Disclaimer: I do not own Spirited Away.
(Chihiro is now 21)
Edit: I've changed some grammar mistakes and sentence structures, etc. Hope it sounds a little better.
Chapter 1 - Prologue
I feel the warm Spring wind softly caressing my face as I walk along the forest floor, and hear the sound of every crunch of the fallen dead leaves beneath my step. I look around me and think about what used to take its place here. 'Another one gone' I thought, the taste of pollution and dust filling my mouth, leaving a sort of dry and bitter aftertaste on my tongue. I struggle to breathe in the faint scent of smog tainting the air, breaking its way into my lungs as if it has a murderous intent. Though I still live, I feel as though a small part of my soul has died this day. 'I hate humans', my mind told me. Though it may seem ironic, I listen to this voice, embrace it even; and I agree with it.
Humans. Disgusting creatures. It may be hard to believe, but they weren't always this way, like the greedy pigs they are today. 'Greedy pigs. That's funny. Good one, Chihiro.' I sarcastically thought while continuously staring at the ground, the faintest bittersweet smile on my face at the half-hearted joke of the childhood memory. Realising that I'd been walking for hours now, I decided to sit up against one of the many tree stumps on the dead forest floor. Leaning against the round stump, I could almost taste the chainsaws and machinery used to cut down what once was this forest. I release my long, chestnut hair from its binds and tilt my head backwards to stare at nothing in particular. Steadily holding up my right hand, I carefully examine the small, rope-like colourful object. My bored grey eyes flick up to the matching dull sky. I remember when I got this hairband, even though I was only ten years old at the time. Though I'm surprised it doesn't look worn out or the elastic hasn't broken. Even so, eleven years later, I still remember my adventure in the Spirit World.
I remember everything from the Spirit World. Everything. Zeniba, Yubaba, Boh, Lin and Kamaji; and Haku. 'Which reminds me, I thought, my mind wandering to the river spirit. I'll go back to the Kohaku River this afternoon, try to get it as clean as possible. It's such a shame that those apartment buildings were built there in the first place; but no matter, I got enough signatures on my petition, and now that retched building is gone forever. I just wish there wasn't so much garbage and pollution. I guess it's too late to complain now though, since I've already cleaned most of it up.' I sighed, stretching the sparkly purple material and tying my hair back up in its usual, high ponytail. Standing up, I make my way over to the other protesters in the group that I'm a part of.
That's right, I'm a part of a small protesting group in my town; trying to save as many trees and forests as possible. Oddly enough, I was greatly influenced by my trip to the Spirit World, and Haku in particular. In fact, I never really got over leaving him, leaving everyone behind. I mean, he was my closest friend; he saved my life, and I saved his. Then there's his promise to me. He still hasn't kept it, from eleven years ago. I can't blame him though, for he's probably unable to get here, in the Human World. That's when I had the idea a few years ago to clean up his river, thinking that maybe he could reach me through it somehow.
As I arrive at the edge of a forest, whose life we're desperately trying to save, I notice that some of the other protesters have made signs. A young woman, Hatori, flicks her hazel eyes in my direction. I give a curt nod, and she nods back. No words were said. Not even a single mutter; but words were not needed, for we knew what was to come. The sudden clanking of machinery is heard among the group. We position ourselves within the trees.
I feel the rough, scratchy bark on my clothed back. Its branches desperately clawing at my sides, as if the tree were to say "Don't cut me down. Don't let me die. Don't let the sap within me dry." I feel a cold, nervous shiver run down the length of my back; and in that moment I knew, no, I felt that it was now or never.
I can't hear anything. My ears are throbbing. My vision slows down. 'They aren't stopping. You have to get out of here.' My mind told me. No. I can't do that. I can't run. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't do it. My legs can't, no, won't move. Someone's calling out my name. Hatori? I can't be sure. Everything sounds muffled, as if I were under water. The earth is quaking. My legs can't stop shaking. My head a slowly rotating platform. I blink, but it feels like it'll take decades before my eyes finally slide shut. My heart pounding out of my chest. It wants to explode into a million pieces. I could've sworn I saw pair of familiar green eyes; but it couldn't have been, could it? No, it's not possible. 'Just ignore it Chihiro, it's all in your head.'
Suddenly I could hear again, my vision clear once more. The machinery engines roaring in my ears. Trees being torn down. Devastated and afraid, I quickly and swiftly turn my head to the left, squeezing my eyes shut; clenching my teeth together and my fists balled tightly at my sides, my knuckles turning white.
"Chihiro." I hear someone whisper, almost as if the winds were calling out to me, panic in its wistful tone. I snap my eyes open for a brief moment, before I realise what situation I'm getting myself into.
An unusually warm feeling seeping throughout my body and the overpowering stench of blood fills my nostrils, suffocating my lungs with its vice-like grip. A bloodcurdling scream unknowingly escapes my trembling lips, and then, nothing. An eerie calm washes over my being, and suddenly reality sinks in. Every thought in every fibre of my being realises that I now know what it feels like to be the cut down tree.