Disclaimer: I DO NOT own the Labyrinth or any of its characters. I do however own Krystal, and Jason, but if anyone wants him…they can surely have him. ~ Nev
Chapter One: Getting Out
"The human heart at whatever age, opens only to the heart that opens in return," ~ Maria Edgeworth
The sound of a child's screaming cries startled Sarah Williams. She sat up quickly in her bed, searching for the room. Krystal, her baby daughter of two years, was gone. Immediately, she jumped up, sheets flying everywhere as she leapt out of bed. She threw open her bedroom door, running down the hall to the living room. The sight she saw there made her want to scream herself.
Her husband, Jason, was holding her toddler by the door, looking as if he was going to leave with her. Krystal was crying, mumbling pleas to her father so he would put her back down. To anyone else, this would have seemed odd and out of place, but to Sarah, she was sad and ashamed to admit that this was fairly a normal occurrence.
"Jason!" her throat felt hoarse from having yelled previous to this evening. "Put her down."
Words were only words, or so she had thoughts for many years of her life. No sooner had she said this, than her husband dropped their daughter to the floor. It was only by her solid reflexes that she managed to dive across the floor, scraping her stomach on broken glass, and catch Krystal.
Getting to her feet, holding her shaking child to her chest, Sarah glared at Jason. It was easy for her to tell he had been drinking again. The disarray of the house was one point. The glossy gaze of his eyes and the non-comprehendible stare made it obvious. He didn't seem to have a care in the world, unlike her, who was bleeding all over her stomach. She was worried for the well being of her daughter.
She glanced down at Krystal, staring deeply into her eyes. They were sparkling with unshed tears while her face was damp with already shed ones. Her short brown hair was tussled about her, giving her a rugged appearance. She looked pretty shaken up, and for good reasons.
"Go to my room, baby," Sarah said softly to her. "Go back to sleep." Gently, she set Krystal down. The small girl watched her mother for a moment, hesitating to leave her, then ran off, slamming the door of the bedroom behind her.
"You have no right!" Sarah hissed, turning back to Jason.
Wrong thing to say. A burning pain erupted in her cheek. Inside her mouth, she could taste the essence of her blood. The skin had broke. Slowly, she raised her face to meet his again, only to be rewarded by a punch in the stomach. She seesawed backwards, collapsing on the floor. Her lungs ached from the force of his hit. The feeling gave a whole new meaning to the phrase, "I got the wind knocked out of me."
"I'm her father! It's my right to do what I want with her!" he bellowed, looking murderous. The fire in his eyes was so intense that she cringed back, wishing she could sink into the floor and disappear forever. It was this part of herself that she hated.
At times she was so scared for her life, so fearful of what he might do, that she thought of running away. This dream was merely that. It was a fantasy she was sickened to have because it showed how weak she was. Her fear made her stand out as a bad wife and a horrible mother. If she couldn't be strong enough to stand up to her husband herself, she had to at least do it for her daughter. Krystal deserved it.
Jason had never been like this before. Quite on the contrary. He had been one of the most understanding and compassionate people she had ever met. When they had hooked up in college, she had thought she found her soul mate. They had gotten married when she was twenty-two. Then when Krystal had been born, the trouble came tumbling along.
First, it was just little things. Jason would be half and hour later than normal, or he would forget to stop by the grocery store to pick up a carton of milk. Then, things started to get worse. Jason wouldn't come home at all. He ignored Krystal, lost his temper more and more often, and then came that night when the worst of the worst had happened. The night he had first struck Sarah was burned into her memory forever.
The day had started out like any other. It had occurred about seven months ago. Sarah woke up, took her shower, and went to work, dropping Krystal off at the local daycare on the way. She worked at a publishing company. It was as close as she could get to being an author, which was what she had gone to school for. She spent her days there, organizing paperwork, before filing it away in the appropriate drawer.
After her long, rather boring day, she picked Krystal up. She had been pleased that her daughter was fitting in. When she had been in school, she had never been popular, but at the same time, she hadn't been a total outcast. She was just somewhere in between. It could be a gift, as well as a curse.
They got home and no one else was there, or so Sarah had thought. She had turned the TV on for her toddler before she set off to go into her bedroom to change. A most disgusting display had unfolded in front of her. Her husband was engaged in sexual activities with another woman.
At first, she was too shocked to do anything. When reality sunk in, she cleared her throat. Jason got up, looked around, and saw her. A few minutes had gone by in a blur, and then the skinny blonde was gone leaving Sarah in her place, who had been sending angry glares at a man who had vowed to be faithful to her.
"Who was she?" Sarah had asked, hands on her hips.
"Does it really matter? You'll just beat yourself up over nothing anyway," Jason had replied, sitting down on the edge of the ruffled bed.
"How long as this been going on?"
He glanced at her, before he had lit up a cigarette. She had snatched it out of his hand, tromping it out on the floor. She had to worry about her two-year-old getting lung cancer already. "About three months…at least with Janna," he had shrugged, not caring.
""You mean there have been more!" she demanded, raising her voice.
"I guess that says something about you, Sarah, doesn't it?" he snapped back, leveling his gaze with hers.
"I'm leaving," she had stated suddenly. "And I'm taking Krystal with me."
"Like hell you are," he growled, grabbing her arm roughly. He had thrown her down on the floor, standing over her with no mercy in his eyes. She was more than glad she had shut the door. She had no intentions of letting Krystal see any of this. The youngster wouldn't understand anything that was going on and Jason was in such a rage, she was afraid he'd hit his own child.
"You're mine," Jason had growled, yanking her off the floor by the same arm as before.
"Let me go!" she had shrieked, swinging her arms around, trying to claw at him.
"Shut up, bitch!" he had shouted, letting her have it. He had backhanded her across the face, making her fly back down to the floor. Sarah was in such shock, she could only tremble on the floor, too fearful to move. "Are you scared, dear?" he had taunted, before kicking her in the ribs. She screamed, feeling something crack. "Awww, I'm sorry," he had mocked. "Let me help you up." He picked her up, only to drop her again.
Jason had left then, not even bothering to conceal his beaten wife. Krystal had been left to discover her mother, lying on the floor, cradling her side where she was sure there was a broken rib. Being only a little over two, she didn't know what to do, so she curled up against Sarah, and had laid there until she fell asleep. (A/N: I got that part from the Lion King where Simba lays by Mufasa. It is so sad. *tear*)
After thirty minutes of lying on the floor, Sarah had managed to crawl away from her daughter, over to the telephone. Dialing 911, she politely and calmly asked from some medical assistance. Within a speedy ten minutes, an ambulance was waiting outside her home, ready to take her to the hospital.
One of the paramedics had taken Krystal along, sure the child would want to see her mother when she woke up. Sarah recalled how they had looked at her wounds. They had pestered her with dozens of questions regarding how she had received the injuries. She had fed them some bull about falling down the steps. She had thought they would realize what had really gone on. They had acted like they did, but none of them had brought up the subject. Instead, they had done their medical duty and stuck out of her personal life.
Looking back on it all, she saw a chance at getting out, an easy way out. If she had just told someone that day, Krystal would be safe, the next seven months of bruises, cuts, scrapes, and broken bones would be only nightmares. However, she had been naïve in thinking that Jason would change and his actions were normal. Now, she had to find another way out. Now it was harder.
Glancing up at Jason she wondered briefly where she had lost all her innocence. She had thought she had grown up when she arrived home from the Labyrinth, but now, sitting here on the floor of her own home, she wondered if she had ever really given up on the idea of a fairy tale romance until this moment.
When Jason had proposed, she had thought it was perfect. He had taken her out to eat at an expensive restaurant, just like in the movies. He waited for the end of the night as they strolled along the sidewalk, lit by stars and city lights. Things were so calm and romantic between them that when he had first started speaking, she had wanted him to stop. Then he popped the question, the one question a guy was always suppose to ask. From there on, things had been different with them. Just as they were different now.
Snapping back to reality, she tried to stand up. His right foot made contact with her collar bone, as he effortlessly shoved her back to the floor, where she now found herself more and more time with when he was present.
"You're no match for me, Sarah," he stated, laughing as he always did when he was in one of his drunken rages. It took her a second to realize where she had heard those same words from before.
All these years, she had not thought of him once. Once her mirror no longer worked for her, she decided that her friends from the Labyrinth didn't want anything to do with her anymore. She gave up on calling them. The memories of what had happened started to fade, until the whole occurrence seemed more like a wonderful dream than an actual event of her past.
Sir Didymus had been such an odd creature at first. She wondered if he knew he was a dog whose own steed was actually a dog as well. In fact, Ambrosia reminded her a great deal of her dog, Merlin, who had sadly died a year before she had gone off to college.
Ludo, though large and scary at times, was nothing more than a misunderstood child. He had great strength. His unique talent at calling rocks to his aid was something she was sure to never forget.
Hoggle had been there for her. Though he was rather fickle at points, in the end he had shown his true colors. He had proved to her that he was a trustworthy friend and she would never hesitate to place her life in his hands again. She missed him the most.
As she filled her mind with the good thoughts of her old friends, she found a deep courage that had been hidden inside her since the time she had run the Labyrinth to save Toby. This was like the maze. She had to fight it to save Krystal. She had to stand up to Jason, fight back, win her freedom. It was like in all the fairy tale novels she had read as a child. She had to be the heroine. She was the one who needed to win the battle.
On weary legs, she stood up. Jason glared at her, not believing she would dare to defy him once again. He took a swing at her, barely missing as she ducked her head under his fist. She saw the brown bottle in his hand. He was at it again. The drink was making him slow, but he was still dangerous. She would have to be extra careful.
Sarah landed a punch in between his shoulder and his neck. He tilted his head toward where the blow had landed, crying out in pain. She stepped backwards, knowing his instinctive move was to strike her back. The thrill of finally doing what was right swam through her veins quickly. She watched him come towards her and without hesitation, she kicked him behind the joint of his kneecap.
Jason knelt over, trying not to hit the ground, but he did. When he hit, the sound echoed through Sarah's ears. A tiny smile formed on her lips. She had done it. He was down there for a first, clutching his shoulder, instead of the other way around. She beamed.
"Mommy?" a small voice came from the hallway.
She turned toward the doorway, where she could see the outline of Krystal's shadow as it lingered just outside of her bedroom door. "Go back inside, hunnY!" Sarah's last syllable came out as a cry of anguish as she fell to the floor. She could feel the pain in her left shoulder as it exploded. Blood began creating a crimson river that flowed down her both her front and her back. Jason had slammed his beer bottle onto her. The alcohol was making the pain much worse than just the glass, which had provided her with a generous gash.
"Mommy!" Krystal flew out of the hallway. Sarah's eyes widened as she saw Jason take in the scene. She wouldn't let him hurt her daughter. She pulled Krystal down against her, out of the way as Jason's fist came swishing past.
"Stop it!" Sarah screamed, not knowing what else to do. How did you stop someone like this when you were so badly injured?
"Mommy," her daughter was crying now, shaking violently in her arms. That was when Sarah saw what she was clinging to. She didn't even bother to ask her where she had found it. A book, small and red, was in Krystal's hands. Seeing where her mother's eyes were lingering, Krystal opened the book up to a random page, but Sarah knew what was written on it by heart.
Just as Jason prepared to bring the rest of his broken bottle down on her head, she said, soft and tiredly, "I wish the Goblin King would come take us away right now."
Then all was still.
A/N: Like it? Hate it? Was it too depressing? It'll get better, I just was heading for suspense. I have read and seen a lot of what physical abuse can do to someone and it made me want to write this fanfic. It's a serious problem. If you or somebody you know is experiencing it, get help and get help now! ~ Nev