Escaflowne: The Movie
"To Fade Away"
Written by Mark Moore
Author's note: I had first watched "Escaflowne: The Movie" in Japanese with English subtitles from a download in 2001 or 2002. On the evening of Sunday, January 5, 2003, I started watching the movie on DVD in English. The DVD froze my computer near the end of the movie, and I finally got around to watching the rest of it on Saturday, January 18. While I love the "Vision of Escaflowne" TV series, I found the movie universe's Hitomi to be interesting in her own way. So, I decided to write this story, which occurs before the movie, to show why Hitomi became as tired of life as she was at the beginning of the movie.
I wrote the first draft of this story from Saturday, January 18, 2003, 9:00 PM to Wednesday, March 5, 2003, 12:09 PM. Thank you, Lejuna Aiko, Sailor Pyro Sun, Dreamer Eraya, Talythia Starseeker, ed168, John L. Friese, Andrew Hollingbury, and JonLke, for your comments and suggestions. I wrote the final draft of this story from Tuesday, November 11, 2003, 6:00 PM to Friday, December 26, 2003, 4:15 PM. Reviews of all kinds are welcome. Enjoy the story!
Wednesday, August 18, 1999, 3:42 PM
Hitomi Kanzaki walked into the kitchen of her house.
She removed a note from the microwave open. It read: "Hitomi, heat for 2 minutes and enjoy. Love, mom."
Hitomi started the microwave for two minutes and waited in front of it.
I was born in the United States of America on December 9, 1984 - nearly eighteen years ago, Hitomi thought. My father had been killed in a car accident coming home from work before I was born. My mom was working in a machine shop at the time, and she was comforted through her grief by a Japanese coworker. She fell in love with him and married him three months later. She changed her last name from White to Kanzaki. Two months later, I was born. My stepfather remarked that I had beautiful eyes. That's why my name is Hitomi Kanzaki. One month later, my stepfather decided that he wanted to move back to Japan, and my mom took me and went with him. When I was seven years old, my mom got a job at the Nissan plant where my stepfather works. I would come home from school every day, let myself in, lock the door, watch TV, play video games, use the computer, read comic books, and heat up my dinner in the microwave. I'm what you call a "latch-key kid". I'm still an American, but I never did take Japanese citizenship. I have always planned to move back to Florida after I graduate from high school.
The microwave beeped. Hitomi opened the door and took out her plate of teriyaki beef and rice.
Hitomi saw her mother and stepfather walk into the breezeway from her bedroom window.
She stood up and walked into the kitchen to meet them.
"Hi." Hitomi said. "What are you doing home?"
"Hitomi, we have some bad news." her mother replied. "We were both laid off today."
"What?!" Hitomi asked, surprised.
"The plant had to make cuts." her stepfather added.
"Sorry." Hitomi said. She couldn't think of anything else to say at the moment.
Friday, September 3, 1999, 3:17 PM
Hitomi was bored.
She wasn't sure why, but she was. She had been doing the same things every weekday.
Hitomi walked into the girls' locker room, unlocked her locker, and took out her red shorts, white sleeveless shirt, and running shoes. She set them down on the bench and then took off her clothes - except for her panties and socks. She put them into her locker. She picked up her other clothes from the bench and put them on. She closed her locker.
Just then, Hitomi's best friend, Yukari Uchida, walked over to her.
"Sheesh, Hitomi, it's about time you got here." Yukari said. "You're ten minutes late. Everyone's been waiting for you."
"Sorry." Hitomi said in a deadpan tone. "I forgot."
Hitomi walked outside, and Yukari followed her.
I was fortunate to meet Yukari Uchida on my first day of school, Hitomi thought. Yukari is an American, too, and her situation is pretty similar to mine. We've been best friends ever since then. Our plan was to move back to America together and be roommates. I doubt that's going to happen, though. I'll probably be stuck in Kamakura for the rest of my life.
They joined the rest of the track team at the track.
"Sorry." Hitomi told them.
"Okay, Kanzaki, you're up first." the coach told her.
Hitomi took her place and got into position.
"One lap." The coach pressed a button on her stopwatch. "Go!"
Hitomi took off and ran. She did one lap around the track and then slowed down and stopped.
The coach pressed the button again and looked at her stopwatch, then she looked at Hitomi. "Have you got lead in your feet, Kanzaki?"
"No, ma'am." Hitomi said, confused. "Why?"
The coach showed the stopwatch to Hitomi. "That took you double your best time."
"Sorry." Hitomi said.
"Are you feeling okay?" the coach asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine." Hitomi went and stood over with the other girls.
Hitomi tried to watch the other girls run, but it didn't hold her interest.
It's the same old thing every day, Hitomi thought.
Hitomi walked back into the locker room.
Yukari followed her. "You were really slow out there today. Is something wrong?"
"No." Hitomi took off her clothes and walked into the shower area.
Yukari took off her clothes and walked into the shower area.
The two girls turned on the water and showered.
Hitomi walked into the breezeway of her house and took off her shoes. She walked up the two steps, through the dining room, and into the kitchen.
Her mother was standing at the stove. "Hi, Hitomi. How was school?"
"Fine." Hitomi said.
"Dinner will be ready in about five minutes." her mother said.
"Okay." Hitomi walked through the living room.
She went into her bedroom and closed the door.
Hitomi changed into a pair of red shorts and a white, sleeveless shirt. Since it was pretty warm, she decided to be barefoot. She removed her socks.
Hitomi picked up her undershirt and socks; opened the door; left her room; walked through the living room, kitchen, and dining room; went into her stepfather's bathroom, and threw her undershirt and socks into the laundry basket.
Then she walked to the kitchen and entered it.
Hitomi sat down at the table and ate her dinner of teriyaki beef and rice.
"Have you met anyone interesting at school?" her mother asked.
Hitomi sighed. My mom asks me this every day. "No, mom, I haven't."
"Well, I met these nice people at the market today." her mother said. "The son seems really nice, and he's your age. He's even an American. Isn't that great, Hitomi?"
"Yeah." Hitomi muttered. How can I tell my mom that I'm not attracted to boys?
Her mother grinned. "Wonderful! I'll give you his number, and you can call him up!"
"Fine." Hitomi stuck a piece of beef into her mouth.
Her mother stood up; carried her plate, fork, and knife over to the sink; and put them in the sink. She got a tissue, wiped her mouth, and threw the tissue into the trash basket under the sink. She wrote a phone number on a piece of paper and put it on the table.
"Here's his number." She got her purse. "I'm going over to Chizuru's. When I get home, tell me what he thinks of you."
Hitomi closed her eyes. "Right."
Her mother went into the dining room. Hitomi heard her walk down the steps into the breezeway and the screen door to the garage open and close. Then she heard the car's engine starting.
Hitomi looked out the front door and saw her mother's car back out of the driveway and drive up the street.
Finally, I have some time to myself, Hitomi thought.
Hitomi finished her dinner; stood up; carried her plate, fork, and knife over to the sink; put them in the sink; opened the water; washed the plates, forks, and knives; set them to dry; closed the water; dried her hands; got a tissue; wiped her mouth; and threw the tissue into the trash basket.
Hitomi got a glass, opened the refrigerator, took out a bottle of Pepsi, opened the bottle, poured the cola into her glass, closed the bottle, put it back into the refrigerator, closed the refrigerator, picked up the glass, and started drinking.
I don't understand why my mom brought me here, Hitomi thought. It doesn't look like I'll be able to move back to Florida anytime soon. Money's been tight ever since my mom and my stepfather were laid off. They've started arguing over whose fault it was. My stepfather has been out, looking for work, all day, every day, for the past two weeks. He's hardly ever home anymore, not that I care. It's better than hearing them yell.
Hitomi finished her Pepsi and rinsed her glass, then she set it to dry. Hitomi took off her shirt, shorts, and underwear and dropped them on the floor, leaving herself completely naked.
Hitomi walked into the dining room and stood in front of the sliding door. The screen door was closed, but the glass door was open, and a cool breeze blew into the room. Hitomi let the breeze caress her naked body. The breeze felt like a lover.
I wish that the breeze was Yukari, Hitomi thought. I want Yukari to touch me like this. I've had a crush on Yukari ever since I first met her. I don't need to have sex at this point in my life, but I want to have at least a romantic relationship with her. It probably will never happen, though. I'd need to actually tell Yukari how I feel about her. I'm too much of a coward. Mom keeps trying to set me up with guys. It's so annoying.
Hitomi turned and walked back into the kitchen. She picked up her clothes and walked to her bedroom. She entered her bedroom, dropped her clothes on her floor, and lay down on her bed.
Hitomi masturbated herself to orgasm, thinking about Yukari.
Saturday, September 4, 1999, 2:02 PM
Hitomi stood on the track with the other runners.
Today, she was going to be running in a track meet. Her mother and stepfather were sitting in the bleachers, watching.
"You can do it, Hitomi!" her mother cheered.
"Win it for us!" her stepfather yelled.
Hitomi sighed and looked away from them.
All of the runners took their positions when instructed to. Then they started running.
Hitomi took the lead early on, but she fell behind during the fifth lap and came in sixth. A runner from the other school won the race.
Hitomi walked off of the track and waited for a dressing-down by her coach.
"Kanzaki, what was the matter with you out there today?!" the coach demanded.
"I don't know." Hitomi said.
"Our school was depending on you!" the coach told her.
"That's not my problem. You shouldn't depend on just me." Hitomi said, then she walked away.
Yukari walked over to Hitomi. "You okay, Hitomi?"
"I'll be fine." Hitomi told her.
Hitomi walked over to her mother and stepfather.
Sunday, September 5, 1999, 10:23 AM
Hitomi and her mother walked into church.
I go to Mass every Sunday with my mom, Hitomi thought, putting the yen that her mother had given her into the slot in the stand. She pressed three buttons, lighting three candles. I don't complain. She thinks that I believe in God. I don't want her to yell at me. She gives away money here every weekend. There's the money for candles, which are for her parents and my dad. There's the money from her for the collection. There's the money from me for the collection, which she gives me before we go into church. Whenever there's a second collection, she gives away more money. It's such a waste.
Hitomi went and sat in a chair.
Her mother was kneeling next to her, praying.
Hitomi pulled down her kneeler with her left foot and knelt on it. She took her prayer book out of her front right pants pocket, opened it, did the Sign of the Cross, and stared blankly at the book. I do this every week. I pretend to read my prayers, flipping the page every so often for effect. I don't remember the last time I prayed. I was little. I started reciting my prayers faster and faster, just to get them over with, so I could lie down. Then I stop reciting them altogether.
Hitomi went through the entire Mass; standing, sitting, and kneeling at the appropriate times. She mumbled the prayers and responses and remained silent during the hymns.
When it was time to receive communion, Hitomi stood up and put her kneeler up. Her mother walked out of the row. Hitomi noticed that her mother hadn't put her kneeler up, so Hitomi stepped over it and followed her mother.
Then a lot of chairs in the row in front of them were pushed towards the aisle. Hitomi was startled but managed to keep her balance. She and her mother turned around. A woman had tripped over the kneeler and fallen on the floor.
Hitomi stared down at the woman. Poor lady. Maybe I should've lifted the kneeler. I guess I should help her.
Slowly, Hitomi started to crouch down to offer her hands to the woman, but she saw that other people were already helping the woman up, so Hitomi straightened herself, turned, and went to receive communion.
Then Hitomi returned to her seat, lowered her kneeler, knelt, took out her prayer book, stared, and waited for the Eucharist to be put back into the tabernacle. Then Hitomi sat in her chair and lifted her kneeler. Then Hitomi stood, waited through the dismissal and exit hymn, went to put her book and her mother's book away, got a church bulletin for her mother, dipped the tips of her right fingers into the bowl of holy water, performed the Sign of the Cross, and exited the church.
Hitomi caught up with her mother and handed the bulletin to her.
"What's the matter with you?" her mother asked. "You saw the lady had fallen on the floor. You didn't even try to help her. I've never seen you be so cold before - and in church. It's like you have no feelings."
"I was going to help," Hitomi told her, "but other people were faster than me." If I don't go to church, maybe I won't hurt people.
After eating her dinner of teriyaki beef and rice, Hitomi washed the dishes, set them to dry, and went into her bedroom.
"I don't understand why you're giving money away when we aren't working!" her stepfather yelled.
"It's going to the church!" her mother yelled. "God will reward us!"
"Your god doesn't care about your money!" her stepfather yelled. "Instead of giving away money, you should be pushing your lazy daughter to get an after-school job!"
I don't wanna hear this, Hitomi thought.
She sat on her bed, picked up her Sony Discman, turned it on, and put on her headphones.
When my mom and stepfather argue, I put on headphones and listen to music, Hitomi thought. My first language was English. I'm fluent in Japanese, so I do enjoy J-Pop, but I prefer American pop and rock songs. While I'm a Roman Catholic by baptism only, I do enjoy listening to Gregorian Chants and other chanting set to classical-style music. I think it sounds cool.
She selected a track, pressed Play, and lay down on her bed.
Hitomi listened to "Talk in Tongues" by Natalie Imbruglia and soon fell asleep.
Monday, September 6, 1999, 3:10 PM
Hitomi walked outside of the girls' locker room and onto the track.
She watched some of the other girls run.
"Kanzaki." the coach called.
Hitomi took her place and got into position.
"Three laps." The coach pressed a button on her stopwatch. "Go!"
Hitomi took off and ran once around the track, then she slowed down and stopped.
"What's the matter with you, Kanzaki?" the coach demanded. "I said three laps."
"Huh?" Hitomi asked, confused. "Oh, sorry. I must have not heard that."
"Do it again." the coach told her.
Hitomi looked down and sighed. "No."
"Excuse me?" the coach demanded in an offended tone.
"I quit." Hitomi walked away.
She could hear the coach and the other girls reacting in surprise, but she didn't acknowledge them. She just walked back into the girls' locker room and sat on a bench.
"Hitomi!" Yukari ran into the girls' locker room. "What was that all about?"
Hitomi stared down at her legs and took off her shoes. "Nothing."
She took off her socks.
"What do you mean 'Nothing'?" Yukari asked.
Hitomi stared down at her feet. "I just don't feel like doing this anymore."
"Would you like to tell me why?" Yukari asked.
"No." Hitomi stood up and took off her shirt. Then she took off her shorts and underwear. She dropped her clothes on the floor and walked into the shower area.
Yukari came up behind her and pressed her chest against Hitomi's back. Yukari's arms hugged Hitomi's stomach. Hitomi was surprised.
"Is something bothering you?" Yukari asked. "Do you need to talk?"
Hitomi turned her head to look over her right shoulder at Yukari's face. Raise your hands higher. Please, Yukari, touch my breasts. I want to kiss you. "No."
Yukari let go of her. "Okay, but I'll listen anytime you need someone to talk to."
"I appreciate that." Hitomi turned on the water and showered.
Yukari turned and walked back outside.
I'm pathetic, Hitomi thought. I couldn't even tell her that I love her.
After Hitomi showered and dressed herself, she walked into the coach's office and laid her number, 286, on her desk.
Then Hitomi turned and left the office, not looking back.
Hitomi sat down at the kitchen table, picked up her fork and knife, and started eating her dinner of teriyaki beef and rice.
"So, how was school today?" her mother asked. "Practice over already?"
"I dropped out of the track team." Hitomi told her.
"Yeah." Hitomi said.
"Why did you do something so stupid?!" her mother demanded.
"I just lost interest in it." Hitomi said. "I don't wanna run anymore."
"We were counting on you to become a professional athlete and make a good life for yourself!" her mother told her. "You could have become a star! You should have stayed on the track them! You would have had a better future!"
"Coulda, shoulda, woulda." Hitomi muttered. "Just let it go. I'll find something else to do."
Hitomi finished her dinner in silence.
Tuesday, September 7, 1999, 7:55 AM
Hitomi sat at her desk in her classroom.
I'm an okay student, Hitomi thought. First is English class. Japan has one of the worst foreign language programs on the face of the Earth, so I know more than the teacher.
Yukari walked into the classroom and sat at the desk to Hitomi's right. She smiled. "Hi, Hitomi."
Hitomi turned and looked at her. "Hi, Yukari."
"What's up?" Yukari asked.
"Not much." Hitomi replied. "Just the same old stuff. My parents are yelling at each other. My mom's yelling at me for dropping out of the track team. Nothing new."
"Sorry." Yukari told her.
Hitomi leaned back in her chair and yawned. Another boring English class.
Soon, Hitomi was asleep.
"Hitomi, wake up!"
Hitomi woke up at the sound of Yukari's voice. She looked over at her friend and yawned. "Huuuh?"
"You dozed off. Class is over." Yukari explained.
"Oh." Hitomi said. "Didn't miss much."
Wednesday, September 8, 1999, 8:10 AM
Hitomi walked to her classroom, but she didn't step into it. She paused by the door.
What's the point? Hitomi thought. I know English. I don't learn anything new in that class. I'll just cut it.
Hitomi walked to the staircase and went up to the roof.
She dropped her bookbag on the roof, lay down, and stared up at the sky.
It wasn't long before she was asleep.
Hitomi woke up, opened her eyes, and turned her head to her left. Yukari was crouching beside her.
"Yeeeaaahhh?" Hitomi asked.
"You weren't in class." Yukari said.
Hitomi sat up. "I'm surprised you noticed."
"No one else did." Yukari told her.
"Figures." Hitomi said.
"I can't believe you cut class." Yukari said.
"What's the big deal?" Hitomi asked her. "Besides, I was sleepy."
"You've been sleeping a lot lately." Yukari told her.
Hitomi stood up and stretched, then she picked up her bookbag. "We gotta get to our next class."
Sunday, September 12, 1999, 8:25 AM
The phone rang.
Hitomi woke up and opened her eyes. She turned and picked up the receiver. "Hello?"
"Hitomi?" Yukari asked. "I'm waiting for you at the bookstore. Are you coming?"
"Oh, shit." Hitomi said. "I forgot. Stay right there. I'll be there in a bit."
Hitomi put the receiver down and got out of bed.
She took off her pajamas and hung them on a hanger on her closet door. She opened her dresser drawers and put on a pair of underwear and a sleeveless shirt. She got a pair of blue jean shorts from her closet and put them on.
Hitomi made her bed and walked out of her bedroom.
"I'm going to the bookstore to see Yukari!" Hitomi yelled on her way to the breezeway, not sure if her mother or stepfather were home.
When she got to the breezeway, Hitomi slipped her feet into her sneakers, locked and closed the door, opened the screen door in the back, and walked outside.
Hitomi walked into the bookstore.
"Sorry I'm late." Hitomi told Yukari. "I overslept."
"No problem." Yukari told her. "Let's look around."
They checked out the books on the shelves and the comic books and manga in the cardboard boxes.
Hitomi picked up her usual titles. Then she saw a copy of Dell's comic book adaptation of "The Time Machine", so she snatched it up.
I wonder what it would be like to travel far into the future, Hitomi thought. I'd like to go away from everything.
They went to the counter and paid for their comics.
"We should come here next Sunday, too." Yukari said.
"Okay." Hitomi said.
"You promise?" Yukari asked.
"Yeah, I promise." Hitomi said.
They picked up their bags and walked out of the bookstore.
When Hitomi got home, she found her mother in the kitchen, waiting for her.
"Breakfast is on the table." her mother told her.
"Thanks." Hitomi sat in her chair, picked up her spoon with her left hand, and started eating her cereal.
"You might want to reconsider your decision to not go to church." her mother told her. "If you don't, you'll go to Hell."
"So, I'll go to Hell." Hitomi said. "Don't bother me."
Tuesday, September 14, 1999, 5:37 PM
Hitomi walked over and stood where she had a good view of the track.
Even though she had quit the track team, she had decided that she wanted to visit the other girls.
I don't know if I can do it, Hitomi thought. I'd feel weird - awkward.
Hitomi stood there until dark, then she left.
Thursday, September 16, 1999, 3:35 PM
Hitomi walked into the kitchen.
"Sit down." her mother told her. "I want to talk to you."
Hitomi sat down at the table, picked up her fork and knife, and started eating her dinner of teriyaki beef and rice.
"Some of your teachers called me today." her mother told her. "They told me that you've been falling asleep during class or not showing up at all."
"Oh." Hitomi said, not looking at her mother. "Yeah, I've been feeling sleepy a lot lately."
"Well, get to bed earlier." her mother told her.
"Yeah, whatever." Hitomi said.
"Not 'whatever'!" her mother yelled. "Stop eating and listen to me!"
Hitomi put down her fork and knife, but she still didn't look at her mother.
"They're telling me that you're not turning in your homework, and you've failed your latest tests!" her mother told her. "You need to get enough rest, so you can do well at school! If you don't graduate, you'll be held back, and you'll delay starting your career!"
"What's the point?" Hitomi asked. "My plans for moving back to Florida are ruined."
"It's not our fault that we got fired!" her mother told her. "You need to adapt to our new situation and change your plan!"
"Leave me alone." Hitomi said.
"No!" her mother yelled. "You need to accept some responsibility! This Saturday, I want you to go look for an after-school job!"
"Fuck you." Hitomi said.
"You heard me." Hitomi stood up and walked to her room without another word.
Friday, September 17, 1999, 3:30 PM
When Hitomi got home, she saw that her mother and stepfather were not there.
Hitomi walked into her bedroom and closed the door behind her.
What should I do? I'm useless. Hitomi took off her clothes, threw them on her bed, and picked up a box off of her bookshelf.
Hitomi sat on the floor, opened the box, and took out a deck of cards.
They were a deck of Tarot cards. It was a Merlin deck, and the cards were in Italian.
I had bought the deck at a pawn shop last month out of curiosity, Hitomi thought. I learned how to use them from some lessons on the Internet. I don't really believe in fortune-telling. It just seems cool.
Hitomi laid out a spread and flipped a card face-up. It read "Il Morte". She stared at it.
Death, Hitomi thought. For me? Maybe I should kill myself. But how? I suppose I could stab myself. Nah, that would be too painful and messy. Maybe I could shoot myself. No, there's no gun in the house. I guess the best way would be for me to jump off of the roof of the school. Yeah, I'll do that tomorrow. I guess maybe I should write a note to my parents.
Hitomi stood up and walked over to her desk. She got a sheet of pink paper from a shelf and a pen from a cup. She sat down on her chair and uncapped the pen.
No, they don't understand me, Hitomi thought. I'll write a note to Yukari. She's the only one that I'm really close with. "To Yukari Uchida," But what do I write to her? Should I tell her that my life's going nowhere? No, it should be something simple. "I am going to die." How do I say good-bye to her? Should I tell her how I feel about her? Should I express my love to her? No, that would just surprise her. "Farewell, my friend. Hitomi."
Hitomi stared down at the note. Then she got a pink envelope from a shelf and wrote down "Yukari Uchida" on it in Japanese. She put the note in the envelope and put the envelope in a cabinet on her desk.
Saturday, September 18, 1999, 3:41 PM
Hitomi stepped onto the roof of Kita-Kamakura Girls' Senior High School.
This is where I'll die, Hitomi thought.
Hitomi walked forward for a while, then she stopped and took off her shoes. She crouched down and placed her shoes next to each other on the roof. She placed the envelope behind them.
Then Hitomi stood up straight, walked over to a wall, placed her feet in two of the holes, grabbed hold of the railing, climbed up, and looked down to the ground.
I'd hit the pavement, Hitomi thought. That'll probably hurt a lot. I don't know if I could stand such pain. Oh, I can't do it!
Hitomi turned and walked away from the wall. She lay down on the roof.
I feel sleepy, Hitomi thought. I'll just go to sleep. Just fade away.
Copyright 2003 by Mark Moore