Disclaimer: If I owned Phantom of the Opera, I wouldn't have been able to watch "The Haunted" all afternoon and get this idea :)
a/n: long time no see eh? here's the deal: if none of my friends call me up this week, i get to choose between ancient history homework and writing this... as much as i love crumbling history, i love a good ghost story better ;)
plz read & review!
Some souls move on after this world, some souls come back, and some souls never leave.
Chapter One – Tunnels
"Chrissy, I'm beginning to believe that that sign was there for a reason."
"Oh come on Dick, where's your sense of adventure?"
Behind them were two large thumps that fell from wherever the ceiling was and tumbled down one of the cracked walls.
"This place is going to cave in Chris…we should turn back." Richard carefully said.
"I know where I'm going Richard."
Shaking off how strange she sounded, he caught her arm.
"What?" she growled.
"Christine. Listen. You can't possibly know where you're going. If we don't turn back now we're going to get lost. You're sense of direction is terrible and mine isn't good enough to get us back any farther."
"Richard – you listen: there's something down there, something I need to figure out. You can turn back if you want, but I have to figure this out."
"I'm not going to leave you."
"Then follow me."
It was six weeks ago when Christine first opened up to Richard about her dreams. They had been dating for three years and she had never said a word until they were finalizing their trip to Paris, France. He loved Christine and had planned to propose to her while they were there, but since they had arrived, her brain seemed to have disappeared as if she were not on Earth. The only reason he had gone past the angry read sign was that for the first time in weeks, Christine seemed completely alive and alert.
"Nothing… watch out for that rock. It shouldn't be there."
Richard followed her finger to where she was pointing. A large brick lay in the middle of the tunnel. It didn't seem so strange to him since everything else seemed to be falling around them.
"What do you mean?"
"That rock it – it was gone before."
Ignoring what Christine was implying, Richard went on.
"Can you read French?"
"Did you ever take it?"
"No, Dick, you know that."
"What did that sign say? The one we passed before coming down here?"
Christine stopped to turn and look at him. Her manner fumed annoyance, "It said 'Non Entree'."
"What do you think?" Sighing, "No Entry. Come on and watch out for the rat trap over there."
Christine shined her flashlight towards a corner to their right. Richard squinted to see it old and rusted, nearly falling apart. He decided to not point out that it most likely was no longer a treat to rats or people alike, being as old as it was.
They came to a fork in the tunnel. Christine pointed left.
"We go this way. The other way is to the boiler room. I guess they don't use them anymore."
"How do you know?"
"If they were still in use, you would be able to see red lights in the distance with black shapes in front of them. I used to think they were demons."
"OK." Was all he decided to say. Richard began to choose his words more carefully. At this point, he was afraid to let Christine off alone and he knew that making her angry would only result in her taking lead away from him. He was definitely not comfortable with her behavior, but this was the most she had opened up to him in what seemed like months.
"Do you think they'll notice we left the tour?" He tried to lighten the mood.
"Do you think they'll go looking for us?"
"Maybe, but once we go down a little ways more, I'd be surprised if they could find us."
"Uh, Chris, did you ever think that we might need them to find us? You know, like eventually?"
"Just trust me!" She hissed.
The atmosphere began to get colder; upstairs there a waited a hot, bright, Parisian day. Richard had wanted to take Christine to the gardens that afternoon, or at least get lunch. He really had no idea she was going to do this. Before now, Christine had always been obeying the rules. She was always so gentle and afraid of such things. Before this, he was just putting it out of his mind about her character changes. He wasn't about to put three years of the perfect relationship and a lifetime of friendship out of his head just because she seemed so adamant about going to Paris. Perhaps it was all just a phase? Maybe getting all of these dreams out of the way was the better option. Once it was all out, they could go back to America and begin their wedding plans. Richard shook his head and simply kept following his girlfriend.
Christine stopped suddenly and put her nose to the air.
"Do you smell that?" She whispered.
Richard followed her action.
"Smells like decay… just stronger than what we've dealt with so far."
"No, no, no!" She stopped to smell again, "We're getting closer."
"Closer? Closer to what?"
Sighing, Richard could only follow. He had no idea what she was talking about. To him, the entire place just smelled like rot and sewage water.
"Watch out for the rats." She told him softly.
Richard stepped down towards ground that seemed to be moving. He looked to where her flashlight was shining to see rows and rows of rats scurrying around, disappearing and reappearing in holes in the walls.
"Christine! No! This cannot be safe!"
"It's probably not." She stopped.
"Can we go back now?"
"No." Christine began to search in her purse. Taking out a Special K bar she unwrapped it and threw it in a corner. The rats soon rushed to where it fell. "Hurry! Before they finish it!" She grabbed his hand and ran through the remaining rats. The sound of their footsteps seemed to pound around the walls making rocks crumble.
"Faster! We're almost there! Smell the lake!"
"Christine the tunnel's falling in!"
A splash of water was heard and Richard grabbed his girlfriend just in time. She sprung up and embraced his shoulders. This is more like it! He thought smiling for a second. A few more crumbles were heard behind them.
"May I see the flashlight for a minute?" He asked, happy as she handed it over without conflict. For a moment he really was glad she kept the thing in her purse. Shinning the light behind them, he frowned. "Do you see an opening?" He felt her shake her head on his chest. "Me neither." Turning around to the pool of water on the other side of him, he shined the water into it. "Chrissy, what were you thinking?"
"The water. It's up too high. It wasn't supposed to be that high. There's supposed to be a shore line…and a boat."
"Maybe in your dream, but this is real life."
"Richard!" Christine pushed him off roughly, "This is exactly why I didn't tell you about my dreams! I knew you wouldn't believe me! How else do you think we got this far?"
"And now we're stuck down here until the rocks are moved and according to you no one knows how to get here!"
Fuming, Christine snatched the flashlight from her boyfriend and pointed it to the water. A few minutes later she was calm.
"Siren…" He heard her mumble as he took out his phone.
"And of course there's no reception down here." He hissed putting it back into his pocket. As soon as he looked back up she had begun to step into the water, inhaling sharply when it soaked through her pants. "Hey!" He grabbed her arm and took her back to him, "What do you think you're doing? You'll get pneumonia at the least!"
"There's something down there…I can hear it."
"Christine, no! I didn't bring you hear so you could kill you're self!"
"But I have to see it! I have to know."
Taking both of her small arms in his hands he was no pleading, "Christine please, tell me what all of this is. Please, I'm worried about you…and by the looks of it we're going to be down here for a while. Here, sit down, I'll try to move these rocks."
"You'll just think I'm crazy."
Turning back to her he said honestly, "No, please Christine, I love you, I won't."
She sighed, "OK."
"OK," he repeated, "Now, would you mind pointing the light this way so I can get started?"
Without words, she did so and sighed again. A few silent minutes later, when all that could be heard was the sound of Richard throwing rocks, he spoke up, "You can start whenever you want."
"Oh." She whispered as if she had just been brought back to earth, "Are you sure you're not hearing that?"
"All I hear are these rocks falling. What I'd like to hear is you."
"I don't know when it started- my dreams, I mean…they were just always…there."
Richard hurled another rock from the pile.
"Most of them are just snap-shots of time, you know, not really connected, like the men in the boiler rooms and the rat trap. But coming here, all of them seemed to begin to fit. The dreams, they always came and went, but especially once we made this trip final, I started having more and they became more vivid. That was when I told you about them…I thought you ought to know my meaning behind coming here."
"That's not what you told me." Richard threw another rock, this one hitting the water, splashing Christine a little making her gasp, "Sorry." He began to move more rocks, "You said you wanted to come here as a possible place to live."
"I wasn't lying, Dick. I have… lived here before."
"Christine," he turned to her and squinted as the light hit his eyes, "No you haven't. You've only lived in one town all your life."
"This life, yes."
"What do you mean now?" he returned to his work.
"I think these images are from my past life."
"You know I don't believe in that stuff."
"Yes I know, but if you want me to be honest, then here it is."
"OK, yes, I did, just keep going." He said hurling a rock over his right shoulder with a bit more force then what was needed.
"Don't get angry at me Richard or I'll stop."
He sighed, "I'm sorry. Go on."
Christine stood up and began to pace a little, "Remember that book we had to read in tenth grade?" she said so quietly he had issues hearing her.
"We read a lot of books that year."
"I know, but the one…oh you are going to think I'm crazy."
"What Chrissy?" He turned to her after throwing another small boulder over his right shoulder and as soon as he did, "Ouw! What was that?" he cracked after feeling a rock pelt him on his back right shoulder.
"What?" She whispered.
"Was that you?" he asked looking down to her.
"That rock! It hit me square in my right shoulder."
Christine blinked in confusion.
"How could I? I'm on your left, aren't I?"
"Yeah…" he faded off looking around in blindness. The tunnel ended in water. It was not large and there was no one there but them.
"Maybe it fell from the ceiling?"
"But it hit me on my back…as if it were thrown."
"Don't scare me like that Dick. You know I don't like it when you try to scare me."
He shook off his fear, "Maybe I'm just on edge. Go on." It took her another moment to come back as he proceeded to move rocks. Slowly, he noticed his light begin to cross the tunnel and land in the water, "Chrissy, I need that."
"There are stairs, can't you see?"
"I see water. What I would like to see is this tunnel cleared."
"Sorry." She mumbled pointing the light back to him.
"What book?" he said after another silence.
"The Phantom of the Opera." She said so quietly he was surprised to hear her.
"Oh my god." He scoffed.
"See! I knew you would think I was crazy!" she moaned.
"You believed that book?"
"It's not like that Richard!"
"Then what's it like? Ouw!" Richard touched the back of his shoulders, "Damn these rocks! Where are they coming from? Hold on, can I see the flashlight?"
Richard walked to her to take the flashlight. As he turned the light away from Christine and towards the corner where he was sure the rocks where coming from, he heard a huge disruption in the water.
"Christine!" He yelled shinning the light towards the water which had now spilled over towards the cave-in. Kneeling at the water's edge he shinned the light into the foggy water. "Chrissy?" He frantically put his arm into the water trying to fish her out. Suddenly, a large bubble escaped to the surface. "Christine!"
Richard burst into the water with the flash light (which to his surprise still worked). He saw his girlfriend's vague figure as it seemed to walking away from him – not swimming – walking. With a burst of energy from his legs, he kicked off the edge of the steps and reached out to her. Christine's calm figure suddenly came alive and swam to him. As he swung her around back up the steps he felt a tug on his collar. Looking over his shoulder, it seemed that the foggy water turned black despite the flashlight. Blinking before him were two golden eyes .
As quickly as they appeared, they were gone, and Richard felt free. Pointing his light to the stairs, he climbed up. Once he was out, Christine had him in her arms.
"Richard! Richard! There was a voice and I didn't even realize I was under water! It was just like the dream and I didn't even know there was water!"
Richard was at first speechless. He could only hold her and continue breathing even as it seemed to be freezing around them.
"Richard he was singing."
"Didn't you see him?"
Shaking off the memory he calmly answered, "No, no I didn't."
"Not even his eyes? His golden eyes!"
"No Christine. Just… calm down."
He sensed she was crying now and he held her tighter.
"Oh Dick maybe I am going crazy!"
"It's OK, Chrissy," he hushed in her ear, "We're going to get out of here and everything is going to be OK."
The two heard rocks shifting and rolling near them. Christine buried her face in his shoulder as Richard shined his light toward the noise. He couldn't believe his eyes.
"Chrissy! Chrissy look!" She turned towards the light, "Was that there before?"
Shinning in the flashlight was an entirely new tunnel. It seemed to be at the place where the pebbles had been hitting Richard from before their unexpected swim.
"It must have just opened," Christine announced, now calm, "Come on Richard, we can get out this way."
"How do you-"
"Don't question me Raoul…Richard…Just, just come on."
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