by TT (a.m.tilmouth.s99 at cranfield.ac.uk)
The hours passed, and Lestrade and Watson waited at the side
of the hall, Holmes still missing. In the darkness of the auditorium
Christine passed from chorus girl to prima donna, into the underground
lair of the Angel of Music. Up on the rooftops she and Raoul, her
childhood sweetheart, declared their love for one another, while in
the shadows of the statue of Apollo the Phantom listened with
contempt and dismay. Lestrade waited. and as the Phantom screamed
his hatred and the chandelier fell, the lights flooded back. The first
half of the play ended.
"They really are very good, aren't they?" Holmes reappeared,
still in disguise, as the chandelier was hoisted back up to hover
above the audience once more.
"Where in the name of Zed have you been? The play's halfway
through." Lestrade swatted his arm with the notebook she held,
Holmes easily caught it and glanced at the screen. He lowered
his voice. "Here and there, here and there. Now, when the lights go
out again, keep your wits about you and expect the worst."
The lights did indeed go out again as people returned to
their seats for the second half of the play. There was a party, a
giant masquerade. Colours and weird creatures swirled everywhere in
a dizzying display, Christine and Raoul started to sing and
then...the Red Death emerged from the top of the stage, iridescent
in a magnificent costume of red velvet and silk, his skullhead bone
white in the spotlight.
Watson muttered, "Oh my. the missing costume."
From somewhere off stage Mrs Lakes' voice could be heard. The
entire cast stood dumbstruck. The boy playing Raoul managed to point.
"Hey, you're not meant to be on yet!"
Blue sparks leapt from the Phantom's hand and pounded into
the boy's chest, Raoul collapsed, twitching on the floor. Lestrade
drew her ioniser but Holmes laid a hand on her arm and shook his head.
"Why so silent, good monsieurs? Have you never seen the dead
before? Ten long years I have lain here, watching, waiting for my
chance to rise again." His voice was hollow and echoed. He threw up
his arms. Blue light sparked; mist began to bubble from underneath
the trapdoors. The actors tried to move out of the way, all apart
from Rachel Morris, who stood, swaying slightly, just below the
He seemed to catch sight of her. "Cherie...Christine, come
with me." He stretched out a hand to her, but all at once Rachel
seemed to snap out of the trance; she began to back away. Holmes
began to pull Lestrade and Watson towards the stage.
The Phantom's eyes began to glow and he snatched Rachel's
wrist. "So be it. You shall all pay." He threw an arm skyward once
more. All at once, Lestrade saw something jerk above them. The
chandelier began to fall once more, but faster, more uncontrolled.
But the detective kept trying to push them both through the
throng of frightened people to the stage. Lestrade saw the great
mass of glass plummet down for what seemed like an age of time...and
then suddenly jerk and snap back, dancing on the end of a long thick
chain. A few shards broke off and disappeared into the crowd. On
stage the Phantom screamed and pulled Rachel towards one of the
trapdoors; he bent down to pull it with his free hand...nothing
happened. This seemed to surprise him more than the chandelier. He
went to the next one. Same thing, and the next, and the next.
Now Holmes was running over the free space. The Phantom
turned, threw something and ran into the shadows backstage. Holmes
threw a young girl out the way. The silver blade hit the wall with a
"Smilers," yelled Lestrade as Holmes flew into the shadows.
"The kid's got smilers."
There was a shout from up ahead. "WATSON, LESTRADE." They ran
forward and there on the floor was Roger, the pale mask of the first
half of the play gone. His hand was turned red as he clutched his side.
"How many times did I tell you to keep out of the way," growled
Holmes, reaching down.
Roger jerked back. "No...not me, people here to do
that... help Ray. Hands at the level of your eyes, Holmes... remember."
Mrs Lakes came running up the passageway. "Mr King, what are
you doing here...Oh my God, Roger."
Holmes grabbed her. "Madam, my name is Sherlock Holmes. Get
the police and an ambulance. There is a passage behind the mirror in
Miss Morris's dressing room. If we are not back in an hour tell the
police to smash it through... and beware what they find beyond."
With that Holmes ran off into the darkness, Lestrade and Watson
close on his heels.
"Holmes, what did he mean, 'hands at the level of your
eyes'?" They were in Rachel's dressing room now, Holmes about to
press the mirror leaf.
"Watson, the real Phantom used a catgut lasso to strangle his
victims, Raoul and the Persian kept their hands level with their
face." Holmes quickly demonstrated; he looked like an old fashioned
duellist. "To stop the Phantom being able to fasten the knot round
The door swung open reveal black beyond.
"Remember, both of you, hands at the level of your eyes. We
don't know what's in store for us now." They descended into the
On to Part 10!
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