Continuing Tales

Please Come Home

A Labyrinth Story
by Ying-Fa-dono

Part 2 of 20

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Please Come Home

Sarah stared at Toby's pictures, flipping through them. The Goblin King was in almost all of them. Sometimes singing, dancing, kicking at goblins, or else sitting in his throne with Toby on his lap. Sarah looked down at her little brother, who was looking up at her eagerly, hoping to get her opinion.

"Wow, Toby," said Sarah, slowly. "These are . . . really good."

Toby beamed. "I been working wheelly hard."

"It shows," said Sarah. "Um, Toby, what are these things with you in these pictures? They don't look very friendly."

Toby put his finger on his chin, thoughtfully. "I don't know," he said simply.

"You don't know?"


"I see," said Sarah. "Um, Toby, who is this man with you?" she held up a picture of the Goblin King sitting on his throne with Toby. Toby scratched his little head, frowning as he tried to think.

"Man," he answered with a shrug.

"Man?" Sarah asked.

"Yeah, just man."

"Um, where have you seen this man, Toby?"

Toby smiled, happy that Sarah had asked him a question he could answer right away. He pointed a chubby finger at his temple. "Here," he replied with a grin.

"In your head," said Sarah, feeling alarmed.

"Yup," said Toby, proudly.

"You . . . imagined him?"

"Nope," said Toby. "At night when I'm sleeping. That's when I see Man."

"I see," Sarah said nervously. "Listen, Toby . . ."

At that moment, the front door opened and Sarah's stepmother, Irene, came into the room.

"Sarah? Are you home?"

"Yes, I'm home," said Sarah, turning to greet her stepmother. "Where did you go?"

"Oh, I was in the backyard talking to Mrs. Brown," said Irene, referring to their neighbor who had thrown out her back the other day. "She's doing much better. Taking it easy, y'know. I tried to tell her that she shouldn't be outside, but you know she is just religious about taking care of that garden of her's. How was school?"

"Pretty good," said Sarah. "My art teacher told me about . . ."

"Toby!" Irene cried, walking over to her son. "Are you drawing those weird things again? Come now, I've told you that you should be doing more constructive things than drawing some strange imaginary creatures."

"But, Mommy, I like it," Toby whined in protest. Irene picked up one of the pictures and sighed.

"Why are you sitting on this man's lap, Toby?" she asked, sternly.

"Man's nice," Toby replied, simply.

"Now, Toby, we've talked about Man, haven't we?" Irene asked sharply. Sarah's attention peaked. "I know you may like the idea of an imaginary friend, but it's not something that is good for you."

"Man is not a 'ma-gin-air-we!" Toby protested. "He's wheel! He's wheel!"

"Real, Toby," Irene said, annunciating. "Real. Remember what Mrs. Marshall told us about using our Rs."

Sarah sighed and left them too it. She would have to tell Irene about the Garrison Award when her Dad came home for dinner that evening. If there is one thing that really hadn't changed much over the years was Sarah's relationship with her stepmother. True, she and Irene didn't jump down each other's throats over every little thing anymore, but there was very little understanding between them. Irene hadn't thought much of Sarah's desire to be an artist. She thought there were other, more manageable careers that were better suited for Sarah.

"You could be a great accountant," Irene had told her. "There is nothing wrong with that. My mother was an accountant and she's set for life. Or maybe a reporter. I bet you'd like that."

Sarah had all but ignored Irene's advice. Art was something she was good at and it made for an enjoyable career and that was what Sarah was looking forward to being. Also, if she could win this Garrison Award, she'd be set for life without being an accountant. It was things like that that made Sarah so unable to relate to her stepmother.

"You get that from your mom," Sarah's father, Robert, had said. "Yup, Linda was really a right-brained person. But people like me and Irene are more left-brained. So, it's difficult for you to agree on the same things. It's because you think in very different ways."

That is such a Dad-Answer, Sarah thought dully on the way up to her room. It always has to do with psychology. That's why he and Mom go divorced in the first place. The psychology was wrong.

Sarah went into her room and collapsed onto her bed. It was a bit emptier than it had been three years ago. As she had gotten older, and had been increasingly pressured to grow up, she had been pressured to give a great deal of her toys away. Some had gone to Toby, while others were taken to the attic. Also, various things, such as her music box, her Escher picture, her wooden maze, a porcelain sculpture featuring a man with spiky hair and glam-rock like clothes, and a particular small red book, had all been removed from her room after her adventure in the labyrinth. It wasn't that she wanted to forget, but it was that she needed to forget.

Wendy had to give up Neverland, Sarah thought to herself, sadly. And Alice had to give up Wonderland. I guess I had to give up the labyrinth.

Sarah went over to her desk. It was a strong, cherry desk that her father had found in good condition at an antique store. It had been placed in Sarah's room when she'd given up her vanity as well. She couldn't bear having the vanity in her room for long after she'd decided to let the labyrinth go. The temptation to call her old friends to her side had been so great. Hoggle, Ludo, and Sir Didymus were what she knew she would miss the most. So, to make it hurt less, she'd given up the vanity so she wouldn't find herself wishing to see them reflected back at her in the mirror.

Sarah searched through the drawers in her desk, looking for a piece of paper and her drawing pencils. She wanted to get to work on what she wanted to paint for her picture to send in for the Garrison Award. Sarah found what she was looking for, but immediately pause.

There, sitting matter-of-factly next to her charcoal pencils and her paper, was a small red book. It was worn, as if it had been opened and read over many times. The words The Labyrinth were printed on the cover in peeling gold letters.

Sarah stared at The Labyrinth. Where had it come from? She certainly hadn't put it in her desk, but then who had? This book had been put up in the attic. Why was it here now? Sarah picked up the little book. It felt so familiar in her hand. She felt a smile cross her face. She'd missed this book, despite the problems it had caused. For the heck of it, she flipped it open and read:

But what no one knew was that the King of the Goblins had fallen in love with the girl and he had given her certain powers. So one night, when she was tired from a day of housework and hurt by the harsh words of her stepmother, and she could no longer stand it . . .

Sarah suddenly snapped the book shut. Don't you do this, she told herself sternly. You've been doing so well for three years. Don't you let yourself have a relapse now. Sarah opened up her largest, deepest drawer and buried the book under a stack of discarded drawings.


"So, Sarah," Robert said, in between mouthfuls of Irene's mashed potatoes. "How was school?"

"Pretty good," said Sarah, cutting up her chicken. "My art teacher told me about the Garrison award."

The Williams family was enjoying a dinner of roasted chicken that evening. Their dog, Merlin, was snoozing on the floor next to Toby's chair. Sarah smiled as she watched Toby "eating." Toby was a particularly picky eater and was now feeding bits of chicken to Merlin when his mother wasn't looking and pushing his potatoes around to make it look like there was less than there really was. Sarah explained to her father about the Garrison award and gave him the pamphlet that Mrs. L'Oreal had given her.

"My, my," said Robert, after he'd read the pamphlet through. "This could be really good for you, Sarah. A scholarship to France. That is really something."

"I don't know if I like the idea of you going so far away for school," said Irene, hesitantly. "There is a lot that we can do for you here in the United States, but Europe?"

"Oh, come on Irene," said Sarah, insistently. "I can look after myself. I'm legally an adult now, you know."

"Of course I know that," said Irene, calmly. "But even adults can have things happen to them. And in a foreign country, no less!"

"Now, ladies," said Robert, pleasantly. "Let's not get into an argument. Sarah hasn't even entered the contest yet."

"Chicken, chicken, chicken lickin'," grumbled Toby, jabbing at his meat with his fork. "I hate chicken, chicken, chicken . . ."

"By the way," Sarah said, looking up at her family. "Did anyone take one of my old books from the attic and put it in my desk?"

Robert and Irene stared at her. "Why, no," said Irene. "Why?"

"Oh, I just found one of my old books in my desk and I wondered how it got in there," said Sarah, reasonably. "I was sure I'd put it upstairs in the attic with all the rest of my old stuff."

"Hm, well that's odd," said Robert, thoughtfully. "Maybe it's always been in there, but you meant to put it upstairs and forgot by accident."

Sarah thought about this theory. Maybe she had put it in her desk for safekeeping until it was time to pack it up with the rest of her things, forgotten about it, and didn't put it up in the attic after all? Well, it was certainly possible. But why hadn't she seen it in that drawer before? Sarah gave herself a little shake and tried to put it from her mind. She didn't want to think of that book anymore. Thinking about it wasn't good for her. It made her think too hard on the story within it. She couldn't afford to think about it. But . . . never the less . . . the way it had reappeared like that . . . and Toby's drawings . . .


The window of Robert and Irene's bedroom opened wide. A beautiful white barn owl flew into the room. Sarah was afraid and ducked. Without seeing it, she felt something around her change. There was suddenly another presence in the room with her. She opened her eyes.

There he was. Standing proud and regal before her. That spiky blonde hair, that enigmatic smirk, those strange eyes, mismatched and almond-shaped, all of it was the same as she remembered.

"I've brought you a gift."

In his hand was a small, transparent sphere.

"What is it?" Sarah asked.

"It's a crystal," he explained, rolling it over and over his hands. "Nothing more. But if you turn it this way, and look into it, it will show you your dreams."

She looked from those intense eyes to the lovely crystal, now sitting still in his hand.

"Do you want it?"

Sarah was brought back to reality by something long, hot, and wet being dragged over her face. With a cry of disgust, she opened her eyes. Merlin had somehow found his way into her room, jumped onto her bed, and licked her face in welcome.

"Oh, Merlin, yuck," Sarah whined sleepily. Daylight was steaming into her room from between the curtains of her window. Sarah shoved her dog off of her. She could still hear the Goblin King's voice ringing in her ears. She'd been dreaming about him. About the first time she'd seen him. Sarah frowned. She shouldn't have dreamed about him. She wasn't supposed to dream about him. She was supposed to be focusing all her power on forgetting him and his labyrinth.

"What time is it, Merlin?" Sarah asked her dog, still sleepily. She looked at her clock and gasped. "Seven o' five! Why didn't you wake me up sooner! Oh no, I'm gonna be late for school!"

Sarah jumped out of bed and rushed into the bathroom. On her way she passed Irene, who looked as if she had been just about to wake Sarah up.

"Sarah, you're going to be . . ."

"I know! I know!" Sarah yelled, slamming the bathroom door behind her. She set the world record for taking a shower and ran back into her room, threw on whatever clothes that occurred to her, tossed several sketches she'd drawn as ideas for her new painting into her bag and hurried out the door without eating anything.

Sarah sprinted all the way to school. She was furious that Irene hadn't woken her up when she hadn't gotten up herself. What had happened? She never slept through her alarm clock. Why hadn't it gone off today? Several times, as she ran to the school, she had to catch herself in the middle of saying her old catch phrase of "It's not fair!" but today she felt that it complied.

As Sarah hurried into the school, she ran into someone.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," she said, as the boy stumbled and almost fell. Sarah recognized him. His name was Rodger Beckham, the president of the drama club and director for the annual school play.

"That's okay," he said, straightening up. "Hey, Sarah, are you in a hurry?"

"Kinda," she said, picking up her bag, which had fallen when she ran into Rodger. "I slept in today."

"Ha, me too," he confessed. "Hey, what's this?"

Sarah started. It was The Labyrinth. Rodger was holding the little red book in his hand. He must have pulled it from the debris of Sarah's bag when she'd fallen. But Sarah hadn't remembered packing it.

"J-Just a book," said Sarah, reaching out for him to give it back.

"Really?" said Rodger. "Hey, Sarah, do you mind if I borrow this?"


"Can I borrow this? It's just that I have Language Arts in a few minutes and I have to have reading material. If I show up without something to read, Mr. Zimmerman will put me in detention."

"Oh, um . . ."

The five minute bell rang.

"Oh, jeez," said Rodger. "I've gotta go. I'll give you your book back at the end of the day, I promise. See you later, Sarah."

And before Sarah could protest, he was gone.

Please Come Home

A Labyrinth Story
by Ying-Fa-dono

Part 2 of 20

<< Previous     Home     Next >>