The soul was once again back in that hateful place. It was a strange place that wasn’t easy to describe. There was no life in this place, other than strange and gleaming lights. These lights lacked any color and were just incomprehensible glows.
The soul was met with that disembodied voice once more. It was a voice that lacked any semblance of emotion. It reminded it much like that of the robotic voices from the machines of its former life.
“I despise you!”
The number of times this soul had said those words could not be counted. There was nothing this soul hated more than that wretched and unfeeling sounding voice whenever it returned.
“I really wish you would speak to me in a more fitting tone.”
“Just let me die already! I can not bear this curse any longer. Must I suffer for an eternity for your selfish desires? Must I bear these consequences alone? I do not desire to be nourishment for your path to power, nor do I want to fight for your supremacy or your pride. If you do not end me, I promise that I shall seek my vengeance throughout a thousand lifetimes. As long as it takes!”
“The mark is upon you, whether you wish it or not. You will serve your punishment until the end of time, just as the one you called brother shall serve out his. Be grateful that your punishment is far more lenient. Repent, and forgiveness is still a possibility. The gods are merciful if you serve them faithfully.”
“FORGIVENESS!? I SHALL NEVER BEG FOR YOUR MERCY! IT IS NOT OVER! I WILL FIND A WAY TO GAIN VENGEANCE! THIS I PROMISE!”
The soul spoke in anger; an anger fueled by pain.
“Now, now, please be calm. Can’t you the see the blessing that has been given to you? What other soul can say they remember all the lives they’ve lived? What other soul can reflect on its past mistakes and repent of its sinful ways?”
The being laughed. It was a laugh that lacked any mirth or cheer. A laugh of derision and condescension.
“Is this a joke to you!? This is a blessing? You may be able to fool another, but I am no fool. I know there is something in my soul you want but you will never get it from me!”
If the soul had a body it would be gritting its teeth, but it soon calmed itself and took on a bearing of disdain. Or at least, as much so as a soul without a body could.
“Are you even capable of mirth? Are you even alive? Or are you nothing more than a lifeless husk of a being forced to live in servitude to your masters?”
“Ha, ha, ha, ha. Foolish soul. Your words have no meaning to me. The choices you made while living were your own; you were blessed with free will after all. You have no one to blame but yourself and your foolish heart. I am but a construct created to manage this system of reincarnation and to carry out the judgement placed upon you by the gods.”
“Free will you say? Yes, I had the choice to give you everything for my survival but I chose to give you nothing. I do not regret nor will I ever regret this decision. I will not be a puppet in your hands. I will never dance to your strings or those of your master! Try as you may, I will never hand it over!”
The soul paused for a moment sensing a change in this strange place that it had grown quite familiar with. “It looks like it is time for my 999th soul! Make sure to welcome me when I return! If I cannot be free, then I shall ruin your master’s plans, one soul at a time!”
The soul had found a peculiar way to avoid what it hated most, which was being reincarnated into a new life. The reason being that it knew that this so-called gift of reincarnation was nothing more than a lie. It was a means to break it, to crush its spirit, to force it to submit.
All for the sake of one thing, something which resided deep in its soul. It was not something they could forcefully take from it as it was now, but it was something they desired above all else. The soul had suffered for so long that it no longer had an inkling of time’s passing and though this being before it had kept it imprisoned in this strange cycle of reincarnation, somehow the soul had found a means of escaping a portion of its fate.
It had found a fortuitous loophole, one that had never been intended by the gods who had cursed it.
While reincarnated, the soul would forget the role it had played in that calamitous event which shook the heavens of its once thriving world. The same that left it writhing in despair. It would always return to this place once every lifetime ended, and in each lifetime, it would suffer the most cruel of fates.
This particular soul would never know when, or how it would come but come it always did.
Each joy, each triumph, throughout every lifetime would eventually end in despair. This was its punishment, the so-called “lesser of the two.”
The greater punishment had been given to the one it had once sworn brothership with. For at least this particular soul was allowed to enter reincarnation despite having to suffer countless woes and remember them all at the end of each life.
Its brother’s fate was far worse.
Its brother was a soul trapped and doomed for all eternity within a solid gold mask. It could only see the world through its tiny prison, never gaining freedom nor hope. Driven mad, it had just mere moments of lucidity but even those moments could only remind it of its past glory and shame before once again spiraling downward into madness.
As for the one cursed as the “lesser of the two,” the loophole it found was completely unintended. At the very moment when it was time for reincarnation. It noticed that a thin veil, which divided the earthly realm with that of the Heavens, broke.
At that moment, it could feel the vastness of life that existed. It could sense the souls of the living upon the vast world, like a beacon of light in the darkness.
This was the birth of a being known as the ‘Soul Eater.’
Its power allowed it to slip inside the body of someone who had already been born, avoiding its own reincarnation. The unfortunate soul of its victim was swapped out and ended up being reincarnated into a new body, while the ‘Soul Eater’ took over the old one. It could only do this for a short time, and it often failed, but time was not an issue for it. The soul would just try again.
Its goal, to devour the potential that developed in one’s soul throughout their life. This was the accumulation of their experience, strength, desires, faith and innate power which fed the ever growing ambitions of the gods and those like them. In doing so, the cursed soul hoped to weaken the gods that had doomed it.
Its struggle was most likely futile. There were countless souls, more than it could ever devour, but it didn’t matter.
This was its only recourse, the only way it could get some semblance of revenge.
The time had come once again.
Its only hesitation was that each time it returned, it had to face its greatest regret.
I’ll take each moment one step at a time. What else is there for a cursed being such as I?
A young woman in her mid-twenties called out to her beloved husband. They were in the early years of their marriage and were still filled with marital bliss.
“Yes, my love, what is it?”
The young wife’s husband had just finished a long day of work and was resting by the fireplace in his favorite chair. She approached him with a coquettish smile, wrapping her arms gently around him and playfully kissing his neck. Nighttime was swiftly approaching, and the warmth of the fire was always a welcoming place for young lovers.
“I love you.” She whispered into his ear.
The husband smiled at her before pulling her into his embrace, gently kissing her lips.
“I love you more.”
Their second kiss was more passionate, but the young wife pulled away from her husband, smiling.
The husband made a disappointed face towards his wife in playful jest. He tried to pull her back, but she avoided him, taunting him with a smile.
“I said not now, later.”
The husband gave up begrudgingly and winked at his wife. “Alright, anyway what’s for dinner? Do you need any help?”
The husband rose from his seat and followed his wife into the kitchen. He always found it relaxing to help his wife with the cooking.
While cooking, he would often try to grope her, but she would usually swipe his hand away with a gentle laugh. They truly were a happy couple, one with few cares in the world and plenty of hope for the future. They even had plans to bring a child into this world, something that they were putting on their efforts towards this evening.
Often when cooking, the young wife would sing unconsciously. Her husband would rarely point this out as he enjoyed listening to her sing. He especially loved the twinkle in her eye whenever she realized what she was doing or when she caught him listening.
There was something he found special with her eyes.
Whenever he would tease her about her singing, he would usually do so while wrapping his arms around her, hugging her closely. She would then kiss his hand, before resting her head on his arm in a loving embrace.
Because of this habit, she failed to see the sudden and strange emotionless gaze that suddenly filled her husband’s eyes. He carefully moved his hands around her neck and started to choke her. She barely realized what was happening as her body began to spasm, due to being unable to breathe properly. Her husband was clearly intent on ending her life.
He then threw her to the ground before pinning her down. All she could see in his eyes filled her with dread.
In the very last few moments of her life, all she could do was try to claw at the face of the one she loved. But that wasn’t enough for him, and as she gasped for one last breath, her husband opened his mouth and placed it over hers.
Her soul never made it back to that place.