What REALLY Happened

Part 5

The following is based on Claude and Ms. Nisha's recollections.

I wish I knew what was going on...out there...I wonder...what's happened to Quasimodo...I wish I hadn't been so hard on him yesterday... Nisha was right...I must 'lighten up' on the dear boy...after all, he is nearly grown... Where is she? Hasn't she gotten my messages? What if HE'S hurt her---or worse...

Claude Frollo paced his cell, weary from impatience and profound dread. It's over, you know...At any time, they'll come after me...Then HE'LL become the Minister of Justice...just what he's always wanted....I never thought it would come to this!
Claude then thought of something else. If they were so bent on killing Phoebus and Quasimodo, why stop Clopin and company from simply hanging them? Why did Esmeralda stop the 'execution'? Perhaps, HE wanted to find the Court of Miracles for himself...perhaps, there's something else...something that goes much deeper...Yes! It can only be...

Claude continued to pace the room. He repeatedly ran his long fingers through his now-disheveled gray hair. His fine black velvet robe was now tattered and soiled. He was cold, hungry, and tired. My beloved Danisha...where are you? Maybe...I can send one more message...
Claude picked up his pager, flipped in open, and started to code another message. At that moment, the pager began beeping and flashing wildly. She's answering! My darling has answered! There's a message....

Claude...Jehan and I are in the dungeons...Where are you?...the tracking device is on....give a sign...slip somethng under the door...let us know where you are...we're coming, Claude...Hang on!

Thank goodness! Now, I will be free; then, I'll take care of those conspirators! Now, a signal... Claude Frollo slipped a ring from his hand. Tying it to a string, he slipped it through the bars of the cell door. Patience...they should be here shortly.


"I believe we're getting closer, Jehan."
Indeed, we were nearing what we hoped was Claude's cell. The tracking device worked brilliantly; the beeps were getting stronger and faster with every step. I'd sent Claude a message---We needed precise directions. But knowing that Claude had been drugged, he wouldn't be able to remember the precise location.
The pager emitted staccato-like beeps as we turned a corner. How come there's no soldiers around? Surely that phony would have stationed guards all over this dungeon.
"Hmm...maybe ALL the prisoners are in the square as we speak", offered Jehan, "then, perhaps, the imposter plans on having a mass execution." I shuddered at Jehan's words when we descended one more level. "He has to be down--HERE!", said Jehan. "Your little device is beeping madly."
I aimed the flashlight beam on all the cell doors, hoping that, maybe, just maybe, we'd find Claude. Just then, Jehan said, "Do you see that?" He pointed to something dangling from the last cell door.
I aimed the flashlight, peered steadily, then gasped, "Yeah! I see it! All shiny and sparkling." We cautiously approached the door; my flashlight never wavering from the gleaming object suspended from the bar of the cell door. "Yes!", Jehan exclaimed. "That's Claude's ring!" Oh, what a sight! Claude's gold ring with its oversized ruby glittering against the dim light.

Immediately, we pounded on the door. "Claude!", I called, "it's us! Jehan is with me."
"Nisha! Darling!", came the swift response from the other side, "I thought you'd never come! Get me out of here!" I tried to open the door, but realized it was locked. "My love", said Claude, "there should be a set of keys, behind a loose stone; I keep a spare set in case..."
Jehan and I searched frantically for this loose stone, but no keys were to be found. I started to cry, partially out of relief that I'd found my Claude, but also out of frustration; because, now, I was within seconds of rescuing my beloved, but I couldn't.
Claude heard me trying to muffle a sob; he gently told me, "My darling...Nisha, please do not cry. There, there, dearest. Everything will be all right, my love."
He then said, "Now, try looking on the right side of the door, just within eye level." His words of comfort urged me onwards; I had to find those keys!
Jehan, his hands feeling for loose stones, suddenly said, "I think I found it!"
Upon carefully removing the stone, Jehan gasped in surprised relief as a set of keys fell out of their hiding place. "We got them!", I said as I tried to fit each key into the lock. At last, I managed to unlock the door.

"Claude!" I immediately embraced him, kissed him. I felt him tremble, and heard him sob with profound relief. "Oh, my love! My darling Nisha! I thought all hope was lost!" Claude voraciously kissed my face, and held me tightly. "I love you. I love you", came the words of gratitude.
"Ahem!" Jehan Frollo, all smiles, told us, "I hate to spoil this passionate moment, but if we're going to get out of here alive, I suggest we'd better make haste."

That said, Claude, Jehan, and I cautiously made our way out of the dungeons. When we were halfway up, I glanced at my watch.
"I wonder if the 'execution' went on without a hitch", I said. Claude Frollo then replied bitterly, "There's only one execution to which I'm looking forward." I knew he was referring to those people who drugged, and, ultimately planned to kill him.
"Honey, maybe Quasimodo's loyalties to his friends just may kick in. If I know my buddy, he'll move heaven and earth to save those he loves."

We finally made it upstairs; no one detected us. "I should change my clothes", said Claude, examining the tattered state of his once-fine velvet robe.
Jehan then told his brother, "Claude, we don't have the time; besides, we...Wait! I have an idea!"

Jehan explained his plan, but I didn't quite buy it. Stash Claude away on the d'Arcy estate? But if they discover Claude's missing, that'll be one of the first place they'd look...Claude and André d'Arcy are good friends...

I helped Claude up the stairs, while Jehan acted as lookout. We had just approached the upper floor, where within was Claude's bedchamber.
Claude turned his eyes towards the colonnade, just in time to see what he thought were flames flickering from the direction of the Place de Notre-Dame.
"They've burned her---he's burned the gypsy witch.", Claude flatly said.
I stood with Claude on the colonnade, and held him close to me. I said nothing as Claude and I held each other.

Jehan, panting, his face lit-up with excitement ran up to us.
"You aren't going to believe this! " He was accompanied by a young girl of about nineteen. Jehan continued, "This young lady's just delivered the most wonderful news. Go on, dear. Tell them."
"Tell us what?", asked Claude apprehensively.
"Please, Your Grace", began the girl, "my name is Cecile. I'm a friend of Jacqueline's." Jacki knows this girl? Hold it....Celie?! Isn't that one Marie-Louise's maids?

Celie continued breathlessly, "The bellringer, Quasimodo, has saved la Esmeralda!" We stood motionless.
So, Quasi saved the life of a woman who caused Claude so much misery...but why? And what's happened to the others?

Claude Frollo said nothing as he paced about. At last, he said with firm certainty, "We're going to Notre Dame. I want those responsible brought to justice!"

On to Part 6!

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