I fidgeted quietly, my fingers tying knots in themselves. The snores of my dear husband came from the next room in our small, English home. It was a comforting and normal sound; it was something I needed. Normalcy was like a small ring, ironically. If you shed it for but a moment at the beach of life, you may never find it again. He took my ring off, and never replaced it. Or maybe he did, but the ring was tarnished at that point. Perhaps he slipped on something else! Maybe insanity, or maturity he slithered onto my delicate fingers. I have now realized that I had been lacking in the area before I met him. Now was that a good thing or a bad thing, that I have it?
Why isn't the doctor here yet…?
It was barely dawn, yet I was waiting for a counselor, or was it therapist? He said there was a difference… Oh dear me, my mind seems to be loosing my concentration quite easily. What had I been doing before I was lost in my thoughts? I was, I can't remember. Oh, yes I do. I was thinking about Erik. Wait, was I?
No, no! It is he, never Erik! There I go again. His name must trigger something deep within me, for just by thinking it, I want to burst into tears. Erik, yes I am addressing you. I know you are there. Do you know how much you have changed me? No! Don't take it like that! Please Erik, I—
A knock on the door awoke me from my thoughts. I moved from the small, comfortable loveseat to open the oak door. I knew who it was, but I still hesitantly stuck my golden curls out of the door. I saw the portly Doctor Robinson. His large face held a nice beard and mustache. The doctor was graying at the temples and he had to wear glasses. This gave him a pleasant look that one could speak to easily. Perhaps that's why he was a counselor, or therapist.
With a tip of his hat, he stepped in, smiling broadly. He had crooked teeth. "Good morning, Madame de Chagney."
"Good Morning Doctor Robinson, would you like some tea?" Tea, I could remember the samovar in the corner of Erik's bedroom. I will no longer deny his name. Oh bother, of course I would. I always feel ready to address Erik before Robinson comes, but never otherwise. I think I do it so I can talk about Erik. He is the reason why Doctor Robinson's services are even needed, after all.
The doctor shook his head. "No thank you, Ma'am." He deliberately lifted his foot and entered the house. After a few dangerously close calls when he slipped and nearly woke Raoul, he did that every time.
This time, though, I pushed him gently outside after he took the step in. He gave me a confused look, before I stated, "I was considering for this session to be outside." Of course, in my scared voice, it sounded as a question. You would never know I was a famous singer, once! I sounded like I had a good voice, but I squeaked so much that I sounded like a mouse, like before Erik's beauty touched my heart and soul.
Doctor Robinson nodded slowly, stepping away from the door. He had a skeptical look in his eyes before sitting down on the porch swing. The swing seemed to groan under his weight, before swinging slowly in his momentum. The doctor was nice upfront, but this was obviously still a professional ordeal to him
He had begun to prepare for the session. He was frighteningly calm and professional; it made my stomach churn. I always knew he never really cared what came from my mouth, as long as I paid. It hurt to know that no one cared, except Raoul. I knew that only he cared because I had no friends here! No one to listen, no one who would want to care about poor little Christine's past! I am so alone, so very alone.
I open a small, brown bag I had for tea. It consisted of a delectable mix of vanilla, rosehips, strawberries, and a bit of chamomile. I would have preferred lemon tea, but the samovar was hard to come by in England. As I picked up a pinch of the mixture, I began to let them fall through my fingertips slowly. The grassy browns and the reds slipped from my slender fingers. Like dirt they fell, some landing in the tea infuser and others bounced across the counter. Dirt was something I hated now, and I was going to tell Doctor Robinson why. My god, I just want to get through this!
I swear I felt fingers brush along my shoulders in a comforting manner. The hairs on my neck and my arms stood up on end. I let out a helpless sob, resisting the urge to collapse in the kitchen and cry and cry, and then try, one more time, to end my life.
I had attempted suicide many times since Erik's death. When it didn't work, I simply began to hurt myself. I am glad for England's dreary and cold weather, for I would never be able to hide the scars on my arms from the knives, or the burns on my legs. This also meant I never let Raoul touch me, and I felt so guilty because of it. I was so ashamed, and yet it didn't matter. I knew I would try again and I knew that if he knew, I would still try to commit the most heinous act known to man.
I thought I felt arms wrap around me. I swore I heard him speak in my ear, and I had to try very hard not to let out a harrowing cry of sorrow. I simply accepted the comforting sensation, crying silently into a shoulder that wasn't there. I rocked myself back and forth, trying to comfort myself, but the words I imagined were not helping. It was not the content of the words, but the sound of the. I needed to talk. Slowly, I willed myself to get up and talk to Doctor Robinson. The first step was standing up and finishing my tea.
After collecting the herbs that bounced, I dipped the infuser into a teacup and filled the cup with hot water from a kettle, which had been sitting on the wood-powered stove. Bringing the elegant teacup out with me to the lovely little front porch, I sat down in the other porch swing. Doctor Robinson, his pen dipped and a ream of paper ready, watched me come out. Why he brought a ream everyday, I do not know.
Doctor Robinson had everything ready, even an inkwell. He had already gently dipped his pen into it, and now let it hover over the paper. I stared blankly, watching ink well up and land with a splash on the paper. I turned my head to the side, continuing to watch the ink well up a few times before doctor Robinson cleared his throat and said, "You wanted to tell me something important, today."
I looked up at his ice blue eyes. With a shaky sigh, I began.
The slow, deliberate dripping of the cellar water was infuriating. It was cold and wet and too frightening! I hade never felt claustrophobia in the halls of the basement previously, but now it flooded my brain. The only noise in the tunnels was the dripping and occasional splash of water. My feet were freezing! Why had I worn slippers to do this? I shall never know.
A tear fell from my left eye, mingling with a puddle I was walking in. I shouldn't be mourning the death of my former kidnapper. I wasn't. I wasn't. I was mourning the death of my Angel. My Angel, My Erik! Poor, poor Erik! I killed you, and I knew it then and now. I am so sorry Erik, so sorry.
I took a left down a hall that would lead to Erik's home. I cried soft tears, each combining with the puddles I stepped in, turning the dank, freshwater salty. I always wonder how he could live down here with it so cold and wet. I know he can tolerate it, but it would grate on my nerves.
Looking up, I saw that the hall had ended. My red eyes and tear-stained searched for the hallway I was supposed to take to reach his house. I thought for a long moment. With a jolt, I remembered that this was the passageway I was supposed to take to get to his house. The hall had ended though. What was that about?
I thought it would have been possible that Erik had kept it open for me. Perhaps he accidentally activated one of the switches while he was stumbling back down the flights of stairs to get to his kingdom of music. It was possible that in one of his seizures he pulled a switch. So, I looked around in vain for a switch or button to revel how to open the door. I never found anything.
In a huff, I turned around and tried to find another passageway to lead me to my husband's home. It was quite infuriating to know that the easiest and well-known way to get to his house was blocked. Luckily, I knew others.
Yet none of them were open.
I was far passed beginning to get worried; I was hysterical! Not only had I gotten myself entirely lost, but also I could not see my poor, dead husband. I loved him, I could admit it then, and I can admit it now. I just wanted to see him. There wouldn't be a difference if he were dead of alive in his appearance, right? Did that even matter? Did it? I wanted him! I did not want to see him; I wanted him to hold me, to love me. I miss Erik!
I was angry, of course. Angry with Erik's sudden want to have walls up or myself, I wasn't sure of which. Either way, I took it out on the current wall. Even though I had small hands, I had grown strength from struggling with Erik all those times. Now I know that it was pointless to struggle, I had fallen for him anyhow!
I heard rocks fall and I stopped. I began with my fists again and I heard more rocks fall. I pounded harder and harder until a small hole opened from the thin wall. I clawed with my hands until blood dripped heavily from the bedding of my nails. It hurt, but I must honor the pact with Erik. If I did not, I could never show him my love.
I finally clawed open a hole large enough to wiggle through. I thanked myself for subconsciously coming back to my favorite way down into his kingdom. It was not the most logical, but it helped me retain my nerves.
I lost my nerves when I entered Erik's house.
It had not changed! What I had been expecting was something different. It looked as if he still lived there! His music was scattered in a slightly ordered fashion. Fresh flowers resided in a vase on top of the grand piano. There was even a teacup sitting next to one of the chairs in front of the fireplace. It was uncanny!
As I moved to the bedroom of his, I was slowly realizing that he probably dropped everything. Supposedly, a human can sense when he or she is ready to die. Perhaps Erik knew he was to die in those moments. It was a horrible thought. I could imagine him crawling to the bedroom, for he probably couldn't walk.
Erik had stated he would be in his bedroom when he died, but I did not imagine this. I had imagined him sprawled across the floor, grasping for something, maybe a hallucination of me. Instead, he was peacefully sitting in his chair, leaning on his hand like he was dosing.
I walked over to him and sat in his lap, he didn't move, but neither did I expect him to. Taking a bloody finger, I twirled a lock of his black hair. He didn't react, and I began to cry. I wanted to hold him; I wanted him to be mine. He was mine… All mine. My poor Erik! His mask was lying next to him, so I didn't have to remove it as I kissed him. I cried even harder, the realization of his death sinking in like a needle dripping with poison. I clung to him like I was drowning and cried. I wanted him alive! He had his living wife, but I had no living husband.
I was too lost in my thoughts to notice the vial nearby and his small intakes of breath.
When done crying, I noticed a contraption. It was just a long case, with wheels. But it was marvelous looking. The glass sides were a transparent red, with black roses for a border. On it, was a note, in childish scrawl.
We both know that your upper body strength is not enough to drag me to the pre-dug grave. This contraption you see is much like a wheelbarrow! It is a musical wheelbarrow, in fact. It has a mechanism where you can push the wheelbarrow up and down so you can tip me into my glass coffin. How ironic for me to be buried in a glass coffin like Snow White, when you would be my princess I would save from the clutches of death. Although it wasn't death, but lack of soul that I saved you from.
I love you.
No matter how impersonal the letter was (until the end), I cried. Every tear that came from my eyes and landed on that small scrap of paper blurred the blood red words. Still crying, I rolled the contraption backwards toward the chair that Erik was in. I heaved his frail body into the musical wheelbarrow and arranged the cloth in the bottom around him and all of his limbs. He looked so peaceful, so serene.
We had both decided that the heavy coffin should be on the shore, ready to be covered up forever. And again, we had both decided that it would be a different coffin than the one that he slept in, seeing that he wouldn't need the comfort of it while he was dead. He was the one who made it a glass coffin, which was perhaps a bit disturbing.
I tipped over the contraption and closed the lid to the coffin with difficulty. Why was it so heavy, and why were there strong magnets in the side? I wish now that it had never been so, for perhaps I could have saved him. Grabbing a shovel, I heard a low moan come from the coffin. I shuddered. To think that Erik was alive made my stomach churn. If so, he would be locked in there for good.
More moans, this time in fear. I looked over in fright to the coffin, to see Erik holding his skeletal hands to his face. Death's head was exquisite and showed the most superb of emotions. I had seen anger before in his eyes. I had seen sadness. Fear was something he never showed me, and now I knew why. His screams of fear were the most terrifying thing known to man, and the look on his corpse face was even worse.
I rushed over to him, my face as wildly frightened as his. "Erik?" my voice quivered.
"Christine!" His hands tried to grasp for me fruitlessly, and the fear in his eyes increased.
I screamed, kneeling next to the glass coffin. "Erik!" He was alive! What level of incompetence did it take to not notice that someone you loved was not dead?
"Christine? Where am I?" He must be disoriented.
Tucking a curl behind my ear, I nearly whispered, "You looked dead."
"I'm in the coffin?" he sounded so young, so much like a child.
I knew he could see me, so I nodded sadly. With this, he screamed again, thumping at the glass with his bare fists. It is a wonder how it didn't break, for he was trying awfully hard to open it up.
I adjusted myself so that I could take my bloody fingers and try to pry open the coffin. All the while, Erik looked at me sadly and inquisitively. I began to scream at the glass coffin, prying at it harder and harder, but the magnets would not yield.
"Christine, Christine, calm down. If you can't pull it from the outside, I'll never get out," he let out a great and shaky sigh.
Now the screams came from me.
Only the sweet sound of his voice calmed me from my panic. Again I wanted to hold him in my arms, especially since we were both scared. Thick glass separated us, so the only way I could become close to him would be to lie on the coffin lid above him. When his voice calmed me, I still continued to cry.
"My sweet angel," he whispered, "I know that it is alarming to see me frightened, but do not fear. Death by suffocation is said to be more peaceful than a seizure." He chuckled lightly, trying to help me longer be sad.
I didn't work.
"I don't want you to die, Erik." Looking him straight in the eyes, I traced the shape of his face on the glass.
"Christine?" pain echoed from his soul. Did he think I was deceiving him?
"I love you, Erik. I love you with my heart and soul! I could not live without you!" I began to cry full force again.
Erik caressed the glass where my face was. I opened my tear-filled eyes and looked at him. I could see that he loved me, and he could see that I loved him. His grotesque lips smiled and the corners of his eye sockets crinkled in delight. Hesitantly, I placed my forehead against the glass. He leaned up and kissed my forehead. I turned my head. He kissed my cheek.
I turned my head again, and we shared a real kiss. It was as passionate as any kiss I had shared with Raoul, or even more passionate. I felt connected to him, through the transparent glass. I knew we shared love together that death could not even break.
"Christine," my name was spoken as a prayer from his lips.
Again, he sounded like a small child, "Stay with me. Stay with me until I fall asleep. That's been happening a lot."
I nodded slowly, placing a hand on the glass where his face was. He let out a shaky sigh and began to talk, for he said he would not be so scared if we talked. As we talked, he admitted to building the contraption and buying the glass coffin simply for the effect of a grand funeral and that the magnets were so no one can desecrate his body. He also admitted to taking laudanum previously, to prevent nightmares. He must have taken too much not to be woken by the jostling of the cart.
An hour passed, and he sleepily said, "Please cover up the coffin, Christine. I wouldn't want any of the silly ballet corps coming down to see me." He smiled, and curled up on his side. Within minutes, he was asleep. I covered the shallow grave of six decimeters up, and then ran up to the world above to Raoul. When he held me and kissed me, it was never the same as that hour I shared with Erik.
I hung my head, a white handkerchief with the letter M embroidered into the corner to my shaking lips. I heard the scratching of Dr. Robinson's pen, and then a slight clank as he set it down. I heard the door open, and Raoul's slipper-covered feet walking over to the bench. I felt him sit next to me and wrap his arms around my torso.
I leaned into his shoulder and silently cried. My husband, who loved me with all of his heart, rocked me steadily, whispering sweet nothings into my ear. They were sweet because he cared. They were nothing because nothing could comfort me right now.
"How long have you been listening?" I hiccupped out.
He sighed, squeezing me lightly, "Long enough."
We sat in comforting and stunned silence a bit longer before Doctor Robinson spoke. "Christine, you have told us all a great sorrow for you. We all know why you have been sad for many months, now. Is there anything else you would like to say?"
I met no one's eyes as I stated, "I have tried to commit suicide. When that didn't work, I began to hurt myself."
Raoul squeezed me tighter, sighing. "Oh Christine, you should have told me."
The doctor sighed, scribbling down notes as he spoke. "After such a traumatic event, it is expected to some degree. Can you tell me why you hurt yourself? If you can't, that is understandable."
I nodded and explained that if I was hurt, I could begin to comprehend things better. The depression seemed to cloud how I thought. If I hurt myself, it gave me a sense of clarity. I felt like I could function again. When asked to show where and how I hurt myself, I lifted up the long sleeves of my dress to show about twenty cut marks on each arm. I also briefly mentioned the burns on my legs.
Raoul was shocked each time, but held onto me with determination. He loved me. He wanted to protect me. I loved him. I wanted to protect him. I loved Erik; I wished it were he who was holding me.
The doctor nodded, putting a few more notes down onto his steadily rising stack of papers. "I see. Is there anything else you want to tell us?" He looked at me caringly, but I did not look at him.
"I see and hear him," I whisper into the handkerchief.
Raoul raised an eyebrow and parted from me. He lifted my chin so that our blue eyes met. He had been crying too. He gave me a chaste kiss, before asking, "Who, darling." He already knew by the pained look in my eyes.
I explained that I heard his voice before I slept, when I was troubled, or when I was alone. I also explained that I felt him comfort me or hold me when I wanted someone to. Raoul never let me look away. He could see I was telling the truth.
Doctor Robinson sighed, scribbling more notes down. "Christine?" I looked away from Raoul to the doctor. "Could you leave your husband and I alone for a while?" His voice and how he held himself obviously showed that it was not a request, but an order.
As I tried to stand up, Raoul caught me. He knew it was wrong for me to move, but he also knew that I could. He just wanted me to be safe. This made me think of the reasons why I loved Raoul, but love always ends circling back to Erik, so I began to cry again. My husband shushed me, and tucked me into our bed. Kissing me on my forehead, he went back down the stairs to talk to the doctor.
I was glad that the porch was right underneath the window.
"Mister de Chagney, it is obvious that your wife is unstable."
"You would be if you went through with that."
"Yes, any human would be. I was hoping you would consider sending her to an insane asylum—"
"An asylum? You must be mad to even think such a thing!"
"No, Mister de Chagney. She would be monitored every hour of the day to make sure she doesn't hurt herself anymore. She will also be given the best—"
"The best? You insult me! Only the weak minded believe that asylums are better! Sir, they are horrible! I do not want my wife to be in conditions such as those."
"I implore you to institutionalize her. She needs it, if only for the hallucinations."
Raoul growled. "No, I will not institutionalize her."
"No! I am doing this for our dignity and my sanity. I would not know if she was well or not! I would be a worried man."
"You would receive reports of her condition weekly or biweekly."
"But I would not know how she feels. No is my final answer, and you shall receive nothing else."
"Sir, it is for her own good."
There was silence.
"You will regret this."
"I may, I may not. I know that Christine would thank me."
"When her sanity breaks entirely, will she thank you?"
"Leave my house, Doctor, and never return."
Doctor Robinson's footsteps could be heard walking down the front steps and onto the gravel road.
Raoul loved me! He fought of a doctor of high standard and his opinion just because he wasn't sure if I would like going to an asylum. Of course I wouldn't have, it would be better for me here. Here, where I knew I had someone to love me.
As Raoul came back up the stairs and into our bedroom, I bolted up. My locks of blond hair were wild about me as I looked at him imploringly. He smiled and slipped into bed next to me. He was a warm shield against my horrible thoughts, and I must have him next to me to prevent the fall into madness.
And yet, as I fell into a much-needed sleep, I still cried when I heard Erik softly singing a lullaby.
Perhaps madness is worth it, if I can hear that sweet lullaby every day.
Goodnight, Erik. I will talk to you when I wake.
A/N: Alright, this is a re-do of my previous Dead Love story, and it is way better. Tripled the size and made it deeper. I do not own the Phantom of the Opera, FYI. anyway, how was it? Good, bad, horrible, overly dramatic? Please tell me in a review! :3