It was spread across the headlines that day.
THE PHANTOM IS DEAD!!!
His limp body was found in his underground chambers, blood streaming from his wrists. A piece of parchment was clutched in his hands. It was addressed to the Vicomte de Chagny's wife, Christine Daae, his former obsession. She has requested this letter be printed in my latest work, for the entire world to hear of this tragic man's story. This is what it read:
I find these words are hard to pen to you. My life has always been a sensitive subject in my mind. It has taken much time to build the inner strength to talk about this, but I have managed to do so, and I will speak my last words to you through this simple piece of parchment. Yes, my dear, I am going to end my wretched life here. It is a useless waste without your warm presence in it.
I was born in England to a poor woman swathed in rags. It was freezing cold that morning, and if it had not been for a kindly tavern-keeper, I would most likely be dead today. She soon died, not of childbirth, but from sheer shock. My face has always been hideous, and always will be.
I stayed with the tavern-keeper and his wife until I was six. Even there, I was treated as an outcast. They forced me into a closet during work hours so I wouldn't wander out and frighten away the customers. My soul was as stubborn as a mule, and I accepted no help from anyone that week on the streets of Norwich. It was after a week that the circus people kidnapped me and renamed me the "Boy from Satan". My soul was destroyed even further in those long, dreadful years stuck in a cage with jeering faces and dirty fingers waggling at me through the bars.
Yet, luck came to me in Paris, France. A kindly girl from a visiting school managed to free me from my torturous life in the cage. Alas, that was also the day I first killed. She led me down to the deepest depths of The Parisian Opera House, to where the lagoons formed and no one dared to tread. I made a cozy little dwelling there, with the things I could steal from the vaults and the dressing rooms. The first thing I stole was a large organ. I remember first sitting at the keyboard and running my fingers along the smooth keys. I'd hear the playing from above, and soon I was able to mimic any melody ever played on an organ while I was there.
At night, I would sit on the shores of my home and listen to the operas being performed. I developed a fascination with singing and acting and performing. I trained my own voice to sound exactly like one of the famous tenors in the opera house, and he retired soon after. I constantly paced through my ever-growing beach and sang; songs I had heard from the operas, tuneless melodies, odd music I had created myself.
It came into my head that I should teach someone worthy to sing properly. I felt like I should pass this beautiful gift to whoever deserved it, for only the talented could wield it properly.
My first subject was a flighty and prosperous mezzo named Pandora. She was bright and bubbly, with a husky, yet flowing, voice. Alas, I could not teach her a thing, because she was too taken aback by my face to move. It was them that I realized that I could not teach with my horrible looks. I fashioned a series of masks that hid the damaged half of my face while showing off the handsome features of my normal half. I could now teach without the disruption of ugliness.
It was too late to take in Pandora, but I soon found another. Her name was Charlene, and her voice was similar to a lark's: rich and soaring. She was quite taken with me. Her mind was too consumed with me to focus on music, but her voice developed quickly. She landed several leading roles from my teachings, and was enthralled with theater. She was extremely successful, until the fateful day she decided to see what my entire face looked like. "Come, dear Phantom!" she said teasingly. "Let us see what your visage looks like without that dreadful mask!" Pale hands shot out and pulled my mask clean off. The last thing near music I ever heard from her lovely mouth was a piercing scream.
Charlene gave up music and theater forever. I was disheartened by this blow and stopped teaching for a few months. I began again, however, and taught a few more before you. All but one tried to remove my mask, and all but one quit theater forever. The one who was wise went on to be a successful opera singer.
And now, my life comes to you.
You were the only singer that I have felt a true connection with. Yet, you were unwise in taking off my mask. We could have been more than student and teacher if you had not removed the very device which has burdened me all these years. It is for you that I live, and it is now for you that I die. You have been a blessing and a curse to me, Christine, and I both thank you and damn you.
Do not anguish once I am dead, if you do. Know that I am in a happier place where my face is wholly beautiful and reflective of the music I created. Love music, my dearest, and love life. The world without your music will be a dark and desolate place.
Christine Daae extends her best wishes to the Phantom's soul. She hopes his face is indeed better now.
His funeral took place on his supposed day of birth. Many opera goers came to pay their respects. Christine Daae came as well.
The halls of time will never close its doors on the elusive Phantom. He will forever live in our minds as a musical prodigy, a mysterious figure, and a legend.
God bless the Phantom.