A tawny colored barn owl perched on a weepy looking oak tree. If one looked closely at the bird, they could see that the creature's eyes were contrasting colors. However, the owl and his tree were hardly noticed against the large house and the busy yard. Four cars were in the driveway, significafying that all members of the house were home still.
This was the home of the Williams-Ashton family. Sarah Williams stood in the living room, looking into a mirror. She was an older woman, at forty five, but one could tell. Her raven hair showed no signs of grey, her pale skin still without wrinkles or age signs. Also, the fact that she was pregnant also made her look younger. She had nothing but a baby bump, but it was still visible in her tight black dress. The baby was a surprise, but a welcomed surprise. Aging, she figured that her most nearly adult twin daughters were enough, but accepted her last chance at motherhood.
"Des, have you seen my earrings? The circle gangly ones." Sarah called out, a young blonde woman walking behind her.
The blonde laughed lightly, leaning against the back of the couch. "Such a way with words, Mom. I can totally believe you're a published writer." Iris Desdemona Ashton, named after a Greek goddess and a Shakespeare character, was the absolute light of her parent's eyes, along with her twin sister. "Also, no, I haven't. Maybe Poppy has seen them."
"Very funny." Sarah said, rolling her eyes playfully. While Des certainly looked more like her father, she had more of her mother's personality. This was frustrating to Sarah when her twins were young. But, hey, at least none of the girls had summoned a Goblin King to take the other one away. Of course, Sarah had told her girls the story, but that's all she made it; a bedtime story to calm down screaming toddlers. She still thought about it, and missed some of the creatures she met, and had a few inside jokes with Toby about it, but that's as far as it went. It had been at least twenty years since she had seen Hoggle or Ludo. She hadn't even seen any owls around. To Sarah, it was just a part of her past.
A pair of large circle hoop earrings being set in front of her, interrupting her thoughts. "Here you go, Mom." She met the eyes of her youngest twin. Persephone, or simply, Poppy, was her carbon copy, and it was clear that she was her mother. Poppy had the same raven hair and bushy dark brows. Her eyes were the same, except for a ring of brown around her pupils. Both girls were the perfect combination of their parents. Where Des had the Greek goddess beauty of her soft spoken father, she also the snarkiness and wit of Sarah. While Poppy had the eye-catching dark beauty of her mother, she was quiet and minded her own business like James did. At this moment, Sarah felt incredibly lucky.
"Why are you looking at me like that?" Poppy smiled, her deep voice happy.
Sarah walked over to her girls, throwing her arms over their shoulders. Sarah and Poppy were the same height, while Des was only slightly shorter.
"Am I not allowed to love my beautiful children?" Sarah proclaimed, dramatically. Poppy and Des laughed, and their mother hugged them.
"Don't forget about the little creature in there!" James Ashton, was, as of that day, Sarah's husband of twenty three years. He still had his boyish, blonde good looks from when they met. He joined the family in completing the hug. Once they broke away from each other, James looked at his children. "Your mother and I will be back in the morning tomorrow, are you sure you two can handle it?"
Both girls groaned at the same time. "Dad, we've been doing this every year since we were seven." Poppy said, feeling coddled.
"Yeah," Des added, doing a Twin Thing and coming to her rescue. "And not once has anyone died or got stolen." Both girls nodded, and Sarah chuckled. She could remember being like this.
Sarah touched the arm of her husband. "We left money for food, you can leave the house as long as you come back before sunrise, and no dumb boys. We don't need another baby here." Des screwed up her face, and looked at Poppy. Des had asked Poppy to stay home for the night while she went to an overnight party. She would be back at sunrise, to avoid her parents finding out. Poppy agreed happily, getting the house and food money for herself.
"Of course. Same rules as always." Poppy smiled sweetly, comforting her parents that they could leave without anxiety. They weren't overbearing, they just needed reassuring before they could leave.
James looked at Sarah, and she nodded. The couple had unspoken conversations; in over two decades, they remained as passionate as they were when they first met. "Well, all right." Sarah smiled, going over to kiss Des and Poppy on the forehead. "Don't get too wild!"
Poppy sat on her bed, watching Des curl her golden blonde hair. A sudden streak of color passed by the two story window, making Poppy force herself to look at the window. 'That's comforting. Since I'm staying here alone.' she thought.
"Thank you so much for doing this, really." Des turned from her reflection in the mirror to her fraternal twin. "I thought they wouldn't ever leave." She chuckled, hugging Poppy. "Next time you need someone to cover for you, I totally will."
Poppy nodded, forgetting all about whatever passed by the window. "It's not a big deal, Des. I need to do some stuff anyways." she smile turned into a smirk. "Besides, I need some time away from you." The girl faked being tired, dramatically throwing her hand over her forehead.
Des slapped her shoulder and Poppy snickered. "Oh, whatever!" she said, as they started to leave her room to make their way to the front door. "I'll be back really early. Please lock the door, I don't want to come home and see your dead body in the kitchen because you left the door unlocked. I love you, and thanks again." she said, grabbing her purse.
Poppy grinned, genuinely. "I love you, too. Don't worry, I'll be here when you get back. "She opened the door, watching Des make her way to her sports car. "And, no boys!" Poppy called, mocking her mother. The blonde rolled her eyes and Poppy stayed to watch her drive away.
The eighteen year old had been home for a few hours now by herself. In that few hours, she had ordered three pizzas for herself and a huge storm had picked up. She was the smart one, not going out in a rainstorm. She couldn't shake the feeling that she was being watched, however. She knew if it was probably just because she knew she was alone, and was making herself paranoid. Or maybe her parents had installed cameras and knew she was alone and she was going to be in trouble. She could hear squawking outside and felt awful for whatever bird was having the worst day of its life out there. Looking to the clock, she realized it was already almost three in the morning. Jeez! Had they really been gone that long?
Poppy leaned over from her spot on the couch, and turned on the TV to whichever musical came up first on Netflix. The thundering storm and the squawking bird would snap her out of her early stages of sleep. The girl couldn't shake the feeling, even now, but she was too tired to care. Whoever wanted to kill her could, and she would be okay with that. Slowly, she drifted off to sleep.
As the storm raged on, nothing would wake her up. He was sure of it.
The tawny colored owl was indeed not an owl, and the source of her feelings of being watched. He could see her on the couch from the window. He vaguely wondered where Toby was. He saw her shift in her sleep, and he knew this part was done. He needed to get back, to welcome her back. This was perfect.
Poppy woke up, but somehow she knew this was a dream. She felt groggy like she would if she had really just woken up. The world around her was hazy, and glittery. Standing up, she felt like she was in a trance. Looking down at herself, she saw she was in the most gorgeous dress she'd seen in her life. It was huge white dress, with beautiful details. Her dark hair was up, and made into a beautiful, complicated undo. Coming into her senses, she noticed she held a mask in her hand. This was a dream and she knew somehow that she had to hold it up, hiding her upper face. She was mesmerized, seeing other couples in beautiful, matching costumes and seeing amazing decorations around her, this was the most calming place she had been in in her whole life. A man in a mask offered her a goblet, but she smiled and shook her head. Looking away from the servant, someone caught his eye.
That's when she saw him. He was the only one not wearing a mask, but she still kept her mask on. He was mesmerizingly beautiful with sharp, prominent features and a regal, masculine costume. He had long light blonde hair, and she noticed random blue streaks in his hair. The thing that drew her to him the most was his eyes. He had strong and dark brows that didn't match his hair. He had, what looked like, strong, bold eyeliner wings that met his brows, and a silver tint to his lids. His eyes themselves were striking. His left eye was a striking, light blue and his left eye was a tawny brown, with a large pupil. They contrasted each other and Poppy felt herself literally be pulled to him.
Her heart skipped a beat. Who was he? Why did he look so familiar... He was a fair bit taller than she was, and now she was in front of him. Looking up at him, she was speechless, and she felt his hands around her waist. This man was in her dreams and she was in love with him already. A large smile graced her features, and his smile got even wider and she felt happy. In his eyes, she could see that he was looking into the eyes of someone he loved. How did she dream up him? Completely comfortable with him, Poppy lowered her mask, looking up at him.
Everything that happened next was blurry. In an instant, his lovingly gaze turned to hate. The eyes that drew her to him suddenly terrified her, she pit of her stomach felt empty. He pushed her forcefully away from him, and she fell to the floor. Looking up at him, tears filled her eyes. She watched the stranger leave, and he never broke eye contact with her. The air turned smoky, and but his blue and brown irises' stayed in her mind.
The crowd that was dancing around her as taunting her from where she lay on the ground. Hands were touching her and ripping away the jewelry from her neck and pulling the jewels out of her hair.
"Help!" She cried out, and the stranger simply watched her from the back of the room. "Please!" She sobbed, this was a nightmare now.
Balling up his fist, Jareth made the floor she was laying on collapse. He watched the imposter fall and he heard her scream and sob.
Who was she?! He angrily thought. Everything was perfect! How was it not Sarah?! Sarah lived in that house, he knew it! Who the hell was this girl? She looked like her; amazingly so! But it wasn't her! He didn't care where she went, as long as she was away from him. Sending her back to her realm was what he sent her to do. She needed to go away.
Balling his fist, the dream shattered, and Jareth was suddenly in his chambers. He grabbed a goblet that was near and threw it against the wall; red, thick liquid splattered the wall. He was fuming with rage, and sat down on a chair, throwing his head into his hands.
How could I mess it up?
Being hung over and awake at five in the morning was not fun. At all. Des had promised that she would be home to avoid her parents. Pulling into the driveway, she saw that everything was okay; Poppy's car was in the driveway and no broken windows or an open front door, so that was good. She came in the door, quietly closing the door. A blanket and pillow were on the couch and a popup asking if someone was still watching Netflix took over the TV. Des became nervous, but figured that she was just in the bathroom. Des pulled out her phone, calling her sister.
When the Game of Thrones ringtone played from the floor, she became frantic. Poppy's iPhone had five missed calls and 10 missed texts from as early as three in the morning. This wasn't like her. She always had her phone with her.
Des grabbed both of the phones, and raced upstairs, looking everywhere. Poppy wasn't a person to play jokes like this. She wasn't anywhere to be seen. Des felt as her breath became heavy and tears clouded her vision.
Coming back down stairs, she looked around everywhere again. Her already panicked thoughts were interrupted when the front door opened. Seeing Des, Sarah knew something was wrong as soon as they made eye contact.
"Baby, what's wrong?" she asked, dropping her purse on the ground and opening her arms. Des threw herself into her mother's arms.
"Poppy is gone and it's all my fault!"