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Gerard Butler GALS

rivendell

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About rivendell

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    Archie's Ocean GAL
  • Birthday 09/24/1983

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    Female
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    Centerville, OH

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  1. the messenger of Eli

  2. Bid Time Return ********************* Chapter One: Elisabeta ********************* Elisabeta Rogers… That was her real name. But to be what she wanted be, changing it was the only option. Now everyone knew her as Elisabeta Devereaux. As an aspiring opera singer, her dream was to become the Prima Donna at the Opera Populaire in Paris, France. But for right now, she was stuck in the chorus at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in the United States. Standing at five feet seven inches, she had green eyes, pixie – cut flamboyant red hair, skin white as snow, and a beautiful soprano voice to complete the physical ensemble. Sadly in need of a personal vocal coach, she could not afford one. She lived in New York on her own in a one bedroom apartment with a horribly loud trumpet player that lived upstairs. Everyday, she got up, ate breakfast, dressed, left the apartment, and crossed the street where the world of opera was waiting for her. First, she would go to rehearsal for that week’s or month’s performance. Then it was music class, learning and studying different operas and the artists who created them. Her favorite was what was known to everyone as the “Mystery” show. It was called “Don Juan Triumphant.” Elisabeta was the only one who actually enjoyed the music. Teachers thought it was too sensual and advanced for the young hopeful students. Elisabeta thought otherwise. It also seemed that Elisabeta was the student was highest range. She could reach the High “C” with the greatest of ease, yet she always struggled with the lowest note of “Don Juan Triumphant.” The other girls would poke fun at her when she reached the note. As always, her voice would go lower…and lower…and lower…to the point where it would crack, loud enough for the teachers to yell at her and the other students to start laughing. However, despite all the torture of the life of an artist, Elisabeta wasn’t all that unhappy. In fact, she was very enthusiastic. Especially when she opened her mail box, on Monday morning to find an invitation inside. It asked her to join a certain number of students to travel to Paris, France. They would sit in box seats at the Opera Populaire, while watching a special opera. What the students did not know, or were not meant to know was that the show would be “Don Juan Triumphant.” The opera had not been performed since the 1870, when during the show, the opera house caught on fire. To this day, it remained a mystery as to who or what even started the disaster. All anyone ever knew was that one person had been killed…by strangulation. The murderer was never found. That day on Monday morning, when Elisabeta got the invitation in her mail box, she raced to work. “Can you believe this! A trip to Paris!” she shouted to her friend Lora. “Of all the shows to see, why did it have to be this one?” Lora said. “What do you mean?” “Come on, you’ve heard and read the lyrics, it doesn’t make sense. It’s also a little too sexy to sing. For me anyway.” Replied Lora. “It’s “Don Juan Triumphant? How do you know that?” she asked. “My mother is the director. She told me, and swore me to secrecy. But I figured since this one is your favorite, you deserved to know.” Lora said. Elisabeta smiled, but then she remembered. “Wait, haven’t you been to the Opera Populaire?” asked Elisabeta. “Yes, but it was to see “The Magic Flute.” Said Lora. “What does the place look like from inside? The opera house, I mean. Is it beautiful? What seat should I sign up for?” Lora was a bit amused that her young friend was so excited to go. (Elisabeta was only eighteen, the youngest chorus member in her level at the Met.) “Yes, it’s exquisite, but the great chandelier has electric lights and not candles. Try Box Five. Everyone says it’s the best seat in the whole auditorium.” Said Lora. “This is going to be so much fun! Will you help me pack? I haven’t the slightest idea what to bring. I’ve never been to Europe. In fact, I’ve never even left this country.” Said Elisabeta. “Slow down girl. I’ll email you a list of stuff to take with you.” Lora said. Elisabeta hung her head down. Lora had forgotten that Elisabeta was the only person on the planet who didn’t own a computer. She couldn’t even afford her own cell phone. “Oh sorry, I forgot.” Said Lora. “It’s alright. Just call me tonight.” Said Elisabeta. The rest of the day went by fast. At least for Elisabeta. She was given her airline ticket, all paid for, including her seat for the show in Paris. On the way home, she went to the travel book store, and picked up some information on France and the Opera Populaire itself. Finally reaching her apartment, she went inside, dropped her stuff on the floor, and sat down on the couch. Taking out the ticket to the show, she took a deep breath and read her seat. Box Five *************************** Chapter 2 – The Hall of History *************************** ***************** Paris, France Two weeks later… ***************** The flight across the Atlantic was long and nauseating. The plane took off like a rocket, and landed like a ship’s anchor falling to the bottom of the ocean. After she picked up her luggage, Elisabeta got into a taxi that took her through the crowded streets of Paris. Traveling by herself, Elisabeta was nervous. She was starving and didn’t even know if she’d gotten a suitable hotel. She looked into her purse just to make sure that she still had her opera ticket with her. Suddenly, the taxi passed a McDonald’s and she sighed with relief. Finally, the vehicle pulled to her home for the seven days. It was called Hotel L’Imperial. Getting out of the car, she paid the driver, picked up her suitcase, and walked inside. The hotel was small, but beautiful. Chandeliers everywhere, cherry wood furniture, and the place smelled of roses. Elisabeta checked in, and went into the elevator. It was only big enough for one person! As she reached her floor and walked down the hallway, something caught her eye. It was a sign on top of a doorway that led to small room. The sign said: Hall of History. “Hmmm, sounds interesting. Might as well take a look.” Elisabeta thought to herself. She opened the door to her flat and gasped. The bed was smaller than the average American sized twin bed! It had one small window that overlooked the chimneys of the surrounding buildings. She went into the bathroom and noticed that there was no tub. There was only a small cement square on the ground with long hose attached to the wall above it. “I suppose this must be a French version of a shower. Oh well, I’ll just endure.” She said to herself. Opening her suitcase, she changed into some jean shorts with a red top. Putting on her sneakers, she then went into the bathroom, and brushed her pixie-cut hair. Leaving her room, she took her camera with her, and walked towards the one-person elevator. Suddenly, she heard something. It was music. And it was coming from the Hall of History. Curious, Elisabeta took a detour and went through the doorway. She found the source of the music. It was coming from a strange but beautifully crafted monkey music box. Then she saw the sign that said “Do Not Touch.” “But who wound up the music box?” she said out loud. “Oh, I see you found it.” said a voice from behind. Elisabeta whipped around in surprise. She hadn’t even heard the man standing before her enter the room. He was an older man. At least sixty years old. He had white hair and a mustache. He was dressed in servant’s uniform and holding a duster in his hand. “Found what?” Elisabeta asked. “Why his music box of course. That is a special little thing. Belonged to a special man who lived many years ago.” He said. Elisabeta was intrigued. “Man? What man?” she asked. “That man, mademoiselle,” he said pointing to a painting at the far end of the room. Elisabeta looked at the painting. It was a portrait of young man dressed in a black suit with cloak draping over his shoulders. She began to walk towards, and looked closer. The man in the painting was quite handsome. Not only being clean-shaven, he had a strong jaw line, full sensuous lips, and a pair of green eyes that were to die for. She sighed. Never had she seen such a man. But one thing really caught her attention. The man was wearing a white mask on the upper right side of his face. “How strange,” she said. “Strange indeed. You seem quite taken with him.” said the old man said. Elisabeta had forgotten that the old man was even there. She was so enraptured by the painting. She could have sworn that the eyes of the man were trying to cast a hypnotic spell over her. Finally, she spoke. “Who is he? There’s no name plate on it.” she asked the old man. “No one knows. His picture is there because of the mask. No one had ever seen anything quite like it.” said the old man. “Do you know who painted it? asked Elisabeta. “No. They found it in his room the day after he left.” “He stayed here?” she asked. “Oh yes. In room B5.” He said. “When was it painted? How old was he? Is he still alive?” asked Elisabeta. The old man smiled. “I believe it was painted somewhere around 1870, and I believe he was in his thirties at the time.” He said. Elisabeta hung her head. That meant that he was indeed not alive. The old man spoke again. “Some people believe that he was the Phantom of the Opera.” He said. Elisabeta looked up. She’d heard that story before, but never really thought anything of it. Then she yawned. “Looks as if you need a nap.” Said the old man. “Yes.” She said. And with that, Elisabeta left the Hall of History, and made her way back to her room. Turning the key in the doorknob, she noticed the room number on her door. B5 She gulped and opened the door. She widened her eyes. The room smelled of roses. “Wow, this is too much. Better get some sleep. The opera is tonight.” She told herself. She took off her shoes and climbed into bed. Closing her eyes, she smiled as the music of the monkey box lulled her to sleep. ******************** Ch. 3 – The Opera ******************** Elisabeta stood in front of the full length and looked at herself. The evening gown, to her, was exquisite. It had survived the flight to Paris. It had no wrinkles or creases whatsoever. The evening gown was pale pink that had a small train trailing down the back. The top of the bust stopped below her shoulders. Quite a bit of cleavage was showing, and she was quite shy about that little. She wore white long gloves that traveled up her arms, and stopped just before her elbows. She had her hair in a beautiful French braid and she a gold necklace with a solid white pearl hung just at the end of the golden chain. Her makeup was simple and she wore a rose scent. Yes, she was ready. ************************** The Opera Populaire ************************** The taxi pulled up out front. Elisabeta was in awe. The opera house all aglow. Golden lights lit up the place from inside and there were fireworks exploding in the night sky. She looked around. All along the sides of the buildings that surrounded the opera house were posters with scenes of “Don Juan Triumphant” on them. With a stomach full of butterflies, Elisabeta held her head up and headed front door. The opera begins. Here the sire may serve the dam, Here the master takes his meat! Here the sacrificial lamb Utters one despairing bleat! Poor young maiden! For the thrill on your tongue of stolen Sweets, you will have to pay the bill – Tangled in the winding sheets! Serve the meal and serve the maid! Serve the master so that, when tables, Plans, and maids are laid Don Juan Triumphs once again! Elisabeta sat in Box Five and watched the dancers perform, and the singers scream their lyrics. Her senses began to fly out of control. Before she knew it, her hands were sweating and her eyes were widening. Finally, her favorite part began. Past the Point of No Return The final threshold The bridge is crossed! So stand and watch it burn! We’ve passed the Point of No… Return… As the song ended the gypsy girl was kissed and the performance was over. Never had Elisabeta felt so exhilarated in all her life. She couldn’t move from her seat! When she actually got up and left Box Five, she had trouble walking straight, because she was so hypnotized by the music. Getting into the taxi, she closed her eyes and dreamt of how she would’ve loved to have been seduced by the lustful Don Juan. Back at the hotel, Elisabeta had taken the elevator up to her floor and was walking down the hallway. On the way, she once again passed the Hall of History. She caught sight of the possibly Phantom of the Opera’s face in the painting at the end of the room. “If only he were my Don Juan.” She thought. She reached her room, B5, unlocked the door and went inside. Taking off her dress, slip, shoes, and gloves, she went into the bathroom, and took a hot, relaxing bath. After she was done, she dried herself off with huge pink towel. Putting on her long cotton nightgown, Elisabeta got into bed. This time she did not hear the monkey music box like before when she taken her nap earlier in the day. Not being able to sleep, she decided to sing to herself hoping that that would work. The Phantom of the Opera The Phantom of the Opera She thought of the man in the painting. His eyes His lips His mask Soon she was asleep. Then it began… ************************** Chapter Four – The Arrival ************************** Flowers fade The fruits of summer fade They have their season, so do we But please promise me that sometimes You will think…ah…ah…ah..ahhhhhhh! Of me! The applause ended. Flowers were thrown and Christine Daae stood on stage smiling. Finally, she took her bow and the curtain went down. As people began to rise from their seats, someone cried out. “Help, we need a doctor!” cried a man sitting in Box Five. It was Raoul de Chagny; and the woman sitting behind him in Box Five throughout the performance of “Hannibal” had fainted. Quickly the young woman was taken backstage to the ballet dormitories where there were beds. They laid her on Christine Daae’s bed where a doctor arrived. He diagnosed the young woman with a minor fever, due to the excitement of the opera itself. Madame Giry and the doctor took off the girl’s blue silk dress and left her in her undergarments. Suddenly, the girl opened her eyes and sat straight up in the bed. “Where am I?” cried Elisabeta. “Relax my dear. You passed out for a little while. You are at the backstage of Opera Populaire.” Said Madame Giry. Elisabeta blinked and looked all around her. “I’m where!” she cried. “The Opera Populaire. You fainted while watching the performance. You were found by the Vicompte de Chagny.” Madame Giry told her. “Vicompte de what? What performance? And who are you?” asked Elisabeta asked. “Here, lie back down and get some sleep. We’ll send you home in the morning.” Elisabeta was frantic. She recognized her own name, but not where she was. She had to ask. “M’am what time is it?” “It is Madame Giry. And it is just after nine o’clock.” Said the woman. Elisabeta looked at the woman. She was wearing a long black dress and had blonde hair in a black hair net. She also carried what looked like an instructor’s cane. She looked to be in her forties, age-wise, and she had a stern yet sympathetic look on her face. Elisabeta decided to take things slowly. “Okay, first things first. What year is it?” she asked Madame Giry. Madame Giry was puzzled, yet she decided to play along. “It is the year of 1870. Do you remember your name or how you came to be here?” she asked Elisabeta. “Sort of. My name is Elisabeta Wilhelmina Devereaux.” “Very good. Here this might help you.” said Madame Giry. She went over to the wooden vanity and picked a small hand mirror. She came back and gave it to the confused young woman. Elisabeta looked into it. Her face paled. It couldn’t have been her! But it was. She could tell because that one little freckle was still on her cheekbone. The rest said otherwise. First of all, her hair was no longer red and pixie-cut. It was now long, down to her waist, and naturally curly. She stood up from the bed. She had become a little bit taller. Her eyes had become almond shaped, yet they were still emerald green. Her skin was soft and delicate, yet it had tanned just a bit. Basically, almost every physical trait had changed. All except for her eyes. “Oh my.” She said. Madame Giry spoke up. “You seem to barely recognize your own face. Yet the resemblance is remarkable. You look almost exactly like Christine.” She said. Elisabeta turned her head to face Madame Giry. “Who is Christine?” she asked. “Christine Daae, the young girl who performed the female lead tonight. You were sitting behind the Vicompte de Chagny. From what I’ve heard, when the performance was over, you rose from your seat, and fainted from a slight fever.” Said Madame. Elisabeta stood there stunned. It all made sense now. She’d been watching an opera that starred this Christine Daae. She apparently fainted from a fever, yet she felt fine now. It was obvious that this Vicompte had rescued her. “I must thank the Vicompte for helping me.” She said to Madame Giry. “Of course you may, but you’ll have to wait. He’s with Miss Daae at the moment.” Said Madame. “Oh,” she said. Then she remembered. “You said that I looked very much like Miss Daae. Would it be alright if I met her as well?” she asked. Madame Giry thought for a moment. Christine was most likely to get a sinister visit from a certain someone tonight, because she’d spent some time with the Vicompte. It would not be a good idea for Elisabeta to interfere. “You will meet her later. Right now I will introduce to the Vicompte de Chagny. Get dressed. I will wait outside.” She told Elisabeta. “Okay,” she replied. Madame Giry left the room. When Elisabeta finally got her dress, corset, and shoes on, she went out into the hallway. The place was packed with people. Everyone was clapping and shouting sayings of congratulations. They were popping open bottles of champagne, and two men dressed formally were standing outside an elaborate door. “Those are the managers of the theatre. Let me introduce you.” said Madame Giry. Elisabeta followed the woman to the door and greeted the gentlemen. That was when a light brown haired man stepped out the room with the elaborate door. He stared at Elisabeta in complete shock. Elisabeta was confused again. “Sir, is something wrong?” she asked the man. “Amazing, you could be Christine’s understudy!” exclaimed the man. “Pardon me?” she asked. “You look like Christine. So much like Christine!” the man said. Elisabeta had had enough. She had to meet Christine and see what everyone was talking about. First she had to find who she was speaking to. “Alright, where is Christine, and the Vicompte de Chagny. I must meet them both.” She said. The man laughed. “Of course, how rude of me. I am the Vicompte de Chagny. You may call me Raoul. And Christine is just in that room. I’m sure she would love to meet you.” he said. “They will meet later.” Said a familiar voice. It was Madame Giry who’d heard the whole conversation. She gave Raoul a stern look and he took the hint. “Send for your carriage. I will see to Miss Daae.” she said to Raoul. “Very well. Pleasure to meet you Miss-?” “Devereaux, Elisabeta Devereaux.” She said proudly. With a kiss on the hand, Raoul left quickly. “Come, you need more rest. You still look a bit flushed from the fever. You can sleep next to my daughter Meg. In Christine’s bed.” she said. Elisabeta was too tired to argue, so she followed Madame Giry back to Meg and Christine’s room. After putting on one of Christine’s nightgowns, she lay back down on the squeaky bed. She closed her eyes. Angel I hear you Speak, I listen Stay by my side Guide me Angel my soul was weak Forgive me Enter at last Master! Elisabeta opened her eyes. Was that someone singing? What kind of a song was that? Who was singing it? She got up out of bed. Going to the door, she cracked it open. She saw someone at Christine’s door. It was Raoul. He was fumbling with the doorknob. It was apparently locked. Then Elisabeta heard it. Flattering child you shall know me See why in shadow I hide Look at your face in the mirror I am there inside! ******************************** Angel of Music Guide and guardian Grant to me your glory! Angel of Music! Hide no longer Come to me strange angel Christine. It had to have been Christine. There was no one else in the room.” Elisabeta thought to herself while standing at the door. “But then who did that other voice, that hypnotic voice, belong to?” she thought Then she heard something else. Whose is that voice! Who is that in there! Raoul. Elisabeta opened the door wider. I am your Angel of Music Come to me Angel of Music Raoul left. Obviously to go and get help. Elisabeta stood in the doorway. She decided to investigate. Leaving the door open, she crept across the hall. Reaching Christine’s door, she knelt down to the keyhole and looked inside. She froze. ****************************** Chapter Five – Counseling Christine ****************************** She froze. A woman in white stood before a large ornate mirror. Suddenly, her image changed to that of a man. A man in black. He wore a suit with a brocade vest. His hair was a shining black, smoothly combed back over his head. His skin was clean – shaven and his eyes were that of a beautiful green. He opened his mouth and out came a booming yet hypnotic voice. I am your Angel of Music Come to me Angel of Music It worked. Now the woman in white was helplessly caught in his web. Hypnotized fully, she reached out and took his awaiting hand. Slowly and gently, the man in black guided her through the now open mirror. From what could be seen from her position outside the dressing room door, the mirror led to a large stone tunnel. Dark and dreary with cobwebs, puddles, and rats, voices began as the man and the woman disappeared. ******************************************** “What are you doing here, Miss Devereaux? You’re supposed to be sleeping.” Said Madame Giry, who’d just discovered Elisabeta peeking through Christine’s dressing room door. Elisabeta didn’t know what to think. Had what she’d seen been real? The woman in the mirror looked like her and the man…she knew that man somehow. He looked familiar, but where from she couldn’t remember. She finally looked to Madame Giry and tried to explain herself. “I’m sorry. I heard voices and thought something was wrong. I wanted to make sure Christine was okay.” She said. Madame looked at the door, seemingly deep in thought. “I’m sure she’s just fine. Now let’s get you back to bed. Tomorrow we’ll take you home.” she said to Elisabeta. Elisabeta panicked. She didn’t know where she lived in 1870! Did she even have a home? Quickly, she stopped Madame Giry and spoke up. “Is it possible for me to stay here for a while…my home is…being renovated?” she asked. Madame Giry thought for a moment and finally said, “Yes of course.” Elisabeta returned to her bed and thought of how to get to sleep. It was difficult, because all she could think about was the white mask that the man in black wore over the right side of his face. That face… His face… ******************** 8 hours later… ******************** She woke up to the sound of distant weeping. Getting out of bed, Elisabeta put on a robe and some slippers, and walked out of her room. The crying was coming from Christine’s room. Crossing the hall, she watched as Madame Giry opened the door and left the room. With strength, Elisabeta didn’t even bother to knock. She opened the door and walked inside. There she was. The woman in white. The woman whose looks were identical to Elisabeta’s. Young Christine Daae. She was on the bed crying her eyes out. The door swung shut and made a loud noise. Christine looked up, her face wet with tears. “Hello, Christine.” Was all Elisabeta could say. “Who are you? Where did you come from? And how do you know my name?” she asked. “My name is Elisabeta Wilhemina Devereaux. I had an accident during your performance, and was brought here. Madame Giry told me your name. Are you alright? You seem to have been crying a great deal.” Said Elisabeta. “Yes…I’ve done something terrible. I don’t think he’ll ever forgive me.” Said Christine through her tears. Elisabeta was curious. She sat down on the bed and motioned to hug Christine. To her surprise, the poor girl fell into her arms, crying louder than ever. Elisabeta tried to calm her. She held her like a small child and patted her head. She whispered to her. Not even knowing who “he” was, she asked: “Why won’t he forgive you? What did you do that was so terrible?” Christine forced herself to speak. “I can’t tell you.” she said. “Why? Is it a secret between you and “him?” Tell me, Christine. You can confide in me. I won’t let anyone hurt you if that’s what you’re afraid of. Let me help you.” said Elisabeta. Christine’s eyes had dried now. She looked up at her new friend who seemed to be willing to listen to her. She decided to trust her. She had to tell someone. “I don’t where to start.” She said. “First, just tell me what you did. We’ll go from there.” “I took his mask off.” Admitted Christine. She pointed to the mirror and looked at Elisabeta. Elisabeta immediately understood to whom she was referring. The man in black. The white mask. She must have removed it. Elisabeta thought for a moment. Finally, she figured out a way to get information out of Christine. “Let’s try this, Christine. I’ll ask the questions. You just take your time and answer them. Alright? She asked. “That’s fine.” asked the young diva. Elisabeta began her interrogation. “Whose mask did you remove? Where were you last night? Was that your voice I heard last night? Who is the Angel of Music? Why does he wear a – “Slow down. I’ll tell what I can.” Interrupted Christine. “He put a spell on me. I was taken to his home. He sang to me. I must have fainted. I awoke in his bed. I saw him at the organ. He looked lost in thought. He was so mysterious and obsessive. I didn’t think he would mind.” Said Christine. “You didn’t think he would mind you taking off the mask?” Christine looked down. “Yes.” She said softly. “Christine, what did he look like under the mask?” asked Elisabeta. She looked up again with a look of sheer horror in her eyes. “Oh god! He has the face of a monster! Yet he was able to fool me into thinking that he was angel.” “The Angel of Music?” “Yes, he was my teacher. He taught me to sing. Since I was a little girl, he was a mere voice from the darkness. He revealed himself last night.” She said. “Christine, did he hurt you?” asked Elisabeta. “No…well sort of. He hurt me when I discovered that he wasn’t who I thought he was.” “What happened when you took off the mask?” “He knocked me to the ground. He screamed cruel names at me and stormed off down the stairs to the shore of the lake.” Elisabeta blinked. “Lake…what lake?” she asked. Christine told her about his lair. She also told her about the way he’d tried to seduce her, the way he looked at her, the way he sang to her, and the way he’d touched her. She then mentioned the life size doll of herself that wore a wedding gown. That made something click in Elisabeta’s mind. “Christine, how does he feel about you? she asked the diva. Christine looked at her strangely. As if the thought never occurred to her. “Christine, maybe he didn’t want you to see his face, for fear that you might judge him by his physical appearance rather than who he is inside.” said Elisabeta. “I know who he is! He’s a monster!” Christine shouted. “Christine, you don’t even know him. I’m sure that within time – “I don’t want to know him! I don’t want to have anything to do with him, ever!” Christine said. She began to cry again. Elisabeta managed to get her to lie back down on the bed. She’d heard enough. She concluded that it was all a misunderstanding. She also concluded that this man…this Angel of Music had romantic feelings for Christine. Judging by what Christine had told her, it was obvious. The Angel of Music was a man in love. As Christine began to fall asleep, Elisabeta hummed a special tune to her. Then something occurred to her. “Christine, if he’s not the Angel of Music then who is he? What’s his name?” she asked desperately. It was too late. Christine had already passed out. Elisabeta then remembered the mirror. Christine had pointed to it. Getting up from the bed, she walked across the room and approached it. Walking closer and closer until her face was inches from the glass, Elisabeta raised her hand and knocked on it as if were a mere door. “Knock, knock,” she said playfully. She laughed to herself and turned around and headed for the door. As she turned the knob, she heard it. “Who’s there?” ****************************** Chapter Six: Twenty Questions ****************************** “Who’s there?”Said the voice. Elisabeta listened carefully to the man that had spoken to her when she’d tapped on the glass of Christine’s mirror, and asked: “Knock, knock” The man’s voice had a deep rich tone, but did not have the same hypnotic melody it’d possessed before. It was also very beautiful. It seemed to be challenging her. Elisabeta closed the door to the dressing room, and walked back to the mirror. With her face once more inches from the glass, she said: “Orange” Sounding confused, the voice spoke a little louder. “Orange who?” Elisabeta quickly looked over at Christine to check to make sure that she was still asleep. She was. Now it was Elisabeta’s turn to speak louder. “Orange you going to tell me the truth?” “What truth is that?” “You know what truth that is.” She replied. “No, I do not.” This was her chance. “Let’s play twenty questions. How can I reach you?” Suddenly, she heard a clicking sounded. The mirror swung open. It was the same scene as before. A long, dark, and dreary passageway. It was covered with cobwebs, the walls were made of stone, and there were puddles of water on the ground. Rats were screeching from all around, and Elisabeta could hear the sound of water. Standing there, she saw nothing. Nothing but her shadow on the wall along with the lit torches. Suddenly, there was a draft that blew from deep inside the tunnel. She heard the swish of a piece of cloth, and another person’s shadow appeared in front of her own. It was him. But where was he exactly? The shadow began to move. Making its way down the tunnel, Elisabeta decided to follow it. She walked in through the mirror’s portal, and closed it behind her. Starting down the passageway, she followed the shadow the whole way. ********************* Ten minutes later… ********************* Just as she’d reached the lair and began to stare at it in awe, Elisabeta heard him again. “Close your eyes.” She closed them. Feeling him come up behind her, he put his hands on her shoulders, and skimmed down her arms all the way to her hands. He swung her around until she was caught in his arms with his hands settling on her abdomen. He began to slide his hands up her torso, brushing past her breasts, and finally stroking her neck. He curled his fingers in her hair, and whispered into her ear. “Who are you?” Elisabeta was so aroused that she didn’t hear him. “Who are you?” he repeated. “I’m…I’m…Elis…abeta.” She struggled to say. “Do not fear me. I will never hurt you.” “Why?” Said Elisabeta who’d managed to come of her daze. “Why what?” He asked. “Why must I not fear you? Is there something about you that people fear?” She asked. “Yes…this.” He turned her around. “Open your eyes. This may frighten you a bit, but I want you to see.” He said. “See what?” She asked. “Open your eyes.” he said again. Elisabeta lifted her eyelids. She gasped and began to shake. So distorted, so deformed. It was hardly a face. His right eye was sunken in, and there were red welts and scars all over his right cheek, and he had no right eyebrow. He’d taken off the mask. His beautiful green eyes seemed to dart out her, pleading for compassion. This was the face that Christine had told her about. Yet it was not as bad as she thought it would be. Elisabeta felt brave and brought her hand up, and touched his deformed cheek. He moaned, as if her hand was made of silk. She thought she’d hurt him. “Are you alright?” She asked. He looked down at her. (He was at least six feet tall.) “Yes, I’m fine.” he replied He took her hand and led her further into the lair. He sat her down on his sofa, and took off his cape. Elisabeta gazed at him. Indeed he was the man who had appeared to Christine the night before. His black suit fit around his well-built body rather handsomely. She thought about telling him about how she’d traveled through time, but decided against it. He would think she was insane. While she was thinking to herself, she did not notice that he had sat down next to her. “Now let’s play your twenty questions game.” He said. Elisabeta tilted her head sideways. “Alright. Who are you?” she asked. “My name is Erik.” he answered. “Why did you do what you did bring Christine here?” “Because I love her.” Elisabeta didn’t know why she felt jealous, but she did. “What did Christine do to you?” “She took off my mask.” He said. “And you did not want her to do that?” she asked. “Correct.” He replied. “Why do you do what you do?” she asked He looked confused. “What is it that I do?” He asked her. “You pretend that you are a ghost. You hide from the world. Why?” “Do you think the world would accept something like this?” he asked pointing to his face. Elisabeta looked down feeling stupid. “No, I suppose not. But aside from your face, you don’t seem that bad at all.” She said. Suddenly, she saw a wicked grin on his face. “My dear, you have no idea just how “bad” I can be.” He said rather slyly. “What do you mean? Asked Elisabeta who was now beginning to feel uneasy. He looked away from her and said nothing. She knew was treading dangerous ground now. However, she decided to be blunt with him. “Well, if you want Christine, you’ll need to find a better way than the one you’re using now. Hypnotizing her and later frightening her will cause her to run from you. You need to tell her how you feel. Stop manipulating her, and eventually she’ll feel the need to know you. Right now, she thinks you are angry with her, and that you’ll never forgive for what she did.” She said to him. He looked amazed and scared at the same time. Like the thought of being honest with Christine had never occurred to him. But to Elisabeta, it was obvious that he knew of no other way to gain someone’s love. Finally, he put his mask back on. “I know that she doesn’t want anything to do with me now.” He said. Elisabeta blinked. He must have overheard the conversation she’d had with Christine earlier. “Did you ever think about apologizing to her?” she asked. Again, he said nothing. Suddenly, Elisabeta saw a tear fall from his right eye. She felt terrible. “I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” she pleaded. “You’ve done nothing wrong. You are right. I should have been straight with Christine. But now I don’t I have a chance. She hates me.” he said. “She doesn’t hate you. She’s scared of you.” said Elisabeta. “You think I don’t know that!” he said. Elisabeta was frustrated. “Then DO something!” she shouted. “What can I possibly do?!” He said. “Go to her. Tell her how you feel and hope for the best.” She said. “Why do you care what happens between Christine and I?” he asked. Elisabeta didn’t know what to say. Truthfully, she felt it was her obligation, but she had to tell Erik something else. “I know it’s none of my business, but I want both of you to be happy.” She said. Erik realized that she was telling the truth. He now knew that there was hope for him. If he let this beautiful woman help him there might just be a chance to regain Christine’s trust. He decided to change the subject. “Would you like something to eat or drink?” He asked. “I would love that but I must go. They’ll wonder where I am.” said Elisabeta. Erik didn’t know why but he was somewhat disappointed that she had to leave. He’d loved talking with her. He’d loved the way she touched him. He’d loved holding her. He loved… “Erik?” she asked. His eyes widened. She had said his name for the first time since they met. That was another thing. She had a beautiful speaking voice. He began to wonder if she had any singing experience. “Erik?” Elisabeta said again. “I’m sorry. I was day dreaming.” he said. “About what?” She asked. He couldn’t tell her. “Christine,” he lied. “I see.” She said. On the way back, Elisabeta tripped over a stone and nearly fell. Erik caught her just in time. She was back in his embrace. She could smell his cologne. She could feel his body heat. Elisabeta began to feel her arousal pooling in a certain place. Picking up her up, Erik carried her all the way back to Christine’s dressing room. By the time, he reached the mirror, she’d fallen asleep in his arms. He opened the mirror and stepped into the room. He laid her on the bed next to Christine and covered her with a blanket. Suddenly, Elisabeta began to moan in her sleep. “Erik, oh Erik.” she whispered. Erik reached down and brushed his hand across her cheek and ran his thumb along her lips. “Beautiful.” He said to himself. With a whirl of his cape, he made his way back to the mirror, took one last glance at the sleeping beauty, and disappeared. ************************************** Ch. 7 - You’re Beautiful When You’re Angry ************************************** "Did I not instruct that box five was to be kept empty?” Those were Erik’s last words before he climbed up above the stage and killed Josef Buquet. What he did not know was that from the right wing of the stage in the auditorium of the opera house, Elisabeta had witnessed the whole thing. “Good thing Christine was not here to see that.” she said to herself. She knew why this had happened. From what she’d heard from Raoul, Christine was to play the Countess in the production of Il Muto. But thanks to Carlotta, she was thrown back into the supporting cast, playing the Pageboy. Elisabeta had a feeling that Erik wouldn’t take the final casting very well. Raoul had showed her the note that he’d received from Erik. She’d decided to stay out of the way. She helped Christine prepare for the show. Christine begged her to watch her perform. Things had started out fine, but within ten minutes, the next thing she knew, a simple stagehand was hanging above the stage with a noose tied around his neck. Choking to death, she heard everyone’s screams. Everything was in chaos. Elisabeta was disappointed. Erik had done this. She had seen his cape whirl up the rafters and the flash of his white mask disappear into the darkness. “How could you do this? Buquet never did anything to you! You are so arrogant…so childish…so…” Elisabeta finally realized that Erik was after all in love, and probably wasn’t thinking clearly. “Are you alright?” “Raoul we’re not safe here!” Elisabeta turned. Christine and Raoul were racing up the stairs. She ran after them. On the way up the stairwell, she could hear Raoul shouting to Christine asking why she was running away. She then heard Christine shouting back to him of her fear of Erik. Almost to the top, Elisabeta followed them until a large black hand covered her mouth and dragged her back down the stairs. “Where do you think you’re going?” Erik hissed. Turns out that after Erik had committed his crime, he’d seen all three of them run up the stairs towards the roof. Frightened as she was, Elisabeta managed to pry his hand away from her mouth so she could speak. She was so angry; she raised her hand and slapped his face. With a confused and angry look on his face, Erik pulled her into the darkness. “Are you suicidal?” He asked her. “How dare you! How dare you kill an innocent man? You deserved what I just did and you know it!” Elisabeta shouted at him. “He was in my way.” Erik said quite calmly. “That’s no excuse!” “Why are you following them?” he demanded. “I told you before; I only want Christine to be happy. She needs me right now. She needs a friend to talk to. A lot has happened tonight. You’ve scared her enough. What did you plan to do after Buquet’s death, give her a marriage proposal?” She snapped. As Erik watched her rage on and on, he was amazed at this woman’s compassion for others. He’d never known anything like that. He was beginning to regret everything he’d done. True, Buquet had been a nuisance, but Erik did not think of Christine when he killed him. He only thought of himself. He did not see Elisabeta run from him, all the way up to the roof. He followed her. He hid behind a huge stone statue just in time to hear Christine sing. Say you’ll share with me One love, one lifetime Say the word And I will follow you Erik could feel his heart breaking. He knew now that he’d lost Christine. He stood there frozen to the spot where he was. Order your fine horses now Be with them at the door… Then he heard it… “Christine, I love you.” Christine and Raoul had pledged their love for each other. And Erik had seen the whole thing. He slowly came out from where he was hiding. He caught sight of the blood red rose lying forgotten on the ground. Bending down to pick it up he couldn’t believe the words that left his lips. I gave you my music Made your song take wing And now how you’ve repaid me Denied me and betrayed me He was bound to love you When he heard you sing Christine… He hung his head down towards the ground. The tears formed and the snowflakes fell on his eyelids. As Erik wept in despair and guilt, he realized something. He should have listened to her. Christine was gone. He crushed the rose in his hand. As the broken petals fell to the ground, Erik ran and climbed up the statue of Apollo. He glared up at the night sky and screamed. You will curse the day you did not do All that the phantom asked of you!! Elisabeta had seen and heard everything. She too was in tears. She now felt resentment towards Christine. Walking down the steps she could hear laughing. It was coming from Christine’s room. Elisabeta went inside, found Christine sitting at the vanity, and pulled her by her hair. “Elisabeta, what are you doing? Stop, that hurts!” She cried. “Good!” Elisabeta shouted at her. “What? What’s gotten into you?” asked Christine. Elisabeta calmed herself and glared at Christine. “I hope you are happy with what you’ve done.” She said to her. “I don’t understand. What have I done?” she asked. “He loves you!” said Elisabeta. “Who?” “I already told you that your angel had feelings for you.” Elisabeta shouted. “He’s not an angel, Elisabeta. He’s a murderer and that’s all there is to it.” Suddenly, Elisabeta burst into a rage. “You ungrateful little twit! Two men love you and you choose the safest one. You have no idea what you’ve done to him! Personally, I would do anything for a man like him!” As soon as those words escaped her mouth, both Elisabeta and Christine’s eyes widened. “How do you know him? Have you seen him?” asked Christine. “Yes and yes. Listen to me, Christine. Choose wisely…” “I don’t have time for this. I have to pack.” Christine interrupted. “For what? Are you going somewhere?” Asked Elisabeta. “Yes, I’m leaving with Raoul.” Christine replied proudly. “Will you ever come back?” “Maybe” Elisabeta left the dressing room. She went into Christine’s old room where she changed clothes and got into bed. Just as she was falling, she felt a cold draft. She turned over and saw Erik standing in the doorway. Without words, Elisabeta pulled back her covers and got out of bed. She took his hand and gently pulled him inside the room. Shutting the door and locking it, she turned towards Erik. The fire in his green eyes was indescribable. Elisabeta took off his outer clothing. (cloak, jacket, vest, etc.) She lay down on the bed and motioned for him to join her. He did. The two of them embraced each other. Elisabeta put her hand under his white shirt over his heart. It was beating wildly. She looked up at him. Before he could say a word, she got on top of him, took off his mask, and kissed him. Erik’s arms went around and tried to pull her closer to him as he kissed back. Suddenly, Elisabeta held her head up. “I love you, Erik.” Erik didn’t know what to say. He still wasn’t sure of his feelings towards her. Had his feelings for Christine changed? Right now he didn’t want to think about her. “Thank you, Elisabeta.” That was all he could think of to say. Then Elisabeta shocked him when she said: “You’re welcome.” “Elisabeta?” “Hmm?” “You’re beautiful when you’re angry.” ********************************* Chapter Eight - Don Juan loves Aminta ********************************* Three months… Three months…without a word from the opera ghost. Three months…without a word from Christine since the night she fled the Opera Populaire. The Bal Masque which was to be held on New Year’s Eve was when Christine and Raoul decided to return. They would announce their engagement, and Christine would bid a final farewell to her Angel of Music. Erik was still in love with Christine, but he’d managed to put those feelings aside and make room for Elisabeta. Truthfully, he didn’t understand why he chose to let Elisabeta become so close to him. He knew for sure that one day he would have to choose between the two women. Throughout those three months, Erik had formed a relationship with Elisabeta. He’d told her of his days as a gypsy prisoner. He showed her the ways about the bowels of the opera house. He’d shown her a shortcut to his lair. It was one that not even Madame Giry was aware of. He’d even let her sleep in his bed while he sung to her. On one of those nights, Elisabeta had woken up to find Erik asleep next to her in the swan bed. She’d gotten out of bed, and went out looking around. When she came to Erik’s organ, she noticed a composition sitting on the bench. It was the music of Don Juan Triumphant. By now, Elisabeta had forgotten that she’d come back through time. She’d forgotten things about her former life, like her real name, her family, and her friends. When she found the composition, she started to sing the first few lyrics. You have brought me To that moment when words run dry To that moment when speech disappears into silence Silence… By that time, Erik had awoken. When he heard Elisabeta singing, he bolted out of bed. Quietly sneaking up behind her, he listened to her rich and beautiful voice as it echoed throughout the caverns of his lair. Elisabeta continued. By now, she’d reached the production’s climax. When will the flames at last Consume us? Erik grabbed her and savagely spun her around until she was again entwined in his arms. Startled to death, Elisabeta tried to turn around and face him, but he held her still. He whispered in her ear. “Sing with me.” Elisabeta obeyed. Past the point of no return The final threshold The bridge is crossed So stand and watch it burn We’ve passed the point of no return When the song was over, they faced each other. Elisabeta’s arms went around him. She stood on her toes, and gently brought his face down to hers. After she kissed him, she pulled away slightly and said it again. “I love you.” “Thank you.” Erik replied. It was at that moment that Elisabeta made a vow. One day… One day, she would hear him say it. “I love you.” **************************** Masquerade! Paper faces on parade! Masquerade! Hide your face so the world will never find you! Elisabeta stood at the Bal Masque, and watched as the people of the Opera Populaire danced and drank their champagne. She’d received word from Madame Giry that Christine and Raoul would be returning that night. She’d then received word from Erik telling her to go the ball, and that he would meet her there. What Elisabeta didn’t know was how Erik would be dressed. She found out. The minute she saw him appear at the top of the stairs, dressed as Red Death, she knew that he had something up his sleeve. Descending the stairs, Erik drew his sword and sung his instructions and insults. He approached Christine after Raoul had left. Walking closer and closer to each other, Christine was once more hypnotized by Erik’s seductive gaze. Face to face now, Erik glanced down at Christine’s chest and quickly ripped the chain from her neck. Your chains are still mine! You belong to me! Elisabeta hung her head down. So it was true. Erik still loved Christine. Raoul appeared with his sword ready to fight. He followed Erik down through the floor trap to the mirrored room. Elisabeta ran over to Christine. “Why did you have to come back!” she shouted at her. In tears, Christine turned to her. “I never wanted to hurt anyone!” she said. “Seems like you can’t do anything without hurting someone.” Elisabeta snapped at her. Christine stopped crying. “Excuse me? What are you saying?” she asked. “I’m simply saying that you may belong to Erik; but remember this. He belongs to me!” Elisabeta said in a triumphant tone. Christine suddenly felt a twinge of jealousy course through her veins. She finally realized what was happening. Elisabeta was in love with Erik. She’d been jealous of him and Christine, so she stole him from her. Christine and Elisabeta’s friendship was false. “How could you do this to me? I thought you were my friend!” said Christine. “We are friends. I did nothing but help you realize your feelings. You made your choice. Erik’s – “ Before Elisabeta could finish, Christine slapped her across the face. “You thief! You wicked little -!” Elisabeta slapped her back. Madame Giry quickly stopped the two girls. “Ladies stop this! It’s over! I told Raoul what he needs to know. As for the two of you, I suggest you keep your distances. Come Christine. Raoul is waiting for you outside with the carriage.” Madame said. Christine glared at Elisabeta. “Farewell, friend.” she snapped. Elisabeta said nothing. She began to head for the door that led to the dormitories. ***************************** Back in the lair, Erik clutched the ring in his hand. He knew what Madame Giry had told Raoul. His head was pounding and his heart was racing. He couldn’t believe how beautiful Christine looked. He also couldn’t believe that she was now engaged to the Vicompte. He couldn’t believe – “Are you alright?” came a familiar voice. It was Elisabeta. She’d seen the whole thing. He felt so guilty. In all his anger, he’d completely forgotten her. He had to make it up to her somehow. Looking at her, he marveled at how exquisite she was. In a golden ball gown with white roses wound up in her hair, she resembled a goddess. Elisabeta ran to him worried. He’d taken off his blood red cape and jacket. The skull sword lay on a chair next to his piano. As she hugged him, she could feel him trembling. She asked him again. “Are you alright?” “Yes, I’m fine.” “I thought Raoul had hurt you.” she said. “Impossible.” He sat down on the piano bench and pulled Elisabeta onto his lap. For a few minutes, they just held each other. “Erik?” “Hmm?” “Do you love me at all…I mean…in the same way that I love you?” she asked. “How do you love me?” he asked. “To me, you are my soul mate…my Don Juan…my true and real love. The only man I’ve ever loved.” She told him. “Thank you.” Suddenly, Elisabeta took his face in her hands, and removed his mask. Before he could say anything, she kissed him hard. When she pulled away, he was out of breath. “Why won’t you tell me!” she cried. “I can’t.” he said. “WHY NOT!!” she cried again. “Because I want to show you, not tell you.” “Show me what?” she asked. “I want to show you what you do to me every time I hear your voice.” He said. It did not take long for Elisabeta to realize what Erik wanted to do. By the time the night was over, Erik and Elisabeta had given each other what they’d wanted their whole lives. Readers, I think you know what this means. Yes, they made love. In the swan bed. And just as Elisabeta was falling asleep in his arms, Erik said it. “I love you…Aminta.” ************************** Chapter Nine: Where Am I? ************************** Morning came all too soon. Elisabeta had fallen asleep in his arms, and he’d told her that he loved her. Yes, she’d heard him call her Aminta after admitting his love for her. However, of course, she wanted him to say it again with her name at the end of the sentence. Elisabeta opened her eyes to find herself still entwined in Erik’s arms. He was fully awake and staring down at her face watching her sleep. “Morning,” she said. “Good morning. How did you sleep?” he asked. “I couldn’t. I was…busy.” She said with a smirk. “I meant afterward.” “Oh, of course. I slept very well, thank you.” she told him. “Glad to hear that, Aminta.” “Stop that.” she said. “What is it?” he asked. Elisabeta was getting a little impatient. He knew what she wanted to hear, but was still having trouble. She then watched him take a deep breath, close his eyes, and finally look at her. “I love you…Elisabeta.” He finally declared. “Thank you.” she said. She said that on purpose. He had been saying that to her every time she told him that she loved him. She was surprised when he just chuckled. “Hey, that’s my line!” he said. They both started to laugh. “Christine?” she asked. Erik knew what she wanted to know, but he didn’t know to explain it to her. He thought about it quickly, and took another deep breath. “Let’s just say the obsession’s over.” He told her. “What of your love for her? You need to choose between us. That is inevitable.” “I know. I choose you. My love for her was great, but it turned into an obsession. Obsession blinds you and you lose the love because you cannot see it anymore.” He said. Elisabeta was confused. “That does not sound like you. Love can’t just disappear. It has to be taken away…stolen…the love has to go to something…or someone else.” She said. That’s when she realized what she’d just said. Erik smiled. He could tell that her thoughts were becoming clear. “And that someone is you, Elisabeta. I think you already knew that. While I was blinded by my obsession, somehow you snuck in there and stole my love…my heart. Elisabeta’s eyes began to tear up. “Are you mad at me for stealing you from Christine?” She asked. “Well you did blind me from her for a while.” He said. “It’s a yes or no question, Erik. But I think I already know the answer. “I’m not angry with you.” he said. Elisabeta sighed with relief. She was grateful to know that she had won. Suddenly, she heard something. It was music. The tune was the melody of “Masquerade.” But where was it coming from? She looked around and finally saw the little monkey music box sitting at the corner of the swan bed. It was playing the tune of “Masquerade.” She smiled at Erik. He smiled back. Suddenly, Elisabeta began to feel somewhat strange. She became silent. Her eyes darted about the room. Erik stopped smiling. Elisabeta felt like she was going to be sick, because her head had begun to hurt. It was like it was racing with thoughts of the past few weeks. But were they thoughts? Could they have been memories? “Of course they were. I just forgot.” She told herself. Then more memories came back to her. Erik was shaking her trying to wake her up from her staring spell. In his eyes, it looked as if Elisabeta had gone somewhere else. Her eyes had stopped darting everywhere, and were now just fixed on the monkey music box. She was breathing faster now, and had a terrified look on her face. “Elisabeta, are you alright? Look at me.” said Erik. She did not respond, for it looked as if she couldn’t register the fact that he was talking to her. Did she even recognize his voice? What was distracting her? It was all coming back. From being found in Box five to meeting Christine to being in Erik’s arms to… Suddenly, her head stopped hurting. Everything became clear. Her memory had returned. “Where am I?” she said out loud. Erik was dumbfounded. He couldn’t believe her words. This definitely wasn’t Elisabeta. Had she been possessed? He grabbed her shoulders and shouted her name. She looked up at him. She reached out to touch his face. He closed his eyes, but he never felt her hand against his skin. His eyes popped open. He saw Elisabeta. She was not in his arms anymore. “Wait!Wait! Please, oh God, no…NOOO!” shouted Elisabeta. While Erik’s eyes were closed, she felt herself slowly slip away from him. Suddenly, her view of everything became smaller and smaller. Erik’s face became smaller and smaller. Everything was disappearing. Suddenly, she couldn’t see anything. Suddenly… “Elisabeta!Elisabeta!...ELISABETA!!!” Erik screamed. The music stopped. ***************************** Ch. 10 Broken Hearts Are Painful ***************************** Like the chapter title says; broken hearts are indeed painful. Unfortunately Elisabeta would find that out the hard way. When the music stopped, that was when she opened her eyes to find herself in a bed. It wasn’t just any bed. It was her hotel bed at Hotel l’Imperial in Paris. She looked all around. Her hotel room looked the same. Her memory was still a bit foggy. She looked down at herself and discovered that she was wearing a pink evening gown. “And how are you feeling, my dear?” Elisabeta didn’t recognize the voice that came from beside her bed. She looked over to find an old man sitting in a chair. He was wearing glasses and had a stethoscope around his neck. She concluded that he was a doctor. She had so many questions racing through her mind. She had to speak to him. “Am I sick?” she asked. The old man chuckled. “No honey, you passed out at the performance. Forgive us for going through your purse, but we needed to find out who you were and where you belonged. “Performance?” she said. “Yes, Don Juan Triumphant. Obviously, you were overwhelmed by the show. You were running a fever and you were showing signs of shock.” He replied. “Is that why I’m dressed like this?” she asked. “Yes. Well I will leave you to get some rest. Good night, Elisabeta.” He said. Elisabeta rested her head for a moment when something came to her. “Wait. How did you know my name?” she asked. The old man turned around with a grin on his face. “It says so on your driver’s license.” He said. Elisabeta’s eyes widened. Her head began to ache, and she started shivering. She shot up from the bed and found her purse. Going through it, she found a familiar card that had someone’s picture on it with her name printed next to it. She stood up from the bed. With her legs a little wobbly, she walked forward to stand in front of the full length mirror. She saw a young woman standing there wearing a pink gown. She had snow white skin, with green eyes, and red pixie cut hair. “Who’s that?” she said under her breath. Suddenly, her jawed dropped. She said those words again, only louder this time. “Who is that!” she shouted. The young woman was herself. She no longer resembled Christine Daae. “Good thing for Erik.” she said. Wait a minute. “ERIK!!! No God please!” she screamed. He was gone. Everything was gone. She was home; back in the 21st century. She had been taken back through time. Taken away from him. She lowered her head and sat back down on the bed. The tears came down like waterfalls. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. “My dear, are you alright? I heard shouting.” Said the old man who was standing outside the door. Elisabeta ran to the door and locked it. “Go away! Leave me alone!” she said. The old man left. Ripping off her pink dress, Elisabeta closed the windows and went to the bathroom and spent an hour throwing up. After her headache was gone, she ran into the shower and turned the hot water on. She scrubbed herself like crazy, trying to wash away the memories of all that had happened to her. It didn’t work. When she came out and put on a fresh white nightgown, she decided couldn’t take it anymore. She grabbed a candlestick from the night table, and shattered the mirror into small shards. Taking a long breath, she got into bed. Closing her eyes, she did not hear the monkey music playing. She buried her face into her pillow and cried herself to sleep. One week later…. The staff was getting worried. Elisabeta had not come out of her room since that night. The door remained locked and they never heard the slightest of movements in the room. All they heard was the faint sound of her singing. By the time the week was over, even they had memorized the songs she sang. “We have to do something!” shouted a maid. “What can we do? The door is locked.” Said another maid. “Then find the skeleton key. She can only go on like this for so long!” they said. Breaking down the door, they found Elisabeta sitting in a chair in front of the shattered mirror. She was still wearing her white night gown and robe. Her face resembled that of a ghost. She had no sign of life in her eyes, only small tears dripping from them. Panicked, the staff put her on the bed. She hadn’t eaten for a week. Her hands were like ice and her eyes stayed wide open. She did not blink once. The people called the ambulance and left to fetch some oxygen. When they came back, the door again was locked. The old man bent down and looked through the keyhole. “Good God.” he whispered. Elisabeta had risen from the bed. She was wearing a white corset, a skirt, and dressing gown. She walked towards the mirror and took hold of a gloved hand. Looking closer into the mirror the old man saw a man dressed in black from head to toe and donning a white mask. He was singing to Elisabeta as she took a step and disappeared through the mirror. Suddenly, the door unlocked. The old man raced inside and looked in the mirror. There was Elisabeta in the arms of the man in black. “Look, Sir!” said a shocked maid. The old man looked back to see Elisabeta’s lifeless body lying on the bed. Her eyes were closed and she had a small grin on her face. Suddenly, the singing stopped. The old man looked again at the mirror. The image of the two lovers had disappeared. And from that moment on, the monkey music box played its tune. It never stopped. The End
  3. This is my fourth fan fic. It is short but worth reading. I’m a big fan of Greek mythology. I was trying to think of a new story, but my mind was completely blank. I’ve had writer’s block since I was sixteen or seventeen. I’m just now coming out of it, thanks to the story Phantom of the Opera and the fan fiction of the Gerard Butler websites. Back to Greek mythology, this is not an actual story from the Grecian times. I put it together myself. The information on the muses and gods is all true, according to the Greek records of mythology. I put my own story and Phantom of the Opera together. You’ll see what I mean. Enjoy!!! ~rivendell ********************************* Blessed and Cursed~Where It Began~ ********************************* As you all know, in Greek mythology, there were nine muses who were blessed with the Gifts of Art. They are as follows: Terpsichore – Dance Erato – Lyrics Polyhymnia – Hymns Calliope – Epics Clio – History Euterpe – Music Thalia – Comedy Melpomene – Tragedy Urania – Astronomy And last but not least, their little mortal brother, Orpheus. I also made a new muse for my story: Fauna – Song There is also Eris, the Goddess of Discord. Then there is Hectate, The Witch-Goddess. Now that you know all of this, let’s get back to the story. Long ago, in the times of the great gods of Greece, many wonderful things were created. Unfortunately, like the other side of a coin, horrible things were created as well. One of the most infamous curses placed on earth as well Mount Olympus was ordered by Eris. She was a goddess, and her specialty was quarreling (discord). One day, she found herself longing for companion, a husband. She already knew all of the other gods and knew none of them would ever really love her. She decided to go earth in disguise to find a mortal to love her, for she was aware that some mortals married for life. When she left Mount Olympus, she had love affairs with many men, yet none of them were faithful to her. Desperate, Eris went to visit The Fates. When the three of them saw Eris coming to meet them, they knew exactly what she wanted. But they knew the truth. Eris would never find what she was looking for. Her soul – mate Eris was furious when she heard this. She then questioned them. The Fates said it was not because she was a goddess, but because of her occupation. You all remember what that is: Arguing, Quarreling…Discord. The Fates said that no man would stand for her or love her. In a rage, Eris stormed out, swearing revenge. She went to the nine muses who with their gifts could bless anyone they wished. For her revenge, Eris would force them to place a curse. A special curse. On any mortal who wished for a certain to be their soul mate. The curse would go like this: A certain man would fall in love with a woman. He suffers from heartbreak, because the woman loves someone else. The certain man would have no soul mate and would be alone for the rest of his life, while the woman and her lover lived in peace and happiness. Regretfully and reluctantly, the muses set work. Terpsichore and Fauna created Christine Daae, a young woman with an exquisite singing voice, dancing talent, and ethereal beauty. Next came Raoul de Chagny, a handsome young man. Fauna gave him a good voice with goods looks to go with it. Clio gave him a good background as a Vicompte as well a crime – free record. Calliope was the epic muse, but she decided to give a little story like poem he would share with the beautiful Christine. It was called “Little Lotte.” Lastly, came the wishful lover: Erik, a man blessed by Euterpe with the gift of music along with the gifts of Lyrics, Song, and Hymns, all by Fauna, Polyhymnia, and Erato. But unfortuanately, he was also cursed with tragedy, meaning he would be the rejected one. The one that had no hope of finding true love…his soul mate. Calliope, gave him a bad history making him a murderer, a felon, blackmailer, prankster, and a fugitive. Eris ordered Melpomene, the muse of Tragedy to be extra cruel on Erik. Sadly, Melpomene was forced to give Erik’s face that of a deformity. One that no one would ever be able to look beyond. However, when Eris wasn’t looking, the Witch – Goddess, Hectate came to the crying muses. She told them that Zeus, king of the gods felt pity for Erik, so he gave Hectate something that would change everything. It was Pandora’s Box. The story as we all know now only contained Hope inside. Hectate held out the object and gave it to Fauna. As soon as she took it into her hands, it took on a special disguise. It was that of a monkey music box. With the blessings of Polyhymnia, Erato, and Fauna, the box would come to Erik later in his life. But the curse of Eris was a bit too strong, meaning that Erik would have to endure much cruelty, pain, and heartbreak, before he found what was he looking for. All that was left for the Love Triangle to be completed was Urania’s gift. She gave the three lovers a place, or constellation, in the night sky…a triangle. She was able to delay the special story for many years…all the way to the nineteenth century. The year 1870 to be exact. And the curse was place on three people. Or actually just one. Christine Daae, the loved woman Victompte Raoul de Chagny, her lover And lastly… Erik, The Phantom of the Opera To all fan fiction writers, Can anyone write a story as to what happens after disaster when Christine leaves with Raoul? Does anyone want to write about the monkey music box containing Erik’s hope for a soul mate? Does anyone want to provide true love for Erik? I’ve written the Prologue. Now I invite you to help me write the story that follows. Let me know if you’re interested and send me your ideas! ~rivendell
  4. The Violin Chapter One: Erik (I changed the years so that everything involving the disaster occurred in 1869, and not 1870.) When: 1870 one year after the disaster Where: The newly rebuilt Opera Populaire One year One long, slow, agonizing year Without her Without his Angel of Music For two weeks, he hid in the deepest under-belly of the Paris Opera House, waiting for the disaster to die down. When it was safe to return, he quickly found Madame Giry. To his surprise, only the stage, auditorium, and parts of the roof had been destroyed. The backstage, ballet dormitories, and even his lair remained untouched. A total of twelve people had been killed. The rest were either badly burned or had been trampled due to the frenzy of the fire. Madame Giry told him about Monsieur Andre and Firmin’s resignation and that the new manager deeply respected the legend of the Opera Ghost. He quickly sent the new manager, Monsieur Phillippe, a note detailing how the opera was to be rebuilt. By the time it was completed, he had settled back into his home designing, building, and composing. Basically, he was doing everything he could to keep his mind off…her. As time went by, Meg Giry went on to become Prima Ballerina and Madame Giry took up another job as the opera’s assistant manager at the Opera Ghost’s instructions. Then Monsieur Phillippe got permission to put on a season of ballet. The first one would be “Don Quixote.” It had premiered in Moscow, Russia a year before, successfully. Luckily, the Opera Ghost managed to read the script and the music and decided that it would be the best to start the season with. Meg was to play the heroine, Kitri, and Andris, the Guest Artist from Russia would be playing the male lead, Basilio. One day, as the Opera Ghost was making his way toward Madame Giry’s chamber, he heard shouting. Kicking the door down, all he found was young Meg jumping and smiling. She’s really coming! How wonderful!” she shouted. “Who’s coming?” he asked. Startled, both women looked at him. Madame Giry managed to calm her daughter. “Please don’t burst into my room like that. What if I was not decent?” said Madame Giry. “You look decent enough to me. Who’s coming?” he asked again. “My point is –“ she began. “WHO…IS…COMING!!” he yelled. Meg backed away a little. “Relax, Erik, it’s only my niece, Caroline” she said. Meg’s eyes widened. “He had a name?” she thought to herself. “What? Why wasn’t I informed?” he asked. “We just found out today. She is to be our new costume designer. Don’t worry, she is talented, and she will not get in your way.” said Madame. “What is that supposed to mean?” he asked. “She knows about you and…Miss Daae.” she said. He rolled his eyes. That was all he needed. But since this new costume designer already knew about him, he quickly decided that “breaking her in” wasn’t necessary. “Erik?” said Meg timidly. “Yes.” he replied. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize – “ she began. “Little Meg, everyone has a name; even the Opera Ghost.” he finished for her. “Would it be alright if I called you by your name from now on?” she asked boldly. He turned and with a simple “Yes” he left the room. Madame Giry stared after him worried. Meg smiled. She couldn’t suppress a giggle. Her mother looked at her. “What’s so funny?” she asked. “Well, knowing Caroline, she’ll get on his good side.” was all Meg would say. “I certainly hope so.” Said Madame Chapter Two: Caroline “Knock, knock.” Meg sat up in her bed to see who was there. Looking at the young woman standing in her doorway, she couldn’t believe what she saw. “Caroline?” she asked. “Of course!” said the young woman. Meg couldn’t believe how much her cousin had grown up. She was beautiful. Her once short brown hair was now down to her waist. She was also a good five inches taller. “Oh, how you’ve changed!” Meg said. “That’s what your mother said.” Caroline replied “You’ve already seen mother?” asked Meg. “Oh yes.” she said. Meg ran to her cousin and gave her a hug. Caroline congratulated her on becoming Prima Ballerina. They sat down and talked for about an hour before Madame Giry came walking in. “Caroline, your room is ready. Come and get settled in. Be sure to freshen up because you still have to meet with Monsieur Dubois and the ballet company.” she said. “Yes, Auntie.” Caroline replied. About a half an hour later, Caroline met the people for whom she would be designing costumes. She worked quickly, taking measurements and studying the choreography and sets. She had to determine what fabrics and colors would look good where. As the day came to a close, she began to make her way back to her room. Suddenly, there was a crash of thunder. A storm had started. Caroline hated storms. Quickly, she ran into the first room she could find and locked the door. She began to light candles. As the light illuminated the room, Caroline could see a large wardrobe with a changing screen and a vanity. At the other end of the room was a full length mirror with a gold elaborate frame. This was a dressing room. As she looked around, she saw a vase filled with a dozen red roses. Caroline froze. This was Christine Daae’s dressing room. One hour later… The storm continued to rage. Caroline stood there in the middle of Christine’s room, not knowing what to do. She couldn’t remember where her own room was, and Madame Giry would be furious if she knew she was in there. As she looked around, she noticed in the full length mirror that her hair was coming loose. She walked closer and pulled the pins out. Her long, brown hair fell down past her shoulders. Caroline was quick enough to catch it and put it back into a simple bun. On the other side of the full length mirror, Erik watched spellbound. This had to be the famous Caroline. No other woman this exquisite lived at the opera house. He could also tell she was new because she was in Christine’s room. No one had dared to go in there since the fire. As he looked at her, he saw that her dark blue eyes almost seemed purple. She had pale skin and long, brown hair. She also had a beautiful heart shaped mouth, a button nose, and long eyelashes. Her figure was slim with sensual curves. In his eyes, she surpassed Miss Daae with flying colors. Immediately taken with her, he walked closer to the mirror to get a better look. Without warning, Caroline looked up at her reflection in the mirror. Since the mirror was two way, she did not see him. But that didn’t stop Erik from accidentally tripping over a stone on the ground. He fell forward, and bumped into the mirror. The noise frightened Caroline, and she ran out of the room. Erik got up, cursed his clumsiness, and followed her. Sprinting down the passageway, Erik quickly found Caroline’s room. He lit a candle, opened the door, and then hid behind Caroline’s own full length mirror. Meanwhile, as she was running down the hallway Caroline saw the light coming from her own room and ran inside. Sitting down on the bed, she wondered if anyone had seen her in that dressing room. From behind the mirror, Erik watched her as she went behind the changing screen. When she came out she was dressed in a beautiful white nightgown. She went to her desk and pulled out what looked like a sketchbook. That was all Erik could tell from where he was standing behind the mirror. Caroline picked up a pencil and got into bed. She drew for about twenty minutes until the candle burned out. Erik watched as she placed a small kiss on the sketchbook and put it on the night table next to her bed. She then got under the covers and blew out the candle. Five minutes later, she was asleep. Erik looked at the night table. On the sketchbook was a drawing of a dress that looked like it needed finishing. He grinned. Turning his back, he put on a burst of speed all the way back to his lair. He had an idea.
  5. This is my latest fan fic! Please read and tell me what you think! ~rivendell ***************************** Chapter One: The Opera Ghost ***************************** It all began three years after the disaster. When a small carriage made its way through the streets of Paris, and pulled up in front of the Opera Populaire. The carriage was built for two people, but only one person traveled inside. As the carriage stopped, out stepped a woman dressed in a grey suit. Emmeline Rothschild was her name. She was a painter who’d been imported from London by the new manager to paint scenes of productions at the opera house. A young woman barely in her twenties, Emmeline stepped onto the sidewalk. She gazed at her new home. The Paris Opera House. Paying the carriage driver, she picked up her luggage, which was one suitcase. With confidence, she held her chin up, and walked inside. She made it to the middle of the grand hall, before she had to stop and just look at the place. It was exquisite. Marble floors, golden staircases, crystal chandeliers, and candelabras were everywhere. Emmeline thought to herself. She closed her eyes and reminded herself that she was here to work. She would have to concentrate on her real goal after she finished her first job there at the opera house. What no one knew was that secretly Emmeline was a portrait painter. Her life dream was to paint a face. Not just any face; a face that was special, a face that the world would always remember and never forget. Emmeline stood there for a moment when she felt someone tap her on the shoulder. “Oh!” she said. “Oh, excuse me, I didn’t mean to startle you.” came a woman’s voice. Emmeline turned around. Standing there, were two women, one middle-aged and the other probably close to Emmeline’s own age. The older looked stern as stone all dressed in black and holding a cane. The younger one, however, stood there in white and pink ballet rehearsal clothes, and wearing toe shoes. “How was your trip?” Asked the one in black. “It was lovely, thank you. My name is” – “Emmeline Rothschild, yes, we’ve been expecting you. You are our newest production painter.” “That’s right.” “I’m Antoinette Giry, but you may call me Madame. And this is my daughter, Meg.” “Bonjour,” said Meg smiling. “Oh, hello,” said Emmeline, who barely knew French. “Come, we’ll show you to your room. It’s not too far from the ballet dormitories.” “Thank you.” said Emmeline. As they walked down the halls, Emmeline could feel a strange sense of sadness around her. The place seemed so dark and lifeless. Looking down the halls, she saw that all the doors and windows were shut. Suddenly, she saw an open door. The room had red interior walls on the inside. As Emmeline poked her head inside, Madame Giry quickly pulled her arm, yanking her out of the doorway. She quickly closed the door and locked it. She then looked at Emmeline. “I’m sorry, I should’ve told you before. That room is not to be disturbed. The door is to remain closed and locked.” She said. Emmeline was puzzled. “Then why was it open before?” she asked. Madame Giry didn’t say anything, but quickly glanced at Meg as if telling her not to say anything to Emmeline. “Here we are. This is your room.” Emmeline blinked. Her room was right next door to the room that was to remain undisturbed. “Oh perfect.” She thought. Emmeline’s room was rather nice. It had a double bed, a vanity, a changing screen, a bookshelf, a desk, and a full length mirror in the corner. “This room used to be a dressing room.” said Meg. “Oh, I see.” Said Emmeline. “Well, we’ll leave you here to unpack and get some sleep. In the morning, you are to report to the manager’s office.” Said Madame Giry. “Yes, Madame. Goodnight.” Emmeline said. After the two women left, Emmeline closed the door. She tossed aside her suitcase and threw off her hat and coat. She splashed some water on her face and sat down at the desk. She pulled out her sketchbook and began to draw. 2 hours later… ***************************************************************** Meg knocked on Emmeline’s door to see how things were going. “Things are fine.” she said. “Good. What’s that? What are you drawing?” Asked Meg. Emmeline held up the finished picture. Meg’s jaw dropped. It was a portrait of herself! A perfectly drawn portrait; with every detail imaginable. “How did you do that?” Meg asked. Emmeline blushed. “Practice.” “It’s beautiful, Emmeline. Thank you.” she said. “You’re welcome.” Meg and Emmeline continued to talk. “So what’s London like?” Asked Meg. “Boring and cold. What’s Paris like?” Asked Emmeline. “Warm and exciting, I guess.” Said Meg, laughing. “You’re lucky to have your own room.” said Meg. “But don’t you have your own room?” asked Emmeline. “Not really, the new dancer will be here in a week. She’s here to replace Christine.” Ooops. “Who’s Christine?” asked Emmeline, who was now very interested.Meg looked at Emmeline. She knew that she’d already said enough, but in the long run, Emmeline was harmless. Why not tell her? “Christine Daae.” She said. “Daae? You mean Gustave Daae’s daughter?” “Yes, we were best friends.” Meg replied. “What do you mean? Aren’t you still best friends?” Asked Emmeline. “No, I haven’t seen her since she left the opera.” She said. Emmeline was confused. “Why did she leave?” Meg was silent for a moment. “Because of him.” “Who?” “The Opera Ghost” ********************************* Chapter Two : The Rafters The next day, Emmeline woke up early. She washed her face and hands. She put on her favorite green skirt with a white blouse and emerald broche that her father had given her. Stepping into her plain brown shoes, she sat down at the vanity. She took some pins and swept up her wild, red hair. Putting on her trademark scent; Jasmine, she stood up and walked over to the full length mirror. Emmeline spun around in her green skirt. She loved to spin. Leaving her room, she met Meg for breakfast. Forty – five minutes later, she returned, grabbed her painting materials, and set out to work. The opera was putting on a production of Giselle. The rehearsal was interesting. First, Emmeline took a look at the ballerinas to see what they look like up close, to determine what they would look like far away from the audience’s point of view. Second, she made them all take the classic poses from the ballet itself, to get an early start. Then, she let them all take a break while she concentrated on the sets themselves. Finally, after about three hours, she worked with Giselle herself : Meg Giry. It was a long day. Everyone was exhausted. Not Emmeline though. She was a tough worker and a perfectionist. She loved working long hours, never quitting until she was completely worn out. She shook with everyone and thanked them for their time and bid them goodnight. As Emmeline walked onto the stage towards the halls, she looked up at where the stagehands were working. “Hmm, wonder what the place looks like from up there.” she wondered. She thought for a minute. No, she couldn’t. No, she shouldn’t No, it was too risky. What if someone saw her? What if she fell? What if – “Oh who cares! Sounds like fun anyway!” she said to herself. With that, Emmeline walked backstage, opened the stagehand door, and began to walk up the winding steps taking her up…up…all the way to the rafters. After a few flights, Emmeline found herself staring down at the stage. An exhilarating feeling washed over her. She kept her sketchpad and pencils in her bag and over her arm. She held on the railing and stayed out of sight until all of the stagehands were gone. Moments later, they had all vanished. Now, she was her chance. She lifted up her skirt and decided to walk down the middle beam to center of the stage. But before she could take her first step, a large, black rope hooked by the waist and yanked her back onto the platform. Emmeline let out a little squeal before her mouth was covered by a large, cold object. The large hook tightened on her waist. But then something happened. She felt something near her ear. It seemed to be a cold, object made of some type leather. She looked over at it. Inside the object she saw something else that made her heart stop. It was a beautiful green eye. A human green eye. It stared down at her. Whatever was holding her began to loosen a bit. Then, this time Emmeline heard something. It was man’s voice. “Shh, do not struggle Emmeline and everything will be fine.” the voice said. Gently, the man with the green eye and the musical voice guided her backwards into the darkness. ******************************* Chapter Three – Rescuer and Captor ******************************* As her rescuer and captor dragged her back to where it was black, Emmeline knew her life may have been saved, but now she was in trouble all over again. Finally, the man who had her stopped. He had a steel like grip on her, yet somehow he was holding her gently. As if she were made of glass. The two of them stood at the railing just so that Emmeline could see the stage. It was a beautiful scene, but it also could have been a death scene. Her death scene. She was grateful to whoever caught her. She just wished he would talk some more. She wanted to hear that beautiful musical voice again. He must have heard her wish. “You have spine, Emmeline. To come to a place where the opera ghost is rumored to have been seen.” The man with the green eye and the musical voice hissed. Emmeline realized that like he said if she didn’t struggle, he wouldn’t hurt her. She could easily talk her way out of this. However, she was a bit confused to start with. “Opera ghost?” “Yes, he is known for his murderous tendencies.” Erik said. He was beginning to have fun with this. “He?” She asked. “Of course, what did you think I meant?” He snapped. “I’m sorry but you must be mistaken, but everyone knows that the opera ghost is a woman.” She replied. Suddenly, Emmeline felt the grip on her tighten like a vice. From behind her came a deep and powerful laugh. Then he spoke again. “Where did you hear…THAT!!!” He said with a snicker. Emmeline was even more confused. Was he making fun of her? Was he calling her a liar? She had no idea what to say, so she stayed silent. “Answer me.” Erik said. “What?” She asked. “Where did you hear that the opera ghost was a woman?” he demanded. Emmeline decided to tell him the truth. “It was my own assumption, Sir. I thought it might a young operatic singer floating around in a white gown or something singing the High C, and breaking every mirror she passed.” She explained. Erik was astounded. This so called opera ghost of Emmeline’s reminded him very much of Christine Daae herself. However, he was more interested in this young woman’s imagination even more. He knew her name, where she was staying, and why she was at the Opera Populaire. He didn’t expect her to stay very long, though. Female painters weren’t known to have any talent to be taken seriously. But Erik noticed that when he’d snatched her, the drawings in her bag of the opera’s Giselle had fallen out… and he had seen them. He had to admit that he hadn’t seen such different talent before. She had used brown tones to paint the tree’s leaves and bushes during sunset. But in the graveyard scene, she’d used dark greens and blues for the grounds, stones, and trees, and even the gravestones themselves, instead of black and gray. He was impressed. “Um, Sir? Can I go now? I’m thankful for what you did, but I must get back to my painting.” said Emmeline. Erik realized that while he’d been thinking he’d been holding her all this time. He decided something. “No, you’re going to return to your quarters. Don’t come back up here, or you will receive a punishment beyond your imagination.” He warned her. Emmeline shivered, not with fear, but excitement. She was fascinated with her rescuer. She could tell right away that he was dangerous. But something in his voice told her that none of that danger would ever be directed towards her. “Yes, Sir, I’ll do as you say one condition.” She said. Erik frowned. “And what might that be?” He asked in deep voice. “Would you mind introducing yourself? I’ll go first. I’m Emmeline Gabrielle Rothschild, how do you do.” She said. Erik sighed and watched her as she held out her hand waiting for it to be kissed as is customary in Europe. Emmeline stood there for a moment and waited. He seemed hesitant, so she decided to just curtsy instead. As he watched, she could have sworn she saw a small grin on his – Wait a minute. Half of his face is cover—oh my. He’s wearing a mask, a white half mask. And the rest of him is black. His hands, his hair, his body,…but his eyes… This time Emmeline saw his other eye. The other beautiful green eye. She was finally able to glue all together. He had grabbed her from behind with his black-clad arm. He covered her mouth with his black leather-clad hand. And she had felt his mask against her own face when she first saw his eye gleaming through it. “Erik Desslar, Bonjour.” He said bowing. Before she could ask any questions, he quickly turned around and made for the back door beyond the last beam. Then he heard it. “Pleased to meet you, Sir Opera Ghost.” Emmeline said from across the way. She then picked up her bag and made her way down the steps. As she reached the bottom, she looked back up at the rafter. Erik was still standing there watching her. Quickly, she went into the stage wings, whipped out her sketchpad and pencil, and managed to trace the shadow of the opera ghost before he disappeared into the bowels of the opera house. ******************************* Chapter Four – Back Once More ******************************* “So I’m dancing on stage, and the next thing I know, a dead body comes falling from above!” cried Meg. Emmeline sat stock still in the chair as Meg told her the story of Il Muto and Josef Buquet’s death. First, Meg told her about the time he dropped a piece of the set on Carlotta’s head during the rehearsal of Hannibal. She thought that that was rather humorous, but after the Buquet incident, she had goose bumps. If he was a murderer like everyone was saying, then why didn’t he do anything to her? There were a million things he could’ve done to her. Rape…Torture…everything, but nothing. Why? “Why what?” Meg asked. Emmeline didn’t realize it, but she’d been thinking out loud and talking to herself, asking questions to herself. She looked at Meg. She was all wide – eyed. Emmeline decided to tell her. She didn’t see Madame Giry come into the room behind her. “Meg, I met him…in the rafters, the very place where Buquet was murdered. In fact, I almost died there.” “What!” Meg cried. “Oh my dear, did he hurt you!” shouted Madame Giry as she put her hands on Emmeline’s shoulders as if trying to shelter her from harm. She surprised Emmeline. “No, he did not. Actually, it was quite the opposite. He saved me…saved my life.” replied Emmeline. “Wait, I’m confused. What were you doing in the rafters in the first place?” Asked Meg. “Excellent question.” said Madame Giry. Emmeline smiled and began her story. When she was finished telling them about how she was warned to stay away, Madame Giry and Meg looked at each other. When Emmeline wasn’t watching, the two of them exchanged glances of worry. They watched Emmeline pick up her drawing bag and leave the room. Secretly, they knew where she was going. Going up the stairs to the rafters, Emmeline looked down at the stage and clung to the rail. This time, she went to the place where he’d taken her, and hoped for the best. Thinking about the past week, she remembered everything she’d heard about the famed opera ghost. She learned that he had stolen things, rigged sets and played pranks on the performers and even more about the Great Disaster that Meg told her about. She also learned more about Christine Daae. The girl had come to the opera house as a child and received singing lessons from a special teacher. For a time, she was the star soprano of the opera house. But the opera ghost himself wrote an opera that he demanded she sing in. He performed in the sensual opera with her where she took off his mask and revealed him to the world. “The opera ghost is a monster!” people said. “His face is that of a beast!” they also said. All that the people in the opera house would say about what happened next was that Christine and the Count de Chagny were married two days later and the opera ghost was never seen again. “But you if you’re not careful, you may just run into the opera ghost’s ghost!” another person said. Emmeline came to a conclusion. She had to get the truth, no matter what. She had to know what really happened that night… For he was still alive. Sitting there on the ground, she finished a little something she was sketching and stood up to stretch. As she held out her arms, something cold and wet was clamped over her nose and mouth. Emmeline was going to struggle, but she remembered. “Do not struggle, Emmeline, and everything will be fine.” Relaxing, she inhaled the chloroform and fainted. Once more, the opera ghost slowly but gently picked her up and carried her back once more down the steps, and into the darkness. ************************************* Chapter Five - Punishment ************************************* Waking up with a headache was one thing, but being surrounded by red silk sheets and black lace curtains was another. When Emmeline opened her eyes, that is exactly what she saw. She was lying down in some sort of object that she guessed was supposed to be a bed. It was black and carved in an odd shape. She tried to move, but found that her hands had been tied. She was too tired to struggle, so she decided to explore things from where she was. Looking around, she saw that the room was actually a stone cavern. The room itself looked similar to her own. It too had a vanity, a changing screen, a clothes closet, etc. Did a woman live there? Or better yet, did anyone live there? Was she all by herself? Where in the world was she? Then it all came back. The rafters… the opera ghost… the chloroform…but where had he taken her? Was he going to prove his reputation and do something to her? At that thought she began to panic. Suddenly the curtains began to rise. Emmeline blinked. Standing there before was the opera ghost himself. This was the first time she actually saw him in the light. He was beautiful. The candlelight made his green eyes glow like gold. His black clothing cast a haunting shadow on the stone walls. His tan skin shone like an angel’s. And his lips…his full sensuous lips seemed almost forbidden to touch, they were so gorgeous. However, his mask seemed the same as it was before: Mysterious and stern with a hint of a frown. Erik stared at her strangely. She looked like she was lost in a dream. He walked towards the bed. He was still a bit annoyed that she had returned. Yet he was intrigued by her curiosity and rebellious nature. Then he heard it. “Good evening Sir Erik.” Said Emmeline from her tied position on the bed. “You may address me as Erik. You are not in London anymore.” He said sternly. Emmeline realized that if she was to do this, she would have to lighten up the situation. And she knew exactly where to start. “If I may ask, would you mind untying me? You have my word that I will not leave here without your consent.” She said hopefully. “Emmeline, I tied you up for a reason.” Said Erik. “What reason is that? She asked. “So you will not run away when I tell you your punishment.” He said with mischievous tone. Emmeline had forgotten all about that! “Very well, what is my punishment, sir?” she asked. “I will paint you.” he said. “That seems fair eno”- she started. “Naked.” Emmeline’s eyes widened. Naked! Oh my! Emmeline had always wondered what it was like to painted in the nude. She wondered how long it took, what position you sat in, etc. It was one of her many goals. But Erik did not know this. She would have to keep her fascination to herself. Erik untied her. Leaving the room, he spoke with his back to her. “You have five minutes to get undressed. I’ll be waiting out in the main chamber.” He said. “I have a proposition for you.” said Emmeline as she got out of the swan bed. “Whatever it is, the answer is no.” he quickly answered, and left the room. Emmeline sighed and closed the door. She took off her clothes, folded them and put them on the bed. She then put on a black silk robe that had been laid on a chair for her. In cold, bare feet, she took her hair down, and walked out of the bedroom toward the main chamber. Tonight was going to be interesting. Now out in the open, she could that she was in a large cavern that was made out to be a home. His home. In her eyes, she had never seen anything more magnificent. Candles everywhere, stage furniture, stone steps, several different chambers, huge mirrors. She then noticed that the place was actually ashore. A green lake came up to it. Looking down she saw a beautiful black gondola trimmed with gold. She walked down the steps, her robe draping behind her, and past the huge pipe organ. She sat down at the bench and waited for Erik. He appeared wearing instead of his black suit and cloak, a white shirt, black trousers, a black Persian robe with long sleeves. The shirt was open at the top showing his well muscled chest. Emmeline was blushing. “Are you ready to be punished?” he asked. Emmeline gulped and said, “Yes.” Erik held out his hand. Emmeline saw that he was not wearing gloves. She took his hand and he led her into a corner where there a small couch waiting for her. With confidence, she took off her robe and let it fall to the ground in a pool around her feet. Erik looked at her. Her long red hair was down now. She had long legs, pale swan – like arms, a graceful neck, a flat stomach, and a pair of beautiful round, luscious… “Excuse me? Is something wrong?” she asked. Erik finally shook himself out of it. Feeling the constriction in his pants, he knew he had to gain control. “Lie down.” He ordered. She obeyed. As she turned around, Erik couldn’t help but notice her derriere. Emmeline, on the other hand, hoped that she would be able to do this without fainting. But what Erik did next was something she never would have expected. Pulling out the silver chains, Erik cuffed her wrists and ankles to the couch. He left her laying there while he positioned himself at his easel. He began to sketch. While she sat there uncomfortably, he was amazed. Any woman would have died from shock at what he’d just done! But this woman didn’t do that. In fact, she seemed to be enjoying it. When he was finished with her legs and arms, he moved on to sketch her inner section. This was a tad uncomfortable for him. As a matter of fact, very uncomfortable! He’d never had naked woman this close to him. When he cuffed her hands and feet, he could feel the softness of her skin scraping against the metal of the chains. That thought made him actually feel guilty. With that, he got up and went to her. “What is it?” she asked. “Nothing, here it’s time to remove these.” He said taking off the chains. “You’ve endured my punisment long enough.” “Are you done with the painting?” she asked. “Yes.” “May I see?” He gave Emmeline her robe and helped her off the couch. He then went to his easel and picked up the painting. Showing it to her, Emmeline smiled. She’d seen herself naked in the mirror before, but he’d made her out to be a muse. “Why did you come back?” Erik finally asked. “I wanted to ask you something.” she asked. “Oh? And what’s that?” he asked. “About the things people say you’ve done, especially the fact that you are a murderer. Would you ever murder me? Would you ever hurt me? And what about Christine Daae? Is that true?” “You ask a lot of questions, Miss Rothschild.” Said Erik. Emmeline decided that this was the best time as any. “Yes, I know, and I have one more question to ask. Actually it is more of a request.” She said. Erik put his back to her…again. He walked up the stairs and into the bedroom. Emmeline followed him. She wasn’t about to be denied this easily. As he was about to shut the door in her face, she stopped him and fought her way into the room. “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!!!” he bellowed. “I want to paint your face.” ******************************** Chapter Six ******************************** They stood in silence for a long time, practically cemented to their spots. Each person studied the other’s features to make sure that the previous words had just been said. “I want to paint your face.” Emmeline watched Erik waiting for any type of reaction. Erik watched Emmeline wondering if he had heard her correctly. Finally, she said broke the silence. “Without the mask.” Erik had to answer back. No one had ever dared to…talk to him like this. As if he was someone else… someone normal…someone… Human “Oh? And may I ask what possessed you take on such a suicidal mission?” he joked arrogantly. Emmeline was getting a little annoyed. “You can call my way of paying you back for what you did to me. For taking advantage of me. “I didn’t do anything to you. You could have left if you wished.” he said. “You know very well that if I left this place alone, I never would’ve made it home alive! And yes you did do something to me!” she shouted. “You are right, you wouldn’t have made it home alive, but as far as what I did…” he said. “You chained me up, for Christ’s sake!” she interrupted. “It all comes with the territory I’m afraid.” Erik said, smiling, remembering how tempting and yet helpless she looked wearing those silver chains, all sprawled out on his couch. “Sir…I mean Erik, I think if you’ve seen all of me; it’s only fair that I see all of you.” she said, reasonably. “Life’s not fair.” he said sternly. Emmeline could tell she wasn’t going to win this. She sighed and shook her head. “Very well then. I only thought I could help you to stop hiding from yourself.” she said. “What do mean “hiding from myself?” he asked. Emmeline’s eyes lit up. “When was the last time you looked in the mirror?” she asked. Erik tilted his head down. He knew she was right. Since the disaster, he’d kept all the mirrors covered. He just couldn’t seem to get rid of them. That’s was when he saw her brush past him over to the bed where her clothes were sitting. He inhaled her Jasmine scent. “Beautiful” he said to himself. As Emmeline finished putting her blue dress back on, Erik walked to the vanity. He picked up a brush that was supposed to be Christine’s. It was meant to untangle the chocolate curls in her hair. “But Christine is not here, you idiot.” He thought to himself. SHE is. Give it to her. “Let her brush the knots out of her wild red hair.” Eik thought to himself while watching Emmeline put on her plain brown shoes. He gave her the brush and she put her hair back into a bun. When she was ready, she walked right up to Erik and asked: “Are you going to take me home now?” “Yes.” he said. “Thank you, but not without my painting.” she said. “The painting stays here.” he said. “Alright, you keep a picture of me and I will keep a picture of you.” she replied. “Out of the question!” Erik shouted. “Don’t you yell at me!” she shouted back. With that Erik charged at her. Emmeline wasted no time. She quickly got down and lay on the floor and covered her head. Then she waited. She didn’t have to wait for long. Erik calmed down and stooped to see just exactly what it was she was doing. “Why are you doing that?” he asked. “Because if you hit me, I don’t want to hit the floor too hard.” she replied. That suddenly reminded Erik of how he’d rounded on Christine and knocked her to the floor, when she first took off his mask. He then felt guilty for frightening her like that. Slowly, he helped Emmeline to her feet. “It’s time for you to go home.” he said. Quietly, the two of them made their way through the tunnels deep below the opera house. Emmeline kept staring at Erik. She had found her inspiration… Her face… Her lifetime achievement. Erik Desslar Secretly, she was also memorizing the way through the dark stone tunnels. She had a photographic memory that Erik didn’t really need to know about. Finally, they reached the door to the rafters where they first met. When Erik let Emmeline pass him, she stopped and turned to look at him. That’s when it happened…all at the same time. They lunged at each other and crushed their lips together. They completely lost themselves in the most passionate kiss either one of them had ever experienced. But as soon Emmeline pulled back to take a breath, Erik quickly let go of her, swung his cape over his head and disappeared down into the catacombs, without a word. Emmeline looked down. He was gone. She fell to her knees and wept hot tears. And lying in front of her on the ground… was Erik’s mask. *************************************** Chapter Seven – The Rooftop *************************************** Emmeline bent down and picked up the white object that lay at her feet. Erik’s mask…The mask of The Phantom of the Opera. She ran her hands across the surface of the mask. It felt cool with a leather texture. As she looked at it closer, she noticed a tear stain just beneath the eye. “What had caused him to cry?” she wondered. She was upset. Erik had run away from her just when she managed to get close to see his face. Emmeline was determined. She had to see him. Walking down from the rafters, she discovered that it had become quite easy for her to do so. She was getting good at climbing. Soon she would know the opera house as well as Erik knew it…maybe. First, she had some work to do. She would have to gain Erik’s trust. She felt his attraction to her when they had kissed. The kiss they’d shared seemed to come out of nowhere. Erik must have been keeping a lot of emotion bottled up inside. All she could guess was that some of his desperation to let her know how he truly felt about her was to give her a quick kiss. “No wonder he wanted me to stay away. It’s obvious that he was a struggler with self-control. Maybe he felt it would be better not to see her so he wouldn’t be tempted to do God knows what.” She said to herself. But then she felt proud and touched that he had not taken full advantage of her when he’d painted her naked. He’d managed to keep his inner urges under control. Of course she was only guessing. It was pretty obvious that he held some sort of love for her. “Just what kind of love? Was it friendship or something deeper?” she wondered. She just hoped that this wasn’t the kind of relationship that never went any further than lust. As she walked back to her room, she closed the door behind her. Without even changing, she lay on her bed and drifted off to sleep. The next morning …. She woke up in a wrinkled dress. With heavy eyelids, she looked at her clock and gasped. It was already noon! Quickly, she stood up unsteadily, grabbed her art bag, and headed for the auditorium. Thank God, she was received with a friendly “Good afternoon, sleeping beauty!” from Madame Giry. She thought she would get her salary decreased from the managers of the opera house. Instead, Emmeline was given word that her salary was to be increased! Deep down, she had a feeling that this was Erik’s doing. It was a long day. Emmeline kept yawning. She needed more sleep. Her time with Erik had worn her out. Afterwards, as she walked down the hall, she noticed something. Her door was open. She went inside and saw what appeared to be a piece of paper with a black ribbon tied to it. She opened it and went into shock. It was her picture… the nude painting. Erik had made her so beautiful, she thought she would cry. Everything from her eyes to her hand structure to the pout of her lips was perfectly sketched. And the detail of her breasts, she could tell he had spent some extra time working on. Emmeline then noticed a small envelope lined in black with a red skull wax seal on it. She opened it and pulled out the paper. It was from Erik. It was invitation to meet him on the roof of the opera house with directions on how to get there. Emmeline decided that it was harmless enough. She went to her closet and took out her pine green cloak, left her room, and made her way upward. Walking down the steps from the door on the roof, Emmeline stood there and waited. Suddenly a black leather clad hand reached out and covered her mouth. Somehow, she knew it was Erik. She could feel his breathing as he pulled her back against him. He hummed to her softly. He took her hand and gently put it on the bare side of his face. Emmeline closed her eyes and stroked his cheek and brushed her fingers along his lips. He placed his hands on her stomach and pushed inward. He was pressing her tightly against his groin. She could tell what was on his mind. “That is me wanting you.” he said in a seductive tone. Emmeline pulled away and turned around to face him. She opened her eyes. There he stood in front of her…without a mask. She saw his whole face. Marred with welts and scars and red flesh, with no eyebrow. She also saw that his hair was not black but a light shade of brown. She couldn’t stop herself. Slowly, she reached up to touch his red cheek. To her surprise, it felt warm. She ran her fingers through his hair and traced the scars. She looked into Erik’s eyes that were now full of tears. “And this is me wanting you.” she said to him. “I’m sorry I ran away from you.” he said. “It’s alright. Just promise you won’t do it again.” She replied. “I promise.” He said. Emmeline smiled. She then asked why he’d invited her to the roof. “I want to ask you something.” he said. “And what might that be?” she asked. “Is there any way I can make it up to you for doing what I did?” Emmeline knew that this was her chance. “Let me paint your face with and without the mask, and we’ll call ourselves even with each other.” She said. Erik looked down for a moment. Then he turned around and walked toward the statue of Apollo. “Yes.” He whispered. But if you do this, you must paint me in all of my guises. As the Phantom, Don Juan, the Red Death, and the Angel of Music. Emmeline wasn’t quite sure what he meant, but she was willing. She walked up behind him. She reached her arms around him and pulled him back against her. He could feel the swell of her breasts on his back. Turning around, still in her embrace, he kissed her lips. “Agreed.” She said afterward. “Agreed.” He replied. She yawned. Erik wasted no time. He swept her into his arms, and carried her back down to his lair. She was so tired that she fell asleep in the boat on the way there. Putting her in his bed, Erik took off her cloak and shoes. Slowly, he took the pins out her bun and let her hair fall down around her shoulders. He then took off his clothes until he was wearing only his white shirt and black trousers. Climbing into the bed, he wrapped his arms around Emmeline possessively. He laid his head down. Just before closing his eyes, he said it. “I love you.” ************************************** Chapter 8 - The Red Death ************************************** Emmeline sat there waiting for Erik to come out of his bedroom dressed as Red Death. The day before, she had drawn his image as the Phantom of the Opera in his black suit and white mask. Erik let Emmeline pick Red Death as the second painting. As she sat there nervously, he finally came out of the bedroom disguised in his masquerade outfit. As the two of them went through the tunnels to the ballroom of the opera house, Emmeline could smell the spice of Erik’s cologne. It made her feel incredibly lustful. In the main hall, the two artists lit every candle and locked all the doors so no one would stumble upon them. For two hours, Emmeline sat behind her easel and painted the grand staircase with Erik standing at the top of it. She looked up at him. The darkness of the Opera Ghost had been enraptured in the red velvet of his masquerade costume as The Red Death. With form fitting pants whose legs stopped at the knees continuing down in tall shiny black boots, on his hip rested a gleaming sword with a skull’s hilt. As he looked at her with devoted love in his eyes, she had to stop. She told him to give her a look that tells how he felt that night: A raging and fiery glance. He did just that. His eyes became a shining yet glaring gold, representing his now resent of Christine and the hatred he had for the Comte de Chagny. Suddenly the clock struck midnight. Erik looked back at the clock. “No backward glances.” She said. Erik looked back and stared at her with his black hair blazing in the lights of the chandeliers. His fists tightened and Emmeline quickly drew them as they clench back and forth as his black gloves make a stretching sound. He then gave her a grin of mischief, and his eyes turned into a beautiful emerald green. She sketched his torso with the golden buttons on his jacket, the apparent curve of muscles of his chisled chest beneath the red velvet. She felt a bit uneasy because as she drew his inner section, she couldn’t help but notice how large his impressive member had now become. Erik smiled because he’d noticed it too. Finally, Emmeline went after his face. Tracing every curve and crease of the skull mask, she could see the black surrounding his eyes and how they were narrowing towards her. She knew that he wanted her, but she remembered that he’d mentioned the Don Juan outfit. She decided right then and there that later on, she would surprise him. “How’s it going?” he suddenly asked. “Actually, just one more thing. Come closer.” She said. He descended the stairs and walked to look at her. For a minute, Emmeline just looked at his mouth, and then sat down to draw. Erik knew what she was doing. She was painting a closer view of his lips. When she looked up at him, he gestured a kiss at her. She smiled. “Done.” She finally said. Erik walked around the easel to take a look, but Emmeline stopped him. “No peeking, not until it’s fully painted and ready.” She said. “Fair enough. Let’s have some supper.” He said. As he turned around, Emmeline caught him by the hand. He looked back at her questioningly. Taking her handkerchief out her pocket, she removed his mask. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Shh.” She said. Slowly and gently, she began to wipe the black make – up off of his eyes. When it was all gone, he took his own handkerchief and wiped the lipstick off her lips. Kissing her, she suddenly took his hand, stripped of the black glove, and placed it on her breast. Erik tried to pull back, but stopped when she began to stroke him. He quickly fell back into her embrace. Moaning, the two of them kissed each other with the passion of the Red Death as the raging fire flooded their souls. “Oh by the way, readers, Don Juan is next!” ~ rivendell ************************ Chapter Nine - Disguise ************************ Erik turned over in his bed. Since the day, he’d rescued his newfound love from falling to her death on the stage of his opera house, he hadn’t found a full night’s sleep. He was too busy trying on masks to see which one would look better for her paintings, or tossing and turning trying to keep his lustful visions of her out of his mind. It had taken all of his strength just to stay away from the boat that took him over the lake, through the tunnels, and back to her world. Deep down, he was still feeling remorse (a feeling he’d never experienced) for chaining her down, and sketching her naked. But the more intense feeling was that of nervousness. The night before, he’d returned to the Red Death at the masquerade ball, but this time he would be forced to face the path of manipulation he’d taken to do what he did to Christine Daae. He couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like. Would it be painful? Remorseful? Then it struck him. He now knew what to do. He would perform again. He would reach the point of no return, but not with Christine Daae. This time he would finish his song, his performance…his proposal…to Emmeline Rothschild. The next night, Emmeline hurried to finish her last sketches of the performance of “The Magic Flute”. Racing back to her room, she threw her art bag on the bed, and went to her closet. This was the night. The night of her surprise for Erik. Before she’d started work that morning, she quickly sat down with Madame Giry and explained the situation and relationship between her and Erik. The ballet mistress was shocked to the core at what Erik had allowed Emmeline to do. She never thought Erik could be so open and willing. That was something he would never have done for Christine. But instead, to Emmeline’s surprise, she gave her approval, and agreed to tell the manager to cancel the opera house’s performance for that night. The auditorium would be sealed. Erik and Emmeline would be alone. Alone to do whatever they wished. Alone together to reach the point of no return. Then Emmeline asked her why the disguise of Don Juan was so important to Erik. Madame Giry explained and she understood. Emmeline decided to do something else to make this night extra special for Erik. She sat down at her vanity, pinned a red rose in her hair, and splashed some scented oil on her arms, chest, and neck. She took off her shoes and stockings, and laced up her black silk corset. Pushing her sleeves down till they spilled over her shoulders, she then reached into her drawer and pulled out a ruby bracelet. She put it on her right wrist. Slipping on her golden laced skirt, she went to the mirror and spun in front of it. Suddenly, she found that she’d forgotten to do something. Reaching up and taking out the pins, Emmeline let her long, red, wild curls fall like a waterfall around her bare shoulders. Finally, she went and picked up her basket of roses and her art bag. Walking out of the room, she started down the hall. The hard wooden floor was cold against her bare feet, but if Christine Daae could do it, then so could she. For that was who she’d disguised herself as… Christine Daae Erik waited for her. She was late. He thought about going to her room, but decided against it. Sitting down at the piano in the orchestra pit, he looked up at the ceiling. Watching the chandelier, he suddenly noticed that it had dimmed. In fact, the entire auditorium had gone dim. As if a performance was about to begin. Suddenly, he heard something. A woman’s voice coming from behind the curtain on the stage. No thoughts within her head But thoughts of joy No dreams within her heart But dreams of love! Erik left the orchestra pit and began to walk up the stairs. Reaching center stage, he tried to look through the curtains. Suddenly, the red and gold trimmed curtain swung up above his head. Erik looked. In front of him was the scene of Don Juan Triumphant. The torches, the stairs, all was present is it had been in the past. Then some music started. Erik stood still. When his cue was on, he began to sing. Passarino Go away for the trap Is set And waits for it’s prey! The performance had begun. And its star soprano, as she walked out from the side wing, rose basket in hand, was young Christine Daae. Wearing her gold gypsy gown, she sat down on the stage, pulled out a sketchbook and began to draw. Erik walked towards her. You have come here In pursuit of your deepest urge In pursuit of that wish which till now Has been silent… Silent… Christine looked away from her drawing, but not at Erik. She closed her eyes and breathed slowly. Erik grinned at the effect he was having on her. I have brought you That our passions may fuse and merge He swung his black cloak over in front of his masked face. In your mind, you’ve already succumbed to me Dropped all defenses Completely succumbed to me Now you are here with me No second thoughts You’ve decided… Decided… Finally, Christine put down her drawing, and slowly got to her feet. Erik narrowed his eyes and grinned even further as he continued to wreak his revenge on the woman who’d broken his heart. Past the point of no return No backward glances Our games of make-believe Are at an end Christine looked up and gave Erik the most sensually mischievous smile he’d ever seen. Past the thought of if or when No use resisting Abandon thought and let the dream descend! At those last words, he swung up behind her and pulled her against him, wrapping his large hand around her slender neck. Christine gasped. What raging fire shall flood the soul? What rich desire unlocks its door? What sweet seduction lies before us? He slid his hands down past her breasts and lifted her arm. Taking her hand in his, he continued casting his spell. Past the point of no return The final threshold What warm unspoken secrets Will we learn? Beyond the point of no return This was Christine’s cue. And so she began. You have brought me To that moment when words run dry To that moment when speech disappears into silence… Silence… Erik stood back in shock. Her voice had changed. Almost as if the voice belonged to someone else. But who? I have come here Hardly knowing the reason why In my mind I’ve already imagined our bodies entwining Defenseless and silent Now I am here with you No second thoughts I’ve decided… Decided… Erik’s eyes widened. That voice… Past the point of no return No going back now Our passion play has now at last begun Christine backed away from him and started up the stairs. Past all thought of right or wrong One final question How long should we two wait before we’re one? Erik followed his cue and started up his flight of steps. That voice… When will the blood begin to race? The sleeping bud burst into bloom? When will the flames at last consume us?! Erik and Christine reached the top and began their way across the burning bridge. Past the point of no return The final threshold… With the speed of light, they flung themselves at each other and embraced with the strength of sunlight itself. The bridge is crossed! So stand and watch it burn! Erik took Christine’s hands and put them at her sides. Slowly, he ran his own hands up from her abdomen, brushing past her breasts, and finally settling his right hand around her neck. We’ve passed the Point of No…Return Christine was practically panting from the fire crazed desire she was feeling for this man. This strange man who’d saved her, kidnapped her, painted her, and finally seduced her. Her memory of how Erik had come to her in his black Spanish style suit, with his white shirt open exposing his chest, and his face well hidden behind a black mask, was clouding her vision…her very sanity. For Erik it was the same. The feel of her soft skin…the scent of her…her eyes…her sweet lips. Except for that voice… That voice… Yes! Of course! He quickly whipped her around and back into his arms. Hugging her tightly, he buried his face in Christine’s red wild hair and inhaled her exotic scent. Say you’ll share with one love One lifetime Lead me, save me from my solitude Say you want me with you here beside you Anywhere you go let me go too! Christine, that’s all I ask of… He never finished. Instead, Emmeline took off his mask and kissed him, breaking the spell, and taking him back to reality. Beyond the Point of No Return. ************************ Chapter Ten – The Face ************************ Slowly, their senses returned to normal. Erik was so aroused that he was hyperventilating. As for Emmeline, the red color of her blushing cheeks resembled the fire of love that had flooded her face. “Christine?” Erik said. “No Erik, Christine is gone. It’s Emmeline who’s here with you. And Emmeline did all of this to prove something to you.” she said. Despite his confusion, Erik took a deep breath and listened. “Christine put you under a spell. One that broke your heart and nearly destroyed your soul. But it was Emmeline who broke that spell. And it is Emmeline who wants you. Not as an angel… Not as a phantom… But as a man…please understand…do you?” Erik thought for a moment. He was exhausted and tried to concentrate. And he could only come up with one explanation. Emmeline had recreated his past to find out what he truly wanted. Or better yet…who he truly wanted. Was it the purity and beauty of Christine? Or was it the love and trust of Emmeline? Which one? He looked upon her and finally it all fit. Emmeline was all of it. She was everything. Pure, beautiful, loving, and trusting. But she had something else. Something Christine did not. Courage A strong will that could be broken by the threat of a man in a mask. True, she’d feared him at first, but she gave in to her instincts, and looked beyond the mask. In return, she found the man who seemed a beast, but dreamed of beauty. Her fear had turned to love. “Erik…Erik?” said Emmeline who was beginning to worry. But all of that suddenly faded when… “Emmeline, I love you.” She stopped breathing and stood there silent for a moment. Finally, she forced herself to speak. “Erik, I love you, but aren’t you angry with me for what I did?” she said. By now, Erik had regained his strength and was able to comprehend what was happening. “No. You took me beyond the point of no return. You helped me finish the music of the night.” He said. Emmeline smiled. “And?” she asked. “Marry me and the love of life will begin.” *************************************************** 1911 “Congratulations, Monsieur Leroux! “The Phantom of the Opera” is truly an original, and by far your most intriguing work!” said Pierre, an employee of the French newspaper, Le Matin. “Thank you Pierre, but I’m afraid the papers have not been as kind as you. Le Matin seems to be the only paper that is giving positive reviews.” Said Leroux. “Oh you just wait, Gaston. It’ll be a sensation…a classic. One everyone is sure to treasure and remember.” He said. “I appreciate your attitude towards my newest work, and I do hope your predictions will prove correct. He said. “But…?” asked Pierre. “I still have my doubts. After all, the face of the opera ghost, the details I mean, are not mine to take credit for describing.” He said. “What do you mean, Monsieur?” Pierre asked. Leroux decided to confide. “Let me tell you a story. Here, sit down.” He said. The eager employee took a seat in a velvet chair in Gaston Leroux’s office at Le Matin. Leroux took off his jacket and hung it on the coat rack. He then went to his desk. Opening the middle drawer, he pulled out a piece of yellowed paper. It was folded so Pierre couldn’t what was on it. Leroux began to speak. “I suppose it all started about four years when I was inspecting the deeper levels of the Opera Populaire.” He said. He went on about the dreadfully cold and dark corridors, the rats, and how he’d discovered a green lake that led to a large cavern. By now, Pierre was enchanted and lost in Leroux’s tale. However, Leroux wasn’t a man who wasted time, so he came to the point of the story rather quickly. “On the way back to the top level that led to a stairwell, I stumbled upon this.” he said, holding up the piece of paper, he’d taken out of his desk. Pierre leaned forward. Finally, Leroux gave him the sheet. Pierre’s eyes went wide and bloodshot. His teeth chattered, and he began to shake in his chair. “The details are exactly as you described them. And you used this as an inspiration?” He asked. “No, it was more of a guide. But whoever drew this, I give credit to for its magnificence.” Said Leroux. “Yes, he was your guide.” Said Pierre. “But he was her inspiration.” Leroux added. “Whose?” Leroux smiled and pointed to the drawing. Pierre looked only to find a small signature. Emmeline Desslar “And the face - ?” he asked. “– Could have only belonged to one man. A face that everyone will remember, and one that they’ll never forget.” said Gaston Leroux. The Phantom of the Opera
  6. The Beholder Chapter One - The Healer Rehearsals for the production of Hannibal were over. Carlotta had walked out, the opera ghost had sent his instructions, and Christine Daae had passed her audition and was scheduled to sing that night. As the ballet rats rushed back to the dressing rooms, young Meg took her time. She was Madame Giry’s daughter and Christine’s best friend. That day, Meg’s feet were hurting more than usual. With blisters on every toe, she could barely walk. When she finally made it back to her room, she sat at her vanity and took her ballet slippers off. Sitting up she took the pins out of her long blonde hair. She picked up a handkerchief and blotted her sweaty face. Looking up in the mirror, she noticed a small bottle on the nightstand next to her bed. Getting up, she walked over to the bed and picked up the small object. The label said Soda Water on it, so Meg knew it was harmless. She decided to taste it. Raising it to her lips, she took a little sip. It tasted of a heavy sort of mint. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew the window open. The noise took Meg by surprise and she dropped the glass bottle on the floor. It broke into a thousand pieces. The liquid splashed all over her bare feet. For a moment, Meg just sat there on the bed. Whatever was in that bottle was soothing against her pained skin. Pretty soon, she was walking around the room, with ease and no trouble at all. She smiled and said: “Thank you.” out loud, and hoped that whoever her mysterious healer was, would hear her. Then something began to happen. Meg noticed that she was tired. Actually, she felt extremely tired. So tired that she…A few seconds later, she was on the floor fast asleep. Suddenly, a dark figure emerged. Picking up the sleeping girl, he laid her gently on the bed and covered her with a blanket. He returned to his hiding place. Looking back at her through his white mask, he whispered in a soft voice: “Sweet Dreams.” Then with a swirl of his long, black cloak, he disappeared. Chapter Two - The Gift Three Hours Later… Madame Giry had just finished putting the last star pin in Christine’s hair. Christine looked into the mirror. Madame could see that she was nervous. “Don’t worry. Meg will be out there with you. Everything will be just fine,” she said. “Speaking of Meg, do you know where she is? I haven’t seen her since rehearsal, and she wasn’t at supper.” said Christine. “Come to think of it, I haven’t seen her either. Maybe I should check her room. Put on your earrings, and Meg and I will meet you on the left side of the stage. Understood?” “Yes, Madame,” said Christine. Madame Giry quickly searched every room in the ballet dormitories and the storage rooms. Finally, she came to Meg’s own room. There she saw her daughter on the bed sound asleep. Madame let out a breath of relief. Then she noticed something. On the floor next to her bed was mess of glass shards and a light green liquid was splattered everywhere. Before she could say anything, Meg began to stir. Her mother rushed over to her and pulled the blanket off. They both gasped. She was still wearing her slave girl costume. “Meg, what happened? Do you know how long you’ve been missing? What is this mess? And why are you still in your costume?” asked Madame. Meg didn’t know what to say. All she remembered was walking to the center of the room. Then everything went black. She looked down at her feet. By now, they were back to normal. The blisters were gone. She was thankful for that. She couldn’t wait to dance in the show tonight. “Oh my, the show!” she cried. “Hurry, you must get ready. And here; I found this in my chamber this morning. It is addressed to you.” said Madame Giry. “To me?” Meg asked. “Yes, quickly, the show starts in ten minutes.” She said. “I’ll be ready, mother,” said Meg. Her mother left the room and shut the door behind her. Meg looked at the black velvet box her mother had given her. It was tied with a red silk ribbon. Undoing it, Meg opened the box. She closed her eyes for a few seconds and looked again, for she wasn’t sure that what she had seen was real. Inside was a pair of ballet slippers. They not were not pink nor peach colored. No. They were white silk and they had ribbons that were a light shade of silver. Meg smiled. She pulled up one of her feet and slid it into one of the shoes. It was a perfect fit. Putting on the other one she quickly changed into her first act costume which was a simple white dress with a blue ribbon around her waist. Leaving her long blonde hair down, she ran out of the room. Sprinting down the hall in her new shoes, she finally made it to where Madame Giry was waiting for her. “Where did you get those?” said Madame pointing at Meg’s slippers. Meg didn’t want to tell her mother about the black box. She was afraid she would become suspicious. “They were a gift.” “From whom?” said Madame. Meg thought for a moment. All she could come up with was: “A friend.” Finally, it was time. Meg danced onto the stage with confidence in her heart and admiration for Christine Daae as she sang. Meanwhile, down beneath in the catacombs, he walked and listened. Raoul de Chagny sat in Box Five. Christine sang at center stage. Meg Giry danced in the back. Suddenly, he stopped. There will never be a day, When I won’t think of you!! He suddenly climbed up through a tunnel and looked to see a smiling Christine. The feelings he had for her were indescribable. Then he saw something else. On the side of the stage behind the curtain was a blonde haired girl. He remembered her words. “They were a gift.” “From whom?” “A Friend” What had he started? As he stood there looking at Christine, he thought about how she pulled at the strings of his heart every time she sang a note. How he ached for her. But he knew that he could only watch her from afar. Then he looked at the blonde haired girl. What was it about her? Sure she was Giry’s daughter, but a fire had been lit with a different sort of flame. Something had begun and he knew nothing could stop it. It was there… A new obsession… And it was called…Friendship. But he couldn’t think about that now. He had OTHER plans for tonight. Chapter Three - The Discovery After being congratulated by her mother, Meg walked back to her room to change. As she put on her white cotton nightgown, she began to hear something. It was a voice. Stepping out into the hallway she looked both ways. The voice was coming from Christine’s dressing room. Meg left her room to find out what was going on. As she was nearing the door, she stopped. Raoul de Chagny had come. She quickly ran back to own room, and shut the door though not completely. Just enough to watch Raoul fumble with the elaborate doorknob. Apparently it was locked. The voice continued. It was beautiful. It was singing an almost hypnotic melody. “Whose is that voice? Who is that in there?” Raoul demanded. There was no answer. Concerned, Raoul left. Meg guessed that he was going to find help. The voice had stopped. Concerned herself, Meg decided that it was not her business to intervene, though she was still worried about Christine. She couldn’t make out whether the voice belonged to a man or a woman. “Probably Christine practicing,” Meg said to herself. Relaxing, she turned around and closed her bedroom door. She blew out her candle and climbed into her nice warm bed and in two minutes was fast asleep. Twenty minutes later… Meg woke up shivering. She realized that she’d kicked her blue quilt off the bed while she was sleeping. She looked over on her nightstand. The clock said that only twenty minutes had gone by. She decided to go and check on Christine. She put on her warm winter robe and slippers, and left the room. Walking down the squeaky wooden hallway to Madame Giry’s chamber, she quietly slipped inside. She opened the top drawer of the dresser and took out a skeleton key. She raced back, carefully unlocked the door and quietly snuck into Christine’s room. “Christine…Christine?” she whispered. Meg looked around. There was no sign of the lovely soprano anywhere. She couldn’t have been asleep because the bed was still made up. Suddenly, she saw a faint, golden shade of light coming from the mirror at the far end of the room. She walked towards it and noticed that it looked as if the mirror was some type of door that had been left open. She carefully slid it open the rest of the way with shaky arms. Walking through it, she came to a long dark corridor. It was wet, cold, and the walls were covered with cobwebs. Meg turned around. Looking back she discovered that the mirror was two-way. She continued down the long hallway. She shrieked. There were rats all over the ground. Noticing that her slippers were getting wet, she looked down. Puddles were everywhere. Suddenly, she felt something tighten on her shoulder. She turned her head in fear. It was her mother, Madame Giry. She grabbed Meg’s arm and dragged her out of there. “That is not for you! Understood?!” “Yes, mother.” Meg said quietly. Ten minutes later… Back in bed, Meg couldn’t sleep. She had so many questions, it was driving her crazy. Whose did that voice belong to? Where did that passage lead to? Or better yet… Where in the world was Christine?” She couldn’t take it anymore. She had to go back. Walking down the dark, cold, stone passageway, Meg was freezing. She went down several stairwells, took many turns, and passed hundreds of lit torches. As she went, she touched the wall, wet and cold and made of stone, like a cave of some sort. This was an underground cavern. A stone labyrinth. A….dungeon?! At that thought Meg was spooked. She looked down. Suddenly she noticed something on the ground. There were footprints here and there. Some looked to be the size of her own feet and some the size of maybe a man’s. Finally, she stopped for she couldn’t go any further. Why? In front of her was a small dock. Only the boat was missing. The dock itself was made of stone and it lead to a green lake. Meg gazed at it. On the water, she could see her reflection. That was when she realized that she was still wearing her nightclothes. Suddenly, she heard a faint voice coming from down the passage that the lake led through. It was the same voice she had heard from earlier. Maybe it was Christine. Maybe she was down there. Meg had to find her and bring her home. She looked at the lake and made a bold decision. Once again, she had no choice. Taking off her robe and slippers so she could maneuver better, she cracked her knuckles, tightened her jaw, and stepped into the water. It was freezing. She could feel her legs and arms going numb instantly. She could see her own breath. With a frozen body, she began to swim through the water. She could tell she was getting close to something because the voice became louder and louder as she swam further and further. The water finally up to her hips instead of her neck. As she listened to the voice, she was fascinated by the sensual, hypnotic words and the haunting melody. Swimming further, Meg finally came to a huge gate that led to what looked like a large room filled with brilliant lights. Not being able to get through, she climbed onto a ledge and out of the water. She could barely feel her legs as she walked for her body was as frozen as ice. She wobbled down the passage. From what she could tell, it was leading to a large mirror. As she stopped, she looked through it. What she saw would stay with her for the rest of her life. The room was a large open cavern with many chambers. It was full of candles all lit. The green water led to a stone shore, where there was a black gondola trimmed with gold. All along the stone walls there were drawn pictures of a woman. Looking around more, she saw stage furniture, a mini stage with wax dolls on it, and a beautiful pipe organ. Sheets of music were scattered all over the place. There had to have been at least a dozen large mirrors covered with heavy drapes. Then she saw something she did not expect. Christine… She looked as if she were under some type of spell. Her eyes were not blinking. They were open wide with fascination. Meg looked around again. The drawings. The woman was Christine herself! Then Meg looked back again. Her jaw dropped. Christine was in the arms of a tall man dressed in a black suit. He was singing the song that Meg had heard. It was his voice Meg had heard. She took a closer look at him. He had smoothly combed black hair. His eyes were that of a beautiful green. He wore black gloves. One thing caught her attention more than anything else. He wore a white mask that covered half of his face. As she gazed at the strange man, she concluded that he was quite handsome. A strong jaw line, sensual lips, and perfect clean shaven skin. Her mouth was watering. Meg watched as he touched and caressed Christine’s body. He put her hand on the uncovered side of his face. Touch me, trust me Savor each sensation Let the dream begin Let your darker side give in To the power of the music That I write The power of The music of the night As Meg listened to his song, the man led Christine over to a small chamber and pulled back the curtain that was covering it so she could see what was inside. Suddenly, Christine fainted. Meg blinked. What could it have been? The next minute, Christine was in the man’s arms once again as he carried her to the bedroom and gently laid her on a ebony black bed that looked to be carved in the shape of a swan. Pulling a cord, black lace curtains descended over it. As his song ended, Meg watched him gaze at Christine. She now knew. He loved her…deeply loved her. He then turned and walked down the stone stairs. He took off his black jacket, waistcoat, and vest. He unbuttoned his shirt a bit and put on a black velvet robe. Sitting at his organ, he began to play a sweet melody. After all of this, Meg finally felt herself getting tired. She was still soaking wet, but she was not about to leave until she knew more about this mysterious man. By now, she’d forgotten all about Christine. She sensed something familiar about this man. She just couldn’t figure out what it was. Quietly, she lay down on the cold, stone floor, next to the torches. Propping herself up on her side, she curled up and drifted off to sleep. Hours later, Christine woke up and sang of what she remembered earlier of that evening. Meg was still asleep, but she was quickly awakened when she heard a crash. She stood up, looked through the mirror, and watched in horror. Christine was on the ground with something white in her hand. Oh God. Meg looked up. Standing over Christine, she saw him. The other half of him. So distorted and deformed! It was hardly a face! A thousand scars and red welts all over his cheek. His other eye was sunken into his flesh which was beet red compared to the other side. You could see that he barely had a right eyebrow. Meg was tempted to scream or run away, but something kept her there. His voice. No longer sweet and hypnotic, but monstrous and angry. He called Christine cruel names and stormed down the stairs knocking a candlestick out of his way. As he calmed down, he begged Christine’s forgiveness. Christine’s eyes were full of not fear, but of disappointment it seemed. As though, he wasn’t the man she thought he was. And that she could never love him. She said nothing as she returned the mask. Putting it back on, he stood up with a stern look on his face and said: “Come, we must return. Those two fools who run my theatre will be missing you.” As the boat pulled away from shore with he and Christine inside, Meg then realized that so she would not be seen, she would have to wait until the coast was clear. She waited patiently until he returned this time alone. When his back was turned, she took the opportunity and waded back into the water. As she swam further away, she heard something. She looked back. He was on the floor crying. “Oh, Christine, forgive me, please forgive me!” he cried. As he fell over exhausted, Meg could feel tears coming to her eyes. Then it hit her. “The mask” she said to herself. “The mask and the man…the man behind the mask…the…oh my…” She stopped swimming. She finally sorted it all out. From Christine’s dressing room… to the two-way mirror…to the candle-lit chamber…to… The Phantom of the Opera I hope you like these chapters! Right now, I am in the midst of editing all of my writing on this site. Read on! More is to come! ~ rivendell
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