This is my first fanfiction that I have posted. I welcome reviews as I want to further develop my writing. I started writing, Escape in May of 2019 and finished this May, 2020. It is 30 chapters long and I am on my umpteenth edit. I fell in love with the Phantom of the Opera musical and book when I was twelve. I found a YouTube video of Davis Gaines performing Music of the Night and I started dabbling with a plot a few months later after seeing him perform live and getting to meet him afterward. He is a kind man with a beautiful and powerful voice based out of Los Angeles. Thank you Davis Gaines for reawakening my desire to have things to turn out better for Erik. He only wanted to be accepted and loved, yet did he understand what it means to love another person?

Escape

Chapter 1: The Ticket

Not wanting to rely upon my phone for something so dear to me, I reread my printed ticket.

INSIDE OPERA: Escape Game and Immersive Multi-Day Adventure

Try to solve the curse of the Phantom of the Opera and set him free forever by deciphering a series of riddles in the Palais Garnier

Clutching my ticket I grabbed my bag and joined the que of fellow fans or at least Escape Room Enthusiasts. A sign read, "English Escape" and I proceeded toward it, three years of high school french were inadequate for the full immersion tour. Once I was seated, I looked around for another solo escapist I might pair up. It looked like I was out of luck since everyone was happily chatting in groups or pairs.

"You're crazy to go to Paris by yourself. Something could happen to you."

That is exactly why I want to go. I want something to happen. I want to try something new. I was single and I had been focused on work so much lately that I hadn't traveled much. When I was younger I had dreamt of adventure and travel. Day to day living and its cost had delayed my adventures of late.

My mother looked at me puzzled and sad. I reflected back the same look realizing that she was not me and I was not her. She traveled the world through books and was content. She had shared her passion for books with me and I longed for the tangible worlds the words evoked.

"Mom, why don't you join me?" Time was slipping by, day by day and if I didn't choose my adventure it would not happen.

"Welcome to the Palais Garnier." My thoughts returned to the present and I took in the man in the crisp suit that commanded the room. "We are pleased to be hosting you for the weekend. In order to ensure that this is a completely immersible experience we need you to leave a few things in a locker that has been assigned to you. A bag will be passed out shortly for only your clothes and toiletries. Please leave your cell phone, digital watches of any kind, electronic readers, and devices in the locker assigned to you. You may place clothes in the provided bag but all other items must stay behind in the locker so that we can limit the impact to 1880. Please write your name on the tag and this bag will be transported to the sleeping dormitories for tonight." Costumed maids and valets passed bags down the rows.

I opened my backpack, removing my toiletries and clothes to place them in the bag. I locked up my electronics with my backpack in my assigned locker. Good-bye cell phone. Slipping the ribbon with my locker key around my neck I deposited my bag in the basket destined for the dormitories.

"Gentlemen through this door," called a valet on the opposite end of the room.

"Step this way ladies, please." I followed the directive passing through a curved archway, nodding my thanks to the maid as I passed. Another maid said, "You are a member of the corps de ballet so please select a costume and step behind a screen to take on your role."

I searched through the racks till I found my size and stepped behind a screen.

"I don't think I can reach these buttons, would help me and I can help you," said a blonde concealed behind the screen beside me. "Hi, I am Claire," She said as soon as I finished with her buttons. "I am from California. Don't you just love their attention to detail. I can't believe I am here. I just love the musical and have you seen the show?" I assured her I had. She continued. "I just love Michael Crawford. I really wish they had made the movie with him instead of what's his name. I guess that makes me a musical snob. I was supposed to go with a girlfriend but her work made her cancel at the last minute. I mean, can you imagine? We had planned this trip for a year. She wants to advance in the company so I understand why, but I was determined to go anyway. What about you? Are you here with anyone?" She asked.

"No." The chance to make a friend was presenting itself "I am in Paris for a work conference and I decided to arrive early to take in the sights. I have always wanted to see the Paris Opera House. I was looking online and found the escape room experience. My conference starts on Friday. I got lucky that they are still running the summer week day Escapes in late August and I was able to snag a Monday ticket. Would you like to team up?" I asked her. "Who knows maybe you and I can save the Phantom's soul?"

"Sure, It would be great to have a partner."