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Jin and the Solstice of Blood (Part 25)

I got a few stares as I wandered into the slums, but with my fresh coating of mud and rainsoaked appearance, I fit right in. Due to the storm more than usual were clustered in the swears, this undoubtedly led to the overall stench, which made me dizzy for a moment.

Pressing further into the swears I follow the foulest stench I could. Crying echoed all around me. The faces of the people I passed were as those of the dead. If there were a famine, these people would die even faster. Some might say it’s a blessing, to relieve them from this state, but there was no blessing in it that I could see. Death was pain was just more suffering for them to endure. While death might take away pain from one, it would only give it to another, and another.

I found a forked path where the people were less concentrated. There was a heavy stench of rotten eggs wafted from far off into the dark tunnel. Taking a poker out of one of the makeshift fires I ripped a bit of cloth from my already ruined kimono and used the fire to light it. Proceeding down the tunnel with my makeshift torch I could smell the rotten stench even more. There were bodies, many of them. Too many to count. It seems this tunnel served as a kind of graveyard until the people here could burn them, not that they ever could it appeared. The stench of death was overpowering, but I pressed on. There was no turning back now, I had to go forward. Finally, the tunnel ended into a dark pit, and even with my light, I couldn’t see the bottom.

This is it. Ikiru said in the back of my mind. Jump.

Taking a deep breath, I braced myself and lept into the pit.