"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
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.
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.
"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
"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.
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
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...
GO TO TIME 5:6!
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