Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Random Labyrinth drabble

I was in the mood to read some fanfiction this morning, and I ended up reading a couple Labyrinth fics. Then I was struck with the mood to write and came up with this. Stupid, but it amuses me.

“Toby?” Sarah asked for the third time. Her brother’s eyes finally seemed to focus on her.

“Hmm? What?”

Sarah sighed. He had been spacing out again. It was something of a habit for her fifteen-year-old brother, one which psychiatrists had tried treating years before as ADD but with no effect. He’d been like this forever, and sometimes she wondered if it was an effect of their adventure Underground.

“Why do you always do that?”

Toby’s eyebrows briefly contorted in a clueless way, though he knew exactly what she was talking about. “Oh. Daydreaming again.”

“About what?” The 25-year-old woman pressed.

“Kerry Elkhorn got a new bikini. I saw her in it at the pool today.” The teenager grinned wolfishly as his sister squirmed and changed the subject. His response was a lie. True, Kerry had been wearing a new swimsuit, but Toby’s thoughts had been on something a lot less tangible than a 17-year-old’s breasts and tanned skin.

He’d heard music again. Music and traces of strange laughter. Every once in a while Toby would hear something. It had been happening for as long as he could remember. He stopped mentioning these figments after the first round of child psychologists his parents had dragged him to when he was eight. He wasn’t insane; or at least he didn’t think he was.

These distractions had become a bit more frequent lately. A little bit stronger. As if some tiny fragment of himself was in another place. Toby had no idea just what that place would be, just that it was… different.

He and Sarah were spending the evening alone at home. His sister had come over for the week to keep Toby company while their parent’s were on a cruise. A movie had just ended, and the two siblings were sprawled out on couches in the family room.

Sarah’s chatter about her graduate work was cut off abruptly as the lights flickered and complete darkness settled.

“Did the power go out?” Toby asked, getting up and peering through the window. There were no lights in sight, and the storm outside seemed exponentially louder as the perpetual humming of appliances was silent.

It is strange, he absently mused, how the small sounds you hear every day and ignore become conspicuous and disorientating absences when they cease.

Toby cautiously made his way to the sofa that his sister was sitting on. He sat down. “Man, it’s really blowing outside.”

The wind howled and raindrops hit the glass of the windows with the faintest audible impacts.

Receiving no acknowledgement for his observation, Toby frowned. “Sarah? You okay?”

Hidden from her brother in the darkness, Sarah trembled. She was taken back to when, almost fifteen years ago, she had made a thoughtless wish and the lights had died and white wings battered at the doors. Suddenly she gasped as a realization hit her; it was very likely that this was an anniversary of that night. Her father and stepmother had gone out for an anniversary dinner. That was the same reason for their cruise this week.

“What’s wrong?” Toby managed to find her in the dark and his hands grasped her shoulders. “You’re shaking! What is it? Are you scared?”

Sarah managed to regain some composure. I didn’t make a wish, she reminded herself, there are no goblins hiding in the corners.

She exhaled a breath that she hadn’t known she was holding. “I’m fine.” She patted one of Toby’s hands. “This just reminded me of a dream I had once.” Sarah had never told anybody about the labyrinth and the goblin king; she had half-convinced herself that it was a dream created by an overly fanciful mind.

“What was it about?” Toby inquired, not really caring except that they seemed to have nothing else to do at the moment.

“It was pretty soon after you were born. I was fifteen and had been obsessing over a particular fantasy story. I dreamt that I wished that the Goblin King would take you away. He did, and I had to make my way through a huge mage to get you back.”

“A goblin king?” The teenager sounded skeptical. “As in short and green with funny ears?”

Sarah almost laughed until an image of Jareth appeared in her mind. “The goblins kind of looked like that. Not the King, though. He was human. Or at least looked human.”

“Wow. Must’ve been one hell of a dream for you to remember it so well ten years later.”

The woman’s exhale almost sounded like a weak laugh. “It was. Very vivid. I remember it so well….”

“Well,” her brother stated moving around on the couch and making himself comfortable. “There’s nothing else to do right now. Remember anything else about it?”

Elsewhere, a blond man laughed and lifted his gaze from a crystal sphere. “She thinks it was a dream!” The creatures ensconced around the room howled and cackled along with him.

His attention pulled from his sister’s narrative, Toby frowned. There was that laughter again. A little louder. He could pick out individual voices from the discordant noise. A few seconds, and then it faded. He picked up the thread of Sarah’s monologue again.

“-And he sang. It was strange. He looked like a glam rock star: long, wispy blond hair and lots of eye makeup. And his outfits were outrageous! Tight- and I mean tight!- pants and shirts with loads of ruffles. At the time I thought it was romantic. Medieval. But now I realize it was just kind of gay.” She giggled.

“Who?” Toby asked, hoping that his sister wouldn’t notice that he had zoned again.

“The Goblin King. He would sing and-" *snort* “-dance!”

“What is wrong with singing and dancing?!” The Goblin King demanded, affronted. There was no response from his subjects.

Sarah must have had a clear mental picture, Toby thought. She was almost in hysterics.

“...Sounds pretty gay,” he put in. Silently, he was wondering if his parents had blown their money on therapists for the wrong child.

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At 7:38 AM, Anonymous janaaaaaaa! said...

*cackles gleefully* I love it! It rocks.


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