Labyrinth Fan Fiction ❯ Dark Crystals ❯ Jabberwocky ( Chapter 4 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter Four: Jabberwocky

A series of clicks was heard and it was unusual from the normal sound they grew accustomed to, it continued to pass under the whole of the board.
Jareth look over his shoulder to Chantal; a look of question and alarm came across his features. It was silent for barely a moment, just enough to raise questions before one of the squares started to flip over. Jareth had seen it from the corner of his eye, revealing a blank underside.

The Goblin King swore under his breath at the hidden piece just as the other blocks flipped over in turn, one after another, they flipped over and passed him in a domino like fashion, to the other side of the board until not one symbol was seen. The only piece that hadn't moved was the one he still stood upon.

'Now what?' he thought. He expected a trap door to open and swallow him down into a dark abyss. That didn't happen unfortunately, instead he received a jolt of energy of some sort. It was like an electrical shock, painful for a moment and that was it. He grunted and almost lost his balance. He felt his hair, making sure it didn't surpass the usual spikeyness and turned around to glare at Chantal, demanding to know what had happened.

Without saying a word, Chantal apologized several times, trying to move away from the glare he placed upon her.

"The symbols all look the same!" she complained at last.

"Yes, well..." he trailed off. "I hope in the future you shall be more careful and pay attention." He held his anger in check.

"Now then, I wonder if we can resume or at least restart this puzzle." he said, as though asking the board itself.

Nothing. No answer whatsoever. The stones remained blank.

Jareth let out a frustrated sigh and muttered: "Perfect."

He walked off the crystal's space with another sigh. The series of clicks suddenly returned and he looked back to see that all the symbols reappeared. Perhaps a hint of a smile appeared on the Goblin King's features at this situation.

"It seems that we have another chance at this." He said to Chantal. "Are you ready?"

"Yes." She replied with a nod. She quickly returned to the first square as Jareth resumed his position at the center of the board. Carefully, Chantal stepped onto each spaces that Jareth had indicated, asking for the proper one, lest the stones flip over for good this time.

As soon as she stepped on the last and correct one, the stones flipped over, however the crystal turned around at an 180o degree angle, with Jareth still on it so he now stood facing the girl.

The clicks stopped and it was silent.

A message appeared within the crystal beneath the Goblin King's feet, the crystal was filled with grayish purple mist and the writing was an odd shade of black.

"Look!" Chantal pointed and lightly pushed him off the crystal without warning, certain and hoping that his weight off the crystal would not restart the puzzle.

"'The answer you seek, This you'll need, Take heed, Time is essential.'" Chantal read aloud, the symbols were translated into English. Jareth held his chin in thought as he looked down at the crystal.

"Time is essential…"

"This you'll need… there must be something that we'll need in order to get out perhaps?" Jareth mused.

"Time…essential…need." Chantal thought over aloud. After a moment, she replied what her answer was: "A clock?"

No shifts of the walls showed that she was correct. The globe however clouded over with the strange mist before scripture appeared.

Chantal turned to the Goblin King when she saw that it was written in the King's tongue. "What does it say?"

"Even in order it does not make any sense." said Jareth with a hint of annoyance in his deep voice as the second sentence came clearer in the mist.

"Well read what it says anyway." Chantal persisted. He cleared his throat and reluctantly said the new verse.

"'Twas brilig and the slithy toves, did gyre and gimble in the wabe. All mimsy were borogoves, and the mome raths outgabe.'" He had one eyebrow raised all throughout reading the strange phrase. "I do not see how it even relates to the riddle nor the situation at hand." He said almost exasperated.

"'Twas brilig…" Chantal repeated the odd little quote, it seemed very familiar to her somehow.

A memory of her friend appeared in her mind, long before Stephanie had left for college. It had been during a day, spent just hanging out. Stephanie had been humming a strange tune to herself and had turned to Chantal, quoting from her favorite poem: "Jabberwocky", the same quote that had appeared in the strange puzzle. Stephanie had giggled at her friend's confused expression. The memory faded at Stephanie's amused expression.

"It's from that poem!" Chantal exclaimed. "Steph used to say it all the time. I remember it now."

"Strange girl," Jareth commented with his usual raised eyebrow.

"You know Steph, it wouldn't be the same if she was actually—"

"Normal?" Jareth finished with a half chuckle. "I suppose not." He then became serious. "But I wonder why this was in the old tongue. Hell, it doesn't even make sense in English to begin with."

Chantal only shrugged.

"And I don't understand the concept of the phrase in this puzzle although I believe it gave us a hint that the girl is in fact in the Labyrinth or at least within this realm. Her presence is very faint now that we've mentioned her once again."

The spaces had flipped over when the Goblin King had read aloud the verse and had flipped in the opposite direction. The section of the wall, opposite their entrance, had opened with nothing more than a slight scrapping sound. A straight corridor could be seen for a few feet before it led to a dead end, but the path split in two direction: left and right; in a T pattern.

"Finally," Chantal breathed as she quickly started down the newfound corridor. She passed by large horizontal slots etched along the walls around waist high; and stepped onto a loose grey stone, which was obvious a contrast.

"Hey! Wait!" Jareth rushed after her, trying to stop the girl.

It was already too late. They were already halfway through the corridor before he realized that the trap had started behind them. Large blades sprung from circular wheel from the slots. The sound of mechanical whirring could be heard within the wall.

'At least we can outrun it.' he thought. He frowned afterwards when more blades appeared on the opposite wall, further down the path. "Bloody Hell..." he muttered.

"Jareth," Chantal started as she took a step backward. The blades behind them started to spin with a horrible screech like what an electric saw sounded like. It was less frightening than the creatures they had encountered in their last adventure.

"Run!" he shouted over the noise of the blades as he shoved her to quickly move her pace. She started to break into a run, the other wheel had not started perhaps not until passing a certain point or so she thought, the opposite blades had started to spin a moment after the others, spinning in the opposite direction.

Chantal gasped. The Goblin King pushed her roughly forward, she landed with a bruising thud and he shouted for her to lie still and flat against the ground. The blades neared each other and he had no way to duck in time without getting an injury, he ran down the rest of the path towards the other blades.

Chantal screamed, her eyes shut tightly as the large blade passed overhead.

Jareth placed one hand to the ground, pushed himself to do a one handed cartwheel, over the blade, he slightly got his cloak caught, the sound of cloth tearing was barely hear at all over the screeching; he landed on his feet, back flipped over another, landed again but made himself tumble onto his back, barely escaping the crossing blades. He felt the air of the swirling blades upon his face. The circular traps finished passing over each other at the middle and started going back, returning to their proper slots.

He released his breath which he had been holding and in the sudden silence called out to Chantal, asking if she was all right.

"Yes..." she barely said over a whisper. "I- I'm fine. My god that was close..." she replied, still lying on her stomach, unsure whether to move again.

Jareth had sat up and was now on his feet and headed towards Chantal, he had worried if she was indeed all right, he had barely heard her answer. He stepped in front of her to show that it was safe. He held out a hand to help her up.

"I believe this trap is over but just in case, let us not linger." He quickly led the way and indicated to her not to step onto the grey stones. He had noticed that there were several. Chantal followed the Goblin King in the exact same footsteps to make good and sure that the massive blades would not appear again. They've finally made their way to the dead end and she never thought she would be so glad as to reach one.

Now there was only to choose a way to continue towards his castle.

The Goblin King quickly turned right, he wanted to reach his castle before his shortcut ends up further or worse, disappears; before his powers starts to wan, before his sense of the right path vanishes and before it was too late and the Underground is forever at the mercy of the one who is now controlling the realm.