I was holding onto my backpack as if it was life itself. It held all the special letters my mother wrote. I had to do this to fufill her wish. I walked toward the forest I had entered many times before, however; this was different. Now I had an actual purpose, an actual desire to finish what my mother had started. I saw something I had never saw before, a light. I ran toward it and out came a red building.
This is just as how she explained to me.
I ran toward the clearing and sure enough I came to an alley of stalls. I ran even faster past these to the bathhouse I knew too well about. Just as my mother said, I ducked under the gate and saw stairs. I carefully went down them and reached the door. When I opened it I saw a man with 6 arms working.
"Who's entering my-" he turned around and saw my figure. He came closer and asked, "Sen, is that you?"
I spoke, "Hello Kamaji. I am not the Sen you speak of, but she wanted to give this to you." I handed him the letter and I watched him open it. I could see tears form at his eyes.
He asked, "What is your name little one?"
"Ironically, I am still named Sen," I replied. "Sen Ogino."
He said, "You remind me of her." I patted the top of my head. "Your mother was like a daughter to me for the time she was here."
I replied back, "I heard many stories of you Kamaji. They were all so funny and great. I know that she felt the same way about you because she always showed that through her stories."
He patted my head and said, "She raised you well. I'm assuming that you are going to need help looking around?" I nodded. He called into a strange device and told me, "Sit down. Lin will arrive shortly." Once he had calmed himself down he had gotten back to work. I saw little sootballs carrying pieces of coal into a fire. I didn't say anything, but Kamaji was still interested in what I was doing. He spoke up, "Your mother was horrible at working. When she first arrived, she couldn't even carry coal into that furnace." I laughed, knowing my mother was as bad as a worker as he said she was.
A few minutes later, a brown haired lady came in and greeted me. Once she saw me, she came running toward me. "Sen, you're back!" I was choking and Kamaji had separated the two of us.
He spoke, "She's Sen's daughter. However, her name is also Sen." She took another look at me and then realized what he meant.
She said, "I'm Lin. I was a friend of your mothers's. I know that Haku will be very happy to see you." She grabbed my hand, but then I stopped her.
I told her, "I was hoping that we could see Haku last. I was wondering if you could help me find others though."
She nodded and asked, "Who is first on the list?"
I remembered the people by heart and said, "Chichiyaku, Yubaba, Boh, Zeniba, then Haku." She nodded as I said the list and she grabbed my hand and dragged me to the outside. I saw so many stair cases and elevators throughout the building. When we were just about to enter, I handed her her letter. She read it on the spot and like Kamaji, she teared up. "My mother thought of you as one of her greatest friends here."
She asked me, "Where is your mother?"
I quieted down and said, "There was a plague back at my city and she was one of the first to be affected. She died about a year ago."
Lin got quiet and started patting my head, she soon tried to console me, "She's still with us. How would you like to go see her friends?" I nodded and she opened the door. I stood there, watching spirits walk around happily. She announced, "Today we would like to welcome the apperance of Sen's Daughter, Sen Ogino!"
I bowed and I saw people staring in shock, in surprise and in confusement. I greeted, "Hi, my name is Sen." Spirits gathered around me and asked me a bunch of questions, but before I could answer Lin dragged me to Chichiyaku where I gave him his letter. We soon arrived in Yubaba's office. She pushed me along and I entered alone.
I saw the room was dark and there was so much gold inside. When I entered I saw her sitting there. She looked up and said, "If you are expecting me to give you job you aren't getting one. Your mother was a horrible worker and I don't think you can be any better. Though I do owe her for that one river spirit, so what do you want?" I just handed her the letter with her name on it. She started reading it and laughed out loud. She said, "I'll be sure to do what she says in the letter."
I heard loud footsteps coming toward us and I saw a large baby in front of me. Boh... He grabbed me and started to hug me. "Sen! I missed you so much!"
Yubaba nicely said, "That's Sen's daughter Boh. Her name is Sen."
Boh let me down and took a look at me. "Your mama introduced me to auntie." I handed Boh's letter to Yubaba telling her that she could do what she wanted to do with it. Yubaba took it and started reading it, seeming a bit angry still for what my mother did with Boh before. I could tell she still had some grudge for when mom took Boh out. I laughed quietly in my head.
She handed me an envelope and said, "This is for your troubles, go talk to that annoying sister for me."
I bowed while I walked out. When I was walking out I was grabbed and put against the wall. I felt someone against me and I was about to slap the thing. He quickly spoke, "I'm not going to hurt you, Sen. I haven't seen you in four years." I pushed him away, full aware of who he was. Haku.
He asked, "Is there something wrong?"
I yelled, "You can just hug a person! I'm not my mom!" I quickly handed him the letter and stormed out of the building. When I was little, mother would tell me stories of the amazing dragon who saved her. I fell in love with him through the stories and the tall tales. I know that I could never replace my mother in his heart. I could never replace his important person. I ran out of there and walked down to the train tracks.
I saw the conductor and entered after giving him my tickets that I got earlier from Yubaba. I waited for the stop, Swamp Bottom. Once I arrived, I quickly walked over to the cottage that I heard so much about. A kind voice spoke out saying, "Come in. It's a pleasure to meet you." I saw a lady with a large head with her hair in a bun come out. She said, "I'm well aware that you are not my granddaughter, but you are to me a great granddaughter." Seeing someone so kind made me almost cry of joy. She sat me down next to her and No-face. I handed her the letter and didn't even need to read it to see its contents. She told me, "I knew your mother the least out of all the people she knew, but she was still important to me. I am surprised about you."
I said, "What?"
She said, "I read the letter. A plague spread around your city. She died from it and your father got killed as well, but not from the same reason."
I said, "This is the first time I ever heard about this." Suddenly, it made all sense.
"I know. That is why I am explaining it to you. Your mother asked me to, for the sake of you," she said. "The reason your mother got killed was because she got sick. The reason your father got sick was because he was forgotten, rather neglected-"
"Because I hated him for leaving us for so long. Then during that time I forgot about him, which caused him to disappear" I finished her sentence. I was surprised by my own words. "How did I know that?"
"Your mother didn't just marry any man, she married the spirit of memories," she said. "Once a spirit's name is forgotten in the human world, they disappear. You never knew his name, so when your mother died, the only person who knew his real name was gone."
It all made sense now. I suddenly realized, "Wait does that make me-?!"
She finished my statement, "Half spirit. A being perfectly fit for living in our world. It is also a reason why you can remember things so well. Your powers allow you to dive into a person's memories." I heard a crash outside, but ignored it. I sighed.
I asked, "Will I be able to go back to my world?"
"Your mother has asked for me to keep you here. Even if you are half spirit, you are half human making you perfectly exposed to the plague there."
"I can't stay here."
I said firmly, "Because Haku is here."
"Why should Haku control if you stay here or not?"
"If what you said was true, I can dive into memories like my mother's. It's not fair that he has to be with someone who is a replacement for someone who once was here," I had to take a breath. Tears were streaming down my face. "I love him, but its not because of stories, not for him."
"Why should that stop you?"
"He also said he hasn't seen me for 4 years-"
"When was the last time your mother has seen Haku?" Zeniba interrupted me, then something inside me changed. She started laughing saying, "You don't love him from just your mother's stories. You mother has written to me here, 'Let Sen know that I bless Haku and her to be together. She met him a lot as a child at the river, I am pretty sure that that time will come eventually.'" I suddenly remembered a boy who I played with at the river. Four years... that's when we moved away from mother's home town. I got up and ran out, but I saw the dragon boy there.
I walked over to immediately start apologizing, but he instead said while hugging me, "I never saw you as a replacement."
I stuttered out the words, "H-How long have you-?"
"Since I found out that you were gonna stay with me forever," he said. I laughed in my head. He must have been that crash outside.
~Many Years Later~
I don't know if you will ever get this letter, but I am very happy where I am right now. I got a job with Yubaba and she couldn't take any more characters away from my name, so I'll forever be Sen here. Haku and I are very happy now, we even got married. I've been taking care of everyone that you care for. I hope that we can visit you soon. (I'll be bringing an extra family member soon!)
I love you,