Chapter 19

Inside the mind of a Genius

She brought this on herself. I must keep telling myself this. She must learn that I am not whimsical, or lover material. She is too young to understand that if she decides to stay with me, she will be mine forever.

Even in purgatory.

All my adult life has been spent reading books on women and their emotional habits. Dreaming of one day possessing and yearning for a woman as much as she desires myself. I can see lust in her eyes, but there is no love. Just as Christine had lust in her eyes, it was empty of love. I am surprised she loves her husband. Ah, I have wandered back to her. Emma was right in that aspect of our argument; she is a child. Is Emma a child? Sure she may act young but what is her true age?

The bank of the lake came into view and my nerves began to twitch with anxiety. Truth be told it has been awhile since I have done anything like this. But the phrase is quite correct; old habits die hard. Actually, old habits never truly die, merely dwell under the skin until the chance of emission. How long has it been? A year? Five years? Ten years? Time has no meaning to me anymore, it has been that way for twenty-five years now. It is sad when one has been so out of life that he can not even recall his age.

The sand sunk beneath my weight as I climbed out of the boat. I dragged her along, trying desperately to keep myself in rage. This is an act that compassion must be pushed down below my heart. I could feel her rapid pulse between my finger tips, her blood swarming around in frenzy. Pure and innocent, just as Christine was. If she ever learned to love me, the instant our bodies would meet, her innocent blood would turn to poison, the shine in her eyes fog over until there was nothing left but a stalking corpse, a dying, informal bride. Maybe this wasn't the way to make her realize, maybe I should approach this matter more serenely. Perhaps, for once listen to Antoinette. She has been there from the beginning. My mind hardly collected I stopped our unending travel up. Emma rammed into me, her chin slamming into my back. It is now or never.

Her eyes searched mine for any form of emotion, digging deep into the pit of my mind to find any hidden piece of love. My eyes shifted away from the prying, and my feet carried us further up to the unexpected world. When we emerged from the tunnels, it was just as dark. The hallways were empty, only the dust and mold lingering. But deep inside the maze of dorms, I heard movement. With the girl trailing just behind me, I pulled her along more roughly than before, without a second thought. I didn't have to be mad at her to do this. There was too many layers of torment built up. It could wrap the world in a blanket of hate two times over.

We turned a few more hallways, until we reached a passage with faint light coming from it. I pulled Emma in front of me, covering my hand over her mouth to muffle her loud breathing. She began to fight against me, naturally when she realized what I was going to do. Peering over the end of the hall, there were three men, construction workers, still trying to repair damage from the fire. A surge of proudness swelled in my chest, finally something I've wanted actually came to. I slunk back into the enveloping darkness with the girl still tangled in my arms. I could smell the blend of eucalyptus and rose buds in her hair. My eyes closed, and for the third time, the thought of future regret tugged at my brain. At the climax of my plan, my plight, I am beginning to doubt this will help us at all. But she must see me, she must know all angles of me.

Breathing into her ear, I told her to be silent or it will cost me my life. My hand unraveled from her mouth, the warmth clinging to my fingers like a disease. Just as my foot stepped out from our hideaway, her arms encompassed my abdomen and forced me back. She hugged my chest, her arms embracing my whole self. Even when I tried to escape, she was still there never wanting to let go.

" You don't need to prove anything to me, Erik. I know you could kill someone. But that person is not who you are anymore. I know this, because I've witnessed this first hand. You saved me, taught me about life and true love. Don't end someone's life for the sake of me. It will only rip this to shreds whether you believe it will or not." She tried to persuade me, her hand tapping where a heart would be.

There is no heart there, only ice frozen solid and cold. A heart that refrains from hot lust and love, too afraid it will ruin it's stability. From what I have learned, love ruins you. But as I stood there, ready to kill a man who probably has a history, a wife, children of his own, Emma still clung to me, having faith in me, a monster. The warmth of her love began to seep into my skin, my blood began to boil with feeling. . .Feverishly, I began to scrape her hands off me. My heart was melting and soon the chance to show her would be gone, perished in a puddle of melted water.

I pushed her down to the ground, with a dull thud and at that exact moment, a construction worker was singled out, his co-workers off to sleep. I watched him do his work, covering for his friends who left him there with much more work than he could handle. His hands were cracked and blistered, his back arched from many years of slouching and his hair began to grow white. My feet were frozen to the ground, unable to free themselves. My eyes were locked onto the gold band on his finger, the gleam of kindness in his eyes. It was as if I was fascinated with him. My mind screamed at me helplessly, scolding me for my softness. It tried to make me jealous, which in a way only made me keep watching. Finally after at least a half an hour, the man packed his things and left. As he left, a cracked and withered picture fell from his pocket. It was of his three children, now grown with a life of their own.

As he disappeared around the corner, I was finally released by whatever held me back from my dirty deed. So that was how people felt when I gave them an order with my voice. It was horrible.

Anger fumed inside me, like bread rising in an oven. The heat of it suffocated me, choking my grasp on reality. What have I turned in to!? I felt my fingers coil into tight fists at my sides and I began to pace like a caged animal. I turned to the wall, tears streaming down my already sodden face and perforated the wall several times with my demon hands. This girl had changed me, my own mind blind to her subliminal healing. The Phantom of the Opera has been torn to pieces by a beautiful, smart, lovely girl who would love him. He is no longer able to kill at will, unable to give a second glance to his victim before wiping them off the surface of the world.

My knees gave way, and my eyes opened up. My hands cradled my head, the truth streaming in, very unwelcome but unstoppable. Emma was right, I had changed whether I liked it or not.

X X X

Inside her head.

I sat on the ground, my heart too sore and my body too stiff to even try to fight him. I attempted to conquer this fever with love. It had failed miserably, what else was I expecting; a miracle!? Miracles are for God, not someone who was born in New York. It was obvious I couldn't stop him, it would mean the end of his life. I would have to spare his life for another's. I began to cry when he stepped out of the shadow. They were silent and unending, the type that make your head spin with pain. But as I opened my eyes, he was still standing their, staring in awe at something. At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me from the tears, but he was still there. I stared at his figure, staring at something that obviously shocked him.

An eternity passed until he collapsed to the ground, in a heap. I crawled over to him, and cradled his head in my arms, coaxing him like a mother would to an upset child. He rocked back and forth, his pain too fierce to stand still. He finally realized what I was telling him, finally realized that he can be that person as well. He spared a mans life, and now he is feeling all the effects. I forced him to his feet, both of us staggering under the pressure of our weight. He pulled himself together, slowly as we walked down the hallway. We walked in a respectful silence.

I wondered what my life would be like right now if I had never met Erik, never met Laramie or found that ring. How I would end up? If I would still be that child stuck in an adults body. If I would still be with my aunt and uncle. Would I have a job? What would my love life be like? Would I know what love means? Would I know how to love a broken soul? Would I even be alive, or would I commit suicide?

I clasped his hand in mine, he too tired to fight my hold. And did I feel a little pressure on his part, did he respond with a light squeeze? Once I saw he was quite sane, I stopped him. He looked at me confused and scared at the same time.

" You have changed."

" Do not think that. Perhaps I have just reached the brink of sanity. It will pass over, so do not expect this to last. And I want to let you know, you can still stay with me if you wish. I don't think I can live without you anymore Emma."

My heart felt like it filled with helium as his words dissolved in the air. I could tell he wasn't in love with me completely. But I knew he had some feelings for me, and that was enough for me to live off of, for now.