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Evasion Maneuvers 101

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She employed her best tantrum tactics. Lots of complaining. Some screaming. More wall-kicking. She didn't understand this place. How very unfair of the Goblin King to set the game on his own terms, in his own territory, a place entirely strange and unfamiliar to Sarah. Why, the whole place was probably crawling with his spies. She tried very hard not look at the creepy vines that were eyeing her up from behind. Hopefully they were immobile.

 

She slumped against a wall, and almost didn't even care what kind of slime and muck must have scraped off onto her favorite vest. Almost. Sarah groaned in frustration and tried to assess the situation, the way heroes always did. A Never-Ending Corridor… could she climb the walls? No, she knew from the way her back slid down the bricks that she wouldn't be able to get a foot off the ground. Tears burned the back of her eyes. She’d hardly even begun her quest, and a stupid hallway was going to kill her? She was, without doubt, the worst heroine to ever grace an adventure; the Goblin King was probably laughing at her right now while Toby, poor Toby , he hardly deserved such a horrible failure of a sister, and—

 

“'Allo.”

 

Sarah jumped out of her thoughts, freezing in place. When had someone sneaked next to her? Slowly, so slowly, she turned towards the voice that had greeted her. But where did he… her eyes fell upon the tiny form of a patient Worm. Her mouth fell agape, and Sarah looked around desperately for someone who might tell her she was as crazy as she thought she was. Her mind didn't conjure up a therapist, so she figured she was on her own. She turned back to the unblinking stare of the Worm.

 

“Did you–” she licked her dry lips. “Did you just say ‘hello’?”

 

He shook his little head, letting out a disappointed sigh. Great, now she'd let down a talking bug, too.

 

“No, I said 'allo, but that's close enough.” he grunted.

 

Sarah blinked, unsure if her mind was really imaginative enough to give a Worm a red scarf and a Cockney accent. She leaned closer to examine the miniature gentleman.

 

“You… you are a Worm … aren't you?” She asked hesitantly, not wanting to offend him.

 

The creature gave her a funny look, as if she were the one to pop up out of nowhere and talk when she shouldn't. “S’right.”

 

Sarah shrugged, and hoped her brain was using this psychic malfunction to figure out how to escape the maze. “You don't by any chance know the way out of here, do you?”

 

“Who, me?” The tiny thing giggled. “Nah, m’just a Worm, see.”

 

She snorted. Figures. Her psyche couldn't even come up with helpful hallucinations. “Ah.”

 

The Worm gave her an appraising glance, though she wasn't quite sure what he was looking for. It seemed he’d found it, however, when he spoke again. “Come inside 'n meet the Missus.”

 

Sarah reflexively shook her head. “No, thank you, I've really got to find a way of this Labyrinth, and I… you're married?” That bit of news caught her interest. Her brain was getting pretty inventive, apparently.

 

He nodded gleefully. “Three years, she 'n I! I'm a lucky one, I am. Come inside and have a nice cuppa tea!”

 

Maybe… maybe she had time for a cup of tea. It's not like she was getting anywhere here. She looked around for a door. “Come in… where?”

 

The Worm scooted (there was really no other word for it) his way close to the wall. “Right here, ‘course.” He ducked his head inside a rather large crack, and then disappeared altogether. Sarah gave out a cry, and reached a hand for where he'd been a moment ago.

 

“No, please don't leave! I'm not–I can't be alone. I can't do this alone, come back, please!”

 

The furry head popped back out by the time she'd stopped herself from hyperventilating. “What’re you making such a fuss about now? S’only gone for a minute.” he grumbled. “Come in already, you're letting all the cold in. The Missus says to take off your shoes ‘fore you step inside, if you please.”

 

Sarah sniffled, feeling more miserable by the minute. “My shoes? But… they won't even fit in there, much less the rest of me.” To her surprise, the Worm's eyes positively twinkled .

 

“S'pose you'll just have to try it, then, dear.” And with that, he disappeared again into the hole.

 

She swallowed, and tried not to feel like she'd been abandoned. Her hallucination had, after all, invited her into his supposedly cozy home with hot tea and a kindly wife. It wasn't his fault that he didn't account for her size. Figments of imagination tend to overlook that sort of thing, don't they? She looked into the crack after him, seeing only darkness. No, scratch that… there was a very faint light somewhere deep inside. A candle? Sarah inched closer to the crack, only to scream and leap away. The crack… it had widened significantly! She stared wide-eyed as the crevice shrunk again to its normal size.

 

Was it even possible? She approached the crack again, training her eyes on the edges. Yes, it was stretching as she got nearer! Like a mouth, it yawned wider and wider to swallow her into the darkness. She gulped, and glanced back out into the foggy light of the Never-Ending Corridor. Could this be her way out? It might be dangerous… but really, anything was better than dying in an over-glorified hallway. And maybe she'd get a nice cup of tea out of it. She took a deep breath and stepped farther into the darkness, until the wall closed up behind her.

 


 

Meanwhile, from inside the castle that stood in the center of the Labyrinth came the shrill shrieks of chickens and goblins being kicked out of the way. A furious Goblin King stomped his way to his throne room, tightly gripping a little glass ball that was currently swamped with darkness. After one especially satisfying removal of a minion, he took to roaring at them for their sheer incompetence, particularly in one specific area.


“How could you blathering idiots let me forget about the Worm-Holes?