"Look What I'm Offering You" by Kitty Rasputin
"Sarah, it's time for breakfast!" The sound of her stepmother's voice woke the teenager the same as it did every morning. She wanted to drown it out by burrowing under her quilt, but knew it would do no good. After only a minute of stalling, she obligingly slid out of bed. Her foggy brain cleared as soon as her feet touched the floor. That was when she noticed it.
Something was different this morning. She quickly scanned the room, but everything seemed to be in place. Everything except for Lancelot. She remembered giving her favorite teddy bear to Toby, but she couldn't recall why. She wasn't mad about it, though, and that surprised her. Lancelot had been with her ever since she'd been born.
No, it wasn't just the bear that made everything feel different. Something important had happened, but she just couldn't put her finger on what it was. Sighing, she decided that she would figure it out later. Right now, her body was aching with fatigue and her stomach growled as if she hadn't eaten in days. Quickly, she made her way down to the kitchen.
"Oh, Sarah, thank goodness you're up! I was going to let you sleep in, but I just don't know what to do about Toby. He's been all over the place this morning and he just won't eat anything." Her stepmother looked at her wit's end.
Toby saw his sister and broke into a wide grin. He held out his arms and cooed at her until she picked him up. Then, he nestled into her embrace and promptly jabbered some words that Sarah paid no attention to. Her stepmother, however, looked slightly amused. "Isn't that strange? It almost sounded like he said the word 'goblin'."
Sarah froze. She suddenly recalled what had happened. She had just dreamed it all, though. Hadn't she? It had felt painfully realistic, but, at the same time, almost like it could have been one of her daydreams. What if it had been real? What if she had truly gone up against the Goblin King?
"Good morning, Sarah," her father said as he entered the room. He feigned surprise. "Did you lose your little red book or just decide to stop rehearsing at the breakfast table?"
She was very disturbed by this. That book had become her life-line in the past few weeks. She'd memorized it, bit by bit, until she knew almost all of it by heart. It couldn't explain away everything, though. This was especially true of the ending. She hadn't even read it. There was a distinct possibility that, anxious to find out what happened, she had made up her own ending. No, that didn't make sense either. She wouldn't have kept her character away from her dreams. Instead, there would have been a bargain to send the little boy home and keep the girl their in his place.
"Sarah, did you want any fruit for your cereal?" Her stepmother could tell that she was more distracted than usual.
"No peaches," she answered automatically. Dream or not, she felt like she could no longer eat or even be near the food. Just thinking about it made her recall dancing with Jareth. That alone made her question whether she had really imagined it. It had felt real. She wanted it to be real.
Toby patted her cheek with his chubby fingers and gave her such a sympathetic look that she almost wondered if he knew what she was thinking. Immediately, she dismissed the idea as nonsense. Then, she paused. She had read somewhere, just after Toby had been brought home, that babies were very intuitive when it came to other people's emotions.
"I'm going to go back upstairs for a few minutes. Don't worry; I'll take Toby with me." There was something that she wanted to check out.
Her room looked the same as it always did, but it still felt different. This time, though, she could understand why. Scattered around the room were reminders of her time in the labyrinth. Sarah set Toby on the bed and glanced at her belongings.
The Escher print caught her attention first. She could almost feel her heart beat faster before she took that final jump. It was something she never would have done unless she had to. She turned away to gaze lovingly at her stuffed animals. There was one that looked like Sir Didymus, one that was a miniaturized version of Ludo, and even a fiery one with detachable arms and legs. Her fingers brushed against each of them before they rested on her labyrinth game. She had never dreamed that the real thing would be so much harder than the game. The round holes in the board made her smile at the memory of the oubliette and Hoggle.
Toby laughed suddenly, instantly snapping Sarah out of her reverie. How could she have thought that it was real. She must have just imagined all of her familiar things when she dreamed it up. Then, she noticed what had caused Toby to start laughing.
Her baby brother sat on the edge of the bed smiling and laughing as if it were his birthday. His arms were stretched out in exultation. Sarah followed his gaze to see what entertained him so much and found herself staring at Jareth.
It should have been impossible for her to forget about it, but she had. The statue had been sent to her on her last birthday and had had remained on her desk ever since. The resemblance was uncanny, right down to the mismatched eyes. For a moment, she imagined she could almost hear his mocking voice. If she had dreamt it all, there was no doubt why she had included this particular memento. It had captivated her from the moment she'd first laid eyes on it. The strong profile, the wild hair, and the intense eyes made it her most prized possession, even more so than Lancelot had ever been. Now, though, she wouldn't be able to look at it without thinking of Jareth.
"It couldn't have been a dream. I have never been able to imagine anything that realistic. You remember it too, don't you?" When Toby nodded, she felt even more lost than before.
All morning, Sarah wrestled with the argument. It had either been a dream or reality. She put her frustrations to good use by packing up her toys. The only things she kept out were the things that reminded her of the labyrinth. Most of her books were put away with them. Maybe Toby would like to have them when he was older. For now, they would be stuffed away in some corner of the attic. By the time she came across the music box, she was tired of being inside. Her room looked as though she had gutted it. It was amazing just how much junk she'd gathered up over the years.
With a last glance around her room, Sarah put the music box in her bag and left for the park. She needed some fresh air to help her think. Plus, she couldn't sit still when she looked back on that dance with Jareth. When she reached the park, Sarah went straight to the bridge. It was her favorite place to rehearse and it always made her feel better. She was so preoccupied with her thoughts that she didn't even notice the barn owl sitting in a nearby tree.
Jareth watched the girl with avian eyes. He expected her to start acting out another story. That's why it surprised him so much when she pulled out her music box. She started talking quietly to herself. There was such a look of concentration on her face that he couldn't help flying closer to hear what she was saying.
"I felt so lost. Those people wouldn't leave me alone and they said such terrible things to me. I just wanted to get out of there. Then he found me. It felt so right just to dance with the Goblin King. That's why I'm so certain. It couldn't have possibly been a dream. Dammit, I know it was real!" She said it fiercely, almost as if she were trying to convince somebody other than herself.
Jareth couldn't believe his ears. Every other human that ran the labyrinth forgot immediately or only remembered it as a dream. He'd known Sarah was special, but he had never expected this. Of course, nobody had ever completed the labyrinth before. If she remembered it, there was a chance that she remembered it all. He was not sure if her powers of deduction would let her come to the right conclusion about his actions.
Sarah sank to her knees. "Oh God, what have I done? I should have bargained with him. Did I just give up my dreams without thinking? Everything I've ever wanted I just gave up in the bat of an eye."
It took a few minutes for her to calm down. She remained on the bridge for a long time, thinking back on Jareth when she had last seen him. What exactly had he said? 'Look what I'm offering you…your dreams. Just let me rule you and you can have everything that you want.' The real question was what had it been that she had wanted.
The answer came quickly and, with it, a startling revelation. What I wanted was my own adventure. I wanted to do everything that people in fairy tales do: going on a quest for something, making strange friendships along the way, going up against a frightening villain, facing nearly impossible odds, and meeting a handsome prince that swept me off my feet.
Sarah looked around, suddenly aware of how silly she must look. That's when she saw the owl. It was perched on the bridge railing not ten feet from her. "Jareth?" She was unsurprised that it stayed put when she got up. "I understand now. You really did give me all of my dreams." She reached out to brush her fingers against the side of his face. Then, she turned and walked away.
Jareth could barely hear her whisper, "Almost all of my dreams."
Hey, everybody! I bet you thought you wouldn't hear from me in a long time. Truth is, I had this written up months ago. I just wanted to finish "What You Wish For." I'm actually really satisfied with this piece. I think it came out well. Just let me know if you feel the same way (or not). Please review.