Chapter | 18
About a week or so must have passed after my kidnapping; a peaceful and beautiful week. The bath house slowly started to get busier as new spirits started arriving every night. I didn’t do much, to tell the truth, neither did Haku. We mostly kept to ourselves; stowed away in our blissful little world for what felt longer than a week. That’s why I’m not sure whether it was a week or a year. But like all things, it didn’t last.
My sleeping pattern started getting irregular; Haku and I pulling the curtains shut so that we could sleep during most of the daylight hours. The nights, when we weren’t slaving away downstairs, consisted of various other things that I feel I shouldn’t go into too much detail about.
So the day everything changed was like any of the previous week’s.
The sound of guest filling into the bath house woke me hours later. It wasn’t an unwelcome sound, but I wished it would wait a little longer.
I wasn’t really surprised when I sat up and found Haku wasn’t next to me anymore. I pulled the sheets up to cover my body; Images and feelings starting to fill me. Before I knew it I was smiling like a love-struck idiot.
My body hurt quite a bit when I got up, but it didn’t bother me all that much, I was overcome with joy. Nothing I could possibly think of could ruin that moment for me, or so I had thought anyway. Dropping the sheet I still held around my body, I found my uniform and started putting it on.
After smoothing down my hair I went down stairs, hoping there might be some work I could help out with. Anything to get my mind off the last few hours.
When I reached the entrance it seemed they needed me more than I had thought. Some guest were waiting outside for a chance to bath, at the same time there were more guests in a bath than usual. I found Yubaba near the token desk.
“Yubaba!” I called out to her before I reached her, “Is there anything I can help with?” I asked. She looked at me curiously for a second before answering.
“Chihiro, why don’t you cater to the guests in the baths, we have things under control outside,” Yubaba said in an uncharacteristically nice tone compared to the way she usually treated me.
I nodded before heading off to see if anyone needed anything.
About two hours of hard work passed before I saw Haku. I was standing by the railing, taking a breath of fresh air when two hands clamped over my eyes. At first I wondered who it was, but when I felt a set of lips kiss my neck I just knew.
“Hay,” I whispered and turned around. His lips were on mine sweetly, and instantly.
“Hello,” he whispered back when we finally drew apart. “You sleep well?” he asked and I could feel my face turn a deep shade of crimson. Haku laughed before pulling me into his arms.
Something had definitely changed between us, but not for the worse. I felt closer to him than ever before, a thought that filled me with joy.
We stood in each other’s arms, saying nothing, but saying everything we needed to know. When we finally did pull apart, Haku slipped his hand in mine and started to speak, only he was interrupted by a loud crash in the bathing room.
When we turned around to see what had happened, I almost started laughing. After being on edge for such a long time, it was almost a joy to see a guest causing a scene. Haku must have felt the same since he let out a sigh and shook his head. “I’ll be right back,” he said before heading in to see what the angry guest wanted.
I turned around again and stared out at the moon reflecting on the water below. I could hear the train in the distance and wondered how far it actually stretched when a figure suddenly appeared in front of me. He was floating in mid-air, a set of wings silently flapping at his side. My heart gave a leap when I realised who it was.
“Yoru!” I exclaimed only seconds later, about to ask him what he was doing back at the bath house, but something stopped me. Something gleaming in his arms.
“Yoru?” I asked as he lifted the crossbow and aimed it straight at me. “W-what are you doing?” I stammered, taking a few hesitant steps back. A look of pain flashed over his features as he pulled his hand back, knocking the arrow into place.
At first it seemed that Yoru was aiming the arrow at me, but I realised that if he shot at that moment, he would hit my shoulder, which wouldn’t cause any significant damage. No, he was aiming at something else, something just behind me.
“Haku!” I yelled out as I spun around, reaching an arm out as I ran to him. “Run!” I yelled again. Haku seemed confused at first, but then shock registered on his featured. He quickly sprung to life, but instead of running away like I told him, he shot toward me.
In an instant he flashed past me, grabbing me from behind and throwing me to the side. All of this happened at the same moment I heard a loud thump! I crashed into one of the screens dividing the baths from each other, letting out a cry before falling to the ground.
“Ow,” I muttered as I sat up, cradling the arm that broke my fall against my side. The world swam back in to focus after a few seconds and I was able to see clearly. Only a few feet away from me I saw an arrow wedged firmly into the wooden floor.
Relieve flooded through me and I turned to see if Haku was okay. He was standing just inside the room, his back facing me. At first I thought he was looking out to see if Yoru was still there, but when I took a closer look I saw the tips of black wings poking out above Haku’s head. They were both standing deadly still for a long second before there was a sickening sound; something I had never heard before, followed by a grunt.
Yoru’s wings spread wide and he flung himself out of the room and into the night sky, moving out of sight before I could call out to him. Not that I would have, I was too busy holding my breath. Slowly every fear I ever had seemed to disappear, replaced by the one that ruled my nightmares, the one fear that made my entire body numb.
Without another sound I jumped up. The whole world seemed to flow together as I put every ounce of energy into reaching Haku. I made it just as his knees buckled and he fell to the ground.
“Haku!” I heard someone yell, only later recognising the voice as belonging to me. I caught him under his arms, but his weight sent us both crumbling. His head was against my chest and he was lying against me where I sat on the ground, my knees together, but my legs pressed out.
Slowly Haku slid down until his head was resting on my legs, but I didn’t even feel the weight of it on them, my mind had gone completely blank. I reached out and touched his face, tears forming, threatening to fall.
I tried saying his name, but there was no response. I tried again, and again, and again until I was shaking him like a mad woman. I was crying out his name now, tears flooding down my cheeks, completely unaware of how people are staring. All the time Haku remained unmoving, a dark stain spreading rapidly right where his heart was. I could feel my sanity slipping away along with his life, leaving me cold and alone.
Finally I felt myself stop; stop crying, stop screaming and stop feeling. Hands wrapped themselves around my shoulders and pulled me away from Haku while other hands moved to get Haku. I watched as they picked him up and carried him away, not able to do anything other than stare as they took the only person I truly ever loved.
I had no idea where they were taking him, all I knew is that where there once was love, now there was only me.