1703 c/o Matthew Dorian Corbin

At the Seppuku of Forty-Six of the Forty-Seven Ronin

I admit that I’ve never been the kind to take charge. It’s partially why I’m at the end of the line.

Number 15 is also writhing in the same way and he’s going to shit and piss in his pants like Numbers 1 through 14 had. Those aren’t the smells I’m detecting from the end of the line, it’s that visceral, raw intestine smell. One of his teeth just dribbled out from his jaw clenching. An honorable death. I used to throw this phrase around a lot. Only now does it seem to have become more of a question.

The night before the attack, we slaughtered a pig. Two years in the making, this plot, I realized as I sat at a stream alone cleaning out the intestines, I drew them along in the water such like brush strokes and watched the feces flake out at the other end such like old paint and in that moment something felt absurd.

This one time, as always, they teased me again, saying how I kept my ink stones in my ass and my brushes in my anus and it’s the reason why I appeared so stiff in battle. I went to go paint a picture of our master who we were to avenge, daimyo Asano, only to realize that only muddy, watered out images of his face came to mind. I wound up painting a couple of eels, being my last painting so I could no longer be further distracted from my desire for revenge.

During the attack on Kira Yoshinaka’s mansion, I killed two nameless guards because I felt like I should.

When we found Kira, he had piss running down his leg. My arms went limp and I realized my life was over. Our master had been given the choice of an honorable seppuku or execution just for getting angry and attacking this guy.

I don’t know for sure but I’ve heard he was corrupt and arrogant, a real piece of shit and he openly spoke badly about our master, but people like that in power are nothing new and it will always be that way, I could live with that. I left the room as the others were cornering him. The only thing that felt grossly pleasurable was that subconscious animal feeling of seeing someone with power having ripped from their hands by those who were moved by it.

I walked around the halls. All the priceless, beautiful paintings, sculptures and flower arrangements around me began to seem valueless. I flung my katana down the stairs. I found Kira’s bedroom and laid down in it. The sun had no cloud to filter it that day, I warmed up in my armor. I wondered what he was thinking laying there that morning. I wondered if he was miserable in his life. He was probably dead by then.

We exited the mansion and everyone mostly had nothing to say, nothing to say to each other. We paced around and sat on rocks. I took a shit and buried it under red maple leaves then washed the blood off me in a stream. No ghost of our master showed up to say thanks.

It’s almost my turn to disembowel myself. I’m glad they let the kid, Number 47, go because of his age. I hope he forgets all this and takes up an instrument, learns how to cook or something. Take up painting.

I might be able to make a break for it and vault the fence. I’d most likely be chased down and killed and remembered as the cowardly one of the forty-seven and the guard would get the honor. But how could I choose that? Forty-five piles of intestine and a mass of blood before me only appear to be one huge melding labyrinth. It’s just an illusion, they’re still nothing more than closed systems of one path, one way in, one way out, laying next to each other. I fell for it. An honorable life.