Ines Johnson

Spirited Away Chapter Twenty-One

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Spirited AwayChapter Twenty-One: HOME

Chen’s lips against hers felt like sitting by a warm fire, curled up in her favorite chair, covered in a patchwork quilt. He tasted of saltwater, of blueberries, and Chen. He fit. They fit. Together. His lips against her felt like home.

Shanti opened her eyes and stared into his. She’d traveled around her whole life, never quite fitting in, never feeling truly welcome. Yet in the eyes of this being who’d known her less time than most, in his arms, against his lips, Shanti knew belonging for the first time in her life.

A light breeze had the screen door tapping her backside as though she were a house pet being shooed from the home. She’d felt such a sense of urgency to return to this place. She couldn’t remember why? There was nothing here for her. Nothing she felt compelled to toss into a suitcase. Nothing she felt the need to even shove into her pocket.

Everything told her leave this place; to step into the embrace of the man she would spend eternity with. Her mind shook at the vastness of eternity, but calm and rightness flooded her heart and shot up to her head. She knew for certain, this was right. This was the way of things. This was as it should be, for an eternity. Inside Chen’s arms, pressed against his chest, tasting blueberries on his lips.

Shanti stepped across the threshold and closer into Chen. Only Chen was moving away from her. It happened in slow motion.

At first he smiled down at her, recognition dawning in his blue face that she was coming with him. And then, the tug.

First his torso jerked back.

Then his hands released her.

The confusion on his face melded in to dread, and then terror.

“Stay back,” he shouted into her head.

But how could she stay back when she was supposed to be with him for an eternity. Shanti leaped over the threshold, but it was too late. Chen was sailing through the air and into the clutches of two Eloheem.

For a second, relief flooded through her as she thought this must be the Eloheem stationed on this planet by the one’s in charge; the Neterians, Chen had called them. But as she got closer she saw clearly that these beings possessed none of the calm, self-possession of all the Eloheem she’d encountered on the Mothership. Their eyes were dark, a flickering light danced mad circles inside their heads.

One glanced at her and sneered. He rose his hands towards her, but Chen caught his hand between his elbow in a locking motion. The sneering Eloh turned all of his attention to Chen, working to subdue him. And then in a flash, they were all gone.

By the time Shanti reached the spot where they had stood on the sidewalk, there was nothing left. Chen was gone. His arms. His smile. His smell. His very essences. All gone.

Her heart sank to her feet. Her head could not comprehend the emptiness without and within her. He was gone.

She looked up to the sky, searching for a beam of light. But there was none. Where had they come from? Where did they take him? They must’ve teleported as she and Chen had done earlier. Then maybe Chen would send her a visual picture of where he was, so that she could come to him.

Shanti backed into her small yard.. She closed her eyes, quieted her mind and reached out to him. He wasn’t gone. Not entirely. She still felt him. And now she heard him. He still chanted to her to stay back, to run. But she couldn’t stay back. She had to run. Run towards him, to find him. To bring him back to her.

“Go home, my only. “

Shanti shook her head. He was her home. Where would she go without her home.

“Sing, my only.”

What the hell was he thinking? He’d been abducted by crazy, murderous Eloheem and he wanted her to sing.

Wait -Hsing.

Chen wanted her to find Hsing. He would know what to do, how to find Chen and bring him back. Shanti turned away from her house, leaving the door wide open.

How was she going to get to Hsing? She was a continent away from the heliopad that could beam her up to the Mothership. She was certain she didn’t have time to get another passport, board a plane, and then travel out into the middle of nowhere. Chen didn’t have that time.

Shanti stopped. She took a deep breath. She had to think.

She wasn’t just connected to Chen, she was connected to Hsing too. They all three shared a bond. Its just that Shanti never paid much attention to Hsing’s leg of the bond -outside of the time when his legs were spreading hers wider.

But now, now she had to focus. She had to connect to Hsing, up there, somewhere in outer space.

Shanti turned around. She went back into her house and shut the door.

She took a seat in her big comfortable chair. She folded herself into a lotus pose. She closed her eyes. She took a deep, cleansing, centering breath and cleared her mind. She pushed aside all of her animosity towards Hsing. She filled her heart with love for Chen. Then she reached out. She reached out for something she never had before.

“Hsing…help me.”

The room was dead silent for long moments.

And there was a loud crash as the door burst open.

Shanti opened her eyes, nearly toppling over in the pretzel of her lotus position.

Hsing stood in the doorway like a giant, avenging blue angel.

Read Chapter Twenty-Two