The Phantom underneath the Theater
The man turned around and offered Christine a small smile. He held her hand, and led her down the stairs, deeper underground. It was getting cold, considering Christine was only in her shorts and a tank top, but she was completely in a trance. The man who had sang to her and watched over her all these years, held her hand, and was leading her away. She stared into his complex eyes. His right side of the face was covered with a white mask perfectly constructed for his face. The other side of his face seemed to be very handsome. She was lost in his eyes, however.
“I’ve lived down here all my life. It’s just a little further down the road. A little deeper into the darkness. Here we are.”
They came upon a small black boat and a long, narrow river. Candles were lined up against the walls to light the way. Christine glanced around and realized that they were under the theater… under the city.
“…You live down here?” She asked softly.
He nodded and took her hand again. “Certainly! But not right here, it’s too damp. Just a little further. Would you like to get into the boat?”
She nodded again, allowing him to help her into the boat. He was so gentle and calm, and very respectful.
“Watch your step.” He practically lifted her off her feet to help her into the boat. Once she was settled, he grabbed the row and rowed them down the river, in the dark, murky water. The room was gently illuminated because of the candles on the walls.
“Will you sing for me, angel?” He asked suddenly.
Her eyes widened, surprised, but she agreed.
She sang long continuous high notes, and they echoed long and loud off the walls, and through the hallways. He closed his eyes and nodded.
She struck the highest note she could, and the boat finally stopped. He jumped out, and offered her a gloved hand to help her out. She raised an eyebrow at the strange man.
Christine stared at this man’s home. It was a large cave area next to this enormous lake underneath the city. The room was gently illuminated with candles all over the place. There were mirrors variously all over the area. Red curtains lead into different rooms. In the corner, there was a tan guitar, with sheet music scattered all over the cold floor. Some of the sheet music had been crumbled up, or torn into pieces. A rather large bed was in the other room, with a see through curtain around it, giving the person who wanted to sleep, privacy. Christine’s eyes widened when she noticed what was on the walls.
Pictures of her.
There were sketches, paintings, extremely accurate sharpie drawings, and little dolls crafted with her face and other people part of the operas’ faces. She saw Carly Lotta’s doll, but it looked very disheveled. She saw Mr. Andre, Meg, and Madame Giry. Then, she saw what looked like a dollhouse version of Majesty Theatre. Christine still couldn’t get over the pictures of her. Who was this man?
Finally, there was a piano. Sheet music was scattered all of it, too. He led Christine to the center of his ‘lair’.
“Sorry for the mess. I didn’t expect anyone to come down here, so I haven’t cleaned.”
She just stared at the pictures. Finally, she saw something that just flabbergasted her.
A rose on the counter. With a black ribbon tied around it, and its thorns plucked off. Had this man been the one who gave her the rose?
“Well… Welcome to my kingdom! This is it. Would you like anything? A drink, perhaps?”
“Sure… what do you mean by… your kingdom?”
He reached into a mini fridge under the piano, pulling out two glasses of water.
“This is my world. This is the world where music is everything. I’ve watched you for quite some time, Christine… you’re voice is absolutely incredible. It’s the most exquisite thing my ears have ever heard. Ever since I’ve heard that voice…” He sighed and picked up one of the pieces of sheet music on the ground, notes scribbled all across it. “…I’ve wanted you to sing for me. I’ve wanted you to sing… my music.” He handed her the paper.
She stared down at it, still unable to comprehend this.
“What is your name?” She asked.
He sighed and muttered it softly, “Erik.”
“Erik…” She repeated softly to herself.
“Will you just sing once for me, now?” She was surprised at how desperate he looked.
She gave him a small smile. “Okay… What would you like me to sing?”
“Oh…” He searched frantically around the piano throwing papers all around. Suddenly, he chose one.
“Here you are. Just a simple song I created. I’ll play for you.” He slowly walked to the piano, adjusting his mask as he went. Christine stared at the side of his face. She was curious… who was behind the mask?
Erik began playing slowly, but it was very complex. Her eyes widened. He was a musician alright. He played like a professional. Her father had been to many clubs and casinos with professional piano players, and they had told him they had spent practically all their lives playing! This man was STILL better than them! Christine watched intently as his fingers flicked over each key, rapidly increasing speed. When it came to her part, she began singing with great confidence.
Erik smiled happily from underneath the mask. After a while, Erik joined in, and it sounded amazing. She almost gasped at his voice. It was truly the voice of an angel, just perfect. When the song ended, he turned around and faced her.
“That was amazing, Christine. Well done, once again. You’ve never failed me.” He got to his feet and stood in front of her, handing her the water. She offered him a gentle smile, and took it from his gloved hands.
The two immediately became friends. There was something about Erik that Christine really admired. Sure, he was a little… weird, but that didn’t change whatever feelings that she had for him. She just hadn’t decided if they were good or bad feelings. They sat in the red velvet chairs and talked for what seemed hours, and after a while Erik coached her again.
“Christine… I wrote you a song… I’m going to sing it for you.” She paused and then nodded.
He cleared his throat, and began singing ever so slightly.
“Night time, sharpens, heightens each sensation.
Darkness, stirs, and wakes imagination
Silently the senses… abandon their defenses…”
Her eyes were wide, and she was in her trance again. He sang so beautifully… He took her hand and led her up three stairs, taking her to the middle of the room, where the most candles were. The light flickered off his mask, and some candles blew out. Erik’s eyes never left Christine’s.
“Slowly, gently, night unfurls it’s splendor. Grasp it. Sense it.
Tremulous and tender. Turn your face away, from the garish light of day…
Turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light.
And listen to the music of the night…
Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams
Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before!
Close your eyes, let your spirit start to… Soar!”
He hit a high note, and she closed her eyes, listening carefully.
“And you’ll live as you’ve never lived before…” He caressed her face softly and she opened her eyes, staring into his again.
“Softly, deftly, music shall caress you…
hear it feel it
secretly possess you.
Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind.
It this darkness that you know you cannot fight.
The darkness of The Music of the Night!”
Erik began to walk behind the candles, giving off barely enough light to see. He continued to sing, but louder and stronger.
“Let your MIND take a journey through a strange, new world.
Leave all thoughts of the life you knew before!
Let your SOUL TAKE YOU WHERE YOU LONG TO… BE!” Christine realized she could hardly breathe.
He paused, and then gently sang again.
“Only then… can you belong to me…” He caressed her face gently. He put an arm around her neck and another around her waist. She leaned back into him and closed her eyes, smiling. He swayed back and forth.
“Floating, falling, sweet intoxication. Touch me, Trust me, savor each sensation…” Christine reached up, touching the white, cold mask, when Erik instantly reacted, pulling away from her reach, but holding her hand still.
“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!”
He sang the last note with such intensity, that Christine began crying. She covered her mouth as he smiled, took her hand, and led her down a small set of stairs, and towards a red curtain. “Christine… there’s something I have to show you,” Erik said, grabbing the curtain.
Christine laughed, “Okay Erik, what is…” She trailed off when he pulled the curtain away, revealing what was on the other side.
Christine was staring at HER face.
It was a life size mannequin of her, with her EXCACT face and eye color and everything. It was wearing a beautiful and elegant white wedding dress, holding a bouquet of white flowers, and a white veil was hanging over its face. It had a blank expression.
That had done it. This was all just too much for her. Christine’s eyes rolled to the back of her head, and she fainted.
Erik saw her falling, and he immediately caught her by the waist before she could hit the ground. Her ponytail had fallen out, and her brown, curly hair cascaded down to the floor. Erik picked her up, and took her down the stairs, placing her on his bed, and tucked her in, softly singing the last part of the song.
“You alone can make my song take flight…
Help me… make the Music of the… Night…”
With that, he closed the curtain, leaving Christine to sleep peacefully. He gently smiled at her sleeping form before leaving completely, going to get rest himself.