Manhattan, New York, 1908.
Nine years later…
Christine evened out the paper when a headline caught her eye.
"Chandelier Crash: twelve injured, one killed.
Local theater suspects Opera Ghost had something to do with it. Repairs are being made and all auditions are closed until further notice. New York Report,"
Meg Giry stepped inside the living room when she heard Christine groan. Hearing this, she asked,
"Whatever is it, Christine?"
"Well, Opera Ghost seems to have struck again! We won't be auditioning for the upcoming show at least for a while! He was accused of causing the chandelier to crash!"
"It doesn't surprise me that he's been accused of such an act. I mean, he is the terror of the theater,"
Christine narrowed her eyes as she scanned the report. There had to be more to "this Opera Ghost" than what the news was reporting. She ignored Meg as she made her way to a table and poured herself a cup of tea. Thank goodness that cook served tea at this hour; it was a day after the report of the crash occurred. After a moment, she asked,
"Meg? What do you know about the Opera Ghost?'
Meg almost choked on her tea but managed to collect herself before she replied,
"Other than he's a terror and he wears a complete face mask, Christine. No one bothers to speak with him except Madame, the lady in charge of us female singers and dancers,"
"Would she have reason to suspect the Opera Ghost was behind the crash?"
Meg shrugged her shoulders.
"I'm not sure. She's been quiet about his appearance and as always, Box 5 is his. Remember that she claims he preserves it for his wife?"
"Meg? You know about him?"
"I'm only stating what I know,"
"I'm sure Madame would know more about him. I'm going to ask her about it tonight,"
Meg's eyes grew wide as she exclaimed,
"You're not going to bother to ask her about him? After what occurred yesterday?"
"Why ever not? Auditions are postponed and there's nothing much for me to do. Besides, I like to walk around the theater,"
"Just beware of the Opera Ghost, Christine. Don't want you to be one of those victims of his wrath,"
Christine only shook her head in confidence before she folded the newspaper. Madame would know more to the "Opera Ghost" and local gossip girls' wouldn't help her one bit. Before long, Christine clothed herself in a garment and made her way to the theater. The walk wasn't too far off.
The wreck was there when Christine arrived.
A cold shiver went down her spine as sidestepped a few debris. The crash surely had shaken everyone and she was thankful that she wasn't there when it occurred. Men and women were roaming around, speaking to each other but Christine felt that they weren't talking about what do to. Rather… they were talking about "who" had caused such havoc to occur. She drew her cloak in when one of the mangers announced,
"No Opera Ghost will scare us away from allowing the rest of the performances to occur! We'll have this place tidied up and by the end of this week, auditions will reopen and that Ghost won't be scaring us anymore!"
Christine knew this manager but she ignored him. She wouldn't allow him to scare her and when she turned to the left, she nodded.
"Madame's office is that direction," she thought as she made her way over.
"She will know something about the Opera Ghost and I want to do some investigating on my own about this,"
Brushing past some of the employees was easy for Christine. She knew this theater as if it were her backyard. Always enthralled by the joy and escape, she marveled how her soul felt connected to the structure and the secrets it contained. Before long, she stood before Madame's door which was closed. Raising a hand, she knocked.
"Enter," a voice replied.
Christine turned the knob and entered the office. When Madame's eyes glanced up, the elderly woman answered,
"Ah! Christine Williams! As I live and breathe! Do make yourself comfortable,"
"Thank you, Madame," Christine answered.
Once the door was closed, Christine made her way over to the seat opposite the desk, before she seated herself. She knew Madame wouldn't object to her doing this and Madame seemed to know that Christine would do seat herself. Madam was evening out a cloth for a costume and she didn't meet Christine's eyes as she asked,
"I suppose you wish to know what occurred with the chandelier crash,"
"As everyone is," Christine answered.
"But I'm not here to ask about that. I'm here to ask about the Opera Ghost?"
"One out of the few women who are brave enough to ask such a question, Christine," Madame answered in a way which sounded cold but Christine felt mystery echo inside her voice. She waited to hear what else Madame had to say about him.
"The Opera Ghost is a secret no one knows about, Christine. He has specifically confided in me that he wishes no one to know about him. And he also knows that I place a rose in Box 5 for him after each performance and he in turn, pays me 5 dollars in payment,"
"A rose in exchange for 5 dollars?"
"Yes, Miss Williams. He seems quite pleased with it and it's become a routine,"
"For how long have you been doing this?
"Not too long; the Ghost himself would attest to it,"
"Seems more to me that the Opera Ghost watches each performance with a critical eye, Madame,"
"Yes; as if he's looking for someone specific to fulfill a role,"
"That I do not know. All I know is that he thanks me for the roses and every performance, returns the favor with 5 dollars,"
"When shall the next performance take place, Madame? I would like to know how this Opera Ghost manages to sneak around the theater,"
Before Madame could answer, suddenly the door burst open and Andrea entered. His face was flustered and he was breathing heavily when he met the eyes of the two women. He turned to Madame, ignoring Christine, as he exclaimed,
"Are those costumes nearly done?! We have to open auditions soon!"
"Nearly finished, sir,"
"Hurry along! Those reporters are annoying me!"
The door slammed and Christine inwardly shuddered. Sometimes she would have to ponder how Andre managed to become manger but she didn't speak this aloud. She knew her time with Madame was done but she wouldn't leave until she knew when the next performance would be. Her answer came sooner than she expected.
"This Saturday auditions will be held, Christine, and I invite you as well as Meg to be one of the ladies for them. I'm sure that you both will do a splendid job,"
"Thank you, Madame. I will inform Meg once I return home,"