Published April 14, 2017 by

Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Chapter 25

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.

Hades Teeth

59th day on the run from the Soul Market.

For one short moment, I allowed myself to believe that I'd escaped the Soul Market. That I'd finally reached a place beyond their limits.

I hadn't seen any sign of an agent in weeks, and there were no living beings in sight. I became too relaxed, too complacent, and I thought I could stay in the same place for more than a day.

One morning I sat on a lone rock overlooking the mountains.

The scenery was breathtaking.

The intolerable blizzards had finally ended and there wasn't a cloud in sight. Several large mountains loomed before me and snow stretched as far as I could see. The ice sparkled in the morning sun, and everything was still and perfect like a painting on a wall.

I sat there for hours admiring the view, allowing myself to be overcome with a feeling of peace that I'd never experienced as a soul slave.

I could do whatever I wanted (although there wasn't much to do), I could go wherever I wanted (as long as it was on that mountain), I was finally the free man that I always wanted to be. I could live out the rest of my existence in that beautiful desolate place.

"Oh, Ethan," laughed a voice from beside me. "You shouldn't lie to yourself. We all know you're lonely. You'll never survive for eternity like this."

I spun to my right to face the voice, only to find my old master Alistair sitting beside me.

He was dressed in a loose white shirt, dark cotton pants, and several gold bangles adorned his wrist. There was dark eyeliner smudged around his lashes and those cheeks were red like he'd been drinking. His hair was unaffected by the gentle breeze, and those bare feet didn't sink into the snow, so I knew that there was no way he could be real.

"Not this again." I looked away and tried my best not to acknowledge him. The delusions usually went away if I ignored them for long enough.

"Hello! Ethan!" He waved his hand before my face. "Underworld to Ethan!"

"You're not there. You're never really there."

"But I am to you, aren't I?" he said with a mischievous grin. "And that's all that matters."

I looked at him critically. A part of me hoping that he was real. I almost tricked myself into believing that Alistair may have used magic to come back from the dead, but the real Alistair would have never been so comfortable on a freezing mountain in that outfit.

"I'm so cold, Ethan," said imaginary Alistair like he knew what I was thinking. Of course he did! He came out of my head. He slowly inched closer towards me. "Warm me up."

"What are you doing!" I cried and tried to move as far away as I could without falling off the rock, but he was relentless and kept coming closer until we were sitting shoulder to shoulder. "Get away from me!"

I was assaulted by a tidal wave of old memories that I'd forgotten for decades. Alistair flirting with everyone in sight. Dozens of men turning up on the mansion's doorstep claiming that he broke their hearts. My fellow souls trying to get rid of each other just to become his favorite. Getting close to that guy was dangerous.

Back when he was alive, and I was new, Alistair would follow me around the mansion singing "Ethan, Ethan, Ethan" as he skipped down the halls. I'd try to hide, but he'd forcefully latch onto my hand before I could flee. "Why don't we play?" he'd say with that wicked smile he used when seducing the townspeople.

"I'm sorry, Master," I once quickly uttered and yanked my hand out of his grip. "I need to do chores."

"Nonsense, Ethan. I'm your master, and today you're free of all responsibilities." He showered me with purple glitter that magically appeared out of thin air. "Congratulations! You're a free soul!'

"I really must be going." I quickly walked away. "Mira will get mad."

"Ethan! Ethan!" he called as he chased me past Anya who was busy dusting ornaments. "Come back here, Ethan!"

"Thinking of old times, Ethan?" said imaginary Alistair on that snowy mountain. "Oh, the memories. Do you remember the time we played hide and seek for three days? I thought you'd never find me."

"You cheated."

"Only a little."

"You spent the whole time drinking in a bar."

"I never said that the town was off limits."

"You put up a magical barrier that allowed no one in or out of the mansion."

"You could have taken it down."

"We're souls! We can't use magic! Not back then anyway," I huffed and looked away. "I don't know why I bother arguing with you when you're not even there."

I returned my attention back to the notebook and pen in my hands. I'd been peacefully writing for hours until he appeared to interrupt me.

"What are you writing?" He was suddenly behind me looking over my shoulder.

"Everything. The things that I can remember at least."

"You forgot to write about my impressive sense of style and impeccable nails."

"It's irrelevant. Nobody cares about those things."

"I do!"

"You're dead. Your feelings don't matter."

"You're so cold, Ethan!" he dramatically cried and buried his face in his hands, but I could tell that those tears were fake.

I ignored him and returned to the notebook. I'd almost finished writing about the day Anya and I fought in the factory basement. It was centuries ago, but the memories still stung.

Alistair dropped the act and wiped the tears from his face once he realized that I didn't care.

"What do you hope to achieve with that book, Ethan?" he asked somewhat seriously.

"Something. To at least show others that the soul trade is wrong."

"Do you really think that one little notebook will really make a difference? I mean, who other than us is going to be interested in your undead existence?"

"There has to be someone."

"Anya doesn't want to be my friend anymore," he mocked in a high pitched voice which I could tell was a bad impression of me. He flopped backwards onto the snow and lay there looking up at the sky. "I never did understand what you saw in that girl. I knew she was like that from the moment she walked through my door."

I felt a surge of anger and slammed my pen down on the page.

"You died! You left us all. We'd all still be together in that mansion, and this." I shoved the half finished page in his face. "Would have never happened if it weren't for you! It's all your fault!"

His mouth curved into a frown. I felt like I'd said too much.

"I'm sorry, Ethan," he said remorsefully. "I wasn't strong enough to come back alive. You have to understand that I never wanted any of you to suffer."

He looked so sad that it was impossible to remain angry. It was unfair to blame him for things which were out of his control.

"I know," I muttered. "I know that you would have tried your best until the end. It's not your fault that you died."

"And you need to stop being so pessimistic about my death, Ethan. If I hadn't died, you would have never come this far."

"I suppose you're right."

"You would have never met that bossy cow either."

"Don't call her that."

"Never did get along, her and I," he said. Ignoring my words completely. "You know how the saying goes, all great minds can't stand each other."

"Isn't it supposed to be, all great minds think alike?"

"Perhaps." He shrugged. "But does it really matter when you're a runaway soul on a frozen icicle."

"Yes," I snapped, even though I didn't believe it myself.

"I'm just surprised that you have time to argue over such petty things, Ethan darling."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, you've given them more than ample time to find you."

It was then that I heard the faint sound of feet crunching through snow.

I dived behind the rock just in time to dodge a magical attack that zoomed over my head.

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