- LABYRINTH II
...             ...


CHAPTER XXX

            Sarah stood at the throne of the Goblin City, overlooking a crowd of goblins who had been crammed into the chamber by a large group of elves who brandished swords and spears. Leah left Sarah's company without explanation, leaving her twin to deal with matters alone. Sarah looked at her leaving companion with questioning eyes, but was rewarded only with a knowing smile as her lifelong shadow exited the room and went onto the balcony, closing the intricately-designed doors behind her.

            Sage approached her, his face beaming not only with the sunlight that sifted lazily into the room through the open castle doors, but shining as well with victory.

            "So, Sarah, you've completed your quest," he said, smiling as he looked down at the fragmented amethyst in her hands. "We will deal with that later, but now, you must decide what to do with all of these goblins. You are their rightful leader."

            Isabelle ran into the room, holding the ends of her dress in her hands as she ran to the foot of the throne. "Sarah!" she cried anxiously. "What is going to happen to all of us?"

            Everyone who wasn't a goblin gasped with astonishment as every villager, guard, merchant, and child who had spent his or her life in the Goblin City as a goblin, twirled upward in a shimmering cyclone of light and transformed back to the human they had once been before being taken away by the Goblin King. They were well-groomed, handsome human beings, contrasting greatly in mind and body with the goblins they had been only moments before.

            A fifteen year-old girl, greatly resembling the girl in the painting that stood over the throne room, approached Sarah and embraced her. Sarah hugged her back, not knowing quite what else to do, for she did not seem to know the girl.

            "Sarah! Thank you! I remember everything now!"

            "Isabelle?" Sarah held her by the shoulders and examined her. "Is that you?"

            "It's finally, truly me!" she exclaimed.

            Sarah brought the teenage girl close again and squeezed her. "I'm so happy for you!" she declared, letting go of the young lady and addressing the entire room. "It's true! We are all, finally, free!"

            Im glad youre back, Sarah, Isabelle whispered.

            You know, so am I.  So am I...

             A motley group of humans who were dressed in ragged clothing came bursting angrily through the crowd. "Jareth, you snake!" one of them shouted gruffly. "You sent a witch to our village! I want your hide!"

            Birkley, the wife abuser, led the bunch before the throne, and was taken aback to see Sarah sneering with amusement down upon him.

            "You!" He pointed an accusing finger at her. "What are you doing here? Witch! Hag! I'll kill you!"

            "How dare you address our queen that way!" one of the villagers from the city declared, pushing his way through the crowd. "You threaten her and we'll skin you alive!"

            "Wait," Sarah commanded, smiling keenly and holding her hand out before her.

            "What is your will, my queen?" he asked.

            "The rest of the group may become a part of this kingdom if they like," she said, "but this man" she pointed to Birkley, "This man is to be thrown into the dungeons."

            Three men disbanded from the rest of the crowd and escorted the man to his fate.

            "You can't do this!" he yelled. "I'll get you yet, you demonic woman! You hear me? I'll get you! You just wait!"

            Thats what you get for calling me a hag, Sarah mumbled under her breath as she smiled triumphantly.

            Hoggle, Sir Didymus, and Ludo ran into the room.

            "Sarah!" they exclaimed in syncopation.

            They ran up the steps of the throne and huddled around her, fighting amongst themselves to embrace her. Ludo was last and nearly crushed her with his enthusiasm.

            A flock of Magicmockers entered through the open doorway and filtered throughout the room. A woman in the crowd went to the covered painting and pulled on its cord, drawing back the velvet curtains and revealing the image of Sarah.

            A sudden wave of bowing and curtsying started about the room, starting with Sage and ending with Isabelle. Sarah stood tall and proud above them, her face flushed with embarrassment and her hands fumbling awkwardly behind her back.

            One after another of the villagers stepped forth from the multitude. "Will you be our queen?" each one queried, their voices overlapping and mingling like a symphonic orchestra. The question rippled back and forth between them loudly, echoing off the walls and catching back in their throats only to be sent forth again to prod her.

            She held up her hands, indicating silence. "Give me a few moments," she begged warmly.

            She stepped down from the throne and bent over to whisper in Sage's ear. "Ill be right back."

            He nodded his head with understanding, embraced her, and shook her hand before she opened the doors of the balcony, her shadow's back facing her. She stepped beside Leah and shut the doors.

            "What are you going to do?" Leah said sadly.

            "I dont know," Sarah replied as she placed her hands on the banister. "They want me to be their queen. But I dont know if I can. I have a normal life to go back to."

            Leah nodded and stared into the horizon.

            "You know, its too bad I cant be in two places at once," Sarah added.

            Leah nodded again.  Yes, Im sure that the magic of this place is very intriguing to you.

            What about you? Sarah asked tactfully.  What do you want to do?

            I want to live a normal life, Sarah.  I want to see a park, I want to go to France, I want to have a career.  I want everything you had...  Leah laughed.  Its amazing, but, now that I think of it, neither of us really appreciated where we were.  Especially when we got a taste of the other side.

            So, you wanna do the old switcheroo?  Meet your little brother?  Sarah smiled at Leah impishly.  "You don't have to live in my shadow anymore."

               Leah laughed warmly and finally faced Sarah. "You know, no matter how we do it, Ill end up being called by your name for the rest of my life."

            Sarah seemed saddened by her twin's eagerness to separate herself from her cohort, but she smiled anyway.

            Leah placed a reassuring hand on her companion's shoulder. "But there isn't a name I'd be prouder to be called by than 'Sarah.'"

            "Such a diplomat," Sarah replied teasingly. "You wouldnt make a bad queen yourself."

            Leah looked over her shoulder and nodded toward the throne room whose people sat quietly behind the doors. "They're waiting."

            Sarah nodded serenely. "I guess youd better get a change of clothes."

            She gracefully pulled a crystal sphere out of nothingness, the same as Jareth would have done it. She held it out before her on the tips of her fingers and didn't even have to concentrate. Shimmering light twinkled up and down Leahs figure in waves, fading out her former clothing, and focusing into her new outfit; she was now decked in the regular clothing that Sarah had arrived in the Underground wearing.

            "I guess this is it," Leah said, holding Sarah's hand in hers.

            "Guess so. You will write once-in-awhile, or at least drop me a hello?" Sarah asked.

            "Every time I get a chance," Leah replied.

            Sarah laughed with a sudden revelation. "You do realize that we are practically sisters, don't you?"

            "I've known it a lot longer than you have," Leah replied. "We're not just like sisters. We are sisters. Once you get past all of the technicalities."

            They hugged each other for a few minutes before separating with downcast eyes.

            "I guess I'd better go," Sarah said, looking up at her sister with a melancholy smile. "Throw lots of parties. Don't let your newfound responsibility get your hair tied up in a knot. Let it all hang out."

            "You got that from the Fieries," Leah replied, pointing her finger as she made an allusion to a moment in their distant past. "They're a bit too wild."

            "I'll try to find the in-between," Sarah said.

            "Trust me, you'll never find the in-between. It doesn't exist."

            They shook hands one last time and Sarah held the crystal before her, thinking for all the world that there was no place like home.  It was funny that home had turned out to be a place called the Underground.

Jennifer Connelly     David Bowie    Jim Henson            C    C