Phantom of the French Opera (Chapter 5)

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    (This chapter doesn’t feel complete and probably isn’t. Comments are still welcome.)

    Chapter Five
    The smell of a bus hit Eric as he waited at the street corner for the light to change so that he could cross the busy street. Not that having the light in his favor would guarantee safe passage. Rumor had it that pedestrians didn’t have right-of-way in New Orleans. Not true, of course but he wasn’t taking any chances.
    Eric looked down Canal Street toward the Mississippi River and, from his vantage point at the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Canal, he could see the tour buses lined up three deep in front of the Sheraton Hotel. The doors of the bus closest to the hotel opened with a squeal and its occupants began to file out onto the brick-bordered sidewalk. They stepped blinking at the approaching nighttime darkness.
    Eric shook his head; amused that tourist season just didn’t seem to stop in New Orleans. He had lived here for just a short time, just since his freshman college year four years ago. Seemed like a lifetime for the Chicago native. He couldn’t imagine going back any time soon.
    Eric looked back up the other end of Canal as the light changed and the busily passing vehicles slowed to a stop – most of them. A couple decided apparently that either they couldn’t stop safely for the light and went on through or that the light didn’t apply to them and blew through it.
    Canal Street was a four-lane street divided by the streetcar tracks, two lanes on either side. Eric and the handful of people who had gathered at the corner hurriedly crossed to the neutral ground, and then to the French Quarter side of Canal at Bourbon Street.
    Some of the crowd followed Eric as he walked up Canal toward the river. The light changed and traffic started moving again. Cars, trucks, moving vans, motorcycles and the occasional bicycle all seemed to be jockeying for position. The rest of the crowd, some local, some tourists, continued up either Bourbon Street or farther up to Decatur. Eric tended to avoid Bourbon if at possible, to stay out of the crowds that clogged up the street, leaving it to the tourists.
    Eric turned left at Royal Street, leaving the noise of Canal behind and catching the pungent smell of the Mississippi River. He continued toward Ursulines Avenue and, after several minutes walking came to the St. Germain house. It sat on the west corner, a big two storey building over a hundred years old, with wrought iron railings on the balcony that ran around the two street-facing sides.
    Eric had liked it the first time he’d read its story before even starting Tulane. There had reportedly been a murder here in the 1920s. A woman supposedly either had fallen or had jumped from that balcony. Rumor had it that she’d seen a vampire.

    For some people, small, beautiful events are what life is all about!

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