365 Writing · Stories

Jin and the dark forest (Part 2)

[Authors note. The last one I had written in 3rd person but this one I switched to 1st person as it feels better for this story. What are your thoughts readers?]

I awoke in a daze. One of those nights of sleep where once you wake up you wake up and forget everything. For a moment I felt like I was back home… back before the Empire came and…

Hey! Snap out of it! Ikiru’s voice broke the illusion like a rock into a pool of water. I snapped upright.

I was still sitting in the room I had gone to sleep in. It was still nighttime in the room, but upon looking around, I saw my clothes had been cleaned and folded in a pile next to a bowl of rice and grilled fish. I moved forward to pick it up but Ikiru interrupted me.

Don’t eat it. He said sharply.

“Why? I’m starving.” I answered going to pick it up again.

Trust me, something is off here. If this is what I think, once you eat the food, you won’t be leaving anytime soon. Don’t you think it’s strange that it’s still nighttime?

“You think it’s a-” I started to ask.

Don’t say it. They can’t hear me, but they can hear you… I think you should pay and leave. 

Wordlessly, I got dressed and left the room, I tried to find my way back towards the entrance and the door she had put my bags in but the narrow hallways were almost entirely dark now and they felt like they led back in around on each other.

“I can’t find my way… I think we’ve gone in circles.” I whispered.

That’s because we have. Draw me.

I complied, knowing that without the rest of my supplies, Ikiru was the best chance I had for getting out of this even if I had to pay the price myself. A dim glow shone along the blade. Characters inscribed on its length were the only sources of light.

Left. He said, and I took the first left. Using my free hand to follow the wall. Straight, then right. I followed his directions for the next few turns. Stop! I stopped suddenly. Unsure of as to why. The way ahead is blocked by a barrier. If you go forward, you’ll just loop around. Now give me a drink, I can break it.

I bared my teeth and ran the blade over my arm. Drops of blood pooled along its surface and seemed to be absorbed by it. Now that’s better. Let me go first.

Moving forward I extended Ikiru and heard a crash like fine ceramics breaking. Suddenly Behind me, I could hear cracking of wood and crumbling construction as the building began to collapse. Run!!! He yelled, and I made off as fast as I could.

Screams echoed behind me, and I could see several young women their jaws now elongated and tounges the length of my arm charging towards me. I ran faster, knowing that now escaping with my life was more important than the remainder of my possessions.

Turn right! Ikiru yelled, and I ran around the corner to see the door to the exit blocked by the girl who had let me in. She was now hideous and grotesque in the way the others were, her skin was gray and pale like a corpse. She let out a hiss and immediately charged at me.

Brandishing Ikiru I swung in a clean stroke, severing her in half and moving past her putting all my weight against the door.

It gave as if it wasn’t there and I fell in a heap onto wet grass. Light greeted my eyes. I looked around I was in a bright meadow with no sign of a bathhouse around me. It was daylight as well, the sky was so bright there was almost too much of it.

Well, good thing you listened to me. He said, sounding smug.

I put him back in his sheath, now that he had drunk. I picked myself up. “At least I got a good bath out of it,” I said trying to make light of losing my possessions.

Could be worse, you could have had our souls eaten too.

“Good point,” I answered. “Now, shall we be on our way?”