Previously called "Diary of a Soul in the Underworld"
Summary: Long ago I sold my soul and doomed myself to an eternity in the Underworld. I did everything they wanted for centuries, but no more! I'll find a way out of my destiny or die trying! I leave you my story in the hope that someone else can succeed if I fail.
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Not so long ago.
I huddled behind the rock as another unseen attack hit it with a crash. That one was strong enough to leave a dent, but not powerful enough to break through.
How did they find me?
I travelled to the most remote part of Hell. Taking extra care to cover every trace of my existence, and yet they still tracked me down like there was a magical force I couldn't escape.
The snow crunched under their feet as they gradually moved closer. The soul market had sent mear rookies before, but I was afraid that they'd upped their game. Every agent I met was always stronger and more talented than the last.
I pulled a knife from my back pocket and held it between my trembling hands. Ready to throw it at a mortal's head if I had to.
"I can do this, I can do this, I can do this," I muttered under my breath like a mantra.
I just had to remain calm and focused. I couldn't afford to let my thoughts run astray.
"Looks like you're cornered, Ethan darling," said imaginary Alistair as he casually leaned against my rock examining his nails. He didn't seem the slightest bit concerned about my grim situation.
"Shut up!" I hissed. "I don't have time for you right now!"
"Can't see how you're going to get yourself out of this one."
"Whatever you want," he said with a yawn and lethargically got to his feet. He took one step before I realised that he could be useful.
"Hey, wait!" I cried and he obediently froze. "How many are there?"
Alistair sighed and looked towards the source of the attack. He curiously examined them for a moment before his mouth broke into a grin.
"Why don't you take a look for yourself?"
I quickly glanced around the rock only to narrowly dodge a large metal grappling hook attached to a rope. It landed on the snow near my feet, then quickly disappeared as the owner yanked it back.
I only saw them for a moment, but it was enough time to take in what I was up against.
There were two of them. Both ankle deep in the snow, wearing large furry gray coats and boots to protect themselves from the cold.
One was a human man with a black cap and a beard so large and bushy that I could only see his eyes. He confidently swung the grappling hook like he'd already used it countless times to capture disobedient souls.
The other guy was a tall blue demon with only one horn. There was a dark red scarf wrapped around his neck, and I could tell from the way that he held his black gloved hands out before him that he had to be the magic user.
"Give it up soul!" Yelled the human. "You've got nowhere to run!"
"Never!" I cried. "I'm not going back there!"
"You signed a contract!"
"Really? Then where is it?"
There were quiet whispers like the two of them were discussing something.
"If you come back with us now, then we'll show it to you!"
I rolled my eyes. I couldn't believe that they thought I'd fall for something so stupid.
"There's no way that I'll ever honour a contract that I can't remember signing!" I yelled.
"It doesn't matter whether or not you remember soul scum!" Cried the demon. "All that matters is that you wrote your name, and that makes you property of the soul market. Forever!"
I sighed in exasperation. I'd already heard those words a hundred times before like the soul market drilled them into every one of their agents.
"He does have a point," said imaginary Alistair who was still chilling out in the snow. "Maybe it's best to go back with them. Maybe whatever punishment they have planned for you might not be so bad. I'm sure it'll be over in a year or two. There may even be a half decent master willing to buy a cheap damaged soul like you."
"Just shut up already!" I yelled at Alistair.
"Screw you soul!" Yelled the demon. "As soon as I drag you out from behind that rock I'm going to rip you limb from limb."
"I didn't mean you," I snapped. "I was talking to Alistair!"
There was silence for a moment like the two of them had discovered what sort of nut job they'd found on the mountain.
They must have decided to give up on reasoning with me because the demon began chanting a spell, and the next attack hit the rock so hard that it began to split down the middle with a crack. I looked to the spot where Alistair once stood, but he had disappeared into thin air like my mind had more important things to worry about than creating imaginary friends.
The the cliff was only meters away. If I threw myself over the edge, then they'd never be able to follow. It would take them days to climb down the mountain and by then I'd be long gone. It was better to run while I still had the chance.
I pulled a roll of aged yellow paper from my pocket and unraveled it on the ground. It was one meter long and covered in black lines and symbols like the spell I once used in Alistair's study. My body will never channel magic, but after years of failed experiments I'd developed enough diagrams to pull off a few useful spells. As basic as they seemed.
I pulled a small red crystal from my pocket, and placed it on the edge of the page so that it just touched the diagram. The symbols began to glow, then several small balls of red light formed in the center of the page. They quickly shot upwards meters into the sky, then crashed to the ground. Landing in all directions. Sending snow flying. It wasn't enough to injure those bastards, but all I needed was a distraction.
The human cried in surprise. I quickly shoved the crystal back in my pocket and dashed towards the cliff's edge. Running as fast as my legs could move. I almost made it until a tall wall of ice shot up before me, blocking my escape. My body crashed straight into it and I was knocked onto my back.
"Damn the powers of hell!" I swore before the grappling hook lodged itself into my shoulder, gripping onto my coat, and the human yanked me backwards. Dragging me towards him. A rope net then landed straight on top of me before I could pull my shoulder free.
"What did I say," laughed the human to his comrade. "I knew this sucker would be a piece of cake!"
"Don't speak so soon!" I cried and used the knife in my hand to furiously saw the grappling hook's rope until it broke with a snap. I came to a halt and attempted to free myself from the net, but the rope was far stronger and difficult to cut through. "Come on you stupid piece of shit," I hissed as I sawed through the net with all my might.
"It's over soul!" Said the demon victoriously as he smugly walked towards me with his hand outstretched. He began to chant and two icy walls sprung up beside me one by one. "You may have been sly enough to get past those other idiots, but this is as far as you're gonna get!"
A third wall sprang up behind me as he took another step forward, but then he suddenly froze mid step with his foot in the air and his mouth wide open. His eyes were wide with shock and fixed on me. I knew that behind those pupils he was probably cursing my existence.
With one final cut to the rope I created a large enough hole to untangle myself from the net and pull my body through. I laughed in triumph, because like every agent before him he'd underestimated my abilities and walked straight into my spell. Very few magic users ever think to closely examine the ground by their feet, and he'd overlooked the faint glow of the large paper circle carefully hidden under the snow. I may have been stupid enough to let them sneak up on me, but all the weeks of running had made me paranoid enough to leave traps whenever I stopped to rest. This particular paper diagram was capable of freezing anything that touched it.
"Look who it's over for now!" I cried while basking in my small victory, which only lasted for a second before I had to dodge a another hook and chain that came flying towards me from the human.
I drop rolled, then used the knife in my hand to deflect his next attack. He pulled a handful of small purple balls from his pocket and threw them towards me. One hit me in the face. Sending a large cloud of purple smog billowing into the air, blocking my vision.
I jumped back to avoid it, but then that human was right above me attempting to bring a large black sack down on my head. I threw myself to the right, and then used all my strength to kick him in the back of the knees when he landed, knocking him to the ground.
That didn't distract him for long and he quickly pulled himself to his feet. Eyes red with rage towards the crazy soul who refused to give in.
He pulled a long thin sword from his belt and advanced towards me. Jabbing it furiously like he could shove it through my body and pin me to the ground.
I hastily backed away while trying to lead him straight into the large paper circle, taking extra care to avoid it myself. I hoped to trick him into touching it (it could have worked) but he carefully moved around the outside like he'd noticed the faint insignias glowing amongst the snow.
"Just give up already!" He growled as he chased me around the edge of the circle while his comrade stood there frozen. Incapable of doing anything. "There's no way that you can escape the soul market!"
"Really?" I taunted and ran around the circle again just to wear him down. "Just watch me. I can keep this up for days, unlike you."
"This is pointless! Even if you do get away, which you won't, we'll find you again no matter where you go in Hell!"
"How!" I yelled, but he ignored my request and picked up speed.
There was a growl from the demon like his vocal cords had begun working again. The spell was obviously beginning to fade. He growled again long enough to grab the human's attention, then flicked his eyes down to the purple glow by his feet. It was the crystal I had used to activate the spell.
The human stopped running like he'd understood the unsaid message, and he turned and dashed toward the crystal.
"Shit!" I swore. I didn't think that I could take both of them at once. I dived at the human man, grabbing onto his torso and knocking him to the ground. The sword slipped from his hand and we tumbled into the snow, rolling once or twice before he landed on top of me and pinned my shoulders to the ground.
He grinned like he'd won, but I shoved a handful of snow into his eyes and used my hands and legs to throw him off balance and push him away.
I rolled to my feet, so did he, and we both stood there glaring at each other, neither of us willing to give in.
The demon was forgotten. He screamed in rage, pulled a knife from his pocket, then dashed towards me like he was willing to tear me to pieces.
I fled towards the frozen wall of ice along the cliff's edge. It was impossible to jump over, but I could see another way out.
"I don't know why the soul market even gave you a job," I taunted to enrage him further and make him lose all common sense. "It should be child's play to catch one weak little soul."
"Screw you sinner!" He cried and sprinted after me.
I stopped before the cliff's edge. I wanted to target the icy wall but he was quickly gaining and there wasn't enough time.
I pulled a crumpled folded piece of paper from my back pocket. Unlike the carefully designed circle in the snow it was a mess of angry lines like the ink had exploded on the page. I placed the red crystal on the edge of the page and the lines immediately began to glow a fiery crimson. I slammed the paper down face first onto the ground just as the human tackled me. He pinned me to the frozen wall and pulled out a rope to bind my hands together, but that's when my spell exploded downwards through the cliff.
The ground shuddered. The cliff began to crack and splinter, then collapsed beneath us before the human had a chance to flee. We both plummeted hundreds of feet, then landed with a crash amongst the rocks on the lower level of the mountain.
I was slightly phased from the fall but completely unharmed. I even jumped out of the way and easily dodged the rolling rocks to avoid being pinned to the ground.
I looked upwards towards the cliff from which I fell, but it was so far away that I could barely distinguish it from the rest of the mountain. It must have been at least half a mile away and only a soul could survive such a fall.
I had won.
I laughed in glee. Yet again I'd done the impossible and outsmarted the soul market. They may have beaten and enslaved every soul before me but I was different. Their perfect record was going to come to an end.
I glanced to the rocks behind me, and the laughter died in my throat.
Crushed among the debris was the body of the human man. The back of his head had smashed against the ground on impact, killing him instantly. Blood was splattered against the rocks, and continued to slowly flow from his head and limbs. His legs had been crushed by the falling stone, his arms were bent at strange angles, but the most disturbing thing was his face.
I hadn't payed much attention when he was trying to catch me, but it was like I was seeing him clearly for the first time. His eyes were frozen wide open in terror, and he looked more like a frightened teenager than a deadly soul hunter. He couldn't have been any older than eighteen. His thick coat was covered in patches like he never had the money to buy another one, and one of his fingers was black like it had succumb to frostbite. He must have suffered for weeks while they tracked me.
I covered my mouth in shock and slowly backed away.
He wasn't much different from me. A young man who'd been forced onto that mountain through poverty and bad luck.
I may have won, but it didn't feel like a victory.
I couldn't take it anymore and had to turn away. His face would continue to haunt me for days. I should have stayed to search for the one horned demon, but I was almost certain that he was still stuck in the circle, and would remain there until the spell faded in another few hours. After that he would either return to the soul market or continue his pursuit. There wasn't time to stand around feeling sad. I had to bury my remorse and keep going if I wanted to stay ahead of them.
I pulled my hood over my face as snow began to fall for the first time in hours. It slowly danced in circles as it gradually floated to the ground.
I put one foot before the other and walked in a straight line deep into the mountains.
The only thing I could do was to continue moving forwards.
Next Chapter: Life after the factory.
Author's Note: Thanks for reading this chapter. It actually took a lot more time and planning than I originally expected. It's also the longest so far. I've always found fight scenes challenging, so I hope that it turned out well.
Recently I've been trying to get as much feedback on my stories as possible. (Feedback! Give it to me! Comment!) I submitted this story to a few different fiction groups and one constant thing that showed up was how this story doesn't really seem like a diary. I do agree with them, so this story has been renamed "Memories of a Soul in the Underworld" a title that I think better expresses the content. I also hope to draw up a cool cover when I get the chance.
Other stories by M.C.Queen
How I Was Murdered By A Monster King
Obake are spirits and monsters that take the form of animals to blend in with the natural world. A secret organization exists to protect mankind and eliminate all Obake. Its agents are commonly referred to as “exorcists.” My name is Daisuke Matsumoto and this is my story.
Last time we met my training was going great until a super powerful fox monster attacked and my teacher tried to kill me. Now my friends and the organization are accusing me of being a monster in Human form, but that can’t be possible, can it?
Grab the ebook and paperback on Amazon!
Read a free preview online here. Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3
Tales From A Land Of Gods
Outside our world exists one of gods. A place where the gods reign supreme and humans live like days of old.
Meng is a unique god who becomes lost in an endless forest. His only chance of escape is an old dying mortal who brings back memories of his past which he would prefer remain forgotten.
Read chapter one for free here
Khan and the Kingdom Without Gods
Khan is a dashing thief who travels to a small kingdom without gods in the hope of seducing their beautiful princess. He is instead drawn to her unusual bodyguard who has a few secrets of her own. Little does he know that a great battle between mortals and the gods has just begun.
Read chapter one for free here
How I was Murdered by a Fox Monster
They say life flashes before you in that moment before death. I could see it all reflected in the blade. I was standing under the cherry blossoms at my school entrance ceremony, eating cake at my sister's wedding, standing outside praying the monster wouldn't come tonight. I might not be dead yet but I can see what's coming, this is the story of how I was murdered by a fox monster!
Sample Chapters: Chapter One
Grab a copy here on Amazon