Continuing Tales

Please Come Home

A Labyrinth Story
by Ying-Fa-dono

Part 4 of 20

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Please Come Home

"Sarah? You know, if you didn't want oatmeal, you could have said," Irene's voice brought Sarah back to reality with a jolt. It was Monday morning and Sarah had been playing with her breakfast for the past five minutes without eating a bite.

"Oh, no, that's not it," said Sarah. "Sorry, Irene. I'm just somewhere else entirely today."

"What's on your mind, sweetheart?" Robert asked, looking over the top of his newspaper at his daughter.

"Um . . . the Garrison Award," lied Sarah. "I still have no idea what I'm going to do for it."

"Oh, I'm sure it will come to you," said Robert, kindly. "You've only known about it for about a week. When do you have to turn it in?"

"Mid-July," replied Sarah.

"See? It's still only April. You have plenty of time," said Robert, taking a sip of coffee. "You just need to find some inspiration, and then you'll be fine."

"Daddy, what's in-peer-a-shone?" Toby asked innocently, some oatmeal stuck to his chin and cheeks.

Sarah went back to her full bowl of oatmeal. Irene had even been kind enough to put raspberries in it for her. Those were her favorite. But this morning, it just looked like a bowl full of puke and she couldn't make herself eat it. The Garrison Award was probably the last thing on her mind. On Sunday afternoon, she'd gotten a call from Rodger.

"Sarah," he'd said. "I was wondering if I could talk to you. I wanted to know what library you got this book from?"

Sarah couldn't think of what Rodger was saying at first, then she remembered the lie she'd told him about The Labyrinth being a library book.

"The . . . the one downtown," Sarah answered. "Why?"

"Well," said Rodger. "It's just that I can't find it anywhere else. The author is never mentioned anywhere in the book. There is just the title and the story. And I've been to bookstores, the library near the mall (you know the one), and I can't seem to find it anywhere. How did you find it?"

Sarah hadn't been able to answer. Where did I get that book from? She thought about it so long, she almost forgot she was talking to Rodger.

"Well, I can't quite remember," said Sarah, just saying whatever occurred to her. "But I think that's the only copy that library has."

"That's too bad," said Rodger, sounding disappointed. "Hey, listen Sarah. You seem to be the only person in the whole school who has read this book."

"Y-yeah," Sarah had said, uncertainly.

"Well," Rodger went on. "I've run the idea of performing The Labyrinth by the rest of the club and they loved it. The script is just about finished."

"Really?" said Sarah surprised. "You've only been working on it for two days! You're already finished."

"Just about," said Rodger, proudly. "It's nothing a few dozen cups of coffee can't do."

"You mean you've been working into the night?"

"The important thing is," Rodger cut in. "We're doing casting after school on Wednesday and I wondered if you could come and help me?"

"What? Why me?"

"Because you're the only person whose read this book," Rodger said again. "Nobody else has even heard of it. I doesn't help that the author is anonymous either. So, will you come and help me pick the perfect cast?"

Sarah was utterly against it. She didn't want this play to happen at all. But, then again, she couldn't stop Rodger. And if the play was really going to happen, she might as well be there to make sure it was done right.

"Sure, I guess I can do that, Rodger," She'd replied, against her better reasoning.

"You're a lifesaver, Sarah," said Rodger happily. "I'll see you in school. Bye."

Sarah had hung up the phone, feeling uneasy. Rodger was making things very difficult for her. He kept bringing the labyrinth into her life, even though she'd spent three years, three years, doing everything in her power to pretend it had never happened.

Toby hadn't helped with things either. He kept bringing his drawings to her, looking for her approval. The worst, by far, had been Toby's picture of "Man" crying. That one he'd given Sarah to keep.

"It's a pwesent," he insisted, pushing the paper into her hands. "I want Sawah to keep it." But it just made her think too much about the labyrinth. She couldn't afford to think of the labyrinth. Least of all the Goblin King. Toby's picture had filled Sarah's brain with endless questions. They buzzed around and around her head, like a swarm of gnats, consuming her attention so that focusing on anything else was laughably impossible.

Why would Toby draw that? Sarah would wonder. Why would the Goblin King cry because of me? What power did I have over him? I mean, I know that he has no power over me, but that doesn't mean that I can do anything to him. He was right. I'm no match for him. But then . . . why was I allowed to take Toby and go home? All I did was say a few measly words.

These and many other things nagged at Sarah's brain all day and deep into the night. Then, when she'd finally drifted off, she'd awoken again to the same questions still there in her head, keeping her upset and guessing.


Wednesday came all too quickly for Sarah. She'd told her father and Irene that she would be late getting home that day and headed off for school. By now, she was starting to notice where her lack of attention was getting her in the world of academic achievement. She'd gotten a D on a math quiz, and she'd completely forgotten about a paper she was supposed to turn in for science. Her mind had been so elsewhere all week that she now had to work twice as hard to make sure she didn't fail her classes. Irene would never let her forget it if Sarah humiliated her by coming home with failing grades in all her classes except art.

As the bell rang at the end of the day, Sarah grabbed her things and headed for the drama club's meeting room. On her way, she passed Dirk Bloomings and his gang of weirdo friends.

"Grand Master Wizard," she heard one of them mutter as she passed. "Look who it is."

She heard Dirk gasp in surprise. "Miss Williams," he whispered admiringly. Then, just barely audible, she heard him say with a losery sigh of longing, "She wants me so bad."

Sarah waited until she rounded a corner before retching. Gross, gross, GROSS! Sarah screamed inwardly. I wouldn't be so repulsed if he wasn't such a gross, creepy, dork! I can understand trying to escape to a world of fantasy (seeing as I have, quite literally), but do you have to make me a part of your gross alter-reality?

And to think, said a small voice in the back of her head. You could've had a king.

"Oh, shut up," Sarah scolded herself, angrily. "I could not! I mean . . . why would he want anything to do with me?" This last part came out as a whisper, full of what might have been sadness.

"Sarah!" Sarah looked up to see Rodger just outside the drama club room. "Come on in. We are just about to start."

Sarah followed him into the drama room. It was like a tiny theater, with rows of soft chairs and a small stage that was usually used for auditions. The larger stage in the cafeteria was what was used for the major performances. What looked like the entire drama club and several fresh faces had turned up for the chance to be in The Labyrinth. Sarah felt nervous as she looked over all the people. Did they have any idea what they might be risking?

"Everybody put a lid on it!" Rodger called over all the heads. "I am Rodger Beckham, the drama club president and director for The Labyrinth. This is Sarah Williams and she will be assisting me with the casting today. Thank you all for coming into auditions today. I hope you have all looked over your copies of the script and have the lines semi-memorized. Now, I would like all the young ladies auditioning for the role of the princess to please step forward."

And so it began. Rodger wrote down all the names of all the kids and which parts they were auditioning for. There were 24 girls auditioning for the Princess (aka Sarah), 18 boys auditioning for the Goblin King (none of which looked a thing like him), and 20 others who were auditioning for various parts such as goblins and other creatures. Then they split up into groups and started rehearsing lines from the script. Sarah felt antsy and fidgety the whole time. It was clear to her that none of these kids really knew or felt what they were saying. Some girls were so giggly that it was ridiculous, others read from the script as if they were robots, and not a single one of the boys could get the part of the Goblin King right. They couldn't capture his arrogant smirk, this regal stance, that swagger he had the made him both royal and a scoundrel.

After about an hour of seeing her adventure butchered by these inexperienced fools, Sarah sat and watched a girl and a boy playing out the scene of the Goblin King's defeat. It was the part where Sarah had said the words that had allowed her and her brother to be free from him.

The girl playing Sarah, whose name was Sherri Prell, was standing across from the boy playing the Goblin King, whose name was Brian Goelz.

"Through dangers unnumbered," said Sherri, reading dryly and stiffly from the script. "And h-hardships untold. Oh! Wait, sorry! I mean dangers untold and hardships unnumbered. I've fought my way here to the castle in the Goblin City to take back the stolen child that you've . . . um . . . stolen."

"Urg!" Sarah couldn't help but grumble.

"What's the matter?" Rodger asked her.

"She's totally butchering it!" Sarah complained. "And she's not the only one. None of these girls are doing it right!"

"My will is great and my kingdom is strong," Sherri continued. "Um. I have . . . no, you have . . . wait," she looked at her script, lost. "Is it that I have power over him or that he doesn't have power over me?"

"Oh, for crying out loud!" Sarah was on her feet and marched right up to the stage and climbed onto it where the two were standing. "Listen, I know you're all trying your best and everything, but this scene isn't one that you can get wrong. It is very, very important." She turned to Brian and looked as him just as she had looked at the Goblin King three years ago.

"You have to stand tall," she instructed the actresses, demonstrating by standing as tall as she could go without rising onto her toes. "And look at him straight in the eye. No matter what, you have to look at him and not show a single sign of weakness or fear. You have to do what needs to be done. Never waver, never back down, and don't let him intimidate you, whatever you do."

Sarah suddenly felt the eyes of all the kids in the room on her. But she didn't mind them looking at her. All of their eyes combined where nothing compared to the stare of the Goblin King. The true Goblin King, not this simple boy pretending to be him.

"And then," said Sarah, still not taking her eyes off Brian. "You speak."

Sarah could practically feel everyone in the room lean in to get a good look at what she was doing. Sarah took a deep breath and spoke the words she knew so well. "Give me the child. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City, to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours . . ."

"Stop! Wait. Look, Sarah. Look what I'm offering you. Your dreams."

The Goblin King's voice, as strong as it had been on that day, echoed in Sarah's memory. She didn't mind. This was what needed to be done. If she was going to show them how to do it, she needed the real thing, not some feeble boy muttering some written lines.

"And my kingdom is as great," Sarah said, taking one step forward.

"I ask for so little. Just let me rule you, and you can have everything that you want."

"He'll try to provoke you at this point," Sarah muttered to the surrounding people, only vaguely aware that they were there. She was remembering the whole thing so well, so vividly. Brian was fading from her view. Her mind was painting over him, replacing the boy with a king. "But you mustn't listen. You must be as strong as you say you are. And then . . ."

"Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave."

The Goblin King's final plea echoed in Sarah's mind. So vivid. So sharp. Your slave . . . your slave . . . love me . . . I will be your slave.

"You have no power over me."

The words rushed out of Sarah's mouth just as they had done three years ago. It was as if a rush of power had flown from out of her lips, charging at the one before her. Again she saw him. Saw the pain of defeat in his expression. Saw him toss his crystal to her. Saw his eyes. Full of defeat. Full of . . . sorrow?

She saw him fall. His body forming a graceful arch, his billowing white cloak flying all around him as he fell from before her. She saw the owl. The beautiful white barn owl, its white wings flapping as it flew out of an open window and disappeared into the darkness from whence it came.

There was suddenly a hissing in her ears. Sarah looked around her. She'd completely forgotten where she was. The Goblin King was gone from her mind. Now she was surrounded by kids. School kids. Her peers. They were all whispering and looking at her with a strange expression. It wasn't an unpleasant expression. Not at all. It was one of reverence. Of awe.

"R-right," she said, looking around at them all. "So, b-bear all that in mind and, um, and you'll do just fine. Yeah. You'll do just . . . fine. Right. Yeah."

Sarah hopped off the stage. She didn't go back to her seat next to Rodger. She headed straight to the door and marched outside into the hallway. She kept walking and walking. Out of the school, onto the sidewalk, away from the school, toward her house.

WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS THAT! Sarah screamed inside her head as she marched. What happened? Since when are flashbacks that overpowering? Alright, that is it. I'm not doing this anymore. I'm not going to be involved in this play any longer. Rodger can do whatever he wants but I'm not having anymore part of it. And that is final!


Sarah was reluctant to go to school the next day. She knew she'd be teased senseless because of what happened at the auditions the other day. To her surprise, however, nobody said a single thing to her about it. There was, however, a lot of whispers and pointing going on as she passed. Just when she decided not to worry about it, the school PA system came on. Rodger's voice echoed throughout the halls.

"Attention, everyone. The cast for this years spring play has been posted outside the drama room. The drama club would like to send its thanks out to everyone who tried out and we hope that everyone in the school will do everything they can to support those chosen to be in the cast. I repeat, the list of those who will be in the cast is posted outside the drama room. Thank you (click!)."

Only one day of auditions and he already has the whole cast picked out? Sarah thought as she headed for her next class. Wow. Rodger really is sure of himself.

When the final bell rang, Sarah thought she'd dare to take a peek at who had been selected for the play. She only hoped that it would be done right. She headed for the drama room and took a look at who it was. She started from the bottom.






Sarah was satisfied with the kids who had been selected to play her friends. Mindy Marcuswas very small and a renowned Shakespearian actress, a good choice for Sir Didymus, even though Mindy was a girl. Randy Clash was amazingly tall and rather stoic, so Ludo would be a good role for him. Gus was short and a bit of a clown and there was a definate Hogglish-ness to him. Sarah kept looking at the script.


Sarah laughed. Shawna was a popular girl who thought of only herself. What a perfect person to play Irene, the wicked stepmother. Still laughing to herself, Sarah continued to look at the list.


Sarah was relieved. Of all the boys that had auditioned for the Goblin King, she was glad Rodger had chosen Mike. Mike was from Australia and had come to America to go to high school. He looked absolutely nothing like the Goblin King, but he wasn't bad looking either. He had reddish-brown hair, green eyes, a muscular build, and a dimple on his cheek that showed up every time he smiled. Sarah's only problem was that Mike seemed like a very nice person the very moment you meet him. The Goblin King didn't have that at all. Sarah was glad it was Mike, but he might just be too nice to be the Goblin King. Sarah looked at the top of the list to see who it was who had gotten the lead.


Please Come Home

A Labyrinth Story
by Ying-Fa-dono

Part 4 of 20

<< Previous     Home     Next >>