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that would contaminate everything it touched. None of them would. Not if it was her choice.

The emptiness inside her ached for John as she realized she would never see him again. She focused on the mouse, only the mouse, its elastic skin, its grayish blocks of shading, its devotion to the machine. And she searched deeper, for the creature at the heart of the mouse, the one that had once made a warm nest of shavings in the dark, and had now been trapped for countless years in a life that was not life. The shades of gray were shifting in block segments. Anna moved her fingers to the side. Lines of charcoal proceeded down the mouse's back, not as quickly as when Terrence had made contact with the mouse, but faster than when Anna had done it alone. Excited, she closed her eyes and focused more deeply on it. She visualized its elegant, complex skeleton, the heart beating at its center, and what she realized now must be the brain.

She concentrated on it, feeling a sleepy stirring of awareness. Wake up! Wake up! She sensed Morden there, inside the mouse with her, his emotions startlingly intense. His careful control had deceived even her. Most immediate was the fear, which mirrored her own, of the shadows and what they would do. Unlike Anna, he seemed to have little fear of dying; it seemed almost to be desired. Below the fear was a surging tide of pain and exhaustion held back with crumbling barriers. He was ready to collapse. And then at the heart of him she found the excitement at the mental connection to the mouse, at sensing its stirring, at finding Anna there with him. The contact between them was intimate, undeniable. Together they focused on the mouse's brain, urging it to wakefulness.

Anna reminded it of its duty to the machine, telling it the machine needed to
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