Published February 19, 2018 by

Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Chapter 46


Story: 

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.





Somewhere

Life after Josephine.



I returned to the Soul Market after Josephine's death. The living conditions were still disgusting and the new souls were sickeningly naïve, but it had been my life for so long that I knew what to expect. If I could read my masters well, then the abuse became manageable. If I just distanced myself from those who were suffering, then I could pretend that it wasn't happening.

I wasn't the speechless zombie who I was in the past, or the manipulative arsehole who I became later, just another worker who blended in with the others and did only what I had to. Living on what few pleasant memories I had as I struggled to continue on.

"He was talking to himself again," the other souls would whisper behind my back, but I was long past the point of caring. I gave into delusions like my dead friends were real. It was better than living with the truth.

I knew that Josephine would have been disappointed.

I promised to help change the Underworld, and then I promised her that I'd run, but I achieved neither. Instead, just passively following along with the system she despised.

Everyone knows that it can't be done, was the pathetic excuse I used to console myself, but in reality... I barely even tried.






It was another twenty years before it finally happened. I was standing in a new mistress' yard hanging laundry out to dry. The haughty housewife had gone out for the day, leaving several of her young children behind. The brats ran around me in circles, screaming their lungs out at each other as I failed to control them.

"That's my doll!" bellowed Molly, or perhaps it was Agatha. I put little effort into remembering their names.



"Thomas!" I called out to her brother in a weak attempt to end the fight, but the kid ignored me completely and continued taunting his sister. Sticking his tongue out and licking the girl's doll in a childish attempt to upset her.

I sighed in frustration and tried my best to block out their screams.

"No! No!" I threw down the shirt in my hands and ran to one brat who was attempting to escape through the back gate. The kid was seconds away from dashing out onto the street before I grabbed him around the waist. "You can't go out there!"

"Let me go! Let me go!" the tiny mortal screamed and repetitively beat his small fists against my chest. The kid then struggled out of my grip and immediately latched onto the gate, furiously tugging on the metal bars.

I stood there holding it closed, refusing to budge an inch, until the kid was distracted my one of his siblings and finally ran away.

I collapsed against the gate in exhaustion and rested my head against the steel, inevitably glancing out onto the cobblestone street. Looking for any sign of life, but all was quiet and there was no one in sight.

Wouldn't it be easy to just go out there and never come back, whispered a rogue thought in my mind.

Then I could picture it. Myself confidently walking out of there with no regrets. Just as Josephine would have wanted. But I was instantly hit with the same wall of fear which prevented every single one of my escape attempts.

It was too hard. They would find me. There's no way that I can possibly beat them, were the familiar excuses which revolved around in my head on an endless loop. It was so much easier to just turn around, go back to what I knew, and pretend that concepts like freedom didn't exist.

This is just the way you are. There's nothing you can do, I told myself, but my body refused to move from that spot.



It was then that I thought of my life so far, and all the chances that I ignored. All the regret and disappointment I felt in myself for never even trying. How I would lie awake at night, cursing myself for being so afraid. How I hated myself for being too weak.

No matter how hard I tried to forget the past and accept what I was, such feelings refused to disappear.

But all the self loathing and disappointment could finally end... if I just stepped outside that gate.

My grip tightened around the bars and I closed my eyes. Trying to gather what little courage I had left.

I had nothing to lose, so why was I always holding myself back?

In what could have only been a fit of madness, I swung open the gate and slipped outside. Shoving the lock shut behind me so that no other brats could escape.

I took one step, then another, until I broke out into a run and dashed down the road. Trying to put as much distance as I could between myself and the ones who'd soon hunt me.






And so began my life on the run. It wasn't long before the Soul Market sent their first agents, but I was ready. Years of survival and war had given me the experience I needed, and I didn't hesitate to steal anything that I could get my hands on. Even the most mundane things can become weapons if you know how to use them correctly.

I led mortal men into traps and demons into deadly explosions. Mercilessly slitting one man's throat just to make him unhand me. I'll never forget the sounds he made when he bled out onto the street. Pleading for help as I left him to die.

But no matter what challenges I faced, or how merciless I had to become, I still kept going. Even if it meant the end of my existence, I vowed to push myself to the limits. I would fight to the very end of the end without ever accepting defeat.

Others may have failed, but I would be different.

I'd do the impossible and escape the Soul Market!







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