Continuing Tales

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 2 of 24

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The Debt

All my violence
Raining tears upon the sheet
I'm bewildered
Because we're strangers when we meet...

I'd rather starve...

After a short while, no tears would fall from her eyes. She was exhausted from crying and she really didn't want Jareth to see that she had been upset, should he make an appearance. She could just imagine him reveling in the delight of her sorrow. "Arrogant bastard." She spit. When he made no immediate appearance she sank into the bed. She was more then tired now and sleep came quickly.

She awakened disoriented the next morning or mid morning. Then she bitterly remembered the Goblin King's demands of the debt that she supposedly owed him. The day began to pass before she knew it and during the time she had to herself, she quietly took in her surroundings. The room she was in was decorated with beautiful cranberry colored drapery. The bed sheets, blankets and canopy matched the curtains as did the cloths that adorned tables beside the bed. All of the wooden furniture in the room was a dark cherry, including the canopy bed she sat on. Candles burned in different places in the room giving off a soft warm glow. There was a large porcelain tub behind wooden shades, along with soaps that were as fragrant as spring flowers and other bath accessories. A bureau with a mirror sitting atop it caught her attention and she moved to it. Opening the drawers she found the most beautiful dresses. Some made of cotton, others of silk. Some where very fancy while others were of a plain simple style. They were beautiful. She pulled a lavender dress carefully from the drawer. There was a full length mirror just on the other side of the room. It wouldn't hurt to try it on. She couldn't very well stay in her flannel pajamas forever.

"I take it that everything is to your tastes?" She whirled around, startled at the voice, dropping the dress on the floor. It crumpled in a heap as she looked up to see Jareth standing before her.

"Don't you know how to knock?"

"This is my castle, why should I have to knock?" He clasped his hands behind his back and raised a brow.

"Because it's the polite thing to do, but wait, nothing about you is polite." She shot back.

"Harsh words will get you no where, my dear Sarah." He stepped towards her and she stepped back away from him quickly. He leaned over and picked up the lavender dress. "This would look beautiful on you. You shall wear it to dinner tonight."

"I will do no such thing. You like it so much why don't you wear it!"

His lips twisted in an amused smile at her anger. "Dinner is at 6 o clock. A servant will be up to attend to your bath and your preparations for dinner. Do not arrive late, or my patience may grow very thin." Without another word he was gone. He had disappeared as quickly and quietly as he first came.

"Of all the nerve! He's even worse then I thought he was as a child! Telling me what to wear and that I have to go to dinner! What an arrogant, self- centered, son of a bitch."

Just then there was a knock at the door and she jumped. She really hoped that he had not come back to mock her. There was another soft knock. It couldn't be Jareth, he didn't knock and the touch to the door was too soft.

"Yes?" she called out softly. "Come in?"

The giant oak door opened slowly and Sarah's eyes fell upon the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. She had to be an elf with the pointy ears that she sported. She had long golden hair that was tied back from her face and she wore a plain green dress that brought out the color of her eyes. She was tall and thin and graceful and Sarah felt plain and ugly in her presence. She bowed ever so slightly. "My lady, I am Metta. I shall attend to your needs, whatever they might be. Preparing a bath, fetching a snack from the kitchens, accompanying you on a walk of the gardens, or preparing you for meals with His Highness." She closed the door behind her.

"That's very kind of you, Metta, but I don't need an assistant. I really can take care of myself and I would rather not get 'prepared for meals with his High and all mighty I think I'm the King of the world."

"Please my lady, do not get the King angered. You do not wish to see his full temper. He does not let it be shown too often but when he does it is not a pleasant sight. You should be honored that the King wishes you to dine with him. He usually dines alone and has done so for a very long time. He always consumes the best foods we have and best wines. It is an incredible honor to dine in his company."

"You can't be serious."

"Oh but I am My lady."

"Could you stop calling me that please? My name is Sarah."

Metta's eyes widened. "You are Sarah?"

"Um, yeah. Why is that such a big surprise? Not a common name around here?"

'No it's very common. Then you... you are the one who defeated his highness."

"Yeah I did, a very long time ago. How did you know that?"

"Everyone knows about the only girl to defeat his highness. He has been King of this land for hundreds of years and no one defeated him until you."

"Really?" This bit of knowledge was quite interesting to her. "No wonder he's so rude to me. He's still got a grudge against me. Too bad for him. Serves him right."

"There are many within his Kingdom who worship you. You provide them with hope. You have proven that the King can be defeated and that he is not as powerful as he claims to be. Others despise you. They are loyal to the king and helped him restore his castle and the Goblin City after they were destroyed by you."

"So I have some enemies then."

"It's very possible, Lady Sarah."

Sarah let the new usage of her name slide. "And which side are you on Metta? Do I have to worry about you?"

"Oh no Lady Sarah. I am partial to no side. Although I have served the King many years, I cook and clean and tend to needs, but I do not pick sides to ally myself with. I find it safer to keep quiet."

"You're smart."

"I will prepare the bath for you. Then we will dress you and prepare your hair."

"I'm sure I can fill up my own bath and all that stuff."

"It is my pleasure and honor to do it Lady Sarah. I am most honored to be an assistant to you." Sarah rolled her eyes as the elf girl moved behind the wooden shades and began to fill the tub. How could someone in Jareth's services stay so sweet and na

"Metta, could I please have the yellow dress from the bureau?"

"But his highness wishes you to wear the lavender one, Lady Sarah. You will upset him if you do not wear what he would like."

Sarah poked her head around the wooden shade. "I wear what I want. I don't care who Jareth thinks he is. I'm wearing what I want. He's lucky I'm going to even show up to dinner!"

"I'm sorry, I can not go against the wishes of my King." Metta told her with regret in her eyes. Sarah rolled her eyes and pulling the towel tightly around herself walked across the room and brought back the yellow dress. She changed into it and felt much better to be in new clothes and to have bathed. Metta asked her to sit on the small cushioned bench. Metta carefully brushed her hair and wove small flowers into her dark tresses

"I feel like a Princess." Sarah commented as she stood in front of the full-length mirror.

Metta smiled a genuine smile. "And you look like a Princess as well. His Highness must have high regard for you to give you this room and these clothes."

"His highness could kiss my ass for all I care. I'm not going to let him manipulate me with pretty things. He's still the Goblin King and he's still an arrogant bastard." Metta pulled back at her words. "This dress is plain and simple. It suits my needs for comfort and I don't care what his high and all mighty wants."

Metta swallowed. "I shall lead you to the dining hall. His Highness will be waiting."

"Why don't we take our time, Metta? I haven't even seen the rest of the castle."

"Perhaps tomorrow, Lady Sarah." She looked absolutely terrified about Sarah's idea to be late for dinner. Maybe Jareth would do something to her and blame things on her.

"Ok tomorrow." She said in defeat. She let Metta lead her down the hall and to the dining room. She was surprised to find that not a single goblin was to be seen. The floors were swept and everything was tidy. A big surprise from the last time she had seen this castle or it's predecessor. Then again she had only seen the throne room and that damn room with all the stairs.

After a short while they reached the dining hall. Metta did not step inside the room. "Your Highness, My lady is prepared for dinner."

"Excellent. That will be all Metta." She bowed and was gone, leaving Sarah to fend for herself. "Do step into the light so I can see you Sarah." She did as he asked and a grin appeared on her face as she stepped into the light in the pale yellow dress. "You defy me and that is a very dangerous thing to do." He said coldly as he looked at the dress she wore.

"I wouldn't have joined you for dinner either, but my stomach needed to be entertained so I thought I would come after all."

The Goblin King's eyes slanted with annoyance. "You try my patience."

'Good I'll try it again tomorrow and the day after and the day after that until you release me."

"There will be no chance of that. You are mine now Sarah. And you will love me and do as I say."

"I'll love you as much as I love a nasty puss filled blister. You mean nothing to me and you never will mean anything. You might be able to force me into doing things for you but I will NEVER love you. NEVER." Fire burned in her eyes.

He rose from the table and walked towards her, stopping to stare at her with cruel bitter mismatched eyes. Putting his hands on his hips he replied, "Still the same little actress that I remember so well. 10 years has done nothing but made you look older. You are still the same impulsive little girl who wished her brother into my care. And here I thought that perhaps you had matured. I see I was very wrong."

"How dare you! You know nothing about me but your false predictions."

"And you know nothing of me but your own false predictions."

'I know that you haven't changed all that much either. You are still arrogant, self-centered, bitter, cruel, cold, uncaring, and petty. I do not make false predictions. I make judgement on what I see before my eyes. You've shown me that you are exactly the same heartless bastard you were 10 years ago, so don't start preaching to me about changing. I have changed my thoughts and actions, but nothing has changed the way I feel about you." She spun on her heel to leave the room.

'I thought you were hungry." He asked, his voice cold.

"I'd rather starve then eat with you." And she was gone.

He snapped his gloved fingers and Metta appeared at the doorway looking frightened. "You are to bring a small tray of fruits to her each morning with water and nothing else for the rest of the day. She will soon change her mind and dine with me when her stomach turns on her." Metta nodded and was gone. When Jareth was sure that she had left he walked to the table. Angrily he threw a tray of food and watched it splatter all over the floor. He would get what he wanted no matter what the cost.

What's for breakfast??

Sarah paced back and forth across 'her' room. Every once and a while she would kick at her dress to keep from tripping over it. She was so angry she could practically feel the steam rising from her ears! If she thought that Jareth was arrogant and dominant before, he was beyond that now. Who did he think he was anyway? Taking her from her world and thrusting her into his. And his demands were too much for her. She decided that if he wanted to make demands, fine let him, but she would do exactly opposite of whatever he asked of her. She would not play into his hands. "He expects me to love him." She chuckled coldly. "How could I ever love... a a heartless tyrant?!" Finally exhausted she sat on the corner of the bed crossing her arms over her chest. Her stomach rumbled. "Shut up! I don't want to hear it! I'll find a way to get food. He wouldn't starve me. Would he?" The thought suddenly terrified her and she wondered if her actions had been appropriate. But he was just so damn pushy and stubborn and vile! He seemed to know what made her angry and he tried to use her own anger against her. Sarah fell back onto the bed, one arm stretched above her head. She never heard the small knock on the door. Her own anger had exhausted her and had put her to sleep.

She could hear roosters crowing loudly and she opened her eyes to find that she was still within Jareth's castle. She was praying that everything thus far had been a dream, a very realistic one. But to her disappointment it was not. She rolled over and realized that she was tangled. She had not even bothered to change last night and still wore the pale yellow dress. It was now crumpled and wrapped around her legs from sleep. Despite sleeping the whole night she was still tired and cranky and anger was an ever- present emotion that gripped her. She couldn't forgive Jareth for what he was doing and she wouldn't. He had gone over the edge with his demands and she didn't care to find out what else he asked of her. A soft knock brought her out of her thoughts. "Go away!"

'Please Lady Sarah, it is Metta. I have brought you some breakfast."

Sarah opened her mouth to tell her to take it away but stopped. She was starving she had not eaten in a whole day. And she did say she'd rather stave then dine with Jareth. This would be eating alone. "Come in Metta."

She watched Metta enter the room with a silver tray and it had food on it! She could hardly wait to dive into it. Metta put the tray onto one of the tables beside the bed and Sarah's mouth dropped.

'Is anything wrong, Lady Sarah?"

"Peaches. You brought me peaches." She said through grit teeth.

"Yes, the finest peaches to be found anywhere. His Highness said that you liked peaches." Metta was quite pleased with herself as she smiled happily. Sarah however was not happy.. at all.

Sarah clenched her teeth together to hold back the scream that threatened to come out. "Leave the tray." She said through her teeth.

Metta did not have to be told twice and she bowed before hastily leaving the room. She was very aware of Sarah's anger. When she was gone Sarah nearly threw the tray across the room. "I can not believe him! He sends me peaches!" She glanced at the tray in disgust as if he had given her a plate of slimy worms. On the silver tray was a platter with two whole peaches and one sliced in a bowl. There was a large goblet filled with water and a beautiful purple flower. She reached for the water but stopped midway. "What if he poisoned this stuff with magic? I don't want to see that ballroom ever again or him for that matter!" She looked down at the tray. The peaches did look really good, sweet and juicy and she was so hungry. She shook her head and moved away to sit on the other side of the bed. She would not touch them. She would wait until lunchtime. Perhaps then she would have some real food. She yawned and curled up into a ball on the bed and soon she was fast asleep.

Metta was making her way back to the kitchen with the tray still full of fruit. Sarah had not answered the door, so she opened it and found the tray still full. She left the goblet of water, still untouched on the table, put the flower in a vase along side the goblet and took the tray.

"Did she eat them?" came a voice that echoed from all directions. Metta stopped and froze in mid step.

"N-no your Highness. She did not."

Jareth stepped from the shadows of the hall to see for himself that the tray was untouched. He growled low in his throat and Metta's hands shook as she held the tray. He gestured with his hand for her to continue on her way and she did so with utmost haste. Jareth paced a small portion of the hallway. His hands clenched behind his back. "She still dares to defy me. And I should have expected this much from her." He conjured up a crystal and peered into it seeing Sarah curled up asleep on the bed. She looked beautiful with her long dark hair spread out over the sheets of the bed. He sneered at the yellow dress she still wore. He knew that she would continue to defy him because it pleased her to see him angry. She was not living up to her end of the bargain. She was not cooperating as she was expected to. Did he honestly expect any less of her? She had been head strong at 15, did he really expect her to be any different at 25? She was a grown woman now and she made it clear that she was not frightened of him. He sighed deeply tossing the crystal into thin air and he disappeared along with it.

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 2 of 24

<< Previous     Home     Next >>