The dark figure stood foreboding and grim against the blackened scene in which she stood. His cloak and hook concealed his features, but a long bony hand beckoned her to follow.

Christine stood her ground and said, "Are you the ghost of Christmases future?"

The hooded spirit nodded slowly and once again signaled for her to follow. She crept behind him, now truly afraid as he led her to Erik's boat on the lake's dock. He rowed silently in the darkness to show her the future she feared.

"Where are you taking me?" Christine asked. "What horrible things are you to show me?"

He never spoke, but finally stopped rowing and pointed a finger across the lake. There in the dim candlelight she could make out a bare skeleton lying on the shore. She did not have to ask she knew at once that it was Erik. He was alone, and she could do nothing to save him. She cried out his name, and her voice echoed in the darkness.

"Tell me I can change his fate. Tell me it's not too late!" she sobbed.

Again, the cloaked ghost said nothing but silently rowed, until she realized they were no longer on the lake. She found herself sitting in Raoul's home, only it had changed. There were no maids or servants bustling about. Everything was cold and dark and all the curtains were drawn. She followed the light into the next room where she could see the fireplace was lit and then she saw herself sitting in a rocking chair alone. Christine saw that she looked incredibly aged and her hair had begun to thin. She was bony and her hands shook as she tried to knit a small garment, as though she had not gotten enough nutrition.

A loud voice shook the timbers and made both Christine's jump at the sound. Christine saw her future self begin to rock furiously in her creaking chair as she saw Raoul enter the room angrily.

"I thought I told you never to be seen outside this house ever again!" Raoul yelled.

"Raoul, I'm sorry..." the frail little Christine replied.

"I'm not looking for apologies, I want answers! Why were you seen in town today? Don't you know that people already talk enough without you provoking their gossip? I have to hear about it all day!" Raoul went to her chair and roughly pulled her out of it by the arm. "Now explain yourself."

"Raoul, I'm sorry. I know you don't like me going out, but I had to. I had to go and see the doctor and you weren't here to send for him for me."

"A doctor? Why on earth would you need to go and see a doctor?" He demanded as he went to the hearth to pour himself a drink of brandy.

"I wasn't feeling well and I..."

"I suppose you are going to blame me that we have no money to eat and that you were feeling weak again. Need I remind you that it is your fault we have no money! If it weren't for you, my family wouldn't have disinherited me from the estate. It's a wonder they left us a place to live, no thanks to you!"

Christine watched horrified as she saw Raoul strike her future-self across the face. He had obviously been drinking long before he came home. As Raoul started to chase after her, she ran right through Christine and suddenly Christine was she. Raoul chased her up the stairs and finally grabbing her hair, pulled her back down. When Christine landed with a dull thud on the floor, she heard nothing. There was no sound of Raoul, chasing her, no wind blowing outside the condemned home.

She sat up slowly and then she heard the clock in the foyer strike twelve o' clock. She was back in her room at Raoul's chateau! She breathed a sigh of relief and went to the window to gasp in the fresh cool air. It had all been some sort of horrible nightmare. She wasn't dead! Raoul hadn't pushed her down the stairs! As the moments ebbed away, the relief she felt increased, along with her clarity of mind. She knew what she had to do.

A few moments after she had dressed, she heard a door open and shut quietly downstairs. Raoul was finally home. 'I hope he had a good time at the party' she thought to herself as she made her way down the stairs with her suitcase.

"Christine! What are you doing awake?" Raoul asked, puzzled by seeing her dressed. Then he saw the bag in her hand and he grew quiet.

Christine walked slowly towards him and in an almost regal manner said, "Raoul, I know you don't love me anymore. You might have thought that you did, but now I can see that I am only fooling myself and holding you back by staying here."

He started to say something, but Christine just leaned over and kissed his cheek. "Goodbye Raoul. Wish me luck and be happy for me!"

Raoul stood completely bewildered as he watched Christine walk out the front door and close it behind her in the cold winter's night air.

Christine walked swiftly through the streets of Paris to the Opera house. In her pocket she clutched a large iron key, which she had kept all these months. She only hoped it was not too late!

As Christine entered Erik's home, she found it the same way she had seen in her travels with the spirit of Christmases present. She picked her way through the shambles to Erik's room where she had seen him last. Her heart sank as she realized her was no longer in the room. Kneeling to the floor in the spot she had seen him crying, she touched the spot to discover it was still fairly warm. Her head jerked up as she heard a sound behind her.


With tears in her eyes, she ran to him and threw her arms around his neck, kissing him. "I love you Erik. I'll never leave you again!"