Fondest greetings to you all! I am finally back, and so happy to have rediscovered this website again! Gah, school can be such a bore and time drainer. :/ Happy to be back at last!
Some of you may remember me as the author of Obsession
, my own version of the Phantom of the Opera story. I'm still in the process of writing it, and recently wrote this scene which I call Unleashed Fury
. Perhaps it's random of me to post this out of no where, but I hope that some of you enjoy it, and I look forward to any critiques you would be willing to share. Without further ado...
The brisk clip-clop of the horses hooves were a rhythmic, soothing backdrop to Philippe de Chagny’s musings as he reclined comfortably in the luxury of his barouche. Both Eduard and Raoul were seated in the barouche with him. Eduard, seated next to him, was busy responding to Raoul’s steady stream of dialogue concerning Christine Daaé. Christine Daaé…the perpetual thorn in my side. If Raoul attempts to marry that girl our family name could be ruined! Raoul might very well be disinherited—and that is just the beginning!
Philippe steepled his index fingers and brought them to his lips, deep in thought. He had been watching his brother for some time now, attempting to ascertain the depth of his feelings for the opera’s popular new diva. Watching Raoul speak of the subject of his adulation, he groaned inwardly. It is just as I feared. Raoul is completely beside himself with puppy love of her. And Daaé a former ballet rat! Everyone knows the reputation of those girls. How could he fall for someone like her?! I am sure she will only use him for his money and connections.
A deep frown etched itself into his forehead. I must do something to avert disaster! But what?
Philippe had no desire to hurt Raoul. Nor did he want to force the pair apart. That would do no good. The forbidden fruit is always the sweetest.
He simply wanted to protect his brother. Philippe had no doubt in his mind that the Daaé girl must be after Raoul’s numerous connections and money. That being the case, surely she could be bought off. Even if she demanded an exorbitant sum it would be worth the relief to Raoul’s parents and to Philippe to have Raoul safely out of her clutches. Why can’t Raoul just choose a decent, sensible girl of good breeding from our circle of friends and acquaintances? I can think of dozens of girls who would be thrilled if Raoul would give them a second look.
He eyed Raoul again.
Raoul sat facing Philippe, elegantly dressed in a black tailcoat, trousers, and shiny black shoes sharply contrasting with his crisply pressed white shirt and silk cravat. From the fine top hat he wore to the polished black shoes on his feet, Raoul looked every bit the wealthy, distinguished nobleman’s son that he was. It is easy to see by just glancing at him that he comes from a distinguished family. I must dissuade her somehow from bringing Raoul down. I will search her out tonight. Certainly with a little persuasion she will come to see reason.
His jaw hardened. Christine Daaé would see reason, or he would make her deeply regret it. No person he had ever come into contact with had a perfectly unblemished past. If she refused to take money in lieu of giving up her attachment to his brother, he would find any way he could to change her mind. Whatever it takes…
Philippe settled back in his seat and tried to relax for the remainder of the ride to the Opéra Garnier.
“Meg?” Christine excitedly tapped on her friend’s door and waited impatiently. It was only minutes until the Bal Masqué was to commence, and still Meg delayed. “If you don’t answer me I’m coming in!” She called out gaily. Hearing no response, she pushed open the door and closed it quickly behind her.
Meg let out an enormous exhalation of air and collapsed onto a nearby divan. “Christine! Am I ever glad to see you! I was about to put on my ball gown and three of my stays have come undone! Mama always does them for me, but she has already left for the party!”
Christine laughed and quickly remedied Meg’s problem. “There! Now will you please hurry! I don’t want to be the last ones there, you know!” She poked Meg good-naturedly in the ribs.
“I know! I don’t either!” Meg mumbled through the fabric of her dress, giggling at the muffled sound as she slid the elaborate concoction of silk, ribbons and lace over her head. The dress slid easily over her slender frame and settled an inch above the floor with a soft swoosh. After making a few minor adjustments and patting her hair to make sure it was securely in place, Meg announced, “At long last, I am ready! Forgive my keeping you waiting.”
“Thank goodness!” Christine teased as together they made their way to join the festivities.
They arrived earlier than Christine had expected they would. Even so, the ballroom was quickly filling with people. Before the evening was over it would be difficult to maneuver in the vast sea of costumes. Christine gazed with fascination at the splendor and multiplicity of her surroundings.
Soft, lilting music was playing, a sprightly tune Christine recognized as one of Mozart’s creations. But it was the costumes which drew her fascination. Every one was unique. Some were outlandish. Christine laughed and motioned to Meg when a tall, generously proportioned man dressed as a clown walked in. His costume was black and white polka dots, and so baggy that it made his large frame look gigantic. His mask had a pleasant, disarming grin that gave him an air of kindness. Christine searched the crowd for one face in particular, but she could not identify the Vicomte de Chagny. Everywhere she looked there was a splash of color from yet another elaborate costume. A fine, high pitched sound of glass clinking together as some of the guests enjoyed the excellent chilled wine being served penetrated the low hum of conversation. The sound made Christine wish for something cool to drink. She would opt for the punch instead of the wine.
“Meg, I long for some of that punch they’re serving. Would you like me to get you some?”
“Hmm? Oh, ah, no, thank you though!” Meg said with a distracted air as a handsome young man dressed in domino costume paced towards her, obviously intent on an introduction.
Christine smiled knowingly, and left her friend to enjoy the attention of her new admirer.
Carefully maneuvering her way among the crush of silks, satins, and glitter, Christine eased into a place at the punch table and gratefully accepted a glass. The punch was cool and tangy, a delicious blend of fruit juice, carbonation and sugar which refreshed her. She set down her empty glass and again searched the crowd for Raoul. She was disappointed, for she could not glimpse him.
“Mademoiselle Daaé, I believe?”
A vaguely familiar male voice arrested her attention and she turned her head. It was Philippe de Chagny. His sharp dark eyes evaluated her mercilessly, and Christine felt the unspoken distrust emanating from the man. She knew he was not pleased with Raoul’s interest in her, but she knew not how to win Philippe’s approval. Given the de Chagny family’s standing and position in society, she could hardly blame him for questioning her motives. Still, she couldn’t help resenting it.
Philippe motioned for her to follow him. “A word, mademoiselle?” His commanding presence and tone of voice brooked no argument.
Sighing, Christine reluctantly followed his brisk steps. No doubt he wants to try and convince me again to cut off all communications with Raoul. It is none of his affair! Whom Raoul chooses to marry is HIS business, not his brother’s!
Philippe led her to a sheltered, private alcove that was dimly lit and motioned courteously for her to sit down on the padded ledge. He glanced around, noted the absence of people, and stepped forward, drawing the velvet curtain of the alcove shut. Christine shifted uneasily on the bench, uncomfortable with his proximity in the closed space.
Philippe noted her discomfort and sighed. “Pardon the intrusion; I will make this as quick and to the point as I possibly can.” He paused for a long moment. “The matter comes to this,” he pinned her with an intense stare that seemed to read her very soul, “I want you to cease all communications with my brother, Raoul.”
Christine shrugged impatiently. “We have been over this, Comte! I do not wish to cease communications with your brother! And I have the right to make that choice!”
Philippe felt desperation as well as anger rising at her impertinent stubbornness. He tamped it down. “I don’t think you fully understand your position, nor his, mademoiselle. If you persist in this foolishness, not only could Raoul be disinherited, but you could involve him in a scandal of the worst sort. You know how the Parisians gobble up any gossip the papers put out on nobility. Have you not a care for how your actions affect his good name?”
This gave Christine a pause. She had no wish to put a taint on Raoul’s name.
Philippe forged on. “As for your position…there could be something to better that.” He said the words slowly, drawing them out. “I am prepared to offer you a great deal of money if you agree to completely sever all ties with my brother. Anything you have done with him you will swear to never speak of to anyone. It will be as though nothing ever happened.”
Christine stared at him in shock. Slowly, anger rose like a roiling tide of lava and she felt heat creep into her face. It was obvious that the Comte assumed her motives completely base and self-serving. Worse, that he thought her situation a debauched one. “How dare you!” She cried, “how dare you make me an offer like that! I am not some cheap vulgar woman who can be bought off! I have dignity and morals! For your information I have never been in a remotely comprising position with the Vicomte! Nor will I be! Just because I live in the Opéra does not mean I automatically am a “tainted woman.” She glared at him, furious.
Philippe tilted his head, taken aback by her vehemence and assertion of never having compromised herself. Surprising, and relieving. By her account they have never been together in anything other than a platonic sense. This lessens my problem substantially.
“Furthermore, I have no intention of giving up my contact with Raoul unless HE decides to do so!”
Philippe scowled down at her. “Let me put it this way…mademoiselle
,” he bit out, “either you will accept the money and do as I say, or I will find something less than savory to titillate your newfound sycophants with. You WILL agree to leave Raoul forever, or I will crush your career so miserably you will wish you never aspired to sing at all.” His eyes narrowed, and took on a hard, determined glint. “Defy me on this and I will destroy you.” He took out a cigar, lit it, and took a long, deliberate breath. Exhaling the smoke, he said calculatingly, “Do I make myself clear?”
Christine nearly choked, both on her emotions and the smoke filling the small space. Frantically, her brain worked trying to come up with a loophole, any way for her to find leverage with the implacable man before her. Desperation and panic filled her. She could find no satisfactory way out of the situation. She deeply admired Raoul, but did she love him? Was a possible chance at love that she was not even certain about be worth throwing away her entire career away for? All her life she had worked and trained and poured herself into singing. If she chose to pursue Raoul she had no doubt that Philippe would make good his threat. He had the connections, the power, and the money to do it. Her shoulders slumped in defeat.
Philippe felt a twinge of remorse at her misery, but he reasoned that what he was doing was for his brother. All he wanted was to preserve Raoul’s well being and happiness, and Philippe firmly believed that Raoul could find neither with this Opéra wench. He dragged in another long breath and let it out. Reaching inside his waistcoat pocket, he drew out a bank note and held it out to Christine. “Take it, and don’t forget the stipulation. If you break our agreement I will fulfill every word of my promise.”
Christine stared dully at the piece of paper he held out. It was a bank cheque for 5,000 francs. She blinked and eyed it again.
Philippe watched her in sarcastic amusement. “I thought that might change your tune,” he said dryly. “Take it, I only offer it once.”
Christine was torn. Part of her wanted to flee the scene and never look back. Then she wanted to tell Philippe just what he could do with his money. Another part of her reasoned, He is forcing you to do this, the least you can do is make him pay for it.
She eyed the note again. But if I take this he will return to Raoul and tell him that he paid me off. At least I can have the satisfaction of refusing his money.
Her mouth set. Rising with poise and grace, she eyed Philippe with icy contempt.
“You force me to accept your terms, Comte, but you cannot force me to take your filthy money. Keep it. I will not accept a bribe. Neither can I let you ruin the career I have worked all my life to build. My father’s dying wish was that I become a great singer. I will not defy his wishes.”
Philippe smiled triumphantly. “Merci
, Mademoiselle Daaé,” he drawled, opening the curtain and backing away. “I knew you would see it my way.” Without another word, he stalked away, leaving Christine alone in her misery and confusion. Her hand covered her mouth as she sought to stifle a cry of frustration and extreme disappointment. She’d had such high hopes for a relationship with Raoul. He was an exceptional man, someone whom she could admire and trust. Now all her dreams were crushed to dust in the wake of Philippe’s overwhelming determination to separate them. It wasn’t fair! She fled the smoke filled alcove, running to the place she knew she would be undisturbed.
Through deserted, lamp lit hallways and down stairs she ran, until at last she reached the place she sought. The Opéra stage loomed before her. Silent, dark, and best of all, completely quiet and isolated. Often as a child she had come here for a quiet place of refuge, and it was here that Erik had taught numerous lessons using the nearby piano. Christine ran out onto the middle of the stage and sank down to a sitting position. Wrapping her arms around her knees, she rested her head on her knees and sobbed. Hot, tempestuous tears of bitter disappointment dampened the pale pink silk of her lovely gown. All the hopes she had dreamed of, all the castles in the sky she had pictured with Raoul, all of it vaporized by his heartless older brother. “It isn’t fair!” She cried out into the stillness. Her voice echoed and reechoed softly. The sound was eerie. She sniffed, and pulled out a handkerchief. Slowly, her tears subsided.
Well, I suppose Philippe’s ultimatum is good in one sense. I now do not have to choose between Erik and Raoul. There is only Erik.
“Erik…” She breathed into the stillness, smiling slightly. He, at least, would be pleased with the turn of events. Her smile turned wry with amusement. He probably would feel like personally thanking the Comte for doing him a favor!
Slowly, Christine rose to her feet and stretched her aching back. How long have I been sitting here?
She wondered if anyone had missed her from the ball. Erik had hinted that he might surprise her and attend. It was just the sort of thing he could take part in given the elaborate costumes and the fact that everyone wore masks. He would be so disappointed if he risked coming and I wasn’t there. I should return at once. After I freshen up my appearance. All these tears certainly have not done me any favors.
Suddenly, Christine heard a sound. She stilled, and listened intently. The darkness was filled with the sound of heavy breathing. Close to the stage. Close to her
. “Is someone there?” She called out tentatively. There was no response. Gooseflesh prickled on her arms. There was
someone there, she was almost certain of it. “Who is there?” She tried again, with the same results. Frightened, she gathered up her skirts and rushed in the direction of her dressing room. Fear rose in her throat when she stopped briefly, and heard footfalls a split second after her own. Someone is following me! But who?
She didn’t care to find out.
Christine tightly grasped her voluminous dress in both hands and ran as though possessed. Soon she entered the softly lit hallway preceding her rooms. Heart pounding, she dashed to the door, ran in, and slammed the door behind her, locking it with trembling hands. As she waited for her heart rhythm to return to normal, Christine listened intently. Not a sound was to be heard in the corridor outside her room. All was peaceful. Safe
. She breathed a sigh of relief.
Still trembling, Christine walked to her vanity table and sat down. She took her powder puff and lightly powdered her face and neck. Next she applied a soft pink stain to her lips, and lightly smacked them together for an evenly spread color. Eying her reflection, she made a few adjustments to her hair, which was beginning to fall from its combs.
There, I am presentable again.
She rose gracefully and smoothed her dress. I do hope that I haven’t missed Erik. He will be angry with me.
She chided herself. Moving to the door, she hesitated. It still felt as though someone was watching her. Christine turned to face the mirror. “Erik?” A low cackling laugh filled the room and she jumped. That is NOT Erik! Someone is watching me through my mirror!
She screamed as the mirror spun suddenly and a man was thrust into her room. She turned to flee but the man was nimbler than she and reached the door before her. He pocketed the key and turned to face her.
Christine stared in disbelief at the man. She recognized him! It was Buquet! What is he doing here? I thought he was discharged from his duties?
She wondered, eying him with disgust. Buquet was dressed in clothes that looked as though he’d worn them for weeks. His hair was unkempt and oily, and an offensive combination of body odor and stale whiskey washed over her. His ugly face was decorated with a half grown beard, and his lips parted to reveal teeth stained yellow from tobacco. Buquet reminded her of a rabid, starving dog.
“Monsieur Buquet! What are you doing in my room?” She said coolly, eying him with contempt. “And how did you find the passageway leading to my mirror?”
A smug smile of self satisfaction spread slowly across Buquet’s face. “I’ve been watching you, little missy,” he said coyly, “and I’ve been listening, and waiting, and exploring. Before I was discharged I knew of dozens of hidden passageways, but I just recently found this one.” He gestured to her mirror. “In fact it could explain how your supposed “Phantom” tutors you every day.” He rubbed his chin thoughtfully, then shrugged. “No matter, the point is, I have succeeded, for now I have you right where I want you.” He grinned at her.
Trying to distract him, she said, “Why aren’t you enjoying the ball with the others?”
Buquet let out a bitter laugh. “You think I was invited? After I was discharged from my duties here no one will associate with the likes o’ me. Even my wife’s thrown me out.”
Christine felt a moment of compassion for the man’s obvious misery. This was quickly stifled when he stepped closer, an evil glint in his eye. “You ask me why I’m here. I’ll tell ye,” he said slowly, advancing even as Christine backed away. “I was discharged for no reason! All the managers told me was that the Opéra ghost wanted me gone.” He snickered, and scratched at his whiskery cheeks. “So I says to myself: How can I get revenge on an Opéra ghost? He’s invisible they say.”
Christine backed into the cold, unyielding glass mirror and inhaled sharply as Buquet imprisoned her by placing one hand on either side of her. Leaning into her face, he sneered, “Since I only know one ballet rat that the Phantom seems to have taken a fancy to, I knew exactly how I could get my revenge.” He licked his lips slowly, as if savoring a meal to come. Christine’s skin crawled as he ran his eyes over the length of her body. “I can’t get my hands on a ghost, but you, that’s another story.” He traced her face and Christine shuddered. She let out a scream, but before she could utter another Buquet had covered her mouth.
Christine squirmed and writhed as his unwanted touch explored her. Grasping her bodice with his free hand, he jerked violently, tearing the silk fabric away and exposing her bare shoulder. His eyes took on a maddened frenzied light. Desperately, Christine fought to free herself. He was too strong. He tore at her dress, completely shredding away her bodice. Open the mirror! Perhaps it will free me…
The thought dropped into her brain and Christine seized the idea. She felt for the hidden spring to send the mirror spinning. Buquet’s invasive touch was like fire on her skin. Hot, uncomfortable, oppressive, and consuming.
Just when she had almost given up, her frantically searching fingers depressed the hidden spring. The mirror began to spin, and she used the distraction to shove Buquet away from her. Momentarily freed, she ran down the tunnel ahead of her. Buquet’s heavy footsteps sounded behind her, and she shrieked in terror. The farther she ran from her room, the darker the tunnel became. Christine had traveled the route before, but in her panic she forgot where to turn. Erik had always led her, and with ample light. How did she reach Erik’s house? What if she fell into the chasm looming somewhere ahead of her? Her steps slowed and she began to feel her way along the stone wall. She listened for Buquet, and realized that she was ahead of him now. She tried to think, tried to remember which way to turn. The tunnel forked in front of her, with two different paths to take. She took the one to her right and stumbled forward, sliding her hands along the stone wall to avoid falling.
Her searching hands touched cold stone directly ahead of her, and she stopped, confused. Where am I? I don’t remember this.
Christine had reached a wall of some sort. She felt along it, and bumped into the tunnel wall. Terror rose. Had she reached a dead end? She felt her way along the other direction of the tunnel, only to hit the other side of the wall. She was trapped! The tunnel was a dead end, the darkness the only barrier between her and Buquet. Christine breathed a silent prayer, begging that Buquet had taken the other tunnel.
Perhaps I could hide in this corner, crouched down, and he will think I went in another direction. Maybe I could slip past him in the darkness.
Quietly, she eased her body down and tried to flatten herself into the corner of the wall. Christine tried to quiet her breathing, to muffle her near hyperventilating. Where was Buquet? Had he gone into the other tunnel? She listened intently.
A distant scraping sound met her ears, and her heart sank. Despair filled her as the sound of Buquet’s clumsy, faltering footsteps came nearer and nearer. If only he misses me in the dark. Please, please don’t find me.
She begged inwardly as a cold sweat beaded on her forehead and ran down her face.
Still Buquet forged on. His footsteps turned brisk, the clipped sound of his boots hitting the stone floor reverberating over and over in her tortured mind. “I know you’re here, my dove.” He spoke into the stillness, his voice harsh and gravelly. “I WILL find you.”
He was only feet from her now, and every sound he made sent another chill of horrified anticipation down her spine. And then he was there beside her. Buquet bumped into the dead end, sending shock waves of terror up and down Christine’s trembling frame. He felt his way down to the end opposite Christine. He turned and started feeling his way toward her. Christine left the poor shelter of the corner and tried to slip past Buquet in the blackness. She tripped on a rat, alerting him to her whereabouts.
All thoughts blurred into one. Help! Somebody help!
There was no one to help her. It was as though time slowed to a frozen frame. Only one idea entered Christine’s head that might save her as she ran madly down the black tunnel. Erik. This is HIS domain. He can find me.
Only Erik could save her now. Only Erik could find her in the maze of tunnels. Just as Buquet’s meaty hands found her, Christine opened her mouth and let out a scream that came from the depths of her terrified soul. “ERRRRRIIIIIIK!!!!!” Christine screamed his name at the top of her lungs. She flailed her arms and legs and her fist struck Buquet’s eye. He howled in pain. Furious, he grabbed her by the shoulders and violently slammed her into the stone wall. Her knees trembled, and she sagged in his grasp. Vaguely, she felt herself sinking to the cold stone floor as Buquet’s maniacal laughter filled her ears. Despair filled her. There was no hope for her now. It was over.
Erik hummed softly under his breath as he straightened his dark burgundy jacket and secured his full black mask. He eyed his reflection in the mirror. A rakish smile tilted his features. Not too shabby.
Erik was dressed as Don Juan. He was clothed in a deep burgundy jacket, waistcoat, and trousers, enhanced by elaborate black embroidery and set off by a crisp, ruffled white shirt which lay open in a deep V, exposing his chest. A finely etched black mask covered most of his face, further giving him a dark, mysterious appeal, while the sword concealed in its scabbard resting at his hip completed the look. “Don Juan triumphant!” He grinned, pleased with his appearance, while at the same time only too aware of the bitter irony. He chose to ignore the utter ridiculousness of the part he was playing, and enjoy what he could.
And I will enjoy this evening with Christine. This event is perfect—no one will ever guess who I really am. Surely by the now the festivities are well under way. I wanted to wait a while before arriving for that reason. I should be able to arrive unnoticed and mingle with the crowd like any other person.
A heady fusion of excitement and apprehension coursed through his veins. I look forward to seeing Christine. She always looks so beautiful. I wonder what dress she will be wearing
… A smile softened his features, and he energetically paced to his gondola, jumped in, and began making the long trek up from the bowels of the Opéra to the ballroom.
Christine hovered tortuously on the edge of unconsciousness, wishing with all of her being that she would faint and sink into blessed oblivion. For all her wishing, she remained cognizant, every sensation painfully felt, every sound magnified. Her head throbbing in time with her rapidly beating heart, Buquet’s heavy breath on her skin, the scratching and squeaking of rodents as they scurried through the tunnel…she heard it all.
Buquet struggled with her elaborate costume, unable to loose her tightly bound stays and the endless varieties of hooks and buttons. She felt his hand near her face and she spitefully latched onto it with her teeth, biting him so hard that she tasted blood. Buquet yelled in pain, and called her a series of foul names. Angrily, he lashed out at her, backhanding her violently across the face. Christine moaned in pain, and felt a thin line of blood begin to trickle down her face.
Buquet cursed, and felt in his pocket for the knife he usually carried there. Christine tensed when he pushed her onto her stomach and said, “Hold still!”
She felt something cold graze her skin and jerked instinctively. Pain seared through her senses. He must have a knife.
“Now look what you’ve done!” Buquet chuckled in devilish amusement. “Now you’d better hold still like I told you.”
She lay still, but her emotions surged higher and higher. Again and again she screamed for Erik. Her screams echoed and reechoed in the tunnel and beyond. Buquet only laughed at her. “No one will hear you in here. Scream all you like.” Christine sagged onto the stone floor and rested her aching head against the coolness in defeat.
Erik continued humming snatches of Don Juan Triumphant as he made his way up the winding staircase. Suddenly, he stopped as a foreign sound reached him. He tensed, listening closely. It came again, slightly clearer. It sounded like Christine’s voice. Erik smiled. She must be calling me.
The sounds kept coming, growing louder and more distinct with each reverberation. He froze. The voice was Christine’s, and she was screaming for help.
This time, her voice carried clearly down to him, “ERRRRIIIIIIIK!” Her piercing cry of agony and terror horrified and galvanized him into action. Up the steps he sped, towards the place he knew her screams emanated from. Panting, he leaped the last few steps to the top of the winding staircase and listened again. She must be close, I MUST find her! Something is terribly wrong!
Erik tried not to panic, forcing himself to listen, holding his breath even for any hint of her whereabouts.
A moan reached his ears, and he pinpointed the sound. She is in the dead end tunnel near her dressing room. But why? If she has fallen and or gotten hurt I will never forgive myself…
He ran to the tunnel and dashed in, searching for any sign of her. Though he couldn’t entirely see in the dark, he could make out two shapes ahead of him. One was large and bulky, that of a man’s. But where is Christine?!!
He stepped quietly closer, squinting into the darkness.
Then he saw her. Christine lay still in a pool of shredded silk and lace, what was left of her gown. A grotesque shape of a man hovered over her, breathing heavily. Erik felt a fury rising in him like nothing he had ever experienced. His expression hardened, and a feral, murderous light burned in his yellow glowing eyes. A growl sounded low in his throat, and the man jerked in surprise, turning to face him.
The man’s features barely registered before Erik’s fist connected with Buquet’s jaw. As Buquet reeled back Erik’s hands shot out and grabbed him by his shirt. Savagely, he slammed Buquet against the stone wall.
Buquet screamed at the sight of two glowing eyes fixated on him in the darkness and fists attacking him mercilessly.
Erik roared in fury, pummeling Buquet with rapid, devastating blows. Buquet shouted in pain, and frantically searched for the knife he’d dropped in the darkness. His searching fingers grasped it, and he swung the knife in a wide arc. He heard the sound of rending fabric, and a sharp inhalation of breath. “Let’s see if a Phantom can bleed!” He taunted, waiting for a sound to signal the location of his adversary. He never heard it.
Buquet’s wrist exploded in pain as a booted foot smashed the knife out of his grasp. The last thing Buquet registered was a soft swoosh as Erik’s Punjab lasso sailed out, wrapped about his neck, and tightened. His eyes bulged as he began to choke.
Erik took pleasure in watching the life slowly drain out of Buquet’s corpulent figure. His eyes bulged huge in his sweaty face, and his hands frantically clawed at the ever tightening, merciless lasso about his neck. Erik prolonged it for as long as he could, his hatred and fury slowly expending itself on the pitiful excuse of a human being before him. Finally, Buquet sagged and collapsed, dead.
Erik kicked over his body and reclaimed his lasso. Christine moaned softly and instantly he was at her side, gathering her in his arms. “My Christine, oh Christine, I’m so sorry.” He pressed fervent kisses into her hair, gently stroking it back from her face.
“Erik?” Christine murmured in confusion. Her head felt like it was spinning.
“I’m here, my love,” Erik murmured, his heart breaking at the tremulous panic in her voice.
At the sound of his voice, Christine caught hold of his jacket and fastened her grip onto him as if she would never let go, her entire body convulsing with wave upon wave of shuddering sobs. “Er-rik w-where is B-buquet?” She managed.
“Gone forever, Christine. Ssshhh, you’re safe now,” he soothed as he carefully positioned her in his arms, as though she were a delicate piece of fine china.
The full implication of his words went unnoticed by Christine and she relaxed slightly. Pressing her face into his shoulder, she cried uncontrollably, her entire body shivering in shock.
Erik felt sick to his stomach. He didn’t know what exactly the brute had done to her, and he would have wait to assess the damage until he reached his home, but the sound of her hysterical sobbing and the quaking of her slight figure in his arms made him wish he had saved Buquet for the torture room. Protectively, he clasped Christine in his arms and murmured what words of comfort he could as he hurried down the path leading back to his home.
This is all my fault.
He told himself bitterly. I should have watched over her more carefully. If only I could have prevented this
…He tenderly kissed her forehead. My little lamb…I am so sorry.
Softly, he began to sing a soothing lullaby. Christine’s sobs turned to hiccups, and slowly, she relaxed in his arms. At length, she went limp.