A Phantom's Dismay

Erik hovered impatiently outside Christine's dressing room mirror. She was late coming from rehearsals again. He reminded himself to be patient. She was still young and she had many friends that she liked to talk to when rehearsals were over.

Erik brushed the dust off the chair he had set there when her lessons had started, and sat while he waited.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, Christine entered her dressing room. He turned his head away while she changed, but turned to catch a small glimpse of her chemise. His lustful curiosity sometimes got the better of him.

She, now fully changed into a simple shift, sat at her dressing table and brushed her hair. Before he could call out to her, her dressing room door opened and the young Raoul de Chagny stepped in. He watched in silent agony when she jumped up and kissed the young man on the cheek. He whispered something in her ear, she giggled, and then she turned and left the room with him!

Erik stood there dumbfounded. How dare she! Had she forgotten their lesson together? Did she not remember she was to accompany him to his home to practice the upcoming production in privacy? She had not even called out for him!

Erik's face grew hot with anger and he stormed away to devise suitable punishment. He had warned her, had he not? She was not to see that boy again! Her devotion was only to her music. To him!

Erik was naturally in a foul mood for the rest of the evening. Even the coolness of the wind sweeping across the rooftop was not enough to chill the heat of his anger. How dare she!

She was not in her dressing room when he went back down to see if she had yet returned. He sat in his chair again, waiting for her to return so he could reprimand her properly. He waited and waited, fuming. He looked at his watch and noticed that he had sat there the entire night. It was morning, and she still had not returned. A million ideas ran through his head. Had she returned home to her flat? Had something happened to her? Or worse, had she been all night with Raoul?

The last thought sickened him horribly. If Raoul had done anything to compromise her, there would be hell to pay.

After what seemed like a week, Christine came back through the door and began to change into her practice costume.

Erik's voice came swiftly and horribly, "Christine!"

She froze dead in her tracks; then slowly turned toward the mirror. "Erik?" Her face went deathly white and her hands started to tremble.

"Yes, Christine," his voice dripped with venom. "I see you have enjoyed your little rendezvous with the Vicomte."

Her lip trembled as she tried to speak. No words came out.

"I see you are speechless," he seethed. "Until you can learn not to see that boy, then you will not see me," he threatened.

Erik turned to storm away leaving her shaking in her cold room. He did not see her fall to the floor in his absence.

A week or so had passed. Erik kept his distance. As a precaution that he not lose his resolve, he did not visit her dressing room. He watched her rehearsals from box five, silently followed her between the halls, and watched her leave the opera every night. Erik thought it strange that she did not sleep in her dressing room lately. The weather had been colder though, so he summed it up that she was simply going home where it was better heated than her dressing room.

She acted so strangely. She did not seem to be missing their lessons. He finally returned to her dressing room one day and saw her there, relaxing before her next dance rehearsal, reading a book.

"Christine," he whispered softly.

Christine's eyes shot up from the page towards the mirror. She seemed very anxious.

"Christine, I'm sorry for my absence being so long. I see that you have kept you end of the bargain and have not been around the boy," he said.

Christine slowly put her book down and stood, facing her reflection.

"Erik?" she asked. "I've missed you."

"It's alright Christine, I'm here now," Erik said as he turned the mechanism to open the mirror. It would not turn under his hand. He tried several more times but it would not open.

"I'm sorry my dear, it would seem that our lesson must be delayed. The mirror will not open. I shall have to fix it. Shall we continue your lesson tomorrow then?"

Christine nodded slowly and turned to leave, shaking her head as she shut the door behind her. A sad tear slipped down her cheek and she moved to wipe it away.

Erik was obviously frustrated at a technical setback. Perhaps the moisture coming up from the cellars had rusted the hinge in the pivot. He would have to find the necessary tools to adjust it from the opera's supplies.

The next day, Erik watched Christine's rehearsal from the catwalks above the stage, being very careful not to be seen. When he saw several of the young ballerinas mocking Christine from the wings as she was singing, Erik felt it necessary to teach them a lesson. He narrowly missed hitting them with the sandbag he untied.

The girls shrieked and scattered, pushing against one other, "It's the Phantom! He's here! The Phantom dropped it!" they screamed.

Christine came over to see what had happened. "You silly girls, it just came untied. It's not the opera ghost!" she declared. When they paid her no more attention, her eyes shifted upwards, searching for him in the darkness. "Erik, are you there?" she whispered. He did not reveal himself to her.

Naturally, the rehearsal was cut short, due to the inability of Mme. Giry to calm the girls down. Erik heard Christine speaking to Meg telling her that she was not feeling well and was going to leave early. Erik was outraged. It had been far too long since her last lesson and she was going to skip today's as well? Erik waited for her to appear through the front doors of the opera, after she went to change in her room. She entered a cab that was waiting for her. Erik followed her. She would pay this time for her lack of obedience.

Erik's mouth dropped open when he saw where Christine's cab had led him. It stopped outside the Chagny residence. He watched her step out and walk up the front path to the door, opening it with a key. The driver of her cab simply went around to the back. How could he have not noticed that it was the Vicomte's private hansom?

Erik slipped in through an open window, quietly following her upstairs. How dare she! It became quite obvious to him that she was more than quite welcome in the boy's house and had been for some time. How long had she deceived him? Erik's heart quaked with jealousy.

Christine entered the bedroom quietly, and sank down into a chair by the fireplace, seemingly exhausted. Erik silently slid into the room, closing the door behind him with a soft click that made Christine jump out of her chair.

"Ah, there you are, Christine," he said menacingly. "I suppose you will have a good string of excuses for missing your lesson again, and for this," he gestured towards the walls and floors of the house. "No doubt you couldn't resist the young Vicomte's charm, even against my will.

Christine withered down to the floor in a heap of skirts and petticoats. Her face drained of color and yet again, she tried to speak, but could not find her voice.

"You are mine, Christine!" Erik roared. "You have no right to deceive me like this!"

Christine cowered, her head in her arms, shaking badly. "You cannot be here. You cannot!" she shook her head as she sobbed.

"Oh, but I am here! Did you think that I wouldn't find out about you sneaking around behind my back? Are you afraid that your precious love will enter the room right now and find me here, that I may kill him? Oh you should be afraid! You should fear very much for your precious Vicomte, but mostly you should fear for yourself! Erik does not like to be betrayed!" he screamed at her in a horrible voice that shook the walls.

"Oh, Erik, please go away and leave me alone," she begged. "Please, I beg you. I'm happy here!"

Erik stood there stunned. "And were you not happy with me? Do you not enjoy your time with me? Do you mean to say you are ungrateful of your lessons and that you do not wish to continue them?"

Christine lifted her head slowly but did not look at him. "I cannot take lessons from you anymore Erik. Those days are done."

"And why, pray tell?" Erik said, aghast.

"Because, Raoul is my husband."

The words from her mouth stunned him. He felt icy and numb with cold from inside.

His dry throat scratched out his reply, "And for how long have you been married?" He could not dare to think how long she had truly been deceiving him. Only now did he notice the gold wedding band on her finger. The band that was not the one he had given her.

"For some time now, Erik. Pleaseā€¦ Just leave me. I'm happy here. Please don't come here anymore. Please leave," she whispered.

Erik could not think of anything to say. He barely felt his head nod to her and he turned to leave. He did not care if he was seen or not.

After what seemed like forever of wandering through the lonely streets, he made his way back to the Opera house; to his home.

His hand was a dead weight as it lifted the key into the lock and turned it.

He entered the darkened room, not caring to light a match. He found the edge of his favorite sitting chair in the darkness quite easily. As he sat in it, he let out a bloodcurdling scream that was heard throughout the entire opera, as he sat on the remains of his own decayed body.