litter of ratlings


Senior Member
Al Bradley and his brother George hit six or seven banks across the Midwest and then kidnapped a banker for ransom. The ransom was paid –thirty thousand dollars, a big sum for those days –but they killed the banker anyway. ‘By then the Midwest had gotten a little toasty for the gangs that ran there, so Al and George and their litter of ratlings run northeast, up this way. They rented themselves a big farmhouse just over the town line in Newport, not far from where the Rhulin Farms are today.
Source: It by Stephen King

What does ratlings mean in this context?

Thank you.
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Hello again! I admire your tenacity with Mr King!

    Here I think ratling is a diminuitive of rat and litter is a being used as a noun for a clutch of babies. So we have a little group of baby rats. This is the metaphor for Al and George's gang members / followers.
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