A few months after Madeline and Valjean welcomed their son into the world, the Javerts’ eldest celebrated her second birthday with plenty of pomp and circumstance, her parents showering her with plenty of frocks and toys she did not actually need. Though she was still very young, Cosette could hardly believe that she was already so big—two years had passed since her birth, and longer still since the tumultuous events surrounding her parents’ courtship and eventual marriage. Hard to believe.
Cosette also harbored another secret, though as usual she was planning on surprising her husband with it at some later date. He was too busy shaping up his new men and doting on his firstborn to think of another child yet. Overall, life seemed to be going smoothly and happily for them.
But it seemed impossible for them to enjoy peace for very long.
The first time it happened was a few days after Aimee’s birthday. Cosette slept fitfully, which was nothing unusual, but her dreams suddenly turned very dark indeed. None of it was very coherent, but it shook her badly and she woke in a cold sweat. It took her nearly an hour to calm herself and fall back asleep.
Things only got worse. The dreams returned every night and gradually became clearer. Eventually, perhaps a week later, there was pain and loud, angry voices; there was stinging cold and fear and she heard herself—or perhaps it was not her after all—begging, crying, shrieking from the pain. She sat up, instantly awake, and this time, the dream came with her, because she realized she was screaming though she was awake and safe in her bed at home.