The Reincarnation of Lydia Ashes

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12

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

Before either of them had time to react, the floor melted out from beneath them and they began plummeting through thin air like pennies into a wishing well. They fell for what felt like ages, but then in a sudden shock they stopped falling and stood, lynching in mid-air. Above them, nothing but darkness. Below them was a crystal-clear body of water, and as they descended she realized something. They were in a grotto of sorts. An enclave of secret life and natural wonders. They were floating like feathers now, slowly down through the air and towards to crystalline pond beneath them. The water was so still it looked like glass and Lydia was starting to wonder where Caleb was going with all of this. Then, in an abrupt flash, they splashed into the water with force, destroying the placid layer between them and the sea below it. They stayed underwater, gliding through the reef and wildlife, incorporating their bodies as a natural part of the landscape. Lydia couldn’t help but feel impressed by Caleb’s imagination and ability to create a scene out of nothing so quickly after his arrival to the middle. The part of her that

hated him was starting to disappear and she wasn’t sure how to feel about that.

When they emerged from the sea they were both laughing at a joke no one told. It was as if in the moment, they fell to the water all they had imagined happiness to be was wrong, because this was it. This moment in this time in this way of existence. Lydia was almost sure that if she could never be born again she would be content with that type of reality.

The scene started to change again, and Lydia was worried any negativity Caleb carried with him was about to be front and centre in this perfect moment. But she was wrong again.

The walls of the grotto started to slowly melt away, eventually becoming a liquid that spilled into the water they just climbed out of. It was beautiful, the destruction of something so tranquil. Lydia was ashamed of how incredibly drawn to it she was. She wondered if that, too, was a trait present in her during her life on earth.

She almost got lost in her mind before she realized that they now stood at the top of a colossal cliff overlooking miles upon miles of leafy green jungles and majestic waterfalls.

“What is this place?” Lydia asked, struck with awe.

“I’m really not sure. I just know that this is what life’s all about.” Caleb looked at Lydia and smiled.

“More like this is what death is all about.”

They shared a laugh and then wilted to the

ground in unison to enjoy the view from the top.

“Why here?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you and I both know we can pretty much go anywhere, see anything we want to see or can imagine. Why did you choose here?”

“Why not?”

He made a good point and Lydia, being wholly appreciative of what his mind made up for them, didn’t argue or pry further. She wanted to take this moment, and make it last forever, and with the physics of the middle, she could.

“You know, we don’t really have to go back. We could stay here forever.” Lydia turned to Caleb and stared into his big, dark brown eyes as he spoke. “We could live in majesty for all of eternity.”

“Oh, no we couldn’t. Even majesty gets old when you’re stuck in it. Besides, think of the things we could imagine. I agree, we don’t ever have to go back to that boring old mansion. But to stay in just one amazing place when the entire universe is at our literal exposal, that would just be wasteful.”

Lydia and Caleb began fantasizing the idea that they could live wherever they wanted for however long they wanted without having to feel ‘stuck’ in this limbo state between life and death. But something stopped Lydia.

“Aiden,” she whispered.

“What?” Caleb said puzzled.

“If we’re going to disappear and live in majesty

for all of eternity as you like to put it, we’re going to have to do it with Aiden, too.”

“Well, I’m not sure how imperative it is to me that he be here but I wouldn’t want to go it alone, so fine. Let’s go find him.”

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