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Phantom's Untold Story
My Sweet Darling Christine,
I write these words with the dimming fuel and muster of a broken heart. A heart that have been damaged for years by the cruelty of this world. You see my love, from the very moment I drew breath I was shun from this world due to the horrible appearance of my face. A face that even my own mother could not love. A face that only brought ridicule, cruelty and abuse from others, instead of the warm embrace of love and acceptance that I deeply longed for. A love that I desperately hope I could get from you, my loving Christine, when I saw you abandon and lost in this opera house (my second prison) all those years ago. A love, the light, that could distinguish my sense of loneliness and the sharp pains I have received like pointy whips slashing at my flesh from this world.
My hope… My desires… my…
Christine… sweet Christine… you ask what cruel world I have lived to get me to that point of desperation for your love. By telling you my story of that world, I hope you could forgive me of my cruel actions toward you…
The Phantom's Story Begins
I was born in a place that no innocent child should be born into, no matter the deformity. In a traveling fair of money hungry gypsies. Where my own mother cast me out of her warm, nurturing embrace and into greedy hands once she took a good look at my facial appearance. A face, literally a mother could not love. She probably saw her own scars boldly visible on my face, like a scarred up mirror for her own pain. Too painful to deal and for a few coins to help ease her days, she gave me up to the cruel hands of the Fair Master, and never looked back. And ever since, I was forced by the stinging pressure of a whip to be one of the main attraction for random people to ridicule, tease, and abuse me. Not a single friend or a kind word ever came my way. Simply isolated and kept locked up, until the fair reach the destination of more people who was so too eager to fling coins and other things at the Devil’s Child, a name that Master was kind enough to give me for my facial deformity. A name that only branded me as an outsider, an outcast, a creature not worthy to be simply loved.
A monster that the world nurtured into being. A monster …. that you grew to loathed now. A monster in the making...
In The Cage
Rattle, rattle of weather rusted chains hitting a poorly maintained floor, as a small figure hesitantly moved around this little 4 x 4 cell. A cell barely room enough for any wild four legged creature neighboring and mirroring his own prison. A figure covered in muddy rags and the face mysteriously covered by an odd looking sack. Why is this small figure here? Why is this figure covered in such a way? Why is this figure surrounded by wild, beastly creatures instead of being embraced by a member of his own kind? What evil sin did this poor figure must have caused to be treated as such?
As the figure pace closer to the bright, white light of a full moon beaming through a barred window stationed high above the cage, while holding a tattered toy monkey in hand, the figure’s height becomes more noticeable. Oh.. wait!..
That.. that ain't a child is it? Oh no.. that can’t be a child.. in this cold, unfriendly, and smelly place… where isolation and these creatures are the only unwelcome friends here. Oh no!.. That can’t be a child!…
What cruel person could do such a thing? What unkind soul would overlook the innocent spirit of a child, and not be moved to protect it? What the hell is this place, to have this poor child locked and chained up so? It is not a jail.. because of the tell tell signs of animals living and breathing near by… It isn't a zoo, because you don’t see children chained in a zoo… So what cruel place is this? Hmmmmmmmm… let me focus more on the surroundings…
Hmm.. What do I see?
Covered in shadows, different creatures irritatingly pacing back and forth in their cages, like they could sense something about to come. The child’s neighbors consist of: mangey lions, skittish horses, a snoozing black grizzly, three legged frogs, and screaming thin monkeys swinging around in their cages. Cages rattling, rattling.. echoing the movements of each hairy occupant. From the rising noise of the cage, I could make out a few sounds from outside this unfriendly prison…
Hustle and bustle of hurried feet drumming back and forth. Four trumpet sounds of elephants, as a response to the feverish whips they received as they assist in getting a big tent up… Hearing a hard and uncaring voice, barking orders… as he got closer… and closer to this unfriendly prison…
“Get that tent up.”
“Move! out of my way”
“Curtains up in 30”
“Getting the boy!”
And as these words are spoken, the little figure in the 4 x 4 cell, start backing up desperately trying to find some way to escape this moment… Escape… to escape the horrors this child knew so well will come as soon as that door opens… But with no escape currently present and no friend to come to the rescue.… the child just waited, visibly shaken, with the toy monkey tightly clenched in hand as the door suddenly banged open..
“Hehe, boy… hehe! Just moments now, your adoring fans will come flocking in here in droves, eager to drop a few coins at the Devil’s Child,” dripping with unmasked hate and greed as this dominating figure move closer, closer to the child.
As he got closer, the boy tempted again to move farther away into the shadows, but the bars from his back quickly halted his movements. A hushed silence quickly filled the air as the unwelcome visitor, with a whip hitting his side, as he shuffled his way past the other creatures to the boys cage.
“Don’t you act up, boy!”
“I won’t tolerate any foolishness from you today”
Unlocked the rusted cage door, stepped aside, while holding the whip tightly in his hands as a clear reminder as to what will happened if the boy did act on his impulses: to run…
With slump shoulders, the only visible sign that he has resign himself to his fate, the boy shakily took the three necessary steps to be at this cruel man side.
“Hands up, boy!”
Quickly shot out his chained hands, fear of getting a beating if he hesitated. And from one rarest and briefest of moments he tasted a small sliver of freedom when his caretaker unlock his chains… A freedom that quickly disappeared when his caretaker possessively took a firm hold on his left shoulder and firmly push him along the door.
“You are going to make me rich, boy!”
“Hehe, so filthy rich”
“As the way these dim-witted fools are so willing to give up coin, to see the deformity of you, Devil’s Child,” with a sheer, “there’s no way I’m letting you go!”
And those last words: “Not letting you go,” stayed in this child’s mind, as he is forcibly being marched across the fairgrounds.. to his other more harmful cage. A cage, a place, where people will ridicule, tease, and abused him because he has a deformity and nothing more.. A place where instead of receiving the stinging pain of a rawhide whip, he receive the stinging pain of: non acceptance, hate, and fear.
Fear of what? He’s the one in the cage.. not them… He’s the one being chain and dragged around for others to see, not them.. He’s the one having no ounce of freedom to do as he please, not them… So what do they have to be afraid of? His deformity… the appearance of his face… well that is not his spirit, but a mask that he was cursed to wear since birth.
Again those words: “Not letting go,” was like a broken record playing over and over again.. when he was pushed roughly in his performance cage, the cage door slammed shut, and he was left alone again with the toy monkey still in his hands. So his mind was trapped by those words until...
A quiet hour has passed since he was left in his performance cage, with only one thought repeating over and over: “Not letting go!” His thoughts was still on that, when his tent curtain quickly opened and the city patrons start moving in.. Getting closer and closer to his cage, for only one purpose… To view the hideous deformity of this Devil’s Child. And when the Fair Master could pack no more people in, he took his place near the cage, and began his usual speech.
“Welcome good people of this town,” pausing for dramatic effect. “What you are about to witness is so hideous, that you will have nightmares for days. What you are about to see will make you draw back in fear. What you are about to see, you will never see anywhere else. For your viewing pleasure… Behold… the Devil’s Child.”
All eyes moved from the Fair Master to him and the room grew silent. And while the crowd was waiting for him to do something, he’s young sad eyes locked on one patron in particular.. A young blonde girl dressed in a white sparkling dress. For some reason, the look of concern and compassion on her face, made the previous thoughts change… Instead of “Not letting go,” playing on and on in his head another thought took it’s place.
“Get out, Escape!”
Not too sure where that thought came from, but that one thought made him freeze and become unresponsive to his Master’s command of “Take it off, boy!” And that made Master very angry… with the whip dangerously in hand, he throw back the cage door.. and crack the whip a few times on the boys body.. Thoroughly satisfied with himself, Master suddenly stopped his act of whipping and quickly threw off the odd sack and roughly position the boy so everyone in the tent could see… the deformity.
I have to admit even I had to draw back from what I saw… I didn’t see a pure face of a cherub child… what I saw took a minute to process.. I saw half of the child’s face covered in deep hideous scars. His left eye almost completely covered and drooped at one side.. Open flesh very visible everywhere… like you could literally see inside the boys body… No wonder his face was covered by that odd sack… No wonder people now are drawing back in fear… Even though they fear it, they could not turn theirs eyes away… and with a shy giggle.. the crowd start coming alive… By making mean comments, throwing a few coins in the cage as they started filing out. And as the crowd was leaving.. the child hurried to put the sack back on to hide his deformity and his pain from the world… But he saw the girl held back… and that one act, inspired his next actions..
While the Master was so distracted with collecting the dropped coins, the boy grabbed up the whip at both ends and with one quick move started strangling his Master (his warden, and his tormentor), until the last ounce of breath was snuffed out. Surprised by the violent act, the young blond girl just stood there not sure what to do.. But was spurred into action when she heard feet coming this way… Not really thinking, she open the cage door, took the boys hands and started running… with the sounds of “Murderer!” quickly being shouted throughout the fairgrounds.. She ran… and ran.. with this masked boy firmly in hand… and didn’t stop running until she got to the cobble grounds of her ballet building… Found the secret gate, that her peers uses to secretly leave the compound of the watchful eye of the Madame of the house. With no words, she swung open the gate, shoved the boy in, closed the gate behind him and ran to the entrance of the ballet building.. Leaving this masked boy scared, alone and wondering….
His Young Rescuer
He was about to run again until his rescuer came running down the stairs from the Ballet entrance and breathlessly stood by his side with a few supplies held tight in her hands… And they just stare at each other for a few quiet moments.. Bright blue eyes locked on black sad ones. What she saw spurred her into action...
“You are safe here.” Taking a few steps back to give the masked boy some space. “I am Penelope Valerius, and you are in my ballet’s undergrounds. No one knows of this place. They wont find you here. Your safe.”
With those honey words coming out the girls mouth, and producing a beacon of hope in his heart, the boy started to feel comfy, more at ease with his surroundings.. And slowly took stock with his surroundings. Seeing: arched walls, the gated window that he climbed in, the stairs leading to the upper part of the building, and angel like paintings on the walls, and a hallway filled with other mysterious corridors to explore later… A place, that brought peace to his troubled heart. And the honey words came again…
“Come,” Penelope patting a spot between her and her supplies laid neatly on the floor, “let’s get you cleaned up.” Not trusting her completely, the boy hesitate to move from his spot. Fearing the act of kindness that she was displaying to him.. Fearing that just a moment, he would wake up and be trapped in his nightmare again. Fearing to hope..
“Come,” softly beckon him with her small innocent hands. And that one act spurred him on. With the tattered monkey still clutched in his hands, he walked the few paces to his young rescuer. “Good. that’s better. Let’s take this filth off u, shall we?” as she rummage through her supplies looking for: the soap, a rag.. she asked “So, what is your name?” and the boy froze and started to violently shake…. not knowing how to respond that question..
Being trapped in that prison for most of his young life, he can’t recall what his mother named him… Only name he knows is the title that his cruel master has given him.. and he didn’t want to repeat that. He didn’t even want to acknowledge that anymore… Because he’s not a Devil’s Child… he’s just a child desperately searching for love… so he froze.
Realizing that the boy was not going to be forthcoming with his name, and believing that he doesn’t know either, she decided to go a different route. “Hmmmm, what shall we call you then?” and she starts listing off names: “Victor, Edward, Thomas, William, Erik..”
“Erik.” a quiet voice spoke behind the odd sack
“Ok. You for now and forever shall be named Erik. It is nice to meet you Erik. Let’s get you clean up, shall we?”
Feeling more comfortable with his surroundings and with his new name, he allowed Penelope to clean him up… First went the old muddy rags… replace with clean trousers and starched shirt. Then with a deep shaky breath, eyes tightly shut, he slowly pulled the sack off his head. And seeing how uncomfortable he felt in doing this act, Penelope quickly grab up an old white half mask and placed it in his hands. “Here Erik, to bring you ease. Here.”
Feeling an odd shape in his hands, he quickly open his eyes, and stared at the item. Torn between hiding under another mask, but missing the strange comfort that the mask brought him in his cage of isolation. So he slipped the mask in place...instead of shame…. hope started filtering in his heart.
“Thank you, Penelope. Thank you.” And the hard tears of release started coming harder with intensity of pain that he has kept bottled in for far too long.. And as Penelope wrapped her arms around him, that did him in. The pain just came out… the hurt just came out.. The release of being tormented just came out… And the first positive thought came in his head… “I am Free.”
Free. Yes, free to lay his head anywhere in the underground… Free from his tight little prison… Free from the cruel whip. Free from the abuse he received everyday being part of the traveling fair.. But this freedom came with a price… he could not be seen by others… or fear of both his rescuer and himself be locked up for Murdering his tormenter. So, his freedom came with his unwelcome friend: Isolation… But at least he’s free.
Taste of Freedom
Free to roam the undergrounds of the ballet without fear of discovery. Free to listen to the beautiful music that filtered down to him, when a performance was in progress. Free to expand his mind, with the arts so freely given. Free to be what he is, without the pain he once had. Free to explore his world. And with each new discovery, he became more confident with his surroundings and made him more bold and daring. Inching farther up and into the Ballet part of the building. Making sure he stayed in the shadows with each visit up, so not to make the groundskeepers suspicions and to keep his sense of Freedom intact.
So for 11 years now, he has freely roamed and subtly haunted every inch of the Ballet’s grounds and undergrounds, busy learning all the secrets within and learning new skills along the way. Skills like: writing music, singing, and secretly becoming the Ballet’s new architect. Growing into a tall, muscular, and more confident man.. then he was as a child… A man that could hold his own… if he must… But, there was one problem with this freedom… isolation..
Even though he could distract himself from his unwanted friend by his exploration, but he couldn’t keep the isolation at bay at the wee hours of the night when sleep fails him. At the wee hours of the night, where he is still being tormented with memories of his cruel past and no friends to offer comfort. When he could no longer keep the isolation at bay, he resorts to haunting the great halls of the Ballet once more. And this is one of the rarest moments when fate was kind enough to give him a welcome surprise….
Seeing Christine the first time
While he was roaming the great hall of the Ballet floor, he heard motion coming from the main entrance, being all too curious he carefully sneaked closer. Staying perfectly hidden behind a banister and in the shadows, his gaze was locked on the scene placed in front of him. And what played out moved him…
Standing at the entrance with a little worn brown clothes bag in her soft hands, was his long time rescuer all grown up now, patiently holding the big oak entrance door open. Just quietly waiting. Waiting on what? And in moments he saw…her… a lonely child, like himself, trapped in the world of pain and sorrow. A world he knew all too well.. and a world he wish he could help disappear for her… Wow? Where did that thought come from? Wanting to protect this child now, when he been roaming these halls for years without a thought of being with another. But seeing her standing there in her black funeral gown, with heavy tears sliding down her face, feeling unsure of the world, made his heart beat with new life… with a new purpose… to make her happy… In what capacity he knew not, but with a little secret eye message toward his friend, he knew he would find away… And he quietly left his perch to go wait for his rescuer at their secret place, the place where his past was being washed away with the kindness of his young friend… A place that started his sense of freedom… So he wait and waited...
Pacing… pacing.. pacing…
Thoughts running in and out of his head, as he waits for his rescuer to appear. He had no doubt that she would appear, because she always came. Ever since that fated day, she has always come down and check on him.. and scolded him too about the dangers he put him and her in for taking bold steps in exposing himself.. But nonetheless she still shows… and so he paced. Just allowing his thoughts to freely roam in his mind, until he heard the door to the upper Ballet open and closed…
“Who is that child, Penelope?,” turning to face his rescuer, “Why she’s here?”
“Well, hello to you too Erik,” stepping down the last step and not taking offense to his informal greeting. Penelope took her time in answering, by taking her sweet time in getting closer to him. “I see you're in no mood for small talk today .”
“What is your interest in the child, Erik?”
“I don’t know, Penelope. When I saw her, I saw a picture of me and how alone I was. Correction how alone I am.. and don’t want that for her. So, who is she?”
“She was a daughter of a famous fiddler. Just recently orphaned. How tragic that is?,” softly shaking her head, “Her name is Christine and just became warded to the Ballet. Just like you, she lives here for now on. If fate be kind to her, probably she be a performer her too.”
“Christine…. hmmm… Christine, you say? Such a fitting name for her. hmmmmmmm. Poor child. I feel her pain and loneliness. hmmmmmm. If I have a say, she won't be alone for long.”
“Erik, what you mean by that?”, a hint of fear creeping in Penelope’s voices, “what are you going to do?”
“Fate, my dear friend, will not have anything to do with that… in making her a performer. I will do that.. as her teacher.”
“How you going to do that? You can’t risk exposure,” with panic rising Penelope grabbed on to his arm, “Do you want the Magistrats here? Do you Erik?”
“No!!! of course not… but i am tired of hiding and being alone… so tired, my friend. Freedom ain't free if you don’t have anyone to share it with.”
“I understand that Erik, I truly do. But unlike me, no one will understand or welcome that you are living here. Even if they could look past your deformity, Erik, they won’t be able to hide the fact that you killed someone. They won't hesitate in calling the Magistrate… it will be in their civic duty to do so. Will you sacrifice your freedom for her? Would you sacrifice my freedom for her?”
Getting agitated and frustrated by these questions… Erik shook off Penelope’s hand and started to pace...and pace… and pace… Digesting his friends questions and fear. Analyzing his feelings… Thinking and thinking on the problem… and think on a solution. And once a solution was firmly in place, he turned and faced his friend and announced…
“I Will Be Christine’s teacher! Have no fear my friend, I will not expose myself to the true sense of the word. I will just be her angel… The Angel of Music...I will be her friend in secret. She will not see me, friend. No matter how much I want too.. she will not see me… I will be her friend, her teacher, her protector from afar.”
Just when Penelope about to interject, his next words made her silent.. “I feel her pain… her loneliness, and I can’t ignore this… The same way you couldn’t ignore me, all those years ago. You are the reason, I am here… Help me show kindness to this innocent child. Help me!”
Losing the will to fight anymore on the subject, Penelope finally succumb to his will and desires. and said no more on the subject. That moment, Erik became Christine’s private teacher. A position he was all too eager to take on, and just waiting on the right moment...
The right moment...
Erik decided to just observe Christine from afar for a week to see if she would give a clue, a small reason to welcome him in… her future teacher into her life. And when a week was near to closing and about to give up, by chance he observe this lonely child used the same gated window he uses in the past, to escape from the grounds and heading toward the cemetery.. Curious about Christine’s strange activity and wanting to make sure she comes to no harm… he took his unsure step outside, onto the Ballet’s ground for the first time in years, and quickly headed to the shadows so he could keep up with her… Still curious to her whereabouts and being so careful as to not scare her, he move all so skillfully in and out of the shadows.. ducking behind buildings and other items along the way.. By the time he reached the cemetery, he found Christine laying head down on a snow covered tombstone shocked with gut wrenching sobs. Sobs, pain, and loneliness that once echo his own pain of the past … So moved by this scene, he started singing “No One Would Listen” to ease her pain.
His soft tenor voice worked magic in the child. In addition to quieting her sobs, the child stayed perfectly calm when she realized that she was not alone… No fear crept in her heart yet, only a wild curiosity… Wildly looking everywhere from her perch, trying to locate where the nice melody was coming from.. When she saw a dark cape.. softly blowing from behind a tall oak tree, so near by, she quickly got on her knees and about to bolt when….
“Halt, sweet child. Don’t run… I will not harm you!”
For some strange reason, Christine did not run. Just held her ground and waited.. Quickly scanning all the possible exit routes for a quick exit if she sense a moment of danger..
“I will not harm you, little one,” raising a calming hand up as he speaks, “I heard your painful sobs and only seek to offer comfort.”
“Who are you, dear sir?,” asked in a mouse of a whisper, “ and why are you hiding so?”
“I am only an angel to you child. Only a simple angel, come to offer you comfort in your time of need. I hide so.. not to scare you, little one.”
“How are you going to offer me comfort, sir?,” relaxing a little of her stance now…
“Little one, God had heard your sobs and is moved to give you comfort. I am here to comfort you in the way of Music… If you will allow, I am the Angel of Music, willing to be your humble servant until you have no need of me. Through the shadows and secrets, I will keep your loneliness at bay, and be your private teacher in the process. If you so accept this merger gift from God. What say you, little one?”
Not understanding the reason… and not truly understanding the purpose, but tired from being so alone herself, she simply replied, “Yes!” and ran back to the Ballet.
....Curious about what happen next, pick up any Phantom of the Opera movie or book to understand farther because I am not here to rewrite that story.. but to fill in some of the missing elements like the Phantom's Past and his Desperation for his lethal actions...
And you have been my precious pupil ever since, my love. We helped each other keep the loneliness at bay, my love. You distracted me from my so so tormented past. Christine, my love… You gave me a reason to hope for a life outside these cold, stone walls… You allow my music to be seen in this world. You was my chance to leave this dark pit, I am forced to live because of my deformity. I didn’t want to lose the light, that was growing inside of me when I first saw you those many years ago. I was so desperate in the love I had for you, that I fear losing the beauty and the light you represented in my life.. And instead of just loving you like I was doing, I hurt that love when I tried so very hard to keep you.
I am truly sorry my love, I so regret my horrible action to you. Please forgive this desperate man.. This pitiful creature that was born into cruelty and abuse because of the appearance of my face. All I ever wanted was to be loved and accept from another and all I ever received was isolation. Can you understand how your Angel of Music, had become such a monster?
I pray with the deepest regret of my broken heart that you found a way to forgive me.. my precious Christine.. Even though I became such a monster to you at the end of our relationship, please remember the good we shared as you was coming up… You finding new life in these cold walls is truly a blessing for me, since I have no life beyond these walls. You are my legacy Christine and I thank you for that.
Your Angel of Music & the Opera’s Phantom,
© 2016 carrieharris