The Nightingale’s Lost Rose
“Night after night the nightingale came to beg for divine love, but though the rose trembled at the sound of his voice, her petals remained closed to him…”
-Erik, Susan Kay’s ‘Phantom’
For half a century, I had walked this godforsaken earth- never knowing what it was to be loved. My own mother, in her fear, spurned my childish affections; sending us both into a Hell of our own making. All roads do not lead to Rome!
Yes… I had long since abandoned mankind’s wretched ways when first I saw her: Mama, back from the dead to once more mock me in my innocence. She, along with the rest of that damned race which calls themselves “human.” What does make a man human? What makes him a monster? I do not deny my horrible wrongs; the murders, the blackmails… But then, many Christians have committed such vile acts. Men such as these cannot be men, can they? And yet, I, at the moment of my birth had been denied my humanity. The others, who ridiculed and taunted would one day find Paradise, while I-! I! I had been condemned from my first breath to burn for eternity! From a young age, I had found that this “God” was cruel and unfeeling… Now I have ceased to believe he exists at all.
But Christine’s voice changed that, for a time. That perfect instrument could not have been created by man! She yearned for a master, and I would become that master. How ironic… the Devil’s apprentice would soon find himself in love with God’s Angel of Music.
That child made my solitude; my endless darkness bearable. Like the nightingale, I would come to the white rose, my voice sparking in her once again the need for music, the addiction to the drug that would one day overpower us both in our desperate desire to breathe in its raptures! But despite this, she would never reveal to me what it was I lusted for since the moment I had first heard her voice: her heart, and her undying devotion.
My face ignited an instinctive fear in her that she could not be rid of, and I waited in silent misery for the day when my slowly breaking heart and my increasing want to kill caused me to harm her, or that troublesome boy. A Vicomte! The Vicomte de Chagny! Why would she want someone like him, when after all, France has many boys like Raoul! And there is only one Erik! The day she saw me was the day I vowed that if not for me, Christine Daae would be for no-one else.
The night came finally, when I had to take her below for the final time. She would have left me; she would have fled Paris: she and her young chap. Didn’t she know I would die when she was gone; that I could not bear yet another shock? I would know love before I found sleep!
It was far too easy to kidnap her! She was singing Marguerite, when right at the words:
“Oh Holy Angel in Heaven blessed!
My spirit longs with thee to rest!”
I dimmed the lights, and in the chaos that ensued, I escaped with her. Twice she attempted suicide, and twice I remembered that little Persian slave who had died rather than lie with me.
The rest of that night is foggy and unclear- I can faintly remember Nadir and her lover, crying for me to save them the Hell of my torture chamber. (Oh, my friend, forgive me! When I think that I might have killed you… How I loved him, Nadir, your little child! Reza! Oh, I would have died in his place, if I’d been able, my friend! Forgive me!) Yes, I remember nothing else, save Christine’s departure.
“Poor unhappy Erik!” she had said. Why? For I am not pitiable, oh my mad Christine, who found it in her heart to kiss a loathsome beast like myself…
I would have cherished you always, did you know that? I would have been the happiest man alive! I write this now, in the hopes that when- if! - you return, you will find it and know these things, if you had not known before.
I had wished, my dear, that it would be your arms in which I died.
Now, I know that dreams are useless; for once again, I am alone.
Christine found it weeks later, in an envelope labeled:
My Last Will and Testament
It was written in blood, and tied with a ribbon, made of ebony silk. That same week, the Époque published this advertisement: Erik is dead.