Erik was waiting to die. Christine had promised she would return after he died.
"She will be here soon," Erik whispered his mantra over and over, rolling the words on his dry, corpse tongue. "She will be here soon."
It had been a week since he had met with the Daroga at his little flat. Three days had passed since he had crawled silently into his coffin to await hell. Erik is already in hell, he thought wildly. It is hell without Erik's Christine.
The silence in the house by the lake was think with Death, empty of the music that once ruled the darkness. Nothing existed in the cellars but Erik's home and the miles and miles of corpses left behind from the Commune. And the rats, Erik reminded himself. How ironic, a corpse entombed in other corpses.
He could not muster enough strength to laugh, so he opted to concentrate on every swell of his chest, hoping that it would be his last.
A sound colored the darkness for a moment, startling Erik.
Perhaps a rat has found its way into Erik's home. The rat catcher will die. What if it is in Christine's room, among Christine's things? The idea nearly sent Erik flying from his coffin before he realized that Christine would not care if it was among her things. She had never cared for Erik's gifts. She had pushed away the things Erik had spent hours perfecting for her. She refused to hear his wedding march, not caring that he had spent months working on it. He had not told her at the time, of course, but he had started it when he began being her angel. She had to be his. But she is with her boy.
Erik had sent the Daroga the things he had promised at their last meeting, but he could not bear to part with the letters he had stolen that had mentioned the angel of music with love or the veil she was to wear on their wedding day. It smelled of her.
Erik moaned, remember the moment Christine left him behind. She did not even look back at the man who was dying of love for her. Erik could feel the tears run unbidden down his cheeks. For a moment, he pretended that it was Christine's tears on his skeletal skin.
He heard the sound again. A shuffle approaching his coffin.
Perhaps it is Death, come to free me from this tomb.
The lid of the coffin began to move slightly and light shown through the crack. It was not a bright light, more of a soft glow, but with it accompanied the face of an angel.
"Christine?" he gasped.
The coffin shut again and with it came a muffled scream.
"Oh, angel. Forgive Erik for his face," Erik rasped. "He wishes he could be beautiful for you, angel."
A silence hung in the room before the coffin lid cracked open once more.
"My God! What have you done, Erik?" the angel cried.
"I waited for you, my Christine," Erik whimpered, the words burning in his famished mouth. "Erik always knew you would come back to him! Erik must be dead. But if he is dead, why is Christine before his eyes as an angel? Could Erik be..." He paused again before letting out a horrible, cackling laugh. "Imagine! A monster in heaven! Can you imagine, Christine?"
"Erik, you are not dead," the angel said.
"If I am not dead how is it possible for you to be here, my Christine? You need not lie to me. I am aware that I must be dead."
Erik began to cough in his excitement, each hack sending him further into the haze.
"Heaven hurts, Christine," he whimpered, falling into unconsciousness.