Author's note: What inspired me to write this novel was from a film I had recently seen entitled "Spirited Away"... Show full author's note »
The EssayCHAPTER ONE
Yume Ame was a young college student with silver hair, emerald green eyes, and pale skin. He was at the top of the junior class, and had already obtained a scholarship to a creative center in North America, in which he would attend after he graduated from high school. He was, nonetheless, unlike the other students at Sairento High School -, his silver hair stood out from all the other kids, they had mostly black hair or various colors, no his hair was a slick silver gray that shifted into various hues of gray once the sun reflects off it, he also was America. which was three stories tall and consisted of over 40 classrooms, two janitor closets, three offices, one disciplinary room, and two bathrooms. The walls of the foundation had peeled paint, and the floor consisted of deteriorating white tiles like the ones seen in bathrooms. What puzzled Yume the most was that the school itself looked more and more like the schools he had seen back in America.
Yume was a transfer student from North America; he had come too live in Sairento because the only remaining member of his family was his Grandmother Natsu. It felt strange moving into an unknown environment, he had to have over three years of Japanese language studies before even arriving here, he was thankful that his parents was able to pay a tutor to help him along the way. His parents were Rosy and Stephen Ame. Yume’s real name use to be Rain, but his grandmother only accepted him into her family if he were to gain a Japanese translation. Today was his fifth day at this school, and he hated it already. When he walked in the English classroom, a strong odor of rotten fruit and sour apples made his nose flare. Old withered posters of famous authors and novels hanged limp upon the peeling walls.
The students of the class room were all shouting and laughing at their own rotten jokes, each one cackled as the other wasted his or her voice. Thankfully most of them spoke in English so that Yume could understand them. He sat on his seat and fiddled with his English notebook that now had five pages filled with notes about proper Grammar and how words were spelt right in Japanese.
“Okay, class, now settle down,” Said Mr. Tsume as he entered the classroom. The teacher was an elderly man with gray hair and steely eyes.
Tsume wore a black outfit that made him stand out from the other teachers of the school He also contained a long saggy beard that was pure white.
“Today we start our new lesson of this semester, a lesson that you all shouldn’t forget.” The teacher’s voice was gravely and sounded like he chewed rocks as he spoke.
“This new lesson will test your writing and imagination as well, when you write this essay - which will consist of as many pages as you need to complete it, there will also be drawings and illustrations of the story you have provided.” He beamed slightly. A series of groans issued from the students like a dreadful wind.
“Enough,” Said the teacher, his hand rose in silent protest the complaining students.
“Sir, this is not an art class,” interrupted one of the students. Yume glanced at his direction and raised an eyebrow in suspicion; he remembered this boy. His name was Yuki, a senior and a tennis player.
“I’m well aware of that, Yuki; however, it comes to my attention that art is also a part of literature in many ways that is why I’m including it in this lesson. he said smiling softly and sits down at his desk.
“You will have today and tomorrow to think of a topic of fantasy you wish to observe,” he said, taking out a small timer and twisted it’s the hand towards the minutes that would signal the end of class.
The time had dragged on sluggishly, but at last the alarm dinged rather loudly, startling Yume back into reality. He was deep inside of his mind, trying to figure out a good topic for the essay. But sadly, as the last minutes ticked onward, he had no idea what to write about; it was as if his mind had been drained of thoughts. He sighed softly and looked around, that stench, it was overwhelming. Maybe that was a reason why he could not think, this school was so not set up for knowledge. It seemed to be rotting right in front of him.
School had gone on by and Yume was at last free from the grip of knowledge. He walked along the side the sidewalk, a shadow had been cast upon the town by a hovering rain cloud that looked rather threatening. Thunder echoed to prove its viciousness.
“Dang it,” Cursed Yume, for he had not brought his jacket, It was supposed to be sunny all day, not even a hint of rain was seen all afternoon during class, this storm must have just came out of nowhere. The small town was nestled within the mountains of Japan. it rested upon the side of one large mountain which was rumored to be called The Silent One, he had never figured out why the citizens had given a mountain a name, other than some strange legend.
After a bit of walking Yume paused a moment, smelling the cool autumn air that lingered around him. The trees had all changed colors, and coldness had gripped the earth’s soil. His Grandmother’s cottage was a few miles down the road from the village. She liked to have her privacy even though that meant he had to walk further to get to school. The wind picked up and ripped through his body like a spirit washing over him.
The town had been constructed a long time ago, etched onto the side of the mountain where when the sun will vanish behind it around 7:30 PM, night approached rather early, which was why he had to hurry; it now was 5:12 PM, time seemed to slip by when you hadn’t paid attention. He kept going then soon came to the entrance of the shrieking woods. The wind was so cold that made him shiver as his shoes tracked through the dead foliage. He saw a pile of dead leaves, and a strange looking dead tree that seemed to stand out from all the rest that surrounded him. The canopy of leaves above blocked out the sun and shielded him from the rain.
Suddenly, he felt a strange exotic feeling overwhelm him, as if he were being watched. His eyes darted back and into view, His breath was uneasy, and his body began to tremble. There was one thing that he disliked the most being watched.
“Hey,” A voice suddenly had come from within the mist suddenly began to develop around Yume’s ankles.
Yume turned around and saw a man wearing black robes; a hood over his head it was hard to describe his features included the piercing emerald eyes that shone in the dark. He almost fell to the ground out of fright, the man stared at him so menacing, that Yume’s heart nearly skipped a beat.
“Who are you?” He demanded, looking at the man, he began to pant slightly as he tried to calm himself.
“Who am I?” The man’s voice was a deep bass and sounded like echoing thunder.
“Who am I…”
The man smiled and knelt down on the ground, he extended his hand and rotated his index finger slightly counter-clockwise, suddenly a small pile of leaves began to move by itself, forming a mini cyclone beginning to take the form of an apple. Soon the leaves began to take solid form, even color. Yume’s eyes grew very wide when he saw a real apple sitting on the ground. His eyes glanced towards the tops of the trees to make sure that it hadn’t fallen off one of them., His eyes widened even more, it wasn’t in an apple orchard, and none of the trees nearby was an apple tree.
“What was that?” Yume inquired, rising an eyebrow as he leaned up against a nearby tree., now his mind was full of curiosity. The man was strange, and that thing that he just did was even stranger.
“What was that you just did?” He asked, eyeing the man, doubt in his voice.
“Well it’s a simple thing called magic, I know that some of you humans don’t believe in it but it’s a major thing in my world,” He said, as he raised his index finger in the air once more. Then green light arose, forming a spiral; suddenly another spiral of light, one sapphire blue appeared from his other finger and slowly began to intertwine with the emerald, both shimmering brightly.
“It’s just an illusion,” Yume said simply, shaking his head in disapproval.
“Right, is that what they call magic now these days, illusions?” The magic lights vanished as he moved his hand to the brim of his hood and slowly pulled it down. Now Yume could see the man’s features. He was young, maybe in his early twenties. He had pale skin, glossy black and white hair, and his eyes seemed to have gotten brighter. He also had a long gruesome scar that ran from his left eye to the edge of his neck.
“Who are you?” Yume asked again looking at the man; he was spellbound, as if a hex had been placed upon him.
“Me?” The man laughs slightly.
“Are there any other creepy men out here that perform strange things with their hands and require strange scars on their eye?” Yume asked
“I’m creepy?” The man lets out a slight chuckle as he looked at Yume. “Well my name is Karasu, and I’ve noticed that you have a heavy burden within that sack of yours.”
Yume looked at him, a bit puzzled as to what the man just
said. He seemed so odd, acted so strange. That trick with the leaves and the apple, how had he managed that? Deep in his mind, Yume was sure that it was no illusion. Yume looked around the forest floor, noticing tiny fireflies hovering above the mist, glowing brightly like lanterns.
“That paper inside your bag,” initiated Karasu, rising his left
Hand in an upright position, his index finger out, he waved it, slowly the bag unzip itself and a few of its contents move around, then a piece of paper flew out. A bright light illuminated the edges of it, a golden light that looked so beautiful.
“Hmm, an unfinished essay I see.” Karasu shakes his head
“We have a while to finish it,” Protested Yume, trying to grab the paper, but it took flight and floated towards Karasu, he reached out for it, his smooth fingers grasping the paper.
“Fantasy eh?” Karasu questioned, rising an eyebrow as he looked over the empty paper and looked directly at Yume.
“Yeah, but I have no idea what to write about, fantasy is sort of not my thing, I’m more of into mystery and horror,” Yume said, laughing slightly as he looked around the forest, his hands remained now in his pocket, it was getting cold, and late, he noticed the hands of his watch had now pointed to 6:00 PM. Grandmother was going to strangle him when he got home.
“Okay look, I must be having some kind of dream right now, so please might I have my paper back and then let me be on my way?”
“To platform 13. Of course my friend,” Karasu said, a grin on his face that stretched from ear to ear.
“What is that?” Yume questioned
“Just a little piece of magic that has been forgotten for a thousand years, a world secluded from this one. Not very many humans visit this world do to their lack of interest,” Karasu said, smiling as he handed Yume back his paper which now no longer glowed.
“As much as I’d like to stick around fascinated through these illusions, I ought to to return home and get to my little brothero If you’ll excuse me.” He seized the piece of paper that hovered in the air and stormed off, leaving the hooded man in the mist.
He sighed softly and looked behind him; the man was no longer there. The cold air stung his skin and the night had already fallen. He had to get home quickly or his little brother might be causing hell for his Grandmother, who knew little about parenting. The path led him onward into the forest, soon he came into a small meadow that was rather breathtaking when you first looked upon it. The open space that was provided had slanted hills that were decorated with beautiful lotus, momo, Yuki Yanagi, and many other types of flowers that blew lightly in the night breeze. Upon the hill sat Grandmother’s cottage, a simple cottage that was medium sized. It only contained four rooms, two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen large enough for three people.
A lovely fence decorated the backyard then concealed another garden just as beautiful as the one that the hills displayed. Grandmother loved flowers; they were her passion, her daughters and sons, you might say. Yume walked into the front entrance which was a large wooden oak door with a silver knocker. He didn’t worry about ringing it, it was his own house, he tried the doorknob but it was locked fast. He remembered that his Grandmother was very secure and had given him a key to unlock the door. He reached into his pocket, found the bronze key, then slipped it inside of the keyhole and twisted it. A series of locks clicked, and the door creaked open. He walked over the threshold and looked around the hall. It was dark outside of an oil lamp burning brightly, providing a strange atmosphere.
“Hello, Grandma?” Yume called out, removing his shoes as he walked onto the Bamboo carpet, Compelled he took a look around him. There was a small table small table in the middle of the living room that was finely polished, the surface reflected the light from the oil lamp. A fireplace was on the South wall of the house and the left over embers still shimmered a dark red. He grabbed a spit and jabbed it into the fireplace sending out dying sparks into the air, some of the charred wood fell to pieces like a crumbling building that had stood for thousands of years and at last fell separately from the decaying of the foundation.
“Hey is anyone home?” He called out once again, he heard a door open, and footsteps in the hallway and then caught site of his little brother standing there at the living room entrance.
“Brother?” Drake asked, rubbing sleep away from his eyes. He was twelve years old, Yume’s only brother, his only family. Yume smiled.
”Hey there chap, sorry I was late, I ran into someone and got into conversation. He was a magician, I do believe,” Yume said, smiling and waving his hand mockingly. His little brother giggled.
“A real wizard?” The little brother asked, walking towards him.
“I wouldn’t say a real wizard,” Yume reassured him, not wanting to crush the boys hopes.
“But when I do see a real wizard, I’ll be sure to introduce him to you alright?” He smiles slightly at his brother and patted him on the back.
“Okay, good night brother.” His little brother returned to his room, closing the door behind him.
“I wish you were here, mom, dad, he’s growing up so quickly,” Yume muttered to himself, sighing softly as he walked towards a small desk that contained their only image of their parents. A young charming man with silky blond hair and emerald eyes looked back at him; his arms were wrapped around a cherry red head with light blue eyes that shimmered like the ocean.
“I miss you,” He muttered, a tear drop forming in his right eye. He looked towards the only window that was provided in the area, it was located near the garden and the moon was casting its silvery light fell upon the floor. That light reminded him of that night….that night….
Yume woke in the latest hour of the night, hearing the sounds of the nearby vehicles in the suburb of New York City. Something had woken him from his deep sleep, a strange smell that lingered in the atmosphere, the smell of smoke and ash. He rose up out of his bed and gasped. There was a thick layer of smoke filling the air which began to choke him up. He coughed slightly and ran towards the window, interfering it open so the smoke could drift outside.
He gasped as he saw a fire truck, police cruisers and pedestrians gaping at the scene. Yume, curious as to what was going on, looked up at the apartment and was horror struck, the top levels of the building were on fire, casting embers into the bleak night. He quickly ran towards his door and grabbed the knob, he lets out a yelp of pain and pulled back his hand. The knob was blistering hot; it felt like daggers stabbing into his skin.
He looked around in pure panic; He browsed around the room looking for something to break down the door with.
“YUME!” called out his father’s voice, suddenly a scream follow behind it, it was his mother.
“MOM, DAD!” Yume shouted, grabbing a broom stick and jamming the tip of the broom into the frail wood. Suddenly the flimsy door gave way at last, and a wall of fire burst out in front of him. Yume covered his eyes, the smoke made them water; soon a large shadow of a firefighter appeared, snatched him under his arm and began carrying him down the flight of stairs.
“MOM!” He shouted. he whimpered slightly, struggling to become free from the fighter’s strong grip, but it remained useless.
Yume and his brother both stared at the stretchers that now contained their parents lifeless bodies. Yume was dumbfounded as to what happened. He held in the rage, and the tears that were building up inside of him, he held it for the longest of time. But now it was about to break lose, like the flood gates. He felt a small tear drop form, but quickly
Yume slowly came back to reality, salty tears were stinging his eyes. He knew that there was a way that they could have been saved, he had smelt the smoke earlier before he even went to sleep, he knew that something bad was going to happen, he could have prevented this whole thing, but he took no notice of it and went to sleep anyway…it was his fault that they were dead, it was all of his fault. He lay down on his bed and fell asleep.