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Rules of the Game

copyright 2001, by La Vita Nuova

Disclaimer:    These characters 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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PART 1



He approached the house without caution. It was his house. Everything in it belonged to him.
Everyone in it belonged to him. His van was parked discreetly out of sight. And now he
walked down the path, he owned the trees, the air. He owned the world and no one was
going to take it away from him.

He walked up the stairs. Adrenalin fed his veins. He would finally come face-to-face with his
mentor, his idol. Weaker beings might have been surprised at the good doctor's overtures.
A weaker person would have been slightly unnerved that Dr. Lecter had broken out of the
asylum just to meet him. But he was not. The RED DRAGON feared no one. He would meet
Dr. Lecter. And he would consume him. Then the red dragon would have Dr. Lecter's knowledge
inside him as well.

He opened the door to the house. Bach was playing. Dinner was set for two. He closed the
door behind him and pulled out his knife. He moved to the center of the room, all the while
listening for a sign of where Dr. Lecter was hiding. A great noise arose and he found himself
staring into the barrel of several guns.

"FBI FREEZE!!" a voice not as strong as his boomed and he turned, staring at an older man
with graying hair.

"I AM THE GREAT RED DRAGON," he informed the intruder as he advanced on the mortal.
The noises following were loud and successive. He felt stinging in his chest and back, but kept
advancing. A flash of fire from the left and he went down as he saw a dark figure clad in
trenchcoat, jeans and a tee-shirt.

"I AM T-t-he . . ."

~~~~

From the side, Will Graham watched as the great red dragon, slayer or the LEEDS and JACOBIs,
sputtered before dying. The smoking gun in his hand dropped to the ground. Two, he had killed two of them now. Two murderers of the innocent set back to hell where they belonged. The third, cooling in a federal safehouse.

"Get Krendler on the phone. I want Lecter back in his cell ASAP," Jack Crawford pulled a younger
agent aside to tell him that.

Jack Crawford couldn't believe it had actually worked. They had broken to the media the story of
Lecter's escape. Then, they had placed an ad in the Tattler giving the Tooth Fairy a location
where he could meet Dr. Lecter. The FBI had staked out the location while holding Lecter at
another safe house.

"Will . . . it's over," Jack told his young protege as he patted him on the shoulder. Will looked at
the spot where Jack was touching him.

"Never again," Will spoke the two words as if they were his mantra and Crawford released him
from his grip.

"You have my word on it," Jack told him but Will didn't hear him. He was too busy running, running
away from the house, away from his second murder.

~~~~~

Paul Krendler shook his head as he hung up the phone. Everyone else had gotten to go along
with Crawford to get the Tooth Fairy. Him? He was stuck babysitting an overgrown mental patient.
He turned from the phone back to Lecter who had remained, throughout the evening, muzzled,
hand-cuffed and thoroughly emersed in the history of America from an Indian perspective. Sick,
Twisted Fuck.

"OKay boys, let's take him home," Krendler announced to the other two officers who had gotten
babysitting duty along with him.

"I'll get the car," FBI Agent Clint Pearsall offered and the other two glared at him as though he
had won the lottery and refused to share. He scampered out quickly as Krendler approached
Dr. Lecter.

"On your feet," Krendler ordered and Hannibal Lecter, murderer of nine, rose his maroon eyes to meet Krendler's.

He certainly was a decidedly rude fellow, Dr. Lecter decided. Not only was he rude, but also
very egotistical and very stupid. Ten minutes after Jack Crawford's exit, he had taken off Dr. Lecter's
manacles as well as his straight-jacket. Paul Krendler assumed he could handle Hannibal Lecter
so long as he was in handcuffs. What he failed to understand was that hand-cuffs, unlike straight-jackets
have keys.

"Of course, gentlemen," Dr. Lecter replied smoothly as he did what the odious man asked. He
placed the book to the side as he took note of the second officer watching out the window. As
Paul Krendler turned away to get the straight-jacket, Dr. Lecter allowed the cuffs to fall off his
wrists. As graceful as a dancer, he moved, snapping them on Paul Krendler's wrist which he
attached to a file cabnet.

"Fuck!" Paul Krendler's yell caused the second cop to turn, but before he could reach for the gun, Lecter had shot him with the cross-bow hanging on the wall. Dr. Lecter calmly reloaded the crossbow with another arrow and turned to Krendler.

"You are unspeakably rude, Paul," Dr. Lecter informed him as he removed the mask from his face. By this time, Paul Krendler was actively whimpering as he searched for his keys.

"Oh shit, oh shit," Paul muttered to himself as he searched. He didn't notice Dr. Lecter remove the knife from the dead body on the floor.

"Did you know, Mr. Krendler, that the native Americans had a custom of skinning their kills," Dr. Lecter informed Paul as he smiled showing his perfect white teeth.


~~~~~~

It was three am before Clarice Starling was able to be well on her way back to Virginia. For the thousandth time she questioned why she had taken the job at the Baltimore Psychiatric wing of all places. She tried to tell herself that they paid the best or that they were the most qualified. She allowed herself to concede it could also be the morbid fascination she had with the idea that a serial killer had once worked there.

Clarice was in her senior year at UVA and she knew she was going to apply to Quantico next year. Behavioral Science fascinated her, especially cases involving serial killers. She had followed, with a sense of perversion the trial of Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter. She had gone over transcripts of the trial at least a dozen times. The idea that Will Graham caught him because of a picture of Wound Man fascinated her. Likewise, the method to the madness of the "Tooth Fairy had caught her eye-especially since the involvement of Graham and Lecter.

She had gone so far as to try her hand at profiling the psychopath, but every time she tried, her focus shifted to the victims and off of the killer. She had speculated where Hannibal Lecter would go now that he had escaped. For the moment, however, her mind was on a Shakespeare test which was why she was listening to Titus as read by Anthony Hopkins. Although, she didn't have the faintest clue who the man was, she found she liked listening to him speak.

As Clarice pulled up to an intersection, she couldn't help but notice the black sedan off to the side, its hood raised. It looked FBI issue and the man standing beside it had the authority one would assume an FBI agent would have. But still, she couldn't be too careful so as the man came over she pulled out the handgun she kept for safety reasons. He pulled out a billfold and placed the FBI shield against the window pane. Clarice opted to roll down the window.

"Could you use some help, Agent?" she asked, West Virgian accent slightly evident even though she tried to hide it.

"I have to hightail it back to Virginia by 3pm but my car seems to have stalled on me," Dr. Lecter explained, cringing at the slight twang in her voice.

"I can get you there by noon if we hurry," Clarice offered sizing the man up. He looked her height with a wirey build. He had blond hair, blue eyes and didn't appear to be a threat, but you could never be too careful. As insurance, she slipped the gun into her wasteband and popped the lock.

"I'm greatly appreciative Ms. . . ." Dr. Lecter began as he got into her small red Pinto.

"Starling. Clarice Starling, how do you do." she introduced herself as he used his right hand to buckle his seatbelt.

"Agent Shepherd," Dr. Lecter introduced himself. He noticed the young woman flinch just barely from the mention. She recovered quickly but not before he stored the information away for later use.

"Do you have a first name, Agent?" Clarice asked as she turned her Pinto back onto the highway and started driving.

"Hunter. Hunter Shepherd," Clarice graced him with a smile, wondering if the FBI agent had anything to do with Hannibal Lecter's escape.


FIN

Part 1 of 9

copyright 2001, by La Vita Nuova

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