I consulted The Johnstown Flood, by David McCullough for background on the 1889 disaster. Very good book -- I recommend it!



Chapter 16
"The Coming Torrent"

 The Time & Place:
Paris, later that afternoon. Claude Frollo is en route to Evrard Ouimet's home. Along the way, the retired magistrate ponders several things...

The bright sunshine that warmed an otherwise chilly day quickly faded, bringing on a early dusk to the narrow Parisian streets and alleys leading to Evrard Ouimet's home. Claude Frollo, the recently retired Minister of Justice, still insisting that Dorothy Ducharme has to be an accessory to murder, made his way through these darkening thoroughfares. All along the way, Frollo felt a twinge of guilt -- he never told Phillipe, the current Minister of Justice of this latest suspicion -- and Claude Frollo was aware of the intense love/hate relationship between the Ouimet brothers. Therefore he decided to confront this woman himself.

With each sound of Snowball's hooves against cobblestone, Claude Frollo began to regret the day he allowed John Elmore to join the spy network. But Elmore was an investigator by trade, thus his expertise was sorely needed. Ever since Frollo discovered the marvels of time travel, he learned to lean on his postmodern friends even more. Never in his wildest dreams did Claude Frollo think that he would become, as Nisha so playfully put it, "TimeCop Extraordinaire". But now Nisha had been dead more than a month, and Claude Frollo was determined to bring Elmore and the Gypsy Clopin to justice. It took several long hours of sound argument to convince Judge Ouimet not to execute Elmore here, in Paris. "Do whatever to the Gypsy 'king', but do not kill Elmore!", Frollo said warningly to Phillipe.

Claude Frollo knew perfectly well one of the greatest hazards of time travel -- Changing the outcome, thus changing history. Ending John Elmore's life nearly five centuries before the man's birth could result in many dire consequences. For certain, Danisha might still be alive, but there are other far-reaching repercussions if Elmore died before he was born. Claude Frollo's only hope was that this meeting with Dorothy Ducharme would finally close a sad chapter in his life. The woman, surmised Frollo, obviously knows Elmore's whereabouts. The man can't possibly return to Nisha's Parisian homestead as the place is under guard and Jehan is still there.
Shaking his head, Claude Frollo crossed the wide avenue facing Evrard's home. Thinking of "changed outcomes", Claude Frollo had one more fear: Quasimodo, accompanied by Daniel "Iggy" McMullen, recently left the comfort of his bell tower and his time in search of Julian McNaney, Frollo's best spy to date. What worried Claude was that his foster son had taken so few time trips, and a visit to 19th Century America may have been a mistake. But it was at her urgings that Quasimodo head for 1889 Johnstown to fetch the enigmatic Mr. McNaney before all was lost. One slip-up, Frollo thought with a shudder, and all three men -- Julian, Iggy, and Quasimodo -- could be forever lost in the debris of time.

Flash to May 31, 1889 -- Johnstown, Pennsylvania. High water was a problem most of the day, but the worst is yet to come as two visitors finally locate their man...
"This, Quasi, is Johnstown. A sleepy little town nestled in a hole at the foot of the Alleghenies, which was why flooding was such a nuisance..."

Daniel "Iggy" McMullen and Quasimodo kept a low profile ever since their arrival. Noting Quasi's appearance, and the fact that 19th Century Small Town, U.S.A. was hardly the place for a medieval bell ringer, Iggy felt it best for both not to attract much attention. All they had to do was to find Julian then hightail it out of there -- Time was not on their side and that dam was only moments from collapse. They managed to conceal themselves within an abandoned house not far from the railroad tracks. The house was more like a cabin than anything but it was situated on slightly higher ground. From this somewhat safer spot, Quasi and Iggy could check the flood's progress while tracking Julian. And that task began to pay off beautifully as the improved tracking mode kept tabs on Julian's whereabouts.

The middle aged flower child swept his fingers through long graying blonde hair as he explained to Quasimodo, "What worries me, Quasi, is that Julian's right in the path of that wall of water...See where that bridge 'cross the Conemaugh?"
The bell ringer nodded as Iggy continued, "From the tracker, that's where Julian is. We need to leave this place now. By four o'clock -- and it's going on three now -- this whole town will be wiped out. And that bridge...Quasi, so much debris piled up against that bridge -- Oh man, no one knows what started it but all this stuff catches fire...There were people trapped in all that debris when it went up in flames."
The bell ringer gasped in horror, looked at his reflection and examined his current 19th Century garb. He said to Iggy, "Then we waste no time. We've got to find Julian...Indifference or not, I'm not going to let a good man die. Besides, Frollo and Ouimet need Julian's side of what happened to Nisha..."
To be sure, Quasimodo did suffer a few verbal punches along the way, but the real drama was less than a hour away. The two men -- one from 21st Century America, the other from 15th Century France -- slogged their wagon through muddy, waterlogged streets in hopes of finding their friend. All along the way, Iggy kept singing that old Johnny Cash tune: "Four Feet High and Rising".  He laughed a bit in mid verse, then, urging the old mules onwards, turned to Quasi and said, "Sorry, Quas, but I couldn't help it. I just hope Julian had good reason to come here. For the life of me, I don't know why he would stick around this town when he damn well knows it'll be under water within the hour."
As the bridge loomed in the distance, Quasimodo could only pray that Julian would be reached in time. The deep mud and swirling waters made travel slow, difficult, and downright dangerous.
"Say, Iggy. What time is it?"
"Almost three-fifteen...Holy s--t! The dam's broke already!"

Meanwhile, on that bridge...
He stood on the bridge; he watched and waited. With people and animals scurrying here and there, the man seemed surprisingly calm. A few folks had asked, "Need a lift, mister?"
But the stranger politely refused as he reached into his pocket and removed a rather curious item. Keeping as low a profile as possible, he opened that device then coded an urgent message:
Iggy & Quasi:
I know you two are here because Frollo sent me a message to that fact. I'm here on the bridge waiting for my contact, but I think he's either forgotten or just got scared due to the flood. The South Fork dam's already burst, and that wall of water's heading this way. I'm keeping a sharp lookout so you guys better hurry. I also have solid proof that "Plan B" was no accident, and that Johnny Elmore played us all for suckers.

Julian McNaney, the enigmatic Frollo spy, finally uncovered, in part, the mystery surrounding Johnny Elmore. Although Julian had yet to learn all particulars, he did manage to nail down a man who collaborated with Elmore in one of the most incredible crimes. Julian was floored when this man told him about Elmore, "the formula", and the plan to frame Clopin. This man had yet to be identified and Julian promised complete confidentiality. With the handwritten and signed confession tucked in his coat pocket, Julian McNaney planned to leave Johnstown right away. But something made him linger and he knew remaining in this town only brought death that much closer.
In the distance, Julian could hear the faint roar of madly rushing water. It was empty, he thought, the lake is empty and heading this way. All that debris, within the next few minutes, would collect under the bridge, causing the worst logjam. Oil from broken stoves and engines would spill onto splintered lumber and ignite. People -- many still alive -- would meet a horrible ending. He knew he had the power to leave whenever he wanted, yet Julian stayed on, hoping his contact would show up. He did promise, and agreed to accompany Julian back to 1495 France just to make a face to face confession to Claude Frollo. But Julian now dreaded the worst. The mystery man was last seen heading towards the South Fork dam -- and that dam had already burst, setting loose a wall of water three miles wide and thirty-six feet deep, wiping everything in its path off the face of the earth. Julian stood on that bridge, praying and worrying.

Come on guys, get over here quick!

Meanwhile, back in Paris...
"Claude Frollo, it is about time you called on me! It's been too long, my friend."
Evrard Ouimet warmly embraced his guest, his longtime friend and mentor. Claude Frollo returned the courtesies with equal cordiality. "Evrard, I can't believe it's been more than a decade since we last laid eyes on each other." The former Minister of Justice smiled broadly as he surveyed Evrard and the elegant house. "You have done extremely well, Evrard. Your father would be so proud. However, this is not an entirely social call, for you see..."

Evrard understood this as he summoned servants to bring forth refreshments. He also was anxious for Claude to meet Dottie, but for some inexplicable reason, Dorothy became ill again. What was more disturbing was the fact that Dottie abruptly left the house without saying where she was going. Naturally Evrard was concerned and voiced that to Claude, saying, "She hasn't been herself ever since we arrived in Paris. I think it was that meeting with my brother which triggered it all. You know Phillipe, he has this habit of unnerving people.."

Upon hearing this, Claude Frollo nearly knocked over his wine cup, saying, "Evrard, is this true? Phillipe has met your fiancée face-to-face?"
Evrard Ouimet nodded, not sure why Claude asked such a question, then replied, "Dorothy and Phillipe seemed to get along splendidly, even the LaCroixes praised her, but Vincent thinks she's a bit too...," he paused to chuckle, "...a bit too 'flighty' for his tastes."

Claude Frollo listened to Evrard relate how he and Dottie met; how Dot seemed to take to Orry right away; and how Jehan Frollo has made Dorothy's stay, "As pleasant as possible." At that last sentence, Claude's eyes grew wide with shock and anger. "Jehan has been in her company? When? And for how long?"

After Evrard explained the basket of "New World" treats, the many visits Jehan paid, and of the special attentions Jehan showed Dorothy, it became clear to Claude Frollo that his brother may have fallen into a trap. This Dorothy Ducharme may be working for Elmore, and she knows we're on to the pair of them. Jehan's life may be in danger as I speak. Oh Evrard, how I hate to inform you of this...

With a heavy heart, Claude Frollo leaned close to his longtime friend and protégé, then begin to reveal in a tender voice, "My dear Evrard, you don't know how much it pains me to tell you this. I've had my suspicions, so has Phillipe...Your New World lady, I'm afraid, is wanted as an accessory to murder. This is why she's gone, Evrard. She's escaped, and I may know where to find her..."



Copyright©1999 by FrolloFreak®

Return to:
Fanfic Collection #2
Email @ Yahoo
Email @ MSNTV