Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 29 of 38

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What does silence sound like? How could you ever even begin to describe it accurately? Is it a dull roar of emptiness, or a mythic veil, muffling the ears from the very essence of sound itself? Is it comforting, or terrifying? Is it inherently human, or the most inhuman thing that could come to mind? Is it the very nature of death...?

...or rather, is it perversely, disturbingly, alive? A bloodthirsty demon that drinks the life from the ears and leaves only a cold void as a tombstone of what once was?

Silence enveloped Erik as he watched Edward Morrigan-a bruised and bleeding Edward Morrigan-drag Christine up from the shore towards he and Amanda, a gun digging viscously into her temple.

Amanda looked wide-eyed at her father's injuries. "Father, what happened? And who the hell-" She paused, her eyes fixated on the slim figure in her father's grasp. The girl's hair was shorter, and she was wearing trousers, a corset, and a torn shirt, but the scar on her face would not lie. Edward had Christine de Chagny under his arm. "Christ," she muttered.

Edward gritted his teeth as he pressed the gun into Christine's forehead. She gave a small yelp of pain. "Little bitch gave me some trouble, she did. Pulled a knife on me before I almost choked her to death. Luckily I recognized our precious Viscountess before she was nothing more than a scarred corpse.

Erik saw the entire world in red. Christine was bruised and out of breath, her hair chopped off at the shoulder, a torn shirt hanging from her petite body, blood splattered upon her corset, her neck purple with the imprint of Morrigan's hands, her lip swollen...

You will die for this, Edward Morrigan.

She hadn't looked up yet, and for that, Erik was glad. He needed to think for a moment, and meeting her eyes would have surely distracted him. Good God...why was she here? Roman was supposed to have taken her to England! Far away from this! He could kill the man for being so remiss in his duty! The well-intentioned bastard must have shown her the letter!

Why are you here, Christine? He thought, enraged. She had walked right up to Death and asked for a waltz by coming here. She had deliberately entered a situation where she could not hope to possibly win...

Why are you here, Christine?

It was at that moment that she raised her head, a cry escaping her lips as she saw him tied against the gate. Christine felt her soul both die and soar at the same time. Erik was alive! Alive! But for how much longer? His face was bruised, the color drained completely from his visible cheek, save various bloodstains. His mask however, still sat perfectly in place, a fact that, in light of the circumstances, surprised her.

Why are you here, Christine? His eyes seemed to say.

Because I love you, she willed back.

"Viscountess," a voice called. "I have to say that I am extremely pleased to see you. I knew you when you were nothing but a shy dancer, but we called you Lotte back then. It seems so long, my dearest Christine."

She almost swooned. "Henri Starre?" Shock and disbelief colored her words. He had been the physician in residence at the Opera Populaire for years! He had watched her grow, and had treated several of her sprained ankles and the breaking of both of her little toes. He had left to open a private practice the year before her angel-before Erik had appeared to her.

"How could you possibly be involved-" Christine stopped. The glint of something red caught her eye in the light of the torches that lit the cavernous space. It was a ruby...several rubies...several of her rubies...around Amanda Morrigan's neck. "You," she growled out slowly between her lips. If Christine hadn't known better, she would have said that Amanda had actually shrunk down for a moment beneath her gaze. The sight of Erik's former mistress, impeccably dressed, wearing rubies that had belonged to Raoul's mother, standing beside Erik as he was bound to a metal gate, made Christine ill.

Oh God, Raoul...

Christine straightened, hard as it was with the weight of a gun pressed to her forehead. A part of her wanted to die, right in this moment. She didn't want to see Erik in pain, she didn't want to see the empty look on his face, the confusion and the hurt. She didn't want to hear the truth about Raoul, but more than anything, she didn't want to be afraid anymore. Christine was so weary of being afraid. The pursuit of excuses to cover her fear had not only drained her of all of her strength, it had almost destroyed the fragile nineteen years of her existence.

Christine looked once more at Erik. He looked...why is he looking at me so queerly?

She shut her eyes and took a breath.

"Christine Daae' where is your red scarf?" She could hear Raoul's voice, a memory at the edge of a faraway precipice. "You can't have lost it?" He smiled from ear to ear. "Not after all the trouble I went through to get it for you. I was just fourteen..." She had been so happy that night, so elated to see him, so relieved to touch someone who had been a tangible reminder of her dead father and her childhood.

She would be brave.

She had no choice.

"Dr. Starre," she gritted out, her voice low. "Since I'm assuming that you know everything that is going on here, I will ask you..." She held her breath. "Where is my husband?"

For a moment, Henri seemed confused. Then, a flare of recognition burst into his eyes, followed by resignation. "Oh, my dear girl," he said, his tone too kind to be sincere, yet too soft to be a direct insult. "I did try to tell our," he paused, "original," he seemed happy enough with that choice of vocabulary, "leaders that this ridiculous idea of using the Viscount was just that." He eyed Christine. "Though dare I say it, it did work. Perhaps Laurent wasn't the complete idiot that I made him out to be."

Christine's throat began to burn, the horrible truth dangling before her eyes yet still out of her reach. She had lived through Raoul's death once-oh God, would she have to do it again? "What, what are you talking about? Where is my hus-band?" Her voice broke over the word.

Erik watched, silence still choking him. How could she possibly look so beautiful, covered in blood and tattered clothing, pleading for a husband that was long dead? Like a Valkyrie who had seen every atrocity known to man, she stood like a warrior, blood on her face and a gun to her head. He couldn't even feel the familiar soul-crushing pang of dread whenever he heard her mention Raoul de Chagny...

...she was just so mind numbingly beautiful...

Henri walked up to Christine, and for the first time Erik pulled desperately on his restraints, a low noise coming from his throat.

Amanda stood perfectly still beside him.

Christine sucked in a startled breath as Henri ran a gentle finger down the side of her scarred cheek. "Hmmm," he said softly. "I don't remember this from the opera my dear."

Christine winced. "It was an accident."

Henri nodded. "Yes, yes my poor girl, I imagine that it was."

"Where, where...where is my husband?" She repeated once more, her voice trembling violently.

"With God," Henri replied.

"No!" She screamed, lunging forward, arms flailing. Edward grabbed her and hauled her back against him roughly. "Why would you do that!" She cried. "Kill a man and then resurrect him in nothing but a lie!" Red-hot tears started pouring down her face. "I hope you burn in hell! He was a good man! A good man!" Powerless to do anything else, Christine simply let her head fall back as despair, like salt in an open wound, stung at her soul

Erik could take no more. His angel was wilting before him, dying under the weight of her sorrow. "Christine!" He cried out.

The sound of Erik's voice woke her from grief. "Erik!" She called back through her tears. "My Erik!" She looked up at Edward. "Let me see him, please!" When he did nothing but stare down at her, Christine turned toward Starre. "Please...please let me see him. You have to let me see him, please!"

Henri started shushing her gently. "Calm yourself, my Lady. Hysterics are rather unbecoming for a woman of your...station." He nodded towards Edward. "Bring her to him."

Relief flooded through Christine as she felt herself being dragged up a small set of stone steps. Edward gave her a rough shove-she had hardly given him a reason to be gentle with her-and she landed on a soft form, cradled by two strong, yet thin arms.

Christine looked up into Amanda's fathomless amber eyes.

For a moment, Amanda could only stare at the ravaged young face before her. The terrible scar, burned through a once perfect left cheek, a bright contrast to the girl's porcelain skin, evident even under a layer of dirt. Sky blue eyes were wide with a strange mix of fear and curiosity...Amanda had never seen someone look so young yet so old, so innocent yet so worldly, so ravaged and yet so very beautiful...

Finding her bearings, Amanda replaced the wonder on her face with a scowl and pushed Christine up straight. She whirled her around violently and thrust her hands beneath the girl's cloak, feeling around. She was rewarded with a dagger and quite possibly the most beautiful pistol that she had ever seen. Amanda didn't even notice Christine falling to Erik's feet; she was so engrossed with the gun. Holding it up to the dim light, she saw small rubies, orange and red mother of pearl...perhaps opals? Yes, she remembered now, they were opals. In her hands she held Hell. The gun should have had Heaven as its twin, but Christine had only had this one on her.

"Lux et veritas," she whispered. "Do you remember, Erik?" She murmured, the firearm's grotesquely beautiful surface reflecting her eyes. "Do you remember when I gave you this pistol? It seems so long ago now." Amanda's voice was light-innocent, even. "It reminded me of beautiful, yet mysterious. Forbidden...irresistible." She had fallen into another world. "I remember this one more than its twin." She smiled. "The gunsmith was so wonderfully ingenious. Whereas the other gun was a true dueling pistol, holding only one bullet...Hell holds three. One for Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." She whirled around. "Do you remember Er-?" But she stopped, realizing that Erik hadn't heard a single word that she had said.

His face was buried in Christine's neck as she clung desperately to his bound form.

"Erik," she cried, her lips pressed against his ear. "Oh God, Erik...I was afraid that you were dead." Her tears ran onto the cool, stiff leather of his mask, and Christine was again surprised that he still wore it. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders, horrified that he could not put his arms around her. He felt like a rag doll.

"Why are you here?" He whispered into her neck. "Why? You were supposed to go with Roman! You were supposed to be in England!" Christine pulled away, and she saw the anger in his eyes. He was terrified. Terrified for her and terrified that she should see him like this, tied up, a useless puppet in a sick bastard's game. Christine just shook her head, pressing her lips gently to his. Erik felt as if every emotion he possessed was draining from his body. All that he could feel at the moment were her lips, soft, warm, and so very alive. Why did it seem as if he hadn't kissed her for millennia? Her hand stroked his right cheek with such love and reverence that he almost felt a tear burn at his eye.

"My Erik," she whispered, pulling away slowly. "You do know how the British annoy me."

He almost choked. Was she kidding around with him!

Christine kissed him once more, infusing the kiss with all of the love and the passion that she had ever possessed. If she could have, she would have poured every ounce of her life force into him so that he would live a thousand years of happiness. She wondered briefly at the cruelty of fate. Had she lived for nineteen years, only to be able to redeem herself in death?

"I love you," she whispered ever so quietly. Erik shut his eyes as he felt her tears against his lips, tangible evidence of her love, raining out from her heart. Pain, like cannon fire, exploded within him. So this, this, was love? To be able to melt away a lifetime of hatred with something as simple as a kiss? She had done it before, why should he be surprised that she had done it again?

No, Christine," "he hissed through his own tears. "No, Christine, don't do this! Christine, no!"

A part of her soul froze over. He knew what she was about to do, even without really knowing. She ignored his pleas.

"Dr. Starre," she said, straightening, her voice solid, sure, and decidedly older than her nineteen years. "What are you terms?"


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 29 of 38

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