felt misplaced within the ballroom and its masked dancers. It was a masquerade ball, glittering and glamorous in nature.
Reality had no place in this ballroom, and neither did convention or
propriety; it was a magical and sensual place.
The writhing, dancing, laughing, and lavishly dressed persons who crowded
the room were aware of nothing but their own fantasies; indeed, they were even a
fantasy in their own one-sided existence. The
room warmed tremendously with each second, due to the extreme heat generated by
their active bodies, but even that was an illusion, for their minds, their very
lives, were suppliant to the wishes of the crystal sphere and the one who
One figure stood out amongst all of the glamour, mainly due to the fact
that she wore no mask. Her young,
gentle face not only portrayed the sole innocence to be found in the room, but
her dress did as well – a glittering gown, the only white to be found amongst
the cream and scarlet-garnished dancers.
It was Sarah – Sarah, alone and timid amongst all of the vile displays
that were presenting themselves to her. The
snake-like slithering of the dancers enchanted and frightened her, causing her
to unconsciously pull her arms about herself.
Everyone saw her discomfort and relished in it, their laughter bubbling
over like poisonous pink champagne. Wherever
she desired to tread, they made a combined effort to block her path, and when
she squeezed her way through them, they laughed all the harder.
It was Sarah – Sarah, older and wiser the longer she stepped through
the crowd. She was looking for something, but was unsure of what it was
that she truly desired. Then she
caught a glimpse of Jareth and found her purpose; she shoved through the crowd
of dancers with more force and determination, only to reach the spot in which
the Goblin King had stood and find it empty.
The eyes of the dancers glittered merrily from behind their masks, for
they were amused anew at her chase of the very man that had created all of them.
It was at that moment that Sarah realized that these were Jareth's
playthings, and they were laughing at her out of spite.
They spited her because she was everything they were not–she was still
innocent, she was still in control, and she was not wearing a mask…and,
because of all of these things, Jareth found her more intriguing than he did
them. They spited her because they
had to fight for his attentions by degrading themselves, while all she had to do
was avoid his attentions to receive them.
Despite her realizations, she felt she must catch him, must beat him at
his own game of cat and mouse. She
caught his image in a mirror before her and turned around to find him gone.
Then, yet again, she saw him at the center of a great horde of women,
each fawning over him and pawing him as he stared ahead, unaware of their silent
cries for his regard. His gaze was
fixed on Sarah, and, as soon as the women saw this, they looked at Sarah as well,
and grimaced. Sarah stopped and
became entranced by Jareth's focused eyes, causing her to forget her purpose;
her lack of action cost her, for someone passed before her, breaking her trance,
and, once they had passed, Jareth and the throng of women had disappeared.
Her disappointment did not have long to present itself, for a firm hand
placed itself on her shoulder; she jerked about to find herself face to face
with Jareth, the mask still covering his countenance.
He motioned for her to dance, and she did not protest, her confusion over
his behavior ultimately overwhelming her. Deja'vu
swept over her and persisted, yet she felt that something was not quite right.
She looked at him, eye to eye, and brought a finger forth to run it down
the sharp, creme-colored beak of the bird-like mask that he wore.
It all felt like a dream, yet there was such a strong reality to it all…not
an image was blurry, everything was precise, exact; even the music was too real
for it to be a dream. Sarah looked
longingly into his eyes; who was this silent man?
It was Jareth in body, but not in action.
He danced carefully with her; he was entranced, it seemed, by the very
presence of this lovely woman he was dancing with. His grip was gentle and his
manner subordinate, his face warm in color and his eyes a hazy green.
"Who are you?" Sarah asked.
"Please tell me, I am curious."
A sadness came into his eyes and he held her closer.
"Do not ask that of me..just let it be silent awhile longer."
"But I must know..you are surely not Jareth," she persisted.
He gripped her hand firmly and passionately.
"Let it be," he begged in a whisper.
"You sound so afraid, as if you are hiding from someone," she
said quietly. "Who are you? I
will help you…" She brought
forth a trembling hand toward the mask. His
mouth turned down into a frown, but he did not fight her.
Just as she began to raise the wooden concealment, he whispered, "Good-bye…"
Sarah was suddenly within the castle beyond the goblin city.
Her friends were before her. Hoggle stood and looked up at her while Sir
Didymus was atop Ambrosius and Ludo stood between the two. They just stood there,
staring at her. Sarah heard footsteps behind her and turned around; there was
Jareth once again. He gazed at her as she did at him; the intense green eyes
grew darker and blazed into a bluewhite light.
He looked god-like and fearsome as the blinding light that emitted from
his pupils lit up the once-darkened space. His hand pivoted on his wrist and
revealed a crystal within his palm. It
caught the light from his eyes and split it into several shards of
differently-colored light, as in a prism. He threw it to her and she caught it
with ease. In response to her catch, a deafening crash sounded behind her. She
jerked around to see what it was and discovered that her friends were now
trapped behind an iron cage.
"Need Sarah help," Ludo cried out desperately.
Sarah turned to look at Jareth again. As she faced his expressionless
countenance, she felt her face redden with bitter anger.
The violent impulse that had taken her over was more than she could bear,
but she felt frozen in fear. If it
weren't for the eyes, she might be able to fight him, but the eyes turned him
into an icon, a thing which any harm upon would be blasphemy punishable by death.
He chuckled at the sight of her fear; the chuckle became a laugh and
slowly progressed to a mad cackle. Then, suddenly, the laugh ceased, and, to her
horror, he began to melt. His molten body spread out over the floor and became
one with the stone floor. The ground began to shake beneath her feet causing the
rock in the ground to crack and crumble, forming an almost circular shape about
its jagged edges. Sarah lost her
balance and fell onto her knees; lucky for her, she was at the hub of the
splitting ground, keeping her from falling over the edge of the great circular
rift that had formed about her. The
ground beneath her began to rise, and rose higher and higher into the sky until
she was far above the castle, far above the entire Underground. She gripped the
crystal firmly against her chest as the air began to thin. She watched in
silence as the clouds came ever closer, and as the grey, stone floor changed
color and texture. She was now atop an orange, sandy plateau high above the
lands of the Underground. The plateau stopped rising and a cave rose from the
sandy floor of the plateau.
She got to her feet and cautiously looked over the edge. The land below
was now just grassy plains that stretched to the horizon in all directions. She
turned and looked curiously at the cave. She saw the silhouette of a man begin
to emerge. Once completely out of the cave's darkness, Sarah could see that it
was Jareth. He slowly progressed towards her, but
stopped a half a foot away. Sarah looked over the edge of the plateau and
saw no means of escape, unless she wished to jump. She nervously watched as he
raised his hand to her neck and touched the necklace that hung from it. He then
retreated and proceeded to the cave again, taking slow, backward steps. She
watched with relief as his figure disappeared back into the darkness of the cave.
Just as she was counting her blessings, the necklace started to shiver
and jingle. She looked down and saw that the links in the chain were
disappearing one at a time, even though the chain remained whole. The length of
the chain continued to become smaller until the chain disappeared from her sight
and went beneath her chin. She felt it tightening. She grabbed it and jerked at
it violently, but to no avail. It was now tightening around her throat. Her
breathing became more complicated by the moment and she began to feel dizzy. She
lost her balance and took one fatal step backward, finding herself suddenly
plummeting down the side of the plateau in a deadly fall. She noted as she fell
that she gripped the crystal firmly against her heaving chest, as if keeping it
intact would be her last victory. She could see the land come frighteningly
close as black and white spots came before her eyes, finally filling her vision.
She checked once more that she was still holding the crystal before she blacked
out due to lack of oxygen.
Then she woke up.
Sarah bolted upright in her bed. She felt cold sweat trickle down her
back. Her hair clung to her hot, sticky face as she held her hand to her heaving
chest, trying to calm herself. The dream had been so frightening and real. It
loomed in her mind like a prophecy of doom. Already, it was passing away from
her memory at her sudden wakefulness, but she held onto it tightly, wondering at
the content. The dream had
presented two entirely different sides of the same man, but she was only
familiar with one. Where had the
kindhearted man she had danced with at first come from?
And why did he not wish her to know his identity?
She gripped her throat and felt the chain. It hung loosely about her neck.
With a shaking hand, she pulled her hair behind her ears. She wet the inside of
her dry mouth and licked her lips. She laid back down and tried to go to sleep,
but sleep would not come. She twisted and turned in the unfamiliar bed and tried
to get comfortable. She blocked thoughts from her mind, yet they continued to
push their way through. Finally, she gave up and pulled off the covers. She
moved to the dresser and looked at herself in the mirror; her hair was not yet
messy and sleep hadn't yet formed in the corners of her eyes, making her draw
the conclusion that she hadn't been sleeping long. She pulled her robe from its
position on the chair and put it on.
As she sat in the chair she examined the room from its converse through
the spotless mirror. The room was really quite magnificent, and she almost
wished that it could truly be her own. Tapestries
and paintings had always mesmerized her, and she had hoped throughout her
lifetime that she might eventually own a home and decorate it so.
She stopped in her examination abruptly when a certain painting caught
her eye. It was a small painting of Jareth, almost hidden entirely by the undone
curtains of her bed.
Then she noticed the most peculiar thing about the hidden painting. In
the work, a goblin's head poked out from behind the standing Jareth; the young,
goblin face belonged to Isabelle. In her hands she held a crystal, and, though
it was not depicted in so many images, Sarah could see, by his expression and
that of the young girl's, that the girl also held the heart of Jareth in her
hand. It now made sense to her!
Jareth had made himself a substitute father to this little goblin. Sarah
recalled the way Isabelle had looked up to him that evening with admiration; she
also recalled the way that Jareth had, in his own awkward way, shown fatherly
love to the young goblin. She had never seen him show such a human kindness.
Even though he still seemed to treat Isabelle as a slave somewhat, she could
never recall him to be that kind to anyone. She didn't know why he was doing it,
but she wanted to find out. Maybe this was part of that side of which she had
gotten a glimpse that evening; maybe it was the instigation of her dream. Or,
maybe it was another way of him trying to con her into faithfulness. She
sat in his throne, disturbed by the events of that evening. He was unsure of his reason for behaving as he had, for,
though the wine's purpose was to make one lose control of their faculties, it
should not alter one's behavior to such a degree as it had. Sarah had behaved
differently than he had expected, as well, giving him the desire to explore her
feelings of him by reading her diary. Over
the years he had watched her fill it with words, and, throughout those years, he
had planned to read it someday. Today was that day. He
opened it to the first page of writing. It read as follows:
He isn't kind to anyone. As…and I
stood there, he moved the hands of the clock
a few hours ahead. I cannot remember hating
him more. I said that it wasn't fair and he
said something like,"I wonder what you
compare that to, or, "I wonder what your basis
of comparison is." Something like that. I just
It stopped there. It was beginning to look as if she had done nothing but
feed her hatred towards him during these five years. He sat back in his throne
and closed the book, his line of vision drifting to the right-hand wall, the
painting seeming much larger than it ever had before. The enclosed surroundings
captured by his peripheral vision escaped his notice for many moments as he
focused his attention on the covered painting. Although he was tempted to rise
from his seat and uncloak the picture of the woman who had caused his feelings
to become turncoats, his violent and resentful side overpowered the temptation.
He rubbed his chin as his mind worked at the process of translating Sarah's
went back to the dresser and focused an empty stare towards her reflection. She
abruptly decided to spy on Jareth with the mirror. Her mind raced from one
consequence to the other as she began to envision the results of him seeing her
efforts to pry into his affairs. She finally decided that she had nothing to
lose, for her friends were gone, unlikely to be brought back to life, and he
still needed her for something. That something was bothering her. She needed to
find out what that something was.
She closed her eyes and channeled all of her thoughts to the operation of
the mirror. She pushed her problems aside and allowed herself only to think of
the mirror. She frequently opened her eyes to check on her progress. Each time
there were no results.
She finally gave up. She didn't know how she had received the vision of
her friends before, but whatever she was doing at the moment was not the proper
approach. Perhaps it had only been chance; maybe luck had been on their side.
Sarah thought back to those hours ago; hours that seemed like days. She saw the
image of her friends after she hade heard the goblin scurrying down the hall in
need of a club to use on Ludo. She remembered the hatred she had felt towards
Jareth at that moment and how the mirror had showed her her friends only moments
It suddenly hit her that only hatred could power the mirror. That, or
possibly strong emotion. Hatred was the strongest emotion she felt of late.
Attempting to bring her most despised memories of Jareth to mind, she
clenched her fists and gritted her teeth. Memory after memory flooded her
scattered mind, only to leave her emotion neutral. The arrival of each horrific
picture accompanied a vision whose sole content was the portrait of Jareth and
the small goblin face that peered curiously from behind the king's throne. At
the slightest feeling of anger, Sarah unconsciously brought to mind an image of
the recent past – the image of Jareth bringing his hand to her face, gazing
into her eyes with intent emotion.
Within moments, all anger had eluded Sarah and only sympathy and respect
remained. A new battle had begun within Sarah, and the feeling that the battle
would last for a long period of time filled her with trepidations and wonders
that built within her at the passing of each moment.
Once these feelings reached their climax, her mirror image shimmered and
a vision of Jareth replaced it.
Reclining in his throne, Jareth's image stared emptily at the opposite
wall. An amazing combination of serenity and frustration could be read from his
pale, thin face as he propped his fist against his chin. Sarah observed with awe
as the king she had so long known to be verbose and in control sat quietly and
If only for a moment, she no longer felt as if she was looking at a man
of insane delusions and violent notions – her eyes saw a man of great
confusion and pain who was never brought to terms with his anger and frustration.
Never dealing with it, he seemed to have battled it without progress or
consciousness until he had finally made a compromise; he had accepted it as a
part of his character that could not be rid of.
She saw the very man that she had danced with in her sleep that night; a
man who was bitterly submissive to his own self.
She followed his intense stare and saw that it was fixed on a covered
painting. He rose from his throne
and went to uncover the painting. Pulling
a golden cord at its side, the curtain slid away to reveal Sarah, age 15,
staring into space. She wore the
gown from the masquerade ball, and her hair was drawn back at the temples.
A strange glow surrounded her figure, and gave her an angelic appearance.
Every detail was perfect.
Having the chance to look him over without interruption, she carefully
analyzed the king with great interest. Age
was not revealed on his face – he didn't seem any older than when Sarah had
last seen him. His eyes were now an intense blue and stood out remarkably
against his pallid complexion. His wispy, whitish-blond hair was drawn back into
a pony tail, unlike earlier that day when it had been unrestrained and had
eerily but majestically cascaded from his head like a cream-colored fountain of
water. The garment he wore was made of off-white and light grey silks, cut off
at the waist in the front to show his white tights, but long enough to touch the
ground in the rear. A silver amulet hung from a leather strap around his neck
and could be seen easily due to the low-cut collar of his outfit; in his hands
was an open book with a cloth cover.
Sarah wondered what he might be reading.
Resembling something she had read once, the book poked at Sarah's memory,
but she couldn't remember where she had seen it.
Figuring out what role the book had played in her life plagued Sarah's
mind and caused her to leave all other thoughts in oblivion.
Within moments, the answer came to her.
"My diary!" she exclaimed.
The image of Jareth jerked his head to face her. Understanding of his
reaction flashed through Sarah's mind as she recalled the fact that sound could
be transmitted by the mirror, as well as visual images.
Jareth rose gracefully from his throne and walked toward the mirror, a
blank expression on his face. As he
stopped, a glass sphere glistened in his formerly empty hand.
Glancing at it and then at Sarah, he brought it to eye level. Sarah sat
motionless, curiosity and fear tensing her muscles and freezing her in place.
Momentarily she came to her senses and prepared to run for her bed to escape the
obligation of looking into the mirror. As
she pushed herself up, gripping the arms of the chair, Jareth lowered the
crystal and gazed into her eyes. She let go of the chair and relaxed. Impulses
were sent by her brain to her legs, commanding them to move, but the limbs never
Paralyzed, Sarah sensed Jareth prodding her mind, felt the light touches
and breezes that blew through her head like those of a cool, summer night.
The glistening crystal sphere was pushed through the mirror by Jareth as
it hung in the air like a thick bubble in front of Sarah.
As sweet music drifted slowly into the room, the sphere swished and
swirled in transparent rainbow colors before her.
The ball bobbed up and down like a carousel horse in turns about her head,
but never floated to the ground.
The music filled Sarah's mind, making her feel peaceful and calm,
cushioning her mind and weighing down on her eyelids. Moving her attention from
the bubble to the mirror, Sarah sleepily gazed at Jareth.
Blackness began to swallow her surroundings and, before it could take in
the mirror and the image of the Goblin King, Sarah saw a beautiful smile widen
on his face.
He mouthed two words.