The Dark Rose ch.1

"A Better Life"

Paris 1873.

A young woman got off the train with her suitcase. She wore a simple purple and black dress that matched her purple eyes. Her black waves were free and the wind teased them in the Paris square. She had come from Romania to find a better way of life and to escape her shunned existence. She was shunned because of her unusual purple eyes. Her parents had been accused of being witches so they were killed thus leaving her alone to suffer her exile. She raised herself for the remainder of her childhood. When she was nine she joined a traveling circus. That was a horrible mistake. She was forced to clean everything. The circus master gave her scraps to eat and made her sleep in a cold, small wagon. When she grew older he made her a dancer. There she was a nineteen year old girl scantily clad and dancing in provocative ways to keep herself fed. The circus master would still make her scrounge for scraps and rehearse until she collapsed from exhaustion. But one day enough was enough. The other members of the circus gave her all the money they had so she could get away from the circus and live her life. She had a dream and that was to go to Paris. She could find a better life there. And there she was. In the middle of the hustling and bustling streets she admired the new world around her. There were beautiful ladies wearing fancy dresses and hats. Little girls wearing little pretty dresses and snow white stockings with ribbons in their hair. Men wore expensive pressed suits with shining gold pocket watches as little boys wore little shorts and little shirts as they ran playing on the sidewalks. She smiled. This was truly the greatest place for a fresh start.

She saw a large building with a beautiful outside appearance. It was a grand building with beautiful statues on the roof and sides. She was curious and looked for some hint at what the building was. She walked up to it and saw a sign. The Opera Populaire was it's name. "So this is a opera house.." her mind mused. Perhaps they could use a dancer.. She went inside and followed the noise of music, singing, and people's voices. She walked into the house and saw beautiful carvings along the private boxes, a sea of red velvet seats, and white and gold trims and carvings. The ceiling had a mural of angels and cherubs playing amongst the clouds of the heavens. It took her breath away. She had never seen anything like that in Romania. "You there!" a voice called snapping her out of her admiring. It was a woman with a cane in her hand. "If you are sight seeing I'm afraid that you must leave. We are having auditions." the woman said strictly. "I am here to audition." the girl answered. "What is your name?" the woman asked. "Diana." said the girl. "Well Diana I am Madame Giry. Come up here and let us see how good you are." the woman said. Diana nodded and climbed up the side stairs onto the stage. Pain shot up through her leg and she winced slightly. She had sprained her ankle badly during a rehearsal at the circus and was forced to continue on. Madame Giry noticed her pain. "My dear what is wrong?" she asked. "I sprained my ankle recently." Diana answered. "I see. Meg get the ointment that the ghost left for us." A girl poked her head up from her stretching and stood to get the ointment. "Ghost?" Diana's mind questioned. "This place is haunted? It surely doesn't look like it.." her mind said.

The girl came back with the ointment. "Let's put this on your ankle dear." Madame Giry said. Diana sat down and took off her shoes, holding out her injured ankle. Meg rubbed some of the ointment on her ankle. Instantly the dull throb went away. Diana was clearly shocked as she flexed her ankle to feel no pain. "Are you about ready?" Madame Giry asked. "Yes." she answered as she stood up and went to the center of the stage. She began to hum a tune to herself that she could dance to. She began to dance. She twirled, kicked, leapt, and bent in different ways. Everyone was watching her. They were amazed at her perfect exotic dancing. Raoul the Vicomte de Chagny and patron for the opera was watching the girl dance. She was beautiful in a dark, exotic way and was extremely talented with dancing. She reminded him of Christine. A shot of pain went through his heart as he thought of his deceased wife. She died so young leaving him alone. He couldn't help but feel attracted to this young woman. Erik, the Phantom of the Opera was in the rafters watching over the auditions. He saw a young woman dancing. He could tell that she was a gypsy.. He frowned. Gypsies had tortured him when he was a young child in the circus. Ever since then he had a hatred for them. He didn't feel that she was important enough to kill. He ignored her and went down the passage way to his lair.

Diana was accepted into the opera as a dancer. She was given a bed in the ballet dormitory. "I guess we're room mates." Madame Giry's daughter, Meg said. Diana nodded. "I suppose so." she answered. "Well now that your bed is situated we best get you a costume." said Meg as she lead her new friend to the costume room. There were several seamstresses in the room hustling and bustling as they worked on turning rolls of fabric into beautiful costumes with intricate details. One of them shuffled over and studied Diana. She was a slightly plump lady wearing a gray dress with graying brown hair, a few wrinkles, and she had pins in her hair. "She will be a difficult size.." the lady said mainly to herself and the few other women who were watching. Her plump fingers wrapped around Diana's wrist as she dragged the girl over to a large rack of costumes. The lady sifted through them and would keep glancing back at Diana. "I have never seen a girl with purple eyes before." the lady said as she held up a costume to Diana to see if it would fit. "Not many have." Diana replied softly. The woman finally found a costume that fit Diana. Once she was dressed Diana and Meg ran down the hallways to the stage to rehearse.

Meg quickly got her ballet slippers on while Diana remained barefooted out of habit. Madame Giry noticed that the girls were late as she scanned the line of dancers that were stretching their legs and bodies. "Diana I will discuss with you your dance." the ballet mistress said as she walked away expecting Diana to follow after her like a puppy. Diana followed but she kept her distance out of habit. "Diana do you have a sophisticated dance that you can perform in the opera?" Madame Giry asked. "Yes Madame I do." Diana answered. "Then you will take center stage at some point. You will even call attention away from Carlotta." Giry said. Diana smiled. She would finally be noticed. But perhaps it wouldn't be entirely what she expected.

To Be Continued.