woke up to find the moon still forcing its way through a day sky, giving proof
that the night had been there before giving up the battle and disappearing
behind a canopy of perwinkle. The sun was beautiful, but like a rich man on a
poor town that would soon be his own, it shown brazenly from its position on the
horizon and climbed up the blue canopy steadily as if to say, "This is all
mine now," while the moon hid behind a cloud and consoled herself like an
old woman whose grandchildren have been taken back home: "But I will have
it back when you return to the horizon."
before had the day seemed so brutal in nature. It looked and felt the same as it
had the morning with the elfin tribe, when she had felt peaceful and looked upon
the morning as a lovely painting to capture her emotions, but she felt
differently this time, hoping the grandmother moon would be back soon to comfort
of the causes of her low spirits was the impending feeling of doom that weighed
upon her. It was caused mainly by the fact that she was worrying about when her
friends would be taken, but partly because she felt guilty and embarrassed for
thinking of Jareth the way she had the night before; she found herself
frightened that he would somehow find out about those thoughts. The morning had
begun well enough and her friends were still there, but she knew something was
going to happen.
Sarah checked her supplies to find that the water bottles that the elves had
given them were empty. It was completely logical - they had been near a stream
during the time that they had traveled together and had had enough ale to last
for a couple of days, so it was no need to carry the extra weight of water. She
got Hoggle to go find a stream in order to fill the bottles.
returned quickly, not just proclaiming the discovery of a place where water
emptied from the mountain into a wide stream, but telling of two caves that
could be accessed by crossing the bridge on the stream.
"What luck!" Sarah exclaimed. "Did you check it out?"
thought you'd rather me come'n tell you first," he explained.
then, we're all packed up, so let's get to it!"
Her dreary mood lifted somewhat with their good fortune, but that
tingling feeling at the back of her neck persisted, stronger than before.
was trailing behind most of the group, Ludo and Hoggle in the lead, Didymus
perched atop Ambrosius and covering the rear like the gallant and frightening
soldier he thought he was and sometimes turned out to be.
cloak got snagged on a branch and she stopped to untangle it. The others, except
for Didymus (who did not forget who it was his main loyalty was to), continued
ahead, not seeing Sarah's predicament. Didymus
dismounted Ambrosius who promptly went trailing after Hoggle.
reached the rope bridge and crossed without hesitation to peek inside of the
first cave. He walked in to explore, Ambrosius following, while Ludo began to
cross the bridge himself.
bridge was pulled to its limits with Ludo's weight and gave out a painful creak
and groan when he attempted to cross. The wood argued under his weight and
groaned with each step.
was finally getting herself loose from the difficult branch, with Didymus
waiting patiently at her side. She didn't want to tear the lovely cloak that the
elves had made for her.
walked down a long corridor before he found that the cave was a dead end street.
No matter how fast he would or could have run, he would not have been
able to prevent what happened next.
of them could.
wood underneath Ludo - who was at the center of the bridge by now, above the
violently rushing stream, and beside its small waterfall - gave a final moan
and snicker before cracking and sending him falling, howling at the top of his
lungs, into the vehement stream. The broken bridge rocked contentedly from side
to side as Ludo's red fur disappeared beneath the water.
looked up from her cloak in surprise and consternation.
ran to escape from the long, stunted cave only to be greeted by an angry falling
of rocks in front of the cave entrance that had reacted to Ludo's profuse
howling. Hoggle ran as fast as his small, stumpy legs would carry him to try and
outrun the small avalanche, but, by the time he reached the opening, the rocks
had stopped tumbling and crashing; when the smoke cleared, his way was
completely blocked. The dog
whimpered and inched from behind a hiding place.
that Ludo had fallen into the stream, Sarah raced to the water's edge, stripping
her cloak off as she did so, and jumped feet first into the water. It was much
deeper than it looked and also extremely cold. She didn't let the water's
crispness bother her, but instead concentrated on helping Ludo.
she had made it completely under and had opened her eyes against the burning of
the cool water, she found Ludo was nowhere to be seen. She swam downstream to
see if he had been swept away, but he was long gone.
It's as if he just disappeared, Sarah thought.
She went back to the site of the accident and poked her head above the
water, inhaling deeply.
my brother well, fair maiden?" Didymus asked anxiously.
she had caught her breath she said, "I don't understand...he just
disappeared. The stream is a little deep, but not enough for me to be unable to
see him." She lifted herself
upon the opposite bank and said to Didymus, "Where's Hoggle?"
needn't have answered. "Get me outta here!" Hoggle cried from his prison.
she exclaimed as she ran over to the cave. After pushing aside a small rock, she
peered inside. "What happened?"
Ludo howled there must've been an avalanche. Rocks just don't know the first
thing about being friendly. By the way, what got Ludo to howling like he was?"
looked at him glumly. "The bridge broke and he fell into the stream."
looked at her expression and frowned. "He ain't...you know...is he?"
so far as I can tell," Sarah replied. "He just disappeared."
thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?" Hoggle asked with a half frown that was barely
perceptable through the small opening.
that somehow Jareth is up to this whole thing and Ludo's locked in a cell right
now? Damn straight I am."
Didymus managed to cross the wounded bridge, joining Sarah before the pile of
rocks, with the supplies and Sarah's cloak in his hand.
are you just gonna stand there, or you gonna get me outta here?"
have you seen Ambrosius?" Didymus asked. "It doesn't seem as if he has
taken shelter anywhere nearby."
sheepdog whined from inside of the cave. "The
dog's in here with me," Hoggle remarked irritably, seeming as if he
despised the fact.
Didymus exclaimed. "My poor Ambrosius! Milady, we must make haste to free
finds out the dog's in here and then worries about setting me free," Hoggle
tried pushing at all of the rocks to see if her meager strength could move them,
but they were firmly in place. She bid her companions let her think a minute and
she sat down on the grass and chewed at her lip while water continued to trickle
down her face, her hair falling down her back in one long, dark brown rope. Her
eyes were red from being under the water and the dress stuck to her skin like a
suffocating cloak, her figure poking, humiliated for itself, for being so
exposed, through the wet, white cloth. But the heat was already working to dry
her, while she lay out the situation before her like an old, time-worn map.
decided on something, she finally rose from her place, brushing her rear off,
and said, "Hoggle, you'll forgive me if I say so, but I think we're going
to have to leave you here-" Hoggle began to protest, "-and before
you argue the case with me, let me tell you why." She ticked things off
with her fingers.
tick, "I have limited time as it is and finding a way to get you out might
take a week, not to mention that the effort may not work. And I have a feeling
that something else is going to happen to put me off of the trail again.
Second," tick, "you'll be safe here. We can leave enough food
and water behind for you to survive long enough until I get back and can do
something like use the stone to get you out of here. Third," tick, "It's most likely that Jareth will
just take you and put you away somewhere in his castle. Then you won't have to
worry about food."
ain't seen the food," Hoggle grunted.
sorry, Hoggle. You know I wouldn't do this if it weren't for the good of the
whole kingdom or land or whatever you guys call the Underground when being
nodded his understanding, no matter how much he despised the decision.
thinks I'm being unfair, Sarah decided to herself. He's saying, 'She's
got plenty of time, so why can't she fill me into her busy schedule? I don't
much fancy the idea of staying couped up in a cave for God knows how long.'
sighed and continued, "I'm not God, Hoggle."
doesn't matter," she replied with another heavy sigh. She was beginning to
wonder about God herself right now. Like, why wasn't he pitching in yet? "There's
a lot riding on this, Hoggle. I can't take anymore chances than I have to. You
being stuck in a cave for a week or so with a dog and plenty of food to eat
isn't exactly a great hazard. But letting Jareth, or anyone else for that matter,
get control of that stone, I would say, is hazardous to everyone's health. No
telling what he could do with power like that. Power like that would taint him
and probably cause him to do things I don't even want to imagine."
tainted, as it is," Hoggle remarked with a scowl.
made no reply, but merely paused and slowly blinked her eyes once before
continuing, to back off a jeopardizing thought. "Anyhow, as I was saying,
this whole thing might present a danger to my world, too, so I have to be as
careful as possible. Please say you understand. Don't be angry with me."
understand, missy. I ain't angered."
wasn't long before they had supplied Hoggle with food and three canisters of
water. Didymus had offered to stay
and guard Hoggle's cave, seeming to feel somewhat ashamed for having to leave
him there, but Sarah confessed that she would need him with her, for his sense
of smell might come in handy, if he possesses one, she thought wickedly
to herself. Naturally the fox was flattered and gladly obliged, leaving Hoggle
to be alone in the dusty cave.
said their good-byes (again, Sarah remarked to herself) and headed into
the caves, full throttle.
wrapped the cloak about herself, feeling the coldness of Jareth's castle pierce
her again from so far away.