Continuing Tales

Please Come Home

A Labyrinth Story
by Ying-Fa-dono

Part 20 of 20

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Please Come Home

Three years later . . .

Sarah Williams took a long, sweeping look around her room, to make sure there wasn't anything she'd forgotten. It's only when you move out do you realize who much junk you have, she thought dully.

Indeed her room was stripped almost bare. Her clothes were packed into two suitcases and a third, smaller case had personal effects that she would be taking with her. Sarah looked down in the small, cardboard box that she was holding. It was a tiny, memory chest that she where she kept newspaper articles and other things of that nature. She picked up one article and read it.

Hampton High School Drama Club Scores Big With Original Script.

The Hampton High School Drama Club took its biggest risk in many years of performing an original script for the school's annual spring play. The production of The Labyrinth, an original piece by an unknown author, has never been done before by any school and it turned out to be a complete success.

"I came upon the story only recently," said Rodger Beckham, president of the Drama Club. "I saw it as the perfect opportunity to show spontaneity and originality for the last performance of my high school career and so I gambled my options and wrote the script. I am proud to say that we all did admirably."

The Labyrinth is a tale of a princess (portrayed by Sarah Williams, a senior) who travels into a magical world to retrieve her stolen baby brother from the vicious Goblin King (portrayed by Michael Hayward-Jones, a senior). It also includes a cast of various creatures including dwarves and monsters and, of course Goblins. Sarah Williams, who had the starring role, was unavailable for comment but Hayward-Jones said that the play "was very fun and I am grateful to be a part of it."

Sarah smiled. The remembered the play perfectly. It had, as the article had said, a total success, just as Rodger had hoped it would. After returning back from the labyrinth, however, some very strange and unexpected things had occurred. For instance, Rodger had shown up to play practice one day and said that he was going to undo all of the changes he'd made to the script and everything was going to be done exactly according to the book. Sarah couldn't help but notice he looked a little pale and bleary eyed as he made this announcement, as if he had had a particularly bad night sleep the night before.

Another thing was that, during the final performance, there had been some very strange things going on. There seemed to be very active shadows all over the stage and, once or twice, Sarah could have sworn she'd heard some strange giggling in the darkness. There had also been two very peculiar people in the audience. A man with sleek blonde hair and strange, mismatched eyes and a young woman with dark skin and hair that was such a pale shade of red that it looked pink. They were dressed normally enough, in a crisp black suit and a simple blue dress, but they seemed to attracted a lot of strange looks from passersby and at one point Sarah's brother had even pointed to the gentleman and shouted at the top of his voice, "MAN!" for which Irene apologized most grievously to the gentleman, who had laughed and said it was no big deal. Sarah remembered performing her best on that particular night.

She also remembered during the ballroom scene, as she danced with the "Goblin King" she had the strangest feeling that the masked actor she was dancing with wasn't Mike, but a certain someone else. She chanced a glance at the audience at this point and noticed that "man" wasn't there and her suspicions were confirmed.

"Where's Mike?" she'd asked, as quietly as she could.

"Daydreaming," came the answer. "He'll come back around in time for the next scene, I promise. But you didn't honestly think I'd allow anyone else to dance with you during this particular scene, now did you?"

When the scene ended, Mike did indeed come around in time for his next scene, but seemed a bit dazed as to how he had been on stage when he distinctly remembered not being on stage. Sarah didn't have the heart to tell him anything.

Sarah dug deeper into the box. Not far from the article she found a wedding invitation. She smiled fondly at the memory of Mike giving this to her. It was an invitation to the wedding of Mindy Hayward and Christopher Jones, Mike's parents.

"My grandparents finally let mum come to America," said Mike, sounding flushed and excited. "She's here now and she and dad are finally getting married!"

"Mike, that's the best," said Sarah, truly happy for him. "I guess this means that your life is finally complete."

"Yeah, I guess it is," Mike had replied, with a smile that was almost too big for his face.

Further inside the box, Sarah found a multitude of other things. A picture of the whole cast of the play, smiling and waving, in full costume, a letter of farewell that Mrs. L'Oreal had given her when she graduated, and a note from Dirk.

Sarah read the note over again, her smile no longer as noticeable. Apparently, Dirk didn't have the vaguest memory of what happened at the party and didn't have the faintest clue as to what he had tried to do. But he seemed to remember something because, in this note, he apologized for whatever it was he had done, hoped that he hadn't done anything to hurt her, and told her that he would no longer bother her. He'd kept to his word very well and even got together with another girl, Aster, who was just as weird as he was. From what Sarah had learned, he had gone to college to learn computer science.

Mike and his newly married parents were still living in America. Mike had gone off to college to study graphic design and was living comfortably and happily with his completed family. Shawna Templeton was already engaged to be married, and Rodger had gone off to film school to fulfill his dreams of being a director. As for Sarah, she had everything set for her future.

She looked up from her memory box and looked up at the painting on the wall. It featured a fast labyrinth, with endless turns and corners, and a castle in the center that was further than you think. Painted in the blue sky above the labyrinth was a large white owl and on its wings were several faces. Sarah had painted her own face, Ludo's and Sir Didymus's faces on the right wing, and on the left were the faces of Hoggle and Jareth. Stuck to the glass on the frame that the picture was in was a blue ribbon with gold lettering across the face saying the words:

The Labyrinth by Sarah Williams, Winner of the Garrison Award.

Sarah sighed contentedly at the picture. It was thanks to this painting that everything was set. Everything was ready now. She put the lid back on her box and fitted it into the third suitcase. Then turned around to grab all three cases, but noticed that one of the bags was missing. Sarah let out a little laugh. She knew the culprit behind this. She walked out of her room and down the hall into another room.

"Oh, Toby! I'm gonna need that bag, you know."

Toby Williams, now six years old, clutched grumpily to Sarah's bag. "I don't want you to go away," he said, stubbornly. "You're gonna go far, far away and I won't get to see you anymore."

Sarah sighed. They'd been having this same conversation for over two months. "That's true, Toby, I'm going away. But this is good for me, Toby, it's what I wanna do."

Toby clutched the bag tighter and tears welled up in his eyes. "I'll miss you too much," he whined.

"I'll miss you too, Toby," said Sarah, coming over to her brother and stroking his hair. "I'm gonna miss you so much I can hardly stand the thought."

"Then STAY!" Toby wailed, hugging her around the middle.

"I can't," said Sarah. "I'm gonna go and I can't stop that. I know you don't like it, Toby, but this is my choice. I'm going because I wanna go."

"I'll never see you again," sobbed Toby.

"Now, don't say that," said Sarah, sharply. "Of course I'll see you again. One way or another, I'll see you again. You know I will."

"Nuh-uh," moaned Toby, hugging her tighter and soaking her shirt with his tears.

Sarah hugged him back, thinking. Toby hadn't taken well to the fact of her leaving home. After her painting had won the scholarship to Paris, she'd told her family that she was going to take it and leave to go to the foreign art school. Robert had been bursting with pride, Irene had seemed truly happy for her, but Toby had thrown a fit when he discovered that Paris wasn't anywhere in there hometown, or even in the United States. As far as he could see it, Sarah was about to vanish from off the face of the earth.

Sarah reached into the bag that Toby had stolen and started rummaging through it. "Now, stop that, Toby," said Sarah. "Here, this is for you to hold on to."

Toby pried himself away from Sarah to look at what he was being given. It was an old ring that Sarah used to wear that had come in handy to her at one time, long ago. "This is a special ring, Toby," she said. "As long as you keep it with you, we'll be closer together than you think."

"R-really?" said Toby, taking the old ring.

"I'm positive," said Sarah, stroking his hair. "If you hold onto it, we will see each other again. I promise."

Toby sniffed and didn't look entirely reassured. Nevertheless, he took the ring and put it into his pocket. "Okay, Sarah. I'll take really good care of it."

"Thank you, Toby," said Sarah. At that moment, the siblings heard Robert's voice echo up the stairs.

"Sarah! Have you got everything? The cab is here!"

"I'm coming," said Sarah, anticipation rising in her chest. "Come on, Toby. Help me with my bags."

He did so, very reluctantly. They carried all of Sarah's things down the stairs where a taxi cab was waiting out the front door to take Sarah to the airport.

"Well, here we are," said Robert, looking at his only daughter with misty eyes. "Paris, here she comes!"

"Yeah, I guess," said Sarah, getting misty herself. She wrapped her arms around her father and hugged him tightly. Despite everything, when it all came together, Robert had done a great job at being a father. He had kept her alive, healthy, mostly happy, and had stuck with her during the divorce. Sarah would miss his big arms wrapped around her like this, in a big bear hug that always made you both pleased and a little embarrassed.

"Now," said Robert, with a little sniff. "Don't you hesitate to ask for anything. You need something, let me know right away. Even if I have to fly up to Paris myself, I'll get to you, okay?"

"Thank you, Daddy," said Sarah, hugging him even tighter. "Thank you so much for everything. I'm . . . going to miss you so much I don't think I can stand it."

"Aw," said Robert, breaking away and whipping his eyes. "You're a tough girl, Sarah. I think you can m-manage without crooked old me."

"I'll try," said Sarah, blinking back tears. She then bent down and embraced Toby again. Her little brother burst into outright tears in her arms.

"Sarah!" he wailed. "Don't go! Don't go, please! I'll be good!"

"I k-know you will," Sarah said, her voice breaking. "You be good for Daddy and Irene, okay? You get good grades in school, don't get into fights, and make lots of friends, okay?"

"K-'Kay," sniffed Toby.

"Did I hear a 'promise'?"

"Promise," mumbled Toby.

Sarah broke away from Toby, gave him one last kiss on the forehead and stood up to face her stepmother. Both women where smiling awkwardly and didn't really seem to know what to do. Finally, Sarah closed the distance between them and gave her stepmother what might have been the first and last embrace they'd ever share. It was a bit strange for the both of them. Sarah marveled at how thin and frail Irene felt in her arms. Irene rubbed Sarah's back and patted it as they hugged. It was . . . nice despite the awkwardness. They broke away and smiled at each other.

"Well, you take extra good care of yourself, alright?" said Irene, smiling.

"Yeah," said Sarah. "Of course I will."

Sarah grabbed her bags and headed out for the taxi. The driver helped her put her bags in the trunk before she climbed in the back seat. She rolled down the window and looked out at her family. Robert, Irene, and Toby all stood there watching her.

"Bye!" Sarah called, waving energetically while holding back more tears. "Goodbye everyone!"

They waved back, Robert and Irene smiling, Toby bawling. Sarah turned to the driver, who had just started the car. "Airport, please," she said.

"Coming right up," said the driver, putting the car in gear.

Sarah hung out of the window and waved as her house and her family shrank into the distance. Toby had broken away from his parents and ran after the cab, waving and crying until the cab picked up too much speed and he fell back, still waving. Sarah watched and watched until Toby was nothing but a little speck in the back window and then he disappeared completely.

Sarah sat back down in her seat and dried her eyes. That was so hard to do, she thought. But it's okay. I belong somewhere else. I chose this. So it's okay.

The cab drove out of the town and onto the freeway. Sarah reached into her pocket and pulled out a letter she'd gotten just last month. She read it over with a smile.

Dear Sarah,

Paris! Wow! Honey, I am so thrilled! I'm glad that you're looking forward to a career in art. With this kind of education, you'll really go someplace I know it. I've met up with some art students and they are the nicest people. If you need connections, give me a shout and I'll hook you up.

Jeremy and I are super proud of you, Sar. I think my travel agent could get me a flight to Paris, so don't be too surprised if I show up on your doormat. We're fine, by the way. I just got a part in Les Miserables, if you can believe it! So, if you need help learning any French, again let me know. I got lots of love for you, you know!


Sarah smiled. Her mother hadn't changed one bit. She'd reacted to Sarah's leaving the country just as she thought she would. Happy and excited for her. Sarah appreciated her mother's offers for help, but knew secretly that they were pretty empty. Her mother often offered her help, but never seemed to "have time" to give it. Regardless, she'd miss her mother too. But it was time at last and she was ready.

The cab brought her to the airport, just as he had been instructed and Sarah paid him the money for the trip.

"You take care of yourself," said the driver, touching his hat to her.

"Thanks," said Sarah, kindly. "You have a good one."

"You too."

Sarah watched the man drive away. She took her bags, but didn't go inside the airport. Instead she walked down the sidewalk, away from the buildings, where she couldn't be seen by anyone else. Once she was quite sure she couldn't be seen by another human being, she reached into the collar of her shirt. From inside she pulled out a strange, gold amulet that she hadn't removed from around her neck for three years. She held onto it tightly.

"Goblin King, Goblin King, wherever you may be," she said softly to herself. "Take me from this world and lead me back to thee."

She looked around. Nothing happened. But at that moment, a voice laughed inside her head.

Oh, come now, Sarah. You know those aren't the words. You'll have to say your right words.

Sarah laughed and shut her eyes. "Everything is ready," she said, aloud. "I've finished everything I need to in this world. I've made peace with the Aboveground and now it is time I came back. So, I wish the Goblin King would take me away . . . right now."

Then, from behind her, the voice spoke again from right behind her.

"Well, it is about time."

Sarah opened her eyes, spun around and threw herself into the arms of her Goblin King.

No one can blame you

For walking away

Jareth laughed out loud as he and Sarah embraced, lifting her off her feet and spinning her around and around in ecstasy. Sarah was laughing too, laughing and crying in happiness at the same time as she lowered her face to his in a kiss that was unrivaled to any other in happiness and passion.

For too much rejection

No love injection

They stopped spinning but continued to hug and kiss one another in joy. Around them, Sarah could feel the world starting to change around her. She knew what was happening. They were leaving the Aboveground behind. She was going back.

Life can be easy

It's not always swell

Sarah could hear high-pitched laughter and sounds of celebration. The goblins and creatures of the Underground had all gathered together to greet their king and his new bride as they arrived back. Sarah broke away from Jareth for a second and looked into his eyes. He smiled lovingly down at her, then relaxed his hold on her so that she could say hello to her friends.

Don't tell me truth hurts

Little girl

'Cause it hurts like hell

Hoggle was the first to greet Sarah. She knelt down and he hugged her in welcome. Sarah laughed in happiness and released the dwarf only to embrace Ludo, who wrapped his arms around her in a huge bear hug, growling "Sawah! Sawah back!" as loud as he could. She then bent down and hugged Sir Didymus and scratched Ambrosius's ears, thinking only of how pleased she was to see them all again.

It's only forever

Not long at all

The lost and the lonely

Sarah was then greeted by Ena and the Wise Man, then the worm and his family, the by Alph and Ralph, and all other creatures she'd met and known. She stood up and looked past her welcoming party and stared around her. There it was. The labyrinth was flooded with light, flowers blossoming all around the walls, shining with magic. Rin was celebrating Sarah's return as well.

That's underground


Jareth smiled down at his beloved as she turned to look back at him, all the happiness in the world was reflected in her eyes at the sight of him and his world. The world to which she truly belonged.

"I'm home," she said, smiling.

Jareth laughed and smiled right back. "Welcome home."

Please Come Home

A Labyrinth Story
by Ying-Fa-dono

Part 20 of 20

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