"My dear Kenya, shouldn't you be in bed? After all, it is
after midnight", said Claude Frollo to Kenya White.
He knelt before this little girl and studied this device - this 'wheelchair' - that confined her. BC Bell had pumped three bullets into Kenya's ten-year old body; one of which nearly severed her spinal cord. Kenya knew it would be a long time before she would be able to walk again, but she took it all in stride.
She laughed, pointed to the bright sunshine streaming through the chapel windows, then said, "Your Honor, it's morning! It's after ten o'clock." Claude glanced out the window and finally realized it was indeed morning. He hadn't eaten; he hadn't slept. The strain of the previous night showed all over his face. His eyes were bloodshot and sunken; his skin appeared paler than usual.
"Your Honor? Would you like me to sing to you?" Kenya smiled up at this man who she had known for only a brief time, but to her, he was like an old friend. Claude managed a slight smile and say to this child, "A song? I would love to hear it." In a way, he thought, he needed the diversion - a chance to get his mind off his troubles. His 14th FSM lied unconscious; and, for some strange reason, chose not to fight for her life.
Patience...My blood now mingles with that of her own...Never have
I imagined that I'd do such a thing, at least, not in my own time...But
when the doctor said Nisha needed blood...The boys' blood was not of the
same type....What made me say, "What about mine?"
Then they took blood from me...They mentioned something about 'Rh factor', whatever that is...Then I was told that my blood was compatible...I had to do it...I had to save Nisha...It was the only way...She may very well regain consciousness yet this morning...
...Please, Danisha...Let that fighting spirit shine through...
"Your Honor? Are you all right?" Kenya tugged at Claude Frollo's
sleeve; she was still smiling, but seemed rather worried. A thin smile
stretched over Claude's face as he replied, "Oh, I was thinking of
Kenya smiled again. "Your Honor, I know Nisha's gonna be all right. You wanna know why?"
"No, my dear, why?", Claude gently said.
"'Cause I prayed for her this morning, when Aunt Robbie told me what happened to Nisha." Before Claude Frollo could say anything, Kenya offered up another prayer. It was a prayer from the heart:
Please help Danisha get better. She's my friend and I don't want her family to be sad. Please look after Tamara - She's still scared and sad because Mom and Uncle Del aren't with us anymore. But I know they're with You. Please say 'Hello' to them and tell them I'm doing fine, and tell them me and Tamara still love them.
But I really want Nisha to get better, because Judge Frollo is so sad. He's my friend too, and I don't want him to be sad any more.
After Kenya closed her prayer, Claude Frollo looked at this child with
amazed expression. How sweet...How generous of this child...Her mother
would be so proud of her...But I don't understand...
"My dear, that was a lovely prayer." Claude's eyes were now on the wheelchair when he added, "However, I noticed that you didn't include yourself..."
Once again, Kenya smiled politely, saying, "Your Honor, God answered my prayers a long time ago -- I'm alive, and I'll walk again. But right now, He has to be with Nisha."
"Del, she's so selfless, so caring. I can tell she has lifted Claude's spirits, but I can't help but feel so much rage..."
Del and I stood nearby and watched as Kenya steadily kept Claude occupied with quiet, uplifting conversation. It was strange, for I remembered what Claude said to me, "I was never that patient with young people." Yet, here he was, chatting with a ten-year old girl. I supposed Kenya's own physical affliction touched Claude in such a way, that...
But it was BC's bullet that put her in that wheelchair...Poor kid's crippled because of him! And I know that, deep down, Claude's seething right now...He may not show it, but I know he wants to get his hands on BC so badly...
"Stop it, Danisha! Stop this vengeful thinking! Let BC get what's coming to him -- In his own good time. You can't 'change outcomes', and I know exactly what's on your mind." Del took my hand, then proceeded to reveal a few things that, up until now, were hidden in the dark recesses of my mind.
"Danisha, I know what you were thinking: Let His Honor take BC
back to the 15th with him; then BC can finally get a taste of that good
ol' medieval justice."
I was shocked! Not too many people knew about my time travel, except...
"The Lord knows everything, Nisha", Del smilingly said. "But this is one time that you will need to take Miss Fern's advice to heart. You know, 'Don't change the outcome'. You may not believe this, but BC's actions actually paved the way for a lot of folks -- You, Miss Fern, Jacki, Judge Frollo..."
I had to say something, because I really felt that Claude should go
out and find BC himself, then give the thug a taste of his own medicine.
"Hold it, Del. Are you telling me that BC is responsible for my meeting of Claude Frollo? No way! You forget, Del, that this man nearly killed Kyle; he nearly killed Kenya. For goodness sake, he killed you and Arletta! He shot Teddy! He's done nothing but terrorize and destroy ever since he was a kid! How can you stand there and say that BC..."
I couldn't say anymore; I was that angry.
Del raised his hands in exasperation, then took me by the hand. He stopped
momentarily to look at his niece still in deep conversation with Claude.
I watched this peaceful scene, then wondered if Kenya will pull through.
As Del led me out of the chapel, he said to me, "Don't worry about
Kenya; come summer, she'll be running. It's you and Judge Frollo I'm worried
about. Come on, Nisha, and let Jules take over."
I still didn't understand; I mean, I pretty much knew why Del was here, but I wasn't quite sure of Jules' role.
Del told me that things will start to happen within the next few minutes, things that may have a profound effect on so many lives - mine, Claude's, Fern's, Jacki's. I had no idea that the stage was being set as soon as Del and I emerged from that chapel.
Cherie, Jacki, and Jehan entered the chapel. Cherie came to collect Kenya; Jehan and Jacki, on Claude's request, stayed behind. Jacki and Tony had at last repaired the time traveler, and Claude wanted Jehan to return to 1480's Paris. He requested that Kyle use his van to transport Jehan back to the 15th Century -- Kyle now had a time-traveler installed in his van. But why? I don't understand...Why would Claude not want his brother here, in case I should...
"The good judge has his reasons, Nisha", said Del. "But I can't reveal them -- You will play a key role in preventing Claude Frollo from killing BC Bell."
"But I WANT BC dead! Don't you understand? What he did to everyone...Damn, Del! Let Kyle and Fern take BC on an 'old time ride' to the 15th! I want to see BC to find out just how tough he isn't once he's in Claude Frollo's dungeons!"
Suddenly, Jules appeared before me; he appeared distraught and concerned.
"Madamoiselle! Come with me, and I'll show you why Minister
Frollo can't kill this man you call 'BC'." Jules tugged at my arm;
I looked back at Del with alarmed expression.
"Go with Jules, honey. You need to see what could happen if you choose to give up. Nisha, if anything will knock some sense into that thick head of yours, it's what Jules is about to show you." After Del said that, he was gone.
Now what? He said Jules wants to show me something...It must be really
important...Possibly crucial...I don't think I'm gonna like what I'm about
to see...But I think I can handle it...
I had no idea that what I was about to discover would be the most disturbing scene I would ever experience.
Within a matter of seconds, we were whisked to 15th Century Paris, and
stood outside the house I shared with Fern.
"Madamoiselle, do you remember this place?", asked Jules de Chateaupers.
I looked at the house and replied, "Jules, you know perfectly well
Madame Fern and I live here, that is whenever we're in Paris, in your time."
Jules shook his head, stared up at the house, and said, "No, madamoiselle. You and Mme. Fern never lived here. This house now belongs to an elderly couple." "But that can't be!", I protested, glancing around as if not to be spotted.
"Mlle. Nisha, no one can see nor hear us", Jules smilingly said, his hand reaching out for mine. "Come, let me show you something else."
We walked through the streets of medieval Paris, oblivious to the hustle and bustle of afternoon activity. I know this route...It's the same route I always take to the Palace of Justice...Why are we going to the P of J? Claude is in my time, in Indy, with me, with my family...What is in here that Jules wants me to see? I don't get this...
Without opening a door, we entered the Palace of Justice, then made
our way towards the dungeons. My eyes took in the interior of the Palace;
and, just like before, they were dazzled by the high-vaulted ceilings,
the glowing tapestries, the marble floors. But the Palace of Justice took
on an eerie quiet - usually the place is teeming with activity. Where're
the people? Where are the guards? This place is swarming by now...Even
if Claude isn't here...There's always someone around...
"There's a reason for all the quietness, madamoiselle", Jules said to me as we descended the many steps that led to the dungeons. "Jules, I've been down here once, and once is enough. So why are you taking me here? What's so important that I have to come down to this stinkin' hellhole?" I'd always said, much to Claude's amusement, that I hated the dungeons. So what's so fired-up important now?
Jules answered my question as we made our way through dark, dank corridors.
"Mlle. Nisha, you've never been down here, because you've never been
to Paris -- 1480's Paris to be precise."
"Of course I've been here! Many times at that. Jules, I don't know what cruel prank you're playing, but...Hey..."
I stopped talking when I beheld a familiar sight: The door that led to Claude's cell. Yes! It's the last door on the left...That's where Jehan and I found Claude...He dangled his ring from the bars, so we could find him...Why is Jules doing this?
We went inside the cell, and there we saw a frail old man sitting in
a far corner of the cell. Although it was quite dark, Jules and I needed
no light - We generated our own illumination. "Who is this guy? Someone
Claude put away?"
Jules hung back as I approached this man. "Aren't you coming with me?", I asked.
"No, Mlle. Nisha. You need to look very carefully at this man's face."
I cautiously approached the prisoner, and nearly fainted when I realized exactly who this man was. His gray hair was matted and dirty; his face and figure emaciated and ashen-pale from illness and lack of food. His hands were gnarled, his fingers bent and bony. From what I could tell, his clothes were once of the finest silk and velvet, but they were now tattered and threadbare. I peered into his eyes; they were sunken and lifeless. His once-famous toothpaste smile was now a mass of rotting teeth. I wanted to cry on the spot - This can't be happening!
"Oh God...Tell me I'm dreaming! But this man can't be...Claude Frollo!"
Jules came up from behind and said, "No, madamoiselle, you are
not dreaming. But this could very well come to past if Minister Frollo
kills this man you call 'BC'." "I don't understand; if Claude
kills BC in the 1480's -- What's the big deal if..."
My words were interrupted by Del, who suddenly appeared in the cell with Jules and me.
"...If BC is killed before he's born? Think about it, Danisha.
What would happen if BC was never born?" I only took Del's words at
face value; I didn't fully understand the impact that one man could have
on so many lives.
"My life - and other people's lives - would've been far less complicated. I mean...Del, are you saying that BC's actions..."
Del smiled, then knelt down beside Claude and me. "Honey, you know
that, somehow, beautiful things can grow in the ugliest of places. What
I'm trying to tell you is that BC himself never considered the full consequences
of his actions, no matter how many people he hurt nor how much damage he
I still wasn't clear on a lot of things; I mean, if this unfortunate man is indeed Claude Frollo, then...
"That's right, Nisha", replied Del. "You never set foot
in medieval Paris. Neither did Miss Fern nor Jacki get to travel back in
time. You see, with BC being dead before he was born means no beatings
for you, and no armed robbery for Kyle Grigsby to walk in on. That means
Fern and Dwayne would visit that store often, but..."
He looked at Claude's frail figure, then continued, "Nisha, when BC shot Kyle, the boy's folks never again ventured inside that store, except one time, and that was years after Kyle was shot."
Del continued, "You see, Dwayne was on his way home, and he happened to pass that same store. Something made him stop and go inside. Now, this was one year before Jacki's time travel device came to fruition - One year before Miss Fern, for the first time, set foot in 1480s Paris, and met Claude Frollo."
Fern never told me these things...Neither did Jacki...Is this what Fern meant by changing outcomes?
"Tell me more, Del."
I listened intently as Del continued to explain the dangers of changing outcomes, and how lives could've been dramactically altered...Forever.
"Dwayne walks into the store, looks around. His eyes fall on the very spot where his son lay bleeding. He asks the clerk, 'Do you remember that robbery about ten years back?' And the clerk tells him, 'Yes'. Dwayne is about to leave; but, at the last minute, he decides to buy a couple of candy bars -- What Kyle and his friend came in for that day. Then, on a whim, he decides to buy something else - A lottery ticket."
That's it! Fern and Dwayne hit he lottery - $73 million! Fern told me she'd share the wealth...Fully funded Jacki's and Tony's research...The time traveler would've been another dream on paper...Fern never would had met Claude...Jacki never would have found her French ancestors...It seems to make sense now...But...
...But I still don't get it....What's the deal with Claude imprisoned in his own dungeons...What about Quasi, Jehan, Claude's spies...
Del then said, just before he vanished into the air, "I'll let
Jules explain that one."
I was still kneeling at Claude's feet, and paid no heed to the rats scurrying here and there. Nor did my nostrils flare from the stench of mildew and mold, of human sweat and waste.
I learned, from Jules, that Jean-Michel du Champs, the man who masterminded
the plot to depose Claude as Minister of Justice, had died just as he did
that day Jehan and I rescued Claude. I also learned that since everyone
thought 'Frollo' had died, no one bothered to check on a certain unrecorded
prisoner locked away in a remote cell deep beneath the Palace of Justice.
"He remained down here, Mlle. Nisha, for all these years", Jules sadly said, "with not a soul to talk to, no one to rescue him from this nightmare."
I then asked him about Jehan, Renée, and, most notably, Malus.
"Jehan never found his brother. And Malus..." Jules nearly
choked on his words when he finally finished, "...Malus killed Renée
, madamoiselle. He beat her to death, that summer. You see, neither you
nor Madame Fern were there to protect us..."
Jules went on to tell me how, after Malus battered his own sister to death, Malus reunited with his long-lost father and played a crucial role in the plot to destroy Claude Frollo. Jules had left Paris for good, never to return. Later, after the sham Frollo took his fatal plunge from Notre Dame, Malus himself met an untimely end and the hands of Clopin's boys. Just as it happened, the Gypsy King discovered that Jean-Michel had planned to sell out the gypsies once he took over as Minister of Justice.
Of course...All this would have come to past if I had never met Claude...Everyone would have gone about their business, thinking Claude Frollo is dead...But here he is...A shattered shell of a man...
I drew closer to Claude, lightly touched his shoulder, and said to him,
"No way am I going to let this happen to you, Claude. I'm going to
fight my life; I'm going to live. I have to warn you not to kill BC."
Claude slowly raised his head, peered into my eyes, traced my face with a long, bony finger, then said in a deep, rumbling voice, "An angel?" And that was all he said before he slumped over, and breathed his last.
He saw me! He actually saw me! Oh Claude...You thought I was an angel...Coming
to take you home...
....I love you, Claude, and there's no way you'll end up like this...Not as long as I have breath in my body...
I cried and cried as I held Claude's limp body in my arms. I loved this
man; I cherished him as a friend, as well as a lover - Claude would never
end up like this.
In the dark silence of that dungeon cell, I cried out, "Del! Where are you? I want to go back!" No one was in that cell but me, cradling Claude Frollo's body.
Did they abandon me? Why did they leave?
"Jules? Del?", I called out, my voice echoing through the vast dungeon. No one was there. I continued to cradle Claude's lifeless body and sent up a silent, desperate prayer:
Please Lord, I'm ready to live my life again. I'll come home only when You're ready for me...I just have to stare Death in the face once more, and say, "Not this time." Please, Lord...I have to live for my family... for my friends... for the kids... for this man...I want to live...
I felt myself floating back to consciousness. I felt weak; my mind wasn't fully focusing. "I want to live...", I whispered feebly.
"Nisha? Nisha? Oh Thank You, Jesus!" Was that my mother's voice? Did I hear her joyously announce to people outside that, "Our baby's coming out of it! Danisha's regaining consciousness!"
That's right, Momma...Scream it...Shout it...I'm alive...Thanks to Del...and Jules...and Claude...and to God...
Two days after I regained consciousness, my condition improved so greatly
that I was moved out of ICU and into a private room. And that room quickly
filled with flowers, cards, balloon bouquets, and other gifts. That room
also teemed with activity as several relatives, friends, students, and
co-workers visited me. I was so grateful to have such caring, loving people
around me, but there was one person for whom I reserved my deepest gratitude.
My parents informed me of Claude's timely and swift response to my need for blood. Of course, I knew that Claude, in his own time, wouldn't have done such a thing. But there he was, in my time, and gallantly responded when life threatened to leave me.
It was Friday evening when Claude took his turn to keep me company. It was then that I expressed my thanks.
"I heard what you did, Claude Frollo. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Claude sat beside my bed and held my hand as he recited French love poems. I never knew how far he'd go just to save my life; then again, he's always surprised me.
"My dear, I would have never done such a thing in my time; I really
don't know what caused me to speak up when they said you needed blood..."
He sweetly kissed my mouth. Thank goodness the breathing tube's gone...Can't kiss through that!
Claude gazed intently into my eyes for several minutes, then admitted, "Nisha, my love, I would do it all over again."
My strength was gradually returning; my mood was cheerier, although BC had yet to be caught. Daddy arranged to have that guard posted on my door, and he convinced Robbie to do the same for Kenya. It was feared that BC, out of desperation, would come after Kenya. She was, after all, the only eyewitness to the murders. Her testimony alone would put BC away for...
"Danisha? Are we daydreaming again?" Claude stopped in mid-verse,
and noticed my faraway expression, then laughed and kissed me again.
"Claude, I was just thinking about things...How things work out...How things might have been if I never met you..."
I stopped myself when I, for the first time in two days, noticed how paler-than-usual Claude appeared. "Have you been eating, baby? How about sleep?"
Again, Claude Frollo laughed, saying, "Darling, it will please you to learn that Fern and her husband have generously offered to treat me to dinner, then..."
He paused, then softly chuckled, saying, "My love, two days ago you were at Death's door; and, now, you inquire about my welfare! How sweet of you...How thoughtful...That is one of your many qualities I find so endearing."
Claude kissed me again, deeply this time, and told me, "Be a good girl and get your rest. I shall return with a surprise for my darling Nisha."
Fern, Dwayne, and Claude...dining out at Dodd's Town House...On Meridian at that...He'll like that...
I forgot to ask why Claude sent Jehan back to the 15th Century. It had to be really important, or else Jehan wouldn't have exited so quickly. Jehan's departure, and his subsequent return, coincided with Claude's return from dinner.
Hmm...Claude and company were gone for quite a while...Well, it was Friday night...
Their timing couldn't have been more perfect, for my life, and Kenya's life, were in mortal danger.
To Chapter 20 - Part One!
© Copyright FrolloFreak FSM #14, 1998.