Pleasant Thoughts to Pass the Time
2002, by horserider91271
Dr. Hannibal Lecter was created by Thomas
Harris. He is 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
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The belts snapped into place, and the guard tested them, assuring himself that they were, in fact, quite snug.
“Comfy, Lecter?” His lips curled into a greasy smile, which if I were in other circumstances, would relegate him into the category of the rude.
I gave him a withering look. Of course not…I was, of course, firmly strapped into place on the bus, and the corrections officer slammed the door on the temporary holding cage I was in, built to house only the most violent as they rode to whatever accommodations awaited them.
There was no reason for it at that time…I was acutely aware of the chains around my legs, especially short and tight around my ankles, as well as the ones binding my wrists to my waist. I was not going anywhere quickly, and I knew it full well. They of course had no way of knowing that…I had been silent since my capture to all but my attorney, and they had no way of gauging the depth of my sanity.
Which was why I found myself being transferred from the county jail to the Baltimore Hospital For The Criminally Insane. Deemed unfit to stand trial, and having not plead, there was little recourse as to what to do with me. As I had planned…there could be opportunities to escape from a hospital, and I had planned well in advance for such a day as I might become a fugitive.
Had I but known what fate awaited me…which I did not. A small failing on my part that would be compensated for much later.
The governor on the bus’s airbrake system cut out at that moment, directing my thoughts toward failings other than my own. Could it be…? No, it was not…several moments went by, and the governor worked as regularly as clockwork. I listened to the rear, and the engine’s diesel mutterings revealed no problems either. There would be no mechanical surprises on this trip.
I schooled myself to not allow for dismay. Such would only hamper me and block any ability I might have to help my situation, should such event arise. I had to be ready, and watching.
This did not stop me from finding a way to amuse myself. Such pastime would be crucial to keeping me sharp and in spirits to act, I knew.
I fixated my gaze on the guard, who was watching me, and when I had his eye I winked at him. He gave me his full attention then, and as soon as I had it I looked pointedly at his torso, imagining how good his liver might taste, fresh and with its juices dripping off into whatever cooking apparatus I might choose. Thoughtfully, I trailed my tongue along my upper lip, then I looked at him and grinned. The color drained out of his face, his looked away and did not look me in the eye again. It cheered me. Such a weak mind to toy with.
That game done, it became of the essence to find something else to do, lest my trip become boring. I glared at the officer some more, and there it was…he reminded me so much of another…the one who began this most fun of hobbies for me…
The day had begun like most any other for me at the time. I had begun to grow frustrated with my clientele. I had been working on cases referred to me by the courts, garnished by a few more official or celebrated ones that were to be kept off the books and out of the papers, and it was growing very tedious, wearing sorely upon my nerves.
These people were an officially sanctioned waste of my time, which was becoming rapidly extinct, and my talent, which was considerable. They had no desire to be helped or to improve, which is the precursor to any sort of therapy actually working; even as talented as I was, I could not do the work for them.
A pedophile here, who also happened to be running for public office and had to be kept out of the media; an exhibitionist there, who happened to be an up-and-coming star on television. My discretion was handsomely paid for, but put to abuse by such misuse of my talents, and I deposited the files into an empty file drawer forcefully, sorely tempted to spit upon them in the process. Had I done so, I might have managed some of my rage better…had I really wanted to. I did not.
I sucked in my coffee, clicking my teeth against the ceramic cup and enjoying the feel of it, as I had reviewed that morning’s main patient. A police officer of some rank, referred to me by some superior, as he had been becoming increasingly abusive to those under him. He had not yet laid a hand upon any of them, but only just. He had been given some “drama leave”, which was rubbish for saying that if he didn’t get help, he was going to be placed on leave with heavier implications for his employment status.
Wonderful. A pig in a real poke, I wisecracked to myself with little humor. I was quite sure I would get to listen to monologue of how his daddy whipped him when he was little, how he ran off to join the service when he was of age, and his self-esteem not allowing for advancement, he left when his term expired and took the tests to acquire a job on the state force. Now he had anger issues. Garden variety, ad nauseum.
The session went exactly as I had told myself it would, with little deviation. It was a pity, I mused, that there was not a place for laying bets on this sort of thing; if there were, I would have only added to my growing fortune. That at least would have been an opportunity for some sort of success and growth.
I was spooning some very nice and very expensive flavored coffee into a filter, having just ground it after the patient left, his therapy of course having gone nowhere, when the morning took on a more interesting flavor, and that of that particular coffee got left behind.
The vertical blinds were only partially open, but through the open window, little was left to the imagination.
I heard a car door open, and a moment later, a child whining. Grimacing, and having little patience for children, I moved to close the window when the shouting began.
I paused. How very rude, to carry on in such manner in public, and at my office, no less. I peered through the blinds, when the resounding clap of flesh against flesh reached my ears.
I saw, in silhouette, the small form retreating across the seat, as the yelling continued, punctuated by obscenities. I saw little beyond that at the time; I felt a crawling sensation in the pit of my stomach, one I hadn’t felt since…and that sound…my vision darkened, and I had felt the material of my sport coat in my hands as I moved without thought, except to push back those thoughts from coming…
Later, when I pulled into a parking slot some distance away from him at a grocery store, I was very glad to not have my Bentley for the day. It had been somewhat out of tune, and I had opted for driving my SL Mercedes instead, which made for much more discreet tailing of said subject.
From my vantage point, I could see him yank the girl out of the car by her arm. She couldn’t have been older than ten; her scent that I caught once inside the supermarket suggested she was younger.
But her appearance…so like that of Mischa might have been, had she lived to be older…I could feel my innards coiling dangerously, in a way I had not felt since… I had found the neighbour boy lying dead beside one of the Nazis in the parlour of the hunting lodge, when I had believed him to be only injured. Flexing my fingers, I could almost feel the pocketknife in my hand again as I ripped their jugulars, the soothing warmth of the blood streaming down my fingers, and my anger just beginning to quell with the slaying of the sixth…I blinked as a star-shaped hand flailed, the girl being dragged behind her father into the store.
An idea in mind then, I had gotten out of the car, shutting the door silently behind me.
I kept my distance, expensive and sporty sunglasses helping my anonymity, and I managed to catch enough of the story to be privy to what was going on. Apparently, the wife in the family worked also, and since he was on leave he was watching the child to conserve money…a loose version of it, since he had left her unattended in the car outside my office.
She was trying hard not to cry, and succeeding admirably at it. A good thing, because I was finding it difficult to keep my fury in check. That was, until they got back outside…
The girl had tried hard not to whine, but her voice had gotten somewhat tinny as they walked down the aisle of pasta and canned goods. She had wanted a can of some sort of ready-to-eat shaped pasta, a cheap and easily purchased item, which he of course steadfastly refused her. She spoke no more of it, but in the next aisle I could hear an occasional sniffle emanating from her.
Back out in the parking lot, she was in trouble again. Once the groceries were loaded, he started in on her again, shoving her quickly into the car and preceding my being able to reach them from where I was. A mistake, I later discovered, even as it concealed my identity. Prudence would dictate my being quicker to act in the future.
Carefully blending the Mercedes into traffic, I followed them into a middle-class neighbourhood without detection. When the car pulled into the drive of a house, occupying a space in front of the spacious attached garage, I parked and sat motionless in the shade.
My client got out and, unlocking the trunk, left the task to the child to bring in the somewhat heavily laden bags of groceries. Doubtless, he was going in to treat himself to some mundane pastime, perhaps the television. He spat some obscenity or other at her, something about “earning her keep”.
I watched as she struggled to carry the bags into the home, rare conflict badgering me as I allowed her to do so. Such struggles were not unknown to affect the female organs later in life, particularly the tipping of a uterus, and certainly it had happened to specimens more physically able than this scrawny girl.
At length, she carefully closed the trunk lid, being sure it was secured, and toted in the final parcel. Once I was certain she was inside for good, I removed myself from the car and took up a vantage point behind the house, concealing myself behind some bushes which conveniently were inches away from an open window while still being at an angle to keep me out of sight. Still as a boulder, I waited.
I did not wait long. As I heard the television snap on, I heard him demand that she bring him a beer. Five minutes later, I had not heard her and was thinking of chancing a look over the sill, when he barked at her again. Small footsteps, and a small voice saying that there wasn’t any to be had…it was gone, the last can he had drank watching the football game the night before.
“WHY THE HELL DIDN”T YOU SAY SOMETHING AT THE STORE?!?! DO I LOOK MADE OF MONEY? LIKE I CAN RUN THE CAR EVERY FIVE MINUTES TO THE STORE?! I’LL BET YOU AND YOUR MOTHER WILL LAUGH ABOUT THIS LATER, WON’T YOU? SHE’S ALWAYS TRYING TO GET ME TO NOT ENJOY THE SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE…I’LL SHOW YOU!!!”
The recliner banged sharply against the sill…he had been sitting just inside from where I was. It had been a glorious chance wasted, but I did not waste effort reflecting on it, as the sound of a body hitting the wall reached my ears.
“BITCH!!! I WORK AND I SLAVE, AND WHAT DO I GET?! A MAN CAN’T EVEN WATCH A LITTLE T.V. AND ENJOY A BREW AROUND HERE!!!”
The sound of his hand hitting her again, and I was in action before the heavy thud of her body on the floor hit my ears. My patience long since worn through, I ducked and grabbed a large piece of a broken branch of the ground. The wood was thick, and I pulled my thin leather suit belt from my pants without a second thought, fastening it securely as his next words hit me:
“I”LL BET WE DON’T EVEN HAVE ANY ICE IN THIS STY!!!” He didn’t sound like he was going to look either, and my eyes came to rest upon a beer cooler in the backyard.
My pleasure was evident on my face, I’m sure… Perfect.
I took my place flat against the wall next to the back door, and none too soon, for as the back door opened I sprang.
I was glad for the strength years of isometric exercises had given me as I threw the loop over his head and spun the garrote. A split second later, I was glad for the surprise I had to my advantage, because he was considerably strong as he struggled.
“BITCH! WHAT’RE YOU…”
“I don’t think so, not the last time I checked my anatomy, anyway. I seem to have all the right things,” I growled, tempted to tear his ear off as I spoke into it. “For dealing with you, that is.”
“WHAT?!” He started to choke and sputter then. “What’re you – “
His air failed him fairly soon, as the oxygen debt became too much for his wild thrashing and sputtering, and he fell to the ground in a faint. I did not let up on his neck until I had bounced both my knees solidly right into his kidneys.
“That was awfully rude of you, and I hate rude people,” I hissed. “Obviously, handling someone your own size is not your forte, Officer. My, what would they say at the Academy if they saw you today? I’d bet you didn’t get such high marks in self-defense.”
It would have been great fun to continue with him right then and there, but the daylight made for poor camouflage, and there was still the young lady to be thought of. I kept the garrote tight on him, not caring in the least if he suffocated, as I dragged him into the house with me to check on her. His face would be pleasing to study later, as I let it bang soundly against the stairs on the way up.
The little body lay on the hardwood floor, and the bile rose in my throat as I considered how bad the damage could be. My opponent thumped as I dropped him and went to check on her.
Angry bruises were discoloring her face, and a tooth, ivory against a dark background, lay in contrast to the woodgrain…
My head began to swim as the memories threatened to break free of the areas of my mind, so carefully locked away… I could almost feel the cold of the snow, as I’d wept over Mischa’s teeth that day…
I dared not allow the pit to swallow me further. Already, there was much to be done, and to risk more lapse of caution on my part would be dangerous indeed.
Snapping myself wholly into the situation before me, I knelt bedside her and felt of her pulse. Rather weak, but it was there, as was her respiration, shallow but regular.
Opening her eyelids with cautious fingers, I plucked the penlight from my breast pocket and checked for pupil activity. A concussion, and a bad one at that, by the reaction I saw there.
She would live, I concluded, but would be needing more help than I could give her, and soon.
I tilted her head delicately to the side, being sure her airway stayed unobstructed, and made my next move.
The automatic door opener squeaked as the door went up, and I strode quickly to my car with a casual air. I pulled the car down the slope into the garage, and the door crept down at my touch on the switch, well away from the rear of the Mercedes.
Back in the house, I frisked him quickly, then picked him up and carried him out, throwing him into the trunk. I took care that the garrote was in my possession; it could be used on me too, after all.
The girl lay not changed from her former state as I dialed the phone, stretching out the long connecting cord that the lazy head of the household had so nicely provided, not wanting to stand as he spoke on it, which fit the profile I was forming of him perfectly.
“Baltimore Police Emergency, Smith speaking,” the voice of the dispatcher announced.
I placed the receiver in her palm, wiping away any fingerprints of mine as I went with my handkerchief, gently swiping the numbers too.
“Hello? Is someone in trouble? Hello? Hello?” My job there was finished; they would dispatch quickly, I knew. There was not a moment to waste, the fun was just beginning…I could check her progress later at the hospital, if I so desired…it would be easy enough.
In my car, I watched as the garage door thumped into place before I drove slowly down the street, sirens approaching in the distance.
It was of little surprise to me later that evening when the phone rang. I had delayed beginning on my new project, because I didn’t want to miss that call.
The sergeant on the other end apologized for disturbing my evening, and proceeded to question me about my former patient. I professed to know nothing of his whereabouts after he’d left that morning, of course, knowing that my secretary had been conveniently on a vacation day and could not speak to my locale for the day either. He proceeded to explain the seriousness of the situation, asking if I would let them know right away if I happened to see the suspect, who was not charged yet but was being sought for the serious assault and battery. The tearful mother could be heard in the background, causing me to smile. She could not know it, but her daughter’s fearful situation was about to draw to a close.
I gave him my utmost assurances, and offered my services, pro bono, should they be needed by the girl when she gained consciousness again. I felt no remorse whatsoever when the woman took the phone, gushing and saying what a relief it was to know there were good citizens in the world, and good doctors who cared about people and not their pocketbooks first.
If she only knew…I gave my closing comments and condolences and hung up the phone.
The evening’s entertainment was at hand.
He hung from where I’d suspended him in the basement, in the center of the floor right above a drain, from a bare stud in the unfinished ceiling. I’d lamented having little time to plan just how I’d wanted my basement remodeled, the ceiling and the bare concrete floor being an unsightly abomination in an otherwise nicely decorated house, but I had no regrets now. This would be perfect for a delightful rumpus room, perfectly suited to some new fun and a private area for me.
He grunted behind the duct tape on his mouth, straining at the same that bound him, as he uselessly swung back and forth, the rope secure under his armpits and beneath tightly taped limbs.
I lazily considered the basement…it could prove interesting to untape his mouth, I pondered. The former owners’ teenage son had loved to bang on a particularly noisy drum set, and the walls had been soundproofed in anticipation of his untalented practicing. He would have to scream at the top of his lungs, something he would likely try, to even be heard just upstairs.
I decided for it…it would prolong the fun, something I was sorely in need of.
His mouth freed, he wasted little time trying to provoke me.
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?! I’LL HAVE YOUR LICENSE FOR THIS, I’LL – “
“Ah, tut tut, there will be none of that. My mother always said, if you can’t say something nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all. And I can’t recall one nice thing you’ve said all day.” I clicked my disapproval at him as I stepped behind him once again and pulled some more duct tape off the roll.
“ARE YOU NUTS?! WHAT KIND OF SNAKE OIL QUACK DID THE DEPARTMENT SEND ME TO?! I’LL BUST A CAP IN YOUR ASS FOR THIS, I’LL – “
“Oooh, what a naughty boy you are, hmm?” I stretched the tape back over his mouth, as he struggled futilely. “I think the time has come for you to be quiet now. You certainly didn’t give HER any opportunity to say anything, now did you?”
I stepped around in front and considered him. I bared my teeth, swallowing his eyes in my gaze, as I saw the fear begin to creep into his expression. That was one of the more pleasing ways I could have with people.
“It’s party time. I’m long overdue for a good party, something more fun than Rachel’s pompous windbag group. Do you know Spanish, mi amigo?”
The lout hanging from the rope shook his head, his eyes carefully watching as I strolled over to the corner of the room. A small pile of boards was stacked there, still leftover from when the basement had last had work done before I purchased it. One particularly high quality board caught my eye; a two-by-four, between four and five feet long, and treated lumber, not likely to break easily. I picked it up, feeling its heft across my palm.
“No? Well, I’ll be happy to enlighten you a bit then, in that case. Today’s vocabulary word will be pińata…”
With that, I swung and caught him in the right side of his jaw. His eyes widened with the pain, a nice touch.
“A pińata is a container, often in the form of an animal, that is hung from the ceiling in a festival and broken in a game with a stick so as to release its contents, which are often delectable to eat,” I instructed, punctuating the explanation with a diabolical slurp at the end. “And I think you quite fill my particular requirements, mi amigo. I would gladly have offered your daughter the first swing; forgive me if I hog it all to myself, as she couldn’t make the party, unconscious as she is.”
Before he could react, I swung again, quicker than his eyes could follow, and after I connected with his mouth again I could tell that many teeth were no longer attached. He tried to scream futilely into the tape, and several blows later blood began to seep around the edges of the gag, effectively saturated by that point.
“No goodies yet, hmm? I’ll have to try harder…”
The board found its target until my arms grew fatigued with the effort, the skin broken and dripping in places but not likely to yield completely anytime soon. My officer companion was not aware of the predicament, his skull collapsed in several places and a bit of what appeared to be brain matter beginning to show itself on his scalp. The brain feels no pain, and at that stage it was likely the rest of him wasn’t either.
I pulled a nice little folding knife from my pocket then, reminiscent of the one I’d used in a similar manner as a boy. I’d long since pulled off my suit and gotten into something more comfortable; it simply wouldn’t do to ruin my good clothes. Waste not, want not.
“Do you know, I believe this game is rigged somehow. I guess I’ll have to cheat a little…”
Any good medical professional holds a firm belief in using good stainless steel instruments, they being easy to sanitize and difficult to damage. I was no exception. I pushed the shiny new steel pail under him, purchased later on in the afternoon after I’d gotten him settled in, for just this purpose.
Several quick strokes opened his throat and abdominal cavity, letting him bleed out for the most part into my bucket as several other delectables hung forth for me to view. A gentle hosing would be in order for the floor later, much later. I hadn’t had a bite all day after my coffee this morning, which offered no nourishment whatsoever.
“Very nice,” I commented, severing the liver from its place and examining it further. “Looks like you took good care of this. Cops usually don’t, being in the habit of sousing it with alcohol when the going gets tough. I guess beer was as tough as it got for you, as you seemed to have had other outlets for your emotions.” I placed it gently into the bucket as the corpse stared stupidly, beyond all comprehension.
It was joined by the rest of the sweetbreads; I elected to let the rest of the meat hang and drip out a bit for putting up later. The brains would possibly spoil, not being used fresh, but it mattered little. I was not in the mood for cervello con tartufi, and the truffles I’d seen of late had been rather poor quality anyway.
The girl made the top story on the news. I listened on the radio to the latest breaking story as I enjoyed the liver and onions along with a helping of kidney and lima beans. The czarnina had made a nice appetizer, but I decided next time fava beans would be in order. The limas looked off color.
The father had not yet been found, but the mother was now moving to press charges and a warrant for his arrest. I hoped she would not withdraw them; it was good for her, to not be in denial, I mused. Clearly, I was far from a suspect in the case, my name being mentioned as being in full support of the family.
Which had been good. I had finally found a suitable hobby to pursue in my little spare time, one I found relaxing and not too time consuming, and certainly it was good on the economy…I had been loathe to give it up for anything.
And as I eyed the one before me on the bus, I reassured myself that perhaps I wouldn’t have to. All I would have to do is wait, and I had all the time in the world for that.
I looked to the front of the bus, and seeing the face of the driver in one of several mirrors there, I gave him a knowing look.
It could have been my imagination, but the bus seemed to make what had to be record time for the trip.
2002, by horserider91271
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