Author's note: This story was posted here on FFN two years ago. It was very favorably received, to the extent that several of my readers convinced me to have it published.
I am pleased to announce that "Letters to Erik: the Ghost's Love Story" is now revised, completed, and available in paperback. If interested, please visit my "bio" page. I am only going to be posting a few excerpts of it here in order to let people know that the paperback has been released... and, well, to shamelessly pimp it. Heh.
"For details, see my published works," as Gilderoy Lockhart likes to say.
The story begins with a series of letters from Christine to Erik, whom she thinks is dead, but soon changes into a "live-action" format. It is as faithful to Leroux as I can possibly make it, with no other influences from ALW or Kay or anyone else. It is an E/Ch story that ends happily (yes, it IS possible to write one of those, if you only read Leroux closely enough!). I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter 1: The Prodigal's Return
I am writing this from my hotel room in Copenhagen. Mamma Valérius, Raoul, and I were able to catch the last train heading north, and plan to be back in my beloved homeland very soon. It will be good to breathe the air, see the mountains, and speak my own language again.
Raoul and I are planning to be married in a small church in my hometown. I almost wish you could be there—but it would be cruel of me to wish that upon you, wouldn't it? All the same, it will be one of the happiest days of my life, and I do wish it were possible to share it with the people who have been dearest to me.
Yes, Erik, you are one of them. If I were to write from now until doomsday I could not express enough regret for how I hurt you. I only wish I could have told you while you were still alive, that you changed my life. It was your touch upon me that gave me any greatness whatsoever. Without you, I would have been nothing… and without your influence I would not have become a star, and Raoul would never have noticed me again.
I wager that's the part you probably regret the most!
My dear Erik, I rather miss singing with you. Raoul doesn't like me to sing for anyone but him; and while I love singing for him, I must confess that I do miss the public acclaim I used to get. Does that make me vain? I miss you as well, my friend: I miss sitting with you in the evenings, reading with you, singing with you, talking with you. You know such a great deal about so many things—I'm still at a loss to see what you could have seen in a timid little songbird like me. I've tried to hide my grief from Raoul. He never understood what you and I shared; even though it wasn't what you wished it could be, it was still far more than I ever hoped for or deserved.
Rest in peace, my friend.
With a faraway look, Christine blew on the ink to dry it. She emptied her reticule on the dressing table and poked around the scraps and objects there until she found what she was looking for. It was a very tiny key, about the length of her thumb. She inserted it into what looked like solid wood in the front of her jewelry box, and opened the hidden bottom drawer. She lifted out an oval of black silk, very finely shaped and hemmed—even the two narrow eyeholes.
The full-face mask had a long piece of black ribbon that would have tied behind the head of its wearer. Christine sat for a few minutes, just holding the mask. She fingered the silk thoughtfully, lifting it up to feel its smoothness with her lips. Erik had removed it during their final moments together, when they had clung together and cried like children. They had mingled their tears and exchanged tender kisses, before Erik had sent her away with her beloved Raoul. She hadn't realized that his mask was still clutched in her hand, but now she found a poignant sort of comfort in keeping it. Knowing that she had left Erik behind to die alone, still grieved her more than her sunny-faced fiancé could possibly guess.
She folded the now-dry letter and slipped it into the hidden drawer, placing the silk mask on top of it. She heard her fiancé call her name, and she quickly locked up the little box and put it back into the drawer of her dressing table. "Coming, my love," she called, and turned down the lights as she left the room with a sad smile.