illusion room was a cube shape, each wall possessing its own stairway.
Gravity's laws did not preside here; the laws of sheer will were master,
as one could stand on any stairway on the six walls, and not fall.
Upon one wall was a clock, ticking away as a relentless bomb.
Jareth sat thoughtfully upon the steps, his arms pivoting about his knees.
This was his favorite place for reflection, and there was much to be
"She is human, simple to understand, simple to control," he
mused quietly. "If that is so,
what is my trouble?"
A timid knock came from the door to his left, and he bid whomever was on
the other side to enter. It was
Isabelle, holding a chalice of wine. "I
brought you drink, sir, as you asked."
He took the chalice and stared at it a moment.
"Thank you, Isabelle. You
may go now."
She curtsied and made haste out of the room.
Jareth drank fitfully, then gazed at the clock.
It swam before him, unconquerable. Time
always eluded him of late… His control was dissipating at an unbelievable pace;
control over time, over others, over his very self had become difficult.
His gaze shifted to the chalice in his hand.
It was full again. He
dropped it, and it hung suspended in the center of the room, the fluid it once
contained dancing about it in a growing river.
With a sweep of his hand it disappeared, but the wine's effects stayed
Sarah had switched his wine glass with the one he had attempted to give
her earlier that evening. How she had done it was beyond him.
She must have made the switch just before she came to him in the dining
hall. But how…
Jareth did not know whether to curse or laugh.
He began to feel lightheaded, yet somehow completely in control of his
actions. It was as if one part of himself had been put to sleep due to
the wine's spell, while another part was allowed to fully awaken with this
partial loss in control. In his
mind's eye he pictured a dream, one in which he was dancing with Sarah. Sarah
must see me for who I truly am, he thought, gazing at his hands, as if
seeing them for the first time. I
do not have much time, and time, for once, is not under my control.
The beautiful, elusive emotion that had once passed over him made another
appearance. It stayed, drifted through his being like frothy cream in hot
cider, melting away and dissolving into his being. He relished the taste, savored it like a fine wine, and tried
to figure out what this strange liquor was.
He suddenly knew that this drink had always been with him, but had merely
been locked away.
He looked up and out into the room.
"I love her," he whispered. "If only she could know."
awoke with a splitting headache. The
room did somersaults before her eyes, but her vision became clear after a few
moments. She found that she was in
a new bed and a new chamber, one very much like her former bedroom, but
possessing no stained-glass window. A
nightgown replaced the dress she had worn earlier that evening, and she had
apparently been carefully tucked in for a night's rest.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances, sleep eluded her, even when she was
under a spell for that very purpose.
She pulled the covers off slowly, and went to the dresser.
On it laid combs and brushes with inlaid jewels, make-up and jewelry
boxes, perfume bottles and hairpins. With
a reverent gesture, Sarah picked up a silver brush and began to comb her hair.
Never before had she felt like such a princess… Yet, where was the
prince that would sweep her off her feet? Her
prince had done nothing but sweep her friends away.
"What is wrong with Jareth?" She posed this question to her
reflection. "Five years ago he
was menacing, yes, but never was he so cruel.
He played with me, and made me go through trials, but never once did he
raise he voice to me. Was he merely
controlling himself for the game, or is there something different now?"
She almost expected her reflection to answer.
It did not.
She resumed the brushing of her hair, and stopped abruptly as she heard
the shuffling of goblin feet through the hallway.
In her sudden stillness, she became receptive to small details.
Daffodil and jonquil perfumes wafted their fragrances toward her, and the
orange warmth of the hearth swam about her frame. Suddenly the footsteps stopped as the goblin guards at
Sarah's door awoke.
Hurriedly, Sarah made her way to the door and quietly opened the slat to
view the activities without. A
young goblin female, carrying coals in a dirty and ragged dress, had stopped due
to the obstructing guards. Her hair
was tangled, but pretty, and her face held innocence and intelligence within its
half goblin, half human features.
"Hey Isabelle," the first goblin began, "why'nt you stays
with us and keep us comp'ny?"
She lowered her head and continued to walk.
"You don't need them coals," the other remarked, "come
warm up wid us." Her pace quickened and her eyes fell to her feet.
The other agreed, "Yeah, why not?"
They caught up with her and started playing with her hair.
"Stop," she commanded timidly. They didn't stop. She halted her
travels and shrugged them off. "Leave me alone," she demanded more
forcefully, yet ineffectually.
Sarah opened the door with ease and stepped out. She rushed to the
goblins and grabbed them by the scruff of the necks, tossing each against an
opposite wall. "She said to leave her alone!!"
One of the goblins got angrily to his feet and pointed an emphatic finger
at her. "Hey!! You're da prisoner!! You can't do that!"
Sarah grabbed the goblin again and threw him against the wall, harder
than before. "Pick on somebody your own size!" she exclaimed. She
looked at Isabelle and rethought her statement. "I take that back,"
she corrected in a quieter tone. "Don't
pick on anyone."
Sarah looked at the spilled coals. She walked over to Isabelle and put
her hand on the girl's shoulder. "You alright?"
Isabelle nodded her head, her face full of shock and admiration. Sarah
bent over and picked up some of the coals, then waited for Isabelle to pull up
the bottom of her dress in order to make a cloth basket. Sarah dropped the coals
in and replaced the remaining ones.
One of the goblins got a little courageous and pointed a shivering,
accusing finger at Sarah. "You're
da one who needs to pick on someone yer own size."
Sarah gave him a menacing stare and raised her hand, causing the goblin
to end his pointing and begin to cower. She
shook her head at his stupidity and withdrew her threat.
The little monstrosity was not worth the effort involved in dealing him a
blow. Besides, only a true coward
would pick on such a sweet little girl.
The goblins got up from the ground with effort. This time the other
goblin dared to talk back to Sarah. Isabelle found protection within the doorway
of Sarah's room.
"I'm going to get the Goblin King," the goblin stated with a
forceful point in Sarah's direction before it stomped off angrily down the hall.
That would be my luck,
Sarah thought spitefully as she continued to assist Isabelle. Yet, she would not
forbid that he bring the Goblin King, because, for some reason, she hoped that
he would come. Perhaps it was her
curiosity over his reaction to this incident, or her deep need to prove to him
that his intimidation would no longer control her.
The goblin had made it halfway down the hall, and was yelling, "Yeah,
yer in trouble, I'm gettin' the Goblin King!" when Jareth appeared suddenly
out of nowhere, blocking the goblin's path. The goblin ran into him and looked
"No need," Jareth remarked. "I'm already here."
The goblin fell back, cringing. "Sheshe threw us up against the
wwall – him twtwice. I was ggoing to get you, yyour beautiful majesty,"
he said, bowing deeply.
Jareth walked past Sarah, and looked at her peculiarly as he passed, his
brow furrowed. She stared at him wordlessly. Jareth bent over to Isabelle's
height; he whispered something into the girl's ear and she nodded, then the king
glanced up at Sarah. After giving her a peculiar expression, he looked down
again and whispered something else into Isabelle's ear. Isabelle nodded once
again and he stood up. "Thank you, Isabelle," he said quietly. "You
can go back to your work."
Without a word, Isabelle scampered off down the hall. Jareth motioned for
the two guards to move out of the way and they quickly fell back to the wall in
compliance. He paced around Sarah and she turned with him as he studied her. He
had blame in his eyes; he was blaming her for mistreating his guards.
"They were doing awful things to her," Sarah argued. "I
know you wouldn't care, but they didn't have the right."
The venom in Sarah's voice was sharp and had made a direct hit. He
continued to pace around her, staring her down.
"I wasn't about to stand by and–"
"Stop," he ordered. She stopped, tightened her fists, and
prepared for his oncoming fit of anger. He ceased his endless pacing. After a
long, calculating pause, he said quietly, "You are right."
The words hit her like a ton of bricks. How could she be right? She was
never right in his eyes. She glanced over at the goblins; they had obviously
been surprised as well. They started a mad dash down the hall, to which Jareth
replied by swinging out his hand and causing them to disappear in a puff of
Slowly he faced her again. "Thank
you for protecting Isabelle. I was
not aware that she had been receiving such attentions from my guards.
Please forgive me for having such cretins in my castle."
A perplexed look took hold of Sarah's features. "Why do you
Jareth took her hand carefully. "I
care about everything that effects you, Sarah, you know that."
It did not take much instinct for Sarah to pull her hand away from his
grasp, no matter how gentle. "It
wouldn't appear that way to me. You
are acting pretty strange."
"Don’t act so surprised, Sarah.
You know why it is I act this way."
She laughed uncomfortably. "I
"Try to remember," he said teasingly.
"You switched my wine glass…"
Sarah stared at him in disbelief. "You
mean, with the one you planted on me today?"
"Yes. That one."
"I did no such thing."
He seemed to analyze her. Her
gaze was quite frank and mirrored no anxiety or uncertainty.
"I thought about doing it," she said, surprised at her own
frankness, "but I have been asleep since you…"
She looked wistfully up at Jareth, her emotions growing violent like a
tossed sea. Feelings of extreme hatred, confusion, and pity washed upon
the same shore, leaving her with the only action she knew to take…
She walked barefoot through them and let the wet sand ooze between her
"I… I really didn’t do it, Jareth."
He smiled at her softly. "I
She seemed taken aback. "You
He pulled a hand forth and brushed aside her hair, his expression
suddenly somber. His milky skin was tinted by the yellow flame of a nearby
candle, and his eyes shone a vibrant green as he stared at her face.
Sarah was planted to the spot, strangely enthralled and alarmed by his
actions. His spindly fingers
floated across her face, sending not a tingling desire through her, but a warm
sentimentality that she had never before felt from him.
Without thought, she grabbed his hand as he began to pull it away, and
held it again to her face. Maybe
the magic that he had used to put her to sleep was affecting her currently, but
she was not sure. All she knew was
that years of emotions that had built up within her were exploding like
fireworks in her brain, and she wanted to relish their unearthly light.
"You see now…" Jareth
drifted his gaze away and slowly pulled away his hand.
"It is sad that… it is sad that I see now, too."
"What do you mean?" Sarah
gazed into his amazingly youthful face as it wrinkled in mournful thought.
"I am powerless, Sarah. I
am powerless against my past. I
apologize that you, too, are a victim of it."
He turned away from her and walked down the hallway, tall yet unassuming,
proud yet grieving.
Something struck within Sarah, and she knew that things would never again
be simple. Hatred, like a turncoat, had eluded her once again to leave
her feeling emotions unwanted. It
seemed that Jareth had good in him that had been before unrevealed, but his
display of kindness had not freed her friends.
She would still leave tomorrow to make a journey she knew nothing of, and
chances were that Jareth would not be so benevolent in the morning.
Perhaps he was just drunk. She
would never know.
deep within the castle, a goblin hummed quietly to herself.
She scrubbed clothes happily, minding her own business as she always did.
Only when asked did she give her opinion, and never did she speak up
against her master. She was the
At least, that's what everyone thought.
Sooty, however, was quite the schemer.
She had helped Sarah earlier that day in cleaning a puddle of wine, also
instructing the girl not to drink the enchanted liquor that the Goblin King had
sent her. Although Jareth acted as a tyrant, Sooty knew the intentions
he had planted deep within himself, intentions that he did not even truly know
existed. She had watched the king
over the years, heard the stories of the elves, and was the only one in that
castle that had any inkling of how Jareth ticked and why he ticked the way he
Today things had been a little different for the king.
When Jareth had asked for drink, Sooty bade Isabelle bring the chalice
with the enchanted wine. Sooty was
aware, through the passing of rumors, that Jareth had displayed his true
feelings due to this exchange.