Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 1 of 38

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1 year after the first and only performance of Don Juan Triumphant

The cold cobblestones of the alley were so comforting to Christine's bruised face that she forgot for a moment that she was lying in a gutter. Her once fine dress was torn and dirty. Her shining, mahogany hair, normally curled and styled by personal maids, was wet and matted. A steady trickle of blood ran from her lips, and she was nearly positive that her porcelain skin was purple with bruises and lacerations.

God in Heaven, she thought, I'm alive. Christine drew in a ragged breath, the street beneath her applying painful pressure on her chest. The thought of a cracked rib was extremely unwelcome.

I'm alive.

She tried to open her eyes, but was met with only the darkness of night that surrounded and hid her. Her mind screamed at the dangers of remaining out, lying in the street at night, but her body refused to move and her mind refused to function. How she had gotten there was truly a tale to make the mind reel. How she had survived the brutality of the revolutionaries was even more astounding. Christine was alive, though to what degree was debatable.

Her head was spinning from vicious blows, her body shaking from blood loss. She fell into a strange state of consciousness...that gray area between lucidity and the blackness of oblivion. Soon the cold night disappeared around her, as well as the sting of her badly beaten body. Soon she was a slave to the strange stream of thought coursing through her brain...

...When exactly did I cross the line between child and adult?

...A strange thought for a young woman who was walking precariously on the tightrope of life. Then again, many have said that "bizarre" can only begin to describe the strange things that people see as life is slipping away from them.

She remembered her mother. The woman had been dead since Christine was 6, but a small part of her memory recalled her none the less. Her eyes had been soft and incredibly warm honey color. Rebecca Daae' had kept her hair short, her dark blonde locks curling like a cherub's. Christine could not remember her mother's voice, despite her father's insistence that the woman had sung. The lack of that memory haunted her to this day...

...but no, even after her mother's death, Christine had remained a child. Unlike so many girls who grow up unnaturally fast after the death of a mother, she had only become more selfish and dependent upon others...especially her father.

Charles Daae' had been the be all and end all of Christine's life for more than half of it. Where he had gone, she had blindly and eagerly followed. From Scandinavia to Spain, from Germany to England, and finally to Paris, where the world renowned violinist had eventually succumbed to a bout of consumption. When he had died, Christine had wanted to bury herself along with him. All of her life she had relied upon him...independence had never really come to her. She had been alone in the cold, cut throat world of ballet dancers, with nothing to sooth her but the promise of an angel.

Still, she had remained a child. Years passed, and indeed, Christine had matured, but fear, selfishness, confusion...they still overwhelmed her at times.

Perhaps she had become a woman when she married the Viscount de Chagny? A wedding ceremony (and a rather beautiful one at that) was all that it had taken to transform her from an emotionally damaged singer to one of the most powerful women in society. Even La Carlotta had not been able to look down her nose at the new Viscountess de Chagny...

No, not then.

Perhaps she had become a woman when the Commune had started to terrorize Paris, when security had slowly started to slip away?

No, not then.

Perhaps she had become a woman last night, when Commune members, bent on destroying powerful members of the aristocracy, had dragged her and Raoul from their home. They, along with many others, had been taken to the basements of the Paris Opera House where the rebels had taken safe harbor. She had been beaten terribly.

No, not then.

Perhaps she had become a woman when they had shot Raoul? Perhaps she had become a woman when those blood thirsty rebels had executed her husband of barely a year. She had screamed, the noise filling every pore in her body. He had choked out her name as a final prayer before slumping to the floor, his once clean linen shirt soaked in his own blood. They had murdered him, her Raoul...her friend, her husband, her childhood love...

No, not then.

Perhaps she had become a woman when, even in her grief, she had found the strength to run. Christine had never imagined that her extensive knowledge of the secret passages of the opera house would come in handy again.

It had.

Evading her captors, drowning in fear and pain, she had made her way through dozens of rat infested corridors and crawl spaces, finally spilling out onto the rue scribe. She had run for miles in the cold and misty night before finally collapsing in a dark alley.

That was how she had come to be where she was. Her husband was dead, her body beaten, her spirit broken. Christine de Chagny had never wished for death so fervently in all of her life...


...A memory came to mind of another time when death would have seemed a merciful option. It had been on a night where her soul had been stripped from her body. Nearly a year ago, she had been forced to make a choice that no creature outside of the gates of hell had ever been forced to make. She had had to choose to destroy a man that she loved...

Christine still hated herself for being a child, but for that one night, for that one night of pain, agony, and defeat, she had considered herself a woman. Her memory taunted her with Erik's words from that long ago night.

Either way you choose you cannot win.

He had been right. Either way, someone would have been destroyed...

...That night, she had found the courage to kiss Erik. That night, she had found the courage to admit that a part of her heart was undeniably his.

But then, she had left. She really hadn't been much of a woman at all. She had done what she had always done before...she had chosen the safer option.

Erik was gone. He had probably died in those awful cellars.

Raoul was gone. It was thanks to no small amount of irony that he had died in those cellars.

With a soft cry, Christine closed her eyes, willing Death to come quickly. It was cold, and she was beginning to grow impatient.

Roman Majekt entered the well furnished library, apprehension visible on his dark brow. He didn't know why, but for some reason he could sense that his Master would not be pleased with the news that he had for him.

The young gypsy had spent most of his life as other gypsies had, wandering around northern France, scraping up a living through magic and entertaining. For years, it had been a suitable existence for his people, but within the last generation times had grown rough. The "normal" people of France had become less accepting of them, and money had been harder to come by. By the age of twenty three, Roman had married and was looking to find a way of life that would provide for his future children. Many gypsies were...

That was why the Master's offer had been so attractive.

Almost a year ago, Roman and his people had been camped near Rouen, when a mysterious and rather ominous looking man had approached them. He had been very tall, thin, and pale. He couldn't have been more than forty years old, but he had looked near death at the time.

Half of his face had been covered by a white mask.

The man had informed them that he needed a staff to work an extensive estate that he had recently purchased. It was quite isolated, so their presence would be necessary, though he preferred his solitude. The strange man had spoken perfect Romany, and had related that some of his childhood had been spent with a gypsy band. Apparently they were the only type of people he was willing to trust.

He would pay richly for their service and discretion.

Some of the older gypsies had scoffed at the offer, warning that the mysterious stranger in the mask possessed the evil eye. Ignoring them, Roman and four other men had accepted happily. For the money that the man offered, they would be able to start new and prosperous lives.

Roman had indeed found a quite comfortable, albeit odd life as his Master's personal valet. He was in charge of any and all manner of errands. A small house on the estate's vast lands had been provided, as well as the generous salary that had been promised. The gypsy had grown used to his Master's strange habits and extremely volatile mood swings. The man could go from civil to insane within a singular moment. Even after all these months, Roman really didn't know anything about him...

...which was why at the moment he felt a certain sense of dread entering his Master's library. His eyes darted around quickly, locating the man across the room, dressed impeccably in black from head to toe. He was leaning against the mantle, staring into the room's large fire place. The glowing flames made his normally imposing figure look even more powerful.

"Sir? I have the information that you requested."

His master beckoned him with a wave of a hand, his masked gaze never leaving the fire. Roman took an uneasy step forward.

"You have word of the de Chagny's?"

Roman's uneasiness grew. His master's voice was like no other that he had ever heard. It possessed an unmatched beauty, but was lit at its edges with a long smoldering fury.

Roman nodded.

Ever since Commune rebels had started wreaking havoc on Paris, many nobles had been murdered. Apparently the Paris Opera House had been taken over, its performers forced out, and its basements turned into execution and burial chambers for the unlucky wretches who had possessed too much wealth and power for their own good. Roman had been charged with keeping the Master up to date with any and all information on one family in particular. It was strange, the Master had never mentioned any connection to the Viscount de Chagny or his bride, the young Viscountess...

"I do sir. Reports are in from Paris. You're paid informants within the Commune party have sent me word on the de Chagny family."

Now, the master turned.

He raised an eyebrow. "And?"

Roman looked to the floor.

"They indicate that both the Viscount Raoul de Chagny and his wife were taken captive in the latest waves of terror. They were brought to the cellars of the opera house. I'm sorry Sir, but only death could have awaited them there."

Roman was surprised when his Master didn't react. He simply dismissed him. With a sigh of relief, the young gypsy gave a polite nod and left the room. He had many other things to attend to for the day within the estates mansion, and the last thing that he needed was to be sent out on another ridiculous fact finding expedition to seek information on a family that...

...he was only halfway down the stairs when he heard glass breaking and screams of rage coming from the library above...

Christine gave a soft moan. Her eyes were literally unable to open, caked in dried blood as they were, but something within her told her that it was early morning. She moaned again as a dull throbbing pain made its way through her back. Someone was trying to pick her up.

"What?" Her throat burned with the effort to speak. " husband..." Christine's voice was weak and racked with pain. She tried to struggle free of the arms holding her, but barely moved an inch.

"Hush child." A pleasant voice filled her ears. "No one's going to hurt you. We will have you patched up in no time my girl."

Christine simply let her head fall back as she felt herself being lifted. Whatever was happening to her, she was in no position to stop them.

Oh God, she thought. What next?"


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 1 of 38

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