The Reincarnation of Lydia Ashes

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“Did you hear that?” Lydia whispered to Erika, who was still safely linked in her arms.

She was so terrified, but had never felt more courageous. The middle had that way with her and she often wondered if she was that valiant in life, or possibly, that stupid.

The ground began to feel wet, as if they had walked directly into a swamp. The smush of what felt like grass and mud sent chills up their backs and they decided that it was too late to turn around now. They had to get through this, even if it meant getting lost in the abyss forever. Each step they took was harder and harder as they began to sink in the mud, slowly covering their ankles, and then their shins, eventually reaching over the top of their knees.

“I heard something, but now all I can hear is the sound of this stupid mud. Oh god, my foot’s stuck!” Erika squealed like a pig and fell to the ground letting go of Lydia.

“Erika, don’t let go!” Lydia reached down to grab her but she couldn’t find a limb to hold onto. “Erika!”

“I’m here, I’m here. Grab my hand, pull me out! Please, it feels like it’s sucking me down!”

Lydia grabbed on to Erika’s hand and pulled with all the strength she could muster. She got her up out of the mud and began half running. Half running because she was so tired, and because every step she took sent her farther into the mud. “We have to get out of this swamp.”

The two trekked on, slowing their pace as they realized the speed was sinking them faster, trying to get out of the swamp. Eventually, the mud got thinner, and then it disappeared altogether. “I think we’re almost there,” Lydia said with excitement. “I can feel it.”

At that moment, she heard the cries of a familiar voice. Caleb’s voice. “Caleb! Caleb were over here!”

They ran towards the voice and when Caleb heard them too, he ran towards them with all his might. The three crashed together in a heap of arms and legs and fell to the ground in an exasperated puddle.

“You found us! How on earth did you find us? Where’s Aiden?” Lydia was so happy to have found Caleb, but he wasn’t with Aiden and that was who made her feel safe.

“I don’t know. We came in here and I fell and let go of his wrist then I was swept away by what felt like a huge gust of wind, or something like that. I have no idea what it was. I’ve been wandering around trying to find him for, like, ever.”

“Aww, you guys were holding hands. That’s cute.” Erika poked fun at him, mostly because she was trying to get her mind off the reality she found herself in.

“Blondie, you know I wouldn’t have done it if I had your hand to hold,” Caleb flirted back.

“Are you guys serious right now? We have to find Aiden!” Lydia was infuriated at them for acting so nonchalant, but she did appreciate the fact that they were able to take their mind off what was happening to them, an ability she lacked in that moment.

“You’re right, you’re right. Grab a hold ladies, let’s find our man,” Caleb said trying to lighten Lydia’s mood. Unsuccessfully.

She couldn’t think of anything else but Aiden and the fact that at that very moment he could be anywhere. He could have been dragged away by one of those things or worse, sucked into the swamp never to be free again. She called out his name, loudly and sternly as if sounding angry might make him hear her better. There was nothing but silence now. No swish-swash of mud under their feet, no screaming in the background, no loud footsteps in the distance. Nothing but the sound of silence. It couldn’t possibly be this silent without reason. And she was terrified. Whatever was scaring her before feared whatever was around them now. And that made her tremble.

“Don’t worry Lydia, we’ll find him.” Caleb said to her as sweetly as he possibly could.

“I know,” she lied. She didn’t know. She had no idea and she couldn’t bear it if they didn’t find him. Her determination was growing. And so was her speed.

“Hey, slow down Lydia. We can’t get separated.” Erika gave her the order, trying to stifle her gusto.

‘She’s right,’ Lydia thought to herself.

If they got separated now, it would be damn near impossible to find them and Aiden. She slowed her pace to match theirs, and attempted to centre herself.

She wanted to feel the room, because she knew if she could manage to do that, she could sense the direction in which they had to go to

find Aiden. It was just something about their connection that really connected them. That thought gave her the gumption she needed to really figure out how to take that feeling and make it work for her. She stopped, tugging both Erika and Caleb back with her.

“What’s wrong?” Caleb asked.

“Hold on,” Lydia said, not explaining anything. She had to be centred, after all. She stood there in silence, eyes closed, focusing as hard as she possibly could to try to harness the universes energy to assist her in finding Aiden. It worked, too.

“There, he’s over there!” She took off running, pulling her two companions along behind her. And then she hit it. Him. He was laying on the ground in a ball. “Aiden!” The three huddled down around him as Lydia shook him to consciousness.

“Lydia! Is that you? You found me!” He grabbed a hold of her so tight she thought she may explode, but she didn’t hate it. In fact, it felt right, being in his arms.

“Yes!” She exclaimed.

“Eh—hem.” Caleb cleared his throat as if to prove she wasn’t the only one who participated in the retrieval mission.

“I mean we, we found you! Are you okay? What happened?”

“I don’t know. Caleb and I got separated somehow. I’m not sure what happened. I’m not even sure how I ended up unconscious.” He slowly stood up to his feet. “We need to get the

hell out of here before we lose each other again.” His use of profanity proved how serious he was, and Lydia decided it was up to her to feel where the door to the mansion was. She worked her magic, and the universe lined them up.

“It’s this way. Let’s go!”

The foursome sprinted in one straight line until they could finally see the faint light of a doorframe.

“There!” Lydia shouted and they thrust themselves through the air and straight into the door. With a mighty whoosh, it swung open flinging them into the wall on the other side.

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