Published September 14, 2017 by

Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Chapter 35

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.

When I awoke the next morning, Escape was already gone.

Oscar brushed off his absence with the same indifference he showed every time our friend ran away.

"That idiot," he scoffed as we polished the officers' shoes. One small dirty bucket of water sat on the ground between us. "He'll be dragged back here within a day, perhaps even less."

"But what if he actually gets away this time?" I asked.

"That will never happen," Oscar laughed. "That brainless buffoon can wriggle his way out of any noose or chain, but that idiot has no idea what to do once he's actually free. Any sane person would have the sense to formulate a proper escape route before even bothering to leave."

Part of me hoped that Oscar was wrong and Escape did achieve his dream, but I couldn't deny that I hoped to see my friend again. As much as they fought, I'd become attached to Escape and Oscar in our short time together.

"Hey soul!" shouted a young foot soldier as he tossed a pair of bloody boots at Oscar. "Shine these too!"

"We're under orders to do the officers' shoes," snapped Oscar. "We don't have time for your disintegrating loafers."

"Yeah, well… ….I'll tell them that you weren't doing what you're supposed to." He poked his tongue out and shoved his middle finger in Oscar's face. "Then they'll punish you!"

My friend sighed in defeat and picked up the boots. The soldier walked away grinning victoriously.

"Arrogant, spoilt, overly privileged, waste of existence," Oscar muttered as he furiously scrubbed the shoes. "Fricken thinks that he's actually gonna live to see the end of this week," he added, followed by a string of insults which sounded more like something that would have come out of Escape's mouth.

As much as Oscar claimed that he didn't care about Escape, I noticed him glance over his shoulder several times that day. As though waiting for our friend to make another dramatic reappearance.

But there was no sign of Escape that day.

Or the next.

Or the day after that.

After another two days I'd begun to accept that Escape could have finally gotten away. I could imagine him on the outskirts of the Underworld beside a gleaming blue sea. Doing as he pleased without having to take crap from shitty masters. Finally living the free life that I'd always dreamed of.

But Oscar immediately rejected my idea. He, like all my dead friends, adamantly denied that there was no way out of our enslavement.

"No, it's not possible," he'd quickly mutter before changing the subject.

Then after one week, Oscar became…... even more difficult to understand. He was quieter, withdrawn, and would stare off into the horizon when he thought no one was watching.

He never once voiced his thoughts out loud, but it was almost as though he missed the third member of our small group.

"I'm sure that Escape's fine," I said in an attempt to reassure him.

Oscar huffed and quickly pulled his eyes away from the empty dunes in the distance. He was sitting upon a mound of poorly buried shrapnel and bone. In addition to his crown and rings, he'd added a red cape which he'd fashioned from a deceased soldier's jacket.

Like a tragic ruler of a kingdom of death, was the first thought that entered my mind.

"No, that idiot's long gone from this world," Oscar hissed.

"You don't know that! Maybe he actually managed to escape. He's tried so many times, so he had to get away eventually, right?"

Oscar hopped down from his small mountain. "No, that's not possible."

"Then perhaps he just got held up? Or maybe he's stuck working with a different group? We could go look for him later?"

Oscar ignored my question and walked straight past me. I gave up and followed behind him. Still convinced that Escape had to be alive out there somewhere.

The two of us soon arrived before a familiar bonfire of corpses. It had grown twice as large since my last visit and five times more dreadful. I shielded my eyes with my hand to stop the smoke and ash from obscuring my vision.

The girl who used to manage it was gone. Probably destroyed and replaced by a young soul with long ratty hair. His mouth was fixed into a large morbid grin, like being surrounded by death was somewhat enjoyable.

"Heya fellows!" he casually called out. "It's your lucky day. You're on fire duty!"

"Roger," I quickly replied. Wanting to get myself away from that creep as soon as possible. "We'll go collect some-"

"No, no, no," the creep laughed. "Not that fire duty. I'm talkin about that fire duty." He pointed to a group of souls who were already submerged in the flames. Moving corpses to be destroyed and redistributing coals.

I gulped and took one step forward towards the blaze, but that arsehole put his hand out to stop me.

"You're not goin in dressed like that, are ya? That cheap arse uniform will go up in seconds. It's the only one you've got, so unless you want to spend the rest of the war butt naked, somebody's gotta strip."

"Crap," I hissed under my breath.

I expected Oscar to protest and begin one of his rants about honor and dignity, but he instead obediently stripped his clothes like he'd lost the will to protest.

I growled in frustration and quickly removed my own clothing as the soul with the large teeth intensely watched.

"Nice arse," he commented. "Man, if I was still alive, I'd so pound into-"

I blocked out the rest of his words, and instead focused on Oscar who'd removed everything except his handmade crown.

I reached out to remove the piece of metal from his head. "Oscar, you need to take this off-"

"It's fine." He brushed my hand away. "It's fashioned from metal, so it shall not burn."

"Oh, yeah, of course," I muttered. "You're probably right."

I grabbed hold of his wrist and dragged him into the bonfire. The crumbling hot coals shifted and collapsed under my feet, making it difficult to maintain our balance and we almost slipped several times.

Another soul, blackened by ash, shoved the remains of a mortal into my arms. I stumbled, tried my best to shoulder its weight, and along with Oscar's help, we moved the corpse to the top of the blaze.

I turned and tried my best not to watch as fire consumed the bodies, but it was impossible to completely block out. I'll never forget what they looked like as they burnt.

Oscar seemed to hate that place even more. His eyes were grim, lips tightly pressed together, and he didn't say a word as we moved the bodies.

"Hey Oscar," I said in an attempt to distract him from the scene before us. We grabbed the body of a small thin woman and moved it towards the top of the fire. "Do you remember the time that Escape switched uniforms with C273 and rubbed dirt into his face. They spent days searching for him, but he was at camp all along. He thought that if he ran once they gave up looking, then it would be easy to get away. But it didn't work in the end, did it?"

Oscar scoffed, but I saw his mouth curve into a smile for one short moment-

Until the eyes of the body in our hands suddenly sprung open.

The deathly pale woman, face mostly concealed by blood, violently jerked as though awaking from a dream. Her gray eyes rolled around in their sockets, then fixed on Oscar. She fiercely lunged at my friend like a cat preying on a bird, wrapping her thin blue fingers around Oscar's neck.

Oscar screamed and fell back. The half-dead woman pinning him down. I couldn't tell if it was the enemy or one of our own, until she began frantically chanting words in a language I couldn't understand.

"Niyingaishiniyingaishi," the woman chanted like a madman.

Her bloody hands began to glow red, and a bright white light emerged from beneath her palms.

Then Oscar screamed.

Long agonizing cries of pain, like souls in a dungeon as demons slowly erased them.

"No, No!" I dove at the mortal and desperately pulled on her slim arms, but her grip was unbreakable. She was desperate to destroy my friend, even if it meant letting herself burn to death.

"Let him go!" I screamed.

Oscar's face began to glow red. The woman's hands sank through my friend's neck as though he was made of water.

"Stop it!" I pounded my fists against her back as Oscar started disappearing before my very eyes. "Please stop it! I beg you! We don't need to be saved! Just let him go!"


The woman lifelessly fell forward and I looked up to see an ash covered soul nonchalantly holding a bloody steel pipe in his hands. He just stood there. Face devoid of emotion. Examining the dead woman without saying a word.

When she didn't move, he turned and went back to work as though the whole incident meant nothing.

"Oscar?" I called out hesitantly, but there was no reply. Her body was burning. "Oscar?" I used all my strength to roll the corpse over. "Oscar?"

But there was nothing beneath it but coals. I desperately searched through them like sand. Over turning charred body parts and bones. Clinging onto the weak hope that my friend had somehow sunk through.


But as deep as I dug, I found nothing but a single iron crown.

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