Lead Me Gently Home

Chapter 14
"..Or Does It Explode?"


(From Danisha's Journals)

"Somehow, I knew...I denied it, of course...If I had only had that laparoscopy, then none of this would've happened."

My hand lightly touched the long, hairline mark where they had removed my Fallopian tube. I was fortunate, they said, or else I would've died.
Yeah, fortunate... I lost a baby...Claude's baby...Now I have a fifty percent chance of ever conceiving again...I don't blame Claude for not showing up...But then again...Damn him!

All during those few days after I was rushed to the hospital, Claude never bothered to come see about me; he didn't bother to answer Jacki's urgent message.
Even I sent him a message, but he never responded.
Damn him!
Not only did I nearly lose my life miscarrying his child, I also had to suffer the loss of two of the dearest people I'd ever known. I wasn't able to attend the funeral, but Momma said she'd fill me in on every detail. I

t was on the day of the funeral, that my gynecologist explained everything to me: the rupture, the hemorrhaging, the removal of the blocked tube.
"We had no choice; the blockage..."
I had a blocked tube...conception happened inside the TUBE, rather than the womb.

...No wonder I had so much pain...And Wanda never caught it...Ectopic pregnancies seldom show up in standard pregnancy tests...That's why the test came back negative...If only I had that procedure...Fifty-fifty chance for more children...perhaps no babies at all...Damn, if Claude finds out about this...I don't want to face him...I don't even want to think about it...

Screw Claude! I don't ever want to see him again.

++++++++

My mother returned from the funeral; she had some rather interesting news. Finally, I was to find out what went down that night.

"Danisha, the service was lovely; Rev. Andrews delivered the most touching eulogy. Tom Benjamin was there, although he had to ask me why the funeral was at Mt. Paran Baptist..."
"Momma, Tom knew good and well that Del and Arletta were practically raised at Mt. Paran..." My voice choked off; I found it hard to keep my tears from falling. "Momma, what's happened to..."
My mind was on Arletta's kids, and on little Marcus.

Momma took a deep breath and sat down in the chair beside my bed. "Honey, I don't know. No one's seen him; the police think he's skipped town. Sam and Frankie have gone to St. Louis; they've taken Marcus, just in case Brandon (Momma always called BC 'Brandon') showed up...afterwards..." She then looked at me, and said something else.

"I saw him, Nisha. I saw your friend; he was at the cemetary, right after we left. I mean, I looked back and saw him standing by the grave. Your father walked up, and started talking to him."
Oh no! Claude was here? And he didn't bother to see me? Damn him! Why didn't he come by? He shows up at the cemetary, then meets..Daddy?! I don't feel so good...

"Momma, where's Daddy?"
"He and Jacki went off with Judge Frollo", said Momma; then she smiled at me, adding, "Honey, I met this man -- He is so charming, so refined, well-educated -- He's worried about you."
This I couldn't believe. If Claude was so worried about me, why didn't he drop everything and come see about me?

"Momma, Claude and I had it out, over BC, over everything. He and I aren't..."

My mother, in her stylish black wool suit and pillbox hat, slipped the black mink from her shoulders. She and I always had an affinity for fine furs.
She smiled again, then said, "Danisha, His Grace took one look at this coat, and told me about that mink cloak of yours -- And you said you bought it yourself. He told me all the kind things you've done for him..."
I had to interrupt; I had to know if Claude was finally coming to see me.
"I don't know that, baby. I was going to tell him about you, but I think your father beat me to it. I have no idea where they went."

It didn't take long for me to put it all together -- Claude returned to Paris, to his own time, and he took Jacki and my father with him.
"Momma, I think I know where they went..."
I felt a slight twinge of pain; all that anxiety over Claude and my father was too much.

"Danisha, honey, lie back and get your rest. If I know your father, he and Judge Frollo are having a high ol' time. You know, men stuff.."
She laughed;despite the fact I was experiencing the deepest depression ever. I supposed my mother was trying to cheer me.

I lost my baby...Claude's baby...I may never have children again...I also lost two wonderful people...those poor kids...Reminds me of Jules and Renee losing their parents..Well, at least Tamara and Kenya have loving family to care for them...
...And, at this moment, the two men I adore more than anything in this world, are finally meeting, face-to-face...It's what Claude's always wanted...to meet my father...Wonder what they're talking about?

The sedative gradually deadened my senses; I let sleep overtake me without a struggle.
Later that day, I learned what really went down that night when Del and Arletta lost their lives.

I would also learn something else:
That BC's return was not just because of Marcus. I had no idea -- No one did -- that BC was already a wanted man.

++++++++

A very handsome man entered my hospital room.
He was very large -- linebacker big -- with dark hair that began to show gray, and a neatly trimmed mustache. His face was full and florid; he looked more like a burly football star than a policeman. Ihad expected him to burst into smiles, but I knew this visit was serious business. But, still...
Hmm...He's cute...looks a little like Mike Ditka...I wonder if he's...Come on, Nisha!...You have - had - a steady man..But I can look, and dream..Besides, a certain city magistrate does it all the time...I must be feeling a lot better...

And I was feeling better as I shifted my eyes, from the doily I was crocheting, to the imposing figure approaching me.
I was feeling better; that is, until this man informed me of things I really didn't want to know.

"Ms. Wood? Good afternoon, ma'am -- I'm Lt. Matteson, IPD Homicide. I'd like to ask you a few questions." How gentlemanly he was, how polite -- totally unlike the hardboiled 'cop' image one sees on TV.
"You want to know about BC, don't you?"
"I understand you knew both the victims and the suspect."
"Yes, sir. BC Bell was an old boyfriend, albeit briefly. I've known the Davises for years -- Delron and I were friends..."

Lt. Matteson went on to tell me that BC was still at large; and, although they thought he may have left the state, it was my father who insisted a guard be placed at my door.
Daddy...I would've known...You did this...Claude would've done the same...Well, Claude would have this thug shackled, AND...
...Talk about "unfortunate incarceration"...

"Ms. Wood, I usually don't do this, but for you I'll make an exception."
Mike Matteson produced a piece of paper; it was a photocopy of Kenya's confession.
"Kenya? She's your eyewitness?"
"Yes, ma'am. She almost..."
I tuned out his voice, my surroundings, everything, as I read through Kenya's statement. You poor kids...losing your mother, and your uncle...Del was such a good man...What's the saying 'The good die young'?...

As my eyes scanned the page, I wondered if I could've prevented this tragedy. Then again, noting BC's state, and his circumstances - Who knew the sinister forces coursing through this man's being.
...Claude can be very cold and cruel, but ...Geesh, even Claude knows when to turn it off...But BC keeps things festering until the whole thing explodes in his face...And people's lives are forever scarred...

+++++++

(Statement as given by Kenya White, aged ten)

Mom just put me and Tamara to bed when BC came over...I woke up when I heard loud talking...My mom told him to get out 'cause he was drunk...Mom told him he smelled like whiskey...Then he started hitting Mom...I hoped Tammy wouldn't wake up....I wanted to go back to bed, and call someone...But Uncle Del pounded on the front door...BC wouldn't let Mom answer the door..he had a gun in his hand...I sneaked to the kitchen and let Uncle Del in the backdoor, then he told me to go back to bed and watch Tammy...
But BC saw me and he tried to catch me...Uncle Del tried to stop him, but BC grabbed me and held me like a rag doll.. I think Tammy hid under the bed...I screamed and kicked, but BC wouldn't let me go...Mom screamed at BC to "Let her go! She's just a baby!"
But BC wouldn't let me go..Uncle Del tried to grab me from BC, but BC knocked down Uncle Del...Then he took me outside..Mom went out after us...and so did Uncle Del...He tried to grab me away from BC again, but BC was so big...I was so cold..I kicked and screamed and told him to let me go, but he wouldn't ...It was raining and cold...All I had on was a nightgown...
BC took me to the park across the street...Uncle Del ran after us...It was so dark, and I was so scared...I prayed to Jesus to keep me safe and help me and Tamara...I think she was still hiding under the bed...Mom hollered at BC "Let my baby go!"
BC just laughed at told Mom "If you want to see your baby again, then call off your goody two shoes brother." Uncle Del asked BC why he was dong this, and BC said he was just trying to "get over". He kept saying that "So what if I was dealing? A brother has to do whatever to survive." Then Uncle Del said, "Not like this, man. Come on, BC, let Kenya go."
Then BC threw me down in the grass, and he started punching Uncle Del...I could hear Mom hollering, "Stop it, BC! You're killing him!" But BC wouldn't stop...I was hurting real bad 'cause BC dropped me real hard...I could see Mom come out of the house..and someone else..I think it was Mrs. Glass from next door...I don't remember much after that, but I heard a gun go off...Then I heard Mom scream.."You killed him, BC! You killed Del!"...Then I heard Mom cussing out BC..then I heard another shot...
I tried to get up and run back to the house...But I think he shot me, too, because I didn't remember anything else until Aunt Robbie and the police came to the hospital...That's after the doctors operated on me..and that's when Aunt Robbie told me that Mom and Uncle Del were dead.
The police found Tamara still hiding under the bed...And she was crying..

+++++++++

"So...he did it. He actually killed them."
Somehow, I felt as if that dream wasn't so much about BC killing Claude, but BC killing Del. I had no idea the man would go so far; then again, I knew deep
down that BC was capable of anything -- Even murder. What Lt. Matteson told me next would prove my earlier suspicions.

Remember when I said that Arletta's ex-husband, Teddy, had taken off long ago? And that he supposedly went to California?
Well, Teddy did spend some time on the West Coast, but he had recently returned to Chicago to live with a favorite cousin, and attend trade school.
He lived at Cabrini Green, of all places, notorious for the gang and criminal activity.
What was unknown at the time, was that Teddy had planned to get a job upon graduation, and finally support his children.
Arletta told me this a few days before BC ended her life.
She said she was ready to forgive Teddy, "Even after all the grief he's put me through. If he can turn around, make a positive
change, then how can I turn him away. Besides, the kids need their father in their lives."

Anyway, the December before BC returned, there was a shooting in Cabrini Green. Oh yeah, you say, shooting's as common as ....

Teddy White had just returned from taking the last of his final exams. He took the el back to the projects, as usual.
Only this time, he inadvertantly wore his cap the wrong way -- It was also the 'wrong' color...
Mike Matteson related to me that BC had been wanted on several outstanding warrants- ranging from armed robbery to attempted murder - when he fled to
Indy after he shot Teddy White.

And all this time...He was playing like the 'changed man'...BC was a bad seed from the git-go...Damn, even Malus understood the error of his ways before it was too late...

"Find this man, Lt. Matteson. Find him before he shatters another life."

++++++++

"Did he tell you everything?", asked my mother as she opened a bottle of my favorite juice. My mother...always thinking of the little things...
"Everything", I flatly answered. Then, I thought of something else: My father meeting Claude Frollo.
"Have you heard from Daddy? He has my pager, you know."
Even in my depressed state, I wanted to smile, because it amused me to think of my father figuring out all those buttons...

Momma poured juice for both of us, then she replied, "I haven't heard from your father since he left with Jacki and your Parisian friend."

++++++++

[Now let's shift gears to the Palace of Justice, 1487. What's been going on? Let's find out.]

"Professor Wood, please be seated", beckoned Claude Frollo as he removed his hat and cloak.
He poured wine for Dr. Wood and himself, then sat down at his desk and studied this gentleman of color -- A handsome man in his early 70s, his once-dark hair was now sprinkled with gray. The wire-rimmed spectacles perched on his broad nose.

Highly intelligent...the quiet elegance...Just like Danisha...Brilliant...Driven...

"Forgive me, Professor, but I couldn't help detecting so much of your daughter - in you." Claude Frollo smiled thinly, but with approval, for he actually liked this man. Why would Nisha not want me to meet her father? He is a delightful man!

Joe Wood laughed heartily then sipped his wine. "Mmm...1475 Bordeaux. Remind me to take some home; Gerry's going to -- Now what's the saying Nisha and her sisters use -- Oh yes! 'Trip out'!"
That said, the ice was finally broken. Both men laughed, then Joe became serious.

"Your Honor, I'm glad I let Jacki bring me back here; I always suspected Nisha was up to something, but travelling throught time!" Joe Wood couldn't hide his bewilderment.
Claude softly laughed when he related how he was "absolutely overwhelmed when I discovered Danisha and her friends were from the 20th Century!"

Joe Wood grew serious again. "Sir, I didn't want to discuss my daughter's recent brush..."
He stopped himself when he noted the judge's puzzled expression. Joe took a deep breath when he realized, "You don't know? I thought Jacki sent those messages..."
Claude interrupted, "I had been out for the past few days, Professor. Official business and all."
"I understand, sir."
"Besides, it was Madame Grigsby who relayed the awful news, about Madame White and the Reverend Davis..."
"Yes, that was one horrific night...I really liked Del, and Arletta. She and my youngest were best friends..."
Joe Wood's voice trailed off, then grew heavy with profound emotion.
"...Minister Frollo, I believe you don't know -- never knew --what happened to Nisha."

Now Claude looked truly worried. He gazed into Joe's eyes, leaned over, then asked with pained expression, "What? Something has happened to Danisha?"
Joe thought he saw tears well into the good judge's eyes when he finally revealed that his daughter nearly died.

"Your Honor, my little girl nearly died a few days ago. She suffered a miscarriage -- The doctors said it was a tubal pregnancy. Nisha almost bled to death."

Claude Frollo's jaw trembled; the tears began to fall. He had to know, "Professor...was..I mean, by any chance..."

Now even Joseph Wood could no longer hold back the tears. His voice quaked and stammered when he admitted to Claude Frollo, "Yes, Your Grace...I believe it was your child."

Go To Chapter 15!

Copyright FrolloFreak, FSM #14, 1998.


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