Published March 30, 2016 by

Diary of a Soul Entry Number Five

Author’s note: Hello and welcome to chapter five. I have big plans for this story, big plans. I have enough inspiration to keep this going for a while unless my work commitments stop me. Reviews are always appreciated and feel free to follow me on Facebook or Twitter to keep updated on this story and my other work. My Facebook and Twitter address are in my profile. You can check out the previous chapters by clicking on the tab at the top of the page.

Entry Number Five

Maybe there really is a god or devil, or some sort of magical entity in Hell because my wish came true and Miho is finally gone. I guess that I’m relieved that she’s not coming back, but I went through an awful lot of pain before she was sent away. Even now it’s difficult to calm myself and there are a million different emotions pulsing through my soul. I tried to sleep tonight, but my thoughts continued to haunt me, so I hope that writing them down will make them go away.

It all started this morning. Miho assigned Klaus and I to clean the guestrooms. I thought it was strange that Miho came to my room and asked me to do it with a smile on her face despite everything that happened between us. I thought I'd done a great job keeping my distance from Master and she'd finally let go of her animosity towards me, but I was an idiot to have trusted her so easily.

I wandered through a hallway of the mansion while poking my head into different guest rooms in search of Klaus. Master never had guests who stayed the night, so most of the spare bedrooms have been given to us souls. I could see the names, Miho, Hana, and Alphonse painted on some of the doors, but my room is closer to Master’s for some reason that only he knows.

“Klaus!” I called out down the hall. But I received no reply.

Angelina walked past carrying a bucket of water and soap. She tends to avoid us as much as she can, so it's not strange to see her cleaning alone.

I grabbed her by the shoulders so that she couldn't ignore me. This startled her and she almost dropped the bucket of water on the floor.

"Hey, Angelina have you seen Klaus?" I asked while looking her directly in the eyes.

Angelina brushed my hands away and shrugged me off. "I don't know, go find him yourself," she muttered before quickly walking away.

I sighed and strolled down the hallway. Everything was quiet, still, and completely ordinary until two arms reached out from behind me and grabbed me around the waist. I tried to scream, but I was soon yanked into one of the rooms.

"Got him," said Alphonse and he dragged me into the middle of the spare bedroom. I saw Hana close the door, and Miho emerged from behind a sofa. Fear coursed through me, and from the crazy grin on her face I was certain that she was going to do something terrible again.

“Good morning Ethan,” she said sweetly.

“What is this?” I asked. “Why did you drag me in here?”

“Oh, I just decided that maybe it’s time that the two of us had a little talk,” she said and pulled up a chair to sit down. “Far away from our dear Master and that cold meddlesome bitch Angelina.”

“Okay,” I said nervously. Sure Alphonse was holding me down to prevent me from running and Hana was holding some rope, but I somehow managed to naively convince myself that Miho only wanted to chat.

“Ethan,” said Miho. “Why is it that no matter how many times I warn you, you still go flaunting yourself at the master whenever you can? Surely you must understand by now how that makes us all very unhappy. ”

“I don’t flaunt myself,” I protested even though I’m not sure what flaunt really means.

“Liar!” Hissed Alphonse from behind me. “We all know that you edge him on.”

“No, I don’t!” I said.

“I just don’t understand our poor master at all,” said Miho. “Why is it that he views someone as stupid and weak as you as even the slightest bit interesting. I can only conclude that all the centuries and wars must have driven him insane.”

“Yeah, just because you have nice skin and hair doesn’t mean that he should like you more than us!” Added Alphonse.

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking,” said Miho. “I have been kind until now, but if gentle warnings don’t work on you, I guess I have no choice but to try something a little more drastic. Hana hand me the stone.”

Hana reached behind the sofa and passed Miho a glowing white rock that was wrapped in a black towel. I would have called it beautiful if it wasn't for my terrible situation.

"I don't know about this Miho," said Hana nervously.

"Stop being such a whimp," snapped Miho. "There's no backing out now."

Hana lowered her head and backed away. Miho crouched down before me and held the stone in the towel to avoid touching it.

"Do you know what this is Ethan?" Asked Miho.

I had no idea what it was so I nervously shook my head.

"No, of course you would be too stupid to recognize this," she said. "This is a fragment of a weapon the people in Heaven used to dematerialize souls during the last war, Master once told me that he picked it up from the battlefield as a souvenir. It may only be a fragment, but this rock might still be dangerous to us. Nobody knows because we’ve never tested it. Yesterday I was cleaning the master’s study, like always because he trusts me so very much, and I happened to glance upon this little rock. I thought to myself, I wonder what will happened if this little fragment was actually used against a soul? Would it do nothing, would it shock them, or for the first time since they died would they actually bleed? I couldn’t help but wonder about this tiny question for the rest of the day. So much so that I can’t get it out of my head unless I discover the answer myself. But the only way to test if it really works or not would be on an actual soul, and where in Hell can I find a soul who deserves such a punishment. All the souls around me are good and do what they’re told, but then I thought of you Ethan. And what better way to see if this works but on a terrible disobedient fool who refuses to follow my rules.”

 “No don’t!” I cried while staring at the glowing rock in terror. “Please don’t do it!”

"This is all your fault Ethan," she said with a scowl. "You refused to listen to us and now it's time to face the consequences."

"No stop!" I cried, but Miho stuffed a cloth into my mouth while Alphonse held me down. I tried to struggle against his hold, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get free.

Miho slowly took the stone and moved it closer and closer to my right arm. She pressed it against my skin and I screamed. If I thought I would never feel pain again I guess I was wrong. The soul market may have erased my memories but the feeling of pain came back in full force like an unwanted friend. I may often wonder what it feels like to be alive, but I wanted nothing more than for it to stop.

Miho pulled the stone away for a moment and then pressed it to my arm again.

“So you think you’re above us do you?" She hissed. “Do you think you can steal the master and keep him all to yourself!”

“Miho, you’re actually hurting him,” said Alphonse and he loosened his hold around my shoulders. “You said that you just wanted to scare him.”

“Who cares if it hurts?” Said Miho. “You hate him just as much as everyone else don’t you?”

“Yes,” said Alphonse. “But the master won’t like it if he finds out about this. This is too much, even for you.”

"Coward," said Miho. "If it wasn’t for him the master would still like you!”

"But you can't place all the blame on him!" Protested Alphonse. He let me go, but my body was in too much pain to even move and I slumped to the floor. He tried to snatch the stone out of Miho’s hands, but she shoved him out of the way and pressed the stone against my arm again.

"You’re stupid, and weak, and trash! I hate you!” She yelled as she pressed the stone against my arm with all her might. The area began to glow and I could see the rock slowly start sinking into my skin.

"Miho stop!" Screamed Hana and both she and Alphonse grabbed Miho's shoulders and pulled her away. The door slammed open and the last thing I could remember was Angelina and Master standing over me as my entire world went black.

I wasn’t sure if I was alive or if I’d passed on, but in my sleep I went to a different world that wasn’t Hell.

The sky was blue, and the tree before me looked like something I'd never seen before. I was surrounded by the thick leaves and foliage, and I was high above the ground climbing through the thin wooden branches.

I stretched my hand forward to grab hold of a distant tree branch, only this time my hands were pink and solid instead of ghostly translucent white. I could feel the rough gruves of the cool wood branch under my fingers, and the wind in my face as I slowly climbed higher and higher. I realize that's what being alive must feel like, and suddenly I could remember it well like I'd never forgotten at all.

There were voices yelling at me, and I looked down to see a group of kids standing at the base of the tree. There were three girls in white dresses and a boy in a small suit. They were speaking in a language that I didn’t know and franticly waving towards me. I don't know if they were telling me to come back or urging me to climb higher. The ground below me looked distant, terrifying, and it began to spin beneath my feet.

I took a deep breath and reached for another branch but it snapped under my weight. I lost my balance and my entire body went sailing towards the ground. I slammed against the grass and it felt like hitting a brick wall.

 My limbs were numb for a moment before the pain set in. It was just like when Miho touched me with the stone and I screamed.

The fall was enough to jolt me awake, and I opened my eyes to find myself lying in my bed in Master's mansion. I was glad that Miho didn't erase my existence from Hell, but I felt a profound sense of loss which is difficult to put into words.

I turned to see Klaus’ lanky form sitting on a plush sofa chair beside my bed. His eyes were closed and his head was resting against the chair like he'd fallen asleep while watching me. He looked so serious when he was sleeping, and completely different from the Klaus who was always smiling and telling jokes.

I leaned over to get a closer look at his face. The bed springs creaked under my weight and Klaus’ eyes blinked open.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Nah, I was just resting my eyes,” said Klaus and he rubbed his eyelids. “It’s pretty hard for me to sleep when everyone's unsure if you’ll really wake up or not.”

“Really? Was it that serious?" I asked. I no longer felt any pain and my body looked fine.

"Yeah, you were out for about two days,” yawned Klaus. “Apparently that rock Miho was poking you with is seriously dangerous to souls. I guess she could have burnt your limbs off or killed you if she tried hard enough."

"No way?" I pulled back my shirt and looked at my arm where she had touched me with the stone. Most of my arm looked solid, but there was a small patch near my shoulder blade which looked ghostly and transparent like someone had knocked a hole in an egg shell. I poked the spot with my finger and my hand easily went through.

"Sorry about that man," said Klaus. "One month in Hell and you've already got yourself a battle wound. What are the chances of that lucky guy? The master tried to fix you, but that's the best he could do. That mark's just something you're going to be stuck with for the rest of eternity or something."

I nervously returned my shirt and covered my arm. I can't believe that I now have a hole there forever. At least Miho didn't target my face.

"But on the brightside Ethan, you are now fit and ready to spend the rest of eternity in this southern paradise. Why I can't imagine how I could continue on without my best buddy Ethan by my side," he said with a grin.

"I'm happy to see you too Klaus."

"You're welcome."

"Hey Klaus," I said nervously while thinking of my peculiar vision. “I saw something while I was asleep. That’s never happened before.”

“They call those dreams. What did you see?”

“I was climbing a tree,” I felt like the details of the dream were slowly seeping out from my mind and the visions were fuzzier than they had been a moment earlier. “The sky was blue, and my hands were pink instead of white, but then a branch snapped under me and I fell. It hurt so much, like when Miho touched me with that stone.”

“I have those too sometimes,” said Klaus. “Small flashbacks from when I was alive that only last a few seconds, I guess it’s impossible for the soul market to erase everything so we all have small fragments left somewhere deep in our minds. I once had a dream that I was eating cake. All it did was make me miss eating.”

“What did cake taste like?”

“Soft and sweet, it was so delicious that I wish I could taste it again. I wish that I could taste anything really, but you know, that isn’t going to happen again anytime soon,” he said with a small hint of bitterness.

I looked at his ghostly form. It was true that just like me Klaus would never eat again and there was nothing I could do to help. “I’m sorry Klaus.”

“Don’t be, it’s not your fault,” he smiled. “I’ve already accepted my fate a long time ago. Felix thinks that they erase our memories so that we can’t remember what we lost. He thinks it’s easier for us to survive in Hell if we don’t think about what we left behind. I think he might be right.”

“What we lost huh?” I said while thinking of the children at the base of that tree. I wonder if they were important to me at all. Friends? Siblings? Complete strangers? Maybe the people in the dream had also been important to me as Klaus or Master were now. The idea of losing my new friends made me sick, so I can’t imagine how those people back on Earth must have felt when I sold my soul away. Maybe the guards at the soul market were right and I’m a terrible person who deserves all the bad things I get. Maybe I didn’t deserve to live.

Thinking about it now makes me want to cry and I can already feel the tears welling up, but luckily I was still overwhelmed by what had happened to consider these things back when I was talking to Klaus, I promised myself that I would never cry before him again and I've done such a great job so far.

“I reckon it’s best not to think too much about it,” said Klaus and he leaned back in his chair. "It’s impossible to go back, so thinking about it too much will only make your head hurt. I’ve seen souls go crazy by obsessing too much over what they used to be. Some people just can’t let go you know? It’s like their mind forgets but it’s still etched into their soul or something.”

“Etched into our souls huh? Do you think it’s better if I don't remember?”

“Yeah,” he said grimly. “Like me and the cake, man I could really do with some cake right now.”

I wonder if there are other memories hidden deep within my mind that the soul market couldn't erase. Maybe one day I’ll be able to remember my old family and why I sold my soul. I know that Klaus told me not to do it, but I still tried to sit and concentrate hard in the hope that they would spring forth, but it was just a waste of time. Maybe they’ll naturally come back to me one day, like when Miho touched me with that stone. 

My door opened and Klaus nearly sprung out of his seat in surprise. Master entered. I guess that it's his house so he doesn't really have to knock.

"He's fit and ready for duty sir!" Said Klaus with a salute like he was addressing an army general.

"Thank you Klaus," said Master with a forced smile. "Leave us."

"Yes, sir," said Klaus and he marched out of the room. I thought I saw him glance back at me with concern before he left, but that could have just been my mind playing tricks on me.

Master walked over to my bed and sat down on the mattress next to me. He ran his hand over my shoulder and paused at the spot where Miho had damaged my arm.

"I'm sorry that I couldn't fix you Ethan," he said sadly.

"Hey, I’m fine,” I said with a smile. “Thank you Master for helping me.”

“Still, I wish I could do more. Unfortunately patching up souls is not one of my specialties. It's not exactly something that people give a damn about in Hell."

"I'm fine really, it's just a small scratch, I can barely notice it at all unless I remove my shirt."

Master looked at me grimly and then hugged me to his chest. He held me there tightly like he was afraid of losing me again.

“Master,” I said nervously. “Why is it that I can’t feel anything, but that stone can hurt me?”

"That stone is from Heaven. Those people over there think it’s morally wrong to keep dead people as servants so they went out of there way to create ways of helping souls peacefully pass on, but the things they created are far from peaceful, as you no doubt experienced for yourself."

I thought of the pain that rock caused when it was pressed against my skin and I shuddered.

"I've already disposed of that stone so there's no need to worry about it touching you again," said Master. "It was my own fault for leaving it in reach of souls who are prone to feuding with each other."

"Thank you Master, I'm relieved that I never have to feel that pain again."

“I talked with Angelina, she’s the one who ran to me asking for help. As cold and unfriendly as that girl is she must have a soft spot for you Ethan. She told me what happened between you and Miho in my kitchen, and Klaus confirmed that she’s been unfriendly towards you for weeks, but what I most want to know. Is why you didn’t tell me about any of these things?”

“I wanted to...but," I nervously stuttered as I clutched my sheets. "I wasn't sure how to tell you Master."

"I see," he said and ruffled my hair. "Sometimes I forget that you're still new here like a newborn child. But I would appreciate it if you could be more honest with me in the future. There's no need to keep any secrets from me."

"Yes, Master. If Miho..does something like that again..I promise that I'll tell you instead of keeping it to myself."

“There's no need to worry yourself about that because Miho is no longer with us.”

“No, don’t tell me you..” Miho was cruel and bitter, but I didn’t hate her enough to want to see her erased from this world.

“Relax, I just rented her out to a woman down the road who needs help with her seven children. I’m sure that it’s the perfect job for her skill set. She always seemed to enjoy bossing others around.”

“But she lived here for so long,” I said while thinking about how she and Master always seemed to get along. “Won’t you miss her? She seemed to like you a lot.”

Master sighed. “As competent as Miho was, she was imposed on me by my mother who believed that I couldn’t look after myself. My adoring mother naturally picked the closest soul she could find which resembled herself, which means I had to endure my mother's meddling even long after her death. I think it’s time that we both parted ways. Things are no doubt better this way.”

He kissed me on the forehead. “And besides how can I coexist with someone who would hurt you like that Ethan?” He whispered into my ear and it sent a strange chill down my spine.

I was lost for words and I sat there staring at Master in a daze while wondering if he truly loved me or just thought of me as an exotic pet. But either way just being with him in his beautiful mansion is enough and I can’t ask for anything more.

I wanted to thank Angelina. It turned out to be a bad idea, but if it wasn’t for her getting Master then Miho would have surely done more terrible things to me. I know that Angelina is cold, aloof, and doesn’t accept praise, but I had to try even if it was only once.

I found her in the courtyard outside the kitchen hanging Master’s clothes out to dry in the sun. She makes me feel nervous, and I wasn't sure how to talk to her, so I just stood there for a while until she finally turned and noticed me there. I thought she would at least say something, but she just returned to her chores like I didn’t exist. 

“I wanted to thank you for what you did today!” I nervously called out.

“I don’t need your gratitude,” she said.

“I thought that you might say something like that,” I looked at the ground. “But if it wasn’t for you getting Master Miho may have actually killed me.”

“You don’t have to thank me, if I’d known that she could have erased your existence with that rock, I wouldn’t have stopped her.”

Her words were cold, like ice running through my non-existent veins.

“What do you mean?” I asked and I heard my voice tremble.

“Don’t misunderstand me Ethan, it’s not like I want you to disappear,” she said while calmly attaching Master’s clothes to the line with pegs. “But things would have been much better for you if you passed on when you had the chance.”

I could barely believe the words that were coming out of her mouth. To me it felt even worse than Miho burning me.

“So you’re saying that things would be better if I just died?” I cried. “How can you say that? I thought the two of us were friends Angelina!”

“Ethan,” she said and pointed towards the wall which blocked Master’s mansion from the street. “There are things, and people out there far worse than that girl, things that someone like you can’t possibly comprehend. But I’ve seen them, experienced them. You’ve lost your early escape route so now you need to prepare yourself, otherwise you’ll go insane.”

“I don’t believe you! That might be true if we had some other master, but Master is strong and wise and he’ll live for a long tim-”

“That means nothing!” She snapped. “You can’t just rely on something like that!”

“So what! You don’t believe in the master!”

“It doesn’t matter if he’s the greatest master in Hell! There is always an end! There is always another master, and another one, and then another one, and you will be recycled amongst the trash who live here for the rest of eternity, until they deam you too insane to do anything and toss you into the furthest reaches of Hell. It’s inevitable!”

“You're lying!” I hissed back. I was so angry that my fists began to shake. “You’re just bitter and angry, something like that will never happen to me!” I turned and stormed out of the courtyard.

“Ethan!” She yelled out but I didn’t turn back. “You can’t get too close to him! He’ll only hurt you!”

All the relief that I felt about Miho leaving was replaced with a horrible feeling after my fight with Angelina. I never thought she'd say something terrible like that and I was furious all afternoon. Her words spun around my head for hours, but after thinking about it for a while my anger towards her gradually became smaller. Master looks well and it seems like he’ll last forever so I think that Angelina is just being paranoid. I guess she must have been treated badly by old masters in the past so that’s made her strange and fearful. She’ll calm down once she realises what a great and powerful person Master is. Everything is different this time. Master is great, and things won’t end the way that Angelina predicts.

Author's Note: I recently took a trip around Kamakura in Japan. I posted a few of my best photos on my blog so please check them out if you have an interest in Japan. They’re in the first blog post called “March Writing update.”