Published March 23, 2017 by

Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Chapter 22

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.

The Basement

After he let me go.

I found a place to hide in the lower levels of the factory once he finally let me go.

I wearily walked as far as I could from that room, until I reached a small corner of the basement full of pipes and mold. The floor was soaked with water, and every once in awhile I'd hear a hissing sound that I just couldn't place, but I didn't care. I wanted to be there. Anywhere other than that room or the factory floor was fine.

I must have sat there for hours. Shaking in the dark. It was unusual for Foreman to leave me alone for so long, but perhaps he wanted me to stew over what happened. To make me relive it again and again in my mind without any distractions until the punishment really sunk in.

"Ethan?" called a faint voice from somewhere in the basement.

I flinched and raised my head, but there was only one person who knew that name and I didn't want to face them. I backed away to hide amongst the pipes, but I forgot about the water and my splashes were a dead give away.

"Ethan?" said Anya. All of a sudden she was standing before me like the girl had appeared out of thin air. It must have been a trick of my broken mind which was having trouble following along with reality.

"Ethan, they said that you have to come back now," Anya said gently but I didn't respond. "Ethan?" she said more forcefully to try and grab my attention.

"Who are they?" I asked.

She paused like she knew that the answer wouldn't make things better. "Foreman, and the others too. I think-"

"So you're friends with him now?" I said darkly.

"Look! Something like that doesn't matter. Come on, let's just go back."

She reached out and grabbed my arm but I slapped her hand away. "Don't fucking touch me!" I snapped. Being touched reminded me of what happened, and I never wanted to think about it again. "How can you easily follow people like that who treat everyone like crap? I thought you were better than that! I thought you were my friend! Didn't we agree to support each other no matter what?"

I expected her to try harder. To actually sit down beside me and be the kind friend that I had in the past, but instead Anya let out an exasperated sigh like she was tired of dealing with me.

"Not this again," she said bitterly. "You're always ranting on about friendship this and friendship that, only when it suits you Ethan. Let me ask you something. What sort of guy says that he'll support his friend no matter what, and then goes undermining them behind their back?"

"What are you talking about?"

"What are you talking about? Don't play dumb with me Ethan," she snapped. "I'm talking about you and Master Alistair. You always said that you didn't care about being the favorite, but I knew you did. You were always trying to make him like you when you thought no one was watching."

"That's ridiculous! I would never do that!"

"Do you think I'm an idiot? I was there. I saw everything!"

"Nothing happened!" I yelled. I couldn't believe that she was saying something so stupid after what David put me through. I was the victim! What sort of petty person would bring up old crushes when their best friend was clearly suffering? "I never once thought that way. You sound like a crazy person!"

Anya screwed her face up in rage like she was about to explode, but then closed her eyes and attempted to calm herself down. She opened them again and looked at me while trying her best to control her emotions.

The two of us were like that for over a minute. Angrily glaring at each other without saying a word. Patiently waiting for the other person to give in and admit they were wrong.

I refused to loose, so it was Anya who broke the silence.

"Hey, Ethan," she said calmly. "I have an interesting idea. Some souls believe that it's best to shed your old identity and start fresh with every new master. Apparently it makes it easier to cope with the things that happen in our lives. I've been doing some thinking, and the two of us have become different people, so maybe we should start over as well."

Anya stood there and silently waited for my answer.

I understood what she wanted. A week earlier I would have refused to let her go no matter what, but on that day I couldn't make myself care.

"Fine," I muttered.

"Great," she said with a forced smile. "So let's go back to zero. My name is Toilet Brush Hair and yours is Girly Boy. We are now meeting each other for the first time," she held her hand out for me to shake. I didn't move so Anya hesitantly withdrew it and frowned. "Unfortunately we didn't get off to a good start. I doubt that we'll hang out together in the future."

"I doubt it as well."

Anya sighed and turned to leave. I couldn't tell if she was sad or proud of what she'd done.

"A long time ago I used to have a friend who looked like you," she said. "But he was sold to a different master."

"I used to have a friend named Anya, but she died on the same day as Alistair."

"But then again, he was a crappy friend who ignored all my advice."

"And she was a manipulative old cow who'd use anyone to get what she wanted."

"If I saw him on the street I doubt I'd even bother saying hello."

"I hope her new friends turn on her and make her life miserable."

"Goodbye, Girly Boy," she said before disappearing from the room. "I hope you enjoy the new grave that you've dug for yourself."

And then my friend Anya was gone forever.

I drew my legs up to my chest and rested my head on my knees. I knew it wouldn't be long before Foreman sent someone else to forcefully drag me back.

I knew I should have felt sad that she left me, but our friendship ended long before that fight in the basement.

"Alistair," I whispered into the dark, but there was nothing I could do to make him come back for her.

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