Five days later, Brigitte turned seven. She had a small party with the ballerinas. It was nothing special at all. No streamers or balloons. Antoinette gave her ten francs that Erik had demanded she was given for each birthday. Brigitte had a small cake and that was the end of her party. The cake was so small, it could fit in the palm of her hand. It was lightly glazed with no candle. Yet Brigitte was nothing short of happy and grateful. When Antoinette came up that night, she was surprised to see Brigitte twirling in front of the mirror in a beautiful soft pink dress. The dress was exquisite. It had tulle and silk, a lace neckline and long sleeves. The shoes were small little heeled shoes. The necklace was a small diamond one. With her naturally soft curled brown hair, Brigitte looked beautiful. There was a grand chocolate cake on Brigitte's nightstand.
"Brigitte, darling, where did you get all of this? You didn't take it, did you?" Antoinette asked, worriedly.
"No, ma'am. I came up and saw these lying on my bed. There was this note." Brigitte handed her a piece of paper. She went back to twirling about in her beautiful gown, while Antoinette read on.
Happy birthday. Everyone needs something to wear for their debut.
An Unknown Friend
Antoinette smiled. Erik. Brigitte handed her something else. It was sheets of music. Debut? What are you doing, Erik? Antoinette wondered. She would soon find out.
Monsieur Andre was packing up his things from the office that night, when he saw another note lying on his desk. Almost a bit afraid to touch it, he packed up the rest of his things before opening it.
Dear Monsieur Andre,
The time has come for you to put Brigitte on stage to perform. She is ready, with a song learned. Let her perform on Friday night as the encore. Do not let Monsieur Firmin know until it is too late to cancel. Also, I demanded that you leave Box 5 open for me. I shall be in attendance. If you don't, a disaster beyond your imagination will occur.
Your faithful servant
Monsieur Andre did just that. When Friday came, he was more than scared. In the wings, Brigitte was straightening her dress in her own private dressing room. It was large and there were roses tied in black silk ribbons on the table. She looked at herself in the mirror and whispered out loud, "I'm scared."
"There is nothing to be afraid of, my little Brigitte." Erik let the words flow out of his mouth as smooth as lyrics in a song. He physically slapped a hand over his mouth, realizing he had said his thoughts aloud. Oh Erik, you are such a fool! You are the famous Opera Ghost and yet you cannot contain yourself in front of a seven year old! Erik's mind hissed.
"What? Who's there? That voice, it sounds so familiar!" Brigitte looked all around. She found no one, but she blew a kiss in the air and left the room, when Antoinette knocked on the door to tell her she was going to be onstage in five minutes. Erik cautiously made his way to Box 5 and sat down in the shadows to watch his little Brigitte play. Andre looked up to Box 5 and saw no one.
"Ah, Andre." Firmin came over. "What a marvelous night! No opera ghost in sight!"
"Firmin, I meant to tell you, but it simply slipped my mind," Andre played it cool. "Brigitte will be performing in two minutes. It was another order from the Opera Ghost."
"What? How could you forget?" Firmin demanded. A woman hushed them, as the curtains opened. There stood Brigitte in the outfit that Erik had made her. Her brown curls were pinned back with rose pins. The audience smiled and waited for Brigitte to start. But before she could even lift her bow, Firmin rushed onto the stage. Erik jumped out of his seat, still in the shadows. He was breathily heavily, as fire shot out of his eyes. Erik left in anger to the wings of the stage, before climbing up to the rafters.
"Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen. There has been a change in our schedule. Mademoiselle Brigitte will not be playing, tonight. The orchestra will play a song for the final encore. I am sorry for the confusion." Firmin ushered poor Brigitte offstage. People murmured and most of the women shook their head in disbelief. Behind the curtains, Brigitte stood in the embrace of Antoinette, big tears falling down her pink cheeks. He stood now and and clapped his hands for the orchestra to start.
"DID I NOT INSTRUCT THAT MADEMOISELLE BRIGITTE WAS TO PERFORM HER DEBUT TONIGHT? THE ORCHESTRA IS PLAYING TO BRING DOWN THE CHANDELIER!" Erik screamed, as he furiously started to saw through the last strand of the rope that held up the grand chandelier. He watched as people screamed and scurried out from under the chandelier. He didn't want to kill anyone, no, not at all. But he also wanted everyone to know that he was serious. As soon as the last strand was cut he smiled. Erik laughed maniacally as the chandelier plummeted into the audience. Everyone screamed and ran in all directions. Erik laughed even louder now. They deserved it. Andre had done all that he had asked. Erik later found out that no one was hurt or killed, but the Opera House would need quite a bit of repairing. But that Firmin! That Firmin! I will make him pay! I will make everyone pay! Erik thought.