Chapter One - **Stranger Than You Dreamt It**

Elissa rushed across the pathway, stumbling slightly on the loose rocks. The lake seemed to stretch on forever. Who would have thought that a lake underneath an opera house would be so huge? She finally reached the end and whirled around, expecting to see Pierre still behind her. Gone.

"I lost him," she realized with a sigh of relief.

The edge of the enormous black lake ended at a small strip of land leading to a stone wall. Farther down, she could see a gate, covering a large wooden door. Elissa shrugged her shoulders. She had come this far, why not go the rest of the way. And it wasn't like she could turn around and go back. Not for awhile, at least. Cautiously, she crept forward across the rocky ground towards it, wincing as the sharp rocks poked at her bare feet. She had thrown off her heels in the chase, unable to run as fast as she needed to in them.

Looking down, she almost laughed. She still wore her costume from the performance that night. She'd played a gypsy and the costume was a bit tight. She silently cursed the costume lady who, upon seeing Elissa before the performance, had pulled the costume as tight as it would go, saying it looked good. Well, it might have looked good, but it restricted her air and made her extremely light headed now especially after running through what felt like half the opera house.

Studying the gate, she saw the lock was a strong one and almost let out a sigh of defeat before she brightened. She pulled a bobby pin out of her hair, straightened it, and went to work. A minute later, she had the gate open and was opening the door and entering into the complete blackness.

Elissa stumbled around the room, her arms held blindly in front of her. She could feel many things but she still did not know where she was. At last, her hands grabbed what she recognized to be a candlestick and she let out a sigh of relief. She fumbled in her skirt pocket for the pack of matches she always kept with her and tanked them our triumphantly. The first match burned all the way down to her fingers before she could find the wick. Biting back a cry of pain, she blew it out quickly and struck another match, this time light the candle.

The candlelight slowly lit up the room, casting a warm glow. Looking around, she gasped. It was magnificent. Luxurious, stuffed furniture, a large maple bookcase filled with volumes, a grand fireplace, exotic piece scattered across the room and large paintings hung on the wall. Her toes dug into the plush carpet and she could feel the tension leaving her.

Some door led ways out of the large room, but Elissa was too tires to try to find the contents hidden behind them. The opera performance had worn her out and the chase from Pierre had not helped one bit. Sinking down on the soft couch, her mind wandered absently.

So the Phantom of the Opera did exist. She'd heard the stories since the moment she stepped foot inside the Paris Opera House, but had been unsure of whether or not to believe them. A ghost…living underneath the large building. She didn't know if she should be scared or not to be here, in the labyrinth. If only she wasn't so exhausted, she could think about this logically.

Lying down, she closed her eyes, murmuring to herself sleepily.

"Maybe he won't mind if I just take a quick nap. I'll be gone before he gets back and I'm so tired. I'll be gone…" her voice trailed off as she fell asleep, innocently lying in the phantom's lair.