A Phantom of the Opera Comic Parody

Catherine van der Goes

The Phantom's Lair || The Carriage Ride || The Graveyard Scene || A Picnic || Prequel

The Carriage Ride

Chapter 2

Christine sighed and put down her pen. There, it was finally finished!

She had just completed writing an account of what had happened to her in the lair with the Phantom of the Opera several months ago. (The Phantom's Lair)

She wanted to confide in someone she trusted with her story, before she left the Opera Populaire for good.

Tears pricked her eyes once again as she realized that leaving the Opera Populaire was her only option.

She had fallen hopelessly in love with Erik, the Phantom of the Opera, and she would give anything to spend the rest of her life with him, but it would not work, and she knew it.

Her singing and ballet dancing were suffering lately as a result of her dilemma and Madame Giry was noticing it also; Christine could tell.

She trusted and respected Madame Giry a great deal. She was more like a mother to Christine than a ballet mistress, as she had helped to raise her from the time her father had died, ten years ago.

She decided she would give a copy of her story to Madame Giry before she left so that she would understand why Christine was leaving and going somewhere else.

Raoul was to get a copy also, so that he would understand how she felt about him — that they would remain friends, but nothing more.

And Erik — should she make a copy for him also? He of all people should know that she had loved him with all of her heart, so that at least it would lessen the blow of her leaving him so suddenly. Yes, she would leave a copy for him to read, and would address it to the "Opera Ghost."

Tears streamed down her cheeks as she realized afresh the hopelessness of her situation — to love a man like Erik so deeply and yet not be able to marry him or have his children. It would be impossible...........

A sudden knocking at her door startled Christine out of her reverie and she quickly shoved her writing into a drawer so that it could not be seen.

"Coming!" she called out.

"Christine?" It was Madame Giry!

She quickly wiped the last of her tears away, and went to the door and opened it.

Madame Giry stood at the door, a concerned look on her face.

"Christine, are you alright? I thought I heard you crying just now. I also see that your eyes are quite red. What is the matter?" She gently brushed her hand under Christine's eyes.

Christine quickly backed up. "I'm fine, Madame Giry. Won't you please come in?"

"Thank you."

Madame Giry entered Christine's bedroom and quietly sat down on the one chair in the room next to the desk and across from the bed.

As Christine went over to the bed to sit down, Madame Giry said, "I know something is wrong Christine, so please don't try to pretend that nothing is!! Meg is concerned about you also, as are all the other ballerinas in the group."

"Your singing is also suffering and your new tutor is noticing it too. The Opera may have no choice but to put you back in the chorus again and not use you as a soloist any more! Do you really want that to happen, Christine?"

Christine was shocked to hear Madame Giry's words. She honestly did not realize her troubles were so evident to others in the Opera Populaire.

"I'm sorry that my dancing and singing are suffering lately Madame Giry. I have not been feeling well. I will try harder in the future."

"Christine, I am not stupid! It's more than that! What is really going on? I care deeply for you, just like a mother would. You have been here since you were orphaned at seven years old when your father died, and I have looked after you ever since then. Please tell me what it is that is truly bothering you."

Christine's eyes teared up again at the concern in Madame Giry's voice. She could no longer hold back her flood of emotions.

"I am in love, Madame Giry." she whispered hoarsely.

"Yes, I know you are. You are in love with Raoul, the patron of this Opera house. It is fairly common knowledge......"

Christine shook her head fiercely, and choked out, "NO! Not Raoul! I am in love with someone else!!"

"What?!" said Madame Giry in a shocked voice. "Then who are you in love with Christine? Aren't you engaged to Raoul? I'm confused!"

"I can't say, Madame Giry. I can't discuss it here in this room. I fear that these walls have Œears'. I have something here for you to read — it will explain a lot of what has happened to me recently and why I am upset. When you are done reading it, I really need to talk to you further. Tonight, if possible.

"I am planning to visit my father's grave and put some flowers there. It comforts me when I visit his gravesite and I would appreciate it if you could be with me. I will explain everything in detail then to you. I will also arrange for a carriage to take us there."

Christine then got up, went to her dresser and gently extracted the written pages she had put into her drawer and put them into Madame Giry's hands.

"Alright, Christine. I will read this in a little while and I will go with you to the cemetery outside of town tonight. I am curious as to what is going on. Right now, though, young lady, you must go to ballet practice — and I want to see a marked improvement from you! Practice starts in fifteen minutes."

"I will be there and I will do a good job for you, Madame Giry, I promise!" and she got up from the bed gave the older woman a hug. "Thank you!"

Madame Giry got up, looked at Christine again and then opened the door and walked out quietly.

As the door closed with a soft click, Christine gave a sigh of relief. She felt better than she had in weeks — she was finally going to be able to unburden her problems, and her soul, to someone who she respected and she knew would listen to her and could possibly help her.

Chapter 3

That evening Christine got dressed in a simple black dress and had a coat of the same color around her shoulders. A small black veil on her pretty head completed the ensemble. A piece of black lace was also around her throat.

"There," she thought, "this outfit should keep me warm. I wonder if Madame Giry is ready yet?" She quickly picked up four deep red roses from the vase in her room, for the gravesite, and went to her door and opened it.

When she did, she was shocked to see Raoul asleep on a chair tilted back against the wall opposite her door. What in the world was he doing here? she wondered. Was he spying on her? Well, she wasn't about to wake him up now, she had to talk to Madame Giry in private first; but then she would have to take Raoul aside tomorrow and explain to him, sadly, that she had never really loved him, that their "engagement" was a sham, and that she could not possibly marry him. Her love for Erik was too strong.

She quickly tiptoed past the sleeping Raoul and went swiftly down the winding stairs and out to the outside courtyard.

Thank goodness! There was Madame Giry, bundled up against the cold herself with a heavy brown coat on, her hands inside a brown sable muff. A matching brown sable hat was on her lovely head. A fine fog was around and shrouded the waiting carriage in a misty glow, the horses stamping their hooves and blowing air through their nostrils to keep warm. Christine shivered.

As she passed the stable yard and the stables to get to the carriage waiting for her and Madame Giry, she stopped suddenly. Had she just heard a low moan coming from inside the stables? She listened more closely, rooted to the spot, but the sound did not come again. She shrugged — she must have just thought she heard something, she reflected.

"Please hurry, Christine." called Madame Giry to her. "It is cold out here and it is also beginning to snow." She was standing by the back of the carriage and looked impatient. "We have to be back here in two hours so that you and the other women will get to bed and have plenty of rest."

"Coming, Madame Giry!" she replied and Christine hastened over to where she was and quickly got into the carriage, saying to the driver as she did, "Please take us to my father's gravesite at the cemetery."

The driver was huddled in a long coat with a hood over his head, so his face could not be seen, but his body stiffened at the instructions given to him by Christine.

"What is with him?" thought Christine as she settled into her seat against the driver's side of the carriage. Madame Giry followed her and sat down on the seat opposite Christine, facing the driver's back.

When they were comfortably settled, the driver flicked the reins and the two horses trotted out smartly toward the cemetery, several miles away. As they trotted along, Madame Giry spoke up.

"I read your story Christine. May I ask, is this story you have written truth or fiction?"

Christine swallowed with great difficulty before answering her. "It is the truth, Madame Giry," she barely said above a whisper.

"It is so fantastic! I can hardly believe it! No bathroom to use and suggesting to the Phantom that we two go out on a date!" Madame Giry gave a snort of laughter and her eyes twinkled.

The driver of the carriage gave a shudder and ground his teeth silently. He flicked the reins again and the horses trotted a little faster

"So, the Phantom of the Opera is real and you met with him. What does he look like, Christine?"

"Oh, Madame Giry, he is the most handsome man on this earth! Tall, with beautiful black hair, gorgeous green eyes that are hypnotic and sultry at the same time and lips that are to die for! Beautiful hands and a sensuous speaking voice! I get the shivers every time I hear it! He was the Red Death at the Masquerade just a week ago — don't you remember him? He was dressed all in red," and at this point Christine sighed longingly.

"That was the Phantom of the Opera?" Madame Giry exclaimed. "Now I remember him! Yes, quite a striking looking young man! Well!"

The horses suddenly neighed and shook their heads, and one of them plunged forward and wanted to run, but the driver kept them under control, although he was shifting restlessly in his seat and made low moaning and whimpering sounds deep in his throat.

"Are you alright, driver?" asked Madame Giry. "Please try to control your horses! We don't want to be in an accident!"

The driver silently nodded and reined in the horses a little, but they were still restless and eager to go full out.

Madame Giry suddenly became worried. Something wasn't quiet right about their driver. It niggled at the edge of her brain — there was something disturbingly familiar about him.... but she didn't have time to figure it out right now.

"So", she continued on, "in your account that you have written you state that you emphatically have no intention of ever marrying Raoul and at the end of your story you state that you love Erik, the Phantom of the Opera. Is that correct?"

Christine looked down at the roses in her hands for her father's grave and started to cry, and all she could do through her sobs was nod her head in silent acknowledgement.

"I love him so much, it hurts, Madame Giry! Why can't I be sensible and really fall in love with someone like Raoul? But, oh no, not me; I had to go and fall in love with the OPERA GHOST!!!" and at this point Christine was shaking the red roses in anger and frustration.

Suddenly the carriage came almost to a complete halt. Christine was thrown hard against the back of her seat and Madame Giry was practically thrown into Christine's lap by the sudden stop.

"What is the matter with this driver?" asked Madame Giry. "He's been acting strangely ever since we got into this carriage! Drink, I suspect. Hey, you, driver....." but her words were carried away by the wind as the driver took a whip out and struck the horses hindquarters with it sharply. The horses screamed out with a shrill neigh and plunged forward with all their might.

Instead of a sedate trot that they had been doing, Christine and Madame Giry now found themselves rushing along at forty miles an hour, as trees blurred by and the ground was eaten up underneath the wheels of the carriage and the frantic horses' hooves.

"This gives new meaning to the phrase, 'hot to trot'," ground out Madame Giry through clenched teeth as the carriage swayed dangerously around a curve. "I'm going to report this drunken driver to his superiors! He should be fired!" she added.

Just then the driver turned around and looked directly at Madame Giry and smiled. His hood had come down and she could clearly see the white mask on Erik's handsome face, his coal black hair and his green eyes glittering in triumph, before he turned back to the horses in his command. He put the hood back over his face once more so that it could not be seen.

Madame Giry gasped out in fright and put her hand over her heart. Erik was the one driving the carriage at such a breakneck speed and he had heard everything she and Christine had said! What was he planning to do?

"Are you alright Madame Giry?" Christine asked in concern. "Your face is so white and you look shaken! I wish this driver hadn't gone berserk on us. He should be drawn and quartered, hung and his intestines cut out and burned for driving like this and risking out very lives!"

Madame Giry simply nodded in agreement, too sick from the swaying and bumping carriage ride to speak.

As the carriage raced along Christine thought she heard the driver start to sing. To her ears it sounded something like,

"I'm getting married in the morning — Ding! Dong! the bells are gonna chime —
Pull out the stopper;
Let's have a whopper;
But get me to the church ...
Get me to the church ...
For Pete's sake get me to the church on time!" 1

What an odd song for the driver to be singing as they careened down the road toward the cemetery, thought Christine. It had to be drink, as Madame Giry had pointed out earlier. But that voice... it sounded vaguely familiar...

She was going to give a severe tongue lashing to this driver for driving so recklessly and putting their lives at risk, when they stopped — if they ever stopped! Surely the horses would tire eventually — they could not keep this pace up forever! She only hoped she and Madame Giry survived this wild ride!!

Chapter 4

Raoul woke up with a start. He had not meant to fall asleep while watching Christine's room! He was supposed to be guarding her against the Phantom, who had now killed a man and had made his feelings toward her clear at the masquerade ball several days ago. He was a demented and dangerous man and had to be stopped before he hurt others!

Raoul jumped up and ran to the open door of Christine's room. To his horror he saw that it was empty! Where had she gone?

He raced down the stairs and outside to the courtyard and looked frantically around. There was no sign of her there. He next rushed into the stables and there saw an older man standing up weakly and rubbing the back of his head with his right hand. He looked pale and badly shaken up.

"Are you alright, sir?" asked Raoul with concern. "Shall I get a doctor for you?"

"No thank you, sir, I will be alright in a little while, but I am furious! Someone knocked me out and stole one of my best carriages and two horses! He went off with two women in it."

"Where were they headed?" asked Raoul.

"To the cemetery outside of town. I'm going to use my whistle and summon the police to go out there after them! I'll see that man hang for horse theft and the theft of my carriage, as well!"

"I need to get out there quickly as well." replied Raoul. "That man has abducted my fiancée and a friend of hers. It is imperative I reach them before they come to any harm!"

He looked around the stable and saw a grey gelding standing quietly nearby with its blinkers and a bridle still on. Raoul was an excellent rider, so he took a running leap and landed on the horses' back and grabbed up the reins attached to the bridle.

The startled horse gave a snort, reared up and then charged out the barn door, Raoul clinging on for dear life. But instead of continuing on at a run toward the cemetery, the gelding started to crow—hop and then to buck hard, his head between his front legs, his hind legs up in the air. Raoul soon found himself sailing through the air and he landed hard on the ground, on his rump.

The grey gelding gave him a contemptuous look and trotted away. Raoul got up as quickly as his sore limbs would let him and went off in pursuit of the horse. For several minutes Raoul was engaged in a game of "catch the horsey" and not being too successful. The gelding was faster than he was and able to easily elude him.

"Son," called out the owner of the stables.

"Yes, sir?" replied Raoul between pants of air as he continued to try to catch the grey gelding.

"Snowflake there ain't broke to ride. He's a carriage horse, you idiot, not a riding horse! Don't you know anything about horses?"

"Yes, I know a great deal about horses, but I am desperate and any horse will do right now!" Raoul answered.

"Well, you look like a nice young man, and I have a mare here, Buttercup, that would suit you just fine. A mite slow, but a good riding horse. I'll saddle and bridle her up for you."

Raoul gave Snowflake a glare. He had to get out to the cemetery as soon as possible. He had already lost precious time chasing after this stupid horse!

"Thank you, sir. I will gladly accept your kind offer of Buttercup." Raoul replied.

As if Snowflake knew he had won, he cantered past Raoul and back into the stable and into his warm stall.

Raoul, breathing hard after all his exercise, followed more slowly. When he got to the stable, the owner was just finishing saddling and bridling a nice looking buckskin colored mare around fifteen hands tall. She had large, brown, intelligent eyes and looked gentle and sweet — a "ladies horse" in other words.

Raoul adjusted the stirrups on the saddle to his liking, grabbed the reins and swung up into the English saddle, and turned to the stable owner.

"Thank you, sir. I only hope I am not too late to save my fiancee's life!"

"I have called for the police with my whistle, so they will follow you shortly out to the graveyard. With any luck they should be able to catch this madman you talk about!" the stable owner replied.

"Thank you again, sir." said Raoul. With that he kicked the mare, Buttercup, in her sides and trotted out of the stable and toward the cemetery.

Once he was safely on his way he kicked the mare harder and she went into a gently canter.

"This will not do!" thought Raoul! He would never reach Christine in time at this rate!

In desperation he put his fingers in his mouth, leaned over toward Buttercups' gentle ears and gave a shrill whistle right into them, and at the same time kicked the mare as hard as he could!

Buttercup neighed shrilly, shied, and then broke into a frightened gallop, toward the cemetery.

"Go, Buttercup. go!!" he yelled in encouragement to her. The miles now passed by in a blur. Soon he would be at the graveyard. He just hoped he wouldn't be too late!

Chapter 5

"Thank God!" thought Christine, "We seem to be slowing down a bit and I think I can see the cemetery up ahead!"

Madame Giry on the opposite side of her was looking decidedly green and sick to her stomach from the traumatic ride they were on.

"Please, monsieur!" cried out Christine to the driver, "Please slow this carriage down! Madame Giry is quite ill! Please let us off at the cemetery so that she can rest!" She was now crying and tears were streaming down her face. She was truly worried about the older woman and the way she looked.

As quickly as the wild ride had begun, it seemed to end. Just as the graveyard came into full view the horses once again slowed down to a trot and then stopped altogether. The driver jumped off his seat and ran off into the mist, to quickly be swallowed up by the darkness.

Christine got out of the carriage shakily and breathed hard. She was barely able to stand up she was so traumatized by the wild ride and the truly crazy driver they had gotten!

Madame Giry got out of the carriage also and was still looking very ill. Suddenly she put her hand over her mouth and ran swiftly over to the cemetery and went behind a very large statue. The sounds of her retching reached Christine's ears, and she felt sorry for the older woman's plight.

A few minutes later Madame Giry returned to Christine's side looking a little better. She also looked furious.

"I'm going to beat that silly driver senseless when I get hold of him!" she said loudly, brandishing her cane.

"Well, he seems to have disappeared, Madame Giry," replied Christine. "Perhaps he had to visit the loo or something."

Madame Giry simply glared hard into the surrounding mist.

Christine took her arm and gently guided her back toward the cemetery. Once inside of it they silently walked toward the mausoleum that had Christine's father's coffin in it.

Madame Giry looked tired. So, seeing a stone bench among the tombstones, Christine guided her there. Once she was seated, Christine spoke up again.

"Madame Giry, I'm so sorry for what happened, I hope you won't hold it against me. I truly still want to tell you what is going on in my life, if you are up to listening to my story."

Madame Giry looked at Christine and sighed wearily.

"Well, I did read that account you wrote for me, and as I stated earlier, I take it that the gist of it all is that you don't really love Raoul, but Erik, the Phantom of the Opera. But why did you become engaged to Raoul then? Why not simply marry Erik and be done with it, since you obviously love him."

"I became engaged to Raoul because I was running away from my love for Erik. Erik is too old for me, Madame Giry! For pity's sake, he is old enough to be my father! We have nothing in common but my singing — he tutors me, you know — and his love of Opera!

"Where he lives is underground on a large lake, underneath the Opera house. There is no sunlight down there and it is very damp with the lake and everything. No bathroom, no kitchen to cook in, no stove to cook on, no shower to get clean with, and not even a table or chairs to eat meals at!!

The dampness would quickly ruin my singing voice if I lived down there for very long, and I do want to continue with my Opera career, Madame Giry.

"But, despite all of these things, I still love him — I simply can't help it!"

Madame Giry spoke up — "Shouldn't you at least let Raoul know about your decision, Christine? It isn't fair to string him along like this!" she admonished sternly.

Christine hung her head.

"I know I have done the wrong thing by him. I was hoping that by being engaged to him I might grow to love him and it would drive out my love for Erik — bring me to my senses; I was hoping. But that hasn't happened at all!"

"You love the Phantom more than ever now, don't you Christine?" whispered Madame Giry, her eyes moist. She could tell that Christine was truly and deeply in love with Erik, the Phantom.

Christine nodded mutely as tears began to spill down her cheeks. Taking a gulp of air, she stammered out, "I want to m...marry h...him, Madame Giry! I want to have his b..babies! I want to make love to him twenty—four hours a day, seven days a week! I want to cover him all over in soap bubbles, in a shower, and then kiss them all away, I want to....."

"That is quite enough, Christine!" said Madame Giry firmly, her face turning a bright pink color. "I get the picture. Why don't we walk to your father's mausoleum where his casket is and you can place those lovely red roses for him inside on his casket. You need to think of something else for a while."

Christine looked down at the now tattered roses and nodded silently.

They walked along quietly, each lost in their own thoughts until they reached the large mausoleum that held Christine's father's body.

There, Christine slowly started up the stairs that led to the coffin housed within. Madame Giry waited at the bottom of the steps respectfully so that Christine could be alone with her thoughts, memories and sadness.

Suddenly the Phantom, seeming to come out of nowhere, jumped down from the roof above Christine's head, and stood in front of her, his flowing cape blowing gently around him in the evening breeze.

Madame Giry gave a gasp, and Christine screamed in fright and tried to run, but the Phantom was quicker and reaching out, easily encircled her slim waist and crushed her to him, so that her back was against his hard chest. Unable to move, he whispered seductively into her right ear, "You can't run now, my darling Christine. I have you and I am not letting you go!

"I heard everything you said to Madame Giry in the carriage tonight. I know that you love me and not that fool, Raoul. Don't try to fight your feelings for me. Just give in to the 'music of the night!'" and he gently began to hum a tune into her ear and to stroke her encouragingly with his gloved hands.

Christine could not resist him. She leaned back against Erik and trembled. How she loved this man! His voice and touch were so hypnotic and seductive, his green eyes mesmerizing and passionate.

"Carriage?" she said suddenly, slowly coming out of her fog. "You heard everything we said in the carriage, Erik? How is that possible?" With a force of will she turned around to face him.

"I was your driver tonight, dear Christine." He murmured into her shell pink ear as he continued to stroke her back and arms.

"What? How did you find out Madame Giry and I were even going on a carriage ride tonight? How?"

"I saw you making the arrangements earlier today at the stables and I overheard your directions to the man in charge there." Erik replied.

Christine put every ounce of strength into her arms and pushed herself away from Erik.

"You...you stole a carriage and two horses and risked my life and Madame Giry's life to take me here....for what, Erik? To seduce me?

"You made Madame Giry very ill and I was badly shaken up. Why are you driving a carriage anyway? Isn't the Opera Populiare paying you enough these days? You have to hire out as a coach driver as well now?"

"I did not know Madame Giry would be with you." replied Erik. "I had originally planned to get you alone at the cemetery and persuade you of my love for you; but, thanks to Madame Giry being with you, I have now learned of your love for me!" Erik once again pulled Christine close to him and hugged her tightly to his hard, lean body. "I am so happy my dear Christine!" he whispered into her ear.

Madame Giry had been watching the two lovers, but she felt like a voyeur by doing so, so she discreetly turned away and started to walk away to let them talk and have some privacy.

Just then the sound of thundering hooves filled the air in the quiet graveyard and a rider on a buckskin horse could be seen coming into view.

Christine turned toward the sound with alarm.

"It's Raoul, Erik! He's come for me! He will kill you if he sees us together! I'm going to ask that you wait here. I have to talk to him alone. Perhaps it would be best if you hid somewhere to be safe." And with that she gently removed Erik's arms from around her waist and rushed down the steps of the mausoleum to meet with Raoul.

Raoul came into view more clearly now and he seemed to be trying to stop his horse, but to no avail.

Before she knew it, Raoul had charged past Madame Giry, who had to jump out of the way so she would not get trampled by the mare, past Christine herself, and proceeded to charge up the steps of the mausoleum and straight for the Phantom!

continued in The Graveyard Scene

Footnotes in story —

1 — Music from "My Fair Lady", the movie, copyright 1956 and 1963. Song — "Get Me to the Church on Time!" Return

||Continued in The Graveyard Scene ||
|| Return to the start of The Carriage Ride ||
||Return to the beginning in The Phantom's Lair ||
|| Prequel: A Politically Correct Opera Populaire ||