Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Dream Descends

Part 7 of 16

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A curious thrill ran through Erik as he took Christine’s hand and led her through the silent house. The only noise was Christine’s soft breathing as she trotted to keep up with him. Her white nightgown and robe, translucent in the moonlight streaming through the windows, billowed around her thin limbs as she glided across the floor, her equally pale skin making her seem almost ethereal.

He looked back frequently, feeling as though he needed to make sure she was still attached to hand he held, and each time she was staring right back at him, her eyes shadowed and unreadable.

What endless longings echo in this whisper…?

His room was pitch black when they entered, and he left her in the doorway to light some candles. When the darkness had been replaced with a golden glow, he turned back to face her, and was speechless.

She was facing away from him, slowly tugging off her robe and depositing it across the back of a chair. Her silhouette was evident through the nightgown, the round curve of her hips and length of her thighs revealed under his gaze. She carelessly swept her dark masses of hair over her shoulder, rolling up her sleeves purposefully, though her hands shook slightly.

“Have you used the balm—” Her tone was practical as she pivoted to look at him, but it weakened considerably as she saw the yearning in his eyes. “—Since I visited…?” She struggled to keep his gaze.

“No,” Erik replied, his voice husky. He cleared his throat, cursing himself for the desire he let her stir in him. He looked at said balm, where it rested on his bedside table, pointedly, and she moved forward to retrieve it.

Fumbling with the plain container nervously, she gestured to the bed. “You’ll have to sit down.” When he did so, she added coyly, “And remove your shirt.”

She heard him take a deep breath, and then he silently unbuttoned the garment and slid it off. She was thankful he was not looking at her, for she blushed fiercely at the sight of his bare chest. He had been shirtless throughout the two days she had cared for him, but now that he was awake and very much aware of her administrations, she saw him in a completely different light.

His shoulders were broader than Raoul’s, and he had not lost any of the strength she remembered from the Opera Populaire. The Nice sun had done him good, darkening his once pale skin to a smooth bronze, making her tiny white hands stand out dramatically against it.

“Tell me if I hurt you,” she murmured, sitting down beside him and slowly unwinding the bandages. The gash looked better, but it was still slightly swollen and a faint pink rimmed the edges. Erik hissed as she began to rub the salve into it, scooping it out of the jar with two fingers and massaging it over the wound in rhythmic, circular motions.

“Do you have any idea how you injured yourself?” She asked, uncomfortable in the tense silence.

“Jumping out the window…at the Marchands’…” He flinched as she went over a particularly sensitive spot, torn between pain and pleasure. He was deeply aware of every movement her fingers made, picking up every rustle of her nightgown as she shifted around, every intake and exhale of breath. It took every ounce of control he had not to spin around and pull her to him.

“Christine, I do not mean to pry,” he started, and felt her hand slow somewhat. He was afraid of her response, but the question would be eating away at him for weeks if he did not ask. “But, yourself and the Comte…your divorce, is it only because of the child…?”

Her voice was horribly cool as she replied. “For the most part. It has been three years, so there are obviously more reasons…but, that was what the argument was over.” She laughed as she started to wrap fresh gauze around his shoulder, a cold, cheerless chuckle so unlike her that frightened him. “You know he was completely drunk out of his mind, when I left him? I wouldn’t be surprised if he awoke tomorrow and couldn’t remember why I wasn’t there.” She tore off the end of the bandage with a vicious tug.

He hesitated for a moment, and then asked, “Do you love him?” When she did not answer, he feared she had begun crying again, but her eyes were dry when he turned. Her countenance was one of unbridled misery, however, so striking and genuine that he almost found he preferred the tears.

“I love the Raoul I knew before,” she replied honestly, giving Erik a mournful smile. “The one that sung me lullabies from our childhood, before I went to sleep, and the one who never strayed from my side during the pregnancy, during the first year of our marriage. After that…everything seemed to wither away with Phillipe’s death.”

“I am truly sorry, Christine,” Erik told her, just as honestly as she. He felt abruptly that he could not hold too much resentment for Raoul de Chagny—he could not hate him for loving Christine, like he himself had loved her. He could not hate the man for trying to save her, with the best intentions in mind.

Erik had realized that Christine almost certainly was better off with the Vicomte, when Erik had been in the state of mind. He had been driven mad with jealousy and obsession, but these four years away from Christine had finally taught him that he could survive without her—it was a dull, gray survival, but it was survival nonetheless.

“You are, aren’t you,” she said softly, appreciatively. She reached up and gently ran her fingers across his one revealed cheek, her sorrowful expression melting away into one of dreamy thoughtfulness. “I believed you for dead,” she whispered, tracing his jaw line. His eyes bore into hers. “When I saw you, at the ball…” Her voice broke off, and she simply looked at him in wonderment.

Slowly, he brought his hand up to cover hers, and their fingers entwined. His heart pounded almost painfully in his chest as he guided the hand away from his face, down his neck, across his collarbone…

All at once, she leaned forward; his free hand snaked around the small of her back, and he brought his lips down to claim hers.

The kiss seemed to move in slow motion, hesitant lips caressing hesitant lips, warm and honeyed and new. Then, with one mellifluous gesture, he pushed her on to his lap and pressed her against him, and it was transformed into something else. Their hands were still clasped, caught between each heaving chest as mouths meshed together, both fiercely fighting for dominance. Christine wrapped an arm around his neck, pulling herself closer, aching inwardly as she felt his bare skin against her. Every thought flew from her head, except to somehow remove any barrier left between them.

Erik felt elation bubble and burst inside of him as Christine moaned in the back of her throat. He ran his tongue across her bottom lip and she gave him entrance willingly, letting him explore every nook and cavern in her mouth. God, she was perfect, so delicate yet forward, pleading him for more as she tangled one hand in his hair. He did not deserve this, any of it…it was not his…

Abruptly he pulled away, and she gaped at him. “Erik…” Her voice was a hoarse whisper, and he almost moved forward again, but he stopped himself just in time. He could not believe he was pushing away what he had wanted for so long, what he had needed

Tenderly, he moved her off his knee and back onto the bed, though she would not release his hand. “Erik,” she repeated worriedly, looking at him in confusion.

“No, Christine,” he said, choking on his own words. “You’re a married woman, even if not for very much longer, and I…”

She frowned a little, and, looking disappointed, got to her feet. “No, you’re right, Erik.” She sighed. “Even if I don’t like it.”

He got up and helped her put her robe back on, his hands lingering on her shoulders before letting her go to the door. “Can you find your way back?”

“I’ll be fine,” she replied, now smiling. “Goodnight, Erik.”

He raised her hand to his lips, kissing her knuckles for a long moment, never breaking eye contact. Secretly pleased as she breathed in sharply, he released her. “Goodnight, Christine.”

With a flutter of white, she vanished into the darkness.

* * *

He could not see clearly. The words were blurred and uneven on the parchment, warping and twisting as Raoul squinted to read them.

“You have heard from us once already. Do not take our warnings lightly. One of our own will come to you tomorrow—be ready.”

His glass fell from his hand and shattered on the floor. Collapsing onto the desk, his body shook with gasping sobs. Eventually, the mixture of alcohol and heartbreak lulled him into a fitful, nightmare-plagued sleep.

* * *

Christine awoke to a soft, chiming melody; so airy and pleasant that she thought she was still lost in dreams. But with a faint click the music started to repeat, and she knew she was conscious. She opened her eyes, and for a moment she was back underneath the Opera Populaire, sprawled across the swan bed, the Persian monkey clinging its symbols together at her feet.

Then the bright sunlight blurred her vision, reflecting off the pristine white lace of the bedspread, and she groaned. She pulled the sheets over her head and longed to lie in the warm shelter forever, pushing herself down into the mattress. She was so delightfully comfortable…

The song continued its playing, however, and she was sorely reminded that she was expected to do something other than sleep for the rest of the day. Raising her head, she searched for the source of the melody, and caught sight of an ornate little music box resting on the vanity, about the size of a fist, its lid off and the petite figure of a ballerina pirouetting on the surface.

She smiled curiously, easing herself from the bed and moving over to the vanity to examine the little trinket more closely. The dancer continued her spinning around the gold trimmed exterior, the rest of the ceramic box painted a deep shade of purple.

Christine did not need to wonder who put it in her room. She blushed lightly as she thought of Erik entering while she was still asleep, placing the charming gift where she would see it when she awoke, then perhaps lingering for a moment to watch her in her slumber.

“Madame?” A tiny voice disturbed Christine’s fantasy, and she turned, startled, to her room door. A young girl in maid’s attire stood there, looking no older than fifteen or sixteen, her wide green eyes watching Christine with awe as she nervously twined a strand of wavy blonde hair around one finger. She immediately stopped as Christine transferred her gaze from the music box, and stood up straight as a board.

“Monsieur de la Rue said his female guest would need assistance in dressing,” she uttered shyly, her small mouth giving Christine a sweet, if anxious smile.

“Oh!” Christine replied suddenly, returning the smile with enthusiasm. “Yes, please, that would be…” She sighed, laughing a little, “Wonderful.”

The girl, looking relieved, came in and closed the door behind her, then approached the closet. “My name is Anisette,” she said after a moment, stepping out of the closet with Christine’s green dress in her arms.

“I am Christine,” said woman replied warmly, as Anisette nodded.

“You are the Comtesse de Chagny, are you not?”

Christine felt her spirits drop a little. “How did you recognize me?”

“I regularly work at Baron Marchand’s residence,” she replied, helping Christine remove her nightgown. “You have been there many times.”

A glimmer of recognition appeared in Christine’s eyes. “Of course, I’ve seen you before! Forgive me, my memory tends to fail me from time to time.” She gave Anisette a smiling shrug.

“It is nothing, Madame le Comtesse,” Anisette replied brightly.

“Actually, I would prefer to only be addressed as Madame, or Christine, if you would,” the brunette said with embarrassment, as her shift was pulled over her head and Anisette started on the ties of her corset. “I am afraid Monsieur le Comte and I will not be married for much longer.”

Anisette gave a little gasp. “Oh, Madame, I am so sorry…”

Christine again shrugged, her eyes downcast. She struggled for breath as the corset tightened, but her lungs adjusted quickly from experience. “You remind me of a friend I once had, Anisette,” she told the maid wistfully. “When I once lived in the Paris Opera House, I knew a girl named Meg. She had the same beautiful blonde hair that you do.”

Anisette flushed prettily at the compliment, mumbling protestations. Then, she said with interest, “I heard you sing for Monsieur Marchand, on his birthday. It must have been hard to give up the life of a famous diva to marry your husband.”

“I missed it terribly, for a while,” Christine admitted, enjoying the luxury of having a girl to confide in. She had never had the desire to say anything of her former life to Adèle, always ridiculously afraid that Raoul was standing just outside the door listening. “But marriage is busy, and many things accompany it that take your mind off the past…”

“I would certainly not want to forget being onstage,” Anisette said with confidence.

Christine only nodded.

When she was fully dressed, Anisette moved on to her hair, brushing it thoroughly. The vanity drawers seemed to be stocked with every item a woman could want to beautify herself, and Christine chose a black ribbon that Anisette used to pull her curls back in a simple ponytail.

When she was finished, Christine asked her what the time was.

“Not yet eleven o’clock, Madame. Breakfast is served in the dining room, Monsieur de la Rue told me to inform you, though I’m not familiar with the household yet, so I can’t show you where it is…and he also told me to tell you that he would be in his studio if you need anything.”

“Thank you…I suppose I shall seek out the dining room then.” Christine exited her room, Anisette staying behind to tidy things up.

* * *

Christine found the dining room, and breakfast, after ten minutes of discovering new rooms and chatting with Beaumont in the foyer. She had become fond of Erik’s buoyant butler, with his enthusiastic affection and eagerness to please. He offered to lead her directly to the dining room, but she told him she didn’t mind exploring a little bit more.

The breakfast was set only for herself, so she assumed Erik had already eaten. She did not find herself very hungry at all, so she simply grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl and decided to spend a little time familiarizing herself with the house.

Erik must have designed it to be completely baffling to everyone but him, for Christine had never seen such careful artistry or maze of corridors that made up his home. Every banister was beautifully carved, every rug or painting chosen to perfectly correspond with the atmosphere. It was as though, Christine realized suddenly, admiring a particularly striking painting of a flame in the darkness, Erik had created this manor to live forever in their last opera, Don Juan Triumphant. He had condemned himself to be haunted by his failed attempt to seduce her, as long as he lived in this house.

This thought pained Christine beyond comprehension. She had spent the last week trying to decipher what exactly it was that she wanted from Erik. Now that she was getting a divorce, and was living with him for the time being…could she perhaps recreate the relationship she had torn to shreds four years before? Was it what she wanted?

Yes. Yes, she loved Erik, she had mourned their dead love, and she had slowly been being eaten away by guilt before she saved him from his fever. She had loved him from the first moment he shared his music with her, and though he had terrified her with his passion bordering on insane obsession, she could not find it in her to hate him.

She had never forgotten one particular argument her and Raoul had had, when she had still lived in the Opera house, and they were only just engaged. She had defended her Angel of Music when Raoul had proclaimed him a cruel monster for kidnapping her, and he had replied, tears of jealousy in his eyes,

“Why, you love him! Your fear, your terror, those are all just love…and love of the most exquisite kind, the kind which people do not admit even to themselves…”

Why she had not listened to him then, and saved all three of them from four years of suffering, she could not say. She had been naïve, still a child in mourning for her father, and she could not handle adult emotions. Yet you married Raoul.

Grimacing, she turned away from the painting; unsettled by the memories it stirred.

Her feet eventually led her back to the parlor from the night before, the chestnut-coloured curtains now pulled back with warm sunlight streaming into the room. The walls were a creamy yellow, and the furniture was upholstered to match.

The piano looked even more magnificent as she approached it, the name of the maker written in gold leaf on the casing. She lifted it and ran her fingers across the smooth ivory keys. Then, placing her nearly finished apple on the edge of a bookshelf and glancing up at the doorway to make sure no one was watching, she played a simple melody her father had taught her long ago. Every note was clear and defined in the smothering quiet of the manor, and she thought with anxiety that Erik was sure to hear her in his studio, hoping fervently her playing wouldn’t anger him.

When, after several tense minutes he did not come storming into the room, she dared to play another song, short and sweet like the one before. Smiling in childish glee, she sang the words to the tune under her breath as she pushed down the glossy keys, reveling in the lovely familiar sound. She speculated at why Erik never used the piano, yet kept it perfectly in tune. He had countless eccentricities, she said, dismissing the thought and simply enjoying herself.

After testing the piano a few more times, she closed it again and left the room, steeling herself as she decided to seek out Erik and ask if he wanted to accompany her on a walk. Her mind strayed to the previous night as she tried to recall where the studio was, and she found herself blushing even though no one was near. He had kissed her with such raw yearning that it frightened her, yet excited her at the same time. She would not have stopped if he hadn’t reminded her she was still wedded to Raoul.

But, then again, even if she wasn’t, Erik was not her husband.

What if he was?

Suddenly, doubt filled her. Maybe she loved Erik, but how could he ever trust her? What if he had kissed her yesterday evening, then shunned her today, changing his mind after remembering her betrayal? How could he forget it? How could she prove him that this time, she truly would not leave him?

You’re not divorced quite yet, she told herself, trying to relax. Don’t already start making plans for another wedding.

She was encompassed with guilt, as she thought of Raoul, alone in the Chagny estate, drinking away his miseries. You are saving him. You left him to save him; it is the only way… Yes, Raoul needed someone who would love him and only him, and that was not she. She had spent their marriage pining for another man, and he deserved a woman who adored him as much as he would adore her. Christine could only hope Raoul would realize this and not set himself up for a life of solitary sorrow.

Finally, she came to a door that looked familiar, and Christine knocked softly.

“Enter.” Erik’s voice was muffled through the thick wood. Biting her lip, Christine turned the knob and stepped inside.

He was standing at his easel, a pallet in one hand and a brush at the other. When he saw who it was, he hastily put both articles down on the bench in the alcove of the window and covered his painting. She waited at the door politely, sneaking glances at him as he moved around. He had undone several of the buttons on his, as usual, white shirt, and rolled up his sleeves to the elbows, giving her a liberal view of his chest and muscular forearms. The bandage on his shoulder was barely noticeable, except for a slight bulge in the fabric.

When he came over to help her down the few steps that led from the door to the sunken in studio, however, he adjusted the shirt so it was done up properly again, and she could not help but sigh disappointedly.

“Good morning, Christine. I trust you slept well.”

His eyes, unwaveringly intense, did not leave her face, and he held on to her hand longer than was necessary.

An excellent sign, she thought in spite of her earlier self-scolding. “I did,” she replied, and then smiled brightly at him. “Thank you for the music box.”

“I thought you would appreciate it,” he said, in way of explanation, the corners of his mouth turning up slightly. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?”

“I—I thought we might go for a walk,” she said quickly, praying that she did not blush.

“A walk?” Both surprise and something akin to pleasure flashed across his eyes.

“Yes, along the beach, perhaps—it is such a lovely day,” she said falteringly, gesturing to the window.

“Yes, it is…Very well, be in the entrance hall in five minutes or so—I shall be ready then.”

She could not contain her cheerful grin as she replied. “I shall.” Standing on tiptoe, she planted a kiss on his one revealed cheek. Blushing furiously, she the left the room to seek out Anisette and ask if she could borrow a shawl.

* * *

Erik felt oddly nervous as he tied his cravat, standing in front of his bedroom mirror. He had never thought he would enjoy the simple pleasure of going for a stroll with a woman, such things had always seemed alien to him. When Christine had suggested it, he had almost thought she was joking. Then her cheeks turned pink and he realized she had been completely serious. He could have laughed at the utter ridiculousness of it. He, Erik, the Phantom, the Trapdoor Lover, was taking a soothing walk along the shores of Nice for pleasure—with the Comtesse de Chagny, no less!

He came down the stairs in high spirits, to find Christine already at the door, again talking merrily with Beaumont. The butler appeared to be telling her an amusing story about his childhood, but Erik hardly noticed. He only had eyes for her.

The yellow gown she wore was off the shoulder, and she had wrapped herself in a plain linen shawl, that did not look like part of a Comtesse’s wardrobe. She was the very image of sunlight and happiness however, and when she turned as she heard his footsteps, he felt his heart skip a beat as she beamed at him.

“Shall we go?” He asked, offering her his arm. She took it with one white, gloved hand, and Beaumont opened the door. Erik did not miss his butler’s knowing smirk as he led Christine out, and was surprised when it did not bother him in the slightest bit.

They walked slowly along the boardwalk, and Erik was amazed at how easily conversation came. Christine asked him how it was teaching Dion, and Erik plunged into a detailed critique of the boy’s talent. She laughed cheerfully at his little sarcastic comments, and her replies were surprisingly insightful. He somehow always pictured her as a beautiful doll, and had never thought of her on an intellectual level. Though she had not had much schooling, she knew nearly as much about music as he did between his teachings and her father. She also knew her history, and literature, but in all other areas she was completely uninformed.

They lapsed into a comfortable silence for a moment, and Erik took the time to silently admire the sun. The weather was near perfect, a balmy wind coming in from the sea so the sunlight was not unbearably hot, even though he was already getting warm in his black dress clothes that he always wore. The smell of the sea was refreshing, and Christine seemed to revel in it. Her eyes took on a certain wistful look as she gazed out onto the ocean, he noticed.

“I used to live by the sea, you know, with my father.”

Ah, that explains it. His silence encouraged her to continue.

“He used to come down onto the beach and play his violin for me, and I would sing for him… That was where I first met…” The hand on his arm tightened as she trailed off. After a pause, she swallowed and continued. “After that, Madame Giry took me to the Opera house, and I always used to have dreams of us just sitting in the sand…and it was just like it used to be.”

Erik hoped desperately as she raised a hand to her eyes that she would not begin to cry, and spoil the walk after it had gone so well. When she turned to him with a clear gaze, he sighed with relief. The relief vanished with her next question, however.

“How did you come to live at the Opera house, Erik? I always meant to ask you.” She laughed briefly, then added, “I meant to ask you so many things that I never got around to.”

When he did not answer, she looked at him again. His brow was furrowed, his eyes troubled with some nameless pain. “Oh, forgive me, I did not mean to pry,” she said quickly, frowning. “You need not answer.”

“I am sorry, Christine. It is only-” He gave her a meaningful stare, trying to think of the right words.

“Hush, I understand. But someday, Erik, I will sit you down, and you will tell me your life story.” She sounded so sure of herself that he found himself believing her.

“And I will tell you then, Christine. I promise.”

“You do?” She asked, startled. “You’ve never promised me anything before.”

“And you’ve never kept any of the promises you made me,” he replied, sounding more curt than he had intended. She gave him a hurt look.

“I thought we had talked about that already,” she said softly.

Don’t make an ass of yourself. “Yes, and that did wonders for my tragic past, Christine.” He couldn’t help himself. His voice was thick with sarcasm.

She bit her lip and turned away so he could not see her expression.

Cursing himself, he said immediately, “Forgive me…Christine, I’m trying not to-”

He was cut off when she spun around and embraced him forcefully, securing her arms tightly around his waist and burrowing into his chest. He went stock still for a moment, then hesitantly wrapped his arms around her back and kept her close.

“Let’s stop apologizing to each other,” she mumbled against him. “I’m sorry, and you’re sorry, and we know that now. Please, let’s just move on.”

He kissed the top of her head tenderly. “I would never want to hurt you, Christine.”

She tilted her head up and looked at him. “I know it is hard to trust me again,” she said slowly, with an ashamed countenance. “But I will prove myself to you, one way or another, Erik.”

He gazed down at her for a moment, near bursting with a sudden swell of love. “Do not look at me so, Christine,” he told her quietly, “or I will be tempted to kiss you again.”

“I wouldn’t mind,” she said, smiling suddenly.

“You’re married.”

She gave him a disbelieving look, then let go of him, and he automatically missed her touch. “Have it your way, then,” she said aloofly, moving so they were several feet apart. She picked up her skirts and meandered leisurely, smirking mischievously.

He gaped at her, wondering where on earth this unfamiliar, bold woman had come from. God forbid… Was she flirting with him?

He did not move as she continued on, and she stopped a little ways away, the smirk still on her face. “Are you coming or not, Monsieur de la Rue?” Her hips swayed as she took a few more steps.

Whatever she’s doing, it’s bloody damned well working.

With a low growl, he took two long strides and enfolded her in his arms, meeting her lips almost violently. She returned the kiss desperately, and he could feel her smile as he raised her off her feet.

When they finally broke apart for air, he muttered, “Seducing wench.”

Her only reply was that same playful smirk.

* * *

Raoul’s head felt as though someone had thrust an axe into it. He massaged his temple tenderly, groaning softly. He was a complete wreck, he knew, and it would probably only strengthen his visitor’s resolve when he caught sight of him.

Lord, of all things, I do not need this. I did not ask for any of it.

The door to his study opened, and Raoul looked up to see a towering, dark haired man staring at him with penetrating gray eyes. His suit completely black, and he carried with him only a blank envelope. “Monsieur le Comte,” the man said in greeting. His voice was like ice, cold and slick. It sent shivers down Raoul’s spine, and he paled considerably.

“Whatever your demands are, I will not meet them,” he told the man, sounding a great deal more confident than he felt. “It is a great honour to bear the Chagny title, and I will not shame my predecessors by surrendering to your filthy Commune.”

The man laughed, a short, barking laugh that only increased Raoul’s headache. The look of nasty superiority that crossed the man’s face filled him with dread.

“We shall see, Monsieur, we shall see.” He came and sat across from Raoul at the desk. “It was unwise to ignore our orders early on. My commander has now raised the fee.” He handed Raoul the envelope. “Three hundred thousand, no less.”

“You’re insane,” Raoul spat, dropping it as though it was poison. “You know I won’t pay.”

“You will either pay with money, Monsieur, or with your life.”

“What good am I dead to your people? You won’t kill me; you need me to get access to the Chagny fortune.”

“Then perhaps alternate means of persuasion…” The man trailed off suggestively, his thick eyebrows arching. “I did not see your charming wife when I was brought in.”

Rage twisted a knot in Raoul’s stomach. “She is currently indisposed,” he replied, grinding his teeth, swallowing the tears that threatened to spill over.

“Well, my superiors have been longing to meet with her. She is said to be a lovely woman. Perhaps I will pay her a visit, before I leave Nice.” He got to his feet, moving back to the door. Then, quietly, he spoke again. “Yes, Monsieur, I think watching over your wife would be a very wise thing to do.”

Raoul froze. “What are you suggesting?” He asked, horror written plainly across his face.

“What ever you might think I am, Monsieur.” Then, with an inclination of his head, he left.

The Comte de Chagny screamed blankly in fury, picking up a bottle from his desk and hurling it against the wall. Panting heavily, he sunk to the floor, leaning against a bookshelf. He put his head in his hands.

They’re going to take Christine. They’re going to take her, and they’re going to kill her. If it’s the last thing you do, Chagny, you’ll save her.

Grimly, he reached up to his desk and opened the envelope.

“You will learn to respect us,” it read, “Or you will suffer under us.”

With a snarl, he tore the paper to shreds. Then, getting to his feet, he called for his butler. “Deniau! Bring ‘round the carriage—I wish to visit Monsieur Marchand.”


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Dream Descends

Part 7 of 16

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