Ying-Fa: Hello Labyrinth world! It's been so long but fret not, I'm finally back with a new Labyrinth fic! This is a collaboration work between me and the wonderful cmsully who gave me the idea and has been co-writing this piece with me, so you can thank her for my return! Please review and let me know what you think!
Sarah stared into the bedroom that had once been hers and let out a sigh as she looked over the walls, once full of toys and games, that now stood barren and dusty. It was hard to believe it was the same room that where she'd dreamed up all her childhood fantasies. It had once been so alive with her imaginings and now it stood cold and empty with years of being unused.
Sarah Williams' return to her childhood home was not a particularly happy event. At the age of eighteen, she'd moved away to college where she'd earned a degree in English and worked as a substitute teacher across the country. She'd moved many times, saw many new people, and enjoyed the fullness of life for ten years until her stepmother, Irene, called with some very tragic news. Sarah's father, Robert, had been on the way home from work one evening when his car had been hit by a drunk driver. Sarah, Irene, and Sarah's half-brother Toby had prayed and prayed for a miracle, but to no avail. Robert Williams had passed away from his injuries.
Irene had taken her husband's death with a severe sadness and Toby had been completely heartbroken. Watching Toby struggle with the death of his father, Irene decided that what the boy needed most was a change in scenery. She got a new job out of town and found a good apartment in a nice neighborhood. But she couldn't, for the life of her, sell Robert's house. Try as she might, there were no potential buyers looking to take the house off her hands, and she couldn't afford to continue paying the mortgage on it while trying to establish a new life for herself and her son. When Sarah heard of Irene's plight, she decided to help her stepmother. With the money she'd acquired from teaching, she bought the house from Irene. Sarah got a new, steady job as a drama teacher at her old high school and, with a heavy heart, she moved into her father's house.
With another sigh, Sarah closed the door to her old bedroom. So far, the only things in the house were the things she could bring with her in her car. Within the next two days, the movers would arrive with her furniture, even through it wasn't much. Sarah had lived in dorms and one-bedroom apartments since she moved out of this house the first time around. She never had many roommates or had ever lived with any significant others, unusual for a twenty-eight year old, but it was her life nevertheless. Sarah liked living on her own, that was all.
After taking a while to roam around the barren house, checking every room, she came across what was once her parent's bedroom. Irene had left behind the queen-size bed that she and Robert had shared but everything else, Robert's books and Irene's antiques, had all been cleared away. Sarah didn't take in the empty shelves though. She went straight across the room and opened the window and looked through. Her heart pounded with the thoughts of old dreams and a childhood fantasy she'd never forget.
Forgetting about the Labyrinth was next to impossible. For years, she kept the Labyrinth alive in her heart. She believed that the creatures and friends she'd made did indeed exist and were right on the other side of the mirror if she chose to call them. But as time went on, she had begun to rationalize with herself. She told herself that, if the Labyrinth did exist, she could never tell anyone else about it. What would the rest of the world think if they heard her speaking about goblins and dwarfs and mythical creatures? What happened if she disappeared to that world again and didn't make it back? To know of another world was dangerous and so she had to pretend that it didn't exist. Soon, she began to believe that it really didn't exist and so the Labyrinth faded along with her dreams of acting and fantasy.
Now, many years later, all there was outside the window of her parent's room was a view of the park where she used to dress up in costumes and recite lines from her favorite book. She hadn't been to that park in ages. Perhaps a little walk there would be just what she needed. All that was in the house right now were a few boxes and she was in no mood to unpack everything and try and find a place for everything in the old house. Making up her mind, she left her parent's room, went downstairs, and put on her coat, and stepped out of the house.
It was early autumn and the evening was still warm but overcast with light gray clouds that didn't seem to know whether they wanted to rain or not. When Sarah reached the park, it felt like stepping back in time. The brilliant green grass, the mild spotting of flowers, the dark pine trees, the swans gliding dreamily on the pond, everything was as she remembered. Sarah took a seat on one of the stone benches and took a deep breath, inhaling the fresh air that very barely eased the weight in her heart. The idea of living in the house that was full of Robert's memory, coupled with the stresses of the move and finding a new job, had dampened Sarah's spirits. She wished she still had her old book, The Labyrinth, to take her back even further to a time when fantasy could still block out harsh reality. Sarah often wondered what happened to the book. She'd kept it well away after her encounter with another world and she didn't take it with her when she moved out. It must have gotten lost or sold. Either way, she'd never see it again.
In the midst of her thoughts, an unusual sound reached her ears. She heard someone sniffling, crying, somewhere near where she was. Sarah glanced around. It sounded like a child, but there wasn't anyone in sight. Sarah rose from the bench and wandered around, listening to the sad sounds and trying to discover where it was coming from.
"Hello?" she called out. "Is there anyone there?"
The sniffling stopped, as if the child was startled by the presence of a stranger so near them. Sarah continued about to wonder around and she noticed one of the tall obelisks dotted around the park. She crept closer and, before her, she noticed a small child sitting curled into a ball at the base of the obelisk, his shoulders shaking as he tried to stay quiet and cry at the same time.
"Hey," said Sarah, in a calm and friendly voice. "Are you okay?"
The boy didn't move to look at her. He was dressed in formal-looking blue clothes and he was shielding his whole head with this arms. Sarah bend down and very gently touched the child on the shoulder. "It's okay," she said softly. "I'm not gonna…"
All of a sudden, the boy's head snapped up. He leaned all the way back up against the obelisk, pointed ahead of him and yelled, "LOOK OUT!"
Sarah's head snapped in the direction he was pointing. Something was stirring in the shadows of the trees. The leaves were rustling wildly, far more than they should have with just the light breeze. Then the sounds started, long, low moans were echoing through the patches of darkness, sounds that put the image of ghosts in mind. But whatever was in those trees was darker than shadows, more frightening than ghosts.
From within the darkness of the trees, the shadows stretched forward eerily. Long, skeletal fingers were clawing the brilliant green grass as they crawled forth from the darkness, reaching out and pulling themselves out from behind the trees. The shadows stretched closer and closer, reaching and grasping for the little boy. He was pressed all the way up against the obelisk, white with terror and mumbling under his breath, "Don't let them get me. Don't let them get me! Don't let them get me!"
Sarah watched the shadows creep closer and closer, paralyzed with fright and having no idea what to do. Suddenly, the shadow's progress towards the child sped faster, they writhed and squirmed their way towards the child, who curled up yet again crying, "NO!"
Sarah couldn't stand there anymore. With a sudden surge of courage and a strength she didn't even know she had, she stepped in front of the little boy and faced the shadows and called out in a strong, confident voice that was completely at odds with how terrified she was feeling.
"My will is as strong as yours!" Sarah bellowed at the shadows. "And my kingdom is as great! You have no power over me!"
The words sounded ridiculous as she said them, but somehow, incredibly, miraculously, it worked! The shadows stopped suddenly, inches away from Sarah and the child, and their wicked black fingers twitched and recoiled as though they'd come in contact with a burning flame. As quickly as they came, the shadows pulled back into the darkness of the trees as though they'd been drawn back with an invisible fishing wire. Moments later, the darkness from behind the trees vanished and the misty evening light returned to the park as though nothing had happened.
"Y-you…you did it."
Sarah turned around faced the child, ready to smile and reassure him all was well, but she froze again. This was the first time she'd had a good look at the boy's face. He had blond hair, shoulder length yet wild, his clothes were blue and made of a strange, shimmering material, a lean face and the most familiar, mismatched eyes….