Oct. 29th, 2013 01:01 pm
sweetbreads: (Default)
Meeting Clarice Starling

He could smell her from the end of the corridor. Another test subject of Chilton's sent to poke at his brain; a woman, because they liked to send him women, thinking perhaps they could nudge some feeling out of him. He made them cry. She smelled of Evyan skin cream, soft leather and nylon with frayed seams. Here she was. He didn't look up from his book until she spoke, pressed his finger against his lips in thought: "Dr Lecter."

Clarice Starling was a small, almost plain woman. There was a strength in her compact body, her hands well formed, callouses from the firing range, and a air of defiance about her; a woman fighting to keep her head above water in a man's world. One of Jack Crawford's. "My name is Clarice Starling," she said. "May I talk with you." So polite. Good. He rose and walked to her, stopping at a conversational distance. Between the two of them there were nets and bars, but in his mind he could whip them away, imagine that they were standing toe to toe, if he so wished.

"Good morning," he said, and she came closer. Came closer. He could almost smell her rising fear now, but her response was challenge, and even as Hannibal noticed it, he never acknowledged it.

"Doctor, we have a hard problem in psychological profiling. I want to ask you for your help." Aha. More straightforward than Will. This time there was no dance, no false flags. A lesson learned.

"'We' being Behavioral Science at Quantico. You're one of Jack Crawford's, I expect."

"I am, yes." He didn't need her answer, but keeping two steps ahead let him control the conversation. He asked her for her credentials, expecting to shake her, and naturally it did. She hadn't expected him to ask, but was too polite to refuse. "I showed them at the--" A hesitation. "Office."

Lecter was cold and direct. He had her in the palm of his hand. "You mean you showed them to Frederick Chilton, Ph.D?" An affirmative. "And did you see his credentials?" Of course not. "The academic ones don't make extensive reading, I can tell you. Did you meet Alan? Isn't he charming? Which of them had you rather talk with?"

He was the one asking the questions now, she answering them. This was what he'd wanted from the beginning. "On the whole, I'd say Alan."

"You could be a reporter Chilton let in for money. I think I'm entitled to see your credentials." She assented, cornered now, and showed him her freshly minted laminate. A gust of perfume erupted from her bag as she removed the card. He asked her to send it through, which of course she couldn't. It was against the rules. He instructed her to call Barney, and the kindly old orderly joined them. A black gentleman with a soft spoken kindness about him. He was never rude, even though he was underpaid. Just an orderly, but he did his job right, and without prejudice.

"Dr. Lecter. I'll let this come through. But if you don't return it when I ask you to--if we have to bother everybody and secure you to get it--then I'll be upset. If you upset me, you'll have to stay bundled up until I feel better toward you. Meals through the tube, dignity pants changed twice a day--the works. And I'll hold your mail for a week. Got it?" See? To the letter, but not out of any kind of power trip. He agreed to the terms, and the card was passed through on a tray. Hannibal took it, examining it in the light, smelled it, and tapped the hard plastic pleasantly against his teeth. Such sensations were rare; few and far between. A trainee, it said. A trainee laminate with an expiry date. Crawford must have some faith in this one to send her to him; faith like he'd once had in Will Graham.

"A trainee?" he asked, as though Clarice could tell him why. "It says 'trainee'. Jack Crawford sent a trainee to interview me?" And perhaps it was meant to make her feel small, too. Unworthy. Barney's soft warning ended his consideration, and Hannibal returned the card, but in the meantime Clarice had rallied, and he could see it in her eyes. She was used to people talking down at her for one reason or another, and she was armed to the teeth with justification. Attacking her competence cut her in a familiar place. She was ready for him.

"I'm still training at the Academy, yes," Starling said, "but we're not discussing the F.B.I.--we're talking about psychology. Can you decide for yourself if I'm qualified in what we talk about?"

Oh, that was clever, sneaky and underhanded in a way Lecter wholly appreciated. Clarice did not claim to be a psychologist, that was why she was here. Her position in the F.B.I. was irrelevant to the conversation, and in the same moment, she earned herself enough respect from Lecter to deserve an extended conversation. As Lecter was forced to reconsider the direction of the conversation and his mastery over it, he hummed, and paused. "That's very slippery of you. Barney, do you think Officer Starling might have a chair."

"Dr. Chilton didn't tell me anything about a chair." He was pleasant, yes, but a little slow.

Hannibal chided him. "What do your manners tell you, Barney?"

There. It was impolite not to offer a seat to a young lady, and a breath of oxygen reached the candle of his intelligence, somewhere deep inside his mind. Hannibal had been giving him lessons. "Would you like a chair?" Barney asked, after a moment. "We could have had one, but he never--well, usually nobody needs to stay that long." What he meant to say was that Hannibal ignored or chased off his visitors, but she would know that. She would have read the files. She agreed, politely, and Hannibal knew that she understood his gesture. Barney brought her a folding chair.

"Now," Lecter said, sitting sideways on his table to face her, "What did Miggs say to you?" His conversation, his question. He knew, but he wanted her to say it. "Multiple Miggs, in the cell down there. He hissed at you. What did he say?"

"He said, 'I can smell your cunt.'" She was firm, answering a question only. He appreciated that, but it was a good measure of how much it would take to unsettle her. He had the measure of her now.

"I see. I myself cannot. You use Evyan skin cream, and sometimes you wear L'Air du Temps, but not today. Today you are determinedly unperfumed. How do you feel about what Miggs said?"

"He's hostile for reasons I couldn't know. It's too bad. He's hostile to people, people are hostile to him. It's a loop."

"Are you hostile to him?"

"I'm sorry he's disturbed. Beyond that, he's noise. How did you know about the perfume?"

"A puff from your bag when you got out your card. Your bag is lovely." She thanked him. "You brought your best bag, didn't you?" He let her assent, and slipped in for the kill. "It's much better than your shoes."

She was ready for him. "Maybe they'll catch up." Hannibal agreed. She asked about his drawings, a foolishly constructed question. "Did you do the drawings on your walls, Doctor?" Well, of course he had, did she think he'd called in a decorator? Starling didn't miss a beat. "The one over the sink is a European city?"

"It's Florence. That's the Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo, seen from the Belvedere."

"Did you do it from memory, all the detail?"

"Memory, Officer Starling, is what I have instead of a view."

She eyed another image. "The other one is a crucifixion. The middle cross is empty."

"It's Golgotha after the Deposition. Crayon and Magic Marker on butcher paper. It's what the thief who had been promised Paradise really got, when they took the paschal lamb away."

"And what was that?" She didn't know. He pitied her, but at least she offered him curiosity. It wasn't that she didn't want to learn; learning was how she proved she was better than her birth.

"His legs broken, of course, just like his companion who mocked Christ. Are you entirely innocent of the Gospel of St. John? Look at Duccio, then--he paints accurate crucifixion. How is Will Graham? How does he look?"

"I don't know Will Graham." Well, that was too bad. She hadn't studied everything, then. He regretted that. Outside information and his own deductions were all the clues he had to the man's fall from grace.

"You know who he is. Jack Crawford's protege. The one before you. How does his face look?" It was almost a threat, a reminder. I can reach you in here.

"I've never seen him."

"This is called 'cutting up a few old touches,' Officer Starling, you don't mind, do you?"


Will Graham's attack

"I understand your consternation, Will. It disagrees with me that a killer like this is out there, when you and I both know how rarely such men are caught--at least for the crime of murder."

"I know. I know--burglary, maybe. Breaking and entering. Someone will bring him in on a lesser charge, the Ripper files will get mothballed and we'll have to pick up all over again in two years time, but probably only after half a dozen more people are dead. Only after they pick up the pattern again."

"Four murders in ten days."

"Which is why I thought maybe there was something new, something we could use. I almost thought I had it, but it slipped away." Ah, so that was why Will was here. He was close. He visited Lecter because it had given him a scent; he just didn't know why.

Hannibal regarded Will Graham with a professional gaze, his head tilted to one side. Will was smart, but he had sat in the room with Hannibal - with the killer he was hunting - and so far nothing had come of it. He knew it was lurking there though. Will worked his cases by empathy and projection. He absorbed the men he was chasing, lost himself in them, so that there were only blurred lines of morality holding him back from murder himself. All it would take was the right trigger; for most sociopaths it came when one was a child. Will had somehow survived his childhood, and so here he stood, Jack Crawford's pet project.

Will Graham looked comfortable in his office because the killer he hunted, the killer he projected himself onto, was Hannibal himself. His office felt familiar, homely, as if he belonged here. That was the clue that disturbed him. And Hannibal baited it because he enjoyed it.

All games, though, had to end.

Will's eyes drifted again across the lines of antique books that adorned his office shelves. It was warmly decorated; his ancient texts, his elegant Georgian desk, a Moroccan silk carpet, a bronze stag, a miniature of Venus, a small painting sat on the wall beside the window, protected from the light by thick, luxurious curtains. He saw something, then. His miswired mind forged a connection, and Will Graham knew.

When he met Hannibal's eyes again, it was obvious. Friendly, amiable, coworkers crunching down on the same problem--it had dissolved in an instant. No longer was this a conversation between equals, both after the same thing, and if Will thought he could make such a realisation and hide it, he would be a fool. Will Graham had never and would never be such a thing. He knew, and his was the face of understanding, looking into the eyes of a killer with only a desk between them. There was too much to quantify. Will needed time. He couldn't work his way through it. He probably didn't even know how he knew, yet.

Will Graham needed space, and he would call for help, and he would need an answer when dispatch came running as to why he called them. He knew, but convincing another person was another matter. It gave Hannibal time. He didn't have the chaos in his mind that Will had. Everything was ordered stillness. He had been born ready for this moment, expected it. A predator couched among the tall grasses, he set his prey on edge, then moved in for the kill as they lost their heads.

"If you will excuse me. I have to make a call."

"Certainly. There's a public phone in the waiting room. Do you have any change?"

Will didn't acknowledge whether or not he'd even heard Lecter, he simply stood and left. There was fear in the air, pupils constricted, skin pale, already clammy. Lecter watched him leave without rising--

--And toed off his shoes.

There was a linoleum knife in his desk drawer. He slid it into his sleeve, so that if he stepped out into the hall and Will was not at the phone, he might conceal it. As expected, Will was on the phone, his eyes fixed on the main office door. In his panic he had forgotten that there was another exit. The room had a second door to another room, a service door that opened out into the hallway far behind him, each catch well oiled and silent, and even if it wasn't the sound of the blood pounding in Graham's ears would deafen him. Hannibal made it to his side.

The first moment, the knife went exactly where Hannibal intended it to, deep, just above Graham's hip. He pinned him against the wall. The phone, he carefully returned to its bracket with his other hand. Graham had a gun, but he hadn't had the sense to draw it, and now he fumbled, his eyes wide, the warmth of blood about Hannibal's hand, the scent of it, coppery and sweet, singing in the air. He had missed any vital organs, but only for the time being.

"Don't move. You're in shock now. I don't want you to feel any pain." It was the least he could do. Graham didn't have to suffer, and this way he would at least be conscious, at least understand how close he'd come, only to lose. "In a moment, you'll begin to feel lightheaded, then drowsy." Will sank against him, heavy, and Hannibal held his weight easily. "Don't resist. It's so gentle, like slipping into a warm bath."

He was weakening. Now was the moment; Hannibal could feel it, feel the heartbeat against his knife. There'd be gentle unconsciousness, no excess spill of blood, nothing impossible to clean up. Will wouldn't spill every drop onto the floorboards, and it would make the rest of the night easier. There was too much risk if the scene of the crime was found. He hiked up the knife, pulled it through flesh and muscle until it notched into Will Graham's rib. There was an intense rush now, where only stillness had been before. Hannibal felt alive, taking away the life of another. "I regret it came to this, Will, but every game must have its ending."

He breathed it in, treasured it. Crawford would come knocking, but Hannibal would think about that later. He was in this moment now, plastering it in blood to the walls of his memory palace.

"Remarkable boy. I do admire your courage. I think I'll eat your heart." He drew back the knife, and in his blood frenzy, underestimated what strength Will had left. He reached for his gun, and Hannibal slashed at his belly with the knife, but it was too late. The gun sounded, knocked him back. It kept firing until the clip was empty, but Hannibal was falling, blossomed pain against his collarbone sending everything into blackness.


Mason Verger feeds his face to the dogs

Mason Verger was a disgusting man, twisting the world, twisting the law, to suit him. He had been saved a prison sentence in exchange for five hundred hours community service, a job at the dog pound and time with Hannibal Lecter. He'd told him everything, every disgusting detail, knowing he was protected by doctor-patient confidentiality. But there was no piece of paper signed that agreed to protect him from Hannibal Lecter himself.

He let Verger tie his own noose. Literally.

It was a luxurious, expensive house in Owings Mills. Verger, beautiful and cruel, came to the door in leather, the scent of it offensive. Hannibal could smell the dogs the moment he came inside, smell sex and blood and violence. It offended his nose, but he came in anyway. Verger expected a reaction from him, expected fear, but Hannibal gave him only calm, professional indifference. He followed him upstairs at his invitation, and there they were, two dogs.

"An experiment," he crowed, and explained. Two dogs from the pound, good friends. Verger had locked them in together with fresh water but no food. The smell of them, the sight of them, hungry and miserable, tortured creatures, was more offensive still. Hannibal considered Verger again. He deserved to die. It was a risk, killing a patient, but this one - this one deserved it. But the dogs were hungry. Hannibal would be sure that they ate. He knew how it felt to starve, knew--

No, he wouldn't think of that. The dogs would eat their captor and gain their freedom. No more prison, no more hunger, no more cage. Hannibal wanted to reach across and strangle Verger himself, but that was unnecessary. Verger could do it to himself.

"What's that?" he asked, instead, indicating the noose set up above the bed. Verger explained what it was for - autoerotic asphyxiation - but Hannibal feigned not understanding. "Show me," he demanded.

He thinks he has me wrapped around his finger. Good, let him think that.

Hannibal took a seat, well out in the corner of the room, and watched as Verger pulled himself in front of the mirror, slid the noose down around his neck. Two hands, one on the other end of the rope, slung down through a ring in the ceiling above, the other wrapped around his erection. He worked himself; it was truly a banal sight, but Hannibal watched it clinically, observed, and was observed in turn. Verger was used to having his way. He blackmailed people and used them; he couldn't know Lecter's plan.

He rose to his feet, and offered him a tablet, a personal concoction. Verger accepted of course; if Hannibal gave him drugs, he could blackmail him into giving him more, or expose him to the authorities. Foolish boy. Angel dust, metamphetamines and acid, just some of the ingredients; a mixture of drugs that would act fast and leave Verger completely susceptible to hypnotic suggestion. When he'd taken it, Hannibal broke the mirror, took out a shard and handed it to Verger politely. The glass was cold and sharp in his fingertips; it cut Verger's hand, but he didn't seem to notice.

"I want you to cut off your face," he said, and undid the lock on the cage. "And feed it to the dogs."

And Verger politely obeyed. He didn't feel pain; he was high as a kite, and the dogs were eager and hungry, gathering up the scraps with delight. They gathered around his ankles, looked up with the hunger of wolves, not the fond affection of pets, and ate all that they were offered. When Mason cut off his nose, Hannibal paused his progress.

"Don't you want to try some yourself? Go ahead."

The cartilage crunched, and Verger chewed the morsel up and swallowed, delighted: "Tastes just like chicken!" he explained. Hannibal locked the sound away in his memory palace. It amused him.

He took the rope from Mason, curled one hand low and the other high, and snapped down the rope hard enough to break his neck, then turned and left him for dead, left the dogs to their vengeful feast.



He had been betrayed, sold, and that was very rude. It was already decided. Pazzi, of course, would come for another look, and Lecter knew it would be tonight. He was part way through his lecture when Pazzi arrived.

"Ah, Commendator Pazzi, welcome. Since you are nearest to the door, would you be kind enough to dim the lights? You will be interested in this, Commendatore, as there are two Pazzis already in Dante's Inferno." There was dry, mocking laughter from his students, professors of the Studiolo themselves. "There is Camicion de' Pazzi, who murdered a kinsman, and he is expecting the arrival of a second Pazzi--but it's not you--it's Carlino, who will be placed even farther down in Hell for treachery and betrayal of the White Guelphs, the part of Dante himself."

He was speaking about Pazzi's betrayal of course, but there were always safe allegories in history, in literature. There was a little bat in the room, and as it darkened, it began to hunt in the light of the projector, where it cast onto a heavy curtain that Hannibal had spread out like a canvas screen.

"Avarice and hanging, then, linked since antiquity, the image appearing again and again in art." Dr. Lecter touched a switch in his palm, and the projector threw the first image into place, and then the others in turn. "Here is the earliest known depiction of the Crucifixion, carved on an ivory box in Gaul about A.D. 400. It includes the death by hanging of Judas, his face turned up to the branch that suspends him. And here on a reliquary casket of Milan, 4th century, and an ivory diptych of the 9th century, Judas hanging. He's still looking up.

"In this plate from the doors of the Benevento Cathedral, we see Judas hanging with his bowels falling out as St. Luke, the physician, described him in the Acts of the Apostles. Here he hangs beset by Harpies, above him in the sky is the face of Cain-in-the-Moon; and here he's depicted by your own Giotto, again with pendant viscera.

"And finally, here, from the 15th century edition of the Inferno, is Pier della Vigna's body hanging from a bleeding tee. I will not belabor the obvious parallel with Judas Iscariot.

But Dante needed no drawn illustration: It is the genius of Dante Alghieri to make Pier della Vigna, now in Hell, speak in strained hisses and coughing sibilants as though he is hanging still. Listen to him as he tells of dragging, with the other damned, his own dead body to hang upon a thorn tree:

He replicates the rasping hiss, a difficult task, but an excess intended to delight his present audience. He is being judged by them, and he will earn their applause. The blocking of his own esophagus makes him breathless, reddens his cheek, but the effect is perfect, as he clicks through the images again.

'Surge in vermena e in pianta silvestra:
l'Arpie, pascendo poi de le sue foglie,
fanna dolore, e al dolor fenestra.
Come l'altre verrem per nostre spoglie,
ma non pero ch'alcuna sen rivestra,
che non e giusto aver cio ch'om si toglie.
Qui le strascineremo, e per la mesta
selva saranno i nostri corpi appesi,
ciascuno al prun de l'ombra sua molesta.
Io fei gibetto a me de le mie case.

"And I--I made my own house be my gallows."

"On the next occasion you might like to discuss Dante's son Pietro. Incredibly, he was the only one of the early writers on the thirteenth canto who links Pier della Vigna and Judas. I think, too, it would be interesting to take up the matter of chewing in Dante. Count Ugolino chewing on the back of the archbishop's head, Satan with his three faces chewing Judas, Brutus and Cassius, all betrayers like Pier della Vigna.

"Thank you for your kind attention."

There was enthusiastic applause, and Lecter moved among them with the lights still down, holding books to his chest so as not to have to shake their hands, but wishing them individual thanks and goodbyes by name. Only Pazzi stayed, the greed and fear and anticipation a particular scent on him, even as the conversation descended down the stairs.

"Would you say that I saved my job, Commendatore?"

"I'm no scholar, Doctor, but anyone can see that you impressed them. Doctor, if it's convenient for you, I'll walk home with you and collect your predecessor's effects."

No, that wouldn't do. He wanted him out in the street with the wolves. That was where it would happen. They wouldn't expect him to be one step ahead - and he would be. Pazzi would not leave the building. But how to do it?

"They fill two suitcases, Commendatore, and you already have your briefcase. Do you want to carry them?"

"I'll have a patrol car come for me at the Palazzo Capponi." He had no answer for that, and agreed. So it would have to be now, and he could only use what he had at hand. Pazzi would be ready. He would have his .380 at hand in a moment, fear making him quick to fire first. Hannibal knew, and Pazzi did not know he knew. He wasn't as smart as Will, dull witted and in debt. He excused himself, and Pazzi went to make a call. He would be calling the men sent to kill him; Mason's men, who had put up such a high reward for information leading to his capture.

Lecter could not hear him, but he didn't need to. He gathered his books into a bag, then shifted an image onto the projector screen. "I should have shown them this one," he said. "I can't imagine how I missed it." It was a simple drawing, but small, a man naked hanging beneath the battlements of the palace. "This one will interest you, Commendatore Pazzi, let me see if I can improve the focus."

Pazzi would only have to be decent a little longer. He approached the screen, but was careful not to approach Lecter himself. He was in place now.

"Can you make this out? It won't enlarge any more. Here's where the archbishop bit him. And beneath him is written his name. Can you make out the characters? It says 'Pazzi' along with a rude poem. This is your ancestor, Francesco, hanging outside the Palazzo Vecchio, beneath these windows." He met Pazzi's eyes. There, the prey responded. Its slow mind didn't know quite how it had came to be under the predator's claws. Hannibal didn't smile, he didn't move, his head was still tilted somewhat to the left.

His tone didn't change as he continued to speak.

"On a related subject, Signore Pazzi, I must confess to you: I'm giving serious thought to eating your wife."

His left hand pulled down on the cloth, and the heavy canvas fell, swinging down on Pazzi's head before he quite knew what was happening. Lecter had a cloth in his hand from the podium within moments, seized Pazzi around the neck and pressed an ether soaked sponge up against his face. They fought for a moment, falling to the ground in a heap of cloth, and a shot, muffled by flesh and fabric, hummed in the room, unheard beyond. Pazzi shot himself in the thigh, and his cry only smothered him further, and then he fell very still in Hannibal's arms.






Dear Clarice,
I have followed with enthusiasm the course of your disgrace and public shaming. My own never bothered me, except for the inconvenience of being incarcerated, but you may lack perspective.
In our discussions down in the dungeon, it was apparent to me that your father, the dead night watchman, figures large in your value system. I think your success in putting an end to Jame Gumb's career as a couturier pleased you most because you could imagine your father doing it.
Now you are in bad odour with the FBI. Have you always imagined your father ahead of you there, have you imagined him a section chief, of--better even than Jack Crawford--a DEPUTY DIRECTOR, watching your progress with pride? And now do you see him shamed and crushed by your disgrace? Your failure? The sorry, petty end of a promising career? Do you see yourself foing the menial tasks your mother was reduced to, after the addicts busted a cap on your DADDY? Hmmmm? Will your failure reflect on them, will people forever wrongly believe that your parents were trailer camp tornado bait white trash? Tell me truly, Special Agent Starling.
Give it a moment before we proceed.
Now I will show you a quality you have that will help you: You are not blinded by tears, you have the onions to read on.
Here's an exercise you might find useful. I want you physically to do this with me:
Do you have a black iron skillet? You are a southern mountain girl, I can't imagine you would not. Put it on the kitchen table. Turn on the overhead lights.
Look into the skillet, Clarice. Lean over it and look down. If this were your mother's skillet, and it may well be, it would hold among the molecules the vibrations of all the conversations ever held in its presence. All the exchanges, the petty irritations, the deadly revelations, the flat announcements of disaster, the grunts of poetry and love.
Sit down at the table, Clarice. Look into the skillet. If it is well cured, it's a black pool, isn't it? It's like looking down a well. Your detailed reflection is not at the bottom, but you loom there, don't you? The light behind you, there you are in blackface, with a corona like your hair on fire.
We are elaborations of carbon, Clarice. You and the skillet and Daddy dead in the ground, cold as the skillet. It's all still there. Listen. How did they really sound, and live--your struggling parents? The concrete memories, not the imagi that swell in your heart.
Why was your father not a deputy sheriff, in tight with the courthouse crowd? Why did your mother clean motels to keep you, even if she failed to keep you all together until you were grown?
What is your most vivid memory of the kitchen? Not the hospital, the kitchen.
What is your best memory in the kitchen?
Your father, Clarice, was a night watchman. Your mother was a chambermaid.
Was a big federal career your hope or theirs? How much would your father bend to get along in a stale bureaucracy? How many buttocks would he kiss? Did you ever in your life see him toady or fawn?
Have your supervisors demonstrated any values, Clarice? How about your parents, did they demonstrate any? If so, are those values the same?
Look into the honest iron and tell me. Have you failed your dead family? You can be as strong as you wish to be.
You are a warrior, Clarice. The enemy is dead, the baby sage. You are a warrior.
The most stable elements, Clarice, appear in the middle of the periodic table, roughly between iron and silver.
Between iron and silver. I think that is appropriate for you.

Hannibal Lecter.

P.S. You still owe me some information, you know. Yell me if you still wake up hearing the lambs. On any Sunday pleace an ad in the agony column of the national edition of the Times, the International Herald-Tribune, and the China Mail. Address it to A.A.Aaron so it will be first, and sign it Hannah.


Dr. Lecter takes up the bright tabloid from a pile of parchments and looks at the picture of Clarice Starling on the cover, touches her face with his finger. The bright blade appears in his hand as though he had sprouted it to replace his sixth finger. The knife is called a Harpy and it has a serrated blade shaped like a talon. It slices as easily through the National Tattler as it sliced through the Gypsy's femoral artery--the blade was in the Gypsy and gone so quickly Dr. Lecter did not even need to wipe it.

Dr Lecter cuts out the image of Clarice Starling's face and glues it on a piece of blank parchment.

He picked up a pen and, with a fluid ease, draws on the parchment the body of a winged lioness, a griffon, with Starling's face. Beneath it, he writes in his distinctive copperplate, Did you ever think, Clarice, why the philistines don't understand you? It's because you're the answer to Samson's riddle. You are the honey in the lion.


Jakov's Lessons

The lodge was well stocked with flour and sugar to last through the first winter, but most importantly it had salt in casks. In the second winter they came upon a dead and frozen horse. They were able to cut it up with axes and salt the meat. They salted trout as well, and partridges.

Sometimes men in civilian clothes came out of the forest in the night, quiet as shadows. Count Lecter and Berndt talked with them in Lithuanian, and once they brought a man with blood soaked through his shirt, who died on a pallet in the corner while Nanny was mopping his face.

Every day when the snow was too deep to forage, Mr. Jakov gave lessons.

He taught English, and very bad French, he taught Roman history with a heavy emphasis on the sieges of Jerusalem, and everyone attended. He made dramatic tales out of historical events, and Old Testament stories, sometimes embellishing them for his audience beyond the strict bounds of scholarship.

He instructed Hannibal in mathematics privately, as the lessons had reached a level inaccessible to the others.

Among Mr. Jakov's books was a copy bound in leather of Christiaan Huyghens ' Treatise on Light, and Hannibal was fascinated with it, with following the movement of Huyghens ' mind, feeling him moving toward discovery. He associated the Treatise on Light with the glare of the snow and the rainbow distortions in the old windowpanes. The elegance of Huyghens ' thought was like the clean and simplified lines of winter, the structure under the leaves. A box opening with a click and inside, a principle that works every time. It was a dependable thrill, and he had been feeling it since he could read.

Hannibal Lecter could always read, or it seemed that way to Nanny. She read to him for a brief period when he was two, often from a Brothers Grimm illustrated with woodcuts where everyone had pointed toenails. He listened to Nanny reading, his head lolling against her while he looked at the words on the page, and then she found him at it by himself, pressing his forehead to the book and then pushing up to focal distance, reading aloud in Nanny's accent.

Hannibal 's father had one salient emotion-curiosity. In his curiosity about his son, Count Lecter had the houseman pull down the heavy dictionaries in the castle library. English, German, and the twenty-three volumes of the Lithuanian dictionary, and then Hannibal was on his own with the books.

When he was six, three important things happened to him.

First he discovered Euclid 's Elements, in an old edition with hand-drawn illustrations. He could follow the illustrations with his finger, and put his forehead against them.

That fall he was presented with a baby sister, Mischa. He thought Mischa looked like a wrinkled red squirrel. He reflected privately that it was a pity she did not get their mother's looks.

Usurped on all fronts, he thought how convenient it would be if the eagle that sometimes soared over the castle should gather his little sister up and gently transport her to some happy peasant home in a country far away, where the residents all looked like squirrels and she would fit right in. At the same time, he found he loved her in a way he could not help, and when she was old enough to wonder, he wanted to show her things, he wanted her to have the feeling of discovery.

Also in the year Hannibal was six, Count Lecter found his son determining the height of the castle towers by the length of their shadows, following instructions which he said came directly from Euclid himself. Count Lecter improved his tutors then-within six weeks arrived Mr. Jakov, a penniless scholar from Leipzig.

Count Lecter introduced Mr. Jakov to his pupil in the library and left them. The library in warm weather had a cold-smoked aroma that was ingrained in the castle's stone.

"My father says you will teach me many things."

"If you wish to learn many things, I can help you."

"He tells me you are a great scholar."

"I am a student."

"He told my mother you were expelled from the university."



"Because I am a Jew, an Ashkenazi Jew to be precise."

"I see. Are you unhappy?"

"To be a Jew? No, I'm glad."

"I meant are you unhappy to be out of school?"

"I am glad to be here."

"Do you wonder if I am worth your time?"

"Every person is worth your time, Hannibal. If at first appearance a person seems dull, then look harder, look into him."

"Did they put you in the room with an iron grate over the door?"

"Yes, they did."

"It doesn't lock anymore."

"I was pleased to see that."

"That's where they kept Uncle Elgar," Hannibal said, aligning his pens in a row before him. "It was in the 1880s, before my time. Look at the windowpane in your room. It has a date he scratched with a diamond into the glass. These are his books."

A row of immense leather tomes occupied an entire shelf. The last one was charred.

"The room will have a smoky smell when it rains. The walls were lined with hay bales to muffle his utterances."

"Did you say his utterances?"

"They were about religion, but-do you know the meaning of 'lewd' or lewdness'?"


"I'm not clear on it myself, but I believe it means the sort of thing one wouldn't say in front of Mother."

"That's my understanding of it as well," Mr. Jakov said.

"If you'll look at the date on the glass, it's exactly the day direct sunlight reaches his window every year."

"He was waiting for the sun."

"Yes, and that's the day he burned up in there. As soon as he got sunlight, he lit the hay with the monocle he wore as he composed these books."

Hannibal further acquainted his tutor with Lecter Castle with a tour of the grounds. They passed through the courtyard, with its big block of stone. A hitching ring was in the stone and, in its flat top, the scars of an axe.

"Your father said you measured the height of the towers."


"How high are they?"

"Forty meters, the south one, and the other is a half-meter shorter."

"What did you use for a gnomon?"

"The stone. By measuring the stone's height and its shadow, and measuring the shadow of the castle at the same hour."

"The side of the stone is not exactly vertical."

"I used my yo-yo as a plumb."

"Could you take both measurements at once?"

"No, Mr. Jakov."

"How much error might you have from the time between the shadow measurements?"

"A degree every four minutes as the earth turns. It's called the Ravenstone. Nanny calls it the Rabenstein. She is forbidden to seat me on it."

"I see," Mr. Jakov said. "It has a longer shadow than I thought."

They fell into a pattern of having discussions while walking and Hannibal, stumping along beside him, watched his tutor adjust to speaking to someone much shorter. Often Mr. Jakov turned his head to the side and spoke into the air above Hannibal, as though he had forgotten he was talking with a child. Hannibal wondered if he missed walking and talking with someone his own age.

Hannibal was interested to see how Mr. Jakov got along with the houseman, Lothar, and Berndt the hostler. They were bluff men and shrewd enough, good at their jobs. But theirs was a different order of mind.

Hannibal saw that Mr. Jakov made no effort to hide his mind, or to show it off, but he never pointed it directly at anyone. In his free time, he was teaching them how to survey with a makeshift transit. Mr. Jakov took his meals with Cook, from whom he extracted a certain amount of rusty Yiddish, to the surprise of the family.

The parts of an ancient catapult used by Hannibal the Grim against the Teutonic Knights were stored in a barn on the property, and on Hannibal's birthday Mr. Jakov, Lothar and Berndt put the catapult together, substituting a stout new timber for the throwing arm. With it they threw a hogshead of water higher than the castle, it falling to burst with a wonderful explosion of water on the far bank of the moat that sent the wading birds flapping away.

In that week, Hannibal had the keenest single pleasure of his childhood.

As a birthday treat Mr. Jakov showed him a non-mathematical proof of the Pythagorean theorem using tiles and their impression on a bed of sand.

Hannibal looked at it, walked around it. Mr. Jakov lifted one of the tiles and raised his eyebrows, asking if Hannibal wanted to see the proof again. And Hannibal got it. He got it with a rush that felt like he was being launched off the catapult.

Mr. Jakov rarely brought a textbook to their discussions, and rarely referred to one. At the age of eight, Hannibal asked him why.

"Would you like to remember everything?" Mr. Jakov said.


"To remember is not always a blessing."

"I would like to remember everything."

"Then you will need a mind palace, to store things in. A palace in your mind."

"Does it have to be a palace?"

"It will grow to be enormous like a palace," Mr. Jakov said. "So it might as well be beautiful. What is the most beautiful room you know, a place you know very well?"

"My mother's room," Hannibal said.

"Then that's where we will begin," Mr. Jakov said.

Twice Hannibal and Mr. Jakov watched the sun touch Uncle Elgar's window in the spring, but by the third year they were hiding in the woods.


Lady Murasaki discovers the butcher

A dark object stood on the altar before the armor. She saw it in silhouette against the candles. She set her candle lamp on a crate near the altar and looked steadily at the head of Paul the Butcher standing in a shallow suiban flower vessel. Paul's face is clean and pale, his lips are intact, but his cheeks are missing and a little blood has leaked from his mouth into the flower vessel, where blood stands like the water beneath a flower arrangement. A tag is attached to Paul's hair. On the tag in a copperplate hand: Momund, Boucherie de Qualite.

Paul's head faced the armor, the eyes upturned to the samurai mask. Lady Murasaki turned her face up too and spoke in Japanese.

"Good evening, Honored Ancestor. Please excuse this inadequate bouquet.

With all respect, this is not the type of help I had in mind."

Automatically she picked up a wilted flower and ribbon from the floor and put it in her sleeve, her eyes moving all the while. The long sword was in its place, and the war axe. The short sword was missing from its stand.

She took a step backward, went to the dormer window and opened it. She took a deep breath. Her pulse sounded in her ears. The breeze fluttered her robe and the candles.

A soft rattle from behind the Noh costumes. One of the masks had eyes in it, watching her.

She said in Japanese, "Good evening, Hannibal."

Out of the darkness came the reply in Japanese, "Good evening, my lady."

"May we continue in English, Hannibal? There are matters I prefer to keep private from my ancestor."

"As you wish, my lady. In any case, we have exhausted my Japanese."

He came into the lamplight then, carrying the short sword and a cleaning cloth. She went toward him. The long sword was in its rack before the armor. She could reach it if she had to.

"I would have used the butcher's knife," Hannibal said. "I used Masamune-dono's sword because it seemed so appropriate. I hope you don't mind. Not a nick in the blade, I promise you. The butcher was like butter."

"I am afraid for you."

"Please don't be concerned. I'll dispose of... that."

"You did not need to do this for me."

"I did it for myself, because of the worth of your person, Lady Murasaki. No onus on you at all. I think Masamune-dono permitted the use of his sword. It's an amazing instrument, really."

Hannibal returned the short sword to its sheath and with a respectful gesture to the armor, replaced it on its stand.

"You are trembling," he said. "You are in perfect possession of yourself, but you are trembling like a bird. I would not have approached you without flowers. I love you, Lady Murasaki."

Below, outside the courtyard, the two-note cry of a French police siren, sounded only once.


Inspector Popil's warnings

THE EMBALMING ROOM was dark, and silent except for a slow drip in the sink. The inspector stood in the doorway with Hannibal, raindrops on their shoulders and their shoes.

Momund was in there. Hannibal could smell him. He waited for Popil to turn on the light, interested to see what the policeman would consider a dramatic interval.

"Do you think you would recognize Paul Momund if you saw him again?"

"I'll do my best, Inspector."

Popil switched on the light. The mortician had removed Momund's clothing and put it in paper bags as instructed. He had closed the abdomen with coarse stitching over a piece of rubber raincoat, and placed a towel over the severed neck.

"Do you remember the butcher's tattoo?"

Hannibal walked around the body. "Yes. I hadn't read it."

The boy looked at Inspector Popil across the body. He saw in the inspector's eyes the smudged look of intelligence.

"What does it say?" the inspector asked.

"Here's mine, where's yours?"

"Perhaps it should say, Here's yours, where's mine? Here is your first kill, where is my head? What do you think?"

"I think that's probably unworthy of you. I would hope so. Do you expect his wounds to bleed in my presence?"

"What did this butcher say to the lady that drove you crazy?"

"It did not drive me crazy, Inspector. His mouth offended everyone who heard it, including me. He was rude."

"What did he say, Hannibal?"

"He asked if it were true that Japanese pussy runs sideways, Inspector.

His address was 'Hey, Japonnaise!'"

"Sideways." Inspector Popil traced the line of stitches across Paul Momund's abdomen, nearly touching the skin. "Sideways like this?" The inspector scanned Hannibal 's face for something. He did not find it. He did not find anything, so he asked another question.

"How do you feel, seeing him dead?"

Hannibal looked under the towel covering the neck. "Detached," he said.

The polygraph set up in the police station was the first the village policemen had seen, and there was considerable curiosity about it. The operator, who had come from Paris with Inspector Popil, made a number of adjustments, some purely theatrical, as the tubes warmed up and the insulation added a hot-cotton smell to the atmosphere of sweat and cigarettes. Then the inspector, watching Hannibal watching the machine, cleared the room of everyone but the boy, himself and the operator. The polygrapher attached the instrument to Hannibal.

"State your name," the operator said.

" Hannibal Lecter." The boy's voice was rusty.

"What is your age?"

"Thirteen years."

The ink styluses ran smoothly over the polygraph paper.

"How long have you been a resident of France?"

"Six months."

"Were you acquainted with the butcher Paul Momund?"

"We were never introduced."

The styluses did not quiver.

"But you knew who he was."


"Did you have an altercation, that is a fight, with Paul Momund at the market on Thursday?"


"Do you attend school?"


"Does your school require uniforms?"


"Do you have any guilty knowledge of the death of Paul Momund?"

"Guilty knowledge?"

"Limit your responses to yes or no."


The peaks and valleys in the ink lines are constant. No increase in blood pressure, no increase in heartbeat, respiration constant and calm.

"You know that the butcher is dead."


The polygrapher appeared to make several adjustments to the knobs of the machine.

"Have you studied mathematics?"


"Have you studied geography?"


"Did you see the dead body of Paul Momund?"


"Did you kill Paul Momund?"


No distinctive spikes in the inked lines. The operator took off his glasses, a signal to Inspector Popil that ended the examination.

Inspector Popil and Hannibal sat in the commandant's office. Inspector Popil read the label on the commandant's bottle of Clanzoflat and considered taking a dose.

Then he put the roll of polygraph tape on the desk and pushed it with his finger. The tape unrolled its line of many small peaks. The peaks looked to him like the foothills of a mountain obscured by cloud. "Did you kill the butcher, Hannibal?"

"May I ask you a question?"


"It's a long way to come from Paris. Do you specialize in the deaths of butchers?"

"My specialty is war crimes, and Paul Momund was suspected in several.

War crimes do not end with the war, Hannibal." Popil paused to read the advertising on each facet of the ashtray. "Perhaps I understand your situation better than you think."

"What is my situation, Inspector?"

"You were orphaned in the war. You lived in an institution, living inside yourself, your family dead. And at last, at last your beautiful stepmother made up for all of it." Working for the bond, Popil put his hand on Hannibal 's shoulder. "The very scent of her takes away the smell of the camp. And then the butcher spews filth at her. If you killed him, I could understand. Tell me. Together we could explain to a magistrate..."

Hannibal moved back in his chair, away from Popil's touch.

"The very scent of her takes away the smell of the camp? May I ask if you compose verse, Inspector?"

"Did you kill the butcher?"

"Paul Momund killed himself. He died of stupidity and rudeness."

Inspector Popil had considerable experience and knowledge of the awful, and this was the voice Popil had been listening for; it had a faintly different timbre and was surprising coming from the body of a boy.

This specific wavelength he had not heard before, but he recognized it as Other.


The death of Dortlich

The grass before the door was not trampled. Leaves were piled on the steps and in front of the door. Hannibal watched the lodge while the moon moved the width of a finger.

Time, it was time. Hannibal came out of the cover of the trees leading the big horse in the moonlight. He went to the pump, primed it with a cup of water from the waterskin and pumped until the squealing suckers pulled cold water from the ground. He smelled and tasted the water and gave some to Cesar, who drank more than a gallon and had two handfuls of grain from the nosebag. The squealing of the pump carried into the woods. An owl hooted and Cesar turned his ears toward the sound.

A hundred meters into the trees, Dortlich heard the squealing pump and took advantage of its noise to move forward. He could push quietly through the high-grown ferns, but his footsteps crunched on the forest mast. He froze when silence fell in the clearing, and then he heard the bird cry somewhere between him and the lodge, then it flew, shutting out patches of sky as it passed over him, wings stretched impossibly wide as it sailed through the tangle of branches without a sound.

Dortlich felt a chill and turned his collar up. He sat down among the ferns to wait.

Hannibal looked at the lodge and the lodge looked back. All the glass was blown out. The dark windows watched him like the sockets of the gibbon skull. Its slopes and angles changed by the collapse, its apparent height changed by the high growth around it, the hunting lodge of his childhood became the dark sheds of his dreams. Approaching now across the overgrown garden.

There his mother lay, her dress on fire, and later in the snow he put his head on her chest and her bosom was frozen hard. There was Berndt, and there Mr. Jakov's brains frozen on the snow among the scattered pages. His father facedown near the steps, dead of his own decisions.

There was nothing on the ground anymore.

The front door to the lodge was splintered and hung on one hinge. He climbed the steps and pushed it into the darkness. Inside something small scratched its way to cover. Hannibal held his lantern out beside him and went in.

The room was partly charred, half-open to the sky. The stairs were broken at the landing and roof timbers lay on top of them. The table was crushed. In the corner the small piano lay on its side, the ivory keyboard toothy in his light. A few words of Russian graffiti were on the walls. FUCK THE FIVE-YEAR PLAN and CAPTAINGRENKO HAS A BIG ASSHOLE.

Two small animals jumped out the window.

The room pressed a hush on Hannibal. Defiant, he made a great clatter with his pry bar, raking off the top of the big stove to set his lantern there. The ovens were open and the oven racks were gone, probably taken along with the pots for thieves to use over a campfire.

Working by lantern, Hannibal cleared away as much loose debris from around the staircase as he could move. The rest was pinned down by the big roof timbers, a scorched pile of giant pick-up sticks.

Dawn came in the empty windows as he worked and the eyes of a singed trophy head on the wall caught the red gleam of sunrise.

Hannibal studied the pile of timbers for several minutes, hitched a doubled line around a timber near the middle of the pile and paid out rope as he backed through the door.

Hannibal woke Cesar, who was alternately dozing and cropping grass. He walked the horse around for a few minutes to loosen him up. A heavy dew soaked through his trouser legs and sparkled on the grass and stood like cold sweat on the aluminum skin of the dive bomber. In the daylight he could see a vine had gotten an early start in the greenhouse of the Stuka canopy with big leaves and new tendrils now.

The pilot was still inside with his gunner behind him and the vine had grown around and through him, curling between his ribs and through his skull.

Hannibal hitched his rope to the harness traces and walked Cesar forward until the big horse's shoulders and chest felt the load. He clicked in Cesar's ear, a sound from his boyhood. Cesar leaned into the load, his muscles bunched and he moved forward. A crash and thud from inside the lodge. Soot and ash puffed out the window and blew into the woods like fleeing darkness.

Hannibal patted the horse. Impatient for the dust to settle, he tied a handkerchief over his face and went inside, climbing over the collapsed pile of wreckage, coughing, tugging to free his lines and hitch them again. Two more pulls and the heaviest debris was off the deep layer of rubble where the stairs had collapsed. He left Cesar hitched and with pry bar and shovel he dug into the wreckage, throwing broken pieces of furniture, half-burned cushions, a cork thermos chest. He lifted out of the pile a singed boar's head on a plaque.

His mother's voice: Pearls before swine.

The boar's head rattled when he shook it. Hannibal grasped the boar's tongue and tugged. The tongue came out with its attached stopper. He tilted the head nose-down and his mother's jewelry spilled out onto the stovetop. He did not stop to examine the jewelry, but went back at once to digging.

When he saw Mischa's bathtub, the end of the copper tub with its scrolled handle, he stopped and stood up. The room swam for a moment and he held on to the cold edge of the stove, put his forehead against the cold iron. He went outside and returned with yards of flowering vine. He did not look inside the tub, but coiled the line of flowers on top and set it on the stove, could not stand to see it there, and carried it outside to set it on the tank.

The noise of digging and prying made it easy for Dortlich to advance. He watched from the dark wood, exposing one eye and one barrel of his field glasses, peeping only when he heard the sound of shoveling and prying.

Hannibal 's shovel hit and scooped up a skeletal hand and then exposed the skull of the cook. Good tidings in the skeleton smile-its gold teeth showed looters had not reached this far-and then he found, still clutched by arm bones in a sleeve, the cook's leather dispatch case.

Hannibal seized it from under the arm, and carried it to the stove. The contents rattled on the iron as he dumped them out: assorted military collar brass, Lithuanian police insignia, Nazi SS lightning brass, Nazi Waffen-SS skull-and-crossbones cap device, Lithuanian aluminum police eagles, Salvation Army collar brass, and last, six stainless-steel dog tags.

The top one was Dortlich's.

Cesar took notice of two classes of things in the hands of men: apples and feedbags were the first, and whips and sticks second. He could not be approached with a stick in hand, a consequence of being driven out of the vegetables by an infuriated cook when he was a colt. If Dortlich had not been carrying a leaded riot baton in his hand when he came out of the trees, Cesar might have ignored him. As it was, the horse snorted and clopped a few steps further away, trailing his rope down the steps of the lodge, and turned to face the man.

Dortlich backed into the trees and disappeared in the woods. He went a hundred meters further from the lodge, among the breast-high ferns wet with dew and out of the view of the empty windows. He took out his pistol and jacked a round into the chamber. A Victorian privy with gingerbread under the eaves was about forty meters behind the lodge, the thyme planted on its narrow path grown wild and tall, and the hedges that screened it from the lodge were grown together across the path.

Dortlich could barely squeeze through, branches and leaves in his collar, brushing his neck, but the hedge was supple and did not crackle.

He held his baton before his face and pushed through quietly. Baton ready in one hand and pistol in the other, he advanced two steps toward a side window of the lodge when the edge of a shovel caught him across the spine and his legs went numb. He fired a shot into the ground as his legs crumpled under him and the flat of the shovel clanged against the back of his skull and he was conscious of grass against his face before the dark came down.

Birdsong, ortolans flocking and singing in the trees and the morning sunlight yellow on the tall grass, bent over where Hannibal and Cesar had passed.

Hannibal leaned against the burned-out tank with his eyes closed for about five minutes. He turned to the bathtub, and moved the vine with his finger enough to see Mischa's remains. It was oddly comforting to him to see she had all her baby teeth-one awful vision dispelled. He plucked a bay leaf out of the tub and threw it away.

From the jewelry on the stove he chose a brooch he remembered seeing on his mother's breast, a line of diamonds turned into a Mobius tape. He took a ribbon from a cameo and fastened the brooch where Mischa had worn a ribbon in her hair.

On a pleasant east-facing slope above the lodge he dug a grave and lined it with all the wildflowers he could find. He put the tub into the grave and covered it with roof tiles.

He stood at the head of the grave. At the sound of Hannibal's voice, Cesar raised his head from cropping.

"Mischa, we take comfort in knowing there is no God. That you are not enslaved in a Heaven, made to kiss God's ass forever. What you have is better than Paradise. You have blessed oblivion. I miss you every day."

Hannibal filled in the grave and patted down the dirt with his hands. He covered the grave with pine needles, leaves and twigs until it looked like the rest of the forest floor.

In a small clearing at some distance from the grave, Dortlich sat gagged and bound to a tree. Hannibal and Cesar joined him.

Settling himself on the ground, Hannibal examined the contents of Dortlich's pack. A map and car keys, an army can opener, a sandwich in an oilskin pouch, an apple, a change of socks, and a wallet. From the wallet he took an ID card and compared it to the dog tags from the lodge.

"Herr... Dortlich. On behalf of myself and my late family, I want to thank you for coming today. It means a great deal to us, and to me personally, having you here. I'm glad to have this chance to talk seriously with you about eating my sister."

He pulled out the gag and Dortlich was talking at once.

"I am a policeman from the town, the horse was reported stolen,"

Dortlich said. "That's all I want here, just say you'll return the horse and we'll forget it."

Hannibal shook his head. "I remember your face. I have seen it many times. And your hand on us with the webs between your fingers, feeling who was fattest. Do you remember that bathtub bubbling on the stove?"

"No. From the war I only remember being cold."

"Did you plan to eat me today, Herr Dortlich? You have your lunch right here." Hannibal examined the contents of the sandwich. "So much mayonnaise, Herr Dortlich!"

"They'll come looking for me very soon," Dortlich said.

"You felt our arms." Hannibal felt Dortlich's arm. "You felt our cheeks, Herr Dortlich," he said, tweaking Dortlich's cheek. "I call you 'Herr' but you aren't German, are you, or Lithuanian, or Russian or anything, are you? You are your own citizen-a citizen of Dortlich. Do you know where the others are? Do you keep in touch?"

"All dead, all dead in the war."

Hannibal smiled at him and untied the bundle of his own handkerchief. It was full of mushrooms. "Morels are one hundred francs a centigram in Paris, and these were growing on a stump!" He got up and went to the horse.

Dortlich writhed in his bonds for the moment when Hannibal 's attention was elsewhere.

There was a coil of rope on Cesar's broad back. Hannibal attached the free end to the traces of the harness. The other end was tied in a hangman's noose. Hannibal paid out rope and brought the noose back to Dortlich. He openedDortlich's sandwich and greased the rope with mayonnaise, and applied a liberal coating of mayonnaise toDortlich's neck.

Flinching away from his hands, Dortlich said, "One remains alive! In Canada-Grentz-look there for his ID. I would have to testify."

"To what, Herr Dortlich?"

"To what you said. I didn't do it, but I will say I saw it."

Hannibal fixed the noose about Dortlich's neck and looked into his face.

"Do I seem upset with you?" He returned to the horse.

"That's the only one, Grentz-he got out on a refugee boat from Bremerhaven -I could give a sworn statement-"

"Good, then you are willing to sing?"

"Yes, I will sing."

"Then let us sing for Mischa, Herr Dortlich. You know this song. Mischa loved it." He turned Cesar's rump to Dortlich. "I don't want you to see this," he said into the horse's ear, and broke into song:

"Ein Mannleinstehtim Waldeganz still und stumm..."He clicked in Cesar's ear and walked him forward. "Sing for slack, Herr Dortlich. Es hat vonlauter Purpurein Mantlein um."

Dortlich turned his neck from side to side in the greasy noose, watching the rope uncoil in the grass.

"You're not singing, Herr Dortlich."

Dortlich opened his mouth and sang in a tuneless shout, "Sagt, wermagdas Mannleinsein."

And then they were singing together, "Dasdastehtim Waldallein..."

The rope rose out of the grass, some belly in it, and Dortlich screamed, "Porvik! His name was Porvik! We called him Pot Watcher. Killed in the lodge. You found him."

Hannibal stopped the horse and walked back to Dortlich, bent over and looked into his face.

Dortlich said, "Tie him, tie the horse, a bee might sting him."

"Yes, there are a lot of them in the grass." Hannibal consulted the dog tags. "Milko?"

"I don't know, I don't know. I swear."

"And now we come to Grutas."

"I don't know, I don't. Let me go and I will testify against Grentz. We will find him in Canada."

"A few more verses, Herr Dortlich."

Hannibal led the horse forward, dew glistened on the rope, almost level now.

"Dasdastehtim Waldeallein-"

Dortlich's strangled scream, "It's Kolnas! Kolnas deals with him."

Hannibal patted the horse and came back to bend over Dortlich. "Where is Kolnas?"

" Fontainebleau, near the Place Fontainebleau in France. He has a cafe. I leave messages. It's the only way I can contact him." Dortlich looked Hannibal in the eye. "I swear to God she was dead. She was dead anyway, I swear it."

Staring into Dortlich's face, Hannibal clicked to the horse. The rope tightened and the dew flew off it as the little hairs on the rope stood up. A strangled scream from Dortlich cut off, as Hannibal howled the song into his face.

"Dasdastehtim Waldeallein,

Mitdempurporroten Mantelein."

A wet crunch and a pulsing arterial spray. Dortlich's head followed the noose for about six meters and lay looking up at the sky.

Hannibal whistled and the horse stopped, his ears turned backward.

"Dempurporroten Mantelein, indeed."

Hannibal dumped the contents of Dortlich's pack on the ground and took his car keys and ID. He made a crude spit from green sticks and patted his pockets for matches.

While his fire was burning down to useful coals, Hannibal took Dortlich's apple to Cesar. He took all the harness off the horse so he could not get tangled in the brush and walked him down the trail toward the castle. He hugged the horse's neck and then slapped him on the rump.

"Go home. Cesar, go home." Cesar knew the way.
sweetbreads: (Default)

This is the Dotore. If it would please you to leave a message and your number, I will return your call as I am able.

sweetbreads: (Default)
This isn't how I remember it...

Hannibal isn't easy to play, and reading him or watching him, his motivations are difficult to place, and harder to analyze. If I'm doing it wrong, please please let me know. Comments are screened (and will be unscreened for discussion), IP logging is off, anonymous is on.

sweetbreads: (Well this is demeaning)
Hi there. I understand that Dr. Lecter is an incredibly disturbing man, for various reasons, ergo here's a quick permissions post.


This first part is for people who don't want certain kinds of CR. Just copy the list, then delete the responses that don't apply to you.

> I don't want my character to interact with Hannibal at all, please don't tag me.
> I don't want NEGATIVE CR with Hannibal.
> I'd prefer if Hannibal doesn't discuss cannibalism with my characters.
> Please don't serve my characters human remains.

Please also mention who you are and which characters you play.


This second part is about Lecter's perception. Hannibal is incredibly good at reading people, and I'll assume generally that it's something he can do. However, if you have reason to deny permission for Lecter to read what he can see, smell and hear on a person (for example if they smell like a werewolf), please mention it, and again mention which characters you play.


Just a note to say: If Lecter attacks or kills anyone, it will be handled on a case by case basis, in which case I'll seek individual permission for that.
sweetbreads: (Default)
Your Name: Reg
OOC Journal: regasssa
Under 18? If yes, what is your age?: Nope
Email + IM: regasssa at hotmail dot com
Characters Played at Ataraxion: John Casey, Chad Warwick, Dexter Morgan, Nathan Petrelli

Name: Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Canon: Thomas Harris' Hannibal (novels). For argument's sake I'll be deferring to the book canon, while maintaining Hopkins as the face of Lecter.
Original or Alternate Universe: Original
Canon Point: Mason Verger's estate in Hannibal; Dr. Lecter carries an unconscious Clarice Starling through a sea of man-eating pigs, his hair is cropped military fashion, and he carries himself with almost unnatural strength. The ravenous pigs ignore him.
Number: 138

Setting: The date: 1991, an equivalent modern world in which among the world's other most wanted criminals is one Hannibal Lecter M.D. otherwise known to the press as Hannibal the Cannibal, up to his capture known to the FBI under the title of "The Chesapeake Ripper".

History: A.N. I want to apologise for the length of the history. In play it'll act as as reference material for playing Hannibal from the book canon, and as a result is somewhat excessive.

Hannibal Rising:

Born to Count Lecter, and inheriting the name of one of his forefathers, the warlord Hannibal the Grim, Lecter was already at six a loving boy, artistic and genuine, living at Rabenstein (Ravenstone) with his beloved sister Mischa, who had been born on the eve of war. Two years into the conlict the family uprooted from their generational home and head into the forest, fleeing the German occupation of Lithuania, which they would call Ostland, along with the Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia.

Hidden in the dense forest, the family waited for the war to pass them by, certain that it would all be over soon. They lived out the cold winters and long summers for three more years, taking advantage of their surroundings and protected by the thick marsh and forest that hid their home from the roads. Toward the end of the war a Soviet tank blundered out of nowhere into their idylic safety, pursued by a German bomber. The adults, including Hannibal's parents, his tutor and their servants died that day, leaving Mischa and Hannibal to look after themselves.

Hitler's retreat would change Hannibal's life forever. A small group of turncoats, men fighting for themselves rather than die in slave batallions, found the two children in the dead of winter. The retreat had stripped all the food from the land, and so they took the children prisoner, chaining them by their necks to the bannister. Hannibal would bear a scar from the chain years later. They starved, and the men starved too, and Mischa - cold and feverous from the sickness the men brought with them - grew worse still. An Albanian boy found in the woods would be killed and eaten first, following after a little deer, which the men led back with an arrow in it.

And then one day they came for Mischa.

What happened after that struck Hannibal dumb, and caused a mental block where the memories of Mischa's death were concerned. He stumbled out into the path of a Soviet tank, bedraggled and wearing a collar with a chain, and behind it an empty loop where his sister's neck had once been. He was taken back to his family home, transformed into an orphanage after its rescue from gunpowder. Here, Hannibal fought against the bullies despite his muteness, protecting those younger and smaller than himself the way he had once failed to protect Mischa. He used his smarts to defeat the monitors; boys much bigger than himself, such as by blowing out a candle when they came to try and beat him in the dark. At night, he'd have terrible dreams and night sweats, which would wake him screaming in the dark and disturb the other children.

Hannibal would leave with a relative for France - Count Robert Lecter - a prestigious French painter, who would rescue him from the orphanage, taking him back to France and his Japanese bride, Lady Murasaki, and their French chateau. They had survived the war, but were poor as a result of the Germans stealing away his uncle's paintings. Hannibal would learn to take his voice back with the lady's help, would learn a variety of Japanese arts rather than attending school, where he only got into trouble fighting with the other children. Attending the market one day, Hannibal spoke at last, but only when the butcher insulted Lady Murasaki; he struck the man with a leg of lamb, and would have stabbed him had he been able to reach a knife. His first word was "Beast." Hannibal was taken to the police station and shown a police cell for the first time; the policeman warned him to be prudent: "Use judgement and you will never occupy a cell like this." He gave Hannibal a pass. Later that week, pursuing the butcher for his insult, the Count would be killed, leaving Murasaki a widow, with death taxes that would then force her to sell the chateau.

A mere teenager, thirteen, Hannibal kills the butcher savagely at the edge of the lake. The news spreads like wildfire, and Hannibal brings the butcher's head back, placing it on the shrine to Murasaki's ancestor, missing his cheeks, and labeled like a piece of meat. The Inspector - Popil, who Hannibal decides has a smudge of intelligence - takes Hannibal to the morgue and challenges him that the butcher is his first kill outright. He gives Hannibal an early polygraph test, which he passes, but Popil is certain that he's done it; he recognises the timbre in the boys voice, the disdain. The head, meanwhile, is discovered elsewhere while Hannibal is in custody, placed there by Lady Murasaki.

Moving to Paris with her, Hannibal begins attending boarding schools on a tight budget, painting ink washes of birds and sailboats in the Japanese style to make a little money for luxuries. Graduating early, he was admitted with a scholarship to medical school, where he used his art skills and talent with a knife and power tools for dissections and illustrations, and performed such tasks as securing the appropriation of legal cadavers for the university. Under the influence of a self administered cocktail of opiates, Hannibal tries again to recover his memory of the night his sister died; he finds enough there, the memory of the men stuffing their dog tags away into a bag; it's something, and Hannibal arranges to visit Lithuania for his revenge, though word of his coming reaches the men too--those that had survived the war, at least.

Lecter finds the tags at the broken house, and then Dortlich finds him. Unable to surprise Lecter, the young Hannibal takes out Dortlich's legs and secures him, and then Lecter drags out the bathtub that still contains his sister's skeleton, dragging it away so that he can bury her. Standing above her grave he declares: "Mischa, we take comfort in knowing there is no God. That you are not enslaved in Heaven, made to kiss God's ass forever. What you have is better than Paradise. You have blessed oblivion. I miss you every day." Hannibal eats Dortlich's cheeks as brochettes with some wild mushrooms, takes his car, and makes his way back to France.

After visiting the next man and his family - Kolnas' daughter wears Mischa's bracelet - Hannibal heads back to school to work during the night. Milko is sent to kill him, but Hannibal is quicker, and feeds Milko into the embalming tank as he extorts information from him. While Milko drowns Popil visits him, accusing him of Dortlich's murder and warning him not to kill in France. He wants the ringleader Grutas himself, for warcrimes, including such feats as silencing a witness at the Nuremberg trials by pouring acid down her throat.

Following a failed attack on Grutas that ends in Hannibal detonating an explosion in his house, Hannibal is arrested and escapes from jail, only to learn that Lady Murasaki has been kidnapped. Popil meanwhile wants Hannibal arrested and tried for the murder of the butcher years ago; he says it's because Hannibal was a minor when he commited that crime, he would be put into an institute where he could be studied. His wish would come true, but it would be years yet.

Hannibal goes to Kolnas prepared to strike a deal for Lady Murasaki's sake. He has stolen Kolnas' daughter's bracelet, but presents it as though he's kidnapped his children, and tells him that he'll have them back safe and sound and spare his life if Lady Murasaki is returned to him. He calls the house, but as Kolnas realises he's been tricked into revealing Grutas' canalboat, he swings his gun around toward Lecter, who drives a knife up into his head, killing him instantly. Hannibal takes no trophy from this kill, he goes straight to the canal, killing the last two men bar Grutas, who shoots him in the back, striking the hidden dagger that Hannibal has folded into his collar but thinking instead that he's paralysed him. He threatens Lady Murasaki, crows over him, and Hannibal fights him away from the gun. After he kills Grutas - who tells him the truth that Hannibal has banished, that Hannibal was forced to eat his sister too - Lady Murasaki, cut free, saves Hannibal from the captain of the boat, who's snuck up on him. Hannibal, covered in Grutas' blood, declares his love for her, but Lady Murasaki flees, throws herself over the edge of the boat and disappears.

Hannibal blows up the boat, and the police arrest him. They want to try him for the killing of the war criminals, or for the murder of the butcher, but the prosecutor advises against both. Hannibal is smarter than that, petitioning through the periodical L'Humanite in such a way as to engender support from the Communist movement, who in turn put pressure on the police to treat him less gravely. In the meantime Hannibal, by helping out the new forensics division and petitioning his previous teacher, secures an internship at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, and shortly thereafter Hannibal leaves.

In Quebec, having begun his internship, Hannibal finds the final man and kills him. Thus ends the childhood of the serial killer, but it's only one part of the story.

Interlude - Medical career, capture, and incarceration:

Finishing his degree and beginning a career in medicine, Hannibal moves swiftly into being his own boss, founding his own psychiatric practice some time after leaving practicing medicine in 1972. He had little time for psychiatry himself, and even less time for those who shared his field, but he shared his experience and insight with periodicals and magazines across a variety of subjects, growing propserous meanwhile on the large sums bequeathed to him by some of his patients. Throughout the seventies Lecter would kill again. Though not all were patients, many were; in general though, he killed people he considered to be interminably rude, though his victims would include a variety: a bowhunter, a census taker, a Princeton student, and a flautist, for example. Only three would survive. A woman confined to mental institute, Mason Verger whom Hannibal had cut off his own skin and feed it to the dogs, and FBI profiler Will Graham, who came upon him quite by accident.

In 1975, Graham, acting as a Special Investigator in the murders of the so called Chesapeake Ripper, came to speak to Lecter about the sixth victim, a bow hunter that Hannibal had laced to a pegboard, decorating him like the Wound Man. An old scar in his thigh from an arrow leads Graham to Hannibal, who had been working in the emergency ward the day the hunter was brought in. The first visit only raises Graham's hackles. On the second, he stood in Hannibal's study looking at his medical books and piece by piece put it together. Though he was still uncertain, Hannibal saw the suspicion in his eyes. Even so, for years Graham couldn't wholly explain how he caught him. Hannibal caught Graham by surprise as he tried to call the police switchboard for backup, stabbing him with a knife; Graham in turn shot Lecter, and the two were found dying together when the cops arrived.

Hannibal, found insane, was sent to Chesapeake State Hospital for the Criminally Insane amidst a massive press frenzy. Dr. Chilton ran the hospital at the time, and reveled in the publicity, though in the years that followed Hannibal's notoriety would infuriate him, Chilton having achieved very little in terms of status compared to Hannibal, who was published and much endeared to by people in all kinds of fields. Hannibal still sent papers to magazines to have them published, and Chilton would resort to pitiful attempts to displease Hannibal in shows of his power, such as by taking away his books or his toilet seat.

Throughout his incarceration, Hannibal would resist psychiatric testing; he knew every trick of the trade, and knew how to read as a perfectly sane person. He would fold their tests into origami, resist hypnosis, ace lie detector tests and overpower drug induced testing, but he was also violent, assaulting a nurse and swallowing her tongue without so much as a blip in his heartbeat. Chilton's response to the attack was extreme but sensible; Hannibal would never leave his cage without being confined, strapped to a chair and wearing a muzzle, but confinement hardly stopped him if he wanted to kill someone; Hannibal could, by simply talking, convince a man to kill himself, providing they were unstable to begin with. He would later escape with only the use of a paperclip and a biro, things that Chilton insisted weren't given to him.

While incarcerated, Hannibal would deviate between being extremely helpful and incredibly dangerous, depending on his mood. He would have numerous visitors, all wanting to get something out of him, such as other budding psychiatrists who thought they might classify him; he sent most of them away in tears. Few visitors would meet Hannibal's high standards; Will Graham and Clarice Starling would stand out to him.

Red Dragon:

Graham came first. Having been responsible for Hannibal's incarceration, Lecter welcomed him like an old friend, though more sinister intentions were at the core of his interests. Graham was in retirement; he was a fascinating subject, described as an eideteker, with an incredible visual memory. His gift of memory and his ability to put himself into the shoes of the men he was chasing gave him an edge against the criminal element, but particularly those that were most difficult to catch.

For this reason, Jack Crawford at the FBI had taken him out of retirement to work on the case of the Tooth Fairy, a killer who was choosing supposedly random families and killing in unpredictable ways--the only thing linking the crimes was saliva, hairs, semen, broken mirrors and the imprint of a bizarre set of teeth, left behind at every crime scene. Enough DNA evidence, if they could only find the source. As Jack convinces Graham, he insists to his wife Molly that she and her son will be safe, that this time he won't let Graham get too close; while investigating the Minnesota Shrike, Graham had been shot; while taking on the Chesapeake Ripper, Graham had been opened up by Hannibal with a linoleum knife

Graham sought help from Hannibal, hoping to discover some insight into what links the families together; they have a limited timeframe, the killer prefering to kill by the light of the full moon, and Graham finds himself under pressure from Lecter in more ways than one. Hannibal pushes him emotionally, baits him regarding his cologne - a gift from Molly's son, which he gets given every year (it has a boat on the bottle) - and grows short with Graham when he thinks that Hannibal isn't giving him anything. Graham walks away, but Hannibal calls him back and takes the case file.

Guided by Hannibal's insight, although Hannibal rarely directly gives Graham an answer he doesn't already know, but encourages him toward realisation instead, Graham begins his pursuit of the Tooth Fairy, hounded by the reporter from the National Tattler who had once been responsible for sneaking into the hospital ward where Graham was recovering from Lecter's attack to photograph his injuries. Lounds photographs Graham leaving the Chesapeake State Hospital for the Criminally Insane--in the crop for the front page story, the photograph is trimmed down to a picture of Graham with the two words Criminally Insane written in stone beside him.

The Tooth Fairy writes to Hannibal on sheets of toilet paper, and they discuss a book code so that they might communicate through the National Tattler. He tells Lecter of his respect for him. Lecter preserves the first and last parts of the note, full of compliments, hiding it inside his roll of toilet paper, but he eats the middle part that discusses their code. Secretly, the FBI and Chilton sneak away the note, staging a problem with the hospital's utilities while they fly the note to and from their crime labs to study it, returning it after hair and fibre, spectral, reconstructive and handwriting analysis tests. Hannibal is returned to his cell, and Hannibal places his reply to the Tattler small ads. The FBI team can't crack the code fast enough, and the note goes into the paper, with them running out of time to catch the Tooth Fairy before his next kill. The note, when they crack it, turns out to be Graham's home address, and Molly and Willy are uprooted for their own safety, beginning the fracturing of the family that will eventually leave Graham alone. Willy's Grandfather buys him a pony, a puppy and an expensive fishing rod.

After Lounds gets arrested pretending to be the Tooth Fairy to get insider information, Graham uses the him and the Tattler, since he now knows the Tooth Fairy reads it. A news story is leaked that makes insinuations about the killer's sexuality, as well as his intelligence, his impotence and various other things. It's a staging intended to draw the killer to try and attack Graham in an FBI sting, a studio in a very obvious place, with landmarks visible through the windows. Instead of predictability, the Tooth Fairy goes after Lounds instead. He shows him photographs of his work, has him recite a prepared passage talking about the Red Dragon, and that what he's going to do to Lounds is only a fraction of his plans for Graham. He then bites off Lound's lips on the audio tape and mails them to the FBI. Lounds is upended out of a van outside the National Tattler headquarters, superglued to a wheelchair and set on fire. He rolls screaming down the street, and dies swiftly from his wounds.

For this, Lecter writes a letter to Graham congratulating him for ridding the world of Freddy Lounds, although he does owe something to the reporter, he says, for enlightening Hannibal to Will Graham's stay in a mental institution.

At last finding evidence of the Tooth Fairy's background in film development, Graham closes in on the killer, just as the Tooth Fairy returns from eating the watercolor painting of The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun. Sensing his impending capture, the killer kidnaps his then girlfriend, the blind Reba McClane, and takes her to his home. He stages his own death, instead shooting off the face of another man and leaving behind his grandmother's original false teeth, the ones that his own false teeth are a copy of, and such that he has used at the crime scenes to leave his signature behind. Reba, believing he is dead, corroborates the story after fleeing the burning house into the arms of Graham. After comforting her in the hospital, Graham goes back home to his family.

The Tooth Fairy comes across them while the family is fishing. Crawford phones too late to warn them. As Graham goes back to the house to call him back, the Tooth Fairy is setting his gun sight on Graham. He gets off one round as Graham tackles him, then leaps on the retired investigator with a knife. As they fight, Graham is grievously wounded, taking the knife to the face. The Tooth Fairy gets a big, four bladed fishing hook in his face - sent by Molly - he hooks his hand to it, too, pursuing her and Willy across the beach. Graham gives chase, but collapses, while Molly and Willy reach the house. After finding Graham's big .45 in the closet, Molly shoots the Tooth Fairy repeatedly to put him down. Graham, taken to hospital and undergoing reconstructive surgery, none the less is never the same again; he loses his family and drinks to cope with his experiences. Hannibal writes to him, apologising for his face.

Silence of the Lambs

Not long after, the FBI send another agent to speak to Hannibal. Crawford is behind the push, though he doesn't reveal to the young Clarice Starling what his intentions are at the time. Hannibal takes a liking to her almost at once--she doesn't leave crying, at least, and the other inmates seem to shake her more than Hannibal does. She doesn't convince him to take her tests, only look at them, but Lecter brings up the Buffalo Bill investigation as they talk, and they speak at length about Europe and Clarice's expensive bag and Valentine's Day. After Clarice experiences an insult at the hands of the schizophrenic in the cell down from Hannibal (three doors down on the opposite side of the corridor, in the book) he takes pity on her. He sends her to look for Benjamin Raspail's car, and after a blunder with the wrong vehicle, Clarice finds a severed head. Clarice returns to Lecter, who she suspects knows the identity of the victim; he expresses his doubts and reflects briefly on his dislike of Raspail--the flautist he killed supposedly to improve the sound of the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra. He also tells her that Buffalo Bill will start scalping his victims.

Together they play a game of quid pro quo; Hannibal gets to ask Clarice a question, and in turn Clarice is able to ask one of her own. Gradually Hannibal schools her into asking better questions, but he is a firm and insistant teacher, forcing her to stretch to accomodate him, mentally. After causing trouble with the press, Clarice is taken along with Crawford to investigate a new victim found in the Elk River. She discovers a moth pupae in the victim's mouth, and delivers it to the Smithsonian for study. After that, the team takes a look in the mouth of the head that Clarice found, discovering another moth there, and realise that Hannibal really did know something, perhaps even who the killer is.

The situation spirals. Clarice comes with an offer from Crawford--the latest victim is a Senator's daughter, and it becomes a race against time to rescue her. Lecter snubs her offer, believing it to be false. Chilton, having recorded the meeting, makes an offer of his own; he craves recognition and success, and hardly puts up a fight when Lecter insists that while he knows the killer's name, he will only tell the Senator herself in Tennassee, setting the stage for his own escape. In the meantime, Hannibal tells Clarice to look at hospitals that offer sex changes, and gives Clarice some ideas of what to look for in the application tests.

Clarice and Hannibal go their separate ways to Memphis; Lecter under the guard of the Tennessee state police, Clarice to investigate the Senator's daughter's friends. He feeds the wrong name to the Senator - Billy Rubin, as in bilirubin, the chief chemical colorant in shit - and Clarice does a search of the missing girl's room for information, finding herself at the mercy of Krendler and the Senator, and hardly endearing herself to the later by her discovery of sex snaps in the girl's jewelery box. Sent home by Krendler, Clarice none the less resists, forcing her way into the holding pen to speak to Hannibal one last time. They talk about the screaming lambs, and Hannibal returns her her file as she is pulled out of the room by the authorities.

Hannibal waits for the policemen to feed him. They don't know him, aren't as experienced with men like Hannibal as the careful men at the institute; using a piece of biro as a handcuff key and a metal wire as a weapon, Lecter frees himself, kills the two policemen, and cuts off the face of one of them, using it to mask himself, and throwing the body into the lift shaft. After assaulting the room and finding him, the policemen whisk him away believing him to be their colleague; shortly thereafter, they find the body of the real policeman, but by then Hannibal has already escaped with the ambulance, killing the medics and driving straight to the airport. Clarice is told to go back to school. Hannibal, however, doesn't fly away--he kills a man in the long term parking at the airport, stuffs him into the trunk of his car and drives to St Louis.

Lecter has left one last clue for Clarice; it urges her to consider how desperately random the dumping and pickup sites are, as though the killer is covering for something--in this case the first victim, the one he coveted. Clarice pursues Lecter's clues, finds Jame Gumb - Buffalo Bill - and rescues his most recent victim. Lecter, having begun his plastic surgery, writes to Clarice, Barney and to Dr. Chilton, offering a variety of greetings, tips and threats. He flies to Brazil to complete his transformation, losing his distinctive eleventh finger and changing everything but his nose, which he refuses to have altered in case it affects his olfactory senses--while in Brazil, an X-ray is taken of his arm which later finds its way into the clutches of Mason Verger, and subsequently those of the FBI.


Seven years pass; now Hannibal Lecter is situated in Florence under the pseudonym Dr. Fell, a literary reference. Clarice, meanwhile, is disgraced; Lecter writes to her with words of odd comfort. He tells her that the most stable elements on the periodic table lie between iron and silver, which he finds appropriate for her. After killing the previous curator of the Palazzo Capponi and taking temporary guardianship of the library, he waits for the museum's appointing committee to decide on his future. The visiting police officer, Pazzi, notices the scar on Lecter's hand, which he claims is the result of having had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Pazzi meets Fell again at an extended exhibition of Atrocious Torture Implements, and Hannibal reflects that all the possibilities for inciting an epiphany are present. Pazzi, sure enough, begins his investigation--and Hannibal begins his own preparations.

First Pazzi needs to get a fingerprint--having been encouraged by the reward money to sell Hannibal to Mason Verger, rather than report his discovery to the police. He organises for a pickpocket he knows to fail the act, a Gypsy woman who has been in trouble with the police before. She fails twice - the second time because she sees the redness in Hannibal's eyes and calls him Shaitan. Her boyfriend and spotter takes over the job, and Hannibal stabs him in the abdomen, though Pazzi does get his fingerprint for the effort. He sends it straight to Verger.

The next time Pazzi met Hannibal would be after he was paid, taking his wife to see the Florence Chamber Orchestra at the Teatro Piccolomini. Hannibal was in his box, Pazzi and his wife in the seats below. Hannibal puts himself into such a position that Pazzi must introduce him to his wife, and endears himself to her.

Verger's men go to Florence to meet with Pazzi, and arrange Hannibal's kidnap. Hannibal wakes up on that Friday morning with a warning dream--then goes about his day as usual, the memory of Mischa haunting him from decades before. Hannibal clips Clarice's face from the newspaper and draws a great griffon from her body. Writing a note in his scrawl and signing it for her, he takes it to the market and finds soaps and lotions to send with it - he dispatches a number of packages - then goes back to the palazzo to prepare to address his peers, the professors of the Studiolo that he is trying to impress. When Pazzi enters, Lecter introduces him by saying that there are two Pazzis already in Dante's Inferno--he goes on to discuss the hanging of Judas.

Did you ever think, Clarice, why the philistines don't understand you? It's because you're the answer to Samson's riddle: You are the honey in the lion.

After the talk, Pazzi ingratiates himself into accompanying Hannibal back to his home in order to mark him to Verger's men. Hannibal calls him back in to show him some of the other slides, ones he didn't show the crowd. Among them is an image of Pazzi's ancestor hanging from the windows of the Ponte Vecchio in which they presently stand. As the light from the machine dazzles him, Hannibal says "On a related subject, Signore Pazzi, I must confess to you: I'm giving serious thought to eating your wife." He drops a heavy cloth from the ceiling down onto Pazzi's head, then holds him as he applies an ether to knock him unconscious; as he struggles, Pazzi (symbolically) shoots himself in the thigh.

When he awakes, the policeman is bound, and Hannibal puts a noose made out of the electrical cord of a floor polisher around his neck. He quizzes Pazzi on his identification code for Quantico's VICAP system, then slices him lengthwise and sets him free over the balcony--as the jerk of the heavy polisher breaks his neck, his innards spill out into the plaza below, and Hannibal waves toward the cameras from the darkness, knowing that the world will see them later. 'Bye-bye' he seems to say. Hannibal escapes, but word begins to spread of his reappearance, and of his new face. He slips in with a tour, which is his prefered way of traveling as it gets him rushed through customs, but it also means flying in the cheap seats--the plane heads back toward Canada.

Krendler, who gave Clarice so much trouble before, is in cahoots with Verger. He has ambitions to be a congressman, and makes deals that ensure that, should the FBI come down on Hannibal he will end up in Verger's hands. Verger has his eyes on Clarice; he knows that she would be perfect bait, but he has to wait until Krendler takes his pay-off, putting him under Verger's thumb, before springing the idea to him.

Lecter, meanwhile, goes on a shopping spree, making himself comfortable with a new harpsicord, a theremin, expensive silver cutlery, porcelain plates, a new Jaguar. He goes on to an arms show, too, purchasing a variety of blades as well as a crossbow and bolts. He watches a video where a man named Donnie Barber shoots a musk deer with a crossbow, failing to kill it on the first blow and reveling in the creature's suffering. It's an image burned in Hannibal's mind from his childhood, and so he takes extra offense at it, and uses slight of hand to steal the man's address. He kills him after Barber kills a deer the day before hunting season opens, taking the same organs from both and leaving them to be found, Barber with his lungs pulled out behind him like wings.

Confirming Hannibal's presence in Chesapeake, Mason orders his man eating pigs brought from Sardinia - he has been planning his revenge meticulously for years - and arranges for Clarice to be ruined by Krendler and then kidnapped. Hannibal, meanwhile, exhumes her father's skeleton in Texas, and flies back home with it in a viola case, then he heads to a Maryland hospital to steal a number of drugs. His plan for Clarice's birthday coming together is a shopping list of ingredients, which include both food and tools. Lecter buys a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem, but as he comes to hide it in Clarice's car, the men who have come to kidnap her take Hannibal instead, accidentally leaving behind the gift.

He wakes strapped to a pony cart and awaiting Verger and the pigs. Carlo - whose brother Lecter killed in Florence - is enraged by a comment from Hannibal, and drives an electric caddle prod into one of his eyes. In private shortly after, Hannibal talks to Margot - Mason's sister - about her predicament. She had been one of his patients, and he gives her an idea as to how to make her brother donate for her in vitrio treatment with her lover Judy, therefore securing Mason's estate. He encourages her to tear out a piece of his hair, so that she can place it on Mason--that way when she kills him, she can claim he was the killer. He has to goad her to convince her of the idea. When Mason's assistant Cordell then offers him pain relief in exchange for Hannibal's hidden money, he bites the man's eyebrow off.

A half hour later the procession takes Hannibal toward the pen in the barn where the pigs are kept, raised up on a forklift truck. As things are set to begin, Clarice comes to the rescue. She shoots three of the men to get to Lecter, and cuts his arm free, giving him the knife so he can finish the job while she covers him, and then gives handcuffs for him to secure both himself and the men laid out behind him. Hannibal doesn't have the opportunity to do that--Starling is hit with a tranquiliser dart, leaving it up to Hannibal to escape, just as the pigs surge into the arena and begin to devour the other men. She takes a second dart in the leg. Hannibal, carrying Clarice, walks through the animals, practically undisturbed and barefooted.

The problem with using any of Hannibal's conversations in the asylum with either Will Graham or Clarice Starling as any kind of evidence regarding his personality is that Lecter is projecting another personality throughout. It's an act, because of the power games he plays with them, but he would have it appear that he has nothing to hide at all, that this is him with everything else stripped away. After all he's incarcerated! What has he got to hide? The honest Lecter rarely comes out, though he is usually cuttingly truthful with and without the mask. The difference between the two - honesty and truthfulness - is crucial.

For example Hannibal is clearly not at his happiest being confined, though he is incredibly patient, playing his waiting game and collecting whatever tools he can over the years in preparation for his eventual escape attempt. However when Graham asks him why he cares so much about how he was caught, Hannibal says 'Not me, Will.' It's genuine and it's not; truthful, but not honest. It could be used to say that Hannibal is uninterested in the answer, or that he doesn't care particularly about his incarceration--but it's not actually about either, it's part of the act, and in turn it's a part of the long game he's playing with Will Graham, where the only thing he intends to get out of it is the upper hand in his relationship with the other man; the position of cat rather than mouse.

It would be inaccurate to say that he doesn't like anyone, and that their only purpose is to entertain him; it's implied by the mask, the projected version of Lecter, and it seems even that he would like for it to be true, perhaps to protect himself. He is capable of being petty. In Graham's case, it could be said that Hannibal craves revenge; at one point he considers having used colostomy bags delivered to Graham's home address--he eventually decides instead to send the Red Dragon after him instead. That said, it's more likely he does it because he wants to see who wins. He wants one of them to kill the other, as though he could use it to prove that Graham's catching killers is not a fluke; and therefore Graham's capture of him wasn't a fluke. And why is he so determined for that to be true? Perhaps because of the tricky application of respect. It's unclear whether or not Graham actually has it, or whether he's earned it only by circumstance.

What is certain is that Hannibal's actions toward Will and to his own victims comes off as a kind of childish petulance, as though Hannibal is still thirteen years old. For a man with such extraordinary tastes and talents, it's shocking to boil his actions down to childishness, but when you look at his point of view in Hannibal Rising, his actions with Will and his behavior in regard to Clarice at the end of Hannibal, there is an unmistakable innocence there, a childish willfulness. Look at his desire that Stephen Hawking's early theory - that at a certain point the universe will stop expanding, and time will reverse, unbreaking fallen teacups - is true, even at 58, because of his desire to see his sister Mischa rise from the dead. It's desperation, too, an impotence in the face of things he can't control. No amount of patience will bring his sister back.

The only truth that can be gleamed from the conversations shown in the novels, is that he is proud, egotistical, and passionate. He's forthright, too. When both Clarice and Will visit him for the first time, they speak at length where the two tussle for the upper hand in the conversation; the questions lend themselves toward the personal. Lecter likes to watch strong, no nonsense people - people he respects - squirm, the ones who masquerade intelligence and pretend to be bigger fish than they are - people he thinks are rude and bullies - he crushes. Will and Clarice both use the same phrase "You'll either do it or you won't". Clarice challenges him to point his high powered regard at himself; Will tells him that Dr. Bloom will do a better job with the Tooth Fairy case file--they both walk away, and Lecter calls them both back. There's a simple reason for that. After glancing off each other, the control falls to the person walking away, as Hannibal is confined and cannot follow. The only way to wrest control, then, is to offer assistance, to become the person who has the information to whom the other must lend themselves.

Suffice is to say that there's a reason why attempts to psychoanalyze Lecter canonically fail, and it makes him just as much of a pain in the ass to write a personality section about. Hannibal Rising offers the best evidence for his personality based on what actually happens to him; evidence which is in general denied to those minds that try to pick Hannibal apart in the books. He is protective of his past - he never shares it, never speaks a single word of it, except eventually when he shares it with Clarice, after she falls under his thrall at the end of Hannibal. Hannibal is charismatic. He would also never attempt to engender sympathy or pity; that would imply he is weak. If anyone implies it to him about themselves in anything but modesty, Hannibal writes them off instantly. People who boastfully overestimate their intelligence or capabilities earn the same disregard. When Clarice and Graham do show their weaknesses, Hannibal doesn't show pity, nor really go on the attack, though he could. It would be cruelty, the equivalent of bullying, and Lecter's rules on bullies are quite firm.

When it comes to liking and love, such things as seem unlikely, Clarice Starling is a unique case, though she does share the position with other women. Hannibal has felt love before. He loved Mischa, and Lady Murasaki, but lost the first, and the second eventually could not stand to look at him, and threw herself into a river. He has the burden of intelligence and taste that makes him crave his own company above everyone else's, but he is a man, too. Yes, he prioritizes learning and his own comfort throughout his life, but when it comes to Starling, he does begin to love her, though it comes hard to both of them, and neither of them ever really identify it.

Lecter idealises Clarice Starling as a warrior woman, as a great lioness with sweet honey at her core. Her defiance of him, his respect for her idealism is so powerful that in the end he tries to replace her personality with Mischa's - what better place in the world for her than Starling's? She earns his respect, yes, but he also finds himself craving to protect her - for example from Krendler - and teach her, the way he seems to wish he could have taught Mischa, introducing her to new tastes and new experiences, something that Starling begins to appreciate when she tries to catch him. The betrayal that he felt at the hands of Lady Murasaki clearly makes Hannibal defensive, and he consequently applies a stigma to love that without a doubt makes him yearn for a brother-sister relationship with Clarice when he becomes drawn to her.

Hannibal rarely kills for other people; he is triggered by images from his delicate past for the most part; the example of the injured deer is one of them, the insult to Lady Murasaki is another. Hannibal kills Miggs for Clarice - though everyone accuses him of simply not being able to stand him. With reflection on the marketplace incidence, his fierce protectiveness in the face of an insulted woman, someone he respects, means something very different. Both women keep their heads up, they appear stronger in their defiance of the insult, and there's no doubt a similarity in the grace of both that Hannibal aspires to. Hannibal kills Krendler for Clarice eventually too, and there's a lot more symbolism to that. They eat his brain together. It's a bonding exercise, a shucking off of Clarice's FBI past, of the insults she's suffered in her male driven world, and it's an introduction to Hannibal's world in many ways, but it's also a punishment for Krendler. What more fitting punishment for a rude, unintelligent oaf of a man? Hannibal believes in punishments that fit the perceived crimes.

His relationship with Clarice is complex, and without a doubt related to his relationship with the previous women in his life. Yes, Lady Murasaki is one, but so is his dead sister, whom he relates to even fifty years after her death, and occasionally talks to in his thoughts. He attempts to combine the two, through hypnosis and drugs and conditioning, but Clarice's personality is too strong, and they enter into a sexual relationship, eventually, instead. I reiterate this because I want to highlight the lengths that Hannibal will go to. This shows enormous commitment on Hannibal's behalf.

More evidence of Hannibal's sister complex - as though the above isn't enough? - is how he responds to Margot, whom he claims he found the more interesting of the Vergers, and the strongest. Her brother had been a bully who assaulted her as a child, and went on to use his money to molest others. When Lecter follows Mason to his home, he is keeping two dogs from a shelter in a cage and starving them, so that he can find out what happens. Lecter drugs him, sets the dogs free and had Mason feed his face to the hungry animals. He makes him eat his own nose. Years later, Margot still has a strong loyalty to him as her psychiatrist, and Hannibal demonstrates a fondness for her, offering her a solution to her problems, so that her brother can't abuse her any longer. It's clear that the brother/sister relationship she has with Mason offends him, not because of its incestuous origins, but because of the mistreatment that Margot suffers in general, at the hands of someone who should love her, not show contempt for her. There's another hint to his true self in how Hannibal arranges Margot's dispatch of Mason--Hannibal doesn't have any problem with people killing. It isn't about morals, and if people die then they die; he instructs Margot to kill her brother, but it's her decision in the end, and he certainly doesn't believe in judging her for it.

Hannibal has his own sense of morality, if it could be called that, borne out of his experience at the the orphanage, and it underlines most of Hannibal's drive. There are three kinds of people; those who are unnecessarily cruel or rude are on one side of the scale, those who need the explicit protection of others lay on the opposite side, and in between there is everyone else. It's obvious that Hannibal tries and struggles to classify Clarice as one, while being well aware that she is no fragile flower who needs his protection--it's the role he tries to force her to play, eventually, through brainwashing. As I said, this comes from his experience at the orphanage, where Hannibal was protective of the smaller children, as he had been with Mischa, and spitefully vicious toward the bullies. These extremes are the people that he's more likely to respond to. Even in the asylum Hannibal expresses compassion for struggling fellow inmate Sammie (whom the authorities have given up on), which startles Clarice, and helps the nurse Barney with his correspondance courses, finding a certain pleasure in a responsive, respectful student. Hannibal thrives in a position of respect and power, such is obvious when he takes the position in Florence, but he is more than content being in that position over only one person.

Hannibal Lecter eats his trophies from his victims, though he doesn't think of them like that. He also claims that he didn't go out of his way to feed human remains to his guests. He explains that it's like realising you have guests coming over for dinner and no time to rush out to the supermarket, that you use whatever it is you have in the back of the fridge. Whether or not that's true, or just a jest--again, it's debatable. Hannibal's words always walk a fine line of truths. He has an incredibly dark sense of humor, which makes it difficult to reconcile against the reality of his life, and in fact is a strong motivator in his actions. He expresses them in his tableaux. His murder of Pazzi is an example, as is his decision to string up the bow hunter and decorate him like the Wound Man, and Starling has to stymy a laugh when she's shown the bodies of the hunter and the deer, both stuck through with arrows and butchered the same way, no matter how grizzly it is.

There's one other strong theme to Hannibal's murders: justice. The justice he has is a stilted thing, or perhaps to be more accurate an eight year old's version of it - and must be from Hannibal's hand, when it comes to the hurts done to him. It powers him all the way through Hannibal Rising, in his hunt for the men who killed Mischa. As a result of that experience, Hannibal also lost his love for God. He finds himself drawn toward irony there, too, such as the oft repeated quote about God dropping a church roof on his worshippers as they grovelled through a hymn. In the novels, it's made clear that Hannibal collects clippings about church collapses, finding a bitter pleasure in it. It's his hobby.

Hannibal respects learned men in a variety of fields, and keeps up with modern science; he takes a particular liking to Stephen Hawking, for example, who he believes to have an understanding of science and mathematics far beyond even his own. It's a fascinating and rare moment of modesty from Dr. Lecter.

Physically, Hannibal is a man who expresses himself with the minimum amount of movement and emotion. He empowers every inch of his slight frame with presence, moves with barely a sound, and surprising grace. I wanted to mention it because the way Hannibal comports himself is as much an expression of his personality as anything else. He has the frame of a dancer, Clarice describes it, although at one moment in the cell, he's described as having a sinister spider-like quality, comporting himself with menace. Both are Lecter.

Hannibal's taste is the one enduring and certain thing about him. It's what helps Clarice track him in Hannibal, as she looks back over years of receipts and puts alerts on certain items of food, clothing, furniture etc. that Hannibal is likely to purchase. These are usually expensive and rare items, although not always. Some Hannibal laments he can't purchase in America. He likes the feel of a turbocharged V-8 engine--it's one of the first things Clarice surmises, since she herself understood cars; one of the few things they had in common. Hannibal even has a favored seat in the theatre.

His interests are massively varied, including language, cookery, science, medicine, mathematics, art, music, oprah, history, geneology, mythology. The list barely touches the surface; Hannibal's expertise expands out into more specialised things, too, such as martial arts, flower arranging, fishing, pigeon racing, butchery, horse riding. He has a scholarly opinion about most things, and locks all the information away in rooms in his memory palace.

Abilities, Weaknesses and Power Limitations:
At the present time, Hannibal is still suffering from night terrors and flashbacks of Mischa that wake him from his dreams. In time, settled with Clarice, these nightmares would subside.

Already at the age of two, Hannibal had taught himself to read, simply by following his nanny's voice and the words in his copy of The Brothers Grimm. He read out loud and in her accent. By six, he could use advanced mathematics to measure the height of the towers at Rabenstein, and could already appreciate such complex books as The Treatise on Light and Euclid's Elements. His father, nurturing his talents, brought him dictionaries in English, German and Lithuanian, and then later a Jewish tutor, who would share with him his education and his memory palace. This intelligence and wide variety of smarts is the sharpest tool in Hannibal's box. He is a polyglut, speaking a number of different European languages completely fluently,

Hannibal uses his intelligence incredibly ruthlessly. He employs it in his wit, his conversation tactics, his incredible resourcefulness and commanding ability to plan. Hannibal can make these plans far in advance, but it could be called a weakness that once he commits himself to it, he loses some of his perspective for the bigger picture, which is why he ends up being caught by Verger's men in Hannibal. Otherwise, when Hannibal's perception is completely focused on someone or something, what he intuits from this "high powered perception" is usually accurate.

Hannibal uses every inch of his own experience, and every hint of information revealed by the other person to pick them apart, from their shoes to the scent of their hand cream. His history in psychiatric medicine gives him the edge. It's not intuition; Lecter applies what he sees and hears and tastes and smells, draws his conclusions, then picks his way through to the bottom line. It's close to what Patrick Jane does on the Mentalist, in that it has the appearance of being superhuman, or magic, and yet is based entirely on simple observations. It also means that he misses very little, so when Pazzi's behavior changes in Hannibal, he is immediately suspicious. It isn't by luck that Hannibal kills the pickpocket in the market--he knows what he's doing.

Hannibal escapes the very first time that he isn't held by someone with direct previous experience. He takes small advantages where he can, he lays red herrings, approaches everything with a remarkable calm. In the ambulance after his escape, not knowing how to drive it, Hannibal calmly climbs into the driver's seat, presses all the buttons, makes sure he knows where everything is, then drives away, uncaring of the fact that the vehicle has come to a stop on the freeway and is holding up traffic behind it. Attacking a nurse, his heartbeat doesn't rise above a resting speed. He's a good actor. He plays with accents, and is incredibly convincing, especially on the phone.

Hannibal is incredibly strong, physically, even despite his present age. He can pick up a man single handed and bundle them into a vehicle. Hannibal demonstrates this again when he saves Clarice's life, but he also demonstrates another ability, his presence around animals is such that even the most aggressive of them will respect him. A sow challenges him in the novel, then reconsiders after Lecter squares off to it, heading off to find easier prey. Hannibal displays this same presence around dogs, deer, swans and horses, too. Lecter is also capable of manipulating the people around him. He directs Miggs to swallow his own foul tongue from another prison cell, without even direct eye contact. During his time as a psychiatrist, Hannibal also hypnotised a number of his patients - he uses the same method on Clarice - sometimes with the aid of narcotics.

Possessing a good nose, Lecter is able to appreciate many of the finer things in life, but there's no doubt that it's the closest thing to a superhuman ability that he has. Lecter can identify unique smells, unique blends of smells, even from a distance. It's likely he can also smell fear, for instance through perspiration, though he never mentions it. He has a medical degree, and can perform precise or emergency surgery; his knowledge of the human body is next to none, as he spent most of his childhood dissecting, drawing and reconstructing the human form. At home, even in his prison cell, Hannibal owns a collection of rare and expensive books, usually first editions. He has a good eye for the finer things, is an artist and a musician in his own right, and a remarkable chef and host. Hannibal flourishes at most things he puts his mind to.

Hannibal has an incredible memory. He has a memory palace, where he keeps everything from textures to smells. He uses rooms where he's been, images and smells to mean people, locks into them addresses and numbers and personal memories, even recipes. His palace needs to be well lit, Hannibal concedes, as he once stored some information in a dark place, and couldn't draw on it when he wanted to.

In terms of weaknesses, Hannibal is only human. He can die, though one supposes that were he not shot enough times the first time, he'd rise back up horror movie style and have a second go. The villains in Harris' novels do like to do that. He shows no aggression toward children at any point, and shows a clear weakness for women. Not all women, but certainly those that he can project Mischa or Lady Murasaki onto, in which case they need to possess certain traits. As mentioned before he can be caught off guard, should he have one singleminded goal in mind, and fail to account for all the variables. Hannibal isn't psychic, he does make mistakes, and he is most susceptable to abberations in human behavior. If someone does anything he thinks beyond their skill level, or outside of their normal routine, it can unsettle his plans. He is also weakened by his own contempt for other people.

Hannibal's greatest weakness, at least in regard to Ataraxion, will concern the fourth wall.

Lecter's mask
His box of art supplies; charcoal, erasers, pen and ink, sealing wax, pencils in various grades and a thick roll of expensive, European made linen paper.
His copy of Alexandre Dumas' Le Grande Dictionnaire de Cuisine
A case of wine; three bottles of Batard-Montrachet, an expensive white wine from France, three of Chateau Petrus from Bordeaux; a red.
Two outfits, with accompanying scalloped hankerchiefs and driving gloves, and a good pair of leather shoes.

Appearance: Lecter appears younger than his almost sixty years; he is spry and fit, sleek, although not a particularly imposing figure, as it's his routine to blend into the crowd. Thinning and graying dark hair, and blue eyes, which appear to contain in them flecks of red in certain light. As in the movie version, I'll be using Sir Anthony Hopkins as a PB.
Age: 58 (assuming date of birth in 1933)

AU Clarification: N/A

Log Sample: Hannibal's lungs filled, chest swelling with the thick, exotic scents in the garden. His eyes were closed. There was no point in trying to work out what earthbound variety any of the plants smelled like. They were as foreign and alien - as individual - as they all needed to be. Alien plants, millions of species, many of them edible, some with medicinal qualities, others that simply smelled pleasant--they had all been put on this ship for a purpose, to provide oxygen, maintainable supplies and of course recreation.

After sating his curiosity about the ship, its technology - so far in advance of anything that Hannibal had ever seen - its library, its culture; Hannibal had settled on the gardens as his favorite place on board. There were lifetimes of discovery here, and Hannibal was still learning things about his own world! Where did it stop? With alien worlds, cultures, and planets there could be no end to the wealth of information available. It was simply beyond him, though Hannibal didn't enjoy the declaration. He prefered to think that he was capable of anything, but even he had his limits.

He would start with the garden. He would start here, and one plant at a time make himself familiar. The new scents had drawn him in, and Hannibal had opened a new wing of his memory palace for them. The wing was constructed of the same stunning gothic architecture that the Tranquility was built from, though it hardly differentiated it from the romantic structures that made up the rest of the palace. They were not dissimilar, for example, to the great walls and towers of Colonne's magnificent cathedral. The hallways were too dark, so Hannibal lit them with gas lamps, their strange flickering glow through the glass like a study of sunlight through water. Some of the species of moths he'd observed in the garden flickered against them, their wings blurring as they swirled around the light.

Off the corridor were doors, and beyond those doors were rooms waiting to be filled; rooms with vast ceilings like the gardens, rooms full of lockers, and inside of them so many wonderful secrets. He'd fill them all, in time.

Hannibal retreated from it all for now; there was a face he wanted to visit, back in one of the rooms he had taken from the Smithsonian so many years ago. Clarice waited there for him. Following one of the moths, Hannibal found his way back. The paths had become more complex as of late, but he found the painting there, the Madonna and Child, only the Madonna was Clarice, her breast bared to the infant, and she wore a reckless defiance in her gaze. The halo that framed her hair made her look radiant. Mischa was the child she held. Fat little Mischa, a baby again, with her dark downy hair and her plump, grabbing hands.

Eyes opening, Hannibal looked up at the glittering water as it tumbled down through tiers of forest canopy, sending up a magnificent spray. He'd find a spot on the grass - somewhere where the water couldn't reach him - and begin his catalogue. Perhaps, he thought, he would find the time to draw another picture of Clarice, for fear that the image might somehow fade from his mind.

Comms Sample:

[ It's exceptional that Hannibal feels recording a message necessary. He had never privately recorded video of himself, though there had once been thousands of audio recordings of his voice in his patients records, all of them destroyed by request of the victims families.

An audio recording is all the network gets for now. Hannibal's voice is clear, his accent indefinable. There's something Eastern European, transformed by Japanese, French, Italian, American. It's crisp, each syllable pronounced, and no louder than it needs to be.

Many cultures believe that when their photograph is taken, the image steals away their spirit. But what is a spirit? A soul? The desire to protect something entirely without basis in reality is unique to humans. A curr will fight for its life, even spar for a mate that it can only smell, but it has no use for a soul. For those with faith, a soul represents something greater even than themselves. To others, it is a part of them that lies beyond physical harm, beyond the confines and dangers of life.

Soul is something quite impossible to miss in the grand gestures inherent to Leonardo da Vinci, or the moving gravity of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Art exists in the moment, a manifestation brought into existence by the painter, the musician, the mathematician. Our souls grow richer through our experiences, but they serve us only here. There is no heaven, no great white stairway disappearing into the clouds, no pearly gate. We must be inspired in this life, share the wealth of our experiences, allow them to inform further generations. [ A pause. ] Someone built this ship. I can only wonder at where they found their own inspiration.


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Hannibal Lecter

October 2013

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