Chapter 28 - Falling, Falling, Falling
Disclaimer: If I were Gaston Leroux and owned Phantom of the Opera, I would not have class in two hours.
Chapter Twenty-Eight – Falling, Falling, Falling
Voices. There were two deep voices that sounded to me like they were underwater. There was another voice, his sounded worried but serious. I tried to focus in on what he was saying. It was as if his voice were almost to the surface of what I could and could not hear. Then his voice got farther and farther away under the water. There was more yelling by the deeper voices that were no longer as monotone as they once were. Three or four higher pitched voices came into my hearing before all sound was lost.
All the while I wanted to open my eyes and see the spectacle that was taking place around me, but my eyelids were too heavy. At first, I could tell I was under a great light. It had been so long since I had seen light that it almost blinded me though the pink coloring of the back of my eye lids. Every so often the light would be blocked making me see only blackness. Eventually, the darkness was all I could comprehend.
Suddenly, I felt the sensation of falling. It was like having a dream except for the dream never stopped. I just keep falling past all sorts of things. They were all a strange blur to me. Not only was I falling, the things around me were spinning as if I were falling through a tornado. Everything was going so fast I could not make it all out but every so often something stood out among the other things.
First there was my mom. She was sitting on the front porch of my one story brick house waving at me and calling out my name with one hand and a chunky looking video camera in her other hand. "Smile for the camera, Rachel! Give Mommy and smile!" She looked a lot younger from what I remember. Her hair was much darker and she looked thinner. Her black t-shirt was tucked into her jeans which came up above her waist. That was the first memory I ever had of her.
Then there was my father. It was during the time when he and Mom actually got along. He stood in the bed room with my mom and they were getting ready to go to bed. I stood at the door peaking in from the door when he caught me looking inside. "Look at who came to visit us," he chuckled, "what are you doing out of bed?" He had walked over to where I was at the door and towered over me, but then I lost all footing below me and was falling again through the whirl wind.
My sister came towards me out of the spinning cyclone. She had a stick in her hand and was yelling towards me, "Run Rachel we have to save the planet from the evil forces! Pick up your sword and hold it like I have it so you can fight off the bad guys!" My vision ran after her with a stick traveling with me to my right as we began to jab at invisible forces that were threatening the earth.
Things became a lot darker and I was taller next to my father and mom. I walked towards my father to look where he was pointing to find a skinny little dog in shivering in the corner of a cage. Dogs barked madly all around us as I sat down in front of the cage. I could see my hand reach to the gate in front of the cage as the little golden dog slithered forward to me with his big brown eyes. My hand was so close to touching his head when the falling sensation came upon me once again.
There was a little black cat that lay next to my two year old dog Luke. Sammy sprung up out of nowhere to attach the long hair that was attached to Luke's hair as he wagged it when his name was said. At first, Luke didn't mind the constant clawing at his backside. His fur was so long that he could hardly feel the scratches. Then Luke was standing up and running around me being followed by Sammy. They ran around me spinning me into the tornado that surrounded me.
Familiar faces passed by me. Some were more obvious than others. Most of them would smile at me. Some were on a play ground and the more defined ones were lit by stage lighting and were in unique costumes. They ran around me on the playground and they danced around me on the stage until I could not tell a difference anymore. Every memory I had was suddenly meshing together around me. Different sounds of laughing and crying merged together until I found my footing again.
I was lying on a bed and could not move. A man came in through the door in front of me. He wore old clothing, but most peculiar of all he had a black mask that covered his entire face. I knew who this was! I wanted to call out to him, but my memory only replayed itself. There were so many tears to blur up my vision. At the moment I hated myself so much for taking away any moments away from the man I loved.
All other memories began to fade except for those that surrounded Erik. Those memories became more vivid for me the closer in time they came to where I was now. Memories of my wedding dress, the flame, the piano, the library and then the bed we shared danced around me. Erik walked in and out of those memories as if there were a door in every one of them. I could now feel my arms stretch out to him, but he always treated me like he did in the memory, never quite seeing how much I wanted him as much as he wanted me.
Everything began to get brighter and harder to see until everything turned white around me and I fell to a surface that felt uncertain, but has a surface no less. At first I lay there stupidly while trying to catch my breath after all that had just happened. Eventually, I was able to push off the ground with my hands that felt more like cotton balls than anything else. Before me was a regular looking glass door. I walked towards it and it opened for me revealing more light that in time settled on fuzzy pictures that I could make out.
I walked towards them curiously until an invisible force field kept me from going any farther. A man whom I had never seen was going up to what looked like Erik. He sat hunched over in a chair with his face hidden his hands. I noted how strange Erik looked in modern clothes. He wore black suit pants with a black collared button-up shirt and black fedora, but that was all I could tell before the doctor walked directly in front of him. For the doctor, Erik stood up, but the doctor turned out to be just as tall as he was which once again kept me from seeing his face.
At the doctors news I saw Erik cripple and need to sit back down. His head stayed buried in hands and his body shook tremendously. I wanted to run and comfort him and tell him that everything was alright, that he didn't have to cry, but I couldn't move. I could only watch and suffer behind the strange invisible shield that kept me from my love.
All of that faded and leaded into the next scene. Erik was at a window of his own looking in. It was as if I stood directly beside him and was looking in. I could not turn around to look at him; I was forced to look in at what he saw. In the back corner of a room filled with babies there was a glass box that held the smallest baby I had ever seen inside of it. It was too small to be able to make out specific physical features, but I knew it had to have been ours.
"That's your baby, you know."
I turned to face where the distantly familiar voice came from. In the midst of a white surrounding that never seemed to begin or end, stood a woman I had only seen in pictures. She had my grandfather's smile and eyes, but she looked not much older than me. She was not the most beautiful of women, but she certainly was good looking as she stood in a white and floral flapper-like dress and hat.
"Hello child, I am so please to finally meet you. You were the youngest of your family and I never did get to meet you like I did the others."
"You're my great grandmother aren't you?" I asked.
"Granny Mose as you would know me."
"But you look so young. The only pictures I remember of you, you were well passed your sixties."
"Well child, in heaven God lets us pick the image of ourselves we like the most when we wish to appear to others. I was the skinniest in life at the age of nineteen. That was before I had your grandfather!"
Looking around at the white around me I asked in shock, "is this heaven?"
For a moment she stopped smiling. She didn't want to answer me.
"Granny Mose you have to tell me!" I all but screamed with impatience.
"Now calm down child, I haven't talked to a mortal in a long time. It takes a little while to phrase words correctly."
"Please Granny Mose!"
She suddenly stood in front of me. Lightly she placed a hand on my shoulder. She was taller than me by a good four inches making me really feel like I was talking to an elder.
"Rachel, you must listen closely my child. I have been sent by God to talk to you. He cannot come himself because no human can stand in his presence and so he thought I would be the best to talk to you. He thought our personalities fit the best," at this she could not help but chuckle, "I have been watching over you for some time now. God knew that all of this would happen and he placed me as your guardian angel when you were born. I have been there watching over you from the beginning of everything, even when you met Erik."
She must have chuckled at my shocked expression. I could not believe that this woman I had only seen in pictures was my guardian angel, but she thankfully continued before I could go into detail about what embarrassing things she must know about me.
"He is quite an interesting man, your Erik. I remember the first time I felt his presence in your life. You see, God told me about Erik. He was a seven year old boy when you were born. God showed me to him and explain what was to happen. At first, I wanted to play poltergeist to him for wanting to steal your life away from you at such a young age, but then I saw a little bit into Erik's life.
"When he told you he wasn't related to Monet, he lied. He lied because that's what made his family rich. They own the rights to ever piece Monet ever did which made them very wealthy. Poor Erik was caught in the middle of all the money. His mother and father were not very interested in him, you see. They were constantly on vacation as he went through all of his schooling. He is a smart man, you know. The education he received was much better than I could have ever imagined. He even went to college at the age of sixteen on a full scholarship to Oxford. He's has a doctorate, did you know?"
"Dr. Monet," I snickered bitterly at how much she knew and I did not.
"Now, now, no time for any of that. Anyway, he always had tutors in the arts. That is what he turned to when his family was away. He had no brothers or sisters and his house was far away from anything else. At the age of eighteen his parents died leaving him everything, but with his intellect he didn't really need all of it. He made many investments and is now secretly one of the richest men in the United States." She must have laughed at my reaction, "You didn't know that did you, child?"
"No, I never had any idea. He wouldn't tell me about his life." I said feeling upset on how much I never knew about my own husband.
"And for good reason! He didn't want you to know. He hasn't lived a good life before meeting you. He understands pain and hurt better than most on this earth. He's a very emotional person, you know. It is hard for him to take anything lightly."
At this I laughed heartedly.
"You're telling me!"
She laughed softly in response.
"Erik is an interesting one as I said. He never knew love until meeting you. It is actually a funny story. Do you remember what you did after your parents divorced?"
It took me a moment to remember what had happened. There were a lot of things I did after my parents divorced, but there was one thing that began to stand out among all the others.
"I went walking." I said slowly, "I walked into the woods my father and I used to walk in. It was cold and had begun to snow, but I kept walking. The woods never seemed to end that day. It was only until after dark that I really realized I was lost." I paused for a moment, "where were you then? If you were my guardian where have you been?"
"Oh honey, I was there, but I wasn't the only one, remember. I didn't need to lead you home. For some time, another had been guarding you. He walked many yards behind you, but he was still there. He was the one to call the police to find you once you stopped walking."
"Granny Mose that couldn't have been Erik! I was twelve then!"
"And why couldn't it have been him, honey? He had been driving through the area when he saw you walking into the woods. You fed his curiosity that day and he stopped the car to follow you to see where you were going. He felt your feelings and wanted to reach out to you, but felt that he couldn't because he didn't know you. So he followed you. It was the only thing he knew how to do, just like he used to follow his parents when he was young. At the time, he could not help you, so he called the police, but four years later, he saw that he could."
I could not help but feel tears of shock and confusion overwhelm me. She knew so much about everything that I thought I already knew and it all felt like too much in such a short amount of time.
"I can't believe it. He's known me for so long and I had no idea."
"Yes, Rachel, you know he didn't want to take you so soon after the car crash, but you scared him so deeply that he felt he couldn't wait. He couldn't have you wondering around like you had up until that point. He wanted your life to have purpose and so he stole you from the life that had only beaten you down."
"But I lived a good life up until then Granny Mose! He didn't have to steal me away!"
"But it was what you wanted. Don't you remember that as a little girl you often turned to books and musicals for comfort, more specifically Phantom of the Opera because you could always disappear into the story to easily. Erik just let you disappear into the story for good."
Usually I would have felt the need to sit down or something, but where I was I didn't quite feel human enough to need to. I sighed and looked away from Granny Mose's hazel eyes.
"I know it's a lot for you to take in child, but I thought you needed to know. Erik was always so afraid to tell you anything in fear of more rejection."
"No," I breathed in deep then looked up at her, "I'm glad you told me. I always wanted to know."
Raising her hands to my cheeks, she cupped my face in her hands, "yes I thought you would. The rest you may ask about in due time, but we must move on to the reason why all of this has happened the way it has.
"Now child, listen here, there is much I want to tell you, but I am afraid that time can only freeze for so long. On Earth you are currently in a coma. Your baby has already been born and is in critical condition inside an incubator. You have to make an important decision, Rachel. It is your choice to decide what you are more willing to sacrifice in life. If your baby grows up, he will soon become a strong child whose life will be great, but you have another choice. If the baby you currently have lives, you will have to sacrifice something great from yourself."
"What? Not Erik – anything but – "
"No, no, child, not Erik, he is not you, only a part of your life. I cannot tell you what the sacrifice will be, but it will be great."
"Granny Mose, how can I choose, I would never wish to kill my baby!"
"And you wouldn't be the one to kill it, God would simply take it up to heaven before it could live its life. The choice is all yours, my child."
My voice was getting softer and weaker and I suddenly felt as if everything around me were growing fuzzy.
"How can I ever…?"
"Goodbye my dear girl." She said moving away without walking, "Time is being turned back now, but only for a few moments. I will see you again when you die for real. Till then I will never be far away from you. I love you Rachel."
Everything got smaller around me making it harder to breathe.
"Granny Mose!" I shouted, but she was already gone. The white around me was taken away leaving darkness in its wake. I tried to shout out to her again, but my body hurt too much. I was falling again through the blackness. Falling, falling, falling…
The voices began to get closer to the water's edge making them easier to understand as I kept falling. The mindless gargles began to have spaces and syllables added to them and became louder until suddenly I was no longer falling. The light shined bright against my eyelids making the world seem pink to me. While everything still echoed around me, I could still hear them speak.
"She's lost a lot of blood," a deep voice said to my right.
"I don't know if she's going to be able and pull through," another tired deeper voice said to my left.
"Doctor," said a younger lady's voice to my right, "we need to ask if they want the baby's life over the wife's."
"I'll go and get the husband," said a deeper woman's voice to my left.
Erik! They were going to get Erik! Within a few moments I heard the woman speaking to Erik in a far corner.
"You need to make a decision, Dr. Monet," said the deep voiced lady.
I knew what I had to do. It was as if everything in my life had all led up to this one moment. This was my sacrifice. This was my purpose in life – too keep my baby alive. Even after what I had told Erik to do, I had to be the one to make the decision. They were waiting for it; God was waiting. The decision had to be made quickly.
With the remaining strength I had left in my body I began to carefully place the right words together in my head. I would only get once chance to say them, after the words were out, I would surely be deceased and be flying far away to see Granny Mose once more. Using my last bit of sense I took a huge, highly painful breath.
"Save…"I took another fading breath, "the…" one last breath for the most important word, "baby."
It was as if a bomb went off around me making everyone scurry closer to where I lay, then everything went black.