Heartbroken. That's what my angel was feeling after Raoul pulled me away from the cemetery. I knew he was only there to look over me, to see that I was all right. He may not know that I noticed, but each and every time I journeyed to the cemetery to see my father's grave, my angel was there, watching over me. I knew this, for I could feel his presence all around me. I knew he was watching over my every move, ready to pounce at the first person who thought they had a shot at robbing a helpless girl. But today, Raoul came running to me as if I were in danger and pulled me away from my angel. I had thought Raoul was going to take me to the opera house and leave things as they were, but instead, he whisked me away to his estate where he scolded me.
"Christine, your monster must be taken down."
Raoul was sipping on a glass of wine, while I was sitting across from him, trying to ignore everything he was saying.
"Please what? Don't tell me you have feelings for that thing?"
What could I say? My angel had become a dear friend in my eyes. He had taught me how to sing, and above all things, he had been there when no body else was. I was so sad when my father died, but my angel pulled me out of the depression that was to come soon enough. And from out of darkness, music was born, music that my maestro and I spent endless hours enjoying.
"Please, Raoul, don't make me do this." I begged. "I don't want any part of your plan."
"Christine, you have no say! Your monster is going to be brought to justice for all that he's done."
"And by justice you mean death? Is that the sort of justice you speak of?"
"Death would be too kind for a monster like him! I have a wonderful plan, Christine. He never misses any one of your performances, and therefore, I shall call in every guard there is in Paris. And when he shows up, he will meet his demise."
"You expect me to lure him straight into a trap."
"And tomorrow night during Don Juan, he will meet his demise. Do not fail me, Christine."
Raoul grabbed me by my arm and hoisted me up with a violent grip.
"You will do this, Christine! Come hell or high water, you will do this if it's the last thing you do!"
I was in tears now, for Raoul had never touched me like this. He expected me to raise my angel like a pig for slaughter, lure him into a trap like a rabbit during hunting season. My angel might have done a lot of terrible things, but he was good deep down. When I was taken home that evening, I dressed in my night attire, and found my way down into the chapel. I needed to pray, I needed advice…I lit the candle that was placed beside my father's portrait, kneeling down on the cold cobble floor to pray.
"Papa, I come to you this night to ask for help. My angel of music is in terrible danger. I know he can be at his worst behavior at times, but I know you wouldn't have sent him to me if there wasn't at least some good within him. The last thing I want, is to see him hurt, to see him die…Oh, papa, please help me help him. He deserves so much better than the fate that is destined to meet him."
"Christine, praying to clouds once again."
I gasped, and looked up upon hearing that voice. It was him! It had to be, for his voice always sent shivers down my spine.
"Angel, we need to speak."
"Ah, and now she wishes to speak with her maestro, when just this morning, Christine allowed her fop to pull her away as if maestro were a monster!"
"Angel, it's not like that, not at all."
"Really? Then tell your angel, Christine, tell him how it is?"
From behind me, I felt a deathly chill and within seconds, a dark form was standing over me, icy eyes glowing within the darkness. Oh, how my angel was at least three feet taller than I was, skeletal and frail…But I knew he was far from it, for his anger and strength were two of the most deadliest combinations.
"Look at me when you are speaking." he demanded.
When my angel wore his mask, he was easier to look upon, but even as he wore the piece of porcelain, I knew his eyes were still as demanding as ever. I never did enjoy staring into those icy eyes, for they were two different shades of blue…Only the devil could be born with such a trait.
"You will be attending tomorrow night's gala, won't you?"
Slowly, ever so slowly, his arms folded across his chest as his posture stayed as stiff as a board.
"And why wouldn't he be attending? Don't play dumb with your angel, Christine."
"Don't come, please…" I begged. "There is a plot to kill you."
I thought this would scare my angel, but he simply laughed! Laughed! Oh, why was he laughing over this? Did he not believe a word I was saying?
"Kill him?" he chuckled. "Kill the Phantom of the Opera. Pishposh that is! The angel of music is untouchable."
"But it's true. Raoul is going to have every guard standing watch, and when they see you, they are going to be ordered to shoot." I paused, taking a reassuring breath. "And shoot to kill."
"Ah, but wouldn't Christine be happy for this? Wouldn't she be free? Free from the angel in hell?"
"I don't want to see you taken down, angel." I was looking up at him now. "I don't want to see you bleeding to death on the very stage you cleared just to make it my own."
"And what would Christine do if her angel lay bleeding on that very stage?"
My maestro was circling me now, his eyes never looking away from me. Oh, he was like a lion, ready to pounce on it s prey.
"I…I don't know."
"Exactly, Christine. Your angel must thank you for your warnings, and bid you goodnight."
My angel approached the opening of the corridors, only turning when I called for him.
"You will be there tomorrow night, won't you?"
"Your angel has never missed a performance, and he won't start now."
"In the shadows, Christine, always in the shadows."
I could only smile as I turned back to my father's candle.
I turned to face his form once again.
"Get upstairs before Christine catches her death. She's in her bare feet for god sakes."
And when my angel left, I blew out my father's candle, and did as I was told. My angel would be safe, my angel would not be killed…I wouldn't let it happen. Only, Raoul had a plan, a plan that I didn't know about, one that would leave me heartbroken in the end.
Perhaps there was a possible life for Erik. Perhaps there was possible love for him within Christine. Yes, she had told her Erik about the plot Raoul had planned! But why? Why would she tell poor Erik about his demise? Did she not want a life with the boy? A life of freedom from this monster who burns in hell? Erik's original plan was to kill Piange and take his place on stage as Don Juan. But, to do it now would only mean the end of Erik's life. Instead, Erik came up with another plan, he would watch his angel sing from the rafters, and then, after her performance, he would join her in her dressing room. With a red rose in hand, Erik would get to his knees and confess his love for his Christine. Never once, had he ever mentioned a single word about it, but he couldn't hold onto such a feeling any longer…No, this feeling needed to be told, so that hopefully, Christine would understand and come to love her angel of music.
"Erik loves you, Christine." Erik practiced his pitiful speech in front of his mirror. There had to be more to say than just that.
"If you would have him, Erik would be grateful to have you as his lifelong companion. Oh, Christine, Erik will ask nothing more of you if she just agrees to just that! Just knowing that she will be beside Erik through night and day is enough to fill his heart with all the joy the world could ever offer."
Just thinking about it made Erik's heart leap! How meals wouldn't be so lonely anymore, how music would have a meaning…Sunday walks would be joyful! For Erik would have his Christine beside him! But along with love, also came rejection, and Erik was ready for it. His heart was weak enough as it was without being rejected by Christine. But, if she did, Erik would come home to die…It was Christine who made life worth living. Without Christine, there was no reason to wake, no reason to write music, and that's why he would die without her acceptance. Perhaps she would agree. Perhaps Christine would smile and say "Yes, Erik, that is a wonderful proposal."
If his Christine agreed to just that, he would never ask her for a kiss, never beg her of a single hug…No, she would never be forced to do anything more than be by her monster's side.
Erik had to be presentable…Erik had to look like a man willing to be beside his Christine until death do we part. He sat there in his copper tub, scrubbing his yellow flesh raw with soap. Afterwards, he found himself in his bedchambers, dressing and adjusting his bowtie in front of the wardrobe mirror. Erik was almost finished dressing, when he heard a terrible crash coming from out in the foyer. Was it Christine? It couldn't be…She was nearly at her performance by now. But who else could it be? No one knew where Erik lived…No one knew how to get here? Quickly he grabbed his trusty lasso, and crept down the hall, ready to strike. Erik had never been afraid before, but when he came out from the hall, and saw no less than a mob of fifty people, his heart stopped within his chest. Christine! It had to be because of Christine. Yes! She betrayed her Erik! Told him not to attend the performance in order to catch him at home…Let the mob handle him!
Quickly, Erik pounced on everyone and everything he could get the lasso around. The mob went mad, hitting Erik, lashing their blunt weapons upon his body. Erik was knocked to the ground within seconds, backed into a corner like a helpless animal. That's when the ambush occurred. Every weapon and everyone came down upon his skeletal body! Leather bullwhips lashed at his flesh…Oh, those whips! Those horrible objects brought back memories from so long ago, memories of the pain and scars they left upon Erik's flesh after three nightly beatings.
Erik saw a flash of red, splattering itself among the walls, floors, even the mob's clothes. Blood, his blood was pouring out of every inch of his body! How they laughed and taunted poor Erik after tearing away his only shield from the world, his mask! Staying awake was becoming harder now, for Erik was in so much pain. What made matters worse, was when the mob found his lasso laying across the floor, for they laughed and hung Erik up by his neck! How he struggled to breathe, as their fun continued. Never had Erik ever felt the wrath of being stabbed, but now, there were two men at each side of his chest, forcing their jagged blades into either sides of him! Erik screamed! Erik pleaded with them to have mercy, but they would hear nothing! Blood was pouring like a waterfall from his body onto the floor. His face was clawed upon, his scars were reopened by knives…How painful it was to feel his scars reopened, scars that had formed over twenty years ago!
"Please…" Erik couldn't hang on much longer. He was pleading with them to have mercy for him. But, the mob didn't care, for their abuse just kept coming, the lashes becoming harder, the blood draining faster! And only then did Erik pass out, ready to surrender to the death he had fought off for far too long. Betrayed! My Christine had betrayed me! Oh, why had I trusted her? Why!
I couldn't feel it. My angel of music had promised me that he would be watching my performance from the rafters. I could never see him, but even when I used to dance in the operas, I could always feel his eyes burning into my skull, feel the chill of his presence, and yet, now, as I danced with Piange on stage, I could feel nothing. From box five, I looked up to see Raoul occupying it, with no less than three guards standing beside him. I knew he was waiting, waiting for my angel to appear, but he wouldn't, for I had warned him. Perhaps he was running late, perhaps he was waiting until the end to show up…but even as Piange and I sang along to "Past the Point of No Return" I still felt nothing.
When the opera ended, I stood there on stage taking my final bows as roses were thrown my way. But, something was strange, something was terribly wrong. From up in box five, I noticed a disheveled man leaning beside Raoul, whispering something into his ear. I wasn't sure what he was saying, but what ever it was made my Raoul smile. I kept telling myself that everything would be all right, that I would arrive at my dressing room to find a red rose sitting on my vanity like always. I couldn't make it there fast enough, hurrying straight towards my dressing room door as soon as the curtain closed the final time. It would be there! It would be there! It always was… I pushed open the mahogany door, and hurried to my vanity…Oh, how my heart stopped when I noticed that there was no rose laying upon its surface.
"No…" I mouthed the words over and over again. Perhaps he had placed it somewhere else! Yes! That's it… I worked frantically, tearing apart my wardrobe, even finding myself crawling along the floor like a toddler, feeling around every crevice of my dressing room.
"Christine, have you lost something?"
I gasped! That voice! Raoul! I lifted my head, only to bump it on the stool of my vanity. I rubbed the spot that would most likely form a bump, coming out from underneath it to face Raoul.
"Come Christine." he said, pulling me to my feet. "We must go to dinner."
"What is it?"
"You're acting strange."
"Strange?" he raised his brow in question.
"You're overly happy at the moment. You're never like that…"
"Right, perhaps it is because the opera ghost is dead."
"Dead?" I questioned. "How? He never showed up tonight?"
Raoul smiled and sat me down on my vanity bench.
"Christine, I couldn't have done it without you."
My heart began to race. Oh, what was he talking about? What did he mean? I had warned my angel about what was to come did I not? How was it that Raoul thought he was dead?
"You see, Christine, I knew you would warn your angel about my plan."
I tried to speak, but he pressed his finger against my lips to silence me.
"Just listen to me, Christine. I knew you would warn him… So, I came up with my own plan, a plan that would fall into the place with the plan you would ruin."
Oh, how my heart stopped within my chest. I had caused this! I had hurt my angel…Raoul had wanted me to warn him in the first place.
"…So, you see, Christine." Raoul continued. "I knew he would be in his lair right before the performance because you warned him. Therefore, I hired a mob to seek him out and kill him."
"You don't know where he lives!" I cried. "I never told you."
"But I followed you, Christine." Raoul assured. "Two weeks ago, I followed you when the beast took you to his home. I even made a map so that the mob could find their way to and from his sorry excuse of a home. They went down there, stabbed him, beat him until his blood drained onto the floor."
"No…" I was in tears now. "No! how could you! How could you do this!"
"Oh, believe me, Christine, he deserved something, but even death was too good for the likes of him!"
Raoul pulled me to my feet again, so violently that I yelped in pain.
"Come along, Christine, dinner awaits us!"
"No! Never! Never!" I tore away the chain that was hanging around my neck, the same chain that held the engagement ring he had given to me. "I will never marry you, Raoul! Never!"
Raoul was angry now, so angry that he threw me across the room.
"Sleep it off, Christine!" he shouted. "You'll forget all about your monster in the morning and then, we get go on with our lives!"
But I wouldn't, for he had destroyed the only person in my life besides himself that I cared for. But I wouldn't just sit here…I wouldn't just fall asleep… No, I needed to see my angel's body! I needed to give him a funeral. He lived such a lonely life, but he would not die alone… No, I would bury him, and then, disappear from Paris before the sun rose.
Ok, so here's the first chapter of the new story. Sorry for those who were enjoying "And Yet I won't regret" I'll try to make this one just as entertaining as the last one. So, please review! Sorry, once again.