Title: The Case of the Living Corpse
Author: Rewrittengirl (or rather Leffie)
Fandom: Sherlock (TV series)
Wordcount: 2,164 words
Rating: T for teen.
Pairing(s): Eventual John/Mary Mortsen romance *le gasp* Yes yes, I know, she's not doing Johnlock? What is wrong with her! Also Christine/Roger (Raoul de Chagny) romance eventually. Maybe some Sherlock/Irene (non-romantic) tensions later on, if I decide to bring in Miss Adler (on the basis of her being in the original canon story 'A Scandal in Bohemia' a retired opera singer)?
Warning(s): Murder, kidnappings, suspense, language, Operatic jargon, one crazy mofo (aka the Phantom), mentions of suicide, rape, and the like, but nothing outright, so it's still T for teen.
Notes: Okay, so basically I'm in a muse slump for my other fics. The only thing that has been getting me out of that muse slump has been planning this one, a NON SLASH (is she insane?) fic that even includes John/Mary (IS SHE MENTALLY UNSTABLE?). I happen to like Mary (but hate Sarah), so for all you Mary haters out there, please bear with me. I'm just trying out a good old mystery, instead of character study fics. This one will hopefully be updated more regularly, because I know SO much about Phantom and can easily write this out in modern times. I know that there are a couple of Sherlock/Phantom crossover fics out there (particularly one called "the Ghost in the Theatre" by an author who's name escapes me), so I just want to say I am in NO WAY copying them, in fact I planned this before I saw them. If there are any similarities, I apologize, as I have not read any of the fics. Phantom is my other love next to Sherlock Holmes, so I'm just trying to combine my two obsessions together to create an entertaining and suspenseful mystery for my lovely readers to enjoy! Tell your friends, because I'm afraid since this is a crossover it won't get as many hits as a normal fic does (only Phantom phans actually seek out crossover SH fics, not gonna lie), so get the word out that Leffie has a new fic (*feels horrible for asking favors of her readers*)! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Sherlock Holmes, nor any of the characters mentioned in this fic. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle owns the characters, and the BBC, Steven Moffat, and Mark Gatiss own the modernized version. If I owned the BBC version, Holmes would have kissed Watson in a dark alleyway in thanks for saving his life. Episode one. :3
Summary: When a stagehand is found dead at the Royal Opera House in London, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are called in to investigate. However, when a wealthy patron of the opera consults Sherlock on the disappearance of one Christine Dawson, a talented but virtually unknown understudy to the prima donna, the crime solving duo are trapped in a game of wits against the mysterious Opera Ghost, whose existence may be more corporeal than Sherlock believes. Can Sherlock Holmes, the greatest mind the world has ever seen, be outwitted by a masked monster?
"Rehearsals, rehearsals," Megan Greene muttered aloud as she left the stage door of the Royal Opera House. She flipped her dark hair over her shoulder and slipped her large sunglasses over her even darker eyes to block out the surprisingly bright sun ('This time of day, really? In London?' she thought). She did a small twirl with her nimble legs onto the pavement. It had been a long day, and she was looking forward to stripping away the exhaustion of several hours of rehearsal and sinking into rose scented water in her tub at home. Anxious, she very nearly ran to the corner of the street to hail a cab.
Standing and waiting for an empty one, she rummaged through her bag for her wallet to pay the driver. After a couple of minutes and quite a few able cabs passing her by, she realized with a sinking feeling that it wasn't there. Meg, as her friends called her, began to panic. Maybe she just left it inside the dressing room…? She had taken it out earlier to lend Susan a few quid for lunch, and must have left it there by mistake.
She growled, stomping her foot and making her way back to the Opera house. She passed by a few of the other ballerinas on their way out.
"Hey Meg! Where are you going? Not to practice again, I hope!" Julia remarked, and the two other girls next to her giggled in unison.
Meg rolled her eyes. "Ha ha, very funny," she retorted. Everyone knew Meg was drilled enough at home by her former danseur father and encouraged by her mother, who worked at the Opera House. "I left my wallet, thank you very much."
Nadine, ginger and proud, brushed her hair back behind her ear. "Well, whenever you're done, meet us at my brother's pub, mmkay? I think we're all about ready to celebrate the opening, tomorrow, don't you?"
Meg nodded. It was about time, they'd been rehearsing for months. Faust, one of the greatest operas ever written, was premiering tomorrow, and Meg was a part of it. She was excited, but had apprehensions about it. The choreography was the hardest she'd ever danced, and she was inexplicably nervous and, she felt, wholly unprepared. Well… at least compared to the other dancers. And with the pressure her father put on her… well… Coming home with bad reviews wouldn't be pretty.
Her friends pleaded with her to come with them, though she knew she had to get home for dinner. Before a show her mother always cooked her favorite meals and the three of them would sit down together for family time, some relaxation before opening day.
Meg scratched her one of her calves with her little black ballet slipper ('always the dancer even when she's not dancing' her friends said) and sighed. The bath and a nice dinner were calling to her, but she did really need a drink. "Alright, alright, I'll just… I'll just have to call my Dad and tell him I'm coming home a little late, okay?"
She began walking to the stage door as she heard, "Okay, Nina, we'll be waiting!"
"That's not funny!" she shouted back at them, but they were already skipping away. They didn't mean any harm, but when you still lived with your overbearing father and you danced for a living, certain parallels had to be made between your life and the Black Swan's. Meg shook her head. She'd once had the Swan Queen as her dream role, but after seeing that movie, she'd rather not risk herself going nutso insane and suicidal. Leave that to Natalie Portman!
'And besides, Dad isn't nearly as bad as Barbara Hersey! And Mum's there to keep him in line, after all…'
Meg left the streets of London and traversed backstage, taking her sunglasses off and stuffing them in her bag. There were still a few crew members left, but otherwise the place was deserted. They said hi to her as she passed by on the way to the dressing rooms, and she smiled at each of them equally.
Finally, she reached the dressing room, and almost died with happiness at seeing it. She gripped the door handle and turned it greedily, keen to get the hell out of there and into Nadine's brother's pub asap!
Oh… It wasn't turning. It was jammed, stuck, or… "Oh, God, why me?" Meg barked, banging on the door to the very empty and locked room. She groaned, rubbing her head and slipping away, determined to find a janitor somewhere who could open the door.
'Does this place even have janitors?' she thought mindlessly. The opera house, though it was still daylight out, was dark since rehearsals were over, and now she felt more alone than ever. Meg rolled her eyes when she realized she was getting nowhere with fumbling around in the dark, and took to her bag to dig out her mobile. "Remind me to get a smaller purse…" she mumbled aloud to no one in particular. Triumphant, she pulled out the device and clicked it on, scrolling through her apps until she found the torch one. She turned it on and focused on finding her way to the hallways, where there were sure to be some janitors (not to mention light!) or at least some personnel.
"Hello?" she called out, as if that would make her loneliness better. She told herself she'd never come to the theatre again when it was this dark, because it was becoming really, really creepy. She felt her way through corridors and trampled over props (she put them back in their places, of course), completely at her wit's end. She needed her wallet!
Meg found herself eventually in flat storage, though how she wound up there, she didn't know. She almost turned around when she heard a rustling noise. Funny, if someone was working here you'd think they'd leave the lights on.
Taking a deep breath, she shone her torch all around so that she could find some sort of light switch, but found nothing. She hoped it wasn't rats that were making the noise! Meg just might die if she stepped on one. Who knows how many diseases they had!
She stepped closer to some of the flats with a shaky gulp. "Hello? Is anyone there…? Oh, please don't be rats, please don't be rats!"
'Stupid Meg, just leave! This place is spooky enough as it is when it's dark, just don't… don't scare yourself any more than you have to!'
She couldn't stop it though, especially not when she heard the rustling again. What if… what if someone had broken in, and was hiding out here? Meg, frantic to get out of there, started to head back to the door, but then she thought, 'Stop it, Meg! You're a brave girl! If… If there is someone there… I could make a citizen's arrest!' She prepared herself to call 999 if that was the case. If there was someone in the theatre, then they wouldn't get past her. No one would creep around her Opera Hou-
Suddenly, with a sinking feeling as she tread toward where she last heard the sound, she realized that the person might not just get past her, but might go through her. No… that couldn't be! Her mother, who was the Royal Opera House's chief box keeper, often told her stories when she was little of a ghost haunting the opera house. When she grew older and finally joined the corps de ballet at the theatre, she realized it wasn't just her mother that knew about the ghost, but the rest of the company as well. They weren't frightened of him or anything; the legend of the ghost was just another scapegoat for them when plans didn't go smoothly, a sort of inside joke among them.. People didn't really believed that the things that go wrong at the last minute were to be blamed on the Opera Ghost, but… her mother had kept the same old belief that the ghost existed, all these years. She would never lie to Meg, would she?
"Mummy, if there is a ghost, why do you work there! He could scare you to death!" a Little Meg once said to her when Mrs. Greene first spoke of the Opera Ghost as a bedtime story.
"My little Nutmeg," she'd said using her nickname for the girl. "He couldn't frighten me! He's just lonely, that's all."
"Yes, he just wants someone to play with. Everyone has their theories, but I think he's like a child, trapped inside that big place with nowhere to go, nothing to do but watch the operas and ballets being performed. He has his own private box, you know!" Meg had laughed at that.
"Every once in a while he'll play tricks on people, just like a little boy. Once a diva's wig went missing, another time a flat dropped onto the stage, that sort of thing you know. But he can't be all bad, because sometimes you can hear singing in the rafters of the theatre, a voice as crystalline and pure as an angel's. People will hear that voice and be scared, but I think that God has a special place for that little lost boy…" The much younger Mrs. Greene sighed, folding her hands in her lap and looking as if she was in another world.
Meg was always the skeptical child. "Sounds like you've seen him yourself, Mummy," she offered as a clever ploy. Clever girl, she was.
Her mother blushed, but shrugged. "Well, maybe I have!" she laughed. She looked all around, to make sure Meg's father wasn't around, and leaned in as she tucked her little one into bed. "Someone has to watch over his box. Don't you think Meg?" she whispered in her ear.
Meg gasped and giggled, her mother tickling her relentlessly when she broke into a fit of laughter. "Oh Mummy, tell me you'll let me meet him one day?"
Her mother smiled. "Hush now, my little Nutmeg. It's time to sleep."
Meg swallowed hard, clutching her mobile in death-grip. She shook uncontrollably, but there was nothing to be done. If it was the ghost, then she was already cornered, so she might as well be prepared to face him. Deep down inside of her, she had never been afraid of him, but she thought any ghost who played malicious tricks on people might be a bit dangerous.
"Hey… Opera Ghost…? If you're there, you better come out…! I… I won't hurt you, but if you hurt me, then I'll call the police!"
'Brilliant Meg, of course a ghost is going to be petrified of the police!' she thought, rolling her eyes.
She neared a couple of flats, a farm scene and a flat from last year's production of Roi de Lahore, and decided to take a peek between them. She blinked rapidly and clutched her chest. 'Here goes nothing,' she thought, and took a deep breath. Meg flashed her light between the two sets.
The woman gasped and nearly dropped her mobile, but fumbled with it and shone it again on the scene. 'What was that?' she thought. 'It just looks like a mannequin, right?'
Stepping closer at what seemingly looked like a dummy, she breathed a sigh of relief when she realized it was indeed a dummy, but a living dummy.
It was the stagehand, Joe Buckett, a well-known drunk and trouble maker around the theatre. She laughed a little, realizing he must have passed out while putting away some of the Faust sets today after rehearsal. "Joseph Elijah Buckett! You scared the hell outta me!" She said with her hands on her hips, still shining her torch dimly on the passed out man. She aimed to wake him up and send him home to his wife, else the forever frantic Mrs. Buckett launch a search party for him.
"What are you still doing here? Rehearsal's over, you old git!" she laughed, moving toward where he was slumped on the Lahore flat, his chin resting on his chest. She knelt down and tried to shake him awake.
"Joe? Joe, come on now, you can't be that drunk! You hold your liquor well!" she remarked, wishing she could turn on the lights to wake him up, or splash cold water on him.
She shook him harder. "Jooooe!" she cried. "Joe? Joe wake up!" Meg wasn't laughing any more. "Joe, this isn't funny! Meryl's going to kill you for staying out so la—"
Joe's head lolled back and was eerily illuminated by the light of Meg's mobile torch. His pupils were dilated, and his tongue was swollen. His skin was pale, and his lips were blue.
"J-Joe?" Meg whispered. She shook her head, staring at the thin circular bruise around his stubbled neck.
In the deep and robust silence of the theatre, Megan Greene's scream sliced the air in two.
Thoughts? It's not totally horrible, is it? xD I'm really excited for this, and I'm sorry for the fail!summary, but this will be better than it sounds, I promise. :3
As always, read and review, and if any Phantom Phans read this, did you pick up on all of the little references to the different adaptations (all of which I've seen)?