Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Willa Suvia

Part 1 of 9

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He floated through the crowd, carried along on a wave of sensation. She was near; he could feel her closeness, smell the citrusy tang of her skin above the pervasive odors of perspiration and lust. He found it easy enough to pick her out from the rest of them, the angelic beauty in an ocean of wanton devils. He pushed forward, moving in close behind as she surveyed the ballroom with eyes sometimes charmed, sometimes appalled, but always fascinated.

She too sensed his presence the way a hunter might sense he has become the hunted. It assailed her with a wave of electricity, forcing the silken hairs on her smooth white arms to stand at fierce attention as he circled around, doubled back, and drifted past her in a cloud of some deep blue fragrance that she could not quite identify.

He moved in and back in time with the music, which had become suddenly soft and tinged with quiet yearning.

At last, they stood face to face on a floor strewn with the residue of this strange celebration, almost - but not quite - touching. The crowds melted back until their oppressive presence dimmed, and they became more a part of the room (lamps, perhaps, or pillows) than flesh and bone creatures.

When it was time, he did not strike out and bury his fangs in her throat, nor did she raise her weapon at his advance. She raised her hand to him instead, and his cheek felt cool and porcelain white beneath her fingertips; he leaned in and brushed her velvety lips with his own, breathing the intoxicating perfume of her breath.

A murmur of approval from the crowd, and the music grew louder, spilling from the tables, chairs, and even the cushions thrown haphazardly down into the recessed areas - the pleasure pits - where ethereal lovers had once coupled with impunity.

She fell into his arms, and he into hers, as they discovered new territory in each other. He buried his face in her dark hair, rested his cheek in the sweet valley between her neck and shoulder; she swept her hands over the back of his neck and head, sifting fine golden hair through her frenzied fingers. He crushed her lips, smothering her with desperate kisses and passionate caresses; she clawed at his shoulders and back, clinging to him like a flower trembling on a vine.

"Love me," she whispered, nipping his earlobe with unfeigned savagery.

A collection of long-stemmed goblets and shining silver plates on a nearby table crashed to the floor with a sweep of his arm. He set her carefully upon the table, gasping as she ripped the velvet jacket from his shoulders, and lost himself in swirls and clouds of silk as he pushed her voluminous skirts up. His fingers met a hint of creamy-soft thigh and she moaned against him, locking her legs behind his.

"I love you," he breathed, devouring her lips, her neck, the gentle hollow between her beauteous breasts. "You know this, don't you? Dreaming or waking, I will always love you."

She sobbed beneath the weight of his desire, kissing his eyelids, twining her fingers gently through the shimmering cascade of his hair. Tears disappeared into the midnight richness of her own hair, streaming from the corners of her eyes.

"It's time," she whispered, her eyes open wide. "Oh, it's time..."

"Not yet!" He kissed her again, as though this might break the spell once and for all, as though by covering her mouth he could keep her from saying those hated words. "Just a little while longer, Sarah. Stay with me!"

"I'm sorry," she said, her voice low and defeated. "I can't. It's time to wake up now."


Jareth sat up in bed, the flickering candlelight caught beautifully by the sheet of sweat covering his body. He reached over and felt the empty place beside him, always perfectly smooth and unmussed, and wished it were not so horribly cold beneath his fingers.

He cupped his hands and breathed deep, pulling in her scent better than any suffocating man ever took a first blessed gulp of air. She was all over him, her smell warm and lingering. It was strong tonight, so strong she might have been right beside him...

But she wasn't.

He was alone, of course. As always. Fool! Why should he have hoped that tonight could be different than any other? He would never be allowed to hold her, to keep her close until dawn's light broke through the windows. He could only wait and hope to sleep without the dreams of her...

A low, anguished growl escaped his throat, and melted into quiet sobbing. He tore at the sheets, cursing himself, cursing her, cursing his luck and every speck of dust that stood between him and what would never be his.

It wasn't her fault, not really. His hands had cast the spell, his lips murmured the incantation.

He had no one to blame but himself.

When would it end? he thought desperately, running a trembling hand through his soaking-wet hair. When? The nights were growing longer, and the solid foundation of his composure had begun to crack and crumble.

He closed his eyes and, using a slight enchantment to bully his dreams into more pleasant shapes and situations, forced himself to sleep again.


She turned over in bed, allowing the tears to roll over the bridge of her nose, down her cheeks, and patter softly against the sheets. In the darkness, the pattern of tiny pink rosebuds covering the bed sheets seemed to move the tiniest bit, swirling like smoke or insects in the hazy darkness...

Think of anything else. Think of the streetlight outside the window. Think of the time you carved your initials into the bedpost and Mom grounded you for a week. Think of the bird singing right outside the window, that one bird whose song can be heard at all hours of the night...

That bird...

She sighed, turning over. The bed had become unbearably hot and uncomfortable, and she flailed weakly in a futile effort to relax. She was tired, so tired, but her body thrummed at the memory of his lips, his hands, his skin so white and fine...

Why this? she asked herself, wiping her eyes on her bed sheets. Was it his punishment for leaving him? Did he get some sort of pleasure from torturing her like this?

No. Remember his face, the way he looked at you and what he said. He didn't want to leave you, either.

It's only in my dreams, she reminded herself stiffly as she settled back once more into that awful big and lonesome bed. It's just a stupid dream. He doesn't know anything about it, and wouldn't care even if he did!

But it's only in my dreams.

I'll deal with it, just as I have for the last three years.



A Labyrinth Story
by Willa Suvia

Part 1 of 9

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