Chapter 1. The Decision which Changed All
"Pitiful creatures of darkness... what kind of life have you known? God give me courage to show you, you are not alone!" Christine's voice cried out through the cavern.
She waded through the murky waters of Erik's underground world and moved in closer to Erik, pressing her petite body against his. She pressed a soft kiss to his mouth and could feel his body tremble as she pressed it closer to hers, as if shielding him from the world. She could feel the sensation of his tears as she proceeded to kiss him once again.
He had never received a kiss before, and this was nothing if not special. But the spell was broken as she broke away after a few moments, looking into his eyes softly.
The three were deathly silent, not quite sure how to react. Raoul, shocked, consumed with thoughts that he may have lost his beloved. Erik shocked, never having experienced a kiss before. Christine scared at having to make a hard decision. They listened to the far off chanting, coming from the angry mob, not to far away.
"Track down this murderer- He must be found! Hunt out this animal, which runs to ground! Too long he's preyed on us- the Phantom of the Opera is there, deep down below! Who is this monster, this murdering beast? Revenge for Piangi! Revenge for Buquet! This creature must never go free!" the angry mob chanted one more.
Police officers were holding their rifles. Stage hands were holding their lassos, and men with their torches, climbed there way through the unending passages of the labyrinth.
Erik's breathing became more laboured as he knew what he had to do. He couldn't keep her no matter how much he loved her, it wasn't what she deserved. She deserved a world of light and happiness; something Raoul could give her.
He broke the silence in tears, "take her - forget me - forget all of this... go now - don't let them find you! Take the boat - swear to me - never to tell - the secret you know of the angel in hell! Go! Go now and leave me!" he yelled a sob escaping from his mouth as a look of misery and betrayal etched itself onto his mangled features. He turned away dejectedly and made his way to the steps of the place he'd always known as home. But it no longer felt like a home.
Christine watched him, feeling her stomach tighten at his obvious sadness. But her mind was immediately brought back, as she heard Raoul calling out her name from across the water. She turned and made her way towards him and feverishly fumbled around, trying to undo the knots of the noose. When it finally released him, he instantly embraced her.
"Christine come on, we have to escape from here, before the mob reaches us." Raoul urged. "Or worse, the monster returns." he mumbled to himself bitterly. Christine pulled back slightly and gazed at him. Raoul not noticing, pulled her arm gently, but she didn't move. "Christine -"
"No, Raoul." she cut him off, gently shaking his grip on her arm, off. "You go on. I-I'm going to stay." she stammered. She brought her gaze down from his face, to frighten to see his expression.
"What? Why? Christine, he let us go! You mustn't be afraid anymore!" Raoul argued, taking hold of her arm again.
Christine turned away from him, feeling her heart was torn. Throughout her childhood, she had always thought that perhaps one day she and Raoul would marry. But then again, at that time she had been in a state of blissful happiness, only being young and carefree. But everything changed for her and Raoul the day her father had passed away. She had been sent to the Opera House where Madame Giry took over the care of her. At the time she would talk to no one. She wouldn't even eat. Her health began to disintegrate and nothing in life mattered. Until one day, after being alone in the Opera's chapel grieving, a voice had spoken to her. At the time she had believed it to be her Angel of Music sent by her father, who had promised he would when he had passed away. They spoke for hours, and soon became friends. He would then teach her how to sing, tell her marvelous stories of the great Shah, or stories of Persia and many other things. He would also sing to her in the night and whisper his love for her when she grieved for her father. Truly, she had fallen in love with her Angel of Music. But things changed rapidly as Raoul reappeared in her life, claiming his love for her as well as her Angel claiming the same. She soon discovered that her Angel was just a lonely, deformed man. Things spiraled from there, leaving them at this very moment in time. Christine finally decided to accept her fate.
"Raoul, I love you. I honestly do. But I can't be with you. You'll find someone to love you and share the rest of your days with. Someone that you deserve… but he needs me, just as much as I need him." she spoke sadly, leaning over and kissing him on the cheek. She turned and began to wade her way through the water and back to the steps.
"Christine! Don't say those things! He's poisoned your mind!" he called after her.
She looked back at him and mouthed the words 'goodbye'.
"Christine! This is madness!" he called.
But Christine was no longer listening to him. Instead, her mind was diverted by a porcelain mask that lay abandoned on the floor. She bent over and picked it up. She gazed upon it, noticing how sinister it looked when not upon his face.
Christine saw his hunched figure and slowly made her way towards him. He sat in front of a music box and watched as a monkey in Persian robes began to play the cymbals. He instantly realized he wasn't alone, being so used to every little sound made, and glanced up to find tears streaming down Christine's face.
"Christine, I love you." he sang softly, desperate to do anything that would make her stay.
She looked into his eyes knowing that she was the only person he had.
She pulled out a diamond ring he had previously given her, and slipped it onto her wedding finger.
"I choose you, my Angel." she whispered, causing tears to fall down Erik's broken face.
"You lie." he said brokenly. More tears embraced him. He had been rejected by so many people in a lifetime, he know longer trusted anyone.
"I swear Erik. I pick you." she insisted. She kneeled down next to him and held out her hand, which still held the mask. "I have your mask for you." she whispered, attempting a different approach. A light glinted off of it. His gaze lingered on her for a few moments. He dared not breathe nor blink in fear that this was all a dream. Saying nothing, he reached out and took the mask and placed it on the right side of his face.
"Are you sure?" he asked once again. Fearing what her answer may be, he shut his eyes.
"I'm sure," came her answer instantly. This was it; this was finally the point of no return. Once she left with him, there would be no returning. The bridge would finally be crossed, and they would then stand and watch it burn.
Her breathing hitched in her throat as he held out his hand suddenly. She took it immediately. Moving in the direction of one of his mirrors, he picked up a golden goblet nearby.
"How are we to escape? There is only the Rue Scribe, but the mob is coming that way." Christine asked. He said nothing. "Erik?"
He let go of her hand for a moment and proceeded to smash one of his many mirrors with the goblet. After a few good blows, it fell to pieces. Christine not entirely sure what was happening, took his hand once again and followed after, not daring to look back.
They left into the world of endless night... He, a reclusive, deformed man. And her, an orphaned soprano.