Perhaps it was the joy, or the food-she couldn’t tell. But something just made Lydia feel so good. Her fifteenth birthday party buzzed with the energy of her near-adulthood. Clustered around her were Heather, Lilly, Jennifer and her new school-friend, Skye. Lilstone High was an incredibly ‘privileged’ secondary school, hence the rather expensive dresses showcased. Jennifer-Lilly’s younger sister-wore a small orange dress adorned by gold highlighting, finishing mid-thigh, overall, the nine-year-old had quite an outfit. Heather, who had decided to stay sometime longer after the sleepover, and then purchase a flat in town, displayed a purple strapless knee-length dress, complete with a bag and ornate necklace of the same colour. Lilly sparkled in ocean blue and carried a pirate-shaped charm on a chain around her neck. Skye’s emerald green silky dress with diagonal-cut sleeves glowed ever so slightly. But Lydia simply graced the room with her frilled gold dress-she was the gem of the whole party. Today was November 5th (Lydia’s birthday) and with the fortune her Father had gained, he had hosted a party, and the attending guests were from as far afield as Australia (they must’ve been hired)…
If you’re wondering how Mr Anderson got his hands on such a fortune, then you should probably double check what Lilly’s father did for a ‘living’. Wait, I’ll save you the trouble, he was a pirate, meaning that every couple of days he would find some treasure and lock it up in one of those classic chests. After his ship sunk, Lilly stood to inherit all his treasure, however the adolescent put her foot down on this one;
“I don’t want his filthy money, give it to someone else!” when she came round from her rant, inspiration struck-she would give it to Mr Anderson, it was the least she could do for him and Lydia. So here they all were at a full-on party. Of course, the alcohol was strictly for adults, Lydia wouldn’t have it any other way, ever since she had tasted a sip of beer for a dare as a young child, she had hated the liquid. Most people would expect her to act like most teenagers, keen to try out adult things, like smoking and drinking, though she didn’t, she knew better, better than to challenge her health.
“Hey, err, I need to go to the ladies’ room, so I’m going to leave you guys here for a minute, okay?” Lydia announced. The girls nodded.
“Oh, maybe I should come with you, I think this Cherry stuff is making need to ‘go’,” Skye spoke up. Beckoning Skye, Lydia shuffled off towards the bathroom. As soon as they had broken free of the crowd, Lydia asked,
“So how’s stuff at home,” she heard Skye gulp.
“I don’t know…Numb.”
“Numb?” Lydia Questioned.
“Yeah, numb,” Skye absent-mindedly confirmed, as if she weren’t sure herself.
Together, they reached the door marking the ladies’ toilet, and Lydia pressed her hand to it, both simultaneously setting foot on the tiled floor. Skye was the first to approach the sink. She placed her bag down next to one of the basins and watched as Lydia followed suit. The birthday girl looked around, the room was pristine clean, with white tiles all around, the only non-white thing in there was the taps, and, naturally, Lydia and Skye. Lydia began tapping a beat out on the marble counter, when she suddenly heard a low buzz. It took her a while to undo the clasp, fumbling with her matching gold bag. Lydia searched around inside the soft lining material. First, her fingers slid over some loose coins, the edges pressing slightly into the skin of her fingertips. The silk of her gloves brushed against her palm as she finally came into contact with the smooth surface of her phone. Pulling it from the array of objects, she felt her hand vibrate alongside the phone as she clicked the 'accept' button. She took a step forwards, holding the phone to her ear. But unbeknownst to her, some smart soul had decided to spill water, which had collected on the tiles-and Lydia was about to step in it. Caught off guard, she lost her footing, grazing her elbow on the counter, the phone escaping from her grasp.
"Note to self: Bathrooms are death traps," Lydia muttered, pushing herself to a stand and retrieving her phone. She looked around for Skye. She was gone.
"I'm in here," Skye's voice came from the cubicle in front of Lydia, who breathed a sigh of relief at her friend's voice. There was a flushing sound and Lydia's friend exited the cubicle. Skye strolled over to the sink and set the water running. Lydia turned away, checking her phone. The phone itself was intact, but the call had ended, and she'd no idea who it was from. In addition, the noisy flow of water had now come to an abrupt halt. Originally, Lydia automatically thought Skye had finished washing her hands, but as she turned around, the spot where the other girl had been was empty!
The brunette frantically searched the room for her black-haired companion, peering into the cubicles and out the pure white main door. Puzzled, she returned to the center of the room. Just then, something pulled at the hem of her dress. She turned to unhook the gold thread, thinking it was caught on the counter. However, the space behind her was completely empty, the neat folds of her dress hanging just beyond the counter. She shook her head and attempted to straighten up. Only to find she couldn't move. Being dragged inevitably towards the floor, Lydia felt her breath catch in her throat, she closed her eyes, expecting a collision. But none came, instead, she continued falling. The strong wind rippled through her body, it's unnatural coolness transforming into a lazy heat. Lydia's previously tight-shut eyes opened a fraction. The white tiles had been replaced by a sandy-coloured blur. At first there was only a flurry of sand which, no matter how hard she tried, Lydia couldn't touch. Soon, it began forming shapes. Buildings, alleyways, tiny dots that could've been people. Suddenly, Lydia felt herself being jerked in what felt like a million directions, tumbling still. With a thud, she hit the ground.
A once-familiar cold seeped into her bones, and it took her a moment to regain her bearings. She was surrounded by snow and gravel. Looking around, Lydia located Skye. She was lying a few feet away, just like Lydia had been. The brunette crawled on her hands and feet over to her, gently shaking her shoulder.
"Woah!" Skye jumped, sitting bolt upright, but immediately regretting it. She held her hand to her head and leaned forward, with her head on her knees.
"Are you alright?" Lydia asked, a concerned frown taking over her face. Skye nodded briefly. "Hmm..." Lydia muttered, not quite believing her. The cold was strong, wrapping it self around her, as she cautiously came to a stand, stretching her aching joints.
Aching? Hang on a moment, last time I checked, my joints weren't aching... Lydia thought. Deciding there were more important things than aching joints, such as their location, she quickly banished the issue from her mind, and surveyed the area around her. The snow was thick, and must have fallen fairly recently, because, except for the small spot where they had been lying, the blanket of snow was entirely undisturbed. Lydia raised an eyebrow, suspicion rising inside of her. Meanwhile, Skye had scrambled to a stand, shivering, obviously not accustomed to the weather. She had never endured more than minus five celsius, and the snow in the places she had lived in had only amounted to a centimetre at least. Gulping, she gazed out over the endless white that was wholly foreign to her.