After leaving the Labyrinth, Sarah finds things...lacking. A series of five vignettes of increasing length describing Sarah's descent into darkness. For The Starving Writer's challenge.
Magic is not a physical thing – most similar to gas, or smoke. Those who can reach out to magic can shape it. The greater skilled you are at shaping, the better of a magician.
At times the magic of the world is a simple flow, a lazy stream. But others it flowed more forcefully, a gushing river.
But right then, a bit of it was being diverted – like a creek that’s been blocked – and that was never good.
Who was diverting it? A young girl, nearly a woman, lifting her head and not knowing what she had launched herself into.
Since leaving the Labyrinth, she found little to look forward to. Time slowed to a horrible trickle – slower than possible it seemed to be. Colors were duller, less full, less bright. The wind was too quiet – too wordless. The animals were not human enough and didn’t speak.
Indoors it was worse – and Sarah would then dash outside for something to brighten her mood, her gloomy nature. She’d run through town, to the old park, collapsing there and burying her fingers into the soil, ripping out fistfuls of grass trying to feel alive again like she had when she had been there or how she had before she’d gone.
But outdoors it wasn’t enough – it echoed too poorly what she once felt, and she would cry as if she was still a young girl.
This routine carried on and on without an end – everyone commented on the bright, imaginative teen’s change of attitude and wonder what had happened. But one day it changed – praying and hoping and finally the regretted wishing, it came to her. The magic she sought was just there, insubstantially there. It was gone too fast and Sarah knew only one thing.
She needed more. More, more, more…
It wasn’t long before Sarah got the hang of constantly wishing for more magic. A stream of thought barely spoken always existed. While she ate – while she washed – while she slept. As much as she tried to be without the magic for any period, she needed more. The magic was a drug – yet Sarah when realized this she shrugged it off. She was acting normally after all. So what if she was constantly mumbling – if behind every smile there were frantic eyes?
But Sarah was normal – she hung out with friends, she went to the movies, she worked through high school. She wasn’t the most popular girl – more on the fringe honestly, but she attracted attention even though she didn’t notice it. Her dark locks against her pale skin were fascinating in comparison to the bleached blondes around her. She walked in a knowing way that turned heads – and she had this look in her eyes that none could place.
But something always distracted those boys from asking her out. A force, something invisible, a line that couldn’t be crossed. Whatever it was, it did its job, and Sarah flew solo until her senior year.
That was when Chris Stevens crossed the line and asked her to dinner at the diner. Sarah was surprised, but said yes.
Several dates in Sarah found herself enjoying herself – too much in fact. She found herself having trouble concentrating on her mantra – she’d find herself gasping at all the wrong times and moments, and occasionally at the right ones for all the wrong reasons.
Sarah broke up with Chris and the magic came again. Content, Sarah started dating a fellow from her Trig class. It took one week for her to realize that her concentration wasn’t the thing that ceased the flow of magic.
Once she figured this out she didn’t go with her first action. She continued to enjoy male company. Whispers went around that Sarah ‘got around’ quite a bit compared to how she used to be, yet Sarah ignored them. Partially because her mind was grasping at the most microscopic threads of magic about her and couldn’t spare the thought – and partially because she wasn’t trying to make a point across to them, she was making one to him.
As she sunk deeper and deeper into the pit of quicksand she come across and flailed in, Sarah pushed on. She abandoned her schoolwork and her previous job. Her friends – were gone never spoken to. All she did was meditate on that fickle, disappearing magic, or slump around with whoever was the boyfriend of the week.
Not surprisingly, this didn’t last long. Her father and stepmother were good parents when something was right in front of them in fishnet stockings and leather mini skirt. She was immediately put into a home schooling program and forbidden to go outside unless it was for counseling or with one of her parents.
The magic returned, and Sarah would have sworn it was laughing at her. Laughing at how she grasped at it and embraced it more than she had any of the other men she’d gone around with, and laughing how she tried so hard to resist it, and her pride crumbling to rubble.
It was a horrible trick between the two – a game that had no beginning or end. Sarah thought she’d won in the beginning, but she learned all too soon that it was him winning all along.
He’d show up in her dreams, taunting and teasing. Fingers curled about her hair, and murmurs in her ear that made her flush. She could barely think amongst his presence and yet found she didn’t need to – for only when she was asleep did she not need to keep wishing and grasping so madly.
Yet the dreams scared her – more than not having the magic did, and she avoided sleep and the whispers that occurred. She ignored the silent laughs, the looks being given, and focused on just getting through each day.
But everyone has a breaking point – Sarah met hers, and in a collapsed sleep she came across the keen-eyed King. His promises danced before her eyes, and she agreed, her resolve swept away.
The King made his way to the heavy door. He had no need to knock and it swung open before him.
The room was dark. No windows – no candlelight – no openings. Just darkness. If you peered closely enough, a woman’s figure could be made out. She lay on her back on the cool, hard floor.
The King moved towards her and then knelt beside her. The woman (more like a girl honestly, but in his eyes she was a woman and that was that) had a dreamy look on her face and she seemed lost in her thoughts. A slight implacable grin was on her face.
It didn’t fit with her dark locks, but the King triumphed over it.
Brushing aside hair from the woman’s ear, he moved his lips to her ear. Enjoying yourself? He murmured.
Oh yes. She sighed happily. So much – it, it’s everywhere! So much!
He could have chuckled and she wouldn’t have noticed. He didn’t.
She nodded, eyes still open and searching the darkness in front of her. Nothing was there.
His hand crossed over her bosom to her shoulder, and he rolled her over towards him. She didn’t notice – and Jareth frowned. That would not do.
With a wave of his hand, the green eyes blinked. Once. Twice. Thrice. Awareness was there at last, and alarm as well.
The woman pushed back and away from the King. From not moving and just lying she was weak and her muscles gelatin. She did not move far.
YOU! she shrieked.
What? Not enjoying yourself any longer? He tsked. Such a shame…
Get away from me!
He moved his face towards hers. Their noses nearly touched, yet that was nothing. He lowered his hands to her hips and pulled her towards him.
No. He said evenly.
She again tried to move away and failed. Leave me alone. I want to go home – I wish I was home right now!
Nothing happened. Again, he tsked. Did you really think that was going to happen Sarah? That all of your problems would end with a simple finger snap?
You have no power over me!
He shook his head, and his blond hair intertwined with hers. Precious thing you gave me that power long ago…for what was it? How did you put it?
Jareth knew she was hearing her broken, pleading voice like he was. He relished that memory as well – sweet triumph.
She turned her pale head away. He wouldn’t have that, and firmly pulled her chin back. Water rimmed cheeks looked back.
Come now Sarah. He crooned. You have everything you want now – all the magic you could want and of course there’s me.
I didn’t ask for this!
He laughed that time. Oh my dear Sarah, I do believe you did. Remember? His mouth swooped in and caught her tempting lips. A struggling moment later he breathed into them, The Goblin King had fallen in love with the girl and given her certain powers…
I claim no ownership to Labyrinth. Again, this story was for The Starving Writer's Five Words, Five Stories challenge.
Please take the time to review and let me know what you think!