Categories > Movies > Labyrinth

The Present

by shadowlurker13 0 reviews

A redo of the Tunnel Scene, inspired by Jane Eyre.

Category: Labyrinth - Rating: PG - Genres: Fantasy - Published: 2017-07-22 - 1351 words - Complete

The Present



Summary: A redo of the Tunnel Scene, inspired by Jane Eyre.

(As usual, I own none of this, probably not even the stuff that’s public domain, you know the drill.)

Author’s Note: So I’ve been reading the books Brian Froud said influenced the character development of Jareth and have come to the conclusion that he’s mostly Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights, with bits of The Scarlet Pimpernel and Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre thrown into the mix. It is interesting noting where they got certain ideas, however, not just for him but for the movie, and the revelation at the end of the gypsy scene from Jane Eyre looks so much like Jareth stepping out of his disguise in the Tunnel Scene that this reinterpretation immediately sprang to mind.

The subterranean hallway was every bit as cold and damp as it looked but Sarah was too preoccupied at the moment to truly care: she had just escaped a dungeon cell and secured herself nominally safe passage further into the Labyrinth for the time being by bribing a dwarf. The talking walls had been a bit unnerving but the reassurance that she was finally traveling in the right direction lifted her spirits a bit.

At least until one of Jareth’s crystals rolled by them completely of its’ own accord and hopped neatly into the tin cup of an odd blind beggar, who was seated with his back to the wall, legs drawn in. A large, wide-brimmed gray hat and the clothing on his back appeared to be the sum of his possessions, but in spite of his humble appearance her companion was as wide-eyed as if he had just seen the devil. The stranger must have heard them approach because he addressed them.

“Well, well, what’ve we here?”

The dwarf was about to voice a feeble protest of innocence but Sarah quickly answered first.

“My name is Sarah and I’m just on my way through to the castle.”

“I know,” the stranger replied in his thin, rasping voice. “I know much about you, Sarah Williams, even though I cannot see you. Come closer,” he beckoned with one gloved hand.

Hoggle was positively white, frozen in place, but Sarah was intrigued and crouched before the beggar; she felt it was rather rude to tower over someone so small, let alone disabled. Even standing, the creature couldn’t have been taller than four feet. Upon further inspection, Sarah noted that a bandage covered his eyes - perhaps he had been wounded - and his mouth had a distinctly beaklike shape, with the nose mostly incorporated into it. The beggar seemed to sense her presence because he turned to her and reached out.

“Let me see your face, young one,” he asked, and Sarah took him by the wrist, carefully bringing up his hand until he could touch her. She closed her eyes as thin fingertips feathered swiftly over her features and he withdrew again.

“That you are rash and impulsive I knew already from your mere presence here,” he began, “but you bear traits of true strength and courage, which are commendable. There are marks of potential for high intelligence but also a decided lack of experience that counters it. You have much capacity for compassion, yet you are shrewd beyond your years and not afraid of breaking a few rules to achieve your own ends.”

He paused and turned slightly in the direction of Hoggle, who was practically shaking in his boots by this point; Sarah swore she actually felt his attention shift. But the moment was over - he made an odd quiet noise in the back of his throat that could have been a chortle and turned back to Sarah.

“In light of what I have seen in you, you must be on your guard against overestimating yourself; you are far from invincible and could easily be killed in this place. Or beguiled by the one who rules it.” The beggar’s facial features inhibited his expressions considerably, but Sarah could tell from his tone of voice that he had just smiled. “I cannot say whether you will be successful in your venture,” he suddenly sounded a bit sarcastic, “but you have already outperformed the King’s expectations of you.”

Sarah was amazed. The beggar was obviously a fortune-teller by trade but he probably could’ve chosen a better locale to ply it. “Thank you - I think. May I ask why you’re down here all by yourself? It seems a lonely place to do business.”

All she got in lieu of response was an eerie cackle of a laugh that set her nerves on edge.

“…well,” she started again bravely, “do you at least know which way we should go from here?”

The beggar cocked his head to one side and Sarah belatedly realized that the mannerism was horribly familiar.

“If you and your companion value your continued safety, you will take the passage to the right. It dead-ends, but there is a false wall - break through and you will be on your way.”

Sarah stood and was about to thank him again when she noted his tin cup: she really should give him something, but what? It was then that she remembered her mother’s ring; perhaps it would be worth something here. Taking it off, she bent down and dropped it into the cup, where it landed with a distinct metallic plink.

“Take care” was all she got to say because the next thing she knew Hoggle had grabbed her nearest hand and was dragging her off down the right-hand tunnel just as fast as his legs could carry him, the fear still plain in his features.

“What on earth is wrong with you?! He was nice!” she yelled at him irritably.

“You silly little fool!” he shot back. “That was the king! And we needed the other passage!”

Sarah gasped, wide-eyed, and dared a glance behind as they ran. Far in the distance she distinctly saw the small blind beggar stand up a full six feet tall, his build and features now a man’s, and the figure threw the hat aside as his long golden mane spilled out from under it. He met her gaze with heat. Sarah quickly looked back ahead, running harder.

The king of the goblins chuckled to himself as he watched their hasty retreat. Even with his toady in danger of defecting, forcing them to go the wrong way here would add hours to the course Sarah had to run and perhaps would be enough to intimidate the dwarf out of any further assistance. That had ostensibly been the reason he had come, but really he could’ve sent any of his better-trained soldiers if that had been all. The fact was he was terribly curious about her. Everything he had just told Sarah about herself had been completely true; he had wanted an excuse to learn her attributes firsthand so he could better understand this unusual opponent - the fact alone that she had even made it this far had initially been unnerving. Of course there was more to it - much more - but he would not allow himself to entertain such thoughts actively just yet. He was still fingering the ring she had given him. Unlike the cheap, worthless string of baubles she had obviously bribed the dwarf with, the ring was real: carefully worked sterling silver with a small garnet set in the center. And it had been given in goodwill, an act not taken lightly in Faerie. He had yet to decide what he wanted to do about it - such an offering had to be reciprocated and he was slightly bemused that Sarah had managed to put him in quandary without even trying to. Perhaps he wouldn’t personally hinder her as much as he should in the course ahead. He looked down at the garnet, sparkling faintly in the torchlight, and smiled a small private smile.

He would cover her in jewels.

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