Just a quick note and a standard disclaimer: It is not mine. *pouts* Not an ounce of it. I do not own the movie Labyrinth or any of the wonderful characters from that most fantastic film. *hangs her head sadly and sighs* Those are all the property of Jim Henson and Company. I am, however, playing with them most joyfully. *smiles mischievously* It's all in good fun. So, please don't sue me. I don't have anything worth value anyway, really, except my rich fantasy world. I've thrown in a few characters of my own just for good measure. This is my first attempt at fan fiction, and I hope it doesn't disappoint. Please read and review. Rip it apart, I'll love you for it. Have fun!

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Sarah blinked frantically, her eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness surrounding her. She was outside, somewhere unfamiliar. A maroon sky spattered with glimmering stars spread out above her, but she didn't recognize any of the constellations. The moon hung low in the sky, casting a surreal glow down into the pathway in which she was standing. She looked around. Stone walls rose up to a tall height on either side of her, obscuring any view of her surroundings. Tangled branches lay on the ground at her feet.

A cool breeze swept through the narrow passageway, causing goose bumps to rise on the bare flesh of her arms. Sarah reached up to pull her coat around her to ward off the chill, but it wasn't there. Glancing down, she realized that her clothes were changed. Instead of a warm winter sweater and slacks she last wore, there was a pair of faded blue jeans and a cream linen blouse with an embroidered vest. She vaguely remembered the ensemble as something she had worn once, but couldn't remember when.

Strange, she thought. Where am I?

Sarah turned down the way to her left, and then to her right, but saw no openings. Just cold stone that spread out as far as she could see in the dark. She began to feel a frantic sense of desperation.

How did I get here? What is this place?

Panic began to creep up from the base of her spine, but Sarah pushed it back down. Her fear wouldn't help her get out. She shivered involuntarily.

Oh, damn. This is ridiculous. There has to be a door somewhere. I've just got to find it.

She turned down to her left, beginning to walk cautiously down the path, silently reassuring herself that she would find a door quickly. There had to be a way out, didn't there? Of course. She walked slowly at first, and then nervous determination spurred her to increase her steps until she was jogging. Quick glances to her left and right revealed no escape. There were no openings. She stopped running.

It just goes on and on... I'll never get out, she thought. Where the hell am I!?

Sarah broke into a charging sprint, running down the passageway. Gnarled branches, scattered on the stone floor, threatened to trip her as she ran. But the view didn't change. It was just the same unchanging walls as far as she could go.

A mysterious, infuriating sense of déjà vu possessed her and Sarah gave a frustrated cry. She threw herself against the cold, damp wall, collapsing into a crouched position, folding into herself as far as she could. This is not happening, she thought. I'm not lost! She stifled a sob. Cold, bitter tears stung her eyes but she wiped them away impatiently. She was trapped...

No, she thought defiantly, I won't give up. There's got to be a way. Just then, she heard something.

A soft rustling sound was echoing off the walls of the passageway. She glanced up and saw a glint of moonlight reflecting off of something. An object that was moving toward her down the path. She jumped up, flattening herself against the unyielding stone, silently willing herself to vanish into it. As her fear mounted, the shining object came into clearer view. It was a small crystal orb, and it was rolling quickly toward her, weaving from side to side as though it were consciously avoiding the debris that littered the passageway.

How? Sarah wondered, perplexed.

Her fear returned as she saw it was coming very fast, closing in on her with every second. She tried to shake off her paralysis, but failed to bring herself to turn and run as the crystal slowed to a sudden stop a mere foot from her trembling form. Sarah looked at it with an overwhelming combination of fear and fascination - wanting simultaneously to flee and reach down to touch the orb that stood expectantly at her feet. A penetrating sense of foreboding filled her.

"It's a crystal, nothing more." A haunting voice came from the recesses of her mind, taunting her, mocking her fear.

No! I am not afraid. Sarah thought. She stepped forward, away from the wall into the center of the pathway, regarding the item in front of her determinedly. She crouched slowly, peering into the depths of the crystal. There, floating within the orb, she saw a pair of eyes staring back at her. Fear shot through her and Sarah screamed.

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A low screeching wail and a hiss of metal on metal echoed through her mind as Sarah jerked awake. Her eyes shot open, fear possessing her, hot adrenaline coursing through her veins. She stifled a cry, blinking her eyes thankfully while they adjusted to the harsh light that greeted her. She winced as she reached up to brush the hair out of her face.

I must have fallen asleep again. She thought. But what was I dreaming?

Her head was resting at a crude angle against the cold metal of the subway car. Her neck ached sharply as she raised her head to take in her surroundings. She tried to reclaim the memory of her dream, but as the veil of sleep left her it faded quickly away. What could have made her so afraid? Suddenly a raspy voice erupted through the quiet car "South Ferry. Terminating service. Exit to your right and stand clear of the closing doors." The doors were already open, faceless commuters shuffling out into the station.

Damn, she thought as she launched herself out of the uncomfortable plastic chair and into the poorly lit subway station, barely escaping the car doors closing behind her.

What's wrong with me tonight? She thought bitterly.

Collecting herself, the trudged up the stairwell into the bitter cold of the outdoors. Pulling her coat tightly around her, she silently cursed herself for not dressing warmer. Northeast winters were unforgiving, and the last thing she needed was to find herself sick during finals. As the resounding horn of the departing ferry met her ears she broke into a frantic sprint toward the terminal.

I can't miss this ferry, she thought anxiously as she began to run toward the glass doors. Up the escalator she ran, frustration overtaking her and she shouted to the attendant to wait.

Sarah slipped through the metal gates, and sighed with relief as she walked onto the ferry's outer deck. She followed the throng of passengers into the interior seating area and settled down on the nearest bench, laying her briefcase down next to her and reaching up to brush a wayward strand of brown hair out of her face.

Her senior year had been a whirlwind of pressure up until now, and she still had another semester to complete before walking at graduation in the spring, but this one had been the hardest so far. The demands of her classes and her internship had threatened to exhaust her. But thankfully now she was finished with that position. Today had been her last day of work. And tomorrow was the last day finals, just a paper and one more in- class exam to go. Saturday morning she would be home.

Glancing at the watch on her wrist, she realized bitterly that she would get back to campus just in time to make her tutoring appointment in the library. There would be no time to have dinner before meeting with the student, and she had so much work to do on her final paper before her mythology class the next morning.

A freezing wind came through the open door as others entered the interior of the ferry. It whipped around her, causing her to shiver. Reluctantly, she reached into her bag and pulled out a thin paperback textbook, worn with use. Pulling a highlighter out of the pocket of her bag, she tried to focus herself on the matter at hand. She could accomplish half an hour of studying before the ferry docked, a precious amount of time seeing as how much she had to get done.

As enjoyable as her time her internship was, she struggled in an attempt to balance both that and her intense class load, as well. Finals were upon her and she hadn't had enough time to prepare. But the study of mythology held no fascination for her at the moment. It had been her least favorite class this semester. As her mind wandered, Sarah gazed up to the retreating city skyline before her. It was breath taking, and intimidating. Lights twinkled from the numerous windows of the high-rise buildings and the Statue of Liberty slowly drifted into her view. How would she ever survive in this world? Stumbling through hoops to graduate and find a job, entering the real world that, she knew could be a cold and merciless place.

She couldn't wait to be back home, snuggling in her warm flannel sheets and drifting into a peaceful, worry-less sleep. She thought of her own room, the pleasant image in her mind making her smile. Realization dawning, she sniffed as she thought of the cold dorm room that awaited her back at school. Even that uninviting bed was very far from her right now, she thought. Hours away. She glanced at her watch again, not really seeing the time but somehow wishing that there were more hours in the day.

Sarah leaned back and allowed her eyes to flutter closed. She began to drift, her textbook forgotten in the hand draped across her lap. For a moment she began to relax and let the real world float away from her.

But there, lurking behind her closed eyelids were frightening dream images waiting to claim her. It was cold there. Dark. She felt as though she was being watched. There was a sudden resurgence of panic and with a sharp intake of breath, she shook herself awake.

No! She would not allow herself to sink into that horrible dream, not again. She tried to forcefully banish the images from her mind as completely as possible, locking away the fear that haunted her. Think of something else! She demanded of herself. But what?

She looked up, purposefully glancing around the ferry interior in a desperate attempt to find something to distract herself. Then she caught a glimpse of something that made her smile. Across the aisle to her right sat a little boy, about five years old. He leaned against his mother, snuggled warmly in a puffy jacket, his light blonde hair worn short. One small hand was clasped in his mother's. In his other arm he clutched a stuffed white owl. Probably an early Christmas present. Sarah sniffed.

I hate owls, she thought grumpily, and dismissed the unpleasant feeling. He was such a cute kid that she couldn't help but feel happy. This little boy reminded her so much of Toby when he had been a little younger. She missed him so much! She and her little brother had grown so much closer over the years, as she had gotten older. She thought of how foolish she had been when she was a teenager; resenting Toby for the undivided attention her father and stepmother had given him when he had been born.

How selfish I was, she thought. How could I have felt like that? Rationalizing, Sarah assured herself that it was her age, the loss of her mother and her Dad's sudden re-marriage that had caused her troubles accepting Toby. She had definitely been through a lot. It hadn't been Toby she was angry with, but everything else. Her world had changed in a dramatically a short time, and it had been hard for her to accept. But so much had happened since then. Her little brother would be nine years old pretty soon.

Sarah fondly remembered her family's last Christmas together at home. Imagining Toby's wide, energetic smile as he raced her down the stairs of their home to open the presents that inevitably awaited them under the tree. Seeing clearly her father and Karen snuggling together on the couch, the living room illuminated by the blinking Christmas lights and a flickering fire. Giggling to quietly to herself when she thought of the way that her brother had filled his mug to the brim with plump white marshmallows, barely leaving enough room for the hot chocolate. She smiled again, the impersonal surroundings forgotten for the moment.

Home. She longed to be back, enduring the good-natured nagging of Karen, her father's warm smile, and reading Toby his favorite bedtime story. He may have grown up quite a bit, but he was still not too old for his sister to read to him. It was one of their favorite things to do together.

Soon enough she would be there, in less than a week. Just as soon as her finals were over. Sarah groaned inwardly. If I make it that far. She glanced reluctantly at the textbook that lay, forgotten, in her lap and picked it up. One step at a time.

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