Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 47 of 64

<< Previous     Home     Next >>

Christine paced back and forth, crunching glass beneath her shoes. How could she find Erik? Seattle was a huge place with thousands of potential hiding places. She had to find him soon.

Nadir. Nadir might know. What was his number? What was nadir's phone number? She bit her thumb viciously, trying to remember.

"Phone bill..." she muttered, and ran to the file cabinet where Erik kept copies of all bills paid. Nadir's was the only long distance number Erik would call. Ah. There. Too easy.

She snatched up the phone and dialed the number, misdialing three times before she got her spasming hands under control.

"Calm down, girl, calm down." Talking to yourself, she thought. Don't do that.

The phone rang four times. Panic magnified the length of each ring - it was hours, light years, before Nadir answered.

"Erik! Good to hea..."

"Mr. Khan," she rasped. Her voice was destroyed. She could barely speak. "Nadir...please...he's gone...the newspaper...reporter...she found it...I...please"

"Christine?" An icy shudder coursed down his spine. "Calm down, dear. Take a breath. I can't understand you."

He listened to her try to take a breath, only to fail miserably and break down sobbing. There was a hysterical tone to her cries that pushed that ice deep into his stomach. He couldn't bear the strain.

"Dear little angel, please try to calm yourself. Who is gone? Erik?"

"Yes! Yes! He's gone, he left. Erik left." She choked on her tears. "That reporter...Ms Bertrand. She...someone told her Erik's name. His whole name. She put his mugshots in the paper and he thinks I'm the one who betrayed him!"

Nadir held the phone far from his ear and was able to hear every word she screamed.

"Ok. Ok. Just keep breathing. He's a grown man. He'll be ok. We just have to figure out where he's gone."

"He's not ok. He broke the mirror...there was blood. He destroyed the instruments. He doesn't have his medicine with him. Nadir, he's not ok!" Panic would not release its grip on Christine. Strong though she was, this was a blow too severe.

Destroyed instruments? Like a wildfire in a strong wind, Christine's panic leapt to Nadir. "He...broke his instruments."

"Yes. Do you see? He's not ok. He called me a traitor...betrayer. I thought he would hit me...he didn't...he's a good man, Nadir. He's good."

"I know he's good, dear girl. No matter what he said, he needs you now. You are his only chance. You have to calm down or you won't be able to help him and he could end up in jail...or worse. We don't want that. So sip some water, count to twenty, and talk to me." Keeping his voice gentle and even, Nadir talked to Christine until he heard her breathing slow. She was still hitching in the occasional breath, still coughing, but she followed Nadir's directives.

"Where would he go, Nadir? It's late... I was at Meg's..." Christine froze. "A source close to the masked man," the article said. Meg! This was Meg's doing! No. Don't think about that now. Gotta find Erik. "I was at Meg's until eight or so. It must be almost ten o'clock now. Where would he go?"

Nadir racked his mind. In his younger days, after the hospital, Erik had often run from the world when it was too cruel. He'd gone to lonely, wild places to find solitude. When he moved to Seattle, he'd told Nadir that he was going "to find the sea."

"Is there a place near the ocean where the two of you would often go? A wild place where other people rarely went? Something a little separated from everything else?"

There was. Below Discovery Park, there was a bluff. She and Erik had found a little cave set into a ledge above the spray from the breakers. It was difficult to get to during the night it would be dangerous. But it was just the sort of place Nadir was describing.


"Can you get there?"

How could I not? "Yes."

"Then go! Stop talking to me and get out there!" Nadir started to hang up, but he had to add, "And Christine, be careful. And when you bring him home, call me. I won't be able to eat or sleep until you do." After he hung up, Nadir went into his kitchen a brewed a cup of coffee. The old man was standing watch.

Christine slammed the phone down and spun to run out the door. No. Stop. Call a cab. The cab company promised a driver would pick her up near the bus stop in fifteen minutes. She changed into her tennis shoes, grabbed a flashlight,a handful of his Neurontin and morphine pills, and a fistful of money from the grocery fund, and went out to wait.

She tossed three twenties at the cab driver and jumped out of the cab. When her feet hit the wet soil, she realized that she was afraid. Not for Erik, but of him. "Never come near me again." he'd said, and his tone had been deadly cold. And then Nadir had said, "Be careful." But her Erik would never hurt her. He'd promised.

But that was before. That was when he loved you. The thought was hard, merciless. The flashlight hung heavily at her side. She did not want to use it and alert him to her presence, but the night was incredibly dark.

"Not the time for cowardice, Christine Daae." She scolded herself. "Not the time."

She knew the path well, and only needed the flashlight twice. Soon, though, she did not need the light or the path. Over the bestial roar of the Pacific Ocean smashing itself against the mainland, she heard a violin. No beautiful music was this. This was the music of Hell, played by its most tormented tenant. It screamed and ripped from the heart of the violin and threw itself into the night air.

"Erik," she whispered.

Carefully, stealthily, she climbed down the bluff face. Her fingers soon cramped from gripping the stone; no matter how hard she tried, she could not keep her grip. Fortunately, her fall terminated on the stone ledge - not on the brutal rocks in the surf below. The blooming, hot pain in her right leg and buttock held her attention for a split second before sudden silence turned her to face Erik. She tried to rise, but found that her injured leg would not support her.

Erik looked down at Christine as though she were a particularly unsavory stranger.

"Get away from me." The ocean itself must have quailed before the hate in his voice.


He set his violin down with a delicacy that only emphasized his rage. Christine saw that he had played with such fury that his horsehair bow was nearly bereft of hair and several strings on the violin were snapped.

"Get away from me," he stalked toward her, flexing his hands. "or I will do to you what you've done to me. Didn't you read? Don't you know I'm a monster?"

"Go ahead, Erik." She pushed herself to her knees. "I am not the one who gave that bitch of a reporter your name, but..." his hands had twisted themselves painfully into her hair, pulling several strands and bringing tears to her eyes; at her declaration they loosened almost imperceptibly. That tiny loosening, though, gave her hope. She forced herself to go on speaking, just as Nadir had. "but if it will help you, do whatever you need to. Scream at me, punch me...I don't mind. I love you, Erik. No matter what you do tonight, I still will."

Christine met Erik's eyes, her fear gone now that the moment was upon them. There was only the faintest glimmer of light from the nearby metropolis reflecting from the clouds, but it was enough. He could see truth and love shining in her eyes; her expression held no artifice. Her eyes were beacons, calling him home. There still was a home for him. He let go of her hair and dropped to his knees.

"You didn't..." he whispered.

"No." Christine felt relief wash over her in dizzying waves. "I would never hurt you. I told you that. I promised." She wanted to go to him and hold him, but a strange lassitude had fallen over her.

"You wouldn' couldn't...I should have known." He dropped from his kneeling position to a cross-legged one and pressed his face into his hands, hurting himself purposefully. "I should have trusted you."

"You couldn't have known..."

"I came here to die," he whispered, barely audible above the sound of the waves. "I came to play my heart out and go to the ocean, where no one would ever have to deal with the corpse. That's full of things that remind me of happiness. I was going to take it with me..."

Christine turned her flashlight on the opened bag. At the very top was a copy of the music she'd written for him. The leaden feeling lifted from her limbs. Turning the flashlight back on him, she saw what he was doing to himself. Ignoring the pain from what she was now certain was a broken something, she pushed herself across until she could reach and roughly yanked his hands from his face. She tugged at the ties of his mask until they gave way - he'd apparently tied the thing on in anger.

"Don't, Christine. Don't look at me, please." but he offered no physical resistance.

She tilted his head up until she could see his face. In the flashlight's unforgiving beam, she saw that he'd torn at his face, ripping the already thin skin with his nails.

"Oh, Erik..." it was a grieving sound, a low moan. "Oh, my love..." Knowing she could not cause him any more pain, she traced the damage with one cool finger.

"You must hate me now. I should disgust you." He was still whispering.

"Never." She pulled him into her embrace; he came willingly enough. He'd been completely prepared for death; there was no strength left now that he'd returned from the abyss. "You are my Angel of Music. I could say it with every breath...I love you."

"I've destroyed our apartment."

"I don't care."

"I've destroyed my beautiful instruments."

"They can be fixed," thinking back on the carnage, she amended that to "...or replaced."

"I've hurt you." This thought nearly sent him over the precipice again.

"I will heal. We will heal." Sensing his rising distress, she held him tighter.

"It's unforgivable."

"I've already forgiven you."

He shook his head and shifted position, meaning to take her in his arms. When he did, he saw her flinch and heard the little hissing intake of breath.

"You're hurt?"

"Oh, no..." she waved a nonchalant hand in the air. "It's just a little broken leg."


"You're alive, and you don't seem to hate me...too much." She laughed a high, hysterical laugh. "Cut the damned thing off! I don't care..."

Erik just stared at her. How could he have thought - even for the most crazed instant - that she'd betrayed him? "I love you, Christine. Thank you for..." there was no way to express what he wanted to thank her for. "I'm going to look at this's going to hurt..."

"No it won't," she said flippantly, and promptly passed out.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 47 of 64

<< Previous     Home     Next >>