On the Edge of Time

Book Five
Part Five (II) 
"The Hope and the Pain"

The Time & Place:
The night of April 4, 1968...Indy...Claude Frollo and Tony Terrell bide their time...

 "Nearly nine-thirty, sir," said Tony Terrell to Claude Frollo as he pulled the jacket hood over his head. Frollo himself paid no heed to the inclement weather -- All he wanted was to capture Marcel Rougelot, take the man back to his time, and finally interrogate those persons who paid Marcel to kill three people.
"I understand, Antoine, that Senator Kennedy's speech only lasted two minutes; that is all Marcel Rougelot needs to..."
Claude Frollo continued to voice his concerns over Rougelot's possible ploy -- that is to possibly harm Senator Kennedy. But his main concern was Danisha, both the child and adult. Seven year old Nisha remained safe and sound nearby; Daniel "Iggy" McMullen was with her. Adult Nisha, who was presently back in her own time,  had presently taken to her bed, obviously and negatively affected by events that transpired ever since Rougelot landed in April 1968. It seemed as long as Rougelot was calling the shots, Nisha's life hung in the balance. Her mother had sent Claude one more message -- "Nisha is sinking fast."

"Antoine," he said to his companion, "if only Rougelot realized the damage he is doing...Why, he does not know that if he affects the outcome now, he may very jeopardize things for nearly everyone in the future...Antoine, move towards our man...I may need to play that trump card once and for all."
Anthony Terrell agreed that perhaps, "Marcel will have to realize that although he may not want to kill Danisha, those guys who paid him to bump her off will eventually get their way."
"Perhaps," rejoined Frollo, "the good senator's few words may very well cause Marcel Rougelot to surrender."

Just then, out in the street, a motorcade pulled up and let out a distinguished looking gentleman. Accompanying him were various aides, political officials, and local dignataries. There was the usual crush of photographers, television cameras, microphones, and newpaper reporters all vying for that perfect picture or perhaps a two minute interview. But this was not a time for routine questions and answers, for the senator from New York appeared tired, drawn, and worn; his plane had arrived much later than expected. His wife, herself weary from the long yet exciting day, chose to go on to the hotel rather than brave the elements. He had a prepared speech but events that happened within the last few minutes caused him to cast aside his previously written words. No, he thought, these good people need comfort, not platitudes. As he made his way towards the microphones, he was greeted by the raucous cheering of the crowd. How ironic that in a few seconds, the cheers would change into wails and moans.


On the other side of the park...
That must be him, the great senator, for the people are cheering. Why do they, these Black peoples, cheer for him so? Ah..I remember now. One of my coworkers at the restaurant said that the Black peoples here needed someone like M. Kennedy and this Dr. King to help their people. He said that the Black peoples of America had suffered for far too long, ever since slavery...
...But Isabelle was a slave, as was her father...she never complained, and neither was she mistreated nor brutalized...Wait a minute! Danisha! I sold Danisha into slavery only to throw Frollo off my trail...I had no idea things were so bad, for the New World Blacks...
...That damned wench and blackleg who paid me to kill Colette, then Nisha, then Nisha's little girl...Now I wish I hadn't killed Colette, and I really don't want to harm Nisha...She is so much like Isabelle...

His mind floated back to that summer of 1475 when he first laid eyes on Isabelle, and then met Colette Bouchard. How amazing that those two women, each in her specail way, would eventually cross paths with a 21st Century woman named Danisha Wood. How incredible still that someone within the walls of 15th Century Paris would want these three women dead for the most nonsensical and pettiest of reasons.


Part Two of Professor Parsons' report:
"Marcel Rougelot arrived in Nantes the summer of 1475. He had no idea where to find his paternal relations, who in reality had died out with Renaud, Marcel's father."
"Marcel sought and secured employment with a spice merchant named Vincent LaCroix -- really more of a gopher than anything, but Marcel was grateful for the income. Soon after he met Colette Bouchard, who was one of Vincent's two sisters, the other being Blanche who eventually married Hubert d'Arcy."
"Actually, the contact between Colette and Marcel was rare; he only saw her a total of six times during his entire stay in Nantes."
"Because Vincent was in the import business, he had many a contact with peoples of various backgrounds. One of his suppliers, a Thibaut le Brun, had come to Nantes not only on official business but to visit another good friend. Thibaut knew this father and daughter pair for more than a decade."

"Guillaume Sarrisin, nee Jawara Diop, lived and worked in Nantes for nearly twenty years when he came to the French port from Portugal as a slave back in 1455. He made his living as a scribe and craftsman. His sixteen year old daughter, Isabelle, nee Binata Diop, was born a slave; both father and daughter had recently won their freedom courtesy of a generous and loving master. Their former master was well aware of the Diops' special links had to Mother Africa. Although they were baptized in the Faith, and given European names, the Diop-Sarrisins maintained nearly all ties to the Motherland. Like many Black Europeans of the time, especially those brought up from Africa, Jawara and Binata (Guillaume and Isabelle) held onto their language and ways of their Mandinka people."

"For the remainder of his life, Jawara (Guillaume) retained his title of Crown Prince of his village in Senegal. Jawara Diop even held court and settled many a dispute among Nantes' Black citizenry. His daughter, although born first generation French, retained her claim to the throne. Who had thought that she would end up as wife to one of the most successful merchants in all of France?"

"Isabelle was a beautiful woman to behold. Her skin was the color of dark brown honey, as clear and glossy as the finest mahogany. Her clear, liquid brown eyes were always warm and inviting. Isabelle carried herself with an air of dignity that demanded immediate attention and respect. Wherever she went, both Black and white citizens of Nantes admired this woman for her beauty, piety, compassion, and humor. In fact, two men fell for Isabelle's charms almost immediately: Vincent LaCroix, and a non-descript boy named Marcel Rougelot."
"When Marcel laid eyes on this woman, his world immediately turned upside down..."


Marcel Rougelot drew closer in order to hear Senator Kennedy's address. He wanted to go home but something compelled him to stay on and listen; then again he worried all the while because seven year old Nisha was still home alone. He wondered what this man, this Senator Kennedy,  could possibly say to give these people hope for the future. A hush fell over the crowd as Kennedy began to speak. He seemed to gather his thoughts, then began to speak with the utmost gravity.

"I have sad news for you and all our citizens."

Marcel drew even closer; he couldn't believe what he was hearing. Is this the message of hope and promise?

When Bobby Kennedy informed the crowd, "Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight", a shrill cry of "No! No!" arose. The assumptions and accusations flew about quickly.
"I bet a white man shot Dr. King!"
"Damn offays always mess it up for us!"

Kennedy waited for the crowd to regain its composure, then reminded everyone that, "A member of my family" had been killed by a white, so senseless violence is really colorblind. What the country needed, he said, was, "not division, not violence, not hatred, but love, wisdom, compassion."
Marcel allowed those words to sink in as his mind's eye conjured the images of Isabelle and Colette, two women who had played key roles in his turbulent life.


Marcel's memories of that first meeting...
I saw her that first time, when she and her father attended Mass...I had accompanied Vincent to church; it was his mother's order, that all Vincent's employees attend church regularly. That's where I saw her, Isabelle...
She was a vision...A full-blooded Black, an ebony goddess, and a princess at that! How she carried herself, like a queen...I fell in love with her on first sight, but I knew she would never love anyone like me, but she could learn to love me...
However, Isabelle never returned my love, rather, she was just being nice to me...She helped me with the language -- my knowledge of French was rather lacking, having lived in England all those years...But I never confessed my love for her...I only admired from afar.
Then the awful happened...She and Vincent married that following spring...I was alone...So many stood between me and happiness...
Those voices again...I hadn't killed that much since Danforth, and no one had come to search for me, not one soldier or official...I supposed they gave up on ever finding me...I had to leave Nantes, just for a while, only to return and find that Isabelle was expecting a child...That would be Bernard...then Colette asked me to accompany her to Paris...
She said she needed another attendant and asked her brother if he could let me go...Vincent obliged her, and not a moment too soon, for I had already killed so many people, mostly beggars and whores. Then there were those wretched people who had spoken ill of Isabelle...How dare they call her those horrible names...She is a princess for God's sake...
Colette Bouchard...she was the widow of Charles Bouchard, another merchant, a friend of Vincent's. The other sister, Blanche, lived near Paris, Chateau d'Arcy to be exact...Blanche was betrothed to the only son, Hubert...The d'Arcys had invited Colette for an extended holiday...I went with her, but vowed to return to Nantes to reclaim Isabelle, for Vincent was an old man; he can't live forever...
I settled in quite nicely at Chateau d'Arcy, although it pained me to be away from Isabelle...It pained me more to attend to the sister of the man who married the woman I loved...Danforth told me that this would happen, that no woman would want me...He said he made sure he despoiled me...He ruined me! He spoiled the game, a game of which I was to be in control!
Damn Danforth Quayleson! Damn Vincent LaCroix!

 And damn those blackhearted souls who wanted me to kill...


The tears coursed down Marcel's face as he heard Bobby Kennedy speak of compassion, of love, of peace. He said that the majority of people in the country, both black and white, want to live in harmony. Kennedy concluded his speech with, "I want you to go home tonight and say a prayer not for only for Martin Luther King and his family, but for our country."
Marcel Rougelot, his mind ever clouding with images of his past and of what had transpired over two weeks hence, once again recalled that fateful night when Colette met her end.


She had come to Paris, that morning last fall, to visit Frollo. I believe that was shortly before those wretched souls paid me money to kill her...

I overheard her tell her sister and Hubert that "Frollo is beside himself with worry over all these murders." Of course, I knew she was referring to me, but no one else knew that I had killed so many Parisians...Only nameless dregs who no one would have missed...
Colette went through my things that night...I could tell that my journal had been opened, some letters to Isabelle I had yet to finish, missing...She took them! To Frollo!
That night, I lured her out by the docks after evening Mass...I told her I wanted to talk to her, perhaps persuade her to let me return to Nantes...Then I struck her down, just like that! But I felt sorry for her so I severed her hair, then her toes and fingers; I needed these things, to remember her...Colette was kind to me...She and Isabelle were friends...Colette and Danisha were friends...
I never knew everyting about Danisha until I gained Jehan's confidence. They told me to look up Jehan Frollo as he was quite close to Danisha, and to the d'Arcys...They also said that he was stupid and careless, that he does anything for money and a good time
...He told me everything about her...Then I killed Bernard, Isabelle's only son...But only to remove any more obstacles between Isabelle and myself...I could've killed Vincent, but he is so old and sick; he may die anytime...
Then I discovered that Nisha is related to Isabelle...No wonder -- she looks almost like Isabelle! That's why I sold her rather than kill her...I can't kill her...I can't! She has a daughter...
I have to return to the house and release her, then find a way back to my time and finally put an end to the game...Those people are like Danforth, and my mother -- selfish, brutal, unforgiving -- they deserve to die...Then I can carry on ...


After the brief yet powerful words of comfort, the crowd thinned out in a quick and orderly manner. Kennedy had already left for his hotel and Marcel Rougelot hastily retraced his steps back to his Talbott Street apartment. About halfway home, Marcel sensed two figures walking next to him. Each man suddenly caught up, then grabbed him on each side. He was thunderstruck!

"NO! Not you, and...," he said as he saw the man on his right, then took a good look at the second man and, "Oh no! And...YOU!"

The man on his left spoke first, "M. Rougelot, at last we meet...You gave us quite a chase."

Marcel couldn't believe this! Frollo! It had to be Claude Frollo's handiwork.

"Marcel," the second man said, "I think it's time you took us to Danisha -- NOW!"
Marcel couldn't escape if he tried. They had his hands shackled; his dagger and Jehan Frollo's transtemporal device were quickly confiscated.  Without hesitation, the two men unceremoniously threw Marcel Rougleot into the backseat of a beatup 1957 T-Bird.
The first man repeated his warning, "Marcel Rougelot, you are to take us to young Danisha. Oh yes, your 15th Century partners in crime are already in custody; there's no one around to help you and no way out this time."

All along the way, Marcel Rougelot cursed his luck, but he had one more card to play. The mind of 'le Chameleon' worked overtime as he devised a way to...

Yes! I can do just that! Let us see who truly wins: Frollo will have to make the choice...

COMING UP: A snag...Anguish...Perilous pursuit...


Copyright©1999 by FrolloFreak®

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