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As the World Falls Down: A Wolfina Escapade
You can't imagine what it's like to have to endure the burning of your own flesh. There was a screen of flames that separated me from the little girl and since she was too afraid to pass through the flames herself, I had to extend my arm in order to coax her towards me.
"Come on!" I shouted above the crumbling of the building, "It's alright!"
Coughing from the acrid smoke and getting angry from the pain, I moved closer and grabbed her whether she liked it or not. I understood her fear and confusion, but I had to get us out of there. I looked at my arm for a second and saw a good portion of it was charred. I tried to manoeuvre to the stairs and dodge out of the way of falling debris and flames. We could hardly breathe. In most of the fires I had ended up in, it was always a child I had to rescue. I never understood that. And I have not decided whether it's worse to go up or down a burning building. I've been in buildings when they've collapsed and when they've buried me alive in the basement
By the time we reached the bottom floor, I had lost the flesh on my upper arm, parts of my body were charred and I barely had any clothing left. We got outside and I collapsed onto my knees, coughing and still holding the girl; the cold, fresh air struck my smoke-filled lungs.
I looked up and despite my tearing eyes, I saw the parents running towards us, crying for Molly, but then as I expected, the mother stopped short and screamed. He husband yelled, "Get away from her, you monster!"
They could see my arm. Though the flesh was gone, the adamantium covering my bones was very visible and betrayed my identity. I let Molly go and she ran to her parents. She didn't seem afraid. At least, not of me. It hurt to see them: a family, me: on my hands and knees, almost burned to a crisp and choking into the earth.
Startled, I turned and saw a police officer coming towards me, a hand on his gun. I leaped up and ran from the scene despite being blinded by my ashy tears. I heard his footfalls; he was running so I dropped to my hands and sped ahead of him on all fours. I turned into an alley and climbed the drainpipe onto the roof. I jumped from rooftop to rooftop, never daring to stop, never daring to look back.
When the instinct to flee had died down, I found myself walking on a bridge. My body shook and I couldn't stop crying. Those people. Those humans blinded by fear for the unknown and the different.
"Why do I try to make a difference?" I wondered, "Why do I still help the humans after all their venomous words and witch hunts?"
I gazed out onto the water. I helped them because I could, because I couldn't die and therefore had nothing to look forward to, nothing to do but to live in a world that hated me. All I did was hope. I hoped that, one day, society would see beyond my adamantium, beyond the Beast inside me and say, "You are good."
With both hands gripping the metal railing, I hurled wolfish roars into the night. I turned, taking deep breathes when I saw it: a gigantic truck barreling down the bridge. Here was my chance to, again, kill myself and hope to never wake up. I waited. Timing was everything. At the last minute, I leapt in front of it.
* * *
The next time I opened my eyes, I was looking up at the sky. But the sky was a burnt orange. Sensing something was wrong, I got to my feet and there, down in the valley, lay an intricate labyrinth. It led into what looked like a city and then beyond that was a castle. The atmosphere of this world seemed sombre and dark. I didn't like the feeling.
"So, what do you think?"
I whirled around. A man in black wearing a cape stood beside a dead tree. His light blonde hair was long and wild, the ends of his eyebrows curved upward, but his eyes, his eyes were the most peculiar. One was light and the other was dark with the pupil dilated. Slowly he grinned and I saw his inner darkness.
"Do you like my kingdom?" he asked again. I noticed his British accent.
"Where am I?"
He advanced, looking past me, "The Goblin City. Isn't it horrible?"
"Who are you?" I took a step away.
"Jareth, the Goblin King, at your service," he bowed, then looked at me, still grinning.
"Why am I here?"
"Because, Wolfina, I heard you. I heard your screams, your shouts, your tears, everything. And so, I saved you from that truck and brought you here, where I knew you'd be happy."
"We share a great deal. I'm sure you can sense it."
"I don't know what you're talking about and you had no right to bring me here. Send me back."
He eyed me curiously, "You want to go back?"
"You're not thinking clearly—"
"Yes, I am. I want to go back —"
"Back to what!? Back to what, Wolfina? Hm? Back to the fear? The self-sacrificing? The suicidal thoughts that tormented you? The sadness? 'You're a freak!' 'You're a
"Stop it!!!" The tears were starting again.
He obeyed and looked at me with genuine sympathy, "But here, those names don't exist. You're safe here."
Looking toward the Labyrinth and the Goblin City, I was starting to think Jareth was right. There was nothing in that other world for me.
"Besides, you suit this place quite well."
I looked back at him, "What do you mean?"
"Why, there's darkness in you, Wolfina. That's one reason why I love you and want you here. You're like me," And, again, his expression betrayed the evil inside him.
"I am NOTHING like you!" I went to strike him and realized that there was something in the other world that wasn't here: good... and beauty, and light.
He caught my wrists. As we struggled, he laughed, "Oh Wolfina, you belong here and you know it! You just can't bear the thought of it!!!"
I pulled away and ran down into the valley toward the Labyrinth, seeking the way out of this dimension.