Labyrinth and Leroux

Chapter 8: Goodnight


Sarah found herself back in front of the grand staircase dizzy and sick. She swayed and sat down on the steps with a thump. Matilda saw her and waddled over quickly with her Brunhilde helmet askew.

"Sarah are you all right?"

"What?" Sarah said groggily. She looked up and saw the portly writer trying to help prop her up.

"I don't feel well."

"Somebody help me. She's sick. We've got to get her back to the hotel."

Sarah was barely aware of the helping hands around her as they ushered her out the front door. Matilda hailed a cab and several fellow writers helped escort Sarah back to the hotel. They got Sarah's key at the front desk and helped her upstairs.

"Should we get a doctor?" Matilda asked the others around her as they plopped Sarah onto the bed.

"No' Sarah protested. "I just need some sleep. Too much champagne. Thank you for getting me here. Could you all please leave?" Sarah put on a brave face and tried to shoo them all away. They reluctantly obliged. Sarah put the "Do not disturb" sign on the outside handle of her door and she pushed them all out into the hallway. She bolted and locked the door shut.

Sarah paused and leaned against the door taking a very deep breath. Just calm down Sarah. It was all in your head. All in your head.

Sarah walked forward ready to take her costume off and slip into her pajamas. She looked into the mirror on the dresser expecting to see the Don Juan costume. It had all just been a dream she reminded herself. A figment of her imagination. A plain navy blue dress started back at her. The dress Erik had gotten for her. The dress Christine Daae had tried to help her put on.

It wasn't a dream.

Sarah looked down placing her hands on the dresser to steady herself. She looked up. The navy blue dress was still there and now leaning back on the top of her bed was Jareth still in his dirt tattered tuxedo. Sarah spun round. The bed was empty. She turned back towards the mirror. There was Jareth hands tucked behind his head, feet crossed over one another, leaning back staring at her.

"Well that was quite a night wasn't it?" he began.

"Yeah is was a real barrel of laughs" she chastised him. "What are you doing here anyway? I didn't wish you here. You're not playing by the rules."

"Oh forget the rules. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see you spinning round a ballroom again could I?" He took hands from behind his head and let them fall slack. He leaned more comfortably into the pillows.

"I don't want you here." She said to him coldly.

"Yes you made that quite clear when you ran from me."

"Yeah and then you tried to knock me out with one of your crystal balls."

"Spur of the moment thing. I didn't hit you anyway. Don't carry on about it."

"And pulling me into the story of The Phantom of the Opera? Can I assume that was a spur of the moment thing too? One big accident?"

"Yes. Unintended. But interesting don't you think?"

"Mmmmm…super." Sarah rolled her eyes and looked away from the mirror.

"That Erik fellow was quite a smart chap. Sent you back to your world before I could trick you back into mine. Sent me back to the Labyrinth too. Very clever indeed."

"Yes well thank god for Erik. I hope he trapped in your world for good this time." Sarah and Jareth were both silent for a few moments. She knew she was being harsh and he took the slight to heart.

"Sarah?" Jareth started again.

"Yes?"

"You were really willing to stay with that grotesque man to save everyone weren't you? Even if they weren't real. You'd sacrifice yourself to save other people, even to save me?"

"Yes. So what?"

"I don't know why I'm so surprised. You've always been that way. Sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of others. You did it with Toby. You did it again tonight. I just never thought I'd be on the receiving end of one of your sacrifices."

"Yeah well don't take it too much to heart. " Sarah tried to downplay it. "Did you ever think I chose Erik just so I didn't have to choose you?"

"Yes that seems to be true to your character too. Always turning me away. I wonder though…when will you finally choose something for yourself? When are you going to be a little selfish?"

"Probably never. What can I say? I'm a martyr."

"Ah someday Sarah, someday you'll slip. You'll want something. I just hope I'm the something you want."

"Don't hold your breath. Tonight is not the night you suddenly turn into my Prince Charming. It's been a long night. I think you should go now. Goodnight Jareth." Sarah turned her head and looked back on the empty bead. She looked into the mirror. He was gone.

Sarah sighed. She was being pretty harsh on him. Part of her was actually quite happy to know that he was real. She wasn't crazy. Jareth did exist and he was out there somewhere. He had always existed. Sarah was not her mother. The Labyrinth had been real. It had all been real.

Sarah dropped her head, resigned to take out the few hairpins and to get ready for bed. Absentminded she hardly took notice when a hand moved towards her waist. Jareth was standing next to her. He pulled her close and leaned in. He kissed her lightly on the cheek. Jareth withdrew from the embrace and whispered softly in her ear,

"Good night Sarah. Until we meet again. Our game is still in play."

Jareth pulled away and Sarah finally had enough sense to realize he was really there. She spun round. He was gone. The bedroom window was now open and the wind was flapping the curtains inward. She ran to the window. A lone white owl was flying off into the night sky towards the stars. Sarah pulled the window closed and drew the curtains tight.

Her heart was pounding. Oh the Labyrinth was real all right. Jareth was real. Maybe she had been better off thinking she was crazy. It all seemed simpler that way. What sort of life lay before her now she did not know, but she knew that the danger and excitement Jareth's magic would be a part of it. No more hiding for her. Coming to Paris had been an adventure. Who knew what sorts of adventures lay before her now. As Jareth said, their game was still in play.

Sarah calmed down and changed into her pajamas. She covered all the mirrors in her hotel room with towels. She had enough of mirrors for one night. Sarah pulled the sheets over her legs and reached for the light. Just before she pulled the string she noticed her copy of Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera lying on her nightstand. She opened it to the back. It still ended the way it always did. Christine turned the Scorpion and chose Erik. He let her go. The words "Erik is dead" appear in the newspaper. Sarah closed the book and put her hand over it.

"Goodbye Erik" she whispered and put the book in the nightstand drawer. She looked to the window.

"Goodnight Jareth. Until we meet again."

Sarah put out the light. That night she dreamt about absolutely nothing. She had enough fantasy for one night.

The End