Goreng wakes up in part of The Hole, a place where food is sent down with The Platform. As people above become selfish and eat whatever they want, people below get less. Goreng learns from the other cellmates that the people below can fall into madness and sanity loss turning into bloody cannibalism, so he starts to get into a plan for The Hole's people.
In a dystopian near future with absence of resources, people can freely to go into The Hole, a vertical underground jail where after an interview to check the possible admission, the volunteer passes a determined time in exchange to acquire more social status. Hoping to get an approved title, Goreng wakes up in the level 48 to discover The Hole's structure: only one cell of 6 meters height (so-so 20 feet) per level with a rectangular hole in the middle in all them, used by The Hole's administration to descend a too rectangular floating platform with the food for all prisoners, downing from level 0 (the restaurant in the surface where food is cooked) to the bottom, standing 2 minutes per level. With veteran Trimagasi as cell's partner, Goreng learns eventually The Hole's main rules: 1st, each inmate arrives The Hole with a personal object to chose from the exterior; 2nd, the inmates can't keep food off the platform under penalty to die by extreme heat or cold; and 3rd, one time per month all inmates are asleep using gas in order to exchange all them of level. But when a month later they both wake up in the level 171, Goreng learns for his horror that all the inmates divide in four types: those in the upper levels who eat with more time to think, those in the mid levels who eat the rests of the food left in the platform, those in the lower levels whose don't eat after platform arrives empty becoming in demented and starved killers, and finally those who jump to the void by the hole, crashing against lower levels to being cannibalized by the savage inmates. Saved to be killed by Trimagasi in the last minute by Miharu, a silent and violent young girl who time and time again descends in the platform looking for her missing child forced to be in The Hole, Goreng starts lose his mind in a place without morality or humanity, passing from level 23 to 252 with Imoguiri (Goreng's interviewer and an ingenuous about the reality of The Hole) as new partner to finally arrive in level 6 with Baharat as lately partner, who tries with a rope scaling to level 0. But Goreng tells Baharat a better plan to leave The Hole.