Hurts like Hell
I don't own it, Henson does. Go figure.
Some time ago I read a challenge, and don't ask where because I have no idea of where I read it…. Damn, I digress… I read a challenge to write a story with Sarah being EVIL. I thought to myself that sounds like fun. But to write our favorite heroine as evil one has to give her a reason for going evil…Hence I went back to basics, and I found a good reason. Sarah turned down her dreams to save Toby… So what happens when a person is deprived of dreams… I think this may be one expected outcome.
Now, I'm warning you, this is Sarah, going evil…and looking for revenge… and all hell is going to break loose. There will sex, there will be violence, and there will be foul language. So be warned! Now, if you are still game… read on.
(Again we start with the end of the AC Smith novel)
"Stop!" Jareth raised the palm of his hand to her. "Wait! Sarah, look -- look what I can offer you." He raised his left arm and made a large gesture with his hand. A glowing crystal ball appeared in it. He spun it around in his fingers, smiled wanly, and said, "It will show you your dreams. You remember."
She saw the crystal spinning in his fingers, and felt on her lips the warmth of his outstretched hand. She gasped, and, from some inspired recess of her mind, the words came out, blurted out. "You have no power over me."
"No!" Jareth screamed. Jareth tossed the crystal ball up into the air, where it hovered, a bubble. Sarah looked at it, and saw Jareth's face, distorted, on the shifting, iridescent surface. Gently, it drifted down toward her. She reached out fascinated fingers for it and, as she touched the bubble with her fingertips, it burst. A mist of water atoms floated down the air toward Jareth.
But she saw that Jareth had disappeared. She heard his voice, for a last time, moaning, "Sarah ... Sarah ..."
Sarah watched the last of her Underground guest leave; she smiled feeling very pleased with herself. She had run the Labyrinth, beaten the Goblin King and won back her brother. Not bothering to change her clothes she collapsed onto the bed, eyes heavy with sleep. "I beat the Goblin King," she mused as her breathing slowed and sleep lulled her. "I won…." Her thirteen hours in the Underground and the last few here Above had sapped her of any energy stores she'd had. She would worry about the time exchanges and the mystical repercussions that would abound some time tomorrow… she vowed to her self as she surrendered her self to the arms of sleep.
The window opened unhurriedly, bit by bit, at a snail's pace. Goblins that had hidden in the dark shadows when the other guests had left slowly crept out of their hiding places. Some gathered round the bed looking at the girl who had gotten the better of their King, their powerful and vengeful King. Slowly the owl flew in not making so much as a little breeze. Moments later, transformed, the man stood beside the bed where the girl lay asleep. He held out a perfect crystal orb the size of an owl egg, as he did the girl with long dark tresses, murmured again that she'd won. His features hardened, "So you think," he murmured in a callous manner, the orb in his outstretched hand beginning to emit a soft glow. The man in the dark garments that reflected no light sneered down at her as he deepened her sleep. "Ah but at what cost, Sarah… at what cost…." He placed the orb to her brow. "I'll take those dreams, my dear… you won't need them now."
The sleeping girl moaned slightly as something filled the orb changing its clear color to something dark and swirling. Once the orb was filled he tucked it back inside his jacket close to his heart. In good spirits, and with the smirk of victory on his face, he knelt beside the bed of the creature who boasted to herself of besting the Goblin King. His long leather clad fingers caressed her face as he leaned over her until his face was a breath from hers. "Oh what could have been vixen," his voice grew feral, sinister and full of threatening evil. "Alas…twas not to be, my dark angel… and I will live with the regrets and your… dreams." His lips moved over hers, capturing her first kiss. He lifted his face from hers, a sinister and ominous gleam in his eyes. "Hear me Sarah Williams; you will not be able to clearly remember your time in the Labyrinth. It will seem like a story you made up…a tale to entrain the boy… the rest will become a distant fading memory…and you will have trouble recalling what you lost." One last kiss did he bestow before chuckling darkly and vanishing from her room.
Chapter 1. The change in Sarah
Late summer 1986
The morning after the big storm, Sarah awoke to a pounding headache. She wondered if this was how someone felt after a drunk, made a mental note not to ever over imbibe. Even the hot shower she took didn't help. After dressing she joined the family in the kitchen for the usual Sunday morning brunch that Karen insisted upon making. Taking one look at the quiche, Sarah moaned something about not being hungry and placed her throbbing head on the table. Toby in his high chair giggled as if he knew a private joke.
Robert looked up from his morning paper and with a roll of his eyes, thinking he was glad the teen years were far behind him returned to the news. Karen at first seemed miffed, but something about the girl's behavior gave her pause. Having never been on good terms with her stepdaughter, Karen hesitated offering help. "Sarah, do you need something? A cold towel, asprin?"
Sarah slowly turned her eyes toward the woman. "Yeah, I think that might help…. My head is pounding."
Karen not only made sure the girl had the tablets that might ease the pain, but also fixed her a cup of herbal tea and some dry toast. When Robert had carried the baby up to bathe and dress him, Karen looked at Sarah with compassion. "Did you have trouble sleeping?"
"I don't know," Sarah answered a bit more aggressively than she'd intended. "I know I slept, but I sure don't feel rested."
Karen tapped the paper that Robert had abandoned on the table. "That was some storm last night wasn't it?" She showed Sarah the front page pictures of devastation all over town. "Trees falling over knocked down some of the power lines."
"Power went out here for a bit," Sarah said in a monotone voice.
"Did it, I didn't know that." Karen answered. "You poor kid, that must have scared you."
Sarah studied the woman, decided she was trying to be congenial and parental. "It was pretty hairy when I couldn't get the lights to go on, yeah… but we weathered it." She sipped a bit more of the tea. "Thanks for not making me eat the quiche… I don't think it would have stayed down."
"Not a problem," Karen assured her. "I was young once too you know."
"Sure you were," the girl teased feeling a bit more relaxed by the herbs in the tea. "When was that exactly?"
Karen snickered, "Sarah, I think that's the first time you've ever teased me." She stood up and cleared the dishes off the table. "Are you excited about school starting a few weeks?"
"Not really," Sarah stretched out her long legs under the table and sighed. "I should be but I'm not." She ate a bit more of the toast she'd been playing with.
"Would you like to go shopping this week for school clothes and supplies?" Karen asked as she loaded the dishwasher. "We could have a girls day, lunch on me."
Sarah shrugged; she knew the other was offering an olive branch. "Yeah, why not…but if it's a girl's day, what are we going to do with Toby?"
"Mrs. Morgan next door asked for him to come and have a play date with her little Tommy… we'll go right after I drop him off… is tomorrow too soon?" Karen wiped down the counters and set the kitchen to rights. She had a thing about making it look like a page out of Better Homes and Gardens.
"Great," Sarah said with out much elation.
Karen didn't take offense, she could see by the girl's features she was suffering with that pounding headache. "Why don't you just rest today, kick back, read a book… do whatever you like." She came back to the table.
The girl who had been so resentful of this woman's interference now looked at her with reflection. "Karen, I know you're trying to be nice… and I do appreciate it."
Karen put a smooth hand over Sarah's. "You're not my blood, but you are my daughter, and I do care… you look like you're in a lot of pain." Her tone was soft, sympathetic and measured. "Is there anything I can do to make it better?"
"Could you slice my head open and empty out what's causing this?" Sarah asked when the woman made a face the girl smiled, "I didn't think so. No, the tea and the tablets helped."
True to her promise, Karen took Sarah shopping the next day. Sarah's head ache was gone but she didn't look rested. Karen put it down to the fact that the girl had been under the weather and it would take time for her to be back to her old bouncy self. The first stop after dropping Toby off was at the high school to pick up the books that were on early order for Sarah and the supplies list for her classes. They paid her fees and book bill and bought her a new gym uniform as well as a new school blazer. They located the locker that had been assigned to Sarah and put the books and supplies they'd bought in the school bookstore inside.
Karen noticed that several of the students who seemed to know Sarah didn't make an effort to even say so much as hello to her. She made no mention of it, as Sarah was being more than civil to her. However she made a metal note of the situation.
Leaving the school behind, they drove over to the sprawling mall outside of town. One thing that both agreed on was they were glad the town was still as it had been forever. There were no buildings taller than four floors, no modern glass and chrome edifices. It was a quaint little town, with charm and grace that was being swallowed up in other little towns to be replaced by cold modernism. The Town council had turned down an offer to turn one track of land into a mall. They preferred to keep the down town area small and unique. Instead they had made arrangements for the mall to be built outside of town.
Sarah was surprised when Karen had suggested the upscale shop of Lambert's instead of Penny's. Lambert was the kind of store Sarah would expect Linda, her mother, to patronize. She knew that Karen shopped in better shops as well; after all she was the wife of a rising attorney and she was expected to make a statement. Sarah was use to buying things that were a bit less sheshe, her usual garb being a comfortable pair of jeans and a poet's shirt and waistcoat vest. Karen was looking at some of the junior styles and asked Sarah what she thought. Sarah had never really credited Karen with a sense of style, but now had to re-evaluate. The woman had picked out things that were not only in fashion, but would look fabulous on Sarah. From skirts to stunning pant suits, the older woman would pick something and say it would be great on.
"Karen," Sarah asked as she stood looking at one casual outfit in the three way mirror. "How is it you know so much about fashion and style and yet dress so…"
"Conservative?" Karen suggested as she sat looking at her stepdaughter from a chair. "Sarah I wasn't always a wife and mother," She snickered. "I used to be young once."
"But you dress so… boring." Sarah turned and looked at the woman.
Patiently the older woman stood up and pointed to the mirror. "Look again, Sarah… this time look without being partial. Look again."
At first Sarah saw what she'd seen since the day Karen had invaded her world. A woman whose sense of style could not match her own flamboyant mother's. Linda would never be caught dead in that skirt, no matter how well made it was. And yet, Sarah had to admit, the skirt did fit the other nicely. "What am I supposed to be seeing?" she asked at last.
"Clean lines, classic…. If you will. Well made, and perfectly fitted." Karen motioned with her hands. "Notice, also everything is coordinated." She pointed to her low healed shoes and then her purse. "The way I dress is appropriate for the wife of a lawyer."
"But my mother doesn't dress like this," protested Sarah.
Karen placed a hand on Sarah's right shoulder. "Your mother is an actress, and dresses to be noticed. She is a fashion plate, and done up right. She dresses for success." The words were true, unvarnished but not nasty.
Sarah looked at Karen and as if a light bulb had gone on in her head nodded. "You dress to be supportive, not upstaging."
"Precisely," Karen said with a satisfied smile. "That does not mean I don't like the flash and flare, it means I choose when and where." She turned Sarah to face the mirror. "You however are young, fresh and free…. And should dress that way… within reason."
"I like my old clothes," Sarah gave Karen a sideways glance. "I love my old shirt and vest…and …"
"And you should keep them, the jeans too." Karen said firmly. "I just want to add a few things to your… closet. Some age appropriate outfits, things you can wear to school functions and maybe a date or two." She lowered her voice, "I do think you should date.."
"We'll see." Sarah said looking at the pair of reflections looking back.
Bolstered by her reception of suggestions, Karen gave the girl and affectionate hug. "It's just the beginning of sophomore year; you've got three years of high school left. Plenty of time for dates and parties and everything you've ever dreamed of."
After Lambert's they moved on down to a stylish boutique that catered to the younger crowd. Karen permitted Sarah to do the picking and choosing here, making only minor suggestions. Then on to a shoe store, and lunch at the expensive restaurant that was part of the Marshall Chain.
Sarah watched as Karen spoke to the materdee, she credited that even Linda could not have handled the man as well. Soon they were seated at a lovely table for two next to the wonderful windows that looked out no the expensively kept roof garden. "I didn't think you'd want to eat outside in the heat," Karen said unfolding her linen napkin. "Would you like an aperitif?"
"Fifteen, remember?" Sarah asked.
"Not all aperitifs are alcoholic!" Karen informed her stepdaughter. "I happen to like cranberry juice with sparkling water. Would you like to try one?"
Lunch was an unexpected pleasure; Karen spoke to the girl as if they were friends, not long time foes. She completed Sarah on her purchases and asked questions about the classes she'd chosen. When ever Linda's name came up, Karen didn't give in to name calling or being brittle, but gave several complements to the girl's mother.
Hours later, when the house was quiet and the children in their beds sleeping, Robert sat watching Karen brush her now unpinned hair. "How did it go?" He asked lightly. He was aware that Karen was making another effort to win over his daughter.
"It went well," Karen said continuing to brush her hair. "I think she knows now that I'm not trying to replace Linda."
"As if anyone could," Robert murmured as he lounged on the bed. He looked over at Karen, "You've always been so understanding about Linda, I wonder if you are being… mistreated by me."
Karen whipped the brush though her hair. "Don't be silly Robert," she said calmly. "I knew what I was getting into… and what I was going to get out of it. I've a husband I love and respect, a home and children…it's all I ever dreamed of."
He looked at her sheepishly; "Such simple dreams."
Karen looked over at him, "Sarah is basically a good kid, even if she's not been receptive to me up until now." She sighed going back to her brushing. "I just worry that she's spent too much time with her nose in those books of hers. This is the time when she should be starting to date."
"Hence the new outfits that are costing a small fortune?" Robert teased watching her long strawberry blond hair. "Leave it down tonight." He requested with a smile.
Complying with his request she placed the brush back on the table. "You can well afford a few dollars on good clothes for the children… think of it as an investment in their futures." She dropped the robe from her shoulders and joined her husband on his bed. "You told me when we got married that you wanted something stable for Sarah, and yourself. You told me to fix the house, and give you a real home again… Well helping Sarah is part of that, a few dollars on clothes…"
"Is fine," he said taking her face into his hands. "Karen, I may never feel for you what I did for Linda, but you are my wife, and I love and respect you."
"I love you too, Robert." She moved forward to kiss him softly. "Things will be better now… I just know it."
Dark shapes moved silently in the dim light of the bedroom. Snickers, jeers and hissing noises accompanied the shapes as they shuffled about. Big bulging eyes watched as the girl slept in dreamless sleep.
The weeks had gone by, and Sarah was standing before her mirror preparing for the first day of class. She could hear her father calling up to shake a leg as he didn't need to be late to the office. How she hated that term, shake a leg. She muttered to herself about it as she dressed in the school blazer as was required for the first day of classes. The blazer was required on special days, and first day was considered one of them.
She was glad the head aches of the last two weeks seemed to be abating. The last thing she needed was a head ache on the opening day of school. School itself was going to be enough of a trial. Karen had made arrangements for Sarah to be on the bus after classes as her father would drive her to the high school that was only two blocks from his office in the heart of town. It wasn't all that far to walk, but Sarah was grateful for the thought. In bad weather she knew she'd be even more grateful.
Karen wished her a good day at the door, holding Toby who held his hands out to his sister to be taken from Karen's arms. "Not to day, squirt." Sarah kissed the baby and waved to Karen, saying over her shoulder that she planned on coming straight home.
"You don't want to go to Nick's Ice Cream after school with the rest of the kids?" Karen knew the rest of the kids would be heading to the little parlor and milling in the park this first day.
"Nope," Sarah said disinterested.
"Alright," Karen said watching her from the porch. "I'll have some tea ready for you when you get here… Have a good day, dear."
Sarah was not sure if that last statement had been for her, or her father, or both. She belted herself into the seat and sat quietly as her father drove toward the school. An irritability that she could not shake seemed to be filling her. The only time she didn't feel it was when she was with her parents and Toby at home. She dreaded this first day, and was not sure why. Something in her was nagging at her, and she felt on edge.
Her father had left her off in front of the school, wished her a good day and drove off toward his office. Sarah looked up at the front façade of the older building. It had what Karen would call classic lines, and sweeping style. The manicured lawns, the topiaries and the carefully maintained gardens gave the school the appearance of being something special. Sarah felt a snicker lodge in her throat as she gazed at all the students in their matching blazers. "What a bunch of automatons. " She said aloud as she moved up the steps toward the front doors. There was about fifteen minutes until the first bell, and most of the students who were not freshmen were greeting school friends after the long summer. Sarah didn't bother, as there was really few she cared to greet. She headed to her locker, placed her purse on the shelf as she pulled the books and notebook she'd need for her first class.
"Oh look who's here girls," a voice that was a little too sharp and high pitched sounded just on the other side of the hall. Its owner was Marion Walsh, a fellow classmate who didn't care for Sarah. She'd been in the same classes with Sarah since the days before Linda had left. She and her clique had always enjoyed tormenting Sarah over the fact that her mother had just up and left, leaving her to deal with the rumors. Marion and her gaggle of cheeping hens loved to stir up the rumors with each new school year. "Why if it isn't the daughter of the famous whore actress, Linda Williams…" There were snickers and jeers. "What, not joining mommy on the casting couches yet Sarah?"
In past years Sarah had fought tears, held her head high and walked away. Today, with the dull ache that had been plaguing her for weeks, Sarah turned looked at Marion with scorn and said loudly. "Fuck off little Mary Sunshine." She slammed her locker closed and started to walk toward her fist class.
Marion's mouth dropped. Her reaction was mirrored by those around her. Carol Lansford turned to her with disbelieve. "Did you hear what I heard?" The other girl asked.
Judy Bole shook her head, "I don't believe it."
"You can't let her get away with that, Marion." Warned Gale Finster.
Only Jean Davis seemed to be worried. "Let it go, Marion…" she tugged at the arm of the girl with spun gold curls. "Just let it go."
Marion however was not about to let it go. Marion was the most popular girl on campus, and not about to allow the upstart to demean her. She rushed forward and grabbed Sarah's arm sending the books Sarah was holding flying across the hall. "See here you!"
Cold fury filled the green eyes, she looked down at the hand gripping her arm. "Move it or lose it." She warned in a dark and dangerous voice.
Marion either had not heard the order or chose to ignore it. "I will not be talked to in that insolent manner you little …" Before she could finish her threatening sentence Sarah had her pinned against the lockers on the opposite wall.
"Here me, and hear me good," sneered the dark force that held the blond. "Don't you ever touch me again!"
A shape whistle blew and the pair was hauled down to the dean's office at the end of the hall.
Robert had been shocked when the call came into his office. Sarah was in the principal's office of her high school; there had been a fight and Sarah had started it he was being told. He and his wife were being asked to come in for a meeting right away. He made excuses to his partners and gave orders to his secretary that he was not to be disturbed. Calling home he told Karen to call Mrs. Morgan next door and meet him at the high school.
Sarah sat without expression; Marion on the other hand was playing up the injured party route while awaiting her parents. Marion wondered if she could get Sarah suspended on the very first day of classes. When her parents showed up she ducked into her father's overly protective arms while he scowled at Sarah.
Robert and Karen, having met on the stairs coming up the front of the school entered as a united front. Robert heard the dark threats being made to his daughter by Marion's father Lionel Walsh. He cleared his throat and the man backed off. Robert looked over, worried he'd see Sarah looking like a beaten down waif. Instead what looked back up at him was a cold fury. He smiled at her, "Sarah." He said taking a seat. Karen also took a seat while the Walsh's took theirs.
Mr. Johnson, the principal for the school looked at the parents rather than the girls. "I thank you for coming in. This being the first day of classes I had not expected trouble." He turned a slightly unhappy eye on Sarah. "However I will not allow student to brawl in the halls."
Walsh leaned forward, placing a comforting hand on his daughter's shoulder. "I demand that you protect my daughter form this kind of harassment." Lionel demanded thinking he was in the right, as he always thought he was in the right. "I won't have this hooligan laying hands on my daughter."
Not bothering to look at father or daughter, Sarah said clearly, coldly and calculatedly; "Then you'd best tell her to keep her hands to her self first."
Robert felt the curling at the corner of his lip; however he kept his features schooled. A surge of pride at seeing Sarah refuse to be a doormat filled him. He quietly listened.
"I did not!" Marion denied boldly.
"Do we have to sit though this kind of slander?" Lionel demanded.
Mr. Johnson looked at Marion, giving her a chance to speak up, when she didn't he said quietly; "We have security cameras in the halls now."
Marion still didn't back down, perhaps because what he said didn't register. "I have witnesses to her attacking me." She stood up. "I think you should suspend anyone who behaves this way."
"You do?" Mr. Johnson asked with a slight smirk. "Really?"
"Yes," Marion said crossing her arms and giving her curls a toss.
Sarah had heard, and was watching the principal's cat and mouse act. She glanced over at the other girl and wondered why it was she was not listening.
"Well then," He motioned for everyone to look at the screen of the television that was sitting beside his desk. He raised the remote slowly, giving Marion one more chance to change her story. She didn't. Moments later, after the audio of the video was heard her face changed. He turned the set off and looked at Marion. "Still think someone needs to be suspended?"
Marion sat down dumbfounded.
Sarah looked over at her and frowned, "I don't want her suspended."
"I'm not looking for charity!" Marion snapped her face ashen at being caught up in her lie.
Sarah turned back toward the principal; "You're not getting any. I just want to be left alone." She addressed the man. "You suspend her and it will make a martyr of her… I don't need that."
Robert gave Karen a wink, she kept her face schooled.
Mr. Johnson nodded, "Miss Walsh, consider this your first warning." He watched her carefully. "Mr. Walsh I suggest you and your wife discuss this with her this evening at home. Young ladies you may go to class." He also dismissed the Walsh parents. "I will be sending home a note, and this goes on her record." He looked at the Williams'. "I'd like a word with you, Robert." Robert nodded and stayed seated. Sarah left he room first, picking up her books and heading to her locker to get the books for the up coming class. Marion was escorted out by her father and mother.
Johnson leaned on the desk. "I'm not sure whether to be relieved or not here." He commented quietly. "This is the first time I've ever seen Sarah stand up for herself." He opened the records that were kept on each student. "Her middle school reported that she was something of a victim after her mother's leaving."
"She was?" Robert appeared surprised. "She certainly didn't act a victim at home."
Karen looked at him in shock. "Of course she did, that's why she's been acting out for the past few years." Karen looked at the principal. "Has she been tormented by girls like that all along?"
"Yes, but this was the first time she stood up for herself." The man said. "And while I'm glad to see that spark, I'm worried as well." He pointed to the video. "This time I was able to prove she was the victim… I may not be so lucky in the future…. I am going to have both girls spend some time with anger counseling. But not with the same councilors, it that's alright with you." The parents nodded.
Two weeks later Sarah was called out of study hall and escorted down to the office of one of the schools councilors. The door read Doctor James Phalanx, but when she tapped lightly it was answered by a younger man than the one who was listed on the door. "Hello, you must be Sarah Williams," the man extended his hand. "I'm Andrew Crowley; I'm taking over for Doctor Phalanx."
Sarah looked at him, he young and fresh, and most likely fresh from some university. Not near her father's age perhaps only six to seven years older than herself. He was taller than she, but a good seven to eight inches, and built like a linebacker. His hair was full, wavy and a rather frightful shade of red. His blue eyes sparkled wildly. "You're a shrink?" she asked unflatteringly.
"Good God, no," He muttered pleasantly. "I'm only a counselor of human behavior and not a doctor of psychiatry." He motioned her to come in. "Please be seated."
"No couch?" She mused.
"As I said, I'm a counselor… I'm not going to act as an analyst," He pointed to a pair of chairs, comfy old arm chairs, with a table between them. "I'm here to help with anger issues and such."
"Oh," she took a seat and set her books aside. "That should prove motivating and worthy of note." Her sarcasm was saturating her words.
Crowley took a seat opposite her and leaning on his elbow looked at her as if they were old friends meeting for the first time in many a year; "How so?" Sarah, not sure of his intentions gave him the cold fish stare. His reaction was a hearty chuckle. "Really, Miss Williams, I promise you I am not the enemy." He offered her a cup of tea. "I'm here to help you deal with the incident of two weeks ago. I've reviewed the tape, and while I can not fault you, I'd like to understand the reactions to Miss Walsh's taunts."
Giving the request thought Sarah answered, "Marion and I have history." She sipped the tea. "Not good history, but history." Pulling out a note pad, he nodded for her to continue. "I've been in classes with her ever since my mother left my father."
"Was that a problem?"
"Not for me," Sarah said quietly; "Just for every small minded busy body in town. And Marion Walsh and her friends are the smallest of minds here abouts."
Crowley tapped his chin. "I heard the audio of the video…. She was rather nasty about you and your mother."
"I put it down to small town jealousy." Sarah shrugged, "Marion and her crowd are, insignificant in the larger scheme of things."
"Then why react to her at all?" Crowley asked leaning forward, as if he really cared.
"I got tired of putting up with her bullshit and going home in tears." Sarah commented coolly.
"And should it happen again?"
Sarah shrugged, "I'll deal with what happens, when it happens."
In October, just before Homecoming, Sarah was sent to Crowley's office again. This time it was Carol Lansford, both girls were barred from attending the dance. It was more punishment for Carol who was actually dating. Both were sent to see the councilors, again Crowley was selected to see Sarah.
"Well, Miss Williams, hello." He greeted her warmly as she tapped at his door.
"We meet again," she mused.
"What happened?" He asked as she took her seat.
"Carol Lansford grabbed my wrist and would not release it without being persuaded." Sarah settled into the chair. "So I backed her into the chem lab table and offered to introduce her to a Bunsen burner."
"Would you have?" He asked amused.
"I just might have," Sarah admitted.
Two months later, it was an incident with Judy Bole that sent her to Crowley. He opened the door, found her standing there with a green slip of paper in her hand. He read it over and motioned her to come in. "Miss Williams," He addressed her civilly as he read. When she was seated he looked at her, waiting for her to explain herself this time.
"Judy Bole," she said evenly.
"She took my homework and tossed it out the window," Sarah smiled suddenly. "So I offered to send her out the window after it."
"This says you had her hanging out the window…" He showed her the slip of paper.
"Only halfway…." Sarah said with mock regret.
When classes resumed in the new year, Sarah thought the "in" crowd would leave her alone, she was mistaken. They waited until just before the Valentines dance, and then they struck again. This time it was Gail Finster's turn to torment the other girl. When Sarah showed up at the door Crowley looked at her in surprise and asked. "Sarah, what now?"
Sarah shook her head, "I'm on the hit list." She snapped peevishly.
"Who and what this time?" He asked pouring her tea.
"Gail Finster, broke into my gym locker and ripped up my uniform… and had the nerve to deny it even as the instructor was telling her they had it on tape…" Sarah's hands were shaking, "Is that herbal?" she pointed to the tea.
"I only drink herbal," assured the man.
"Good because I'm on pins and needles and the last thing I need is caffeine." Sarah took a long deep drink.
"So why are you here, it seems that Finster would be the one with one of us councilors."
Sarah took another long drink before answering; "She is… she's with what's her name…" she snapped her fingers having forgotten the other councilor's name. "I'm here because Gail tried to trip me in class, and I snapped and shoved her back."
"Dear me," he commented quietly. "They do seem to bring out the worst in you, don't they?"
"It's not just them…" Sarah admitted readily. "It's everyone and everything."
"You seem quite calm now…" He pointed out.
"The tea helps, and you." Sarah offered him a weary smile. "You don't set my teeth on edge."
Crowley inclined his head in a means of thanking her. "Tell me Sarah, how are things at home?"
"Fine," she said coolly. "My step mother and I are getting along better."
Once more he was making notes, he looked at her, "Sarah are you getting enough sleep? You don't look very rested."
"I sleep… but I don't rest." She stated. "Been that way for months now."
"Bad dreams?" He asked taking a note.
"No, no dreams… good or bad." She said taking another sip of tea.
Crowley looked up, his face concerned. "What did you just say?"
Sarah set her teacup aside. "No dreams, good or bad."
"How long has this been going on?" He asked coming forward and looking at her eyes.
He moved to the book shelf, pulled a book and nodded. "Sarah, I'd like for you to see a sleep specialist I know of… today if possible." He moved to the phone and dialed a number. "Mrs. Williams, Andrew Crowley… yes... again… I'd like Sarah to see a sleep doctor this afternoon if I can get her in to his schedule." The arrangements were made and Karen took Sarah over to the clinic.
Sarah looked at the cot they were asking her to lie down on. She frowned. "It looks like a hospital bed."
"This is a sleep clinic," the one technician stated gently. "The bed is standard." He placed electrodes on the girl. "Just relax, and forget it's a hospital bed." He suggested.
"Easy for you." She muttered taking her place on the cot. "Now what?"
"Go to sleep," the woman said shrugging.
Andrew Crowley joined Karen and Robert in the observation room. "I'm sorry I'm so late," he said quietly. "I was in with another student. Has she gone to sleep yet?"
"She's just falling asleep now," the tech said watching the screen for readings. "She should reach REM in ten minutes." Ten minuets passed, then twenty, and then two hours, no REM was achieved. The Tech looked at another Tech and both began writing notes. The girl was awakened the next morning and her parents came to the clinic to pick her up. Another session was planned for the weekend when Sarah would be able to stay at the clinic for more tests.
By the time May rolled around Sarah was thoroughly fed up with the clinic and the endless tests. It was no surprise when Marion, Judy and Gail ganged up on her in the girls gym and no surprise when Sarah pounded the living daylights out of all three. What was a surprise was when Margret Cully the other councilor suggested that Sarah be removed from the school as she was a threat to the other students.
Crowley met with Mr. Johnson. "This is ridicules," he protested on Sarah's behalf. "Those girls have targeted Sarah from the start."
"I agree…but each of them have only one strike against them." Johnson tossed the reports down. "And Sarah …"
"Has been targeted," repeated Andrew. "With what has been discovered at the clinic I'd have to say it's amazing she not snapped before this…."
"What is her condition called?" Johnson pinched his nose.
"It's a Parasomnia disorder." Crowley handed him the clinics findings. "She's not achieving REM…"
"And that's important?"
"Of course," the councilor explained. "Everybody has some kind of REM… it's in this state we dream… and Sarah for some reason is no longer able to… achieve this. She sleeps and her body gets rest, but her mind does not…."
"And you say this is what is causing her to be…. Perceived as aggressive?" When the other nodded the principal sighed. "It's a catch twenty two… if I side with Sarah I'll be seen as not caring for the rest of the students…and if I side against her… It's not fair." He looked at the councilor. "Is there some sort of medical treatment for this?"
"Prescriptions are in the early stages of trial."
One week before the end of the school year, Robert and Karen were called in again to the office. Sarah had held a nail file to the throat of another student. It was strongly suggested that Sarah needed some kind of help.
Crowley met with the family in private. "I know of a school where Sarah can get help with her anger issues due to her condition. It's called St. Ambrose School for Exceptional Young Ladies." He pulled out the brochure.
Sarah looked at the flyer over her parents' shoulders. "It's a reform school." She said coldly.
Crowley looked up at her. "Sarah, it's the best we can do."
"And the meds they want me on? Will they fix the problem?" She asked her eyes like hot burned out coals.
"We don't know," he answered honestly. "Honey we know this is not your fault."
Robert looked up at his daughter who more and more was looking like a shadow of herself. "You don't have to… we can get a teacher to come to the house…."
"No." Sarah said quietly. "I'll go."
Karen looked at her, "This stinks!"
Sarah snickered, "I can think of worse things…" she mused. 'Like falling into the bog of stench…' she shrugged. "Do I get a new councilor?"
"Yes, but I want you to keep that journal you started... And if you need me… for anything…" Andrew passed her a business card.
Sarah smiled, "I'll call."