The Reincarnation of Lydia Ashes

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20

THE HUNT

Aiden and Caleb walked steadfast through the library, back through the royal room and stopped in the foyer. It wasn’t that they lost their gusto. It was that as soon as they hit the foyer, they had eyes on them—a glare so strong it stopped them in their tracks and they stared back at the basic souls who halted their quest with a sense of confusion, disbelief, and most importantly, fear. The silence was palpable—inescapable even—so Caleb tried his best to command the situation.

“Hey everyone, how are all you lovely people on this fine day?”

No response. It was as if the entire room had turned into zombies. Brainless and unable to speak. This alarmed them even more.

“Let’s keep going, we can’t stop here.” Aiden whispered to Caleb as he pulled at his arm to continue.

“You got that right,” he whispered back. And the two started up the stairs. Neither had any clue as to where they were going or how they were going to find the girls, and even though Quincy had been slightly helpful, Aiden couldn’t shake his words. ‘Remember, don’t trust anyone.’

He stopped. “Caleb,” he started.

“Why are you stopping? This is sort of time

sensitive you know. Let’s get a move on!”

“Quincy said not to trust anyone. Can we trust he was telling us the truth?”

“Oh.” He looked down at the ground wide-eyed. “I didn’t think of it that way. You think he was trying to warn us of his own betrayal? That doesn’t make sense though, does it? Why would he tell us all of that just to keep us from finding out where Erika and Lydia are?”

“I don’t know. But I guess we don’t have time to ponder it now. Like you said, time-sensitive.”

The two walked with conviction up the stairs to find one of the doors they could take to, well they weren’t quite sure where. But Aiden had a pretty good idea where they could start. They were in one of those black rooms, he thought. And he wasn’t wrong. They were in the abyss. And it was going to take all the energy it could to find them and get them back.

“Okay, so if I remember correctly, this is the door that Lydia and I went out of the day she was almost dragged away by that, that thing,” Aiden was frazzled now and there was a sense of urgency in his voice.

“What do you mean thing?” Caleb asked trying not to sound scared.

“I don’t know what it was. Hell, she didn’t even know what it was and it had a hold of her. Whatever it was it was dragging her somewhere and that to me spells disaster so we have to get in there, get them, and get out.”

“Okay, well, let’s do this!”

Caleb flung the door open and ran straight out not thinking about what could be on the other side. The darkness took him aback, and he stopped.

“Okay, how the hell are we supposed to find them when we can’t even see anything?”

“We’ll have to feel them, somehow. I don’t know Caleb, jesus. Let’s just start walking this way.” He started walking, and Caleb grabbed his shoulder.

“Maybe we should, you know, like tie ourselves together somehow so we don’t lose each other?”

Aiden laughed. “Do you want to hold my hand Oliver?”

“Oh, shut up,” Caleb said and grabbed Aiden’s wrist.

“There, this will work just fine. If we lose each other we’ll have to send another search party and considering we can’t trust anyone here, well, let’s just stay together.”

The two toddled through the darkness. Menacing cries wreaked havoc on their psyche as they soon realized that they were being haunted by something else entirely. A feeling in itself, a notion of some sort danger following their every move, yet nothing harmful had occurred. There were no unidentifiable creatures grabbing a hold of them, which made Aiden feel a little safe. Or as safe as he could have possibly felt at that moment. If they could see what they were walking through, though, their path might have been a bit different.

In the darkness, hands as white as printer paper reached out for them as if the body attached was chained and unable to move. Giant sasquatch like creatures slinked around them with heavy feet and muffled groans. Remains of what never made it out of the darkness lay below their feet. They couldn’t see a thing and if they had been able to they would have prayed for the black.

“Should we start calling out their names or something?”

“Good idea, Caleb. Lydia, Erika?” Aiden began to yell and just as he did he heard a scream so terrifying he couldn’t help but jolt into a run. The two sprinted towards the scream as if it in somehow meant them finding their girls and making their way out of the abyss. But with their run, they only got further and further into the darkness. When they reached the area where they thought the scream had originated from, it cried out from what had to be 50 feet in the other direction.

“Something is messing with us, Aiden. That’s not a good scream.”

“I know, I know. I thought it may be them, but you’re right. Whatever it is it isn’t going to help us, not one bit.”

“Lydia, Erika?” Caleb shouted now. “Hello!”

“Caleb!” A voice came from the distance and Caleb was sure it was Erika’s.

“Erika!” He screamed again. And started running towards the voice, letting go of Aiden’s wrist.

“No, Caleb, don’t!” Aiden ran after him worried that the voice he heard was not Erika’s at all, but a trick of the middle trying to stop them from finding the girls. Caleb’s overconfidence didn’t render, and he kept running, yelling random words just to keep his voice going for Aiden to follow. It worked surprisingly well because when Caleb stopped Aiden knew exactly where he was.

“Erika?” he said again, lower this time. He could have sworn the voice came from right where he was now standing. “Erika, please answer me!”

“You’ll never find us,” the voice whispered out, as if it was right beside his ear. He jumped and reached out but nothing, not Erika, not anybody else. No one was standing around him.

“Aiden, are you there? It was a trick!”

But Aiden wasn’t there either. Caleb was somehow alone in the darkness.

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