Chapter 1: Freedom

I was staring at a bush, why? I didn't know exactly, but it seemed beautiful. The way the wind gently caressed the soft leaves, reminded me of a kite in the pale blue sky, soaring against the cool wind. It didn't take long until my mind was lost in thoughts and images, memories of my childhood. –Flashback- "Daddy! Daddy look, it's flying! I did it!" I squealed joyfully as my bright red kite with gentle purple stripes flew above my head. "That's great, sweetie!" My dad exclaimed as he stroked my soft hair. –Flashback end- I plopped onto the soft, green grass in front of the bush. I laid my head down and looked up at the naked sky, with just one small cloud wandering the lonely blue plains. "I wonder if clouds have feelings…" I said aloud. "I doubt they do, but if they really did, I bet that cloud would feel lonely." Warmth radiated from the bright sun and blanketed over my skin, feeling somewhat like a thin sheet. I managed to catch a glimpse of a pretty white bird before my eyes closed, and I slipped into a beautiful dream.

I knew I didn't have much longer. The nurses and doctors would fine me soon, and they'd take me back to that white hades. I'd have to listen to those beeping machines and the wails of dying patients like me. I never moaned, screamed, or wailed. I was quiet, always searching the room and for a way to escape. Why did they have to keep me there, I knew was going to die. I wanted to die happy, lying on soft grass under a friendly sun and welcoming sky. To be with nature, not machines and medicine. Of course, I could've fulfilled that dream, but only if I'd had a lung donor. I would've been eternally grateful, to be alive, to smell sweet summer air and stroke freshly sprouted flowers. There's no way I'd be able to escape the hospital when I was about to die. They would always find me so fast… They're probably going to come and take me back any minute now, I thought.

Sadly enough, my prediction had come true. They had found me resting on the baby grass, my emerald green eyes open. I was staring at the sky now, ignoring the fumbling nurses as they skittered around in their tight little uniforms. I was supposed to be wearing one of those ugly, open back dresses they gave to patients. I couldn't have my bum hanging out so I snatched my clothes before I snuck out of the dreadful hospital. I always felt so alive when I escaped 'the prison', and I was good at it too. They almost never caught me in the act, and they ended up having to put a tracker in me. If only I was as good at escaping death as I was escaping from white hades. That's what I had nicknamed the hospital, white hades.

One of the vain nurses hung over my smiling face with an expression of fury, restlessness, and pity. I never wanted anyone to pity me. I didn't like being pitied, well maybe I did. Maybe I secretly hoped people would pity me, but I convinced myself I didn't want people's pity. I confused myself sometimes and I had no luck with others understanding me. I was lost in my thoughts again, but I had blinked into reality just in time to see a fluffy white bunny with a cotton tail burst from the bush and startle some of the nurses. I'm pretty sure they all just had mini heart-attacks and I laughed at this. The bunny had stared at me with such innocent eyes. It sauntered to my side and snuggled under my arm. I stroked its fur, and stared into its eyes. In the end, the nurses forced me back to hades, but not without my new little friend.

They said I could keep it for a week, as long as I didn't try to escape. I was okay with that, because I usually only escaped twice a month, give or take. Now I had a piece of nature with me, and not just pretty little flowers with sweet notecards full of foolish pity. I had a real, living part of nature. Yes, the flowers were alive but it wasn't the same. I laugh sometimes, thinking of how happy I was over a small bunny. The way I treasured the small creature, and showed him off to visitors with pride. I named him Hope. I knew it wasn't a guy name, but my bunny gave me hope that someday I might be able to die with nature surrounding me. A week passed, and a foul nurse came into my room and grabbed Hope by his scruff. "Wh-what no! You can't pick a bunny up like that!" I exclaimed as I jumped out of bed and snatched my precious Hope away. I placed one hand under his bum, and the other horizontally across him, making my arm into a hook shape. "This is the proper way to hold a bunny." I stated as I glared at the woman. "Yeah yeah whatever, just hand over the runt and we can both move along with our days." She replied coldly. "Runt!?" I nearly screamed. "Hope may be small but he is NOT a runt. You disrespectful cretin!" I looked at the open window, I'm three stories up. There's no way I can make it… I thought with dismay.

Staring into the eyes of this foul nurse, my expression began to soften, and it turned into a sweet and innocent look. My eyes shined with hope as I pleaded, "Please… Just one more day. I promise I'll be good." The nurse looked like she needed some sleep, tired and weary. Her expression softened too as she replied gruffly. "Alright, but just one more day and that's all! Tomorrow that darn bunny needs to get out. He's makin' a huge mess!" I nodded eagerly as I cradled Hope, and then slipped back into bed. That poor nurse had no idea what was going to happen next. I was going to make my final escape for freedom, and Hope was coming along. Hope looked at me as though he could hear my thoughts, as though he was ready to escape. He didn't hold pity in his eyes for me anymore, just pure love. Love… That word repeated in my head for hours sometimes. All I ever wanted was love, to love, to be loved, just simply to feel love's tender embrace without the complications of death.

I waited for nightfall to fulfill my master plan. When everything was quiet, in the middle of the night, I would expertly slip out of bed unnoticed and get my clothes. I would also have to sneak into one of the other rooms with one of those… Electric ironing boards. They shock you, so if I'm lucky, it would fry the tracker implanted inside me. After that I would make my way out of the hospital and run off into the night. I'd probably have to sleep on the street for one night but I was certain of my safety. Hope was there to guard me from predators… I was ecstatic! Everything was going to be perfect. Little did I know things were going to turn out better than I'd ever hoped for, but it wouldn't turn out exactly how I'd imagined…

The hours seemed to drag on forever, minutes felt like centuries. I couldn't wait much longer for my little escapade. I could see the anticipation in Hope's eyes too. I would finally be free. Freedom was the only thing I thought about in those days, well, except love and nature. I stared at the ticking clock, tick tock, tick tock, it repeated in rhythm. I closed my eyes and imagined a beautiful back round, with an open sky and bright white clouds. I was in a field full of flowers, beautiful flowers. It smelled like a lovely perfume shop. There were flowers of every color imaginable, and best of all, there was a small cottage resting on the grassy plains. I walked to the cute little cottage, practically glider over the grass and flowers. A good looking man, three or so years older than me walked out of the cottage. His face decorated with sapphire eyes and a warm smile. Black, short hair covered his head. My chocolate brown hair danced in the gentle wind. My white summer dress, covered in daisies and red tulips, tied up with a big yellow bow around my waist accompanied my dancing locks. As I glided to the man, a small smile stretched its way across my face. I reached out my tender hand and he extended his arm to me, and just as our fingers touched my eyes snapped open.

They quickly darted to the source of the familiar tick tock, following the arrows; I realized it was 3:24 AM. Perfect, I thought as I carefully slipped out of bed. My petite feet hit the cold tile floor, and a sudden chill slithered up my body, and escaped through a quiet sigh. "It's time." I whispered to Hope. She responded with big eager eyes. I smiled deviously as I picked her up in my arms and opened the door leading to the hallway. I peeked my head out to check if the coast was clear before I darted to the room where they kept my clothes. My name is Chihiro, and I'm going to be free.