Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Ch14

Story Summary

Long ago I sold my soul and doomed myself to an eternity in the Underworld. I was treated like a slave for centuries, but no more! I'll find a way out of this destiny or die trying!

Chapter: 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

The factory closed down two decades after I first walked through its doors. It wasn't our rotten masters' personality flaws, but the competition that killed Lynch textiles.

Several other companies had created machines that could thread ten times faster than ours, making it impossible to compete. The Underworld was changing, becoming more industrial, and thanks to Malcolm's son we soon fell behind.

Malcolm Jr. resembled his uncle Frederick more than his father. He was a tall man with dark red hair and too many teeth. He was nowhere near as terrible as his uncles, but was young, inexperienced, and had little interest in running the factory after his father's death. The man had no choice but to gradually sell off souls and equipment as the company sunk into bankruptcy.

Then one day, he decided to give up completely.

In what resembled one of Fredrick's fits of madness, he forced us to carry the remaining looms, cotton, and furniture outside for a spontaneous yard sale. We lined everything up on the gravel field, then silently sat amongst the junk like inanimate objects waiting to be sold.

"Come one, come all!" Malcolm Jr. bellowed to the pedestrians on the street. "To the Lynch Brothers liquidation sale. Today only, and then we're gone for good. Equipment and antiques at record low prices. You won't find looms this cheap anywhere in Azaelia! Did I mention that it's one day only!"

One by one the townspeople slowly filed in to pick over his inheritance.

"How much for this chair?" asked one large sweaty man dressed in a singlet and shorts. Two exhausted souls stood beside him waving paper fans.

"Twenty." Malcolm Jr. virtually glided across the field to make the deal. "But I'm willing to throw in a free soul if you buy the whole set."

The man scratched his chin. "Fine, I'll take them."

"Splendid!" My master enthusiastically shook the customer's hand. "A grand purchase that I'm certain you'll never regret! Can I also interest you in this spectacular collection of tea cups? They do say that the chipped and faded look is in these days."

"I have no use for those."

"Completely understandable, sir. How about this antique dining table." He pointed to the wooden table that used to be in David's room. "It's been in my family for years and must be at least a century old. The stylish knife marks and stains even add to the design. It would definitely fetch at least fifty at a dealer, but today I'm willing to give it to you for the low low price of-"

"Just give me the damn chairs and soul already!" snapped the man.

"Of course," said my master with a strained smile. "Whatever you wish, sir." He turned to us souls and nervously examined us before his eyes rested on Twitchy. "Hey, you!" Malcolm Jr. barked. "Get up at once and accompany this fine gentleman!"

Twitchy hesitantly got to his feet and walked across the field to his new master. He turned to take one last look at me, but I silently sat there with my arms wrapped around my knees.

Twitchy was the only soul there who I somewhat cared about, even if he'd sell me out in an instant just to save himself. I wanted to say something, anything, as my only friend disappeared out of sight, but I couldn't make my mouth move.

I hadn't said a single word for years and I no longer knew how to speak.

I rested my head on my knees in defeat, and closed my eyes. It was just better to become as small as possible and pretend that I didn't exist.

Foreman, Anya, and most of their friends, were sold away years earlier, but I couldn't forget them. Even though Foreman was long gone, I could still hear his voice in my mind like a ghost speaking over my shoulder.

You're so pathetic, Girly Boy, I could imagine that bastard saying. Your little retarded friend is leaving you forever and you can't even say bye bye. Damn! You're one messed up son of a bitch. Never in my time here have I met anything as stupid as you. You were probably too stupid to even sell your soul for anything good. A guy like you deserves every bit of suffering that comes your way.

The self abuse continued in my head for hours like a broken record, until I was knocked over by someone. I unraveled myself and looked up to see a glaring Malcolm Jr. towering over my body.

"By Azazel, you're thick," he muttered. "How many times do I need to call you before you get your bloody butt off the ground. No wonder this place went down the drain."

I blinked and stared at him blankly. Unsure of what to do.

"Come on!" Malcolm Jr. growled. He grabbed my arm and forcefully yanked me to my feet. "It's time to meet your new master."

My next master was a baker in the center of town. He was a large man in his late fifties with stark white hair and a neatly trimmed beard. I never once saw him smile, but fortunately for me, he was more concerned with business than torturing staff. The other souls often moaned about his tough work schedule and spontaneous temper, but after living in the factory, I was overjoyed to have him as a master.

The baker resided in a two story wooden townhouse like everyone else on that street. Painted bright blue with a red tiled roof, looking outwards onto a dirt lane way. There was also a narrow balcony on the second floor. Always overflowing with colorful flowers which seemed to live forever.

The shop was located on the ground floor. There, we'd display various cakes behind sparkling glass cases. The baked goods were covered in cream, fruit, chocolate, or whatever was in fashion. All the townspeople loved to talk about fashion.

From eight in the morning the shop doors would open, and well dressed servants and souls would pour in. They'd haggle over the price of bread and desserts for their rich employers. I'd watch the baker's other souls smile and serve them with confidence that I was envious of. Even after years in the bakery, I was still too nervous to engage in conversation with a single customer.

The best I could do was a nod to my master, or a small "hello" to my fellow souls, but they'd all long given up on getting to know me. They found me quiet, weird, and only acknowledged my existence if they absolutely had to.

I liked it that way. Friends were just a nuisance who'd betray me in the end.

"Cheesecake!" called the baker one day as he furiously kneaded bread dough in the kitchen. Cheesecake was the ridiculous name he gave me, and I had no right to complain. "Get those damn rolls out of the oven already, and start chopping fruit. That pompous lord's servant is already here, and the last thing I need is that smug bastard telling half the town that the tarts were late!"

With a nod I went to the wood fire oven, then pulled the scorching tray of bread rolls out with my bare hand. I then carefully turned to lay them down on a bench, making sure not to drop a single roll, when there was an explosion from the second floor.

The building violently shook back and forth for a moment. Sending customers screaming and metal pans clanging to the floor. Cracks formed in the ceiling and small flakes of paint floated through the air.

I tripped and almost dropped the tray, but quickly regained my balance and gripped onto it with all my might.

"Not again!" roared the baker and he furiously threw his flour covered hands into the air. "Are you trying to bloody ruin me, boy!" He fetched a straw broom from the corner and continuously shoved it against the ceiling. "Stupid! Bloody! Frickin' magic! I curse the day that I let you go to that damn school! I didn't spend my life slaving away here just to watch you ruin it all! Do you hear me!"

There was an angry yell in response from the second floor, but it was too muffled to understand.

The baker had one son who was a magical scholar. A pudgy man in his mid twenties with short blonde curly hair, dark brown eyes, and a smug grin which appeared whenever he mastered a new spell.

Despite his haughty attitude, the young master failed to test into a more prestigious school, and spent years floating aimlessly through life. He refused to participate in his father's work, and instead slept through most of the day and spent his evenings studying spells. I would often walk past his room to see the young man in pajamas. Bent over a desk and pulling on his hair in frustration because a certain incantation refused to work.

Of course I was curious about his actions, but I never had the courage to stop and watch. I was far too obsessed with keeping myself out of trouble and being an obedient soul. I did an excellent job at it too, until my perfect record came to an end one sunny afternoon.

I was tidying the young master's room, just like I had a hundred times before. Clothes, books, and half eaten plates of food were scattered across the furniture and floor. We were always there to clean up, so the young man would carelessly pull things from cupboards and toss them across the room.

I sighed and picked up a handful of battered books and returned them to the shelf. Arranging them back into alphabetical order like the young master wished. I could tell from the covers that they were all epics and passionate love stories, like the young man preferred to live in a magical world than be the son of a mediocre baker.

I then went to the desk and began collecting the dirty plates and cups that had piled up over the day, stacking them neatly on top of each other.

But then I caught site of the textbook lying open beside them.

The book was too large for me to pick up with one hand. Several inches thick with the name of some magic school neatly stamped at the top of every page.

I told myself not to read it.

Doing such a thing would only lead to pointless daydreams and disappointment, but the book was right there before me, and for one short moment I felt a glimmer of my old self.

I hesitantly put down the plates and examined the open page. Gently running my fingers over the printed words as I muttered them out loud.

It was an incantation on how to make flowers appear from thin air. All it needed was a chant, a few twists of the wrist, and apparently any low level magic user could do it.

Without stopping to consider the consequences, I stretched out my right hand and quietly mumbled the words while moving my wrist. Desperately wishing that a flower would suddenly materialize like the picture, but of course nothing happened.

I tried it again. Pouring every ounce of hope I possessed into that small movement and waited, but still nothing.

I then stood there glaring at my empty palm like my stare alone could make it work.

"What are you doing?'

I jumped in horror and fell back against the desk in shock.

Standing in the doorway was the young master. Dressed in a blue bathrobe while lethargically leaning against the wall. His arms crossed over his chest as he looked on with amusement. I had no idea how much he saw.

I froze.

I'd been caught doing something that I wasn't supposed to.

My mind went blank.

"Wait. Don't tell me that you were actually..." The young master's mouth broke into a smile. "Attempting to do magic?"

I was too afraid to say anything, but the look on my face must have been enough to give me away.

He let out a laugh so loud that it echoed throughout the room. "A soul, doing magic!" He bent over to catch his breath. "That's the most hilarious thing I've seen in years! Did you actually think that it would work? That flowers would suddenly spring from your hands? Even the real losers in my class knew that a soul can't channel magic! I guess it's true what they say. Only a real dumbass would ever sell their soul."

I just stood there and watched. Wishing that I could disappear into thin air.

Once he finished laughing, the young master wiped the tears from his eyes and confidently strode across the room.

I averted my gaze to the floor and flinched out of habit. I was certain that he'd lash out and hit me, but he instead slammed the magic textbook shut with a thud.

The young man sighed and examined my terrified face, most probably basking in my fear.

"Has anyone told you that there are two types of beings in this world," he lectured like I was a disobedient child. "Real living people like me, and then dead ghosts like you. Those who are privileged like I am, have the freedom to go anywhere or do whatever they want. I can be a scholar, or a king, or master a thousand spells. My life is full of endless possibilities. Whereas you." His face broke into that smug grin. "Your turn to live is already over. Sinners like you are only allowed to exist in the Underworld so that you can serve living people like me. Otherwise you wouldn't even be here. If souls disobey their masters or do things they aren't supposed to, then they become useless in this place. Useless things get thrown away or destroyed. Do you get what I'm saying, weirdo?"

He impatiently glared at me like he was waiting for an answer, but the thought of having to speak caused me to drown in anxiety and fear. I attempted to open my mouth, but it refused to move.

"Hey! I asked you a question!" he growled, but of course I didn't reply.

The young master slapped his hand across my face in frustration. It was so quick that I didn't see it coming, but he used too much force and his fingers easily passed through my head like I was made of smoke.

His eyes widened in surprise for one moment, like he'd never hit a soul before, but then his face screwed up in rage.

"Well!" the young man angrily spat and jabbed his finger at my chest because the conversation wouldn't go the way that he wanted. "You should know that no matter how special you think you are, or whatever you do! You'll never be anything more than a dumb soul slave, so it's pointless to even try being anything else!"

Chapter: 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