It was a spectacular evening in Paris, France. The stars were out, the humidity up, and moon shining brightly. Twas a night of splendor in the fair city. Especially because tonight was the night when MM. Debienne and Poligny, the managers of the opera house, were retiring. The managers were giving a final gala performance in their duties at the Opera Populaire. They had both been good managers from the day they had started. The two were friends ever since grade school, which made the two closer than ever. They were both graduates of Bradington College, which is located in their hometown. M. Debienne was an exquisite musician, playing the piano and violin as an attribute to his wonderful singing. M. Poligny was a man of great venture. He was a business man in the highest degree. A man of office and authority, M. Poligny loved to work in the company of the artists at the Paris Opera. He greeted them so cheerfully as they walked through the doors each day. Poligny loved them like his children. And so, within a moments notice, Debienne and Poligny were at retiring age. The gala was spectacular to behold! All the people that you could imagine were there. Every leading man to scene shifter and their families that had ever worked with the Messieurs were there that night. They were treated to the finest entertainment that the opera had to provide, from the reigning prima donna, La Carlotta Giudicelli, to La Sorelli, the principle dancer. But nothing shined on the stage that night like young Christine Daae. Miss Daae was understudying for La Carlotta the role of Margarita in the final prison sequence of Faust when she hit those heavenly, high range notes of the role. She did such a marvelous job, no one would have guessed that just months before she was a struggling chorus girl, playing second fiddle to the leading singers. It seemed as if Miss Christine Daae had a miracle bestowed upon her, for she sang like an angel. Christine was bound to have many young suitors, being the beautiful girl that she was. Above all who loved this girl so much was a man in the audience, Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny.
The Vicomte de Chagny was a man of great boyishness. He was as you might say, a pretty boy, looking handsome naturally. Is brother often taunted him, telling him that he looked girlish. But the Vicomte knew that he would soon become in the latter years of his life a regular ladies man.
The Vicomte had recognized this young woman from a previous time in his life. He seemed to remember the first time they had met in their youth. The Vicomte recalled meeting a young girl at the beach with her father at one time. She had dropped her scarf in the ocean and was very sad. So as daft as the boy was, he jumped into the freezing ocean water, clothes and all, to rescue the little girl’s scarf. The boy and girl came to know eachother and became the best of friends. Raoul recalled how he and Little Lotte, as he called her because of a story her wonderful father used to tell them, used to go around as beggars would, asking the villagers if they’d have a story to tell the duo. Of course, every old farmer and wife could pack a tale, so the children always got what they wanted. Sometimes the children heard the most wonderful stories from the old wives around the court. But the best stories that Raoul could remember were those that Christine’s father told her about the Angel of Music. Lotte’s father promised her that when he was dead he’d send the Angel of Music, guardian of all things good in the world (for what good would the world be without music?), to her. She so longed for the day when the Angel would visit her. The Vicomte soon grew older and went off into the navy. He though he had lost Little Lotte for good, until tonight. Raoul, deep in thought, listening to the performance, had thought that the Angel of Music had finally come to visit his Little Lotte.
As the performances ended, all of the audience went to the main foyer, where speeches would be made for the retirement gala. La Sorelli, the new managers, MM. Richard Firmin and Armand Monocharmin, and Miss Christine Daae would speak. So as the audience plowed out of the stalls, the Vicomte wandered around the huge marble pillars of the foyer, hoping to hear his Little Lotte without being noticed. Raoul always longed to hear her voice. Since she was a child. She had a great tone about her. He also loved to hear he play the violin. Raoul was being careful as not to spot anyone he knew at the gala, for his brother was there and didn’t know Raoul had came.
Meanwhile as La Sorelli was preparing her speech, the corps de ballet plowed into her dressing room.
"What is it, you little toads! Can’t you see I’m preparing?", yelled La Sorelli.
"Yes we can see," said little Jammes, locking the door. "But we’ve just saw…..it!"
"It? What are you talking about?"
"The Opera Ghost!", yelled little Jammes, causing all the ballet girls to shiver in fright and scream.
"Now how do you know that? Have you actually SEEN anything in the hall or did you just hear something rustle in the wind?" questioned La Sorelli.
Sorelli had a good explanation for this questioning. The corps de ballet were always running around the opera screaming that they’ve seen the Opera Ghost ever since Joseph Buquet, chief flymaster, had told them what he had seen in the vaults. They were always rambling about a "head of fire" or a "death’s head". In fact, it was doubtful that the ballet girls had even seen that.
"It was the Opera Ghost because --- because ---," stuttered little Meg Giry, the daughter of the ballet mistress Madame Giry, "Because momma told me so!"
"And why should I believe your mother? She does nothing but taunt us about our lessons!" remarked La Sorelli.
"Because she tends his private box!" exclaimed little Meg, covering her mouth in shock.
All the ballet girls started asking "What box?" and "Not really, does she?". Meg stood away from all of the others near the door and stood pale.
"I don’t know if I should tell…….I swore I wouldn’t tell! And Momma says he can hear us everywhere…….," said little Giry frightfully.
"Come on! I’m sure he won’t be able to hear us here in my locked dressing room!" said La Sorelli to the poor child, with all the other ballet girls repeating "Yes, he can’t hear us" and "Come on Meg!".
"Ok," said little Giry. "My mother told me that he makes the managers reserve Box 5 for him at every performance for free. She gives him his program."
All the chorus girls started laughing aloud. Little Meg started toward the corner crying.
"Giry, you are so silly. I shall hate to see you when you grow up!" said La Sorelli laughing.
"Well, we all saw him! He was wearing a black coat and pants with tails, all made up like an undertaker. He had a head with no nose, slick black hair, a fiery red eyes. He just looked at us as we sat there staring! And Gabriel saw him too!" remarked little Jammes, always getting her head into things that would eventually get over her head.
"Who is Gabriel?" asked Sorelli.
"The chorus master. He’s the one who went up to the ghost when it suddenly disappeared.
"Well, I wouldn’t be suprised if he had hung you, being the little rats that you are. Can’t you see that you’ve taken up too much of my precious time sitting here rambling on and on about the Opera Ghost! I have to make a speech!" yelled La Sorelli, bursting out the door.
"That was nice," said little Jammes, grinning.
Suddenly, a knock came at the door. It was little Jammes’ mother, a heavyset woman of 50. She was pompous in her movement and went to grab the little girl in her arms. She had an odd look on her face.
"What is it, mother?" said little Jammes, trying to squeeze out of her arms.
Jammes’ mother looked rather wry. "Joseph Buquet is dead."
All the chorus girls started screaming, "The Opera Ghost did this! The Opera Ghost!"
"He was found hanging between a scene of Roi de Lahore and a farm-house in the third floor cellar! The inspector is here now! You’d better be off children. Lord knows the murderer could be anywhere around here!"
A flash of white tights went past the doors of every dressing room, leading to the main floor foyer, where La Sorelli had already begun addressing her speech to the audience.
(Told ya. You want to see Chap. 2!?!?!? Wow, you're crazy.)
Chapter 2 The Stranger
La Sorelli was just about to say the first few words of her speech when the corps de ballet came running up the middle of the crowd with stealthy tread. MM. Armand Monocharmin, one of the new joint managers at the opera, arose from his seat.
"Little girls, please, why are you making such a racket? Can’t you see we’re throwing a retirement party for your beloved managers, MM. Debienne and Poligny?" yelled Monocharmin to the middle of the crowd.
"It’s him! We just saw the Opera Ghost and he killed Joseph Buquet, sir!" yelled little Giry at the top of her lungs covering her mouth.
All the people in the audience started laughing. They’d occasionally turn to their partner beside them and say, "The Opera Ghost?" in a jokingly form. As usual, Meg Giry began to cry as little Jammes’ mother held her.
"Ladies and Gentleman, if you please," said M. Richard Firmin, the other joint manager. "Now we will hear from the retirees, M. Poligny and M. Debienne!"
La Sorelli looked sharply at the man. She had barely begun her speech when the ballet girls invaded the foyer. The man shooed her with his hand while in front of the lectern. She stormed of the stage, but then came back to curtsie to the old managers, and went of again, while a smile on her face.
The managers gave an excellent speech after that, with not a dry eye in the audience. But everyone knew that the gala wasn’t over yet. Everyone that was important to the opera would go up the stairs to the managers lounging foyer to say goodbye and then into the room where the opera’s masked ball parties were held. They would then say their final good-byes, and the managers would give the new managers some advice before leaving to their retirement homes on the beach.
Back behind the massive pillars, the Vicomte de Changy was wondering why his Lotte did not speak at the event. She was supposed to make a speech. Raoul pondered for a while and then decided that he’d go to her dressing room. There he would be able to talk to his friend. He made his way down to the dressing room hall, where a little woman in an all black dress with a lace color and a cane carrying a washpan bumped into him.
"Are you lost, messeiur?" asked the lady.
"No," said the Vicomte. "I’m going down to visit Christine Daae, madam."
The old woman started walking forward with a fixed look on her face staring at Raoul.
"Ok messieur, sorry messieur," said the woman backing out of the dressing room corridor.
Raoul looked back at where the woman left, and then to the door of Christine’s dressing room. He knocked on the door and asked if he may come in. A man opened the door.
"Hello. Can I help you?" said the man. He was very short and round like a plum. He had a very wrinkly face and glasses with a black bag in his hand like that of a doctor.
"I’d like to speak with Miss Christine Daae, sir," Raoul said.
The man looked over at Christine, in a white robe with her hair shining in the light like the sunrise, sitting on the couch. She shook her head "yes" as she straightened out her robe. She picked up an antique mirror on the table and started to look at herself in it. She was trying to look her best, since the man she heard at the door had such a nice voice. She started fixing the bangs of her hair as the Vicomte walked in the door.
"Hello, mademoiselle," said Raoul, taking off the top hat he was wearing.
"Hello……..," muttered Christine. "Do I know you?"
"I knew you in my childhood, madam. Does the name Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, ring a bell?" asked Raoul in a joking tone.
"I think so, messier, but I don’t fare much with my stalkers. I’ve seen you around the pillars in the foyer when I came down here, and I’ve seen you gazing at me on stage from your box," said Miss Daae.
"Stalker!" said Raoul, laughing.
"Stalker," said Christine. "Now if you wouldn’t mind.."
Christine walked out of the main section of the room into the makeup section and sat down.
"Christine……," said Raoul.
"Go!" yelled Christine. "It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance again, sir," she said, opening the door.
Raoul stepped out of the door and watched it being shut in his face. He leaned up against the wall beside the dressing room and started to think. Why had his Lotte brushed him off like he wasn’t even a part of her life? Did he remind her of the good times they had with her father? Was his hair messed up? Raoul couldn’t figure it out. Suddenly, he heard crying coming from the dressing room. Raoul thought he’d better leave, because if anybody WOULD be sitting by someone’s door spying, it WOULDN’T be a Chagny. Raoul then heard a man’s voice in the room. He could have sworn the other people had left when he had. But the voice Raoul heard was a strong, manly voice. He couldn’t hardly hear the exact words they were saying. But Raoul caught a, "Come my sweet angel!" from the man.
The Vicomte stood for a moment and heard nothing else come from the room. He knocked, and then politely came in the room. No one was there. No one. The only clue as to where Christine and the man were was an opened door near the makeup section of the room. Raoul went over to it and looked down. It was a very long way, deep and narrow, and a little light shown at the end of it. The Vicomte decided to go down the stairs to see if he could find the two.
As he walked down the pathway, he was reminded of the drills he had to do in the navy. Very narrow paths, escaping the enemy. He felt like a rat in a cage. But never the less, he had to see who the mysterious stranger was in Christine’s dressing room a few minutes ago. He soon made his way all the way down the steps to the light part of the corridor. He saw many, many men working with lanterns and the like. He approached them, looking about at what might be the matter. He saw around 12 men gathered around one who seemed to be giving orders. Raoul approached the man.
"Hello, sir. May I ask what you are doing? You look like a man of some rank here," asked the Vicomte.
"You haven’t heard?" said the man. "Joseph Buquet, the chief flyman, was found hanging in the third floor cellar. When we got here, he was missing from the hanging rope."
"Oh dear lord. I knew I shouldn’t have ventured down here. I was just looking for somebody. Well my fine fellow, I guess I’ll be on my way!" Raoul said as he made his way back up the stairs.
A shadow of a body came out of the dark corner. It was the old woman that the Vicomte had seen in the dressing room corridor. She looked up the staircase with a smile on her face and hobbled on her cane, shaking her head, all the way up the stairs leading to the first floor of the opera, laughing.
(That's it. I REALLY need to improve this one.)