<<Guys and girls, today we’re moving from theory to practice. The soul’s box>>
The students close their colorful notebooks, impatient. There’s no room for theory today; the real quei soldi is on the souls and they need practice to know how to handle them.
<<The case in front of you is the same you’d probably saw before in some picture. It’s an example of what has been called a soul box. Each of them is different, but a 5.8″ size is pretty handy and therefore perfect to be contained inside a custody with an alarm integrated system. You will keep half of your soul inside this small case; therefore, your first thought is to preserve it from being stolen. That said, let’s move to another issue: a possible rejection. Have a look to my box…>>
S. takes out a small leather case from his pocket, the size of a pencil sharpener, which his grandfather bought a long time before. It’s a small case, two for three centimeters, and in this tiny frame, it’s possible to see a soul spinning around fast. The grey color resembles a vortex of concrete. Now S. takes it in between two fingers and shows it to the class.
<<…my box belonged to my father before me and to my grandfather before him. This made the possibility of a rejection quite rare. Remember that you will have a significant amount of your soul enclosed inside your soul box. Don’t underestimate the probability of a rejection. The affinity is crucial. Moreover, critical as well is the choice of the material for your case. It can be wood, any metal, or also a stone. Anyways, you’ll have a better idea about your soul’s box after the lessons of professor F. from the Department of Philosophy of Mind and Building Materials. By now, let’s stick to techniques of discovering and imprisoning a soul and how to give it a value.>>
The whole classroom is engaged. It’s not every day you have a superstar as S. a few meters from you with his famous case in his hands. Yet, no one seems to notice me, his favorite pair of shoes. I wish they’d recognize me; somehow, I’m also part of the legend.
<<First of all, you must feel familiar with your device. Keep it always with you, get distracted from conversations with your friends or relatives. No one will get offended, I assure you. After some time, you will feel that you cannot stay without it anymore. That’s the exact moment in which you will have to act and you will need to do it quickly.>>
Someone raises a hand in the second row.
<<Sorry professor, I have a small puppet I’m really fond of. It’ll be ok to use it as a case?>>
A small, theatrical pause follows the question.
S. begins, the lips corrugated in contempt.
<<What was unclear about the point that you need a case, a box to contain your soul? You call your doll a box?>>
<<N-no, professor. It’s filled with cotton.>>
<<Well, young lady. Then, it seems you’ve found your answer without my help!>>
The class suddenly bursts into a nervous laugh. The student that asked the question has the hand still half raised, she’s blushing and her right leg is shaking terribly.
Shout S., and immediately the classroom is quiet again. The only sound you can hear is the soft crying of the girl seated in the second row. S. is quite sure of whom will fail the final exam now. Then he continues:
<<In the past, the first dealers of souls used to read a formula at the soul migration moment. At the very beginning of our Souls Era the Governor was the only one entitled to recite it in front of all the dealers. At the time, there weren’t so many of us as today. Then, he started reciting, with his calm, baritone voice:
“If not the last breath,
for what then, your health?
Without a soul, what do you reflect?
If not an empty mirror,
same reality and no color,
hence I stay,
dare to pray,
end to say,
and to wait
dormient a return.”>>
He lets a few seconds pass and then his voice comes again over my laces.
<<I know, it’s a genuinely romantic procedure, but today it’s way easier than that. You will go to the B2 floor of this building, and if you’ll be considered suitable for the job, doctor B. or one of his assistants will inject the death serum.
In half an hour, forty-five minutes tops, it’ll all be done. Only for a case in a hundred, the death is permanent, but to the rest of you, when you’ll open your eyes, you’ll be able to call yourself souls’ dealers. Don’t forget whom you decided to donate your soul to, as one day it’ll be crucial to trace it back.>>
Between the auditorium’s wooden walls, the students seem like colorful birds, attracted by the professor’s mimic. The white of the board behind him emphasize the drama.
<<From that moment onward, you’ll be equipped to sell souls. Your role will be to understand quickly when a soul is white or grey. You must recognize black souls as well, but believe me, there aren’t so many black souls around nowadays.>>
The professor blinks to the crowd and they smile back, all together. No one knows for sure where those black souls disappear, but it’s an actual fact that there aren’t many dark souls out of jail.
<<To conclude, you can make your life easier thanks to a pantograph. Keeping the color scale close to the soul you need to check, you will know the exact color and, therefore, the soul’s value. I’ve never used it, but they consider me a caveman for that around here.>>
Everyone laughs again, but this time it seems a forced one—a nervous, puffing plastic laugher, with an eye to the watch. The level of attention starts falling down and S. appears to understand it.
<<So, I’m going to conclude the lesson with an advice. I’m not going to lie to you. 70% of you is destined to fail the course because the most challenging part of the exam is to let your soul go.>>
The room now is quiet, the tiredness converted into tension. The legs are trembling, the shoes follow shaking under the desks, someone stretch the neck. Some others swing their heads, resigned.
<<For the rest of you, for the one of you that will finish the course and will be ready to give up your soul, the doors of excellence will open. You’re destined one day to be Boss, or even Governors. But you have to keep in mind that you will sacrifice your soul to achieve such a great goal.>>
Using an old dealer’s technique, he decides to give a small sugar to this depressed class of students.
<<So, which one of you is ready to try, to bet on him or herself? Who’s ready to forget everything and embrace something bigger than all of us>>
The voice raises and the professor ends up screaming, like a speech of an old general in war. While he pack his things and goes, every student stands up and starts clapping the hands. The door closes.
If you landed on this page, but you don’t have any clue of what this is all about, please read what is this story about.And remember that this is a bilingual project, so you can read it in English and Italian.
Questa storia è stata pubblicata una volta a settimana da ottobre 2018 ad ottobre 2019 ed è stata pubblicata nel libro omonimo, Anime vive. Tutti i diritti sulla storia e relative traduzioni sono riservati da Flyingstories e nella persona di Daniele Frau.
Tutte le grafiche sono fatte a mano, realizzate con tecniche differenti da Gabriele Manca, DMQ productions, who reserves all rights.