Prologue

"The happiest moment of The Viscount's life, no?"

"Oui. Monsieur Viscount de Changy has been very excited about the birth of his first child." The two servants could hear his footsteps on the floor above them. It was going to be a long night.

Raoul paced nervously in front of the door. Every once and a while he would stop to stare and wonder or the door would open and one of the midwives would come out to get water or towels or blankets. After many hours of pacing, the door was again opened and he was ushered through. "You're wife is restless, M. Viscount. She will not calm down until she sees you." He rushed through the door and stood by Christine's side. She smiled when he held her hand. But then the contractions started. Yes, this was going to be a very long night indeed.

The stress subsided when the child was laid in Raoul's arms. "A boy," said the midwife smiling. He looked down at his son, smiling and thinking fatherly thoughts. But then, Christine's pain came back. The midwife turned away. "Twins?" she mumbled. But this did not deter her, she went back to work. It was getting close to the end of the second child's birth, when the younger of the two midwifes, upon seeing the second baby, clasped her hand over her mouth and ran into the bathroom. The elder just stared, wide eyed at the child as she finished her job. What could be wrong? She cleaned the child, wiping at the left side of its face repeatedly. At last she sighed, and handed the child to Raoul, who had passed the first to Christine. "A girl." But she had no smile. She left the child in his arms and went to go tend to the girl vomiting in the bathroom.

Puzzled, Raoul looked down at the child. She had her head resting so that the right side of her face was upward. Then, she squinted her tiny closed eyes like she was having an unpleasant dream, and turned her face left side up. Raoul's stomach dropped to the floor when her saw the grotesque deformation of the child's left half of her face. This was not his daughter.

Chapter 1: Learn to Be Lonely

1886

The grandfather clock in her suite struck four. This was good. By now, Raoul would have gone to get his carriage for the ride to the opera house. Tonight was the opening Night of Ill Muto at the Hungarian State Opera House, and she wouldn't miss this for the world!

She walked down the hall, carefully avoiding the servants of the house and going through the back out to where her carriage was parked. She liked the rides to the operas, because she could use the time to explore the city, whichever city it may be, through the carriage window. Budapest was supposed to be lovely this time of year.

The place where her family was currently staying was on the Pest side of the river, the opposite side of the river from the Opera House. Hungary was everything she had heard about and more. The Beautiful houses, streets, and river were astounding. She had never been over a river before.

When they pulled up to the opera house, she knew that her time of adventure was over. She slipped through the crowd as silently and anonymously as possible. She took her seat in box 7 and quietly waited for the show to start.

As she waited, she started thinking. For years, the question had been on her mind, but how was she supposed to ask, especially without upsetting mother? There were hundreds of ways, but none seemed to turn out with the right answer. She was aroused from her thoughts when the lights were dimmed.

The performance was everything she had hoped. Her mother did a spectacular job as the lead, and it only got better as the opera progressed. But, as she watched she watched the audience as well. What were people like? The question was always on her mind. She observed how differently the people acted from the floor to the box seats. As she was scanning the boxes in front of her, something caught her eye. There was a man two boxes up that did not act like the others. Instead of sitting at the front of the box, he sat in the back, in shadow. There was something very off about him. No matter where they traveled, even the most secret of characters sat at the front of the box during the performance, presuming no one would notice them in the low light. Very strange indeed …

She was pulled from her meddling mind once again by the closing of the Opera. Her mother got a standing ovation, as always, and that was that. She left her seat before anyone else to try and catch who was coming out of box 5. She stood in the shadows where no one would look, especially in an empty hallway. She waited, for the man would undoubtedly leave before the rest of the audience so as not to be found by the general public, if the man was in hiding, which seemed very plausible at the moment. So she waited.

The audience finally came out, after all the throwing flowers and gossiping and cheers. She slunk further back. No one. The people began to clear from the hallway, laughing and talking as they went. Nothing. He must be waiting until everyone leaves so that he can be absolutely sure no one will see him. The people moved away until they were a faint whisper in the background. Surely he would come out now.

She waited still until the huge Opera House was completely devoid of anyone, including managers and janitors. Then, and only then, the door opened. A man stepped out, but she could not see his face for the workers had come around and turned off all the lights. Only moonlight from a window at the end of the hall lit faintly the corridor. The man moved and she followed, making no noise. He stopped and looked straight in her direction. She froze. He stared for a long time, minutes feeling like hours.

He finally turned and started again moving. She slunk deeper into the darkness and trailed along behind. As they moved through the humungous maze of a space, she became more and more fascinated with this man. He walked stealthily, never once running into any obstacle, even though it was almost completely black, especially where there was no light at all. This man was a true master of night.

She finally lost him on the bottom floor when he went towards a dead end and then seemingly faded into the wall. She checked for a long time, feeling up and down the wall for a secret lever or some such device, but there was none to be found.

The mystery of this person of night bothered her all the way home. She took her carriage back, for her driver knew to wait for as long as it took until she came to get him. This was not the first time something intriguing had held her into all hours of the night.

She went to the opera again the next night, hoping for some answer but did not receive one. He never showed up again. This meant that she had to turn to a more serious matter. The matter of her past.

Long had she wondered why her mother had always avoided any hint of a question as to who her father was. There was no question that it was not Raoul, for, despite the fact that when he had contact with her he reminded her constantly of how un related they were, he had never treated her like a daughter her or even as one of the servants. The horses, and even the chickens that they sometimes kept around took precedence over her.

She left the opera early that night so she could be home in adequate time to prepare and wait for the right moment to ask. She hid in one of the many servants hallways and waited for her mother to be alone in the living room. Only then did she show herself. She sang,

"Brava, Brava, bravissimi."

Her mother turned her head and saw her, giving her a half-hearted smile. She continued.

"Christine, Christine, Christine.

Where in the world have you been hiding?

Really you were perfect!

I only wish I knew your secret,

Who was my true father?"

At this Christine looked sad. She had hoped to keep the past behind her forever, but obviously that was not an option. "Oh, Erika." So, she told the story of her angel of music. And when she was done, she sang.

"My father spoke of an angel

I thought I dreamed he'd appear

Now as I sing I remember

And I know he was real.

Here In this room he calls me softly

Somewhere inside hiding.

Somehow I know he's always with me

He the unseen monster!"

"Mother you must have been wrong.

Stories like this can't be true.

Mother you're talking in riddles,

And it's not like you…"

C: "Angel of music!

Devil's Guardian!

C: Where are you now hiding?

E: " Who is this angel this

C: Angel of music hide no longer secret and strange angel!

E: Angel of music hide no longer secret and strange angel!

C: he's with me even now… All around

E: You're hands are cold...

C: meIt frightens me."

E: Your face, Christine, is white… Don't be frightened."

Erika's mother was stressing herself pale. She decided to take her to bed, to ease off the shock of her past discussed once more. She went up to her own room after, but sleep would not come. She couldn't help thinking about the phantom of the opera. And the more she thought, the more useless it seemed to hope that… but it could never happen now. The only person in the world who might have the chance of pulling her out of solitude was lost or maybe even dead. She started crying, and had to pull the hair away from the left side of her face where her thick brown curls hid the hideous deformity. Her heart yielded to her soul, which was filled with song.

"Child of the wilderness
Born into emptiness
Learn to be lonely
Learn to find your way in darkness

Who will be there for you
Comfort and care for you
Learn to be lonely
Learn to be your one companion

Never dreamed out in the world
There are arms to hold you
You've always known your heart was on its own

So laugh in your loneliness
Child of the wilderness
Learn to Be lonely
Learn how to love life that is lived alone

Learn to be lonely
Learn to be your one companion

Never dreamed out in the world
There are arms to hold you
You've always known your heart was on its own

So laugh in your loneliness
Child of the wilderness
Learn to Be lonely
Learn how to love life that is lived alone

Learn to be lonely
Life can be lived life can be loved alone"