What REALLY Happened

part 4

The following is based on F'Freak's and Claude's recollection.

It's been a long time since I've been up this early...this time, though, it's worth it...

I had to be extra-careful not to draw attention to myself as I made my way towards the Palace of Justice. I'd thought some of Claude's other FSMs, or, maybe a soldier who didn't fall for that sham Frollo would help me out. But it seemed I was on my own.
My pager went off again; Claude sent another frantic message. It seemed Quasimodo and Phoebus had fallen into a trap laid by 'Frollo'. Now my buddy was locked up in Notre Dame, and Claude's life was in danger.
He also mentioned that that man may cause me harm. Lord knows I never wanted to encounter that man again. I still tremble from fright when I think that he could've had me killed. I guess he'd thought I'd be on to his plot to destroy my Claude.

I stopped within a few feet of the Palace of Justice; I didn't want to risk running into 'Frollo' or any of his cronies. He has to be working for someone else...No one pulls stuff like this alone...
Dozens of soldiers, horses, and carts carrying prisoners were approaching in my direction. I had to hide in the dark recess of an alley while the procession passed. What's going on here? Who are all these people locked in these carts?

In the pre-dawn light, I could make out some of the faces. There was Esmeralda, clad in a gown of what looked like rough sackcloth. She looked sad and frightened. Then I saw gypsies by the scores encaged in those prison carts. Then I saw HIM! That faker! That horrible man masquerading as the Minister of Justice. Look at him! Wearing Claude's clothes, riding Snowball...He's probably sleeping in Claude's bed---the very bed Claude and I share countless times.

I couldn't help being repulsed by this man. I swear if he thinks he's gonna make time with me...He'd better think again!
I waited for what seemed like hours; I looked at my watch. Damn! It's almost six! I don't have time to lose...

As soon as the procession to the Place de Notre-Dame passed, I cautiously made my way out of the alley and straight to the Palace. I wonder if all the soldiers went to the square? Probably...they have to...crowd control...
I walked around to the rear of the Palace, right to that secret entrance, which is only known to Claude and myself. I pulled the silver key from my pocket, unlocked the door, and ever so carefully walked inside.
Whew! Made it! Glad I wore these black jeans and soft-sole shoes...Now, to the dungeons...Where's my flashlight...
Flashlight in hand, I proceeded down the long corridor. I'd never been in the dungeons before; I had no idea where I was going. Maybe if I go to Claude's study, I could find a map or something...I hope my baby's OK...

I managed to enter Claude's study without being detected. Boy! That was easier than I thought! Now...does he have a map or blueprints or something....
I aimed the flashlight as I sifted through papers on the desk. I searched in the drawers---I found nothing. Well...looks like I'm gonna have to wing this...

I walked out of Claude's study and continued to search for an entrance to the dungeons. Why can't I find it? Surely there's a stairway...and just where are those secret passageways Claude told me about...
I approached what looked like an open stairwell. Maybe this was it, Iáthought.

I didn't hear the footsteps behind me, nor was I prepared to be accosted right in the Palace of Justice. A man quickly and quietly wrapped his hand around my mouth. "Don't scream, please. Don't make a sound", he said. The voice sounded awfully familiar. He relaxed his grip and I turned around to face him. If he's up to no good...I'll be ready for him...
I aimed my flashlight so I could make out the man's face. Jehan!

What a relief! Immediately I embraced Jehan Frollo, Claude's baby brother. "Jehan", I began in a hushed voice, "what are you doing here? I hope you know that man is..."
"...is NOT my brother?", Jehan finished. Then he added, "I knew it from the start. I came by briefly---to pay Claude a visit. Can you believe it? That man, torching all of Paris. It's sheer madness!"

I embraced Jehan again. As much as this man maddens his brother and me, I'd developed a special fondness for Jehan. I told him of my encounter with the sham Frollo, about the soldiers burning my neighborhood, and the strange, frantic messages Claude sent me on his pager. And I told him how "I can't find the dungeons. I think these stairs lead to it, but I'm not sure." Without hesitation, Jehan then said, "Follow me."

Soon, we descended into the dungeons deep beneath the Palace of Justice. "There are so many cells", began Jehan, as I stomped on waterbugs and roaches. No wonder I've never been down here...it really stinks...it's so dark and damp...creepy...how can prisoners stand it? Medieval Sing-Sing, Attica, Folsom, San Quentin...
"...It'll be a miracle if we ever find Claude in time", Jehan said, now deeply concerned for his brother. "Jehan", I said, "they couldn't have put him too far. After all, they had to communicate with him." Saying the word "communicate" caused something to click. That's it! Why didn't I think of that!

I took out my pager, flipped it open, and said to Jehan, "Look here. This green button activates a tracking mode. Jacki did this in case I or Claude ever got separated...You know, like in a crowded mall or..."
Jehan's eyes grew wide as he exclaimed, "...or locked away in dungeon cells!"

That said, I activated the tracking mode. At once, my pager began to beep slowly and steadily. "The beeps become faster when the other pager is close by. Claude and I used this last fall, when we got lost in a parking garage. It works, believe me."

As we made our way down damp, torch-lit corridors, the beeps began to get stronger and faster. "Looks like we're close to my brother", Jehan said with slight relief. Yes...we'll find Claude all right...but what about that phony Frollo...and the others...

My heart ached for Quasimodo. Poor kid....I hope that guy doesn't hurt my buddy.

Go to part 5!

ęCopyright, FrolloFreak, FSM#14 1998


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