Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 25 of 39

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"Say a prayer to yourself,

He says, 'close your eyes, sometimes it helps',

And I get a scary thought,

That he's here means he's never lost…

And you can see my heart beating,

You can see if through my chest,

Said I'm terrified, but I'm not leaving,

I know that I must pass this test,

So just pull the trigger" – Russian Roulette, Rihanna.


Erik walked alone.

It was late and raining and his mood was foul. In spite of his best efforts over the past weeks Antoinette's condition still pained her and the injustice of it, frankly, infuriated him. He walked through the side alley as rain lashed at his back and dripped from the rim of his hat. It wasn't that he didn't know it was raining or that he was soaked to the bone, it was that he didn't care either way. Come rain or shine he was slowly being forced to face various inevitabilities… and it was maddening.

Christine did not come to him, Benoit did not know him and Antoinette was dying.


He deftly sidestepped a black puddle, despite the temptation to land full bodied into the mess, and rounded the corner. A carriage was pulling up outside the theatre and he stepped back into the shadows to watch. The show had finished over an hour ago and he wondered who would be visiting so late.

When Raoul de Chagny stepped out of the cab he felt his stomach turn over.

He watched as the man he considered his primary adversary entered the theatre and stood in the lobby. Erik moved around through the shadows and peered into the window, his heart suddenly like ice in his chest. Raoul stood patiently, oblivious to the fact that he was being watched, and stared around him.

It wasn't until Christine joined him that Erik felt the chill down his spine, the tingling in his fingertips, the raw, unbridled envy in his gut. He watched when Raoul placed a kiss to his wife's cheek, he watched the look she gave him, the smile he flashed…

He moved aside as they stepped outside into the rain, the cab was standing there waiting, the horse's coats gleaming wet from the rain. Christine's eyes drifted over the cab and therein she spotted Philippe de Chagny. She turned her head and said something quietly to Raoul.

'Christine,' he said, his voice was stern and Erik smiled to himself. It would appear that Philippe still acted as their bone of contention.

'I can make my own way home,' she said defiantly.

Raoul face was hidden by the shadow of the carriage but Erik spotted the change in his posture, the setting of his shoulders and the stiffening of his back. 'Don't be silly Christine,'

Her eyes flashed with anger, 'How dare you, Raoul,' she hissed. 'Silly? I wanted it to be just the two of us,'

'I only need to get the driver to drop him off,'

'You promised…'

'It will take less than thirty minutes,'

'By which time I will be ready for nothing but sleep,' she said and Erik swallowed back bile. What had they planned to do?

'You're being difficult,' Raoul sounded exasperated but not angry. Erik found himself astonished by the man's patience but was amused all the same.

'I'm going back inside,' she said glancing down at herself. It was as if she had only just noticed the pouring rain. 'I'm getting wet,'

'I can't leave you here,' and again he sounded more concerned than angry yet Erik still felt no compassion for him.

'Jack is around here somewhere,' she said firmly. 'You hold your brother's hand and Jack can hold mine,'

Jack wasn't around, of course, Erik knew that and so did Christine.


'Just take him home,' she said and Erik tried to ignore the sadness that had permeated her tone. 'I will see you back at the house,'

Raoul opened his mouth to argue again but must have thought better of it, because he simply sighed and let his wife walk back into the opera house. In moments he was back in the black carriage and they were disappearing out of sight.

Erik waited only minutes before Christine stepped outside, umbrella in hand, and began to walk down the street. He was about to catch up with her when he saw another shadow appear at the front of the theatre. Ricardo Bianchi exited and clicked the door closed behind him. Erik watched as he tugged his collar up to protect himself from the rain and then set off mere paces behind Christine.

Erik's mind flashed back twelve years and he felt a shot of anger spring through his veins. He knew that Ricardo could not resist beautiful women but he had not thought that the singing tutor would take to stalking them, not now. He stayed under the shadow of the buildings and began to follow.

Christine was more alert than Erik had given her credit for and within minutes she spun around and was face to face Bianchi. Erik paused and slunk deeper into the shadows.

'Ricardo,' she said simply and Erik could detect no note of anger or fear.

Bianchi smiled at her, 'I saw you walking, I thought we could walk together,'

Christine frowned. 'I was under the impression that you lived on the other side of the town,'

'Oh, I do,' Ricardo stammered. 'I just saw you walking alone. I was concerned,'

'No need, I'm fine,' she said as she turned to continue walking.

Ricardo reached out and grasped her wrist which she snatched back as she rounded to face him. 'Have you been drinking, Monsieur?'

'No… I…' he sighed. 'You're very hard to resist, Christine,'

Erik could feel his fingers twitching as his hands clenched to fists, a burning had developed in his chest and he was not only furious with Bianchi but also with himself.

A flicker of confusion past across Christine's eyes before she said, 'Really, I think you should go home,'

Ricardo reached for her again and this time Erik could see that his grip was much firmer.

'You're hurting me, Ricardo,' she said, calmly but her eyes betrayed her. Erik spotted the moment of fear flash through them and he straightened his back, ready to intervene.

'I'm sorry,' he said but did not relinquish his grip. 'I think it unwise for you to walk alone,'

She stared at him and just as Erik had had enough he heard Christine say, 'What makes you think I am walking alone?'

Erik paused and then, slowly, felt a smile spread across his lips.

Ricardo looked momentarily confused. 'I don't see anyone else,'

Christine tugged her arm back. 'Then I suggest you leave now, there is still time,'

Bianchi frowned.

'Please,' she said and Erik saw that she meant it. She really wanted him to just leave, to simply walk away. 'Just go,'

He stared at her, his expression almost pained. 'I can't,'

Christine sighed and said quietly, almost sadly, 'I think it might be your last chance,'

Ricardo Bianchi chose the difficult path. He did not turn and walk away, he did not heed her warning, he continued to stare at her and when he stepped forward Erik reached into his pocket, pulled out the length of twine he kept for all such occasions and slipped it over Ricardo's head, pulling it tightly at around his neck.

When nearly all of the air had faded from Bianchi's lungs Erik let his slightly limp body drop the floor. He watched as the singing tutor grasped his throat and gasped for breath. When Erik turned to his right he saw that Christine was entirely still, staring down at Ricardo and not even glancing at him.

Erik nudged Ricardo's leg with his foot. 'Do you remember me?'

Ricardo nodded, face so white it was verging on green.

'Then you know why I am here,'

'To kill me,' Ricardo croaked.

Erik smiled. 'Do you remember what I said to you the last time we met?'

Again, the other man nodded painfully.

'What did I tell you?'

'If I ever… If I ever went near another young girl again you would… you…' Ricardo looked over at Christine. 'She is not a young girl,'

Erik bunched the muscles in his jaw to calm himself. 'She refused your advances,'

He blinked but said nothing.

'No is a difficult word for you,' Erik said.

'I'm sorry,'

'No, sorry just won't do this time,' Erik said.

'I never touched Meg…'

'I saw you, Ricardo, you didn't touch her because I did not allow you to,'


'I'm Schwarz,' Erik said, filling in the missing pieces.

Ricardo made a noise that sounded almost like a snort of laughter. 'If you knew all of this why did you hire me?'

'Because despite your many, many shortcomings, you're a very talented tutor,' Erik told him. 'I thought perhaps you might have headed my warning. Clearly not... so this ends now,'

Bianchi began to tremble violently.

Erik laughed and leaned down. 'I won't kill you, Ricardo, death is far too good for you,'

The other man closed his eyes.

'I'm going to destroy you,' Erik said as his grabbed his lapel and heaved him to his feet. 'Your pathetic life is indeed over here but you will only wish that I had killed you,'

Erik felt Christine shuffle at his side. She remained quiet but did not turn away and he wondered at how much she had changed.

'They'll all know of your penchant for little girls,' he said. 'Everyone will hear of your affairs, your wife will leave, of course, you will lose your children. They will hate you, as they should already,'

Ricardo began shaking his head frantically.

'You will never work again, I will make sure of it,'


'I gave you a chance,' Erik snapped. 'You have thrown it all away,'

'Please don't do this,'

'It is too late,' Erik growled. 'And all because you cannot keep your hands to yourself.'

'I'll be ruined,'

'And you somehow think that you don't deserve this?' Erik asked, amazed. 'Get out of here, I don't want to see your face near this theatre again,'

Ricardo nodded and started to back away.

'And when we meet again Ricardo,' Erik said. 'When I come to you in a few years... and I will… when your world has finally crumbled all around you, when you cannot get away from the nightmares, when you are considered a leper… you will be down on your knees and you will beg me to kill you,'

With that Ricardo turned, soaked and muddy from the rain, and bolted into the distance, his feet pounding the wet floor until he faded into the black distance.

Erik finally turned to Christine. 'How did you know I was there?'

'I always know when you're there,' she said and began to walk again. 'You know him well then?'

Erik walked at her side, resisting the urge to look at her, 'I have only met him once before,'

'Did he ever hurt Meg?' she asked.

'No,' Erik answered honestly. 'Not Meg… a few others,'

'Perhaps you should not have let him go,' it was a strange suggestion from a woman he knew to be so soft, so just...

Erik sighed, 'He had a promising career ahead of him and he was young. I didn't care enough for the other ballet girls to really ruin him,'

'You didn't care much for Meg, as I recall,' Christine said lightly.

'I cared very much for Antoinette,'

'You don't have an umbrella,' she said as she glanced at him. 'There is no need to escort me,'

He laughed. 'I'm not escorting you,'

'Then what are you doing?'

He ignored the question, 'How is Benoit?'

She looked at him, a shimmer of something he didn't recognise crossed her eyes before she answered, 'He is fine,'

Erik nodded. 'Did you contact Meg?'

'I did,'


'She will be here as soon as travel permits,'

They walked in silence for a moment before she turned to him and said, 'Our conversations are… you seem almost normal these days,'

'Is that supposed to be a compliment?' he asked.

'No,' she said. 'It's an observation,'

'Your mood matches the weather,' he said simply.

She sighed. 'It hasn't been the best of days, '

'That almost sounds like an apology,'

She could not hide her smile and Erik felt instantly buoyed. 'It's the closest you're likely to get,' she informed him.

From the look on her face he knew that was the truth.

She stopped walking and turned to him. 'Where do you live?' she asked.

'Not far from here,'

Her eyes deepened with sadness. 'It's strange... I don't want to go home,'

With those words she became instantly the young woman from Paris, the one he taught to sing, the one he had so long ago fallen in love with and in spite of himself he said, 'Your husband will worry,'

'My husband worries more for his brother than he does for me,' she said. Erik genuinely doubted that this was true but certainly did not feel the need to tell Christine that.

'You should go home,' he said as he felt the constant battle roll on within him. Today his mind was winning as he looked at the rain dripping from the umbrella onto her skirt. 'You could perhaps take a warm bath and change your clothes,'

Her eyes were fixed to his and it was in that moment that he finally noticed just how close they were standing. As her lips parted, in a gesture of what Erik would never know, a carriage rumbled up ahead of them. He recognised the driver from the distance and slipped back into the shadows.

When Raoul climbed out Erik could only watch as he pulled Christine into his arms and kissed her damp hair. He helped her into the carriage and whispered something into her ear. Erik had no desire to know what he said but he stood there and watched as the horses pulled away.

As the carriage past he could have sworn that he saw Christine's face searching for him in the darkness.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 25 of 39

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