Published November 19, 2016 by

Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Chapter 13

Story Summary

Ethan is a soul in the Underworld with no memory of his life on Earth. He is bought and sold by various masters for centuries. Traveling from large industrial towns to scorching hot deserts. During his journey he picks up the skills, knowledge and magic to escape his enslavement. He runs with the intent of living a free life, but is pursued by agents until he's cornered on a remote mountain range. With little time left, Ethan begins to recount his life and masters in the hope of leaving a record of his existence. These are his memories.

I didn't know it back then, but that bleak factory would be my home for the next twenty years. Every day I would sit before a loom and make the same dull white cloth for hours without rest. Within months, my hands moved in a perfect rhythm without needing to think, and my mind soon entered its own fantasy world just to escape the excruciating repetition.

I had many different daydreams. Sometimes I'd imagine what things could have been like if I wasn't dead. If I'd been born into the Underworld instead of selling my soul, then perhaps I could go wherever I wanted, and never have to take orders from corrupt or sly masters. I would probably be poor, but even a short simple life would be better than being a soul.

On the other hand, if I belonged to a rich family, I could have lived in a luxurious mansion full of servants who'd wait on me night and day. They would all be mortal of course, because I didn't want any souls to suffer when I passed away. I could have gone to an expensive academy like my old master, and there I would have learned over a thousand magic spells. I'd perform fantastic incantations with a twist of my wrist, and no human or demon would dare mess with me.

Unlike my first master, who often treated his souls like real people, the Lynch brothers (like most beings in Hell) just utilized us as tools. We weren't human to them, and I became just another small cog in their production machine.

If I wasn't threading, I was cleaning. If I wasn't cleaning, I was packing. And if I wasn't packing, then I was probably being subjected to something I don't want to remember.

Making that stupid cloth wasn't always easy. When I first got there, I had to deal with Foreman or his friends abusing me over the smallest mistakes.

"What's this shit, Girly Boy?" said Big Guy, Foreman's closest friend. He was the largest soul there, which is why Foreman recruited him to do most of the grunt work.

Big Guy ripped the half finished cloth from my loom and shoved it in my face. "Just look at these gaps! No one in Hell would buy this crap!"

My life would have been easier if I just sat there and took his abuse, but I didn't know the ways of the Underworld back then.

"You can't expect it to be perfect when I only just got here!" I snapped back in anger. "And my name's not Girly Boy, its Ethan!"

The room fell silent and all the souls around me abruptly stopped threading. Several of them turned and stared like they knew what would come next.

"What did you say?" hissed Big Guy, like he couldn't believe what I'd done.

"I said that my name is Ethan!"

I was proud of myself, but Twitchy frantically waved his arms behind Big Guy to warn me. I had no idea what he was freaking out about until Big Guy grabbed a handful of my hair and shoved me face first into the loom.

"You inconsiderate piece of shit! How dare you talk back! You're lucky that I'm not in charge, because I'd give you a far shittier name than that!"

"What an idiot!" laughed Tomboy as she skipped over to bask in my anguish.

Tomboy was a tall girl with short hair, who was probably insane long before she even arrived in the Underworld. She carried a large plank of wood at all times, and took great pleasure in knocking souls off balconies and through windows.

"You gotta check this one out, Foreman!" She grinned and beckoned him over. "It's so much fun playing with them when they still have a personality."

Foreman slowly strolled over and I could see the tips of his shoes through the gaps in my loom. He then leaned up against Twitchy's chair and left me hanging there until he decided to speak.

"I get that you're new here, Girly Boy. So maybe you don't quite understand how things work. Luckily for you I'm a pretty reasonable guy, so I'll explain everything nice and slow so that your pathetic little brain can understand."

"Oh, I do love this part," giggled Tomboy. She knocked the soul behind me off his chair and then sat back to watch.

"One day back in your shitty little life when you breathed," Foreman continued. "You decided to sell your soul for money, or fame, or the attention of some girl who couldn't stand your girly face. You then signed your name on a contract saying that you would do anything, that's right, anything, that you were ordered to do in Hell. That means doing whatever those shitty mortals upstairs want. Now those brothers are pretty busy counting their money, or going to parties, or doing whatever fucked up things that other one does, so they left me in charge. Can you guess what that means?"

He patiently waited for me to answer, but I remained silent.

"Answer the Foreman!" Big Guy yelled.

I nervously shook my head because I didn't know what to say.

"It means that I'm your master down here," said Foreman. "And you have to do anything I want. Which includes answering to any name that you're lucky enough to get. Do you understand what I'm saying here, Girly Boy?"

He then started poking me in the face. I'm sure that he would have come up with plenty of other sick ways to mess with me, but his watchman, Spots, suddenly burst through the side door.

Spots was a middle aged man whose translucent face was covered in dark freckles. His only unique skill was that he could apparently remember his life back on Earth, but I'm certain that his amazing stories were just lies he made up to make himself look special.

"Frederick's coming, Foreman!" he yelled. "And he's got David with him too!"

"Drunk or sober?" asked Foreman.

"Looks pretty sober at the moment, Boss!"

Foreman quickly jumped to his feet and scanned the room. "You heard him!" he yelled, and every soul doubled their speed.

He gave me one last shove before patrolling the room to make sure that everything was as it should be. Big Guy, Tomboy, and Spots all jumped before their looms which they only used when the brothers were watching.

In strolled our master Frederick with David trailing behind him. Both dressed in expensive black suits and gleaming white shoes, which was a reminder of how they lived the high life off our pain.

Foreman turned to meet them with a smile, and it was like someone flipped a coin and a completely different personality emerged. Gone was the power hungry man who looked down on his masters and exploited their absence, and there was the perfect soul who could be trusted to do anything.

"Master Frederick, Master David." He graciously bowed before the brothers. "How kind of you to come down here."

"Long time no see, you old bastard," laughed Frederick and he gave Foreman a friendly punch in the arm. "How are the new stiffs going?"

"As you can see they're going wonderfully. They should be up to speed with the process within a week."

"Like that poor sod over there," he pointed to me as I hopelessly struggled to untangle the knots in my cotton.

"That's just Girly Boy." He glared at me as a hint to get my act together. "He still needs some breaking in, but he should be more obedient soon."

I must have looked like an embarrassment because Tomboy quickly tried to draw our master's attention away.

"Good day, gracious Master Frederick!" she said with a giant smile. She was the only worker grinning on the factory floor (everyone else looked lifeless and grim) so I don't understand how Fredrick never saw through her act.

"Good day to you too, Smiley," Frederick replied. "Happy as always?"

"It's just another super duper wonderful day in Hell," she laughed. "I wake up every morning and bless the powers of the Underworld for bringing me to this fantastical factory."

"That's what I love about you Tomboy! You're always so bright and positive. Listen up souls!" he called out to the rest of us. "It wouldn't kill you to show a little more joy around this place."

"Kill you? When we're already dead?" laughed Tomboy. "That's a great one, Master Frederick. I've never met anyone funnier than you!"

All the souls around me forced their faces into strained smiles, and nervously laughed like they didn't know how to be happy.

"I need to warn you," Twitchy quietly whispered. "There are two types of souls in this place. Foreman's group, and then the rest of us. The brothers trust him completely, so they don't listen to anything we say. Anyone who crosses those guys gets punished or sent downstairs."

"What's downstairs?" I asked, but Big Guy was walking in our direction so Twitchy pretended to be immersed in his cloth.

Frederick took a quick walk around the factory floor and then excused himself, leaving only David behind. The younger brother remained silent and motionless in the shadows as he eagerly examined us all. His eyes made contact with mine for just one short moment, so I quickly looked down to escape his piercing stare.

When I glanced back he was quietly talking to Foreman.

Foreman nodded in agreement before walking up to one young looking girl who was threading nearby. She was short, thin, and had long straight hair that cascaded over her shoulders. She tried her best to pretend that Foreman wasn't there, but I could see her hands trembling.

"You're up, Skanky Legs." He tilted his head towards David.

The girl suddenly collapsed against her loom and began to sob like he'd slapped her in the face.

"Please! Not again," she cried. "Can't he play with someone else this time?"

"It's not up to me," Foreman snapped. "You either go by yourself or Big Guy will carry you. And if you hate him so much, then you should stop crying. He probably gets off on shit like that."

With a nod she slowly got out of her chair and hesitantly made her way over to David. Her shoulders slumped and her gaze never left the floor. My creepy master then put one arm around her shoulders and led her out of the room.

"Must be a pretty sad existence if a soul's the only one who'll come back to your room," said Spots who was standing behind me.

"If she doesn't want to go then she shouldn't have to," I bitterly muttered.

"Ha! I didn't know that you were a comedian Girly Boy," he laughed. He then shoved me into my loom and walked away. "Shouldn't have to? That's a good one."

I glanced over at Anya. She'd stopped threading and was anxiously watching David like he was a poisonous insect.

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