On the morning of April 16, Dr Bernard Rieux emerged from his consulting-room and came across a dead rat in the middle of the landing. At the time he pushed the animal aside without paying attention to it and went down the stairs. But once he was in the street it occurred to him that the rat should not have been there and he turned back to inform the concierge. Old M. Michel's reaction made him still more aware of the incongruity of his discovery. To him the presence of this dead rat had seemed merely odd, while for the concierge it was an outrage. In fact, the man was adamant: there were no rats in the house. However much the doctor assured him that there was one on the first-floor landing, probably dead, M. Michel's conviction was firm. There were no rats in the house, so this one must have been brought in from outside. In short, it was a practical joke.- Albert Camus, "The Plague"
That same evening Bernard Rieux was standing in the corridor of the building, looking for his keys before going up to his flat, when he saw a large rat emerge hesitantly from the dark depths of the corridor, its fur damp. The creature stopped, seemed to be trying to get its balance, stopped again, spun round and round with a faint cry and eventually fell, blood spurting from its half-open lips. The doctor looked at it for a moment, then went upstairs.