AU, A Ghost Story
Summary: Sometimes the souls of the sad ones never leave. E/C tragedy. Suicide warning.
AN: And I don't want to hear that this is impossible, because there have been many cases reported of bodies lasting years without any visible signs of decay. Look it up. Also, blame that creepy anime "Memories" for this fic. Ironically, it is the song "Memories" sung by MC that I am listening to.
It was dark and dank when Beni, Phil, and Janie rappelled down into the nearly pitch black depths of their latest find: the ruins of an old opera house.
"Hey Janie! Flip on those search lights will ya?" Beni called up to his partners.
There was a moment of shuffling movement before an amazingly powerful white light suddenly blinded Beni.
"Jesus fucking Christ Janie!" Beni screamed.
"Ah stop your whinin'. You wanted light." A female voice called from above him. "Get off the rope, I'm comin' down."
Beni quickly unhooked his line and scuttled to the side as he heard the telltale whoosh of air that proclaimed a second person rappelling down the rope. Janie landed with a graceful thunk as her clunky booted feet made contact with the floor.
"Jesus Beni. What the hell d'you expect to find down here?" the short blonde woman asked.
Beni raised and eyebrow.
"Dunnae. We'll find out soon enough." he turned his face to the gaping maw above their heads. "Hey Phil! You comin' down?"
"Yeah. Gimme a sec."
A shadowy figure quickly descended the rope and a huge man crunched onto the ground next to them.
"Where the hell are we?" the tall man demanded, rubbing a half-gloved hand over his shaven scalp.
"Underneath the opera house." Beni explained.
"Beni," Janie piped up. "We're part-time archaeologists, what exactly d'you expect to find down here?"
Beni pulled out a heavy-duty flashlight and shone it over to his left. The light bounced off the surface of a lake.
"What's that doing down here?" he murmured, half to himself.
"Beni? Are you gonna answer me-"
"Let's get going." Beni said firmly.
He began walking towards the water. He stepped in and looked down at his feet.
"Did anyone think to bring down the inflatable?" he asked.
"Nope." Phil grunted.
"Looks like we're swimming then." Beni said resolutely.
He walked further into the icy water and soon was up to his chest in the lake. Janie and Phil looked at each other, shrugged, and then followed their fearless leader into the water.
"Lucky most of our instruments are water proof." Janie muttered.
"Yep." Phil said.
They swam a long ways; Janie felt her arms and legs burning from the exertion of swimming in icy water. Luckily, Beni's feet suddenly hit ground and he stood up.
Minutes later all three scavengers stood dripping icy water on a small beach. They were facing a stone wall.
"What now Beni?" Janie asked, somewhat bemused.
Beni was staring at the wall as if looking for something.
"The guide told me there would be a door here…" he muttered to himself. "Where is it?"
He began running his hands over the wall slowly, feeling for something.
"Where is it?" Beni again asked himself.
"Beni, that guy was ancient. He couldn't possibly have been-"
Very suddenly, part of the wall swung open and a doorway was reveled.
"After you." Beni said, a smug smile on his face.
"-sane…" Janie finished in amazement. "Beni that guy… he must have been-"
"Fine then. I'll go first." Beni said cheerfully, stepping through the dark doorway.
""Ben wait-!" Phil called, but it was too late, Beni disappeared into the blackness. There was a moment's tense pause before Beni's voice called out to them.
"It's alright. Come in. There's nothing to be afraid of." he called mockingly.
Phil growled but stalked in through the doorway. Janie, not wanting to be left by herself, scuttled in after her humungous partner. Swearing and muttering blasphemous phrases, Janie ran smack dab into Phil's muscular back.
"Slow down Janie." Phil murmured in a deep calming voice.
"Where's the idiot?"
She shone her flashlight at the room around her. It looked ancient, at least to her eyes. The wallpaper was deep red and peeling, the furniture covered in a thick layer of dust, the whole room smelled musty and old.
"Nice, huh?" Beni's voice chirped. "There's a pipe organ in the other room. And a piano and all sorts of other musical instruments. You should go take a look."
"I don't want to go take a look. We shouldn't even be here. That old guy was completely nutso!" Janie said, her voice almost a whine.
"Nuts, yes, but right. He said his old mentor had told him of this place… Think of how long ago that was!"
Phil spoke up then, his deep voice rumbling in his chest.
"Beni, I dunno about this. There's something… I dunno… wrong, here. Something sad happened here." the gentle giant murmured.
"Ya… Hey look! There's another door!" Beni said, as if he had not heard Phil's warning.
The excited historian/archaeologist/scavenger hurried to the door and turned the handle. It opened surprisingly easily for a door that had not been opened in many, many years.
The door creaked open, opening onto another pitch black room. The first thing that hit them all was the smell. Musty, like the rest of the strange little house was, but also sickly sweet; like old flowers kept too long.
"Beni-" Janie said, feeling scared.
Phil drew Janie into his arms, holding her against his chest protectively. Beni's flashlight beam slid slowly over the room. It hit the end of a four poster bed and slowly began to travel up. Janie knew what she was about to see when Beni's light illuminated an old fashioned man's black dress shoe. Janie let out a muffled scream as Beni's flashlight revealed two entwined corpses on the bed. The young woman buried her face in Phil's chest. It wasn't like her to go to pieces like this, but there was something different about this scene. She had seen dead bodies before, but this…
"Amazing…" Beni breathed in awe. "Look at the preservation!"
Indeed, the state the two bodies were in was shocking. Little to no decomposition had affected the female figure on the bed. Were it not for the slightly leathery look to her face, she would have looked like she was sleeping.
"This is amazing!" Beni exclaimed.
The female figure was dressed in an old fashioned white wedding dress and she had wrapped herself around the other body on the bed before dying. The other body on the bed was a man, but it appeared he had not withstood time quite so well. His face was almost skeletal looking; he lacked a discernable nose, his skin was yellowish, and his eyes deeply set in their sockets.
"Something… doesn't make sense here." Beni murmured, moving slowly closer.
Tentatively he reached the side of the bed and got a better look at the bodies. He was almost afraid they would suddenly reanimate and attack him, but on further inspection, he discovered they were both truly dead.
"Phil, would you look at this…" the archaeologist said.
Phil gently eased himself from Janie's panicked grip and walked softly to Beni's side.
"She's beautiful…" the tall man whispered, awestruck.
"Yes…" Beni was carefully opening drawers in the bedside table and going though the various objects inside. A hairbrush, a mirror, rose petals, newspaper clippings…
"Beni, lookit this." Janie called, her voice quavering slightly.
Beni tore himself away from his task and went to her side.
"What is it?"
"It's… a letter. I think it's a suicide note." Janie said, motioning to a fragile looking piece of paper.
Beni took out some equipment from his pack and set about trying to preserve the pages for posterity. He took several pictures of the letter, then scanned it briefly.
"Beni… all of this stuff… It's amazingly well preserved. This stuff must be hundreds of years old… At least two…" Phil said.
"Old Erik was a sly devil." Beni murmured, half to himself.
"Erik?" Janie frowned.
"That's his name." Beni said, nodding to the man on the bed.
"How do you-"
"Long story. Tell you later. Ok. We can move this page now. Carefully. I don't want it to disintegrate."
They successfully moved each page of the letter into bulletproof fiberglass containers that pressed the pages flat between two sheets of glass. Beni began to read aloud the elegant copperplate script that flowed across the pages.
My name is Christine Daaé. I doubt anyone will ever read this. I doubt anyone will ever find me. And I don't want them to. I am happy now. I am home, with my Erik. My poor unhappy Erik, who knew nothing of love. Who knew nothing until I taught him. If anyone does find me, and it is in the distant future. I shall probably be quite… ugly looking. Erik, on the other hand, will probably look the same. You see, whoever you are, Erik was born with the face of a corpse. He was born this way and paid throughout his whole life for something he could not control. It drove him to madness. I drove him to madness.
I want you to know, whoever you are, that I do love Erik. Even if I am dead, I love Erik. You might think these are the ravings of a madwoman, perhaps they are, but I must tell you, I had the opportunity to live life as a noblewoman. To marry my dear friend Raoul, the Vicomte DeChagny. Erik let me go. He gave me away and told me to marry Raoul, but I returned to Erik. My Angel of Music. I knew, shortly after Raoul started making the arrangements for our wedding that I could not leave my Angel.
He's leaving me now. He's been ever so quiet for a long time. It worries me. I don't want him to leave. When I returned, the Persian was here. He is Erik's only friend in the world. Or so he says. The Daroga told me Erik was dying, that I should not have come back. He said I should have left Erik to die in peace. I told him that if Erik dies, I shall die as well. And it is the truth. When I entered my bedroom, I found Erik on my bed, his mask forgotten on the dresser across the room. When he saw I was there, he tried to get up, to hide his poor ravaged face from me. I drew away his long fingered hands from his face and looked into his eyes. They pleaded with me, for what, I cannot be certain. I remember kissing away his tears, then kissing his cold lips and trying to bring warmth to him.
He was so childlike in his wonder of me… We lay in each other's arms for hours, comforted and sated. But a lady shouldn't speak of such things. It is unbecoming, though I have little to hide from you, dear stranger, whoever you are. I shall go on with my tale, for I have more to tell you.
Beni paused. There was an ink splotch after that. As if she had been prepared to write something but something had happened to cause her to look away. It went on, this time the letters were slightly splotchy, as if the paper had been hit by water. Or tears…
Erik has just died.
Janie let out a sob, again turning her face into Phil's chest. Beni felt a trickle of moisture snake down his cheek, he wiped it away quickly and continued reading.
He has gone now. I am alone now, with my poor Angel's body. M Khan left a while ago and took Ayesha with him. That cat is the most incorrigible beast…
Beni could see the young woman, laughing softly through her tears as she wrote her last words down on the paper he was reading.
Erik died in my arms. I begged him to stay and God! How he tried! He fought to stay with me but could not. His pained breathing and muffled sobs echo in my ears as I write this. His last choked words to me were of love. He begged me to return to the surface, to the light, but as long as he is in my heart, I cannot leave. I told him what I planned to do once he died, he pleaded with me then to return to Raoul. I cannot. I cannot return to that life. I want to be with the one I love.
I have the means of my escape here. A simple knife, but very sharp. Catholicism tells us suicide is a crime against God, but in this case, I think even God would allow it. I shall slit my wrists and go to sleep beside my dark Angel of Music. We shall be happy. Like those early days before I betrayed him, when we would play music or sing together. When he would tentatively hold me in those bony arms. We shall be happy.
Angel in Heaven blest, my soul longs with thee to rest.
The room was deathly silent. Janie's shoulders shook with quiet sobs. Beni's own face was wet with tears. Phil was silent as the grave as he surveyed the scene. Unnatural. The whole thing was unnatural.
"We should go." Phil murmured quietly.
Beni didn't seem to hear him, instead almost floating to the bedside and examining the bodies once more. He touched the leathery flesh of Christine's wrists and drew back his hand as if electrocuted.
"She did it… She slit her wrists…"
Looking down at the slightly yellowed dress shirt worn by the Phantom, he could now make out the brown stains that were dried blood. The blood covered the Phantom's shirt and had soaked into the bedclothes next to them.
"We need to leave." Phil repeated.
Only then… can you belong to me…
A voice, sung almost too softly to hear, floated on the musty air.
The voice, soft but masculine, entreated them.
Leave us in peace…
This voice was soft as well, but feminine.
The two ghostly voices said in melodic unison.
"Let's go." Beni said finally, the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end and an odd sort of threatening electricity seemed to crackle about them.
Phil and Janie needed no further encouragement, turning tail and fleeing from the room. Beni was left alone with the two bodies. He bit his lip as he stared at them one last time. He set the glass-encased letter back down on the dresser and backed out of the bedroom, shutting the heavy door. It clicked loudly, then the deadbolt slid into place, though he had not touched it.
He saw Phil and Janie standing on the rotting dock, staring in awe at a small wooden boat that had appeared from nowhere. Phil turned when he heard Beni's footsteps on the decaying boards. The two men exchanged wary glances before Phil stepped cautiously into the little craft. The boat swayed under his weight but appeared sound. He held out his arms to Janie, who got into the boat as well, curling her body inward. The air had become even icier as Beni took on last look at the house beyond the lake. Phil called out to him to hurry up, shaking Beni from his sad reverie.
"Let's go home." Beni said calmly as he got into the boat.
Phil picked up a pole that had lain inside the boat, put it in the water, and began steering the craft across the water. About halfway across the black lake, there was a tremendous crash. Beni nearly leapt from the boat as he turned to see what had happened. The house beyond the lake now lay beneath several tons of rock and rubble. The stone walls around it had collapsed, burying it to become Erik and Christine's eternal tomb. Beni felt the tears once more trickling down his cheeks.
"No one will lever be able to part them now…"
"That's all he wanted? Wasn't it?" Janie suddenly spoke up. "To be with her."
"We shouldn't ever tell anyone what happened here." Phil said firmly.
Beni looked back at the receding shoreline sending a silent prayer up to whoever was listening.
Rest in peace Erik and Christine…
I hope you liked it. I know it's kinda creepy and angst ridden and I haven't quite figured out the whole ghosty thing… Reviews please?