Spirited Away: The Return Home

Chapter | 26

I don’t remember what happened after Shadōri’s death. Apparently my wounds took its toll on me and I passed out. I wasn’t all that surprised either, I knew I was pushing myself simply by keeping my eyes open.

Once I came to, the first thing I noticed was the soft matrass beneath me. I kept my eyes closed for a moment longer, not exactly sure where I was.

“Chihiro?” a voice asked, noticing that I had woken up.

“Please open your eyes. It’s time for dinner,” the voice said again. The thing that woke me wasn’t the mention of food, but rather the realisation that it was my mother talking to me.

My eyes flew open and I stared at her.

“Honey?” she asked, touching my cheek, “Are you okay?”

I looked at her and then at my surroundings. I was in bed, or in my own bed to be exact. “How…” I started to say, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to ask.

“You know what, you get some more sleep. I’ll put your food in the microwave so you can heat it up later,” my mom said, giving me a kiss before she left. I sat up straighter, trying my best to make sense of everything. How was I back home?

A knock on my window caught my attention. I turned to see Haku floating outside, asking that I let him back in. Without wasting a second, I pulled the window open, the crisp breeze flowing in along with Haku. Together we shut the window and sat down on my bed.

“What’s going on?” I asked him, still very much confused. Haku opened his mouth, but the words seemed to be frozen in it. Instead he ground his teeth together and turned his gaze to the ground.

That was all it took for me to figure it out.

“You planned on leaving me here,” I said, my voice barely audible.

Strange enough, I wasn’t mad. I was hurt. More than that actually, I felt betrayed. The fact that he planned on leaving me, even after everything we went through, was like a dagger to my newly healing heart.

Instead of yelling at him I simply stood up on me bed and opened the window again.

“Fine, go,” I said, my voice completely dead. “Just know this Haku. If you step out of this room, I will never come looking for you again. It will be the end.”

Slowly Haku stood up, turning towards the window. I wanted to cry, I wanted to cry more than anything, but that would give me an unfair advantage.

Still, I couldn’t stop one single tear from slipping out Haku’s hand reached for the window, gripping it next to my shaking hands. Slowly he started to close it, his eye not leaving mine for a single second.

We stood like that, even after the window was shut.

In a way we were challenging each other, seeing who would break first, and I was pretty damn close to breaking. To my surprise, Haku wrapped his arms around me as he dropped us to our knees. I didn’t waste any time after that.

I pushed him away a bit and pressed my lips to his, clutching at him as we kissed. We fell backwards, or limbs tangling in the process.

My hands clutched at his shirt desperately, and his own tangled themselves in my hair, as if it would ensure us always being together. I didn’t want to let go, not now, not ever.

Eventually we broke apart, gasping for air, not really wanting to stop.

Haku forced himself back. “Guess I have a few things to explain.”

It took Haku about an hour to explain everything that happened- apparently he hadn’t been as dead as all of us believed.

“I wanted to come back, as you know, I even gave in once. But I knew it was better if everyone, including Shadōri, thought I was dead. Not only did it give me the upper hand, but it also gave her one less way to threaten you,” Haku said. “It also meant that you’d be more open minded to leaving,” he added in a whisper.

“Still, you surprised me by coming back. I figured you’d probably get yourself killed, so I put a charm on you. But of course you go and try to use it as a weapon,” Haku said, giving a little laugh. I smiled too, happy that he wasn’t mad at me for risking my life.

We talked about other things too, but none of it was important. Afterwards I simply climbed into his lap and let him hold me.

“What now?” I asked, knowing that both of us were thinking it.

I felt Haku sigh and I snuggled myself even deeper into his embrace. We needed to find some way to be together, but the odds simply weren’t in our favour.

“It’s not fair, why does it have to be this way?” I asked to no one in particular. Haku kissed the top of my head.

It was then that I realised it was up to me, what I decided to do.

I thought about my life after I had come back from the Spirit World the first time. No matter how I looked at it, it had been horrible. I was living life like a robot, doing what was expected of me, but not in the way people expected me to do it. My parents had other things on their mind and most of the time I wasn’t one of them. Sure I loved them, I love them a lot, but it simply wasn’t enough to keep me there.

Without a word a climbed out of Haku’s lap and sat down at my desk. With trembling hands I took my notebook and a pen.

Haku sat quietly as I wrote.

In the note I told them everything. I told them about my first visit to the Spirit World, I told them about the last one. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote until my hand started to ache. When I was finished I stared at it, hoping they would see that I was telling the truth. Somehow I knew they would believe it, it would make sense to them.

I left the note lying on my desk, the first page open for them to see. I knew it was going to hurt them, tear them apart possibly, but I also knew it was for the best.

Silently I said goodbye, praying they would have a good life.

Haku had already stood up by the time I reached him, lacing my fingers through his.

“Let’s go,” I whispered, pulling him with me.

It didn’t shock me when I found Yoru waiting for us outside, Haku must have gotten to the Human World somehow.

The three of us walked to the woods in silence. I took in my surroundings for the last time, listened to the ocean for the last time, and heard a car’s honk for the last time. It made me sad, but not as sad as I thought I’d be.

It wasn’t long until we reached the abandoned amusement park building. We went inside and Yoru moved to open the door, exactly the same as before.

I remembered the first time I had walked through those doors. I remembered how scared I had felt, but that was all different now. Without so much as glance at my surroundings, I stepped through the doors, closing me eyes as I did.

I felt haku wrap his arms around me, lifting me into the air before I fell into the water. I opened my eyes when we landed on the other side.

I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to see Yoru jump back into the sky, flying who knows where.

Haku and I took our time walking back to the bathhouse. Each step I took became final, each breath I took felt like the first one.

I started to notice things I hadn’t noticed before; smells and colours that never stood out to me, things I didn’t think mattered all that much. Now those things were part of my home.

When we reach the red bridge, Haku stopped me by pulling my hand. He turned my back to the Bathhouse and held me close, kissing me gently.

“It’s not too late, you can still go home,” he said, forcing the words out.

I put my hand up to his face, touching his lips with my thumb. Instead of saying something, I simply shook my head, telling him all he needed to know.

He smiled and I turned around, looking at the place I’d come to love, hate, and love again.

The place where I had met the meanest, most hateful people I knew.

The place where my dreams were crushed.

The place I found love.

The place I found a new family.

Haku came to stand next to me. “Hold your breath,” he whispered into my ear, “Even the tiniest breath will break the spell, then everyone will see you’re a human.”

He took my hand. Slowly we started to walk forward.

I held my breath, and this time, I made it all the way to the other side.

The end.

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