VI – No Requiem for Mortal Man

Seven stories above, away from feverish jungles and inescapable glass, the mortals continued with their daily endeavors. Christine Daae took her place amongst the girls, as if nothing had transpired out of the ordinary. She danced and smiled when spoken to, and when she thought no one watched, shifted her gaze whenever anyone mentioned anything of the young Vicomte. One might suspect her of being in love.

But it was not Miss Daae's presence or personal ongoings that stirred the Opera House and thrilled its occupants to its very core; No. Rather, it was the news received but moments ago with hurried feet and agitated breath from Jammes' mother, who sank in a chair to weep while choking out the painful words.

Joseph Buquet was dead!

Though no one thought him an upright well bred individual, the news was received with distress and fear. Joseph Buquet dead? The careless drunk? The lively storyteller? How? Who? When?

He was found hanging in the third floor cellar under the stage, between the farm house and the Roi de Lahore.

No more jesting. No more mockery. There was a Ghost! There had to be a Ghost! Buquet was right and had paid the price with his life.

They had pulled out the bloated body. The bluish face and bloodshot eyes served to both terrify and warn the inhabitants victimized by a corporeal spirit. Forgive the paradox, but such was the matter.

The dancing girls mourned the loss deeply; despite their avarice at the man's objectionable appearance and loathsome suggestions, he had been very popular amongst them. Ah, if only they had been nicer. If only they had taken his stories more seriously. And such were the regrets they were left to entertain; that is until some other hapless dupe usurped his place, and proved half as entertaining.

However, at the moment, all eyed Christine warily. They would make certain to tread carefully around her, lest more nooses appeared on necks.

But where was the noose? The marks visible upon Buquet's corpse evidenced a hanging had occurred, but none could find the rope! More infamy! More mystery! Certainly someone, somewhere had it? Where it was, no one wanted to guess.

Poor, poor Buquet! None changed the scenes half as well as he had.

A beautifully chilling piece played from a pipe organ, encrusted and engraved into the wall of a darkened room. At the organ's center a man sat, a man who had not taken food nor drink, who fed off his music days at a time. A wretched man, with a wretched soul, who played and laughed - sometimes in succession, sometimes in harmony. But more often than not, he cried. Deep, harrowing sobs resounded from a soul most mortals could not understand. A complex thing this man-Ghost was, and of the latter he wished to free himself.

Why would they not let him be? Could they not see he just wanted a life like everyone else? He wanted to be loved for himself! And if not, then they would all die, himself included – in a splendid blaze of glory! For he could do anything! Yes, that infernal scene-shifter had been right!

Too bad for him.