Disclaimer: The Phantom of the Opera doesn't live inside my mind. Just visits often.

Devil's Child

He knew what it was to be dead. He remembered how it felt to die.

"Maman!" He'd screamed, a small boy of five or six, tears of love and hate and terror streaming from his eyes as the stranger carried him away. "MAMAN!"

She didn't slow. She didn't stop. For not one instant did she turn around. He was not her son. He didn't matter to her. He was nothing.

The child had wept at first. Kept in a darkened cage like the animal they thought him to be, he'd sobbed until his breath ran out. He cried until he thought that all the world was water, and he was drowning…drowning…

Where was his maman? Was she angry with him? Please maman, don't be angry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry…

The stranger was not like maman. Maman never spoke, but she was beautiful—always smelling of the garden she so loved to attend. The stranger was big where his maman was small. He was loud, and frightening, and had small black eyes which reflected everything they saw. The man yelled, and lashed him if he got too loud. The man smiled when the creature went still and silent, then laughed when he shrank away thereafter.

He came to resemble a skeleton. An ugly, discolored, oh-so-hungry skeleton. He had no name. Only a face—a hideous, malformed, curse of a face. People would chuckle nervously, or scream, or faint…and the man would strike again and again, rotten teeth parted in a macabre grin. He was laughing.

Maman. Maman, where are you? Please take me home maman, I want to go home…

But maman wasn't coming back.

And one day, the little boy finally stopped crying. His eyes glazed over. His heart went still. He was a thing. A broken puppet who could not speak, or sing, or dance, or feel, or be…

The skeleton became a living corpse. A living corpse with no soul, no thought… He was nothing.

The little boy died.

And I was born.

Author's Note: This was actually my first story for POTO. It's over two years old, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. Please, tell me what you think.