The screams of the audience trying desperately to get away from the arena were deafening. Several people were crawling all over each other to get clear of the clearly physcotic man occupying the 3rd row of the Phantom's theater.
The aggresor stood tall, arm wrapped tightly around the waist of Meg Giry, his pistol pointed to her blonde temple.
A very amused smirk played across his maddened features.
"Very good monsieur Phantom. Very good." Alex began with a very quiet laugh.
Erik shielded Christine's form from Alex's demonic glare. Erik rose to his full height and looked back at Christine with a silent command for her to stay precisely where she was. Christine nodded quickly, never taking her eyes from Meg's frightened face.
She was wearing men's clothing; a pair of loose fitting denim jeans, and a baggy button down shirt. Her blond curls hung limply beside her face and Meg's continuous smile was nothing but a frightened twist of lips. Christine felt a hand fall to her shoulder and
she looked up to see Antoinette standing tall and strong behind her.
The woman looked at her only daughter in reserved fear, and then at her captor in disgust.
"What have you done to my daughter?" She asked, her lips forming a thin line as she struggled to control her anger.
Alex's eyes flicked up to Antoinette, mocking her.
"I do not believe you were spoken to. This matter is between myself and the fair Miss Davenport." He sneered through clenched teeth.
Alex looked up menacingly at Erik's dark figure as he stalked down the stairs at the side of the stage.
Christine eyed him carefully, worried. But that feeling of fear for Erik's safety quickly faded as she watched Alex's expression change as Erik slithered down the
long flight of stairs.
To Christine, Erik had always appeared to have some form of a dark side that he kept under close watch.
This was the side of Erik she saw now. Dark, daring, murderous. It was not her Erik that she saw before her, it was the Phantom at his finest. The mask that concealed his deformity gave him a sinister look as the carved porcelain held a permanently mocking look.
His long, lean figure approached her parent's killer with a cool grace, making Christine question the true feelings that were hidden behind that calm exterior. She would find out.
Erik narrowed his eyebrows at the shell of a man that held Meg hostage. He stared at Erik as he stepped from the final stair, only a few feet from where he stood holding Meg hostage.
"Monsieur I bid you welcome to my concert hall." He said, the words sliding off of his tongue like silk.
Alex turned violently towards Erik's looming figure, yanking Meg around with him. He braced Meg's body tightly and pointed the gun at Erik.
"This does not concern you! Step back, or I will shoot you." Alex yelled. Erik's lips curled into a mocking smile.
"This most certainly involves me Monsieur. You have come into my country, threatened those whom I hold dear, and demanded funds from me in exchange for a human life. This most definitely concerns me." He said coming closer to the pair.
Alex's face shook with anger as he glared at all of those around.
"You must not be as bright as you have made yourself out to be if you did not even think to bring your thugs with you Monsieur." Erik laughed.
Christine watched as Alex grew frantic, the sight of the Phantom tearing all nerve from his body.
Alex looked at Christine and then back at Erik. In a fluid motion he threw Meg away from his body and raised his gun. Christine screamed as he aimed and fired, the gunshot ringing throughout the auditorium.
Erik watched in horror as Alex jumped the stage and yanked Christine close to him, her screaming in anger and revulsion as he crushed her to him.
"You will not screw with me. I will have what I have demanded," Alex grabbed Christine's face "or she will be the next." He screamed, hauling Christine into a side door as quickly as he could.
"Christine!!" Erik screamed as he watched her body disappear into the darkness of the upstage stairs. He heard a cough and his eyes flew to the stage.
Erik turned horrified eyes onto the victim of Alex's gunshot.
Antoinette Giry lay slumped against the hardwood floor taking deep breaths.
"Maman!" Meg Giry flew up the stage to her mother's side, cradling her close. Tears fell down her face as she searched her mother for the wound. Erik knelt beside her.
"Good god someone get some help in here."
Antoinette responded by grabbing Erik's chin firmly in her hand.
"You listen to me Erik. She will be next if you do not stop him. I am fine." Antoinette hissed. Erik stared after the way Alex had gone. Antoinette squeezed his hand.
"The damn fool took her up to the rafters. You can stop him, but hurry." Erik searched her face quickly, and then shot off across the stage and into the darkened passage.
Meg squeezed her mother's hand tightly.
"Maman, are you alright? Please, keep talking to me." She pleaded.
Antoinette struggled to sit up as she embraced her daughter.
"I am fine Meg, did he hurt you?" Meg squeezed her mother and shook her head.
"Not really Maman. But that doesn't matter. My God what did he do to you?" She asked, hysterics taking over again.
Antoinette looked down.
A nasty gash in her thigh held all the answers.
"Leave me the hell alone!" Christine cried as she stuggled in vain to get away from Alex.
Alex ruthlessly drug her along past props and sound equipment, ignoring her pleas.
"You may as well bloody shut up, because no one will hear you." He growled, yanking her arm painfully.
Christine whimpered but kept fighting to free her arm from his grasp.
"Alex please, let me go! You've done enough." She screamed.
Alex whirled around pressing her small body up against the dark wall of the passage.
"No YOU have done enough. I am sick of your moaning and belly-aching. SHUT UP." He screamed, raising a hand a smacking her firmly across the face.
Christine stumbled as the sting of his hand took her off balance. She clutched at the wall for support as felt blood seep from her lip.
Alex ignored his damage to her face and dragged her along. He flung open another door and stared out into the bright light.
"What the hell?" He asked, dragging Christine out and onto a rickety bridge.
Alex looked down at the sound of men barking orders.
A group of uniformed men were positioned in the auditorium, weapons out and pointed at the maniac. Alex threw his head around to see the other entrance of the catwalk blocked by more of the french police.
"Monsieur, you are surrounded. Let the hostage free, and no one will be hurt."
Christine looked at Alex's maddened face and back at the policeman. Alex would not give up, and she knew it.
"Give me what I demand, or I swear to God she will not make it out of here alive." He screamed, thrusting the muzzle of his pistol to Christine's head.
Christine clamped her eyes shut as she felt the cold steel of the pistol shaking against her temple. Is this how her parents felt before they died? This scared? This helpless?
'God please help me.' She screamed inside her frantic mind.
The policemen held their ground, afraid to risk Christine's life, but knowing they could not let this murderer get away once again.
They were torn between life and justice.
"Drop the damn guns. Drop them dammit!" Alex roared, causing Christine's already throbbing head to ache even more.
Alex's frantic movements caused the flimsy bridge to buckle and rock beneath their feet, Christine praying for it not to break under their weight.
Slowly, the uniformed men lowered their pistols to the ground, never taking their eyes from Alex's pistol placed firmly to Christine's brown curls. Alex smiled in triumph, a wicked twist of lips and teeth.
"Smart gentlemen. Now...I demand that the Giry girl bring me the 50 million that the Phantom and I have agreed on...and I spare her pretty neck." Alex sneered placing a wet kiss to Christine's shoulder. She cringed at the feel of his lips on her flesh and clenched her eyes shut as tightly as possible.
"If you lay one more inch of your skin against her body I swear that I shall remove it."
Christine's eyes flew open and she looked to see the owner of the voice she knew so well. Alex growled in frustration.
Erik crouched on the catwalk directly above them, his dark eyes dancing with fury.
"Erik no!" She screamed as he jumped down from the catwalk.
Alex opened fire at him and Erik missed the bullet by mere inches as his feet hit the bridge they were standing on, sending it swinging violently.
Christine tore herself from Alex's arms as he lost balance from the rocking of the catwalk. The pistol flew from his fingertips, skittering across the rough wood.
"Get down!" Erik yelled as he flew to where Alex was getting up from.
He had to stop him before he reached his gun again. Alex fumbled to his feet, and with a roar threw a punch into Erik's shoulder.
His shoulder gave slightly, but Erik kept coming. He countered with a blow to the murderer's jaw, sending him reeling backward into the ropes.
Christine watched in horror as she witnessed the man she loved battling for her life with the man that had taken her own parents.
Alex managed the strength to kick Erik's legs out from underneath him, sending the larger man crashing to the floor of the bridge.
"Erik!" Christine screamed as she heard his back make hard contact with the floor.
Alex leapt ontop of Erik pinning his dazed body to the bridge.
"So you think that you can play hero do you? Did you really think that you could defeat me?" Alex reached for his pistol, a sneer on his face.
"Let's see if the great Phantom bleeds." He cackled.
Christine turned deaf ears onto Erik's screams of protest as she tore herself from the ground and hit Alex as hard as she could with her own small body, sending him reeling to floor.
"You little bitch!" He screamed, grabbing a fistful of her hair and wrenching her head back. "You'll pay for that." He spat into her face, raising his hand to strike her.
Christine watched in disbelief as Alex's hand flew to his own neck, gasping for air. She stumbled backward from him watching as he choked.
Erik stood tall behind him, teeth gritted as he yanked at the rope that he had tossed over Alex's head.
"You will never harm a hair on her head again. I'll make sure of it." He growled, shoving Alex as hard as he could, sending him toppling over the side of the bridge.
Christine shut her eyes as she heard the sound of her would be killer choking and then silence.
Alex was dead.
She turned to look at the man before her. Erik was breathing heavily, fists clenched, anger still written on his face. His mask lay broken on the ground where Alex had made one last attempt to stop him, nailing him square in the face.
"Christine..." He whispered. Tears fell from her eyes as she rushed into his arms, clutching him as close to her as she possibly could.
"Erik, Erik, Erik..." She whispered, burying her face into his chest. Despite his unmasked face, Erik wound his arms around Christine, shielding his cheek in her matted curls.
"It's alright now. It's over. He cannot do another thing to you or another living soul." He whispered, rocking her small form against him. She nodded, sobbing into him.
"Did he hurt you?" Erik asked, pulling her away from his chest. She looked up into his eyes and watched his face contort into a fury as he laid eyes on the ugly bruise covering her right cheek.
"My beautiful Christine...what did he do to you?" He whispered, running his fingers carefully over her injury.
"It's fine. Nothing that can't heal. Are you alright?" She asked. Erik nodded, still concerned about the bruise on her face. Christine touched his broken cheek.
"It really is alright Erik." She whispered. Erik searched her eyes and then crushed her to him once more.
"I'm so glad that you're alright." He cooed into her hair. Christine clung to him, thanking God for placing him into her life.
"Are you both alright up there?" A policeman called. Erik pulled away from her and leaned over the railing.
"Yes Monsieur. Madamoiselle Davenport has been injured, but not critically." He called.
"Very good. Can you bring her down to the medic? He is outside with the gunshot victim."
Christine's head flew up.
"Anrtoinette." She whispered. Erik nodded.
"She's going to be fine Christine. Let me get you back down stairs and have you checked out." He whispered. Christine nodded, worried for Meg and her mother. Erik leaned down and picked up his broken mask. He shook his head and tossed it back to the floor.
"I don't know if I can do this." Erik said, touching his broken face. Christine grabbed his hand.
"Yes you can. You'll do it with me." She said, kissing his malformed cheek. Erik nodded, despair written on his face.
"I wish I were so sure." He whispered, helping Christine back across the bridge and down the stairs to the waiting policemen.
Alex is finished!!! Meg has been returned...but will her mother be alright? There is one more chapter of Phantom of the Concert Hall left, so you will have to wait and see. Thank you so much for all of your comments and critique. This story has been a pleasure to write and share with you all. Just one more chapter...