Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 33 of 38

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They didn't run...

Only because they quite literally couldn't. Weakened from blows to her body, as well as a now obvious lack of food, Christine was able to walk no faster than Erik, who, though cut rather badly, still managed to keep a respectable pace.

Sometimes Christine would swear that the man truly was a ghost. Who else could survive such an ordeal?

Roman, the only one still in prime condition, walked behind them, his pistol at the ready, protecting their backs. There was a sense of urgency in the air as they made their way through those tunnels, like Eurydice returning from the underworld: as soon as they reached the light, everything would be fine.

They didn't speak. No one dared to break the silence that was slowly but surely carrying them towards safety.

The small torch that Roman carried offered almost no light, but even in the darkness, Erik moved like a wolf at night, a silent stalker always aware of his surroundings. It would not have mattered if the light of the sun were miraculously pouring in through the layers of stone. Erik would see just as well.

Christine was walking quietly at Erik's side when her foot collided with something on the ground that almost sent her flying. Erik caught her, though with a great grimace of pain as he felt the muscles in his chest flex. Setting Christine right, he beckoned Roman over with the torch. A nose and a pair of eyes came into view...or at least what had once been a nose and two eyes. Christine screamed at the ghastly skull and nearly jumped into Erik's arms, burying her face in the crook of his neck. The last thing that she had needed to see at this moment was a skull.

"Catacombs," he whispered softly. "We are getting close."

For the rest of the way, Christine was thankful for the darkness that shielded her from the thousands of human remains piled up along the walls. She kept a death-like grip on Erik's hand.

When the corpses began to thin out, and the composition of the stone walls change, Erik stopped them. There should be a small staircase nearby. St. Chapelle had a direct entrance to the catacombs, and it was rumored that during the Reign of Terror, the famed Scarlet Pimpernel, a man whose identity was still unknown, had spirited away many French noblemen from the brutal caress of Paris' most famous lady: the guillotine.

"There." With his uncanny eyesight, Erik saw the first uneven step poking out of the darkness. Clutching Christine, he walked gingerly, until only a few steps confirmed that the staircase was carved right out of the rock.

Christine held her breath as much as possible, trying to keep the oppressive humidity from soaking her lungs. Her head was dizzy with pain, her throat burning with thirst, and her stomach clenched in hunger, but still she went on, faithful to Erik and the hope of life if she could only make it up this narrow staircase. God in Heaven...they would survive.

As they climbed higher, the air changed from oppressive to stale, then from stale to heavy with the perfume of incense.

They were within the church.

Even now, Roman kept a steady vigil, walking behind his Lord and - if the Fates were kind - the woman who would soon become his Lady. Even now, within the famed St. Chapelle, he kept his pistol always at the ready. Demons lurked everywhere; even in a house of God.

Eventually, they came to a small wooden door, its hinges rusty with age. It opened rather easily however, and Erik assumed that Starre had tested his hideaway on more than one occasion. The trio stepped into a long corridor, barely lit by the last flickerings of a few dying candles. After all, it must nearly be dawn...

At the end of the corridor they found another staircase, this one made of wood and spiraling upward no more than twenty feet. At its top was a door so small that it could barely be called a door, and Erik suppressed a groan as he squeezed his six foot plus frame through. What they walked into took their breath away.

They had walked through a hidden panel in the wall, and right into the main interior of St. Chapelle. It was still dark outside, but the remaining candles illuminated the nearly indescribable fifty foot stained glass windows that surrounded the altar.

"God in Heaven," Christine whispered. She had never been within this medieval bastion, a fortress made beautiful by windows seemingly large enough to touch Heaven itself. Christine was lost within the beauty of it all, realizing that every story of the bible was retold in the brilliant, colorful glass.


She turned, finding Erik behind her, his eyes burning and arms outstretched. That was when the truth of it all finally fell upon Christine. They were free. Her angel stood before her, bloody and tired but alive, so very much alive. She nearly fell into his arms, weeping silently against his chest as they both sunk to the floor, each refusing to let the other go.

Erik pressed his lips to her hair, repeating her name like a benediction, allowing the beauty of the sound to envelop him. "Christine," he whispered, his own tears threatening to wash away the fury that had consumed him this night "Christine, I love you."

She raised her eyes to his own, basking in the warmth that poured from them. "How can you? After knowing now what you know? My madness...My son-" Tears choked her words, and Erik's only response was to take her face gently between his bloodstained hands and kiss her as he never had before. It was a kiss of relief, a kiss of love, but more than anything else, it was a promise...a kiss of forever.

"I love you," was all that he said.

But in those three words lay eternity.

Off to the side, Roman stood, rather uncomfortably, feeling like a voyeur as he tried to avoid watching the lover's reunion. The look of absolute devotion in their eyes moved him, and he could not help but think of his Magda. He prayed that she was safe in London, comfortable and healthy, his future son or daughter nestled safely in her womb. He closed his eyes and saw his wife in their bed, the white sheets making her sun kissed skin look even more luminous. Soon their child would grow, and Roman would be able to hold his wife in bed and feel his child stir at the same time. Then the day would come where his child would become one with the world, the day where he and Magda would name their baby in accordance with Romany tradition, with one name for their ancestors, and one name to confuse evil spirits. He would be a father, and then a man at last. Roman wanted to shout with the glory that infused him.

He didn't shout, though, when the bullet ripped its way through his shoulder.

Instead, Roman only let out a small groan as the lead piece quickly plundered his body, leaving both an entrance and exit wound to bleed unmercifully. "Magda" was the only sound that escaped from his lips as he fell to the floor, his own blood beginning to spread around him like a pyre.

With a cry, Erik pushed Christine to the floor, terrified that she too might get hit by whatever had taken Roman. He sprung to the fallen man's aid, his eyes widening in terror when he saw the blood seeping from his shoulder.

"Pity, I meant to hit him between the eyes."

Erik turned, his heart falling into his stomach when he saw Amanda standing there, her pistol pressed to Christine's temple. "Hello, Erik. Now, if you would please walk away from your friend, I wouldn't want your hands anywhere near his pistol." For a moment, the sound of her voice stunned him into silence. It was so calm, so completely removed from reality. Amanda Morrigan lived no more. In her place stood a perfect, heartless, soulless siren, ready to kill or be killed.

When Erik failed to move, Amanda tightened her grip on Christine's arm, eliciting a cry from the girl that tore his heart open.

...he had failed her.

"Let her go, Amanda, she has no part in this. For God's sake!"

"God?" Amanda rounded on him. "Do not speak to me of God, Sir! Or was it God who sent me to the bed of the man who murdered Luciana?"

Erik could barely find the breath to speak. "Murder? You believe that I murdered her? I loved her!"

"Stop it! Stop it!"


"Stop!"The last thing that Amanda wanted to hear was the lie that Erik had loved her aunt. She took a breath and composed herself, aware once more of the girl within her grasp.

She smiled a slow, beautiful, wicked smile.

"I assume that you will wish for her to remain alive."

Inside, Erik exploded with rage, but outwardly, a nervous twitch in his hand was the only indication of the fury that threatened to destroy him. "You must realize Amanda, any action that threatens her life, I will repay in turn."

Yesterday, the menace in his voice would have torn Amanda's heart from her soul. Now, she had neither.

"I have no fear of Death."

And that, Erik realized, was what terrified him more than anything else. Amanda, thoroughly disheveled but beautiful as ever, had nothing left to lose. Erik knew just how dangerous people with nothing to lose were...

he had once been... one of them.

"You will love me."

For a moment, Erik thought that he had misheard her, but his heart knew exactly what she had said. He saw it in her eyes, and he felt it in the pit of his stomach. You will love me. He wondered then if he had ever loved her. In all those nights they had shared, absorbed within one another's embrace, there had been passion, but had there been love? In her smile, in her lovemaking, in the instances when they had been of one body and mind, had there ever been anything genuine? She was a scarred, tormented soul, just as he was... he was.

No longer was he the dark, brooding monster of a man that had first met Christine Daaé. Yes, she had killed him with her love, but with it she had also resurrected him. Christine had been given a crueler life than she deserved, a life that she had survived, despite its hardships. She was his soul mate, his other half, the perfect complement to his jagged soul.

And she loved him, despite all the reasons that she shouldn't.

He would sell his soul to save her.

Beneath Amanda's cruel hand, Christine's anger had begun to overtake her fear. "Tell her to burn in hell, Erik!" her voice quieted as the full weight of all that she felt for this man fell upon her. "Without you I'm dead anyway. At least let me-" Amanda put a hand to Christine's mouth, instantly silencing her.

Erik took a step forward, but the vision of that Hellish pistol pressed against his beloved's forehead stayed his hand. Helplessness consumed him.

Amanda gritted her teeth. "You will accompany me to Switzerland. You loved Luciana, and you will love me.'

He almost had to laugh. "You are out of your mind."

You will love me"!" Her control broke and she cocked the pistol, positioned to end Christine's life at whatever point its mistress dictated. "" Her voice shook.

Christine's voice, no longer angelic, but furious and so much older than it should have been, pierced through the air around them. "Tell her to burn in hell, Erik!"

Amanda let the girl scream. It didn't matter at this point. Her fate was already decided. "So," she asked, as calmly as if she were asking for a cigarette. "Do you end your days with me? Or do you send her to her grave?"


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 33 of 38

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