Hunchback of Notre Dame: Shadows

Everyone is afraid of Frollo. It's not his manner, or even his biting words, so much as his eyes – cold and distant, the eyes of a monster.

I hear him come down the passage and move away from the cell door. I hope he doesn't come for me!

His footsteps pass and I breathe a sigh of relief. I hear the door to the next cell wrench open, scraping across the cold stone floor. The gypsy girl's cell.

He comes for her.

Scampering to the wall, I press my eye to the crack. She barely moves as torchlight falls over her. "Leave us!" he commands.

The guard backs out.

Frollo looms over her. "I can save you."

She glares at him.

"Recant your witchcraft. Remove the spell you cast over me!"

Her laugh sounds bitter in the chill. "Is that what you think—that this is a spell? It isn't! You want me all on your own!"

"Liar! I could never want a common, vulgar…" his lip sneers… "whore of a gypsy witch!"

Shivers run up my spine.

The girl snarls, "You're no different from any other man!"

"I'm a virtuous man!"

Her brows shoot up. "Virtuous? Is that what you call it? Murderer!"

"Magistrate!" His wicked, bony fingers twist in her direction. "I hold your life in the palm of my hand!"

"That's not all you'd like to hold, is it?"

He lunges at her and my breath catches in my throat. His hand at her neck, he drags her up from the floor and slams her into the wall. "Insolent girl! Be silent!"

Kicking and scratching at him, her face whitens at his grip. He leans toward her, pressing his mouth to her ear. "Recant," he hisses.

"Never!" She turns her face away from him.

"You will burn." His lips touch her throat. "As I do."

She squirms against him, her fingers digging into the wall.

"I will have you… in my bed or on the pyre!"

Blazing eyes turn to him. "Quite a sight for the citizens of Paris!"

Frollo smiles. "Tomorrow, you will choose."

He drops her in a gasping heap. The door scrapes open behind him and his footsteps fade away, leaving us both in darkness.