Post Mortem

Christine treaded swiftly and silently down the damp corridors to the Phantom of the Opera's hideout. She bit her lip as she wondered why she had even answered Madame Giry's summons. Still, even months later, she could not deny her Angel of Music's last wish. She would return to bury him, and symbolically put an end to all of his sufferings.

Holding her torch slightly above her head, Christine surveyed her surroundings. Quickly her eyes rested on her angel's sill form. He lay slumped over the desk beside the mess of what once was his organ. Christine had never before seen a dead man. It shocked to her realize that she was not scared, only deeply sorrowful. Her poor angel had died alone. Despite all he had done, no one, not even the Phantom of the Opera, deserved to pass through the final threshold alone.

Christine stared at him for a few moments, unmoving, save for a slight tremble in her jaw and lips. Soon, she mustered her courage to approach the man and touch his sleeve. Lightly she shook his arm. He looked as if he were only sleeping. His head rested on his arm which lay propped on his desk. Absurdly, she shook his arm again, as if pestering so would bring him back to his senses.

She let out a small sob when she received no such reaction from him. It had been silly to think that he might awaken. Madame Giry herself had informed Christine of his death. There was no reason to doubt her word. There was certainly no reason to doubt the still, rigid, form before her.

Silently, she buried him in the dirt of the floor near the underground lake. A shovel and a coffin had been provided for her. She was surprised at how light and easy he was to move. She drug the coffin in place after digging out a cradle of earth for it to rest in, and then drug the man's body over to join it. She gave no ceremony, except a brief prayer for her angel's soul once she was finished. It was much easier to detach herself from her work.

Still, her mind wondered back to when she had begun to move her angel's body. He had died with a pen in his hand and Christine had to work to pry it from his fingers. She wondered what he could have been working on when he passed. Perhaps one last ingenious song? Curiosity got the best of her. She made her way back to the organ and to the desk at which the Phantom of the Opera had so ingloriously died.

On the desk lay a letter, folded neatly, and yet the envelope was covered in wax from where the letter's writer must have knocked over the wax for his seal during his passing.

Christine could not resist. The letter was unaddressed. Perhaps it was for her, she wondered as she slipped a finger through the lip of the envelope.

"My Angel,

As I feel myself nearing the end of my earthly existence, I feel, strangely compelled to write to you. Never, in all of the months that you have been away have I felt the desire to do so. I know my musings would never reach you, even if you had it left in your heart to feel pity for me and read them. I suppose I want only to be remembered. All men strive for immortality, and if you somehow shall remember me, then I too shall live as long as you do. That, for me would be immortality, for I would have lived until my entire world passed away. Still, somehow this will help me to ease my mind and my passing.

Christine, I can hardly bare to think of you, and yet, as my head and hand grow heavy and my eyes become weary, I find myself thinking of naught else. Your smile, your scent, your laugh, your voice,…even your kiss. These haunt me. Alas, all I have are the memories. For you chose another.

In the end, I believe it was your kiss that sealed both our fates, for you kissed me that night not out of pity, but out of love. Or rather, something akin to it, for if you truly loved me, the way you surely must love Raoul, then you would never have left my side. If your kiss had been borne purely from pity, well, I believe I would never have let you leave me. Most likely I would have taken you and attempted to flee Paris. Of course, now I realize that such rash actions would only have gotten me killed, and perhaps even you, my sweet Christine. But no, you kissed me… and even more magical than your kiss was your touch. Your hand… you placed your hand upon my naked face. Your soft and gentle flesh actually caressed my twisted and grotesque visage! I knew then that I could never harm you, I could never condemn one so pure to such a vile life, and so, shattering my own soul in twain, I let you leave with your lover. As I heard the sounds of intruders, I could only hope that he would love you as completely as I.

Oh Christine… Those next few days. They were torture for your poor Erik. I fled deeper into my lair, covering my exit with a tapestry. I cared not if they found me. I suppose I acted purely on instinct. I could hear men's voices shouting for my death. I could hear the sound of broken glass and at one point I could even smell the burning tender of the torches. I trembled but I made not a sound. I barely remember the mob, Christine. My mind was full of your kiss… of your touch. I wanted so badly to feel you again. Knowing I never would was enough to kill me. For a brief moment the thought stuck me that if you truly knew my pain, that you might come back to me. But I could not allow myself the hope. I bit my gloved hand to keep myself from crying out your name.

The mob left quickly, but it took me days to emerge from my hiding place. The concept of time had completely left me, and I wished myself dead. I surveyed my broken home, taking note of the burned music, the broken organ and all of my desecrated artwork. I don't know why, but I ran then, as swiftly as my stiff legs would carry me, into the room I had designed as a chapel for us.

You were there, Christine. Or rather, your image was there. At that point I was far too lucid to know the difference. They had knocked your body to the ground! The curtains were thrown over you and only your deep, glassy eyes were uncovered to greet me, staring up at me in the most pleading gaze. I must have sounded like a wounded animal as I crashed to your side and threw the curtains from your face. I thought they had killed you!

I clutched at the pain in my chest, as I took in the image before me. Your body was made of cloth, and your face, Oh Christine, your beautiful face… The wax of your cheek and chin had melted under the glare of a torch. Your face looked as awful as mine. I spent the next few days in a sleepless haze, rushing to repair your features and create a new outfit for your fleshless body. I hoped somehow, if I were able to make you whole again, you would return to life and be able to love me. Life would be beautiful for us. We could make music. There would be passion! I even ventured to believe that perhaps, you could bring yourself… to touch my face once more…

Slowly the comfort of these delusions left me, for try as I might, I could not get you to sing. I ate my meals with you. I spoke to you. I helped you dress each morning. Still, I could not get you to sing. The lack of your angelic voice shattered my world of imagination.

Oh my angel, my dearest love… I do not mean to trouble you with these musings. Please do not cry for your Erik. He would hate himself to know he caused you to shed even a single tear! Know that for a single moment in his miserable existence, he was happy, and it was you that made him so.

My entire life was a tragedy until you came into it. I felt as if the world were a house of Capulets, and I, the only Montague. Yet, when I saw you, when I first heard your voice, I dared to love you as Romeo dared to love Juliet. Still, Christine, all stories like this must end tragically. I take solace that somehow my suffering has shielded you. I do not esteem myself worthy to pray, however, if I did, I would only beseech that you are happy in all aspects of your life.

Perhaps you can find it in your heart to forgive poor Erik.

I feel my life slowly draining away, moving toward some dark and unforeseeable nether. Perhaps the poison from my Persian escapades is finally finishing its work on me. Perhaps I simply no longer have the heart to fight my fate. Either way, I will leave you soon, my angel. With my death I will finally free you from me. Never again will you have to fear, Christine. If by some grace of God I am admitted into Heaven, know that I will forever watch over you, just as I have always done. If more likely, I go to hell to be punished for my transgressions, then know that I will protect you from torment from all other demons.



Christine nearly collapsed into the chair as she finished Erik's letter.


The man had possessed a name.

She never even knew.

The man had also possessed a heart, somewhere within his confused mind.

She knew that, and still she had left him with only a fleeting glance, practically forgetting him for as long as he continued to live.

"Oh Erik," she lamented, sitting and placing her head in her hands. "I'm afraid it is you who must forgive me. Angel, my soul was weak. Forgive me. I never should have left you so alone in the world."

Author's Note: Well, I hoped you enjoyed this. I attempted to bring a little bit of Leroux into the story. Christine's character was so static throughout the entire movie that I didn't really envision her ever returning to Erik, despite how much I wanted her too. Still, I remember her returning to bury Erik in the original Leroux story. And so, as a bit of cloture, I decided to write my take on what Christine might have found when she finally returned to Erik. The death of her father had a profound effect on Christine, and I figure the death of her angel would as well. Let me know what you think of it; characterization, descriptions, and whatnot. As for the change in tense and usage, I am aware of that, and I attribute it to Erik's state of mind. In the Leroux, he often referred to himself in third person.