Summer was always a time for reading for Sarah. During the school year she rarely could find time to herself between babysitting Toby and her homework. But summer; that was when she could sit back with a good book and tune everything else out.
Today was the first day of her summer before she started college, and she was going to make sure she made the most of it. Her father and step-mother at least had hired a babysitter this year. Not that she minded caring for Toby anymore, but it would be nice to be able to have those next few months to relax before her classes began.
Sarah sighed as she leaned back against the old wooden bench. If there was anything better than spending a day reading fantasy it was reading under the warm sun in her favorite park. The bench she was perched on had been the same one she had read on since she was a small child. It was old, and if one wore shorts when sitting on it one would be spending the rest of the day extracting splinters from their thighs.
The light blue paint had faded to a murky gray and mostly chipped off revealing slowly decaying wood. It slanted a little too far back from years of warping and the left leg was a good two inches shorter than the right. The result of a poor repair job.
The cement slab beneath it had been broken several times; moss and weeds growing through the cracks. There was always an ant hill not three feet away, and the wood of the bench had a rather sweaty, musky smell. But all in all she would never think to sit anywhere else. This was her place.
She turned the page in her book, her eyes already starting to become dry and sore from hours of reading. Looking down at her watch she exhaled loudly. Two o'clock in the afternoon already. She wasn't expected home till dusk, though she knew her eyes would not last that long without a break. She could always go home for a lie down, but then by the time she got up it would be too late to come back to the park for the day.
Making a decision she closed her eyes and laid back, thinking that it would be safe enough to take a small nap. She was quite sure that she wouldn't sleep too long.
The air was still, not even a leaf rustled in the trees. The sun was warm as it bathed the fair skin of the young woman still sleeping soundly upon the old bench. A shadow crept along slowly, moving around the figure till the world around her faded away without her knowledge.
Sarah woke with a start, her back aching from sleeping too long on a hard surface. She looked around with sleep clouded eyes. Everything looked normal, at least it seemed that way from a simple glance. The park was empty, but then again this particular bit always was. It was one of the reasons Sarah loved it so much.
The birds sang quietly and there was a warm breeze whispering across her skin. There were only a few fluffy clouds floating by and the sun was shining brightly from high in the sky.
Sitting straight up Sarah stared above her. The sun shouldn't be anywhere near that high, by now it should have been slowly fading below the horizon. She looked around her trying to figure out what had happened.
There was no way she could have slept till noon the next day. Besides the fact that she never could sleep more than nine hours at a time, her family would have come and got her if she had been too late in getting home.
A flash of silver caught her eye as she swept her gaze across the small expanse of the park. There maybe twenty feet away stood a mirror. It was full length, being close to at least six to seven feet in height. As she moved closer she was able to make out the beginnings of raised scroll work on the polished silver of the frame. It looked for all the world like a normal mirror, that is except that it was standing in the middle of a park with no good reason why it would be there.
It was a strange thing to leave lying around, but even stranger was how it didn't seem so out of place as she first thought. It was simply a mirror, one she had never laid eyes on, but there was something familiar about it.
It wasn't the style or the size or shape that registered with her, she was sure she had never before seen one like it. In a catalogue or shop. Maybe it was the swirling scrolls that wrapped around the silver like shimmering smoke. Or the way it glittered in the sun. Whatever it was intrigued Sarah, she just had to have a closer look.
Her fingers passed over the frame as she stared into the reflective glass. She looked and looked, her eyes growing wide as she took in her appearance. She wasn't sure how she had missed the fact that her clothes seemed to have magically changed. Instead of the jeans and simple blouse she had chosen to wear that morning she was draped in an ankle length sandy dress. The bodice covered her chest fairly well and flowed down till it flared slightly at the hips, but the thin straps that held the entire thing up left her shoulders bare.
Her head felt as though it were filled with fog, making it rather hard to think. A momentary thought that she had been drugged crossed her mind, but she dismissed as quickly as it had come. Why would someone drug her just to leave her alone with a mirror? It didn't make since.
Slowly she stepped back from the mirror, her eyes leaving only at the last moment as though should she take here sight off of it something would surely jump right out of it and kill her. Something was definitely wrong, and it wasn't just the sun or the mirror.
Shaking her head she began to make her way home, she needed something for the headache that was forming behind her right eye. Maybe after sleeping in an actual bed things would be better. Occupied with trying not to think on the strange feeling in her stomach she didn't notice the trees around her till she stepped right into one.
Sarah knew that she had been walking in the correct direction, what she didn't know was why a copse of trees was directly in her path when they shouldn't be. All around her were towering oaks and maples, their leaves still even though she could feel a chilled breeze across her skin.
The sun beamed down in shafts through the gaps in the branches, making glowing gold pillars through out the small forest. Carefully walking around the trees she noticed that small multi-colored butterflies dotted the air. Each one vibrant and beautiful as well as just floating mid-air.
Not a one moved or even fluttered their wings, they were simply frozen in time. She tried to pluck one from the air, but it was stuck. Now she knew something was wrong! She moved even quicker to find her way out and back home. Her stomach flipped within her, a feeling of dread beginning to overwhelm her.
She could see the end of the copse of trees just up ahead, a large willow the very last before what appeared to be an open expanse of land. She slowed as she neared, not wanting to get tangled in the hanging limbs in her haste. As soon as she made it within a few feet of the willow her eyes fell on the round silver mirror that had been tacked to the trunk.
The mirror was much smaller than the one in the park, but no less grand. Just large enough to view herself from navel to the tip of her head, it took up little of the wide trunk. It was the same polished silver as the other, only this one had not swirling scrolls adorning it, but what looked to be hands raised and encompassing the looking glass. They were so detailed Sarah swore they would reach out from their frame to pull her in.
Her eyes narrowed as she examined the mirror, many of the hands not clasping the glass held small round crystal balls tightly within their fingers. She felt her panic grow, that was more than just familiar. Everything was beginning to come together, she knew who was behind this. If only she knew why, or even where.
A shadow passed through the mirror; it wasn't there long enough to make out any features. If she didn't know better she would have thought herself hallucinating. She peered into the glass, an eyebrow raised as she tried to see the man she knew was there. But it all was for naught as all she could see was her own worry drawn face.
She had to find a way out, it no longer mattered where she was as long as she escaped. Had he brought her back Underground, trapped her in some previously unseen section of the Labyrinth? Or perhaps sent her into another one of his peach dreams?
Her feet sunk as she took a step out from the forest, biting cold crept up her leg from where her foot was now embedded in at least seven inches of snow. Looking out she groaned at what awaited her next. Snow as far as she could see, or couldn't see as the case may be.
Everything was so white that she could not make out any features except the clouds and blue sky above. Wrapping her arms around her chest she trudged on. It seemed best to keep moving, maybe she would find the way out. At least it was better than staying in one spot, doing nothing.
She walked and walked, she wasn't sure how far she had gotten nor how long it had been. It seemed like days, but surely it had been only a few hours. It didn't matter where she looked, there would only be snow and ice.
Her eyes searched around her. It had to be there somewhere, that hint of silver. Maybe she would be able to contact Hoggle like she did with the mirror in her room. He could move between the veil, she was sure if she asked he would be able to take her with him. Surely he would.
There, in the distance she could make out the shimmering frame. As she neared she began to whisper the names of all her Labyrinth friends, but none appeared in the surface of the looking glass. All she could see was cold white and the shivering shape of her own body.
Laughter filled the air around her, faint but she could place that laugh anywhere. She had been right, he was watching her. What was it he wanted? Surely he wasn't still angry about her beating him….wasn't he? With a quick glance and nothing else she passed the mirror, she wasn't going to find any help there.
The more she walked the more she began to panic, would the snow and cold ever end? She began to long for the copse of trees she had left behind. When she had thought she could go no further her eyes caught a glimpse of color ahead.
She could see a fountain and what looked like horses and birds, a warm and sunny sky and grass. Her feet pounded through the wet snow, trying to move as fast as she could to the warmth of the scene ahead of her. Faster and faster she moved till it looked as though she could just reach out and touch the grass…
Smack! With force enough to topple her back to the ground, Sarah smacked headlong into a wall. She sat up cradling her head in her hands. What had happened? She reached out her hands and ran them along the wall in front of her.
Painted, it was all painted to look like a summer field. Up, up she looked watching as the paint swirled up and blended perfectly into the painted sky above. With fear clenching her heart she realized that this wasn't the Labyrinth, or even a simple dream. However he had done it, she was in an enormous box of some sort.
She ran along the walls until she finally found what she knew was there. Hanging beside a painting of a tree was mounted a mirror, much the same as the one in the park. All she could see was herself, no shadow or phantom laughing. Just her.
Frantic she pounded on the glass, screaming at the top of her lungs to let her out, let her go. But he was either there or not listening, for she slid down to sit crying before the mirror. Her hands covered in blood where she had pounded to hard.
She couldn't break the glass, and no one was coming for her. Soon, tired and sore, she passed into darkness hoping that once she woke she would find herself back on that old bench; her book open across her chest.
A smile cracked along the long thin face, this one would be harder to break, but oh so much fun. Jareth walked up to the mirror in front of him, chuckling softly at the girl asleep on the ground. He would have the goblins heal her hands and return her to the bench on the other side of her cage. In the morning it would start all over again.
Finally tiring of watching his newest acquisition, he turned and walked out of the room of mirrors ignoring the screaming and crying of all his other pets.
Yes, this would be very, very fun.
Author's Notes: Ok well yeah, don't ask. I have been talking to my Da lately about psychological thrillers, and this kind of came to mind. Not really a thriller, but a step in the right direction. Anyway this wouldn't let me work on any of my other fics until I wrote and posted this. So now that I have hopefully I will have a chapter of Rowan out next. Not sure when as my fav Aunt is up visiting for a few months and not sure if I'll have time or if we will be spending most of our time at my grandparent's house visiting with her.
Also, once I am done with my current Labbys I plan on writing another one, in fact I have I don't know how many lined up. On my Author's Page there is a poll. Click the links to find a journal entry to a preview of the story. I have four up and I have everything ready to write each of them. I thought I would allow the readers to choose which one they would like to read next. I will write the one with the most votes next and go on from there. The poll will be open until I finish "This is My Winter"
:::If you have trouble getting on the links just PM me and I will send the previews through PM instead.:::
Disclaimer: Nope, don't own it.