Only one who has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime… You have slain something so pure and defenseless to save yourself, you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Some euphoric warmth was beginning to grow inside him, spreading all through his veins. It was erasing his pain. It was erasing his thoughts. His mind was growing calm, growing tranquil. The warmth was erasing his life, erasing his existence. He was prepared to meet death and greet him as an old friend. A small friendly interaction before an immediate trip to the hell where, he knew, he would burn eternally.
Christine would never have to lay eyes on him again. He hoped and prayed her thoughts would not be burdened by his ghost, his vicious memory. He coughed. The pain was nearly unbearable. His lungs continuously felt like they were sucking in ice. His face was warm from the puddle of blood that had completely encircled his head. It was silent, even the water seemed to hold its breath, waiting for his life to end. But then, he heard it. He heard footsteps reverberating off the walls of his once artistic home.
His eyes shot open, the unnatural neon green shining in the near-darkness. He grunted as he lifted his uninjured arm from underneath him. He desperately tried to make his muscles move. He tried to crawl to his mask lying just feet away. But he couldn’t move. His muscles screamed at him to stop, begged him to cease this torment. He eventually collapsed, dragging his blood along the floor only an inch. He raised a shaky hand to hide his face. He could feel the blood rolling in a steady stream down his face, collecting at his jaw line and dripping softly to the floor.
He remained still, hopeful that the intruder would leave him to die in his forced loneliness. He shut his eyes tightly, growing weaker and weaker until he finally heard the voice of his intruder. He opened his eyes to what had to be a fallacy. Christine was on her knees before him, trying to save him. This couldn’t be real. It had to be a mere figment of his insanity. He blinked, trying to make her go away, but she wouldn’t. She was here. Her angelic self was gracing him with her presence one, final time. She was just as perfect and beautiful as she had been when he had last seen her. He searched her face, taking in every detail again. She… was really here. His skeletal hands desperately grabbed the hem of her dress. He was now coughing up blood, the metallic taste hung heavily in his mouth as heavy as the air around him. “Christine?” He managed to say softer than a whisper. His voice was hoarse and losing life.
His heart soared. His dying wish had been met. He only wanted to see her one last time, that would surely be enough. But there was never enough of Christine, never enough of the angel he had grown to love and perfect. “Christine..” He groaned again, gasping, trying to breathe. He knew that he could die here in her arms and under her care, but his very soul wanted to fight for as much time as he could in this perfect moment.
He had stained her dress material in his fist red. He was trembling. He was cold. He looked up into those eyes he had so desperately longed for, for so long. In his eyes, he was begging her. He was begging her to just be there, no matter what the outcome of this may be.
The moment her brown eyes set on his green ones, she felt a variety of emotions wash through her. Those that she still harbored from a year ago and the ones that she felt presently, ranging from remorse to relief. After all of this time, she was still glad he was right back where she had left him. He hadn’t completely disappeared from her life and she did get to see him again. On the other hand, she felt guilty for causing as much pain to him as he did to her. And look where it got them. The last time she had seen him, she had left him for Raoul and now he was dying in her arms.
Maybe things could have been different. Maybe if she had stayed with him instead of running off with her fiancee, he wouldn’t be in so much pain. But she didn’t want it to come down to this. She wouldn’t allow it now. Although such short little time had affected her so much, there was just some things she couldn’t change. The adoration she felt for her angel of music and the instinct to do what was always right.
"Yes, it’s me." Christine couldn’t help but smile faintly as he spoke her name, looking down as he grasped onto her dress. Which was a sickening sight to see it quickly turn crimson with his blood, but she didn’t care if it was stained. She reached out to lightly brush a greasy strand of his hair from his face and her eyes scanned over him. There was a pang in her chest to see him this way. A broken and pained soul instead of the proud tutor she knew him to be.
Her hands applied more pressure on the wounds, also reaching up to dab along his face to get rid of most of the blood there. She just needed to keep him alive long enough to get him stable and to reach a doctor. All they needed was time. But they were running out of it. “Look at me. And just don’t let go.” She told him, her voice quivering slightly, as she shifted closer to him and never broke her steady gaze. As long as she was there, he wasn’t going anywhere. Not while she was around.
"I want you to fight for me, as much as you can." There wasn’t much fight left in him, as it seemed, but he had to do it for her. Christine took a deep breath and her eyes flickered to the cloth in her hands for a brief moment, before returning to his eyes again. "Just listen to me. I know you can do it." She had faith in him that he could. She didn’t want to face the possibilities that she could lose one of the most special people dear to her heart. Murderer, as much as it frightened her, or loving guardian.
It was just the two of them now, lying in the lair underneath the old Opera Populaire. No angry mob after him, or managers looking for her, or anything of the sorts. It didn’t have to be so complicated. Only if everything were more simple. Then she wouldn’t have to struggle with life at a young age or watch the people she loved die in front of her. She wasn’t going to let go of that one slip of happiness that he provided her like no one else did.
Levels below the Opera Populaire, far from the light and away from prying eyes, a macabre scene unfolded. A pool of blood encircled the trembling form of a human skeleton that lay on the icy, stone floor. A large, ornate dagger lay silently in the open hand of this inhumane creature. It’s silver surface glinting in the ruby red that continued to creep further and further along the stone. The blade that he once used for his own pleasures had succumbed to impure and a suicide attempt that was slowly becoming success. He, alone, was at the hand of his own death.
His unnaturally green eyes shone in the near-darkness. Only a single, dying candle was lit on a large candelabra. The wax had become so distorted from the flame, it had formed a kind of cascade of stalagmite off of the ornate candle holder. The flame was weak, just as the crumpled body on the floor. Human and inanimate object were parallel in this instance. He was sure when the flame had died, his life would slip with it. Such beauty they both had possessed at one point. They had once been strong, radiating light and warmth into those closest to it.
Stacks of music surrounded an organ that had been destroyed in a multiple fits of rage and anguish. The pipes had been maimed, ivory keys littered the floor amongst the torn sheets of parchment. A violin lay in two separate pieces near the front legs of the organ. And next to that, a mask. His mask that had fallen off of his face when he slit the long gash across his wrist.
An icy draft gently licked the drooping, grotesque flesh twisted into a horrifying distortion. It felt euphoric. For once, he could stand being uncovered, being exposed. No one would see, no one would know, and above all no one would care. A light drip continually fell in a rhythm that echoed off the grotto’s stone walls. He could also hear the soothing sound of trickling water from the extensive network of manmade waterways below the opera house amongst his catacombs. It had calmed his busy thoughts and now nothing but a voice rang through his mind.
He could always hear her. In his dreams, in every moment of his miserable existence that damned voice haunted him. Such a sweet and pure voice that could send chills up and down his spine, the same voice he had helped mold and perfect. The voice of the only women he had ever loved. Christine. Christine would be his dying thought, his dying wish, his dying regret. It had been nearly one year since the night of Don Juan triumphant. It had been nearly one year since he had last seen Christine. It had nearly been a year.
Each day grew heavier on his shoulders, weighing him down with heavy loads of guilt. It became more difficult to breathe. Each inhale was a painful fight. He gritted his teeth as an immense pain wracked his body, a small, pathetic yelp escaping his thin lips. He whispered a curse under his breath as he waited for it to fade. It wouldn’t be long. The blood was draining from his body, his organs were surely beginning to falter and shut down. He was cold but thankful for the thick, black cloak covering him. He could feel the sticky blood on the side of his face now. He knew his clothes and skin were stained red and smelled metallic. His slightly greying, but still jet black hair, hung in greasy stands over his pale face.
This was how it was to end. The infamous Opera Ghost succumbing to his cowardice, his own weakness. ‘It would all be over soon though' he repeated in his mind, attempting to suppress the ever-growing pain. The constant tug on his heart, the constant torture her voice would put him through. It was all to be over. A single tear slid from the corner of his eye. It mixed with the blood on his face, soon disappearing and turning into a liquid ruby. His breathing was growing labored, harder to inhale with each passing moment.
He waited quietly for Death’s loving embrace. He knew Death would take him, no matter how hideous his soul or face. And that comforted him. He let his eyes slide close, his breaths numbered now.
All that was left for Erik, the fallen Phantom of the Opera, was to wait.
A single carriage came to a halt in front of a grand building, one that used to be filled with laughter and joy, now looming over the street with a shadow of despair. A young soprano climbed out and thanked the driver as he left, turning to face her old home. It seemed as if it was years since she had last visited the Opera Populaire, when in reality, it had only been a little under a year. Almost a year that she had been just inside those doors, a bright smile on her face, singing for a crowd of hundreds of people and pouring her soul into every performance that she gave. That was, until Don Juan triumphant.
A brief flicker of emotions flashed in her dark eyes before she regained herself, pulling her coat tightly around her body and steadily making her way up towards the building. It was so saddening, to see such a magnificent place abandoned. That when she entered the lobby, the bannisters were already starting to collect dust and you could tell that time was taking it’s toll already. Christine let a soft sigh pass from her lips as she navigated her way through the familiar halls, eyes falling over every painting, every bit and piece of what remained of the theatre when she left it.
And majority of the chandelier was still there. Various pieces jutted out from the seats where it had crashed and littered the stage. The beautiful chandelier that had killed so many people and ended the very last production that the Opera Popularie put on. She ran her delicate fingers over the velvet seats as she walked passed them, remembering fond memories that she shared in the theatre. As well as the hard times that she would never forget. That had changed her over the course of time, a slight change in how she saw things. The carefree prima donna suddenly wasn’t as youthful and bright as she once was. Oh, how things had changed.
The only sound that echoed throughout the theatre was her heels, quietly pattering among the wood floors as she went room from room, and left her silent with an eerie feeling. It wasn’t so easy for her to come back here, alone, but it was something she would have eventually done. Not even her childhood sweetheart, still her fiancee, Raoul, could have stopped her.
Heart strings were tugged as the brunette pushed the door open to her old dressing room, peeking a head in before she slipped on inside. How she had missed this room. The flowers that would fill it after a performance, especially a single rose tied with a black ribbon, and when Raoul used to come in to tell her how wonderful she did. Christine smiled slightly and took it all in, the realization that her days at the opera house were over, but there were still memories to keep her satisfied. The brown orbs fell on one unique object, the tall mirror that stood right in front of her.
A portal between two worlds. Her’s and his. The outside world and music’s domain. She could still remember the day that he had first whisked her away, her Angel of Music, now to be only a false idol and a friend that still left scars on her heart. As much as she wished she could forget him and everything that happened, she couldn’t. And feeling a pull towards that same mirror, it had only taken her a few tries to slide it open enough that she could slip her petite body through.
It was a dark corridor, but she could still remember the way. Winding her way deeper and deeper through the caverns. Memories of a vast, glassy lake and a man that had shown her a whole new type of music. Beautiful music of the night that never left her head. Haunting her for as long as she could live. She found herself walking along the same shore, wondering if he was still. That after all this time, the Phantom of the Opera still remain in the theatre. It seemed as if there was no one there at first, so dark, only one candle lit as she could faintly make out the organ and sheets of papers littering the tables. And as her eyes adjusted, she could only just realize she wasn’t alone.
Christine rushed towards the body, heart thundering in her ears as she recognized the man that laid on the floor. The same man that had hurt her and betrayed her, but she couldn’t help but send a quick prayer as she fell to his side. “Mon Dieu, my Angel…” Her voice came out as a whisper as she noticed the blood that stained his clothes, seeing that he was still breathing, but it was shallow. Too shallow. Small hands quickly unfastened her coat from her neck and she began to press it to the wound, trying to keep any more blood from spilling and keeping him from slipping into Death’s grasp.
There was no one to call for help, no hope to have that this man would stay alive, but she had to have faith that he would. Doing anything she could do to keep him breathing. He had to. No matter what, her angel of music would not die here, not like this.
"Stay with me, please."
The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall (one gifset per song)
17/21. Notes/Twisted Every Way