The Accidental Return
Sarah stepped daintily around the poolside, feeling embarrassed and out of place in the bathing suit she was forced to wear. She was 19 years old and about to graduate high school. Only a few more days and she would be free of high school, starting her life at college, away from Toby, her step-mother and her smothering father. Days away and she still had to put up with trivial things like gym class. Usually she enjoyed gym class, it was a chance to get away from books and sitting for hours. Yet today… diving class. She disliked the water, she hated feeling naked, and somehow, she felt venerable in the water. She loathed diving even more. She didn't like the feeling of falling into nothing. She had those feelings before but she couldn't place them.
Sarah had almost forgot everything about the Labyrinth. It was only a foggy dream she had years ago. Yet after that dream, she put away her stuffed toys, took down her posters of favorite plays, discarded the world of make believe and concentrated on real life. Her father appreciated it because she helped with Toby more and her grades improved. But what led to this sudden change? She couldn't explain it. Maybe it was the dream. She tried to remember what it was about. Goblins? If it were about Goblins, wouldn't the dream have been frightening? No, she had woken up feeling somewhat refreshed, with that tingling feeling in her middle when she watched romantic movies. The only solid thing she remembered from the dream now and sometimes even dreamed about was a pair of discolored eyes.
She looked up at the ladder and sighed as the coach glared at her, "Come on Sarah. You graduate in three days. You can slack off during the summer. Get up there and dive so the others that actually like doing this can do it."
She cussed under her breath and climbed. Up and up and up, she reached the top and walked out onto the solid platform. The sun beat down on her, the weather was warm, even for June. The other girls yelled up at her to hurry up. They wanted to be in the water to cool off. She stood at the edge of the platform and took form, started to jump and slipped.
"Well great, klutzilla." She thought just before bashing her head into the edge of the concrete of the platform and falling like a stone into the water.
Gasping for life itself, she pulled herself up on the stony ground out of the pool. She coughed wildy, gasping again like a fish out of water, blinking. She lay on her back, staring up at the sky, just resting. When she had her breath back, she sat up slowly, testing herself. Wait, something was wrong. For one thing, she was wearing clothes. For another, shouldn't her coach and classmates be gathered around if she hit her head and fell in the water? She looked at her clothes, clinging wet linen shirt, ruined cream silk vest with green swirls, jeans. Her dark long hair stuck to her like seaweed. She felt her head, no knot from the bump, no blood, not even a headache. She crawled a little ways from the lily pond and stood up, shaking a little, looking around, really looking.
A stone wall covered in twiggy dead growth stretched on into the horizon. Sickly yellow grass thrust up from the lichen covered ground. She looked at the lily pond, a fine cover of green ooze choked the lily pads. She looked down at herself, still wet but no ooze, thank goodness. She looked back at the wall and then the ground. Why did it shimmer like it was covered with a fine spray of glitter? Something lit by her ear, she brushed it away and it returned to bite her finger. She yelped and smacked it the fairy to the ground. It stood, gave her the finger and flew off.
"Oh shit…OH SHIT…"
She turned to a small man with a bag sprayer in his chubby dwarf like hands. Hoggle stared at her as she stared back. He hadn't changed much except a few more lines in his face and a reek that clung to him. Rotten eggs and dead fish. He took a step closer, "It is you, isn't it Sarah?"
He squinted at her and she took a step back, covering her nose, "Oh God…"
He stopped and blushed, shoving the bug sprayer into his belt, "Oh, the smell… I've gotten used to it…Sorry…"
"What IS it?"
"The Bog of Eternal Stench… I was made it's prince after you…left…"
"After I left…" She said slowly and then gasped, remembering. Remembering it all. Ludo, Sir Didymus, Toby, the Goblins, Hoggle and Jareth, king of this crazy world and it's goblins.
"Ohhh…. Oh no…"
"Welcome back to the Labyrinth, Sarah."