Journey to a Strange, New World

Author's Note: There will be ideas in here from other phanfics. I owe the idea of Erik coming to our time to EvilQuail's story A Chance of Redemption. I owe much of the inspiration for certain aspects of it to Anawey's story 'Phantom Encounters', and I owe her for putting this up. This first chapter may be over dramatic and sad, but it will pick up, although there will be dark moments.

Leave the Thoughts of the Life You Knew

XxX

"How on Earth am I going to do this?"

Lindsay Brighton had given herself a very difficult task. It was true she didn't have to do it and common sense screamed that she shouldn't, but she knew she'd never forgive herself if she didn't.

She was going to rescue the Phantom of the Opera; bring him out of the pages of books and into the modern world.

She was going to give him a chance to know he was cared about.

And she did care about him, even though she'd never met him.

She'd quickly become obsessed with him once she'd seen the musical. She'd since read the books, both Leroux and Kay, and seen every movie version of the story she could find.

Yet she still felt unprepared, not truly knowing the man she was going to meet in a few moments.

Or maybe it wasn't so much that she didn't know him as that she couldn't understand how such opposite sides of a personality could be in the same person.

He was both loving and a killer, kind and cruel. The same man who had built a torture chamber designed to cause such suffering people would end their own lives to be free of it had also made the ultimate sacrifice for the woman he loved.

Really, he had done nothing less than give his life for her, because when he'd let her go he'd known what the pain of it would do to him.

She remembered the Biblical quote "Greater love has no one than he who lays down his life for his friend." Erik had loved that much, and anyone who loved like that deserved a happy ending.

Was it possible? Or was he too badly damaged? Too far gone to save?

Didn't she have to at least try?

Thanks to a recent invention, she had a chance to, anyway. Through her job as a journalist she'd gotten a chance to interview the inventer of the device, and had borrowed the prototype.

It looked like a simple bookmark, but when placed at the right point in a book and activated, it would carry the user
into the story.

Tomorrow she would use it. Tomorrow she would meet Erik.

But who was she really meeting?

A tortured genius?

A madman?

The times when he seemed to belong to the light- how much of that had been lies and manipulation? His darkest, most insane moments, how much of that had been a bluff in a desperate attempt to bind to him the one woman he thought could love him?

She flipped through the copy of the book, the book she would enter and hopefully bring Erik from.

She started to read.

"You are crying! You are afraid of me! And yet I am not really wicked. Love me and you shall see! All I wanted was to be loved for myself."

Was that too much to ask? All he wanted was to be loved. Didn't everyone have that right? And in the end he had proven his love for her, let her go at the cost of his own life.

No, that wouldn't happen now. He wouldn't die if Lindsay could help it. She would do whatever she could for him. She put down the book and went to bed. She would need to be well rested for tomorrow.

The book had to be entered at a very specific point.

Too soon, and Erik would never leave Christine.

Besides, Erik would have to be alone. It wouldn't do to suddenly appear in front of him while he was giving Christine a singing lesson or about to take her to his lair.

The only place in the book that would work was after Christine left. It would be tricky. The message in the Epoque that Erik was dead was published three weeks after Christine left.

If she didn't time it right Erik could be too close to death to save.

She dressed in the most formal gown she owned in the hope of blending in. It was a blue dress, simple and elegant that she had worn to a friend's wedding.

Everything in her New York apartment was ready. The spare room was all set for Erik to move in. She's even bought some smoked salmon for Ayesha. She knew the Siamese loved caviar, but that was slightly beyond what she could aford.

All there was to do now was enter the book.

She closed her eyes and activated the device.

When she opened her eyes again, she was standing inside Erik's home. At least she wouldn't have to get past all his traps the hard way.

But the place looked nothing like what she expected. It was half dismantled, with furniture broken and various smashed items thrown around.

Then she remembered the destruction Erik had done, believing Christine would not keep her word to return to him, or rather that Raoul would not let her.

He must not have done all the destruction the Kay book described at once. The organ was still intact, and Kay had mentioned that being ruined.

Voices were coming from the one room left untouched, Christine's room, where Erik chose to die. She was glad she wouldn't see him in his coffin.

"You …must take.. her… Daroga! There's no one… else I can trust. Someone… will need to… take care of my darling… when I am gone."

There was a groan, and another voice answered, "She will not tolerate me. You know I've never gotten along with cats, Erik."

Lindsay walked closer, and looked into the room. Erik was laying on the bed with Ayesha curled up on his chest, crying terribly, as if she would die of the grief too. She actually hissed at Nadir as if to say "Don't even think about seperating us."

Tears came to Lindsay's eyes. She'd seen a cat who bonded with a human that strongly before.

"Coal-" she breathed, the lump in her throat that always came when she thought of him nearly choking her.

Now wasn't the time to start crying over him. His suffering was already over. She hadn't been able to save him.

She had to snap out of it and help Erik now. Most of her doubts about him had left seeing him with his beloved cat. Nobody who loved animals the way Erik did could be completely evil.

Erik must have heard her, because he tried to set up and yelled "Who's there? How did you get here? Show yourself!"

She was surprised he'd found that much strength to be able to shout. It looked like it was taking all he had in him just to set up.

The Persian was trying to push his friend back down when Lindsay stepped into the room, suddenly remembering the warning about keeping her hand at the level of her eye and taking that advice.

Erik lifted his head and tried to speak.

"I know I am going to Hell when I die…but I do not wish to add to my suffering by killing you. Besides, I have never been one for the killing of women or children."

At that he went into a seizure so bad Lindsay was afraid he would die right then.

Of course.

Mentioning killing children must have reminded him of Reza.

But Reza would have died a painful death if Erik hadn't given him the poison. He'd only spared the poor child suffering.

In a few steps she crossed part of the room, but Nadir held up his hand to stop her.

"I- I want to help," Lindsay said, some confidence returning to her voice.

"If you…do want to help…then do something to make the end come quicker."

"Erik, I – "

What could she say?

"How... did you know my... name?"

"I really do want to help you, give you a chance at happiness in another world."

"I highly doubt the next world will be a pleasant place after all the things I've done," Erik sighed.

Lindsay hesitated, then said, "You say that as if you don't fear Hell."

"Why should I?" he scoffed weakly. "I've already been through it."

"It doesn't have to be that way," Lindsay said quietly. "When I said another world, I meant my world. I'm from – "

She couldn't say the real world.

"I'm from the future. I know it sounds insane, but I can prove it. I can take you with me. You wouldn't be suffering there. You could be happy. You haven't tasted all the happiness the world can offer yet."

She knew she'd made a mistake as soon as the words were out, an echo of the words Erik had said about Christine crying for him and kissing his forehead.

Suddenly his yellow eyes were like flames.

"How do you know all that you know?" Erik demanded

Lindsay paused to think of an answer, and realized too late that she had a copy of the book in her hand.

Erik caught sight of it and moved with speed Lindsay wouldn't have believed a dying man capable of he snatched it from her before the Daroga could quiet him and read the title.

"In my time, people have written books about you, telling different versions of your story. People in my time look at things differently than they do now." She hoped, anyway. "You could have a new life there."

Shaking his head sadly Erik answered, "My life is ending, child."

How much time was left? She was afraid to ask, but knew she had to.

"Erik, how long ago did Christine leave?"

Closing his eyes in pain Erik said, "A week. She…promised me she would…return, but…I doubt it. It would not…be safe for her. Her young man…will keep her safe."

A week. That meant only two weeks left. If only Erik could find the will to live.

"Erik please, come with me. I can help you. What I can't do, others can. You have nothing to lose. If there isn't any way to help you, I'll bring you back here before your time is up so Christine can keep her word."

Then Nadir started to speak to Erik in what must have been Persian. Lindsay couldn't understand a word of it, but she recognized the tone.

It was pleading. He must be trying to persuade his friend it was the right thing to do.

Finally Erik looked at Lindsay and asked, "Nadir and Ayesha could come as well? Nadir has only to say goodbye to his servant Darius. There is nothing else holding him here."

"Yes," Lindsay said in relief. She'd have agreed to just about anything. She hadn't really thought of where Nadir could stay, but if she had to sleep on the couch she wouldn't have cared.

Besides, she could already tell she'd like Nadir, and being a friend of Erik's he'd be able to help her.

After a moment of apparently debating himself, Erik said, "I'll need to gather a few things."

"Rest, my friend," Nadir said. "I'll get what you need."

It didn't take long. Other than Ayesha the most important things Erik took were his violin, his mask, and some sheet music (the score to Don Juan?).

He looked sadly at his organ, knowing there would be no way to bring that, but Lindsay thought of a way to cheer him up if only a little.

"I have an electric keyboard. You can make it sound like a piano or an organ or just about any instrument you want. You can even use it to record as you play."

That perked Erik's interest.

"An electric keyboard?"

Lindsay almost cheered at the spark of life.

"Yes. There will be so much to show you."

But then Lindsay felt her hope disappearing almost as soon as it rose; Erik was so weak by the time Nadir was ready, quick as the Persian was about it, that it took all his strength plus Lindsay and Nadir's help to keep him on his feet long enough to get him to the modern world.

Once they had him safely in bed and he looked like he was sleeping Nadir turned to Lindsay.

"From what you have said, I believe you mean well, but I must ask you to be sure you can follow through on your promises. Erik has suffered too much to stand being let down again. Right now he has no reason to wish to live. I don't know what you plan to do to keep him alive, and although I pray you succeed, if all his life here would be is more suffering, it would be kinder, a mercy, to spare him further pain and let him go peacefully now."

"I won't let his time here be spent suffering," Lindsay promised.

Nadir looked absolutely astounded. Erik had been shunned his whole life, hated by his own mother, as far as he could tell.

Now this crazy girl who had never even met Erik before wanted to give him a happy life.

It made no sense.

But just maybe it would take someone slightly crazy to help Erik.

XxX

Guys, this is I42write's first story, and she asked me to post it because she can't upload the type of documents on her computer, so please be nice? Thanks all.

Review, and I'll e-mail the reviews on to her.

And now, a final mental image to leave you all with: bonnets. Yes, bonnets.

Huzza for the randomness!