Published June 25, 2017 by

Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Chapter 30

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.

A House on a Hill

Less than a century ago.

There was once a time where my existence almost came to an end. Perhaps it was just luck, or a greater power's plan, but I would no longer be here if certain events had occurred hours earlier.

It was all because of her. A housewife who lived in a crumbling three story mansion on a hill. Her home wasn't the largest I'd seen, but still had over twenty rooms full of dusty carpets and flaking yellow wallpaper. The estate was surrounded by large sandstone walls, with one wooden gate leading onto the street. It was always locked with a metal chain, and very few people walked in or out.

The housewife was a kind young woman with brilliant blue eyes, long blonde hair, freckled cheeks, and a laugh that brought me great joy. I once promised myself that I'd never become close to anyone again, but I slowly warmed up to her.

"Napoleon," she'd say with a smile whenever I returned, and thanks to her kindness I slowly regained some of my lost humanity.

But like every where I went, those pleasant days didn't last.

That house had a secret which I couldn't tell anyone, but the evidence was obvious when I entered the housewife's room late one evening. Bearing a basin of water and a cloth to wipe her face. My mistress was sitting on the edge of the bed, like always, gazing out her window at the lights from the town.

"Mistress?" I called to grab her attention.

The young woman turned towards me. Half her face yellow and purple from whatever terrible injury her husband had inflicted. That arsehole often used her to vent his frustration. Shoving her into furniture or throwing things in her face. Screaming that it was all her fault for doing one small thing wrong. He'd yell out insults, and criticize her over every one of her flaws. According to him she couldn't walk right in heels, her laugh was too loud, and she held her knife and fork wrong. He'd tell her that she was selfish and uncaring, even though his wife was one of the kindest women that I'd ever met.

She often lock herself away in a room to cry. Calling for her mother, or brother, or someone who could help.

I wanted to be the one to wipe away her tears and hold her until she fell asleep.

But that wasn't my place.

Instead I could do nothing but wait until that guy would come bearing gifts. Showering her in apologies and promises of how he was going to try harder. I'd seen it so many times that I could recite his pathetic speeches line for line.

She'd then forgive him and things would be fine for a few days, until he lost his temper again and the household was full of fighting and tears.

It was a never ending cycle that continued for one year, until the gushing young bride was reduced to a shadow of her former self. Gone were the days when she'd sing, dance, and play outdoors. I found myself waiting on a withdrawn young woman who was forbidden from leaving her own home.

"What?" the housewife said as I stood in her bedroom doorway, lost for words. She was wearing a sleeveless lace dressing gown which exposed the fresh bruises on her arm. "There's no need to look at me like that," she said with a kind smile. "I'm fine. Really."

I bit my lower lip and carefully laid the bowl of water down on her night stand. I soaked the cloth, and then sat down on the bed beside her. I gently took hold of her wrist and began cleaning the most recent injuries.

"It was kinda my fault too, you know," she said as I removed flakes of blood from her arms and face. "If I hadn't moved his reading glasses, then he wouldn't have gotten upset."

"I see, Mistress," I said kindly. Trying my best to hide my own mortification.

"And I think he's getting better. Tonight he didn't hit me so hard. And then he gave me a bracelet and promised that he'll never do it again." She showed me the expensive gold bangle that was wrapped around her bruised wrist.

"It's lovely, Mistress," I politely replied. All the while knowing that I would be back there cleaning her up again in another week.

"But this time is different," she said in an attempt to reassure herself more than me. "His face was so sincere. We even talked about going outside to the market together this weekend. If he feels up to it."

"I'm happy for you, Mistress."

"I don't think that he could survive on his own if I left."

I pulled the cloth away and tightly gripped it in my hand. Wanting desperately to tell her to run and never come back.

But I couldn't.

Her husband was my master, and I thought that it was my duty to obediently follow his orders, no matter what.

That guy was a tall good looking man with dark hair. He was always impeccably dressed, and made all his money from lecturing at a nearby university.

Outside the home he was charismatic and lively. The kind of guy who always had several women fawning over him at once. Laughing about how smart and funny he was as he wooed them with magic tricks.

At home he was unpredictable. Kind and loving one day, then violent and abusive the next. There were also rumors around town that he'd been married before. Women who apparently left him, but no one knew where they were.

I'd often discover things that his wife didn't recognize. An expensive hair pin under the furniture, or a dress that had been put away with the linen.

Whenever I showed these things to the housewife, she'd silently stare with her eyes wide in surprise, but then turn away and pretend they never existed. Like the girl was living in a fantasy which couldn't be shattered.

I also wanted to believe that the rumors were only stories made up by rich neighbors with too much time, but I should have taken them more seriously. Everything could have ended differently if I just followed my instincts.

"I'm back, Mistress!" I called out when I returned home from the market one evening. Balancing a large basket full of vegetables for dinner. The housewife had been particularly gloomy all day, so I purchased her favorite things in the hope of putting a smile on her face.

I laid the basket down on the kitchen counter and went to search for her.

"Mistress!" I called out but there was no reply. "Mistress, should I run you a bath-"

The words died in my throat as soon as I pushed open the sitting room door.

There she was. Lying on her back at a strange angle amongst an expensive yellow rug. White silk dress torn. Body bruised and broken. Blood dripping from her mouth and ears. Head bent back and eyes looking straight at me.

I recognized the haunting look on her face. I'd seen it before when mortals were too far gone to come back.

Standing over the corpse was the bastard who dared call himself her husband. The so called friendly guy who everyone loved, but beat and abused his wife until she was dead.

He stood there silently examining the body by his feet. Both hands and shirt covered in blood. I could see what looked like regret on his face, but it was the look of a child who'd accidentally broken their favorite toy.

My entrance snapped him out of a daze. He glanced over at me, then hastily pulled a white handkerchief from his pocket and began wiping the blood from his hands.

"I didn't want to do it," he muttered in a shitty attempt to justify his actions. "But she pushed me. She always pushed me. No matter how many times I told her. It was like she was always trying to get under my skin. Always laughing her face off like it was fun to make me mad."

I was frozen to the spot. Still stunned by what he'd done, and incapable of pulling my eyes away from her corpse.

Look Napoleon! she said one year earlier as she danced around the same sitting room in an ivory wedding dress. Isn't it beautiful? I'm a bride Napoleon! A bride! We're going to live happily together forever and ever! We'll have several children and I'll even name one after you. Wouldn't that be wonderful, Napoleon?

But suddenly her dreams were gone. She would never sing, dance, or smile again, and it was all because of him!

He killed her.

I couldn't believe that he actually killed her.

"I need you to clean this up for me," his voice was flat as though trying to suppress his own panic. "Just put her out in the courtyard and then someone will take care of the rest."

He stood there waiting for an answer, but I refused to move.

"Oi, Napoleon!" called my shitty master. "Did you hear me?"

My hands clenched into fists.

"How could you?" I hissed. The wall in my mind which stopped me from speaking my thoughts to my master was suddenly gone. "She was supposed to be your wife."


"You promised her that you'd change!"

He stood there stunned. His rotten mind searching for a way to shift the blame, but he failed and instead turned away.

"I don't remember ordering you to talk," he snapped. "Just put her outside."

That sad excuse for a man turned to leave. Walking straight past me and towards the door.

Rage ignited in the pit of my stomach. The sort of blind anger that I hadn't felt since the day I tried to destroy Foreman.

I was furious at him for killing her, but even angrier at myself. I'd known everything. The girls, the rumors, how far he could actually go, and yet I did nothing. If I'd just done the right thing and convinced her to leave, then she may have lived past seventeen.

My hands reached out and picked up a porcelain vase from the mantle. I emptied the roses and water onto the floor, then without stopping to think, I flung the vase straight at that bastard.

It smashed against the back of his head. Shattering on impact. Knocking him to his knees.

I reached out to the shelf behind me to grab anything I could, but my master staggered to his feet, blood pouring from his head, face contorted with pain. He held one hand out before him and began to mutter incoherent words.

My hands clasped around a small statue. I raised my arm to throw it at his face, but I was suddenly hit by an invisible wall. It knocked the statue from my hand and pinned me against the bookcase.

I struggled against the unseen force with all my might, but I couldn't move an inch. It was like there was a thousand tone brick holding me there and I couldn't escape.

I should have known better than to challenge a magic user.

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