Erik's POV

I was walking to the small newspaper stand on the corner. I often come here to purchase two issues, a Parisian copy and a New York copy.

Two years ago Christine and I were trapped in Persia and were rescued by American troops. Women and children left on ships before the men did, so Christine left on a separate ship from me. Much later, when all of the women and children were gone, I found there were no other passages but those to America. Reluctantly, I dragged my feet abroad the ship and hoped for the best. Perhaps I will open a sideshow and earn some money to buy a house when I get back to Paris, I thought to myself during the long weeks spent on the seas. The moment I set foot on shore, I purchased some land to make my fortune in. That small shop soon grew into a show and that show soon grew into an amusement park which I named Phantasma.

I knew Christine was doing fine. She had travelled back to the Opera Populaire and earned back her place as the leading diva.

My heart stopped as I read the headline of the Parisian newspaper.

"Opera Populaire Caught In Flames"

I immediately bought the paper and read the article.

"many tragic deaths including the famed diva Christine DaƔe."

No! She can't be dead! She can't be! Tears started to flow between my mask as I finished the story. Christine had for so long been my reason to live, to write music, to even build this whole park. Now there was no point. No point for anything at all. The world, which I had woke up in everyday thinking I'm just another day closer to Paris, seemed meaningless. Slowly, I stood up and started my walk to the Phantasma Opera House, still shedding tears. Today were the auditions for the new season. I sighed deeply. The only voice I wish to hear is Christine's. I had yet to find anyone to surpass or equal her vocal abilities. I shook my head clearing away my thoughts.

"Excuse me, could you direct me to the Phantasma Opera House?" a feminine voice asked some ways ahead of me. Curious, I looked up and saw a woman dressed all in black, wearing a tall pointed hat and a veil. I walked past the girl without a second thought until she was pushed over by a running child, causing her hat to fall off and her veil along with it. Several gasps could be heard as a cascade of jet black hair tumbled down her back. The girl struggled to cover her face while she retrieved her veil with a gloved hand.

Go help her, a voice in my head said. It was Christine's voice! I looked around hoping to find her standing beside me. No such luck. Carefully picking my way through the crowd, I walked toward the mysterious girl. The voice may have been in my head and I could be going crazy, but Christine was still Christine and I will always listen to my angel. As I reached the girl I grasped her shoulders and helped her on her feet.

"Thank you, sir. I wonder if you could tell me where the Phantasma Opera House is?" she asked, situating the back hat on her head, the veil already blocking my view from her face. That's it? No 'Get away from me freak!' or 'What the hell are you doing?' Perhaps I'm going to like this girl, I thought.