The Reincarnation of Lydia Ashes

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“Erika?” Lydia screamed into the darkness, trying to find the only friend she thought would know where she was. “Erika, please!”

She pleaded loudly, and for a few moments there was nothing but silence. That silence again.

‘Why is every damn dark room in the middle so quiet it’s loud,’ she wondered to herself. She shook the thought from her mind, and heard a

menacing shriek coming from a short distance away.

“Lydia, I’m here, I can’t, I can’t move, where are you?”

“I can’t move either! I’m stuck!”

“Please help me, Lydia, I’m so scared! Please!”

Lydia heard Erika’s cries but could not do much to appease them. She was stuck. Not to anything in particular, but as if she was a paraplegic unable to move on her own. She began to feel frantic, crazy even. She tried to force a move with all her might, and nothing happened. She struggled to flail her arm up from the ground she lay adhered to. Nothing. ‘Dammit,’ she thought. She continued to struggle.

‘What is happening to me?’ The more she panicked the harder it became and she allowed herself to stop trying, for only a moment.

‘No, don’t give up,’ she told herself. ‘This is not where you end up!’

She began pulling again, this time in a concentrated motion and slower, more controlled. She closed her eyes and focused her thoughts on getting up. Slowly her hand began to rise, one finger at a time, and then up to her elbow, and she found herself with one free arm. After she managed to get her left arm free, the rest of her body came up almost effortlessly.

“I’m free Erika! I’m coming!” She held out her hands in all directions. “Reach for me Erika!”

“I can’t move Lydia! I can’t!

“You have to! Just relax and focus. Once you’ve managed to calm yourself, pull your arm with as much strength as you can muster, Erika you have to try. But you have to really focus.”

Lydia was getting worried. This strange place she found herself in yet again was eerily similar to that same dark abyss she found herself being dragged away from not too long ago. By a creature she had no picture of.

“Did you get it, Erika, is your arm free?”

She didn’t receive a response for a what felt like an eternity. Real time, 8 seconds. And then Erika spoke with triumph.

“I got it! I’m free, I’m free! Where are you?”

“I’m over here Erika, follow my voice!”

Erika followed Lydia as she said “Follow my voice,” repeatedly.

She slinked through the darkness in fear of what she could not see. She stumbled across Lydia’s legs and tripped on her face screaming in fear.

“It’s me, Erika, you hit me! Help me up!”

Erika grabbed a hold of Lydia and pulled her up from the ground with such force it sent her flying across the darkness.

“Thanks,” Lydia said as she stood up and brushed herself off, although she couldn’t see if there was actually anything on her.

“Where’d you go, grab my hand, we have to stay together until we find our way out of here.”

They linked hands and stood there in the dark

not knowing which way was out and which way led them further away from the mansion—and Aiden and Caleb. They started taking steps in a direction that felt right to Erika. It wasn’t so much because Lydia thought Erika had it all together that she trusted her to decide which way they would search for their salvation, but more so because she herself could not get her mind straight. It was in shambles of fear and uncertainty, something she couldn’t get a hold of. For now, until she was back to normal, Erika’s way was the only way. They slowly creeped onwards, jumping at every sound they heard. There was breathing in the darkness, and the sound of heavy steps coming towards them.

“What is that!” Erika cried as the steps got closer.

“I don’t know. Run Erika, run!”

The two sprinted until they couldn’t carry themselves any further. The breathing had ceased and the steps echoed from a far enough distance that gave them hope they had made it away. They stood in silence—not knowing what to do or say, they sank to the ground together in tears. It was the first time Lydia had cried in what she assumed was forever, since she barely remembered anything from her previous life in which caused her tears.

Her mind wandered to days of being a careless teenager, driving along with her sister shortly after getting her learner’s permit. They decided to skip school and drive to the coast to enjoy

a day in the sun and the sand, avoiding life’s responsibilities. She remembered skipping stones together and pushing each other into the waves laughing and screeching, as happy girls do. That day, in Lydia’s memory, was the best that she and her sister had ever spent together, and for the first time in her afterlife, she thought life must have been better than this.

Her thought was cut short by a gruff of some sort of animal standing directly in front of them. It was the sort of sound you hear coming from a big dog, a St. Bernard perhaps, not menacing, but not comforting either. Erika trembled beside her unable to speak and if she could’ve seen the look on her face she would’ve realized that Erika was experiencing nothing short of stone cold fear. She squeezed Erika’s hand, trying to silently tell her everything was going to be okay, and the animal slowly brushed by them as if they didn’t even exist.

“We have to get out of here,” Lydia whispered. “But be quiet, we don’t know what were up against right now. There’s nothing to fear when you’re already dead, right?”

“Right.” You could hear Erika’s smirk through her whisper and that was the first time Lydia was truly grateful for Erika’s existence in the middle. And if Erika was almost smiling, Lydia could almost smile too.

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