My eyes were met with nothing but darkness. I frowned. Of course, seeing things would be a lot easier with eyes opened. My eyes fluttered open and I blinked, but again, I was met with an impenetrable darkness. Where was I? I couldn't recall the dormitories ever being so dark, even on a starless, moonless night. There was always a lone lamppost that would cast it's light through one of the high windows, always a light from one of the surrounding buildings that would find its way into the dark corners of the room. But that brought me back to my question, where was I?
I tried to sit up, but soon found my arms unwilling to support me. My head throbbed as it hit the cold stone again. It felt good against the skin on my face that felt like it was burning from the inside, and so I rested my cheek against the surface. For several, painful minutes I remained like that. It could have been days, weeks even, for I did not have any sense of time or space, but I figured I should have seen some sort of light if that much time had passed.
Then, the soft sound of movement caught my attention, and my eyes fluttered open once again. 'Who is there?' I asked in a high voice. 'Hello?' A moment of silence followed and I thought over my chances of running. Those were, I had to admit, not very high, since I didn't have a clue where I was and my body wasn't really cooperating.
'I wouldn't do that if I were you.'
My head snapped to the place the voice had come from, but – as was to be expected – I couldn't make out a thing. My eyes searched the darkness fruitlessly. 'Who are you?'
A cold laugh echoed through the room. 'Forgotten so quickly about me, have you?'
'Phantom,' I gasped, though I was not sure if it was out of fear or surprise.
'Indeed.. Now we're past our round of introduction, I think it best to cut straight to the chase.'
'Yes… sure,' I said, rather bewildered. I still had no clue as to where I was, what I was doing there and how I got there.
'Are you out of your mind?' He demanded, calmly.
'I beg your pardon?'
'I think my question was simple enough for even you to understand.'
I gritted my teeth – very unladylike – and tried to sit up again, once again without much result. 'What is it that you want from me?'
'That you stop killing yourself, for one. The opera simply can't afford to lose another prima ballerina, because of some stupid reason.'
'I'm not killing myself..'
'For your information, mademoiselle, the body needs fuel to function, to keep you alive. That means you have to eat.'
'I know that,' I said, rather indignantly. What did he mistake me for, some sort of mentally insane person? 'Could you perhaps put the light on, I prefer talking to someone I can actually see.'
'And I prefer not having to pick up famished young women, but I fear fate cannot be fortunate to all of us. I will bring you back to the dormitories as soon as you're able to walk, from there on you're on your own again. I wish to have nothing to do with anybody's life.'
Again, I found myself feeling different than I should have. Instead of hearing the obvious insult, I heard a deep, heart-wrenching pain in his voice, a loneliness that reached out to my own being and wrapped itself around my heart. I realized, it was not a not wanting to have anything to do with anyone, it was a not being able to. 'Thank you.'
'I said thank you, for saving me. I don't remember what happened, but I wish to thank you nonetheless. Without you I might have still been lying there. So yes, thank you.'
'It's nothing,' he mumbled, then cleared his throat. 'Can you move?'
'Let me try,' I said, more to myself than to him, and raised my head. A wave of dizziness and nausea immediately overwhelmed me and I let my head drop back on the stone with a loud thump. 'I'm afraid not, monsieur.' My eye lids, suddenly feeling terribly heavy, closed for a moment and I breathed in. I was so tired. Couldn't I just… But before I could even finish the thought, I had lost consciousness again.
This time, however, I think I came back to my senses a bit sooner. Opening my eyes, I still found myself in utter darkness, but the air didn't feel as damp as it had done before. A soft rocking of my body kept me half asleep, but I was just enough awake to hear a silent muttering.
'Stupid of me to even.. Should have just left her to die.. Is this what you wanted, fool?.. We all know how this will end.. What if I just… She'll probably die soon anyway..'
Through the fog in my mind, I vaguely recognized his voice. Yes, the Phantom. He was with me. He had.. saved me. I frowned. Could that be?
Suddenly, I noted he'd stopped talking. Without realizing, I held my breath. 'Ah mademoiselle, I see you're awake again.'
I nodded, but found the motion hindered by something hard against my face. It hit me like lightening. The rocking I'd felt, the hard thing against my face. I was being carried. And not by just anyone. I was being carried by the Phantom of the Opera.
'I suggest you will stay in bed for the next few days, rest and try to eat something. I will inform madame Giry of your well-being.'
Again, I just nodded. In all honesty, I still didn't really understand what was going on. So many questions were filling my head, but I couldn't find the energy to even focus on one in particular. 'Why are you helping me, again?'
He didn't answer, just sped up. Perhaps he was trying to get to the dormitories as fast as possible, so he would be free of me. A sudden wave of embarrassment engulfed me. He was carrying me. I felt my face turn red and asked, more in an attempt to distract myself; 'Where are we?'
'Almost at the dormitories.'
He was right. Before I knew it, he stepped in a pool of moonlight and I found myself in front of the dormitories. I tilted my head, away from his chest towards the door. Bed surely was a nice prospect, but it was the way there I was concerned about. I hadn't been able to lift my head earlier, and as it were, I was being carried around. Exhausted, I rested my head back against his chest.
I think I heard him sigh, before he took the last step to the door and stepped inside. Luckily, judging by the sound of it, all the girls were already vast asleep. Of course that wasn't such a big surprise, as it was probably close to midnight, but it would've been very unfortunate if someone would have seen me in the arms of a man. Of the Phantom, no less.
He maneuvered swiftly and elegantly through the maze of beds, never making a single sound as he did. When we arrived at my bed, he lowered me on the soft matrass and straightened his jacket.
I watched him as he did, his figure illuminated by the bit of moonlight that was cast through the high windows. As I studied him, a strange realization dawned upon me. He didn't scare me anymore. Rather, I found him to be pleasant, almost… comforting.
And therefore, as he turned to made his leave, I reached for his hand and looked up at the visible half of his face. 'How is it that you are the light that keeps away the darkness of my dreams? Please, stay with me.'