• "What do you mean, you can't sing?" Erik asked, genuinely surprised as he brushed a stray lock of my golden hair from my face. It was strange how comfortable I had gotten with him over the past few weeks.

    "I am a dancer, not a singer," I replied, and leaned against the stone bannister in the underground cavern. "Singing was not part of the job description when I applied for the job. Besides which, when I sing, people run away with fright."

    Erik laughed, as I knew he would. "I can hear it, you know. When you speak, its as if part of you tries to find a melody to go with your words."

    I gave him a quizical look. His black eyes bored into me, as if to set my soul aflame. The demonic side of his face I did not see, nor did I wish to; he had mercifully covered that portion with a plain white mask. I turned my face away so he wouldn't see how his words had settled inside me.

    "I could teach you. I taught Christine Daae, though I hear she has fallen for the Viscount de Chagny." Erik sighed, his eyes glazed. "Undoubtally she will lose her are if she gives herself to that man."

    I had remained silent this whole time. There was a feeling inside me growing more restless with each passing day. Perhaps it was the fact that my father, my last living relative, was dying from accute pneumonia. Of course, I hadn't told Erik this. Actually, in a way, I had. We had both given each other abridged versions of our childhoods one night, but all he knew was that my father and I were close. He knew nothing about my mother...

    Erik tried a different approach to break my reverie:

    "Your father woul have wanted--"

    "Shut up!" I screamed. "You know nothing of what he would have wanted!"

    I turned to escape from what had become a nightmare, but Erik caught me and dragged me to the stone bench. Pressing my head against his shoulder, he allowed me to cry for several minutes.

    "Tell me," he commanded when my tears had stopped. "Tell me what has happened."

    I sighed, "My father... loved me. Loved me very dearly. He would always pay me little attentions, as a father should. He was so kind, so loving..."

    "You speak as if he exists in the past. Surely he's not...?" Erik's voice trailed off.

    "No, he lives. But death is inevitable at this point. Pneumonia. It took my mother as well."

    "I've never heard you mention your mother."

    "She was..."


    "Abusive. She-she beat me," as I said this, I traced a faint scar on my upper arm. "Everyday. Not in front of my father, of course. She was far to cunning to do that. She blamed all of my scars on my swordplay. I was far to afraid of her to tell the truth. The night she died, she swore me to secrecty about her behavior. My father must never know, especially now. I don't want his last thoughts to be of a-a-angst!"

    The last word was drowned out by my sobs. Erik held me once again as my body shook with the depth of my emotion. Then he gently helped me to my feet and led me to my room. The only sounds between us were our footsteps and my struggling to control my tears. His arms never left my waist in support.

    "I'll be here if you need me," he whispered in my ear as I crawled through the wall. The secret door shut with a click as I collapsed on my bed. I turned my head and saw my reflection in the mirror.

    My last thought before sleep blissfully overcame me was that it was lucky that the caverns were so dark; Erik must not have seen how inflamed my saphire eyes were from the tears.

    The Opera Phantom: Part One
    The Opera Phantom: Part Two
    The Opera Phantom: Part Three
    Part Five
    Part Six