A/N: I knew the previous chapter was supposed to be the LAST chapter. Ah, well, I kind of wrote this epilogue before I noticed -- even before the last chapter actually. I couldn't help it, it just leaped on the screen. I felt I had to wrap things up and give a decent ending to poor Linda, whom I treated quite harshly during her run. What happens afterwards is up to your imagination. I shall resume back to my other stories and hopefully finish them in the near future. I have enjoyed a great deal writing the story and hope it has also provided amusement and entertainment to you! And once again, thank you all for your comments!
Disclaimer: I make no money with the story, I don't own the characters, I don't own the rights to the movie. All in all: I don't have any legal claims to the Labyrinth. All references to Aeschylus' Oresteia, also some parts of Furies' speech, are adapted from the translation of Robert Fangles, Penguin Books. (If you are a diehard fan of Greek literature, I strongly suggest to read it!)
Epilogue: The Eumenides
Blinking her eyes madly, Linda realized she was staring at the image, and, with a gasp, raised her trembling hand on her temples. Her shoulders sagged in relief when her fingers touched normal hair; she no longer felt coiling snakes or heard their hissing whispers. She looked around in the room, avoid of shadows and goblins. She saw nothing special. Had it all been just a dream? She returned her attention to the mirror.
A frightened cry escaped her lips.
Dressed in glimmering cape of midnight blue, dark breeches and black boots the Goblin King stood on the other side.
"What do you want? Why are you here?" she spat, retreating slowly away from him.
He tilted his head, his gaze concealed and dimmed by the light the mirror reflected in Linda's eyes. The girl watched him a long time, imagining seeing a hint of sadness flickering in his eyes. Then a small a warped smile twitched his lips, and he held out his hand.
"I brought you a gift…"
Linda quickly back-stepped as she saw a transparent crystal to manifest on his fingertips. "As an apology," the King continued. "What I did was unacceptable. I shouldn't have given you to the sisters, or forced you into my Labyrinth." His smile turned to sadness.
She folded her arms across her chest, creasing her brows. "Why did you do it then?"
His eyes flashed, his jaw tightened. "For reasons that are not good enough to mention. I did a terrible mistake,"said the King slowly and offered the crystal to the girl again. "Linda, take this. It is not enough to compensate all that which I put you through, but I hope it forfeits at least something."
She licked her lip, asking bitterly, still not accepting the gift. "And what about my aunt? She's dead because of you!"
His face wavered, and he sighed. "I'm not denying that I...did many awful things. But as I told, everything's not lost. She's not dead, so to speak." He attempted a smile.
"But she's not coming back? Whatever happens, she'll remain forever in the Labyrinth, am I right?" Linda asked softly.
"I'm sorry Linda… There was no other way to revert the Othering's deed." He closed his eyes with a painful expression on his face. "And at the moment she's not very happy with me either. I live in hope she might find some remorse in her heart for me."
"What do I tell dad? Her absence must create a lot of questions…Dad will miss her," she muttered suddenly.
"Ah," the King coughed somewhat uncomfortably. "The thing is that no one shall remember her but you. It will be as if she never existed."
The thought was too unbelievable to process. Her mouth fell down, and she stared at the fae in shock. "What?! But how about her career? Her friends? Her family?"
"Never existed," Jareth answered. "Everything the world learnt about Sarah Williams has gone. Maybe someone remembers her like a fleeting memory, a shadow tickling at the edges of consciousness, a dream of sort: a girl, a woman with dark long hair and a fiery passion. "
"But… That's cruel!" Linda exclaimed. "How can you do it?"
"Would it be better if people remembered her instead, wondered about her disappearance? Her brother would be devastated, thinking every night about possibilities that might have happened to Sarah," Jareth snapped. "Trust me. If something is cruel, then that is!"
"And my career?" Linda wondered quietly. "Sarah was there to take me under her wings, to show me all the people, create the networks…"
His mouth bent in a small smile, "Ah, the change taking place in the Runner never ceases to amaze me…" he muttered softly before returning his attention on her. "You shouldn't worry, Linda. Everything you've achieved shall be just the way you left there. As it stands, it's your own responsibility to decide what to do afterwards."
"What about Cobweb? And the Furies?" she asked instead.
"The Furies…." He hesitated. "They are under supervision."
"So that when need arises, you can utilize them again?" Linda bitterly accused.
"Whatever you think of me," Jareth clasped his teeth together, pulling back his shoulders. "I won't penalize them for my mistakes. I made the decision to use their vulnerability, and if I punish someone for which I am to blame what would I have learnt?" He didn't give her time to reply but continued, "And when it comes to your talkative and rather annoying fairy-friend, she has returned back to her nest though I suspect she won't stay there for too long time. The run also changes people of the Underground…"
"The other fairies kill her without her wings! She told me so!"
"You thought I would leave her wingless?" Jareth tutted with a familiar goblin king-like attitude. "What is a fairy that cannot fly…?"
"And the other…H-ho…?"
"Higgle?" He cocked his brow, looking at her down on his long nose.
"Hoggle," Linda corrected, absentminded, and his mouth quavered. Something akin to amusement crossed his face.
"Yeah, the dwarf," Linda continued, wondering the King's reaction. "What happened to him?"
"I guess you have to ask that from himself, or your aunt, if you wish that is…"
"I can still talk to her?" Linda cried barely able to sustain her joy.
"I could not prevent that even if I tried," Jareth told. "The mirror is charmed." He waved his hands around him, pointing to the frames of the vanity's mirror. "You just need to call for your friends, and they shall arrive. The portal opened a long time ago, and I suspect shall remain open long time afterwards." He gestured nonchalantly.
She bit her lip, shifting her attention to her feet. "I...remember now," she confessed, "meeting you as a child." Looking up, she noticed the King inspected her in silence with his forehead creased in steep furrows. "It is because of Sarah, isn't it so? She solved the Labyrinth before me, and the mirror opened it for her. Am I right?" she inquired.
He hesitated. "She never used it but one single time, right after her victory. She used none of the gifts she was bestowed with..."
"And the crystal?" Wary, Linda glanced at the glimmering crystal the man still had in his hand.
His smile appeared only a slightly more crooked this time. "As told, it's my gift to you. Something with what I hope to secure you that I wish no harm to you or your family. An apology I sincerely ask you to accept…"
The crystal vanished only to appear on her desk, and the Goblin King bowed one final time. "Use it or not. It shall wait for your acceptance."
"And what does it bring to me? Show me my dreams?" Linda asked quietly.
His gaze flickered, his grin stretched over his face. "No. Something better…" He smiled with a small twinkle in his eyes. "I have to leave now, but I bid you all the best in your life. Farewell, young Linda Williams."
With that he disappeared from her sight, and only Linda's reflection mirrored her expression. The girl inspected the image little hesitant, still waiting for it to move on its own accord. It mirrored her just as always without any malicious gleam or falsities in its face. Linda sighed, taking another step backwards, and only after having enough distance from the mirror dared to turn around.
She slowly approached the crystal, lacking the nerve to touch it and glanced out the window. After a while, she opened it. The rain had ceased; the world smelled of water, wind, and high above the clouds started to break revealing a clear starlit sky.
"Sarah…" Linda said quietly, watching the stars; and they twinkled and glittered in reply. "I hope you shall be happy, Sarah, but I sure wish I could now talk to you…"
"Hi Linda." She spun around, blinking her eyes at the image that had appeared in the mirror. Linda's eyes narrowed. "Sarah?" she asked dubiously.
The girl, barely older than Linda, smiled apolitically, caressing her dark hair in unease. "I guess I must look bit funny…"
"No…" She shook her head, stepping closer. "You look great, aunt. I was just… surprised."
Sarah looked at least thirty years younger. Her dark hair curled softly around her face, and her skin was unblemished. All the furrows around her mouth, the fine network of lines surrounding her eyes had disappeared. She reminded Linda of the photos she had seen when Sarah had only been in the beginning of her career and the magazines talked about nothing but the young rising star, Sarah Williams, who had her mother's charm, beauty and a dreamy gaze that drove the men mad. Yet Sarah in the mirror looked slightly different with wild and magical air around her. She wore dark red gown that hung on her body, adorned with a clever cleavage, gold-threaded bodice and elbow-long flaring sleeves and white lace bursting beneath the dark crimson fabric. Sarah giggled girlish, touching her hair. "I kind of like the change too." Her expression turned serious, she lowered her arm and looked at Linda. "Jareth told me he spoke with you…"
"Yeah," Linda muttered, nodding sideways to the desk and the gleaming crystal. "He also gave me that." She hesitated. "He acts differently," Linda finally said. "What happened to him?"
Sarah's eyes flickered, her forehead marred. "It's a long story, and I rather not tell it now. I still have to think over all that I heard from him and my friends…."
"I think he's in love with you," Linda said softly. "He looked like ready to die when telling me the Othering killed you."
Sarah snorted. "So he claims." Her expression turned slightly sour, and she crossed her arms on her chest. "Albeit I have a lot to ponder about until I'm ready to believe in him…He's acted like a total jerk."
Linda's eyes narrowed. "You're serious?" she gasped in shock. "You actually feel something for that…monster!"
She smiled rather sheepishly and blushed. "Did it never occur to you why I din't get involved in serious relationships, or married?" Sarah finally asked. "I met him when I was only fifteen years old, and he was…very seducing: dangerous, sexy, little bit intimidating. You could say he kind of ruined my taste in men. After dancing with him and having him to sing to me no other could truly mean anything…" She glanced around, musing. "'He'd better not hear this, or he starts boasting like he owned the whole world."
"So it was true," Linda muttered. "The king of the goblins was in love with the girl…"
Sarah sharply glanced at her and then let out an edgy laught. "I guess so…" she agreed. "Though God knows what in me enraptured him. I was nothing but a spoiled brat at the time." She paused. "I wished your father to the goblins, you know?"
Linda attempted a smiled. "I kind of figured that out," she confessed.
"I'm sorry about that," Sarah quietly said. "I have carried the burden of that act ever since. I almost lost Toby…" she sighed.
"Almost," Linda softly repeated, taking a step closer and placed her hands on the mirror's surface. She leaned her head on the glass, feeling the coldness against her skin, and whispered, "But you didn't, and we're still here."
The other woman tried smiling, but didn't quite succeed. "This is awkward." Sarah fidgeted with the hem of her white laced sleeves, blinking her tear-soaked eyes. "I will miss you all so much!" Her voice wavered, and she pursed her mouth tightly shut, banishing the rueful gleam in her eyes. "I don't want to give up all that I had! But I would die otherwise. The only way he could resurrect me was letting me to lose. I'm now part of his kingdom."
"That's hardly fair…" Linda's voice stuck in her throat, and Sarah's shoulders sagged.
"No," quietly, she agreed. "But he gave me my freedom; I don't have to stay with him. The Goblin King won't prevent me from leaving the Labyrinth…" Her eyes turned dreamy, and she looked through Linda like seeing something Linda couldn't see. "And there's so much to see: kingdoms across the wasteland, depthless seas that reach the stars if you travel far enough..." her voiced died, and Linda stared at her with a stabbing longing piercing her heart.
"Would you leave him?" she asked softly, and Sarah sighed. Thoughtfully, she evened the fabric of her dress.
"I..." she bit her lip, "Despite everything, I still have feelings for him," Sarah slowly replied, gazing at her as if begging her to understand. "But I need time. I need distance...for time being at least. Hoggle has promised to accompany me, and we'll leave the castle to look for our friends. And after that…" She shrugged her shoulders.
"So, I won't be seeing you then?" Linda asked with strangled voice.
"Oh, my darling," Sarah smiled but her lips trembled. "Of course we'll see! The mirror works always; just say the words. I hear you wherever I am, and I'll be with you sooner you'll realize. You're still so young, and you have all your life ahead. But I shall always be here for you should you need me."
Linda blinked, feeling the moistness in her eyes. "But I need you, aunt!" she sobbed, wiping the tears that started to run down her cheeks. "It's so wrong! He shouldn't be able to steal you from us. Dad won't make it, you've always been his backbone, and with mom getting weaker every passing day …"
"I know honey…I know." She regarded her sadly and lifted her palm on the other side, placing it against Linda's hand. "Just have some faith in yourself." She sighed, looking back. "I need to go soon."
Devastated, she nodded, lowering her hand. Sarah inspected her in silence. "Don't worry anymore, Linda. I'm certain things will work out fine."
"What'd you mean?"
She bit her lip, hesitating. "I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise."
Linda turned to look at the glimmering crystal. "You know what he wants to give me," she stated, and Sarah grinned.
"You presume a lot," she reprimanded gently. "It's not my task to tell."
Linda regarded her silently and slowly nodded. "I see…" she muttered.
"I'm sorry," Sarah sighed. "I would like to give you a hint but I promised not to…." She took a step back with eyes fixed on her niece. "Just remember, should you need me…"
She nodded, tears pouring down her cheeks. "I'll call you."
"Atta girl!" Sarah grinned despite she too was crying. "I love you, Linda! I love you so much! Don't ever forget that!" Turning her back on Linda, she started to walk away, and, desolately, the girl kept her gaze on the back of Sarah, following as she got smaller and smaller until Sarah finally disappeared from her sight.
"I love you too, aunt…" she whispered, turning away and wiping her face.
Cautiously, she approached the desk, staring at the crystal and reaching out her hand. The crystal felt cool and smooth, and she twirled the ball in her hands thoughtfully, wondering what it was supposed to give her. Her dreams? New career? Suddenly, it trembled and started to shrink. Letting out a scream, she nearly dropped the crystal and froze, staring at the white round pill resting on her palm.
She jerked up her head, imagining to hear the King's word echoing in the room once more.
"No. Something better…."
Linda's expression brightened. Hastily, she spun on her heels while grasping the tablet tightly in her grasp, and sprinted to run.
"Mom!" she cried, running out of the room and leaving the door wide open. The wind blowing through the window banged it shut after her but her words could still be heard. "I have your medication! Mom!"
A lone owl sitting on the bough of a near-by tree blinked her blue eyes. She sat still for a while, staring into the empty room she remembered guarding so many years. The bird tilted her head, almost sighing, and rested on the branch with a peaceful air lingering about her. Finally, she moved. The owl ruffled her feathers and her wings, casting away her reveries, and, then, quietly took off in the night. Beating the air with her shimmering wings, the owl glided across the sky towards the silvery moon behind the scattered and wisp-like clouds, flying back to the world it belonged, never looking back.