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shifting sky, in the conjunction of the planets, in the shimmer of numbers. It’s written that today she will have reached this exact point, the point of no return, where nothing ordinary can change the passage of the hours, where nothing can happen without threatening her whole universe, without calling everything into question. Something has got to happen. Something completely exceptional. To get her out of this. To make it stop. In the past few weeks she’s imagined everything: the possible and the impossible, the best and the worst. That she would be the victim of an attack, that in the middle of the long corridor between the metro and the RER a powerful bomb would go off, that it would blow everything up. Her body would be annihilated, she would be scattered in the stifling air of the morning rush hour, blown to the four corners of the station. Later they’d find pieces of her floral print dress and her travelcard. Or she’d break her ankle. She’d slip stupidly on one of those greasy patches you sometimes have to walk around that look shiny on the light tiles, or else she’d miss the first step of the escalator and fall awkwardly. They’d have to call the fire brigade, operate on her, screw in plates and pins. She’d be unable to move for months. Or she’d be kidnapped by mistake in broad daylight by some obscure splinter group. Or she’d meet a man on the train or in the station café, 3

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Underground Time  

Please click here to read an extract from Goncourt Prize Shortlisted Underground Time, by Delphine de Vigan.