How could one man's crazed obsession lead to so much destruction? No wonder Marcel Rougelot was able to transport himself to the years, 1859, 1937, and 1968 respectively. Random destinations, my foot, thought Jacki Terrell as she and Ronita watched Tony Terrell reenter coordinates and alter security codes.
"I'm making sure NO ONE has unauthorized access to this thing ever again," said Tony once Timescape was finally back in working order. It was all so shocking! Johnny Elmore, a second rate private investigator -- and a lifelong friend of Danisha Wood -- coolly and willfully calculated a plot to have Nisha all to himself. All he had to do was to gain the confidence of one Judge Claude Frollo.
But Frollo, as well as many other of His Honor's contacts, became suspicious of the man ever since Danisha's sudden illness and death. As of now, Elmore's whereabouts were still unknown; even Phillipe Ouimet, the new Minister of Justice, had yet to pinpoint the man's current location. Of course, once Timescape was up and running everyone would soon discover the deception...
"Look, Jacki, here's the copied code he used."
Anthony Terrell sat at the terminal screen while his wife and Ronita looked on. How fortunate that Claude Frollo happened to hire Ronita, "just in case M. Elmore is not what he seems." Frollo approached Ronita that night after Christmas when Danisha began to feel the affects of that tainted candy. Even Ms. Jones felt things were not quite right with Johnny Elmore; the man seemed far too secretive all during those days before and after Danisha died. He kept making excuse after excuse when Ronita questioned the many absences. "And why weren't you at the funeral?," she asked. "You and Nisha were buddies back in the old neighborhood."
Also, something about that box didn't seem right. He claimed the box and candy were gifts from one of Danisha's many 15th Century friends; yet, as discovered by Fern, the candy was of 21st Century origin! It just didn't add up, and everyone -- from Claude Frollo and Judge Ouimet to Fern and Vixen -- highly suspected that Johnny Elmore was directly involved in Danisha's death.
What Ronita found on her end proved that Elmore's scheme was far more involved than what was previously known. Sure enough, after much diligent digging, Ronita found the incriminating evidence: a pirated copy of Timescape, complete with codes and PINs to everyone's transtemporal devices. "So that's how Rougelot was able to transport himself to those years," explained Jacki Terrell as she synchronized her individual transtemporal device. "When Marcel blasted himself to 1850 Washington D.C., Jehan's device was preset for that date -- Iggy did that; he was to treat Jehan to a trip to antebellum America. Yet the subsequent time trips were set from a remote terminal -- with a STOLEN program installed on John Elmore's computer."
So wracked with guilt she could scarcely stand, Jacki finally surmised how Elmore managed to copy that program. She continued, "He was here just a few days after Bernard LaCroix was murdered. I remember Johnny telling me that Claude Frollo wanted him in the spy ring just in case Rougelot flew the coop. Honestly, Tony, when Claude hired Johnny..."
Jacki rued the day she ever let Johnny Elmore see Timescape and how it operated. She also regretted leaving the man alone for a few moments. Seems one of her sons needed some attention, so...
In the end, Anthony Terrell understood this and didn't blame his wife.
"Don't be too hard on yourself, baby. Johnny waited for the right moment
to copy that program. All he needed were the codes and PINs. Just his luck
that Jehan Frollo's device ended up in Marcel's hands. And luckier still
that Johnny just happened to get himself hired as a Frollo spy." As of
now, Jacki, Ronita, and Tony busily pieced together Johnny's motives, then
there was the painful task of contacting Claude Frollo. "How are we to
break it to him, Tony?", asked Ronita. Anthony Terrell swept his hand through
his hair and said, "My first instinct is to go to the 15th and tell the
man in person, but..."
He paused for a few moments then turned to his wife and said, "Honey, why don't YOU take that time trip. And take Nadine with you. I'm sure Claude would love to see his little girl. Don't worry; we'll hold down the fort here."
Ronita Jones, a statuesque, high-cheekboned, chocolate complexioned beauty with fine brown eyes, finally told the inventors of Timescape that, "If Johnny Elmore's stuck in 1495 then he's probably pulling every trick to hide his tracks. I don't like this, Jacki. And what about Nisha's device? Now that it's no longer on lockdown..." "Oh no!," interrupted Tony, "that thing is still out of commission. Whoever has it cannot send or receive messages nor can they come home. As of now, that person -- along with Johnny -- is being silently tracked. Every move is being monitored and they don't even know it. So, as far as I'm concerned, Jacki and Nadine will be safe. If Johnny Elmore poses a danger to anyone, then Jehan and Claude Frollo will have to watch their backs." That said, Anthony coded a desperate message to several persons: Fern, Quasi, Vixen, and Iggy. An especially personal message went out to Claude Frollo.
To Everyone:Jacki Terrell still had several questions. "What about Julian? He's still in 1889 Johnstown."
Timescape is now back on track. I've sent a separate message to Frollo. CAUTION: John Elmore is hiding out somewhere in 1495 Paris. Please be careful as the man may pull something desperate. As of now, Elmore, and the person who has Nisha's device, are unable to take time trips. They cannot send or receive messages. Right now I''ve tracked Johnny's device to Nisha's Paris home. Nisha's device has been tracked a few miles outside Paris. I believe that person may be en route to town. I'll stay in touch.
Crumpling the note then tossing it into the fire, Claude Frollo stood
before the hearth as he did that winter of 1482. Staring into flames he
could see her -- no, not Esmeralda, but Danisha. She appeared to him not
as a fiery seductive siren but as a warm loving full-bodied woman. Frollo
watched as the flames seemed to swirl about in her shape; they crackled
and hissed. Somehow, he could hear her, feel her. She pranced about in
her fiery glory, smiling and singing to him. Then he heard what he perceived
as sobs. "I miss you, Claude," he heard her say over and over.
He fell to his knees; he closed his eyes and conjured her image. Once again, as his eyes focused on the far corner, she appeared to him. Yes, it was her -- a curious blend of the loving earth mother and the tenderhearted confidante. Claude Frollo peered at the feminine figure approached him; her ethereal hands lightly grazed his gaunt features. Was he dreaming? Was it enchantment? Whatever it was, he could feel and hear her clearly.
She bent down to him, embraced him, then said in voice so deep, so lush, "Claude, listen to me. You have to get on with your life. Forgive Jehan; he never meant for this to happen. Perhaps he has learned from all this. Sugar, I want you to be there for Nadine. She needs her papa...Oh Claude, things will work out, you know they will..."
Claude Frollo said nothing as he stared into the woman's eyes. He wanted to return the embrace, to kiss her full black cherry lips with such passion. But no... "Claude, you must go to Paris. Things are not as they seem. Jehan had good reason to tell about Evrard's fiancée...Oh Claude, your daughter will be there, along with all your friends...Julian's life is in danger as I speak..."
"Julian?", asked Claude in a hushed voice.
"Yes, Claude. And you must allow Quasimodo to help Julian..."
She drew her face closer to his; he could feel her warmth again his
skin. He shuddered with both fear and pleasure. What is this I'm feeling?
Surely this creature of my imagination must be Danisha...
"Claude? Don't you remember the day Nadine was born? Remember what you said to me after witnessing the birth of our child? You promised that no harm would ever befall us....You promised, Claude! This is why you must go to Paris! Johnny Elmore means to harm Evrard's lady, and he may harm Nadine. If he's as desperate as he seems..."
Claude Frollo couldn't believe his ears! Was she warning him about Elmore? Did the man actually have the nerve to harm Frollo's daughter? And what was this about Jehan? Forgive him? For what? "Darling," Claude began cautiously, "It was Jehan's actions which triggered all this chaos..."
"No, Claude! It's not all Jehan's fault! And if you don't hightail it to Paris, your baby brother may meet a violent end...Claude, for everyone you ever loved, you MUST go to Paris!"
The apparition grew more defined; he could see her now, in all her glory. Clad in a deep purple silk dress and spiked heels, she moved even closer, enveloping him in a heady fragrant cloud. "Shalimar," he murmured as he breathed in her scent. He then felt her lips lightly touch his; his body shivered with delight and longing. Oh, how much I want her, need her...
"Claude, I love you, and I need your help. If you don't go to Paris, then all is lost...I need you, sugarbritches. Please don't let me down...I need you...I love you..." She reached out to help him to his feet. However, as soon as he stepped forth to embrace his lady, an odd tune played over and over...
"Row, row, row your boat. Gently down the stream..."
That incessant, idiotic ditty! Make it stop! I want to be with my love...
As soon as Claude Frollo touched his lady, she vanished in a puff of smoke. She was gone! When he focused once again, he found himself on the floor, still surrounded by photos and journals. It was a dream, he thought, nothing more than a dream...My love, my Nisha...But she warned me, said I must go to Paris...forgive Jehan...Nadine.... That song! That infernal beeping of a childhood melody remained.
Suddenly Claude remembered; it all came to him! Rifling through papers scattered on the floor he found it, that transtemporal device -- His personal Timescape which sent and received messages across the debris of time and space. "They repaired it at last!", he said upon popping it open. Across the black screen scrolled the words Claude Frollo longed to hear. Yes, good news for a change: My daughter is coming with Jacqueline...
Claude:So, thought Frollo, his former spy was involved! Damn Elmore! If I ever get my hands on him, so help me...!
By the time you receive this, I'll be on my way, and I'm bringing Nadine. As soon as Fern gets the final toxicologist's report, she and Vixen will make that time trip. We have it all: damning evidence that Johnny Elmore was directly responsible for Nisha's death. Shall explain once we get there. Right now, do you mind if Quasimodo accompanies Iggy on a trip to 1889 Johnstown? We have to locate Julian as his input is needed -- I haven't heard from him since Timescape was repaired. Several messages went out but he has yet to respond. Time is of the essence as Johnny (and his 1962 Detroit friend) have yet to be located. Prof. and *Mrs. Wood send their love. We'll stay at Fern and Nisha's Parisian house.
But Frollo pondered his lady's word's, "I need you, Claude. Help me. Go to Paris, Forgive Jehan..."
It was that sixth sense they shared, that unique bond that transcended
all time and space. Those vibes grew especially stronger upon reading Jacqueline's
message. He could still feel Danisha's presence; even the room still carried
traces of her scent. That's it, thought Claude Frollo, I must travel to
Paris! Enough of this wallowing in abject grief! Danisha was right; I must
get on with my life...
"Jacques!", he bellowed at the top of his lungs. His booming voice carried all through the house as servants jolted to attention. "Jacques! Mme Poulin!" Claude Frollo found himself racing downstairs, calling out to his personal valet and housekeeper.
Ide Poulin, a short dumpling of a woman hurried into the grand hall where her employer stood. She made a hasty curtsey, then in a wheezing voice said, "Yes, my lord."
Then Jacques appeared. He too was out of breath as he responded, "What is your will, my lord?"
Instantly Claude Frollo issued the following orders:
"Madame Poulin, I must depart for Paris first thing in the morning. Make sure my belongings are packed and ready. Have Henri prepare my horse...Oh, yes, send a messenger to Chateau d'Arcy straight away. I want Phoebus to accompany me..."
What a flurry of activity to be accomplished within a few fleeting hours.
But come the dawn, Claude Frollo, accompanied by his former Captain of
the Guard, found himself on the road to Paris. Once in town, he fully intended
to forgive Jehan, to aid Phillipe Ouimet in the capture and arrest of Johnny
Elmore, and finally to reunite with Evrard and meet this intriguing fiancée.
Now, what about this woman that has fascinated Jehan so? And why would
Danisha be so concerned about the mysterious Dorothy Ducharme?
The answers were less than three days away; too many events leading up to Claude's long-awaited encounter with Dottie seemed to happen with lightning speed. How weird, thought Iggy McMullen days after a near tragedy, that everyone remotely connected to Danisha Wood and Claude Frollo's 15th Century world just happened to be in Paris at the same time..
Dorothy and Phillipe meet...Clopin gets an earful...Johnny gets desperate...Claude Frollo's 'strange vibes' grow stronger -- and so do Dottie's
CLICK FOR CHAPTER 12!
Copyright©1999 by FrolloFreak®