An unsuspecting girl from 2006 visits the opera populair, and soon finds herself transported back to 1874, where she encounters the phantom!
She was captivated by the story, and was a frequent visitor to the Paris Library, where every piece of literature about the Phantom had been studied for hours. She had longed to see it in person, to become a part of its story.
Little did she know she would get her wish.
Her parents did not fully understand her obsession with all things Phantom, but nevertheless, on her 17th birthday they presented her with the present that would forever change her life. Renee tore her eyes from the building she had so long studied long enough to glance down at the bus ticket and money she clutched in her hand. Her parents had no idea how much this could possibly mean to her.
As the rest of the tour group disembarked, she climbed the stairs leading to the door, drinking in the sight of everything around her. The tour guide waited at the top of the stairs as the last of the group slowly made their way up to the last stair and huddled in front of door where she stood waiting to begin. "Bon Jour and welcome to the Opera Populaire," she said with a smile, surveying the group. "My name is Claire and I will be your guide today as we tour this historic land mark. I'm sure you are all ready to begin the tour, so if you will kindly follow me, we will begin." She turned and opened the large doors of the opera house, stepping inside.
Renee walked through the doorway and gazed at what had to be the most beautiful foyer she had ever seen. The stair case in the middle rose up and divided, each going to different sides of the theatre. It was ornate, made of a pink marble and adorned with snow white angels at the foot of each banister. The floor, brilliant pink marble as well, gleamed beneath her feet as she stared in amazement at the beautiful architecture. Great white columns, decorated with scenes from mythology lined either sides of the foyer. It was like nothing she had ever seen before.
Her thoughts were interrupted as Clair cleared her throat and began to speak. "Now then, if everyone is inside, we will start. As you all know, this opera house was the scene of many great operas, including Hannibal and Il Muto to name a few. In its prime, The Opera Populaire was the most esteemed opera house in Paris. The opera house is a work of art in itself, designed by several prominent architects of the time period. Unfortunately, most of this magnificent building was lost in the infamous fire, so experts have restored it based on their knowledge of the time period. However, the thing which makes it the most visited opera house in France is not its architecture, but a story which transcends the depths of time. It is the story of the infamous Phantom which once made this opera house his home and playground. He is known to us as the Phantom of the Opera." Renee's heart sped up at the mention of his name, and she began fidgeting with her hands, eager to dive into the mystery the surrounded this place. Claire smiled mysteriously and asked the group to follow her as she relayed the story of the Phantom of the Opera.
She led them through the opera house, motioning towards the areas which she addressed in the story as she went along. They passed the dormitories where ballet rats had once lived, and the areas where they had once rehearsed for the big productions. Several large, wooden doors lined the walls behind the stage where they now were, and Claire stopped in front of one door in particular. As the group caught up, she continued the story. "This was the Prima Donna's dressing room. In this very room Christine DaaÃ© once sat and prepared for her first lead role in Hannibal after La Carlotta left. It is the biggest of the dressing rooms here at the Opera Populaire, and has remained untouched since 1917. However, we are not permitted to go inside by the current owners of this theatre, who wish to preserve it as long as they can. So, if you will please follow me, we will make our way to the stage."
She led the group away, talking about the sets and the amount of hands it took to run these major productions, as the group snapped photos. Renee barely heard her as she remained in front of this forbidden door. It was as though all sound and time itself had stopped around her, enclosing her in this one moment. The group made their way deeper into the theatre, not realizing the tour lacked a member. She knew that she should try to catch back up with the group, that she should not be here gazing longingly at this door, but her curiosity overtook her. All rational thought abandoned her, and when she could finally take no more, she glanced side to side, and finding no one, cautiously put her hand on the tarnished door knob and turned it slowly.
Surprisingly the door was unlocked, and it gave way to her with a creak which betrayed its age. Careful not to make so much noise, she pushed open the door and stepped inside. The room was large, with the musty smell of age prominent in the air. Tapestries hung on every wall, depicting operas of the past, and the floor was carpeted in a light red, which she assumed had once been more of a maroon. Dust clung to the coverings on the furniture, indicating that this room was not entered often. Carefully closing the door behind her, she stepped further into the room. Cobwebs were prevalent as she scanned everything in amazement. On the far wall was a vanity which attracted her attention. She walked towards it and examined it. There were small items, such as a hand mirror and candelabra upon the table, both of which were covered in dust and cobwebs. She reached down to touch it, but drew her hand back quickly, as though touching it would be disrespectful. The mirror was old, with lines running through it.
She turned to survey the rest of the room and found an old fireplace, the marble dusty and discolored. Finally satisfied that she had seen the room, she turned to leave when a large mirror caught her eye. She paused and surveyed it with curiosity. It extended the length of the wall, and cracks of age spread across the surface. She approached it and gazed at her reflection. Her curly chestnut hair hung just below her shoulders, pulled back in a half ponytail. She imagined what it must have been like, gazing into this mirror when the opera house was at its prime, getting ready to perform. She imagined stage makeup covering the lids of her green eyes and the pale skin of her face. What the costumes must have felt like, heavy with rich fabric. She closed her eyes and sighed. She would give anything to be able to experience that.
Without even thinking, she watched her hand reach out slowly to touch this piece of history, almost as though watching someone else. As her fingertips came into contact with the cold mirror, she became aware of an odd sensation. Her stomach seemed to tighten and pressure slowly compressed her ribcage like a giant pair of hands squeezing the air from her. Fighting for breath, she stared around her, horrified as the room around her began to spin, years of dust and cobwebs flying away as the newness of everything was restored. The fireplace burst into life, great orange flames leaping from the wood she had not noticed was there. The candelabra's tiny candles lit in succession, and she watched as maroon spread across the carpet like a large stain. The sheets which had once covered the furniture were thrown off and the mirror of the vanity shined like new. The tapestries were also restored to their original glory. She began to panic, shutting her eyes tightly against the sensation as the folds of time closed in around her. She felt as though she were falling, falling through the years with no power to stop it. It seemed like ages until the spinning ceased and her tightly closed eyes opened slightly.
The vanity looked as though it had just been used, makeup strewn about and hair pins in disarray. Jerking her hand away from the mirror as though it had burned her, she gazed around the room in shock. The realization of what must have happened hit her like a hammer. Somehow, someway, she had gone back in time to when the opera house was at its prime. She glanced at the vanity once more and gasped, her hand flying to her mouth. A single red rose lay there, a silk black ribbon tied around it.