Insomnia. To hear it you think it’s such a pretty word, a beautiful name for such a horrible gift. She sometimes considered it a gift. There at three in the morning, staring out at the falling snow, she would suddenly hit on a brilliant idea. The computer stayed on at her home; she barely left these four walls.
Sarah stood looking out at the grey sky, knowing more snow was on its way. She was beginning to hate it. It was odd, she remembered a time when she loved it, she remembered a time when she loved life. That was long ago. Now everything was just mechanical, she went through the motions, typing out one best seller after another; at first she adored what she was doing, putting her vivid imagination into novels. The Labyrinth was little more than a dream to her now.
But here, in the deserted forest, snow falling all around, she couldn’t help but to fell the magic in nature; that was why she had moved here after all. It made her remember the old dreams, feel the old feelings. She missed it sometimes, that feeling that everything held magic. Now was one of those times, she wished that the magic still existed in the world, wished that it still existed in her.
From out of the lightly falling snow, an owl came and perched on the cast iron fence surrounding her property. As white as the snow around him, he looked around, shook loose the snow collecting on his strong wings, and flew up toward the house. Sarah watched him; she had some fear deep inside her that all of those things that she invented from her dreams were real.
The balcony doors flew open; her faerie prince cocked his head to the side waiting for her to speak. Instead, she fainted.
"My how the mighty have fallen," Jareth chuckled looking down at Sarah. He contemplated whether or not to carry her over to the bed, a very difficult decision considering that this child had single-handedly destroyed his kingdom. He lifted her off the carpet and brought her over to the bed.
"Hardly the reaction one would expect from the death-defying heroine…." He pushed the hair from her face, older but still no less beautiful. He smacked himself mentally for still feeling something for the one who destroyed him. But that scolding made no difference when she woke, her eyes seemed wide as a child’s as she looked up at Jareth.
"You aren’t real…not real…not real," she chanted it over and over, running into the bathroom. She flung the medicine chest open and, her hands shaking, tried to open a bottle of prescription pills. "Dammit!" she threw the bottle across the room and crumbled to the floor, holding her knees and rocking herself back and forth.
"Not real, all a dream, not crazy, just dreams….." she chanted what the doctors had told her: there was no Jareth, there was no Labyrinth, take the pills and it’ll all seem like a bad dream.
She sat there for hours, rocking and chanting. When nothing came for her, she stood slowly. Carefully, meticulously she toured the house looking for any sign of a visitor; there was nothing. She went to the balcony where Jareth had appeared, only a broken coffee mug and a patch of carpet stained with tea. An owl was perched on the fence outside, but as she watched, it shook off the snow to reveal a brown tint to its feathers. No snowy owl, no Jareth, it was all a bad dream.
In spite of the relief the brown owl gave, she still felt a little jittery; she went to the kitchen to make a relaxing cup of tea. It was nearly dawn and she had a meeting with her publisher. A small parcel on the island attracted her attention; she hadn’t seen it there the night before. Carefully, in case it wasn’t meant for her, she opened the box and unfolded a thick piece of paper.
It saddens me to see what you have become. This life
doesn’t suit you. You do not belong in this mundane, dreary
world of the reality. I still hear your dreams.They are crying
out for adventure, for the unreal, for love. I offered to show
you your dreams once, please follow them.
It was almost an instinctive reaction to want to go for the pills; Sarah had never realized how frightening that really was. She pushed past the layers of tissue paper and pulled out a delicate crystal ball.
"It was real…" she thought of all the creatures and places she had invented in her novels, all the things she has imagined, and they were all real. Her eyes filled with tears and she laughed with joy at the realization that she wasn’t crazy.
"It’ll show you your dreams," she whispered of the crystal.
Sarah honestly had no idea what her dreams were, she had lost sight of them so long ago. The crystal was clear for a time, she was crestfallen when it didn’t work.
"Leave it to a Fae to build up your hopes like that," she put the crystal onto the table and went about her business.
After a shower and breakfast, she collected her notes and got ready for the meeting with her publisher. Last night’s encounter had given her a few more ideas for her new novel. The phone rang, her publisher no doubt, and at the same time figures began to move within the crystal. Sarah leaned down to look into the sphere, fearful that picking it up would disrupt her dreams within.
The figure of a man, tall and thin, and a woman, alabaster skin and long dark hair, dancing. She frequently woke in the middle of the night, music ringing in her ears; she dreamed of dancing with a man, but never remembered a face. Now she could see him, Jareth. Dancing within the crystal, oblivious to anything around them, were Sarah and Jareth. She studied the image in its clarity, for the first time she saw herself looking happy.
"Follow your dreams, eh?" she chewed at her lip until she felt the metallic pang of blood on her tongue. Follow your dreams…
Sarah closed her eyes and wished.