Thank you all for the wonderful comments!
And now I present to you the alternate ending of my story (Echoes of the Past). It is a fantasy ending.
This is dedicated to all of you awesome readers on this site, and on the phantom of the opera site.
Long Live Phantom!
(The Horizon Reprise)
Christine opened her eyes, only to find that she was alone in the room. She had slept in her dress.
Christine had told Erik about everything, her encounter with Raoul, and his offer.
Christine looked around the room for a few moments, a yawn escaped her lips, before something caught her attention. The portrait that Erik had drawn of her, the night, when she had waited for him in her blue night gown, was placed by the wall!
Christine got out of bed, and walked towards the painting. She held the portrait so reverently, a bright smile graced her face, as she read the golden inscription at the bottom of the portrait: "Goddess of beauty, my angel, my Christine"
Christine sighed dreamily. "He must have saved it from the fire! I can't believe it! Oh Erik, how I love you" But where was he? Christine put the portrait back down where it had been placed, and walked out of the room, to find Erik.
"Good morning, Father." Christine greeted him curtly, as she entered the chapel
"Good morning, my child."
"Father, have you seen Erik?" Christine asked, and then continued hesitantly, "I can't seem to find him anywhere."
Father Thomas removed a letter from his pocket.
"He told me to give you this," he replied calmly.
Meg put her last dress in the suit case and closed it. She had packed all her things. A sigh escaped her lips as she sat down on her bed, still not believing all that had happened. Monsieurs Firmin and Andre had decided to sell the Opera House. Apparently, they had had enough of scandals and renovations to last them a lifetime.
Madame Giry and Meg were leaving the Opera house as well. Although little Meg didn't know it, Erik had given Madame Giry a large amount of money. They would be able to buy a good house, and keep themselves until Madame and Meg found other jobs, perhaps in another Opera house, because it was too dangerous for them to remain in the Opera Populaire any longer.
Erik did not want any harm to come to Madame or her daughter. He owed Antoinette so much. In many ways, she was still his friend, just as she had been when she had saved him from the gypsies, years ago.
Everything was changing so drastically and so quickly that Meg felt sad and overwhelmed all at the same time. She knew that she would miss this place. The Opera House held a part of her life that she would never forget. But she was excited and afraid of what lay in the unknown as well.
Opening the drawer of her dresser, there was still one thing unpacked - Erik's mask. When it had fallen from him in the cemetery after his duel with Pierre, Meg had found it.
"It appears that I am destined to be the one that always ends up with your mask… How ironic…"
Meg smiled, as she tucked the black mask in her handbag.
She looked at her room for one last time, as a tear rolled down her face.
"Goodbye," Meg whispered.
And she walked out of her room, carrying her suit case in her hand.
Madame had said goodbye to Monsieur Reyer, who had decided to retire as well. She also had said goodbye to Monsieurs Firmin and Andre. Carlotta had decided to go back to Spain. All her dreadful experiences here in Paris had caused her to hate France as a whole, and she and all her assistants were returning to Spain, where she would be the diva in one of its Opera houses.
Madame Giry looked at the Opera House one last time.
"I will miss it, too, Maman," Meg said knowingly.
Both women had to wipe tears from their eyes.
Yes, everything was changing.
"Goodbye," Madame Giry whispered, as she and her daughter got into the carriage.
"You know Maman not all change is bad. This may be the best thing that ever happened to us" Meg exclaimed, excited and scared of the future.
"Perhaps" Madame replied with a smile, as the Opera house went out of sight.
Pierre fiercely struck his desk with his hand as he roared, "What do you mean, they didn't find a body! He must be in the cemetery. I killed him! I know I killed him!"
Francois stood in silence and fright, as Pierre started to calm down and continued in disgust, "I should have buried that bastard with my own two hands."
Francois just looked at his master nervously. Pierre dismissed him with a wave of his hand.
Now standing alone, he hissed to himself, "Never mind. I will not rest until I find you, Erik, dead or alive, sooner or later."
"Well, it's going to have to be sooner, because there will be no later for you," a voice answered menacingly.
Pierre frantically looked all around the room.
"Who said that?" Pierre demanded.
The voice was coming directly from behind Pierre. He swiftly whirled around, only to be faced by a masked man with two blazing emerald eyes.
Pierre gasped at first. He moved a few steps away from the man he hated, and then he hissed, "Phantom!"
"Yes, Phantom," Erik hissed back.
Before Pierre had a chance to call out for help or to defend himself, Erik had wrapped his Punjab lasso around Pierre's neck. He snapped it. As the rope tightened on Pierre's neck, the blood came gushing out from the scar that Erik had given him in the cemetery. And Pierre fell just where his father had fallen.
Erik stood over Pierre's dead body for a few minutes, breathing slowly and deeply, with anguish, with satisfaction, and with guilt. Then, he looked at his bloodied hands for a few moments.
A tear rolled down his masked face, and fell beside Pierre's body.
"Now, you can rest," Erik whispered.
And with a twirl of his cape, Erik disappeared from that place, leaving another dead man on the floor beside a shattered family portrait.
"My Angel, My Rose
As I sit here writing this letter to you, words seem to fail me, Oh Christine, please forgive me. I realize at last what I must do. All my life, I have done what I wanted without thinking whether it was right or wrong. You see, I always had to fight to survive, and so I learned to be selfish. But you, Christine, you taught me the meaning of selfless love. You were the light in my darkness, you are the light in my darkness, and you always will be.
But oh, Christine, I have done things that I am not proud of, things that, were you to know, you would end up hating me. I know that you say that you love me unconditionally, but I have come to realize that I don't deserve your love.
I don't want my child to know me. I don't want this child to suffer because of me. I want my child to grow up in a warm and loving family, something that I never had, but always dreamed of. I know that I can never give him that. I am a wanted man after all. I must spend all my life hiding. The world will never accept me, Christine.
You are my home. You always will be, and I will always be with you. But you must go back to your home. You belong to the light.
You don't have to choose anymore, Christine. I can see the anguish and the torment in your eyes.
For once in my life, I am going to do the right thing. I am going to let you go. I told you once that we were the horizon. But oh, Christine, what I failed to mention was that the horizon's life is but an instant in time, a moment in space. And then the horizon dies.
I don't want my darkness to kill your light.
"No" Christine whispered
Tears streamed down her cheeks. Father Thomas entered, to find Christine crying and distraught.
"What is it my child?" He asked worriedly, as he brought a chair, and sat next to her.
"It's Erik, he left me. Now, how can I find him again? I love him. I choose him." Christine whispered in tears
Father Thomas sighed, lost in silent thought for a while, before he replied cautiously, a shadow of a smile appearing on his lips: "I think there is a way"
And the horizon smiles…
The night fell upon the city of Paris, a veil of silky darkness. A tall dark figure, dressed in an elegant black suit and a black cape, approached the church. Erik had returned to collect his things, since he had left his bags in the safekeeping of Father Thomas.
Every step that he took was slow and anguished, now. He was in pain…he knew that he had lost Christine forever…
And standing before the great door of the church, Erik took a deep breath, and walked into the sanctuary. His eyes were so misty with unshed tears that he could barely see in front of him. Here he was back at the place where he had vowed to love and cherish Christine forever, and yet now, he was alone again…always alone…
But as Erik entered the chapel, he stood dumbfounded at the sight that greeted his eyes. There were candles everywhere, casting their soft warm glow, like the light of distant angels, bringing hope into the darkness. White and Red rose petals covered the isle, like an exotic carpet, all the way down to the alter, where- Erik truly couldn't believe his eyes now- Christine stood with a smile on her face, waiting for him, with a bouquet of white and red roses in her hands.
Christine was wearing a beautiful white dress. Erik had never seen that dress before, but it took his breath away. Christine was wearing her mother's wedding gown. That dress was the only thing left to her from her mother.
Erik walked towards her almost in a trance like state. He was dazed with shock. And although Christine usually couldn't read his eyes, this time, she saw the disbelief in them so clearly.
Erik gazed down at her for a few more moments, until he was able to speak at last.
"W-what?" Erik stuttered from shock for the first time in his life, obviously annoyed with himself, he cleared his throat, and asked in a calm firm tone: "What are you doing here?"
Christine took his hands in hers and held them tightly, as she looked deeply into his eyes.
"I made my choice Erik. I choose you" She whispered ever so lovingly
Erik couldn't talk. A lump had started to rise in his throat. He could barely believe what was happening.
"But-" He finally managed to faintly protest, before Christine cut his sentence.
"Erik I don't care what you have done in your past, I care about who you are now. I love you, and that's all that matters." Christine confidently answered, beaming with joy.
She brought his hands up to her lips, and kissed them ever so reverently. Father Thomas, who was watching, cleared his throat, to get their attention. They both turned to face him. He had been waiting with a smile on his face.
"The bride wants to renew the wedding vows, what says the groom?" Father Thomas asked.
Erik looked at father Thomas, and then back at Christine.
"The groom says 'I do'" Erik whispered with the utmost of feeling, his voice was so mesmerizing when he uttered those words, that Christine went weak at the knees.
Father Thomas nodded in approval. But just as he was about to start with the ceremony, Christine stopped him.
"Wait!" Christine softly exclaimed.
Erik looked at her in surprise, and deep inside his aching soul, he was terrified that she might have changed her mind, that all this would be nothing but a dream, leaving him with more fatal wounds. Erik's heart stopped beating for an instant, his now expressionless face paled a little, although he tried to hide his anxiety.
Christine gently cupped his bare cheek, with her soft hand. Her hand then shifted to the cold half white mask that covered his deformed cheek. Erik just looked at her, blankly. And without any warning Christine removed Erik's mask. Erik was frozen to his spot, he couldn't move, he couldn't breathe. He just stood there, with his eyes tightly shut, preparing himself for the worst. But then her warm, loving hand caressed his deformed cheek.
Erik could breathe again, as her melodious voice whispered the most beautiful words he had ever heard.
"I love you Erik. I don't want there to be any masks between us anymore. The horizon doesn't die, Erik, it lives inside of us forever."
Erik opened his eyes, and looked back down at her, the tears brimming in his eyes, but he didn't allow them to fall. And with that they both turned back to father Thomas. Erik and Christine renewed their vows to love and to cherish one another… for as long as we both shall live.
And the horizon lives… forever and forever more…
(One year later)
Erik and Christine were in their dream house, the portrait that Erik drew of Christine, crowned their bedroom, an eternal tocken of an everlasting love… just like Christine had once dreamed.
"Oh he's adorable, what have you named him?" Meg exclaimed
The baby squeaked in delight. Both Meg and Christine laughed. Meg was engaged now, only her fiancée hadn't come with her, because he had urgent business to attend to. Meg even sometimes chuckled to herself at how much he apologized for not being able to make it to the gathering. He was a wonderful man.
"We have named him Christian Charles" Christine replied gleefully, as she held the baby ever so lovingly in her arms, so close to her heart.
"He's a gorgeous baby Mon Cherie" Madame replied. Madame had retired now. She was a ballet instructor no longer.
Christine beamed with pride. The baby looked just like his father, the way Erik would have looked like, where he not deformed on one side of his face. Christine was also relieved because Madame and Meg bore good news about Raoul. He was walking again, and he was getting married soon, to an aristocratic woman, who he had met and fallen in love with. Only this time, his parents approved of the union.
Suddenly everyone's chatter was cut short, as the maid entered the living room, and announced that lunch was ready. Erik took the baby from Christine's arms and carried him. Christine's heart fluttered in her chest, Erik and the baby looked so beautiful together. Erik placed little Christian in the baby carriage, that Erik had designed specially for him.
And sitting at the table, the baby carriage placed between his seat and Christine's, while the rest sat around the table. Erik raised his glass of wine, and announced: "I have a toast to make"
Everyone grew quiet, and all eyes were on Erik, as he cleared his throat and looked at his wife and son, and then back at his guests, no not guests but the rest of his family, from Madame Giry and Meg, who had received a letter from Erik and Christine, after Erik had found their new address in Paris, at Christine's request. Now, they were living in Rome as well. To Nadir, who was a natural tracker and had followed Erik and Christine to Rome, since he had no other friend but Erik. To father Thomas, who had been transferred to a new church in Rome, where Christine had met him in Mass. They were all there.
And Erik started.
"Sometimes, I still think that I am dreaming. Here's to an eternal horizon" Erik whispered, as he looked ever so lovingly at his wife and son.
"To an eternal horizon" everyone stated, as they raised their glasses.
It was Erik and Christine's one year anniversary.
And the horizon lives…and lives again…