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Shrouded Castle ~~ Synopsis & Excerpts

Having successfully overcome those challenges, he desires nothing more than a comfortable life filled with music. But, in order for that to happen, he must make the opera’s managers do his bidding. To persuade them that he’s the one in control of his opera house, many performances suffer under his clever and sometimes diabolical humor. His actions, and his clandestine manner of life, coupled with the superstitions of the day, begin the legend of the Opera Ghost. Then, just when he thinks his life is as good as it can get, the unexpected occurs—he encounters the young chorus girl Christine, and, against all good judgment, his lonely heart dares to reach out to her, and his life will never be the same again.

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For the most part, I was able to stay out of sight and, therefore, keep my home and myself secluded from the soldiers, although there were many close calls and several actual encounters. I witnessed several battles that waged within the walls of the opera house, but they were battles fought without my interference. In spite of that fact, there was one confrontation that was different. It touched my heart in a way that it hadn’t been touched since the war had started, and it made it impossible for me to keep my resolve of separateness.

Then I heard one of them cry out in pain, and I turned to see him on the ground with the other six kicking him. I clenched my teeth and turned again to leave, while telling myself it was none of my business what those men did to each other. But then he cried out again, and it hurt me deep inside. I stood in the shadows and struggled with my conflicting thoughts.

“There,” I said mockingly, “the odds are much better now, don’t you think?”

Knowing my back was to the lake, I waited for the last second and jumped aside as they lunged for me. Two of them hit the water, but the other one tackled me and a struggle ensued. Within a few seconds, two others also landed on me. Then all four of us plunged into the lake.

This second excerpt happens after the opera house is finished. Erik is taking a walk through his domain and decides to take a shortcut by means of one of his pivoting mirrors, the one in the ballet studio. When he reaches it, he listens to a conversation between a mother and daughter.

I continued to watch the women, and then, just before they opened the door, the young girl turned to Madame Giry, gave her a hug, and said, “Thank you, Mother. You always make me feel better.”

I smiled at those warm words and hoped, for Meg’s sake, that Madame Giry was right.

The young girl, Meg, was standing still with her hands over her mouth and her eyes as wide as could be. She remained so still that she resembled a statue staring at me; or it looked as if she was staring at me. I slowly lowered my head, so that I could barely see her beneath the brim of my hat. Then I didn’t move, thinking perhaps the lighting was wrong and she could see me through the mirror. So we remained two motionless creatures too fearful to move—for two entirely different reasons.

When Meg didn’t respond, Madame Giry came in and placed her arm around her daughter’s shoulders. “Meg, what’s wrong? You’re trembling.”

Madame Giry looked around. “What do you mean something?”

“No, Mother,” Meg insisted, without taking her eyes off the mirror or me. “I’m not imagining this. It was real.”

“No, Mother,” the frightened girl persisted. “It was much too big to be a bird. It was larger than a full grown man.”

“It wasn’t that mirror, Mother, it was that one,” Meg said as she moved for the first time and raised her trembling arm and fingers, pointing directly at me.

As they walked back to the door, Meg asked, “Mother, do you think it could have been one of the tortured souls from the commune? Many believe they’re still here—right in this opera house. Some even say there’s an opera ghost. Do you think that’s what I saw—the opera ghost?”

Have you ever wondered?

How did he survive so long during the Franco-Prussian War and the attempted takeover by the communards?

Just how and when did he meet Christine?

Fine out the answers in this fourth volume.

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