copyright 2001, by
The characters Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Clarice Starling and Paul Krendler
were created by Thomas
Harris. They are used herein without permission, but in the
spirit of admiration and respect. No infringement of copyright
is intended, and no profit, of any kind, is made by the creator,
maintainer or contributors to this site.
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Paul Krendler was
rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead an hour and six minutes after
Dr. Lecter again escaped her custody.
Clarice Starling did not know how to react, and made the simple
decision not to. While she would always feel a sense of obligation to what
happened to her former nemesis, she would not regret losing his sneering
eyes over her shoulder.
As for allowing Dr. Lecter to escape, in a
matter of speaking, Starling did not know how to react to that.
Apart of her would always be glad he was spared his life and that
he would not have to return to the clutches of any ‘specialist’ in
such a ‘sociopath,’ yet with what she had done in aiding his rescue,
her career was on the verge of falling over the edge.
Jack Crawford, returning from a luxurious vacation in Cancun, was
astonished at her actions, though that did not stop him from pulling
every string he had access to in order to save her place in the FBI.
Starling’s thoughts on Dr. Lecter himself
were distant. What she had
always wondered about his vague feelings for her had come out in their
last minutes together, and it would burn her until the day she died.
“Clarice, could you ever say to me, stop?
If you loved me, you’d stop?”
Of all the things she was hoping he would do
in that minute, stopping was certainly not one of them.
Out of confusion and a short crinkle of memory of who she was,
what she stood for, her reply came out in a hazy, cold tone that told
him he would never get what he wanted.
Is that why she said it like that? To make him aware that she would never submit, yet again
never ask him to stop submitting? That
somewhere beneath every moral she learned, every ethic she built herself
to live up to, she secretly yearned to banish all those things from
herself and give in to what she truly wanted?
That she was still that little girl who answered the plight of
the lambs, and was too afraid to let go of any identity she thought she
Where are you, Dr. Lecter?
Will you let me see you again?
There were so many years between the
lines of communication. The
phone call following her graduation - a good decade, or close to it,
then the letter after killing Evelda Drumgo.
Would she need to get herself into further trouble to attract his
attention again? Did she
The entire ordeal at the lake house left her
very alone and very confused. Her
enemies in the Bureau, the ones she had known about and even those who
remained in the shadows, stepped together with her return and demanded
releasing her, possibly holding her on criminal charges.
Crawford intervened then, managed to get her off the hook of a
felony offense, and was currently working on saving what name she had
earned in the Bureau.
If he succeeded in saving her career, then
what? Did really want to go
back? Could she avoid what
she felt - or didn’t feel - for Dr. Lecter all her life?
Two months since the lake house incident, and
Starling was sure that she would never hear from Dr. Lecter again, and
that thought made her quiver in an emotion she could only identify as
grief. She cursed herself
for feeling this way, this way about a murderer, a CANNIBAL, one that
ate other human flesh and enjoyed it with no regrets.
However monstrous the media and FBI attempted to make him,
Starling could see no monstrosity in him, and it only made her yearn to
speak with him again, if just once.
Career dangling above the gutter with only
Jack Crawford to save it, Starling found herself focusing more on her
longing to see Dr. Lecter than saving her place in FBI, and sank into a
depression that he would not only forget her, but with good riddance.
Then, two weeks into the second month of
recuperation, a package arrived. Breaths
of hungry anticipation escaping her, Starling very delicately opened the
package with every intention of turning it into the FBI, hoping to save
her career. All feelings of
relief that she was still on his mind washed away with the unspoken hope
that her career might be saved.
Well, Clarice, I, first of all, am compelled
to dispense of the common pleasantries and go directly to the point. Please forgive me.
As I am sure you will see this letter as the
silver lining to save your so-called career, I will be sure to add much
to your liking.
First off, I am rather inclined to mention my
disappointment with the quality of your friend, Mr. Krendler’s,
frontal lobes. Not at all
up to standard. Be glad you
avoided the great temptation, I’m sure, to try it.
My future cooking, I assure you, will be much more adequate.
As it is, I was slightly rushed.
Tell me, did he last long after our
unfortunate parting? For
your sake, I hope not. Your
plight in saving others, even those who craft your doom, from torment is
quite appealing, not to mention heroic.
However, Mr. Krendler held a rather low place in my book, and in
attribute to him, I do also hope it was agonizing and very prolonged.
Pardon if the writing is a bit rough. As it is, my left hand has suffered the loss of a thumb, and
occasionally it reflects to my right.
hardly noticed. Dr.
Lecter’s handwriting was exquisite, under any circumstance.
Now, to better things, so to speak. However much easier your career might be to discuss, I’m
sure it burns you more than Krendler’s fate ever could.
Have the rumors started yet, Clarice? Be assured, however, that they will soon in any circumstance.
Are you hoping for me to shed some light?
Eventually, people will begin to overlook your current disgrace
and turn to the more interesting topic of why I neglected to make you my
next meal. Don’t worry;
you will not need to share anything, for they will come to their own
conclusions. And sorry to
say, Clarice, they will believe what they want to believe no matter what
your rationalizing consists of.
As I said to once, before I forced a
release of my confinement, people will say we’re in love.
More over, your determination to rescue me from Mason’s twisted
plans will cloud what they believe you feel for me.
No, Clarice, I’m afraid the obvious answer
that you have a fetish of saving any creature from torture will not
occur to them. If it does,
it will be dismissed. They
will not research your will to save the lambs or poor Catherine Martin.
No. They will only
see a federal officer who risked her morals, career, and life to rescue
a monster. You will never
remove that reputation, no matter what you further accomplish in the
Starling smiled vaguely, though the words
stung. Somewhere in the
subconscious of her mind, she heard his voice, saying the Bureaus’
name the way he intended for it to sound.
…An irreplaceable imprint has marked you
forever as the good cop gone bad, and they will always see me as ‘your
man.’ The monster label will dwindle, and yes, remain, however I
have a new mark to add to my belt.
You, Clarice. Though
I have not injured you, what you have done has embedded a further
reputation to my name, and forever blackened yours.
Does that burn you, Clarice?
To know you’ve sacrificed everything only to lose it anyway?
Now what are you left with?
A bad name, a tarnished career, a stolen kiss from lips you will
never feel again?
I can still taste you on me, Clarice. Every emotion you felt in that moment will forever tingle on
my mouth, an unfortunate yet constant reminder of you. Mmm, confusion, sadness, loss.
Yes. The bittersweet
taste of tears as well. What
were you crying for, Clarice? Certainly
not for me, or your career. Perhaps
one day you’ll tell me. Perhaps.
Do you still entertain the idea that the FBI
will doctor your career? Answer
yourself truthfully, Clarice. Is
your knight in the form of this letter, or your old pal, Jack Crawford?
Surely, together old Jacky-boy and I can save you a place in the
Bureau…perhaps as a receptionist.
Of course, I would like to think you would break out of that
damaging web before it finally cripples you.
Enemies will always threaten you, Clarice.
As by evidence already stated in this letter, I should hope that
you would exercise the intelligence you have mustered under that hard
head of yours to realize that.
Tell me, did you keep the dress?
I certainly hope so. It
was very appealing to the eye, though I doubt you would allow many to
see you dressed formally. Of
course, that acknowledges your sexuality, and then they would see you as
your mother. What you neglect to realize, Clarice, is that they do
I’m afraid very few will ever allow
themselves to see the butterfly you are, or appreciate you for what you
HAVE accomplished, rather outline your flaws.
You need to nourish yourself, Clarice, for no one else will.
As my assumed love letter stated, you are indeed the honey in the
lion. I beg you not to
the bees that swarm around you to harvest.
If they do, you’ll never be free.
They don’t see you for potential or a promising career turned
sour. They will never see
what I see. Does that burn
you as well, Clarice? The
only one who will ever see you for who you are is a monster.
Though you will never allow yourself to admit the nasty truth,
you know that I know you more than anyone in this world can ever dream
of. The thought that truly
frightens you, though, is that you know ME better than anyone ever will.
You were spared, marking you to the world as my weakness.
You will never know if it’s true.
Tell me, Miss Starling (I see I am no longer
compelled to address you as ‘Agent,’ now am I?) will you continue to
pursue my trail without the support of the Bureau?
If so, will it mend your career for petty personal gain, or
something else? Either way,
we could have some fun.
In this light that I send you further
packages, I recommend a P.O. box at the post office.
What I send you is for your eyes only, and though I know my
letters and what have you will eventually reach the Bureau, I would hate
to think that they never met your eyes.
Enclosed is a bottle of Châteaux D’Yquem.
The year is your birth year, you will notice.
My apologies for missing your birthday.
Where are you, Clarice?
More importantly, where am I within you?
Hannibal Lecter, MD
completing the letter, Starling drew in a deep breath and sat back,
unsure of what to think. It
was a few minutes before she explored the rest of the package, finding a
bottle of the promised wine in prime condition.
With an aggravated sigh, she set it aside and sat back again. The temptation to turn her mail in had come and gone in the
course of reading, and it frightened her that she felt that way in such
a short time period.
The return address read that Dr. Lecter was
located in New Orleans. While
she wanted to believe that, she sensed he was far from the United
Or was he?
Had he deliberately not ordered a remailing address in the hopes
that she would follow him? To
see what she would do? Jack
Crawford would be furious if he knew her thoughts, furious and hurt.
In the years since Bella died, he found her as sort of a
fallback, someone he probably thought he could have at any time.
If he knew her thoughts about Dr. Lecter were leaning more toward
the intimate, it would eat him from the inside.
“Do you think he imagines scenarios,
exchanges, fucking you?”
I don't know, she answered the doctor
now. Do you?
The answer to that seemed simple enough, but
the letter left her confused and even more alone than before.
Okay, so she had a lead. What
ain't no Shakespeare play, Starling told herself, her mind outlining
the accent that resembled her father in more ways than she would like to
admit. To be or not to be is not a question this time.
almost reluctantly, her eyes fell to the return address on the envelope.
New Orleans. If there was one place she could imagine Dr. Lecter in the
United States, it was most certainly there.
It had all the luxuries of his European life right here where he
could keep a close watch on her.
Was it worth pursuing?
Had he written it because he thought she would follow?
said you know him better than anyone does, she reminded
herself. Does that mean you know him well enough to judge
whether or not her ordered a remailing service? Does he want you
to follow him? Does he trust that you won't bring backup?
Starling nearly laughed at that thought.
Why on Earth would the Bureau believe her, much less support such
a crazy expedition? It
would only confirm her feelings for him, that she had them, whatever
they were. Now, it was
clear there was a healthy obsession on his end.
Her obsession was vast as well, but was it healthy or getting to
the point of breaking her? What exactly were her feelings for him? Certainly not the determination of an FBI agent who wants
desperately to get the guy, more now like a dark attraction that she
shuddered even to acknowledge.
which is it, Clarice? Go or
stay, stay or go? Go ruin
yourself so the Bureau doesn’t have to and save Crawford all that
time? Stay or go, go or stay?
Make up your mind fast, girl, because Dr. Lecter certainly
isn’t staying in the same place for long.
If he is in New Orleans, he will stay just as long as it takes to
confirm my decision before leaving.
He isn’t going to be generous for long.
that, another memory. “I
think I’ve been generous enough with you, and the clues.
tock tick tock tick tock…
or no Clarice?
was that? Dr. Lecter?
No. Those words that
he had uttered so many years ago were no longer his, but her own.
Yes or no, Clarice?
closed her eyes and moaned, slouching in her seat uncomfortably.
Oh God, what did she want? Why
was it so hard? The impulse
to cry came and went and came again.
The answer seemed so simple yet she couldn’t bring herself to
a horrible thought struck her. What
if it was a trap? What if
Dr. Lecter wanted to lure her to meet him simply to bring about her end
out of resentment?
thought, as terrifying as it was, came and went. Whatever Dr. Lecter felt for her, it was strong enough to
refrain from bringing her harm. If
anything, he admired her, and respected the way she was able to respect
him. He knew how difficult
this was for her…didn’t he?
sat up at that, wide-eyed and prying with eager fingers at the letter.
The passage she saw immediately was the one she was searching
A bad name, a tarnished career, a stolen kiss
from lips you will never feel again?
again? That didn’t sound
Dismayed, Starling sighed and let the papers
fall onto her desk again as she sat back.
She couldn’t go, she couldn’t.
It would ruin everything. Any
chance she had at ever regaining her dignity and place in the FBI.
with a painfully sharp truth that made her catch her breath, Starling
lurched forward. She knew
it then, she knew she had to pursue, she had to take this lead and use
it as best she knew how. If
she didn’t, she would regret it the rest of her life.
Something was started back at the lake house,
and it was up to her to finish it.
Before she would allow herself to back out,
Starling grasped the phone and quickly dialed Crawford’s home number. After six rings, he answered.
His voice was masked with sleepiness, and the vague sensation of
Starling glanced to the clock.
She hadn’t realized how late it was.
Oh well. Too late to
back out now.
“Mr. Crawford, I’m sorry for the hour,
but I won’t be here tomorrow to tell you this.
In light of everything that’s going on right now, I’m going
to disappear for a while and let the Bureau cool off.
I’ll call you in two weeks.”
Her words had obviously awaken him. As soon as she stopped speaking, she heard him sit up with
sudden sharpness and could almost see the alarm in his eyes.
“Starling, now is certainly not the time to
be running from this. You’ll
only set yourself back. Please,
I beg you, don’t do this.”
The urgency in his voice almost caused her to
decline and accept the request, but one glance at the letter dragged her
back to the voice that continuously haunted her.
Baiting it away to allow herself to vocalize her decision,
Starling said clearly, “I’m sorry, Mr. Crawford.
This is something I have to do.”
Without waiting for reply, Starling cut him off, something she
would normally never do, and jumped to her feet.
Within twenty minutes, she had plane reservations for that
evening, and was packed with everything she could find that was clean.
In ten, she was out the door and on her way to the airport.
Two hours later, she changed planes in
Love your suit.
and was on her way to New Orleans.
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