As our new managers scrambled to calm everyone down, I was breathing hard. I never really believed in the Phantom, but now, it was apparent he did in fact exist. Unless...
"Joseph Bouquet! Chief of the Flies, he's responsible for this!" Firmin exclaimed.
Andre glared up and snapped, "Bouquet! For God's sake, man, what the Devil is going on up there?!"
Joseph looked down, and yelled in a drunken singing voice, "Please, Mesieur, don't look at me! With God as my witness, I was not at my post. Please, Mesieur, there's no one here! And if there is, well, then, it must be a GHOST!!"
Meg and the other dancers screamed. I jsut stood there, frozen to the ground. If it wasn't Joseph, the who was it?
"Everyone, please!" Andre yelled, then chuckled nervously, "I mean, these things do happen!"
Carlotta chuckled too, turning white, " 'These things do happen'?' You've been here five minutes, what do you know?! These 'things do happen' all the time! For the past three years these 'things do happen'!" Then she exploded, "Well, until you stop these 'things happening', this thing does not happen! Adiamo! My doggie, now!"
Carlotta swished off the stage, sobbing her head off. Piangi followed her out, grumbling, "Ameteurs!!"
I actually felt bad for her, because she was right. These things had been happening for three years, and the old manager did nothing about it.
"Oh," Andre said, rubbing his temples and dabbing his face with his hankerchief.
"She will be back! Er, right?" chuckled Firmin nervously.
"You think so, Mesieur?" Mme. Giry asked. "I have a message from the Opera Ghost!"
"Oh, God in Heaven, you are all obsessed!' Firmin groaned.
"He merely welcomes you to his Opera House, and commands that you leave Box Five," Mme. Giry pointed to the box to the far right, "empty for his use. He also states that his slary is due. His salary is twenty thousand francs."
"Oh," repeated Andre.
"His Opera House? Box Five?? Twenty thousand francs?! I cannot afford that!" roared Raoul. "A Full House, Mesieurs! We shall have to refund a Full House, as it appears we have lost our star! We won't be able to afford the theatre!"
"Catherine Willows could sing it, Mesieur de Vicompte!" blurted Mme. Giry.
"What? No! I-I-" I stammered. I felt my face go red, but I didn't care. I couldn't sing for the Opera, not unless I used my true singing voice. Even then, I couldn't.
"The chorus girl?" snorted Firmin. "Ludicrous!"
"Willows? Hmm..." Andre tapped his chin, "That is a curious name. Any relation to-"
"The composer? Yes. My grandfather, Mesieur." I looked at the floor.
If Raoul recognized me, he showed it. He stood there, his mouth opening and shutting like a halibut out of water. His brown hair seemed to shake, and his green eyes twinkled with surprise.
"Come on, now," Mme. Giry coaxed, pushing me to the spotlight, "Don't be shy. Show us what you can do."
"But, He-" I started.
"Oh, yes. Well, go up and ask him. I'm sure He'll understand." Mme. Giry waved me to the steps.
I rushed upstairs and into my room. I closed the door and sat at my dressing table.
"Hello?" I asked timidly. "I need to talk to you."
A few moments passed. Then a voice answered, "Is something troubling you, child?"