In Victor Hugo's Les Miserables book Javert is, just prior to his suicide, a man at war with himself about wether to arrest Valjean. It is not a simple Yes/No decision and, for Javert, there is no correct answer other than to remove himself from the equation. It is as if two sides of his personality are quite literally fighting each other. Now add to that how his appearance is a complete wreck in the stage version during his suicide and then combine the two - basically he's had/having a major mental breakdown. I wondered what would happened if he survived the suicide attempt in his current mental state. I am unsure wether to leave this as a one shot or to add more to it. I do have a plot planned where things get a little better for our Inspector, please do comment as I would a) love to know if anybody is out there and reading this and b) wether or not you would like me to continue.
The Broken Man
"Damnation...", a whisper.
Silence followed, as cold as the night itself.
"Damnation...", the whisper grew.
The words, seething frustration, faded to nothing after each utterance in the dark, soul destroying, confines.
Darkness enveloped the cell in almost its entirety, a small barred window set high up the wall well above the occupants head permitted the entry of only a very small amount of the cold moonlight.
Below this window sat the wretched, rag clad, being to whom the cell was now home.
There he sat alone in the shadows, a broken man, his back resting against the cold, damp stone of the wall. Damp, stale straw over the stone floor and a bucket for necessities were the only items he had been permitted.
His legs sprawled out straight before him were covered by ragged trousers with a hole forming at one knee.
His feet were bare and caked with dirt. His ankles were rubbed raw, the flesh bloody and torn where his shackles had been fastened in place.
The shackles secured a short length of strong chain, no more than a few inches in length, allowing him to take very small stumbling steps when he rarely raised himself to his filthy feet.
This man, this figure of intense torment, sat hunched forward. His head fell forward, burying his face in his equally dirty hands.
His wrists too were shackled together, another bloody mess of torn and scraped skin underneath the rusting metal showed clearly the full force of a man who had regularly struggled so fiercely against them.
The wretch's final restraint was a rusty metal collar, firmly locked in place around his neck, from which a chain atleast a metre long ran to an iron ring secured to the wall. This length of chain enabled the ragged man to sit down, to stand up, but to go no further. He was tethered, like a dog.
The voice whispered again, his face buried in his hands which were in turn obscured by his long and bedraggled dark grey hair which hung loose and forlorn.
The whisper was gruff.
With each whisper the man's breathing began to increase in intensity, force, and aggression.
The man ran his fingers into his long greying hair, bunching up a fistful of the hair to the rattle of his wrist shackles.
His whisper became a voice, finally penetrating the darkness.
"Damnation for *your* crimes!", the figure sneered, clenching his fingers and pulling at his fistful of hair.
"Damnation for *your* deeds!".
Releasing the hair the man struggled against his shackles with all his strength, pulling his wrists apart in an attempt to force a link to break.
The chains chinked and rattled in response but did not yield, holding ever firm against the struggle.
"Damnation for *your* redemption!".
He grew louder still, his voice filling with danger and spite as he ceased fighting the wrist shackles.
His hands reached for his accursed neck collar and tugged at it, then reached up for the chain that held him collared to the wall and pulled, an animalistic growl emanating deep from within him as he did so.
"My damnation for *your* redemption Valjean!?"
After fighting it with all his strength the chain failed to give. The man slumped down, his back against the wall, panting from exertion and rage.
"Is this justice Valjean?", he rambled letting out a vast sigh and cast his eyes down as his unstable thoughts continued tormenting him.
"Is it justice that a moral man, a just man, a just...thief, a just...criminal, go free?".
He gave his wrist shackles a slight tug, the chain clinked sharply in reply, biting his flesh in confirmation of its presence in response.
"And is it just and right that Javert wear the shackles in your place Valjean?".
Silence prevailed for some moments, his uneven thoughts weighing up the pros and cons of the question, before he leant forward and spoke again, raising his chained wrists before his eyes and staring at them.
"It is just", he looked down and, in answer to his own question, dropped his wrists back into his lap.
Sighing in resignation he closed his eyes for several seconds.
"It is just"
"It is right"
"It... is... just..."
There was silence again before his eyes suddenly snapped open once more, wild and burning with sudden outrage.
"But it is not the law!", he spat tugging at his wrists again.
Once more he fought at his damned bonds, desperate to free himself from the shackles which tore away yet more flesh with each frantic tug and twist of his wrists.
"Is there one law for Valjean now and one law for the rest?", he snarled, sheer venom resonating through his voice, "NO!".
"There is only law! One law! The law!"
Once again his resistance peaked, his wrists and ankles twisting and pulling in desperation, his collar chain holding him in his filthy patch of ground by the wall, choking him each time he pulled forward against it. And then he calmed as his fight once again began to leave him.
As his body relaxed and he fell back against the wall in resignation he felt the warmth of the blood trickling from his wrists and seeping into the rags of his filthy trousers.
He breathed deeply several times where he sat, attempting to compose himself and calm his fractured thoughts.
"But what of the law of God?", he spoke out suddenly, eyes wide with alarm.
He looked up and strained his body forward, turning his head desperately to try and glimpse the small barred window above him beyond which held the night sky and it's stars.
The chain of his collar became taught as he leant. The window was not to be seen from his position.
He lowered his eyes in dejection and, head bowed, dropped back to his former position.
"The law of God...", he repeated, "authority... higher authority... I failed it".
"I did not merely fail it...", he shook his head as he felt a wave of deep shame, "I broke it. Gods law... The ultimate of all sins".
He sat unmoving in total silence for seconds that bit with sheer cold.
"Suicide!", he finally spat the word.
Silence again, as if the word had left the foul taste of shame in his mouth.
A faint clink of one of his chains sounded as he breathed.
"Valjean could have killed me at the barricade", he muttered before looking up, "Valjean SHOULD have killed me at the barricade!".
Quickly his breathing grew rapid and once more the chains holding him were struggled against. The pain of the shackles digging deep into the flesh of his wrists and ankles no longer registered as his mind sped and a surge of adrenalin rushed through his tattered body.
"My life will NOT be saved by a CONVICT!", he again began to raise his voice until he cried out for all his worth - "A bullet in the back would have at least been honourable Valjean!".
Struggling to change position he finally shuffled to his scuffed knees, all the while pulling at his bloodied wrist shackles.
"You cannot go free Valjean! You cannot go free! The law forbids it!"
In desperation the figure raised his wrists closer to his face and bit fiercely into the chain that secured them. A taste of metal, dirt and blood filled his mouth as his teeth - the only weapon available to him - tried in vain to break the chain.
He growled with all his might as he bit, the blood of his wounded wrists seeping into his mouth.
Once more, the chain did not give under the strain of this latest onslaught.
Acknowledging this defeat, he released the chain and thumped the stone floor with all his force before falling forward, crumpled in a heap against the wall and gasping as the chained collar prevented him from falling completely to the floor.
"You cannot go free Valjean... You cannot go free...", he repeated in manic breaths leaning his forehead against the stone of the wall, "...and yet... Yet I could not arrest you!".
"Your freedom is an abomination..." he hissed, verbally working through his broken, disordered thoughts, "and that...that, Valjean is why I had to die".
He stifled something that was almost a chuckle, "it was at least... Why I *tried* to die".
"Valjean your almost 'Holy' goodness mocks me...", he rambled into the stone, the only thing that was ever willing to listen, "I strive on the side of justice for decades and yet you...this...this...convict-come-Saint brings me to heel like a dog!".
He placed a strong, distasteful emphasis on the word "dog".
He struggled harshly once again, his chains clanking and rattling as he fought, shook and pulled at them like a wounded animal frantically attempting to escape a trap. One chain was all that needed to break, just one.
A cold sweat formed all over his body as his breathing became rapid and more intense. He felt his heart rate increase rapidly, roaring in his chest out of control as his pulse began to race.
His mind blurred, a frenzy of images flashed through his mind of encounters with Valjean, of taking that one fateful step off the Pont au Change bridge, the water, the cold, cold water... He could feel his pulse race even faster in his neck as his thoughts raced out of control...
And then everything stopped.
The wretched form of the Police Inspector fell limp against the wall, his body was wracked with an uncontrollable shaking, his breath being drawn in frenzied gasps.
What little light there was glinted off something watery as tears began to stream their way down his face, dripping unwiped from his chin.
He hung there sobbing, his collar chain preventing him from collapsing completely.
"Kill me Valjean...", his cracked voice begged. "Please Valjean..." "Kill me..." END. At the end of this chapter Javert is basically having a massive anxiety attack. He is a strong man, a very strong man, but sadly strong people are often the ones who fall victim to these awfull things and fall apart.
I have experience of these myself and I have tried my best to depict what it feels like when everything spins out of control, thoughts make no sense and heart and pulse rates just go mental. I hope that came across okay. Comments appreciated x