bar is going to cut it, Mom,” Jamie admitted, finally turning from the candle to Celine.

“How about pizza?” she asked. “There’s some down in the room.”

Jamie thought for a second, as though he even needed to consider whether he was going to eat the entire large pepperoni pizza that was sitting on top of the mini-fridge in Roman’s – now everyone’s – room downstairs. Then he nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “I could go for that.”

He got up from the table and went to leave the room, then paused and came back, blowing out the candle. He grinned at Celine. “Do we have two pizzas?” he asked.

“No, but I think we can manage to find something else in Dad’s fridge,” Celine replied, joining him as they made their way out of the room.

This floor was nearly empty right now, only one room occupied at the far end of the hall from where they’d been practicing. This didn’t look anything like her childhood home, but Celine couldn’t help feeling like she’d stepped back in time as she watched Jamie.

“You know I did the same thing?” she said to Jamie as they reached the stairwell.

“Did what?”

“Set the curtains on fire. I was sixteen and I was trying to light a match in my hand. I misjudged and Gramma’s kitchen curtains went up instead.”

“Was she mad?”

“Oh yeah,” Celine laughed. “I had knocked out the power in the house the week before, so I think she was finally just a little fed up.”

“Did anyone teach you how to do this?”

“Nothing official,” she said. “There’s resources out there. Lots of people who are willing to help newcomers. You have to be careful though, because not everyone is going to have your best interests in mind.”

Vivien Dyer’s charred corpse huddled behind Iris’s shop came to mind and Celine shivered. Jamie didn’t need to know the details there. They moved down the stairwell and came out on the second floor. Roman was at AA right now and Anna had taken the babies for a little while to give her and Jamie some time, so Celine knew the room was empty. Jamie could devour that pizza while Celine looked around at the other leftovers that were rapidly taking over the fridge. Then-

She stopped in the stairwell entrance as a shadow passed by the window at the end of the hall, far away from them but still noticeable. It wasn’t either of their shadows – the light wasn’t right for that – and no one else was there right now. Celine felt it under her skin, the slight shiver of energy she knew meant a spirit was nearby. 

It felt angry, unsettled. But not anchored in, more like it was gripping this place so it wouldn’t drift away. And the hallway was cold, much colder than it should be on a summer afternoon. She unconsciously put a hand against Jamie’s chest, moving him behind her while she kept her eye on the shadow. It still moved unnaturally against the back wall, where the other stairwell’s door remained solidly closed. 

Was it her thoughts of Vivien that had summoned this here? Or had this presence sent that vivid image into Celine’s brain? Either way, there was no reason for them to go to the room right now and risk running into that if it managed to get inside.

“Jame, let’s go downstairs for a little bit first, yeah? We can see if there’s any breakfast leftovers.”

The shadow was still flickering, far away from them. And as she risked turning away to glance at her son, she saw that his face was pale and he was looking directly at it. “It’s alright, honey,” she said. “We’re safe in here, it can’t hurt you.”

He nodded jerkily and she reached for his hand. Jamie gripped it tightly. “Down the stairs,” she ordered. “It’s okay, let’s just go down and let Missy know. They have plenty of protections up, it won’t get in.”

She was mostly sure of that. The shadow was gone as she steered Jamie back into the stairwell and, by the time they got downstairs, the temperature had returned to normal. But Jamie was still shivering.

“I know what spirits are, Mom,” he said before she could say anything. “That’s not it. It was just so… mean.”

There were some wrapped blueberry muffins in a cheery basket on one of the foyer counters, with a sign telling guests to help themselves. So Celine took two and handed Jamie one. He sat down on the antique sofa right outside one of the little parlors and started eating. By the time he’d devoured the muffin thirty seconds later, he was looking better.

“Hey, Mom?” he asked as Celine looked out the window.


“Who’s Vivien?”

Celine looked at him for a long moment. “Someone who made a lot of mistakes,” she said finally. “Someone who likely has a lot of regrets now. Come with me, I need to talk to Missy about the safeguards here, then we’ll go get the babies.” 




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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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