Chapter Nine

The Cemetery

The next morning, I made my way up to Christine's dormitory room on one of the top floors of the theatre. I wanted to speak with her; to tell her the way I feel about her. Unfortunately, there were no tunnels that led into her room, so I would have to go in through the door. When I arrived at her room, I saw that the Vicomte was sleeping right outside her door. I cursed under my breath. Opening the door could wake the Vicomte, and he had a sword with him. I did, too, but in front of Christine's room was no place for a duel.

I decided that I would find another time to speak with her, and I went back into the passageway that I had used to get there. As I entered it, I heard Christine's door open. I spun around to see Christine exiting her room and then walking down the stairs. I followed her.

A few minutes later, she was out of the theatre and was speaking with the man in charge of the carriages. "Where to, miss?" the man asked her when she handed him a few francs.

"The cemetery," she replied. She must be going to visit her father's grave, I thought. If I go with her, I'll have the opportunity I need to speak with her and get her back on my side. I noticed a man preparing a carriage for her outside. I snuck up behind him and, as soon as the carriage was ready, knocked him unconscious and hid him from view. I put on his cloak and put up the hood. As Christine approached, I climbed into the driver's seat of the carriage and grabbed the horse's reins. "To my father's grave, please," she said to me. I shook the reins, and the horse started trotting.

The ride to the cemetery passed by in silence. If I revealed who I was to her then, she might have jumped out. It felt like forever, but we eventually reached the cemetery's gate. I pulled on the reins to stop the carriage, and Christine got out. I shook the reins again, and moved the carriage away from the gate. Once Christine was out of sight, I stopped the carriage and got out. I tied the reins of the horse to a tree before entering the cemetery to find Christine.

I found her in front of a mausoleum which I supposed was the grave of her father. She was talking to it when I arrived, and I went behind it and climbed on top of it. She apparently couldn't see me, or didn't care, because she continued speaking to the grave. "You were once my one companion. You were all that mattered. You were once a friend and father. Then my world was shattered. Wishing you were somehow here again. Wishing you were somehow here. Sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed somehow you would be here. Wishing I could hear your voice again, knowing that I never would. Dreaming of you won't help me to do all that you dreamed I could.

"Passing bells and sculpted angels, cold and monumental, seem for you the wrong companions. You were warm and gentle." I felt a swell of pity toward her. She really missed her father. "Too many years fighting back tears. Why can't the past just die? Wishing you were somehow here again. Knowing we must say good bye. Try to forgive. Teach me to live. Give me the strength to try. No more memories. No more silent tears. No more gazing across the wasted years. Help me say good bye." She sighed heavily, depressed.

"Wandering child—so lost, so helpless—yearning for my guidance," I said, my voice full of sorrow. She looked up at where I was hiding.

"Angel or father? Friend or phantom? Who is it there, staring?" she asked.

"Have you forgotten your angel?"

"Angel, oh speak! What endless longings echo in this whisper!"

"Too long you've wandered in winter," I said, "far from my far looming gaze."

"Wildly my mind beats against you," she said, walking toward the mausoleum.

"You resist, yet your soul obeys."

"Angel of Music! I denied you! Turning from true beauty! Angel of Music! My protector! Come to me strange Angel!"

"I am your Angel," I said hypnotically. "Come to me: Angel of Music." At that moment, the sound of hoof beats echoed around the cemetery. The Vicomte had arrived on a white horse. He jumped off and approached Christine.

"Christine!" he cried. She ignored him. "Christine!" She still ignored him. "Christine, listen to me. Whatever you may believe, this man, this thing, is not your father." She was still in the trance I had put her in. He looked up at me. "Let her go! For God's sake! Let her go! Christine!" Christine snapped out of the trance and turned to him.

"Raoul!" she cried. Anger burned inside of me. I leapt off of the mausoleum and seized a pike with a skull impaled on its end that was sticking out of the ground. Using a complex magic trick, I shot a ball of fire at the Vicomte. He backed away, and the fireball landed at his feet and instantly went out.

"Bravo, Monsieur!" I said. "Such spirited words!" I shot another fireball at him, but he dodged.

"More tricks, Monsieur?" the Vicomte asked. He drew his sword and ran at me, but another fireball caused him to back away.

"Let's see, Monsieur, how far you dare go!" I said with a laugh. I shot another fireball at him, and he barely avoided it. Still, he tried to get closer to me.

"Raoul, no!" Christine cried. He ignored her and continued walking toward me.

"That's right, Monsieur! Keep walking this way!" My next fireball, like the previous one, almost hit him.

"Raoul, don't!" Christine cried, running to him and grabbing his arm.

"Stay back!" he ordered, shaking her off of him. She backed away.

"I'm here, I'm here, Monsieur: the angel of death!" Another fireball caused the Vicomte to back away a few steps. "Come on, come on, Monsieur! Don't stop!" He was only a few feet from me. He took a swipe at me with his sword, and I held up the pike to block. His sword cut the pike in two and skimmed my shoulder. I drew my sword and tried to slash him, but he brought his sword up to block.

I tried to slash him again, but he parried my sword and aimed a blow at my head. I ducked and swiped at his legs. He jumped over my sword, and tried a vertical attack. I blocked it, and his blade stopped a few inches from my head. I pushed upward and punched him in the stomach with my left hand. He fell backwards and rolled a short way downhill until he hit a gravestone. He leapt back up to his feet, and lunged at me. I blocked his blade, and our duel continued.

"Please, stop!" Christine cried, but we ignored her. "Raoul! Erik! Please!" My shock at her using my name almost cost me my life as the Vicomte took advantage of my distraction and tried to stab me. Luckily, I was able to dodge his sword in time.

"So, your name's Erik, is it?" the Vicomte said as he blocked a blow aimed at his head.

"That's none of your concern," I hissed, trying to slash him again. He blocked. I tried again, and he blocked again. He took a swipe at me, and I parried his sword and slashed his arm. He cried out in agony and fell to the ground. I tried to stab him, but he knocked my sword to the side and rose back to his feet. He seemed desperate, and his attacks became faster. I was having trouble blocking his sword. I was backing away from him, forced to stay on the defensive. He threw himself into me, and we both fell to the ground.

The Vicomte got up first and hit the hilt of my sword. The vibrations caused my grip to loosen, and he kicked my sword away. I tried to get up, but he kicked me in the chest, keeping me down. He raised his sword, and I knew it was over. He was about to kill me when Christine cried, "Raoul, don't do it!" He turned to her.

"Christine, this man wants both of us dead!" I looked over at her, silently begging her to spare my life.

"I cannot bear to see him killed," she said. "Not like this." The Vicomte looked down at me for a moment before sheathing his sword and walking over to Christine. He took her by the arm and helped her onto his horse. Once she was on, he jumped on behind her and kicked the horse's sides. It neighed loudly before cantering past me.

I stayed on the ground until after the horse had passed me, trying to catch my breath. I was exhausted. Once my breath was back, I got up and walked over to where my sword was laying. I picked it up and sheathed it. It was hard to believe what had just happened. The Vicomte would have killed me if Christine hadn't interfered. It was flattering that Christine didn't want to see me die, but I was now in her debt, which was a feeling that I didn't enjoy.

It would be difficult for me to continue with my plan, but I knew that I had to. In fact, now that I thought about it, death wouldn't have been that bad. If anything, it would be a blessing. I would have left this world and all of its cruelty. Why had I wanted Christine to stop him? Why did she stop him? To prolong my suffering over her, perhaps. It was obvious that she loved the Vicomte. Why did she spare me?

Even though I loved Christine, I knew that my only option was to give her the difficult choice that would come at the end of my plan. No matter which choice she would make, I would win. She would wish that she had let the Vicomte kill me here. "Now, let it be war upon you both," I said aloud before running back to the carriage. I untied the reins, jumped into the driver's seat, and returned to the theatre.