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Something Precious

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Sarah Williams buried her head into her pillow trying to muffle the sound of her sobs. She was nearly 21 and still felt like she did when she was a child.

She looked out of the window at the low hanging moon shining through the security bars her father had put there to keep her from climbing out the window.

It happened nearly 4 years before on Halloween. A home invasion robbery had ended in her stepmother's and brother's deaths. Sarah had been lucky, she had been in the basement and had been able to hide.

She remembered burying herself behind boxes under the stairs as the men had ransacked the home, biting her lips until they were bloody to keep herself from screaming in terror. Not breathing as they stalked around the basement looking for her, calling her name. They had been about to the start moving the boxes when one of the others had called from upstairs and the two in the basement went up, seemingly forgetting about coming back down.

Then as she was crouched in a ball, she heard the noises. Men yelling, gunshots, her stepmother's screams, another gunshot..the door slamming and nothing.

About 10 minutes later there were sirens and a few minutes after that she heard her father's cries. She didn't move until the police came downstairs and shone their flashlights around, calling her name. Then she screamed. And screamed. As a policeman moved the boxes and gently as he could picked her up and carried her upstairs, past the bodies of Karen and Toby, her father on his knees crying in despair.

He sat her in his police car and wrapped her in a blanket, as she sat, mutely staring at the flashing lights that lit up the front of what was once her sanctuary.

As she sat there, she watched the medics carry out two bodies wrapped in dark plastic, and her father followed looking devastated.

The policeman who had been caring for her approached her father, pointing to his car and obviously telling him his daughter was alive and needed him.

Reluctantly he followed the policeman to the car, looking back at the ambulance that contained his wife and son's bodies.

The policeman opened the car door for her, she stood and her father grasped on to her, sobbing.

"My son..my son..why did it have to be my son? Why not...?" He moaned, stopping just short of saying why not her.

Sarah's eyes met the policeman's, which widened then narrowed a little. He walked away, shaking his head.

"It's okay daddy..." Sarah said, stiffly standing there. She already knew what he meant. Her father provided for her, but Toby.. Toby had been the light of his life. Sarah had been the product of a mistake he was sorry he had ever made.

She had learned to love Toby, but it had taken nearly losing him to make her see that. Still, it hurt to know he would have rather it had been her that died. After that the memories of the Labyrinth locked themselves away in the back of her mind, like so many others.

Now 4 years later, she was a prisoner in her own home. She hated this house. with it's memories and it's pain trapped inside with her.

Her father had made the house a virtual prison. bars on the windows, each door having several locks, video cameras, surveillance system. The works. Sarah was not allowed to leave the home without a guard he had hired to go with her at all times. Her car had been sold and she wasn't allowed to drive.

She had been made to take care of the house, clean cook, everything. No maids or outsiders were allowed except paid guards. School had been a nightmare but she had finished at home.. She had planned to go to college, but her father refused to comply. She was allowed to take a few correspondence courses through the local community college but that was it.

She had been moved to her parent's old room with the adjoining bathroom, and her rooms were locked from the outside now. There were also outside locks on the front and back doors to prevent her from getting away.

She was locked in at 10pm and the door was unlocked at 6am. No man was allowed near her. She had every luxury. TV, stereo, and books or music or movies she wanted, but no freedom.

Then there were the punishments. She didn't want to think about those, so she shut it away.

Her father was a powerful man in the small town in which they lived. A judge and attorney with a lot of friends. She knew no one would help her if she did run away.

So she merely existed, losing herself in her books and movies during the day and every night when she sun when down, a fear would grip her so tightly she could not sleep, could not move.

She knew the fantasy was just that, and reality was a nightmare.

Her father had obviously gone insane, and she was the object of his obsession. She needed to run, and soon. Or she would die.

She had no idea the true motives for her father's actions or that he did not look at her as a daughter, but as property to be bought and sold.
_

Underground:

Jareth tried to resist the temptation to watch her. Every night he failed. His heart and soul torn open because she had said those words, and now he was banished from her life.

He would give in, produce a crystal and watch as she cried curled up in a ball on her bed. He watched as her father would come into the room slithering like a snake, putting his hands upon her, in heinous and violent ways.

Jareth would throw the crystals against the wall, screaming in frustration that he could not do anything to help her. He could not save her from her despair. He felt if he did not figure out a way,she would be lost to him forever, by her father's hand or her own.

His Sarah had an incredible will to live, but he could feel her, bits and pieces of her strength being broken off. Soon there would be nothing left of it. By her beating him she was connected to him and The Labyrinth permanently, but he could not touch her or go to her and beg her to return underground with him so he could protect her. If only she would believe again..she had lost her belief these past 4 years. Her father medicating her to the point of numbness to keep her docile and under his control.

If she believed, maybe she would call on him or her friends here. Then he could help her.

He stood and walked over to the window that overlooked the great maze. He could bend time but not above time, it worked differently there. He could make anything, do anything..except what he really wanted to do.

Save his beloved. The girl who stole his heart was slowly dying, and he was powerless to stop it. His heart would die with her.

"Jareth." said a quiet voice behind him.

He turned to look at the woman there. She was tall, with red hair an incredibly beautiful. She also wasn't real, but a vessel created by The Labyrinth itself to communicate with him.

"Yes, Terra, what is it?"

The woman bowed her head slightly. "The Champion. We must save her. Her distress is increasing dramatically. We do not have long."

Jareth's mouth tightened and a frown appeared. "What will you have me do? She banished me, do you recall? His voice rose to a yell. "Do you not think I know this?! I feel her pain with every breath I take!"

The woman was calm. The Labyrinth did not feel anger the way humans or immortals did. "I have an idea, my king. It is quite drastic, but it might work."

Jareth's was instantly all ears. "What? What is it?"

Terra spoke evenly as she presented The Goblin King her idea. "Soon it will be Samhain. I can send you above, and strip you of your magic. You will be very near human. There is a catch. You must be able to retrieve the champion and return within 3 days and 3 nights. By midnight on the 4th night, the night of Samhain you must come home with or without her. If you attempt to stay any longer than that, you will die. You must extraordinarily cautious, Jareth. You would not be protected by magic as you would be here. You would have to return through the nearest portal with the girl. It will be difficult. As time goes on you will begin to weaken."

"How would I get to her without magic?" Jareth asked, confused.

"I can give you a few small crystals to carry with you containing some magic, and one large crystal containing a concealment and integration spell of your choice. With those you should be able to create some sort of scenario that will integrate you into her life and give you access."

Jareth thought. He knew deep down he had no choice but to take The Labyrinth's offer. It was Sarah's only chance, and his. She was of age now. She was meant to be Goblin Queen and rule beside him. She was already considered a hero in his kingdom.

"I will do it. I must do it for her." He agreed.

The woman that was the soul of The Labyrinth in disguise took his hand and bound him to their words. "It will be done."