Continuing Tales

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 9 of 24

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
The Debt

Night Ride

Sarah climbed out of the tub and heard a soft knock at the door. She reached quickly for her robe. Metta must have brought lunch. She wrapped the robe around her and walked from behind the wooden shades that separated the tub from the rest of the room. The door sung open and she gasped. The Goblin King stood before her, still holding the door knob with one hand. His face flushed. "My apologies." He said quickly turning his head. Sarah's heart was pounding in her chest. The conversation she overhead only a few hours before was in her mind. She needed to act as if she had not heard it. She should act cold and unforgiving as she would when she first came to the underground.

"It's all right." She said tightening the robe around her. "Just wait for me to answer before you walk in."

He nodded and his previous embarrassment faded as he let his eyes gaze from the floor up the length of her body. He said nothing but only stared at her as if he were seeing her for the first time.

"Finally decided to stop avoiding me?" she let out with some coldness. She expected him to lie or make up a lame excuse.

"Yes." He exhaled softly. His mismatched eyes had not met her blue ones. He was avoiding eye contact. Very unlike him.

"And?" she pushed when the silence was too much for her. He shook his blond mane and finally looked into her eyes.

"I shall show you something tonight. I believe it will be of some interest to you." There was a slight coldness to his voice.

'Is that so. What if I don't feel like going anywhere with you?"

"It was not a request." He spit bitterly. "Meet me at the stables at 8 sharp." Without another word he left the room, leaving behind a shocked Sarah.

"Yeah that went well." She reached for a dress and sighed.

The afternoon passed by very slowly. She was eager to know what he wanted to show her and she was eager to see him again. She had changed from her dress to her riding outfit around 1:00. The night could not arrive fast enough.

She made her way to the stable hoping to see the Goblin King there, but he was no where to be seen. Perhaps he was planning on making some sort of cruel joke, getting her hopes up and then standing her up.. She heard the sound of horseshoes hitting cobblestone. Light flared from the back of the stable. An unnatural light and bathed in it's bluish glow were two horses. Sarah's beautiful bay mare and the white horse Sarah had seen Jareth touching the night he kissed her.

Jareth stood between the two horses, both of which were saddled. His wild hair glowed in the strange light. He was dressed in dark clothing with a long flowing cape trailing behind him. He commanded power and grace with every step he took towards her. As he neared her she realized that he had a navy blue poet's shirt on that hardly covered the pale skin of his chest. The black pants he wore did nothing to conceal every intimate detail of the beauty and perfection of his lower body and Sarah flushed when she realized where her eyes had been drawn to. He was some sort of dark knight that should be feared and considered dangerous and very forbidden. A black gloved hand extended forward and offered her the reins of her horse.

"Shall we?" In one graceful leap he was in the saddle. She looked down at the reins he had placed in her hand and then up at him. He looked smug and so devious. His mismatched eyes sparkled with mischief. He was taking her on a Night ride somewhere. She could only imagine where and the mischief in his eyes only excited her all the more. She felt like she shouldn't be doing this and she wanted to do it all the more. He clucked to his horse and dug his heels into the horse's side galloping from the barn. Sarah and Velvet had no trouble keeping up. The night was warm and the moon was full in the sky casting light and causing shadows to form everywhere it couldn't reach.

Jareth's cape trailed behind him as his horse galloped on. He rode very well and Sarah realized that horses were probably the only form of transportation other then magic or the wings of the owl he sometimes used. They rode on towards the mountains into areas she had never ridden through before. Strange vines with large leaves and bright colored flowers clung to the trees. Strange blue moss grew on the bark of others. Sarah closed her eyes and felt the wind rush her hair. She let out a joyful laugh. This was true freedom and Jareth had not taken it from her, he had given it to her.

A short while later, Jareth pulled his horse to a trot and finally to a dead halt. Sarah did the same. The Goblin King jumped from his saddle and put a leather encased finger to his lips. She jumped down quietly from Velvet's back and tied the mare beside Jareth's horse. They crept quietly through underbrush and Jareth stopped at a clearing once again putting a finger to his lips. He gestured for Sarah to join him and she did so cautiously. He raised a gloved hand and pointed. Sarah drew in a sharp breath at what she saw before her. A sparkling lake and two pure white unicorns. Jareth grinned at the surprised look on her face and slowly squatted down to blend in with the shadows. Sarah did the same, not taking her eyes off the unicorns grazing quietly in front of them.

"Beautiful aren't they." His accent made itself clear on the word aren't. Sarah could only nod. They watched the unicorns for a short while. They grazed on the green grass by the lake and occasionally nickered softly to each other. "They are mates." Jareth offered. "Unicorns mate for life. These two have been coming here for quite some time. I admit that I was surprised to find them taking sanctuary in my kingdom." Something crashed far off in the distance and the unicorns, startled and cautious fled into the woods to Sarah's dismay.

Jareth stood and began to walk to the horses. Sarah followed after a few glances back at the lake. He held aside branches for her as they walked. "What do you mean they are taking sanctuary in your kingdom?"

"Unicorns are a being of pure innocent magic. Pure and untainted by greed or extortion. Those without magic and even those with hunt these creatures. They grow scarce despite the fact that they are immortal."

"So why don't you hunt them?" He stopped and turned to regard her.

"You really think I'm heartless, don't you?" his voice dripped with anger.

"Well it's just.." she stumbled.

"You what? Still assume to know all the facts about me when you don't?" he threw his cape out of his way and began to walk quickly.

"Jareth, I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything by that. It's just the way you act sometimes and..." She paused. "I'm sorry. You did such a wonderful thing for me, bringing me here and sharing the unicorns with you and I've shot you down for it." He turned to face her. Her face was lowered and her eyes closed. Her dark hair cascaded down her shoulders. She looked incredibly vulnerable and no where near the firey woman he knew her to be. He took a deep breath before backtracking to her. He slowly lifted her chin with his hand.

"I'll forgive you on one condition." She eyed him warily. Forgiveness shouldn't have conditions. "Dine with me tonight."

"All right." He seemed pleased and continued to walk to the horses. They mounted in silence and started back the way they came. She watched him as he rode. Tall and slender in the saddle, never losing his balance. His cape billowed behind him and he looked as if he were clearly enjoying himself. Sarah didn't want to give him any false hope. She still didn't know how she felt about him and see needed more time to decide.

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 9 of 24

<< Previous     Home     Next >>