Characters are property of Gaston Leroux. I merely manipulate them for my own enjoyment.

Behind Closed Doors

As you walk down the street, you may find that you can't often look at a person and know them. Perhaps you can look at two people holding hands and be able to say that they love each other. You may be able to look at a woman with a couple of small children and say that she is a mother. But you cannot look them in the face and say who they are.

Everyone in this world wears a painted face. It is fixed to a mood, to an expectation, to whatever it is that they use to get through another day in their grey lives. And then they go home and close their doors and then, maybe, the true person emerges.

The woman walked down the street and paused to let the mother and children past. One child looked at her with large grey-blue eyes before hurrying onwards, begging her mother for sweets which were refused. The woman continued on her way. A group of teenagers, some clutching cigarettes and wearing caps pulled low over their faces strolled past, talking and laughing raucously. The woman didn't look at them.

It began to rain, the sky overcast with grey clouds and dark dots appearing on the cold concrete beneath her feet. The woman carried on towards her destination, taking a shortcut through the park. It was deserted as the rain grew heavier. The wind was chill and shot through her expensive coat. She tightened her grip on the bag in her hand, not wanting to get the contents wet.

The wind threw back her hood and a flood of blonde curls flew free. The woman sighed and tried to pull her hood back up but the wind was too strong. She kept walking swiftly, her hair and face becoming soaked in the pouring rain. It was not an unpleasant sensation, but refreshing. She turned her face up to the darkened sky, smiling sweetly at the freedom that came with the washing away of her painted face.

If you were to have walked past at that moment and seen her without her mask, you would have seen a young woman in her twenties, bright blonde hair and crystal blue eyes, a slim figure dressed in expensive clothes standing in the rain with a lifted face and delighted smile. You would have known then that she was not the cool, collected figure that she cut through in her everyday life. You would have known that that facade was nothing more than protection.

You would have known that she was only human.

She finally realised that she had been standing there for several minutes and was now soaked through. She began to walk hurriedly through the park, emerging through the gates on the far side and turning onto a road. After walking for nearly fifteen minutes she reached a pair of wrought irons gates. They were open and she walked up the luxuriously wide driveway towards the large and beautiful house at the end. Warm light spilled from the windows, cutting a cosy image of what lay inside.

She reached the front door and took out a set of keys. After selecting the correct piece, she slid it into the lock and turned, stepping through the open door and closing out the cold, wet world outside. She removed her coat and hung it up, placing her bag on a nearby table. A door opened and she turned to see a middle-aged man in smart dress emerging from the room. He bowed slightly to her.

"Mrs de Chagny. Would you care for anything?"

"Some tea, please. I'll take it in the living room."

"Of course."

"Is my husband back yet?" She asked, removing her shoes and stepping into a pair of dry slippers.

"In the study, Mrs de Chagny."

"Thank you, Matthews." She stepped across to the dark wooden door of the study and opened it without knocking as she went to greet Raoul.

To the world she was Mrs de Chagny.

Behind closed doors, she was Christine.

A/N: Another new story! This one is, hopefully, going to be very different from my others. For a start, it's going to be primarily Leroux based. I also want to write something grittier and more realistic, and possibly darker as well. We'll see, eh? I know this prologue is insanely short, but please review anyway and tell me how I'm doing thus far. I'm always scared to start a new story!