Out There

Ten-Year-Old Quasimodo had just finished making a wooden figurine of his master, Judge Claude Frollo and placed it by the wooden model of him in front of his makeshift version of Notre Dame. He admired his work. That is when Frollo came up and stood behind him. He cleared his throat. The deformed child turned around and began his stutter.

"O-oh. Bon-Bonjour M-Master. I d-didn't see you t-there."

"That's because I just arrived." He exclaimed.

"Oh."

"Ready for your lessons?"

"Y-Yes I am, M-Master."

"Stuttering again I see. We need to fix that." The hunchback sighed. He tried not to, but couldn't help it.

"Y-Yes M-Master." The child didn't see what was so wrong about his stuttering. Whenever he tried not to so that it could please his master, he couldn't help it. Like his deformity, it was who he was. Why couldn't his master see that? Frollo then saw his figurine of himself.

"I see you made a figurine of me."

"Oh. Y-Yes. D-Do you l-like it?"

"Charming." The truth was, like all of the things this child had made, he couldn't care less. He was just taking care of the boy by the order of the archdeacon ten years ago for killing his gypsy mother. He didn't say he had to like this kid or whatever he did. He didn't like kids then, and he still didn't like them. He was just waiting for the day until he was older and strong enough to ring the bells of Norte Dame. In the meantime, the archdeacon himself was doing the job, but he was getting old and close to retiring. Frollo hoped the boy was ready by then.

"Thanks M-Master. It-took me a long t-time."

"So I see. But you're stalling from your lessons." Again, Quasimodo looked ashamed.

"Sorry, M-Master." And so Frollo opened the book he brought and their lessons began.

"I have to go get your food from the market now." Frollo said when it reached the afternoon. He knew it was the afternoon for the bells rang out, causing Quasimodo to once again, plug his ears. Frollo didn't approve of this. He tried to pull them out of his ears, but Quasimodo prevented him by keeping them there. The two had to shout to be hear each other. "DON'T PLUG YOUR EARS, QUASIMODO!"

"B-BUT THE B-BELLS! T-THERE'RE SO LOUD. T-THEY CAN MAKE S-SOMEONE GO DEAD I MEAN D-DEAF."

"YOU'LL GET USED TO IT. YOU WILL HAVE TO IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE BELL RINGER ONE DAY!" Quasimodo unplugged his ears. Frollo sighed as he could now relax his hands.

"Yes, M-Master."

"I'll be back. You can eat, then it'll be time for the afternoon lessons." He was about to go when Quasimodo spoke up.

"C-can I go w-with you?"

"No, you stupid boy. You know why." Quasimodo frowned.

"Oh. R-right. Forget I a-asked."

"Already forgotten." But the truth was, he hadn't forgotten. How can he when the child asks about it almost every single day? He was getting sick and tired of it. When will he learn that once he steps outside the cathedral, all of Paris will laugh and mock his deformity? When will he learn to trust him and him alone? This boy was trouble, and the more he got on his nerves, the more Frollo hated him for it. But he made a promise. A promise he intended to keep no matter how stressful it was for him.

As soon as Frollo was gone, Quasimodo stood on his tiptoes to see the city below him. From the height he was at, the people looked like ants to him, but he knew that they weren't ants. They were people going about their days, doing their jobs. Children were playing and laughing, doing what normal people do. He sighed. He wished he had what they had. He wished he could be down there with them, doing whatever. He liked the bell tower. He even has been inside the cathedral even, when there were no other people around and it was closed to the public. He thought seeing everything inside and all of the stained-glass and rose windows were breathtaking. He'd hate it if something happens to it. However, he wanted out of this place too.

As he looked at the streets below him, the poor boy began to weep. Why couldn't his master let him be among the people of Paris, even just for twenty-four hours? Frollo said that the people down there were bad, but surely that can't be true for everyone, right? He was just so lonely up here and tired of it. He'll do anything to be down there.

"Awe, don't cry, Quasimodo." He heard a voice. He looked around to see who was talking to him. But no one was up here. It was just him and three gargoyles. He began to cry again. "Someday, it'll be alright." He looked again. Again, it was just him and the three gargoyles. "Someday you'll be down there too."

"H-hello?" The little boy asked. "W-who's t-there?"

"Why it's us, silly boy." Quasimodo gasped as the three gargoyles came to life right before his eyes. "Laverne, Hugo, and Victor." It was Laverne who was talking. "You talk to us every single day."

"Y-you're all a-alive and t-talking to me."

"Well, of course we're alive and talking, kid." Hugo responded. "We always could do those things. Did you think we were all just inanimate, boring gargoyles, doing those things in your head?"

"Y-yes."

"Well, hate to break it to you, but you're wrong on that one."

"W-why hadn't y-you t-talked to me b-before?"

"Because we didn't feel like you needed us." Laverne explained.

"And since we see you are sad and weepy," Victor continued. "We feel it would be wrong just to sit there, watching you without comforting you in your time of need. Were we wrong?" The disabled child shook his head.

"No, y-you weren't." Victor smiled.

"Good." Quasimodo frowned again and once again looked down below.

"You said s-someday it'll be al-alright. S-someday I can b-be down there. W-when is s-someday?"

"Someday is someday, kid." Hugo stated. Quasimodo was confused.

"I'm c-confused."

"What is there to be so confused about? It's simple. Someday could be tomorrow, next week, a year from now, heck, it might even be ten years."

"Master said that the p-people are bad down there and that t-the world is c-cruel."

"Sadly, yes." Victor agreed. "Being the first gargoyles when this cathedral was first being built over three centuries ago, you really see things. Nasty, horrible, unspeakable things that we wish didn't happen."

"But the world is also filled with good, sensible people as well." Laverne put in.

"S-sensible enough to a-accept me for w-who I am, and not a m-monster?"

"Yes." Laverne stated. "Because you're not a monster."

"M-master says I a-am."

"Well, you're not to us." The deformed kid smiled.

"If you were my i-imagination, l imagine y-you saying that."

"Your imagination is correct then." Hugo put in. "Imagination is a powerful thing to have. You can go anywhere, do anything, be anybody you want to be. Don't lose it."

"I-I'll try n-not to." Quasimodo then frowned. Laverne noticed this.

"What is it?" She asked.

"Master hates i-imagination. Said it's stu-stupid and that it rots m-my brain."

"What does he know?" Hugo asked. "Don't listen to him. He doesn't know anything." Quasimodo was shocked to hear this.

"B-But he's m-my master. I have to listen to him no m-matter w-what."

"You have to be a rebel sometimes, kid. Live by your own rules. And if I can be completely honest with you, I don't think what he's doing to you is right. I think deep down he's an awful guy. There's something about him that is off putting to me." Quasimodo gasped.

"Y-You're wr-wrong. He's b-been nice to me. Surely, it's not wh-what I expected. I trust him." Hugo shrugged.

"Okay. Whatever you say."

"But at the end of the day," Laverne began. "If you're feeling lonely and sad and need companionship, we'll be here for you." Quasimodo smiled.

"Th-thanks."

"Sure. Anytime." Pigeons flew and landed on Laverne much to her dismay. This made Quasimodo giggle. "However, I can't say the same for these rats with wings. Go on, shoo! Be gone with all of you!" The birds cooed and flew off. Laverne then felt a wet spot on her and rubbed it off with a finger. Everyone else was disgusted by this. Laverne was too and noticed it was poop. She was now mad.

"One of those wretched creatures pooped on me! Can't you believe it?" The others all giggled.

"Such is life, right, Laverne?" Victor asked. Laverne wasn't amused/

"Right. C'est la vie. "

Some time later, the gargoyles heard feet coming up the steps. They looked. It was Frollo with his and Quasimodo's lunches in a single basket.

"Oops, have to go now." Laverne told him quickly. "Talk to you soon." Quasimodo didn't understand.

"W-wait!" He stuttered. "Why d-don't I..." But it was too late. The three gargoyles got into place and turned lifeless once again. Quasimodo sighed. "S-show you to m-master."

"Who are you talking to, Quasimodo?" Frollo asked. The boy looked at him, excited.

"M-master!" He said. "You won't believe it!"

"Believe what, Quasimodo?"

"Do you remember t-these three gargoyles that I named Laverne, Hugo, and Victor?"

"I remember." He pointed to them. "They're right there."

"Y-Yeah. But it turns out that t-they're real. I can p-prove it to y-you." He looked at the gargoyles. "Show him, y-you guys. Introd-duce yourselves." Seconds passed by, and they didn't come back to life. "Uh, g-guys? Come on, y-you're making me look b-bad in front of M-Master. G-guys?" Laverne felt sad. She wanted so much to help prove this child's point to his cruel master, but knew it was best not to. Frollo sighed.

"Quasimodo, don't you think they're alive in your head because you have no other friends besides me?"

"But, they a-are alive. R-really. They're j-just being really s-tubborn for s-some reason."

"No, they're not! Don't be ridiculous. They're just gargoyles. They can't speak, they don't have life, they do nothing!"

"B-But..." Frollo was mad now.

"ENOUGH!" Quasimodo was shocked. He was always scared when his master yelled at him. Frollo sighed and calmed down. "Enough, let's just eat and resume your lessons for the day."

"Y-yes, M-master. S-sorry."

Frollo left as soon as Quasimodo's lessons were done for the day. When he was gone, Quasimodo looked at the three gargoyles again. He was sure they were alive. He was talking to them. He knew he did.

"Sorry that we didn't come to life in front of your master." Laverne told Quasimodo. The child was taken aback again. He knew they were alive! He knew it wasn't just his imagination to make him less lonely. He just knew it!

"W-why d-didn't you?" He asked. "Y-you made me l-look like an i-idiot."

"It's best not to." Hugo stated. The boy was puzzled.

"W-why?"

"It just is."

"We don't want to scare him." Laverne put in.

"Although the guy could use some scaring." Hugo muttered. Victor nudged him. "What?"

"I g-guess y-you're right." Quasimodo said. "S-sorry."

"That's okay." Laverne assured him. "Just try not to do it again, okay?"

"O-okay. I-I'll t-try."

And try Quasimodo did. But it proved hard for him. He bet he was the only kid in all of Paris, maybe all of France, who had gargoyles as friends. And whenever Frollo left, and he was lonely, he know he wasn't, not for long, not with them there. And he hoped it stayed that way. He also hoped that someday he'll get out of this tower and Notre Dame. He wanted to be down there with all of the other people of Paris and want them not to be mean and not to mock at his his ugliness. He wanted them to accept him for who he was. He wanted to be out there. He wanted it to happen... someday.