Recommended music: Athair Ar Neamh by Enya
I sigh deeply as I reline in my chair, resting my head on the ivory support. Before me, my goblin minions chatter among themselves, oblivious to everything else. They know nothing of the events which had occurred here. Sometimes ignorance is bliss and yet it can be a bitter, terrible curse.
Rising, I find I suddenly feel discontent. The creatures automatically open a path for me, never faltering in their mutterings and peals of laughter.
Exiting the throne room, I come to an empty hallway. My heart, how heavy it feels, how it weighs me down. Why do I feel so melancholy? My subjects, wrapped up in their own lives, cannot even begin to fathom the conflict I feel inside. I continue down the corridor in contemplation. Has the hall always been this long? Silence fills the spaces I don't occupy, closing in around me, threatening to stifle me.
A glint of light thankfully diverts my attention—a mirror. Studying the occupant, I am not surprised to see the blue eyes have lost their luster, the skin has forsaken its glow, and the countenance proves it is tired and spent. Who is this facing me, imitating my every move? Be he a phantom of my former confidence, the One haunting me with sleepless nights? Am I to be forever disturbed by shades of my imaginings, endlessly pursued by apparitions of my uncertainties?
Feeling a bitter taste in my mouth, I tear away from the jeering manifestation and continue towards my goal with renewed purpose: the library. It is a place that has always brought me comfort, faithful to provide an atmosphere without any disturbances hindering my reflections.
The armored guards stand at attention then move to admit me through. I stalk past them, growling, "Leave me."
Despite their puzzlement at my order, they close the doors behind me and I hear their footsteps recede. I lean against the sealed doors, the handles prodding me in the lower back. Ignoring the discomfort, I instead choose to drink in the grateful solitude.
Passing shelves upon shelves, I easily make my way to the desk at the far end of the room. Ignoring the quills and scattered leaves of parchment that occupy the space, I glance towards a small vial which harbors a tiny figurine of shattered light. Sarah. While it still pains me to remember my first defeat, I chose to create this imitation. I couldn't forget. I had to remember, had to demonstrate my emotions in some way. Strangely enough, it had been almost therapeutic.
With a wave of my hand, I summon a new vial, as clear as water and as thin as glass. Within the fragile space floats shattered starlight, formless and fresh. I carefully extract the glittering substance, now cradling it with both hands.
I can still remember her face.
Gently, with the utmost care, I form the head, combing out dark tendrils for hair.
Next, the eyes. Brown. Warm yet fierce. She had always glared at me with such relentless determination—how they burned towards me! In that way, I suppose, she and Sarah were alike.
I carve the petite nose and fleeting lips. Now that I come to think of it, I never did get that kiss… She vexed me, and, despite the annoyance I felt, I secretly relished every exchange we had! Her words had been sharp and direct, laced with sarcasm, yet grounded in infallible honesty. The very kind of discourse which amused and challenged me. In terms of wit, we were equals, she and I.
The shoulders and the torso. Her shirt…what color had it been? Lilac.
The arms, slender yet strong. Many times she had lashed out towards me, hands clenched tightly in defiance. With such strength she resisted me. And yet…it had not been her strength alone.
No, she had never been alone. Her strength came from the inside. Her heart had been part of it—of this there is no doubt—but there had been…Someone else.
That elusive Being.
I grit my teeth. The moment I brought Christine to the Underground, I knew there was something different about her. When I slipped into her mind, I saw her memories, her thoughts, and, especially, her dreams. But the deeper I descended, the harder it was for me to penetrate the core of who she was. Suddenly, I was repelled—cast out of her mind by an authority which had threatened to tear me apart. I confess I was shaken, even as I perceived she was beginning to regain consciousness. There was something lurking beneath the surface of her heart, something great and mighty, something…beyond my power.
Her heart, I realized, was a realm that I was forbidden to enter.
I shape the legs, wrapping denim around the limbs, fitting shoes onto the feet.
And that angel who interrupted me at the ball… He called their King 'Most High.'
Before I realize what I've done, I find I'm tracing the cut along my cheek, the very one I received during our little engagement. While I had managed to conceal it from the girl during our final encounter, the pain nonetheless continued to sting. It still does.
I look back to the tiny figure I have formed. Gently placing it within the delicate orb, I gaze at the finished product. It is Christine in all her likeness.
I have never forgotten her words. Not one.
Why are you here? Besides showering the place with glitter.
Dressed in your jewels and finery? Never more disgusted.
I already serve a King—God Almighty, and I am kin to His perfect Son, Jesus Christ!
I do pity you because it seems you can never find any happiness.
You seem more human than goblin to me.
"And why is that?" I ask the tiny replica. "Why is it I have never been the same since I saw you? Why is it that I find myself restless, tormented by memories that refuse to fade, unable to find peace no matter where I go or what I do?"
Upon receiving no answer, I place the vial on the desk and regard it in cold silence.
Deep down, I sense something tugging at my heart.
"No," I reply stiffly, ignoring the pull.
The invisible force only becomes more persistent.
"What?" I ask icily.
The silent response directs me to a nearby table. Sucking in a breath, I steel myself. A single book sits on the wooden surface.
It has been a week since I had taken it from Christine's room. I was actually surprised when she seemed pleased I wanted to read it despite the fact I had stolen it in the first place. Of course, even after having struck the deal with her, I never could bring myself to open the daunting book. Come, Jareth! Screw your courage up tightly now!
Cautiously, I cross the room, focused on the foreign object. I pick the volume up, instantly fearful when I feel something undeniable stir within my spirit. No! Frantic, I grasp the manuscript with both hands in the hope that I can tear the cursed thing in half. Plague me no more! Haunt me no longer!
Recoiling, I drop the Bible, gripped by an indescribable fear; my blood runs cold. Stumbling back, I flinch when I bump up against my desk. I notice that my heart thunders in my chest and my hands tremble.
"Wh-what's happening to me?"
In the stillness, a Voice replies, Jareth, I have not forgotten you.
Could it be…?
Eyeing the book before me, I warily approach it again. "God…?" I whisper, falling to my knees, "If…if that is truly You, speak to me again."
The stirring in my spirit, that same disturbance within my being, returns. Instantly, I know what He wants.
"All right," I answer wearily, "I will listen."
Gingerly, I reach up and pull the Bible down to my level. Leaning against the legs of the table for support, I feel the weight of the book in my hands, explore its leather cover, and tease the fluttering pages.
I close my eyes and breathe in deeply, summoning the courage that remains. "Please," I whisper, hardly recognizing the words as they come from my mouth, "reveal Yourself to me."
Sensing the Power that beats within, I open the book to the first page, and I begin to read.
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…"