I was woken up by shouting and I went close to the doorway to listen in to what was going on exactly. I looked on in shock as the masked man stood menacingly over a terrified Christine. Why is he so angry at her though? I then spotted the mask by Christine and I realised she must have unmasked him; I just wished for a moment I could see the deformity to understand why he was so mad at her. However after seeing his reaction to his mask being removed I decided against it; I guess that part of my saviour will forever remain a mystery. However after a while it became quiet and I watched as the masked man took Christine back up on the boat; I guess that will be the last I’ll see of her then. As soon as the masked man had left I came out from my ‘room’ and had a look around the lair properly. I looked in awe at the furniture in his lair; there was an eclectic mix of cultures and every piece came from a different country. But how did he get all of these items in the first place? As I looked around the room my eyes befell on the organ that resided in the main part of the cavern opposite the lake. How did he get an organ down here though? I sat myself down in front of the organ and fingered some of the keys a little. Without even realising it I just started to play a tune that expressed how I felt at the moment and before I could stop myself I started to sing a song that was just in my head.
On my own
Pretending he's beside me
I walk with him till morning
I feel his arms around me
And when I lose my way I close my eyes
And he has found me
In the rain the pavement shines like silver
All the lights are misty in the river
In the darkness, the trees are full of starlight
And all I see is him and me forever and forever
And I know it's only in my mind
That I'm talking to myself and not to him
And although I know that he is blind
Still I say, there's a way for us
I love him
But when the night is over
He is gone
The river's just a river
The world around me changes
The trees are bare and everywhere
The streets are full of strangers
I love him
But every day I'm learning
All my life
I've only been pretending
His world will go on turning
A world that's full of happiness
That I have never known
I love him
I love him
I love him
But only on my own
As the last note echoed around the cavern the tears began to fall and I just couldn’t stop them from falling.
“Are you ok? You’re crying.” I heard a musical voice ask and it caused the tears to fall harder.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” He asked and I shook my head rapidly; unless he had a way to help with a broken heart then there was nothing much he could do. I just wished he understood the meaning behind the song and to whom I was singing it to.
“I see you can play the organ very well too. May I ask who taught you to play?” I looked up at him when I realised he was interested to know how I gained my talent in playing.
“I taught myself since my parents couldn’t afford lessons.” I replied quietly and I blushed a little after the words came out.
“I am glad you are starting to open up now. Would you like to tell me your name?”
“Angélique Dante monsieur.”
“Pleased to meet you Mademoiselle Dante. I am the Phantom of the Opera and this is my home under the Paris Opera House; also known as the Opera Populaire.”
“It’s you.....the one my employer talked about. I need to leave here now before she finds me.” And with that I ran towards the lake in panic. But before I could reach the gondola I was grabbed around the wrist and I struggled futilely in his grasp.
“Who was your employer and what makes you fear them so?” He asked but all I could focus on right now was getting out of his grasp.
“I am asking you nicely; who was your employer and why do you fear them so?”
“No I won’t tell you anything! Now let me go!” I yelled and so I resorted to kicking and punching in random directions hoping to hit my intended target. I must have hit something because I heard a grunt followed by a string of muttered curses and it gave me time to escape to the gondola. Soon enough I was able to board it and I proceeded to row it across the lake. I looked around waiting for the siren to try and claim me or for the masked man to come after me. However I didn’t see them in sight and soon enough I reached the other side of the lake. Why didn’t the siren stop me like before? With newfound determination I headed into the corridor to find a way out. I was glad I paid attention to the route the Phantom took and soon enough I found myself at the chapel. But how do I get myself into it? I looked around the entirety of the wall feeling for a switch as I progressed around the wall. After looking all over the wall I was about to give up when I noticed a small inconspicuous nail on the wall and I decided to press it to see what would happen. I jumped back a little in surprise when the wall slid to the left to reveal the interior of the chapel. I looked around to see no-one in sight so I proceeded to get out of the building as quickly as possible. But instead of finding myself near an exit I instead found myself backstage; how did I get here though? I guess the place must be like a maze or something. As I walked around I kept getting myself more and more lost as the time progressed. Oh I wished I just stayed in the lair instead of attempting another escapade again.
“Well well well, what do we have here? I certainly haven’t seen you here before but let me just say you look like an angel sent from heaven.” I heard a drunken voice slur and I turned around to see a portly man who was clearly drunk. I could tell he was looking at me with less than honourable intentions. I tried to back away hoping he wouldn’t notice but sadly he did.
“You’re not going anywhere missy!” And he grabbed me around the wrist and dragged me further into the backstage area. At that moment I just couldn’t bring myself to scream for help and before I knew it we were in a dark corner of the theatre somewhere. Before I could escape from his grasp he slammed me against a pillar and for a moment the wind was knocked out of me; he then proceeded to rip the clothes from my body.
“You really are a delectable thing aren’t you?” As he groped my breasts hard causing me to wince a little in pain.
“Just give in you know you want to.” And before I knew it I gave a moan of pleasure but without warning he thrusted into me and I screamed in pain which earned me a slap across the face.
“Be quiet you bitch!” And I bit my lip to suppress my screams; I became numb to the world around me and soon enough I surrendered to the darkness that came with it......
After the girl ran off I ran down a corridor hoping to find her before she gets herself in trouble. But why did I worry about her safety so much? I was then in the shadows of the backstage area when I heard that treacherous stagehand hitting on another chorus girl. Why he hasn’t been fired yet is truly beyond me. I then decided to take a closer look as no-one is allowed to harm any of the chorus girls under my watch. I then heard the girl scream and I sprung into action by grabbing the man by the throat and throwing him off of her. I then lifted him by the throat and growled angrily.
“Obviously my message hasn’t seem to sunk in yet so I won’t say it again; if I ever catch you harming one of the chorus girls again then I will show you no mercy and will have no qualms in ending your life!” And with that I threw him to one side and took a look at the girl he harmed. I was shocked to see Angélique lying on the floor with the clothes ripped from her body; I quickly wrapped my cloak around her and lifted her frail form off the floor before proceeding to carry her down to my lair. As soon as we got into my lair I laid her down on my couch then proceeded to make her a small meal as well as some tea as she is probably traumatised after her ordeal. I also got hold of a nightgown for her to change into. I just hoped the stagehand didn’t harm her in anyway. However I thought it be best to get Madame Giry to check her over to make sure he didn’t rape her or anything and then I can make her something to stop her getting pregnant. After placing her down on her bed I quickly went up to the surface to find Madame Giry in her office and without knocking I went in through the secret passage in the wall.
“Erik do you always have to come silently into a room? What were to happen if someone saw you? You could be killed or arrested or both. Anyway why are you here?”
“It’s Angélique, I saved her from the clutches of that treacherous stagehand but I am unsure whether she has been raped or not. Could you take a look for me and if she has then I’ll make her the tea that will stop her getting pregnant.”
“Sure I’ll come immediately.” And so after locking the office door she followed me into the wall and down into my lair. As soon as we got there I led her straight to the room where she was residing and she was lying there sleeping peacefully.
“Ok let me check her for any signs whilst you boil some water.” She explained and with that I left the room. About five minutes or so passed and she walked towards me with purpose in her stride; I set about making the tea as I could tell by the expression on her face that she had indeed been raped by the stagehand.
“Luckily she stayed asleep when I checked her but I just hope the progress we made won’t be ruined by this latest attack.” She explained and I sighed a little when I realised she might have become mute again after her recent ordeal. After finishing the tea I decided to take it to her room so she could drink it. I got to her room and knocked to alert her of my presence. I heard her assent my entry quietly and so I entered her room and placed the cup on the bedside table.
“I made you this tea to make sure you don’t have any unwanted pregnancies.” And with that I left the room.
“Wait. I’m almost finished with my cup.” And I turned around to see her holding out her empty cup.
“How did you finish it so quick?” I asked quickly.
“I’ve been drinking this for a while now; my former employer use to give it to me and so I became use to drinking it quick before it went cold.” I nodded in agreement but I had a feeling she was hiding something from me; I mean why would she drink the tea so often unless she was serving gentlemen a lot? And I don’t mean serving men in just the cooking and cleaning department either. I just can’t believe her former employer would literally sell her maid for sex to every aristocrat going like a common prostitute. After washing the cup in the sink I decided to try and find out more about my guest. I reached her room and knocked lightly on the door and waited for her assent to allow me entry.
“Come in.” And I opened the door to see her sitting at the dressing table brushing out her hair.
“Are you ready to tell me more about yourself?” I asked gently and I saw her pause with her movements for a moment; it was like she was contemplating telling me information for a moment.
“I will tell you but it is a sad tale to behold.” She replied quietly and she turned around in the chair after putting the hairbrush down on the vanity.
“I had a happy childhood with my parents and they helped me discover my love for singing. Sadly though I lost them when I was 13 and so for five years I lived on the streets stealing what I needed to survive whilst hiding from the gendarmes. However one day I saw an advertisement in the newspaper where Carlotta was asking for a new maid so I took the job up readily knowing I needed the money to survive before I got caught by the police. However what I didn’t know what the fact I would have to serve not only Carlotta but any aristocrats that came calling and soon enough I had to serve my first man at 18; for three years I had to serve every gentleman going until one day I refused to serve three men from the Opera House. She threw me out on the streets and so I hid in an alleyway to sleep in hoping in the morning I can think of what to do; however three men stumbled upon me and they all raped me. After that I decided to end it all since no-one would miss me and then I could join my parents; I sang the song like it was a suicide note but no-one would hear it. But I was wrong as you heard it and saved my life; well that’s my story and I understand if you don’t want me to stay; I mean I must have been such a burden for all those months when I wouldn’t eat or speak a word.” And I saw her went to get up and leave the room. But before she could leave I grabbed her wrist gently and looked her in the eye and said.
“You are not a burden at all. I vow to protect you from those vulgar people from the Opera House who might want to hurt you and I will make sure you get a job somehow. I’ll even try to make sure you won’t be forced to see your former employer or any of the men you had to serve very much.” She smiled a little at my comment and so I next had to think about a job where she wouldn’t have to see Carlotta or any of the men from the Opera House who she might had to serve during her time as a maid. But what job could she do where she wouldn’t have to see Carlotta or the managers at all? Maybe I’d run the idea by Madame Giry and see what she can suggest. I took out my pocket watch and realised it was approaching dinner time
“I better start cooking as it is nearly half five. I’ll be right back and we will discuss about what kind of job would be suitable for you.” And with that I left the room towards the kitchen.
After the masked man left my thoughts turned to the prospect of a potential job; but am I ready to work in the place where my former employer is and where the three men worked who got me kicked out into the streets and raped by three complete strangers?
“Angélique! Dinner’s ready!” I heard him exclaim and after smoothing down my dress I went out to where the dining room was.
“There you are, please sit down and help yourself then we can get down to business.” I then sat down and after dishing out some food I waited on baited breath for what he had to say.
“After much considerable thought I thought you might like working in the costume department. Now before you panic you won’t have to work with Carlotta; she has her own costume department because as you already know she is a bit of a perfectionist. I thought you might like to help make costumes for the rest of the cast instead; you won’t have to see Carlotta and you won’t have to encounter the managers or the patron very much either. So how does my proposal sound to you?” I thought long and hard for a moment. Having a job would mean having a steady income but working at the Opera House would mean I could potentially bump into people I had to ‘serve’ when I worked as a maid for Carlotta; could I handle seeing them again after what they did to me?
“If you want I could even disguise you so no-one would recognise you.” I looked him directly in the eye and replied.
“I accept your offer; so when do we start?” I asked eagerly.
“You will be starting tomorrow as we will know who is being cast for the next opera they are showing which is called Il Muto. In the meantime you can think about what you want your disguise to look like so that no-one will recognise you.” I nodded in agreement and so thought about what I could do to disguise myself. I couldn’t change my eye colour so had to think of other ways to make my appearance less recognisable.
“Do we have access to any wigs? I could change my hair colour and length since that is one of the things that would make me recognisable. I guess I could change my name too. I just hope no-one will recognise me; I am afraid of seeing someone who I had to ‘serve’ before again. I just don’t know if I could handle seeing anyone again who remembers that part of my past.”
“I can easily access a wig. Since you’re a brunette I could make you have either black, blonde or even red hair if you want.”
“I think I’ll go with black; my father had black hair.” I replied with a wistful tone.
“I’ll see to it immediately that you get a wig after I’ve taken care of some business first.” What did he mean when he said that? Without a second thought I followed him out of the lair into the world above. After following him for about ten minutes or so I found myself in a corridor where he went through a trapdoor. I looked through the peephole to see him in a room that I presumed to be the manager’s office; he seemed to be dropping off another note. But why would he be leaving a note with the managers? I quickly hid as he came back towards the trapdoor and before he disappeared from view I followed him down the corridor again. He then went to the costume department and grabbed a wig just like he promised but then he did something unexpected; he went outside. But why was he risking being spotted by going outside? The first place he went to I didn’t recognise but it appeared he popped a note through the letter box but the second place I definitely recognised. I hoped never to see her house again but I guess I was wrong; I guess this is where my curiosity got me. But all he did was pop a note in her letter box too. What is with his obsession with notes? I followed him back and realised he was going to reach the lair before I did; how would I explain to him where I’ve been and why I’ve been following him? What would he do to me if he found out I was following him? We reached the lair and I heard him calling my name several times.
“I’m here.” I said quietly from behind him.
“Angélique there you. Did you follow me again? Why did you follow me? You could have been seen or worse you could have been hurt again; and I don’t want you getting hurt because I lo......care about you very much.” Was he about to confess his feelings for me? But why would he love a girl like me when he has Christine?
“I’ll be in my room if you need me.” I said with a brittle undertone to it and without even waiting for a reply I ran out of the room. I got to my room and the tears just began to fall. I could tell he was going to say something about his feelings for me but something stopped him. Why does love hurt so much? A song started to form in my head and I had to sing it to let my feelings out.
Hands touch, eyes meet
Sudden silence, sudden heat
Hearts leap in a giddy whirl
He could be that boy
But I'm not that girl
Don't dream too far
Don't lose sight of who you are
Don't remember that rush of joy
He could be that boy
I'm not that girl
Ev'ry so often we long to steal
To the land of what-might-have-been
But that doesn't soften the ache we feel
When reality sets back in
Blithe smile, lithe limb
She who's winsome, she wins him
Brown hair with a gentle curl
That's the girl he chose
And Heaven knows
I'm not that girl
Don't wish, don't start
Wishing only wounds the heart
I wasn't born for roses and masks
There's a girl I know
He loves her so
I'm not that girl...
And as the last note echoed around the cavern that night I just cried myself to sleep not knowing the fact I had an observer in my midst.......