The first door Dr. Lecter opened, was to the bedroom where he had gently laid Clarice down to sleep off the effects of the drug he had administered to her. She hadn’t been soundly asleep; in fact, he had been worried that she would wake before he had her where he wanted her. As he had carried her up the stairs in his arms, she had nuzzled her nose against his chest, as if seeking his scent. He wondered what would have happened if she had woken up at that moment. Ah well, he’d gone to some trouble to set up this little game and was sure they were both having fun. Just what the doctor ordered!
He didn’t really expect to find her in the first bedroom, nor the bathroom either. As he briefly checked the other two bedrooms and found nothing he began to wonder where she had gotten to. He paused at the last door of the hallway. Surely, she hadn’t taken refuge in his own private domain. He opened the door and was again greeted by her scent. So the mouse had dared the lion’s den had she? He scanned the room but saw nothing as his eyes were drawn to the bed. Clarice saw him grin and valiantly suppressed a shiver at the look in his eyes. Why didn’t he say something? He must have seen her as soon as he walked in!
Lecter walked forward and rested his hands on his jacket, which was draped over the chair. Clairce’s perfume wafted up to him like dust motes in the sunshine. She had thoroughly drenched his good suit jacket! He growled low in his throat as he picked up the jacket and shook it slightly. It would never air out entirely, and as much as he liked her smell, this was just too much. His eyes narrowed as he contemplated the jacket. The little minx was certainly having her fun! He cocked his head as he heard something rattle downstairs. His eyes widened as he realized she must have sneaked past him. He turned abruptly, dropping his jacket back on the chair. He was already halfway down the stairs, when the figure in the shadows breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Clarice stood up cautiously and tightened the sash of her bathrobe around her waist. She wondered how he could have missed her. Perhaps the doctor had come to rely too heavily on his exceptional sense of smell, or perhaps he had intentionally ignored her to prolong the game. She moved silently down the hall to the top of the stairs. She heard the light rap of his shoes crossing the entrance downstairs. She pressed herself against the wall hoping he wouldn’t look up. He passed beneath her into another room and again she sighed softly. It seemed that all her encounters with the doctors were a close call of one kind or another. She wiggled her bare toes against the floor and realized that if she moved quietly the doctor wouldn’t be able to hear her. On the other hand, if he did hear something he was bound to go investigate. She darted back into the first bed room as another plan took form in her head.
Downstairs, Doctor Lector was starting to wonder if he hadn’t underestimated his Clarice. Where was she? He’d checked all the rooms of the lower floor without any hint of her whereabouts. He wasn’t going to ‘pounce’ and end the game just yet, but he liked keeping tabs on her movements. He stood in the living room and closed his eyes, listening intently for her.
In the entranceway, Clarice took careful aim and then lobbed the heavy bed knob up and over the banister into the hallway above. It made a satisfying racket as it landed and rolled. She hurried back into the shadowy living room and didn’t see as a swift moving shadow exited the room across from her and took the stairs two at a time. Clarice glanced around for a moment and noticed the chess game in progress set on the coffee table. She wondered who won when the good doctor played against himself. She smiled at her whimsy and then realized she couldn’t afford to waste more time with idle thoughts. She made a beeline for the kitchen, hoping to find another door that would let her out of this mad house. She was intensely aware that she didn’t have much time.
In the upstairs hallway, Lecter knew what she had done as soon as he located the bed knob lying against the wall near the bathroom. He smiled at her ingenuity. She was proving to be a worthy adversary in this little diversion. He’d reacted precisely as she had intended him to. He hated to be predictable. He stood with the bed knob in his hand and quietly slipped off his shoes. He’d purposely left them on in order to try to level the playing field for her a little bit, but she obviously didn’t need his help. He moved silently back down the stairs. He had a few surprises of his own.
In the kitchen, Clarice was frustrated to find another blocked door and another note. She almost didn’t read it, but couldn’t quite make herself turn away.
I thought I made it clear that everything you need to get home is in this house. You’ll find the door when you have everything you need. Unfortunately, no ruby slippers were to be found when I went shopping for this little game. You will, however, need some shoes and something to wear. Are you brave enough to find them?
What on earth did he mean by that? Was she brave enough? Did he mean she had to go back up stairs? Here she was in her bathrobe, standing in the kitchen of a deserted house, where a notorious cannibal had taken up residence, staring at the refrigerator across from her. The situation was so ridiculous she almost laughed, but caught herself before she gave away her current location. The thought of cannibals and refrigerators really shouldn’t be funny, especially considering her previous experience with the two.
Of course! The refrigerator! She approached it cautiously wondering what she was going to find, but knowing for certain that was what he had meant. She cracked the door and tried to peak into the darkened space. She took a deep breath and then opened the door fully. She smiled as the meager light showed her the contents. A pair of jeans and a sweatshirt lay carefully folded on the top shelf and a pair of socks was lying next to a pair of sneakers on the bottom shelf. She reached in and scooped everything into her arms as she heard a phone ring. Phone! Oh, my god, there was a cell phone in the house. She dropped the bundle of clothing on the floor with a thump and raced into the dinning room.
Dr. Lecter entered from the other door and scooped up the clothes, leaving a note in their place. He retreated to the living room in order to enjoy her reaction.
Clarice quickly pinpointed the ringing sound in a partly opened drawer in the china cabinet. She ground her teeth as she lifted the child’s toy from its hiding place. She snapped the plastic model of a cell phone closed and stopped the realistic ringing sound. Knowing that he knew exactly where she was, she didn’t bother stopping her growl of disappointment and frustration.
In the living room, Dr. Lecter grinned as he heard her. She made the most wonderful growling noises when she was frustrated. He wondered what else could make her emit that delicious little sound. He took a moment to enjoy the possibilities his mind created for him and swiftly exited the room in anticipation of her next move.