Goreng awakes in a concrete cell marked with the number 48. His cellmate, Trimagasi, explains that they are in a tower-style prison in which food is delivered via a platform that travels from the top down through the large holes in the floors and ceilings; those on lower levels are only able to eat what those at the top leave them. Each room is fatally heated or cooled if prisoners attempt to hoard food after the platform has left their level. Every month, the prisoners are assigned to a new level, and each prisoner is allowed to bring one item in with them; Goreng chose a copy of Don Quixote, Trimagasi a self-sharpening knife. One day, a bloodied woman named Miharu rides down on the platform, and Trimagasi explains that she descends the pit every month in search of her daughter.
The cellmates tell each other why they are in the Pit: Goreng volunteered to spend six months in the Pit in exchange for a diploma, and Trimagasi is serving a yearlong sentence for manslaughter. They become friends over the course of the month, but on the day of the room shuffle, Goreng wakes up gagged and tied to the bed. They have been reassigned to level 171, where the platform is completely empty of food when it arrives, and Trimagasi explains that he plans to eat strips of Goreng's flesh to sustain himself. On the eighth day, Trimagasi cuts into Goreng's leg but is attacked by Miharu riding down the platform. She cuts Goreng free and he kills Trimagasi. Miharu eats and feeds him some of Trimagasi's flesh before continuing down.
The following month, Goreng awakes on level 33 with a woman, Imoguiri, as a cellmate. He recognizes her as the official who questioned him before sending him to the Pit. She tells Goreng that there are 200 floors in total, and that she was unaware of the Pit's horrible conditions and volunteered to try and fix things when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Imoguiri rations her food and attempts to convince those below to do so as well, but they ignore her until Goreng threatens to defecate in their food.
Goreng wakes the following month on level 202 and finds that she has hanged herself. He eats her flesh to survive, experiencing hallucinations of her and Trimagasi before waking the following month on level 6. His roommate, Baharat, attempts to climb up and escape through the top level with the help of those above using the rope he brought into the pit, but the couple living on level 5 push him back down as he climbs, and defecate in his face with his rope falling into the hole. Goreng tells Baharat he estimates that there are around 250 levels in total, eventually convincing Baharat to descend with him to ration out the food.
As they descend, they hand out portions to the prisoners, attacking those who resist or attempt to eat more. They witness but are unable to stop Miharu from being killed by an inmate on a lower level, both sustaining injuries while trying to defend her. Goreng and Baharat continue to descend and discover that the platform doesn't stop on levels where no one is alive, eventually passing level 250 and reaching level 333 where the platform finally stops. They assume that it must be the last level and get off, but the platform continues down, stranding them. They discover a little girl in the room and feed her the untouched panna cotta they had been saving as a "message" for the chefs at the top. Goreng passes out and dreams of Baharat telling him that "the girl is the message." The next day, Goreng finds Baharat dead after succumbing to his injuries and takes the child with him when the platform arrives, riding down to the bottom of the pit where he once again sees Trimagasi, who tells him that "the message requires no bearer." Goreng leaves the platform and walks away with Trimagasi, both turning to watch as the girl is transported up the pit.
Iván Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor, Emilio Buale Coka, Alexandra Masangkay,