9. Alleine zu Zweit (Together Alone)

I am so sorry again for abandoning my story for so long. Life demanded all my attention. But Erik kept banging on the inside of my head, screaming to write him. If I don't fulfill his wish my head will explode. Or so he threatens. My apologies to you all. Also some apologies for language-mistakes… I didn't ask my beta to correct me this time.

At the end of Truth

At the end of Light

At the end of Love

At the end. There are You

and with every day of 'we' the lie of our love grew

and the further we travelled our path together

the further we drifted apart

(Lacrimosa – Alleine zu Zweit)

Now I've been fair to her, haven't I? Now the box with secrets- my Pandora's box- is empty. She knows now the reason why I'm down here… and no more answers are there to give. But my curious little doll has displayed a new talent, one of endlessly coming up with new questions.

Why am I here…. how long will you keep me here… what will you do to me… Really, such things are so unimportant, I do not even bother to answer them. Surely, the only importance is that she's here, with me! She must try to understand that…

"The world above is not important here" I try to explain her. "Time is not important here. So why bother about when you will return… return to something that's not important? All that matters is the world down below… my world! The world I created for you!" In return I completely fail to understand why she began to cry when I told her this. A world all for yourself… who wouldn't want that?

She has showed another talent: one for making me speechless. ….. me! I was utterly lost for words. She asked if I would take of the mask again… because the mask frightened her more as my face. "Poor Erik, oh poor Erik" she whispered. Which is, of course, complete nonsense, because I am a lot of things –spider, angel, enchanter of dreams, architect of mirrored worlds-… but I am definitely not poor. My rooms are very richly furnished, over the past years I collected the most rare and excentric objects from all corners of the world to decorate my dungeons. She must be blind. My ugliness must've made her blind. Poor Christine! My cursed ugliness must have damaged her sight, so now she doesn't even notice how beautiful my rooms are. What a waste of all these candles, if she doesn't need light anymore. So when she asked me to take of my mask, as an answer I began to put out all the candles. This seemed to distress her, she began to panic again. "Erik, I'm afraid of the dark… please make some light". I heard a sob in her plea. "Dear Christine, would you please … I was very sarcastic here… make up your mind and decide what it is you want. I just took off my mask, like you asked. If you want me to make light, I have to put it on again"

This made her so confused, she was silent for a long time. In the dark I began to sing again, and this calmed her. Calmed her enough to endure the darkness. With a few songs I taught her to master her fear. We've spent the rest of the day in darkness.

We ate together, in darkness. We made music together, she singing, I at my piano, in darkness. I told her some stories… in the dark, dark darkness. We talked for a long time… we talked, yes we talked, like ordinary people… but in total darkness. I even dared to make a few jokes, and she even dared to laugh.. but all in complete, total, vast darkness. As long as she couldn't see me, she seemed to enjoy this little game. I crept among my furniture like a bodiless shadow, making no sounds to move, but playing the perfect entertainer. She mostly sat still in the same chair and just listened. I crawled up behind her and gave sudden whispers in her ear, which made her squeak, then even giggle. She was afraid, and yet she seemed to… enjoy her fear. I heard her heart hammer in her throat when I made her squeak again, and yet she… she really seemed to like this game.

It's the angel, that does this to her. It's all his fault. She was pretending she was with her angel again. Or at first I suspected so. But then I realized…. When she finally cobbled together in her pretty little head Erik really is her 'angel' … she began to trust me. To trust Erik. This, in return, confused me. To be trusted is another strange sensation I have yet to master.

But a triumph is mine: if she finally understands that her angel, the strange man in the mask, the ugly face and 'poor poor Erik' are one person, I don't have to fear for her sanity anymore.

This game endured until she wished to sleep. I made light in her room, and oh! another disaster, … the time we spent so joyfully the past day was soon forgotten with a new chapter of horror in our little story…. I had forgotten to put the mask back on. I hadn't worn it for hours. Stupid Erik! How could I forgot… fool that I am! As soon as I lit a few candles, a total change in her behavior occurred. I noticed immediately, her sudden nervousness, her eyes cast away, her voice slightly altered… but a few long seconds I didn't even realize why. The horror the candles revealed…. it seemed she had totally forgotten it in the past few hours…! And then, suddenly… my face, right in front of her… me, unmasked, in her room! The very thought of it! What a hummiliating way to end such a lovely day… I crept away, like a beaten dog, only able to whisper a hoarse apology, before I slammed the door in her face.