This was written for the second PFN morbdity writing contest. It only got 17th place, BUT it did win the award for "Darkest story!"
Anyway, it's meant to be a more believable take on just how things would go if a woman in your typical Mary-Sue situation happened to find her way down to Erik and under only what extreme circumstances he might actually manage to realistically allow them to meet.


The Victim

The girl sobbed hysterically as, with violent splashes of the chilling waters of the underground lake, she frantically washed herself out between her legs. Her wretched moans were swallowed in the stagnant air and no one heeded her torment, her agony. No one cared. But she did not know this, and she was certain she had been followed. He would find her there. Her attacker, who had smelt of vomit and urine. Who reeked of sadistic filth. That odor would not leave her nostrils, the fuses of her brain, no matter how much of the brackish water she pelted into her own face, just as that shredding fire between her legs would not stop burning in the cruel cesspool of a lake that ought to have been numbing in its iciness.

The cellars were filled with groans of their own—terrifying noises that grated across her frayed nerves and pricked with needles at her bloodshot eyes. She was certain he would find her. She was certain he would take her again by the hair and throw her to the ground. Stomp upon her with his boots, caked in filth. Grind her temple into the stone floors as he rained curses upon her. She had not been good. She had been disobedient. Very disobedient and very, very naughty. It had only been her first day. How could she have known.

Her tattered skirts floated about her like dead dogs as she struggled through the waist-deep waters. She could not swim. She did not have the strength. But she would not need to. There was another ledge not too far away, along the side. She would pull herself up there and disappear into the darkness. She would disappear from her fear and from her shame. She was afraid of the dark, but that did not matter anymore.

Had she a knife, she would have cut herself apart in pieces and thrown each infected chunk of flesh over the ledge and into the black water. She would have wiped the knife clean on her skirts and let the blood mix with blood. She would have driven it up inside of herself and twisted it until she was soaked in sticky, salty warmth.

She kept a hand at the wall as she staggered through the pitch dark corridor that had held open its jagged, dripping mouth for her, and the rough stones chewed uneven furrows into her tender flesh. Cobweb after cobweb smacked against her face, and she screamed when she spiders began to crawl down her neck and under her collar. She screamed and ran. She ran and ran straight into a wall.

Bright lights flashed. Blood red lights. And then it was darker than it had been before. She gritted her teeth against the thick, slow warmth that flowed across her tongue and she could not breathe as she choked on her own green fluids.

With a great sob, she purged her mouth of all she could, and she distinctly felt that that included at least one of her teeth. She stumbled on her knees and her sliced and oozing hand fell into that which she had just excreted. The searing of bile that still tore her throat seeped into those wounds, and with a howl of anguish, she tumbled away. She could not stand, but she could crawl, and it was on her shredded hands and knees that she came to the end of her corridor, back into the dim light, and at a dead end with the festering waters of the lake.

At the edge, she plunged her hands into the water, her shower of tears quickly joining them. The long and matted locks of her dirty hair soiled her vision, but she did not mind. She did not want to see. She never wanted to see again. She never wanted to feel again. She wanted her mama. She was only nineteen.

She curled up against the coarse wall at the ledge, in the corner between absolute darkness and absolute nothing. Her scratched and splintered fingers shakingly tried to pluck away filmy clumps of cobwebs that clung to her lips, were suctioned into her nose, and stuck to the clammy flesh of her breast. She thought her tears might wash away the dust and the grime, but with each salty drop, the filth only stuck more to her like paste, like lacquer. Her hair had become tangled in the crags of the stones, and each turn of her head exploded sharp, black fireworks in her scalp.

She would submerge herself. She would sink herself like an unwanted newborn child is drowned with stone weights in the river. She would be cleansed and she would be freed. If only she were not a Catholic. She would sob herself into oblivion then. She was lost and she was weak, and waif that she was, she would easily fade away into nothingness by this haunted lake.

Haunted indeed. For even amid those guttural sobs that continued to wrack her battered frame, she could not ignore the sound of that voice. The voice that rose up from the water, thick as tar, and chilled the very marrow of her bones.

It was there and then it was gone, and her ears rang with the shrillest of echoes. She pulled herself back to her knees and saw that the blood had already pooled anew in her palms and she returned them both once more to the lake of ink.

Immediately the voice came again and she gasped back a choked cry. She could not move. And then the icy fingers of the depths clutched at her forearms, tangled in her hair, and swiftly snatched her down headlong into the blackness. She screamed. She could sustain no more.

When she awoke, for she did awake much to her bewildered surprise, she found herself in a drawing room lit by nothing but an angry fire in the hearth before her. Someone was leaning over her and she twisted in sudden shock, but the shape withdrew and stood, back to the fire, which cast perfect shadow over his face.

She tried to scream, but she could not, and so she sobbed instead as she pushed herself up with weak limbs and scrambled back, realizing as she looked frantically about her that she had been deposited on a floor rug.

The man before her spoke, his tone clipped and annoyed. "Well, I wasn't about to put you on the couch to leave water stains on the leather. It's bad enough that you are soiling the carpet."

"Leave me alone!" she sobbed and she tried to stand unsuccessfully.

He shook his head. "Now is that any way to welcome my hospitality."

She crumpled into another heap, throwing her arms over her aching head where she wept into the tatters of her skirts.

He waited for her to calm, but very soon grew impatient, and so he spoke again. "What were you doing in my lake?"

His voice made her jump, and her hands found the couch. She used its bearing to pull herself finally to her feet.

"Who are you?" she stammered. "What do you want from me?"

"Answer the question," he said stonily.

"I…I was fleeing!" she choked.

"Fleeing what?"

"Oh!" And her hysterics resumed once more.

"Silence!" he roared.

She gasped, but her sobs caught in her throat and she obeyed, trembling in fear.

"I think I deserve an explanation." The fire seemed to blaze a little more fiercely behind him. "After all…"

"Did you rescue me?" she asked in all timidity, suddenly understanding.

"If by rescue you mean spare your life, then yes," he snapped. "For the time being."

"I don't want to be spared," she moaned. But she was no longer in fear, simply in agony.

He stepped towards her, away from the fire, and the shadows lifted slightly from his features.

"Who are you?" he seemed to scowl.

"Leave me alone!" She stumbled back against the couch.

"I told you not to get the leather wet!"

She jumped away and buried her face in her hands. "Please!"

He folded his arms, obviously more than irritated. "I don't want or intend to touch you. But if you do not speak quickly, my temper will grow short."

She peeked out between her fingers and saw a door. One swift glance back at him, and then she bolted.

He caught her before she even managed to put a hand on the doorknob. She screamed and rounded on him at once, scratching and kicking and hissing in the instinct of terror. He pushed her away and she collided with the wall, immediately losing her breath. She sank to the floor.

"Get up," he growled.

She heaved so violently that she did not even hear him.

"Quiet!" he bellowed.

She screamed again. Her eyes shot up and then she saw his face, the death mask of rage. A rotted skull deader than any corpse's except for the two eyes of hell's fire that devoured her soul. She screamed and she screamed and she screamed.

"Silence!"

She howled. She shrieked. The heels of her boots shot out at his shins, and when he retreated, she flew to her feet and clawed at the door like a mad beast until she felt his fingers in her hair, yanking her from it.

He pulled her back to him and caught her by the throat in an iron grip of a single hand, for his fingers were longer than death's themselves.

She gagged for want of air and closed her eyes against the decomposed face of snarled half-lips over gritted teeth and a brow that angled more sinisterly than any villain's.

"Look at me!" His words sought to thrust her away, a gale force of putrid fright. "This is the face of your rescuer! This is the face that pulled you out of the water and gave you life again! I have taken you into my home! Show some appreciation! Show some respect! Stop screaming!"

Her mouth fell open, but she could not speak; his grip on her throat was too tight. She was feeling lightheaded. Her eyelids fluttered spastically.

He dropped her onto the floor and she curled into a heap of terror.

"I daresay I do not miss the world of the living if this is how damsels regularly repay their heroes," he said with abrupt cynical composure.

"Demon…" she barely managed to breathe. "Monster… Devil…"

"Yes, yes, yes," he snapped. "No good deed goes unpunished."

He glowered down at her for several long minutes while she caught her breath, and then extended a hand to her so that she might return to her feet.

She shrank back from his hand and it immediately curled into a fist.

"Stay on the floor in your own filth then." He turned and stalked back to the hellhole of a fireplace.

She watched his every move, too afraid to take her eyes from him for even a moment—he moved so rapidly!

"I suppose you find me much more bearable to observe from behind," he quipped without so much as a glance to her.

She looked away quickly then, but only for a moment. How had he known! The door handle helped her to stand, but she did not move yet to turn it this time. Her eyes darted about the room for another possible escape. There were two more doors, but something told her that the one against which her back pressed so violently was the one that would set her free.

He moved and her gazed snapped back to him.

"You asked who I am," he said evenly, and she could not tell if he was mocking her. "If I tell you who I am, will you tell me who you are?"

She shook her head with enough violence to spatter droplets into the dark air. "Stop!" she shrieked in the hoarseness that was left of her voice. "Let me go!"

"Oh, child." He was looking at her again with that carcass face, and he laughed with sudden hideousness at a thought she could not comprehend. "I am, above all things, a gentleman, and I would be most obliged. But you are blocking the door."

So she had been right! She turned the knob of that door—the door to set her free—and pushed! But she only tumbled into a room that, even though better lit, was so much darker than the one she left. Faces of death encircled her, cackled at her, deafened her. A coffin waited for her, open and beckoning, smiling with its lolling red satin tongue. Blood rained from the vaulted ceiling in cascades of brocade and the music of death shouted at her from the walls in written notes that played at once in screaming chords within her shattered brain.

That hideous laugh again. "But I did not say which door!" And his voice was so close behind her that she knew he was in the room too and all chance of escape had passed away. He had tricked her! She was trapped.

She whirled about with a screech to splinter glass and railed upon him every blow her pathetic frame could manage. He caught her by the wrists and pushed her back. She was up again at once and attacked with doubled force and his demon's sneer was set ablaze by those infernal hell eyes. He smacked her away brutally to evade her blows and she stumbled back, tripping over the steps of the coffin.

In sobs of pain she doubled over and cracked her own forehead against the polished black marble. Her wretched reflection almost met her in a luminosity like a sorcerer's mirror, but her vision blurred with red and she could not make it out. Fresh blood poured down her cheeks. It was warm and soft. Her hair clung to it and matted against her flesh. The acid saliva that spluttered from the corners of her broken lips mixed with the blood as it snaked its way down her flesh to her neck.

So warm! So soft! If she did it again, she thought, she would bleed enough to die. And so, with the last of her strength, she lifted her neck one final time, and then let her forehead fall for one final crack that at last released her into unconsciousness.

He grimaced in irritation at her melodramatic spectacle. Opera singers.

So she truly did not want to be spared. Well, then. It was back to the lake with her.

He scowled to himself as he watched her hair of gold and eyes of blue, which had just then opened again, too late, descend beneath the black of water as she sank, weighted by stones like an unwanted newborn child. Without her fear, without her twisted terror, in these last unfathomable moments before she would realize what had become of her, he suddenly found her really quite beautiful. A delicate and white angel of death. The crucifix on the long necklace she wore floated up and passed across her face just before she disappeared completely from view. A last rite. He did not know her name was Christine, so he would call her Angel when he sang her requiem. It did seem fitting that she be named after something Christian. It suited her.

He sighed irritably.

"I grow unnaturally ill of this reclusive life," he said to no one but himself. "It is high time I stopped keeping myself down here like an eternal hermit and began to pay attention to that Opera I have built above me."

Yes. He liked that idea. Perhaps he might even acquire a private box for performances. Yes. He would have to take a look and see which one afforded the best advantage. Yes. It would be an entirely new beginning.