Published July 30, 2017 by

Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Chapter 33

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 Front Lines

Two weeks later.

The ground crunched under my bare feet and then I heard something snap.

I paused for one moment, debating whether or not to look, but then decided that it was best not to glance down and continued forward. The gravel like sand sinking in between my toes with each step.

Behind me lay a wasteland of ivory dunes which continued as far as the eye could see. But it wasn't a desert.

It was a graveyard.

What resembled sand, was in fact the remains of an ancient city which had been destroyed countless times by war. Crushed over and over again, until grand palaces and stone houses were reduced to fine grains.

Every once and awhile I would come across large chunks of bone or cloth, like the previous inhabitants had also been trapped with no hope of escape. Their blood sinking down between the gaps in the sand.

This was the battlefield of the war against Heaven and the Underworld.

Bright lights flashed in the distance like lightning, then a giant white crack appeared among the dark clouds. Growing larger and larger like the sky was being pulled apart.

And then they came through.

Hundreds upon hundreds of Heavenly soldiers with gleaming white wings descended upon this world. Screaming prayers towards gods while brandishing swords and summoning magic spells. Trying their best to obliterate anything that represented Hell.

The Underworld's forces were prepared and ready to counter them.

The ground was lined with hundreds upon hundreds of black steel cannons that blew magic explosions into the sky. Green and purple beams of light shot through hordes of heavenly forces, and any soldier too slow at creating a magical barrier would plummet to the ground. Falling like dead birds who'd had their wings ripped out.

Even if the enemy survived the fall, the Underworld's foot soldiers would soon advance. Some were experienced magical scholars who'd already been through countless battles, others were simple farmers who had nothing but a sword and shield to defend themselves.

They were usually the first to go.

Bright explosions and shock-waves lit up the desert for hours, as the Underworld and Heaven tried to obliterate each other. Each side refusing to relent or back down.

I tore my eyes away from the distant battle and continued walking forwards. The white sand giving way to blood soaked dunes. I clambered up a small mound, slid down the other side, and then all of a sudden I was surrounded by corpses. Mortals, demons, magic users who'd thought they'd live forever. Soldiers from Heaven and Hell rested side by side. Some could pass for sleeping, while others lay in pieces among smashed cannons and broken weapons.

In the center of it all stood Escape. Leaning against a battered wooden cart full of corpses with his arms crossed over his chest. We were all given gray woolen jumpers and pants on the day we arrived, but my friend found our new uniform too confining, and refused to wear nothing but the pants which he cut to resemble small shorts.

Before him sat Oscar with his back towards me. Wearing the same uniform along with an assortment of accessories that he'd picked up off the battlefield. Several bolts adorned his fingers like rings, a rusty chain lay around his neck, and he wore a sheet of metal around his head like a crown.

"Oscar!" I called out, but he didn't respond. "Oscar Cornelius Maxwell!"

Escape let out an irritated sigh and kicked the sand by his feet.

"Sir Oscar Cornelius Maxwell the Third," I finally said.

"Yeeees," replied Oscar and he turned to face me with a strained smile.

"They're waiting for us."

Oscar turned away and looked back to the bloodstained jumper in his hands. "I can't believe he's gone," he said with bewilderment. "One moment the poor lad was ranting on about death like always, the next…"

"It wasn't your fault," I said. "There's nothing you could have done."

"He didn't even try to hide," Oscar continued. "Everyone fled and took cover when that one bugger broke through, but the lad just stood there. With his arms wide open. Staring up at the sky with a silly grin on his face."

Oscar fell silent and the three of us stood there staring at the jumper in his hands. The only remains of the fourth soul in the basement who spoke only of death.

Just like the Soul Market's white stone, the soldiers from Heaven possessed magic capable of disintegrating souls. Most of the Heavenly forces were tied up in battle, but there were often one or two who were sent through to destroy as many souls as they could. They called it liberating us from our suffering, but I saw no difference between that and how the Soul Market tried to destroy us.

It was Escape who broke the silence. "Well… it was probably what the little guy wanted. I mean, maybe that's why he was always going on about death and stuff. He was probably sick and tired of this damn world like the rest of us."

Oscar looked back at Escape for a moment, and then laid the jumper on the ground. He gathered sand in his hands and placed it over the fabric. Creating an unmarked grave for Death Boy.

A chubby soul with an empty cart emerged from the top of the hill. "Hey! What are you slackers up to!" he yelled. "The tenth brigade is on its way! They want this place cleared so they can move their cannons through."

"We were just-" I said before he cut me off.

"Just shut your bloody trap and get it done already. I don't wanna be sent up the front for bait just because your group of retards can't move a few corpses."

"What the frick would you know!" Escape yelled back. "Like working around this hole is any safer, you stuck up piece of sh-"

"We get it! We're going!" I cried out before Escape could get into another fight. I'd already pried his fingers from several other souls. "Come on." I took hold of Oscar's arm and pulled him to his feet. "We have to get back to work."

The chubby soul smugly grinned and moved on.

Escape let out a growl of frustration and threw his arms in the air. "That pompous, useless, arrogant, transparent cun-"

"Escape! Can you help me with this one!"

I grabbed the shoulders of one dead human and attempted to lift him. Escape growled and then grabbed the corpse's feet. Between the two of us, we managed to carry him over to the wooden cart and pile him on top of the other bodies.

"And what makes you so Hell bent on doing your job right, Vase Guy?"

"I just want to get out of here," I said. "The sooner we win the better, right?"

"That'sif we win. If those flying pricks get their way, they'll have every soul erased from the Underworld."

"Which means we should do as much as we can to help."

"And whose to say that winnings gonna be any better for us either?"

"I can hope."

"Is this still about getting revenge on the shitbag who beat up your old mistress?"

"No, I-"

I was interrupted by Oscar who was standing over the body of a large foot soldier. "No! No! Not Mr. Gruff and Tall!"

"Not again!" snapped Escape. "Didn't I tell you to quit giving breathers stupid nicknames! Now you've gone and gotten yourself fricken attached. Again!"

"He was a valiant soldier who fought bravely!" cried Oscar. "His sacrifice will never be in vain!"

"He was an arrogant douche-bag who used to kick you. He's better off dead."

"No! Not Lady Frumpy Knickers as well!" Oscar rushed over to the body of a young woman with short black hair. "Never again will I have the pleasure of washing your over sized panties."

"Why are you still even here!" cried Escape. "Weren't you always going on about wanting to die? You could have vanished along with Death Boy when that bastard flew over, but instead you dived under the cart. Why?"

"That was the old me."

"The old you? What does that bloody mean?"

"I've come to a decision," sniffed Oscar while cradling the woman's body in his arms. "However convenient it may be to leave this world, real courage comes from continuing on. No matter the circumstances."

"Whatever, Mr. I'm so much better than everyone. You're always going on about how brave and honorable you are. Like you didn't sell your soul like the rest of us. But when push comes to shove, you're just as afraid of death as everyone else. Admit it!"

Oscar clenched his teeth. "I'm not afraid of death! You uncivilized, arrogant, rude, shirtless, uncombed barbarian who can't even remain on the run for more than an hour!"

Escape stood there stunned. It was unlike him to not return an insult, and I could tell that he was affected by those words.

Escape quickly spun and walked away. "That's it. I'm off," he snapped.

"Wait!" I cried and grabbed onto his shoulder. "We agreed to stay together. Strength in numbers, right?"

"I can't stand this frickin place a moment longer," Escape hissed. "All this bloody death, rules, and him." He tilted his head towards Oscar. "This isn't who I am. I have to be on the move."

"I understand," I said with a sigh and let go of his shoulder. "I hope that you can get away this time."

"I suppose that we'll be seeing you later then," said Oscar stiffly.

"There ain't going to be any later," replied Escape coldly as he walked away.

"Give my regards to the man who catches you!"

"Wanker!" Escape yelled back while giving Oscar the finger.

Escape disappeared behind a red dune of corpses. I turned back to Oscar who was stroking the dead girl's hair like she was a porcelain doll.

"Just look at you now," he said to her sadly. "You were supposed to come back from the war and marry a handsome prince. You'd live in a grand mansion overlooking a sparkling lake. Living out your days peacefully until you'd pass away from old age. Now that will never be."

He slumped over the body and I couldn't tell whether or not he was sobbing.

"Come on, Oscar Cornelius Maxwell." I laid one hand on his shoulder. "Let's go lay her to rest with the others."

01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 5051 ,52, 53