Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 37 of 39

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Erik glanced at Christine one final time as the words he had always lived for hung in the cool night air around them. He could feel Jack's eyes on him as he allowed himself that one last gaze at her face, those beautiful cheeks and soft eyes that he had adored for as long as he could remember. Heart heavy but accepting he turned back to face his fate, the barrel of the gun looking a whole lot blacker than it had only minutes before.

'Jack...' he said but the other man stopped him.

'Don't try to talk me out of this,' Jack growled, the pistol now stable in his hand. 'I trusted you.'

Erik took a fleeting look at Samantha, who's usually flowing blonde hair was matted, with sand and moisture, to her face. She was huddled into herself, eyes wide and bloodshot, utterly terrified but unable to extricate herself from the situation despite now being free.

For the first time ever he felt something akin to tenderness for another woman. Not love, no, but sorrow, affection. His intentions had been nothing but decent. He honestly thought that Jack and she could rekindle some sort of life together because Jack was so like Erik... and their situation felt so similar to his own.

Unfortunately for Jack, Samantha was nothing like Christine. Erik was, perhaps for the only time in his life, sorry for something he had caused.

His eyes met Jack's.

'I wasn't going to try to talk you out of anything,' Erik told him honestly. He knew too well what it looked like when someone had made up their mind about something. He had done this himself too many times to count.

Jack frowned but did not say anything.

'I was just going to tell you that I understand.'

Jack stepped forward, but not too close. Not nearly close enough for him to be disarmed but that wasn't Erik's intention anyway. He would accept his punishment because it was no more than he deserved after the years of torment he had caused others, after the acts of violence and manipulation, the suffering.

'I know how it feels,' he added, his eyes fixed on Jack.

Jack's finger whitened on the trigger.

'How it feels to love someone who ... who cannot love you in return.'

The sound of a wave crashing into the pier was the only noise, the only distraction. Jack's face was pale, his eyes were dark and wild, but in spite of this he looked focused and sure.

'Let's get this over with.'

Jack nodded his head. So sure.

Erik closed his eyes.

He closed them, not because he was afraid to die or because he did not want to see the gun explode; his death held no fear for him, it never had. He closed his eyes because he wanted to remember that night, all of those years ago, the night that Christine came back to him. He did not remember the lust, that wasn't what it was about, but he chose to remember the way she felt in his arms as she drifted effortlessly into a peaceful sleep. With his eyes squeezed shut he could feel her hair tickling his chin, he could feel her head resting on his chest, her arms wrapped around his torso. He could feel as contented as he had that night, he could feel as loved.

When he heard the pistol blast, he simply sucked in a breath and held the sight of Christine's face in his mind, where she could always remain. He felt the warmth he had always felt with her near, the energy, the certainty... what he did not feel was any pain.

As the words left her mouth she had never been so sure of anything in her life. She had said them softly, earnestly... she had said them with the honesty that had always been there but had only recently found the surface.

She saw Erik accept the words, she saw the softening in the darkness of his blue eyes, she saw his stance relax and she saw him believe it, as if he had never quite been able to before. How she wanted to run to him and pull him away from this, to rescue him as he so often had done for her. She wanted to take him away, to wrap him up, because in his love she saw the innocence he had always somehow possessed.

It was clear now that Jack would not reverse his decision; that he was going to kill the man she loved... the man she had always loved. She knew that she was powerless to stop him. It was impossible for her to get to the gun before he fired a shot and so, though her heart was breaking, she accepted what was clearly to be Erik's fate.

She felt Raoul stir at her side and knew how the words must have wounded him.

Only right then it did not matter.

She knew that mostly she had been a good wife. She had put Erik behind her and continued with their life together as if nothing had happened. Although she had lived with the guilt of that night every day since it had happened, she devoted herself to the husband that she loved and the son she so treasured. She had dedicated those years to her family, she had not sought Erik out, she had not asked about him, she had not even spoken his name...

She had chosen to marry Raoul.

In all of those years of marriage she had never hurt Raoul. Not until now, and although in the morning it might matter to her, at that moment, with Erik in peril, it simply did not.

Jack was growing agitated again but his arm was straight and unwavering as he snapped, 'Don't try to talk me out of this.'

Christine risked looking at Erik's face and immediately wished that she hadn't.

His eyes were fixed on Jack and they were the most beautiful colour she had ever seen them. They were clear, deep and completely unguarded. She did not see his mask, only his eyes, only his lips and she realised that he had never looked more wonderful to her. It was as if, for the first time in his life, he had found some peace.

She placed her hand over her heart and swallowed hard in an attempt to dislodge the growing lump in her throat.

She could barely breathe.

'How it feels to love someone who ... who cannot love you in return.'

Her eyes began to sting again, her body shuddered and she felt hot tears spill onto her cheeks. As much as she wanted to beg for his life, to make Jack see some sort of reason, she knew that it was no use. It was impossible now.

Her knees weakened beneath her, buckling under the strain of her anguish, but somehow she stood firm.

'Let's get this over with.'

Christine gasped, she couldn't help it... couldn't bear it. Erik closed his eyes and she suddenly felt like she was suffocating... like she was dying and she wondered how she would ever endure this.

Jack squeezed back on the trigger.

It was difficult to believe what he was seeing and what he was hearing. Jack had never been much of a romantic but he wasn't completely without sentiment and under most other circumstances might have found the moment quite touching.

Obviously, Raoul didn't.

He looked quite nauseous, if anything.

Jack barely noticed anymore, he felt so consumed by his pain. He could hardly see anything else. It felt like something had snapped in him. Really snapped. He actually felt it go, he felt the moment he realised what he fool he had been played for, the moment everything changed. It almost felt like a relief, if he was honest. At least now he knew where he stood, at least now he knew what he must do.

The only really painful thing left was that he has wasted so much time in Erik's overbearing shadow. It felt strange, even so, holding a gun pointed at his boss's chest. He had never imagined that it would all come to this, how could he? Before a week ago he had not even known that Samantha was working with the company, let alone in love with Erik.

He felt the bubbling of acidic rage in his stomach again as he heard Erik say his name.

'Don't try to talk me out of this,' he said, staring straight at Erik. Not caring what happened anymore. He had made up his mind and he knew now that it was the only way he could find any harmony for himself.

He did not think he could stand to hear Erik's voice anymore.

He knew how it worked.

How Erik could use that voice. He had seen it before... hypnotic, powerful. No, he wouldn't get Jack. No. Not like he had manipulated the others.

All of the others.

It angered him that he still felt aware of Christine's presence. He was focused and yet he could still feel her. Could feel the weight of her disappointment. He wanted to not care, not give a damn, but he did and that only enraged him further, made him more determined.

He had nothing left now. There was no hope of reconciliation with Samantha, with the love of his life, and that had been the final straw. It has been all he could take. How could he go on without punishing the cause of this.

He stared back over at Erik, ignoring the sensation of Christine's presence.

'... I understand.'

Strangely, Jack knew that he did understand. Knew that he understood probably better than anyone else but it wasn't like it made a difference. It didn't change anything. It couldn't take away the pain and the hurt, it couldn't undo what had been done.

Understanding was meaningless.

'Let's get this over with.' Erik said.

Jack nodded his head because he could not agree more.

He tensed his body, straightened his arm.

He pulled the trigger.

Raoul had never felt so detached.

After hearing Christine's quiet, desperate declaration of love his body seemed to shift and his soul seemed to be above it all. He felt as though he was watching this whole event unfold from just above it and he wondered if he cared what happened anymore.

He shuddered when he heard the Phantom say Jack's name and it seemed to bring him back, centre his mind squarely inside his body once again. The feeling returned to him and he somehow found the will to take a glance in Christine's direction.

She was still.


There were tears in her eyes and her hands were balled tightly into fists at her side. She was squeezing them so hard that the knuckles on them had turned to an off shade of white and her nails were creating dents into her palms. Momentarily he had the urge to reach out and squeeze her hands in his, to stop the pain, to ease her mind. He knew then that no matter what she did, he would always love her.

'I know how it feels,' the Phantom said, his eyes on Jack now despite Christine's gaze being fixed firmly on him. Raoul wondered what would happen if he spoke, if he tried to get her attention but one look in her panicked eyes told him that in all likelihood she would not even hear his voice.

Jack seemed oddly calm, although his eyes were stormy and worryingly wide, they betrayed at least some turmoil within him but Raoul knew that there was not enough uncertainty to change this. Raoul's own heart was beating, utterly frenzied, in his chest and he was fighting his instincts, trying to give himself chance to figure out what to do next. Use logic, not emotion.

Raoul swallowed to wet his mouth and was tempted to protest against Jack's ill thought out actions when the Phantom said, 'How it feels to love someone who ... who cannot love you in return.'

Raoul gritted his teeth together and simply could not single out an emotion, there were so many whirling through him, confusing him. He closed his and tried to imagine what he should do, try to imagine how his father might have dealt with this, but nothing came to mind. The only thing he saw was Christine holding Benoit's tiny, new born body... the rosiness of her cheeks, the joy in her smile and in her eyes, the way she clasped him to her body as he wriggled to get free, finally introduced to the world.

When he opened his eyes he looked at her briefly but could not bear to linger, could not bear to see the pain on her beautiful face.

The Phantom said, 'Let's get this over with.'

It was said in a calm tone, an even voice, the voice of a man not worried to die... not afraid of it. Raoul wondered if he could be so brave and so contented in the knowledge of Christine's everlasting love.

Again, he glanced at his broken wife and wondered if she could live through this. Live through the knowledge that the Phantom was gone... really, truly gone.

He watched as Jack held up his arm and his finger tensed against the trigger. Jack nodded at the Phantom as if agreeing with his words.

Raoul made his decision. As Jack pulled back on the trigger he ran forward, as fast as he could, not knowing if he would make it.

Next there was pain.

Searing, frightful pain that radiated from his chest and through his entire body.

The air flew out of him and he heard Christine's voice, he felt strong arms around him...

He saw blackness.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 37 of 39

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