- LABYRINTH II
...             ...


CHAPTER XI

Sarah opened her eyes, looked into the mirror, and saw that Jareth was no longer there. His stage appearance having been made, he had, so to speak, receded into the shadows of the curtains.  Despite his absence, she felt as if she was still in store for something else.  She pulled her hair behind her ear as she gently prodded the sore spot on her arm where his iron grip had once resided.

            She looked back into the mirror, barely recognizing the face that was her own.  Has he taken my memories for good? she thought despondently.

            She closed her eyes and rubbed at them wearily.  When she opened them, her room was no longer reflected in the mirror.  Instead, the Goblin King's throne room was displayed, grey and dismal and magnificent.  He was not there, but she saw flickers of shadows that served as adequate replacements for his mysterious figure.  The air grew colder and darker, so she drew her arms about her as she turned toward her bed.

            She did not make it there.  The room began to plummet into an abyss of colors, swirling and swaying about her.  Reality no longer resided in her world; she felt the floor dissolve beneath her to leave her floating in a colorful tapestry of light.  All of this happened in a split secondthe other half of the second, the colors dissipated into greys and flaming oranges.

            She blinked at the completion of her turn.  The dizziness brought on by her journey caused her to fall to her knees; her halfclothed legs responded with messages of coolness and pain.  When her vision cleared, she saw that she was sitting on a stone tile floor.  She looked up from her reddened palms to see the throne room of the Goblin King, illuminated on all sides by brilliant orange candles that glowed from green glass candelabra on the walls.

            Still, the room was empty of any life other than that of the flickering candles, and its vastness made her feel small and alone.  The thought of adventure taunted her as it permeated her spirit, its origin, she was sure, being the limelight of the greenish candlelight that surrounded her.  Yet sensibility told her that she was in danger, in her life as well as her being, for she had never felt so out of control as she did now.

            And, as if to give this thought its proper emphasis, Jareth stepped into the room from the shadows of the balcony to the left of his throne and stood before the massive bone chair.

            Sarah stopped herself from nearly stepping into the circular indentation at the center of the room that served as a pool for exotic fish.  The fish were a new touchas were the covered painting and oval mirror that sat sidebyside on the wall to her right.  Sarah looked at the clock beside Jareth's thronethere were twelve hours on it now, instead of the thirteen he had created when she had first gone through the Labyrinth.  According to the clock, it was now the hour of eight.

            "Would you like something to eat or drink?" Jareth asked after having given her adequate time for examination.

            "I don't want anything from you," she said with calm disgust, continuing to examine her surroundings.  "Last time you gave me something to eat, I started to hallucinate."

            "I see Hogwart told you of my less than innocent actions."

            "His name is Hoggle."

            "Oh, Hoggle," he replied with indifference. "Still harping on the past? I've always said, 'Let bygones be bygones.'"  He paused and then added, almost as an afterthought, "You ought to eat. You have a long trip ahead of you."

            "A trip!" Sarah jerked her head about to face him, discontinuing her gaze about the chamber.  "To where?"

            "Just my little favor, that's all," he replied as he settled back into his white, ivory throne.

            "I'm not going to grant you any favors," Sarah replied with moderate calmness in her voice, but fire in her eyes.  She did not feel calm, but she was not going to let onto it.  Besides, though she did not wish to admit it, she was afraid to speak with anger toward him.  She wasn't quite sure of what he would do.

            "You will if your friends are at stake," he said.  The moonlight sifted through the green glass at his right and made his pale complexion more ghostly than it had once been.

            "Remember this?" he asked as he swept out his left hand toward the staircase, causing Ludo to slowly appear in front of it.  The beast looked up at her forlornly.

            "Need Sarah help," he pleaded in a downcast voice.

            Sarah's eyes widened, though her sober expression did not leave.  "Ludo!!" she exclaimed with surprise. She ran to grab him, but, once she reached the spot, he had disappeared.

            "What have you done to them?!!" she screamed in a sudden loss of control.

            Jareth's eyes widened at her response as he leaned back in the chair.  He put a hand to his chin thoughtfully before finally answering.  "Nothingyet."  He let his statement sink in. "Of course, if you don't help me" he leaned forward, "I will be forced to do something drastic.  Perhaps toss them from a balcony"  He began to think it over and finally continued, "No, no, that wouldn't be good enough."  He put a finger to his lips and tapped the arm of his throne with the other hand.  "I know!" he eventually declared with a start.  "I could turn them all into metal charms to go on your necklace.  Then you would be forever reminded of how you failed to rescue them."  He seemed pleased with his cleverness and became comfortable once again.

            Sarah finally let her worry show. She stayed silent a few moments.  He had been correct in his analyzation of her. Her greatest weakness was her friends. She had many other small weaknesses, but even she knew that the safety of her friends and family was the major one.  All of the anger in the world would not make her turn back on her friends.  Even if it meant facing Jareth for thirteen weeks instead of thirteen hours.

            She thought about his declaration and wondered if he was telling the truth.  Should she call his bluff?  But what if her friends were really at stake? She decided she couldn't risk it.

            After a few moments she sighed and lowered her head. "What do I have to do?"

            He got up from his seat and approached her.  The echoing clickclack of his boots was the only sound to fill the hall. As he held out his hand to her, he replied, "First you will come to dinner with me."

            She began to protest but was cut short when he put his finger to her lips as an indication of silence. "Don't forget about your friends," he reminded her with a straight face and lowering of his head.

            She swallowed and forced herself to place her hand in his.  He squeezed her hand tightly and brought it to his lips to kiss it ceremonially. She shuddered at the thought of him touching her at all. She knew his squeeze on her hand was a warning. He was putting far more pressure than needed to hold her hand. What did he think he was? A prince? The prince of arrogance!

            He dropped her hand slowly and eased backward toward his throne, watching her constantly, a smile widening on his lips momentarily before disappearing as he sat.

            "Guards!!" he screamed.

            Sarah watched as three squat and ugly guards come into the room, stumbling over each other.

            "Take Sarah to her quarters. And make sure she doesn't escape," he ordered them before nodding them off.

            Two grabbed her, one to each arm, and the other flanked her from the rear while prodding her in the back with a crude spear. Together they pushed her toward the door next to Jareth's throne.

            "And Sarah"

            She hesitantly turned her head to face him.  A cold breeze swept to her from the balcony window and made her shudder.  She wondered satirically if it had actually originated from the body of Jareth himself.

            "Last time I made the game easy. But this time you won't be so lucky."

            With that, the guards pushed her through the doorway and into the corridor.

***

Immediately after Sarah and the goblins had completed their ascension of the stairs, Sarah's vision blurred and darkened.  She could see nothing.  She stopped suddenly, despite the persistent shove of the goblin at her back, and flailed about a moment before it finally dawned on her what was happening.  Jareth had taken away her sight through the use of his magic.  Most likely it was due to the fact that he did not wish her to see her surroundings and escape.

            The goblins snickered at her reaction to the loss, but kept on in their tunnelvisioned pursuit.

            She no longer fought the grotesque stooges, but allowed them to lead her through winding corridors effortlessly.  She felt a great deal of apprehension in entrusting herself to them, but, knowing she had no choice, she thought of her worry as little as possible.

            She heard the voices of goblins in rooms surrounding her and turned her head toward the source of a loud goblin scream.  At first she was taken aback by the deathly shriek, but felt no more apprehension when she heard it was due to the fact that someone had been hit in the rear end by a dart intended for a chicken.  "Serves 'em right for messing with a chicken like that," she mumbled to herself.  "No talkin'!" shouted her burlyvoiced armgripper with, what Sarah could discern, was said with no covert pleasure.  Sarah replied in a similar tone, showing more contempt, "Oh, get over yourself."  The stooge entrusted with her other arm immediately took share in the masculine sport of verbally abusing the prisoner and added, "He told ya to keep quiet, so I advise that ya does so."  She saw no further profit in participating in their stupidity and remained silent.

            She heard the one to her left whisper to the goblin behind himself, "I ain't over myself, am I?"

            "No sir," replied the one at the rear, whose voice was meekest of the two, "I should dare say that ye are a bit beside yourself."  Her left escort paused a moment before continuing, "Beside myself you say?  Then I am not standing here?"

            "That ye are, my good fellow, but beside yerself as well, as, I know you should take my word as good and true, there appears to be two of you, and one is a bit to the right and over yerself."

            "Then I am over myself?" the other said.

            "Well, now that I rethink, you must be, because one of you is bobbing his head about in a dull fashion, spinning and dancing about the other, and looking down upon you as if ye are a knave.  Tis true what she says, ye must be over yerself."  To her left came silence, and then a start, "You are drunk, if I do swear it!"

            "If you do not swear it, then I am not drunk?" the other asked mockingly.

            "You are drunk whether or not I swear it, for only a drunk speaks such foolery as you, and I would know, for I am quite drunk at the moment myself, and I thinks I see you spinning just as madly as you see me! So I am now beside myself, and you, and you," he pointed to the left of him, "and we are both over ourselves, so that what she says is true,"

            "Aye, your logic astounds me dear sir," replied his cohort, "but how does that bring us to the chicken?"

            "Why, I don't know, I think I sees her lay an egg at being shot.  What of the chicken?"

            "How comes you to know the egg came after the chicken was shot?  You are quite drunk, my good fellow, and the chicken could ha' come before."  The left drunk began to shake profusely at the thought and said, "My poor brain can't figure this one!  How is it for an egg to come before a chicken?  Or a chicken after an egg?  And what the hey does it matter anyway!"

            "Now, look, don't rile yerself so, for you are twice beside yourself with anger.  I think I will leave you at peace."

            Sarah shook her head at their antics and perked her ears for the voices of her friends, knowing deep down that Jareth would not make things so easy for her.  He had said he wouldn't.

            The ground felt like mortared stone against the rubber of her sneakers, and there was a slight echo to every sound.  As the goblins pushed her around a corner, she was taken aback by a sudden aroma of food.  As the hallway grew longer and some stairs were ascended, the aroma had strengthened and the sound of chatting voices became louder.  To spite Sarah's curiosity, the Goblins turned her down another corridor, away from the smells and commotion.  Two more stairways were mounted before the long journey ended and the goblins halted in their endless, silent walking.

            The goblins took their firm grip off of her arms. Escape crossed her mind, but it would be impossible to run away while blinded. She heard the jingle of metal keys as they were turned in a lock; she shuddered at the piercing squeak of a door that needed its hinges oiled badly. They shoved her inconsiderately into the room and she landed on her backside, the cold floor stinging her hands.  She rather expected that she was in a slimy dungeon without a window.

            The door closed and she heard the jingling of the keys once again as the door was locked. With her ears she picked up a soft sliding sound and then a click.

            "UhOur king wants ye to get ready for dinnerPut on the dress in yonder closet and be ready by the time the clock strikes nineAnd do not dare try anything foolish, or I shall apprehend thee" the goblin explained from the other side of the door. She could here the other two snicker at his last remark.

            "I shall return for thee in a short while."

            She heard the sliding noise and then the click again, and all was silent. Just as she began to wonder if she was permanently blinded, her vision returned.

            The quarters were nothing like what she had expected. The room was very large and extremely well lit. In the center of the room was a kingsize bed with a beautiful canopy and curtains made of chiffon. The bedspread was of satin and the sheets, she noted with surprise as she approached the mahogany bed, were made of silk.  She caressed them wonderingly while looking about the room. To one side was a dresser and a carved, goldframed mirror. On the other was a closet with the same golden carvings. Behind the bed a couple of yards was a wall made up completely of stained glass.

            Her eyes widened at the sight of the wall and she stood in front of it to examine the pictures. It was about thirtyfive feet wide and twenty feet tall, and was enclosed by an intricately designed archway.  In the center of the bottom was a cutglass picture of the castle and the Goblin City. It took up about a mere total of five square feet. It was surrounded on all sides by a lush, green forest which ran three feet from the castle in all directions. Behind the forest was a mountain that continued about three feet from the forest and then the last image, which took up the rest of the space, was one of three sandycolored plateaus. The plateau in the center was the largest of the three, and directly above the largest the sun could be seen. The plateaus took up over half of the wall.

            Sarah couldn't imagine why Jareth had put plateaus above his own castle. What was so special about them?

            She pushed the question aside and went to the dresser and sat down in the seat in front of it. She looked at the carvings on the frame of the mirror. In the center of the top was the castle and the Goblin City. The rest of the frame was covered with magnificent flowers and other little pictures. The frame itself seemed to tell a story with its carvings, but, as she looked at the reflection of the clock in the mirror, she decided that she didn't have time to examine them.  It was already 8:30.

              One particular carving caught her eye, though. It was that of a hand holding a crystal ball. Sarah glanced at the chain hanging from her neck and the pendant the hung from it. The pendant was identical to the carving. Besides the castle, the hand with the glass sphere was the largest carving in the gold frame. It brought an idea to her.

            "Maybe" she whispered to herself thoughtfully. "Maybe I can use the mirror to find out where Hoggle and the others are. Jareth used to use the glass spheres to spy on me, so maybe mirrors could do the same thing. It wouldn't hurt to try"

            She closed her eyes then opened them again.

            "Nothing. I guess I need to concentrate harder. I might need to keep my eyes open to catch it. Okay, here goes"

            She thought of her friends, squeezing all thoughts from her mind and keeping those of her companions, but it still wouldn't work.

            "Oh well," she said to herself with a sigh.  "I'd better get dressed. The sooner I find out what Jareth wants, the better."

            She rose from her seat at the dresser and slowly walked to the closet at the other side of the room.  She felt almost like a princess preparing for a ball

            Almost.  The thought of the possible doom she and her friends were going to face crowded into her mind and fought any pleasantness associated with her surroundings away.

            "Reality suffocates me once again," she mumbled to herself in frustration.  Yet, she allowed herself one dramatic glance about the room, and imagined that she was truly the queen of the castle.  The room was familiar and she was about to pick her gown to wear to the ball that night

Jennifer Connelly     David Bowie    Jim Henson            C     C