Hardly had the light been extinguished, when a peculiar trembling beganto affect the netting under which the three children lay.It consisted of a multitude of dull scratches which produced a metallicsound, as if claws and teeth were gnawing at the copper wire. This wasaccompanied by all sorts of little piercing cries.The little five-year-old boy, on hearing this hubbub overhead andchilled with terror, jogged his brother's elbow; but the elder brotherhad already shut his peepers, as Gavroche had ordered. Then the littleone, who could no longer control his terror, questioned Gavroche, but ina very low tone and with bated breath:--Sir?Hey? said Gavroche, who had just closed his eyes.What is that?It's the rats, replied Gavroche.And he laid his head down on the mat again.The rats, in fact, who swarmed by thousands in the carcass of theelephant and who were the living black spots which we have alreadymentioned, had been held in awe by the flame of the candle, so long asit had been lighted; but as soon as the cavern, which was the sameas their city, had returned to darkness, scenting what the goodstory-teller Perrault calls fresh meat, they had hurled themselves inthrongs on Gavroche's tent, had climbed to the top of it and had begunto bite the meshes as though seeking to pierce this new-fangled trap.Still the little one could not sleep.Sir? he began again.Hey? said Gavroche.What are rats?They are mice.This explanation reassured the child a little. He had seen white mice inthe course of his life and he was not afraid of them. Nevertheless, helifted up his voice once more.Sir?Hey? said Gavroche again.Why don't you have a cat?I did have one, replied Gavroche, I brought one here, but they ateher.This second explanation undid the work of the first and the littlefellow began to tremble again.The dialogue between him and Gavroche began again for the fourth time:--Monsieur?Hey?Who was it that was eaten?The cat.And who ate the cat?The rats.The mice?Yes, the rats.The child, in consternation, dismayed at the thought of mice which atecats, pursued:--Sir, would those mice eat us?Wouldn't they just! ejaculated Gavroche.The child's terror had reached its climax. But Gavroche added:--Don't be afraid. They can't get in. And besides, I am here! Here, catchhold of my hand. Hold your tongue and shut your peepers!
Victor Hugo
I had a bizarre rapport with this mirror and spent a lot of time gazing into the glass to see who was there. Sometimes it looked like me. At other times, I could see someone similar but different in the reflection. A few times, I caught the switch in mid-stare, my expression re-forming like melting rubber, the creases and features of my face softening or hardening until the mutation was complete. Jekyll to Hyde, or Hyde to Jekyll. I felt my inner core change at the same time. I would feel more confident or less confident; mature or childlike; freezing cold or sticky hot, a state that would drive Mum mad as I escaped to the bathroom where I would remain for two hours scrubbing my skin until it was raw. The change was triggered by different emotions: on hearing a particular piece of music; the sight of my father, the smell of his brand of aftershave. I would pick up a book with the certainty that I had not read it before and hear the words as I read them like an echo inside my head. Like Alice in the Lewis Carroll story, I slipped into the depths of the looking glass and couldn’t be sure if it was me standing there or an impostor, a lookalike.I felt fully awake most of the time, but sometimes while I was awake it felt as if I were dreaming. In this dream state I didn’t feel like me, the real me. I felt numb. My fingers prickled. My eyes in the mirror’s reflection were glazed like the eyes of a mannequin in a shop window, my colour, my shape, but without light or focus. These changes were described by Dr Purvis as mood swings and by Mother as floods, but I knew better. All teenagers are moody when it suits them. My Switches could take place when I was alone, transforming me from a bright sixteen-year-old doing her homework into a sobbing child curled on the bed staring at the wall. The weeping fit would pass and I would drag myself back to the mirror expecting to see a child version of myself. ‘Who are you?’ I’d ask. I could hear the words; it sounded like me but it wasn’t me. I’d watch my lips moving and say it again, ‘Who are you?'m Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind
Alice Jamieson
That grip tightened again but this time he started rubbing his first two fingers against her neck in a soft little rhythm. The action was almost erotic. Or maybe that was just the effect he was having on her. She could feel his gentle stroking all the way to the pulsing point between her legs. Maybe she had mental issues that this man was turning her on.He leaned closer, skimming his mouth against her jawline and she froze. Just completely, utterly froze. Are you meeting Tasev? he whispered.She’d told herself to be prepared for this question, to keep her reaction under wraps, but he came to his own conclusion if his savage curse was anything to go by. Damn it, Wesley was going to be pissed at her, but Levi had been right. She had operational latitude right now and she needed to keep Levi close. They needed to know what he knew and what he was planning. Trying to shut him out now, when he was at the party specifically to meet the German, would be stupid. Levi had stayed off their radar for two years because he was good. Of course Wesley hadn’t exactly sent out a worldwide manhunt for him either. About a year ago he’d decided to more or less let him go.Now . . . I met with the German earlier tonight. He squeezed me in before some of his other meetings.Levi snorted, his gaze dipping to her lips once more, that hungry look in place again. It was so raw and in her face it was hard to ignore that kind of desire and what it was doing to her. I can understand why.Even though Levi didn’t ask she decided to use the latitude she had and bring him in on this. They had similar goals. She needed to bring Tasev down and rescue a very important scientist—if he was even the man who’d sent out an emergency message to Meghan/Wesley—but that didn’t mean she couldn’t let Levi have Tasev once she’d gotten what she needed. I’m meeting with Tasev tomorrow night.At her words every muscle in Levi’s lean, fit body stilled.Before he could respond, she continued, I’ll make you a deal. You can come with me to the meeting—if we can work out an agreeable plan—but you don’t kill him until I get what I want. I have less than a week. Can you live with that time line? She was allowed to bring one person with her to the meeting so it would be Levi—if he could be a professional and if Wesley went for it. And of course, if Tasev did. They had a lot to discuss before she was on board one hundred percent, but bringing along a seasoned agent—former agent—like Levi could be beneficial.Levi watched her carefully again, his gaze roaming over her face, as if he was trying to see into her mind. You’re not lying. Why are you doing this?Because if I try to shut you out you’ll cause me more problems than I want to deal with. And I don’t want to kill you.Those dark eyes narrowed a fraction with just a hint of amusement—as if he knew she couldn’t take him on physically. And?
Katie Reus