Published July 19, 2017 by

Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Chapter 32

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.

"Next!" snapped the red demon, then the green one looked straight at me.

I could do nothing but watch as he moved towards my chains. Terror increasing with his every step. I never expected to feel so afraid when the time finally came. Even though there was nothing to live for, I suddenly didn't want to die.

"Pick me, good sir!" enthusiastically cried the soul in the paper suit beside me.

"What the frick is wrong with you?" hissed the half naked soul in the shorts. "You can't seriously want to go after watching that messed up shi-"

"Ignore that selfish prick at the end!" cried Paper suit. "He's just trying to steal my turn!"

The green demon moved towards the soul in the Paper suit, but it was then that the old man on my other side began singing a morbid rhyme.

"Take his head and pass it around," the old soul sang like a children's song. "Dancing on his entrails. Shred the shitty king of Hell. Pop goes Azazel."

As soon as he finished he went back to the start and sang it again. Over and over again like he couldn't stop.

"Take his head and pass it around, dancing on his entrails. Shred the shitty king of Hell. Pop goes Azazel!"

"Not again!" cried the red demon. "Didn't I say that I'd be extra slow if you started that crap again!"

The old soul ignored his words and continued singing. "Take his head and pass it around, dancing on his entrails. Shred the shitty king of Hell. Pop goes Azazel!"

The green demon let out an angry growl and moved to the old man instead, undoing the chains and then violently dragging him into the center of the room.

"Oh, fiddlesticks," Paper Suit moaned in disappointment.

"Take his head and pass it aroun-" the old soul sang until the red demon pressed the white rock against his ghostly face.

As soon as the rock made contact with his skin, the soul screamed out in pain.

"I can see it!" the old soul yelled amongst his cries of agony. "The holy lights of heaven beckon me! I will be purified and forgiven by him! I will enter the eternal paradise and live like a king for-" His speech was cut short when his head vanished into thin air.

"Yeah, you tell yourself that," bitterly muttered Shorts as he looked away. "But those flying bastards up there will never give a damn about guys like us."

I watched as the demons continued disintegrating the old soul's body. Slowly erasing his torso, arms, and then legs.

They were almost finished when a loud bell echoed throughout the building.

The red demon gritted his teeth in rage, and with one final shove of the crystal, he erased the body completely. He then took one look at the rest of us hanging against the wall, ripped off his black glasses, then flung them against the ground it anger.

"Oi! Whatcha doing?" growled the green demon. "Those glasses cost an arm and a leg. I should know. Me uncle once broke a pair and they removed his arm and leg."

"I'm so over this shit!" swore the red one. "This is the third time this week that they've piled the work on just before go home time. I didn't get home until seven yesterday."

"But the manager-"

"Screw the manager! They don't give us shit for over time!"

"Yeah! Screw those stingy bastards!" cried Shorts. "You should just walk out now and finish us off tomorrow!"

The red demon's eyes grew wider like someone had switched on a light in his head. "You know what? We should do that! I bet those stupid humans up there wouldn't even notice."

"We can't do that!" snapped the green demon. "It's against the rules!"

"Just look at us for crying out loud!" yelled Shorts. "We're chained to the fricken wall. Where are we gonna go? You can come back tomorrow and we'll be right here where you left us."

"He's right you know," said the red demon.

"No! Don't listen to that treacherous vagabond!" cried Paper Suit. "You'll never get away with such a horrendous disregard for the rules! You should just hurry up and destroy us all now!"

"Shut up!" hissed Shorts. "Don't drag the rest of us into your bloody death wish."

"If we start now we can probably finish these guys off in thirty," said the green demon.

"That's no way to think!" cried Shorts. "Those crappy humans are clearly taking advantage of you. Giving you all the unpopular jobs on lower salaries, laying on hours of unpaid work, denying you any chance of promotion. This is clearly discrimination against the rightful rulers of the Underworld. These kind of shitty conditions are only gonna get worse unless you stand up for yourselves."

"You know, I never thought about it like that," said the red demon.

"No!" cried Paper Suit. "This is one of the most prestigious positions that you can get in this town. With the current rates of unemployment, it could take you months to find another entry level position even close to this salary."

"And spend the rest of your lives living as second class citizens," cried Shorts. "What kind of looser life is that? You should go on strike now."

"But why not do it next week," said Paper Suit. "When you've had more time to carefully consider your options, and gather the support of your loyal peers."

"I thought I told you to shut up!" cried Shorts. He swung on his chains towards Paper Suit and kicked him in the legs.

The other soul kicked back, then the two of them dissolved into childish fighting as they struggled to knock each other in the shins.

"They should fricken walk out now and stand up for themselves!" said Shorts.

"They are clearly rule abiding employees who are dedicated to their job!"

"They can do their job for eight hours a day. Not a minute longer!"

"Everyone inevitably has to do a little unpaid work these days!"

Their pointless spat must have been enough for the green demon. He took off his glasses and gloves with a sigh. "Let's just get out of here. These rejects ain't going anywhere. We'll finished them off tomorrow."

"Hey! Wait!" cried Paper Suit as the demons walked up the stairs. "You said this would be my last day!"

The demons slammed the door shut behind them with a bang.

There were a few candles remaining on the walls, slowly growing dimmer and dimmer as the wax ran out.

"Now you've done it!" Paper Suit snapped at Shorts. "That was our wondrous chance to escape this merciless world, but then you had to go and ruin it! Now we have to wait at least another eight hours before we can be free from this eternal imprisonment."

"Is that really how you thank the guy who just saved your freakin life?"

"You know what? I've had it," Paper Suit huffed. "I've been nothing but polite and courteous towards you, but you've been working against me since the day we met. I don't need this sort of negativity in my last few hours. I'm making new friends." He swung on his chains to face me. "Hello, pretty miss," he said with a giant smile. "I don't think we've been acquainted."

"Ha!" laughed Shorts. "Has this bloody room driven you even more fricken mad? That's clearly a dude!"

"Shut up!" Paper Suit snapped over his shoulder. "I know a beautiful young maiden when I see one." He winked at me.

"I'm actually a boy," I weakly replied.

"Oh, fiddlesticks!" Paper Suit swore. "And here I was thinking that I could get a kiss from a pretty girl before I pass over to the next side."


"Don't talk to this paper mache idiot, new guy," said Shorts. "I spent the last five hours with this wanker and he's clearly insane."

Paper Suit tried his best to move as far away from the other soul as he could. "I saw the way you talked to that Soul Market agent," he whispered to me. "Shame about that poor unfortunate girl. I too once had a beautiful young master who was an unfortunate victim of this world, and still the perpetrators have gone unpunished. It's too bad that these selfish Soul Market folk can't be bothered doing anything about unjust masters. Especially if the rascal is rich. This town virtually runs off corruption."

"Oh, that's great," I bitterly muttered. "So that murderous arsehole will actually get away with it?"

"I'm afraid so, my new friend. Not unless there are great changes in this world."

I swore under my breath. I should have hit that man harder when I had the chance.

"If you don't mind me asking," said Paper Suit. "I wouldn't mind hearing why they decided to send you down here with us."

"I smashed a vase into my master's head."

"Nice!" laughed Shorts. "Way to show it to those breathing bastards!"

"From what I know, it's unusual for them to send someone like you down here without attempting any type of reform," said Paper Suit. "I can only guess that the current manager must have enough souls in this market to dispose of a few without reprimand."

"Tell him why you're here, Mr. Death Wish." Shorts swung on his chains and knocked into the other soul.

Paper Suit huffed. "I refused to submit to an existence of oppression and conformity, so the Soul Market and I decided that the best outcome for everyone, would be for me to leave this world."

"In other words, this nutty bastard's been shoved down here because he refuses to answer to anything other than Oscar Cornelius Maxwell," laughed Shorts.

"Oscar Cornelius Maxwell the Third is the name of my true self!" said Oscar defiantly.

"The Third?" I questioned.

"Oscar Cornelius Maxwell is such a grand name that there's inevitably going to already be one or two," said Oscar. "So I'd like to avoid any confusion."

"Why do you even give a damn if you're gonna die?" asked Shorts.

"I may be leaving this world, but my legacy will live on. My tragic story of hardship and personal strength will inspire countless new souls to stand up for who they are."

"By giving themselves ridiculous nicknames?"

"Nobody asked for your opinion, you uncivilized brute!" Oscar snapped. "If I can't live as my true self, then there's no point remaining in this world. Tomorrow I will be reborn as a beautiful maiden, or an elegant fox, or an exquisite butterfly. Free to frolic and roam as I please."

"And hatchway gonna do if you sink down into a Hell even worse than this?" asked Shorts.

Oscar screwed up his face in anger and I thought it was best to change the topic before he exploded.

"What about you?" I asked Shorts. "Why did they send you down here?"

Shorts' face lit up at the question. "Everyone calls me Escape because I broke out of every Soul Market so far. Dungeons, towers, boxes, there ain't anything in Hell that can hold me! That was until those breathing bastards got tired of chasing after me and decided to destroy me instead. That lazy manager worked out that they can save forty pounds a year if I cease to exist. That dumb bastard's gonna get one Hell of a shock when I'm gone tomorrow."

"Ha!" huffed Oscar. "I'd like to see you try."

"A place like this is nothing," said Escape. "See that nail over there."

He pointed to a nail by the feet of the fourth soul, a boy no older than twelve who hadn't said a word since I arrived. He was hanging lifelessly in his chains with his eyes focused on the ground. "If I stab that through my wrist, then it should ghost long enough for me to slip free."

Oscar laughed. "I highly doubt that-"

"Hey! Friend!" Escape called out to the boy with an overly friendly smile. "Help a guy out and pass us that nail!"

Escape hung there waiting for a response, but the soul didn't even move.

"Hey boy!" Escape called out again. "I'll help you get out of this dump! You want that, right?"

Yet again there was no response.

"Fantastic plan you have," Oscar sarcastically muttered. "Your awe inspiring skills have given me the motivation to live."

"Oi!" Escape yelled out again. "Are the lights on in there?"

"What happened to him?" I asked.

Oscar nervously bit his lip while examining the boy. "I faintly recall them talking about this young lad. Apparently they threw him down here because he's obsessed with death. Completely unnerved every buyer he's had so far."

At the word death, the boy's face suddenly sprung to life and he let out a crazed laugh that echoed throughout the room.

"Death! Death! Death!" the boy cried.

"No! Nail! Nail! Nail!" Escape yelled back. "Just pass the fricken nail already!"

But fighting was pointless and the boy just sat there laughing.

"I even heard that his last master tried taping his mouth shut," Oscar whispered. "But then he just wrote death all over the walls instead. A real basket case, isn't he?"

I didn't want to mention that Oscar wasn't one to talk.

"Just think of all the exciting things out there waiting for you once we get out of this shit hole!" Escape yelled at the boy.

"Like death!" Death Boy cried back.

I sighed and watched the two souls scream at each other.

What did I want? On one hand I wanted to rip my old master's eyes from their sockets, but even if I did escape and go back to that house, he'd soon beat me into the wall again. There was no way that a soul could win against him.

I was powerless.

Perhaps it was better just to give in and let them destroy me. Maybe my new friend was right and there was a better world waiting for us on the other side.

Such dark thoughts were interrupted by Oscar.

"Just be quiet for a moment!" he yelled at the other two who were still screaming at each other.

"What's your fricken problem now, Fruitcake?" Escape snapped.

"Can't you hear it?"

"Hear what?"

"All the commotion outside."

They went silent and I could finally hear it. Angry cries and the rumble of a hundred footsteps from somewhere outside the room.

"This is ridiculous!" boomed the voice of the Soul Market manager. "There's no way that you can do this!"

"It's a royal decree," said the deep voice of another man. "Our honorable and benevolent king has decided that the Soul Market will contribute at least seventy percent of its available stock."

"Seventy percent! Are you mad! I thought we were supposed to be winning this war!"

"Of course." He paused. "We would never tell the people anything else."

There was a loud thud, like someone banged their fist against a door in frustration.

"We found the prime stock on the second floor, commander," said a woman.

"No! No! Not the fresh ones," cried the manager. "They sell for at least two hundred each."

"We also discovered a secret storage room behind one of the walls, commander," said the woman.

"Now, now," said the commander. "You wouldn't be hiding all the good ones for yourself now, would you, manager?"

"There's nothing wrong with keeping a few out the back!" snapped the manager. "It's common practice."

"If you call stealing from the king common practice."

"We still haven't searched this room, commander," said the woman.

"There's nothing down there," said the manager. "That's just disposal."

"Then you should have no problem opening it for us," laughed the commander.

There was a moment of silence, then the door of our room swung open to unveil the manager accompanied by several army officers in magenta uniforms.

"Just disposal, hmmm," laughed the commander. A middle aged man with his arms crossed over his chest. "We'll be taking these ones as well."

The manager's face was pale. His eyes wide open in shock like he hadn't expected us there. "Well, I suppose you can take these ones."

"Oh, new masters!" Escape said with a smile so fake and exaggerated that I thought no one could possibly believe him. "Gosh! What a wonderful day for little old me. I'm so thrilled to be put to good use. I sure do love all that serving and obeying. Followed by more serving and obeying."

Several officers descended down the stairs towards us.

"What are you doing!" cried Oscar as the woman began undoing his chains. "Please let me be, young miss. I have a very important appointment with the end tomorrow."

The girl laughed. The military medals attached to her jacket gleamed in the darkness. "Don't worry soul, if it's death you want, there'll be plenty of that where you're going."

"And where's that?" I asked.

"To the war, of course."

Next Chapter: The front lines!

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