Disclaimer: Labyrinth belongs to LucasFilms, Henson Studios, etc, etc.
It was not a dark and stormy night; the sky was threatening nothing more dramatic than a few puffy cumulus clouds. Perfect for cloud-gazing, for letting your eyes fool themselves into thinking that that blob right there closely resembled a rabbit on fire… with its head falling off.
Of course Sarah had to be in class. And of course Allison, the Stagecrafts teacher, was waxing philosophical. They would be in class until 6 pm, and then cloud-gazing would be a moot endeavor. It was 5:15, and the sun was starting to set; the clouds would look so fine just now, and Sarah was going to miss it. Such a pity –
Sarah shook her head slightly. That wouldn't do. If she were going to be distracted from class, it was going to be for a perfectly mundane reason. Sarah must, for the moment, not daydream about something that may or may not have happened nearly seven years ago. Images of dwarves, foxes, pants that looked poured on, goblins, bad late 80s hair, and creatures that resembled rabbits made of flame flickered across her mind. She noted them with a mix of nostalgia and disapproval, smiling ruefully.
"Yes, Sarah? Anything to add?" Allison's voice was polite and inquisitive.
Sarah, seated front and center and suddenly in possession of the attention of the entire class, almost blushed and scratched her nose. "A tickle. Trying not to sneeze."
"Oh. No thoughts on Mandy's corset?" The garment and girl in question stood at the front of the room, awaiting a grade on its construction. Allison's sausage-fingered hand flapped in that direction.
Willing Allison to end class early, Sarah answered, "Nothing that hasn't been said. Fine construction, but the material needs a little rethinking." Her slim shoulders shrugged, and she smiled apologetically at Mandy, who grinned back.
Allison's hands fluttered, as if physically trying to recapture her train of thought. "Ah, ok." Watery brown eyes flicked around the room and blinked rapidly in mild distress. "Well, it looks like Mandy was the last to go. I… guess that's it."
The class, four young men and thirteen women of varying ages (and no few of them were obese in that American way), shifted restlessly in aged plastic seats. They accidentally hit each other's elbows while shifting – the room was designed to fit half their number. The sooner they could escape, the happier they'd be.
Allison sighed and said the words.
"I wish – "
- The Goblin King would come and take you away right now.
"- you all a good Spring Break!"
Sarah shook her head again and leaned over to collect her backpack. Her chestnut hair – waist length now, something of which she was vastly proud – fell in a curtain over her shoulder, and she absently pushed it back. Just as absently, she took it up into a sort of ponytail, slung her bag onto her back, and tossed the hair on top of it all.
"Either you're gonna have to cut all that off or start wearing it up, hon," a voice observed from somewhere behind her.
Turning to face the speaker, Sarah drawled, "You going to buy me some hair ties, Eric?"
The five-foot-six and improbably thin junior stood behind her with his hip cocked. "Nope. I'm gonna chop all that hair off next time you fall asleep in class."
"Do and die, friend," was her response. She said it with a slow smile that showed off one canine tooth and not much else.
Eric's square face went blank, and then his brow wrinkled. "You know I'm joking, right?" he asked.
It was Sarah's turn to pause and frown. "Uh, yeah. So am I."
Eric's smile was strained and relieved at the same time, the skin around his wide brown eyes tightening. He coughed. "Do you realize how scary you can be, Sarah? I mean really. Every once in a while, there's something that…" The youth twirled one hand in a searching manner. "… It's like there's someone inside you that you keep under wraps, but every once in a while, they take over your face, your eyes, and they are very scary."
"… You need more sleep, Eric." Sarah's tone was light, but a worried line formed between her brows. "I promise, I harbor only one person in here." She jabbed a slender finger at her sternum.
Eric chuckled uneasily and rubbed his hand over a buzz-cut head. "Hey, wanna go for Indian? I have a sudden, deep, implacable craving," he announced. He wriggled his high-arched, nearly invisibly blond eyebrows at Sarah and smirked. He cocked his hip the other way and slung his black messenger bag over his right shoulder.
Unable, as usual, to discern whether Eric's flirtations were harmless or serious, Sarah sighed. "Sorry, man. I'm gonna go make some use of the good weather before nightfall. Thanks for the invite, though."
"You sure? I'd buy." His expression softened from lascivious to friendly.
It didn't take long for Sarah to make it out of the theatre department and halfway across campus. With the regal, ground-devouring steps that came with long legs, Sarah passed half the academic buildings and reached the lawn of the library in no time. In one movement, which she'd practiced but never would admit to practicing, Sarah swung her blue bag onto the ground and flopped down as well. Her head landed squarely on top of the bag, hair firmly between her and the ground; the only thing that saved this performance from appearing too practiced was the fact that she had to irritably pull her hair to the side, where it then lay in a decidedly inelegant tangle.
The sky above was deepening into a cobalt hue. The cumulus clouds, whose tops were being spun out to cirrus clouds up top, were glowing a nuclear pinkish orange. And Sarah tilted her head a bit and squinted at a cloud that very closely resembled a dancing rabbit on fire.