disclaimer: labyrinth © jim henson.
— the art of stealing hearts

Sarah dreams.

Sarah dreams about flesh-eating exotic red flowers and high towers and infinite stretching mazes and laughter like crystal shattering and her own ink-stained fingers and rain-soaked dresses as she steps through high arching doors, its borders wonderful and horrible, things she does not dare look at directly - and a voice whispering sweet nothings, hollow bird-bones inside her young body, and the words break apart in the air, so fragile they are, morphing into butterflies that flutter around her, their tiny, colourful wings brushing her cheeks, her chin, her eyelids.

Imagination is a cursed blessing.

(He stands tall and dark. If you would only love me, he says, but she doesn't want to look at her own bruised heart.)

And she dreams about him, and his bone throne, extravagant clothing and feathery hair and mismatched eyes and soft, soft lips. He's always speaking, her dream-beloved, awake-villain, telling her his silly whims and wise orders, with his illogical logic, fear me, love me, do as I say—

But Sarah wants no slave, she tells him. She just wants a significant other (he smiles at this, the childish jerk) who can share madness and candy with her. Sugar melts on her tongue, and his kisses are petal-flower light, as lovely as a star caught in his fist. His hands are slow when he touches her, the lingering warm staying behind when he steps back, staring with such intensity Sarah thinks her heart has turned into a sun that reaches its end and melts into white-hot light.

My precious one, he says, and she rolls her eyes because there's no need to be so dramatic, thank you very much, but he insists because she wants him to be and he always pleases her, love me and do as I say, and I will be—whatever you want, he mutters, whenever you want.

Sarah thinks he would stab himself and offer her his heart if she asked.

Not that she would, of course.

You can be so cruel, Sarah, he says.

Curling around him, embracing him with quiet placidity, feline and pleased, eyes half-closed. He likes to peek into them as if hoping to catch the things she sees. Sarah dreams about him, dreams about fantastic kingdoms and the blazing trails stars leave, searching for something she refused because (no slave, no slave, no slave.)

You have no power me. But Sarah, dear beloved precious one darling (his sweet nothings are like blades)—

You're eating him. This is love.