Published March 03, 2017 by

Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Chapter 19

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 was a different person back then. Full of ridiculous ideas and a useless sense of justice that got me nowhere. Therefore I went against my instincts and met Skanky Legs that evening.

I snuck through the snoozing souls on the factory floor, then towards the back storage room. I hesitantly pushed open the rotting wooden door and slipped inside. Expecting some kind of grand meeting, but there were only piles of smashed crates and lumps of discontinued thread. I momentarily thought that I'd been lured into some cruel trick by Skanky Legs, but then a familiar face emerged from the darkness.

"Girly Boy, you came!" cried Skanky Legs with a bright smile which only lasted for a moment before concern overtook her. "Did you come alone? Did anyone see you?" There was panic in her voice which I assumed was just fear over getting caught.

"No, it's just me," I whispered back.

"Good." Her shoulders relaxed in relief.

"If you don't mind, Legs." I hesitated. Almost too nervous to say the next words. "Could you... me Ethan instead?"

"Ethan?" She raised an eyebrow.

"It was the name I had, before I came here."

I expected her to react like Anya and lecture me on accepting my new shitty name, but Skanky Legs just smiled brightly. "Okay, if you insist, Ethan."

She took my hand and led me through the cramped room and around dusty boxes until we reached the back wall. There was already another soul there, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest. He gave off the overwhelming impression that he didn't want to be there, but I could recall seeing him once or twice across the factory floor.

"Ethan, this is Whatshisface," said Skanky Legs. "Whatshisface, this is Ethan."

Whatshisface forced a smile and extended one hand towards me.

I reached out and weakly shook it. "Whatshisface? That's an interesting name."

"It used to be Duckfeet." He scowled. "But then that bastard forgot my name and started calling me Whatshisface instead. But at least it's a better name than the one he gave you." His voice didn't give any emotion away, and I couldn't tell if he was trying to be sympathetic or cruel.

Skanky Legs coughed like she wanted to change the subject. "It's probably best not to spend too much time on formalities. We only have a few minutes before anyone notices us gone. We don't want a repeat of what happened last time."

"Yeah, whatever you want," Whatshisface muttered. "You're the boss today, right? It's not like I have any cho-"

"Ethan," she said. "Is it true that you want to fight back against the Foreman?'

"Yes," I replied.

"Well that's good and all, but how far are you really willing to go?"

"As far as I have to."

"But could you risk weeks of terrible punishment and your own sanity, just for the smallest possibility of getting rid of him forever?"

"Yes, I would do anything."

Skanky Legs extended her arms outwards to the dusty room around us. "Then welcome to the club," she said with a giant smile.

I couldn't see anything which even slightly resembled a club. "Club? What club?"

"The Down with the Foreman club of course."

"Seriously? Just you and Whatshisname?"

"It's Whatshisface," he snapped.

It was difficult to believe that we could possibly overthrow our merciless supervisor with just the three of us, but she didn't look deterred.

"Of course it would be impossible with such a small group," she said. "That's why there are plenty more of us hidden amongst the others out there. I suppose there must be about fifty or sixty now, but it's too dangerous to all meet at the same time. I can't risk putting the others in danger."

"But you came to meet me."

"That's because I'm willing to go all the way to get what I want, even if there is a chance that I could loose everything." Her mouth curved into a nervous smile, and I remember feeling overwhelming admiration for this girl.

"How are you going to do it?" My voice was laced with excitement. "How are you going to get rid of him?"

"I knew you'd ask!" She pulled back a broken sheet of wood from the ground beside her, to unveil a diagram that had been shaped from the dust and grime. It was full of sketches and lines that didn't make sense, but I pretended to understand.

"We've been working on a plan to take him down for months, and we've finally made a breakthrough thanks to you," she said.

"Thanks to me?"

"Yes, because of you Ethan, we've finally found the courage to continue through with our goals."

"I..I.." I was moved by her words. "I'm not sure what to say."

"There's no need to say anything, just listen." She turned back to her diagram. "Foreman's shitty henchmen follow him everywhere, so we need to attack when he's alone. Once we get rid of him, his stupid friends should fall one by one."

"But that guy never goes anywhere alone."

"That's true, but we just need him to trust one of us enough to leave his friends behind. Then we strike as soon as his guard's down."

"I see. That's a brilliant idea!"

"Not really," mumbled Whatshisface. "It's just the most effective strategy."

"Every Thursday the factory sends out a shipment of cloth from the loading area," said Skanky Legs. "It's split up from the factory floor and he usually goes down with a group of souls. We're this close to making him pick us." She showed a small gap between her finger and thumb to exaggerate her words. "If all goes well, hopefully we can talk him into picking you too, and other souls who are on our side."

"Foreman's so full of himself that he thinks no one can take him," said Whatshisface. "He has no idea that his own arrogance is gonna be his downfall."

"Then what will we do?" I asked.

"Once we get down there one of us will create a distraction," said Skanky Legs. "Then when Foreman has his back turned, we'll all pounce on him at the same time and tie him up. We'll carry him down to the pit and close the lid forever. He'll never see the light of day again."

As great as it sounded I could see one flaw in their plan.

"But won't the brothers notice him missing?" I asked.

"Well…" Skanky Legs paused like she didn't know the answer.

"We'll just tell them that he ran away," said Whatshisface. "It's not that rare. They'll hire people to go out and look for him, but they'll never think to search the basement. We can even seal off the entrance, just in case."

"Like he said." Skanky Legs winked.

There really is nothing worse than being forced to exist in a pitch black hole, but all I could think of was my hatred for Foreman, and how I wanted to repay all the suffering he dealt me tenfold. I didn't care what I had to do, or the risks involved, I would have traded anything just to get rid of him.

"Sounds good." I nodded. "Just tell me what I have to do."

"We need you to help us attack Foreman when we give the signal. Without any hesitation," said Whatshisface. "If you're gonna be chicken and give up half-way, then you better go back to sleep now."

"No, I'll do it," I reassured him. "I want to do it."

"Looks like Ethan's in," said Whatshisface.

"Unfortunately it's all still a plan for now." Skanky Legs swiped one hand over the dust to erase her diagrams. "There's still a few things that we need to prepare, but you'll know when everything's ready. Until then, the less you know the better. I've seen plenty of souls like you crack and spill their guts when the interrogations begin."

"There's no need to worry about me," I said. "No matter what they do, I'll never give in."

"That's what I like about you, Ethan." She smiled. "I could tell from the moment you stood up to Foreman, that you were the sort of gutsy guy who'd never side with them or back down."

"That's all well and good," said Whatshisface. "But we're running out of time. "We've been here too long. Big Guy is bound to come down for a patrol soon."

"He's right, we better leave before it's too late." She jumped to her feet, took hold of my hand, and began dragging me back through the room like our lives depended on it. "You'll go back out the same door you came in. Whatshisface and I will go out through a hole in the wall. We can't let anyone know that we've been meeting in secret."

"Thanks for the warning."

"And there's one more thing." She grabbed both my shoulders and looked straight into my eyes. "You can't say a word about this to anyone out there. Not to Twitchy, or that so called girlfriend that you're hung up on."

"But Any-"

"Forget about her already! She's not your friend anymore! She's one of them." Skanky lunged forward and embraced me like I was a small frightened child. It was so sudden that I didn't know how to react, but it was the most kindness I'd seen since I arrived in that place. I probably would have done anything for her at that moment.

"You have us now," she whispered into my ear. "Unlike her, we'll never let you down."

"Okay," I mumbled and hesitantly raised one arm to weakly hug her back.

Skanky Legs squeezed me tightly one last time before slowly letting go. "Just remember, not a single word," her voice softly echoed as she disappeared into the darkness.

I slipped out the door and returned to my dirty spot on the factory floor. I curled up into a ball and rubbed my shoulders, trying to hold onto the memory of being held. A smile broke out across my face. I was so overjoyed that I'd finally discovered a friend who thought just like me. Together we'd make everything better, and all the souls could live like free people again.

Thanks to her things did change.

Just not in the way that I expected.

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