Originally Posted by petit ange de la musique
I really like this. I would love for you to continue writing!
I crept down the passage, silently, watching as Christine, the beautiful new soprano, walked toward the rehearsal. She had managed to obtain a minor role despite her perfect audition. I could hold back my fury. I knew that the current diva, La Carlotta, was not to be argued with. There were certain taboos that everyone seemed to understand without being told, and denying La Carlotta her star role was one of them. For now.
They were doing “Faust” again. I knew I would not be able to stay to listen to Christine today. The pain of being forced to listen to Carlotta was overwhelming. On some days, I wished Mephistopheles would bring her back down with him to that place deep in the earth where he resides. It would be the perfect place for Carlotta. My palace in the cellars, though of a similar depth in the earth, was at least splendorous.
I really hoped I would hear Christine sing, but I could not stand Carlotta. I would have to leave. Or perhaps, she would…
I got to work immediately. Making my way to Box 5, my box, I passed Madame Giry. She looked at me for a second, and then asked, “What might you be doing around here in the middle of the day?”
“I’m merely fixing…a problem,” I replied.
“Monsieur, please don’t do anything too horrible,” she pleaded. “We still need someone to play Marguerite, and for now it has to be Carlotta.”
“They will have a Marguerite,” I countered. “Albeit, a new one.”
I walked on, not stopping to listen to her warnings. When I was in Box 5, I projected my voice so that the walls seemed to speak to the performers.
“Carlotta will be stepping down from her role today. Christine Daae will be playing Marguerite. All opposition will be dealt with accordingly.”
As usual, my announcement was followed by excessive screaming from the ballet dancers. Madame Giry’s daughter, Meg Giry, dutifully called out, “He’s here: the Phantom of the Opera!”
Meg was a good girl and a talented dancer. She was pure of mind, too. In fact, the chances of her becoming a prostitute, moving to Coney Island, and attempting to drown a child named Gustav were minimal.
I remember the first time I ever went somewhere far away from where I lived. It was not Coney Island, though. It all started the day the Persian came to the circus. The Shah had heard of me, and wanted me to work for him. The Persian, who called himself Nadir, said that he was there to take me to the Shah.
Fromafar argued that I was under a contract for him. He did not want me to leave. I believed him to be this mysterious thing that the other children used to speak of when I was young. I think they called it a “friend”. The other carnies thought differently, however. I had “stolen” their talents. They wanted me to leave. Nadir pulled me aside when no one was looking.
“Why do you not want to come with me?” he asked. “They hate you here!”
“Fromafar is my friend,” I said feebly.
“Friend?” he replied. “HA! He’s made a fool of you. He displays you everyday to terrify people. He knows you scare people. That’s why he likes you and keeps you here. You are simply a device by which he makes money!”
I stood there, staring blankly into his eyes. Could it be true? Could my “friend” truly just want me there to make him money? Was greed at the root of his kindness? I felt a terrible anger at Fromafar. Would he do such a thing?
I left that day, never to return. It was the day that I learned that friendship could never be trusted. Friendship was like a false mirror – there is always something on the other side.
When the Shah saw my face, he decided I was perfect. He gave me a tour of his palace. In my opinion, it was horrible. The walls were, for one, not showing off the Shah’s power. Covered in a dry, stale pink color, I had to wonder exactly what led to such a horrendous catastrophe. The supporting structures were also a calamity. It was a miracle that the entire palace had not collapsed upon itself already. Thus, when I had seen the entire place, I said to him, as politely as I knew how, “This palace is awful!”
Within three seconds, I had ten scimitars at my neck.
“What…did you say?” the Shah asked precariously.
“I said, sir, you have an awful palace.”
“And what makes you say that, boy?” he asked, looking even more dangerous.
“I’ve studied architecture. Your palace is quite unstable and, if I may add,” I explained, “boring.”
They all laughed. They did not believe me.
“If you can plan me a better palace by tomorrow at first light,” the Shah said, “I’ll build it.”
When morning came, I presented my plans. The extensive string of events that followed could be summed up in three simple words: He built it.