So depraved...So disturbed...How can one man cause so much destruction...His mind is that twisted...And others took advantage of his mental state to achieve their own selfish vendetta...But why target Colette, then me, and my daughter? It doesn't make sense...
I pushed aside the pile of papers that had become my reading of choice.
Ever since I returned from 15th Century France, I found myself immersed
in Marcel Rougelot's special brand of madness. For the first fifteen years
of his life, Marcel was a virtual powder keg waiting to explode. All he
needed was the right motive and opportunity to detonate that bomb inside
him. What really bothered me was that Claude, Tony, and Iggy were still
in 1968, still desperately trying to capture the elusive Rougelot. Then
there was the fact that Marcel had blasted himself to my hometown's past
-- What if he changes things?
I already knew the significance to that year and day: April 4, 1968. That was the day King was assassinated, and nearly every major city exploded with violence -- except Indianapolis. Why? Because an idealistic senator and presidential hopeful named Robert Kennedy had broke the news to a gathering at an inner-city neighborhood center. It was an impromptu speech, but Kennedy's words were brief, soothing, and allayed many a fear that the seething frustrations might have erupted into chaos.
With an audible sigh, I flipped through those papers again, hoping to find something positive on Marcel Rougelot. However, the last hope for something positive ended when Marcel became Danforth Quayleson's personal attendant.
For the first eight years of Marcel's life, everything seemed normal.
He enjoyed a seemingly boring, routine existence in a modest cottage on
the Quaylesons'' Essex estate. What Dr. Parsons found out was rather intriguing:
that Marcel's maternal uncle, Martin Forester, actually had been released
from prison for some minor infraction. What exactly was that offense is
still unknown. All that was uncovered was that Martin took on the responsibility
of schooling his young nephew.
Marcel's mother, Muriel Rougelot, seemed to take very little interest in her son, except as an occasional punching bag for her verbal assaults. Too many times he heard, "You're worthless; you're evil incarnate; your father was nothing more than a common thief." Of course, there was always, "How I wish I never had you...Your father practically forced me to marry him...I'm glad he's dead! And I'll be glad when you're grown and out of my sight. You look too much like him for my taste!"
Her words were caustic enough to cause the boy to retreat into his own little world. According to Wendell Parsons' findings, Marcel would often go off into the woods by himself, taking only a small leather-bound journal (his uncle encouraged the boy to write) and a dagger. There he would scribble nonsensically and draw bizarre pictures. On more than one occasion, the other servants espied him torturing, maiming, then ultimately killing small animals -- sometimes cutting off ears of rabbits, removing eyes from birds, or the feet from lizards. One time a young chambermaid had witnessed Marcel expertly excise the tail, hind legs, and right eye from a gray squirrel. He kept these 'souvenirs' as reminders to himself that everyone and everything eventually belongs to him -- It's a vital part of the 'game' he plays and endeavors desperately to remain in control of that game. So that's why he takes pieces of his victims...Colette's hair, toes, and eye...Sal's finger...
Anyway, when Marcel turned eight, Martin felt the time was right for Marcel to take on more responsibility. Of course, poor Marcel (I'm trying not to sound so 'bleeding heart,' but the kid did go through hell) suffered seven long years of unspeakable abuse at the hands of his 'master', a boy not much older than Marcel.
"Danisha, I see you've finally sorted through that stuff. Colette's
letters are a delight to read."
"Yes, Dr. Parsons, and it's too bad she and I didn't know each other long enough...This treatise on Marcel, though, is pretty tough reading."
Wendell Parsons and I sat out in my family room which finally began
to look like Christmas. Ever since Claude and I embarked on this transtemporal
manhunt, my sisters and parents made sure my home was properly decorated.
Of course, I had our child to think of; Nadine continued to ask question
after question, and I didn't quite know how to respond. How do I explain
to a five year old that someone wants to hurt her parents?
Shoving the papers aside, I poured more coffee for Wendell and myself; I also sliced more pecan cake. This cake...I finally got around to some real holiday baking...Claude loves this cake so...In fact, he loves all my home baking...
"You know, Nisha, I can almost sense that Marcel Rougelot has run out
of options. In reality, he has seen what the future holds for so much of
this world. In a way, the time travel has only added to his flights of
fancy...A new facet of his special view of reality so to speak."
Professor Parsons noticed that I wasn't completely paying attention to either the piles of papers before me or to what he was saying. He lightly touched my hand and said, "Honey, why don't we come back to this later; I have an idea. Why don't you put one of those old time Christmas movies in your VCR. Your sisters and the kids should be home soon, and you really don't want this stuff," he indicated the papers, "lying around when Nadine comes in. She'll surely be full of questions."
So I obliged the man who was my father's, and my, mentor for all these years with a double feature of holiday classics. "How about Miracle on 34th Street followed by...hmm...", I grinned as I pulled a second tape from the shelf, "...some Bugs Bunny holiday toons?"
The elderly scholar grinned from ear to ear as he replied with delight, "I may an old man, but I do like my cartoons..."
In a little while the pair of us watched a sweet film about a man claiming to be Santa Claus followed by Looney Tunes madness. Halfway through the first film I began to feel rather lightheaded. I played it all off as the result of too much stress and worry; I didn't even bother telling the good professor. Of course once my mother dropped by, she noticed the markedly painful strain around my eyes; she noticed my feeble attempts to hide my discomfort. Before nightfall, I found myself tucked in my bed, surrounded by my family and friends. The man I loved was still in the year 1968, still hoping to finally nail a fugitive from medieval France. Thank goodness my mother had the good sense to contact Claude Frollo; that message was all the push and drive he needed.
The conversation between the two men went on as such as they sat in
a dark blue 1967 Mustang. Claude Frollo studied this little neighborhood
in its early stages of decline, a still vibrant area that teemed with activity.
Tony had parked the car in old School #27's parking lot. As he explained
to Claude, "This building will eventually be used for autistic kids...The
new School #27 has yet to be constructed. Then this old building will be used for something else. Yeah, this area changed a lot since '68, and for the worse
if you want my opinion."
Judge Frollo said nothing as he sipped the remains of lukewarm coffee. He studied the rows of old industrial buildings -- the Seven Up plant for one -- and once thriving businesses. He remembered when he and Nisha drove past this same neighborhood, now a slowly recovering area of new apartments, churches, homes, and parks.
Claude consulted his watch one more time and asked as he took note of the ever growing crowd outside the Broadway Christian Center, "And when is M. Kennedy due to arrive? Spotting Rougelot is this crowd will difficult at best."
Tony Terrell, rested his hands on the steering wheel; his fingers lightly tapping out the beat of an Otis Redding tune. He indicated the small transistor radio and responded, "This is the new WTLC, the first true African American radio station. They only started a few months ago." He smiled briefly, recalling the sight of his parents movin' and groovin' to the sounds of 'back in the day'. Then he added, "Sorry man, I was just reminiscing...Anyway, RFK arrived around 9:30...It's now almost eight. Want to sit here some more, or should we mosey 'round and see if old Marcel made it down here?"
The Minister of Justice grinned broadly, snapped open the passenger side door and said, "You lead the way; after all, you do know this area better than I...Oh my...!"
Sure enough, his transtemporal communicator beeped madly. Flipping it open Claude said to Tony, "It may be Julian, or Daniel..."
What he read was not good; in fact, Claude Frollo nearly blacked out when he read:
I hate to worry you so, but Danisha is not well...she took to her bed this afternoon and hasn't stirred since...We thought she was tired but she keeps babbling on about 'changing the outcomes'. Although there is nothing physically wrong with her, she is delirious, and seems to have lost all reason...Please get that man because your little girl has been asking for her father all day; she's worried about her mother...Claude, I don't think Nisha will come out of this...She hardly responds to any of us...Hurry back!
Claude Frollo looked at Tony then read the message again; his eyes appeared
very bright. "It's the fact that Rougelot has Danisha the child...Antoine,
he has kidnapped her, drugged her...Danisha the adult is feeling the impact
of what has transpired within the past few hours."
Tony then said as the two men got out of the car, "Do you think Marcel knows what he's doing? I mean, he was hired to kill Danisha. By doing away with her as a child, then...Damn, man, let's nab this sorry little dude before he...Hmm...Claude?"
He paused long enough to gauge the size of the crowd gathering around
the Center. "Claude, there were more than two thousand people here that
night...How are we going to find Marcel in all that crowd. We can't keep
an eye on both Senator Kennedy AND Marcel."
Frollo acknowledged this, then with a heavy heart, told Tony that he had hoped those 'extra' reinforcements had arrived in time. "Now is the time we truly need extra hands. Daniel is now where he is needed, with Nisha. Julian has dispatched Fern, who in turn is to..."
Tony Terrell listened intently to Claude Frollo then said somewhat disheartenedly,
"You mean that you got some folks from YOUR time to help out? Not knocking
your judgment, sir, but what if something goes wrong? Not too many of your
15th Century contemporaries have yet to take time trips. Only Jehan for
the most part, but..."
Judge Frollo grew impatient, and nearly snapped as the pair rounded the corner to the Center, "Antoine, I appreciate your concern, but arresting Marcel Rougelot AND saving Danisha's life are my top priorities! And I shall accomplish those goals BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!" Then, in a softer tone, "You see, Antoine, without Nisha alive in the 1990's, you and Jacqueline would have altered futures -- as would Madame Fern, young Kyle, Daniel, myself..."
The co-inventer of the time traveler nodded in agreement, then said to Frollo, "I guess I didn't realize how deep this could run...If Marcel gets his way, then who knows what waits for any of us when we return to our respective eras."
Smiling broadly, Tony commented, "And it looks like someone's been reading Malcolm. Nice quote...'by any means necessary'."
Frollo grinned slightly. "My dear Antoine, we will not fail this time...Now...Oh darn, there goes my device again..."
This time the message was from Daniel "Iggy" McMullen. "Ah," said Claude Frollo as he read the words that scrolled across the black screen, "everything seems to be working in our favor...We are to...Hmm...Let me read this again..."
Hey Your Honor (and Tony)
I have little Nisha all safe and sound. She's coming out of her drugged state OK but she's still a little wobbly. I've managed to talk to her and she's told me all she could remember about Marcel grabbing her. I worry about after affects -- the guy chloroformed her then gave her sleeping pills. Julian messaged me just a few seconds ago: Everything is a go. Marcel has just received another bogus message Re:Isabelle. The 'reinforcements' are there at the center and placed in strategic locations. Nabbing Marcel this time will be a breeze. Maybe one of you should head over here to fetch Nisha. I'll stay in touch.
"Well, well," declared Claude Frollo as he closed his communicator, "our help has finally arrived...Antoine, as soon as Senator Kennedy finishes his address AND when Marcel Rougelot is safely in custody, I'll fetch little Nisha myself. How I'm to explain her disappearance to her parents is still a mystery."
As they pondered over possible ways to explain Nisha's disappearance,
Tony then asked Claude something pertinent to the case. "Sir, you never
did tell me about this Isabelle LaCroix connection. I know that she is
one of Danisha's ancestors on her momma's side, but what is Isabelle to
Marcel Rougelot? I mean, they weren't an item or something, were they?
And why would he kill her only son?"
The medieval judge looked Tony squarely in the eyes and said, "We have another hour or so before the good senator arrives. Therefore, I believe I can tell you nearly everything about Marcel's supposedly infatuation with Isabelle...I believe his later murders, plus the fact that he has...YES! He has been reluctant to kill Danisha because HE KNOWS she is Isabelle's direct descendent. Look!"
Claude Frollo pulled a paper from his pocket, unfolded it and handed it to Tony. "I've carried that with me ever since we began this manhunt. I wasn't until Marcel sold Danisha into slavery that I finally studied that engraving long and hard. See?"
Tony Terrell looked at the picture for several moments, then looked at Claude in amazement. "Sir, forgive me, but...Holy s...! She looks just like Nisha!"
And with that Claude Frollo began to recount how a certain young man,
upon his arrival in Nantes, laid eyes on the woman he vowed he would make
his own....Even if he had to kill to have her...
More memories for Marcel...Those reinforcements arrive...
GO TO TIME 5:5 (I)
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