Set a decade after the events in the anime. Hitomi has all but forgotten the experiences in Gaia. The years were tough on her as she has always felt that she's been stuck in the state between dreaming and waking. She acknowledges a powerful force that keeps moving forward; a promise, but a promise to who? She has forgotten
"KAN-ZA-KI – SAN!"
Hitomi dropped the pen that she's been balancing on her top lip. She was promptly, but rudely, ejected from her daydreaming.
Ms. Mikage, her co-teacher for the past 5 years, had packed up her belongings and was ready to leave for the day. "Ehh, the moonrise is earlier now that Winter is just around the corner", the teacher mused as she stood halfway out the room.
Hitomi had not realized she's been staring out the window the whole time. She has just noticed the time. "Otsu! See you tomorrow, Mikage-san."
"Quit spacing out or you'll never finish going through your class' career reports."
"Haaaai", Hitomi sighed as she waved to her colleague.
Now stretched out on her desk, Hitomi took a glance at the compact mirror sitting in the corner. Staring back at her was a responsible woman contributing to society - or this is how she would like to think of herself at least. She had tried different hairstyles over the years but being a P.E. teacher obligated her to always be in sports attire. She decided that short hair suited her best.
"You haven't changed one bit, Hitomi", Yukari's voice echoed in her mind.
It has been a week since her reunion with Yukari; a week since she found out that her best friend in high school and Amano are expecting their first child together.
Hitomi's throat felt tight. She stared at her right hand and slowly closed her fingers until it formed fist. "Inside, I'm still 15." She let out another long sigh.
Hitomi was convinced she wouldn't be making any progress for the rest of the night. Making her way to the school yard, she preoccupied herself by going through a list in her head em"Stop by the store for dinner food and beer, take a long bath, then do the laundry… hmm maybe the laundry can wait until the weekend."
A cold but gentle breeze caressed Hitomi's cheek, which brought a chill. Instinctively, she wrapped the unzipped sports jacket around her body. The full moon brightly lit up the school track and field. As sudden as the breeze, her memories came forth like an image superimposed to this evening's backdrop. Hitomi sees her teenage form practicing on the track. On the bench, she conjured up fond memories of goofing around with Yukari. On that spot near the bleachers, she sees her younger version cheering on her first love, Amano-sempai as he broke the school track records. Being alone on this track felt like home and this is perhaps why Hitomi has never left this school. It wasn't like she had other prospects to begin with. After high school, the gaping hole that was her future as an adult overwhelmed her immensely. Returning to this school was supposed to be a short stop but this has quickly turned into years.
Looking back on the kinder years, Hitomi vaguely remembers being away from school for a significant period, which, among other things, kept her from attending Amano-sempai's going away party. Try as she might but she just couldn't remember the exact reason why she was away. Her parents and younger brother, having even less recollection of this event than her, have concluded she must have been sick. Despite the episode being a blur, she was sure that she was forever changed by that experience and this continues to reflect on her relationships today. She has seen a few men over the years but to her, it has been like trying keys of different shapes and form to open that one lock within herself. A thought had been creeping at the back of her mind that maybe that door, opened only once before, will forever remain locked.
Having these random thoughts after a tough day at work, Hitomi was now in a foul mood. She decided to take a walk up to a nearby shrine to cool her head off.
"Inside, I'm still 15", Hitomi knew this to be only half true. The other half of her was eager to keep a promise to never forget to move forward always. To who she has kept her promise to, she has long forgotten. Was it a promise to her grandmother? It couldn't have been a promise with Yukari. This has vague promise has kept her going. All this thinking is giving her a headache. Hitomi had made it to the shrine at the top of the hill without realizing it.
"What am I doing?", she sighed as she closed her eyes in exasperation.
Feeling another gentle breeze, Hitomi lifted her head and prayed for this moment to stand still. She gently opened her eyes and saw something afloat overhead, swaying with the breeze. Squinting now, was it a butterfly? em"A bit too late in the season, isn't it?"/em, she thought. She caught the object at the palm of her hand. "A feather?"
"A strong wind hit her squarely.
"Hitomi". A soft whisper.
Puzzled, Hitomi looked around to see who was calling her.
"Hitomi", a familiar voice but she couldn't match the voice to a face. Was this someone she has met before?
"Spinning on her heels, Hitomi couldn't find the source of the voice.
"Hitomi!" Hitomi felt like her stomach was being sucked into nothingness from the inside. The world was now spinning fast on the outside.
The earth from under her feet shook then gave way. Hitomi lost her footing and fell into the darkness. The flurry of events took her breath away and she couldn't manage a scream. She fell deeper into the "I've been here before. I've been here for a while. Somebody, please save me."
Hitomi reached her hand out to the fading light. As she was falling, the light grew and grew until it's warm light engulfed her completely.
"Was it all just a dream? Or a vision? No, it all really happened. It began the day I asked the tarot cards if I'd find love."
Her ears were ringing. Her check felt warm and moist.
Slowly, she opened her eyes. Her vision was flooded by bright light.
She could make out someone's silhouette but before she could identify the figure, she was lulled back to slumber.
Author's notes: It has been a few years since I last published any content on this platform. I don't know where this is going but I had a strong urge to write this anyway.
I've been watching Vision of Escaflowne again and I'm currently on episode 9 of 26. As you can imagine, it has been well over a decade since the first time I've seen this anime. It's certainly amazing how time changes the way one sees and understand things. I used to be head over heels over Allen Schezar but now I see him as a playboy at the get go. Van and Hitomi truly embodied "hastukoi". I'm being overly cautious at how I handle this fiction because in most cases, adulthood is equivalent to disillusionment. I hope you enjoyed this first bit. I hope I can figure out where this story is headed.