Continuing Tales

Please Come Home

A Labyrinth Story
by Ying-Fa-dono

Part 1 of 20

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Please Come Home

A lot can happen in three years. A lot of things can change you. A lot of things did change for Sarah Williams. Three years ago, as she was babysitting for her infant brother, Toby, she'd made a choice that would change her forever. Angered by Toby's endless tears, she'd made a terrible wish. She wished that the antagonistic character of her favorite novel would take her brother away. To her utter horror, her wish was granted. The Goblin King came and took Toby to his castle at the center of a vast labyrinth.

Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, Sarah had fought her way to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child he had stolen. Whilst there, she'd befriended a dwarf, a monster, and a fox-knight who helped her battle her way back to her brother. At last, she reached the castle where her brother was. But the Goblin King was there as well. However, as Sarah faced him, she felt little fear, for her will was as strong as his, and her kingdom was as great. The Goblin King knew this. Nevertheless, he tried to bargain with Sarah. He tried to tell her something important. Sarah had not listened. Bound to her duty to free her brother, she uttered six words of great power.

"You have no power over me."

The Goblin King had been thwarted. Sarah and Toby had returned home, safe and sound. Sarah believed she would never again have to see the king, his labyrinth, or even his every world, the Underground, again. She buried away any of her possessions that reminded her of the event and hid them away. She swore she would never again say the words "I wish", not even on her birthday, for those were the words that had summoned the Goblin King to her in the first place. She tried to focus on growing up, becoming an adult. She worked hard in school, and took extra special care of her brother as he grew from baby to toddler.

Sarah was eighteen years old now and in her senior year of high school. She'd been focusing on becoming an artist, for it was something she found she could be very good at. She took some acrylic classes and entered some of her work into competitions that were very promising and had earned her some very nice prizes such as money, privileges at school and even got some of her work displayed in local art shows.

On this particular day, the final bell rang and Sarah sighed in relief. Things always go so much more slowly on Mondays, she thought with a sigh. She put her backpack on and headed up to her acrylic teacher, Mrs. L'Oreal.

"Hey, Mrs. L," Sarah said as she reached her. "Did you want to see me?"

"Oh, yes," said Mrs. L'Oreal. "I thought you might like to see an upcoming art event. If you win this sucker, you can easily get into the best art school there is."

"Oh, wow," said Sarah, genuinely excited. "What is it?"

"It is the Garrison Award," said Mrs. L'Oreal. "It is a competition that is completely made up for artists with a creative mind. The prize is a scholarship in Paris. You'll be competing with students from all over the United States. There is only room for ten winners, so you'd better give them your best work."

"You know I will," said Sarah, taking a pamphlet that the teacher offered to her.

"Well, just think carefully on this Sarah," said Mrs. L'Oreal, seriously. "They're looking for creative work. I mean imaginative and unique. Art that tells a story and things like that is what you'd need to win. Now, don't get me wrong, your landscapes and still-life's are beautiful, but you'll need a bit more imagination if you're going to win something as great as the Garrison award."

"I think I can handle it," said Sarah, pleasantly. "Thank you for telling me about this."

Sarah left the school and started to walk home. I'm probably the only senior in my class who doesn't have a car, she thought with some bitterness as she watched a bunch of kids her age zoom by on a shiny new truck. Her father and stepmother (well actually just her stepmother) had told her she didn't need a car when the school was so close to home. They said if she kept her grades up, then she would be able to have a car when she graduated and got a job. Sarah flipped open the pamphlet explaining about the Garrison Award. To win a scholarship to Paris would be wonderful. She'd always wanted to see more of the world. But she had to agree with Mrs. L'Oreal. Her pictures were, indeed, strictly based upon reality.

Huh, I need more imagination, Sarah though, half-smiling to herself. That's the first time anyone has told me that.

Just as she was getting close to home, she thought she heard someone walking behind her. A chill ran down her spine. An image popped into her head of a tall figure, handsome and strange, magical and mischievous, furious and bent on some kind of dark revenge. Sarah sped up, trying to ignore how terribly loud those footfalls behind her were and how they were quickening in pace. She wanted to run, but told herself to remain calm. She had to remain calm. In her head she began a frantic chant.

You have no power over me. You have no power over me. You have no power over me. You have no power over me.

The steps behind her grew faster and faster as Sarah picked up her pace.

You have no power over me! You have no power over me! You have no power over me!

Without realizing it, she broke into a frantic run, her house crawling closer and closer into view. But her pursuer sped up as well.


A hand grasped her shoulder as someone cried, "Sarah, wait . . ."

"AAH!" Sarah screamed, smacking the hand off her shoulder. She spun around, thinking to meet a pair of strange, mismatched eyes. But they weren't there. Instead she came face to face with a boy her age with dark, greasy hair and thick glasses. He was unhealthily skinny and was dressed in a button up shirt, sweater vest, and tightly belted khaki pants. Sarah immediately felt very stupid and very annoyed.

"Oh, hello Dirk," she said, unenthusiastically. Dirk Bloomings was in her class at school and the official class oddball. He was the type to spend hours and hours playing role-playing games on his computer and conspire secretly to invade Area 51. He and his gang of freaky friends were known to call each other by names like Gorlok and Thaxor and Galaxion and other weird names. It wasn't exactly uncommon knowledge that Dirk was particularly interested in Sarah, but she wasn't irrevocably uninterested. Sarah may have been a little odd herself, but Dirk, even for her, was just too odd.

"Sarah, why'd you run away like that?" Dirk asked, in his high pitched, rather Igor-ish voice. "I called you, but you didn't answer."

"I'm sorry, I didn't hear you," said Sarah, trying to breath normally and slow her racing heart. "Listen, I'm really sorry, but I really need to get home. I'll see you in school."

"Really?" Dirk said, looking eager. "That'd be great. I'll see you later, Lovely One," and he turned and walked away.

It was all Sarah could do to keep herself from pretending to wretch behind his back. Why did Dirk have to be such a complete nerd? Worse still, why did he have to have a crush on her of all people? Surely there was some girl in school as nerdy as him that he would have much more in common with. Sarah headed for her house and walked into the front door.

From the sound of childish humming coming from the kitchen, Sarah knew that Toby must be coloring in there. Sarah was rather proud that her little brother had taken up drawing. True, they were scribbles drawn with crayon on scratch paper that their father brought home from work for him, but it pleased her none the less. Perhaps Toby would aspire to be an artist, just like she did. She dropped her backpack onto the floor and walked in the kitchen where Toby was. As she had predicted, he was scribbling away at the kitchen table, his little brow furrowed with concentration and his tongue sticking out. Sarah bent down and gave him a kiss on the top of the head.

"Hi, Toby," she said brightly.

"Hi, Sawah," said Toby, looking up at his older sister. "Sawah, I'm happy you're home, Sawah."

"I'm happy to be here," she said, smiling down at him. "Hey, what is that you're drawing there?"

Toby picked up his picture and held it out proudly for Sarah to see. She took it out of his pudgy hands and examined it closely. Her stomach seemed to freeze. She could make out Toby in the picture. He was standing in the middle of it, in the red and white stripped pajamas he used to wear when he was a baby. But surrounding him there were strange things he'd drawn in black and gray. Hairy bodies, contorted faces, wicked grins and flailing arms and legs were all around him. But it was not these creatures that frightened her the most. Standing next to the little drawn Toby was a figure of a man. Toby had drawn him all in black with slanted eyes, wild hair that Toby had captured poorly with scribbles of yellow. His arms were outstretched and his mouth was open as if her were singing.

Toby had drawn himself among the goblins and their majestic king.

Please Come Home

A Labyrinth Story
by Ying-Fa-dono

Part 1 of 20

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