Disclaimer: all characters and situations belong to J. K. Rowling, Gaston Leroux, or Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Prologue—The Stage of the Paris Opera House, 1911
The last rays of the setting sun glances off of the yellowed walls of the Paris Opera House. The street outside bustles with people and horses, most of whom pass the decrepit building with scarcely a glance.
Once, it had been proud. It was only thirty years ago--has it only been thirty years? It seems an age—that royalty, aristocracy, and commoners alike had flocked to its doors, and the Opéra Populaire had stood alight, and the prima donna had sang!
Now, it is merely a sad building long fallen into disrepair.
A wind arises, and picks up the few brown leaves in front of the Opera House doors. From a side alley, a lone grey dog appears, a stray, its coat haggard and dull in the waning light. It is thin, starved; its eyes are dim with age and wild with hunger.
The sky overhead is now a deep grey; clouds have drawn across it in wake of the sun. Lanterns adorning the street side flicker into life, bathing the sidewalk in an orange glow.
The stray comes forward, into the light. A few pedestrians--men with high hats and crisp suits, women in long, flowing dresses--skirt it tactfully. It limps toward the doors of the Opera House.
In the far distance, a rumble grows. Lightning flashes. A few raindrops strike the grey, cobbled roads, then more fall. The street is misted over with rain.
The dog shivers, its mangled fur wet and heavy, and drags itself to the foot of the cold, stone stairs. There, it curls up and sleeps.
A carriage rolls by, its horses champing in the rain. The water from the street washes over the lying stray. It does not move.
Within the stony walls there is cold, empty silence, broken only occasionally by the voice of the auctioneer. "Lot 666, then," it says. "A chandelier in pieces. Some of you may recall the strange affair of the Phantom of the Opera: a mystery never fully explained. We are told, ladies and gentlemen, that this is the very chandelier that figures in the famous disaster.
"Our workshops have restored it and fitted up parts of it with wiring for the new electric light, so that we may get a hint of what it may look like when re-assembled. Perhaps we might frighten away the ghost of many years past with a little illumination. Gentlemen?"
The chandelier rises, glittering magnificently even in the dim light of the opera. At once, the light cuts through the darkness.
The Opera House, not half so decrepit now with such an ornate chandelier at its centre, shudders. The past is awakened.