"Nisha, I'm so glad you're all right. I thought I'd never see you
Those words came from my sister, Vernice, who had finally arrived in town. She said she would've been here sooner, but she had to make arrangements with her husband Fred, and her three children. She wasn't about to leave them home alone with no one to watch the children when they returned home from school.
My sister, Momma and Daddy's second-born, a tall, full-figured gal approaching her middle thirties, hugged me until we both wept with relief.
She was dressed in a fashionable blue denim ensemble consisting of a long skirt and matching jacket. Her enormous silver earrings jangled as she shook her long loose curls. I could hear the dull thud of her chunky-heeled boots as she walked the few steps to the nearby chair. Vernie and I always took after Momma when it came to fashion. Even in the most dire of circumstances, the Wood women always manage to look spectacular.
I'm so glad I have such a loving family...Vernie didn't have to drive all this way, leave her husband and kids home alone...But I guess love makes one do these things...Just like Claude donating his own blood...
"Nisha", said Vernie, as she settled into a chair next to my bed, "what's all this about time travel and some medieval judge. And don't try to lie out of it because Momma and Daddy told me everything!"
OK...So she wormed it out of me...
"It's all true, Vernie. I went on a time trip, to 1480's Paris, with Fern and Jacki, and I met the most wonderful man..."
I proceeded to tell Vernice all about Claude, Jehan, Quasi, and all those wonderful folks I met in medieval Paris. I told her about my adventures: the rescue of Claude, the surprise performance at the Feast of Fools, and the meeting of Jacki Darcey's French ancestors.
When I finished telling Vernie all this, her eyes grew wide and she fell back in her chair. Ah ha! My sister...the chatterbox of the family...rendered speechless!
"Damn, Danisha! I guess I should come home more often!" She laughed hard and long, then proceeded to ask me, "OK, Nisha. Where is he? Now that you're gonna be all right, I want to meet this Frollo dude."
I smiled, sipped some water, then replied, "You'll meet Claude; but, right now, he's having dinner with Fern and Dwayne. He hadn't eaten nor slept in nearly three days, and I insisted he go out and have a good time."
Vernie returned the smile. "Well, I'm not leaving until I meet this dude. I wanna check him out, make sure he's all right."
Vernice, once you meet Claude Frollo you'll know exactly what I see in him...And why we keep hanging on to each other...
Vernie got up and kissed me on the forehead; I think I heard her crying. "Nisha, I only want to thank him for saving your life. Momma told me want he did - donating his blood to save you. I'm - No, the whole family is so grateful he was in the right place at the right time."
It must have been close to seven when the phone rang.
I had managed to eat a little although I thoroughly hated hospital cuisine. I'll be so glad to be home where I can get some decent food...I'm really hungry...Maybe Claude and Fern will bring back a doggie bag...Well, maybe Claude and Dwayne will...I know Fern picked her plate clean...
In a way, I was glad I answered that phone, for Joannie Bell, who got my phone number from Curtis (Del's partner in the youth ministry), called me and delivered the most disturbing news.
"Danisha, I know I'm probably the last person you want to hear from, but I had to call you, honey, to warn you."
"Warn me about what?" I began to feel uneasy, knowing that BC was still out there - somewhere.
"BC's back in town, and he knows Kenya's in the same hospital as you."
I almost dropped the phone; I began to wince with slight discomfort. Just when I was feeling so much better...I'm getting stronger by the day, yet this man...That damned thug...
"Nisha? Are you still there?"
"Yes, ma'am, I'm still here."
Joannie Bell went on to tell me that BC, upon returning to his old hangouts
the same night Claude and I were reunited, vowed he'd waste Kenya and me.
He had run out of money and came to his grandmother for help. When she
refused, "He hit me, baby. My own grandson knocked me upside my head."
I could hear her stifled sobs emanating from the other end.
She then said that BC went out to Del's church, encountered a few people who didn't know him well enough not to reveal a thing to this man. An innocent conversation, an off-hand question or two, gave BC all the information he needed to finally end the lives of those he felt "Done me wrong".
Before she hung up the phone, Joannie Bell said to me, "Honey, I've already called the police and told them that BC may be on his way down there. I never stood for his self-destructive ways before, and I'm not about to let him wreck another life." After I ended my conversation with Joannie, I reached under my pillow and took my pager. I don't care if Claude's in the middle of dinner...He has to know...
I got a call from Joannie Bell...BC's grandmother...He's back in town and he's vowed he'll kill Kenya and me...I know there are guards posted, but I'm still uneasy...and scared.
The police have been called...Maybe BC'll reach the end of the road...
...Please respond as soon as possible, because I know what's on your mind...You can't do this, Claude! I love you...Nisha
There, I hope he heard me loud and clear, but...
Within the next hour, a chain of events would hasten BC Bell's journey down a dead end road, and Claude Frollo would play a key role in the final capture of a dangerous criminal. So would Jehan, Kyle, and another person close to me.
It was after eight when Jehan Frollo rushed into my room; he was out of breath, and carried on about something that had gone down in the parking garage. My father and mother were with me; even though it was after visiting hours, my family insisted that someone be with me at all times.
"Nisha! Claude sends his apologies for not being here, with you,
but something's happened, down in the garage!"
My father placed his hand on Jehan's shoulder and told him to calm down. Momma got Jehan to sit down, drink some water, and then asked, "Jehan, calm down, honey. Now, what's this about Claude and the parking garage?"
Jehan took several deep breaths, then proceeded to explain why Claude had sent him back to 1480's Paris, and what went down in the parking garage.
"My brother sent me back -- He had Kyle use his vehicle to transport me. Claude wanted Quasimodo brought here, in case you..."
Now it started to make sense. I knew Claude had his reasons for sending Jehan home, but I never thought of Quasi. That must've been what Del was talking about...Claude wanted Quasi here, with me, in the event I passed from this life...He knew Quasimodo and I were friends...Claude can be so thoughtful...that is...when he wants to...
"But, Jehan", I said, adjusting the blankets and pillows, "where's Claude now? Where's Fern and Kyle? Where's Quasimodo?"
Jehan sighed, settled back into his chair, then recounted a very disturbing
scene in the parking garage. "We -- Quasimodo, Kyle, and I -- had
just returned to your time. I didn't think we'd be gone more than a day,
but Quasimodo had to make arrangements -- You know, who'll cover for him
at the cathedral. Then Kyle had to hide his vehicle on the d'Arcy estate...Of
course, we had to take a carriage into town...and back."
Jehan continued, "Danisha, we arrived at the same time Claude returned with the Grigsbys. We met up with them as we headed for the...'elevator'. Then Claude spotted someone behind us. I believe it was the man you call 'BC', because this man recognized Claude right away."
Now it was Daddy's turn to grow apprehensive, and alarmed. He took off his glasses, stood up to his full height, then said, "BC Bell is here?! In this hospital?" Daddy turned to me and asked, "I thought his grandmother called the police. Surely this place would be crawling with cops by now. I don't get it!" Daddy clasped my hand, then asked Jehan, "Son, you have to level with me. Where is BC Bell? And where is your brother?"
Jehan got up and went to the window. He paused long enough to stare
out at the Downtown skyline. It had started to rain and Jehan briefly commented
on the lightning that streaked across the darkened sky. He then continued
to recount the events that Del said would have a profound impact upon my
life - and upon everyone else's lives.
Jehan said, "This man, this 'BC', spotted us as we neared the elevator. Mme. Fern and M. Dwayne ducked for cover as this man lunged at Claude. You see, this man had a long, sharp knife. Anyway, Quasimodo reacted just in time. He tackled this man to the floor, and had him in...What do you call it? Oh yes...A 'chokehold'. Then the man slipped out of consciousness."
We -- my parents and I -- couldn't believe this! We all knew BC fully
intended to harm Kenya and me, but the thought of BC trying to kill Claude
It was just like that dream...But this time BC didn't get his way...Where's Claude? Surely Claude would hand this man over to the...Oh no, what if...
I had to know. "Jehan, please don't tell me that..."
"Yes, Nisha. Claude had Quasimodo and Kyle load this BC person into Kyle's vehicle. They've gone back to our time. I have no idea why...Oh yes I do...Claude said he wanted this man to pay for what he did to you."
I felt my heart beat fast and hard; I sensed my nervous tension rise when Jehan said Claude wanted his revenge on BC. Great! Just what I need...Another unnecessary worry...I'm getting stronger by the minute, and Claude has to pull this...Didn't he get my messages? Doesn't he know the dire consequences if he kills BC Bell?
"Danisha?" I felt my mother's hand on my arm. "Honey,
I'm sure Claude has his reasons for taking Brandon back in time, but..."
"Momma, you don't understand! If Claude kills BC, then it'll change everything!" I started to sob noisily, knowing that if BC dies before he's born, everything will be altered -- Forever. Jehan came to my bedside and tried to comfort me; then my pager went off. It was a message from Claude, explaining why he took BC on an 'old time ride' to the 15th Century.
Please do not worry so...I know all about the dangers of 'changing outcomes'...Fern and Dwayne told me everything...About Bell shooting Kyle...About how young Kyle's parents never again ventured inside that establishment...Except that one time, years after Kyle was injured...About the...'lottery ticket'...The very thing that made the time traveler - and everything else - possible...If it wasn't for that, you and I never would have met.
No, Danisha. I will not kill him...I shall take extra precautions to see that he lives...But I want him to feel all the pain he has inflicted upon you, and upon others...A lesson needs to be learned - A Hard Lesson
...I intend to return this scoundrel to your time...But not before he's -- Now, what is the title of that film...The one where the youngsters experience the misfortunes of prison life...Ah yes - Scared Straight!
Be a good girl...Get your rest and do not worry... When you awaken, I shall be at your side...All my love, Claude
I re-read the message, then pressed the call button for the nurse. "So,
he's really going to do it -- Claude Frollo will finally get his revenge
on BC Bell." I then asked Jehan about Fern and Dwayne. "They're
downstairs, Nisha. Do you want me to fetch them?" I shook my head
when the nurse's assistant entered; I requested a mild sedative. "Somehow,
I'm feeling a little keyed-up; I may need a little something to help me
My mother looked at me quizzically. "Danisha, you never took sleeping pills before. Honey, has this news shaken you up that badly?" She put her arm around me as she fluffed my pillows.
I wish they wouldn't fuss over me so...I'm a grown woman...Claude, I sure hope you know what you're doing...Please Lord, don't let him kill BC...It'll mean altered lives...Forever.
"Momma, Daddy, Jehan. I need to get some rest, get my mind off
my troubles, and Lord knows I've had enough to deal with this past week.
Please, go home and get some rest yourselves. I'll be OK; I mean, now that
BC's back in 1480s Paris..."
My parents did as I requested, although Jehan chose to remain downstairs with Fern and Dwayne. In time, Claude would return, and I would receive surprising news
In the meantime, I let the sedative do its job, and let sleep overtake me without a struggle.
For once...I'd like to be in the dungeons right now...Enjoying BC's screams for mercy...I'm not like that, but...I want to see BC's face when Claude has him stretched out on that new rack...I bet Claude's getting a kick out of it...
...Claude, whatever you do, please, give BC 'the works'...Beat him until he's so far...Then stop! Don't kill him!
TO CHAPTER 20 - PART 2!
© Copyright, FrolloFreak FSM #14, 1998.