Continuing Tales

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 3 of 24

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The Debt

Two sides of the same coin...

The pattern stayed the same for three days. Metta brought fruit, water and a purple flower every morning and they all sat untouched on the tray. Sarah was so hungry but she refused to eat. She was fearful that Jareth had used magic on the fruit and she did not wish to be manipulated by his magic. Every afternoon Metta came to take the untouched tray and return it to the kitchen. She returned later in the afternoon to prepare her a bath and to tell her that His Highness wished for her to join him at dinner. She refused and instead went to bed. Jareth was growing furious by now. He hated to be defied, especially by a stubborn mortal girl, but he also hated to see what she was doing to herself by defying him.

"She will starve herself to death rather then eat with you. Doesn't that tell you something?" Jareth growled. "Are you that much of a sore loser? Just let the girl go home."

Jareth turned to the dark haired man who sat sipping tea across the table from him. Aiden was a creature of magic much like himself and he had been a friend to Jareth ever since he became the Goblin King. " I would rather die then let her go, you know that."

"You're both two sides of the same coin, you know that? Both too damned stubborn, both needing to have the upper hand. I dare say that you deserve each other."

"She will never accept me. She defies me at every turn."

Aiden set his cup down on the table and sighed. "I thought I was here to talk about our deal, not to hear about a past lover you hope to regain."

"She was never my lover." Jareth said angrily.

'Perhaps not in reality, but in your dreams, hmm?" He smiled devilishly and Jareth wanted to smack that smile right off his face. Aiden knew him all too well and at times he hated the knowledge Aiden possessed.

"Yes our deal." Jareth began. "The marble from the far mountains of your kingdom in return for the food you wished. I can't believe that those Goblins of yours can't grow crops. Seriously Jareth, when the marble that runs through your mountains runs out how will you feed yourself?"

"I will find a way."

"I'm sure you will." Aiden rose from the table. "Thanks for the tea. I'll have a transport from my Kingdom here next week to take the marble, it will carry the food you require." Aiden turned to leave the room but stopped at the last minute. "Just let the mortal go Jareth. You know the legend as well as I do." And with that he was gone. Jareth sank into the chair to ponder his words.

Sarah dressed in a cotton dress after her bath. She took a seat by the window gazing out into the Labyrinth. She wondered what was happening at home. She was sure that no one missed her but work. Dad, Karen and Toby were far away and she only spoke to them once or twice a month. But how she missed them. There was a tap at the door and she sighed. "Come in." Metta was most likely here to comb her hair out and try to convince her to eat with the Goblin King. The elf made no vocal sign that she had entered. But Sarah knew that she was there when the brush began to run through her hair. She sighed and let her head fall back as she closed her eyes. Getting her hair brushed by a timid elf was the only comfort she looked forward to each day. Metta was terribly quiet today. "Metta is something wrong? You're so quiet."

"Metta is preparing dinner."

Sarah let out a gasp and spun from the chair to face the Goblin King. He held the hair brush in his black gloved hand.

"Wh-what are you doing here?"

"I was brushing your hair." He told her innocently.

"But why?"

"Because it comforts you." How the hell did he know that? She squinted her eyes at him. She watched him lay the brush on the table beside the bed. "Why will you not dine with me?"

"You know damn well why I won't."

His mismatched eyes studied her. "Do you hate me Sarah?"

"With a passion." She blurted.

"Why? I have done you no harm." She opened her mouth to speak and he cut her off. "It was you who took it upon yourself not to eat. I gave you a beautiful room with fine dresses, a servant to attend to your needs, yet you still defy me and you still act as if I am the most foul creature ever to grace existence. I can be cruel Sarah, but I have not harmed you."

For once she had no words to spew back at him. His lips turned up into a slight grin. "Join me for dinner." He asked in a calm tone.



"No! Leave me alone!"

"Sarah, you don't even give me a chance. What DO you think I will do to you? It's dinner, nothing more. Yet you act as if I'm asking you to let me kill you." "You might as well! You took me away from my home and brought me here where I'm forced to do what you ask of me."

"You have not done one thing I have asked you to and has there been any punishment from me? No there had been none. I merely came to take what was rightfully mine and that was you."

"You don't love me! Just let me go!"

"Let you go? Back to that hell you came from?"

"This is the hell."

"No, your life aboveground was the hell. Your family far away, not many friends, a job that doesn't make you happy, no suitor in your life."

"So what do you think your part in all this is? To save me? Please Jareth, we both know that you will never be the knight on the white horse."

"I never claimed to be him."

"What do you hope to accomplish with me here? You know damn well that I will never love you. So what will you do, keep me locked up?"

"You are not a prisoner."

"Oh yes I am. I am a prisoner of your kingdom."

"You are as ungrateful as an adult as you were as a child. I offered you your dreams once and you destroyed my kingdom." His voice was cold and bitter.

"You offered me your dreams, a life with you. That wasn't my dreams."

"I saw how you looked for me in your fantasy. It was you who brought me into it, not I." He remembered the shape her dream had taken. It was her mind who beckoned him to the strange masked ball. It was her mind that beckoned him to take her into his arms and dance with her. And he had done so with an eagerness he wished he could forget. He fell for her the minute he saw her in that dress And despite everything between them, he had not stopped falling.

"I did no such thing."

He sighed. "I grow tired of arguing with you. Is it such a terrible thing to dine with me? That's all I ask of you. Wear what you wish to dinner, even show up 5 minutes late if you feel like it, but stop starving yourself."

"Is that concern I detect? Because that's definitely out of character for you Goblin King." She could not keep the sarcasm from her voice.

He said nothing to this but turned from her and left the room. It was only after he closed the door behind him that she realized he had knocked upon entering.

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 3 of 24

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