A Sickness Called Desire



Phase 1: Dreams and Tea

Sarah doesn't dream. Or at least, she doesn't anymore. She once used to dream plenty. About many things. Ripe melons growing large in the shuddering sunlight, children playing childhood games like hopscotch and doctor. Sarah remembers these dreams though they are swept back in the caverns of her soul, even the dark disturbing ones. A dark train thrusting through a dark tunnel, and of course, the darkest of the dark, the one that caused the darkness of her heart to go black: The Goblin King, floating above her, his dark gloved hand holding his mirrored crystal.

It is these memories of dreams that keep her from going mad. And it was only after her victory over The Goblin King, did these dreams halt their lulling lilting lullabies. Even after her parents died in a horrific train wreck and she was given laudanum to dope away her pain, even those deep sleeps did not give her the dreams she seeked. Only awake and in pain, could she fully slip away into dreaming.

Now, she sits, wrapped tightly in an afghan rug, sitting before a roaring fire. Her hand shakes as she lifts her teacup to her ruby red lips. The dopamine has not yet taken its effect, and she closes her eyes, searching for a reverie beyond her reach.

"Hey sis, where are you?" a bubbly voice chimes. A door opens and slam. Then opens and slams again, a fourteen year old Toby appears, his dirt bike with him. Honk Honk goes his bicycle horn, a greeting as Toby greets her with a smile.

"Toby," Sarah manages weakly. "I told you, the bike must stay outside."

"Aw, but I wanted to show you my new wheels! And you're too sick to go outside anymore!" Toby frowns, his beautiful young youthful face lamenting his sister's serious sickness.

"Oh Toby," Sarah sighs, puts down her teacup. The fire still roars. "Come here."

With a crash, the dirty bike falls in the hallway as Toby comes galloping to Sarah's side. He sits, burying his head in her lap as she strokes his young, lovely hair.

"You know that I love you more than anything," Sarah whispered hoarsely. She felt him nod, wordless as she stroked his hair. But as the grandfather clock above the mantel chimed, he felt his sister jump. Pulling himself out of her lap, he looked, lamentably into her sad brown eyes.

"What is it?" he asked worriedly, too worried for a young lovely boy.

Sarah shook her head. "It's nothing. Nothing." She closed her eyes, trying not to remember the chiming of the thirteenth hour and Jareth, glorious and white before her.

You have no power over me.

Yes but how wrong she was! Now she had no power over anything, not even her own bowel movements. Sarah breathes deeply and meets Toby's worried eyes. His hand reaches up to touch her pale pale face. But instead his clumsy knee meets her abandoned teacup and a dark stain presses itself upon the pure whiteness of the rug.

"Toby," Sarah chides gently.

"I'll get Nurse Beatrice!" Toby replied, standing to attention, rushing out of the room as if an army of ghosts is chasing him down a moonlit path.

Sarah's eyes rest upon the clock. It has been a few months since she has been diagnosed with lymphoma and ever since then, she watches the clock with a hawk's eye. As if it is the only timepiece that will inform her of what time she has left. She looks down at the teacup, and attempts to lift it, but she is as weak as a newborn kitty. Her tendons ache with effort.

Just in time, Nurse Beatrice appears. Her face soft and grandmotherly.

"Is the mistress wanting more tea?" the nurse asked, cleaning up the mess.

"Yes Beatrice, thank you." Sarah put a hand over her eyes.

"Which is the mistress hankering for? The Lipton?"

"That's fine Beatrice, thank you."

"Hows bouts the Salada?"

"The first is fine, Beatrice."

"Or the Barry's?"

Sarah sighed. "The Lipton please Beatrice."

Nurse Beatrice hobbled over to the door. "How abouts a taste of the new Fortnum and Mason?"

Sarah felt tears roaring up into her eyes. Why was life so difficult! So sad, and so difficult!

Nurse Beatrice noticed her lady's sad expression. " Perhaps the misses would maybe like me to put all of them in a cup with some nice hot water?"

Sarah sniffed. "Yes, yes that would be nice. Thank you Nurse Beatrice."

Sarah presses a weak hand to her burning forehead. Why am I so hot? She wondered, pulling the afghan tighter around herself as Nurse Beatrice returned to add more wood to the fire.

Sarah nodded, closed her eyes. For a moment she wondered if this really was it. If she really was terminal, if she really was going to die. She was only twenty-eight years old. Her acting career was ready to break through when she was diagnosed; Toby was in a good school. And this dream house of hers in warm Santa Barbara was paid for. She would never know the feel of the stage again, or see Toby grow up. And she would never fulfill her desire to know the warm burning hot touch of a man.

Yes, she had known love. She had even been engaged during college to a beautiful beautician named Brett. He had respected her purity, was ready to wait until their wedding night. But she knew, deep down, that was not the reason. It was the Labyrinth that held her back. It was the memories of Jareth.

"Ms. Sarah! Ms. Sarah wake up!"

Sarah shook her head, her sad brown eyes opened to meet the kind soft face of Nurse Beatrice. She nodded, allowing Beatrice to help her up and take her upstairs.

Sarah remembered how much she used to love her room. How her father and stepmother would often times beg her to come outside with promises of Shakespeare plays and romance magazine subscriptions.

Now, she abhorred her room. It was always dark and smelled of sickness. The windows before her bed were always kept shut, for once this day the shades were pulled open to reveal day breaking into night. Here she was hooked up to an IV, and sometimes even a ventilator, the *whoosh* whoosh noises it made, kept her awake and shaking.

Her eyes had slowly been giving way, so all of her beautiful books, such as her complete collector's edition of Danielle Steele novels, rotted on the bookcase. All she could do now was watch television and daydream about The Goblin City.

But for some reason, this late afternoon turning into night, Sarah slept. Sarah dreamed.

She was back in the ballroom, back dancing with Jareth. He was before her, dressed in the finest of blue crushed velvet, his hair streaked in the most magnificent of blue hues. His hands held hers and she admired his amazing manicure as they twirled and twirled ceaselessly, never dizzying, never tiring of one another.

"Sarah," he whispered. "Your eyes are so beautiful."

Sarah smiled, whispering back, "I'm wearing contacts. Oh Jareth, there is so much—"

Jareth pressed a well-moisturized finger to Sarah's lips. "Shhh, don't talk. We have all night."

He dipped her deep, almost to the floor, as the masqueraded couples around them cheered and laughed.

Jareth smiled, his tongue flicking over his pointy teeth. "How does I feel, my dear sweet soul, to be the one with no power?" His mismatched eyes glowed, as Sarah began to shake.

Sarah awoke with a start, sweating from the top of her forehead, to the lower part of her forehead.

You have no power over me.

She shook with fear, loss, remorse, regret, many emotions swirling and churning together in a large mix of sad sad colors. Her first dream in so long! A dream she had dreamed to dream for so many years! And Jareth, beautiful Jareth. He had looked at her like—like she had lost. Like he really knew that she was losing. Losing her life.

Sarah wanted to cry, to scream. But she was so very tired. The TV blared on, the picture shuddering, then shutting off completely.

Sarah stared at the blank television as the trees outside her window began to dance as a furious wind tangled itself upon their glistening arms. She heard the distant rumble of thunder, as her ventilator sputtered then stood still, silent as well as the black TV.

"What's going on…" she whispered worldlessly, pulling her afghan closer, sweat on her brow as the fire in the fireplace crackled wildly. Sarah held the afghan tighter as she felt a breeze caress the back of her neck, until it was a full out mid-heavy breeze, shaking the curtains into a frenzy.

Sarah tried to leave her bed; to escape from what she knew was inescapable. She grabbed on tightly to the bedpost, heaving her heaviness out of the bed as owl eyes met her own. She fell to the floor, gasping for breath as the creature slammed its iridescent ivory opaque body across the floor and towards the closed door. But she was too late, for with a mighty slam, the windows flew open, allowing entrance to this powerful vessel.

"No," Sarah cried out. "No! It was just a dream. It was just a dream—"

She turned to see booted feet before her. Her eyes traveled dup to the stately body of The Goblin King, clothed in the most beautiful black velour, encumbered with priceless rubies. His wild ash blond hair caressed the stale air, as he bent down to her.

"A dream?" Jareth whispered to the shivering girl. "Sarah, light of my darkness, you have always known I am all your dreams. Your fantasies."

"No, please," Sarah begged, clinging to his flowing poet's shirt. Her hand grazed on his slightly bared, muscled chest. "You have to let me—" she gasped for breath. "Let me—"

"Let you die my sweet berry? No. I am here to save you. To take you back."

Sarah struggled. "But you can't! You won't!"

Jareth's multihued eyes went dark. "This is not an option." He swept her up with hard anger.

Sarah tried to fight him with all her might, as his lips pressed down on her damp mouth.