Theme: A story suggested by or based on a song. Thanks to Nat for editing.
The Phantom of the Opera
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe.
©The Really Useful Group
(Used without permission)
In sleep he sang to me
In dreams he came
That voice which calls to me
And speaks my name
And do I dream again?
For now I find
The phantom of the opera is there,
Inside my mind
Sing once again with me
Our strange duet
My power over you
Grows stronger yet
And though you turn from me
to glance behind
The phantom of the opera is there
Inside your mind
It was early summer. The days were warm and the flowers were blooming. I had just graduated from the private preparatory school I attended and Mother had graciously given me a sabbatical from my voice, dance, and other extracurricular lessons. I felt as free as a bird.
Mother and I spent a three-day weekend on Long Island at Aunt Peggy and Uncle Mort's house. My Aunt Olive and Uncle Simon were there, too. And my cousins, eight in all, although James, Mandy, Patti and I were the about the same age and hung out together. We laid in the sun or swam in their pool. We laughed and teased and giggled. James even tried to teach me tennis.
Mother and I took the train back into Manhattan, and arrived at our apartment about six on Sunday evening. We ate a light supper and then got ready for bed. I put on one the nightgowns Mother bought for me for my birthday last year, the one with the pink cami-top and matching harem pants.
I sat on the padded bench facing the oval mirror attached to the back of the dressing table. Mother stood behind me, brushing my golden waist-length hair with the silver handled brush that had been my grandmother's. Mother groomed it with long, slow strokes.
I closed my eyes. My melody wafting faintly inside my head made me tingle before it was gone. I opened my eyes to see Mother smiling knowingly at me.
"We adults heard giggles coming from the teenager's bedroom last night. What were you doing?" Mother asked.
"Talking about sex."
"Oh?" Mother said in a tone of voice Mother's use to garner more information. "Do you know a lot about that?"
"More than you think I do," I replied mischievously.
"I didn't know you were even interested in boys?"
"I never have been, have I? But, lately... well, it seems all I think about is sex."
"I've noticed," Mother said. "Have you even kissed a boy?" she asked.
"Just one," I admitted. "But the girls at school talk and I listen." Mother didn't need to ask who the one was. His name was Sean McLaren and I was fourteen at the time.
"So, what did you four talk about?" Mother asked.
"Mandy told us how she lost her virginity to her boyfriend at their prom last month."
"She taught Patti how to masturbate a boy."
"Using James as a model, I suppose," Mother said.
"Of course. He certainly didn't object."
"Did you join in the fun?"
"Mother! You know I wouldn't. I couldn't! I could never be untrue to him!"
"To your phantom?" Mother asked.
"Yes, to him," I said.
"He's not real, Christine."
"He's very real to me, even if he's only in my dreams," I said.
"It's a strange dream, Christine. A melody you can't repeat. A man you've never seen but only heard his voice."
I can't tell you when my dream first came to me. Maybe three years ago. Maybe four. It seems so long ago. At first, it was the few bars of a simple, haunting melody playing in my mind as I slept. Strange at it seems, I could not remember the melody or reproduce it to let others hear, but each time I heard it, I knew it was mine. I don't remember when the few bars became eight or eight became sixteen. Nor could I tell you when the tune was complete and the solitary organ became an orchestra.
Then he came into the dream. The disembodied voice of a pure, lyric tenor calling my name. "Christine." Only my name. "Christine."
I called back to him, "I'm here. Who are you?" He couldn't hear me, or, maybe, wouldn't answer me. How could I tell which it was? So I listened to the melody and him calling me.
I can tell you the night he first sang to me. It was night I turned seventeen. I wore one of the nightgowns Mother gave me for my birthday. It was the transparent silk black one that came only to the top of my thighs, and had matching bikini panties. He sang words of love written for the melody I'd heard all along.
Later, he sang other love songs or read to me. He began with poems of love, poems I'd heard before when we studied them in school, but from his lips they were so sweet and pure it was as if I were hearing them for the first time. In a month, he began reading other things—plays, short stories. He would sing and read before silently slipping away.
Then, in April, just about six weeks ago, he began reading me other stories—romance stories, erotic stories. Stories of men and women, of warriors and their maidens. Of worlds where women were slaves to men. Stories of love and lust like those I'd found on the Internet.
I had so much I wanted to ask him, so much about him I needed to know. But I was silent, always silent, trapped in the dream's helpless state. And that state kept me from expressing my love for him. I couldn't tell him, or hold him, or open my gown and call him to my bed.
Yes, it was he whom I wanted. Sometimes, I would daydream of him for in those dreams I could have him do what I wished. He would come to me, sometimes softly to kiss my neck and make me whisper for him to hurry, sometimes roughly to throw me down, lift my skirt and have me as his.
And in those dark times in my room at night, I would open my gown to caress my breasts until my legs parted. My hand would find my sex hot and wet in my need, and I would come as I thought of him and the melody played in my head.
Just a few weeks ago, I was determined to contact him. I wrote a note to my phantom, saying "Don't sing to me or read to me. Take me. Possess me. Command me. Fuck me. Make me yours forever." I pinned the note to a throw pillow and put it where he could not miss it.
I wore nothing, not even my panties, when I got in bed. I covered myself with one thin sheet. I touched my breasts slowly, listening to music in my head. And the music climaxed, so did I. I prayed he'd come to me.
In the depths of my rest, the melody played again.
"Christine, I am here," I heard him say. "O, Christine, my lovely Christine. I do possess you. You are mine and mine alone, my precious jewel."
I felt hands on my breasts, felt them explore and caress me. Hard fingers brushed my sex. No one but I myself had touched me there. No one had touched me like that making me burst with need.
"I will fuck you, Christine, and more. I will pleasure you and you will bring me pleasure in any way I ask. But not tonight. Sleep, my beauty, sleep."
I was suddenly aware Mother had stopped brushing and put her hands on my shoulders. Her eyes were soft and loving as she always is with me, but there was a hint of concern around the corners.
"Thinking of your dream?" she asked.
"Yes, mother," I replied.
"Let's talk about real men. Mr. McLaren has invited us to spend the weekend at his house in the Hamptons."
Archibald McLaren was a wealthy and powerful man. Mother was his mistress, yet so much more. She told me he was her king and her master, holding her in thrall. Yes, those were her exact words. "King and master." "Holding her in thrall." I had to look up "thrall" in the dictionary. It means "enslaved, held in bondage." So I asked her.
"Are you his slave, Mother?" I had asked.
"Not as people usually think of it, but, emotionally, yes, honey, I am. I enjoy being his," had been her reply.
"Why?" I had asked.
"Don't you dream of your phantom possessing you?" she had replied.
Oh, did I ever.
"Mr. McLaren has never invited me to the Hamptons," I said. "He's never invited me any place."
"That's not true, Christine. We spent four days at his beach house when you were fourteen. That's when you met Sean. He'll be there this weekend, too."
"He will?" I asked, my excitement evident.
"Yes, he will."
Then a thought came to me. I don't know why I had it. It wasn't like me to attribute ulterior motives to people. Maybe it was my recent preoccupation with sex, or my crush on Sean. Maybe it was the way Mr. McLaren had looked at me the last time I saw him, or my own dark desires to have him ravish me.
"Why was I invited?" I asked.
"You're eighteen now and you'll be going off to college in two months. They wanted to celebrate with you."
"And that's all?" I asked.
"We'll go shopping tomorrow for some new clothes for you. You need to look your best."
"Don't ignore my question, Mother. Is that the only reason I was invited?"
I turned and stood to face my mother, who was only eighteen years older than I am. Except for the age difference, we might be two peas from the same pod we look so much alike. I took her hands in mine and said, "Answer me, Mother."
"You might not remember Sean. It's been four years since you saw him."
"I remember him, but I don't like him. He's a spoiled brat," I said.
.... There is more of this story ...