Oh, We Gotta Turn Up the Crazy
Toby was crying his little heart out. Sarah knew she was dreaming again. She was caught in the middle of this spider's web and all she had to do was let it all play out. She watched as she walked into Toby's room. His tiny hands gripped the rail of his crib tightly as he stood wailing. From all his crying, his eyes and nose were red, snot mingling with tears in his distress.
"What do you want?" Sarah yelled out.
She tried to put her hand against her throat, knowing she hadn't yelled. It was like last time. She was watching it all unfold; she was here but not really here. Powerless to stop the events that were to come.
"Do you want a story? Huh? Okay…"
Sarah couldn't believe just how cruel she was to her half brother. She watched as he continued to cry and stare at her. Occasionally he reached out and wanted to be held. How could she have been so cruel? He was just a baby. He needed comfort.
"Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young girl whose stepmother always made her stay home with the baby. The baby was a spoiled child. He wanted everything for himself, and the girl was practically a slave."
Tears came to Sarah's eyes as she listened to the very familiar tale she had told such a long time ago. She looked in the mirror and could see herself moving around the room and then taking Toby's cap and putting it on her head as she continued the story.
"But what no one knew was that the Goblin King fell in love with her and gave her certain powers. So one night, when the baby had been particularly cruel to her, she asked the goblins for help."
Sarah felt herself flinch at her own words. She felt weird. Not even a good weird. She felt like something was about to happen. It was like static electricity prickling on the back of her neck; something was different about this dream.
A sound captured her attention. Mumbling. It wasn't her. Or the past her. There was someone, or something, else in the room, trying desperately to conceal their voices.
"Oh all right, all right!" Sarah heard her 15 year old self say.
She went over and picked up Toby while he continued to cry. What were to happen if she were to act it all out? Step into her own body and take control? Could she do something different?
"Stop it! Stop it!" she heard her old self scream and then she stared down at the screaming baby. "I'll say the words." She warned.
This time the gasping and hushing could be heard. Had they always been there? Why hadn't she heard them before? The hissing and shushing became more clear to her. It hit her then. The goblins were here. They were watching. They were listening. They always had been. Sarah's heart pounded against her chest and she looked back at the screaming baby, held in the arms of her younger self.
"I mustn't say…" The teenager paused for dramatic effects. "I wish…I wish!"
The other voices were louder now, excited. "She's going to say it!" "Say what?" "Shut up!"
"You shut up."
"Listen! She is going to say the words!"
Sarah gasped. Goosebumps erupted along her skin and she looked around the room for the goblins. She could clearly hear them. They weren't being exactly quiet. So the story was true. She had certain powers. Did she really have certain powers?
Slowly, 15 year old Sarah looked back at Toby's snotty face, lifting him high into the air. "I can bear it no longer! Goblin King! Goblin King! Wherever you may be, take this child of mine far away from me!"
It was quiet and she heard thunder and saw lightning come through the windows. Toby continued to cry. Sarah, still a silent spectator, looked around. She could hear the goblins again.
"That's not it!" one of them snorted.
"Where'd she learn that rubbish?" Another voice.
How many were there?
"It doesn't even start with 'I wish'!!"
Teenage Sarah rolled her eyes and held onto the baby, bringing him to her chest as he continued to scream. "Oh, Toby, stop it! I wish I did know what to say to make goblins take you away."
"I wish the goblins would come take you away right now! That's not hard is it! HMMM!" she heard one of them say, clearly frustrated.
Seriously, how many were there?! And where were they? Her heart dropped as she watched her younger form pause, staring at Toby. She knew that the moment was coming. She knew she was going to say that.
"I wish… I wish…"
"Did she say it?" She heard a deep voice adding itself to the excited chatter. "Shut up! Shut up!"
She couldn't believe this was happening, that she was reliving this moment again. She watched herself put Toby down in his crib, covering him with the blanket. Slowly she made her way to the door of the bedroom and turned and looked at Toby. Unable to stop the coming events, she closed her eyes as she heard the words spoken. Here it goes.
"I wish the goblins would come and take you away…right now." She clicked off the light.
And everything went silent.
She remembered everything that happened after those words were spoken vividly. A lump formed in her throat, and she opened her eyes as she heard the scuffling and movements. Goblins moved around in the room, expertly and deliberately evading her teenage self. Watching as she was now, she even saw the blanket deflate as a goblin skittered beneath the duvet.
She heard herself calling Toby's name over and over, testing the light switch. Sarah could see them now, watching like this. She could see the goblins. They were snickering at her teenage self. There so many. They moved around and laughed, zipping back to hiding before her old self could see them.
Thunder cracked and then a bright flash of lightning came through the windows. She knew what was going to happen next. She stared at the French doors and saw the white owl pecking at the windows. The Goblin King.
Suddenly a bright flash of lightning blinded her and a loud crack of thunder deafened her as the window flung open. Blocking the light with her arm, she felt her heart race, breathing becoming harsh. It was him. He was here.
She slowly looked up, barely daring to look at the object of her nightmares for the first time in so many years. He was standing there, magnificent and terrifying in intimidating black armor. His wild hair and otherworldly eyes mocked her from his superior height. This whole time she had been locked away in the hospital, she had refused to remember him. Refused to think about him. But now...
"It's you." She whispered, knowing he wouldn't hear her. “But please, I didn't mean it!” Her teenage self cried.
He smirked at her and fixed his gloves and took a step forward. And another.
Sarah's breath caught, something far from fear swelling in her chest as he advanced closer. His eyes looked past her teenage self. No. He couldn't see her. Could he? "What's said is said." He tsked, those mismatched eyes locked on her firmly.
Her eyes widened. She looked around and then back at him. This couldn't be happening. He really wasn't here. It's just a memory. She took a step back and took in a deep breath "What have you done?" she whispered to herself.
He raised his eyebrows but didn't say anything, daring her to continue.
She looked away from him and stared at the empty crib. "How is this happening? Why is this happening?"
"Sarah, go back to your room…" he said tauntingly. "Go play with your toys and your costumes…"
She felt tears in her eyes. No, she was still trapped as a silent observer. Why was it that she wanted him to be real? For just a moment, she wanted him to talk to her. She needed to know if he was really there. Maybe she was going mad, like everyone said she was. Everyone treated her like she was. Maybe it was true. She reached up and held onto her head and tangled her fingers through her hair. "JUST TALK TO ME!" She screamed out in a half sob.
"Sarah." Jareth cooed.
Slowly Sarah let her hands fall down to her sides, tears falling down her cheeks. She looked at Jareth, who was watching her with his beautiful mismatched eyes. Those eyes... how had she ever found them anything but beautiful? Sarah felt lost in his gaze, ensnared helplessly in his trap. She sucked back a sob that wanted to come out. "What's happening?"
He tilted his head to the side slightly and smiled coyly, "You wished your baby brother away…to me."
Sarah shook her head. No. This isn't what he had said to her all those years ago. She sniffled and felt the lump in her throat. "W-what?"
He played with his gloves and kept staring at her, "Do you wish to solve the labyrinth?"
She blinked and looked away from those mesmerizing eyes and around the room. It was so quiet now. Not a peep from the goblins. They seemed to have disappeared. She looked back at Jareth, then past him to the trees that swayed in the storm raging behind him. Despite the turmoil she could see outside, not a sound was made. Sarah turned her focus back to the King. "You have Toby?"
"Yes." he said simply.
Her eyes widened and she took a step towards him then stopped mid-step. "You can't. You can't have him..."
He smiled and showed his imperfect teeth. That smile enchanted her, beguiled her. She felt her heart skip a beat. "Oh?" he asked coyly and closed the space between them, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. Jareth was touching her.
This had most certainly not happened before. The warmth from his body sent all of her senses reeling. He stood behind her, gently turning her around to face the changing scenery. She gave no protest, following his direction. Outside the window, was now the labyrinth.
She stared at the maze, never having dreamt of it in this vivid detail before. What in the hell was going on? She looked over her shoulder to him. "What's happening?"
"You have thirteen hours in which to solve the labyrinth…" he murmured.
She interrupted him. "Or your baby brother becomes one of us forever, yes I know. But what is happening?" She asked manically.
He slowly unwrapped his arm from her and moved until he stood in front of her, his back to his labyrinth as he faced her. "Sarah, don't you want to get your baby brother?"
She stared at him shocked. "This can't be real."
"Oh but it is." He cooed.
She blinked and looked to her side then to the other and then back at him. "But I didn't mean it." She didn't even really wish him away! So why did she have to go back through the labyrinth?
He smiled, "What's said is said." He said in a tsk.
She shook her head. "I didn't really say it. The other me… the past… I didn't say it! He's not even a baby anymore!"
"Just please…" she begged.
He brought his gloved hand up and a crystal appeared. She watched as he juggled it and did his magic. She really watched this time. She followed the ball with her eyes and she watched as it slid up to the tip of his fingers and he held it out.
"Do you want it?"
She blinked and looked at his face. He was waiting. She had to answer. So why wasn't anything coming out? She felt more tears fall down her cheeks. She had no idea that she was still crying.
"I can't." she whispered brokenly.
His face fell. The ball popped and became a snake, coiling around his gloved hands.
She shivered, remembering what he was going to do with the serpent. She backed away slowly, shaking her head.
He untangled the snake and looked at her dead in the eyes. "Don't defy me." He then threw the snake on her.
She screamed and tried to get it off of her as it hissed. It wiggled and writhed against her repulsively for several seconds before it turned into a long, multicolored scarf. She expected it to turn into a goblin like before, but it didn't. She held onto it and looked up at the Goblin King.
He turned to the side and pointed behind him where a dead tree was standing. A clock appeared, precisely as before. "You have thirteen hours in which to solve the labyrinth or your baby brother becomes one of us… forever."
He then disappeared.
"Such a pity." They said at the same time.
She looked back at the labyrinth and held onto the scarf. She would do this again to save her brother Toby if she had to. So be it. But if she could change everything, somehow orchestrate a different outcome...
The next day, Sarah sat at the table by herself with her tray of food in front of her that was untouched. The food here was horrible. She had no idea how they got away with serving this vile slop and calling it edible. She glared at the tray of food but slowly her eyes softened. She looked further down and into her lap where the mismatched scarf lay on her lap. It was real. Everything was real. Her dad had been wrong this whole time and she had been right. She was somehow going through the labyrinth in her dreams at night and when she woke up she was back in the hospital.
But this morning was different than others. She had the scarf. She just wanted to jump for joy knowing that she wasn't crazy. She went through her conversation with the Goblin King. He was hiding something. He knew something. Toby couldn't have been in his possession again. It must be some kind of symbolism or something. But what was it?
"Are you not going to eat, Sarah?" The old nurse, Jackie, asked.
Sarah blinked and looked up at the withering old woman and opened her mouth, "Um no. No appetite today. Must be the medicine." She said softly.
Jackie nodded her head and grabbed the tray in front of Sarah and put it in the large bin with wheels. Their food came in on that bin and it leaves on that bin. Sarah watched as she closed the small door to the trays. Jackie turned around and smiled at Sarah then went to another person and talked softly about something.
Sarah sat there silence and waited a while before she got up and stuffed the scarf down her shirt. She looked around, paranoid that someone was watching; when she felt like no one was noticing her she quickly made her way down the hall to her doctor's office.
She quickly knocked on the door and didn't wait for him to answer. She just opened the door and closed it behind her. Robin looked up from his paperwork, lips briefly forming an 'o' before he smiled. "Ah, Sarah." He greeted.
"We have to talk. I need to talk." She said breathlessly.
He raised his eyebrows and then waved her over. "Well then, of course."
She quickly made her way to the chair across from his desk and sat down but then stood up and pulled the long scarf out of her shirt and set it down in front of him.
He looked down and stared at it then looked up at her confused. "What's this, love?"
She blushed and sat down in the chair and crossed her feet. A smile broke across her face. "I woke up with this in my possession this morning."
"You woke up… with this?"
She nodded quickly.
He took off the specs he was wearing and set them down on the table and picked up the scarf and tuned it over and set it down. "I'm not following."
"It's real. He's real. Everything is real."
He watched Sarah carefully. "He? You mean…"
"The Goblin King."
He didn't make any movement and his eyes didn't even widen.
Sarah stared at him. Why wasn't he surprised? Or at least asking questions? Maybe even prescribing a new medication? She watched him as he stood up and picked up the scarf.
"So you are saying his name now."
The blush burned brighter on her cheeks and she looked down at her lap. "He spoke to me in my dream. It wasn't how I remembered. Things were different."
"How so?" He asked as he made his way around the table and stood in front of her.
"He spoke to me. He spoke out of line. He didn't say the right words. He said he has Toby."
"He has your brother?" She nodded. "But I think he means something else. He has something else. I wished Toby away—no. I didn't wish him away. I was just saying the lines…"
He held up a hand, "Slow down, Sarah. Does he have Toby or not?"
She looked up at his face and she felt all flustered. "I don't know."
He let out a breath and leaned against the edge of the table, "I need to know. Kidnapping is very serious…"
She shook her head. "No no no." she said loudly. "In my dreams Toby has been taken but I don't think it was really Toby."
"Then what are you saying? What do you mean?"
"I'm not sure. I'm not sure what he is holding back from me. But I have to go through the labyrinth again."
He raised his eyebrows and looked around the room then looked back at her, "But you're here?"
She closed her eyes and let out a breath. "In my dreams I'm going through the labyrinth again."
He was quiet.
She opened her eyes and looked up at him and he seemed to be lost in thought. She stood up and felt her body trembling. "But I'm going to play this game differently."
He nodded slowly, "Okay…" he said unsure.
She huffed. "You don't believe me?"
He shook his head, "No, no dear… I believe you. Let's start from the beginning."
She looked away and bit down on her lip. She couldn't think straight. What possessed her to tell her doctor that she was going to do things differently? He's just going to put it down in her file and medicate her more. But the odd thing is that ever since she has been seeing him, he's been giving her unknown drugs and she didn't know if it was helping. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. But what was it working with? What was it doing? She's noticed over the years that she had been forgetting about the labyrinth but until recently she has been having dreams of it. But not as vividly as she was now. Something is happening. Something wasn't right.
She turned her head and looked at her doctor and released her lip from her teeth. "Hm?"
"Have a seat and let's begin to dissect this. I'm curious to know your conversation with…him."
"The Goblin King."
He smiled and watched as she sat back down in her chair.
"You have changed tune about speaking of him. What is it now? What has changed this?"
She shook her head and looked up at him. "He's up to something. Someone has to know. If I were to disappear…"
He cleared his throat and moved back around the table and sat in his leather chair. He folded his hands together and looked at her sternly. "No one will be disappearing… yet."
She raised her eyebrows and tilted her head slightly. "What do you—"
"What did he say to you?"
She blinked and tried to think back to what the Goblin King had said to her in her dream. "Just the usual. I had thirteen hours to solve the labyrinth. He offered me my dreams… wait." She whispered the last part.
He never really said what the offering was. He was usually specific in what he offered. "He didn't tell me what he was offering. He just wanted me to go through his labyrinth."
"Interesting." Robin hummed out.
She looked back at him and raised her eyebrows. "I don't understand. He usually offered me my dreams but this time… he didn't."
"Maybe he's hinting at something."
She nodded her head and grabbed the mismatched scarf and stared down at it. "And how was it that I was able to bring this back to… here?"
"That's a very intriguing question that I do not have an answer for."
She looked up at her doctor and stared at him confused. "You're not helping very much."
He shook his head, "Sarah you just came into my office and claim that you spoke to the Goblin King. I'm taking it in. Give me a few seconds, dear."
"Are you a part of this?" She whispered.
He leaned back in his chair and shook his head. "Sarah, I'm here to help. I'm not here to drive you crazy or have you second guess my intentions."
She stood up and bunched the scarf in her hands and stuffed it down into her shirt. "I have to sleep. I have to go back."
"Sarah…" he warned gently.
She shook her head. "No, I have to do it."
Robin stood up and started to walk over to her, "And what do you expect me to do?"
She looked up at him and looked directly in his hazel eyes, "Give me that sleeping medicine. Make sure no one wakes me up. I have to figure this out."