|To Stop Dreaming
Author: Aeka-himme PM
(MC) The Spirit World was like a dream, but Chihiro had forgotten how real it was. What happens when a new problem arises and she is needed once more? Past friends unite, and future events fall into place. Please read and review!Rated: Fiction K - English - Adventure - Chapters: 2 - Words: 10,537 - Reviews: 22 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 05-22-03 - Published: 05-03-03 - id: 1331180
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Hi everyone! This is my first Spirited Away fanfic, so one may only hope that I don't make a complete idiot out of myself with my juvenile writing skills. I've only just watched the movie a few weeks ago and thought that (seeing as there aren't too many stories in this section to begin with) I'd give this a try.
The sun was high up in the sky like the usual globe of gold it looks to be each single day and it vivaciously announced the arrival of the beautiful summer's afternoon and the pleasant evening that is to come. A soft breeze eagerly swept about relentlessly and cooled several sweaty faces of the occasional outdoor worker at once. The stems of flowers and grass were gently inclined by the wind, all swaying in the same direction at the same time and passing around a pleasant natural scent.
Well, about as natural of a scent as you can get in a single small park located somewhere in the east of an incredibly busy city reeking of constant pollution and the slow decay of nature. But no one seems to pay this matter very much mind these days. It was all about making profits, making money, and destroying just about everything that got in your way, wasn't it?
And the saddest part is, so many are aware of this matter and yet there are so few who chose to make a difference. The small handful of people who make a stand of their opinions and what they think is truly right are easily knocked over and fewer get back up each time. As for the majority, they're so caught up in their busy, everyday lives to even care about the long-term consequences of what they do to anything or anyone.
The world has become such a terrible place, and just thinking about it forces you into a sort of dark pit of despair and hopelessness because you know that you cannot do anything to prevent the everyday crimes that disrupt this world's moral balance. So the ones like this, trapped in likewise pits, can do but one thing and wish to be spirited away to another world where there is none of that at all…
"Yes ma'am," replied a young girl who looked to be somewhere in her mid-teens and raised from her seat accordingly as an older lady motioned for her to follow.
The woman lead the girl past several rows of cushioned seats in front of mirrors and counters full of hair cosmetics, and to the lady that was apparently a hair stylist who pointed to a chair around the back gesturing her customer to sit on it. The young girl who had been lead there looked somewhat sullen with the slightest trace of a scowl on her face, and wrinkled her nose as the foul odor of hair dye coming from hair stylist and her customer right next to them, but sat down in the chair obediently.
Perhaps it was just the girl's imagination, but she could have sworn that the lady flickered her a brief look of disapproval before masking it with a polite smile. Trying not to pay it much mind though it bothered her quite a bit, the girl sat still as the woman draped a long plastic sheet around her body and the chair so that only her head and neck were seen.
"How long would you like your hair cut miss?" asked the stylist as she began to gently brush the girl's hair.
"Up to my shoulders please," replied the girl politely.
"Alright then, two inches," confirmed the woman as she began to spray the girl's hair with water until it was rather wet.
"Chihiro!" called another girl energetically from behind with long, silky, chestnut brown hair that had several blonde highlights in it, "You cut your hair!"
"Yeah…" replied the girl called Chihiro a little sheepishly, looking away as she uncomfortably twiddled with one of her newly cut strands. "Does it look that strange?"
"Of course it doesn't!" replied the other girl incredulously, "It really looks nice on you, but isn't that a little shorter than you said you were going to have it cut?"
"I wanted two inches but the lady cut four," said Chihiro frowning as she pulled her hair behind her shoulders—or tried to at least, "I don't think she liked me very much though."
"She must not like people who dress well," replied the girl with a little smile as she eyed the ever-so-classy wardrobe of her friend.
It was true that Chihiro was dressed nicely enough to walk into an adult business party and be graciously welcomed as if she worked there. What with her dress pants, collared quarter sleeve shirt and sometimes a long black jacket for the colder evenings, how could she not?
"I suppose you could blame my mother for that, Satsuki" said Chihiro, plucking at her jacket, "She insisted that I dress like this and I've gotten very fond of this style over time."
"I wish my mother would buy me expensive clothes like that just because she thinks she might as well buy a lot of really nice clothes if she will seldom get to go shopping for clothes," sighed Satsuki sadly, "I really do envy you."
"Do you think we could find a better way to spend a Sunday rather than envying perfectly innocent people?" asked Chihiro changing the subject; she wasn't good at taking compliments.
"Hey, I have an idea. Let's go to that new coffee shop they built last week near the park!" suggested Satsuki eagerly and grinned broadly when Chihiro nodded.
Ogino Chihiro had moved to a rather desolate part of a small city at the age of ten. Though her mother constantly complained of having to travel so far to get her shopping done, none of them complained much about the actual residence. It was one of the new houses that were two stories high with three bedrooms and quite a bit of space, much like the newly built places in suburbs much further out of town.
At least there was a very nice school near her house where Chihiro easily made many friends on the first day, including Tateno Satsuki. Satsuki had also just moved to the area at around the same time as Chihiro did. Many a time after school when the two of them had finished their homework, they would meet, most often at the convenience store, and explore some of the more unknown places of town and soon found out that there were quite a few of them.
Now that it was summer, construction workers could be seen all around, building new stores and houses. Pretty soon, Chihiro's mother said hopefully, people wouldn't have to drive to far away towns just to do their shopping anymore.
When Chihiro and Satsuki arrived at the new coffee shop, they recognized many of their classmates there too drinking hot chocolate, iced drinks, or eating something. When they stepped in, the two girls were overwhelmed with such a sweet aroma that they couldn't resist joining their friends by purchasing a hot cup of English toffee and a slice of cheesecake. Chihiro hadn't had one for a long time, and felt just like a little child again as she sat at that round table with her school friends joining in on the latest gossip which was on yet another place that had just opened and was looking for employees.
"I think we should go visit it," said one of the girls, "A summer job in this place is hard to find and I hear that employees are allowed to live there."
"Why would you want to live at work?" Chihiro asked, confused.
"It's supposedly a hotel or something like that," replied someone else, "And all of these restaurants were built around it that give discounts to people working in their area!"
Many of the girls thought that working at this Inn would be a great opportunity to earn money over the holidays, but have fun at the same time while they spend some time away from their parents. However, Chihiro didn't see what was so fun about working during the sweltering hot summer when she could be perfectly happy at home reading, playing on the piano or even reviewing some of the school year's notes. So when everyone including Satsuki agreed to go to the place right then, Chihiro said goodbye and went home.
At first, when Chihiro had first moved to her new house, there was no sidewalk along the road that people could walk safely on until a few months later, but that was after Chihiro had found her own little route to get home. The thing was, she would have to take a long trip through the woods before really getting on her way home, so after the new sidewalks were built Chihiro never used this route anymore. Still, since it had been a while, she decided that she might as well since she had plenty of time to spare.
Chihiro headed towards the park, a packaged chocolate chip muffin in hand, and a nice summer breeze cooling her cheeks. The soft pat of grass beneath her feet was a pleasant sensation, and when Chihiro saw the hill that was just in front of the forest, she ran towards like a child running towards a playground. When Chihiro got to the top of the hill, she stopped to take in the view.
Her jaw dropped.
It was gone, all gone. The trees, the brush, everything was gone and replaced with roads, houses and apartments except one small patch of trees with a little route going through. Chihiro was too shocked to say anything, but just walked over slowly to the small route at the foot of what was left of the rich forest that had a long route going through it that was wide enough to fit a car even. The dirt path was now covered with cement and you could see the houses and building through the feeble amount of trees on the side.
Chihiro began to walk down the path ever so slowly at first. Then, as if suddenly possessed, she broke out into a frantic sprint for a reason that she could not think of. Chihiro was gripped with a sudden cold fear when she began to run. Why she felt this fear, she knew not, but it was as though she was afraid of losing something very precious to her; something that she could not lose no matter what. So she kept telling herself to keep running, even until her heart bursts. She just needed to keep running.
Her feet were throbbing, each intake of air was sharp inhaling of ice, her leg muscles were sore and Chihiro felt a terrible cramp at her side, so she took a rest. Still panting heavily, Chihiro collapsed onto a bench she came across. Deciding that she had better get going soon, however, and was wasting time by just sitting around, Chihiro forced her reluctant body to get up.
About to begin running again, Chihiro stopped in her tracks when she spotted someone in the trees. It was a boy, seemingly around her age judging from the height of his figure, but the shade of the trees hid most of his facial features. One thing that was noticeable though, was the fact that he wore the most peculiar robes of pure white.
Then, without warning, Chihiro was overcome with a feeling of déja vu and it evoked a pain in her stomach. Crouching over and squinting slightly in pain, Chihiro closed her eyes and opened them again only to find that the boy was gone, as well as the pain in her stomach. What had just happened?
Shrugging it off, Chihiro went ahead in a light jog until she reached the foot of the trail. There, standing right in front of her was a tall red building with an ancient Chinese roof and decoration on it, and at the bottom were a fine pair of oak doors with a gold-plated border and golden handles. Pushing one of the doors open, Chihiro stepped inside and saw a brightly marble lit corridor in front of her with a long red carpet rolled down it, and lamps on the walls whose glass covers were in the shape of flowers.
At the other end of the corridor, Chihiro could hear the voice of many people talking at once, phones ringing, and even some laughter. Chihiro quickened her pace. When she got to the end of the tunnel, she found herself in a room with arched ceilings and thin pillars every now and then beside the occasional bench, and there was an office desk on the right side of the room in the corner. Everything was very new and nice looking. People were seated at many of the benches, chattering away amongst themselves and the secretary behind the desk was answering calls and speaking with people in front of her desk at the same time.
Chihiro walked over to the other side of the room where there was yet another door. Opening it and walking through it, there were a number of houses and small stores tightly huddled together in a little group. Beyond it, there was a wide river and a beautiful ferry waiting on her side of it to accept passengers there and such. For some reason, it seemed odd to see this ferry during the daytime and accepting regular people, but again Chihiro shrugged it off.
"Chihiro? Is that you?"
Whirling around, Chihiro saw yet another one of her classmates, Yumi who also lived in the same neighborhood. When Chihiro saw Yumi, she tried not to show any disappointment on seeing her. Sure they used to be friends a couple of years before, but after a while Yumi began to drift away from Chihiro and the rest of their friends and gained a new entourage. It was as though Yumi had got bored with her old friends and so she moved onto some other ones. They remained on speaking terms, but weren't very close after that. At first, Chihiro was upset, and maybe even a little angry, but eventually realized that Yumi just must be one who does not prefer permanence.
"Are you looking for a job around here too?" asked Yumi, snapping Chihiro right out of what was leading to a very analytical moment.
"Oh," Chihiro said quickly, "Y-yes I am."
Right then, Chihiro wanted to clap her hands over her mouth and take back what she had said in the spur of the moment, but she willed her hands and mouth to stay put. She did not want to get a job here! What on Earth was she thinking? Then again, what would she have said if Yumi asked why she was here in the first place? Suddenly dashing to someplace on a mere impulse was rather strange to begin with.
"Well if you want to get a job, you can only get them on the other side of the river." Yumi said, pointing to the ferry, "I'm going too so why don't we go together?"
Chihiro bit her lip before she did anything, and tried to think about an excuse to decline her invitation. She felt as though this was the part where her accidental lie came back at her and got her painfully in the behind. But now was not the time to be dallying on about what goes around that comes around; Chihiro needed to think quickly.
"Um, actually I…" stammered Chihiro as she prayed for any sort of excuse, "I haven't got any money with me to ride the ferry."
Just when Chihiro was thinking that this excuse worked, Yumi countered her excuse by telling her that the ferry was doing rides for free.
"But I heard that employees have to live there, I haven't asked my parents yet and I don't have my things…" Chihiro began slowly, hoping that Yumi would just let her go.
"I have a cell phone with me so you can call them," Yumi said rummaging through her purse and pulling out a tiny little gold phone, "And we both live nearby here so we'll get both of our things right now because I need mine too come to think of it."
And so that was how it went. Chihiro had no way of telling her mother that she didn't want to work without Yumi hearing, and her parents sounded very happy that their daughter was deciding to do something productive over the summer and they approved of it in an instant. So Yumi and Chihiro walked home together, packed their things, and met up together again. Wondering if it was just fate that brought her to be applying for a job at a hotel, Chihiro brought with her an empty diary to write about her everyday thoughts and experiences at the place. She usually wrote in another one, but this was different, so Chihiro quickly scribbled in her first journal that she was moving out of the house for the summer before shooting out the door.
When Chihiro stepped aboard the ferry with her bags and all, she was directed to stand at the bottom level with Yumi as the trip would only take about five to ten minutes and most of the usual passengers had already crossed. The trip was short and brief, and Chihiro paid little attention to anything else but the river while leaning against the rails at the side.
The ferry stopped at the other side and lowered a metal platform for the passengers to walk across. Yumi and Chihiro were the last ones off but hurried ahead of everyone else to get their destination. The girls came across a problem however; neither knew where this hotel place was! Looking around, they saw nothing but small restaurants squished against each other. All of a sudden, without warning, Chihiro got another sharp pain in her stomach and bent over in pain.
It happened again, that same feeling of déja vu.
Then, out of nowhere, Chihiro had pictured her father going down a particular direction and then disappear around a corner. Wondering if this was her gut instinct telling her where to go, Chihiro followed him down that path and a puzzled Yumi followed suit. Chihiro kept seeing her father turn left and right, or go straight and up a set of stairs for no thinkable reason whatsoever. Had she been here before? Chihiro wasn't quite sure. She remembered going to a theme park at the age of ten and then helping her parents from… getting lost was it? It must have been, but this place seemed a little different, so Chihiro assumed that it was just her mind playing around.
Eventually, Chihiro's "father" led them to one of the restaurants that had its food set out on huge platters on a counter with stools set up in front of it, and people sitting on them, taking a piece of chicken or shoveling down some sashimi every now and then.
Chihiro stopped for a moment, thinking hard about where to go to next, and did not hear when Yumi asked her if she knew what she was doing. But it seemed that she had no clue anymore. Her mind had felt used up, and Chihiro put her bags down and gave her shoulders and arms a rest.
"What do we do now?" asked Yumi, voicing Chihiro's thoughts, "We can't even find this inn! I am just about fed up with walking randomly around. And I don't care if we've only being wandering around for seven minutes!"
Chihiro was taken aback by her last words, because she was just mentally remarking that they had only been walking for a very short while. Maybe even less than seven minutes. Yumi huffed around impatiently while Chihiro just stood around thinking. After about thirty counted seconds, Yumi had enough and announced to an inattentive Chihiro that she was going to eat something while she sat there thinking. Chihiro was about to make an objection to this, but decided that that would be being rude, so she remained silent.
Looking down to her left, Chihiro caught sight of a tall red monument. There was something written in kanji at the top that Chihiro didn't really bother to read. Something was strange about it though because as though Chihiro was drawn to the monument, she picked up her things and climbed up the stairs that lead to it.
It seemed like an instant before Chihiro was standing right before it the tall structure, and then looked to the side to see another enormous building. The building itself seemed to be built on a different piece of land altogether because there seemed to be a sort of moat surrounding it, and there was a bridge that needed to be crossed in order to access it. Water poured down into the moat in rapids from somewhere that Chihiro couldn't really make out, and through the glass windowpanes she could she people in pink and white robes scurrying out carrying handfuls of towels and food trays.
Chihiro walked onto the bridge and looked over the ledge to see a train underneath.
"A train?" said murmured aloud, "Wait a minute…"
Chihiro turned around slowly, almost expecting what she was going to see next. She turned around completely, and smiled. This was it.
A/N: So there is chapter one everybody! I hope you all liked it. All comments, concerns, and constructive criticism is very much welcomed with open arms! This is my very first Spirited Away fan fiction, but not my first one altogether, so I would appreciate some honesty. I would re-read it and all, but my dad needs the computer right now and is getting very impatient, so I'm sorry if there are any mistakes.
~*Update for May 6th*~
Thank you SO much to KitKatGirl and Chrissy for letting me know Chihiro's real last name! The one I used was actually the surname of Chihiro's voice actress, Hiiragi Rumi. ^_^ Also thank you to vixen and m_anel for reviewing with your lovely compliments. Actualy replies to the reviews will be posted in the next chapter. Thank you so much!