LOVE CONQUERS ALL
They arrived at Lydia’s room and Aiden shoved her in with such force she nearly fell to the ground. She couldn’t remember a time when he had ever been so forceful with her and she had wondered where it was coming from. The pressure of immortality was enough to cause some stress but this? It wasn’t like him. It was as if it was changing his soul, the very fibre of his being.
“Change your clothes Lydia. I’m not sure if we get to change after we go through that arch and you don’t want to look like that for all of eternity.”
“Look like what exactly.”
“Like a whore.”
“What did you just say?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean... I don’t know where that came from.” He sat on the bed looking down as if he was trying to figure out what was happening to his own mind.
“I just meant you should be wearing something more practical. Not a cocktail dress.”
“Listen Aiden, I don’t know what has gotten into you, but we really need to think about this. Something is happening to you and if this is how you’re going to be after we walk through that arch, I’d rather be reincarnated and forget all about you!”
“Is that right? Well guess what Lydia, you don’t have a choice! We are soulmates! And that means we will walk through that arch and we will become immortal together!”
Lydia huddled in the corner of her room under a pile of clothes pretending to sift through them out of fear he would force her into something. She couldn’t imagine what was happening to him. Was the higher power controlling him now? What was going on? Did he eat the flowers after all? Her bemusement was overrunning her mind and she almost disappeared from reality when a burst through the door snapped her back. “Quincy!”
“What are you guys doing? You were supposed to stay at the party!”
“Did you find Caleb?” Aiden said in a stiff monotone.
“No.” Quincy’s eyes had a sadness in them that Lydia recognized immediately. Caleb was gone. Not sure whether he was disintegrated or reincarnated but wherever his soul was, it wasn’t in the middle anymore.
“Well, all’s well that ends well.” Aiden said, in that same stiff way.
Quincy gave Lydia a look of concern and she just shook her head with a slight shrug.
“Aiden, I need you to do something for me. It’s very important. I need you to go down to the party and make sure that everyone is still there and still having a good time. Something is happening. Valentine is on to you guys and the higher power has caught wind so you need to
go down and make sure everything is as normal as possible. Can you do that? I will bring Lydia down as soon as she is dressed and then we will slip out and make our way to the arch.”
“If I must. But if you’re not down soon I will be back to get my girl.” His voice was cold, emotionless. It was as if his soul had been captured and replaced by something else entirely. Something evil. He left the room and Quincy, after making sure the coast was clear, rushed to Lydia’s side.
“Darlin’, are you alright? We’ve got to get you out of here. I don’t who that was, but that was not Aiden.”
“It wasn’t? What does that mean, where did Aiden go?”
“Well it is him, but you see, it’s not. It’s hard to explain and we haven’t much time. Hurry up, get changed.”
Lydia picked up the first thing she could see. A pair of blue jeans and a white t-shirt and slipped them on not caring that Quincy was standing right in front of her. She didn’t feel naked in front of him, and he wasn’t stealing glimpses. She just wanted to know what the hell was going on and she wanted to know as soon as possible so there was no time for modesty.
“The essence of all that is Aiden is being controlled, contained if you will, by something else entirely. They know what you two are planning to do and they do not like it, as you
can imagine. They have tried, and so far, successfully, to turn you against him by forcing the darkness of his soul out and hiding the light. That, which was what you just saw, exists in him, but at the very depths of the darkest parts of him, the parts of him only he himself has ever seen. And now, it’s all anyone will see, if we don’t figure out a way to stop it.”
“How are we going to do that?”
“Well deary, I’m not quite sure yet. But we’re going to figure it out. But first, we have to make sure Dark Aiden doesn’t suspect we know what’s up or else he’s going to act out and not in the way he just did. I’m talking military destroy everything that’s in your way kind of act out.”
“Why was he forcing me to the arch if he’s being controlled by the higher power? I thought that’s the exact opposite of what they want?”
“They must be there waiting. In some shape or form, waiting to destroy your souls forever. They have no control over reincarnation so they can’t send you back to another being, that’s controlled by something else entirely, something no one understands, but they can control some things and they can destroy souls so that immortality and reincarnation are at last no longer an opportunity. We have to make sure you and Aiden don’t get anywhere near that arch while he’s still under their control. And we also have to figure out how to get his light back.”
“I think I have an idea.”
“What’s that dear?”
“The well. We can see earth on the well, right?”
“That’s right. What’s your point?”
“Can we see memories too? Is it possible to boil up a memory?”
“Why yes, most don’t use it for that though so it might be harder…”
Lydia cut him off.
“We have to get him to the well and show him his parents. There’s no way he can see his family without having the light get in. He lost them early and he’s never recovered. Seeing them again will have to bring it back.”
“While I definitely appreciate suggestions, I don’t think seeing his parents die will help him get back to the lightness.”
“Of course not. But bringing him back to a good memory of them might.”
“Well, you may be on to something. And it’s the best we’ve got.”
They rushed out of the room and down the hallway to the staircase. The music got louder and louder as they descended the stairs and Lydia felt a surge of power inside her, like a heartbeat, stopping her in her tracks.
“You okay darlin’?
“Yeah. I don’t know what that was. Let’s go, hurry!”
They arrived at the party room and scanned until they saw Aiden standing alone next to Vernon. Not speaking, not dancing, just staring towards the fireplace.
“You stay here. I’m going to get him. I think it’ll be easier for me. There’s too much connection between the two of you and whatever has control over him will sense you around him. Meet me at the well.”
“Okay.” Lydia ran as fast as she could towards the well. She was halfway there when she
‘Another surge,’ she thought, ‘What is going on?’
But she didn’t have time to think. She had to get to that well and cook up a memory. She stood there racking her brain for things he had told her about his parents, trips to the cottage, family Christmas’, anything that would bring back the light to his soul. And then it hit her. He once told her about the best day he and his father had ever spent together.
He was about eight years old and it was a simple Saturday in the summer time. He told her they had spent the day working on his dad’s old Mustang in the driveway. He was his dad’s honourary assistant, he’d said smiling, and although all he had to do was hand him the right tools, it was one of the best days he’d ever spent with his father. After they had finished up, they got in the classic car and drove to an ice cream shop. His dad got a chocolate cone, and because he wanted to be just like dad, he did too. She thought to herself that it was the perfect memory and it would bring the light back. It had to. She stared deeply into the well and it began to bubble.
Just as it did, Quincy carried in Aiden, slightly out of it but still conscious.
“What happened to him?” Lydia wailed.
“He wasn’t cooperating. So, I had to coerce him a little bit. Did you get the memory?”
“Yeah, I did. It’s coming up now.”
“Great, help me get him set up over it.”
“Aiden, sweetie,” Lydia said in her most nurturing of voices, “Look into the well my love. Stare into your past. Let the light in.”
“Lydia,” he whispered. “What’s happening to me?”
The memory began playing and Aiden watched, hardly at first, but then contently, smiling every so often with what looked like tears in his eyes. Quincy and Lydia held his arms and watched as his face began to change, slowly, but then quicker, from cold and lifeless, to warm and inviting. The darkness was fading. The well was working.
“Well done, Lydia.” Quincy grinned a wide toothed grin and Lydia smiled back with gusto, almost laughing. She was so relieved she slinked down next to Aiden wrapping her arms around him.
When the water began to bubble, they knew the memory had finished and Aiden just looked at Lydia and whispered, “Thank you,” and she knew he was back. They embraced for what felt like a second and an eternity all at the same time.
“Thank you, my love. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“Luckily for you, you’ll never have to find out.”
“I hate to break up this beautiful display of true love, but our mission is somewhat time sensitive. And Lydia, you broke the control. You know the higher power is not going to be happy about that. So, we have to move, and fast. Aiden, buddy, you okay to walk now?”
“Yeah, I’m okay. Hey, thanks. You know, for everything.”
“My pleasure, good man. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t help my fellow souls. That’s what I’m here for.”
The three started towards the door and Lydia took one long look back at the well.