"The Key to The Kingdom"

(c) Rebekah L. Copeland, Aiijuin Graphics 2011

Disclaimer * Based on "Labyrinth" by The Jim Henson Company (c) 1986
"Peter Pan" and characters were written respectively by J. M. Barrie
"The Neverending Story" aka "Die unendliche Geschichte" and all of its characters were written respectively by Michael Ende. "Wizard of Oz" and its characters were written by L. Frank Baum
"Alice in Wonderland/Alice Through the Looking-Glass" was written by Lewis Carroll

Chapter Fourteen: Dreamy Reflections

The sun had never quite emerged once the storms had finally stopped raging over the castle by early evening. A subdued sky lingered tranquilly upon the horizon of Western Oz. Captain Hook had been giving Jareth odd faces for the last hour or two, ever since Sartheya had told her story to the children. Feeling self-conscious, Young Jareth had finally lost his patience and yelled, "WHAT?" He glared at Hook, as the pirate captain replied with a snicker, "What's the matter, Boy? Do I make you uneasy?"

Jareth scratched at his neck, answering, "No. Yes. Well. Why do you keep staring at me like that?"

"Oh, nothing. I was just curious when you were going to conquer the universe, 'tis all."

"Huh?" Jareth stepped back, wondering what Hook had been talking about. Hook took advantage of Jareth's setback and mimicked his earlier words in a squeaky, mocking voice, "'For I am Jareth, Son of the Goblin King….' la-di-da-di-da!" Then, his voice switched back to normal again, "Did you honestly expect to impress the girl with those words? Silly child! You've come to fight in the battle, but you've forgotten your sword!"

"What battle? What sword?" Jareth asked, confused by Hook's metaphor. Without a moment, Hook answered - as if he had building up to this statement for the last two hours, "You still haven't a hope, or a prayer of finding your father and mother merely because you've been given a new name and a shiny, royal title. You're still the same, scared, little boy who I only just pilfered from his bedroom window, not two nights ago. Now, we're trapped in this fortress with no way of escape. And what keeps us locked within? Not the marching guards aimlessly plodding tritely around a dead hunk of molded concrete. No! But a bubbly, faerie-witch and her spells of enchantment! I detest faeries!"

Jareth narrowed his eyes. He glared at James Hook and replied with great disgust, "All of these problems that we're having were started by you! If you hadn't stolen me from my bedroom in the middle of the night, then you wouldn't be stuck in the mess with the rest of us, now would you?

Sartheya looked over from the massive, picture window where she had been standing. She had heard the boys' raised voices. Dorothy, Tigerlily, and she had been engaged in a conversation with one another – recapping their recent adventures with Jareth King to the trapped princess. Now, Sartheya had broken from the group of girls and headed towards Hook and Jaye. Although the daytime had been nearly spent, the sky had brightened from the dissipating storms, and Sartheya was easier to see walking towards them in her floor-length, black cloak. Jareth took notice of her approach and grew silent in acknowledgement of her presence. He had been amazed by Sartheya's advanced vocabulary. Her words hadn't seemed like those of a ten-year old girl. In fact, her mannerisms had seemed more adult-like than childlike as well. She didn't skip towards the child captain and Goblin Prince as a normal child would. Instead, she had glided with her head poised high into the air. Only two hours ago, she had been slumping like a bratty child, but as soon as she had calmed herself, she took on a new personality entirely.

She stopped at King and observed him for a moment without speaking. Then after a few seconds, Sartheya said, "I think there may be a way for us to escape from this place, but it will be extremely dangerous. If we are caught, we could get our heads cut off."

"If you knew about this, then why haven't you tried it before?" Jareth asked, with Hook folding his arms across his chest whilst nodding in agreement. Dorothy Gale and Tigerlily were now strolling towards the Sartheya and the others. The princess took no notice of them as she defended herself stubbornly, "I HAVE tried this before, but I can't reach the exit out! It's too high! If there were more of us, maybe we could stand on each other's shoulders and then pull the last person up through the hole."

"I'd be willing to try anything at this point. Just get me the bloody 'ell out of here!" Hook screamed – turning all shades of temperamental red. Sartheya glanced at Jareth and said softly, "Do you want to try as well?"

"Does any of us have any other way to escape?" Jareth asked, answering her question with a question. She shook her head and said, "No."

"I'm in!" Dorothy voted after eavesdropping on the whole conversation. "I don't like this place much! Lots of bad memories, and I just want to go home. Right, Toto? We want to go home!"

After the dog barked and wagged it tail excitedly. Tigerlily also chimed in, "Yes! We are brave, Sartheya Princess. I choose danger, not prison eternal."

Sartheya looked over at Jareth, who had not answered either way if he wanted to attempt a dangerous escape, or not. He only asked, "Where do we have to go, and what do we have to do?"

A minute later, as the sun was setting in the West, Sartheya led her fellow prisoners down into a dungeon and checked to see if the room was empty. When she had assured that no guards had been watching them, she turned and said, "The guards here only report my location to Glinda, and then only if I've tried to escape. They don't do much else than that since I can't leave the Western Witch's Castle on foot anyway. Glinda doesn't know about this. I've only discovered it about a month ago, as I was hiding from Glinda in the dungeons. Here! Look!"

Sartheya pointed towards a dark corner in the pitch-black, damp dungeon where there was a strange glow emanating from an archway near some iron shackles and a few rickety, old Munchkin skeletons. The princess lowered her voice to a whisper, "You can only enter at nighttime, because that's when she dreams."

"Who dreams?" Hook asked. Sartheya replied, "The little girl who opens the portal between the two worlds. Whenever she dreams, this mirror becomes a doorway into her dream world. Initially, I thought that it was only a dream, or a mirage - of some sort, but then this girl kept returning to the same place every night. Just by chance one evening, I reached out to touch the vision inside of the mirror, and I fell through onto the other side. I walked around for hours – maybe days, until I was chased around by a deck of cards and a wicked queen who wanted to cut off my head. I couldn't find my way back to the mirror, but I did find a miniature door with a hole inside that leads upwards. There was a talking caterpillar and so many strange things that it would probably take a lifetime to describe it all."

Hook gave Jareth a weird look, denoting that Sartheya seemed a bit on the loony side, as she finally finished, "Anyway, I might managed to climb wa~y up the hole, but I couldn't reach the last step out. It took me weeks just to climb to the top. I lost my footing while trying to reach for a tree root at the base of the hole, but I fell back down and was knocked out. When I woke up, I was back in the dungeon again."

"Golly! Are you certain that it wasn't all really-just a dream?" Dorothy Gale waved her hands around in awe at Sartheya's tale. Hook pinched the bridge of his nose and shook his head. As nobody else had seemed very assured by Sartheya's story, Tigerlily finally cupped her hands over the Witch Princess' shoulder and said, "You must lead on, Dream Warrior. If there is – escape in world of dreams, then faith I have that you… will… take away – us home once more."

Mostly everybody nodded in agreement with Tigerlily, except for the ever-skeptical pirate captain. Despite their doubts, they really hadn't any other master plan that would take them away from Oz. Hook was wincing over the Jolly Roger, and wondered if he would ever see her again. Slowly, the light from the mirror grew brighter, and then a little blonde girl dressed in a tea-length blue dress overlaid with a white apron sprinted after an ornamentally-clothed, white rabbit across the reflection of the wide mirror. Her patent-leather, black shoes were sinking into the mud and leaves, as she could be heard crying, "Oh, please do wait, Mr. Rabbit! Please!"

As soon as the little blonde girl had run past, Sartheya motioned for everyone to hasten into the reflection. Apprehensively, Hook stepped through, followed by Dorothy Gale, and then Tigerlily. Sartheya looked at Jareth and said, "Your turn, Jareth – Son of the Goblin King. If your father is really as powerful as I hope he is - and hopefully you follow in his footsteps too – then you should have no problem whatsoever braving this task."

Jareth nodded as he began to step through the mirror. He clutched his amulet tightly within his hands, and said to Sartheya, "It's not that I'm afraid. It's just been a very weird two days. That's all."

With that, both children entered the world beyond the looking-glass. What strange adventure awaited them here? They could only wonder.