Teenage Wildlife

Untitled

by Heather M
ChinaGirl@teenagewildlife.com

Chapter One
An Old Feeling

The castle stood high above the protective walls. It was gray, and rotted with time's pulling stress. The air is filled with a horrid stench as you open the gates, and walk into the village that surrounds the castle. The village also shows the stress of time: the cottages are low and squatted, the dirt crunches beneath your feet along the brick walk, and there's a distant laughter of a drunken goblin. He is enjoying himself; celebrating early for the arrival of the Full Moon. One face peers down at it all from the castle's highest and largest window: he sighs deeply at his ruined city. He had been ruling the pitiful place with its even more pitiful inhabitants for centuries, and now it disgusted him to think how quickly it had down fallen. It was more than the downfall that bothered him at the moment though: something from his past was pulling at his mind. He could feel it in his chest.

He turned away from the window with another long sigh. He picked up a crystal ball from a silk cushion and peered into it; he asked it, " What is happening?" But nothing happened. Discontented with it he threw it across the room, but despite the force it landed lightly on the room's floor. This was his room where for years he had gone to think; he had always felt secure and comfortable in this room, but now, for unexplainable reasons, he felt restless there. Frustrated he threw himself onto his bed. ' What is going through my mind?' he asked himself rolling over onto his back. The sound the rolling crystal entered his ears. ' What feeling is this? She has been gone for years now, but why have all of these memories returned? I did not summon them.' He thought back and remembered the young, teenage girl who had defied him no matter what he had done to her. No power of his had shaken her strong will. " You have no power over me," she had said. Sarah: dear to his being Sarah. ' You're a fool Jareth for thinking so.' But then he thought back even further to the wish she had asked of him to take her baby brother away. ' She was so stubborn; so intense; she never showed any fear. She-' Jareth cut short with a gasp of pain. He winced, and rolled over onto his back rapping his arms around his middle. A power inside him tugged at his emotions, as if it were trying to pull them out. Yes, it was the same power that Jareth possessed, but could not control. It was its own master, and slowly it had started to control him. Emotions were useless to this power, and it felt that Jareth had no need for them either.

Jareth winced again as he supported himself on an elbow. The feeling was still in his chest, but the thoughts of Sarah and what had happened all those years ago were gone. The power was flooding his brain with pain. " Stop!" he exclaimed out loud. He begged and begged for the power to release him, but it just grew tighter. He fell back onto the bed, and beat the pillows with his fist until he had no more strength and had fallen asleep.

In his mind Jareth was racing through time. Back and back he went remembering the times when he was a mortal without this accursed power. Yes indeed he had been human at one point early in time. Once Jareth had known what it was like to be free. In his sleep Jareth's hand held his stomach. ' Cursed power!' he thought angrily. He saw himself young and careless again, roaming with no guidance.

Out in the courtroom the goblin guards were gathered in a pit. The pit had been made for no particular purpose; the goblins were ignorant, and so they threw their bits of unwanted food in it. Yet they felt the need for whispering so, they gathered together closely in this pit. Each one knew something was happening, and each one had their own thoughts about it. Most of them were wide and dramatized because a goblin's mind is too simple to think straight. They knew that usually their king was sitting in his courtroom at this time of day when the Moon was supposed to rise. Their king was usually very punctual about it especially on a Full Moon, and tonight was such a night. They waited for their ruler to come down dressed in his traditional costume. ' Yes,' they thought. ' He will come down with the banging of his staff on the stairs, and his cape flowing behind him. He will welcome the Moon.' Jareth still lay on his bed though with a look of pain in his features.

Chapter Two
Home

The highway stretched clear and straight before Sarah's eyes as she turned off the on ramp. She was going home to see her little brother, Toby, turn nine years old. ' Home,' she thought happily. She listened to her car switch gears, and heard the steady hum as it picked up to sixty-five miles per hour. She hadn't been home for what had seemed an eternity. After a disturbing experience at age sixteen Sarah had transferred out to another university to escape the memories of it all. The idea seemed to have worked: she was halfway through her last year of school, she had a loving boyfriend Eddie, and had good, dependable friends. ' Nine years ago I thought I was going mad,' she thought to herself turning off onto an old, bumpy road. Her mind began to wander: it wandered back to that time she was sixteen, and she had made a silly wish for her brother, Toby to be taken away. ' Now I couldn't live without him.' she laughed to herself hoping that would end the train of thoughts, but instead it encouraged them. Pictures from that other world flashed in her mind. ' No. Not this time. I won't think of that during this visit home.' she shifted gears and pulled into the driveway.

Her dad, stepmother, and brother greeted her with the same love they always did. Nothing had changed: her dad still smelled of the same after-shave, her stepmother still wore her hair short and teased, and Toby was as hyper as ever. He tugged on Sarah's hand, and asked over and over, " What'd you bring me? What'd you bring me?" Sarah had expected him to ask this question: he did every time she visited. So, scooping him up into her arms, she took him inside, and said,

" Oh no! I can't tell you now. No! You have to wait." She had dramatized her voice to make the whole thing sound special.

" Ah c'me on Sarah. I've already found all my other presents," he whined hoping to win her over. Sarah tickled him, and told him to be patient.

Inside Sarah first offered her help in the kitchen, but as always her stepmother told her to go sit down. " You need to relax and get your strength back." Sarah objected saying that it had only been a four-hour drive and that she felt fine. She wouldn't listen, and she was scooted into the living room. Sarah sat down on the couch and turned on the TV. Toby came along and climbed on her lap.

"I'm glad you're home Sarah," he said playing with her hands. She asked him if he had been getting any bed time stories. Toby loved them, and before Sarah had left, she had always told him one. " Mommy has tried telling me bedtime stories, but there's always a prince and a princess who fall in love, and then they kiss." his face twisted in disgust just at the word. " You don't tell stories like that."

"Have you asked mommy to tell you a different story? Ones with goblins, fairies, and trolls like the ones I told you."

"Yes, but she says that they will give me night-nightmares. Will Sarah promise me to tell me one of her stories tonight?"

"Yes, Sarah promises you that, but don't let mommy know: it'll be our secret." he agreed. Toby leaned against her and watched the television.

Dinner was ready an hour and a half later. They all sat in their usual spots: dad sat at the head of the table with his back facing the window, mom sat at the other end, and Sarah and Toby sat opposite of each other. It was Toby's birthday dinner so they had fixed his favorite meal: hotdogs and French fries. On any other day Sarah's stepmother would never of allowed such a meal to be served at dinner, but Toby had begged and begged so, she gave in. Sarah looked at her and laughed inside as her stepmother took little bites with a disgusted look. She knew exactly what she was thinking.

"Pass the ketchup!" Toby yelled, and Sarah's train of thoughts broke. She started. " Sarah pass the ketchup!"

"Huh? Oh. What do we say?"

"Please!" he grinned. She passed it to him, and now Sarah watched her brother. He was so adorable in with his Elmo T-shirt, and blue-jean shorts. His dishwater colored hair was roughed up, and he blew it out of his eyes as he took a bite of his birthday dinner. Sarah shivered at the thought that nine years ago her stupidity could have made him disappear forever. ' That devilish Goblin King Jar-no, I shouldn't think of him.' Sarah picked up her hotdog and finished eating.

Chapter Three
I Am Dying

After dinner Sarah ignored her stepmother's complaining and helped clear away the plates. She wanted to help with her brother's birthday. Ever since the incident nine years ago she had taken much interest in Toby's life: bedtime stories, walks in the park. Everything that he thought was important in his life she had been there for them. She smiled happily as her dad handed her the matches to light the candles. In her mind she counted each candle as they lit up. Turning out the lights Sarah went back to the dinning-room and her and her parents sang happy birthday to Toby.

"Ok, Sarah: now where's my present?!"

"It's still out in my car. I'll go get it." She picked up her keys, bounced off the front step, and stuck her key in the trunk. Inside were her two bags, and the present. She looked around and began maneuvering the gift out.

It hit a bag and out dropped a mirror; Sarah starred at it. Something had been inside it; a face that looked hurt and it had called out her name. She blinked, looked away, and looked back: nothing was there. Sarah reached out, lifted the mirror up, and looked at it curiously. " It couldn't have been him," she said to herself. She closed her eyes, concentrated, and re-opened them half hoping it would bring the face back.

"Sarah! I don't think your brother can wait much longer," her father called from behind the screen. She shoved the mirror back into the bag, took out the present, and went back in.

Inside Sarah could hear her dad talking to Toby, telling him his present was coming. Toby sprang up from his chair as soon as he saw a glimpse of his sister. He told her to set it down in the living room, and since Toby almost always got what he wanted, she set it down on the floor. " There Toby, tear it open," Sarah said stepping back. He looked at it for a moment: it was a curious shape, and the Power Ranger wrapping paper had been twisted to fit over it. He began to unwrap it carefully, and as the last piece of paper fell to the floor he squealed with delight.

"Sarah it's beautiful! A magical unicorn!" Toby's little hand reached up and touched the silver horn.

"It's a rocking horse Toby," Sarah explained kneeling beside him. " You can ride off into the woods on it." At those words Toby climbed aboard and began rocking back and forth.

"Oh Sarah," her stepmother complained. " You know that I don't want him getting into all that mythical stuff at his young age. It'll give him nightmares." Her dad walked over to object, and the two began to argue about it. Sarah merely smiled at her brother. She then got up, and went back outside to get her bags.

When she came back her parents had taken their argument into the kitchen, and Toby still sat rocking back and forth. Sarah smiled again and went to her room. She hoped nothing had changed there either, and that it hadn't become a storeroom of some kind. Sarah turned the handle quietly and peeked in meekly, as if she expected her younger self to come jumping out at her. No. It was exactly the same: her pictures still decorated her dresser mirror, her stuffed animals were where she had put them on the shelf, and her figures and books were still scattered all over the room. Even her musical princess sat at her place on the desk. Throwing her stuff on the bed Sarah picked it up. For years she had tried to get rid of it, but every time it ended up back in her possession. Hesitating only for a moment Sarah's fingers reached out to wind it up, but a feeling in her chest made her stop.

"It is only a doll," she said out loud to herself. She turned it, and heard the screws starting to turn inside. Sarah listened to the sound for a few more minutes, then shook her head, and stuffed into a drawer. She then started unpacking, but it was no good. There was something different about the room, a restlessness. It was the air. Yes, the air was cold and lifeless. It bothered Sarah and she shivered because of it. She kept looking around expecting something to happen, and it did. Sarah had just turned to look at her reflection in the mirror when the face came back; the same hurt filled face.

"Sarah!" it called. "Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!" Sarah turned away in fear, but the voice continued. She looked towards her window, and the face showed its image there. Everything that could produce a reflection was projecting the face.

"Stop it!" She exclaimed loudly. She covered her ears. " Leave me alone! I don't want to see you again. Stop it please!" She collapsed on the floor. The voice faded away, and a hand touched her shoulder. Sarah looked up and gasped: it was Jareth the Goblin King. She fell back away from him.

"What do you want?" she demanded.

"Don't be afraid Sarah." Sarah was not afraid, but was more in a state of shock. After nine wonderful years how dare this infamous man come back. Sarah could find nothing to say to him.

"I am not really here," Jareth explained in a calm tone. "I am an allusion. I need your help Sarah."

Despite her state Sarah still knew and understood everything. She remembered who Jareth was and what he had done to her. She returned his calm request with a bitter reply, " You don't deserve anyone's help."

"Be kind to me Sarah please; I haven't the strength to-"

"Be kind? Be kind to the monster who tortured me in his maze of dreams?

"Sarah listen," he said sternly. " I am dying." Sarah couldn't believe what she was seeing or hearing. He was acting so kind and calm. For a moment her heart softened. She thought it far to listen.

"If the Goblin King is dying then how does he have the power to project an illusion? I believe you are playing a game with me."

"My power is slowly being drained from me: I had barely enough to do this. The little that is left in me I am using to do this, but even then-" he stopped. Jareth's image flickered and began to fade rapidly. " Sarah help me."

"How can I help? You're too weak to bring me to the labyrinth. How can I get to you?" Sarah reached out her hand, but he was fading fast.

"Think back Sarah. My tricks and games are over. Help me or I die." He was gone.

There wasn't time to think about what had happened: Sarah believed him or at least she thought she did. There was only one slight draw back though: how was she to get back to his world? He had brought her there the first time. She thought for a moment and with fear in her heart Sarah removed her musical princess from the drawer. Before her fingers had even approached the screw, in her mind, Sarah could hear the music and feel the chill of that other world. " You tricked me once by blinding me with my selfishness. You made me think that I was the only thing in this world that mattered and that I was being treated unfair. That one like myself should have a higher place. But," her fingers hesitated to wind the doll. " I believe you this time." Sarah set the doll down and as the music played she watched the doll spin round and round. Soon Sarah's own world began to turn: her head began to feel heavy, and she fell to the floor.

Chapter Four
Memories

As Sarah's world spun around her, inside her mind she was remembering things. Feelings, pictures, and desires. The feeling of jealousy towards her brother Toby could be felt in her chest, the pictures of this other world were constantly being displayed, and the desire to break free was always there. Yes nine years ago this had all happened.

Sarah's real mother had died giving birth to her brother Toby, and the nurses thought that it had been a miracle that he had survived. They showered him with attention. Her dad constantly shoved him into her space and gave him everything his heart could desire. Sarah felt crowded and ignored. She never fully healed from the loose of her mother. Toby was a brilliant child, but spoiled. Sarah knew it, but her dad ignored it. Not even so much as one year later her dad remarried to a friend of the family. This new addition spoiled him even more.

The two were so wrapped up with each other that they never realized how much Sarah was suffering inside. Sarah's heart was still slashed, and with no one to talk to she either took it out on Toby or locked it up inside her where it grew. Jealousy crept up upon her slowly as she would watch her parents run to Toby at the slightest whine or sniff, but ignore her when she most needed someone. When she complained they told her that she was too old to be acting so, that only hurt her more. Sarah was still a child inside, a child who had no one's attention.

One is very vulnerable when one is jealous, and Sarah was no excuse. She tried to wrap herself up in her dreams; she kept telling herself that life wasn't being fare to her, and that she could never be happy without her mother. She allowed herself to be bullied at school, and for life to take full advantage of her. Jareth must of known she was like that when he first came to her otherwise he could not of so easily persuaded Sarah to believe him. And she had believed him. Sarah made a wish: she wished that her baby brother Toby would disappear and that she could live in her dreams; Jareth gave her just that. He took her up and brought her to his worlds of dreams. He gave her everything she had ever wanted; he presented to her millions of allusions, but she took them all the same. They slowly began to poison her, taking away every single one of her memories. Jareth told her that she was the moon and the sun, and that he would never harm her in any way, but it was all a lie. In some warped way there was a slight truth to it all: deep in his soul Jareth did love her, but he was too vain himself to realize it.

Slowly Sarah's memories crept to her from the back of her brain, and by this time Jareth was starting to realize his feelings. One day he told her them, but Sarah refused saying that she knew his whole plan. He was planning on draining her of all her memories, then making her his Queen, and returning Toby to their world. Jareth tried to explain to her that things were different now: that he truly loved her and would give Toby back to her if she wished, but Sarah wouldn't listen. She demanded that her and brother be returned home. Jareth agreed to, but only after she completed a task that he would give her. He set her down in front of a labyrinth, and promised to set her free if she could make her way through the maze back to the castle. Sarah agreed and defeated him. Jareth was then enraged with anger, and he sent her back making an oath that he would never rest again until she loved him back. Away Sarah and Toby went back to their world, and away Jareth's feelings went back into the depths of his soul. Such were the things that were racing through Sarah's mind as she traveled back to the world; back to the world she had feared nine years ago.

Jareth's mind could see what Sarah was thinking, and he felt her pain. He agreed that he had been cruel and selfish, and that he had known that Sarah had been vulnerable. ' It was only because I loved you,' he thought to himself. Jareth saw himself standing up at the window looking down at her as she raced through the maze. He had sent millions of disasters, and confusions to mix her up, but she stood strong even through the wildest. Jareth had wanted her to stay with him, and he had expected her to shiver and obey his wishes, but she hadn't. Full of rage Jareth had sent her and her brother back with an oath that he would never rest until she loved him back.

Jareth aroused himself from his thoughts and sought one of his crystals.

"I need to see where she is," he said to himself leaning on an elbow. He winced and looked around him; there wasn't one available. Using what power he had he formed one of them in the air. It shivered and bounced where it floated as Jareth's power wavered. Gathering his thoughts together he steadied it.

"Show me the girl." Colors gathered in the ball: they mixed and swirled together to show him Sarah's image. Her body lay in total darkness; that told him that she was still on her way to the maze.

"This time, Sarah it isn't a game. You're on your own. You don't have me to cause problems or to confuse you. The creatures and disasters you find are their own masters, and I can't help you. Believe me Sarah," he then said falling back onto the blankets. The crystal dropped from the air, landed on the floor, and rolled away. " Please believe me." He stopped there too weak to think.

Chapter 5
Captured!

Sarah awoke to find herself lying in a bed of leaves. Her eyesight was blurry, but she could hear noises around her. They were odd sounds: not human or even goblin for that matter. She did not know them, but she knew for sure something was near her; something that was starring at her frame; something that thought human flesh sounded good for their next meal. Sarah stirred trying to find strength to get up, but a sharp object was immediately placed at her neck. " Who are you?" she stuttered out. The noises were raised from their soft whispers to loud talking, and there were more of them this time. They grew louder and louder until Sarah couldn't even hear herself breathe. This scared her far beyond anything she had ever felt before; her eyesight served her no good, and her limbs felt heavier than stones. She had to pull herself together and try to think. What creatures had she run into the time before? It was useless; Sarah closed her eyes and thought to herself how miserable it was to have been captured before she had even started her journey. She blacked out and remembered nothing more. After what seemed an eternity Sarah opened her eyes and found that her sight had returned. Instead of the crunching of leaves beneath her though, there was the grain of dirt; and instead of the feeling of a sharp object on her throat, there were tight ropes tied around her wrists. Sarah twisted herself in a useless effort to break free. The more she pulled the tighter the ropes grew. Looking up she saw the bars of a cage surrounding her. She didn't even know what her mission was, or why she was there, or why she had been so stupid to even sympathize with Jareth. " Drat!" she said to herself. " Curse Jareth; I should never of trusted him." She wiggled her legs to find her ankles bound too. Sarah sighed long and deep wishing that something miraculous would happen; like she would find herself waking up from a dream, but no. She stayed where she was. Soon she gave up her struggle and decided that she should listen to see if the creatures were still close by. For a few moments nothing happened. There was a snap and shiver, and a hunched over, pointy-eared creature showed its image in front of the shadows. Sarah began to sweat. A low, crackling whisper broke the silence and as Sarah watched the figure the noise grew into a chorus of noises. Soon there was a crowd of at least four bodies huddled in front of the cage, and their voices mixed together. Sarah was scared. The light was dim, the ropes where tight, and the feeling of fear was running its hands all over her mind. One hand slowly was being wedged through the bars towards Sarah. She looked down at it: it was long, skinny, and bumpy. Turning her body Sarah crushed it with her foot. The creature wailed causing its fellow watchers to scream along with him in surprise. It withdrew its limb, and the party retreated into the darkness.

After regaining herself and catching her breath Sarah huddled herself up as far away from the bars as possible. Her mind was racing with thoughts about Jareth. She wondered if he had done this to her, if he was playing another one of his games. ' No,' she thought. ' He would never go this far. Jareth would never allow this to happen.' But then Sarah's mind wondered back further to the maze of dreams Jareth had set her in front of seven years ago; how cruel and merciless he had been; how- " No," Sarah said to herself again, but this time out loud. " He would never do that." For some reason the thought persisted causing Sarah to worry greatly. She knew that she didn't feel he was doing anything, but some power inside was causing her to think he had. She struggled with it for a few more minutes and then the thought passed. The night wore on, hour after hour. The creatures made continuous visits to her cage making sure their prisoner was still there. Sarah refused to sleep knowing this, and her eyes were filled with thankfulness as the first rays of light shone through the bars. She wiggled herself so she could see the sun rise over the horizon; it was reassuring to her. She had survived the night and was alive to see another day.

'Thank Heaven,' she thought with a long sigh. ' The creatures spared me last night, but what about now? What-' Sarah's thought was cut short by the same crackling noises she had heard through her sleepless night. She turned her head towards the shadowy side of her cage and she saw the creatures running around seeking the dark corners. As the light grew brighter their footsteps grew faster, and when the sun broke fully into view over the horizon Sarah could see them no more. ' They're afraid of the light,' she thought curiously.

Soon the morning passed into the afternoon. Black crows that continually flew over head could be heard squawking messages back and forth to their fellow fliers. They snapped hungrily at the insects that traveled along side them. Sarah watched them swoop and dive trying to stuff their beaks full. As she saw one silky winged black bird snatch up an enormous bug her stomach growled reminding her that she too needed nourishment. Indeed she was hungry, starving actually. As Sarah turned her attention away from the birds she noticed a nagging pain in her middle and once more her stomach growled. She wiggled again, but the ropes were just as tight. She knew that there was no way she could get herself free, and so she tried to focus her mind on what her purpose here was.

The afternoon passed into the early evening and Sarah's hunger grew. There was nothing she could do though. She waited, and waited, and waited. She knew that the creatures had more in store for her tonight than one before. Probably their next meal was what she feared. As the night came closer Sarah was on the verge of giving up hope; she cursed Jareth in her mind, and prayed for a miracle. When the last rays of precious light fell through the bars, she heard a sound: the sound of a fire being lit. The familiar sound, of crackling, scuffing, and screeches, filled the air once more. Sarah shivered; maybe her life wasn't going to be spared another night. The mumbling became louder and the creatures became visible against the firelight. A soft sound, from behind the cage, broke into Sarah's ear. It wasn't a voice or something that had words, but rather it was a caressing, soothing musical note that calmed Sarah. A hand came through the bars untied Sarah's hands, and without words it told Sarah to untie her ankles and crawl out through the back. Following directions Sarah untied herself, and moving carefully to the back she found that the bars had been crushed and there was just enough room for her to squeeze through.

Sarah soon found herself a good hundred meters away from the camp, and she stood in total darkness catching her breath. She had escaped, but now she not only had the rest of the labyrinth before her, but a deep, dark forest. Sarah's mind went blank and she felt slightly panicked. The soothing musical note returned to Sarah's ear and hesitating only for a minute she followed it into the woods. As she followed it Sarah could have sworn that she saw a small body running a head, dashing between the trees, but she continued to follow the sound. It had rescued her and perhaps it would show her the right way.

Chapter Six
The Moon

The goblins never did see Jareth come down that night of the Full Moon. Jareth was still in his upper room, and there he stayed through the rest of the night and the next day. Jareth was either gasping with pain or peering through one of his crystals. He had been watching Sarah's every move, feeling her every emotion, and hearing her every thought. ' She still doesn't fully trust me,' he thought placing a crystal on a velvet cushion. He thought for a minute about her trials, and suddenly a burst of feeling worked its way up his neck and into his head where his thoughts were confused. He suddenly couldn't remember who or what he had been thinking about, or for that matter who exactly Sarah was. As suddenly as it had come, the feeling went away. Jareth staggered back in shock. " W-w-what?" he stuttered holding his head. The thoughts came back and he remembered everything, but couldn't figure out what had happened.

For the next hour he paced his room: thinking and trying to put pieces together. He could think of his emotions, think of Sarah, think of anything he chose to and there would be no pain. Had the whole thing been just a freak incident, or was some force really draining his power? No, it had to have been real. For certain he knew that, and for certain he knew that it all had to be connected. Jareth was deep in these thoughts when he heard a loud clatter and a scream. He went to his window and looked out. A group of goblins were fighting in the Moonlight. ' The Moon light?' Jareth looked up at the sky: the Moon was indeed up, but peering closer he realized that there was a slight slither missing. " Gracious Moon!" he cried. " I've missed the Full Moon!" Jareth became angry with himself for having forgotten. His knuckles turned white as he formed them into a fist against the window's sill.

Taking advantage of his current condition of no pain or confusion, Jareth wrapped his cape around his shoulders, picked up his staff, and headed out of the room. He threw open the bedroom doors causing a great crash which alerted all the present goblins of their master's existence. He bothered himself not with thoughts that did not pertained to the current problem. Jareth's face bore the look of a ruler and he yelled for one of the head guards. The guard came and with a very humbled expression, he awaited his master's words. Around them the other goblins had gathered, awaiting any order they might receive. " Why did no one wake me for the Full Moon?" Jareth exclaimed very loudly. " Answer me, you!"

"Y-Y-Your Highness," started the guard. " You are always there for the Full Moon. We did not think to disturb you."

"And why not? Without the Moon, there might as well be no life here! Do you know what this means?" The goblin shook its dirty head. " It means that you have disrespected the Moon."

The goblin's face became shocked. " Me, Master?"

"Yes, you worm." Jareth turned down the hall and began walking for the stairs. The guard followed, along with the rest of the goblins. The guard begged Jareth for forgiveness, for whatever the Goblin King said, was truth. He had indeed disrespected the Moon. Not being able to stand the whining any more, Jareth spun around to meet the groveling goblin. " I have half a mind to throw you into the Bog of Eternal Stench," he snarled pointing his staff threateningly, all most as if he were going to strike. Jareth couldn't find the will to do it though. He starred at the goblin's trembling face and saw the complete fear in his eyes. The thought of the pain it would cause the goblin, made Jareth retreat his staff. He was harsh and determined, but far from cruel. " But I won't," he said. Jareth turned and headed down the staircase to the courtroom. " Some one bring me the Book of Law!" He yelled as he went.

The problem of failing to meet the Full Moon was soon resolved. The Book of Law said that for every Full Moon missed one life had to be lost. To be lost though did not mean death, but rather it meant one was banished and forced to live in the Outer Limits of the world. Which was close enough to death itself. The Outer Limits consisted of everything beyond the one mile surrounding the outside of the Labyrinth. Every goblin feared the Outer Limits: no one knew what it felt like, except those who had been there, and yet no one had ever returned to explain. From his throne, where he sat with the book, Jareth called for a volunteer. Jareth was the king, and by no means could he go himself. Besides he couldn't bear to pick one out. " It must be done to please the Moon," he explained. He looked through the crowd of his faithful followers. Surprisingly, despite the smallness of a goblin's mind, the head goblin guard came forth from the multitude.

"Your Highness?" Jareth studied the face: it was the same head guard who he had accused in the hallway.

"Yes?"

"Since it was I who disrespected the Moon, I will go."

For a moment Jareth admired the courage and the humble attitude. " So be it." He closed the Book of Law.

Jareth arranged an escort for the guard to be taken to the edge of the Labyrinth, where he was to be put out and the gates closed on him. He did not really want to do it to the guard, who indeed had been faithful, but the Law could not be altered, not even to fit his wants. Jareth tossed the book aside and lay back in his throne. He had restrained himself from carry out a personal punishment, but now because of some old law the guard still received a punishment. ' Oh, so much has happened these last couple of days,' he thought to himself leaning his head on a hand. ' Things just haven't been the way they should be. What with Sarah and this accursed power, I just haven't had the energy or time to be the proper ruler.' A feeling crept up his neck and into his head: Jareth's eyes started drooping. ' Will I ever be normal again? I-I-' At that point Jareth's eyelids began to get too heavy to keep open. There on his throne, in the presence of all his goblins, Jareth fell asleep.

Chapter Seven

Sarah must have followed the sound half of the night. So far there had been no danger. It had just continued to lead her through the forest. At times it would be distant and Sarah would have to run to catch up with it, and then she would stop, listen, and continue following. Then on occasion there would be the slight glimpse of a little body running a head. Sarah hoped with all her might that the sound and the body were something good and not a threat to her mission.

Sarah had been running again and like usual had stopped to listen. She tuned her ears to block out any noise except the guiding sound. To her horror though, this time she could not find the sound. She turned in all the directions straining her ears for it, but it wasn't there! The sound that had saved her from the creatures had now abandoned her in the forest. She looked around herself: trees towered around her head, bushes and scrubs crowded her feet, and there was no sound. Not even the buzz of an insect. Sarah became frightened. She walked from side to side listening as intently as possible, but nothing came. She circled a great oak-like tree and stopped; there had been a noise. She took a step forward. There was a snap and she found herself slipping, falling down. The forest floor did not reach her though, but continuous blackness surrounded her and she fell through it.

It was a long fall and a nerve wracking one. Could she once more have fallen into the grasp of another evil? Could she be captured once again? Slowly she fell, her body opposing gravity to the extent of the feeling of flying. It had a mesmerizing effect and soon its power took its toll on Sarah's mind. She relaxed into a light sleep, thoughts focusing on nothing. Her limbs freely waved with the downward motion. The air softy let her down, laying her down further into the blackness. The air cushion around her soon became warm. The temperature change aroused Sarah and she moved to look around her. She found herself wrapped in a blanket and her head lying on a pillow. Sarah moved, confused at the sudden change. A low light hit her eyes and she blinked trying to adjust to it. She mumbled some words. " Hush!" said a soft voice at her side.

"Where am I?" Sarah managed to ask. Again the voice said, " Hush!" A cold cloth was placed on her forehead. " Shh! Don't speak: you're too weak." The voice was melodic in a comforting way. Sarah trusted the voice that resembled the one who had helped her escape.

When Sarah came to she found herself lying on some sort of straw bed, with a crude blanket and pillow to offer comfort. A congregation of candles was on stand near by offering light for the room. They flicked shadows on wood walls, wood ceilings, and wood floors. Sarah crawled from under the blanket and off of the straw mattress. Breathing in, she noticed the air had a musk-y smell, like an old book or wet wood. There were no windows and only one door. Sarah walked towards it, but out from the door's cracks came a flicker of light and the sound of voices. They were very soft: it was like they were singing and laughing. Not two feet from the door Sarah stopped and remembered how deceiving things in the Labyrinth could be; how nothing was what it seemed. To open the door might mean immediate danger. Yet whoever or whatever they were had saved her. Sarah bent down to open the door, but sprang back when it was suddenly pushed open.

There in front of her stood a little old woman. Hardly half of Sarah's size, she took up almost the entire doorframe. Her little face was pushed back in a wrinkled smile, her hair was kept loosely under a handkerchief from which two point-y ears protruded. " Well, what have we here?" she cried wiping her hands on a dirty apron. "You're up and about I see! How perfectly lovely! And how do you feel my dear?"

"I'm-I'm fine," Sarah replied hardly knowing her words. Having half expected some evil catastrophe to come upon her, Sarah felt quite taken aback at the elf's existence. " I'm fine," she repeated again.

"You seem to be quite sure of that, now aren't you?" the elf replied laughing with her belly. " Oh, but you must be absolutely starving! You've been out for some time now. Come, come!

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This document last updated Thursday, 24-Aug-2000 02:43:36 EDT
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