The Reincarnation of Lydia Ashes

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9

THE NEW ADDITION

A crowd of souls gathered in the foyer of the house, and of course there was more than enough room. There were muffled whispers coming from every direction and as Lydia and Aiden stood there, they noticed who they were all talking about. Dexter Valentine stood in the doorway with a young man beside him. The young man was around the same age as Lydia and Aiden and he was beautiful. In the dark and handsome kind of way. Lydia walked down the staircase pushing through people trying to get to the front of the crowd. Aiden followed closely behind her, wondering why she was so interested.

When Dexter spoke, the room fell silent.

’Boy, does he ever have a way of getting people

to listen to him,’ Lydia thought as she watched all eyes on Dexter.

Maybe it was his voice, deep and assuring. Or maybe it was because he was good looking, in a wholesome kind of way. Whatever it was that made him attractive, Lydia had just noticed it for the first time.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Valentine said. “We have a new arrival. I see some of you have been awaiting this one, those of you that have reached your ability to see what is happening on Earth, that is.”

Lydia disregarded the fact that the conversation being had was not a personal one between she and Dexter and shouted, “What! Some of us can watch what’s happening on Earth? When does that happen?”

Everyone was staring at her now and she realized that maybe she could have waited to ask that question, but she figured since she’d asked she was going to stare Valentine down until he answered.

“As I was saying.” He continued without even acknowledging what had just happened. “We have a new arrival. And for those of you that know of him, please welcome Caleb Olive.”

The crowd roared with exuberance and clapped wildly. Caleb, the new guy, flashed a smile that could kill and Lydia almost started clapping too, even though she had no idea who he was.

“Who is this guy?” Aiden asked with no response from Lydia. “Lydia? Earth to Lydia? Do you know who pretty boy is?”

He broke her gaze with a small shove and she finally looked at him.

“Oh, what? No, yeah. I don’t know.” She managed to spit something out, but Aiden looked at her in an amicably suspicious kind of way. “What?” Lydia said smiling.

Dexter continued with his introduction.

“As most of you know, Caleb was quite the movie star back on Earth. And he was not only respected and adored by millions, he was involved in the tragedy that is death—like all of you—bringing him to us. Now, we will respect Mr. Oliver’s space and adjustment to the middle, and help him out where needed. Take care Mr. Oliver.”

“Wait, where you going?” Caleb whispered nervously to Valentine, but he was already half way out the door and in no way returning to answer.

‘So, he does that to everyone.’ Lydia thought. She was going to find out what that Mr. Valentine was up to before she left the middle, but not right now.

“Hi, I’m Lydia. This is Aiden. We didn’t know who you were.”

“What she means is, we’ll be around if you need anybody to hang with.” Aiden shoved Lydia and they walked away from the crowd leaving Caleb to his admirers.

“What was that all about,” Lydia said annoyed.

“Dexter just told everyone to give him space, remember?

Lydia knew he was right, so she just walked in

silence. She really did want to talk to Caleb. Not because he was an attractive movie star. Well not totally anyway, but also because he was newer than she was. She could have some insight into the middle to give him for a change. It was kind of nice to not be the village idiot anymore. From this point forward she will officially know more than at least one other person in the house. Well one other person in the house that she knew anyway. Everyone knew him now. Thanks to Valentine. That Valentine. Her mind strayed to places she thought he would go, or who he could be. She considered the obvious religious assumption. He could be God. But then again, if God was real according to the story it would be some sort of Heaven and Hell situation and this wasn’t it. He could be a leader, or mentor of the middle, but she thought if he was the mentor they must be hard up for people who understood what went on here and that just made her uneasy.

Aiden broke her train of thought with a question she barely heard and the two of them walked towards a door.

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