He alone had successfully schemed his way using Quasimodo. Oh, he knew the boy far too well. He knew when Quasimodo was lying, and he knew that the boy had been exceptionally nervous when he had visited him in the bell-tower. The outburst during which he had destroyed Quasimodo's wooden sculptures and shouted at the boy was unexpected though, and Frollo himself was secretly taken aback by his sheer loss of temper. That was surely due to some unholy influence that… that she was exerting on him. This blaze within him was always threatening to break out. A blaze that had been ignited ever since he saw her. A blaze that constantly seared, aroused and repulsed him by turns. That brazen witch had put it there and was now undoubtedly mocking him for being weak, for being unable to stop her from corrupting him. Even the walls of Notre Dame had failed to protect him.
Ah, but if he had only suspected who Quasimodo was hiding right under his very nose… The ex-Captain of the Guard would have been a dead man. He could have killed Phoebus there and then and no one but he and Quasimodo would have known.
Now, as he saw Esmeralda embrace Phoebus, the urge to kill Phoebus was all the stronger for it. How dare he hold her? How dare she let him touch her?
Oh the look she gave that damned man… If only she would look at him that way too. But such thoughts were dangerous. They were not his. No, they were put into his mind by that powerful witch, that sorceress who had the gall to tempt a righteous and virtuous man. She had haunted him last night and in his waking moments. Now, as he looked at Esmeralda, he could not help but wonder at her beauty. Already thoughts filled his mind and desires flowed through his veins, unstoppable and unrelenting.
For several moments, Frollo allowed himself to imagine what he would do to Esmeralda when they were alone. Together. He would never let her out of his sight once she was in his possession. No other man could have her but him. He imagined their naked bodies pressed against each other, and a thrill ran down his spine.
If she refused him… But she would not refuse him, would she? What sorceress would reject him, after all the effort she had spent to get his attention and turn him from God? Surely she would go on with her plan to corrupt him. Yet, the more Frollo tried to convince himself of Esmeralda's wickedness, the more hollow his own argument seemed even to him. This was the girl who had fought him. Against all inconceivable logic, she had defied him in front of the whole crowd to save a sniveling boy. She was not afraid to incur his wrath.
And no one had known, but he had gone back to the cathedral after giving orders to his men and had witnessed Esmeralda singing. A pagan prayer, but how beautiful she had looked then. It was a side he had not seen of her before, vulnerable, melancholic and achingly sweet. And she had pushed him away in Notre Dame, when he had managed to steal a few intimate moments with her. Was she trying to confuse him into guessing what her game was, or was she genuinely repelling him? If so, was he actually mistaken? Frollo refused to believe that he was going mad. Then he saw her touch Quasimodo and smile at him kindly, and an intense jealousy overwhelmed him.
When Phoebus made his regrettable statement of how without Quasimodo's help, he wouldn't have been there, Frollo couldn't resist retorting, "Nor would I!"
He delighted in seeing the gypsies run about in horror like ants to no avail as the soldiers surrounded them. They were trapped in their own lair. It had been a long time since Frollo had felt this gratified. He congratulated himself. In one fell swoop, he had rounded up all his enemies.
He could not help gloating, "After twenty years of searching, the Court of Miracles is mine at last."
Then, looking at his ward, he said mockingly, "Dear Quasimodo, I always knew you would of use to me." Let the boy whimper his "No." like the pitiful creature he was. Frollo only had his attention for one woman.
Esmeralda asked him what he was talking about and he smiled charmingly. Unfortunately, it would appear that she was too angry to notice. No matter. They would have all the time later. "Why he led me right to you my dear." Frollo replied. Unable to refrain himself, he stroked her chin. His eyes flicked briefly to her lips. Then he turned next to Phoebus.
"And look what else I've caught in my net. Captain Phoebus back from the dead. Another miracle no doubt." Frollo continued venomously, "I shall remedy that."
Both men stared at each other in mutual hatred. Frollo walked away and addressed to the whole crowd, "There will be a little bonfire at the square tomorrow and you're all invited to attend." He had plans for everyone, most involving their demise, but he had other plans especially for her.
"I want to see him. Now!" Esmeralda shouted at the soldiers. "Take your hands off me. I want to see Frollo."
"She wants to see the Minister." One soldier said mockingly to his friend, who sniggered. "Yeah. Fancy that. She can summon for the Minister." Both laughed as Esmeralda seethed in anger. She looked around to see her fellow gypsies being pushed into various cells. Phoebus, had been assigned the same cell as some of the gypsy men. As the soldiers forced her to walk on, Esmeralda realised they were heading deeper and deeper into the dungeons. They had so far gone that she couldn't see any of the gypsies or hear their voices anymore.
"Where are you taking me?"
"Judge Frollo said you're the worst kind of witch. So you're to be imprisoned alone and watched carefully."
"Oh this is rich." Esmeralda said. "If I'm a witch I'd have beat the crap out of you a long time ago."
The soldiers did not pay attention to her because they had reached the cell they were looking for. Opening the door, they pushed her inside. "Enjoy your night gypsy."
When they shut the door, Esmeralda was plunged into darkness. No light could come in at all and Esmeralda immediately shivered from cold and horror.
And yet there must be an opening somewhere, because she could feel a draught. That meant there was some sort of ventilation. At least she wouldn't suffocate to death.
Esmeralda groped her way about and found her cell to be perfectly empty. Except for a few loose stones on the ground that her feet came into contact with, the surfaces of the walls and ground were smooth. She walked a few rounds, trying to figure out where the draught was coming from. Finally, she gave up and sat down.
Soon, she lost track of time.
Esmeralda grew increasing worried. Now that everyone was caught, there was no one to save them. She doubted that the Archdeacon, kindly as he was, would be able to help. Her knowledge of priests was limited, but from her observation, the Archdeacon and his brethren kept to themselves and did not venture out of Notre Dame often. What would Frollo do to them? She sighed in frustration and started when the door opened and Frollo entered with a torch. The sudden appearance of light blinded her momentarily.
When Esmeralda's vision readjusted itself, she saw that the door was closed again and that she was alone with Frollo. The torch shone brightly on a stand near the door. She quickly stood up and faced him. "I couldn't hear anything." Esmeralda said uncertainly, "Not even footsteps."
"Yes… this cell was designed that way. To cut a person imprisoned here off entirely from the rest of the world. One of the many methods, shall we say, to break a prisoner's constitution so that by the time he's brought out, blabbering with fear, he'll tell us everything we want to know."
"Not everything." Esmeralda said triumphantly.
Frollo's eyes darkened. "Perhaps. But it remains quite efficient. And, I have achieved what I wanted, haven't I?" He saw Esmeralda look at him in loathing. He smiled complacently, "There is no need for such rage. Or is it the rage of the demon inside you that knows when it is defeated?"
"I'm not a demon." Esmeralda retorted, "Although I'm not sure if there isn't a demon here."
Frollo's smiled widened. Then he murmured as though they were sharing a stolen moment, "You do have such a way in sparring verbally with me."
Esmeralda realised that she was after all, a prisoner and Frollo was her captor. Any way she saw it, she was seriously disadvantaged. Swallowing her indignation, she tried to reason with him.
"Look, you've won, all right?" Esmeralda said, "What else do you want?"
Frollo did not answer. He stood like a statue, staring at her until she grew uncomfortable.
Frollo's eyes drank in Esmeralda's impossible beauty. Never had anyone intoxicate him as she did. The sight of her blushing under his unwavering gaze made his heart beat rapidly. He heard Esmeralda say. "You can't think you can kill all of us."
He detected a stammer in her voice and it pleased him to know she was frightened. "The people will think you're going too far."
"The people," Frollo said evenly, "do not know what is good for them. And I have time."
"Are you really going to kill all of us then?" Esmeralda asked in horror. Was he really going to wipe all of them out?
"In my whole career, I've waited for this. The world will be a far sweeter place with the gypsies' absence."
"The world will be a better place without you." Esmeralda retaliated in anger.
Frollo laughed and Esmeralda recoiled from him. She whispered. "You're mad."
Frollo stepped forward and grabbed her by the upper arms. "Call me anything you like Esmeralda." He murmured into her ear and noticed that she shivered when he spoke her name. A beautiful, exotic name to fit a beautiful, mysterious creature. "You're mine."
And without thinking, he kissed her. Right there and then, Frollo nearly fainted from the emotions that engulfed him as he felt his lips pressed against those soft, luscious lips. This was far, far better than he had imagined, than he had thought possible. His arms wrapped around her possessively. Wordlessly, he demanded her to yield to him. For a moment, Esmeralda was too stunned to react. All throughout, she didn't think for a moment that he really wanted her. She was always confident in her looks, but she hadn't expected that teasing Frollo with her dance, wrapping her scarf around his neck and pulling him close to her would have sealed both their fates. She thought that he was just mocking her when he had tried to make advances to her before in Notre Dame. She thought that he was just showing his contempt for her race. She remembered that rumours that he had sworn celibacy like an austere priest. She remembered people sniggering about how unbelievably and depressingly pious the Minister was.
But Frollo was kissing her now. At the back of Esmeralda's mind, she thought he was kissing a little clumsily, so unlike the elegance and coolness he exuded in public. But what he lacked in experience he made up with such intensity and yes, passion, that it shocked her. She heard him moan with pleasure. What hidden fires were these? Was he actually giving all up just to get her? Was all that burning of Paris just to find her? She thought it was a matter of pride and that Frollo couldn't bear losing to a gypsy's wits. Mad, mad, it was plain madness.
When Esmeralda came to her senses, she began struggling. She tried to twist herself out of his tight hold and it resulted in them both tumbling onto the ground. His brute strength was met with her stubborn will. With the advantage of height, Frollo pinned Esmeralda to the ground so that he was on top of her and she was powerless. He started tearing her clothes off.
"No!" Esmeralda gasped and tried desperately to cling to her clothes, but Frollo paid no heed. Eyes gleaming with lust, Frollo ran his hands over her body and he covered her with furious kisses as Esmeralda screamed for help.
"Scream Esmeralda, no one can hear you," he whispered hoarsely as he proceeded to remove his own clothes.
But as soon as he released his hold on her, Esmeralda succeeded in bringing her leg up to his adomen and kicking him away. They lay on the ground, sprawled two feet away from each other. Both panted heavily, one for fear that she was nearly raped, the other for crazed lust.
Frollo staggered to his feet as Esmeralda hurriedly retreated to a corner. He walked to her but stopped abruptly when she picked up a jagged piece of rock to defend herself. "Go away," she yelled desperately.
He could have drawn out his sword, or he could have let her attack him, but Frollo paused as he saw her fury. No. This wasn't the way. She must give in willingly. Besides, if he came out with a cut on his face or something, people would start asking questions. And questions were what he didn't need for now. He didn't want to have to justify his actions during the day when he nearly burnt down all of Paris.
"Tomorrow night, you shall burn Esmeralda. If you won't give yourself to me, then go! Return to the Devil you call Master." He stormed out of the cell, where a guard was waiting outside.
"Minister…" The guard looked at him nervously. He had wanted to ask the disheveled-looking Frollo if he was fine but in the end, thought it wiser not to. He merely said, "What are your orders sir?"
Frollo was breathing heavily. So this was how it felt. This previously unknown… coupling. He really couldn't think of a better word. It was intense, and the pleasure… Oh, the pleasure couldn't be denied. His fingers curled a little as he recollected feeling her velvet skin. He would give her time to think. When she knew full well that she was sentenced to death and had nowhere to escape to, she would come round. She would choose him. He calmed himself and regained his placid composure.
Smiling at the soldier, he said. "No one is to enter that cell until tomorrow night when she's brought out. But throw her some decent prison wear. Her heathen clothes are entirely… inappropriate at present."
Copyright©2004 by Anonymous.