Continuing Tales

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 1 of 24

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The Debt

The Reunion

She felt a chill as she scribbled carelessly in her sketchbook. Rising she turned and closed the window and shut out the cold that had been invading. She peered out into the night to see that the sky had become dark with clouds, the moon's light had long since been shut out. Glancing at her clock she groaned. Nearly midnight and she was still wide-awake. She tossed back her long dark hair and sighed as she sat back into the chair at her desk. She looked down at her scribbles and sighed heavily at what she had drawn. She closed the book quickly not wanting to look at it any longer. She stretched and decided that if she was ever going to get any sleep she should shut off the light and lay down. As she sat on the corner of her bed she closed her eyes as images came to mind. It had been 10 years and still she could see everything as clearly as she had when she was 15. She shook her head angry with herself. She reached for the light switch and crawled into her bed pulling the covers up to her chin. She closed her eyes, hoping that sleep would take her, take her away from the visions. Tonight was not an anniversary that she wished to remember.

He watched her silently, pondering what he should do. It had taken him years to bring himself to look at her. Every time he saw her she brought too many painful memories. His defeat had been one of them. He had lived for a millenia and no one had beaten him, no one except her and her damned iron will. The thought of iron alone frightened him. And she possessed a will made of it. She was dangerous just as iron was, just as fire is to a moth attracted to the light of a flame. And despite himself and the grief she caused him he knew that was attracted to the flame. But he refused to be burned.

She turned over in her bed. Sleep would not come to her and she was becoming frustrated. The clock read 11:37. She had been in bed for 4 lousy minutes. Why did it feel like she had been laying here for an eternity. She closed her eyes and an image immediately flashed through her mind. He was tall and slender and looked even thinner dressed in black. That wild blond hair of his, nearly white in the moonlight. "Jareth.." she whispered. She cursed herself for allowing his name to fall from her lips. She sat up glancing wildly around the room. After finding nothing out of the ordinary she pulled the covers closer to her, relaxing into the warmth they provided her.

"What's the matter, Sarah? You don't wish to remember me? Or you don't wish to remember what you nearly did to your baby brother? He would have made a wonderful goblin."

Her eyes widened in horror and she sat up, clutching the covers to her, praying to god that this was a dream and she had finally fallen asleep. Her fears became reality when she looked up to see the Goblin King standing in her room. She gasped and watched as he smiled deviously, letting her know he was amused by her actions.

"Oh come now." He said pulling one of his black gloves further up his hand. "are you really that surprised to see me?" One of his brows rose. "You did call me."

"I did no such thing!" she cried out horrified.

He only grinned and this made her angry. How dare he come after all these years and toy with her. "My name could be a stray thought and I could hear it. You most certainly called me."

"What do you want?"

"What makes you think that I want anything?" He said putting his hand onto his hips. The window was suddenly open again and rain was pouring down in heavy sheets outside. When she gave no response he added. "Have you forgotten what today is?"

"It's Thursday."

"And do you remember what happened exactly 10 years ago this night?"

"I defeated you and your sorry excuse for a Labyrinth." She spit.

He didn't let her see how her words bothered him but instead flaunted a mask of arrogance. "And you called upon me to take away your baby brother. How is little Toby? He must be just over 10 years old now."

"Toby is none of your concern." She said bitterly.

"I do believe that I have hit a soft spot."

"The only soft spot is your head."

"My my, we've gotten flippant in our old age." He let his eyes fall over her. She had unwillingly let the covers slide from her grasp and he let his mismatched eyes roll over her form. She had filled out slightly but she was still as breath takingly beautiful as he remembered and still so cruel. Her eyes were filled with anger. Not only her feelings towards him this instant but her anger at the world.

"You're not welcome here Goblin King. Leave."

He moved towards her and she flew out of the bed trying to move as far away from him as she could. "You were not welcome in my labyrinth either but I gave into to your wishes. I took your baby brother as you expected me to and I allowed you a fair chance to defeat me and my Labyrinth."

"Fair? You don't know the meaning of the word."

"As I recall, you were the one who didn't know the meaning. And it seems that you still don't. I gave you what you wanted 10 years ago. I even let you defeat me. Now you will give me what I want. You owe me that much."

"I don't owe you shit!" she yelled back furious.

He smirked at her language. "That's right you don't. You owe me much more."

"There was never a bargain that if won that I owed you anything."

"Oh but there was. Honestly, I thought you read the book."

"I did read the book, about a hundred times and there was never anything about the girl owing the Goblin King for taking the child. He did it because she asked him to. He had given her special powers, powers to call upon should she need him and she used those powers to have him take the child."

"And the Goblin King did as the maiden asked. But you don't get anything for free. That simply isn't how it works. Do you remember why the Goblin King gave the girl these powers." Her mind drew a blank. "Think hard Sarah. You spoke the very words 10 years ago this night. You were a spoiled, lonely teenager who wanted truth to ring in those words and they rang loud and clear."

"Oh no!" she cried as the revelation hit her hard. * And the Goblin King had fallen in love with the girl... *

"Oh yes.." he hissed.

"But it's just a story!"

"You didn't think so back then. And that hasn't changed now. The 'story' is as real as you or I." His voice became bitter and angry. "Have you any idea what it's like to feel rejection? To hear the words that would destroy you uttered so carelessly by one you foolishly allowed to play with your heart? It's betrayal and pain at it's cruelest. But no you don't know how it feels, do you dear, innocent sweet Sarah. You still live in a fantasy world no matter how hard you try to hide it."

"What do you mean words that would destroy you?"

"I have spent 10 years trying to regenerate my powers and to rebuild the kingdom that you destroyed! 10 years of agony thinking about what you did to me and my kingdom because of 6 words!" He stopped and regained his composure after his outburst. "So I have come back to claim what is right fully mine; the maiden who wished the child away. And she will fear me, love me and do as I say.. even if she has to pretend to."

"I will NEVER love you! You're a monster!!" His response was a laugh. Her bedroom and her apartment faded and she found herself alone in a cold castle bedroom. It was beautiful in it's decoration but she didn't see it's beauty. Sarah threw herself onto the bed and let the tears pour from her face.

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 1 of 24

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