The Reincarnation of Lydia Ashes

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Walking through the portal was exactly like walking through a door. An invisible door that led to an entirely different dimension, but a door nonetheless. Lydia was taken aback by what was on the other side—and not because it was as breathtaking as everything else she’d seen. It was painfully plain. A true minimalist room consisting of nothing but a small foyer and a long hallway.

The floor was tiled, white. The walls, white. Trim, lights, carpet that led down the long white hallway—white. It was almost blinding.

They all stood there looking around, but with only one way to go, they had no choice but to venture down the corridor.

“This is insane.” Lydia said to no one in particular.

“Insane?” Valentine asked.

“Yeah, like, what’s with the white?”

“That’s the least of your worries Ms. Ashes.”

“Okay, can you stop it with that Ms. Ashes

business? We’re pretty much the same, station wise, so let’s just go to a first name basis, yeah?”

“As you wish, Lydia.” Valentine continued. “They don’t like too much extravagance. Or too much of anything. They are simple, but very powerful. And they don’t waste their time on particulars, such as home décor.”

“Fair enough.” Aiden piped in.

As they walked down the hallway, they noticed a door at the end. It was almost as invisible as the portal because of how white everything was, but as they approached they could see the outline of the trim and the lone white turn handle. There was an intercom halfway up the door on the left side.

“Are you ready?” Valentine asked as they got to the door.

“Do we even have a choice?” Lydia asked.

Valentine pressed the button.

A voice came over the intercom.

“State your name and station.”

“Valentine. With Peters, Smith, and Ashes. Nesciom Nintot’s.”

“He just goes along with calling us that?” Lydia whispered to Aiden, to which he replied with just a shrug.

“Right. Come in. We’ve been expecting you.”

The door buzzed and a loud unlocking sound echoed down the hallway.

Valentine grabbed a hold of the handle and opened the door.

They walked through to another boring room,

only the colour of everything was a cream instead of a plain bright white.

‘A change, I guess.’ Lydia thought to herself. The only colour in the room were the books on the wall shelves, which enwrapped the walls at the back of the long rectangular structure. Between the book shelves, another door. And another buzzer.

“We have to get buzzed in again? What is this place?”

“No dear. We wait here.” Quincy said. “Here, let’s take a seat.”

They all took a seat on the cream couches that sat adjacent to the door. And they waited.

“Is anyone coming? How long do we have to wait here?”

“Just be patient, Aiden. There isn’t much we can do but wait, and what’s on the other side of that door may not be much better than an eternity of waiting. So, it’s best just to hold her hand,” he motioned to Lydia, “and hope your fate is being considered positively.”

Aiden took Quincy’s advice and grabbed Lydia’s hand, hard. She knew he was terrified. She was terrified, too. But with his hand in hers, she felt as if they stood a chance.

They sat there for a while longer and just as they thought they’d be there forever, the door clicked and swung open.

A tall fellow walked through the door. He was almost as plain looking as the room they were sitting in. Nothing of note in his appearance, and an emotionless look on his face.

He walked over to them, stood tall and introduced himself to the group.

“Hello. My name is Henry Hellhouse. You can call me Mr. Hellhouse, or Henry. Whichever you prefer.”

“Hi Henry. I’m Lydia. This is Aiden. And they’re…” he cut her off.

“Oh, we’ve been acquainted.” He motioned to Valentine and Quincy.

“It’s nice to meet you both, even under the circumstances.”

“Circumstances?” Aiden asked.

“Yes. It was quite the stunt you both pulled. Especially against the warnings of your trusted confidants, here.” He motioned to them again.

“But I suppose that there’s not much more that can be done about that. What’s done is done, I always say.”

“So, what are we doing here?” Lydia asked.

“You will face the tribunal. They will determine what your fate will be. I cannot answer any questions about this further as I do not have any more information on that matter. I am but merely your usher. And so, as you will, up to your feet. You have judgement to face.”

Lydia and Aiden stood together, hands clasped, and stared at Dexter and Quincy. They remained seated.

“We will be here when you get out. Good luck.” Valentine said, trying to smile.

Lydia just half-smiled back as they were led towards the door. She had a very bad feeling about what was about to happen. A feeling she

couldn’t shake. A book caught her eye as she followed, The Raven and Other Poems by Edgar Allen Poe.

‘That can’t be a good sign,’ she thought to herself. She got lost in her own mind for just a moment and almost tripped over her own foot.

“You alright?” Aiden asked grabbing her arm with his free hand. The hand that wasn’t already in hers.

“Yeah, just lost my footing.”

“It’s going to be okay, Lydia. I promise.”

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

“Please stay here, just for a moment.” He punched in 4 numbers into the keypad. Lydia saw his fingers hit 1298, and he disappeared into the door.

Lydia looked at Aiden, her eyes lingering on his face, and leapt into his arms pressing her lips against his. She didn’t want to kiss him goodbye, but she didn’t know if she’d get the chance afterwards.

“What was that for?”

“One kiss for good luck.” She smiled.

“They’re ready for you.” Henry said, popping his head out of the door. “This way.”

Lydia took one final look back at Quincy and Valentine, read the concerned and scared looks on their faces, and with one deep breath, head in through the door.

‘My fate is my choice,’ she repeatedly thought.

‘My fate is my choice.’

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