Disclaimer: I of course own nothing but the fan fiction idea…oh how do I wish the Phantom belonged to me, but alas he does not!
Summary: Meg, compelled to search further for the Phantom, accidentally stumbles into his hidden passage, and in the process is locked in with him. What will this creature of light do when she must be forever caged, with this creature of the night?
Angel of Grey
Chapter one: The Darkness Enfolds Her
The white of the mask shone in the dieing candlelight, it's eternally vexed expression creating shadows that played along the creases. Meg ran her fingers along the smooth surface wondering. The mask was perfect, matte ceramic, still slightly warm from the face it had been on not long before. She got up, mask in hand, and sighed, fingering the red velvet of a drape as she thought. From what she knew of the Phantom (only rumors, fearful whispers, and speculations) he would never leave his mask. Why would he give up what was a part of him for so long? Perhaps he really was dead. Perhaps it was silly to be searching for him now. Everyone had been looking for an hour, and the general consensus was that he was dead, his body somewhere among the dark murky waters. Most of the people had left, feeling that if he was dead it wasn't worth looking for his body. Let him rot in the waters for an eternity, for all they cared. Only Meg and the police remained, and the police were getting ready to go.
Still, she couldn't help but think they were all missing something. She turned to go, but her foot slipped on the wet stone floor and she fell backward. Instead of hitting hard wall like she expected the drape behind her gave way and she tumbled down into darkness.
When she awoke, her head was pounding, and she was damp and cold. It was completely pitch black, not even a peek of light shone. She noted she still had the mask in her hand, despite her fall. She fumbled with the tie on her belt, and tied one end through the eye hole. Despite her situation, she felt she needed to keep it with her. Now…to try to stand.
Meg stumbled up and nearly fell back down when her head felt like it imploded. She squeezed her eyes shut as tears tried to well out of her eyes, and groped through the darkness until she found a wall to her right side. Steadying herself against the wall she slowly walked foreword, hoping to God that she was going in the right direction. After walking for what seemed like hours, but could have been minutes, she saw a slight flickering light in the tunnel ahead. Relief flooded through her and she quickened her pace. Surely it was the entrance, and she would be met by her mother and the policemen. They would wrap a blanket around her, hand her a hot drink, murmur comforts to her and everything would be as if this had not happened.
As the tunnel widened, the light strengthened…and her hopes died. There was a body of water under the high roof of a large cavern, and the source of light was a single torch, still burning brightly, thrown carelessly on the ground…obviously whoever had lit it was in such a hurry that they did not take the time to put it out. Or, she thought with a shiver, too far gone in the descent of madness to care. She squinted across the water, but it was too dark to see if there was anything more than water ahead. She turned back to the tunnel. She would have to go back up that way…it had to be the way back. She looked at the torch and moved towards it. It would be better to have some light guiding her way…
As she stepped forward her toe caught on something unseen, and she fell…her quick reflexes honed by constant ballet training saved her this time and she was able to curl into a ball, rolling downwards to the water's edge. She was able to stop before she plunged into the dark water, and winced as her ears were assailed with the a loud rumble reverberating off the cavern walls. She propped herself up just in time to see several large stones and smaller stones, too many to count, falling over the entrance, covering it completely. She looked up to see that it was a trap…the rocks has been set up above the door…and the trigger was a small, almost invisible string, now on the ground shining dully against the firelight. Meg picked up the torch and pinned it between two rocks so it would stay upright, and carefully climbed to the top of the rock pile…if she could get just enough of the top rocks loose, she could squeeze through…she was skinny enough that she wouldn't need a large opening. After working for a short time removing the smaller rocks, she found that the pile was thicker than she thought…and the rock she had to remove next was huge - and also imbedded within several other large rocks. She tried desperately to get purchase on the rock to pull it out, but it was in vain…it wouldn't budge. She climbed down, and her foot missed a step on the bottom. She fell, though not far, and landed on her butt. The pain in her rear compounded with the pounding of her head and her cold, numb limbs sent her over the edge.
"What did I do to deserve this!" She cried, tears flowing down her face, "To die here alone in the cold with no company but the ghost of a dead phantom!"
She sobbed, and kept on for a time…how long exactly, she didn't know. Soon she fell into an exhausted sleep.
"Meg, get up!"
Meg sat on the floor, crying. She had tried her very BEST to do the leap that her mother just taught her and the rest of the girls, but her foot slipped on the landing and she fell on her butt. All the girls had laughed at her, and her mother reproved them sharply, sending them away to run a lap around the first floor.
Receiveing no response, Madame Giry sighed and said in a softer tone
"Meg, get up please."
Meg slowly got up, her legs wobbling from the impact.
"I hate this! I've done this a million times and I can't do it! I just can't!" Meg cried, tears of frustration still streaming down her face.
Madame Giry kneeled down, lifted her daughter's chin with her finger and with a sharp look said,
"There is no such thing that you cannot do. Everything is possible, only some things are harder. If you keep up you will get better. If you try and fail, at least you tried…but if you give up now there is nothing. You must try, and try again!"
Meg wiped the tears from her eyes, and felt her determination return to her
"Yes, I won't give up mother!"
Meg slowly returned to consciousness. She sighed, and looked resolutely at the water.
"Come on Meg, you're better than this. What are you going to do, sit here and just waste away, or keep on trying?" she said to herself.
The entrance she went through couldn't be the only one. There could be one at the other water's end. She sighed and looked ahead. There were no ways around, she had no choice but to swim. She picked up the torch and blew on it softly, rekindling the small flame. She stuck the torch handle in her mouth and waded into the water. She inhaled sharply as the cold water touched her, and her damp pants clung to her legs. She wouldn't let the cold water stop her now though, and she waded deeper until the water was up to her chest. It leveled out there and she was able to continue to wade through the water. After not too long the water continued to deepen, and she had to awkwardly paddle to keep her head up. Her muscles were aching and cold, but she kept on. Her muscles were about to give out when finally her feet hit bottom again, and she stumbled onto dry ground. The impact with the shore made the torch tumble out of her mouth, and roll into the water. She cried out in dismay as the flame went out, but it was too late to save it. She was in the dark again. She crawled out of the water and drew her knees to her chest, rubbing her legs and arms, trying to get feeling back into them. They weren't completely numb…the water couldn't be any colder than 55 degrees…but prolonged exposure had let the cold seep into her very core, and it was getting harder to keep warm.
She looked up when she saw a flicker of light, and hope came to her again. It was enough to help her stand, and take a few wobbly steps towards the light source. A sound filled her ears, a haunting sound reverberating off the cave walls. She peeked around the cavern wall, and saw a large open space. There was a large bed to one side, and numerous crates stacked up on the other. On the wall straight ahead there was a carved out space and a fire-stove nestled in. A fire was going, and the light it created flickered off the walls and a lone figure sitting on the large rug between the bed and crates. His back was turned away from her, and he sang…his beautiful, dark, voice wavering, filled with sadness…
My Angel of Music has left me now
and forever more
Forsaken, I am a fallen Angel,
reduced to fancy and lore
Soon I will fade away
into the darkness…
Meg shivered, still freezing from the water, and getting colder by the minute. She was so exhausted that it was taking all her energy to stand, and her body was even having trouble finding the energy to just keep on shivering. The warmth that was emanating from the fire felt welcoming, but what could she do? He would probably kill her if she approached him. Then again, she might die if she kept on like she was. She wouldn't be able to find another way out in time…before her body just gave up from the cold and lack of nourishment. She took a step back, unsure of what to do, and some rocks loosed from under her feet and tumbled down into the chamber that held the Phantom. He leapt up, and turned to face her. That was the last thing she remembered before her body just gave up.
When she awoke, she was in a warm bed, covered in soft blankets. To her left side was a warm iron wrapped in a blanket…no doubt it was warmed in the fire and put it in the bed to heat it. There was a cup of steaming broth by her bed and no Phantom in sight. She propped herself up gently and winced slighty as her head throbbed dully, though not as badly as before. She took the cup up and sipped it cautiously…it was a simple, but hearty chicken broth. It warmed her insides, and made her feel just a little more human.
Only when she finished the broth did she start to wonder about her situation. What was she doing here? Why didn't the Phantom do away with her? Where was he, for that matter…and why…she finally noticed how the soft blankets felt against her skin…and her completely naked body. She blushed, and pulled them tighter around her. If she was naked, then he had undressed her. Perhaps…he had something more terrible in mind for her than death. She shivered, this time not from the cold.
She looked around the room and saw her cloths hanging near the fire. She hastily wrapped a blanket around herself, and walked over, pulling on the now dry and warm cloths quickly while staying hidden under the blanket. She noticed the mask, still tied to her belt. Why would he leave it on there? Wouldn't he want it back?
She threw the blanket back on the bed and walked to the exit of the room. She had to get out of here while she still could…
A dark shape seemed to come from nowhere, blocking her way out. In the dark of the cave, away from the fire, his face stayed in shadow, and his expression was indiscernible.
"Why have you come here?" He said, his voice neither angry, nor forceful…but firm. The kind of firm that preceded forcefulness…if he did not receive an answer.
"I-I didn't want to…I fell and I…"
"You foolish girl…do you expect me to believe that? What about that?" He said, indicating the mask on her belt.
"You came seeking a further prize, a piece of the glory that all those wretches after me sought as well…that fateful night." He said, his voice beginning to fill with venom. Fear welled up in Meg. How could she make him believe her?
"No…I slipped and fell into a curtain and I…"
"You are lying…who are you leading to me?" He said, his voice cold, getting colder with each word.
"No…I swear I didn't! I…I didn't want to come here, I don't want to be here now…I just want to go back up to where there is light, to my mom…" To her great dismay she began to cry. Dammit Meg! Now isn't the time for hysterics…She thought frantically to herself. She had to keep her wits about her if she was going to get out of here…
"LIAR!" He roared, and stalked up to her. He grabbed her arms and shook her.
"Tell me now, if you value your life, tell me the truth." He growled. Meg bit her lip and stared directly at him. His face was truly horribly scarred like the rumors said…but not nearly as bad as they made it out to be. She found she was able to keep a steady gaze with his eyes, and she was surprised to find indignant anger welling up in her. After all this, and now she was being accused of lying, when she was telling the truth…at the expense of her life!
"NO I AM NOT! And I refuse to believe the great Phantom of the Opera cannot see the difference between a lie and truth, if you're supposed to be so smart!" She spat. She had nothing to lose, if he killed her now at least she wouldn't go with tears in her eyes, but instead defiance.
He looked for a moment like he would strike her, then he let her go, and stalked back inside the room.
Meg sighed in frustration.
"I was searching like everyone else, yes; but I didn't want you to die…I was just curious. I slipped and fell into the hidden pathway that brought me here…I tried to find my way back but I went the wrong way, and the entrance to the outside collapsed because of your trap! So I crossed the lake hoping to find another way out…and instead I found you."
Meg finished and was silent. By now she was prepared for death. If it had to come, she wished he would hurry up. Sweat beaded on her brow…for whatever reason she was beginning to feel very hot, despite the cool damp air of the cave.
The Phantom was silent, contemplating. Then he seemed to calm, accepting her explanation.
"Perhaps that is so; but you can never see light again. I have no wish to kill you, I have never killed a woman and do not want to start. However, try to escape and I will be forced to."
The Phantom stalked over to the fire, and then went to the left side of it, pushing aside a curtain that covered the entrance to another room.
"You can stay in this room. I have enough extra blankets and pillows to make a sufficient bed, you should be comfortable. You are required to leave me alone, I do not want my solitude to be interrupted."
Meg tentatively stepped forward.
"…You won't kill me? Or do anything…..worse?" The implied question of rape hung in the air, and a cold rage once again came over the Phantom.
"I have more honor than that! How dare you imply…!" He growled.
"Well excuse me for wondering, because I just happened to be NAKED when I woke up!" Meg yelled back, inwardly regretting the words instantly. What was she doing, inciting a man to anger who had just told her he would let her live, but not to long ago was ready to let her die? She took a step back, catching her balance before she fell. She kept on getting hotter and hotter, and it was getting difficult to stand steady.
"If I didn't take those damp clothes off you, you would have died of hypothermia!" He said, in a quiet, but forceful voice.
Meg was shocked into silence.
"Nothing to say now? What were you saying about me not being so smart? Whereas YOU do not even know the least thing about your own body! You would have died in this cave if not for me, and you still might if you do not hold your tongue!" He finished. Meg wobbled forward, and the Phantom glared down at her.
Meg silently untied the mask from her belt, and handed it to him, looking directly into his eyes again.
"For my saving my life. Thank you." She said simply, and without another word, she stumbled into the room he had indicated, and collapsed on the makeshift bed.
So what do you all think? I won't continue this story unless I get reviews, so if you like it tell me!