Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 9 of 38

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He laughed.

It was a harsh, sickening, twisted sound.

Erik threw his head back and unleashed a noise that made Magda's blood freeze.

"Love her. You think that I love her!"

Magda shut her eyes.

"Why the hell would I ever do something so stupid!"

Erik leapt off of the chaise, his disheveled appearance only adding to the danger that he exuded. He walked over to the small gypsy woman, slowly walking around her, stalking her, allowing her to feel his presence...

She was shaking.

"You must care for Madame de Chagny very much to risk my anger on her behalf."

A single tear rolled down Magda's cheek. What had she done? Her incessant prodding had done nothing but back him into a corner that he was now fighting desperately to get out of.

"Do you fear me, Magda?" His voice was a low, dangerous whisper as he continued to walk a slow circle around her trembling body.

She kept her eyes shut and did not answer. The look of his anger combined with the haunted presence of that perfect mask terrified her.

Erik stopped and stared at her, absorbing the pallor that had crept onto her normally dark skin. He didn't need to hear the words. She was absolutely horrified by him.

He was nothing but a monster to her.

With an agonized cry, his fist smashed into a large crystal vase. Shards of razor sharp glass embedded themselves into his fingers as the piece went flying, before breaking even more completely on the wooden floor.

"Why!" He screamed. A china lamp was next to fall victim to his rage. "Have I ever harmed you, Magda? Have I ever hurt you or your husband...or anyone in this household for that matter? Have I ever done anything but allow you to live your lives?" He kicked in the screen in front of the fireplace and it crumbled into the flames.

Magda realized, of course, that he was right.

"You fear me for this!" He raged, his hand on his mask.

Again, he was right. Magda cringed as he let out another horrifying laugh.

"And now you wish to know whether I love Christine? Why, Magda! Does that terrify you! That behind my inhuman face could rest a man whose heart beats desperately for that which every other wretched man on this planet takes for granted? You fear me for this mask, and yet you should be thanking me for wearing it!"

She slowly opened her eyes.

"I am not a monster," he cried. "Oh no." Now cynicism was laced into his words... "Did you know, Magda, that once, they called me 'angel.'?"

She had no reaction, which for some reason unsettled Erik greatly. His perfectly cultivated life was spinning out of control, and he couldn't fix it if she didn't do anything.

"Who are you?" Magda's whisper was almost inaudible, but Erik missed nothing. Instead of responding to her question, his large hand enveloped her wrist, instantly pulling her from the room. She literally had to run to keep up with his long strides as she was dragged down a corridor and up a small set of stairs. With a kick, Erik burst into his dusty music room, releasing her so quickly that she fell to the floor. In a moment he was seated at his piano, and playing the only piece of music that had ever truly encapsulated everything that he was. His bloody hands instantly launched into his until-recently-forgotten Don Juan Triumphant.

Magda stopped breathing as the notes of his music bombarded her with their power. Anger, sadness, hatred, and an all consuming passion raged, interwoven perfectly within the piece, darkness acting as the harmony to light's melody. She felt her knuckles curl and her back arch against the assault of sound and emotion that he was lavishing on her. Was this what this man was truly capable of feeling? Could the ice cold Baron have once actually lived and breathed such passion? Such pain?

With an abrupt halt, the gloriously dangerous music stopped, and Erik turned around, the blood now soaked on his sleeves, his hair even wilder than before, sweat beading on his neck and forehead. Magda knew that the fact that a man like him could produce such a haunting, beautiful power only made him even more terrifying. That was who he was. The embodiment of his music. He had answered her question by playing his music.

She feared him more than ever.

And he knew it. Erik looked into her eyes and his face fell. He knew it.

Everyone that I ha"ve ever known has feared me, Magda. Everyone!" Pain suddenly replaced the rage that had formerly filled his voice. "But they had a reason to! The people of my past had reasons to fear me...but not you! Not any of you! Not in this place! Not now when I have come so far!"

Magda sat stone still.

With an exasperated breath, her Master let his hands fall to his sides. "Apparently I haven't come very far at all." The pain was gone. The fleeting glimpse that Magda had gotten of the man within her Master ...the caring, hurting soul...the one that had stayed by Christine's bedside...instantly vanished.

"Do you want a real reason to fear me, actual reason!"

With a violent motion, he tore the mask from his face.

Roman clutched a small brown parcel of medication tucked safely under his arm. He stood in the entranceway of a well appointed Parisian town house, with Persian carpeting over the floors and polished oak lining the walls. Wealth was obvious throughout Dr. Starre's entire home, and he hoped that the man was smart enough to stay out of the Commune's way. They would easily be driven to violence in the pursuit of funding for their cause. Little Mademoiselle Giry was still saying her good byes.

"It has been so good so see you again, Doctor." The girl's loveliness increased under the influence of the genuine smile that she was giving the old man. He returned it in kind, giving her a small hug.

"And you my dear, your face is a flash of light in these dark times. My only regret is that it is framed in black." Both grew quiet for a moment, and Roman suddenly felt like an outsider, intruding upon mutual grief. "How is your mother?"

Meg shook her head.

"You know Maman was extremely close to Christine. She is overcome with her grief and hardly ever leaves the house. She blames herself, despite everything that I tell her. She can't help but accuse herself for starting the whole business."

Dr. Starre sighed. "Christine's association with that madman was no one's fault. It was simply unfortunate."

Roman took a step closer to them. Madman?

Tears formed at the corner of Meg's eyes. She felt as if she had been crying since the moment she had risen from bed this morning. "You are mistaken, Dr. Starre. It was leading the Viscount to them that night that maman blames herself for. Without her, Raoul never would have found his way down...perhaps she would still be alive if she had been under his protection."

The doctor scoffed at the remark. "Christine is with the angels now, Marguerite. Would you rather see her alive and a slave to that monster's hell?"

Meg looked down, saying nothing. It didn't matter now, the Opera Ghost was dead. None of them had been saved. Raoul's "rescue" of her had simply been a death sentence in disguise for all three of them.

Roman's attention was running at full speed. His conscience was at war with his reason. He knew, deep down in his soul, that Meg Giry's Christine and his Christine were one in the same. With a few words he could erase this grieving girl's pain...they could just as easily however, endanger Christine.

He held his tongue, hoping to catch more information beside the few bizarre statements that Meg and the doctor had let loose. Unfortunately, the two finished their cryptic conversation regarding Christine and turned to him.

"Monsieur Majekt." The doctor's voice was deep, but kind. "Allow me again to express my best wishes for your Master's servant. From what you have told me the girl seems strong enough to overcome such an infection, with the aides of the medication that is. I only wish that you knew who recommended my services to the Baron. I am embarrassed to admit that I am not familiar with the name Von Alsing."

Roman gave a polite smile. "I will admit as well Sir, I do not know how my Master came upon your name, and usually I am the first to know such information. I can only tell you that your services must be remarkable if Baron Von Alsing demanded that you be the one I visit."

Starre nodded gracefully at the comment and once again instructed Roman on how the medications were to be administered. There was also a topical salve to ease the harshness of the girl's wound along with two liquid medications to help eradicate the infection. With a polite farewell, Roman and the young Miss Giry stepped out into the sunlight of an earlier afternoon.

"Thank you, Mademoiselle Giry, for your assistance today." She gave him a smile and Roman realized that underneath her thin frame and too pale skin had once been a very beautiful girl. "May I escort you somewhere to return the favor?"

It was true, simple honor demanded that he see her safely to whoever she had originally been headed, but dangerous curiosity also demanded that he spend more time in her company. The things that she had said to the doctor about Christine had sounded like insanity...

Meg nodded. "I was headed to the modiste's when I happened upon you. I have to pick up my mother's new shawl. She needs it all the time now; even a slight chill discomforts her. It's only a few blocks from here."

"I am sorry to hear that, Mademoiselle," Roman replied as they began to walk. "I take it your mother has not reacted well to your friend's death?"

"No, as you heard me tell Dr. Starre, she considered Christine another daughter. She blames herself for the entire awful situation."

Roman pounced on what might be his only opportunity.

"About that, Mademoiselle Giry. I could not help but overhear you and the doctor, but I'm afraid that I don't understand what your mother could possibly be responsible for."

Meg stopped walking and turned to him. "You honestly know nothing of the entire scandal that surrounded Christine Daae'?" Roman shook his head. "Have you never even heard of the Phantom?" When he responded similarly for that question, she looked at him as if he had a thousand heads.

"Never! Have you never read The Epoch!" Roman almost had to smile. Her somberness retreated to reveal the normal gossip loving soul of a healthy young girl. Good, he thought. Even among gypsy girls it had been the same. They could never resist revealing a good story.

Meg took his arm and they resumed walking. "Christine was a dancer at the opera's corps de ballet with me. My mother was the ballet mistress. This was a little over a year ago, before the Commune took over. Unlike me, however, Christine had the voice of an absolute angel...the only problem was that no one noticed...until he did.

Roman eyed her, but allowed her to continue.

"We all knew him as the Opera Ghost, the Phantom...Christine called him the angel of music. He was actually just a man...but a powerful one Monsieur. He made his home beneath the opera."

Roman almost laughed. "Beneath the opera? Like a mole?" He instantly quieted when Meg's lips turned down.

"Do not mock it, Sir. He was a madman, but he was a genius. He taught Christine to sing beyond anything any of us ever could have dreamed. Unfortunately he used extortion to promote her. He was able to come and go as he pleased. He knew every trap door in the theater, his labyrinth was as grand as any home in Paris. He wrote music and designed scenery and...well, everything. He destroyed sets, destroyed other singers...destroyed lives. A stagehand was murdered when he didn't get his way. The Ghost considered the theater his own..."

A terrible, ominous feeling came over Roman as he listened to the girl, though he had no idea why and he didn't dare interrupt her.

"He fell in love with Christine, and it was his undoing. She was engaged to the Viscount de Chagny and when the Phantom found out," Meg suppressed a shiver, "he lost his mind.

Roman list"ened with apt attention as Meg told him of the Masquerade ball and the brilliant insanity knows as Don Juan Triumphant. When he asked why such a brilliant man would resort to all of this, she answered that he was deformed terribly, completely outcast from society. She told him of the performance of the Phantom's opera, and the kidnapping of Christine. Christine herself had eventually told Meg the rest of what had happened. The Phantom had trapped Raoul in his lair, threatening to kill the young Viscount if she didn't marry him...

"And then she kissed him. She kissed him and...and he let her go. He loved her beyond reason...and even though she never said it...I think my dear friend...well," she looked up at Roman, her eyes once again moist. "Well, it doesn't matter now."

They had stopped walking, having reached the dressmaker's door. Roman's eyes were glazed over, trying to comprehend everything in the fantastic story that he had just heard. Could Christine really have lived such a life?"

"But there is one thing I don't understand, Mademoiselle Giry. What made him snap in the middle of his own opera? Why not steal Christine at the end when the theater was dark?"

Meg's hand flew to her mouth, as if embarrassed at her own stupidity. "My God Monsieur, did I not say it? She tore the mask from his face!"

Roman choked on his tongue.

"This Phantom, this monster...wore, wore a mask?"

"Yes, she nodded. A white one that covered the right half of his face."

Christine was dreaming again. That same God awful dream that she kept reliving had once again crawled into her subconscious.

She was once again in Erik's lair, once again dressed in the wedding dress, once again a witness to that awful night.

"You try my patience!" He cried. "Make your choice!"

Christine looked at him, his face naked, his eyes wild. No, she thought. No Erik please don't make me decide like this.

Then with a flash the dream cut to her wedding day. Oh how happy Raoul was, standing there in his beautiful suit, looking every bit the elegant Viscount. He was smiling at her as the priest bound them together, but inside, her soul was dying.

No, God I can't, she thought, but she didn't have the courage to say it. Raoul had risked his life to save her, Erik had let her go. She loved Raoul. This was her life now and she had no right to deny it.

Suddenly her beautiful wedding dress melted away to leave her naked and pressed back onto a bed...her marriage bed. She felt Raoul moving within her, his body weight crushing her.

"I can't breathe, I can't breathe!" Raoul however, in his passion did not hear her. With no other option, Christine abandoned herself to the carnal joys of marriage, actually shuddering in the pleasure that her body was experiencing. She looked up into his face, but instead of warm brown eyes, she saw glowing blue ones.

"Oh Erik," She moaned.

Raoul stiffened, instantly withdrawing from her and standing up.

"I can't do this he "cried. "You can't do this! You love him Christine!

"No, no please!" She choked out. No God this hurts, she though desperately. Raoul was at her side, sobbing at how much he loved her, begging her to let him. She was sobbing too, crying out that she did love him, that she had loved him since their childhood. Christine's head started pounding, the room started spinning, and she let out a blood curdling scream...

...And then she was sitting in a well lit bedroom, though it was certainly not her own. A well dressed man sat beside her.

"How are you feeling today Viscountess?"

She ignored him, rocking back and forth on the bed, staring at the crucifix on the wall.

"God help me. Please God help me."

The man continued speaking, obviously used to being ignored by her. He reached out a hand to touch her arm.

"Viscountess, you know that your condition requires me to check your heart regularly. Your husband would be very angry if we did not do our best for you."

She turned to face him, feeling the weakness that was maiming her young body.

"When will I get to go home?" She asked quietly.

The man ran his fingers along her wrist, and then her neck, taking note of the faint pulse that kept her blood running.

"Soon, my Lady," he promised.

And then, she was back to where the dream started, back in Erik's lair, floating away from him on the gondola with Raoul. She turned around, her heart melting at the sight of Erik on the shoreline, broken and alone.

"Stop, you're hurting me!" She screamed. "Stop! Please, I'm begging you. Not like this Raoul!" He put an arm around her lovingly, but all that Christine could feel was pain. "Raoul stop you're hurting me! Please stop! Please! Raoul no!"

But no one heard her. She was screaming in her much of a coward to voice how much she wanted to die right there and then. Too much of a coward to admit how much she loved...

Christine woke from the dream shaking violently, wailing for Magda, and from the pain that consumed her.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 9 of 38

<< Previous     Home     Next >>