When the figure came into the light I recognised them immediately and I angrily put my lasso away.
“Nadir what the blazes are you doing here?!? I could have lassoed you thinking you was an intruder. Why do you have this annoying habit of coming unannounced?”
“Aren’t I allowed to visit a friend? And anyway I have been hearing stories of hauntingly beautiful voices being heard in the music room so me being me I just had to investigate. What have you been up to Erik anyway? You are not getting up to mischief are you?”
“And whatever gave you that idea Nadir?” I asked sarcastically as I walked back towards my house.
“Well who else would be capable of singing like that apart from you Erik?” He replied as he followed close behind me; yet again he just invited himself in. This is one of his many habits that I detest greatly but he is the closest thing to a friend that I’ve ever had; aside from Madame Giry of course who is another close friend too.
“Well you said there were two unearthly voices so to whom does the other voice belong to?” I asked matter of factly but with a hint of teasing in my tone.
“Well the other voice sounded female so have you started tutoring one of the chorus girls? Although I didn’t think you as the tutoring type especially where children are concerned. I never knew you to show an interest in children before so what changed exactly?” And I looked at him like he grew two heads.
“And what makes you think I would tutor anyone?” But the look on Nadir’s face told me he had seen right through me.
“Ok I confess I have been tutoring someone; I heard her one day singing in the chapel and knew she had the potential to become something more so I had to tutor her. She would have stayed a chorus girl otherwise and no-one with such potential should have to stay in the shadow of Carlotta.”
“There is something more to this plan though is there?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” I replied evenly.
“I just think that.......who is that in your doorway over there?” I turned around and followed Nadir’s line of sight to see my guest standing in the doorway of her ‘room’.
“Hello Mademoiselle I.......” I heard Nadir say but soon stopped as my guest ran back inside the confines of her ‘room’.
“Ok Erik now I know something is definitely up. You better explain yourself right now before I lock you in your own torture chamber!” He said firmly. I sighed a little and replied.
“I saved the girl about 2 months ago after she slit her wrist in an alleyway by the opera house. I am not sure what happened to her before the incident but I heard her sing and could hear the potential so I took her down to my lair and saved her life. However she hasn’t said a word and has hardly eaten since I saved her. I just hope I will be able to help her somehow but I haven’t been able to reach her so far.”
“You said she sang before she slit her wrists the night you saved her and that’s why you saved her life; have you ever thought of the fact that your music might reach her rather than actually trying to speak to her?” I considered Nadir’s words and realised that if she could sing then music must hold some interest to her. And without saying another word to Nadir I went to my piano and started to play unearthly melodies on it; I didn’t even notice the fact Nadir had left the room as I continued to play hoping to draw her out.
I was hiding under the bed hoping the danger would pass; who was the mysterious foreign man talking with the masked man? I don’t think I have ever seen him before but why was he there? Maybe the masked man was going to get his friend to help him hurt me in some way; whether it be by raping or murdering me or maybe both at once. As I lay there waiting for them to come after me I heard music pierce through the silence and for some reason I found myself unable to resist the music. As I followed the sound of the music and before I could stop myself I started to sing:
There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
So dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung
No wine untasted
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame
They stayed a night time by my side
They filled my dreams with endless torture
They took my childhood in their stride
But they were gone when morning came.
And still I dream I will find love
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream, I dreamed
As the last note echoed around the lair I suddenly came back to my senses and tried to run from the room; but I didn’t get very far as a hand enclosed itself around my wrist.
“I could tell you liked the music and I could hear the passion in your voice; when will you tell me what happened to you that night? I could hear the sorrow in your voice and it makes me wonder how you were hurt that night.” What did he know about being hurt the way I had been? I lost my parents at a young age, lived on the streets then got abused by my employer and her friends; losing my innocence in the process. I mean why does he even wear the mask in the first place? I had to find out somehow but how could I get it off him without him realising? I then shook my head a little when I realised what I was thinking. Why should I betray his trust like that? After all he did save my life that night; he could have left me to die but instead he took me in and healed my wounds. Why was I thinking about his feelings all of a sudden? I know next to nothing about the man; I mean I don’t even know his name or where he lives. I mean where are we exactly? As the masked man went back to playing his piano it gave me time to think about the reasoning behind the fact I didn’t want to break this man’s trust. One thing that confused me time and again though was where he went every evening. But I spent so much time thinking about my mysterious masked saviour that I didn’t even notice him leave the room until I saw a swish of his cape as he left out of the door and so I followed him out as curiosity took over......