Chapter 2: Fugitive
“Police!” a man’s voice boomed from the other side of the door. “Open the door!”
“Just a moment!” Beatrice called, thinking quickly. “I am not decent!”
She turned to Erik, taking his hand and dragging him from the piano.
“Come with me!” she whispered. They ran down the hall back into Erik’s room, and she shoved the wardrobe over. Beneath the wardrobe, Beatrice revealed a trap door then swung it open. “Get in!”
Erik did as he was told, and Beatrice hid the door again.
“Open the door!” the policeman shouted, banging on the door again. Beatrice walked as fast as she could to the door, fixed her hair and dress then opened the door.
“Sir,” she smiled. “Is something wrong?”
“Mademoiselle,” the officer nodded, respectfully. “A witness saw Madame Giry lead a suspicious person here.”
“Is the police department in the habit of investigating every suspicious person in sight?” Beatrice retorted.
“We have been told that Madame Giry is connected to the Opera Ghost, also known as the Phantom of the Opera. He is a murderer and he has burned down the Opera Populaire. We must search the house.”
“Please,” Beatrice smiled, stepping aside. “Be my guest, messieurs! I have nothing to hide! Neither does Madame Giry!”
The men came into the house and searched every cupboard, every closet, and every room. Beatrice followed one man who walked down the hall and into Erik’s room. He looked around and noticed the suit on the bed.
“You say you and Madame Giry are the only ones who live here?” he asked.
“I never said that,” Beatrice corrected. “This is Madame Giry’s house, and I live here, so does her daughter.”
“Why is there a suit on this bed if there are no men in the house?” he wondered.
“My brother was visiting,” Beatrice lied, flatly. “He left it here. He left yesterday.”
“Where did he go?”
“He did not say. Probably to some foreign country. He is always traveling.”
The policeman shuffled around and a few of the officers ran into the room.
“Sir,” one man called from the door. “The rest of the house is clear.”
“It seems this room is as well,” the policeman said and turned to Beatrice. “If you see the fugitive, he is a tall man with dark hair and deformed face.”
“Of course,” Beatrice nodded. “You will be the first I call if I see him.”
The men left and Beatrice locked the door behind them. She ran back to Erik’s room and shoved the wardrobe away, and freed Erik from his hiding place. He climbed out laughing as he did making her frown in confusion at him.
“Pray, tell, what is so funny?”
“The way you lied to that policeman,” Erik smiled. “I thought you were an honest girl.”
“I am an honest girl!” Beatrice pouted, stomping her foot and placing her hands on her hips.
“And a childish one, eh?” Erik grinned. “You throw tantrums like a child.”
“Erik---!” she cried, pointing at him. “Erik---whatever you last name is! You take that back, right now!”
“Your face is turning red,” Erik smirked, folding his arms across his chest. “You can be very pretty when you are angry.”
Beatrice’s hand fell to her side as she stared at him in shock. She hadn’t expected him to say something like that.
“Thank-Thank you,” she finally mumbled, casting her eyes down and folding her hands in front of her. “Why did you kill that man?”
Erik’s smile dropped as he realized she was talking about Joseph Bouquet, and he sat on the bed again as he looked at the suit and fiddled with one of the buttons on the jacket.
“I-I had no reason,” Erik admitted. “I had told those fools of managers to cast Christine as the star for Il Muto, but they did not listen and they suffered the consequences. The man I killed was a drunken pervert, who spied on the ballet girls while they changed.”
“That does not mean he deserved to die!” Beatrice suddenly shouted. Erik looked at her in surprise. “No one deserves to die, no matter what they’ve done or how they live! If you think that way then maybe I should turn you in to the police for what you have done!”
Erik suddenly stood from the bed, an angry look on his face, and marched toward her in long, angry strides. Beatrice’s courage fled, and she backed away, only to walk into the wall. He pinned her between himself and the wall, his eyes locked with hers, his hands gripping her wrists.
“Try it,” he growled in a whisper. “Go ahead! Call the policeman back!”
“If I do, will you kill me too?!” Beatrice spat. “At least you would have more reason to kill me than you did the other man!”
Erik’s grip loosened on her wrists and his anger faded. He would never kill a woman, or hurt a woman physically.
“Erik,” Beatrice breathed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t really---Oh, Erik! I would never turn in a friend, no matter what they have done!”
“Beatrice, I am not your friend. I am not the same person as the child you knew so long ago. I would give anything to be that child again and not this monster I have become.”
Erik walked back to the bed and sat down, his head in his hands.
“You call yourself a monster,” Beatrice said, walking toward him and standing in front of him. “How can that be true when you do not look like one?”
Erik looked up at her in utter shock and she knelt down in front of him.
“You are a man who has made mistakes. You are a man who looks differently from most. My definition of a monster would be something inhuman. But you are most definitely a human.”
Erik knelt down in front of her, not taking his wide-eyed stare away from her, and threw his arms around her.
“You always understood me, didn’t you?” he whispered, starting to sob. “After only one day of knowing me, you knew everything.”
“I would say the same to you,” Beatrice smiled, holding him. “You knew me without knowing me.”
“But I did not remember you,” he confessed.
“You remember me now, mon ami,” she said, pushing away from him slightly to look at him. “I did not remember you at first. We have both changed.”
“Tell me everything you have done since we parted,” he insisted, holding her hands. “I want to know everything about you.”