You pass under an arch, noticing how the sun had stayed firmly planted in the sky since you arrived. Perhaps time wasn’t passing as quickly as you thought? Or it was a trick to make you think you had more time than you did? Or even if nightfall never came here? You didn’t know which, so you pressed on hurriedly.
You felt as though you must be in the heart of the labyrinth by now. The tall stone walls had been replaced by well-trimmed green hedges.
When you looked closer they weren’t made from woven leaves as you’d thought- they were thorns.
In front of you there were a number of paths you could take from here. You tried the closest to you, and stepped down it cautiously, as if the ground might swallow you up- you wouldn’t be surprised.
You walked close to the high wall keeping an eye on the direction you were following. You reached the end of the path to find… You came back to where you started. Hmmf. Well okay, 1 down four to try -one of them had to be right.
You tried the second with the same result and the third, the fourth, and finally the fifth. Despite your efforts you still came back to where you started.
You throw up your hands in frustration “no way!”.
How could this be? You sprinted back to one of the random paths, feeling along its sandstone walls to see if anything would give, that’s how it was in movies, right?
You felt along all five paths.
You wanted to yell out -but you knew he was likely watching you through those stupid crystal spheres and you didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of your failure. He was winning. For now.
Now what? They were the only paths to take you further how could they all be false? You were certain elements of magic was involved, something you couldn’t see in motion perhaps.
There was nobody around. You sat on the stones, feet throbbing. How far had you walked now? You leaned your head against the tall walls...
From below you stared up at the thorn hedges when a thought popped into your mind.
The Goblin King said you had to complete the labyrinth in 13 hours, but he never said how specifically.
You smiled to yourself wickedly. Damn this, if he could play dirty; then so could you. You jumped up, circling the paths, looking for something to give you a boost.
There was a fountain spouting water with a statue piece in the middle, it was close enough to a hedge that you could make the leap.
You looked around again, making sure there wasn’t any creatures lurking about, you estimated also that you weren’t close enough to the palace for there to be any palace guards patrolling.
You got closer to the fountain. It looked like you’d have to get your feet wet in order to reach the statue in the middle. You realised it was a statue of the king himself not that you were surprised to say the least- only you expected it to be made of solid gold. It was roughly as tall as you, the statue was holding out its arm, clutching a crystal ball, the position it was in meant you climb up it and leap on the hedges.
It was worth a shot.
You tie the damn heavy cloak around your waist.
You unlaced your shoes and rolled up your jeans to your calves. Gingerly, you step in the water as if something may grab your ankle though it was silly.
Ugh! It was freezing cold! The water swishes around your ankles as you wade towards the figure in the middle.
One foot was in and then the other you hauled yourself carefully. You were delicate with your footing at first, but then scurried faster up the body of the statue.
You had your legs wrapped around the statue of the king's neck, its face was tastelessly between your thighs, you hoped to god nobody was watching you right now, especially the Goblin King.
If you had time you could have been more insipid- just to ruffle his feathers, to see how he liked it when the roles were reversed. A small smile crossed your face though you doubted he ever flustered.
You gripped your shoes tight and remarkably balanced yourself by standing upright on the statue’s shoulders. It wasn’t a far leap, but it would hurt if you missed.
The thorns glinted angrily at you. You launched yourself in the air and landed expertly on the hedge. You wobbled realising it may not hold your weight. You stick your shoes back on and creep back up to stand.
You shaded your eyes from the sun, untying the cloak from your waist to bundle up again.
From up here you can see the whole labyrinth all around you, you gasp.
You could see the castle so clearly, it was practically right in front of you. You stand proudly on the wall, hugging your arms. A slight breeze lifted your hair to float behind you. It was very real now, your journey coming to an end.
The castle's threatening exterior vanished, particularly as you were a lot closer to it, closer than you thought. You briefly wondered what it would look like inside. What kind of place did a Goblin King run?
Still, you gave a triumphant laugh, clapping your hands together childishly, whopping hoping he was seeing this.
Jareth was seeing this. He’d watched the whole ridiculous charade of you climbing up the his life-size replica statue.
Upon seeing you with your legs clamped firmly around his neck he choked on the wine he was sipping at that very moment, spraying not only his white shirt red but also the unfortunate goblin who'd brought it to him. He swallowed it down, clearing his throat, composing himself again magicing away the red stain.
"That'll be all, Fik" he waved the nosy creature away, shielding the crystal ball from small prying eyes, protecting your decency.
The Goblin King, on his thrown, threw one leg over the arm rest, smiling into his leather gloved hand slyly, he had to admit, you had courage and originality. Nobody else for centuries had ever thought to walk along the walls, though it wasn’t strictly impossible it just required wit and stamina.
“Clever girl” he thought, watching you attentively through his crystal.
Of course you would be ingenious, of course you would, he knew it from the start, but this defiance had gone on long enough. Genius or not it was still cheating- he couldn’t overlook rules now, could he? Dare he be accused of favouritism!
The Goblin King pinched his hand, in the orb, a tally was crossed off your three strikes. Tsk tsk Ms. Hazel.
You had two remaining.
In his chamber, Jareth stalked to his large vanity table attentively unlocking the hidden drawer inside it with a large key he kept around his neck, took item that he sought and wrapped in his handkerchief, slipping it in his deep pocket.
His smouldering eyes followed you in the crystal ball as you leapt from hedge to hedge, scurrying along them with your head ducking down. “You’ll remember” he whispered, lips to the orb “oh yes you will”.
He threw it up in the air.