365 Writing · Book · Stories

Jin and the Solstice of Blood (Part 30)

As Ikiru jumped into the flames, I felt the fear build up in the back of my head. As he promised there was no pain at all, it was as if we were walking across a grassy field for all it mattered.

Ahead of us, the oni went about their torture. The closest one was pouring boiling oil onto several bodies tied together. He kept walking without losing stride; I tried to focus away from the suffering around me and the mission at hand. Crossing the field felt like ages. I continued to concentrate and felt Ikiru move my body forward. After a time I saw the far side, a doorway three men tall and covered in pictographs that I couldn’t read. That must be the way to the next level.

We were close, yet one of the Oni Ikiru passed by stopped and looked our way, it’s massive nostrils sniffing the sulfur-filled air. It bellowed something in a language I could not understand.

What did he say? I asked Ikiru.

“Nothing I can repeat.” He answered, and slowly took another step. The Oni’s eyes suddenly became fixed on us, and it let out a piercing roar.

I could be wrong, but we should run. I said in the back of my mind.

“For once Jin, you’re not wrong,” Ikiru said and started running as fast as he could towards the door. The oni behind us was slow for its size, thankfully. Ikiru never looked back, but I could hear it’s heavy footsteps joined by others slowly begin to close the distance as he sprinted towards the door. I could feel my body tire and the pain of my injuries spike, but Ikiru suppressed the pain and continued to run.

The footfalls behind us were booming in my ears by the time he reached the door and pushed. It swung open slowly on its double hinges. He jumped inside and narrowly avoided an iron club slam into the ground where we had been standing. He pushed the doors to close again, but the oni began to push back. There was no way we could beat an oni in strength.

We have to go, we can’t beat it! I yelled back to Ikiru who continued to push back. I could see his muscles begin to burst. Stop it! Run!