On the Edge of Time


Book Five
Part Seven (I) 
"End of Game"

The Time & Place: Danisha's Meridian Street mansion. Wee hours of December 20, 2004. 

Where's Claude, and why isn't he here? Why do I feel so funny, like I'm fading away...

...I have to do something...I'm dying, and the man I love has yet to return. No! If I die, and if Claude is killed...Nadine! Oh no, our baby could lose both parents...Dear God, help me out...

My entire body was wracked with pain, but I tried not to let it manifest itself with wails and moans. My mind, though clear and sharp, was clouded with worry over the man I loved. Then there was my spirit, shattered, broken -- or so it seemed. I had no idea what was going on, but ever since Claude and company left for the year 1968 (and no one would divulge all details), I began to feel as if I was dying. I could not explain it; I felt well enough to carry on with mundane tasks but soon inexplicably collapsed.
The next thing I knew I had taken to my bed and, according to my mother, refused to get up. "It's as if she's lost all hope," I overheard her say to my sister. So for now, I needed to do something, and fast! It was Cherie's turn to stay up with me so I, ever aware that she had yet to take frequent time trips, enlisted her help. "Cherie," I feebly called out; I could tell my voice had weakened considerably. "What do you want, Nisha?"
My baby sister, a petite pixie of a woman in her late thirties, leaned close to me and listened intently as I gave her instructions. Of course, just as I predicted, she sounded rather uneasy. "Uh...Nisha, I haven't done that much time traveling...But for you, and you say it's important, I'll do it."
"Good. Now, let's review...Fetch my device from my purse...the key is in the jewelry box...Oh yes, call Jacki and Fern before you leave. OK...when you get to Paris you'll want to look up Pierre Mannette, then go to the Palais, use the key...Then I want you to..."

Afterwards, Cherie still seemed rather bewildered. "Nisha, that's a lot to remember...What if something goes wrong?" With words of confidence and loving trust I reassured her, "Cherie, I'm counting on you...This may be our last chance. I still have that strong feeling that either Claude or myself may not make it..."


Meanwhile, back in 1968, in Iggy's Talbott Street house...
"Sir, we need to get you both to a hospital...Phoebus is bleeding pretty badly, and you seem to have cracked a rib..."

As Julian McNaney assisted Judge Frollo to his feet, he expressed his concerns and frustrations over what had transpired right before their eyes. Julian, feeling totally responsible for what had happened, told Frollo that, "I should have double-checked those cuffs...Marcel must've wriggled out of them and we didn't even catch him until.."
"..Until he freed himself, seized your firearm, then shot Phoebus." Claude Frollo's face contorted in a mixture of disgust, pain, and frustration. True, he was hurting physically, but the inner fire and iron will kept him from collapsing. No matter, he thought, he had to find Marcel Rougelot and finally put an end to this mad dash through time. "He has Danisha, the child...He is determined to kill her..."
Claude turned to Iggy and informed him to, "Take Phoebus back to 2004...It will be safer." The aging flower child nodded, but he was still apprehensive that Claude and Julian would search for 'le Chameleon' alone. "Your Honor, I certainly hope you find this guy...I have no idea where he took her...Yes!"

Iggy suddenly snapped his fingers and at once told Claude that, "Perhaps old Marcel took little Nisha to her school...No, then again...He can't go back to his apartment, and he can't use his device; Julian has that...Wait a minute, there's an old house just a couple of doors south of here. If Marcel needed to find shelter and fast..."
Claude Frollo's hand pressed his right side; the man was obviously in a great deal of pain. If what Iggy said was right, then Frollo and Julian would have to make haste to that house.

"Claude," addressed Julian, "think about it -- the house is empty; it's the one place Marcel thinks no one will find him...Perhaps he thinks it a fitting place to kill Nisha -- where we wouldn't think of looking."

So within a few fast seconds, Iggy and Phoebus were whisked through time portals via Julian's T-Bird. In the meantime, Judge Frollo and his 21st Century spy immediately set out to capture Marcel Rougelot -- and to rescue little Danisha Wood.
"He is determined to ruin all happiness for me, Julian, just as he claims that I have spoiled things for him. You know how his mind works...If he so much as thinks something is..."
"Claude, let us pray that we aren't too late...Do you have your dagger?"  The medieval magistrate nodded then revealed the weapon still secured in its sheathe. "And," Frollo said after a long pause, "I intend to stain it with Rougelot's blood..."


In the darkened basement of an abandoned house...
"Mr. Rougelot, why did you shoot that man? And why did you bring me here? I want to go home..."
Young Danisha Wood began to whimper as she fought off the aftereffects of the sleeping pill. She still felt groggy but was coherent and cognizant enough to realize that this man meant to harm her. A very frightened seven year old Danisha broke down in sobs while Marcel began to search the supply room for paper and pencils. "Shut up, you little minx! You've been nothing but trouble! If it wasn't for you, then I'd be back in Nantes, with Isabelle..."
He frantically searched the shelves, finally finding a worn writing pad and a few stubby pencils. He then placed Danisha on the filthy floor and bound the child's hands and feet. All the while he babbled on about "Getting the best of Frollo."
"What are you whispering about?," asked Danisha. Marcel pondered long and hard as he thought of how to answer this child. Surely, especially since today, her bond with Frollo may well deepen and strengthen. Hmm...Perhaps I can tell her a few things, perhaps plant the seeds of doubt and mistrust...
"My dear," Marcel said with a false smile, "Judge Frollo is a very powerful, very cruel man. He is from Paris, like me. He is a very bad man..."

Immediately young Danisha Wood cut Marcel Rougelot short. For a well mannered child as Nisha, this was totally out of character. "No! Judge Frollo was going to take me home. You want to be mean to me! Iggy told me all about YOU!"  She began to whimper uncontrollably; her words were nearly unrecognizable due to her sobs. "I want to go home...I want my Daddy and Mommy!"
Marcel's face flushed a hot red; his eyes seethed with sheer rage. In an instant, his left hand found its target: directly across the poor child's face. But that only made her scream more. Marcel was desperate. Now what to do? What if someone hears her? What if...Oh no! Frollo may be on his way...But Phoebus is hurt...

He ripped the bottom of an old rag he found dangling from a rack near the fuse box. He then began to gag the child, but not before he asked her several questions, and made some rather caustic observations. "Danisha, what did this Iggy say about me?"; "Do you really think Frollo will save you this time?"; and, of course, "You wretched little sorcierie noire! Everyone was right about you, for you are nothing but a disgustingly round-heeled..."
He stopped himself as he gagged the little girl with the stinking rag. "Shut up, you little monster! Shut up! Let me finish my writing, then you'll die." He drew his face dangerously close to hers and hissed in her ear, "I can assure you it won't be a quick and painless death..."
He laughed wickedly as he plopped down on the floor and began to write almost non-stop. What was all this writing? Danisha, her hands and feet immobilized and her mouth gagged, watched this man write. She remembered the notebooks Marcel hid under the bed in his basement apartment. She also remembered that Iggy took those notebooks the same time he took her to safety. Then that other man named Tony -- he was my teacher today -- took them somewhere else. Oh boy! Mr. Terrell took out some kind of magic radio and called someone...Then he disappeared! That stuff only happens on TV...Does Mr. Frollo have one too? I hope so...I want to go home...I want my mommy...

Tears streamed down her face; her entire body ached and shivered. In her childlike way, Danisha silently prayed that someone would come through that door and down the steps to the basement. She thought of that man, the one who brought her class the ice cream, the one who was in reality a powerful judge from France. He was going to take me home...He seemed like a nice man...Why did he stare at me like that? I don't know him, but he wanted to help me...
Then she thought of the man who held her captive. He claimed to know her parents. He lied to her! He wanted to hurt her!

Dear God, please let Mr. Frollo and his friends find me...make the police find me...This bad man is going to hurt me...


Back in 2004...
"Momma, why is it taking so long? I feel so cold...I can't fight this..."
That was all I could muster as I lay in my bed. Deep within my mind and soul I could feel life slipping away; someone was holding my fate in his hands and I knew very well it was Marcel Rougelot. What exactly was he doing in 1968? Whatever that crazy man had planned would soon spell the end for me...and my daughter. Claude Frollo, where are you?! Cherie, please don't let anything jeopardize this...

"Claude, I know you...You wouldn't let anything horrible happen to me, or to Nadine..."


Near the house where Marcel is holding the young Danisha...In 1968...
"He's here all right," said Iggy as he rechecked his transtemporal device. "I had Phoebus plant his device on Nisha...She's somewhere in that house but where exactly I don't know."
Claude Frollo, Julian McNaney, and Iggy McMullen made their way towards the backdoor of the house, which had been pried open. The Minister of Justice held his right side and fought off pain as he coolly calculated how to take down 'le Chameleon'. How dare Marcel take a young Danisha hostage! How dare he use this child as a human shield! The medieval judge agonized over the fate of his 21st Century lady, as well as that of his daughter. Marcel Rougelot had them exactly where he wanted them, and this time he vowed he would stop at nothing.
"He fully intends to kill her, Julian."  Tears trickled down Frollo's hollow cheekbones; the dim light of a distant street lamp made the lines on his face appear even deeper. "Geraldine's last message is not encouraging in the least...Marcel is determined to get his way, now that he knows Isabelle will never have him."

Frollo turned to Julian, asking his master of espionage, "Julian, did you deliver that message...?"
"Yes, sir. But you won't believe who got to him first..."

When Frollo heard Julian name the mystery time traveler, the one who had gone to medieval Paris for help...
"WHO?! Oh no...not...Julian, Daniel, we wait no longer; we will rush Marcel Rougelot ourselves. One of us may not live through this, however..."

The aging flower child spoke in hushed tones as the three men made their way through the kitchen, stopping just short of the basement door, "Your Honor, we're in this together. It's do or die...Saving Nisha is what we're after, and if we lose one of us to save her..."

The final showdown.


Copyright ©1999 by FrolloFreak®

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