King of Dreams

By Circe le Fey

Author's Note: This could be very loosely considered a sequel to my first one-shot: Finding the Labyrinth, or a prequel to my story: Stone Tears, but you don't have to read either to understand this (I hope). For those of you who have read Stone Tears, the next chapter should be out soon, I just wanted to post this first. Read, Enjoy and Review!!

"Dearly Beloved-" Sarah Williams, 13, and bored out of her mind, felt her smile slipping off of her face before she could stop it. Not that it mattered anyway, no one was looking at her, most of the wedding guests were either dozing off, or watching Irene, and Sarah's father, Robert. Sarah felt uncomfortable, unimportant, yet in the way, someone invisible that people kept bumping into nonetheless.

Her dress didn't help matters either. When she and Irene had first gone looking for a nice dress, Sarah had been hoping to wear an old costume dress of her mother's, white and green with a flowered wreath for her hair, and a veil. It had struck her as the sort of thing a princess from the Labyrinth would wear. But Irene's first comments had been that green wasn't a wedding color, she was too young to wear something so low cut and elaborate, it wouldn't fit in with the rest of the wedding party, and she wasn't going to have any bridesmaids of hers wearing something about fifteen years old, that had been packed up in the attic.

Sarah had understood that, to a certain extent, so she had reluctantly put the dress away, and gone to an expensive bridal shop with Irene. But never in her life had she expected to come back with something that was as flatly unattractive as the tight, brilliantly white dress that she had would up squeezing into. Even her hair had been sprayed and permed into something that resembled Christmas decorations, not actual human hair. And Sarah could have sworn that the rouge that she'd been pushed into wearing was giving her a rash.

The whole affair was enough to make her decide that if she ever did get married, it wasn't going to be in an old cathedral, like she had always imagined, but somewhere outside, only moments before a thunderstorm, which was a time that she had always associated with something wild and romantic. It figured that Irene and Robert had what most people would consider 'perfect' weather for their wedding, no wind, no rain, no thunder. Not even a couple ominous clouds. It was quite pathetic all around, Sarah decided, and then her jaw fell open as a large bird perched on a tree right outside one of the windows. It was a owl, a large, stunning white owl, and it was all Sarah could do not to race over and get a better look. Instead, she caught sight of Irene's father, a fat old man strangling to death in a skinny black suit, scowling at her, and she mechanically shut her mouth, her eyes not leaving the owl.

The past year or so she had been seeing incredible numbers of that particular kind of owl, whatever it was. Sometimes it seemed as if wherever she went, there was one, peering out from between some branches at her, or perched on a nearby building. She had once gone into the library and searched through a number of field guides, trying to find an owl that matched the kind she was always seeing, but nothing came close to it's size and incredible beauty, anywhere, and the kinds most common around where she was were generally a pretty dumpy, dun colored bunch.

Sometimes she became convinced that the owls she saw were really the same owl, and it just happened to hang around her house a lot, but the only problem was that she didn't just see it at her house, she saw it other places, like here, for instance. When she was younger, and sometimes even now, she would pretend that it was the King of the Goblins, from the book the Labyrinth, largely because she had first noticed them not long after she had read the book for the first time.

It was a daydream that had sustained her though many boring evenings home alone, when most children would have simply flipped on the TV, or called a friend, or something, she would go through the boxes and boxes of her mother's old things in the attic, and would come down with some elaborate dress and costume jewelry, dress up, and then either go to the park, or lock herself in her room, or sometimes even climb up on her roof. She would run through her favorite scenes in the labyrinth, acting them out, savoring the power of the words. The very last scene between the heroine and the King of the Goblins was her favorite, and she would run through that over and over, imagining every sensation, every feeling, every moment, amazingly detailed, magically intense.

Sometimes it became so powerful that Sarah would be angry when her father finally came home, even if it was much later than he and said. And at night, before she slept, she would imagine the Labyrinth, the creatures that lived there, or most of all, the King of the Goblins. And when she finally fell asleep, she would dream of a tall stranger whose face was obscured by a the veil between their worlds, but whose voice was amazingly real, as he called her name, forever yearning, forever waiting.

"You may kiss the bride" the words jolted Sarah from her trance, and she turned away from the owl just in time to see her father and Irene embrace briefly, and then break apart blushing. Sarah rolled her eyes. Please, she thought, the last time that I was kissed was second grade, and I could do better than that.

The rest of the day was demanding enough that even Sarah had precious little time to daydream, and when she finally went to bed that night, she fell almost immediately to sleep. And instantly her mind was cleared of her father, of her new step-mother, of school and all books save one, and once again the Goblin King visited her, crooning loving words and humming a dreamy song.

Author's Note: I'll probably be writing another one-shot in a week or so, so keep and eye out for that, and as ever, review!!

Circe le Fey