Clarice came to an abrupt stop in the pitch-black hallway. She couldn’t see a thing and panicked for a second. Then her eyes began to adjust and she saw a faint streak of light at the end of the hallway by what she thought was the stairs. As she neared the window, she discovered that it was boarded up and the only light entering the hall was coming through a crack in the boards from the moon. It was then that the dusty, slightly pungent smell in the air made sense. Dr. Lecter had brought her to a house that had been abandoned for quite some time. There would be no electricity or telephone and no one ever think to search a building that was boarded up, for trespassers. Particularly as this house seemed to be isolated in the middle of a forest, from the little she could see out the window. There would be no backup to save her this time. The man definitely learned from his mistakes.
Clarice made her way cautiously down the staircase, intently listening for any sound, every few steps. She crossed the front hall to the door and spent a moment tugging on the handle before she noticed a note taped to the door at eye level. She pulled it down and held it down to a shaft of light to read it.
Tsk, tsk, Clarice!
Surely, you’ve noticed that this house has been boarded up. It would have been very clumsy of me to alert anyone passing by to my presence by removing the boards on the front door.
Perhaps you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed and need a little encouragement. Very well, I’ll let you choose the game we play tonight. Cat and mouse? Hide or seek? What do you think Clarice?
By the way, I’d get moving if I were you, as the front door will be the first place I check. We wouldn’t want the game to end so quickly would we?
Clarice’s head snapped as she read the end. Oh god, where was he? Where would he expect her to go from here? The kitchen would probably have another door, but what wouldn’t he expect? Back upstairs! Right! Clarice moved as quickly back up the staircase as she could.
In the living room, Dr. Lecter cocked his head to listen to her retreating footsteps and a bemused smile touched his lips. Trust her to do the unexpected. He decided to give her another few minutes to find a hiding place and then it was his turn to move.
Clarice walked as quietly as she could along the hallway, staying beside the wall to avoid creaky floorboards. She paused for a moment in the doorway of the bedroom where she had woken up, but the shook her head and moved down the hall to the next door. It turned out to be the bathroom and she slipped inside and pushed the door to. The small window above the tub hadn’t been covered over and the moon was high in the sky. She stepped into the tub and peered outside. She sighed softly; trees as far as she could see. She glanced down and noticed that the bathroom was quite clean and smelled of soap rather than the mustiness of the hall. Dr. Lecter must have been camping out here, setting this up, she thought. Typical of him to break the pattern she thought, as she glanced at the sink counter. Another note, taped to a small bottle, sat waiting for her. She picked both up, and realized right away she held a bottle of L’Air du Temps.
Do you remember Clarice? Did you feel brave? You could probably use a boost to your stores of courage tonight eh? Go ahead and put some on.
Clarice remembered taking a deep breath as she walked down the line of cells to the last one…
She sprayed a little on her wrists and then rubbed the damp spots on either side of her neck. Another memory suddenly came back to her. Dr. Lecter behind the glass, his head raised, as he inhaled deeply to catch her scent. Damn, he would be able to smell her now! How could she have been so stupid? She wouldn’t be able to hide – he could track her movements like a bloodhound. Unless that was all he could smell? As the thought formed, Clarice smiled for the first time since this crazy night had started.
She grabbed the bottle and moved back to the top of the stairs spraying as she went. The hallway, the bedroom, back to the bathroom. Further down the rest of the hallway she came to another bedroom and finally the end of the hall and a closed door. Spraying the perfume all the way, Clarice doused the whole top floor in the scent she was wearing. She paused at the door not knowing what she’d find on the other side. She heard a slight noise on the stairs, like fabric brushing against fabric. She twisted the door handle, praying it wouldn’t squeak. She slipped into the room and eased the door shut behind her.
She leaned her forehead against the door for a moment and then turned to glance around the room. She was in another bedroom, the master bedroom. His bedroom. She bit her lip before she grinned and proceeded to douse the place in L’Air du Temps. She made sure to get the jacket hanging on chair really well. If anything horrible happened tonight, perhaps that would inspire some guilt in the good doctor. Yah, right! She snorted softly. She crouched down in the shadows by his desk and hoped he would check in here for her.
As Dr. Lecter started up the last few steps to the second floor, the unmistakable scent of Clarice hit him full in the face. He moved down the hallway and it was still all he could smell. He chuckled at he ingenuity. She’d certainly put his little "gift" to a better use than he’d intended. Well, he’d just have to find her the old fashioned way. He started opening doors.