Published November 28, 2016 by

Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Chapter 14

Summary: Ethan is a soul doomed to spend eternity as a slave in Hell for reasons he can't remember. After centuries of torment he finally snaps and goes on the run from those who enslaved him. Can he escape and become more than a regular soul, or is he doomed to spend an eternity in The Underworld? 

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Souls can work longer than living people, so it wasn't uncommon for us to work days without rest. Sadly, our energy doesn't last forever, and we gradually slow down until we collapse from mental exhaustion.

But resting without permission was unforgivable in that factory, and Foreman's group would soon berate us if we accidentally nodded off.

"Wakey Wakey!" Big Guy yelled and kicked Horse Face's chair out from underneath him.

Horse Face crashed to the floor, but quickly pulled himself to his feet and mumbled a long stream of apologies. "Sorry Big Guy. I'll never do it again, man. I just closed my eyes for a second. Only a second I swear! You know that I'll never do it again, right? I respect all you guys, and I would never do anything to go against Fore-"

"Get back to work!"

"Yes, Sir!" Horse Face cried before picking up his seat and working away in a frenzy.

Tomboy was no kinder, and would often whack us off our chairs if we worked too slow. We had to constantly watch our backs, because you never knew when one of them would lash out and attack.

Foreman on the other hand, would lethargically lean back in a chair and take breaks whenever he felt like it. Watching him happily nap when we couldn't sleep, only increased my hatred towards that bastard. I'd never felt so angry and bitter towards anyone before, and my daydreams were soon taken over by visions of Foreman suffering a terrible demise.

It was only when we became so tired that we could barely move, would they finally give us permission to sleep.

"Lights out!" Big Guy would cry before extinguishing the lamps and slamming the door behind him.

"Where are the beds?" I wearily asked Twitchy. I always had my own room at Alistair's mansion, but I couldn't see anywhere to sleep in the factory.

"You're looking at it," he said and pointed to the ground under my feet.

I thought he was joking until I looked around to see my fellow souls tiredly collapse against their looms or the floor. I was horrified at first, but after days without rest, my wooden chair suddenly became an attractive pillow.

"Things weren't always like this," Twitchy whispered. "There used to be a few mortal guys in charge, who were only half as bad. Foreman was just another soul like the rest of us, but then he somehow managed to convince the brothers that it was better to place him in charge. Now he uses the power to control and mess with us the way that human masters do. He'll never leave you alone until you obey him without question."

"Why don't you guys do anything about it? There's so many of you and only a few of them."

"There were other guys like you," he said sadly before rolling over and curling up into a ball. "And they all failed."

Twitchy then pretended to be asleep and refused to answer any more of my questions. Not knowing what the next few days would bring made it impossible to relax. Big Guy and Tomboy became especially harsh since the day I talked back, and they took the smallest opportunity to hit or berate me. If that wasn't bad enough, the way that some souls would giggle or laugh (like they were trying to slowly work their way into Foreman's group) made it even worse.

I stood up and went to find Anya amongst the sleeping bodies on the floor. I carefully tiptoed around them until I found her curled up under her loom.

"Anya?" I quietly asked to see if she was awake.

"You should stop using that name," she whispered back. "My name is Toilet Brush Hair now."

"You can't be serious." I found it hard to believe that my strong willed friend had begun following Foreman's deranged thinking. "That's a terrible name."

"Don't worry, it won't be forever."

"That doesn't matter!" I said more loudly than I intended and the soul beside her began to stir. I crept under her loom so that I could speak without raising my voice. "We should do something about them. It might be difficult with just the two of us, but if we can convince some of the other souls to join-"

"You shouldn't fight them, Eth-" Anya almost said my old name before she caught herself. "This isn't our old home anymore. This is the way that souls like us usually live. We just have to take whatever they do to us and hope that the next master, or the next, will be better."

"Like Foreman does?" That guy was the opposite of struggling through his terrible fate.

"Because of someone like Foreman! Fighting him will only make things harder."

"So you're on his side now? Just like the rest of them?" It upset me that she just sat there and did nothing while they yelled in my face.

"Can't you see?" she hissed. "There is no other side. I've been watching them for a while now, and I've discovered that they only pick on the ones who act up or argue back. They mostly ignore the quiet ones who don't talk. If we just copy them, then Foreman's group should leave us alone. The only problem is that one brother." I didn't have to ask to know that she was referring to David. "I still haven't worked out how he thinks, but I think I've figured out a way to protect myself from that guy."

I sighed in defeat. Anya was the stubbornest person I knew.

"I'm sorry, you're right," I said even though I despised those words. "I'll talk to you again next time."

"Wait up," she grabbed my wrist to stop me from leaving. "Please promise me that you won't do anything stupid."

"I'll try," I said and she slowly let go.

I crept back to my spot, and after hours of thinking over her words, I fell into a deep slumber.

At first I thought the screaming that awoke me was Big Guy telling us to get back to work. He would yell and kick us if we took too long, but the voices were too fearful to be Foreman or his friends.

I opened my eyes to see the souls around me crying and fleeing into the corners. Some shoved themselves behind shelves, or dived under their looms and grabbed onto the legs like their lives depended on it.

I stood there stunned with no idea what they were running from, until I caught sight of Master Frederick in the center of the room. His face was bright red like he'd drunk far too much, and his shirt lay discarded on the ground as though he'd ripped it off in rage.

"I own you! I own you all!" he bellowed throughout the room.

He grabbed onto one girl who was still sleeping on the floor, and pulled on her arm with all his strength like he was trying to rip it from its socket. She screamed in horror and struggled to get away, but it was too much stress on her limbs, so her body became transparent. Luckily she slipped from his grip and dashed into a corner.

Fredrick growled in rage and punched one boy in the face. His fist went straight through the kid's head (which must have been a disappointment) because he then shoved the boy to the ground and stomped on him like crushing a cockroach. "I can do whatever I want! And none of you can stop me!"

Fredrick gripped onto another soul (who didn't bother to run) and flung them half way across the room into a brick wall. The soul's ghostly body slumped to the floor, and they sat there blankly like they'd lost the will to fight back.

Fredrick continued his rampage throughout the factory floor. Souls went flying in all directions, and I couldn't believe that it was the same friendly master who came down to greet us days earlier.

Laughter echoed throughout the room. I looked up to see Foreman and his group watching in amusement from a balcony on the second floor. There was Tomboy, Big Guy, Spots, as well as several other souls who shamelessly sucked up to those bastards.

"I wonder who's gonna get the window this time," laughed Tomboy as she leaned dangerously far over the railing to get a better view.

"My bet is on Fat Chick," said Big Guy.

"Nah, looks like she already dived under that pile of cloth," said Spots. "Flat Face on the other hand looks like he's got nowhere to run."

"Hey, hey," said Tomboy. "Wouldn't it be funny to see Bug Eyes go flying?"

"You and Bug Eyes," huffed Foreman. "That guy used to be fun until you crushed his spirit."

Spots pointed to somewhere across the room. "Looks like Toilet Brush may be today's lucky contender!"

I tore my gaze away from them to see Fredrick encroaching on my friend. There was no longer any room left in the corners, so she pressed herself against the far wall, but Frederick was right before her. She was certain to become his next victim unless somebody did something.

"Anya!" I cried and launched myself at Frederick in an attempt to knock him down. He stumbled for a moment, but of course my body was too weak to do anything.

"Look at that!" laughed Tomboy from above. "Girly Boy's trying to play hero!"

And as soon as I heard those words, Fredrick grabbed my arm and flung me far across the room. I watched the world fly past until I crashed into a group of souls huddled behind a pile of cloth.

"Anya!" I cried and quickly jumped to my feet, but the other souls grabbed onto my limbs and held me down. "What are you doing?" I cried as I frantically struggled against them. "We have to help her!"

"Don't do it!" one soul hissed into my ear.

"He's a master," said another.

"A master's will is absolute."

"We can't go against the master."

"Terrible things will happen."

"It's best to stay here and hope he doesn't come."

"Yes! You should stay here with us."

I pulled and I shoved, but as soon as I pried one dead man's fingers from my body, another hand took its place.

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