A.N. Why hello all! First Labyrinth fanfic, after being home ill all day an idea suddenly popped into my head and I just had to write it. This is going to be chapter by chapter so I apologize if at some point I get distracted for a few days. Don't worry, these author notes are not going to be at the start of every chapter. Disclaimer: I don't own them! If I did, then the world would be that touch more sleezy.
With a heavy sigh Sarah Williams returned her eyes to the essay before her; re-reading her notes from the previous day and making a feeble attempt at remembering the crucial information. It wasn't going well. So far she had sketched a crazy pattern all the way down the margin, now committing herself to colouring it all in.
She was never one for studying; on many occasions just using the word as an excuse to be alone and quiet in her room. She pushed a strand of hair from her eyes, allowing her mind to wander as it usually did as she stared out of the window. The hushed silence pressed on as many students carried on writing, though most were scribbling notes to their friends and using the time to flirt in hushed tones.
Rhiannon sat beside her doodling as well, though with a glance Sarah realised that it was more like an explosion of ink on her paper. The two girls were silently counting down the last 10 minutes of their study period, the long and exasperating day growing ever nearer to the close as everyone's minds turned to their evenings.
The girls shared a glance as Rhiannon once again chanced a glance at Sarah's watch, their eyes meeting as her friend rolled her eyes and huffed good-heartedly. It was always the last lesson of the day that was the most trying, both of them eager to leave even as the minutes turned to hours.
Over the years the two girls had grown to be close, both staying by each other side through the later years of high school and through to college. Looking to her left now she watched Rhiannon play lazily with a strand of blonde hair, eyes drifting around the room before settling back on the time. They both packed away their papers before leaning back in their chairs, Sarah watching Rhiannon sneak another look at the boy a few seats away as she gave a knowing smile.
"… Because I missed the last one, didn't I?" Rhiannon asked beside her, receiving no answer but Sarah had learnt over the years to just allow a rant like this to carry on until she was content. The present rant: Johnny from class. Sarah wasn't altogether sure - at some point she had lost the conversation completely - but it was something about a birthday party that Rhiannon just had to go to. Life or death… Apparently.
She allowed the excited words to wash over her in a blur as they walked through the park, over to a bench that they sat on every day after school without even thinking about their actions. Sarah recalled with startling detail the way the park hadn't changed since her childhood. Now 19, she could look back to her memories of performing plays to Merlin and playing childish games with nothing but her imagination.
The whole place brought a sense of calm into her body; making a faint smile grace her lips as they both say on the bench, watching the odd figures who wandered and listening to the birds in the nearby woods. Even Rhiannon had stopped her rant, turning her face from left to right as she took in the familiar surroundings.
With a much calmer voice, Rhiannon shifted in her seat to look at Sarah. Only speaking when she had her full attention. "So, are you coming?" she asked, before rolling her eyes at Sarah's obvious confusion. "To the party!"
After a second of panic she shook her head quickly, already recognising the determined look in her friend's eyes as a bad sign. "When is it?" she sighed, thinking desperately for a way out. It wasn't like she didn't enjoy the company of her classmates, it was just the thought of going to a party and having to quell the disappointment that came afterwards. She couldn't explain where the feeling came from - or even why - yet it was always there, after every party… The feeling that there should have been something more.
"Thursday," Two days away, she realised quickly and let out a silent sigh as she realised Rhiannon wouldn't have much time to persuade her into going. "Johnny's house as you obviously weren't listening," she glared mockingly. "His parents are away so he's having his birthday party then, even though it's not for another week, but by then…" Rhiannon carried on talking even though Sarah was obviously not listening, talking amiably about the guy she quite obviously had a thing for.
Sarah had a faint smile at the expression on her friend's face, the only way to describe it would have to be complete infatuation. She admired the girl for being so caught up in a moment; something Sarah could only manage when reading a novel or watching a movie, something she could never achieve when thinking of someone in her own class.
When she tuned back into the conversation, she realised Rhiannon was winding down from her gush of how lovely Johnny really was. Sarah chose the moment to speak, appearing to her friend as if she had really been listening. "I can't," Rhiannon turned accusing eyes upon her before she continued. "I have to baby-sit," she tried to sound annoyed, yet she was filled with relief at the thought of escaping another social gathering.
"Oh." Rhiannon kept on gazing at her, expecting her to crack and admit to some form of a lie.
"You should go though, I mean," she paused dramatically, giving Rhiannon a coy look "You might be missed by a certain someone!" she finished with a giggle as the other tried to hide a uncomfortable smile, both of them finally laughing as the moment passed.
Sarah once again listened to Rhiannon gushing about the boy, all the while nodding and smiling at her friends obvious nerves to the party. She was only part listening although she could still follow the general conversation with a few well placed nods and sounds of agreement. She allowed her mind to wander to the now darkening park, watching the birds flutter through the treetops in short bursts before glancing at the lake before her.
It was so peaceful that the sudden flutter of white from the treetops caused her to whip her gaze back to the woods, watching the larger bird glide over for a few seconds towards them before vanishing once more into the foliage. It was a pure white, standing out so brilliantly against the green as it swept majestically out of sight.
With a racing heart she realised Rhiannon was saying something to her, a hand upon her shoulder as she gave her a light nudge.
"Sarah?" she carried on when Sarah turned to meet her gaze. "What, what is it?" she sent a quizzical eye in the same direction as Sarah, scanning the horizon for anything out of place before looking back to her friend.
"Did," she spoke quietly, hating the shake that was easily heard in her voice. "Did you see that?" Rhiannon just frowned. "The owl?"
"Sarah," she said slowly, the teasing smile just sliding into place. "You're so shook up," she paused briefly, as if contemplating her words. "Over an owl?" Silence for a few seconds before she laughed, giving her shoulder a gentle squeeze as she relaxed a little.
Sarah felt no better, if a little foolish, as she turned her attention back to the woods and tried to shake the shiver that ran down her back. She was being stupid, there were plenty of owls in the world… It meant nothing. "But, did you see it?" she nearly whispered, trying her best to ignore her friends amused grin. Maybe there hadn't been an owl anyway, maybe she had let her mind drift.
"Sarah, I wasn't looking!" she giggled. "And anyway, it's an owl, it's getting dark. Owls do tend to fly about when it's getting dark, it's what they do!" she explained as if Sarah was a child, widening her eyes a little as they both stood and collected their bags.
They walked off in silence, Rhiannon oblivious to Sarah's sly gaze on the woods as they walked back to the path and onto the street. After a few moments they parted company, Rhiannon walking in the opposite direction, her house being two blocks away as Sarah started up the road. She tried not to think of the chills that ran through her body; the urge to look over her shoulder and maybe even the sky that she had to fight. The way in which she was sure that somewhere, someone was watching.
With her front door finally swinging open, she threw her key in her bag and stepped through hurriedly. She felt a great relief wash through her as the door clicked shut and the familiar sounds of Toby's television program sounded from the living room. It was normalcy returned, yet it made her positively itch with boredom.
Walking past the living room door she spotted Toby on the floor, watching with wide eyes as the brightly coloured cartoon before him played out. He didn't look up as she passed, too absorbed in his program. She missed the 4 year olds gaze that turned to the window, the flutter of white feathers and the ghostly smile that played over the young boys face before he returned to the program.