Prologue- Track Down This Murderer
"...Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime
Lead me, save me from my solitude...
Say you'll want me with you here, beside you
Anywhere you go let me go too...
Christine, that's all I ask of you........"
Shocked screams filled the opera house as the young prima donna, Christine Daae, ripped off the mask of the man on stage, revealing not a normal human face, but the face of a monster.
Off stage, a short, slim blonde dancer stifled her own scream as the phantom grabbed her friend and pulled a hidden lever. Christine and the phantom fell, through a trap door, down into the darkness of the opera house cellar.
More screams came as the huge chandelier fell, as if in slow motion, crashing down with the sound of ten thousand crystals shattering as they hit the floor. The chandelier burst into flames, consuming the fine velvet-covered chairs and moving toward the stage.
The dancer heard footsteps thundering toward her.
"Where did he take her?" a masculine voice shouted.
A tall woman in a rigid black dress came forward, looking frantic. "Come with me, monsieur. I will take you to him- but remember: keep your hand at the level of your eye!"
They began to hurry away from the stage.
The blonde girl followed them. "I'll come with you!" she said.
The woman in black shook her head. "No Meg, no- you must stay here!" She jerked the man suddenly down a corridor. "Come with me, monsieur!" She looked back at Meg, who was still following. "Do as I say!" she said sharply.
"No!" said Meg defiantly, but Madame Giry didn't hear her. She stopped and turned back. There had to be another way down into the labyrinth. Heading back toward the burning theatre, Meg heard raised voices. An angry mob of dancers and stagehands were carrying torches and heading down toward the cellars. Meg joined them eagerly, working her way to the front of the group.
When they came to the shallow lake, they began to wade through the dirty water, torches held high, looking for any sign of the phantom.
Meg's heart was pounding- she prayed they would find him in time to save Christine. As they neared the phantom's lair, Meg could have sworn she heard an anguished voice, crying out... but what it said, she couldn't figure out.
Up ahead, she could see candles burning, and the outline of what seemed to be a shore. Meg sped up, moving as fast as she could through the murky water. She was the first one to step out of the lake, into the cave-like lair that was the phantom's home.
There was an organ, surrounded by dying candles, a wedding veil.... lying next to a white half-mask.
Meg bent down and picked the mask up, heart in her mouth.
They had been here, she thought.
She ventured further into the cave, looking for any sign of Christine.
"Christine?" she whispered into the darkness. She thought she heard the sound of a cloak swishing somewhere in front of her.
Meg's breath caught in her throat. She was not alone...
"Christine?" she whispered again.
Meg heard the mob moving closer. She had a feeling that the phantom was there with her, hiding. Remembering what little her mother had told her of him, she decided to cover for him. Mme. Giry had said once that the phantom just wanted to be left alone, and that the consequences of anyone entering his domain would be severe. Meg thought it best to get the mobs out, soon.
She turned and met them on the shore. She held up the mask like a shield.
"He's gone," she said loudly.
"What?" asked one of the stagehands. "What do you mean he's gone?"
"He's gone," said Meg again. "There's no one here. We should leave."
It took a little more persuasion, but the mobs agreed to leave. Meg waited until the last of them were on their way out of the lair before departing.
She didn't get far.