The Reincarnation of Lydia Ashes

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18

QUINCY PETERS KNOWS ALL

A small candle was the only light source available when Aiden and Caleb found themselves in a circular room made of nothing but stone blocks. They could barely see each other’s faces, let alone this Quincy, when in a sudden flash, a hearth and dozens of torches lit up the room like a firework display. The man, Quincy Peters, stood in the centre.

He was a man of about 40, and looked pleasant enough. Like somebody’s hard working uncle. His face was slightly wrinkled and worn but his dark hazel eyes looked back at them with a kind assurance. He had an indifferent look on his face, but then he smirked at the guys. Neither Aiden nor Caleb was afraid of this man, which given the certain circumstance made them believe that he was a soul in trouble, and that his choice to be down in that dark and damp basement wasn’t his choice at all. Aiden couldn’t imagine what he would want to do down here for the entirety of his time in the middle if it was a choice, but that wasn’t the main question he wanted answered, so he didn’t bother asking. He would find the time to ask him again, but now wasn’t it.

“What do you mean you’ve been waiting for us?”

“Your girls, they’ve been taken. And you want to find them, yes?”

“How do you know that?” Caleb screamed.

“Calm down, son. I’m not the enemy here. I can help you, actually. If you accept my help that is. You see, the four of you aren’t typical or average in any way. There’s a reason you can do all the things you can do out here in the middle. Take for example, swimming through hundreds of miles of air. Not all souls can do that, and that is why Mr. Valentine is keeping you all on very short leashes. The middle may seem like an excellent place to

wind up but there’s a reason souls continue to return back to earth time and time again.”

“So, why haven’t you left, Mr. Know It All? Why are you hiding out in the basement away from all interaction?”

“That’s easy. I’m not allowed to leave. I was like you. But I broke the rules, and that’s why I am here now. And that’s why I’ve been here for so long. Valentine isn’t the head of this either, by the way. He’s just a messenger for the bigger powers that be. The ones that don’t like us.”

“Like who, God?”

“Don’t be ridiculous son. None of us have actually met God, nor has anyone told us that he even exists. All we know is that there is a higher power, and there is an afterlife. Something about the way the higher power lives makes us not very welcome here. Who knows, maybe God is their boss and they’re just listening to his orders so that his souls wind up in the heaven or hell they belong in. I don’t know, but wouldn’t it be lovely? Anyway, us being the adventurous types pose a threat to their existence, I guess you could say. They would much prefer us down on earth where they don’t have to deal with the repercussions of our imaginations.”

“Okay great, god, religion, who cares? Where are Erika and Lydia?”

“I can’t tell you where. They will hear me. I shouldn’t even be telling you this, really, but I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer an indecent fate. I can, however, tell you how to find them.

It’s quite easy if you can do it properly. Trust me on this. You’ve even been there before Aiden. Now close your eyes.”

“Wait a second here, I want to know these rules, how do we break them?” Aiden was so confused he could barely stand it and although he wanted nothing more than to find Lydia, he had to know what was going on. “That’s all you’re going to tell us? Honestly, everybody in this forsaken place is so damn vague, and I’ll tell you one thing, it’s starting to really piss me off.” He was steaming now. “Tell us something we can at least use!”

“Calm down son, I’m trying to help you here. You’re not supposed to use your imagination for anything. The strength of the souls’ imagination is so strong it can cause a shift in universal energy and power that can mean a great deal of loss for the higher power. They cannot sustain countless souls’ creations. They thrive on our existence on earth. It’s part of the reason we’re reincarnated in the first place. And that’s why, when a soul like you, or me, or the girls, show up here in the middle they must be contained. And they must be sent back. As quickly as possible.”

“Sent back, to earth?”

“Exactly. See, you’re getting it.” Quincy said with a slight laugh. “Why do you think every other soul just sits around in that damn room. They don’t know what else to do. They are basic souls with basic imaginations and on earth they were basic human beings. Have you

ever heard the saying, ‘Only the strong survive’? Well that’s a perfect example of that here in the middle. You, alike me, have the ability to stay here in the middle forever, creating and destroying worlds, living as immortals for eternity. If you manage to harness enough power you can even visit earth from time to time. Not openly, of course, but hiding out as a regular citizen, sure. The middle isn’t just a means to an end, for some, it is the end.”

“So, you’re saying that we, Lydia, Caleb, Erika, and I, are all ‘special souls’ that with enough know-how can stay immortal, forever?”

“Exactly. There is one catch, though. To stay immortal and exist forever as such, you must find your soul mate. The power of the soul mates cannot be rendered in any way. It’s too strong, possibly the strongest force in the entire universe. I’m not sure why it was created the way it was, but no one does. Not even the higher power. Some questions will remain unanswered for all of eternity, and sometimes that’s not a bad thing.”

“So, unless we find our soul mates we will be recycled just like everyone else.”

“Yes.”

“Are you kidding me?” Caleb spoke for the first time since dismissing Quincy’s religious ramblings. “What a crock. Soul mates are Hallmark designs. They’re not real.”

“Are you sure about that son?” said Quincy.

Aiden chimed in now. “So, are you saying that

Lydia and Erika are our soul mates? And that was why we could do all the things we could do?”

“Well of that, I’m not sure. You can do what you can do because of your individual ability. When the four of you are together, the power does emanate four-fold. But to find your soul mate is different. They could be right in front of you or someone you’ve never spoke to. The only way to find out is to walk through the threshold together. If you make it through unscathed, then you’ve found your soul mate and will remain in the middle forever. But like I said, the higher power does not condone finding one’s soul mate.”

“Because it could ruin their existence.” Aiden said almost to himself.

“Exactly.”

“So, why is Valentine so gung-ho to keeping us in the mansion then? What do they have on him?”

“That I can’t say. I do, however, know that you are running out of time. The girls have been placed on the list to be sent back to earth. You must go now to find them or risk losing them forever.”

“Aiden, let’s go! We can’t let that happen. And no offence, but if I get stuck here with you as my only friend I think I may die all over again.” Caleb, Aiden, and even Quincy shared in a laugh about the irony of his sentence. “You know what I mean, let’s go!”

“One more thing before you guy, guys.” Quincy

paused to let the suspense build, for some reason.

“Remember, no matter what, don’t trust anyone. You have each other and the girls, and that’s it. You don’t know who else the higher power has under their thumb. Keep that in mind, and I’m sure you guys can make it. As Yoda once said, may the force be with you.”

“What the hell does that mean,” Caleb whispered to Aiden as they ascended the staircase back to the library.

“I don’t know, hell I barely understand anything he just said. But we have to find the girls before it’s too late.”

They reached the top and as if someone was waiting for them to return, the door to the staircase slammed shut, leaving no trace of its existence.

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