There’s always someone who’s new to the party, so for those of you who are, I met a great many of my current business colleagues on the forums of fanfiction.net in those last innocent days before 9/11. Nella, Elisa, and my current co-writer and editor, Angelina–all of us met in the summer of 2001 writing Phantom of the Opera fanfiction.
By 2004, Angelina and I had somewhat moved on from the Phantom of the Opera fandom that had brought us together in the first place–I say mostly, because we always had time to pop back in and see what was going on. It seemed like every six months there was a new squad of mean girls policing fanfiction.net into only hosting the cream of the crop, and bullying off everything else. At a point in time, we had been those mean girls. By 2004, there was a new crop, and they hated the concept of Mary Sue. And boy, they were organized.
This anti-Mary Sue strikeforce (which had a name I cannot recall-something like The Purity Brigade or something) was not unlike coordinated false flagging campaigns we see on YouTube today. Not only would they abuse writers they perceived as having committed the crime of Mary Sue, they would report these fics as a violation of the fanfiction.net terms of service and have them removed “for the greater good.”
It was summer break after my freshman year of college. We were bored. What else are ex-mean girls to do but bait the new mean girls?
We decided to write our own Phantom Mary Sue under the pen name “ChibiPhantomGrrrly”. And our Mary Sue was to have EVVVVERRRRYZHING. Mysterious past. Almost-rape. Save Erik from himself. Independent, feisty disposition. Weird eye color. Every chapter would end with everything fading to black.
Her name was Baxtina–I believe I Yahoo’d (because Google wasn’t really a thing yet) “Roma names” and went with the one that sounded most Mary Sue-ish. We went with a Roma character because there was a marked trend of Erik finding tragic Roma waifs (after the Christine thing went to shit) and falling in love with them. Content warning for the term “gypsy”–this was written in 2004, before the term was widely considered a slur, so we do apologize for that.
The sad thing is, this quickly became more a labor of love than an intention to bait the mean girls, and we forgot to back up our masterpiece after we posted it. The mean girls eventually succeeded in having it removed from fanfiction.net as some violation of terms of service, so alas, this version is incomplete, and there are scenes missing.
All the same, enjoy (what remains of) Echoes of Angels That Won’t Return: A Phantom of the Opera fanfic.
A/N: PotO is owned by the incredible Andrew Lloyd Webber, not me (GrrrrR!!)
Just when he felt that his eyes were going to close for the rest of eternity, the man by the water snapped his head up. He had heard a scream … the scream of a woman. At first, his primitive impulses begged for him to go and help whoever was in need.
‘But I’ve had enough of this world,’ he thought slowly. ‘Let her die … It’s not my fault.’
Another scream rang throughout the cellars.
‘You will be responsible for her,’ a calm voice in his head suddenly said. ‘You can leave her to die, or give her a chance to live. Why should another soul lose itself in these musky dungeons of pain?’
‘I’m not at fault,’ he whispered weakly.
‘Yes, you are,’ chided the voice. ‘No more lies … to yourself or anyone else. Do one good deed in your empty life.’
He couldn’t move. The rasping heap didn’t want to admit that he was wrong by saving this helpless person. But then a sharp, painful, and pitiful scream pierced the air one last time … and it was shortly followed by laughter.
Laughter. He had heard this before … sitting behind the bars of a cage. Those memories enraged him … how lonely he had felt! How humiliated! How could he let anyone else feel those inhuman emotions, too? The heap shuddered and slowly rose to his feet.
He wasn’t going to die tonight. Not yet, at least.
“What a fine little crumpet she is,” snarled a huge, brutish man with a voice like gravel. “I get the first poke at this little slut -“
“Like hell you do, Jean-Claude,” snarled the smaller man. “I found the little gypsy bitch – I get her.” Before he could even regret arguing, Jean Claude’s mammoth figure closed in on the smaller man.
“Pierre, if you think for a minute that you’re going before me, you’ll rot in this shithole with the girl.” Jean-Claude’s huge hairy hands slowly closed around Pierre’s scrawny neck, and Pierre started shaking.
“Alright, fine … but don’t be too rough with her, please,” he mumbled, and Jean-Claude let him go. He snuck back a few feet and held the lantern up to his eyes so he could at least see his partner undressing the girl.
Jean-Claude was about to remove the thin peasant top of the girl, when suddenly a sinister laugh sliced through the air.
“Gentlemen,” it said in a caustically polite tone. “You have taken it upon yourself to venture to my home in the vast depths of Hell?”
Jean-Claude dropped the girl on the ground as he felt the voice siege the very blood in his veins. He gave a look at Pierre, who was trembling, the lantern shaking along with him.
“So you’re not going to answer me?!” the voice screamed, the sound of it like the rushing winds of death. Pierre dropped the lantern, causing it to shatter into a million pieces, its hot oil burning his hands and sputtering at his feet. He could hear Jean-Claude’s heavy breathing, but it was no longer because of his savage lust – it was fear.
“I suppose I’ll have to take it upon myself to drag an answer out of the both of you.” The voice returned to its cool tone.
“Fuck off,” Jean-Claude barked. “Come out and face us like a man, and we’ll see who’s dragging an answer out of who!” But his threats had no meaning behind them. Jean-Claude had never encountered the fear that this mere voice was inspiring in his hulking frame.
The two sailors stood huddling close together, without even knowing it. Their eyes, which had barely adjusted to the light, could make out a tall shadow with electric blue sparks placed where they supposed eyes should have been. It was if they really were staring into the eyes of …
‘Satan? No … I’m not the Dark Prince himself, you simple idiot fools,” the voice said simply, as if he could read their minds. The two men sighed internally, their superstitious souls relieved.
“But I will send you to him, where you belong.”
It wasn’t even five seconds later when the two men collapsed at the shadow’s feet.
‘I killed … again,’ the shadow thought, disgusted with himself. He looked down at the two dead masses crumpled on the ground.
‘But they deserved it … they were disgusting beings who weren’t deserving of life,’ the gentle voice retorted.
“I’m not either,” he sobbed aloud, running his long fingers through his unruly, inky hair. Oh, God! Would this pain end? His head began to throb.
‘You are receiving a second chance … now find the girl.’
The girl. He had nearly forgotten about her in his fit of despair. His eyes, which were experts at scanning the dark, saw the trembling, unconscious form of a young woman on the ground. The shadow stooped over her, quietly drinking in her stunning beauty.
From what he could make out, she was of Gypsy decent. Everything form her dark skin and hair to her lithe, yet generously curvy body gave it away. Her jewelry and clothing were covered in runes, and she wore no shoes on her delicate little feet.
She was beautiful …. But a Gypsy. Why did she have to be a Gypsy? Her bloodline fueled his painful memories he had with the gypsies. She could rot, for all he cared.
‘You’re not leaving her ,’ the voice said.
“I’ve saved her,” he yelled out to no one. “I killed again just for her, and I have no more I can give to this Gypsy wench!”
‘You won’t just save her by taking her home … you’ll have saved yourself. Care for her. Give her life.”
“Fine,” the broken man shouted out into the darkness. “But once she’s well, I shall send her away and let myself die in peace.” He gingerly bent down and scooped up the girl’s lovely, light frame into his strong arms and headed for the boat he had tied out by the cellar’s lake.
The Opera Ghost was in for far more than he was asking.
A/N: Aww, Erik’s so sweet when he wants to be! ^^ It gets much better, I promise, PLEASE REVIEW!!
A/N: Okey, ffn is being a bitca and my italics won’t show up, so everytime there needs to be italics, I’ll be using ‘//’ instead.
When Baxtina came to, she could hear the sound of running water drifting out from another door in the bedroom that she had been held captive in. Perfumed steam was also pouring out from behind the door. //Lavender … she thought, //mixed with the scents of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.// Someone was drawing her a bath.
Looking down at her stained nightshirt and hair, Baxtina decided that perhaps a bath wouldn’t be so bad after all.
She was about to get up when she remembered that her limbs were weak and she couldn’t walk. She sighed and flopped back on the fluffy pillow behind her, when suddenly there was a gentle knock on the door.
‘Mademouselle,” said that sinful voice again, and the door opened once more. The strange man stepped into the room again.
It had truly been an exquisite dinner. An antipasto of cheese rolls with a main course of Shrimp Scampi with salad and breadsticks. Tirimisu for dessert! It had been heavenly, and Baxtina thought, despite the fact that there was still something slightly disconcerting about this man, though she couldn’t quite put a finger on it, she was starting to warm up to him.
A passionate banging of the organ was heard from the other room, and she quietly opened the door and slipped her supple body through it. Erik was slamming his hands into the organ sensuously, and instantly her body was once again hit by waves of emotion. The passion, the anger with which he played was both heartbreaking and breathtaking. She once again couldn’t help but spin her body around. Such passion, such anger! She then began to wonder, why such anger from this soul who seemed innately so kind and pure? What kind of heartbreaking life had he lead?
Her lithe, supple, curvascious body was spinning around now in a dance that she couldn’t even conceive of stopping. The passion was too much, and once again she found herself humming along, and quickly singing along. The banging on the organ got even louder and more sensuous. It was so passionate, and sensuous! The passion caused her to nearly lose control of her bowels, it was so sensuous. Eventually she certainly could no longer contain her passion, sadness and … anger and she puked all over the wall. Still, the passion was too great for her to stop this dance of passion and sensuousness and anger and badgers! She spun around, vomit flying from her mouth in a dance of passion, trying to sing in between gurgling bouts of puke. Erik, in his impassioned playing, was not aware of any of this.
Little particles of shrimp and cheesy bread clung to her smooth, supple chin as her dance slowed and she looked at the angry passionate sensuous man at the organ. Common sense was not in her mind at that moment, and with a fiery look in her eye she bounded lithely, watching with fascination as he pounded at his organ. She had never seen any man pound his organ like that, with such passion and determination. It made her blood heat up, watching him pump that organ, and she suddenly just had to know… //what was behind the mask?//
Before she knew what she had done, the mask was off and an angry, scarred, soon to be covered in vomit face stared back at her. The pounding on the organ had promptly stopped, and the man stood up to his hulking seven foot frame. In a deep, angry, manly voice he bellowed, “How DAAAAAAAARE you?”
“No, don’t rape me!” was the only thing the little gypsy girl could think to say in response. Erik paused for a moment, contemplating what she had said and wondering how it bore any relevance to him looking the way he did, but quickly and angrily resumed his hulking.
“I told you not to touch the mask!”
“No you didn’t, gorgio!”
“Em… well, even so, it’s just common sense!” Maybe he hadn’t gone over that one very vital piece of information. “And now you shall pay the price!”
“Please, leave your manhood at bay!” she begged. “Don’t succumb to your most primitive desires!” Once again, Erik was slightly dumbfounded at her preoccupation with rape.
“I’m not… going to!” he said through clenched teeth.
“//Please// I beg of you!” she continued.
“Just…” he was slightly exhausted and far beyond anger. He was in just plain irritated territory now. “Just… go to your room.”
“Curb your lustful-“
“I SAID GO TO YOUR ROOM!” he bellowed, causing the lithe supple Gypsy girl to back up against the wall in terror. “Jesus H. Christ, woman. God, no wonder they booted you out.”
“They didn’t boot me ou-“
“Shut //up//! Just go to your room, okay?”
Baxtina stood up, but didn’t quite see the sideways grandfather clock right over her and bonked her head. As the world spun around her, she looked up at her savior and now prison-keeper, and wondered to herself…. Could it be… love?
Then it all faded to black.