What inspired me to write this novel was from a film I had recently seen entitled "Spirited Away"...
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The following morning the smell of rice cakes and eggs filled the air. Yume’s eyes shot open and directed themselves towards the alarm clock, his eyes nearly bulge out when he saw what time it was, it was nearly half passed 8, he had slept in! He lurched out of bed and ran to his closet and quickly changed into his Saturday attire which consisted of a plain t-shirt and simple jeans. (Even though most North American schools have Saturday off, in Japan they go to school during Saturday which was downfall to the whole move)
Yume sat down at the table with his brother and Grandmother eating the rice cake at a fast rate, he had to get to school pronto or otherwise he’d be undoubtedly late.
“Don’t forget to leave an offering for the spirits Yume, it’ll bring back luck if you don’t,” His Grandmother warned him.
After Yume had dropped off a slice of bread to the spirits that supposedly lingered around in the gardens he darted off down the road towards the collage which was a few miles down the road. He knew that he was going to be painfully late for his first class which was his most important, English. He hurried down the path as fast as his legs could take them, he felt them cramping so he knew that he had to pause a moment and wait. Panting he looked around the silent forest. The woods were mildly hot, not unlike the summer which was boiling hot. He looked around and sighed. He could see the nearby mountains off in the distance though most of the canopy of leaves blocked it from view. Though the sun broke through most of the canopy it still seemed as if night had never left the forest.
“Well, you’ve returned I see, and in a hurry,” Said a familiar voice from behind Yume. He turned around and saw a the tall hooded man whom called himself Karasu.
“What are you doing here, stalking me?” Suggested Yume as he caught his breath.
“Not necessarily,” Karasu said laughing slightly as he leaned against a tree. He looked towards the young man and rose an eyebrow.
“Still nothing on that paper eh?” He asked.
“What is it to you,” Yume spat in disgust as he tried walking but found Karasu right in front of him as if he just came out of nowhere.
“But, weren’t you just there?” Yume questioned baffled.
“Haven’t you already figured out what I am yet.” It was more of a statement rather than a question. Yume looked at the man and shook his head.
“What I’m thinking at this moment is highly impossible for there is no such thing as magic,” He said shaking his head.
“So that idea is out of the thought list,” He said scoffing.
Karasu looked a bit hurt at these words.
“Well, do I have to show you another trick to prove your eyes that what you see is very real?” He asked grunting slightly as he rose his hand into the air. He waved it once, and suddenly the wind began to pick up and tiny beams of light began to zoom past him in tiny clusters of rainbow colors. One of them landed onto the ground and burst open, and more colors zoomed out of the cluster as tiny figures began dancing around the forest floor. Yume gazed at the display in aww and amazement. The little rainbow figures grabbed hands and began to dance around in circles casting a rainbow light show that was more dazzling then anything Yume had ever seen.
“Any more proof yet?” Inquired Karasu rising an eyebrow in suspicion. Karasu had his hair tied in a ponytail and his eyes were a bit dimmer then they had been before which to Yume was kind of odd.
“Okay, so you’re a wizard, I’m sure there are more of you around here then?” He asked looking around the forest suspecting to see if any other strangers might be lurking around casting spells among each other.
“Well particularly not in this area,” Said Karasu.
“But there are loads in my word, which I’d be honored to show you,” He said smiling that same smile he had the day before.
“As much as I’d like to, I really most be heading to class, I’m already late as it is,” Yume said getting prepared to make a run for it if he had to. Suddenly a loud roaring sound breaks the silence that lingered within the woods, it was a strange sound, a horrible sound that echoed in Yume’s ears making his eardrums pound with pain, he placed his hands over them as the roar shook the trees.
“What the heck is that?” Exclaimed Yume as he fell to his knees, he could feel the entire ground shake as if an earthquake was happening.
Karasu gasped and waved his hand and suddenly light began to form around the air. The various colored lights that were dancing on the ground took flight and began swarming around a specific part to where Karasu was indicating with his index finger, the lights soon began to take the shape of an old wooden staff. The same thing happened as did the apple.
The leaves that were on the ground picked up without being forced by wind and began to combine together forming a wooden staff out of pure magic. Atop the staff was a large thick emerald the size of one’s fist.
“Wow,” exclaimed Yume very impressed at what had happened.
“Quick, we need to hide, is there any shelter in these woods, a very nasty beast that you don’t want to tamper with is abroad!” He shouted grabbing Yume’s arm. Suddenly Karasu began to run at a fast rate and Yume had to pick up speed or be drug behind him. He gripped the man’s hand as then suddenly something amazing happened, the both of them began to take flight towards the tops of the trees. Was this really happening or was this all a dream again? The roar once again erupted with more force, sending a flock of black birds into the air. Karasu dodged them easily as the two of them hovered into the air as if they were weightless balloons.
Suddenly something came into view within an open space. It was another meadow, but what rested inside of this meadow was what appeared to be an old ruined church or chapel.
“What is that?” asked Yume even though his voice was caught within the wind as they hovered slightly downward towards the location. Soon Yume’s feet were firmly on the ground. He was panting, that rush of adrenalin had come so suddenly that it took him by surprise.
Suddenly a loud crash filled the air, and a large tree trunk came flying towards them and landed a few feet away pushing the muddy soil that was covered by a few days ago snow fall. The tree had long claw gashes in its side that appeared to have a hint of blood along the lines of the marks. What scared Yume the most was that the marks were too large for a bear or a wolf to have made. He looked around.
“S***, a Hebi-ōkami- raion a nasty creature from the darker side,” He said taking hold of his staff.
“Come no closer beast, you are within the boundaries of one of the sacred portals of Platform 13, by law of the supreme court of mystics; you are prohibited to pass this line!” Karasu then aimed his staff, the emerald atop began to glow brightly and a beam of sapphire blue light seeped out of it. Karasu began to walk counterclockwise in a circle formation, the beam of light casting a strange blue fire around them and the ruined chapel like a shield.
“Foolish wizard, you know that fowl magic can’t conceal me forever,” A loud booming voice echoed in the forest shaking the tops of the trees. Unexpectedly a large colossal creature drags itself forward into Yume’s view. His eyes nearly pop out of his skull as he sees the grotesque beast.
The beast was serpent like, had no hands and was as long as a skyscraper seen in the cities. The trees around the beast fell as its long snake-like body slithered passed them. Its scales glittered a deep purple that shimmered within the sun. The head was a giant dragon mouth that bared jagged teeth and fowl breath that could make one sick to his stomach.
A long pitch fork tongue flicked out of the mouth, which meant that the snake tasting the air like most reptilians did. Another quality the beast obtained was a lion mane, and a canine face which made it look like a cross between a snake, lion and a wolf.
The creature slithered in their direction and tried to cross the border, but like Karasu predicted the monster rebounded and nearly flew backwards as a result. The creature roars in anger as it recuperates from its down fall. It shook its large shaggy mane as it hissed harshly as it slithered its way towards them again posing to strike again, but this time with caution.
“Away fowl beast; you have no business with this young man!” Shouted Karasu waving his staff in the air as the force field grew stronger.
“He has something that her highness wants, something that she has been longing for all these years,” Hissed the beast.
“She wants me to bring him back alive to release her!” He said.
The beast roared and bared its long venomous fangs as it hissed slightly and lashed its long scaly tail at the force field at full speed, the only thing that happened was the rebound effect which sent the monster once again flying through the trees breaking and snapping them like twigs.
“Run Yume!” Shouted Karasu looking at the creature for he noticed that his magic was getting weak. That was one flaw of his world, you can only use one spell for a specific amount of time before it rebounds and vanishes.
“Go into the chapel and find a wooden door, it should lead you into the platform, hurry!” He shouted as he aimed his staff at the beast as the shield began to vanish.
Yume gasped and saw that the large beast was about to attack so he did as ordered. He rushed towards the ruined chapel that he had never seen before in his life during his first days here, he thought he had explored everything of the forest but apparently not. He ran towards the large double oak doors and tried to pry them open, at first it was hard to do but then again something happened that was unexplainable. A shimmering beam of light floated right next to him and suddenly the doors fly open and he is thrown inside as if a fully grown man had grabbed him and tossed him inside. The doors closed loudly behind him and all fell silent.
Darkness, darkness was all he saw. He tried to look around but it was impossible to see where to look. He wished there was some sort of light switch that he could feel for and switch on the light, but that was hardly possible. He had no idea where the walls were. He heard a strange noise; he prayed that it wasn’t a beast like the one outside. Why could he not hear the outside world anymore? And why was there no sunlight peering through the rotten ruff of the chapel? He sighed, this day could not get any better. He shrugged off his book bag and set it down somewhere hoping that he’d be able to find it again.
“Hello?” He called out; his voice echoes and bounces back at him. He kept looking around, but he could see nothing but the darkness that lingered like a wondering soul. He sighed softly and kept walking deeper into the chapel not knowing where he was going; he prayed that he would not slam into one of the walls or a pew that might be nearby. However there were no pews that he could see, for all he knew the chapel could be empty.
Suddenly there was a dim light within the distance. It glowed brightly within the distance like a flickering candle. Yume narrowed his eyes and looked towards the direction where the light was. He walked towards it and found that the light was getting brighter as he drew closer to it. Then it dawned on Yume that it was a lamp post with an old style oil lamp attached to it and the flame flickered and danced now casting shadows upon the darkened walls of the old rotting chapel.
“Odd,” Said Yume aloud, his voice echoes in the distance like it did before. He looked around, the light of the lamp began to get brighter and it was getting easier to see things now. And what startled him the most was, he wasn’t in a chapel anymore, but a train station. He had to be dreaming, he just had to! He took his two fingers and pinched his skin and waited to wake up, but nothing happened, the train station was still there, as was he.
“What’s going on!?” He exclaimed as he looked around trying to see if there was any exit doors or anything that could get him back to the light of day, he checked his watch and saw that he was already thirty minutes late, this could cost him big time for missing a day of collage without calling them saying that he would be absent today. He sighed and looked around; it seemed hopeless to look further for there was only darkness.
Suddenly Yume felt that strange feeling that he already had when Karasu had stalked him. He looked around wondering if someone else was with him in the darkness, maybe Karasu had managed to fight off the monster and was able to escape?
“Karasu!” He shouted praying for a reply, but all he got was his own voice echoing his question.
“Shh,” Said a haunting voice from within the darkness sending a shiver down Yume’s spine, he wasn’t alone.
“Who is there?” He asked looking around worried that another creature might be lurking around somewhere and he had no way of defending himself.
“No one here, but you and I, I and you,” Replied a faint voice that sounded as if it were made of the wind.
“Well then that means I’m not literally alone then,” Yume said mostly to himself.
“You’re from the world of man, aren’t you,” Said the voice faintly whispering slightly in the darkness.
Suddenly Yume notices that a strange shadowed figure is standing right next to him, it took the form that of a woman, but the rest of the features were hard to see because she was made of nothing but shadow, almost like a silhouette.
“Goodness child, you are not one of our people,” Said the voice as she walks through Yume like a ghost through a wall. The voice sent a shiver down Yume’s spine, it was like the sound of a mourning apparition from a haunted house.
“It seemed that the voice has spoken, and that history shall be written,” The voice said rising it’s hand into the air and pointed to a poll. On top of the poll was a sign that read.
Yume sat there and looked at the sign and sighed softly. What was this all about, why was he here? Most importantly, where was Karasu to help explain things.
“Miss me much?” As if on cue Karasu stepped out from the darkness a smile on his face and a gash upon his forehead from the battle.
“Karasu, you made it, where the hell am I and how do I get back home!” Yume shouted rushing up to the man and slapped him right up against the face full force.
“Ow,” Karasu said rubbing the area in which now obtained a red hand mark from the slap.
“Someone is sure not appreciative of having their life saved from being eaten by a giant monster,” He muttered.
“I am, I’m just wondering why in the hell you left me in this place, why can’t I just wake up and be on my way to school like a normal student would to finish a god forsaken essay that is due not far from now and live on with my own life!” He shouted, some of the nearby spirits all looked their direction as if curious as to what was going on.
“Now, now children let us not fight,” Said an old gravelly voice. Suddenly out of the darkness came an old withered man, only he was not like the other shadows, but a solid human figure.
“Master, I’ve brought him as requested,” Karasu said bowing politely to his master. He slapped Yume on the side signaling him to do the same.
“Good job lad, I must be off myself so please meet me in my home in the Northern kingdom, and keep him from harm,” Said the old man whom suddenly vanished without a trace, as if he had just turned into air itself.