Author's Note: This is based on the movie, but there wasn't a spot for it in the movies section, so I'll just add it here. I do not own anything except my own characters. This is told from the Phantom's point of view.
After smashing the mirror and slipping into the hidden tunnel behind it, I raced along the passageway until I reached the exit. I had left a disguise hidden there, and I pulled on the patched long coat and scruffy boots within moments. It would not do to have people on the streets notice me at all. Once concealed beneath the coat's hood, I went into the streets and headed for the poorest section of Paris. No one looks at you too carefully there.
As I walked, I thought of Christine. She cared for me, I know, but she truly loved that vicomte. I could tell that the night they were on the roof, singing to one another. Music was not enough of a love for her.
The twisted back lanes and alleys of Paris swallowed me up, leading me to the Faubourg Saint Jacques. This area was one of the worst of Paris, and I knew that in all of that teeming ugliness, I would not be noticed. This was the place where thieves, vagrants, beggars, and prostitutes made their homes, and it was a city dumping ground for all the things that were not wanted. I made my way past all the refuse of the city, both material and human. No one accosted me, and no one noticed me. That was what I wanted.
I headed to a small inn I knew of where I could stay for a night while I made further plans. I had used it on former forays into the city, and the keeper did not ask questions as long as you had plenty of coins for him.
I noticed I was being followed as I drew closer to the inn. Footsteps behind me echoed my own, and I could tell that they were trailing me. This was not good.
I didn't notice the person in front of me while I listened to the footsteps behind me. A blanket was thrown over my head, strong arms wrapped around me, and before I could begin to fight back, a blow to my head scattered what little wits I had left. As I was losing consciousness, I felt myself being lifted and borne away somewhere. My last thought was that I was going to die.
I woke with a splitting headache. I was lying down somewhere, and gingerly, I felt the lump on my head and wondered where I was. As I sat up, I had to close my eyes and open them again for a second look. I could not believe what I saw.
I was in a room decorated in blue and gray. Bed, sofa, chairs, chaise lounge, window seat, carpet, and curtains were all in those two colors or shades of them. The wood in the room was a dark walnut color, and they provided a good contrast to the blue and the gray. The furnishings were all expensive, and the look to the entire room was just what I preferred. Indeed, I could not have decorated a better or more well-appointed room myself. I was in the four poster bed, and as I emerged from the blankets I noticed that someone had stripped me of my coat, boots, and shirt. Slightly surprised at this, I wandered the room, searching for the door. The only door I found led to a comfortable bathroom and a door off that led to a necessary. Beyond that there were no other doors.
In the bathroom, I saw that a hot bath had been drawn, and feeling the dirt of the faubourg still clinging to me, I finished undressing and slipped into the tub. The water had been scented with sandalwood, and the soaps there had been scented with sage and chamomile: luxurious and expensive. I scrubbed myself from top to toe until the water began to cool before slipping out. I wrapped up in a robe that I had found on a hook behind the bathroom door, and exited to the bedroom again.
The first thing that I noticed was that someone had come ( HOW? where was the door they had used?) and they had left a tray with a substantial breakfast on it. The bed had been made, and this same someone had left out a suit of clothes for me, with a note pinned onto the jacket. It read:
You need not fear; you are an honored and welcome guest in my home. I have brought you here to keep you safe, and I would like it if you would join me in the salon once you have dressed and breakfasted. Should you need anything, use the bell pull by your bed, and one of my servants shall attend you.
I set this missive aside and dressed, somewhat surprised at this. I sat down at the dressing table and began to work on my hair and hands, wondering all the while. Who would wish to help me? Surely they had seen my face when I had been put to bed, and it wasn't likely that I had been confused with someone else that this person knew. Who was this person?
I ate just to have something in my stomach, and I used the bell pull, keeping my eyes open to learn where the door was. I received the surprise of my life when a bookcase swung out into the room, revealing a doorway behind it. A man stood there and, seeing me, bowed low. "Yes, monsieur?" he said, showing me every sign of respect. That was the last thing I had expected.
I thought for a moment. Now that I knew where the door was, I could go out. But where? Where had I been brought to? Was I still in Paris, or was I somewhere else entirely? I could be on the other side of the world by now. Also, if I left right away, I was sure that my curiosity about my unknown benefactor would eat me alive. I had to at least meet the man who had had the audacity to kidnap someone just to keep them "safe."
"I wish to meet my host," I told the man, who was still bowed. He bowed even more deeply once I had spoken, and he motioned for me to follow. I followed him, and he led me along corridors, through rooms, and through galleries of portraits of people. Through the windows I saw trees, gardens, and fields, so perhaps I was in the country somewhere. Even after the splendor of the opera house, the rooms and furnishings left me breathless. I had never seen such a house.
He opened a door into what I supposed was the salon, and he closed the door behind me, bowing again. I looked about for my host, but saw no one.
Another door opened, and that was when I realized that I had made a terrible mistake: I didn't have a host, but I did have a hostess. She was alone, and her bearing suggested that she was used to giving orders and having them obeyed. She was a tall woman with red hair and bright blue eyes, and her skin was white. When she saw me, she smiled, not with warmth, but with the air of someone who had just seen a valuable possession that they had recently required. Such a woman would not have a husband or be ruled by anyone else. She was the one who had had me brought here, and there was no doubt of it.
"Well, good morning, Monsieur," she said, coming over to me and holding out her hand. "Welcome to my home. I trust you slept well?"
After seeing the behavior of gentlemen in the opera house, I knew what to do. I took her hand and mimed kissing the air above it, bowing my head as I did so. "Madame."
She smiled again, pleased at my fine manners. I was liking her less and less with each moment.
"I suppose you are wondering why I brought you here Monsieur?" She ended her question on an upward inflection, trying to get me to supply my name.
I prayed for patience. "Erik."
"Is that your surname?" she asked, surprised.
"No, it is the only name I have," I told her. "I am wondering why you have brought me here, yes," I said, reminding her that she had yet to explain my kidnapping.
She smiled, this time looking as if she had a secret that she could not wait to reveal. "I was in the audience last night," she said. "I heard you sing, and I could tell that you were not that simple-minded beer barrel Piangi. You were incredible, Monsieur Erik."
I stared at her, not quite sure what she was getting at. "You decided to kidnap me just because you heard me sing?"
"Of course," she said, happily. "You are a wonderful artist, and I know that the police were after you, and I knew that you would have to escape them. So I sent my men to all possible exits of the opera that you could use and had them watch for someone looking as if he were making a stealthy getaway. The two men who spotted you were watching a workers' door when they saw you open a ventilation grating and come out of that. Very clever."
"So why did you bring me? What could you possibly want with a murderer?"
"Murder is a small thing," she said, waving her hand dismissively. "You are much more than a murderer. You are a genius in so many ways, and I am proud to be your protector."
I glared at her. I? Need protection? How dare she!
"Before you refuse," she said, "I wish you to think what my protection will mean for you. You will be able to compose, design, or do whatever you please. I shall provide all necessary things: instruments, books, writing materials, whatever you ask; I will provide. Even if the police find you, they will not be able to remove you from my property. You will be safe from the outside world, and the grounds and house are open to you at all times. You may go where you wish and do as you please. My servants are completely loyal to me, and they will obey you as they will obey me. Later in the year, I travel, and you may accompany me or not as you wish. If you like, you may stay here on trial and change your mind later, and I will make other arrangements for you. Genius such as yours was not meant to moulder in a prison cell, and hanging you would be a crime in itself."
I thought about this. The offer was very attractive, but there was that earlier smile to think about. Did she see me as a person, or as something to decorate her home? I remembered a woman who had a box at the opera house who bought paintings from the masters of the Continent and hung them in her home, and she loved to talk about them just to let others know she had them. Was that what was going on here?
"I wish to think about it," I told her. After all, I didn't have anywhere else to go. "I have one question, however."
"What is your name?"
She smiled. "I am Madeleine Delphine."
I have to admit, I was surprised. All the people of Paris knew Madeleine Delphine: she was the fashion empress of Paris, and the trendsetter for the world, but she was also known to be a very private individual, rarely entertaining more than a few of her closest friends at a time, and those friends never divulged a detail about their time with her. Why had I not recognized her?
She smiled again. "I can almost see the thoughts forming on your face, Monsieur Erik," she said. "You did not recognize me because I am not dressed in the latest fashion. Today I am in one of my simpler outfits."
Since she had mentioned her dress, I examined it. Dark blue to make her eyes and hair stand out, and there was very little decolletage to speak of, and that in itself was against the latest fashion. Ladies these days left little to the imagination. The evening dresses favored a classical line with trailing skirts, but this seemed more like a dress from the Middle Ages. I hadn't known that women still had dresses sewn for them like that. Modest as it was, it was flattering.
"Well," she said, noting my approval. "Do you have any other questions for me?"
I thought for a moment. "Where are we?"
"This is my country house, outside of Paris."
I nodded. I had been brought to the country, just as I had suspected. Thinking of all that we had spoken of and all that she had said, I then thought about the manhunt still going on. People would be looking for me, and everyone would be on the lookout for a man with a deformed face, a mask, or a covered face. I sighed and came to a decision. "I wish to remain here for a while then, Madame Delphine, and I would like to think about your offer."
Relieved, she smiled and nodded. "Very well, then. I shall leave you on your own, and would you have supper with me tonight?"
I gave her my acceptance, and once she had gone, I began to wonder if I had made the best decision.