The Reincarnation of Lydia Ashes

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13

THE PROPOSAL

It didn’t take Lydia and Caleb long to arrive back at the mansion, in fact it was a matter of seconds before they were back in his bedroom. It was partly because of how good Caleb was getting at this imagining thing and partly because when they disappeared into his imagination, they did so from his bedroom.

“Whoa. That was quick.”

“I have skills,” Caleb said. “So, let’s find this Aiden character, shall we?”

“Don’t refer to him like you’ve never met. It’s weird,” Lydia half-joked. She was a little offended because of how close she and Aiden had been, but she was trying not to take it too seriously. Caleb was for the most part, after all, an immature d-bag, for lack of a better word. Or so that’s what Lydia had thought up until this point.

They surveyed the entire mansion checking every book and crevice, but Aiden was nowhere to be found and Lydia had a harrowing thought.

‘Maybe he got sent back. I’ll never see him again.’ She started searching frantically now, calling his name louder and louder through the corridors. Nothing. Nothing but silence.

“Where is he?” She could feel the fear creeping up on her like a stranger in the night and being without him here, in the middle, wasn’t a concept she was comfortable with. Even if she did have Caleb to be friends with now, it wasn’t the same. She needed them both. She needed him.

They both brought their own unique je ne sais quoi that made them perfect for waiting companions. That was in fact all they were really doing here in the middle; waiting. There wasn’t a lesson they were to learn or an experience they were meant to have because as soon as their new body arrived they would have no recollection of any of it. Unless that Dexter Valentine had more information that would throw her through a loop, like the view of earth thing that was happening to apparently every other soul in the house.

They covered the entirety of the house, twice, and still couldn’t find him, or anyone for that matter. Then, the front door of the mansion flung open, and in flew the crowd. Kids, adults, old and young, piled through the door each grouped off, humming in conversations. Lydia rushed to the end of the hallways and flew down the staircase towards the crowd yelling Aiden’s name.

“Aiden, Aiden! Has anyone seen Aiden?”

“Jeeze, Lydia. I’m right here. What’s wrong? You sound super distressed.”

He was nonchalant and acting as if nothing had even happened, so Lydia thought she could calm down now. If Aiden was calm, she could be, too.

“Where did everybody go?” She was trying to slow her lifeless breathing, so she didn’t appear to be overreacting to yet another situation.

“Oh, it’s Souls Day today. We all went out to a celebration hosted by Valentine. You should have been there Lydia, it was quite magical. That Valentine is something else.”

“What the heck is souls’ day,” Lydia said seemingly bothered.

“It’s the day in which all the souls waiting for bodies celebrate being immortal one last time. They used to throw a party for each soul when they found out they would be going back to be reborn but that got a little too hard once the Earth’s population began to grow so now it’s just an annual thing for all souls who get shoved back to a new body.”

“Wait a second, we’re immortal?”

“You really do pick and choose what you want to hear don’t you, Lydia?” He phrased it as a question, but he meant it as a statement. She really did have selective hearing, he knew it and she knew it, too.

“Don’t try to throw me off topic, what is that all about? We could live here forever if we wanted to?”

“Well, no. That’s not how it works. But while we are here, we are immortal. We can’t be harmed physically because technically that part of ourselves doesn’t exist. But we still feel, which any immortal would.”

“Did Dexter tell you all of this?”

“Sort of. He made a speech, it was a good one too, boy. You’ll be sorry you missed it. I’m not articulating quite as good as he does.”

Lydia was so bemused she could barely see. She slowly sunk to the floor trying to figure it all out.

“Lydia, you okay?” Caleb asked quietly, hoping the hot blonde he’d been eyeing didn’t hear him and get the wrong idea.

“Yeah, I’m fine. You need to talk to that girl already. This stalk-show is getting annoying, even to me.”

“No way. I can’t. No point anyway, we can’t, you know. Let’s just get Aiden on board and we’ll be on our way.”

“Let’s get Aiden on board for what?” Aiden was more interested than confused, but because it was Caleb he was keeping up his guard.

“Well,” Lydia started, “Caleb and I went on a little imagination mission earlier after everyone had left for Souls Day and so rudely forgot to invite us and we got to thinking that there’s no reason for us to be here, in this mansion. We can literally make up any world we want and live there. If we get bored of one place, we can just imagine another one. It could be a fantastic wait for a new body, if we do it right.”

“Okay. Let’s do it.” Aiden said passively.

“Seriously, that’s it? That’s all you need for a yes?” Caleb smirked at Aiden and Aiden thought to himself that he’d better not regret his answer.

“Course. Lydia’s my best friend here, so wherever she goes, I’ll go.”

“Aiden,” Lydia said softly. “You’re my best friend, too!” She jumped at him for a bear hug and he caught her as he usually does.

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