Deborah loves all books, her favorites being mystery and romance. She writes fiction on her spare time.
I quickly passed through the obligations of the day. I would meet with him tonight. I did not purposely dwell on the thought, yet could think of nothing else. The stage men had begun to gather things. I picked my hair pin from where it had fallen and prepared to walk off the stage.
I didn’t know if he had received my missive yet. I waited with pain in my heart.
“Yes.” I replied.
Madame Giry handed me a note.
“Here you are my dear.”
I took it quickly. It was a familiar envelope tied with lace. I looked into her eyes for confirmation.
“He is to see you.”
Scarcely letting a moment pass I opened the envelope eagerly.
Dear Christine. I am grateful to you for accepting my request. By the Rue scribe by the gates I will wait there tonight. I expect nothing of you. You were always an angel that brought heaven to my abode.
Your humble servant Erik.
It was a small note yet adequate for its purpose. I would tell Mamma Valerius that I could not come home tonight. I discarded the thought quickly. I would return home, simply not arrive there soon.
I shook my head. We would only talk.
I heard Meg behind the curtain. She kept whispering something unintelligible. She was exceptionally excited about something. I could not make her words out. I finally confronted her. “Meg what is happening?” She had a frightened expression on her face. She looked around as if someone would hear us. I followed her behind the curtain and pulled it closed. “What is it Meg?”
“Have you heard of the Phantom?”
“What of him?”
“Carlotta has a romance.” She said.
I thought that was not surprising news. I did not understand why they always felt the need to discuss it.
“It’s with who?” Her eyes were large with scandal. “She insists she has found a lover that will help her out due you and anyone with her song… You remember that night she croaked like a frog?”
“I remember.” I replied solemnly.
It was the night I wished never to remember again.
“Well she said he will help her with everything.”
“Who is he?”
Meg looked terrified.
“Meg what is it?” I asked.
“It’s who they all say he is!” She whispered with a frightened hiss.
“Who is he?”
“Her correspondence is with the Phantom of the Opera.”
“You are mistaken Meg.”
Suddenly there was shouting. We all looked up.
The managers came running on the stage severely outraged. ‘‘Who’s done… Who’s done it?’’
After appraising every one of us with their eyes, they told us the production was hopeless. Then they hurried up into the office and closed the door. Carlotta was screeching that the costumes had been changed and then she dashed into the office as well, and slammed the door. We started to gather our things from the stage.
Then M. Firmin left his office and walked down the stairs returning to the stage and commanded us. “No one leaves the stage until we can question all of you. Don’t move!” Then he went back inside his office. The crashing of his door vibrated in our ears.
We were all very quiet for a long moment.
Three hours passed as we still waited. We had all found a place to sit. We remained in our costumes. Someone asked what time it may be? Every here and there the managers would shout at us not to leave. Sometimes we would here a few words. I could not hear or understand their conversation.
M. Moncharmin opened the door of his office and came out onto the balcony and shouted. “We are going to destroy him!”
We all stared in astonishment. Had we heard him correctly? He went back to his door. Carlotta came out crying… “Only my love will comfort me.”
M. Richard nodded. “We will kill this phantom… the phantom of the opera will be no more.” He proclaimed as Carlotta wailed. Then he went inside and slammed the door once again.
“Can we vacate the stage?”
“I want to leave now.”
“How can one destroy a Phantom?”
I barely noted the voices around me. What had happened?
Time passed as we awaited. I did not look up to see who had suggested that perhaps we would all be sleeping on the stage?
They finally came out.
“We will discover his secret.” The managers muttered in frustration.
That was when a terrible announcement was made. That no would leave the opera house.
“Go in or out!” They shouted.
My eyes widened. I would not be able to meet with him. The arguments became tempered. One of the stage hands claimed the managers could not keep us captive within the opera walls. There were more shouts and it was decided that we could not leave, for only a matter of days.
Then they ordered that we were now free to leave the stage.
I was overcome with fury. I wished to demand an explanation. What had he done with the managers? A prank? They questioned everyone. I dared not tell them. They had asked a mundane inquiry, only to find if I had noticed anything strange. I had not, and I told them nothing else.
Was his newfound friendship a trick as well?
How foolish a path my thoughts had taken. It was utterly absurd! Why would he? It was not the first- time whisperings of a fable had passed through all ears of the opera inhabitants. The belief of the Phantom’s mystical existence could attest to that.
I considered not honoring our arrangement, but discarded the blasphemous thought in the same instant. I could not miss the opportunity of our appointed time.
Uneasiness gripped my heart. We were trapped in the opera house. How could I leave tonight? Surely, he would know what happened. It would be impossible to inform him. I vowed I would move heaven and earth to make the appointment we agreed upon. He most likely knew of the oddity of the afternoon. Did he not know of every movement of everything that went on within these walls?
The story was utterly ridiculous …. Meg must have misunderstood.
The fatigue I felt from my passing thoughts wore at me. The enthusiasm to see him this very night was as fatiguing as the anger of the passing notion that he could be at this very moment speaking or penning a letter to another…. Female of the opera house.
The possibility was as unlikely as the existence of a spirit haunting our opera house.
I yearned to know.
I placed my cape over my shoulders. I would arrive late. I still did not know how I would escape the managers attention. There were whispers that there were men posted throughout the exits of the Opera Garnier. I would take one of the other doors they used to remove wooden crates from the auditorium. I barely took but a few steps.
She was severely stern.
“He says he wishes not to disturb your happiness any further. Since you are engaged, he considers tonight void… He honors his agreement for tomorrow night at the appointed time should you wish to see him once again.”
“He spoke to you?” I asked astonished.
“He thanks you for your kindness and only wishes you a life of delight. He will hold his end of the bargain and meet with you at the appointed time tomorrow night, should you still wish to see him but you are free to bid farewell from a distance.”
I could not tolerate what I heard. It was not like him to break an engagement. What had happened? I did not like that he had mentioned my engagement. Perhaps it was the strange circumstances of the opera house?
“Did you tell him we are all trapped in the opera house?” The desperation consumed my voice.
“He is aware of the condition of the inhabitants. He regrets you no longer wish to see him, and believes if you agree to the rearrangement It will be the last time the both of you shall ever see one another.”
“How do you know? What did you see in his eyes?” I grabbed at her arm in a desperate plea.
“I do not know.”
“What do you mean?”
“I only heard his voice.”
I was more troubled than I could have ever imagined myself to be. This could not go on. I didn’t know how long I contemplated it. How much time did I have, before all would be lost and he would disappear?
On the stage I began to write from my little notes I had taken from my dressing table.
Dearest Raoul. I am afraid I have made a dreadful decision. My intent is not to cause you pain…
I tore at the note as quickly as I had begun writing it. It was not a message that should be informed in a letter. I began again.
Raoul forgive that I must speak with you of a matter of utmost importance. In person when you return.
To Be Continued...