Disclaimer: I do not make any claim to own Labyrinth or any of its characters, I'm just taking them out for a spin.

Whemmle
- to overturn; to throw into a state of disorder

The Oubliette gave Sarah a new appreciation for the term "pitch black." A girl used to streetlights burning through the night and light switches around every doorway, she had never seen dark like this, not even behind her own eyelids.

She huffed. She was too old to be afraid of the dark. She felt along the gently sloping stone walls with her hands, going slow and being careful to run her fingers over every inch. Twice she thought she found the seam of a door but it turned out to be nothing but an especially long nick.

She tried not to breathe too deeply as she went. The air was stale and thick like her bedroom shut up all day during a summer storm. Or like a tomb. Sarah shook that thought away furiously. She wouldn't get anywhere if she kept thinking like that. She pressed her hands to the wall, determined there must be a way out if there had been a way in. There was no telling how much time she was losing and she actually hoped the Goblin King would appear soon with that annoying clock of his to tell her. At the very least he would bring some light with him. He wouldn't dare show up somewhere he couldn't be seen.

Giggles echoed off the tight walls. Sarah pressed a hand to her mouth. Her giggles kept going after it stopped being funny. Her lungs started to burn and her stomach ached. The laughter was sharp and high, a terrified sound that frightened her even more. She threw her head back and it slammed into the wall. Pain scattered through her head, ricocheting off the insides of her skull. She held onto it, using it to push the laughter down as she pushed her whole body against the wall. It was rounded and she had to brace herself to keep from sliding down.

Her breathing slowed to a gasping. She needed to get out of here and she needed to be logical about it, not throwing herself at the walls. She eased herself away and slid her hands along the stone in search of some break. Hope shot through her when her fingers caught on what might be a seam. Her hope slogged to a halt as she realized it was just a nick.

She slid her hands up and could just barely touch the top of the ceiling if she stood on the very tips of her toes like a ballerina. She crumbled to the slightly damp floor and let her head fall back against the cool wall. Pain shot through her and she cried out. She lifted a hand to the back of her head and it came away sticky and wet. She closed her eyes as the pain subsided. She could deal with mysterious injuries later. She still had to get out of here and find …

Sarah sat very still. She had to find …

Had to find

Toby!

She sighed, relieved. Toby. That was right, she had to find Toby.

She felt sick as she pushed herself up but used the wall to steady herself. She had to get out of here and find Toby and they would go home. She would hold him tight and never let him go and never complain again when she was left alone with him.

Sarah paused. That didn't make any sense. If she was left alone with him, that implied someone else was usually there with them. She chuckled. She was starting to sound as batty as some of the goblins.

Her bloody hand slipped under her weight and she felt a seam in the wall. She dug her nails into it, trying to pull it apart. She grasped desperately, her nails breaking, blood dripping down to the wet floor where her feet were sliding from beneath her as she pushed harder and harder. Her fingers slipped up and down at once and she realized the seam was nothing more than a nick in the wall. She flopped to the ground with a huff.

She had to get out. She hadn't been in here too long, no more than a minute or two, but every second was one lost. She was going to find a way out, she decided. She would find a way out and get Toby and take him home to their house in the Goblin City. She tried to think why she had ever left it and gone outside the Labyrinth. The journey would have been so much easier if she'd just started at home. Some of her neighbors might even have helped show her the way to the palace and this would have all been over in under an hour. She could see herself walking down the cobbled road, goblins on either side of her, pulling her along so she wouldn't lose her way. She'd look silly walking with the goblins since they were so small and she so big. How did she even manage in their city?

Sarah's heart gave a sickening lurch.

"I don't live in the Goblin City," she said.

The walls echoed it back to her. I don't live in the Goblin City. Her voice sounded small and afraid.

She held onto the fact before it could slip away.

How could she have forgotten? How could she have thought she lived here?

She took a deep breath and spoke as calmly as she could manage. "My name is Sarah Williams."

My name is Sarah Williams.

"I am going to get out of here and find my brother, Toby."

I am going to get out of here and find my brother, Toby.

"And we will go to our home …" She hesitated. She didn't know where their home was. She shook herself and her head felt overbalanced on one side. She tensed, waiting for the slight vertigo to subside.

She wouldn't do that again.

What had she been thinking?

Sarah's heart pounded as she reached for her lost thoughts. She didn't know where home was! That was it. But that was just one more bridge to cross.

She didn't bother herself wondering what a bridge was, it would only distract her.

"My name is Sarah Williams."

My name is Sarah Williams.

"I am going to get out of here and find my brother, Toby."

I am going to get out of here and find my brother, Toby.

"And we will find our home outside the Goblin City."

And we will find our home outside the Goblin City.

The heels of her shoes slid along the floor until her legs were splayed before her. She said it again.

"My name is Sarah Williams."

My name is Sarah Williams.

"I am going to get out of here and find Toby."

I am going to get out of here and find Toby.

"And we will find our home."

And we will find our home.

She let her head fall back, careful of where it was sensitive.

"My name is Sarah Williams."

My name is Sarah Williams.

"I am going to get out of here."

I am going to get out of here.

"And go home."

And go home.

The words sounded wrong. Gibberish. Out. Here. Go. What did those mean? And home. Home was silly. A fantasy, that there could be any other place than the one in which she lived.

"My name is Sarah Williams."

My name is Sarah Williams.

"My name is Sarah Williams."

My name is Sarah Williams.

"My name is Sarah."

My name is Sarah.

"Sarah."

Sarah.

"Sarah."

Sarah.

"Sarah."


The wall slid open before Jareth. The clock had struck thirteen and it was time to pick up the pieces of the game. Light flooded the small, dingy Oubliette. It was so small that, were he foolish enough to enter, he could reach out to touch either side with arm length to spare and his head would have brushed the ceiling. Yet the light came back from the far wall as if from a great distance. The stone had forgotten how to reflect and even light, once it entered, had trouble remembering how to shine.

Curled up on the floor of the Oubliette was what could easily be mistaken for a pile of clothes and a wig.

"Up!" Jareth barked. "Get up!"

Long seconds passed before a fat, knobby hand emerged from beneath the hair. It pushed against the ground, splaying so that he could see thin, translucent webbing between the fingers. The thing sat up, its shoulder sliding against the wall as it moved so that one side of its grey collar slipped down to the elbow of its slim arm. It blinked big, buggy eyes with pupils too wide. Its mouth, small and dry with no lips to be seen did not close and breath wheezed equally out it and the bat-like, upturned nose alike. Its big, pointed ears popped up comically from beneath that mane of thick, dark hair. Its head was misshapen at the back on one side and the hair there was clumped and knotted like the stuff pulled from a drain.

Disgust welled up within Jareth and he pushed aside the memory of what had once been. The creature he had put in here was gone, taken by the Labyrinth, and in return he had been gifted with this … thing.

He swallowed and only then realized his mouth had gone dry. He tossed his hair carelessly over his shoulder as the thing gaped up at him. It was not in awe, he knew. It didn't have any frame of reference to process awe. He was new, entirely new to it and it did not yet even know enough to understand he was any different from the walls around them.

"I am Jareth," he said slowly. "The Goblin King."

It was not her. It was not even a little her. But it had been made from the remains of her, the dross left behind when all that had made up the whole of her had been stripped away. Humans were a whole less than the sum of their parts that way. But because it had once been a piece of something that understood words and actions, the meanings would come to it as swiftly as these new facets of reality were presented.

"This is my Oubliette, under my Labyrinth, in my kingdom," he explained succinctly. "You are a goblin," Jareth said. The slight trip in his voice over the word was sorrow, but over nothing more than the misfortune of a new subject to look after.

The new goblin continued to stare.

"What are you?" Jareth asked.

The mouth opened slowly, the skin stretching unhappily as it tried to mimic what he did. Jareth caught sight of a pair of sharp fangs hidden in the mouth and wondered how long it would take the creature to learn to open wide enough to use them.

"A goblin," it said finally. The voice was like a whistle tumbling through an avalanche. Jareth could not help his wince.

"And who am I?" he asked.

The goblin's gaze dropped down his body and it bent the smallest bit, the hand still splayed on the floor inching forward as its head lowered. "My king."

Jareth nodded once, satisfied with the new creature. "Very good. Come along." Jareth spun on his heel and set off down the dank corridor beyond the Oubliette.

The goblin peaked up through its hair and saw him going. It scampered after. Its big feet tripped, caught on some sort of thick wrapping but it paid it no mind. It struggled to catch up. Its taloned feet wanted to curl in on themselves and each step required that it concentrate to make them flatten. It stood much shorter than Jareth. When it finally caught up - taking three steps to every one of his just to keep pace - its eyes were level with the tops of his boots.

Jareth stopped suddenly and the goblin slammed into his legs. It fell back and found itself staring up at him.

"You need a name," he said.

The goblin could see no gain or loss to be had from getting a name or remaining without one and so it watched the interesting way Jareth's throat moved.

"Weml," Jareth said finally.

The goblin frowned, its whole head wrinkling up so that even its hair shifted as deep canyons of skin formed. This was a word the goblin did not readily understand.

"Because you sleep upside-down," Jareth supplied with a twist of his hand. "Probably."

The goblin's ears twitched and he could see the question it did not yet have the words to ask written on its face.

"It's a close enough meaning for you," he said. Goblins did not need much in the way of vocabularies and it was almost a waste to use such a perfectly good word on this one. It was old though and would sound like nonsense or onomatopoeia to anyone who heard it, not that the goblins would care. He could name the thing Prince Ferdinand Rudolph Eisenhower and they wouldn't bat an eye.

Jareth was suddenly bored with his task of retrieving his newest subject.

"Let's go," he said irritably and conjured a crystal. A spin of it brought them both to the palace.

Jareth marched swiftly to his throne room, Weml crowding his ankles. He threw open the doors and laughed when goblins that had been sleeping on the other side went flying. Goblins surged around him, excited by his sudden appearance. He kicked a few and was rewarded with gleeful cries as more clambered to be next. He spun around and slapped his knees, giving a playful growl. Goblins fell back in horror that swiftly turned to laughing as they rolled over one another.

This was how goblins were meant to be and Weml would soon be just like the rest. It would learn from their example how to behave.

Suddenly curious - only curious, for there was no need to worry about a goblin, they were near indestructible - Jareth scanned the crowd for Weml. He thought he caught a glimpse of the shirt she had worn, now stained grey by the Oubliette and hanging limp off the shoulders of the little thing, but there was no telling. If goblins wore clothing at all it usually ended up grey and many of the goblins themselves were that color. Weml's dark hair did not stand out and its leathery skin was the norm. Jareth shrugged and resumed kicking his subjects.

He did not take any particular notice of the goblin who ran into the range of his boot sometime later. The black hair streaming behind it did not attract his attention, nor did the ill-fitting shirt it wore that looked like wings. Jareth kicked it as he would any of the others and was turned away kicking another before the little goblin clamped its feet around one of the rafters. Weml dug its sharp talons into the wood until it had a comfortable grip. It wrapped its grey, cloth wings around itself and closed its too-wide eyes, lulled to sleep by the screaming sounds of chaos below.