Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 5 of 38

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The first few weeks were bearable...during the day.

Nights were a horror. Whenever Christine closed her eyes, the blackness that overtook her would fill her mind with one of two images. The first was Raoul's murder. Her vindictive subconscious played it over an inhuman amount of times as she slept. Her nightmares thrived on the sight of his blood and dying face.

The second was the night that she left Erik, and the look of utter helplessness and loss that had invaded his eyes as she had walked away.

It was that dream that was always the cruelest. Raoul's murder at least was always a haze, and she always knew that she was dreaming. She would simply hold her breath through the pain and wait to wake up. The visions of Erik however, were as real as the breath in her lungs. Christine could feel the dampness in the air of the Opera basements, she could taste his tears on her lips as she kissed him. She would scream out his name, begging him to forgive her, but he could never hear her. Every night it got worse, her screaming grew louder, her desperation stronger...

...until she would wake up in her bed, a panting mess of tangled hair, sweaty limbs, and tear stained cheeks.

Nights were hell.

Days were better, but certainly not heaven.

Christine immersed herself in the work that Magda set her to. Roman had asked what her preference for clothing color was (as she was to be provided with a wardrobe) and she had quickly said 'black.' Her mood was dark, she wanted the rest of her to be as well. Childish yes, but it provided her with a small amount of pleasure.

Pleasure from grief, she mused. I truly am a dark creature. She had however stitched beautiful designs along the edges of her corsets in fine white thread and wore them as Magda did-over her blouse. She had found that she rather liked the combination.

The other gypsies had been kind, but were distant. Magda was the only one who spent any real time around her. Christine realized that the other two woman were not only wary of her foreign heritage, but of the wound on her face. Usually only dark women could claim such deformities.

You are a dark woman, he mind reflected. Or at least you are becoming one.

Even Magda's stare sometimes lingered on Christine's wound, which had finally healed into a very large, very angry red scar. How could the woman not stare? The appearance of the red streak against otherwise pale, smooth skin was transfixing. Like waves crashing onto a beach, the smooth lines of her face all of a sudden puckered and rose, creating a ghastly ridge of twisted flesh. It was peculiar, to say the least. Christine also suspected that Roman had confided in his wife about his Master's actions around their new servant. The man had gone out of his way to avoid her, and Roman wasn't foolish enough as to think this was without reason. Whenever they asked of her past however, Christine simply shrugged and said that it was unexciting.

"Did you learn to sing as a child?" Magda had one day asked. Christine had instantly stiffened at the question.


Magda had nodded. "Yes, or play an instrument? I was under the impression that many Parisian girls did, and music is very important in my culture. I was simply curious."

"No," Christine had instantly snapped. "I really have no talent for music. I don't know how to sing."

Magda had prodded. "But your husband was a violinist?" Christine had only nodded. In her heart, she knew that Magda was only trying to do what she saw as best, trying to get her to open up the floodgates of her past. Christine resisted however. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if those gates opened, she would drown in the deluge.

Days and weeks passed by, and Christine slowly started to settle into a routine...however mechanical. Early breakfast, create a menu for the day to be given to the cook (a gypsy man named Loren), see to the cleaning of whatever rooms Magda wasn't busy with, lunch, more straightening, dinner, and sleep. The first half of the night was dedicated to mourning her dead husband, the second half dedicated to running from her past with Erik...

...whom she never saw. He had made good on his word that he did not like to be disturbed. For the first few days she had wondered how she would react to hearing his music, but it soon became very apparent that he neither played, nor sang. She had buried her disappointment in a shallow grave with her other banished emotions. A deathly, disturbing quiet was the only real sound that ever filled the drafty mansion.

Christine looked forward to days like today, when she was with the other women. The foyer, one of the largest rooms in the house, needed to be cleaned, and along with Christine were Magda and another gypsy, Narica.

"Christine, no no, yes that's right, circular motions." Magda was directing her as she clumsily tried to clean the large wooden banister without creating more smudge and grime. Christine sighed inwardly at her obvious lack of skill. She hated seeming weak and helpless. She had spent the first nineteen years of her life that way, and really wasn't looking forward to spending anymore like that. Weakness had destroyed what little life she had had.

Christine looked up to find Narica staring at her. The young woman quickly looked down, burying her face in the floor that she was waxing. A rage came over Christine that she did not know she possessed. Was her face so horrible! It was just a scar! Stupid! A twist of the flesh! Nothing more! Did she have to shake it into everyone that she was not evil just because her right cheek wasn't perfect!

With a hiss she plunged her rag back into the bucket of water, ringing it out violently before returning to her work on the banister. She worked the cloth against the wood so roughly that her fingers burned.

I was once a Countess! I was once a diva! I had everything once! And you stare at me as if I were nothing but a curiosity!

Magda looked over in confusion as Christine gave a snort of frustration, watching as the girl repeatedly dropped the cloth, sloshing water everywhere.

Christine picked up her rag for what seemed like the thousandth time. Why did she have to wipe in circular motions! What did it matter! It just caused her wrist to go numb, which made her drop the damn rag. Why did they have to clean like this! Why did the banister have to be cleaned today! Why did she have to be so childish? Why did Erik have to be so cold! Why did Raoul have to be dead! Why did she have to be so horribly scarred! Why did she have to lose everything that she had ever loved!

Why damn it!

With a strangled cry Christine kicked the bucket of water, sending it hurling down the stairs, water spilling everywhere.

"Why?" She screamed.

Magda and Narica looked up, the horror unmasked on their faces. The normally reticent Madame de Chagny stood before them, the bottom of her skirts soaked with water, her face flush, her breathing ragged.

Narica whispered a prayer in the ancient Romany language against evil. Magda only shook her head. She knew that this moment would have come eventually. No woman could endure what Christine had without taking an outlet for their anger at some point. She wished that she could reach out to the girl, but from the wild look in her eyes, Magda knew that though Christine stood before her, she was far, far away.

The silence stretched out painfully, until it was finally broken by Christine's sudden sobs. Clutching her face, she sank to the stairs, the tears running down her face, catching on the crease of her scar. Magda walked towards her, but Christine instantly gave a cry of protest.

"No!" She held up her left hand, the other covering her tear stained face. "No Magda...I'm sorry, I'm fine. I just..." Christine looked around helplessly. "I'm sorry. I'll clean it up I just..."

"Magda! Where is that damn husband of yours! As if the Baron needed any more proof of how woefully inadequate his household was!"

Christine instantly looked up to the source of the loud, shrill voice. Standing in the center of the grand foyer was one of the most beautiful women that she had ever seen. She was tall and slim, her breasts tapering into a lovely waist, which in turn rounded into a lush curve of hip. Her jet black hair was wound into beautiful ringlets beneath a feathered hat. Christine had had one just like it back in Paris. They were the latest in fashion. Large brown eyes shone like copper against skin that was the color of the moon. A dress of sea foam green and blue complimented her exquisite coloring.

"Mademoiselle Morrigan," Magda answered. "We were not expecting you today."

Anger twisted the woman's lovely features with ugliness.

"I am aware of that! I have been ignored for weeks now! I am the laughingstock of the entire town. They call me 'whore!'" She folded her arms across her chest, pushing her breasts up even higher than the bodice she was wearing already did. "I demand to speak to the Baron!"

Both of Magda's eyebrows rose.

"Impossible. You know that the Baron will speak with none of you unless he desires it. He will be quite upset if he is disturbed."

Christine watched with rapt attention, transfixed and confused by the obvious offense on Mademoiselle Morrigan's face.

"How dare you? How dare you claim to know the workings of the man's heart?" As if it would make her words weightier, she stared gesticulating wildly. "I will speak to him now! I refuse to be made to suffer another day on his behalf!"

Magda opened her mouth to protest again, but stopped. She hated Amanda Morrigan with a passion. The Baron's favored mistress had an ego the size of Spain and lacked any real charm or skill outside of those that pleased men. So, she wanted to speak to the Master?

Magda laughed to herself. Very well then.

"Narica," she called across the room. "Go and find Roman. Tell him to have the Master come to the foyer straight away." The color drained from the younger gypsy's face.

"Magda, are you sure that's wise?"

"Of course it's wise!" Amanda snapped. "After all, the man favors me for a reason." She smiled to reveal dazzling teeth. Christine couldn't believe it...the woman literally was physical perfection. But...

"Magda, "she whispered once Amanda had walked away from them, busying herself in front of a large mirror. "Who is that?"

Magda rolled her eyes, something that Christine had never seen her do.

"That, Christine, is arrogance incarnate. Her name is Amanda Morrigan. She is the Baron's favored mistress."

Christine bit the inside of her lip.

"His...his mistress?" Clarity rung out and Christine remembered the very reason that she had met Roman in Paris. He had been there to find another mistress for his Master. For the Baron. For Erik...

Magda nodded. "He keeps about three or four at a time. He gets bored very easily with them and they are soon replaced. Women like Amanda like to delude themselves that they will one day claim the title of 'Baroness,' but that is nothing but what I said, a delusion."

Christine felt sick. "Butcommon who...res..."

"The Master forbids whores." Magda shook her head at Christine. "Just women from poor families who have no objection to becoming well cared for mistresses. They are all furnished with lovely townhouses in the neighboring village, fine gowns, and fine jewels. Amanda was actually the daughter of a local merchant who lost everything when the Commune sacked his Parisian holdings."

"So they become whores," Christine said with a malice that she had not know she was capable of. "After all...they get past making love to a mask. I suppose it's easy with diamonds around your neck"

Magda's face turned grim. "Christine, I beg you, do not mention that mask. If the Master were to ever hear you...I do not even want to imagine the consequences. We are forbidden from even acknowledging its existence."

"Well as long as we are all living in this amusing state of denial, I shall pretend that the Baron's porcelain slut is not preening before the mirror below."

Christine almost fainted at the absolute horror that had crossed over Magda's face at her words. How could she have said that! She cursed her temper and her loose tongue. How in Heaven was she ever going to explain the streak of cruelty that had colored her voice? How could she pretend that it didn't exist?


Damn her subconscious for stating the obvious.

Erik having a mistress-make that several mistresses-was almost as disturbing to Christine as the fact that it not only upset her, but enraged her.

"Perhaps that disfigured little mouse would prefer to speak to my face." Christine looked up to see an enraged Amanda Morrigan at the bottom of the stairs. "Jealous, troll? I see you are not a, gypsy"-she spit the word out with distaste-"jealous that the Baron would deny a scarred little servant for a, what was it you called me?" A malevolent smile settled on her beautiful lips. "Ah yes, a 'porcelain slut.' How fitting. You're tongue is just as ugly and unrefined as your face."

Christine's fingers curled into fists at the weight of her rage. She steadied her breathing, willing her body into a state of control. She could not lose her temper. She could not! If she did she would assuredly reveal too much, and she would once again find herself alone and defenseless in the world.

"You say he denied me?" Christine allowed her gaze to sweep over the woman's entire frame. "I say that he denies you. You are his mistress, and yet clearly you have never seen beneath his mask."

Magda swallowed the lump of dread in her throat. What game was Christine playing?

"I have seen beneath it!" she lied. Christine could not have hit a better point had it been highlighted for her. Amanda had constantly been insulted at the Baron's refusal to remove his mask, especially when his other mistresses claimed that he revealed himself to them. Of course, Erik (though she was not permitted to call him that) always denied this.

Christine walked down three steps.

"Really?" She wondered with mock curiosity. "Then what does it look like? Why wear a mask? Really you must tell me!"

Magda almost fainted.

Amanda tried to her best to grasp for a response, her head muddled by the sudden attack of words from the strange servant with the ghastly scar on her face.

"He wears it because...well, he wears it because he is scarred!"

For a moment, Christine felt her entire world fall from beneath her. Could Erik have truly revealed himself to this woman? To this woman!"

She forced her tone to remain nonchalant.

"It must be hideous then."

A look of triumph graced Amanda's face. She could tell that something she had said had thrown the servant girl off balance.

"On the contrary, wench. He has the mark of the angels on his right cheek. It is a beautiful star; he keeps it hidden so that creatures like you won't gawk at his beauty."

A thick silence filled the room and Magda's mind began to spin. She had never seen the Master without his mask. Was Amanda telling the truth?

Christine burst out laughing.

Amanda's cheeks burned with embarrassment. "As if you would know any better you little fool! How dare you mock me! How dare you imply that I am lying?"

Christine sobered, her anger returning. "Imply? Not at all Mademoiselle. I am fully accusing you of lying. Angels leave their mark, but not as you have just described."

Amanda took a full four steps up the stairs. Magda back away instantly. Christine stood her ground, a strange sense of duty to protect Erik's masked face falling over her.

At what would" you know of angels? You are hideous. To look at you offends me. Only women of the gutter have marks such as yours!" Amanda's voice was cold and infinitely cruel, and Christine's control instantly snapped. Consequences be damned, childishness be damned...

"I may be hideous to the eyes Mademoiselle Morrigan, but you are hideous to the very core! You barge in here as if you were even welcomed in the first place, which you were clearly not, demanding to be acknowledged as more than the whore that you are!"

"Christine stop this as once!" Magda's command was more out of fear for Christine than the feelings of Mademoiselle Morrigan, but her words were lost. Christine's rage and anguish, pent up for weeks now, spit forth from her like molten lava. Amanda answered back with equal fury.

"Insubordinate little twit! You know nothing of who I am, or my life, or what I lost! My father was one of the wealthiest merchants in Northern France, and you treat me as if I were the lowliest of the low! You are worth less then the dirt on your face!"

Christine's voice was possessed by something, some sick rage, but only God knew the depths from which it came.

"You speak of loss! Of loss! You are clearly older than me"-she meant it purposely as an insult-"and yet you know nothing of loss! You know nothing of life! You speak of the loss of your wealth! I have known more loss than your black soul is capable of understanding!"

Amanda sneered.

"You are a fine actress girl."

Christine's reason fled. All of her hatred of for the Commune, all of her morning for Raoul, all of her anguish and confusion towards Erik were directed here and now in this one moment.

"Twice in my life I have had love ripped away from me! I will tell you again that you know nothing of loss!"


Magda, Amanda and Christine all sucked in a breath and turned around. Atop the staircase stood Erik, his rage evident with every breath that he took.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 5 of 38

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