Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Dream Descends

Part 2 of 16

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Chapter One

Nice, France, 1874

* * *

So the proposal is as follows: I shall pay for your traveling costs to Nice.”

To be sure.”

Your salary shall start at thirty thousand francs.”


I shall arrange for you to stay in my home until you can find your own lodgings.”

I prefer to live by myself. Your hospitality is unnecessary.”

Very well. We leave on the Thursday next.”

* * *

Rich, Erik thought sardonically. That is what I look—rich.

And of course he was correct. His reflection was one of sartorial perfection: a satin waistcoat of deep blue, buttoning over a fine muslin shirt and silk cravat. He wore black breeches, tucked into leather books that fit without a wrinkle.

He did indeed look notably wealthy—which was as it should be, for he had been receiving an amount equivalent to a small fortune, every month for the past two years.

Erik felt a small prick of discomfort as he labeled Dion so off-handedly, for the boy had shown him nothing but kindness and respect during his years as Erik’s pupil. Skill, as well, Erik thought vaguely. The boy has skill. It had been a pleasant surprise, to say the least, to find a young male of the upper class who was not tripping over his own feet. Certainly, that was how they came in—

He cut the thought off at its route. Even mentioning the name of the city was something akin to physical pain, and he heard it enough on the streets these days. Everyone spoke of France’s capital, of the political turmoil fouling up its underbelly. Everyone spoke of Paris.

He had yet to take out the memories of that place and examine them, make sense of them, relive them. They were kept carefully under lock and key, in a shaded closet at the back of his mind. Every now and then the closet doors would buckle under their immeasurable obligation, but for two years the lock had held tight. Only in dreams would he have a fleeting glimpse of the hours upon weeks upon months spent roaming aimlessly from one tavern to another, squandering what money he had on drink and company. Day leaked into night, until one putrid evening he had stumbled drunkenly across that old, wheezing piano.

The first note he played nearly killed him, ripping open the tight seal on his throat, digging into his unpracticed lungs. And then a great blockade of slime-coated grief poured out of him, burning his nostrils and flooding his eyes with tears. He did not care who heard, after that, because there was only him at that piano. Him and the darkness, as he coaxed it, embraced it; let it enfold him in its shade.

Sometimes he would starve himself for days, seeing how long he could go without the music to comfort him. The cement he slept on was cold and unforgiving, not a home, he prayed to God, not his bed forever. He wanted salvation or death. He received the former and took it without a backward glance, consequences be damned.

And now he must entertain at Dion’s party.

Fool! Erik scolded himself repeatedly. Fool for agreeing to such a ridiculous demand!

He could not recall, at any time in his haphazard life, ever attending a social event without the intention to terrify or murder one of its invitees, which to some may have been considered humourous. Erik, quite horrified at the idea of a soiree, was not in the least bit amused.

But Dion was irritatingly persistent, begging him to attend all through their lessons, saying he wanted to show the guests what he had learned, and it would be near impossible if his tutor was not present. He needed the support, he claimed.

Erik, who had been as far from supportive as one could be throughout the entirety of the time he had been teaching Dion, doubted this statement highly. In fact, he was quite certain Dion was trying to do one of those things that one friend does for another. He was trying to do Erik a favour; that favour being introducing him to society.

Society was exactly what Erik had believed he would escape by relocating to the beautiful seaside town of Nice. But, as he had never once spoken of his past, or of the reason he wore his mask, to Dion he did not have a valid excuse to not attend. Dion had accused him of being frightened.


Erik had said he would come. Dion was a friend of sorts, he supposed. He owed him as much to be there on his birthday.

Moving to the window, he looked out onto the ocean. It was dusk, and the setting sun sent streaks of golden light spiraling through the sky. The choppy water glinted and sparkled, gently lapping up against the white sand shore. Erik had grown fond of the sea since he had come here, its scent comforting and refreshing him, and its unpredictability drawing him to it. As soon as he had raised enough money, he had purchased a small manor by the beach and spent his first night on the balcony, fascinated by the reflection of the moonlight on the water.

And how warm the sun was. He had spent his first weeks in Nice cooped indoors, except when he left to teach Dion at the Baron Marchand’s home. But soon he had grown curious, and could not help but venture out. People on the streets had stared inquisitively at his mask, some smiling as though he was dressed in a bizarre costume, others frowning at the absurdity of wearing such an adornment in the middle of the day. He had been amazed at the simple pleasure of walking in the sun, and had not given a thought to their looks.

Now, he had gained a reputation in the town as Heir Marchand’s mysterious, wealthy employee, and all gazes were of fearful respect. Erik had been deeply amused at the rumours spreading as to why he wore the mask; some said he had heroically rescued a family from a burning building, and been injured in the doing. Others claimed a poisonous snake had bitten him while he was trekking the jungles of India, and the entire right side of his face was purple and scarred. The stories became so ludicrous that he had simply stopped listening for them. It was better than what they believed in Paris, at least.

Just as the sun dipped below the waves, a man spoke behind him. “Shall I bring ‘round the carriage, monsieur?”

Erik whirled around to find his footman at the bedroom door. He must have not closed it behind him. “Do not enter without knocking, Beaumont,” he hissed immediately.

The short, fair-haired man paled and nodded quickly. “My apologies--” he stammered, but Erik cut him off.

“And yes, bring it around. I will drive myself tonight.”

“As you wish,” Beaumont murmured, and hurriedly shut the door. Besides him, Erik had also in his service a cook named Travers and a groundskeeper, Vipond, who tended to the small garden on his estate. They were equally as terrified of Erik as the nervous footman.

Rubbing his temple, he absentmindedly inspected his room. The focal point of the room was his massive mahogany frame bed, which he had hastily made up that morning before he went out. His desk was in front of the alcove at which he now stood, its surface scattered with sheets of music and stained with ink. On the opposing wall were his bureau and an ornate, gilded mirror.

He straightened the parchment on his desk and covered it with a nearby novel, so that it was unnoticeable. He did not want any prying servants examining his work. Drawing the heavy crimson drapes in the alcove to a close, he paused at the doorway.

Good evening, Madame, Monsieur—my name is Erik de la Rue.

Laughing silently at his own absurdity, he stepped out of the room, locking the door behind him.

* * *

An invitation arrived while you were out, sir.” A white-gloved hand handed a cream coloured envelope to a bare one.

Did it?” The bare hand took the envelope curiously, fingering its edges before tearing open the wax seal. “Ah, it’s from the Baron! His son’s birthday, of course…Do I have any appointments tomorrow evening, Deniau? Ah, don’t answer, just see to it that they’re cancelled.”

In another room, two very delicate, pale hands caressed the sleek black casing of a grand piano.


As the voice called out, the hands immediately recoiled, as though bitten, and moved away hurriedly. “Yes?”

How would you like to attend Dion Marchand’s birthday soiree tomorrow night?”

It would please me.” The hands fumbled nervously behind a slim waist, itching to reach out for the ivory keys only steps away.

It is settled then—Deniau, send word to Baron Marchand, inform him that the Comtesse and I will be attending.”

* * *

Christine sat at her vanity, critically examining her reflection. Her maid was twittering compliments in her ear, her irksome high-pitched voice making Christine’s head ache.

She supposed she looked passable, with her hair swept up and pinned in an elegant knot at the nape of her neck, as was the fashion, and the dark circles under her eyes hidden with the application of face powder. She had proudly managed to keep her figure over the past four years, and she was still as lean and supple as she had been during her days in the corps de ballet. She had chosen a gown of pale yellow taffeta for that evening, giving her a delicate, airy appearance.

The healthy glow of her skin was gone though, along with the sparkle in her eye, and that was something no makeup or pretty dress could recreate.

It is no wonder you have kept your figure, she thought cynically. Fat women have mothered many children, created a dozen heirs. Fat women are happy, and you are most definitely not fat.

She shook herself mentally, her own hostility surprising her. She must try to get more sleep.

But it is not sleep that you need more of, a small voice at the back of her head rectified her. Ignoring it, she hastily tugged on her gloves, starting when she heard a loud ripping noise.

“Madame!” Her maid gasped, her tone chastising.

Christine smiled wanly down at the ruined gloves. “Another pair, if you please, Adèle.”

Adèle nodded acquiescingly and left the room. As soon as she was out of sight, Christine rested her elbows on the vanity and held her head in her hands. She closed her eyes tightly, tears squeezing out under her eyelids and trailing down her cheeks. Her back began to shake, and she pressed a palm firmly over her mouth to stifle her sobs.

You weak girl, imagine what Madame Giry would say-- crying over a measly pair of gloves!

But it was not the gloves, Christine knew, and yet denied. It was the cold, dead feeling that consumed her day in and out; the twisted nightmares that she could never remember, but awoke terrified, the breath stole from her lungs all the same. It was the odd, decrepit aching in her heart. It was the death of her child…

Her child…

Footsteps. Christine rubbed her eyes vigourously, just as Adèle reentered the room.

“Your gloves, Comtesse.”

“Yes, thank you.” She tried to hide the hoarseness in her voice. “Tell my husband I’ll join him in a moment.”

She stared helplessly in the mirror, the powder under her eyes washed away by her tears. There was no time to fix it. She sighed shakily, and left the room after the maid.

* * *

Raoul gazed at his wife as she leaned out of the carriage window. The orange light of the sunset lit up her delicate features, dancing in her eyes like fire. She fanned herself with her hand in the warm weather, unusual for both of them as Parisians. He had hoped this holiday in Nice would help her rebuild her strength, after she had been in bed ill all winter. The doctor had recommended a trip south, for her lungs, but after over three years of increasingly poor health, Raoul wondered what more there was to do for her. What could possibly be done, to heal a woman already dead?

And for all he was worth, he could not say what killed her. Nor could he recall when it occurred, this change in her. Perhaps because there was no exact date, no day he could pinpoint that she went from flying to falling. It had come gradually, seeping into her like a poison, as she grew grayer and bleaker with each passing breath.

Perhaps it was their seeming impossibility to bear children?

He absentmindedly wiped the sweat from his brow, his mind digressing over the four years of their marriage, as it did so often these days. He often lingered on this particular issue though, and while he tried to keep an optimistic outlook on things, a bitter voice in the back of his head asked when? If after four years, you could not produce a living child, what hope is there for the future?

Thoughts such as these usually ended with the intake of whiskey. They could not produce a living child…But, a dead one, on the other hand—No, he chided himself, he would not think of such things. It was all in the past, and he must concentrate on what was to come. For, where would the Chagnys end up without an heir? It was an idea Raoul did not wish to entertain for long.

A voice in his ear stirred him from his reverie, and he tried in vain to look as though he had not been thinking such grim thoughts. “Hmm?”

“I said, ‘is it not a lovely town?’” His wife looked at him with concern. “Is something the matter?”

He was struck at how, even in her cloud of misery, she was still the most beautiful woman in Parisian society. She was dressed in light yellow taffeta, her dark curls tied with a ribbon into a bun, and a few stray locks framing her face. Her skin was flawless, white as a dove, and she moved with a natural grace that she had received from her days as a ballet dancer. However, he could not ignore the unhealthy circles under her deep brown eyes, or the odd strain in her lips as she gave him a sweet smile. It was these little things that, though she tried to hide from him, caused him the most worry.

“No, forgive me, I was--”

“Oh, Raoul, do not apologize,” she replied, her voice gentle and breathy, as it always was now. It reminded him of a gust of wind, blowing in, swirling around in his head, and then fading away into nothingness.

She reached up and brushed his hair away from his face, like a mother would her son. He searched her listless eyes for anything that might tell him what was on her mind…but, as far as he could see, they were void.

He sighed. “It is indeed a lovely town.”

“It was wise of your brother to buy property here,” she said dreamily, eyeing a couple strolling down the sidewalk. “We should visit more often.”

“Yes, Christine. Perhaps we should.”

Soon, the boulevard disappeared into lush vegetation, exotic flowers and towering trees that neither of them had ever seen the likes of before. They spent the rest of the ride in silence, admiring the flora until it was too dark to see, and then wandering through a labyrinth of thoughts. The sky was clear, and the full moon shone like a silver coin among millions of tiny stars.

The carriage shuddered to a halt, and Raoul leapt from his seat. Christine noticed his gaze was averted from her, even has he helped her down the coach steps, and she had a strong urge to grab his face in both hands and force him to look at her.

She did no such thing.

The Baron’s mansion was situated in a clearing of aforementioned trees, surrounded by astonishingly green grass and beautiful gardens. A huge fountain stood in the center of the cul-de-sac, water gushing over the top of the granite figurine and pouring down in glistening sheets. Christine stood for a moment, admiring it. Then Raoul, desperate to get inside out of the humid air, tugged at her arm and she allowed him to lead her inside.

The house itself was colossal, all marble floors and winding staircases. Christine had thought the Chagny estate was large, but it was not anything near the home of Baron Marchand.

The doorman showed them inside, and then through two white doors with polished gold handles. They opened to reveal a ballroom as impressive as the house itself, and Christine noticed Raoul’s eyes widen in admiration. The dance floor was marble as well, but polished until it almost acted as a mirror for all the dancers upon it. Flowing blue curtains were hung from the banister of the floor above, and Christine reached out as she descended the stairs on Raoul’s arm, to find they were made of thick velvet.

“Comte and Comtesse de Chagny!” The doorman announced them formally, and most all gazes turned in their direction. Christine imagined she and Raoul looked quite well together, her brown locks and pale gown against his blonde hair and black tails. She felt decidedly smug as many of the women gave her envious glares, and then immediately was disgusted with herself for sinking to their level.

“Shall we dance?” Raoul asked politely, offering her his hand. Her throat tightened at their stiff formality, and she nodded in acquiescence.

Christine had always admired how well Raoul danced, and she was unable to repress a grin of reminiscence as he turned her and guided her through the steps.

The whirling skirts and rhythmic flowing of bodies lulled her into an odd daydreaming state, and she found herself envisioning everyone in a mask, watching as she and Raoul danced alone, then embracing as they had when they were only engaged. It gave her a tingling, nostalgic sensation in the pit of her stomach as she relived the night of the masquerade ball; every image clear in her mind, then vanishing into darkness when the lights had dimmed and the tone had gone from jubilant to horrorstruck.

Why were all the memories of that—existence, that part of her past, so blurry and incomplete?

Idly, she observed a peculiar pattern of light on the shoulder of Raoul’s jacket that looked like several diamond-shaped smudges. It vanished, and then flitted across again as they glided across the floor. She looked around quizzically for its source.

Her feet suddenly lost coordination, stumbling over the steps and twisting ungracefully. She nearly toppled over, but Raoul caught her against him with a gasp.

“Christine!” He grunted in alarm, helping her upright.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured, breathing in sharply. “I think I need to sit down for a moment,” she told him, already walking away.

Raoul gave her a startled look and followed hastily. “Are you all right?”

“I—feel faint,” she said unoriginally. Sitting down on a settee in the lengthy hallway that stretched out into the west wing of the manse, she waved Raoul away. “I’ll be fine in a moment. Why don’t you go talk with Baron Marchand?”

Raoul eventually left, though reluctantly, and only after Christine reassured him several times over. As soon as his disappeared into the throng of guests, she erupted into shivers, rubbing her arms vigorously with her gloved hands.

She had looked up for the cause of the unusual lights, to find a luxurious chandelier suspended from the ceiling, directly above them. Its dazzling crystals had temporarily blinded her, and there were so many it seemed as though all the stars in the sky had been strung together and hung on the monumental decoration. She had been exceptionally lightheaded from the dancing, due to her temporary weakness after her ailment in the winter, and the chandelier had looked as though it was tumbling down towards her.

He’s there…the—

“Comtesse de Chagny!”

Her head swiveled in the direction of the delighted voice.

“Monsieur Marchand,” she greeted the young man before her as warmly as she could. “Happy birthday.”

He gave her a crooked smile, offering her his hand and raising her to her feet. “What has France come to, when a woman such as you sits alone in a ball!” She laughed softly, feeling a weight lifted from her shoulders in his cheerful presence. His light brown hair was in a loose ponytail, and he wore a suit similar to that of Raoul’s, along with most of the other men there. She supposed he was attractive enough for a lad his age, though a little unconventional. He had a narrow face and nose, with almond-shaped hazel eyes, and his thin lips were always parted in a lopsided grin. Though it was his boyish charm that often won the girls over.

Christine was six years his senior, however, and she had come to see him as a sort of younger brother.

They had met many times over the course of her holiday in Nice. She had been in town for nearly a month already, and Raoul had Baron Marchand and his only son over for lunch at least twice a week, if not more. The Baron was an elderly man, with a white curling mustache and a serious expression, quite the opposite of Dion, his son. He and Raoul often spoke of business and politics, and left Dion and Christine with each other for company.

Christine had immediately become fond of him. He was a true student of the arts, and seemed to sense that she was one too, though she had been out of contact with the art world since her marriage. He indulged her liberally about all the newest painters, musicians, performers and performances, and she lapped up every word like a thirsty animal. Once, he had even told her about the new Opera Grandiose opening soon in Toulouse, and asked her if she had ever visited the Paris Opera House, the one where that disaster with the fire and disappearing diva had occurred several years ago—what had its name been? Ah, but he could not remember what the papers had said.

No, she had never been there.

It was just as well, he had replied. There were rumours that it was haunted.

In a more recent encounter, he had informed her that he had been taking music lessons for the past two years, from a professional, and could play both the piano and organ.

“Perhaps you can hear me play sometime!”


Why, you’ve gone pale, Madame—would you like a drink?”

It’s just my chest cold, I’m fine, thank you, Monsieur.”

If you’re sure…well, as I was saying, my teacher is, in my humble opinion, the greatest musician to ever live.”

That’s quite a statement, Monsieur. What makes you say so?”

Ah, but I can not put it in words, Madame! It is like he can play the language of love…it is true magic.”

Now, as the boy stood before her, his eyes glittered, and a horrible feeling of dread washed over her. “Yes?” She inquired, replying to his stare.

“Ah, Comtesse, you have lied to me!”

Christine would have smiled, if he had finished his sentence with anything else. She found it so very French, how he started every thing with an excited gasp as though what he had to say was undoubtedly the most thrilling thing you would ever hear.

“Lying to you?” She laughed feebly. “I beg to differ, Monsieur.”

“Well, perhaps not lied, but kept something from me, nonetheless.” He gave her a deeply hurt look, but his tone was jesting.

“Well, we are hardly bosom buddies, I can’t be expected to tell you all my deepest darkest secrets,” she retorted, smiling.

“Hardly a dark secret, mon chou. I was speaking with my father this morning, and your charming husband arose in our conversation. To make a long story short, I believe my father’s exact words were: ‘And it’s no wonder, too, what with that opera singer wife of his!’” He finished his narrative with a triumphant ‘hah!’ and Christine felt her knees weaken.

“So, Madame, I thought to myself, ‘Why, surely the delightful Comtesse would never purposely keep something so relevant from me! Perhaps it slipped her mind? But, no, one does not forget such an important detail of one’s past! Perhaps she was embarrassed? Mon dieu, I hope not in front of me!’ And so my thoughts went on in such a fashion. But, the fact and the matter is, my dear Comtesse, you have refrained from informing of a fact that a man such as myself would find most intriguing! And, to repay me, I insist that you come sing for me.”

She heard herself shriek as he took a firm hold of her arm and led her from the hall, back into the ballroom, and then through an open doorway that opened up into what must be the parlor. She was amazed at how easily he pulled her along, while she was thrashing from side to side, trying to escape.

“I swear, Monsieur, I cannot sing—This is extremely—Let me go, I tell you!” Over the hired musicians and the chatter of the company, no one heard her frail cries. She plucked helplessly at his fingers, but they did not loosen their grasp. A few people stared as they moved through the quieter atmosphere of the parlor, and Christine thought they must look quite an odd pair. He was grinning joyfully with anticipation, and her face was contorted in furious dismay.

He finally came to a stop, and Christine wrenched herself from his hold, gasping for breath. “That,” she wheezed, scrambling for words, “was entirely inappropriate.” Leaning against the nearest surface, she tried to calm her palpitating heart, only to find her hand rested on an eerily familiar-feeling surface. “Oh, mon dieu,” she whispered frantically, stepping backwards.

Her mind flooded with painful recollection as she took in the magnificent instrument before her. She had never thought to lay eyes on a pipe organ again; she had feared just seeing one would somehow suck her back into the past. And this one very much did. She could hear heart-wrenching melodies echoing in her ears. She could see the shadow of a man, hunched over the ivory keys, looking up at her with unendurable grief. Her skin tingled at the touch of unseen hands.

“I cannot sing,” she told Dion mechanically, her wide eyes never leaving the organ. He chuckled.

“We shall see, Comtesse, we shall see.” He turned to the curious guests in the room, who had come to relax from the dancing. “Messieurs, Madames, I shall now play for you, accompanied by my dear friend: the Comtesse de Chagny.”

Dion,” she murmured angrily, so outraged by his forwardness that she forgot formalities. She would not, could not sing for him, much less any of the guests.

“Christine,” he replied mockingly. “I believe you are acquainted with the song I am about to play.”

“Dion, this is ridiculous.” She imagined she looked quite childish, standing there with her fists clenched at her sides and her features set in a stubborn, frustrated expression. But she did not deter from her protestations. “I am not a performer; perhaps I once was, but no longer!”

He looked at her in vacant glee, as though he had not heard a thing she said. “From the beginning of the aria, then.”

Her resistance melted away as she was again catapulted into the past. “What did you say?” She asked breathily.

He did not reply, for he had begun to play. She let out a strangled sob as she recognized the tune, and her hand flew to her mouth. “Stop this, Dion,” she insisted, her voice hoarse. “Stop at once!” It was helpless, he continued.

Of course she was acquainted with the song, she had sung it, in her first performance as leading soprano—in Hannibal.

She closed her eyes as the tension eased out of her body. The familiar music calmed her, filling her with an indescribable sensation that left her feeling invigorated and more—alive, than she had in years. It was as though she witnessed the first flower bloom after a decade of winter.

Something inside her burst, traveling upward and onward until—

Think of me, think of me fondly, when we’ve said goodbye. Remember me, once in a while, please promise me you’ll try.”

The astonished, admiring faces of the guests faded away and she was onstage before a full audience. She could see the glitter of the set out of the corner of her eye, and the encouraging smiles of the performers behind the curtain.

When you find, that once again you long to take your heart back and be free—if you ever find a moment, spare a thought for me…”

Her sweet voice filled the theatre, reaching each shadowy corner and spreading through the audience like a wave. She sung as though she had never stopped.

We never said our love was evergreen, or as unchanging as the sea—but if you can still remember, stop and think of me…”

A red rose tied with a ribbon awaited her in her dressing room, she knew. She could already smell its rich scent from here.

Think of all the things we’ve shared and seen—don’t think about the way things might have been…”

Thousands of roses, she decided, as the overpowering scent drowned out her thoughts.

Think of me, think of me waking, silent and resigned. Imagine me, trying too hard to put you from my mind. Recall those days, look back on all those times, think of the things we’ll never do—There will never be a day when I won’t think of you!”

* * *

“I’m certain that he--” Raoul paused in mid-sentence. He had just imagined he had heard the strangest thing…He thought he had heard Christine singing—singing the song that had first summoned up his old feelings for her, four years before.

But his ears were simply playing tricks on him. Christine did not sing any more—in fact, she had probably forgotten how. She barely even spoke these days.

Her voice sounded absolutely heavenly when she sang that song…

“Why, who on earth could that be?” The Baron’s mustache twitched, and his eyes narrowed in thought. “Do you hear that?”

Raoul stared at him, his mouth slightly ajar. “I’m sorry, sir?”

“Can’t you hear that singing?” The Baron asked impatiently.

“Singing?” Raoul paled. “You hear it as well?”

“Of course I hear it, I’m not deaf just yet!” He shook his head. “Well, do you recognize the voice?”


“You know, come to think of it, it sounds very much like your--”

“Excuse me!” Raoul dashed away before the Baron could finish his sentence. He weaved through the crowds, muttering apologies as he bumped into other guests. Many of them had cocked their heads, listening to the mysterious voice, only horrifying Raoul more. He didn’t know why, but the thought of Christine raising her voice in song frightened him beyond comprehension.

He was halfway across the floor, heading towards her voice, when the orchestra appointed for the gala even ceased their playing to hear Christine better. When the band’s music was taken away, Raoul realized that an organ was playing along with her.

“Damnation!” He cried, doubling his effort to get through.

* * *

Erik could not help but grin jauntily as he approached the doors of Marchand Manor. Your first social engagement, and you’re fashionably late. He chuckled richly as the butler opened the door for him.

His smile quickly faded.

He would think, that after two years of teaching Dion and four years of trying to forget, he would recognize the player of the organ first. But it was not so.

The first thing he recognized, knew beyond a doubt, was the owner of the remarkable, angelic voice resounding throughout the residence. His muscles stiffened, his eyes narrowed, his breath stopped in his throat. Later, he would not be able to remember which feeling came first, the blinding rage or the sickening age-old adoration.

But they came crashing into him nonetheless, tempests of emotion, and he felt his insides churn and coil in their wake. Tears of—sorrow? Remembrance? He knew not—flooded his eyes and blurred his vision. His knees buckled, and he would have collapsed there on the floor if the observant footman had not grabbed hold of his shoulders.

“Let go of me, fool,” Erik snarled, and the man jumped away at the harshness of his tone. “Where are the guests?” He demanded.


“Oh, never mind, I shall find out myself!” With a disgusted sneer, he darted off in the direction he though the voice was coming from, all the while cursing himself for showing up after all.

* * *

Flowers fade, the fruits of summer fade—they have their seasons, so do we. But please promise me, that sometimes, you will think of me!”

She came to the end, her last note spiraling and awing all who heard. All of the guests had crowded into the parlor now, eager to see who was performing so beautifully. They watched her, mesmerized for a moment after she finished, then erupted into applause.

Christine took in a shaky breath, smiling in amazement at Dion. He returned the smile, equally as astonished, then cried out as she literally fell onto the bench next to him. “Comtesse! Catch your breath, please, do not push yourself!” He helped her sit upright, rubbing her shoulder comfortingly.

She looked up as Raoul suddenly burst through the front of the crowd. He was panting and his hair was disheveled. His look was one of terror and bewilderment.

She opened her mouth, but her voice now was caught in her throat. She just looked at him, her eyes swelling with tears. What have I done?

“Your friend has the makings of a diva, Dion.” All heads turned as a man adorned in black stepped out from the corner. “One might wonder who her teacher was, to create such an extraordinary voice.”

All the feeling left Christine’s body, and her ears rung.

Masquerade…but a face will still pursue you…

A look of pure loathing distorted Raoul’s features. She saw him reach to his side, and she desperately raised her hand to stop him. Both men turned to face her.

“Phantom,” she breathed, and fainted against the organ.

A horrible, reverberating clang was emitted from the instrument as her body pushed down dozens of keys. It was the only noise in the entire house, as hundreds of guests observed the strange masked man, the Comtesse that sang like an angel, and her infuriated husband that now cocked and aimed his pistol.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Dream Descends

Part 2 of 16

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