Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 30 of 38

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

Henri gave a crooked smile. "Now there's a good girl."

Christine cringed as she heard Erik's voice call out. "Christine, don't! Don't you dare, Christine! Christine!"

Henri rolled his eyes. "Amanda, do shut him up. That beast is beginning to make my head hurt."

Amanda faltered. Normally, she would have no problem shutting a man up. A pistol-whipping to the face usually did the trick and drove the point home. On a few rather triumphant occasions she had broken a jaw...

...but she froze. Her mind could not force her hand to take the exquisite pistol that she had once given Erik and ruin his perfect left cheek...or even worse, destroy the mask that covered his right cheek and expose what she had for so long feared to see.

How can I possibly hurt you more?

So she just stood there, an idle porcelain doll, as Erik continued to call out to Christine.

"Christine...Christine! Angel...angel, I know that you don't want to do this. I know that this can only be hurting darling angel..."

Christine shut her eyes in agony. He wasn't yelling. Erik had lowered his voice to a soothing melody, a calming embrace. It was so dark, yet so wasn't Erik's voice at all, it was her angel's. He was trying to get inside of her head, trying to make her falter in her course of action...

Clever, she thought.

Starre saw confusion crawl into Christine's eyes. "Amanda!" He called furiously. "Shut that bastard up!"

"Christine, my angel..." Erik called once more.

"Amanda! You bloody idiot!"

"Oh for Christ's sake!" Edward Morrigan marched over to Erik and smacked him in the side of the face with his pistol, splitting his lip open. Both Amanda and Christine cried out at the same time. Edward turned an angry eye to his daughter.

"I don't know what the fuck you think you are doing, girl, but enough is enough! Pay attention to what you are told, or I will kill this bastard myself so you have nothing to distract you!"

Amanda went white. For the first time in almost twenty five years, she didn't dare scream back at her father. His yelling unnerved her...disturbed her. She had never heard him yell over something that she...that she...

That you actually give a damn about...

Amanda almost wanted to cry...which thankfully, made her want to laugh.

"Watch yourself, old man," she hissed out.

Henri shook off the family melodrama behind him and returned his attention to the task at hand. Unarmed and backed into a corner, Christine trembled, even as she tried to hide her fear. She flinched as he delicately traced the line of her scar with his finger.

"Tisk, tisk," he shook his head, as if speaking to a five year old. "This truly is a nasty scar, my darling. I'm sure that you wouldn't want your Baron to acquire any of these, perhaps a bit deeper."

Christine bit her lip and shook her head.

Henri nodded. "Wonderful, my dearest. Now, you have only to cooperate."

Christine nodded, keeping her eyes downcast so that Henri Starre would not be able to see the tears of absolute dread that had begun to gather.

"You will provide me with the number to your accounts in Switzerland."

Christine nodded slowly.

"You will aid me in retrieving Baron Von Alsing's funds."

Christine's head shot up. "What! You can't ask that of me! He has servants who have no other choice but to live off of that money. To ask me to take it from them would be to condemn them to death!"

Starre turned slowly and looked at Edward, who nodded in understanding. Christine watched as Edward walked over to Erik and tore his shirt down the middle. Sweat and grime clung to the bound man's chest, his breathing still erratic and painful from the blow to his face. Edward drew a knife and quickly sliced across Erik's upper torso, allowing blood to paint a deadly pattern of violence as it danced its way down his abdomen, finally soaking into the top of his trousers. Christine screamed and ran towards him, only to be pulled back violently by Starre.

"Such dramatics, my dear! Fear not, the man is no good to me dead right now. The wound is superficial, meant merely to inflict pain...not death."

Christine was gulping air furiously, trying to suppress her sobs as Erik's face fell forward in exhaustion, his once pale, porcelain skin stained a hateful shade of crimson

Next to him, Amanda's breath was still caught in her throat. She had known the wound would not be fatal, but she knew that it had to be painful as hell. Erik hadn't made a sound, which terrified her much more than any wail of agony could have. She turned her brilliant eyes on her father, whispering low and dangerous, "don't do that again."

Edward made a motion to speak, but Amanda's eyes just sparked with more golden fury. "Don't do that again."

Oblivious to the scene behind him, Henri tightened his grip on Christine's arm. "You will aid me in retrieving Baron Von Alsing's funds."

Christine looked once more to Erik, the threads of the white shirt hanging off his body beginning to drown in his blood.

She nodded her assent.

"You will accompany me to Switzerland, as my mistress."

Christine choked on her horror once more. "Accompany you? You will have the account numbers; I swear they will be correct, I swear it! Why can't you just take them and leave me in peace!"

Henri smiled. "Now why would I do that my dear? You're simply perfect. You have the body of a goddess, I would be lying if I said that I hadn't admired it back at the opera, and yet," he smirked at his ironic triumph, "you are scarred. I can have all the benefits of a mistress without having to spoil you like a typical mistress. What right has a scarred little mouse to demand anything? Without me, you'll look like a common street whore...more than likely end up as one."

Christine wanted to vomit. She had expected death, but not this! Not this! Not to become the mistress of this man, a slave to his sexual desires whenever he felt the need, only to be shoved once more under the cover of darkness to hide her face.

"God, no," she whispered.

Henri turned once more to Edward, who opened another terrible gash across the top of Erik's chest before Christine or Amanda could react.

"Bastard!" Amanda shoved her father violently. "I told you not to touch him! I told you! One gash will cause pain, but how many until he bleeds to death? How many?"

With a roar of anger, Edward slapped his daughter's face, sending her back a few paces. "Embarrass me again, Amanda! I dare you! Embarrass me again!" Edward turned furiously to Starre. "I tell you, Henri, this bastard isn't worth it! Even Amanda has lost her spine! Good God! How long until she has a gun pointed at our heads!"

Henri sobered as he took in Edward's words. There was no denying that Amanda's loyalty had been compromised.

Edward grabbed Erik's hair, forcing his face up. "I say we kill him, and then just torture the girl for whatever information we need."

Erik's world was still spinning, a deadly combination of blood loss and blows to the head. He could vaguely hear Christine's whimpering in the background, though he could clearly see Edward's Morrigan's face before him.

Erik smiled, the blood on his lips glistening in the candlelight. "Go ahead," he whispered, so that only Edward could hear him. "Take your anger out on me. Pretend that it isn't your fault that your daughter is a whore."

Rage filled Edward as he drew his revolver from his belt. He didn't care about Starre or Amanda or the Viscountess right now. All that he could think of was sending this masked demon back to the hell that he had come from. Erik's words has hit an unholy nerve within Edward, a deeply buried guilt, an unnamed terror that somehow he was to blame for the life that his daughter, that perfect infant that he had created for Angela, now led. He was a man unused to guilt, and prone to hate those who caused him to feel it.

You will die for this, Von Alsing.

Deaf to the cries of Christine, Henri, and Amanda, Edward drew the gun to Erik's head within the cradle of a moment. A shot fired, the sound exploding throughout the cavernous space, mixing with the dreadful sound of Christine's screams.

Erik had felt the gun swing past his face, the air that it moved as delicate as a breeze. In that moment, he had truly expected to die, begging God for forgiveness that Christine should be forced to see such a thing. He hadn't shut his eyes. He had wanted to meet his maker eyes open, heart pounding...he would feel no fear...

...until he realized that he wasn't dead. In the dark bowels of the Paris Opera, it was Edward Morrigan's body that lay, lifeless and bloody on the ground, eyes shut, and mouth open in a final, stunned cry. The left side of his face had caved in from the bullet that had been shot directly through the temple.

Erik turned his head to the sound of desperate breathing beside him.

Amanda stood stock still, trembling, Erik's gun still in her hand, the images of Hell that decorated it almost alive with the scent and sight of death.

"Father," she whispered brokenly. "Oh God, Father...Father, what...Father, why..." Thirty-four years of hatred and regret began to well in Amanda's eyes as she beheld the sight of her father lying dead before her, a bullet through his head by her own hand. "Oh Daddy, I didn't mean it...I didn't want...Daddy." she murmured, so softly that she wondered herself if she had even heard it. In thirty-four years, she had never spoken the endearment.

Erik watched with an unnamed emotion as she fell to her knees.



A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 30 of 38

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