An: Rated T. Evil Jareth. I own nothing.
Sarah Williams cleaned up the remnants of her party with her underground friends. The elation had yet to fade from winning Toby back and her parents had not returned home. She hummed happily to herself, basking in her victory.
"Hello," He says and she nearly jumps out of her skin.
"What are you doing here?" Her eyes narrow angrily at him. "I didn't wish for you to steal any babies."
"Steal?" The Goblin King looks vastly amused. "You told me to take the babe. I did."
"You know I didn't mean it," she growls lowly.
"And, yet, you said it," he replies lowly. "Is it my fault you say things you do not mean?"
Sarah snorts in an unladylike fashion. "I don't have time for this. Go away."
Something flashes behind his eyes and she is instantly ill-at-ease. She involuntarily takes a step backward.
"I wouldn't be so rude were I you child."
She gulps, though she doesn't understand why and tries to must her courage about her once more. "You don't scare me."
"Then you are a fool," he flippantly responds as he comes closer toward her.
"I am only here to collect what is mine."
"Nothing here is yours, Goblin King."
The flash of his teeth under the light reminds her that she isn't dealing with some crazy man in skin-tight breeches. It reminds her that he isn't human.
"Sarah," his tone is patient as if he is dealing with a small child. "You called me. You asked for me to do something, which I did. You therefore are indebted to me."
"I ran your labyrinth!" The shout is unintentional and he looks unimpressed by it. "I already paid the price for calling you."
"No," his eyes are hard, "you did not."
"You want money?"
"Do not insult me."
"You said you wanted me to love you." She points out with a slight wince. "I cannot do that."
"Humans," he mutters with disgust dripping from his words. "I do not love as your kind do. Your definition and mine vary greatly."
"So," she asks with her brow puckering slightly in concentration, "if I had given in, and said yes?"
"Then you would have been trapped, and I wouldn't have wanted you."
"Why want me now?"
"Because now, I am not seeking to play a game mortal, now I want to utterly destroy you."
"Destroy me?" The terror snakes through her veins. "Why?"
"My kind does not take competition or losing well at all precious."
She draws back half frightened. "But that's not my fault!" She cried scandalized.
"Isn't it?" He laughs and the sound leaves her shivering. "You chose to call me, dear heart. It was your words that summoned me, knowing what I was and would do. You chose to play the game. You chose to challenge me. You defied me."
"I won," she bites out softly.
"Won? Oh precious thing." His eyes turn hard and dangerous. Sarah had never seen him like this before and she flinches back. Instinct tears at her mind and body urging her to flee. The once proud Champion is terrified. And, something tells her she should be. "You really do not understand, do you? I can reorder time, I am master of things you cannot even begin to fathom, and I do not die. That is barely even scratching the surface of what I can do Sarah Williams. Do you truly believe a few sentences would do anything to the likes of me?"
Her eyes grow wide and tear filled. "What… what are you?"
His face is suddenly but inches away from hers, looking so deadly and powerful that she can scarcely draw breath. "Me? I am part of the reason humans once feared the night."
She fears him now.
"You are such… impetuous creatures, you humans." The weight of his finger traces a path down her cheek and Sarah cannot force words past her closed throat. For a moment his anger seems forgotten on the wind as he stares at her with true fascination. "What a gift you are given, only to waste it."
She trembles. "Waste what?"
His fingers play with a strand of her hair. "The ability to feel as you do, so strongly. To be able to grow old and one day die."
Her confusion grows. "You want to die?"
"Immortality is a curse," he replies with his vicious teeth shining, "not a blessing."
"You said your 'kind'. Surely there are others like you that do not think immortality a curse?" She implores in the vain hope that she might slink back to her former life and that all of this is some horrid dream.
His lips quirk into an amused snarl as he looks into her eyes. "More than you would care to know."
"Then I can mean nothing to one such as you." Her eyes dart to the side and she fears for the first time that the kindness she had glimpsed in him only hours before was a lie.
"You mean a great deal to me," he countered forcefully, "just not in a way that will do you any good."
Hot tears trickle down her cheeks like molten silver. "What do you want from me?"
He tilts his head to the side and stares at her condescendingly. "To destroy you. Must I truly keep repeating myself?"
"But no one else has to know."
"It doesn't matter. I know, precious and I am incapable of ever forgetting. However, I can be generous despite your obvious prideful error."
Sarah gasps at the words as foolish hope floods her veins. "You will let me go?"
When the Goblin King throws back his head in laughter, she knows all is lost.
"Forever is a very long time, and I have nothing but time."
"That doesn't answer my question."
"It answers everything, Sarah-mine."
The light from his mis-matched eyes and the eerie glow that cascades off of his skin in waves causes her previously frozen body to lurch into action.
"No," she denies firmly, "I'd rather die."
The immortal regards her carefully with hooded eyes. "There may come a time when you wish for death, but you will not find it."
"I-I can fight," she rambles quietly, "I can overcome this." Her voice quavers on the last word. "There has to be some rule, or law, or-"
"Law? Rule? Oh come now Sarah, I played by rules because they entertain me. The only thing that bound me to those rules was myself. Time has no meaning for me. Mortals are side distractions at best. So yes, I play the Goblin King to pass the time."
"Then, I want to play the game again. And I will win my freedom!"
"Do you purposefully intend to misunderstand me?" He asks. His voice is cold and achingly beautiful. She would almost accuse him of enjoying this far more than he should. Eyes that hold unfathomable truths and secrets stare straight through her. "There will be no second time around. There is no way out of this. Come now," he intones dangerously, "In any of your pitiful legends, does it ever end well for the mortal?"
She chokes back a sob that rises slowly to the back of her throat. Her head shakes with such violent force as she tries to deny him that her hair tumbles from its arrangement.
"Arachne was turned into a Spider for daring to offend the Gods," his words drip like poison.
A terrible thought strikes her and she cannot hold back asking a single question.
"Are-are you a God?" Sarah sobs in fright at the very idea.
"Yes and no," he replies with mirth flashing behind the viciousness in his gaze. "Thousands of years ago you humans called those like me Gods. Though you also called us demons, jinn, angels, fairies, fae, and really the list goes on." The smile that blossoms on his lips could melt glass. "You name us, but it does not make us so. However, I am far more powerful than anything your sweet little tales and myths ever truly describe."
"Your kind is so quick to cast things aside as mere fables simply because you are left alone for a generation or two. At the beginning we were there when humans lived as nomads in a state of constant hunger and filth. We will be here long after the last of your kind has turned into dust on the winds. I never forget Sarah, but your kind does so easily. I almost envy it."
He does not draw closer, but she can feel his presence all around her and it makes her feel as if she is slowly suffocating.
"The beautiful Luned, you might know her as the lady of the lake, gives a ring to a hero called Owain. And, before you ask precious, no it doesn't end well for him either. Shall I give you the chance to dream eternally in sleep, like your dear 'Sleeping Beauty'? Although the true tale is much darker, I must warn you. It is not a prince that finds her and gives her a gentle kiss, but a King that ravishes her sleeping form. She gives birth to twins and faeries help them nurse upon her breast. However, one accidentally latches upon her finger instead and draws out the poison. She wakes, but so much time has passed by then." The Goblin King gives a relishing sigh.
"Perhaps you I should give you immortality but not eternal youth? You could age to the thousands but never truly die. A mere husk of flesh and bone." His eyes pierce her with an expression she has never seen in her tender years.
"A delightful idea, wouldn't you agree?"
Silence, broken only by her half-hysterical sobbing stretches before them.
"Hm. I think I have a much better idea of what to do with you."
"No," she replies horrified. "Please, you can't do this."
His face, otherworldly and handsome, seems to be made of stone. "Can't?" His eyebrow rises and his lips curl into a mocking sneer. "You think I cannot do something? Oh dear thing, I can do anything I like." His laughter cut across her like a razor. It leaves her insides bleeding with fresh wounds.
"This isn't right. You can't."
"I can," he all but coos condescendingly, "and I will."
"I did nothing wrong."
"Just because you believe that, does not make it so."
"But I belong in this world," she insists desperately.
His face appears calculating. "As long as I wished it, as long as you remained beneath my notice. Why then yes, I would have been perfectly content to leave you to wither and die like a grape on the vine. However, that's not what happened. You are subject to my will." His eyes narrow harshly as he stares at her. She can see the malicious joy that seemed to permeate every fiber of his being.
"Have mercy," she begs softly, realizing that she cannot sway him.
His face turned wicked, the hint of cruelty around his mouth deepening. "I offered you dreams, little mortal, and you refused them." His pointed teeth reflect in the dim light in ways so frightening that she is reminded of horror movies where the monster was finally revealed. "Let me show you your nightmares. "
A pitiful wail rises and dies in her throat in an instant. He stalks closer like a sleek predator. Terror wells within her heart. In fear she turns to run, instinctively knowing that it was all in vain. Her feet feel like lead as she drags them under her stiff body. She forces herself to flee, not knowing where she is going. Blindly she stumbles and hits many things in her path. Once she tumbles to the floor, slapping her body hard against the hard wood floor.
Animalistic sounds and whimpers cascaded from her lips. She can feel his presence at her back as if it were a physical force. She scrambles to her feet once more, seeking a way to escape him. His mocking laughter follows after her and rings in her ears louder than the pounding of her heart.
"In Greek myths," his voice whispers sinisterly next to her, "mortals were almost always tormented by my kind before they were killed. Or they were transformed to live out the punishments bestowed upon them to perfection."
She backs herself into a corner as the darkness around her grew. A single ray of light covers her body from overhead. She attempts to peer through the inky blackness as she trembles.
"In Nordic tales, we could be salvation or destruction. I preferred the Celtic myths myself. They always tried so hard to warn people that my kind could never be trusted. There is one moral in every story they told, precious." The sound of blood dripping from the ceilings echoes all around her.
Until it gives way to silence. The quiet is somehow infinitely worse. "Don't play games with creatures far more powerful than you can comprehend. You're not that special."
Barbs rose from the floor beneath her feet, and she screamed. They bite and dig into her flesh, tearing greedily at the skin. Sarah cries out at the pain which feels overwhelming.
"Don't tell me truth hurts, little girl," his lips caress the shell of her ear nearly intimately, "because it hurts like hell."
Sarah screams as the barbs pull her under, with rivulets of blood trailing in their wake.
The Goblin King smiles maliciously at the sight, his chest nearly puffed out in pride. "Down in the Underground," he says with contentment.
Her howls, long and pitiful fill the confines of her prison. She screams until she forgets what the words she screams even mean. The one that causes her pain comes by every now and then. It calls her 'precious' and 'Sarah'. She does not know what they are, only that she hates the way they sound.
Long ago she used to plead for death. But, she no longer can recall what death is or why she wants it. Still it burns in her thoughts every moment that the agony cripples her body. Slow, the man always said it would be over soon. Her thoughts have fractured so many times that whatever she is no longer understands beyond the fog of torture.
She knows she is not alone. There are many like her. Maybe she tried to count back when her thoughts were clear. Maybe she never tried. They are nearly as numerous as the stars in the sky. There prisons and hers are all different. The man does not like repetition, he tells her as she writhes and begs for him to stop the pain. He never does.
Yet, even as she sinks further into a madness that leaves her keenly aware of what is happening to her, he kisses her forehead as he leaves.
"Immortality, Sarah-mine, is a curse," he tells her daily with his sharp teeth gleaming, "not a blessing."
Then she is left alone again in the darkness to scream.