365 Writing · Stories

Jin and the Solstice of Blood (Part 31)

Ikiru began shouting as he pushed against the oni ramming down the doors. For a moment they were evenly tied until suddenly the massive oni started to give and the doors slammed shut, leaving us in darkness.

I began to feel cold. Wow, you’re pretty strong there. I said awkwardly to break the silence. Also, isn’t it getting a bit chilly in here?

Ikiru looked up into the darkness and whispered something under his breath. A small light appeared at his fingertips and illuminated the dark stone area around us.

“You can come out now,” Ikiru said, “I won’t be able to protect you here.”

I focused outside of his vision and suddenly found myself standing next to him. “What is this place?” I asked, my voice echoed in the stone chamber.

“Ebutuo. The blister,” He answered slowly. “Ahead of us are dark and frozen plains with icy mountains, forever swept by blizzards. Those souls trapped here are made to wander these wastes naked and alone while the cold ravages their bodies.”

“Wow.” I said, “Sounds like a place that I had not planned to go to on vacation. How many of these levels of the underworld will we have to travel?”

Ikiru gave me a blank stare. “Normally we’d have to travel through all of them to reach her…” he responded.

“And how many is that?” I interjected.

“Thousands.” He answered with a blank face. “But really no one knows.”

“Great. Sounds like we’re going to be here for a while…” I was beginning to understand Ikiru’s sentiment of how hopeless our task was.

“You’re beginning to understand why I was hopeless,” Ikiru said, seemingly reading my mind. “But don’t forget, there is now hope.”