Prologue

Author's beginning analysis of the Opera Canine and the incredible story that took place there:

I must ask you, dear reader, do you believe in ghosts? As you well know, the definition of a ghost can mostly been described as a spirit, specter, or ghastly apparition that haunts a place where said ghost once lived during its lifetime. One must ask as to why these ghosts linger about the earth, their nebulous forms forever doomed to walk the planes of our world, unable to reach the "other side". Some aren't fully understood by mortal beings and many wouldn't bother to mess with them.

So, I ask you again, do you believe in ghosts, supernatural beings and the stories that go along with them? You might shrug and chuckle at the idea of such creatures actually existing within our world, thinking they are about as omnipresent as Hamlet's Father's Ghost. Whilst the ghost in the story of the Prince of Denmark isn't real, your mind should at least postulate at the idea of a ghastly being coming back from the realm of the dead. I'm quite sure you can't deny that, no matter what anyone else has said. Within the world of fiction, however, one could easily discover strange, unnatural things; things could easily be conjured up from our nightmares. One particular ghost story, however, is anything but fictional.

The story I am about to unfold to you, dear reader, was in fact real. It was not created, nor was it fabricated by any author. It was not created by the unfortunate scene-shifter, it was not a prank being played towards the managers, nor was it a rumor. It was definitely real, and despite its age, and it was almost forgotten, I still believe that it is indeed relevant to our modern world.

Our setting for this tale takes place in a century not too far from our very own, one that seems to have faded as time has passed, but one that had not been forgotten by history itself. During this time, Paris, France was a its peak in high culture, with its landmarks becoming attractions for all dogs around the world, and as they gawked and beheld the wonder that was Notre Dame, the immortal Louvre Museum, and the incredible architecture of the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile, one particular building suddenly appeared, and became one of the greatest and largest theaters in Europe, next to the one in Italy: The Opera Canine.

The Palais de Canine, or the Opera Canine, created by the late Charles Canine, first went under construction in 1962, and was finally completed in 1875. As soon as this majestic creation hit the scene, the populace of Paris soon flocked to its doors, and, in my mind, were no doubt captivated by its glory. The outside facade seemed to beckon the viewer into its world of beauty, as well as the sculptures that adorned the entrance, which displayed the creator's everlasting tribute to all of the classical arts, such as the ones at the bottom level, each separated by archways. These displayed the regular theater art fundamentals, such as The Dance, Lyric Drama, Song, Instrumental Music, Poetry, The Idyll, and The Cantana, with each sculpture painted by different artists. (I also took note that just above the 4 middle statues, a few composer medallions could be seen of Bach, Pergolesi, Hadyn, and Cimarosa. Upon the 2nd level, just above a few pillars, several busts of composers could be seen, such as one of Beethoven, Auber, Mozart, Rossini, Spontini, Meyerbeer, and Halevy. If you stood far back behind the Rue Auber, you could see two large golden angel statues that could be seen raising their arms to the sky, with the statue of Apollo at the very peak, with his equally golden lyre being raised to the heavens.

However, despite the grand staircase inside, the thousands of doors and rooms within its halls, the gilded Foyer, its maze like structure with twisting passages and stairways, and the majestic auditorium that displayed the music of the Classical and Romantic Era, a dark, mysterious shadow seemed to take its hold on the Canine only a few weeks after it opened.

This was during the time when the Opera Ghost first made its appearance. At the time, no one was sure as to why they saw an ominous, black shade out of the corner of their eye, nor did anyone wonder as to why a pair of glowing, yellow eyes could sometimes been seen inside Box Five. Was a trick from the light or a mere coincidence? It certainly wasn't a coincidence when more sightings were being reported only 5 months after the Canine's grand opening.

There was one particular employee that soon brought the rumor to new heights, a pit-bull by the name of Joseph Buquet. The main scene-shifter, "Chief of the Flies" as he was called, the smoke loving, beer chugging dog made a sudden encounter with the ghost whilst taking his regular smoke break, as he leaned against the railing up in the rafters backstage.

"I was up 'here in the rafters," He told his fellow dogs, "an' as I turned around, the ghost was about….5 feet away from were I was standing…'e wore a long, black cloak over a gentledog's attire, a white vest with a white bowtie alongside a black coat, which was covered by a black cloak around his shoulders that flowed around like some kind of weird mist. His paws were abnormally large, the claws scratching the railing, leaving skid marks. When I slowly looked up at 'is face, I saw that he 'ore some kind of skull head atop 'is outfit, and I could see large ears poppin' out the top, and I could see them glow'n eyes inside those black 'oles in the skull. I swear' that they 'ere burning like the flames of 'ell!"

Once he made this encounter public, everyone suddenly thought it as fact. This vague description of the ghost seemed to heighten the mysteriousness and infamy of this specter that wore gentledog's clothing. This seemed to solidify a few assumptions made by the believers of the ghost. This ghost was male, the shadowy mist everyone saw was his black cape blowing past them, and he wore a face of death. This could easily send shivers up anyone's spine. Just the thought of this ghost actually being physical scared some of the employees. If he could leave markings with his claws, he could probably leave them on your face.

Whilst this encounter with the ghost was rather disturbing to the staff, another encounter was far more terrifying than what the scene-shifter saw in the rafters. A dog named Pampin, one of the dogs that worked down in the cellars of the opera, whose primary job was to heat the entire opera house by shoveling coal into large furnaces.

"I was busy doing my regular thing," he said, as he complained to the manager that same day, sweat dripping down his face as he shook with fright, "and I was taking a break, and while I was wiping my face with a cloth, I went over to the side next to a passageway near the furnaces, and as I was shaking off some of the coal that was on my body, my ears perked up as I heard what sounded like an organ playing in the distance. I noticed that it was coming from the corridor I was standing next to. Curious, I was almost entranced by the music that I decided to check where it was coming from. However, my curiosity got the better of me, and as I slowly poked my head inside the corridor, I heard an ear-splitting scream, and I screamed in horror as I saw a head engulfed in fire coming my way with incredible speed! So, I turned tail and ran right out of the cellars. It was the most frightening thing I'd ever seen!"

Such a strange encounter, isn't it? Much like the Buquet incident, this encounter was somehow tied with the Opera Ghost, and it also became known as fact. These rumors of the ghost soon became known throughout the Canine's staff, and they soon told their friends, and they told their friends. Eventually, everyone had either heard of or mentioned the ghost him alongside their regular line of talk and gossip. The superstitious soon believed it all to be true, and they said if you managed to catch a glimpse of the ghost when you went the opera house, then you were going to catch an unfortunate case of bad luck. Of course, many of the non-believers merely scoffed it off as some kind of scary story.

Despite the ghost rumor, it was only passed around amongst the actors, actresses, chorus members, ballet pups, other staff members, so it was somewhat unknown to the upper-class dogs that attended the Opera. This did not limit the sightings of the ghost, however. The ghost was still being seen by anyone that wandered the halls alone, and in short span of time, the Canine became a "haunted house" of sorts, as strange supernatural phenomenon suddenly went on in the Canine. Gas lamps would flicker on and off, heads of statues would turn; a few dogs would suddenly become tripped up by a strange force as they fell flat on their face. Whether this was due to some kind of strange prank, no one was for sure. However, the staff merely said it was the ghost's fault, using him as a kind of scapegoat for the strange occurrences that seemed to appear almost every day of the week.

The story that I'm going to tell you takes place after the ghost myth became apparent, and how it was strangely integrated in the rather odd love affair between a rich, upper-class dog and his opera singer fiancée. As it has been several years since the events of this story took place, it is still remembered by many dogs everywhere that were still around during a time when the ghost soon became an actual threat to the entire city of Paris. Who was this ghost, and why did he wish to stalk the shadows of the Opera Canine, and if he did have some kind of connection between the Daae and Chagny case, what was this arterial motive?

In order for us to find out, please come along with me, as I reveal to you the true story of the Hybrid of the Opera.


Author's Note:

This is the beginning of my remastering of my story Hybrid of the Opera, a crossover between the movie Balto and the Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux.

The main reason as to why I wanted to create this story was busy re-watching Balto after many years, and having been a huge fan (or Phan for that matter) of the Phantom of the Opera, I found there were a few connections between the characters in Balto and in Leroux's novel. I was instantly inspired, and I immediately started writing my ideas down. This was about 2 years ago, and since then, I hadn't uploaded my little story since I a) hadn't finished it (which I didn't find out until a few days ago) and b) I wasn't sure what kind of reaction I would get. Thankfully, those that have read my story seem to enjoy it, so I uploaded the rest, until I realized that I actually hadn't finished it after those two years.

So I've decided to just rewrite the whole thing, and try to a much better job then my younger self could ever do.

Anyway, as for the story itself, I've reread Phantom and re-watched Balto a few times, and tried to pin-point the connections between the characters, as there was definitely some sort of contrast between Balto and Erik, Jenna and Christine, and Steele and Raoul. As I looked over some of my ideas, I found a few problems with the characters. As most crossovers do, I've realized that some use the characters from one source and place them either alongside the characters of another source, or replace them altogether. However, I didn't exactly want to do that, so I had to find some way to make the characters from Balto become the characters of Phantom without trying to make them seem like each other. What I mean is Balto will act like Erik, but still have his personality (mixed in with my own version of the two combined).

(I'm a literature nut, so I guess I'm taking this a bit too seriously, but I feel like that's what good writers do)

Besides all of that, hopefully you enjoy this brand new version of Hybrid of the Opera. Hopefully I'll be able to satisfy both Phantom Phans and Balto fans alike.

- Dante

P.S. For those of you who still wish to view the original, unfinished version, it can still be found here on .

I do not own Balto or the Phantom of the Opera. They belong to their respective owners.