Chapter 1: The Journey Begins
Mason Miller sighed and looked out the window as the teacher droned on and on about a war that happened hundreds or thousands of years ago. He couldn't remember which.
His mind wandered to his next class; music. He loved playing the guitar. He also thought about which anime he might watch when he got home. He had complete collections of Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Yu Yu Hakusho, Clannad, Air, just to name a few. Mason also thought about how he and his dad never really got along. His dad hated the fact he liked anime and was always riding him about finding a job. He collected himself as the bell rang, packed up his books, and headed for the next class.
On his way home, he saw a necklace in the window of a pawn shop that looked like a magical girl pendant. He stepped inside the shop that was cluttered with books and other stuff. Most items in there looked older than him. The place also looked like it needed a good dusting. He maneuvered around the stacks and dead ends until he reached the window. He picked up the price tag. Only twenty dollars.
"Very nice piece," came a voice from behind him, making him jump. "I found that piece in a collection of items taken from a young lady of questionable repute." He turned around to see a man with short black hair, a moustache that curled up, a prim, sharply pressed black suit, shiny black shoes, and a black bowtie.
"I like it because it looks like it came from an anime."
"Aren't you a little old for cartoons?" the man asked with disdain.
"I'll take it," Mason said, attempting to change the subject.
"Excellent." The man seemed pleased. "I did a little research on this piece. Supposedly it can grant wishes. Nonsense if you ask me, but, whatever. People can be a superstitious lot."
Mason handed over the money and slid the necklace into his pants pocket.
The man filled out a receipt and handed it to Mason. "Have a nice day, sir."
With that, Mason left the shop. "Any wish? I wish I could live the anime life and get away from my dad." Nothing happened. "Nonsense indeed."
Mason opened the door to his room and plopped his book bag on the bed beside his guitar. His room had posters of anime idols, anime figures on just about any surface, and empty shelves. Wait. Where were all of his anime and manga? He stormed down the stairs and into the living room where his dad was reading the paper.
"Where's all my anime and manga?!" he yelled.
His dad put the paper down. "It's time you grew up and got a job so I sold all of those cartoons and comics to a local hobby shop. Made fifty dollars."
"Fif-" Mason ran his hands through his hair, panic rising inside of him. "Fifty dollars?! Five of those manga cost that much. AND I HAD 150 OF THEM! Not to mention 300 anime DVDs!"
"They were bought with the money I gave you, effectively making them mine, AS LONG AS YOU LIVE IN THIS HOUSE!" His father then took a breath. "One you get a job, then you can replace them as you see fit. Until then, you will follow my rules." His dad picked the paper back up. "I couldn't carry everything at once, so tomorrow, all the rest will go, too."
"I-I-," Mason could barely breathe. He ran upstairs and collapsed on his bed, sobs wracking his body. He pulled the necklace out of his pocket. "Please," he whispered to whatever gods were out there, clasping the necklace firmly between his hands. "Please get me out of here."
Hours later, after he had passed out, a figure all dressed in red floated through his window. They reached out towards the necklace. Just as they touched it, it began to glow extremely brightly. When the light died down, Mason was no longer there.
"That's not good," came a feminine voice from the figure. "He could be anywhere in the cosmos. Better get home and start looking."
Soon, all was quiet, except for the gentle chirping of a cricket.