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This had been Chrissie's big chance, she thought. The stadium seated two thousand people—more than ten times bigger than the sort of audience she was used to—and wasn't it possible that one of them might be someone important? Someone in a band? Or maybe even some kind of opera guy. She had always wanted to have a go at opera, which, given her present situation, seemed kind of ironic. Or was it literal? Figurative? She settled for "weird."

"Weird" also summed up the man at the organ quite nicely. His hands flew across the rows of keys, occasionally snapping out to one side or the other, working the stops. A porcelain mask obscured half his face. The other half was nothing to write home about. Rated from one to ten in overall sexiness, it was somewhere around a three. Like, definitely not bad, but not impressive in any way whatsoever. If a face with one really nice feature was average, this was alright, I guess. Basically, the visible half of his face was unremarkable. Chrissie wondered if the mask might just be an attempt to make up for this, but didn't like to ask. If he actually had some kind of nasty burn, it might be pretty awkward. His clothes—and that big cape—didn't exactly suggest that he paid much attention to fashion. It seemed kindest just not to mention it. Then again...hadn't he kidnapped her? Why shouldn't she be mean to him?

She was about to say something—mean or not, she hadn't decided yet—when, hands still dancing over the organ, the guy looked over his shoulder. "Do I terrify you?" he asked, over the music.

", not really."

There was a sudden, discordant note as his hand slipped. "What? You're joking, aren't you?"

"No, I'm not." Chrissie suddenly felt a little sorry for him, making her glad she hadn't already said something mean about the mask. "And if I was scared, I wouldn't joke, would I?"

Head down, he continued playing, the notes steady and thoughtful. "No. No, I suppose you wouldn't. But how could I not be terrifying? Is it my cape?"

Chrissie took a closer look at the cape. It was dusty and cobwebby. "No," she said, honestly but reluctantly. "That's pretty scary, as capes go."

"Then..." it was impressive how he could keep playing even while holding a conversation, she had to give him that. "What about the room. Isn't that terrifying?"

Chrissie looked around. She hadn't really noticed before—it was pretty dark—but there were damp bricks, mouldy bookshelves, a flickering candelabra on the organ. It smelled like there were rats somewhere, too. "Definitely terrifying," she had to concede.

"Surely my mask is terrifying, though?"

"It might be. It seemed rude to ask, but since you bring it up, do you have a horrible burn or something under there?"

"No," he admitted. "I've got a pretty average face really, if that. Out of ten it would probably only be a three or a four."

"So you wear a mask over half your face even though there's nothing nasty under there?" Chrissie thought. "I guess that's kind of scary. It's definitely not normal, anyway."

"Then what about my intentions? I've brought you here so that your voice will be mine alone, and you will sing only for me, the Phantom of the Stadium!" He spoke louder even than the organ music.

"Now that's definitely scary," said Chrissie, taking a step back.

The music stopped. "Well then, I'm sorry, but I don't think that this is going to work out."


"Yeah." The Phantom shrugged. "Look, there's no point in you being here if you're not scared. It's just not dramatic. I can't for the life of me work out what the problem is, but it looks like I'll just have to find someone else."

"So I can go then?"

"Sure." He pointed out into the darkness. "Down that corridor, second on your left."

"Great, thanks, 'cause I've actually got somewhere to be right now."

"Not a problem." He lifted a hand. "I understand."

Chrissie began to make her way out.

"Oh!" The Phantom called after her. "If you're really not scared, would you mind fetching me some new music at some point? All I've got is Baby Elephant Walk and it's getting really old."
A Secret Santa gift for :iconofonesoul:, organised by =TwilightPoetess. Merry Christmas! :holly: I hope you like it.

Baby Elephant Walk sounds like this.
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OfOneSoul Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Okay - I'm actually going to be critiquing this piece as a part of ^Beccalicious's Christmas is here! (Contest). But don't be afraid... it means nothing. :paranoid:

I like to start my critiques with an overall impression of the piece. ^^; Let me start by saying Thank you for such a lovely Christmas gift! :iconsupertighthugplz:

I simply adored this rendition of The Phantom of the Opera. It was so humorous and charming that I couldn't stop smiling throughout. It is not often that I say this, but as a fellow writer you simply blew me away. I cannot believe the lack of recognition you've received for this piece... it should certainly be remedied. :nuu:

Now I'd like to go over a few good points in your writing:

:bulletpurple: Your Voice

I loved the immediate voice I sensed in this. It's so quirky, cute, and clever. It gives the reader a "young adult" feel that is both relatable and quite popular in the writing industry right now. Hold onto it; it separates you from the masses of other would-be authors.

:bulletpurple: Your Natural Humor

The humorous almost playful tone of this piece is quite charming compared to most POTO renditions. It gives a teenage side to the tragedy that before this... I never thought could be achieved. But you've certainly pulled off the impossible!

Now for a little critique: :iconscaredplz:

:bulletred: Formatting, anyone?

If I made any suggestion - although it's hard to at this point since I've completely fallen in love with this story - I would perhaps suggest a greater use of formatting. Instead of using quotations to mark significant words and phrases... why not use a bit of bolding or italics? It makes the text all the more prettier and the important words stand out.

All in all my dear, I was greatly impressed by your Secret Santa gift. I'm so sorry it took me so long to respond to your :note:, but it was certainly worth the wait. Thank you again for such a charming & humorous read for the holidays!


:heart: *OfOneSoul
Shewhomust Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013
I like your crit-- you've made some really good observations on one of Damon's funniest stories--but I have to disagree with you on formatting, which is a serious no-no if you want to look professional. Here it makes phrases jump out more than they warrant in the text--like USING ALL CAPS MAKES YOUR TEXT SHOUT-- and upsets the flow. Used very carefully, formatting can work, but 'making the text prettier' isn't a good enough reason.
OfOneSoul Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for the comment on my critique. :heart:

However; 'making the text prettier' was not the only reason I suggested formatting. There were several places in the story that *DamonWakes used quotations to emphasize words. I felt it was worth mentioning that italics would be a nice substitute and is what's usually called for in those situations. :shrug:

Thanks again for your comment, my dear! :iconrubcheeksplz:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Student Writer
Glad you like it. :-) And it's good to see (and get!) a Critmas critique. ^^; I really need to catch up on mine.

I'm pleased to hear you think the voice works well: I think that's usually one of the weaker elements of my writing. I'll keep this in mind next time I write something with this sort of protagonist: if I've stumbled across something that works here, it would definitely be good to use it again. :laughing: I was also a little worried it would totally clash with PoTO, so that's a relief too.

I try to avoid bold/italics for emphasis in fiction, but for those phrases I think you've got a point. It would help them stand out, and looking back, I'm not thrilled about the quotes myself. I've had a fiddle around and bold definitely stands out, but I'm wondering if it might be a little too much. Any thoughts?

In any case, thank you for the comment!
OfOneSoul Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hmmmm - I think it works for the word average - but instead of bolding the phrase, "alright, I guess"... how about putting it in italics? I think it would look much better. :nod:

And you're very welcome, my dear! It was truly a lovely Christmas Present - and this rendition of POTO is certainly one of my favorites. :iconsupertighthugplz:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Writer
I think I'd rather use the same style for each one, just to keep it consistent: I can't see any reason to use bold for one and italics for the other, when they're essentially the same thing. Perhaps italics would work better for both?
OfOneSoul Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I would certainly use italics then. It will certainly look better. :plotting:
MadagascarIII Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
This is a great interpretation of Phantom of the Opera, I like the modern twist on it too. Well done!
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks! :-) I'm really glad you think that worked: it seemed like a bit of a gamble at the time! ^^;
Shurely Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Ah, this is amazing! God, I haven't seen Phantom of the Opera, but from what I heard, this seems like a far better interpretation. I haven't stopped laughing yet.
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Student Writer
Pssst! :giggle: I haven't seen it either. I've been hoping to catch it on stage before I go for the movie or even the book, but the opportunity hasn't come up yet. I did play around with the music on the piano (and, on a couple of occasions, organ), though, and you do build up a general idea of the story based on what's around on TV and whatnot. :-) As long as this is funny, though, I feel like it's done its job.
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012   Writer
A fine parody. This put me in mind of Terry Pratchett's Maskquerade [sp] - his parody of The Phantom of the Opera. If any writer makes me think of Pratchett, they've done a good job. Thank you. Not only did this piece make me laugh ("Baby Elephant Walk" indeed!) the link to the music you have in Comments reminded me of a time that seems long ago now. Familiar and old, but still gold. :+fav:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Student Writer
I've really got to start reading some Terry Pratchett. :slow: I didn't even realise he'd done a parody of Phantom of the Opera.
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013   Writer
I imagine many writers have. Well, at least a few, over the years.
MillieBee Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This was just hilarious. :XD: I love Phantom of the Opera, and in only a few words you've done an incredible job of parodying it. I cracked up at them rating Erik's face as 'only a three or a four'. One of my favourite of your pieces of writing so far. I always love your Secret Santas. I'm sorry I forgot to take part this year (although after NaNoWriMo and coursework, it's probably best I didn't :doh:).
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Student Writer
:D When it comes to fictional characters, the only thing worse than being hideous is being a little below average. I'm glad the story as a whole works as a parody, too.

Secret Santas are fun: it's nice to have a go at writing something for someone else, and I reckon it probably does get you to write something a little different. Pity you couldn't do one, but I can imagine it's not easy to find the time. :p I'm impressed that you managed to get through NaNoWriMo: I never could have juggled it with uni.
QuiEstInLiteris Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Professional Writer
Pfft, I'm giggling like mad. Thank you for that.
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