Continuing Tales

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 20 of 24

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The Debt

The Journey to Darkwood.

Her bottom felt as if it was already covered with bruises. Each time the wagon hit a bump, Sarah went flying up in the air to land not too gracefully on the hard wooden planks. The gag was cutting the sides of her mouth and the ropes that tied her hands and feet together were rubbing her skin raw. She had to do something to escape. She couldn't let herself fall into Farris' hands. Damn Metta and the other elves. Metta truly had deceived them so well that Sarah had been captured easily. A little too easily for Sarah's liking. She'd be damned if she would let them take her away without a fight!

Sarah looked to the south and prayed that Jareth was all right. She prayed that Farris did not defeat him and that Aiden and Jareth's armies had beaten the cruel Fae. She looked around her surroundings, desperately plotting her escape. They were nearly at the bottom of the mountain. She hoped that her captors would let the horses rest at the bottom.

Her hopes were fulfilled when the wagon stopped beside a stream a short time later. Sarah, Metta and two male elves got down from the wagon while another male lead the horses to the stream to drink. Sarah suddenly had an idea. She made a few motions with her hands and the two males looked at her like she was crazy.

"What is she trying to say?" One asked the other.

"She needs to do her business." Metta told them with a hint of annoyance. What did men know anyway? "Untie her feet and take the rope and tie it around her waist and use it as a leash. She can do her business behind those bushes. You have two minutes, if you're not finished, too bad." Metta looked at a blond haired male and said to him. "Give her two minutes and then pull her back."

The blond haired elf dropped to his knees and quickly untied the ropes from Sarah's ankles. As soon as she was free she kicked him with all her might. He fell back onto the ground from her unexpected blow and Sarah ran away as fast as she could. She ran straight through bushes and trees, ignoring thorns that scratched her and branches that reached out for her. She was glad she had worn her riding pants and boots today and not one of the dresses Metta had brought for her. She looked back only once and when she didn't see anyone she felt the first relief she had felt in over an hour.

Pain suddenly ripped through her arm and Sarah stumbled and then fell to the ground. Pain shot through her and she didn't know the source. Sprawled on her stomach on the ground she peered at her right arm to see an arrow sticking up from her flesh near her shoulder. Metta was suddenly by her side, bow still in hand.

"You try another stunt like that and you will wish you didn't!" She gripped Sarah's injured arm tightly and Sarah had to grit her teeth from screaming out.

The gag had somehow managed to come untied from her mouth and Sarah cried out. "You can't kill me. Farris wants me alive!"

"Perhaps so, but that doesn't mean we can't have a bit of fun with you. Now move, or I'll put another arrow in you. I'm a master archer so you had better not mess with me."

Sarah stood her ground and Metta took a hold of the arrow buried in Sarah's flesh, forcing it straight through the other side of her arm. The arrow, covered with Sarah's blood fell to the ground and Sarah cried out at the pain that now shot through her. "I said MOVE!" Metta yelled. With Sarah's hands still tied she couldn't' even reach the wound to try and stop the bleeding.

Sarah stumbled and forced herself to look at the ground in front of her making herself concentrate on taking each step. The pain in her arm was unbearable and the walk back to the wagon seemed long and agonizing. When they arrived back at the wagon Metta ordered one of the males to wrap the injury.

"Farris will not like this." One of them told Metta. Sarah noticed the fear in his voice.

"He'll get over it. A minor injury is a small oversight compared to the girl escaping and us returning with nothing. We've wasted enough time, let's go." She was clearly angered by Sarah's little escapade.

It was the blond haired elf that attended to Sarah's injury. He wrapped it tightly with a white cloth. Metta ordered that another gag be put on Sarah and to tie her to the wagon. She would not risk her escaping again. If the ride in the bumpy wagon was uncomfortable before it was three times as bad now.

It was nearly nightfall when they arrived at Darkwood. The name fit the kingdom well. A tall dark castle situated in the center of dark, deadly looking woods. Nothing was green or blossoming. Everything was dead or took on the appearance of being dead. The castle was made of some kind of black stone and it blended in with a dark stormy sky. What kind of person would want to live in a place like this? As they approached the castle Sarah could not help feeling a small amount of fear at what would be found inside. The elves in the wagon seemed to grow uncomfortable as they neared the building. All except Metta who kept calm and cool.

'You are late." came a deep voice as the wagon halted before tall metal doors.

"We ran into problems, my lord." Metta stepped down from the wagon and bowed before a man with short, dark, curly hair and blue eyes, dressed in black. Sarah's breath caught in her throat when she saw him. He reminded her of Jareth when she first met him. Arrogant, powerful, cruel and dark. But Jareth had never raped and murdered innocent people. This man had.

'Problems? 5 elves could not handle a mortal woman?" His insult cut deep and Metta winced but recovered quickly.

"She is unlike most, my lord. She is very spirited." Metta told him.

A cruel smiled curled itself on his lips. "The more spirit the better. I shall enjoy breaking her." His grin widened when he saw Sarah's face. Anger flashed across her features. She would not be broken, not by this man. "Put her in the dungeons for now. The Goblin King will no doubt try to come here for her. And let the fool come." The Fae disappeared from the doorway of the castle a devious laugh echoing behind him.

The elves untied Sarah from the wagon and dragged her into the dark castle locking her in the depths of a dungeon cell. The trip to the dungeons was frightening. There were menacing gargoyles and grotesque statues at every turn. Tapestries with scenes of death and destruction lined the walls. The halls were dark, barely lit by a few candles here and there. And shadows seemed to reach out like figures to grab you as you walked past them.

The elves untied her hands and feet and took the gag from her mouth and left her in a cell, filled with filth. It was damp, and dark and dreary. Rats scurried along the floors and the small metal pan that sat near the door to the cell was full of mold. The remains of a meal belonging to whomever had been in this cell before her.

Sarah pulled her knees to her chest and buried her face into them. She shivered at the cold that attacked her. The pain in her arm stung fiercely and she forced herself to ignored it. She had much more to worry about now. Tears streamed down her face and she angrily wiped them away. She remembered that Jareth told her to be strong and she would be strong. It was her nature to survive no matter what. She grit her teeth against the pain she felt and closed her eyes. She thought of anything in her life that had given her joy. She thought of Toby taking his first steps when he was younger. About how Toby made her laugh with his silly antics as he grew up. She let visions of Jareth enter her mind. His smile, the way he looked at her. His eyes, that wild blond hair, his tall slender body.

Her body couldn't leave this wretched place but her mind certainly could....

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 20 of 24

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