Phantom: The Immortal excerpt

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Excerpt…

On the opening night of Faust, Christine stood before the large mirror in her dressing room, wearing only panties. She had not yet changed into her costume; she wished to savor the moment, prolong it, before donning the boyish garments her role required. Something told her that once she went out on that stage, nothing would be the same again. It didn’t matter that Siebel was only a secondary role, that Carla Morelli was the one everyone would be looking at, listening to, writing about in the newspapers. All that mattered was that she was here in this magical place—a place that had known so much desire, so much grief.

Closing her eyes, she concentrated, gearing up for the moment when she’d take the stage. The walls of her dressing room seemed to hum, vibrate. There was a power at work here, something otherworldly and she shivered, her flesh erupting with tiny bumps. She ran her fingers through her long hair, down the sides of her neck, over her nipples, her skin rippling with another course of gooseflesh. Although the room was heated, a cold draft was leaking in from somewhere. It smelled of damp leaves and a hint of something woodsy, sandalwood perhaps. She remained still, listening. Waiting. The sound of her excited breaths filled the room. Her aural capabilities sharpened as she imagined she could hear the long-ago sighs of the young woman who had once stood here, also waiting to go onstage as Siebel.

“Christine…”

Her eyelids flew open. Instinctively she reached up to cover her breasts as she whirled around to look behind her. There was no one in the room. There was no one but her near-naked image in the mirror. She turned back to offer her reflection a wan smile, as if admitting to it her silliness. Then she heard the voice again, barely a whisper.

“Do you still love me, Christine?”