"Come one! Come all!"
Colors burst forth, showering Quasimodo in a rainbow of hues. Fans were waved, tambourines were played, and all around on every man, woman, and child smiles shown.
"Close the churches and the schools! It's the day for breaking rules!"
The crowds gathered together, anticipation and excitement brimming over on every face.
"Come and join the Feast of-!"
And suddenly, before the crowd stood a man more brightly dressed than the rest.
It was as if the top of a bottle had been popped off, revealing joy sweeter than any wine. This was it. This was the Feast of Fools; the very celebration Quasimodo had only dreamed of being a part of for as long as he could remember. And now he was here, right in the center.
It was almost too much to take in at once. Between the dancing, the drinking, and music so loud Quasimodo could feel it in his boots, he was surprised he could stay upright. It was terrifying and beautiful and more than anything he could have expected.
"Out here," he sang quietly to himself, his own smile breaking out across his face.
A chorus of voices seemed to sing in unison, but so much was going on Quasimodo could barely make out what was being said.
"Out here," he repeated, feeling a song in his throat. No longer was it "there", a place he could only dream of attaining. It was "here", and it was now. The chorus of voices continued to sing, and even though Quasimodo was only vaguely aware of what they said, he felt as if he were really part of it.
"Somehow, I can wander through this helter-skelter without fear now. No one sees I'm here now, out here in the world!"
Everyone's attentions turned, and the brightly colorful man, who could only be the King himself, was putting on a show. Other performers joined in, swinging their bodies and dancing in ways Quasimodo knew his master would deplore, but he could only find fascinating. They moved in perfect unison, as rhythmic and majestic as the very bells far above. Is this what the world below was like? Is this how everyone else lived their lives? Smiling and celebrating and dancing as if the world were reborn?
Quasimodo pulled his cloak more tightly around him. He was getting lost in it all, too enveloped in his own head that he almost forgot where he was, and what rules he was breaking. If Frollo discovered what he had done, he was sure to be punished. Perhaps he should go? He saw the sights, felt the music, experienced the beautiful colors and warmth from the crowds, perhaps it was time he made his way back to his tower?
That was, until he glanced back to the makeshift stage for one last look. The crowds all seemed to gasp in unison as a woman more beautiful than Quasimodo could think possible came forth. However, it wasn't the cut of her clothes nor the curl of her hair that caught his eye. It was the expression she wore, an expression that spoke of a happiness Quasimodo knew well.
It was the same happiness he felt when he heard the bells.
As she danced and sang and played her tambourine, Quasimodo felt his previous worries melt away. If he could simply watch her forever, feel the happiness she radiated in her performance, perhaps he would never feel worried or alone again.
"Who is she?"