Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 49 of 64

<< Previous     Home     Next >>

About three hours earlier:

Meg sat at the dinner table, munching her evening sandwich. She'd had a lovely evening with Christine and was reflecting on the Conservatory trip. Her boyfriend wandered into the room holding the newspaper.

"Hey Megalicious. Want something to spoil your appetite? Check this fug-ugly dude out." He tossed the paper onto the table and sauntered off to the garage where he was vainly trying to get his old motorcycle running again. He was the sort who never actually read articles - he was mainly interested in the funnies and the sports scores.

Meg stared at the butchered face in front of her as Mexican jumping beans began dancing in her stomach. She read the headline and then the article. The writing portrayed an Erik whose soul matched his ruined face. There was no compassion or sympathy; it was an article meant to sting and scandalize. And Meg knew who the "source" was.

"Oh, crud," she groaned. She walked to the garage door and leaned out to get her boyfriend's attention. "Do you know who this guy is?"

"Huh-uh," he grunted.

"This is Christine's Erik; the one who always wears a mask..."

"Well, he shoulda gone on wearing it. That dude is messed up." Jay tossed his wrench behind him. "Babe, could you bring me that big one with the yellow handle?
Meg brought him the larger wrench, then sat on the steps with her head in her hand. "Yeah. It's my fault these pictures are in here. God, I'm so dense."

Jay chuckled. "I been saying that for years, but I love you anyway. I didn't know you were writing for the paper now..."

"No. I just gave this reporter the information she wanted and...Christine is going to kill me. With her bare hands. Or a cello string. I better call her." She headed into the house to find her cell phone.

Jay stood, stretched, and scratched his neck. "I wouldn't be worried about her killing you. I'd worry about him. Man...if that was me, I'd be out to kill you."

"Oh, that's nice. Real comforting. Jeez. I have to go apologize. I can't just call. I have to go over there."

Jay glanced at the smudged wall clock. "You realize it's nearly eleven?"

"They aren't in bed yet. Or if they are, they aren't asleep."

"That's just wrong." Jay's face twisted in disgust at the thought of anyone having sex with the guy in the newspaper.

"I'll get a cab. If they kill me, tell the police I deserved it."

Meg approached the apartment building with great trepidation. She rehearsed various apologies as she walked, not caring that she looked like a crazy woman talking to herself.

"Erik, I am very sorry for telling your name to the... No. Erik, Christine, I hope you can forgive me... No. She was very persuasive; it just slipped out... No." Meg started chewing her fingernails. "I am a very stupid person and I did a very stupid thing and if you need a slave for a week..."

The door was slightly cracked; a thin beam of light escaped into the hallway. Meg pushed it and let it swing open.

"Christine? Erik? It's Meg. I came to apologize. May I come in?" She waited, but there was no answer.

She stuck her head in the door. There were lights on everywhere. The smell of stale sickness made her head swim. Worried now, she walked in and looked around.

"Christi..." Meg stopped mid-word. She'd spotted the broken glass on the kitchen floor. The newspaper still lay on teh table, open to the fatal page.

Further exploration revealed the puddle of vomit, bashed mirror with accompanying blood smears, the destroyed instruments, the trashed bedroom. Something had gone terribly wrong in here and now both occupants were vanished. Meg stood in the middle of the hallway, her hand pressed to her mouth.

Christine had always been adamant that Erik would never hurt her. Whose, then, were the blood smears? Had Christine been here when all this damage was done? Meg pulled her phone from her purse and dialed her boyfriend.

"What's up?" his ever-phlegmatic voice answered.

"Jay, something awful has happened..."

"You ok?"

"Yeah. I'm ok. But I'm at Christine's place. It's been smashed to hell...there's blood everywhere...and there's no one here. The door wasn't locked or anything."

"Jesus! Get out of there. Don't touch anything. Call the police; it's probably a crime scene." Jay, normally calm in any situation, sounded worried.

"I don't think it is...but I'm not sure they're both ok. God, I bet Erik flipped. Wherever he is, Christine's probably with him."

"Meg...blood...destruction...crime scene. That kind of thing is on TV all the time."

"Maybe I will call the police..." or maybe I've done enough already.

"You do that, babe, and you come on home - ok?"


"Be careful."

"I will"

Meg hung up, feeling no better than when she had called. Again, she surveyed the damage. I caused this. Me. Her thoughts tormented her - her "little slip" had possibly ruined two people's lives.

Meg was a do-er. When there was trouble, she always had an active plan to solve the problem. Go shopping, search for the lost wallet, take the dog to the vet, etc... In this case, though, there did not seem to be anything she could do. In addition to feeling incredibly guilty, she now also felt incredibly worthless.

The place was a total wreck. Meg had never found a single thing out of place when she visited, and now look. Without being entirely conscious of it, her feet were carrying her to the broom closet. She took out the broom and dustpan and began to sweep the broken glass from the floor. After all, someone could get cut. The little bit of activity felt good. The bathroom was full of broken glass as well. It made no sense to leave one pile of glass and clean up the other, and once the glass was up she couldn't leave the blood...

Shouldn't leave that puke on the floor either, she reasoned, when they come home, they aren't going to want to smell it. Disgusting though it was, that mess became Meg's next target. Planning for Erik and Christines 'inevitable' return eased her mind immeasurably.

Next, she turned to the bedroom. It took all her strength to right the tipped dressers, but when Erik and Christine came home they'd probably be tired. They'd want to go straight to bed, and the dressers definitely blocked the way. She picked up and fussily folded each piece of scattered clothing. The pills were separated into two piles on top of Christine's dresser, followed by the TENS unit and all its little pieces.

There was little that could be done for the music room. She grouped the few instruments that were minimally damaged or undamaged in one corner of the room, and dragged the remains of the rest to the other side.

The sound of the closing door followed by heavy footsteps stopped her frenzied cleaning. Meg suddenly found that she was terrified of facing either Erik or Christine. There was no way around it, now, unless she intended to hide in the music room closet and sneak out later. Not a bad idea...Meg almost gave in to that temptation before making herself walk out the door.

Erik stood in the living room, supporting Christine, who was smiling a goofy smile and swaying on crutches. A neon blue cast covered half of her right leg and most of that foot. Erik was trying to direct her to the couch.

"We're home, Christine my love. Lie down and rest, please?" his tone was one he might have used with a tired five-year-old.

"Uhh..." Meg stammered, announcing her presence, "She could lie on the bed..."

The silly smile disappeared from Christine's face when her cloudy gaze came to rest on Meg's silhouette in the hallway. She took an unsteady step forward with her crutches. "Get out." The morphine rendered her tone emotionless, but the sentiment was clear.

"I'm sorry..."

"I think Christine is right." Erik had just connected the dots. "Get out. You are not safe here." There was no morphine in his system - he was still punishing himself for Christine's suffering. The step he took towards Meg was infinitely steadier and infinitely more threatening than Christine's.

Meg saw no forgiveness in either of their faces. They looked as though they'd been through both World Wars - and were still spoiling for a fight. She did the only thing left for her to do: giving both of them a wide berth, she ran out the door.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 49 of 64

<< Previous     Home     Next >>