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"Where Rumors Are Born"

Oh, how wonderful it is to be alive! You do know that I, Joseph Buquet, have come face to face with Death himself, do you not? Oh, it was most horrifying! That face... that hideous face! I know I shall have nightmares upon nightmares for years to come! Yes, I, a grown man, have been frightened out of my skin! What is it? You want to know what it looked like? Accurséd Curiosity, what good will that do? Never mind, I shall tell you, but don't come running to this weary, old scene-shifter when the Opera Ghost seeks revenge on you! Ah... where to begin?

Well, as you surely know, I'm in charge of all the scenery down to the third cellar of the Opera House. As it so happened, the night's performance was to be Faust, and one of the scenes had to be brought to the stage. That piece was stored in the second cellar and needed almost all the stage-hands' strength to be carried. As fate would have it, La Carlotta, the huge prima donna with her nose that goes higher than her voice ever could-oh, but don't tell her; surely she'd have me fired-was not on good terms with me. She ordered me to fetch her some useless prop from the third cellar when she knew that no one could be there to accompany me; I dared not disobey her-I do have a family to feed, you know! The point is that I was alone in the infinitely dark catacombs-the home of the Opera Ghost!

I had my one lantern, to guide me through the shadows, which served me well-all too well, I must add. For, what it enabled me to see next was something I would rather have died of without knowing what it looked like! I must brace myself as I tell you the rest... there, that's better.

It seemed as if he came up from below the floor-totally unexpected and silent! I suppose he was in the midst of changing his masks, or he thought no one could ever sneak up on him with a lantern! For, what I witnessed was the most pathetic, horrific, and terrific sight of all my years! Oh, to describe it to you... surely I would have thought him a corpse on its feet! Oh my, I need to drink some water-thank you, dear. Now, his face: truly monstrous!

The first thing that flooded to my mind was that I must already be dead, for I was facing the Devil. Only the Prince of Eternal Darkness would have had such swollen lips, disfigured and demented looking. In that brief moment, that seemingly fleeting passage of time, all of it was engraved into my memory: the discoloration of the scarred and sickly skin that seemed to be covering bare bones, the nose-or, lack thereof-that was but a hideous expanse of darkness into his skull, all of it, I can picture right now! If God blessed me with an artist's hand, I could sketch you the subject of my constant fear. Oh, but none of it compared-NONE of it-to his eyes, those mismatched eyes of Death! One had to be a fiery yellow, while the other was a cruel grey-almost white! They seemed to blaze through my very soul! Oh, I was surely in Hell, I thought! Of course, because my last thoughts were of contempt-of La Carlotta's position over me. Surely he hated the diva as well, as she'd been receiving letters from his apprentice-none other than the O.G. himself-to pretend she was sick and hand her role to a chorus girl...Of course she ignored the threats, but you've seen the luck she's had! I hear she's bed ridden right now!

Well, the moment didn't last long, thank Heaven above. He quickly turned away, again without a sound, and vanished! I guess I had dropped my lantern by then, so I fumbled my way back to the second cellar. What a relief it was to see the stage-hands topple over in the struggle with the scenery! I could have laughed had my voice not failed me; I was granted a second chance! I had lived after all!

La Carlotta was furious, but she did not have the managers get rid of me-something tells me she had her own encounter with the Opera Ghost...

One thing troubles me a bit, or rather, puts me at ease. You see, O.G. was not a disheveled wreck-he wore a custom-tailored suit! (It had to be; no man could ever be as tall as he was!) Not to mention that he had on what looked like a designer men's cloak; I'm sure the Vicomte de Chagny owns one just the same, and he's nobility! Not only that, but as horrendous as his visage was, no one could have ignored his sleek hair, black as the darkness in which he lives; immaculately groomed and kept, the Ghost could very well have been some aristocrat, had he not the face of Death. I already described it to you-gives me shudders!

Oh, but girls, do not be afraid. I am certain that if you stick together, he would not dare harm you! Actually, I couldn't imagine him hurting any woman, save La Carlotta of Spain. Such an infernal woman, she is! So fear not; the Phantom of the Opera is probably quite the gentleman. You know, maybe you could ask him to take all you girls to the Gala after next week's performance of Faust! What? Keep that cane away from me! I was only kidding! Really, you'd believe everything you heard, wouldn't you! Ballet rats... Okay, I'm leaving!

* From Memoirs of an Opera House by Meg Giry, daughter of the keeper of the infamous "Box Five" in which the nefarious "Opera Ghost" was believed to have frequented.
This passage was recorded one week before Joseph Buquet met his untimely end-at the hands of the Phantom himself, or so it is believed.


Disclaimer: Phantom of the Opera is owned by Gaston Leroux, but seeing as he's kind of dead, I think the rights are Sir Lloyd Webber's, don't you? I wonder how long ago the old man died... O_O? What is it, 50 years after your death a copyright can be taken over? *shrug*

Original A/N:
Okay, I know the story is going to be HORRIBLY botched up from the start. I wasn't really paying attention to the accurateness of the plot... this is another Creative Writing assignment in which I had to describe a person's face. Guess what I chose. ! I know it's been "described" many times before, so I tried to make mine different, hence the whole added story thinger that surrounds the face description. So, please don't hurt me because I got it all wrong; I know I did. Plus, my audience (my teacher + class) most probably doesn't know a thing about what I'm about to type, so I had to explain it to an oblivious crowd. :D (Big Grin) Okay, on with the show.
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Submitted on
October 20, 2002
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