Disclaimer: I do not own Labyrinth, nor will I ever. It belongs to Jim Henson, George Lucas, Brian Froud, David Bowie, etc.
Author's Note: This is my first real fan fiction effort so reviews would be greatly appreciated!
Sarah sat in the darkness before the glowing screen of the computer, unable to sleep. She dug her fingers into her scalp and grimaced at the blank white page that was digitally displayed before her. She had begun writing her first novel during her senior year of college and now, at twenty-five years old, she was experiencing writer's block so intense it blocked out everything else. Sarah took a few deep breaths and decided to take a break for the first time in hours. Uncurling her legs from beneath her with a pleasant stretch, she wandered from the seclusion of her small home office. The large bay windows of the living room let in early morning light. It was as if the sun had waited until the moment she could see it rise. The image of the early morning sun peering over the Connecticut coast should have filled her with inspiration, but her creative juices must have run dry.
For the past three years, ever since graduating from college, Sarah Williams had written novels, historical fiction rooted in fact and rich in detail. To fuel the creative process, she and her fiancé Derrick had moved around the United States, Europe, and even ventured to South America for inspiration on events and people to write about. They had rented homes and living off her book sales and Derrick's paychecks as a business consultant. Sarah liked the traveling; in fact, she was often the one to instigate it. After the marvelous adventure she had experienced ten years earlier, the world could not compare and she found herself constantly needing new locations and new explorations. Despite her best efforts, nothing ever came close to the Labyrinth. With a deep sigh, Sarah pushed the thought from her mind.
"Come on Sarah, time to grow up," she whispered at those treacherous thoughts and distracted herself with making coffee. She collided with the kitchen table as she walked through the darkened room and swore loudly, clutching her side.
"Baby, are you up?" came a groggy voice from down the hall. She had woken Derrick.
"Yeah," Sarah said back, swearing more softly and rubbing her bruised hip. Her thoughts still lingered on the Labyrinth as she busied herself with the coffee machine.
After her defeat of the Goblin King, Sarah and the friends that she had made in the Underground—Hoggle, Sir Didymus, and Ludo—had spoken very often through the mirror in her childhood bedroom. Although some part of her struggling to become an adult had doubts, even questioned her own sanity, Sarah was sure deep down that they were real. When she had gone off to college, they had stopped speaking as often, maybe once every few months. The communication ceased completely by her senior year, by that point Sarah was ready to graduate, in a serious relationship with Derrick, and had sent her first novel, a period piece about the conditions of English maids in the nineteenth century, off to several publishers. It had been nearly four years since she had spoken to them and now Sarah could not help but wonder if they had ever been there at all.
She poured herself a cup of coffee with a frown, the thought of her friends being mere figments of her imagination was terrible, it both frightened and depressed her. Sarah jumped as warm arms snaked around her back, sloshing hot coffee on her hands.
"Oh my God, ow!" she whimpered and pulled out of Derrick's embrace to dry them off before she burned herself.
"Sorry," he said, running a hand through his mussed dark hair, a sheepish smile on his face.
Sarah met his eye and returned the grin. "What did I say about you sneaking up on me like that?"
Derrick made of face of mock-innocence. "I don't remember you telling me not to sneak up on you."
"Oh, really?" she said, dropping the towel and slinking toward him, her arms going around his neck. It was true, Derrick had a knack for surprising her, she often told him that he walked like a cat and pounced without warning.
"Really," he said, burying his face in her hair and kissing her ear. "What are you doing up so early?"
Sarah's breath hitched as he caught her earlobe between his teeth. She tried her best to keep her head as he began kissing the sensitive skin beneath her ear. "Writer's block, couldn't sleep…" She let out a soft moan as he continued kissing her and tilted her head back to give him better access to her throat.
"Writer's block? I think you need some inspiration," he whispered and lifted her up onto the counter.
Sarah laughed softly and ran her fingers through that dark hair, loving the feel of it against her skin. Derrick was different from any other boyfriend she had ever had, his thick dark hair was one big change. By the time she was through with high school, Sarah had only ever been with blonds, and throughout her first few years of college, more blonds. The realization that she had such a specific type irked her in more ways than wanting a change. It was the realization that they had all looked so much like—
"Sarah?" Derrick whispered against her skin, breaking up her thoughts. "You okay there?"
Sarah sighed and jumped down from the counter, giving Derrick a quick kiss. "I'm just distracted, we have my dad and Karen's anniversary party tomorrow."
"I know," Derrick said.
Sarah knew that he disliked going to such events as much as she did. Family always tried to tie her down, make her come home. Apart from those pressures there were the parties themselves. Sarah went to see her father, Robert, Karen, and Toby, but could never seem to get drunk enough to avoid the rest of their family's long-winded stories and useless advice.
"We're going to have to get going in a few hours to get to New York by tonight," Sarah said. She wanted to spend time with her family and Derrick alone before the herd of various family members and friends arrived.
"Yes, that's right," Derrick said with a sigh, going to pour himself some coffee.
"But," Sarah said slyly, her arms twining around his waist from behind, "That doesn't mean we can't afford being a little distracted until then…"
Sarah and Derrick drove to New York in less than two hours, pulling into the small town that Sarah had grown up in while the late afternoon sun still gleamed round and full in the sky. She dusted off her travel-worn t-shirt and jeans before ringing the doorbell.
"Sarah!" Karen said as she opened the door, throwing her arms around her stepdaughter.
"Karen," Sarah replied with a laugh, smiling and returning the hug.
Sarah laughed at the look of surprise on his face as Karen enveloped her fiancé into a tight hug.
"Sarah, you're early," Robert Williams said, emerging from the kitchen and moving to embrace his daughter.
"Good to see you dad," Sarah said. Her father moved on to Derrick, his eyes already gleaming with unspoken conversations about Derrick's business ventures.
"Toby!" Sarah screeched as her little brother walked in. His eyes lit up at the sight of her and he ran for his hug. Sarah met him half way and picked him up, spinning him around.
Ever since winning Toby back from him, Sarah had never been anything but grateful for her brother. They were as close as close could be, she called him every night and still camped out with him in the backyard, roasting marshmallows, or played with him and his action figures each time she was home.
"I missed you so much," she said, enunciating each word and giving him an extra tight squeeze. "You are getting so big."
"Come on Sarah, you haven't seen my Christmas presents yet!" Toby said excitedly.
His remark made Sarah start. It was almost May. Had it really been so long since she had seen her family?
She pushed the thought from her mind and followed Toby to his room upstairs. Sarah smiled as the ten-year old babbled about his new toys and roller blades, feeling for the first time in a long while that she was home.
Exhausted from a day of driving and early rising, Sarah retreated to her bedroom after her parents had taken she, Derrick, and Toby out for dinner at a local Italian restaurant. The owner had recognized her, even after so many years away. It was comforting to have a home in this small town after being gone for so long, as if it were a puzzle that she always fit back into. She smiled at her childhood sanctuary, exactly as she remembered it. Most parents would have converted their grown daughter's bedroom to an in home office or exercise room, but not Karen and Robert. Sarah was rarely home, so they left it exactly as it was, as if it were a shrine for her.
She opened the window to let in a cool, spring breeze and sat down on the plush princess bed. Everything was the same from the curtains to the papered walls. Many of her toys had been lost to yard sales and donations overtime, but the most important ones remained in their little shelves on the walls. With a heavy sigh, Sarah fell back on her bed, staring at the ceiling. This room always made her wistful, but why? She had a wonderful life; she loved her job, her fiancé, and was getting married in June, in just one month's time. Despite all that, she still found herself missing the days that she could talk to her friends through the mirror when she needed them, the way that she had truly believed in magic. Heck, she would even take the all too rare, confusing sight of the white owl that she believed to be the Goblin King outside her window.
"Knock, knock," Derrick said, opening her bedroom door. He was already wearing an old college t-shirt and the pajama bottoms that Sarah had bought him last Christmas, ready for bed.
"Hey you," Sarah said with a smile. She sat up as he leaned down to kiss her goodnight.
"You sure I can't stay?" he asked in an all too tempting whisper.
Sarah shook her head, "No, Derrick. You know how Karen and my dad are. Besides, its their house."
He sighed. "I guess we're just going to have to suffer…"
She grinned and laughed at the exaggerated expression of disappointment on his face.
"Love you," Sarah said and kissed him once more.
"Night," he replied with a wink and left, shutting the door behind him.
Sarah relaxed against the pillows. Where had she been lucky enough to find a guy like him? She had never guessed that they would have hit it off when she met him her freshman year and barely spoke to him in passing. By sophomore year, they had become good friends, by junior year they went out for the first time, and by the end of senior year they were in love and inseparable. Sarah smiled to herself at the memories.
She stood and stretched before gathering her pajamas and heading to the small bathroom at the end of the hall. A long shower could help relieve some of the tension resulting from her lack of ideas. Sarah gasped as she stepped under the hot spray and closed her eyes, massaging her scalp with shampoo. She had never had a problem coming up with ideas for her novels and had already published four books. They were not bestsellers, but they did sell well, and Sarah missed the satisfaction that writing brought. Maybe if I wrote something a little less realistic, Sarah thought, then immediately chided herself. Easy girl, you gave up fantasy years ago.
Sarah changed into her t-shirt and shorts before curling up in bed with a book for inspiration. When it was late and she was feeling hopeful, she pulled her notebook from her bag and settled back on the pillows. It helped with her writing to map out stories in the leather-bound little book. She preferred the smooth glide of pencil over paper to the dim glow of a computer screen. Sarah poised her pencil, ready to decide on an era, a subject, a character, anything. But nothing came. Worse still, she happened to glance at the clock by her bedside. It was three o'clock in the morning.
"Ugh!" Sarah growled in frustration and threw the notebook before curling on her side and glaring at the opposite wall as if it were the cause of all her problems. She made another irritated noise and whispered, "Can this get any worse?"
Fate decided to answer her question. A blur of white and red came hurtling through her open window, hitting the wall with a sickening thud and falling to the floor, decidedly larger than before. Some of her old plush toys toppled from their shelves in response, but nothing made enough noise to wake anyone. Sarah almost screamed, but bit it back when she realized what had happened. The blur had grown in size when it hit the floor, changing before her very eyes from a white, bloodstained owl to a pale, bloodstained man. He was dressed entirely in black, a billowy black shirt tucked into tight, black pants, with high-heeled boots in the same shade, a curiously shaped pendant resting against the exposed skin of his white chest.
Sarah slowly crawled out of bed. Each movement felt slow and uncontrollable as she approached the figure on her floor, as if she were watching herself from the outside. His stardust hair was a matted mess, flaking with dry blood. His chest heaved with each breath and Sarah could see the stab wound that marred his flesh soaking the gauzy fabric of his shirt even darker. She knelt beside him and tentatively reached a hand out, as if to touch him and see if he was real.
His hand shot out, quick, grabbing her wrist in a tight, vice-like grip. Sarah choked on her scream and trembled as his eyes opened and met hers. The pupils were different sizes, the irises icy blue and utterly mesmerizing.
She drew in a deep, shaky breath. "Goblin King?" she whispered.
His eyes were becoming unfocused, he tried to pull her closer, but his grip was becoming loose. The defeated man on her floor was only able to choke out two words, "Help me."
Then he was silent.