I'd like to thank the epic Labyrinth fan fiction writers in my favorites, Code Green, KnifeEdge, HachimansKitsune, PaisleyRose and Ying Fa (to name a few) for their inspirations. This tale goes to them for all the long days I've been mesmerized by their epic fan fictions. There's a reason Labyrinth stories are one of my favorite categories to browse for new reading material on long days.
Longer synopsis below:
Spring has come to the Underground. Magic is at its peak. Unfortunately that rise of power is the reason the Goblin King's mischievous mood is considerably dampened. Magic has gone awry, the walls are down and some fae are up to no good Above. The Goblin King must find the Champion he has done his best to forget, and she is not pleased to see him, either. Hopefully, Sarah and Jareth can sort out their affairs before the darkness escalates into something more terrible than a couple murders or Sarah gets into hot water with her own affairs.
Dreaming Towards Infinity
- Prologue -
In one part of the city... at night...
A storm continued outside, spilling sporadic light into the dark apartment room. Many moving boxes filled the room, some open, some taped closed, and some folded shut but near bulging. A dark green sweatshirt sleeve dangled out of one. A beaten box with a broken flap revealed worn covers of books, a couple wrapped in newspaper. Something had left a dent in another. In the middle of the room, a couple boxes had been pulled away from the rest and now stood mostly empty.
Lightning flashed across the recesses of the room, bringing out more details. A white sheet trailed out of one of the middle boxes. Partly burnt, crinkled, it was somehow covered in ash and dirt. A long ruler and the top of a large drawing compass leaned against the side of another. The ruler, especially, had been splattered in dark red liquid. More liquid splashed the dingy walls, blinking different shades in the pale light. In the middle of the room, the artist still painted on his easel, not pausing.
For a few moments, the tall hunched figure wiped brush after brush of paint down the page. Suddenly, at a harsher burst of wind, he whirled the current brush away into the recesses of his room, slashing another strip of vibrant colors across his room, even across his bedding in one corner. Gasping, unkempt dark hair in his eyes, the artist knelt and plucked another from the nearest box. His breathing slowed.
For hours, he continued thus, eerily silent and slowly painting, then tossing the offending brush away, rippling more color across his dark room. Always he knelt and selected a new one afterwards, harsh breathing settling again into calm sighs. For a while, this pattern continued, until he seemed to run low of brushes from the box below. His tendency to throw supplies slowed. It didn't halt however.
When he rose his hand to toss the second to last brush, eyes glancing to his collection, he froze, pausing. Slowly, inch-by-inch, he lowered his hand, setting the offending brush on the easel by his pallet of colors. He waded into the collection of boxes. Pushing a box off one marked 'KEEP' in red marker, he ripped the tape off, opening it. He tossed towels and jackets aside, not caring if the cloth landed in a pool of red or indigo or yellow, and finally pulled out a handful of brushes wrapped together in a rubber band. An eagle feather trailed from band. His eyes narrowed slightly. The artist turned around, strolling back to his chaotic easel. He set the group of smaller brushes on the ground by a toolbox and glanced back at the project before him.
A whirlwind of colors spun and twisted back at him. In most of the places, the paints had melted into each other, merely reflecting the dingy room around it, in dull greys, mud browns, sickly yellow greens, and many different levels of blacks. Occasionally though, the dark pattern broke, and few strands of warm color greeted his eyes. A line of gold, a circle of blue and violet, a spike of green, and most of all, many splashes of crimson danced across the page.
The artist sighed and took off his current jacket, revealing a black T-shirt covering skinny arms, battered and bruised. He tossed the jacket into a corner untouched by the paint. Brushing back his blonde-streaked hair, his knees collapsed on one moving box as he stared back at his product.
"Again," he whispered in a hoarse voice. "Again, the red refuses to blend with the rest. Why can't I change that? Why am I obsessed with that color?"
. . . .
In another part of the city ... at dawn...
A dream wrapped around the sleeping occupant. Long chocolate tresses spread out across the blue pillow and the white sheet tangled around her middle. Shapely legs naked in the early light, she twisted her head to the side and slept on.
"... in search of new dreams, a love that will last
I'll lay my love between the stars.
. . .
"As the pain sweeps through, makes no sense to you.
Every thrill is gone, wasn't too much fun at all.
But I'll be there for you~
. . .
... as the word falls down.
. . .
"Falling, falling, falling..."
. . .
Sarah Williams awoke. Eyes blinking up at her white white ceiling, the last refrain echoed in her mind. She covered her eyes with an arm, breathing in. For a few minutes, she lay there, half covered by a blue and white checkered comforter, remembering. The white sheet trailed down to the carpet below.
Sarah Williams had been fourteen when she had wished away her brother in anger and had come face-to-face with the villain of her favorite novel, the Goblin King. Head tilted to the side and smirking, he refused to let her take those words back yet offered her something else. Her dreams. Sarah couldn't accept and consented to his next challenge to run his Labyrinth. If she could survive for 13 hours and reach him in his castle, Toby would be freed. Thanks to a few choice friends, she had won. At the end, a more solemn king had once more made that same offer combined with something else. Once again, she had refused. As the clock chimed the 13th hour, she returned home, a barn owl flying out of the window and Toby asleep in his crib. Nothing had changed.
Yet everything had.
A high-pitched alarm rose from her desk. Groaning, Sarah sat up, pulling a worn T-shirt back down over her midriff and coving the bikini shorts she wore below. She ran a hand through her fizzy hair, taking a look at the sky from between the blinds of her apartment window. A few clouds drifted across the perfect blue sky, and a robin whistled an early morning song. Her alarm ceased; however, a moment later, a different more insistent beat started screeching at her.
Sarah growled and threw a small pillow towards the noise. With a metallic ring, her cell phone fell off the corner of her desk onto the carpet. The alarm continued to scream at her. Sighing, Sarah pushed the warm comforter to the side, rolling over and slipping feet into the sandals by her bed. She stumbled across the bedroom, leaned down, and with few clicks, blessed silence returned. Still, the alarm had done its job. She was out of bed. Glancing at the time, Sarah plopped down into the seat at her desk.
The piece was a high, roll top, cherry wood desk with a three drawers on each side and a set of cubbies in the middle. Sarah had discovered it at a yard sale and her dad had helped her restore it to its previous glory. Above it, Sarah had nailed two stand-alone shelves into the wall. The first shelf and the space between were filled with books, including a handful of personal novels, worn and loved, a few textbooks kneeling on their side with pieces of paper in between, and a dozen new texts for her classes this semester. She would find more books below her bed. Sarah pulled out a leaf of paper and grabbed a pen from the drawer.
She paused. Unable to stop herself, she glanced upwards at her top shelf display. A large snow globe with New York City in gold letters surrounded glittering skyscrapers, a souvenir from her high school graduation trip. Behind, a framed photograph of her family during Christmas stood. Toby's cheeks were rosy from an earlier snowball fight and her own dark tresses were sparkling with melting snow. Rescued from the garage sale this past year, when Toby had decided that he was too old for stuffed animals, the tattered teddy bear Lancelot stat in the middle of the shelf. A green ribbon hung from his ear, Best Poem of the Year, 9th grade, blazoned in neon blue letters.
Sarah's eyes rested on the last pieces. Framing one side, opposite the skyscraper and family portrait, her childhood music box gleamed. On top, the young dancer spun slowly around in a white ball-gown sewn with stars, face serene. Next to it, half covering the emerald ribbon, a metal statuette of faerie, posed on a stone overhanging above a golden pond, held a set of pan flutes to his lips with one hand and a deep violet crystal ball extended with the other. The emerald of the ribbon reflected off his clothes and the ball-gown's shining details bounced back off the pond and rock structure.
Sighing once again, Sarah let her pen drop back into the drawer and stood, reaching behind Lancelot. She slid the small red book Labyrinth from its hiding place. Sitting again, she flipped through the pages, pausing for a minute at the final page, then turned back to the beginning. On a certain page, Sarah underlined some words at the bottom with her finger. "... and he had given her special powers." Her fingers halted at the small dot at the end of the page. Then like many times before, Sarah let the book close.
"You have no power over me..." she whispered. Silence answered her.
Finally, setting the little book to one side and still deciding against selling or giving away the statuette and music box, she picked up her pen. She began writing a draft for that afternoon college class, her mind calm after that ritual.
Sarah Williams may have been different after her trek in the Labyrinth, but by the time she had turned eighteen, Sarah had perfected the illusion of a normal girl - with a few unusual dreams. She would not use her other gifts in this world. She had left that realm behind where it belonged.
. . . .
In the Underground... high noon...
Jareth, the Goblin King stared out at the Labyrinth from a window in his castle. Spring had arrived in the Underground, and the Labyrinth appeared even more unruly than normal. The Fieries' forest had extended deeper into the maze, spreading its green cloak far over the stonework at the center. Little rivers snaked around much of the twists of hedges. Due to the exponential growth in crawlers and vines, a good portion of the false alarms weren't functional, and most of his subjects were down below with their families, beating back the shrubberies and eager vegetation from eroding their makeshift clay homes in the Goblin City. Although it was quiet in his castle, it was a busy time to be king.
Jareth narrowed his eyes before chuckling, flashing white incisors, as his amusement rose. One of the newer rivers had begun flowing towards one of his favorite oubliettes and would flood the main trap if allowed to continue in that direction. He would absolutely hate for any runners to actually drown before he had had his fun with them, not that many got that far. He pushed that thought to the back of his mind and focused in the dilemma. A new wall needed to be created there but something more like a dike, low enough to fool runners, but high enough to change the river's course. It would be tedious, muddy work, and Jareth knew exactly who to assign it to.
Tapping his riding crop on his leg, he called out on specific name, "Humbug."
"My name is not Humbug, Your Majesty. It's Hoggle," the dwarf puffed from the nearby shadows. "And where in the world did you hear that one?" Hoggle dropped a load of living vines at his feet, wiping dirt off his nose. The plum colored leaves crinkled further in the sunlight.
"It was in a book lying around, in my stash from Aboveground to be precise," Jareth said, waving his hand. The vines froze. His grin grew. "And I can call you anything I like unless you wish to challenge me for the throne."
Hoggle scoffed. "Not bloody likely," he retorted. He swiped out cobwebs and dust from his hair. "What did you call me for, Your Highness? I have six more false alarms to unearth and I want to get done before the next rains come."
"Oh? Did I give you that task?" Jareth purred. "Shame." His grin turned cheshire like. "I have another one for you."
Not at all surprised and giving another kick to the tangle at his feet, Hoggle groaned, "What is it this time?"
Jareth looked down on the dwarf, raising his elegant eyebrow up further. The dwarf had gained a new level of confidence ever since that woman had bested him - he refused to say her name - and it had been hard, useless work putting the little man back into his cowardly corner where he belonged. The Labyrinth whispered her own amusement whether to his thoughts or his frustration, he didn't know. The Goblin King stepped away from the wall. It didn't matter. A shaking dwarf or this new brave dwarf could still be entertaining.
Jareth pointed to the Labyrinth's northeastern corner. "The oubliette in that area needs to remain open for visitors. Build a wall to divert the river there towards the thorn barrier."
Hoggle sighed. "Which one?" he grumbled. "There are at least five clear oubliettes in that area," he stated, "and another half dozen concealed, all in danger of being thoroughly soaked," he muttered to himself in a lower voice.
It didn't matter. The Goblin King had the best hearing of all his creatures.
Jareth's eyes twinkled maliciously as he listened. Brave or not, the dwarf still walked into most of his troubles.
"Why don't you assign Ludo's kind to that?" Hoggle continued in a louder voice. "They are better at that kind of work than I am."
Hoggle was right, but for the Goblin King, that was besides the point. He leaned down to the dwarf's level, watching the light dawn in his beady eyes and Hoggle's mouth hardened in realization. Just one last touch for today's show. "Higgle, I asked you to do it," Jareth murmured in his sweetest voice. He rose. "If you can't decide which of those I mean, I could always toss you there to help."
Hoggle scoffed. "No, thank you, Mr. Ungrateful. I'd rather be on my way and make sure all are operating."
Jareth laughed and felt the Labyrinth's rumble beside him. The dwarf was learning to back down more graciously and accept defeat. "There, you said it, the perfect solution~" He picked up the the living vines. At his touch, the plant awoke, leaves twitching, and tangled around his fingers in greeting. Jareth glanced back up at Hoggle. With an elaborate flick of his wrist, he sent the whole plant flying at the dwarf's face, spreading wide in a thorny net.
Hoggle lifted a crimson branch from his belt. The vines fell at his feet, crinkling merrily. The dwarf raised one singed eyebrow, "Would that be all, King Who is Very Bored?"
"I don't have to be bored in order to summon your for entertainment, Hoggle." Jareth responded in the next beat. "Be off and get back to work before I have you spend a night in the Bog of Eternal Stench." He waved his hand. With another pop, the dwarf and vines vanished.
Jareth turned back to the scene out his window. Once again, the dwarf hadn't mentioned her, which meant she hadn't called her friends for nearly two years now. Perhaps her tale had indeed already closed. Jareth closed his eyes, rubbing the bridge of his nose, and tapping his riding crop against the stone ledge.
That's the end of the prologue. In the next chapter, we will split time between Sarah's day at college and Jareth's spring-cleaning, soon to be disturbed.
Please take the time to review.
Originally an idea I wanted to put up for Halloween, this tale literally popped in my head during the fall when I was doing chores. Maybe the mist carried it to me. xD I'm not unhappy. It's going be crazy and quite twisted at times and a challenge for me to keep up with once I get it going.
This is the first of four Labyrinth fan fictions stories, which all lined up after this one punched a hole in my writing schedule. Three are on my profile. I'm going to stop bemoaning my difficulty in writing a Labyrinth story now before I drown in ideas. IF it is possible to stop the flow.
Final note to a Goblin King: It's out now so stop tap dancing on my head for being cautious about it.