My Story Begins
My name is Sarah Williams and this is my story about how I became Queen of the Labyrinth. I want you to know that it's not a happy story, although it has elements of happiness. I could say it was a tragedy but no one dies, least of all me, though I am sad on occasion. I am living my fairytale but as the saying goes—"Be careful what you wish for." Quite simply, it is the story of my life which started most specifically a few months before my sixteenth birthday and a few years after my father and mother divorced most viciously, my mother running off to pursue her dreams of acting and abandoning me, her only child, to a father more interested in living his own fairytale of white picket fences.
My father, eager to begin his life anew and assuming I needed a mother, any mother, remarried quickly. During his twentieth high school reunion he met an old girlfriend, Karen, and a banal, whirlwind romance ensued which they attempted to sweep me into by forcing upon me the role of maid of honor at their intimate, not-quite white wedding three months later. Obviously, by my words, you may guess at the depth of my bitterness. How dare my father bring home a new wife, a woman making numerous assumptions regarding her power over me in her position as step-mother. And I, being a melodramatic teen, rebelled at every opportunity; truly I felt myself much put-upon by my evil step-mother. How maltreated by her was I really? My basis for comparison changed greatly over the years so it's difficult to say...but I jump ahead of myself.
While I moaned and groaned and dug in my heels at new parents, I spent my days wishing and praying that my real mother would fly in to rescue me from the circumstances of my miserable life, never once blaming her for her share of my misery. Karen became pregnant a month after their wedding and things, at least in my view, worsened. Made to wait on Karen as a maid once her feet swelled and her belly grew along with my resentment, I did not celebrate the coming of a younger sibling. An innocent whom I should've guarded with my very soul; no, in my selfish, teenage mentality I chose to hate the little boy borne to Karen and my father whom they christened Tobias Jason Williams. How the day of his birth haunts me now. Regret for my self-centeredness dogs my very soul but even now I realize how selfish I am because it's not from a sense of true regret, but more from a sense of being caught. If only I could've learned my lessons earlier my life would be so different. So different. At least my brother is safe; I take comfort in that.
My apologies, I skip forward again, but there is so much to tell. Barely a year later and I'd unwillingly become the designated free babysitter due to my convenience. Rarely, in fact never, did either my father or Karen request the service; their assumptions proving to me all that I required to know of their innate disrespect for my personal life. Often I used my imagination to escape the dissatisfaction of my treadmill life, spending hours in the local park creating new worlds to explore and conquer. I made few friends in my freshman year of high school...it seemed rather pointless connecting with the plebian population of my school since I knew my real mother would come for me any day. My rich imagination served me well enough, far too well.
During one of my park outings I found a book lying in the grass, a book bound in red leather without title or identification plate inside. It was entirely handwritten in a flowing copperplate script on parchment pages and appeared very old, likely an antique. But who could've lost such a beautiful book? Immediately intrigued I spend the remaining Saturday afternoon reading and discovered it to be a sort of fictional narrative about a young girl's triumphant adventure through a place called the Labyrinth to rescue a child that was mistakenly wished away to an evil King. Needless to say this book provided ample fodder for my fertile imagination and quickly became my favored activity. And such it would have stayed if not for my temper.
I was fifteen, nearly sixteen, and very late returning home one rainy afternoon during one of my park adventures with the Labyrinth book...as I'd taken to calling it...when Karen and I fought over babysitting my brother Toby so she and my father could go out. As usual, neither informed me of their plans assuming I'd be willing and happy to watch Toby and also as usual, I threw a fit over the imposition on my time. I remember Karen mentioning something to the effect that I should be going out on dates and didn't that just burn my fire brighter. I stormed to my room and slammed my door where I remained determinedly ignored by my father who expressed only mild interest in dealing with my female, teenage mood swings. Would things have differed if either of us opened the door to one another? It's painful for me to think on these regrets, now, after so much time...but onward.
I heard Karen and my father leave the house, the few minutes of silence replaced with my outrage at realizing my stuffed bear Lancelot was missing and the shrill cries of Toby from the master bedroom. Those days Toby knew only three sounds; sleep, laugh, and ear-shattering, with the latter being his most oft used in my presence. Unfortunately for me Toby possessed a terrible case of separation anxiety and saved ear-shattering for anyone other than his parents which was usually me. Is it any wonder that I ended up doing what I did? Ah...but I haven't told you yet.
After I discovered the theft of Lancelot, which could only have been Karen, I stomped to Toby's bedside confirming the bear's location and released my pent up frustrations upon my hapless brother, who only screamed louder. I tried telling him a story, rocking him, yelling at him but nothing worked. Eventually I put him back down in his crib, turned off the lights and a sudden calmness came over me. A sense of surety I'd not sensed before that but I've experience since then. Before I thought of what I did I said the words that sealed my fate, words that I'll not repeat as words have power. I say my fate and not ours because I once I wished my brother away to the goblins and the Goblin King personally arrived to claim him; I fought my way through his Labyrinth and won him back, learning valuable lessons and earning friends along the way. To this day Toby is free and happy and is married with children of his own. This sustains me when I regret my decisions.
I would describe my adventure through the Labyrinth in detail here, my battle of wits with its King, but that is another tale and not for this telling. Just know that I was successful; I defeated the Goblin King becoming the Champion of the Labyrinth and returning to my world with my brother.
Yet even in my youthful ignorance I wondered at the King's final challenge; was it a distraction or an offer? To love him, fear him, obey him and he would be my slave. This question haunted me throughout high school until my eighteenth birthday and after my age of majority answers slowly started to creep into my life. That is truly where my story of how I became Queen begins.