Lead Me Gently Home

Chapter 20

"BC Bell's Last Mile"

Part Two

"Umm...Jehan? Why are you still here?"
I awakened to find Jehan Frollo setting cups of coffee and a bag on my bedtable. The enticing aroma of the bag's contents stirred me from a deep slumber - a very sound sleep considering that Claude Frollo had yet to return from medieval Paris.

Fern and Dwayne had gone home late last night; so did my parents. Jehan was kind enough to stay with me all night, even though I was no longer in any danger. BC was safely tucked away in Claude Frollo's 15th Century dungeons, and getting a healthy taste of that "good ol' medieval justice". I trusted Claude completely: He assured me he wouldn't kill BC, knowing the full implications if he did. In a way, I was relieved, yet apprehensive, all the same. Claude had yet to contact us; I knew he was...umm...'busy' at the moment.

Jehan smiled at me as I sat up and wiped the sleep from my eyes. I'd always liked Jehan, even though his - what my father calls 'wasted' - lifestyle maddened his brother and me. Jehan was there when I rescued Claude, and he was there when Claude searched for me.
Claude says he leans on me a lot...Well, Claude has his baby brother to lean on...Even Jehan can show a little kindness now and then...The Frollo brothers are a strange pair...So complex...

"I thought you'd like a treat, seeing that you really haven't eaten very much since..."
Jehan removed the bag's contents: Two huge banana nut muffins purchased from the bakery across the street. He also bought coffee for both of us.
Aww...Isn't this sweet...

Jehan set muffin and coffee before me, saying, "This establishment...this 'hospital'...serves the most atrocious food. I had a little money left from my first 'bus' ride, so I asked the nurses where to buy breakfast rolls, and they suggested this Crawford's Bakery."

The heady aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafted through my senses and the muffin, still warm from the oven, brimmed with mellow bananas and crisp walnuts. Mmmm...Just what the doctor ordered...Make that "Dr." Jehan Frollo...

Over our morning treat, Jehan and I conversed on a variety of topics, but eventually the subject of BC's 'hard lesson' at the hands of Claude Frollo came up.
"I wonder what Claude has cooked up for BC Bell - The 'works' I hope", I said bitterly between bites of muffin and sips of coffee. Jehan sighed, stirred his coffee, and said at last, "Let us hope Claude doesn't get too carried away with the torture...This man, this BC, mustn't die in our time, or else..."
I finished, "...or else everything would be forever altered." I said nothing more as I got out of the bed and made my way to the bathroom.

"Danisha, should you be up and about, I mean, in your condition?"
I laughed, then told Jehan not to worry. "I'm far from an invalid, Jehan. Besides, the doctor told me I should move around; it's essential to the healing process."

I smiled at Jehan as I disappeared behind the bathroom door. Afterwards, as I washed my hands and face, I took a long, hard look in the mirror; I wasn't pleased with what I saw.
I called out to Jehan, "Oh Jehan, I look so awful! My hair's all nappy and dull; I look so washed-out. My nails are all chipped, and my clothes...These hospital gowns are not at all that flattering."

When I emerged from the bathroom, I immediately went to the nightstand by my bed and rifled through the drawers. Come on, it has to be here...I wonder if Momma took it home...Ah ha!...here's the contents of my jacket pocket sealed in this envelope...Wonderful! I wonder if Jehan can do a tiny favor for me...

Immediately I got on the phone and dialed numbers. Then I said to Jehan, "Honey, can you do something for me? It's just a teeny favor."
Jehan looked quizzically when he asked, "Of course, Nisha, but what...?"

I handed Jehan my credit card, knowing that I really shouldn't trust him with such. But something had to be done about my appearance - Jehan was the only one available, and I didn't want to bother my parents so early. Besides, if he screws up, I can always tell his brother that...

"Jehan, I want you to take the rest of my cash; it's enough to get you Downtown and back. I'm also giving you my credit card....I need you to pick up a few items for me."
Jehan Frollo looked at the small plastic card and asked, "What is this?"

I took great pains not to tell this spendthrift man that the credit card was sometimes used to buy things. No way was I going to tell him the wonders of 'shopping with plastic'. If I know him, he'll have that card maxed out before noon.
Instead, I only told him, "It's what 20th Century Americans use whenever an emergency arises -- And this is an emergency!"

I gave Jehan a list, a few dollars plus change, and my credit card. I also gave him instructions on how to get Downtown and back, using the bus of course.

"Don't screw up, Jehan. I'm really depending on you, and I want to look spectacular when Claude returns."
"But, Nisha, what if I..."
"Jehan, just do it, for me, and for Claude."

I then gave him a big hug, and reassuredly said, "Jehan, all you have to do is ask for a package for Danisha Wood, give them the card, then sign my receipt. Then you come right back - Don't stop for anything else, OK?"
Jehan sighed again, then said, "Nisha, you know I'd do anything for you - I love you as a sister."

After Jehan left, I called the hospital beautician; then I called my mother. I needed a change of clothes and some books to read. If I'm to remain in here another day or two, I can at least look my best, and keep my mind occupied. Hmm...I wonder what's goin' on...

At that moment, my pager went off. It was Claude!

Good Morning, my love:
Brandon Cole Bell is 'tied up' at the moment..I have a full day's activities planned for this man, and I shall especially enjoy this 'interrogation'.
Please do not worry your pretty head so...I shan't kill him...Rest up, my sweet Nisha...I shall return to your side later this afternoon.
Hugs and Kisses, Claude

A full day's activities, eh? I wonder how BC's doing...I wonder how he feels now that Claude has him all...Hey! Claude said he would return -- This afternoon?! I'd better get ready....I hope Jehan doesn't mess up...Poor Jehan...Having to pick up makeup and lingerie....Poor boy's gonna be pretty sore at me...No matter...

"BC Bell, this is your last mile down the 'easy' road...And you're about to hit a dead end."


Meanwhile, in the dungeons deep beneath the Palace of Justice, another hapless prisoner is awaiting his punishment. But wait! This is no ordinary prisoner...

When Brandon Cole Bell finally regained consciousness, he thought he was dreaming.
Where am I? Oooh...that dude...that little deformed dude grabbed me when I was about to waste that judge friend of Nisha's...Damn but he was a strong little dude...I must've blacked out...What...What is this? They got me chained down...like a dog...on the floor...Where am I? It's sort of an underground prison...Who's that?!

BC Bell looked up and all he could see was the filthy stone ceiling and rusted iron bars above his head. Rats scurried here and there and the entire room had the unmistakable odor of human waste and sweat. The damp walls were covered with mold and mildew; the stone floor beneath him was as cold as ice.
He was stretched spreadeagle on the floor, his arms and legs held fast by heavy chains. He tried to struggle against the restraints but it was of no use.

Suddenly three men appeared before him. Two were hulking, burly types dressed in leather and studs; they carried what looked like weights and a board. The other man BC knew right away -- a tall, slender, regal-looking man dressed in black velvet. His plush velvet robe caressed his slim figure with every move. The red veil of his triangular hat flowed behind him like the blood from a shark's fresh kill. His hands were adorned with large gemstones, and his face...

That's him! That's Nisha's judge friend! What...What is he planning to do? I swear if this old fool's gonna...He'll pay for this...If I ever get out of here, I'll waste him for sure...
...Damn Danisha! If only I knocked off both you and your manfriend that afternoon...But that goody two shoes Delron...Damn him too! He and his stupid sister got what they deserved...So did that brat Kenya...They'll all be sorry for...

"Good Morning, M. Bell", began Claude Frollo. His Grace's expression was hard, cold, and unrelentingly pitiless. He continued to address BC as he signaled to his two henchmen.

"Brandon - I refuse to address you by your street name - you have been found guilty of a lifetime of terror and destruction. It is only fitting that you suffer a just punishment. However, as a 15th Century man, I cannot, and will not, put you to death. No, you shall live, but I am determined to make you to feel all the pain you have inflicted upon so many people - the very people about whom I care so greatly. I know all about your past, Brandon. I know everything: How you nearly murdered Kyle; how you brutalized my Danisha; how you threatened her; how you coldly murdered two innocent people and left two children motherless. Brandon Cole Bell, prepare to suffer the consequences of your actions!"

BC Bell couldn't believe his ears! Is this some kind of joke? Did he say 15th Century? I don't get this...This is probably some old warehouse done up to look like...Oof! Oww! What's that dude doin' with that board?

"I don't know what game you playin', man, but you better let me go, or else..."

Claude sneered through clenched teeth. "Or else what? Pray, Brandon, whatever can you do to me? You are now on my...'turf'."
Claude Frollo's wicked laughter resounded throughout the vast dungeon as he sat in a nearby chair then gave the signal.

The board was placed across BC's chest; then, a heavy weight was laid on top. BC felt the pressure on his chest but insisted on playing the tough guy. But there was no denying it - BC was about to get a taste of that 'good ol' medieval justice'.

BC cursed Claude Frollo, but Claude laughed it off, saying in an oily voice, "My dear Brandon, please don't tell me you're in any pain. Why, according to my darling Danisha - and she is a darling - you were quite the strapping brute. Too bad you couldn't find more...constructive...uses for your talents."

Claude nodded again and the men placed even more weights on the board. BC felt as if his body was being pushed through the floor. His breathing became more labored; his internal organs convulsed from the crushing weight. He looked over at Claude Frollo who was still sitting in his chair as cool as can be, still smiling with evil delight.

This man.....He is The Man...
...I've seen guys who look like that...dudes in prison with me...like that guard who kept messin' with me when I was in the joint the first time...
...He had that same look in his eye when...How can this Frollo cat sit there and smile like that? I mean...Damn! He's killng me!

"Come on, man! Pull these weights off! I can't...can't...breathe too good", pleaded BC. His eyes were now the very picture of fear and despair; his entire body was bathed in sweat, and blood began to trickle from his mouth.

This alarmed Claude so much that he ordered his men to stop.
Then he walked over to BC and said in a voice couched with venom, "Brandon Cole Bell, how DARE you beg for mercy! After all, Danisha begged you to stop, but you kept beating her - You nearly killed her! Young Kenya begged for her life as well! And don't forget Madame White! She pleaded with you to stop but you continued to batter the life out of her brother! You nearly killed young Kyle! And you had planned to tear a little boy from the loving arms of his parents! My God, Brandon! Your own grandmother sacrificed everything for you, and you repay her with a life of crime and destruction! Brandon, how DARE you plead for mercy, when it is obvious you showed so little to those you have terrorized and brutalized!"

Claude Frollo glared hard into the eyes of BC Bell, then he ordered his men to apply more weights, but just enough...

I want him to feel all of it...all of the pain...He's not as tough as he claims...Already he is showing the signs of stress....Careful, Claude...You've overseen enough of these sessions to know when 'enough is enough'...

...But I wish I could kill him...Nothing would give me more satisfaction...But, no matter...I'll save what's left of him for his 20th Century inmates...Danisha has told me that, sometimes, prisoners don't look too kindly upon those who harm children...and men of the clergy...She said some of Brandon's former cellmates had turned their lives around because of the Reverend Davis...And this scoundrel nearly ruined all that is good...

An enraged Claude Frollo roared at BC, "You damned unholy demon! The sooner you are out of my sight -- and out of Danisha's life -- the better!"

BC Bell shuddered under the added weight; he nearly passed out. Claude Frollo then ordered BC turned onto his belly to suffer yet another punishment. BC, too weak from his previous ordeal, didn't bother to fight back when the two men roughly and unceremoniously flipped him facedown.

What's he gonna do to me now? I can't stand this...Nothing compares to this...Maybe I'm really back in time...Who's this dude with the whip? He's gonna...Oh no...Why don't this Frollo dude kill me now?

Claude Frollo then instructed the man with the whip to administer, "Ten lashes - one set of each life this man has so callously affected. Let's see...One set for each - Nisha, Kyle, Madame White, the Reverend Davis, Kenya, Tamara..."

At once, BC felt the sting of the lash. Come on, man, and do it fast and get it over with! Down came the blows again and again.
BC screamed at Claude, "Come on, man! Kill me now! It's what you want, ain't it?"

Claude lightly ran his tongue across his lips, his long fingers formed a steeple as he knelt before BC. "Brandon, I shan't kill you, and I have several good reasons to see that you live....And one of those reasons is a lovely lady named Danisha Wood."

Claude Frollo went on to explain how Brandon Cole Bell's actions had such a profound impact on so many people's lives. He told BC about Dwayne and Fern Grigsby, and how the tragic shooting of their son forced them to avoid the scene of the crime. Even little Kyle never ventured inside that store.
"Until one fateful day, nearly ten years after you coldly gunned down that innocent boy", said Claude.

The Minister of Justice then went on to explain a certain purchase: The lottery ticket.
"The very thing that made the time traveler possible -- and meeting my lovely Danisha."
Claude Frollo sneered into BC's face, a face that was slick with sweat and tears. BC said nothing except the occasional grunt under each blow of the lash.

Then Claude said something that BC Bell would never forget to his dying day. Claude Frollo, still calm and cool, still sporting that wide, wicked smile, taunted BC with a few choice words regarding BC's...'manly performance'.
"Ah, yes, Brandon. Danisha told me everything about you, about..er...that part of the relationship."

He laughed sinisterly as he leaned over and whispered something in BC's ear, which caused BC to wince even more from pain and humiliation.
Claude laughed in triumph. At last, I've broken him! He literally crumbled when I informed him of his lack of...umm...'expertise'...NO man wants to hear that...
Look at him! Defeated, broken, humbled! Now, Brandon...How does it feel to be on...Now what does Nisha call it? Ah, yes...On the "business end".

Claude stood up, then ordered his men to stop. "Enough! Cut him loose, then drag him outside and lock him in the cage."
He looked down at BC, then said coldly, "Brandon, I want all of Paris to see you for the monster you are! There are many Parisians who love Danisha - It would pain them to learn what you did to her, and to her friends."

He watched intently as his men cut BC loose, then carried his huge, barely conscious body outside. In time, Brandon Cole Bell would be returned to his own time, but not before all of Paris would humiliate and deride him. He dared to harm the Minister of Justice's "New World friend" - a woman who'd won a wealth of friends that not only spanned two continents, but the debris of five centuries of history.

He shan't ever again destroy another life...My dear Danisha, you should be here, sharing in this triumph!
...Ah! My love, I nearly forgot!

Claude reached inside his robe, took out his pager, then began to code a short message:

My sweet Danisha:
I am pleased to inform you that Brandon is now on public display...I gave him....Well, not quite the 'works', but I believe he has learned his Hard Lesson...That's the problem with your 20th Century justice system...Far too lenient! Ah, well...No Matter
I shall send Brandon back to your time by way of Kyle...Brandon is to be deposited on the doorstep of your police department...The good Lt. Matteson should thank me for the final capture of a dangerous criminal
I love you, dear Danisha...I shall return to your side this afternoon...Kisses and Hugs, Claude


Just a little more mascara, a spritz of cologne, and touch-up the lipstick....Mmm....Danisha, you look too damn fine!

I admired what I saw in the mirror - What was once a shattered woman, who, only a few days before, stood at Death's door, was now Danisha Wood, "Ebony Glamour Queen". (My Uncle Herb pinned that nickname on me)
My hair had been washed and styled in a fluffy, moussed-up do; my nails gleamed with freshly applied polish. Everything, from my painted lips, to the clinging lavender silk negligée, enhanced my figure, my face, my mood. Even the huge silver 'door-knocker' earrings seemed to glow from my own inner light. For the first time in several weeks, I truly felt happier than ever.

Claude had sent a message; it seemed BC had finally gotten what was coming to him. Claude told me everything when he returned, although I got a little queasy from the "Wait between lashes" bit.
Claude told me he said something to BC that finally broke the thug down. He made me promise never to reveal what was said; and, to this day, I have kept my word.

But other things would happen once BC Bell returned to 1990s America, things that Del said would happen: BC would pay dearly for his journey down the easy road.

Then Claude and I had a heart-to-heart talk, a conversation that revealed something he did, on that terrible day when I nearly threw away any chance at happiness.

Then he surprised me...

He was so wonderful...We stopped there on the way home...I cried so much...But Claude was with me, comforting me, and sharing in my grief...And that was all that mattered.

To Chapter 21!

© Copyright FrolloFreak, FSM #14, 1998.

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