I've been spending an awful lot of time over the past week or so up to my ears in French, but here we are finally with the essential scene in any Phantom retelling: the unmasking scene (combined here with the kidnap, since events are being compressed into a single day...) And an Erik-PoV chapter; the gentleman known to my fandom-blind beta-reader of the time as "Crazy Erik" :-p
It's interesting writing a character who is insane but -- of course -- isn't aware of it...
Chapter 7: Behind the Mask
The great chamber beneath the hillside was dark, lit by only the faintest midnight glow through the viewport from the dust-laden sky high above. The shadows of the gallery stretched away far out of sight, in long shapeless aisles that threw back only a random glint or two in answer to the faint pool of light at Erik’s feet as he moved; at any other time he would have welcomed that refuge, a deep anonymous night in which all men were equal, both marred and unmarred. But he was no longer alone. And she— she was not at home here as he was. He had to see that all was well; that all was ready for her.
His body still ached from the vibrating drone of their long flight, but he would not have sacrificed one hour of it. To have her there, cradled close in the soft black leather of the seat with her white throat thrown back, utterly yielding in the heavy-breathing stupor of her drugged doze... If he had reached out — taken his hand for one moment from the yoke of the little flyer — he could have brushed that wisp of hair that curled behind her ear, or set his gloved wrist against the smooth curve of her cheek that still held the downy bloom of a child. He longed to set loose those tight-bound braids and see her veiled in the sheen of her hair, brushed out like true rain as Newparis would never know it. She had been close enough to touch... and that had been enough.( Read more... )