Lost in the Fog

Chapter One: Venturing Through the Haze

A/N: Here's the first chapter of my newly revised story. It's a bit short but don't worry, successive chapters after this one will be considerably longer. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

Disclaimer: Miyazaki Hayao is the mastermind behind Spirited Away, and all credit is given to him.

Special Note: This story is dedicated to a horse named Lost in the Fog; he was a brilliant champion on the track who unfortunately had to be euthanized due to complications from cancer on September 17th, 2006. We all miss you.

v e n t u r i n g . t h r o u g h . t h e . h a z e +
chapter one

Fog – as far as the eye could see. It was a thick soup that swirled into a heavy mixture above the ground. Visibility was difficult, and it took a while for the young woman to get her bearings. The light of the moon was partially blocked by the layer of clouds above her and not much of it was able to reach the ground. The soft glow painted everything in varying shades of gray, reflecting a gloomy picture of the environment she was in.

A soft crunch of dried leaves caught her attention, and she lifted her foot, eyeing the crumbled foliage. It was obvious there wasn't much vegetation here, as the remaining flora consisted only of bare trees and scattered patches of grass. She was surprised that anything could survive in such a harsh environment, because from what she could surmise, it didn't seem conducive towards life.

Her face was caressed by a gentle breeze, and she raised a hand towards her cheek, brushing away the stray strands of hair that became loose in the wind. She tucked them neatly behind an ear and shivered slightly, taking notice of the cold temperature. Rubbing her arms in an effort to keep warm, she let out a sigh, confusion gripping her thoughts.

Most people would have been frightened at finding themselves in such a hostile environment, but no, not her. She was more curious than afraid, and she wondered what her purpose for being here was. She waited patiently, hoping for an answer to come. But only silence was her response, when suddenly, it struck! – A call of subtle persuasion that would have been missed if she hadn't been paying careful attention. Follow me, it said in wordless beckoning, follow me.

The young female sighed and followed suit, her strides covering the ground at a reasonable pace. She walked without direction and paused in brief intervals to ponder her next course of action. But each time she did, the pulling would begin again, much stronger than before, leading her towards some predetermined path. A frown broke out over her face. Why was she doing this? And why was she going along with it so willingly?

But that answer never came, as the ground shifted abruptly under her and she jumped in surprise. The haze grew thicker, almost white in color, as it descended upon her. It wrapped itself around her like a bulky comforter, blotting out what little light she could receive. She struggled violently, hoping to throw off her oppressive captor, but it was no use. It was just too strong...

Chihiro's eyes shot open and she let out a groan, pressing the back of her palm to her forehead. The early morning sun had snuck through her window and was now casting a rather strong ray of light across her face. She grudgingly pulled herself into an upright position and let out a yawn, her arms rising above her head as she did so.

Well, that was new, she remarked to herself as pieces of her dream drifted through her mind. Sure, there was the dizzying sensation of being lost in a cloud of fog but that was the norm, and had been for quite a while now. But no, this time was different. She had never before experienced the overwhelming need to follow the desires of a mysterious unseen presence. So, why now? Chihiro shook her head, not bothering to answer that question as she stood up from her bed.

Glancing at her clock, she realized that if she didn't get a move on, she would, inevitably, be late for class and that was something she was not anxious on repeating. Her teacher had scolded her time and time again that if she consistently came to class at the last minute, there would have to be some consequences to pay (detention, she figured).

Well, it wasn't her fault; she didn't plan on coming to class late day after day. Most of the time, scratch that, every case of her habitual tardiness could be attributed to her recurring dreams. While they weren't especially shocking, they were draining and had begun to appear more and more frequently as of late. Back when she first had them during summer break, they were nothing more than quick flashes of gray that she would cast aside as harmless brain fodder, but then when they began to pop up more consistently for longer periods of time, that's when she began to pay attention.

Each successive reappearance brought clarity to her hazy dreams, drawing out details she hadn't noticed in previous ones she had experienced. Before she had looked forward to them with a sort of detached interest, but now, she felt a keen sense of resignation whenever she thought about them. They had become a nuisance and were much like a succubus, draining her of precious energy and leaving her quite fatigued and unable to function with her characteristic zeal.

She thought that maybe perhaps her dreams were trying to tell her something, convey a message that couldn't be spoken with words, but no matter what she did, the answers weren't making themselves known. It had caused her great aggravation to know that even with all her efforts, she was no closer to solving the mystery than when she had first received them. So she pushed them away, locking them under a tightly kept box in the recesses of her mind. Only when they were needed would she open it up again.

But Chihiro frowned; she had spent more than enough time dissecting her thoughts and found it to her benefit if she had pushed them aside for now. If she hurried, she could probably make it downstairs with just enough room to spare for a quick bite of breakfast before dashing off to school. Grabbing the uniform that hung in her closer, she shuffled off towards the bathroom for a short shower.

-

Chihiro grimaced, her back soaked through from the dampness of her hair. Her uniform had begun to stick to her skin as it dried and it made for a very unpleasant sensation. Normally, she would have tied her long tresses up in a ponytail, but she was pressed for time and it wasn't a good idea to fuss with her hair when it was wet. Sighing, she padded into the kitchen and sank down into a wooden chair, calculating how much time she had left to eat before she had to make a break for it.

Her mother smiled gently at her, placing a dish of food in front of her as she did so. She was grateful her mom was so patient with her, any other person would probably have chided her for her lack of prioritizing. Yuuko just glanced reprovingly at her daughter's wet hair but let her be, moving off to clean the dishes that had piled up in the sink.

Chihiro glanced at her breakfast briefly, eyeing the bowl of miso soup and accompanying mound of rice her mom had given her. She was pleased to see the yellow slices of takuan that dotted one side of the plate, as it was one of her favorites in addition to the little squares of tofu that stood next to it. She quickly dumped large clumps of rice into her soup and ate them together, savoring the delicious taste. After a slight pause in action to catch a drink, she resumed eating, devouring the slices of pickled radish and blocks of tofu. Satisfied, she stood and thanked her mother before disappearing out the door, grabbing her bag as she exited.

She walked at a brisk pace, glancing up from time to time to feel the rays of sun against her face. Well, if today was like any other, she knew what to expect.


A tall figure glanced up at the building in front of him, his eyes running a quick analysis over its architecture. So, this was high school, huh? Well, if it was worth his time to come here, he assumed it would be amusing enough to keep his attention, for he had very little of that recently. He gave a sidelong glance at its neatly kept white walls and smirked, running a hand through his hair. Well, if he had to go by appearances it seemed rather quaint but then what was it to him? There was probably nothing on this earth that could rattle his feathers.

Hey, a little action every now and then could be fun, he thought before venturing inside the school walls.


A/N 2: I'm sorry, it just had to be done. As it were, this story was going off a completely different direction than the outline I had written out for it. So these revisions are a necessity. They are also a continuing thing, so even if I said this was rewritten that doesn't mean it won't be again in the future. I know this story may look very cliche in the beginning with the whole dreams bit and someone new coming into school, but please give it a chance. It will become something much more as the story progresses. Also, this story will be very long, so if you're willing to stick with it then I can assure you that you won't be disappointed.

So, with all the being said. I welcome any and all new readers that come to read this story, and any of my old returning ones! It is only because of you that this story continues to exist. Reviews are always appreciated! Thank you very much.

Thanks: Even though I'm starting over again, I still want to thank the reviewers who left me comments on the other chapter I had posted. They being: Hakumei Hime, Summer Jasmine, foxfaery, MemoriesUnderTheFloorboards, corbinbleulover1015, flower391169, Mimiko-Dono, Katie B 16, HyperMint, Alexandria J, ba!leyyy, XxSiriusly ScotiaxX, Aislinn Love. Thank you all once again!